Monthly Archives: August 2006

Cheese Heads

And, no, I’m not referring to Packers fans.

I’m referring to how much freakin’ cheese I’ve eaten lately. So much!

Monday Night
Porkchop and I went grocery shopping at Whole Foods. As much as I sometimes make fun of Whole Foods…I really really enjoyed it. After grocery shopping most of the time at Shop ‘n Save or the not-so-great Schnucks, going to WF was like entering a magical land of pretty produce, cheese, tapenade, bulk foods, organic frozen items, and gelato.

We bought a lot of good things for our $78, but we were most excited about the Saint André cheese. I went to sleep that night thinking of the triple cream goodness to come.

Oh, but before going to bed, I enjoyed a spicy cheese roll from the WF bakery. It took me back to Madison’s farmers market and Stella’s spicy cheese empenadas. Stella!!

Tuesday
Parts of my interview Tuesday evening were fabulous, while other parts were awkward. I only hope that they don’t get turned off by my writing samples. Because, apparently, I can only write 20-page papers about feminist anthropology and female genital cutting. Or male circumcision. Or trans erotica. Actually, I only gave them the paper about FGC. And maybe they’ll dig it because I discuss “development” programs in Africa and the political and economic aegis behind FGC “eradication” programs. Along with some stuff about the false dichotomy of universalism and cultural relativism. Anyway…

After the interview, I went home and made tomato-basil bisque, which I’ve posted about a couple times before, but I must re-iterate how absolutely wonderful it is. And, the meal was made even better by the accompanying Saint André on crackers.

This is where I must tell you how I nearly ate the whole block of cheese. It’s so creamy (maybe because it’s triple cream?) and tasty….the whole thing can disappear quite quickly because I HAVE NO RESTRAINT with cheese.

After the cheese and soup course, Porkchop and I rented Capote. Very good. Much different than I expected.

Wednesday
Knitting night.

Also, maybe…bail out on plans and go to a Cardinals game night. I won’t name names here.

Soozi came over and made the most delicious 7-layer dip ever! All the ingredients were very fresh and organic. Yum yum yum…I wanted to eat more of it, but we also had….

Cheese! And more cheese!

Havarti with dill and a hard sheep’s milk cheese from France’s Pyrenees. I like to imagine the French mountain sheep being rounded up and milked and baa-ing in little French accents. Also maybe wearing berets. And eating crêpes and drinking red wine.

Soozi also brought over another TRIPLE CREAM CHEESE: Délice de Bourgogne (P.S., don’t you love the description on the website I’ve linked to? I want to be a food writer!). For a few minutes, I had Soozi convinced that triple cream cheese is dessert cheese. It kind of is, in a way.

We also had chicken satay and my favorite salad of baby greens, edamame, red bell peppers, mandarin oranges and sesame-ginger dressing. I embarrassed myself by claiming that I could drink Newman’s Own sesame-ginger dressing from the bottle. In reality, I wouldn’t, but I really really like it.

Next knitting night, we’re going to make easier food so that we have more time for knitting. I made more progress on my second gift bag, and I convinced Soozi to start a scarf using some Bernat Boa yarn that someone thoughtfully gave me for Christmas. I write thoughtfully sarcastically because I’m a bit of a yarn snob. Don’t worry, it was no one here who gifted that yarn to me.

Soozi is a bit accurate when she describes the scarf as looking like purple kelp.

But don’t fear, Soozi has big plans for a yarn shopping excursion after receiving her first huge paycheck in September.

Tonight
I’m making rosemary-citrus cookies. I’m quite excited.

Other Things
I am finally ready to transfer my car’s title to Missouri and obtain a new license plate. Porkchop (who is technically co-owner of the car) said that she would do the paper work tomorrow. After living in Wisconsin and Iowa, where transferring a title and getting plates takes 2 seconds, it’s rough to come back here. So many things to do: obtain a personal property tax waiver, get an emissions test done, have a safety inspection, and of course have car insurance.

I’m actually glad for the safety inspection, which I had done yesterday (you can’t just walk-in around here – you have to make an appointment), because I had a cracked serpentine belt! That’s no good! So, I feel safer traveling to Arkansas this weekend. Of course, I didn’t feel unsafe before because I had no idea.

