26 December 2011

Monday's Musing

I hope everyone had a lovely and wonderful Christmakwanzukkah! Isn't it odd how the holiday season magnifies both the good and bad so dramatically? We, here, are lucky to be together, and those of us who were not well in the past few days are now feeling recovered enough to be having Nerf gun games downstairs. Yay!

We always watch the Alastair Sim version of A Christmas Carol around this time of year (IMHO the definitive portrayal), and it brought the following quote to mind.

"We can do more good by being good, than in any other way" - Rowland Hill

Off to relax a little today. The pre-teen angst was a little thick yesterday. ;)

We, here, are all looking forward to bringing in the shiny New Year, full of possibilities! Be well everyone!


23 December 2011

You asked for it :)

So here it is! This is a super simple and incredibly satisfying dish. The cornbread recipe has no dairy or no eggs because The Bear is allergic, but you can use any other different cornbread recipe instead.

Bear's Southern-Style Cornbread (I specified some brands because not all ingredients are created the same)

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Bob's Red Mill egg replacer used as dry ingredient (do not mix with water)
1-1/2 cups "buttermilk" - place 1 tbsp white vinegar in measuring cup and fill to the 1-1/2 cup marker with Pacific Select Soy (unsweetened) low fat plain soy beverage
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup hot water
vegetable shortening

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift all dry ingredients together. Add wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. Batter will be very thin and puffy.

Grease rectangular Pyrex glass baking dish thoroughly with shortening and pour batter into pan.

Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cornbread comes out clean.

To make Bear's Cornbread and Sausage, you will need:

1 recipe of Bear's Southern-Style Cornbread (or your own recipe) - uncooked batter
4 Aidells Chicken/Mango Sausages
2 ounces of Follow Your Heart Vegan cheese - Monterey Jack

Slice each sausage down the length without cutting all the way through. Slice cheese into long thin pieces and stuff each sausage with cheese.
After pouring batter into greased pan as above, place sausages evenly in cornbread and bake as instructed for plain cornbread, 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cornbread comes out clean.
My grandmother used to use hot dogs and she'd spread mustard in before adding the cheese when she cooked this recipe, but when I substituted the mango/chicken sausage, I didn't think the mustard would taste very good. That being said, I love whole seed mustard with turkey dog and cheddar. Yum!

Poor Mr. Romi is asleep and trying his best to heal from the oral surgery. I'm taking a little breather and enjoying the fact that:

1. The Christmas shopping is finished,
2. The kids are finished with their semester,
3. The cat has not destroyed the tree yet even though she is sleeping in it,
4. Christmas Eve and Christmas dinners are planned and everything is purchased,
5. 5 batches of cookies are baked and given away,
6. The cold I thought I was getting decided to leave, and
7. I just received a big gift box of yarny goodies from Deb Accuardi, late of Pico Accuardi Dyeworks.

I may even relax a little now. :)

Happy holidays, everyone!

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20 December 2011


It's funny how traditions take root, isn't it? Around here, the central holiday tradition is my elder son misbehaving in some horrendous way. This year, though he is keeping up his end of the tradition nobly, we are trying not to partake as completely as in years past. I'll let you all know how that one works out! Isn't it amazing how my polar opposite sons come from the same genetic pool? I marvel at it daily.

Meanwhile, quick and hearty meals become a must in the chaos leading up to Christmas. And because The Bear can't eat dairy or eggs, we don't eat a lot of processed foods (something we thank him for regularly - we're all convinced that the family is healthier because of The Bear.) We've re-written many recipes Mr. Romi and I grew up with to make them Bear-safe, and yesterday I trotted out an old favorite that my southern grandmother used to make: hot dogs baked in a pan of cornbread. I re-wrote that one, too, of course. Instead of buttermilk, the cornbread is made with soy milk and vinegar. The hot dogs became chicken-mango sausage, and The Bear's cheese was a vegan Monterey Jack I picked up at the local store (and which received two thumbs up). I filled ours with Havarti and a few little shreds of cheddar so I could tell them all apart.
This is one of the most satisfying foods of my childhood. And the kids love it too. Comfort in a pan! The cornbread is unsweetened like my grandmother made it ("sweetened cornbread is nothing but Johnny-cake!") and I think even as much as she loved using buttermilk in her baking, she would approve of the soy version. Doesn't it look inviting?
If any of you are interested in the cornbread recipe, or the cornbread/sausage recipe, I'd be happy to post it. Though the sausage is obviously not vegan, the cornbread by itself is. Let me know? In fact, please just say hello and let me know you're out there. I was so enjoying reading your responses to my post yesterday! Thank you for writing. :)

In knitting news, I've been working on some textured yumminess.
I posted a picture on Twitter the other day, and now I have a little more of a hint to show you.
I am loving this next muse! The yarn is from Brooke at Sincere Sheep and the colors are wonderful! I had some knitting time today, but not as much as I would have liked. This is the 10th shawl I've designed and knit this year, and I have another half-finished muse that may make it into the 11th spot. That is, unless something crazy happens! :knockonwood: A this point though? I'm just rolling with it.

