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16 posts from February 2007

Socks-A-Go-GoFebruary 28, 2007

Last call! A couple of slots remain in my class that starts this Monday night in Emeryville at the fabulous Knit-One-One. We'll be learning how to knit lacy socks on two circulars on the yarn/needle size that you like. Plus, we'll just be goofing around knitting and laughing, so it should be fun times.

If you're coming to knit with us, do this: Choose the yarn you want for your socks (have about 100 grams to be safe). Knit up a couple of small swatches on different size needles, just stockinette, and decide what fabric you like. Bring two 12 inch needles in that size along with the yarn to class, and we'll be on our merry, lacy way.

At the very least, go have a peek at the blog post about the class -- I look a little silly, but Harriet is looking fine, no?

LotsFebruary 27, 2007

Hey! I'm in Curve magazine! Go get it! I wrote an article about me'n'Lala visiting Venice for their travel issue, now on stands. Borders carries it, I know, as do most Barnes and Nobles, and any independent bookstore that carries Out and Advocate will have it, too. It's a lesbian magazine, you should know. Just in case your husband wonders why it's in your bedside reading, you can have something planned. I'm on pages 40-41. Woot!

I was a dork at Stitches, as usual. I had a BLAST. I got there around 1pm, and just wandered around, moving between wildly excited and completely overwhelmed. It's kind of being a kid again at Disneyland, isn't it? I want! I want everything, and look at this, and what about that, and that's my favorite thing EVER, and I'M TIRED I DON'T WANT TO BE HERE ANYMORE and oooooh, pretty, I want that!

Luckily, I ran into readers who were awesome, and said hello, and made me step off my merino-high every once in a while. I only took a couple of pictures, and none turned out but this one, but it's great:

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That's Bonnie and Bonnie. (By the way, when you organize yourselves like this in the wild, I really appreciate it.) These two made me laugh my ass off and regain some human composure again, so I really appreciate them.

I also really appreciate Cindy and Jeni and Emily and Nancy and her partner Adriana, with whom I hung out after the whole deal.

However. There was one highly embarrassing moment I'll tell you about.

Nancy and Adriana were staying there in the hotel, and we'd been up to their room to drop off some bags (ahem) before dinner. We went back down in the elevator and exited into the lobby. It was swank. Nancy said, "Look at all this high-tech stuff! Virtual concierge!"

I looked over and saw that there was indeed a concierge desk, and behind it, up on the wall, was a huge TV screen with a woman's face on it, who appeared to be looking into the room.

A computer-concierge! I thought that was just too nifty, so I literally ran up to the desk and smiled and waved at the computer image. It smiled and waved back! I said, "Hello!"

It said, "Hello. Can I help you?"

I turned around and said to my compatriots, "Look! She looks so real!"

"Can I help you?"

I goofed a little more, hoping to get the computer to echo my motions, like it had with the waving.

"Um, is there something I can do for you?"

It hit me suddenly, the ugly truth. "You're real, aren't you?"

"Yes, I'm real. What can I do for you?"

"Gahggh hrm abbat SEEYOULATERSORRY!"

And I ran away. She was real, and there had been a camera somewhere pointed at ME, so she could see ME, and I could see HER, and it wasn't fancy-hi-tech computer-concierging, it was just a remote employee, and wasn't that just like me? I wonder how many times that's happened to her? I think it would be funny all the time, if I were her.

So. Stitches was great, and hello to all you sweeties who said hello, and then I went down south to the little mama's house for the Oscars on Sunday night (Al Gore, you've never been more adorable) and had a great time with my sister Christy on the drive there and back, and this morning I woke up to find this in the backyard*:

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How is THAT for a best-case scenario? It fell OVER the fence, but didn't damage it, and the tree is just resting in our backyard. Must talk to the neighbors about that today, I suppose....

* In actuality, I didn't wake to find that. I woke, opened the curtain to the window that looks out to the backyard, then decided it was stuffy, so opened the window itself, then went and let the dogs out onto this same porch, then let them back in. Then Lala called and said, "Look in the backyard," and I finally saw what had happened. I am not observant at all before I have caffeine.

