Thursday, December 24, 2009

Friday, December 04, 2009

A certain kind of desperation

Faythe and I were just discussing our Christmas knitting. She, of course, has learned her lesson and doesn't knit Christmas gifts anymore. I, on the other hand, refuse to give in to reality and have compiled a grand list of recipients, potential items to knit and the yarn I hope to use.

amateurmalcontent: that's a lot

rayleen: so i'm using grape harvest right now

amateurmalcontent: for less than 3 weeks

rayleen: shut up!!

amateurmalcontent: LOL!!

rayleen: i am unemployed i have plenty of time!!!!

amateurmalcontent: do I detect a bit of yarn harlot desperation in there?

rayleen: ARGH!!!

i won't admit defeat this early!!
it's only December ____

amateurmalcontent: you have 20 days

As you can see, Faythe is not supportive at all. She's more like one of those crowd hecklers at a comedy show.

Right now I have fifteen items on my list, with 3 of them already knit. We'll see how long it takes before I start removing items from my list, much like a sinking ship throwing out heavy objects in hopes of staying afloat. We'll see how much I can get done.

Oops, I just remembered another item I promised someone. Make that 16.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


We had one of those sunny fall cold days today. The type that, after weeks of overcast days and rain, makes me run excitedly outside at the same time wishing I had worn a coat. Or shoes.

Anyway, after putting on the correct attire, I went out to take some photos of some recent knitted work when I was surprised to find purple flowers, tiny daisies and mushrooms growing in our backyard! If I didn't look at the dying zucchini and tomato plants, I'd think it was summer! Well, that and the fact I was rethinking the whole "legwarmers are stupid" idea. Brr.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving treat

I am not a big fan of the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Faythe is scandalized every time I say something like that and usually I say it just to get a rise out of her. (Most people would wonder why I want to poke a rabid animal with a stick but frankly, it's fun to watch her get all riled up, spit and thrash about wildly. This is no exaggeration. Just ask her about chicken fried steak sometime.) But this time it's true. I just do not get turkey and mashed potatoes. It doesn't seem much different from what we eat year round anyway. Well, we have chicken a lot, not turkey, but it's the same thing to me.

This year I decided to try something a little different than the boring and customary pumpkin, cream and fruit pies that are popular in my family. Enter the apple dumpling. I had no idea what it was, I had to search for it on It was there that I realized the dumpling is a glorified one apple pie. I almost didn't give it a try until Aimee reminded me of a whiskey sauce we once had on a dessert at a tea house in San Diego and I realized it just might be the thing to liven up the dish.

Apple dumpling

And it was. Oh my God. Delicious. I'm going to tweak the hodgepodge recipe a little because all the sugar in the whiskey sauce combined with the sugar in the dumpling was a little too much, but other than that, I think it's pretty good. I am going to make more this weekend for Mom's Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday (everyone had busy schedules, this worked out the best).

I know it's not that much of a stray from the usual Thanksgiving dessert, but at least for me it was enough.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cleaning the bones

Aimee and I eat meat off bones a little differently. She sucks her bones clean while I tend to leave fat, gristle, veins, (shudder) you know, that nasty stuff, behind. In fact, when I lived in San Diego, Apollo's brother Tee used to clean my chicken bones for me because I "left a lot of good stuff behind." We often joke that Aimee cleans her bones like Tee and I clean mine like "white people." I don't have a problem with that either.

Today Apollo slow cooked two game hens and some beans, resulting in a chicken bone/gristle/fat bean stew. Not my favorite. Sure, it tasted great and the meat was delicious, especially since it had cooked in broth and beans but there was some funky chicken parts in it. During dinner Aimee decided to rub it in that she sucked the vertebrae clean and even pulled what she thought was the spinal cord right out and ate it. I'm disgusted, even as I type this.

Showing me a cleaned chicken bone

Here she is with her insolent face, showing off one of her very clean bones. Somehow attempting to imply that her bone cleaning is superior to mine. Eh, little sisters. What can you do.

Friday, November 13, 2009

What's that smell?

I've noticed since I've been sick that a lot of strange body odor is emanating from certain parts of my body. Not that female parts always smell pretty but dayum, I do not want to smell cough syrup and pills every time I go to the bathroom. And my pits - don't get me started! Tonight on her way out the door, mom actually suggested I use deodorant to take care of the problem. This is coming from the person who told me tonight that horse and cow poop do not have a smell. (Namely because she is around it so much she doesn't even notice anymore.)

Thanks mom.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


This morning Apollo described my feet as green. That's what olive skin looks like, I told him and only half convinced myself, when it doesn't see sun for a while.

And it's only November.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Only a little whining

Last night was the first time I've slept through the night since November 1st. Not only have I been sick with the flu, but then my uterus decided to join the party and deplete me seemingly of a few months worth of iron and fluids. Yes, I was a joy to be around. Am a joy. Whatever.

