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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ugh, and So The Holiday Season Begins

And it was with a bang.

Sorry, I haven't posted until today. I have simply been a bit overwhelmed. I worked until Thursday morning, came home and started the holiday meal. And let's face it, the holiday meal is never as easy as it sounds, is it? Especially when you throw in dietary requirements for a Celiac family member.

I decided that despite having a celiac dinner attendee that I would make yeast rolls. To do this, first the kitchen had to be completely stripped down and cleaned to assure no cross contamination since I am not usually a gluten free cook. Bob took care of the cleaning while I was at work. Then, I make the gluten island. The one place in the kitchen that is allowed to have gluten products. Easy, eh? Well, it could have gone better. I have an older refurbished kitchen aid mixer. It has a couple quirks that I have worked around because I'm just grateful to have the thing on days like this. One of the quirks is it won't go higher than setting number 2 for speed. It never has. Since I also have a Cuisinart Food Processor, I tend to just deal with it until the day I can afford to replace the thing. Well, after I created the gluten island, and started the dough for the rolls a mixing in the mixer, it decided to spontaneously utilize all its speeds, right up to level 10 and blew flour across the kitchen. So there I was, on the first dinner item and already behind schedule as I re-scrubbed the kitchen down.

After the second deep cleaning, I started the crustless pumpkin pie which turned out amazingly well and rich! Definitely a keeper recipe. While that was all a mixing and prepping I had the rice cooking for the wild rice stuffing. Pie in the oven, the giblets got put on the boil, mushrooms and onions sauteed and the turkey stuffed, bagged and baking. Root veggies then were chopped and started roasting for the "mash". I haven't made traditional mashed potato's in years. I instead buy a host of root veggies (i.e.: sweet potato, a couple red potato's, carrots, a yam, turnips, a couple small onions, lots of garlic and whatever else catches my eye) roast them up in olive oil with fresh sprigs of rosemary then run them through the food processor into a mash. Then I got the fresh green beans and cranberries cooked up in the bacon fat before the turkey came out for dinner time as the family arrived. And the last thing I wanted to do was eat. Normally as I prep a large meal I snack as I cook, but that wasn't the case. I was just tired. By the time two o'clock in the afternoon rolled around I was exhausted. I couldn't stop yawning and tracking conversations was about impossible. I truly wanted to tell the family to enjoy dinner and I was going to bed. To bad they probably thought that I was being rude and that they weren't welcome when in fact I they wouldn't have kept me awake if they opened a keg in the next room and stayed past midnight and would have been welcome to stay as long as they wanted as long as they washed the dishes. Regardless I was in bed around 6.

Friday was dedicated to sleeping in and doing nothing. Unfortunately, I was not succesful in the nothing department. Luckily I did little, just not nothing. I didn't even turn on the computer in an attempt to do nothing. But I did get one of the two books I had slated for my knitting hiatus finished! That being something, not nothing...

Saturday of course I had to return to life, but had a great evening with a friend and her family. Thank you Theresa and Aaron for teaching me Euchre. I've always been curious of the game and now I can say I have at least an introductory knowledge.

Today, I decided to turn on the computer and return to life. I have a late in the day dog training session, and I'm sore from our excursion with the dogs on the mountain earlier today. I'll rant about Bob's getting us stuck in the snow in his Toyota and ;then tromping through waist deep snow instead of utilizing either our skis or snow shoes at a later date. Some people...

I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving ans some rewarding time with loved ones. Good night.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bbbrrrrr. Isn't it lovely?

Here in Casper we got some lovely snow on Friday and afterwards a cold air mass settled over the area and dropped out temperatures down to zero. To bad I had to work and one of the snow loving beasts has a bum foot that the cold doesn't seem to play well with. But I enjoyed it just the same.

Oh, and this got done.

Now I truly do plan on taking a break form knitting. The wool for my sweater project hasn't arrived yet and I do need to get two books read. So until post Thanksgiving, I am taking a break.

See you around.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Whole Range of Emotions in Under Two Hours

And there wasn't even great personal tragedy to spurn such emotional turmoil.