Stitches Today! February 24, 2007

I get to go! I wasn't going to be able to go to Stitches West because of my work schedule, but a coworker is paying me back some time, and I'm leaving work at noon today, and I can be there by 1pm. I'm going to help out a bit in the spinning guild booth, and then wander! O joy! The party of my people!

Nowadays it's not even about the yarn, not (that much) about the fiber -- it's about seeing friends and bloggers and friend-bloggers and hanging out.

I will remember to bring my camera, as it's already in my spinning bag. However, I can only hope that I remember to TAKE pictures.

If you see me, say hi!

Wooly BulliesFebruary 21, 2007

How did I miss this? Crochet/knit snark, mockumentary style. You MUST see it.

Almost-Flashdance

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Almost-Flashdance.

That's what it will always be called, in my mind. I told you a little about it -- I tried it on for the first time and realized that I had bound off the neck four inches lower (and wider) than I should have?

And an off-the-shoulder gansey is not a good thing. In fact, it's a very bad thing. It's not in fashion here in the States, nor, I expect, is it in fashion anywhere in the world. And if it were, and I wanted to bring that trend here to Oakland, I would make a bad standard-bearer, because I'd be too busy clobbering all the folk who would be falling about in the streets in paroxysms of laughter to see me pass.

So, how did it come about, this near-miss? I have an orange sweater that I live in. I mean, almost every day I throw it on over whatever I'm wearing to ward off the chill. Wool is better than a sweatshirt ANY day. You know that. So it's pilling and pulling, and it's really only good for inside the house and I pray that the UPS guy drops-and-runs rather than requiring a signature, because no one but Lala and the dogs need to see me in this.

I wanted a new throw-on knock-about sweater. I chose a nice yarn, and decided to make it super simple. But I wanted a little bit of the guernsey about it, so I threw in some traditional patterns, lifted from Knitting in the Old Way. I chose three patterns I liked, and threw in a cable on either side of the main motif. (It is understood that this is not Traditional and therefore not a Gansey, but I call it my gansey in my mind, and that's okay.)

It's knit in the round to the armholes, then the sleeves are joined, and I made a simple raglan decrease every other round (and threw another cable in at the raglan line, for fun).

My problem came in that I THOUGHT I knew where to make a neck. Try it on first? What a silly thought! I didn't, and got the almost-flashdance horror. Then, gunshy, I made a weird kind of turtleneck. Third time was the charm, and it's now in the right place.  (And no, sadly, I wrote none of this down. But you could make up your own version! Off the shoulder for everyone!)

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It's a good knock-about. I can't get a good color-match with our camera -- it's not periwinkle like this -- it's really a true lilac with a pink undertone. I love the color.

Specs:
Pattern: my own, inspired by Knitting in the Old Way
Yarn: Lang, Soft Shetland, 8 balls, 130m to each, color 701.0046/1057

(Bonus! Our camera has a nifty feature that lets you take ten pictures in a rapid-fire row, and then you get nifty shots like this one . That makes me laugh.)

FinishitisFebruary 20, 2007

Sunday I was in a finishing frenzy, and kept digging things out to finish. Good at starting, good at doing, not so good at finishing. Hello, three unfinished but almost done novels, how are ya?

Let's not talk about that, shall we?

So, knitting:

You've seen this before. Specifically, you've seen this back in 2004. Two thousand FOUR. Isn't it 2007 now? I forget, but I think that's right. She's never, ever, ever been worn, except to take the finished picture (specs there) because I never put in the zipper.

Please. A zipper? I don't even mind putting in zippers. I hate sewing, and it's not that fun, but it's satisfying to do by hand, because it ends up looking so neat. I decided I wanted to wear it Sunday, so I grabbed it and put in the zipper (which had been neatly folded inside the sweater for the past almost-three years. It's not like I didn't even HAVE a zipper, I did). And voila, Bob's yer uncle:

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The bottom ended up wanting to be scalloped because of the way the pockets pull, so instead of fighting that, I put the zipper in to accentuate it.

