Monday, December 15, 2008

Itz Chritzmiz.

I just want to post a quick photo of our Christmas tree, because I love the all white room and the silver decorations.

Please ignore the towel I used to swab down the floor when I spilled the tree water. . .and never you mind the ottoman on its side to keep the beast off of our couch.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I just have so much to say!!!

I have failed to update this blog for a while - I was too busy and so overinvolved in too many things, so the blog was unfortunately a victim. . . so here goes:

The Wellers (myself, Mr. Weller, and Lucie Weller) took a much needed vacation recently to Santa Fe. We drove, by way of Amarillo and Lubbock, stopping for a quick drive through Palo Duro Canyon. In Amarillo, we stopped for dinner at the WORLD FAMOUS Big Texan Steakhouse. (If you are not aware, the Big Texan is the home of the free* 72 ounce steak.) *Free= eat the salad, baked potato, roll and all 72 ounces in an hour or less, and it is on the house, or pay around sixty bucks and if you get sick you have to clean up after yourself.

Palo Duro Canyon, in case you didn't know, is the second largest canyon in the United States. Neat! (and it is here in Texas, as part of a Texas State Park.) The canyon is beautiful, lots of colors in the rock walls, and full of interesting animals. This time of year, many of the animals are hiding, because it is stinkin' cold. . . it was in the low twenties when we were there. We did get lucky, however, and saw a flock of wild turkeys in the canyon, just off the side of the road. We rolled down the windows, Lucie peered out, and in their hurry to get away from us, we could actually hear the gobbling. I took a photo with my camera, but it isn't the best quality from far away. . .

In Santa Fe, we rented a cute little casita on Artist's Road. We enjoyed seriously large amounts of food containing green chiles. We ate at a number of recommended restaurants, including the Shed, Maria's, and the Pink Adobe. We drank fabulous margaritas at La Posada's bar, and the Dragon Room. We shopped on the plaza - I bought a cookbook and a few little things but nothing big. . We enjoyed the galleries on Canyon Road. We went to the flea market on the edge of town and promptly left. . . We visited the Georgia O'Keeffe museum, and built pinyon wood fires every night in our kiva fireplace. We came home with a little bit of leftover firewood, and hopefully, sometime soon, it will get cool enough to actually burn something in our fireplace.

A note on making fires: Thank you, Mom, for teaching me how to make the ultimate firestarters that work like a charm.

Recipe for firestarters:

one pressed cardboard egg carton (NOT styrofoam or plastic)
dryer lint, enough to stuff and fill all of the egg carton holes
clear or white paraffin or clear/white old candle nubs
candle wicks

1. Melt the paraffin or old candles. I do this by placing a coffee can or jar in a small pan of simmering water on the stove. (Melt that stuff in a container that won't melt itself and in a container that you are okay sacrificing)
2. While the wax is melting, stuff the dryer lint in each of the holes of the egg carton.
3. Cut a one inch wick for each separate hole/cell of the egg carton. Place an end of the wick into the dryer lint in each cell, working it down into the lint.
4. When liquified, slowly pour the paraffin over each cell of dryer lint. Fill as much as you can without overflowing.

Allow these to solidify. When ready to build a fire, rip off an individual cell and light its wick, placing into your pile of logs. These are long and steady burning little things. You will be surprised! A couple of notes: Do not use colored wax. If any of the wax doesn't completely burn away, it will drip onto your fireplace andirons or floor, and colored wax stains the brick. . . Also, don't leave these someplace where your husband will find them without explaining first what they are. (They aren't pretty. Dryer lint has hair and fur and weird particles in it. .) I left a full carton (having used blood-red candle wax) in our pantry. Mr. Weller was packing the pantry for a move, found the carton, opened the carton, and was entirely horrified. He believed that he had stumbled across some sort of largely out of date rotten and decaying eggs.

More later. Mr. Weller wants the laptop.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

After the food coma

Well, Thanksgiving is over. whew. Can you hear it? No? That's because what you're hearing is a mostly quiet house with a mostly quiet kitchen.

We hosted our first Thanksgiving in our new home. I think it went really well. . I consider it a full Thanksgiving meal cooked even though I didn't do the turkey here. I did buy the turkey, thaw it, clean it out, remove its little "done popper thing" and inject it, and then finally sprinkled it with a sodium free cajun rub. (did you know cajun could be sodium free? I was not aware) I didn't cook the turkey, though. An acquaintance of mine from work offered her husband's turkey frying skills, and I happily took her up on it. My mother in law, Nancy, brought the wine, fruit salad, and rolls. This worked out really well, because these would be the details I think I would normally forget. We also had gravy from the Soup Peddler because when one fries a turkey, there aren't pan juices to be turned into gravy. . . that being said, I would not use Soup Peddler's gravy again, because it was not entirely awesome. (And that pains me to say because I love the Soup Peddler). . I made cornbread stuffing (mom's recipe), mashed potatoes with goat cheese and chives (Cooking Light), baked spinach with Gruyere (Real Simple - and real dense), cranberry sauce (the recipe is on the back of the bag of berries), sweet potato casserole with the praline topping, pecan pie (my recipe) and pumpkin pie. . and I am probably forgetting something.

