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23 posts from July 2005

29 July 2005

Be it known...

...by all those present(ly reading) that contrary to certain other accounts, the memer's/my response to certain threats was more like this (and I quote):  "Oh Norma, you're just a soft fuzzy peach!  Kneecaps, schneecaps -- Garnet's probably a softie, too!"  Then, admittedly having had a lapse about the other's little aversion to memes, being alerted/reminded only when my tagger wrote, "Norma's going to kill you," I gave her a gift:  "Surely, you can come up with ONE!"  One lousy idiotsyncracy is all that's required.  (And this one... she was OVER a barrel yesterday, and OVERjoyed to have been tapped, but somehow has to find her way out from UNDER all this nonsense...  The Bible?  Eden?  Bears shitting in woods???)  Ah, well...

GrpshtGrpclsKnitting time has been precious of late.  I started a whole different square for the blanket and don't have far to go -- I'm using some Lamb's Pride and a large basketweave pattern from a Harmony book of knitting patterns that I've had for ages.  Next to that, you see my second Cables & Rib sock, almost ready to start making cables.  I cast on once for the second sleeve of Williamsro, but tore it out because it was weird and haven't tried it again.  Maybe this weekend.  I have a sneaking suspicion that it'll quickly become my favorite cardigan.  And my Knit Red Tivoli T -- slow, slow going there, but going...

Believe it or not, we've had our digital camera for over a year -- make that at least two (because, damn, time flies!) -- and I only just had actual prints made by commercial processing within the past couple of weeks.  I am very pleased with how they turned out, but also decided to up the resolution of the pictures I take.  I wonder if that has anything to do with how much better Tivoli looks in these pics -- it would usually be a burning fireball with no definition at all!

NORma, Norma, come back!  Play along and have a laugh if you want; if you don't, meh.  In any case, y'all have a good weekend!

28 July 2005

Oh my

Spstrp_1LbltA picture is worth 1,000 words, isn't it?

I finally stopped at the new Goodwill location yesterday, open for over a month already.  There was a very large pile of knitting pattern leaflets from the '70s and '80s on clearance.  I could not leave these two ('70s) behind.  The one on the right is actually crochet, but I'm not splitting hairs.  For more like this, check out You Knit What??  A laugh or two nearly every single day!

One of my first reads this morning was Rachael, and I was not laughing.  It's an interesting, informative, heartfelt post which ends on a thunderous high note and makes you think.  And wonder what pattern she's using.  And what is Lala going to wear?  And aren't you going to show off that ring??  Congratulations!

Elizabeth tagged me for a meme.  id·i·o·syn·cra·sy 

Pronunciation Key:  n. pl. id·i·o·syn·cra·sies - A structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group.

Write down five of your own personal idiosyncracies.  Then, if you wish, tag five people to do the same.

1.  I have this thing about light switches.  There's a 2-way switch for our main stairway, a 3-way for the kitchen (one of them is a dimmer).  I like the switch on the stairway landing to be in the off position when the light is off.  I have been known to climb the stairs for the single purpose of flicking a switch to make it so.  I like the switches in the kitchen to be in the off position, also; no stairs are involved in making that right.  (DH admitted a similar thing about the 2-way switch in the basement stairway; has never given a thought to "mine.")

2.  I like drawers and doors to be closed -- all the way.  This does not seem to be important to the people I live with, nor many other people I know.  I'm truly amazed that there haven't been more black eyes or bumps on heads.

3.  I am quite particular in the way dishes are stacked/nested.  (My house is filled with spots of micro-organization, there's just a lot of space in between them!)

4.  I'm also a little anal about the exact position of the coffeepot in the morning, and about the sugar canister, spoon jar, and spoon rest in relation to the pot.  I make adjustments on most mornings.

5.  I stir my coffee very thoroughly.  I take both sugar and cream (cream goes in first -- DH does it opposite/wrong).  I stir thoroughly and I clink -- not obnoxiously, but enough to notice, I guess.  At a B&B in Stillwater, MN, with two of my sisters a few years ago, I was stirring my coffee while awaiting breakfast.  The woman who was serving us that day (not the owner), shot through the door between the kitchen and dining room, demanding to know, "Who is stirring their coffee like that?"  Turns out that my little clinks brought a flood of memories of her dad who had died about a year earlier and who had stirred his coffee in exactly the same way.  She talked with us about him for a while, and then thanked me.  It was sweet, really.

Holy NORma, dare I?  Do you think she might have an idiosyncracy?  If y'all are up for it (it's not as easy as it looks!):  Norma, Ann, Katy, Kim, Lynne?

26 July 2005

Left and right

For years, whenever I had to determine my left from my right, I would be transported back to my first grade classroom in Highland Park, Illinois, where Mrs. Kelly, my teacher, had tacked up big cut-out hands, identified with the words "left" and "right," on either side of the chalkboard at the front of the room.  I could conjure the image of that chalkboard in an instant, "see" the identified hands and the all-important thumbs, and make my determination.  Mrs. Kelly was the most wonderful, most beautiful, most everything first grade teacher there ever was!  Oh, I loved her; she set the bar for all who followed and there were few who reached it -- it was fourth grade before there was even a contender!

