Black Dog

Just a little outpost on the web for me to ramble, post pix, share ideas, and be a part of the crowd.

Friday, February 21, 2003

I couldn't have said it any better myself

Stop by LynnH's blog, ColorJoy!, and see what she has to say today (her entry is for Thursday, the 20th). She hits it so squarely on the head it isn't funny. One thing I know is true about her entry is that I'm trying to work in the present. I'm trying to realize that the past is that, and people are like mutual funds--past performance is not an indication of future performance. It's a tough lesson to learn, but even tougher to implement.

Last night was a WONDERFUL evening of friends, food, and even a little fiber! I went home at noon and cooked myself into oblivion for about 6 1/2 hours. It was fun, but tiring, work. I ditched the box stuff and went all "from scratch", which means we didn't have jambalaya, but I did make everything else from yesterday's entry, plus an artichoke salad (mmmmmmmmmmmm, good). Good friends that came by brought incredible brownies and a decadent turtle cake, so we had sweets galore. And I only set off the smoke alarm thrice (once with a 425F oven that needs cleaning and twice while flaming the bananas foster and burning the cinnamon for effect). Rachel was in charge of blowing fresh air at the ceiling to get the beeping to stop, and she did a great job. Again, if you're ever in South-Central Indiana near the third Thursday of the month.........the door's always open.

That's all for now, as I'm in the middle of a busy day. Have a great weekend--we're expecting more snow, so I'm in heaven!

Thursday, February 20, 2003

And the winner is.............CAJUN!

Back to the headline in a moment, but for now, it's news time.

Session 2 of beginning knitting went very well last night. Three of my seven had completed a dishcloth since last week, one made a rectangle that was seamed to be a hotpad, two made a BIG swatch, and one just knitted until she ran out of yarn, just for practice. I am so pleased with all of them, as they're all embracing it and doing well. One is just a natural, and for her project she started a felted bag last in class last night. Another is going to make a felted bag, starting next week. The mother/daughter team decided on a baby hat for the daughter's upcoming first child and mom's going to make a baby afghan (big needles, double stranded). Another started an afghan for herself (ambition rules!), and the other two are undecided and may just continue to make dishcloths. Overall, I'm thrilled with their progress and can't wait until next week.

As I mentioned yesterday, tonight is our Third Thursday Knit Night. I've been uninspired for a theme, seriously considering tropical, but it seemed lame. But today, it hit me. Mardi Gras is in just under two weeks, and I haven't been to New Orleans in a couple years (we have incredible friends that live just off the Quarter who let you stay for free with advanced notice), and someone brought in a King Cake yesterday. So Cajun food it is--I'll make an etouffee, a rice and seafood dish, a jambalaya (amen for Zatarain's, with some embellishment), macque choux (a personal favorite), tomatoes and okra, cajun cole slaw, dirty rice (Zat's again), and for dessert---praline cake, bananas foster (complete with ignition), and a king cake (with the baby inside--I have some from a couple years ago). As I said yesterday, I always try to do a unique batch of food, with emphasis on spicy things.

It's noon here, so I've gotta run. Off to the post office to mail four orders (one to FRANCE!) and then to the grocery store. Company's coming in six hours, so I have to get cookin'! Bye, chere........

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Cleansing Rain

Today we're up over the freezing point, so we're getting a slow, steady rain. Cleansing rain, in many ways. It's melting the snowcone slush that's formed with three days of vehicle traffic (turning it a most unpleasant muck color, like a mud slurpee). Even Amy wouldn't like this slurpee.

More importantly, I say cleansing rain because I've been able to get over the solar plexis blow of the Explorer being down right now. It's tough not having wheels, and I really hate having to rely on others for rides, even if the others are significant others (ok, just one significant other....). It's humbling to have to be Miss Daisy, and I'm glad Matt's not minded being Morgan Freeman for the time being. Monday night was funk night for me, as I mentioned below--putting on my gift socks, bummy sweats, and knitting, trying to get over the fact that the vehicle just 15 feet from me outside wouldn't function properly. To add salt to the wound, we had to miss our monthly Knit Night in Franklin, which meant not seeing my friend Eva and the other inspired knitters there, as well as not being there for some out-of-class help for one of my brand new knitters from the Parks and Rec class from last week. But the bright side is that I'm over the funk, we'll deal with the Explorer, and the funding (loan) may come from a wonderful source who shall remain nameless and isn't concerned about speedy payback. I love having a personal saviour!

So what did I do with myself over the past few days, you might ask? View the fruits of my recent labor (and the she-devil Explorer glaring in from outside in the background).

If you have bills to pay, you gotta get productive. So we have a sofa covered in finished goods that need a final fluffing and tagging before being placed at a variety of consigned locations. And I'm stocking up on hats to be wholesaled to another site, thanks to a call they made last week. I've been felting every evening and I revel in the volume of finished goods we've assembled--I'm twisted, as I like to figure out the dollar value of my productivity and link that to specific obligations or uses. Sometimes I make Matt crazy with it, but he's learned to appreciate my focus on finances.

