Sunday, May 31, 2009

First Lost tooth

...for Thing Two!


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The new one is practically grown in already.

He lost it during a sleepover in his sister's room the other night, around 4am. 
I had just gone to bed. 

Why do they get so excited about losing body parts? I don't get it!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spread the joy


Love people who promote knitting.

I know one teacher in particular who is going to be happy to know that I've already emailed for a copy...


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

'Tis the season?

We've recently experienced the death of one of our neighbors' extended family. The fellow's boat was found astray, with no sign of the sailor himself. (It goes without saying, that we offer our deepest condolences to all the family.)

Water temps are around 50 degrees.

Yesterday the Coast Guard and Marine Patrol searched all day for another sailor whose boat and skiff were found moored, but no sign of the sailor.
The search continues today.
He has two little girls...and a wife....

Also yesterday, a man was out in a skiff with his 8 yr old grandson, and went overboard. The kid couldn't haul the body weight of the man aboard, so he threw him a life ring, ran the boat in circles around his grandfather and got the attention of a passing lobsterman, who then pulled Grandpa aboard. He is doing well, thanks to the grandson's quick thinking.

These are the stuff my nightmares are made of.

Be safe out there.

edited to add: He had three little girls. I am heartsick over this news. They have called off the search. That poor family. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Beachcombing

Friday was a Perfect Beach Day. (When I lived in Boston, a local radio station -KISS 108-FM, to be exact- started rating the summer days on a scale of 1 to 10. A 10 was a Perfect Beach Day. They caught some grief over it, as local businesses noticed a decline in attendance on those days...)


Friday was a 10+. 
It was breathtaking. Just a hint of a breeze, no bugs, and hot bright sun. Woo-hoo!
 
We grabbed the kids as soon as school let out, and headed down.

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I even grabbed a couple of loaners.



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Thing Two heard 'beach' and had big plans.


Needless to say, he was disappointed when The Big Guy told him he was NOT swimming in 48' water. Not yet.
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He got over it, as soon as he realized the other kids were completely ignoring the 'stay out of the frigid, hypothermia-inducing water' command. They all put their feet in.

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It was hard not to.
Later, they "fell in", and were pretty wet.

I put my feet in, too. I have graduated to the 'old' club. When I moved here Zack, Nate and Kristi were 14, 12, and 12. Yikes, they all have kids of their own now!
They told me in no uncertain terms that if I didn't swim at Eastern beach, I was one of the Old Folks.
Oh. Yeah. I. Did.
It hurt, it was so cold. After a minute, it no longer hurt, because everything was numb.
I did it every year until I got pregnant. 

I concede defeat. Something RRRReally big and scary would have to be chasing me to get me to run into that water!


Someday I will find yarn that looks just like these colors, and I will knit with nothing else. Amen.
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My favorite view, coming down the road (euphemism, that. It's more like a cowpath. Good trail; bad road.)
You're surrounded by trees, and suddenly, bright blue ocean appears...
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I always want to make some noise...call out, or sing,  something, to alert my presence. No telling who, or what you might interrupt on the beach!
There are usually deer around, too...and now we've got a moose about.

Fortunately, I don't usually need to sing, because inevitably I stumble on those wiggly rocks (worse than the old cobblestones in Boston), and curse loudly, thereby announcing my presence. That's how everybody knows it's me


It didn't take him long to remember what else he loves about the beach.
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A new tradition. Take off your socks to use as a loot bag. They fill their socks with pretty rocks and sea glass. I return them to the beach the next day. Don't tell them!
We have the same exact rocks all over our property, especially in our driveway. Don't tell them that, either, or they'll dig it up and I'll have nowhere to put the truck!
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I had one of the most relaxing weekends, ever. I even knit, which is becoming rarer and rarer.


One of those nights, I got tired of the 2x2 rib on the b-day gift (I.hate.rib.), and switched to this for one repeat.
And I forgot the two cardinal rules of lace:
1. No Lace After Wine.
2. No Lace After 2am.

Had you been in my living room around 3am Saturday night (Sunday morning?) you would have seen Branching Out sprout wings and fly across the room. There might have been loud cussing accompanying its flight. Maybe.

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In the light of Sunday morning, with coffee in hand, I quickly found that I cannot count to 31 after 2am, with wine on board.
Lesson learned. For today.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Crack for knitters

Serious crack.



I know my heart rate went up.

