Archive for January, 2009

Ice storms and vampires

Hello.

I am posting from a Dunkin’ Donuts because I DON”T HAVE POWER AT MY HOUSE AND IT IS LIKE ZERO DEGREES OUTSIDE. As an Alabamian, I am not cut out for ridiculously stupid things like snow and ice storms.

I was just beginning to like you, Kentucky, and think that I could endure your winters – then you went and did this. I am very upset. Thankfully, we have lots of nice friends who are letting us live with them until we get our power back on (thank you, David and Jillian).

However, the ice storm has allowed me to miss school for a whole week and to finish book # 3 of the year!

Book # 3

The Dead Girls Dance: Morganville Vampires – Rachel Caine

More vampires, more people running for their life, more dark alleys – I love it. That’s all I have to say.

“I vant to suck your blood.”

I have a paper due this week. It should be written by now. Donnie encouraged me to take a break (“Raven, could you please take a shower?”) in order to get me over my writer’s block.

I followed his advice (about the break, but not the shower). Instead, I have read an entire vampire book today.

Good work, Raven.

Book # 2

Glass Houses: The Morganville Vampires – Rachel Caine

vampires3

I know that a lot of people are into vampires right now, specifically in the form of the Twilight books. I haven’t read them yet, so I have nothing to say about them (except that I do not want to be a vampire like my Sister-Woman does). I have been introduced to the vampire genre by my friend A.O.* She has read Twilight and says these books are better.

This book was good, but in a scary, vampire-y, people running for their lives, fangy kind of way. This is the first book in the Morganville Vampire series and I think I will continue reading unless I get too scared.

I give Rachel a “B” for this book.

* My friend A.O. recommended a scary book to me last year too. It was about a girl who saw dead people in her basement. Now, I am afraid to go into my basement and poor Donnie does all the laundry.

What Raven is reading…

Hello, Internet.
It’s me, Raven. I’m back. I know you thought that I was never ever coming back, but here I am. I have been away because being in a doctoral program has not been conducive to me being able to knit, sew, crochet (I’m learning), cook, or clean my house (sorry, husband).

Instead, I have decided to start posting about every book I read this year. I tried to do this last year by recording all of my readings in a spiral notebook, but in our move it was lost (this was in August). I was devastated because I love, love, love making lists – and this was a great list. It makes me think that when I have children I’ll make a list of every single book they ever read and give it to them as a present. This might just confirm for them that they have a crazy mother.

Book # 1

The Name of the Rose – Umberto Econameoftherose2

This book was recommended to me by my friend J.P.* He said it was great, but it was slow. He was right about the slow part. The story was good – monks, abbeys, murder, heresy, etc., but there were way too many philosophical and historical conversations that took up the majority of the book. I kept thinking, “Shut up, let someone else get murdered!”

Overall, I would give Umberto a “C” for this book.

*This friend was also the friend (along with K.P.) who recommended Flannery O’Connor and said she was the best thing since sliced bread. They were both WRONG. She was not the best thing since sliced bread, she was the worst thing since sliced bread.

Note to self – be cautious about the book recommendations of J.P. and K.P.

He always knows just the right thing to say…

I took an accidental blogging hiatus last week.  Oopsy.  Last week felt sort of like a time warp to me—it seemed so long, but, looking back, I got absolutely nothing done at work or at home.  So then last night, I was lying in bed having a minor anxiety attack about all the things I procrastinated last week and thus must be addressed this week.  I finally fell asleep after deciding that I would do better this week and, indeed this morning I was super-motivated, but then work was delayed an hour because of snow, so I lost my flow before I even made it out the door.  Oh well, maybe next week. 

 

By the way, while I was roiling with worry last night, David and I had a lovely discussion about my habit of picking at things (you know, labels, stickers, gunk, door jambs, laminate, the coffee table, pencil erasers…IT’S TOTALLY NORMAL) and he decided that I might have a psychological problem, but then we had this exchange:

 

Me: Well, it could be worse—I could be picking at… (pause while I try to think of the worst thing to pick at)

 

David: Baby eyes?

 

See?  It could always be worse.

 

Over the weekend, David and I made the trek to Ohio to visit my family because we heard that Ellie is all smiley and cute and can actually focus her eyes and react to stimuli.  I know, she’s a genius already, just like her auntie.  Plus, I had to get the baby blanket to her.  We were lucky enough to be home while Mom cleaned out the cookbook cabinet and I was the fortunate recipient of six or seven old and new-ish ones! 

 cookbooks

My two favorites are “Praise for the Cook” and “Country Cookin’: Written for lovers of low country cooking” which features recipes for drop biscuits and wart removers.  Both essential in their own way.  The Praise for the Cook book has the most charming illustrations, although I do find them sort of sexist, if not totally misogynistic.  Still, though. 

 

spread

Oh, and what’s that lovely backdrop to the photo of the books?  It is my new birthday quilt!! I will review all the awesome birthday gifts (including the sampler pattern that Raven designed–a classic already) in a later post, but suffice it to say, it was my best birthday EVER.

If you want to destroy my sweater…I’ll hate you forever.

