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Mid Summer Pursuits

Did I mention I started a new job? A real permanent job? I honestly can’t remember. It’s a great job with an unambiguous title: Retail Coordinator. And I get to work for Kansas–not the government, which is all around pretty good in my book–but folks it’s a lot to learn and take over all at once. I can’t sleep at night my mind is so busy processing it all. I don’t feel rushed or panicked or unhappy–quite the opposite really–I am just behind–through no fault of my own. But the catching up is taking most of my brain power, and I forget to start writing a blog post until 5 minutes before it’s time to leave for work, and we’ve all seen how well that has been working out.

The rest of my energies have gone into the following pursuits:


These peaches became ice cream. I have been experimenting with ice cream making this week, which I have never ever made before. See, I used to be baker, but then I gave up wheat (and sugar, but am less strict about this)* and baking was no longer an option unless I wanted to spend a fortune on nut flours. Ladies and gentlemen, these last few months have seen me pretty much the definition of broke. Broker than I have ever been. Nothing was purchased that was not a necessity, and fancy flour-substitutes are the definition of luxury. Given dietary restrictions, I made my ice cream with cream, evaporated milk and peaches soaked in a couple teaspoons of honey. It was good, and now it was gone. Alas, no photographs were taken of the final product, but I will be continuing to experiment.

Tonight I attempted to make Mocha Gelato, but I am pretty sure I didn’t let the mixture cool enough before churning it. The upside is that with very few ingredients, milk, honey, cocoa, instant espresso, vanilla, I created a really great tasting chocolate / coffee soup that I am freezing never-the-less hoping it doesn’t turn into ice. Less sugary substance is better. Next, I really want to attempt making ice cream from coconut milk and get rid of the dairy all together. I don’t have trouble with dairy, but I know folks who do, and I think it would be fun. Plus, I. Love. Coconut.

While it is summer and ice cream making is the appropriate thing to do, I have been doing all sorts of inappropriate things with wool.


Like knitting sweaters in 100+ degree heat.

I finished the body of the surfer tee, and only have (cap) sleeves to knit and the neckline to clean up. I knit a size I thought I might shrink down to by October and it fits perfectly now. It will still look good on me in October if I continue losing weight at this rate. After that, I will probably rip it out and knit a different sweater, because knitting sweaters is fun and I have been impressing msyself with my new ultra-economic ways.

At the same time, I have been working on my sister’s belated birthday gift.

It’s a laptop cozy for her new computer that she is taking to CHINA. With fang buttons. She will love this. Even if knitting in garter stitch for that long was a horrible idea.

Then I started a completely insane project for July.

A thick, worsted weight cabled sweater. It’s already warm in my lap, but the squishiness of the cables and the roundness of the yarn and the fact that I will have the perfect sweater finished by the time I actually need it this year when the weather turns keeps my needles going. The sweater was in the most recent WEBS catalog I received, and when I saw it, I knew it was what my Cormo Rusticus (100% cormo) yarn would become. The sweater is Pearl Street Pullover, and the yarn was a one off, but I bet they might have something fun a Juniper Moon Farm.

Thursday I try my hand a teaching my first sock knitting class. Wish me luck.

* I keep meaning to write a short post about how, after half a decade of struggling with my weight, I am finally losing it again. The easiest way to say it is that I gave up grains (yes grains, not just wheat) and sugar. I don’t think that blog post is ever going to happen in a way that I will be satisfied with. I don’t think food should be religion, and every time I try I sound like gluten-free evangelist. If you want to know how I modified my lifestyle and am losing weight, check out Mark’s Daily Apple. The lifestyle that website describes is pretty close to what I am doing, and full of great information.

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Off Topic

My final semester of school starts tomorrow. I am simultaneously excited and filled with dread. To put it simply, last semester was NOT GOOD. I was not sleeping enough or eating well. I was at work or doing homework all the time and falling asleep while I meant to be playing with Athrun. Halfway through the semester, my back started hurting so badly that I was alternating icing and heating daily, which only seemed to make the pain tolerable instead of better. I joined a gym at the end of November, and was only able to attend intermittently until the end of the semester, but every time I was able to go, I could tell it helped the pain slightly.  At the beginning of December, I took five days off from work (a really terrible month to have to take time off, let me tell you.) just so I could catch up with all of the paper writing I had to get done before the end of the semester. For five days, all I did was read, write, research, and go to class. When I went back to work in mid-December, I did the same thing with the added bonus of working full time. My final project for my creative non-fiction class was due at 11:59 on Friday, December 17th, and I was working hard until 11:15 pm. I do not want a repeat of this semester.

Granted, I am taking 6 hours, where last semester I was taking 13, but for some reason, I am not sure this is going to make much difference. I see myself working on my classes, particularly my advanced creative non-fiction class, just as much as I did last semester. I hope that perhaps more time into each class will perhaps help balance out the sorry grade-point average. (I passed my Astronomy lab with a healthy C-, which is kind of a miracle. I was convinced I was going to fail.)

And even though last semester was not good, it was a great improvement on the semester before last. I spent the summer learning how to relax, learning how to be ok with myself while I was working hard, learning how not to be angry. This break, I have been trying to turn around my eating habits. I used to be pretty strict with myself, eating a good mix of vegetables and whole grains and fruits with only occasional junk food thrown in. I lost almost sixty pounds this way after Athrun was born. Full-time classes have not been good for my weight at all, as I have steadily been gaining back the pregnancy weight, without the excuse of a baby this time. Last semester, if it could be delivered to my door, I ate it. A lot of it. Mercifully, I was walking so much at school, this did not affect my waistline during the semester. However, the first couple of weeks after finals, coupled with holiday frivolities saw my weight jump up ten pounds. I am, however, saying that 5 lbs of this is added muscle mass from going to the gym more often, because I swear, my legs have gotten skinnier.

I do not handle stress well, and it is mirrored directly in my weight loss or weight gain–usually neither one being a good sign. And then, I have a lot of internal conflict about dieting, because it feels like I am eating and living by someone else’s ideal, not my own. I know that I am not at my ideal weight: it slows me down, it makes the desks at school even more uncomfortable. And, it would be dishonest of me to say that I don’t feel slightly judged for being overweight in a society that values thinness before all else. What I am really hoping is that I can eat healthfully and heartily this semester, while establishing a routine at the gym. The downside is I would work out instead of napping, which might actually be a winning strategy with time. The upside is that I will get a chance to watch a lot more bad TV.

We don’t have TV. I mean, we have a TV, but the only signal is the DVD player or the computer hard drive. So, anything I watch, I must seek out. It really cuts down on the mindless TV watching of shows about nothing. However, when I go to the gym, all of the cardio equipment has it’s own little television and headphone jacks. I watch a lot of bad TV at the gym. Usually it is TLC, because out of all the really pointless TV channels out there, I find that TLC generally has the worst of it. And it is glorious. I watched a show about a woman who had carried a calcified baby in her stomach for forty years the other day. Or then there was the History Channel show about the treasure hunters looking for Confederate silver. Makes my day. Tonight, I am thinking about going in and doing my usual routine, then hopping on a recumbent bike with my sock-knitting and just watching TV while I cycle and work out a bunch of stress right before school starts to pile it all back on again.