Wednesday, October 7, 2015

01. Can you cook?
Yes, I am a pretty good cook, I think. I never had a class or anything, but like most things in life from knitting to car repair, give me a set of instructions and a basic concept and I'm off. I like doing casseroles best, especially vegetarian, because I really like the concept of having everything in one dish, and done all at once. Multiple-dish meals, with the exception of holidays, are a pain.  For the same reason, I love making soups out of things I find in the fridge/freezer/pantry. I love to bake, too, and am a cookie connoisseur.

02. What was your dream growing up?
To play football for the Miami Dolphins. Then, to be a vet. Then, to escape my hometown. I got pretty close on most of them; played rugby for 10+ years, got my PhD in biology, and lived in 8 different states in the span of 20 years -- none of them my home state. Not too displeased, in retrospect.

03. What talent do you wish you had?
Musical talent.  I always asked for music lessons as a child, but my mom always replied that I would be bored.  Translated, that means that as the third child, she was done with chauffeuring to lessons.  Someday I hope to learn to play the guitar and the drums.

04. If I bought you a drink what would it be?
Non-alcoholic = iced tea, Coke or coffee.  Alcoholic = Margarona/Coronarita

05. Favorite vegetable?

Red peppers, squash, cauliflower, sweet potatoes.

06. What was the last book you read?
Zeroes by Chuck Wendig (in print), Burnt Offerings by Laurell K. Hamilton (audiobook).

07. What zodiac sign are you ?

08. Any tattoos and/or piercings?
Yes, a tattoo of an owl on my right hip (30th birthday present), which is now covered by an empty tomb with morning glories.  A semicolon with dye splashes around it on the inside of my left ankle.  Two normal ear piercings, one in each ear, a cartilage piercing in my right helix, and a #6 grommet in my left earlobe. I used to have a south-of-the-border piercing too, but it became... uncomfortable... when it came time to give birth. It grew back faster than I could get something back in it, so I figured it best left alone.

09. Worst habit?

10. If you saw me walking down the street would you offer me a ride?
I'd like to think so.

11. What is your favorite sport?
Rugby, always.  I am too old to play now, but my sons do so I participate vicariously.  Used to be running -- I have done 3 1/2 marathons, and my knees remember.  So now it's mostly walking with some running worked in.

12. Negative or optimistic attitude?
Optimistic. A far cry from the not-too-distant past.  But I do have my downer days too.

13. What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?

Strike up a conversation.

14. Worst thing to ever happen to you?

Too many to choose from, and too hard to decide if it was really that bad or just a learning experience in disguise.

15. Tell me one weird fact about you.

I grew up in a haunted house, and can sense/identify spirits.

16. Do you have any pets?
Yes. 1 dog, 2 cats, 2 turtles, 1 snake. We have visiting critters in the summer depending on what wanders through the yard.

17. What if I showed up at your house unexpectedly?

I'd invite you in for a visit and ply you with fiber (ply... fiber... ha!)

18. What was your first impression of me?
Since I don't remember who sent this, I can't say... and probably wouldn't, as I'm trying to become less judgemental!

19. Do you think clowns are cute or scary?

Clowns are just... wrong.

20. If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?


21. Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?

A little of both!

22. What color eyes do you have?

Brown with a touch of green.

23. Ever been arrested?

Almost, but not quite.

24. Bottle or draft?


25. If you won $10,000 today, what would you do with it?

Pay off some bills, put some in savings, and go buy a bunch of gift cards to hand out to the local homeless folks.

26. Would you date me?


27. Where's your favorite place to hang out?

28. Do you believe in ghosts?

See #15.

29. Favorite thing to do in your spare time?

Spin, knit, read, hang out with my kids, walk, run, kayak, play softball if in season.

30. Do you swear a lot?

Used to, but not so much anymore.

31. Biggest pet peeve?

Hypocrisy and superiority.

32. In one word, how would you describe yourself?


33. Do you believe in/appreciate romance?

Yes -- I'd love some, please.

