Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Truer Words Were Never Spoken

Like Bob says, sometimes the best gifts don't cost a cent.

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Both my wonderful daughters in my living room, just a couple of hours ago. Not much more to say about it, except that a huge, huge weight is off my shoulders. I'm incredibly happy about that.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The most what? time of the year


Meet Etran Finatawa.

I found this music through Google Music, which has some awesome features. There was a track from this musician in a bunch of free world music I was able to download. I liked it so much, I sought out more. It relaxes me. Something about it resonates. Maybe I have Wodaabe ancestors way back, I don't know. Southern Italy, northern Africa, who knows.

Almost ready for Holiday Extravaganza 2011 NOW with half the offspring. I am so bitter and sad and just depressed about this. I'm not gonna pretend, this shit hurts. But I'll get through it. Bob is awesome and I can talk to him about it any time, Anna is helping by talking me through things. I'll just be glad when it's over. Add to it that I'm not fully over the cold I had a couple of weeks ago and the antibiotics I'm taking for the resulting sinus infection are making me nauseated, and it's a good time to be had by all.

I finished the other skein I was spinning and upon reflection, they don't really match that well, color wise or texturally. So I have two wee skeins that I have no idea what to do with. This one is under 300 yards as well. It's pretty and soft, though.

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I haven't had the wheel out in so long I wonder if I'll still be able to use it. Partly space considerations, partly time. I am on the last couple of inches of my final holiday knitting project though, so maybe I'll have time to sit with my wheel soon. I plan on taking a couple of days off in January just because I need a damn vacation.

Made a tea cosy. It was long overdue. I have been drinking a lot of tea lately and I get sick of the second cup being stone cold. It works perfectly. Could have made it a little bigger.

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I also made some needle-felted coasters. These are a gift for a relative. I think they look kinda primitive but I guess there's nothing really wrong with that.

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Bob and I are keeping the gifts low key this year between us. Financial reasons and stress reasons. He is hard to shop for and I know I'm not easy either, mostly because he always wants me to say GET ME THIS and I prefer to be surprised.

I continue to learn the Macbook. My biggest frustration at this point is dealing with Comcast Backup because it will NOT finish backing up my files and it continues to show my vault space as incorrect. I had to get a utility to detect duplicate files because some kind of weird nesting shit happened and I ended up with most of my photos and PDFs being duplicate and triplicate and I was able to remove close to 75G of unnecessary stuff from my hard drive. The tech help hasn't been much help and I think as soon as the new year comes and I get a few paychecks under my belt, I'm going to ditch them and go with a different service. (Recommendations welcome) The other thing is when I go to work I keep trying to scroll the wrong way and use my finger on my mouse to swipe things. Oops. Doesn't work. I really like the computer though.

Not much else to say. I have a lot of thoughts running around in my head but there's not much time right now to sit down and get them in order. I do have one more thing-I am inspired to do a giveaway.

BUTTERCUP'S FIRST BLOGULAR GIVEAWAY!

This is going to be easier for local folks, but I'll send a random skein of handspun yarn to the first person who can tell me what this is.


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Have fun, and if you roll that way, have a happy holiday. I'll try to post next week sometime.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Ny Quil Dreams

Fitful vivid dreams all night. Some continuity, but disjointed as these things are.

The one I remember most, we are talking about music. Our cousin is there and I confess to him that I like the occasional indulgence of pop music.

She smiles at me and says, Mom, don't you know it's all part of your rock and roll lifestyle. She smiles at me again, so warm and with so much love that it breaks something in me, and I ask her, can I please have a hug? Please? She starts moving towards me and the alarm goes off.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Plop Plop Fizz Fizz, oh, what a relief it is.

I've been stricken with a dreadful cold out of nowhere, so this will be quick.

Finally got a picture of the babies in the sweaters I made them-presenting Lincoln and Roscoe.


I am not sure which is which.

I have just over a pair and a half of socks to complete in just under three weeks. Should not be a problem. I guess it helps that I'm knitting for one less person. Sigh.

Also, shopping is done. Other than the last minute filler crap that goes into the stockings, I got everything. Again, probably made easier by one less person to shop for. Again, sigh. But I was being stupid thinking up to the last minute there would be some sort of reconciliation. At this point, I have not seen my daughter in almost a year and there is no reason to imagine that will change. The things I've already bought her, I will probably donate to a women's shelter.

