Wednesday, January 30, 2008

You Make My Day!

Wow! Helen gave me a "You make my day" award! That is so sweet! However, it comes with a great responsibility -- to name 10 bloggers who make my day. Specifically: Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times.

This is hard! I read lots of blogs! I like all of you! So I decided to give this award to my San Antonio (or former San Antonio) blogger friends. I actually know these people, and I miss them all.

The Other Kim (who should post so I won't worry about her)
Knitting Eileen

Okay -- I know that's twelve, but who could I leave out???

Sunday, January 27, 2008

B is for Books


I know what you're thinking -- she's a librarian; of course, B is for books. But the truth is that in an academic health sciences library, books aren't our first concern. Journals (professional-level periodicals), usually in electronic format, are much more important, are the prime source of information, and use up most of our budget. I even know some librarians who don't like to read for fun!

Despite that, books are important to me. And, despite the fact that the public library has pretty much everything I need, I like owning them. I own a lot of them, in fact.

You've already seen my cookbooks.


However, they're only the tip of the iceberg.




The paperbacks are shelved two rows deep.

Not included here are most of my knitting books (although you can see a few of them on the top of one of the bookcases up there) and the computer and home-maintenance books.

To answer some questions:
  • No, I don't know how many books I own.
  • Yes, I gave a lot away when I moved (probably about 25% of my collection).
  • No, they aren't cataloged, although they are sort of loosely arranged by topic.

Thank god (or whoever)!

Otherwise, my undergrad degree in rhetoric/creative writing would be a real waste.

Your Language Arts Grade: 100%

Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes).

Are You Gooder at Grammar?
Make a Quiz

And this is good news, too.

You paid attention during 97% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

Friday, January 25, 2008

Good Things Come from Blogs and UPS

In her post today, Chris asked what unexpected benefits have come from blogging. This was easy for me, because I had already thought about it -- last May, I moved over 1000 miles to a city where I knew exactly two people (neither of whom was a good friend, although they're both very nice). Unless you count going away to college, I had never moved anywhere alone before. But I didn't feel alone, because I brought all of you with me! Even though I've never really met the majority of you IRL, I knew you'd follow me to Iowa City. And you made the move easier. So -- thank you so much for hanging with me! You've really helped!

Before I get all sappy -- good things also come from UPS! I came home for lunch, just in time for the UPS man to leave this on my doorstep.

new ipod
hmm..... I should have turned it on for its picture....

That's a new 80gig iPod -- 20 times bigger than my old one! Although the cute Nanos tempted me, I decided to go with the Classic (with room for 10 times as much stuff!) for just $50 more. And the fact that I had $50 in Amazon gift certificates helped! My old 4gig 1st generation pink Mini (btw -- why would anyone pay that much for what was old technology when I bought it three years ago?) was 100% full, but that barely scratches the surface on this one. Plus, if I should want to watch a movie on a two and a half inch screen, I can! And my Mini will have a good home with my 11-year-old niece.

For $9.95, I added this to my shipment.

new radio

It's basically an old-style portable radio. I've been concerned that my one, ancient battery-powered clock radio would die during bad weather (remember, I live in tornado country!). This one is small enough to carry around with me. However, it's not nearly as cute as the pink transistor radio, with its single earphone, I got for my 8th birthday!

Monday, January 21, 2008

It's a yarny miracle!

Remember how Honeybee was in time-out, while I tried to figure out how to deal with the shortage of Wooly Wonka Merino Laceweight in Northern Lights? Well, I pulled Honeybee out this afternoon and decided that I would do half as many repeats of the two end sections at this end and just not worry about it. Honeybee is worked from the center out, but no way am I going to rip out the other end to make it match!

I finished a repeat of the first end section and started fishing around in the knitting basket next to me to find the lace-weight cashmere (left over from my sister's Wine and Roses Mitts) that I've been using for lifelines. And instead of the cashmere, I pulled out --- more Honeybee yarn!!!!!

The little ball in front is what I thought I had left.
The one in the back is the one I found. Missing is the "cigar-shaped wad," since found.

I had totally forgotten than when I wound the giant skein, it broke! I've never been happier about broken yarn! And when I was looking up that post -- because once I saw the little yarn cake, I was sure I had blogged it -- I was reminded that there was also a little "cigar-shaped wad." I just found it, too!