34. If you could spend 12 hours with me and ask/do anything you like, what would it be?
That depends!

35. Do you believe in God?


Autumn brings the beginning of the end of the year.  The trees lose their brilliant summer green, leaves fade through yellows and oranges and reds to dull brown, and finally surrender to gravity with a sigh and a whisper.  Days grow short, the light becoming more precious as the wheel of the year turns toward the winter solstice.  But even as the end draws near, the first inkling of what follows peeks through the veil to draw us forward.


The doldrums of summer give way to the fresh breezes of fall, and cool evenings beg for the warmth and coziness of wool to banish the chill.  My hands sigh with pleasure as I pick up the needles and create loop after loop, beautifully colored fabric growing by inches from the work of my fingers.  Excitement returns in a groundswell of renewed enthusiasm for all things fiber.  Spinning again occupies my evenings, projects set aside come back out for much-needed attention, and Christmas knitting awaits sorting out.  The potential, the anticipation feeds the activity, and ideas flow fast and thick through my daydreams.
I am glad to be back.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Animal behavior, human version

I have made some interesting behavioral observations recently.

1) The giant leaf blower is FUN.
2) It's almost as Zen as raking leaves, more so if your brand of Zen involves having a roaring two-cycle engine strapped to your back, jetpack style.
3) There is a sense of omnipotent power in moving leaves around without actually touching them
4) Those who usually operate this piece of equipment make it seem like a mighty and difficult chore, which requires several weeks of steeling oneself to face, is always accompanied by much groaning and weeping and gnashing of teeth, and results in extended recuperation time involving the TV or better yet, napping.
5) Perhaps point 4 is designed to steer us away from the fact of points 1-3, in the hopes that we will not catch on.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Raveling, raveling

I have finally gotten around to really using Ravelry. I decided it was time to do a stash purge, since I am way beyond SABLE and would like to have a little more breathing space around here. So I pulled out the sock yarn bins (yes, plural, my name is fuzzyfrog and I am a yarn ho), grabbed the camera, and went to town photographing yarn. I discovered that I totally lack any stylistic capabilities, and that once you get started, it's hard to stop...

"just one more skein, please, and then I'll stop, really." (mmm, Schaefer Lola, sadly discontinued...)

But the socks is done and I'm in the process of adding it all into my stash area. Next I'll do the laceweight, then the Noro (a category all its own!), then the sweater amounts, and finally, the WIPS. Maybe I'll get a wild hair and actually rip some of the poor devils out of their misery. I have somehow lost my enthusiasm for the slip-stitch cat blanket knitted out of acrylic mohair-y stuff. I think it last saw action in 2003?

One thing Rav does is really rev up my enthusiasm for all things fiber, especially knitting. I spent a whole lotta time at the wheel during the fall and not so much knitting, and have another big spinning project to get done, but I am rediscovering the joy and meditation of the needles rather than the wheel. Funny how that goes round; gotta jump on it when it does.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

fat tuesday

Tomorrow is the beginning of Lent -- a time for reflection and quiet, and of pondering deeper things. I am not sure what I plan to do for this year, not sure where the journey will take me. Last year, I had some incredible experiences during Lent, very private journeys that really rocked me to the core, while at the same time giving me hope and direction in a very difficult time. Things are better and worse this year, and while the only constant in life is change, I'd love to have stability and a measure of security. Maybe in the middle of this state of change and growth and flux, this Lent will lead me to the anchor line, to the firm path ahead. Maybe I should try to emulate these holly trees -- bend without breaking under the load of snow, remain green even in the deep of winter, and when cut down, give rise to four more saplings in the place of one tree. And as nothing remains the same, the instability cannot stay forever. I have faith that something better will come.

Meanwhile, tonight we are going to eat pancakes. Laissez les bon temps roulez.