Trying not to spin too much because I need to finish the socks. But I did do this skein of merino/silk. Bad cell phone picture, all I have for now. I am not up to doing an outdoor photo session. Maybe over the weekend. Two ounces, almost 300 yards, spun on the Fibership. There is more blue than it appears.


I'm doing a similar silk/merino in a complimentary colorway and thinking of combining them in a project. Since there's not enough for a decent sized project on their own.

Naptime, possibly. I might get a load in the wash first, though.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

All in the attitude.

I recently changed my facebook profile picture to this.

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I don’t know how old I was here. I’m thinking maybe second grade. I got my first glasses in second grade. (I’ll have to ask my mother to be sure. ) Some things can be deduced from this photo, though.

This child is proud of herself. This child has very little doubt about how awesome she is. This child has not yet learned that her worth is tied up in her body size, in her ability to be one of the popular kids, in how she dresses. She is calmly positive, confident in her intelligence. She knows she is loved and dammit, she knows she’s CUTE. Because she is. I mean, look at that face. How cute is that?

The lessons about pride being a sin have not yet sunk in. How evil it is to think too much of yourself has not yet been implanted in this young brain. This soul still has joy in just learning, moving, being. This soul doesn’t yet know she’s not nearly as good as she thinks she is.

Movement is still fun. Playing is still just playing. Food is just food; something (usually delicious) that is fuel for the body and spirit. She hasn’t yet learned to look in the mirror and hate what she sees.

There’s not much sense lamenting what was and how things should have been. It is what it is, and I am, much like Popeye, who I am. I like this picture, though, because I like to remind myself that somewhere inside, this awesome adorable kid is still having a lot of fun.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Trans-Holiday Express

More crafting, and a holiday update.

Remember last post with the tragic felting accident? I did make somewhat of a replacement, though it's not nearly as nice, not as soft or as long, it does have other advantages, though, like how fast it was to knit, and how gorgeous the colors are.


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The pattern can be found on Ravelry as Summer Flies, I did have to do some adaptations due to the amount of yarn I had-not quite enough. I made the final lace section smaller, did a yarn over increase for the ruffle, and made the ruffle shorter, though it was exactly as long as it could be because I only had about 2 yards of yarn left after binding off.


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The yarn is handspun BFL from Play At Life fiber arts on Etsy. The colorway is "Twinkle Lights", and it started life as a black alternating with bright splashes of color. The spun result was quite different and not what I expected. I chain-plied the single to preserve the color runs, and I'm glad I did. You can see the roving and the resultant yarn here.

I finished spinning the BFL from Briar Rose Fibers, and got a whopping 867 yards. That may be my highest yardage from BFL ever, I got more yardage from some Corgi Hill Farm batts and also a merino/silk blend, but BFL tends to be more dense and so you tend to get less yardage. I'm quite pleased with it, but I seem to have been on quite the mauve/pink kick lately and that must be rectified, as soon as I finish spinning this pink and etc roving I'm working on now. I have an electric blue/green from CHF queued next. In the meantime, here's this.

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Knitting a couple of pair of socks for the holidays but I remain uninspired. I am sure it will return in time. Until then, I will spin. I did do a stash toss today as planned and found that I have room in my storage bins and my cedar chest so I am making a dent in the stash by spinning. It looks like in the past year I have used more than I've bought. Between that and the small destash I did earlier in the year and the class I taught at the RG where I gave away about 3 lbs of fiber, I've definitely decreased my stash.

We had a lovely thanksgiving at my mom's house and somehow I was not a complete wreck, just a partial one. Progress, I guess, or I'm learning to hide it better.

Until next time...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I still do crafts, by the way

My last several posts have been non-craft related so I guess I need to change that. I'm certainly not knitting at the pace I was last year (or the year before, or the year before that), don't seem to be motivated or have my heart in it, but I am knitting some things and spinning some others.

Bob's nephew and niece had twin boys back at the end of August. (Yes, that makes me a great-aunt. Yikes. ) They were tiny little things and stayed in the hospital a while, but they're home now and doing wonderfully. So I sent them a pair of sweaters made from handspun.

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The pattern is Baby Sophisticate from Ravelry. The yarn is handspun worsted weight two ply from Enchanted Knoll superwash lambswool roving. I love the nice bright blue/green for the wee redheaded babies and can't wait to see photos of them wearing the sweaters at some point, if they fit. I hope they fit.

