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30 posts from April 2006

29 April 2006

Read all about it

Kniterati Anne is having a contest here!  It ends tomorrow!.

PurlingSwine Ann is having a contest here!  You have until Tuesday!

Go... win!!

A Southern Gal had some exciting news in the mail.  Go... congratulate!

So I opened the little box where all the Fibonacci yarn resides last night, with the intention of casting on that second sleeve.  (Nothing quite so inspirational as unpinning the first from the blocking board -- I like it!)  I don't know if I can describe my surprise when I found that not only had I already cast on, but I was at least 30 rows in -- the striping color changes, the increases, the row counter keeping track --the whole ball of wax!  When in the hell did that happen?  How could I forget something like that?

I ripped out the Lovely Lace picot edge yesterday -- it was kinda wonky.  That kind of thing happens when you don't read the directions 'til you're already several rows in and then decide to do something different and do so by winging it.  It looked good for the most part, but was all twisty in other parts.  I'm definitely going to try again, this time with a provisional cast-on so I can tack that edge down nice and straight.

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Did you know that Cadbury eggs came this small?  Have you ever seen more beautiful and elegant stitchmarkers?  I've been threatening to attach earring wires!  This is a portion of a fun parcel from Yarnivorous Lynne in Australia that arrived in my mailbox the other day.  Go look -- she has some absolutely gorgeous pictures today.  There is more -- the chocolate and jewels had to have some fibery padding! -- but I have other things to share, and show, and tell along with it, so it shall wait for a little bit to shine.  Meanwhile, *mwah* and thank you, Lynne.

28 April 2006

Picot boo

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Simply Lovely (Lace Socks); Spring 2006 Interweave Knits; Trekking XXL, color 106.

Fun.

27 April 2006

I is for...

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Individual (x3).  I knew I wanted "individual" and I knew that I meant it in terms of my girls.  We were brainstorming and laughing about how they used to love "being" letters of the alphabet when they were little...  I'd call out a letter (or a number) and they would bend and shape their bodies into that shape, or a close approximation.  On the left is a capital "I" made of three individuals, and three individual capital "I"s on the right.

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Some lower-case "I"s, and three goofy girls.

Steppin' out

Dsc07052_1I did a little shopping with Katie yesterday.  First stop:  the Birkenstock store.  It's almost summer and mama needs new shoes!  I've been threatening to buy a good pair of Birkie or Dansko shoes for too long (years); it was time to make good.

We had lunch at the mall's Cafe Court, of all places, because Katie was craving Taco Bell.  I said, "Are you sure?  You've got your pick of restaurants and types of food out here..."  She was sure.  I had a grilled chicken salad from McDonald's -- not the best salad choice, it turns out, but not the worst.

Dsc07037Remember the package that I was so good about not opening?  Here's my share -- two skeins of Manx Loghtan Aran in a nice brown from British Breeds Yarn.  There were two other skeins in a much darker brown that Katie bought for herself.  She's already started a scarf.  I think mine will marinate in the stash for a little while.

I packed up the box with Mason-Dixon Knitting, appropriately padded and protected, of course, and shipped it off to Helen A. in Chicago.  Yay, Helen!!  I washed and blocked the three squares I've finished so far for Warming Grace and those will be mailed tomorrow.  I also washed and blocked the first finished Fibonacci sleeve.  (This is going to be a roomy sweater; I hope it's not going to be too roomy.)  I did not start the second sleeve yet because I needed to get something portable going, and the fun sock yarn I won from JessaLu has been calling to me.  I'm on the second try, so far, for the Simply Lovely Lace Socks (IK, Spring 2006), in the pastel yarn (we'll see how it works).  Cara just completed these for her SockapalOOOza socks, and they are simply lovely.

With everyone's schedules, this is the first evening since Katie arrived that we'll all be home, so -- finally -- tonight it's birthday cake!  I baked last night and will decorate tonight -- at Maddy's request, in the shape of a bug.  I baked one large (body) and two small (eyes) cakes, which could easily become a Mickey Mouse cake (Ali would like that), but the way they were arranged on the cooling rack made Katie wonder if we were having a pregnant lady cake.

26 April 2006

H is for...

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House and Home; Home Sweet Home.

Dsc07050_2There are many, many things I like about my house -- mostly that it's "home," but that's not so easy to photograph.  Though I think many of the photographs I've posted on the blog over the last couple of years -- the ones that show my house, whether intentional or otherwise -- also kind of show "home."

When DH and I moved to Wisconsin from Oregon back in late 1986, we rented a house while we looked for one to buy.  I had seen "our house" driving around once, before he'd even arrived in the state (Katie & I flew, he drove with all our stuff), and crossed it off the list as being out of our price range -- without even checking to see what the price was.  A few months later, we were looking at a house with a Realtor and, as most good realtors will do, he bought some info on similar properties in the same price range.  Uh-huh, you know it... "our house" was one of them.

There's this funny little window in our bedroom that juts out at a 45-degree angle from the corner (that's one thing); and a cute porch with some Greek styling -- not original, but it's okay; a gorgeous, solid oak front door with beveled, oval glass (that's another thing -- a big thing); a creaky oak staircase (another thing) and an oak colonnade (a really, really big thing) -- and that's really as far as I needed to go!  I knew this house would be ours.

We've done a lot of work over the past 19 years -- painting, rebuilding porches, rebuilding floors, more painting, roofing, gardening, more painting, and wallpapering and fixing and repairing and replacing and if you own a home, you know the lists goes on and it will never, ever stop.  ; )

Handwriting

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H is for Handwriting, but this is not my H.  This is as seen on Cara's beautiful post the other day, and at Mim's, and linky-poo all over the place.

Edited to add:  In true skimmer form, I skimmed right over the part about signing this piece...

G whiz, I'm behind

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G is for Garden.  I love my garden.  It's a little wild at the moment, and I'm not always in the mood for plant-taming, but I do love it.

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It looks like a little hosta fairy ring, doesn't it?  In a couple of weeks, you'll never know there was a void.  And the rhodie sure has changed in the last few days.

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I'm surprised that I found a few forget-me-nots blooming already -- they have spread all over the garden and into the path, too.  The bleeding heart is growing like a weed (and I love it).  The creeping phlox is also beginning to bloom.  The leaves are budding out and everything is so very fresh and green.  I haven't always been a gardener and I don't know what made me change my stripes, exactly, but I sure do enjoy it.

25 April 2006

Birthday #3

Dsc07034Oh, what a busy, busy week this is!

Dsc07030Fifteen years ago today, we welcomed Madeleine into the world!  Some of us found her to be quite fascinating.  ; )

My labor with her was pretty quick -- and I knew better some of the things I could do to help it along.  When the doc arrived at the hospital at about 8:30 and saw me still walking the halls, he mumbled something about having been called too soon, that I wasn't even close if I was still walking.  I had a different doc for each delivery, and even though this was our family doctor, he didn't know much about my birthings.  Dsc05769_1Shortly before 10:00, my nurse (same labor nurse I had for Ali -- and she was an elementary school classmate) allowed me to get up and go to the bathroom.  Well, that did it!  Maddy was delivered a few minutes later by the nurse who was telling me not to push (I had no choice, of course) while DH was hollering down the hallway for the doctor who was visiting at the nurses' station (he didn't make it in time, but did knock about $300 off his bill); the nurse handed me the little baby bundle and said, "Here, hold her; I've got things to do!"

