Monday, February 28, 2005


Tonight's crocheting, one square:

Comments on the trinity stitch:

1. it's slow,
2. it doesn't show up in a patterned yarn (I knew this, but didn't feel like doing a gray square),
3. the stitches are denser than with sc... but that's okay... it stretches out... I think...

Petting Pretty Yarn

Mmmmm... I got *two* skeins of Cascade 200 in the mail! (From Kerry, who's blog contest I won back in January.) It's a nice yummy purple heather colour (#9454)... and oh so soft! Each skein is 100g / 220 yards... any suggestion what to make? It doesn't say superwash, so it won't go in my blanket. I'm thinking it might work nicely for the coronet... although that will only need one skein....

Today is picture day! I finally updated my "what holds your hooks" post. And to make up for the delay, here's two more photos! First, my lovely new yarn:

And an update of my laptop sleeve, now featuring brand new buttons:

Now, if only I could get my dang nose to stop bleeding... I've had at least a half dozen in the past day... I *must* be coming down with a cold. :P (Bodies need to come with better warranties and service plans... I got a bit of a lemon.)


I was talking to my advisor, and the topic of our ultimate game came up.

When we were playing, the air temperature was kind of cool out... probably somewhere around 50F. (Update: I checked, and the temperatures while we were playing started at 43F, and went up to 50F.) I found it hurt to breathe the cool air, but I didn't actually have an asthma attack, so I kept going. I thought about asking other people if they found it hurt to breathe too, but then figured that breathing cool air normally hurt, and I shouldn't be a whiner. Near the end of the game, my vision was starting to have brief blackouts... like when I stand up too fast after reading the titles of books on the bottom shelf. I wasn't sure why this was happening, but figured I'd sit out the rest of the game.

Anyway, when I was talking to my advisor today, I mentioned that breathing had hurt during the game, and he thought that was strange.

My questions to you:

1. Do you find breathing hurts while exercising in cool/cold weather?

2. Do you have asthma?

I'm trying to figure out if my problem breathing was normal, or something related to my asthma. (If I remember, I'll discuss it with my allergist the next time I'm in, but that isn't for quite a while.)

Thanks! :)

No Snow

Bummer... no snow for me. :( I'm rather disappointed that the weathermen would get our hopes up like this, and then not deliver with the weather promised. *sigh* ;)

Well, even though I spent the first part of yesterday sleeping, I eventually did make some pretty decent progress. I didn't finish everything I wanted to do, but I accomplished a lot more than I usually do on the weekend. In addition to baking pita bread, I also made stew (mmmmm) and washed dishes. I started riding my exercise bike, but it was making more noise than usual... I guess it's time to finally call in to schedule a repair. I tried before Christmas, but was unable to schedule anything before I left. The bike also drops black crud underneath it... I suspect something is chewing up the drive belt. But, most significantly, I typed up a pattern! Woo-hoo! I've only listed it as 99% done in my progress bar... after all, it hasn't been tested. That last 1% I assigned testing is really 100% of another project... but if I'm lucky, someone else will test it for me. ;)

It looks like I may have a six week roommate soon... there's a French student visiting on an internship, and one of the professors e-mailed me about the possibility of sharing. I told her that it would be cramped, and there are conditions because of my allergies, but I'm willing to give it a go. Less loneliness!

My back could definitely use a massage... it's been nagging me for quite a while to go see a chiropractor (which I can't really afford... at least not enough to do any good), and frisbee made it wake up and complain about all that unusual muscle use. Anyone know how to give yourself a back massage? My massage swap partner graduated, and I haven't been able to find a replacement. (Most of the people around here think massage has to have some sort of sexual connotations.) My back was keeping me awake last night, so I got up and took a couple aspirin. That did the trick, and I slept quite well.

Another difference between Canada and the US: in Canada, "aspirin" is a brand name, whereas the US doesn't respect the trademark (or whatever it's called) that was registered in Germany, so "aspirin" is considered a generic term down here. Colloquially, it's used as a generic in Canada too, like kleenex is for facial tissue, but the only company allowed to use "aspirin" on the label is Bayer. The true generic name is acetylsalicylic acid, or ASA for short. I just thought I'd pass on that little tidbit to jumpstart your Monday morning.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Lazy Day

Well, they've upgraded the watch to a warning, but downgraded how much snow we'll get (estimates now at 2-4").

Today has been a pretty lazy day for me. No one came over, and I was tired, so I spent most of the day napping on the couch. I figured I should probably get up and do my baking and patterns now... so I'm vertical, but still in my pjs. (I'll change before I start baking though... I make a mess whenever I get the flour out... especially if I'm wearing something I don't want flour on.)

I do indeed have some sort of lung infection... I've started coughing up yellowish/green stuff. Although I'm not coughing too much... I hope it's not a big cold. One friend was out sick pretty much all last week. :( This is why I let myself sleep on the couch all day... hopefully it'll let me recouperate faster.

Hmmm... change and bake bread, or back to my nap? That's a tough one...


Yay! The effects from my scarf may have worn off, and there's a chance for snow! I just checked, and there's a "winter storm watch" in effect for my area. I may get 3-6" of snow! Yeah, that's a piddly amount for up north, but it's enough for a snow day down here! I don't really need a snow day right now, but seeing the white stuff sure would be nice. :)

In the hopes of snow, today will not involve the crocheting of *anything* warm. ;)

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Introspective (warning... at least PG 13)

Chick flicks always make me feel introspective. Tonight was "Something's Gotta Give" from the front office. My Prozac is at about the right level... I didn't feel too miserable and cry when it was over. I'm not feeling great, but I'm doing pretty good for having just watched a chick flick.

It made me think about playing with the dog this morning... and having contact with the dog made me realize how much I miss physical contact. I'm usually pretty good about shutting away those feelings... although I imagine doing so isn't all that healthy. Probably if I were less good at shutting them way, I would be better at figuring them out. There's probably an explanation for my quirks in my upbringing... my father is Roman Catholic, and so all that "sex out of wedlock is evil" settled pretty firmly in my brain. I don't truly believe that... but then there's only one "first time", and I can never decide if I'm truly "ready". No, I've never "done it". I've come close... but that's about it. Basically, I keep thinking I can't undo what's done, and there's such a big deal in this culture about whether you've had sex, or are still a virgin. I'd never be the type to go around sleeping with people willy-nilly... but I think it can be a good part of a healty, committed relationship. Maybe I'm just scared of commitment?

I do know that dating scares the bejeezes out of me. I panic when I get the impression that someone likes me that way. I try to pretend that they don't... so much so that I can no longer read people, and have no clue how they feel. I don't know why I do this. I wish I didn't. I wish I was capable of saying to myself "hey, this guy seems nice, maybe I should ask him out." But I can't. I'm paralyzed by fear... what if he doesn't like me back? What if he laughs at me? What if it's just infatuation, and I don't really like him? What if I convince I feel something I don't? What if... and the list goes on. My fear wrecks things... I've had a few boyfriends in the past, and having one prevents me from being "me", because I'm too scared that if I am me, they won't like me. This has happened every time, even when I try to prevent it.

You know, I think I should stop, before I talk myself into a downward spiral. I've been feeling pretty good these last few days, so I'll leave it at that. It's past my bedtime, so I'll go make my bed (laundry day today) and go to bed. (Alone.)

I think I may be coming down with a cold... either that, or frisbee this morning did some damage to my lungs. I've been coughing this evening, and my lungs feel "dirty"... it's hard to explain, but when I cough, I get a filthy taste in my mouth, like I've been hanging out where the air is dirty from either polution or cigarette smoke. My lungs feel like they just spent a week or so in Europe. (This is why I can't live in Europe... it's fascinating there, but it mucks up my lungs.) There's definitely "crud" down there that needs to come out, but isn't ready yet. I just don't know if it's cold/flu crud, or asthma "I did a nasty thing to my lungs" crud. I guess I'll find out in the next few days. The question is, should I start taking my other asthma medication, or wait? I think I'll wait for now, to see what happens.

I opened my needle felting kit to pet the fibres and read the instructions. I need to check if I have an appropriate sponge, or buy one. I meant to pick one up when I went grocery shopping today, but I forgot.

I'm not listening.

No I'm not, so you can just shut your yap, you whiners. This includes you, you toes, feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs, hips, back, shoulders, arms, elbows and wrists! I had fun playing ultimate this morning, and having you whine at me all the way to the grocery store and back is not going to change my decision to go out and play next weekend too.

Squished Toes

I played ulitmate frisbee this morning. :) I had lots of fun.

Today is pretty nice... it was rather nippy in the morning, but by ultimate time was comfortable wearing shorts and a sweatshirt.

I caught a ride with Andrew, who lives across the back yard from me. I discovered I'm still allergic to cats. Andrew now has two cats: Bruce, an adorable orange tabby, and Tasha (I think), a black tabby. Tasha is pretty shy, so I didn't really meet her, but Bruce is exceedingly active and curious. When I crouched down to extend my hand for Tasha (who didn't want to get closer than 10 feet to me), Bruce tried to climb on my shoulder from the couch. He got two paws on me, before deciding I wasn't a great perch. I didn't pet either of the cats, although I let Bruce smell my fingers. However, by the time we left (less than five minutes after I arrived) I was sneezing. There definitely aren't any cats in my future, no matter how I'd love a little Bruce running around my place.