Someday, I’ll get a Missouri driver’s license, too. But I’ll put it off as long as I can because I hate taking the vision test. My vision is fine, but something about my head doesn’t fit the vision machines. In order to take the test, I have to shut one eye for one side of the grid, and then shut my other eye for the other side. And then I have to focus really carefully because the lights in the machine and the colors used for the grid hurt my eyes.

It’s rough times. Porkchop actually got to witness this routine in Iowa. I think I kind of embarrassed her because I took so long.

But seriously, my vision is fine!

The Compton Street bridge re-opened yesterday!! 3 months early!! This shaves like 10 minutes off my commute. Seriously.

Sorry
For the no-picture posts lately.

Here’s something for you:

Triple Cream Goodness

Have a great Thursday!

Round 3

Job update: My off-site job prospect has asked me back for an interview with another project director and for a writing sample. Like I said to Porkchop and Soozi, if this doesn’t pan out, I’m going to be super-pissed about all the time I’ve invested. Geez.

In other news, yesterday was nearly perfect in terms of my balance of activities. In the morning, I did yoga, 3 loads of laundry, and put dinner in the crock pot. Around 1:00, Soozi and I went out for lunch (at Sqwires), and then I returned home to work on one of my papers. Later, Soozi joined Porkchop and me for tortellini soup (see recipe below), and then they went to the ball game (yay Cardinals!…and some say I don’t care) while I worked on my paper some more. I stopped at the bottom of page 18…now I need to reassess things, and I could really use some references to Bruno Latour’s Pandora’s Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. So I might be purchasing some books soon. And then re-selling them as soon as possible!

After accomplishing so much on my paper, I sat on the couch and read most of the current Bitch. Yay! What a great Sunday! Except for knitting, of which I did none.

That doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking about knitting, however. I can’t wait to purchase Mason-Dixon Knitting. I didn’t believe the hype at first, but after skimming through it with Porkchop at Borders last week and laughing aloud, I can’t wait! I’m already planning all of the band washcloths that I’ll make. And rugs. And felted boxes.

Awesome.

I think that’s it, y’all. Porkchop and I are working on getting our cars registered and licensed, but that’s boring stuff. Not exciting like reading about my Sunday.

Upcoming Things
Maybe you will find some of this exciting:

  • Wednesday: Knitting night with Soozi. I’m thinking we should also make some fun small dishes and maybe have wine or other libations.
  • Labor Day isn’t as fun when you don’t get paid for the holiday, but maybe seeing V will make up for that. Porkchop and I are going to my parents’ in northeast Arkansas, and V might drive over from Memphis for a visit.
  • Renegade Craft Fair. I’ve been counting the days, and it’s soooo close! Yay! We will be staying with K&B…that Sunday is K’s birthday, so extra fun!

Note about Luna Bars
So, the Luna bar people have a new line out: Sunrise, morning nutrition for women. Does anyone else think this is kind of ridiculous? I love Luna bars, but I hate the “for women” thing. And now, morning nutrition for women?? Is that really necessary?

I had the Vanilla Almond bar, and I didn’t really like it. It was a weird consistency.

The Recipe
I nearly forgot! But here it is! This recipe is for a crock pot, but if you don’t have one, just simmer the soup for a half hour or so before adding the tortellini.

TORTELLINI SOUP

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
2 14.5 oz cans vegetable broth
1 cup sliced green onions
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp fresh basil (or 1-2 tsp dried)
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 lb cheese tortellini (or extra if you like)

Mix all the ingredients except the tortellini in a crock pot. Fire it up on HIGH for 4-5 hours or LOW 6-8 hours. During the last hour of cooking, add the tortellini.

That’s it! Simple! I even wrote this recipe from memory!

Have a great Monday!

Busy Busy Busy

Oh my, the latter part of this past week was BUSY. So busy with the work at work and not enough time for writing or knitting. Murrrr.

On Wednesday, I had my second-round interview at my off-site job prospect. The interviewers were nice enough, and everything seemed to go well…even though two interviewers were looking at someone else’s information for a while. After we got that straightened up, those interviewers’ questions and comments made so much more sense.