Happy 15th Birthday, Maddy!  (My baby...)

* * * *

Dsc06962_3I am awaiting Helen A.'s mailing address -- she was the 67th entrant (the number chosen by my recently returned world traveler and "random number generator") and winner of the Inter- and Trans-Continental Connections of Mason-Dixon, Dairyland, U.K. and Europe, Homecomings, Birthdays, Candles, Cake, Beer, Dishcloth Cotton, and my 2.8-lb. loss Contest and will soon receive her prize, a copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting.  Congratulations!  I wish I could send a copy to everyone -- it was great to hear from so many people (and a surprising number of "locals").  Thanks for playing!!  It's a good thing the drawing was held before tonight's weigh-in at WW, as I'm not so sure there will still be cause for celebration.  ; )

* * * *

Katie's home!  She had a great birthday in Munich (lots of beer, lots of kissing), a wonderful time overall, is very glad to be home.  I'm so glad to have her home.  Robyn suggested that Katie write a blog entry about her experience and I think that's a fabulous idea!  Katie liked it, too, so there may soon be guest blogging!  Today, she's doing her best Sleeping Beauty impersonation...

24 April 2006

Last moo

Dsc06962_2Today is your last chance to enter the Inter- and Trans-Continental Connections of Mason-Dixon, Dairyland, U.K. and Europe, Homecomings, Birthdays, Candles, Cake, Beer, Dishcloth Cotton, and my 2.8-lb. loss Contest -- it's Udderly Cool (and so very easy).  Send me an email (vknitorious (at) yahoo (dot) com) by 5:00 p.m. CST TODAY with your name/email/blog (if applicable) and the words "Udderly Cool" in the subject line.  That's all there is to it!  You will be entered for a chance to win your own copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting by Ann and Kay!  Katie -- my random number generator -- will be home tonight, and I'll announce the winner tomorrow morning!

When Maddy queried yesterday about when and where Katie's plane would arrive and who was going to get her and was it possibly possible that she could go, I was positively delighted to tell her that we'd already decided she could take the whole day off of school to greet her sister upon arrival.  My days off are way too precious to spend mostly in a car, so it's business as usual for me today.  I'm figuring she'll sleep a lot and settle in tomorrow, and my normal Wednesday off will work out nicely.

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Well, it's one of those days when I feel like I could foam at the fingertips for a while, but I don't have time.  So...  a little rhodie in the garden that's loaded and ready to *POP*!  A gorgeous amaryllis in the garden room, adding to the riot going on in there right now with the geraniums, african violets, and a few other things; there's another, deep red amaryllis that will bloom in another day or two.

Did I mention that I unpinned the body of Fib on Friday night and I've tried it on several times already.  Oh, yes, it still needs to be seamed and I haven't even finished the first sleeve yet, but I love it!!  I'm a teensy bit concerned about the quantity of a couple of yarn colors, but I do have a few little balls of insurance that I hope will be enough.  Not sure yet what I'll do for the neck and button bands, I'll think about that another day because...

Woohoo!  Katie comes home today!!!

23 April 2006

Hostas on parade

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The weather forecast for much of the past week called for rain, and we've had some, but it's been a lot like Camelot, raining only at night.  I don't mind.  I love Camelot (the 1982 HBO musical, not available for purchase)... Richard Harris... oh, I miss him.

Dsc07018I attended the opening of Living on the Edge of Our Common Ground, Celebrating the Niagara Escarpment on Friday night, an interesting show -- something for everyone in the way of art and science -- with lots of events to look forward to.  At the show, I picked up a couple of Wisconsin Wildcards in the "Alien Invaders" series, a series of DNR "trading cards" for identifying invasive plant species in our state.  I didn't really need the card for Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata), as I am all too familiar, having been engaged for years in an ongoing battle in my gardens, but I am completely enamored with the cleverness of these cards.

Oh, the hostas make me happy.  After pulling all the garlic mustard I could find yesterday (made easier by the midnight rain) the hostas could shine.  On the left is Sum and Substance, in the middle is Golden Tiara, and I'm not really sure at the moment which variety is on the right.  I've had a flyer for Foxfire Gardens tacked on the 'fridge for years -- it's only a couple of hours away -- and this is the year I'm going to visit!  Just reading the names on the list is exciting!  Can you imagine?  Hostas called Black Hills, Medusa, Veronica Lake, Spinning Wheel?

Today:  Plan B for "G," "H," and maybe even "I"... aye, aye, aye.

And laundry.

Thanks for birthday wishes for Katie -- I can't wait to share them with her in person.  I'm getting pretty excited about welcoming her home, as you might imagine.

22 April 2006

Twenty-one candles

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Happy 21st (Earth Day) Birthday, Katie!  I love you, and can't wait to give you a hug!!!

This isn't the first birthday Katie has been someplace other than home...  On the way home from a school trip to Washington, D.C., on her 14th birthday, the whole plane joined in song to wish her a happy birthday!  This year, she's winding up her semester abroad, spending her birthday in Munich and I hope she's having a beer to celebrate!

Cake on Tuesday!

21 April 2006

Reminds me of...

Dsc07010A Surrey With the Fringe on Top!  I've been humming that song all morning, but that's okay because Oklahoma! is one of my favorite musicals!

I'll be unpinning the Fantastic Fib tonight, I hope.  I think I worked about half a sleeve last night while watching Memoirs of a Geisha.  I would have made more progress if I hadn't had to stop so often just to watch the movie -- it was the kind of movie that makes me wish for a big, Big, BIG TV!

I have to say that one of the best things about the Inter- and Trans-Continental Connections of Mason-Dixon, Dairyland, U.K. and Europe, Homecomings, Birthdays, Candles, Cake, Beer, Dishcloth Cotton, and my 2.8-lb. loss Contest is all the de-lurking going on!  Y'all have 'til Monday at 5:00 p.m. to enter for a chance to win your own copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting by Ann and Kay!  I've been reading it and loving it -- if I wasn't in the midst of Fib and pink & blue squares, you can bet I'd be knitting a dishrag!  All you need to do is send me an email (vknitorious (at) yahoo (dot) com) with your name/email/blog (if applicable) and the words "Udderly Cool" in the subject line.  That's all there is to it!  Katie -- my random number generator -- will arrive home Monday night, April 24th, and I'll announce the winner on Tuesday morning!

20 April 2006

Nights

I only drive about seven miles to work, but this morning my mind traversed about 40,000 -- a journey commenced upon hearing the first orchestral notes of Nights In White Satin on the radio (a rather odd song selection for morning radio rotation), which always puts me immediately in the arms of LaPierre (a little lightheaded from the Brut) at the dreamy, magical midnight hour on a junior high Friday night -- it was always the last song of the evening at the YMCA-sponsored dances in "The Den."  (Or if it was a warm summer evening, the dance might have been under the stars on the rooftop -- the moon, the stars, the music, crazy young love... yeah, it was all that and more.)  So my ride to work this morning started with slow-dancing and proceeded to my aunt who loved opera and could only tolerate the Moody Blues as far as "popular" music goes, and that aunt's daugher/my cousin who threw away my fan magazines at summer camp because she thought I spent too much time looking at them (oh, Donny!) and if I never told that story here before, don't worry, I will, because it makes my blood boil even after 35+ years, and how much I loved camp those two years and playing tetherball and "my" horse both years, Taffy, a Palomino who couldn't be tied up anywhere because she'd go nuts (an abusive previous owner), and why I have three children instead of two (mind out of gutter -- it wasn't about that), and birthdays and babies and grandmas -- Bookish Wendy and hers (especially pasta) (mmm! pasta!), and my own grandma, and tears -- and my sisters (all three) and my brother and grandma again (more tears, but mostly the good kind), and when can I eat Drunken Noodles and Coconut Shrimp at my new favorite restaurant again, and a whole bunch of other stuff, and then I was at work!

