Friday, March 31, 2017

Lost in Space: Another Glitch in my Mission

Laika, Soviet space dog. She was sent up into space with no plan to ever bring her back.

I have seen The Right Stuff more times than I can count-- more times than Star Wars (#4, the first one) and Monty Python's Holy Grail put together. That's a lot for a geek of my generation.

The real Chuck Yeager with San Shepard
It doesn't hurt that Sam Shepard, who plays Chuck Yeager, is seriously hot, especially on horseback. But the real reason I've seen the movie so many times is that my (also seriously hot) husband is obsessed with the history of the space program.

For that reason, I have also seen From the Earth to the Moon. The Dish and Apollo 13, multiple times, as well as any documentary we can find. (I'm not complaining. I love history, especially history that doesn't involve people killing each other, so space history is good.) I'm looking forward to sharing Hidden Figures with my guys soon.

All this is background to my latest health issue. Some time after Christmas, I noticed a lump near my collarbone. It is small. I have to point it out to people.

My doctor examined the bump. She says it feels "cystic" and makes that sound like a good thing. (Don't look up cystic on Google Images. Take my word for it. Eww.) Chest X-rays and blood tests hinted at nothing alarming. But she's still referring me to a general surgeon to have it removed. So there's that to look forward to.

To continue with space program metaphors, this bump is probably like the wrench they found in a panel of Apollo 1 while investigating the deadly fire: something ultimately harmless that nevertheless shouldn't be there.

In proposing this article, my husband used a quote from Apollo 13, "Well, that's the glitch for this mission."

They thought the big glitch was losing one engine at launch. Then a few days later the oxygen tank blew up.

 My initial glitch was, of course, RA.  Then a decade later my brain blows up and I have fibromyalgia.

Is this bump the carbon dioxide buildup, the possibly frozen parachutes, the definitely frozen hot dogs? No idea.

At this point my husband switches missions to Apollo 14. It was no less buggy than the proceeding mission. Before launch, there was a weather delay and problems with docking between the CSM and LM.

Once in lunar orbit, the LM computer started flashing an ABORT light. Everyone was fairly sure that the only thing wrong was a small piece of solder floating loose inside the circuit, but some last-minute reprogramming was required to convince the computer to carry on with the mission. Then, when landing, the radar temporarily failed. If it hadn't finally acquired a signal, the landing would have been aborted.

Shepard Gemini
But the cool thing about Apollo 14, is that Alan Shepard returned to space.

He was the first American in space during the Mercury missions. But an inner ear problem and resulting dizziness kept him frustrated and grounded during Gemini and most of Apollo. Surgery solved the problem in time for him to make it on one of the last Apollo flights. He finally got to walk, and play golf, on the moon.
Shepard  Apollo

I am supposed to create a victorious analogy for myself here--an Alan Shepard on the moon moment that may come after all of these health struggles and hassles. If all of this eventually turns me into a successful professional writer, something I've dreamed about for as long as I can remember, maybe the analogy could work.

I appreciatie my husband's optimism. He never suggested that this bump might be like the frozen O ring or damaged heat tiles that downed the space shuttles. He wouldn't even allow himself to think it could be like the worn wiring that started the Apollo 1 fire.

The way I am feeling right now, the most fitting space analogy might not be from the American space program at all, but from the Russian one. As health problems pile on and I face uncertainty and lack of control over many aspects of my future, I really relate to Laika, the dog who was sent into space on Sputnik 2. She had no idea what was going on, no say over her destiny or destination. (But she seems to have had a positive attitude.)

P.S. I did take some control over this mission. I called the surgeon's office. Lump comes out April 14. I'll keep you posted.


I was able to get more done this week. This is a lace scarf that is now available in my shop. It is feather-light and made from super-soft merino wool, so it can be worn comfortably next to the skin. I like the asymmetrical color shift.

I also finished a project I am not selling. It is from a kit I've subscribed to from . It is made of a very nice merino/silk blend. I think it is called a "concho," or cross between a cowl and poncho. If I keep it, I will probably wear it with the point in the back. 
 I don't know if it is going to be mine or a gift, but since it is someone else's yarn and pattern, I'm not comfortable putting it up for sale. If you are on my Christmas list and want this, speak up.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Princess Life would be Beastly

I don't plan to see the live-action version of Beauty and the Beast. I'm not boycotting to object the gay moment or to protest Emma Watson's Vanity Fair  pictures. I didn't see the cartoon version either. I just don't care for princess stories.

