Monthly Archives: March 2007

Bus Number 70 Rules

On the bus ride home this evening, my seatmate commented on how you can “pack a lunch and have a show” on the Grand bus.

I usually don’t talk to my seatmate, but I became acquainted with the guy sitting next to me as we sat for 20 minutes, waiting for the police to remove a crazy.

This guy was seriously crazy and drunk and threatening to kill the bus driver. You know how you can sometimes spot the crazy a block away? I totally knew this guy was going to be trouble when I saw him throw his cane to the ground on the platform and glare at everyone around him.

Eventually there were all sorts of police on the bus….the rent-a-cop, Metro police, County police, and City police. What the hell? Does it really take 9 people to remove one unruly crazy? Because that’s a total waste of our tax dollars.

Had I been on the bus any longer, I think my seatmate and I would have made plans for a bike ride on the Katy trail….that’s how well we got to know each other. Bus crazies make people bond.

In Other News
I’m still working on my first sock. I might be ready to do the heel on Sunday.

At Knitorious tomorrow, there’s a lecture/demo on alternative fibers. I’m going if I remember.

Tomorrow night is my school’s International Festival. Although I can’t make it early enough for the food, we will get to see the talent showcase, which is supposed to be surprisingly good.

Have a great weekend! Watch out for the bus crazies!

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Just a Side Business

Recently at my workplace, we had a little kerfuffle with the company that does most of our copying and printing. So when one of the supervisor guys came to pick up our bad copies, I went outside with him while he loaded his van in an attempt to get some inside dirt on what is going on with one of the crazies at the printing company.

Everything was going fine until the guy told me that he has a couple of side businesses, one of which is a paranormal investigation company.

This bit of information totally came out of left field, but I tried to take it in stride. The rest of the conversation, while helpful, was tempered by my new knowledge. I had a really hard time remaining serious…I just wanted to crack some jokes about Ghostbusters.

But, if you have a need for a paranormal investigator, let me know and I’ll get his phone number.

Things Fall Apart*

Life, while overall just fine, has had a few bad spots lately. These things are starting to get me down:

  • Car problems. I’ve got a broken seat belt buckle, a nick in my windshield, and we recently drove to Rolla with close to no oil. Of these, the oil ticks me off the most because of the following: 1) I had my oil changed less than 3 months and less than 3500 miles ago, 2) my oil light never came on, and 3) it makes me feel stupid that I didn’t think that my engine knocking was perhaps due to low oil.
  • Work. My work queue is way backed up, and people keep giving me “urgent” things. I’m helping a project manager, who I generally like, plan for a conference in June. Unfortunately, she must think I do nothing else except wait for her phone calls and emails. Other stupid things have happened at work, and I wish people would just give me a day without interruption.
  • Back and neck problems. I carry stress in my back and neck, and I have a bit of curvature which doesn’t help things. Sometimes, especially at work in my non-ergonomic setting, I feel my back tensing up. Things came to a head Wednesday evening when I got on the bus and couldn’t really turn around or breathe without lots of pain. 17 hours and a Vicodin and half a muscle relaxer later, I was at a chiropractor’s office. I’m trying to be better about taking mini-breaks at work to do my neck exercises.
  • Sock problems. Upon reaching the point of my sock where I was to start the heel, I thought to myself, “This is where I repeat round one and knit every stitch.” And then I thought, “*@#$^%!,” because I had only been knitting ROUND TWO for the past 6 and 3/4 inches. Yeah, TOO much zig-zag. I somehow separated the fact that the pattern had two rounds, which I knew, from the actual act of knitting the pattern. That’s why this happened:


Murrr!

Oh well, at least I enjoy knitting the zig-zag pattern (even with the K round).

A Light Note
This past weekend was unexpected and great. Porkchop and I went to her parent’s house, where there is no cell phone reception and the internet connection is a slow dial-up. We did things like sit outside and knit and rip (me), plant flowers (Porkchop), go on a walk, and play Scrabble. We also had deviled eggs and home-made vanilla ice cream.

The weekend was topped off by going on a bike ride in the park after returning yesterday evening. Geez, when did the trees bloom and flower?? Crazy!

Actually, that didn’t top off the weekend. My weekend was topped off by me deciding to eat 1/4 of a cantaloupe, a big bunch of grapes, and an orange, all washed down by 5 glasses of water, an hour before going to bed. I didn’t get to sleep until nearly 2 am….murrrr!

