Friday, December 28, 2007

Holy Crappers!

My stat counts are once again sky high with people searching for Gap card complaints and instructions on how to cancel a Gap credit card. One such search was from Moscow.

Yikes!

For your searching ease, here are links to my two posts about the Gap card and Monogram Bank of Georgia. This one describes the beginning of my problems, and this one has instructions on how to cancel your card.

Good luck!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Throwing off all Guises of Working

Ack, whose idea was it to go back to work today??

Fortunately, there's not much for me to do except draft a blog update (or so I tell myself semi-guiltily).

First, the Knitting
Last night during a very small knit night, I cast on a Headigan using some pretty handspun handdyed yarn. Here's my progress so far (note: I now have another repeat done, so it's twice this size:



Porkchop gave the yarn to me for Christmas; she bought it on the Felt Studio etsy shop. The pattern and the yarn are a most perfect combination. (My only complaint is about the tagline on the webshop selling the Headigan pattern. It's something along the lines of, "Math is hard. Let's go shopping!" Hopefully that's a joke.)

I gave Beth her beanie Saturday night:



And, as luck would have it, Katie won the big pink pointy elf cap by having a large noggin:



I gave Katie a knitted neckwarmer, as well, but I forgot to take a photo of it! Darn! Also, I gave my sister a knitted headband/ear warmer for Christmas, but the photo isn't so great.

Lastly...the interlocking balloon pattern is still going well. I might finish it in January, but I'm eager to buy yarn and start on a Tilted Duster. My biggest wish was to finish my stinking Jaywalkers before the end of the year, but I noticed that instead of buying size 1 metal dpns, I actually bought size 0. I *thought* I was buying size 1s, so the sales clerk must have picked up the wrong set. I didn't check the set until last week, I bought them in November, and I no longer have a sales receipt. I don't know if I want to try to exchange them...seems like a hassle. But, they cost nearly $13, darn it!

Trips and Visits

To Columbia

On December 14, Porkchop arrived in STL, and we drove to CoMo for Katie's graduation. Yay! PhD!

Dinner and the ceremony were nice, but the best part was the reception Saturday morning at the Women's Center on campus. Katie read from her dissertation acknowledgements, and most of us teared up and cried at some point.

We hung out in the Women's Center for a good part of the afternoon and then had snacks at Uprise. Porkchop and I had to leave around 6:30 that evening because Porkchop was working the next day at the UPS Store. Unfortunately, we drove in on the tail end of the second snow, and it took us 4 hours to get home! Porkchop did a great job driving, and I did a good job clutching the passenger side door handle and braking with my imaginary brake.

More Visits with Katie and Beth
Katie and Beth were back in Missouri this past weekend for Christmas. We stole them away from Katie's brother's house and his Wii for dinner Saturday night at House of India. Katie and Beth also spent the night at our apartment, and then we dropped them off in Cape Girardeau at Katie's dad's house.

Yay for Katie and Beth time! We exchanged presents Saturday night, and then I re-taught Katie and Beth how to knit.

To Jonesboro
Since we all got up so early on Sunday, Porkchop and I made it into Jonesboro around 2:30. My mom was waiting and greeted us with home-made spiced pecans, a salmon ball, and other snack items. We, in turn, gave my family biscotti, chocolate-dipped pretzels, and a few magic bars (the rest went to Katie and Beth).

There was a lot of snacking for the next couple of days.

On Monday, Porkchop and I made a Christmas Eve dinner of my favorite cranberry-almond bulgur pilaf and this caramelized cranberry chicken. Yum! My mom provided dessert - gingerbread with whipped cream and an ice cream cake roll thing.

My family loves whipped cream....not that nasty spray can stuff, but the real deal made by beating cream. Here's my dad with his bowl of whipped cream:


Just kidding! That's a staged photo. Although, sometimes certain family members have been known to eat whipped cream alone (and one of those members might be me). But, in reality, my dad would be eating some whipped cream with a side of oatmeal or something like that (seriously). [Edited to add: My dad just found out that he needs cataract surgery ASAP. He isn't taking it so well. He was prepared for back surgery, not cataract surgery. Send the guy some love...he doesn't have any cilia in his nose, his vertebrae are crumbling, his hips are messed up, and now his eyes have to be replaced.]

This year, my dad asked me to taste test the whipped cream. I warned him that I like my whipped cream not-so-sweet and that he should probably ask my sister. But, since I thought the cream tasted just fine, he didn't add any more sugar. So, OF COURSE, the rest of my family nearly burned me at the stake as a heretic for approving such low-sugar whipped cream.

Here's how the conversation went:

Sister: Ugh, this whipped cream isn't sweet enough!!

Me: Well, I like it less sweet. Whipped cream is supposed to cut the sweetness of the dessert.

Sister: Needs. More. SUGAR!!!!

Brother: MORE SUGAR!! MORE SUGAR!!!

Sister: Don't trust Carrie, Dad. This needs more sugar.

After that, we opened presents. Porkchop was a great elf and finally got to open her Packers hat:


Besides everything from Porkchop, my favorite present is this:


This is one of the silver dollars that my grandpa gave my mom and her sister after he returned from harvesting wheat in Texas around 1950 (the coins were made in 1921). My mom said that he received the silver dollars in change while eating lunch at a cafe in Texas.

My mom had 3 such silver dollars, so she gave one to me, my sister, and my brother. We're fortunate that all 3 survived our collective childhood; I know that I played with those coins regularly as a kid.

It kind of makes me sad that my mom has given them to us.

On Christmas morning, I brought back a Freeman family tradition and made chocolate gravy and biscuits. Mmmmmm....


To Rolla
Porkchop decided we should make an impromptu stop at her parents, so we spent the night there Tuesday night and left early Wednesday morning. Porkchop's mom taught us how to play a new card game, 9-hole, and she made a super-yummy Snickers pie.

After breakfast at a Waffle House on Wednesday, Porkchop and I beat it back to St. Louis.

Whew!

Next Post
I'll write about holiday baking and post the recipe for magic bars because they are super yummy (and super easy).

Have a great Friday!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Keetah says Merry Christmas, Happy (belated) Solstice, happy gift exchanging, or just have a good day!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Actually, No.

On my way to the restroom, I was stopped, or rather accosted, by a stranger who said, "I need you to make some copies for me."

Er, who are you and WTF?

Turns out it was a professor NOT from our school teaching a class in our building. I directed said professor to our school's Service Center.

I'm not your copy monkey.

Also, just because I look like a student, it doesn't mean you can order me around, jerk-off.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Is this Hat a little Big?

So, I made a pointy elf cap during knit night tonight, and I think it might be a tad big.

What do you think?


It's so freaking huge, it can't fit in the camera frame!

It was hard to get it in its entirety...


The problem was that the pattern lists the possible sizes as x-small (6-18 months), small (2-4 years), medium (4-years - adult small), and large (adult medium - large).

I went with the large because I thought my head was an adult medium...

Does anyone need a big pink pointy hat?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Must....Resist...

I'm feeling some sinus ickiness starting....no!!

I started the morning with an airborne, and I'm about to have a Cold-eeze. Unfortunately, I didn't have time for the neti pot this morning.

Porkchop comes home on Friday, and then we're off to Columbia for KT's PhD graduation. I can't be sick!

Meanwhile...
One of the school librarians sent out an email this morning warning students not to leave laptops unattended in the library....because people come here searching for laptops to steal and sell for drugs.

While I don't doubt this, the tone of the email set me off a bit. I think it was the matter of factness. What if people are selling laptops to pay for utilities or food? The email just didn't seem very social work-y.

Also, unrelated, through Ravelry I found the perfect pointy elf hat to make with a ball of very pink Rowan Biggy Print, which was gifted to me over Thanksgiving. It's bulky pink yarn...what else can I do with it?

Monday, December 10, 2007

It Works!