We ate quickly and all that work was for a meal that lasted at tops, thirty minutes. . . but at least we are enjoying the leftovers. I feel actually a lot more relaxed than I expected to feel at this time. . .

I found time to knit on and off this weekend, but I am looking forward now to really throwing myself into the knitting. Because of the election and A Christmas Affair (learn more at ) I just haven't had time to sit still. I did read during this time because every night I would need a few minutes to slow down and turn off my brain. (I thank Allison and my mom for providing the reading list sitting under my side of the bed.)

Today I put away the Thanksgiving and autumn decorations and began dragging out the Christmas items. I am excited to decorate in this house for the holidays because when we bought the house, one of my thoughts was that it would look pretty decorated for the holidays. . I will be glad to see that happen. I will take pictures once things are up - it will be another week, though, because we won't be getting a tree until the end of next weekend!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ellie in her hat part two

This girl is growing! Luckily her Weller-hat will fit for this entire winter season. . .

Book Club Menu

Three Cheeses: An (English) Lavender Cheddar, Explorateur (a french brie) and one not at all memorable. . .

Central Market Rosemary Bread. . . .

Coq Au Vin. . .

Green beans, sauteed in butter with a few shallots. .

Lemon Mascarpone Cream Tart with Figs and a Cornmeal Rosemary Crust and Red Currant Glaze. . .

So, our book club meets about once every six weeks and I host about once a year. I hosted last week, and when I host I like to roll it all out. I prefer to cook something that hints on the theme of the book we read. . . we read "Perfume" and it took place in 18th century France. Having never been to France, I had to guess - wish I had some real exposure - but all I have got comes from le cookbook.

I didn't have much time or effort to put into the cheeses - I went on suggestions from a girl in the cheese department at Central Market. . She did just fine. The lavender cheddar was great for the theme. . the Explorateur was a big hit - that was about a third of a pound of cheese and there were no leftovers - and the third cheese was not special, really, and had the most leftover. . . The bread - aaaahhhh - I love artisan bread, and this is the CM Rosemary Bread that is served at Jeffrey's here in town. . . The rosemary isn't overwhelming but certainly dominant - and what I love particularly about it is the little dash of kosher salt that is sprinkled on top, but generally to one side. I like to eat the entire piece of bread saving that small chunk for last. The green beans were only because I needed something that I could call a vegetable. . . and they were great. I steamed them in the microwave as my guests arrived and tossed them in a little butter. . .

I had never made Coq Au Vin before. . . This was to be what was served at our wedding reception, however, looking back, I am now most certain that this was not the dry and boring creepy plum colored chicken breast we were served about three and a half years ago. I now apologize to all of our wedding guests. First, true coq au vin is to be made with an entire bottle of red from the Burgundy region of France. . . It should also be stated that true coq au vin is a peasant dish that is made with a mature rooster. Having nary a rooster, I used chicken thighs - they are generally tastier, cheaper, and fattier, resulting in a much better tasting chicken dish. This is not a peasant dish in the US, where the cheapest bottle of burgundy did set me back $14.99. . . and it seriously pains me to empty an entire bottle of wine into anything but a decanter.

One must marinate the chicken for 24 hours in the wine plus chopped onion and carrot and a bunch of whole black peppercorns. . . In the end, you cook and you strain and you braise and you saute, and you make a roux and you set things aside and there is butter and there are mushrooms and there is bacon. Seriously. time consuming. deliciousness. I would most certainly make it again for a dinner party or a nice family occasion, but it is not a weeknight kind of deal. Everyone commented that it was good, and Steven (did I ever mention that I have a husband?) loved it. The biggest compliment came from a book club member who I consider to be a fun and wonderful person but a picky eater - she went back for seconds.

Finally, I received the tart idea from a friend, and the recipe appeared in Gourmet or Bon Appetit several years ago. It was fabulous. I have to admit that I generally do not like to make recipes where every single component of the recipe appears in its name or title: Lemon Mascarpone Cream Tart with Figs and Cornmeal Rosemary Crust and Red Currant Glaze. That is way too much information. . . but an explicitly descriptive idea of what you will end up with. This was actually a great recipe - the crust was easier than your basic tart crust and came together nicely. The hardest part of the whole deal was finding a jar of red currant jam.

Anyway, it was all a big hit and I feel more educated for making this dinner. Only in the last twenty four hours has our house quit smelling like bacon, and that did get old.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Did you Know?

Bleach, even in very diluted amounts, will, in fact bleach out your wood floors?

Well, now you know.