Since I had to take skills tests and have an interview this week, I had to work longer hours to make up my time. So, I was at the workplace until 5:00-5:30 every day. Except for Friday, because I went in early. Work kind of sucked this week because some of the audiovisual equipment in the learning center auditorium is flipping out. This meant that I had to do a lot of equipment troubleshooting and think of crazy workarounds for some presentations and webcasts. Luckily, a service person made it out on Friday. Even though he couldn’t fix the most troublesome problem, we at least know what’s wrong and what needs to be ordered.

The executive assistant annoyed me as per usual with stupid comments and other crap, which makes me not so excited about the offer put forward by my current workplace. The money would be great – it’s much more than I expected – but the EA annoys the hell out of me. Also, my current workplace doesn’t offer domestic partner benefits. So stupid!

I will accept the offer unless my other job prospect extends an offer, too. Even though the other place could not match my current offer (not according to the posted maximum starting salary, anyway), it has better benefits. And, the EA doesn’t work there.

Oh, here’s an interesting story…. Wednesday around 5:00, the emergency alarm went off at work. It sounds like ERRRRRRRRNH! ERRRRRRRRRRNH! And, it’s really loud! Speaker! Right! Above! My! Desk! After the alarm sounded, the security guard made this announcement: All non-involved parties, stay in your area. Your attention please, your attention please! There is an emergency situation on the central stairwell. Stay in your area.

Of course, my cube mate and I immediately left our area to scope out the central stairwell, which is in the middle of the 3-story atrium. We couldn’t really discern what happened, but there were a lot of people on the stairs, running up and down and stuff. So, I left a few minutes later, and found out that a woman (someone who is really nice and answers a lot of my questions) had taken a tumble down the first half-flight of stairs. Her shoe heel got caught in her pant leg cuff, and down she went. That explained the thunk-a-thunk-a-thunk that I heard before the emergency alarm. Now the woman is all bruised up, but no broken bones or anything. She’s lucky because those stairs aren’t very forgiving: slate, metal, and glass. Ow.

Here are some other things that happened this week:

  • Had dinner on Wednesday at Hartford Community Café. Yummy falafel, and their sundae list looks promising. I accidentally flicked cucumber-yogurt sauce on Porkchop’s forehead, an action that was met with some huffiness. After dinner, we took a walk in Tower Grove Park. I ended up flipping off some assholes who were drive-by harrassing women. The harrasser yelled at me, “Lesbian!” Is that the best insult he could think of? Because, while I don’t identify as lesbian and feel misidentified by it, I’m not embarrassed. I mean, duh, I’m not straight – I’ll shout that out myself. Anyway, what was supposed to be a relaxing walk ended with me wanting to beat the crap out of a couple of jerks who felt entitled to ruin everyone’s evening. Sometimes, I really really hate people.
  • On Thursday, we bought life insurance. How crazy is that?! Next up, Roth IRA! Our insurance agent told us that we should stop by more often because we’re really fun. He’s so great….if you’re in the area and need insurance, look him up (BTW, his photo must be a bit dated…he looks more mature now).
  • Friday night, we went to see Invincible. Porkchop wanted to see it, and I didn’t mind, so off we went to a fancy schmancy theatre. After settling into our seats with popcorn and a soda, Porkchop somehow knocked the soda so that it landed lid-side-down on my thigh. Cold! So! Cold! But, I exhibited role model behavior and handled the situation with grace. Of course, I lorded this over her the rest of the evening and compared it to the cucumber-yogurt-sauce-on-Porkchop’s-forehead incident. In my book, sitting in cold, wet soda-pants for a couple of hours is much worse than getting a bit of yogurt on one’s forehead.

This morning, after Porkchop left for the park, I exercised and then set out to mop the entire apartment. Oh my gosh! I totally underestimated the time/labor required for this chore! We have a lot of floor space! It took me well over an hour to move things, sweep, mop, and put things back. I’m pleased with the results, though. The place just feels cleaner.

After mopping and cleaning myself up, I went to Soozi’s to keep her company while she waited for her parents’ new refrigerator to be delivered. The delivery people barely made the 4:00 mark in the noon-4:00 delivery estimate. While waiting, we knitted and talked and knitted. I started a new gift pouch and made considerable progress.