At this point I still feel a lot of pressure on my chest, am coughing up chunks, sleep away half the day and have a very pathetic sounding voice. I don't know how anybody understands me, really. Yesterday I realized I sounded like my cousin who has done too much peyote. Sad panda.

Even though I've worn pajamas every day since the 1st, today I put on a bra but only because I expected a visit from Mom. Progress, right? At least I didn't use up both of my Costco sized boxes of tampons. See, I am optimistic.

Monkey tree and flower

Monkey tree flower

Monkey tree

Monkey tree

Sunday, November 08, 2009

What's the word?

I have a lot more tomatoes waiting to be canned but here's some of what I have completed so far. Mom cans her tomatoes whole but I cut mine in quarters, add basil, oregano, onion and roasted garlic. We've used some and it's absolutely delicious in a variety of foods: meatloaf, spaghetti, bean soup, chili and so on. We like a lot of garlic, that explains the white bits you see in the jars.

Canned tomatoes

Speaking of "jars" and "canning," a friend of mine has often teased me about the use of "canning" when food is actually preserved in jars. This has bugged me for quite a while because what he said made sense, just sounded stupid. Who jars?

Before I could learn why it was called canning and not jarring, I had to do some research on the process. Turns out, the history of canning can be traced back to Napoleon. In 1795, he offered a monetary award to the person who could come up with a way to preserve food for his army and navy. Fourteen years years later, a method of preserving food in glass bottles was discovered. Within a year, glass was replaced by cheaper, easier to make and less fragile tin or wrought-iron cans. (Unfortunately, tin openers were not invented for another thirty years and soldiers had to use their bayonets, knives or rocks to bash open the tin cans. Fail!) In 1858, the glass jar was invented by John Mason. The jar was deemed more practical for home canning than their tin counterparts because they could be used year after year.

Thus, the use of the word "canning" for a process that once used cans but now uses jars, at least for home operations.

Though some people might look at canning as an old fashioned sort of thing, it turns out canning increases in popularity during times of recession. Those who make a habit of canning food every year know they can save a lot of money by doing so. I know I have started canning a lot more, but for me it's because I live in an area where I can grow my own food or get it from someone who has grown their own. We're trying to eat organic foods that we can guarantee have not been around chemicals and home canned organic food is a lot cheaper than store bought.

So now that matter of canning vs jarring is settled, I can get back to a worry free use of the word "canning" and finish up the rest of the tomatoes I have left. More photos to follow, I am sure.

Friday, November 06, 2009


I recently had the pleasure of test knitting Psychedelia for Melissa Goodale over at Stick Chick Knits. It's a great pattern with two options for the foot: either carry the pattern down the top of the foot or with the design shown below. It's rather unique, I haven't seen anything like this on a sock.

I just love the little details, like how the ribbing in the cuff works right into the pattern of the leg and then how the lines in the leg flow right into the heel.

When not worn, the lines in the pattern have soft curves. But when the sock is on, the yarn overs pop and the lines turn create an angular zig-zag affect.

I haven't finished the second sock yet, but Melissa just released the pattern and I wanted to send some good vibes her way. Don't you think Psychedelia would be a great one to add to your list for Christmas gifts?





Thursday, November 05, 2009

H1N1 in cats

Oh no! There is a confirmed case of a cat catching H1N1 from a human. I'm sick and someone close to me. who has experience with such things, thinks I may have H1N1, though there's a good chance it's something else. Of course, I'm rooting for "something else." Meanwhile, I'll have to be careful around my kitties.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Did you know...

...that only 5% of American clothing is made in the US? I watched a special about the decline of the garment industry on HBO and am fascinated by these figures:

1965 - 95% of American clothing made in the US.

1975 - 80% "

1985 - 70% "

1995 - 50% "

2009 - 5% "

It would be interesting to see how many jobs that would belong to Americans are now in other countries. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for sharing the wealth but after my entire department was hired out to a foreign country and all my coworkers are unable to find jobs and with the economic climate we're in, it seems outsourcing should be more closely moderated.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Garlic is in the ground

Last year I planted the garlic in January, a couple months too late. The garlic turned out OK, but I don't think they were fully developed or as big as they could have been. I also used store garlic and later learned that was a no-no too. This time I bought seed garlic from a local nursery, a softneck California variety and a hardneck Spanish Roja. The Spanish Roja is supposed to be hotter but harder to grow. Hopefully all will go well.

Rather than plant them in rows in the old existing garden, I decided to use one of the raised beds and covered them with a layer of leaf mulch. These beds are awesome. I don't see myself using anything other than raised garden beds from here on out. It's easy to control the weeds, easy to get to the vegetables, great for fertilizing a controlled area and they drain nicely.

Garlic bed

I'm still getting zucchini, though they're growing slower. And the tomato plants, though we picked all the green tomatoes several weeks ago, are producing more green tomatoes. They just won't quit!

Still producing zucchini

Some of the plants look a little funky, but they're still going about their business. I still have a bunch of carrots in the ground too. I am planning on blanching and then freezing them.

I love my garden!