Busy commute.  ; )

DH and I attended a send-off dinner for photographer Scott Edwards last night, he is setting off on Saturday morning for the Grand Canyon -- on foot.  You can read more about it here, if you'd like, and he'll be journaling along the way.  The dinner was held at a restaurant that's been around for quite a while and about which I've heard nothing but good things and, in fact, people have nearly swooned while remembering meals they've had, but I'd never been.  And now I understand.  Need more Drunken Noodles...

Since I'm talking about food and it's spring:  Asparagus recipes!

I washed the body of the Fabulous Fib and pinned it out yesterday.  It is beautiful.  I can't stop looking at it.  There is a lovely fringe all along the side where the color changes take place -- I was unsuccessful at photographing it this morning, but I will definitely try again.  It makes me smile.  I cast on a boy-blue square for "Grace" yesterday, too, but I didn't get too far as the day was filled to the brim with much non-knitting busy-ness.

I had an email from Katie in Salzburg -- the first I've heard from her since she left London on the 7th.  She had five minutes on an internet card and just wanted to remind us to pick her up at the airport on Monday.  ; )  As if we'd forget.  She's having a great time, but can't wait to get home and see us, too.

Dsc06962_1Don't forget the Inter- and Trans-Continental Connections of Mason-Dixon, Dairyland, U.K. and Europe, Homecomings, Birthdays, Candles, Cake, Beer, Dishcloth Cotton, and my 2.8-lb. loss Contest -- it's Udderly Cool (and so very easy).  Enter for a chance to win your own copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting by Ann and Kay!  I've been reading it and loving it!  All you need to do is send me an email (vknitorious (at) yahoo (dot) com) by 5:00 p.m. CST on Monday, April 24th (I think that's 6:00 in the east, 3:00 in the west, 4:00 in the mountains), with your name/email/blog (if applicable) and the words "Udderly Cool" in the subject line.  That's all there is to it!  Katie -- my random number generator -- will arrive home Monday night, April 24th, and I'll announce the winner on Tuesday morning!

19 April 2006

Udderly cool

Dsc06962MOO, there's some more udderly cool stuff going on!!

Heidi has a brand new baby!  Born on Ali's birthday! It's no secret that I think April babies are some of the best.  ; )  It's been nearly 15 years since I brought my last baby home, but I still remember that dreamy, drowsy, cuddly first week -- all warm and fuzzy.  Aw, Heidi, congratulations -- enjoy your new family.

Another April baby -- and one of my favorite west coast bloggers -- is having a birthday today!  Happy Birthday, Celia!!  (What did I say about April's best???)

Dsc07004_2Okay.  Ooops!  That, my friends, is a picture that is 15 pixels wide, not 150 (as intended and like the udderly cool cow).  But look -- you can still *click for big*!  There recently landed two copies of Mason-Dixon Knitting on my doorstep here in America's Dairyland!  One of them, autographed for me by the authors and one of the photographers (very rare, I'm sure), arrived in a bovine-decorated package from a friend in the east.  She had to spill the beans that she was having one signed for me when we were talking one day and I'd casually mentioned the new MDK book that had just arrived in the mail!  ; )

Thank you Ann!

Dsc07004_3(That's better!)  As you may know, April is just a celebratory month around here by nature, with all the birthdays and whatnot, and this year we're celebrating extra-big because Katie returns, right at the end of "the season," from her study stint in the U.K. and the continental tour (I just love to say "continental tour") and just after celebrating her own 21st birthday in Munich.  In honor of the inter- and trans-continental connections of Mason-Dixon, Dairyland, U.K. and Europe, homecomings, birthdays, candles, cake, beer, dishcloth cotton, and my 2.8-lb. loss yesterday, I'm giving away the extra book! (I'd give it away even if I'd gained, but you know, it's worth extra celebration that the jeans aren't cutting off my circulation anymore, even with the birthday cakes, jelly beans and malted milk eggs of the last week!)  Not exactly fragile, I think the package will need some padding, if you get my drift.  It's very simple really, all you need to do is:

1.  To be eligible, send me an email (vknitorious (at) yahoo (dot) com) by 5:00 p.m. CST (I think that's 6:00 in the east, 3:00 in the west, 4:00 in the mountains) on Monday, April 24th, with your name/email/blog (if applicable) and the words "Udderly Cool" in the subject line.

That's all there is to it!  Katie -- my random number generator -- will arrive home Monday night, April 24th, and I'll announce the winner on Tuesday morning!

18 April 2006

What's moo?

Dsc06961_1Oh my goodness, there's so much that's "moo."

If you have not already, please go read about Christine's trip to deliver the "Comforting Jef" blue afghan, made with donated squares from knitters all over, to her brother Jef.  I am honored to have participated in this project, to have helped Christine make her vision into a real blanket, to have helped her with the comfort of Jef.  As you may know, my brother Michael will soon be the recipient of a second blanket and I suppose I'll be writing my own "No words can describe" post.  (Me: Verklempter all the time.)

In a similar vein -- and, in fact, partly inspired by "Comforting Jef" -- is Cynthia's Warming Grace project.  Initially begun in hopes of collecting enough pink squares to make a blanket for her young niece who is battling leukemia and perhaps enough for a second blanket, the project has grown and will now be ongoing, accepting squares in any color, to make blankets for both boys and girls in the oncology wing at Alberta Children's Hospital.  I lost a favorite, lanky, be-dimpled cousin to leukemia a few years ago -- totally curable if he'd had it as a child rather than an adult -- I'll be knitting some blue squares, to send along with the pink, in his memory.  There are some very generous, donated prizes for participants -- but be aware, if you're interested in entering, that the deadline is looming.

Birdsong is having a 300th Post Contest to celebrate... ummmm... her 300th post.  ; )  I would strongly encourage you to take a moment and read her 299th.

And another contest at Kat's, for which my own entry immediately follows:

Name five places, other than your house or a knitting store, where you have knit:

1.  At the lake.
2.  At the library.
3.  On an airplane.
4.  In the car.
5.  In the waiting area of my local Saturn dealership (knitting and dreaming about the new Sky roadster) where I was once joined by an elderly gentleman crocheting a baby blanket.

The deadline for Kat's contest is Friday, I believe, and while I'm not sure my places are all that original, originality does count.  There are others ahem*Celia*ahem who have knit in far more interesting locations -- I can't beat knitting on The Great Wall!  But go read 'em all, they're fun!

Dsc07001A bunch of packages arrived from the U.K. yesterday -- mostly heavy books that Katie sent home for cheap on the slow boat -- but also this one from British Breed Yarns!  (Thanks for the tip Anna!)  I want so badly to open it, knowing that some of it is mine...

