An exploration of my life as I know it. Knitting, working, creating, and cat-wrangling.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Let them eat cake. (no really, they can have mine)

Ah, birthdays. Another year gone by and another begun. I wish that I had something deep and philosophical to say. I'll probably come up with something later as I'm trying to fall asleep, and it will probably be someone else's. As for my original thoughts, they usually lean towards food. As pictured below.

What we have here is a very typical looking cake. A yellow coconut cake with boiled coconut frosting, sprinkled with (yes) coconut. (I have quite a bit of coconut left over from holiday baking and I need to use it.) Yes, it looks like a normal cake, it even smells like one. However, this is my first attempt at a "from scratch" cake and I'm a little disappointed in myself.

I should have known that something was wrong when the batter was the consistency of cookie dough, and the frosting was the consistency of wet batter. I followed those instructions (Jen was there to witness and she is willing to testify) and didn't miss any ingredients. However, I think I have yet to learn what some of the baking terms actually mean (i.e. the result they should produce). When I had to (quite literally) spread the "batter" around to fit the 13x9 pan, Jen and I decided that we would just tell everyone we were making coconut BARS.

Well, that's pretty much how it turned out. The cake didn't rise at all and weighs about 5 lbs. (not an actual measurement, but I'm willing to wager a slice of it) Ray had quite a time trying to cut through the density of it. It's moist, but it's a very thick, heavy moist. More like a cookie. It's very coconut-y though. The frosting is also a bit rich for my taste, and has to be refrigerated or it melts off the "cake".

I'm seeing this as a challenge and am determined to make an acceptable birthday cake (I know several people who have one coming up. Don't worry, I won't force you to eat any "failures"). This cake is edible and is actually very good if you don't expect it to be cake. You just can't eat very much because it hits you like a brick.

At least the pizza was good. And I have a cinnamon roll left over from breakfast that I think I'll enjoy tomorrow. I've had enough baked goods for this evening.

(p.s. Ray got me a very pretty flower. I'm not usually one for them, but I think this is the most perfect looking rose anyone has ever given me. I love it.)

(p.p.s. The recipe came from, I've used it for cookies before. Usually pretty good)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Now with 30% less cat squeezage!

This bowl of fun was a clearance purchase from Midnightsky Fibers. I got the whole lot (not including the bowl) for $30! The very colorful stuff in front is more of an "art yarn" (or what looks to be scraps tied together), but they aren't very big and the other skeins COMPLETELY make up for what lack of usability (they may prove themselves useful after a closer inspection) the art yarns may have. Anyway, I couldn't pass it up, not at that price.

In other (knitting) news, I've started the second Gluttony sock and am a little disappointed at the pooling in the top area (but not enough to rip back!), but such is the uniqueness of hand-made socks. The second color didn't pool and I just started merging the third (and am about to start the heel), so we'll see how the rest of it goes.

I had the day off today and went out for breakfast this morning with Maura. She met me at my house and we walked downtown. It was really nice, and the food was scrumptious! Afterward, we headed over to Jule's and had coffee and knitted/talked until she had to go to work. I have to say that if we hadn't gone out I probably would have slept until 11 and just had cereal in my p.j.'s (which is actually my usual day off ritual, and is quite nice also), but it was good to get up early (for a day off) and have the whole day ahead of me. Even if I did use it to do laundry and take pictures of yarn. Sam was thrilled that I hung out upstairs in the bedroom (it gets the best light during the day), and rewarded me with all sorts of cute poses that made me want to hug him until his innards came out. I didn't though.

Tomorrow is my birthday and I think I have a lunch date with Jen and Brenna (I shall have to call tonight to confirm). Also, I think I might make myself a birthday cake from scratch, although I'm not sure what kind yet and I think I should probably go out and get some eggs. There probably aren't too many decadent cakes that don't have eggs. Ray has to work tomorrow, but we are going to have my favorite pizza (One Sun Bakery Spinach & Garlic, from the Co-op) and perhaps a movie or something.

The real party is going to be next Saturday when Jason, Janet, and I are having a birthday bowling bash! All of our birthdays fall within a week of each other (Apr. 1, 11, & Mar. 30, respectively) and we thought we'd just combine partys. Although the definite location and time is yet to be established, I believe All Star Lanes was suggested and the evening was preferred. More on that when it's been confirmed.

