Knit Wit Living

Reflections, Real Food, Knitting, Life

Kool-Aid Flavors

Kool-Aid  Life is all about choices.

Today, I got annoyed because I felt that some people I work with are choosing the wrong Kool-Aid flavor. The Kool-Aid reference is from the Jonestown Massacre, where the people believed in the cult so much that they drank the Kool-Aid laced with cyanide for their mass suicide.

The bottom line is that we all drink Kool-Aid in one flavor or another. We all believe in something – whether at work, in our food choices, our religious preferences or even the choice to not be religious.  We can all find some proof or arguments to strengthen our choices.

Last night I went to dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. Throughout the menu, with fairly astronomical prices, they boasted about their corn-fed beef. Really? What corn? The kind they grew in the movie King Corn?  The kind that wasn’t edible to humans? And that they feed to cows? I cringed at the menu. Yes, I ordered some beef. It was the social experience that was more important, and one meal…is just one meal.

But still.  Are we supposed to be impressed that it’s corn-fed beef?

Man, if the menu said Pasture-raised beef, I’d be standing in line to pay more for the meal, ready to support a business that is interested in moving our food supply away from CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations).

So the Kool-Aid flavor I ate last night was corn-fed, which is not the usual one that I choose.

The Kool-Aid flavor that someone at work annoyed me with today was “strawberry,” while I usually choose “grape.”

Everyone makes her own choice. I just hate when someone throws their flavor at me as though it’s the only choice.

Not Just Nostalgia

I tore a ligament in my wrist a week ago. I first went to an Urgent Care center where they x-rayed my wrist and didn’t see anything.  Instead they gave me an Ace bandage and told me to see a specialist if it continued to hurt.  I looked at the bandage, and do you know it doesn’t even come with the little metal clasp anymore? It comes with a flimsy velcro-like end that loosely grips the bandage.

It got me thinking that my children and younger people don’t have much experience with real materials. Almost everything they use is plastic.  Simple household objects are now made of plastic instead of glass, metal, or even wood.

  • Ice cube trays
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Many drinking glasses
  • Some eating and serving utensils
  • Earphones
  • Mechanical Pencils
  • Key chains
  • Or are almost extinct: Typewriters, Payphones

Okay, maybe not everything (keys, pots and pans, china, etc.) but much of their daily lives is plastic.  I saw this article, A Threat to Male Fertility, in the NY Times while this was on my mind. Plastic is in more than we are aware:

The gender gap was particularly wide when it came to phthalates, those ubiquitous compounds used to make plastics more flexible and cosmetic lotions slide on more smoothly. Women who wore cosmetics often had higher levels of phthalates in their bodies, as measured by urinalysis. But only in their male partners were phthalate levels correlated with infertility.

I know that sometimes my friends and family think I’m over the top with my desire to eat traditional foods, pastured raised meats, organically grown, non-GMO, non-processed food products.  I also do not use commercial moisturizers or lotions.  But reading this kind of information makes me think I’m not doing enough!

Phthalates belong to a group of industrial compounds known as endocrine disruptors because they interfere with the endocrine system, which governs the production and distribution of hormones in the body. The chemicals have been implicated in a range of health problems, including birth defects, cancers and diabetes.

I do use plastic containers to store food, and at work, I will put them in the microwave.  Time to rethink that practice?

Phthalates…include not only cosmetics and plastics, but also packaging, textiles, detergents and other household products. Phthalates are found in the tubing used in hospitals to deliver medications; in water flowing through PVC pipes; enteric coatings on pills, including some aspirin; materials used to create time-release capsules; and countless other products. In 2008, the government banned them in children’s toys, and the European Union is also moving forward on restrictions.

This is why I get so annoyed at people who are seeking cures for diseases. We should be looking to prevent disease rather than cure it.  That’s my goal anyway.

Letting Go

Letting Go is hard to do.  Relationships, Possessions, Children, you name it.

I have started cleaning out my house.  On one hand it becomes addictive. Once you can throw some things out and donate others, it becomes easier to do some more. It becomes almost inspiring to do more.  Almost like a personal contest – how much can I allow myself to get rid of now?

On the other hand, it is emotional. Memories. Draining. Sad. How did the children get so old already? Decision Making.

