stitching, bike baskets, and cupcakes

Stitches used in this portion include:

  • Petit cross stitch (over a single square of 28-count evenweave)
  • Irish stitch (which is really just a bargello variation)

This weekend was the Fremont Art & Wine Festival, so I made sure to avoid that end of town. It’s just way too much of a crowd for me to handle anymore; plus they have the same crap every year, anyway.

I rode my bicycle all the way down Decoto into Union City, because I haven’t been really far on the new bicycle yet and I wanted to see how it rode over the course of a few miles. It’s excellent, very smooth and easy.

I found a plastic basket at Daiso for only $4, it’s basically like a basket you’d use in a grocery store. I attached it to the rack with zip ties and tried it out with a bag of cat litter, to make sure having weight behind me didn’t cause the bicycle to drag or throw off my gravity. It works great, I couldn’t even really tell I was hauling an extra 10 pounds or so. It’s going to work out really well for groceries.

I poked around in Marina Foods after I went to Daiso. It’s right next door, and I haven’t been in there for a while, since Ranch 99 is right down the street. It’s bigger than Ranch 99 and they have 3 whole aisles of sweets. I found blueberry Pocky, which I didn’t even know existed! And also they have those mushroom-shaped cookies that I could only find in Japantown before.

Lately for some reason I’ve been craving cupcakes, so Saturday when I got home I made these:

Red Velvet Cupcakes

  1. With a mixer, cream 1/2 cup unsalted butter with 1 1/2 cups of white sugar.
  2. Add 2 eggs, 1 cup of whole milk, 1 oz. red food coloring, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, and 1 tbsp. white vinegar. Mix well.
  3. Sift in 2 cups of flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1 tsp. salt. Mix well.
  4. Pour into greased cupcake tins (or use paper liners, but I never do, I have really great non-stick tins) and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool and frost with desired frosting. I used dark chocolate. I don’t think that’s traditional, I seem to recall red velvet cakes usually have a pale frosting, vanilla or buttercream; but you know what? My cupcakes, my rules!

Makes 15 cupcakes.

Also, here is some graffiti I saw on the bus Friday evening:

Speaking of buses, I had a driver this morning who’s apparently never drove my route before, because he drove right past the business district where the school is without turning in. I was like excuse me, and he goes “Oh, this bus doesn’t go in there.” So what you’re telling me is that every driver I’ve had for the past year and a half has made the same mistake every day? And all those little bus stop signs with the same number as this bus are what, just decoration?

I made him make a U-turn and go back. Honestly, it’s not my intention to be a bitch most of the time, but it’s like circumstances force me into it. I mean, I wasn’t just going to meekly sit there, then either backtrack a mile (including over a freeway overpass), or take the next bus in the other direction, both options which would have made me late for work. If he had just said “Oops sorry, I’m new”, I would have totally understood. But no, he has to treat me like I’m some kind of fucking idiot. I use the bike rack and have a monthly pass; neither of things should scream “NOVICE BUS RIDER”. Obviously I’m going to know when not just my stop, but an entire portion of the route gets skipped.

stitching, bike assembly, and sleep-eating


Stitches used in the 2nd section include:

  • Long-arm cross
  • Double cross
  • Satin stitch–so easy on evenweave!!
  • Algerian eyelet

The caps of the top center triple acorn motif were supposed to be queen stitches, but those never look very nice to me (stitches that require tacking always seem lumpy and crowded), so I used double crosses, since they occupy the same amount of squares, and it turned out really nice.

Saturday I rolled up my sleeves and got to work assembling the bike. It took most of the afternoon, and I won’t pretend there weren’t times when I wanted to scream and throw things, and there were definately a few instances of muffled cursing. Especially when I was trying to figure out how to attach the front fender, and align the handlebars (which, since that’s how you steer, has to be pretty close to perfect). The directions that came with it were pretty useless, they weren’t specific to the Schwinn Windwood and there was a lot of stuff that didn’t even apply, like disc brakes and directions for gears. I wound up pretty much just doing it by eyeball and common sense.

But in the end I persevered, and it’s worth it. For the last couple of months I’ve felt like I really have to use every ounce of energy to move at all on the old bike, and if I was headed into the wind (and it’s almost always windy around here in the afternoon), forget it. I would literally inch forward; I could have walked faster. My thighs and calves were always strained and tired. This bike requires much less effort and even into the wind I can still go pretty fast. Plus, it’s just so darn cute! I have to get a box for the rear storage area.

The only thing I didn’t accomplish is putting a better innertube in the back tire. I just could not get one of the bolts to budge. The repair shop presumably has better tools, and I know they have more upper-body strength, so I’ll just wait for it to go flat (and with my luck, it will probably happen by the end of the week) and have the Bicycle Garage put the tube in. And not tighten the bolt so much that I can’t get it off myself next time. So I think I’ll hang onto the old bike until that happens, just in case I can’t get it done while I wait.

So Saturday night I was pretty sore and exhausted, so I took a bunch of Advil and some sleeping medication, because I’d ran out of melatonin on Friday night and didn’t have time to get more. It was just over-the-counter stuff. But you remember all those stories a while back about Ambien causing sleep-eating? I swear to dog, it happened to me! I keep most of my dry goods on a shelving unit in my bedroom, because my allotted kitchen cabinet space is taken up by dishes and pots and pans and really bulky stuff like flour and rice sacks. Anyway, I had this box of big, individually-wrapped cookies called Choco Tarts that I got at the Asian supermarket for my lunch, and when I woke up Sunday morning the open box was on the floor by my bed, and one of them had been eaten, and I have no memory whatsoever of doing it! Freaky.