I did pretty good in ultimate... I was just throwing short throws, because my wrist started acting up again last night, but I didn't have to sit out much, and mostly kept up with the running. (Of course, I was paired with the slowest person on the other team, which helped.) It hurt to breathe the cool air, but I didn't get an asthma attack. :) However, by the end of the game, my vision was starting to black out intermittently, so I guess my brain wasn't getting enough oxygen for some reason.

I played with a lab-mix mutt while I was sitting out... no sneezing there! There's hope for me and dogs. :)

I defintely should consider getting new cleats... my toes are feeling rather squished. (I bought the current pair used for $5, and they were the closest to my size at the time... they're just a bit tight.) I don't really want to invest in a new pair, because spring allergies will be kicking in soon (curtailing my outdoor activity for quite a while), and new cleats would just be another thing I'd want to bring back home with me. I'll survive until I'm done here... but I'll definitely leave this pair behind.

Well, sore toes or not, I think I'll go do my grocery shopping while the sun is shining... none of this wandering around in the dark. (They don't light the streets very well around here, and I frequently postpone grocery shopping until after the sun has set... no, I don't learn all that fast.)

Friday, February 25, 2005


I rode my exercise bike again tonight! 35 minutes this time... and that's the second time this week I rode my bike! :) (Last time was Sunday.) I would have ridden more, but I felt I was too busy with the visit. At least I'm getting better at getting back on the bike. I'd like to get back to where I was before... riding 3-5 times a week for 30-90 minutes. (How long I ride tends to depend what's on TV... and how far into the show it takes me to finally get changed and set up. I don't ride longer than 90 minutes... things start going numb around that point.)

I worked some more on my sockapalooza socks... I've now finished the ball on the second sock. Now I just need to break out the third ball and finish these suckers off! Of course... I should probably focus on my patterns this weekend, since I have two more weeks to finish these sock pal socks off, and my patterns are long overdue.

Then there's the paper I was asked to review by mid-February... February isn't over yet, but it's definitely *past* "mid". Push that on the stack for this weekend as well. Then there's also adding interesting markers to my hbond slider (I belatedly finished reading in the alternate hbonds, now to get back to this slider thingy)... and regular chores like laundry, grocery shopping, baking pita bread, and dishes (although there aren't too many stacked up at the moment). All this, and there's fun activities planned too... ultimate frisbee tomorrow morning (yay! more exercise!), and a crafty afternoon with friends on Sunday. (Reminds me... I need to e-mail to get that set up.)

No wonder I always feel I didn't accomplish enough over the weekend... I try to cram *way* too much into my two "off" days.

I'll post the promised pictures tomorrow...

What Holds Your Hooks?

Dawn asked this the other day, and it's going around now. Here's what holds my hooks. :)

At home, a plain old mason jar, about half the size of the "standard" size mason jar. I bought spaghetti sauce in it. It then worked as an alternate brush-rinse water jar. It now holds my hooks.

Not terribly pretty, but perfectly functional. Now I don't need to search for my hooks every time I need them... before I started using the jar a few weeks back, I constantly needed to search for my hooks. They could sometimes be found in my sunflower pencil holder:

If I bring some hooks in to work, they share space in my work pencil holder:

which holds all sorts of miscellaneous items. A friend's wife brought it back from a trip to Thailand, because I loaned her my Harry Potter books. The holder is black and triangular, with the cute little elephants on each side. The "matching" bookmark has an owl, and is brown wood. I've been too scared to use the bookmark... I'm worried it would break... so it lives in the pencil holder where I can see and enjoy it. :)

When travelling, they get stuffed loose into the smallest pockets in my luggage. You know... those little "security" pockets meant for jewelry, etc.

I'm Baaack!

Miss me? No? That's okay... I blog because I find it fun. :)

Boy, the last few days have been hectic! I had a visiting professor yesterday, and so was busy preparing and then visiting with her. I'm glad she came... I was a bit worried, because we had a bit of a run-in in the past, but she's had a change of heart, and now everything is good between us! I'm happy, because we're working in related fields, and now we can communicate ideas with each other. :) (It was something I had done that she took offense at... I hadn't meant to upset her, but I did... basically we come from rather different research cultures, and she's now decided mine is just fine. Now I don't need to tiptoe around her any more.)

Well, lots of exciting things have been going on... particularly in the mail! Yesterday I got an *awesome* RAOK (thank-you fairy! I ♥ it!!!!), and a t-shirt from my mom. My advisor also gave me a belated birthday present (a book... he said he could give it to me now that the visit preparation work was done).

The t-shirt from my mom has flowers and hummingbirds on it. She got it at a discount t-shirt shop in Victoria. The RAOK is a really cool needle felting kit to make an adorable angora goat! (I'll be posting photos of my progress...) I can't wait to start, but I think I need to be good and finish writing up my patterns first... this'll be a lot of incentive to finish!!! (Maybe if I'm fast, I can even start this weekend!)

Then, this morning, I found another package outside my door! I don't know how it got there... the mail hadn't been delivered yet, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't there last night. This package contained my Adagio Teas gift for linking to them! (I put the link off my regular web site, rather than my blog, because it had a higher page rank.) I got the ingenuiTEA set, with four herbal teas! I think I'll try out "rooibos" this morning. :) This is expecially cool, since now I'll have a way to brew tea both at home and at work!

Crocheting progress... yes I have made some... even though I was busy, there were still talks and bus rides to crochet at. I've finished a ball of yarn for my sockapalooza socks... I'm glad I got a spare, because it's currently only 7" up the leg, and my sock pal requested around 8", if I remember correctly. (I should check that... but I'll work on the second sock for a bit first.) I also made a little "finger cozy", which protects my finger when working on socks, and other items that use thin yarn with high tension:

It's grrrreat! I used a smidge of Koigu I had leftover from my socks. The increased friction from the cozy also means I don't have to hold the yarn as tight. :) I'll write up the "pattern" later, but it's pretty basic. I used the same alternating sc/dc as I do for the socks, make a little rectangle, then sew the top and bottom together. (I did it this way because there's more stretch in that direction, and I wanted the cozy to hug my finger.)

My response to the February blahs: I like February! I don't know why everyone is complaining! After all, February is my birthday (okay, so that only affects me), and there's half-priced chocolates starting February 15. :) Although I have the current advantage of living somewhere where flowers bloom in February, there are different advantages elsewhere. I seem to remember that in Winnipeg, February is the month with the university spring break, and also Festival du Voyageur (I love going to see all the snow sculptures!). It's such a short month, it goes by quickly. Enjoy it while it's here! ;)

Well, just because my visitor is gone, doesn't mean I don't have work to do! ;) I've probably forgotten to blog some of the things I wanted to, but I'll add those later. Cheers!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

High Calorie Posting

Boy... the donuts/doughnuts post sure was popular (by my standards). FYI: I posted a reply in the comments.

SNB was fun tonight. I worked on my Sockapalooza socks, and both are now about 3-4" above the heel. Whee. My finger hurts. I need to make a little finger cozy to keep the yarn from rubbing so much.

The bus driver almost didn't pick me up afterwards, though, which made me rather peeved! When I saw him, I stepped towards the curb. As he came closer, he didn't turn on his turn signal, but he seemed to be slowing. I couldn't step closer to the curb without running the risk of being flattened, with the way many of the bus drivers drive around here. Anyway, when he's about 10 feet away, he honks, so I wave to say "yes, I want to get on the #^@&*^$ bus, why do you think I'm at the ^$#&*%^$ stop?!?" When I got on, I lightly asked what he thought I was doing at a bus stop in the dark, except waiting for the bus. He said I might have been waiting for another bus. I say "but this is the only bus that runs at this time of night!" Apparently I was wrong... which is nice to know... it means that if I miss that bus after SNB, I don't have to wait a whole hour and a half in the dark for the next one. (I'd only have to wait half an hour.) Anyway, I said I didn't know about that bus, and he said that I should have stepped towards the curb to signal I wanted the bus. Still politely (but fuming inside) I said that I *did*, but it must have been too early for him to see. Sheesh. It's a stupid little thing, but it's got me all worked up. :P Probably because I thought I'd have to wait until 10:30pm to catch the bus home.

Well, I'm going to go take my laptop in front of the TV to watch my taped shows while I work on my patterns. Signing off...

Mmmm... Donuts!


Another difference between Canada and NC: donuts.

Down here they have this phenomenom called "Krispy Kreme". Note: the spelling should warn you. These things are sickenly sweet, but many Americans flock to the "hot donuts now" signs. (At least, they did before the Atkins craze. Now they merely yearn for them.) I can only surmise they taste better than Twinkies. (I've never been brave enough to sample a Twinkie.)

So, after living here for a bit, I decided I had to taste these "Krispy Kremes". I did. I did not enjoy it. When my mom came to visit, she had heard about them, and had to try them. She said "do you want to split one?" and I said "um, sure". Mom didn't like them either. I regretted the half that I ate.

What brings this topic up? I just walked past the microwave, where someone had set out free Krispy Kremes. I did not take one. You can tell what I think of them, from the fact that I declined free food.

I actually do enjoy donuts in Canada. I like the yeast donuts with the chocolate frosting (particularly the ones from Superstore), and the chocolate cake donuts too. I think my conclusion is that the donuts down here have too much sugar, and not enough chocolate. Although the powder sugar donuts are better in Canada too...

