Friday, April 30, 2010

Recipe #16: Acorn Squash and Black Bean Casserole

Last night's recipe was Fat Free Vegan's Pumpkin and Black Bean Casserole with a few small alterations.

This recipe layers the pumpkin with a layer of black beans, corn, bell pepper, tomatoes, and spices. I added chopped green chiles because I didn't have spicy diced tomatoes, and I only used normal chili powder because I couldn't find any of the fancy ones. (The chili powders are what I searched for at Whole Foods that I couldn't find.) I used acorn squash instead of pumpkin.

This is a picture of the bean layer...

and here is a layer of acorn squash on top of the bean layer. The layers went squash, bean, squash, bean, squash. On top of the final squash layer, there was a sauce of milk, corn starch, nutritional yeast, and spices.

Let's take a moment to recognize how awesome that casserole dish is. At some point in the not to distant past, I decided to make broccoli casserole for a pitch-in. Broccoli casserole is frozen broccoli, cream of mushroom soup, rice, and lots of cheese. I realized I didn't own a broccoli casserole dish.* I called Mom, who was properly horrified, and she gave me this dish. It's the dish I remember using when I was growing up, so I'm a little worried about what Mom must be using for her broccoli casserole. I try not to think of her using something new that is not avocado green.

The casserole baked for half an hour with the lid on, and then another half an hour with it off. The sauce became thick and bubbly, and the whole casserole was creamy and really, really delicious.

I love that this casserole reminds me of a cheesy potato casserole while it is neither cheesy nor potato-y. It's much healthier.

I also love that I was able to use my immersion blender and the chopper attachment for said blender. I was right when I said that everything I make should involve using this gadget. It's an excellent time.

Andrew wasn't a big fan of this because he's also against onions.** It would be easy enough to leave the onion out and put in more bell peppers, but it's also okay that he just doesn't like it.

This casserole makes an awful lot (2 quarts, some might say), so I think I'm going to serve it tomorrow night at my Vegiversary Extravaganza. I've been a vegetarian for a year. Happy vegiversary to me!

*Some people would call a broccoli casserole dish a "2 quart baking dish." That's not how I was raised. I'm actually a little surprised you can cook anything in that dish besides broccoli casserole. It feels sacrilegious somehow.

**He's not as opposed to onions as he is to mayonnaise, but he'd rather they weren't in his food. Since chopping the onions even with the chopper attachment made me cry, I don't mind leaving them out of most things.

Edited to add: I just found a good description of nutritional yeast. I didn't know that one reason it's used is because of its similarity to cheese. No wonder this casserole reminded me of cheesy, potato-y goodness.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

January Socks and My Post-Sweater Scarf

Today I have two finished items to show you.

These are the January socks from my sock club. Yes, I know it's the end of April. I only get sock club shipments every other month, so technically I'm only one shipment behind. Since the January socks are now finished, I'm not even really behind. Ha ha! (she shouted triumphantly)

Anyway, these are toe-up, which I find difficult. I am not very good with toe-up, and they turned out too big. I'm probably going to have to give them away, but I haven't resigned myself to that yet.

Pretty, yes?*

Cascadia pattern (ravelry link), Happy Go Lucky colorway
January 2010 Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club
The scarf that I cast on while deep in the throes of sadness over the death of my beautiful sweater is also finished.
Entrelac Scarf (ravlery link),
Noro Silk Garden, 252 colorway
I love this scarf. I have knit this pattern four times now, but this is the first one that I've kept. Andrew bought me the yarn for Christmas (or my birthday, neither of us can remember), and it's just fantastic. I feel like I'm part of some special club. I've now knit with Noro.
*Ignore the bad photos. Someday maybe I'll take the time to learn how to avoid that. Perhaps.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Karma Chameleon

One of our neighbors has awesome furniture on her front porch. She has one pink and one orange plastic adirondack chair and a bright blue table in between them. We saw her on her porch one day, complimented the chairs and asked where she found them.

She told us that she found them at the grocery store quite close to us. We went there, but they were already sold out. Sad.

