Friday, November 28, 2008

Still stuffed from yesterday

Hey there! Hope all my American readers had a great Thanksgiving! I had the best British-vegetarian-Thanksgiving a girl could ask for. I took a ton of pictures, but my camera has apparently eaten them. I'm sure they'll pop up randomly in a few weeks- they always do.

So...Wedneday was a trip to London with Rosie (flatmate) and James (new friend). We took a later train out so we paid half-price and crammed as much as we could into our 7 hours in London. We went to the Museum of Natural Science (Damn it camera! Those pictures were awesome!) and hung out there for a while. We did a quick run thru of Harrods ( I wanted to stay longer, but once Rosie had found her vibrating mascara, she wanted to go grab lunch) and we went to a map store looking for an Xmas present for my dad. I found a really cool map that was about a square foot, and it looked really old and was all black and white. Flipped it over, had a der Paige moment. The map was from 1442 and was over 800 pounds. Dad will not be getting that for Christmas. I may go to London before I head back for Christmas and look again at the map store- but Rosie and James were not so patient and wanted to go elsewhere. Then we had jam and custard doughnuts the size of our heads. There's a great picture of that to, but it's on demon-camera. Then we split up for a while- they went to Camden town and I went to Waterloo to see iKnit- where the Harlot stopped on her London stop. The place is pretty cool- has a fullout bar in it but I wasn't overly impressed with the yarn selection. It really didn't have all that much. But I still found a couple things I couldn't leave without (use your imagination- the pictures are gone) like 2 skeins of Louet Gems sock yarn in the Dusk colorway which has greens, blues and purples. I'm thinking a fan and feather-ish pattern may work best for that yarn. I also got some Kraemer Sterling "Silk and Silver" in a purple. I love it when some of my favorite things are combined for me like sock yarn, the color purple and sparkles. I couldn't let it go. I carried some Malabrigo sock around for a while but since it was the same colors as the Louet Gems and 3 pounds more, I put it down and bought the Louet and the Silk and Silver. Not too bad for me.

Met up with Rosie and James again and we then realized we had 20 minutes to get back to Liverpool station and onto our returning train before our tickets expired. So, we sprinted across Camden town station and crossed over onto the Jubilee line and then went on the Northern line for a minute...and made it. Whew. Sat down on the train to get back to Colchester and waited. And waited. And waited. Someone had jumped in front of a train and killed themselves and it shut down all the trains north of London for 4 hours. There were a ton of people bitching about how late they were going to be, and yeah, we were late, but when someone died you can shut your mouth and forget about how you're going to be late. It's just rude.

Got back quite late (but not too late to make pumpkin pie!) and so I did just that. While simultaneously reading Mansfield Park and drying my hair. Take that, Martha Stewart. So made the pie, got it ready to take to my American Women's History class (if you have to have class on Thanksgiving, then pumpkin pie better go with it) and got there and nobody wanted to try it. They were all stumped as to why anyone would want to eat a pumpkin. So then Sinead, the Irish teacher of American studied walked in, asked if that was pumpkin pie and asked if she could have a piece. Once she announced it was the best pumpkin pie she'd ever had, everyone else wanted some. Brits can be fickle sometimes. So, instead of having our lecture on women in Utopian societies, we ate pumpkin pie and had girl-talk. Sinead also let me know that she will be calling me Martha for the rest of the year.

Got back from lectures and started baking again. Started with carrot cake. Made the batter, threw it in the oven and left to go check my e-mail. 30 minutes in the whole flat smelled like carrot cake, which was wonderful, but 30 minutes was way too soon. Someone had gone and turned the oven from the "oven" setting to the "grill" setting and turned it up a hundred degree. My carrot cake was burnt to a crisp on top and still raw on the bottom. So, now an hour behind schedule, I started again. The rest of the cooking went without flaw and my friend Simona from Romania even came over at 5:30 to help with the cooking! Alex and Reece, two of the flatmates and declared that a meal without meat is no meal at all went and bought 2 chickens (Tesco was out of Turkey), just-bake-and-eat Yorkshire puddings (so anti-American but we needed a bread of some sort so it worked) and potatoes for roasting. Since only one of our ovens was working and the chickens took twice as long to cook as they were supposed to, we ended up eating at 8 instead of 7 and didn't get to have Sweet Potato Casserole until nearly the end of the meal since we stuck it in after the Chicken came out. Then we stuck in the Pecan Pie which wasn't ready until everyone had already eaten more than they thought they could and we were all miserably sitting around the table groaning. People were a little worried about the Sweet Potato casserole (are there supposed to be marshmallows on it? And you eat it with the main meal? Are you sure? Americans are weird...) but then my Polish-Hawaiian friend, Piotr came in and said "Is that sweet potato casserole?!" and told his just-Polish friend Magda that she had to try some, everyone wanted some. And I have to say so myself, it was a good casserole.

