Saturday, July 26, 2008

Things I learned this week

Sorry to post again about the new job, but it's kind of been what my mind is consumed with this week.  So much so that I forgot what the heck day it was on Thursday and missed girl's night out - and the associated marguita(s) that came with said night out!   It's been a little strange because I'm supposed to be transitioning over the next 4 weeks or so - even though my current job hasn't been posted yet, and when it does get posted I'm sure it'll take more than 4 weeks to go through the process of being filled - AND if we hire someone internally, which is what I'm hoping for, then we may have to wait for them to transition out of their job and into my old one.  So, it seems that I'll have to be doing a bit of both for some time - even though no one else seems to be saying that.  I think I'm probably the only one thinking this much about it because it affects me the most.  

Anyway, I've spent a lot of time getting out in the plant this week which has felt much more comfortable and familiar than I thought it would - I mean it's been about 4 years since I've really been out there regularly but it felt "right" right away.  The boots are heavier than I remembered - probably because my legs have been uselessly hanging from chair for the past 4 years!  Where I was previously sweet (well, relatively so) and cardigan wearing, I now get to be saltier and jeans wearing and spend time shooting the shit with maintenance guys and contractors.  AND, this is what sort of scares me, hopefully picking up on potentially unsafe practices.  Before I got the job, I was all confident and sure that I could handle it, but the first day I went out to look at a big job with Charlie (the guy who's place I'm taking) I kind of started to panic and feel suddenly like I knew NOTHING!  gaa!  what am I doing here?  He noticed how the riggers (yeah, I get to say words like "riggers" and "rigging" now) were hooking the crane up to parts of a scale and stopped them because he wasn't crazy about how insecure it looked.  I agreed with him, but really wondered if I'd have noticed it, and more importantly if I'd have had the cahones to stop them, or just assumed that these guys knew what they were doing because it's what they do every day?  I know there's always the period of feeling like you don't have the experience to tell someone else how to do their job, and hopefully it'll pass.  On the positive side, I've learned that there are tons of people out there to help me!  Just over the course of this week I've heard "if you need anything, just ask" about a million times and everybody seems really positive and congratulatory, which makes me feel great!  

So, what have I learned about this job as it relates to knitting? (and that's what's really important, isn't it?)  I'm gonna make tons of socks!  In my previous life (meaning a week ago) I almost never wore socks.  I love making socks, but it always felt sort of stupid since I didn't wear them.  Now I wear socks everyday!  and even though they're stuck inside boots, and no one will see them, the important thing is that I'm actually going to wear them, and if I love to make them, who cares if they'll rarely be seen?  This also gives me a good opportunity to look at some nonwool sock yarns.  I wore my cotton jaywalkers one day this week and they were great - they didn't slouch down into my boots as I feared they might.  I haven't tried a pair of wool socks yet - I'm just afraid they'll be unbearably hot in this weather.  I mean my feet are already encased in boots.  Maybe the wicking that wool does will actually feel nice.  I don't know.  Right now I like the idea of rationalizing more cotton sock yarn - so shut up!  Ok, I've yammered enough, with no pictures to make it fun, so you can carry on with your day now!  Oh, I suppose I could include this picture of me in my cleaning garb 
because, like wearing an apron when you're baking, I also think you should wear a scarf on your head (tied in the front, of course) when you're cleaning.  If I had one of those snap-front dusters I'd be wearing that too. because I like stereotypes and their associated costumery, ok?  it makes cleaning windows and baseboards more fun when I make up little stories about how I'm the cleaning lady and I call the real me Miss Chris and on saturdays I make sopas for dinner but never understand why the lady and Mr. beely don't want beef on them!  yeah, I know it's fairly racist-ish, but what's wrong with a little character play in my own head to make cleaning more fun?  ok, all that being said, I'd rather you didn't look at that picture because I'm kind of hot and don't have a lick of makeup on.  Ok, now you can carry on with your day!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A sensible knit for the season!

Go figure!  how unlike me!  The yellow cardigan that I started last month as my first official project for my new life as a continental knitter (and it's a good life, btw!) is finished!  I felt like it took forever, but I guess a sweater on size 4 needles that took a month to complete isn't tooo bad.  It IS kind of cropped and short sleeved, so, as Emily pointed out, it's not a "REAL" sweater (I love you emily! :) and that kind of makes me feel like it shouldn't have taken a full month, but I probably wasn't totally monogamous that whole month (I can't remember what else I was working on - that's weird.  ooh, I guess it was the mitt #2 that I'm probably blocking from my mind.  ok, makes sense now.)  So anyway - the cardigan!  I really like it!  I've never worked with linen before (well, it's a 50/50 cotton/linen blend actually - Maggi Linen) and I was kind of surprised at the way it felt after blocking - it was sort of crunchy - like I could pull it up off the towel and it was stiff, like it'd be if you didn't rinse the soap out of something (but I used Eucalan, so I know that wasn't the issue.)  After I put it on though it didn't feel that way.  Plus, the stiffness seems to be really holding that front edge nice and flat - the edge that was curling like crazy pre-block.  I used 3 vintage buttons and crocheted loops for them.  I'm not super crazy about the loops showing and being as long as they are (kind of Juliet-ish) but I'm not sure what else to do - if I make the loops shorter then they won't fit around the buttons.  If I lose some weight maybe I'll machine stitch in button holes (because right now, it's not going to comfortably overlap enough for that, no way, no how!)  For now, I'll pretend it's a design element, although it feels a little off center - maybe that's why the Zephyr Girls have the buttons staggered on Juliet (one button on one side, the next on the other side, etc.) so it didn't visually make a line that's not at the center of your body.  Anyhoo - all that said, I'm really loving it!!  I made it and I can actually wear it NOW - perfect summer cardigan!  and yellow may be my new favorite color!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Gimme some kitch!