Also during the weekend, we were reminiscing about things, and I was thinking about Porkchop’s birthday in Iowa. It’s a funny story. I had ordered a cake from Yummy’s, and for some reason, Porkchop was with me when I had to pick it up. Instead of staying in the car, because that would have been too easy, she went into the shop with me. Since she had promised to not look at the cake, Porkchop kept her eyes covered with her hand – with just a little space open at the bottom – on our way out to the car.

Instead of going to OUR car, Porkchop veered off towards another car. While I shouted, “Porkchop! Porkchop!” she shouted back, “I’m not looking! I’m not looking!” When her hand was on the door handle of a car with a very surprised occupant, I managed to finally get a word in and say, “That’s not our car!”

This story makes us laugh and laugh.

And now, my friends, I’m going to have a drink, because I’m at that point where I need a little drink to ease my worries.

*Probably one of the best book titles ever.

Progress

I’ve been diligently knitting on my sock when I’m at home. It’s nice to have a project again!

Here’s my progress:

I’m quite pleased with it.

Porkchop has been practicing some yoga with me. Her favorite pose is savasana; she’s becoming a pro at it.

Here she is practicing it with Keetah, who is a natural at savasana:

Have a great day!

Thirty More Days

Until our vacation! Yay!

In the meantime, work is serious craziness, allowing me nary a moment to update my blog at work. Boo! This displeases me since I’m not a big fan of computer-time outside of work. Alas…

Yarn-things

Well, lookie here, what’s this?

A sock! A real live beginning of a sock! By me!

It’s Jaywalker in Bearfoot Ruby River by Mountain Colors. I could do without the mohair, but I’m pleased with it otherwise.

I hope the sock fits when finished! I got pretty close to the pattern gauge, which is a big step for me….checking gauge.

ALSO, I went out and bought size 1 double-pointed needles for these socks! Since Saturday night, I’ve already warped two of them. I imagine I will snap at least one before it’s over. Maybe I should hold my needles more loosely? Is that why I lost feeling in part of my right ring finger for a few hours after knitting on Saturday? Hmmm…

Anyway, there will be more of this from now on:

Finally, I can’t wait to make these Dashing mitts. I like these even more than the Fetching ones! With this set, I will pick my yarn more carefully. The Debbie Bliss cashmerino whatever pilled up like nothing else. Yuck yuck yuck.

Food-things

Last week was depressing food-wise until I broke out the baked tofu and sesame green beans Thursday night. Friday night, we had a quick dinner from the Whole Foods hot bar. Better than it sounds! Also, who doesn’t love to buy buffet food by the pound?

For Saturday dinner, we had sage porkchops and mashed potatoes. Here’s Porkchop displaying the food and making a scary face. Don’t worry, she usually doesn’t act like this. Also, GROSS regarding the meat juices pooling at the bottom of the saucer.

Also on Saturday night, I made chocolate-hazelnut-date biscotti. YUM! Here’s one posed by Porkchop’s hot chocolate the next morning:

No recipe this week, but if you’re interested, you can find it in this Moosewood cookbook.

Yesterday we made sundried tomato and basil pesto pizza, and tonight I made whole wheat spaghetti with tofu, carrots, and snow peas with a peanut sauce.

So, things are looking up on the food front around here.

Other Things

Our dryer caught on fire Wednesday night last week. The fire died out after we turned the dryer off, and no clothes were harmed, but it still sucks.

On Saturday, Keetah and I met with the lady who will be checking in on Keetah while during our vacation. She said all the right things….Keetah is so beautiful, she isn’t overweight, and she has a pleasant personality.

Flattery will get you everywhere.

To keep up Keetah’s image, Porkchop bathed her later that day. Here she is all clean and good-smelling and enjoying the sun:

Last night, we watched Jesus Camp. Parts of it made us uncomfortable for different reasons. Porkchop doesn’t like people speaking in tongues, and I don’t like kids being shown figurines that misrepresent what fetuses look like during development (let alone that young kids really can’t comprehend the full complexity of abortion). However, we were both made uncomfortable by the fact that it takes place nearly entirely in MISSOURI.

Lee’s Summit, St. Robert….great! Terrific!