(Rambling) I should be working

...but I'm not. I'm having trouble getting motivated today. (As usual.) The sun is shining through my window and into my left eye, even though I've closed the venetians. I think I've finally managed to outwit it, propping an envelope up against the string holes. My eye still feels funky though. The light has been bothering my eyes for a while now... and they look unusually dilated whenever I check the mirror. (They're not always the same, but usually more than I would expect for the given light.) The dermatologist said the stuff for my acne would make me more sensitive to light, but I had assumed she meant my skin... I need to dig up the drug information. I assume that's the reason my eyes have been bothering me... I keep thinking of making an appointment, but then I wonder if it's not something else, and I should see someone besides my dermatologist. I dunno.

Random thought: does anyone else type "I dunno" for "I don't know"? Or is that just some weird, irritating quirk I have? I know it's not correct... it just makes it sound more like one of the verbal phrases I use. I googled it... I'm not the only one. Let me know if it irritates you, and I'll try to remember to type it out. (I know some purposeful misspellings irritate me, so I'd hate to inflict the same thing upon others.)

Yes, I am officially rambling. Maybe I should post a rambling warning... done. I think I'm using this post as another cheap therapy session, so feel free to wander off... this post is likely incredibly boring. For some reason I feel like rambling. I just want to say something. I'm probably avoiding my hydrogen bonds, but, um, yeah, I think that's what I'm doing. I need to rewrite a perl program to read some data another student kindly generated for me. At first it looked like a piece of cake, but now I realize he's used spaces to separate fields, but some of the fields contain spaces. So I just can't do a split on spaces, I actually have to parse the *$&# thing. I don't feel like parsing right now. Which is ironic, because as I type, my brain is parsing what I read. But no, that's a different type of parsing.

Yes, I'm definitely rambling now. Escape while you still can,

The fields aren't even lined up by columns, because there's a number field that takes a varying number of spaces. Well, I can always use a find to locate the ":", or the second "d" (which happens to be the first small "d"), get the number, skip a space, then use the next four characters for the name, then repeat the same after the "a"... and the strength is after the second ":". Maybe I should split on the ":", and then parse the second field, and I'll have the third field as a nice strength... that sounds good. Better than using finds. (I can't remember if the function is called find, but that's what it does.)

I think I feel better now. I'll go write my parser now. But, of course, you won't know that, because you stopped reading already.

That reminds me... yes, I'm digressing some more... after bloglines did it's little update thing the other day, the number of people subsribed jumped up by 5... pretty impressive, given I only had 18 subscribers. I don't know who they were, because they were private. Shortly thereafter, all five disappeared again. Either I'm phenominally boring (which I already know, but then why did they subscribe?), or bloglines had a blip. I'm guessing the second. (Update: Odd... I checked bloglines, and it's up to 24 now. Those private readers sure are fickle. ;) )

I've been rambling now for 23 minutes. I really should go and write my parser. My goal is to finish it before I go home, and I don't want to work late, because I want to go to SNB tonight. I really shouldn't, given how much I have to do, but I want to, and I don't end up doing much in the evenings (besides crocheting in front of the tube, or doing household stuff) anyway. Although last night I did make progress on my patterns. I still plan on making more progress on them tonight... I'll work on them while watching Gilmore Girls, which is set to tape while I'm at SNB. (I've set One Tree Hill to tape too, but I'm not all that crazy about it.)

Speaking of all these WB teen dramas I watch, I'm annoyed that Everwood is on break again... and they've done that annoying thing where they leave you hanging. This time, we don't know how Ephram does on his audition, or Ephram's reaction to Madison's having been pregnant. (No, we don't even know what happened to the baby.) Sheesh... my ramblings make it sound like a soap opera.

I never could stand soap operas, but a bunch of my friends in junior high watched them. *shudder*.

Okay... I've now been going for nearly 30 minutes, so I really will stop now. If you've read this far, I'm sorry you're feeling so bored too... ;) (You must be, given that you haven't found anything better to do yet, than read this entire rambling blog entry.)

I don't know Jack

Eddie on Frasier made Jack Russell's look like an appropriate breed of dog... apparently not, given this description. Of course, that's the "worst case scenario"... but still...


Well, I just had a look at some of the other sockapalooza socks out there... WOW! There are some *awesome* socks out there. Much more exciting than the pair I'm making... but then, the pair I'm making are supposed to be plain. I'm feeling better about my socks... although they're plain, they're also nicer looking than a few of the ones out there, and I'm thinking equivalent (in their own, plain Jane way) to the nicer socks. I think the only way I'll have messed up is if they're too small... but then I'll just tell my sock pal to send them back so I can redo them.

Currently, I have both socks about an inch above the heel (I'm doing toes up). I'd post an updated photo, but I've been lazy about taking pictures again. Maybe tonight. My sock pal *does* check my blog (I wasn't sure for a while there if she had stopped), so I'll just post a link to the picture again.

The bus was too crowded for making sock progress this morning, and I'm not heading over to Duke today after all. I guess I won't be plain-socked-out for SNB... that's good, because I'll be able to make great headway there on finishing these socks off, but also annoying because it'll mean I lugged my throw around for no reason. Oh well... I can always pull the throw out for show & tell, and then put it back. ;)

Doggie news: my office mate's dog is a wirehair fox terrier named Katie-Bell, and is absolutely adorable. I haven't had my play date yet... I should set up a time soon, before spring allergies kick in to confuse things. (They've started a bit, but aren't too bad yet.)

Monday, February 21, 2005

Misc. Update

No clever title tonight.

Sockapalooza: I've got two heels done now, and I'm into the home stretch. I've got major anxiety over these socks... not only are they for someone else, so I can't check them for fit, etc... but their for someone who knows how to make socks, and may make better socks that me! I kept my tension super tight, so they wouldn't be too loose (like other pairs I've worked on recently), and now I'm paranoid that they're too tight. I can't win.

LB throw: I'm now nearing the end of the second ball of green... I've done 16 pattern repeats so far. I think I'll take it to SNB tomorrow... I'll probably be plain-socked-out again by then. (I've set aside my knitpicks socks, because their colours were too tempting compared to the plain blue... although the nice blue yarn is growing on me.)

KnitPicks socks: have been set aside, but I have two socks, both of which are nearly ready to get heels.

Button: I noticed my little sheepie was looking a bit transparent with some backgrounds, so I patched him up. (If you copied the old button and have a dark background, please recopy. Sorry for the inconvenience.)

My little sheepie: has picked a name! He's now "Woolie Bobbin"... or Bob for short. Bob is getting adventurous: he's been hanging out in address bars lately (he enjoys a nice glass of wheatgrass juice now and then... shaken, not stirred), and should be making a bloglines appearance one of these days. Bob's even considering a career in acting... I've told him I'll make him a little test stage after some of my looming deadlines pass. (Bob needs time to get up his nerve a bit more, anyway.)

Patterns: I've started the typing. I'm obviously not going to finish tonight... and I'm really tired. I wonder if Annie will forgive me if I go to bed? *sigh* I'll send her an e-mail to let her know I haven't forgotten...

Good night.

Doggie Training

For some reason I was thinking about the "cleaning up" I would have to do if I got a dog... that's not one of those tasks I would look forward to. Then I wondered if it was possible to train a dog to a litter box. It turns out it *is* possible, and even better for them, because then they don't have to hold it in while you're out at work. This website explains how it's done:

Yarn snob? No.

I think I've decided I'm not actually a yarn snob. No, I would *not* use acrylic again for a sweater for me, but that's because I prefer wearing natural fabrics. At first I thought this made me a yarn snob. But as I'm working on my LB Homespun throw, even though I hate the way the yarn snaggs with my hook, I can't help admiring the colour and softness. Would I ever wear a sweater if I made it out of LB Homespun? I doubt it: it's way too bulky, in addition to being acrylic. But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it in other things. A place for everything, and everything in it's place. I wouldn't use acrylic for my clothing, just like I wouldn't use hand-wash-only yarn for a baby item. (The new parents have enough to do, without coddling whatever I give them.) Cheapo acrylic makes the most adorable teddies, and I enjoy napping under the acrylic granny square afghan that Aunt Helen gave me (although I'd still want natural fibers for my regular bedding).

I feel better now. I don't like being a snob... even if it's only a yarn snob.

That was my break... back to my hbonds...

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Early WOW

I know I'm going to be busy Wednesday in preparation for a visitor on Thursday, so I'm doing my WOW early this week. This week it's on crochet, so everyone not interested in crochet can ignore this post. ;)

Working with difficult yarns

I find certain yarns very challenging to work with... TLC Amore and LB Homespun come to mind as two yarns I have recently fought with. My problem is that after doing the initial chain, I can't see where the stitches are to insert the hook for the first row. This is the solution I came up with. It requires a ball of plain yarn in a contrasting colour ("marker yarn").

While making the starting chain, place a loop of marker yarn between the hook and the working yarn for each chain made:

When working the first row, the hook goes through the chains at the locations marked by the marker yarn loops. After you're done with the first row, simply pull the marker yarn out by pulling on the end still attached to the ball... because loops were used, they'll just zip out.

This method also lets you easily see if your chain is twisted, which is useful when you're doing circular crochet. In these next two photos, the first one is twisted, and the second is untwisted.
Easy enough to see?

I do not like it, Sam I am,

I do not like Boye hooks and spam. My throw requires an N hook, which I do not have in a Susan Bates Quicksilver, just Boye. There's nothing wrong with Boye, I just prefer Bates. I hear there are people who prefer Boye. To each their own.

