Friday, February 29, 2008

Sesame Shrimp Love

Another fabulous meal for dinner last night that I had to share!

1 lb. of shrimp (see note)
garlic salt (or garlic powder, if you have it, which I didn't)
sesame oil
rice wine vinegar
teriaki sauce (optional)

Place shrimp in a ziploc or container with a lid and sprinkle liberally with garlic salt/powder, stirring to coat. Add a few tablespoons each of sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. If desired, add a small amount of teriaki sauce. Stir again to coat and refrigerate for half an hour or so.

Pre-heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Place shrimp in the pan in an even layer, reserving the marinade. Cook on one side until pink, then flip shrimp over. Once shrimp are mostly pink on side 2, pour marinade over shrimp and toss together. Serve over rice.

*Note about the shrimp: I used de-veined 10-20's with the shell still on, so this is what I recommend. But this should be just as good with any other kind/size of shrimp you want, so long as they're not precooked "cocktail" shrimp. If you prefer not to get your hands dirty, use already peeled shrimp, but you'll be missing out on the fun ;)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

HA! Now I know

I'm going to make some of these Ami from Lion Brand to use up my RHSS and similar textured stash.

And I'm going to make piles and piles of coasters with my cotton stash.

And miles of scarves with the rest (mostly LB Homespun and Chenille T&Q).

So there you go, uninspired crisis averted!

And hopefully I can build up a stock and maybe participate in our next craft sale at work, or or start selling a bit on Etsy.


Now that my swap projects are done, I'm feeling uninspired.

I started a knitted sock the other day. Ripped it out because it was waaaaay to big, started over with smaller needles. Got about 5 inches done, started to do the heel, and got frustrated and ripped it out again.

This morning I stuck some LB Homespun in my purse, and a giant (I think Q) crochet hook, figuring I'll just make a mile-long scarf to keep my hands busy.

But I really want a project. What I really NEED is a stash-buster. I guess I could do some more dishcloths - I've got plenty of cotton left. I could try again with the sock, but I really need to sit down and go through the book, or have someone who knows what they're doing sit with me, before I try that again. Plus the plain sock wasn't really holding my attention anyway, I want something with pattern and texture and excitement.

So give me some ideas. What do those of you who knit and crochet do when you're in a slump? What's your go-to project for keeping your hands busy?

What I Did on my Swap Vacation

The swap package I sent has arrived at its destination, so here's some peeks at what I sent

This bookmark (minus the border)

A set of four Coasters (this is the unfinished pic - they have a white border when finished)

An Ami penguin from the Lion Brand website. Originally meant for Christmas but with a little color change and a heart-shaped tummy patch, perfect for our All About Hearts theme.

Unfortunately there was one more thing that was supposed to be sent, but I couldn't for the life of me find it. Well go figure, this morning I found it. So Laurah gets another little package in the mail soon, and I'll post it once she's got it in hand.

Oh and since I finally gave mom her Christmas present, here's a (bad cell phone) pic in case you missed it.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Got my swap package!!

It's so fabulous!! Christina you are so kind! Here's pics of what I got, sorry they're so awful (cell phone camera).

The first pic is a gorgeous shawl with hearts in it, and a scarf of hearts. Also in the package was the CYOOTEST ami fairy, a pose-able heart-covered guy I've named Gus, a little beating heart (has a string to pull and vibrates), a cookie, a heart shaped box that I'm going to decorate soon, a cute bucket tin, and some candles.

I also sent out my package today so hopefully it will arrive at its new home soon!

I'm hooked on socks!!

Well, so far at least!
When I bought my first (3) sets of dpns, and told the woman at the store that I had just taught myself to knit and hadn't tackled anything with dpns yet, but was looking forward to making socks, she sorta rolled her eyes at me and told me that I really should start with something more simple like a hat. Well HA! Who needs hats when you can go straight for the big fish and make socks?

After some brief initial confusion (why does this say four needles? the picture only shows three? Do I knit one stitch from each needle to the next and turn it as I go?) I've got it down and am almost done with the suggested 2" of 2x2 ribbing.

