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26 posts from February 2007

28 February 2007

My other new favorite word is...

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ROASTED (often found within these pages in close proximity to the word "delicious")!

On the left, Susie Middleton's Smashed Roasted Potatoes (updated to update link, Aug 2009), from Grace Howaniec's (now defunct) column, "Grace Before Dinner."  I haven't been steered wrong by Grace yet and these were no exception.  Admittedly, I'm a huge potato lover -- Potato Soup (with leeks or bacon or ham or anything -- or without), Potato Pancakes, Mashed Potatoes, Smashed, Baked, Fried, French, American, German, Salad, Scalloped, Au Gratin... you get the picture.  I've even had lefse, thanks to my Norwegian (not wicked) stepmother -- and love it (however, not so the accompanying lutefisk -- that was rather wicked)!  I think my potatoes were a tiny bit big and I forgot to flip them half-way through the cooking time, so they were a little less crispy but absolutely delicious! I will definitely make these again (possibly with a little less and/or a lighter oil, possibly not).

On the right, one of several batches of Peace and Sereknitty's Roasted Tomato Sauce that I made late last summer.  (It's a very pretty scroll down on that last link, almost to the bottom, for the recipe.)  I'd used it freshly roasted a couple of times, but put up most of it in the freezer.  On Monday, I used some in place of the usual store-bought can of tomatoes for lasagna and it was dee-licious!  I don't think I'll ever be able to use canned again.

This weekend I plan to make Carole's Roast Beef Soup, which not only looks delicious (and has been bookmarked on Bloglines since that day, so it's the first thing I drool over see every day when I check her new posts), it also comes highly recommended by Ann -- no culinary slouch, either, that one.  Meanwhile, Carole has also recently posted about Cream Puffs and now a recipe for Artichokes French!  I have been twice to Rhinebeck, twice in the line for Artichokes French (shared them once with Carole herself) -- they are absolutely delicious and now I can't wait to make THAT recipe, too.  ; )

* * * * * *

For those of you interested in the knitting:  I am working on the bottom part of Williamsro.  That's my official UFO project for February; St. Brigid's new cuffs are second runner-up.

* * * * * *

I cannot let this day pass without mentioning my brother, Michael.  I've been extra emotional this week -- Michael on my mind more than I realized, I guess, my aunt's memorial celebration coming up this weekend, the death of my best friend's mother on Monday, some other things...  It was one year ago this morning that I spotted the emergency medical transport helicopter in the sky on my way to work -- unbeknownst to me, it was on the way to the scene of an accident that my brother was so very lucky to have survived.  Brain surgery that day, back surgery on his birthday/St. Patrick's Day, and several weeks in a coma later... well, he will never be pain-free, will never feel exactly the same, but... he is so amazingly here and with it, walking and talking, alive and well.  And tonight, I hope he will be feeling NO PAIN, rocking out and celebrating life with THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS!  Rock on, bro!

Bob Woodward's "To Iraq and Back" on ABC last night struck some chords.  Wow.  I can't find a direct link, but it's available to watch online.

The love and support that I felt from the blogging community at that time was indescribable and indispensable.  I later printed out all the posts and comments from that time to share that with Michael and his wife.  And I was honored to wrap him in the knit-blogger blanket of love, all those heartfelt squares so beautifully sewn up by Christine.  "Thank you" never did (and never will) seem like enough for any of it.

And yet, before I end up in tears... Thank you, again.  Yay Michael.

* * * * * *

Birdsong and her family could use some of that indescribable support right now.

* * * * * *

I'm a happy recruit in McHale's Navy Norma's Army in the battle against rudeness -- first spotted at Cara's, recently at Stephanie's.  I'm wearing garlic, myself, and hoping that the March lion blows in bearing manners in abundance.  Yes?

Thank you for reading, I think I'm finished now.  Whatever will I blog about tomorrow...

27 February 2007

The 6th little thing

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The 6th of my 100 Little Things... 

The art glass bird was a birthday gift when I was 8 or 9.  Soon after the giving, it was dropped and more than half of the once long and tapered tail broke off.  Notice how I won't take responsibility, nor place blame, for the dropping; truth is, I don't remember and it doesn't matter.  On the way home from picking it up after having the tail ground down to a smooth stub, while being passed around the back of the station wagon (at a time when no one took a seat belt seriously) and undergoing a thorough examination by the entire entourage, the bird was dropped again and this time the beak was chipped.  As with the original infraction, I can't tell you who did it.

I always loved the colors of this bird.

I found a similar one at the antique mall on Friday afternoon -- where I spent an idle couple of hours while my car was diagnosed and the fix made.  Its tail was intact, but the beak was chipped.

