Sunday, March 30, 2008

More of the Sevens

First we walked around.

Then, we yelled for Canada. Sorry, it didn't work.

We drank Pimm's cup, a drink so blokish, I am surprised I never have tasted it. I found a recipe here

Blogger here is not co-operating, so just cut and paste. I KNOW I am making a pitcher this summer.

New Zealand won!

Saw THESE, and took a picture for knit inspiration.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Suddenly, Hong Kong's a lot more fun.

Wow. More fun than I ever expected to have. Seven players per side, seven minutes per side, that's sevens. Love it. Also love Pimm's, I think. We have GREAT seats.

Our obligatory streakers.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The night market

I had a forgettable dinner. I woke up my little brother about 7, and said "Hey, I'm thinking about getting some take-out." "Get me some too" he said. So I went across the street, and studied the pictures on the menus very carefully. I had my choice of many menu 'sets', which is the same as a value meal at McDonalds, and if you choose badly, which I did, you get a complete bag of yuck. I am slowly working my way thru the fast food menus of Asia.

I finished, and we bagged up the survivors (you know, I wasn't eating bait or anything, just REALLY gristly beef that was mostly fat), and I perused a local tourism book.

"Hey, you can get Red Army stuff at the nightmarket!"

"Yeah Bets. Ya wanna go? I'll take you!"

As it turns out, this was my brother's excuse to put on a clean shirt and get ready to go out drinking. Whatever. So we walk the six blocks down to the nightmarket, which should be called tourist CRAP R US. On the way, we pass a guy with bleached hair that eyed him, and Dean noticed. We walk around the market, and buy a little of this and that. Midway thru, he jets. (Eye rolling, but hey, he lived here, and there are parties all over this weekend. But now I gotta walk back by myself .... yikes!)

Something about Hong Kong doesn't feel as safe as Shanghai. Dean says "Ignorance is bliss" and maybe that's so. But it WAS only six blocks.

So I finished buying shiny trinkets (I would insert a photo here if the hotel computer had the appropriate port, but it doesn't) and started hoofing it back to the hotel. Four blocks from the hotel, I notice a woman with a really short skirt, and she's no spring chicken. Three blocks from the hotel, I pass a vacant lot ringed by chainlink. I notice a girl in a short skirt and boots leaned up against it. And another. And two more. And a small cluster around the corner.

Then I notice the guy with the bleached hair, and suddenly I understand that he's the pimp. Oh.

The good news and the bad news-

I went to the bookstore in Shanghai, and found plenty of knitting books. I bought as many as I thought I needed....and that was the problem. My suitcase was about a dried leaf away from being overweight. little brother introduced me to the Hong Kong subway....not so different from The Tube, and certainly manageable.

You can tell when the announcements switch from Cantonese to Mandarin, which I heard all last week. Mandarin sounds of swishes and dimples, and vowels that sound like Air and Loo. Lu actually means street or road. So Tai Caing Lu means Tai Cang Road. Before I left Shanghai, I was to the point of going to Cindi Lu Hu. HAHAHAH-I AM a dork.

Yesterday, I ventured out to see the nice people at DHL about shipping my books.

I got to the Central Station ok, and wandered about looking for the DHL kiosk. I stopped a woman in the concourse, asking her "Where is DHL?" She gave me a "I don't know what the fuck you are talking about" look, which you might expect, except that she was wearing a DHL uniform and carrying a DHL bag. Bitch. I made up my mind to pack a BIG HEAVY box.

So fine-I picked up my packaging materials and hopped the subway back to Mongkok. I thought about it a little. If empty, folded boxes were a pain in the ass, what would a box of BOOKS be like? Yes, I think more ass-pain.

I got back to the hotel, and looked up the local post office. Bingo! Just a few blocks away, a short cab ride. (It looks a little sketchy around here!)

So the good news is I ditched seven kilos of printed matter on the Hong Kong postal system. The bad news is I chose the surface option. Secretly, I struggled with that in my mind. DHL sends things FAST, but it would be triple the price I paid for the magazines. My cheapness won't allow it. Hong Kong slow boat really IS a slow boat. My package should get there in about two months. Ohhhhhhhhhh-Kay. It was 50 bucks (US) which was about the cost of the periodicals. Sigh

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

If it's Thursday

it must be Hong Kong.

We left Shanghai for Hong Kong last night. We are staying in a GREAT place in Kowloon. You'll notice I can blog again; that's because the Chinese government blocks Blogger's IP. It is refreshing to watch real, unfiltered news again (even tho this has a decidedly British slant, it's ok, it was the ABSENCE of real news that was unsettling.) Shui Kuen sent me links to news of Tibet, and I could never read beyond the first page!

We are here for the Sevens, an international rugby 'thing' (OK, I don't KNOW a lot about rugby, but plan to learn this week). I am happy I get a chance to blog-photos later!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I'm a teensy bit excited

I'll be back shortly, just going out for a bit. Knit quietly among yourselves.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Obviously I can't use this

For my Ravatar or any bio pic.  The Eurodrama-angst look has been done.  Many times.  I just kind of liked the picture.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I'm deluded.

