Sunday, January 23, 2011

Yum, Bread

I made some homemade bread yesterday. I've heard it mentioned that the shape of the dough effects the taste of the final product. Now I finally understand. I shaped my dough into some little hoagie rolls for easier sandwiches later. However, they took longer to cook like that and the crust got quite dark. It is still good bread, but it's not what I was hoping for. However, I still don't know enough about shaping to make bread always turn out good, so I will need more delicious experiments.
I did get to try out the cherry-strawberry jam I made recently on the bread. Is very good jam, quite sweet and full of flavor. I did turn out a little runny though, I think I may have over-cooked it when I added the pectin. I think I may have to start purchasing the pectin for less sugar jams. I didn't add the recommended amount of sugar, and that may have been the cause of the runniness. I just start adding sugar, and when it tastes sweet and delicious I stop. I usually end up adding a few cups less of sugar than is called for, because most recipes want you to sweeten the hell outta jam. What I made would have been about 5.25 cups of sugar . . . to 3 cups of fruit! I made it 3 cups of sugar and decided that was enough. Why does there have to be more sugar than fruit? Tasting it now, I think I should've done only 2.5 cups of sugar. Maybe I'm losing my knack for sweetness.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Astrology: Where Liberal Studies Meet Math and Graphing

So I decided to sit down and recalculate my birth chart again. It doesn't change, but it helps me double check the math and refresh my memory. This time I didn't do any fancy shit. Just the ten "planets," and that's it. (Yes, planets have to be in quotations if the sun and moon are "planets.") I skipped drawing in the aspects and just charted them, since they tend to make the graph cluttered and hard to see. For the first time I noticed the pattern of my graph. Every "planet" but two are all to one side of the graph. I have eight "planets" in four signs, which is an unusual grouping. I also have what's called a stellum, which is three or more "planets" in one sign. Reading through the interpretations, I have a major contradiction in my personality. I would be an extrovert with many friends, charismatic and the life of the party, if I could get over my crippling shyness, fear of talking, and escapism. Ah yes, I have a fun chart.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


One of the cars, the Buick, has been slowly dying for a while now. It has gotten to the point where the law must be laid down. Elliot and I are now down to one car. The Honda was cleaned out, and once it has been been washed, vacuumed, and sprayed with Febreze it will be the only car we use. The Buick will be sold, and the money used to pay off debts. This means that until I learn to drive stick and take Elliot to work, I have no transportation except walking. Part of the money from the sale of the Buick will go to fixing my bike, to give me more mobility, but we will still be down to one vehicle.
I've recently been considering moving back to Sac for a semester to finish my B.A. Sac-town is an easy place to live, lots of public transit, and it would only be for a short while. The classes I need would be about 7 units, so I would take a couple of fitness or random classes to get me up to full time for loan deferment and financial aid. I could get everything ready and get it done this fall. I have the time to get ready and get it done.


Sat down and meditated today for the first time in a while. Oh, I'll slip into a trance while hiking, or while making bread. But I rarely go into my visualizations anymore. It was enlightening, but not pleasant. I've been trying to get deeper into my faith lately, and I have made some progress with understanding how I see religion. Thinking back to a conversation I had with Jesse, I may try doing a group feast for Imbolc. Most holidays center around gathering friends together, eating, and getting drunk. That may very well be the oldest human tradition when it comes to celebrating. And Imbolc is a good holiday. I have never been very open about religion, even when I followed a mainstream religion. Maybe that's a habit best broken.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

So Sore . . .

A few days ago I hiked/climbed to the top of the falls. It was a scramble, but it was fun, and it left me sore. The next day was spent walking around Ventura in heels; my legs did not feel any better. Yesterday I went for a hike through the Meadow Preserve, which was enlightening and fatigue inducing. Today was a another hike to the falls, but just the bottom one. A little fun climbing, and then my shoulder locked up. Luckily it loosened up soon after. When I got home I still felt that itch for physical exertion, so I started shoveling the pile of dirt that was put on the property to even out holes. Right now the soreness is manageable, though I am dreading tomorrow. On the bright side, if I keep this up I'll have amazing legs, arms, and butt. I haven't done this much exercise in a while, and it feels great.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Steady Movement

When Elliot and I moved out of Redding, we steady headed south. After a talk with a friend recently (I told you I would consider it, Sabrina), we are now considering heading north, to the Humboldt area. It would be a big jump, and we would both have to have new jobs, but it is a possibility. We found an ad for some property up by the California/Oregon border. It's in our price range (read: cheap), and it's decent sized. Just looking to the future.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Breakfast of Champions

I tried making hash browns for the first time this morning. At first I tried to make them in my big cast iron pan: fail. Any part that got crispy just got stuck to the pan, so no matter how long I cooked them, what I had was always soggy (and getting continually smaller). Once the turkey sausage finished in the non-stick pan I dumped the hash browns in. By now they were kinda greasy from the oil I had put in the cast iron pan to prevent sticking. Cooked them until they were as crispy as I could get them, and then pulled them out. They taste like homemade potato chips, sort of a hash brown/latke hybrid. Not bad, but definitely need some work.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Territory

A while ago I started knitting "Kat's Pretty Pink Dress" from Greetings from Knit Cafe by Suzan Mischer. I love the book, and had always wanted to make the dress, but the yarn was too expensive. A few months back I found the perfect yarn for it, in the clearance bins. Got the yarn, got the needles, and started out without a gauge swatch. (You can tell where this is going, right?) After about an inch I realized it was really small, measured my gauge, and found out I was knitting at 6 sts per inch instead of 4.5 sts per inch. Rip rip rip, recalculate stitch total, start again. I am used to reworking stitch totals to fit my gauge. I very rarely get gauge, and prefer to adjust the pattern to my gauge than to keep trying with different needles or yarns. However, I always just switch out stitch totals at any given measurement, ignore row gauge, and knit the pattern exact as written. I've had less than desirable outcomes. Not this time. I accounted for my new row gauge, recalculated decrease rates, and got a few inches into it when I realized that the waist measurement will be too small. I'm skinny, but not 30 inch waist skinny. So I did something I've never done before. I measured myself at bust and waist, added some ease (since I'll have to wear a slip under the dress), measured the length between the two points, and working with the total length as the same rewrote the pattern to fit my body. The dress is worked from the bottom up, so I won't be able to try it on until it's finished, but I changed the pattern from pieces to being worked in the round so it should be more obvious if there is a mistake. Hopefully I'll have end up with a beautiful dress and a new skill in my repertoire.

A Fresh Start

A new year which finds me job-less, of my own volition. I have options and possibilities, but nothing immediate, except minimum wage jobs like the one I left. Things seem to be coming together to give me more time, so I figured I would do what I can to help that along. I've been thinking of starting a blog for a while now, so I decided not to wait any longer. Maybe I'll make a little cash, or maybe I'll disappear into the void of the interwebs. Either way, it'll be a journey. This will recount my little successes, my doubts, my frustrations, and my revelations. It is my second return of Jupiter this year, and I can already feel my skin jumping in anticipation. So we'll see where this takes me, and I'll try to keep it interesting.