I'm sure my mother intended to start a collection, to ignite in me a passion for the Art Glass Bird.  I think she always wanted us -- especially the girls -- to have collections of fine and fragile things.  Still does.  The fragile never lasted very long, though, and once broken or chipped or repaired, I suppose there didn't seem much of a point in adding to and fluffing up the collection.  As an adult, I have a lot of collections, but not much of it is really fine and fragile.  Well, sure, there's lots of fragile -- depression glass and stoneware, mostly, and a little china -- but almost all of it is practical and "everyday" and I have no qualms about using any of it -- and if it breaks, it's just more fodder for the mosaic stash.

26 February 2007

More snow

Dsc09819 Dsc09821Dsc09822It really didn't snow much during daylight hours yesterday, but we got another little bit last night. It's still snowing lightly and the flakes are getting bigger.  It's piling up this time because there isn't any wind -- good snowball snow.

Dsc09823I think I'll call this Cuff with Cat Tail.  I had barely begun arranging things when Duncan decided that curled up on St. Brigid was where he wanted to be.  The cats have all been a little funny, not sure what to make of the weather and all.  Anyway, both cuffs have been completed and were sewn on during the Oscars.  I absolutely LOVE them and the sleeve length is perfect now.  I think I want to do something similar at the "hem" of the sweater, but I'm not sure if I want to do exactly this.  I'm thinking a little more substantial -- but only by a little bit.

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For my next trick, turning doubled yarn into singles in a room with three weather-crazed cats!  I thought I may as well get it over with, so shortly after posting yesterday, I separated the double strands of Noro Blossom used to knit the bottom part of Williamsro into singles.  I'd ripped from the sweater into piles on the floor which I then loosely skeined on my arm; with the least amount of handling possible, I took each "skein" and placed it on the table, carefully pulling apart the strands into two new piles on my left and right, and then loosely skeined and tied off each of those.  I ended up with eight small skeins in all.  They took a tepid little bath and I squeezed 'em real good in a turkish towel, then strung them onto the business part of one of those trouser hangers from the dry cleaner's.  (I haven't been to the dry cleaner's myself in over five years, and never with trousers*, but somehow I never run out of these hangers.)

*Since watching Helen Mirren on Barbara Walters last night, "trousers" is my new favorite word.  I think I shall be referring to my fat ass as my "big bottom" in the future, too.  I just loved her in that interview.  I don't remember what the question was, but when she declined to answer on camera and told Barbara, with a smile, that she'd tell her later...  (Helen Mirren does not wear trousers -- and abhors shorts -- because, she said, she has a big bottom and short legs and they don't look good on her.  I'd never have guessed -- she always looks fabulous.)

25 February 2007

The morning scene

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The back of the garage.  The start of the Williamsro remodel.  The pergola.

There's been a lot of blowing and drifting -- the walkway between the garage and house is almost free of snow -- so it's hard to tell exactly how much has fallen.  It was still snowing lightly this morning, but I think we're in a bit of a lull at the moment.  More is expected -- possibly 15 inches total in some places.

I have not knit on my Latvian mitten since Monday night -- almost a week!  I did finish the first of St. Brigid's cuff last night and sewed it on, and also started the second (quick knitting).  That's one oft-worn sweater that's currently out of commission and, while I don't wear it as often, I put Williamsro out of its misery this morning, too.  Hopefully, by ripping out and redoing the bottom part (picking up fewer stitches), I will wear it more -- because I really love that sweater.  I was probably knitting the original bottom part exactly a year ago, getting it finished off in time for closing ceremonies.  ; )

That's Roxie taking an interest on the last leg of the rip.  Scamp is on the chair, wondering whether it's worth getting excited about -- he did take a swipe and catch some yarn when it dangled within reach during the winding up.  I don't really want to, but I suppose I will separate the double strands of Blossom into singles before I give it a bath to de-kinkify before attempting the re-knit.

24 February 2007

Damn cars

I got everything packed and in the car and was only a little behind schedule yesterday and when I was all set for take-off, I turned the key and there was nothin'.  Absolutely nothing.  Not even a "rrr."

I made sure it was in gear because, ever since the stupid ignition column was replaced, it doesn't matter what gear it's in for the key to come out.  (And a person needs one embarrassing, knucklehead memory of a special service call to a grocery store parking lot because a car wouldn't start, only to find that it was because it was still in "D" instead of "P," and then that's pretty much checked off first thing, no matter what the problem might be.)  Nope, it was in park.  Even though it didn't make much difference because there was NO JUICE, I made sure the radio was off, the heater fan, the lights...  The lights.  What in the hell?  The LIGHTS WERE ON ALL NIGHT?

I have to tell you that I have a really, really hard time believing that I left the lights on.  I have had that car for almost seven years and I have never, EVER left the lights on.  I have no explanation.  I just can't believe I'd have left them on... there's an annoying ding when the lights are left on... and I would have noticed when I went back for the second load of groceries.