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My current spinning project is a fiber I got at Rhinebeck, from Briar Rose fibers, a gorgeous BFL that I am actually almost finished spinning on my Dyakcraft Fibership, so the next photos you see of this will hopefully be a completed skein.

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I also did some spinning on the spindle I got at Rhinebeck, it is a lovely little tool and I'm sure I'll get tons of use out of it. It spins a nice fine single with little difficulty.

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I'm working on the usual holiday socks, at least. My relatives may get store-bought gifts or photographs this year, and hopefully that will be fine. If not, nothing I can do about it.

I have a cautionary tale too. Remember my Fruit Slice shawl? The one made from handspun BFL/Silk that I loved so much and wore constantly, whenever possible, the one piece of visible hand knitting I chose to take to Rhinebeck to represent me, my very favorite neck thing even more than my giant orange lace shawl, even more than my gradient yellow to purple batwing thing, even more than my Gaga Hair thing? Remember that?

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Yeah, the one with the ruffle.

It went through the laundry. I totally missed that it was mixed in with some sweaters I threw downstairs. It is a felted, tiny, mess. I am distraught.



The only thing to do is start a replacement. So I've done so and hopefully will have pictures soon. But the moral of the story is CHECK YOUR LAUNDRY FOR HANDKNITS. Always.

Things are pretty ok otherwise. I'm fighting back the vertigo and working like a machine due to our ridiculous workload, but at least it makes the days go. The darkness is getting me down as usual but only a month until the light starts to come back, so there's that. I continue to get to know the macbook and my biggest frustration is that I can't get to my pictures, which are on the other computer, and I haven't had a chance to take them to the apple store for the big transfer. I tried to get my files transferred from my backup program but I can't seem to make it work. No doubt something I'm doing wrong here. It makes me nervous to think those thousands of photos are all hanging there, where I can't get them. My life in pictures. My photos might not be valuable to anyone else but to me they are my purest artistic expression and mean more to me than any amount of knitting ever will. So while they're not with me, I am ill at ease.

Bob and Anna are both working at the same store tonight at their inventory jobs, I am alone with my thoughts and the macbook and my knitting and the cats and dogs and a bunch of lovely stuffed acorn squash that just came out of the oven, so I'm going to go get dinner. Recipe later if it's good.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Coming to Grips

I had a revelation last night. It might have been a dream that did it, or just the constant drumbeat in my head of what is and isn't in my life and how I want things to be and if that actually matters.

I don't necessarily think it's selfish of me to want my children to be a part of my life. I love them. I love them more than anything or anybody. I would die for either of them, no question.

Sometimes you have to face a reality that really hurts. No matter how much you want to go on holding out hope that everything will be ok, that someday normalcy will return, that the phone is going to ring or there will be an email or a knock on the door and there will be tears and hugging and that the relationship, in some form, will resume. You want to believe that somehow, everything will be better, that there will be healing.

Sometimes, though, you have to realize, and especially as a parent, that what you want is not as important as what is best for your child, and that further, what you think is best is irrelevant. That may be the hardest part about being a parent, knowing that you can be (and often are) wrong. If my daughter has determined that the best thing for her is to not have her family in her life, to not have me in her life, then I have to accept that. Because if I really and truly want what is best for her then she has to decide what that is. Much like the whole "don't you want grandchildren" thing I hear all the time, I am not qualified to tell anyone else how to live their life. No matter how much it hurts.

At some point I'll come out of this shadow I've been living in. This may be an important step in that, it may not be. I will always and eternally love my daughters and I will never close the door on either of them, but I have to accept that a decision they make is none of my business and let it go.



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Sunday, November 13, 2011

The apple doesn't fall far

The last few weeks I've been increasingly frustrated with my computer, a Sony Vaio that I purchased the year we got married, 2005. Last year, it had such a major crash that my good friend Dave, who has been working with computers since there were personal computers, in both a professional and fun capacity, had never seen anything like it. I got reformatted, recovered my files from Comcast Secure Backup and Share, and started with a clean slate. But the creeping malaise had started again. Despite multiple virus scans, adware sweeps, invocations, chants, and tearful fits, it kept getting worse. So I did something I never thought in a million years I'd ever do.

I bought a Mac.

A 15 inch Macbook Pro, to be exact. It's very pretty and shiny, and it makes me feel like someone who doesn't quite know what she's doing, like everything is just a bit off, just a bit to the left or something. Since I'm not stupid, I am frustrated. But I will get used to it, in time, and I bought the year subscription to the thing where you can go to the apple store and get help or lessons or anything.