So: the numbers

People fed at Thanksgiving: 22
Hours spent cooking: 6
Pecan pies: 2
Carrot Cakes: 2 (only 1 was edible)
Pumpkin Pies: 2
Chickens: 2
Potatoes for roasting: 8 pounds (weight, not money)
Potatoes for mashing: 7 pounds
Yorkshire Puddings: 30
Green Beans: 2 pounds
Sweet Corn: 3 pounds
Cranberry sauce: 1 pound
Sweet potatoes for Casserole: 2 pounds plus bag of marshmallows
Standing ovation from flatmates while putting the last dish on the table: Priceless
Having the other people help with the washing up: Even better

All and all it was a good Thanksgiving. Luke, the one who had to have Thanksgiving in the first place, missed out on everything. Including pecan pie- for the second time. I'm a little angry with him for that, but Thanksgiving here isn't about what Luke wants. It's about what I feel like cooking.

So that's about it. Hopefully my pictures will come back one day and I can show you the awesomeness of the fully decked-out table before a single bite was taken.

I'm out- enjoy your black Friday!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Just Monkeyin' around

Good morning! (My clock that is still set on Indiana time says it's morning- so there!)

After finally accepting defeat yesterday and realizing that there is no reasonable way to get pumpkin pie, I walked into Sainsbury's looking for powdered cocoa to make Red Velvet cake with. I didn't find any of that, but I did find something else. 4 pumpkins. As in, the orange things that pumpkin puree is made out of. So I bought them- I mean, how hard can it be to make pumpkin puree? Turns out, not hard at all.

First you take those pumpkins (it turns out 4 is a bit much, I may end up having several pumpkin pies this year) and split them in half with a big ol' knife, like so.
Then get out the pumpkin seeds and goo, leaving only the "meat" inside the skin. Then my camera was hijacked by Irene, the Spanish girl and the pictures she took are not appropriate for a knitting blog. Or anything really...moving on. The rest will be without Martha Stewart-style pictures, I appologize. Cover your pumpkin halves with tin foil and then stick them in the oven, tin foil side up. Stick them in at 250 degrees Farenheit, or 165 C and set your timer for an hour.20 minutes in, some stupid freshman will pull the fire alarm and you will have to evacuate the building. Turn the oven off, your pumpkins will be okay. Turn back on after 45 minutes of standing in freezing cold and let them cook for another 45 minutes or so. With a spoon, scrape out the meat and throw it in Joe's blender. Blend until it looks like you think pumpkin puree ought to look. Throw that in ziplock bags. Throw those in the freezer. We'll deal with those on Thursday.

So, I should probably mention that my knitting mojo is back- or at least it was. I started a Cherry Leaf Lace scarf with some Sirdar Baby Bamboo that I bought before I left the US and realized after I used the first of 2 skeins that 2 skeins isn't going to be nearly enough. Great...where the hell am I going to find more Sirdar Baby Bamboo before Tuesday? Turns out Franklins carries it- and even better, they had one skien left in the color I needed. And I had a coupon. Score. Score. Score. Will be able to finish this thing for Marylyn, block it and have it ready to give to her when she picks me up at the train station on Saturday! So glad that worked out that well.
I also started a Monkey sock with the sock yarn I got in the mail on Tuesday (Thanks Mom!) I asked for stuff to make a pumpkin pie with, but sock yarn is just as good. It also happens to be pumpkin colored, so that's a bonus. I doubt I'll still be working on them by Thanksgiving though...but then again, if the SSS persists, I might never finish them at all! These are my Homesick Socks on Ravelry, because Pumpkin Monkeys has nothing to do with traveling. Here is the first sock being modeled on two different backgrounds, "cake ingredients" and "black radiator that works sometimes". I'll try to take them to London on Wednesday for some fancy pictures.
So since I'm making minimal progress on my essays and deadlines are approaching (and about to fly by) I really need to get some work done on those.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


