Boat!

Today we went out celebrate Logan’s birthday.

He asked for fun adventures this year instead of physical gifts.

The first present was seeing The Chieftains in concert a few weeks ago.  He was very pleased.

The second gift was his birthday dinner tonight.

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Yups, he got an ENTIRE sushi party boat to himself.  It has been his dream for a long time.  It didn’t stand a chance.

I also had time to sit down and whip out a hat for a friend today.

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I’m a glacially slow knitter and Smoke in the City took me hardly any time at all; I started it late yesterday, didn’t work on it much today, and still finished well before dinner.

I wanted a stretchy hat that still shrunk down to fight snug against the head without being tight at all…and that’s exactly what I got!  It’ll even pull down to cover his ears when he’s out hunting, just like he was hoping.

Best of all, the pattern instructions were super clear.  After some of the patterns I’ve encountered lately, I’m pleased as punch.  I’ll definitely be making this one again when I need a quick unisex hat.

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I am weak

So very, very weak.

While waiting for the gnome to return my missing yarn, I’ve started my very first sock!

I’m both terrified and excited.  Mostly excited.

So far it’s going great, though there isn’t much to show yet as I’m still just working on the cuff.

I ignored my friend’s advice to make a plain sock first and went straight for a pair I liked — the socks are for Logan.  If I don’t like something, I won’t be able to knit it.

I’m making Gimli socks by Claire Ellen.  So far, so good!  The only thing I’m actually worried about will be the heel but I have plenty of people to bug if I have issues when the time comes.  🙂

I’ve never worked with DPNs this small before so hopefully I won’t break them.  They’re cute and beautiful…and very wooden when I’m used to using little steel stabbities.  I’m using the “Majestic” ones I snagged off of KnitPicks last year when they went on an awesome sale.  I’d been coveting them for ages and couldn’t resist.

Speaking of KnitPicks, my yarn impulse arrived yesterday.  My only regret now is that I didn’t buy more since it’s going out of stock.  It’s all so squishy and yummy, even the warm colors I wouldn’t normally ever buy or pick out.  They’ll make awesome gifts!

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…and to round out the “I’m weak and can’t control myself today” buys, I finally caved and bought two patterns I’ve had my eyes on for a while, plus a third because why not?

Actually, there was a reason but still!  Why not?!

I had to grab Yarn Quest 2018 since I finally finished the scarf for last year.  2018 is Steam Age and guess who I’m married to that loooooves steam punk?  Yup, he’s already rolled the first Chapter so I can start his scarf whenever I’m ready.  He’s that excited.

I also picked up the most adorable Mind Flayer amigurumi for Logan’s cubicle.  I’ve been wanting a fun little crochet project and this definitely fits the bill.

Lastly, the one that seems the most impulsive, is a new beanie pattern.  One of our friends asked if I’d mind knitting him a new hat.  There’s a story and reason behind it that I won’t get into here and I told him if I had the time, I’d see what I could do.  I saw the Smoke in the City pattern pop up on Ravelry and really liked the fit and how it would work for most any age or gender, so thought it would be a great one to add to my pattern stash.  It looks like it’ll be super quick to knit up and with a bit more style than just a plain, old, boring hat.

I can’t wait to dig into everything!

Birthday celebrations

I think my house gnome ran off with my yarn and ate it.  I could’ve sworn I had an extra ball of what I was using to make Mom’s scarf and poof!  Nowhere to be seen.  I even had two listed on my Ravelry stash.  Something is amiss and I’m stuck until I can make it out to the store to buy another ball unless the missing one magically shows up again.  Phooey!

…and by gnomes, I of course mean the kind from Trollhunters.  What other kind could live in my house of horrors?

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Gnome Chompsky 3D printable from MyMiniFactory’s @3DofTom — not my image or design, but I do need to get my hands on a 3D printer again so I can make this awesome little guy.  Adore!!!