Oh my gosh, I can now post directly from work again!

YAY!!!

The biscotti was made and is a big hit. Of course, not everyone is here to enjoy them as two people stayed home because of the ice.

*scoff!*

In Other News
In February, I'm going to see Kelly Clarkson and Reba McEntire in Jonesboro as part of the 2 Worlds 2 Voices tour. With my parents. What? I'm really just along for the ride; my parents really want to see them. Again, what??

Do you want to see a picture of one of my great-great-great-grandfathers? My mom submitted a photo for this website. I think it's pretty neat. Also, if you don't know, "I.T." stands for Indian Territory. I can't imagine moving from Devonshire, England, to Oklahoma. Seriously, that's crazy.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

More Blahs

The dreary weather has me feeling sad and lonely, or maybe I'm just sad and lonely. At the end of a conversation with Porkchop tonight (who is sick in Albuquerque and sick of being in Albuquerque), I had to cry some.

I'm not feeling the holiday cheer so much.

What I am feeling are the cold drafts from the old windows in this apartment! GRRRRR!

Tonight I covered the windows in plastic and weatherstripped the door in the bedroom that opens to the porch. I'm thinking about hanging curtains over the living room and bedroom windows, and by curtains I mean big pieces of fleece that will look junky but will block the drafts.

I love old apartments but not old windows.

So, here's what I did today:
  • Woke up and put a chicken cassoulet in the slow cooker (chicken, onions, carrots, white beans, mushrooms, and herbes de Provence (which I made up using various spices that I already have because why pay a spice company for just a mix of spices?)).
  • Took my car in for an oil change. I also had the power steering fluid replaced, which made a HUGE difference in my car's handling.
  • Went to the Rock-n-Roll Craft Show. It's in the Mad Art Gallery this year, and it was packed. There were a lot of fun things for sale, but I didn't buy anything. That's what happens when you start to do crafty things. For me, anyway, it becomes really difficult to buy other crafts because I'm constantly thinking, I could do that. I could make that and that and that. The things that I couldn't make - inlaid cutting boards - were too pricey for me.
  • Stopped by Gus' Pretzels for a garlic and butter pretzel. If I lived in that area, I would go to Gus' everyday. (Please note that it pains me to type "Gus'" instead of "Gus's" since the latter is correct. Last time I checked, "Gus" was just one person.)
  • Straightened and attempted to weatherize the apartment.
  • Knitted and started to question life. Also, I snagged a small patch of my Interlocking Balloons scarf on a bit of velcro. Murrr!
On the schedule for tomorrow:
  • Baking biscotti and cookies for work.
  • Maybe going to the Independent Art Market. Maybe.
  • Avoiding thinking about what needs to be done at work next week.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Now it's the Bananas

During the week, I have a banana and a cup of soymilk for breakfast. This morning, I poured my soymilk, looked over at the spot where I keep the bananas, and through my early morning fuzziness thought, "Good God, someone took my banana. Great. Now what do I eat?"

The flaw in this logic is that I'm currently living by myself. I knew that it wasn't possible for anyone to take my last banana, but I briefly entertained the thought of a banana thief.

Before it became The Case of the Missing Banana (kind of like last post's Case of the Missing Needles), I decided to accept that I miscalculated when I bought bananas last weekend and that I had my last one Thursday morning.

I did, however, look in the trashcan to see if I had mistakenly discarded said banana.

If you write banana enough in a post, you feel a bit foolish.

My grandfather exhibited what we later realized was signs of early dementia in his mid-70s. During phone calls with my mom, he would casually mention that someone broke in and stole his cornbread. Or, the other popular accusation was that someone broke in and left old shoes in his closet. No stealing there, just leaving old things.

Also, Speaking of Shoes
I love my new shoes.

After two years of looking for new black leather shoes, I found the perfect pair on Sierra Trading Post - real leather, little or no heel, no fussiness, and 50% off.

They are perfect little slipper-like shoes, and when I wear them, I imagine little elf cobblers making them (alas, they are made in China...but hopefully not in a sweatshop).

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Have You Seen these Needles?

After knitting tonight, I was uploading to Ravelry the blue Steam Scarf that I made last winter when I thought, "Where ARE those number 5 Crystal Palace needles?"

It's official, I've apparently lost a set of needles! I keep all of my straight needles in the case Porkchop made for me last year. I have Crystal Palace 10s and 3s, but no 5s. And, while I have a few projects in progress, none of them are on those needles. Murrr!

I'm not happy at all about this and will have to conduct a full search this weekend.

*********
Updated to add:

I Have Lost my Mind
My Interlocking Balloons scarf is living on the 5s!

Ha ha...don't mind me here...just routing through my knitting box and cursing for the fun of it.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Desperation

I've finally decided that I really want to make the tilted duster on the cover of the Fall 2007 issue of Interweave Knits, in addition to another pattern that I *think* is in that issue.

The problem...all of the local stores that I called today are sold out of that issue! (I called 3 stores and visited 1 yesterday.) Also, only one person on Ravelry offered to trade (and that person is in England).

So, I now have an issue coming to me from the yarn store in Columbia. Thank you, Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe!

In Other News
Mizzou lost last night.

I spent over an hour and a half on the phone this morning before even getting out of my pajamas.

It's just as well. My head feels like it's full of concrete and my ears are ringing.

When I started my first real job after college, a co-worker once asked me, "After you turn 30, why must you wake up every morning feeling like you have a giant hangover?" Being 23, I didn't know what the heck the guy was talking about.

Lately, I can kind of relate. Sometimes, my body just feels beaten in the morning. I used to enjoy getting up early on the weekends, but now I just want to sleep sleep sleep. For a while, I thought this might be some sort of depression creeping in, but really, I think I'm just tired. Getting up at 6:30 during the week wears me out.

Also, why must the weather be so crappy this weekend?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Feeling Blechy

Last night was the culmination of Africa Week at my school, so I stuck around for a few hours after work for trivia, food, and a West African dance troupe.

The dancing was terrific, the trivia interesting (also shocking to learn that many of our grad students don't know the oceans between which Africa is located!), and the food tasty. However, one of the dishes apparently caused my stomach to become disgruntled.

So, knowing that my stomach was in a delicate state, I of course had half of a roasted acorn squash and part of a sweet potato for lunch today. And then I went ahead and had a small dish of gelato this afternoon because I was set on checking out the new gelato place on Grand.

So...I'm feeling pretty gross right now.

However, I'm hungry for dinner. Maybe popcorn.

Some Knitting
Here's where I'm at on my Interlocking Balloons scarf:


I know it seems like it's going slowly, but I'm also working on secret projects, one of which I finished last night.

Such projects will only appear on Ravelry due to their top-secret nature (on Ravelry? My username is carrielee).

Some Football Watching
I have the Mizzou-OSU game on right now.

Why?

Because I'm the biggest football fan ever?

Errrrr....no. It's because Porkchop is at the game. In San Antonio. Tonight.

I'm hoping they will show her in a crowd sweep.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Maybe Don't Say That

A project manager and I had lunch with our visiting Indonesian professor, who leaves today.
 
While eating, he announced that he had just learned a new phrase to take back with him. We asked what it was, and he replied, "Holy shit!"
 
I laughed while the project manager (who is from China) gasped and said, "Oh no, don't say that! That's very bad!"
 
I suggested that he use "oh my goodness!" instead. So, we practiced how to say it a few different ways.
 
I'm pretty sure that the professor will still take back "holy shit" because, you know, it's so much funner to say.

Monday, November 26, 2007

That's what Happens at 6:15 am

I left my lunch at home today. That's the sort of day it was.

Porkchop and I left early early early to get her to the airport for a 7:45 flight.

Murrrr. Murrrr because it was so early, but also because Porkchop was leaving.

We had a pretty full Thanksgiving break with hardly a spare moment...