My knitting has come a long way in the past year or so and I just want to bask in that for a little while. 

 

So now that I’m an awesome knitter, I’m making a sweater.  “A baby sweater?” you ask. No, Internet, not a baby sweater.  A real live grown-up sweater. Well almost.  You see, I have some issues with gauge.  I start out really tight, but then my finger gets tired, so I loosen up, then I feel like a bad knitter and tighten back again, lather, rinse, repeat.  Due to this little hang-up, I would have to knit, oh about 7 sleeves before getting two that matched, and there would be a lot of swearing and possibly tearing up during that process.  So to avoid all that heartache, I am knitting a sweater vest!  See what a genius I am?  A sweater with NO PROBLEMATIC SLEEVES!  Ha!

 

Won’t that be so cute over EVERYTHING??  I have waited to share this project with you because I wasn’t sure if it would induce my hyperfocus powers, but I have already finished the back and I’m still going strong, so I’m pretty confident that this Work-In-Progress is destined to become a Finished Object. 

 

In other news, I knitted a waffley thermal hat for David out of that olive green Malabrigo.  I actually reminisced about this yarn just now, that’s how splendid it is.  We had a passionate knitting love affair, involving a great deal of stupid grinning and heavy petting.  The hat is so incredibly soft that David has to remind me that rubbing it all over my face while out in public is maybe not as socially acceptable as I apparently thought it was.  Go figure.

 

In other other news, I am currently knitting another hat in a different, much less cushy yarn for a friend’s birthday.  Yarn that I do not have any sort of crush on.  I chose this pattern for its nifty decreases at the crown—hope it turns out!  This particular friend is sort of obsessed with All Things French, so we will be making him Ratatouille.  My knowledge of Ratatouille is limited to what was covered in the cartoon movie, so unless I am guided by an overweight CGI French chef ghost, we’ll have to find a more credible recipe somewhere else.

Let’s try Potpourri for $600, Alex

If you are reading this, you made it through the holidays!  Give yourself a pat on the back.  Now go back to work. 

 

In the interest of starting 2009 out on the right foot, I must confess that I cheated on some of my New Year’s Resolutions.  Most of those items were already In The Works, so it really didn’t take any fresh resolve at all.  I’m pretty much relying on inertia to help me follow through.  I am not one to dismiss resolve just because it came a couple days early, so here are my checked off New Year’s Resolutions:

 

#1. Knit a Blanket.  Done, 1/4/2009

 blanket

I finished the Carseat Blanket from Ravelry and wove in the ends just last night.  My sister gave me some Vanna’s Choice yarn for Christmas, so I will basically be returning it to her in the form of something Useful and Cute.  Lucky her!

 

#4.  Make Macarons. Finito, 12/30/2008

 new-years-3

The only confection on earth more complicated than Martha Stewart’s Pumpkin Soufflé is Martha Stewart’s Honey Hazelnut Macarons.  But we persevered and the final result was a bizarre cookie, indeed.  Super light, and a bit too sweet, I think, but the texture and taste were what made this so weird.  They were fluffy, melty, nutty, buttery and creamy all at once.  Alien cookies if you ask me.  Those little delights behind the cookies are pastries with carmelized onions, gorgonzola, parmesan and tomatoes from Ina’s Back to Basics cookbook (thanks Mom H!).

 

#5.  Move out of ritzy apartment and into cozy old house. Must happen in May whether I am resolved or not.

 

David and I have spent a lot of time discussing the fact that in our grown up lives, we have never lived in any one location for more than 18 months or so (usually closer to 12).  We haven’t decided on whether or not this shows some sort of weakness or fault on our part, but we just can’t help ourselves.  Before you assume that I am crazy, you must understand that it’s not the moving that we love, but the change.  We are change addicts, it seems.  I love to see what my furniture looks like in a new place.  So sue me.  Anyway, our lease on our super-modern-and-luxurious loft will be up in May and we will be free to move into a drafty old four-plex or a tiny bungalow with no closets.  Now you really think I’m crazy.  Unfortunately, our current situation lacks two very important amenities: Quiet and respectful neighbors and a yard for Mr. Maxwell to poop on.  So we can’t stay, and I really do miss living in an old house. (I will miss you straight walls and granite counters!)

 

Ah, now that I have that off my chest, I can tell you the newest project: Canning (which should really be called Jarring, but whatever).  David made an enormous pot of my grandmother’s spaghetti sauce and canned it last night.  This is our first foray into the world of preservation and we found it to be a stressful, but rewarding process.  Especially that part where you put your perfectly intact jars of sauce into a boiling pot of water and listen as they knock around like they’re about to either launch into the air or explode.  Yeah, that was really great.  I had to talk David down a few times, as he was ready to take them out and just freeze it all, but we made it through and the tops popped, just like they should have.  It’s really neat to see that particular sauce all jarred up.  Very special to me.

sauce-2

So, the first project of the year was a roaring success, and we’ve got so many more in the queue!  For example: what’s going on with this little ball of loveliness? 

malabrigo

Wouldn’t you like to know!