Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Things about 2009 I learned or thought about or should do (not really more like 100)

1. It is the last year of this decade, which leads me to realize I don't know what this decade is called. The Zeros? Hm.
2. The aparment I've been living in for 18 months is much warmer than the last one.
3. I can knit a lot if I want to.
4. A Blackberry is an equal trade for a misbehaving cat. Ok, no its not. I'll send the cat away to another room, but never the BB. ilu, bb.
5. I like Bones a lot.
6. Also Modern Family.
7. And Better off Ted.
8. I really don't watch that much tv anymore.
9. Hulu would be perfect if HIMYM were on it.
10. I should be getting ready for work instead of writing right now and procrastinating.
11. I wish I had someone to talk to me in Spanish up here.
12. Still not have figured out why citrus is so expensive in Bing, but not anything else.
13. Wallets from the Pearl River Mart: not really that durable.
14. I like wool.
15. Also MAC.
16. I got engaged this year. I think?
17. I don't think it bodes well that I don't even know the year that Richard proposed to me.
19. Coffee makes me go to the bathroom.
20. It is possible to work two jobs and still have no money.
21. Getting a cat to pose for a photo is like getting John to pose for a photo. Ergo, John is a cat. Furry!
22. I should get a tongue piercing, y/n?
23. The answer is no.
24. It would be hot though.
25. Hot in a "I'm a sexy librarian kind of way."
26. A cat will let you stick your finger in her mouth if she's relaxed enough.
27. Not really that much saliva in a cat's mouth.
28. Working two jobs is terrible.
29. 5% of customers are awful people all around, the rest of you are average.
30. Getting movie rentals a week before they come out is pretty cool.
31. Bruno was a terrible movie all around.
32. Your mom is a classy lady!
33. Nobody gives a shit about the cake anymore. It is old meme.
34. Writing is a job.
35. Sleeping on my futon is very comfortable.
36. Seeley & Brennan OTP
37. Cooking in a kitchen that is too small is aggravating.
38. Together, my ipod Touch and Blackberry are unstoppable.
39. Netbooks are perfectly respectable if you don't game.
40. Or do any Photoshopping.
41. Which I used to do obsessively. I miss Photoshop.
42. Having a cat is really awesome, because I am really lazy.
43. Butter, garlic, lemon juice, white wine, & fresh parsley: A great all around sauce.
44. It is very easy to forget when to use a colon and semicolon.
45. Upstairs in an adverb.
46. I will never find out who Wallace is.
47. Homegrown tomatoes are the greatest thing ever.
48. I need more money to live the way I want to.
49. DUH!
50. I am halfway through the longest list I wrote this year.
51. Scribblenauts is an awesome game for one hour.
52. Ikura is the best thing ever.
53. You can never have too many bookcases.
54. Having autographed books of poetry is pretty cool.
55. Haikus can be fun
56. They can be hard to write well
57. Refridgerator
58. 55-57 was a haiku, in case you didn't notice.
59. Perky people are irritating.
60. Peacoats make everyone look good.
61. Working 12 hour days are terrible.
62. People who wait until Christmas Eve to do 300 dollars worth of groceries are my nemesises.
63. Nememsii?
64. I should look that up.
65. A lot of movies were really disappointing this year.
66. But you can't go wrong with a nice brie.
67. Wegmans sells quite a few varieties of brie in addition to many other fine cheeses.
68. I like cheese a lot.
69. It's nemeses, actually.
70. I could never be anti-choice.
71. I don't know how to feel about the death penalty.
72. I consider myself somewhere between Roman Catholic & Secular Humanist. Take that how you please.
73. No attention is better that negative attention.
74. It's nice to be held.
75. I think that having more counter space would encourage me to cook more. I don't have any room to chop, mix, knead or anything.
76. I like the Christmas gifts I got this year.
77. I don't read as much as I should anymore.
78. Sometimes its just a lot more satisfying to fall asleep in front of the tv.
79. Its nice to have people over here. I don't know when anyone is going to visit us again.
80. Sometimes I get lonely.
81. Sometimes I just feel depressed.
82. Sometimes I just need to watch tv shows on Hulu until I cheer up.
83. I want a bigger fridge in 2010.
84. I want more pantry space.
85. I want to lose 20 pounds.
86. I want to see my ribs again, as awful as that sounds.
87. I still don't think I'm pretty. When does that happen?
88. I don't talk to some of you as often as I should.
89. It's fun for me to watch Richard play video games. Sometimes.
90. It's amusing to irritate people too.
91. My cat has soft paws and I love her.
92. My gerbils are getting old.
93. Pizza is a good meal on New Years Eve.
94. I don't like Carson Daly.
95. I only watch New Years Rocking Eve for the last 2 minutes.
96. My resolution? To be better, overall.
97. My regrets? Too many to count.
98. My happiest moments? Far more than my regrets.
99. 2009 was a good year.
100. I love you all, more than you realize.


