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.


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.)

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.


In the Kitchen: Butterbeer Cupcakes

I am terrible at secrets. Truly. A while back, I found this recipe and really wanted a reason to try it out. In fact, it may have been the first new thing I pinned on Pinterest. As Selena was going to be in town visiting, I thought knit night would be a perfect time to test the recipe.  For whatever reason, I thought it would be fun to keep the kind of cupcakes a secret until I got to knitting. Except as the time to make them grew nearer, I got a little more excited and started telling people. At first, it was just a whisper to Rachel as we were getting ready to watch Deathly Hallows, Part 2. Then a mention of them to someone else. Then a couple twitter posts about cream soda and butterscotch ganache. Then, the train completely derailed and I enticed Kate to come to knitting the night before leaving for a vacation because, seriously, BUTTERBEER CUPCAKES.

Butterbeer Cupcakes

And you know what? They are delicious. Fairly sweet, but the butterscotch gives it an extra little punch of flavor. I had wished they had a bit more straight up butter flavor, but that may have been because I wanted a little something savory. The knitter’s consensus was that these are a winner of a recipe and if I could share their faces as people bit into them, I would.

I didn’t modify the recipe at all except to use a splash of buttermilk in the frosting when needed – I had it, it was going to waste, why not? I do, however, need to quit tasting cupcakes after I’ve made frosting and frosted them. I always wind up thinking the cupcakes are way sweeter than they are (and, thus, TOO SWEET) simply because I’ve overloaded my taste buds and have temporary super-taster abilities.

I definitely recommend these for your next party, whether it be a Harry Potter viewing party or just a fun evening potluck. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, try out the Golden Snitch Cake Pops that use the recipe. Then bring me one.

Weighing my options

I’ve been toying with the idea of connecting my blog to my facebook updates. I noticed several people doing it, so I’m not  reinventing the wheel. But I’m hesitant for a few reasons.

  1. In the past, I didn’t want my blog connected to my full name. I know that most of my readers know who I am already, so I wouldn’t change much by connecting the two at this point. But I’ve been doing this so long that taking that leap seems strange.
  2. The family. I don’t want to know they read my blog. If they read & I could pretend I didn’t know they were doing it, that would be fine. But I can’t see some of them (a) not commenting or (b) saying “I saw that on your blog” to me. If that happens, I start censoring myself, then I just don’t write anymore and this little place dies. So do I say specifically “don’t comment, don’t say you read this on my blog” to them? Or just take a chance?

Why am I thinking about doing it in the first place? I don’t really know. I promote my new posts on twitter and my ravelry friends read. Real life friends read, too. Pimping myself out on facebook feels like an inevitable next step somehow. Especially for those times when I’d like a little more interaction with my (small) audience – like when I ask for music recommendations.

I don’t know what I’ll do. Nothing will happen until after Christmas at a minimum, just because I’ve already mentioned (or at least posted pictures on flickr, linked on the sidebar) of a present for at least one of the people who will inevitably read if I do proceed with the facebook linkage.

it falls on me

Last night found me at a last minute (of sorts) birthday gathering for our friend & fellow knitter S (@transplantmom on twitter), who came down from Chicagoland to party it up. When I say party, I mean knitting and a potluck. That’s how we roll.*

I ate so much freakin’ food yesterday that I’m surprised I didn’t explode.

After eating everything in sight, knitting, and reading “I gave my cat an enema” (my favorite thing is the picture of the actual cat at the end, but read through it first), I headed home and started seaming up a baby sweater.

Now, I really have no idea what I’m doing seaming this sweater. Mattress stitch for the side seams, fake grafting for the shoulders (thank you Kim & my Stitch & Bitch book). I’m good there. But there is a collar & it’s giving me hell.

This is the pattern I’m using. This pattern also caused me to inadvertently flounder my way through an intarsia-like stripe sequence on the same collar. Bastards.

The instructions say:

Sew Collar to neck edge by placing collar, right side facing up, on top of right side of front, sew edges together.

Which I did. Except. My collar “wings” (for lack of a better term) aren’t long enough. So I thought, fine. Whatever. I’ll just cover that up with the i-cord I wasn’t going to do. I whipstitched the collar mostly down and it does not look good.

