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32 posts from August 2006

31 August 2006

Dishin'

Dsc08404Darn, these things are cute!  I feel like I'm knitting sunshine with that yellow one.  I'll have to tell that to Ali, so she'll think about her Mom & Sunshine all in one thought.

My dealer came through with the stuff, as promised, and yesterday I had a nice box of Peace Fleece in the mail!  I've already got the Coup d'Etat Cardigan in Siberian Midnight mentally slated for an early November start.  I really only glanced at the yarn last night (lest I be lured into a late August start!), but it seems much darker in person than it appears on my computer screen -- I love it.  I envision a good, all-around, go-to sweater.

Thanks for all the great suggestions regarding tomato sauce!  I am feeling much better this morning (I think I'm on the downhill slide of whatever's been bugging me), but I was draggin' last night and the thought of futzing, draining, pureeing, mixing, bagging, and freezing was a bit too much.  I threw all three bags of full-chunk sauce into the freezer.  I will be making this again -- possibly as early as Saturday -- and will experiment with a few things then.  I just love the smell of the house when this is cooking (as does my family) and also the thought of all that homemade sauce in the freezer.

I'm off tomorrow.  Can you believe it's going to be September 1st??

30 August 2006

Saucy

I made a second batch of Roasted Tomato Sauce last night.  I had DH on garlic duty, while I chopped (and cried over) onions -- using lots more of both than last time.  I used up the rest of my purple basil, most of the fresh parsley, and much more dried oregano, rosemary and whatever else, plus a few shakes of salt and pepper.  I also used the green pepper.  Just before I set the timer for the last 45 minutes of roasting, I added the mushrooms that I'd bought at the market last Saturday, but had forgotten about when I made the first batch!

It was late by the time it came out of the oven, so I let it cool slightly then scooped it into freezer bags and put it in the 'fridge overnight.  Katie was asking if there was a way to make it thicker, but still chunky.  Even though I pureed some and combined it all together the first time, it was still a pretty thin sauce.  (But oh, so very tasty.)  Having never made tomato sauce the old fashioned way, I'm guessing that it just cooks all day on the stove 'til it reaches the desired consistency.  That's not what we're going here, though, so another option would be to drain off some of the liquid.  After I scooped the still very chunky sauce into the bags last night there was a lot of the liquid left in the pan, so I poured it into a smaller freezer bag and will save it for adding to chili or some other suitable soup this winter, in place of water.  Tonight, I will drain off more liquid from the bags in the 'fridge (to freeze and save for later, of course) before pureeing and we'll see how that turns out.

There was no knitting yesterday.  A couple of rounds on the not-so-fussy sock at WW is all (still haven't reached that elusive first 10, though down a little after last week's gain and boy-oh-boy was I ever surprised at that).  I'm still feeling off and still stuffy.  Sleep was fitful last night, the house erupting at midnight with whatever all the things three young women would be doing at that hour -- including talking in loud voices and laughing -- and my own first-I'm-hot, now-I'm-cold tossing and turning and wrestling with the covers.  They say that this, too, shall pass.  Guess what?  I'm ready.  All of it can pass now.  Maybe knitting tomorrow.

Hey, I forgot to mention that I saw my brother over the weekend.  It was six months on Monday that the accident occurred.  He is now back to work four hours a day, three days a week.  He's holding on; some days are pretty good, some are pretty bad, a lot depends on what they've got him doing (none of it is too heavy-duty).  He and his wife were in the area because of his company picnic.  Michael has worked for a very large insurance company here for quite a few years and the company, spearheaded by a few of Mike's amazing coworkers, has been extremely generous in helping them these past months.  Anyway, Michael said that every.single.person at that company -- from the tippy-top echelons to the most recent trainee -- now knows him; his story has been told and re-told countless times, and his face plastered on fundraising signs.  He said that it's a very, very weird thing.

29 August 2006

Fussy

Dsc08401_1I finished the lacy round cloth last night during the football game that I'd rather not talk about and which I turned off at the lightning break. I'm suffering from a late-summer cold or allergies this week, so I didn't need much prodding to hit the hay, and while I know miracles can happen, they're not likely to happen in the pre-season.  ; )  The photo is where I started.  It's such a quick knit and so pretty!  Even DH said that it was too pretty to use as a dishcloth.  ; )  I'll definitely make more, and maybe even keep one for myself!

Dsc08402I shared the Roasted Tomato Sauce recipe with my "supplier" the other day and she sent over a sack of tomatoes along with a lonely green pepper yesterday -- and two pints of canned pears.  I've got onions and garlic on the list and I'll be roasting more sauce tonight!  Jody, Amy Lu -- how did your sauce turn out?  Anyone else cooking up sauce lately?  Are you playing with it?  What's happening in your kitchen?

I'm feeling a little scattered and at loose ends.  Thank you for your input regarding the sock -- I think I will stop being so fussy.  ; )  Susan suggested that I finish them and if the variation still bothers me, to dye them.  That's a most excellent idea!

Sock and dishcloth knitting will see me through the week and the holiday weekend -- practically mindless, not too hard to screw up, very portable.  I have Friday rather than Wednesday off this week -- Maddy's first day of school!  DH & I have plans to buy lumber, use tools, and finally build the pergola/bench seats/planter boxes/trellis thing over the deck.  I'll have to remember to take pictures along the way -- this is going to be a fun project and will make such a difference!  One or both of us will also be helping Ali move into her dorm on Sunday -- school is only a half-hour away (commuting distance, really, but this moving into a dorm thing is okay I guess), so it won't even take a whole day, and that leaves three for home improvement.

Then I have got to buckle down and get to finishing some of what I've got going!  I've never had such a problem with WIPs before.

28 August 2006

By popular demand

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Overview.  Finished sock.  First one side, then the other.

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Sock-in-progress.  First one side, then the other -- atop one side of the finished sock.

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Sock-in-progress.  First one side, then the other -- atop the other side of the finished sock.

I guess the "black, peppery" side doesn't bother me -- but that "pink" side...  Am I nuts?  Too picky?  WWYD?  Wear that sock so the pink is on the inside of the leg?  ; )

The Packers are playing tonight.  You know where I'll be.  ; )  Go Pack Go!

Sending out an S.O.S.

Socks.  I could not love the first Celtic Braid Sock more.  I'm not feeling the love with the second... at all... and it's because of the yarn.  There was hardly any pooling at all in the first sock -- I'd be hard-pressed to point out a single spot -- the color and pattern is pretty much even throughout.  It's darn near perfect.  But the second one -- I have one braid that's almost solid pink-ish and the other one that's all peppered with the black.  I don't like it.  They are not going to look at all like a pair.  I wouldn't mind the pooling if I was using wild and crazy colors, or even bright -- I'd kind of expect it then -- but this is a very subdued, classy colorway and I don't want wild and crazy, or Jekyll and Hyde.  Is there any fix, solution, trick to try?  Remember, for an old(-er than most of you) dog, I'm a relatively new sock knitter -- but I can learn new tricks.  Who's got a trick up their sleeve?

Somewhere, I will make note of the fact that yesterday, having discovered said pooling and noting my displeasure with it, I put the sock down.  I did not, with willful ignorance, continue knitting fruitless rounds or cabling that Celtic braid, hopeful that "it will all work out."  It won't.  Nothing is going to fix what's already been done and a solution will likely require starting over.  I know that now.  Huh, I think I finally learned somethin'!  Red Letter Day.  (Let's hope I remember the lesson.)

A Knitted Lacy Round Cloth, recently seen at Smatterings, is being worked in the meantime and is intended to go with Ali to college, along with a Mason-Dixon warshrag from a while ago -- maybe more.  She has dishes, but I bet she hasn't thought about washing them...  she'll have the most recognizable dishcloths in the dorm.  This Sunday is moving day.  I'm happy/sad.

