NaBloPoMo Day 30: a summation

Days posted: 26
Posts in which knitting was mentioned: 3
Posts with actual knitting content: 5
Posts with knitting pictures: 4
Paracord posts: 2
Food posts: 10
Arts Focus posts: 1
Games posts: 2
Posts about college: 2


Post about dryer lint: 0!

That last one is what really matters.

I enjoyed this exercise, as I usually do, and it makes me want to post regularly, as I also usually want to at the end of November. We all know I still won’t, of course.

Happy December tomorrow, people. And, of course, Happy Hannukah.

fourth night


NaBloPoMo Day 28: giving thanks

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I didn’t get a picture of our gorgeous turkey but here’s a view of Mt. Diablo from our family walk this morning.

Mt Diablo

Things I am grateful for:

  • My family, both immediate and extended.
  • My friends, near and far and their support.
  • The above gorgeous view, just a short (though steep) walk from my parents’ front door.
  • And pumpkin pie. I made a good one this year.

I hope your Thanksgiving was also full of friends, family, and good food.

NaBloPoMo Day 27: candles and pie

It’s the first night of Hannukah, so we lit our menorah.

happy hannukah

It’s also the day before Thanksgiving, so we made pies.


There’s a pumpkin and an apple. The kids helped quite a bit with the apple pie this year. It was nice to be in the kitchen with three generations making pie. Now I must sleep so I can help with the rest of the cooking tomorrow!

NaBloPoMo Day 25: latke success and closing yarn stores

The latkes totally worked. They took a bit longer to hold together in the pan but it was fine. I think that if I were trying to do eggless latkes again I wouldn’t add any water (the potatoes let off plenty of that) and I’d add some cornstarch. I used more than the 1/4 cup of gluten free flour and still felt like I should have added more starch. Most importantly, though, they tasted good. My son’s class also enjoyed the other Hannukah themed activities. Another parent in the class used to be the youth services coordinator at a synagogue so she was able to talk about the holiday from a much more informed place than I usually do. She also read them my copy of The Trees of the Dancing Goats. I generally love Patricia Polacco books and that one is one of my favorites. She writes so wonderfully about cross-cultural friendship and understanding.

In sad news, today, I got an email from Art Fibers saying that not only is their storefront closing but they will also be closing up their dye studio. No more usual and gorgeous yarns! I might have to make a pilgrimage up there to say goodbye. I haven’t bought a lot of yarn from them but I have wanted to. Maybe I should splurge on a jacket’s worth of Brogue. We’ll see if the post-Christmas budget can handle it.

NaBloPoMo Day 24: shh, it’s a secret (plus latkes)

More work on the secret knitting projects the past couple of days. They are close to being done and then they don’t have to be secret anymore!

In less secret news, I’m making latkes in my son’s classroom tomorrow. They need to be gluten-free and egg-free so I am giving this recipe a whirl:

4 cups shredded potato
2 small onions (grated)
1/4 cup gluten-free flour
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
3 Tbsp water
6 Tbsp oil

I have made latkes with gluten-free flour before and they work very well. I think it’s because of the added starches in that flour. I am hoping that the oil + water + baking powder substitute for the eggs will work well too. It’s mostly potato and frying so how could it be bad, right? Right.

I will report back tomorrow.

NaBloPoMo Day 23: yarn moving day

I know I missed two days. Whoops! Today, though, I did something kind of exciting: we rearranged the living room a bit and I moved my yarn. When I did the Apartment Therapy January Cure this year there was an assignment about getting a fresh perspective. I tried to do that in my living room and didn’t get very far. Nothing has changed in the past 10 months and I’ve been wanting to move stuff around and just not doing it. Today my husband suggested on a whim that we move the sofa to by the window, so I took him up on it.

Here’s what it used to look like.

Living room

We shifted things around, including pulling back the rug and steam cleaning underneath it. (The husband gets lots of bonus points for doing that!)

homeless yarn

Which left my yarn homeless. It used to live in this corner.

this corner is much better

I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I didn’t like having the bins stacked in the corner because it was hard to get to any but the top bin. I have been considering the idea of getting a 1×5 Expedit which would also hopefully keep the yarn acquisition to only what fits in those five cubes. I’m not sure if that would work and it’s still a possibility.

