Monday, August 27, 2007

Moby Dick

I have friends visiting in September for a long weekend. I can't wait and with the varied diets that we all need I'm planning now for the food. I love company. I love cooking for them. Cooking just for myself is dull, cooking for others is fun. So I'm going to cook fancy. To do that yesterday I went grocery shopping with last week and this week money and was able to put over 40 meals in the freezer. No recipes to post since it's nothing you haven't already seen here. My basic staples. But I also bought the ingredients for granola. I'll put that up when I make it in the next few weeks. Now that I'm set for me for a good long time I can start buying the things I need for that grand weekend. Wild Oats here I come.

The library didn't have The Tale of Two Cities. I was looking around and almost picked up The Great Gatsby which I have read several times. But I found Moby Dick. On Morning Addition every saturday Leann asks a person what they are reading. At the end of the segment she asks "what would you read if you have all the time in the world" My answer has been Moby Dick.

When I was in college I transferred from the biology department to the art department after my third year in school. And before you think that a bad choice since my biology degree was almost done, let me point out from flunking the math and chemistry and upper level biology courses and taking them twice, and a for a few 3 times, to pass I was barely past the freshman biology courses. It was high time I left that college since it was obvious to everyone but me from the beginning that I was never going to get through any chemistry classes and unlikely any of the upper level biology ones.

So I hit the art department with all of my electives done and only art classes left. Taking more than 2 art classes a semester just wasn't possible while working full time like I did. But I needed to take at least 9 credit hours to be a college student and keep my job. So I took every literature class taught by Mr. Gillespie.

Literature classes had a fairly light load of only meeting 3 hours a week and reading one book every other week with only a paper for each book as homework and a term paper for the final. So writing a paper every other week, a paper about my own observations, was a breezes against the right and wrong of chemistry or the full out long hours that had to be putting into painting. It's not that writing papers is easy for me. It's actually a struggle and I knew that I needed to read each book twice to understand it but Literature taught by Mr. Gillespie was something I looked forward to. Even after all of his years teaching he still had passion.

When taking American Lit from him we read some short stories by Herman Melville then moved on to Emily's poems. Mr. Gillespie was sad that Moby Dick was too long to read in class and even sadder that such a good book was not being read at all. That maybe pretty soon nobody would read it and it would be lost along the way. Exstict as a book. That stuck with me and I picked it up from time to time but never made it past the first page. But it was always the book I would read if I had all the time in the world.

Well with books on tape I do have all of the time in the world. I listen to something all day long anyway. Why not a book instead of the TV or the radio? There is nothing nicer than knitting to a good story. And Moby Dick is good. And funny. I would never have guessed. I'm laughing along with (and sometime at) this book more than any of Douglas Adams'. I thought I would make it through the first few chapters then put it aside after giving it a god try but I'm loving it. Already I'm thinking to the next time I'll 'read' it.

After all I was working on homework and concentrating and missed the why of the mystery men in the hold. Herman talks so much I was sure they would be explained again later so I didn't rewind. Well instead I have had harpoons explained to me 3 different ways, the ways to draw whales explained twice, the weather in china, the way to eat whale steak, what whales eat, how to name them, how to fall asleep while on watch, but not why these extra mystery people are in the hold. Hilarious!

I'm now well past that part and am waiting eagerly for them to pop up again. But I am sad of the foreshadowing in this book. Not subtle Herman. It's sad to know who is a goner by the end of the first disk. And did you say? Is Mr. Starbuck single? Not many hansom quakers in this part.

Ernest Hemingway is next and he will bring shorter clearer posts.

Monday, August 20, 2007

First Week of School

Lookie at that. I have been linked to. Thanks Needlefingers.

This is the first day of the first full week of class and I'm feeling good. You know that feeling when the whole semester is full of promise. When each class is just the teacher reading aloud the syllabus and letting us loose with the class supply list. When the homework is only reading 2 chapters. The best week of school. Give it two weeks and I will be gasping under the work load, I'm sure.

I have been knitting on a baby sweater of my own design. Since it's a gift I can't post photos but I'm surprised how hard this easy sweater has been to knit. I do think it's turning out well.

I have been sadly neglecting that sock I promised months ago. That sock that has been knit so many times I'm just done with the whole idea of knitting it. I still have to finish the pair since I traded for it. It goes to figure that after going through all I have with this sock I lost the ball of yarn for the second sock. And that right there sums up the whole fug this pair has given me.

The books on tape have turned out very well. After the Hobbit I listened to Sense and Sensibility and and am now listening to The Skies of Pern. I have to say that the classics are so much nicer to listen to than read. I'm thinking about a Tale of Two Cities next. You know, for the knitting in it. I tied to read it twice for fun back in high school but got bogged down in the writing style. I've found Jane has so much more flow when read aloud so I'm hoping for the the same with Charles. Doesn't it just sound wrong referring to them by there first names. They are much to proper for that, so it makes me giggle.

Off to buy a pica ruler.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Golden Chicken

After a summer of taking photography I don’t feel like taking photos. First, because I gave my life over to that class for 9 weeks and I am burned out on photos. Second, there is no way that the crappy digital photos I take with my little cheap camera can compare to those black and white photos. I’m mighty proud of them and I would show them to you except that it’s not worth the bother of scanning them all in. But so you know I’m showing everyone one I meet. Strangers even. But that ended over 2 almost 3 weeks ago so I expect to be over it all soon.