Tuesday
Porkchop flew into St. Louis in the afternoon for a much anticipated haircut. We met up at the CWE metro stop and proceeded home. Porkchop rode the bus with me, and it was appropriately crazy.

After dinner at Stellina's Pasta Cafe, we made pistachio-chocolate-orange biscotti (see this post for the recipe) to take to my parents.

Wednesday
We left St. Louis around 11:30 and rolled into Jonesboro around 3:30. Straight away, Porkchop and I started preparing for Thanksgiving dinner, which leads to...

Thursday
Here is the menu I planned for Thanksgiving. Porkchop and I made all of these dishes:
  • Herb turkey with apple-raisin stuffing
  • Squash-apple cheddar gratin (see here for the recipe from Beth)
  • Buttermilk mashed potatoes
  • Roasted brussel sprouts with thyme
  • Cranberry-ginger relish (YUM!)
  • Cranberry-apple-almond salad
My family added the following:
  • Fruit salad
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Apple pie
  • Whipped cream
And our neighbors from Kennett contributed these items:
  • traditional green bean-french onion casserole
  • the best pecan-chocolate chip pie ever
It was a lot of work, but good times and food were had. Here are some pictures....

My mom and I working on getting the neck out of the turkey:


Porkchop stuffing herbs under the turkey's skin:


My dad and I working some more on the turkey:


Fun! Porkchop and I stayed at my parents until late Friday afternoon.

Saturday
We started the weekend with a leisurely breakfast at the Bread Co. Later that morning, we went to Suzi's for Thanksgiving II.

More food. *so full*

Porkchop and I hung out at our apartment that afternoon, and then it was time to watch the Mizzou-KU football game.

Yay.

Porkchop had been talking nearly non-stop about the game since a couple of weeks ago, and she decided we should go to St. Louis's #1 sports bar to watch the game.

We arrived at the Sports Zone around 6:30, and my head nearly exploded.

Obviously, people had been drinking and waiting for the game since at least 3:00. The place was PACKED.

I hated every single person as we pushed our way around the bar a few times, looking for a couple of empty inches. The atmosphere was incredibly horrible, and all the guys reminded me of assholes who would verbally harass me during undergrad.

If Porkchop had wanted to stay, I was going to leave and pick her up later. Fortunately, she didn't like it either. So, we ended up watching the game in comfort at Suzi's.

Mizzou won, which made Porkchop feel relieved. Maybe she was happy, but she wasn't showing much excitement.

Sunday
We started with a great brunch at La Dolce Via. Porkchop had the Italian sandwich and beef & barley soup, while I went with the duck and gruyere egg scramble with potatoes. Yum.

After we finished the crossword puzzle, we stopped at the Craft Alliance's annual sale. Porkchop found a little bowl, but nothing really sparked my interest.

However, our next stop did.

Jilly's Cupcake Bar! Yum! And, overwhelming with cupcakes!

Here's Porkchop with her vanilla-vanilla-vanilla cupcake (officially called Missy-licious) (note the Mizzou sweatshirt...one of three Mizzou garments Porkchop rotated over the holiday):


I had a Ja-Love cupcake...vanilla with a ginger key lime curd filling. This is me, all sugared up and ready to go:


After cupcakes, we participated in some post-Thanksgiving consumerism at the mall and a couple of other stores.

And Now
Back to being Porkchop-less and tired.

Time to count down the days until December 14.

Also, I made this banana bread recipe again. This time I added chocolate chips instead of walnuts. Seriously, this is the best banana bread recipe ever.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunday Night Blah

I hate Sunday nights. Even though I like my job, I still don't enjoy re-entering the work week.

*Sigh*

Fortunately, I was pretty productive today, so I don't feel like Sunday was wasted.

After yoga and talking to Porkchop this morning, I went to La Dolce Via for coffee and a scone. Since it was packed today, I sat with an LDV employee studying for a sommelier exam. Crazy! I can't imagine being able to identify a wine's origin and year.

Since my table-mate also works at the Wine Merchant in Clayton, by the time I left, I was convinced that I should take one of their wine classes sometime...maybe one that's about pairing wine with chocolate or cheese.

I really know nothing about wine. I know a few white wines that I enjoy, but beyond that....nothing. I picked up a Syrah for Thanksgiving based upon the label artwork. Nice. Does Syrah even complement turkey? I have no idea.

So, also today, I knitted on my Interlocking Balloons scarf. Here it is this morning:

I now have about ten more rows done.

I've also been working on my Icarus shawl again. Just started the fifth repeat of Chart 1. *sigh* Someday.

After knitting and doing some straightening at home, I started making truffles with apricots, walnuts, and cranberries. Right now the mixture is chilling, and I plan to form the truffles tomorrow night. If I like the end result, I'll post the directions.

Saturday
This was the day of food shopping.

I had to pick up things like cheese and wine to take to my parents for Thanksgiving. Jonesboro doesn't have much of a cheese selection. And, it's in a dry county.

Saturday night was Persepolis, which was shown at the Plaza Frontenac. The movie was pretty great, even if it started to drag a little 2/3 of the way through. I'll say no more, as you should see it for yourself.

However, I will say that the Plaza Frontenac freaks me out. It's so white and richy-rich. I was glad to return to Grand and its semi-shabby buildings, Afghan restaurant, and African grocery store that sells bedsheets and Halal meats.

Anyway...blah, blah, blah.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ravelry is Funner than Work

Hi!

Guess what I've been up to?

Yes! Setting up my Ravelry profile. It takes a lot of time, but it's really fun. I'm about to enter all of my needle and hook information. So much fun! OCD! Fun!

Work has been a bit strange lately...the post-conference week is always a bit strange. Kind of like post-holidays.

Not that I'm not busy at work! We just sent a book out the door to the publishers. I feel a bit bad because, although I'm thanked in the acknowledgements, I didn't really do anything because I was busy with the conference.

This is the second book in which I'm thanked. The other one is this one, for which I really did work my ass off.

I like being thanked in books.

And, with that, I'm off to Ravelry!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sometimes I Receive Amusing Work Emails

Like this one...
 
"Can you fix this ppt so I can work on it?  The current version has gigantic disease, cannot see all of text on screen.  Please give it the cure."
 
Of course, I was let down to find that I only needed to change the zoom setting.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Random Things

First of all, this is what I had for dinner tonight:

Masaman curry with potatoes and chicken over brown rice. My friend CJ pointed me in the direction of masaman curry paste (or slurry) for easy meal preparation. Yum yum yum! My next curry will use tofu, potatoes, and apples.

Along the food route, here's a shot from Friday night of acorn squash bisque and the beginning of my interlocking balloons scarf:


The bisque is super yummy and super easy. Here's what you do...
  1. Microwave 2 acorn squash for 10-15 minutes each, until you can easily pierce the skin with a knife.
  2. Split the squash, seed them, and scoop out the squash into a bowl.
  3. Saute an onion (diced) in a tablespoon of butter, season with pepper. Saute until the onion is tender.
  4. Add the squash, a 14.5 oz can of chicken or veggie broth, 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1/2 tsp fresh) and boil until the squash is tender (about 15 minutes).
  5. Puree the mixture until smooth.
  6. Add 1/2 cup half-and-half and season with pepper.
The interlocking balloons pattern is another story. I think it will be better once I work through a whole repeat.

Other knitting....I finished an adult-sized Utopia hat last week:


It's still a little tight and a little short. I don't know what the deal is.

I also don't know what's up with this:


Why is the quad a construction zone?

Fortunately, the south side of the quad is still pristine. Here's Swallow Hall...where I spent many a long hour doing anthropology stuff:


All for now!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Live from CoMo!

Hi!

I'm in Columbia!

Yesterday, while driving home from work early (3:30 because we had just wrapped up a 2-day conference), I decided to take a trip to Columbia. I've been going a bit crazy in St. Louis and needed to take a break from my routines....so here I am.

