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September 30, 2005

Boston Knit-Out

(I know, I know. Two entries in one day. What can I say; it's Friday and I'm at work and bored.)

So who's going to the Boston Knit-Out on Sunday? Carole and Folkcat, I know, and maybe Julia? Anyway. I am looking forward to it; I'll be there with Erica, who is, in fact, going. (I'm not above bribing her with a vanilla latte and a Sunday Times to read in the car if she tries to back out.)

If you're there, come say hi. I'll be the short girl with long brown hair and glasses, wearing Kitty Shoes. If you say hi and mention my blog, I might even give you a little present.

Posted by Kat at 03:24 PM | Comments (3)

Another kind of meme

As the news isn't exactly looking great, I figured this deserved a link.

P.S. You're going to go see Serenity this weekend, right? Right? (Neil Gaiman even gave permission.)

Posted by Kat at 02:54 PM

September 29, 2005

What NBC taught us tonight

1. Spank children - not even your own!
2. Say things like "All the gays up against the wall" and people will just laugh and happily comply!
3. Deceive people and they will be thrilled to go out with you!

Will and Grace
1. Make fun of fat people!
2. Lie to anyone about anything, just for the heck of it!
3. Talk about strange women's breasts!
4. And I don't even know where to start with their stereotypical portrayal of gay men, but that's nothing new...

Okay, now that that's out of my system, I must say that Debra Messing was delightfully giggly, they all seemed to be having fun with the live premiere thing, and at least they made her decide not to sleep with the married guy.

And they showed a trailer for Serenity, so it's not all bad.

Posted by Kat at 09:35 PM

September 28, 2005

88 Days

88. That's how many Knitting Days Until Christmas remain. (Just for clarity: I did count today and did not count Christmas Day.) Is it just me, or does that seem like a ridiculously small number? And I think I have eleven people to knit for (three immediate family, five other family, two friends... hm, that's ten. Oh, wait, I have yarn for a scarf for another friend, so that's eleven), coincidentally enough. That means that, in order to finish the last project on Christmas Eve, I should be finishing one thing every eight days. Um, yeah. Right.

I am getting just a wee bit alarmed here. Partially because in my every-eight-days thing, the unending baby blanket (for a rather imminent little princess) and Birch (for me, but I want it done by November 1) were not even counted at all. Ack ack ack.

Okay, let's be sensible here. Let's break this down into a few subsets. With different levels of goals. And rewards. All that good stuff. As always, read on if you're not a member of my family or a close offline friend.

I think I'm going to randomly assign some goals, just to have them there. I'll try to somewhat alternate easy and hard, but leave the most complex things for toward the end as I'll be working on them in bits the whole time. And I think "most complex" at this point is the Campus Scarf, Orenburg-Style Scarf, and Baltic Sea Stole. I think I will set goals for Sundays, as I tend to get most of my knitting time on the weekends. The most mindless projects will be set for November, as I'll be doing my knitting while writing.

October: Finish non-holiday projects and get some easy stuff out of the way.
10/2: Boring Baby Blanket
10/9: Irish Hiking Scarf
10/16: State Dishcloths
10/23: Jayne Hat
10/30: Birch

November: It's all about scarves, baby.
11/6: Scarf for Godmother
11/13: Scarf for Godmother's Sister
11/20: Pink Ribbon Scarf
11/27: Red Ribbed Scarf

December: Insanity sets in.
12/4: Hat for Aunt
12/11: Campus Scarf
12/18: Orenburg-Style Scarf
12/24: Baltic Sea Stole

Ummmm. May I go running in the other direction now? No, really, this is doable... right?

Posted by Kat at 01:09 PM | Comments (4)

September 27, 2005

Caramel Apple Cider for One

A bunch of people on Chatty have been talking about caramel apple cider recently, and making me really want some. Alas, I have no convenient Starbucks. I do, however, have a kitchen, and rather a "How hard could it be?" attitude about cooking. (Don't scoff; this attitude led to a pretty successful wedding cake, if I do say so myself.) Most of the recipes I've found used three million spices and/or made fifteen gallons of the stuff. I just wanted one mug. So I decided to wing it. Here's my recipe for Caramel Apple Cider for One, made with ingredients found in your kitchen (or at least mine).

Pour a mugful of generic grocery-store apple cider into a small saucepan. Throw in a one teabag of Cardamon Cinnamon Herbal Tea from Republic of Tea. Turn the heat on low and let it simmer while you do the dishes, clean the bathroom, and sort the junk mail (or, um, for a while). Stir occasionally.