I feel as though I should start this posting by stating that I had no intentions to post today. This morning while planning my day in the shower I gave a passing thought to booting up and checking emails and coming up with some snappy blog post, but upon review of the clock, and the decided lack of snappy post material (not that this has stopped me in the past, mind you) to fore-go the blog posting for the day.

But something happened this evening that has left me unsettled enough to feel I need to put some thoughts down on paper so to speak. I went to the movies. Yep, the movies. I finally had the chance to go and see "The Help". I have yet to get to read the book itself, to be completely honest I for whatever reason have had little desire to read it though it is a topic I have "enjoyed?" reading of. Ugh, that sounds horrible. I have enjoyed many of the books I have read regarding slavery in America and the Civil Rights Movement. As in I appreciate the prose and tempo and the emotional tearing of the books along the subject and I am a firm believer that we mustn't as a people forget our past in order to better approach our futures, but enjoy the actual materials subject matter seems an inappropriate statement.

So, on the note of such literary subjects, I have often read books that can on one page piss me off, and on the next make me laugh with joy. I've partaken between two covers a heart tugging journey between fear, outrage and blinding heartwarming hope. But rarely does a film move me in such a manner. I'm not saying I don't enjoy movies, but audio visually I don't get the same attachment to characters in two hours that I do in the reading of a book. However; "The Help" managed to do this to me. From beginning to end you felt for the characters that were developed through the narrative. In the end I was torn between the rage at our treatment of members of our society, and inspired by the hope and human beauty displayed throughout the film and especially the display of courage at the end.

In the end I was left feeling that we've come so far. But despite that fact, we have so much further yet to go. I wasn't there for the Civil Rights Movement, though at times I wish I were. Maybe more appropriately I hope and pray that if I had been I would have been one of the strong ones that chose to do the right thing. But, I was born to late and grew up in a place somewhat removed from the standard issues of the Movement. I grew up in Alaska. And not only in Alaska, but a very diverse part of the largest city in the state. I went to the "Black" schools from Junior High on. I worked in the "R & B Niche" music store in High School. And despite coming from Alaska, moving to Casper Wyoming which is quite possibly one of the whitest cities in the United States, I feel that I have a more diverse mind set than many.

With all that said, and even though I feel like we as kids were very open minded and accepting I still recognize the simple truth that throughout the country there is a unhealthy dose of racial hate between all groups. I know it's known by the terms prejudice and racism, but lets face it. Under all guises and names, it's simply hate. And to be completely honest, I have no idea what to do about it. That's right, I don't have a single solution to offer. But what I can offer is that though I obviously feel that there is so much further to go, I also have hope that someday we will get there. Or as close to there as us humans can get for we are a forgetful bunch of beasts. That's right, I have Hope. Mainly I hope that I will live the best I can, and when the times call for it, I hope I will make the right choices and live honorably. I hope I will stand for what's right no matter the cost and treasure that which is most holy on this earth. Life. And in the long run, until we are all challenged to make such choices this is the best any of us can do. I know, I know, things are always more complicated than that. It's never as easy as choosing the right thing from the wrong thing. We humans have a nasty habit of muddling up the simply things don't we?

At the end of the movie, it is restated that we should love our enemies. In that Love is our victory. I can tell you that I'm not that good of a person, but I can at least try to not act out of hate, even if I can't find the room for love for my enemies. Maybe doing the right thing can simply be whittling out the choice that wouldn't be acting out of hate? Maybe someday that will be enough. Maybe it won't. But here's hoping that it will.

If you paid attention through this diatribe, I appreciate it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Prairie Beauty

And no, I'm not being sarcastic. I know that if any of you have read my blog before, and no of some of my frustrations, me remarking on the beauty of the area around Casper may seem snide, but truly, I'm being sincere.

This morning I woke to find that we had gotten a dusting of snow the previous night. I got up, and fed the kids before going on a short park romp and crawling back into bed for a couple more hours sleep (Thankfully Bob is back home and can resume his morning duties. I work nights!). Then when I got up for real the second time, we were at the river by eight o'clock. And though I ay have grumbled at the 11 degrees and nippy breeze, I was rewarded by the sights on our second walk of the day. It's amazing how much better that walk feels with the sun over the horizon! Mainly just because of the beauty it showed. The trees and tall prairie grasses were frosted and the ground crusted with a light coating of snow, and the morning light shimmered on it all. Then I noticed the bright flash of blue among the trees and realized the band of blue jays that hangs out at the river is back for the winter. And we saw a couple deer to boot. I still think they aren't sure if Sullivan is a dog or an odd looking deer. Instead of running immediately as I keep the dogs in a heel, they stare fascinated by him. All in all it was a beautiful morning walk and looked something like this.
Photo by Stephen G. Weaver. You can find more of his work at He has beautiful work on there.