I have the necessary 60" circular needle in my possession and I tried -- once -- over the weekend to do the moebius cast-on.  I get confused about front legs and back legs and I get a big length of yarn between the two needles and then I can't be sure exactly what I'm knitting into and...  I really need to look over someone's shoulder.  It could also be a concentration thing -- after getting the needle dipping and point just-so and winding the yarn all around that tied-up needle, I kind of lose it when it comes to the actual act of knitting.  Oh, the longer needle sure makes a big difference.  Amy Lu!  I've been in touch with my cohort who wishes to accompany me to Bahr Creek to see the llamas and the yarn the fiber and YOU and we're coming -- either Open House Weekend or (I think more likely) an upcoming Thursday night.  We will be writing it on our calendars in pen, and I will let you know!  Will you show me how to do this crazy moebius thing?

Fantasyfootball_4_2So then, Are You Ready For Some Football?  I have joined a Fantasy Football League with fellow crafty football enthusiasts, led by the incomparable Vera, and we even have our own blog here:  Needles, Hooks and Yarn.  I'm a total rookie, but I hope to have some fun!

Red_scarf_project_1We're only half-way through the pre-season, and there's 16 weeks of regular season, not to mention the post-season -- I should be able to crank out a few red scarves to warm the necks of some college kids.  I enjoyed knitting a scarf for this effort last year.  Maybe I'll do this in lieu of Christmas gift knitting this year, of which I still have a little from last year to finish (and except maybe something for Mack).  This, too, has its own blog and is spearheaded by none other than my Peace (Fleece)-loving pal Norma.

Oh, and while I'm in the linky mood -- don't forget... if you're in the area and you plan to attend the Yarn Harlot talk and book-signing event at Yellow Dog in Eau Claire on September 10th, go there and RSVP (that page also has linked driving directions from various directions)!

27 August 2006

Q is for...

Dsc08394Quart jar.

It's the time of year for quart jars, isn't it?  I don't do much canning (and when I say "much," I mean "zero"), but when I see the jars and lids in the stores, I think of grandma and her cellar full of jars.

Dsc08392She canned tomatoes*, cukes, beans, pears, peaches, pickles -- always pickles... dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, pickled beets, pickles with onions and garlic.

My dad cans tuna, fresh off the boat, and salmon (sometimes in tomato sauce), fruit... and pickles.

My sister cans her homemade salsa.

Dsc07591_1 I've never canned a thing.  My quart jars are used to hold marbles or bouquets of Queen Anne's Lace.

*Katie swears that the total sale at the cute tomato vendors' on Saturday increased by $3.00 with the addition of the heirloom tomato pictured.  I have to admit that I wasn't really paying attention -- I was enchanted by the green-black-purply-ness of the tomatoes.  Just in case it was $3.00, it wasn't thrown into the tomato sauce pot; we savored it in small wedges.  Mmmmmm, it was very, very good, though I'm not sure it was three dollars good.  ; )

26 August 2006

Before and after

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Yum!  That's fresh-from-the-oven steam making the photo on the right look funny -- about half-way through the roasting time.  Recipe found here (thank you, Vicki), scroll nearly to the bottom (it's the May 2nd post, "Wishing for Tomatoes").  I used only five onions and about half the garlic called for -- next time, I'll probably use more.  I used a combination of my own tomatoes, some from a friend, and some from this morning's market.  I used fresh purple basil and Italian parsley, dried oregano and I don't remember what else, salt and pepper.  I put some in the blender and then combined it with the remainder.  We had it over fettucini for supper tonight.  There's another meal's worth (or more) in the 'fridge, and two more in the freezer.

Yes, I did say, "next time."  Thumb's up all around the table tonight!  I'll definitely play around and spice it up a little, use more garlic, and probably more tomatoes.  Yumyumyum.

25 August 2006

Antique treasure

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A box of chipped and broken Blue Willow china for $10.  Several cups, saucers, different sizes of plates, an oval dish, a creamer, a large sugar (or small biscuit) with broken off handles, a mix of Japanese and English marks -- I'm not sure what that little slip of red near the mark on the second small photo means, but it's also on other, similarly marked pieces.  (I should probably know these things.)  The "Occupied Japan" cup and saucer at right is one of my own from Grandma.  I have a cousin who lives in Milwaukee -- she is also a knitter, and she is also a mosaic-er, and if I hadn't bought that box, I know my aunt probably would have.  I'll give a large plate to Mom for her garden border, will use a small plate for my own border around the deck, and I'd really like to get together with my cousin -- it would be fun to make a gift of a broken dishes to her, spreading the cracked-and-chipped dish wealth.

Bdsc08371If I were growing a money tree instead of tomato plants (or if I hadn't had huge car repair bills in the last month, didn't have college tuition, housing, textbooks looming, and upcoming driver's ed fees, yaddayadda-and-etc.), I would not have thought twice about whether to make this mine.  I could not stop looking at it -- a white, knit bedspread with two matching pillow covers.  The texture of the leaves and borders and ruffles -- OMG, the ruffles!  Honestly, I couldn't even open it up all the way -- I know I would not have been able to resist.  I took some secret pictures, instead.  I played around with the photos a little bit, trying to make the stitches pop to match the way my eyes popped...  Oh, so incredibly beautiful in person.  This had to have been knit for someone's trousseau, don't you think -- by a grandmother for her only granddaughter, perhaps, or an aunt for a favorite niece?

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24 August 2006

Foxfire

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Foxfire Botanical Gardens.  From the top:  panoramic view of the pond.  In the middle:  one of two koi ponds outside the tea house; one of about five uprooted trees arranged so that the roots formed a screen; garden path.  Bottom:  one of  many meditative sculptural works; view from inside the tea house toward the koi ponds, to my rear was a large zen garden; hostas for sale.

Dsc08350The clouds in the top pictures were, at the time, rumbling a warning.  Soon, the "lights" began to flash and we mumbled to each other about the weather, but still chose to ignore.  Then the rain started to fall, but only over the pond -- we could see the raindrops dotting the surface of the water, but felt not a one ourselves -- for a few minutes, anyway.  And still...  You only get so many chances and warnings.  We thought we'd take refuge in the gift shop, but there really wasn't much of one and no one was there, anyway!  My companions took shelter under a canopy near the miniature hosta garden (the likes of which you've never seen and whatever you've got in mind -- it's better, even as you're being pelted by rain) and I quickly ran through one of the sale areas.  Hostas!  I saw some recognizable names from my own garden (Blue Angel, Frances Williams, Guacamole, Sum & Substance), and some that I'd like to add someday (Spilt Milk, Fried Bananas!).  What I really wanted was a "Q" hosta -- Queen Josephine or Queen of Islip -- for a different angle on that letter for the ABC-Along, but they didn't jump up and wave their hands and it was too wet, so I guess it wasn't meant to be.  It was pouring rain. We were all soaked by the time we got back to the car.

Dsc08355Oh, so worth it!  We were all so very glad that we went -- my aunts had not been there in 20 years, and my cousin who was with us had never been.  Incredibly beautiful.  Preparations were underway for a wedding on Saturday -- a big tent covered a tennis court one one side of the pond, tables and parquet dance floor being prepared.  It's the perfect setting for a garden wedding.

I'll be going back.  ; )

23 August 2006

Blowin' this pop stand

When Alison was in fourth grade... um... cripes, I just can't believe sometimes that time has passed so quickly... I was chatting with her teacher during a conference -- I'm going to say that it was a spring conference, so maybe closer to 9 years ago (oh yeah, that makes me feel better...) -- and she told me about this fantastic garden she'd recently visited, only a couple hours away, that was full of hostas -- Foxfire Botanical Gardens.  I don't remember how or why we got on the subject -- you all know how much I like hostas, but it really doesn't come up in everyday conversation regularly, especially not at parent-student-teacher conferences, and I don't think I was even into hostas all that much at the time.  The whole hosta-lovin' thing has come about very gradually and mostly as a necessary by-product of living in a very shady yard -- if I wished to have any fun landscaping at all, hostas were going to play a big role!  This teacher of Al's was one of the most efficient ever and when she told me that she'd send information home, you can bet that it was in my hands within days.  It got tacked up to a cork strip at the bottom of the magnetic calendar holder on the refrigerator and it's been there ever since -- you can tell it's been there and been moved around (and maybe looked at) numerous times because the top right corner has been perforated to a pulp with the thumbtack!  It hangs there still.

