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24 posts from January 2006

31 January 2006

Walk This Way

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That would be the Petrified Jaywalkin' way in Socks That Rock!  I happened to be with Cara at Rhinebeck, way back at the very beginning when it was just a small stampede to The Fold she'd started because of this really great yarn.  Then she found Grumperina's sock pattern at Magknits -- a pattern for which Cara and this yarn was, apparently, cosmically, made.  And then, fueled by her unbridled excitement, she began the untethered Jaywalker Knit A Long, which has quickly exploded into a living, knitting legend.  Poor Cara.  I suggested to her yesterday that she might possibly have knit enough Jaywalkers for herself that she could tie them all together, thereby making a little Jaywalker sock rope which she could toss out the window and fittingly use to escape the Jaywalker prison she has created for herself.  I offer safe harbor, with open arms, to the Jaywalking fugitive.  You done good, girl, and we love you.

Dsc06418But what's that other stuff?  I had the most wonderful belated birthday package the other day from The Bookish Girl.  The yarn up top is a 250-yard hank of Woolarina Handpainted Merino Sport Weight -- check out her complete catalog here.  The package also included some of Woolarina's stitch markers, some wacky fabric patches, a grow-your-own sunflower kit (perfect!), and an old wooden bobbin from the Classic Elite factory.  Oh, how I love stuff like that -- stuff like all of that!!  Thank you, Wendy!

Dsc06420There are my new swatches for Williamsro -- my event in the Harlot Olympics (also a living legend -- both the Harlot and her Olympics!) Can you believe there are 2100 participants and counting?  If even half of the competitors medal in their events, that's going to be a lot of FOs come the end of February!  I'm itching to start.  Now that the Jaywalkers are finished, the only active, on-the-needles project is Shirley Shrugs.  I have vowed to cast on nothing new until after the Olympics, so Shirley's getting all my attention for the next two weeks.  Maybe I'll have an FO to start the Olympics!  That might be the equivalent of scoring a touchdown to take the lead just before half-time.  ; )

30 January 2006

Northstar Mittens on tour

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"Hi mom, it's been a long day -- but AWESOME..."

Dsc03201Katie went on a trip to Canterbury and Dover yesterday and that's the beginning of the email she sent me upon her return.  She's given me the poop so I can access her Photobucket account while she's away -- she uploaded maybe 15-20 of the 100 pictures she took on the trip (nearing 400 for the entire time she's been away, so far) and I'm sharing a few with you.  First awesome thing, in my opinion, is the weather.  I'm sure that view from the keep is gorgeous even in the rain, but that one takes my breath away.  There she is with the Northstar Mittens at The Pharos -- I feel completely idiotic (and I don't care) that I find it so thrilling to see my mittens there!  And sheep on the cliffs of Dover!!

Dsc03164This is a ceiling in Canterbury Cathedral.  Amazazing.  This one actually makes my neck hurt!

My weekend wasn't nearly so scenic.  We're preparing for a little remodeling project and I did some preparatory cleaning, with a teensy trip down Memory Lane as some of it involved going through some of the girls' saved school stuff.  I threw out lots, saved a little, laughed a lot.  There's much more of that to go through, though, as I saved everything from spelling tests and math quizzes to monthly newsletters and workbooks.  Now, the accumulation phase has pretty much ended and with the knowledge gained over the passage of time (I've never been inclined even once to see what was news in the spring of *anyone's* third grade year), I can be more ruthless than I once was, and I am able to save just artwork (the good stuff) and journals, possibly a particularly interesting report or project, and report cards; even so, there was a bit of wistfulness and I had one of the girls haul the bag to the trash.  The path to the attic is more clear.

Typepad is being weird, so I better get this up.  I've been working on Shirley Shrugs; found the yarn (Better Pal stuff!) that eluded me a couple of weeks ago; and I have a finished pair of Jaywalkers to show you tomorrow.  Woo.

26 January 2006

Why?

Why a little bloggy break?

I found "Escape"!  You think blogging is a time-suck?  (Let me know how you score...)

I'll be back on Monday.

25 January 2006

Four or five things meme, partially frozen

I'm taking the day off, maybe a few (don't worry, everything's fine) (I've never done that before) (perhaps it won't even last).  I'm pulling this post out of the freezer, though it's barely froze through!  (Keep reading, that'll make sense.)

Celia tagged me!

Instructions: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot.

Cj's Knitting Basket
Emy's blah blah blah blog
Purls Beyond Price, KimberliNY
Unraveling
Knitorious

Select 5 people to tag.  I agree with Celia, "...I know these things are akin to chain letters and they take some time, but there's nothing like direct questions to learn more about folks."  Personally, I copy and paste into a new post, save it as a draft, work on it for however long it takes, and then publish it -- sometimes it's nice to have a heat-and-serve post ready to pull out of the freezer, you know?

I'm tagging all new/new-to-me bloggers, but no pressure -- do as you see fit.  Viv/My Wooly Nest? Jenny/Too Many Projects? Chelle/Hanging By A Thread? Jenny/Woman Obsessed? The Crafty Otter/Very Otterly?

What were you doing 10 years ago?

I had just begun working again, pretty much full-time, at an antique mall. This marked my re-entry into the workforce after being a stay-at-home Mom for the five previous years.

What were you doing 1 year ago?

I was knitting Kate Gilbert's fun Tanguy hat (boohoo, already outgrown!); finishing (and loving) the Northstar Mittens (which Katie also loves -- so much that they are currently touring London with her, though I don't know if they're really getting out all that much); and knitting Jody's Natalya gauntlets for Mom's birthday (she wears them a lot!).  We were doing a little remodeling of the upstairs kitchen, which was completed except for the painting.  We will soon commence on an adjacent-ish project and perhaps both projects will be finished in one fell swoop... sometime... later.  Ali enclosed the paint chips we were pondering in my Christmas card and I think that means, "I've got a brush, let's pick out paint!"

What were you doing 1 hour ago?