But, whatever.  The battery was dead.  Long story and a couple of jump starts later...  I have a new battery, but it wasn't until 4:30 when it was finally all resolved and by then I was cranky and hungry and my back hurt and I was losing my voice from all the talking.  For some reason, I was doing a lot of talking.  So hubby and I went out to eat and I a few glasses of Leinie Honey Weiss helped me forget my troubles...  I was going to reassess the situation this morning and possibly leave early -- heading straight to the baby shower and skipping the sister part this time.

It's snowing, and I knew it would; it's not so bad right at the moment -- at least where I am -- but the radar picture showed snow bands right along the route that I'd drive and in all of my possible destinations.  I hear the snowplows outside.  Another inch yet today, three to five more tonight, another five to eight tomorrow.  Plus they're bantering about "blizzard" -- which means with wind and low visibility.  I'm pretty good driving in the snow, but I'd just as soon be safe and snug on the couch.  So, I'm going to mail the baby shower gift and plan another trip to Minneapolis.  I'm so disappointed.

Can you smell that smell?

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I love the little ruffle sewn inside the edge of the little, short sleeve.  The sleeve isn't even finished off.

Baby showers are fun.

23 February 2007

What's the buzz?

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The photo was taken last night, fresh from the shearing.  The length of Maddy's morning routine, as well as her hair, was considerably shorter this morning.

Isn't it cute?  Shocking for a moment, but definitely cute.  There's a good cause at the heart of it and I'm very proud of her.

21 February 2007

St. Brigid rides again

Yesterday, a little carried away at the promise of 40 degrees and sunshine, I wore a crewneck instead of a turtleneck for the first time since winter began, a vest instead of a sweater (it'll have to be at least 60, though, before sandals replace shoes).  There was a lot of in-and-out of the office yesterday -- more than usual -- and some stinky stuff used in the name of progress which even caused the door to be propped open for a while and, well, 40 degrees is warm when single digits are still in recent memory, but it's not that warm.

Dsc09773Having been a little bit chilled all day, I donned a turtleneck and sweater before going to the first-ever meet-up with a newly-formed group of local knitters last night... but which sweater?  And what was I going to take for a project?  Working from a chart for the mittens while "getting to know you" was not going to work and I don't really have much else going, never mind something "mindless."  I had pondered all day what my project might be and even thought of bringing Williamsro to rip out that Blossom part -- that would have made an indelible first impression!  So, I was contemplating which sweater to wear, and why, and put on St. Brigid.  I absolutely adore St. Brigid, as you may know, but every time I put it on, I think, "I've got to lengthen these sleeves -- just one of the small cable bands knit on or attached would do the trick."  True to form, that's that thought I had while looking in the mirror last night, making yet another futile attempt to pull down and stretch the sleeves.  *BLINK*  I had my project -- and wore a different sweater.

There were six in attendance, a couple of cancellations and a few others who couldn't make it altogether, so I'm looking forward to seeing this group grow.  The organizer of the group is planning monthly daytime meetings, also, but I probably won't be able to attend (and that's okay).  Last night, I got to watch KnittinDeb assist with the birth of a new knitter -- a very smart young woman who wanted to learn to knit and was looking for guidance, having brought her various yarns and needles, beginner books and tutorials, and a failed attempt or two.  She had cast on, and learned both the knit and purl stitches before the end of the night.  There was another woman who works, among other things, as a doula, who was also brought into the knitting world by Deb...

Tonight I have a book club meeting and one of our members is a midwife...  My sister is pregnant and recently looked to me for some guidance and support...  I still have the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA) website bookmarked in my Favorites...  Is this starting to look like resurgence of signs, or is it just me?

Latvian_meetsAnother reason that St. Brigid is on my mind is because of a few emails and this picture that I recently received from Willi in Berlin.  She wrote last week when I was so blue to cheer me up and, boy howdy, she sure did!  She is knitting a St. Brigid look-alike using pictures and her own smarts to figure it out, since the pattern is impossible to a) find, b) afford if you do happen to find, c) not always available through library systems.  Willi is making it up as she goes along and I'd say she's doing a mighty fine job of it.  It looks like she makes a mean caramel dip, too.

Not only is she knitting St. B, she's also Knitting Like A Latvian!  Willi doesn't have a blog of her own, so I shall post for her -- another picture of her mittens shall soon be posted over there.

Think good weather thoughts for the weekend.  I am about the only person in Wisconsin who has been wishing for one good snowstorm yet before spring and, wouldn't you know, there's a threat on the one weekend that I want to travel...  I'm looking forward to some time with my sister, with DH's family at a baby shower, and with Deb and maybe some other Twin Cities knitters over the weekend!  I got to hang with quite a few of them last September in Eau Claire when we went to see the Harlot (a doula...) -- but time was too short!  The snow can come on Tuesday... bring it on!

19 February 2007

Every which way, but not so loose

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Upside down
Boy, you turn me
Inside out
And round and round

I spotted another difference between the mittens and contemplated ripping for about two seconds, but it doesn't bother me that much.  I'm always going to smile about the differences now, anyway, with the upcoming contest and all.