I like to pretend I am very cosmopolitan, but every so often, something utterly East Cupcakian happens, and there's no denying that I live in BFE. On Sunday, we were going to go fire at the range. We drove out to the range, unlocked the gate, drove in, locked it back up. We drove down the rutted dirt road, got to the tables and.....Oh, I guess not! They looked insulted by the very idea!

We met another truck as we were leaving. We told them about the obstacles on the range. They invited us to a (eye twinkling) barbecue.

On the knitting front-still slugging the damned albatross. Did a little easy knitting-another pumpkin hat and a 160 yard scarf.

Monday, March 10, 2008

It always turns out a little differently than you expect

It must have been about 1989. I was looking at a map of Africa (you know the country names and geography change frequently) and spied Djibouti on the map. I decided right then and there that I REALLY wanted a T-shirt from Djibouti, just because it was so much fun to say!

It took 18 years to get that shirt. Matt sent it. Actually, he sent two, and I am very excited just to have ONE!!! Here is the front and back of my favorite!

In other news, I went to the doctor's today. Things are a little whacky. More after I give more blood. Gerr-rate.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

It's not that I am a slut or anything-

At DH's request, I went thru some yarn bins in the garage. There was at least 15 sweaters worth out there. Some of the yarns are from way back when, too. Take, for example, the Scheepswool Fiamme-I bought it in Enkenbach-Alsenborn in about 1988, and it was a holiday like Labor Day or something. The Sumatra was purchased the first time I went to Britain-in April 1987 we were walking down the street and passed a shop. It was one of the little towns surrounding RAF Bentwaters. The white stuff-my ex and I were driving thru the South and stopped in Pickens South Carolina at the Brunswick factory in 1986. It's tough for me to ditch those yarns.

I remember buying MOST of the yarn. Ebay yarn is an exception. Ebay yarn is the stuff tend to get rid of-it usually disappoints. In my stash dive yesterday, I found some Reynold's Coco and some Mondial Tangeeri that are exceptions, except the Coco is peppermint chip green! These are nice and should become things. Most of my yarns are not wooly one night stands. They have fond spots in my heart.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Oh my!

I went to the mail box and found this from a certain birthday pal. Oh my! My birthday fairies conspired, and now I am so totally overwhelmed because the pressure is ON! Whatever I make from this slew of fabulosity and generosity has got to be G-orgeous! I need a stunning project for these guys!


Remember that I wrote about buying a new, ungodly expensive repeater for my new iphone that I bought from the evil Apple store? The phone that wouldn't work at the house UNTIL I bought the repeater? The phone receipt is still on my fridge, dated Feb 3.

Dh called me while I was at the store yesterday afternoon about 3, and that was the last call I took. My phone's had a "no service" message on it since about 7. I spent a whopping 45 minutes on the phone with lovely Angela from ATT, and hopefully, someone will work on it today. I R-E-A-L-L-Y don't want to drive 70 miles to the Apple store, aka "hellonearth". So I am pissy about that.

I stash organized yesterday. I found this be-yootiful wool and silk in an abandoned project, so I frogged it, and tested it. It's Mystical Creations-my last wool and silk yarn turned from brilliant kelly and lime to um, sage and lime. The kelly green kept bleeding and bleeding and bleeding. I finally decided (at the third washing, when the water in the basin was DARK green) that it wasn't my fault! Apparently, this is a pretty common problem, and many of their yarns are poorly set. I wrote the company, and she replaced the yarn, but once you knit a garment that goes to hell like THAT, you are kind of careful.

I figured I should test this. The purple bled. A lot! I took pictures, but THEY ARE TRAPPED ON MY IPHONE. Hmmmph! Anyhow, look at the deep dark wavy purple. Notice how everything on the washed part doesn't look quiet as dark? I will probably bite the bullet and pitch this.

Note: Called Apple, phone ok, here's bleeding yarn photo. Water is from about 3 yards of yarn-soak one and soak 2.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Vote early, vote often!!

When DH wandered in he asked me if I wanted to go with him to pick up new pants. "Honey, don't you wanna go vote?" "Oh yeah!" I handed him a small bowl of spinach lasagna, and we discussed our strategy. "Hmmm-I was thinking about voting Democrat for Hillary-if..." I broke in "That's what Chris was saying! McCain can take Hillary, Obama, I am not so sure about!" We discussed the local scoundrels we wanted to ditch.

The place was packed. The little church was busier at 5:15 on a Tuesday evening than it is on Sunday morning. And it wasn't potluck dinner night, either! We waited in line. It's not the first time we've waited in line, but usually, it's 6:50 in the morning, and we wait for the polls to open. The line swelled after we arrived, and I counted more than 30 people behind me before we made it to the front door!