And now I have a strange craving for a cigarette. I don't even smoke.

Do you suppose that counts as cardio?

Have a great Memorial Day weekend, everybody!

We'll be hanging out here on the island, B-B-Q-ing, of course. The margarita machine is cleaned and ready to go, salads are in the works, meat is marinating. We never know whether to wait for Monday, or start celebrating Sunday (the weather sets the tone), so we've learned to do both!
I woke up with a yen for cheesecake...something light-ish and lemony...we'll see what that brings!

Today is a relax day. I am fondling holding Branching Out as we speak, but I really should be working on that late birthday gift.....

maybe I'll swap them out every pattern repeat!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Tall Ships Are Coming!

...To Boston!


July 8-12th.

www.sailboston.com for more info.

Luckily, we have a trip down scheduled for that week, so we'll be hanging out on the docks, watching the ships go by. It's pretty cool. This will be my third experience with the tall Ships.
I'm hoping we can watch from East Boston- like, right down the street from Ma's old house.
How cool would that be???

I can't wait for my kids to see them!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Coffee Rolls!

Or, the reason my bee-hind will soon need its own zip code.


This is not really a recipe, or even a how-to. I just had so much fun making these, I had to include you. 

And, yes, these will be added to the Frenchboro Bakery's website, as well as be available on the island, for those of you already emailing!


Start with some yummy, sweet yet flaky (like me!) dough...
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Drown in butter. Drown. Seriously.
Cover with sugar to hide how much butter you just put on there.
Quick before anybody sees.


Cover that with cinnamon. Really good cinnamon. A lot.
And start rolling.
I love this part.
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I once won a contest...well, that was college. Best not to say.

Roll tightly!

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Oh, my.


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This one is mine. I 'tracked' him through the baking process, claiming him every step of the way.
I'm like that.




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Incredibly hot in that oven. I know, because I was in there while I took this picture. I may have been shaking somewhat as my skin was singed. But it was worth it. Just look at those beauties!

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This may have been a better way to take a picture.
Now, me? I could've just left these alone- undressed, naked, if you will, and been perfectly content.

But it's not about me.
So, I did this:

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Ooof. 

Watch for them on the website very, very soon!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Island Zen

My medical training has left me the gift of two things:


1. the ability to 'compartmentalize', which, in a nutshell, means I can put myself into a state of denial so deep, it would blow your mind,

and B.  the ability to adjust very quickly to my circumstances.

Number two will help me greatly today, as I got a random phone call at 9pm last night, mentioning that the power will be out all this morning. 

And you know that, how?

It was scheduled, they're moving a building on Swan's Island. Didn't anybody call you?

Um, no.
No, if they had, we would have spent yesterday afternoon's school board meeting making alternate arrangements for the visitors we are expecting today!

Because, school cannot be held without heat (not an issue today), and running water.

We've got it under control. And they can still enjoy the day with their visitors. The kids are so excited, it would have been a shame to cancel this author's visit.

The Post office should be boring this morning; there's not much I can do without power.

But I can knit! I'm bringing Branching Out. And I'm smiling ear to ear at the thought of no computer, no phone (landline, anyway), no distractions...
Fingers crossed for an All-Day-Blackout!



Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Endangered

Front page of yesterday's Globe.


Frenchboro's right behind ya!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The end of an era

Our greatest condolences to Barbara, Randy, Chris, and Cory Sawyer on the passing of Barbara's Mother, Lillian.

Though she hadn't lived here for many years, she is remembered by all. Her sparkling, happy personality is a light that will be missed.

And so it has come to pass, the end of an era.
Lillian, and her sister Vivian are both gone this year. Some years earlier, we lost Rebecca Lunt. 
The three comprised the Frenchboro Trifecta.
 They were the movers and shakers in their time. The matriarchs of the island. The wives of the fishermen. The Mothers. The volunteers.

The made it all work, made it happen.

They organized the dinners, the funerals, the functions. Vivian wrote a book, and began chronicling her family's history, and the history of the island's beginnings. They collected books and pictures from 'the old days' (!) and began the Museum. Lillian and Vivian volunteered at the Museum well into their later years, until their health prevented them from summering on the island.

None will fill their shoes.
None.

Without question, they've all three left an indelible, tangible mark on the island.
Rebecca's legendary easygoing personality,
Vivian's attention to detail and love of conversation,
Lillian's sparkle,  quick wit and good humor.

I miss them one and all.