I'll have to post pictures later, but here's a quick summary....

2:00
Arrived in Columbia and went directly to Main Squeeze for lunch. Their Tempeh Ruby (vegetarian reuben) and Ring of Fire (beet, orange, carrot, ginger juice) were as yummy as always.

2:45ish
After eating, I walked around 9th street a bit and stopped into a new-to-me store, Spare Parts Gallery. In addition to browsing goods made by local people, I ran into some familiar faces, Becky and Debbie, who are good friends with my friends Katie and Beth. So, I now have an invitation to Debbie's birthday dinner tonight at Flat Branch. My social life in Columbia is already busier than that in St. Louis.

I also stopped at Uprise Bakery and was totally overwhelmed by the selection. Since I realized that I needed to pace myself food-wise, I skipped their unbelievably yummy potato knishes and bought two little dark chocolate-black pepper shortbread cookies. Yum! Very happy with the choice.

3:00
Supposedly, Mizzou has been having a fantastic football season this year, which is killing Porkchop because she is so far away. At her request, I walked down to the university bookstore and picked out a MIZ-ZOU shirt for her. During my walk there, I was asked for directions to Harpo's...gag! Also, I found the quad to be a construction zone...maybe a couple of the buildings caught fire? More research is needed on my part.

In addition to loads of t-shirts, the bookstore also had a table packed full of zines! Yay! The zine table and their first annual zine fest (coming in Spring 2008) is organized by a woman who started working at the bookstore when I worked there. So, I picked up a few zines....not just because I wanted to support a former co-worker, but also because they had some of my favorite zines! Such as...
  • Slave to the Needles. The best and cutest rock n roll knitting zine ever! The writer lives in Madison via Seattle, and I got to meet her at a zine fest in Madison.
  • Doris. My favorite zine - the only one I seek out to buy regularly. I have the anthology...I really should just subscribe to it.
  • The F-Word: A Feminist Handbook for the Revolution. This is the second issue; I never saw the first one.
  • Tenacious: Art and Writing from Women in Prison. The 12th issue; never saw the previous ones.
  • Also, I bought a 2008 Slingshot organizer. My favorite thing about these organizers...the menstrual calendar!
4:00
I went to Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe. It's a nice shop, but they didn't have any of the yarn that I was looking for (actually, the employee had never heard of Blue Sky yarn).

On the way to the shop, I drove by my old apartment on North 9th Street - looks the owner is still doing absolutely no maintenance to the house. So, after browsing the shop, I drove in the direction of downtown and then decided to check out another place where I used to live - a duplex at Rock Quarry and Nifong.

For about 10 minutes, I started to believe that the whole development had been torn down and Rock Quarry shortened, but then I remembered the whole "Grindstone Parkway" business. Geez! How does a big 4-lane road pop up out of nowhere complete with big box stores and restaurants on it?? It blew my mind. I had to turn around at the top of Rock Quarry and drive back down it to make sure that my old duplex was still there.

It was.

Fortunately, I love driving on Rock Quarry! It was an explosion of reds and oranges and yellows and greens. So pretty! I wished so much that Porkchop could be in the car with me instead of in New Mexico.

Murr.

5:00
After weighing my selection of coffee shops downtown, I decided on Kaldi's. Yes - the St. Louis company is now in Columbia. Since Kaldi's coffee is everywhere in STL, I didn't want to come here. But, it looks like Lakota is still being jerky (luckily, I rarely paid more than $1 for anything there when I was college thanks to generous discounts given to me by the staff - my roommate worked there for 3 years), and I never feel comfortable at the Artisan. Anyway, so here I am. Reading and writing and knitting.

What about Shakespeare's?
Yeah, I don't think I'll get any pizza on this trip. It's still slammed because of the football game, and I might have dinner at Flat Branch.

Next time! Also, next time I hope to be able to connect with my friend Jean!

Yay! Columbia!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

YAY YAY YAY

I thought I would have to wait until January to see Persepolis, but it will be here on November 17 as part of the St. Louis film festival. YAY!
 
Also, Juno plays on November 14!
 
I should buy my tickets this weekend!
 
There are many other films I want to see, but at $10 a pop....or $8 if people believe my Iowa student ID...still a lot of cash for me.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Bus Number 70 Rules Again

I love seeing the ladies riding the bus and reading about same-sex marriage laws while drinking tallboys hidden in a paper bag from a pharmacy.

Yeah.

Bus number 70.

**********

What made my evening commute more bizarre....accepting a peppermint from a guy on the train wearing a huge gauze bandage on his face and bloody jeans and shirt. He hurt himself 15 minutes before his work shift was up.

I hesitated in accepting the peppermint, but I noticed that it was my favorite kind....those soft peppermints that melt in your mouth.

**********

I have my second physical therapy appointment tomorrow morning before work. I'm excited to announce that the pain in my ass is gone gone gone! Miracles!

Actually, my therapist showed me how to self correct my pelvic rotation. Awesomeness.

Pleasant Dreams

Last night, I dreamt about gay cowboys. Actually, I was one of the gay cowboys.
 
Maybe this will be a good week after all.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Not Enough Hours Gained

I love the "fall back" time change, but we really don't gain enough hours.

My past week at work was CRAZY, and this week will be even crazier because of a conference that we're hosting. Since the conference only pertains to one project, all the other project managers think I'm just sitting around waiting for something to do. Uh, no.

This weekend has been pretty nice, however, and not just because of the time change.

Yarn and Food
On Saturday, I met a few ladies from my knitting class for the opening of Knitty Couture. I touched a lot of yarn, a lot of very nice yarn, said hi to a couple of knitting acquaintances, and met Eileen of Eileen Knits. In the end, I came out of Knitty Couture empty-handed. I could have broken the bank buying yarn, but I didn't have a particular project in mind. I find it best to not blindly buy yarn.

I will definitely go back to the store - it's in dangerous walking distance of Wash U. I'm also intrigued by the Knit-a-Bit sessions - sounds like you can test knit with yarn and needles on Saturdays. That would be so great!

After browsing the store, we had a yummy lunch at Thai Cafe. Mmmmmm.....masman curry. My favorite.

Saturday night, I started making an adult-sized Utopia hat. My only worry now is that I will run out of yarn!

Books and a Party
Among other things today, I went to my local public library branch. I didn't think I would find much, but I left with Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers, The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal, a slow cooker cookbook, and Scarf Style.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I love to knit scarves. While I would like to knit an actual garment some day, I am quite content to knit a good scarf.

There are some fantastic patterns in Scarf Style that I will copy and file away for later. I will, however, start on the Interlocking Balloons pattern very soon - I have two skeins of Dream in Color that will look terrific.

The one thing that is bugging me about Scarf Style is the photography. Instead of having a clear shot of a model wearing the scarf, the photos are focused on the model's head and neck while the rest of the scarf is blurry. Yeah, the photos are all "artistic," but I really want to see the whole damned scarf before I knit it. When I was flipping through the book in the library, I thought perhaps my eyes were having problems focusing in the fluorescent lights. Geez.

Anyway, I'm tired.

I recently returned from a get-together hosted by my center's director. One of our project managers eloped last month. Since the PM is from China and didn't have a family gathering, our director decided to host a reception of sorts. It was a good time, even though I prefer to not see work people on the weekend (especially on Sunday night! the night before work begins! how cruel).

You know, I had been composing all sorts of witty remarks in my head this weekend for my blog, but they have all left me. I need some sleep.

Good night! And have a great week!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Waiting Waiting Waiting

It's nearly 7:00.

When will the trick-or-treaters arrive?

I saw kids on the street in costume, but no one has stopped at my place yet.

I have my porch light on and a big bowl full of 96 pieces of candy....just waiting. Keetah and I even sat on our stairs for a bit so we would be ready for action. I've now started doing some straightening and other tasks, like signing up for e-statements from our bank.

