Thursday, September 27, 2007

Bug off

Little Brewer #1 has had a run-in with Pediculus humanus, aka head lice. We had received a notice from the school last week warning parents that lice had been found on a few children so I feared this would be coming.

Hair washing, bedding washing, nit-picking. It all seems medieval. My scalp itches just thinking about it. I think I would be more awed by the evolutionary marvel of human head lice if I weren't so icked out by them glued to my daughter's hair.

On top of it all, I managed to slam the loaded laundry basket into my ribs when I caught the corner on a doorframe. So now I'm grossed out and in pain.

I am enjoying Ravelry immensely. I love the database capability, although I hope they will expand their library soon so I can enter my vintage knitting books. I have also discovered I have a load of size F crochet hooks. Who knew? Is 7 too many?

I've also tentatively picked a pattern for the Strikke-along. I'd like to make Veronik Avery's Sugarplum Pullover from Handknit Holidays, using one of the stranded patterns from Norsk Strikkedesign for the yoke.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

And the seas parted

I cannot wash up

No breakfast for you, my dear

Ravelry calls me

I'm in! I got my Ravelry invite this morning. I've been watching the counter slowly approach, from a high in the 10,000's, to 132 yesterday. I cannot wait to jump in.

I'm Brewgal. Look for me!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Moving Forward, Going Back

On a whim I decided to take the little brewers to Gettysburg for the weekend. This is the first time I've stayed overnight in Gettysburg since we lived there. It was an odd, wonderful, disorienting experience. As we drove around I began to understand that life does not stand still, even in a small town. Thank goodness for that. Change and growth is good for the town but begets a whole bunch of "you can't go home again" wailing from traditionalists with a Wolfe fetish.

The little brewers had an absolutely wonderful time. This was Little Brewer #2's first experience in a hotel. Actual transcript:

#2- "Wow, look! Two beds! Do we get to sleep on one?"

Brewgal- "Yes, you two get one bed and I get the other one."

#2- "Look over here! A TV! We can watch TV, just like at home!"

#1- "And the bed is so comfy!"

#2- "Mom! There's even a bathroom! Can I use the bathroom?"

Note the exclamation points. LB#2 likes to speak at FULL VOLUME.

Same and different:

  • The now-defunct Gettysburg Brewing Company storefront is still vacant.
  • The karate school has new digs.
  • There are at least two new coffee houses.
  • The yarn store appears to be gone.
  • There is now an Adams County Winery store.
  • Kennie's Market has a huge new store.
  • The Appalachian Brewing Company has a brewery up on Seminary Ridge (beer review coming soon). And they have good pizza!

We spent most of Saturday climbing rocks on the battlefield. We took a picnic lunch out to Spangler's Spring. The best climbing rocks are in Devil's Den, but they are a bit much for little kids. Spangler's Spring has a nice flat spot for sitting and some low-level rocks perfect for the LB's. Added bonus: port-a-potties, a must when traveling with small bladders.

I made good progress on the log cabin blanket.

posted by Brewgal @ 11:15AM

Monday, September 10, 2007

I lasted 12 hours

My father used to travel around the world chasing eclipses. Brewgal is sure she and her brother were just as annoying as the little brewers, perhaps even more so because Brewgal is renowned throughout the family for being a big pain in the ass and more than a little spoiled as a youngster. How did my mother not strangle us? I would very much like to know because Brewguy is back in Oregon on his now-frequent trip out to visit the MIL, leaving me alone with the little brewers. He has not been gone more than 24 hours and the yelling has already started.

That would be me yelling.

The list of offenses is as follows:
  • Little Brewer #2 flogging his sister with a belt (a soft one).
  • Little Brewer #1 not letting her brother change the TV channel.
  • Constant streams of "Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy!" Jeez, let me ANSWER, willya?
  • Having to eat dinner. Apparently serving dinner during play time with neighbors is just unacceptable. I may "forget" to make dinner tonight.
  • Bedtime. I would like to make it through one freakin' day without a bedtime tantrum.
However, it is not all bad. The 'Skins won, the Little Brewers mopped the kitchen floor, and to stave off anxiety over choosing a Strikke-along pattern I've started a Log Cabin blanket.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Woe is me

Note the normal toenail on the left.

And the injured toenail on the right.

I had an encounter with Megan, a curly-haired, beaming, mack truck of a little girl who apparently wears steel-toed sneakers. My toenail gave its life in the service of a hug. A noble end.

I should count myself lucky. I still HAVE a nail. It's just broken off down into the nailbed, making it painful and oozy.

