Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Little Zauberball that Wouldn't

There once was a Little Zauberball that didn't want to be anything.

First, many moons ago, the Knitter who owned it tried to crochet it into a Mock Aestlight Shawl, called Cranberry Pantomime.

But, alas, the Little Zauberball wouldn't. So, the Knitter frogged it, saving it for another time, a better time, when the Zauberball would want to be knitted.

Years later, the Knitter took out the Zauberball again, and tried to knit it into a scarf:

But, once again, the Little Zauberball wouldn't. So, the Knitter frogged the scarf, and now the Little Zauberball is at rest again, waiting for another time, a better time, when it will want to be knitted.


Second Try

Today was a luxurious day of knitting. I worked on the orange scarf I cast on last night for the majority of the day today, while enjoying a Mini Marilyn Marathon. I started knitting at about nine o'clock this morning, while the sun was still streaming through the windows and I had a hot cup of tea nearby:

A couple of hours later, I began the Marilyn-a-Thon:

Ultimately, this was today's progress.

I have decided to name this scarf Clementine, after the character in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The name originally was prompted by the color of the yarn, but the more I work on it, the more the feather and fan lace reminds me of the waves of Montauk. I'm really enjoying working on this, and it's giving me much greater satisfaction than the version I was knitting out of the Zauberball--which I'll address in my next post.

Starting this scarf over, and the subsequent success, is fairly indicative of the way things have been in my life, lately. It's been a crazy mess for a while, and things are finally starting to come together. As my friend Aero pointed out tonight, starting over on this scarf is a symbol of our new-found success. Ben has gotten not one, but two jobs in the past week, and Operation Barista has had a major development: I have an interview at Caribou Coffee on Monday! It took some major assertion on my part to get the interview, but I've got it and I'm going to hope and pray that they hire me! It's the perfect job for me for a thousand reasons, so please keep your fingers crossed!! Be back soon with a tale of woe: the Zauberball that Wouldn't.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Winter is Coming

The last twelve days have been a blur as I prepared for the beginning of our staging rehearsals for the opera. However, now that we've begun things are coming together and quieting down a little, thank goodness. In terms of the feather and fan scarf, there's been a change of plans. I'll explain it all tomorrow.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Up for Breath

Oh, it's been almost ten days since my last post. Life's been odd and trying and overwhelming lately, and last night was the first time I knitted in over a week. By the time I've been getting my work done at night, I haven't had the attention span for Esperanza, which has reached a tricky spot. So, I wasn't knitting at all. Last night, I cast on another 2 Weeknights with Warrick by Karin Bole. I really enjoyed the last one I knit, and it doesn't take as much attention as Esperanza which gives me some hope of getting to work on it daily. Here is an extremely mediocre picture, and for that, I apologize:

I'm using the Zauberball that I've had in the stash for ages, and I'm pretty pleased with it so far. I'm not totally sure about the gauge, but I'm going to keep going for a bit longer and then block what I've got and see if I like it. It's coming out much wider than the last one I knit, even though they were in similar weights and I used bigger needles on the last one. I'm not sure what that's about.

In other news--I made a knitter friend! One of my voice teacher's former students who is filling in for her at the moment mentioned knitting in class the other day--which immediately led to conversation, then coffee, then Ravelry friendship. Last night, I cast on this scarf while sipping wine and chatting about knitting at her apartment, and it was quite nice. I'm so happy to have someone to talk about knitting to in person, and we have gone though some very similar things, so we have a lot to relate about.

Also, I have been cooking some lovely things lately. Yesterday, I made a pineapple upside down cake for the first time:

It was absolutely delicious--although next time, I'm going to leave it in the oven a bit longer. It didn't have the caramelized top I was looking for, because I took it out for fear of burning it.

Also, I made another pizza a few nights back, and that was quite delicious, too.

I've really come to love Nigella Lawson in the past month or so, and I use a lot of her recipes now. The pineapple upside-down cake is her recipe, as well as some other delicious desserts I've been exploring. I have made this pasta several times, and it is one of my favorite things to eat now--although not the most healthy. I skip the truffle oil, and usually use mozzarella and New Orleans-type spices, so it makes me feel at home.