When Grandfather had the deck redone at the cabin so one could sit on it without fear of death, we once again thought about outside furniture. Grandfather mentioned colored adirondack chairs, and I set myself on an epic Internet search in an attempt to find them. I could not.

A couple years pass. This past weekend, Andrew stopped at the grocery for milk and called me from the store. They had the chairs!

Last night, we bought six chairs--two for our house and four for the cabin. They are lovely.

Now, before we go farther on this story, you need to know that Andrew and I met while working retail to earn money for college. Think of the largest, most soul-sucking big-box store you can. Got it? That's where we worked. I believe it is God's attempt to keep me humble. "How did you and your partner meet?" "Um, well..."

While working at said store, we used to get great amusement out of the people who bought giant televisions and then tried to fit them into their compact cars.

You see where this story is headed.

The thing about these chairs is that they don't bend. They're not gigantic chairs, but they are very awkwardly shaped. We were in the parking lot of the grocery trying to fit the chairs into the back of our Vibe, which has a pretty big cargo capacity, letitbeknown. Two chairs in. Two chairs out. Three chairs--nope, won't fit. Two chairs back in. Two other chairs attempted at a 90 degree angle--nope. This went on for awhile.

A minivan pulls up beside us, and the driver calls out the window, "Do you live far?" We start to laugh, knowing we've become the people with the TV and the Smart Car. She says kindly, "I just don't think you're going to make it with those chairs."

Four chairs go into the back of her minivan, and two go into the back of our car. She, her husband, and her two children follow us home and unload. After we thank them profusely for rescuing us, we ask if they will take any compensation. The husband replied, "No. Just do it for someone else when you have a bigger car than they do."

The kindness of strangers.

This nice family created a lot of good karma. Not only did they help us out of a ridiculous scenario, but we'll both remember their kindness when we see someone trying to put a TV into their Smart Car. Instead of laughing, we'll offer to transport it for them.

Well, if I'm honest, we might still laugh, but just a little.


I'm sure everyone has things that make one feel old.
  • I see tweens wearing '80s inspired clothing, and I realize they've never seen the 80s.
  • My niece is old enough to start 4-H and sell geraniums.
  • Alanis Morissette is identified as a 90s artist instead of the musical genius she is, and I realize that this is how my mom feels about artists from the 60s.
  • My friend's son becomes a teenager.
  • Reaching the age at which I need to start taking calcium supplements because my body is unable to stockpile it
  • Taylor Swift--anything at all about Taylor Swift

Sunday afternoon, I willingly did something else that made me feel old.

I bought a pill case. I take a lot of vitamins in the morning, and it seems stupid to open every bottle every morning. I'm a lot more likely to actually take everything if I have it in one place. Pill cases also appeal to my Type A-ness. I love me some organization.

But I still feel old.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wardrobe Woes

Recently, as I got dressed, I tried to figure out what shoes to wear. It wasn't an "I have so many shoes I can’t pick a pair." It was more of an "I’m wearing black pants and my black Dockers are really too big and the other black shoes are heels (and therefore out) and the only other ones are heavy quilted ones."

So I put on a pair of purple generic Converse and went to work.

It occurred to me that a 32-year-old woman should not have to wear purple sneakers to work unless she chooses to. Often, I choose to. Sometimes, I think there should be a less purple way. (To be fair, I also considered pink sneakers and sneakers with sequins.)

When I examined my outfit further, I found I was wearing black slacks I’ve never particularly liked that I bought off Lands End Outlet. I’m also wearing a button-up shirt that I DO like—from Lands End Outlet.

Moving further down this wardrobe train, I have two button-up short-sleeved shirts, one brown and one white, that I wear nearly every week in the spring and summer. That’s 40% of my work days in two shirts. That also seems less than adult and professional. Sad as it is, there is no uniform in this job.

I resent the time that shopping takes, and I sure as hell resent the money. Hence, outlet shopping online. I resent having to think about what I'm going to wear, so I tend to buy the same article of clothing in multiple colors. I decided perhaps I needed to develop a new strategy.