My e-mail spam levels have been annoyingly high lately. :P

Reason #3 why I should have my Sunday shower *before* 2:15 in the afternoon: I don't like "A Prairie Home Companion" on NPR... and I don't want to set my radio to a different station. It's funny... they guy on APHC sounds exactly like the guy on "The Vinyl Cafe" up in Canada, but I enjoy TVC. It really confuses me, because when I hear that voice, I first think "Yay, TVC is on", but then I realize I'm in NC, and it's actually APHC. Guy Noir just can't compare to Dave and Morley. The music on TVC is better too.

While I'm on the list of things that irritate me... SNL ranks right up there. It came on last night while I was doing "just one more row" on my throw. The lady who was pretending to be Michael Jackson has a really annoying, piercing voice. I didn't like the voices of the other characters either. Turning the volume down didn't help... until I eventually found the ideal setting: off. Turning the tube off also helped with my "one more row" syndrome. So I guess it's good they put bad television on late at night.

I rode my exercise bike for 31 minutes today. Yay! Now I just need to make pita bread, wash several days worth of dishes, type up my patterns, go grocery shopping, work on my software, and do my taxes.... I'm going now. See ya.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

A River Runs Through It

At least, that's how it looks to me:

My quick and easy throw is turning out to be a real stash-buster. I used up nearly all of the leftover homespun from my racing stripe scarf... the amount left was so little I almost threw it out, but decided to save it for making god's eye brownies. The stripes will only be at one end of the throw, but I'm fine with that.

I didn't make progress on any of the things I was supposed to today (besides laundry), so tomorrow is going to be rather busy. I should head to bed... just as soon as I make it. :P

Feeling better

I'm feeling better now. My headache is almost nonexistant, and I went out and enjoyed the sun a bit. (Actually, I went over to University Mall to stock up on undies... I seem to be running low.) I was fast enough in UMall that I caught the bus on it's return trip. How's that for efficiency! :)

On the bus ride back a guy tried to commission me to do a sweater for him... I declined. I don't give my number to complete strangers. Plus, doing crochet for comission takes the fun out of it. I told him I wasn't allowed to work off campus (another very good reason to decline), and he had a hard time believing/understanding that. (He was ESL... I think he might have thought I was being racist or something, but I wasn't.) I told him to go to Yarns, Etc over in Carrboro, and they could probably find someone who would make it. He still wasn't thrilled with my response. I still refuse to give my number to strangers.

I got off the bus at the front of the complex, rather than by my apartment, because I wanted to borrow a movie. I sat for a half hour, and no one showed up. Bleh. But I refuse to feel as grumpy as I did this morning.

I'm sorry you have to work today Paulina... that sucks. :P


As I sit here with my annoying, persistent headache, which I can't seem to do anything about, I read this:

Up to 1,000 children may have died in one Afghan province over the past
few weeks due to cold-related illnesses and lack of food, a relief
agency says.

Now I'm even more frustrated! This is something that *could* have been forseen, and prevented! Hunger and cold is something we *can* do something about! Why don't we?!? Aargh.

My first thought was to donate the throw I started yesterday, but acrylic isn't all that great for keeping people warm. (And the shipping... don't even get me started!) I don't know what I'll do.

Don't bug me... I'm in a bad mood today.

Friday, February 18, 2005


Today I vented my frustration at my stash of LB Homespun, and went to their web page for a pattern. Nifty... I found an afghan pattern that calls for the exact number of skeins I have! I'll be doing the "super fast and easy crochet throw"... it sounded like a quick and painless way to destash. :) And if I don't like the results... I can always donate it. It makes a rather small afghan... 42"x55". It didn't sound small until I cast on and did the first row. It doesn't look so big now. I guess that's why it's called "super fast and easy". I'm thinking it'll make a nice lapghan. I'll see how big it ends up when I'm done.

I had originally planned on doing some more afghan squares for myself tonight, but I didn't feel like figuring out colour change sequences. I also didn't feel like working on socks... they're a bit rough on my left pointer finger, and I had already worked on socks for 2.5 hours during the student tear-down practice presentation.

I'm dead... time for bed. G'night!


I accomplished a lot yesterday, but very little today.

This morning I commented how my tuition bill hasn't arrived yet. It's here now... wheeee. :P It's not lonely either... my power bill came today too. (The power bill isn't nearly as much as the tuition, though. I wonder if it has an inferiority complex?)

This afternoon I spent two and a half hours ripping apart a pair of students... not my choice. My advisor volunteered me, because he had to leave early. Two biology students were giving a practice talk that happened to be in my dissertation area. Poor, unprepared students. I wasn't the only one... their prof was ripping them apart too. However, he didn't have a clue what they were talking about, so I ended up explaining what they should have. To their credit, they didn't cry. (I would have, in their place.) They are *not* going to have a fun weekend implementing our constructive criticism. (The real talk is Monday afternoon... and they pretty much need to start from scratch.) I'm glad I'm not them... but then I have my own load of stuff to do this weekend. :P

Going Postal

I went to mail my packages today... the small RAOK, the GISBE, and a postcard to a friend. I put the parcels in a bag, and noticed, as I walked to the bus, that they were rather heavy. I knew the weight wasn't due to the postcard, or the RAOK being mailed within the US... I dreaded reaching the post office.

I gave the lady at the post office my great big GISBE package headed for Europe, and said "tell me my options". She punched in the code for air mail... $34 plus change. I said "what's the cheapest you've got". Surface mail, up to six weeks time, $22 plus change. I paid $22 plus change for the contents of said package. There was no way I was paying more than the contents were worth! (Frankly, I was hoping to pay *less* than the contents were worth...) *sigh* ...why couldn't I have had someone that wanted a nice, light souvineer? I'm glad I didn't add the peanut butter...

The postcard to Spain was much cheaper... around 70 cents. The roak was also a nice price, at around 80 cents.

I think I'll have to pass on the next GISBE... I can't afford the postage.

I wonder what I'll get in my package? I hope it doesn't cost that much in postage! (Note to the person sending me something: I'm willing to wait the 6 weeks for slow mail!)

I think I'll do my taxes this weekend... I increased the amount being taken off my paycheque, so hopefully I'll actually get a refund this year. (I think last year I had to pay an additional $800, which was *not* nice!)

My tuition bill still hasn't arrived... frankly, it can take as long as it wants. (That bill will be around $4700, thanks to my alien status.)

Grump, mumble, mutter.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Hip to be Square

Tonight I continued the granny square pattern, but this time I did RAOK squares out of acrylic. I hope the recipient likes them:

I did four squares using coordinating colours... I figured sending just one square might make it not fit in, but this way there'll be some matching (although not identical) squares.

I can now see why my step-great-step-aunt (I think I got those prefixes right... aunt Helen, for short) can produce so many afghans each year... those squares go fast. Aunt Helen made the afghan that's on the back of my couch. I had a great nap under it this evening. :)

Today was a good day... I made pretty good progress on my programming. I now have a hbond slider, although it's still slow... I'll do the "clever" version next. At least now I have *something* to show the visitor next week. :) (Still nothing exciting, but some progress is better than nothing these days.)

To celebrate my progress, I left the office while it was still light out, and had a relaxing evening. I didn't ride my exercise bike, although I should have. (I didn't go for my walk today either. :( ) I had a nap for a bit, then I ate dinner, and then I crocheted while rotting my mind with the tube. (Hence the four RAOK squares.) I've now done more RAOK squares than for my own afghan, so now I feel okay about doing more for mine. :) I'm planning some more striped squares... one red and dark blue, one gray, varigated and dark blue, and one gray and varigated blue. Not all the same stripe pattern, of course. This will tie the afghan together more (lots of striped squares), yet still make every square different.

I didn't feel like doing heels today, so I worked on my knitpick sock some more... it's now nearly at the heel too.

The black arrived for striping in Bob's socks, so I can start those up sometime now too. I thought the black was going to be a varigated charcoal/black, but it's plain black. The colour samples were pretty small, so I couldn't tell. It'll still work fine, just not what I was planning.

Tomorrow I'm going to stop by the post office on the way to school and mail the RAOK and GIBE packages... I didn't mail the GIBE package earlier this week because I needed to finish my hbond slider for the group meeting today... I finished with a whole three minutes to spare. *whew*

Well, I should head to bed soon. G'night!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The inevitable...

I suppose it was inevitable... I crochet, I'm making an afghan... I made a granny square tonight. My first one. Here it is:

I couldn't resist... my blue elann yarn came tonight (the varigated & near black in the photo), and I wanted a square that used all the colours. Granny just seemed appropriate.

I think I've decided that I don't actually have anything against granny squares, just with how they're frequently used. For example, findingher has a really awesome granny square afghan started, but it looks more like a quilt than something a "granny" ever made. And I remember seeing a nifty cardigan that has granny squares around the bottom and up the placket, but the whole cardigan is the same colour. I guess it's just the frequent bad colour combinations chosen for the squares (to use up leftovers), and their overuse that rubs me the wrong way. I promise to be better, and not be automatically biased against anything containing a granny square. ;)

Oh... and if anyone would like to see the socks I'm currently (actively) working on, click on this link. You'll see my sockapalooza socks ready to start the heels... and what's this? Another sock started? Yeah... I "cleaned up" for my party, and when I went looking for my primary socks the first box I looked in didn't have them. Instead of digging out my other box of sock yarn (yes, I need two!), I decided to start my knitpicks socks. I started them last night, to give myself a break from the unending blue.

Hockey Schmockey

Yeah, right, like they'd really start a season at this point. I like Rick Mercer's take on the "history" of hockey. ;)

Happy Crocheter Here!