When a taste test determines that it is sufficiently hot and spiced, pour it back in the mug and add some caramel syrup - the kind they use in coffee bars, not the kind you put on ice cream - to taste. (Maybe a tablespoon or so?) I used Torani. Da Vinci is another popular brand. Stir. Top with whipped cream and caramel sauce (not syrup, the ice cream kind) if desired. I used Smuckers Sundae Syrup. Enjoy.

(It occurred to me while I was writing this that some sort of alcohol might be a good addition, but I don't know what you'd put in cider. I'll ask my roommate when he gets home from his trip and let you know. Unless anyone would like to educate us in the comments, of course.)

Posted by Kat at 06:44 PM | Comments (1)

September 26, 2005

Go dial this number, and tell me how to get to Rhinebeck. Please.

877-SOS-KNIT. No, really. (It's toll free, so you have no excuse.) I'll wait.

Now, didn't that just make your evening? And it's quite appropriate after my post yesterday... sigh. I think I may appreciate it more having met Stephanie a few times. It's just so... her. In that wonderfully dorky way. Hah. You have no idea how much better I am feeling now. (Not that I was feeling particularly bad, just a bit... blah.)

The blanket is eking along. We won't discuss the few stabbing pains in my wrist today; they must be from typing at work and not from knitting or typing at home, right?

At the moment I'm waffling about Rhinebeck. Should I go? Where should I stay? Can I afford it? Et cetera. At the moment, the best (i.e. least amount of insane driving and no paying for accomodations) plan I've come up with it to drive to my parents' house in CT after work Friday (3 hours), go to Rhinebeck for the day from there on Saturday (2 hours each way), and drive back to NH on Sunday (3 hours). Doable, but lots of driving. And I'd only have the one day at Rhinebeck, which might be enough, but then... enough? What does that mean in this context? Anyway, back to the plan. Anyone have any better ideas? (Or if anyone closer had a couch or space for a sleeping bag, I'd be happy to barter some fiber or NH maple syrup or a homemade genuine Italian meal or something for a place to crash...) I haven't been to a festival since I started spinning. Also, let me know if you're going and want to meet up (if I end up getting there). It would be sad to go all that way only to feel like a lonely dork with no friends (which is, admittedly, how I feel much of the time).

Umm, didn't mean to make that into a downer. Next time I have to knit all day to finish an endless baby blanket, remind me not to watch eight hours right in a row of movies about people dying of AIDS, okay? It was a little much for one day.

Posted by Kat at 09:40 PM | Comments (2)

September 25, 2005

Phase Two

So I feel I am making sufficient progress on the endless baby blanket to start thinking about other things, if not actually knitting them. (Want to see? Click here if you're not Aaralyn's mommy.) I knit all day today, which watching Angels in America and In America. Both were very good, and I'd definitely recommend them. Anyway, the blanket is going decently, and if I finish this ball of yarn tonight I get to start the RCP (roommate Christmas present).

Now that I have time to think about other projects, I believe I have moved into Phase Two of holiday knitting, according to the schema presented in Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter. I'm going to put my list here... read on if you're not expecting to be in, say, the top ten people on my Christmas list. (And no online friends are on the knitted gifts list at this point, if that makes it easier. It's basically all family with two exceptions.)

I'm concentrating on close family and roommate first, then maybe a few friends. So, the list so far:

1. Mom: Orenburg-Style Scarf. Started it last fall but didn't get very far.
2. Dad: Irish Hiking Scarf in red Harrisville New England Highland. I think I'm going to make four cables across instead of three, though.
3. Brother: Bright red scarf. (That and the Dad one are what I've been calling the Stupid Bright Red Scarves. The reason for them is that red is my brother's football team's color.) I have the yarn (Classic Elite Princess), but I'm not totally sure of the pattern yet... ribbed? Hmm. What would a 15-year-old boy find sufficiently cool?
4. Aunt: Baltic Sea Stole, started a few months ago. You can see my last post on it here - it hasn't gotten much farther than that yet.
5. Godmother: probably a scarf. No further plan yet.
6. Grandparents: State Dishcloths for the states where they, their kids, and grandkids live. (FL, CT, OH, NH) Yes, I planned to do this last year, but didn't get there.
7. Roommate: Campus Scarf
8. Friend (ex-boyfriend, actually): not sure, but thinking a hat. Was planning a vest, but he's, um, dropped a bit on my Christmas gift priority list. I assume that's understandable.

