Monday, February 25, 2008


Five years ago or so, a Belgian/Spanish friend brought me a couple of hankies from Spain. I'd never considered using them before that, but once I did, I was a convert. Collections of anything really aren't my thing, but beautiful old linens just woo me with their softness and craftsmanship. Tea towels, tablecloths, napkins, aprons and hankies are my downfall.

This weekend I documented most (but not all) of the hankies I use. They were meant to be used, after all, and my deep distaste of collections is mitigated when I can rationalize the purchases as things I use rather than things I just look at. Some of these I bought at thrift stores or garage sales. Some were inherited. Some were purchased. They're all beautiful. Despite the beauty of the old ones, they're usually extremely cheap--no more than $2 each.

NB. I don't iron.

This one's for Mom

I cleaned my room top to bottom. Found many missing shoes and $17 in bills and change. Treated myself to a paper shredder with the proceeds. I will soon start on the piles of junk mail, which I will either recycle or use as bedding for the worms.

No, your comment about whether I'd cleaned my bedroom yet did not inspire this! Internal motivation did. So, NYAAH!!! ;-) (that's a wink, mumma)

Unfortunately, the re-messyzation has already begun. To wit:

Saturday, February 23, 2008

By numbers

Oh my, have I been productive today!!

It's noon. So far I've fully completed two loads of laundry, with one left in the dryer, one in the washer, and likely two more to go. WHAT? I counted 65 pairs of underpants, so it's not like I've been being too gross. (Except for that "can't see the floor of my bedroom" part).

I've also cleared most surfaces in the bedroom and bathroom, which had become overloaded with things that have no home, or who'd been separated from their families, like 36 hair bands* (btw, I don't know when I stopped calling them by their normal name)

While doing all of this, I kept coming up with things I want to do: felt something, get a chest freezer, go on a woodcock walk, buy an iPod charger, see Toby and Janet. The list so far is up to 40.

Somehow while getting all of these things accomplished, I also managed to whomp up some kick-ass lentils and onions from the Indian volume of the Foods of the World series. I substituted jalapeño from last summer for the red pepper it called for, upped the cumin seeds, and hoped for the best. Y'all? I even made ghee. Basmati rice to accompany, and I've eaten very well today.

I wonder what else I'll do today? Any ideas?

*Not to be confused with Hair Bands.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Overload? Yeah.

So, I don't mean to encourage gluttony, or anything, but I'm a fan of the cheap.

Go get those donuts!!

From my love Mir at Want Not.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Reason #240 I love my job

I'm going to a Sweet 16 party the 2nd weekend in March, for one of the girls I work with. For some reason, I'm tickled, well, pink about it. As pink as the invitations.

It's a very formal affair, it seems. The invite is embossed and has a very detailed schedule of events. Here's how it will go:

3:00-5:00 p.m. Dinner Served
5:00-5:15 Musical performance by the birthday girl
5:20-6:00 p.m. Cake and ice cream
6:30-9:30 p.m. 70's dance for ages 12 and up. (come dressed or bring 70's attire if you like)
*Games and Prizes*

Random Baptist Church
Family Life Center
Very Rural Town, NC

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Weekend ups and downs

It's just after noon on Sunday and I just got up. Wait. That's not entirely true. I got up at 6 when the grow lights went off, but soon hopped back in bed as though I needed a nap. Six hours later, here I am. feeling gross as hell. Woozy and cloudy and all muzzy inside. I went to bed at 9, so that's a full 15 hours of sleep last night. Bedtime's gonna be a bitch.

The good thing, though, is that my sweet Emily and I met up yesterday morning for a snack/walk/feed the ducks outing, and she had gotten me a valentine. So sweet! She's a very thoughtful friend, that one.

And even better? It was a Mo's Bacon Bar. It never would have occurred to me just how tasty these two of the world's favorite foods could be together.

Behind the bacon bar mask I have raccoon eyes from not taking off makeup before bed and then sleeping 15 hours.

One last thing. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LAURIE!!!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

BTW? Tasty.

I just whomped up a meal of pasta with blue cheese, capers and copious amounts of black pepper. It's surprisingly good. I wasn't sure if it would be or not.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

To market, to market

Waiting for the dentist to do no right by me (other than the two fillings and a problematic anesthesia), I taught myself how to crochet round things on Monday.

