Friday, January 23, 2015

Important things

I saw on that there's a Love Your Library challenge.  I don't know about a challenge per se, I visit ours at least once a month anyway.
We've always been keen on the library, even when we lived 30 minutes from the closest one.  Our new home is only about a half mile from a library branch!  And we consider this one of the home's nicest "features".  Our old digs were just so far from anything; we didn't even have a nearby fast-food chain when we first moved there.  Of course, we didn't have a neighborhood full of meth heads and other assorted lowlifes just out our back door either.  Now we're in a more urban area, with plenty of restaurants and shops nearby (haven't found a yarn shop yet...), but surprisingly it turns to woodland very quickly just a short distance from the main drag.  We see a huge flock of wild turkeys here most mornings, cleaning up all the acorns that fell in the Fall.  And boy are there a lot of acorns everywhere.  Disco had a turkey wake up call last Saturday, from a small group of young toms that wandered just past her window.  I believe that's the first time in a year that I saw her before noon on a Saturday. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Look Ma no prompt!

Last night I found a huge sackful of my headbands.  I have been wearing the same three for about two weeks now, and getting pretty tired of seeing them in the mirror.  I managed to fill one entire drawer of my new dresser with socks, both crew type & trouser socks (remember when those were called knee highs?  Wait, did I just date myself?) .  Another, deeper drawer is now full of my camisole and tank tops, which I use all winter like camis to keep from freezing -- my desk is by a wall of windows. The drawer above the camis is for the "unmentionables", but as it's only about two thirds full I might have to put other things there too.  I'm still not going to have enough storage for my sweaters, unless I put them in a clear lidded box in the closet or on the étagère. 
The Plaidman has just finished putting deadbolts on the deck storage closet and the door into the crawlspace.  Disco is glad to have that last one locked up tight; it opens into the crawlspace from her "suite".  And the cats are still very wired about their new environment.  Our Little Man, TomTom Kitty, tries several times each day to get into the lower cabinets in the kitchen and hall bathroom.  I don't know if he's looking for Narnia or just Trouble. 

Last night I got home & found a meal cooking in the slow cooker.  This wasn’t a surprise, as I’d asked the family to use the cooker since they were going to be out all day.  However, the contents were…less than stellar, shall we say.  The cooks had made a classic “white dinner” of chicken breasts, potatoes, and cauliflower.  It did not taste bad, just sort of “meh”, but it looked pretty sad.  So I’m putting together a basic, grab-it-from-the-cupboard and cook it template for a concocted dinner from the crockpot, just to avoid having another all-white dinner!  This will be posted on the fridge!!  Please note, this template assumes the cook has some experience in prepping food for cooking – I’m not a cooking instructor, just a gal who’d like to have a colorful (healthy!) meal.

Ingredients (as found in pantry/cupboards/fridge) –

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, low sodium preferred, any seasoning or none, undrained

1 or 2 15 oz can beans, any variety, mix or match (1 can if there’s plenty of meat), drained

Ground meat, any variety, browned:

            --heat 1 TBS oil in stout fry pan, sauté some garlic and/or onion (you know your tolerance, so use what suits as far as amounts of each) for about 5 minutes

                --add ground meat, break up and brown with the garlic/onion, drain grease

If you’d rather have pieces of meat, you can brown them as for the ground meat.  Smaller pieces will cook more quickly, but you can also just cut up a large roast into 3 or more pieces.  Boneless chicken works well, especially thighs, and doesn’t have to be browned first.

Green veg, as available:

Fresh                     prep as for cooking in liquid (aka boiling)

Frozen                  thaw & press out excess water 

Canned                   rinse twice & press out excess water

Seasonings appropriate to the meat, and in line with the ethnicity you’d like to express:

                --if you’re thinking TexMex, chili powder, cilantro, maybe sub some salsa for the diced tomatoes

                --if you’re wanting Italian, use Italian sausage, basil, oregano etc.

When meat is browned, veggies drained or prepped, and additional seasonings selected, throw all in the crockpot & cook for several hours depending on the size of the pieces of meat.

During the last hour (or about 1 hour before you want to serve), you may add rice or noodles, plus enough liquid (stock, V8 juice, white sauce) for your starch. 

Alternatively, you can serve with pita bread or chips, or tortillas or chips, etc.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Prompt #2 In your wildest dreams, where would you love to see you hobby/skill/craft take you?

Well, I'm not sure I need it to take me anywhere.  I would like to go to Rhinebeck, or Squam, or if there's ever another Sock Summit I'd like to attend.  Ooo, I just had a thought: a knitting cruise!  With Franklin Habit & Meg Swanson as instructors.  I want my knitting & crochet to remain hobbies, as stress relief.  These crafts are my avocation, not vocation.  I am Da Knittah, but I have a day job too! 
I have absolutely no idea where our camera is hiding.  The desk that was its home was taken apart to move, put back together, taken apart again, moved partially, and half of it is still in another room.  Moving sucks big time.  We still haven't found the stamps, but since most of the bills get paid online that may not be an issue.  The other Plaid Patrollers went back to the old home today, and collected all kinds of "stuff", like my big wool coat and the cookie cutter collection.  Does anyone know where my Eeyore collection landed? 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pulling teeth again