Muurrrr.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

How did THIS Happen?

Isn't the hat pictured on the left here a wonderful little child-sized hat? For scale, it's pictured next to the baby hat I finished last week.


The only thing is....it was supposed to be an adult-sized hat.

The pattern is the Utopia Hat, and it's a really great pattern. The problem, I guess, is that I followed my normal procedure and went down 2 needle sizes because I'm a loose knitter.

In this case, it didn't work.

I think I have enough yarn to attempt a regular size hat; I'm giving the mini one to a co-worker's daughter.

Yeah...sometimes I'm a really smart knitter.

In other news, I made this caramelized butternut squash recipe, and it was the best thing ever. Yum! I roasted some acorn squash this evening, and I wished it had been more butternut squash.

Also, I just recently found the Magic Loaf Studio at the Vegan Lunchbox. I can't wait to make my own veggie loaf - maybe next week.

Have a great week!

I have a physical therapy appointment on Tuesday. I'm hoping that I can get rid of the pain in my ass. Yes, I have a quite annoying and painful pain in my ass. Sometimes I can't sleep because of it, and it's really starting to get to me.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Give a Big Shout-Out....

...to Porkchop!
 
It's the one-year anniversary of the kidney donation!!!
 
To relive Porkchop's amazing gift to her dad, go to http://takemykidney.blogspot.com and browse the archives.
 
Yay, Porkchop! Go, kidney, go!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Font of Wisdom

For the next month, my center is helping host a professor visiting from Indonesia. For the past week, I've been helping him settle into his new office digs and become familiar with the campus.
 
This morning, we went to get his ID made, and on the way back I gave him a mini-tour of some of the original buildings on campus. We were discussing important matters such as what types of food the different campus cafes serve. On the topic of grab-and-go sandwiches, I said I didn't enjoy them very much. The professor pressed me as to why, and I stated that the bread of the prepared sandwiches becomes very soggy.
 
The professor laughed and laughed and said that he had learned something very important. Because, you know, if you're not a regular bread-eater, you just accept that a grab-and-go sandwich represents all of sandwich-dom.
 
I declared that there is a HUGE difference between a good sandwich and a bad sandwich, and the professor appreciated my advice.
 
Yes...this is what I do at work. I help make the world a better place by elucidating the nature of sandwiches.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Keetah in Profile

My friend Carmen requested more photos of Keetah, so here are two from today.

I think this one is really great:



I don't know how I was able to snap this moment. All of the previous shots were blurry.

I also took a video of Keetah, but I'm having problems loading it. I'll try again tomorrow, but here's another picture until then.


What About Knitting?
I didn't have a chance to pick up metal size 1 dpns, but I did finish this baby hat:


I'm not going to link to the pattern, because it was poorly written once the decreases started. The top of the hat is all off center. If this wasn't a baby hat, I would have ripped back and done my own decreasing. But, you know, the baby will grow out off this in 4 months or so.

Although I haven't worked on my Icarus shawl much lately, I'm nearly finished with the fourth repeat of Chart 1. Ugh.

Originally, I intended to start the Utopia hat tonight, but my hands really hurt for some reason. My arms are killing me because of some weights that I did yesterday, but I don't know what's up with my hands.

I might just stick to reading What is the What.

And Food
Last night, I made a tasty red and black bean pie. Mmmmm....I'm looking forward to leftovers.

Here's how to make it:

Heat your oven to 400 F.

Thinly slice the white and green part of a bunch of green onions. Mince 2-3 cloves of garlic.

Heat some oil in a heavy, large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the white part of the onions and the garlic, saute for a few minutes.

Drain and rinse a can of pinto beans and a can of black beans. Add to the onion and garlic. Also add one 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes (with its juice), 1/4 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, and the green part of the onions. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring the mixture to a boil, smashing 1/4 of the beans to release the starch. Simmer the mixture for 15-20 minutes until thickened.

Meanwhile, slice a tube of polenta into 8 slices. Prepare a glass pie pan by rubbing some oil in it. Arrange the polenta slices in the pan (7 slices around the outside, 1 in the middle).

Once the bean mixture has thickened, pour it into the pie pan. Top it with 1/2 cup - 1 cup grated pepper jack cheese. Put in the oven and cook 15-20 minutes.

Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. It's especially tasty served with salsa and tortilla chips. Also, if you're a fan of cilantro, you can add cilantro at some point.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Breaking Things

When I arrived at my knitting class last night, I sat down at a table and removed my still-not-finished Jaywalker from my bag.

"Shoot!" is what I muttered when I really wanted to yell something else but refrained because I didn't want to scare the newbie knitters. You know...do you really want people who are just figuring out that the knit stitch and the purl stitch are the same thing only backward to catch on to the fact that knitting can sometimes drive you to cursing?

Okay, so it wasn't my knitting, exactly, it was my knitting equipment. One of my remaining size 1 needles spontaneously snapped in half during the drive from my apartment to the school.

What the heck?!

Stupid wooden skewer needles! I'm switching to a metal set this weekend...I don't care if my gauge will be a bit different.

I will switch needles and finish my Jaywalkers, darn it!

Another Broken Thing
I can't do it anymore....this growing my hair project. I was kind of okay until this morning when I was waiting for the train at the Grand stop and the damp wind came yowling through the train yard and swept my 3.5" long hair into disarray.

While I was cursing my hair (it's been quite a week for silent cursing!), I remembered...I don't have to do this. I can cut my hair and be happy again. So, that's what I will do next week. I have an appointment all set up for Project: Cut Hair.

This hair is bugging me so much, I was tempted to get my clippers out tonight and take it down to 1/8 of an inch.

Semi-Good Things
At work, we hosted a day-long meeting on Tuesday that was part of a larger conference taking place this week. Fortunately, I was only responsible for logistics and other arrangements for Tuesday.

Everything went surprisingly well. I'm amazed when things fall into place so nicely...room setup, A/V, catering, etc.

Now I can focus on another conference that we have coming up in 3 weeks. Yikes! I have note-takers to hire, booklets to make, and many other things to think about.

Anyway....have a great Friday!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Making Things

Tonight has been an excellent evening of craftiness...I did some knitting, some crochet, and some baking. It was a wonderful comeback to a day that started out kind of rocky.

I went to bed late late late last night after staying up to play Scrabble with Porkchop on Facebook (I recently agreed to join so that we can play Scrabble...even though I'm not so great at Scrabble...maybe there is a Facebook Trivial Pursuit?). This meant I was none too pleased when I woke up at 7:45 to Keetah's insistent meowing and Porkchop's call to tell me about her morning at the hot air balloon festival (the same festival we couldn't go to last weekend, murr).

I finally got out of bed around 9:00 and then proceeded to make a grocery list...because that is exactly what you should do right after getting out of bed on a Saturday morning. Actually, the point was for me to go to the farmers market and pick what I could there. Unfortunately, I spent so much time looking for recipes and whatnot, that I would have been super-rushed at the market and worrying that I wouldn't be able to make yoga at 11:00. So, I nixed the market. Sad, yet for the best.

Luckily, there are two more outdoor markets left this season. The market on the 27th will be the harvest festival. I've been waiting for this festival since last year! This year, I will be prepared to feast on Ozark mushroom soup and to drink up homemade hot chocolate served with homemade marshmallows. Homemade marshmallows! I love it!

Anyway, after yoga and showering and lunch and a bit of knitting, I went to Michael's for some craft supplies and then to Dierbergs for food.

After getting home and having dinner, I made this:


I'm thinking necklaces like these will make excellent presents for my mom and sister and some of my co-workers. A woman in my knitting class called my attention to this tutorial on youtube. The tutorial teacher is a bit scary with serious fake fingernails and loads of jewelry, but the necklaces are fun and easy to make. You just crochet 3 beaded strands, braid them together, and throw on a toggle clasp. Fun! And fast! This required maybe 45 minutes, and I was talking on the phone part of the time.