I took a deep breath and asked my friend Rachel if she'd go thrift store shopping with me. I reminded her that a) I am a bitch while clothes shopping, and b) I am a bitch whenever I get near a Goodwill. Although I would try very hard to be on my best behavior, I couldn't promise I wouldn't need talked down.

Rachel, ever brave, and I went thrift store shopping on Saturday. We went to three Goodwills, and it took about six hours. Luckily, I had been prepared earlier in the week for the startling and horrifying fact that clothes are not grouped by size in Goodwill stores. (Madness.)

I had to take some items back yesterday, but the net haul was 5 skirts, 2 long-sleeved dress shirts, 4 jackets, 3 short-sleeved shirts, 2 pair dress pants, 2 shirts I'm giving as presents, and a few additional pieces of clothing that fit but would fit a lot better if I lost another 5 pounds. (We call those "incentive.") The average cost was $4 per piece of clothing.

I still hate shopping with a fiery passion, but this seems to be the way to go. I reminded myself that I donate clothes to Goodwill a lot, and I don't donate icky things. I donate things that don't fit or that I don't wear. I'm sure that's true for the things I purchased as well.

I washed everything yesterday. This morning I stood in my closet looking at my new clothes and trying to figure out what to wear. I put on my cute new jean jacket and....

pink sneakers. Damn. Perhaps I need to go shoe shopping next.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Perfect Date

Last night I had a fantastic date. You can, too! Follow these simple instructions:

1. Marry someone awesome. Date him.
2. Order pizza delivery.
3. Eat pizza and breadsticks on couch while watching baseball game.
4. After finishing dinner, knit on Socks That Will Not End while date surfs internet. Continue to watch the game.
5. If possible, be sure that baseball team of choice wins game.

Andrew, pizza, baseball, and knitting. It's a quadfecta* of awesome.

*Totally made up word.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Recipe #15: Curried Tempeh Salad

This recipe is based on Vegan Thyme's recipe. The changes I made aren't because of any careful culinary consideration, but rather because a) I like fake bacon, and b) I didn't have some stuff and had to substitute.

Tempeh and I--how do I describe our relationship? Honesty is best. The only time I've cooked with it, it looked, tasted, and felt very, very much like a suet cake that I put out for the birds. It was like eating a giant cake of seeds held together with fat.

Vegan Thyme says that the problem is that I didn't boil and marinate the tempeh. I want to like tempeh, so I decided to try another recipe and do the boil and marinate bit.

My food isn't pretty. I'm beginning to accept that.

I do not in any way regret becoming a vegetarian. There are, however, a handful of dishes that I miss. One of those is the chicken salad sandwich from a local cafe. Their version has chicken, mayo, bacon, and not much else, and they serve it on homemade sourdough bread. It's delicious.

In honor of that sandwich, I added veggie bacon to this. Turns out, you can't taste it at all because the spices are so strong. Ah, well.

See the original recipe for all the info. I substituted lime juice for lemon because that's what I had. I didn't put in raisins or nuts because I didn't want to. I used light mayo instead of vegan mayo (vegetarian, not vegan).

I began cooking this at 9:00 Tuesday night and it took about an hour. I let it sit overnight in the fridge and we ate it Wednesday. By "we," I mean a friend and me. Andrew has a bizarre and freakishly strong hatred of mayo in any form. It predates me, and I have been powerless to do anything about it. I made this recipe knowing he wouldn't eat it.*
Here it is on top of a sandwich thin alongside a grilled portobello. I didn't mind the tempeh at all in this form, so boiling and marinating must be the way to go. I find that pretty exciting in and of itself since it opens up another avenue for getting good protein. I may try this recipe again without the curry and see how that is. The curried version is good, but it isn't something I could eat every week. The fact that this recipe lends itself to variations is a bonus.
For all those keeping track at home, I'm now 60% finished with my New Year's resolution of cooking 25 new dishes in 2010.

*Let's be honest: He's probably relieved to just put a hamburger on the grill for himself. I've gotten really weird about food during the past year.

We're Going Up!

Tonight we finished the vertical supports for the garden.

