Monthly Archives: November 2009

Pollyanna’s Odd Bits

Lyda here. This post title makes me laugh in a snarfing and unattractive way. Snarfing is important.

So, here are just some odd bits that are floating through what for the lack of a better word I call my brain. Just some curiosities from my strange world.

1.)  I’ve been doing a bit of catching up on my blog reading (though obviously not my blog writing). As a way to escape the uncertainty of my life. Where the hell am I moving? What’s it going to be like without my son living with me? On my 50th birthday, what state will I be living in? And what will be the state of my mind? But I digress.

I just read Laurie’s post about her Procrasticleaning. I usually am right up there with that. Have a big decision to make? Clean the bathroom. Need to confront someone? Clean out a closet. Of course, when what I’m procrastinating is actually sorting and packing, the cleaning does not help. But that’s what TV is for.

In that post, Laurie also talks about wanting to look into other people’s spaces as a window into their life. I totally do that too. So often she writes stuff like this and it sounds like it is coming out of my head. But funnier, and with a higher ratio of cat-hair-mentions. Not that I don’t have a similar amount of cat hair in my life. I just don’t have funny ways to talk about it like Crazy Aunt Purl does.

2.) With the impending Move of Doom Exciting New Possibilities, I’ve been clearing stuff away. I actually went through the boxes in the garage, and got rid of most of my vast collection of holiday stuff. And I mean vast. I had four huge bins of Yule stuff alone. It’s almost all going – I kept what amounts to a third of a bin, and the Resident Sith Master kept about the same. The rest is going to the garage sale.

3.) How I dread the garage sale. It would be fun if y’all could all come and hang out with me. Anna-Liza could pour sweet tea for the customers, and Knitting Sprite could sit in the shade and take the money, and Marin could talk people into buying all my crap  stuff  inexpensive treasures. Instead, it will be me and RSM and there is so much stuff to drag down to the street and if it doesn’t sell, I’ll probably leave it on the lawn with a big old “Free” sign and if no one takes it I’ll have to haul it off to Goodwill. It just seems like it is going to be an exhausting day and I’m not sure it’s going to be worth it. I’d be willing to sell it all to one person for $20 at this point. But I really need money, and I need to get rid of this stuff, and we did make $75 at the last sale and this time there will be furniture so maybe we’ll do okay.

Argh! No wonder the TV beckons.

4.) So, I was reading Enchanting Juno and I came across this post which is about not buying stuff, and other things – I love blogs where people wander about a bit in the posts, it feels like a real conversation. Or like what goes on in my own head.

But I digress.

And she has some interesting observations on how her own not-buying has shaped what she will consider buying in the future and how it has changed her relationship to things.

I myself dabbled these last two years with the not-buying. I have a bit of experience in this area.

A big bit of experience.

A huge ocean-liner-smashing iceberg of experience.

A massive planet-killing asteroid of experience.

Sorry. Digressing there. Yeah.

Anyway…

It’s given me some time to look at my spending, and what I want to have in my life.

I got tired of all the plastic and paper junk, and I decided to cut way back. I am switching over to more natural materials. Wood boxes and woven baskets. Fabric napkins (bought on sale of course) and real plates. Rags for cleaning instead of paper towels except in the bathroom; because of the whole germ thing I am kind of OCD about when it comes to the bathroom cleaning, you really do not want to hear about it, oh there I go digressing again.

And as I sort through my possessions, I realize that I am tired a lot of my stuff. I want to get rid of it all and start over. I want quality things that fit my taste now. I still have possessions from when I set up my first home at 18, and none of those things were intended to be lifelong possessions. I have lived with them all this time because they were “good enough.”

Good enough for now. Good enough for a college student / newlywed / struggling single mom. Good enough for a person who thinks she doesn’t deserve better.

I’m tired of that. I’m tired of my own poverty mentality, my own addiction to thinking of myself as poor. I want to change that. I want “good enough” change to “good for me”.

Wish me luck. This is uncharted territory for me.

