Teatime and crafting overload

First off, I had a MASSIVE realization this week.  For me, it’s potentially epic.

Fifteen years ago I was in an exchange program to Austria.  When I was there I stayed for a little while with a really awesome family.  Actually, I stayed with three pretty awesome families but, in this case, I’m talking about the one in the middle of my exchange.  They took me to a family party; I can’t remember the reason for the party, there may not have been one.  What I do remember though was the amazingly super sweet grandmother.  The party was at her house and I sat beside of her during lunch.  We chatted as best we could with my very limited German and her limited English.  After food, she asked if I’d like some tea.

I. LOVE. TEA.  I used to steal sips of my Granny Boo’s tea when I was a toddler.  I’m also ridiculously picky about it for somebody that loves it so much; I only really like black tea, don’t really like added flavors at all, and I drink it straight.  If I’m feeling sick, I’ll throw in a spoon of honey but that’s really the only exception.  Of course I took her up on the offer for tea!  I was stoked to have a hot cuppa in the middle of the day.

While she was inside brewing it, her son told me I was brave because nobody else dared to drink tea with her.  This is a guy that took me to a pub so I could win him some free beers by hammering nails into a log with the sharp end of a hatchet…and he wouldn’t drink tea with his mother.  She seemed very excited when I accepted the offer because she got to brew an entire pot instead of just enough for her.

She brought out a pot of tea so black that my first thought was maybe she mixed up the words for tea and coffee…but tea is tee so surely neither of us bumbled that one up.  It was so strong and so bitter and absolutely amazing.  We finished off the pot in no time.  She was elated to have a tea drinking buddy and I’ve been on the search for that tea ever since.  I’ve bought the strongest teas my local shop offers.  I’ve asked for the strongest teas at the amazing tea and crepes place over in Massachusetts; I even drink their samovar teas without dilution.  Nothing is quite the same.

Which is where my realization came in this week.  She of course spoke English with an accent and I had always thought she’d said it was a type of Russian tea.  She didn’t know a brand, just a type.  Now, I think I misunderstood her years ago.  I think what she actually said was it was a Frisian tea….which, honestly, makes a lot more sense considering the locale and could’ve easily been muddled by accent and my own ignorance.  I’ve done a bit of research and think I’ve hit the spot — she did, after all, have rock sugar for it and it’s the only tea I’ve ever drank that was strong enough for me to at least try adding some sweetness on the second cup.

So long story short, I’ve placed an order for some East Frisian tea and am anxiously awaiting its arrival.  If it’s still not the same, I’ll continue my search and will still enjoy the black tea!

…and in other news, crafting insanity is full swing here.

I think I’m up to my eyeballs.  Not complaining!  I’m super excited!  I had such a crafting doldrums last year this it’s nice to feel excited about stuff again.

I altered the pajamas pattern and have been churning out pairs.  They’re not hilarious fleece skinny jeans any longer and are quite comfy.  Hubs wants additional pairs and has also asked that I make him a fleece shirt to match at least one pair.  I ordered some fleece from Joann’s holiday clearance when it was 1.50 a yard so at least they’re affordable jammies!  I’m sure it’ll be a circus when it arrives and I start bashing my head against the wall to figure out a shirt.  I still have to hem and elastic the new “original” pair for me, then I can consider that UFO finished. 🙂

…and the big dog has now taken over the pajama flop from the first attempt.  He’s uncrossed the legs and lies between them with his head on the “lap”, just like he does when one of us gets on the floor with him.  It’s kind of funny to watch the dogs wrangle the legs around.

I’ve had the amigurumi itch for a little bit so bit and bought one pattern and am also eyeing a free one.

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The above is the pattern I bought from lalylala on etsy (and also her photo, but I’ll have my own soon enough!).  I mean, seriously, it made me want to stab my eyeballs out it was so cute.  I have the stuff to make it as well, I’m just trying to behave and put it off until I finish another UFO.