We followed the directions in the Square Foot Gardening book. We started by hammering 1/2" x 18" rebar into the ground for supports. Then we used 5' lengths of electrical conduit for the sides, cut down the ones that go across the top to 4', and connected them with elbows. That frame then sits on the rebar supports. We finished tying the trellis netting tonight.

Even though most of the veggies won't be planted until mid-May, I do have swiss chard and peas already planted. The peas have sprouted.
Grow as fast as you want, little peas! We're ready.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Recipe #14: "Sausage," Peppers & Onion

I went to Whole Foods after work today. I'd never been. The aisles were very small, and I didn't know where anything was. I found it extremely overwhelming. A panicked voice inside my head kept saying, "What is all this stuff for? Are you supposed to be eating it? Are you missing vital nutrients? What do these people know that you don't?" A very nice woman in the bakery asked if I needed help and took me across the store to the nutritional yeast flakes. She was extremely kind, and I had a strong desire to attach myself to her arm, hand her my list*, and just follow. She struck me as the kind of person who would have taken such behavior in stride, but I didn't push it that far. I just thanked her for the help and let her get back to her job.

I didn't find everything I wanted--I was looking for some weird spices--but I found most of it. I bought the fake sausages that Kelly mentioned on her blog along with tempeh (try, try again), the nutritional yeast, and curry. I plan to try a recipe based on her fake chicken salad and possibly a casserole from Susan at Fat Free Vegan. (I realize I end up using recipes from the internet more than I do recipes from my fancy cookbooks, but that makes sense for someone who sits in front of a computer for most of the day.)

Anyhoo, I arrived home hungry and cranky. I resisted the urge to pull another frozen meal out and instead boiled fresh peas from the bin and cooked an onion, a red bell pepper, and the fake sausage in a skillet with some garlic. We ate the sausage, peppers, and onions on our normal nutty oat bread, and it was pretty fabulous.

However, Andrew and I both thought there should be some sort of sauce. We carefully thought back to the cheesesteaks we had enjoyed in Philadelphia--yes, the protein was different, but something else was missing. What was it?

Not pretty, but tasty all the same

Cheese Whiz.

Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia often come covered in Cheese Whiz. That was the creamy sauce we were missing.

Ah, well. Cheese Whiz is not a viable option--I find it very helpful to visualize a jar of Cheese Whiz literally stuck to my ass as this is what would basically happen to it if I ate it--, so I'll just get used to this dish as is or find another way to jazz it up.

Andrew and I both enjoyed the sandwich, which was a pleasant surprise. Being an omnivore, Andrew much prefers the pig kind of sausage, but this fake version has a nice texture and taste. I'm excited to have another food option for the grill, and I would definitely eat this sandwich again.

Even if it isn't covered in Cheese Whiz.

*When I proofread that paragraph, I found I had typed "life" instead of "list." That, also, is true, but a bit too much of a Freudian slip.

Magic Flute

Saturday night I went to my first opera. Butler University (yes, THAT Butler) was performing Mozart's The Magic Flute. Lynn's niece was the Queen of the Night, so we went.

As Lynn told one of her sons, you need to see at least one opera in your life. This one is in English, it's pretty funny, and it has someone in it that you know. This is the one to attend.

The Opera Center is in an old church, and the performance was in the sanctuary. Unfortunately, the stage isn't raised very high, so anytime a character was seated (or had fainted, which happened quite a lot) I lost sight of him/her. They use the original old wooden pews, and they, my friends, are hard.

The character Edward in Pretty Woman, a repository for all knowledge, says, "People's reactions to opera the first time they see it is very dramatic; they either love it or they hate it. If they love it, they will always love it. If they don't, they may learn to appreciate it, but it will never become part of their soul."

Opera will never become part of my soul.

