Sunday, March 25, 2007

all gussied up and ready to blog

I'm back from spring break and I managed to wash all the NYC dirt off myself. Yes people, I even SHAVED MY LEGS for this blog post. Trust me, I was overdo for getting shorn (ha HAAA GET IT! SHORN. Like a sheep. And I KNIT!). That's how much I love my reader(s). I'll even shave my legs for you, as if this is a date. And I'm going to put out.

So while I was in NY I finished the first in a pair of Grumperina's Jaywalkers for Ali, the world's best composer/music theorist/spinner of yarn. They're Blue Moon Fiber Arts Sock Candy, in Lemongrass, knit magic loop-style on a 40" US1 Addi Turbo. I'm going to have to have some words with those needles, though. Mainly because I HATE THEM. The stumpy tips drive me insane, the cord is too $*$(&^#@ long even for magic loop, and I BENT THEM. Apparently I have fingers of steel, because these suckers are severely warped. I'd say at their worst they were bent at about a 30 degree angle. I kept trying to bend them back, but that's HARD and it hurt me. I started the second sock on the plane on the way back from NYC, but I think I'm still going to order new needles from Knit Picks (does anyone make bamboo needles in a US1 I suppose? Or would I just snap those like twigs?!!) before I stab something out of anger.

Oh wait, you couldn't even stab a bowl of mashed potatoes with these needles they're so fucking stumpy.

Anyway, the yarn is great - I can't say enough nice things about it. The socks feel so amazing and sproingy! And being cotton and all they won't roast poor Ali's feet in Eugene, the land where wool socks aren't really necessary...

My main modification to the pattern was that I knit these socks toe-up. I used these tutorials on toe-up sock knitting as rough guides and mostly followed my instincts, which, as it turns out, is a good way to go. I used the provisional cast-on as described on (here - scroll down - I love these videos. SO. helpful.), a short-row toe and heel, using this tutorial on Misocrafty so as to avoid holes. (By the way - Misocrafty?!?! That's the best craft blog name EVER. I so wish I had thought of that.)

Well, I'm through cursing like a sailor about socks. Here are some more pictures of my finished sock:

And another:

Agh, is it me or do these photos look better in flickr than on my blog? Why IS that?!?!!

And, because it's SO HARD to blog without including a dog photo of some kind, here's me wearing my sock and Cato wearing his socks, so daintily:

Monday, March 19, 2007

spring break blogging!

Dear faithful reader(s),

I'm writing from Brooklyn, where I'm staying with two of my most favorite people in the whole world, and one of the bestest dogs ever. Aaaaand hanging out with another favorite person! This morning I wandered up the street to get a bagel with lox (oh dear God I wish you could get bagels like this in Chicago) and a latte (soon to be 2 lattes...) to do some work (yes, even though it's spring break), use some wireless (free! I love Brooklyn.), and scope out a couple of destinations for my afternoon. I think I'll wander up Atlantic to find this enclave of Middle Eastern stores, including this one - Sahadi's!, and possibly visit this yarn store - Brooklyn General, although Brooklyn General is kind of far off my path, so if I'm short on time I probably won't make it. Although I do love yarn (as anyone who has ever seen my bedroom can attest) this won't break my heart. I have more than enough, and I can always use some fine Middle Eastern coffee a little bit readily.

Tomorrow will be my first foray into Manhattan, where I'll hopefully visit Purl Soho (ahem, more yarn), and probably wander aimlessly around Soho some, check out the Museum of Arts and Design (where this is an exhibit called Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting!!!!!!), and eventually meet an old college prof that I haven't seen in four or five years.

I miss Chicago and some people (and a dog) in Chicago, but DAMN I love New York.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Okay, I'm aware that my being a young white woman who moved into a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Chicago I am thereby participating in Logan Square's getrification. And also, I do other things like take pictures with a cell phone camera, and write on a blog, and go to shows, and bla bla bla bla blaaaaaaaaaa. So what I'm saying is, I'm not working with a clean moral slate with which I can criticize people for being hipsters and all.


