Tuesday, July 26, 2016


I had it with that frakking Lattice Lace pattern. Frogged it for the last time and decided the problem was the pattern, not me. I've been knitting for well over 50 years, and I've done a lot of lace knitting without problems. Gorgeous stuff, shawls and scarves and even socks, all complicated lace.  If I can't knit this without constant errors, then THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THE PATTERN. I just want to make that perfectly clear.

I still love the yarn, which is a soft acrylic (yes, acrylic, just get over yourself) in a lovely shade of yellow, not too intense, not washed out, just perfect.  And I found just the pattern to show it off.

Now why was I so obsessed with getting the Lattice Lace pattern to work when I had this pretty number, Wavy Eyelet Rib pattern, just waiting in the wings? Because, as my mother always told me, I'm a stubborn brat.  Assuming one can still be a brat at an advanced age.

I've been sick to my stomach a good part of this week and have come to the conclusion that it was caused by politics. And maybe the milk I put into my iced coffee, since I've become lactose intolerant these past few years. First, I am mad at Hillary. Yes, me. I am the quintessential Clintonista, Bill AND Hill, and I've been waiting for her to become President for 8 years. She's got the tools, she's got the talent. Brilliant, committed to her causes (most, not all which I support), hard-working, and those pant suits! Seriously, I adore her and am grateful to her for the role she has played for women's rights.  But I am truly pissed because I know that sometime she lies, and pushes the envelope, and plays fast and loose with the rules, and there is no freaking reason for her to do that. Yes, all politicians lie and play games with the truth, but in my opinion she is so incredibly suited for the Presidency that she just doesn't have to do that sh*t.  Hillary, can you hear me? Don't give anyone an excuse to vote for That Horrid Man.

Speaking of That Horrid Man - yes, I realize that the contents of the hacked DNC emails are important and that Debbie Wasserman Schultz should probably be keel hauled for what she did, BUT the provenance of those emails is also important. Are the Russians hacking into our government agencies? Of course they are, and shame on you if you think otherwise. Is Donald Trump somehow involved in obtaining those emails or otherwise having them directed to that Wikileaks dude, to be released at precisely the wrong moment? Could be, and again, if you think it's totally outside the realm of possibility, shame on you. Only time and yet another FBI investigation will tell.

Now, as to DJT - this is a person who is mentally and emotionally incapable of discharging the duties of President of the United States, or for that matter, any elective office.  He has no focus, he has no filter, and he has no self-control. He is a scammer, a carnival barker, a liar and a cheat from way back. He isn't anywhere as intelligent as he boasts, and he surrounds himself with sycophants instead of strong, wise, experienced advisors. He knows virtually nothing of foreign policy, does not know how to speak with foreign dignitaries, and never considers the consequences of his actions. In sum total, he is a bigoted, undignified bully who can't keep his twisted promises to the electorate who support him.  And that's my opinion.

I've just about used up all my spoons for today and still need a few for tai chi class, so that's it for typing - shoulders and back are hurting. Next post I'll work on typing up a recipe or two.

To Be Continued ...

#nevertrump #dumptrump
#imwithher #feelthepantsuit

Monday, July 25, 2016

Sometimes It Just Turns Out That Way

Here it is Monday, typical sucky Monday - I had a nice blog post all written and ready to go, and well, the Internet ate it. Gone forever. It included a few paragraphs I had written over a week ago, and I still have those, so here you are:

On a more personal note, I had to frog 19 rows of knitting last night, as I find it virtually impossible to repair mistakes in a pattern that includes yarn overs and decreases on both sides. I remained calm although a part of me wanted to start whacking at the offending rows with a large pair of sharp scissors. I also threw together a pasta salad. There's no recipe, because pasta salad is anything you want it to be and we want it to be full of cheese, meat, marinated things and fresh veggies. I happened to have perline pasta in the fridge from a recent trip to Trader Joe's, and the rest was serendipity. All I knew is that I had to move fast, before my back gave out. Just squeaked through, and I even tried to keep Rob company while watching Andrew Zimmern rave about eating rotted nasty bits, but I just could not get comfortable and the pain was making me cranky. Is still making me cranky, I might add.

