Archive for the 'Needle in the Eye' Category


Adventures in Kitchen Disasters

I once set a stock pot on fire. A few minutes after that, I burned the crap out of my hand, requiring ice.  Don’t believe me?  I have pictures to prove it.

This was after we used flour to put out the oil fire from me reading a recipe wrong.

This after I transferred the food to the crockpot, then burned my fingers on the little metal strip of the heating element beneath the ceramic insert when I pushed the crockpot aside.  It was not a good day.

Last night, the kitchen disasters were almost as bad.  It all started when I ran out of olive oil.  We were having pork sausage and hashbrowns for dinner, and the hashbrowns require a good bit of oil. I looked for vegetable oil before remembering that we took it to our camper for use and it wasn’t easily accessed.  I wasn’t driving across town for it, nor was I going to the store in the middle of cooking dinner.  Mike was covered in grass clippings and new oil was not to be procured.

Then I remembered some peanut oil we bought for frying a turkey.  I retrieved the giant, 3 gallon jug from the top of the fridge where we keep it, spinning my wheels about how to pour out only a little.  I know, I thought.  I’ll get a cup and then use the cup to pour it into our oil decanter.  Brill.  Tipping the giant jug, which inexplicably comes wrapped in a box that we, for some unknown reason, hadn’t removed, I got some oil between the jug and the inside of the box. Whoops.  I hurriedly tipped it back, trying not to spill any more.  For some reason, though, I tried to tip it back while holding the cup to the lip of the pour spout, which then emptied the cup back into the jug, but not gracefully, so there was now more oil in the box. 

Turning on the faucet, I rinsed my slicked hands for better grip and tried again.  Same thing happened.  Shit.  Then, I looked closer and saw a steady stream of oil falling from the corner of the box onto the floor, spreading out on the counters, and splattering up on the front of our dishwasher.  Double shit. 

By this point, the paper towels were flying, the oil was slicking everything, my grip on the floor was fading as was my patience, and my daughter decided to come in and demand a drink. 

To keep any more oil from spilling I quickly poured my cup full, hauled the box, streaming, from the counter and put it in the garage on our crap rug we use to wipe our feet, leaving an oil slick behind.  I turned in time to see the cat coming to the open garage door.  I could just see it, my own version of a tar and feathering.  Only it would be an oil and furring.  I managed to scare the cat off without getting his fur tangled up in the mess and turned to hurriedly get Daughter’s Drank Drank!  As I turned, my feet slid, and the kitchen floor became a skating rink.  Woo!  Barely remaining upright, I banged my elbow on the counter trying to keep from landing on my butt on top of Daughter.

Luckily, then, Mike returned from retrieving our son from the neighbor’s house and was able to help me clean up without injury, further mess, or any other oil slicks.  Unfortunately, the hash browns still didn’t make it.  In my hurry to get the damn dinner done already, I poured too much oil into the pan and drowned them.  Mike ate them, but he was the only one, prounouncing them edible and good, but could be better.  I quickly transferred what was left in the cup to the oil decanter, whipped up a batch of mashed potatoes from the box and called it good. 

At least when I burned my hand and that pot I’d still managed to salvage our dinner.  After that, I bathed the kids and settled in to knit.  At least there’s no way to fall while sitting down knitting.  Or, I haven’t discovered it yet.



My apologies for the extended absence.  There was some shit going down and my state of mind was not worth sharing in more than little bits and bobs on Twitter. I also didn’t trust myself to post about anything else because I figured my bitter would show through even the most benign of topics.  I don’t know if things are better.  But I do know that I need blogging, bitter seeping in or not.  I need to feel connected to others and a place where I can be open and honest without worrying about super judgy people in my real life. 

So! Onward.  Have you seen these socks?  I saw them and damn near fell over.  How awesome are they?  However it’ll have to wait.  I’m still in baby blanket hell, though I’m staring down the last curve and looking forward to the home stretch of seaming and blocking.  25 blocks is a lot of knitting.  Well, apparently baby blanket hell isn’t enough to stop me.  I’m going to be in baby blanket hell for a few more weeks, so I took the time out to do some selfish knitting.  I’ve kept exactly one thing in the year and a half that I’ve been knitting, so it was high time.  I did the Skew Socks and I love them very much. 

Yarn: Malabrigo Sock in Carabeño.
Needles: 2 US 1 24″ circulars, US0 DPNs for ribbing.
Satisfaction level: astronomical. I love these socks.  I will be wearing them as much as possible.