I'm having issues

As I see it, I have a couple options:

  1. Take the collar off, add a couple inches to each side to make it meet up in the middle like it’s supposed to.
  2. Do an applied i-cord edge (in the main color, not the contrast one) to disguise the seam & hide the too short collar edge.

The problem with each of these options, though:

  1. I’m not sure how to do a seam that will look good if I leave off the i-cord (as in the original plan).
  2. I have no real idea how to do this. I did a google search for applied i-cord and the instructions I found did not make a whole lot of sense to me.

Clearly, I need some help with this. If you have other ideas or suggestions or just want to vote on which option is the better one, PLEASE let me know. I’m willing to entertain other ideas that I might not have thought of. As long as I’ve been knitting, I’ve only had to seam 2 projects, so this is not my strong suit. I don’t mind the seaming, I just don’t want it to look crappy.

*Big thanks to the lovely Rachel & husband for getting the shindig together & bringing caffeine when I was hit with a headache due to lack of caffeine.**

**I thought I might try to wean myself off the daily coffee this week. HAHAHAHAHA.

whatever tomorrow brings

I keep having dreams that I’m back at Six Flags working, but only on weekends because I’m not available during the week (another job? school? I don’t know).

In these dreams, I’m the same age I was when I worked there, so about 20 years old. And I keep forgetting to check the schedule for the following week when I’m there, then I forget to call to check my schedule, which means I either show up when I’m not scheduled to work or I don’t come in when I’m supposed to.

It’s an anxious dream & even when I haven’t had the dream, it randomly pops into my head & produces a tiny bit of anxiety. Kind of like the dream where I dropped a class in college, except I forgot to actually submit the drop form & didn’t find out until finals week, when I had to take the final in a class I didn’t know anything about to try to salvage my grade in the class.

On a related note (kind of), I went to a birthday party over the weekend for one of the Jessica’s I met while working at the Flags. I worked there with her BFF Jessica H.* as well, so once she got to the party, we reminisced about our days with Bugs Bunny and the people we used to work with.

There was Jeff, the cute guy in HR that everyone would stare at while I said “Guys, come ON! We need to put the clothes away. Quit staring at Jeff!” on a pretty much daily basis (I had a little crush on him also, but tried to be less obvious about it). He & I also played a series of practical jokes on each other through the 2 years we were there at the same time. Like the time his car got covered in toilet paper. Or when he sent out a memo from “human resources” that they were cutting costs & I’d be getting a pay cut. Ah, good times.


From the picture, top row –

Amber, who was always interesting. Jessica H, who was always fun. Angela, the model, who was one of the biggest culprits of the Jeff-drooling issues. Bottom row – Tim, who took incessant smoke breaks & got a nickname he hated (and that stuck – even now) by Stacey (not pictured). Amanda, who was just a lot of fun to work with. And then me. The one in charge.

Not pictured – so many people. The other Jessica who had the birthday (we only worked together my very last summer there). Stacey, who I mentioned already, but who was (and still is) a nut – in a good way. Tina (aka Valentina) who I still talk to, even though she moved across the state a couple years ago. Sarah, who I lost touch with shortly after she got married, but who I thought of last Fall when one of the girls in my class looked remarkably like her and was even named Sarah. Jen, our illustrious leader during my final year at the park. And SO MANY other people who I remember from my five years in Wardrobe. Plus the people we became friendly with who worked in the park (instead of behind the scenes like us).

There are times I can not believe that it’s been 15+ years since I’ve seen some of these people (I was there from 1993-1998 with a year off in 1997). Some of the memories are as clear in my head as if they’d happened yesterday. Others aren’t as clear – when I hit 30, I started losing a bit of my brain power (or filling up my brain with yarn instead)**, so some things have been lost when I fill up my brain with knits, purls, stats, & public health stuff.


Other stories from the Flags: Hey, Macarena! and tablecloth togas. (Obviously, since the toga post, both J’s have wound up back in the StL or I wouldn’t have been at the party last weekend. The birthday girl & I even go to the same gym now.)

*They met in 1st grade & argued over who had the name first. Have been BFFs ever since.Which is phenomenal and AMAZING.

**thus implementing the “if I didn’t write it down, you didn’t say it” policy.