Sunday, January 2, 2011


It has been a very (very, very) long time since I posted. Things went crazy here last summer. I finished graduate school, I took a temporary gig as an instructor for Student Nurses from a local college, I stopped being an ICU Nurse (part-time, which felt like full-time) and am now a Clinical Nurse Educator at another local hospital. All these changes really decreased my mental capacity for blogging.

2011 seems like a good time to take on some Official Resolutions.
  • I will exercise more and make healthier food choices. (Please note I did not say "lose 100 lbs" or "diet." Those resolutions set me up for failure every time I make them.) This one will entail more time outdoors and participation in our CSA.
  • I will strive to spend more time enjoying my kids than being annoyed with them. This will involve being more consistent with chore expectations and homework expectations, so that we can have some quality family time with less nagging and weeping and gnashing of teeth. Hopefully, my new schedule (off every weekend), will promote some fun family outings and enjoyment of our lovely State.
  • I will use what I have more often, concentrate on sticking to a budget, and decrease our debt load. This one is most likely going to involve knitting from the yarn stash I already own. It also means I am struggling mightily with the decision to purchase (or not) the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club for 2011. I seriously don't NEED anymore sock yarn. Seriously. But does exclusive, hand-dyed sock yarn really count as "stash?"
I have some knitting projects and new yarns to share, and some books I'm reading, so hopefully this old blog will have some new life in 2011. If you are reading this, thanks for stopping by, see you soon.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer Vegetables

3 months since I last wrote a blog entry! In a nutshell, here is what I have been doing:
and... my new "hobby" this summer has been...COOKING UP THE FRESH VEGGIES FROM OUR CSA.

We bought a share in Grant Family Farms CSA, which provides us with a weekly (big!) box of organic vegetables and a loaf of artisan bread. This week, we will start receiving fruit. It has become a sort of game for me to use up all the vegetables each week, or else freeze something for later so none of it goes to waste. It seems that since I have seen the farm, and met some people who work there, that it is much more important to me to actually eat them up properly. We have gone from a family who eats out or eats takeout 2-3 times a week, to a family who eats more than one green vegetable per meal, and we are dining out now more like once every two weeks.

Check out my mad cooking skills:

That's a Lasagna with farm-fresh spinach and whole-wheat pasta. I based it on a recipe from Rodale's Natural Food cookbook. I made this one, and one to freeze for someday when the fresh spinach is not coming every week.

A funny thing happened that doesn't happen with a box of baby spinach from the grocery...a large, fat caterpillar crawled out of my bunch of spinach. I can tell you, when I got through with my triple-and quadruple-washing and detailed inspection of every single leaf, I am certain there were no more little friends hiding out in there!

On my agenda for tomorrow is Kale and White Bean Soup, or maybe turkey burgers with green salad including fresh english peas (shelled by my children) and kohlrabi, which I've never even seen before yesterday, and certainly never tasted. If I find a fabulous way to cook it up, I'll give you a recipe link.

Knitting updates tomorrow. I am on a quest to "finish or frog" with the Stash and Burn podcast girls.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A short intermission from everyday life

My husband, children and I went on a fun family vacation to South Dakota for Spring Break. We drove about 8 hours each way, and spent two whole days at our destination, but it was just the refreshing getaway that I had hoped for. We saw the Oregon Trail Ruts, Mt. Rushmore, Wind Cave National Park, and stayed at the WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort.

The children got along surprisingly well, on the long roadtrip and otherwise. Amazingly, really. To the point that at a restaurant, a very nice lady came over to tell me that we had a nice family and that she was impressed at how "nicely and pleasantly everyone interacts with each other..." Outwardly, I thanked her for saying so. Inwardly, I was thinking "whose kids are these?"

My husband and I made a pact that we would avoid all news coverage and political chatter, on television and radio, while we were on our trip. All the negativity, fear, and anger wears me out emotionally, so for our vacation we had none of that. Our thought was that if something earth-shattering happened, someone would be talking about it somewhere, so we didn't need to worry about it ourselves.

Knitting is, for me, a coping mechanism for stress. I have realized that it is also an escape from all the messes I have to clean up, and problems I am responsible for solving, as a Mom and as a nurse. I may not be fixing everything, but at least I am making a sock. My house may still be untidy, but at least I'm accomplishing something. On this trip, I discovered that as I was enjoying my family in a setting free of housework, unpleasant news coverage and deadlines, that I had much less of a need to knit. I still did knit some, but I didn't feel as drawn to it as I do during my everyday life.