The free one I want to make is from Amigurumi Today….and is also a cow. Here’s their photo:

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I’m a big fan of not the most typical stuff, though I’ve seen some of them grow in popularity lately which is AWESOME!  I love gnomes, alpacas and llamas, rhinos and unicorns and narwhals, fauns/satyrs, and cows and cats.  I had a llama shirt when I was about 5, so these aren’t new developments.  I’m sure there are some other weird things I’m mildly in love to full on obsessed with (sometimes bumble bees make an appearance).

So getting back to other things, I’m still working on the monarch mittens.  I didn’t forget you, UFO list!  They’re slow going since I’m at four colors and full on intarsia in the round.  I still think they’re fun, albeit fiddly when I have to untangle everything.  They’ll get done eventually….hopefully sooner than later!

I’ve also got the stuff cut and ready to start making the rugs (#11 on my list).  I think I might clear off my ironing board, currently a “wtf do I do with this” pile, and see if I can churn one of them out tomorrow.  I have two to make.

…and I’m horribly naughty and joined a Row Along from Fandom in Stitches.  It was only a matter of time and I knew I was going to hop on this ship as soon as it was announced last year.  It’s Star Trek.  Seriously, how could I not?!  The designers posted a sneak peak of the photo today on their designer page (I’m only there because many moons ago I made a Captain Hammer block for the site) and oh lawdy, I’m excited.  Hubs saw it the mock-up and has already claimed it as his.  He said I already have my Spock quilt, so it’s only fair he gets a Trek one too.

I also practiced working with vinyl a bit.

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It’s now hanging above my kitchen sink.  I can’t resist being snarky and crass at times. 😀

…and don’t worry, it’s not cast iron!  Somebody gave it to me as a Christmas gift years ago with a little brownie mix.  I have an induction stove and this little pan isn’t magnetic enough to work on it, so definitely not real cast iron.  I didn’t know what to do with it until this week.

When I craft, I have massive attention span problems.  I’ll get all of this done eventually!  So long as I stick to having at least one UFO on the needles/hooks/etc. I’m still good with my goal from the beginning of the year.

 

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Pineapple and puppers

The hubs made a cake today.  It’s the second one he’s ever made.  The first was a German chocolate with the icing mixed into the batter.  That particular recipe always cracks me up because my Grandmother gave it to me but she can’t ever get it to work out when she tries, so she makes a strawberry one with that mix in method instead.

Speaking of Grandmother, my uncle sent me a photo of her with her Christmas present I made!

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What was a tiny little lap quilt size for my tall self completely swallows her up.  We also just got back our genetic results.  I’m 22.1% her; I’ll take that.

So back to the cake!  It was an adventure but he didn’t do too badly other than thinking he needed to add flour to the cake mix.  We’re starting him slow here.

He’d never had a pineapple upside down cake and saw one on the Great British Baking Show.  I’m not sure how he’s lived this long without one of these cakes considering how much loves pineapple and cherries but he was very, very pleased with it.

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I also found the mysteriously disappearing bag of polyfill!  I had vacuum packed it so slender that it was UNDER the wardrobe.  There’s barely even room for my hand there…and of course, the seal had came loose because the bags are horrible.  That was a real adventure in freeing something.

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Ignore my super dirty floor — the big dog is in a midst of an epic winter blowout and I’ve had a migraine for two days so am not firing up the vacuum right now.

Little dog doesn’t mind the dirty floor and immediately claimed the overstuffed pants as her new pillow, just as I’d hoped.  As much as I love that bratty furball, my lap is really glad to have a small break from her — she’s only shifted a bit to settle into the criss-cross part of the “lap” since it was given to her.

Crap

I fixed hub’s pants today.  They’re still a bit slim fit but he says they’re comfy and appropriately stretchy.

I think I’ll widen the leg a bit when I cut out the pair for me.

I also sewed up the massively wrong pants I made for myself yesterday to start making the dog pillow…but it seems that I’ve misplaced 20 POUNDS of fiberfill.  Do you know how huge that is?!  I vacuum packed it last year at some point and haven’t the slightest where I thought would be a great place to store it.  Oops?

At least I made a bit of progress on the mitten.  25 rows on the cuff, 7 of the color work.  In two more rows I’ll start the black, then a few after that the orange.  I think it’s about 75 rows of the color pattern in total?  I can’t remember right off but at least there’s is progress!

