Wednesday, January 28, 2009

With An Icicle!

I think everyone in the tri-state area is talking about it, or has been for the past few days. It starts as a murmer as soon as the local news forcasts snow: Everyone rushes to the post office and grocery store (usually for bread, milk, eggs, and bottled water) and you hear people saying to one another, "Did you hear? We're supposed to get snow tonight."
"Yep," says Person Number Two. "Two to four inches."
This theme is repeated in a number of variations until the actual snow fall, and then you hear snowblowers and shovels scraping sidewalks at intervals all day, and by the time you get to the post office the following day, the theme has changed to "Did you hear? We're supposed to get snow and ice tonight!"
This is the first significant snowfall we've had so far this winter; the total was something like three and a half inches of snow and a quarter inch of ice pellets, of which the latter arrived during the night. The plows and salt trucks were out at 2 AM, and I sure hope the town crew is getting paid overtime for it. In the past, snow, especially of this... volume... wasn't enough to keep intrepid elderly ladies from hiking to the post office, and it certainly wasn't enough to shut down the whole of the commercial district. Yesterday, however, I went out to the grocery store (yes, I drove) to look for caviar (at FoodKitty? A total pipedream!) and as I drove down the main street, I noticed that only a couple places were open: the bakery, the public library, and one or two restaurants. All the other establishments were shut. *sigh* Including the shoe store that doesn't carry shoelaces, but that's another story.
The university is closed today, as are the county's public schools; the university may have had a delayed opening yesterday, but I think the schools were closed then, too.
For some reason this makes me lose a little faith in human spirit. "When I was in school..." It's true. It took more snow to close school back then, all of ten years ago, and it certainly took more than three inches of snow to make the commercial district come grinding to a halt. We are not amused.

On a completely different subject, I found out a few days ago that one of my professors died. She was 70, which seems far too young to die, especially of something awful like congestive heart failure. I remember how much she hated having class in the winter, and if there was snow in the parking lot, she'd turn right around, drive home, and leave a voice mail message for her students saying class was cancelled because she had no desire to risk life and limb--either hers or her students'--to impart the intricacies of American Federal Government. She made us laugh one winter afternoon after just such a snowfall, by apologizing for not telling us the class had been cancelled; she drove to the school, found a mostly-clean parking space, and wedged her car into it, only to start spinning her tires.
"I got back out by rage alone," she told us.
I didn't know her very well, but I had lunch with her a few times, usually with mom since she, too, once took Mary's class when she was a student. I dropped her class, which mom did, too, way back when, and ended up taking Fed with another professor as an evening class.
I'm quite upset about this...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Today was quite a special day, wasn't it... Another step on the path of history, and all the things that go with it as a new President was inaugurated; a sweet birthday gift from a good friend, and a delightful package from a new friend.
Rachael, thank you so much for the yummy tea and fluffy samples of the gorgeous roving. They're sooooo soft and cute; they remind me of little bunny tails for some reason, and I'm going to see if I can spin some lace weight yarn with them. ;) I loved the card, too.
Whitney, thank you for the swap box. I loved the card; it was so funny! The yummy treats and book are going to be enjoyed fireside (along with Rachael's tea, likely as not), probably with a cat on my lap; I haven't taken off the scarf since I got home from the post office--it's so cold today, I definitely needed it! It's perfect.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Last night I dreamt I was knitting a pair of socks and my needles (my little KP Harmony DPNs, specifically) kept breaking; I then picked up the scarf and started working on it, and those needles broke, too. What, I wonder, does this presage? O.o

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I'm now officially "A woman of a certain age". Yay? :P