Now I want to buy more beads.

After the necklace, I knitted some more. I'm making a baby hat for the son of my roommate (and good friend) from college. We recently reconnected, and I'm quite excited to send her some knitted things.

I also worked on the hat while baking biscotti. This particular biscotti uses whole wheat flour and toffee. I would post a picture, but it would just be brown on brown. Not so colorful, yet tasty. I just had a biscotti and a hot chocolate.

I wish there were 3 more hours in this night. I know I should go to bed soon, but I want to knit more!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Peer Pressure

I finally put my name on the Ravelry waiting list.
 
I put this off for so long because I'm a bit daunted by the prospect of keeping everything up-to-date.
 
Since I'm number 15,647 in line, I'll have some time to prepare. I signed up around 10:00 this morning (because, you know, I have nothing to catch up on after my vacation!), and there are now 68 people behind me.
 
Where do we all come from?

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Borders of Our Lives

Hello!

I'm watching Antiques Roadshow and relaxing after a day of getting up early and catching a 7:10 flight from Albuquerque with stops in Houston and Dallas. I'm also trying to ignore the sadness that comes on strong after leaving Porkchop.

Murrr.

Anyway, we had a very good visit, even though we weren't able to swing a trip to the Balloon Fiesta. It's okay....I've seen a couple of hot air balloon festivals before.

So....

Thursday
Porkchop met me at the ABQ sunport a little after 10:00. We took the bus into town and then stopped at her apartment before going to Tamarind. Visiting Tamarind was weird because I felt like I knew everyone, even though I had never met them before (except for Alex, who visited St. Louis recently). After touring the studio and hanging out, we all went to the Frontier for lunch. I wasn't very impressed with my vegetarian burrito, but I was happy to finally eat at the famous Frontier.

After lunch, I sat in on a demo by Porkchop's instructor. After that, we went back Porkchop's apartment and opened anniversary presents (7 years today - woot!). I received some Dagoba chocolate, a very pretty necklace from Mariposa (a shop on Nob Hill), and a toy cap gun. While Porkchop headed back to the studio, I slept for a couple of hours.

We had fast food Japanese for dinner and then later hung out at Patrick's place. Patrick is Porkchop's favorite Tamarind buddy and is a very nice (although very young) guy. At his apartment, we snacked on mixed nuts and played a fun Polish game - the name of which I cannot remember.

Friday
Porkchop left for Tamarind early in the morning while I slept in (the high altitude makes me tired!). I managed to squeeze in an hour and a half of knitting at Satellite Coffee before joining the Tamarind gang for lunch at Winnings (yum! hummus sandwich!).

In the afternoon, I went on the monthly official tour of Tamarind, during which I watched Four Stones for Kanemitsu. Once the tour concluded, I hung out in the studio and watched some of the students try their hand at a blend roll.

After a spaghetti dinner, Porkchop convinced me that I wanted to make my own print during my visit.

So, we went back to Tamarind where Porkchop prepared a couple of plates for me. We used plates instead of stones because Porkchop just happened to have some scrap plates. Here are shots from Friday night...

Porkchop doing prep work on a plate that I drew on with a greasy pencil:



Both plates nearly ready to go (after a couple of hours of working):



The plate on the right will be a flat...a solid block of ink with, in this case, the paper showing through where the designs are. The plate on the left will only have ink in the areas with designs.

Saturday
After a leisurely morning, we walked down to Nob Hill to browse through shops and get lunch at Scalo. I had a delicious nicoise salad with ahi tuna, potatoes, olives, zucchini, and a poached egg. Here I am looking quite tired (again), but I like the Satellite Coffee and the mountains in the background:



The afternoon featured more work at Tamarind. More shots...

Porkchop doing more prep work:



Porkchop mixing ink for the flat:



Porkchop rolling out the ink and giving me an amused look:



Me trying my hand at the press:



Printing made us work up an appetite, so we had pizza at Saggio's.

After a bit of resting, we went out for a drink with Patrick and his parents (who were visiting from Milwaukee). After a couple of drinks, we (minus the parents) went to Valpuri's house. Valpuri is Porkchop's classmate who is from Finland and goes by Valps. Valps Finnishness came through when she offered us a drink of licorice-flavored vodka that she made by melting half a bag of her favorite licorice candies. Mmmmm...it was deliciously salty and licorice-y.

Sunday
Sunday meant sleeping in late and then going out for bagel sandwiches for lunch. After eating, it was back to the studio to print my second plate.

Here are some finished prints laid out to dry:



I was a bit disappointed with the end result, but I had a few things working against me, including sort-of-crappy plates with areas on which I couldn't draw, inexperience, and lack of drawing skills. Anyway, now that I know my limitations, I have plans for a second print that should be more successful. Next time.

Once printing was done, Porkchop and I went for a walk on campus and hung out by a duck pond, enjoying the sun, the cool breeze, and the guy who took study breaks by walking on a tight rope.

Sunday night was reserved to go to Albuquerque's Packers bar with Patrick and his parents. It was a big game, you know! The Packers versus the Bears. Unfortunately, the Packers lost. However, it was fascinating to observe a little outpost of Packers and Wisconsin culture (including Johnsonville brats and sauerkraut) in the desert.

Today
This morning came too quickly with a 5:15 alarm and a taxi to catch at 5:45.

Murrrr.

I miss Porkchop.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Really??

I can't believe Bush vetoed SCHIP.

Actually, I can believe it.

And, I'm kind of glad he did so that it's very obvious that he and his administration are asses.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Elephant Feet

This weekend has been a mixed bag...Saturday seemed like a waste of a day while today has been pretty great.

I got up kind of late Saturday morning (9:30) and leisurely gathered myself for the farmers market. The market is now pretty small with just a handful of vendors, but my favorites were still there. I picked up some tomatoes (still tasty!), apples, a sweet potato, whole wheat flour, an apple-oat scone, and a rosemary-goat cheese quiche.

Originally, I intended to go to another free yoga class after the market, but that fell through because I thought the class started at noon instead of the correct time of 11:00. Luckily, I checked the time before going to the studio and embarrassing myself. So, it was just me and my DVD instructor on Saturday. Murrrr.

The rest of the day was filled with household tidying, grocery shopping, and picking up a print that I got framed for my workplace. Even though I was able to do some knitting Saturday night, the day just felt blah and wasted.

Luckily, today has been different. I got out of bed a little after 8:30 and started making cookies around 9:00. The cookie dough looked nice and fall-like (now if only the stupid weather here would cooperate and stop being in the 80s):



The cookies use whole wheat flour, dried apricots, cranberries, walnuts, and dark chocolate chips (along with things like sugar, orange juice, vanilla, and so forth). The finished product is quite tasty:



Yum!

My Trip to the County
After video chatting with Porkchop (we both had bedhead and pajamas on), cleaning up, and having a bit of lunch, I drove out to the South County mall.

You might be asking why?

Because Porkchop saw some polka dotted slip-on Vans in Albquerque that she liked, and they had them on sale at a shoe store in the South County mall. That's why.

I picked up these little shoes for myself (also on sale):



I wish I could buy all of the designs that Eleanor Grosch has done for Keds. My favorites are the owls and swallows. I had a hard time deciding between the elephants and the parrots today; the elephants won because they fit better.

After talking to Porkchop some more, I made a tuna noodle casserole for dinner. The casserole is a bit of an upscale take on tuna with red bell peppers and artichokes. I also had a super-terrific salad of mixed baby greens, chopped apple, cranberries, walnuts, goat cheese, and raspberry vinaigrette.

Now I'm going to listen to some internet radio shows and knit. Also maybe call some people.