Love the pockets:

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From the back:

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I also had to finish the scarf that is so gorgeous I will wear it in summer. And I don't even usually wear scarves, but I made it with Kyoto, which is the most stunning yarn in the universe, seriously. It absolutely glows, and it's the softest stuff, and you must get some. I had some random balls lying around. I've never made anything with it, but when I go to ArtFibers, I usually end up walking out with one precious ball. Just because. And I'm glad I do that, because I got this:

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I tried so hard to get a shot where you can see the yarn's glow, and this is as close as I got:

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I used Stephanie's one-row scarf pattern, and I threw in stripes where I felt moved to do so. I swear, it was practically religious, and I usually hate knitting scarves. Highly recommended.

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As if that weren't enough fun, I finished up a baby sweater that had been done (as has the baby, as of last week) and only needed buttons and a bit of lace. I'd learned about the Ribbonerie last week (how did I not know?) and stumbled into the store, amazed. (I also stumbled out, as I happened upon their 10th anniversary sale, and as soon as I entered this amazing ribbon-wonderland, they pressed a glass of champagne into my willing little hands. Now, sitting in the sunlight, sorting through antique buttons and scraps of lace with champagne to hand? What could be better?)

I left the store with two old mother-of-pearl buttons and a half-yard of ribbon that was quite literally worth more than the sweater, but don't they look nice together?

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Specs: 5 hour baby sweater pattern, free (bootie pattern there, too)
Yarn: (Wait for it) Caron Simply Soft, color wine, NO DYE LOT. Gotta love machine washable.

Click HERE for a detail of the embroidered white-on-white ribbon.

All right. I'm tired of typing, and I haven't even shown you the new sweater, the one you've never seen a scrap of! That'll come tomorrow because right now I have to go for a run. Or a Cadbury Creme Egg. Whichever comes first. The eternal question, isn't it?

SundayFebruary 18, 2007

A nice Sunday morning -- the migraine that felled me yesterday (the acupuncture has been SO great, I was super disappointed) is gone, although Lala is sick as a dog and has gone back to bed. Poor thing.

But the day is pretty and sunny and warm enough to sit out on the porch, and the dogs seem to know that there is a new dog park opening today and we're going to the party for it this afternoon (Joaquin Miller park, yo, off Sanborn, party till 2pm), and we've heard there might be an agility demo, which Clara really wants to see.

I feel like today I should finish knitting the There But For The Grace of Flashdance gansey that is NOT off-the-shoulder anymore, and I should work on getting some other things out of my To Make basket. It might be a purge week, actually. There are some projects that I know with all my heart are going nowhere, and I don't even like the yarn enough to rip. We'll see. I don't feel like starting that right now. But maybe tomorrow. I can just imagine -- me throwing all my yarn into the center of the yarn and starting from there. Doesn't that sound fun? Overwhelming and fun?

Hey! Have you seen Emily's new site and the fabulous scarf pattern she's posted? She does the site and photography for Knit-One-One, and she's just such a cutie-pie. Go say hello, and keep your eye on her!

And for your weekend fun, a picture of the picture on our fridge -- Joni with godkid Dylan (months and months ago -- he now has total control of his head) wearing the matching aran sweaters I made them. The picture was taken on her boat where she was living while she was pregnant, and it's attached to our fridge with Maori haka magnets from New Zealand, which was unintentional but apropos -- both Dylan and I are half-Kiwi.

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I'm off to go check on the sickee. Enough Emergen-C will fix anything.

Plumbin'February 15, 2007

It's very, very weird to be sitting in my condo which is rented out to someone else.

It's been a bad week, condo-wise. Granted, it could be worse, but this last week required a major transfusion of money, into the new deck and into some work on pipes. Now that the pipes have been worked on in one part of the house, though, my unit has stopped giving hot water to my tenant, and the plumber who WAS working here is done with his part of his work and doesn't want to be bothered.

