Knitting

Know Who You Are

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Looking for a job is not easy. Especially when you don't already have one. We all know, you want to hire someone who has a job. Because there's someone elses validation that this person is actually ok. As if you couldn't trust your own judgement, or intuiton. Which maybe makes it even worse. When you keep going on interviews, and you know  you aren't going to get the job.

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Few things feel worse than rejection. It's demoralizing & can be debilitating. But it doesn't have to be. I am not right for everyone, and most of all, not everyone is right for me. Thank God. Let's at least keep that in perspective.

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I don't hype a bunch of self-help books, because frankly, I am way too good for those books. Only losers read them. Seriously. Except, some of them actually help (which you don't actually know until you read one). Bouy's ex-boss-CIO-dude told him to buy the book  Great Answers to Tough Interview Questions, by Martin Yate, (how selfhelpish does that sound!?) because, "it changed my life". (Yadda, yadda, yadda, snore.) And in my desperate not-finding-a-job-search I finally decided "fine, I'll read the damn book, I have time, it's not like I have a stupid job". For all you job-searchers out there, with-or-without a job, it's great. Just humor my suggestion, & PLEASE, read it cover-to-cover. And then again. Write down the telephone-interview questions, and find answers for them. Write down the in-person interview questions, and your answers for them, and the answer to where you want to be in 5 years. Believe me, you will be asked.

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Because, in all my years of interviewing, I have always asked the wrong questions. (Probably why I didn't get that job at Google back in the day. Right.)

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And then something else happens. You figure out who you are. What you know, & most importantly, what you want to know.

I don't think it can be stressed enough, but we have limited time here on this planet, so do what you want to do. Do what you love. We'll get 70 odd years to make a difference for ourselves, if we are very lucky. Some people get much less. None of that is more true than today. Quoting Steve Jobs is easy, following his advise is more difficult. So, one of my favorite Steve Jobs quotes is "No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there." If anything, that should make us focus on what is important for us.

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It's got to be one of the hardest things to convey to our children. To, in all our own insecurities, instill in them that they can do anything. And be gracious, driven & humble.

 

Don't be afraid

of the love deep inside you

Bring it out for everyone

When you smile, we can see the sun

 

Because you've so much to give

And there's so much to know

But if you wait for your moment

Well it may never show

~ Supertramp, on the album "...famous last words..."


What Life Gives You

Lemons

Status Quo is a myth in life. You can't have things the same way, all the time. It's just not how life operates. And even if it takes  you along kicking & screaming sometimes, it's really a good thing.

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Because, when you try to not make decisions, well, they'll be made for you. Regardless. Call it a side-effect, or a real bitch. The real difficult thing is to realize it is happening.

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Then sometimes you can't wait for change, or it happens, and you embrace it. And your old normal is never the same, it turns into your "new" normal. Which is so much better.

And life changes completely.

Lemon_rind

I just found something that was given to me over twenty years ago, my friend knew I was moving far away and she wrote:  " To live is to leave behind". Is that too harsh? Or is that just how it is. Or is it ok when you are ready? How do you know?

Vodka_rinds

It's pretty damn difficult to look at this glass jar of lemon rind & vodka goodness, and not open it. In spite of my dislike of Facebook, sometimes it is truly fantastic. How else would I have thought to make limoncello with some of the 7+ lbs of lemons I got on Saturday?! After research I found that the common ingredient in all recipes is Patience. Right. Me & Patience.

Research notes & sources:

Vino e Vittles

Home made Limoncello

Giada's Limoncello

Epicurious' Limoncello

1. Cut the rind, leave the pith. It is a painstaking process, I went over my lemon rinds three times. Some people zest it.

2. Steep it in vodka, between 4 days - 2 month (seriously, that was the discrepancy in the recipes. Some people left it longer than that, but patience like that is inhumane.)

3. Make simple syrup and mix with vodka+lemon rinds. Steep overnight or up to two weeks.

4. Filter the liquid and bottle it and let it sit for a week-months.

5. Store finished limoncello in your freezer.

Will try to let it steep for 2 weeks, then bottle and let it sit for another 2 weeks. Please, don't laugh. I managed to not drink coffee for 6 weeks, nobody thought I could do that! (Or wanted to be around me, whatever, I don't remember.)

Lemon_juice

Lemon juice ice cubes with the left overs (also Facebook suggestion). Doesn't it make you feel so self sufficient & frugal & most of all GROWN UP??