After the delivery people left, Soozi and I set out to put things into the new fridge. That’s when Soozi noticed that cold air wasn’t really entering the refrigerator part (freezer was okay). We determined that the air vents were blocked with styrofoam. So, Soozi started hacking it out….because what sort of refrigerator uses styrofoam as an integral component? After a while, we removed the central console and found more styrofoam and some wiring instructions. Hmmmmm…..so we took out the rest of the styrofoam that was blocking the vents, but we left some of the other styrofoam. Because, hey, we’re not refrigerator experts, maybe styrofoam is used these days?? We do, however, know a blocked air vent when we see it.

Hopefully the refrigerator doesn’t fall apart because of missing styrofoam.

Tomorrow, Soozi and I are to have brunch together to make up for not having time for dinner tonight..

Right now, I’m waiting for Porkchop to get home. Maybe I’ll knit a bit more and listen to a This American Life.

Sigh.

Have a good night!

Ten Dollars of Fun

Actually, only $9.13 of fun. After a nice walk in Tower Grove Park, Porkchop and I hit Jay International Foods for treats. Here’s what we came away with:

Treats!

Not pictured is the second Thai Tea bottle. The pumpkin chips are super yum! I thought so anyway; Porkchop spit hers out. Whatever.

I enjoyed my ginger beer and Porkchop her Jarritos while sitting out on the deck this evening. This is the sort of weather I like! Low humidity!

If you ever see these little chocolate cream wafers, buy them! They are the best! Here’s a closer picture for reference:

Super Yum!

At JIF, Porkchop and I noticed that Nutella now makes a little snack pack: nutella with dipping sticks and what appears to be peach tea! The peach tea thing seems weird….that’s just what I’m piecing together from the picture of a peach above the words something-the.

Before our trip to JIF and before our walk, we made garlic-rosemary marinated grilled chicken. I’ve written about this dish before, but I feel the need to mention it again. So good!

Porkchop did most of the labor. I mainly minced the garlic.

Delicious!

Have a great night!

Drinks, Giant Pretzels, and Knitting

So, after my fringe debacle Saturday evening, Porkchop and I met Soozi and her manfriend at MoMos. Good hummus and yummy drinks. I felt a bit tipsy because…pick one:

  1. I’m a lightweight.
  2. The guy bartender at MoMos makes them strong.
  3. I am maybe a lightweight.

Seeing how I was all a bit fuzzy when I went to bed, it was especially difficult to get up and go to Gus’ Pretzels at 8:00 am. But it was worth it. I brought back these for a certain someone:

Pretzels! So Big!

Those pretzel numbers are 15 inches high. We’re talking big pretzels here, folks!

Knitting
I had decided to finish the flower washcloth on Sunday, even though I did not have a set of size 6 double pointed needles. That’s right….I decided to finally try the Magic Loop method!

So crazy!

It’s actually not that bad, but I highly suggest watching the instructional video on this website. Magic Loop is a lot like using 3 dpns…if you imagine the cable on the circular needle as one dpn. However, Magic Loop requires shifting your yarn around A LOT; and, like using dpns, you have to be careful to avoid those gutter seams that sometimes form where the dpns meet (know what I mean?).

I’m not totally happy with the result…you can definitely see where I switched from in-the-round-with-a-circular to the Magic Loop. The stitches aren’t quite as tight and pretty. See what I mean:

Washcloth!

Maybe you can’t see it so much in the picture, but you can in person. I will definitely be purchasing a set of size 6 dpns.

Also, here is a pic of my first finished gift pouch. Note the fancy fringe work:

Fringe!

After Knitting
To take a break, I walked down to Hartford Coffee Company for a decaf latté. When I was across the street from the coffee shop, a kid yelled out to me: Hey! Do you know how to fix a bike chain?

To those of you who think I’m only a Knitter or Someone Who Cooks, you should know that I am also a Fixer of Bike Chains. Of course, it was an easy fix, but I still enjoyed assisting a 10-year-old-ish girl with her bike.

Unfortunately, the chain was more than a bit rusty, so my hands became quite dirty. Since the coffee shop’s bathroom was occupied, I had to order with dirty hands. I felt so embarrassed when the barista handed me my change because I couldn’t hide my dirtiness! And then I had to explain that I just fixed a kid’s bike. But I don’t think the barista knew what I was talking about because she just looked at me like I was crazy.