As my unit is the only one affected now, it's on me to get another plumber in, which is a pain. The pain is a bit lessened because my super-nice tenant is out of town and I can take care of this without inconveniencing her any further than she's already been.

But that means I'm sitting in my old home surrounded by things that aren't mine. And I have to say, she's done a stunning job of decorating. I loved how it looked when I lived here, and this is just as nice and comfy. I don't know if she gussied it up because I was coming (I would have, but I hope she didn't feel she had to), but it looks so great. Makes me proud of the place. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, so her decorating style is a high-budget, pared-down Cost Plus aesthetic. It's spare, and interesting, and there's so much more ROOM here than when I lived here and all the yarn got in the way.

The sound is the same, though, that constant whooosh of the freeway outside, and interestingly, the smell is the same. It's the smell I smelled when I first opened the door, the moment I knew I would live here, and it's a mix of old wood and paint and fabric that's been stored for a long time. My gaze falls on the walls the same way -- the spatial relations make sense to me, but where I'm sitting at her table is where I had a bookcase before, so I've never sat in EXACTLY this place before.

Okay, the plumber just called and said he was on his way over. My biggest fear is that the problem is too big, that it won't get solved before my tenant comes home on Monday, and that she'll have to be inconvenienced some more. Last week there were two days when she had no water at all, and she had the flu, and her mom had a heart attack. And her power was briefly out, and I still don't know how that happened, but thank god it came back on. That's too much for anyone to bear, and she has been really good about it. (I did take two days off her rent. While that helped, it doesn't take the sting out of showering at the Y, does it?)

So. Here I am. Waiting. More to follow.  (No internets here, so I'll post this later.)

Later - Okay, now I'm home - and I'm SO HAPPY. He totally fixed the problem, and I got to call my tenant and tell her that it's all fixed, and she was so happy, and I'm so happy and I want to spread the love so not only am I writing this little blog, but I'm writing a post (the one below this) that will be of no use yet, but someday might be where some people find good people to work in their houses.

Because it's hard! I don't know what the hell pipes are doing under my house, and whatever someone tells me, I'll believe. I don't know how to DO things around my house -- I'll give it a good shot, and I'll get out the home repair book (thanks, Becca!), but in the end, I'm a knitter, people. Not a painter/plumber/spackler. Although I can spackle with the best of 'em sometimes.

So when I find someone I want to recommend, I want EVERYONE to use that person. My new plumber, Abraham Tingey, of Mr. Rooter in Berkeley, is the BEST. He was on time, he gave me the best and worst case scenarios right up front, outlined the cost before he started doing any of it, and then he TOOK THE TIME to explain everything he was doing as he was doing it. Seriously, I dogged his heels in the house and under it, and he pointed things out to me, explained what had happened in the past, speculated on what could be done in the future, and when I got a blank look on my face, he slowed down and explained the words to me. And brass nipple is always going to be funny to me, because I'm 12 years old that way. I don't think he saw me giggle, though. 

And he was so sweet! And nice, and smart, and he'd lived in New Zealand for a year, and he put booties on every time he entered the house, and he charged me for fixing the garbage disposal (a separate problem) but he explained that he was actually charging me for the lesson, because then he showed me what to do next time.

So. I trust the guy. And he fixed a problem that I wasn't sure was fixable (only triaged, actually, will need new pipes, but they live to serve another day). So I'm posting the post below, which will eventually, as it is found on teh intarwebs, bring a bunch of comments together in one place on good service techs and how to find them.

That was so long! If you made it here, you deserve a cute animal picture or two!

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    Adah, in her bed which is ON THE FRIDGE.

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    Cat-of-my-heart, Digit

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    Boy-of-my-heart, Dylan on elephant.

East Bay Home Repair Reviews

Welcome!