Monday, November 02, 2009

One year anniversary

One year ago today sometime in the evening, we drove in our driveway with our car packed with whatever we couldn't ship up, one angry ninja cat and one wide eyed shedding cat. Yep, our first day in Oregon! We were exhausted and covered with cat hair and scratches. It was so good to reach our destination.

I haven't really accomplished much over the past year. Sad to say. Ah well, must get back to cleaning up the bedroom!

Restroom sign

I saw this sign in a restroom at the Salem Pavilion. I couldn't help but wonder what has happened that required them to specify these items? Are people really trying to flush bottles?

Bathroom sign

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Mystery Sock

We've had a few blustery days recently resulting in leaves everywhere. Knitting fits in naturally with the cooler weather and I've been making the most of it. This last month I've been working on a mystery sock written by Kristen Kapur, each section released over the last month at Through the Loops.

Through the Loops Mystery Sock 2009

You never know how a mystery sock will turn out. For example, the sock starts out with some straight lines and then changes to something completely different.

Through the Loops Mystery Sock 2009

One thing that makes this pattern unique from others I've knit is how the design goes down the side and then travels over to the top of the sock. It then turns into what looks like a couple leaves on top of the toe. I love how the decreases in the leaf pattern takes the place of some of the usual decreases in the toe. Overall, a satisfying project and I'm glad I took part.

Through the Loops Mystery Sock 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

My Aunt's house burned down tonight.

I was going to tell you about a concert I went to tonight. But on my way home, I learned Elaine's house burned down. I feel horrible, I love her so much and I know she's going through a lot of pain. My heart is broken knowing this has happened to her. Her husband died ten years ago in December, so she already suffers from depression this time of year. All her photographic memories of him and her son (who is now 15) were burned up, along with her two cats and everything she owned. She's really upset, mostly in shock. Of course, things could have been worse but thankfully they were gone when it happened. And I just learned that her farmhouse wasn't even insured because of its location.

Please, get your house insured if it isn't already or check to make sure your insurance covers even the unlikeliest of situations. Get a fire proof safe and use it. Come up with a fire plan. And have your home inspected for potential fire hazards, like old wiring.

So sad.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What the??

I was sitting outside on Mom's front porch while she was taking a phone call when I heard her say, "Yeah, that's the spot." I looked inside to see what she was talking about when I saw this:

Apollo * sigh * massaging Mom's feet

I kid you not. Apollo massaging Mom's feet with lotion! I was shocked! After I picked up my chin, I took a photo so I could preserve evidence of Apollo's sucking up.

Apollo pointed out to me later that he had to wear gloves because "Mom's feet were hurting me."
I really don't know what to say.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

First pumpkin

Having grown up in a religion that doesn't allow celebrating holidays, I have never carved a pumpkin. Until now!

We invited our neighbors Niki and James over to carve pumpkins. Because I was new at it, Apollo and I carved our pumpkin together. Ours is the one on top, Niki carved the one on the left and James the one on the right. I couldn't believe how easy it was! We have another pumpkin and I'm thinking of buying a third one so we can cut away without having to share.

The only bad thing about carving the pumpkin is it made me crave pumpkin pie!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Autumn colors with Hazel Knits Sock Club spoiler

The trees are turning red, orange and yellow, putting on quite a show. I'm still surprised at the beauty just outside our living room window. You miss out on this kind of stuff in So Cal.

I took these about a week ago and already the tree's have changed quite a bit. By the way, this is the Snowball tree which I blogged about last April.

Turning red

Check out that spider cleverly hiding from rain drops under a curved leaf!

Smart spider

It was sprinkling while I took these photos and I was running around outside barefoot. I thought that meant I was acclimated to the temperatures until my neighbors kept complaining about how hot it was in the house while I felt chilled. I guess it's going to be another cold winter for me.

More autumn colors showed up in my mailbox recently. Check out these beauties.

Hazel Knits Fall 2009 Sock Club

They're from the Hazel Knits Fall Sock Club shipment. Path to the Peaks and Cascade Canopy, perfect for the season.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Two ways yarn made me smile today

  • Yesterday, the website contacted me and asked if I would be willing to share a photo of one of my hats with them. A hat specifically designed by Jared Flood aka Brooklyntweed to go along with an article written about him on their site. Of course, I am honored to share! They put up the photo today with all the other beautiful Brooklyntweed projects. Don't forget to check the Spotlight section to read about Jared! (I need to find that hat too because I'm either going to pick up stitches on the brim and add on to the ribbing, or I'm going to rip it out and lengthen the ribbing and then knit the cables all over again. I know. Crazy.)