Now that I've had the good sense to cast on an easier project for busy times (I don't know what took me so long) I hope to be knitting more frequently, and therefore posting more frequently. My new friend Meg mentioned that one of the yarn shops nearby has knit nights with sci-fi movies, and that is a happy prospect. I'll be back again soon--I promise.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Well, I got a couple rows done on Esperanza yesterday morning, but nothing since then. Things have been strange--Ben is at home in New Orleans attending Mechacon, which is really exciting. Today, he met one of his favorite actors, Jason David Frank! I'm so happy for him, but it's been weird for us to be split between New Orleans and Chicago. I already feel like half of me was left in New Orleans when we moved, and now my other half is there, too! It's been a weird few days, especially with starting school. Everything is more than I expected--some in good ways, some in bad ways. I was hoping to have tomorrow to chill and knit and clean and work on some music, but my professors kindly decided that school was going to extend to the weekend this week, and when you combine that with other obligations, it gets crazy. However, there is a silver lining:

This arrived today. I called my Paw Paw to tell him. So, I'm going to go read this, and then go to sleep, because I've about had it with this week. Hopefully I'll get some knitting done this weekend.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Sorry for the lack of posting over the past few days--I started school and things have been so crazy that I haven't knitted in about three days. I'm going to make some time tomorrow before I go insane from lack of knitting--I'll write a proper post then, after I've gotten some quality time with Esperanza.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

In the Moment

Today was a day of surprises. I had decided last night that I would use today to learn music, apply for jobs, and generally Get Things Done. I woke up late this morning with a terrible headache, and I was moving pretty slowly--but still planning on hitting the To-Do list, eventually. Then, in the course of a conversation with Ben, I decided to look up the characters from my favorite childhood book, so that I could show him.

Does anyone remember Golden Girl and the Guardians of the Gemstones?

Golden Girl started out as a toy line in the 80s that was only released for a year. Later, books were written about the characters, and there was a board game, and a short-lived TV show. This pre-dated She-Ra, which I didn't know until today. I had a She-Ra toy when I was little that I thought was Golden Girl, but it's good to know that Golden Girl wasn't a rip-off. Anyway, this book was the origin story for Golden Girl and explains how she gets the Gemstone that she and the other Guardians protect in later books. I did not have this book when I was little, I had one of the later ones, which was aimed at a slightly younger audience and was sold with an accompanying cassette, which I didn't have:

My PawPaw and I probably read this book a thousand times. It was old when I got it--acquired, no doubt, at one of the garage sales that we frequented on Sundays. It only got more worn with constant reading, and eventually my PawPaw had to reinforce the spine with tape. I remember specifically that it was old-fashioned clear tape with the threads in it, like this:
Unfortunately, when I got older Hurricane Katrina took the book, so I don't have it anymore.

Anyway, while I was looking up pictures of the Dragon Queen to show to Ben, we started looking on Ebay and Amazon at the different merchandise that was available for sale. We wound up spending most of the afternoon looking at things, and Ben won an auction for this awesome lunch box--we got it for $5!

As you can see, it comes with a thermos, and it's exactly like another lunch box I had as a child, just with the Golden Girl pictures on it, instead. I'm very, very excited! Then, I started looking into the book I had when I was a kid, and found that it's very hard to come by these days! But, motivated by the challenge, I found both the book I owned before, AND the original, origin-story book, at very reasonable prices! So, those will be in the mail very soon, as well as my lunchbox!

After that, I offered to make Ben whatever he wanted for dinner, to thank him for winning me the lunchbox. First, he asked for Mexican, but we didn't have everything I needed, so he asked me to make something with potatoes, instead. I thought about it for a little while, and a couple of hours later, we had this!

I made cheesy twice-baked potatoes with fajita-style chicken and vegetables. It came out exactly the way I wanted it to, and I'm so pleased. I sliced the bell peppers and onions, and put them in a big bowl with the sliced raw chicken. Then, I seasoned everything liberally and stuck it in the fridge during the hour that I was baking the potatoes. This gave the chicken a lot of flavor. This was one of the first times that I basically improvised a meal, and I'm so glad it came out well. Best of all, Ben was thrilled with it.