Upon her return from Knitting Camp, I read all about Foxfire at Sarah Peasley's blog in her July 26th post (scroll down -- you can't miss it) where she not only summoned me to the blog, but posted tantalizing pictures as well.  Well.  Well, well, well... today, I'm finally going to see the actual gardens for myself!

I'm going with my mom and we're picking up her two sisters on the way.  Interesting, that, since I just posted recently about my own sisters.  My mom doesn't get together with her sisters very often.  They still live around Marshfield, where they were all born and raised -- where my dad was born and raised, too -- where the mere mention of all the little cow-towns all around evoke fuzzy, soft thoughts of my ancestry -- Rozellville, Hewitt, Arpin, Stratford.  Oh, especially Rozellville -- we'd drive through there frequently when I was little -- my mom would point out which was her grandmother's house on the main drag, reminisce about when she was a girl, staying overnight, and how she'd hear the cars go by -- whoosh-whoosh-whoosh, whoosh-whoosh -- after the dance hall closed on Saturday night; how her younger sister got cut herself badly while swinging on the cemetery gate across the street and couldn't really tell how it had happened because she'd get in trouble.  Great Aunt Isabelle and Uncle Joe had a farm in Rozellville (oh, there was something about Aunt Isabelle -- I hardly knew her, my strongest memory being from Joe's funeral, but I think of her as one of the sweetest ladies who ever drew breath), and some of the cousins still live and work on the old family farm.

It won't surprise anyone to know that I've been thinking a lot about family lately.  I think I've been dwelling on my sisters, and on my mom and her sisters, and kind of avoiding thinking about my daughters -- as sisters, young women, students, employees.  I'm thinking about them now.  It's that season -- the third fall that someone is going off to college.  This time, it's Ali.  It's not anywhere near the last time, but not nearly as hard as the first time -- not as far, and I'm more experienced or conditioned or something. It's different.  And it's good.

She's so different from Katie.  Katie talks to me about almost everything -- blurts it out, sometimes, like she just can't keep it in.  We were up talking for about an hour past the goodnight kiss the other night -- blurt, blah-blah, blurt.  With Ali, I don't get nothin' unless I ask questions and it isn't always easy.  She's sometimes moodier, sometimes shorter in temper -- a red-headed Aries!  Oh, my goodness, I love her to death and she's so sweet and sensitive, but sometimes...

I worry.  I think she's doing some things that I'd rather she didn't -- like smoking, either regular cigarettes or clove ones, which, in my opinion, can't be any good -- and it stuns me.  Didn't she see me struggle with quitting, continue to struggle; didn't she beg me to quit, complain about the smell (I never smoked in our house).  And I think, NO!  Well, YES!  Yes, she did see me struggle, but No, it doesn't always make a difference -- at least not as I might like.  I was the same way, I know I was...

OMG, it's scary!  When my sisters and I were their ages, we drove from Wisconsin to Oregon -- Karen and I were the only ones with licenses -- and spent a week camping down the Oregon coast with our dad and his wife and her kids -- and then we drove back, scrounging change from under the seats on the way back for Egg McMuffins, and then barely having enough money for gas!  (Renewed appreciation for Mom for not freaking out about this trip -- it's amazing, really -- and we didn't even have cell phones!)  From here I think about all the other things...

And then I get to thinking about Maddy and I wonder what's going on with her and, the poor girl, I think she feels my eyes boring into her head, me trying to get my brain waves to make contact with hers, and she wonders what's up!

Heh.  Katie's not the only one who can blurt, blah-blah, blurt.  There's a famous quote from a famous sportswriter, "local boy" Red Smith:  "There's nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."  I sometimes I feel like salty tears are in the mix during the blood-letting, especially when it's about family, especially when it's about my girls... who are young women... flying the coop, blowin' this pop stand, what they're meant to be doing.  I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, too, learning the lessons that my mother and all the mothers before me have learned.  Those "time flies" and "just wait 'til you have kids" warnings -- things I used to scoff at -- they are so absolutely true.

22 August 2006

Wild goose chase

Dsc08342There are a lot of 29" circular needles for sale, in all sizes.  I went to four stores and there's not a single 47" needle in any size.  These were craft/hobby/fabric stores, as my LYS doesn't have evening hours 'til Wednesday and Thursday, and it's likely going to be Thursday before I get there.

There is also a lot of fuzzy, furry yarn for sale; apparently, people don't want at even 70% off.  There's a Ben Franklin closing its doors and that's all the yarn that was left.  They did have a few needles and I nabbed a set of size 0 bamboo DPNs and two each of size 1 and size 2 circulars for socks on two circs!  I learned that at the elbow of Joyce Williams -- it wasn't really one of the things to be taught in class that day, but she kind of went with the flow (lucky for us!).  I watched Cara knit socks that way, too, and I'd like to give it a whirl.

So, no 47" needle means no mobius yet.  I was able to finish the first sock, though!  Kitchenered, ends woven in, tried on (again), photographed.  I love it!  I wore it from the living room, through the kitchen, and into the computer room... and then I had to take it off.  It warmed up here a little bit today and that's as far as I could go with a wool sock on!

Shown with the new needles and new sock is Lucinda Guy's And So To Bed from the library.  Oh my goodness, I'm dying to make the owl -- so cute!  There are patterns for both clothing and toys (dolls with knitted underwear -- what's not to love) and perhaps it will someday find its way into my collection (along with that one).

No blogging tomorrow.  Special trip with my mother and her sisters -- details on Thursday.

21 August 2006

Weekend progress

Important announcement:  If you are planning to attend the Yarn Harlot's book-signing event at Yellow Dog Knitting in Eau Claire next month, please follow this link to RSVP so that Dixie and the staff can get an accurate head-count.  Stephanie will be appearing at the Masonic Center at 6 p.m. on Sunday, September 10th, and then signing books at YDK afterwards.  I have already made plans to go to my sister Karen's on Saturday and staying 'til Monday -- and Karen will come with me to Eau Claire!  We'll make an afternoon and evening-into-night of it!  Karen hasn't knit since college (a sweater -- and her daughter is a college sophomore to give you an idea of the timeline), but I'm betting that she'll be entertained... hm, very likely inspired.  Anyway, please follow the link to RSVP!!

PSA concluded, here's my weekend...

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I had further to go on the cuff of the sock than I thought.  It is going so quickly, though, and I really am just thrilled with it.  The actual heel is similar to those I've done before, and yet quite different -- instead of the "V" shaped heel, it's square -- just 14 stitches from the get-go -- and I like it a lot.

Well, I think it's 14 stitches.  Best not to take my word for it...  I don't know what's with me and numbers lately!  I read one thing, let's say "knit cuff for 8 inches" and immediately decide that 6 is the goal -- 'til I'm nearing 6 and read the directions again and am reminded, oh yeah, 8.  The instructions for the mobius of choice called for casting on using a 47" needle and I decided 42" and then came up with only a 36" in my meager circular needle stash and decide it's close enough to give it a whirl -- the progress of which you see below.

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Oooh, shiny... bright & red!  See the nearly ripe tomato?  There are two or three more ripening fast on its heels.  Yumfest continues.