If the yarn looks familiar, good for you! It's the same stuff I used to make my bamboo hook case. I didn't want to use anything superspecial, in case they didn't turn out, but I also didn't want to use RHSS. I have a whole bunch of this and a whole bunch of light blue (both worsted weight) that I'm going to practice with before I get into the two superspecial handpainted 100% merino sock yarns I bought as incentive.

Think sock-y thoughts for me!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Condo Update

Well there's good news, and there's not-so-good news.

In the good news department, my credit and all things related to it could be a lot worse. There's a couple of things on my report that should have been discharged with the bankruptcy, and I'm going to look into those. There's also a couple of more recent things that hopefully I'll be able to negotiate and pay off in the near future. Having paid down my credit card will help, and keeping the car for as long as we can would help too. We'll see about that one.

In the not-so-good-news department, all this means that I do not qualify for a loan to get into my beloved studio right now.

But more good news is that there are still two phases of this building project to be completed, and in the time it takes to build them I should be able to repair much of my credit. Also my good buddy and licensed real estate agent Amanda is going to walk me through some other opportunities that might help me get into a place sooner.

Sesame Coleslaw

I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for all things sesame-flavored. It began with ramen, sad to say. One of those 10 for $1.00 brands had a sesame chicken flavor that came with an itty-bitty package of sesame oil. No wait, it was before that. When I was a kid we used to go to this chinese restaurant in St. Helens and I'd eat BBQ Pork with that funky red sauce and then covered in sesame seeds. Anyway, it was love at first taste. So here's a sesame coleslaw recipe I cooked up this morning for breakfast (yes, coleslaw for breakfast).

1 bag of coleslaw mix (mine is mostly plain cabbage with some red cabbage and carrots thrown in for good measure)
Rice vinegar
Sesame oil
Black pepper
Sesame seeds (toasted pref.)

Empty the coleslaw mix into a large bowl (big enough to have room to mix)
In a separate container, mix about half a cup of Mayo with a couple of tablespoons of rice vinegar and maybe 1/4 cup of sesame oil, and a dash (or a heavy dose) of pepper. Taste it and adjust quantaties as desired.
About 15 minutes before you want to serve it, pour the "dressing" over the cabbage and mix well. Just before serving, sprinkle liberally with toasted sesame seeds.

*Afterthought: After eating half of this delicious batch, it needs something more. It's good as is, but might be even better with the addition of some cooked/diced chicken, and maybe something crunchy like some chow mein noodles, celery, waterchestnuts, etc. If you try this yourself, let me know how it turns out!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My 5-Day Weekend, Part II

The hit counter at the bottom of my blog is over 700. Who are all you people reading about my life?

Part II starts with Saturday, when we packed up the Wubsters and headed to the Lloyd Center Ice Rink to celebrate Chyanne's 9th birthday. Thankfully we didn't actually have to skate, just watch. I did have my first Jamba Juice experience, which was pleasant if a little pricey. Something pomegranate, strawberry, yadda yadda. Yum, but nothing special that I couldn't do at home with a high-powered blender. After skating, Jen and Annie and the girls went to Red Robin for lunch, while my dad and I went back to The Perfect Condo.

Dad's $0.02 was that if I bought a studio, it might be harder to sell when I was ready to move on, but if I bought a 1 bedroom it would be easier to get rid of. Plus, the 1 bedrooms were on the first floor - no stairs. It sounded good at the time, so I broke down and agreed to the bigger space. It would end up being a bit more than what I'm paying now (and barely making it from one payday to the next), but in all the chaos I didn't really think about that. I did take some pictures though. That night, post-chaos, I realized that it would be better to for sure be able to afford the place now, and maybe have a little trouble selling in the future, so I'm sticking with the studio.
(View from the front door)
(View from the "living room")
(View from the "bedroom")
(View of the kitchen/bath from the front door)

That night was part II of Chyanne's birthday - pizza and a giant chocolate chip cookie-cake. It was loud, fussy, and chaotic, but Jen bought beer so it was ok. I gave Chyanne the hat that I made and meant to give her for Christmas, and she seemed pleased. Plus it's way big enough for her to wear it for several years.

