Category Archives: Not Knitting

Best Christmas Elf, Ever

Although many start earlier (we waited till it got really cold), today was the day we untangled the Holiday Lights:

Ned helped.

We did not curse.  We did not swear.   (We got beer.)

Ned helped a lot.

We were patient and persistent and calm (and we had beer).

We replaced bad bulbs, found extension cords, daisy chained all the lights, went in the house and back out a million times  …

(Ned is actually inside the light up-yard ornament- polar bear.)

p.s. Ned, uh, emerged from the polar bear hind quarters and I remarked “hmmm polar bear gives birth to cat”.

Dude said “nah. Ned’s just a little shit.”


Of Peanut Butter and Banana, Fried

It’s the oddest thing.  We were talking about this at work (while planning a holiday party) and I was appalled.

And strangely fascinated.

And I went back to my desk and googled it.   (That’s the history of PB & whatever, right there.)

Apparently, this variant is a North Carolina (Ashville, says my source) thing.

Slather mayo one side of the bread, pb on the other, sandwich half a banana and some crushed up tater chips in between the two slices.

(Dude says to leave the chips whole – more crunch.)

(Elvis says to use bacon.)

(Also, a note on technique:  hold off on the mayo while you assemble the filling.  Squish the thing together and mayo just the top.  Transfer and flip into the hot pan (below).  The mayo the now-naked top while it’s toasting in the pan.  Less messy this way.)

Then fry it – in butter and honey.

(No kidding.)  As if a mayo and pb combination weren’t weird/bad enough, fry it in butter and honey?

My brain said there was too much going on  here …

But I dutifully melted some butter and honey in a frying pan, let it bubble and get gooey, loaded up some sandwhiches and …

From a strictly technical point of view:   The stuff didn’t just absorb into the bread.  The bread didn’t cook so fast the pb never had time to melt.  It was like – perfectly crisp crunchy hot-melted peanut buttery goodness.

Flip it over and fry the other side.

Artfully (yeah, right) drizzle remaining sauce over sandwiches.

Serve with a side of pickles.  (For something green, to balance the high fat/salt/sweet content.)

I was astounded.  (Granted – your normal pb and banana sandwich is simple enough – but when you want to call it dinner special; this is the way to go.)


10 on Tuesday: Holiday Entertainment Edition and Guessing Game

Given my predisposition to attend to all video entertainment (not!), this was easy (not!).

I have never seen It’s a Wonderful Life (but I just added it to our Netflix queue.)

Since I was at a loss for other entries,  I googled “holiday television”.

And I’d never even heard of The Dog Who Saved Christmas.  Or it’s sequel.   (It’s kind of like Home Alone With Yellow Lab and I added it to our Netflix queue.  The dog got me.)

At that rate, I’d still be watching holiday flix around Valentine’s Day, 2012.  Let’s look at knitting:

I’ve had a request for Holiday Knitting.  (It is black.  I lightened it, so that you may have some idea of its shape.)  I’d like to make some crack about “against my better judgement, I agreed to knit on deadline, 18 days before the event.”  But I seriously think it is doable and I’m not worried.

This is yesterday’s scarf.  (Embiggen if you want to see the texture shot I was going for.  Sort of.  Not a pretty picture, not styled; but I think it documents the item.)

And finally, another addition to the category of “Things I’d never heard of:”

(Subcategory: “so I ran right home and made it for dinner”.)

I’m not sure why I thought that was a good idea.  But it was.


A very good deal

So … Aurora has been a bit short-changed on beds.

(I know, that’s hard to believe – given her level of pampering – but Ned had a UTI (late last spring – he’s fine now) and some of the beds did not wash well.  They may have been fine with a wash or two – but not repeated washings.)

It was summer and she’s pretty undemanding; she made do – on the cool floor or a rug, in front of the air conditioner, in the cool dirt under the porch.

And then it got cold -er.   Thanksgiving weekend she was stiff and obviously sore.   And it suddenly dawned on me that she needed a new bed.

So I ordered it.

Not one but two giant beds arrived.

(After carefully checking the packing slips, and my credit card, and my on-line receipt – I did, in fact, order one (slightly extragant) bed.  And I say “extravagant” because if I’d tried harder, I might have found a bed for cheaper.  But I liked this one and didn’t want to look anymore.)

So I called them.  And after waiting on hold (forever), they said to keep it.

Which was really cool – because while I wouldn’t have bought two beds for that price, two for one was definitely a great price.

A very very good deal indeed.

p.s.  Oh excellent: the fur balls now have more (combined) bed space than the humans.  And they decide to do this:


Better Than

A friend was coming over today – to walk in the woods and visit the local craft show and visit.

(Count ‘em people:  that’s about dozen people that I got caught up with, this week,  from B.I.  (Before Ireland).)