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I’m working with DPNs right now but have some miniature circulars that I’m super tempted to switch to until it’s time to do the thumb.

-edit- DAMMIT!  When posting the picture I realized I totally forgot the thumb gusset!!! Grrrr!  I’ll have to tink back a three rows to get it established.  Glad I realized it now instead of later…

When you can’t cry, laugh.

Life has been a bit weird lately.   …and by weird I mean I’ve had a horrible bout of insomnia.

I went to bed on Sunday at 8 a.m.  and slept until 10 a.m.  I haven’t been able to sleep since.  As of this posting that’s 43.5 hours of being awake.  It’s certainly not the longest I’ve ever stayed awake but I’ve reached that golden fun zone where I’m still wide awake and wanting to be productive…but I absolutely shouldn’t be.

I tried knocking one of the UFO items off my list tonight.  It should have been easy but there were two complications.

First: The pattern was marked wrong on the female version, so the stretch is in the exact opposite direction it should be.  I wasn’t thinking enough to catch it even though these aren’t my first pairs of pants.  The pajamas are skin tight.

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…and yes the fox tail was on purpose.  I have to find a way to cram as much crass humor in as I can some days and my late-night crafting-chat buddy is just as snarky and crude as I am.

Hubs tried them on too and couldn’t get the legs past his feet.  It made me feel a bit better that they at least fit me but they’re still not comfy enough for me to call them comfy pants.  I’m going to sew the legs closed, stuff them, and turn them into a “lap” pillow for my critters.  Maybe it will convince them to give my lap a break every once in a while!

Second: I really shouldn’t be sewing at all right now…

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The stretch is in the right direction but boy, did I sew those legs together.  Hubs said he felt like a mermaid and would like to request that the resident sea witch please give him legs.  I’ll be able to fix it later today in about 10 minutes when I quit giggle-snorting at it.  I promise they’ll fit when the legs are done right, even though it looks like a contorted dress on him right now. ^_^;

The third and final pair of pajamas turned out correct, which is good since they’re for a friend of ours.  But nobody to model those since he’s super athletic and tiny and I don’t think my leg would fit in the waist of anything that fits him.

I placated myself by ordering some more fleece for me at Joann’s clearance and will get hubs to drive me there after he gets home from work so I can pick it up.  It’s winter moose.  I love moose.  I’ll love them on pants.  It only cost $7 for the amount I need for a new set of pajama bottoms, so I’m not concerned about the mistake at all.  I made a note of it on my template and now I just have to figure out if I want to try to add feet to that pair!  I might give it a go!!!  (Not sure if that’s sleep deprivation talking or not…I used to love footie pajamas as a kid.)

I’ll count this UFO as done when I have three wearable pair of pajamas and a lap pillow for the dogs.  No half-measures!

Miiiine

Pulled the Sheharazade shawl off the boards today.  I’m so happy with it.  I don’t often keep things that I make for myself but this one is forever mine.

I’ve got part of the cuff done on the monarch mittens, so I’m glad I’m making progress on something else.

I’ve been horrible and kept up my weird spending spree.  We have new kitchen knives (ours were rusted and the handles falling off), some scalemail scales, and shoes to wear with my bridesmaid dress.

Hubs said it’s funny how I can drop 100 bucks on crafting supplies and not blink…but the thought of buying new knives makes me cringe.  There’s some truth to it.  I like to use things until they can’t be used anymore.  I guess these have finally outlived their usefulness.

Cursing up a storm

I don’t think I’ve ever cursed and spat more than when I was trying to block my lace shawl.  I LOVED every second of knitting it and HATED every second blocking it.

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I don’t have enough blocking boards for it, so I had to double it up and start over when I realized.  For really large projects I often block them on our fold out couch…but this thing was too big for that too…plus my husband decided to drag his rowing machine into that room so it’s taking up the entire floor.  Thanks, New Years resolutions!

Either way, it’s done and drying and far from perfect…but done!  I kind of let it decide what shape it was taking, which was new for me…not sure I’ll do that again.

Also: a photo of the horrible crocheted scarf from my UFO finishing list.