This will be a little space for the residents of Oakland, Berkeley, and the East Bay to come and leave comments, recommending people and businesses who do home repair. It will not be moderated or sorted, so please keep the format established here.

To post a review/recommendation:
*Click on Comments.
*In the comment box, please type what type of repair-person you're recommending (plumber, handyman, contractor, painter, etc.).
*Then go down a line and write your review. Include a phone number for the service, and first and last names for the workers, if you have them, and any impressions of the work they did. 

I'd like these mostly to be positive reviews, a place for people to promote the good service they've had. However, if you'd had bad service from any of the people listed here, please let us know. Negative reviews of a company that is not recommended here should go to the Better Business Bureau instead.

Now click comments, and let's get started (I'll post the first two). Good luck with the work you're having done!

LOVE! February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day, for me, is not that big a deal. In fact, this one kind of slipped me by. Yesterday I was driving around and noticed the impromptu flower stands that pop up around any Hallmark holiday -- vendors hawking their bouquets to cars idling in traffic, caught at stop signs. I wondered, "Huh?" Then I realized that it was the Big Day of Love in consumerland.

But really? Love is good stuff. Love is good stuff every single day, and I don't need a special day to remember that. I'm lucky enough to remember that all the time, as often as possible. Today I won't see Lala at all, actually. I left for work at 5am (she won't be home until after I'm asleep tonight), and as I kissed her goodbye, I said, "I love you," as I do every morning. Usually she doesn't wake up at all, just kind makes a sound that could be translated as "sheep" in some languages, but today, she kicked her feet and yelled "I LOVE YOUUUUUUUUUU!" And I'm sure she doesn't remember that a bit.

Heh. She's totally gonna be embarrassed by that little story. That makes it more fun! Now, THAT'S Valentine's day. She can share embarrassing stories on her own blog (only she doesn't, luckily, not often), and all I can say now is:

Heh982
    (from bachelorette party last year)

Love is good stuff. No matter where you get it.

UKE! February 12, 2007

I got a ukulele!

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    My orange Mahalo Ukulele (chihuahua for scale)

I am SO excited. I didn't even know I really wanted one. I mean, I saw Celia's bass uke, and thought it was the coolest, but didn't want to shell out the money for one right off the bat. I have a track record with instruments -- I can pick out melodies badly on the fiddle. I can read music slowly and badly on the piano. I have played the same six or seven chords on the guitar my whole life and have never improved.

But the ukulele! It's so not-intimidating! Only four strings, and it's just so nice to me. Even if you hit a wrong chord, it's pretty forgiving. I am having trouble with being able to play and sing at the same time, especially in a song with triplets like Crazy. The whole strumming thing is hard for me. But that will get better with practice, right?

I like how it just sits on my little desk next to my computer, so when the internets are being slow, I can just pick it up and play a little.

LOVING it.

In other news, I mopped. For some reason I always think the best time to do that is when it's raining, which it is, and then I wait for an hour for the floors to dry.

And we went to the beach (before the mopping, thankfully), and I brought home a Harriet and a Sand Monster.

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Imagine. Her whole body. Every, single time. Thank god for the Dyson.

The cats are good, for those of you send nice emails about them -- Adah is still the neighborhood sweetheart, and Digit is still grumpy. He's been grumpy since birth. But they've both finally recovered from the move (a year ago this week! Can you IMAGINE?) and they ignore the dogs as much as possible. Digit still gets in bed and sucks on the sheets. My big, grumpy boycat. Cat of my heart. I should go see if he wants in from this rain.....

UKE! Whee!

Things.February 8, 2007

First things first: The Whoreshoes are playing in Santa Cruz this weekend! You should come! I'll be sitting on the godkid somewhere in the audience, so I won't be knitting that much, but me and my knitting will be there, and if you're in the area, you should be, too!

Second: I'm seeing Merle Haggard and Neko Case at the Paramount tomorrow night. I am very excited. However, I'm not as excited as Lala, who stuttered last night, "It's one of those things that I just can't think about -- what if it's not real? I keep trying to forget it's going to happen. Can't think about it. Can't think about it."