This Week
Even though I know work this week will suck AGAIN with its crazy busy-ness, it will be a great week because I leave for Albuquerque early Thursday morning.

YAYAYAYAYAYYAYAY!

Have a great Monday!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Salvage for Victory

I've been half-watching Ken Burns's documentary about World War II. Right now, people are talking about the recycling and conservation efforts during WWII. Wouldn't it be nice if the government still sponsored messages like, "Buy only what you need," "Salvage what you can," and "Recycle what you have"?

On a different note...

I just returned from a terrific yoga class at South Town Yoga. The 90 minutes flew by and the instructor was totally great. Since the studio is offering free classes during its first month, I will be returning this weekend. I would buy a month membership, but I don't think it would be worth it monetarily, so I'll do a drop-in class every couple of weeks instead.

This is proving to be quite a busy week! Work is crazy, I went to yoga tonight, and tomorrow is my knitting class.

Oh, yes, I never mentioned this knitting class.

A couple of weeks ago, I went out for a decaf coffee drink and some knitting, and I stumbled upon a knitting group! Of people my age who are really nice! I quickly agreed to take a knitting class with them at the Nottingham continuing education center. While I haven't had a burning question to ask the instructor yet, I like having scheduled knitting time during the week.

Also, one of the women in the group was one of my classmates during the Missouri Scholars Academy. So, I already knew someone in the group. Kind of, that is...if you count someone you knew for 3 weeks when you were 15.

So, anyway, that's it! Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Pocket Full of Mumbles

Today has been an incredibly irritating day, but I shall not talk about that. Instead, I'll talk about knitting and cotton.

The Knitting
I made a trip down to Jonesboro this weekend to see my parents, and I did quite a bit of knitting.

First, I finished the second repeat of chart 1 for the Icarus shawl. It doesn't look like I have much done yet, eh?



It's no where near the widest point yet, but each row takes a good bit of time already. I look forward to the more interesting parts...I have to plug along through 3 more chart 1 repeats first. *sigh*

Also, remember this guy?



It's the second sock from the pair of Jaywalkers I started in March! I stopped knitting the second sock during my knitting slump this summer. I didn't *want* to pick up stitches for the heel gusset and it was so hot out!

So, I picked up those stitches down in Jonesboro and made a good amount of progress. I also snapped one of the needles while doing a double decrease.

I am so strong, eh?

If I knit another pair of socks, I'll definitely switch to metal needles.

The Cotton
My trip back to St. Louis yesterday was BORING, so BORING. I listened to the greatest hits of Simon & Garfunkle about 3 times until I finally picked up the St. Louis NPR station in time for most of This American Life.

Anyway, part of the leg between Jonesboro and Kennett was full of picture taking (thanks to Porkchop who reminded me that my phone has a really decent camera in it).

It's cotton-picking time in the Bootheel! I took these photos for Porkchop, who has never seen this process (maybe you haven't either).

Here's what a cotton field looks like before it's picked:



Pretty!

I couldn't get a good picture of the combines (pronounced COM-bine), but look here for a good picture (fun fact: combines cost nearly a quarter of a million dollars!).

Then, machines like this are used:



I don't know what the implement on the left is for, but the one on the right is the baler. It makes bales like these:



Actually, I like to call these things loaves because they remind me of giant loaves of bread. Later, a giant truck will come along and pick up the bales.

When I was growing up, cotton was transported to gins in big iron mesh trailers. The cotton was loose instead of packed down, so cotton flew everywhere. Also, a friend's dad inevitably was a cotton farmer, so you usually got to play in a trailer half full of cotton. Fun!

The End
That's my trip report.

Now I'm irritated from work, suffering from sinus drainage and a sore throat, and bleeding.

Things could be better.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Too Short Weekend

Today has been a weird day.

I got up super early to take Porkchop, her friend, and her friend's boyfriend to the airport for an 8:00 flight. Murrrr.

Murrrrr for Porkchop leaving and for getting up so early and not having much sleep anyway because my stomach was angry. I felt so not-so-hot, I ended up calling in sick to work, returning to bed after I got home, and sleeping for a few more hours.

Why my Stomach Hurts
Sunday was a really weird food day.

At my insistence, Porkchop and I had brunch at La Dolce Via.

Here's Porkchop looking very cute with her biscuits and gravy:



Here's my golden beet and white cheddar scramble and potatoes:



We also shared a raspberry scone. While we were finishing up, Porkchop's printing partner came in with a group of friends. When Porkchop started yelling at this group of early-20-somethings wearing skinny jeans, I couldn't fathom how she knew any of them. Then I realized what was going on.

A few hours after brunch, Porkchop's parents picked us up and we went for a late lunch. For some reason, Porkchop's mom LOVES the Old Spaghetti Factory in Laclede's Landing, so that's where we went. To date, I have been to OSF with Porkchop's parents 3 or 4 times.

After eating, Porkchop's dad took us on an unexpected tour of construction projects that he has worked on. We were all over...North St. Louis, Central West End, and the Loop. At the Loop, we went to Ben & Jerry's and had an enormous amount of ice cream.

Oh, my stomach.

After finally returning home, not much time passed until Porkchop's printing partner called and asked if we wanted to meet up at Bailey's Chocolate Bar. Not being able to have any more dessert, I stuck to a glass of Reisling.

After returning home again, Porkchop had to finish printing an image from my laptop. I finally had to turn in at 11:00; Porkchop had to stay up much later. Of course, I couldn't get to sleep forever and I kept waking up with stomach uneasiness. 5:30 came awfully early.

I'm glad Porkchop doesn't hate me for getting to sleep more.

Saturday was a Good Day
Saturday morning, I rushed around the house cleaning and baking almond-orange shortbread in preparation of Porkchop's visit.

Picking up Porkchop was strange. I had gotten used to Porkchop being just a voice and a video on my computer, so seeing her in the flesh was weird for the first 15 minutes.

After the airport, we went to ArtMart for paper, St. Louis Bread Co. for a quick bite to eat, and then we went to the salon for Porkchop's hair cut. That night, we had a leisure dinner at Bahn Mi So 1.

Even though Saturday was a short day, I enjoyed hanging out and doing regular things with Porkchop.

Knitting Note
I just finished the first Chart 1 repeat on the Icarus shawl.

I have much more to knit, but I'm quite happy with it so far. I've only had one major mess-up from not paying attention, but even it is not so bad.

Food Note
After not eating much today (a banana, half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and an orange), I had a good dinner, even though everything was store-bought. At Local Harvest, I picked up Amy's tomato soup, Goatsbeard Farm cheese, and olive tortilla chips...a great combination.

Anyway...all from me. Have a great night!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hating my Night

After riding the train to the Grand stop and preparing to board the bus, I realized that I had left my wallet in my office.

No wallet = no Metro pass = no bus ride

While people crowded past me to board the bus, I relived the moment during which I hurriedly tossed my wallet in my top desk drawer as I dashed upstairs on a bagel run with my office-mate.

Crap, crap, crap.

I had to take the train back to school, sweating bullets at the thought of being accosted and kicked off the train during a random pass check. Fortunately, I made it to the Skinker stop without a problem. Then I just had to trek to my office and back (a 15-minute roundtrip walk) and wait 15 minutes for a train.

Then I had to wait for a bus. I finally got home after stopping for take out at Bahn Mi So #1.

Dinner was good; the talipia spring rolls were especially tasty.

Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse when, while collecting dirty laundry to wash, I realized that there were no less than a dozen mosquitoes in the bedroom.

What the fuck?!

Why can't I catch a break tonight? Jesus.

I don't know where the hell mosquitoes are coming from. All the windows are closed now (even though I never had a bedroom one open to being with), and I'm sitting guard, ready to smash more mosquitoes.

The good news...I haven't seen a roach since Tuesday morning. Of course, I imagine that this will the night when a whole herd invades my kitchen.