Oh, it's awfully pretty yarn, isn't it?  And a lot of it!  I had a reward certificate for Yarns by Design burning a hole in my pocket -- actually, getting quite dog-eared in my bag -- so when Katie wanted to do some Red Radish grocery shopping in Neenah on Saturday, I went along.  I got to knit on the sock all the way there and back, and purchased that gorgeous hank of Fleece Artist's Handmaiden Ottawa at YBD.  The color is "Ottawa Forest," but Katie and I were both reminded more of the sea -- alas, there is no sea near Ottawa, but there is a river!  I wound it up as soon as we got home and I think, actually, that I have mastered (or very nearly) the actual mobius cast on this weekend.  Any success I may have with this project is definitely in no small part because of Ann's help.  She finished hers on Saturday night, in Noro Kochoran, and it's gorgeous -- GO SEE!!  I emailed her a couple of SOS messages on Saturday night, then something else on Sunday morning, then the phone was ringing and we talked through it, then I tried again.  Dsc08321I watched the movie that she linked to, then watched it again on a loop. I scrutinized Stephanie's picture in her This is your brain on Cat Bordhi post, and watched the movie again 'til Cat was just too much!  OMG, I thought, enough of the hard stuff, give me some crack!  ; )  I cast on, took a picture, emailed it to Ann, looked at all her links, the phone rang again...

I need a longer needle.

* * * * *

Thank you all for the wonderful, thoughtful comments to yesterday's post.  ; )  Sometimes it just helps to know you're not alone and to be reminded that with families, it's always somethin'.

20 August 2006

We are family

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This is me and my sisters a year ago -- one of many pictures in a series taken that day.  Sharon and Karen (the twins) are on the left, Ann (the youngest) and me (eldest) on the right.  I obscured and blurred and doctored up the photo a bit because I don't have permission from any of them to post it but I just have to.

Hold on... it might be one of those posts...

Sharon hates having her picture taken, especially in these smile-for-the-camera, obligatory, "let's get a picture" group shots at gatherings.  There must be some terrible picture-taking mojo she holds on to, because the feeling of dread about the eventuality -- or even the possibility -- of a group photo like this can fill her with dread, put her on-guard, and skew her feelings about the whole gathering.  We would have a more recent sister photo from the big get-together in June, but Sharon vanished at the mention of it.  "We just did that on Mother's Day..."

There was grumping when we sat for the photo above.  Apparently needing a big space bubble that day, Sharon didn't want Karen touching her.  Remember one of last year's car commercials with the kids in the back seat and little brother pestering the hell of out of his sister by holding his finger 1/4" from her face, all the while taunting, "I'M NOT TOUCHING YOU, I'M NOT TOUCHING YOU..."?  Well, Annie started to do that to me, and then to Karen -- trying to lighten things up a bit.  It was working.  It worked so well that Sharon started to play along, calling out, "I'M TOUCHING YOU," while grabbing a big handful of Karen's boob.  This is the picture right after that -- where, I'd say, the mood was a tad lighter.

I post it now because we're not all getting along right now; we're not all as close as we've been in the past.  We used to get together a number of times during the year -- just us -- just to hang with each other, enjoy each other's company, do things together.  Lately, we've been getting together secondary to some bigger thing -- a birthday party or something.  It's been quite a while since it was just us -- for a lot of reasons.

It was my dad's birthday on Wednesday.  I called him and we talked and at the end of our conversation he apologized because we ended up talking about family again, specifically (mostly) about the sisters.  He was seriously concerned that there was a rift that might not be mended.  I really think that all those years of our getting together, really working on keeping a connection with each other, even talking about how we never wanted to end up not speaking to each other -- for years and years and takin' it to the grave, as was the case with our grandpa and one of his brothers, as we've seen amongst some of our other relations -- guaranteed that we never would be able to hold a grudge or be angry for too long.  When I talked recently with one of the rifting parties, in one breath it was, "I'm not ready, she said hurtful things" and in the other, "I love her; don't worry, I won't be mad forever."

There's an ebb and flow to all of our relationships, of course; they're fluid.  But we're sisters-as-an-entity as well as sisters individually, and there's a very deep and very strong bond -- one that just is, and one that we've nurtured.  We can go from bitchy-don't-touch-me to boob-grabbing, feet-in-the-air, tears-streaming, side-splitting-laughter in a blink.  We get jealous and angry and mad, we say hurtful things and do hurtful things, we have such different reactions to the same information, and yet we understand each other -- usually.

It's been an intense year for my family and, as the eldest, I feel it keenly -- not that no one else does, certainly, but I think I have a different perspective and even awareness of it all -- what things mean, the motivations, the perceptions and misconceptions, and also because it puts me in an advisory position (from all angles).  Yeah, okay, so all that and then some on top of my regular life -- please, please, please, world, find some balance.  I know that everyone will make up, that we'll have weekends together again -- I hope that it'll happen sooner rather than later.

I'm in a weird place with blogging.  I've had this post brewing in "draft mode" all week -- a little bout with insomnia on a Saturday night/Sunday morning seems like a good time to polish it off and post it.

19 August 2006

Lay me down in a bed of...

Dsc08317_1...basil.  I am nearly going out of my mind from the aroma -- in a good way.  I will be on the receiving end of some surplus tomatoes and corn tomorrow (from an entirely different source), so neither of those got much consideration from me at the farmer's market today.  I did bring home a nice cantaloupe, some zucchini (oddly, no one I know is buried under a surplus of that yet), some fresh purple basil (which scented the car so wonderfully -- I'm dizzy with it), and feta and mozzarella cheese.  I will be making a salad tonight with some of the cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, olive oil and seasoning -- very much along the lines of Gretchen's bellisimo suggestion in the comments the other day (Thank You!).  For lunch today, I sprinkled crumbled feta and back olives atop the roasted cherry tomatoes and pasta that I made the other night (and had for lunch yesterday and again today and, OMG, I can hardly get enough of that, either).  Tomorrow, I plan on making the roasted tomato sauce that I wrote about yesterday.

Yeah, so, I may or may not reach at elusive 10 at WW on Tuesday, but I cannot feel badly at all about taking advantage of the season's bounty.  This is all good stuff.

My Saturday Sky is gray today.  My dad used to work in that taller building when I was a kid.  I used to go downtown with Mimi, who lived across the street from us, on Saturday afternoons -- sometimes Dad would be working and I'd stop in and see if he'd throw me some extra change.  Kresge's and Woolworth's were within a block of each other across the street and my favorite was the music department -- affordable 45s, specifically.  I bought "Dizzy" when I didn't even have a record player -- and I still get a good feeling whenever I hear that song on the radio.  Mimi was a few years older than me, but she never treated me like a little kid or a nuisance.  One summer, we (mostly she) organized a neighborhood carnival in our back yard -- all kinds of games and prizes and candy.  It's always been kind of a blur in my memory, but we do have a few pictures -- it was quite the event that summer!

18 August 2006

B-b-b-b-braided

Dsc08316_1I'm in love, love, love!  It's the crappiest picture ever taken of a sock-in-progress -- it's almost grotesque -- and yet, you can see how the braid pops and isn't it a lovely sock?  ; )  I got in some good knitting time last night, some of it even out-of-doors and in public, and I'm past the point at which I decided to rip.  There is no more than an inch to go before work on the cuff is finished.

Oh, the weekend...  I need to work on Fib.  I have two Road to Indigo vests that were taking a break, but now I'm ready to have at them again.  There's this beautiful sock.  And a moebiusDarn it, RachaelDarn it, Ann!!  Darn it, magical, mysterious Cat Bordhi!!!

* * * * *

Dsc08285I was so tickled by the art on the bathroom wall in the ladies' room at the coffee shop where we had lunch on Wednesday that I took a picture.  If it was Alan Alda in Clint Eastwood's spot, this would very nearly replicate the pin-ups on my filing cabinet at work 25 years ago or so.  Clint's okay, he can stay; I guess it just means that I like my men just a little less... hm... rugged.  Yeah.