It's a miracle!

Not what one wants to see....

So I was in the craft room (aka the front guest room) hoping to find another skein of Lamb's Pride Worsted in RPM Pink, since the skein I'm using for my Very Cabley Mittens apparently wasn't a full one (my Ravelry stash tells me it's 3/4 of a skein -- wish I'd looked there first!), when I heard something large pull up in front of my townhouse. I looked up and saw this.

Not what one wants to see...

Luckily for me, the firemen strolled leisurely to one of the townhouses across the street. Peering down to the left, I saw an EMT truck. I guess the firemen were just there for moral support. Eventually, they brought a person out on a stretcher and transferred them to a gurney and then into the EMT truck. I don't know the people who live in the condo they went into.

And I forgot to keep looking for the yarn....

Saturday, January 19, 2008


My brother and niece (the one who's learning to knit -- actually, she's my only niece!) came in for a quick visit yesterday evening. Did I take any pictures? Well, no, except for this one, which my brother took as we drove home from the mall.


3ºF. That would be -16º C. I imagine that was the high for the day; Weather Underground says the high was only 2º. And frankly, that's a few degrees higher than they were predicting for today! The good news is that it was sunny and clear and really a beautiful day, if you ignored the fact that your nose hair froze in the two minutes it took to walk from the car to the mall!

Luckily, my head stayed warm in my earflap hat, even if it is a little big.

earflap hat

My favorite part is the "tail."

tip top

In reality, the main color is a bit grayer than this, but it definitely has a lavender tint to it.

Pattern: Ryan's Hat
Yarn: Cascade Pastaza (50% llama/50% wool) (one skein each of 030 gray/lavender, 042 lime green, and 031 periwinkle winkle)
Needles: US 9 (DPNs and a 16" circ)
Comments: When you knit scarves and shawls and even socks, row gauge isn't that important, but now I'm beginning to knit things where it's more important. My loose stitch gauge was actually an advantage for this pattern, since my head is a little bigger than the predicted result, but my row gauge makes the hat hang a bit low in front. So my loose knitting is affecting the outcome and I need to figure out how to fix this. I'd like to learn to knit to gauge, not just adjust needle size. Although I've already begun adjusting needle size for socks so....

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Knitting News

Look what came in the mail a few days ago -

A Piece of Vermont "Shell"
I didn't crop this picture, so you can see how the keycap on the letter c is missing.
Obviously, I need a new MacBook Air!

It's an absolutely beautiful skein of A Piece of Vermont Superwash Colonial sock yarn, in Shell. Isn't it pretty? Pink, with faint streaks of blue/lavender/gray. It's nice and squooshy, and smells good, too. I love Jessie's yarn -- this is the third skein I've bought from her -- but when she posted it right before Christmas, I told myself I could not buy it. I told Jessie this, too, and she came up with the perfect solution: she put it aside so I could buy it after the New Year!

In actual knitting news, I've finished the earflap hat. I'll try to remember to take a picture tomorrow morning. I'll be wearing it tomorrow, because it's cold! (Although not as cold as they're predicting for the weekend, when the high Saturday is supposed to be somewhere between -4º and 0ºF. I have to say that I have a little trouble wrapping my brain around the idea of 0 as the high!)

The earflap hat is a little big. It fits fine around my head, because I've got a big head, but it's a bit long. My loose knitting seems to be getting looser! And that's a nice segue to the next topic: Where's Honeybee?

Honeybee is in time-out, while I face the fact that, due to my loose knitting, I'm going to run out of the beautiful hand-dyed yarn. I know what I'll do - I'll just make it asymmetrical, with the two ends different. But it's so annoying!

Oh -- and the baby for whom I made the hat and booties was born yesterday. I saw pictures of her on her grandma's computer today. She has lots of dark hair, but even so, with these temperatures, she'll definitely need a hat!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Stealth knitting

Thursday afternoon, I ran into the mother of the realtor who helped me find a place to live when I moved. (She -- the mother -- works at the Main Library, so this wasn't a real surprise.) Talking to her reminded me that my realtor's baby is due next week!

So, that evening, I came home and cast on for the Norwegian Sweet Baby Cap. I wasn't happy with my first choice of yarn, so Friday evening, I cast on again, this time with a mystery sock yarn found label-less in my stash. It feels like Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock and, looking at the Lorna's colorways, I wonder if it's Sassy Stripe. No idea where it came from, though....

