Friday, June 27, 2008

Here We Go

We've flying to Nebraska tomorrow for two weeks. The laundry is finished, the kitchen is clean, the lawn is mowed, and my knitting bag is packed. Why do I still suspect I'll be up until midnight tonight. The dogs always seem to know when we're about to leave them, so, we try to give them a little extra time. It's more fun to take a nap with a puppy then to help mom pack.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pink Saturday

Pink Purl mentioned earlier this week that How Sweet the Sound has started Pink Saturdays. Since pink is my absolute favorite color, I thought I'd play even though I didn't sign up. I don't have much to show.Some pink mushrooms we bought at the Los Osos Farmer's Market last Monday.Some pink and yellow lantana I grew from a little slip I stole from my neighbors bush a couple of year ago.Oh, and some really dark pink socks, this is a knitting blog, after all. Actually they're pretty much burgundy colored, but that's practically pink. I've been working on this sock all week. This is my second pair of Loksins, and I think they will be my last. I love the way the pattern looks and it's certainly not a difficult one to memorize. I just don't think they're made for my brain. I'll get knitting away without thinking, and then I'll discover that the pattern is off, and I'll have to unravel five or six rows. I wouldn't mind doing that every once in a while, but I've had to do it at least six or seven times for this one sock. It's me, not the pattern. I should be concentrating more, but because the pattern is so easy I don't. I kind of remember that happening to me the first time I knit these socks. I'm a loser.

Merit tagged me for an alphabet game last week. I don't think I care to check for sure, but it seems like I have more negative adjectives than positive ones. Oh well, I'm being honest. Julie, Janice, and Hege, consider yourselves tagged...only if you want to be:)

A.- ambitious
B- bitchy...on occasion
C- cautious
D- demanding
E- ethical
F- funny
G- giggling
H- honest
I- independent
J- jovial
K- knitter
L- likable
M- mom
N- nervy
O- ornery
P- prompt...NOT
Q- quirky
R- rational
S- sarcastic
T- tenacious
U- unrelenting
V- volatile
W- wife
X- xenophilic
Y- young at heart

Then I had to take the "flower quiz too.

You Are a Canna
"You stand up for what you believe in, even if it gets in the way of what other people think. You are proud of yourself and your accomplishments and you enjoy letting people know that."

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

We're not particularly big with the Mother's and Father's Day celebrations although I usually get a pretty good deal out of both days. Paige is making Russ pad thai tonight. She's made it before, and it was great. She would even be willing to drive down to the store to get the the few ingredients we're missing, except that I have no cash to give her; so I'll have to go along. Those of you who know me personally know that I'm not always, shall we say, appreciative of Russ. He is better than your average husband by far though, and a really good dad. I'm especially happy with him this week because after living in our house for over ten years, he has finally put in nice baseboards. I am inordinantly happy about this; I'm talking ecstatic, because once Russ decides to do a project he does a meticulous job of it. I guess I'll put up with him for another twenty-four years. (LOL, he may not think that's such a great thing.) Sorry, but that's about as mushy as I get.

I have no knitting news to report, so I'lI share my culinary adventures. I made kolache yesterday. Kolache are of Czech or Polish origin. One of the focuses in my Master's thesis was the idea that food was one of the only avenues for immigrants to maintain a piece of their culture when they moved to America. I didn't write about this in my thesis, but I also think that the insight into a culture that people gain from reading ethnic literature is enhanced by actually preparing and eating some of the foods that are part of most stories.

I'm not sure when I first became aware of kolache. I suppose that my first exposure was in My Antonia, a novel about Czech immigrants, set in Nebraska. They're still popular in Nebraska where there are a large number of people of Czech and Polish descent. Lat summer we drove nearly an hour to Wilbur, Nebraska in search of the perfect kolache. I'd read that the Wilbur Bakery had wonderful kolache. They were closed, but we found some at the Karpisek Meat Market I wanted to love their kolache, but to tell the truth I didn't really. I did love their meat though, even though I'm not much of a meat eater. I continued my search for kolache throughout our visit, but I never really found any I loved.