Oh, also, on my way to Hartford, I realized that I left my cell phone in my car, which was then parked at Six Flags. Murrrr.

Since I couldn’t make a few intended calls after my coffee break, I did things like: laundry, make orange-almond shortbread, do yoga, and wash dishes. What I did not do: work on my school paper.

All in all, a very good Sunday.

Until that Night
Sunday night, I couldn’t sleep at all! I was so wound up thinking about work things and the skill tests that I was scheduled to take for my off-site job prospect. My current workplace is supposedly making me an offer sometime this week, but I’m also continuing to pursue my other job prospect.

So, the skill tests went fine. I don’t know why I was nervous. Actually, I do know why: I get nervous about things. That’s just who I am.

Anyway…work has been busy. For a change.

So that is all for now.

Have a great day/afternoon/night!

Making Fringe is Tiring

I just spent nearly an hour making the fringe for my first gift pouch’s I-cord.

I hate making fringe.

Whenever fringe is involved, I find it the most tedious and often most challenging part of the project. This evening, I had to redo my work twice because I messed it up. I nearly gave up when my I-cord started unraveling. Apparently, when I was cutting (yes, cutting!) one of my mess-ups away, I inadvertently snipped part of the I-cord.

But it’s okay, I recovered things and fixed it right up.

I will post a picture tomorrow of my gift pouch in all its glory. Possibly a pic of my first flower washcloth, too.

Anyway, making fringe is tiring. Keetah thinks so, too:

Fringe is Hard

Since I’ve started with the cat photos, here’s another one:

Yay! Knitting!

It’s not easy to knit with so much cat on your lap, but I somehow manage.

Have a great night!

Ennui

I love the word ennui because it’s pretty and fun to say. But also because it’s useful to describe the feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction that I feel here at my workplace.

But not just at work, sometimes at home, too.

I can’t wait until Porkchop is no longer working weekends all the time because there are lots of places around here that I want to check out with her. At the moment, number one in my mind is a fun-looking antiques mall in Illinois. I don’t remember where exactly in Illinois, but I saw it not too long after we crossed over into Illinois on our way to Chicago last month.

The building is quite recognizable because there’s a giant statue out front – a statue obviously from the 1950s. Of course, I will do more research on this before we go. And, since that will probably be in November, I have plenty of time.

I also want to host a dinner party in a bad way, but we don’t know enough people here yet to do that. I want to make fun small dishes and desserts and stuff like that.

I know…I shouldn’t just sit here and complain about not knowing people. I should go out and meet them. But I hate that process.

Last Night
Porkchop’s parents had dinner with us – shrimp, tomato, and basil with pasta. Pretty good. No pictures.

Her parents also brought along a small desk that Porkchop’s mom picked up at Office Depot on sale – she thought it would be useful as a sewing table.

I appreciate this, but I am also very tired of furniture that comes out of a box. In fact, Porkchop and I pledged not to buy any more of that stuff. It’s cheap, poorly made, and often ugly. I had imagined finding a little old wooden desk to use as a sewing table….but it’s okay. Screw-together furniture is better than the sewing machine sitting in its box on the floor.

Now we just need to devise some sewing projects.

I’m a very inexperienced sewer and have a hard time sewing things in a straight line….much less doing anything fancy.

This might be because sewing machines scare me. The needle moving so fast and so close to my hands gives me bad images of my hand getting caught and sewn up.

Also, the needle hypnotizes me, so an accident could quite likely happen.

Mainly, however, I don’t know what threads and what needles should be used with what fabric.

I really want to sew things. I’m just frozen by fear and ignorance.

Tonight
Number one priority is exercising. I’m in a bad mood because I haven’t done anything since Sunday. I took Monday off, then there was Porkchop’s work pool party, company the next two nights (not that I don’t like company), and now today.

Murrrr.

Good Things
I’ve been called back for the second round of interviews at the place that is not my current workplace. That’s exciting! But I hate group interviews! I’m currently waiting for the call back to schedule the time. I also hate waiting!

Last night, I had time to make another petal on the flower washcloth. Yay! Should be finished this weekend, when I actually have time to make multiple petals.

