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30 posts from November 2007

30 November 2007

That's a wrap!

Note: Some may wish to skip to the photos.  Okay, it wasn't a great night for the Green & Gold -- or for Brett Favre -- so let's look at the bright side.  The Packers are 10-2.  Their only loss is no longer the only game I attended, so perhaps it wasn't *me* after all.  I did wear a Packer sweatshirt and my "lucky" socks to work yesterday (I've never done that before)... and they lost... but playing on a "work day" is something new, too.  (I may sound nuts, I may be nuts, but I am not the only person to think this way.)  How about Aaron Rodgers?  Huh??  I think he'll do!  (And cute to boot -- but not that awful photo they used on TV!)

I had class last night and made it home just in time for kick-off.  On the way, I listened to Larry McCarren and Wayne Larrivee do the radio pre-game.  Wayne had to do an ad for a sponsor:  Don't have tickets to the game?  That's okay, you've got the best seats in the house with Time-Warner Cable.  After which there was a very long                  pause and then he says, That was a very pregnant pause.  And I just burst out laughing, all by myself.  Yeah, right, best seat my pregnant butt.  (Relax, it's just a figure of speech; I am so definitely NOT pregnant.)  This is not to say that the situation with these games is all cable's fault -- it's not (though I think their argument is lame -- I don't watch MANY of the channels that they "provide" in their basic service -- there has to be a better way -- would that be satellite?). The NFL Network is... well, is there really even a need for an NFL Network?  It doesn't really matter.  It is what it is.  They need to come to an agreement.  /sportstalk

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KNITTING!  I unpinned and rolled up a Striped Noro Scarf last night.  The picture was taken this morning in less than ideal conditions, but I do love those Reveal bulbs -- the color is pretty close!  I will try to get a modelled photo this weekend -- maybe with some of the "up to seven inches" of snow that's in the forecast.

NeabBefore the game got too nerve-wracking, I worked on this sweet little bean -- another Oddfellow in the making for someone special.  Fresh off the needles, awaiting arms and legs, he's sporting the last of the safety eyes in my arsenal.  I can't imagine that I'll never make another, so I'll have to put "eyes" on my list.  In fact, I think I'll start one, in the usual spot for lists at our house, and put "eyes" right at the top.  Let's see what happens.

These little guys knit up so quick and I have a lot of fun customizing them -- they're all "clothed" in two-color stripes, but each one is a little bit different.  Anyway, you'll see this one again before long, when he's an FO with limbs!

Nablo_didit_lgThis is the last of the NaBloPoMo posts!  I need PoNoMo!!  But, of course, I will BloMo, I just don't have to do it everyday... at least not 'til next November!  It's been fun.  I thought I'd be more organized, but it's been mostly by the seat of my pants, which is exactly the way I usually blog.  I have had a post in mind since before Rhinebeck that I thought I'd finally get down this month; "How Blogging Changed My Life" or "What Blogging Means to Me" or "Geez, I Love You Guys" or some such possibly sentimental nonsense.  You'd think I'd have been searching the recesses of my mind for blog fodder this month -- maybe even for fodder about blogging -- but, alas, it's still neither written nor posted.

I regret that I haven't had time to check out and keep up with more of the NaBloPoMo participants this year, but I'm just a bit busier.  You may have read about the MoFos -- Margene, Norma, Sandy, Anne, Teresa, and me -- I've been keeping up with those girls, mostly, and with Celia, which isn't anything new except that some of those people have not had the regularity of frequent posting lately.

The biggest thing to come from NaBloPoMo and the MoFos, though, is that I'm exercising.  I was up early again this morning -- for the SEVENTH day in a row (I still can't believe I decided to start on a Saturday) -- getting in a little workout to start my day.  I am taking advantage of ExerciseTV On Demand, starting slow and easy (mainly with short yoga/pilates stretches and core routines), because nothing will make me quit faster than overdoing it, and even after only seven days I feel better and stronger, and more aware.  The results aren't yet obvious to the naked, untrained eye (and it'll probably be a long while), but it's obvious to me that things are changing.

The early-morning commitment pretty much sets the tone for the day.  I feel that if I do anything "bad" it will negate the 5 a.m. wake-up call, which is no small feat.  I haven't had a candy bar from the bowl at work in a week.  I have peered, longingly, into the bowl; I have wondered just how bad a Mini Twix could be... or a 3Musketeers or Baby Ruth (peanuts = protein) or a yummy Milky Way Dark (dark chocolate is good for you, right?).  So far (this week), I've been successful at turning my back on that slippery chocolate slope -- sometimes smooth with caramel, fluffy with nougat, bumpy with nuts -- I know I can't eat just one.  Tuesday knit nights will be my treat/reward for stick-to-it-iveness.

So, blahblahblahblahblah.  Why I am so wordy today is kind of a mystery.  It's not like I'll never be back.  Sheesh.  Thanks for hanging in there all month, and especially today!  Have a great weekend.

29 November 2007

This little piggy...