I had gotten through yesterday of throwing some things away, putting some out on the curb hoping someone would drive by and find it useful before the garbage pick up (80% success rate so far), setting other items aside to take to Goodwill.  I was fine with it all. Then I drove to my ex’s house and saw the decorative chairs from my grandparents’ house on his front step.  We had placed them there when we moved in.  I left them when I moved out.  But geez, it just took the wind of my sails to see them.

It was all about having been through the day of letting go, and then being reminded again that I needed to let go of knowing that my grandparents’ wrought iron chairs were on my ex’s front steps.  Whoosh.  And I’ll go through it again the next time I visit him.

I have some of my grandmother’s books that she received as gifts, with inscriptions.  One was from 1927. I love having these items.  These, I won’t let go.  I was wondering who will I leave them to? Who will value them as I do? My daughter was urging me to clean out the house over the winter break and seemed cavalier to my sentimentality.  My son is off forging his way in his new world.  I still have time to decide.  Possibly a niece, nephew or daughter-in-law, or grandchild? (egads!, hard to imagine that now!).

The good thing about my Cleaning Out Plan is that I’ve realistically given myself plenty of time.  About a year and a half.

Also – here’s an interesting blog about cleaning out that I received recently.  I felt a spur of companionship reading it.  It’s much more practical than mine.  I needed that. A peer with a plan.

Sex and Knitting

It’s vacation time! I am sitting here in the lobby of my hotel in the Bahamas writing this latest post. Now, that’s a dedicated writer!  Nah, it’s just that I wanted to capture the moment and have a post titled “Sex and Knitting.”

Conjures up interesting images!

I’d love to see your comments of where your mind went. Please bear in mind that WordPress has a keep it clean policy….so we may need to rein in your most creative thoughts.

For me, Sex and Knitting is where my mind goes while I am sitting on the beach. (Photo to be inserted later, as I can’t seem to figure it out on this tablet.)

I am pleased that my mind doesn’t only go to knitting, and also that it doesn’t only go to sex. I am also pleased that it doesn’t go to food or drinks.

I am quite content with Sex and Knitting.

Oh, Dear!

I did the unthinkable! I frogged the Craftsy KAL Cowl, a knitted cable pattern.

Not that frogging is unthinkable and certainly not inexcusable.

The major twist is that I am now using the yarn to crochet (yet another) scarf. Yes, I Ripped Out Knitting to crochet!

I also frogged the last piece I was crocheting,

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but now feel somewhat comfortable enough to experiment creating crochet stitch sets on my own.  I know that won’t help me when I try to follow a crochet pattern, but it will give me an idea of how the stitches balance and counterbalance each other.

On another note…I’ve been corresponding with some Italians this week to find an apartment while visiting LD during her study abroad later this year.  They use the salutation, “Dear,” which I am quite enjoying and have been replying in the same manner.

It reminds me of my grandmother, who used to write (actually type, on her Selectric typewriter), “Julie Dear,” instead of “Dear Julie.” I always liked that term of endearment!

I miss the more formal days of writing letters with “Dear;” emails can never convey that personal touch.

And this grandmother was the one who I ever first saw knitting; I still have some of her afghans (though I accidentally felted one recently).  I’m betting she wouldn’t mind. “Oh, Dear…”

Or is it…what I’m NOT knitting now?

For awhile now, I’ve thought about doing a monthly post of “What’s on my needles?” to capture my current project.  Sounds like a fabulous idea especially since then I would be embarrassed (perhaps) about having the same project show up month after month.  And it would give me the focus to do a variety of projects, unlike my just ended crocheted-scarf-stint, where I completely finished, washed and mailed 3 scarves to LD in college, and I also made 1 for me.  I got so bored by the end that I didn’t even take pictures or jot down the wool, or put it on my Ravelry account.

But as I was sitting and thinking about this post, I took a look around my house, and thought maybe I should do a piece on what I’m NOT knitting.  Oh my! I have so many projects lined up, plus the fabulous Lorna’s Laces Honor Sochi yarn in the mail, that the NOT definitely counts up to more than the NOW.

The photos include the Sochi yarn, other skeins bought last year, my stash/supplies closet, the beige bulky I purchased last month, and other odd projects vying for my attention.