5.) And I have to go now and get turkey and etcetera because I promised RSM a feast tomorrow. He is used to two Thanksgivings – he had one with his dad yesterday – and I love to do it all. We’ll have turkey, stuffing (I was never great at making my own, so I used  Mrs. Cubbinson’s for years. Now we do Stove Top – it’s faster and easier and we actually like it better. Stove Top, you can send the thank-you check to…), mashed potatoes (hugely important), gravy (from a jar – sometimes I make my own, but not this year), cranberry sauce (canned), and my famous Cranberry-Cherry Pie. Oh, and maybe a non-starchy vegetable. Possibly something green.

6.) I’m thankful to be able to make a feast and enjoy it with my son. I’m thankful that we have food, shelter, and lots of love. I’m thankful that even with the changes happening in our lives, my son will be safe and cared for, and I have so much support and love. I’m thankful I have Anna-Liza and all you out there.

And I’m thankful for the help I get writing this blog.

"I think you split an infinitive."

Pollyanna in “Quickie – the Sequel”, Now with Sock Knitting Advice

Hey, just another quick update from Anna-Liza.

First, Knitting Sprite, Mr. R and I just watched the space shuttle chase the space station across the sky – as I said in my Tweet, horizon to horizon in four minutes! It was really cool and also odd looking – two apparent stars moving in formation, always at the same distance from each other and visibly moving at a steady speed. Not like a meteor or the usual “is that a star or a satellite or a plane?” thing. (“Just” would mean “just before I wrote this” and not “just before I posted it”. A girl’s got to edit).

The next thing of importance is that Knitting Sprite has launched her own blog! Yep, it’s at http://knittingsprite.wordpress.com/, and I didn’t embed the link so you can see the URL. It’s called Handknits and Homebrews, and she has a couple of posts up now. Go on over and say Howdy! Marin, she’s keeping the name you bestowed on her lo these many years ago. I won’t say how many. Actually, I’m not sure I remember.

Third, I messed up the pumpkin pie. I forgot the salt, then tried to add it to the filling mixture after I’d poured it into the pie shell. I have a feeling it didn’t mix in evenly. But, as Knitting Sprite says, whipped cream fixes everything. (I’m not so sure about it fixing salty pumpkin pie, though).

Still trying to come up with a name for Significant Other of Knitting Sprite. Darlin’ K suggested Mr. Sprite, but there are a number of reasons I don’t care for that one. KS herself favors Outlaw Son, so that’s currently in the lead.

Speaking of Sprites, I was trying to come up with a nom-de-blog for one of my knitting group who is Australian, and she suggested Aussie Sprite or M.O.M. for Mother of Menagerie – her family farmlet includes 15 chickens, 5 goats, 2 llamas, 2 dogs, and will soon be joined by 2 geese.

If I spell the former phonetically as she pronounces it, it comes out Ozzy Sprite, which is a mental image that I don’t care for. If I had any proficiency in Photoshop, I would produce an image of Ozzy Osbourne with fairy wings … but no. No one really needs that image in her head.

So I think it will be M.O.M. for now. She is also mother to two kidlets, a boy and a wee girl, so it suits. She’s a fellow Burner as well as a fellow knitter, and we both still find it odd that we met through knitting rather than Burning Man-associated activities. Especially since we camped with the same camp, just in different years.

Anyway, the reason for the need for a nom-de-blog for her is that we were discussing a sock she had knitted as a gift for a friend. The sock is two inches too long in the foot, and it is a toe-up. She had done a wonderful job on the somewhat complicated leg design, and understandably did not want to rip back to the beginning.

So she asked me about snipping open the toe, ripping back (ripping forward?) from that end, and knitting back down to redo the toe shaping and length. I said “go for it”, with the caution that she should use embroidery scissors to do the snipping and, if the yarn is slippery, she should run a lifeline or DPN at the row she wants to stop unravelling. We talked about those and other practical aspects of the proposed alteration, when she asked me, “But, would doing that be sacrilege?” Except for the hyperbole, she was serious.

