I've been under the weather, hon, so apologies for the lack of blabbage. I don't really expect you to read all this, but I've got to get it out of my system before it starts to back up. You know that bloggy backed-up feeling?
So much to discuss.
Up First: Disappointing Knitting
Just terrible, I tell you. There is something about this swatch that absolutely fatigues me. I can barely stand to look at this thing; it's like a boyfriend gone BAD. Just move on, fella. This is NOT WORKING FOR ME.
This may be the single most deflating swatch I've made since the Day-Glo Fair Isle Swatch of 2003. As bad as My First Log Cabin. It may be worse than my all-time worst idea (and I hesitate to mention it, but it's necessary to provide a sense of the scale here) The Fingering Weight Mercerized Cotton Debacle of 2005.
I think you recall the joie with which I bought this yarn at Rhinebeck. Heck, you're probably still living with that joie, seeing as how I could not resist winding this Mohair in Motion into a ball even as we wandered the back roads of Dutchess County. I felt a little bad once I noticed that the interior of your car was completely breaded in mohair. But not bad enough to stop. I was in a fever.
What does this remind me of? I finally figured it out. It's the HoJo connection. I look at this and think of Howard Johnson's. I see this and crave a Howard Johnson's clam roll. But where's the orange? The partial Hojoness of this is what bugs me: if you're going HoJo, go all the way.
There's also some institutional vibe coming off these colors. Plastic tubs from the hospital? A spit-up bucket? Can't put my finger on it, but I'm channeling some maternity-based plastic thing. I feel like I'm going into labor just thinking about it.
I haven't given up on my quest for the plaid mohair coat of my dreams. But I gotta keep hunting for the right colors.
Next Item: Slow Cooking
Now. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the slow cooker: the promise, the hazards.
I'm actually kind of torn about the slow cooker, because the fact is, I spend most days inside my own home, waiting until it's time to run my bus route, generally cultivating my agoraphobia. AW JUST KIDDING! I get out! I go to the mailbox! My home-bound lifestyle means that if I put together a batch of something in that cooker, I'm going to be living with its aroma for eight hours. It's like working at the fried artichoke stand, I tell you--by the time dinner time actually rolls around, I want to flee from the house. "The aroma! THE AROMA! HELP ME ESCAPE THE AROMA!" I have found that cooking stuff on High for a shorter time leaves me more likely to be able to eat the stuff.
But if you work outside the home, the Aroma is pretty much a gift from Santy Claus. You come home, wishing that supper would magically appear--and it does. The aroma! The blessed, DONE aroma! You run TOWARD the aroma, not away from it.
In my slow cooking experiments, I was intially bummed out by what happens to meat if you put it straight into the slow cooker. It cooks, fer sure, but it doesn't brown. It always tastes like it's missing something. Kind of boily, not roasty. And sometimes a recipe just ends up watery. I went on slow-cook hiatus for a while, bumming about this lack of flavor.
Until I found The Gourmet Slow Cooker. It's the slow cooker cookbook that has most captured my interest, and therefore is the BEST. The Gourmet Slow Cooker is the very same book that you just ordered because Mrs. Lear liked it. How's that for a coincidence? I've made several of the dishes in it--the Guinness Stew because I discovered, inexplicably, a bottle of Guinness in the vegetable bin. And the Italian stew, with CINAMMON in it, looked so beautiful that I didn't want to eat. Except that I did.
Most of the recipes call for browning the meat, which definitely flies in the face of slow cooker set-it-and-forget-it dogma. This book is not the greatest if you really want to dump and jump; there's a fair amount of futzing in order to add flavor. But I'm here in this house all day, so I don't mind a little futzing. The author does say that you can skip those steps if time is short. There's a lot of deliciosity in this book, great ingredients and flavors.
Three losses in the past days have affected me in different ways.
1. Porter Wagoner. Thin tall man of country. I showed you that YouTube of Dolly Parton singing "I Will Always Love You" to him on his 50th anniversary with the Grand Ole Opry. Such a tender thing to revisit now.
2. Robert Goulet. Speaking of crushes, he was one of my big ones, when he would appear on Lucille Ball's TV show. The world's biggest voice. So dreamy. And I have to say, Will Ferrell's portrayal of him made me love the guy all the more:
3. Last and definitely not least: Hubbo's great-aunt Elizabeth the Magnificent. She died yesterday at the age of 101--completely and utterly sharp until the very end. She lived the sort of full, connected life that inspired everyone around her. Infectious joy, a million stories, and the MOST amazing, beautiful voice. I just loved the sound of her as she told one of her sparkling tales. She sounded like she was laughing, all the time.
PS For today, for every day, the once and forever
Pumpkin Butt. Happy Halloween, all you pranksters.