Comfort TV

I grew up in the tv generation. It wasn’t the central focus of our life, but sitting all together at the end of the day and relaxing with some good tv shows are some of my favorite memories. Sometimes, my sister would sit in the corner and read a book because she didn’t much care for tv, but didn’t want to be alone. We’d run around to get each other if one of our favorite movies was on. All the ‘edited for tv’ movies I watched and had no idea how much of it I was actually missing, but it meant I was allowed to watch movies I otherwise would not be. Friday nights, my mom and sister would watch the TGIF line-up and my brother and I would watch our more mature shows like ‘Brisco County, Jr’ and ‘X-Files’.

So, I’ve been among the others thrilled to be catching up with and remembering old shows I had forgotten about. Shows that make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, like they’re a warm blanket and a comfy spot on the couch. I found ‘Mad About You’, and I love the show even more now that I’ve been married for 13 years. It’s even better watching it with my husband. Oh, how I’ve missed the simple 30 minute format.

Then there’s ‘Blossom’. The obvious feminism set next to one of the piggiest of boys is so 90’s. The first episode has to be one of my favorites. It’s all about her getting her first period and her mom not being there. Her dad tries his best to help and him and her brothers take her out to eat to celebrate her big day. And Mrs. Huxtable explains it all with frosting on a cake! Reminded me of my mom drawing on the inside of a cereal box for me and my sister.

‘Murder, She Wrote’ has been putting my youngest to sleep. She likes the show, but she’s out in about 2-5 minutes when I put it on. I love the writing and the Jessica Fletcher character. Even if I can figure it out before the end, it’s fun. And ‘MacGyver’ has been absolutely wonderful. Such an awesomely wholesome male role model! I remember every single episode with such clarity. We must have watched them on rerun a lot. Even the theme songs set me to smiling.

Occasionally we watch ‘Golden Girls’ or ‘Full House’ (the original one). ‘Star Trek: Next Generation’ is a staple in this house. I’ve also taken some fun strolls down memory lane with ‘Eerie, Indiana’ and ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’. It’s an interesting concept to me. There is so much of my youth tied to cinema and tv in a way no other generation really had. It was the boon of teenagers with money to burn and a market to be exploited. Kids with lots of free time. A tv in every home and VCRs too. Check out ‘The Last Blockbuster’ for a real trip down memory lane.

Rice and Beans and After-school Snacks

It has been a long time since I’ve made rice and beans. It use to be one of our staples when I was a stay at home parent and when I was so busy working that I had to have meal plans or we would never have the right groceries or eat anything decent at all. Right now I plan on the fly and I’m so exhausted from this past year and the several years before that, that I have been less than stellar in the kitchen lately.

I’ll admit, I’m using rice pouches instead of measuring from a bag. Like I said, I’m tired. Then I rinsed some canned kidney beans and threw them in a pan with diced orange peppers and my usual spices. My youngest and I loved it, while my older two did not care for it. I felt like myself again while cooking. It was really nice.

I have also been trying to get back to basics with our snacks after school. My kids absolutely love fresh fruits and vegetables, so why not make platters of them. I add either turkey, cheese, or pepperoni and crackers or pretzels. It’s even helped me eat a bit healthier. Slowly we are getting back on track.

Saga of the Secret Sweater

It’s been tough finding time to work on my husband’s sweater. It’s also been hard to keep it a secret. We’re juggling several things and he has moments where I know telling him about the sweater would cheer him up. Then I think about how much more delighted he’ll be to know I managed to keep it a secret for so long. It has been almost two months now- I think.

I’m slowly making my way up the back now. The yarn is a bit thinner than I had anticipated. I purchased it online during the closures last year with the intention of making him a sweater. This is why I prefer buying in person. Anyway, it’s taking longer to make the inches add up because of that and it’s the type of pattern I can’t just work a row or two. It’s easier to make mistakes that way.

I also keep pulling clumps of yarn barf from this skein. This is the third one. I just set it next to me and gently tug up from time to time. So far they haven’t been monsters. It’s just been entertaining.

It Fits!

My youngest kindly helped take a few photos of me in my sweater. It is such a comfortable fit! I’m so happy about it, especially since giving away the last sweater I made myself because the fit was uncomfortable.

