Saturday, 26 October 2013


As is to be expected, I've been doing some knitting lately.  I've been working on some Christmas knitting, and also on the Live Long and Prosper socks for the Enabler.

The weird thing is, I haven't really been making that much progress, which I realized recently is kind of bad.  On one hand, I still have two months until Christmas.  On the other hand, there's only two months left until Christmas!  Part of my lack of progress is that I was about a third or maybe halfway through one of the gifts and then decided it needed to be a looser gauge so I ripped out and started over with bigger needles.  But that didn't really set me back as much as you might think.

No, my problem lately is of a much more insidious nature.  My problem is a little thing called Candy Crush.

It is a most addictive game, made worse by the fact that if you link it to your facebook account, you can see how far your friends are in the game and what scores they got, adding an element of competition to what is essentially Bejeweled with cooler special pieces, challenges, and better sound effects.  There's also the fact that you can run out of lives, making it impossible to play without stopping, but making it just that more addictive.  Ugh.  I swear, it's maddening.

So this morning, after I had played for a little while (and run out of lives), I decided I was going to get out of bed and do something productive.  I also had a craving for peanut butter and banana and muffins, so a quick search led me to this recipe.  There were other recipes that looked better/more interesting, but I chose this one because I had everything that it called for on hand.

While making them I had an off moment where I actually dropped one of my eggs on the floor, something that I've never done before.  Thankfully the cats stayed put instead of running over to investigate like usual, so I was able to clean it up without incident.

I had another off moment when mixing together the wet ingredients and smelled something that I can only describe as unpleasant.  I had tested most of the ingredients before adding them just to make sure they were still good.  The milk was best before tomorrow but it was still totally fine.  The bananas had been in the freezer awhile but they smelled like bananas should.  The peanut butter was still definitely okay, and the eggs were most certainly not too old.  Having confirmed that the usual culprits were all in order, I still couldn't figure out what it was so I continued on.  I had a tiny taste of batter before spooning it all into the pan.  It didn't taste quite right but sometimes muffin batter doesn't taste that good.  Having already made the batter I decided there was no harm in baking them, and the problem would probably fix itself during the baking process.

20 minutes later I had some delicious looking muffins...

But they did not taste delicious.  The texture was okay (not amazing), but there was not enough peanut butter or banana flavour for what I was looking for.  I'm going to chalk that up to the recipe not having enough peanut butter or banana in it.  I'm going to look for one with more of both next time.  However, there was still a somewhat rancid aroma and a touch of an unpleasant flavour.

Now, this is somewhat of an anomaly for me.  I may not be a great cook, but I do pride myself on being able to turn out some delicious baked goods.  I've very successfully made many amazing cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and muffins.  Don't get me wrong, I've had a number of baking mishaps.  Like the time I nearly added rancid peanut butter to the mix (caught it just in time).  The time that I decided to substitute applesauce for ALL of the vegetable oil in a cupcake recipe (the texture was bizarre and we had to throw out the whole batch).  The time I had meticulously gathered all of the ingredients for some decadent brownies, and had forgotten to buy flour (I sent the Enabler out to get some and everything turned out fine).  I know I'm not infallible in the kitchen, but usually I can pinpoint exactly where I went wrong.

In this case, I'm stumped.  The milk and peanut butter were both fine, and yet they still kind of taste like sour milk and rancid peanut butter.  The only other thing I can think of is that the oil was bad.  There was only two tablespoons of vegetable oil in the recipe, so I used some sunflower oil.  I don't bake a lot with vegetable oil, since most of the recipes I make use butter.  In desperation I thought to check the date on the oil, and saw it was best before October 2012.  Does oil actually go bad?  I smelled it and it didn't smell great but I compared it to the smells of the other oils I have (grapeseed and olive), and it was stronger smelling but not exactly rancid smelling.

Now I'm disappointed and hungry.  That was going to be my breakfast... and lunch, probably.

I should probably stick to knitting instead.

Well, at least until I get a full set of lives.

Friday, 18 October 2013

This is how I roll

It's Friday night and I've got the house to myself.  So I cracked open this tasty libation.  Best part of drinking alone is that you don't have to share.

Seriously though, this is incredibly delicious.  I think I'm going to have to get some more of them and hoard them for when I'm home alone.  I'll probably have to convert part of my yarn cabinet into a secret beer fridge for myself...

And then, since I have the house to myself and I don't have anyone else's feet to contend with, I pulled out a bunch of yarn and put it all where we usually put our feet while watching TV.  I'm not going to leave it there (maybe), but I wanted to take it out and see what it all looked like together.