(btw, it's chilly in the house and I'm sitting here, toasty warm in my lined Poinsettia Tam. I guess it works for wimpy Californians as well as Canadians!) ;)

Time is ticking down to Christmas, Mr. Romi had emergency oral surgery today, and the kids got into the presents while we were gone. Wish me luck! I'll be wishing you all well too. :)

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19 December 2011

Monday's Musing

"Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence." - Napoleon Bonaparte

I love this quote. It has set me free.

Allow me to explain.... I was raised mainly by my grandmother, who took everything - and I mean everything - personally. I always knew I didn't want to end up that way - for so many reasons!

When I first heard the above quote, I thought only of the word incompetence as it is defined: "the inability to perform; lack of competence; ineptitude." Then I realized it could mean so much more. What if I expanded the meaning in my own thoughts to include honest mistakes, unknowing errors, people merely having their own agendas or not thinking of anything but themselves when they did something that affected me or my family?

So...that person who cuts people off on the freeway? Not personal at all; just trying to get to where they're going without thought of anything else. The insurance company person who doesn't want to deal with a claim? Not personal; just wanting to get home or to lunch, or tired and burned out. The company that screws up an order over and over and over again? Nothing to take personally. The friend who doesn't ever call back? Overwhelmed by things in her own life. All of the little annoyances and needless hurts in daily life? Released. Gone. Part of the workings of many lives that meet and intertwine, and then go their own ways.

Which got me thinking again, of course. :) This time about how much we affect each other in our daily lives without ever meaning to. Now I try even harder to think about and live by the Golden Rule. Because who among us wouldn't feel buoyed by the smile of a stranger or a little politeness where it isn't necessarily expected? Especially this time of year! So, today when I go out to do errands among the throngs of other holiday shoppers, I will be remembering to try a few extra smiles, even when I am cranky and annoyed, and feel that a well-placed elbow would solve a lot of my problems. And I will be marveling again and again at my younger son, The Bear - our little goodwill ambassador - who somehow seems to know all this stuff innately, whereas I have always struggled with it.

Happy holidays everyone!


11 December 2011

Monday's Musing

"Impossible is a word humans use far too often." - 7 of 9

Love love love this quote!

Have a great week everyone, and do the impossible. :)


09 December 2011


I mentioned before that I was working on a lacy tam. Remember? Well, the Poinsettia Tam is now out!
It comes in plain,
and lined! Pictured below is the lined version, inside-out.
The unlined version is perfect for the daytime temperatures we've been having in northern California.
The lined version is perfect for Teresa, who lives in Canada!
In this picture, you can see the yummy kidsilk haze lining. It's gathered for extra warmth. Lacy and warm! We aim to please here. ;)
I really love the lace pattern.
Sharon suggested it would also make a perfect miniature tree skirt. Cool idea, eh?
The red is knit from Spirit Trail Fiberworks Sunna in Garnet, and the black is Misti alpaca. I used a "worsted" alpaca, and because it's such a dense fiber with minimal memory, I was able to knit it on US 3 needles to a sport weight gauge that matches the Sunna. (Don't try to sub a worsted weight made from an alternate fiber like wool; you will need to use sport weight).

The pattern also has a little bonus: lacy mitts to match. You can keep them unlined, but I love the look of the mohair/silk lining.
The lining has a thumbhole to keep it from riding up in the cuff.
And I love the way the two layers look peeking out of a coat sleeve!
Here's Teresa's version. She has such pretty hands, doesn't she?
All in all a quick and satisfying knit! Available here on Ravelry.

Have a great weekend!


05 December 2011

Monday's Musing

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible." - Walt Disney

I love this quote. It makes me laugh, but it also makes me think of how many things were supposed to be impossible before they were done. Can you imagine what you would think of today's society if you were from the 18th century? What wonders are in our futures? It boggles the mind.

So go. Do something impossible today!


04 December 2011

Blue skies

I'm definitely getting spoiled - in a way I would love to continue to be spoiled - with the gorgeous weather lately.Yesterday was my birthday, and it's the first one in a long time when there was no rain. It was a fabulous birthday present! And - may I say - I was so touched and buoyed by your birthday greetings on ravelry, facebook and twitter. Thank you all! It was a Good Day.

This was my big gift. I love that the inside is so high tech,
and the outside is so vintage.
This is the new Kindle Touch and the e-ink is incredibly cool. Since I love books and the printed page, I held out for quite some time. I've always had a huge collection of books and I couldn't stand the thought of losing the smell and feel of them! But I have to say that the convenience of the size is what finally won me over. And when I found out that the e-ink is actually little particles of ink, well. I couldn't resist. I may have dropped some (very broad) hints. I know the Fire is what Amazon is really pushing right now, but I passed on it and I'm so thrilled to have my e-ink instead! I spent some serious time just looking at the gorgeous photos of typewriters, pens and printing implements that serve for the cover page when the Kindle is turned off. If I were a black and white photographer, I would put together a portfolio for Kindle. It's that beautiful.