An aquaintance just stopped by to let me know how much her daughter loved the teddy I crocheted for her. :)) I made the teddy bear a few years back, when her daughter was due. Although I didn't know her too well, she was a person that happened to be pregnant when I finished making the teddy. (I was doing it to stay awake in class.) She was really touched that I would do that for her... although her son saw the teddy and immediately claimed it. Apparently the son is now more into video games, and so it has rightfully passed on to the daughter, who is now old enough to say "mine!" ;) (The teddy had been lying on the floor, and got "put away" on a shelf because it was too nice for the floor, but the daughter pulled it down and said "mine!") How cute! (This is the same teddy my grandma liked so much that I had to make one for her too, after she saw the photos. My grandma's teddy lives on her couch, though, not the floor.)

Valerie sent me a postcard the other day saying thanks for her socks, and how much she loves them. :)

I worked some more on my sockapalooza socks last night, and now have the first to the heel, and the second about half way to the heel. (I got a fair amount done on the busses yesterday, and at SNB.) I think what I'll do for photos of these socks is just put a link to a picture here... that way I can still post a picture, and my sock pal can decide whether or not she wants a surprise. (No, I haven't e-mailed her to ask her.)

SNB is fun... for some reason the ladies there consider me an absolutely amazing crocheter (or, at least one lady does, and the rest don't contradict her), and suggested I submit something for Debbie Stoller's new crochet book. :) It would be fun... but again, I'm worried about being kicked out of the country. Unlike the calendar, Debbie pays... and thus it would probably count as "working off campus". Lame, but that's my life right now.

Speaking of the calendar, no, I still haven't typed up my patterns. However, Annie told me to get my butt in gear gently reminded me that she's still interested in them, so I've promised to have them typed up for Monday.

Well, enough of a break, and time for me to get back to my school deadlines. :P


Four tips for a crackless cheesecake:

1. Put a pan of water on a second oven rack when you start the oven heating, and leave it in while the cheesecake bakes.

2. Line the walls of the springform pan with parchment paper.*

3. Mix the eggs in by hand, stirring as little as possible.

4. Turn the oven off around 10 minutes before the cheesecake is supposed to be done, and don't open the oven until about 10-20 minutes after the scheduled done time. This starts a slow cooling off process, without overbaking the cake. Slooooooly open the oven door.

*I skipped this step for my last cheesecake... I discovered I was all out of parchment paper. I only got a small crack.

If these tips fail, and you still get cracks, never fear... it'll still taste just fine. I've read people recommend icing to hide the cracks, but icing on cheesecake seems wrong...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Happy Post Valentines Day!

Hey singles, check out today's PhD comic... Mmmm... half priced chocolates! :)

Monday, February 14, 2005

Wet Sheep & The Peanut Butter Solution*

It currently smells like wet sheep in my office. Well, I assume it smells like wet sheep... there's a fairly strong odor that's similar to wet dog, but isn't. Since it's coming from my Koigu socks I just washed, I can only assume that's what wet merino sheep smell like.

I think I may have found a "solution" to washing my non-machine-washable socks... I imagine most people wouldn't need a "solution", but then most people aren't as lazy as me at hand washing clothing. I think I'm lazy for two reasons... one is that I've never particularly enjoyed hand washing anything, and the second is that I'd have to clean the sink before I can wash my socks. My bathroom sink grows this nasty mildewy stuff around the drain (which I really should clean off more often, but I don't), and my kitchen sink is usually full of dirty dishes. Cleaning the mildewy sink involves bleach, which I'm allergic to. (Ironic... I'm allergic to both the problem and the solution.) And after washing all my dishes, I don't then feel like washing my socks. :P

Well, this is my solution. Since I've heard I should use shampoo to wash wool products (it is a hair, after all), tonight after riding my exercise bike (Yay! It's been a while since I got back on... way to go me!), I put my dirty Koigu socks on my hands, and took a shower. (I left them on long enough to wash my hair, then rinsed and wrung them out.) I'm not sure how well this worked out... they seemed to stretch some on my hands, and I put the bottoms out, since I didn't really want the bottoms of my socks rubbed on my head. (I used a washing-hands motion to get the bottoms.) Of course, this is essentially the same method I used last time in the sink, so I don't see why having a shower at the same time is bad. I'll let you know how they are after they dry.

Changing subjects...

There's no room for peanut butter in my Great Secret Blog Exchange package. I moved up to a larger box, and it just barely fits everything (after watching Monsoon Wedding, I want to say it fits "exactly and approximately"... I ♥ that phrase), without adding peanut butter or Texas Pete. I thought about getting an even bigger box, but I'm kind of worried about postage as it is. I thought about sending a second small package, but what if they don't actually want peanut butter? I've come to a decision: I'll include a note saying that if they want some peanut butter too, just say the word, and I'll send a second, small package with peanut butter.

*I never did like that movie as a kid... too scary for me. I'm a wimp when it comes to scary movies. Jacob Two-Two was too scary too, although I seem to remember I was fine with the book.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Strange Party

The party was pretty good, but definitely "non-standard". I cleaned until the first people arrived a bit after 2, which was Jack, Elizabeth and William, followed shortly by my neighbour Helen. Jack brought some cake (which I couldn't eat, because it had almond extract) and some spare mugs, which we used, but didn't really need given the low turnout. Helen is a nice old lady... although rather chatty. She monopolized the conversation pretty much. A short while later Swaha and Dorian came, and then Leo arrived a bit after that. Jack & family had to leave fairly early, because they had to take William to fencing. Everyone else left about a half hour after that, around 3:30. Helen talked the whole time, although the rest of us occasionally got a word in edgewise. I knew Helen talked a lot, but I figured I had invited so many people that it wouldn't matter... there would be lots of small conversation groups, so she wouldn't be the only one talking. Oh well, that's life. I think my other friends were a bit uncomfortable, though, which made me uncomfortable.

Around 4:00 I was wondering if I should check out if the front office had a good movie, since my party was kind of short. Luckily I didn't leave, because Deepak and his significant other arrived. (I'm bad with names... I think her name is something like Kieran...) I served them some cake & tea, and we sat and talked for a bit. I didn't try what they had brought, because Deepak forgot and put nuts in. (Oops... so then no one got to enjoy his dish, because everyone else had left early. :P Deepak said his roommate would be really happy, though.)

But, a small party was better than no party, and I did enjoy myself anyway.

Swaha and Dorian gave me a really cute little frog box:

A few people had let me know they couldn't come. I don't know if the rest forgot, or also had conflicts.

Here's a picture of the chocolate cheesecake I baked:

Only one small crack... and *really* goooooood! Everyone enjoyed it. :) Although I have a bit of a dilemma... I have nearly half a cheesecake left. I think I'm going to be good and bring it in to work tomorrow.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Requesting Assistance from Americans

I had a rather interesting shopping trip today... I'm participating in the Great International Secret Blog Exchange, and I've been requested to send food to an American expat living in Europe. (I'm not saying where, in case that person reads this... making it harder for them to guess who this is going to.) This person doesn't have a blog I can mine for information, so I'm counting on my experience, both with Americans, and my time in Europe. I can't send anything perishable, obviously, and since it's possible to get "real food" on both sides of the pond... that leaves junk food, and similar processed items. I seem to remember what I noticed most was the selection of potato chips... they had paprika, and paprika with peppers... lack of buttered popcorn, and pathetic cereal selection. Cereal won't work... there's way too much selection over here to know what to send. I tried to get as much variety as possible for my $20. Here's what I came up with:

usa food
American foods: kraft mac & cheese, betty crocker fudge brownie mix, girl scouts thin mints, mini oreos, microwave popcorn (buttered, organic), poptarts (spongebob squarepants... actually some sort of berry flavour, with blue icing and sprinkles), jello (strawberry... in case they're related to Paulina), hershey's smores chocolate bar, bazooka gum, sweettarts, pringles (regular, and sour cream & onion), ranch dressing mix, kool-aid (fruit punch, lemonade, orange, and grape), animal crackers, goldfish crackers, and a little white chocolate heart I got free with a purchase today.

nc food
For North Carolina specific foods, I bought a small package of roasted peanuts (from a southern season) and my favourite bbq sauce. (Paulina: in your honour, I didn't count it in the $20.) I'm going to include the recipe for crock pot bbq.

Americans: Did I make a good guess at what you eat, and would be missing if you lived abroad? Please let me know if I'm making some bad decisions, or am missing something crucial. (I hope I don't need too many substitutions, because nearly half of this stuff I refuse to eat... I did say it was an odd shopping trip.) Thanks for your help! :)

Friday, February 11, 2005

Time Check

Neat! I can post at midnight now too, and have it be midnight. :) Wow... those blogger people sure are fast!

Fun Mail

Unfortunately that is Mail, and not Male. But at least over half of it was fun!

Not fun mail: it's getting to be lease renewal time again. My options: yearly @ $715/month, 3 months @ $740/month, or month-to-month @ $845/month. Man, that last rate is sucky! My current lease is up at the end of May... the question is, how much longer will I be here? Certainly until the end of my current lease, but the rest depends on my progress this term. Aaaack! I was kind of dreading this. Hmmm... I wonder what the penalties are if I need to back out of the 3 month lease... and what my deadlines are for figuring all this out. :P (I know that if I *don't* give notice 60 days before the end of my current lease, I'll be stucking paying the month-to-month rate for however long after that point it takes me to decide... since my current lease requires 60 days notice.)

