Unraveled Wednesday, 12/1/21.

Joining Kat and friends. Go see what the others are up to.

Knitting.

Remember the blue fingering weight hat that stretched so badly when I blocked it? I did the only thing I could think of that might possibly remedy my disaster: I put it with a load of white laundry and washed and dried it on the hottest settings in my washer and dryer. That did help, although the hat is still rather larger than it should be. I made a second hat to replace it and will send all three to Canada. If neither my brother nor SIL can wear it, I’m sure they can find some worthy charity in need of a hat.

Left, the fingering weight hat that stretched so much in the blocking bath. It recovered a bit when dried. Middle, the first replacement hat. Right, the almost-finished third hat. They will hit the post office on Thursday.

Reading.

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I finally finished this book. Sheesh, it really was not worth the effort. Happily, the author did not feel the need to provide a paragraph of explanation for every line of dialog in the second half of the book. Tragically, I had to suffer through the first half to get there. I see no reason to change my rating. 2✭

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Matrix by Lauren Groff. This is a very talked-about book, but I am not sure what the hype was about. It is the story of Marie, a teenage French girl in 1158, who is sent to England to an abbey to become a nun. The book follows her through her life there. The abbey is poor with half-starved nuns when she arrives. She eventually becomes prioress, then abbess, and builds the abbey to be one of the richest. I consider the time I spent reading it to be largely wasted. The book lacks the usual story arc because it seems to have no ultimate conflict near the end. 3✭but ymmv.

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The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield. Hadfield is the astronaut made famous by his singing of the David Bowie hit Space Oddity (Ground control to Tom). I confess I checked out the book because of Hadfield’s fame. I am only one night’s reading into it so I will not rate it. Hadfield has a bit of Tom Clancy in his writing — way too many technical details for the average reader. (Clancy seemed to be compelled to describe every nut and bolt used to construct an atomic bomb.) But I will persevere and hope the plot is worth the effort.

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Now that I have caught up on all my library books (except that I still have three on hold), I plan to spend a couple months not requesting books and instead reading the books I already own. Genius, huh?! Goodreads tells me I have read 100 books so far this year. Seems like a good point to switch up my reading.

Listening.

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Vanishing Fleece by Clara Parkes. This is read by the author, who had such a lovely, welcoming voice that I could listen to her read almost anything. This is the story of the 675-pound bale of very special fleece and how it went. Because I did not participate in the bale’s eventual distribution, the most of the story is new to me. I am finding it to be a lovely story. 4✭

Watching.

The cast of the new season, including all the bakers.

The Great British Baking Show. Actually, they seemed to have changed the title for this new season on Netflix; it is now referred to as The Great British Bake Off. Hmmph. That title seems a rip-off on the Pillsbury Bake-Off,* which is still going strong, apparently.

Anyway, I discovered that the show had a new season – yay! It is such a fun program to watch, although the two women who gave comedy relief in the first season never came back, boo hoo. They were great. And I always get inspired to bake something after watching a few episodes.

* Back in 1979 shortly after I was hired by a large accounting firm in Minneapolis, I was assigned to be the point person handing all the entries to that year’s Pillsbury Bake-Off. My accounting firm had been associated with Pillsbury, headquartered in Minneapolis, since the 1920s, and one of the services we provided was to manage the early stages of the Bake-Off. My job was to supervise the three women from the temp agency who opened the entries, sorted them into the nine categories — desserts, baking, main dishes, each of which had 3 sub-categories that I do not remember — and verified that the entry followed the contest rules. Then I labeled each entry with a number and another temp person came in after business hours to Xerox the entries after covering the entrant’s name, which was written on the entry; the entry would display only have the number I assigned. The next day another temp took the previous day’s entries to the three home economists — independent, not Pillsbury employees — who read and rated them. Same temp picked the entries up the next day and brought them back to the office. The ones that the home ecs had rated as worthy of attention went to Pillsbury, the rest sat in bags in my office. Through this whole process I kept track of the number of entries that came in the door, were eliminated for not following the rules, were Xeroxed, went to the home ecs, were approved as worthy, eliminated, and taken to Pillsbury.

It was a horrible job. All I could do was screw up; if I did everything perfectly and all the numbers balanced, that just meant I had given Pillsbury the expected outcome. If I screwed up — say, the numbers of entries in each stage somehow didn’t add up — there would be some explaining to do. With 50,000+ recipes coming and going across my desk, a few slip-ups were inevitable. But apparently there was nothing that troubled the Pillsbury people I dealt with and I got to keep my real job, i.e., as a staff auditor.

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6 Responses to Unraveled Wednesday, 12/1/21.

  1. Kathleen Walsh says:

    All three look magnificent! Phil says he wants to finger wrestle me for whichever one that he prefers the most. No need for that, as he gets first pick of the wonderful work of his sisters hands! Lots of appreciation from up here in the cold of Canada!

  2. marijo1951 says:

    Hi from England. The baking show that you mention was always called ”The Great British Bake Off” here. Maybe the title was changed originally in the US because of the Pilsbury contest (largely unknown here)

    It was commissioned by the BBC who broadcast it from 2010 to 2016, but in 2017 the makers moved the show to Channel 4, because of a disagreement with the BBC. At that point Sue and Mel (the comedians), and also Mary Berry (the baking expert), decided to leave the show. I haven’t watched it for years – ever since I was obliged to give up refined sugar and so decided to stop baking. However my daughter assures me that Prue Leith is much more entertaining than Mary Berry and that Noel Fielding is hilarious.

  3. Kym says:

    Ah, yes. Matrix. What a very . . . odd book. I’m right there with you — there was no conflict. And it begged for conflict. Anyway . . . I hope you’ll join in our Read With Us Zoom to talk about it! (There’s a lot to talk about with this one, I think.) And I love the hats, Kathy. The colors are divine. XO

  4. Kat says:

    Oh that Matrix… it was a stretch for sure! I was really enjoying the beginning of the story and was quite engaged with young Marie, but then it all fell apart for me. Those visions… just a little too tidy for me. And for me the ending was wtf… really?

    The hats are wonderful and those Canadian heads will appreciate them!

  5. gayle says:

    Marijo beat me to the Bake Off explanation – good! I’ve been enjoying the show every year since my oldest daughter introduced me to it. Previous to the last two years, the whole season would be dropped as a whole so we’d binge watch it. The pandemic years have gone to a format of releasing one episode per week (you know, like back in Dinosaur Days) so we’ve gone half mad waiting for the next one to drop. One of the things I particularly like about the show is that the contestants will typically jump in to help someone who’s struggling – quite refreshing given how cut-throat American competitions tend to be…

  6. Jane says:

    The hats looks great. I’m sure they will keep someone warm. I really enjoyed Clara Parkes reading Vanishing Fleece. You are so right – she has a lovely welcoming voice.

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