Mrs. Kelly and the accompanying warm fuzzies came to mind yesterday when Kim suggested that the boo-boo design element on my sock could be used to identify left from right.  What a wonderful idea!  Thank you for all so much your kind, encouraging words!  That's one of the most terrific things about blogging.  I took Cara's advice, also, and cast on the second sock and got a few rows under my belt.  Not so sure about trying to duplicate the same "design element" on the second sock; no doubt, it will have one or two unique and unintended features of its own in the end.  I had hoped to finish my first blanket square -- only a few rows to go -- but, man, I was beat.  I swear, my Jazzercise instructor was trying to bring me to my knees last night!  I managed to walk out on my own two feet, thank you!  Thank you very much!  ; )

25 July 2005

My First Sock

Dsc05172I finished my first-ever knit sock on Saturday night.  I wore it and admired it for quite a while, considering the temperature, and then, of course, I saw a boo-boo.  Oh, not one, but TWO boo-boos, side-by-side!  I think you can see, if you click to make big, where I forgot to cross a cable on the leg -- and forgot the same on the neighboring cable.  Now that I know it's there, I can see it loud and clear on the in-progress picture I posted last week among the hens and chicks.  The good thing is that it really isn't all that visible on this dark, dark sock, because I'm not ripping to fix it.

I love it AND its flaws!  I have not yet cast on for #2 -- and I don't suppose I can count this among the FOs until I have a pair, so I'd better get crackin'.

I went to Jazzercise on Saturday morning for the first time since before I went to NYC.  That's a long time ago, people!  Between babies, trips, city council meetings and I don't remember what-all, a whole month has blown by!  So I went with my friend, both agreeing that it would be a great way to start the day, we'd be energized...  I guess I was a little, walking down to the farmer's market with DH when I got home (we had our first corn-on-the-cob of the season for supper!), but after that, whatever energy I had just fizzled.  I was moving forward all day/weekend, but not very fast!

C17fM*c was in town until early Saturday afternoon -- I'm glad y'all think he's as handsome as I do.  I can't believe he was 5 weeks old on Saturday!  My sister is so much more comfortable and confident.  Nice.

22 July 2005

Tiny Tiger

Dsc05143r

Dsc05139rGrrrr.

Big M*c came to town!  Look how he's grown!!  I think he's lost a little hair on top, but it doesn't seem to have made a difference in his good looks.  He's gorgeous!!  He's much more bright-eyed and alert than the last time I saw him.  He was sitting on the floor in his little bouncy seat while I wrote in his baby book, at his mother's request and while she dictated, and it was fun to watch him tracking people as they walked by.  He really looks at you, too.  It'll be just a few short weeks before he starts to slay us with his smile.

Snuggles won over needles last night.  I did sneak in a few rounds on the sock before bed and have started toe shaping.  Woo!  My first sock is nearing completion.

21 July 2005

In which there is little news of knitting

So, I'll get the knitting news out of the way -- I started a square for the Tribute Project.  I have always loved the log cabin motif, so thought I'd try it.  This one may not pass QC, and I'm not sure it's really going to work.  It's a start.  I did allow myself a little bit of knitting on the sock, too.

I did a lot of cleaning yesterday -- with three cats, a dog, four women doing stuff to their hair all the time, it cannot be put off for too long.

I just about laughed 'til I died last night watching American Masters "Bob Newhart: Unbuttoned" and On Stage at the Kennedy Center: The Mark Twain Prize 2002 (to Bob Newhart, of course).  There was some repetition of clips and whatnot, but honestly, I laughed harder at "Moo Goo Goo Goo" the second time around, anyway; a third might have done me in.  I'm not kidding, I was crying, snot was running, and I was gasping for air!  I love spending an evening knitting and laughing my head off!

Mdd will be home tomorrow, so I'll be able to hear all about the "cute counsilors" -- I'm especially interested in why the Irish one was in all caps and underlined.  With a smiley face, too.

Kt will also be home tomorrow -- early, like 5 a.m. -- rather than Saturday, as originally planned.  Things didn't go well in Toronto yesterday, the biggest bummer being that despite email confirmation of a reservation, the hostel had no reservation for them -- and no available room.  They did find another, but it cost twice as much, and her friend is a little bummed about the location of the school, and and and...

Gosh, I just don't see Ai very much anymore...

20 July 2005

Hello mother, hello father...

Excerpts from an actual letter received in today's mail from Mdd (she's at camp this week, in case you've forgotten).

"I'm having soooooo much fun here.  Tomorrow we get to go to the ranch and ride around a bit.  I'm excited."

"I made a new friend."

"There are TONS of cute counsilors here.  A few of 'em... from England, one's from Germany, another from Australia, and one from IRELAND.  My counsilor is really nice..."

"I love you all!  Give Mickey a kiss for me!"

I guess it ain't all about the horses anymore.