That's the building across the street from me. It's ugly. It's old. Lots of people live there, and from the looks of the building they're probably kind of poor. They have presumably been in this neighborhood for a lot longer than I have. I live in the nicer (but also old) building across the street.


COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If only I could have moved fast enough to capture them while they were actually taking the picture.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

I eat well while writing papers

This morning I made some very simple, very tasty brunch-pasta. It's only brunch pasta because it was brunch time. But I suppose fatty potatoes are also reminiscent of brunch... This one features fried unboiled gnocchi. I learned about this from this recipe on 101cookbooks and ever since I first made her spring gnocchi, frying without boiling has been my favorite method of cooking those little buggers. I love the way the butter seeps through the whole dumpling, and they're soft on the inside and cripsy on the outside.

Nameless Brunch Gnocchi

1 lb. fresh gnocchi (I love the non-refrigerated kind they have at Stanley's, but I'm sure other ones are good too. Just stay away from the crap in the fridge at Whole Foods.)

olive oil
kosher salt

7 roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped (a couple of handfuls of halved cherry or grape tomatoes would be good, too)
2 c. sliced shiitake mushrooms
white balsamic vinegar

fresh thyme
fresh rosemary
fresh sage - about a tablespoon of each of these, finely chopped

parmesan cheese

Gnocchi: Melt about 3T butter with about 2T olive oil in a large pan. Add gnocchi (unboiled!) and saute with a sprinkling of kosher salt and pepper until they are all cooked through and golden and crispy on the outside.

Veggies: Melt about 2T butter and 1T olive oil in another pan, preferably not a non-stick one. Add the mushroom slices and some kosher salt and pepper. I like a put a lid on to cook them on all sides evenly. When they're tender, pour out the liquid that has accumulated in the pan and drizzle some white balsamic vinegar over them. Continue cooking until the vinegar has cooked off. Add tomatoes and cook for about 30 seconds, until they are warmed through, then add the herbs and cook for about 30 seconds more.

Pile veggies on the top of the gnocchi, grate some parmesan over the top, and eat!

Serves about 3-4, depending on how much you each and what other things you may be eating...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Thursday, March 8, 2007

so i hear papers just write themselves if you blog incessantly...

Becki and I were just observing that the quality of our conversations has really declined since THE DOG arrived a couple weeks ago. Whereas before our conversation was totally all, "Well Rebecca, the thing about globalization is........" now we only say things like, "WHO DID A BIG POOP!!!! DID YOU DO A BIG POOP!!!! GOOD POOP!!!! WHAT A GOOD POOP!!!! WHAT A GOOOOOOOOOD POOOOOOOOOOOOOOP POOPY POOP MCPOOPERTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Shit, I don't even use words most of the time. Now I just run around the house making a serious of spastic arm and leg motions and weird barking/chirping sounds. And the worst part of it is, I think Cato might even be smarter than I am. He made an impressive display of ignoring Becki after she yelled at him this morning by staring at a blank wall as if there was something going on in his fuzzy little dog brain, and this made her even more angry! When Becki yells at ME, I usually just throw myself onto my bed and cry.*

*just kidding. Becki doesn't yell at me. But if she did, I promise I would be paralyzed with fear and couldn't possibly pull off any move so thoroughly infuriating as staring at a blank wall with a strangely intelligent expression on my face.


Alas, what with being in school and all I have very little time to knit. I finished my bejeweled scarf a few weeks ago, waited a couple weeks before blocking it, and now I've been wearing it all over town for a little while and just took the photos today.

Here are the specs:

Pattern: Bejeweled Scarf, by Lisa Shobhana Mason, as part of the informal Bejeweled Knit-Along

Yarn: 200 yards of 100% alpaca from Almost Paradise Farms in Oregon, from Beneta and Rose (presumably these are the little buggers this yarn was shorn from) As an aside, this is the most deliciously buttery yarn I have ever knit with! They really aren't kidding about alpaca being the poor man's cashmere. I love it. Also, there's no way (for me at least) to capture the depth and range of these colors in a photograph, either. This isn't just a gray scarf - you can distinguish individual bits of fiber ranging from black to white and every shade of gray in between.

