Sunday, June 24, 2012

Moving on

It's possible that you miss my blog! Since this one seemed so Swiss-y, and since the comments got broken like 6 different ways, I decided to make a new blog. Come find it over here, at the new wayward elf.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Here is a test post

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Kitchener queen

I bought a crappy car. It's a 1993 Honda Civic del sol with a lot of rust (I'm showing you her good side) and a LOT of miles. But the engine seems solid, and it's awfully fun to drive--reminds me of my Porsche. I hope it makes it to the summer months when I can actually see how it handles!

I also finally finished up the baby gifts for one friend, only a couple weeks after the birth! I'm happy to report that a miracle did occur during blocking and I love how the blanket turned out!!

And a closeup of the lace pattern (not the true color):

And the bonnet and sweater pair:

I also finally dug my bog jacket back out. I've been really stalled out on this--first I spun my wheels for a couple of months trying to figure out how to make the front upper chest parts match, and in the end I couldn't figure it out. So, they'll have different color stripes.

Then, I came to the point where I had to Kitchener stitch together the underside of the arm and where the single piece that came up over the back/shoulder/down the chest meets up with the flap that was liberated from the front. I'm aware that this makes no sense without having knit the pattern. Suffice to say, I had to graft 181 stitches!!! It's a good thing I like doing Kitchener! But I had stalled out here as well because I'd never grafted garter stitch and didn't know how they needed to be arranged and whenever I was ready to knit I was always to tired to puzzle it out. Yesterday TNT had a "marathon" of the show Bones, so I got out my books and my sweater and I went at it. Took me 5 hours, but it's done--it's the bottom red stripe in this picture:

And it turns out my cat turned into a nip-head while I was gone. She just loves rolling around on this cardboard scratcher when I put some catnip on it. She rolls so hard she tips it over, then looks around with that "whaaaaa?" look, then turns around to check out the other side of the cardboard. It's good to have her back!!

All in all, life is good.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Simple pleasures

One of the joys of being home is being able to cook my favorite foods:

A grilled cheese sandwich made with Tillamook sharp cheddar and Bob's Red Mill gluten free bread.

A simple tostada.

I could make these in Switzerland, but they were both a huge hassle, requiring several extra shopping trips across town to assemble all the ingredients or their closest Swiss imitator. It's nice to be able to get everything I need at my local grocery store and cook it in my enormous cast iron skillet on a gas stove.

Based on the robocalls to my new phone number (when did robocalls get invented?? I don't remember them at all), the number wasn't out of service for long enough. The previous owner of this number was apparently a diabetic who owned both a car and a house and also had a huge amount of unsecured debt that needs consolidating. It's like reconstructing someone's life from their garbage or grocery list!


Saturday, December 13, 2008

A few knitted things

OK, but first, to my relief:

I am now the proud owner of a US driver's license!! My last one, from New Hampshire, had expired in January after a rather confusing go-round about what, exactly, "renew by mail" means. It does not mean "if you go abroad, and are in some weird limbo with no US address, and you need to renew your license and this here one is the last one you had, so we'll renew it by mail." Instead it means, "we'll take your $50, send you a 6 month temporary license with no explanation that in order to get the 4 year version you have to provide proof of address in New Hampshire." It turns out that as long as my US license expired within the past 12 months, I had to take only the normal knowledge test and not the road test! I can just imagine trying to pass the road test after 20 years of bad driving habits.....

I have been knitting a bit, although far less than I imagined when I planned a few months of "retirement" for myself while getting settled back into the US. I have several pregnant friends, so I'm working on some baby things. Here is an unfinished (needs the edging) and unblocked (obviously) sweater (from this pattern):

And the unfinished (needs edging and sewing up the back) and unblocked hat (same pattern):

And a baby blanket (Fiber Trends Estonian Lullaby)

I'm not so excited about the yarn (Reynolds' Hopscotch). I was really focused on finding a soft, washable, apple green, and somehow totally missed the fact that it was thick-thin, which I think makes the blanket way too busy with the lace as well, although you can't really see either (lace/yarn) in this photo. I kept knitting a bit and then putting it aside because of that, but I don't know what else to do with the yarn (which looks like some other baby effluvia...) and I don't really want to go buy even more yarn and start over. I'm deluding myself into thinking that once it's blocked it will magically become wonderful. ha ha. We all know what a great blocker I am...

And I guess I might as well show you my new couch, since it will be the background to all my knitting shots! It's leather. Kind of. It's the "Webster" sofa from JC Penneys, and it's made of "bonded leather", which is like the leather dust that's swept up from the factory floor and chemical'd into some kind of fabric. But it has 8 way hand tied springs, which are apparently the ultimate in couch technology, and it was on sale from $1000 to $400. Failing economy: score one for Andrea. I was really stoked to find a spring couch, since my $1000 foam couch from IKEA in Switzerland was already pretty badly worn after only 3 years.

