Mid-November Update

Now there’s a catchy title for you! Let’s see, what’s going on at the Knitting Doctor Palace?

Hardly any knitting. I started a pair of mittens a couple weeks ago. Here’s where I am now.

Yes, I know my desk is a mess. But those are damned pretty mittens. And since it’s gotten cold here, I need them.

By the way, when I’m Queen Of The World, I’m going to make it a rule that every electronic device that needs a cable to hook to your computer has to use exactly the same cable. I’ve got a cable for the phone, a different cable for the Kindle, and yet another cable for the camera. They are all white, the end that hooks to the computer is identical, and they lack any other identifying markings, so I spend at least twenty minutes trying to find the right one every time I try to download photos or charge the Kindle. I should come up with a system for keeping track of them.

Back to the update.

I’ve written 28,327 words so far for NaNoWriMo. To stay on schedule, I should be at 28,333 by the end of today, so I’m in good shape. Of course the damned thing makes no sense, but that’s not the point.

I have to work every day next week including the whole weekend, except I have Thursday off. I have a dozen people that will be around my Thanksgiving table expecting to be fed, not expecting me to brag about how many words I’ve written, so I probably won’t get much writing done. I suppose I should spend the next few days banking some extra words. Blog posts don’t count in the Nano world. Neither does a swell turkey dinner with all the trimmings. And we’re having three kinds of dressing, since I’m an overachiever. Most of the family like bread dressing, but some are gluten intolerant*, so there will be wild rice dressing too. And there is a contingent of Southerners that insist on cornbread dressing, though I think that’s heresy. I suppose that makes me a Yankee. I farmed out the making of the cornbread dressing to one of those Southerners.

Last but not least, you’ve all met Sweetpea, or at least you have if you’ve been here awhile following me around in my travels. She joined our family back in about 1994, I think, and has been on every world travel trip we’ve taken since then. She’s gotten dragged around on buses, trains, automobiles, and airplanes. Oh, and boats. And river rafts, on a camping trip. She also went camping on a two week horse pack trip way back when in Montana. She traveled by pack mule on that trip. She has gotten dragged around the bedroom by a dog once, pawed by the cats, and I sleep with her. Every single night.

Up until today, she has never had a bath. There was that close call on the Mediterranean Cruise in 2006, here’s what I wrote then:

I promised a bear tale a few posts ago. Sweetpea is a rather unadventurous bear, at least up until now. Generally, she’s been satisfied to hang out in hotel rooms and ship cabins. Occasionally we get a room/cabin attendant with a sense of humor, and we find her perched in different places in our room when we get “home” at the end of the day. But that’s about as much fun as she usually has.

Until now. One day on the cruise we came back to our cabin after being out and around the ship, and found our room all cleaned up, as usual. Don’t ask me how, but the cabin attendants unerringly know when you’ve left the room, and whiz right in to tidy up and make the bed. This particular day I was rummaging around to find my knitting, and noticed that Sweetpea was gone. She was nowhere to be found. I rather frantically called the number listed on the card that our attendant had left. I found that she was on a break, and I had reached room service. They listened quite patiently to my rather lunatic-sounding story of the missing teddy bear, and I could almost hear the eye-rolling and snickering in the background, though the man on the phone was well-trained enough to not laugh out loud. He said he would look into it.

Not five minutes later there was a knock on the door. A young woman had rescued Sweetpea from the laundry, where she had apparently arrived wrapped up in our sheets. She was very happy to be home, and did not even think about having any more adventures for the entire rest of the trip.

She’s been looking more and more bedraggled looking as time went on, so I decided to give her a bath this morning. She’s drying out now, but John snapped a photo before she came out of the washer.

I can see why children are terrorized by their parents tossing their favorite companion in the wash. I paced nervously the whole time she was in the machine of death, but she did fine, and smells a whole lot better.

Enough stalling, I need to go make up some more words.

*Does anybody know if there is a way to make gluten free gravy? I’m pretty much a gravy making traditionalist, make the turkey stock from the inside parts, then do the flour thing in the turkey drippings and it all takes about a zillion hours to make, but boy I never get any complaints. Except it would be nice to have something without flour for the ones who can’t eat it. Any ideas?


