Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Don't Go There, Girlfriend...

First, the knitting news. By 2:30am, I'd finished the lovely Jaywalker in Moda Dea's Sassy Stripes 'Crush'. "Just ONE more row..." You would see a lovely scanned pic of these, if I could pry the buggers off of Fry's feet. Actually, this pleases me that she loves them so. Whenever I get my Jaywalkers done, I'll have the three of us wear ours for a photo. Hub's is not the famed Jaywalkers, but are beloved nonetheless.

To keep me busy, I'm finishing up or starting the little Peaches and Cream cotton sachets for the Zum Bar soap. Oooo. Fry and I went to the health food store, hoping to catch Crazy Wednesday's 30% off everything. Instead, we'll have to catch Crazy Friday. We bought fizzy lemonade, too salty but organic potato chips, and chocolate, dark, with espresso bean chips. Yummmm.

Um, back to the yarn. Fry's mit, the sachets, my Jaywalker, and now, a sweater for Fry. She conned me into it. I'll make it a ladies medium so that when she outgrows it and I draw down, we can share the garment. Even after all the goodies, I'm still a ladies medium, mostly. I prefer my sweaters to not need elastic for me to breathe.

I have Fry as a witness to this. I got carded today. Ha ha ha! On O'DOULS, no less. Me, carded. OF course I wasn't mad, nor did I mind. Did have the attitude of "Riiiiight." Must have been that I was broken out like a teenager.

Now then, the part where I should not go. On my Yahoo page, I have a CBS News opinion module. Sometimes it leads to things like "It is worth remembering that an abuse of power similar to Bush's NSA wiretapping decision was part of the impeachment charge brought against Richard Nixon in 1974." Then, I fell into something like "Wouldn't that be a truly just response to the real high crimes and misdemeanors that this lawbreaking president has so clearly committed?"

To me, it doesn't matter what the party of the President happens to be, I'd rather his Bill of Rights violations, his manipulating data that led to thousands being killed and more maimed, and his encouraged bad treatment of political prisoners (in Abu Graihb) be investigated as completely as another President's Oval Office oral sex by two consenting and enthusiastic adults.

What's amazing to me is that one president (Nixon, for the less aged) has to resign due to his wiretapping, while another taunts us from his perch. Do we as Americans love this guy so much we'll take whatever crap he gives us? Was the faking information about Saddam's WMD's ok, because it's not 'my' father, son or husband going off to die. (Actually, it WAS my husband and he could always go again.) Was it his and his administration's encouragement of personnel to treat prisoners in ways worse than the example we Americans should be setting for the rest of the world? Nope. It was the fact that someone may be listening and recording what a person says on the phone or in email. What? You don't WANT the "anything you say or write can and will be used against you by anyone at any time" policy to apply to you???

This "As long as it's not ME," attitude is disgusting. Our country is an A+ student who's cutting classes, shoplifting, and flunking out of school. I don't think it would be THAT hard for us to be better and to expect better of our 'leaders'.

I think I've earned my "Don't Go There" title for today. What I think and $3.50US will get me a nice mocha grande at Starbucks. Tells you how important THAT is. ;)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

All Knitting, All The Time

There are probably family members out there thinking "Does she ever do or think about anything but knitting and yarn???" No. That's it, pretty much. Fry is overjoyed at the progress I've made on her sock. For a tomboy, she's liking the colors. She wants those clear shoes so everyone can see her socks. I can NOT wait until they're both done, on her feet, and a picture is taken.

I tore through the Knit Wit on Monday morning like water through a cheap paper towel. Major damage was done, I had a great time. Those keeping score will see the lovely Mission Falls 1824, no longer being produced. I bought enough for a yoke sweater, inspired by Wendy's Bohus. The body will be the lavender, with the other colors adding to the design. Fry's Nordic mits will be my practice on color changes and they're next in the queue.

Unless, of course, I decide to make the Summer Autumn in Kansas shawl of this beautiful stuff. It's soft, brilliant, and lighter than air.

Here are some future hats, socks for Fry, and baby booties.

The two different balls are for scarves. I love Dune, the name of this yarn. It was in the discount bin so of course I had to get it. :D The Lamb's Pride, I'm thinking, will be paired with the Noro in the prior post. I want to do something, just not sure what...

Then, the coup de gras. This is so soft and lovely, I'm wanting to start on the simple shawl pattern printed on the label. Though she'll protest, this is a gift for Mom. :D

Speaking of gifts...everyone here loved theirs. New clothes, new lion toys, DVDs, jewelry, money for yarn, gift certificates to Red Lobster and Lowes. It doesn't get much better. Not only that, but after a good Christmas turkey dinner, Hubs did the dishes. ALL of them! He is such the best husband. The house is totally wrecked, so we're doing the 15 minute crisis cleaning after my, um, ok, soaps time. I hate to admit I'm a bon-bon eating, soap-watching haus frau, but there you go. When I'm actively pursuing my goals, the two hours is my lunch and knitting break. Otherwise, it's not even a break, more a continuation of the slugness.