Cknstock

We made chicken stock the other day. And I swear, it is the best ever. About 8 pints for $7. And that includes one chicken dinner too. Seriously grown up & responsible & shit. & good. Did I mention good? Always use Zuni's recipe, which isn't really a recipe, it's more of a three page essay on how to do it. With five ingredients, where two are chicken & water.

Peanutbutter_cookies

We also "test baked" some peanut butter cookies. Two separate sources told me they were the best they had ever had. Passing that on to the secret baker!

Raspberry_filled_chocolate_cookies

However, these were my favorite. Yes, there are raspberry preserves inside of them. Bring on more test baking.

Ella_helper_whisk

We are never without excellent help. Excellent.

White_octopus

Look what else got finished, the Albino Octopus. She's cute though.

Anders_angry_bird

Even crocheters are obsessed with these guys.

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And then came Easter.

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Elliott is only pretending to look put out.

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All this yarn was retrieved from storage, where the red is being used for Mr Greenjeans. But what about the rest?

 

 

 

 


Oh, swatch it.

Only I didn't say fudge. I mean. Anyway.

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So that looks ok, right? Finally. Cotton-Ease on sz 4 needles. Yes, size 4. I am a loose knitter, as they say. This would be swatch number five. Mhmm. In the middle there I decided to try another pattern. It didn't really work out. Twice (because I never learn the first time). So back to Umaro, and size 4 needles. I would have to knit until eternity to get this completed with the correct size. And it is such a gorgeous pattern, I just didn't want to knit it in something that would weigh a ton. Not for someone itty bitty. That's all I am going to say about that.

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Berroco Comfort Chunky is the Savior (after the second half-swatch, size 7 needles). There is not an ounce of natural fibers in this yarn, but it FEELS nice. And it's easy to wash & dry. That is going to be important. (Hint, hint.)

Did I mention how important it is to swatch things?  Although, after six 4"x6" swatches I kind of feel like the project is done. Except they all looked aweful. Until the last one. And it's even green.

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So we have a new project, and the Print O' Forever Shawl is on hold. For now. I'm not worried, it's not going anywhere.

 


No TV Day

Why is it impossible to take pictures of children wearing goods you want to take pictures of?

Ella_hand_hat

She says "here, Mommy, YOU wear the stupid hat and see how you like it."

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It's amazing how much I get done without TV distractions. Come the New Year all I am going to want to do is just sit and relax though. So we'll see how long this lasts. Right now we're doing two days a week, two evenings really. (Not interfering with any Football, Good Lord, no.)

Owl_stocking_ornament_finished

I wasn't going for authenticity here, it's a Christmas ornament after all, and a Crate and Barrel knock-off.

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I wasn't going to pay $23.95 for a three pack. Ridiculous.

 

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He loves when I take pictures. He really does. Making some fleecy pants for Miss EB! We didn't even have to call 911.

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Look, we made something nice with the crazy hat lady yarn! The Odessa, without beads. So easy, and so pretty, and it's actually pretty uni-sex. Well, besides the color. Elliott also loves his Quilt Throne. I don't have the heart to take it away from him. Our Christmas-stuff-making list is done. Can you spell that? D-O-N-E! Never really believed it would happen on time.

Finska_pinnar

So we made some Bobaknit Cookie Swap cookies for tonight, "Finska Pinnar" (Finnish Sticks). Shock full of butter goodness.

There's another batch waiting in the fridge to be made. Mmhmm.

 


Dear Santa,

Patience. It's what I want for Christmas. No, not the GnR song. The real thing.

To realize that doing the dishes 4 times a day is just something you have to do.

Doing laundry takes time.

That even when my mind has 10 gazillion projects in it, it is ok to finish one or two, and consider it a success.

It's not possible to knit for everyone all the time. Or sew.

Ordering pizza is not a cooking failure; besides, Miss EB loves it.

Phew. Let's bake.

Lussebullar_ingredients

Really, the vodka is there for a reason. It was Lucia Day here yesterday (always on December 13th), and you have to eat Lucia buns. It's almost the law.

Saffron

So we got some fancy saffron at Penzeys. Look how pretty it is!

Vodka_saffron

Here's where the vodka comes in. Steep the saffron for about 10 minutes. Brings out this amazing color.

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Look how pretty the dough is! Even though it's yeast less. Yes, I forgot the yeast.

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After almost non-rising (the dough was too cool by the time I rememberd to swish the yeast in. Real quick like.) But the dough was pliant and nice and shiney and rolled out well.

 

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And they rose in the oven. PHEW. Not as pretty as they could be, but ok.