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I didn't make much weekend progress on Fib, but here are up-to-the-minute pictures -- snapped on the kitchen table this morning and I'm shocked at how fabulously true the colors are -- the light green stripe is a little brighter in person, but the rest are darn good (morning sun and a chandelier with run-of-the-mill incandescent bulbs).  Anyway, I'm so excited!!  I really, really love it.  ; )  It will get washed and blocked tomorrow, and I'll figure out and get started on the sleeves.

My own contest "moos" tomorrow!

17 April 2006

Sweet Slumber

Dsc06963I shall never become less enchanted by this unfurling, nor tire of watching.  Sanguinaria Candensis, commonly known as Bloodroot, but also known as Indian Paint, Tetterwort, Red Root, Snakebite and, my person favorite, Sweet Slumber.  It's poisonous!  It's growing everywhere in my garden -- the original patch has grown quite a bit, but also the seeds have spread into the path, across the path, from one end of the path and garden to the other!  I couldn't be happier.

Dsc06965They rather remind me of cloaked women or monks in a procession -- or maybe, in photo at right, a woman and her children.  I've attended a couple of classes at a local gardening center and the woman in charge passed along a bit of wisdom from her grandfather about when it's okay to plant:  If you can stand to sit on the ground for two minutes with your pants pulled down, you can plant.  Well, I was on the ground to take this pictures -- with my pants on, thank you very much -- and I can tell you that it's still too soon in my back yard!

Dsc06969I skipped out of work early on a gorgeous Friday afternoon and took Maddy to do a little shopping for spring.  She found a few things, but as the shopping thing sometimes goes, I actually found a little bit more -- even though it wasn't about me.  ; )  If the jeans fit (especially if they're on sale), buy 'em!

Saturday was even more beautiful (that's the day I was "checking the ground temperature" in the garden) and I actually washed the kitchen windows and the front door glass.  Yeah, I actually did housework -- it nearly makes me faint, too.  I went to the local home center with DH to buy what we needed to fix the rotted back porch stair treads and, as the home repair sometimes usually goes, it took quite a bit longer than anticipated to fix, but it's fixed!  I also picked up some literature on roofing material, as the back porch roof will need replacing soon.  It's always something, don't you know...

We had a good, short visit with my brother yesterday.  He is doing so amazingly well with his recovery.  My SIL is having a hard time keeping up with him -- she puts the gait belt on him and tries to hold on, but he's pretty hard to keep up with.  He still spends a lot of time in bed -- only a few more weeks, hopefully, until he can start weaning from the body brace.  That'll be a huge step for him in so many ways.  Oh!  I wrote down the name and number of the llama farm that's right on the last corner before my brother's house, too, so the next time I go visit (probably quite soon), I hope to be up close and personal with some llamas, or at least some of their fiber.

You know, with all the reasons for celebration this month, I feel like throwing confetti around, too!  I haven't worked out the details, but I feel a contest coming on... stay tuned for details!

16 April 2006

It's birthday season!

Dsc06857rThe second-born of my three April-born offspring is the first to celebrate her birthday -- TODAY!

Happy 19th Birthday, Alison!!

It's fitting that we'll be going to my brothers for a short visit today.  It was 19 years ago today that I stopped in where he worked, between labor pains, to drop off his updated resume -- he was looking for a new job and if I didn't do it then, I didn't know when I'd get to it.  I'd awakened that morning with a twinge or two, but decided to go to my preg-o exercise class, anyway.  Uh-huh, all that movement -- even a little jumping around -- made those twinges a bit lot more meaningful.  I picked up Katie, stopped in at my work, stopped in at my brother's work, went home and called DH and my mom, and waited -- as the labor pains got stronger and stronger and pretty soon I was on the floor and Katie was bouncing a ball around -- I got to the hospital at about 1:00, popped soem Tums in the labor room, and Ali was born a couple of hours later.  I used a birthing chair, thinking I was being all down to earth and natural and whatnot, when in reality it was like a carnival ride -- I was so ridiculously high up in the air, the doctor, looking like she should have been wearing a catcher's mitt, sat on a stool below -- there could have been a peanut vendor or a Sno-cone wagon nearby -- it was ridiculous.  Not really what I'd intended.  But anyway, I pushed and she was born and I heard, "It's a Girl; she has red hair" and I didn't believe them.  They were telling the truth.

Alison, I love you.

Dsc06985_1Since the first moment she laid eyes on him, Alison has wanted an Oddfellow.  She got one for her birthday!  I finished him up this morning, while she and Maddy looked for their Easter baskets.  Maddy insisted on the hidden baskets.  For several years, when the kids were littler, my sister and I did treasure hunts for our kids with riddles and clues that eventually led them to their baskets.  We were inspired by a similar Easter treasure hunt one year when we were kids.  This year, my sister stayed home (they got a new puppy yesterday!), but Maddy made her own little treasure hunt for Alison -- who had to hunt for her birthday present this morning, too.  I'll have to do the same for her.

April is a very busy month; still to come is Katie's birthday on the 22nd (though she'll be celebrating in Munich this year) and Maddy's on the 25th!  Also celebrating April birthdays:  two cousins on April Fool's Day, an aunt who shares Ali's birthday, an uncle whose birthday is tomorrow, my nephew, and my grandpa.

14 April 2006

Objects in picture are larger than they appear

Dsc04931r_2If anyone has a real, actual baby at hand, could you measure the foot and send the pertinent info along to Norma before she goes stark, raving mad??

One thing I'll say about baby feet -- they will do nothing but grow.  I don't think you can go wrong knitting baby footwear just a smidge longer than you think they should be.  I knit three pairs of booties and one pair of socks for Mack.  One set of booties was never worn because they were too small right off the needles; the other two got some foot time, but it wasn't very long at all before they were outgrown, too.  The socks, also, were worn a couple of times, but should have been much longer to start with.  Such is the nature of baby knitting, I know, but I'd have liked to have seen a little more use from the items I made -- and I could have.

What you see before you are skinny, one-week-old baby feet, but one should probably keep in mind that most baby feet get bigger around as well as longer -- some baby feet got a LOT bigger around!  Perhaps some of the extra, seemingly outrageous length called for in a baby sock pattern, might actually be to compensate for a growing circumference.  I have not done any sort of scientific calculating, but I'm willing to bet that baby foot proportions, in relation to each other -- insert some sort of mathematical equation here {length:circumference [<age x weight] + gauge = astrological sign} (what was the question?) -- can be quite a bit different than an adult's or even a child's.  ; )

Happy weekend, all.

13 April 2006

I see the moon

Dsc06953It was so bright that it almost looked like the sun rising, but it was the wrong time of day!  'Twas the moon last evening, coming up in the eastern sky, dipping beneath some clouds, almost fooling me...

Yesterday dawned very gray and very wet -- ugh, very dreary.  Thank goodness it didn't last all day long.  We've had some warm days recently, and now a little water and a little sun and more warmth and *POP!* suddenly there's a bright green haze in the ravine as buds are swelling and bursting open.  And all the grass turned green yesterday!  It won't be long before my view to the east (shown) will be nothing but leaves.

* * * * *

I finished the Fibonacci back yesterday and have a good start on one of the fronts.  I considered washing and blocking the back, but think I'll wait for at least one of the fronts -- and that will likely be over the weekend.  It's going pretty quickly, and we're going to have a quiet holiday weekend, so maybe I'll get both fronts finished!  This is definitely stay-at-home knitting with all the color changes!