It's not that I dislike the products. I've never had anything to base a like or dislike on. I was not fond of the slightly superior commercials, the expense of the products (for what? a name?) or the smugness of Mac adherents, or as I called them, the iBetterThanYou set. (I also really hated that stupid little lower case i in front of everything)

I won't say I'm an instant devotee, but considering this computer cost me only a bit more than my very first computer (also a Sony Vaio back in the mid to late 90s) that had 8 gigs compared to the 500 in this one, and that it is expected to have a considerably longer life, and that it is purportedly impervious to viruses and has other neat safeguards against a degrading operating system, and that it's shiny and light and small and works, so far, so very very well, it's a good start to what might be a happy ongoing relationship.

Just don't ask me to turn in my Android phone yet.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Why we read books (and what to do about it): A rare book review

I just finished this book and it was very thought-provoking, so I'm going to jot a few of these thoughts down.



Why We Get Fat (And what to do about it) by Gary Taubes

The book is a well-researched, highly scientific look at obesity, weight gain and loss, the science thereof, and years of misguided notions about weight and how to lose it. I had mixed reactions to reading it, and mixed reactions to the conclusions Taubes draws.

The first half of the book is solid. The writing is engaging, the facts are footnoted within an inch of their lives, and the conclusions drawn are pretty valid. Conventional wisdom about obesity is wrong. "Biology, not physics" is the title of Book One, and it thoroughly explains why "Calories in, Calories out" is meaningless. Taubes analyzes historical trends in treating obesity and how we got to today's conclusions that dietary fat is bad and carbohydrates are preferred as an energy source over fat. If you're looking for good evidence and research on why and how we get fat and the mechanism of research and how conventional wisdom becomes conventional, book one is a doozy and well worth reading.

Book Two, "Adiposity 101", starts off strong. Taubes explains, exhaustively, how insulin works and what the connection is between hormone balance and "excess" body fat. He turns the "But thermodynamics!" argument on its head and shows how biology and hormones work to conserve fat in the body depending on hormone levels. Fat mechanics, how, when, and why the body uses fat stores for energy and how, when, and why fat is stored is explained in great depth and in words a non-biologist can easily understand. He explains sugar metabolism, how it works to sequester fat in the body, and the difference between various types of sugar and how they're metabolized. It's a bit overwhelming, truthfully. But interesting.

I have two basic problems with the book.

First of all, Taubes, with all his critique of conventional wisdom and current medical science in regards to obesity, treats obesity and overweight as a pathology and something to be fought throughout the book. He blames the "obesity epidemic" (and yes, he uses that phrase constantly, to my great irritation) on the food pyramid of the 90s being grounded on carbohydrates, and the avoidance of fat to the inclusion of extra carbs in weight loss dieting and nutritional science. He states over and over that "everybody knows" dietary fat is bad and so avoidance of dietary fat to the inclusion of extra carbs is what caused a surge in obesity. I don't actually disagree with this conclusion, to a point.

He doesn't mention, not even once, that the BMI definitions changed in 1998 to make tens of millions of people "obese" who were merely "overweight" the day before, and tens of millions "overweight" who were previously "normal".

This was the point in the book when my skeptical eyebrow started going up.



My second problem with the book is that while he strikes down fallacies and false conclusions right and left when they suit his purposes, he draws false conclusions and makes deductive leaps over factual grand canyons when doing THAT suits him. For instance, the end of the second part of the book turns into a giant Atkins diet promotion. He states how our caveman ancestors ate high fat, low carb, high protein diets and they were all thin. How do we know there were no fat cave people? We don't. There probably were. But Taubes trots this out as "everyone knows" our hunter-gatherer ancestors were all skinny and fit. He doesn't mention that paleolithic man had an average lifespan of about 30 years, until the dawn of agriculture, when lifespan increased, likely due to caloric security.

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Taubes promotes, heavily, a high protein, high fat, very low carbohydrate, very low sugar diet. He also concludes that following a diet different from what your ancestral forebears followed will make you sick. He uses "not many fat Japanese" and "no fat Inuit until the white man gave them flour and sugar" as examples. But the Japanese don't eat a low carb, high protein diet, typically. So his deductive leap just crashed into the Snake River Gorge like Evel Knievel.