Cory was quite complimentary about the pasta salad. That perline pasta is little "purses" stuffed with prosciutto, what could be bad?

Speaking of bad, the pain has become unbearable and the itching is worse than the pain. For the first time in a long time I am needing to cry. As the day became night, and Sunday morphed into Monday, I slept not at all, waking at 1 AM, tossing, turning, reading, taking Advil PM, all to no avail. I got up at 4 AM and started to cook the chicken I'd bought on Saturday. There was no pleasure in the process, just a grim determination to feed my family.

There are a few recipes I developed and will type up for the blog in the fullness of time.

Back to the present - I checked my stats this morning and without a doubt, the Russians have developed an unhealthy interest in this blog. Nine hundred and sixty four visits compared to sixty from the US. I can't say there's hacking, since this is a public blog and there's no reason to hack, but I don't know what to think. Except that my mood is usually dark with ribbons of paranoia (I am descended from Russians, after all) and these crazy-ass Russian forays are pissing me off.

The fibromyalgia has damn near killed me this week. Never mind the gory details, just take my word for it.  In the middle of all that, I had my hearing on the disability appeal and a 4 hour pre-op session for my upcoming cataract surgery. Between the separate surgeries and post-op exams, the entire month of August is going to be one big blur to me (did I really type that?) so I skipped over into September and booked a cruise. Carnival out of Canaveral, my favorite panacea. At the risk of committing another bad pun, it gives me something to look forward to.

Finally, still knitting - my latest swatch:

It's dark, like my mood.  Not sure what I'll use it for, but it's in my knitting squares queue. And here is the yarn-based bane of my existence, this beautiful lace pattern that I have swatched and tested and modified and tested again. So I started the square, knitting ever-so-carefully in total silence, no distractions, and can you believe there's an error in here but I am freaking leaving it. Probably no one will see it except for me, and if someone does manage to point it out I'll stick my nose in the air and proclaim, "that's what makes it unique!"

The Democratic National Convention starts today; I haven't decided if I am going to watch it or stick to reruns of "Night Court".

My hope is that you have a much better day than Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

Friday, July 15, 2016

#Pray For The Human Race - Desperation Franks, Bacon and Beans

Warning: Childish name-calling below:

If I was smart - and I'm not, not really - I would have accomplished yesterday's "no news" day by shoving my iPad and iPhone into a closed drawer. Apparently it wasn't enough to steer clear of Facebook and all my usual news outlets while I used the devices to display my knitting patterns. Instead I got bombarded, as did we all, with pop-up news alerts regarding the Tangerine Puffgut's choice of VP candidate (thankfully not Newt Gingivitis), and far more earth shattering, the terrorist attack in France.  Who needs military grade automatic weapons when you can drive a tractor-trailer into a huge crowd of people gathered to celebrate a national holiday?

For once, the old reliable 23rd Psalm is not giving me the comfort I seek: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." I do fear evil; the days when we could keep war from American soil are long over. The terrorists attacked the city of my birth in 2001 and they attacked my adopted home city just one month ago. The whole world has gone to hell; all the wrong people have or are close to having nuclear capability. When I'm not hyperventilating from the very real threat that some radicalized crazy is going to come charging past my house on his way to the courthouse, shooting, bombing, exploding and taking the whole street with him, I am paralyzed at the thought of what additional damage could be done to this country and the world if the wrong person lands in the White House. It doesn't help that both Houses of Congress are paralyzed as well, except when it comes to calling for yet another useless investigation of Hillary Clinton.    

(It also doesn't help when the presumptive Republican nominee says that My Very Favorite Supreme Court Justice is feeble-minded and should resign. That makes me angry, and you wouldn't like me when I'm angry. Perhaps I need to check the status of that lawsuit against DJT filed by a woman who claims he raped her when she was 14, or perhaps wonder out loud why he is so quick to defend his misogynist pal Roger Ailes, or remind everyone that a vote for The Donald is a vote for the first First Lady to pose for nude pictures.)