What we found endlessly amusing is that Ted Haggard is featured during part of the documentary, and he comes off as a real asshole.

On that note, good night! Have a great week!

Mad City Weekend

Friday afternoon, I rushed around like mad to get ready for our trip to Madison (aka Mad City). Porkchop picked me up after her work ended, and off we went.

The trip would have gone more smoothly if the following hadn’t happened:

  • Rain.
  • Fog.
  • Anxiety attacks caused by phlegm in my throat that made me feel like I was choking and unable to breathe. Porkchop was a good sport and drove 5 hours after I panicked 15 minutes into my shift.

We pulled into our friend Vivian’s house around 12:30. We stayed up for a bit to chat and eat pizza.

Saturday
Our day didn’t get started until after noon, when we tried to go to CafĂ© Soleil. After seeing the long wait for tables, we went next door to the Old Fashioned.

Here’s Vivian with her liquid diet breakfast:

Coffee, bloody mary, PBR chaser, and water.

After eating, we hurried to Lakeside Fibers, my favorite yarn store ever. On the way, we saw lots of ice fishing.

See the dots on the lake in the photo? Those are ice fisher-people.

Lakeside has a mind-boggling selection, and they display their yarn in wood cabinets or glass cubbies…none of those horrible plastic or wire rack displays that lots of stores use. In one room, Lakeside even has an old water wheel with yarn displayed in it. I don’t have a picture of that, but I do have one of Lakeside’s wall o’Cascade. If you’re into Cascade, you’ll probably find just the right color here:

After I moved from Madison, Lakeside added a coffee bar to their store. Look at these people drinking coffee and eating and knitting and looking out over the lake towards Madison!

I am so envious!

But back to yarn. I picked up two skeins each of these:

The top one is Ruby River by Mountain Colors. I intend to make some Jaywalkers with this yarn. Yes! Socks!

The bottom one is Lipstick Lava by Dream in Color Yarn. I don’t know what it will become just yet.

I am happy with this yarn and excited to finally try socks.

Okay, after the yarn shop, we stopped at a fun pet store down the block. After that, we went to Gail Ambrosius’s chocolate shop. Yum! I enjoyed an espresso truffle and wished I could buy the whole shop.

Alas, we had to push on to another Chocolate Shoppe, where I picked up a scoop of Zanzibar Chocolate. Yum again!

You might think we concluded our day there, but no. That night, we went to one of the longest women’s ice hockey games EVER! It went into the 7th period!!!

For those of you who don’t know, ice hockey games have 3 periods. So, we saw 2+ hockey games, with full intermissions! Gah! The agony!

I was so glad to go home to Vivian’s. Although, it was impressive to see the Harvard goalie stop 67 shots before letting one through.

Sunday
Sunday was supposed to start with breakfast somewhere, but we couldn’t get up after our late night. We barely had enough time to grab a bagel on our way to Dodgeville, where Porkchop was playing with Vivian’s team, the Wisconsin B club team (Porkchop used to play on the C team).

Technically, Porkchop shouldn’t be playing hockey since she only has one kidney now. But, she rationalizes it away.

After 8 months of not playing, this is where Porkchop ended up:

The penalty box!

But, all in all, it was a good game, and the B team won 2-1.

After the game, we sped back to Missouri. Well, I sped as much as I could between having to make several pit stops for Porkchop, who had an icky stomach after the game.

Anyway, that’s it!

Now I’m just sitting around and fondling my new yarn! Yay! Someday soon there will be knitting content here again!

Yikes!
Hello if you’re here from the Isthmus Daily Page!

While I’m honored to have a link on such a fine website, I am also redfaced knowing that more than my usual dozen readers now know about my phlegm-induced anxiety attacks.

Cheers!

Maybe it was the Raccoons?

After hopping off the bus yesterday evening, I noticed something amiss in the corridor between our house and the one next to it. I thought I saw a box or something that didn’t belong. Upon closer inspection, this is what I found:

Yep, some bastards destroyed our air conditioning unit for a few dollars’ worth of copper.

Bastards!

Our landlord had quite a few more expletives to say about this matter after rushing over from his house a half block away. Later that night, he called to apologize for being so unprofessional.

I understand, though, since a new unit will be around $1200, and the crime wasn’t even worth it. Maybe if they had taken the whole danged unit. But just snipping out the copper and taking the housing? WTF?