This afternoon when I was running an errand to pick up some yellow ribbon to make giveaways for a tabling event to raise awareness of suicide in a couple of weeks, I just HAD to swing by the yarn area. Picked up a couple of cheapo cotton skeins in a hot hot pink hue. All the way back from work I dreamed up how I'd make a market bag, using the few crochet skillz I have already.

I know too well that there are patterns out there I could be using, but seriously, folks, look at what they make you try to figure out and then DO!

J. & P. COATS KNIT-CRO-SHEEN, 3 balls of White or Ecru, or 4 balls ofany color.
Steel crochet hook No. 3.
Starting at short end, ch 138 (17 sts to 2 inches) to measure 17 inches long.
1st row; DC in 4th ch from hook and in each ch across until there are 136 dc, counting turning ch as 1 dc. Ch 1, turn.
2nd row: Sc in 1st 2 dc, * ch 10, skip 4 dc, sc in next 4 dc. Repeat from *across, ending with ch 10, skip 4 dc, sc in last 2 dc. Ch 1, turn.
3rd row: Sc in 1st 2 sc, * ch 5, 2 sc in next loop, ch 5, skip 1 sc, sc in next 2 sc. Repeat from * across, ending with ch 5, sc in last 2 sc. Ch 3, turn.
4th row: Dc in next sc, ch 5, * sc in next loop, sc in next 2 sc, sc in next loop, ch 10. Repeat from * across, ending with ch 5, dc in last 2 sc. Ch 1, turn.
5th row: Sc in next 2 dc, * ch 5, skip 1 sc, sc in next 2 sc, ch 5, 2 sc in next loop. Repeat from * across, ending with ch 5, sc in last 2 dc. Ch 3, turn.
6th row: Dc in next sc, ch 10, skip next ch 5 and sc group, * sc in next loop, sc in next 2 sc, sc in next loop, ch 10. Repeat from * across, ending with ch 10, dc in last 2 sc. Ch 1, turn.
Repeat 3rd to 6th rows incl for 44 inches, ending with the 5th row of pattern. Ch 1, turn.
Next row: Sc in next 2 sc, ch 4, skip ch 5 and 2 sc, * sc in next loop, sc in next 2 sc, sc in next loop, ch 4. Repeat from * across. Ch 3, turn.
Following row: Dc in each st across. Fasten off. Fold piece in half and sew up sides.
HANDLES ... Cut 37 strands each 3 yards long. Twist tightly, then doublethe twisted strands and give them a 2nd twist in the opposite direction. Knot loose ends. Make another knot 5 inches away from end knot. Make 3rd knot close to 2nd knot. Make 4th knot 5 inches away from 3rd knot. Cut cord between 2nd and 3rd knots. Fasten cut ends on wrong sides of knots and sew, handles to top of bag.

Copyright 2000-2006 Celt's Vintage Crochet

I'm way too Type B for that. So I just make shit up as I go along. Currently it looks suspiciously like a poor woman's doily, though I'm hoping I find the ingenuity to figure out how to make it all come together at the top. I'm thinking once I have a lot of the fishnet, I'll make a a chain as wide around as I'd like the opening to be, and anchorit into each finished loop. The band will be like, I dunno, three rows wide or something, and then I'll crochet a shoulder strap onto it.

And then I'll buy a fat pig to carry in it. Or at least some bacon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Roundabouts last June or so, when I realized just how bad the lack of rain was affecting the garden, I made a pledge to myself not to complain about rain. In fact, I even said I wouldn't complain at all when it was raining. About anything.

It's raining, so don't consider this next part a complaint, but rather a non-judgmental description.

It took me 1.5 hours to go the 25 miles from work to a work-related reception I went to. There was an accident along the route I travel that entirely closed the highway, so I sat for about 45 minutes without moving.

Monday, February 11, 2008


The winner in the category of unexpected letter closings:

We heart you! Love, Mom and Pete

I think she may have gotten that phrase from me.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


• Pick up bags of leaves from neighbor
• Laundry enough for next week at least
• Start basil
• Plant radishes
• Plant beets
• Plant chard (not too much this year!)
• Plant favas
• Plant carrots


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Thursday, February 7, 2008

This is NOT helpful

I think I could live my life on the internets. Actually, I pretty much already do!