So. That's all, um, sane and reasonable and doable, right?

Posted by Kat at 09:10 PM | Comments (1)

September 24, 2005

Joining the Trek.

So at the Sheep Shack on Thursday I did not buy any Trekking. Just for the record. I did, however, hold some so I would not be the odd one out in the picture. And I liked it. A lot. But I put it back on the shelf like a good girl, as I was already buying ridiculous amounts of bright red yarn for the Stupid Bright Red Scarves. (I think it's a very good sign that I started calling them that the day I bought the yarn, don't you?)

But then... Stephanie posted the picture on her blog. (I know, really. What did I think she was going to do with it?) And I started feeling a little guilty. And remorseful. There I was, holding the lovely Trekking for everyone to see, but I didn't really have any. I felt like a fraud. A Trekking-less fraud. By the time I happened to stop by my LYS today, it was just about unbearable. So.

Isn't it pretty? I, um, justified it with the fact that it looks like it will be cute with my new kitty shoes. So now . . . what do I do with it? I mean, I know: knit socks. I understand that much. But . . . patterns? (I'm thinking I want to use size 1 needles.) Help? Steph? Cate? Anyone?

The real reason I went to the yarn store is because my roommate is away for the week, so it seemed like a good time to start on his Christmas present. (Yes, I have to finish the baby blanket first. Shush.) Click here if you don't live with me. I am not particularly looking forward to weaving in all those ends, but he's a pretty amazing guy, and he deserves it. (By the way, there were at least six total strangers [and a dog] standing in my driveway while I carefully posed the yarn and took the pictures. That should get me some Real Knitter points, right? Of course, because this is New Hampshire, they didn't say anything, but I'm sure they thought I was totally insane.)

At the store, I ran into Folkcat. Here's the obligatory blogging-you-blogging-me photo:

And one of us together, taken by her husband Gryphon:

He also took one of us knitting together, but apparently we both had rather unfortunate facial expressions at that moment, so you don't need to see it. Really. Anyway, it was great running into them - such fun encountering a blogger around town!

Posted by Kat at 10:55 PM | Comments (1)

September 23, 2005

Exactly What I Needed

First of all, my sky for Sandy, taken when I got home from work today. (I see the winner has already been picked, but I'm going to post it anyway because I like the picture.)

Last night I headed to the Sheep Shack for Stephanie's book signing:

It was great. A lovely store - I'd never been there before. I had been to one other of Steph's events, but this one was smaller and more fun. I got my book signed, got yarn for my dad's and brother's Christmas presents, and hung out with some fun bloggers - and Steph herself, after most of the crowd had dissipated. Here she is after the event, blogging us as we blogged her:

(We discovered that Steph and I have the same dorky camera. It was rather exciting.)

That picture was taken shortly after Steph and the other bloggers linked above performed a yarn exorcism for me. I can now return to work on Birch - Steph, Cate, Julie, and Carole touching the WIP has gotten rid of the ex-boyfriend taint. (Oh yeah, ex-boyfriend. I guess I didn't really mention that here. That's the personal yuckiness I wasn't wanting to talk about. E-mail me or leave a comment if you want details - I don't mind talking about it, just don't want to do so in a public setting.) Anyway. He picked the color of the yarn crack Kid Silk Haze about two hours before what amounted to the "let's just be friends" conversation, so I was feeling an emotional block about knitting it. But now, really, it has been exorcised and I can knit it.

Anyway, I was thrilled to be included in the group (I'm afraid I sort of latched on to Cate because we share a rather unusual alma mater), as I tend to feel really awkward in social situations like that. But I got over my shyness and had a great time, and I think a night out with knitting and new friends was exactly what I needed in my difficult week.

Posted by Kat at 07:24 PM | Comments (3)

September 15, 2005

What is up with Cinderella?

So I've been listening a lot to the Into the Woods soundtrack recently. Such fun, addictive music. One of the stories followed in this musical is that of Cinderella. And after listening to it about three million times, I started realizing that her story seemed kind of . . . odd. (The following will be mostly based on the songs in Into the Woods, but as far as I can remember from the other versions I've seen, it's pretty similar.)