Wet blocking took three days to dry again. By the last day, I draped it over the back of a chair and sat it in front of the radiator to get the last bit of dampness out. I am lucky to work with people who appreciate my joy and delighted in my accomplishment with me. I definitely wore this sweater almost the whole week after finishing it.

Of course I’m still working on the Secret Sweater, I started another sweater for myself, and am currently designing new items to sell at the massage studio where I work. Busy busy.

The Last of Three Shawls

This was my first time wet blocking. I had a lot of fun with it. I still only have enough pins and pads to block a section at a time, so I started with the smallest bit and then soaked the next section as the first finished drying. Then soaked the last section as the middle finished drying. It all took about three days. I want to get a hairdryer to speed the whole thing up, because sheesh!

I’m really excited to have all three shawls done. And to have finally tackled wet blocking. It was fun stepping on the towel and squeezing all the water out. I liked being able to really tug at the whole thing, unlike steam blocking where you work a section at a time with an iron. Although, I have fun with that, too.

The third and final shawl.
My shawl and the second one done.
My sister’s shawl and the first one finished.

So, now they will sit for a few more weeks. I’ve got a lot on my plate at the moment, but will find time to write up the accompanying story for each. Maybe not for mine, but I’ll keep copies of the other stories instead. Happy blocking!

Throwing and Picking

This is me getting the hang of Continental knitting. I have struggled with remembering which is which and all that, and even double checked before typing this, because I still don’t trust myself. See, I’m a thrower (English style). It’s the way I learned and I use to curl my right index finger around the yarn. I still do sometimes depending on the stitches or my mood. I can usually get more tension that way.

During lockdown last year, I trained myself to be able to extend my index finger and relax my fingers a bit. This is how I typically knit now and it has become really comfortable for me. The funny thing about how I do Continental knitting is I feel more like I’m simply throwing with my left finger and not really ‘picking’ up the yarn. Whatever works, right?

Since this sweater is mostly knit stitch, it made it easy to practice a new technique. It also took me a bit to figure out the best way to do the ssk on the purl side. Pretty sure it was ssp without a twist. Hopefully I wrote it down on my pattern notes. So here’s to learning something new and making it my own. Another beautiful aspect of knitting.

Wrapping up a Couple Favorites

I’ve been kind of slacking on my reading lately, yet new books keep making their way into my house somehow. It was time to finish up a couple that I have been invested in for almost a year.

First to hit the finished pile was Not All Princes Are Fearless. It‘s the third in the Pax Arcana series by Elliott James. Every time I try to really explain these books, I get all tripped up. I get geeky about it. I love the variety of cultures and mythos it draws into the story. I love the intelligence and pop culture references (some of which show my age). It has humor, action, internalized drama, mystery, and some romance. Not the normal romance though, the messy and satisfying love and trust kind. And John Charming is the kind of character that really draws you in. Basically, it’s a little bit of everything I love and the perfect escape book.

I don’t tend to keep the covers. I’m not exactly sure why, but they really bother me.

Next up is one of my favorite books right now. Seriously. Humankind: A Hopeful History by Rutger Bregman is the best dose of hope for our world right now. I feel so vindicated by this book, and so much less lonely or fearful. I have always believed in the good of humanity and the possibility of a better future when we trust that goodness in others. I love the way Bregman writes and his honesty about his own doubts. I think it took me so long to get through because I didn’t want it to end. I highly recommend checking this book and his other one out, Utopia for Realists, which I read a few years ago after watching an interview with Bregman about the book.

I am thoroughly enjoying the fact that my taste in books is broadening more and more the older I get. I am also realizing that I read so much fantasy in my youth because I did so much factual reading in school. I’m all about finding that balancing point. Happy reading!

A Tale of Two Sweaters

I’m finally making some progress on the Secret Sweater. Even with all the chores I’ve been getting done around the house. We have a lot going on right now, so I decided to put most of my knitting away and just focus on two projects. Little does my husband know, this is actually my primary project right now.