  • Today we purchased a rather large item (OK look I am on a budget and had to buy a 5 piece dining set that came in a huge box and we had to put everything together ourselves) and after cramming it in its huge box into the trunk, realized we needed some rope or something to tie down the trunk lid. Apollo almost went inside the store buy some bungee cords when I thought, surely I must have yarn in my purse that would work just as well! After some rummaging, I found the leg of a dinosaur I had knit, ripped it apart and gave it to Apollo (who wasn't phased by this) to make the appropriate tie down. Who would have thought a knitted dinosaur leg would come in handy! Also, I don't know why a dinosaur leg was in my purse.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

One sock short

So about a month ago I started a pair of plain old stockinette socks for myself. There's something comforting about stockinette socks. Simple and functional. Plus they're extra mobile because they don't require a pattern and I can knit on them when at Mom's (with low light conditions and Cops or Queer Eye blaring on TV while she cackles and then spoils the ending because she has already seen this episode), at the theater, waiting for gas, etc.

I made it to the toe of both socks and decided to tweak the heels and experiment with the foot length, so I ripped one of them back to the leg and started over. Meanwhile, other projects got my attention and I put the socks aside.

Yesterday I grabbed one of the socks and completed it. But when I looked for the second sock, it was no where to be seen. I looked everywhere. Even strange places like in cat beds, the freezer, the litter box, etc. Still no sock.

I started to doubt that the second sock even existed. Even though I clearly remembered knitting it. And even though I had obviously used two socks worth of yarn. I thought I was losing my mind.

Thankfully, I checked my projects notebook on Ravelry and saw where I mentioned a pair of socks so I am now confident that the second sock does indeed exist, that little bastard.

Now I have to decide, should I knit a third sock? Or do wait for the second sock to show up and continue to walk around the house with just one sock on while Apollo gives me The Look? And what is a group of three socks called, if two is called a pair?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mom's obsession

My mom is obsessed with firewood. She not only collects it for herself, but for us, my aunt and grandma. After a storm she drives through the mountains on isolated gravel roads, the kind with bear and elk poop on them, looking for windfalls. After she finds one she contacts the Forest Service, or whomever the tree technically belongs to, and gets the appropriate permits. Once when we helped carry off partially cut wood chunks, we had to drive 20 minutes into the mountains to find the downed tree. She is serious about her tree hunting.

She also gleans trees from logging sites. This last time, her stepson was nice enough to leave some of the smaller trees unharvestable trees behind for her.

James and Mom

This last time, my cousin James helped out by sawing up the wood. I don't remember how many truck loads we got out of this, but it took several hours to cut, load, haul to Moms and then unload.

Logging site

That tiny man is Apollo standing next to giant piles of brush waiting to be burned so the area can be replanted with trees. After replanting, the trees can be logged again in about 50 years. Renewable resources are awesome. And look, small plants are already starting to grow under the mess!


This is one thing I missed about Oregon: huckleberries! As kids we used to pick wild fruit and plants to eat while playing in the woods. Gone are the days of exploring the wilderness and enjoying edible fruits of the land, now we glean fallen trees. All. Year. Long.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October and still getting veggies from the garden!

We expected frost almost two weeks ago, so Apollo and I picked half of our tomato plants clean of green tomatoes, then decided to risk it and covered the rest of the plants with plastic. Turns out they're OK and slowly ripening on the vine. I have to keep an eye on them though because all the rain we're getting is making them split.

Meanwhile, I put all the green tomatoes in paper bags with a banana and have been waiting to see if they would actually ripen.

Brown bag tomatoes

And look, they did! This is just some of the tomatoes, I have quite a few green ones left. Yesterday I used these, along with a few I picked from the garden, to can four quarts of stewed tomatoes (with garlic and onions). Today got eight more tomatoes out of the bags and roasted them for an impromptu zucchini (yep, still getting them too), pesto, garlic and pasta dish. It was delicious!

I also have carrots still in my raised beds. I've heard I can leave them there, even through frost. I'm not sure if that's true but I guess we'll find out. I pulled up a couple handfuls and a few that were growing kind of funky. Turns out those planting instructions on the seed packets are there for a reason. Next year I'll give them a little more space. Fortunately their shape doesn't affect taste!

Too close for comfort

Meanwhile I'm already planning what to grow next year. I definitely need garlic and onions for my stewed tomatoes. Which reminds me, I'm hoping to put garlic seed in the ground sometime in the next couple weeks!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's time for a change and other miscellaney tidbits

I've had a lot to say lately but have either been busy, depressed or crazy so I haven't quite had the blogging mojo I needed to post something here. Apollo has been driving me to talk in Ebonics while doing the chicken neck and pointing my finger at him. (Also, blogger just corrected me, apparently Ebonics is capitalized. Why??) Mom is simultaneously driving me to the brink of The Crazies and making me want to knit her a complicated heirloom at the same time. An uncle asked me to list an overpriced collectible vehicle on Craigslist and provideds me with photos that include dog tags with his SSN, full name and birth date hanging from a mirror and dried up mud on the floor. A cousin who just bought a trailer for $500 with her husband and lacks the intellect to work in a bakery at a grocery store and is now on probation in her new position as grocery bagger finds herself four months pregnant, though she "had a miscarriage two months ago." I'm excited about this contribution to the gene pool and other fun familyisms and find myself wanting to make a change to my blog. Details to ensue.