Logan’s birthday is coming up in about a week, so we kicked off our year of concerts with an early birthday gift: The Chieftains.  Logan hasn’t always been a fan of music but he has always liked The Chieftains, go figure.

We had quite a bit of confusion in our house because he kept talking about their being the ones that made “The Long Black Veil”.  I like the song too but didn’t remember a whole lot of Celtic/Irish influence to the song, but hey, whatever, sometimes they have a guitar?  It still left me confused but I largely just went along with it. …until Logan said something about it was going to be a pity that it wouldn’t be played at the concert.  I agreed, it really is a good song.  “Because there’s no way Mick Jagger will be there.”

WUT?!

We grew up with two very different versions of the song.

I listened to Johnny Cash, specifically the Folsom version, while Logan only thought it was original to The Chieftains.  Turns out it was originally recorded by Lefty Frizzell as a twangy country song.  Logan and I both still prefer our respective versions — I will concede it would probably be better if you could swap out Cash for Jagger, but that’s just a preference for his voice in general.  I do quite like the Celtic instrumentals.

We’re also seeing another concert this week: Nightwish.  Logan is super excited.  We’ve had a bit of an adventure over the years trying to see them in various places and finally saw them a couple of years ago in Birmingham.  To date, Logan said it was his favorite show, ever, so he’s really excited to see them again.  I’m personally excited about the venue.  Seats at a metal show (and we have AMAZING ones) are to be appreciated!

I think we’re up to seeing 39 bands between now and October so we’re in for a real whirlwind!

The rest of Logan’s birthday gift, well, it got complicated.

Somebody hacked my eBay account and Logan’s physical birthday present was mailed to somebody unknown by the name of “Steve” in the Bronx.  I received a bunch of creepy ransom looking texts late one night from a lady who doesn’t speak English and her son — they seemed just as confused as I was, were very sweet, and also aren’t named Steve.  Thank goodness I remembered a smattering of Spanish from high school and the son speaks pretty good English!  Turns out the hacker changed the name and address but NOT my contact phone number and thankfully the eBay seller included the invoice in the package.  The whole thing is being investigated by eBay now.  D’oh.

The last part of Logan’s gift (he asked for experiences this year rather than physical gifts but who can resist Blue Batman?!) is scheduled for on Friday, April 13th.  Dun-dun-dunnnnn.  If the weather holds, he has a flying lesson!

Right now we’re in the 3rd snowiest March ever for this part of New York, so I’m really hoping the weather clears up for Logan’s flying lesson — if not, the pilot said we’ll just reschedule until it works out.  🙂

 

 

Shopping habits

-edit-  Writing this post made me realize that not only am I a weird adult, but I’ve always been weird.  …and not just a little weird, either…but super weird.  It’s a wonder that I ever had friends or found a man crazy enough to marry me.  Then again, Logan is about as weird as they come, so there’s that. -edit-

 

I’ve also been haunting winter clearance sales in my few clothes shopping sprees the last little bit.  I very, very rarely buy clothes.  I don’t like trying clothes on and I usually just lounge in my pajamas at home.  If I put on real pants, the dogs get super excited.  They think they’re going on a roadtrip!  Chances are I’m just going to the mailbox (or not, I’ll wear my pajamas there too) or grocery shopping, which means the only place the dogs actually get to go is to their crates.  Sorry dogs!

I hate going to shopping unless food is involved.  Shopping in general is akin to torture.  I do, however, have to replace clothes that wear out and I have a handful of stores that I’ve found stock clothes that I don’t mind wearing.

My taste in clothing really hasn’t changed much since I’ve been able to voice an opinion about what I wear — I’ve always loved notions, so if it had ribbons, zippers, and buttons, sign me up!

Even though I loved jelly shoes as a toddler, the first pair of shoes I remember actively choosing had ribbons at the toes that you could swap out.  That ribbon thing really was pervasive.  I learned to tie my own shoes really young because I wanted boots.  After that, if I could find granny boots, that’s what I would insist on for my back to school shoes — we got one new pair of shoes a year and I’d search everywhere for shoes that most other kids would rather die before wearing.