Working on this meme!

List five creative things you want to achieve this year:

1. Knit (finally) a pair of Latvian mittens.

2. Build a loggia over, and finish landscaping around, the patio.

3. Finish scanning Mom's old photo albums and burning them to CD.

4. Write something real.   

5. Design, build, and make another mosaic table(s).

List five snacks you enjoy:

1. A dish of cottage cheese with pepper.

2. A fresh tomato with salt.

3. A bowl of cereal.

4. Cheetos (puffy).

5. Nearly any type of bakery.

List five things you would do if money were no object:

1. Buy a house at the each of several beaches, and one in the mountains, and one in the plains.

2. Throw a knit-blogger jamboree/slumber party/get-away/retreat -- maybe on a private island -- and bring y'all to stay overnight for a few nights (or a week or a month...).  With really good food, really good drinks ("Oh, cabana boy..."), really good pillows, really good fiber.  Just a little frolic.

3. Buy a small, zippy, fuel-efficient sportscar (or six).

4. Buy my sister a little house.

5. Help my kids a little bit.

List five bad habits:

1. Almost always late (just like Celia) -- but never by very much -- 5-10 minutes, for crying out loud.  What' s wrong with me.

2. Reading blogs at work (mm-hmm, just like Celia).

3. Smoking.

4. Diet Coke instead of water (it is caffeine-free, though).

5. Wine (I think Celia and I would get along pretty well); also margaritas and sometimes beer.

List five things you like doing:

1. Knitting.

2. Driving on a warm sunny day, windows down, rock & roll on the radio -- loud.

3. Poking 'round the garden.

4. Spending time with and talking to my kids.

5. Cuddling.

List five favorite gadgets:

1. My computer.

2. My camera.

3. My scanner.

4. My color laser printer.

5. My mouli (though mine is a rather hideous, dated orange).

Name one thing you like about yourself:

I am who I am.

24 January 2006

FO

Finally, three weeks into the new year, I'm able to post a picture in the "Completed in 2006" photo album!  It's the Simply Garter Shapely Shawlette that I knit with the Lana Grossa Luna that my employer gave me for Christmas.  It blocked beautifully and the extra four inches from neckline to point that I coaxed in the blocking remained after the unpinning.  I'm wearing it today.  It's definitely short, but is perfectly fine for an ette.  During some recent rearranging and organizing, I stashed the lovely shawl pin that Yvette sent me and I couldn't come up with it last night -- I think it might look great with this shawl!  In the meantime, it's held closed with the aid of an old belt buckle.

Dsc06373Dsc06374Green Ramen!  These are from Sunday afternoon, during the ripping of Williamsro.  The new swatches are still steeping in my knitting bag, and I haven't started the new calculations yet, but soon.  Maybe today.

Go say Happy Birthday to my favorite, be-pearled, Purling Swine.

23 January 2006

Rip & wind weekend

Dsc02909Dsc02945When not studying or singing karaoke, the girl is seeing the sights, having her picture taken with phone booths (I'm humored that the person in the booth behind her also appears to be having a picture taken rather than using the phone), doing some shopping, and taking walks in the park.

I'm wishing for feel-o-vision right now -- I've love to get my hands on that cute little bag -- it appears to be made of little felted balls that are all glommed together somehow.  That's her new phone for scale.

Dsc02892Dsc02933The more pictures she sends, the more I want to go.  Workin' on it.  I love the light in the park picture and that sunset.  Wow.  My girl's a sky-watcher, too.

I spent most of Saturday at home and did some training for International Pajama Day (the next celebration is slated for February 5th!).  Maddy needed my driving services later in the day, and while she and a friend shopped the import store, I ran up to the LYS for a pair of needles so I could commence the Olympic training.

Oh, but before that could begin, I had to rip the offending work and wind it all up.  It's a big, big, BIG pain the ass to rip and wind yarn that is 'held double throughout.'  I did not want to re-wind it doubled, I wanted it separate; it went pretty well, though I did have to enlist help once.  I was dreading ripping the Blossom, but it came out okay!

In the fresh start spirit, I re-copied the pattern on Sunday -- in color and on nice paper -- and also made a motivational page with Mary Beth's helpful information regarding this sweater.  In an unusual training maneuver, I made two swatches during football yesterday -- BIG swatches -- one in stockinette and one in the cable pattern.  Next, I've got to sharpen my pencil and warm up the calculator...

While I was doing all that ripping, separating, winding and swatching, the Luna Shawlette was having a Eucalan bath -- I kind of forgot about it, so it was a good, long soak!  There was a little bleeding of dye, but not bad.  It ought to be dry and ready for unpinning when I get home tonight -- I believe I did get about four inches in length when I pinned it, but will have to see how much it might bounce back.

And in between all that, I worked on the Jaywalker -- I've knit the heel flap, turned the heel and started the gusset.  That's simple enough work that I ought to be able to do it while watching 24 tonight...

20 January 2006

Snakebite

What do you think might happen if you had a beverage called a "Snakebite" (a combo of lager and cider) -- preceded by one or two Strongbows and followed by a Smirnoff and intermingled with a Chinese buffet and karaoke?  There's a young, international studies student in London who can tell you that she "...became for the first time actually DRUNK" and, a little later, kinda sick.  My daughter tells me that the staff at the house where she's staying "...loves when the Wisconsin groups come because 'we know how to party'."  Look what happens when they leave you!!!

