Thursday, May 19, 2011

The dog ate my homework, the cat ate my knitting, and the family ate my split pea soup

Tuesday was a pretty good day, but Wednesday, which started immediately after I posted the May 18th post, is already down the tubes.  I'm in a funk, a fury, and a bad mood (reminds me of a scene from Howard the Duck, but I won't even go there), and it's not even 2 AM.

I committed the cardinal mistake of leaving my knitting on the couch while I worked on the computer.  When I came back, the knitting was on the floor, one of the needles was missing, and the project was half off of the remaining needle.  I found the missing needle, plus the missing endpieces from both needles, and what looked to be the remains of my row counter widget.

Wait, it gets worse.  Some years ago, I switched from metal knitting needles to bamboo (with an occasional foray into rosewood) for most projects.  Wooden needles are warmer to the touch, much easier on the hands, and less likely to drop a stitch like those slippery metal needles.  That's the good part.  The bad part is that some of my cats are fatally attracted to the wooden needles, and love to chew on them.  I don't want to speak ill of the dead, but Dora was the prime offender.  I suspect that her twin, Dejah Thoris, has taken up Dora's cause, perhaps with the assistance of a certain playful pup named Indiana.  Once the needles are chewed on, they are useless ... the yarn gets caught, pulls, and the project is ruined.

I got started on a search and rescue mission, but nothing was salvageable except the project itself, which needed to be brushed off and put back on a pair of intact needles.  Of course, I did not have a spare set of size 9 single pointed wooden needles, so I had to resort to metal.  The cat hates metal needles.  And I managed to scare up one ill-fitting widget.  So after court, I'm taking my lunch hour down the road to Joann's to pick up size 9 single point bamboo needles and a proper widget.  UPDATE:  still using the metal needles.  They work with this type of yarn, and I have been too busy to shlep to Joann's or Michael's.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, I want to be done with all my scarves and little sweaters, and switch back over to knitting socks.  Nice, small projects which don't take up a lot of room on one's lap, or smother one in unwanted warmth.  Living in Florida during The Menopause Years is quite enough warmth for me, thank you.

Which hasn't stopped me from craving a bowl of homemade split pea soup, so that is what I put on to cook when I got home from work.  You will be able to find the recipe with all the other recipes at the recipe blog.  Sydni, I hope you are reading this, because when I made it, I was thinking of you.  No meat whatsoever, my dear.  This is the way my mother always made it when I lived at home, and I didn't realize people put ham bones or frankfurters into their pea soup until I went to college and got out in the world.  But really, there are so many soup recipes that have meat or chicken or seafood in them, it is nice to really taste just the veggies once in a while. I can assure you, this soup is so good you will not miss the meat (and with the price of meat these days, that is, as Martha would say, a good thing.)

In the beginning, there were vegetables and dried legumes in one pot, and onions with butter in another ... and it was good

I have been getting ready for my cruise, and one item of importance is reading material.  Since I equate relaxation with reading, and since I read at a frightening rate, I need to be prepared by having with me at least one book for each day of travel.  So I have been having fun downloading ebooks into the Kindle app for iPhone.  Part of the fun is finding new authors and finding good bargains.  Since I stick to one genre for entertainment - mysteries - I spend a lot of time perusing through old favorites, new favorites, and those endless lists of recommendations.  I love recommendations.  I have found a bunch of new authors by checking out those recommendations.  The best part is that in order to get you interested in a new series, Amazon will offer the first book for free or some ridiculously reduced price.  So in addition to the usual suspects: Rex Stout, Ellery Queen, Patricia Cornwell, Lilian Jackson Braun, Janet Evanovich, Kathy Reichs, Tess Gerritsen, Karin Slaughter, Sue Grafton, Jane Haddam, J.A. Jance, Faye Kellerman, Diane Mott Davidson, Sara Paretsky and Linda Fairstein, I have been introduced to a veritable pantheon of mystery-writing giants.  Lee Childs is at the top of that list, and J.A. Konrath (Jack Kilborn) is a gem.  Another nice thing is rediscovering the golden oldies, and that brings me to the book I am currently reading - The Mysterious Affair at Styles, by Agatha Christie.  This, the very first Hercule Poirot book, was published in the U.S. in 1920, and when reference is made to the war which affected the lives of both Poirot and Hastings, Dame Agatha is, of course, referring to the Great War, the War to End all Wars.  What is absolutely wonderful, to me anyway, is that although the book is set almost a century ago, and in England of all places, there is nothing stuffy or even old-fashioned about it.  Her writing feels contemporary, despite the lack of DNA evidence or other CSI-type wonders now taken for granted.

Crap, I forgot all about Ngaio Marsh and P.D. James ...

Never mind ... this soup is so good ...

Heaven ... I'm in heaven ... indescribably delicious.  Comfort in a bowl. 

Later, came crashing to earth.  On the Cooking Channel, "Iron Chef" is showing Battle Natto, with a much-younger Morimoto being targeted by the infamous "Ohta Faction."  Natto beans are one of the more disgusting foods in the world, and without a doubt the most disgusting secret ingredient.   I keep thinking they must mean "snotto beans" because ... well, a picture really is worth a thousand words:

I'm sure I can get those beans a guest shot on the SyFy Network.

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