Dsc09743On the menu this weekend:  Chocolate Bread Pudding.

Dsc09744Once upon a time, my mother was a single mother of five, going to nursing school full-time and on welfare.  We ate a lot of bread pudding for "dessert" in those years -- and washed it down with "mixed milk," but that's another story.  It's funny that none of my siblings remember bread pudding quite so vividly (and horridly) as I do, but there you go...  We all take note of and remember -- are tortured by -- different things in life.  (I have a similar view of ring bologna, shared by at least one sibling, and that seed was planted even before the divorce.)  So, for a long time -- many years -- the thought of bread pudding made me wanna barf.

Add a little chocolate to the ingredient list, though, change the bread from plain old white to cinnamon-raisin, throw in a little distance (30 years ought to do it!), and I'm willing to revisit Bread Pudding...  YUM!  We had it first with a little vanilla ice cream.  The second time, I sprinkled on a few more chocolate chips.  ; )

18 February 2007

Purge, baby

Dsc09745Okay, I spent half the day cleaning our bedroom today.  It was in such a terrible state that either The Addams Family or The Munsters would have felt right at home.

I didn't deal with every single area, but I dealt with the ones that were bothering me the most -- the vanity bench that doesn't do anything except collect junk, the top of my dresser (same thing), the top of my pseudo-nightstand.  The dust was thick, but gone now, and the vacuum got a damn good run.

It feels great.

Imagine the wry smile when I opened an apparently seldom opened vanity drawer and found this.  It'll be two years (!) next month since I quit smoking.  I realized that the milestone was approaching earlier this week as I bundled up at work to go to the mailbox and one of my co-workers (also a former smoker) reminded me that I used to do that several times a day just to go out and smoke!

I do wonder, sometimes, how I'd be handling some of these situations in my life if I were still smoking -- less angst, more angst?  (I know I'd be thinner in any angst.)  Smoking, "taking a break," always gave me some time and separation (however brief, since at 2 minutes per, I was one of the fastest smokers on the world) to blow off steam, cool off, think things over -- I wasn't as apt to blow up or end up with a mouthful of my own foot.  Alas, I won't be testing any theories or anything, but I do wonder.  And still miss it once in a while, but I am amazed at how infrequently I think of it these days -- even in times of great stress.

Back to the nicotine patches.  There are 12 of the advertised 14 of the clear, Step 3 patches unopened, still in the box.  They actually expired in October, but I'd still use them if I needed them.  Does anyone need them?

17 February 2007

New

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I am so happy with how the second cuff is turning out!  I have corrected a mistake and remembered to do another thing in this cuff that I'd wanted to do but forgot in the first.  I might have a "spot the differences" contest later.  I used to love those picture puzzles -- heh, I still do.  Mazes, picture puzzles, word searches... cereal boxes... Trix Rabbit, Toucan Sam... sitting 'round the table in the dinette... five kids with cereal, each with a box propped in front of them... Trix, Froot Loops, Sugar Pops, Sugar Smacks, Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, Cap'n Crunch.  Don't worry, we always had Cheerios, Puffed Wheat and/or Rice, Corn Flakes or Wheaties in the cupboard, too.  I used three spoonsful of sugar make 'em tolerable, but I ate 'em.

16 February 2007

The next thing

Dsc09725I'm afraid that when life returns to normal, I'm not going to recognize it.

I posted this picture, and a close-up of the top, on the Knit Like A Latvian blog yesterday.  I am very pleased with the chart change to make up for the difference in planned vs. actual row gauge.  I did have to rip back once and restart -- about an inch or so -- because it was still going to be too long.  I had to make one further chart adjustment and start the decreases sooner.

That bamboo needle lost a match-up with my butt -- I choose to believe that it was in an already weakened state and the fact that another one or two are splintering (having nothing whatsoever to do with my butt) supports my position.  In fact, I've been made well aware of a splinter in my left index finger -- there's nothing to grab hold of, but I can definitely feel it and even see a small red spot.  I hope it works itself out soon.  I finished that mitt using a much shorter survivor of the same-size birch set.

Originally, I thought I'd do the thumb before moving on to Mitten #2, but, alas, the stars had something else in mind.  I cast on last night -- using The 3-in-1 TECHjoin.  I tried to take pictures, but Angie's will have to do -- mine's just with smaller needles, smaller yarn, two colors.  I'm thinking I should buy another set of bamboo needles in this size -- I'm okay knitting the cuff with a set of four, but I'd prefer to use five, as I did with the first, by the time I reach the hand.

I'm kind of numb.  I am very happy that the weekend is here, but I don't know what to do with it.  I want to do nothing, but I feel like that's all I've been doing -- except for all the other stuff that I've been doing.  How can I be doing all the time and still feel like there's nothing accomplished?  I'm doing all these things, but never what I should be doing, never enough.  I know I'll be even more depressed if I reach Monday and haven't done anything.  I can't stop -- I'm afraid to stop and take a deep breath and make a list and think about it too hard because it'll only make me choke and start to cry and I'm not sure I'll be able to stop that.  That's probably part of it, though.  I probably need to take a big box of tissues and what remains of my Valentine chocolates and sit down for a good salty-sweet cry.