My baseboards in some areas look fantastic. Other areas are either beyond hope or weren't reached last night. The half bath looks clean again. There is now a spot on our stairs about the size of a baseball where I found stuck on mud. I used my little bleachy rag to scrub it off when I got to that spot, and now it is a light spot this morning. Boo. I guess if I am going to bleach out a spot on our floors, I am glad it is on the stairs, because that is a spot that will discolor from traffic again soon, and no one ever stands around on your stairs checking out the floors.

I did not get a cupcake last night, but I did have coconut ice cream. . . the cupcake would have been a lesser of two evils. Tonight, I am restricted to no dessert, because I have got to get back on a healthy train.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Too healthy for me. . .

Tonight for dinner we have: Roasted Veggies and mahi mahi. . . . a sort of weird combo, really. . .

This is what happens when you have too much on your mind and decide that dinner should be made and not purchased, but you can't string anything together that really goes. . . The veggies are parsnips (yeah - I had them hiding in the back of the vegetable drawer for a soup that didn't happen. .), carrots, cherry tomatoes, and red bell pepper, with crushed garlic mixed in. . . A strange combo of very autumn and very summer. The mahi mahi is a tamari-ginger/garlic marinade that will be going on the grill shortly - it is soaking in its bowl right now. .

There is rice going on the stove, and I had excellent intentions of making a salad, but I don't think I can go on. It is election eve, I kind of have the blues, and I have a weird desire to wash baseboards before I go to bed tonight. I have to act on these impulses because it will NEVER happen again.

I have had a serious sweet tooth lately, and having just read a post from a friend's website, I am desperate for a cupcake. I may have to go on a foraging trip after dinner. . .and only after the baseboards are washed because then I can call it a real reward. . and then the healthy dinner will be nicely balanced out!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I love to cook and bake.

I really do. It is just that I don't particularly like to clean up the kitchen. This past week, I hosted (along with six other women) a shower for a coworker.. Luckily, the party did not take place in our home.

For my contribution, I agreed to make the cake, and I made petit fours, instead of a traditional cake. Petit fours are most certainly, in my opinion, beautiful 'shower food' and perfect for an all-ladies event. They are delicate and seem to be the perfect size for a tiny bite of sweet.

I had never made petit fours before, so it was a great learning project for me, too. I did not have any luck finding a decent recipe online at my usual sources:, or, or of course, . . . so I went to the best resource I have, my mom. She had a recipe and sent it along to me. I also found some great guidance in the "Joy of Cooking" so I was able to blend the two resources for a perfect outcome.

Essentially, you bake a thin layer of pound cake, fill it with pureed strawberry jam, glaze this with strawberry jam, and then glaze with a very thin vanilla frosting. (Traditionally, there will be fondant for a perfect smooth finish, but I just didn't have the time for fondant this week.)

Before deciding to make the petit fours, I had checked around with a number of bakeries in town to see what these little beauties cost. . . . and one source quoted a price of $4.29 each. I now know why. They are a ton of work. It really was a three evening process. I cleaned the kitchen multiple times and I am pretty sure that there is a fine glaze all over our kitchen that will take months to really clean up. I baked the cakes the first night, cooling, chilling, and slicing into strips. The second night, I warmed and pureed the jam, filled the strips, chilled them, then cut the strips into small squares, then chilled them again. The third day, that morning, I glazed the little cakes with the pureed jam, put them back in the refrigerator, came home at lunch and glazed each cake three times with the vanilla frosting/glaze. Just before the party, I decorated the cakes with pansies and other edible flowers. *I had great plans to decorate the petit fours with a firmer piped frosting for a very chic look, but I ran out of time. . .

Anyway, it was a ton of work, but the recipe was by far the best-tasting petit four I have ever eaten. I think generally, when we eat petit fours, we are eating a piece of cake that probably is two to three days old, and it is a little dry and stale. The jam helped retain the moisture, and these cake and frosting recipes were just plain delicious.

I have pictures forthcoming, and will post when I get them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Everyone else's babies.

I have kind of had it with being excited or happy for everyone else. There is a fantastic list of things that people shouldn't say to women who have had miscarriages. It isn't that they're inherently mean to say - it is just that they don't make us feel better and they just make us feel instead that the person saying it is kind of ignorant to our true feelings.

My miscarriage was almost a year ago. I am still very bitter and emotional about it when left alone to my thoughts. It has all come up again because a dear friend of mine has recently had her second miscarriage. I am hurting for her quite a bit.

Here's some insight on things not to say. Please pass this on to people who might need the education.

