Friday, November 29, 2002


I am eating a bowl of soup made from, yes, leftover turkey from the church dinner Wednesday night. The recipe is from Wednesday's LA Times' Food Section.
Creamy Turkey Rice Soup

Total time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8

2 tablespoons butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup jasmine rice
1/2 pound diced roasted turkey (2 cups)
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon fresh minced thyme
3 bay leaves
1 quart turkey or chicken broth
3 cups half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Melt the butter in a 5-quart saucepan over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the rice, turkey, lemon zest and juice, thyme and bay leaves. Cook for 30 seconds. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Add the half-and-half and bring to a simmer over low heat. Add the salt and pepper and remove the bay leaves.

Each serving: 228 calories; 268 mg. sodium; 62 mg. cholesterol; 14 grams fat; 8 grams saturated fat; 11 grams carbohydrates; 15 grams protein; 0.80 gram fiber.
I made a few small changes based on the ingredients I had at hand. (I was hoping to buy nothing today, but I did swing by my neighborhood Altadena Dairy drive-through to get some half-n-half.)

My only other culinary exploits this Thanksgiving were two batches of cranberry-orange sauce. I made three times the recipe for Wednesday's church dinner and a batch for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday at my pastor's house. It is such a simple recipe to make, and yet it receives lots of compliments.

Thursday, November 28, 2002


I'm in a state of inspiredness upon my return from a conference in Toronto. The conference was held in downtown Toronto at various venues around the convention center, including the Royal York Hotel (where the queen stays when she's in town). My hotel was right next to the CN Tower, a wonderful navigation aid for finding my way around. The weather wasn't too cold, but scarves, hats, and gloves were very welcome. A series of covered walkways and underground tunnels made the trek between meeting locations much warmer.

The two newsworthy events of the conference were the interview with Jacques Derrida (between 1,500 to 2,000 people attended that event) and the debate over the authenticity of the inscription recently deciphered on the ossuary that perhaps once held the bones of James, brother of Jesus.

After attending a last session on Tuesday morning, I took off on a knitting adventure. Kate had recommended Romni Wools to me, and I spent a happy couple of hours browsing all their aisles of wool and boxes of patterns. I ended up buying only a couple of pattern leaflets because I was too overwhelmed by all the choice. The store is located in a garment district, and I walked back along Queen Street window shopping at the funky thrift shops, fabric remnant stores, ethnic restaurants, hardware stores, grocery stores, etc., with not a chain store in sight!

It's good to be back home, and I feel more inclined to tackle my studies. Now we'll see if feeling translates into action....

Thursday, November 21, 2002


I shan't be posting for a while; see you next week.

Wednesday, November 20, 2002


I shall boast of the weather in So. Calif. one more time. It will be in the 80s at the beaches, in the 90s inland today. My eyes feasted on the deep blue sky this morning as I hung out my clothes to dry, stretching up to fasten the clothes onto the rather high line, head flung back.

In the December issue of The Atlantic Monthly, David Brooks discusses a book by Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner, The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind's Hidden Complexities. (Unfortunately, Brooks's essay, "Light Shows of the Mind," is not available online.) The process of "blending" the multitudes of concepts and sensations perceived by the mind is imagination.
Without our permission, our imaginations range around connecting one set of perceptions to another. The imagination builds fantasy landscapes and experiences and then moves into them to see what they're like. (p. 30)
Brooks explains shopping behavior in terms of imagination; we buy what "fires" our imaginations and then set that thing aside when it no longer has such an effect.

That the imagination can connect both fantasy and reality is what keeps us moving ahead, advancing:
For example, our imaginations trick us into undertaking difficult tasks. We decide to learn a language, renovate our house, move to a new town, have children, or begin writing a book [or undertake a Ph.D. program or a complicated knitting project]. We envision the pleasure and satisfaction we will feel and the success we will achieve. Then those tasks turn out to be hard, and the difficulties we encounter bring out our best exertions and make us better people. If our imaginations hadn't deceived us with glorious visions, we might never have started that book or that renovation [or that Ph.D. program or that knitting project] the first place. (p. 31)
What "fires" my imagination at the moment are beautiful knitting books of sweaters with complex patterns in rich colors photographed on remote Hebridean islands. What I am searching for is something to light up my imagination and compel me to plunge ahead with my studies.

Friday, November 15, 2002

Another glorious day

[Edit 9/12/05: To view photos, click here.]

The weather this past week has been incredibly gorgeous. Last weekend we had two inches of rain, which cleared up on Sunday. Then we've had sunny, warm weather all week. And because of the rain, everything looks washed and green, or, in the case of the sky, brilliant blue.

I just dropped off my car at the mechanic's. I was only going to get the oil changed, but he noticed metal showing through on my tires, so I'm getting two new tires now, too. I was going to have gone to a knitting shop this morning to get some help sewing together a project I've finished knitting (and to make myself stay in one place until I finished assembling it—not my favorite part of knitting) but now I don't know if I'll have time after the mechanic is finished and before the piano tuner comes this afternoon to tune my piano.