I didn't hate it, but I certainly didn't love it.
  • The Queen of the Night has some personality dysfunction. In the first act, she's singing about how devastated she is about her daughter's kidnapping. In the second act, she's telling her daughter to shiv someone or else she's disowned. Those are her only two appearances.*
  • Tamino falls in love with Pamina after seeing her picture. This has been the downfall of many a person on online dating sites.
  • Even worse, Pamina falls in love with Tamino after hearing that he loves her. She's never met him. She's never seen his photo. She knows nothing about him. She only loves him because he loves her. Ridiculous, self-centered, and doomed to fail.
  • Pamina is devastated because Tamino won't talk to her. Instead of trying to find out his reasoning, she immediately goes to kill herself. Juliet, is that you?
  • I'm very confused about how this opera portrays women. On one hand, Tamino and Papageno enter a vow of silence from women. They can talk to one another and to other men, just not to women. After all, women are deceivers. On the other hand, Pamina ends up leading Tamino through his final trials.
  • The monstrous serpent looked surprisingly like a dragon from a Chinese New Year's parade.
Despite my problems with the plot and props, the actors were very impressive. I found myself wanting to know what these students will be doing ten years from now. Some of them will have careers as performers, I'm sure.

I'm just not sure I'm going to go watch them in an opera.

*To be fair, we were watching a 2 hour version. The full version is 3 hours. Who knows what all was cut out.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Tale of Woe

Once upon a time, there was a sweater, and, lo, it was beautiful.

The intrepid knitter knitted a gauge swatch, changed needles, knitted another gauge swatch, puzzled over said swatches, shrugged, and cast on.*

The knitter knit and knit, admiring the beautiful cabled yoke.

She then struggled mightily with the arm and put the sweater in time out. Eventually she realized that she had skipped a crucial sentence while reading the pattern... a sentence that goes something like, "Repeat in pattern for 49 more rows."** She took a deep breath, ripped, reknitted properly, and happily continued.

Hmmm, the knitter thought that this sweater seemed a little big. Another shrug. Probably an illusion. After all, she was following the pattern.***

The knitter finishes the body of the sweater and tries it on. It's too large. She attempts to convince herself this is not the case. Eventually, reason prevails.

She decides to continue knitting. Perhaps the sweater is destined for a friend! Friends love her knitting! This sweater is gorgeous! Yes, that's just what she'll do.

She finds the errata for the collar online and knits it. She attempts to sew it to the body of the sweater. It doesn't work. It's big and floppy and ridiculous.

She puts the sweater in time out for the second time.

The knitter goes to the cabin, a lovely, tranquil place. Here, she carefully rips out the collar and winds the yarn into a big ball. She begins to reknit it. Immediately the tranquility of the cabin is threatened.

A very difficult decision is made, and the sweater is exiled to the bottom of the dirty clothes bag.

Later that week, the knitter gathered the necessary supplies...


and a Weepies CD.

And she began.

I could think of a million ways
You proved you weren't the one
So live inside of your shades of gray...
The Weepies, "All Good Things"

Two hours later, her sweater looked like this:

I try to be honest, try to be kind
And honestly leave when I know that it's time
I know that it's time....
Even stars sometimes fade to gray.
The Weepies, "Hideaway"

The knitter is now knitting a scarf.

*Let this be a lesson.

**Let this be another lesson.

***Dear lord, the lessons are everywhere.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Survey Says!

The National NeedleArts Association is doing a survey to learn more about people's spending habits, the types of projects, they do, where they get their info., etc. A blog I read pointed me toward the survey, and being a Crazy Knitter, I decided they needed to know my opinions.

I got to the part where they asked how many projects you completed in 2009 and how they broke down into different categories.

Dutifully, I went to my Ravelry page and compiled my answer.

Shawl 1
Sweater 1
Scarf 8
Hat 10
Socks 15 (pair, naturally)
Gloves/Mittens 4 (pair, naturally)
Ornament/Stocking 10
Other 4*

Holy crap. I finished 53 knitting projects in 2009.

It's a wonder I get anything else done at all. Anybody want something for Christmas, 2010?

*"Other" includes the above toy dragon for my nephew, a pair of legwarmers for a friend, a dishcloth, and a pair of baby booties.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Weekend at the Cabin

In honor of Wordless Wednesday (a day late)...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Circle of Life

I was in 4-H for 10 years. For 10 years, we sold red geraniums as a fundraiser. To be supportive, my family would often buy flats of these flowers, and I remember planting them at our house, at Grandfather's house, at strangers' houses when they weren't home, etc.

