Monday, August 30, 2010

simplicity and joy, my mantra for life. It's true but occasionally I fool myself into thinking that technology and its advancements make life simple. I can pay my bills online in 40 seconds which used to take an entire evening. I can look up a recipe while standing in the supermarket when I've forgotten the list at home. And I can buy a book at a traffic light from my car or my living room armchair in my boxers!

Life is simple, right? Wrong! So wrong! Dead Wrong! Wrong, Wrong, WRONG! Life's just faster and blurred by the speed at which these choices come at us. Unfortunately, life's not always simple. The simplicity and ultimately the joy, takes a little work and perspective.

I give you exhibits A, B & C:

Have you purchased a light bulb recently? It's complicated. CFL energy efficient, incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, LED, compact, flood, spot, type, wattage, and on.

Or have you purchased a toothbrush recently? I've said this before, the beauty of the toothbrush was its simplicity. "Stick with bristles." Not anymore ... sonic, vibrating, round head, long head, short head, soft bristles, hard bristles, bristles that change colors when it's time to buy a new toothbrush, and on.

Yesterday, I went shopping for milk. So simple I could have sent Laura Ingalls to buy it. Have you really looked down the milk aisle recently or do you just grab your go-to milk or milk by-product without paying any attention? Whole, 2%, 1%, skim, Soy, homogenized, grass fed, goat, organic, fat-free lactose-free, kefir, and on.

All I wanted was buttermilk. That's what the recipe called for so I mindlessly went out for buttermilk ... simple. I didn't know whether it should be organic, skim, fat-free or whole. I didn't even know buttermilk came in a fat-free version. Isn't that the whole point of buttermilk, it's loaded with fat, calories and TASTE which is why it's used in recipes?!

Chad was there, he helped. Hip, about my age, great silver hair and rocking a really tight t-shirt. I liked him immediately and drawn to his "milk does a body good" vibe! He was against the whole buttermilk idea from the start but when I told him it was for a recipe, for chocolate cake using all organic ingredients, he acquiesced. I lied, there's nothing organic in the recipe but I knew he wasn't going to let it go. He was sexy but I had a cake to make! This cake to be exact! Thank you Jocelyn!

In the end, I bought Organic, Cultured, Low-Fat Buttermilk because they didn't have grass-fed buttermilk which I was told was my preference. Thank you Chad. I didn't have the heart to tell him I'm lactose intolerant and usually drink Soy or Lactaid. Regardless, he was very helpful, knew a lot about milk and did I mention how to wear a t-shirt.

So ... as the simple things get complicated, I suggest surrounding yourself by the truly simple things in life.

I give you exhibits A, B & C:

my chocolate cake, best with vanilla ice cream

blocked and finished, the dandy neckerchief

from my stash, my favorite color

and on, and on, and on.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Admiration, anywhere you can get it...

When blocking lace, remember, pins hurt. Refrain from putting pressure on them when in contact with the skin.

It's nearly impossible to make a knitted object symmetrical when you're pulling it in different directions.

Pay no attention to the YouTube videos, those bitches lie.

When you roll the FO in a towel to get the excess water out, be reminded that if you used worsted weight wool, there's gonna be TONS OF WATER ALL OVER THE COUNTER and eventually the floor! The wool is very absorbent in a way the towel can never be!

Use excess water dripping from counter to floor for impromptu floor washing!

Admire floor while contemplating poorly blocked lace.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Goo Gunge

First, I've been away for six weeks. My lovely "Sneak Peak" and "Call me Nancy Drew" posts came to you via Palm Springs. It was hot (surface of the sun hot), over 100 degrees every day and on some days upwards of 116F. The heat is inescapable. You can't get away from it and to prove it I got my first, very first, dare I say it ... age spot. [insert scary, horror film instrumental here] This is significant as I'm obsessed with the youthful appearance of my hands. Maybe it's because my Mom's hands look 100 years old or maybe it's because, I don't know ... my Mom's hands look 100 YEARS OLD!

And when the sun does finally go down, the bats come out. Tons of bats, maybe millions. Okay, maybe not millions but I've got a dramatic flare going here, don't forget the age spot! I did not enjoy the trip except to say, I'm finally home.

Anyway, it was planned that I'd be gone for maybe two weeks. I didn't plan to be away for six weeks and the garbage is Exhibit A. The trash fermented and although I never studied maggots in depth, I think I can safely say I've seen 'em up close! No person on the planet has ever closed a trash can quicker than I did Monday, August 16th, 11:45PM EST when I stood in my garage with a refrigerator full of expired food and nowhere to put it! I wasn't opening that can again. Hell, I would have hermetically sealed it but I didn't know how. In a pinch, I used the neighbor's trash cans! Thank you neighbor!

It gets worse. Last Spring, I ran over the trash can with the car. It popped back into shape but the bottom cracked. It worked fine but this crack allowed for a gelatinous, liquid, goo gunge to leak from the bottom when I tried to drag it out of the garage. Some advice... not drag a cracked trash bin across the garage floor. You will only spread the goo gunge.

