Thursday, October 18, 2007

Now, THAT'S scary!

Halloween is coming, and we have our very own, all-natural decoration up at our house. I'm not talking about the pumpkins and gourds and Indian corn we put up every year, but a big spider who created a masterpiece of a web on our front porch. It's amazing.

Things that are really scary, though:
1. I am on a committee.
2. I am in charge of a bake sale for that committee.
3. I bought a Crock Pot.

Hahaha! Not that I have ever been cool (my junior high was exactly like the film Mean Girls, and I was NOT on the popular team), but this soccer mom type stuff is kind of scary. Oh, I learned something interesting at my last committee meeting (at least it's not the most organized committee, and our meetings are pretty fun). I forget that we're in the South most of the time. A few of our neighbors have actual Southern accents, but it's not that common, and Atlanta in general has a lot of transplants from other states and other countries. But I learned from another Yankee parent that we're expected to teach our kids to call our friends Miss FirstName (so I'd be Miss Allison). That's the polite thing to do. Which is really bizarre. And I forgot to ask this, but my guess is that in the relatively chauvinistic South, the same probably doesn't go for men. I'll have to confirm this, but I can't imagine a Southern child calling my husband Mr. Matt. Not that I can imagine this Miss Allison nonsense, either. I was raised to call adults Mr. or Ms. LastName, and if they wanted to be called something else, to go with that, so the Miss FirstName thing is just strange. Plus, Miss Allison was the name of my imaginary friend as a small child. Weird. TurtleGirl, are you a native Southerner? I was wondering if the same was true where you grew up.

The Crock Pot is kind of funny, since I don't cook meat. But I figure I can chuck soup or stew ingredients in there in the morning and have it be ready for dinner. It also made excellent vegetable broth.

Thank you so much for your kind comments on my little diary. It was nice to do a bit of writing, even if it was short and not my usual thing. It's also nice to hear from other non-domestic goddesses :) I can keep the place clean enough that the Health Department *probably* won't show up, but I have no idea what those people with neat-as-a-pin houses do to keep them that way. My hope is that they hire someone.

Knitting: I finished "swatching" for Tussie Mussie. I put that in quotation marks because I can never stand to do the whole 4x4 square thing. It takes too long. So I did swatchlets, where I cast on about enough for 4 inches and knit until I couldn't stand it anymore (1-2 inches). And I only did that because I was nowhere near gauge on the recommended needles (strange for me), and I wanted to make sure I liked the fabric I could get with gauge. I went ahead and washed the swatchlets and let them dry overnight, because I couldn't remember how the Rowanspun acted after washing. The size 6 needles ended up a little off, but the size 5 are spot on. Oddly, the size 6 with the yarn doubled are as well. Weird. How does that make mathematical sense? Anyway, I just have to decide whether I want the bulkier fabric, or a very light one. Take a look at the size 5 needles, single strand (also held up to the window so you can see the density):

And the bulkier fabric:

I'm afraid the bulkier will be too warm here. In Wisconsin, probably it'd be perfect, but I think I'll get more use out of a light sweater here. But I'm also a little afraid the light fabric will be too floppy and therefore unattractive. Thoughts?

Reading: I've been re-reading favorite mysteries lately. I haven't felt like being challenged, and I can pretend it's research for my own murder mystery. But really, it's like the mac 'n' cheese of literature for me.

Writing: I actually thought of a perfect plot twist for the murder mystery while baking for the upcoming bake sale. I jotted it down, but unsurprisingly, have not had time to go back and write it in.

Cooking: For the bake sale, I'm making sourdough loaves (or trying to--my first attempt did not rise at all, though it tasted like sourdough, which is weird because that means the bacteria the yeast produce were there, but the yeast were having a vacation day or something), baklava (recipe in sidebar link), brownies (recipe also there), and chocolate chip pumpkin muffins (recipe also there). I made Chickpea Gumbo by The Fat Free Vegan. I know the blog name doesn't sound like the most appetizing food blog, but she has great recipes. I must admit that I added a bit of fat back into the gumbo, in the form of 2 TBL of olive oil instead of 2 tsp. I'm making her Red Beans and Rice tonight. Oh! I forgot to mention I made my veggie broth last weekend. I was able to make an extra three quarts from what I usually make by employing the Crock Pot in addition to my two stock pots. I was very pleased with the results. The freezer is stocked! Just in time for it to get warm and humid here again. Sigh.