(One of) my current knitting projects:

Fingerless gloves

[Removed photo 9/12/05]
Pattern: Basic Women's Fair Isle Fingerless Gloves
Pattern from: Knitting Fair Isle Mittens & Gloves: 40 Great-Looking Designs by Carol Rasmussen Noble
Wool used:Filanda Extrafine 100% Alpaca, heather taupe color (# 32 / 452). I'm hoping I can make both gloves with just one 50 g. ball, but because I'm only using one color, I'm not sure if one ball will stretch quite far enough.
Where purchased: Temple City Knit Shop, Temple City, California
Needles: Addi bamboo double-pointed U.S. 0 (2.0 mm) for cuff ribbing and hand; U.S. 1 (2.5 mm) for ribbing for partial fingers; and U.S. 2 (2.75 mm) to cast off partial fingers.
Started: November 2002
Completed: February 2005
For whom: Me
What I learned: How to make seamless (partial) fingers on two needles, knitting with a third needle. Also, it is important that the knitted partial fingers are not too tight or else they cut off circulation to the fingers.

I tried out the glove last Sunday when I was practising the piano before church. It really helped keep my right hand warm and nimble in the not-quite-heated church. However, now that the weather has warmed up so much, I'm not in a hurry to knit the left-hand glove.

[Removed photo 9/12/05]

(This was a very difficult picture to take. I had to hold my 35 mm camera, which was extra heavy with the flash, in my left hand twisted around so I could press the shutter button.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Grade 4 project

[Edit 9/12/05: To view photo, click here.]

At boarding school, beginning in Grade 1, we had two handwork projects each term, one knitting project and one sewing project. Every Saturday morning we'd meet at the house of the teacher assigned to our projects. We worked on our handwork throughout the week, except we weren't allowed to work on it on Sundays. After "Handwork" we had "Library" and then a few prep periods. In the afternoon we went swimming and played down at the river. (I recently came across some school pictures, including the swimming pool and play area by the river. The pictures were taken before my time, but not much had changed at the school when I was there in the 1970s.) Then in the evening we were shown films. I loved Saturdays!

Eventually, I will take pictures of as many projects as I still have. I know I've lost some along the way, e.g., the yellow smocked nightgown and the blue dress with the hand embroidered bodice. As a start, here an egg cozy I knitted in Grade 4 (I think):

Egg Cozy

[Photo removed 9/12/05]

Started & Completed: ~ Grade 4
What I learned: How to make pom-poms
Handwork documentation

[Edit 9/12/05: To view photos, click here.]

Well, I got my roll of film back, so here goes. Eventually, I want to put up a separate page with my handwork projects, similar to Wendy's, but ever so much more modest. But Wendy is an inspiration and role model: she does beautiful work and she finishes projects. (Please note that some of my documentation categories are similar to hers, e.g.)

Oval Knitted Lace Table Cover
[Removed photo 9/12/05]
Pattern: Knitted Lace, Fluted Design with Eyelets
Pattern by: Mrs. Mae Young
Pattern Source: "Trimmings," in PieceWork magazine, January/February 1996
Thread used: DMC Fil D'Écosse; Cébélia; 100% cotton; Size 10; Color Ecru
Where purchased: Thread--Mariposa, South Pasadena, California and Michael's, Pasadena, California; Satin smooth brocade cloth--Velona Needlecraft, Anaheim Hills, California
Needles: Clover Takumi Bamboo double-pointed U.S. 1 (2.5mm)
Started: 1996?
Completed: November 2002
For whom: M
What I learned: How to block knitted lace from the instructions in Second Book of Modern Lace Knitting by Marianne Kinzel and from Judy Gibson's knitted lace blocking photos and instructions. (I also learned about Velona Needlecraft from Judy Gibson's site.) From the helpful woman at the Bearly Stitchin quilting supply store, I learned how to make patterns from freezer paper (available in grocery stores, e.g., Reynolds brand). You iron sheets of freezer paper together (iron on the non-plastic side) to make as large piece of paper as you need and then draw a template or pattern on the non-plastic side. You can then iron the pattern onto the back of the fabric (again, iron on the non-plastic side with the plastic side against the fabric), cut out the pattern, and then peel off the freezer paper.

The Bearly Stitchin woman also told me about foam-core poster board, which is available at art supply stores, and which can be used for blocking. I bought a 32" x 40" x 1/4" piece for $3 - $4, and it worked really well. I used a Sharpie water-proof marker (again, Judy Gibson's suggestion) to draw grid lines for blocking an oval shape. Because the board doesn't absorb water, the lace dries more quickly. The board is lightweight yet sturdy and, therefore, very easy to move from the floor to upright against a wall or from room to room. And it's very easy to reposition the pins multiple times as needed.

After I washed the knitted lace in cold water with Woolite, rinsed it, and then rolled it in a towel to absorb the excess water, I used T-pins to pin out the lace.