Things will be okay here.  They will.

...it is a precious thing to be allowed to talk about yourself in public, not for reasons of simple exhibitionism but because the attempt to describe your experiences to an audience pushes you forward into an understanding of it.
                                   --Nuala O'Faolain

DH is reading Almost There by Nuala O'Faolain, where the quote is from, and I can't wait 'til he finishes so I can start.  I thought I read one of Nuala's books before, but now they don't seem familiar.  Maybe I tried, or wanted to, or had it on the list.  Maybe I just feel in love with and remembered her beautiful name.  I'm in an Irish mood, I guess, just finishing Teacher Man by Frank McCourtNora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck is on the nightstand -- a book club read -- but Nuala's butting in.

Thank you for all your good wishes.  I've received notice of the planned Memorial Celebration.  My uncle made a little funny in the obit, too, something that would have made Deb laugh, makes us all laugh a little.

Things will be okay here.

15 February 2007

Peace

Daily OM for today:

You may begin the day in truly low spirits today, drained by the exhausting rigors of your responsibilities and the uncontrollable events unfolding around you.

That this was how my Daily OM horoscope began this morning was not surprising to me in the least.  The inevitability about which I wrote a few days ago happened yesterday.  My aunt died -- peacefully and at home.  There's a release and a relief in that, of course, but also incredible sadness.

'Til we meet again, Deb.

14 February 2007

*Heart*

Dsc09724I love how, after 22 years of daily use -- two to three cups of coffee (with cream and sugar -- just like me, except he uses more sugar and adds a little milk, too), rinsing, washing -- the big red heart still shines through loud and clear on DH's coffee mug.  It used to say "I *heart* my husband," and if you look very closely, you can make out some of the letter ghosts even in this picture.

It has not been an easy 22 years.  Some of it has been downright shit-crap-hell.  Some of it has been idyllic.  It's always best when we're working at staying connected.  The heart's a good reminder.

Happy Valentine's Day!

13 February 2007

A watched mitten...

Dsc09721If I'd started that first repeat right about in the middle of the chart, it  would have turned out better.  I printed out a couple of charts last night to cut and paste and I think I've got it so this will work out okay.

What's the worst that could happen?

The proof is in the knitting, though, and I've still got a ways to go.  With a good head of steam built up, I could reach the tip of this one tonight.

We'll see.

12 February 2007

Knitting between dumps and dozes

Dsc09720Some of my weekend knitting time was spent playing with bulldozers, blocks and dump trucks, or reading books about ABCs, shapes, colors, numbers, and trains.  I haven't completely beat the blues yet, but some rug-time with my nephew over the weekend sure helped.  My sister has been very tired, but she's doing great and her new little bump is beginning to show; the main goal for the weekend was to get some maternity pantyhose.  My brother-in-law, though he doth protest about the doing, is an excellent cook and yesterday morning's fritatta was delicious, as was my sister's coffee cake, though my taste buds may have been influenced by its presentation as a train.

Things being as they are, my actual row gauge is different than the calculated row gauge and so I will not be doing the three full pattern repeats as originally planned.  Since planning is out the window, I'll soon be at the part where I start to make it up as I go along.  Livin' on the edge over here.

09 February 2007

Inevitability

Dsc09702It's inevitable that I'll show my progress and milk my mitten(s) for all they've got from beginning to end.  So far, I've managed to refrain from posting a picture-a-day and have kept it to a picture-every-other-day.  Here's the hastily donned mitten for a one-handed morning photo in bad light (I can't wait 'til the sun starts to rise before I do).  The first pattern repeat is complete and there's a bit of red waste yarn in there holding the spot for the thumb.  This will be the right-hand mitten, though it is being modeled on my left.  A one-handed morning photo in bad light taken with the left hand (my left hand) would not be good.

Knitting time was curtailed last night because of the inevitable trip with Katie to buy a battery for her car -- which has been a lame duck since Monday, except for a miraculous 20 minutes on Wednesday afternoon, the inevitable last gasp.

Also, Madeleine requested the inevitable trip to Target when I picked her up from work and I can hardly deny her (though I can huff and puff a little and be a tiny bit grumpy because... well, just because...).  That happens about once a week and she really doesn't ask for much, really doesn't ask me for much.  I didn't have to venture too far into the store, and was able to pick up a couple of necessities.  I did miss all of Grey's, though.  Yes, I know they've been rebroadcasting on Friday nights, but I was sure that the one time I counted on that re-broadcast, they'd find something else to show.  Happily, I'm wrong.