After opening my gifty, I headed over to knitting group where they sang me happy birthday. I wish I could have gotten my video camera (erm, iPhone) out soon enough to catch A's stunning performance, but alas, I was too late. It is burned into my memory though. :) My three boys picked me up for lunch and we had a lovely one at a local cafe. Later on, we all saw The Muppets (fabulous!!!) and went out to eat Ethiopian food. It was the boys' first Ethiopian and #1 Son was dubious as always. The Bear was entranced by all the lentils, though - his favorite. They both ended up absolutely loving it, and - as the portions were humongous - we stuffed ourselves and still took home as much as we ate. I did point out that - so very sadly - an Ethiopian family could probably live a month on the amount of food we ate. After dinner, we were treated to traditional Ethiopian coffee, and we could smell it roasting in the back as we were finishing our last bites. All I have is a poor iPhone photo, but this is how it was served, with incense burning.
I loved the top of the coffee urn, and was happy not to worry that it would fall out when I poured.
The coffee was the absolute best I have ever had. Truly. The waiter/owner told us the chef roasted cardamom with the beans. It was very strong, but had no bitterness or aftertaste, and didn't need to be sweetened. I would go back just for the coffee, even if the food weren't so amazing.

When we arrived home, I found a little parcel from France on the doorstep. I opened it and was reminded why I no longer use the iPhone app to order from Amazon.
For those who don't recognize it, this is "Singin' in the Rain." In French. But in the Amazon app, this information (language) is not important enough to put on the front screen; it was buried. Too funny. And too bad that international DVDs won't play on US players. I think this would be fun to watch. I might try it anyway. Heehee.

Next is some catch-up from my period of anonymity. At Stitches West this year, Miss Babs gave me some of her gorgeous yarn in Terra Cotta.
But while digging around in stash a couple of months ago, I wanted something to go with it for a two color project, so off I went to check around her site for a willing partner. I fixated on Plum, and she and her assistant kindly looked at the two colors together and confirmed that Plum is, indeed, a good mate. It is stunning by itself.
And don't they look happy together?
I've also been working on some lined cuffs to go in the pattern with my Poinsettia hat.
Just a simple little project to use up a skein of yarn and some left-overs.
And it shows a pretty little ruffle at the cuff of your jacket.
I'm quite enamored. And the pattern should be out very soon.

Last, I saw some great Melpomene FOs on Ravelry and wanted to share. This one is from Ali. She blocked the edge into rounded scallops instead of flat across the bottom of each scalloped bit.
Great color! And the following one is from Justine. I love the way the stitch pattern pops in this yarn (Tosh). Justine's is blocked with rounded scallops too. It's so cool how a different blocking method can change the whole look, isn't it?
I love looking at the different yarns and colors everyone is using, so I've decided I'd like to start featuring FO pics on my blog. If I use your photograph and you don't want me to, please just send me an email requesting that I take it down and I will gladly fix it post haste! Also, if you want to share your FO, please email me a little linky to your Ravelry project page. I will not use people's faces without permission.

It's amazing. For so many months, I've felt that I have nothing to say at all. Now I can't seem to shut up. I didn't realize I was so stressed. Have a wonderful evening everyone!

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01 December 2011

Why friends are the best

Can I just thank you all so much for the incredibly supportive and kind comments and notes you sent? I was already feeling pretty lucky, but I have to say that you all are the very very best. And all that warmth and wonderful-ness you sent my way has gotten the creative juices flowing big time again! I am back to feeling almost human again. And it's a good feeling.

Now I have some catching up to do. There are pictures for blog posts that never happened, piles of yarn, and notes and sketches for shawls and sweaters and hats.

But back to my wonderful friends.

I've carried on a correspondence with a very cool lace knitter in The Frozen North for some time now. I first "met" her when she was in my club, and over time, it's become very obvious how much we have in common. We've never met face to face, but she knew something was up even when I wasn't saying anything. And a little while ago, this lovely package arrived in my post office box (wrapped up of course).
Inside was a big bar of "Emergency Chocolate" (which The Bear immediately claimed as his own because it was dark chocolate without dairy - next time he has agreed at least to let me take a picture of it) and this lovely green skein of lace weight silk.
Be still my heart! It is the very perfect shade of green. And silk. YUM! But the best part? Feeling the warmth and connection from far away. One of these days we will meet face to face, and we'll probably stay up all night laughing uproariously and sobbing, and everything in between. Thank you so much, dear friend!

There was a surprise today as well. I started giggling when I saw this!
And there was a little something that caught #1 Son's attention.
The phantom cookie baker struck!
Wow. Just look at what was in that plain brown box.
#1 Son has been acting crazy all day about these cookies.
I won't share the video I took of him though, because I still need it for blackmail. So far the thought of my posting it to youtube has him being extra good, but it won't take him long to call my bluff, I'm sure.

Delicious! Thank you, Brandy, for the yummy treat. And for making #1 Son actually think it's cool that I'm his Mom (for a day at least)! :D