Chicks

Dsc05137Dsc05136The heel didn't give me any hell, the gusset went well, and I'm cruising on the foot.  This is a blast.  DH was impressed this morning.  I offered to knit him a pair!  My dad's wife knits all of his socks -- he's particular about seam placement and fiber content (wool, please, even in summer) -- using a combination of machine and hand knitting.  Hmmmm.  Anyway, DH was surprised because the last time he saw the sock I was working on, it was the green & white Lorna's Laces.  I told him not to worry, I've got plans for that...

Dsc05138Don't you love hens and chicks?  Here are some close-ups of socks and chicks.  The yarn color is actually pretty true in the larger picture, but the small one shows the cable and rib pattern and, if you please, my nice gusset.  That's the end of a teensy-tiny cable needle poking through -- I'd stuck it in last night to remind me that my next row is a cable row!

We had a nice break from hot, muggy weather yesterday, though it is due to return today.  It was so great to be able to turn off the air conditioners (we use only two window units and a few fans to make a very large, old house tolerable) and throw open the windows!  I prefer the sounds of summer -- kids playing outside, an occasional Harley rumbling through town, birds singing, sounds of saws & hammers from someone's home improvement project -- to the constant hum of an air conditioner.

There was a recent, very tragic death in DH's family when one of his cousins died in a house fire.  It was made even more tragic by the fact that it preceded, by less than week, one of the most joyful occasions in a person's life:  the wedding of another cousin -- the deceased's sister.  I can't imagine what it's been like for that family -- I just can't even get near it.  I'm sure you all know by now of the senseless accident in Chicago that took the life of Kerstin's brother-in-law and two of his friends, and of the tribute project spearheaded by Greta and Annie.   I have to admit it, I am a terrible charitable knitter.  I have good intentions, and have even mentioned things like "kitty bed" and "Dulaan project" on this blog and started projects for them.  I haven't finished or sent a single knitted article.  I am going to try my darnedest to do this one, though, spurred by our own recent loss -- and some of what goes into it will be a personal tribute and remembrance of our cousin, too.  How about you?

19 July 2005

I wear my sunglasses...

Night1...at night.  Do you know it?  That song *is* the '80s -- and just makes me think "pouty."

With Mdd at camp this week and Kt having left for Toronto at 6:00 this morning, I won't be photographing the grrs together for a while.  Perhaps you couldn't see Mdd's haircut very well in the weekend photo, but I think you'll agree that it's shorter, very blonde, and quite cute.  Her roots are starting to show and they look much darker than I remember.  Kt and Ai both snip at their hair constantly -- they've both changed a little even since this photo was taken a couple of weeks ago.  They've been having great fun shopping for sunglasses at thrift stores this summer!

I've finished the leg and started the heel (oops, I typed "hell" -- I'm going to pretend that never happened) of my sock.  Someday, I hope, socks will be my take-along knitting and that I'll always have one on the needles, as so many other knitters.  I am so anxious to get the first one (okay, two) done, though, that I've been working on it exclusively.

I did do a little organizing and rearranging of the stash last night.  Where did that ball -- those balls -- of self-striping sock yarn come from?  I opened a drawer in a chest and found both forgotten yarn and project(s) in need of finishing.  As far as I can see, there's no reason for any new yarn to cross my threshold for a while.

Heather left a comment yesterday and said that her husband quit smoking 3 weeks ago (YayForHim!).  I wrote back to her said that it's hard for me to even remember what I was feeling at 3 weeks, but I know it wasn't as good as today!  I still think about smoking everyday, sometimes several times a day (especially when I see someone smoking or smoke escaping through an open car window or something triggers what used to be "break").  I can more "easily" put it out of my mind and lose the craving these days, but I can pretty much tell you, at any given point in time, how long I've been quit.  I wonder if I'll ever be like Ann (who quit at the same time as me), or my sister, who really seem to not think about it much at all.

18 July 2005

Dsc05130Dsc05131On Saturday afternoon, I filled in at my local antique mall for a couple of hours.  On the left, you see what came home with me, $20 worth; on the right, an example of stuff I love but leave behind (usually).  I brought home a cool Bakelite button, three belt buckles (one is large enough to close my Shapely Shawlette, I think), two old cabinet photos, a nicely made wicker basket, and yet another stoneware bowl.

Dsc05133Dsc05132It's the kids and the women's clothing and hair that grabs me in these old cabinet photos.  Tell me, how can you resist faces like these?  I zoomed in on the little ones with hats -- they're pictured with the whole family out in the yard and even though these two don't show it, the rest of the family is unusually jovial for this type of photo.  The baby is either on the verge of laughing or crying, and I love the plastered down hair!  Do I need an excuse for buying another bowl?  Heh.  This is the fourth of this type and size (though two of the other three are different colors, at least), so maybe I do.  My "bowl thing" has rubbed off on Kt, at least, so I know that when I need to get rid of some, there's a willing taker.