That is what appears to be all of my partial balls of solid wool or wool blend worsted weight yarn.  I might have missed a few but this is for sure most of it.  I'm planning something. The plans are fairly nebulous at this point in time, but I'm hoping that enough of the above yarns go together in enough ways that I can finagle a few Christmas gifts out of them.  Yarn diet, remember?  I'm trying to extend it as much as possible to the Christmas knitting as well.  From what I've got planned so far, it seems pretty hopeful that I won't need to buy much, if anything.

This is a good thing, because I keep finding ways to spend money on myself that don't involve yarn at all.  I'm trying to be good, but some things are just too tempting to resist.

Like going to the ballet.

... And beer.  Let us not forget beer.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Phoenix Phacts

I've learned a few interesting facts since arriving in Phoenix:

1. People from Phoenix are called Phoenicians.  For some reason I find this incredibly cool.  Obviously because I'm a huge nerd.  Also because it sounds a lot better than "Winnipeggers".

2. Arizona does not observe Daylight Savings Time.  This means that while Arizona is in the Mountain time zone, during this time of year they have the same time as the Pacific time zone.  I learned this, when, on the first day that we were here, the sun set right after 6 pm and I was very confused since I knew that the sun wasn't setting that early yet in Winnipeg.  I was pretty sure that since Phoenix is way further south than Winnipeg, the sun should be setting later here at this time of year.  It totally would be, except Arizona decided to follow the Saskatchewan school of thought and leave their clocks in the same place all year round.  Not sure why they'd want to be like Saskatchewan, but hey, to each their own, right?

3. The resort we are staying at is named after Squaw Peak which is right next door and is the second highest mountain in the Phoenix Mountains.  However, the mountain itself is no longer actually called Squaw Peak, probably because someone realized that was kind of offensive.  The mountain is now called Piestewa Peak, after Lori Ann Piestewa, who was the first Native American woman to die in combat in the US military.  She was also the first female soldier to be killed in action in the 2003 Iraq War.  And now she has a mountain named after her!  I guess that's something?

Now for the other things that I've learned which are technically my opinions but I'm confident enough about them to present them as facts:

1. The trees are really beautiful, especially when blowing in the wind on a sunny day.

2. The food is friggin delicious.  This is the meal that the Enabler had at Aunt Chileda's (say it out loud... best name ever).  

After eating our meals and drinking a couple of Prickly Pear margaritas, we got roped into participating in the regular Tuesday night Bocce ball tournament held on the patio.  We'd both played before but not for a long time.  Regardless, this version of it was in a rectangular space on hard packed sand, which is totally different than playing on the grass like we were used to.  We were asked to play because they needed one more team to round out the numbers in the tournament, and the guys we played were obviously regulars.  We didn't win the round, but we held our own and people seemed impressed and surprised that we didn't completely suck.  We told them it was because we're from Canada, and it's basically like curling without the sweeping, so it's in the blood.

3. Lounge chairs by the pool are an excellent place to get some knitting done.

4. Being here gives me good knitting karma.  I picked the exact right row to cast off one of the gifts that I was knitting.  I ended up with roughly 18 inches of yarn leftover.  Score!

Now, I'm going to go see what else I can learn.


Sunday, 6 October 2013

My bags are packed

The Enabler and I leave for Phoenix tomorrow. Another work conference for him, another vacation for me!

The kitties seem to know something is up, as usual. They've been queuing up for lap time. 

I'll miss them, but I'm ready to go. I've got the important things packed. The never ending Viajante, a 
new pair of socks for the Enabler, and two Christmas presents, one that is about 2/3 done and another that I haven't even cast on yet. I'm definitely not going to run out of knitting, and I think I've got a good variety too. 

have to make sure I pack enough knitting because I can't buy any yarn, obviously. I haven't even investigated the yarn shops in Phoenix because I don't even want to know what I'm missing.  I'm going to be a good girl.

This is the first bag that I packed.  It's the most important thing, of course.  The toothbrushes and flip flops and sunscreen are packed too, but if any of those happened to get left behind, I could buy new ones without breaking any rules.  The knitting bag, well that one won't be leaving my sight at least until we check into the hotel.  If this one gets lost somehow, I'm lost too.

Here's hoping none of the TSA agents give me a hard time about all the knitting needles in the bag, but I don't think they will.  To be safe, I'm even leaving my larger scissors (but still small enough to pass security in Canada) at home.  I'd honestly rather stay home than have to go without any knitting at all.

That's normal, right?  I totally don't have a problem.  *cough*