I'm also in the process of canning stewed tomato sauce and have decided to blanch cherry tomatoes and add them to the bowl of waiting peeled tomatoes. I assume some swearing may be involved during the peeling process.

In other news, I have been issued a 4 week extension on my unemployment so I can go wild and buy some groceries.* Sweet.

*Enough yarn to make some hippy socks may make the cut as well. I KNOW. Hippy socks!! That's what this town is doing to me!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Oh, poor Apollo. That poor man. *eye roll*

Being a person of no employment, my yarn intake has dropped sharply. And even though I have a healthy stash, I couldn't find exactly what I needed for a last minute pair of birthday socks for Mom. I wanted something that I could knit quickly (stockinette) but had some sort of pattern, like a self striping yarn. So I decided to head to Joann Fabric's to see what they had for just a few dollars.

First, I was really surprised at all the sock yarns at JF's. Just off the top of my head, I'd say they had at least four different self striping brands. I decided to try out Premier Serenity Sock Weight in Indigo from the Deborah Norville collection. Being on a budget, I was able to convince Apollo to use a coupon and purchase one ball of yarn while I purchased the other. We both paid a little over $2.50 each. (The Joann Fabrics here in Springfield is real friendly and helpful with coupons and such when you don't have one, unlike the stores we frequented in San Diego. You can ask Apollo about The Great Coupon Incident of '04 if you'd like to hear a good story involving one of their CSR's, a printed coupon, the flu and myself. There may have been some chicken necking involved. Apollo was NO help. And while he says he was afraid of me and knew I could take care of myself, I still hold his stepping away against him.)

The funny thing about Apollo shopping with me is he acts embarrassed about it. (And I'm not talking about tampons which, after those first couple years where he wrapped them in newspaper, he now buys without issue.) The normal guy would hide the item of "shame" so nobody sees it. However, Apollo always flaunts the item and whines to any woman within ear shot of how he's being forced to be seen in public with it. Then they engage in a teasing discussion about "how it looks good on you" or "but you look like a knitter." He acts shocked and gives them the, "don't you feel sorry for me?" spiel to which they give no sympathy, laugh and walk away. We then bump into them several times during the shopping experience and he holds the offending item up and giggles and they giggle back, with some sort of quip related to him doing a good job. Seriously, it never fails. Once I was in a dressing room trying on clothes and I heard some sort of boistrous laughter outside. I stopped and listened closely, realizing he was crying to some women about the tank tops he was forced to hold and how he was so tired from all the shopping and really would like to be outside grilling some food or watching football, blah blah blah. And this is why I don't feel bad taking him shopping because I know he basks in the attention.

Anyway, so I furiously knit both socks over the period of a few days (though I technically knit three but frogged one out because the leg wasn't long enough, even though days ago Mom had just asked me to knit shorter legs) and with aching pre-arthritic hands, give them a wash as usual. Normally I do this just to get dirt, oils, cat slobber, etc out of them but also because I like to block all my socks before I give them away. The strange thing is, as soon as I put the socks in water and added Soak, the socks started to bleed. A lot!

Serenity: during wash

I know some yarn bleeds but I was shocked at the intensity of the dye (this photo does not give it justice) and how long it took me to rinse the socks until the water ran clean. None of the other yarns I've used have done this. But I guess that's what happens when you buy cheap yarn. I had almost given them to Mom without a wash (because I really don't care for the design of the yarn pattern and just wanted to put them away) but I'm glad I did this time. I would have felt bad if they bled all over her clothes. Granted, hand knits should be washed separately but Mom lives on a farm. Nothing gets special treatment at Moms. (Last week I hung her clothes on the line to dry and found hay stuck in some of her hand knit socks. I didn't ask any questions, I don't want to know.)

Alrighty then. Just wanted to warn people out there! Don't forget to wash your yarny goodness! (And do get your man to buy yarn for you and do ignore the whining. He probably secretly enjoys the attention. Or at least you can tell yourself that.)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Cooler temperatures

After Aimee threatened to take away the air conditioning unit she loaned us, Apollo finally decided to install it in one of the two windows it would fit in. (Of course, it's now only 88 degree's Fahrenheit outside.) We decided on the kitchen window, since using the dining room window also meant we wouldn't be able to open the front door and we rather like using that door.

I was hoping it would get put in earlier and for some reason I was acting all helpless female, so we missed it during the heat wave last week. I guess that's what happens when extreme laziness sets in.

Meanwhile, the cats were panting and inventing new ways to keep cool, like laying with their legs up against the walls and all legs splayed out with tummies flattened on the floor. At one point, I started petting Zoe with my soda can that I had just retrieved from the fridge. She didn't seem to mind, so I laid it next to her on the couch. She ended up leaning up against it, laying her chin on it and finally stretching near it for about 30 minutes. She is truly the princess of the house, why else would she wear a pink bow with sparkles?