Speaking of small invertebrates, I've discovered that I have all the qualifications to be Spongebob's grandmother. She bakes him cookies and knits him sweaters with love in every stitch. We were watching the episode where Patrick takes Spongebob's place as Gran's baby when I had to put down the hat for my Dad to get cookies out of the oven. There you go. I'm a Gran in training.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Yarn Junkie

Yep, another stash enhancement story. I tried to resist, but as Fry and I were coming back from lunch with Toppa, a yarn store jumped out in front of me. It't the Yarn Shop & More. Their yarns are arranged by color, not type and brand. Looks really great, but is tough to find something specific. The beauty of it is they carry Opal and quite a few different Lorna's Laces. In the picture here, I added two new Noro's to the stash. Still must find a pattern, though. My leanings are toward an entrelac scarf, maybe felted. (Note to non-knitters: Entrelac is a diamond pattern.)

Honestly, when some scruffy little acrylic stuff can produce socks like this, wouldn't a knitter have pains trying to resist these colors? The Opal colorways weren't as pretty as some I've seen online. Nice, but resistable. Fry wasn't turned on by any of the colors. She mostly sat crunched up in a chair, bitter over having to step foot in a yarn store. Yeah, and she's the first one pouting whenever something new is on my needles and it's not for HER.

Otherwise, I'm letting Hubby bake the pumpkin pies as needed. He uses a prefab pie shell, and bought the 'cheap' pumpkin filling. When Fry and I had come home yesterday afternoon, he wasn't pleased with the amount of work it took to make a simple pie. He had to add the spices, flour, egg, all that, instead of dumping in pumpkin mix, evaporated milk, then stirring. Fry makes her pancakes from scratch, as I do, so we were both looking at him like "You must be kidding." The guy makes a great pumpkin pie, though. The first one is already gone. :)

This evening, I'm calling my parents to let them know I'm thinking of them. I miss being there, but it is nice cocooning with my little family here. It's kinda fun putting up the Santa presents here, and filling the stockings. The 'kids' are denned up upstairs, watching A Christmas Story. They'd watched It's A Wonderful Life last night, after Hubs and I watched/napped through it. I can't wait until tomorrow, Fry is getting everything she wanted and more.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Mitten Tragedy

I could have taken a picture before ripping everything out. Instead, here's a picture of the do-over. What did I do that was so bad? Missed the six words telling me to "put 16 thumb stitches on holder." I'd knit a few rows last night, then a couple more this afternoon, thinking, when was I supposed to break away the thumb? Um.....7 rows ago? Yeah. So with that huge mistake, the color changes, and the places where the color should have changed but didn't, do-over. It needs blocking, of course, and a bit of stitch tugging on some of the white ones that want to hide. Practice makes perfect.

There are two positives to this. I'm better now at fair isle stranding, and the prior mistakes won't bug me.

The cookie shop is closed for the year, officially! My waistline will thank me. Even the fat jeans are binding. Since Toppa had a 1:00 meeting, we're doing the lunch thing tomorrow(Friday). Hubs came home early today, much to mine and Fry's surprise. He'll probably hang around the house while we have lunch and drop off the cookies at the library.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Why Am I Still Awake?!

I should be training, people, training!!! In bed by 9:00pm, up at 4:00am.

First off, Christmas morning, I'll have to wake up at 6:00am. Not bad unless you hit the hay at 2:00am. That's cool, can do that. But then, Knit Wit is having a sale, 30% off everything, on the 26th. I also have it on good authority that my favorite Mrs. Claus, Mom, has given me yarn money for a present. Not even in Walmart does the 'Fog of War' overtake me like it does in a yarn store. I know the store owners think I'm mentally challenged by the way I wander the place, squeezing the various skeins. I have to look at everything at least twice, then buy maybe three of the same kind, color, and dyelot. Otherwise, it's a mishmash of whatever I can't live without. Before entering the store, I think "The budget is $X and THAT'S IT." If I get out of there with $2X or less, I've done good. Sometimes, the discounts matter more than the budget. There's been times where if the yarns hadn't been on sale, I would have spent $500 for what I'd just paid $150.

Grumperina, beloved designer of the Jaywalker, has posed the question of "Who knows about your blog and do they read it?" For me, my family knows about it. Dad thinks I need to be careful about what I put in print and I am. Mom reads this every morning with her coffee, it's her ritual. I do the same for my list of favorites. I'm continually amazed at the high quality of knitting out there. You people rule. Ok, back to question. My sisters know about this blog. I don't know about little Goopa (she's really a few inches taller and in her mid-twenties but she's the baby). I suspect she doesn't read very often or only if asked to by Mom. Same thing with the younger but yet again taller than me sister, Toppa. I re-sent her my link so she could see the adopted family's hats. If they had blogs, you bet I'd read them! Before my birthday and Christmas, especially. Our child, the Fry, knows and has her own blog. Non-public, and has already lost its charm for her. Silly baby. Hubby, too, shares a blog with me which has three entries, by me. Fry doesn't read my blog because she lives it. Hubby will read it sometimes at work.

Hubs is a sweetheart. When we were at the Sons of the Union Army Christmas Party*, I'd tried to sneak in a few rows of the second Jaywalker I'd been knitting. Another knitter there asked about it just as my cell phone rang**. Hubs took up the question, saying, "She's been working on this sock called "The Jaywalker"," and held up said item. He'd listened enough to my prattle to know the pattern's name. That's so cute! Both he and Fry think that everything on my needles should be for them.