1. "At least you know you can get pregnant!" This is an attempt to be kind, however, the desired result is a child, not a positive pregnancy test. It doesn't really address the problems we are going through now.
2. "At least it was early" From the moment one has tested positive, hopes and dreams are building and a loss, even twelve hours later, is very significant and requires a woman to work through her grief process.
3. "This is God's way (or nature's way) of fixing it." It is understandable that people think this would be a warm way to address the difficult situation, but the truth is, many of us never find out what caused the miscarriage, and now we fear that there is something wrong with us that may never allow us to carry a healthy baby to term.
4. making any type of suggestion as to what you think caused the miscarriage. don't, unless you're my personal physician or a reproductive endocrinologist who has read my chart and clinical results. Are you an RE? Then you don't know. Don't begin to think that your suggestions here will be interpreted as anything but insulting and overstepping.
5. "You can always try again" - This is definitely true, and something that every woman will consider and feel better about over time, but at the beginning, in the stage where people are trying to console us, this does not make us feel better because we can't look forward quite yet.

Instead, just say, "I am so sorry for your loss." or just, "I am sorry". . . Acknowledge that she is grieving and that there has been a loss, and be there to listen or talk if she needs you.

The sweater. Still. ugh.

I am super tired of houndstooth at this point. I have knitted the back, both front pieces and one sleeve. I would prefer to hire someone to finish it. I was hoping to finish before my parents leave for their polar bear watching excursion next week, but that ain't happening. I can only sit for so many hours in a day! It will most certainly be completed before Christmas. I have a list of wonderful things I would like to knit for myself and I can't wait to get started!!!

my final twenty five.

I feel like the last one should be something really profound, like, "I'm five years older than everyone thinks" (not true) or "I just got a new job" - (I didn't) - so I couldn't come up with a good profound last word. I will have to continue to think about what might be profound. . . Right now, all I can think is that bed is sounding pretty good. . .

76. I love fireflies. It is difficult for me to not run after them and catch them.

77. I also still like to run after pigeons but not because I love them.

78. I crave salty and sweet things - not one or the other like most people.

79. I think that the contractor who redid our kitchen and master bath did a substandard job. The work is all about a year old. The caulk in the kitchen is cracking and crumbling out of the spaces in the tiles. He didn't bring the electrical outlets up to code in the kitchen or bathroom. He used plate glass on the bathroom window (not tempered glass), etc. This all happened about six months before we purchased the home. I wish I knew his name.

80. I love antiques and wish our house was full of them.

81. I like vacationing but would rather take a trip where we do stuff. We took 'doing stuff' trips when I was a child and few 'beach only' vacations. I like beach only trips, too, but it has been a while since we had a do stuff trip.

82. I do not eat leftover seafood.* I think that is positively foul. *The one exception is grilled shrimp. I might, depending on how my stomach is that day, eat them in a salad but there will need to be a lot of dressing and croutons and cheese, which sort of defeats the purpose of a salad.

83. Of all of the artificial flavorings, my favorite is orange. The most repulsive to me is watermelon.

84. I have a little bit of social anxiety. I get nervous when I know there will be a crowd and will look for reasons to not attend. . .even if I know everyone there.

85. I wish I dressed more classically, like in all black and white all the time with colored accessories. I would look good, I think. . . but it would probably get old.

86. I always get a flu shot.

87. If someone misspells my name, particularly if they have seen it before, I think they are rude.

88. I love musicals. The old fashioned cheesy ones with brightly colored film and costuming are my favorites - example: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

89. I also LOVE Doris Day movies. The innuendo for the time is hilarious.

90. I make gingerbread houses every Christmas. I used to have to give them away because we had a rodent issue at our house. I am really looking forward to the gingerbread sticking around this year! I candy shop all year long to find certain things that will look good decorating the gingerbread.

91. My hands are almost always a little swollen. gross.

92. I love a thesaurus. I love the online version, at, but it isn't nearly as good as a good old paper version.

93. I like terrariums. I think they are so very interesting to look at, and they look like the kind of place where fairies would be born.

94. I love going to baseball games.

95. I have a chicken pox scar on the side of my nose just below my right eye and a scar in the eyebrow over that same eye.

96. I love the "shabby chic" style of decorating, but I am afraid to commit.

97. I am a sucker for pajamas. I love long sleeve, long pants pajamas. Not so sexy, am I?

98. I prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate and do not like white chocolate, at all.

99. I read all seven of the main "Little House" books over the course of the second grade.

100. I believe that feminism today is having the ability to choose my own destiny instead of having society dictate my path.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

oops. I did it again.

For the second year in a row, I completely let our dating anniversary pass on by without even a sniff in its memory. I feel badly about this. Our dating anniversary is actually the date of when we met, August 12, 2000. I can't believe we both forgot.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Two Three One.

My goal is two two five. (baby steps). . .

About fifteen months ago, I had annual blood work completed. When the results came back, I was called, and told that I had a cholesterol level of 360. Three sixty is what it should be if I am a man in his sixties who eats burgers and fries every day before his heart attack. This was a very alarming situation for me to be in. High cholesterol unfortunately runs in my family, so part of this was maybe hereditary, but obscenely high cholesterol like mine was just plain bad. Normal is under two hundred. Two thirty is high. Then there's 360.