Fun mail: A RAOK thank-you card. :)) Thanks! ...And Knit Picks yarn! Wheee! Here's the latest addition to my "stash":

The red is the "winterberry"... I wish they hadn't been out of the cranberry. This red is just a tinge brown. The yellow is a tad dingy, as yellow wools frequently seem to be. Of course, my rainbow of colours looks like they want to be a "gay pride" bag. (I wish rainbows hadn't been hijacked like that!) I might mix the order up a bit. I was hoping the blues would blend some, so that the other colours would sort of pop out to make bright stripes. If it looks too much like the gay pride flag, I might end up giving it to my stepsister, who's lesbian. I bet she'd love it. (I have a hard enough time getting a date as it is... I don't need guys thinking I'm lesbian too. ;) ) The lace yarns are absolutely *dreamy*. :)) I need to figure out a pattern to use them in... I wonder how far a single hank of lace weight yarn will get me? I'm thinking of trying a fillet crochet pattern with leaves for the Autumn colourway (I'll do it kind of narrow, and go as far as I can), and then that should give me an idea of what size project I can plan for the pink/yellow colourway.

Tonight I cheated on the dishes, and ate foods that didn't require pots, but had worse "good for you" ratings. I'll do dishes tomorrow. Tomorrow is my designated day of cleaning. Mainly because I have yet to clean (I've started a wee bit, but have yet to make a noticable dent), and the party is Sunday.

Tonight I finished a second afghan square for me. Here they both are:

I need to put together an afghan page... I'm not sure where, yet, though. I think next I'll use some acrylic stash to make some RAOK squares. (I think the other people on the list are doing standard acrylic afghans... and I have some nice purples and greens, and purple and periwinkle, and brown, cream and red. All of those combinations should make nice squares. :) ) My sockapalooza sock is to the left of the afghan squares... not pictured, so as to keep the surprise. My sock pal knows who she is, so I'm not posting photos until she gets them. (Unless she notifies me that I can post photos... you know who you are!) Oh... sock update: I worked on it after the afghan square... I'm getting close to the heel turning on the first sock.

Pet Notes

Taking a short break, I found the following by googling "dog allergy." (And ignoring the ones dealing with dogs that have allergies... wouldn't it be my luck for my dog to be allergic to me? ;) ) Here are some cut & paste notes.

At Nasacort:

  • Keep pets out of the bedroom and any other room that is frequently used by people with allergies, such as the family room or den.

  • Limit direct physical contact with the pet – that includes hugging, petting, and kissing. And always wash your hands immediately after spending time with your furry friends.

  • If you have a central air-heating or air-conditioning system, consider installing an air cleaning system.

  • Vacuum carpets and upholstered furniture regularly using a HEPA (High Efficiency Particle Arresting) filter.

  • Have your pets bathed once a week – even cats! This won't remove troublesome allergens completely, but it may help reduce the allergen levels that have built up in your home over time.

  • Consider getting allergy shots (immunotherapy), especially if it's hard to avoid contact with your favorite animal.

Comments: Cool, immunotherapy exists. :) Frequent bathing, huh... sounds like a smaller dog, with short fur will be easier to wash. Limiting contact isn't helpful... I want *more* contact... that's the whole point! ;)

At The Allergy Authority:

  • Dog Allergy: Patients allergic to dogs are allergic to the dog's saliva. As with cats, dogs groom themselves by licking their fur and skin, depositing dog saliva antigens that also become airborne when dry, and spread to clothes, furniture, carpeting, etc.

  • Rabbit Allergy: Patients become allergic to rabbits due to exposure to these animals in their daily work.

Comments: Obviously rabbits aren't a viable alternative... even if I'm not allergic now, I'll likely become allergic. :P Given that I was allergic to gerbils, I'll probably develop rabbit allergies.

Note: There seems to be two things that happen with allergies and repeated contact... they get better (become immune), or they get worse. Looks like rabbits & rodents are of the second variety. Given that there's immunotherapy, maybe dogs are in the first category?

Regarding outside dogs: there are certain breeds that can handle being outdoors even in Winnipeg, as long as they have a heated kennel in winter, however I don't want an outside dog. I want something inside the house keeping me company (and demanding attention), rather than something outside that I would need to "visit".

I'm going to talk to my allergist my next time in Winnipeg (before I decide anything). I won't get a pet before I'm back home anyway, since then I won't have to deal with pet crossing border issues. :P

Purebreeds tend to have more health problems, but are easier to research. Maybe I'll research the breeds, and find a mutt made from a decent combination. ;) Purebreeds are also more expensive than mutts, but there seems to be breed specific rescue shelters... my office mate just got a dog that way. His dog is supposed to be "low allergy", so I'm going to set up a play date. ;)

Probably a good way to test my ability to have a dog is to temporarily foster a dog... although that can have it's problems too.

Okie, break done. Time to get more work done. (Today I added a slider for cluster bond width... woo-hoo!)


Today I managed to get out of bed earlier than usual, and made it in to work earlier than usual. Does this mean I accomplished more than usual this morning? No. In a move of amazing brilliance, I forgot my lunch at home. I have now just arrived at school for the second time today. :P

On the bright side, I now have a toe done on my sockapalooza socks, and I remembered to put chocolate pudding in my lunch. ;)

Interesting... it appears that Blogger understands noon today, and isn't claming it's after 1! Maybe my e-mail accomplished something! Either that, or it spontaneously started working, and now they're going to think some idiot is sending stupid e-mails.


I had a nice dream early this morning... a bit odd, but nice. About all I can remember at this point is that I was talking to I guy I knew as a kid, but we were both grown up. He was "tall, dark & handsome". I liked him, and as we talked, we got closer. I was sad, and wished he liked me. Then he kissed me, and I kissed him back. Then I was sad... I know I'm not exactly a good kisser, and thought that he wouldn't like me any more. But then he kissed me again. I was happy that he found me desireable. Pretty bad, when I get excited that a completely fictional character likes me. :P But still, I woke up feeling happy. ;)

Thanks for all the birthday wishes! (Even late... they're still just as nice!) My day was fine, although not too unusual. Both my parents called. (Although my dad forgot it was my birthday, and was wondering why I was e-mailing for our phone call a day early. However, he had remembered last Friday that my birthday was this week.) I got to do three days worth of dishes:

I didn't quite finish all of them... I left two pots and a collander, because the water was getting cold, and my hands were all wrinkled. Ironically, that means I'll have to wash dishes again tonight before I can eat. However, there'll be considerably fewer this time.

Last night during ER I worked on my afghan squares:

I'm using up leftover yarn from my scarf. On my RAOK wishlist, I asked for squares, but it'll take 63 7"x7" squares according to the 63 squares booklet. (No, I'm not trying to make a "63 squares" afghan, but I didn't know what size was standard, so I looked up what size that book uses.) I figure it's highly unlikely that I'll actually receive 63 squares, so I thought I'd start making some myself. ;) Ironically, I said I'd like some blue in each square, but I currently don't own any blue superwash wool yarn. I like this yarn enough, though, that I decided to order some more from elann, so I have some blue on the way. Unfortunately, they only had one ball of the midnight blue (which is the colour I had originally wanted to get for the scarf, but they were out of it), but I also ordered two more balls of the gray, and three of a variagated blue (I think it's called Yukon River). The 3 day shipping was only 10 cents more, so I splurged and got the 3 day shipping. ;)

And I took another photo of my completed socks, which I'm wearing today:

The background is my cotton bedspred which is rapidly falling apart... some of the dyes seem to have degraded the cotton faster than others.

Last, but not least, I've been toying with the idea of getting a dog. Not any time soon, of course... I have way too many things to figure out first... like whether I'm still allergic to dogs, whether that's something I can get shots for, whether I'm willing to have the responsibility of a dog, what kind is best suited to my habits, how much it'll cost, etc. I was thinking a dog would help with the loneliness. Last time I was at the doc's, he asked if I had pets... I told him I couldn't because of allergies. But my allergies seem to be getting better, and my dog allergy was never as bad as my cat allergy... and maybe there are shots? I've always wanted a pet...

Thursday, February 10, 2005


Today I had two meetings, only one of which I slept through. (Oops... one was just at the *wrong* time. Not even crochet could save me today!) I also wrote a little function to return a pebble to an atom. (No, that's not going to make sense, even if you re-read it.)

Behold! The promised pictures!

I finally got around to taking pictures of my current socks this morning, along with an afghan square I'm making out of my leftover superwash wool. Unfortunately, I finished my socks already. Just pretend this photo shows two finished socks:

I actually took a photo of my red scarf a few days ago, but didn't get around to posting the photo. Here it is, evil red eyes and all!

And since I've been bad about not posting photos, and I was tickled enough to snap pics at the time, here's how my manicotti and bbq looked:

Mmmm... doesn't that look yummy? (No, Paulina, you don't have to eat any. ;) )

Well, I really should make more progress, but I forgot my pudding treat at home. So I think I'll go home and eat that, then wash three and a half days worth of dishes, then cook & eat dinner, and *then* make more progress. And then watch ER. ;)

Time warp

Hm... I just noticed that blogger has problems with noon, too. I really should remember to report that one of these days...

In the news...

Wal-Mart Canada is closing its store in Jonquiere, Que., the company
announced Wednesday – six months after the store became the first
Wal-Mart to be unionized in North America.

This is why I don't like Wally World. Well, one of the reasons... the other is their consistenly poorly designed parking lots.

When Wally World first came to Winnipeg, it did so by buying out another chain. It kept all the stores, *except* the one with a union. If Wally World really does have the best interest of it's workers (and the community) in mind, why is it that it hates unions?