While I haven’t been posting I am still living the food stamp challenge. I was listening with half and ear but it sounded like that went to be voted on last week. I never went to check. But for myself I have learned if all you want to eat is natural yogurt, trail mix with M&Ms, fruit juice popsicles, and frozen burritos that $21 of food lasts 2 weeks. So I succeeded in 2 of my objectives this summer; not going over budget and not cooking anymore than I wanted to. I think it can be agreed that eating healthy didn’t make it.

Most of it isn’t worth commenting on but I did do 2 note worthy things in the last month. First, in July there was a meat sale at Price Copper and I went and picked up a whole bunch of meat after class one day. It appears that when I am working on 4 hours of sleep that I am completely unable to do basic math in my head. I added it up 3 times coming to $19, then $21, then $19 again. So I thought it was good. Once I get the same number twice I figure I’m probably right. I wasn’t. It came to $25 at the check out. Since I didn’t spend the full $21 the week before or the week after it was ok, but really that whole thing left a sour taste in my mouth. And I now have pounds and pounds of meat I have to cook. I’m not much looking forward to that. But I’m set for when I have company over.

And having company over brings me to my next story. Last week. No, maybe 2 weeks ago now. I invited my game playing friends over for supper and some games. 5 people if you count the baby. I went shopping that day and spent $25. See a trend there? $25 seems to be a recurring theme. Anyway that $25 bought a bag of onions, 10 lbs of potatoes, 10 lbs of chicken, 4 lbs of carrots, 6 cans of Cambles Golden Mushroom soup, and just because, a dozen eggs.

I go home and put everything but the eggs in my electric roster. That is 25lbs of food for those of you that are counting. 25 lbs of food for 5 people (one is a baby) and that’s when my Pickett gene kicked in. I looked at that 25lbs of food. I thought of the 5 people (one is a baby) and decided it wasn’t going to be enough. So I walked back to the store to buy snacks. $12 more for grapes, celery, gram crackers, and the fixings for pineapple gram cracker dip.

After all of that, one person was a no show so after 3 people and a baby ate all we could I had 30 meals to put in the freezer and all the gram crackers and dip I could eat the next few days. So I didn’t even bother getting more food the next week.

Golden Chicken
10 lbs chicken
10 lbs potatoes cut in fourths
4 lbs carrots cut in 3rds
4 lbs onions cut in fourths
6 cans cambles golden mushroom soup

Place all in roaster and cook until done.

So you are wondering at what temp to set the roaster aren’t you? So am I. I cooked it for 4 hours and in that time I set it for everything from 250 slow cooker temp so it wouldn’t burn (but would it be done in time? Would it ever be done? Would I die of food poisoning from the cold chicken?) to 400 roasting temp (but what about the poor potatoes? They will burn to a crisp). For most of the time it was set at 325 and I think that worked well.

I haven’t posted much about knitting lately. Well, this summer while taking 2 classes I didn’t knit much. I didn’t have much time, but more importantly than that since we can always make time for knitting. I had already used up all of my creativity with photography. I just didn’t have a need to make anything else. I was satisfied with that and with the design work I was doing in Intro to Graphic Design. So I spent whatever free time I had reading. I did knit one sock 3 times to get it right. That too added to my not wanting to knit much. And when I say ‘to get it right’ I don’t mean fiddly little stuff but so it would actually fit a human foot.

And I have read Harry Potter! A friend loaned me his copy. Isn’t he a sweetie? Because of that I know longer have to avoid spoilers for a year. And we all know how successful that would have been. In just the 2 week since the book had come out I was already quickly closing browser windows on knitting blogs and sticking my fingers in my ears and saying lalalala while listening to NPR Saturday shows. That last part burns me a bit. If you can’t even listen to public radio without running into spoilers who can you trust in this world?

When I was loaned the book I was getting ready to spend the weekend with my family. I knew I wasn’t going to have time to read it there. I decided to not read it until I got back on Monday. I picked the book up from Ted at noon on Friday. I stuck to my guns until 5pm. I started reading it then and finished at 4am. About 1am I realized that even trying to wait had been silly and that I should have started reading as soon as I got it and that I might have gotten at least a little sleep that way.

But back to the knitting. The last 2 weeks during break I started a few sweaters but none of them were holding my attention. I did do a lot of spinning. I spun while listening to 5 of Douglas Adams books. But after all of that I hadn’t made a dent in the fiber and only had about half of what I needed and I sort of wound down on that too.

Then while listening to the Hobbit I knitted mittens. I am almost done with mitten number 4. I had thought to knit mittens until this cone of yarn was gone but I with mitten 3 it started to loose its charm and besides the book was over. Maybe with my next book I can pick it up again.
I had been reading about books on tape on spinning blogs for a while now and they are fantastic. The trick is getting one with good readers but that is a crap shoot.

Oh, and while listening to the Douglas Adams Hitchhikers series I also knitted 3 felted bags between spinning 8 ounces of alpaca and 2 ounces of silk. See? 2 hard weeks of work and I’m still only half done, if that. But I’m spinning the silk at work night and that is fun. I should finish up with the other 2 ounces in the next 2 or 3 weeks. Then it’s back to doing finishing work there.

I really dislike the finishing work but just a few days ago I noticed I only had 5 things that needed the ends tucked in and buttons sewn on left in my FO drawer. That is amazing and it’s because of work night. Although, I feel sorry for everyone else there since I have to announce at least 3 time a night I hate finishing work and wish I had brought my spinning wheel instead.

I don’t think I will be ready for TGIF this Friday with the camera but I’ll try for next week since I do have quite a bit to show.

School starts tomorrow. Two days after summer classes finished I was burning to get back. Now after two weeks off I’m dreading it.