* * * * *

For the record, I have no aspirations to be waif-like -- I may have succumbed to that notion for five minutes once, in my early 20s, but that's too damn much work and absolutely no fun.  And, in the end, for what?  I like cake and cookies and brownies too much; I like dessert; I like to indulge!  I also like to be healthy, in a general sense -- eat well and good, get a little exercise -- but I'm not very diligent or vigilant about any of it.  And I'd like to fit comfortably into some of the clothes I own.  That's where WW comes in -- it's motivated and worked for me before, and in some other -- surprising -- ways.  At Tuesday night's meeting, the topic was "triggers" and I was reminded about how much I relied on things I'd learned at WW to help me quit smoking last year (which led to the current weight gain and back 'round to WW -- 'tis a vicious cycle, no?) -- being aware of when I ate/smoked, why I ate/smoked, what triggers the urge to eat/smoke and what can be done to avoid them...  All of the planning I did for the quit came rushing back, remembering how the worst time of day for me was right after work and so I changed the route I drove home -- and I still go home that way!  Truthfully, during the meeting, all I could think of was how it related to smoking, not eating -- I've been wanting to smoke SO badly, people, you just don't know...  Anyway, all I'm looking to do is eat a little better, exercise a little (because now there's like zip), and drop the 25-30 gained from the quit, which would put me well above that 1989 goal weight, but it's a place where I've been pretty comfortable in recent years.

Time for breakfast!

12 April 2006

Vicki, don't you lose that number...

Dsc06951I think I lost it... "tossed it" is probably more like it.  You know, in this big house full of crap, that stack of Weight Watchers materials was just taking up too much space -- OUT!  I've been looking for my Weight Watchers Lifetime Member number and I can't find it; I think it's likely been recycled into toilet paper by now.  Oh my goodness, look what I did find!  Look at the things I save!!  I have to say that I feel pretty far removed from the person in those pictures, which is the only explanation for why I can post it.  It's the chart I kept back in '88-'89, tracking my ups and downs the first time I went to WW, complete with "fat" and "motivational/progress" pictures.

Dsc06952That's the "before" picture -- a three-year-old Katie with a 180-lb. +/- me at the Lake Michigan shore, summer-ish 1988.  I'd given birth to Ali a little over a year earlier, but never lost the weight gained during pregnancy -- which was pretty much in addition to the weight from Katie's pregnancy that I'd never lost, either.  I'm sure I tipped the scale at 200 by Ali's birth (the last, official record was 199 and there were a couple of days before I actually delivered).  What really motivated me to join WW, though, was a video clip from our summer vacation, visiting friends on Vashon Island, WA.  Having just filmed a fun, group rendition of "The More We Get Together" at the end of our trip, I ba-boom, ba-boomed my way toward the camera to turn it off, Alison on my hip, and holy shit...  I thought I'd been camouflaging those few extra pounds pretty well.  Right there in living color, it was plain to see that I was NOT... not at ALL.  The camera does not lie!  The minute I got home from that vacation, I was on the phone, finding a Weight Watchers meeting.

It took me over a year to lose nearly 50 pounds, as you can (maybe) see*.  I really had no business being photographed in a bathing suit even then (how about "ever"), but I like to focus on the positive -- the upper half  -- don't my arms look good?  With a thinner face, my hairdresser at the time was anxious to cut my hair short, too, because he could!  Yeah, well, what I can I say... it was '80s.  Same goes for the dress...

So, anyway, I recorded a loss last night that was greater than the previous week's gain, so that's good.  This may fall under the "too much information" category, but I got my period last week -- the first one in at least two months, and probably more like three -- there's been a little stress, plus age and hormonal shifts -- so when I came home last Tuesday to change my jeans before going to WW because, apparently, the stretch feature of that pair was no longer working and they were cutting of my circulation and I couldn't stand it for ONE MORE MINUTE... well, it was probably a lot of water retention and not really fat (or the jeans).  ; )

I'll be finishing the back of Fibonacci today!  I'm right there, at the stripe sequence where the shoulder/neck shaping will take place, and decided not to tackle it last night, but to sleep on it and really think about how I want the shoulders to look, how the stripes should be, what all the magic numbers are...  I'm also to the point of adding eyes and embroidering the face on the first of the birthday Oddfellows.  ; )

*And if you guessed that I became pregnant with Maddy within minutes of reaching my goal weight, you'd be correct.  ; )

11 April 2006

About-face

This post could go south so easily.  I'm in a mood, a funk; I've got the blahs and I'm blue; it's like someone has stepped on my rose-colored glasses.  So let's just turn around and go north, shall we?

Dsc06789My brother, Michael, lives north and I talked to him last night!  I wanted to know how his first weekend at home went; I hoped that he was entertained by visitors, but not overwhelmed by them.  Sounds like it went pretty well and they're getting used to things, figuring out ways for him to be more comfortable, working on remembering and thinking, learning more about what happened to him, playing with the dog.  He gets so emotional sometimes -- and I do, too; we all do!  It's amazing, after all these weeks, how the gravity of it all can sometimes still sneak up and bowl you right over; and maybe even more surprising is that you'd think, being bowled over a few times already, that it wouldn't seem so grave or amazing or surprising anymore -- after all, he is recovering so very well!  Well, it is grave and amazing and surprising... it's also humbling and scary and heart-wrenching and joyful... still.  I find I'm given reason to think of his ordeal nearly every single day on my way to work, when I am unwilling witness to bone-headed motor vehicle moves.  Why, yes, there was a particularly frightful one this morning.  Makes me want to put a sign on my car: "Pay attention, people.  Be aware!  And don't drive stupid around me!"

Anyway, physically, Michael can stand being upright -- sitting, walking, standing -- in the brace for about two hours, max, then he's just got to get it off; he's feeling the pain of broken ribs and shoulder blade more acutely and the brace adds to the discomfort.  Fingers and toes are crossed for the next 30 days, when he'll have his next appointment with the neurosurgeon, that the fractured vertebra have all been knitting together nicely on their own all these weeks and that he'll be able to start losing the brace a little each day.

Lifted from Nathania, a meme.  Do a Wikipedia search of your birthdate, minus the year; list three interesting events, three people who were born, and three people who died on that day.  Here's mine:

EVENTS:

  1. 1860 - U.S. presidential election, 1860:  Abraham Lincoln is elected as the 16th President of the United States, the first Republican to hold that office.
  2. 1939 - The Hedda Hopper Show debuts with Hollywood gossip Hedda Hopper as host. The show would run until 1951, making Hopper a powerful figure in the Hollywood elite.
  3. 1975 - The Sex Pistols play their first concert at St. Martin's School of Art in London.

BORN:

  1. 1946 - Sally Field, American actress
  2. 1948 - Glenn Frey, American singer (Eagles)
  3. 1949 - Brad Davis, American actor (d. 1991)
  4. 1949 - Arturo Sandoval, Cuban-born trumpeter

This is just the '40s!  Also born on this day:  Charles Dow (of the Dow Jones), John Philip Sousa, Ray Coniff, Mike Nichols, Maria Shriver, Ethan Hawke...

DIED:

  1. 1406 - Pope Innocent VII
  2. 1796 - Catherine II of Russia (b. 1729)
  3. 1991 - Gene Tierney, American actress (b. 1920)

Tomorrow:  A very good chance for a completed Fibonacci back and the start of the fronts!

Also:  Please notice the new ClustrMap on the sidebar.  It's pretty cool!  Found at VeryOtterly and thought I'd give it a whirl.