Mid-November Update — 21 Comments

  1. gluten free gravy: use cornstarch instead of flour. Boom done. Also if you cook your turkey in a bag and you normally shake some flour in it first, do cornstarch.

  2. I was going to suggest thickening with cornstarch also. Make a slurry of about 1 Tbsp cornstarch with 2-3 Tbsp water (might need to double or triple slurry recipe, depending on how much broth you are thickening) then heat broth and stir rapidly as you pour the slurry in slowly (to prevent lumps). Heat till thickened. Add more slurry if “thicker” gravy is desired.

  3. I too was going to suggest a cornstarch slurry.

    P.S. I still make the curried squash stew you once described. Yum!

  4. I have a stuffed moose who’s older than sweatpea and is just as “loved” looking. Unfortuantely, he’s too big for anything other than car trips — he leaves the traveling responsibility to his friend the hippo who thoroughly enjoyed the 2-week panama canal cruise including passing through the locks made of pillows the day we went through the canal. Anyway, the moose went for his first spin in the washing machine > 5 years ago. I understand the terror! I was just thinking the other day that he could use another wash but my husband reminded me that his antler is falling off and would need surgery before he was suitable for the washing machine. He’s previously had a complete antler replacement (this was even before I was a transplant surgeon), but I’m not sure when I’ll have the time currently!
    Happy thanksgiving,
    Kristin (another knitting doctor)

  5. If you prefer to use a roux rather than a slurry, you can use rice or sorghum flour. glutenfreegirl.com has an article on it. No first hand knowledge although for a couple of years I cooked gluten free when my son was around because they thought he had celiac. A biopsy ruled that out, but cooking gluten free wasn’t all that bad.

  6. I had something interesting and relevant to say, but I was so fascinated by the adventures of Sweetpea that my thought vanished. I had two bear companions, Teddy and Mary Bambi. Teddy, a very grubby bear, actually did disappear in the wash or somewhere. I was heartbroken. My mother, a cleannik, was itching to get rid if him, I know. I was bitter for years. Betsy, another quite similar bear, was supposed to replace him, but that was impossible. I still have my dear Mary Bambi, however.

  7. My Teddy has never been washed, that I know of, and I’m afraid a bath now might just do him in!!

    And I’m with the cornstarch crowd….

  8. Hi!
    My husband & I have just become no fat vegans, for a variety of health reasons, and I have discovered that you can make delicious ‘gravy’ by using Bob’s Red Mill brown rice flour. You should be able to find it in most grocery stores.

  9. I grew tired of the cable problem so I took my Avery mailing labels and wrote the electronic item on it and then put it around the cable and stick it to itself so a small permenante reminder tag.

  10. I have used arrowroot, potato starch, butter, or tapioca flour (ground in a coffee grinder) to thicken gravy, along with corn starch. Whatever is on hand. Each has a slightly different ability to thicken. Corn starch seems to lose its ability when reheated if it has been chilled. My celiac friends have also used instant potato flakes.
    Glad to hear that Sweetpea survived the wash!
    The mittens look cozy.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  11. Tapioca and arrowroot work well as thickeners. I love a bear with a sense of adventure and enough sense to pack the right eyewear.

  12. I attached labels to both ends of all my cords. Martha suggests hang tags, I used my Brother label-maker. Whatevs. Having a label at the USB end makes it easy to know which cord to unplug from the USB 7-way hub. Having a label at the device end makes is easy to know which cable to grab when I want to connect the device to the computer.


  13. those mittens look like they will be warm and cozy! hope that your Thanksgiving was full of good food, family, friends and all sorts of thankful things.

  14. Sweetpea looks lovely and clean. I’ll bet she “feels better” now that she has had a bath LOL. We have a couple in the “need a bath” situation but would not survive it! Love your mittens that you are making. What yarn and pattern are you using. I love the heathered look. Have a great day and week.

  15. Great job on your writing! geez, I would love to read some of it!..how ’bout posting a sample…just for nosy readers like myself? LOL Well, as you know, I’m one of Sweetpea’s fans, so I was SO excited to see his adventure. Cute googles…or it that goggles- HA- that’s better πŸ˜‰ Well, with the kids time…it was explained it was the special bath (on gentle, of course) and they like it because it’s a special ‘hot tub’ time! woo-woo!