* * * * *

Go say, "HEY," to Amy Lu and wish her a Happy Blogiversary!  She gave herself a brand new Typepad account to celebrate, so update your links and rolls!

The roasted cherry tomatoes turned out wonderfully!  Roasted Tomato Sauce will be the next recipe I try.  Thanks, V.!

17 August 2006

With a cherry on top

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My brother-in-law met us yesterday with two ice cream buckets full of little tomatoes -- pear-shaped and round cherry tomatoes, each in a couple of sizes and colors; the small, round, orange ones were the best.  I was stuffing my face with 'em last night, by the handful, as I washed them up and wondered what in the world I'd do with them all.

I think we're going to try a roasted cherry tomato sauce based on this epicurious recipe and this post (with pictures!) at The Amateur Gourmet.  Oh yeah, oh yum.

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The budding domestic diva with the new apron (please note the tulip pocket that put us over the edge) will not be able to help in the kitchen with that tonight, but her mother wanted you to see how cute the freakin' apron is -- part of our modest antique mall haul yesterday, which also included a Heinz pickle pin, some buttons, and a couple of old photos (of course).

In a surprise move, I drove the entire way yesterday, so no car knitting on the sock!  In fact, the sock has suffered a setback, as I discovered a mistake made at least a dozen rows ago and I ripped back.  That could be viewed as progress by some.  ; )  It was Project Runway time by the time I got to sit down... OH NO, not ALISON!  Honestly, if they were giving Kayne a pass based on previous work, then Alison's previous work should also have been considered -- as should Vincent's have been and, well, remember Twiggy?  Yeah, IMHO, the wrong one got the boot last night.

Dsc08313Speaking of fashion.  Looky here...  Ever since Mother's Day weekend, I've been a lampshade short.  I just have not been able to come up with that elusive, sixth shade (and neither could I change the bulb).  One of Maddy's friends recently announced that she was up to the task and was making it her mission to fill that spot.  Well, I'd say she hit the nail on the head.  It's absolutely perfect, all six bulbs are illuminated and shaded, and I couldn't be happier.  Thanks, Dana.  ; )

16 August 2006

Hangin'

Dsc08244rI'll be spending part of my day today hangin' with my nephew.  He was just 14 months old and I'm positively thrilled to say that I was witness on the day that will be forever known as the day that Mack started to walk.  I was even able to catch a little bit of a movie on my digital camera.  Unlike Ali, some of whose first steps I also have on film -- interrupting a friendly game of badminton by walking across the court -- step-step-step-BUM, step-step-step-BUM, step-step-step-BUM -- this little guy took OFF.  A half-dozen unassisted steps late on Friday, 40 or more by Sunday.  It's a full-time job trying to stay one step ahead of him now -- my house hasn't been child-proof in quite a few years!

The cuff of the first Celtic Braid Sock is going FAST!  I was the first one at WW last night, so knit a few rounds before the meeting began.  I think Katie will drive at least part of the way today, so more knitting in the car!  I will definitely have something more to show tomorrow.

Speaking of WW, I was down .6 last night for a total of 9.8 -- ARRRGH, this first 10 is so elusive!  I was pretty good last week -- walked to the bank one day, over to Mom's another -- drank more water, lots of veggies.  I had margaritas, too, but they were wee ones and I was more aware and didn't over-do.  Maybe I'll reach that milestone next week!

Oh!  I had an email this morning letting me know that I'm a googlewhack!

15 August 2006

New project

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A Cabin Fever pattern, Celtic Braid Socks #157, designed by Lynda Gemmell.  I purchased the pattern by mail from Yellow Dog Knitting in Eau Claire a few months ago, where I believe they also did it in a class last winter.  The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in a color called "pewter" that I purchased at Iris and have had in the stash.  It is gorgeous, though not quite as brown as it appears here, and I'd forgotten how nice the yarn is to work.

14 August 2006

Simply lovely

Dsc08253Employing Cara's highly technical method of photographing one's own socks, demonstrated here, may I present (finally) my finished Simply Lovely Lace Socks from the Spring 2006 issue of Interweave Knits.  I like it, and my ankles don't look bad (I think the way the colors hits right there is a big plus).

On Saturday night, I wove in the last end and slipped them on my feet to admire.  I made Katie -- the only lucky one to be withing admiring proximity -- admire them with me.  I said, "Do you see how the colors almost exactly match up?  Total fluke that it turned out that way.  Did you notice the pretty picot edge?"  She said, "Mom, you're such a dork.  You ask that every time."

I do?  ; )

I used Trekking XXL in color 106, part of a package of contest winnings sent by JessaLu a while back.  Started around May 1st, finished August 12th.  I believe there are only two or three pattern repeats in the entire pair that are done correctly and I didn't catch on 'til I was near the end.  I believe I made it a three-row repeat rather than four, but it works and I like how they look.

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12 August 2006

P is for...

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Pansies.  A pansy print:  "A String of Pansies" by Paul de Longpre.

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This is pretty much the print that started it all with pansies.  It's a half-yard-long that my sister bought at an auction several years ago.  I wrote about it once, and how it came to be mine, here.

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P could also be for pansies on pitchers and pansies on pots, pansies on cups and saucers.

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P could be for pictures in a pot with pansies.  For this post, P is for pansies... on postcards, a calendar, a tile, another special print.

Picture perfect

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For Sandy's Saturday Sky.

11 August 2006

Who are you? The sequel

I was really going to just leave it at that.  Y'all got me thinking more about Mary Jo, though.

Sunday Scribblings, Who else might I have been?, Part II.

If my name was Mary Jo...

If my first name was Mary Jo, my last name (married) could only be LaPierre.  I'd be fresh-faced and petite and have a standing appointment at the salon (every sixth Tuesday) to keep my short, curly, auburn hair, well, short, curly and auburn -- and also have a facial.  I'd have standing appointments, on varying schedules, for massage, manicure, pedicure, waxing, hydrotherapy, and the occasional body mask treatment.  "Soccer Mom" to my three boys, I'd cart them around in a Saab 9-7x which Dr. LaPierre would keep in tip-top shape -- standing service appointments and also regular detailing, he's obsessed with the cars.  We'd have been high school sweethearts -- I was cheerleader to his quarterback -- though I'd first laid eyes on him, and "knew," when we met during a rainy Safety Patrol convention in sixth grade.  I would volunteer at the boys' schools and be devoted to the local women's shelter -- my mother was a battered wife and, well, I know that they need every bit of love and help and hope and support they can get; I would be part of an underground to aid their safe escape.  I would teach the women I help to knit -- to give them something else to concentrate on while they create something useful for themselves or their children; it may turn out a misshapen, oversized, acrylic mess, good only for a laugh, but that's useful, isn't it?  Even the angry frogging is sometimes useful.  We all try to learn from our many mistakes and keep trying.  My favorite knitting projects would be elaborate, lace shawls.

* * * * * *

This sentence constitutes the standard mumbo-jumbo disclaimer about fictional characters and not hurting anyone's feelings, especially anyone named Rhonda, Mary Jo or with the surname LaPierre.

What a fun exercise --  more fun than I anticipated!

* * * * * *

I have a lot on my list today.  I switched and have today off instead of the usual Wednesday, and you can't argue with a three-day weekend.  Mack is coming, too!

I did not get out of bed and nab my 45 minutes for activity when the alarm went off yesterday (and today, of course, it didn't go off).  I opened my eyes and it was DARK outside.  Sunrise is at 5:50 a.m. -- and my alarm goes off at 5:00, so it's still REALLY dark.  Just can't do it.  Besides that, I had a hot, humid, sleepless (from 3:00 a.m. on) night.  I had a headache and was exhausted last night -- after going to Dinner Helpers for the first time in a few months, too, so... nothing yesterday.  My car is in the shop today (I should be channeling my inner Rhonda), as is Ali's (Help me, Rhonda!), and she has DH's van and there's a real ballet going on here in terms of people gettign to interviews and to work today.  I have to go to the bank, and I think I'll WALK!