This is one of those times when I hate people so much.

In another news, Porkchop caught our rascal raccoon in action last night skulking around our deck. Instead of shooing the raccoon away, Porkchop tried to get the raccoon to stay around for a photo. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. In addition to our little birdseed lover, Porkchop spotted another raccoon climbing up the gutter of a neighbor’s garage. Raccoons everywhere!

Wednesday’s Lunch
The project coordinator who did a huge chunk of conference planning is leaving St. Louis. Sad for us, good for her. To say goodbye, our center went to Maya Café in Maplewood.

The restaurant and staff are quite pleasant, and I attribute any shortcomings to the sous chef’s absence. Apparently, the sous chef just didn’t show up. That’s no good…especially when there’s a lunch party of 20-plus.

Like many restaurants, you receive complimentary chips and salsa. The chips were so-so, but the salsa was fantastic. Thick and chunky and not very saucy, which is exactly how I like my salsa. One of my co-workers was so taken with the salsa, she started eating it with her fork; no chips necessary.

For my dish, I ordered the huitlacoche quesadilla because I’ve always wanted to try huitlacoche after hearing so much about it in Madison. Yeah, it tastes like portabella mushrooms…I was a bit disappointed. But maybe my disappoint stemmed from my quesadilla being a bit burnt on the bottom. And a bit greasy. Also, the saffron rice tasted like rice from a box.

After hearing such good things about the fish tacos, I wish I had gone that route. Or maybe I should have ordered the vegan stuffed chile.

In conclusion, I wasn’t impressed with the food beyond the salsa. But maybe it’s usually better.

Meals This Weekend
We’re making a last-minute trip to Madison tonight. The original intention was to visit friends and see the UW women’s ice hockey team play Harvard as part of the NCAA Frozen Four tournament. Now, Porkchop has been invited to play ice hockey on Saturday and Sunday, so she’s quite happy and looking forward to the trip.

I’ve been thinking about where we’ll eat, of course, and I’m having a hard time. I don’t want to abandon my favorites. Lao Laan-Xang has the best crab rangoons and mangoes with sticky rice ever, and their peanut sauce kicks ass. Himal Chuli has the best dal and samosas ever. We love Café Continental for brunch, as well as Café Soleil and Lazy Jane’s. However, I hear there are some good newcomers (new to me, anyway), like Cocoliquot.

Lucky for me, I’m leaving work early, so I’ll have some time to think this through.

Those Rascally Raccoons

This is what we awoke to this morning:

The dove on the railing might seem a likely suspect, but it was actually raccoons! Last week, they threw off the top of the birdfeeder AND knocked out one of the plexiglass panels. But this time….well, you see what they did.

Squirrels are nothing compared to the raccoons.

You might remember how, during the summer, we cooed over the baby raccoons living in the sewer gutter in front of our apartment. Hmph. Now they’re causing trouble.

Here’s another picture….chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, some of which also contain cranberries. Yum! I’ll post the recipe tomorrow.

The Conference
Last week was a killer with all of the conference activities. It was go go go from 7:30 am to 10:00 pm for four freakin’ days.

I wish I could have actually listened to the research panels and other presentations, but I was constantly checking on things like catering or handouts. It was utterly exhausting.

Fortunately, the research fellows were a great group. We had people from Belgium, Germany, France, the UK, Turkey, South Africa, Nigeria, Turkey, Nepal, Australia, Uruguay, Chile, Costa Rica, and the US.

On Saturday, the last day, we went on a bus tour of St. Louis. The tour guide was a staid woman, a humorless retired grade school teacher whose head nearly exploded at least three times during the tour because of the rowdiness of the research fellows. The tour actually became a parody. I mean, you can’t make simplistic statements like, “the British didn’t like the French,” to a group of international scholars without receiving laughs. It was hilarious.

Other Things
Hmmm….I haven’t really had a chance to do anything non-conference related. Yesterday, we went to the grocery store, did laundry, and made dinner and cookies. Today, I cleaned up the disaster zone that was my office. I can actually walk around in it now without running into a box of conference stuff!

Yay!

Blech

I wish Ann Coulter would go ahead and rot from all the vileness inside of her.

Really, I can never believe her repugnancy.

Ah well…I will hopefully update on more respectable and interesting items later.