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