Knitting.  I was a little early for the meal prep session last night, so was able to knit a few rounds on my Trekking sock.  I had tried the night before, but was so distracted with watching Project Runway that I ended up with the wrong number of stitches on my needles and just had to put it away.  (I wonder what would have happened if Bradley'd had Twiggy.  Vincent totally bombed on that!  I used to have a Twiggy doll -- she was like Barbie with short hair, bigger eyes, and no boobs -- more like an enlarged Skipper.)  Back to the knitting...  I may finally, finally finish that freaking sock today!  I had Fib all laid out on the table last weekend (man, this week went FAST) and pinned a sleeve to the body and then couldn't find my needles -- not a single one.  I remember "organizing" them (why do I even try -- I bet Mary Jo would never lose her needles) and I know they're all together in a small plastic box -- the long ones, the short ones, the chibis... where's the damn box?!  I made an emergency stop and bought some everyday needles.  Good to go with that.

Have a great weekend.

10 August 2006

Who are you?

Sunday Scribblings... on a Thursday...

Who else might I have been?

My dad named me Victoria.  As I've been told, it was a boyhood friend's mother's name and he always liked it, or maybe she made an impression.  I was always Vicki until fourth grade, when an older girl in my Girl Scout troop insisted on calling me Victoria.  I winced for a while -- it seemed so old-fashioned, so formal, so old -- but I'm glad how that she did.  I still don't prefer Victoria, but I don't wince anymore.  I remember Mom telling me that she'd wanted to name me Rhonda or Mary Jo; she will deny it or have no recollection -- I don't know if those names seem too Petticoat Junction, or not refined enough now, or if I'm just too old for her to remember being pregnant or me being a baby -- but that's what I remember.

If my name was Rhonda...

I'd ride a Harley and wear leather and have a tattoo, or two (or even more, or maybe bigger than you'd think).  I'd be taller, and a little bit thinner, and be a daring dresser -- simple but daring, a lot of black.  I'd have cleavage and you would know it.  My hair would be longer, but not any less gray; I'd wear it in braids a lot, and wear big earrings.  I'd have an ex-husband, or two.  I'd definitely be between marriages and I wouldn't be living around here -- but I would have my own house.  I'd own a successful auto repair business, and work on my brother's pit crew at the local race track; it's where I met my husband(s).  I'd laugh loud and often; too loudly for my mother; she'd call me "a hard ticket," as would have her mother before her, and wonder how I turned out that way.  I'd party hard, but infrequently.  My favorite knitting project would be socks.

If my name was Mary Jo...

09 August 2006

I spy

Dsc08115_2I spy a beagle, do you?

Dsc08121Besides the two pretty Artyarns hanks and some hors d'oeuvres from the opening (they ordered too much) -- oh, and a few small trinkets from the museum shop for Christmas -- the only thing to come home with us from Sturgeon Bay was this chair.  It is a very faded, somewhat worn, quite clean, and extremely comfortable chair -- old, but sturdy -- of High Qual-i-ty.  It was enticingly placed alongside the road, across from the funky barn I photographed, with a handwritten sign that read "FREE."

Dsc08122I've been reading The Big House, about a century-old family cottage on the east coast, as recommended in the comments to another rambly post back in June.  (Thank you, blogless Cathy!)  I'm on the brink of the exciting conclusion -- which I hope is just the end of the book and not the end of The Big House.  I think Katie's new chair likely started out as a brand new, thoughtfully chosen piece of furniture in someone's home, but as styles changed and it lost its freshness, it was relegated to the family room, the basement, and then to removed to something like The Big House -- in Sturgeon Bay, it would be called a cottage.  There are some mighty fine, old homes there, some very wealthy people who own huge chunks of property, but nothing quite like that about which I'm reading.  I do believe I will always remember "The Big Houses" when I see that chair -- the ones of an earlier time, including the one that was once in my family (though, really, much smaller -- more like "Hidden House in The Big Woods," I'd think).  Katie is looking forward to having her own place someday and, man, I am, too!  We have similar taste, but she outruns me in the style department by a mile!

For now, Kate has spent some time recently sprucing up her room -- new paint, new curtains, a vintage tablecloth covering the closet door, a stack of suitcases as an end table, an old enamel-top kitchen table for her computer (employing my suggestion to turn the drawer upside-down and use it as a "keyboard tray"). Katie used to be, well, messy.  College dorm life (an even messier roommate) changed all that and now she's the neatest of the three.  I shall be curious to see if the college dorm life has the same affect on Ali -- fall semester begins soon.  It shouldn't be long before I get a read-out on that.  ; )

I had WW last night and lost all but .2 of the 3.8 that I was up last week.  Yeah, I kept that one to myself.  It was a fluke -- I was not that bad!  It was totally due to being roasted alive and there was also a little margarita spill -- right into my glass, and it just kept on spilling -- who knew that margaritas were so BAD?  (Another one of those GOOD things that's so BAD.)  I was not particularly good or bad last week, either, but today, I'm being good.  TWO bottles of water before cracking open the crack *shhh* DIET COKE, and no chocolate.  I cannot start with the chocolate -- I can never eat just one, not even a little bitty one.  I have finally learned this after extensive and relentless testing of my own will -- changing up the start times, experimenting with different quantities, and an assortment of shapes, sizes and combinations including (but not limited to) nougat, caramel, cookies and nuts, milk or dark chocolate -- the conclusion that I can't handle it!  I will allow for some, now and then, but I cannot just grab a bar, willy-nilly, and think that I'll be satisfied.  It just doesn't work that way -- it's more like opening the floodgate.

I even thought about grabbing Katie and going for a walk last night -- I need activity! -- but when she said, "Let's go to the grocery store," well, it sounded better -- even though I didn't really have any pressing needs and it's not one of my favorite things to do.  You know, I was talking with a friend this morning and she'd seen Susan Powter on one of the morning shows recently.  The bottom-line, that my friend shared with me, is that that extra 45 minutes for exercise that we're all looking for is never going to magically appear on our schedules and we just have to find the time in our day.  I had to snap my mouth shut on the whine because, the truth is, I could get out of bed every morning when my alarm actually goes off rather than hitting snooze (sometimes more times than I care to admit) -- it would be a start.  Am I ready for that?  I'll let you know.

---I just heard from Elizabeth (see yesterday's post) and she said she tried to comment this morning, but had some difficulty and it never did post... anyone else having problems?  (You can email me anytime at vknitorious at yahoo dot com)

08 August 2006

Start spreading the news...

The Yarn Harlot is coming to town.  Okay, not exactly my town, but a town only three hours away!  Cursingmama and I were just discussing the banding together and demanding that there be a Harlot Tour stop in our neck of the woods... her side of the Mississippi or mine, it didn't matter.  Turns out, we didn't have to band or demand, and it'll be on my side, but closer to her!  I was right on top of Yellow Dog Knitting's blog post today, announcing the stop on September 10th in Eau Claire.  I'm so excited to share the news -- so fresh it isn't even on Stephanie's tour page yet!

This is so right...  I have my own Hand Knit Ring because I laid a huge hint (possibly a filled-out order form) at DH's feet after seeing it on Stephanie's Gifts for Knitters series way back in December 2004.  DH ordered it from Yellow Dog Knitting -- our most local source -- and Dixie bent over backwards to make sure I had the right ring in the right size by the right day!  I met Dixie last year when I stopped at the shop on my way to visit my sister -- it's a great shop with a fantastic staff.

In March of '05, Stephanie posted about the goddess (her word) Joyce Williams, author of Latvian Dreams (scroll down a bit).  Little more than a month later, Joyce signed my copy of the book when I took three of her classes at the spring Midwest Master's Seminar. We also admired each other's Hand Knit Ring... just guess where Joyce bought hers!