I was the 2nd grader in gym class that took forever because she had to lace up her blue suede granny boots.  Yah, you read that right:  Blue. Suede. Granny. Boots.  My Dad may was an Elvis fan and I thought they were extra great.  I later had magenta-ish purple leather boots that I had to polish every night along with my Dad’s work boots (I volunteered).  I loved those boots.  My wedding shoes?  Victorian style lace granny boots.  Even now, if I have a clothing vice, it’s shoes.  If I’m feeling sad, I throw on a pair of 4-inch bitchin’ heels and do my housework in them.  You’d be surprised how much it brightens my day to stomp around in something pretty with a vacuum in tow.

Consistently weird shoe choices aside, once I was old enough for my parents to start letting me choose my own clothes (around 6th grade) my Mom immediately complained that all of my clothing was gray, navy, or black.  She then tried to inject some color back into my life.  That was the year one of my classmates told her she looked like the Pink Panther for one of her BRIGHT pink outfits she was wearing.

She was marginally successful at the time but only because brand names were becoming important to kids at that age and, unfortunately, the late 90s were an era of Pacific Sun and Aeropostale where I grew up.  The rainbow barfed on everything at that point and butterfly hairclips were a thing.  It was an age of horror that I mostly avoided because I always liked darker jewel tones and things that weren’t pink and super frilly (Carebears and My Little Pony aside).  Mom still tries to throw color my way, though I’m not sure how well that works out.  Why’s that?

First a bit of a diversion!  I keep incredibly anal records of all of our purchases for budgeting reasons and just evaluated all of my clothing acquisitions in the past twelve months to see how much we spent.  Clothing is the one area I truly have no idea how much we spend since it’s spread out on replacement basis and sporadic entertainment.  Turns out almost all of the money spent on clothing goes to band t-shirts at concerts (we’re seeing 39 shows this year and while we won’t buy shirts for every band, we’ll buy quite a few and they’re usually about $20 each) and for Logan’s work shoes (I swear he eats those with his daily two mile work from where he parks).

$700 over the past year, as it would turn out, for the both of us.  $58 a month on average for clothes surprised me but about $200 of that was in Logan’s work shoes alone.  The biggest expense overall was concert t-shirts.

My entire total was $249.11.  Logan is our clothing whore!  That makes me feel better! 😀

So back to the color infusion.  Mom still buys me clothes when she sees something on sale that she thinks I may like.  It’s usually bright and colorful and some crazy print but in the right style.  I’ll wear it ’cause I’m an adult and who cares?

However, left to my own devices, in the past year I bought: two concert t-shirts (Progpower USA and Orphaned Land), a shirt, a sweater, a dress, a cardigan, a pair of fleece-lined leggings, a pair of shorts, a pair of jeans, and a pair of tights….plus three pairs of shoes I bought myself for Christmas ’cause I’ve bought myself something every year since the year Logan forgot both my birthday AND Christmas, just in case.

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Yah…  Every single item has ended up being black and it was completely unintentional.  Color injection fail!  There are also an insane amount of ribbons and buttons going on, so some things never change.  I think little me would be proud of old me for a change.  😀

I guess my hair will have to be the pop of color in my wardrobe for now?

In other shopping news:

KnitPicks is discontinuing another of my favorite yarns.  *cries*

I really hate when they do this.  There aren’t many places I can find lighter weight yarns, much less ones I just want to pet all the time, and Preciosa Tonal Fingering is definitely one of those.  I was horrible and finally caved and bought one of each of what they had left yesterday morning, so got 9 colors.  Each hank has more than enough to make a hat or a pair of gloves, so that’s probably what everybody will be getting for Christmas this year.  😛

…and I’ve come to the conclusion (again) that I shouldn’t take my husband grocery shopping with me.