What’s on my needles now?

A knit lace scarf using the fingering weight yarn from my VKL Gala Dinner Swag Bag:

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A new Intermediate level crochet scarf with some of the bulky yarn from last month. I am on the fence about this pattern but am waiting until I finish a complete pattern round before deciding what to do.

2014-02-25 19.18.00

And I’ve also gotten the itch to not only work on but Finish, with a capital F, LD’s cardigan, showing the sleeves below…and that I am switching out the orange detail for white.

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What’s NOT on your needles?


I was so proud of myself for only purchasing 3 items at the Vogue Knitting Live Marketplace.

My VKL NYC purchases

My VKL NYC purchases

Of course, the Marketplace was overwhelming, crowded, and expen$ive. It was a better experience to see, touch, compare, and move on.

So what is it about February?  I seem to go crazy for yarn in February!

Aftermath of participating within a knitting community?

Reward for Marketplace Restraint?

Tired of being at home all the time?

Catching up on the knitting magazines while being at home all the time?

Whatever the reason, I appear to stock up on yarn in February.

And no, I’m not beating myself up!  Just noticing a trend…

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First there’s the need to make LD another infinity scarf “just like the first one” but in a different color.  She had asked for teal, but do you know that it’s very difficult to find a teal yarn in bulky weight?  I settled for this Knitpicks’ Wool of the Andes bulky in “Spruce” but that was described as having a bit of teal.  It’s not a “fir” green like you would think for a name like Spruce, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed (which is hard to do while I’m crocheting) that she’ll like the color.

While I was at it, I bought this Wool of the Andes bulky “Honey” yarn for me.  Yellow was DDSO’s favorite color, and was actually my favorite color when I was growing up. I’ve noticed that I’ve gravitated toward yellow yarn choices since he died.

2014-02-09 08.04.47

But wait, folks, that’s not all!

Somehow (“somehow”) I found my way to the Webs online yarn store. As one of my friends said after my visit, “Oh, that’s dangerous!” Talk about tempting.

Cost is all relative (to the size of your budget) and I escaped relatively unscathed, having found my way to the sale yarns, and also there not being an abundant choice of natural fiber bulky yarns.  With that said, aren’t these pretty?

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Every since last year’s VKL, I have been thinking about doing something in beige. (Yes, me!) The color known as Fawn is the new beige. I think it will show stitch definition really well, so I bought two skeins for some kind of small (infinity scarf? LOL) project.  The Red-Orange yarn is a wool-mohair-silk blend made in Italy and hand-dyed in Chile.  It is even lovelier in person than online.

Since my daughter has turned me into a simple crocheter, I decided to see what’s out there in that other world.

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We’ll see what new adventures this brings!

And damn those creative folks at Lorna’s Laces and Jimmy Beans Wool! I once again received the email with their Olympic offering (the price drops in relation to the number of medals the US wins) and it is so pretty! Sochi 2014 is a blend of gold, silver and bronze. Who could resist?

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Yes, I put in my order. (Also note – the skein is 275 yards.) The good news is that the price will be less, as the US Athletes win more. The other good news is that I’ll be able to make something lovely with this yarn.

Okay, I think the splurging is over. Let the knitting begin (and the crocheting continue)!

What does it look like?

After I finished my last post explaining my self-imposed dietary restrictions, I thought I should show what my days look like in food terms.  As I was taking photos of every bit of food, I remembered a so-called diet from years ago. I don’t remember its name, but the gist was to have a visual food diary, on a site that would be shared with … the world.  Its premise was that if you had to show the world (or worse, your friends and family!) what you ate each and every day you would be more frugal or sensible in your choices.

That was not the point of this particular exercise.

But I digress.

So I did one day.  Then I thought, let’s do another one, when I’m not being so conscientious.  Turns out I ate more the first day.  Read on…

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Day One

  • Breakfast: 3 little slices of pork belly with brussel sprouts and scrambled eggs, and some water
  • Snack: Ruby Red grapefruit (a smaller sized one)
  • Lunch: Asparagus and leftover lamb
  • Snack: A couple pieces of candied ginger
  • Dinner: Pork chops with avocado, brussel sprouts and some fermented pickle slices, with a glass of seltzer and a glass of fermented ginger ale

You may also notice the same water bottle shown consistently throughout many of the pictures.  I did finally finish it, at work, but it takes me awhile.