The end of Book Two is basically a extended advertisement for Atkins. (It even includes, in an appendix, a streamlined diet plan that is nearly identical to Atkins plans.) His basis for this? A comparison study over a year that drew the following conclusions: Atkins followers lost 9.9 pounds, traditional diet plan followers lost 5.5 pounds, Ornish diet followers 5.3, and Zone diet 3.3. The chart includes figures for LDL, Triglycerides, HDL, and BP as well, all numbers slightly favoring Atkins excepting triglycerides which strongly favored Atkins.

Ten pounds. In a year. With almost zero carbohydrates.

And those carbohydrate cravings that Atkins dieters often cannot get past? Taubes recommends that you simply stay strong and resist, and it will get easier over time. Seriously. Even though he states unequivocally in part one that putting fat people on weight loss diets results in a "biological imperative" to resist exercise and constant, intense hunger that he states cannot be ignored. Yet he suggests that a similar imperative to eat some carbohydrate, for crying out loud, can be easily conditioned out of the body and mind.

See what I mean about the double-standard thing? Only when it suits him.

Taubes also goes on at some length about how exercise is bad for people trying to lose weight. I don't even know where to start with that. Exercise is good for people who are able-bodied enough to do it, independent of weight. Exercise reduces blood pressure, strengthens hearts and lungs, and improves your mood due to the release of endorphins. Weight has nothing to do with it, but Taubes actually says if one is trying to lose weight, one should not exercise too much.

There is no mention of the fact that thin people also get diabetes, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart disease, and cancer. There is no talk about health parameters outside of weight, how one can improve one's health without trying to lose weight, through healthy eating and exercise. There are scare tactics and weasel words aplenty about how we're all dying of obesity and killing our kids, too, with the bread and sugar and not eating enough fatty meat and berries and leafy green veggies like our caveman gramps did, even though grandparents were pretty much a rarity before farming came along 30,000 years ago.

I'm all for challenging conventional wisdom about nutrition and what makes us fat and if that is in fact an inherently bad thing, and I'm all for challenging assumptions about what makes us healthy or unhealthy, but I am pretty much opposed to ignoring things when it suits you then making deductive leaps that defy any kind of logical gravity when that suits you too. And that's where this book loses me.

I did learn a lot about biology and the science of hormonal regulation of fat and weight, and I do plan to try to reduce the number of carbs and sugar I eat, although I already ate very few refined carbohydrates. When I ask myself would I rather be healthy or thin, the answer is a resounding "Healthy". My lack of gall bladder determines how much fat I can eat and I already pursue full-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, etc even though you can't find full fat yogurt anywhere any more. So Taubes' stripped-down Atkins plan wouldn't work for me on any number of levels.

Sadly, Taubes falls down in this book in the same places most diet books do, the conflation of thin with healthy and with body fat as an absolute liability and evil, and the pursuit and attaining of thinness as the ultimate goal. He mourns the fact that even zero carbs will not be sufficient for some of us tragic fatties to attain thinness. It's unfortunate, because the book is interesting and contains some compelling science. A shame that Taubes had to taint the science by prescribing a diet plan along with it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Taking the easy way out, now

We made our day trip to Rhinebeck NY for the sheep and wool festival. It was everything I'd heard and then some.

Anna and I took off from Pittsburgh at 2 AM on Sunday. The weather was clear and cool and we made decent time. By the time we started north on I81, the sun was coming up and the scenery was gorgeous.

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By the time we hit the New York State Thruway, less than an hour from Rhinebeck, I was as excited as a child going to a disney park for the first time. The Catskills loomed in the distance and the fall colors were bright and beautiful.

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I have a new favorite bridge.

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It cost a dollar to cross the Hudson river on the funkiest bridge in existence, and worth every penny.

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Just across the bridge, we knew we were headed in the right direction.

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There were sheep and llamas and alpacas everywhere. We got there around 1030, just in time to see the llama (and alpaca) parade.

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We visited the exhibits barn and I had to take a photo of the prize-winning needle felted piece.

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We toured the three big vendor buildings near where we were to meet up with some folks from Ravelry. We managed to not buy everything in sight on the first pass, which was a good thing, because the dozens and dozens of vendors there were nothing compared to the shopping further back in the fairgrounds.

But most importantly, at 1230 we met some people from Facebook, and from the Rubberneckers group on Ravelry.

I took lots of pictures and will link to the slideshow below, but here is my favorite shot, my very dear friend Terri who I got to meet for the first time, and Genny, who came all the way from New Zealand!