If it's your birthday today too, feel free to sing along with me. :)

Happy birthday to me,
happy birthday to me,
happy birthday to mee-ee,
happy birthday to me!

Today I'm going to celebrate by going to school, and then tonight by doing my dishes. (I meant to do them last night so I wouldn't have to do them today, but that didn't happen. I have three days worth of dirty dishes, and no clean dishes for dinner tonight.) On a more exciting note, I'll put a pudding in my lunch that I made last night. :)

The real celebration will be Sunday, when I'm having a "spoil you dinner" party with a bunch of friends. :)

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


I found these on Trish's blog.

quite result
Quiet Girl

What kind of little girl were YOU?
brought to you by Quizilla

You Are A Realistic Romantic

You are more romantic than 60% of the population.

It's easy for you to get swept away by romance...
But you've done a pretty good job keeping perspective.
You're still taken in by love poems and sunsets
You just don't fall for every dreamy pick up line!

I forecast bad traffic tonight... there's a Carolina-Duke game.

Oh... and it's not the piggy's fault! I had BBQ twice more this week, without the cheek-gnashing! :)


...the little sheepie from my button. He's kind of shy. (Just standing up on the soapbox made him pigeon-toed!)

My little sheepie has a problem... he is easily confused, and wants a name to help reduce his confusion. This little sheepie is a big fan of Sheepie over at Yarn Tomato. He has delusions of being Sheepie, but knows that name is already taken. Can anyone help him? He'd love lots of choices to pick from, and will let you know his favourite later.

Oh... please do not kidnap my little sheepie... that would frighten him! However, he does occasionally enjoy visiting friends when he has time, so feel free to send an invitation. (He has already wandered over to Jewels', to tickle her toes!)

In the news...

Interesting news today.

The scientist who created Dolly the sheep has been given a licence to
clone human embryos for medical research.

Where do I stand? I do not believe entire humans should be cloned, but I do support research cloning. I don't want a world of identical people, but there are a lot of sick people out there who could be helped with some of this research.

That brings up the subject of abortion... I haven't done a lot of research on the issue to determine precisely where I stand, but this is approximately it: I support the right to choose, up to a certain point. At what age does a fetus become a person? I'm not sure. But I think if the fetus can survive outside the mother, then it is probably a person. Of course, this theory doesn't mesh well with the American medical system... if a baby is aborted after this point, who's going to foot the medical bills to keep the baby alive until it can be adopted? (No, I don't think the baby should be aborted at this point, unless carrying the baby will probably harm the mother.)

Next article:

In response to a rising "divorce mentality" and soaring requests for
annulments, the Vatican has come out with a new guidebook on when it
will allow Roman Catholics to receive their church's approval that a
marriage is over.

I'm sorry, but I find Roman Catholics and their annulments funny. Probably because of what happened when my parents got divorced. It's kind of funny from my point of view.

My father is Roman Catholic, and my mother isn't really religious. When my mother decided she wanted a divorce (they were leading essentially separate lives anyway), she wanted to have a friendly divorce, but my dad flipped. That's when the fighting started. Needless to say, the divorce happened. Now my dad had a problem... he didn't want to be alone, but Roman Catholics aren't allowed to remarry. My dad asked my mom if she'd agree to an annulment, and she said yes. (...Having wanted an amicable divorce in the first place.) There are only a few reasons the RC church will let you get a marriage annuled. As my mother put it, she willingly signed a declaration that she was not in her right mind when she married my father. The annulment was granted.

Now at this point, in the eyes of the RC church, the marriage never happened. I thought "gee, that makes me a bastard". I thought that could make for some pretty funny future punchlines, so wasn't bothered all that much. (No, I'm not RC.)

A little while later, however, another letter arrived. This one explained that, in order for there not to be any mortal sins hanging around now that the marriage never happened, that sex never happened either. (Since sex out of wedlock is a big no-no.) "Cool!" I thought, "I'm immaculate conception!" (I'm sorry if I'm upsetting the Christians here, but I needed something to laugh about at this stage.)

However, another letter soon arrived... it explained that, although sex never happened, I'm still legitimate. At this point I decided I was "inconceivable". (Have you ever watched "The Princess Bride"?)

Do you see why I find this all a little funny?

I'm It

I've been tagged by Donna! I don't normally do these, but I'll play nice. ;)

1. Total number of music files on your computer.

According to iTunes, 484 songs. (But sharing in the office allows me access to many more.)

2. The last CD you bought.

Christmas Legends, on sale after Christmas. (I discovered in early December that I lacked any form of holiday music!) I don't buy CDs often (I'm stingy), but my next on will be Fires at Midnight by Blackmore's Night, as recommended by Marvie.

3. The last song you listened to before reading this message.

Hey, Johnney Cope! by Natalie MacMaster, from My Roots Are Showing. Great CD! Very cheery fiddle music. :) (I love Cape Breton fiddle music!)

4. Name 5 songs you listen to often or that mean a lot to you.

  • Sleepy Maggie, by Ashley MacIsaac

  • Here with Me, by Dido

  • Decara A La Pased, by Lhasa De Sala

  • Flower Duet from Lakme, by Delibes (I have yet to track down the excellent recording played on CBC.)

  • Papa Loves Mambo, by Perry Como

Um, yeah, I do listen to a variety of music...

5. Who will you pass this stick to (3 people) and why?

Um... Marvie, to see what other cool music she suggests, Trish, since we're co-moderators now, and, um, Paulina, but I think she may have done this one already. (Sorry if I've "retagged" someone!)

Words of Wisdom


This may be old news for some, but I discovered (upon leaving home for grad school, and aquiring roommates) that not everyone knows this.

To clean burned on crud off the bottom of a pot: add about a half inch of water, and a liberal sprinkling of baking soda. Heat the pot until the water bubbles... and continue until the baking soda bubbles all the crud off the pot. Voila, no more burned on crud.

For those of us without dishwashers: this saves a lot of elbow grease. For those of you with dishwashers: this'll get off what a dishwasher can't.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

As It Happens

Buttons on the side

To anyone who'd like to borrow a button, I've now got them down at the bottom of my sidebar now. My preferred one is the sheepie one at the top, but I've created a whole rainbow of the boring style if you prefer to coordinate with your blog. ;) I've also put the WOW button there.


Yes, I've been promising pictures lately, but not producing any. I promise to remedy this soon! (Just not yet... I need to get back to work now! ;) )

Monday, February 07, 2005

'Nudder Button

This is my favourite so far, although it extends outside of the traditional bounds:

I'll be adding the buttons to my sidebar eventually. Feel free to copy them & link to my blog. :)

Chewing on my Cheeks

I hate allergies. This afternoon I'm chewing on my cheeks. This means I ate something I'm allergic to. Most of what I ate today I eat every day, so likely isn't the culprit. The only thing different is I brought some BBQ for lunch.

Note for northerners: "BBQ" in the south is not the same as "BBQ" in the north. In the north, BBQ means you light up the grill, and toss on some burgers and dogs, or steaks, or whatnot. Down south, BBQ means slow-roasted, pulled pork. In NC, the sauce is either tomato or vinegar based, depending on whether you live near the ocean or mountains. Don't ask me which is which... I can never remember. (Although check the comments... I'm sure one of the locals reading this will set me straight. Again. ;) ) The funny thing is, you can make BBQ without even involving a grill! The stuff I ate today I made overnight in my crock pot... there is now a pervasive smell of vinegar in my house!

So... what is in this BBQ? Pork, and vinegar, obviously. I seem to remember the BBQ sauce listed peppers too, but I can't remember what else... there wasn't much. I doubt I'm allergic to vinegar. So, that either means I have an allergy to peppers (a possibility... they showed up on a skin test, but then so did everything else), pork, or something else in the sauce.

I've wondered if I have an allergy to pork... I've never been all that fond of pork, and will only eat it certain ways. (If you're allergic to something, frequently you'll either hate it or crave it.)

However, if I *do* have an allergy to pork, I will be royally ticked! So far meat is one of the few things I'm *not* allergic to. :P (No, I will never be a vegetarian... due to allergies, rather than some particular belief.)

Maybe if I'm lucky it'll be something in the processing of that particular batch of meat... that hopefully won't show up ever again. (No, I'm not allergic to tuna, just the can it comes in. :P )

Then again, I remember a bad reaction I had to a ham bagelwich I had back in undergrad... difficulty breathing and everything. I never did figure out what caused that one.

Bleh. Grumble, mumble, grumble. Back to work... *sigh*

I take it back.

I read this in the comment section of Nake-id Knits' blog:

I think clapotis is a French nautical term for the wave pattern that occurs when the wake of a boat crosses against the waves. When the scarf is made in a variegated yarn this really shows up well.

I take back what I said about clapotis being a bad name. It's an awesome name, that just has an unfortunate spelling and pronunciation. Oh... and here's a link to the pattern.

Sunday, February 06, 2005


I tried making buttons for my blog... nothing exciting so far. :P Here's what I have, should you want to use a button to link to my blog:


I'd try for something better, but it's way past my bedtime!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Secret Swap!

Nifty! I'm going to be part of The Great International Secret Blog Exchange! What fun! (And it'll only cost me $20 plus shipping... and I'll get to go shopping, and I'll get a surprise in the mail! You can tell I'm excited from that many "ands". ;) )

The deadline for signing up is February 10 (my birthday! how perfect!), if you're interested too!