It's too cold to do much of anything today, so I spent most of the day doing... very little. We got less than an inch of snow last night, so I was astonished to see that the university opened late and that the school board cancelled school. O.o It's not cold enough that your neighbors' dogs vaporize when they sneak out for a bathroom break, either, so that probably wasn't it. Are snowdays now of the use-or-lose variety?
I didn't knit today, which is unusual. Of course, since most of the projects on my list are of the UFO variety (two sweaters each missing a sleeve and in need of blocking, a pair of socks, and the pompom for a hat), you'd think I'd hop to it and actually do them. Later, maybe.
Today (gasp!) is my birthday, so I've been opening presents one at a time. So far, I've found a package of striped tabi socks and a collection of biographies of the Caesars written by Seutonius, starting with Julius and ending with Domitian (The Twelve Caesars, or for the Latin buffs among us De Vita Caesarum). Dad's present arrived a couple days ago, so it was opened early; I didn't know he hadn't wrapped the stuff inside the cardboard, otherwise I would have waited. Sorry, dad! He sent me sock blockers and some fluffy roving in a variety of interesting colors. A friend of mom's appeared bearing a balloon shaped like a lobster (much giggling ensued; it's very cute) and a birthday cake.
The rest of the afternoon was spent reading and trying to get rid of a headache; the headache had absolutely nothing to do with what I was reading. I didn't feel like reading Icelandic poetry today... it's too cold! And I didn't realize it, but it turns out the book of Russian chronicles I got from the library is the very same one we used in my History of Pre-Modern Russia class... which I still have. Oops.
Rachael: Do you think older translations are less accurate? The translation of Caesar's Commentaries On the Gallic Wars turned out to have been written in 1918; it's one of those one-line-of-Latin-one-line-of-English ones where the type looks a bit like fleas jumping about on the page. I'm enjoying it so far, and find myself chuckling over some of the sentence constructions. My favorite phrase thus far is that Caesar is complaining to the Aedui because the grain he was promised hasn't been provided; the translation is given as something like "he complained more bitterly because he was left destitute of corn".
I took a peek at the first part of the biography of Julius Caesar and had another giggle. WHY don't people talk like this anymore? It's tragic. Example: Julius Caesar was captured by pirates and kept in a state of great indignity with only one personal physician and two servants. I love it. Once I'm more awake after the dose of antihistimine, I must read more. And find a magnifying glass. After I finish these two, it's on to Livy, Cicero, and the omnibus volume of Greek and Latin stuff, and then the Russian chronicles and Icelandic poetry.

I'm also still working on The Dark Is Rising and Foreign Correspondence. The former is just as enjoyable as it was when I read it as a child; the latter is a delightful treat. Ahhh.. so many books, so little time.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How Corny...

Required for this exercise:
1 waffle iron
1.75 c all-purpose flour
1.25 c soy milk (yes, you can use cow's milk if you want)
.25 c sour cream
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
about 2 cups frozen corn nibbly-things, toasted in a frying pan (toasting is optional, really)
2 tbsp olive oil
vegetable cooking spray
1 oven
1 cookie sheet lined with foil
about 4 oz shredded pepperjack cheese

Sift the dry ingredients together into a medium mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, milk, and sour cream. Combine with dry ingredients and mix until relatively smooth (a few lumps are okay, I promise).
If you'd rather use fresh corn, you can roast it on the cob, either in a frying pan or over a gas burner if you have a gas stove. I'm calling the toasting step optional, but it sort of intensifies the corn flavor; add the corn to the waffle batter and use the waffle iron according to whatever method you prefer. Heat the oven to about 200 degrees and keep the cooked waffles warm until you're ready to eat them, and then eat them with the cheese and whatever condiments you choose.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Galliooooo! Hoop! Hoop!

I love it. I keep trying to work up the nerve to do this in the cheese aisle at the grocery store, but I somehow never succeed. (Just kidding, of course!)

ETA: Grr.. the video has been removed for TOU violation, so I went ahead and deleted it from the post. Bleh.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Out On A Limb

After the super-scary episode involving the Laminaria shawl, I got myself embroiled (in a good way, I promise) a scarf swap with a political theme. You'd think, given all the grumbling about Laminaria, that I'd give up on lace knitting completely. The evidence to the left indicates the opposite, however, and I'm pleased to say that I managed to get the scarf finished with only one attack of the Froggingstein Monster. It's blocking on the ironing board now that it's had a dunking in some water with cedar-flavored wool wash (which I sincerely hope doesn't make Whitney sneeze...)
Pattern is Branching Out; yarn is Malabrigo Silky Merino that Emily sent me as part of the tea swap box last year. I have plans to do another one of these, this time for dad's SO. In brown. I might even make one for mom. And one for myself, if I don't run out of steam first.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

In Which There Are Accidents and Hilarity

I embarrassed myself quite badly today. Didn't go to the post office yesterday, but I did today with an armload of packages. The embarrassment went something like this: Armful of packages, packages teetering and falling over, me grabbing for falling packages and getting a handful of something definitely not postal, i.e. the backside of the unfortunate guy who was filling out a form at the table by the door.
"Ooop! Sorry!" I squeaked.
I'm sure I must have been as red as a beet. He was very nice about it, poor guy. When I told mom what happened, she laughed herself half-hoarse.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

On A General Lack of Gallantry

There's nothing like a nice, gloomy Thomas Hardy novel to make you wonder about the world. Yes, it's a novel, but every fiction contains, I'm quite certain, a grain of trooth (yes, I said trooth). The following conversation just took place between mom and me:
Me: Men aren't all cads, are they?
Mom: No. There are good men and bad.
Me: This certainly makes you think twice, though.
Mom: It's a novel.

That's as may be, but in a generation of "He's Just Not That Into You" and all that, where is the gallantry? Is it as dead as Latin and the use of good grammar? I want some gallantry, dammit.