My retirement has been quite as leisurely as I'd been hoping. It takes a lot of time (and money) to run around buying cheap crap at Target to furnish a whole apartment! I'm pretty well settled in, now, and very happy in my new place. It's the quietest place I've ever lived. I'm on the steep part of the learning curve, though, and it's a bit overwhelming to have 100% new appliances and living space, so I haven't quite got all the kinks worked out of the system. I keep burning my food because my (coveted) gas stove reheats things in about 4 minutes--I guess I got used to my stove in Zurich which took about 30 minutes to heat up, so I'd put on a pan and then go off and do something else! I also got really annoyed one day that I kept having to walk back and forth from the counter to the fridge (my new kitchen is kind of long and skinny) and then I had to stop and laugh when I realized that my "problem" was that my kitchen was actually big enough to walk around in.

My old boss in Switzerland keeps adding little things to my to-do list. It's really hard to "quit" an academic job because the "lifetime" of projects is 1-2 years, so I think it's going to have its hooks in me for a while yet! The idea when I left was that I would get paid for October even though I moved back at the end of September. That way there would be a month's worth of work "in the bank" for when the reviews come back on my last paper (submitted in September). But there are lots of other little projects I was involved in which keep cropping up, so I've put in about 2 weeks worth of work and haven't even gotten the reviews back yet! Hopefully they'll turn out to be minor when they do show, but we'll see.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy happy joy joy

It's good to be home:

I'd ripped all my cds to my laptop before I moved to Switzerland and despite 3 years of valiant effort, I really never got used to the various cd-less technologies for playing music. I like my ipod when I'm out and about, but when I'm at home I really just want to pop 5 discs in the changer and listen to them on a stereo. So I'm very happy to be reunited with all my cds! Now, if I could only make a dent on the 100+ item wishlist I have going at Amazon..... And yes, that's some vintage VHS Spinal Tap in the corner!

I've been pretty busy the past few weeks! I rented an apartment in St. Paul. It's an enormous one bedroom with some nice older touches such as these leaded glass (?) windows in the dining room (the walls are actually white but I turned off the flash to try and catch the wall sconces):

and the exposed woodwork in both the living room and dining room:

I've spent a sickening amount of money getting it set up. It's funny, I don't mind throwing down a c-note for some books, but when I have to drop $500 at Target on "cheap plastic crap", I get all anxious about spending so much money. The couch gets delivered next week and I should be able to pick up my mattress tomorrow or next week and then I'll be all set to move in!

I'm knitting on some baby's things--pictures soon!


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Some yarn and things

It's been a busy 6 weeks since I got home. Apparently once I'm no longer being paid to sit at a computer all day, I really don't want to sit at one all day! I haven't been up to much since I got back. I spent a few weeks hanging out at my mom's place in Oregon, seeing old friends there and up in Seattle and Vancouver, BC. Then I took Amtrak out to Minneapolis and have been chilling at my dad's place for the past couple weeks. I wasn't sure how quickly I'd start looking for my own apartment, but it turned out to be very quick--guess I've lived alone too long to be spending much time in the spare bedroom at home! So I've already rented an apartment in St. Paul--I got approved on Friday and hope to sign the lease ASAP so I can go buy some more cheap crap at IKEA! My new place seems enormous (1 bedroom with a separate living room and dining room!) and cheap ($700) and incredibly quiet (residential street!). I'm just eager to stop living out of a suitcase.

I had a good time in Tallinn, Estonia right before I headed back to the States. My friend and I stayed right in the old town and had a nice leisurely vacation--the kind where you sightsee about 3 hours a day and spend the rest of it lounging in coffee shops or the hotel room. It was exactly what I needed after all the stress of arranging the move and everything! I was on a mission to buy some pre-label Kauni/Evila yarn and managed to hit the motherlode. I don't have pictures of all of it (can't seem to download to my new computer and am too lazy to set the old one back up just now). I bought about 8 pounds--here is some of it drying in my mom's back yard:

There is enough of each colorway for a sweater (I hope!) and there is another colorway not shown (sort of an orangey-fall scheme) along with some undyed browns I bought to stretch out the yardage in case I run short.

I've been knitting on my bog jacket out of this same yarn but haven't been making any progress since I got to Minneapolis. My cat not only remembered me immediately (yay!) but has also expressed her infinite love of nice scratchy wool--she will not leave the sweater, so it's turned into a temporary cat bed! I guess I'll be knitting her a blanket out of one of the colorways so I can have my sweater back!!!

I'm incredibly glad to be home and glad the economic apocalypse has calmed down a bit! I've been guzzling root beer like there's no tomorrow and sampling the gluten free goodies on offer and just generally being happy. The saddest thing about leaving Switzerland was that I really wasn't sad to leave at all, which says a lot!

I'm pathetically far behind on my blog reading--I imagine I'll get caught up and actually post more here once I have an actual desk set up in my new place! For now, just picture me curled up happily next to my cat who is curled up in cat-nirvana on some scratchy Estonian wool!