Mdd read HP from 8:15 a.m., when she got the book, 'til 6:00 p.m. when she decided that half-way was a good place to stop.  I asked her if it was the best one yet, as I'd heard; she said that it was good, but very surprising!  There's a very complicated arrangement with the HP books at our house and I'm not sure I even fully understand, but the book stayed home when Mdd went to camp yesterday at noon and she'll finish it when she gets back home.  I saw a mother at the Y with the book tucked under her arm and she said that she'd be reading it while her son was at camp this week!

DH finished watching "The Machinist" on Saturday and I saw a little of it, too.  Now that I know the ending, I could probably tolerate it a little better.  Continuing the weird movie weekend, we watched "The Final Cut" last night.  It was pretty good in a psycho-kind-of-thriller, what-if way.  These are not usually the types of movies that DH brings home!

Dsc05134Dsc05135If you recall seeing a Cable & Rib sock on this blog last week, please put it out of your mind.  This is the new and improved version, started last night, after I humbly and grumbly made a swatch while catching up with the KnitCast podcasts yesterday morning.  Swatching sock yarn while listening to Stephanie (she knows a little something about socks/I can't wait for the new book), Kate, Pam Allen, Lily Chin, the Wendy extra (finally!)...  Very enjoyable.  It's so fun to hear people speak -- and sometimes surprising!  Anyway, I think I've finally got gauge with the specified yarn and size 3 needles (nabbed for a quarter at a garage sale) rather than size 1, pretty much as Margene suggested.

And, finally, Who's Better Than Me and Ann (4 months!) and Joan and Lesli and my sister and all the other Quitters today?

16 July 2005

Is it time for my bath?

Dsc05122Dsc05125Here's the first Williamsro sleeve.  I finished knitting the Cash Iroha (green) part yesterday and the Blossom (variegated) was in yesterday's mail!  what do you think -- in comparison to this?  This (#4) is much more muted, but there are some very strong shots of color here -- lavender, green, red!  I cast on the Cash Iroha for the second sleeve, but it must have been the horrible movie (DH's choice, "The Machinist," which I found rather repulsive) we were watching last night that caused some tension problems, so I ripped and will have to restart.  I need to wind more hanks into balls, too; this sleeve took just over two hanks (both yarns are doubled throughout).

Dsc05127The bathroom is all but finished.  I did a little cleaning and hung one of the shower and window curtains today.  DH has applied the last of the caulk, installed the faucets and showerhead, and touched up some paint.  We're still awaiting the extra-long tub spout!

Hmmm, I wonder what Mdd's reading this morning?

15 July 2005

Got Pepper?

I love Anna's Sargeant Pepper so much that it brings tears to my eyes.  I am absolutely astounded by her creativity and this is one of the best things I've seen in a long time -- it makes me happy on so many levels.  Doesn't hurt that I've been a huge Beatles fan forever, that a babysitter took me to see HELP when I was in second grade, that one of my most precious memories is when my brother sang "Hey, Jude" to our mom over his new walkie talkies on Christmas morning one year.  All those things and more, PLUS astounding creativity, and I'm swooning.  Anyway, Anna is generously offering a free download of the pattern, for a limited time, so if you're interested head on over and don't forget to say thank you!

Now, mention Ch*rlie & The Chocol*te F*ctory and it's the complete opposite.  I can't even link to it -- I can't stand the styling and how people look in that movie and can't imagine that I'd ever be able to sit through it because I can't look at it.  It's like Stepford Wives meets Willie Wonka.  Ick.  Ai went to see it at midnight with a bunch of her friends and she really liked it.  I know I'm going to have to see it eventually because the grrs are such huge JD fans.

I am coming up on the end of the first two balls of Cash Iroha and have about 3 inches to go before calling the first sleeve of Williamsro finished.  When I first started knitting with that stuff, I wasn't so sure, but the more I knit, the more I love it.  I want it next to my skin!!

Monday will mark 4 months smoke-free.  I had a Quitnet email this morning with some darn impressive numbers... 119 days, 2838 cigarettes not smoked (OMG!), and over $400 "saved."  I can send in my receipts to be reimbursed for the patches I bought.  I lost the first receipt, though, being a little disoriented, but two is better than none!  I still have most of a box of patches, too, since I quit that a bit early.  I don't know what to do with them.  One of the guys at work quit cold turkey a couple of weeks ago, and so did his wife (dunno, don't think she was ready); he said something about how you'd think they'd be seeing a difference in their wallet...  I just laughed and told him how I've been rewarding myself and that I've been rewarded well into the future!  Anyway, YayForUs!!!  (You know who you are!)

Mdd leaves for camp on Sunday.  Kt is leaving for Toronto with a friend on Tuesday (her friend is checking out a school there) -- same friend that was going to school in Boston last year; Kt may see the world just visiting this friend wherever she ends up piecing together an education.  For much of the week, it'll just be Ai at home.  This has been a very different summer.  I don't like it, but I may as well get used to it.  They're all getting so busy -- even my baby! -- getting on with their own lives, and it's so hard to plan stuff.  On the bright side, my favorite little man is coming to visit late next week and I can't wait!

14 July 2005

A day without Margene...

...is really weird!  Does anyone else feel a little off-kilter this morning because Margene is off galavanting around Utah instead of posting to her blog?  Where's my daily zen?  She's usually #1 on my list because she so dependably has a fresh post every morning!  Have fun, grrl, you deserve it!

I was unexpectedly released from work early yesterday (because I'll be staying late today and tomorrow), so stopped by my LYS -- Jane's Knitting Hutch (update 8/06: now known as Iris Fine Yarns) is the shop I've been talking up this week.  Turns out I needn't have rushed -- the new owner has posted her hours and will be open 'til 8 on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.  That is great news!  Darn it, though, I forgot to ask whether there will eventually be a name change.

I found an extra ball of Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere in my color (RED) and dye lot for Tivoli.  I originally purchased this yarn at the shop's inventory reduction sale, without a project in mind, and thought I bought all there was; alas, I spotted a half dozen balls on the shelf when we stopped in on Saturday, but I didn't know the lot number then.  I didn't have my cell phone (still not used to having one) and Mom's was in the car, so I just figured I had a good reason to return...  That little ball of yarn would have been lonely in the bag all by itself, so I bought some Mountain Colors Bearfoot -- the yarn specified for the Rib & Cable Socks.  I haven't ripped the Lorna's version yet, but soon...

Williamsro elbowed in on Tivoli Day yesterday.  I cannot just knit every row (stockinette in the round) -- problems with such repetitive motion -- so I spiced it up by restarting a Williamsro sleeve.  I'll need it to test the ebay Blossom that should be arriving any day.

The grrs have been so busy!  They've all made changes to their hairstyle, at their own hands or those of their sister(s) -- short, a little asymetrical, sassy and cute!  Almost makes me wanna...  Kt's been working a lot and personifying "friendship" for someone in need; Ai has also been working, as well as jumping through wedding hoops (not her own); and Mdd is preparing for a week at summer camp (she leaves Sunday).  I'll try to corral them for a photo soon.

13 July 2005

Johnny, jump up!

Dsc05103Yesterday's flower, courtesy of my daughters, is one of many in the drift of johnny jump-ups in one of the front beds.  They make me smile every single day as I shamelessly admire my garden, coming or going; all offspring of one little plant I was given for Mother's Day a few years ago.  There's even an occasional odd one or two growing quite far from "home," too.  It's truly amazing how unique each flower is -- from a distance they all look the same, but up close, there are incredible variations.  Here you see my pitiful attempt at trying to capture the drift in a photograph.

I think I neglected to tell you all of my ebay score the other day -- seven balls of Noro Blossom, color #4.  I ought to be receiving them soon and I'm anxious to see how the color works with the Cash Iroha for Williamsro.  If that doesn't work, it's back to ebay...  I shall post a swatch ASAP.

I declare it to be a Tivoli Day!  In other words, the sock is getting a rest...  I'm thinking about ripping it and starting over, perhaps even with a different pattern.  I'm not so anxious to give them away, after all -- if it were any other yarn, I'd be fine, but this is New York yarn and I'm sentimental that way...  I'd like to remember my NY buds when I wear my green striped socks (and wouldn't they want to be remembered that way?).  Plus, I have more than one item of clothing that will match those socks, the newest of which is a bra.  It's only been the last 5 years or so that I've even owned a bra, and I don't think there's been a single one that wasn't white or tan -- not even black -- but now I have one that's green.  Go figure.  What's next?  Animal prints?  Florals???

12 July 2005

I'm cruising along on my "little work of art" last night and it suddenly dawns on me that I haven't been working the cable part of the cable & rib pattern since I started working the heel.  I guess I'm just not happy unless I have screwed up cables to fix or forgotten cables to cross, even if it's a little sock!  I had to rip down and cross six cables altogether; I think that one of them is off by a row, but I didn't lose any sleep over it.

JhnnThere's been road construction on the corner(s) by work ever since the snow melted, so I've been taking alternate routes on my way home from work.  Occasionally, I make sure the route goes past my LYS -- the one that was recently sold and where I did my part in the inventory reduction sale.  One day last week, I noticed furnishings in the parking area and the window display has changed (it's so simple and cute, just hanks of yarn half-hitched over a suspended rod).  After closing down the farmer's market with my mom on Saturday (we lunched on the last batch of samoosas from one of the vendors), she was willing to "drive by."  It looked so different -- the change in the window, none of the usual stuff on the door (not even an open sign) -- that I just had to stop.  OMG, it is SO different inside, so NICE!

I like treasure hunting as much as the next fiber freak, and the previous owner knew her stuff and was usually very nice and very helpful, but this LYS was kind of out of control.  It's no fun when the merchandise is crowded and there isn't enough room to see everything, when balls of yarn on the top shelves are raining on your head as you see what's on the bottom, not to mention the ones your butt is displacing behind you because the aisle isn't wide enough (and it ain't my butt!).  It's also no fun when everywhere you look there are bags and boxes full of yarn -- is it new, special order, for sale, what am I missing??