The main characters all have these big, huge life dreams - the Baker and his wife want a baby; Jack and his mother need to sell their cow to survive; Rapunzel wants to get out of the tower. And Cinderella? She . . . wants to go to the festival/ball. She doesn't want to break out of her life of drudgery. She doesn't even want to find her prince. (When she does find him, or rather he finds her, she's decidedly ambivalent.) She just wants to go to the festival. What?

Now, you might argue that with the limits that have been placed on Cinderella's life, she couldn't really dream any bigger. Maybe. But really - wouldn't it seem more reasonable for her to wish to, say, have the life of her stepsisters, rather than to go to a festival or ball? She'd at least seen her stepsisters' lives. It doesn't seem that she'd ever been at a festival before.

And besides, there's the beginning of the second act, where they all have new wishes. By now, Cinderella is married to the prince, living in the castle, etc. And her wish? To sponsor a festival. What is going on here?? I think I am missing something. I mean, if I were her, I wouldn't be thrilled with that prince either. But I could understand the dream of finding a prince. I don't understand having your one wish being to go to a party. But then, maybe that's just because I'm shy and antisocial.

P.S. Proof that I'm not always antisocial: I was photographed at a knitting group. (I'm on the right, in the purple dress, and darn, I actually look not half bad. I usually hate how I look in pictures.) It was my first time going to this group, and it was great. Can't wait for next month!

Posted by Kat at 05:02 PM | Comments (1)

September 14, 2005

September 23, my foot.

So I placed an order with Amazon on Sunday for my textbook this semester (the justification) and, more interestingly, Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter. Because I am cheap frugal, I chose their "We'll ship it for free but it'll be by horseback and take three months" shipping. It shipped yesterday, and they told me it would probably be here on September 23.

Guess what was here when I got home from class tonight?

Not that I'm complaining, of course. I am quite excited. (I am trying to convince myself not to stay up all night reading.) But really. Why tell me it will take 12 days when in fact it will take three? They had me all worried, since I'm going to one of Stephanie's book signings on the 22nd, and according to Amazon, my book would not be here for her to sign. (Yes, I know I could have bought another, but that's not the point.) Anyway. Free three-day shipping. Yipeee!

Okay, off to read sleep.

Posted by Kat at 11:18 PM | Comments (2)

September 11, 2005

100 Things I Like

Got this from Rachel, and it seems like a nice day for some positivity. I tried not to copy too many of Rachel's, but what can I say? There are lots of things we both like.

1. the smell of autumn
2. new books
3. old books
4. big mugs of tea
5. dark chocolate
6. flannel sheets
7. long skirts
8. word games
9. fireplaces
10. winter sunshine
11. bright, soft yarn
12. the ocean
13. baking
14. NPR
15. chai
16. kittens
17. ice cream
18. long hair
19. lazy Sundays
20. spinning wheels
21. getting lost in a book
22. sweaters
23. traditional quilts
24. stuffed animals
25. sunrises
26. Bach
27. history
28. candles
29. cooking for others
30. windy country roads
31. L.L. Bean
32. weddings
33. cookie jars
34. taking pictures
35. making music
36. cutting coupons
37. Christmas carols
38. libraries
39. homework
40. blogs
41. Target
42. candy corn
43. artichokes
44. tiny wooden knitting needles
45. grocery shopping
46. getting e-mail
47. sorting things
48. espresso machines
49. cookbooks
50. writing
51. exploring new places
52. snow
53. dolls
54. jigsaw puzzles
55. musicals
56. roses
57. lighthouses
58. Victoriana
59. chick lit
60. mythology
61. roll-top desks
62. sidewalk chalk
63. seltzer
64. airports
65. coloring books
66. old trees
67. chamber music
68. mystery novels
69. algebra
70. memorizing poetry
71. babies
72. reconnecting with old friends
73. Cornwall
74. The Sims
75. knee socks
76. crossword puzzles
77. spare rooms
78. bookstores
79. real delis
80. long walks
81. old churches
82. logic problems
83. watching movies I've practically memorized
84. scones with clotted cream
85. discovering new favorites
86. pizza
87. Costco
88. library book sales
89. interesting salads
90. cross stitch
91. Tetris
92. historical fiction
93. knitting
94. Arthurian retellings
95. period movies
96. oldies
97. reading the Bible
98. gift certificates
99. notebooks
100. making lists

Posted by Kat at 09:46 PM

September 09, 2005

Library Thing

Look! An easy way to catalog and share your personal library! I am ridiculously excited about this, really. And, um, only slightly competitive... the current biggest library has 859 books. I have more than that. Easily. Now to just load them all in...