So, I spent two months on Crestor. I don't know anyone else my age who has been placed on a statin drug. Many statins can cause liver damage and muscle weakening, and are considered highly toxic, pregnancy category X, etc. .

After two months, I was down to two thirty. This was super positive, but not a result of my attempts to get healthier, so I was not really comforted. I have spent the last year only consuming beef once a month. I try not to eat cheese unless it is considered dinner with a glass of wine. I greatly cut the amount of alcohol I was consuming, because my triglycerides were high, too, at the time the bloodwork results came back, and alcohol intake contributes to high triglyceride levels. I have lost and kept off the ten pounds from last session, and while I don't feel like I am at an ideal weight, I think I have done some positive things for myself in my attempts to have a 31 year old body and not a sixty year old male body.

I went to the doctor two weeks ago and just got these recent bloodwork results back. My cholesterol is 231. This is still high, but I am very pleased that it has essentially stayed level in the last year. Now I would like to get it lower, because that is just that much healthier. I have been eating oatmeal daily for about two weeks. This is getting seriously old, but I plan to stick to it until I have blood drawn again, hopefully for two months or so. I know that oatmeal alone is not a plan, but it is a good start. (I did just decline an offer for Pizza Hut lunch buffet, too.) I also plan to continue to work on all of my eating habits. I really try to limit beef, full fat dairy items, and I am trying to stay away from all fried items, as well. All of this however, is acceptable in moderation, and avoiding anything altogether is a recipe for failure, I think.

I don't enjoy going to the gym, and it is hard for me to make the time to go during the week. I have started speed walking for 2 miles every day, during work, while it is slow. This is about 30 minutes each afternoon, and it is five days a week, and this is as good as it gets for now. The goal here is just to not be so sedentary.

Anyway, I would really love to be able to get my cholesterol down under two hundred, but that is a two to three year assault, I think. My current goal is 225, because I think that a couple of months of perseverance can make that difference. Then I will reassess.

Do you know your cholesterol level? Maybe it is time to check.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Update. Sweater discussion.

I can't believe it is September and it is now officially Autumn. It is hard to feel excited about 'fall' when it is still in the nineties every day. I made navy bean and ham soup last week. It is hard to eat leftover soup when you're sweating. I love to drink coffee when it is hot outside and don't mind sweating then, but soup, no thank you. The list of one hundred is updated, below - because I began the draft a while back, the actual post appears back a few posts. . .

I can't wait for some cooler weather so we can test out our fireplace. . .we didn't have one in the old house. I look forward to hanging stockings there at Christmas.

Autumn brings new things at the farmers market, and I didn't go today because I stayed up late watching weather coverage on the TV. Thanks for nothing, Hurricane Ike (not to trivialize what has happened to our coastal neighbors). . . Not even a dribble here. I do plan to go to the market next week, or maybe I will hit the midweek one - I want to get some squash next week and see what else might be there. I love baked acorn squash with a little bit of tamari and some brown sugar. mmmmmmmm.

I finished the back of the houndstooth sweater. I feel like my speed is improving on the houndstooth, and while it still certainly takes a while, I think I may be able to finish it barring the possibility of other simultaneous knitted projects. It is remarkably apropops that I am working on this sweater pattern right now - it is developed from a Chanel pattern, and at this very instant, I am watching 'Coco Chanel' on Lifetime. Yeah, Lifetime.

Friday, September 5, 2008

photos of other knitted items I have done. .

This is just a photo post because I am compiling a collection of knitted items that I have given away. . So, meet Baur, in the red apple hat, born and made in December of 2007.

I am still working on my one hundred. I have a draft post but don't have entirely 25 more new items that nobody knows about me. Do I wear myself on my sleeve so much that I have nothing new to tell people? I have got to stop talking.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Well, If my knitting had been an Olympic sport, I would be the Luxembourg of this summer's games. That's right. Didn't even qualify to participate in the semi-finals. Maybe never even tried out.

The houndstooth pattern is very time consuming. I don't know that I can finish this one by Christmas even if I do focus a whole lot. . .

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Knitting Olympics.

I bet you didn't know that it is very common knowledge among knitting circles that you are to begin a project when the Olympics begin. . and finish it before the events are over. If you google it, you will find a number of online references, but a really good one can be found here. . .

I will be finishing the last blanket tonight or tomorrow. I have chosen not to participate in the aforementioned events this year because I plan to remain dedicated to the houndstooth cardigan/jacket. My goal, however, is to perhaps finish knitting the back during this time! I think that will be very motivating to move along and finish the rest.

Part three!

51. I have a secret stash of quarters that will one day be a surprise vacation fund. Sometimes I add fives and such, but the coins are only quarters. I actually have a separate piggy bank for all other coinage.

52. I love Neil Diamond, Tom Jones, Willie Nelson, and Anne Murray because they all remind me of childhood road trips.

53. I do not have the knack for finding four leaf clovers that my mom possesses. For her, it is almost second nature. I have to work really hard for them.

