The First Time Having Socks

I’m knitting a pair of socks right now.  Pattern?  Heh.  I don’t really use one.

What I do (for you knitters out there), is a figure-8 cast-on toe-up sock knit in a stockingette with short row heels and a 2X2 rib for the cuff.  It’s the way I made the first pair of socks I ever made, and I like the basic idea.

I don’t even know if I do the short-rows “right”, mind.  But since the shape works, I don’t really care.

Hand-knit socks are funny.  If you’ve never worn them, the idea of getting socks as a gift seems a bit lame.  I get that. But I’ll tell you what, the look on a person’s face when they first try on a well-knit pair of hand-knit wool socks is funny as can be.   They look apprehensive at first, trying them on.  They don’t want to offend, but really, it’s a sock. How exciting can a sock be?  Besides, a hand-knits sock made to the specs of a specific person’s foot can look weirdly-shaped — not at all like commercial socks.

So here the person in, trying on… socks.  How silly.   They poke in the toe, and slide it over the foot gingerly.  After all, this is something hand-knit, and the maker is right there.  What if they <gasp> tear the sock that the knitter is clearly so proud of? How are they supposed to react?  Then, as the sock slides over the foot and nestles over the heel, the wearer gets this goofy look of bliss on their face, holds out the foot and wiggles the toes.  There is this dawning look of delight, rotating the foot and grinning.

You knitters know what I’m talking about.  I just wish I’d the sense to get pictures of people trying on hand-knit socks for the first time.

Exercising While Fat

A friend of mine got yelled at out of a car window recently. She’s the author of Living ~400lbs and discusses being at the sigma six of the weight curve, being active, and life at that weight.

Being active? Yeah, like me she believes in working out. Just because it doesn’t automagically make you skinny doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. (We’re both technical people and by the nature of the work, that’s darn sedentary. We have to do something.)

I have a question for people: Do you deliberately put yourself in situations where you are likely to be mistreated on a regular basis? If not, why do you act surprised when a fat person doesn’t want to work out publicly? The very worst years of my life were high school, where I was yelled at, harassed and mistreated on a daily basis, and I could not get away from it. As an adult, I am not likely to choose to be in such a situation again. Not ever.

One of the lovely things about being in my forties and having developed a prickly hauteur is that being on the wrong end of this sort of rudeness is rare. But it’s not unknown. A gym patron made a wisecrack about my weight a few months ago. This individual and I do have a bit of a teasing relationship, but I did let him know that he was crossing a line. I did have to be professional about it as I work there, mind.

What is more common for me is a locker room comment about my “bravery” for appearing in a bathing suit. No, the women aren’t trying to be mean at all. They’re being genuine. They recognize that many women who would benefit from the joint-friendliness of water exercise don’t because they’re self-conscious in a bathing suit, and no wonder. People can sometimes be obnoxious. I had to work up the guts to go work out in the college pool with all the young athletes! One thing I did notice is that it wasn’t the athletes or the hard cores that were likely to be jerks. The one time I was messed with in a lane at the college was in the evening (On land I was on crutches from knee surgery and feeling vulnerable. I swear it can be like blood in a shark tank to a certain type of person) and it was a frat boy who thought he was funny. I don’t think he found being dunked by the fat lady quite so funny. But that kind of thing can get you down. I don’t get crap in the pool much these days. My skill makes it obvious I belong there and making a comment only makes you look like an ass. Thing is, as far as I am concerned, you don’t have to earn the right to work out by being really skilled at something. You have a right to go into a gym and be clumsy or slow or whatever. You have a right to walk down the sidewalk or ride a bike, or whatever you want to do.

How to Make Dessert Shooters

I’ve been doing No-S as a diet lately. If I’ve never mentioned it before, it’s quite simple. No Sweets, No Snacks and No Seconds, except (sometimes) on days beginning with S. It’s less of a quick weight loss scheme and more of a way to regulate eating. While I’m not overindulging, I’m certainly eating enough!

But, being an S-day, I wanted a treat. While a huge sweet would be perfectly legal, I like the idea of moderating treats. You know, like they say the French do. (Wonderful food, but small, delicious portions).

So, one of the things I’m doing for treats is making them deliciously special, but small.

Small is definitely the point here. This is a mini martini glass.   It holds about two ounces, so you’re talking about something the size of a shot glass.  In fact, shot glasses make superb glasses for dessert shooters.  (Hey!  Maybe that’s where the name came from.  Hint:  Yes.  It did.)I bought these glasses because I love a dirty martini or an appletini, but frankly, those 8 oz. cocktail glasses I have are just too big for what is essentially a drink that’s pure alcohol.  (Trivia fact: Cocktail glasses used to be about 4oz.   They’ve gotten bigger!)But not only are they good for enjoying alcohol in moderate amounts, they’re good for enjoying desserts in the same way.
The principle behind a satisfying dessert shooter is to layer tastes and textures.  The base layer should be fairly firm.  Think cake, cookies, or anything sweet that retains a reasonably firm texture.This particular shooter has small cubes of pound cake I had left over from the pound cake.But in building your shooter, you don’t have to choose something neutral like vanilla pound cake.  You can pick something strongly-flavored like gingerbread, dark chocolate cake or anything that has a firm texture and a distinct taste.
Remember, principle is to contrast flavor and texture.  So if you choose a neutral base layer, you should be choosing something with a stronger, more distinct flavor.  If you chose a strong flavor for the base layer, choose a milder flavor for the secondary layer.In either case, you also want to contrast not only the flavor, but the texture.  The base layer should have a firmer texture, so the secondary layer should be something smoother or creamier.  Think ice cream, pudding or something along those lines.This particular shooter is using mint oreo ice cream.
After you add the secondary layer, you can use a tertiary layer of some other flavor. In this case, I didn’t but repeated the pound cake/ice cream theme.
The final layer can be another flavor if you wish.  In this case, hot fudge, which gave not only a flavor and texture contrast, but a temperature one, too!This is also a good time to use a garnish, if you want.  Say a berry or two, or maybe a sprig of mint. My grocery store didn’t have any.  Hey, I live in rural New Hampshire and it’s February in a snowstorm.  What the devil do you expect?

These were a big hit at my house this evening! Everyone in my family loves tasty things, and this was an amazingly easy treat that looks impressive and tastes wonderful. You could make up a bunch of these for parties. Because they’re so quick and simple, you could even serve several different sorts to suit several tastes.