And:  Check it out: 91 knitters in the pink.  How utterly cool is that?

10 April 2006

Dsc06894Dsc06921Mack came to visit this weekend (that's him -- incognito -- almost 10 months old!) and was my motivation to finish Spherey's arms and legs, making it so much easier to grab and hold onto now.  ; )  I think Spherey's adorable -- I dare you not to smile back at that face!  (Mack's adorable, too.)

Next up is an Oddfellow or two (also from Jess Hutchison's book) for birthdays coming up later this month.  Um, well, one of them in a week... I'd better get to work on that... good thing he's a wee, odd fellow.

Dsc06947I made a little progress on Fibonacci. I don't know if I'll ever get a true color photograph -- the reds burn your retinas or the light green looks day-glo or something else is not quite right.  I admit to wondering sometimes if it isn't a little wild and crazy, but I've come up with a back-up plan, which I may implement at some point even if I like The Fib as-is.  Just because I can.  I have to finish it first, though...

08 April 2006

I'm Fibbing!

Dsc06837rDsc06838rOn Thursday morning, I kissed my hubby on my way out the door and told him that I thought I'd be home right after work -- for the first time in six weeks!  A little later, I called him and told him that the only thing that really remains the same is that There Will Be Change...  I'd learned that the greenhouse right down the street from work was having a series of gardening classes and the first one, mainly about perennials, was that night!

I can't say that I learned a whole lot, but it was good to get the gardening mojo going.  One idea that I will put into use this year is to work more annuals in with the perennials.  In exchange for my $10 class fee, I got a $10 coupon and was eligible for door prizes -- they gave away four Dramm professional watering tool sets.  I didn't win one (my companion did!), but there were a half-dozen available for $10 and I made sure I snagged one.  I wasn't rude or pushy, I don't think I was even aggressive... I was determined to have one of the six.  (It thrills me that the Dramm company is right over on the lakeshore, in Manitowoc.)  I also brought home a few primroses, which are blooming and brightening the area around the kitchen sink and will eventually get planted outside, and a pot full of ruffly pansies.  I didn't find them at first, and then asked a lady where she got them, and then thought, "Oh, I'll just stop on my way home from work one of these days," but when I said that I especially loved the ruffly ones and she said that there weren't very many of those left -- well, bee-line to the pansy department!!

Dsc06840Dsc06841Madeleine had a bunch of girls over last night -- enough to cover the living room floor and the couch -- so while they took over my regular spot, I brought my knitting into the computer room and listened to podcasts while I worked on...

The Fib!  I love it!  I am using a combination of Alexandra's pattern with (I think) a very basic, modified drop shoulder cardi pattern.  I did some calculating based on my swatch, also determining that I think I'll have enough yarn, and I played with the (very limited) color feature of Excel!  I love it!  The print-out of the stripes represents the entire length, the width of the stripes, and the order of color.  I love it!  I stayed up past my bedtime, even for a Friday night, to complete one color repeat (seven colors) in the Fibonacci sequence (2, 2, 4, 6, 10).  I love it!!!

Have I said that I love it?

Several weeks ago, one of my sisters called and told me that she'd just taken every single thing out of one of her bathrooms and cleaned it and then put back only what she really wanted and she said that it felt so good!  I think I'm going to try it today.  ; )

07 April 2006

Who knows?

Dsc06800_1I am getting so excited about Fibonacci!  Alexandra has some other cute designs (go see!) and she's also the designer of the popular Soleil.

I made this mess into neat little yarn cakes on Wednesday!  Last night, I knit a big swatch (uh-huh, a swatch!) and it will soon be time for pencil, paper, calculator and (probably) Excel!  Now, I'm not 100% sure I'm going to knit this exactly as written -- I'm thinking that I'll still knit a raglan but I may do it in pieces, from the bottom up, rather than on a circ from the top down.  The circs and I just don't get along and nothing would spell UFO to this sweater more than c-i-r-c-u-l-a-r.  (My Tivoli -- which isn't even called that anymore -- is a shining tarnished tarnishing example.)  Also, while I'll be using the same Fibonacci sequence for the stripes, I will be using seven different colors of yarn rather than five, in this order (I think):

Dark Green/Gray, Orange, Tan, Rust, Spring Green, Red, Gold

I'm still working on Trellis -- knitting both fronts at the same time.  I didn't get to the sock last night, and eventually I'll have to stop ignoring the shrug...

* * * * *

My brother called me last night.  I think he missed me!!  I'd been worried about the ride home -- he had to wear the brace and it's over an hour from the hospital to their home and it's spring in Wisconsin (which means that bumps in the road and potholes are EVERYWHERE!).  Apparently, I needn't have worried because he told me that he actually fell asleep in the car!  I'm chalking that up to my SIL's good driving and Michael's apparent ease in a motor vehicle -- not remembering, but being aware of what happened to him (he has not seen any pictures or read any accounts of the accident, and doesn't want to yet -- not 'til his bones heal -- or maybe never, but he does ask questions about it and talk about it from time to time).  There was a very happy reunion with his dog.  Said dog was curled up at his feet when we spoke, hadn't left Mike's side -- except for a walk, which Mike meant to do, but he'd fallen asleep.  Sleep and rest are still so very important.

* * * * *

So, who knows?  Cassie's post, The secret life of a blogger, was interesting to read the other day; she wrote about things that cross my mind frequently -- some more than others, some more lately than previously.  I started to leave a comment, but, as so often happens, I was distracted, and now it's much more than a comment... more like a big, ol' ramble!

My kids know about the blog, but Katie's the only one who reads -- and it's semi-regularly, at that (and I am thrilled beyond all reason when she leaves a comment).  DH knows -- he thinks it's cool and has even met some of my "blog friends," but he is not a regular reader (I'm not sure he could even find the blog).  I kept the blog secret even from them -- the people I live with -- for a while.  I eventually told one of my sisters after about a year.  She told blurted it out to our dad (of all people!) and to my youngest sister (who is very envious of my "blog friends" and wants some of her own) and to some of her friends -- they all think it's cool, but completely overwhelming.  None of them read very often (some -- dad? -- maybe never).  The blog is not really a secret, but I've learned that -I- would rather be the one to tell people about it, if I want them to know.  None of my "real" friends know.  I, too, have all these new "knitter friends" from the far corners, and I, too, have more contact on a regular basis with some of them than with "real" friends, and I, too, have traveled to meet up with them -- I've got to wonder (too) where my mom thinks they've come from...

I shot daggers at my sister the first time I heard her mention my blog to someone (dad).  All sorts of thoughts ran through my head and she retorted, enthusiastically, "What?  It's you and it's fun and you haven't written anything to be ashamed or embarrassed about."  She was right -- and now I can't.  ; )

At first, I was quite cautious about my identity and location, careful about photographs and things.  Not that I've actually spelled it out anywhere, that I know of, but I'm not bent on complete and total anonymity.  I think I'd make an excellent detective or secret agent -- I can keep secrets and be very stealthy and hold things close to the vest -- I'm quiet and cautious and a little shy, but I'm just not secretive, and I don't blog that way; it's not a natural approach for me.  I know my blog personality is a little different than my real life personality -- I can be a little more "out there" on the blog -- but, you know, I'm ALWAYS fooling myself into thinking that I'm "out there" ALL the time, in ALL my personalities, and I'm really not.  (I'll bet y'all really want to meet (all of) me(s) now, huh?  Heh.)  I'm such a stick-in-the-mud wallflower and I always have to push and stretch myself to participate!  However, I do have it on good authority that I sound different on the blog.  ; )

Yeah, yeah, about my kids and the dangers of the internet and all the bad people...  well, I don't live my life in fear, either.  In fact, I refuse to live in fear and I have never modeled that for my kids; caution, yes; knowledge, yes; communication, yes; fear, no. You better believe I am sometimes afraid -- sometimes frozen with fear -- for my kids, myself, my neighborhood, my world -- and, oh, it would be so much easier to be a hermit... but that's not living.  I live, I blog, I blog (some of) what I live.