2...when the ginormous roach cracks itself out of the goo's chewy center and slowly walks out of the surrounding puddle of goo, don’t scream like a 6 year old as it may attract the neighbors and then they too will know you’ve been garbage remiss.

3...after you kill said roach in psychopathic, screaming rage using only a box that your lace blocking wires came in (like how I got knitting content in there), contemplate having to persuade the trash collector to take the leaking pail without opening it.

4...consider taping it closed and putting a note on it that says "Trash, please take can." aware, #4 does not work.

6...consider pinning a $20 bill to the pail only if you want to lose $20 bucks and still own the goo pail.

7...ignoring the pail and putting it back in the garage does not make it go away.

8...admit defeat, go to Lowe's two days later and buy 55 gallons trash liners and bleach. hopeful that 55 gallon liners are big enough to hold a maggot filled trash bin.

10...squeal with delight when you discover that gelatinous goo gunge leaking pail fits in 55 gallon trash liners.

11...wrap trash bin with 6 liners while sweating to death the entire time from heat and anxiety.

12...when you accidentally find the carcass of the dead roach try not to repeat the "screaming like a 6 year old" performance from when you first met.

13...wash the garage floor with bleach and zeal.

14...wait 6 hours and carry the trash bin wrapped in 55 gallon liners to the illegal dumping site under the cover of night and chuck that whole heaping mess in. quickly before you're apprehended.

16...strip naked in the foyer of your home and bath for 30 minutes.

17...write blog post while the horror is still fresh.

That's all. Okay, the desert sunset's cool!

P.S. Blocking sucks but that's for tomorrow! [and that's more knitting content]. Yes!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wunsapana Farm

When I was about 9 (no clicking away, it's not that long a story!), my family packed up the Cadillac Seville and headed from Brooklyn to the Catskill Game Farm ("Catskill Game Farm was a zoo in Catskill, New York, U.S.A.. It closed permanently on Columbus Day 2006 after 73 years of operation" - Wikipedia quote.

Looking back, my Mom and Dad always found a way to get us out of the city for the Summer. In fact, some of my earliest memories were those going to a "bungalow colony" resort in the Catskills for school break. We'd rent a tiny, little house (my parents actually slept on a trundle bed in the kitchen in one of them) and we stayed the entire Summer until it was time to head back to school. I remember thinking that kids in my class only got to go to Paris for a week but I went to "the country" for the whole Summer. I think Mom had visions of us running under fire hydrants with the hooligans and decided getting us out of Dodge was the best way to keep us out of trouble.

That year at the Game Farm, my Dad got me a map of the fairgrounds. It was colorful, had drawings of all the exhibits and I plotted our course through the grounds with absolute precision. My sister and I went into the petting zoo and a llama decided she needed a snack and proceeded to eat my amazing map. I didn't know what to do, I was frozen with fear. This huge animal was getting her daily dose of fiber and I couldn't do a thing about it. With panic seared into my memory, I never liked farm/zoo animals again. The circus, fey. I never played with ants in the dirt, fish at the lake and even a trip to the park where I might encounter a squirrel was a flat-out "no thank you". Even today, a gecko on my lanai gives me a start and those pesky frogs at my front door turn my stomach.

In college, I tried to overcome my animal phobia and for a very short time while in college, I worked on a diary farm in upstate NY. A friend's family owned the farm and they happily let me slop cow shit and try not to get run over in the evening stampede back to the barn. I don't understand why they got to ride on horses and all I got was a big stick and instructions to yell loudly. Oh yeah, I didn't like horses. The whole experiment failed. It was hot, there were flies everywhere and cows are just about as dumb as an animal can get.

Fast forward... as my love of fiber grew and knitting became a regular part of my life, I thought my love for the animals that bore their coats for those lovely skeins would grow as well. Not so much but the idea of rural farm life totally romanced me. Granted, it usually included a hunky farm boy-friend who did all the dirty stuff but I was romanced all the same.

The other day, I visited WillyG's blog and saw a photo of him laying in the grass with llamas. First thought was ... tics, bugs, crap, trampling, spitting...ick...ick...ick. Then I linked to the farm's website where the photo was taken. Take a look at it. The enchanting, Wunsapana Farm conjures up images of an idyllic life in "the country". Scroll down the homepage and take a look at their home, read what they have to say about their farm and you too will be under its spell.

Well, I'm not liquidating the 401K to buy a farm but the idea of embracing these splendid creatures before I actually "buy the farm" warms my soul. I hope it does the same for you.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Call me Nancy Drew....

but I think there may have been a bird fight on my patio today. If you see a featherless, stunned bird flying around, let me know. I have something of his. I think the pieces of nest and the apparent "poop of fear" (that's a technical term or a song title) close the case. It takes a keen eye but I'm thinking a career in crime investigation may be in my future.

On the knitting front...

K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, K2, P2, grey.

Call it that keen eye, but I think we can forgo the photo tonight, yes?