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It’s also about a mile long and I hated the yarn…but the person requested it, so it’s on them to look at it forever, not me. 😀

I’m about to start casting on the mate to the monarch butterfly mittens.  They’re on my UFO list too and I’d like to get it done by February.  It’s been so long since I made the first that it may not work in my favor but I’m trying! 🙂

 

Food and crafts

For Christmas, my hubs gave me a cast iron pan that I’ve been asking for every year since we’ve lived together. FINALLY!!!  I think I’ve used it every day since I opened it.  🙂

The pan is for æbleskiver but we’ve had a lot of round food the past week.  My hubs even made a comment about all of his food being ball-shaped today.  Sorry, not sorry.

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He’s honestly been pretty excited about the food since he posted the above æbleskiver on his Facebook page yesterday.  It’s probably the most traditional thing I’ve flipped out of the pan (I’ve even been making round eggs in it this week) — buttermilk dough with apple slices inside, topped with some apple butter I made in the fall and a simple cinnamon whipped cream.  He was eating them as soon as they came out of the pan and just smearing them through everything….and has already asked for them again.  That was the only pretty-ish one since I presented it to him as a taster to make sure the batter was well balanced.

Hubs likes to be a jerk and post food photos often.  I think he does it because it generates comments at his work.  I made a beef wellington for Christmas and cleared the fridge a few days ago to make impromptu tuna cups…I don’t think any of the food is particularly pretty but I guess everybody has to eat so can relate somewhat?  He didn’t bother slowing down on his steak tonight (made his favorite coffee, cocoa, and cayenne rub) to take a photo.

Crafting wise:

“I’d like to work as much as possible out of my stash this year”  — says the person that has made a crafting purchase every. single. day. of. 2019. thus. far.

Tuesday I ordered precut batting so I can knock #11 off the list.  I have lots of batting at home but let’s be honest…the whole reason I haven’t done that one already is because I didn’t want to have to wrestle with the roll of batting to cut that many strips of it.  It’s huge and unweidly and my rotary cutter would need a new blade after that and it’d take a month to get all the fuzzies out of my self-healing mat.  If I need something to finish these projects, I’m all in.  Luckily, it was on clearance so I don’t feel bad about saving myself the headache.

Yesterday was a crochet pattern. I think I audibly squealed when I saw it.  It’s the Flying Saucer by lalylala.  I absolutely cannot WAIT to make this one!!!  It’ll be the first amigurumi I’ve made that I’m keeping.  I’m super excited.  It’s my kind of nerdy kitsch.

Today I caved and ordered some cork fabric.  I’ve been wanting some for quite a few years but haven’t been able to justify it for anything.  I’m going to use it to make a notebook cover because I’ve found that I never, ever want to use my cute notebooks!  This way, I can get plain composition books and cover it with something pretty and sparkly and actually use them.  I hope there will be enough left overs to use as wallet detail or something.  If not, I’m just happy to finally get my grubby paws on cork.  I love the way it feels!

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Doesn’t that cork look absolutely scrummy?!?!  It’s from the seller’s photos but it’s miiine now!  It won’t be here for a while so it’ll be nice having something fun to look forward to.

At least I’m keeping up with my UFO checklist, which was my main goal!  I’ve never been good at goals.  😀

I finished #7 today.  I’m also bad at following numerical order.  It’s drying on the my blocking boards now!

The pattern was Spider Lattice Scarf, free on Ravelry.  I’ll try to remember to snap a photo tomorrow, since it’s my first finish of 2019!

It’s easy and straightforward to make.  I had it memorized by the second repeat.  I do think there’s an error in the pattern at the end — it says to stop on row 8 but the final row doesn’t match in if that’s the case.  I ended up having to go back and add row 9 again for it to work.

When I pull the scarf off, I’ll finally block my Sheherazade scarf.  I’ve been putting it off because I like to procrastinate good things and enjoy them as much as possible.  I loved the pattern the whole way through but it was a sweet, sweet feeling making that last bindoff stitch!

 

Year of the UFOs…maybe

I think this year is going to be another year of focusing on UFOs or PhDs or WIPs — whatever your preferred terminology is. It has been my off and on goal to finish so many before starting new projects and I’m fairly good at doing that now.  So!