Then this afternoon on the way to the bank I was driving along 15th and the long afternoon light highlighted the rolling hills covered in the fall bleached grasses were waving in the wind and I again was struck by the areas beauty and reminded that every place has it's own beauty, even if it's a certain starkness. Granted, I tend to find beauty easier in rural areas than I do more urban settings, but if you know where to look, it typically finds you.

So, for those of you who feel I bad talk Casper, please remember, even on days where I shake my head at bad drivers, am embarrassed that I felt the need to look presentable to go in public, and over all am amazed by general ignorance/rudeness, I can still be struck dumb by the beauty of frost laden high grass and long morning light.

Oh, and the cheaper vet bills are nice too.

Poor Emmitt, shattered a toe nail yesterday and had to have it cut down to regrow. I swear, these dogs will be the death of me. He unfortunately had to stay with me the rest of the day to assure he wouldn't tear the bandaging off. He passed out and did a good job imitating death. As much as I hate when we have to go through the act of fixing injuries, I do truly enjoy the post anesthesia gorked puppy. To bad Sullivan hasn't required more injury repairs...

And we mustn't forget the knitting. As of yesterday, this is the latest project.

This will probably go on hold (hear that before, eh?), or after it's done there will be a longer break before the next project. I am planning a sweater for me. I have some beautiful yarn on order that I am eagerly awaiting its delivery.

Have a great week!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hiatus Schmiatus

Yeah, I pretty much suck at knitting hiatus's. I woke up this morning at 0430 and in the effort of trying to keep the noise down after feeding of the masses I cast on this little project. I had to do something! Anyway, this is a baby jacket/sweater kit that I bought from Knit Picks last spring. I figure it can go in the gift drawer for future use when a baby is expected.

Some knitterly friends are hosting a Harry Potter 7 part 2 party tomorrow night and I can't go empty handed either, so this will be my project du jour. And I'm sure my hands will get rest following that party because some books I ordered are in and I will be putting knitting on hold to do some reading.

Now, Happy Veterans day to all the Vets out there that may read this. And more importantly, THANK YOU..

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bound Off

And no, we aren't talking about a touch of constipation. My latest project... (I'm imagining a little drum roll here, just work with me, okay?)
I got it done! She's downstairs blocking as I type. Now it's time to go to bed since I still have two more shifts left to my work week. But now I will sleep better knowing my work is done.

The top picture is supposed to be on it's end, but this wonderful interface has once again decided to flip a picture despite it's own formatting no matter what my desires are. Ahhhh... Computers.

This projects ending brings on a little knitting hiatus I'm going to self impose due to some hand problems I've noticed. I think they're just a bit overworked. I have been working them a bit hard as of lately. So, a couple weeks to relax before I figure out what sweater I'm going to knit for myself with what yarn. Just means more dog and gym time for me.

Talk to you all soon. Hope you're doing well,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

And so it goes, and goes, and goes, and... you get the picture don't you?


Isn’t it amazing how one always forgets how slow things become when you start from a center out project and approach the outside edge? And by edge, I don’t mean I’m anywhere near the end of this. I’m merely on round 88, with plenty more to go. I just mean I’m getting to the point where I realize that this item isn’t going to be as fast I had hoped. It is a fairly intricate lace item after all. Just because you start on 8 stitches and those first few increase rows are so much fun and golly gee whiz, look at that baby grow! Then reality hits. Reality hit somewhere near round 73. But alas… I will knit on.
Because what else am I really going to do.

In an effort to stay up tonight and flip back over to night shift I went and sat in our local coffee house and knit on this. One of the other things I love doing is people watching. But, in depth people watching and intricate lace knitting don't always mesh well. Just a side note for someone else's possible future benefit.

