The Musings of One Miss Julie

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

Mr. Julie is also Mr. Halloween. For weeks he's been crafting the perfect soundtrack to the trick-or-treating festivities. And as I sit writing this, I hear the booming montage he made by layering blip hop, sound effects from an old Disney Haunted Mansion vinyl he had (which he painstakingly converted to electronic files), and some riffs he laid down using the Garage Band software on his Mac. It's pretty good stuff when it's sandwiched between Danny Elfman music and the Macbeth-inspired song from the last Harry Potter movie.

Scott has also been slavishly decorating our front lawn. There's the pumpkin-head scarecrow, the black-lit ghost, torches (which have nearly set the house ablaze three times now), and my favorite part: the silhouettes in each of the front windows.

Here you can see the best of the three: a menacing talon reaching down from our living room window and Mr. Spooky Ghouly Guy.

I think Scott got his inspiration from Martha Stewart. He bought his own black felt, cut out the designs using a template, and then glued them onto some cheapo white bed sheets. The whole effect is rather eerie; I can't enter our office without thinking the Bogey Man is waiting to get his evil hands around my oh-so-delicate neck.

This just in: The ghost is burning. Scott says he heard the lighbulb pop and explode, then the ghosty sheet lit on its own, not needing any electrical aid. I'd better get out there to make sure the situation doesn't get (any more) out of hand.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

There's Only So Much Julie to Go Around... the blog suffers, the dog doesn't get as many ear-ruffling "Good boys," and Scott has to make do with several short phone conversations during the day and an even shorter, yawn-filled chat when I finally stumble home. Work. Swamped. Only another few days.

It's bad when a string of 14-hour days at the office start feeling normal.

I'll focus on the good stuff instead.

1. Today I got the official yer-outta-here from the physical therapist. Those twice-weekly sessions have done their job because my ankle feels mostly normal. I've still got some pain and I still brace myself for the worst when approaching any uneven ground. But yesterday I walked at my normal zippy pace without realizing I had until a few minutes later. I'll take it.

2. I had a birthday. And except for the really great roller-skating bash I had at the Skatin' Station when I was in 4th grade, this one was at the top of my Best Birthday list. Scott threw me a surprise party. Almost everyone I'm wild about was there. My good friend from ye olde days at Eastern Michigan University even drove in from Chicago. The details of the surprise are too plentiful to list here, but Scott and my sis really outdid themselves.

I leave you with a rather unflattering photo of myself [Note to self: Clearly the Build-a-Better-Julie Program needs revisiting.] but one that aptly displays my reaction at the moment of revelation.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Something in the Air, Part 2

I didn't start a new project last night after all. Remember this and then this? Well, some of the yarn I am using for the new wrap was among the desecrated -- in fact, it's the silver gray yarn that's stretched from the floor to the couch. It took me a while last night to put it to rights. (It strikes me that I should post a new photo of my living room now that we have new carpet, freshly painted walls, and new furniture.) And then today I lost the bug to start a new project so I dove into the cables on the back of my cabled vest instead.

Early this afternoon Scott announced that he'd like some banana bread. I, being a lover of baking and almost anything made from butter, sugar, and flour, was only too happy to comply. Besides, he so rarely asks me to bake for him that I headed straight for the mixing bowls.

I tried a new recipe and baked my loaf in a different pan than usual. My favorite resource for inspired basics, The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, didn't let me down. The recipe was simple, rich in bananas, and without a lot of extravagant and unnecessary ingredients. I like my banana bread stripped down without cinnamon, nutmeg, or other spices.

Usually I bake the bread in a 8.5" x 4.5" metal loaf pan. Today I tried my Chantal loaf pan, which is glazed stonewear and 10.5" long, so my bread wasn't as tall. In any case, the crust got nice and crusty. I think I've got a new favorite quick-bread pan.

This is going to be super-crazy-busy week at work and in my extra-curriculars, so I expect the cooking and knitting urge will be put on the back burner, so to speak.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Something in the Air

For no reason at all, except that I felt like it, tonight's dinner was an Occasion. Something about October always inspires me to get Julia Child-ish in the kitchen (even though I don't cook anything French, really -- unless you count French silk pie -- and Ms. Child's wacky voice gives me the vapors).