I set down my knitting and looked at her and said, “M.O.M. … this is knitting. What are you talking about?” She laughed.

You know what? I’ve been accused of “knitting funny”  – not sure why, I knit Continental style but that’s not odd. Or particularly funny. I’ve heard people go on and on about “the right way to knit”. I’ve read posts on forums where people have said that using the terms “throwing” and “picking” is vulgar.

Would y’all – I mean all of you who think like that – just LIGHTEN UP already?* There’s no right or wrong, there’s no correct method – there’s just what works and what doesn’t work. I’m totally with the Yarn Harlot and Elizabeth Zimmerman about this. This is knitting, it’s not brain surgery.

Although I’d be willing to bet it’s a lot the same. What works, works. What doesn’t, doesn’t. Right or wrong just don’t come into it.

*I really expect that anyone who reads this blog regularly will not be the sort of person who thinks that way. But I could be, um, wrong.

Pollyanna Looks Ahead

Lyda here.

So. I’m moving. This weekend will be a turkey-fest, true, but it will also be a big purging and packing spree for me. So far the decisions have been easy on what to keep and what to sell at the garage sale. Saturday December 5 – Y’all come and bring your money! The garage is almost at capacity with boxes and I haven’t even moved any furniture out there yet.

But soon I will get to the point where what I keep depends on where I’m moving. It would be easier if I knew where I was going.

The possibilities include:

  • staying in this area and living with friends for a month or three while I get my finances in order and decide on the next step
  • staying in this area and renting a new tiny space if I can find one
  • moving to San Antonio and staying with my stepmom while finding a job
  • moving to Ohio and living with Gorgeous and Available Engineer Brother
  • moving to Seattle and staying with Younger Brother and Fabulous Brother-in-law and Gorgeous Sister for a very short time
  • moving to Colorado where the streets are paved with fiber – or at least that’s what I hear

The first choice on that list would be the easiest in terms of cost and time, and I would be able to keep my current job (a longer commute, but not too bad) and see the Resident Sith Master often. My friends are great and have a spare bedroom that they rent out sometimes, so it would not be an inconvenience for them. However, they have a not-cat-friendly dog, and I would have to find a new home for my two demon spawn adorable kittens. The cats seem to suspect something – they have been extra cuddly lately. Or maybe they are just cold – I still have to light the gas heater’s pilot light so we can use the heater. Hey, it’s getting down to 68, even 65 degrees at night now. If I go with this option, I will have one room and will take only what will fit in it. I am not renting a storage unit for my cheap Ikea/garage sale/street scrounged furniture. But parting with my washer and dryer will be hard.

Of course, I know most of you are voting for the final choice on the list.

Is it true that Colorado clouds are made of alpaca fleece and it rains yarn?

Pollyanna and the Pig-Licking of Thanksgiving

Hey there, Anna-Liza here. I usually leave the pig-licking to Lyda, because she’s so darn good at it (wait, what?), but I still have a house full of boxes and no voice, and Thanksgiving is imminent, and and and … so I figured I might as well force our readers into a similar state of distraction find a way to use this scattered state of mind for good. Well, for entertainment, anyway.

Thanksgiving! Gah! I’m making a (mostly) traditional dinner, but I’m deliberately planning it for leftovers, as only two thirds of my family will be here on the day itself.  Zombie Son, Knitting Sprite and her guy will be spending the day with their dad and stepmom and some family friends, but we’re still trying to coordinate schedules so they can all be here at the same time at some later point in the weekend.

So what should we call the guy of Knitting Sprite? I’ve already started calling my granddaughter-to-be “Wee Sprite”, as it seems like the only way to go, really, but what of Wee Sprite’s dad? I think I may have pondered this before, but didn’t come to a conclusion as he is rarely mentioned here. I’ve a feeling he’ll be mentioned more regularly now. So let’s see … hmmm …

MOKS? GOKS? (Man of Knitting Sprite, Guy of Knitting Sprite). Nah, GOKS sounds like an evil species out of Tolkien, and MOKS is too close to Moxie, the head kitty around here.