I think Mack will be getting two pairs of mittens for Christmas -- the Morehouse Farms Shark Mitts and some PIGGIES!!  The sharks are knit, they just need teeth and sewing up.  I have plenty of worsted to make some colorful piggies -- or maybe all one color, or maybe with contrasting ears and tail.  I'm envisioning a shark on one hand, piggy on the other, and some interesting, creative play.  ; )

I gave the Noro/Cascade scarf a good soak and pinned it out last night, along with a couple of swatches I did with Oblique in mind.  I rarely swatch, and washing and blocking is even more rare -- well, truthfully, they're not even swatches, more like swatchettes.  I forgot to measure them before I washed, so you see I'm not accustomed... or methodical.

I was pooped last night, so after the swatching and pinning, I didn't do a darn thing.  I thought about it, had yarn in my lap, looked at it and petted it for quite a while -- that was enough.

Thank goodness I live in a "local market" and will see tonight's football game on a local broadcast -- two-thirds of the state (including the majority of my siblings) and almost all of Texas will not see tonight's match-up between the Packers and the Cowboys.  Dallas QB Tony Romo's idol was Brett Favre when he played high school ball in Burlington, just a little SW of Milwaukee -- just to make it a little more interesting.

Y'all know that I've raised three girls who knit... I'm pleased as punch that one of 'em is also a through-and-through Packer fan.  In fact, she's driving up from Madison after class today so she can watch the game with me tonight.  Hahaha.  I am so proud.

28 November 2007

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Angie was our special guest at Knit Night last night!  She is working in our area this week -- in fact (DUH!), she's working within walking distance of my house and I should have either a) had her over for lunch-time knitting today (my day off), or b) met her someplace for lunch!  What a dope.  Wednesday lunch aside, I think we showed her a great time at Tuesday night knitting.  You know, I never thought I'd like knitting in a group -- I like to change into my comfy clothes, curl up in my chair, knit and watch TV -- but I really do like it.  There were some "regulars" missing last night, but some new (to me) folks... all very busy and intent.  Let's see, there were a socks, sweaters, hats, a scarf, and a baby blanket underway.

Dsc01658I finished my Noro/Cascade striped scarf while watching the finale of "Dancing," I just need to weave in a couple of ends, give it a soak, and pin it out.  Along with the mitered mittens and some chocolate, I think I've got my SIL's Christmas gift pretty well covered.

Just a word... I've been a fan of Marie's because I could relate to her more than any other star that's ever been on, and I'm happy that she took third -- she should have been given the boot a long time ago, but it is what it is.  Technically, I think Mel & Maks should have won, but I'm happy that Helio & Julianne walked away with it.

The minute I stepped out to take the dog on her morning walk, the snow started to fly.  Brrrrrr.

27 November 2007

That face, that beautiful face!

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Isn't she adorable*?  She's just too cute* for words (or even a name -- I'm speechless!) -- a bit of a cliche, but it's true.  I get all tongue-tied when I look at her.  This little bean will be on her way to Minnesota tomorrow!  A special gift for a special girl.  Thanks for letting me do this, Deb!

She's showing off my new Krups GVX2 Burr Grinder -- a belated birthday present from Alison!  I'd put this on my Christmas list, but we're now talking about a more unconventional celebration -- after the holidays, away from home, without "gifts" -- but in addition to her discount, there was a sale, and she couldn't resist.  It's all good, except for my coffee -- which has been FANTASTIC!!  I'd never heard of/paid attention to a burr grinder before seeing one at Ann's in October.  I'm a believer!!  My 21-year-old blade grinder will be passed down to Ali's boyfriend.

Dsc01653_2It's Knit Night tonight and we'll have a special, out-of-town guest!  Angie is working in our area this week and will be able to join us.  I brought my camera today, let's hope I remember to use it.

*When we were at the mall to see Santa on Saturday, Mom and Mack had a conversation.

Mom: "Oh, you're adorable."
Mack: "No, I'm cute."

Mom: "Oh, you're adorable."
Mack: "No, I'm cute."

Mom: "Oh, you're adorable."
Mack: "No, I'm cute."

We went into Pottery Barn and one of the clerks cooed at Addison for a bit and then looked at Mack and said, "Oh, you're adorable..."

Mack: "No, I'm cute."

Clerk: {Speechless}!!!

26 November 2007

Where you live...

Sorry 'bout that!  In that way that makes no one look good, I thought that everyone would catch my reference to the most recent ad campaign by AT&T Wireless.  Perhaps it isn't nationwide, perhaps not everyone watches TV.  There are a few versions; here's my favorite:

I love, love, love the dining set in mom and dad's kitchen in this commercial.  You can also have your place name emblazoned on something, if so desired.  (Clever, though I like my own better.)

Milwaukee + Escanaba + Denver + Toronto + St. Louis + Park Falls = Milescabenverontolouis Falls (pronounced Mil-escab-enver-onto-louis Falls).

; )  Hey, did I mention that I dropped the class?  I did.  It made the long weekend much more enjoyable.

25 November 2007

Where I'm from

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It's been a while since anyone tuned in to Nick on purpose -- do they still have "Face"?  Here's a contender for the position.