Sunday, December 06, 2009

Holiday Gift Guides

It's that time of year again: when blogs and newspapers across the internet post Christmas gift guides that I can barely afford to even think about. Of course, the gift are always beautiful and/or useful, but more often than not they're for that twenty to thirty-something that actually managed to find a job out of college and is making enough money to live in a home with working insulation and a refrigerator that isn't held together by duct tape. But I digress.

The guides will be divided into parts, Under 100, Under 50, Under 20, and so on, and the gifts will get more and more useless and un-gifty as the price goes down. "Oh, a set of napkin rings? You shouldn't have. Really." Really great stuff.

This year everyone on my list is getting my handmade stuff. Lip balms, knitted hats and gloves, Christmas cards that were on sale. Or left over from last year. If I could afford it, I would give people books, but I already owe a few hundred on my credit card, and more than 6k in student loans. My family can suffer as much as I am. Which isn't to say that a few people aren't getting nice things. I knit pretty well and it's going to be wool, so they're getting good stuff. And I did spend some money over all. This is probably my most stressful Christmas yet.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

This Morning

This morning I woke up 4 minutes early. That might not seem like much, but I treasure every moment I am asleep, and I would have enjoyed those minutes if THE CAT WOULD JUST LEAVE ME BE. If we don't feed her early enough, she has a whole process for getting one of us to get up. First she will jump on me and sit on my bladder. If I roll over, like today, she'll jump on the entertainment system and start chewing on my plants. When that did nothing but make me yell at her from bed, she went to the dining room and jumped on the table. So I got up, gave her a tray of kibble, and went to do my bathroom thing.

But that was not good enough, and she followed me around as I made my coffee, chirping, squeaking, and sighing. I GET IT, PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE CAT, I GET IT. So she got her half-can of wet food, with some l-lysine mixed in. Now she's all, I'm a cat, sitting in the sun, I'm licking my snatch to clean myself, hur hur hur.

Once in a while, I'll yell near her, "I know you're actually a person stuck in a cat's body." No response yet, but I'm confident.

Vala in the Sun

Monday, November 02, 2009

Evangeline Gloves

I wish there was some sort of app for the iPod touch, where I could just, like, type up a draft of a post and then save it to look over and post later. I guess you could say that's the email application, but I have more than 50 unfinished homeworks in my draft box, and I graduated college 6 months ago. I don't really see myself going back to that folder to do any cleaning.


I'm changing the name of the blog to my two favorite things, two things that are quite important to me, for reasons I'm not really sure about. Perhaps it's the efficiency inherent in both worlds. And by worlds, I don't really mean worlds. My pockets end up (more often than not) being a traveling garbage receptacle. As I write this I have no idea what is actually in my pockets. Sometimes I find money. Those are good days.

I love parking complexes. That's all I have to say about that, because if I start talking about how useful they are, I'll never stop.

I had about $4.30 in my paypal account, from God knows what at this point, so I bought the pattern for Evangeline on ravelry for $3 Canadian (2.96). I liked the long version of the gloves, but let's face it, when am I really going to wear gloves that long. I am not crazy enough to wear short sleeves here until May. Maybe. Anyway, the short version was just a little too short for my liking, so I added an extra cable repeat, and I ended up with two gloves I really like, and a few yards of Wool of Andes its possible that I will never use.

Evangeline underside

They still need to get blocked. One of the thumbs I bound off too tight, so it's a snug fit right now.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I have a cat

She is the greatest cat ever and I love her. Rich and I have officially had her for one week and a day. And we have a vet appointment set up for Saturday morning because she has ear mites. Hoooooray.

This is what she looks like:



Ok, maybe not.

Vala Mal Doran in a Basket

She's still pretty damn awesome, I think. Her eyes are about halfway to anime size, and a beautiful pale green. And her name?

Vala Mal Doran.

Why yes, I am a geek, thank you for noticing.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Tomato Update 8/30 - Close to the End

At the end of the growing season, I have finally started harvesting tomatoes. It's been getting cold, so I've been picking them as they get their red blush all over, and put them in paper bags. It seems to go quicker, and I'm impatient for tomatoes.

I don't think I'll have enough for sauce and salad, unless the tomato plants hold out a little longer, but whatever, I learned a lot, and I know how to not eff up so much next year. Maybe next year I'll have a backyard, and I can't post about planting in the ground and the completely different learning experience that'll be. Won't that be fun?