Uscableteam_1 EddiejumpingenjoyI've found my team -- did you know there were teams?  Jenifleur has provided some great buttons.  She is on the Fair Isle Team and is making that gorgeous Fair Isle Bag from Summer '04 Interweave Knits -- I forgot how much I like that bag (thanks for the reminder!).  I love these Olympics and all the fun and buzz it's generated.  Margene has her Tribute to Eddie The Eagle (I remember Eddie!). I wonder who's going to adopt the Jamaican Bobsled Team.  ; )

I'm kind of stalled in the middle of the street, dodging cars; progress has been
s-l-o-w on the Petrified Jaywalkers, though I have worked on them a little this week.  The Red Scarf was completed last night, so the Jaywalkers ought to see more action over the weekend.  And Shirley Shrugs... oh, I had pangs as I read Celia's post about her failing the Olympics Trials (aka, Christmas knitting) and, combined with the echo of Mom's recent query about my progress on her gift, they hurt -- like a snakebite!!  Am I worthy of participation in the Olympics?  I will do what I must do, and train hard; my regimen shall include nothing but Jaywalkers, Shirley Shrugs, and Williamsro prep from now 'til Opening Ceremonies!

I'm not finished yet with the bowls.  It was very interesting to gather one of my collections in one place for the sole purpose of photographing it – something I’d never have done if it weren't for the ABC-Along.  I viewed these things that I look at and use everyday in an entirely different way – I handled each and every one, I arranged them differently (dare I say even artfully?) and I'm tickled that there's this unexpected, small sense of discovery in this endeavor.  I enjoy thinking about the letters to come and how I will represent.  To borrow a line from Cara that made me laugh out loud this week, "Let's look a few more pictures, shall we?" (when would we ever say to no her pictures?).

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Lastly, I read a blog called Rebecca's Pocket.  Wondering about blogging?  She wrote the book.  She's doing a series of interviews called  Bloggers on Blogging.  I really enjoyed the most recent interview with David Weinburger.  The questions and answers are very interesting; and I like the perspective of a non-knit-blogger.  Blogging and blogging issues and blogging etiquette (among them reading, commenting, emailing, responding as Cara posted about today) seem to be a recurring theme across the blogosphere and they won't be getting any easier.

Oh, and Happy 21st Anniversary to hubby & me!

19 January 2006

B is for...

BBowls.  (With lots of pictures for that slimmer skimmer Ann.)  It was not by happenstance that my sister gave me bowls for Christmas.  She has given me many bowls for many Christmases and not so much because she makes them as because I kind of like them a little.  Okay, okay, a LOT!

Dsc06357Dsc06363I gathered all my bowls for a picture yesterday.  These portraits do not include my more everyday collection of soup/sauce/cereal bowls or any that were holding leftovers in the 'fridge.

Dsc06371Dsc06372They're like my kids in that there are no favorites, except for that stack on the left of bowls that Ali made and the ones my sister made and those green ones and that blue one and the ones with the girl watering the garden... see?  I love them all.  This is a utilitarian collection -- I use most of these bowls -- that does double-duty as decorative element because all of my upper kitchen cabinets have glass doors.  One of the nice things about having such a large and varied collection is that I can always come up with the right bowl for the job!  I love to stand in front of the cabinet, peruse the display, and carefully choose my bowl.

Cuckoo.  Go ahead, you can call me that.  I think all collectors are a little off their rocker -- they've just got to be!  And it's catchy:  Katie's already declared her love for bowls and her intention to populate her own cabinets in such a way someday; Ali makes them; not able to take a reading on Maddy yet.

18 January 2006

Red are strawberries

RedscarfbuttonRedder than red roses
La la lalala
Redder than my scarf
Red are strawberries
Redder than red roses
Green the leaves are growing*

I found a skein of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky, plus the remainders of another, in a nice maroon and Norma said that I could definitely use it for my contribution to the Red Scarf Project.  I tried to find a pattern on Monday night, but I was watching 24 and it was gripping, demanding my full attention, and I could not concentrate on anything!  There are 20 more hours in the next few months, for sure, that I will not be knitting -- you can take bets!  Anyway, Norma mentioned, and I'd noticed, that there were a lot of lacy red scarves being knit and she was concerned about the boys, so I'm knitting a narrow "boy scarf" in mistake rib.

Hey, I got a QuitNet email with numbers today:  306+ days, 6126 cigarettes not smoked, 1-1/2+ months of lifetime (on life support -- or not) saved, $1071 saved.  Yeah, baby, I'm okay with being a turkey among turkeys.

As announced yesterday, my event for the Harlot Olympics -- oooh, that might not be the best nickname, hm? -- I mean The 2006 Knitting Olympics (eh, TKO just doesn't have the oomph) is Williamsro.  I started this sweater a LONG time ago -- I bought the yarn shortly after my quit date, before the funds saved from smoking really equalled such a purchase (I rewarded myself early and often!), but the Cash Iroha was on sale and I just had to. This little splurge was to eventually become a symbol of my success -- why wear it on my sleeve when I can simply wear it?  I had a hell of a time finding the right color of Blossom -- the search even took me to New York City -- but I eventually scored on ebay.  I completed the sleeve/swatches and thought I was on target, so cast on and knit most of the back. It became apparent that it was not going to be the comfortable, maybe even roomy sweater I was after -- gauge was totally off!  So I ripped the back and stuffed the doomed sleeves into a bag and there it's been for quite a while now.  My training over the next few weeks will be concentrated on the ripping, winding, and recalculating.  An entire sweater in two weeks may seem daunting, but Mary Beth just knit this very same sweater in that timeframe, and she wasn't even competing -- she did it because it was FUN!  It wasn't 'til after I'd already thrown my hat into the burning ring of circular knitting needles that I realized I'd made plans to attend the WPT Garden Expo in Madison on opening weekend (my sister will be an exhibitor), also visiting with sisters and babies...  but I'm good.  I'll just have to train hard and concentrate.

Lastly, please give a nice blogland welcome to Chelle.  She's no stranger among us, but we may not recognize her wearing that shiny, new blog!  Now I'm off to shoot my Bs...

*The twins and I used to sing that to our little sister from our beds at night in a round.  I don't know where we learned it, or who wrote it, or whether it's part of a more substantial song, but it's awfully pretty and, apparently, very soothing.  An even bigger favorite was Today -- we can all sing it as if it were only last night.  We all remember the words to our elementary school song, too; I don't know what that says about us.  ; )

17 January 2006

What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?

