Tattoos and life and everything

I want to talk to you about New York. I have finished knitting projects (yes, two!) to share. I have many a thing to talk about.

But in the St. Louis area, things have been happening lately. I’m sure you’ve heard about it by now. I have been saddened by the news coming out of Ferguson nearly every night and hope for a peaceful resolution that also deals with the changes we need to make as a society. It’s tough to watch what’s going on & I’ve had to cut back on my news consumption for my own sanity, but my thoughts are with those fighting for justice and the family of Michael Brown.

And that is all I’m going to say about that here – this is not a blog where people come to keep up on the news and so many have said what I think so much better than I ever could or will be able to.

I will come back later to tell you about New York (Hedwig! NPH! Yarn! Work!), but for now let’s just catch up a bit.

The day after I returned home from NYC, I went out for the afternoon with knitting friend and fellow Harry Potter lover Grace (check her new blog – it’s entertaining!) so I could get a new tattoo. Grace was my moral support in this endeavor, even though it’s smaller than 2 of the other 3 tattoos I have. For someone who has as low of a pain tolerance as I do, I can’t believe I’ve now willingly gone under the needle FOUR times. This is likely the last time, as I get older the healing process seems to take even longer and I’m too whiny about the whole itchy process.

Untitled

So yes, I have an HP related tattoo because I am a dork. An awesome dork. And now my tiny Stonecutter sunflower will stay a tiny sunflower and my psychedelic sun will just…be on my shoulder where I can’t see it and fade into blurriness forever. (I asked about getting a cover up and my artist suggested something like a rose b/c of the color and layers and BLEH. DO NOT WANT.) The lily on my foot will continue to be awesome.

Next subject.

I’ve been getting out of the house a little more lately (yay) and hanging out with my awesome group of friends – some new in the past year or so, some who have now been friends for nearly a decade. And I’m going to get a tiny bit sappy here because THESE PEOPLE. They are MY PEOPLE. I love that I have found my people. I realized this as I was driving home from somewhere earlier this week – they’re just all fun to be with and we have a good time together and just YAY.

Speaking of my people – during one of the escapades, Mindy & the Nugget joined me for lunch, after which I came home covered in monster stickers. That kid is awesome (like a hot dog).
Impromptu lunch with Mindy & the Nugget means I came home covered in monster stickers.

What else? Oh, there was a cluster of late July birthdays in the knit night crew, so I made cupcakes for the first time in forever. I went with the standard Guinness cupcake recipe, but used a Double Chocolate Stout as the beer and YUM. We demolished 2 dozen of those bad boys. It was one of the few times I’ve not come home with cupcake leftovers.
Step 2: Frosted with a cream cheese glaze.

I’m swatching for my Hermione inspired sweater, which is fun. I am making a cardigan instead of a pullover, but this is the inspiration & my stripey color palette. (Side note: I’m loving this PicStitch app on my phone that lets me make these collages.)
Untitled

There was one more thing. Oh, yes. The semester starts next week (I accomplished NONE of the things I was going to get done this summer) & this week we had our yearly “orientation”. I was chatting with some fellow students afterward & I made a plan that involves goal dates to finish things. I also, thanks to a conversation with Mindy, have started referring to my PhD related milestones in Harry Potter terms. So I’ll finish up my OWLS (written exams) in October, then it’s on to the dissertation phase (the NEWTS).

And that’s about it. This is long, so if you made it this far give yourself a pat on the back and a cookie.

I am never going to catch up.

So instead of trying to figure out how to get through everything since I last blogged, my summer so far in photos.

The summer so far, part 1

Row 1: Cadence Sock in Plucky Feet Lollipop Guild; Ziggy; Thalia shawl in my first Plucky Knitter purchase (from July 2007).

Row 2: Book club, celebrating National Donut Day, Monkey Socks out of Dyeabolical Sock Flat in a OOAK color I’m calling Polyjuice Potion

Row 3: Eddie Izzard at the Fox Theater with Mindy, Eric, & Andrea; Fiona Falafel; Granny Square Flower Cowl in Plucky Sweater (Lollipop Guild, Headboard, Wintry Mix)

The summer so far, part 2

Row 1: Making the Downton Chickens happy while house & petsitting for Mindy & Eric; birthday yarn purchase from Lamby Toes; THE KING sandwich from Fozzie’s – peanut butter, banana, and bacon.