Group Knitting Fun

Yesterday evening, Soozi came over for dinner. With the aid of her iced tea maker, we made lots of sweet iced tea. Because that’s the only kind of iced tea to have.

We also made chicken with lemon-basil sauce. Yum! It was very lemony and garlicky and quite good over orzo with a bit of Parmesan cheese.

Here’s a pic of the final product:

Yummers!

Mmmmm…my hands still smell of garlic.

After Dinner
After eating, Soozi said the words that every knitter loves to hear: Can you show me…

Yes!

Soozi knew how to do the knit stitch, but needed a refresher regarding casting on. And, most importantly, she needed to know how to bind off. Because Soozi knit yards and yards of scarves during undergrad, only to rip it all out and start over because she didn’t know the bind off secret.

It makes me sad to think of all those frogged knitted stitches.

Here is me supervising Soozi’s double cast-on work:

Cast-On Supervision

I also showed Soozi how to purl. So, after a few practice rows of 2×2 ribbing, Soozi started her own 2×2 ribbed scarf! Yay! The scarf, which is off to an excellent start, is staying at our apartment, and Soozi is supposed to stop by maybe once a week to work on it. She’s using some black and red Princess Classic Elite yarn (which I love) left over from a previous project.

Porkchop joined the knitting fun by pulling out her baby blanket project. This was a project started over a year ago but abandoned when Porkchop realized that she couldn’t finish it in time for the birth of a friend’s baby. The pattern is from Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

Here’s a pic of Porkchop having so much fun:

Porkchop's Big Project

I think the project is taking a bit longer because Porkchop is a yarn thrower (aka English knitter) (BTW, so is Soozi). I blame this all on Mark Newport. You see, I was shaping Porkchop into a fine continental knitter. Then, she took a summer class with Mark Newport at the UW and he said that right handers should knit using the English method.

Baloney! What outdated knitting theory!

Continental is so much faster and efficient because you don’t have to throw your yarn around the needle. Instead, you just pick up the yarn. Easy! Fast! Efficient! Not just for left handers!!

This is a fun little article about the two knitting styles.

My Knitting
Instead of doing the fringe on my gift pouch’s I-cord, I decided to start the flower petal washcloth. I have the tip of the first petal done – just 4 more and then I join them together in the round and finish it up. Easy! And fast!

Update from Job Land

So, this morning, I was asking the executive assistant about something when the director of sales stopped by the EA’s desk. The DoS travels A LOT, so she was kind of grumbling about some of the new air travel regulations, especially about not getting to take lotion on board.

We had some productive conversation, like about how women with babies shouldn’t necessarily be construed as non-terrorist material. As much as I empathize with women who have been made to drink their own breastmilk (if that’s even a true story), I don’t think we should automatically assume warm fuzzies when we see a woman toting around a baby. That’s such gendered malarkey.

We also talked about how horrible it must be for the president of our division. You see, he’s Pakistani with a British accent. Right.

So, then the DoS mentioned a colleague of hers who is a male African American. With a once-shattered leg now held together by metal rods. We commiserated over the hell that he always has to endure in security lines.

Then…then the EA said: “Well, you know, stereotypes exist for a reason.”

I managed to blurt out: “Stereotypesexistbecauseofsocialinjustices. Andsocialinequalities.”

I don’t remember what happened next because my head had popped off and rolled away.

Seriously, y’all, my Intro to Women’s Studies students from last fall could teach this EA a thing or two.

My opinion of the EA has sunk to a new low.

On that Note
My interview with the VP and DoS went well, I think. The interviews didn’t consist of those stupid HR-behavioral-based questions because I’ve already been here for a while.

Of course, they still have to meet and compare me to some other interviewee. So, we’ll see.

I am constantly amazed at how I can say things like, “Oh, I’m looking for a stable position in which I can operate for a least a couple of years,” when I’m really thinking, “I’m totally jumping ship if (hopefully, when) something better comes along.”

I don’t know about my interview off-site. I feel so awkward sometimes. Like when someone asks a question like: “How do you solve problems?”

What sort of non-specific, BS question is that?! There are so many types of problems, and so many different ways to solve them. I can’t remember what I said.

I hate interviews.

Knitting Update
I have one gift pouch done – I just have to make fringe for the I-cord. Yay!