And I thought it would be nice to have something to munch on with our coffee.  (And it is Saturday, and usually, by the weekend, there isn’t much left in the house – whether I’ve made it or not.)

(Usually by the weekend, there isn’t anything left to make.)

So, I was flipping through a cookbook (old, hardcover) looking for inspiration.  And I found this quote:

“Shortbread has beneficial effects on the soul.  The warm glow it gives is better than alcohol, and more readily available than sex.”   Lucy Ellman, Sweet Desserts, 1988

O.k. then: shortbread it is.

Except, I’m kind of short on time and the butter is hard and I don’t really want to do this by hand so,  I figure now is a great time to try it in the food processor.

Note on the food processor:  It came with Dude.  (That’s about 2 years, give or take.)  I rarely use it.  It is great for some stuff but I rarely chop in any quantity to need it.  I have, however, noted a few recipes that suggest pulsing butter and flour mixes till uniformly crumbly is the way to go.   I’ve never tried it.

Oh my.

Ahem.  Dude, there will be more shortbread in your world.

p.s.  Have you noticed the hover-text when you hold your cursor over a picture?

pps.  And the shortbread was pretty yummy too.


10 on Tuesday: The Help-the-Economy Edition

Today’s 10 on Tuesday topic:  10 Favorite Places for Online Shopping

(Some of us don’t need any encouragement.)

1.  Google (Seriously, any time I’m looking for something; that’s where I start.)

For Knitting:

2.  Webs

3.  Spirit Trail Fiberworks Jen has been a yarn enabler for some time.

4.  Knitting on Impulse I love what Ruth does with her photography and color.  Amazing work.

(Also – excellent jewelry.)

For Gifty-things

5.  Uncommon Goods

6.  Amazon (Amazon is also a good place to start when you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for.)
(Also, apparently Dude and I placed separate orders with Amazon yesterday.  Then I remembered the clothespins.
So, 3 boxes from Amazon.)

8.  Etsy (time travel happens here)

For the Critters (and the People who love them)

9.  Outward Hound

10.  Ruff Wear

(Yes, Ned noted that those were dog sites.  I told him that he was happy knocking pens off the counter top.  And he has more places to sleep than Aurora.  And besides, the cats have dibs on the boxes.)


Breezy with a chance of strong gusts

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind:  Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope

William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, 2009

I didn’t intend to read the book.  (As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer – Gabon, Africa) I’d followed this story – thru blogs and TED Video’s (2007, 2009).  (The videos are excellent – about 5 minutes each.  I highly recommend them.   In the first:  William is a terrified kid, whisked away from an impoverished, subsistence existence village and talking on stage to thousands of people.  It is endearing.  The second:   is a confident young man with a message.)

I saw the book on one of the passes through an airport and read a bit.

I did not expect the book to be,  well … readable.  I had no idea who Bryan Mealer was and didn’t expect the story to hold together between the two voices.   (Let’s not mention the failures at this, o.k.?)

I was wrong.

The first half of the book is the story of William’s life in the village — the realities of farming, work, school (or not, if one doesn’t have the fees.)   Some reviewers found this tedious and boring – I found it real and necessary to the story of actually building the windmill.   (I also found myself a bit nostalgic for my Peace Corps days.)

Then,  after surviving a famine, after being forced to drop out of school; William explains step by step how he, at age 14 built a windmill, from pictures in a book at the local library.

It is an amazing story — a story of hard work and ingenuity.  A story of a kid who didn’t have anything else to do, so he did something incredible.

Because I have no idea how to write a book review ;)  I read a few others – especially the negative ones.  There were two points that I disagreed with:  the first half of the book on village life was boring and there’s too much emphasis in the second half of who came to visit the windmill.

There is no way to know how difficult it is for William without the details in the first half of the story.  He can say that he is poor and starving and the family lives on subsistence agriculture but the reality of never having slept on a mattress until he was 15 just doesn’t come through.

And there is no way to understand the difficulties this little bit of fame and donations have created for him without understanding the background.

I recommend watching the videos.  Then if you want to know more – get me to send you my copy of the book.


The devil is in the details

Way way way back (uhm – two weeks ago) when I was at the Knitter’s Review Retreat and Dude was home (doing laundry), he sent me an email:

wow, point and shoot with this …

He was all excited about a new lens for the camera, made by Cannon.  (We’ve got a Nikon.)

35x optical zoom and a 4x digital zoom

In 35mm terms, the zoom is 24-840mm.

Say it with me, 840mm.

3360mm with the additional digital zoom.

i.e. you can take pictures of craters on the moon. Or of your favorite sports star’s nose hairs.

(I think he pilfered that last line from the article.  But since I didn’t read the article, I can’t be sure.  And while I can imagine Dude wanting to take pictures of craters on the moon (and he does), an extreme close up of his favorite sports star is unbelievable.   Unless the sports star was on the moon at the time.)

I’m more interested in this lens.