Kokbok

Recipe from my old and trusted cookbook. Similar to this one. We added the egg to the dough (it makes it pretty & shiny, also the reason I give my dog raw eggs once in a while. His coat is so pretty & shiny!) Brushed the saffron buns with a little water and melted butter after they came out of the oven, instead of brushing them with an egg before going in (like I used to do.) Those modifications, plus the vodka are all tips from my Grandma. (She's made a few of these in her life time so I trust her implicitly.) You can make them into all kinds of shapes. Church doors, birds, horses, priest hair (just look at the picture), or our usual "kitties".

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Then we tackled the ginger bread cookies. You can never have to many cookie cutters. Never. The piglet is my favorite.

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I find it interesting that the Swedish kitchen contains so many exotic & interesting spices. Cardamom year around; saffron, cloves, ginger, nutmeg during the holidays. I suppose the Swedes got around back in the day.

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Mamma's little helper. Of course with her own rolling pin. Wearing Daddy's mapron. And her favorite kitty shirt.

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I'd like to think we look a little alike.

 

 


Hello, it's Wednesday!

Ellas_kitty

Spitting image, if I may say so.

Wen

Watcha think?

Miss EB loves kitties & it's a tribute to the badassest & cutest little kitty who ever lived. Wen, I know you are still keeping the Orange Boys in line, we all miss you.

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Daddy made his own ornament. It's a shocker, I know. This year you don't have to be embarrassed to be a Chiefs fan. At least not yet.

Moose_pants

"Sew Easy Pajama Pants" by Taylor Made Designs. And they really were. Even with the fake fly & pocket.

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Who knew Moose went "vov-vov-vov"? Just ask Ella, she'll tell you.

Shelter

Fondled at Bobaknit last night. It's not mine, dammit.

 

 


Pepparkakor!

Directly translated that would be "pepper cookies". I think it's because they do have some spice to them.

Ingredienser

I was told yesterday that my cookbook looks a little worn. It's travelled the seas! Ok, maybe just a one way trip, but still.

Sirap_kryddor_smor

This is a low calorie recipe. Uh huh. (If you need help with measurements & translation let me know! This is the identical recipe from my cookbook.)

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It smells SO good! Cinnamon, cloves, ginger & Christmas music on the iPod! Perfection.

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Now to let it sit for 12 hours. At least. Last year I sort of forgot it in the fridge for about a week. I think they were the tastiest ones I had made to date. We'll see if I can keep my paws off of it for that long. And, this recipe makes 150 cookies. Any takers for some of the dough? I can't possibly eat 150 cookies. Wait.

Gnomey_wifey
Check it out, our gnomey guy got himself a wifey! With BOOBS! I think she keeps him in line. She's got that look about her. Maybe it's the boobs. They look kind of intimidating.

Gnome_ella_socks

Miss EB's XMas socks are DONE! (And I thought there would be Christmas Eve panic. Hah.)

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Look who also had to be in the picture. He's so needy.

Alien_peacock

And because I had some left over STR Green Jeans for Jen to finish her Monsieur Frog, look what she gave us! I think his new home is the Christmas tree.

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Ending with some Miss EB cuteness. She's reading and going "vov-vov-vov" (which would be woof-woof-woof in english). It's the cutest thing. Maybe now I should deal with the spagetti squeezing party next to me. Great fun.


Some things are best left unknitted...

Crazy_hat

The pattern is absolutely lovely. The yarn is also very lovely. The combination is atrocious. Seriously. One of the Bobaknitters suggested I give it to the homeless old lady on University in Palo Alto. It might have actually worked, IF I also had had enough yarn to actually FINISH the hat. Or maybe that is a blessing in disguise. Nobody should really be seen in this hat.

Crazy_hat_lady

Except the Loser who kept knitting & knitting on a hat that looked crazier & crazier. At least it matched my hair! Or maybe that is also not a good thing. Be glad the flash is covering up some of the hat. It looks almost diseased. Very contagiously so.

Ella_dress

We'll counteract with uber-cuteness. The dress/jumper is from Simplicity 5317, yes, the same pattern we used for the Princess Leia outfit. It comes with a crapload of useful patterns. The kitty was added on a whim, Googled kitties & silhouettes (thank  you Kristi!) and just winged the design on some tracing paper, cut out a fabric piece, ironed it onto the dress using Steam-a-Seam double sided interfacing (trick also by Kristi. It worked GREAT!)

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Then zig-zagged around the outline, and embroidered the whiskers and tail, added home made buttons in fabric to match the kitty. ("Home-made" used loosely, they are seriously as easy to make as just buying a button.)

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And because we couldn't stop ourselves, another one was made. It still needs buttons.