So, this week when our plum tree was dropping fruit everywhere because we couldn't give it away fast enough, I thought about Antonia and how her children proudly showed Jim their spiced plums and told him that their mother used them in her kolache; and I decided to make my own kolache. It took me two days. After borrowing a Victorio Food Strainer from a friend, I picked a couple of buckets of plums, and then followed a recipe I found for plum butter from some history professor at North Dakota State University. It was pretty messy work and halfway through cooking them, I realized that the food press was not going to be happy to have all of those pits in there, so I had to pick them out by hand. It took about a gazillion cups of sugar to sweeten up my Santa Rosa plums, but I finally Iended up with a nice, thick "butter," which I planned to fill my kolache with.
I followed a recipe for kolache from Homesick Texan, a great food blog that I've enjoyed drooling over many times. I'm not sure how authentic they were. The original recipes probably used lard. I just know that I finally do love kolache. Mine were wonderful, soft and yeasty with just enough sweetness in the dough to offset the tart plum butter. I cheated and used my mixer to prepare the dough, but I still feel a greater connection to the characters in My Antonia, and I gave my family a nice little cultural experience too.

Maybe my next post, I'll get back to knitting...or not!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Time Flies

Well, that month just zoomed by. I remember when I first starting reading knitting blogs, I'd see a blog that hadn't been updated for a month or so and would wonder what dire happening had prevented the blogger from getting to her blog. Now I so understand that it's usally nothing more than busy-itis. In one of my last entries I wrote about how Kai was about to graduate eighth grade, something that, as my husband points out, many schools don't acknowledge other than to hand out a report card. Well, Kai's school acknowledges it in a big way, while, at the same time, not pretending that it's anything more than a small step toward much bigger achievement.
I haven't written about Kai's school before....since this is a knitting blog, but oh well. I have bragged quite a few times this year to friends that Kai attends a private school on the taxpayer's dime. No, we haven't ventured into some voucher scheme. What I mean is that Kai's little public K-8 school is more like a good private one. It's a "country" school in a town of about 200 people fifteen miles from us. To keep their attendance numbers up, the school allows kids from our town to go there. I had kind of turned my nose up at parents who put their children on waiting lists to get in there because I felt that our local parents should work on improving our elementary schools instead of "jumping ship." On the other hand, I was exceptionally unimpressed with out junior high school. Kai's not a complainer, but I knew that he wasn't too happy about going there, so when an opportunity arose (the superintendent called to ask if he'd like attend) we took it. There were ten kids in his graduating class. Kai worked harder (not that that's saying that much, ha, ha.) than he ever has AND, along the way, had incredible extra-curricular experiences . One day I came to pick him up from school, and his class was out in the school yard digging stuff up. His teacher had "planted" archaeological items for the kids to uncover, and then they had to write about what they had found. The biggest thing that Kai's school gave him was that it allowed him to stay a kid for a year longer. The teachers and kids were often playing softball when I came to pick him up, no prepubescient couples pawing each other or sneaking into the alley to smoke. The school is in a poor town, but the school has money because of tax revenue from oil companies. Many of these local kids are from extemely dyfunctional backgrounds, but when I get those kids at the high school, most comtinue to do well. I think elementary schools have become so generic, so worried about marching lock-step to canned programs that will supposedly bring their test scores up. It's a shame. School shouldn't be about preparing for some inane corporate test. I know that it's not possible to emulate a lot of what Kai's school did. One night his entire class spent the night on the school playground looking at stars as part of an astronomy lesson. I didn't think twice about allowing Kai to go. A teacher would have to be crazy to consider that with a class of thirty kids, even good ones, which is also highly unlikely. Most schools are going the wrong way ...and I'm not so sure that it's not an intentional ploy by powerful people who want to make a buck off our kids. I take that back..I'm SURE it is!

I have been knitting some, even if I haven't blogged about it. I had been thinking that I needed to give the bunny knitting a break, but I got some news that made me change my mind. I live in the town I grew in, but none of my family still live here and few of my old friends. I still stay in contact with my best friend from high school though and I talk to her mom often because she lives near me. I loved my friend Sara's younger brother, Hans. We've rarely seen each other since we've been adults, but I recently learned that he and his wife are having twins, a boy and a girl. I just had to knit some bunnies for them. I knit some little Mary Janes too. I like this pattern, but it always seems like the patterns turn out too big. This pattern called for size 2 needles, and I used size 1. They're still definitely not 0 -3 months like the pattern says.
Yes, that is a cat on our table, not only on our table, laying on an antique tablecloth that my grandmother stitched!