Needles: Addi Naturas US8, I forget the length of the cord and it's not really relevant anyway.

Mods: I didn't make the scarf as wide as the pattern calls for since I only had 200 yards of yarn. (The pattern calls for 270.) I forget how many stitches I ended up increasing to... But I'm happy with the width, although every time I wear it this sucker gets longer and longer. I wrap it around my neck three times and tie it in a knot now, and it still hangs down to my belly. I may block it again. I may even shell out for blocking wires, because pinning this thing down was a complete son of a bitch.

Pictures taken with a Panasonic DMC-TZ1 (Becko's camera!)

And, because I am now one of THOSE PEOPLE, here is a crappy cell phone picture of Cato laying on the scarf:

Friday, March 2, 2007

thanks for the blog fodder, CTA

So I'm an irresponsible citizen and I let my vehicle registration expire. Sue me. While I'm waiting for my new stickers to arrive (in the next couple days, according to a shockingly nice and helpful employee of the Illinois Secretary of State) I'm back to taking the CTA from Logan Square to Hyde Park. Every day. And while this takes a long time, it's not that bad when you go at rush hour and things are running really frequently. And I get a lot of work done. But I don't really wake up early in the morning any more, and so I'm getting on the blue line around ... ohhhh 10:30 or so every morning. And you get a really strange mix of people at this time. Some students. Some vagrants - such as the young men tagging the train car this morning and talking loudly about their latest experiences with excrement (I kid you not) as confused suburban families stare at them and Chicago residents stare down at their shoes or absently out the window hoping not to be the target of harassment. Lots of old rich women, and I'm not sure why. Don't old rich women take cabs? That's what I always thought. But in the mid-late morning hours they're all over the blue line in their fur coats (seriously. fur coats on the el.) and cashmere scarves. Then on the red line I was treated to the very strong scent of urine. Someone recently told me that they saw a woman get on the red line and sit down on the urine-soaked seat. Now whenever I smell pee on the train I can't stop thinking: "whereisthepeewhereisthepeewhereisthepeewhereisthepeewhereisthepee OH GOD I HOPE I'M NOT TOUCHING IT" until I get to school and wash my hands under the hottest water I can stand so that my knuckles are cracking open and bleeding. But the best part of all, and always the most entertaining, is the 55 bus. Oh, 55 bus. Yesterday afternoon I got on the bus leaving campus around 3:30, which was stupid of me because at this time it's general overrun with horrible loud school children. A group of girls who looked to be in about 9th grade got on and sat in all the seats surrounding me, yelling across me. No big deal. Then one of them pulled the stop request cord (whatever you call that thing...) to get off, but was still yelling to her friends from the back door, and missed the stop. When one of her friends realized she'd missed her stop she started tugging on the cord and screaming "BACK DOOR ACTION! BACK DOOR ACTION! BACK DOOR ACTION!!!!!" while her friends (and I, actually) erupted in hysterical shrieking laughter. That is the funniest thing I've heard all week. Back door action girl, I love you.

Oh, here's the full story of my Secretary of State experience - I called Springfield to find out when my new tags would be arriving, since I sent away my renewal a couple of weeks ago and I now have expired stickers on my car. After 8,000 menus, being on hold for about a half and hour, being transferred, and being on hold some more, I got the most pleasant Illinois drivers' services employee I have ever heard of. I explained the situation to the woman, acknowledged that I should have sent my renewal request weeks earlier, yadda yadda, and the woman looked up my information, and told me that according to the computer my registration is up to date and I can expect my sticker in the next couple of days. I asked if, since I am current according to the computer, I would be okay driving. She sort of beat around the bush for a minute before saying, "well, it really just depends on how much of a jerk the cop is." BEAUTIFUL. I love you as well, anonymous civil servant. Way to provide pleasant, reasonable, and realistic service. I'm totally blown away.