It was inevitable that I'd hear from my uncle about inevitability.  His wife is dying, the slope of decline is quite slippery and steep now.  It breaks my heart.  There's never been an abundance of warm fuzzies between us -- they've been married for over 20 years and, still, I'm uneasy thinking of her or referring to her as "aunt" -- we've always gotten along okay, but our lives are very different.  She's very smart and educated, scientific and factual, goal-oriented and motivated, forthright -- no time for tiptoeing around or "wasting time," no sense prolonging the inevitable.  But nothing matters, not a single, solitary thing, except that my uncle loves her.  And she's dying. They're doing their best to get through it, accept it, let go.  Inevitability.

This, and other stuff, contributes to my current and probably inevitable feeling of bleh for the blog.  The mitten's great, the sweater (even with issues) is great, all the yarn I have for all the other projects... is great.  My blog buds?  They're so great.  (My guilt at the mountain of unanswered email and comments?  That's not so great.  Can you feel my brain waves when I read them?  How much I love and appreciate them?)  My new Interweave Knits?  It's great.  VK can't be much deeper in the mailbag.  And it will soon be Spring!  (Don't burst my bubble, I'll do it on my own soon enough.)  I'm feeling scrutinized and wary, happy and sad, strong and insecure, laid bare and yet withholding so much.  So very much.

Yeah, so bare (oops, little slip there) bear with me.  I think I need to take a little time, take care of myself.

08 February 2007

Please, allow me to introduce

Dsc09697_1...my sewing assistant.  This is Roxie.  I tried to get a better photograph of her, but, unlike Duncan, she's not very cooperative with the local papparazzi (and don't even think about a close-up!).  She doesn't get along very well with Duncan, either, so I guess you could say that they're cut from different cloth -- and she definitely likes to sew it up.  ; )  Roxie is a sweetheart and never very demanding, so I tolerated , even allowed her "assistance" yesterday.

Coup d'Etat is all sewn up, but I haven't tied off and woven in all the ends yet.  There's still a possibility that I'll want to knit and sew in a small gusset at each underarm.  I'll let it stew a little while longer before I decide.  The sweater looks fantastic, and I love it, but there are some issues.

The mitten.  There is no question that the mitten will fit me like a glove because I try it on and admire it every two or three rounds.  ; )  I did not rip, I carried right on, and to tell you the truth, I do see improvement in my knitting even since beginning the hand.  It makes me happy to see it, too.

07 February 2007

Love grows

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That last braid could be a little tighter... my stitches at the joins could be better... floats a little looser... but OHMYGOD, I am so much better at this than any of my previous attempts.  I can see improvement since I started and I LOVE this mitten!

That said, this morning I've contemplated ripping it out and starting over -- I hear Lizbeth whispering in my ear ("RIP!" -- it's a loud whisper...) -- I'm waffling -- are these "mistakes"? -- am I being too critical? -- will I feel any better (be any less critical) about the beginning of a new mitten by the time I reach the hand?  It's all part of the process, isn't it?

It's a mitten.  Why do I get entangled like this?  So, at this very moment, I think not...

I've posted blogless Nessa Z.'s mitten progress at the Knit Like A Latvian blog.  It's beautiful.  For my next pair, I'm definitely going to do fringe...

The sun is shining strong today and a slow warming trend has begun!  Maybe we can get Katie's car started this afternoon (it's been a dead Saab since Monday)... she took mine to work today... which puts a bit of a crimp in my plan to go to the Y.

06 February 2007

Cell Phone Carrier

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I am absolutely delighted with this Cell Phone Carrier -- pattern from One-Skein Wonders.  I was asked if I'd like to knit and blog this little project and, because I really was in need of such a thing (and because it just sounded like fun), I agreed.  I'm really glad I like it so much, because I'm not sure how I'd handle the blogging bit if I didn't.  I supposed I'd handle it honestly and diplomatically -- but no worries.  I just love how this little thing turned out and it pleases me very much to use it.  Ali was home for a little laundry time over the weekend and she looked upon it both admiringly and approvingly -- she would like one, but reminded me that I also said I'd knit a case for her camera!

I normally carry my phone in my coat pocket where it gets jangled around with wallet, gloves, sunglass clip, and (worst of all) keys.  I sometimes carry a tote bag (or two), but never an actual purse, so this little item is very practical for me, if not even necessary, if I wish to keep my phone in good shape.

It was so quick to knit and used so little yarn, it hardly even counts in either time or materials.  I used Cascade "The Heathers" left-over from DH's suede-soled slipper birthday socks, held double on 8US needles.  In a departure from the pattern, I knit I-cord for the little strap (rather than knitting flat and sewing in grosgrain ribbon) -- then flattened out again for a few rows at the end to make the buttonhole.  The button is vintage, of course, is from Grandma's collection.

I have not yet had an opportunity to peruse this book in person, but I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a copy -- there's a pattern for knitting a mitt that's used for removing frost from the windshield that sounds very useful!