Next up…flower petal washcloth!

YAY! GIFT POUCHES AND WASHCLOTHS!!!

A Random Thought
Blogger has a new beta version available. I’m thinking of switching over because it allows you to do drag-and-drop template design and lock down posts. The post lock-down is by e-mail address….now I’m wondering if readers would need a Gmail address to access posts (since Google runs Blogger). Because I don’t know how else Blogger could validate e-mail passwords.

Not that I have a big readership or anything, but maybe I don’t want some posts available to everyone.

For example, if you run a Google search on “pot smoking at Mizzou,” I’m on the second page of results.

Awesome. Because that’s exactly how I want people to find my blog.

Anyway, just a thought.

My Weekend: Nearly Too Much Excitement

My weekend started in the usual manner with Porkchop leaving for work and me exercising and cleaning. Other plans for the day included: yarn shopping, knitting, working on a paper, more knitting, maybe cooking something, and generally being a recluse. But during cleaning, I received a call from B, who was in Chicago for a sucky job interview and was wondering if I wanted to have dinner with her when she came through St. Louis! Yay! Also, B mentioned that this burlesque group would be performing that night in Belleville, IL (of all places), and that her friends, DD and BS, were coming over from Columbia to see the performance and maybe we could too.

Suddenly, lots of plans!

So, I upped my cleaning a little bit and got on the ball with yarn and food shopping. Working on my paper suddenly became not-so-important.

Yarn Euphoria
Friday night, I pulled a few knitting books off the bookshelf and suddenly had so many ideas of what I wanted to do. Previous ideas of handwarmers and other things left my mind. I am now committed to GIFT POUCHES and WASHCLOTHS.

Sure I want to move away from simple no-brainer projects, but right now, my heart is with gift pouches (see Last Minute Knitted Gifts) and washcloths (see Weekend Knitting and various websites). I think I’m looking forward to near-instant-gratification with my projects at the moment. Also, these items are quite functional and make good gifts.

Anyway, off I went to my local yarn shop. As mentioned previously, I’ve never been there before and didn’t really know what to expect. The yarn displays aren’t very impressive (mainly wire cube shelving), but they’ve got the goods! Lots of selection. Very nice. I’m happy.

Here’s what I came away with:

YarnYarnYarn!

As you can see, I’m already nearly done with one gift pouch. The cotton stuff on the left is for washcloths (I usually would never buy the chenille stuff because it kind of weirds me out, but it looks good knitted up in the flower washcloth found in Weekend Knitting). The alpaca/silk stuff on the right is for gift pouches.

I’m really into those lovely greens and blues right now. In case you couldn’t tell.

I was also glad to find a large selection of Cascade yarns at the lys. For the holidays, I intend on making felted bags for my mom and sister, and I really like the Cascade 220 stuff for the bags, which will look something like this (only different colors because the pink and green is mine, darn it):

Stripey Felted Bag

After yarn shopping, I went food shopping. With my current knitting enthusiasm, I am now much less interested in food. It’s like I can only handle a couple of modes of thought at once. Since I always have to be in Work Mode (because I wouldn’t go to work otherwise, and then we’d be out on the street, or at least without electricity), and I’m also slightly still in School Mode (until I finish those darn papers), and can only handle Food Mode or Knitting Mode. I mean, Saturday morning was Tomato Festival at one of the local farmers markets, and I didn’t bat an eye at going yarn shopping instead of tomato shopping. What the hell? And suddenly, I’m like “dinner? lunch? that’s what sandwiches are for.” Scary.

Saturday Night
After B arrived and whatnot, we went to the Shangri-La Diner for dinner. It’s a fun little vegetarian place with lots of meatless things to choose from and vegan desserts (and non-vegan ones, too). Fun!

Once I had finished up my peach pie, B and I were off to Belleville to see the Benchpress Burlesque show.

OR SO WE THOUGHT!!!!!

B and I just wanted to see some fun queer feminist performance….but other things were in store for us!!!

After crossing over the river into Illinois on the 64/55/70 bridge (aka the Poplar Street Bridge aka PSB), I asked B 30 seconds too late what the next step was according to our Google directions.