I'll be attending Midwest Master's again this fall, later in September, taking classes from none other than Fiona Ellis.  Honestly, I sometimes feel like the woman knows me.  Oh, and there are other similarities.  Too weird.

Okay, enough about that.  I'm excited.  I'll try to contain myself in the coming weeks.  ; )

In other news...

Elizabeth has the coolest picture posted here... the one that looks like a flock of ghostly birds, but is really dew-laden spider webs, which also look a lot like knitting.  Huh, isn't hard to figure out Knitting Nature, is it?

Besides having two of the cutest grandsons in all of knitblogland, you may recall that Elizabeth was the mastermind behind the Knitting Bloggers' Cookbook, which (did you know?) has it's very own BLOG.  I'm droolin'.

One of my across-the-lake neighbors to the east, Susie, is having a contest -- go check out Summer Sock Yarn Doldrums and make your best guess for a chance to win a skein of her beautifully dyed yarn.  Hurry up, though, you've got to take your stab by noon tomorrow!

Did I mention that the Harlot Tour is coming this way?

07 August 2006

Red Light, Green Light

Dsc08054_1Norma and Sandy are Kickin' the Can!  My wish for them?  Fortitude.  Dude (s).  You can do it.

Ktc_2I'm stickin' to my own game at the moment -- that being Tag, or Pom Pom Pull Away, or maybe Dodgeball.  ; )

Cold_turkey_1_1_1I've already kicked one major bad habit, and I am in the midst of paying the price (WW) of what that little self-improvement cost me -- it's a debt that will take a while to pay off.  I know, I know, it's worth it in the end -- I've reduced my chances of being burdened by a little oxygen cart on wheels, of having to knit a cozy that matches St. Brigid for it, of having tubes going up my nose in coming years.  The $11 (max) a week it costs me at WW is a lot less than the $28 a week I was spending on cigarettes (and that was a year and a half ago -- I imagine they've gone up like everything else). My doctor said she'd rather see me carry extra weight than continue smoking.  Well, I miss smoking anyway.  I miss it more than my sister does, and I'm pretty sure that I miss it more than Ann -- at the very least, I think about it more.  I still think about it a LOT.  Don't worry, I'm not going to start again (I could never face you people), but I'm not sure I'm ready (or have the fortitude) yet to give up another pleasure -- even though it's bad for me, even though I know I should, even though maybe I kind of want to.  Why do all the good things have to be so damn bad... or is that bad things being good... or whatever... WHY?

For now, I'm going to continue my evasive games, but I kind of hope to be lured into theirs -- if it looks like they're having enough fun. I may find myself irresistably drawn to the sidelines and, maybe, I'll find myself playing their game, too. You guys try to have fun, okay?  ; )

I started this post by uploading the picture you see up there -- my finds at the antique mall last week.  I seem to be coming home lately with nothing but books and photographs from these types of outings.  I thought that my girls would be inspired as much as I was by Transfer, and I could not pass up The Golden Age of Homespun with the little spinning wheel -- it was half-price, but I'd have paid full (it was a bargain either way).  ; )  It doesn't have much to do with spinning -- just a chapter or two related to fiber and textiles -- but I love this kind of reminiscent, pioneer days book.  Anyway, this post has run away with itself and I'm much more excited about...

PLAYGROUND GAMES!  Hot diggity!  I played plenty of them on the playground at school (when we weren't giving each other underducks on the swings, watching so our skirts didn't fly up too high, or hanging from the monkey bars -- and again with the skirts -- it wasn't 'til I was in 6th grade that we girls could wear pants), but we played them just as often at home -- Kickball right in the middle of a T-shaped intersection in front of our house.  I've got proof on the silent, Super-8 home movies that my dad transferred to VHS for us a few years ago (yet to be committed to DVD) where I'm wearing all my favorite outfits of the late '60s and early '70s!  The neighborhood I lived in from 3rd-7th grades was a new subdivision and swarming with kids.  LuAnn, Valerie and Jeanne were my best friends.  Jeanne lived right next door in a "modern" house compared to the rest in the neighborhood (her dad was an architect) and sbe was also one of five, but was the second oldest and had two brothers whereas I was the eldest and had only one brother.  Valerie's dad was a preacher; she had an older sister and imaginary friends and is the reason I got a guinea pig.  LuAnn... her parents had both been married before (so exotic) and it was to LuAnn's house I'd go, whenever I could, just before 3:00 on summer afternoons, to watch Dark Shadows.

We played a lot at construction sites of homes being built in the neighborhood -- in the "home" or in the piles of dirt displaced from digging for the foundation.  When we got older, we often played boy-girl games of Truth-or-Dare (lots of kissing) amongst those hills, hidden from view.  Mostly, we played on the street or sidewalk, in empty lots before the weeds got too tall, or across our front or back yards.  That list of playground games makes me reel with happy memories, and think of the hours we spent playing Dodgeball, Keep Away, Hopscotch, Jacks, Jumping rope, Clapping ("Oh Mary Mack, Mack, Mack..."), Kickball, Marbles, Red Rover, Red Light Green Light, Mother May I, Tag (and variations), Hide and Seek, Kick the Can, Capture the Flag... and Pom Pom Pull Away, my most favorite of all!

06 August 2006

Sturgeon Bay

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Sturgeon Bay is a weird place. Being in Door County -- the gateway, really -- it's funky and artsy and fun, but not quite as funky and artsy as Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Ephraim, Gills Rock; perhaps, also, not quite as hokey touristy, either.  It's definitely more year-round working town combined with seasonal tourist town than any other destination to its north.  It's fun to get off the main drag -- some super-duper old houses, barns... barn-houses.  A lot of old houses, especially along the shore, have met with the wrecking ball to make way for new.  In fact, right next door to this funky barn was a brand new house, definitely of a different era than its barn.

Between photo ops, I got a lot of knitting done on the Trekking sock!  I'm only a round away from beginning the toe shaping and it's really all downhill from there.  We arrived in time to visit both fiber shops on my list.  The first (and the one I was worried about missing) was Apple Hollow Fiber Arts (linked in sidebar) -- a good, basic selection of yarn and books, looms, wheels and roving.  We also visited Temptations, just a few doors down (no website), which I've visited before.  Temptations actually has two buildings -- the second one is devoted to cross stitch and needlepoint.  My souvenir yarn of the day is Artyarns Ultramerino 4 in color 123.  I think this may be the very same stuff I sent to Anne last year (maybe even the same color, too?) as part of a Secret Pal exchange -- I've never tried the stuff, myself, and now I can!  Someday.

I guess there wasn't anything that tripped Kate's trigger -- except for some Malabrigo yarn in the Autumn Forest colorway (perfect for her!) which she resisted (for the moment and only because she didn't have a specific something in mind for it and it's still a bit warm to be thinking of working much with wool) -- until she saw a braided hank (is that the correct term) of roving at Temptations.

"What's this?" she asked.  "How do you knit with this?"

I told her that it was roving and it's for spinning.  "You mean making your own yarn?"

Oh, yes, she was very intrigued by that -- interestingly, not at the shop with all the spindles and wheels and bags of the stuff -- I told her that we could make a drop spindle with a CD, and that her Nana has two spinning wheels (functionality yet to be determined), and that I have a feeling that I'll be hard-pressed to resist the whir of the wheel come October in Rhinebeck, and may even be forced (goaded, at the very least) to experience the spin.  My wall of resistance may finally be caving -- and I resist only because I can't imagine fitting it in.  I did just tell Cara, though, that the more there is to do, the more I get done.

If you ever find yourself in Sturgeon Bay, I recommend the Pudgy Seagull as a place to try for breakfast, possibly a quick lunch, not really dinner.  Really cool sign, though.

Dsc08078"P" could be for propeller -- and if I was a mariner in any way, shape or form, it would be -- but my own, more personal "P" is yet to come.  Intriguing chunk of an old boat, though.  I really did think about the ABC-Along as I shot that picture above.  ; )

I took so many sky pictures, it isn't even funny.