Me as Wonder Woman with attitude (and Bat Girl)
I played dress-up as a kid, but never recall playing princess. We played Charlie's Angels, solving mysteries and taking down bad guys, or Wonder Woman with her bullet proof bracelets and invisible jet.

 When I played alone, I was in the Star Wars universe. As a healer with the force, I nursed injured rebel soldiers on an isolated planet. I also gathered all the battered and broken dolls in the house and played "orphan train." But I wasn't trying to find people to adopt my blind or legless orphans. We were going to build a home together somewhere in the west.

In any case, the Disney marketing people weren't as good yet and didn't catch me. I did se all their movies, including the princess ones, but that gave me Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty. All these girls did was housework (and sleep or be dead) until a prince came along and they could wear pretty dresses and get married. Mom made me help enough around the house that I knew getting married was more of a beginning than an end to housework.

Birds aren't very useful when it comes to mopping floors.
I didn't analyze any of this until my senior year of high school when I read part of The Cinderella Complex by Colette Dowling. The main point is that fairytales give girls the wrong expectations. We  expect a man to come rescue us, then to live happily ever after. Of course life doesn't work that way, so women are left unhappy and unsatisfied because even a perfect man can't deliver unending bliss.

Waiting around to be rescued, whether from dragons, poverty, or boredom, is not acceptable. I need to have life planned in advance and under my control. (Not that that works, as my illnesses always remind me.)

When my first high school boyfriend graduated and left me behind, I cried a lot, but I also made a plan. I realized that I enjoyed having a boyfriend, but that I wanted to choose the boy instead of waiting around hoping to be noticed. I picked out and stalked that boy and we are still together more than thirty years later.
I caught Prince Charming by not acting like a princess.

In the eighties, Mormon women and girls were under a lot of pressure to be stay-at-home moms.

I decided I could do that if I had to, but that there needed to be a plan B. I choose teaching because I noticed that teachers and nurses didn't get the same criticism other working moms did.

Plan B became plan A as most women in my generation ended up working full time anyway. I enjoyed the independence that comes from earning my own money and being able to provide for a family.

I miss that. At almost fifty, I am a stay-at-home mom whose kids are grown and who physically can't do housework.

My handsome prince does most of it, as well as figuring out how we will survive financially. I have a hope that writing can be turned into a full-time job and a source of income, but I haven't worked it through to a plan part yet.

What does Kate think? 
To be a princess or a queen is to be put on a pedestal and worshipped for beauty, grace, and kindness. A pedestal is elevated, but narrow and not very stable.

The life of the former Kate Middleton, now Duchess of something, is a real -life princess experience. Every time she leaves the palace, she must look and act like a princess. Every dress she wears and every expression on her face is analyzed by the press and royal fans.

 Imagine if she were to appear in leggings and a t-shirt and quarrel with a salesperson about a coupon. It would be front page news world-wide.

Another famous, voiceless woman
The duchess's job is to be beautiful and have babies. She's doing a great job. But almost all of the work other mothers do to take care of a home and family is done for her. Kate must have time on her hands and thoughts in her head.

But she isn't allowed to share them. As a royal, it would be improper to express an opinion on Brexit, immigration, or national health care.

As a nobody I am free to complain about anything I want. I prefer being a nobody to life in a gilded cage.

One last complaint about princess movies. They usually end with a wedding. (Rom-com problem too.) In reality, that is when stories start. The best, worst, and most important stories come later. More people should write them, read them, and film them.

p.s. I'm not anti-cartoon. I love Moana, Brave, and the lifetime romance portrayed in Up.


I hurt myself by being too active last week. This week was spent flaring and trying to drag myself back into life. So knitting is still minimal and poorly done. I hope to have something to show next week.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Monumental: How Do You Want to be Remembered?

The city park in tiny Santa Clara, Utah contains a monument to Sarah Sturtevant Leavitt, my husband's 4th great grandmother. She is one of the founding mothers of the town, sent there to settle shortly after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley in 1850.

Sarah, a descendent of Massachusetts pilgrims, spent many years searching for a religion that fit her interpretation of the Bible. At 37, she found Mormonism. The rest of her life was spent as a Mormon pioneer.