On another happier note, tonight is the second session of beginning knitting at the Rec Center. I'll use Matt's car to get back and forth by myself, so he'll be stranded at home, left to work hard on some contract stuff and to get new goods up on the ThreadBear site. Last week was a challenge, working with seven novice knitters. If I learned one thing, it was that circular needles are easier for this bunch of newbies to use. They don't seem to have as much trouble with the circulars as they did with straight needles and most were going to hit a hobby store to pick up a set ($3.96 at our local Wal-Mart isn't bad for a learner set). So we'll see how they do tonight, working on purling and binding off.

Tomorrow is our monthly Third Thursday Knit Night, where Matt cleans house, Connor answers the door, I fix some sort of large meal, and anywhere from 15-25 local (and not so local) knitters show up for an evening of food, fiber, and friendship. It's a tradition we borrowed from the guild in Lansing, where there's in-home gatherings for knitting and food every week. We do this once a month, and it's a blast! We started the tradition when we first moved to Bloomington back in fall of 2001, and it's grown from a group of about 5 or 6 to as many as 25 in recent months. I have absolutely no idea what I'm cooking, but typically it's a theme--we've done Polish, Thai, soups, rustic Italian, casserole-a-go-go, picnic in December, and so many more. If nothing else, locals are getting a wide variety of new foods to try (every month there's something truly unusual), and there's always at least three decadent dessert items, mainly to appease our local guild coordinator, Dolores, who has a notorious sweet tooth. She's been known to not eat all day just to go overboard at our place.

That's it for now. Have a WONDERFUL Wednesday. And if you're in the area, come by tomorrow--seriously!

Monday, February 17, 2003

The Explorer is Dead

Long live the Explorer.....or not.
Tonight we hopped in the Explorer to head out to the Knit Night in Franklin only to discover that the Explorer should be a metaphor for my won't go in reverse, so your only choice is to move forward. When you put it in reverse and step on the gas, it just revs. And when you put it back into park, there's a buzzing noise and a kachunk sound (yes, another technical term). I can only imagine what this repair bill may look like, and I know it ain't in my checking account right now.
Driving with the four-wheel drive on last night, the Explorer was having some issues with shifting. The change of gears in the automatic transmission was rather herky-jerky, but I figured it was just part of using the infrequently-deployed four wheel, yet still worried about it. Today, driving home from campus, I switched off the four wheel, but the light stayed on and I could feel that I still had traction up front. At the next stop sign, I was able to turn off the four wheel and the lurching commenced with each change of gears in the automatic tranny. I got home just fine, but little did I know what was lurking.
So, we're down to a one-car family for now, until we can amass funds and get a diagnosis. ARGHHHH!!!!!!!!!! Sometimes, I wish I drank. But no, I have another addiction--I put on a pair of hand-knitted socks that Matt made me for Christmas, pulled on my comfy sweats, and proceeded to knit a bunch to make more finished goods to offer for sale. Oh, and watched the insipid Joe Millionaire (I hate to admit that in public, but it's such a train wreck that we had to do it).

I Live in a Snowcone

These weather forecasters around here. Drama drama drama. Snow and ice of mammoth proportions. Pshaw. Here's the sum total of our wicked ice and snow storm.

On the left is a shot of the back deck, slightly iced over, but mostly just white. On the right is a handful of the snowcone that fell from the skies. Not quite the half an inch of solid ice they warned us of. Nor did we receive the 4" - 6" of snow that they also predicted. I know weather is a fickle mistress, but most of the time they're not even close with their forecasts. I like winter weather, and I'm somewhat envious of the eastern seaboard. It's not that I want 38" of snow like West Virginia, but I wouldn't mind a major storm with significant accumulation. Maybe I should move further north............

The forecast of inclement weather curtailed our company and drop-over knitters this weekend, but that allowed me to be very productive! I turned out seven hats (four are felted already) and finished a bag that's languished. I worked up the last front panel of the Baby Albert from The Knitting Experience and now need to add the sleeves. I made some serious progress on two other felted bags that are underway, and I got about half of another felted hat knocked out. I get such an amazing feeling of accomplishment when I'm able to do some serious production knitting, and we need the finished goods. Between the depleted stock at some consignment sites and the upcoming fair schedule, I am anxious about stock levels. And then I fielded a call from another gallery that wants to buy finished goods outright and wants a batch to pick from in the near future. ARGH! It's a good problem to have, but I wonder how I'm going to meet the demand.

Tonight is Knit Night in Franklin, a small burg about 20 minutes south of downtown Indy and an hour (on the dot) from here. My good buddy Eva (HI EVA!) has organized a group that meets once a month at the local Community Arts and Recreation Center (conveniently just three blocks from her home) and it's a basic stitch-and-bitch get together. Not much bitching, but good stitching, for sure. Franklin itself is a wonderful little bedroom community, just replete with quaint (and affordable) homes yet within striking distance to Indy. The south side of Indy is VERY nearby (the town of Greenwood, a fun Greek restaurant, all of the chain stores and even a mall), yet Franklin has a very small town feeling to it. And there are plenty of C-U-T-E bungalows in town (my weakness, as I owned one in a fun neighborhood in Atlanta a few years ago).

Oh, and we got in some additional Noro Silk Garden and Sirdar stuff today. And it was delivered by my favorite driver (we have a total of three folks that run our route--two are fun and one's a dud) who has a great sense of humor. The only complaint I have is why can't KFI amass a decent order and then ship? They send dribs and drabs over the course of several weeks. I think they're in cahoots with UPS. That's my story.........I'm sticking to it!