Six weeks ago, my brother was in a terrible accident and I blogged it.  I blogged most of it (not all) every day of the however many weeks in ICU, the surgeries, the rehab and recovery -- I couldn't imagine not blogging at all and there was nothing but that to blog for a while; those were my only choices.  I briefly questioned whether I should.  Because of the blogging, he will soon be the recipient of a blanket made up of squares knit by many knitters, spearheaded and sewn together by the generous Christine, in conjunction with a blanket project she had going for her brother.  It's one thing when I receive the occasional package in the mail from a blog friend, but how in the world was I going to explain an entire blanket for my brother?  Everyone watched me knit the single, solitary sock in the hospital waiting room, they know it isn't even BLUE.  (Abracadabra!  Let me pull this sock out of my hat...!)  I couldn't just present a blanket out of thin air (and, besides, I want to tell my brother about the squares and the knitters!), so I told my SIL about both the blogging and the blanket.  Not only that, I copied and formatted all my blog entries about the accident and what I'd written about my brother and printed and bound them for her to read (and eventually share with my brother) -- and I also offered to delete or modify them online if, for some reason, she wanted it that way (thank goodness, she didn't).  Yep, handed her the blog on a silver platter.

I both censor what I write here and I don't.  This is not the place for airing out any of my laundry -- maybe on another blog.  This one is mostly about knitting and, most of the time, how knitting relates to my life and, in some ways, about how knitting has changed my life -- the new friends and the travel.  The dreaming...  My sister is right, though, I have nothing to be ashamed of here.  Some people may not really get it, might even think it's stupid, but hey, whatever; the tables can always be turned in that game.

So, those are some of my thoughts on my blog -- and the who and the what they know.  Interestingly, I still have not told my mother, in so many words, about the blog.  Mom hears talk about the blog, she hears my sister lament the lack of blog friends (and sis knows it's directly related to the lack of a blog), she knows about the blanket that "my knitter friends are making," and she was with me when I bought the pink yarn for Grace's blanket squares the other day -- if she has questions, she's keeping them to herself.

06 April 2006

I found it!

Dsc06820 Dsc06827

We've got your hostas -- some of these sprouts are as big as your thumb!

Dsc06821 Dsc06822

Bleeding hearts are shooting up all over (oh, be still my very own heart).

Dsc06824 Dsc06828

There's color in the garden if you know where to look -- bloodroot and red, waxy-looking sedum.

Dsc06826 Dsc06823

Rebirth.  Oh, how I love the spring.

Last night, while at the auction, I finished the sock I started six weeks ago in the ICU waiting room, except for the kitchener toe.  Well, I thought I finished.  It could be just a wee bit longer, and I could have lived with it if I hadn't dropped a stitch -- I knew my stitch count was off at one point, but I couldn't find anything wrong and thought I just forgot a decrease, so I fudged.  The dropped stitch made itself known as soon as I tried it on, though.  I ripped out the toe, but have yet to get it back on the needles.  No patience for that last night.  How weird that I started that sock with Michael went into the hospital, and finish as he goes out.

The auction was okay, but there wasn't anything I had to have.  There was an Austrian bone dish with painted pansies, but it wasn't enough to keep me there all night.  They will have another auction in June.  I do like the noise and atmosphere of an auction and sock-knitting is a perfect auction activity, especially when they've got lots of coins or beer steins or something that I'm not particularly interested in.

Pink20copy I stopped at Yarns by Design to get pink yarn for Warming Grace (those 5" squares go FAST -- I'm on #2 already!), and also made my regrets for the upcoming Spring Midwest Masters Seminar -- it was there, last year, that I met Amy Lu for the first time, and spent my fabulous, fun-filled, unforgettable weekend with Lizzie, Joycie and Lily.  Amy Lu's been tempting me and there are some great classes, but I finally realized that it's on Katie's first of very few weekends home before heading to Maine to work for the summer.  Maybe there'll be something on the fall schedule that catches my eye, and I did get a fiber frolic fix yesterday (even though I have to wait), so no complaining.

05 April 2006

It's Wednesday, isn't it? A perfect day for more randomness!

I can't keep a thought in my head for two minutes this morning, so random it is!

Cynthia has a nice post summarizing the Warming Grace project -- the response has been great.  That just warms MY heart.  Cynthia has been very supportive, encouraging and generous, with just a few emails and comments, in regards to my brother's recovery; her husband works with people who have Acquired Brain Injury, and they've taken a keen interest.

I will be visiting my brother in the hospital for the last time today.  It was six weeks ago yesterday morning, from the instant he was slammed from behind by that semi truck, that the miracles started piling up -- it's a miracle that he -- that no one -- was killed, a miracle that he was conscious at the scene, a miracle that he wasn't paralyzed, a miracle that the gas tank didn't explode, a miracle that a helicopter can transport him so quickly to where he needs to be so that a neurosurgeon can do brain surgery when needed (and later fix a broken neck), a miracle that he could be in a coma for weeks on end and wake up cracking jokes and recognizing everyone who walked through the door -- and many more miracles, large and small, one atop the other.  Incredible.  Today he's going out to lunch with one of the therapists and another rehab patient.  Tomorrow he's going home.  It's just surreal.  He's got a lot to work on -- reading, writing and 'rithmetic -- but he knows it and he's so motivated and he wants to get back to his regular, old life so badly.  The recovery-o-meter is going to make a huge leap tomorrow, the minute he gets to hug his dog and walk through the door of his own house.

I think I must have still been in high school the last time I saw my brother every single day for six weeks in a row!  Now my life will be returning to "normal," too.

I went to WW last night for the first time since I re-upped -- the week before Michael's accident.  It turns out that I must eat when under stress.  ; )  Also, I think the black jeans I bought last fall must have lost some of their stretch.  Yeah, that's my story.

Do you think I'm excited?  That I might have had a good time last year?  This morning, I booked an October flight to NY so I can return here.

Okay, I'm going outside to check for spring in my yard!

04 April 2006

Next up

Dsc06800I didn't photograph even half the stash the other day.  I'd really like to, though, mainly to document my intentions for a particular batch or ball of yarn (if any) because I do tend to forget about stuff, especially if it's not in plain sight.  Some stuff just won't be forgotten, though, no matter what, and that's the case with this Donegal Tweed -- "leftovers" of a sweater kit that my sister made (enough for another sweater!) and I knew its destiny the minute I saw Fibonacci in Magknits (check out the latest issue).  I have never wavered on that, but I have never started...  I think it's time to get crackin'.

Dsc06818_2Dsc06819_1I finished the back of Trellis last night, and I think it's going to be too small for the Mackster.  I could be wrong -- maybe it'll bloom and grow in the blocking -- but I'm prepared to tuck it away and save it as a gift for another baby.