Sunday my dad and his wife took our friend George and me on a road trip up to Astoria, the long way. We drove up Highway 30 through St. Helens (where my mom grew up and some of my family still lives) past Columbia Meadows (where hundreds [thousands?] of rock/chaos lovers converge every summer for RockFest), and up to the Wahkiakum County Ferry. I would have enjoyed the ride more had I not been desperate for a bathroom. Once we got to the Washington side of the river, we drove through Cathlamet, Skamokawa, Rosburg, and Naselle, and then crossed the Astoria-Megler Bridge back into Oregon. We stopped for lunch, appropriately, at the Fort George Brewery and Public House. The food was good, but not great. The beer, on the other hand, was delicious. Cranberry Peppermint Wheat is not nearly as scary-tasting as it sounds. Next door was a bakery where we each stopped and picked a sweet - mine was a Pear Tart with some sort of white cheese baked on top. It was good except rather than tart dough it was made on something akin to pizza dough. Then it was all over but the drive home. The day was perfect though. High temp that day was 60 degrees (F) and the sun shined (shone?) all day. I'm ready for spring to come back for an extended stay.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Productive weekend

I can't wait til Friday, when I get to send out my SSG package. I finished item #2 last night, worked on item #3 at work today and should be able to finish it tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest (and that's just working on it at work, not taking it home). Item #4 has yet to be started but that's because I'm missing an important piece which I'll find this week. Item #5 is about half way done thanks to a long car ride yesterday.

Just a short post for now, maybe more about my weekend later.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A little late, but...

My favorite Super Bowl commercial, in case you wanted to know.

Updates Updates Everywhere

Craft update:
Almost done with item #2 for the SSG Swap. Just have finishing to do. Any more than that would give it away. Also purchased item #5. So items #3 and #4 to do. Goal is to send it out next Friday (which is payday, which is important). Laura, if you read this, will you send me your address please?

Life update:
I am TOTALLY in love with this condo. I went and saw the inside on Wednesday and it is absolutely perfect for me. I'm going to try to borrow money from my dad to pay off my one credit card, and sell the car that Annie and I bought last year and hopefully be able to pay that off too. Then hopefully my credit will be clear enough to get a home loan. If I can't get into this place now, they have two more building sites going up next door and the first of the two should be finished in the summer. Annie wants to leave before then, but I'm hoping that our roommate might pitch in an extra $100 in rent and I could probably afford to stay here for a while. Even better, roommate's girlfriend just got her SSI (social security) and I told him that if she's willing to pitch in $200 or so in rent she can move in here and then we'd be even more set. Roommate's girlfriend isn't my favorite person on earth (she drinks a bit, and gets a bit annoying) but it would be worth it to be able to stay here until I get the condo thing figured out.

Soup update:
I was craving soup. So I made some.
1 whole pre-baked chicken of unknown flavor from Freddy's
some butter. 1/2 a stick or so?
1 sweet onion very chopped
several carrots sliced bite-size
1 head of celery, chopped (including a good amount of the leaves, they're good)
1 package of beef polska kilbasa, halved and sliced into half-moon shapes
1.5-2 pounds of baby gold potatoes cut into halves or quarters depending on size
-Remove chicken from bones. Keep good chicken in one bowl, and place all skin/bones/etc in a large soup pot.
-cover skin/bones/et with cold water and bring to a boil. Boil until it looks yummy. Then strain and reserve the "stock" and toss out the rest.
-Melt butter in the soup pot, and add the onions and some salt & pepper. cook until the onions are soft
-Add the leaves of the celery and cook a little longer
-Add the celery and carrots and the kilbasa and cook a little more
-Add the chicken and the potatoes, then the reserved "stock"
-Cook until the potatoes are done, and then enjoy all your hard work.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wubster Weekend and more

The chaos never ends.