Sarah, her husband, and their 10 children left a well-developed farm in Quebec to join the main group of Mormons in Kirtland, Ohio, 800 miles by wagon. Within ten years, they moved again to Nauvoo, Illinois.

Americans in the midwest were suspicious of and hostile towards the Mormons. In 1844, the prophet Joseph Smith was murdered. In February of 1846, Mormons in Nauvoo, including the Leavitt family, were forced from their homes and fled across the Mississippi River.

Probably the worst part of the Mormon exodus was that year in Iowa preparing to go west. They were without shelter, or in tents, in late winter. Hundreds died from disease and exposure.

One of my favorite moments from Sarah's autobiography talks about the time when her family was all stricken with fever:

"We had watchers every night 'til Mary's fever left her. One morning, after the watchers had left, I looked around the room to see if all was right. Right under the chair where one of the girls had sat all night I saw something that didn't look as if it belonged in the house. I called to Thomas to come and see what it was. We found that it was a monstrous big rattlesnake coiled up on a bench and had lain there all night as harmless as a lamb. It had eight rattles. I told the boys not to kill it; it had not come as an enemy, but on a friendly visit to help the girls watch. He didn't help much, only as their companion, but they would have been just as well off without his company, not knowing of his presence. I told them to throw it off the bank and not hurt it, which they did."

At this time, Sarah's husband Jeremiah was seeking provisions for the following winter. He died and was buried in another town. Sarah was a fifty-year-old widow,  now suffering from recurring fevers and headaches, without a home.

Her boys built a series of shelters, starting with at haystack, but moving up to a house and grocery store, while they waited and prepared for the trek west. In 1850, Sarah and six of her children crossed the plains and mountains to Salt Lake City, Utah. (One son was already there, another came two years later.)

The family were barely settled into new homes when they were called to extend the Mormon settlements. Sarah and seven of her grown children (and many grandchildren) were sent to the Santa Clara River, then called the Indian Mission, to start again.

Now, when I read Sarah's  history, I see little difference between her accomplishments and those of my pioneer ancestors. One who comes to mind is Mary Jane McCleeve Meeks. She joined the Mormon church in Ireland, then walked across the plains with a handcart. At the age of sixteen, she married a doctor and moved to southern Utah where she spent the rest of her life as a midwife. She delivered hundreds of babies. Some of them were probably grandchildren or great-grandchildren of Sarah Leavitt.

The designers of her monument show a realization of this similarity. A plaque on the monument says "Let us select upon the legacy of courage, strengths, and unfailing faith of noble pioneer women, who dedicated themselves to sustaining life in the settlement of the west. This monument, honoring Sarah Sturtevant Leavitt stands as a symbol of many such women. We may pause at this place with gratitude for the heritage formed by their remarkable lives."

So why is Sarah's legacy the one honored by a monument? It has more to do with her descendants than with her. There are many Leavitt descendants in Utah. Some of them, including past governor Mike Leavitt, are wealthy and influential. They raised all the money to build the memorial and landscape around it.

It's hard to infer Sarah's complete personality from the testimony and life history she wrote at the end of life, so I have no idea if she is delighted  or feels a little embarrassed by the attention.

I know she was a woman of strong faith in God and in the afterlife. As such, she probably didn't worry too much about the fleeting fame of this life. Personally, I don't care if I'm not remembered beyond the lifetimes of those who know me (although my author's vanity would love it if some of my writings survive).

Accordingly, my funeral instructions are to donate my body to science. Anything science doesn't want, bury under an apple tree in the garden, or follow the advice in this TED Talk . But my guys don't listen to me now, and are unlikely to start once I'm dead.

 What if I have some wealthy great-greats who want to create a memorial? Of course I won't have any say in the matter. If, as we are told, Mormons spend all of the next life hard at work, I may be too busy to care. (If I'm completely wrong, I'll never even know.) But it is interesting to think about.

Again, my vanity takes over. What should my monument look like? Do I want it to reflect my youngest and prettiest images, or me at the height of my powers? (Do I have powers?) I would actually prefer something more abstract that reflects my personality, but my rich descendants and my descendants with a sense of humor are not statistically likely to be the same people.

But instead of imagining a hypothetical monument to myself, it may be more useful to the world to consider some people who should have monuments.

Our European tradition leaves us with too many generals on horseback.