As a result, I refuse to plant geraniums. It isn't that I don't recognize their merit as a flower--I do. They can withstand hot midwestern summers. They're easy to deadhead and bloom profusely all summer. Their weird smell only bothers you if you get very close to them.

I'm just tired of them.

Last night, my niece phoned me. "Aunt Bonnie, would you like to buy some geraniums?"

She's started 4-H.

Now I'm in a quandary. No, I would not like to buy geraniums. Yes, I would like to support my niece.


"If I buy geraniums, would you plant them at Grandfather's?"

Today I sent a check for half a flat.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Recipe #13: Steamed Artichoke

I steamed an artichoke last night, which I am absolutely counting as a new recipe. My resolution, my rules.

My silicone steamer insert has very short, stubby legs. I kept pouring more water out of my pan because the water was seeping over the edge of the steamer insert. I'm not sure how you make sure you have enough water that the pan doesn't boil dry and yet don't have the vegetable sitting in water. Ah, cooking, you are a mystery.

The leftover water in the pan was green. Is that supposed to happen?

I had made a half-hearted attempt at finding a dip to use that wasn't as unhealthy as just melting butter, but I had no luck. I melted some I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Light (really, does it even count as butter?) and dipped the leaves into that.

Sadly, I liked the taste of butter much more than I liked the taste of artichoke. I had artichoke leaves with fancy mushroom stuff (Oyster Mushroom Rockefeller) on them at the veggie class. I really liked that, and it felt like there was a lot more edible flesh from the artichoke leaves. Did I do something wrong, or was that just an illusion brought on by the stuff piled on the leaves? It seemed like a lot of time and heat expended for not very much veggie.

Any insight anyone has into artichokes would be greatly appreciated. I'm trying to grow some in the garden this year.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Recipe #12: Santa Fe Salad with Chili Lime Dressing

Neither Andrew nor I are big into traditional foods. Even when I ate meat, we never ever ever wanted to cook a brisket. Or a roast (is that the same as a brisket?). Or a ham. Or a turkey. Or any meat in a crock pot. Or carrots and potatoes cooked together until they're all indiscriminate mush.

We much prefer food to be spicy.*

For Easter, we baked FiberOne blueberry muffins with applesauce instead of oil, which were a hit. We also made this salad. We substituted a can of drained diced tomatoes with green chiles instead of fresh tomatoes--it's still too early for tomatoes that don't taste like cardboard in my opinion. We also used three romaine hearts and extra peppers, and made Mexican-flavored edamame (recipe #6) and threw that in for some protein and additional flavor.**

For the dressing, we used light sour cream instead of mayo because Andrew has a weird and adamant aversion to any mayo products. It was really delicious. We looked at the bottles of dressing we had in the refrigerator, and every single one had expired. We don't eat enough salad, apparently, and we certainly don't clean out our fridge often enough. I'm trying to decide if I should buy salad dressing or just commit to eating salad with salsa or a dressing like this. This certainly tastes better, but bottles are so darn convenient....

We had enough left over to send some home with a couple people, eat leftovers one night, and have a couple of servings for me to eat for lunch this week. I consider that an acceptable amount of leftovers since we had to use a cake carrier to transport the giant salad.

This is the 12th new recipe I've cooked this year, which makes me nearly halfway to my goal of 25.

*Or pizza. Let's be honest. Mmmm, pizza.

**And because I'm a whore for edamame. Again with the honesty.

Back to Knitting

Now that Easter is over, I'm back to posts about things like knitting and cooking. (Did I just hear the Internets breathe a sigh of relief?) We made a new salad for Easter, and it was received surprisingly well considering it contained a) edamame and b) no ham. I'll share more about that tomorrow. Today we talk about knitting.

I finished a pair of socks on Sunday.

They're prettier than this, but this is what you get when you decide to photograph blue socks at night. Here's a closeup of the heel which should give you a better idea.