Zoe cooling off with a can of cold soda

Speaking of the heat, we haven't cooked in the house for quite a while now. Apollo's been taking the opportunity to grill outside every night. He got a Coleman grill for his birthday in July and it's definitely come in handy. The cool thing about it is it comes apart from the legs so you can easily take it places. We've already taken it on a 4th of July outing to Triangle Lake and Mom's potluck. He was gifted an extra grill for it since one half of the existing unit came with a flat cast iron griddle. I just love that you can buy accessories like that. The only bad (or good) part about it is it uses those tiny Coleman propane fuel tanks and they burn out unexpectedly or sooner than one would like. (However, they aid in the portability.) Fortunately, there's an adaptor that will allow us to hook up a larger sized tank. I'm fairly certain Apollo will be buying one of those soon.

The grill isn't one of those ginormous types that take up as much room as a small sofa, which seems that's all you see in stores, but Apollo had been admiring this one because of its decent grill area and portability. I was shocked he wanted (you wouldn't believe the whining) a gas grill since he had always belittled them and said something about getting his Black Man card revoked if he used one. But it's definitely welcome in this heat when we don't want to sit around and wait for hot coals to get ready to cook on. Plus I don't think anyone will question his ethnicity, definitely not here in Oregon. (Once in San Diego while we were hanging out in Balboa park, a tourist asked him if he was Mexican. Ha!)

Apollo grilling zucchini and potatoes fresh from the garden

Last night we had fresh potatoes and zucchini from the garden along with chicken breasts marinated with Thai seasoning. Who would have thought grilled veggies could taste so good? I haven't had potatoes in ages because I grew up eating them with butter and gravy and didn't know any other way to eat them. And since I'm not eating that much fat now, potatoes just didn't have a place in our kitchen. But I decided to try growing them in the garden because it seemed sacrilegious to not include them. I surprised at how good a fresh potato tastes! Apollo coats them with a little olive oil and seasoning and that's it. I think that's what he's doing with the zucchini too, which I didn't know I'd enjoy so much. I try to have them every night now.

Well, the AC unit kicked off. Zoe is running around like a crazy monkey and Simba is biting the curtain. They're finally acting like themselves again now that it's a little cooler in the house. I wonder what August has in store for us?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hot. Can't think clearly. Notes:

  • I can't believe how hot it's gotten this week. Sure, I love me some warm weather, but 105degree's is a little high! My neighbors showed me a fun place to swim in the McKenzie river, thankfully. We spent some time cooling off there today. We're planning on going back tomorrow since it's supposed to get even hotter.

  • I feel bad for the cats, they drape their little bodies all over the furniture, on the floor, up against the walls, etc. I dipped Simba's paws in cool water a couple times. He wasn't too excited about that, as I'm sure you've guessed, but he came back to me for loves so I guess it wasn't that traumatic. Any ideas on how I can keep them cool? They have two water bowls that we occasionally drop ice into.

  • We bought one of those intake/exhaust fans tonight in hopes it would get some of the heat out of the house. The past couple mornings, it's been warmer in the house at 8am then it was outside. Short of installing an AC unit, I hope this does the trick. We're thinking of sleeping in the living room so we can leave all the windows and screen door open and hopefully air the place out.

  • I've finally gotten to the point where I don't mind going bra-less. It's taken nine months of living in redneck/hippy town and it's finally gotten to me. Either that or it's too hot. Or maybe it's the hot weather tops I've been wearing that heave neat built in bra's in them. I've also started wearing more clingy clothes which show off my fat. I'm too hot to care.

  • My bad ankle keeps popping in the back part of my foot/heel area. It hurts like hell with every pop. It's been doing this three or four times a day since the weather heated up.

  • Am running the laptop on battery only since it dims the screen and these stupid flying bugs aren't attracted to it that way. If I leave it plugged in, I get pelted with bugs flying in my face.

  • When visiting Mom a few weeks ago, I tried some of her Suave shampoo. My hair was amazingly soft and shiny! Even my Aunt Elaine commented about how shiny it was. So I bought more tonight, the coconut stuff. I hope it turns into a good thing, 'cause it's so cheap!

  • It's after midnight and 90 degree's inside.
  • Saturday, July 25, 2009

    Finally bought a charger only to lose my camera!

    I feel like I have nothing interesting to say if I can't upload photos. Of course, that means as soon as Apollo lost my charger, I was lost once my camera drained its batteries. I finally gave in and bought a new charger (surprisingly expensive) and then lost my camera! I found it today in a Safeway bag by the trash. That was a disaster waiting to happen! Anyway, I was finally able to take some photos and upload them today. I have a lot to show you, so please bear with me!

    Today I harvested something new from my little garden. Potatoes! Aren't they just gorgeous?

    Fresh potatoes

    I don't remember what they're called, but I bought the red ones as seed potatoes from Jerry's (a local hardware store) and the yellow ones are from potatoes that Aimee and I purchased as food and then decided to see what happened if we planted them.

