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gluten free and my love for Alton

When the Diva was first diagnosed with Celiac and we were first trying to figure out how to bake treats for her without having to rely on boxed mixes, I wanted someone to "Alton Brown" some recipes for me. That is -- break down the science of how things like xanthan gum and tapioca flour work together. With those pieces of knowledge, I could reverse engineer.

And, lo, Mr B read my mind. Or my blog. Either is equally unlikely.

Regardless, last night's episode of Good Eats was all about substitutions. One of those substitutions was for wheat flour in his chocolate cookie recipe to make one that was gluten free.

I cannot wait to try this. Even better, I now understand a little more how the chemistry works. Knowledge is power.

I won't try it until Ms. Thing returns from her grandma's however. Not because I can't bake cookies without her -- but because I decided to seize the opportunity of just having one kid and throw a coat of paint up on the walls of my kitchen. Which has turned in to exactly the sort of clusterfuck that home improvements tend to become in old houses. Pictures of that, however, tomorrow, once I rinse off some of the plaster dust...

actual knitting content

The scarf kick continues.

The bits of yarn pictured here now look like this:


I can only begin to tell you how tickled I am with how it came out.

The deets on this Argosy --

Two skeins of Noro Silk Garden Color 221 on a size 8 needle.  It's roughly 5 feet long.

This was stunt knitting, pure and simple, in that I wanted to knit it just to see how it would turn out. I won't wear it because I am a delicate flower and can't have wool around my neck. I do know, however, where it will be going in December.

Next up is a 3-wood cozy.

Three other crafty links:

Knit your own car!

A quilt I could actually do! Maybe!

For those who have seen Order of the Phoenix, the costume designer had too much fun with Imelda Staunton's Umbridge kit (slide 8). And the decorate plates in her office were a touch of genius.

And, in the interest of equal time, a Trout of great stealth:


No one can see him if he can't see them.

dear deer,

Thank you for not eating all of the daylily buds in the front yard.


Purty, no?

Turns out I have a very similar variety in the back yard as well.


If the Diva hadn't decided to help me in the yard by removing all of the plant labels, I could tell you what their proper names are. Fortunately, lack of nomenclature doesn't detract from the loveliness.


"Joey comes off like a walking laundry list of "Things Chefs Don't Want In An Employee." Whiner. Crybaby. Blames Others. Persecution Complex. Confrontational. What Bill Buford, in his excellent book, Heat, came to recognize as a "dickhead."

-- Anthony Bourdain fills in for Tom Colicchio on the Top Chef Bravo TV blog. Heh. (More Bourdain-y goodness is at Ruhlman's blog as well. (oh, and a picture of Bourdain with a baby, which might be his or could be a prop baby. (and don't you just want to nibble on said baby's feet?)))


Neil Gaiman's very sensible advice about raisin' kids (scroll a little) reminded me of a conversation I had with the Diva not long ago and meant to mention to y'all. If you are the sort who doesn't care for kid-thoughts, go listen to these Spider Robinson songs.*

(Actually, everyone should listen to those Spider Robinson songs. Those who care about my kids and stories thereof should do it some time that is not now. And if you are married to me, you should pay particular attention to this one.)


Because we are theatre geeks, the CD to The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee** is on heavy rotation in the minivan. The Diva's favorite song is the "Pandemonium" song, which contains the line that might be the best description of life (that it's "random and unfair") that has ever been written in the modern musical theatre.

One song, however, was destined to raise some questions: "My Unfortunate Erection" (a.k.a. "Chip's Lament). Shortly after her birthday, that day arrived.

From the back of the van, a little voice asked "What's an erection?"

My first response was "ask your father."

I'm not kidding.

My second response, after I took a second to collect my wits, was "you know how your brother has a penis..." and went on from there. Given that both the Diva and I are slightly deaf and there was music on, it went more like "you know how your brother has a penis..."

"A what?"


"A peen - what?"


Ultimately, she got the idea. For now, at least. But I am sure that there will be more questions TK -- and that there will be an appropriate musical number to help explain the underlying concepts.

* Hat tip to Scalzi.

** If you have the time, watch the clip from the Tonys.

a view through the freelancer's window

Exceptionally lame-ass post follows. Yes, lamer than usual.

See, I'm working on this feature for an online magazine (hint: rhymes with "dabble"). By now, it should be off of my desk. But it's not. I send it away. It comes back. I fiddle, then send it away. It comes back. Lather, rinse, repeat.

This isn't a bad thing, mind you, since it gets stronger each and every time. The editor is awesome and I lurve working with her. And given what they are paying me, I'd gladly do as many rewrites as required. Naked. While singing "Don't Cry for me Argentina" and waving sparklers. (Hopefully, the aforementioned editor doesn't read my blog and decide to write this into my next contract, should I be so lucky as to get a next contract. Think of how much I'll spend on burn cream.)

It's just that the paying work thing coupled with the class thing is stealing time away from my vicious schedule of slacking off.

And, so, lame. Here's a lame link for you: Turns out that my feelings about JFK airport (which is that it is pure evil) are completely justified.

hot. and more hot.

More on the loose wrecking ball in Meadville, PA, which was mentioned in the comments for the last post. Turns out there's a slide show. I actually laughed out loud at 1:13.

I now know what to knit next for the Featureless Saint. I guess I'll have to go measure his putter.

(And confidential to said Featureless Saint -- I know you want them for your 3- and 5-woods. Putter made a better joke. Or, maybe not. I suppose there's potential jokeage in "wood" as well. Hrm.)

Before I go out to fill my pool with gin and ice cubes, a gift for the Creationists on your wish list. Or, if you are thinking more clearly, a gift for people with a sense of humor and a tube of glue.

shameless self-promotion, number 276 in a series

My last bookslut column is live: Sheri Tepper's The Margarets.

There's a lot I could say. But won't.


In other news, summer classes started, which means I'll be around less but will be able to do kooky stuff like pay bills. If the heat doesn't break soon, every dollar I make might be invested in a swimming pool full of ice and gin and limes.