One of my dear departed mother's sayings, about trying to do something just a bit difficult, was that it was like pulling teeth.  No, she wasn't a dentist.  She was a Depression-era child, who never even saw a dentist until she was 14 years old and had saved up her earnings from her job.  Everybody worked, of course.  Anyway, I am so NOT tech savvy, but you may notice another button on the right:  Rebecca Bee Designs Year of Handmade blog prompts!  I want to start at:
1. In the beginning: how did you get into the craft? 
       I've always loved sweaters, whether lacy or cabled or colorful, you name it.  Mom tried to teach all her girls to crochet and knit, and cross-stitch and embroider.  Mostly we were not terribly interested, until the mid-60's when embroidered jeans were way too cool not to have.  But that was a passing fad.  Fast forward to the late 90's -- I was diagnosed with breast cancer, underwent surgery and chemotherapy, and while I was working on surviving I decided that if I could survive this I could do anything I put my mind against.  SO...I looked at sweater making, in either knit or crochet.  It seemed to me that two needles would require a lot more dexterity than I could count on, so I opted to learn crochet first.  I was stuck in the house for about a solid week after each chemo session, and had only the briefest outings to the library, where I picked up every crochet how-to I found in the adult stacks.  For the life of me, I just couldn't get it.  I finally went to the children's section, and found an instruction book aimed at 10-12 year old kids, and that did the trick.  I was off to the races.  I made a couple of sweaters, in acrylic (!!), very heavy (so was I back then--big sweaters for this big gal).  I also made baby blankets, Christmas stockings, ornaments, scarves, hats, etc.  I amassed a large stash of acrylic yarn, some of which is still with me today.  I'm sure it will last way beyond my lifespan.  Then I started reading about natural fibers, and how knitting supposedly used less yarn to cover the same "turf".  And I decided that I really liked knitted sweaters better.  So, back to the library for this self-taught crafter.  Again, I went through several how-to-knit volumes before I found the one that made knitting make sense to me: Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'N Bitch.  Her humor and laid-back attitude helped me "get it", so I will always credit Debbie with being my knitting teacher.  Now I love, love, love to knit.  And it has been helpful to have this satisfying, meditative craft during stressful times, like now when my cancer has come back and I'm moving house. 
       Speaking of moving house, we went back to the crackerbox on Sunday, and collected more of the kitchen.  Unfortunately, we forgot (again!!) to grab the potholders.  But we have good news: our new bedroom suite was delivered today!  and of course, bad news:  they brought the wrong color headboard and the wrong size mattress!  But they're supposed to rectify that tomorrow; meanwhile, we'll be sleeping on a king-sized mattress tonite.  I should be putting my clothes away in my new dresser right now.  Well, I guess I will do just that.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Volga Boatmen

...probably move faster than we've done.  We're still in the throes of packing boxes, that is, after going through a closet/chest/the stash to see what we can get rid of.  The other two members of the Plaid Patrol have turned into laundry fiends, all they want to do is wash clothes.  This takes forever because the dirty clothes have to be sorted & packed in the car, then hauled the whole way across the county, then washed & dried one load at a time, then repacked in their respective baskets or put on hangers, then hauled all the back across the whole county...hours of work, during which they're both unavailable for packing anything else.  Or doing any housework at the old homestead, where our beds and food and cooking equipment reside.  I get home after work, and no one else is there, and the place is a wreck.  I think I'll have to suggest that Disco be left at the new home with the laundry while the Plaidman gets crackin' on the packin' at the crackerbox house.  I can pick her up after work, and take her back to her own bed.
Well, that didn't exactly work out as planned, but things are looking better: we rented a UHaul truck (so handy having a spouse who's used to driving a truck!) for 4 days (I took some vacation time) and loaded up al the "heavy" stuff, and now we're living at our new home!  The Plaidman & DiscoDame are shifting back to the crackerbox during the day, to sort & pack & load into the car whatever they can.  We're leaving the large dresser and Disco's massive vanity behind as both are ancient and ugly to boot.  The vanity has got to weigh close to 250 lbs.  We've kept the chest and my nightstand, but both went to Disco's suite downstairs.  So the only furniture we've got in the master bedroom is our very old bed; we've nowhere to put all our folded clothing, and nowhere to set up my accessories.  I'm working with a limited wardrobe and just 3 headbands, and having to get inventive to come up with different outfits.  However, that will soon change!  We went to a furniture store and ordered an entire new bedroom: queen bed, small dresser with mirror, tall chest, and two nightstands -- and all matching!!  No more gypsy furnishings in the master bedroom!  Now if we can just get the other furniture store to deliver the items we've already paid for (sofa & end tables for the living room, matching loveseat for Disco's suite), we'll be doing our business in high cotton.  I had to shake my head at my two "techies" trying to get the cable & internet hooked up.  We thought we could have the wireless gateway in another room from the TV, but it's not working.  The computer hutch was already set up in the front room, but will have to be moved to the living room.  All  I can say is, have fun you crazy kids. 
In Knittin' News, I've started with contrast color 1 in my Color Affection shawl -- so exciting ('s garter stitch, how thrilling could it be?).  I did have a slight bump in the road, not so much in the knitting as in "animal control" -- one of the two felines barfed (just a little) in the bag of yarn, and I had to wash one skein of Shibui Sock.  Sh*t ain't the only that happens.