* * * * * *

I snipped that yarn of a third color last night and good riddance!  I won't need it again until Mitten #2 is underway.  I'm a few rows into the hand and need to think about the thumb before going much further.

Tomorrow, in daylight, I'll be finishing the sewing up of Coup d'Etat!  The only thing left will be the question about the underarm and gussets -- and, yes, I have tried it on several times during the sewing up, but I have to wait 'til it's completely almostly finished before making a determination on that -- and buttons!  There might be an FO by week's end!  ; )  I can't wait to have a new cardigan!

I'll also be going to the Y...  I.must.go.to.the.Y.M.C.A.

05 February 2007

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My mittens will match my flannel pajama pants.  ; )

There are just a couple of rows in this pattern where I have to finagle three colors and I can't wait 'til they're behind me -- it becomes quite an entanglement at times.  I'm still working on the cuff and there are probably another half-dozen rows before the hand, and I am SO PLEASED with how it's turning out so far, well worth the wait and all that practice.  I hope the good feelings continue and that I can eventually give two Latvian-mittened thumbs-up -- both a right and a left.

I had a SUPER day yesterday.  It was the first International Pajama Day that I was able to spend the entire day in appropriate attire.  I did a little work and computer stuff in the morning, did some cleaning and some cooking, and also listed three more items on ebay.  I'm right on track with my goal of having an average of at least one item listed/sold per week -- and so far, no "buys."  I get on, do my business, and get off.

04 February 2007

It's super...

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Super International Pajama Day!!!  (NOT laundry day at the convent, Ann, though that comment still cracks us up 'round here -- and I'd sure like to know the nun who claims the hot pink one!)

YAY!!!  Dsc09671_1Whatever shall I wear?

As you can see, there are ZERO degrees of separation this morning, which is better than the MINUS EIGHT at bedtime last night and I'm not factoring in windchill.  Right now, I am wearing one of those nightgowns, along with a robe and very warm socks, but I shall soon be changing into something with a little more leg coverage.

This is so funny...  My mother had extended an invitation for Super Bowl and I declined -- because of the cold, for one thing, but I also told her (because I knew that she would get it) that I planned to spend the day in my pajamas.  So I was talking to one of my sisters on the phone yesterday and she asked about my plans for today and I told her about the all-day pajamas and she said, "Oh yeah, Mom told me that she's doing that, too!"

I ended up making scalloped potatoes and ham again last night, just as delicious as it was a couple of weeks ago.  We had it with fresh bread from the machine which we spread with chopped kalamata olvies and olive oil.  Yum.  Tonight, I'm making Braised Pork Chops as seen on Martha Stewart (video here -- also a cute one here from Ellen) with delightful Biscuit Lady Carol Fay from Nashville's Loveless Cafe.  I'll also be making biscuits, but not the biscuits, because that's a secret recipe.  ; )

I started sewing up Coup d'Etat yesterday and am nearly ready to start side seams.  I'm concerned that it's going to be tight under the arms -- perhaps the sleeves could have been bigger, perhaps I could have blocked them with a little more vigor -- I'll know later today.  I'm thinking that I may end up knitting and sewing in some gussets.

I also worked on my Latvian Mitten!  I'm working on the third braid and it was to the point where I was ripping back more than knitting, so it was time to put it down.  There's progress, though, and I should be introducing the third color today.  ; )

I had some news in regard to the situation to which I referred the other day and, while it is still quite serious -- and will be forever, for a lifetime -- it does not appear to be as devastating in some of the ways that had been feared.  That's all I'm going to say on that.  Good thoughts, always, of course; and thank you for yours.

Have a SUPER day, everyone!!

03 February 2007

Three degrees of separation

Dsc09667Saturday Sky at Three Degrees Fahrenheit.

Somehow, Madeleine talked me into going out to grab breakfast this morning and we saw bald eagles flying in this cold, partly cloudy sky.  There is a carefully watched and very successful eagle's nest not far from our house.  I've actually seen an eagle perched on a branch in those trees, right in my own back yard.

I'll be going out at least one more time -- to the grocery store to set in provisions for IPD and to buy the ingredients for the still undecided, but definitely slow-cooking, kitchen-warming meals I'm going to make this weekend.

Dsc09661There is a new Calorimetry in the finished pile.  This one was knit using a few fewer stitches on 7US needles, Filatura de Crosa 127, Color 6.  If I'd signed up for Project Spectrum, I'd be right on track!  The button couldn't be better.  I don't think it's ever been used before because it still had the rusty metal loopy thing through the holes that originally held it to the card -- I don't know when they started using metal instead of thread.  I have one more ball of 127 for another of these, similar to this color but with the addition of brown, and then I think I'll be finished with them.

I was pretty freakin' timely with the Bookish Baby announcement idea for Wendy, huh?  S.C. Bookish was born late yesterday and I just couldn't be happier for the whole Bookish Family.  Congratulations!!