Holly said...

I sort of chuckled at the "Miss Allison" part of your post. I'm not sure if its the same at elementary school, but at Ella's preschool all the teachers are Miss or Ms. FirstName. So her teacher is Ms. Laurie. And same goes for her speech therapist and OT, Miss Kim and Miss Megan. I guess its easier for little kids to say Ms. Firstname instead Miss [insert long impossible to pronounce last name here].

Perhaps this is indicative of our ever growing informal culture...

But I definitely would feel weird about having Ella or Lily's little friends call me Miss Holly.

turtlegirl76 said...

I'm from northern NY. I might as well be Canadien. I do find it bizarre though. I've been in the south since '99 and still don't like it when people call me ma'am or Miss Cristi. It's weird. Just call me Cristi. Or Miss Brockway if your nasty.

YarnThrower said...

I must be scary..... Ever since my kids were babies, we've referred to all non-relative adults as "Miss" or "Mr" first name. Miss Rhonda, Miss Suzanne, Mr. Mike, etc... I had heard that one of my friends from Louisiana was having her kids do that, and I actually thought it was a good idea. It just seemed too strange to me to have my kids call my closest friends as Ms Last Name, yet I still wanted my kids to give adults an added level of that's what we do, though clearly it's not for everybody :-)

Marvie said...

I was raised to use the formal Mr./Mrs./Miss Lastname but up till I moved to Virginia, my boy wasn't really around a lot of non-family type people. I'm not sure if we started using the Miss. Firstname thing before coming here but we definitely have used it since moving here when he was 5. Even now at 13 he still uses it with most people. Though our closest friends, who are more like family now get called by first names only.

As to using Mr. Firstname, he does that too. Only once have we run into an issue with that, and it was with a man named Ed. Mr. Ed just caused all of us adults to laugh out loud, so he gave the boy permission to either use Mr. Lastname or just call him Ed. They were pretty close friends of ours, so the boy chose Ed but somehow managed to say it so respectfully that he might as well have been saying Mr Lastname.

The only time the rules change is when it's someone who is old enough to be a grandparent, in which case it is *always* Mr./Mrs. Lastname.

Anonymous said...

My girlfriend teaches ballet to 4 and 5 year olds, and those kids all call her Miss Eva. That might just be a product of the setting, though, and not any cultural thing.

String Bean said...

The Miss [first name] thing is weird. I'm from Western New York and I can't remember what we called adults. As far as I know we never talked to them if we could help it...

I think you should go for the thinner fabric. I was going to say "If you don't mind buying extra yarn, go for the thicker fabric", but then you mentioned that it might be too warm and I remembered those wussy things the southerners call "winter".

Am I reading the gauge wrong? The top photo looks like it's 4.75 spi and the bottom one looks like it's 5.75 spi. Is that right or is it just too early for me to be staring that closely at the computer screen?

I'm with you on the swatch thing. I try to be good by casting on enough sts, but then I wimp out when I get an inch or two knit. "Yup, that looks good."

Rachel said...

I hope you'll forgive me for saying that having an imaginary friend with the same name as yours shows a bit of a lack of, well, imagination. :)

My college roommate always called my husband (then boyfriend) "Mr. Matt," so it actually sounds pretty normal to me. (He called her Mr. Clean, because her name was Colleen and it just seemed funny at the time...but I digress.) Anyway, I think fair is fair. Teach Lila to call men "Mr. Firstname" and the women "Miss Firstname" and you have many years of entertaining awkwardness ahead of you.

KnitPastis said...

huh, where did my comment go?
Sorry girl, but I did leave one before.
I have a crockpot that I am dying to try out! I have maybe cooked in it one time and I think that was only my simple chile recipe.