And now it's only going to get worse. Jamie introduced me to Ravelry, a community of knitters and crocheters. After a few weeks on the waiting list I finally got an invite. That was yesterday. Today, the picture of my seedlings on Flickr prompted an invite to a site that seems exactly like Ravelry, but for gardeners, Folia. Ouch. Web 2.0 plus specialized interests. I wonder if there's a new social birding website.

Then I'll never have to DO these things! I can just lie in my bed and THINK about them! Just what I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

And all that jazz...

I scheduled a haircut/pedi for Saturday a.m.

My mom canceled one of the landlines at her house. I'm surprised to be mourning it. It had been the family line since about 1982. She kept the number she'd been using for the past 10 years or so for her business. I never learned that number.

I keep wounding myself in my sleep. Last night I drew blood with a scratch under my chin. I also have a scratch on my left hand (crook of the thumb). My nails are not long.

Yesterday, in front of all the staff at work, I managed to smoke out the entire second floor of our office building with a cookie-in-microwave incident. It was way worse than the burned-est popcorn you've ever seen. Billows. BILLOWS! Despite my greatest fears, no sprinklers went off, nor was the fire department involved.

I continue frequent, near daily, communication with Former Crush. It's nice.

My new crochet project has begun. It involves plastic grocery bags cut into yarn. The yarn-making process needs to be refined. I may need to look up how to on a website.

I'm juggling all sorts of different crafty/homey projects these days. My guess is that few will be finished.

I've made no progress whatsoever on the knitting. I keep ripping it out because I can't seem to make even stitches.

An appeal to our neighborhood association listserv has resulted in more bagged leaves for compost than I'll (hopefully) ever need.

If you'd asked me in 1987 if I'd ever have a compost pile, especially if the question came while I was turning ours, I'd have said "Hell NO!" Now I'm envious remembering the quality of that compost.

Planting this weekend will include: radishes, carrots and beets. I'll be monitoring the weather and using a clear plastic tarp and chicken wire setup to fake a greenhouse if necessary.

That's it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A couple of things I did yesterday

Many thanks to all the well-wishers who called/emailed/texted/IMed/posted blog entries/sent cards/gifts and/or wrote on my Facebook wall yesterday!

Despite the unexpected inability to spa myself (to repeat a coined phrase), I made do and had a beautiful day. I spent most of it outside (68ºF anyone? And sunny? With late-day showers? Bliss) prepping one of my garden beds and planting peas and lettuce. There was lots of digging and a surprising amount of sweat. According to Next Door Neighdog's dad, there's a bunny around that's likely the cause of all my remaining swiss chard and some of my broccoli leaves getting eaten down to nubs. Hence the fencing attempt. Here's hoping!

Then I made a sour-cherry and rum sorbet, because who doesn't need that?

The last part of the day was going out to eat with my sweet Emily and snarfing a goodly amount of sirloin, baked potato and salad. She also made me my cake--a gorgeous lemon pound cake that I will begin to eat now. It freezes really well. Heh.

Note: Art is doing well and is at home. He called me yesterday while I was digging, and sang me an inpromptu version of Happy Birthday he made up on the fly. He's got a great voice. Also sangs: Mumma, Annie, the nephews, and probably others as well. :-)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Kaffa Buni in lieu of haircut

Given the sad, sad news that I won't be pampering myself with a haircut, facial and pedicure today, I can at least seek solace in the fact that I'll be energetic as all get out today.

Thanks to my man Marc, I am currently drinking a Moka pot full of traditionally roasted coffee from the Kaffa region of Ethiopia. Yum.

Legend has it that a goat herder named Kaldi from Kaffa province first discovered the invigorating effects of the beans after his goats danced around (figuratively, I imagine, though I'd love to dance with a goat) after ingesting the native berry. Then some monk dudes got in on the game, and no longer slept during their prayers. Yum.