I know the inventory reduction helped -- a lot of fiber has been removed from that shop -- but it is such a different feeling.  Same building (formerly a small house) and many of the same fixtures, but with space.  You can breathe and actually see stuff; it feels welcoming and relaxing.  I can't wait to go back!  My mom has knit a little over the years (she was my first teacher!), but it's been a very long time.  She was drawn to the felted bag samples (numerous) and would like to try her hand at a "boiled wool" bag this fall.  Hee.

11 July 2005

Recovery

My weekend started with a bang early Saturday morning (though not as early as it could have been) when I went raspberry picking with a neighbor.  Picking started at 6:30 (I was told that cars start lining the road shortly after 5:00) and we got there at 8:00 and, by that time, were told it was pretty picked over, but there were still plenty of berries -- we'd just have to work harder for them.  I worked up one row and down another and, indeed, I was on my knees a lot and my arms got a little scratched up and they weren't the biggest berries you ever saw, but I filled an ice cream bucket about 2/3 full and only popped a few (quality control, you know) in the process.  Over the weekend, we ate them by the handful, in a bowl with sugar and cream, and in a pie*.  It was back-breaking.

Dsc05108Dsc05102A few hours later, I was at a farmer's market with my mom where I found this lovely Guacamole hosta -- in a vendor's booth where there were nothing but hostas!  Oh, they were all so lovely and she was so nice and I wonder how many more hostas I'll be hauling home this summer...  Guacamole has been on my list for quite some time, and I don't feel bad about that spontaneous purchase at all!  I also brought home a cute little viola and a maroon-colored sedum for DH.

On Sunday, I was digging up extras from mom's yard and finding places for them in my own.  The two hostas closest to the lilac bush are new; the Patriot variety was split and the other half put elsewhere, along with a Fire & Ice (mini) hosta, some ligularia and some wild ginger.  It wasn't Bickram Yoga, but I was drenched in sweat (mixed with soil) by the time I was finished planting.  It was back-breaking, too.

BlangflwBlangsclThe Blue Angel hostas are blooming -- they're the ones that helped model the last pair of baby booties, remember?  They have more flowers this year than ever before.  I dragged down the old chair that I keep on the porch for scale.  I love that hosta.

So with all the sweaty, back-breaking work following close on the heels of the arm-numbing bathroom tile grouting, I've decided that today will be recovery day!  I'm not going to do much except help Kt get some stuff up on ebay (she needs $ for that trip to London, you know), maybe go shopping for a new shower curtain rod (still waiting for caulk and tub spout) and knit on my sock.

Can you believe it?  I'm knitting a sock!  It was the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn that I purchased at Purl, combined with the Rib & Cable Socks pattern in the latest Interweave Knits that finally spurred me to do it.  What you see by Guacamole is Try #2 (larger needles) and I'm still kind of crossing my fingers -- it'll fit someone, I'm just not sure that someone will be me.  I have just turned the heel (that took two tries, too) and started the gusset.  There's other sock yarn in my stash that I'm dying to knit now.  Who knew (well, a great many of you did, I guess) that sock knitting is perfect for comfort and recovery?

*Heavenly Strawberry Pie

2 c. fresh sliced strawberries, one Keebler shortbread pie crust, 1 small pkg sugar-free strawberry Jell-o, 1 small pkg sugar-free vanilla cook and serve pudding, 1-1/2 c. water, 1 c. Cool Whip Lite.

Place strawberries in pie crust.  Combine dry Jell-o and pudding mixes with water in saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until it boils and thickens.  Spoon evenly over berries.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Spread Cool Whip over top and garnish with berries.

My mom got this recipe at Weight Watchers (it's 2 points for 1/8 of a pie) and it couldn't be easier to make -- unless you use raspberries because then you don't even have to slice them!  I substituted raspberries for strawberries and used raspberry Jell-o and it was very, very good.  We're probably going to experiment all summer long with different kinds of fruit...

08 July 2005

Better

Thank you for your comments -- incredibly helpful.  Unexpectedly, I found that watching the news last night was helpful, too.  I haven't watched the news in ages because the sensationalized and/or entertainment crap that's being passed off as "news" makes me sick (it's often difficult to tell the difference between "The Insider" and the nightly news).  On the local scene, there was a group of UW students and faculty boarding a plane bound for England and they never even considered cancelling the trip; originally, they were to spend the first few days of their month-long trip in London and that has now been changed, but that is all.  Kt will go, too, of course.  On the national news, I was gently reminded -- a number of times and by Londoners amidst the chaos -- that I really can't go home and close the door or They've won.  I knew that, too.