Monday, February 15, 2010

snow event(s)

Wow... that's about all that can be said about the past couple of weeks around here. Snow and more snow -- more than I've seen since we moved here from Mass. in '03. Beautiful drifts, piles of snow everywhere. But we don't seem to do the snow thing very well here in the DC metro, as the rest of the world now knows from the endless news reports about "Snowmageddon". And in a two week span, the guys only went to school for a day and a half! At least none of us had to go anywhere, so we just holed up and did a lot of sledding and igloo-building. Sometimes I really do love working from home. And I have to give it up for Comcast, who kept the internets humming during the whole thing, at least for me.
Below is the back yard in the beginning stages of Snowpocalypse #2; the light was eerie and gorgeous at about 7 am, before the blizzard really started.
But there has been a flurry (ha!) of activity around here indoors, too. I used two whole weekends at home to clean out boxes of junk from the storage closet (biochem notes from grad school, anyone?) and to help the guys find the floors in their rooms again. The fiber room is next, and then the bedroom. Clutter makes me nuts, but I seem to be my own worst enemy in that department. I leave things out because I plan to get to them next, and then n life happens, and they remain out as a constant reminder. This is fine if it's one or two small projects, but it's easy to let stuff pile up, and then it starts to nag like an old codger. And some days it seems like I'm running a nursing home of whiners around here, with all the unfinished business lying around... but that's a post in and of itself.
Spinning has continued apace, as well. The huge blue basket of loveliness that I posted about a little while back has become this:
I spun the singles on a Woollee Winder, and they were full... but neglected to remember that even the mighty Lendrum plying head might have a problem with all that yarn...(hark back to the 70's -- can you say "rollin' a fatty"?) It just barely fit, and ended up being just over 1000 yards of something between laceweight and fine DK. Absolutely gorgeous! I am inordinately pleased with myself, since this is one of those projects than turned out even better than I'd imagined it would. The wool is Targhee or Dorset, and the mohair is local from a now-departed goat named Jasmine. I dyed all of it in batches in the crock pot, then carded it so that the colors graded from light aqua to purplish-blue. It looks like the sea in the Bahamas, and the angelina sparkles look like sunlight flashing on the waves. Here are a couple of shots for scale:
Hangin' loose on the coat rack... it was perfectly balanced, too!! And on the laptop, for further scale.

But not to hog all the glory and fun. The animals were fun to watch as they all dealt with the weather in their own ways. The dogs were ecstatic with the snow, and many icicles were eaten;
Happy mastiffs! And the boys spent most of their days off outside doing things like this:

Yes, there is a six-foot-tall fourteen-year-old in there somewhere.
Jake, the boss cat, still likes snow at age 16, but preferred to spend his time in front of the wood stove, or hanging with his buds on the sofa. Buncha couch potatoes. Good thing the sofa is long.

Jake actually sharing the beanbag with Willie, who is really stressed out by all the snow, as you can tell from his posture here to the right.... and below...
And the mysterious Ellie found an elusive patch of sunlight on the kitchen counter and deigned to pose.
Willie says, "Me, too!"

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cruciferous goodness

Mmmm... I made the BEST dish the other day... a friend gave me a seasoning packet a while back for gobi, a spicy Indian dish made with cauliflower. I finally decided to make it, got everything assembled and was at the point where the spices needed to be added to the skillet, and opened the cardboard outer wrapper to find taht there was no spice pack inside! So I checked the list of ingredients, and went to the spice cabinet to sort of wing it with what I had on hand. I added curry powder too, which wasn't on the list, but sounded tasty. It turned out fabulous! The curry may have nullified the intended flavors of the dish, but it tasted so good that it didn't matter.

Here's the recipe:

1 large head cauliflower, cut into small flowerets
1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 c. fresh sliced ginger (about one large chunk, peeled)
1/4 c. chopped green chilies (one small can)
2 plum tomatoes, chopped (i used about half a pint of cherry tomatoes)

1/2 - 1 t. cumin
1/2 - 1 t. turmeric
1/4 - 1/2 t. red chili powder
1 T. minced onion
2 t. curry powder
(these are estimates -- I'd say do them to taste)

Heat the oil in large skillet over medium heat for 1 minute. Add ginger, green chilies, tomatoes and stir for 1 minute. Add spices and stir for 2 minutes more. Add cauliflower and cook approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Can add 1/2 c. water at end for extra sauce, but I didn't.

Delicious! And it's one of those meals where you can hear your body going "Ahhh" when you're done, from the goodness and curry heat. I had it all week for lunch over mixed brown and white rice, and found myself looking forward to lunch every day. It would be really good with a little farmer's cheese or some other mild white cheese on the side.