My car-trip knitting was a pair of thick, warm socks that I am apparently going to finish for my husband just in time to store them away for Spring:

These are Elizabeth Zimmermann's "Woodsman's Socks", from The Opinionated Knitter. I'm using two colors of Paton's Classic Merino that were sitting together on the shelf at Michael's and they called out to me: "Make us into some warm wooly socks!" The colors are called Grey Marl and Burnt Orange. The heel appears to be different colors because I decided to use up two half-bobbins of heel and toe reinforcement thread that I had on hand, rather than start a new one and subsequently have 3 partial-bobbins to use up.

I finished the first Cascadia sock from January's Rockin' Sock Club shipment:

It's my first successful toe-up sock. It actually fits my foot. Well, it mostly fits my foot. I learned something important from this project...Addi Turbo dpns size 1 are NOT the same size in millimeters as Knitpicks size 1! Who knew? (OK, lots of people knew, but not me, until now.) The moral of that story is use a needle sizer or you will have surprising gauge issues.

I also learned a lesson this week about my computer monitor's color properties. I used the coupon from the Rockin' Sock Club to order 3 skeins of Socks that Rock from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. A lovely golden yellow semi-solid, a soft, subtle, pale peach, and a sort of funky hand-paint colorway that I've been drawn to since it first graced the website. And here they are:

They are basically the same color, even though on my computer screen they looked entirely different. I still love them though: Wonderful Goodness, Narikama, and Hoofle Foofle. At least two of them are destined to be socks for other people, so it won't really matter that they are so similar, but I still thought it was kind of funny.

I'm off to tidy up the house, and hopefully knit a little bit before the kiddos get home from school. Thanks for visiting my little blog, and have a fantastic day!

Monday, March 22, 2010


We had to have our cat euthanized this past weekend, and it was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made. The logical part of me knew it was the right thing to do, but the emotional strain of it was terrible.

We found Phoebe inside our apartment building's hallway in 1996. Since you had to enter a main door in order to get to the actual apartment doors, we figured she must belong to a fellow apartment-dweller, but signs on all of the entrances and an ad in the newspaper did not help us find her people, so we became her people.

I named her Phoebe, because she stunk to high heaven and we were fans of the TV show "Friends." Phoebe, the character on Friends, sang a song called "Smelly Cat." Since our cat was smelly, her name became Phoebe. We thought she was a kitten because she was so small, but the vet told us that based on her exam, she was probably more like 4 years old. She stayed the size of a kitten her entire life.

Phoebe was there when my eldest child was born in 1997, and when complications from the delivery had me near fainting in the bathroom one night, and I was unable to call out, Phoebe went and jumped on my husband's chest and yowled at him until he woke up, so he could hear my squeaky voice from down the hall. I thought then that maybe we should have named her Lassie...

She was affectionate and "talkative", but only on her own terms. We could live in the house with her and not see her two or three days, and then she'd come out of her hidey hole and want to be loved and rubbed, and would therefore rub, love, knead and purr until we were overcome by cuteness and couldn't help but pet her for as long as she wanted. For the last year or so, she had lost her sense of day and night apparently, because she would wake us up at night by pawing at our hands and hair until we woke up to pet her.

She developed a slight limp, and by the time I could make her an appointment at the vet's she was dragging a foot. Last Friday she completely lost the ability to move her hindquarter, and was dragging around with her two front feet. The heartbreaking part of this was that she didn't have any pain, and didn't seem to realize her back feet didn't work, because her cuddling, purring and nuzzling never stopped. It would possibly have been less traumatizing to take her to the vet's office if she hadn't acted so darn happy all morning prior.

I am completely certain that nothing good, curative, or painless was going to come of an 18-ish year old cat with paralysis of 2 legs. But having faced that, I still feel like we might have somehow betrayed her by having her put to sleep.

Rest in Peace, little Phoebe.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

In which I hit a gate and am disqualified from the Knitting Olympics...

As everyone probably knows, the Winter Olympics started last weekend. As everyone who is involved with knitting and the internet probably knows, so did the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics.

I love everything about the Olympics, both Winter and Summer, but the Winter Games are my favorite. I love, love, love the opening ceremony, the parade of nations*, the figure skating, all those events that involve athletes speeding down and around icy tracks and mountains. It is exciting to watch, and the snowy scenery in the "beauty shots" is always gorgeous, since there aren't a lot of ski-runs on flat, boring terrain.

I felt that this year, I am finally a strong enough knitter to find the Knitting Olympics to be fun. I bought yarn, needles, and a Dale of Norway book with lofty plans to make a beautiful nordic sweater for myself. I was visualizing myself wearing a fabulous colorwork sweater and people asking me "where did you get that fabulous sweater of perfection? You look 40 pounds thinner in that sweater! I've never seen anything as beautiful as that sweater!" Those statements will be made, but unfortunately not about this sweater, and probably not while I'm wearing it. I have had gauge problems. I have ladders and wonky stitches. My eyes hurt from trying to count increases on dark-purple wool. I also have simply too much non-knitting life going on right now to enjoy muddling through a labor-intensive project that appears to be leading to a mediocre result.