So Rosie and Jess, two of my flatmates were doing makeup in the kitchen so they could go out clubbing tonight and Luke should have been smart enough to leave the kitchen when they've got makeup out....but he wasn't. So now we have Lucy.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Hey everyone! was the much anticipated Oxford trip, and I must say, it was pretty flippin' awesome. We had to meet at 7.45 this morning and drive for 2 1/2 hours while the driver played techno/rap remixes, but nothing an I-pod and Josh Groban couldn't block out. I do love that man.
Anyhoo- got to Oxford and had 7 hours to do it all, so we did. I went with my favorite Argentinians, Sere and Agus (Sere is forgiven, Luke is a douchebag and I'm really truly over it this time). We went to Christ Church Cathedral and College- which is the most famous one at Oxford. I turned on my camera to get some pictures, but it was nearly dead despite the fact that it charged all night. So I took a few snapshots and then saved my battery for the Oxford Museum of Natural Science (because I'm awesome like that-right?) So here is a small snippet of our day in fairly chronological order:

We went to Christ Church College, where I debated dropping out of college/uni and becoming a postcard photographer. Turns out it's not my mad photography skills, Oxford just really is that beautiful.Still thinkin' about dropping out....
There was something significant about that tree, but since we followed the Spanish tourguide for Sere and Agus, I didn't quite get it. I did get some Argentinian lovin' in the Churchyard though (totally going to hell for that) -that picture got knocked out of order, see first picture for Argentine lovin'.
We then teleported to Pisa to see the leaning tower. Not really, I just decided that this building looked better tipping over.We headed over to the Museum of Natural Science (if you ever go to Oxford- you must do this. The shrunken head exhibit was closed, but the rest was well worth it. How many places do you get to have your picture taken with Charles Darwin...seriously?)

I thought about how lucky I was to not be dating a dinosaur. Imagine how long it would take to knit him socks!I modeled the newest design in Dinosaur fashions. Agus was stunned.

Not to be outdone by my mad skills and Vanna White impersonations, Sere got her flirt on with a badger. She got his number, too.
and I was brutally mauled by a dinosaur. Then my camera died.

After the museum, we got a quick lunch (I went to this Panera knock-off called Pret A Manger, which is French for "Ready to Eat" and met them at Burger King with my uber-healthy sandwich.) and decided to part ways for a bit. I was exhausted from my lack of sleep (had an asthma attack last night and was a little shaken up when I tried to go to sleep) and decided I'd not follow them through another museum at break-neck speed, so I went shopping. I went to the Alice in Wonderland store (another must if you ever go to Oxford) and looked around. I got a tea cup (thought it was fitting) with the illustration of the game of croquet between the Queen of Hearts and Alice whilst using Dodo birds as sticks. They also had Mad Hatter tea but the exchange rate made me not get that. I did get a couple cool postcards, one of which I will send to my mother, and the other I will use as a bookmark. I send my mom a postcard from everywhere I go that's not Essex. I'm awesome like that. Plus I totally didn't get her anything for her birthday and think a year of postcards might make up for that. Back to Alice in Wonderland.

Lewis Carrol- the writer, as well as a heroin addict, was a teacher at Oxford. Alice, the inspiration for the stories, was the 7 year old daughter of the Dean. There's definently sexual undertones in the stories and the pictures that Carrol did of Alice, but that's weird and I'm not going there. I'm so traumatized from my fairy tales class, I'm seeing pedophilia everywhere! Ahhh! Anyhoo, the store that is now the Alice in Wonderland store used to be Alice's favorite candy store and there's a wonderful shelf of colorful and delicious things that make me wish I actually had a metabolism. Instead I bought postcards and a teacup. And 2 shirts that say OXFORD UNIVERSITY in super big bright letters across my boobs. I'm collecting hoodies from prestigious European Universities so when I go back to Indiana rockin' the Oxford shirt and people ask where I got that rockin' Oxford shirt, I'm going to tell them I went to Oxford/Cambridge/La Sorbonne. I will simply fail to mention that I only went to Oxford/Cambridge/La Sorbonne for a day and I took tours, not classes. Itty bitty details. Itty bitty.

Went shopping a little more, looked for a Chelsea shirt for little bro's Christmas present, failed at that, went to Borders to feel better. Got a book most appropriately called, I Never Fancied Him Anyway which I will read in the kitchen. And then leave in the kitchen. With my name in the front cover. Maybe not. I just thought it seemed fitting. It's also motivation to finish my GD history paper. Not going to even crack it open until I finish the paper. That's not going to happen, but that's what I'm telling myself. I am completely lacking on willpower at the moment.

I'm taking a little knit-break. Probably just a week or so- I just need to put all my creative juices into turing my 5 page paper into the 20 page paper that it needs to be by Tuesday. Then I need to make a scarf for Marylyn, my mom away from mom. I'm going to visit her and her granddaughters on the 29th and I'd really like to have it finished and blocked by then. Any ideas for a fairly fast lace scarf? The yarn is Sirdar's baby bamboo, the color is white. Leave suggestions in the comments or Ravel me...y'all know the drill by now.