Especially not when I go to the Asian Supermarket.  <– that’s what it’s called, I’m not being that kind of weird or anything.  😛

I wanted to pop in last night to grab a handful of items that we’re low on or completely out of.  My list was pretty basic:  mirin, miso, tahini, gochujang (Logan has literally started eating it by the spoonful out of the tub so it doesn’t last long here), rice cakes, spring roll wrappers (the type you can fry), and my favorite sweet soy sauce.  I’m pretty brand loyal by now — mistakes can be super gross — and know where the things I want are in the store, so it shouldn’t have taken long.

We popped in super late so the seafood and butcher counters were closed — small blessing or I would’ve probably ended up with something alive in my fridge again — and the only crowd that was there was waiting for the night bus to NYC, so the store was empty for the first time ever.  It was a magical experience that led to Logan grabbing a basket and gleefully running through the store.  He ended up buying over $70 worth of items, mostly sauces and random vegetables that he insisted I can cook for him.   X_x

It shouldn’t be too bad, most I’m familiar with already and the others look fun.  Some things he just grabbed because he already knows he loves them so we’re going to be seeing another week of baby bok choy and exploring his newly discovered love of enoki mushrooms.  Adventure awaits!

My one impulse buy was a gallon of rice vinegar.  It’s 11 cents an ounce when you buy it by the gallon.  It’s 29 cents an ounce at our regular grocery store.  Bargain!  Logan thinks I’ll have some left for the summer so I can make him more chive blossom vinegar.  I don’t think that will be the case.  He puts rice vinegar on every reasonable thing he can and a lot of things that make me green around the gills to think about and I’m the one that can drink vinegar.  Plus, I cook with the stuff.  I don’t think he realizes how often I have to buy it or how many bottles I keep in reserve in our basement pantry when it goes on sale.  😛  It’s not like it’s a rare, precious item anyway, I’m always up for an excuse to go back to my favorite grocery stores.

My only wish now is that I could find a tasty Thai type spicy, sweet, and sour dipping sauce — you know the bright orangish-pinkish, super runny and yummy sauce that’s often served with crispy spring rolls?

Anybody have any brand recommendations or a recipe?

Everything I’ve tried in store so far has been completely disgusting and so sweet it hurts.  I like my sauce acidic and tangy (I regularly drink pickle juice – acidity and I really get along).

My local Thai place has an -amazing- one that they call a plum and cream sauce and at this point it’s the only reason I eat there unless I’m really craving their house special tamarind and ginger crispy duck. Their plum sauce is NOTHING like the sickly sweet Chinese take-out plum sauce that comes in packets.  It leaves just enough heat to feel warm and the hint of whatever creamy stuff that floats on top really brings it out…and it’s so acidic that I think if I ate enough of it my tongue would bleed like that time in 4th grade when I ate way too many ShockTarts candies.  It’s perfect.

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Photo from Yelp of my local Thai place’s super, super tasty plum sauce.  The food they serve with it is okayish, but let’s be honest, anything we order as an appetizer, we only order for that sauce.

 

Little sewing

I’ve slowly been making a bit of progress on the scarf I’m knitting, at least I’m approaching the end of the first skein of yarn.  I have the 12 repeats of the pattern memorized so it’s nice and monotonous and I don’t want to work on it anymore.  😛

I’ve taken that disinterest as an excuse to finally find my way back into my sewing room and tidy it up a bit.

It didn’t take long for me to get distracted and sew, which is a really good sign.  I haven’t sewn in over two months, so I whipped up some pillow cases to donate to a local organization that provides goods to families in crisis, specifically foster children.

Tomorrow I think I’m going to break out a sewing machine I’ve never plugged in before, one that belonged to Logan’s grandmother, and see if I can get it going.  It’s a freearm and can do automatic buttonholes, seeing that it’s my youngest machine at only 27 years old.  I need to put a buttonhole in a pair of pants and this seems like the time.  We’ll see if I can find the gumption to freeze my ass off in the basement tomorrow to do it or not.  Thank goodness my Grandmother gave us a really cool heater for Christmas.  It’s going to earn its keep if I do!