I finished the cap yesterday, which is some kind of record for me. I'm still not crazy with the way the orange pooled, but it's cute, and any baby born in Iowa in January certainly needs an earflap hat. All that's left to do is attach the I-cord ties.

Baby hat

So, with lots of yarn and some time, I decided I should do a pair of booties, too. With Ravelry's help, I found several free patterns, and decided to go with this top-down pair from Megan Mills. This will teach me to read through the pattern more closely -- it looked like a sock and it was knit from the top down. It would be a snap!

Actually, it wasn't really very hard at all, but instead of grafting the toe, you graft the whole length of the sole -- 48 stitches to Kitchener.

To be grafted....

Y'all may remember how I dislike Kitchenering, even after a very good lesson by my friend Becky last summer. However, I got out the post-it note with the instructions from Becky, and grafted the first bootie at 12:30 a.m. this morning. And I think I've got it -- Kitchenering that many stitches, over and over, may have set it in my brain for good. I did the second one earlier this evening, with almost no panic!


I like the finished booties better than the cap -- less orange pooling. I went to Joann's this afternoon and bought both pink and orange ribbon, so all I've got left to do is decide which color to use.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A is for.....


A is for Armadillos

After I took the above photo for the ABC-Along, I realized that I also have a couple pairs of armadillo earrings plus an "armadillo crossing" sign in my office.

My armadillo collection does have a purpose, though. The majority of the armadillo pins above (all except the two in the top left) were bought to support the SCC/MLA scholarship fund.

SCC/MLA (the South Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association) was my regional medical library group for 21 years. MLA is a national group, with regional chapters. SCC consists of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. Now, since I've moved to Iowa, my official regional group is the Midwest Chapter. I remain, though, a member of SCC -- they'll take my dues no matter where I live! I just can't hold office or anything like that (although, since I was president a couple years ago, that's really not such a big deal).

Through SCC, I've met some of the best people I know. It's a great organization, full of bright, funny, caring people, most of whom are health sciences librarians. The idea of leaving SCC when I moved was painful. All of the MLA regional chapters are great, I'm sure, but I think SCC is maybe a little closer-knit than most of the rest. We like each other and have a lot of fun together. At the annual national meeting, SCC sponsors the Armadillo Ball. People from other chapters work to get invited to it! (okay, okay -- there's an open bar....)

You might ask -- what does the armadillo have to do with a bunch of health sciences librarians from five states west of the Mississippi? The story goes that, back in the 1980s, when there was discussion of what the party being planned for MLA should be called, it was suggested that, although our five states were pretty different, we all had the armadillo in common. With that, the party became the Armadillo Ball and the armadillo became our "chapter critter." We have encouraged other chapters to adopt critters, but so far none have. Personally, it seems to me that that indicates a lack of whimsy/light-heartedness/levity on their part. I'm thinking that maybe, now that I'm a member of another chapter, too, I'll try to influence Midwest Chapter to adopt a critter.....

This is the official SCC armadillo.
I'm thinking about getting it tattooed somwhere...

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Lots of randomness

I haven't posted the Saturday temperature in a few weeks. Today's was definitely worth posting!

temp 1/5/08

This was around 3:30 in the afternoon. Notice all the snow piled around! It's supposed to stay above freezing until Tuesday and they're predicting rain. Hopefully some of those piles of filthy snow will melt, making way for the new white snow we're supposed to get Wednesday.

This was the first nice Saturday since the beginning of December. There were lots of people taking advantage of the weather. I drove up to Cedar Rapids to visit two yarn shops there: Beads and Beyond (oddly enough, the address on their website is wrong -- they're on Center Point Road) and Hearthstone Gifts (actually in the suburb of Marion). Neither is entirely devoted to yarn: Beads and Beyond, not surprisingly, has lots of beads and beading supplies, and Hearthstone has candle- and soap-making supplies. But both had nice yarns, too, and I seem to have enhanced my stash just a little.