54. I miss my maiden name. I miss having an irish identity.

55. In the shower, I always wash my hair first.

56. I know all the words to the "Barbie, and the Rockers" theme song. What are you going to do about it?

57. I have to make an effort to not be stressed out. I do well with a little anxiety, but I wish I weren't like that. There is also a fine line between a little anxiety and full blown craziness and I have been there, too, and never want to go back.

58. I have decided to have my hearing checked but I am not telling my husband until I have the results.

59. I am very routine oriented. I must drink coffee in the mornings. I must do my makeup before my hair. I must put deodorant on before I do anything else when I am fresh out of the shower. and then perfume. and then sunscreen.

60. If I could go back and change some things, I would have called my grandmother more often and I would have eaten less queso.

61. I wear a retainer at night.

62. I think that the taste of a fresh, ripe tomato out of the garden at room temperature is one of the better flavors nature gave us.

63. Last night, I ate so much chocolate, I got hiccups.

64. I get hiccups several times a year, but when I do, they come in sets. I will get them every day for three or so days in a row, but then won't have them again for six months.

65. I went to speech therapy as a child.

66. I had my appendix out in St. Louis.

67. I had my tonsils out in the summer before 7th grade.

68. To the best of my knowledge, I have no more parts that I wish to have removed.

69. A spice I love is cardamom. I don't have nearly enough uses for it.

70. I consider my lucky numbers to be 3 or 7.

71. If the digital clock says 11:11, I make a wish and look away. I don't know how much that is actually superstition or how much is just appreciating the power of a really good wish.

72. I love things with fairies. I wish so badly that fairies were real. I think that hummingbirds are pretty close to it.

73. I love the smell of real lavender and hate the artificial scent of it.

74. I don't like juice, of any kind, unless it has been watered down. with water, or vodka, or champagne. whatever.

75. I have a problem with depth perception and frequently trip, fall, or hit my head on things.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

more of the one hundred things.

26. I like painted toenails, not naked ones.

27. I am still a Girl Scout.

28. My left ear is pierced three times.

29. I have a huge fear of running out of coffee filters and generally buy three packages at a time.

30. I love, love, love that Frito's brand bean dip in a can.

31. I have to take care of something at all times. People, pets, plants, just something. Got to nurture.

32. My front left tooth (to your right, I guess) has a root that is slowly disappearing. Sooner or later, probably in the next five years or so, I will need an implant. You will not see me when that happens until the hole is filled. I know my teeth aren't perfect but I am very vain about them.

33. I have a huge stash of tshirts. I sleep in them and walk the dog in them. I should get rid of them and wear more grown up things, but I find them so very comfortable. All of them are stained.

34. I always said that I couldn't take a grown blonde man seriously. Every boyfriend I ever had was some shade of brunette. Then I married Steven, the most blonde grown man everyone has ever met.

35. I wish I were two inches taller.

36. I haven't shoe shopped since 2006, with the exception of one pair of fancy shoes. This, my friends, has got to change.

37. I used to love to read, but I have fallen out of habit. I think that happened as a result of college and law school where you don't really read for entertainment. I am trying to get back into it and reduce the amount of TV that I watch. The problem there is that I can't knit and read at the same time.

38. I have knitted while driving. I have also painted my toenails while driving. I choose to not do these things anymore, unless stopped at a red light.

39. I didn't like condiments of any kind as a child. Now, I love most condiments, especially yellow mustard.

40. Although I rarely eat beef, I like my burger with mustard, pickles and american cheese. I don't like the veggies on it because they make the bun soggy. I will happily eat them on the side.

41. I have two college degrees, a BA (Spanish) and a BS (Applied Learning and Development). . . not using them very much.

42. My idea of a perfect Saturday is to wake up to the sound of rain with husband and dog and then roll over and go back to sleep. Later, we would get up and drive through with dog for 'fancy coffee' and then go out to breakfast. In an ideal world, the rain would dry up after we were really awake, and the humidity would evaporate, and we would go tailgate in seventy degree weather and then go to a night football game.

43. I loved Ronald Reagan when I was a child. I rode on a campaign parade float in the Woodlands in 1984, handing out buttons and hats. (I was on my way to ice skating lessons in my little yellow leotard with skirt and matching leg warmers, and the traffic was stopped for the parade, and they invited me to ride on the float from the sidelines.) I then began writing letters to President and Mrs. Reagan. I also made a red, white and blue potholder for Nancy Reagan one year for Christmas.

44. I started out at UT as a vocal performance major, in the opera program.

45. I love to polish my copper pots, especially before parties. I hate that my kitchen isn't set up for a pot rack in our new house. (But I love our house.)

46. I love pizza. LOVE PIZZA. it is my favorite food.

47. I really miss the true four seasons that we had in Illinois. Even with the blistering cold, I miss the real winters and real autumns...

