Survivor: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk

So I am halfway through another Palahniuk novel entitled Survivor: A Novel and it opened the way most of his novels do. Dark and gross and weird and I had a hard time getting into it. Now, halfway through I am enthralled. I just finished chapter 28 and I wanted to quote almost the entire chapter on Facebook. But I didn't. I can not wait to see how this comes out, I presume just like all the rest, he will shock me and twist the ending in ways I can't imaginge.


Penny Arcade on Ravelry

Ok I could not wait any longer. I did not want to create a group, I'm a lousy moderator, but I have been waiting ages and I finally could not wait any longer.

I created a Penny Arcade group on Ravelry. You can find it at http://www.ravelry.com/groups/penny-arcade. Between the recent links for the Katamari Forever Contest and Twitter pictures of crocheted PacMan and Ghosts on Jerry's desk by Mike I figured it is time it was done.

If you are on Ravelry and as big a PA dork as I am, lets get this thing started.


Chili? We'll see.

So my parents are arriving tonight about 8pm and I plan to have some kind of dinner waiting for them when they arrive. I'm going to try chili and cornbread. I haven't made it yet, but I am going to try the following ingredients...

Stew beef
3 kinds of beans
1 can stewed tomatoes
chili powder

I'll let you know how it turns out.

I will also be stocking up on rum, coke, chips, salsa, pinot grigio, coffee, creamer and Sweet n low. I can not wait to wake up in the morning, run to my parents condo in my jammies and drink coffee on the couch. I might even scratch my daddy's back if he's nice to me.


What happened to me?!?

I sound so freaking old. Soup recipes. Spinning and knitting projects. I don't feel old. Except in the mornings when I roll out of bed. I keep up on video games, though my gaming idols are getting to be old men themselves at Penny Arcade. And I watch too many cartoons, though mostly Anime of late. I have a closet full of T-Shirts filled with video game references and nerd jokes.

I am now some kind of cross between a crafty old woman with cats and a 30 something bachelor gamer.

Oh well. I guess I can deal with it. But really? Not the person I thought I would become.

Butternut Squash and Chicken soup

More yummy soup.

This week I made a butternut Squash and chicken soup and it came out fantastic. Reminder, my slow cooker is only about a quart and a half, so up or down size accordingly.

Butternut Squash
Bacon ends
Collard Greens
Shredded carrot
Chicken broth
Thyme sprigs

Starting with the squash I cut it into large cubes, a little over an inch and tossed it into the slow cooker. I had two large chicken breasts in the freezer which I partially thawed, then cut into large cubes like the squash. I didn't use all the chicken. I just used enough for one thin layer in pot over the squash. The rest I cooked for dinner that day (I make my soup overnight for the next day). I also had a large lump of bacon ends in the freezer for adding to soup and I just cut a good portion off, dice it up and throw it in the pot as well.

Chopped 1/2 an onion, threw in a handful (literally) of shredded carrot (I buy it in a bag, I've used it in several soup recipe's now and it is very handy). I used half of a bunch of collard greens. I thought I was buying Kale that's what a great chef I am. But it turned out to be great in the soup. I coarsely chopped the collards into 1.5" strips and tossed them in as well as 4 or 5 sprigs of thyme from my little herb garden, need to use them up. I used the rest of my chicken stock, probably 1.5 cups and added a little water.

Let cook overnight. Now this one is sweet thanks to the squash and went fantastic with cornbread muffins. you don't have to add the bacon if you don't want to and I honestly don't know what possessed me to throw it in. I think I understood collard greens to be cooked with ham usually and I do so love me the bacon.

I used the remainder of the collard greens with onion and bacon in a pan with the rest of the chicken dredged in bisquick for dinner for the curious.


Look what I found!

Earlier this year while on the USCGC Healy in the Bering Sea I patched up some gloves for my gal Jessica. I used the yarn I had on hand for Sylvi so that's the red part. It totally didn't go with the gloves but hey, they were wearable again.

Did I ever show you all the roving I bought for drop spinning? Turns out 2lbs is a lot. Since I made this purchase I learned a new rule of thumb, there are approximately 60 yards of single ply worsted in 1 ounce. Now I know. I have been absolutely loving this fiber though. It is from The Sheep Shed Studio and they sell Brown Sheep Mill Ends for 7.50/lb. How could you not buy two pounds?

The Great Alaskan Baby Blanket on the needles aboard the R/V Endeavor.

The Great Alaskan Baby Blanket nearing completion.

I added to this project another piece, but I really don't have a picture of that right now so hold tight.

Yeah, I forget a lot.