[Removed photo 9/12/05]
The next challenge was to figure out how to attach the lace to the satin material. Abbreviated version of a long story: the tailor at the dry cleaner I use sewed the piece together so that it is reversible. I was quite pleased with her work, although it's not perfect as the photo shows. However, the piece does look better in real life than in the photo and when it's properly ironed. Originally, I had wanted to complete the entire project myself, but after searching for ideas on how to put it together (the pattern is only for a piece of knitted edging, not for how to make it into something), I ended up having someone else finish it. Next time, I will look for a place that specializes in finishing handwork if something is too complicated for me to do well. I will also instruct them not to iron the knitted lace part.

Finally, here is the thank you note I received from M. On the one hand, I'm embarrassed because I know the gift isn't perfect; on the other hand, M writes such elegant notes.
How can I adequately express my deep appreciation and reverance for a gift of such consequence and intrinsic worth? I am awed by your thoughtfulness and the beauty and substance of your handwork. I will indeed treasure the beautiful lace and hold dear the kindness, talent, generosity of spirit, and good thoughts with which it was wrought. Thank you....

Saturday, November 09, 2002


From a link at dangerous chunky on 11.04.02, I found the Path to Freedom site, and realized as soon as I read "First real rain of the season!" in their Urban Diary that I was reading a local weblog, from my own city no less. Check out these pictures of their urban homestead garden. Their story reminds me of a family I see at the Farmer's Market who grow their produce in the backyard of their urban/suburban home.

Having recently been laid off by a Fortune 500 company, I am really drawn to that way of life, i.e., being as self-sufficient as possible. I've been fantasizing about moving back to my parents' farm, raising sheep and llamas, spinning my own wool, and knitting clothes for myself, as gifts, and for sale. Maybe I could also open a needlework store on the farm or in town and go into business with my aunt who does beautiful handwork of all kinds. Oh yes. And I could raise grass-fed beef and free range chickens and sell eggs and meat to people from Seattle. But after two days straight of rain here in So Cal, I remember how depressing Washington weather can get. But then knitting is the best antidote for the dampening effects of bad weather....

Even better, if I'd finish this #%&* degree, I would have a back up for earning (or supplementing) a living, in case farming and needlework weren't quite sufficient.

Friday, November 08, 2002

Escalating desire

I want a digital camera NOW so that I can write and illustrate the posts I want to RIGHT NOW without having to wait for Target to develop my film and e-mail me my pictures.

All this impatience because yesterday I knitted a fingerless glove, and I want to show it off. I have been wearing it all day today, and I am so pleased with it. I made it from 100% Alpaca extrafine wool from Peru. It is a heathery brown color, very soft and a little fuzzy, and very warm. I used a pattern from Knitting Fair Isle Mittens & Gloves by Carol Rasmussen Noble. However, I knitted the glove in only one color because I wanted to try out the basic pattern first before complicating it with colors and charts. More details when I post the pictures. I will knit a second glove, but need to get a few other things done first.

Last night and today it's been raining! This is good news.

Thursday, November 07, 2002


I would have been at work for an hour and fifteen minutes by now, if I were still employed....Last week, I was very conscientious, getting up by 6:30 and going for a walk before breakfast and the rest of the day. Now, I don't get up until about 7:30, and I've stopped going for walks. Must not slip any further.

Really need to make a plan for writing my papers. The first part of the plan needs to be to clean up the piles in the living room/study so I have a clear place to work.

I've been escaping into knitting. I finished one project last week and gave it to my (former) boss Tuesday evening. (Pictures soon.) Now I've almost finished the next project. I just have a little more knitting, and then I have to sew it up. Yesterday, I went to a knitting group that meets twice a month on Wednesday afternoons at a local bookstore. (Now that I'm unemployed, 2:00 on a Wednesday afternoon is no problem....) I thought it would just be a group of people who get together and knit, but there are also two expert knitters who help anyone who has knitting problems or questions. One of the women used to own a wonderful knitting shop in the town just south of here.

Everyone oohs and aahs over each other's work—it is quite flattering. I found out I knit the English way. I didn't realize there was a difference between the English and American ways of knitting. I knew the difference between English and Continental/Scandinavian styles and have tried the Continental style, but because I learned the English way as a child, that's what feels most natural to me.

P.S. My orange cat is once again curled up on my lap, sleeping, as I type this.

Friday, November 01, 2002

The middle of the day

Still trying to get used to this no (paid) work thing. Yesterday, I went out to school for a "let's celebrate; we've finished the commentary lunch" with the author. I also had to haul out all my books from one of the libraries because I'd failed to renew them in time to avoid dragging all 29 of them in to show the librarian that, yes, although some of these books have been in my possession for almost two (!!) years now, they still exist and are in decent shape.

Then last night I helped out at the church with crafts for the children who gathered in their costumes after going trick-or-treating.

Today is the first full day I've had free to study, I was going to say without interruption, but this morning I HAD to go to the used biblical studies/theology bookstore for their sale....Now my big orange cat, Leo, is curled up on my lap sleeping and keeping me warm as I sit at my desk.