There I was people watching and screwing my knitting up royally and observed this guy interrupt this young gal who was busy studying. He used the excuse of them having a class at the local college together to start a discussion. At first, I thought he was flirting with her and by her closed off body language I was tempted to say something, but as I watched she relaxed and they continued chatting. And let's just be honest, I'm rude and I eavesdropped. Maybe the screwed up knitting is bad karma due to it? Anyway I kind of took notice of the time as I listened and realized as I fixed another mistake and tuned back in that he had managed in just a few minutes to turn the conversation around to him. Not even on his views of their previous topic of the Chinese economy that they had started on. And then it drug on, and on. 20 minutes later they're, or I should say, he is discussing his plans after he walks away this semester with a degree. He doesn't like the job options that he can now apply for because he'll have to conform to an employer's ideas of professionalism and lose his sense of style and self. He continued in that vein but I got my head stuck around that idea. Ok... yeah I screwed up again and had to pay more attention to my hands than listening to him. By the time I got my mind out of wondering why people seem so worried that their professional lives are going to take over their personal life and sense of self and my knitting back on track, he was going on about how he's probably going to apply to UW to continue his education but he's not sure if his parents will keep paying and his grades aren't quite good enough for a scholarship because his papers don't conform to what his teachers expect. Go where you will with that. I chose at that moment to drop a stitch and in irritation looked up and over at them. By this time she had this look of adoring rapture on her face as she ogled this guy who was spinning this tale of woe regarding his college education and career opportunities battling his need for individuality and self expression. Throw that in with his post teen angst of parents holding the financial reigns and he had this girl almost drooling on his knees.I was afraid I was going to watch her embarrass herself and wondered how I could swoop in and save her. I once really drooled over someone (a story for another day) and if I can spare another that moment of ultimate withering self mortification, I will do so.

Truly though, I was amazed at this girls desire to believe this load of hooey. Then, he simply stated that he should let her get back to studying and got up and left her starting after him. I wanted to cross the room and tell her she should keep studying, keep her head down and don't worry about guys like him no matter their good looks (He was kind of cute) and worry about her own career warring with her personal identity. And I wanted to tell him that if he had this many issues maybe he should get the job and see if his parents would pay for therapy sessions instead of bleeding all over everyone he has the opportunity too. At least our therapists are paid to listen to us whine, no? Then I got to wondering. Am I cynic? Maybe I read more into all of that than there was. Both his self involved ramblings and her body posture and facial expressions. Perhaps they knew each other more than it appeared. And even as I write this I realize that I may have been right. He may have been full of bullshit and she maybe a sap, but I'm a hypocrite. After all I have a blog for God's sake. Isn't the idea of writing all this crap down for someone else to read and either agree or think I'm full of BS kind of self involved? Okay, so it's completely self involved. Then there's the big question if these are my feelings towards it. Why do I do it?

And the answer? I don't have a clue so I'm going to knit some more. Round 89, here I come you repetitive bitch.

If all else fails, stall answering the question.


I know, I pride myself in having thick Alaskan blood, and this does sound dangerously close to whining about the temperature. I assure you, I will try to keep the whine to a minimum. Because no matter my thoughts on being outdoors, I have the Sullivan Monster who would always prefer to be romping in a good snow or a cool river.

We finally got a real snow. I don't know what the final inches of precipitation were but we ended up with at least 6 inches of the fluffy white stuff. LOVE it. And so does Sullivan. You would think that a dog who will stand and shiver when he quits running like a mad man wouldn't have this fondness for snow, but you'd be wrong. He didn't forget from last winter what that fluffy white stuff was or how much fun it is to run and roll and knock your smaller siblings, even if they are older around in it.

And to be honest, it's not the snow that bugs me. It's the Wind that came up today to blow the snow to Nebraska. Hope you guys enjoy our snow. Sullivan and I will both miss it. It's that wind that slices through any amount of clothing you pile on. It will find it's way around any zipper flap, through all gussets and simply freeze your bum off. It's amazing how cold a stiff breeze can make a balmy 30 degrees feel like. And that is what makes me say Brrrr.

Hope you are all enjoying a good post Halloween sugar buzz. We're off to knit night!

Sorry, I have no Sullivan romping in the snow pics. I value my fingers too much to risk frost bite. Maybe some other day.