Once I hit the middle of October I get into a pre-holiday-season tizzy. My birthday's in a week, then Halloween comes. Then it's on to all the pumpkin pie and turkey I can handle until the Christmas feasting arrives. [Note to self: Maybe you shouldn't get that excited about eating.]

Tonight was fun because I made a special dinner using oodles of wedding gifts. Out came the breadmaker and the fancy cloth napkins and silver napkin rings. And to cast just the right light and shadows, a red candle in the silver candle sticks with an engraved leaf pattern. And because I could, I chose the funky blue-stemmed goblets my sis gave me when I was in college.

The lasagna was fabulous, made with my own homemade sauce. The wheat berry bread was crusty on the outside and soft in the middle, and wrapped in the breadcloth Mom embroidered for me. And the yummy wine didn't disappoint: half a glass in and I was flushed and tipsy. (Thanks, Mom, for giving me that gene! We really know how to light it up.) The best part? Sitting down with my fella in our Saturday work-around-the-house jeans and T-shirts and sharing it.

And now with my wine-head, it strikes me as the perfect time to cast on for something new. Finishing projects is so passé.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Library Expansion

I'd received a Borders gift card a while back, which means that I suffered from What-to-Buy-with-My-Gift Card Anxiety. I don't know why I feel such pressure to buy just the right something whenever I have a gift certificate, but I'm sure it goes back to my family's frugal roots.

In any case, I thought long and hard about what would be special enough to deserve being purchased with my gifty stash. Today I decided.

The Jean Frost Jackets should have been a no-brainer for me months ago. After all, I've checked it out from the library at least three times now. It has the best information on fitting knitted items that I've read so far. That alone made it worthwhile. Plus, the designs contained within are wonderfully classic and tailored-looking. I also appreciate that the yarns she chose to use for her jackets are neither impossible to find or excruciatingly expensive, should I choose to use the same yarns.

Viva Poncho is also a public-library discovery. I know I've read other knit bloggers who declare that ponchos are out, but I'm willing to risk their derision. I found the design you see at the left (that's more of a wrap than a poncho anyway) that would be perfect for some yarn I already have. Plus, it will give me some practice at the drop-stitch technique so that someday when I get farther down my project on my list, I'll finally make my own Clapotis with ease.

Hmmm... I'm noting a pattern here: I'm late on the poncho uptake a bit and I'm ages behind on the Clapotis frenzy. Hey, has anyone heard about those books about a kid wizard-in-training named Harry Potter? I hear they're really something.

Addendum: For all of you who are just beside yourselves to know how it was that I was painting last weekend what with my injured ankle, I'm happy to report that I booted The Boot and I'm now wearing a super-duper and less noticeable brace that allows me to get around pretty normally. Unfortunately, it has thrust me into the Mall Walker phase of my personal style; I'm unable to wear any shoes but my white tennies with the brace, regardless of how it coordinates with the rest of my ensemble. Vanity hurts: Friday I decided to chuck the brace just so I could dress with a bit more sophistication. Alas, I'm paying for it today with a rather achey foot and ankle.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Whole Lotta Paintin' Goin' On

The headline is rather a giveaway, but I'll state it plainly: Lots of painting means not so much knitting or other Julieness.

Like the ant in the well-known fable, we've been working hard to get ready for what will undoubtedly be a cold, blustery Michigan winter by painting the exterior of our house. I guess we're also like the grasshopper, too, since we started the painting last year but left it incomplete. We've only got the trim to paint on the garage tomorrow and then we'll be done. Ah, yes.

Our neighbors are pleased that we no longer have the House of Many Colors. We're pleased because now we can think about other projects (like sitting on the couch, cozied up by the fire). Only the icky giant spiders who lived on the backside of the garage are unhappy because they got evicted to make room for the drive-by of our paint brushes and rollers.

I suppose the spiders will have the last laugh, though, because I think I overheard them whispering to their eight-legged buddies that now is the time to move into the house and give this Miss Julie the heebie-jeebies for the next six months.

Anyway, I hope to have something more stupendous to report next time.