Wonderful

*sigh*

It's Not Unusual..

I had a strange and amusing (to me, anyway) dream last night, which I will now share with you. Because I know you're interested in what fills my head at night.
 
The gist of my dream was that Barry White's fan club headquarters was up for sale. Barry's HQ was a sweet brick bungalow with a huge patio and backyard area. My brother (who was nothing at all like my real brother) put in a call about the place because he was shopping around for a house.
 
To show your true interest in the house, you had to sing some Barry White songs to the fan club manager. I joined my brother in this audition, and the product wasn't so great. The fan club manager was not impressed, so my brother didn't have much of a chance to buy the house.
 
While lamenting this fact to my brother and saying how much we sucked while singing, my brother had a different take on it. He said, "It wasn't the singing so much, it's more of a personal difference. The fan club manager just doesn't understand people who wouldn't blow a lotto jackpot on eclairs." In my dream, I thought to myself, "That's a really good line. I've gotta use that on my blog."
 
So there you have it.
 
Later, I woke up and had Tom Jones's "It's Not Unusual" playing in my head.
 
P.S. In the dream, the HQ was being sold along with the fan club website URL, which was www.someprettygood.com. This address doesn't exist in real life.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Blech and More Blech

Just a few minutes ago, a professor had to talk to me about some accounting forms that need to be submitted.
 
The prof was chomping on some leftover pizza, so I maintained a distance that would allow me to breathe non-pizza air.
 
The prof stepped closer, eating and talking with a mouth full of fragrant (in a bad way) pizza.
 
I stepped back, the prof stepped closer, and so the dance continued.
 
The worse part...the prof's jaw or teeth kept clicking while she chewed.
 
I am so grossed out.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Things for You to Consider

1. I've never knit lace stuff.

2. I don't wear shawls.

3. I don't have any lace needles.

4. I don't have a blocking boad or wires or pins. Heck, I rarely ever block things (shhhhh.).

5. I rarely knit from a chart.

6. I have 3 easy projects that I can't seem to finish.

7. I just bought the Icarus pattern.

8. I'm leaving to buy Addi lace needles.

9. I'm hungry.

What I've Been Doing

Hello!

I'm currently sitting at La Dolce Via and enjoying a decaf latte and a nectarine scone. I'm wishing I wasn't being so budget conscious this week and felt fine splurging on one of their scrambles (salmon/spinach/mozzarella or beet/lump crab/parmegiano) or their omelette (asparagus/roasted portabello/gruyere). Next Sunday, I will suggest (nay, insist!), that Porkchop and I come here for brunch.

YES! You read that correctly!

Porkchop will be here next weekend for a 42-hour visit (arriving Saturday afternoon and leaving early Monday morning).

Porkchop decided to come next weekend - even though I will be there the first weekend in October - because she doesn't know when else she'll be able to make it. Even though she is busy printing now, she will be even busier later in the fall. Additionally, her printing partner is coming to St. Louis next weekend to visit a friend. Since Porkchop can't print without her partner, she might as well come here too!

Last Week
Work is busy busy busy. We have a big meeting in October and a conference in November. I'm starting to feel a bit overwhelmed.

However, I'm learning new things. Like how to use one of our school's .asp scripts to create an on-line conference registration database for participants.

In addition to the meeting and conference, our school is also rolling out a new CRM system and a new publications database. This will mean a lot of data scrubbing, training, dealing with bugginess, and getting people used to the new systems.

Blah, blah, blah.

In conclusion, I find myself rarely checking my personal email at work, looking at other people's blogs, or doing other web trolling. I realize this is probably a good thing, but I usually don't feel like getting on the computer when I'm at home....so I find myself dreadfully behind on things. Anyway, it's my same old song.

Some Good Things
After work on Friday, I stopped at Wei Hong for take-out. I left with a huge serving of ma-po tofu (spicy!), a BBQ pork bun, a red bean cake, and a lotus cake. While waiting for my tofu, I studied the roasted ducks hanging in the meat case.

The tofu was yummy - very fresh and not heavy at all. I've had it twice so far, and there's enough left for two more servings. The red bean and lotus cakes were also tasty - I definitely prefer the red bean, but that is no surprise. The cakes are a bargain for less than a dollar each. Wei Hong also has home made moon cakes, but I'm not a big fan of moon cakes. I didn't enjoy the pork bun so much, but I'd never had one before so I have nothing for comparison.

Saturday morning, I went to the Tower Grove farmers market. There were fewer booths than usual; I don't know if fewer vendors show up once September hits, or if it was the drizzly weather. There was still a decent selection available. Here's what I bought:



Mocha macaroon, tomato-basil quiche, apples, a red pepper, tomatoes, a butternut squash.

The tomatoes were quite tasty. However, I have to accept that the end of good tomatoes is drawing near. Murrrr!!!

But, the quiche.....the quiche is out of this world! Definitely the best quiche I've ever had, and one of the best things I've eaten in a while. The quiche is by the same people who make the mocha macaroons. AND, I finally looked up who these people are.... 4 Seasons Baked Goods and Catering! Yum!

Eating the quiche and a tomato was the highlight of my Saturday. I pretty much worked, worked, worked the rest of the time. I did things like clear out my dead tomato and basil plants, laundry, roach eradication (every so often, I find a gigantic roach in the kitchen....I can no longer tolerate this, so I'm taking action to prevent this), cleaning a mini-blind (the dirtiest mini-blind in the apartment - I didn't clean it with the others over the summer because I wasn't up to the challenge - it took my around 45 minutes! gross!), grocery shopping, and exercise.

I also read a book, What You Have Left. It was a good book, but not one I wanted to read over multiple days. So, I plowed through it in a few hours.

Friday night, I finished reading Nights in the Asylum by Carol Lefevre. I thought this book was so much better than what many of the reviewers think. I loved reading it and was sad to come to the end.

Speaking of reading, on the way to Chicago, I finished Devil in the Details: Scenes from an Obsessive Girlhood by Jennifer Traig. The whole time I read the book, I kept wishing it was better. I guess I had higher hopes for a book dealing with adolescent OCD and anorexia.

But, the suckiest book I've read recently is Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff. The author takes a cheap, easy way out at the end, which made me want to throw the book across the room.

A Food Meme
Before going to Chicago, I was tagged for a food meme by Deborah of Ephemeral Chaos. I drafted mine earlier in the week, but never posted it...so here it is! Finally!

Favorite Gourmet Item: Triple cream cheese

Favorite Snack at Home: Morningstar Breakfast Strips

Favorite Fastfood item: Sonic's cheddar peppers with buttermilk ranch dressing. Can you beat peppers stuffed with cheddar cheese that are then fried and dipped in dressing? I think not.

Favorite Food When Driving: Jerquee

Favorite Food With a Beer (or other libation - please specify): Brownies with a stout beer

Favorite Food for Invoking Romantic Intentions: For me, dark chocolate truffles (of the artisan variety, not something from a grocery store). For someone else, perhaps chewy Sprees.

Least Favorite Food: Beef...anything with beef.

Food that Conjures a Childhood Memory: Spaghetti. My mom used to work magic with tomato sauce. Everyone was happy on spaghetti nights.

Food that Conjures a Sad Memory: Sweet potatoes and honey-nut Cheerios. In high school, I once became terribly sick and discovered that my breakfast (honey-nut Cheerios) and lunch (baked sweet potatoes) were a disgusting combination when going in reverse. It took me a good 5 years to eat another sweet potato.

Food that Conjures a Happy Memory: This could be an impossibly long list! I'm going to perhaps shock some people and say Velveeta shells and cheese because we usually make that when we go camping, and I love camping (even if we haven't gone out in ages).

Who am I tagging?? You! If you are reading this and want to do a food meme, do it! Let this blogger know if you do.

In closing, I'll leave you with this picture of my favorite candy from Mitsuwa: