## Thursday, June 20, 2013

### Plus, Minus, Minus, Plus

Break-even (or break even) is the point of balance between making either a profit or a loss. The term originates in finance, but the concept has been applied widely since. -- Wikipedia
I've been thinking about integers this week. Yes, the math kind. Those whole numbers that can be more than zero or less than zero. If it's more than zero, you put a plus in front of it. Less than zero, you write a minus. And I remember a lesson back in elementary school about integers: it involved a witch and her cauldron... something about putting special "plus" cubes in that would increase the integer's value, and and then putting "minus" cubes in that would decrease it. And of course, if the pluses and minuses were of the same amount, you'd get zero.

Ahem, well... this is a blogpost about successes and failures, pluses and minuses, and trying to break even at zero. The week thus far has gone something like this:

Plus: I made an excellent dinner last night of grilled herring and zucchini with a mustard and basil dressing with quinoa on the side. I used this recipe. I didn't fillet the fish (I can't be bothered), but I did remove the heads from the fish before I took this photo for the squeamish among you.

Minus: I ran out of yarn for my current knitting project. After phoning around the yarn stores in the area, I ended up having to order another skein online so I can finish it. This is what I get for improvising and adding longer sleeves. It is my constant dilemma, this running-out-of-yarn thing.  Maybe one day I'll get it right.

Plus: I made up for the shipping by getting a couple of skeins of undyed yarn and a couple of skeins of white yarn that I've been wanting for a while now. This will allow me to try out some colourwork that has been on my mind for the past few months.

Minus: I lost my bottle of conditioner that I bring with me to the pool. I think I left it in the showers. I do this at least once a year, but sometimes I get lucky and find a bottle someone else has left behind.

Plus: I've been working out at the gym with a new exercise program. I've been feeling strong and fit and proud of myself.

Minus: My leg muscles are very, very tight. I need to do some major stretching and foam rolling to get them back on track.

Plus: I found some kale seedlings in a local garden shop. I bought one green and one red variety. I go through a lot of vegetables, and kale is always something I'm on the lookout for in the supermarket. The lady at the shop was very glad to see us buy them, since they were getting a bit root-bound in the pots. She also said it should take off as soon as it gets some room in the ground to grow, and that hers was way bigger than she wanted it to be. Kale chips for everyone!

Minus: I forgot to buy eggs.

Plus: I also found some cilantro and mint seedlings. I've never had much luck growing cilantro (it always seems to go immediately to seed), but I figured I could give it a shot anyway. And the mint is not actually in the ground in the photo below. I prefer to keep it in a pot and bury the pot in the ground, because mint has a tendency to take over and can be very hard to control. Cilantro = baked falafel and curries. Mint = our favourite couscous side dish and our favourite crab and pasta dish.

Possible minus: I found some lettuce and spinach seeds in the same garden shop. The spinach goes into my smoothies and gets used as a dinner veg. The lettuce is a red heirloom variety, which always does my heart good, since I like the idea of growing vegetables that are not mass-produced. It's a bit late to be starting them, but I'm hoping to get a longer growing season for them here, since we get cooler temperatures overall that leafy greens seem to prefer. We'll see how it goes.

Minus: I tried to make a skirt out of some pretty fabric I bought last summer during a visit to Vancouver. I cut the fabric crooked, and ended up with a skewed, crooked mess. I got cocky: it was too slippery of a fabric for me to to try out with my novice sewing skills. Sewing project failure.

Plus: I picked up some cute knit jersey fabric at 70 percent off when I dropped into a fabric store this afternoon to buy some better scissors. This is fabric I can sew with! Maybe after I work on this for a while, the other fabric will become easier to handle.

I'm thinking this week is going to end on a plus because I'm heading out tomorrow afternoon to visit my friend, Dawg, in Vancouver for the weekend. I'm excited to see him, even though we chat almost every single day online. There's no substitute for the In-Person Adriene Experience, you know.

Ah, integers and witch cauldrons. That's our math lesson for the week!