Oh, Ann, I know that mothers have always thought these things and, undoubtedly, each generation thinks that it can't get any worse, wonders what more the future could possibly hold.  I mourn a big jumble of things that are just not the same -- trick-or-treating, walking home from school, playing in the woods -- and wonder if someday soon things like the Olympics or other large events will have to change or cease just because of the security nightmares.  Will we find a way to thwart terrorists?  I recall a time when I was in junior high, I think, and there was a different airplane hijacked and people held hostage every week -- it seemed like it, anyway -- and somehow the threat of hijacking was overcome, even before Homeland Security and the most recent changes in airport security.  It gives me a little hope.  Thank you so much, Bonny, for sharing the Gandhi quote that you'd found yesterday, "...truth and love have always won."  That gives me comfort.

Julygarden

Gardening always helps.  This is the July garden picture collage, after a bit of weeding and the trimming of both garden phlox and bleeding heart (they were crazy-wild this year!).

The recent home improvement effort has had ill effect on my right arm, from shoulder to fingertips, muscles, nerves and joints ache and they don't really like the knitting.  I tried to pace myself last night, switching back and forth between projects, taking short breaks, and even trying a little picking as a switch from my normal throwing.  So there's been progress, but not much.

The icing on my feel better cake, so to speak, was found, for no particular reason, on my kitchen table this morning along with an "I love you" note from Ai.  It was an iced cookie in the shape of Patrick and even though I already ate it, it still makes me smile.  I'm better.

07 July 2005

Sad

When DH and I were in New York City, we visited the World Trade Center site.  We remembered and mourned and wondered...  There is a timeline posted at the site that includes images from 9/11 and the picture that made my heart well up in my throat and tears spring to my eyes showed a group of medical personnel standing ready at a hospital entrance.  I remembered how devastatingly sad it was to realize that there were so many people ready, willing and able to help that day -- and so few who needed their help.

The optimist in me, the part of me that knows there's a future even when I'm saddened and stunned beyond belief by the news, takes comfort in the fact that there are more people to be helped in London than not.

It is so hard not to feel helpless, not to want to go home tonight and close the door and leave it closed for a while, maybe for a long time.  It is so hard to be a mother, to not freak out about stuff like this and about how the world has changed... and I can't even think about the direction it's going... and what it'll be like when M*c is 20... and Kt's supposed to study in London next spring... to not scare the living shit out of my kids.

06 July 2005

Too red?

Dsc05094_1Dsc05093_1The last of the tile was set at about 9:30 last night.  I did some, too.  Those little spacers are evil.  I really think that "going postal" and "going tile-setter" are pretty much interchangeable.  Enough to drive you to drink!  We would have been finished sooner, but there was an emergency run to exchange 2 of the 45 boxes of tile we purchased that were the wrong color!  Naturally, the store closest to us didn't have any (because we bought it all!).

Grouting will be done today.  Because of all the porous character and charm of this tumbled marble tile, though, we will not be grouting in the usual way -- glopping on the grout, smearing it all over, pushing it into the cracks.  Instead, we'll be using a grout bag to fill the cracks, then pushing it into the cracks without smearing too much, and following up with a grout brush to keep some of the character and charm from filling up!  The grout bag -- if it had interchangeable tips, we could decorate a cake, too!  It looks just like a cake decorator's bag, but more heavy-duty.

Dsc05096_1Dsc05095_1How am I ever going to show you Tivoli?  It's so red that when I photograph it, it looks like it would burn your retinas just to look at it!  I wish I were moving a little faster on it, but as of last night, I finished the armhole stuff and I'm ready to cruise on the body and that's okay -- I like it!

Here's my Williamsro swatch with the olive green Cash Iroha and the Blossom that I found in NYC.  What think you?  The upper part of the swatch is made with two strands of Blossom and, while I like it by itself, I think it's just too bright with the body of the sweater -- too much of a contrast.  For the bottom part, I dropped one of the strands of Blossom and picked up a strand of Cash Iroha.  I think it's better, but I'm still not convinced.  Here's a shade card that seems pretty true to color.  I'm knitting with #6; the pattern calls for #4 and more of a hunter green body, but I'm thinking that I might like it better -- possibly #7.  Tell me what you think -- opinions, suggestions are all welcome!

05 July 2005

Splish, spla -- oops, not yet!

TubThat's my old cast iron/porcelain bathtub awaiting "irregular" trash day.  DH, in short sessions, knocked it apart with a sledge hammer on Friday -- the thing weighs a ton and this seemed "easier." Yeah, right; he almost gave up, but then found the weak points at the corners.

Down1 Mdd helped DH haul out the old wallboard and tile -- until she was picked up for a holiday weekend in the country.  There was a little bit of carpentry and electrical work to be done, and by late yesterday, it was looking like something:

Down4There is nothing like remodeling -- except DIY remodeling -- to test your relationship!  There was a bit of testiness yesterday, too, while discussing tile, spacing of said tile, cutting of said tile, etc. about the tile.  Fortunately, DH had a volunteer commitment yesterday afternoon and that gave us both a much-needed break.  Somehow, it was a lot less complicated when he returned.  He intends to have all the tile set today.  Tomorrow, I'll help with the grout.

I've heard from both prize winners!  Red, White & Blue will be in the mail tomorrow!  That was fun, huh?