Outlaw Son? Since they’re not married, so he’s not technically my son-in-law. But … mmm, not really the right vibe.

Well, I’m open to suggestions. He’s tall and blond, athletic, bearded, wears hats, is a student of capoeira and is something of a Luddite. He’s a really good guy. OH! And he’s learning to knit! I’ve been asked to be available on a consulting basis.

Back to Thanksgiving (can I digress in a post that is all a series of digressions, really?) here’s the blog post that, in a weird way, inspired me to lick the pig. A pumpkin shortage? I did notice that there were no double-size cans of Libby’s puree at my grocery store, but there were still plenty of singles. And there are other brands. (Gasp! Blasphemy!) I always save a Libby’s label so I have The Recipe, just in case.

And you have heard, no doubt, of the looming Eggo shortage? Yes, Kellogg’s is now rationing Eggos. You know, just as with the Libby’s pumpkin, there are lots and lots of other brands of frozen waffles out there, and lots of them are (dare I say it?) better than Eggos.

I should perhaps mention that one could dig out that waffle iron one received for one’s wedding and make one’s own fresh hot waffles. It’s not much more difficult than making pancakes, which is to say not at all. And far tastier than the frozen varieties, although I do understand the workday time crunch may relegate this solution to weekends.

You know, the leisurely weekend breakfast, with waffles and syrup (or fruit and whipped cream), bacon, coffee, orange juice, and the morning paper? Or pleasant conversation with loved ones? Remember those?

do remember those. We’ll have to do one sometime soon. Oh wait, the morning paper and pleasant conversation was pre-kids … well, I’m sure I can still enjoy such a breakfast while talking about Scooby-Doo, Pokémon, and Bakugan.

And, another digression-within-a-digression here, were you even aware of the existence of waffle-recipe.com? Me either. I bet they’re getting to be very popular now, though!

I’ve bought the turkey – about 13 pounds. I have it in the fridge. However, I have very little faith in it actually thawing. I have never had any luck thawing a turkey in the fridge. Maybe if I bought it and put in there a month ahead? Anyway, I’m giving it another try, but I’m also expecting that at some point, I’m going to have to do it the old-fashioned highly dangerous way. You know, the way all our moms did without ever poisoning any of us?

And I still have to get the stuff for the green salad, and I forgot the cranberry sauce. I used to make my own, but Darlin’ K confessed that he actually prefers the jellied, canned kind, so that’s one thing crossed of the list. (The salad recipe is at the bottom of that post I linked to).

I don’t make my own pie crusts, either. I surely admire anyone who makes really good homemade pie crust, but mine turns out slightly less good than the frozen kind, so why torture myself or my family? I do make the filling using the Libby’s recipe on the can. I’ve never found a better one. I don’t care much for all the fancy “pumpkin chiffon” or “pumpkin cheesecake” substitutes.

For me, Thanksgiving is all about the comfort food. Green bean casserole with fried onions on top. Pumpkin pie with real whipped cream. Mashed potatoes with freshly made turkey gravey.

But I do diverge on some points. Can’t bear that sweet-potato-with-marshmallows casserole, so I usually bake garnet yams instead. Same way you bake potatoes. They are so sweet on their own and very yummy this way, no need at all for brown sugar or anything else, although you do need to put a cookie sheet under them or they might bubble over and leave black sticky globs on the bottom of your oven. Yum.

And after Thanksgiving, on Saturday, we’ll be having our annual Christmas Tree Hunt! At the moment it looks like the weather is going to cooperate. And we now have higher ceilings and more space, so we can maybe get a less Charlie-Brown-like slightly larger, fuller tree this year. No idea where it will go yet, but hey. What’s Christmas without moving furniture? Although, you know, we’ve just done a lot of that.

Wow. You know what? I think I need a nap.

The Pollyannas are Moving Moving Moving

Hey, Anna-Liza here. In one of those weird synchronistic things, Lyda and I are both in the process of moving. (As you, no doubt, have deduced from recent posts). I am a little ahead of her in this process, as I know where I will be living and have got all my stuff here, and she is still in the packing-and-deciding phase … not at all unusual for me to be a bit ahead of her, of course. (Just kidding, Lyda!)