Right. Time to find cake recipes and knit some more.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

50% Gluttony, 50% Life

The first sock is DONE!!!!! I love it! This pattern is really cool and the yarn is great to work with. There were a few mistakes in the pattern, but they are pretty easily recognizable if you're paying attention to the pattern. My new favorite sock "innovation" is arch shaping, I LOVE it! You're basically putting a heel stitch on the bottom of your sock to make it pull in where your arch is, yet is still stretchy.

This is the fancy toe shaping. Done much like the decrease on a hat. Me likey. :)

This is the whole sock in all it's color-shifting glory.

The amazing arch shaping.

The second sock is being put on hold while I work on Heather's square for our TNKG scarf. I found a pattern that works really well with the yarn I'm using, Dalegarn Svale (cotton/viscose/silk). So that will be my project for this week.

On a non-knitting note, my nephew, Riordan, is home from the hospital. He still has to go back for physical therapy and to have his blood pressure monitored (there was some kidney damage), but at least he won't have to be cooped up in a hospital room and can be with his family. His siblings were VERY happy to see him.

Also, Ray and I bought tickets to go see Kids in the Hall perform at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis, MN in April. We are super-duper stoked about that!

Ok, I'm off to start on Heather's square and gear myself up for "The Show" by watching some seasons of KITH.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Oh Sweet Gluttony!

YAY! I got my first shipment from the 7 Deadly S(p)ins Club! It's got four 25g skeins in gradually escalating colors. You end up knitting a little from each skein to create a rainbow effect. It's really cool. Keeping in the theme of Gluttony, there was also a bag full of Jelly Belly beans (which had broken open in shipping, but it was a bag-in-a-bag deal, so no waste), a set of sock stitch holders (can never have too many of those), a Woolgirl (the store I signed up through) pen, and a little something else that I'm not going to divulge because I think it may be someone's birthday present. ;)

The sock pattern was designed by Kelly Eells and is really cool. It looks kind of like a broken rib of sorts. With the color changes it's really neat.

I still have my square to finish for Thursday, but I don't think I'll be able to resist casting this on. I guess having more projects going than I can work on at once would also be keeping in the theme!

P.S. the jelly belly's were gone before this post was finished! :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

...A Little Happier

I'm finally back. And there's good news, Riordan is doing much better. When we arrived at the hospital on Saturday morning, the doctors still were not sure what was infecting his body. He had a bunch of fluid around his lungs but they couldn't drain it at all because his blood platelet count was too low. On Saturday afternoon they were able to put in a chest tube and ended up draining a litre of fluid from around his left lung. It was full of bacteria and that bacteria told the doctors what they should be fighting (up to that point they had just been giving him something to treat "everything").

They discovered that the virus attacking his system was Group A Strep (more specifically Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome), and it's very uncommon for it to react this way. The doctor said that he's only seen a case like this 6 times in his career and that it is usually fatal. Needless to say we were all relieved to find out what was going on and that they were going to be able to treat it directly.

On Sunday they drained the fluid from around his right lung (there wasn't nearly as much) and started administering penicilin to fight the infection. Today, I found out from my brother, they took out his breathing tube. He's still under heavy medication and minor sedation, but if he does well without the respirator then he may be out of ICU by the weekend. Last I heard they were thinking they may have to put him on a dialysis machine, but I haven't heard anymore on that.

I can't say enough good things about the staff at Comer Children's Hospital. All the nurses were so nice and attentive, they answered all of our questions and when they didn't know the answer they found someone who did immediately. Anyone who's been in a situation where every minute something changes, knows how important that kind of response can be.

Aside from the atrocious drive home on Sunday (which my mother handled expertly, even after she had been driving all day) through patches of dense fog and heavy rain (in which the windsheild wipers would stop sporadically in mid-swipe), not getting home (or taking a shower) until Monday afternoon (night, for the shower), and doing a butt-load of laundry the second I got back, I'm actually starting to feel better. I had a slight breakdown at the laundromat. I think the stress of everything finally caught up to me and hit me when I wasn't expecting it. Thankfully Jen came to my rescue and helped me not make too much of a jackass of myself. (Thanks again, Jen, you don't even know how much that meant to me.)

I tried to knit a hat for my nephew, but between going in and out of hospital rooms and back and forth from the Ronald McDonald house (which is amazingly nice!) and the hospital I wasn't able to finish it. I think it might be too big anyway, so I'm going to start it over and mail it to them.

A little love, in every stitch.