If we want to build a more peaceful planet, perhaps we should have more memorials to those focused on the work of peace.

Also, if we want a more equal world, gender-wise, in addition to allowing women of strength and inclination to build careers in the military, we should put more honor on people of both genders who work during war and peace to keep us fed, clothed, clean, and healthy.

(Here is a good TED talk on recognizing the accomplishments of women.)

There are people who are ahead of me on this. There were several items when I looked up "knitting statue" on Google Images. Here are three favorites:
She's sewing (on the Yorkshire coast), but that's important too.
Apparently my monument has already been built. I'm glad it's by a playground.
This is a Russian monument to lab mice. I'm now concerned about their genetic engineering.

Next time you are in southwest Utah, drop into Santa Clara and visit the city park. If it occurs to you that your ancestor also deserves such a tribute, you know what to do: build one.


I was overly ambitious at the beginning of the week and hurt myself, so I have no stellar knitting accomplishments. Instead, I focused on the simplest of knitting--cotton wash cloths--and in getting them better organized and listed in my shop.

I knit wash cloths when I watch movies because I don't have to watch what I'm doing. For the same reason, they are a good choice when I don't feel well.

I only use cotton wash cloths in my kitchen. I keep more than a dozen on hand, so there is always a fresh one around. For wedding gifts, I pair them with utensils, brownie mixes, or gift certificates.

They would make good Mothers' Day gifts too, but I would suggest taking the focus off from the kitchen in that case. 100% cotton wash cloths are great for the bath. Put them together with candles and bubblebath for a "home spa" package. The organic variation is dye-free and softer--a good choice for indulging Mom--especially if you promise uninterrupted time in the bathtub or shower.

Friday, March 10, 2017

In Hiding: When is it Right to Break the Law?

In Isaac Newton's day
tampering with coins was treason--
a hanging crime.

Today I put a penny 
(and two quarters for the privilege)
into a souvenir machine.
Crank turn, Lincoln's no more.

I felt  a thrill and chill:
One Cent of treason

Yesterday I broke the law. Maybe. As I child I always knew that it was against the law to damage coins by putting them on train tracks or into the souvenir machines at the zoo. Of course I also "knew" that if I found the right Tootsie Roll wrapper I could turn it in to 7-11 for money.

Apparently it isn't a law that anyone worries about enforcing, like the 2-5 miles an hour over the speed limit I might have driven at any given time, or sales tax online. But if I believe in being a law-abiding citizen, it shouldn't matter that I won't get caught, right?

Officially, I really believe in being law-abiding. One of our Mormon Articles of Faith states:

We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. 

What brought this topic to mind was not my penny desecration, but some law breaking my German Grandfather did during WWII. 

The church's proclamation was written at a time when members were accused of various crimes and persecuted by state and local governments. It has been an important survival belief for small congregations of Mormons around the world ever since. We are not a threat to governments because we are good citizens.

The church told German Mormons under the Nazis in Germany to be model citizens. Don't protest, obey the law, serve in the military, do nothing to draw government attention. This is why Mormons weren't sent to concentration camps with Jehovah's Witnesses, 7th Day Adventists, and other small American-founded congregations. 

My grandparents, devoted to the gospel and to law-and-order in general, complied. Mostly.

Grandpa served in the Air Force in and around Hamburg. He worked as a personal aide to the general in charge there. Once he was sent on patrol to catch a deserter. When they spotted him, Grandpa was ordered to shoot. He shot in the air and intentionally missed, then lied about having sand in his eyes.

Another deserter came and knocked on Grandpa's door. He was a young Mormon kid, only 17 and still wearing a Hitler Youth uniform. His mother had given him the address and the hope that Brother Menssen would be able to help. It was too dangerous to bring this young man into the family home-- it would mean death if he was caught. Grandpa's in-laws had a little garden house across the street that was unoccupied and had a small root cellar hidden under carpet. The young man hid in that hole for the last few months of the war. Each night, Grandpa would bring him food and let him exercise for an hour before covering him up again. (The young man survived and raised a family in Salt Lake City after the war.)

Not much later,  Hamburg was to be surrendered. Troops in the city were sent to an area near the border of Denmark to make a heroic last stand. Grandpa recognized this as a pointless suicide mission and decided to desert. As he was packing, the general walked in. Grandpa had a pistol in his pocket, but decided it would be better to be shot than to shoot the general. Fortunately, the general expressed a wish that he could do the same thing and offered his car. Grandpa took a motorcycle instead and went back to his family.