05 August 2006

Saturday

Now I remember... we're driving up to Sturgeon Bay this afternoon to attend the opening of a drawing show this evening.  The last time I was there -- ooh, it was a while ago -- it was also for a museum show opening!  We'd gone up pretty early that time so we had time to run through an antique mall and a yarn shop, among other things, but there's another fiber shop that I want to visit and have yet to see but will likely remain on my to-do list even after today because I think they'll be closed by the time we get there.

Dsc08053Saturday20sky_3My Saturday Sky is a little out of focus this morning!  I took this on my walk down to our local farmer's market where I found some zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce and corn.  Nice morning.

You’ll likely approach the nuances of daily life as well as the pursuit of your goals with a newfound boldness and enthusiasm.  --excerpt from my Daily Om Horoscope for Wednesday, August 2.

Imagine my wry smile when I read my horoscope after making the can-do phone call on Wednesday, which had to do with work and my need to do a little more of it -- not in terms of putting in more hours or days per week, but in terms of doing more actual, worthwhile -- if not meaningful -- work while I'm actually working, and feeling happier about it.  Can you dig?  There was more rolled into it, of course, and some emotional baggage along for the ride, hence the choking up, but I needed to shake things up -- make a change there or do something else entirely.  It's done.  Now I'm busy learning some of the finer points and idiosyncracies of my very vague-to-you job and it's taxing.  I took a nap after supper last night and I never do that.  The festivities of the night before may have contributed a little to my weariness, but man, I was wiped out!

I'm at odds with the knitting projects.

--Not loving the look and feel of my knitting with two (or more colors) on the Jane Thornley vests -- I love the yarns and love the pattern, but my two-color knitting technique leaves something to be desired.  I will contemplate these for a while longer.

--I finished off the in-progress color on the Log Cabin thingamajig -- eh.  Marinating.

--It's time to get to work on finishing Fib.  It's cooler now.  I want to start the applied I-cord, but I still have seaming to do, which (for me) is best done during the day on a table rather than in the evening on my lap.  I will begin seaming today.

--I worked a few rounds on my Trekking sock -- I don't hate it, but I don't love it.  I think there's another sock, a different yarn, that I'd rather be knitting, but I'm cruising (slowly) toward the toe on this one and would just like to have it done -- making an entire PAIR -- before I start another dalliance.  These will come along for the ride this afternoon.

04 August 2006

Root, root, root for the home team

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No peanuts.  No Cracker Jacks.  No knitting.  Lots of red hats in the section next to us.  (What's with the red hatted/purple shirted men?  Scary!)  Plenty of hot dogs, hamburgers and brats; potato salad and baked beans; ice cream cake; beer.  It was the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers over the Fort Wayne Wizards (6-2), with additional entertainment provided by Myron Noodleman, Fang the Rattlesnake mascot, and the Bratzooka (scroll down) (flying sausages -- in a bun) (only in Wisconsin?).

Dsc08047_1It was Family Night and at the end of the game, hundreds of kids, 14 and under, lined up for their opportunity to run the bases -- they ran in groups of 20-25.  Some of the older kids were definitely displaying their athletic prowess, running to be noticed, hoping (in their wildest dreams) to be signed to something -- anything -- on the spot, or to break a record, the youngest kid ever... you know, the stuff wildest dreams are made of!  The littlest kids were the most entertaining -- left in the dust long before reaching first base, they realized by second base that they're the center of attention -- or not.  The crowd obviously entertained some of the littler kids -- wide-eyed and oblivious to the spotlight -- more than the other way around.

In knitting news of the blogging variety, I have enjoyed the most recent Harlot tour quite a lot -- both her blogging of it and the blogging of it by others.  One of the thing I've enjoyed most is her meeting up with bloggers I "know" -- and the realization again (this happens over and over) that they're everywhere!  I feel as though I could go anywhere and find a kindred soul, a connection.  It gives me a good feeling to contemplate how much larger my world has become and I welcome -- nay, look forward to -- the mingling of the real and virtual at every opportunity.  October is only two months away!  ; )

Forgive my not linking to the bunch of people that I'd like to link to along the tour...  I've suddenly become very, very busy.  It's a good thing, but I'm going to have to adjust my schedule -- yeah, I know, what schedule -- or I could just continue to be irregular.

Happy weekend, all.  This one kind of snuck up on me, so I'll just have to wait and see what happens!

03 August 2006

Hallelujah

It's cooler.  I never got my deluge, but I don't care!  It's cooler outside!!

I never did make a list of my can-controls and can't-controls yesterday.  There are a couple of things that top each of those lists that I don't really even need to write down, you know?  They're there.  So, I picked one of those things from the can-control list and made a phone call to discuss the situation and some ideas I had in regards to changing the situation.  So, yeah.  It was hard and I had to choke back some emotion a few times and I maybe didn't say everything quite exactly right on the phone -- DAMN, I always have the best conversations and/or arguments with people in my head while I'm brushing my teeth and fixing my hair.

I feel better having just done something.

I continued with the willy-nillyness of my goofball Log Cabin thing -- don't know if it'll be a rectangle or a square.  I didn't mention that I'm using Sugar & Cream and Peaches & Creme -- and I so love the P&C "gumdrop" and "fiesta ombre" colorways.  It looks like a Log Cabin Gumdrop Fiesta, doesn't it?  Can't you picture the pinatas?

Anyway, thank you for all your help.

Another Hallelujah (k.d. lang's version, which I've been listening to as I write this) to my brother! I've been meaning to mention that I think he will be returning to work next week -- it's been just over five months since I saw that helicopter on its way to get him.  All he's waiting on is the official "all clear" at his next, upcoming round of doctor appointments.  He's totally amazing.

SOS.  I need help with integrating PayPal Pro into an existing website that uses Miva Merchant.  This is a can-do that I can do, but I'm having trouble with execution.  I've done something similar before, but it was a while ago and that knowledge has long been displaced -- likely by how to fix a messed up cable.

02 August 2006

Waiting for my deluge

We were supposed to have a deluge overnight; we're lucky if we had a sprinkle.  My sister had a deluge yesterday and, oh, they sure need it -- far northern Wisconsin is suffering severe to extreme drought conditions.  It looks as though most of the weather is passing through to our north -- we're right "on the line."  I would just like it to pass, please, and let the cooler air come in!  /weather

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Today, it's official:  I feel like crap.  It has a lot to do with the heat and many, many other things that I can't control -- I know, I know, I've got to let those things go-o-o-o-o-o -- and I've got to get out from under this funk so I can do something about the things that I can control.  It would be nice if there was a little more balance between the can-control and the can't-control.  Perhaps I should make a list -- maybe it's not as bad as I think.

I'm not sure about that really bright yellow strip.  I'm not sure about my Log Cabin knitting at all, really, but I just keep riffing -- plucking a ball of yarn in a not-so-willy-nilly manner, even though it rather looks like I have.  Does it look like crap?  I don't even know what it's going to be.  It's mostly bright and playful, and I do enjoy the knitting and the "seeing what happens" and the randomly generated row count (I like that a lot).  It's very good 95-degrees-in-the-shade knitting, too, and the cotton is nice and absorbent (and washable), so it works well as a working work-in-progress for dabbing my glistening brow.  ; )  I'm kidding... I actually use my shirt.

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I'm looking at this as a sampler, an experiment, a getting-to-know you (yarn) and you (Log Cabin) piece.  I am learning a lot about what I'll do differently next time in terms of color and design -- yeah, like doing some actual planning and design.

Dsc08012Dsc07514_1The baby tomato came full circle the other night.  It was a momentous occasion, as well as delicious in a BLT.  At the same time that I thought about (and then dismissed as silly) getting the camera, DH suggested it, so there you have it.  We've all gone a little nuts in the heat.  ; )

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