This past weekend, Annie and I babysat Tabi and Rhionna allllllllll weekend. I am never having children. Friday night was pretty ok, but Saturday we all went bowling and Rhionna only played about four frames before she desintigrated into a full-blown hissy fit. By the end of it, all four of us were cranky and exhausted.

Saturday night I went to dinner with Mom and a couple of friends from work. It was nice to get away from the kids and all The Breakup drama. But Sunday Annie got me back by going to church and leaving the kids with me. Chaos, yelling, pouting, lots of "I'm never coming here ever again! You're never going to watch me ever again!" Didn't get away from them until almost 8:00 Sunday night.

The hardest part of the weekend was having to pretend that everything at home was hunky-dory. We haven't told Annie's mom about The Breakup yet (gee, I hope she doesn't read my blog), so we haven't told the girls either. I did find it a little odd that neither of them asked howcome we weren't sleeping in the same bed, but horray for small miracles I guess.

Monday after work I picked up Rhionna and took her back to Jen's house, and stayed there until almost 8:00 waiting for Jen to get home and helping out where I could. But it was more of the same, chaos, yelling, arguing, etc. I need a break.

The good news, today is my Friday. Tomorrow I'll get to sleep in, but then we'll be off apartment hunting. I've got an appointment to see this condo that I'm really interested in, but the thought of owning my own place is a bit daunting. Thursday will be a lay around day. Hopefully Friday too.

I finished the first item for Laura's All About Hearts package, and I'm working on item #2. So hopefully I can get that (and items 3, 4, and 5) done this week. If I focus it shouldn't be a problem.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Never trust take out

When I go to McDonalds, I expect to have to check my bag and make sure that everything is there. And, of course, the more people ordering, the more likely there will be an error.

But that's McDonalds. I do NOT expect such behavior from the 2nd best bento place within 10 minutes of my job.

What I wanted was 1) A jumbo bento with chicken and beef, 2) A 6-piece gyoza, and 3) a 4-piece veggie spring roll. When I arrived to pick it up, the price was a bit more than it usually is. I didn't want to fuss, so I didn't say anything, and when she handed me the gigantic bag of food, I thought she had mistaken 4 PIECES for 4 ORDERS of spring roll.

I got back to my desk with a mere 2 minutes of my half-hour lunch left, opened the bag, and discovered that I should have made a fuss. A very large fuss. I got the wrong wrong WRONG order! Not even CLOSE to what I was supposed to get! And with 2 minutes of lunch left, I was stuck with it.

So I'm stuck eating stir-fry veggies (x2), pork katsu (x2) and chicken teriaki (x2). Obviously a great deal of this will go home with me, or stay here at work with my name on it in big red letters so that nobody else eats it or throws it away.

Next time, I'm checking.

Do's and Don'ts

Check your library out! I just checked mine and it says:

Duma key (Spoken CD).
1 of 30 holds on 5 copies
Hollywood Library

Yesterday it said 0 copies. It's on order, and it's been on order for a while. Showing actual copies means I'll hopefully get it in the next week. And yeah, that says that my copy is the first hold out of 30, so I'll get the first copy that comes out. For those unfamiliar, Duma Key is Stephen King's latest novel. And if you're one of those people that says, "Oh I don't like Stephen King, I'm not a horror fan," you should read the Dark Tower series. Well at least the first 4 books of it.
If you don't love your library. Well. Shame on you.

Let your puppy get ahold of your very nice, very expensive, Koigu KPPPM yarn! This is what happens!

And for the record, this (very crappy cell phone) picture was taken when I was already about half way through unraveling and winding it. Which, for the first half, took me about 2 hours. The good news is that he doesn't seem to have damaged the yarn itself, just made a gigantic messy knot out of it (it was still in its original hank when he got ahold of it). I have two balls of this stuff and I'm saving them for my first pair of socks. Well maybe not the first pair. I should probably save it for when I've had some practice. Well, whatever.