A quick photo showing my tomato compared to the store tomato. Theirs is bigger, but fuck if mine doesn't taste a crapload better.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Catnip gets Attacked

I have most of my potted plants on a small table in front of my kitchen window. It was starting to get crowded so I moved a few plants around. And took a pot of catnip outside to sit on my porch. In retrospect, I probably should have remembered about the stray cats that wander around this neighborhood, either way, my catnip had been getting more and more beaten up for a few days, and I wasn't sure why or how.
That is, until Richard and I got home late one night and saw a shadow run across the porch and jump down off the porch. At first I thought it was a raccoon, then Richard and I saw the outline of a cat, and in whatever light the moon was giving, we could both tell it was a grey cat.
Since then I've seen the cat once again, hanging out in the daytime near our fence. I'm not sure how I should feel about this cat. If it is a stray, and is tame, I would like to catch it and take it to the vet, to get fixed and whatnot, but I don't want to take a chance that this cat belongs to someone.

At the very least, the scent of a cat on my porch has been keep small woodland creatures away. Fuck you, squirrels, there's a cat here now hahaha!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Tomato Update 8/05

The tomatoes are still coming along, no signs of redness yet. I fertilized today, and checked all the fruit for disease, and so far, nothing.

However, I have been noticing that the lower leaves on the oldest plant are starting to die a bit. I'll keep an eye on this, but so far, I think my plants are ok.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Michele enjoys a lull

The above photo is actually two months old, and since then the gerbil setup hasn't changed that much. The four of them are still split into three cages, but instead of being on a dresser in the dining room, they're now on a plain black desk. We bought new chewy wood houses for them, and at this point the houses are about 50% gone. (Remind me to buy more apple twigs, brain.)

Cookie the cat left with my neighbors at the end of May, and I miss her terribly. The squirrels continue to irritate me, and there's an upcoming post on a new intruder to the porch area: a grey stray cat.

I got a new job (actually two) that I'm starting on Thursday~ yay ~so that means.... nothing actually. The tomatoes are still coming along, and I plan to take some new photos tomorrow. Still green, but they're in the stage where they're becoming shiny rather than matte and fuzzy.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Michele sets crickets free

So today, Richard and I went out for a burrito (and it was delicious). We were leaving the restaurant to get back in the car to come back home, when Richard suddenly paused. I walked over to his side of the car to see what he was looking at and it was this:

Someone had just left a bag of 15 crickets on the ground in the parking lot. I felt bad for them, Richard was disgusted, but I felt we should set them free, at least so they could know grass, before a bird came by and ate them up.

We ended up leaving them to go free in the backyard.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tomato Update - 7/28

This photo is a little late, but better late than never. This is the largest tomato on all four of my tomato plants. After I plucked off all of the diseased fruits and wept, the plant developed a lot of new flowers, that have already started budding into tiny fruits. I have lots of new tomatoes, none of which is suffering from even the early stages of BER. Yay!
I amended the soil with some old compost I had, bone meal, egg shells, and a small amount of unflavored gelatin, which my mother recommended.

I've changed the image hosting to picasa for the blog. I recently installed it on my computer and now I'm wondering whyyy I never looked into it before. However, I think I will keep using Flickr for other photos for the time being. Picasa is just more convenient for posting images here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tomato Update - 7/24

It was probably a given that I was going to end up with a disease that is extremely common among container growers. And it doesn't help that I wake up late, well after the sun has started to heat the soil in my pots, and the water dries up.
This is good experience for future tomato growing endeavors, but for now, it's so disheartening, seeing all those tiny tomatoes, with black soft spots on the bottom. UGH. I plucked 8 diseased tomato-ettes a few days ago, but new ones have popped up. There is not ARGH enough to portray my dismay. No, I'm not being melodramatic.
Perhaps I should buy one of those bulb waterers they show on tv? I don't usually drink any bottled drinks, but I managed to scrounge up two old plastic bottles and have them in two of the pots as slow-drip system thingers.

It has suddenly gotten very dark outside, and a bit thundery. Beautiful. Last week lightning struck nearby and reset the power in the entire house. I'm off to unplug important things.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Stuff I Like

Five links that I just can't stop looking at

Tomato Update from 7/14:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Yellow Dress

While I was in Maine on vacation, I went to Portland, and saw this dress and immediately fell in love with it, but not with the price. After some quick searching on Craftster, I found rostitchery's version and tutorial, and set to make my own.

I changed the skirt to a simple A-line, and also had to run some elastic through the waistband because apparently I'm not very good at measuring my own waist. I found it was easier to loop the elastic through the band if the band were 2 or so centimeters *shorter* than my waistband, so the ends don't meet. That way, if it wears out, I can also cut it out and put in a new one.

In spite of myself, I think it turned out rather nicely.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Adagio Tea

I was sitting on the floor, sipping lukewarm coffee and not really watching Wimbledon (I am aware that I am unemployed.) when I hear a knock at the door. Thinking it might be the landlord, I go to check, I don't see anyone, but there is a small package on the ground.
I open it up and...


I'm almost a bit afraid to drink it, the tiny tins were so adorable. Though I suppose I could repurpose them for spices, or crafty things...