    Fresh potatoes

    We grilled them up tonight, along with some zucchini, beef steaks and pork chops. Which reminds me, did you know chicken fried steak isn't chicken?? Apparently it's not pork either, which is what I was told. I don't know why they just don't call it "fried steak." It's not REALLY cooked like fried chicken! I've never seen steak floating in oil or grease like chicken, have you?! Although, with this rational I could have called our grilled potatoes "grilled chicken potatoes" or "grilled zucchini potatoes" or even "grilled onion potatoes" since all those things are cooked the same. See? Its just not rational!

    Upon further research, I would like to point out that some people actually DO cook chicken fried CHICKEN, as noted here on Wiki. And there is a reference to the use of pork! HA! I WIN! Faythe, you might want to be careful, as to not flail around and hurt yourself even more while typing your retort! (Faythe hurt herself in the car while flailing around in what appeared to have been a partial karate move while I was driving. We had been arguing intermittently all the way down the Oregon coast and into the valley about chicken fried steak, how it's cooked and the kind of meat used to make it. Apparently Faythe is ok with our getting into a car accident if it means her point is made.)

    Grilling fresh from the soil potatoes

    The potatoes reminded me a little of the colors in Hazel Knits Fireberry. After I wrap up a couple other projects, I'll get back to this sock pattern. I think it's pretty cool so far, I love how the stitches lay at an angle.


    I let a couple zucchini's get too big but the neighbors were happy to take them. I'm sure they'll make fabulous zucchini bread! These are my first crooked neck squash, too.


    This is what I'm looking forward to:

    Pattypan squash

    Flying saucer squash aka pattypan squash aka scallop squash aka white squash! No matter what you call it, I call them delicious! These just started growing. I can't wait to start eating them!

    Pattypan squash

    Apollo and Andrew spent some time exchanging stories while I looked for spiders to photograph, it didn't take long to find them.

    Apollo and Drew chatting it up

    I just pulled the last of the lettuce today, hence all the dirt and holes in the raised bed in the foreground. You would not believe all the snails and bugs that freaked out when the lettuce was pulled! It was pretty disgusting.

    In the raised beds in the last photo you can see collard greens, zucchini, squash, tomato and brussel sprouts. I'm not sure if the brussel sprouts are going to work out, there's quite a few bugs on them already and no sprouts yet.

    That's our pool in the background. It's awesome! It's about 30 inches deep, just right for sitting in up to your shoulders while the pool boy (Apollo) brings tea and scoops out bugs while you point at the bugs he's missed. Our pool boy has put up with a lot of abuse. Especially when Faythe was here... demands for Mai Tai's and other luxuries were made frequently but largely ignored. Probably a good thing too, or the pool boy would have been in a lot of trouble, what with the three potentially drunken belligerent women he'd have on his hands.

    Speaking of pools, I never realized how much upkeep it would require but after almost a month, I'm now getting accustomed to adding chlorine, algae killer and other stabilizers almost every day. It's totally worth it too since we've had weather in the 90's and expect it to get up to 100 this week.

    We have quite a few spiders out in our garden area. Consequently, Aimee can't go near it, considering she is in a lifelong battle with them. (Aimee, you might want to stop reading now.) There's quite a few gorgeous spiders out there too. I don't mind them as long as they don't touch me. I would have gotten better photos but I had this inane fear the spiders would leap onto my hands while photographing them. *shivers*

    Spider near collards

    I have no idea what they're called, but aren't they beautiful? You know, as long as they stay in their web and off me. I just want to make that clear, for the spiders sake.


    Wednesday, July 08, 2009

    I see your peed-my-pants story and I raise you a crap-in-the-pants story!

    Faythe recently told an embarrassing story about peeing her pants. Not to be outdone, I decided to share my most recent embarassing story.

    See, Apollo has always been a polite, proper kind of guy. It's unusual for him to fart or burp in front of people. Even when you've known him for years and years, he still rarely does these things. Until he met James our neighbor and his new BFF.

    James is a pretty manly guy. He adjusts his balls while talking to you, spits big loogies all over, blows his nose while one finger presses one nostril closed allowing the other nostril to empty out on the street, etc. A couple weeks ago, he jumped in the air and farted on a little kid innocently pedaling by on his bicycle. (I can still hear the kid saying, "Ewwwww!" as he hurridly rode off.) Classic man behavior. Now that Apollo is hanging out with James, he's starting to catch on to some of this disgustingness. Especially after spending a week with James doing some yardwork at his parents, well let's just say that within 20 minutes of his return home, Apollo squated and farted right in front of us all. And then he looked at us with that, "How you like that!" look.

    So there has been a lot of farting and burping going on around here, especially since we are all eating a ton of fiber. Oh, and then there's the contributing factor of Aimee bringing a poop story home from work (at the hospital) and into every single conversation. (For whatever reasons, poop stories always surface when Aimee's around.)

    A few days ago at Target I thought I was going to be able to ease one out quietly but to my dismay, I did quite the opposite. Like any experienced public gasser, I loudly said, "Apollo!" and scrambled quickly around the corner. Apollo was left standing there with his mouth open (fool!!) and a lady staring at him. Needless to say, he didn't trust me much after that and it took some coaxing to get him to stand near me for the duration of our shopping trip.

