Wednesday, January 31, 2007

And the weird just keeps on coming!

So I know I already did the Six Weird Things About Me meme, and it's not like anyone requested some bonus weird, but here we go anyway, since I have a story to tell. I like spiders, I really do. I love Charlotte's Web. I think spiders are fascinating, and they eat bugs I don't like. So the rule in our place is that spiders are allowed to stay if there aren't too many and they stay in the corners, and I am able to deal with my slight issue with how many legs they have and how they're really a little scary, even the non-venomous ones. There is the, "Is it on me? I feel like it's on me" response when the spider has left it's corner. But a couple of nights ago, one of the resident spiders broke the rules and was on the wall right by my lamp when I got up in the middle of the night to feed Lilah. Usually rule-breaking spiders get relocated with the sophisticated cup-and-piece of paper method, but it was cold and I was tired, so I ushered him into the bathroom with a Kleenex and went back to sleep. Then I was feeding Lilah a couple hours later, around dawn, sitting up in bed, and all of a sudden, there was a spider SIX INCHES FROM MY FACE. Ack! I really don't think I'm so fascinating that it's necessary to float down to see me from the ceiling. So I grabbed the changing pad and scooted him toward the oppposite wall, and he's now happily installed in the bathroom. But he (she?) necessitated a new rule, which is No Spiders Allowed in the Bedroom. My husband doesn't think it's really that traumatic to have a spider show up right in front of your face when you're half asleep, but I'm not alone here, right? That's scary!

Thank you to everyone for your kind blogiversary wishes! I am also SO glad that I'm not the only one who started Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell ages ago :)

Knitting: I finished the Gryffindor Socks!!! Here they are, modeled by my husband, who wouldn't roll up his pants legs any further than that.

The details:
Pattern - From The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns, men's medium
Changes - I did about an inch of ribbing, then switched to stockinette for the rest of the sock. I also used size 1 needles for the whole sock, and didn't change sizes.
Yarn - Gryffindor Stripe from Sunshine Yarns
Notes: Dani periodically posts new yarn for sale, and there isn't always Gryffindor Stripe. Even when there is, it sells out fast. I was excited to get two skeins at different times. I believe Dani takes special orders, though, if you contact her. I used an entire skein, plus additional red for the toe. For a woman's sock, one skein should be plenty. I cut out the yellow parts of the yarn for the top ribbing, heel flap, and toe.
Needles - Size 1 dpns
Gauge - 8 stitches per inch

Thoughts: I'm not sure I'm a huge fan of the heel flap method. My next sock attempt will be a short-row heel. These fit Matt really well, even though I worried partway through the first sock that the stockinette would make it too snug (the pattern as written is for ribbing). I love the yarn. The rest of the second skein is for a pair of Gryffindor socks for me! Final thought: men have big feet. Making socks for women is much nicer, but Matt really liked these, so it was worth it.

There we go! That's my last Christmas present knitting! Now, on to more baby things.

Reading: I finished Jane and the Genius of the Place by Stephanie Barron. Like the others in the series, I enjoyed it. It's more political than the previous entries and discusses the Napoleonic Wars quite a bit. The mystery wasn't quite as good, and I missed Lord Harold and Eliza. But Jane's voice makes it a fun read, anyway. I'm now reading The Shadow of the Wind and loving it so far.

Writing: Still slow revising. As we get used to Lilah's schedule more, I'm working on re-incorporating things like exercise (I missed you, Billy Blanks!) and preventing the apartment from devolving into total chaos (ha! too late!), so there's been less writing of late.

Cooking: I am very lucky to live near Lee, a fabulous cook (and also a knitter, and we were treated to a lovely homemade Indian feast, so we have been able to skip some cooking. I did, however, make cabbage soup, and this time came closer to the yummy vegetable soup served in Basque restaurants, so I'll post what I did.

Cabbage Soup (With or Without Beans)

2 TBL olive oil
2 small onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
3 stalks celery, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups stock or water (if you use all water, add a bay leaf and perhaps extra garlic and onion)
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 large head of cabbage, shredded
2-3 cups pinto beans, Great Northern beans, navy beans, or chickpeas (canned or cooked) (optional)
1 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste (you'll use less salt if you use salted stock, canned beans, tomatoes that aren't no-salt-added, etc.)

Heat the oil in a stockpot. Add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook 30 minutes, or until vegetables reach desired tenderness. This makes a ton of soup! Serve sprinkled with grated parmesan and ground black pepper.

I used half vegetable stock and half water. I used chickpeas because I had some cooked ones leftover from making hummus, but I would have preferred pinto beans. At Basque restaurants, a bean-free version of this is served alongside bread, salsa, and soup beans (pinto). You scoop beans and salsa into your bowl, then ladle in soup. Yum.


Annie said...

Those socks look fantastic!

YarnThrower said...

Those socks turned out great!...except for that one stripe which is just a smidge bigger than all the rest... (Just kidding - I didn't notice it in these pictures, and only mention it because you did in one of your posts.....)

Let me know if you make any headway on the keeping the place clean thing. I'm six years beyond the birth of my first child, and every day is a battle between organization and chaos. I am always looking for good tips regarding that.

I wonder if this will tell you I'm anonymous again.....


QoE said...

Just want to let you know that we are members of the SRP (Spider Relocation Project). They are allowed to live out of reach and in the laundry room. If I can reach them, they are relocated to the basement. And I just found out that my youngest son is also a member. He has been called at work by his roommate (hysterical!) telling him that she won't be home until she hears that the spider is out of the bathroom.
And I love your socks!!
Cathy in MN

Marie said...

I love theh socks! They look absolutely wonderful! Now I really need to stock Sunshine yarns to make a pair of my very own. :)

Anonymous said...

My fiance once left a spider in the shower for me. I turned around and I was face to face with Charlotte/Charles. After my shower I asked him why he didn't remove it, or at least warn me....and he just didn't think it was a big deal :)

I prefer spiders to stay a safe distance away, in nature.

Rachel said...

Great job with the socks! Now just be careful not to dye everything they touch red. (I wore those socks in a pair of shoes, and not only did they dye the inside of my shoes red, but the white socks I wore with those same shoes the next day also turned red. So be careful!)

I am not freaked out by spiders as a general rule, but I admit I do not want them near me. I think the no-spiders-in-the-bedroom rule is more than reasonable.

Holly said...

I love the socks! I don't think I would ever have the patience to make a pair though. We'll see. :-)

And the spider, eeeww! I understand about them being good and eating other bugs, but they are not my friend. Don't you just love when someone reminds you that everyone probably has digested a spider or two while they are sleeping. YUCK! Everyone feeling nice and creepy now? :-)

String Bean said...

Ack! I'm totally with you on the spider thing. It's okay to be around (corners), but stay away from me! Yukko!

Love the socks. I'm not actively working on a pair of pink and purple striped socks for a friend of mine. I'm knitting them with a short row heel. Use a short row heel on your next pair - it rocks. Short row! Short row! Short row!

How's Lilah? Growing like a little weed?

Knittypants said...

Yuck! I hate spiders, I am such a baby when I see them.

Great socks, lucky hubby!

KnitPastis said...

Yummy! Cabbage soup!!
Love the socks. Great job and fit as well!!