*There's a lot of Confederates on my side of the tree. I'm sure there's Unions, too, but we have documentation of the Rebels.

**Fry was on the phone, so I had to pick up. She'd called to chat, hung up after we chatted, then called again asking if we'd bring home coffee ice cream.

And now, we're back to the knitting. The hats are finished. I was going to make matching mittens, even have the yarn picked out. With Toppa going home on Friday, the mits aren't going to make it. There's not enough hours in the day AND I'm getting peculiar pains in various parts of my hands. Ah well. A change in needle size will fix that. I'd finished the hat on the far left this evening, then did a few rows in Fry's Nordic mitten. Not enough to see real progress, I'll post more tomorrow. We wrapped out of town presents, went to Walmart (ug), mailed packages, had the gingerbread blast at Sonic, did the paper route, ate frozen pizzas for dinner, and made merengue cookies today, thus, I'll cast on for the third Jaywalker sock in 'Crush' tomorrow evening. The day should be quieter. Fry and I are having lunch with Toppa, then stopping by the Library Headquarters to drop off Christmas cookies. I'd like to get a few more drop cookies baked tomorrow morning. Also, I'm still dying to do the gingerbread bake off. All the ingredients are still on the counter, save the perishables, so I'm ready. :)

After the holidays, the cookie shop is closing for the year. Just in the nick of time, too. I'm expanding in a scary way. Not so scary when I consider the vast amount of sweets and flour goods eaten in the past month. Actually, I'm lucky it's not worse. The paper route was tougher than usual which means I'm not only heavier than usual but also more out of shape. Time to brainstorm a list of resolutions, I think.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Future Political Ads

After reviewing this, I can predict some of the ads we're going to see in November 2008 with the unsaid portions in parenthesis.

Senator So-N-So voted to let Big Oil rape Alaska (by allowing the other part of helping low-income families with their heating bills pass).

Representative Other-Guy voted to let families freeze to death by voting against the measure (to open the Alaskan fields for US Oil companies).

In essence, they passed a measure that included, along with the ANWR provision, $29 billion in federal aid for victims of Katrina and other storms; an additional $2 billion to help low-income families with home heating costs; and $3.8 billion to prepare for a possible bird flu pandemic. Of the defense money, $50 billion is for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill contains a 3.1 percent pay raise for military personnel, an increase in the death gratuity for the families of active duty personnel to $100,000 and an increase in the enlistment bonuses for active duty to $40,000. Anyone who voted against oil in Alaska voted against all the above benefits, thus ensuring a catch 22 in the next election.

Hats Off To You

Check it out! I finished the hat for my father on Friday, just in time for the gift exchange. Toppa and the Shell got me chocolate covered espresso beans AND a huge coffee cup. Huge. Not so much a cup as a BOWL. It's perrrfect. I love it. :D

They also told us of a sad story. One of their friends is going in for a masectomy and has already lost her hair to chemo. Since I have some lovely soft stuff in my stash, I made this for her. It's Trendsetters' Zucca and I certainly need more. The first row is a bear, but after that, the stuff is a joy. There's a few balls of Blossom in the stash, too. I have three balls of Vintage in there, too, in color 4385. I may have to stock up on these three squooshy yarns during the after Christmas sales.

(turn your head sideways to see this since I really am too lazy to edit and reload this. thanks!)

As if one sad story isn't enough, the duo also told of a family with a 9 year old girl with leukemia. She's the child of a single mom, and no one in her family wants anything for themselves for Christmas. They all want their other family members to get something nice. So, as I seem to be on the hat wagon, the mom and two daughters are getting these. This little hat is taking longer than the burgandy one, a big reason why I like Trendsetter better than the polarspun/snowflake variety of yarn.

I've got to hit the housecleaning hard this morning, before Fry comes home from her half day to start the Christmas vacation. Bad Mom Time: I was thinking about her being home with a bit of dread in my stomach over her being home. Why? Don't I love her? No, I worship her. What I don't worship is having to pick up after her, constantly, for three weeks. The candy wrappers, empty soda cans, dirty clothes, books and toys. I'm already feeling cranky. There may be some warring going on over here until she gets the idea that trash goes in the trash can, not on the kitchen island for ME to throw away. Not that she should be slave labor, but I'm thinking the kid is going to have to sing for her supper. Fry has a checklist of daily duties and when those are done, she's free for the day.

Jaywalker socks and mittens are sad due to neglect. Even though there's some in-law knitting still to do, the hats take first place, then the inlaw stuff, then socks and mits. All this after my OWN checklist is done, of course.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Finished Objects!

Thus ends the Christmas knitting for my side of the family! There's still some to do for the in-law side, but not a lot. Fix a cuff, make a lacy scarf, things like that.

Am I done knitting for my side? Heck no! I'd finished the little mitten last night then cast on this:

It's for my father. The colors are subtle, the yarn is more than soft, and I'm hoping he likes it. Since it's not officially for Christmas, if Mom wanted to drag him to the computer to confirm he likes it, that would be fine.

Whew! Just got off the phone with Mom. After she talks to Toppa and Goopa, she'll get Dad to look. She's calling all of us to say our cousin passed away. We weren't close as we grew older, but got along great as kids. Speaking of which, I feel horribly for hers. I can't imagine losing my Mom now, never mind while I was a teen. My uncles passing away makes me nervous for my Dad. I'm sure he gets tired of everyone asking how he feels, but still! He's important and loved by a lot of people and we want to make sure he's around for a very long time.

If you could sum up this cousin in a word, that would be 'vivacious'. There's so many thoughts in my mind about the number of people who remember Thanksgivings at the lease, the canyons there, and watching for 'panthers'. Very sad.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Sock and Mitten Heaven

I title this "View From An Ant". Using the Jedi mind trick...You DON'T notice the DON'T notice... It wasn't there until I put on the sock. Ah well, not many ants are going to complain about it, at least, not for long.

Finished this little beauty on Monday, then started Miss K's mitten as such:

I plan on starting AND finishing the second one today.
My sister, Toppa, is going home for Christmas. We're all meeting up at Jose Pepper's for dinner on Friday and doing a gift exchange then. It's not just to save postage, but to ensure all the breakables are safe. Any Christmas knitting and cookies have to be done by Friday evening. Eeek! I think today I'll concentrate on the mittens, then knock out the rest of the cookies tonight. To add to the joy, nothing is wrapped. We'll have to have a wrapping party tomorrow evening

Could have posted yesterday, but went to see Fry perform in the choir at the mall, then finished up Christmas shopping afterward. Everyone is shopped for except my father-in-law. He does a lot with the humane society, much to my mother-in-laws dismay. He likes to foster dogs, she does not. Their family dog bit Hubs when he was a small fry, leaving a scar, and she's had a bias against them ever since. I'm not too keen on dogs, preferring cats, but there are some decent pups out there. Toppa and her roommate have small, hyper dogs, but they're so well behaved that I like them.

Um, anyway, back from my tangent... I'll be glad when those damned reject cookies are gone. No one except me likes the orange sables and the little buggers are just sitting there. Other than getting one or two a day, I've been good about leaving them alone.

Just as I decide what to do with this, I change my mind. Gloves, scarf, socks? There's 300 meters, or rather, 328 yards. All of the above are possible, what to choose. Any commentary is welcome. There are three different colors because I want to knit in 1-2-3 stripes and see if the color pools.

Then, there's 360 yards (329 meters) of this lovely stuff. It's soft and great for a scarf. I'm wanting to make this Sharfik or this Clapotis out of it, but can't decide. Again, cast your vote in the comments. Pleeeeese. :D

Monday, December 12, 2005

Defensive, much?

I have a super-religious friend who sends me very conservative pro-Jesus pro-Bush emails. Is it bad to be this? No, of course not! (I'm very middle of the road on 95% of everything)

What IS bad is the fact that she assumes I'm as rabidly conservative and tends to bash anything or anyone not adhering to her beliefs. She'll send me all these activist type emails as true when they're really Snopes-verified hoaxes. I'll send her a "credit is due to..." email and direct her to the Snopes site every time. Do I reply all? No! That's just mean and would/could embarrass her.

So today I get an email from her, another group mailing that goes: "I just received this email. I don't know the person that was reported to have written it & don't really care if she's the one that did it or not. I agree with what it says & feel that the message is one we all need to hear!
Merry Christmas!"

Um hm. To someone who is a writer, them's fightin' words. The person who wrote the piece should get the credit, not some Joe Blow with an ichy forward email finger. Lawsuits are fought over who wrote what, it really IS important.

So anyway, concerning her retort about "I don't care who wrote it" I'm wondering if the Devil wrote it, would she still not care if she agreed with the message?

I really don't mind what a person believes about life, politics, or religion. They ought to believe whatever they want, since where I live IS America. I would like it if the person has actually thought through their beliefs instead of being a sheep, though. I would also like it if they didn't assume that I agree with everything they've been told to believe. I was very nice to my friend and replied "LOL! Well, actually since she DID write it AND get paid to do so, I'm sure Debbie is glad to receive the credit from the website that regularly prints her columns. There are probably a lot of other columns there that you'd enjoy.

Shtml link to original article.

I think the whole exclude 'Christmas' thing is crap, anyway. No one complains about Hanukkah, Ramadan, or Kwanzaa, so my personal opinion is that they need to lay off about Christmas. The majority wants it, so be it."

Bottom line is that I've had enough ideas dismissed by bosses as "stupid" then presented to their bosses as their own, AND I'm enough of a writer to be totally offended by her dismissal of a writer's byline.

Whew! Rant over! Now, on to better things...

The current Jaywalker sock is rounding the bend and comin' home! I.e., I'm on the toe. Just a few more rows, maybe six, and it's done. Alas, makes me crazy that I can't knit faster. As soon as this is off the needles, I'm starting the companion to the first Jaywalker in Crush. So much sock yarn, so little time.

Hubby's socks are clean! As much as he wears them, they're needing reenforcement. Grumperina has done this, and I'm going to do what I can to retro-fit these. He loves them. The yarn for more pairs is sitting in the living room, waiting to be worked. After the two singleton Jaywalkers get done, Hubby's getting a new pair.

As soon as the toe is done on my sock, I'm also working on Fry's mitten with Miss K's pair being my no-brainer project. There's also a Sharfik and Clapotis in the queue, I'm still mulling over which pattern for my favorite Aunt.

Cookie news. Last night was good for baking, bad for tasting. After following the recipes to a T, they all turned out as crap. The cranberry shortbreads and my fave tropical cookies all lacked taste and sweetness. A little bit bigger and they'd have all been scones. Not bad unless you'd intended for them to be cookies. There's some orange sable dough in the fridge, they're getting baked tonight and I might whip up some more. There's still the two kinds of gingerbreads I'm doing as well. Those and four other types, and I'm done with the baking. Very good because my jeans can't take any more quality control.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Stash Enhancement Time!

It's Fryday, Hubsday, and help me day! All in one!

Since everyone was home, I had to get out. Besides, it's my usual errand day, so I was twitchier than usual. Last night's scarf class was great. Everyone had fun and teens are so polite! They raise their hands and say thank you after I answer every question. Yeah, they are all a little glum and or surly, but I think that's par for the course.

The hat is done! Really done yesterday. Now, mittens to match.

Making progress on Fry's mitten, slow, but sure. In the meantime, those quickly knitted up mits for Miss K are in the queue for when I need the mindless knitting.

Ok, enough of that, on to the good stuff! New yarn! First, I went to the library to pick up my held copy of Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush. Recognized a few just from reading various weblogs, very cool.

I totally blame The Knit 'Nabler for the Trekking XXL in the picture, the skein in the lower left in this picture. When I went to the Knit Craft yarn store today, voila'! They also had a lot of Regia sock yarn. Did I really need more? Um, not really. If you go to the website, be prepared for disappointment. The store is as great as the website is not. Am I going to Jaywalker the Trekking? Oh, probably.

Cara at January One has such sweet things to say about everyone in the Jaywalker KAL (Knit a long). It's so fun to peruse the updates and see the variety in one sock pattern.

Do other knitters know that there is a difference in Koigu and Noro? Hee hee. Well, I sure as heck do NOW. See the lovely Noro in three different but coordinating colors? Very nice. What to do with it, though? Sheesh. That's what I get for binge-reading all my fave knitting weblogs and being seduced by the dark side of stash building. After a few Googles on Kureyon, I'm sure something will come to me.

In other news: I get to deliver the papers tomorrow while Fry and Hubs do the Sons of the American Revolution Flag program with others. Fry reads about the folds of the flag while Hubs and another gentleman fold the flag as she reads. There's a college student that doesn't read aloud as well as she, sad to say for him. I'm a very partial and biased mom. I also was able to see the program last summer, now it's Father's turn.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I Reek, But in a Good Way.

As I trudged my way through 10 inches of snow, rescuing the fallen mailbox with mail still inside, the UPS guy delivered my beloved order of perfume! Yay! A bottle of Dare for me, and one for my sister Toppa. The fragrance had been discontinued for at least 10 years, but still smells very good. Ask me how I know. Toppa is getting the non-leaking bottle, while I cleaned up and am now the proud owner of a leaky at the top bottle. I'm going to need an atomizer, if I don't already have one. Think there's one running around here somewhere. Nice surprise for Toppa's Christmas, no?

Yesterday, I had the usual menstral migraine, but not bad. Enough to make me break out the Relpax, but not enough to keep me from doing Fry's paper route. My face froze stiff, kid you not. Free botox with no needles. All it takes is an air temperature of 10 degrees. The bear hug and "Thank you, thank you, Mom!" made it all worthwhile. :D

She's sitting on my lap right now and boy, is her hiney cold! Yeow! Chilly child. Her pants are drying after she'd rolled around the the snow. Her Aunt Toppa suggested she shovel snow to which Fry retorted "Har, har."

Jaywalker is a sad thing. Not too bad, but no progress. I had to pull a few rows to a dropped stitch. Usually, I'd ladder the stitches above, then pick up, but this was at the beginning of needle two. The Jaywalkers in the crowd know the deal. I could have, but would rather reknit the rows than goof around with increases. Key word being 'goof'. :D The stitch was picked up and I'm back to where I was before the mass frogging.

Lots of progress on the little white hat for Miss K. I'm toying with the idea of mits to match, but in white? At least Homespun is very washable. Miss K, Toppa's roommate's daughter, looks lovely in that color, though.

No work on the Fry's mitten yesterday. She's home, wanting to make cookies, and I have a class tonight(!), so the outlook is not so good for today's work on it. Tomorrow, when there's real progress, I'll post a pic or two.

Exciting things:

The mailman ran over our mailbox, snapping it in two. He did manage put the mail in it, though. I carried the mail, still in the box, up to the porch. I'll let Hubs deal with it. Actually, I think it's funny, poor guy felt really bad, but not bad enough to bring the box up to the house.

Claude caught and killed another mouse last night! As long as he keeps catching them, we won't have to put out traps. The little guys aren't used to people, they'll run across the floor, totally in the open.