    Which brings me to my final story. We're sitting at the table and I lean over to let one out in a challenge to Apollo (because I had already bested him in burping, ain't I the little lady?) and farted.

    Or so I thought.

    I'll try to spare you the details but, let's just say it sounded like blowing bubbles in gravy. Thick gravy. I know! Disgusting! Also? Pooping your pants smells nothing like a fart.

    Apollo looked at me, rather unsurprised I might add, and said, "That's what you get!" He later told me he felt vindicated over the whole incident at Target.

    So there Faythe. I share your shame with the world.

    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    The best gifts EVER

    I don't know if I mentioned it, but Apollo was gone for an entire month recently. He took a trip to San Diego, then to Houston and Louisiana and then back to San Diego. He got back last week and good thing too, it was getting awfully quiet around here. Also, the back yard needed to be mowed something fierce (the neighbors took care of our front yard according to prior arrangement with Apollo). The cats were beginning to crowd me on the couch and follow my every move. Plus, I wasn't ready to give in to their nightly demands of special food that Apollo always gives them. And then there's the issue of the whole neighborhood constantly asking me when he was coming back. (Seriously, it's like we had a celebrity in town the first several days he was home!)

    In the fifteen minutes it took me to drive to our tiny two terminal airport (complete with sheep grazing on the other side of the air strip), he had already picked up his luggage and was waiting for me at the curb. I love small airports! And totally the extra $100 we had to pay for flying out of this airport versus an International airport a couple hours away. I'll pay $100 any day to avoid driving in Portland's traffic just to get someone to their flight on time or bring them home after a long trip.

    While unpacking, Apollo surprised me with three frozen bundles wrapped in foil and plastic bags. Get this...frozen carne asada's straight from Saguaro's! He bought and froze them the night before his trip back home and then tucked them deep into his luggage for the flight. After heating them up in the oven, he, Aimee and I had a delicious dinner straight from our own favorite Mexican restaurant in San Diego.

    It was outstanding. I think I'm going to do this every time we go to San Diego or have a guest who visits us from the south!

    Keep that in mind people!

    Tuesday, June 09, 2009

    Signs I am losing my mind

    After a night filled with cat fighting, playing, getting into things, walking on loud things, walking on me, jumping from windows (and possibly the refrigerator, from the sounds of it), meowing in the empty room creating loud echoing, barfing sounds, cabinets slamming repeatedly, and cats launching off me, I have finally succumbed to what may be called "the crazies."

    So far I've managed to keep the cats awake all morning, though they are now grouchy and are hissing and growling at each other as I type.

    I've also been doing the, "Ha ha, You're Awake How's it Feel," dance every time they try to doze off and I wake them up with kisses and hugs.

    There has also been a lot of cackling by me in their direction.

    Also, I caught myself signing to Simba. Zoe got mad because Simba came over to me to get pet and she ran off like a little monkey (we call them monkeys when they scamper with their tails curled). I signed, "She's a mad monkey," to Simba. I know!!

    And then I found an old man hair in my eyebrow!

    Sunday, June 07, 2009


    I finally got a photo of my latest socks on the lettuce bed. I thought the green would make the peach socks pop and boy did it! I used Hazel Knits Artisan Sock in Sanguine Peach with Sock Knitters Anonymous May Mystery Sock, Kiila (Rav link). It was my first toe up sock. They're going into my Christmas bin for an unknown recipient.


    The cable and cuff was knit through the back loop and created a nice defined stitch. I ended up casting off in pattern while using two needles in my right hand, one in my left to avoid a too tight cast off edge. It was a little uncomfortable but well worth it.


    The pattern is of Finish design and only available until June 8th. If you're interested, be sure to get it from Ravelry while you can.


    Saturday, June 06, 2009

    Raised beds almost out of control

    So it seems those instructions on the back of the seed packets were there for a reason. Who knew? In this first photo, the radishes are trying to kill the carrots (bottom left), the broccoli won't stop flowering, the collards are also flowering and one got so heavy it fell over. There's also brussel sprouts, tomato and a basil plant in this box. Good luck finding them.

    Raised bed

    To the right of that box is our strawberry bed. It's in a box but hasn't been raised yet. We're waiting until the strawberries are done producing fruit before we dig them up. A snake lives in the strawberry bed, he's a cutie pie.

    Raised beds out of control

    Next is a box of zucchini, more tomatoes, a cilantro plant that exploded, some peppers that are still itty bitty and two different kinds of squash. I'm worried the zucchini will take over and end up spilling into the lawn. How do square foot gardeners make this work??

    Last is my box full of lettuce, spinach and collards. It's an understatement to say the lettuce has gotten out of control. Well, the spinach too. Unfortunately I don't like spinach or collards so Aimee and Apollo better get to eating!!

    Raised beds

    We have another garden area but I'm saving that for another day. The weeds are a bit embarrassing.