So, right about the same time this morning that I was watching NBC's Matt Lauer discuss Lindsey Jacobellis's unfortunate disqualification from the Snowboard Cross (or is it Snow Boardcross?) competition, I decided that my knitting and I have "hit a gate" and become "disqualified from the finals." I am looking forward to whipping up some nice, easy, stress-free worsted weight wool socks for my husband during this olympics. They can be my consolation prize. During the next Olympics, when I have a child who will be driving herself to activities, I will be done with graduate school, and maybe my husband's ship will have come in and I won't have to be working so hard to bring in my own ship, then possibly I can whip out a complicated sweater in 17 days. Maybe next I should knit up some warm mittens for Lindsey Jacobellis...

*Did you guys notice all the fabulous knitwear those teams were wearing?! Team USA had awesome caps and cabled sweaters, the Swedish Team had fabulous slouchy crocheted hats, you could publish an entire book of 2010 Winter Olympic Knitwear!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

How a Knitting Book Changed My Eating Habits

I always knew that knitting has a strong influence on me, and so does the internet. They have entwined for me lately in a way that makes me feel like a true child of the 21st Century.

1. I borrowed The Knitter's Book of Wool by Clara Parkes from our local library. This is a wonderful book that includes a list of sheep breeds and their wool characteristics, among many other informative things. This led me to a google search for "Jacob Wool Yarn", because I am intrigued by the thought of a lavender sheep. (I do realize that Lavender Jacob sheep are probably not actually lavender, but it's fun to imagine them that way.) My Googling led me to...

2. which is sort of like Etsy for farm items. They have a page where you can search farm-fresh and handspun yarns, fleeces, and other fibery goodness, and you can buy it right from the actual farmer who raised it. In some cases, you even get a photo of the sheep that your yarn came from. In addition to the yarn and fibers, the site has many other headings, including "CSA." Further research on Community Supported Agriculture made me very excited to sign up for our share of produce from a local farm. It's organic, it's fresh (well it will be...right now it is still seeds.) and grown right here in Colorado. I was so psyched about signing up for the CSA that I posted a status update on Facebook.

3. One of my Friends suggested that I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. This book was inspiring to me, a memoir about how a family ate only locally grown or locally produced food for a year. I found myself wondering, as I read it, what would it be like to quit my job, and move to a farm and grow some tomatoes and potatoes. I never knew there were so many different varieties of veggies in this world, and I found it incredibly interesting to read of the local-food experience.

I feel kind of horrified that some of our food animals are unrecognizable compared to their ancestors of long ago, and the idea of genetically modified grains and adding hormones to our meat and dairy scares me for the future health of our children. This book made me feel good about my decision to join the CSA.

4. Another Facebook friend (who, incidentally I met on the Knitty board) suggested that I get Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison, due to it's extensive and encylclopedic information on all different sorts of fresh vegetables and fruits. So I bought it, and now for the past 3 days my children and I have eaten freshly prepared vegetarian meals, and they don't even seem to miss meat. I am not becoming a vegetarian, I still love my meat, but now that it feels important to eat locally produced, grass-fed meat, we will be eating less meat. So tonight, Creamy Tomato Soup and cheese toast, with Cherry-Berry Crisp for dessert. (We won't mention the fact that the crisp is going to be served with CoolWhip. I'm sure there are some local non-dairy-cows that made it...)

And all this awareness and interest in locally produced food stemmed from a Knitting book. My farm-fresh, locally produced yarn will be delivered soon. I'll be sure to show you pictures.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy 3rd of January

I was working New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, so I missed my chance to blog in the new year. 2010 seems exciting to me, because 2009 was not wonderful, and I'm frankly glad to see it go into the Archipelago of Last Years. Goodbye to the year marked by the "great recession", Balloon Boy, Octo-Mom and the Christmas Underwear Bomber.

2009 did have some joy in it, as all years was the only year in which my husband and I will celebrate our 17th Wedding anniversary, and the last year that I will have three children who are not yet teenagers. It was the year in which I knit my first adult sized sweater, worked up the nerve to start Graduate School and move my career forward, and tried snow-skiing for the first time. I read some good books, made some new friends, and learned some new things.

I am looking forward to a fresh, new, 2010 with lots of room for more joy and new things to learn. I am sure it will have its share of trials and wierd news stories. We'll see what it holds, but for now, goodbye to 2009. I'm really glad to see you go...