I wrote down 13 projects that I want to finish in the upcoming year.

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Some of them I’m excited to be working on, others I’ve put off for years for various reasons (looking at you evil #6!!!).  I’m not going to restrict myself on new projects, so long as I keep working on the old ones.  I would, however, like to see how much I can work out of my stash this year.   …which may prove impossible since I’m the MOH in an April wedding and things are getting a bit nuts and I just got the stuff to learn to play with vinyl so I can save myself a bunch of money through sweat equity.  We’ll see how that goes!

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I had to ask for a photo of the Tunisian crochet blanket I finished last month.  In my delight to have it done, I shipped it out without taking a single photo of it past the panel strips stage.  I put a super soft, plush fleece on the back to make it extra snuggly and warm.

…and to start the new year off with a question/survey thing!

***ASK your Husband these questions and write EXACTLY what they!***

•What is something I say a lot?

“Rub feets?” or “You should be doing your chores.”  Is it sad that I’ve driven you to say that so much?

•What makes me sad?

When I don’t follow through with what I say I’m going to do.

•What’s my favorite thing to do?

Play with kittens.

•How tall am I?

You used to be 5’10” but now I’m wonder if you’re not 6′ because often times it feels like you’re the same height or taller than me…unless I’m varying like crazy.

•What’s my best feature?

Probably your incredible wisdom for someone  your age.

•What do I do when you’re not around?

Only when I’m not around?  I think you’re mostly doing crafting when I’m not around but you also do that when I’m around.  Talking to people on the interwebs?

•What’s my favorite TV show?

Man, that’s hard.  Peaky Blinders?  I don’t know if that’s your favorite though.  Maybe it’s Fraggle Rock.  I can’t imagine you liking Fraggle Rock as much as Peaky Blinders these days.  Is it’s Sherlock?  I think it’s Sherlock.

•If I became famous what would it be for?

I think right now it’d be for crafting I would say.  That’s the number one thing you do that has public outreach.

•Where can I most likely be found?

At home.

• What is my favorite restaurant?

It’s definitely a Brazilian steakhouse.  It used to be Fogo de Chão.

•Where is one place I don’t like to be?

In the presence of my dad.  Maybe I should change that.  Is this publicly accessible?

•If I could go anywhere where would it be?

You’d probably like to go see Antarctica.

•How do you annoy me?

-laughs- By having difficulty listening.  I think that works for a lot of them.

•Who’s my favorite person?

Probably Grandmother.

•What’s my favorite kind of pop?

Coca-Cola.

•What is my favorite kind of food?

Churrasco.

•You get a call that I am in trouble, who am I with?

I’ve only ever gotten a call one time that you were in trouble and you were with the animals. (I was moving the last of our stuff to a new house and the wheel literally fell off of my car en route.  I wrecked into the guardrail with all of the critters in tow and had to call him at his brand new job to come pick us up.  He clarified after a few minutes of thought that most of our friends were goody two-shoes and if I went to jail it’d be for a murder-spree that likely included him so I couldn’t call him for help.)

Bah humbug

Our Christmas travel plans were cancelled this year.

I’m kind of sad but I’m mostly okay with it.  I’ll miss seeing my Grandmother but it’ll be nice not having to do a mad-dash drive across the eastern seaboard for once.

Also, because I don’t have to worry about packing…I have time for crafting!

I finished my Sheherazade shawl.  FINALLY!!!

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That’s hot off the needles.  It took forever to do the elastic cast-off.  Forever.

I’ll wet and block it tomorrow.  I’m kind of excited!  There are a lot of little points to fiddle with on the edge, so it’ll either drive me nuts or be a ton of fun.

I also have a few other projects I’ve finished and some more things on the hook, needles, and sewing machine beds.  I’ll try to get my act together soon and take a few more photos to share.

Knitting and baking

The MKAL was released two days ago and I started it, finished chart one (she released four for the first round), then ripped it all out.

Why?  I got into a groove and started knitting the pattern for the other shawl I’m finishing up.   …I think that means I need to finish it before merrily starting the other again and having another epic brain fart.

