December 17, 2009

Cookie Countdown

Liam and I have made 200-ish cookies since last Saturday, for Christmas presents for his teachers at Kindergarten, for a contribution to my office party this afternoon, and just because hanging-around-the-house-type vacations are better with a big box of cookies on the kitchen counter. We've made three types so far, and we might just have to make some more while he's out of school.
  • First, we made chocolate-vanilla swirl butter cookies, with a recipe out of an old Cook's Illustrated (it doesn't seem to be online). They came out pretty well, and Liam really enjoyed rolling out the dough and seeing the swirl pattern.
  • Second, we made gingerbread, following this recipe from Bon Appetit. It's way too mild and needs a lot more ginger: 1 tablespoon of ground ginger, plus a half cup of chopped candied ginger, is nowhere near enough for 6 cups of flour. I should have seen this coming. Liam loved rolling out the dough and using the cookie cutters, and he's also distributing the cookies very seriously. A star for him, a tree for C, and a heart for me? Perfect.
  • Lastly, I made these peanut butter cookies last night, and they're really good. I think I'll just have one more before I head off to run errands.

December 11, 2009

It's a secret

Liam is (mercifully) not flipping out on the way home this week. I don't know if he's feeling less tired at the end of the day, or if he's just handling it better, but it's a big relief. There's a very real possibility that he's only doing it because otherwise he can't open the day's window in the advent calendar, but I'm sure that there's a difference between effective motivation and bribery. And hey, either way, he's getting practice at dealing with feelings rather than freaking out, and he's also not giving us more grey hair than necessary. Win-win.

All the kids in kindergarten are apparently working on gifts for their parents: during breakfast this morning, out of the blue, he looked at me and said (in German, though) "it's a present for mamas and papas." "Is that a secret?" I asked, and he nodded gravely and put a finger over his lips. I want to take him to buy a Christmas present for C, and I'm sure he'll give up the secret (hint: it is not a skateboard), but I don't really mind if he's going to be so cute about it.

December 6, 2009

Giant fluffy sweater, day 1/2

I almost never knit large projects - I'm more at home with hats, mittens, scarves, and baby clothes. I think it's a problem of limited time to commit to a single project, since my days involve being (and staying) employed, and my evenings involve cooking, playing with Liam, putting Liam to bed, cleaning up, and working more, and then knitting if I have the time. I'm also insanely picky about projects for myself, so I wouldn't make most things I see patterns for, and I change every pattern I use. I found a sweater pattern that I wanted to make for myself, though: this one is straightforward, functional, and cute, and it's done in very big yarn, so it ought to go pretty quickly.

I cast on yesterday, and between the yarn, which is huge (it's like pencil roving), and my giganto needles (which feel like I'm knitting with tree branches or something), I'd used up an entire ball of yarn in five and a half rows. That second ball got me through to the end of row 13. At this point, I started wondering whether I have enough yarn to make this sweater. The lady at the yarn store ordered me a bag of eight balls of yarn in the same dye lot, which was the number that the pattern called for, but if I'm only going to get 8-ish rows per ball of yarn, this might be tight. Back to the pattern to check, and...oh. 8 100-gram balls of yarn, according to the pattern, and I have 8 50-gram balls of yarn. That's...huh. It's totally a matter of perception, but I probably wouldn't have started this pattern if I'd known I would need 15 or 16 balls of yarn. That seems like way too much.

I'm up to row 24 now, and I will get to about row 54 before it's time to add stitches for the sleeves, which will just about take all of the yarn that I have. The sweater is going to be very cute, with the big puffy stitches and the garter-stitch border and the great buttons my friend S gave me for by birthday. I sure hope the lady at the yarn store can order another bag in the same dye lot.

December 4, 2009

Complaint, interrupted

This morning, I was all ready to write a complaint as a post here. I've been kind of bothered about this issue for a while, and have never found the right platform for talking about it (plus, Chris is tired of hearing about it). The problem? The (sometimes) terrible music in a knitting podcast I listen to regularly. Sometimes it's great (Jonathan Coulton), and sometimes it's all obvious lyrics and overdone vocals. The injustice! I listened to the two most recent episodes this morning, and had the angry wind knocked right out of me: the music wasn't bad. It wasn't the best thing ever (and one of the bands, though apparently comprised entirely of women, was called "Girly Man",, but it was a nice mix of fun and poignant and bouncy. Darn you, podcast author with musical tastes that differ from mine, and also impeccable timing!

This doesn't get you out of a complaint, though. The podcast has rubbed me the wrong way before - the theme of the episodes for a while was "alchemy", which is fine as a metaphor, but (and I'll keep saying this through gritted teeth until the rest of you give up and go along with me) magical thinking is not science. People who made themselves crazy with mercury fumes while trying to transform lead into gold are not a model for informed inquiry or the scientific method.

I...get a little defensive about this. Needless to say, I never wrote this to the podcast author (no constructive point), but it bothered me every episode until she switched the theme to "Make Do and Mend", which was lovely and thoughtful. I liked that a lot.

December 1, 2009


After Liam's epic crankiness last night (and impressive, as-predicted 13-hour night of sleep), he woke up this morning, wandered in to our room while I was getting out clothes for the day, and promptly threw up. Mostly on himself, poor guy. So I'm home today, and he is acting perfectly fine, and I don't really mind the surprise sick day too much. I feel like he and I don't get enough time together during the week, so (although I haven't brushed my hair yet today) I'm feeling all right. I've also gotten more done than I expected.

Today I have made:
  • lots of coffee
  • the world's ugliest pumpkin pie
  • more progress than yesterday on my current writing project
  • the discovery that I have a lot to do before my meeting tomorrow
  • a lot of clean laundry
  • oatmeal!