The dinner portion looks huge! These pork chops are so delicious (and thinly sliced) that I can usually eat two.  This time, however, I just ate the moister meat near the bone and saved the rest for lunch the next day.

I also have a sweet tooth at night so I had some licorice.  Because I am a knitter, I used a tiny box of stitch markers to show the size of the licorice.

Apparently, I was very hungry that day. The next day, when I thought I would be less on point, I had:

  • Breakfast from the work cafeteria – 2 hard boiled eggs with mustard, water from home, potato chips, and tea from home
  • No mid morning snack
  • Lunch – the leftover pork chops, asparagus, fermented pickle slices and what do you know! the water from breakfast
  • A little tiny licorice to hold me over until a late dinner
  • Dinner – Trader Joe’s Spicy Thai Shrimp Fried Rice, in which I also threw a can of clams. It was supposed to feed two, but I ate it all. (I find Trader Joe’s meal size serving estimates to be very unrealistic overall), a glass of wine, and a bigger glass of mineral water

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Once again, I did not finish all of my…wine!  And I had licorice for dessert.

And then my eye caught sight of ….

2014-01-31 21.08.56 I didn’t have any….that night.  I did have three the next day. They were very tasty!

And then I went out for a dinner with a friend….and for dessert we shared…

Cinnabon sundae

Cinnabon sundae

and it was okay! Actually, the dessert was a little disappointing because they should have heated up the cinnabon.  So I cut my way into the center, which in my opinion is the best part of any cinnamon roll, and had it with some of the vanilla ice cream. I wasn’t even that interested in the whipped cream.  We didn’t finish it, and I lived…and actually slept fine.

But don’t want to do it again for awhile.

No Dairy, Caffeine or Chocolate?

I was having trouble sleeping last month so I decided to do a trial of not consuming dairy, caffeine or chocolate.

Dairy makes me all phlegmy so when I lie down it blocks my throat passage.

Caffeine may have been causing me to not fall asleep easily.

Chocolate has caffeine. Boo! Hiss! Decided to stop eating it, for a month anyway.

This all started on December 29th, along with my already mostly-in-place habit of not eating wheat products or processed foods.

Surprisingly, what I miss the most is…a nice cup of coffee, it could even be decaf, with cream and sugar.

Also surprisingly, I don’t really miss chocolate.  I went out with a friend last night and we reviewed the dessert menu. All 5 offerings had chocolate (most had wheat too).  I had no trouble saying, “nope, not interested.”

I also found that it’s much easier to say “No” now.  Someone had brought in bagels and cream cheese at work.  Before I might have said, well, maybe I’ll have a little cream cheese, and then would have ended also having a little bagel.  Now that I’m not eating dairy, it was very easy to just say No to the entire offering.

I also like that I give myself complete freedom to have anything I want….and then surprisingly end up having what I want to want I had not brought my breakfast to work today and had to get something in the (dairy-laden, gluten loaded) cafeteria.  Walking in, I decided to have a (flour) wrap with eggs and maybe bacon. I used to get it with cheese, but absolutely knew I did not want that today.  By the time I was ordering, it was eggs with sausage. No gluten, no cheese, no problem.  Without a thought.  I love it.

I also found this wonderful product that helped me through the holiday season.

This stuff is awesome!  It tastes delicious and doesn’t leave that “not quite satisfied, but I shouldn’t have done it” feeling at the end.  Too bad it’s seasonal. It would also make great ice cream. Next year…

So how am I feeling?

I have gotten compliments that I look good and that my skin is “so clear.”

I feel good. I don’t feel tired when I wake up. I go to bed at a decent hour instead of getting all those second and third winds that keep me up. I’m sleeping better for the most part.

Most of all, I’m proud of myself for making it a whole month, and continuing on…because it feels good.

The New Year Starts with Efficiency!

My VKL NYC purchases

My VKL NYC purchases

It’s been less than a week since I purchased new yarn from the VKL Marketplace.  Would you believe I have already made another crocheted Infinity Scarf for my LD?  And it’s going in the mail tomorrow!

Let’s hope the rest of the year is as fruitful!

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