Over 10 years of living with my stove and I finally discover…

…holy crap, the top lifts up for easy cleaning!

I’ve been trying to clean that drip pan area from the top through the burner holes the entire time. This is much better!

This all came about because both large elements gave up the ghost and I bought four new ones, plus new drip pans. In doing a thorough scrub, I happened to lift the stovetop up and to my surprise, it moved!

Here’s to new features on old appliances.

The evening in which we throw axes

Matt visited his brother in Indianapolis earlier this month. He sent me pictures of him standing in front of a bullseye painted on wood next to a hatchet wedged deep into the wood.

“What is this?” I asked him

“Ax throwing,” he replied. “It’s a thing here.”

“I’m surprised we don’t have that thing here,” I typed

Turned out, we did.

We threw axes at Jack Axe, which is located in the Tiki Family Fun Center in Gresham. We arrived 20 minutes early as requested, heard the safety information and the lesson and then were set loose on the range with four other people.

Our four other people turned out to be great fun, inventing different ways to throw an ax (on one foot; with your eyes closed!) and providing challenges such as affixing a $5 bill to the target. It made our 60 minutes go by quickly.

I was able to hit the target several times. It’s a very satisfying sensation when the ax sticks. Jack Axe wets down the wood, though, so I’m not sure I would have such good results out in the wild.

At $20 per person for 60 minutes, this wasn’t fun enough to meet that high money threshold, but I enjoyed myself and am glad to have done it.

Dishcloth: Purple Passion

As noted before, all the patterns in this book are inspired by the yarn. In my case, I seem to have knitted Lemon Meringue, rather than Purple Passion.

I really like this pattern. It’s one that I might eventually make the go-to knit dishcloth pattern. I like that there are vastly different sections, so it’s easier to see where I am in the repeat. It’s visually appealing and looks fancy.

As noted before, I didn’t do the full repeat of the pattern because it would have involved starting a new skein of yarn. But I think six rows instead of eight is fine.

I might cut down the top and bottom borders a bit, should I make this again.

How’s that bullet journal thing going?

You might recall that back in October, I decided to check out the Bullet Journal method. I have, and here is my report.

As you can see by this picture, I have not succumbed to the Bullet Journal craziness of fancy fonts, washi tape and gorgeous illustrations. But I am using the system.

It’s going well. I like writing things on a list and crossing them off, so that’s fun. I like that I can start whenever.

I don’t love trying to find my notes for things. Even though I have an index started in the front, it never occurs to me to check the index. So I have flags on pages that are still relevant and check them now and again.

I shall continue on with the Bullet Journal and rejoice in the simple feeling of pen on paper.

Dishcloth: Pansy Patch

I haven’t been a very active knitter of late. I worked on this on Thanksgiving, when I figured out how to increase after knitting the fourth row, and then I did nothing until around Christmas time when I started up again.

I finished this dishcloth and laughed when I set it out to photograph it. I forgot to do the end border, which in this picture is missing from the top of the dishcloth.

And that’s what I like about knitting dishcloths. It’s a very low bar. If I give this to someone who likes knit dishcloths, they will be thrilled and not spend much time analyzing the flaws.

The dishcloths in the book I am working out of are winder than I would prefer. At their current width I should use more than one skein to make them square. But that would be a huge dishcloth, so they end up rectangular instead of square. Perhaps after I finish knitting all of them I will see if I can figure out how to make them not as wide, without destroying the pattern.

Baby Blanket Finished!

“Maybe I’m done making baby blankets?” I thought to myself in the spring. Most everyone I know who was going to have children seemed to have had them.

A week or so later I got a message from Cindy saying that Casey was pregnant and they were going to be mothers! So it seemed that I had yet to make my last baby blanket.

In June, Julie and I went to Fabric Depot for the supplies.

And then, some months passed. Fabric Depot closed their doors forever. The baby was born in August and still no blanket.

But I wanted to get the blanket done before the year was out and as December started to slip away, I blocked out a chunk of time on the last day of the year.

Voila!

One thing I like about making baby blankets is that I mostly make them in colors I like. (I know how that sounds, but it’s true.) And I quite like these colors, plus the cute birds.

Halfway through monogramming, I remembered one of my friends has a monogramming machine I probably could have used, and I sighed, because this isn’t my best work. But the plus of making the blanket after the baby is born is that I get to do a full set of initials which is fun.

I had a plan to monogram the outline of the symbol from the front of Sisterhood is Powerful, but that plan did not come to pass, alas.