Not digging the holes on the sides, but knitting them on the bias like that made it hard to keep the increases from having little holes now and then.  I think of them as ‘air conditioning’.

I have also joined the Evenstar Mystery Shawl Knitalong.  It’s engrossing and lovely and the yarn is The Unique Sheep Eos in Silverlode.  I didn’t get the entire gradience set, just the skein second from the left in the picture.  The yarn is delicious and I want sheets made of it, it’s so soft.  I would wear Eos underwear if I dared make such an animal.  It’s that yummy. 


I also have finished another baby blanket.  I do not like the colors of this blanket very much.  I thought they would be great together, but the green and charcoal are not contrasting enough for my taste.  Alas, the blanket is done and I’m not redoing it. 

What’s everyone else up to right now?  I need to get back in the loop.


Adventures in Boxing and Dyeing

Thank you very much for the nice anniversary wishes.  The actual anniversary celebrating, however, was decidedly NOT nice.  Not because Mike fell down on the husband job, or because we have babysitting trouble (like we do every year, but I’m not going to go there now or ever, at least not here), but because my son decided it would be a good time to pretend to be Rocky Balboa and lay Apollo Creed, a.k.a. the little girl sitting next to him in art class, out.  Well, not really out.  He didn’t knock her cold, but he did punch her in the face.  I got a very serious phone call from the principal around lunchtime on Friday and it put me in a strange place for the rest of the afternoon.  I swung between frustrated, appalled, horrified, unable to focus, and frankly inept for the rest of the day.  I probably owe my employer money back for my lack of progress that afternoon.

It’s been sorted out.  The little girl teased him about his art page looking bad, and they jawed at each other a bit.  My son got his feelings hurt and was so mad he didn’t know how to handle the eruption of emotions, so he took a swing.  I’m not condoning in any way what he did, but he’s not the swinging away type, typically.  So the little girl provoked him, and while I’m definitely not saying Son shouldn’t be punished, I’m hopeful that the little girl he struck will get a lesson from the teachers about insulting her peers.  I have done all I can to make sure that Son knows if he gets that mad in the future, he’s to tell a teacher or trusted adult instead of taking matters literally into his own hands.  I have also had him write lines (my brilliant way of having him practice his handwriting as well as dealing him punishment) about not hitting; he’s been confined to his room for the last few days; he wasn’t allowed to play in two basketball games; and Friday night’s sleepover was canceled, which is what canceled our anniversary plans.  Being a responsible parent sucks.  But he will also write the girl a letter of apology and his confinement to his room may continue for the rest of the week.  We haven’t decided just yet. 

Have I mentioned a child confined to their room can bring the apocalypse of misery onto a household?  No?  Between the, “I’m thirsty,” or “I have to potty,” stalling tactics, little kids know right where to strike to the heart of the punisher, specifically with this ditty, “Mama, I can’t go to bed without my hug and kiss.”  So I let him out to come downstairs from his room and give him a minute of hugs and kisses.  While I was hugging him, he whispered, “Mama, I’m gonna miss this tonight.”  See, normally, after I get the baby to sleep, I let Son stay up half an hour or so later, so we spend that time in my bed reading a book or snuggling, or I knit while he talks to me.  It’s one of my favorite times of the day.  Lately, we’ve included Daughter in the mix, though she’s still a little firecracker and the supposedly quiet minutes before bedtime often devolve into a trampoline expedition on my bed.  But we’ll get her trained yet.

It’s in the quiet moments though that I take in their smell, their freshly bathed bodies and their pajama clad edibility.  They are great to tickle right now, and while I try to keep from riling them up, a little tickling is good for the soul.  Some hearty giggles do a body good.  But in the wake of the grounding, Son has been instructed that he must put himself to sleep.  He is not to con me into letting him into my bed, and thus, I’m missing the favorite part of my day too.  Am thinking of lifting the moratorium though after tonight, though Mike disagrees with me.

In the meantime, I dyed my first skein of yarn on Saturday.  It did not go as planned, namely because I was over-dying atop an already dyed (yellow) skein and the red I was going for didn’t materialize. It turned out terracotta with little bits of yellow peeking through.  It’s lovely even if it isn’t what I was hoping for.  I will, however, continue to expand my dyeing attempts to hand painting (using squirt bottles to put the dye right where I want it as opposed to submerging the whole skein) or selectively dipping.  But in an effort to document my first attempt (no pictures – sorry, husband took the camera with him and I didn’t think my only option, the camera phone, would work to convey the colors properly) I will spell it out here.