You will be smothered under a rug.
You're a little anti-social, and may want to start gaining new social skills
by making prank phone calls.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla | Join | Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

I love Edward Gorey.  I did a little blog-hopping yesterday and found this at a new-to-me blog which I may or may not have added to my Bloglines list and I can't believe I didn't jot down the name.  I must have been all excited about my Gorey death...

I27maskywatcher2_1

I love the sky.  There are a lot of knit-blogging Sandy Sky Watchers standing on their porches in their jammies with wind-blown hair taking pictures of the sky these days; the sky images make me smile, the photographers' images in my head make me giggle.

Knittingolympics1_2

I love the Olympics.  Like Stephanie, I have never participated much in competitive sports; I was invited to join the gymnastics team in high school, but, hey, it was high school -- I needed more of a nudge and didn't get it.  Oh, how I love to watch!  I cringe and grimace and wince at the mistakes, and sometimes my heart breaks; I beam to bursting, heart full with pride and accomplishment at the winning; and often I cry.  I love the anthems, the flags, the pomp and circumstance and ceremony, the flowers, the medals, the smiles and the tears.  I love the TV clips of past glories (never enough!) and athletes' stories.  And I think I have the perfect project for the Knitting Olympics -- Williamsro!  I've done some training (i.e., knitting, ripping, knitting, ripping), but I've lapsed, so some intense drills are in order these next few weeks.  Williamsro is my reward sweater, which I intend to have finished by the quit anniversary, and if I do it for the Olympics, I'll actually finish it a month ahead of schedule!

16 January 2006

It's a sign of the times...

Dsc06346Dsc06337...That you call me up whenever you feel lonely.*

Rather, it's a sign of the times that you call me up on your shiny, new, international cell phone that you bought because you needed an alarm clock!  It took me a long, long time to realize that I could use my cell phone as a clock/watch, but kids these days (mine, anyway) use them regularly as their alarm clocks, too.  So, I've had two emails and a nice phone call from Kate in London (sounded like she was right next door).  The sun came out yesterday and she took a hike through Regent's Park and any lingering doubts about whether she should be there disappeared with the clouds as the city lay before her.  (I'm going to like London Photos.)

Yes, her mum is relieved.  Can you tell?

Dsc06338Dsc06340I was trying to photograph some things yesterday when all of a sudden there was a big, gray cat filling my viewfinder (see above; like me, you can't miss him).  That usually means that the food dish is empty, but it wasn't, so I don't know, I guess he just needed some attention.  Anyway, I happened to be at the antique mall some time ago when this item was newly arrived; the shop owner held it up and asked, quizzically, if not even incredulously, "What in the hell is this?"  I knew right away that it was a shrug, but was charmed by it's tiny size and pink ribbon details -- a baby shrug!  When I worked at the mall a couple of weeks ago and saw that it had been priced for next to nothing, it had to come home.  I especially like the clever treatment at the neck edge to make a neckline.

Dsc06341My weekend was spent knitting the Luna Shawlette.  I have finished, including the special bind off, and it's 12" from neck to point prior to blocking.  I will give it a bath and block it tonight, though I don't expect to gain much.  The yarn is lovely, but the jury's still out in regard to size.

*Name that tune -- song and artist.

14 January 2006

London calling emailing

I think London tried to call this morning, but all I heard were a few clicks.  So, I had an email, instead!  She's fine, but a little homesick, mostly because of "the total lack of familiarity with this huuuuge city" and "all the little things you don't necessarily think about like the direction of the traffic or the currency or how all the cars are BMWs, Mercedes, and Peugeots... traffic is crazy. But I've found an ATM and I have yet to find somewhere to eat... I've slept one hour and that was last night on the plane, but it wasn't good sleep. So I can't wait until tonight!!"

If that doesn't sound kind of excited, then I don't know what does!  Woo (big sigh of relief).  Actually, I knew she'd arrived safe and sound and a half-hour late because I'd signed up for email notification of the arrival from the airline, so that was my first email today.  ; )

I had a good day yesterday, though didn't get done nearly all that I'd hoped.  I did go to yoga, though, and, ooooh, that was nice.  It still feels nice today.

Oh, yeah, and I "visited" Anna in England this morning, myself, and treated myself to"Pippa!  You should go, too.  This is a classic sweater, beautifully worked.

13 January 2006

Bon Voyage

I'm good; no tears.  (Dsc06320aCluuuuuuuck!  Bawk, bawk, bawk.)

We had a very fine bon voyage dinner for Katie last night.  We were seated at the table I wanted (cluck) and I didn't have to get all hot under the collar about it (cluck, cluck).  It was so pretty with the big windows and the water -- right there, right below us, even -- and the moonlight; the girls want to live there.

Katie said she had the perfect day-before-departure day -- lunch with a good friend, afternoon coffee with another, dinner with her family.  She's been packing and unpacking and repacking for the past six days, relegating clothing to be either packed or worn (not both) these past few, so there wasn't much last-minute angst in that department (she didn't learn this packing method from me -- BAWK!).  She can only take as much as she can carry herself and that's hard packing for an extended trip.  She slept well and is now on her way to Chicago/O'Hare with London/Heathrow as her final destination "tomorrow morning."

So, there they are (cluck, peck, cluck, cluck, cluck).  The next time they'll be all together, we'll be in the midst of birthday season -- Ali will have turned 19, Katie 21 (celebrating in Munich, no less), and Maddy will be on the very cusp of 15.  (BAWK!!!)  As I sent Katie off this morning, I just couldn't help remember how different she was the last time she flew/returned and know that she will certainly return "different" this time, too, but how different/different how, and will there ever be so dramatic a change again?  (BAAAAWWWWWWK!!!!)  Um, yeah, okay, I better stop thinking about all the possiblities in that vein right now.