I get to go teach tonight. Eesh. It's a 45 minute drive in good weather, I'm dreading being on the road that long. The class is from 7pm-9pm. I'll have to leave by at least 5pm, if not earlier. I want to teach the class, but driving? Not if there's black ice. :(

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Yes, that would be me.

Hey, You're the friendly neighborhood Spiderman!!!
You're cool cuz you're nice, you try to please
everyone, and above all, you are humble. Those
powers of yours are for good only. No messing

Which Superhero Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Right. I might as well face it. This is the no-going-back part of the year. The time where I know my body won't be warm until late May or early June. There will be balmy days between now and then, but not the bone-soaking warmth I like. Not until I go back to the gym for the hot tub. :D

What have I been doing? Baking:The image doesn't do the little guys any justice. They're snowy white with red streaks, and are such a perfect peppermint. Very easy to make, three large egg whites, one cup of granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract. Create merengue of the top three. Stripe a pastry bag with red pasty food coloring (liquid beads too much, mix with a tiny bit of the merengue to make it stick), load the bag up with merengue, and squeeze onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. After an hour in the oven at 175F, they're just right. The little guys just slide off, and I used a rather small frosting tip. Any size will do, but the medium starred ones are best. I was going to do a Gingerbread cookie bake off, but don't have the crystallized ginger called for in the competing recipe. Sigh, I guess I'll have to go to Dean & Deluca's this afternoon. Happily, I have a class to teach in the south.

There's also Amaretti Crisps here, another nice merengue cookie. Maybe this afternoon, in between hugging the space heater by the computer, knitting, and watching National Geographic, I'll whip up some drop cookies. As long as there's no Tropical cookies made... Whenever I mix a basic sugar cookie dough, a bag of tropical trail mix, and a 1/2 teaspoon of coconut extract, the result is a cookie that's highly addictive. Not very seasonal, but very good.

Knitting:All right! The white is a hat, the Yarn Slingers out there could guess that, experts that they are. There HAS been progress on the mitten. I'm thrilled with how much everyone likes it. Washing will even out the stitches, hopefully. Then the beloved Jaywalker. I shouldn't be working on that and the mitt, considering the Christmas knitting yet to do, but once the sock is done, I can finish Fry's other Jaywalker, then I need to get her mittens done as well. There's tons of gloves running around here, but none are as warm as the fair isle fabric.

Yesterday was busy with the cooking, knitting, and watching my Fry sing in the choir. Sadly, no picture of that. The nice camera's flash bulb is out, and I bought an outside camera accidently. It'll be good for snow angels later. Hubs took late afternoon off, and after the concert, we busted Fry out of school. We ate spaghetti, made cookies, and watched Spongebob. Fry had already been to her newspaper to get paid, then to Catholic school while I fixed dinner and gathered cookie ingredients.

Cute Fry story: Sunday, we all went to church. I am not a church person, was raised in a Baptist atmosphere, converted to Catholic for the first husband, then Episcopalian so I could marry the second and am rather secular now. It's a can of worms. Anyway, Fry was up at front with two other girls, both teenagers wearing belly-baring jeans(!!!), answering three questions. First one was what do you want to be? Anyone with teens know the lovely way they respond in one word sentences, as in "UhwannabuhuhChrischun." Both teens did this. Then, when asked, Fry received the extremely enunciated reply, "I want to be a veternarian and a Christian."

This brought down the house. What a sweetheart! Hubs said the priest had a tough time keeping a straight face. The Father said something about her going places, having goals, something like that. I kept having visions of Fry replacing little Ernest Angsly on television, slapping animals on the forehead and yelling "HEE-ald." Earlier, she'd had a whole diatribe typed up on how she wanted to be a vet, work in the zoo or in Africa with the big cats, and keep all animals from becoming extinct. If a person wanted to get a reaction from the Fry, saying something like, "Animals becoming extinct don't bother me at all." Them's fightin' words.

When Hub reviewed her homework, he mentioned that maybe since it IS for church that she might want to mention, oh, I don't know, God, Jesus, or something. Which prompted the "Oh yeahhhhh," response.

This just in: In the Oh No!, then Oh Good Gravy catagory. There was breaking news of a shooting in one of the city's nicest malls. There's a Nordstom's so you know the Mercedes-BMW ratio in the parking lot is high. I was shocked, thinking if the rich aren't safe, then no one is. Turns out, a former police officer turned security guard accidently shot himself. Odd that he's not on the force anymore, huh??? ;)

Sunday, December 04, 2005

"I should be baking, yeah!"

Rather than dancing. Thanks, Bee Gees!

Ok, on to the good stuff.

After reading 10-15 minutes worth of Alice Starmore's Fair Isle Knitting, I got good. And fast! Talk about the lightbulb clicking above my head. There's actually progress, just in time for the Warm Hands update. :) See the back and the front? Yeah, there are some serious mistakes, some of which I tried to fix. Happily, Fry will outgrow these then they'll be tucked away, goofed color changes and all.

All the mistakes are in the second picture. I'm so glad they're all on the underside of the hand. After collecting for the newspaper with Fry, I'm positive these will be incredibly warm gloves. I wore my knitted gloves (sadly, store-bought) then some leathers. If I'd worn the knitted both times, my hands wouldn't have been cold. We had to change to pencils, the ink pens wouldn't write in the cold. The near freezing was good for my finger. It didn't hurt while I worked on this mitten, nor while I taught. Yay! I had Hubby read yesterday's anonomyous comment, and asked him, "Three guesses as to who wrote it and first two guesses don't count!" My Mommy loves me.

She's really going to love me at Christmas. I've picked out the 10 cookies after a do-over. None of the first picks were very seasonal, so the list leans more that way. When this entry is done, the ingredients spreadsheet is final, and the collections crew (Fry and Hubs) are back, we're going to the grocery. I missed grocery day, planning on hitting the store during the Chief's game, anyway. People around here go rabid during the game and the place is a ghost town with everyone glued to their sets. My favorite time to shop, no one running into me with their carts.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

An Observation and Jaywalker Picture

10 Marines Killed in Blast.

I thought when my BIL (brother-in-law) got home, this sort of news wouldn't turn my tummy. While I'm now not worried about the guy, the soldiers in the story were people. Then, the next day, several Iraqi soldiers were killed, too. I hate that we're in Iraq while Bin Lauden is hid out, laughing at us.

Moving on, before I launch into a full scale rant. No time today, we need to knock out Fry's paper route, then I need to clean up and teach a scarf class, yay!
I have to take a break from the Jaywalker, though. Although it looks fine, my index finger, here in the pic, hurts like no other. No pain if I leave the fingertip alone, but even the slightest pressure causes sharp owies. Pain like this is a sign to stop it already, so while I'm tempted to take some ibuprophen and trudge along, I won't. Scarves and triangle shawls it is, then.

Friday, December 02, 2005

A Two-fer One Special

Lookie! Two days of nice words about me to me and they don't even share my DNA. A girl could learn to love this. :) Good thing I read an article on how to accept compliments gracefully, or I'd been totally unprepaired. I've viewed everyone else's Jaywalkers, which is a really FUN thing to do. So many people with the same pattern but different yarns? What lovely variety! My favorite yarns used are of the Opal Sock yarn and Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock variety.

Also, after reading some of the blogs, I was rather worried about the fit of the currently done sock. No fear. I tried it on and the thing fit perfectly. Well, not for me so much. It's a little long, perfect for Fry since her feet are already half an inch longer than mine. Finishing the current one in colorway Lucky will be a thrill, too. After trying on Fry's sock, I can see why Hubs wears his handmade socks all the time.

I forgot Friday's fun! The kitchen is so clean! I vacuumed the carpet to an inch of its life, cleaned off and up every counter. (there's COUNTERS! who knew????) Still haven't picked out the final cookies or knitted, but that's easily fixed.

Friday's Fun:
TEN random things you might not know about me.
1. In grade school, I was THE best tree-climber. Anything to get at those mulberries.
2. When a man tells me I'm unable to do something, I've completed the task before he completes his sentence. Dad taught me how, and Hubs always knew I could, so they're good. ;)
3. I can fix garage doors. Didn't know this either, until yesterday.
4. I love reading a really good romance novel. I've met a few authors, and could write one if I could park my butt and focus.
5. I'm always thinking, the wheels are always turning.
6. I 'write' fiction in my mind just before I go to sleep.
7. Speaking of sleep, I dream in color, sound, smell, and touch. Not so fun when I'm dreaming about going to the bathroom.
8. I can do a great impersonation of Stan's sister, Shelly.
9. Sometimes I think ridding myself of even good emotions would be worth it to be free of the bad.
10. I have an evil sense of humor. I'm so glad my Mom has a strong heart. Ha!

NINE places I’ve visited
1. London
2. New York City
3. Los Angeles
4. Amsterdam
5. Rome
6. Stuttgart
7. Venice
8. Chicago
9. Cancun

EIGHT ways to win my heart (and how the people in my life have done so)
1. Tell me I'm special (Mom)
2. Make me learn how to change a tire and give me my own toolbox (Dad)
3. Offer to beat up anyone who's mean to me (Toppa)
4. Get a squeeky voice because she loves me so when she talks to me (Goopa)
5. No complaints on how much yarn I buy, as long as bills are paid because he wants me to be happy (Hubby)
6. Take me or go with me to Red Lobster (All the above at one time or another)
7. Make me laugh. (All the above, below, and many other relatives and friends)
8. Be my child (Fry-she really is the best)

SEVEN things I want to do before I die
1. Live for a while, however long, in London.
2. Same thing for Ireland.
3. Scuba dive or ate least snorkel off Australia's coast.
4. Ride in a gondola in Venice NEXT TO my husband.
5. Celebrate my 120th birthday.
6. Publish a book that's really great. Certainly NOT self-published.
7. Go to the Hard Rock Cafe' in Reykjavik, Iceland. I am SUCH an American.

SIX things I’m afraid of
1. Dying. Seriously.
2. Losing a family member. Can't even think about it.
3. Identity theft.
4. Structural damage to the home.
5. Crime.
6. Stupidity, mine or others'.

FIVE things I don't like (This is PMS week. At this point, I don't like BREATHING.)
1. Neo-Cons.
2. Screams and other high pitched noises.
3. Repetition, please don't nag me.
4. Cold and wind chill. (My idea of cold varies. In summer, it's 75F, winter, 10F and below.)
5. People who tell me I'm wrong when I'm not and that I can't when I most certainly can.