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There were TONS of handknits of all colors and types and taste levels. This was hands down the best one of the day.

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We visited the sheep barns and saw lots of fun sheep and goats. The voices on those critters-hilarious. Some were very loud, some were just too cool to bother with us, some were shy, and some were quite friendly.

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Anna fell in love.

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I'm not sure how I feel about having a llama for a son-in-law, but at least they make good guard animals.

By 230, it was time to get some lunch so we headed back up to the place we'd been before to see if the fried artichoke line was any smaller. It was. I got the Artichoke French and Anna got the fried artichokes. Both were delish. And we got to visit some more with Terri and Lisa and Kim and Danielle and Elizabeth.

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They left, and once I dried my tears, we wandered over to watch the frisbee dogs in action.

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One last trip through the food barn to get some nuts, and we hit the road.

The trip back was not as calm and uneventful as the trip up. We were both very tired and it started to rain when we hit Pennsylvania again. But we made it back in one piece, just after 2 AM. 24 hours, 814 miles. Next time, we stay for the weekend.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I've never been a big fan of squash, but this ended up being very tasty. A little savory, a little sweet, a lot delicious.

Ingredients

Butternut squash-five pounds or so (You can also use buttercup squash, pumpkin, acorn squash, whatever fall/winter squash you like or have on hand)
2-4 oz bacon
medium sized sweet onion
2-3 carrots, cut into generous chunks.
2 cups vegetable stock-low salt or salt free is best.
2 cups pinot grigio
1 cup cream, half and half, or whole milk
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
ginger
cinnamon

Directions

Heat oven to 350. Cut squash into large pieces to prepare to roast. (I cut it right down the middle, then cut those pieces lengthwise. You don't need to peel it unless you're masochistic.)

Place squash pieces skin side down in roasting pan. Place whole peeled onion in the pan with the squash. Brush everything with olive oil and sprinkle with ginger and cinnamon-not too much. Roast for approx 40 minutes or until cooked.

While the squash is roasting, cut the bacon into 1/2 inch strips or so and saute' in the butter. Add carrots. Cover and cook on medium heat until the carrots start to get soft. Add the wine and vegetable stock. Cover and simmer until the squash is cooked and cooled enough to handle.

Scoop squash out of skins. Add squash and onion to the broth. Stir, add a little water if needed for consistency, cover and simmer approx 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. You might need a little salt, you might not.

Add a cup of milk, cream, or half and half, and puree with an immersion blender, hand mixer, or whisk. You may add more milk to taste if you wish.

Serve with crumbled bacon or chives on top.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mustard Greens with Bacon and Carrots

I made this dish for dinner tonight and wanted to write it down so I'd remember!

Ingredients
Pound of fresh, cleaned mustard greens
4 slices lean bacon, cut into small pieces
One carrot, sliced
Two shallots, sliced thin
Low-salt vegetable broth
White wine
Honey

I used my saucier, but you can use any saute' pan with a lid. It should be deep enough to hold the greens.

Saute' bacon with shallots until it begins to crisp. Add carrots, cover, cook for a few minutes until the carrots start to get soft.

Add 1/4 cup white wine and deglaze bottom of pan.

Add 1/4 cup vegetable broth, add greens, and cover

Allow greens to cook until just about done, then add a tablespoon of honey. Mix well into liquid, cover and cook until done.

Serve with crusty bread so you can sop up all the yummy juice!

Monday, October 10, 2011

You don't think like I think, you don't joke like I joke

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Haven't had much to say, not much going on.

We went to a members only event at the conservatory, the photo above is from there. I'm knitting socks, but I'll never get as much knitting done as I'd like before the holidays. I've taken too much time off from it. Just can't get into it this year. It's almost like something is bothering me. Hm. What could that be.

My younger daughter and I are going to the New York Sheep and Wool festival next Sunday. Taking a day trip. She would not let me make any excuses for not going, and she said she'd help me drive. Maybe I'll find christmas presents there.

We've been getting some groceries from Penn's Corner Farm alliance, I highly recommend it for anyone local. The prices are reasonable, the products are great, and you're supporting local farmers. We don't get a CSA, it's more than we could use, but the farmstand ordering system works well for us.

I'm off because I cooked like a fool today and need to sit and chill now. If you want to make my recipe for stuffed eggplant, chopped sun dried tomatoes are a nice addition to it, and you can make it vegetarian by eliminating the pancetta. Look on the sidebar and click "recipes".