Posted by Kat at 04:54 PM | Comments (3)

September 08, 2005

Cute shoes

Are these not the cutest shoes you've ever seen? I need new shoes for work, too...

Posted by Kat at 10:35 PM | Comments (1)

September 05, 2005

Anne Day

Autumn is my favorite season (I think), and I always like to kick it off with Anne Day. Each year, on the first day that the weather feels autumnal, I get out my battered old copy of Anne of Green Gables and start to read. I'm not sure why, but autumn is clearly the right time for the Anne books. Hopefully by the end of the month I will have reread the whole series.

I started this year's Anne reading this afternoon over a pumpkin spice latte. Mmmm... how could you get any more autumnal?

Posted by Kat at 07:23 PM

September 04, 2005

A whole day free?

So I unexpectedly have an entire day free tomorrow. Yes, I knew that I had Labor Day off, but my parents have been up here visiting this weekend. I didn't know what time they were going to leave on Monday, so I didn't make any plans. But it turns out that one of their cars broke down yesterday morning, so they're leaving early to go car shopping and I won't see them at all. Therefore, I have a whole day delightfully free. Because of the aforementioned parental visit, my apartment is even pretty clean, so the day really feels freer than most.

So... what shall I do? Sleep late? Write a story? Finally spend some quality time with the spinning wheel? Take a long walk? Read John Irving all day? Go shopping? (I'll probably do at least some of that, actually, since I have a Borders coupon about to expire.) Catch up on all the blogs I try to read? Knit Birch all day? Or pull out Charlotte or the Baltic Sea Stole or even the Peace Shawl? Spend a few hours on Bible chapter summaries (a la RachelSerenity movie? Finish season one of Avonlea? Or maybe catch up on the Netflix DVDs I've been ignoring for the past few weeks? Oh, the options.

I'm not going to decide now, though. I'm sure I'll have fun with whatever I pick, but for the moment, I think the delight of it really lies in the fact that that whole long stretch of time is free.

Posted by Kat at 11:37 PM

September 02, 2005

Review: Patterns in Silicon

So, as we discussed yesterday, I've been in a reading rut. Today I decided that this was simply unacceptable. For one thing, I have this book around that I've been reading off and on for months. The author very kindly sent it to me, and I promised to review it on the blog. I'm sure she's given up on me by now. So anyway, I got home today and decided this had to stop. So I took myself firmly in hand, and said, "Self, you do not need to turn on the computer within 15 minutes of walking in the door. Remember reading? You like reading. You're going to sit down and finish that book." So I made myself a nice Mochaberry (that's a cafe mocha with raspberry syrup, for those of you who don't think in Borders cafe menu terms) and sat down at six to read with about 180 pages left. I was done by 7:30, and now I have officially finished a book for September. (Oh yeah. I'm going to start posting them at the end of the month like Rachel does. Accountability, and all.) So. Anyway. The review. Right.

Patterns in Silicon is a debut mystery from Maureen Robb. It features a San Francisco chef and new restaurant owner, Lea Sherwood, who becomes embroiled (hah! sorry) in a murder investigation when an ex-boyfriend drops dead in her restaurant. The mystery is decently plotted, and Robb does a great job of portraying San Francisco. (Although I haven't been there since I was a child, so I perhaps shouldn't say that. But I found it convincing, at least.) I especially liked her portrayal of Lea's restaurant and the food world in general - it made me hungry! Her depiction of the tech industry also seemed credible. The supporting cast was great as well, especially members of Lea's staff.

I do have a few quibbles with the book, though. The first is with the characterization of Lea, the main character. To me, she read as someone much older than her 33 years. I kept having to remind myself that she wasn't in her late forties or fifties. She finds Gen Xers to be a distant, foreign breed, but it seems that that should be her own generation. Also, there was some sloppy editing ("here, here!" One of my pet peeves.) and I couldn't figure out why Lea had such unrestricted access to her boyfriend's offices, phones, coworkers, etc.

Overall, though, this was a fun read, and I look forward to more adventures of Lea Sherwood!

Posted by Kat at 09:04 PM

September 01, 2005

Literary ennui

I realized today that I can't remember the last book I actually finished. I think it was sometime in July. This is very unlike me. I've been picking up and putting down various books, losing interest in most of them. I clearly need help. Any recommendations, anyone?

Posted by Kat at 09:42 PM | Comments (3)

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