I have Wilton’s icing dyes already from previous cake making adventures, and so I got out the red and mixed it with nearly boiling water on the stove (about a cup and a half).  It wasn’t dark red enough, so I put in a smidge of black and got a nice black cherry color.  Perfect.  I soaked my yarn in cold water and dish soap in the sink and then rinsed it.  I added the dye to the crock pot, added enough water to cover the yarn (though yarn was not yet immersed) and waited for water to cool enough to add yarn.  At room temperature water, I added about a cup of white vinegar (acid for the yarn to soak up the dye) and the yarn and submerged it as best it could.  Turning the crock pot on high, I let it go until the water cleared.  It was about an hour and I went back to find clear water and burnt orange yarn.  Not what I was going for.  So I got some more red, the last of it, and a bit of burgundy and repeated the process.  After another couple hours, I had an orange brick color, much like a sunset.  It was nice.  I rinsed the yarn, rewound it around my fireplace screen, and left it to dry.  The next day, I took the skein off the screen and twisted it into a hank, replacing the original label on it so I’d have the care instructions and put it away.  Now, I have a hankering to try again.  I need some more undyed yarn and some more red dye.  Then I’m all set.


The Ass End of Friday

Wow, I’m so glad this week is almost over.  It’s been a rough one.  Three nights in a row, I’ve gotten home well past my normal time of getting home, because I’ve had to deal with camper repairs.  On our float trip a couple weekends ago, we had a failure of the equalizer bars and had to have a piece of metal welded back on.  So last night, I picked up the camper and drove it home.  Now, I’m not that uncomfortable driving the thing.  Wide right turns, that’s the key.  That and not getting irritated with people who don’t know how to drive near a camper.  That’s hard when someone cuts you off and you have to slow down.  A 1-ton truck pulling a 29 foot camper doesn’t stop on a dime.  If you cut me off in traffic and then hit the brakes, don’t be mad at me when you get me shoved up your ass all the way to my sleeper sofa.  It’s not my fault, brake enhancers and all. 

Anyway, I pulled into the alley behind the house where we have gracious friends who let us store the camper on a rock parking pad they have and things were going well.  I thought, huh.  I pulled this thing home in rush hour traffic.  I’m feeling ambitious.  I think I can back this honking camper into its spot.  I’ve seen it done several times.  Mike’s not here to laugh at me and won’t he be surprised when he walks up and I’m unhooking the thing?  Yeah.  I’ll give it a shot.  If I can’t do it, the worst thing is that I can’t do it and Mike has to.


I gave it a shot a couple times, repositioning myself by pulling forward and trying to swing it more sharply into its spot.  I stopped when I heard a screech.  Looking at the side of the truck I hadn’t been looking at, I see that I made the truck get in a fight with an ill-placed tree.  The screech was the bark of the tree taking the paint off the truck.

Um. Shit?

So I pulled forward, assessed the damage and cursed when I saw scratches down the side of the truck bed, about 6 inches long, back near the tail light.  Mike?  Didn’t speak to me much the whole night.  We’ve only had the truck for a couple months, so while I didn’t like that he was giving me the silent treatment, I guess I can understand it.  He’s speaking to me again, but damn.  He’s meticulous about his vehicles and there will be no scratches on his truck.  Nein!

Last night was just last night, thoug, so why am I glad to see the ass end of the whole week?  Mainly Daughter.  We’re weaning her from bottles onto sippy cups.  And we should have done it a long time ago.  I had cut the number of bottles in half over the last few months, but the few that remained, the first morning, naptime, and bedtime bottles were her Achilles heel for comfort.  She would test my patience daily by slapping away a sippy cup, and despite their claim to be spill-proof, they’re not totally leak-proof.  If she fell down and landed on a toy, her sobs were punctuated with requests for her ‘baba.’  She was coming to rely far too heavily on the little plastic drink delivery method, and so we said enough.