I feel I should mention that puts a more positive spin on spring. Here's today's forecast:

Sunny. High 57F. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 mph.

Yep, it's spring

What did I tell you... I finished my scarf last night, and this morning I got my first spring allergy allert:

Be prepared for allergies today! This is your Allergy Alert letting you know that allergy conditions in your area have reached a medium to high range.

Today's allergy levels for CHAPEL HILL, NC:
Medium (4.8 on a scale of 0-12)

Today's predominant pollen:
Cedar/Juniper and Elm.

Because of my allergies, spring is *not* my favourite season.

If you'd like to sign up for allergy allerts, go to

Friday, February 04, 2005

Expect Spring

I think I read on someone's blog that today (or some day recently) was the first day of spring, according to the Chinese new year... (feel free to correct me here... I'm bad at remembering stuff). I'd find it hard to believe spring in early February, but then I just finished my scarf, so I imagine I won't see any more cold weather this season. ;) (At least, not in this neighbourhood.)

Anyone else need an early spring? Send me the yarn, and I'll send you a magic scarf. ;) (One at a time... I don't want to get swamped here!) Oh... and I think the scarf magic requires good quality yarn, but I'll give it a shot with cheaper stuff too. ;)

Just kidding! (I have too many socks calling my name to start another scarf now!)

I'm lazy and tired, so pictures will have to wait until tomorrow.


...does toothpaste go bad? My tube has a date stamped on it, that is nearly a year old. I've pretty much ignored it, thinking "toothpaste doesn't go bad"... but maybe it does? I've been having a bad taste in my mouth, like I have bad breath or something. Brushing doesn't help. In fact, I think I might notice it more often *after* I brush my teeth. I thought it might be something in the water, but it happened both here and in Winnipeg. I thought it might be something icky growing on my toothbrushes, but replacing them didn't help. So my question is, does toothpaste go bad? My tube is about half full (I think I bought it on sale when I still had some, which is why it's so old), and I'd rather not throw away perfectly good toothpaste.

Does anyone out there know if toothpaste goes bad?

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Pita by Request

Jewels asked for the pita bread recipe.... Mmmmmm... homemade pita bread is *so* good! Especially fresh from the oven, with a little butter. :))

I got the recipe from my mom, and I'm not sure where she got it from.

Pita Bread

1 pkg yeast
1 tbsp sugar
2 c lukewarm water
1/3 c milk
6 c flour
2 tsp salt

Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/2 c water, let sit 5-10 minutes. Put flour & salt in large bowl, mix, make depression in center. Mix water, milk, and yeast mixture, and pour in depression. Mix. Knead until smooth and elastic. Let rise until double, 2-4 hours. Cut pieces from edge and shape into orange size balls. Let rise for 1/2 hour. Roll balls to 1/4" thick. Let rise for 1/2 hour. Preheat oven to 475F. Place bread directly on racks. Cook 2-5 minutes until puffed up. Place under broiler for a few seconds.


Yes, I love to fiddle with recipes. ;)

1. I use hot tap water in a glass measuring cup, and find the cold cup cools the water enough that it's fine for the yeast. It's warmer than lukewarm, but the yeast proofs a lot faster. Just proof until frothy. Oh, and I don't bother proofing in only a portion of the water... do it in the whole 2 c.

2. Don't bother pre-mixing the yeast & milk, they'll mix just fine in the depression, and this way you can use the milk to rinse out the yeast from the measuring cup. (Fewer dishes too!)

3. If you have the right bowl (large and shallow), you can knead the bread right in the bowl, saving you from having to have a good counter space for kneading. I find a bar stool to be the right height for me for kneading bread... but then I'm short.

4. First rising: place bread back in bowl (if you took it out), and drape the bowl with a damp tea towel. Place the bowl in the oven with the oven light on. This provides enough warmth for the bread to rise. If you don't have an oven light (like at my current place), turn the oven to the lowest setting while kneading the bread, and turn it off when you put the bread in to rise.

5. Second and third rising: Place bread on a dry tea towel, and cover with a second tea towel. (You'll need four tea towels for this step, assuming a single recipe.)

6. Baking: bake at 475F until the majority of the pitas are puffed up like balloons, then switch the oven to broil setting. Watch the broiler, and take the bread out when the broiler turns red. The pitas will still be pretty white... they're supposed to be. If they brown, you've overcooked them.

7. If you don't have a window in your oven (gee, I just love my current stove), you can cook them at 475F for five minutes and skip the broiler... they'll end up kind of golden, but still better than store-bought.

(Yarn Tomato: I used the recipe card this time, so you can double check the recipe I sent you. ;) )

Other stuff: I've got my gauge back! Yay! I started a pair of Lang Jawoll socks for myself (I call them green rainbow, because they're predominantly a turquoise green, but have a rainbow of other colours plied in. I'll post a photo soon.) All I had to do was remember that I held the yarn so tight that it caused a painful indentation on my finger. :) (Why is it that I love socks so much?) Anyway, now that I have my gauge back, I can start my sockapalooza socks! Yay! (I've got my ears plugged so I can't hear you pointing out that I already have three other pairs of socks started... my sockapalooza pal has priority!) Actually, I'll probably alternate between sockapalooza socks and socks for me... these green rainbow ones are much more fun than *plain* blue. ;)

Scarf update: I'm ready to start the gray stripes on the other end. :)

Yarn diet update: I broke down, and ordered from Knit Picks. I was adding things to my "wish list", and the total magically came to $30 plus change! Orders of $30 have free shipping! It was a sign! I know it was! (Um, that, or I'm impatient.) I, uh, did add one more ball to bring it to $32 plus change. And, uh, yeah, the order *does* include a *bit* more sock yarn. *blush* To top it off, I placed an additional order at but this was to get the additional yarn I needed to do Bob's socks, now that I've decided to stripe them with black. And they have free shipping too! (All the time... so my order there wasn't nearly as much.)

Nothing much else new around here... except that I should go to bed now, so I don't sleep as late tomorrow morning as I did this morning! G'night!

Pan update

Oh... one of the reasons for me to document my recipe... it'll be a while before I make it again, and I didn't want to forget. Why a while? Um, 'cuz, when I was running the pan under hot water to rinse it before doing dishes, the non-stick coating started rinsing off too. (Remember I was wondering about those bubbles?) At least that meant I had fewer dishes to wash... ;)

Note to Paulina: Thanks for the pan... it served me well. Even though it didn't have the good graces to last me until I graduated. :P Oh well, it did well for a left-behind pan. ;) (I likely won't need it again before I graduate... I don't normally use it all that often.)

Rain & Recipes

To all my neighbours who wanted a snow day... I'm sorry. I wanted one too. Unfortunately, I'm now at a powerful 62" of scarf magic. (I'm thinking after I've done the last 10", it'll be spring here for good.) For those of you who are glad the Carolina basketball game is on, or something similar, you're welcome.

I made Manicotti last night. :) It was good. I seem to be the type of person who can't resist tinkering with the recipe. I think I'll document this recipe here. However, feel free to modify it yourself. ;)

Andrea's Manicotti

1. In a very large pot, start heating water to cook pasta. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Add the following ingredients to a large ziploc bag: one 15 oz container of fat free ricotta (425g), one 3.5 oz container of crumbled reduced fat feta (99g), one 16 oz package of part skim mozzarella, shredded (454g), approximately 2 tbsp dried basil, and some fresh ground pepper. (Yes, it shows up as little black flecks, but tastes *way* better than that white stuff.)
3. Eat the bit of mozzarella that was too small to shred.
4. Insert hand into ziploc bag and smoosh until thoroughly mixed, or until arthritis starts acting up.
5. Lick hand (to make sure seasonings are at right proportion, of course). Wash hand.
6. Once large pot of water is boiling, add pasta, and cook as directed. (Mine was 8 minutes.)
7. While waiting for pasta to cook, search for 9"x13" pan.
8. Ponder whether strange bubbles on bottom of pan are harmful.
9. Spread some olive oil around pan with a kleenex, then add a bit more olive oil.
10. Drain pasta, and pour out water so as to burn thumb by pouring boiling water through the potholder.
11. Suck thumb, and continue draining pasta, being more careful this time.
12. Run cold water over both pasta and thumb. Drain again.
13. Visualize pasta sticking to paper towels meant to dry them, then skip this step.
14. Cut hole in corner of ziploc bag.
15. Pipe cheese mixture into pasta shell.
16. Use thumbs to squish cheese mixture down, so you can fit more in. Repeat step 15.
17. Place stuffed manicotti in pan.
18. Repeat steps 14-16 until you run out of cheese mixture. Eat last pasta shell... it was broken anyway.
19. Pour two small cans of tomato juice (5.5fl.oz/163ml each) over manicotti.
20. Sprinkle with thyme and more fresh ground pepper. (I think some ground bay leaves would be nice here too, but I didn't have any.)
21. Cover pasta with 8 oz of smoked provolone slices (227g), making sure to remove paper slice separators.
22. Bake for 15 minutes.
23. Eat salad. (Salad is "good for you", and you're really hungry by now.)
24. Sprinkle manicotti with about 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese.
25. Bake 10 minutes longer.
26. Enjoy dinner.
27. After dvd finishes, package up remaining manicotti in individual serving size portions... voila, you now have TV dinners for later. :)

Although I've typed this up as 27 steps, don't let that intimidate you. I strongly recommend modifying steps 10-12. I served my manicotti with a tall glass of filtered water, presliced coleslaw with greek salad dressing, and Spiderman 2. Feel free to mix that up too.