Happy Knitting! I'll be back in a few days!

Friday, November 14, 2008


Something bad keeps happening to everything I'm knitting. It's terrible! The other day I was trying on the first of the green stripey socks after I finished the gusset. I knew it was going to be snug, but I could barely get it on. And then I snapped a size 0 dpn in half trying to get the damn sock off. So I frogged. And I cast on with a different sock yarn. And I frogged. So I thought I'd start the scarf that needs to be done by the 29th, and I frogged. I have failed so many times at knitting over the past week, I wonder if I will ever be able to actually produce something halfway decent again. What is wrong with me?!

I also lost a dpn from a different set, making 2 sets unknittable right now. I've checked every pocket on every purse but can't find the damn needle!

I worked a little on the handspun top-down raglan, but I really don't like the look of the handspun knitted. I am very proud of how even and sometimes machine-like my knitting is, but this handspun looks like it was made by a beginner. It may get frogged and turned into a lap-blanket. It really hate to spend that much money on a lap blanket though...Any suggestions?

I'm making progress on my essays- progress that makes a snail look like it's moving at the speed of light. Seriously. Yesterday I wrote 700 words and it nearly killed me. These essays have to be at least 8000 words. And there's 4 of them.

And I walked in on Luke and Sere having an intimate moment in the kitchen last night.

I have no idea what I'm doing here.

Monday, November 10, 2008


So far my essays are a lost cause- I planned to have 2 done by now, and instead I have one pathetic paragraph of word vomit. Writing just isn't coming naturally at the moment. I even set up appointments with my teachers to discuss my essays, which normally forces me to at least put some ideas down on paper...but I just can't convince my brain to help me out here! I know I'm way early and I have tons of time before these are due, but I really don't want to wait until the last minute with these darn papers like I do every semester! Any suggestions to kick-start my motivation? I thought booking a trip to Oxford this weekend would be motivation- nope. I thought knitting a little bit to get my brain in creative mode would work- nope. I've also been super distracted since I last wrote with Luke (don't judge, I'm not testing the waters with both feet- this time) but since he's in Manchester for the day, I thought I'd get cracking on my essays- but nope. No progress at all. This darn weather makes me want to sleep all day and not write papers....*yawn*.

So: new project progress. I told myself I wouldn't be starting new projects until I finished at least two papers. I failed at that. It's another sock- out of ONline Supersocke 100, which is the same kind the Picadilly Circus Socks are made out of. It's not great yarn, but it's cheap and very bright, both of which are extrememly important right now. It also washes really well. It's also tragically thin, and I couldn't get gauge on anything except Jaywalkers. So I casted on for Jaywalkers. And then frogged. And then casted on for Marigold Socks. And got to about 4 inches before I frogged. And now I'm knitting plain Jane stockinette stitch socks, and they're wonderful. I am knitting on size 0 needles (this sock is more dense than carpet- I'm willing to bet it's waterproof. And fireproof.) and I casted on 68 stitches around. It's a bit snug but the Jaywalkers I made out of this yarn have told me that it does stretch quite well. The size 0's hurt, but the fabric is great and it's totally worth it. I may do this again with the last skein of this yarn I have (bought 3- they were on sale- not the best yarn decision ever). If I finish the socks before Friday (might happen considering I started them last night and am now turning the first heel) then I will probably call them the Plain Jane Austen socks to keep with the British theme, and if they last until Saturday's road trip, they will be the Oxford Socks. I still need to finish Sere's scarf which I started forever ago- it's nearly scarf weather here. Plus I just want to get it off my desk.
So- on to a more interesting topic- Luke. I really can't make up my mind about him. Some days I want to punch him in the face and some days I want other things. Lately it's been the latter. So Saturday night after a few of us went to the pub (he didn't- we left before he got back from work) we all got back and were hanging out in the kitchen and talking about boxing. Apparently, there was this match that would be on at 11:15 (US time, that's 4:15 am for us) and normally I don't watch grown men beating each other to a pulp unless it's part of a Russel Crowe movie...but I was considering staying up to watch the boxing match with Luke. Then he made a comment about how the American boxer was going down and without thinking I blurted out, "Wanna bet?"
*I should probably point out at this time that I have no friggin idea who is who when it comes to boxing. Had I known anything about who was fighting I would have instantly agreed that the American was going down. And he did- he got his ass kicked by a Welsh guy. Darn.
** I should also point out that last time I said, "Wanna bet?" I ended up with a broken nose. What is it about Luke that makes my judgement dissapear?
So...2 hours of cardgames passed and everyone in the flat had gone to bed...except Luke and I of was game-time. So we were in his room watching the match and doing a little casual flirting and joking and then there was a tickle-fight and then...oh my's coming...the tickle fight stopped...the world stopped turning...he's going to kiss me...oh my god.....and I panicked. I jumped up and said I really needed to go to bed because at this point it was 7 am and I was still telling myself I was going to write papers all day and I FREAKED OUT! We made up, we flirted, we even had a friggin' tickle-fight and I FREAKED OUT! I have been kicking myself since Saturday night- my first shot at my first British kiss and I blew it! I am totally going to be a cat-lady.
So there. I get so close to getting what I want and then I run. Oh well...there's always tomorrow night.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Remember, Remember the 5th of November