02 February 2007

I'll take my grins

This makes us happy:  Favre To Return in 2007.

The result of a "Brett" Favre mishap with Google netted this page (also happy):  Jan Brett's Design Your Own Mitten!!!

Put on a happy face

020107_1311Instead of one FOO7, I actually have two, but I ran out of time for photos this morning.

Remember the baby pool I recently won?  The babe was a boy and his daddy brought treats.  There were two versions, each with a different picture, both with three Hershey Kisses wrapped in blue tulle and tied with silver embroidery floss.  On the flip side of the paper that the photo is affixed to, it says:

A few sweet kisses from the new baby...
[Baby's Name]
[baby's weight]
[baby's height]
[baby's birthdate]

In one of the photos, this particular baby is wearing a bulky handknit hat (or maybe it just looks bulky because he's a teeny tiny baby).  ; )

I shared this awful pic of a great idea with everyone's favorite Bookish Girl yesterday.  A bowl full of these would be a sweet, fairly inexpensive way to announce to a large group of co-workers and acquaintances -- and if the baby's gender is known, all the Kiss-wrapping could be done ahead of time!

* * * * * *

Another of life's monkey wrenches landed with a thud, right at my feet yesterday morning and I've been kind stunned ever since.  It's actually someone else's wrench, but it's a big one -- big and scary and full of heartache, heartbreak, with potential to affect and/or change many lives close to me and, therefore, mine.  I can't go into details, but I'm just sick over it, trying to keep my chin up and hope for the best and knit and care for my family -- and not take anything for granted and appreciate what I've got and squeeze every drop of joy I can out of all the little things.  Whatever will be, will be... but I hope it be good... I hope and pray it be good.

01 February 2007

Post pourri

Well, this was just going to be a little on-line note to myself about things I wanted to mention, elaborate on, think about and/or link to, but it took off!

In observance of St. Brigid's Day, I'm wearing St. Brigid today.  ; )  It's totally by fluke, but I'll take it.

I still have my original Miss Dashwood.  I was hoping to give it to a niece a year and a half ago, but "she" turned out to be a "he" instead.  After the young Mister was born, my sister threatened to keep trying for a Miss -- as long and as many as it would take -- because she had to have that hat!  I'd love for them to have a girl, but mostly, of course, a healthy little baby.  I have decided -- given the knitterly influences of the past year and having seen one gorgeous specimen after another of late -- that I shall knit a Baby Surprise for the new baby.

Yesterday, I mailed off a couple of Red Scarves and three other boxes, each containing an albatross a doll, that I sold on ebay.  I lost my shirt on the dolls, but it is part of my purge process and so it feels good.  What I've gained emotionally by getting rid of them is worth the price.  Now, I have to find my Decluttering Calendar and get back on track!  I was happy to see a thumbs-up review for It's All Too Much from Beth at My Simpler Life; I recently bought that book because of another good review and it's part of my plan -- I just have to find make time to read it.

My total Runagogo mileage for the month of January is 24 -- 14 on foot, 10 on wheels -- a few miles shy of the minimum target.  I will try harder this month.  I think most of my miles will have to be on the bike, and they do go faster, but I will increase the level of difficulty each time.  It's the best I can do.  ; )

It is going to get COLD.  "An arctic cold front sweeping over the region... bitterly cold air will arrive on strong northwest winds... could create dangerously low wind chills."  It's snowing right now.  On Sunday, the high will be 1(One)F.  I don't think there could be a day that screams INTERNATIONAL PAJAMA DAY more than that, do you?.  I'll be in my pajamas and robe and warm cozy slippers and I'll probably have a down throw handy!!  Hey, I think I might even have a nightcap tucked away in the closet.  ; )

Have you been reading Celia's IPD count-down tips?  Go.  Prepare!

And have you noticed that TECHknitting is back?  As luck (that would be mine) would have it, she's recently written about GAUGE, ease, fashion and fit, as well as JOGLESS stripes in the round.  Bookmarked.

You know, I may even stay in on Saturday.  It would be a good weekend for cooking and baking.  I also plan to work on Coup d'Etat.

And mittens!  I was cutting and taping my photocopies of charts last night -- no firm decision about pattern(s) yet, but I'm closing in.  I have also created a Knit Like A Latvian blog!!  I still need to spiff it up a bit, but if you're interested in eventual posting/participating -- now or in the future -- please let me know via comments or email and I'll put on my Nefertiti hat and grant you permission.  This is a fun, no-pressure knit-along with a soundtrack/playlist -- one I'd like to expand, so send your musical selections, too.  I Walk the Line and Wichita Lineman come to mind, as does These Boots Are Made For WalkingHit me with your best shot.  ; )  Egypt, Latvia, knitting, walking, anything loosely associated will do...

I am doing very well in the UFO Resurrection Challenge, and look forward to February!

Tomorrow, after a little dive into the button box, I will have a cute (and fast and useful) little FO to show.

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