Most people today wouldn't blame anyone for disobeying Nazis, but Grandpa broke more laws under the English occupation. Whenever possible he would smuggle food from the country into the city (probably illegal to control the black market?) He cut down a tree in a city park for firewood. He "stole" bricks from bombing sites to insulate and add onto his house. My dad, maybe five years old at the time, was supposed to keep watch. Grandpa usually got caught. He said, "I got arrested again," like it was no big deal. Once he was sent to a prisoner of war camp. He stuck around for a few days to observe, then hopped the fence at night and went home.

He kept a lot of friends and relatives out of those camps by forging papers stating they had be released from the military. Civilians were allowed to go straight home. If Grandpa had been caught for breaking that law, they may have held onto him tighter.

Many descendants of immigrants criticize  other immigrants by saying, "but my family came here legally." Mine did. No one who knew my upstanding American citizen grandparents would doubt it. But if walking to America with four small children had been possible, would the young Walter Menssen, who took so many risks to take care of them, have waited for paperwork? I can't be sure of that. 

I'm not sure which conclusions to draw. I live in a very privileged community where most lawbreaking happens behind closed doors and on office computers. It is all too easy to criticize others' choices from this comfortable seat.

When is it right to break the law to feed or protect your family?

When is it right to practice civil, or even uncivil, disobedience to protect the rights of others? Some thoughts from famous people:


I've finished a project I'm quite unsure about. Since the solid colors are cashmere, it is deliciously soft and warm, but it's so pink.  I don't know who wants it. I'll wear it to church on Sunday and probably list it in my shop, but I'm thinking I've created a (very pink) white elephant.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Missing Ingredients: My Ethnic Food Legacy

One of the best things about the American melting pot is actually from the pot--food from all around the world. In any given week, my family will eat food that hails from Mexico, Italy, Greece, and China. Add in Japan for my solo sushi meals.

 And because this is America, it all gets delightfully mixed up. A nice Peruvian family does most of the work at our favorite Greek hamburger joint. We have a good Chinese restaurant where everyone is related and speaks Chinese, but we also indulge in drive-through Panda Express where the chefs are usually Mexican.

This doesn't look heathy. Is it just me?
What we almost never eat is German food, even though my dad was born in Germany and I grew up next door to German grandparents. Part of the problem is that there are few German restaurants in our area and no drive-throughs. (Working full time and chronic pain have curtailed my cooking and made us very reliant on take-out.) But the other issue is a lack of family recipes.

My Grandma was sometimes embarrassed by her inexperience when it came to German cuisine.  A German couple moved into our neighborhood and congregation when I was a child, but Grandma could never relate to them. They were a generation younger and a whole lot richer. When they talked about food, it was mostly about things Grandma had never tried.

Family stories tell of needing wheelbarrows of cash to buy bread.
Food wasn't easy to come by in Grandma's Germany. She was born at the end of WWI, grew up during the Great Depression, (which was far worse in Germany than in America) and got married two years before WWII. Here is a childhood food memory from her personal history:

Late afternoon just before the market closed the farmers would look through the bushels and baskets, and if it did not look good enough to bring back the next day they would dump it into big garbage trucks. That's where the poor people would watch and sort out the pretty good fruits and vegetables (mostly apples, pears, and oranges). My father always came home with a sack over his shoulder . . ..
Then at home the oval bathtub was on the kitchen table filled with clean water and all the gathered fruit got dumped in and washed good. Then they were nicely peeled and had the bad parts cut out, We children would all stand around the table and eat all we could. It was a favorite supper: bread with sliced pears or apples on it.

(One Christmas Eve, my cousin-in-law Nettie Frank, brought tasty appetizers with bacon and pears on bread. I thought it was a tribute to Grandma, but it was actually a chef thing.) 

Diet staples were bread, potatoes, cabbage with a little meat--usually sausage, when it could be found. Right after the war, things were at their most desperate, as Grandma reported:

When you went to bed and laid your head on a pillow it turned like a carousel and you hold on to the sides of your bed. Walter and especially the children had open sores on their legs and head that would not heal. . .. Many times we would divide the last end of bread for the children and we would find something in the garden to eat--berries, vegetables, etc. It got worse and worse. Every month the ration got cut. 