I cannot pick up a cup of coffee without thinking of Rebecca, and how she welcomed all the fishermen into her house for coffee (at ungodly hours), every single morning, all her married life.

I cannot make cream puffs, without thinking of Dick and Vivian, and in fact, could not make them for years following Dick's passing.

And I will never pick up a deck of cards without thinking of Lillian. I wish I could remember half of the games she taught me.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cravings

Oddly enough, I get cravings to cook things, not so much cravings to eat things.
That's not to say I don't sample what I create, of course!

Sometimes a craving comes over me that is too strong to be postponed.
Not ignored. Life's too short to ignore cravings. 
Never do that.
But postponed. Sometimes the craving comes at an inopportune time...like the middle of the night.  (I never let that stop me, but I'm usually up anyway!)

Yesterday, it was bacon. (I'm not even a huge fan of bacon. Oh, it's good. Possibly the Root Of All Evil, calorie-wise. You could wrap absolutely anything in bacon, and it would taste good. But I stay away, for the obvious reasons of  my posterior: left cheek and right cheek.)

But, alas, the craving was bacon.


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Before I knew it, there were bacon and onion sizzling in a pan. Spaghetti was boiling on the next burner.

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eggs, cheese, and salt and pepper were fork-blended in a small bowl. The fresh parsley was ready to be chiffonade-ed....

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When the macaroni was done, I tossed the whole mess in a bowl, and had this:

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Spaghetti Carbonara.

We didn't let the fact that we'd just finished dinner stop us from diving into this. 

What, you don't get intense cravings to cook something before you've even cleaned up the dinner dishes??

Is that just me?

That 'fresh' parsley? I pick leaves off my plants, wash them, and lay them out on a towel to dry. 
When free of moisture, I pack them into airtight containers and store in the freezer. The Best!
I do it with basil, too. I don't know for sure how long it 'keeps' that way, I use it up before I've ever  had it turn into anything else. But it keeps my plants producing!

And now...I feel the need to knead something.....

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hide and Seek, anyone?

Spring on Frenchboro is tumultuous, summer-like one day, winter-like the next. It's been storming this week; thunder, lightning, rain, fog.


Fog.

It's kind of cool the first few times in spring, when the fog closes in, and we can't see either of the neighbors' houses- one next door, one across the street. It feels nesty and isolated, snuggly and safe.

In short time (like, tomorrow), I will be pulling my wet, wild hair out and wishing it away...but today, it's still cool.

The reason it gets old fast?  Jean D. is on the mainland, not too awful far from here. The other day, she said, "I'm sweating! Can't hardly get my housework done! 70 degrees inside the house, 77' outside!".

It was 59 here, and wet. I think that's what gets to me the most, not just the fact that for the next month or 6 weeks we will be mired in thick, wet, briny fog, the likes of which Stephen King couldn't even imagine, but that 8 miles away it is downright summery. 
With bright hot sun.

Fingers crossed for a short Fog Season!
     

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

MY favorite things

(As opposed to my son's)..


What have we here?

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Oh, I love it beyond words when The Big Guy walks into my house with a 5- gallon bucket brimming with crustaceans. I don't care what kind of crustaceans. I'll take anything I can get. I'm sleazy that way.
This night it happened to be crabs.
(I don't see much in the way of lobster in these parts. He once said, "If I were a jeweler, would you expect me to bring home diamonds every day?" I think I put Ex-lax in his dinner that night. I don't like to be Out-logic-ed. Shut up, that is too a word.)


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Oh, the beauty of the crabbage! All hail the crabbage!


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They begged, begged I tell you, to be sauteed with some garlic and hot oil.

(Do you make hot oil? You should! Just put some olive oil- and don't let Martha or anyone else tell you it has to be $15 oil, any olive oil will do- into a jar, add some split hot thai peppers, and let set for a week or so, covered, in a cool dry place. After a week or so, it should live in the fridge so it doesn't turn rancid, but it will still impart flavor. Make sure the seeds are out there, fornicating mingling with the oil. Mmmmm.)
      I know the Old Timers left this out indefinitely, but they left meat out all day, too. And butter. And eggs. Apparently, things were different then. Better to be safe than sorry. Food poisoning not only sucks, it can kill you.


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pardon my steamy, garlic infused, sauteed-ness! I wish you could smell me right now!



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And when mixed with some basic seasoning, like my ever-present fresh basil plant here...
And some tomatoes...
And yet more hot pepper flakes...


