Monday, December 17, 2007

Poor Americans

It's ironic how combining two things to make knitting easier - garter stitch (in general, but lace in this case) and knitting in the round - can make my shawl such a pain. Admittedly, both those techniques are designed to avoid purl, so I suspect it's like negative numbers - where two negatives make a positive. Except that in this case we want negatives... as in negative amounts of purl stitch...

Ok, I think I'm babbling. Let's just say that yrn is a pain. As purl lace in general.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Christmas is winning

Ok, Christmas gifts are kicking my *ahem* behind. I vote that it stays Advent from now on, and I don't have to worry about gifts anymore.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christine's "This means that there was a recipe" mincemeat


6 cups ( about three apples), chopped into 1-1.5 cm chunks. Use varieties which will stay firm when you cook them. I actually used four because two were only partial: Cortland, Ida Red, Northern Spy and Granny Smith.

1.5 cups raisins

0.5 cups dried cranberries (this is just in here because my landlady has some, and I wanted some variety, not all raisins)

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts and pecans (straight pecans seemed like it would be a bit much, but I prefer pecans to walnuts)

0.75 cup packed brown sugar (I used golden, but I think that the darker the better)

0.25 cup butter, melted (unsalted, like always when you're baking, but who ever has that around?)

0.5 cups apple juice (or use a mix of apple cider and brandy, but I have neither of those)

zest and juice of half a lemon and half an orange (Don't forget to wash them!)

pinch of salt (skip this because you used salted butter)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

0.5 tsp each: nutmeg (as both cookbooks suggested I used freshly grated/ground nutmeg); allspice; ground cloves

You also need some thickener because I cut back so much on the sugar- I added flour as I was cooking it, but I'd recommend cornstarch (I didn't have any)

Mix all the above ingredients together and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and gently simmer until the fruits and nuts are glazed with a thick syrup.

Refrigerate for three days.

What I'm planning on changing for next time: cutting the apples smaller and (hopefully) more evenly; definitely brandy; bump up the spices a lot (particularly the cloves/allspice); add dates

Sunday, December 09, 2007

What the Rabbit Heard at Church

The season is not about getting lots of gifts - although that is quite nice.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


So I took Sophie out for another walk today (and forgot my camera, of course). I horribly cruel - she's going to get used to getting walks every couple of weeks, and then I'm going to leave. I went out in a different direction again (I was checking where the used bookstore was), and came across a little park. I'd seen it before, but I hadn't seen the plaque. So I dragged Sophie over to the plaque and read it. It opened with an announcement of the park's name and who provided funds for it, and then the next part referred to "Canada Company Burying Ground". That seemed a little odd for a park, so kept reading. Turns out that the land was the original cemetary, but when the new one was opened most of the people buried there were moved to the new one.

Hold on just a minute - most?!

Turns out that, yes, it is indeed most. The final explanation given was that, although there are no gravestones in the park anymore it is believed that there are still some bodies interred there, and the suggestion was given that the reader spare a thought for them.

Of course, I got jolted back to the real world soon enough. When taking Sophie back across the highway she sat down and waited right at the corner of the road. Far enough back that she wasn't hurt at all by the truck that zoomed by, but boy was she scared.

It might be possible

Ok, so since I would no longer need to make the bolereos I might be able to get the shawl done, like Angela said. She's cool, not just because she's in engineering and knits an incredible amount of stuff, but also because she designed some cool tams.

Oh, and by the way: I'm aware that I never actually needed to make the boleros.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

What The Rabbit Heard in the Test Equipment Room

"Ok, new theory. It wasn't working because you were the one holding it."

Monday, December 03, 2007

Saturday, May 23, 2009



So one of the strain gauges on a test grader needed to be replaced today. There was a "pick a number" contest to see who got stuck with it, however I volunteered to do it anyhow because really, having something to do beats having nothing to do.

This job was more ummm... "interesting" than originally putting the strain gauges was because the grader has been reassembled. So instead of standing on the floor (well I'm short, so a box) and reaching inside the frame I was climbing up onto the tandem case and squishing in between the frame and the wheel. Squishing is really the right word, too. As in it's what butyl rubber (which cover all the strain gauges after they've been put on) does to jeans. More accurately, it's what butyl rubber does into jeans.

When I started to move and realised I was stuck I called for the engineer who was right there and explained what had happened. After wincing he told me to just pull myself off the side of the grader. And let me tell you, I have aim (I believe of the kind that one would call bad). In pulling the cover away from the strain gauge I took two wires with me. Not so bad, except that the wires decided to bring the solder pads from the strain gauge. The engineer was very nice about the fact that I had just ruined some expensive test equipment (to wit, the strain gauge), although he did seem to enjoy explaining that that stuff doesn't come out. (He was wrong. My jeans are in the dryer with no black patch now).

Actually it's not killing that strain gauge that bugs me. It's that when I went to glue the strain gauge to the inside of the frame (I had to try twice) I managed to kill it - popped a pad off. At that point I declared that I wasn't gluing any more strain gauges. I had already soldered two (one at least was done well, it was posited that I may have not had a good enough connection to the sink and the heat warped the pad). And I prepped the surface (sanded it with acid until it was smooth) twice on one side (once for the replacement and once after the strain gauge that I killed) and once on the other (for the first strain gauge I killed).

Given that it's probably close to half an hour to prep the bonding surface normally, plus soldering the leads to the strain gauge, gluing it to the grader, testing everything, etc., and that I had to squirm around behind the wheel, it's rather understandable that it took most of my day. What took the largest part of the rest was scrubbing my hands. And my face. And my wrists. See, not only was this grader (still) covered in coal dust, but a) my hair falls out of its braid all the time, so I constantly have to wipe it away from my face, to the point where only the part under my safety glasses wasn't grey, and b) my shop coat is too large, so I have to push it up quite a ways to keep it out of my way.

Oh, well. At least I've stopped rubbing black on other things.