Anyway, I hope Cindy, Casey and Baby M are happy with their gift.

A review of 2018 financial goals

I made some financial goals in 2018 and I met some of them.

First of all, I paid off my student loans! I am still excited about this, even many months later.

I had a rather ambitious savings rate goal, which I did not meet, partially because Oct–December I funnelled any extra money (including birthday money) into starting my business. But 35% of my net pay is nothing to sneeze at.

I did not start the financial independence blog. I thought I was going to take two months (September and October) and get both the 3SMReviews blog and the financial independence blog launched, and I was very wrong in that thinking. My new goal is to start in September 2019, when I’m more settled in my 3SMReview production schedule.

I did find some side gigs. I’m starting a copyediting business and I’ve got 3SMReviews on its way to making money, though that might be a slow process. I also learned what I don’t want to do for side gigs, which are gig economy things that throw me out of my routine (charging scooters, doing store audits, stuff like that). I’m happy to come home from work at the same time every day and work at my desk for two more hours. What I don’t like is random things popping up here and there. Basically, everything that Financial Panther does, does not work for me. I’m glad that I learned that.

“Retirement accounts in the best place for them,” was code for “Should I move my money match money out of the PERS system?” I have decided not to do that at this time. We shall see if that was a wise decision.

Christmas 2018

And so we gather to celebrate Christmas.

The tree, in all its splendor.

The meat pie, in all its splendor.

After breakfast and presents, we had a Fun Christmas Activity. This consisted of a variety of activities one could partake in. Here are some pictures of what we did.

Linda made a New Year’s scene from a purposefully limited supply of colored paper.

Matt’s scene

Matt attempts the blind Christmas tree tear.(After first cheating and folding a Christmas tree.)

His two results.

Linda’s blind Christmas tree.

Chris works away at the Christmas packet, consisting of trivia questions, a crossword, a word search, and a cryptogram. Aunt Pat cleaned the kitchen. (Cleaning up was a category, as was taking a nap.)

Mom made a New Year’s scene.

I attempted a Blind Christmas Tree tear, and was better at the Christmas tree then taking a picture of it.

Aunt Pat’s cat Roo takes a break.

Aunt Carol’s New Year’s scene.

One of our activities was reading a poem aloud. Inside one volume of the Book of Verse, I found my grandmother’s transcription of “Thanksgiving Day.” This was a great find. I so rarely come across her handwriting.

And here are the final standings of all who participated.

Broadway Rose Theater 1940s Radio Christmas Carol

It’s been a long drought of theater and then I get to see two shows in two days. My Aunt Carol was too busy to take advantage of her Broadway Rose ticket, so I got to come along to A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol.

This was a fine Christmas production which told the story of a 1940’s radio broadcast where the players combine song and story (and radio commercials!) and run into some problems with their radio version of Charles Dicken’s classic Christmas story.

Also, I always enjoy watching the radio sound man, and this play delivered on that front.

Asylum Theater Speed-the-Plow

The Northwest Classical Theatre Company has taken its last bow in Portland and I miss it. So when I received an email that one of the players from the NWCTC was starting a new company and would preforming David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow, I made a note to buy tickets.

And we did! And here we are back at the Shoebox Theater, which is now the home of Theatre Vertigo. They’ve taken down the costumes which used to hang from the ceiling and done a few things different with the lighting and the painting, but otherwise it’s still the same cozy place.

I had forgotten that when you walk into the theater there are usually some newbies who gasp and exclaim at how tiny the theater is. That was fun to experience again.

Self portrait.

Speed-the-Plow was a great play! It was made better by the fact that when it started, it was trending in a direction of me not liking it. Two guys talking about the amazing deal they were going to make on a movie is not my favorite thing. But things kept shifting and I felt like I had the rug pulled out from under me several times.

Jason Maniccia and Danny Bruno were great as Gould and Fox and Briana Ratterman was also very good as Karen.* Don Alder directed.

Matt and I had a lot to chew on as we drove home from the theater, which is always the mark of a good play. Hopefully we will see another production by Asylum Theater soon.

Fun audience moment: the music playing before the play started included “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” by U2 from their Rattle and Hum album. I was signing along quietly and noticed that the woman sitting on the other side of Matt was also singing along quietly.

*Fun fact: Madonna played Karen when the play debuted in 1988. Also fun fact: the revival of this play was supposed to star Jeremy Piven, but he begged off claiming Mercury poisoning due to eating too much sushi.