In other news, I'm half way through the first thing I'm making Laura for the February SSG Swap. I probably could have finished it last night if I wasn't dealing with the Koigu mess. It's payday today, plus I got my tax refund (8 day turnaround, not bad!), so we should be able to pay our bills. We're Wubster-sitting this weekend. Should be fun explaining to them why their Aunties are not sleeping in the same bed anymore. Oh, and I took my wedding ring off last night.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Yay for swaps!

Our swap-mom, Lesa, posted the list for February's "All About Hearts" swap. I'm excited because the two people I'm swap-connected to are both sort of craftblog-idols of mine. Christina was the first person whose blog I added to my Google Reader feed, and I love seeing what new projects she's working on and hearing about her life. Laura aka the Kidney Bean is another nifty crafter (not to be confused with a knifty knitter) who is also on my favorite blogs list. (and OMG I just noticed that I'm on her blogroll as well, now I feel special).

So, I've been digging through the web looking for cool-and-useful patterns with hearts. Of course, I can't talk about what I'm finding, but suffice it to say that I hope Laura is as tickled to open her package as I am to fill it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Having a hard day.

The Breakup (yes, capitalized) must have officially hit me today. Nevermind all the apartment-hunting I've done over the past couple of days, the mornings of having to remind myself NOT to cuddle, the nights of "I'm going to bed now" and NOT expecting a goodnight kiss. Today it hit. This was my lunch.

One of my good friends - she'll remain nameless though I shouldn't encourage protecting the guilty - berated me last night about my post-Breakup "behavior." So I'm a smart ass, big deal. I'm not going to hide how I feel (which is finally moving from "numb and a little mad" to "full on pissed off" with "fucking depressed" visible over the hill). If I have something snarky and a little (or more than a little) mean to say, I'm damn well going to say it. My heart is broken, and I'm supposed to worry about Annie's (or anyone else's) feelings? But she has decided that if I can't play nice I can't play with them at all. How's that for a support system?

The hardest part is that the rest of life doesn't slow down or, God forbid, stop just because my relationship is crashing to pieces around me. Still have to pay the rent, still have to do the dishes, still have to work. Still, still, still. Yay.

So, I'm having a rough day. I'm pissed off. I'm depressed. Good thing I refilled my Zoloft last weekend! Leave me some comment love. Then invite me over for non-date movies and tequila. Then come to my house and help me pack.

Monday, February 4, 2008

I have the best friends - EVER!

In light of the recent breakup news, my good friends Ben & Amanda came down to work today to have lunch with me. They even brought me bento from Du's Grill. Now that's love.

It was nice to see them. Ben and I have been friends for... gosh... 13 years? His wife, Amanda, is awesome too. They brought their dogs, Duck and Goose, with them. Goose is just a pup but growing like a weed and too cute for words. Duck is a little older, and in the brief visit I got to have it seems like having a puppy around has made Duck mature a little ;)

It was nice to have not only the distraction, but the support. My mom's been great, but there's a big difference between the mothering, concern kind of support and the commisserating, good friend kind of support. It's good to have both. The offer of a couch to crash on and puppies to play with helps, too.

In other news, the apartment search is underway. Not a whole lot of luck yet, but I have a list of a few places to look at. I don't think I'm asking a lot, just a studio for under $550 that will let me keep my pit bull-mix dog and is on one of the three bus lines that runs near my office. Is that too much to ask?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Not so great news

If you're someone I know IRL, you're bound to hear about it someway or another, probably in the near future, so let's just get it out there in the open.

Annie has decided that we should not be together anymore.

So, yeah. That's fun. If anybody has any leads on places for either of us to live, let us know. Other than that, just thing healthy healing thoughts for both of our hearts and be there for us. We're going to try this still-being-friends thing I guess. Hopefully it will not be too difficult of a transition.

For those readers not too familiar with my life, Annie has been my wife since September of 2006, and we've been together since March of 2002.

This is pretty sudden, on my end at least. So, if my blogs have a larger hint of sadness or depression in them, you'll understand I hope.