So, today I accomplished nothing that I planned to do. Instead, I ended up having a romp through my childhood--and books and a lunchbox! (I used birthday money, so I have no guilt about the budget.) Then, I whipped up a delicious impromptu meal! I might have to do some serious catching-up on work later, but today I lived in the moment, and it was fantastic.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

One Month

Exactly one month ago at this time of night, Ben and I were lying on the wood floor of our apartment, surrounded by boxes and completely exhausted. We had just finished moving the entire U-Haul's worth of boxes up two flights of fire-escape stairs, after which we had to find a place to park a pickup truck with a U-Haul attached. This is hard to do at any time in Chicago, but particularly at night, when everyone is home from work and parked. There was no air-conditioning in the apartment and we had been working our butts off for hours, but we were so tired that we both passed out on the floor and slept all night.

That was our very first night in this apartment, and it seems like much more than a month has passed. The apartment feels homey now, and we have furniture and I have lots and lots of kitchen supplies, and everything is where it should be. The only thing we have left to do is hang the pictures on the walls. I start school on Wednesday, which is comforting and terrifying all at once. I think it will really help to finally get a feel for what my daily schedule will be like--and it's so much lighter than my last semesters of undergrad that it seems like nothing in comparison. Operation Barista is still underway, I plan to fill out several more applications over the weekend, and hopefully someone will get back to me soon.

In other news: I kept my promise to myself yesterday, and knitted all day long--I made dinner in the slow-cooker, so I was free to knit all the way until it was time to eat. I knitted a little after dinner as well, and then I transferred Esperanza onto a larger circular cable so things wouldn't be so crowded. I'm well into Chart Three now, and she's getting to be pretty substantial:

I don't know if you can tell, but she's taking up my entire lap.

I'm feeling pretty confident that I'll be able to complete her in time for VKL. Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to block her! The reason my last few shawls are still unblocked is because I don't have enough blocking mats. There is a place near the apartment that sells the bigger interlocking mats, for use in classrooms, etc. I might pick some up once I have a job, but if not I'll have to improvise. I plan to knit the extension of the pattern that MMario has written, so this shawl is going to be pretty big. I'm not even sure where I'm going to put it while blocking. I was planning on blocking it in the middle of the floor overnight, but "The Rift" is gradually making that impossible.

"The Rift," as I have un-affectionately named it, is a large disturbance in the wood floor of our apartment. It is hard to describe--imagine the way volcanoes are formed on the edges of tectonic plates when they push together. It basically looks like we have a tiny mountain range running through our apartment. When we first arrived it didn't look like much, but in the month we've been here it's grown dramatically. We had repairmen in to look at it the other day, and they had surprised faces. When experienced repairmen have surprised faces, I get nervous. Based on what they said to Ben, they have no idea what's causing The Rift--but it's bad and they're going to have to Work On It. I'm assuming that means ripping up part of the floor in our bedroom/living room/dining room. I'm trying not to think about that too hard right now. I'm going to distract myself by talking about what I originally planned to post about--pizza!

At long last, I made pizza from scratch today!

Mmmmmmmmm. It was so good! Pizza is one of my favorite foods, and I hadn't had any since a while before we moved, which means it had been well over a month! I told Ben that being able to make it from scratch makes me feel like I have superpowers. I decide that I would like pizza for dinner, and I make it come into being using only my skills and basic household ingredients! It is glorious. I can't wait to make more! Conveniently, the recipe I used from Joy the Baker makes enough dough for two pizzas, so there is a cute little ball of dough waiting in my freezer for the next time I want to make pizza! This time, I used chicken that I grilled on the George Foreman, bell peppers, tomatoes, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Next time, I'm going for pepperoni and pineapple, because that's my favorite. But, the possibilities are endless, and now we can have pizza on a regular basis, despite our limited budget! Another great thing about it is that I know exactly what's on each pizza, and how much of it, so we can eat pizza without being careless about portions. Each pizza uses a fraction of a bag of flour, less than a half can of sauce and as little as 3/4 cup of shredded cheese, to start with. Flour and all of our desired toppings can be acquired at the Dollar Tree where we buy our basics--which means we can both eat pizza until we pop at a price of about $3 a pizza or less! This is excellent news, people. EXCELLENT news.

Anyways, I'm going to go knock out a few more rows on Esperanza before I hit the hay. Maybe I'll come up with a list of topping combinations while I'm at it...