MlowI have been knitting a little bit, too.  #1 is a surprise -- I've already started over once, but don't want to show you 'til I know it's going to work (it shouldn't be too long).  #2 is Tivoli/Knit Red -- unfortunately, I'm not going too fast with this, but Anna's freshly finished shirt was some motivation yesterday (maybe I can borrow her arms when it's time for my photo shoot!).  I worked on it while watching one of my favorite musicals, Funny Girl, last night!  (Is that on Jen's list of movies to see, Cara?)  #3 is Williamsro -- I grabbed one of my Cash Iroha swatches and picked up the Blossom along the bottom edge.  I think it's too bright and there's not enough green in the Blossom.  I knit several rows with Blossom doubled, as instructed, and then knit several rows with one strand of Blossom and one of the Cash Iroha and that might work.  Kt liked it better.  I forgot to take pics, but I'll do that tonight and post 'em tomorrow, and let's see what you guys think!

I was able to find a little time in the garden over the long weekend, too.  ; )

Oooh, ooh, the man issue of Knitty is up, too!

04 July 2005

Red, white and blue

Happy Independence Day!  A good day for prizes in patriotic colors...

WhtblBlissohoRed! In celebration of my unexpected and delightful trip to NYC, two balls of Debbie Bliss SoHo, actually purchased in SoHo at The Point, will be on their way to Colette as soon as I get her snail mail address.

White & Blue!  In celebration of my darling new nephew, two hanks of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in color "denim stripe" from Purl will be sent to Stacie.

It's a working holiday at Chez Knitorious.  DH, applying the last of the Wonderboard cement wall board around the new tub, just popped his head in to tell me about a job that could be done.  We are a little behind, but it's pretty much a one-butt job and there isn't much I can do to actually speed it up -- I suppose I can at least look like I'm working.

After testing the fit of the tub 20 bazillion times yesterday (that number grows by a 'zillion every time I talk about it), it was finally set yesterday -- not before some testy words between the test fitters!

Hope y'all are having a fine weekend!

02 July 2005

Hangin' for the holiday

Dgct2 Dgct1

Hope you're hangin' and having fun with someone you love this weekend!

01 July 2005

Wrap it up already!

ClryChctrtOn Saturday, DH and I spent five hours at MoMA -- and that was pretty much flying through, no dilly-dallying.  I would have loved the Cezanne and Pissarro show, but it was members only that day.  We did enjoy Friedlander's work.  I have a soft spot for Op Art and Pop Art, and I especially enjoyed the design collection.  We took a break and had a snack on the third floor patio where, naturally, the chocolate tart is served with flair.

When I first met DH, the thought of his favorite lunchtime sandwich accompaniment left me aghast -- who in their right mind eats Cream of Celery soup as SOUP??  The feeling was mutual, however, but with Cream of Mushroom as one of my favorites.  Apparently, DH is quite influential in the soup department at our house, as all three grrs count Cream of Celery soup as a favorite, but shudder at the thought of Cream of Mushroom.  Anyway, this is the only soup can I photographed, for obvious reasons.

Swtr1_1Swtr2What I really wanted to capture in these photographs was the sweater -- it's cabled and quite nice -- but I got so much more and I really like them.  I don't know which church is reflected in the windows, and don't even know which store it was!

ChryHere are the porcelain, bunches-of-cherries buttons from Tender Buttons for my fruit sweater.  Aren't they perfect?  The current placement of buttons is not quite right, so there's this alignment problem with the checkerboard -- I'm going to fix that!

NodupeWhen the grrs were in the room on Thursday, I'd shown them the buttons and the sweater -- they were all pretty impressed with my sister's work.  Katy said, with admiration, "That's not duplicate stitch!"  And when I repeated that statement to my sister, with proper reverence, it meant absolutely nothing to her -- she has no clue what duplicate stitch even is!  This was one of her first color projects.  Lauren and I were hard-pressed to find an end sticking out -- and this is slippery, mercerized cotton.  Anyway, my sister isn't really knitting much these days because of carpal tunnel and other physical issues, but it was fun to share and make her head big!

BlsmSeveral weeks ago, I bought the Noro Cash Iroha that I needed for Williamsro when my LYS had a sale.  I bought a little more than I needed (I bought all they had of that color) because I might want a little more length.  The Noro Blossom has been much harder to find -- apparently, it's not carried by very many shops, especially not the ones we went to in NYC because I looked at every single one!  If they did have it, they only had a few skeins.  So, at our very last shop stop on Friday, The Point, I was elated to find four skeins in the same color/dye lot and after consulting with my fellow knitters, we decided that it would work.  I think I'll be making a statement, but it might work.  I wound 'em into balls last night and will see...  Oh yeah, I was so excited to find more than two hanks of this yarn that it completely slipped my mind that I needed FIVE.  Duh.

I had my other purchases out last night, too.  Some of it is PRIZE YARN!  I think that'll make a nice holiday post, don't you?  I won't have fireworks, but I'll have yarn!  Have a great holiday weekend -- see you on the Fourth!

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