So I finished Buttony what? Ages ago? May Technically. I wanted to get a better photo. You know, one that looks nice. Which I still haven't done. However, I did get a finished pic. It's not great. Someday I will have a big ole photo shoot with lots of light. Until then, you are getting stuck with these crappy pics. Please pay no attention to the pajamas underneath. Imagine something much nicer.

ETA... I found a better finished pic!

I'm so Sorry!

It appears as if I never shared this photo with you! How did I fail so epically?

When I finally gave Lucie to my Mom, it was a perfect fit. And my mother ROCKS this sweater. Talk about a sexy Momma.

To the knitters out there, yes, the sleeves look a little long, but honestly, that was the whole point of the sweater. My mom has trouble finding sleeves that fit her long arms and never gets to wear sleeves that long. Voila! Knitting daughter to the rescue.


Smoked Turkey Tail and Bean Soup.

I made this up as I went along but popular demand (two of The Sweet Stitchin' Betties of the Fort Lauderdale/Broward area totally constitute popular demand) means I write it up. I originally sent these instructions to my sister. Sure hope I removed all the personal content!

I found at Albertson's something I have never seen before, I made soup out of it and it was so good. I make my soup before I go to sleep to cook overnight and go into my thermos hot in the morning for lunch then eat it for several meals and lunches over several days. My crock pot is only a few quarts, up or downsize as necessary.

You will need the following:
~4 smoked turkey tails (You could probably use necks which I saw too, but I went for the high fat fewer bones of the tail)
3 cans beans. I used 1 can light red kidney, 1 can garbonzo and 1 can great northern white beans. But I really just used what I could find in Albertson's brand for less than a dollar.
1 can low sodium chicken broth. Bet turkey or vegetable would work fine.
1/2 an onion chopped
~4 garlic cloves chopped up (or you can use garlic powder or garlic salt, but then don't use a lot of salt on top of it.)
Salt and pepper.

Seriously, that was it. Put it all into the crock pot and leave it on low overnight. In the morning, pull out the turkey tails and pull them apart to get at the meat and trash most of the fat and bone and eat it.

It has a delicious smoke-y and slightly sweet brown sugar-y flavor and ate like a thin chili. Finely chopped or shredded carrots could make a wonderful addition to this. It was great with Extra Sharp Cheddar, but really what isn't. If you make it I would love to hear your comments or suggestions.



Yesterday I started volunteering at Scripps Birch Aquarium. I largely sat at the Information Desk and told about 30 people where the bathroom was (immediately behind them, just for the record.) however part of working at the Information Desk is having information so I got to walk around and familiarize myself with the exhibits. Hello Octopus!

I also got to take a break at 10:30 when divers do some maintenance and feed the kelp tank. I found out that you can watch this on the web. They have cameras around the aquarium which are streaming most of the time if you want to check it out. Currently experiencing difficulties but hopefully it will be back up soon.

Friday afternoon the New Horizon took off with one of my favorite science crews, Jared Kluesner and Peter Lonsdale. With a whole lot of good folk on board actually. Jared is participating in an educational program and has this website for their journey. Check it out.

Science rules.


Worms are movin' on up.

I spent today preparing the next tray for our worm bin. I have mentioned before that I purchased my worm bin and I really like the tray system. It took us a while but we finally filled our first tray and are ready to upgrade to a two tray, what Susan and I like to call, "condo". We might have condos on the brain around here.

Anyway, you do not need to purchase special equipment to get your own worm bin, if in fact you were curious. You can build your own cheaply and customize it to fit your home. The important things to keep in mind are drainage (Collect moisture that drains out. It is a valuable fertilizer as it leaches goodies out of the compost above and can be used long before the soil is ready for planting.) and airflow. The tray system is great for this because the bottoms are full of holes that allow the moisture to drip out and collect in spigoted tray while also allowing the worms and air to move through the trays. And keeps waste in various stages of composting separate. For instance the most composted is always in the bottom tray and the upper trays are working trays. Only adding food to the working trays the worms will work their way up to the fresh food as they exhaust it in the bins below.

Below is a fun instructional video on how to make your own single bin system.

I want to emphasize that you can use any size bin that works for you, the amount of waste you create and the space that you have available.

The video below features a bin similar to mine and demonstrates feeding.

Susan and I like to keep a small plastic container in our kitchen that we fill with scraps and waste. We chop the food up before we serve it to them every couple of days. The smaller the pieces the faster it is composted. Worms have tiny little mouths you know. Freezing, pureeing or microwaving your waste first will speed up the process as well as help keep other pests out.

Did I ever mention, I love our worms?

I am also starting to think about what I want to plant for the fall season. It is time to replace those nonexistent cucumbers and remove the tomatoes now that they have stopped producing. I'm thinking maybe leeks, spinach and carrots? We'll see what I can find at the garden centers.