Thank goodness I cancelled that pedicure.

In Strikke-along news, I have decided I'm going to try stranded color. I've mastered the technique in crochet, so I should be able to figure it out in knit. Right? Am I taunting the Knitting Goddess by saying this?


Monday, September 03, 2007

RenFest 2007

We took the little brewers to the Maryland Renaissance Festival yesterday. They had a rocking good time. Little Brewer #2 was particularly taken with the sword swallower. He would yell "wow!" and "whoa!" at every trick. How nice to have an appreciative audience. The little guy was so worn out from the experience that he fell asleep in the car on the way home and did not wake up until 6am this morning.

The last time I attended this particular RenFest they had just moved to their new location in Crownsville- at least 20 years ago (that's the 80's for the math-challenged out there). It was much smaller in scope and decidedly more...gritty. The performers would pass the hat around after the show, there was less food, more swearing, and a mud-wrestling pit.

What a change. The site now has more than a dozen permanent buildings, including a horse show ring for jousting (the Maryland state sport), multiple stages, and shops. No more harassing the patrons for cash. Food that includes more than Steak-on-a-stake. It is more kid-friendly but less authentic. Not that it ever was truly authentic, but you know.

I heard one fellow describe it as the "romantic renaissance." Brewguy described it as a renaissance-themed-mall.

Three things I was disappointed not to see:

  • A bakery. Bread was one of the food staples of the time. I personally would have loved to eat a variant of the ploughman's lunch with a half-loaf of good bread, some cheese and a brew.
  • A brewery. This went hand in hand with the bakery. Wild yeast in the air was used to make the bread rise. The bread starter would then have been used in brewing. In fact, beer was often the drink of choice as water was unsafe. The boiling would kill the pathogens and the yeast would crowd out the bacteria. I'm not suggesting that recipes from the middle-ages be followed exactly. The Reinheitsgebot purity law, specifying that beer was to include only hops, malted barley and water (yeast was not discovered until much later) was not enacted until 1516 so middle-ages brew from the British Isles would probably be very sour and include such diverse ingredients as juniper berries. Nevertheless, I think a good RenBrew would be well-received.
  • A fiber artist/spinner. With the exception of one weaver, there were no fiber artists. I expected to see at least one person offering homespun or spinning fiber themselves. I think a shop offering handspun yarn, raw fiber and drop spindles would be great!


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Strikke out!

I've decided to join the Strikke Along (see description on Samurai's blog here). Unlike the Steek-along, I'm eligible for this knit-o-rama because:

  • Brewguy is 1/4 Swedish, making me Scandinavian by association.
  • I own Norsk Strikkedesign.
  • I have some Dale of Norway in my stash.

I am quite nervous about this. I've never joined a knit-along before, primarily because the time I have to knit is never predictable. I may go a week or two without working on a piece due to child/work/whatever issues, so I fear joining and falling behind.

Imagine me sitting on the porch 20 years hence with my grandchildren, working on this project.

My other fear is I will not be able to keep up technically. I love the designs in Norsk Strikkedesign but they are WAY out of my league. (ha! Get it? League? Strikke out? I slay myself.)

I may choose one of the stitch patterns from NS and work it into a hat or scarf. That might make to project more manageable.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

RIP Michael Jackson

No, not *that* Michael Jackson.

The other one. The beer-huntin' guru of brew.

Obit from
LONDON, England (AP) -- Michael Jackson, a leading world beer critic who praised the brews of Belgium and acknowledged he would never be as famous as "that Michael Jackson," has died. He was 65.

Jackson, known as "the beer hunter," died Thursday of a heart attack at his home in west London. His body was found by his house cleaner, Paddy Gunningham, his long-term partner, said Friday.

She said he had kept writing and traveling, despite suffering from Parkinson's disease, and that he planned to write a book about the ailment.

"He was simply the best beer writer we've ever known," said Tim Hampson, chairman of the British Guild of Beer Writers.

"He told wonderful stories about beer, breweries and far away places. He told the story of beer through people, and he was humorous and erudite at the same time," Hampson told The Associated Press.

Jackson especially loved Belgian brews. His books "The Great Beers of Belgium" and "World Guide to Beer" introduced them to many export markets, including the United States.

By identifying beers by their flavors and styles, and by pairing them with particular foods and dishes, Jackson helped give birth to a renaissance of interest in beer and breweries worldwide that began in the 1970s, including the North American microbrewery movement.

Craft beer lovers everywhere shall mourn.