Dsc06071I needed a distraction in the knitting department last night.  (Obviously, "distraction" is going to be the name of the game for a little while here -- let's see if "concentration" might be worked in, too, however slowly!)  I still have not located the yarn I was looking for last weekend (BAWK!), but the Lana Grossa Luna that I received from my employer for Christmas has also been on my mind a lot.  I cast on 25 stitches or so and worked several inches of the Brooks Farm Four Play Scarf pattern (pdf file) before Ali came through and I nabbed her for an opinion.  (The camera is temporarily MIA, so pics have to wait, or I'd definitely be asking you, too.)  She said it was okay, but wouldn't it be better as "one of those shawl thingies you wear all the time?"  I haven't been wearing scarves because I don't really have one, not because I don't like them.  The Luna looks nice in the scarf pattern, but I have to admit that I thought of a shawlette, too, and wondered if perhaps it wouldn't show the yarn to better advantage.  I've only got two balls of this, so it wouldn't be a very big shawlette, but ette means smallish, and I don't have a problem just knitting and seeing how it turns out.  It was purchased locally and I'm pretty sure that there's more to be had if ette isn't big enough.  Anyway, I didn't rip the scarf yet, but I did grab the second ball and have a start on a shawlette.

Thank you, thank you (cluck!) for all your well wishes, comments, emails, the chucks under the chin and pick-me-ups and encouragement for me, as well as the well wishes for my daughter as she embarks on this fantastical adventure... far, far, FAR (cluck, BAWK!!) from home.  The apron strings are attached by only a few fraying threads now and it won't be long before they just give out.  (Cluck.)

12 January 2006

Books!

Yay, she's back; let's get Bookish!

It is interesting, perhaps only to me, that the only two book-ish episodes of Oprah that I've ever seen became mired in controversy shortly afterwards.  I'd read plenty of Oprah books -- and loved the idea of her book club, even if not always loving the books -- before ever actually seeing one of the book club episodes; that episode was, of course, when she chose Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, and his response to the whole thing pretty much put an end to that incarnation of Oprah's Book Club.  Too bad.  I never quite understood that.  I'd always wished she'd start Oprah's Art Club or something (I've got some favorite, near and dear artists to suggest).  Anyway...

Whatever the last weekday was that I had off, I caught the VERY tail end of Oprah featuring James Frey and A Million Little Pieces.  I saw enough and was impressed enough that I've been talking about it, quoting it ("HOLD ON"), all but recommending it.  There was a light crowd at book club last night (though more in attendance than last time) and that's the book we'll be reading for next time.

The book we discussed last night was Inside The Kingdom by Carmen Bin Ladin.  I didn't particularly care for her writing, but it was an interesting story.  I don't know that I'd ever be so blinded by love and idealism that even after visiting Saudi Arabia and experiencing the culture I'd gloss it over as she did.  That's me.  I'd like to be an idealist, but that damn practical stuff always gets in the way.

There's still some clucking, but the feathers are beginning to settle.  Tonight we'll all go to dinner, and tomorrow morning I'll see Katie off, and then I've got some things planned (I have the day off of work) to keep myself occupied.  Possibly a hair cut, definitely some knitting, some shopping/food prep (trying something new; no pumpkin lasagna news yet), and yoga.

Panic-Cluck-OMMMMMMM.  I'll get by with a little help from my friends.

11 January 2006

Tiptoe with Miss Vicki

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Two mismatched but very closely related Jaywalkers.  The first is about an inch longer in the leg than the second, and while they're both in Socks That Rock "Petrified Wood," the color intensity in the hanks is slightly different (the longer sock is much darker).  I cast on and nearly finished the ribbing for the mate of the shorter sock last night.  I'd like to zip through and move on...  Shirley Shrugs is waiting (Mom is ever so patient), I'd like to do a quick scarf, find the yarn I was looking for on Sunday for another project...

Dsc06316Yes, "mom," my feet are on the kitchen counter.  Old house kitchen = high ceiling.  The view is slightly different from way up here!  Katie's wearing her new $7-on-clearance cashmere scarf and the necklace she made from my vintage button collection -- and look at her hair!  I wish I could just twist and clip and pin and be that cute.  Madeleine's hair keeps changing color -- she dyed it, twice, and it's been interesting to watch.  Ali tried to dye mine the other day and it just refuses to really change much.

Oh, oh, oh!  Hubby went to a meeting the other night that was also a pot-luck dinner.  I don't think he took anything real exciting, but, wow, he sure brought home some great left-overs!  (I'm definitely going to have to nudge my way to that table!)  For lunch yesterday, I had Pumpkin Lasagna.  I have not yet requested the recipe, but I most certainly will and I will share it if I can.  I have searched the internets and have found similar, but not quite (some with spinach and/or chard and/or tomatoes and/or sweet potatoes and/or meat).  It was so different -- Mom told me about the Butternut Squash Ravioli she recently had at a restaurant and that it was sweet, and DH had JUST made pumpkin pies, and I have my own favorite lasagna recipe in which I can't quite imagine pumpkin as an ingredient -- it wasn't sweet at all, it was even a little peppery.  Oh, so good!

That's all I've got.

10 January 2006

Have plug, will travel

Dsc06309The electrical adapters arrived yesterday.  It helps to spend some time with Katie as she packs and prepares.  It's not like I haven't sent her off to a far-away place before -- shoot, I even delivered her and, believe me, THAT was the hardest thing, driving away and leaving her behind.  She is so much better prepared.  I'm a mother hen, though, and my feathers have been ruffled, so I've just got to squawk and flap my wings 'round the barnyard for a little while.  That's just me.  The cows and pigs and Farmer Brown all need to know that my nest is being disturbed.  Cluck, cluck.

I skipped my regularly scheduled second Monday of the month meeting and had Katie drive me to Old Navy, instead.  I had a tip from Holly yesterday (thank you!) about yoga wear and I scored; top and bottom.  Barnes & Noble was two doors down with their Gaiam display (I also needed a mat) and I scored there, too, finding a mat/carrying bag combo that turned out to be 50% off to boot.  Total opposite of shopping meltdown.

I knit a little at lunch time yesterday, but not at all last night.  I am mere stitches from a completed sock.  Did I tell you that I did a three-needle bind-off on the first?  Jury's out 'til they're actually worn, but it looks nice.

I had threatened to begin a new project over the weekend and I would have if I'd been able to the yarn.  I am loathe to admit that it may have happened, it might apply, I could possibly have Too Much Wool.  (Cassie, I didn't think I'd ever share that problem, but I think this is clearly a sign.)  It's gotta be somewhere...

Cluck.

09 January 2006

Meltdown at Target

Dsc06301Perhaps I should have stayed in my pajamas all day.  Instead, by 3:30 or so, I was dressed and riding around in the car with two of my girls, running errands, stopping here, stopping there.  Since some of the stopping was at stores, I thought I'd try to find something more comfortable to wear to yoga.  Perhaps I was extra tired from the previous week's lingering sniffles & sneezes, the yoga workshop on Saturday, the dismantling of the Christmas tree* on Sunday morning, the fact that I already tried on 40,000 different yoga tops & pants without much success (why pockets, people, in the least flattering place of all?), so when the clerk at Target told me that I couldn't take eight articles into the dressing room, I kind of lost it.  I just couldn't think about which pieces to leave behind, where to leave them, how to get them when I needed them.  I suggested that it wasn't that busy and would it really be so hard to keep track -- couldn't I have a "six" and a "two"?  She said that she couldn't do it and offered no other suggestion.  I just dropped all eight pieces on the desk and left.  I didn't melt down completely (as in start to cry), as I had to go find Kate & Ali on the other side of the store and we had to check out.

Perhaps I should wear a warning sign this week.

Please bear with me as it's the final countdown to Katie's departure on Friday for The London Adventure.  She will not return 'til nearly the end of April.  She will spend her 21st birthday in Munich, Germany.  I am riding the mother of all motherhood emotional rollercoasters this week -- well, I've been riding it for a while, but now you're along -- elated, excited, happy, sad, depressed, worried, broke, protective, selfish, anxious, and many, many more.  Mostly, I can't wait 'til I hear from her over there, hopefully next weekend, "London calling..."

I ought to have my second Jaywalker finished today but, alas, will not yet have a pair!

*I think I won the pictured ornament in a first grade spelling bee; Mom always insists that I made it in school.  Looks complicated to make, doesn't it?

07 January 2006

Yo-Gi-I*

Dsc06297Today I attended my first Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga Workshop.  I think I'm going to like it.  I think I'm going to like it a lot.  I used to be flexible -- a few years of dance and an affinity for gymnastics (I used to do walk-overs, back-bends, flips, you name it) -- and it was nice to discover that I can still bend and stretch and reach for the sky.  Man, I need some better clothes, though; they felt like a second skin after two hours!

A herd of giraffes from Long Island landed on my kitchen table a few days ago.  One of them has run off already, with a hasty note to Mack scribbled inside, making a date with him for this summer to see the newly-installed giraffes at my nearest zoo.  (Thanks for thinking of me, Ann, they're the cutest cards!)

Tomorrow, International Pajama Day!  I'll take down the tree a little, organize my knitting magazines a little, knit a little (maybe even start something new), and relax a LOT!

*My nephew has a one-track mind with the Yu-Gi-Oh cards.

06 January 2006

Ain't no sunshine

Dsc00807The weatherman was hopeful that we'd see some sun today -- we haven't seen hide nor hair since before Christmas -- but it doesn't seem to be happening.

Ta-da!  I'll tell you what, it is very refreshing and quite nice to go traipsing through the archives.  I'll dig up my own sunshine.

I'm not entirely sick of winter yet; we hardly have any snow and also haven't endured the bitter cold snap that really makes one yearn for spring.

Soon the boat shows will start, the RV and camping expos -- I'm considering attending the garden show in Madison in about a month.

Spring will come.

05 January 2006

A is for...

Smile_1 AAli.  This picture is one of many on my 'fridge and has long been a favorite.  There are so many favorites.  I was sitting on the porch swing in the small, screened porch of the house we were renting at the time -- we bought and moved into our current house in September that year and this is probably one of the last pics taken there, so Ali is about 5-6 months old and sitting in her car seat.  The house was on a very busy corner, but the porch was rather hidden by bushes.  Guess what my main activity was on that there porch?

Ali: sunshine and happiness.

I had a different doctor for each of my kids' births.  With Katie, we were living in a one-hospital town. With Ali, we'd moved to a two-hospital town and I didn't realize that doctors had affiliations with specific hospitals.  I chose the doc that I wanted, and the hospital I wanted (before insurance started dictating such things with iron fists), and they weren't affiliated.  That means that when I was in labor, they waited until the last possible moment to call her because once there to attend me, she wouldn't be able to leave until I delivered.

I hadn't been completely thrilled with how Katie's birth went (though the final result was stellar) and thought that by choosing a woman doctor for Ali's, it would be better -- just because she'd "know."  I also chose to use a birthing chair.  This is where a doula, or some sort of advocate, would have been handy -- for no other reason than to tell me what to really expect.  Silly me, thinking that the experience was all about me.  I went sailing so high up in the air in that birthing chair, as it was adjusted for the doctor's comfort, I felt like I was on a carnival ride, except there wasn't a Sno-Cone vendor in the room.  When they were all exclaiming about it being a girl -- and having red hair -- I couldn't even see, I was up so high, which also meant she wasn't in my arms...

Live and learn.

I had to call my sister last night and tell her that I blogged her stuff -- and hope she didn't mind.  It kind of just happened.  She knows that I have a blog, but I don't know what really comes to her mind, and she's just not so enamored with the electronics.  She doesn't have email and has limited internet access and no web presence (no cable TV, either).  Anyway, she was thrilled to hear about the response, and I'll be in touch shortly with all who expressed interest in her beautiful work.

Yesterday was a day for the culinary history book!  I made Spinach Calzones, and even blanched my own spinach (so easy in the microwave).  Spinach is not the favorite green vegetable of most who live at my house, but it is one of mine and I thought I could slide this dish through with little complaint.  There was a little "iffiness" in the air, even from our very polite dinner guest (a new friend of Maddy's), but once they stuck a fork in it, I didn't hear any more.  In fact, everyone -- everyone -- at the table had seconds!  The most persnickety one (pictured above) was not there, and THAT would be the ultimate test; most agreed that she wouldn't even try it.  ; )

You want knitting, too, don't you?  It has been decided that there will be two pairs of Petrified Jaywalkers -- one tall, one short.  I started the heel flap on that second sock last night after 20 (I think) repeats and have turned the heel.  I will knit the short sock's mate next, then the second longer sock, having leftovers from the short pair to finish the longer sock if I run short of yarn, which is a very real possibility.  That's the long and short of it.

I'm feeling better.  Thank you.  Still stuffy and sniffly, but my throat's not so scratchy.  I did some adding and rearranging with the blog photo albums yesterday and only have a few visible on the main page.  All of the albums are available, at all times, on the Blog Links page.  I've got more blogcleaning to do, but it's a start (it's kind of like housecleaning -- is it ever really finished?).

04 January 2006

One of these things is not like the other...

Dsc06270...but is it close enough?  Two hanks of STR, both Petrified Wood; the one on the left is not as dark.  Are they close enough to be siblings or are they destined to be cousins?

Dsc06272The card of "Lady Washington Pearls" was one of the sewing notions that my sister gave me -- nestled now, as then, inside one of the cereal bowls that she decorated. In the background is one of her soap dispensers that I've had for quite some time.  These bowls are a newer shape for her, much more open than most of the bowls she's decorated previously.  Because they're so open, she felt they needed decoration on the inside, too.  Some of them, like this one, are even decorated over the rim.

Dsc06271In late winter/early fall, she also started decorating Christmas ornaments.  I forgot!  She gave me a couple of those, too!  (Damn it. Ann, I want you to know that stopped in the middle of the blogging to take ornament pictures.)  I think these are stunning, but they don't hold a candle to the personalized ornament she made for Grandma that had all of the grandchildren's names in the design.  I think my sister's work, her unique design and technique, is breathtaking -- and I don't think I'm being partial.  I can hook you up, shamelessly, if you're interested.

Dsc06274Dsc06273I admit it.  I'm sick.  I've been fighting the fight, but it's winning today.  Thank goodness it's my regularly scheduled day off.  It's been so dreary and foggy and gray -- doesn't help much.  Katie is thinking of our recent weather as a little taste of what might be in store for her beginning in less than two weeks when she flies off to London for a few months.

I called a restaurant yesterday to make reservations for a farewell family send-off dinner for Katie -- all of us, plus my mom and her husband.  There's a great, fairly new restaurant, right on the river, in what used to be an old mill -- I mean it, at some of the tables, you look out and there's the gurgling water below.  So I called to make a reservation, more than a week in advance, because this is a pretty special occasion and I wanted to reserve one of those on-the-water tables.  Does that not make sense??  I was told that they don't reserve specific tables.  I got a little hot under the collar, as I sometimes do -- and I may have said, "frickin' " in the course of ensuing conversation.  I don't really get it.  There probably won't be a problem, because it's early-ish on a Thursday night, but I asked whether I could wait for the table I want to become available.  I can.  I will.

Two more things:  The time for embracing the inner sloth is coming to an end (one sign of this is that my gift box of chocolates is pretty much empty now).  I have signed up and plunked down the money for a two-hour yoga workshop for utter beginners (me) this Saturday.  In a couple of weeks, I'm going to cancel Weight Watchers Online -- not enough interaction and I think I need interaction -- and start attending Tuesday night meetings.

I'm off to cuddle and knit -- with a box of tissues nearby.

03 January 2006

Little bumps, little bumps!

Dsc06257I haven't looked at every single page of every single vintage knitting magazine that was under my tree, but I have looked at most -- at the very least, I've read the covers and the tables of contents.  I found sock patterns in only one magazine -- the very earliest issue of Vogue Knitting Book (pictured here yesterday).  I think there was a nearly 50-year drought in the publication of sock patterns -- and now they're everywhere.

I did find, among the general techniques in some of those magazines, illustrated instructions for weaving together the toes of socks.  I also saw (but have not yet thoroughly read) directions for mending knitted items, with specific mention of socks.

My stepmom has been knitting socks for my dad, using a combination of both machine and hand knitting, for quite a few years.  Among other things, like the type of fiber used, Dad never likes where the toe seam falls on commercial socks.

At our family gift exchange on Christmas Eve, one of my sisters received some long underwear from another.  Along with specific discussion regarding the long underwear and this particular sister (who is probably the most particular about the way things fit, especially that there is enough ease, if not roominess), there was general discussion about sizing and how things should fit, eventually leading to the subject of constrictive and/or restrictive clothing, which led to the sharing of experiences by various family members, the most favorite of which involves my niece.

It is well known among us that my niece would not wear tights when she was little and she was quite particular about the fit of any kind of pants, or anything, really, that went around her waist.  I did not know that she was also a stickler regarding the fit and feel of her socks...  The hysteria was palpable as my brother-in-law recalled the many times they'd be nearly ready to go, my 3-year-old niece all bundled up by the back door, crying, "Little bumps, little bumps, little bumps..."  They'd remove the footwear, adjust the socks, and try, try again...  It's those little things, when the kids are little, that sometimes make you want to throw yourself off a cliff, but which make for such good laughs many Christmas Eves later...

And yes, folks, it's a finished Petrified Jaywalker!  The second one has been started and I'm already several rows into the pattern.

02 January 2006

What's up?

Dsc06242This fair maid was around the corner and at the end of the street the other day -- couldn't miss her!!  What a hoot, huh?  Bringin' in the new year in style in our neighborhood!  The temps have been so mild lately, and now it's raining, so much of the snow you see there is now history.