The first day was hell.  She sat in front of the fridge at the babysitter’s and slapped the floor.  She slapped my leg.  She shouted, “No!” at me.  She shouted, “STOP!” at me.  She laid down on her back and screamed, red faced, at the ceiling.  She angrily crammed her fists in her mouth and bit, then screamed in pain.  She glared at me as if she would prefer my dying before she’s old enough to remember me so she needn’t be bothered with me at all.  The only thing that works?  Crackers.  So now, instead of letting my daughter take comfort in a bottle, I’m teaching her how to emotionally eat, to associate food with comfort.  WIN!  Welcome to the beginning of the road to obesity, baby girl.  Jebus.

Just when I think that it can’t get any worse, she perfected her fit throwing technique.  Now, instead of flinging herself backwards, slowing her momentum with her elbows so she wouldn’t hit her head (she’s a careful fit thrower) she’s now started a half-twist so she lands on her hands and knees, sobbing at the injustice while hanging her head dejectedly.  Between the screaming, garment rending, accusatory shouts and glares, and complete emotional wretchedness of her behavior, I’m wiped out.  Picking her up results in a limp fish protest of throwing every part of her body as far away from me as she can get, because god forbid my skin touch hers.  A few well placed kicks to my chest and she’s gotten her wish – I no longer try to comfort her when she’s throwing her fit.  I ignore her, stepping over her and leaving the room.

In the meantime, I’ve begun browsing Craigslist for size 2T muzzles or small manacles that will hold her tiny wrists.  But don’t freak out or send me nasty email: I’m looking for fur lined manacles.  Comfort is my top priority here.  And just for the sake of preparing for the future, I’m also seeing what the going rate is on chastity belts.  Just to be sure.  Mama’s sleep is preshus, can’t be up worrying now, can I?

See what I mean?  This week cannot end fast enough.  My mental fortitude is thwacking apart, thread by thread.  The good news? This weekend is remarkably free, so there will be knitting.  Lots and lots of knitting.  And TV watching.  The last disc of Battlestar Galactica Season 3 is in my mailbox as we speak and I’ve requested the entire series collection of Six Feet Under from the library.  Hello, you lovely plasma TV, where’ve you been all my life?


Ten on Tuesday

I’m going to start doing the Ten on Tuesday as a way to keep the content on this space rotating.  Things have been crazy making lately and I really want to keep up better.  This week’s is 10 Bad Habits You Can’t Break

1. Soda.  I try to quit and I do well for a good bit of time, and then suddenly, if I don’t have a Coke, it’s as if the world has already ended and I’m left in the post-apocalypse and the only thing that can unwind the clock is a nice cold can of Coke.  It will deliver me back to my rightful place and right the world again.  Coke = magic.

2. I don’t wash the makeup off my face before going to bed.  This is a bad bad habit, and I don’t know why I don’t do it.  I always feel so good and clean when I do manage to take care of it.  But at night, after the kids are in bed, I sit propped in bed watching Battlestar Galactica episodes and knitting, and I cannot tear myself out of my comfort zone for the good of my skin.  Horrible.  Acne-inducing.  Bad bad bad habit.

3. I eat way too fast.  I learned on a work trip recently that I wolf down my food at such a speed that people around me should be worried about me sucking down their toupées and broaches and other unsecured items.  I do this because I barely get through my dinner before my kids are in dire need of something, help in the potty, another fork to replace the one they let the dog lick, or some other such thing.  If I don’t inhale then I won’t get to eat while it’s still hot.  This means that I overeat.  It takes something like 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain when you’re full.  Slowing down means that you don’t keep eating beyond your capacity if you allow your stomach the chance to get that signal to the brain.  It explains a lot to me, about my weight, my lethargy in general.  I don’t really eat bad things (except mashed potatoes) in large quantities like chips or ice cream, but just eating too much is likely my culprit weight wise.  And the soda up there in #1.

4. I wait way too long to pay bills.  I hate paying bills.  Especially when I have to juggle what gets paid when.  And I relax a lot more when I know things are paid.  But sometimes, I just don’t feel like it, and it’s a bad thing that I need to quit doing.  Don’t get me wrong.  Our bills get paid, and usually not too late, but sometimes a couple extra days that are totally unneccessary.  I need to stop that.

5. I am a yeller.  When the kids have turned the dial of chaos up to eleven and the phone rings, dinner’s burning on the stove, and the dog’s barking to be let in, well, I tend to lose my shit.  I’m not proud of this trait of mine.  I really wish I could be even tempered all the time, that I didn’t react so loudly at first instead of thinking first, and I’m trying to be better.