Saguaro socks (Ravelry link)
Knitpicks Stroll Kettle Dyed Yarn in Jay

I got a little bit bored with these, but I think that was more a problem with the plain blue color than with the pattern. I have found that I enjoy knitting socks more than I enjoy wearing them. I think I'm going to have to start framing them and using them as art. Although I love socks like my Olympic Socks, there is a limit to what they can be worn with--even by someone who has no interest in fashion. I'm hopeful that these will get a lot of wear owing to their plain color.

Last night I started a new pair. These are the January socks from the 2010 sock club. This year, the sock club comes with two patterns so you can pick the one you like the best. I liked both the January patterns, so I attempted to knit one of them with the blue yarn you saw above. The yarn decided it didn't want to be knitted into that pattern*, so I gave up and did the Saguaro pattern. I started the second January pattern last night.

I knew I was in trouble when the first instruction was, "Using your chosen toe-up CO (cast on) method, CO 22 sts..." Crap. I don't have a chosen toe-up cast on. I don't even like to knit socks toe-up. I've done a pair that way--just so I could say I'd tried it--but I find increasing much fiddlier than decreasing, so I usually go cuff-down.

I consulted my friend, the Internets, and found a cast-on that had Magic in the title. Deciding that was probably my best bet, that's what I used.

I cast on carefully, struggled for a few rows, and realized I had giant holes.


I cast on again, trying to be optimistic about how much practice I was getting with this new cast-on technique, and started again. This one went pretty well, but much, much later I realized there were two separate sets of instructions--one for the top of the toe and one for the bottom. I cursed quite a bit, and then...


I didn't frog all the way back this time, but I ripped out a bunch of rows. I started again, knit happily, and then realized I was following the instructions for size small instead of size medium.

At this point I flipped off my knitting.


Andrew was sitting on the couch with me, and he turned to me and gently said, "Bonnie, you have to stop. You can't expect to do this on OPENING DAY."

He was right. We were watching our beloved Reds get trounced upon by The Team Who Hangs Around With Albert Pujols.**

So, this is the result of hours and hours of knitting last night:

Someday, perhaps, it will be a sock.

Happy baseball season, everyone!

*Splitty yarn + Bobbles = Crazy Town

**That man is a delight to watch play, even as he's destroying the confidence of your pitcher.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Teachings of Jesus

Fourth in a series of Holy Week posts...

I decided to do these Holy Week posts because of one sentence I heard last week in church: "All of Jesus's life was leading up to this week."

Well, in a chronological sense, I suppose that's true. All of my life was leading up to this week. About 12:30 all my life will have been leading up to lunch. Later this afternoon all my life will have been leading up to a jog.

I don't think that's what was meant. It would have been much easier for me if it was. A bit mundane, perhaps, but easier.

I find the emphasis on Jesus's last days very troubling. To me, it's as if we said that Ghandhi or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were only important because of the way they died. By emphasizing Jesus's death so much, I think we miss out on what we can learn from his life.

And that's a lot.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus taught us to look at the world differently--to concern ourselves not with those in power but rather with those who were in need. He emphasized Torah and tikkun olam and worked to revitalize religion. He taught us not to be afraid of saying what we believe is right, even if there are scary consequences.

I believe in that.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pesach and the Crucifixion

Post three in my Easter series.

Why was Jesus crucified? Let's set aside the idea that he had to be in order to fulfill some prophecy. Rome wasn't all that concerned with prophecy.

What Rome was concerned with was maintaining control over those it had conquered. It was dominating in the best of times, but Rome became especially nervous and tyrannical around Pesach.*


Pesach is the celebration and remembrance of the Exodus. The Exodus was a time when the Hebrew people rose up against their foreign oppressors and kicked some Egyptian ass. Pesach had special significance in a time when they were being ruled over by another foreign people, this time the Romans.

Rome understood that during Pesach, everyone was easily whipped up into a frenzy. They were ready for a revolution. Anyone who looked like he might be a potential leader of said revolution had to be dealt with decisively.

Then Jesus enters Jerusalem to a thrilled crowd shouting his name.

And Rome takes action.

And that's why Easter should never be celebrated without remembering Pesach.

Chag Sameach, everybody.

*Pesach is the Hebrew transliteration of Passover.