Knitting for Serenity:

Still testing patterns, yarns, and gauge. While I was trying to avoid the news yesterday, I created a swatch using a pattern I have been wanting to try for a while with a yarn I am crazy about. The results were not what I was expecting, so I tried another yarn colorway that I like quite a bit, although not crazy about it. I blocked the swatch and sought my husband's opinion. Blue Moon won out over Icy Pond.

Knitting For Sanity:

Following up on a previous test swatch, I am slowly turning Grey Heather into something soft, square, and pleasing to the eye. This kind of knitting, accompanied by a handful of prescription medication and some tai chi, can, in fact, bring a modicum of long-sought sanity to my otherwise effed-up world.

Yes, This Is Still A Cooking Blog:

Provisions in Casa Rothfeld are running low, and I had to cook something. Something, anything - anything, that is, not involving a trip to the supermarket, as there was no way I was up to that. So I dove into my freezer and fridge and pantry and came up with the ingredients for some heretofore unimagined version of franks and beans. I had barely gotten into the cooking when I realized this was a terrible mistake; my back, hips, and legs set up an angry protest. I cried through a good part of this project, having nothing to do with the onions I was chopping. I sat down a lot, and mourned for the days I could whip up a feast for forty on a work night. These days I'm lucky if I can feed my family. It took me three freaking hours to prepare all of the ingredients for the crockpot. Fuck fibromyalgia and the horse it rode in on.

Desperation Franks, Bacon and Beans

2 tablespoons garlic-infused olive oil
1 pound bacon, cut crosswise into pieces
3 large onions (or all the leftover onions you can gather, which in my case was a nice large Vidalia, 3 sad-looking shallots, and a half-dozen nice big scallions)
1/3 cup garlic cloves
2 bell peppers, or the equivalent, any combination of colors
2 - 12 oz. packages Hebrew National Beef Franks, cut up
3 - 15.5 oz. cans small red beans, rinsed and drained
1 - 24 oz. can Hunt's Manwich Original Sloppy Joe Sauce
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons Crystal Hot Sauce
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/3 cup bourbon

On medium-high, heat the oil in a large deep skillet.  Add the bacon, and cook just until lightly brown. Remove with a slotted spoon to a dish lined with paper towels. When the pan is cool, pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the fat. Chop up all the vegetables. Reheat the fat to medium-high and add the vegetables. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Cook until crisp tender. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the cut up franks to the pan and cook until some brown char appears. Do not overcook the franks.

Line a 6 quart oval crockpot with a slow cooker bag or spray with Pam. Add the drained beans, vegetables, bacon, and franks. Combine the Sloppy Joe sauce with the water, hot sauce, Worcestershire, and bourbon, and pour over the contents of the crockpot.

Cover and cook on High for 1 hour. Stir and taste the sauce. Adjust the seasonings and bourbon if needed. At the 1 hour mark, I added salt, pepper, and some granulated garlic.  I also added 2 packed tablespoons of dark brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of the bourbon. Cover and cook for 2 more hours.

Very, very good.

Really delicious. Definitely worth the tears, the 3 hours, the hurting hips. I am loving it. Now excuse me while I limp back to bed.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Project No News Today Affair

I think I'm going to stay away from the news today. No New York Times, no Daily News, no Time magazine, and definitely no FOX. Nor CNN, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, PBS, ABC, BBC, Orlando Sentinel, or even the Huffington Post. (If you finish this post with a raging case of Billy Joel earworm, my work here is done.) I should probably steer clear of Facebook as well, in fact it is at the top of today's avoidance list. Besides the worldwide violence, racism, anti-semitism, and the rampant stupidity of both Houses of Congress, two of my favorite ladies - HRC and The Notorious RBG - are suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, having each shot themselves in their respective foot. Being retired, I have entirely too much time to follow too many news outlets, and being disabled I run the risk of dwelling on all of the bad news to the point of triggering depression and anxiety attacks.