Dsc06247I did have some knitterly gifts under the tree this at Christmas and, this morning, while I was shooting to share, look who else was under the tree.  It's been one of his favorite hang-outs and, thankfully, he's left the ornaments alone.  The tree will stay up 'til after the Feast of the Epiphany this year because that's what Grandma used to do, that's what Mom's doing, and... I don't feel like doing it 'til next weekend, along with just liking the way "Feast of the Epiphany" rolls off the tongue.  I'm not a stickler for tradition, though, as there have been plenty of years when the tree was history on the 26th!

Dsc06246_1So, my sis gave me a great gift this year...  a half-dozen of her hand-decorated cereal bowls and a large, round platter, and as I unwrapped and unpacked the bowls, there was a whimsical, vintage sewing notion nestled in each -- a card of buttons, a thimble, a packet of needles -- something new in each one.  She used two balls of Trekking XXL sock yarn, in addition to bubble wrap and tissue, to protect the stoneware with more vintage knitting items lining the bottom of the box:  two issues of Needlecraft magazine, a booklet of baby knitting patterns, a "circular knitting pin" (it has a metal cable) as well as a set of five, vintage, steel, double-pointed "pins."  It was a very fun gift to open and receive. Each of the bowls she made for me is unique in decoration (EVERY piece she makes is one-of-a-kind), so each one is like a separate gift to be admired, acknowledged, appreciated.  They are artfully stacked and displayed on my kitchen counter and may be there for a while.

Dsc06250Dsc06249Remember when I sewed the zipper into a sweater for a friend a while back -- kind of a round-about, something's up, "favor" for DH?  (The sewing was a snap, I tell you.  The hard part must be the basting and that had already been done!)  In return for the services of my sewing machine, the friend gave DH a stack of old knitting/craft magazines, for which he then found a pretty box in which to put them, and wrapped them up for me!  When I opened the box, the "Modern Needle-craft" that you see at left was on top -- that was the issue that was current when I was born.  There are a few older issues of "Vogue Knitting Book," the earliest of which is Spring/Summer 1954, pictured at right.  These are a blast.

I am positively honored and, really, just verklempt to be acknowledged in JenLa's Second Annual Knit Blog Awards show.  The blogging of the quit has been immeasurable in my success.  The winning of a frickin' award -- an admitted "we are making this shit up" award -- for the quit pretty much seals it, you know?  It's funny, to me, because I briefly mentioned smoking in my very well-typed (for a woman who had two grande margaritas under her belt, along with a starter margarita before leaving home and a nightcap margarita afterwards -- and while writing) New Year's post...  I hadn't given much thought to the smoking and drinking 'til we'd pretty much arrived at the door on New Year's Eve.  One step inside reminded me that, oh yeah, there's that recently passed no-smoking ordinance, and that was kind of a relief.  I'd decided that we'd sit by the windows, though, not realizing that I'd picked a front-and-center seat to watch as everyone else went outside, in a steady stream, to smoke!!  It's been hard, the holidays are stressful, I'm fat, I miss smoking a lot, I want to smoke... but I can't -- all the reasons I try to come up with for why I should are just plain stupid.  So I struggle to some degree almost everyday and I make the choice every single day -- most days it's fairly easy, but some days it's hard and it feels like I'm "making the choice" over and over and over.  It's pretty weird to think that anyone has found strength here, too, while I still feel such weakness sometimes.  I guess that's what support is all about.  Honestly, the Thank You Award goes to each and every one of you!!

Yeah, I'm pretty good at being verklempt, too, huh?

I feel as though I've been knitting in slow motion all week.  I have begun the two on my first Jaywalker, though, and I'm very excited -- I will likely finish it today while I watch the Badgers (the game's already underway -- I'm so SLOW today).  I did not knit at all during the Packer game yesterday, giving full attention to (as I'm so SICK of hearing, but have to repeat) possibly Brett Favre's last game.  The firing of Mike Sherman as coach this morning was surprising, to me, but I have no clue how it's going to go for Brett or how the coaching staff decisions will affect his decision.  I, for one, would like him to play one last season.  I'd actually like him to play for "four more years," as the crowd at Lambeau chanted a few times yesterday, but one would be good, and I think it would be good to know, at the outset, that it would be his last, no matter what.  That would end the speculation with every frickin' pass, every tick of the game clock.  One last season, give it your all, come what may.  The end.

01 January 2006

Happy New Year!

Newyears4 Newyears5 Newyears6

Happy New Year!  In my virtual Knitters' New Year's Party, I'm giving you ALL a big hug -- not just my eldest, headed off for London in less than two weeks, and her very good friend who we went to hear "spin" tonight and who said, "Where's your mom?" thinking that I was one of her friends and not her mom (I don't live for that, but I don't mind)  -- and we're ALL drinking big-ass Margaritas.

I am one of Katie's friends, but mostly, I'm her mom -- and she needed me to accompany her, since she isn't 21, but she wanted me to, too.  It was sweet.  I had fun.  I wished I was younger and still felt invincible and that there was a dance floor, but I'm not, and there wasn't, and I didn't, so I didn't embarrass anyone or smoke or... anything.  Except, I really didn't need TWO grande margaritas.

Anyway, a big slo0py new yea'rs kiss to you all -- and that little bit of margarita on your shoulder? I'm sure it's mine.  I spill while celebrating all the time.

Was telling Katie tonight about how I used to Love watching Dick Clark's New Yea'rs Rockin' Eve...  it would be just a little bit disappointing every year, but always just tantalizing enough to tune in the next, anyway.  We used to go to my aunt & uncle's near Marshfield every New Year -- the adults would go snowmobiling/bar-hopping and I'd stay and watch Dick Clark and the kids and Three Dog Night (or whoever).  I can't help but get warm fuzzies, no matter what, except maybe this year.

Love you all.  Can't believe how much.

Happy New Year!  Best to you in '06.  Cheers.

Vicki

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