January 10, 2018

Speaking of Knitting...

I'm quite fortunate that my work shuts down at the end of the year for "Winter Break", just like schools do.  Sometime after Christmas, my knitting mojo seems to have returned!

In the last few days of the year, I finished the MadTosh socks:

I knit a "ComMEOWnist Red" kitty hat for one of Abby's friends:

And a charcoal grey kitty hat for another friend of hers so that said friend could match her pet cat:

On the New Year's Day, I started a pair of Patons Kroy socks - fraternal twins:

I realized today that I made the foot a little bit too short,
so I may end up giving these to one of the girls
because their feet are smaller than mine.

WELCOME BACK, DEAR MOJO!  I've missed you so....


When you submit a vacation request for a half-day in February so you can attend an "annual giant knitting conference", and your boss's response is "What do you knit for a giant?", the only good comeback is:

Link to article here.

December 28, 2017

2017 Highlight Reel, April - December


Easter at Cousins'


I went SHORT.

Last day of my temp assignment at CTA

Paul and Angela got ENGAGED!

Started a new temp assignment...in a different part of CTA.


4th of July at Roy & Chrisine's, as usual



Abby started 11th grade (and cut her hair).

I became official, an actual employee at CTA!


Sarah got to meet Lt. Uhura!

I helped at a "big" work conference, and Andrew got to
tag along and stay in the hotel with me.

We celebrated Sarah's 19th by going out to see
"An American in Paris".


Andrew was a groomsman in Brian & Keiko's wedding.

We saw Imagine Dragons at Shoreline
with Andrew's work squad.

Angela's bridal shower

Friends came out to support Abby as she appeared
in the school production of "Twelfth Night".

My shawl Apricity appeared in
Knit Edge magazine, at long last.


Angela and Paul got married....

....and we got to be the "family of the bride"!


Andrew got to play Santa at our big church
Christmas celebration.

My cousin Akhila and her boyfriend
Seth got married at the beautiful
San Francisco City Hall.

We got to go to a special showing of
"Home Alone" with the SF Symphony
playing along with the soundtrack,
thanks to a VERY generous gift
from my coworker Rose.

We coordinated Steve and Sharon's
most unusual wedding.


March 24, 2017

Gee, where did Erica GO?

Short answer?  I went back to the 9-5 office world mid-February and haven't really had much time for blogging or knitting (I wouldn't be posting today except I have the day off).

First Day Jitters!

Longer Answer:  After many conversations, much personal wrestling, and attending a resume workshop, I accepted the fact that it was time for me to suck it up and go back to work, even though I wanted to wait till Abby was done with high school.  The agency I'm using thought it would be good for me to complete some temporary assignments before they tried to submit me for a permanent position somewhere, so after just one interview, I got placed for a longer temp job at...the California Teachers Association (teachers' union) headquarters, of all places.  NO, it's not temp-to-perm, just temp, but that's OK.

You know that feeling when you're the new guy in your office who doesn't know anything or anyone and has to ask a million questions all the time?  OK, multiply that by about 15, and you've got what my first week or so on the job felt like.  For perspective on how long it's been since I worked in an office:  When I did, there was no Google.  That first week was hard on my confidence, but mostly because I had unreasonable expectations of myself.

The hours are great.  Since it's so close to home, I don't have to leave the house till 8:30, which means I still get up at 6:00 and have my slow morning.  I can make sure Andrew and Abby get out the door OK, finsh making my lunch. get dinner set up in the Instant Pot if need be, and do the daily financial update without having to rush.  It took a bit to get used to having to stop at the store on the way home from work (no more 1:30 trips to Trader Joe's!) a couple of times a week and eating dinner later (no more eating right at 5:00!), but I seem to have gotten the hang of it.

The other humans in the house have had no trouble adjusting.  The DOG, however, is having a very hard time with it.  Luckily, Sarah leaves later than I do, and Andrew and Abby get home before I do, so that reduces the amount of time she has to be crated.  Nobody enjoys cleaning up anxiety dog pee, for sure.

Enough for today.  Tomorrow or Sunday, I'll finally post about Stitches. (Yes, I did take time off work to go.  Priorities!)