Once inside, I waved at people I knew. It was packed! Election officials were scurrying back and forth. "Do you know how I do a first time voter?" I heard one woman say. The Democrat line was LONG. I just watched the evening news, and the Democrats are still almost equally divided.

DH got his ballot before I did, and I was really puzzled why it took him so long to finish his ballot. When we left, I asked him what took him so long. "Who the hell is Ho Tranh?" What? "He's a Republican presidential candidate." I quit reading the list after Fred Thompson. He dropped out weeks ago. I admitted I hadn't read the whole list, but told DH "Honey, he's born in the US, and over 35." DH was a little concerned about his own qualifications to run for president. He was born at a military hospital overseas. "I think you count because it is a US hospital. Like being born at an embassy. But Arnold can't run." He felt a little better then.

We got to the store, and I noticed how smokey the air smelled. There was a large brown cloud to the southeast, and one to the southwest. "I saw two really big fires on the way home," DH said. We stopped and got a snack, and DH peered over my shoulder. "What are you looking at?"

Another fire. To the north. We need rain.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Yay, my phone works!

We had to buy a repeater so my phone would work at home. The wildly expensive yellow box contained a short whip antenna (18"), a clamp, a lot of cable, a box with a light on it, and another antenna the size of a pencil. You gotta be kidding, right? But my phone works at home now, and I am happy once again.

I had to go for bloodwork this morning, which involves a 50 mile trip to the VA. With no coffee. I cannot stand getting blood drawn. It's the look the tech gives me when she tourniquets me up, thumps my veins, rubs the inside of my elbow, thumps, and frowns. "I'm sorry, I forgot to drink a lot of water last night," I apologize. Stick one-got a vial, but she's wiggled the needle and the flow stopped. She rubs my arm. Checks my wrist. Goes for my other arm. Sticks. Zilch.
"Hey Anthony!" she yells. "Ya busy?" Anthony toddles over. Checks my wrist-the main vein, then the ancillary one on the side. Goes for my "I ain't EVER gonna commit suicide by slitting HERE" wrist, and coaxes some blood out. I spring a leak. Barely. I don't donate well, either. Three sticks and I am taking a cookie, whether they get any blood or not.

Since I have to drive forever to get to my blood taken, I shop on the way home. I stop by Dillards and visit the boobologist, and buy a new bra. Then I stop at the bookstore on the way home. I beat feet to the magazine section, and see this:

I am not sure if that's funny or sad, but I'd like to talk to the guy that does the merchandise plan. He's a smartass. (The photo was taken with my phone. And sent at home! Yay!)

I was really happy to see this on the shelf. I've become a much better cook recently. Tonight we had chicken with buttered lime and caper sauce, and it was REALLY good. And freakin' easy.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Field Trip!!! Cochineal (Dactylopius coccus) simplified.

You've probably heard about Cochineal, the red dye developed by native Mexican people from little insects. It's hard to picture the whole process of making that dye, isn't it?

I went to visit Scullyknits today. We were walking out to my car, trying to isolate a particularly fragrant plant, when she suddenly stopped short. "Do you know what this is? It's cochineal," pointing to a webby white little knot on a large, smooth cactus. I looked, and saw several clusters of little white knots. They resembled Kleenex that's been through the dryer and colonized onto your favorite black fleece top.

"The one that's spelled like you'd pronounce it as co-chenille?"

"Yes, that's it."

She grabbed a bit of twig, and smashed one of the little linty white knots. "You have to scrape them all together and use a mordant and everything, but I really want to try dyeing something."

The linty spot burst, and released a brilliant, raspberry goo. I can't wait to try THIS!! We both hope more beetles move in.

Tangerine Rolls for Tawnya Rivera and her dad

A few weeks ago, I was going thru a bookshelf and weeding through old cook books, the recipe piles I've been meaning to try, and clutter. I found an old Nordic Ware recipe book (price .25) that advertised Bundt Pans for 3.25 in exciting colors like Avocado and Harvest Gold (which, for some reason, is harder to bring to temperature, and requires an extra 5 minutes of baking time.) Leafing thru, I noticed a recipe for Easter Lamb cake, the kind my mom used to make, with cocoanut frosting and raisin eyes. I scanned a copy, and mailed it to my x-SIL, who has my mom's pan. She called me up later, laughing about it. (She's not that great of a cook.)
I sat down with that same leaflet this evening. As I looked, I realized that my MIL probably bought this booklet when they lived in Minnesota in the early 70s, and Nordic Ware was a booming local business. I wonder what caught her eye?
I glanced down at the recipe for Mandarin Coffee Bread, and realized it was not the first time I heard of that unusual recipe. I skimmed back thru a stack of old Cook's Country magazines, and there it was-a request from Tawnya Rivera, from September 2005. I emailed the magazine, but just in case, I am putting this out. Maybe she still needs it? I realize the gentleman described tangerine rolls, but I can see where mandarin and tangerine could get confused.


I started my latest knitting project over. While I was at it, I timed my self knitting one row. It took me 15 minutes, and I fear I am in deep trouble.