(Really!)

Ahem, so my life has been all moving, all the time for the past month or so. While I have a wild and spontaneous side, I also know that I require roots. Specifically, in order to stay sane I must have my own space and know where all my stuff is, and preferably be able to find it when I want it.

This is pretty difficult to acheive in a house with another adult, two kids, and two cats, but at the moment it’s damn near impossible.

We’ve got the entire contents of our old home moved into the new home and its attendant garage (at last), but it’s almost all still in boxes, and lots of the boxes, though labelled, did not make it to the appropriate spot in the new home.

And of course, a number of the boxes were re-used for new things once they’d been emptied, but not relabelled. And some were never labelled at all. Or the labels were from the last time we moved. So it’s like an old hoarder/cat lady’s house a treasure hunt without a map around here.

And then Mr. B started throwing up last Friday. We thought it was because he’d eaten an entire bag of gummy bears, but no. He was contagious. Mr. R started throwing up in the middle of the night Sunday. And Darlin’ K is coughing and feeling pretty tired and achy, but no fever.

Witness Anna-Liza, barely sane.

So what am I doing to cope? Consciously, I’m not doing anything. My body has taken over and made me sick, too. I have a pretty bad cold, plus laryngitis. And the laryngitis is worse today than yesterday. Yesterday, I could croak audibly if absolutely necesary, but I can’t even do that today. I had to email in sick this morning! Thus this middle-of-the-work-day post. I’m trying to restrain myself from doing much physical work, but I just had to empty at least one box yesterday, and I will probably have to do that again today.

Half my brain wants to take this down time to balance the checkbook, and the other half wants to have real down time – curl up on the couch and reread The Lord of the Rings (I’m about a third of the way through The Return of the King) or maybe watch the first LOTR movie and knit. Maybe both. Maybe all three.

However, this place is starting feel a bit more like home now, even with having to thread my way through a maze of boxes. It’s larger than our old place, and even more charming, and we’re only half a block from the library now. And despite the non-self-cleaning oven (I got spoiled), the kitchen’s nicer. And it has an arched front door! I just love unusual front doors – arched, carved, set into a corner instead of flat, love love love.

See? Charming. Arched door. Love love love.

So wish me luck on the organizing/unpacking/putting away. And wish Lyda luck in choosing what she wants to do (and figuring out what she really wants to do instead of what all her friends and family are telling her to do. Except me, of course. We all know that she really wants to move to Colorado. She probably won’t make it in time for our annual Christmas Tree Hunt this year, but she might be here in time for Mr. B’s birthday!

Pollyanna Lightens Up and Licks the Pig Already

Lyda here. Wow, yesterday’s post was a bit of a downer. Sorry about the unmitigated whining.

Today, only fun stuff! And how better to have fun than to Lick the Pig – which we haven’t done in way too long.

So, in no particular order, here’s some pig-licking:

1.)  Did you know it’s Movember? Check out this post of cool moustache-related silliness from Fashion in Motion. Check out her Fashion Faux Pas posts – we get to vote on what we like and what’s a fashion disaster. Fun!

2.) Several blogs mention that today is Button Day. Like this blog, and Button Floozies (cool name, yes?!). Who came up with this? I suspect someone just invented it one year. And who am I to quibble? Button button, whose got the button? The National Button Society, of course.

3.) My mom had a round blue tin full of buttons. I played with it as a kid, and “borrowed” buttons for my doll clothes. A few years ago when we were all together, Gorgeous and Available Engineer Brother pulled it out from a box of her stuff he’d been saving. When we pried it open (the box had rusted shut), inside was a big rhinestone belt buckle. Not a cowgirl belt buckle, but a buckle that would have been on the belt of a cocktail dress. I grabbed it and I have it where it reminds me of my mom and her glamorous and fun style every time I look at it.

And now I’m out of time, so today’s pig licking is done.

More soon.

Really.