Third: You should go listen to the cutest new podcast, StashAndBurn. Nicole and Jenny do a bang-up job, and they made me giggle. Also, I was mentioned in the first episode, and OHMYGOD did Nicole make me blush. She also made the valid point that really, I hardly ever blog about knitting.

So fourth: Knitting. Sigh. I wish I had pics, but I'm at work, so nothing for you today. But I've ALMOST finished a lavender gansey. I've ripped the neck once, and redone it and I'm still not happy. I knit it bottom up in the round, attached the sleeves, and started a raglan decrease, thinking I'd just bind off when it felt right. Welp, it felt right too early. I put it on, and I practically had an off-the-shoulder gansey. While some might call that sexy, the folks that do also think belting an oversized sweater is sexy, and therefore they're not invited to the sexy-knitting drink-up (which doesn't exist, but SHOULD).

(Also, belting your knitting? Unless you're 22 and sprig-like, it's NOT okay. Even if you are, you're only getting away with it because you could wear lycra overalls and get away with it. And more power to you. But I'm ready for this alarming trend to be over.)

Where was I? Oh, yes, the gansey. So I ripped, picked up, and started over, guessing I needed three more inches before ribbing the new collar. Did it, tried it on (I suppose I should have done that earlier), and it's now too high. So it's stuffed in my to-do box.

I also made a cute baby sweater and some booties for a coworker who's meeting her baby for the first time today.

And I'm making socks, as usual. Also, after listening to that podcast yesterday, I had to dive in the stash and pull out some Kyoto from Artfibers, and I cast on for Stephanie's one-row scarf, which looks FANTASTIC with this yarn. I hate knitting scarves, for the record. Don't even wear them that much. But this, this is just knitting for knitting's sake. Mmmmm.

And fifth: Enjoy your day.

SockKnitter!February 6, 2007

There's a guy at work who calls me that. That's my name, to him. "SockKnitter!" he'll yell when I enter the room. I like it.

And now I'm going to teach a class on sock knitting! There's this great new-ish knitting studio called Knit-One-One in Emeryville, and I'm a teacher! You wanna learn how to throw a little lace panel in a pair of two-circular toe-up socks? Using your own yarn, any gauge, any size needle? You should come! (Plus there's finger food and it's the BEST atmosphere.... you'll love it.)

Details here.

In other news, I am fighting the grumps. Or the gurmps, as I like to type. I really am more gurmpy than grumpy, actually. (And that thought cheers me, so it's a light gurmp.) The stupid HOA asshat at our condo is being stupid, that's all. I'm doing rather well with compartmentalizing my angst about him -- I just wrote a long ole email addressing his concerns and I saved it as a draft. I'm at work (working my second 12 hour midnight shift of my weekend, sigh) , and I will mail it at 6am when I go home. This will prevent me from obsessively checking my email all night for his rambly 3am drunken return email. See? Good idea, huh?

But this nice thing: I was at the bank this afternoon (money, sigh..... As Janine says, and I paraphrase, if you have a problem that can be fixed with money, you don't have a very interesting problem....) and there was a lovely fellow talking to the next teller. He was dressed in a long black suit-coat and charcoal pants. He had a tall black afro and a long silver beard. He said to the teller, "I had breakfast in Houston, and now I'm at the bank in Oakland."

She said, "In Houston! Wow!"

He said, "Can you imagine? What a time we live in, that we can move around like this now."

He laughed, and she laughed, and then he said, "I can't wait to ride in the time machine."

Isn't that a nice thing to overhear? I thought so.

 

SleepyFebruary 3, 2007

I had the godchild with me last night while the Whoreshoes were off being big, big rockstars in SF last night (huge picture in SF Chronicle yesterday! Yay!).