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Fra Diavolo.

meaning: from the devil.

I made 2 pounds of cappellini with this gravy. It was gone in two days. 

He's under strict orders to bring in another bucket tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Remember Henry the Elf?

A strange thing happened to me last week.


I was on my own, The Big Guy having headed off for some shore leave, and I was tucked in with full control of the tv remote and some knitting. In other words, Bliss.

I had a great afternoon with the Things, got them into bed on time, settled in with my blinding knitting light....

and without warning, there was a crash on my desk, clear across the room.

The desk is high. There are no windows around it. The cat was in my lap.

My first thought was "Eeek, mouse"!
But I can spot a spider 40 feet away, and there was no sign of mouse. I hastily got up (with cat) to survey the area. Bravely (with cat) moved filing boxes out from under the desk (it's a massive roll-top desk). No droppings anywhere. No mouse cowering anywhere. No sign of anything.
And I am always on high alert for mouse. If there was one turd in this house, I'd have found it long before it had a chance to dry, or possibly before it fell.

The only disturbance was this guy:

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He was laying on his back, and all that...stuff...around him was knocked over.

I laughed (nervously), righted the picture frames and old sea urchin shells (why do I have those again? They're all over my yard, do I have to have them crumbling their little sea urchin dust all over my desktop?), and said, " Behave yourself, Henry!".
I got all the way back across the room when that feeling hit me.

You know the one.
Like someone's watching you.

I watch a lot of horror movies.

Moving with full and complete confidence, in order to distract the evil spirits, I moved into the kitchen and calmly picked up my cell phone, a cordless phone, and a very large cutting implement. 
I then had to walk, feigning bravado, across the living room, past the corner of the desk-around which a distinct cloud of evil-ness swirled.
I tried not to break into a run at the foot of the stairs (a crucial escape-moment in any horror movie worth its salt), but I was moving pretty fast by then, and fooling no one.

I took the stairs pretty much 2-at-a-time, a move I couldn't coordinate on a good day on steroids, and yet managed not to break my neck. 
No, of course that would only thwart and irritate the Evil.

It wasn't until I was safely ensconced in my room with lines of communication to the outside world intact and weapons in hand that I realized...my babies were out there.
One on each floor.
Panic. Heavy breathing. Sweating. 

As the shaking began, the phone rang. Oh no! The evil is calling, like 'The Ring'!
I grabbed the phone, hit the talk button. 
Because even in a self-induced panic, sleeping babies are a priority. No phone is allowed to wake up a kid in my house!

It was Tammy. Telling me some funny thing one of the kids had done or said. I sort of wasn't listening, glued as I was to the door and tuning in to any Evil Vibes approaching my bedroom.
She kept talking.
She asked me something about a link to a website, or some such computer-related thing, and I looked it up on my laptop.
It turned out to be just the distraction I needed.
I kept her on the phone for about 2 hours, reading random nonsense from the computer. I mean real and true nonsense, like explaining a you tube video I saw, and Googling weird words.
I read an email from my Mother to her, some dumb joke.
When I ran out of steam, I read old blog posts to her.

She either was watching tv and ignoring me, sensing that I had Evil right outside my bedroom door, or was really asleep with the phone on, mumbling unconsciously at the appropriate moments.
Either way, it worked for me.

I almost told her about Henry the Elf coming to life like the evil little puppets in Puppetmaster,
and the 8 sequels to it.

But, you know, I didn't want her to think I was crazy or anything.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hazards

This is one of the great hazards of running a bakery.


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You get a craving for something.

You dig out your trusty old recipe (or, if you're me, you start throwing things in bowl from memory)...

Then you decide they should be shared, and that they should not just be good, or great, but that they should be spectacular...

And somewhere between the 4th and 5th batch of oatmeal chocolate chip raisin cookies, you realize they were spectacular to begin with.

Fortunately, I had help making them disappear!


Friday, May 8, 2009

He's a classic

When the Things were little, we had the beginnings of The Talk.
hmm, yes, the beginnings.

Historically, my family does not do well with The Talk. One of my sisters is still waiting for my Mother to give her The Talk. 

She's married 17 years, and has 3 kids. 

I couldn't wait to rub it in her face tell her that I got the beginnings of The Talk...the night before I got married. I was 25. I had a degree in Radiologic Technology, and had worked in the field for 7 years. I had a pretty good grasp of things by then. My Mother started naming body parts. I handed her a bottle of wine and told her to quit while she was ahead. She was thankful not to have incriminated herself any further.