I'm also thinking pink for Warming Grace (working title; button forthcoming).  Grace is Cynthia's brave and adorable niece (oh, those EYES!) who just celebrated her 5th birthday.  When Cynthia writes about Gracie being "a very special girl," she's not kidding -- Grace is in the midst of a long treatment program for leukemia... oh my goodness, with personality!  In the spirit of Comforting Jef and Mike, Cynthia has put out the call for 5" pink squares in cotton or soft wool for a blanket for Grace.  Check it out.

03 April 2006

Dsc04567"The Royal Crescent and daffodils from Royal Victoria Park, Bath."  I don't have daffodils yet.  You know what?  I won't ever have daffodils unless I plant some!  I know, I know...  We had a pretty crappy weekend, so I didn't get to tour my yard to see if anything is happening.  Judging from last April's blog photos, I might see some sedum and tulips getting a start, as well as my favorite bleeding heart!  The sun is starting to come out, so perhaps I can take a look tonight.  Thank goodness for Katie and her camera!  Three weeks from today, she'll be back in the States -- I can't wait to see all of her pictures.  The continental tour begins this Friday -- first stop: Paris!  I doubt we'll be in touch very much until she gets home.

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I scored at the antique show!  Three plastic and/or Bakelite belt buckles, perfect for the closure of a scarf or shawl -- I love those things and they were only $2.00 each!  A couple of pansy postcards, and the one that Mabel gave to her mother.  ; )  I love the Aero Knitting Pin & Tension Gauge and the proprietess at that booth made sure I knew that it was a U.K. gauge.  The painted pansy is on one end of a very long "Flemish art" box (decorated with wood burning) -- it's almost three feet long and divided into three sections inside; the top, front and sides are all burned and painted, the inside of the lid is done in an overall burn pattern.  I think I can make out "Joe" burned on the bottom of one section -- so maybe it was for his sweetheart.  It's missing the clasps on the front, which I didn't even notice until I had to ask the price and it was pointed out, so it was cheap-cheap-cheap.

I finished the second Trellis sleeve over the weekend and cast on for the back.  I briefly considered knitting the fronts and back as one piece to the arm decreases, but in the end, I'm doing it in pieces, as written.  I'm just past said arm decreases on the back, so moving right along!  I have pretty much memorized the pattern and am doing all but one of the manipulated stitch moves without a cable needle.  Such freedom!

I visited Michael a few times over the weekend, talked a few times, too.  He's doing great!  My SIL wheeled him out, walking us to our car, on Saturday -- it was SO good to see him outside.  He sounds stronger and more with it everyday; Thursday is still the tentative discharge date.  Woo.

02 April 2006

What a feeling...

FlashstashCan you believe I've never seen Flashdance, even though I thought Michael Nouri was one of the hottest things going?  I am really going to have to correct that oversight sometime soon.

Dsc06790Dsc06802That column of shelves is in my laundry room.  The original intention was that, since I had front-loading laundry appliances, the tops of said appliances would remain forever free and clear for the purpose of folding the laundry.  The kids were old enough to put away their own dang clothes, so the shelves were put up with each household member assigned their own personal shelf (with a few to spare) and (the intention was...) they would happily pop in every couple of days to pick up and put away their clean laundry, while depositing the soiled -- the vicious, never-ending cycle of laundry.  Yep, that was the intention.  Obviously, it didn't work out (I wonder, did it work at all?  I think maybe for a week), but the shelves remain and, well, I never met a horizontal surface that I didn't like couldn't fill up with crap in no time!  Yeah, I'm not showing you the tops of the front-loading appliances.  ; )

I photographed all the yarn that's stored in there -- some small bins, some medium bins, a large bin, a couple of loose balls of this & that, a bag full of...  what's clear is that I've bought a LOT of yarn on sale or clearance (lots of cotton), much of it intended as baby knits, most of it untouched and not even thought about in recent months (probably since it was bagged and/or binned) -- and Mack's going to be a year old in two short months already!  Think, think, think!  Even if it's the softest wool yarn you've ever stroked, Adrienne Vittadini "Dani" in garish, mismatched colors at $.99/ball (hello, there's a reason for that!) is no bargain.

There are a few drawers full, some wool and more cotton, a thrifted cashmere sweater to unravel, and a fair amount of yarn stored atop one of the living room chests, and a big hamper full, too.  More sock yarn that I'd have guessed, really.

Honest, no one's flashed it better than Wendy.

01 April 2006

I did it!

I forgot to mention yesterday that among my chores, right between stopping at work and stopping at the bank, was a stop at the DMV to finish what Alison had started, but could not complete, the day before.  Thank goodness, the actual driver's license renewal when smoothly for her because they wouldn't have wanted my portrait on her license!  The registration of her new Beetle, title transfer, license plates, etc., was a couple of hours of hell for her, though, and yet unfinished at the end of the day.

I don't know about your children with bank accounts, but mine don't have (and never did have and prefer not to have) actual paper checks with their checking accounts.  There have been a handful of times that I've had to write a paper check for them because a card wasn't an accepted form of payment.  The DMV?  Give me a frickin' break.  Not that I'm all for the plastic -- I know what merchants pay for our convenience of using plastic and it's downright ugly.  I especially love the merchant service companies who charge a fee to send the bill, separate from the monthly service charge and in addition to the (varying) percentage of the sale and the per-item fees.  Yeah, don't get me started.

What the DMV does have is an ATM, at least.  So Alison went to withdraw what she needed, but it wouldn't give her that much at once.  That cost $2.00.  So she stuck the card in again and requested a lesser amount.  That cost $2.00.  And then again; a little more money, another $2.00.  And then it wouldn't take the damn card because she'd reached her limit on transactions!  She called me at work and I offered to write a check -- she could come over and get it -- but she couldn't even think about waiting in that line again without wanting to cry.

So that's what brought me to the DMV yesterday morning.  I thought I'd be clever and time my stops so I'd be at the door when it opened at 8:30.  I got there at about 8:20 and I was probably 40th in line; by the time the door did open, there were at least 50 more behind me.  I was thinking that perhaps that wasn't the very best strategy.  ; )  It went pretty smoothly overall, having already had the paperwork filled out and knowing the amount of damages, and I was out of there by 9:00.

I got everything else done on my list yesterday, except for the laundry.  I did fold some and throw in a load or two; I think Ali did, too.  You want to know the very best part, though?

The Taxes -- They Are DONE!!

I had DH take me out to lunch yesterday, then strolled through the antique mall, then put my nose to the tax grindstone with only VERY FEW distractions in the way of blogs or emails.

I called my brother last night, rather than going to see him (he was complaining of being sometimes overwhelmed by visitors), and we had a nice chat.  I'll go see him in person today -- after the antique show!  Oh, and I learned yesterday that there will be an antique auction on Wednesday night by my favorite auction company!  They haven't had one in... I can't remember how long.  They used to have monthly auctions, on Wednesday nights, and I used to go ALL THE TIME -- we're talking when Ali was in a stroller (so I didn't always stay for the whole thing then, but as the kids got bigger...) -- and my sister and her friend used to come up from Milwaukee on occasion, it was that good.  The regular schedule was discontinued when the quality of available merchandise began to deteriorate so badly.  I'm so excited, I can't wait!!

I meant to flash my little stash today, but the taxes took priority.  I might be able to get to it later today, but more likely tomorrow.

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