Saturday, February 27, 2010

:::: tap tap tap::::: . . . Is This Thing On?

Wonderful trip to Colorado last weekend, and I'm getting ready to head up to The Fold for the second in a series of natural dye workshops. Wheee!!! Last month was red, today is yellow!

Still cannot find the camera battery charger - so no photos. But there is hope. I'm straightening up the office . . . please cross your fingers. And if I cannot get my camera fixed, I think I've found my next one. A Canon G11. More than I wanted to spend, but it seems to be the right size with all the features I want - the main one being an optical viewfinder, which don't seem to come all that often on lower cost cameras. And since I don't really want a big digital SLR again (I HAVE one of those and it's a big fat pain in the ass), I'm hoping it will be the camera for me. I cannot stand composing photos with just an LCD screen.

Here's a Must Read: Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food. Not as political as I've heard The Omnivore's Dilemma is, and it really held my interest. I'm gratified to find that it's filled with stuff I've been doing (to some extent), instinctively, for years. If you can't bring yourself to actually pick it up (it's a quick read, people!), here's the most important thing: If your Great Grandmother (or, depending on how old you are your Great Great Grandmother) wouldn't recognize it, then it's not food. OK - two important things: avoid high fructose corn syrup at all costs.

I went to the store last weekend - HFCS is in everything. I'm not kidding. And I tossed the All Bran that I used to make bran muffins with because it has HFCS in it. JesusHRooseveltChrist. I certainly eat my share of processed foods (yeah, you think your Great Granny would recognize a Twinky? Think again.). But I don't go to fast food places, and I've made an effort for years to eat lower on the food chain. And to that end . . .

I've decided to bake my own bread. Something I haven't done since I was a kid in Home Ec. Do they even have Home Ec in school anymore?! :-D No machines - lots of trial and error, but lots of learning and fun in the process. This morning it was what I'm calling Brick Banana Bread. Yeah - not so good :-D All part of the process and really quite fun. It was from a recipe from my mom's old cookbook (circa 1953, I'm sure). I've got plenty more recipes to try and to experiment with before tackling yeast breads again (as mentioned, it's been many years . . . ), and my favorite zucchini bread might be making an appearance tomorrow. Yum!

Still a boatload of snow on the ground here in Chicagoland . . . spring, are you almost here?

Time to go!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Geez . . .

Can I just tell you how much icing your heels HURTS? It's really quite painful . . . :-S

Two scarves blocking on the guestroom floor - gifts going with me on an upcoming trip. Camera battery charger still MIA, and still haven't found a new, wonderful digital camera.

My heels are now frozen . . .

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It's Everywhere . .

In my continuing quest and focus on health and fitness, one of the things I have worked to eliminate from my daily fuel is high fructose corn syrup. I've sourced jams that do not have it, and I don't even use fake sugar anymore. I use real sugar if I need or want some in my tea or on my oatmeal from time to time.

I thought I was doing a pretty good job with it. Well, I learned something interesting this morning. And believe me when I tell you that it's not like I don't know that food manufacturer's use other stuff when they make things "light," but it never occurred to me that Miracle Whip Light has HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP in it.

I just happened to look at the label carefully this morning, and there it is. I went on to the Kraft website, which has a pretty good Product Information page, to see what I could find out. Regular old Miracle Whip - the stuff I grew up on, has sugar in it, and of course fat. Well, we knew that, right? :-) The "Light" version has both sugar and HFCS in it. Son of a . . . OK - so one more thing that leaves the kitchen. Thinking I was doing myself a favor by having the light instead of the fat in the real thing . . . I would rather have the real thing and just have less of it, than put more chemicals into my system. I'm the same way about cheese. Just not eating the fake cheese. It's not satisfying and has no functional nutritional value whatsoever.

I'm more and more convinced that eating lower on the food chain is best for me, although it's not always an easy sell . . . I mean, who doesn't like to eat junk from time to time? I confess, I do, and in moderation, just as with everything else, I'm sure it's fine. However, I'm giving it up for Lent.

That's right - I'm giving up junk food for Lent. I'm not Catholic, but for as long as I can remember, I have nearly always giving something up for Lent. I believe it builds character, I guess. And apparently right now, mine needs a boost. Been stuck in a funny place health-wise, and I'm ready to move forward - strength of character is always a good thing :-)

Anyway, I've been eating a lot of junk lately, and it's useless. But I have found it challenging to actually spend time cooking. I don't have a family to feed, so it's easy to fall into lunches out, and take out or popcorn for dinner. (I know, it's embarrassing - and I'm a really good cook . . . which makes it even worse.)

So, we'll talk about this again at Easter. I'll let you know how it goes. And how I feel.

HFCS = The Enemy Wasn't it John Paul Jones who said "I have not yet begun to fight." If I thought I was fighting before, well wait until you see me now.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Memories . . .

Man, you know, it's hard to be a sports fan in Chicago. . . but what a great memory, and how good to see Sweetness again, and The Fridge, and Mama's Boy Otis (Hot!) Just great memories of a wonderful season so long ago . . .

I actually have this on an LP (for you youngsters, that's vinyl. Yeah, baby!) It's worth the minutes to watch my friends :-)

Catching Up . . .

Now that I got the old camera to work most of the time, the battery needs to be charged and I cannot find the charger anywhere in the hell of paper and crap that is passing for my office these days . . .

But, I managed to get a couple before it all went South.

Here's what I did last weekend up at
The Fold. On the left is some of my handspun, just out of a pot of Madder. I experimented with this - no mordanting. Just popped it in because I wanted it to be not quite so saturated.

Came out nice, don't you think? I have adjusted the color in this shot somewhat to capture it better. It's a sort of a coral shade. There's about 190 yards here . . . wondering what I could make with it!

And here's some steaming yarn, fresh from a pot of Lac (which is, apparently, a beetle/bug of some sort!). Down in the bottom right corner, is my blob of Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace. This one was mordanted in some sort of aluminum something or other.

I bought this yarn at the Windy City Knitting Guild's annual trip there a couple three years ago with the express purpose of dying it. The colorway was called Whisper. It was a pale pink, but the skein I got didn't seem to be all one color, and it had gotten some blue dye on it, which was why it was a mill end.

It's Raspberry now :-) I think it will make a very nice shawl (at some point :-D)

My Two Hearts sweater, which I called Abundant Hearts on Ravelry, has become my new favorite sweater.

This isn't the best photo, but it's the best one I could get before the battery incident.

It's propped up on some pillows, so it looks a little lumpy - but it fits well, and is perfect with jeans, with or without a turtleneck under. It's Briar Rose's Abundance, which is 100% Corriedale. It's really great stuff - and Chris custom dyed this for me - it's a little darker than in the photo (flash!), but the colors are quite true, nonetheless.

Well, that brings me up to date I think. There are some socks that have been languishing on the needles, while I work on some possible gift knitting that is busting my stash in a big way! And in the mean time, I've spent the last two days repotting or top dressing pretty much every plant in this house. What a job! but everything's looking happier already. All the violets, all the house plants - everyone's heaving a sigh of releaf ;-D Spring is on the way!!

Now all I have to do is find the battery charger . . .