We had just missed the Illinois 3 exit. Turning around and catching the exit on the other side wouldn’t have been a problem, except for the BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION which has HALF of the westbound bridge shut down! [as noted in a previous post]

B and I don’t know our way around in Illinois….we couldn’t just pull out an alternate route from our asses. So we turned around and suffered through bridge traffic for at least 20 minutes. The IL-3 exit was still a half mile away (maybe another 20 minutes?), when I said to B: Hey, here’s an exit for 15th Street/Tudor Ave, which are part of our Google directions. Why don’t we just take this exit instead of sitting in traffic for who knows how much longer?

So that’s what we did.

The exit ramp was THE LONGEST EXIT RAMP EVER. Which was appropriate, because we were beginning our DESCENT INTO HELL….I mean EAST ST. LOUIS.

{insert dramatic music here}

Usually, when people say that an area is bad news or should be avoided, I pooh-pooh them and am skeptical. I’m not one to believe the hype about supposedly bad things.

But, y’all, B and I were quite uncomfortable in East St. Louis, even scared. Not because of the people, but because of the environment. Here are things that B and I think would make East St. Louis a better place, in no particular order:

  • Street signs
  • Street lights
  • Roads that aren’t shitty
  • Houses that aren’t falling down
  • Public housing that doesn’t look like something from a bad 1960s social experiment

In our case, street signs would have been the most helpful. Because we drove up and down 15th street for 20 minutes looking for some sort of informational sign that matched our directions/maps.

We did not feel comfortable going into the package liquor store or the corner bar for directions, nor did we want to just stop a random person on the street.

We were freaked out.

The chorus that we kept repeating in the car was: What the fu…???? They make people LIVE here???!!! Wha???

Y’all, East St. Louis is messed up.

We eventually saw some sort of police/security car down a driveway near who-knows-what kind of building. So we drove up to the guys, I rolled down the window and was like: WHERE IS THE NEAREST MAJOR HIGHWAY?!

The guys were like: Yeah, what’s going on here. What are you doing? [With an implied tone of: stupid white girls from St. Louis coming to East St. Louis trying to buy drugs and getting lost. Dumbasses.]

Okay, here’s the kicker, folks: we were ONE BLOCK AWAY from the highway entrance ramp!!! We only had to make a right turn! Let me note here that there were NO STREET SIGNS or HIGHWAY SIGNS or ANY sort of sign with any helpful information on it.

ONE BLOCK AWAY!!

I had already been breaking into maniacal laughter during our little excursion, but that drove me over the edge. ONE BLOCK!

Needless to say, we did not make the show.

Twist of Fate?
Quite coincidentally, DD and BS did not make the show either. First, being from Columbia, they didn’t know that the city shuts down the Eads Bridge nearly every freaking weekend in the summer for Live on the Levee. They also didn’t know that the eastbound 64/55/70 exit to the PSB is shut down.

That’s right folks, of the 3 bridges downtown, only 1 is sort of totally accessible. Sort of.

So, DD and BS got disgusted and went to Novak’s, but not before encountering other road construction/detours.

Because it’s a good idea to shut down everything all at once.

Meanwhile, B and I needed a stiff drink, so we parked the car by my apartment and walked down to Absolutli Goosed. What a contrast! Street signs! Street lights! Buildings not falling down! After our first drink, DD and BS met up with us there, and we had another round. Yummy drinks.

Sunday
This morning, Porkchop, B, and I went to Mangia for brunch. It was alright, but I felt a bit let down after reading glowing reviews. I mean, their oven roasted potatoes were just that. No spices or anything interesting. Maybe I should have ordered an omelet or frittata or something like that because the eggs benedict were just okay.

After B left, I found her cell phone charger, so we met halfway at the Whole Foods in Brentwood for the hand-off. Then, I went somewhere and bought something for someone (details cannot be revealed yet).

And then, it was back to knitting. And working on my paper….2 more pages down! Awesome! This isn’t taking long at all!

And Now
Trying not to think about the work week. Stupid work.

I have so many more important things to be doing. Like knitting washcloths.

Monday Afternoon Update
B has added some factoids about East St. Louis in her comments to this post. This is a website with more information. And here is a disturbing account of the East St. Louis massacre of 1917.

I’ll add more links when I find them.