You know what I'm all obsessed with lately?  casseroles.  Like those 50's and 60's era casseroles that always called for a jar of pimentos and had corn flakes crumbled on top.  i LOVE those old cookbooks that make everything look so impossibly unattractive - all brown and fatty and crazy looking - how did they make perfectly good food look like that?  Oh but it's all so wonderfully kitchy with the potholders and the melamine dishes and those casserole dishes - man, I love it!  I was looking through my mom's old Betty Crocker cookbook, which I believe my grandma gave her, probably when she moved out or got married or something, and found all kinds of great recipes - I especially love the ones that are obviously America's first attempts at "ethnic" food - like the chop suey, which just spaghetti with a can of waterchestnuts and maybe some peas.  It's hilarious.  I guess the 60's were really the heyday of convenience foods, or rather the beginning of them - I don't think the convenience food heyday ever ended, did it?  It's hard to find recipes with fresh vegetables in that book - everything is canned.  I guess that gave the busy homemaker more time to do laundry and pop her doctor prescribed amphetamines (ah, weren't those the days!?  doctors don't care about our lady like figures anymore!)  

So anyway, while perusing the casserole section, I found a handwritten recipe from my grandma for spaghetti casserole.  It has ground beef (which I swapped out with veggie crumbles, of course - I kind of have to stick with ground beef based casseroles, because there just isn't much of a replacement for ham or seafood, etc.  I guess seitan can stand if for chicken sometimes, but ground soy is pretty convincingly beef-ish) and onion, one can of tomato soup, one can of cream of mushroom soup and spaghetti - not a seasoning in sight, unless you count the onion!  I decided to make it last night, so I put on a apron (as one must do when making a casserole from the 60's) and went to it.  I had the fortune of having some fresh basil, oregano, and parsley (thanks co-worker Dave!), so I obviously added that - that's another thing that's about as rare as a head of fresh broccoli in those cookbooks - spices!  Oh, of course, my grandma said she also used buttered corn flakes crumbles on top (for which there was another handwritten recipe card, in case my mom wanted to premake them and keep them in the fridge!)  Let me tell ya folks, I'm thinking those cookbook pictures aren't just unattractive due to bad photography back then, or fading ink, that food probably really looked like that!  I was elated to pull out my nice brown casserole:  This is why I'll probably never wear a size 12 again! As bad as it looks, it was really fantastic!  Neither of us were too impressed with the corn flakes on top - they were a little chewy and sort of made a cohesive crust instead of just being crunchy - maybe it was the butter.  Also TBF found it all to be a little oily - which I think is probably from the cream of mushroom soup.  But he loved it.  If you turn on the food network these days, you can't go 2 minutes without hearing someone say "bright flavors!" and this food is certainly not bright - but I don't think comfort food is meant to be.  This will not be my last casserole, and believe me, if I accidentally walk into the used bookstore, and accidentally walk out with an armload of kitchy old cookbooks, I will not be upset!  

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Great Finds!

First of all, let me gloat - I ate a TOMATO today!!  From my garden!!  Before the 4th of July!!  It was spectacular - I made BLTs for dinner (well, FLTs really - Fake Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomatoes) and it was the best thing ever!  I totally meant to take a picture while it was still on the vine, but didn't, then I meant to take a picture of it in my hand after I picked it this evening (for gloating purposes - to send to my tomato-less friends and family) but didn't - then I ate it, so documented evidence.  but believe me... mmmmm!  So that was kinda my first great find.

2ndly, I found a mate for my much loved Clover Kritter Craft Case froggie  
This one is Kooly Kola! (is that how you spell koala? kola?  why does my spell check think both are fine when neither looks right?)  AAANNDD - to make it a truly great find (because honestly you can find them lots of places) it was in the clearance aisle at JoAnn's for 3.97!!  check that price tag!  Oh, and notice it's sitting on great find #3 - a Pimp Stitch pattern.  It's a great website - check it out if you haven't already - if you like super cute embroidery patterns, that is!  I found it through the Roxy Craft blog - also fantastic, if you like super cute amigurumi patterns, that is!  This embroidery pattern I downloaded was one of the free ones from the site's blog - it says "let's get this party started!" under the little party girl -- oh, how I love it!  The patterns for sale are reasonably priced too!  

Great find #4 came to me over the weekend when I was rooting through my recipe box (that being an old shoe box that's kind of falling apart, hardly a "recipe box")  to find something to make for my uncle's birthday.  I decided on my grandpa's rum cake recipe until I remember that I was baking, not just for me, my dad, and my uncle, but also for a pregnant sister-in-law and 3 kids!  dammit - we'll never eat rum cake again in this family!  Anyway, during my search I came across a little packet of old yellowed recipes, rubber banded together that came from my mom's stash which she gave me when I moved out, I think.  I opened it up, looked through an old pressure cooker guide/recipe book (you know - all cookware came with nifty little cookbooks back in the day, I think) and a bunch of other old newspaper recipe clippings from the 60's (clearly from HER mother, or aunts or something) then I found this 
 It's a recipe for a cucumber salad - the kind with vinegar and sugar.  My mom always made tons of it in the summer when she'd buy too many cukes from the neighbor kids who'd pull their crops around in wagons and stop at houses to sell.  It wasn't really the recipe that was what got to me though - I wrote that down myself years ago when I asked my mom how to make it - it was this, which I saw when I turned it over  
Yeah - a recipe for cucumber salad scrawled on the back of a Seagram's whisky label.  I'm just trying to picture the scenario where there's a conversation going on about cucumber salads, of all thing, and when someone asks for the recipe, the only paper to be found is the back of the whisky label!  It's the best thing I've ever seen!  

Ok, don't anybody kill yourself with whisky and fireworks this weekend!