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Hopefully lots of photos from Rhinebeck, New York next week. For now, this one I took at Frick Park a few weeks ago, when we took Lily.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

No cure for the summertime blues

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My world seems so small lately. Life is going by on the outside, while I stand still trying to grab at little pieces as they fly past. I'm not fast enough.

The dreams continue. I wake up with a glimmer of hope that quickly fades. I see small black cars or dark-haired young women on bicycles and I hope for a moment that it's her, that's she's going to come up to me and give me a hug and everything will once again be ok. I feel foolish. But from time to time I daydream that my daughter is back in my life and we're laughing together or having lunch or she's asking me for advice, something she never did much of anyway. Then I snap back into reality.

It's bittersweet because having my younger daughter living here with us is very much a good thing. We enjoy her company and she is a motivating force on me. But I miss her sister so very, very much.

Recently, a friend from work, a young woman, lost her husband. I don't know the circumstances, just that one day he was alive, and the next day he was dead. I can't imagine what that must feel like, but it fills my heart with sadness and with longing for those I love and for one I fear I have lost forever. Any moment, things could change. You could go on a wonderful vacation for your anniversary, and be a widow the next week. How are such things possible? You must treasure what you have every moment because it could end, any moment.

So I keep hoping, because it's all I know how to do. I've always hoped, even when all logic defied it. I've almost always been disappointed in the result, but that doesn't change my nature. I will keep noticing slight dark haired women on bicycles and shadowy profiles in small black cars and I will keep dissolving into daydream, because for now, that's all I've got.

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Monday, August 08, 2011

Been a long time since I did the stroll

Buttercupia has been a busy place lately. So not much blogging.

The craft related things have slowed down due to busy times. My younger daughter has moved back home to PA and into our house while she gets her future sorted out. It's nice to have her here, both local and in the house, she's a good person and does a lot to help me out. In lieu of rent, she claims, but I think she'd do it anyway.

She brought her classroom bunnies with her.

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The upward extension happened since they arrived, it's really quite awesome for them.

We're bringing in vegetables.

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No photos of the three large zucchini we've brought in and eaten voraciously so far. More to come I am sure. The eggplant, green beans, and onions are a washout but the tomatoes, zukes, and bell peppers are doing well. Part of the problem is the zucchini is just taking over the whole plot.

I spun all Corgi Hill Farm fiber for the Tour de Fleece.

Group shot for the 2011 TDF

From the top left, 917 yards Merino/Bombyx silk, 725 yards BFL/Tussah silk, 825 yards Polwarth.

I ended up winning a prize, from Anna Marie at Corgi Hill, three gorgeous braids of fiber from her shop.

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I was surprised and delighted to win. And such a generous prize! Really amazing.

As always, I enjoyed the tour and the personal challenges I set for myself. It's been too hot to knit so I'd have been spinning anyway, maybe just not in that quantity, considering there was a lot going on at the same time what with Anna (my daughter) moving back in.

This is one of the things she has done so far.

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The whole hillside was previously choked with weeds and overgrown grass. We even went out and got a new weed whacker so we can keep up with it now. It looks so nice!

I have still not heard anything from older daughter, other than a second hand hello, which I suppose is better than nothing at all. I miss her so much, and my heart is still broken that she is not in my life at present. I hope beyond hope that I'll see her soon.

We got a new bed. It has been life-changing.

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It's a Serta "iComfort" memory foam bed. It sleeps cool because it has a gel component to the foam. I can't tell you what a difference it makes to sleep soundly and without waking up every hour or so because something hurts or has fallen asleep or is cramping up. We've only had it a little over a week but it's wonderful so far. And it has a 25 year warranty, 15 of which is for full replacement.

And Figment loves it.

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Lily got a new bed, too.

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She was unsure about it at first but lately she just curls up in it and sacks out. We got it for her because we took the carpet out of our room prior to getting the bed-good move, because it was disgusting and full of dust and animal hair. That alone is, I believe, part of why we're sleeping better, along with the cushy luxury of the new bed.

Biscuit is happy to have his mom home, I think.

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Finally, I got some more old photos scanned but not nearly close to all yet. My favorite of this batch is this one.

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Probably why my older daughter is not speaking to me. Instead of preventing her from closing her fingers in the door, I just kept taking pictures.