Saturday, July 24, 2010


a midsummer evening's blog post

Haven't blogged in something like, 3 weeks! A first for Chickenlips. Well, I do have pictures to show you, but before I get to it, let me grouse a bit about life. It was a real scorcher of about 94 today and it's supposed to be even worse tomorrow, and hot weather and I don't get along too well. Combined with the events of the past week, I'm feeling kind of meh. Once it cools down again to ideal Oregon summer in the high 70's, I'll perk up.
Where to start? Last Sunday evening, a dear friend and amazing person passed away. She was a very tough fighter and gave it all she had, but complications from cancer took Bev from us. This evening we attended a celebration of her life. The church was absolutely packed, and the service was beautiful. It's strange, I got all weepy when I got there and saw so many familiar faces - but Bev had so much joy and positive energy that we could actually feel it in remembering her.

The other thing that happened was that Monday night/early Tuesday morning, someone broke into daughter's car - which wouldn't have been a big deal if she hadn't left it full of valuables instead of bringing her things into her friends' house where she was staying! However, this is often how we learn what not to do. Unfortunately she lost her laptop, clothes, makeup collection, notebook full of songs and writings, and two electric guitars. So I've been dealing with the insurance company; got her car window fixed and just finished filling out the claim against our homeowner's policy. At some point, hopefully, we'll get some money out of 'em...

And now to the "meat", if you will, of this post! Here is something other than dyed wool I created in my kitchen: Italian Sausage and Zucchini Soup.

Super quick and easy. I browned 3 mild Italian sausages in a little olive oil. These ones were pork, although I imagine chicken sausage would be good too. Then I took the sossidges out and sauteed 1/2 onion, 1 garlic clove and a sliced zuke. Poured in 1 can beef broth and a bit of water to dilute the salty taste a bit, put the sausage back in and simmered it for about 20 minutes. Then cut up the sausages and sprinkled some grated parm on top. Fabulous!! I didn't add any seasonings - the sausage was spicy enough for me.

Handspinning Revisited

Recently I treated myself to a finely crafted cherry wood drop spindle, which made a big difference in both the quality of my spinning and my enjoyment of it. This is the "Shuksan", from Cascade Spindle Co. in Washington state.

I'm getting better, as the above photo shows. Although my handspun singles aren't great, I can spin finer and am eager to learn how to ply. I am seriously coveting this wheel, or one like it.

Well that's about it outta Chickenlips, folks - now that Totally Awesome Daughter doesn't have her own computer for the time being, we're back to sharing. Stay cool out there!

Sunday, July 04, 2010


things you don't see every day

Happy 4th of July, everybody! I'm having a mellow, quiet day here with Toki and the cats. To escape the fireworks noise, the kittehs are safely in the garage and Toki has a snuggly place under the bed. The rest of the fam is up in Spokane. I have tons of dyeing waiting for me, and will get to it sometime today or tonight - but for now I'm procrastinating in favor of reading, knitting and updating the blog.

I had a rather childish post up for a few days, and then took it down. It was a YouTube video of Weird Al Yankovic singing the ultimate breakup song "One More Minute". I'm a huge Weird Al fan and that song is dynamite, but really I was just being ugly about the fact that my brother's wife moved out yesterday. That kind of spiteful stuff only makes me feel better in the short term but doesn't really help anybody. I wanted to be there for him, so I took him out drinking. I don't drink, I only sort of "pretend" to - I never liked alcohol for the taste, that's for sure! He said it cheered him up, and even though Friday was a rough day for him, he coped well yesterday and got a bit liquored up last night. We at least had a few giggles, and yeah, some of them were at the soon to be ex-wife's expense - so the hell what? Given the situation, it was appropriate. The good news is that he's found a nice apartment, and will spend a couple weeks getting his stuff organized and the new place painted before moving in.
He also entrusted to me one of his most prized possessions for safe-keeping during the move.

Ever since he was a child, Rick has been a movie buff. He knows everything about the silver screen. A few years ago Jane Fonda wrote her autobiography and went on a book tour. He stood in line to meet her, and chatted with her for a few minutes. Said she was charming, regal, classy and a bit flirty, everything you would expect from someone who led a privileged (if tragic) early life and then spent all her adult life in the public eye.
Now I know there's still a lot of anti-Jane Fonda sentiment out there because of her going to Hanoi back in 1971. I have just begun reading the book, and am very interested to know what she has to say about it. So far her memoirs are completely frank and unflinching, and I'm sure I will have a better understanding of what was behind her actions. I will say this: Jane Fonda has certainly spent years trying to help people in different ways, such as summer camps for underprivileged kids, and campaigning and supporting women's issues and rights. If she did do harm to American POW's during the Vietnam era, I think she has also used her fame to do a great deal of good for many. I'm going to suspend judgment of her actions of 40 years ago, at least until I read her reflections about them.
Ehh, enough about that. Except for sewing down the picot hem and fixing the gap problem at the top edges of the front and back, my Lacy Lines Camisole is done.

I began it sometime in March, I think. It took 10 balls of Debbie Bliss Cathay, a cotton/viscose/silk blend, and size 2 and 3 needles. The camisole pattern is by Jennie Atkinson, from a book called "Knitting Goes Large" and I made the biggest size. The finished measurements given in the pattern are smaller than what I wanted them to be; I figured that using the needle size given would compensate for that because I invariably go down a couple needle sizes for gauge. Happily, it worked - other than the sagging, which can probably be fixed by a row or two of single crochet, it's a great fit. The back has the same eyelet lines and a smaller lace medallion.
Even though I have another summer top in progress, right now I'm on a scarf knitting kick. I also revisited spinning, so the next post will be all about that! Not really participating in Tour de Fleece, just trying to practice each day until I can make good yarn. I bought a cool new drop spindle and this time, I really get it. Who knew?

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