Near starvation made Grandma appreciate simple foods. The LDS welfare services shipped food into Europe as soon as possible after the war. One of the most joyous sections of Grandma's history talks about those food basics.

Sorry Grandma, I was never thankful for cracked wheat.
First we received potatoes from the saints in Holland!! After the German soldiers and tramped all their beautiful land down when they marched in. What a blessing that was. The stores also had vegetables from Holland, especially cauliflower which we ate three times a day. This was too much for some of our kids. They still don't like it even today. Then from America came five pound bags of cracked wheat, canned peaches, canned milk, and pork and beans (which had only one layer of beans on the bottom and top and the rest was pork--was that delicious!) To this day I like cracked wheat cooked in water and as a special treat a little canned milk added to it, then pour peaches over it--the perfect meal. . .. 

Grandma was thirty and had four children when she immigrated to America. Food was more plentiful, but there was neither time nor money for gourmet ambitions. Grandma was always busy gardening, taking care of children, and working part time for extra money. She cooked constantly to feed the masses, but usually while doing other things. Her youngest sons teased her about being a "pot smoker" because she often put something on to cook, then went out to the garden and forgot about it.

Gardening and preserving food from that garden was a full time job and an essential one. Famine was not abstract to my grandparents. They worked hard to stock up against hard times. Food was the ultimate blessing and never to be wasted. Here is a poem I wrote about Grandma and food a few years after she passed away and I moved into her house.

Grandma Menssen 

You’re here when I pick peaches off the ground. 
We cannot let them rot; waste is a sin. 
No matter there are plenty on the tree, 
Far more than I can eat and I won’t can. 
You did, filling up a fruit jar fortress 
Against the famine that you feared would come. 
Your childhood hunger forbade picky eating.
Refusing vegetables would bring a frown 
And sermon on ingratitude to God. 

Mowing your lawn, I wonder what you thought of 
While doing the same task. We scarcely talked— 
Both shy, quiet, me intimidated, 
Afraid you might send me to clean my room. 
Watching taught me what we have in common: 
Deep set eyes, big hips, and busy hands.
(I’m always knitting. You preferred crochet.)
You rarely smiled—we’re not a smiling clan— 
You, me, Dad, though transplanted to sunshine 
Stay gloomy like the gray of Hamburg skies.
Being outdoors seems to ease the burden
So I plant gardens underneath your trees.

What separated us is you could work
And seemed to like it, working all the time.
I will stand in weeds grown past my ankles
Ignore them and just gaze up at the sky.
You spoke in black and white and right and wrong
While I prefer the muddy shades of gray.
You taught high standards and though I fall short 
I eat my vegetables because of you.

Grandma didn't leave us a German food heritage, but we were left with a strong garden food heritage.

For many years, there was a family newsletter which each sibling contributed to. When Mom read them out loud to us, we laughed because they were almost all farm reports. Planting, weather, harvesting, took priority over dance recitals and soccer games. 

Fruit dishes are the part of my childhood garden diet that I remember most fondly. Probably because I didn't appreciate vegetables until adulthood. Grandma had two wonderful improvements to a basic white or yellow cake. Her go-to recipe was to top the cake with canned peaches with the juice thickened into a similar texture to Danish dessert. Of course there was Cool Whip as well. Even better is plum cake. The plums are Stanley or Italian plums--prunes before they are dried. The plums are halved and arranged inside-up on the top of cake batter, then the whole thing is sprinkled with sugar and baked. It's heaven, believe me.

I don't know if it's a German thing, but my mom would sometimes make fruit-centered dinners. Potato pancakes topped with applesauce (only good with tart, home-made applesauce) is German. But we also had cherry dumplings, tapioca pudding made from homemade grape juice and topped with vanilla ice cream, and homemade vanilla pudding topped with peaches, strawberries, or raspberries. Those may not have all been main courses, but that's how I remember them and it's making me hungry. I need to defrost a quart of raspberries and call it lunch. 

Do you have an ethnic food tradition, or a longing for one? I'd love to hear about it in the comments.


I am quite happy with my finished cowl made from beautiful merino from Mountain Meadows Wool. It is a nearly seamless tube and is very warm. I think it would be great for people who walk year round or cross country ski. It is available in my shop.