January 26, 2017

Crafty(ish) +

There was no Crafty Chat this week, but I have a leetle bit to report on the crafty and cooking front:

After a couple of weeks of no knitting (some of that time I was sick), I got some knitting mojo back and made some progress on my Madeline Tosh socks.

I finally overcame my hesitation and started in on the first pattern sample for the upcoming "A Little Romance" ebook.  Ya'll may remember the initial go-round where I got almost to the end, then discovered a mistake 13 rounds back and ended up frogging > 700 yards of silk/merino laceweight.  Yeah, that one.

I was feeling terribly proud of myself and quite virtuous for inserting a lifeline just before the first lace pattern...until I realized that I had put the lifeline through my many stitch markers.  Rather than re-do the lifeline or cut the rubber markers, I kept going and just inserted new stitch markers where needed.  Lesson (hopefully) learned; next time, I'll insert the lifeline on a plain round, sans stitch markers (I'll have to move them for the next lace pattern anyhow).  

This doesn't do the color justice, but here's the little bundle so far.  It will start to look like something very soon, so I won't be able to post pictures any more, but for now, here you have it.  Yarn is Cascade Yarns Forest Hills in Chili Pepper.

The Instant Pot continues to get a rigorous workout multiple times a week.

Yesterday, I cooked six pounds of semi-frozen chicken breasts in 25 minutes.  This is just under half of them.  As you can see, they fell apart just removing them from the pot.  Shredding them was a breeze!  Sarah used some to make a chicken tortilla soup (so good, Andrew had seconds and requested that I make sure he had some for his lunch today!), and the rest will be portioned and frozen to have on hand for adding to salads, soups, whatever.

In other news, bangs were driving me nuts, so hairs were cut, even though I just got it cut in December:

I'm not 100% in love the with the chin length, but hey, it's hair;  it grows, and it can be cut further.  I'm starting to think I only look good with hair that's either really short or at least shoulder length.

Crazy Cat-Dog

January 20, 2017


Let's have a SALE!  From now through 11:59:59 on January 27th, if you purchase ALL FOUR of my Macbeth-inspired patterns from Defarge Does Shakespeare together as a bundle, you will get them for $18 instead of $24, which is getting one pattern for free.  Use coupon code MACBETH at checkout.  Offer only good for new purchases through Ravelry.


A Mother's Comfort

Simple (Striped) Comfort
Simple (Girly) Comfort
Fair is Foul (Fair)
Fair is Foul (Foul - Dark)
Fair is Foul (Foul - Bright)

Today - Just A Few Words

Did I watch President Trump's inauguration?  Yes.
Did I watch Obama's inaguration?  Yes.
Which one of them did I vote for?  Neither.
As far as I'm concerned, the installation of a new President is A Big Deal(tm), no matter who that is.

Do I respect or like Trump?  Doesn't matter.  He is now POTUS, and I respect that office.  We have a system.  It's not perfect, but it's good.  It functioned.  He won.  No matter who wins, those in favor of the loser will be distraught.  No matter who wins, there is bound to be change.  Yes, there is ugliness directed toward Trump.  There was a lot of ugliness directed toward Obama.  There was ugliness directed toward Bush (remember the "Kill Bush" bumper stickers?).  That, unfortunately, is how people are, and it's wrong.  I suspect that it has always been this way; it just gets more attention now, thanks to modern technology/media.  Whether they had my vote or not, I would treat any sitting or former President with respect.

Some firmly believe "the only Christian response" is X.  Others firmly believe "the only Christian response" is Y.  In my opinion, that disagreement is OK.  Even among Jesus's 12 apostles, there were guys who were political opposites (Matthew the tax collector, working for the Romans, and Simon the Zealot, who wanted to overthrow the Romans).  They were both hand-picked by Jesus, and I don't read anywhere that he told either of them "You have to change your politics or you won't be saved."

For America's sake, whether I like him or not, I wish President Trump well.  I pray he does well.  I don't want to see him crash and burn because if he crashes and burns, so does the rest of America.

[I'm not trying to start a firestorm here.  Please keep any disagreement civil.  I will block profane, vulgar, or cruel comments toward either Trump or Obama.]

January 16, 2017

Instant Pot

Yes, after a year of watching several friends post about theirs and seeing nary a negative comment, on Black Friday we took advantage of the sales and jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon .

What is an Instant Pot, you say?  First off, for clarification, Instant Pot is NOT a generic term; it's a brand name (like Oster or Kitchen Aid or Cuisinart).  This is the particular model we got:

This is the six quart Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Multi-Function Pressure Cooker, scored in a Black Friday deal from Amazon for $69.

Why did we get it?

  1. Andrew has wanted a pressure cooker for years.
  2. Our rice cooker died.
  3. As a multi-function appliance, it is one thing that could replace several (important when you have limited counter/storage space):
    • Pressure cooker
    • Slow cooker
    • Rice Cooker
    • Steamer
    • Yogurt Maker
    • Warmer
    • Saute Pot
If you participate in the Tuesday CraftLit Crafty Chats, you've already heard me wax rhapsodic about this baby.

Imagine going from whole raw chicken to home made stock to chicken soup in, say, three hours total, versus more than that time just for the second or third step.

Imagine making pulled pork that doesn't take hours.

Imagine making perfectly hard-"boiled" eggs that are EASY TO PEEL.

Imagine going from dried beans to a pot of chili in, say, an hour instead of multiple hours for cooking the beans + multiple hours cooking the chili.

If you make your yogurt in your slow cooker, as I've done for years, imagine lopping three hours off the time it takes, not having to do the whole "wrap it up in a bunch of towels" thing, only having to use 1/4 cup of starter, and having the process be slightly more forgiving.




Mashed potatoes in a fraction of the time it usually takes to do the first step of boiling them.

...and I'm only mentioning things we've actually made, not the stuff we've yet to try, like curries, pot roast, ribs, cheesecake (yes!), curries, hummus (from dried beans), proofing bread.

Beets.  I love beets.  I had never actually cooked them
myself before.  Two bags of Trader Joe's beets,
whiz, bang, BOOM!

My ONLY regret is that I wish we'd gotten the 8qt model instead of the 6qt.  Yes, it's exactly the right size for using a gallon of milk to make yogurt, but it just doesn't feel like enough space to cook the amount of vegetables I do (I usually cook two pounds at a time in order to have some leftovers), and with something like chili, it doesn't feel like it makes enough to last for a dinner plus a few lunches for Andrew and Abby.  While I initially scoffed at people who have more than one Instant Pot, I understand it now - "Here, while pot #1 is tied up for 10 hours making yogurt, I can still make every course we need for dinner, plus a few other things."

January 11, 2017

January 6, 2017

Puppy Update

Honey's doing great.  We'd be glad if she got better at the whole housetraining thing, but part of that is on us - we need to be more alert to her signs that she needs to go (she's not nearly as good at communicating it as Jenna was).  Even though she barely seemed to notice the Christmas tree, I'm glad we took precautions about it.  Next year, we can put up all the ornaments as usual.  I do wish I'd caught a picture of her napping on the tree skirt because she thought it was a blanket for her.

She got "fixed" on December 23rd and did really well with it.  We didn't even need a cone/collar of shame because she didn't fuss at it at all.  She got chipped at the same time, too, so now she's all official and stuff.  She even got proper food and water bowls for Christmas (thanks, Adri!) and multiple treats from Santa.

Honey loves her walks and has gotten really good at "halt", "sit", and "stay".  She's so-so at "heel".  I'm kind of apprehensive about how she'll do with the other dogs in the obedience classes we're signed up for, but we really need to get her socialized, and she definitely needs better manners.  I'm probably going to have to get a "Gentle Leader" harness/leash for using during class because they require that dogs in the class use either one of of those or a "correction" (prong) collar.  I removed some links to make Jenna's old correction collar smaller and tried it on her, and it was a big, fat FAIL.  The "correction" aspect didn't work, and her pulling only resulted in labored breathing.  Ugh.


  • Snuggles
  • Walks
  • Every human she's ever met
  • Snuggles
  • Attention
  • Snuggles
  • The vacuum cleaner
  • The Swiffer
  • The ukelele
  • Being left alone
Surprisingly, we found on New Year's Eve that she's not freaked out by fireworks like Jenna was.  Thank goodness!  Since that went well, I suspect she'll be OK with thunder, too.