I have been tagged.

Five Things Regularly Stocked in my Refrigerator

1. nonfat yogurt
2. shrimp sauce
3. vegetables
4. fruit
5. anchovy paste

Well, we also have eggs, milk, and butter, and often meat as well. But for sheer space, the vegetables win. Shrimp sauce and anchovy paste don’t take up so much space, but they have a good deal of Presence.

I tag twopeasinpod, PureGuava, Lanam Facio, and Splendid Swatches. I have never tagged non-xangans before. I guess tag seems like a game to be played in your own neighborhood, while waiting for your mom to call you for dinner. However, there has been discussion lately on the knitblogs of how some knitblogs are being exclusionary and having in-groups and cliques. They are not talking about me. They are talking about famous knitbloggers. I respond to the idea of “famous knitbloggers” as I do to Ozarque’s use of the term “superstar linguist.” Or “rogue economist.” An oxymoron, in short. Mick Jagger is famous, and a superstar, and neither linguists nor knitting bloggers are in danger of finding themselves in his position. There are two knitting bloggers whom I would consider sufficiently well-known to be famous among knitting bloggers: Stephanie, aka The Yarn Harlot, and Wendy of Wendy Knits. Neither of them seems to me to be behaving badly. However, in support of those who are more in the know than I and are seeing a problem, I am reaching out to some non-xangans. Plus, I want to know what is in their refrigerators.

After I posted my list of projects, Chanthaboune weighed in with hers and the Vicster’s. I haven’t met the Vicster, but he sure attends a lot of meetings. If he doesn’t watch out, he’s going to end up on the faculty somewhere. And you can’t even knit in faculty meetings, so be warned. They are, like most students, way too busy.

But I was apparently not really busy enough, because I added something to my list.

It started innocently enough. I was cleaning out my pantry, and came upon the Bad Soap. I set it out so that I could use it to scrub down my front porch. It is after all Front Porch week on the HP, and this sort of heavy housework is all that I use the Bad Soap for.

Now, I don’t want you to think that I only make Bad Soap. I make good soap all the time. Here is what is left of my last batch. This is melt and pour soap. That is the closest to coloring books that an adult crafter can get. You stick the stuff in your microwave, mix up colors and scents, pour it into molds, and end up with good-quality soap for far less than you would pay for it. And if you want a eucalyptus-mint scented mandolin-playing frog, as you can dimly see in the upper left corner, you can have it.

But #1 daughter sent me for my birthday a book on making liquid soap. Seduced by the gorgeous names of the recipes, I attempted to make some out of chemicals. Unfortunately, it involved standing and stirring for ages, which I did not want to do. Having cheated on the stirring, I ended up with a jar of stuff that looked like a scummy pond. The Bad Soap. I use it for heavy cleaning. So I was looking at it and thinking that I ought to throw the scrofulous-looking stuff away.

Then I thought, what the heck, it’s chemicals. If I do something with it, it will change.

I realize that this is a somewhat scary position to take. But I know what is in this stuff — lye, which is already neutralized, and oils. Coconut oil, almond oil, oil of jasmine. What harm could they do? And when we make candy, the other bit of household chemistry that we undertake chez fibermom, we work through any failures and turn it into something else. Why not do the same with soap?

Also, I still have a lot of lye hanging around. I cannot throw it away, and making soap is all I can possibly do with it. I feel as though I must conquer this skill. Someday.

So I reread the directions. Unfortunately, they still involved stirring for hours. So I just poured it back into my soapmaking crockpot and plugged it in. After a couple of days, I let it cool off and it had become a lovely creamy paste. There was still a bit of separating going on, though, so I plugged it back in. I figure that I will give in and stir it a bit over the weekend when I need a break from knitting.

The Wall Street Journal had a reminder about how the early Olympic athletes prepared for the Olympics. They ate plenty of wild boar and cheese, rubbed their bodies with olive oil, and abstained from sex. I thought you would want to know.

Like Merchant Ships also steered me to this amazing post about laundry. If ever you begin to feel that you are doing too much housework, go have a look at this woman boiling her dishcloths (probably wise), mangling her tablecloths (probably less trouble than ironing them) and starching her towels. Then go sit down and fan yourself a bit.