48. I have a little bit of social anxiety, but haven't been able to determine why it is selective. I have noticed that I am very at ease with some groups of friends, even if I have only met one or two, yet there are other groups where I may have met everyone, but have anxiety when I am around them. I wish I could get over it.

49. I love to ice skate. I grew up skating on a frozen lake just by my high school.

50. I like Christmas decorations, and I like going to church, but I don't love Christmas itself. Sorry to end this one like such a scrooge!!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

projects up my knitted sleeves

I am working on the second of the Pitts twins' knitted merino baby blankets. This will be the fifth one in two years, and I am really looking forward to its completion. Luckily, I love the colors I chose on this one and I am enjoying it much more as a result. I forgot to take a photo of Curt's blanket before it was gifted - when I drop off Wynn's, I will get photos of both babies with their cutie blankets to post.

This is Koigu Kersti, which is a beautiful hand-painted merino. Kersti is always handpainted, and this particular color scheme (knitters call it 'colorway') looks like ice cream with sprinkles. It knits up very evenly and makes me look like a better knitter than I am. I love it.

Next I plan to start finishing my mom's houndstooth Chanel knitted jacket. It is a knitted version of a Chanel pattern. I will get that together for photos. I hope to have it completed before early fall and then keep it for her as a Christmas gift.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

a sneaky photo

Well, I stopped by to see the Pitts family after work, and snapped a quick mobile photo of the wreath on their front door. This is a terrible photo, I was slightly in motion trying to take the picture with my blackberry before the door opened!

Sort of looks like a quinceanera and an old folks home got together.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Not a lot going on.

Made a baby wreath yesterday to celebrate the homecoming of Steven's cousin's twins, and forgot to take a photo. I am convinced that I would take more pictures if I had a fabulous digital camera of my own that worked.

more of the one hundred:

2. Nutella is in the category of top ten best foods ever created.

3. I really believe that I want to be a nurse, but I am also afraid to pursue it and be told that it can't happen.

4. I bite my lip instead of biting my nails.

5. I love to iron, but not for others. It is a selfish ironing thing.

6. I love the smell of a freshly lit cigarette - where you smell all of the bad stuff but also the initial burning of the paper.

7. I have never been a smoker.

8. I think that I could live anywhere for six months and wish that I had that opportunity a little bit.

9. I believe that our guest bathroom looks like a pimp designed it.

10. I am in favor of botox, restalyne, and anything that makes one feel better about herself, as long as you do not appear unnatural. Uh, and if you, do, then by all means, I will judge you.

11. I like dogs more than cats, but I do not dislike cats.

12. This is not a compliment to myself, but I don't want to elaborate: I am a 'grass is greener' person.

13. I love gardening desperately and wish that I had a place in our yard to grow things in the ground.

14. Libertyville High School's Homecoming Queen, 1994.

15. I have only been arrested once, and it had nothing to do with alcohol.

16. I am a very weepy person. I know I am sensitive, but mostly I think it is genetics. I cry at EVERYTHING.

17. I heard once that the dye used in maraschino cherries is the same dye used for cadaver veins, so therefore, I do not eat maraschino cherries.

18. I am really afraid of the dark.

19. I am afraid of being in the woods alone.

20. I am terrified of being alone, in the woods, in the dark.

21. I love the smell of rain.

22. I love medical mystery television shows.

23. I cannot stand clams, oysters, or mussels. I wish I did. I feel like I have given them all a valiant effort. I just can't do it. Give me seven years and I will try again.

24. My favorite sandwich as a child was [Peter Pan] peanut butter and ham.

25. I do not like James Taylor.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

One Hundred things.

Last night, over at Emily Price's home, there was a discussion of a 'list' of one hundred things about oneself. (Like that chain email that went around.) I am working on this, too, but one hundred is a lot. I will add the numbers into future posts, I guess, but here is number one:

1. "Git 'ur done." kill me. This is the worst phrase of the century. It is one of those things that makes you hate high school boys even more than you already thought you could, and makes me cringe every time I hear it.

And the girl wears the hat.

Ellie will be growing into her hat - which is expected - it should continue to fit her into the fall and be great for early winter, I think. It is a crap shoot when you just go for it without thinking too hard about head circumference.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Things I have done

The hat just went for a ride to Elizabeth Jean. Hope she likes it.

Allison Dickson gave me a gift certificate to Bookpeople for my birthday. There were two books I wanted to buy, but Bookpeople only had one of them in stock, and now that they say I can come get it, I realize that I really just want the other one. It is "The Opinionated Knitter" by Elizabeth Zimmermann. . but I just posted on her fan blog to see if I should be purchasing a different book of hers, first.

and I just dropped eyeshadow into my keyboard.

From the reviews I have read, it sounds like I should be purchasing "The Knitting Workshop" first. .. . pardon me while I call Bookpeople. . . and it is not available. I will be ordering it on Amazon, which I hate to do. . If you don't know, Elizabeth Zimmermann is super-famous in the knitting world and has some really amazing ideas. I understand that I will grow as a knitter by reading her books, so get ready for my growth.