I'd been at work all day, worrying about taking care of him -- I had to get him to sleep quickly, so that I could go to sleep also. Joni would come to pick him up around 1:30am, and I'd get up for work 3 hours later. And dude, it was stressing me out. I mean, I had to go home and take care of a BABY! On a work night! And of course, a coworker told me, "Don't worry, I think he's too old to worry about SIDS."

GREAT. I hadn't thought of that, but now I was worried.

Then we had an 18 month old die in a horrible way (I work fire/medical dispatch, in case you're just browsin' here), and I decided I wouldn't sleep EVER when he was around.

But I couldn't do that, of course. I would have to suck it up and Be Brave.

Joni brought Dylan over about 7pm when I got home from work. I was going to put him down to sleep about 9, and then follow him to bed about 10pm (getting up at 4:30am to work makes my eyelids droop early). I gave him a bottle, wrapped him in his blankets (she still swaddles him, which he loves), and tucked him in our bed, surrounding him with pillows so he wouldn't roll off. He was asleep within thirty minutes, minimal fussing, no crying. Then I got in bed a bit later and proceeded to watch him breathe. I watched that child like he was tight-roping in his onesie across Niagara Falls.

But I drifted off and woke up a few minutes later. The HORROR! Was he okay? Touched him, felt his breath. Oh, thank god, he was fine. Lather, rinse, repeat. I did this for a LONG time, sleeping in three or four minute bursts. Then I spent a long time waking up every time he would slither up to the top of the bed which he did every fifteen minutes or so. I'd drag him down and reposition him and go back to sleep until he frog-kicked his way back up again.

That boy got a lot of sleep last night. I did not, and OHMYGOD, how do you people do it?

I did have a stunning moment of clarity at work yesterday, when I realized that the reason that no one was really bowled over with my Big News that I had to watch a BABY after work was that they all HAD kids at home, and some had infants. They were remarkably tolerant of me, actually. They did that each day, every day. It was as if I'd gone up to any regular working person and exclaimed, "Oh, my god, I have to work ALL DAY tomorrow! Can you imagine? All day!"

I remain amazed by mothers. Y'all are crazy, and you're doing a good job.

Knitting Nuns on the RunFebruary 1, 2007

No, really!

ATHENS: A group of Greek nuns abandoned their convent and went into hiding after running up debts of more than 600,000 euros (396,000 pounds) from a knitting business that went bust, authorities said on Tuesday.

(Link)

YAMS!

This is not, nor will it EVER be, a food blog, mostly because that would be truly sad for y'all. I consider hard-boiling eggs a particular talent. You get the picture.

But last night, I had a MAJOR triumph. While in Trader Joe's earlier this week, I picked up a bag of precut yams. Yams. I hate yams, and sweet potatoes, and most squashes, things like that. But I was driven by the desire to actually learn how to cook vegetables, and not just spinach, green beans, or broccoli.

So I bought the yams. Last night I took them out of the bag and got out the How To Cook Everything book. Yeah, nothin'. It basically said that yams suck (and aren't the same thing as sweet potatoes) and when cooked, are too dry to eat, maybe I should use them in a soup. What?

So I turned to the never-fail Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. Yams = NOTHING.

I decided to go it alone. This has resulted, in the past, in tears and entire casseroles dumped right into the trash can. But I dropped the yams on a cookie sheet, chopped two cloves of garlic, dumped that on top, added some salt and pepper, poured on a liberal amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, tossed it in a 400 degree (F) oven, and baked them for 30 minutes.

They were WONDERFUL. That How To Cook Everything guy has NO idea. I forgot to turn them while cooking, so they were crispy and dark on the bottom, and soft in the middle, sweet and tart from the vinegar.

I was just so PROUD of them, that I made something healthy, out of my own brain. I also made some spinach (sauteed with olive oil and garlic until it wilts, lemon on top) and heated up some lentils and rice (Madhur Jaffrey's recipe, see above book ref, YUM), and had a perfect dinner.

Good god! I also made muffins (that turned out well) with oat bran and flax seed meal (see last post's comments for a world of suggestions)! Who am I becoming? What is this?

(yay)