FOUR ways to turn me off (If you do this, I will loathe you. Sad, but true.)
1. Act like I'm a pain in the ass when I've taken up less than a minute of your entire life. Devoted to jerky customer service people.
2. Treat me as an inferior because I lack, ahem, 'dangly bits'. Devoted to guys dropped through the trap-door of dating.
3. Tell me what to think or, how I think or feel. I could name an entire group here, but that would be telling. If you suspect it's you, no, it's totally not.
4. Tell me I'm 'weird'. I have a FORMER best friend because of that. My heart does the Grinch thing in reverse to that term.

THREE Things I do every day
1. Check my email.
2. Sing with the Fry.
3. Kiss everyone in the house, excluding cat and guinea pig. (Good thing, huh???)

TWO things that make me happy
1: Yarn in the mail. Like, I need more. ::insert eye-roll here::
2: Someone loving what I've knitted for them.

ONE thing on my mind right now
1: Christmas cookies. Yummmmm.

This Entry Sponsored by Cookies!

First, to catch up:

After I posted on Wednesday, the school called at 3:00 saying that Fry was ill and needed to go home. They said Fry had told me she felt sick earlier in the morning. Right. She'd done this before, saying "I'm queasy," then goes on to snack us to death and play. Not only that, but she bugs to get on the computer (the horror!), watch cartoons all day, and asks me to watch her play Playstation.

Does anyone catch that this is on WEDNESDAY? As in, PAPER DELIVERY DAY? Since the temperature was a balmy 35F, I wore a sweater (the green and white one you guys got me, Mom, when I was just starting the Fry), and a heavy coat. By the end of the first two bags, the sweater was soaked! Ick! I've not gone to the gym in a long enough time to enjoy sweat again. So much for my fear of freezing to death. A quick change of shirts and jackets, and I was back out there to finish the route. Walking around the neighborhood was fun. A lot of Christmas lights out there, and with the cold air, fireplaces going, all that put me in the mood for Santa.

It is the school's policy that whoever barfs one day must stay home the next, thus, Fry was able to loiter around on Thursday. We went to the doctor for her heel pain. He ruled growing pains, a possible irritation of her Achilles’ tendon because of the recent increase in activity, and prescribed ibuprophen. After that, we went to Sonic for lunch. They have a new raspberry limeade that is to die for, seriously, and a tasty gingerbread cookie blast wonderful for wrecking a diet. Since the hideous munchies of PMS have me in its grip, I splurged on the blast. Yesterday was a cheat day, what with the blast, a tortilla wrap, and then potatoes for dinner. There was even a tiny pack of M&Ms in there, left over from Halloween. I'm back on the wagon today. When I delivered the papers, I'd been on the South Beach for a couple of days and could feel it. There wasn't any glucose in me, so my legs tried to stall, hauling the bags of papers up hills.

But wait, there's more! After Sonic, we came home and took a nap (mostly for Fry's benefit, poor baby), then I left to get class supplies. Here's the fun part: I taught at the Boardwalk branch, Knit a Scarf. The librarian overseeing the class has been knitting for 55 years, since she was 5 years old. After the class, she'd told me that she only signed up for one knitting class, just to see if the teacher was any good. Not only do the students really want me back, but so does she! Isn't that nice? The library had wanted her to teach, but for Joyce, knitting is too instinctual. It was a nice group, only about eight and three of them knew a little already. One little girl, 9, is already an accomplished knitter. She was working on an eyelash scarf in stockinet and the stitches look so nice! If not for the scarf being still on the needles, I would have suspected it being machine made.

Came home, then did a run to Kmart for Christmas light bulbs, fixed dinner, pooped out.

Today, I'm doing as little as possible. Ha! Actually, I want to get the kitchen cleaned and ready for Sunday cookies. Why not Saturday? Paper delivery and another scarf class at 2pm. The library is about 5 miles from our house. Very nice since some of the libraries I go to are an hour away. Driving isn't bad, I like getting out and seeing different parts of the metro.

Cooooookies! Here is an image of the finalists in the great cookie gift bake. What to do, what to do... There's so many of them, and they're all so wonderful. Some of them I've made in prior years, some of them are new. By the time I get all the ingredients, I'll probably have spent as much as if I'd just gone and got bath sets for everyone. My sisters and Mom go crazy for bath and makeup sets, as I do. Even though I have tons of lotions, perfumes, and makeup I don't use or haven't used, I still love getting the stuff as a present. Go figure. So, I'm thinking, clutter-free, even if it is fattening. Hubs, brave and noble man that he is, has already signed up as Quality Control. Every cookie not making the 'cut' is fair game. Hubs and Fry are so funny, going "Ow ow ow!" as they try to pick up the still cooling cookies. For Christmas, they'll have to wait for the rejects.

You know how those who can't do, teach? Yep. I've been teaching and not knitting. The doctor's offices are excessively efficient, too. I was only able to knit FOUR stitches while waiting. No sooner than I'd pick up the needles, I'd have to tuck them back in. You'd think they were trying to make money or something. ;)

Slow and Steady Wins the Race