For now, though, the yarn is above the closet in my bedroom.

new home for the yarn

The bins should be easier to pick out one at a time since they are (mostly) not stacked but I have to stand on the bed to get them. We’ll see if it’s better or not.

The living room clean-up has already degenerated but I think I like it better anyway.

new living room arrangement

NaBloPoMo Day 20: speaking of college

This is sort of an addendum to my Land of Confusion post about college from a couple of days ago. My sophomore year I lived in the quad at Penn. I got incredibly lucky and had something like the 4th pick of rooms for upperclassmen. I picked a nice big single room that faced the Junior Balcony. I loved that room. I also made some really good friends on my floor that year. One friend I made that year was a guy who didn’t live on our floor but was friends with the guy who lived next to me. His name was Walter Bell.


Me with Walter and my neighbor, Wayne, in 1992
(ah, youth!)

A few months ago I was listening to an interview on Fresh Air with W. Kamau Bell. I had heard about his TV show but had never seen it and was enjoying the interview when Terry Gross asked him what the W stood for and he told her it stood for Walter. Suddenly I realized that he was the Walter that I knew at Penn. The Walter who left in the middle of our sophomore year to move back to Chicago and who I was pen pals with for a while. The Walter who wrote me very funny letters that I wish I could find.

I started watching Totally Biased, his TV show, and really liked it. When the new season started I couldn’t watch full episodes but I watched all the clips on YouTube. A few days ago he announced that his show had been cancelled. I think that is a real shame. He posted a few of his favorite clips from the show on his blog. They are definitely worth watching and there are a lot more on his YouTube channel.

I really hope you find another outlet for your talent, Kamau! I will be watching for it.

NaBloPoMo Day 19: Paracord!

A few days ago I mentioned that I had ordered paracord and buckles. Today I put them to use.


I ended up going to YouTube for instructions rather than using the tutorial I linked earlier.


From left to right they are:

Yes, I bought a book. It’s an ebook, though, and it was only $7. I learned how to do a nicer knot for the clasp and I really like that waterfall tie. Here’s an attempted closeup of the knot.


As you may have guessed, the buckles aren’t working. I got glow-in-the-dark ones which are too big and translucent green which are too small. I think the small ones might work for friendship bracelets with embroidery floss and for now my 7-year-old son is using a glow-in-the-dark one to make a belt.


He enjoyed doing it for a bit and took a break for dinner but then came back to it a bit more. It goes pretty quickly so I think he’ll be able to finish it up tomorrow. I’ve already started shopping for new colors. Move over yarn, here comes paracord!

NaBloPoMo Day 18: land of confusion

I was going to post that I had nothing to post and then I remembered that WordPress has Daily Prompts, so I will write about that. Today’s is: Land of Confusion: Tell us about a time when you felt out of place.

I’ll tell you: College.

I grew up in Philadelphia, a mile from the University of Pennsylvania. My parents both went there and they had friends who studied or taught there or both and I was friends with their kids. You would expect that having been steeped in the culture of Penn, I would fit right in.

You would be wrong.

I made friends there but I always felt like I was on the fringe. Maybe I am always on the fringe or maybe I always feel that way but it was not a comfortable time for me and it took me a while to get adjusted. Actually, it took finding the smaller subset of people that I could relate to in the mass of humanity that is Penn’s student population.

Just today I was driving behind a car with a Swarthmore College sticker. Swarthmore was where I really wanted to go but I didn’t get in. I did get into Brandeis, near Boston, which I think is more like Swarthmore than it is like Penn. I sometimes wonder how my life would be different if I had gone to Brandeis instead. We’ll never know now, will we?

I’m just going to tack this on the end for my friends and family who go/work/loved it/currently love it there. I don’t want to take away your experience. You love Penn, that’s great. I didn’t love it there, that’s all. Those of you I met there: I wouldn’t want to give you up! I hope that clears up any confusion.