So today is not only the aftermath of the American elections, but the day Guy Fawkes tried to blow up Parliament in 1605 with 2 tons of gunpowder stolen from the Spanish during a previous war. He rented the basement of the House of Lords for a night and when someone leaked the plan, he was found surrounded by barrels of gunpowder. He was tortured and killed for his attempt to start a revolution. Today it is called Bonfire Night and I'm guessing that there are going to be fireworks, and I sure hope they are visable from my flat. A few of us had planned to go to London to see the fireworks there, but it's an awful expensive trainride for a night standing in the cold and watching fireworks. Maybe we'll run to town and grab some fireworks and have our own show.
So, as promised, the pictures of the Guy Fawkes Sawkes on Guy Fawkes day. Not the dramatic pictures you were probably expecting, but considering I have spent all day in the library finding books to help with my term papers, this will have to do for now.

That also means that I probably won't be blogging for a while, as every waking moment will be spent writing term papers and trying to finish Wuthering Heights. I will be knitting (ever so slowly) another top-down raglan out of some off-white handspun, but if you've been reading for very long at all, you know what those look like...

So, goodbye for now and I'll be back after I write 20 pages on the role of separate spheres in womens history, 15 on John Keats, 15 on the Freudian approaches to looking at Evil Stepmothers, and 15 on something interesting about Mansfield Park. Hopefully this will go faster than I think it will, but I'm having doubts of being able to leave my room before December.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Death of a Crush

Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here to mourn the loss of a schoolgirl crush, one that began shortly after Luke moved in, and ended after a brutal exhibit of his true colors this afternoon. The crush is survived by Common Sense, Feeling of Independence and Desire to Focus on Schoolwork.

A Wake will be held at Midnight, where I will meet his friend at Top Bar with a small shirt on and watch the election coverage...all night long.

Oh- nearly forgot! I finished the second Guy Fawkes Sawk and did the kitchener stitch-backwards. I now have a perfect purl row at the end of my toe. Pictures tommorow...

Monday, November 3, 2008


So I was doing to usual facebook stalking a minute ago, checking on friends of friends and who has had babies and who has gotten married and whatnot, and I found something that looked a little familiar...

This hat was one of the last things I made before I headed to England, and apparently baby Andrew is not all that thrilled about wearing it...oh well. He's a cutie- had to share this.

Those of you who have been reading or have known me for a while have probably figured out what's going on- I've barely touched the needles since I broke my nose. At first I blamed the constant headache, inability to wear glasses to see the lace on the second Guy Fawkes Sock, but now I'm pretty sure it's really just a case of Second Sock Syndrome...or in my case, Sixth Sock Syndrome. Except that I don't want to work on my mitered squares blanket or the scarf I promised Sere, either. Slump. So I made the journey to Tesco today in search of something that would certainly pull me out of my slump...ingredients for a pumpkin pie. But of course, being Britain and all, I am unable to find any pumpkin puree here and it looks like I won't be making pumpkin pie after all. Maybe this is a sign that I should stop procrastinating and just start my damn essays? I've got roughly 40 pages of essays on various topics to write between now and December 1st...and the reality that I need to start working just hasn't sunk in yet. I have read the entire fall ration of cheesy romance novels already and have bought a couple more, I have cleaned my room a million times, I have even reorganized my stash by color and then my fiber content, using high heels as spacers, but I have NOT cracked a book for these damn papers! I haven't even picked my topics yet! Yikes!

I think I'll blame the cold- the one in my face, not the cold outside. I just don't feel like doing anything remotely productive. Hopefully a walk around campus will put my head straight. But I seriously need to get something done on my history essay before SnB tomorrow night so I can go guilt-free, and then pull an all nighter with Luke (not quite on speaking terms yet) and his other friends all majoring in "American Studies" to watch election coverage. I know how to party, eh?