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I have 24 rows across two charts left still because I knit slower than molasses in winter.  You can see the lacy edge is starting to take shape, though!  I’m really excited about finishing this one up!

I really love the alpaca yarn from just working with it briefly yesterday.  It’s super soft and fuzzy (which will probably drive me nuts before this is all over).

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I had to spend my knitting time on Friday coloring in the MKAL charts.  D’oh.  I only have a black and white printer and, of course, it’s a color pattern.  I mark all over my knitting patterns so just reading it on my screen will never do.

…and, sadly, those gorgeous topaz beads…there aren’t enough for the project.  I talked to the company I got them from and the importers no longer sell them either…the lady said they were trying to get some from another Japanese brand in a similar color but I decided it was safer to swap up the colors a bit.  My other tube of red beads is on backorder and they said they’ll ship out some dark topaz ones for me at the same time.  I hope they match the really bizarre shades that make up my yarn.

Sunday is the day I make up food for the week for the hubs.  I think this week was a home run.  I stole this from his facebook page because it made me guffaw when I read it:

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I wish he was as enthusiastic about me as he is about the food I make.  XD

He posts a lot of the food I make because, apparently, people at work come to see him the next day to investigate the food.  He really loves attention from semi-random people and eating, so he gets a two-for-one deal.

…and that’s leading to a rant.

The ONE thing the drives me nuts about hubs posting food is we have one friend who always asks for the recipe.  If I used a recipe, I’ll gladly share it…but that’s rarely the case.  Most of our food is cooking what we have on hand and making a “mess” out of it.

Backstory: my Grandmother unleashed me into the world of cooking because I would go to her house and literally make a mess in her kitchen.  Whatever I could combine I would.  I would look for things that tasted weirdly good together and found a lot of things that just don’t work.  My sister (and sometimes cousins) would be my tasters….there’s no way my sister would’ve came back for more if I was always putting together gross stuff.  On that same note,  hubs (stupidly) challenged me to make him puke with a dish years ago and I succeeded with just three ingredients: horseradish, orange juice, and peanut butter…it even smells revolting enough to make you gag.  I’m fairly comfortable with figuring out how flavors work and we make a lot of fridge-clearing messes here.  🙂

So when this friend asks, I have to sit and think about how on earth to explain it to her in a way that she could reproduce.  I’m one of those crazy people that LOVES to cook.  I live in bagel central and I’m here at home making my own.  It’s insane but I really do enjoy every bit of it, so I don’t shy away from more complicated ideas.

…and then it’s made harder because we have some downright amazing grocery options.  I mean, I go to a real butcher where I can get things like silkie chicken and pork blood!   (Don’t question pork blood until you’ve had black pudding, I love that stuff…never made it, but love it.)  I cook with a lot of things that simply aren’t available where she lives.  I’d know, I lived there for 21 years.  When my mom visits, she brings an empty cooler so she can take all kinds of goodies and ingredients back with her.  It’s a food wasteland there.

Plus, let’s be honest, this friend is never, ever going to make anything I post.

Why do I say that?  A bit of a throwback:  I introduced her family to sushi a decade ago after I’d already moved away.  Her daughter wanted to try it, there was nowhere anywhere nearby that made it, and I adore the kid — she’s the sweetest creature to ever grace the earth — so I stopped at a huge world market several hours away and got the stuff to make a small assortment of sushi.  Just to make sure they’d have something to eat if they didn’t like the food (which they did, the kid even asked if she could keep the leftover eel for her lunch the next day), I also conspired with the little to show her how to make a really simple sweet and sour chicken.  She wanted to surprise our moms with a full dinner when they came back from their night out…didn’t I say she was the sweetest kid ever?

When we turned on the eye of the stove to start the chicken, the entire house flooded with a disgusting, acrid, black smoke.  It was so bad we had to throw open the windows in the middle of winter and leave the house.  Her mom had melted a plastic bowl onto the burner MONTHS ago and never cleaned it up…that’s how rarely she cooked.

Soooo fairly confident that the friend that always asks for recipes, thus making me rack my brain to come up with ingredients and substitutions and ways to simplify things, will never make a bloomin’ thing.  Is it wrong that it bugs the snot out of me when she asks?