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I have officially given up on composting. I tried, I really did, for more than a year, but the environment of all things, got the best of me.
I live in an area of NY that, between June and September is either humid and hot, or raining and hot. The rest of the year it usually freezes over, so I was constantly struggling with compost that was frozen, or too wet, or infested with fungus gnats. There was never a good time for my compost bins, no matter how much brown I added to cover it up. Sure, it broke down, but what use do I have for it, if it is swarming with gnats. I am a container gardener, and while the compost would probably work in someones veggie garden in their backyard, it simply didn't work when all I had was potted herbs and some flowers.
So, I dug a hole in a corner of the backyard (I rent, and live on the second floor of a house split into 4 apartments) and dumped the compost in there, and covered it up with the dirt I had dug up. The compost that went in smelled and was buggy. Ugh! It was too hard to do it, what with living in an apartment and having very little access to workable browns (ie, grass clippings, dead leaves, hay).
Vermicomposting, while very interesting, isn't an option in this household. My fiance is openly hateful towards worms, and avoids them on sidewalks. Don't ask me why, I have no idea there. It also seemed quite difficult, to me. I was unsure where exactly I was going to be able to sort the compost without terrifying the man, and what if I missed the tiny eggs while I was sorting? Is it ok to have worms in my tiny containers? Nothing I read on the subject really shed any light on that, and I figure they're writing more towards people who have room to garden.
On that note, the worms in the bins do reproduce and grow in numbers, and what was I going to do with the excess? Give it to bait shops? Save it for the day the man pisses me off enough that I resort to covering his side of the bed with worms? I figure that would be more than I really wanted from compost.
I hope I didn't scare anyone away from composting because it really is a great way to reduce the amount of garbage that leaves your household, but in my case, it just didn't work.

No photos this time around.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spring 09


The tomato I first planted in late January has been coming along, albeit not without some struggle. It's been transplanted into a bigger container and already has quite a few leaves, as you can see in the first photo. However, I might have been a little heavy handed with the fertilizer I added and might have burned the early leaves a little bit (photo 3).

The violet blooms are my biggest surprise of the season. When we bought the plant about a year ago it bloomed for a few weeks, then went dormat for a while, with nice dark green leaves. When it started blooming a few weeks ago, I was super surprised. It's been a very low maintenance plant, thus far.

Next Update: Chamomile Seedling & My Compost

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fighting the Winter Blues

This is an experiment in winter gardening. I'm so exasperated by all the cold around here that I just had to do it, to hell with conventional seed starting dates. In my defense, though, it's highly probable that none of these plants will ever live full time outside. Except for maybe the tomatoes. (Yes, I planted tomatoes mid-January, sue me, it's boring here.)

There's basil, oregano, chamomile, tomatoes, and catnip. In retrospect I probably should have labeled the containers, but for a few of them its too late, and their seeds were too microscopic too identify now. The tomatoes are in the toilet paper roll though.

Everything, as you can see, is edible. Except for the catnip, which is going to be harvested and dried and stuffed into hand-made cat toys. If I could have a cat I would do it in a second, but Richard's allergic. The joke's on him, though, I'm allergic to dogs.

If this winter garden fails, I lost out on a few seeds, but I'll just toss the stuff into my compost pile. Otherwise, I'm going to eat like a queen, and the next door neighbor's cats are going to be the happiest fatties around.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Checkerboard Dishcloth

This cloth was was designed using alternating squares of stockinette stitch and seed stitch, to make a nice checkerboard pattern. I use my dishcloths in the kitchen, in the bathroom, and everywhere else in my home. Old cloths get used to clean the bathroom fixtures or for the rare times when I get down on my hands and knees and scrub down my kitchen floor.

I used 100% cotton yarn in worsted weight. Sugar 'n' Cream is my brand of choice, but any other comparable yarn will work as well.

A 120 yd. ball of Sugar 'n' Cream has knit up 3 full sized dishcloths, with enough left over to make one small


Cast on 31 stitches, & knit 3 rows.

Knit Repeat A 4 times.
Knit Repeat B 4 times.
Knit Repeat A 4 times.
Knit Repeat B 4 times.

Knit 3 rows, bind off.

*You can omit the last repeat if you want a smaller dishcloth, or you can keep adding on repeats as you see fit

Repeat A:
Row 1 - k3, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k5, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k5, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k3
Row 2 - k3, p1, k1, p1, k1, p7, k1, p1, k1, p7, k1, p1, k1, p1, k3

Repeat B:
Row 1 - k8, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k5, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k8
Row 2 - k3, p6, k1, p1, k1, p7, k1, p1, k1, p6, k3

This pattern is to be knit for personal use only, not to be knit for resale, blah blah blah, its my copyright, y'all know the drill. Be good and awesome!