The Big Guy and I  tried for three years to get pregnant. (This is way NOT as fun as it sounds, trust me.)
When, finally, I was pregnant, do you want to know the very first thing I said?
My mouth went dry, and I said, Oh my God, my Father's going to know we had sex.

We were married 6 years.

So, in keeping with tradition, I kept my  'talk' with my kids general and vague.
We have our 'code words' for the...parts. Some are Italian. They sound better that way.
But, the kids couldn't pronounce them right (as if anyone around here would know), and they would point... or worse, expose...
I changed tactics, and just labeled everything 'private parts'.
'nuff said.

And all was right with the world...until Thing Two started calling them favorite parts.

I have some work to do.



Monday, May 4, 2009

I won sheep fur!

I've been really lax in blogging lately. Very unlike me.


In my defense, I've been spring cleaning. 

That means I tear through the house like a whirlwind, de-cluttering, filling garbage bags with clothes and boxes with books, which then get put into the back of my van to be driven around for weeks on end. This particular batch of stuff will be in the van until June 20th. I kid you not, that's my next trip off. I should take a picture of my car, to show you the full effect!

But look at what I found at the post office today...

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Goodies from Extreme Spinning, won from Darcy's 2 yr Anniversary contest!

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How adorable is that little spindle?? How awesome are the colors of that fur?? It's super-soft!
I've been playing with it all afternoon. And by playing, I don't mean using it in any fiber-related way, I just twirl it because I don't even know which end is the top.
Oh, and I did chase The Big Guy with it at one point.
He's home sick.
Why that involves following me around my very small kitchen is one of the great mysteries of my life. So, yeah, I chased him with a spindle.

If I never learn to spin, at least I will have found a use for my sweet little spindle.
But I really want to learn, so I will continue to hold out hope that maybe this year will be the year.
Because....


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this makes me happy. I could sit and look at this for hours.
It has sparklies!
It looks like snow!

Now, I'm going to sit and pet my sheep fur, and wield twirl my spindle until my eyes close.
G'night!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Green Mile

It looks so easy when other people do it.


And I'm not one to shy away from a  challenge.

So when Julie said, 'Let's do lace!', I said, Boo-yea.

Seriously, that's what I said. I had just watched something Marine-y, and they said it all the time.
I'm over it now.
(Actually, I watched Austin Powers in the wee hours of yesterday morning...now it's "Yeah, Baby!")

And so we both began lace. I looked at Grace for inspiration.
I looked at Maria. I looked at Helen (whose blog is no longer in my list, I just realized, as I try to link to it. Helen? Please send me your blog! I miss you.)
And then I quit looking, because it took me about an hour to realize I'd lost Helen, and then I got panicky, thinking about who else's feed  google reader may have decided to arbitrarily erase (I'm sure I had nothing whatsoever to do with it), and I needed wine.

And here, without further ado, is my result:

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Le blob. Lace must be French, and thusly, described with le French accent.

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Aren't the colors so purdy??
So, that there's the tail to the cast on end. All cute and squiggly.

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ooooooh, uh-oh....what is that other end???

That would be the cut off end where I pulled le needles out of le knitting, threw le knitting on le floor, stomped like I was making wine for a bit, and threw what is essentially le swatch across the room.

I felt instant relief.

And then I started again.

This time, with some ancient Boye needles, with nice sharp tips, and NO CHART.

And I did 5 repeats in one evening. Without a single RIP. Or TINK. Or WINE.



It still looks like le blob, but at least it has the right number of stitches!


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Deep thoughts on lace

Hello, lace-knitting-world?

It's Marissa.

Is there a good reason why nobody mentioned the necessity of casting on lace scarves with a larger sized needle?

Because this looks like crap:
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Now, maybe it would have blocked out (says she who has never blocked).

And maybe whoever ends up with this would never have known the difference.

But. (You know where this is going. I know you do.)

I frogged it. Riiiiiiiip-ped it right to the first slip knot.

That was midnight.
At 3am, I was right back where I'd left off:
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Sigh. Is it me, or does it look the same?

Awesome. There's another three hours of my life wasted.


So what's the short answer here, folks? Tight Yarn-overs? Smaller needles?
(That's fingering wt sock yarn, there, on straight eight's.)

I'm just not feelin' the love.