I heart coffee, so when Marc has brought me back fantastic Ethiopian coffees over the past year and a half, I have done my own little dances, though mostly in private. He stopped by yesterday afternoon and dropped off about a pound of goodness for my birthday. All praise Marco! Unfortunately for me (but fortunately for Marc, as his experience living in Ethiopia left a bit to be desired) Marc has repatriated to the US, and my source is no longer.

Hang on and let me get my second cup. (Laurie, my entry today is dedicated to your Coffee Pot Posts.)

OK. Back.

I have a friend who is a coffee roaster. It used to be by trade, but now he is a home roaster. Randomly, New Roommate is friends with the guy who took over that position, so I find myself with two sources of deep knowledge to tap into when I need or want to.

My hands aren't shaking yet. That's a good sign, right?

Anyhoo, this coffee is my first step into self-pampering today. We'll see if anything else develops. Maybe an actual BATH, drought issue notwithstanding. On second thought, the guilt of a bath will probably overwhelm any pampering it might bring with it. Ah well.

Someday I'd like to participate in a real Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony, and maybe get into home roasting myself. You can do it in a popcorn popper!

One last tidbit. The coffee Marc brought me was traditionally roasted, in a wok-like apparatus, over a wood fire (I think that's how it works). Look at how it turns out! Totally cool.


My plans have all gone awry! The Aveda institute doesn't have either salon or spa services on Mondays!


Quick! Suggestions for fun for me to do today with my (birth)day off and nobody else having the day off!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Adventures, Stew style

Yesterday I dragged my wire shelving out of the shed to make a setup for starting seedlings. Ooops. Somewhere along the line the black plastic thingies that keep the shelves from falling down had done got lost!

Thus begins the chase. I went to Lowe's, where I had a nice gift card left over from Christmas, when my Dad bought me a beautiful bird feeder that was too big to carry home. I meant to just go get another one, but that didn't happen. Good thing!

Here's the rub. Places sell this shelving, right? Apparently, though, they expect that you'll actually hold on to the accessories and not lose them in a move. Duh. So I couldn't find any. At first. Then the incredibly helpful folks* at Lowe's actually took the parts off of a display model and sold them to me separately for like, $6. So unnecessary and so nice of them. There weren't quite enough to make all of my shelves fit, but I did a little jerry-rigging with some non-slip rubber pads to complete the job as best I could.

Then I went and puzzled over shop lights and which florescent bulbs to put in them. I ended up getting two 4-foot lights, and four full-spectrum "sunlight" bulbs. Another guy then helped me realized I didn't need to buy any chains for hanging. Why don't they say on the outside of the packaging what exactly is included??

Over to the garden section. I went hog-wild and picked up some more seeds, blood meal, bone meal and potting soil, in anticipation of some fab seed coddling. I realized when I got home that I probably should have gotten seedling starter instead of potting soil, but eh. This should work.

I assembled it all with only a little tweaking necessary (don't you love zip ties?), pulled out my seed box and then went outside to do a little potting.


So much fun. If you can't read the tags, I've begun:

Better Boy
Pink Beefsteak (which I collected from last year's plants. I'm hoping they're not a hybrid!)
Cherokee Purple
Ground Cherries

These came from a packet of "rainbow mixed" sweet peppers. It's always nice to have a surprise, I guess.

*I KNOW! I didn't expect them all to be so so available. At least three people helped me multiple times.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Day

I've decided to take Monday, February 4th off from work. I want to plan a day of extreme goodness, with no laundry, cleaning or any other "must-do's". It will be a day of ME ME ME.

I don't have all that many ideas of what that's going to mean, though. I know most if not all people are working on Monday, so it might be a day of solitude. One thing I've considered is establishing my (soon-to-be-purchased) grow light setup and beginning some seedlings. Part of that process is hauling some stainless steel wire shelving out of the shed. New Roommate has agreed to help me put it together. That will go in my bedroom, by the south-facing window. I will then purchase and hang a shoplight with some kind of florescent lightbulbs in it. I'm still working out what kind of bulbs I need, but I'll figure that out soon enough.

Other ideas I've had involve hopping over to the Aveda Institute for some pampering on the cheap. I need a haircut, and could use a pedicure.

Finally, I'm going to dinner with my sweet Nem. (Emily).

Not bad, eh?