Row 2: Re-reading Harry Potter again; birthday treats at knit group; celebratin’ the 4th & my birthday.

Row 3: Finished Glacier Point shawl in Queens County Yarn Sock; taking care of the mischievous Mr. Boots Willoughby while Grace was out of town; the highlighter scarf returns and will be finished SOMEDAY SOON.

Whew. All caught up.

In the Kitchen: Chocolate Cake with Cookie Butter Glaze

I can’t believe I never told you about this cake. I made it for a New Year’s Eve brunch-time viewing of Doctor Who with a couple friends. I took pictures. I partially wrote about it in my head. And then… well then the semester that took over my life happened. But the semester is now over (YAY!) and I’m on what will probably be an all-too-brief summer break.

So, the cake. I found it via Shannon, who got the recipe from The First Mess.

chocolate cake

This cake, it was delicious. Perfect for a small gathering. I used regular all-purpose and whole-wheat flours. After glazing (I used Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter in my glaze),  I topped mine with toasted coconut, mini chocolate chips, and chopped pecans.

In the background, you can see the reality that is my kitchen. It’s small, too small for someone who bakes as often as I do (and recently made smaller by the addition of a hand-me-down stand mixer. I have gladly given up counter space for it, as it means I can make cupcakes and frostings without mixing my arm off using a handheld mixer). But that means it’s messy. All the mixing and prep work occurs in the small stretch of counter between my stove and the sink.

chocolate cake

Usually I try to take my pictures elsewhere in the apartment – like the table that doubles as a desk and craft area, but I wanted to share reality with these photos for some reason. The cake is simple, so it seemed like a good idea. Baking produces things that are delicious, but it’s definitely not tidy.

But you should try this cake, tiny kitchen or not.

Life in a nutshell

It’s been a month since I last wrote here. I KNOW.

But there has been very little to tell. I’ve had bronchitis and general allergy-related malaise for the past few weeks (mostly the bronchitis, but the allergies kicked in this week, thank you pollen).

So, a brief history of March/April in photos:

I got to meet the Mindy family’s new chickens (this is Mrs. Patmore with S in the background).
Meeting the chickens

Birthday party for a 3 year old. I made tiny funfetti cupcakes.
Frosted tiny cupcakes!

Book club (with bacon wrapped tiny sausages!).
Book Club!

Passover Seder, where S got a belated birthday gift from Sharon & danced around in Hello Kitty rain boots.
Blurry "niece" & favorite Simon (the wonder pup) at Passover Seder. #100happydays #latergram

A trip to the art museum to visit my favorite painting (at least locally. My FAVORITE painting is in New York). One of Monet’s Water Lilies.
More in scenes from the St. Louis Art Museum: another part of Monet's Water Lilies, painted between 1915-1926.

Still knitting the neon.
Pile of neon knitting. #100happydays

And since you made it that far, favorite Ziggy napping.
nap buddy

I still have two papers to write & two presentations to give before the semester is done, but it’ll get finished.

Burnout imminent

I have said it before and I’ll say it again – I took on at least one thing too many this semester.

Right now I am meant to be writing up an article critique that is due tomorrow (and is also the midterm for one of my classes). I still have a lecture to watch for my online class. There is a manuscript due in about 3 weeks. Maybe 2 weeks. I’m not really sure at this point. Plus I will have grading for the TA position next week. And all I really want to do is knit.

Made it through the first full highlighter repeat. #dyeabolical #knitting #seenfromspace

This project is my current obsession. It’s a scarf (pattern is Another Way) out of my Dyeabolical highlighter minis (mine are super sized) and an undyed hank of the same base – Super Ego. How can you look at these colors and not be happy? I blame Ann. Anything neon is all her fault. KNIT KNIT KNIT.

I should be working on this critique, but it’s not gelling in my head. I can pick apart an article with the best of them, but there’s a section where I need to come up with possible explanations for their null results and UGH. I am not feeling it. Maybe tomorrow I can do it with a fresh brain (you know, one that DIDN’T have chocolate donuts for dinner).

I really wish I would have watched that lecture for the other class during Spring Break, though. It’ll also wait until tomorrow.