Manos and Dream in Color

The Manos del Uruguay at the top (which is really sky blue) is from Beads and Beyond, and the Dreams in Color Fatty at the bottom (imagine it a little pinker) is from Hearthstone. I don't think either of these yarns is carried by either of the shops here in Iowa City, so I felt justified in buying them. And I already have plans for the Manos -- it will eventually become the brioche-stitch neck warmer from Weekend Knitting.

pointy hatvery pink, very cabley mittensBefore I do that, though, I have to finish at least some of the WIPs. Most importantly, I must finish my sister's Honeybee. This stole is knit in halves, and I am almost done with the second half. I've got something similar to Second Sock Syndrome, I'm afraid -- I feel like I've done this before!

To break up the tedium I've started not one, but two small projects -- Ryan's Hat (for me, not someone named Ryan) and the Very Cabley Mittens.

The hat is actually sort of a lavender-grey. And the mittens are VERY pink!

Oh -- and Harley benefited from my trip to Cedar Rapids, too. I stopped by the SuperTarget, where I found one of the curved scratchers that Crazy Aunt Purl's cat posse so enjoyed. Harley agrees!


Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Grandma Elsie Memorial Recipe Box Show & Tell Contest

Kay wants to see our recipe boxes, and a recipe from inside it. She's calling it the Grandma Mabel Memorial Recipe Box Show & Tell Contest, after her grandma.

I didn't inherit a recipe box from either of my grandmas, but I do have a number of recipes that Grandma Elsie (my mom's mom) wrote out for me. They're stored in one of three recipe boxes I have.

recipe boxesThe middle one is, I think, my first recipe box, although I've had the top two for so long that I'm no longer positive which I had first. The reason I think the middle one came first is that it's the one that has cookies, cakes, and desserts in it -- the good stuff! The bottom box was definitely the last, and wasn't really intended to be a recipe box. It's a little on the large size and has Clinique stamped on the top. It was part of a give-away - I have no idea what the folks at Clinique thought it might be used for!

Of course, this represents just a small part of my recipe collection. I love cookbooks, and was spoiled by my house in San Antonio, where the eat-in kitchen has plenty of room for a bookcase full of cookbooks!

cookbooksOn the bottom shelf, you'll see every volume of Southern Living Annual Recipes. I started getting them in about 1990, and picked up all the previous volumes (they begin in 1979) at Friends of the San Antonio Public Library book sales. Well, all except the very last one -- for years I was missing 1986, before my brother-in-law found it at a yard sale. I don't know which is more amazing -- that someone was selling just the volume I needed, or that my BIL remembered it!

You can also tell from the second shelf that I love community cookbooks -- those published by church groups, women's clubs, etc. It's best, of course, if I know some of the people with recipes in the cookbook, but I also like older ones, from the 1950s and 1960s, even if I don't know any of the contributors!

Kay also wanted a recipe, so I chose Grandma's Molasses Crinkles, one of the recipes I have in her own handwriting. Grandma always had cookies in the freezer, and this was one of my favorites. I think I'll make some this weekend.

Molasses Crinkles
You can see that this recipe has been made a few times!

Molasses Crinkles

Mix together thoroughly
3/4 cup soft shortening (janna's note: that would be Crisco -- butter will change the texture and the taste)
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses (Grandma recommends Brer Rabbit brand)

Sift together and stir in
2 1/4 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger

Chill dough.

Roll into balls the size of walnuts. Dip tops in sugar. Place sugared-side up 3 inches apart on gre
ased baking sheet. Sprinkle each cooky with 2 or 3 drops of water to make a crackled surface.

Bake until just set at 375º 10-12 minutes.
About 4 dozen cookies.

Tip from Grandma: I just dip my finger in water and dab each cooky 3 or 4 times.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

I really did mean to blog while I was gone! And I really did mean to take some pictures while I was gone! Oh, well....

Luckily, there is photographic evidence that I was in San Antonio, and got to spend a couple hours with some of my favorite knitters. Also, I've got a new knitter-in-training -- my 11-year-old niece. She's doing well with both knitting and purling, and can't wait to knit a scarf out of some very hairy, semi-metallic fun fur. (Okay, okay -- I bought the fun fur for her....)

Do you make New Year's Resolutions? I tend to make ones that are pretty lame but do-able. For example, about 10 or 12 years ago, I resolved to make my bed every morning. And guess what? I've made my bed almost every day since!

So, this year, I've got a couple of blog-related resolutions: to post at least once every three days and to try to respond to every comment -- although Blogger makes that difficult. Hopefully, I'll be as successful as I was with bed-making!