So I'm going to step back, Jack, and engage in less stressful activities like making some mashed potatoes or watching old episodes of "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."

Children of the Sixties, didn't we have the best shows to watch? And Colonel Klink, Mr. Spock, Captain Kirk and Dr. Ducky Mallard, aka Illya Kuryakin, all in the same episode? Fab! Cool! Freaking out!

There's knitting, of course. I've been testing some new lace patterns, which may not mean much to you but is my idea of engaging in positive activity.

Speaking of activity, I had thought of spending a few spoons and taking a brief morning walk, but a reliable source (Siri) tells me it is already 82 degrees at 9 AM, and the humidity is 79%. With those numbers I wouldn't make it past the courthouse which is on the next block, and given my fibromyalgically-induced intolerance to temperature, I'd probably keel over and die at the foot of the courthouse steps, which would be tragically poetic but hardly in my best interest.

What all of this means of course is another day spent holed up in my room, lights low, AC and stand fan on full power, listening to snoring, purring, paw-gnawing pets, and NO NEWS.

Donald who?

Monday, July 11, 2016

This Is The Way The World Ends - Chicken, Corn and Black Bean Salad with Creamy Chipotle Lime Dressing

This world, Planet Earth, is hurting. We the People, or at least some of us, have made an absolute mess of things. Social and political structure is crashing down around us. "Financial stability" is an oxymoron.  Pervasive hatred is the new normal.

And the war rolls on. Ordinary people go to a club, or ride a bus, or walk down familiar streets and then they die, by violence. We are getting a taste of what it feels like to live in Israel, and it feels terrible.

I am reminded, rather unpleasantly, of the Fall of the Roman Empire. There is not a shred of my usual flippancy in that statement; I am as serious as a heart attack. Our upcoming election will solve nothing because our choices are unbearable, and the branches of government have completely lost the ability to cooperate with each other.  Our closest ally is having a huge public breakdown. Only one person wants to run for Prime Minister of Great Britain, and under the circumstances she can take a leisurely stroll to 10 Downing Street and sit right down at David Cameron's old desk.

The entire world is in an uproar. We are living in terrible, dangerous times.

After the recent daily terrorist attacks and the shocking violence between the African-American community and law enforcement, I have come to the deeply disturbing conclusion that Dr. Martin Luther King lived and died in vain. Think about that for a while.

We are all on edge, feeling the stress. In my case, all the fear and negativity impact my old friend fibro and I feel bad, really bad. So sick it is hard to leave the house. Actually hard to leave my room. None of my medications are helping me, and I am frustrated to the point of tears. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Even knitting has become a painful, exhausting exercise

(While I'm typing this, my iPad is telling me that there was a shooting at a Michigan courthouse and that at least 4 people have been killed.)

During one of my successful forays in the kitchen, I found a use for some leftovers that were tugging on my conscience. I hate to waste food. This dish was very easy to throw together, leaving me plenty of time to trudge upstairs and pass out yet again. I call it Chicken, Corn and Black Bean Salad.  Catchy, eh?
Chicken, Corn and Black Bean Salad

1 - 14.75 oz. can black beans, rinsed, drained
1 - 2 oz. jar diced pimentos, drained
2 ears corn, cooked, kernels removed
1 generous cup chopped cooked chicken
1 large scallion (green onion), thinly sliced. Use entire scallion.
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper

Combine all of the ingredients and serve with Creamy Chipotle Lime Dressing. You can mix about  half the dressing with the salad ahead of time, or have each person add as much or as little as they want. Next time I would like to serve this on a bed of lettuce topped with corn chips, and surrounded with tomatoes and avocado slices. But that's the fancy, this is the plain and it is pretty darn delicious.

Creamy Chipotle Lime Dressing

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup key lime juice (Nellie and Joe's)
1/4 cup chipotle sauce (or more, to taste)
2 garlic cloves, crushed through a garlic press
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Dash of granulated garlic

Whisk together all of the ingredients, then l place in the refrigerator for an hour before using.