6. I am a terrible housekeeper.  I hate to clean.  My husband does a much better job than I and more efficiently most of the time.  He’s a wonder of human kind, able to multitask like no one else I’ve ever met.  But I suck at it.  Sure, I can do dishes and laundry and keep things in general order, but to clean.  Yeah, I’m not doing it very well.  I know how.  I don’t have any motivation.

7. I finish people’s sentences for them.  Sometimes it’s helpful if someone can’t think of the proper word, but I hate it when people try to anticipate my thoughts so I really shouldn’t do it to other people.

8. My husband says I tailgate people.  I admit to doing so some of the time, but it’s a bad habit.  I drive in rush hour traffic twice a day all week and if you don’t stay close to the person in front of you, you’ll end up having fifteen people cut you off.  I’ve grown accustomed to a shorter space cushion (and try to still leave enough room to stop should I need to) and so when it’s Saturday and I’m on the way to the library to return or pick up books, I tend to follow the person in front of me closely when I don’t need to.  Mike says I should just drive in the slow lane so I don’t get cut off at all.  Most people aren’t clamoring to get in the slow lane.

9.  I am very prone to fad thinking.  The newest thing?  I fall hook, line, and sinker.  Not so much with fashion but its really bad with TV.  Though I do draw the line at reality shows.  I watch The Biggest Loser and a couple of series on The Discovery Channel like Deadliest Catch and Swords, but other than that, I don’t understand reality TV.  American Idol is not something I find myself compelled by.  However, the rest of bandwagon TV?   Totally there.  Though usually late because I don’t have HBO or Showtime, which is where all the good shows seem to be.  That’s okay, though, since I have Netflix.  God Bless Netflix.

10. I cannot seem to stick to a diet and exercise plan to save my life, literally.  Though I’m hoping to change that soon.

Do you have any bad habits to share?


Rest Area Rampage

I’m posting an old post from an old blog that I found kind of funny.  Of course, not at the time, but after it happened.  I thought I’d share.  I may periodically post some of those for background or the ones I really liked at the time.  Just to keep things moving along.

To the people from Ohio who stopped at that rest stop on I-64 on Sunday in West Virginia:

I am a dog owner, so I understand that dogs can sometimes make a mad dash for unknown real estate, leash-free. I do understand this. So I didn’t get too pissed off when your 40 pound dog dashed into the back of our Suburban. I didn’t even mind so much that he was standing on the backs of my legs as I was kneeling over into the cargo area with my hand in the cooler getting another soda for my husband. I have a couple scratches, but hey, it happens.

What I did mind was that your Hell Hound pissed all over the inside of our vehicle. I minded that I got dog pee on my legs, and on my soda nestled snugly in its drink holder just under where your dog decided to relieve himself. I minded that some of your dog’s urine SPLASHED INTO MY PURSE, on my wallet and my cell phone. I will forever be thinking of my peed on cell phone as I hold it close to my face to use it. I minded that some of it soaked into our carpet and the remainder of our drive home from vacation, some 14 hours, was spent wondering if that smell I couldn’t get rid of was the smell of dog piss.

Okay, I will even go so far as to overlook all that, since your teenaged son was clearly embarrassed by the dog’s foray into our car, across my legs and leaving his bathroom trail over the console, into the passenger seat and out the front passenger door. It was an accident, and the dog being in foreign territory may have scared him a bit so he peed some. Okay. Sure. I’ll even go so far as to overlook that.

But what I will NOT overlook is the fact that you, the mother and father of the embarrassed son and owners of the dog, LAUGHED at our plight, and offered no apology or helping hand in the cleanup (thank GOD Mike’s aunt had Clorox Wipes with her, or I’d have just cried). YOUR DOG PISSED IN MY PURSE, YOU JACKASSES! I was too seething mad to think straight enough to march my pissed-on self up to you and demand an apology. I was too irate to think I should be asking you for $50 to replace my pissed on purse. Instead, I cleaned up your dog’s pee; I used the rest area bathroom to clean the pee off my legs and out of my flip flops; and I haughtily got back into my peed on seat and seethed for the rest of the day. If I were thinking, I would have shouted across the lawn for everyone to hear what happened, and WHY WERE YOU LAUGHING? I would have demanded an apology and money to replace my purse and for the shampooing we now have to do to get the smell out. If I were thinking, I would have taken a picture of you to post here along with the story. Instead, I will have to settle for merely complaining about you on my website and laughing now at YOUR expense. I hope you run across this someday.

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