I’m becoming fairly familiar with the pattern and it’s rhythm. The cable sections keep it from getting monotonous, while the plain knitting sections keep me moving along quickly. I’ve got about 5 to 6 inches before I separate the back and front and set up the arm holes. It’s exciting.

And this is my latest project, a Nod to Wonder Woman. I’m mashing up a few patterns for this one as well. I found one in a magazine for the stitch count and used the same knit 2, purl 2 ribbing. Then picked out the yarn over, slip slip knit from a stitch guide book to add a little character to the plain stripes.

This one is for me. I thought it might be fun to work on a sweater for each of us at the same time. I do have plans for a cable sweater, but I wanted something a bit effortless to make at the moment. It balances out the more complicated piece.

Dinner Was a Disaster

Well, cooking dinner last night was an interesting affair. I had it all planned out in my head. It was going to be perfect and it is sort of one of my fallback recipes when we’re low on food and energy. Easy peasy, right? Oh my goodness am I good at making a mess of things.

First, I made the cornbread muffins. I put the mix in the bowl and the eggs and then realized we’re out of milk. No problem. I’ve got canned milk. I open it up and it doesn’t look right. I check the date and it’s two years too old. Check the other cans. Same. But wait, my mom left almond milk that she uses when she’s here. Pulled that out and it was frozen because the fridge is a bit empty and and it was in the back, where things freeze. Great. I’m using water.

Into the oven in their little silicone muffin tray they went. Ok. Now the casserole stew. I dumped some frozen mixed veggies into the buttered casserole dish, then the canned chicken, and then I opened the soup thinking it was odd that it was a pull tab, to find condensed chicken noodle soup. We’re out of cream of chicken soup and only one small can of cream of mushroom sat in the pantry. I really dislike mushrooms. I only buy it for green bean casserole for Thanksgiving and I still mix in cream of chicken soup too. Ok, so then I opened the canned yams and debated using the water from the can in the casserole. If you can guess what I did, then you know what a disaster that was. At least I checked the dates on these cans. Two were a year off!

To top it all off, I was so frazzled by all the mishaps that I didn’t add any seasoning to the dish. Not even salt and pepper! I did add cheese towards the end to try to help save the dish, but not even cheese could help at this point. It was edible. It wasn’t completely awful. But I knew what it could have been and I was disappointed. At least the pre-packaged oatmeal chocolate chip cookies worked out. The girls even had a few for breakfast. And I made sure to get milk and cream of chicken soup this morning. The big cans.

Snow Outside Means Knitting Inside

I have so much to do today and this snow is making me want to just curl up and knit. The area I live in is not known for its snow removal abilities and most people have vehicles that don’t mind the snow. My car, however, hates the cold and gets mad whenever I try to take her out in this.

First section. Pattern called diagonal couching. Looks like pebbles to me and stands for the earth element.

I did accomplish quite a bit yesterday, even with the kids. They weren’t the most helpful, there was some arguing, but they did help. We sorted through clothes and I’m proud of how much they were willing to get rid of. I filled the dishwasher a few times and they unloaded it each time. We managed to get the dinning room a little more presentable as well.

This is a Drawn-Leaf pattern and represents the air element. The breeze through the trees.

I also really need to call a dentist for my oldest. She broke her tooth again, only its much worse this time. We took her in to get it fixed, but they can’t do anything until after she’s gone to a specialist. The only two places in our network are at least 2-3 hours away. Maybe more. I am not looking forward to that drive. I’ve also been trying to have my husband handle this, but with his work schedule, it’s up to me. Which is kind of the point of my schedule. I just really don’t like dentists. Not dentists as people, just the whole thing. I’ve had a lot of work done over the years and will have more in the future and it all sucks.

The final section is almost done. Called Openwork Clusters it makes me think of sandy beaches and represents the fire element.

So, I think I’ll sit here and finish my coffee and knit. Then I’ll try making that phone call and see if it’s still snowing after that. Maybe I’ll get out of the house for a few errands and make it back in time to get a few things done before I have to go pick up the kids from school. At least today isn’t a snow day. The district has probably gotten a lot of angry emails over the snow days (when there was barely anything on the ground) and requiring the kids to do online school for the day instead of relaxing. Heaven forbid the school year be extended by a few days!