I want to post some photos of items I have knitted on here, but I also want to just discuss things I have done in the past few years that I am proud of. .

Like the four gallons of grape jelly last summer. It was a bumper crop on the fence there at Lions Municipal, so I picked around 21 pounds of mustang grapes. Did you know that many people are susceptible to a fair amount of itching when exposed to mustang grape juice? I, for one, felt like I might crawl out of my skin, but the itching went away by the next morning. I still have a fair amount of jelly - - I mean, how much can one household eat when it is just two of you?

The squid hat is another favorite. I found the pattern and began knitting one for an expecting friend of mine. The pattern was terribly written. I knit the first one as written, and gave that one away. Another friend asked me to make one for her infant son and so I began, but with multiple modifications. The first one was cute, but the second one was way cuter.

Some Light Reading

I loved to read as a child. I couldn't get enough. I read almost anything I could get my hands on, and certainly enjoyed age appropriate literature. . .um, until I discovered VC Andrews. For those two years, my brain slowly imploded. . and then I came out of it. I loved then, and I love now, books containing information like helpful household hints and off label uses for everyday household items. . I imagine I was the only child on the block reading "Helpful Hints from Heloise" (find it here: ) after discovering it in our local library. . but who doesn't want to know that you can dump a can of coke in the toilet and it will clean overnight?

I set down my knitting in the move to our new house so I am now trying to furiously pick up where I left off. I finished baby blanket A for twin A over the weekend and began baby blanket B, but that is in progress. . And another friend of mine and his wife had a perfectly tiny and pink baby girl yesterday afternoon. I got home and searched through my yarn stash and pulled out the pink and green cool wool and started a hat, hoping to be finished when I visited them around 8:30 pm yesterday, but alas, I failed to build in driving time and dinnertime, so I visited them with a Ziploc, five sticks and some string, instead. I stayed up and finished it when I got home, and it is cute - wish it had been more pink - but it was a great use of leftover yarn! So welcome to the world, little Elizabeth Jean and here is your hat. . that's all you get for your troubles.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Just an introduction

I keep starting blogs and then realizing that they are titled too narrowly, and then I just delete them after a few posts. I hope that this one will be different.

I like to think of myself as kind of a renaissance woman. I love me some domestic crafts, minus housework. I am a child of an almost baby boomer. My mother was raised in the fifties and early sixties to believe that if a woman planned to work outside the home, really her only choices were to be a nurse, teacher or secretary. (My mom majored in home economics, earned a masters of science and became a registered dietitian.) My mother was a stay at home mom, for a large part of our childhoods, really not working full time outside the home until we were in middle school, when she started her own monogramming business. (In middle school, most kids don't know the difference between monograms and mammograms. That caused some questionable conversations at the time.) Our mothers were the first to have freedom from the domestic tethering common in most US households at the time. As time has progressed, we have been taught that we [women] are smart enough and can work outside the home and can be academically and professionally high achieving. . . and when I enrolled in a few womens' studies classes during my undergraduate education, I learned quickly not to say that it would be great to be a stay at home mom. GASP.

I went on to law school because my parents both have advanced degrees and I thought I needed one, too. Law school seemed like a great idea and, "you can do anything with a law degree." It was a lot harder to find a job when I graduated than I thought it would be. So, now by folly, I am in state government, and thinking instead that I should have been a nurse. We will see.

But, enough about education and really tough stuff. . My mom taught me to do so many things - and I want to focus on the domestic crafts that lots of women my age aren't into, anymore. I love to cook, talk about food, eat, read about food, and absorb all I can about food science. Home canning is fun, but messy, and I learned a lot on that one last summer. I like to create, in general. I like painting - both decorative and housepainting. I like to get dirty. I like to work in the yard, and if I could get our mower started, I would be absolutely willing to mow the lawn. I love to knit - this is the only hobby that I can't truly get enough of - and I will never know everything I need to know about it, no matter how skilled I become. I like to learn about all of the things that women (back in 'olden days' - before our mothers' mothers) used to do because of necessity. They put up vegetables and darned socks and would take apart the sweater from three years ago to knit up a new sweater for the growing child. They could birth a child on Friday morning, cook supper that night, and spend all day Saturday baking for Sunday's lunch. I don't like to clean or do housework, but I do find ironing somewhat therapeutic. I love me some Lifetime Television for Women. I know it is bad, but I can't help myself.

Feel free to comment as you like or ask questions - Comments that are in any way construed as snarkiness will be removed and you will be banned from access, so if you have a problem with something I wrote, then tell me and we can discuss.

Uh, so all of that creative need and my multiple hobbies have fostered my success in procrastination and my failure at organization. . so I am working on those, too. Finally, I named this blog "Do-Nest-icity" because it is about domestic things which involve my neverending desire to nest. I am a nester now, and have been for a very long time.