Mack is not so much into having his picture taken these days.  I had to narrow the focus a bit -- and immediately show him the results -- to get any cooperation at all.

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It's been a lazy Sunday -- I guess that's how the last day of 4-day weekend that pretty much went *POOF* should be.  I did manage to cross some things off the list that had been languishing -- final pass yard clean-up, haul out the long sleeves and turtlenecks, put away the short sleeves and shells, plant the tulip bulbs.

I've also been working on "where I'm from," the place(s) that shaped my life.  I'm from a place called... Milescabenverontolouis Falls.  That was through the first of three kindergartens I attended.  From "Falls" we moved to Tolumbusland Park, and in second grade to Menappleauna Springs, where I graduated from high school.

Where you from?

24 November 2007

Stripes

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I've been working on the striped Noro scarf.  It will match the mitered mittens I made for my SIL (on the right).  I'm using the third ball of Silk Garden along with the remainders of the two balls used for the mitts and striping it with some black Cascade 220.  The K3, P1 repeat (with some slips at the edges and whatnot) is curling some, but it look nice and is so much easier on my hands/wrists than K1, P1, and I'm hoping it'll straighten out with the blocking.  So far, the Noro stripes are purple to gray to black to gray (light to dark) to black to a little bit of pink to purple to black to gray (light to dark).  Hoping things will soon spice up just a bit!

Have been hangin' with the nephews, went to see Santa.  ; )

23 November 2007

Squares

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Dsc01587Opal Hundertwasser Der Blaue Mond squares -- a little more than a full repeat in the four squares -- and a couple in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in "pewter."  I love these more than is probably normal.  I hope that they're not too far out for Oliver's American Blanket.  They're on their way to Kay today!

Judging by the reaction, lasagna is as laden with tryptophan as turkey.  Mmmm.  It was very, very good.  Mom made Sweet Potato Pie for dessert and it was fabulous!  I heard rumor of a possible Sweet Potato Pie Bake-off today -- BIL vs. MOM -- I'll be sure to secure a seat on the panel.

My sister and her family will be coming up from Madison today -- I'm so anxious to see Mack & Addison!  Mack left me a phone message the other day and I had a nice conversation with him later -- he isn't always in the mood to talk when I return a call.  ; )  And I could hear a babbling Addison in the background -- so excited for some cuddling!

One of my baristas just arrived home, having been at work since 3 a.m. (doing her part to keep the door-busters caffeinated) with stories of spilled milk, clogged parking lots, scuffles over portable DVD players, and flying fists over a misunderstanding about what "single file" means.

22 November 2007

Cheese!

Turkcheese

Turkcheese2Happy Thanksgiving!!

While I make lasagna and Zucca e Aranci Torte today, I'll also be watching a little football.  Packers play the Lions for Detroit's traditional Thanksgiving Day game!

I am thankful that I'll have all my girls with me today.  I'll have other guests, of course, but I can't wait to hug my girls.  I can't wait to tell them how much they're loved, how thankful I am that they're strong and smart and independent and beautiful, and to never forget that I'm here for them.  Never ever.

I am so very thankful for my friends -- so many friends I have met through this blog.  Incredibly, knock-your-socks-off generous friends, friends who challenge me, believe in me, laugh with me, cry with me, support me, love me.  Thank you so much for visiting here, and continuing to come back.  Thank you.

I'd better get busy, I haven't done a thing!!

21 November 2007

8 (more) random things about me meme, and maybe about YOU!

Thanks to Terry for the tag (and the fun contest!)  I'm happy to do my part, not only for NaBoPoMo but also to help Sandy keep the blogworld glued together.  ; )

1.  Okay?  Right off the bat.  I've been working on or contemplating this post for the better part of a day.  It's been one of THOSE days at work.  Actually, it's been one of the WORST ones of THOSE days that I can remember.  I just need to get this done.  I'm aimin' for random, I'm aimin' for eight, hopefully they'll all make sense.  The mood is a rare one -- doom and gloom, anxious, nervous, tense, and jittery.  It started yesterday, got worse last night, wasn't any better by morning, and went to hell in a hand-basket just before lunch.  I'm a little deflated and depressed and, well, yeah.  Turkey shmurkey.  Good thing we're having lasagna.

Heh, now y'all probably think the other seven things are going to be a laundry list of all my worries!  Nah.  One of the things blogging is good for (most of the time, anyway, I try) is taking Baloo's advice to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative!  Maybe I can pull a good mood out of my hat.  Let's see...

2.  I have 30 posts saved as "Draft."  This was is was one -- I've already diddled with the title and deleted a couple-few of the random things I'd saved, fooled with some others, so it's practically like starting over... but not.  This means that I could have participated in NaBloPoMo without writing a single new post!  The oldest of these drafts is dated April 29, 2005.  Some of the titles make me smile.  Here's a sampling:

    "Payday"
    "Michael"
    "Onion"
    "Get out the TV trays"
    "Why?"
    "Purge"
    "Parental ramble with pink flowers and cursory mention of knitting"
    "Something's happening here"
    "What have I done?"
    "Well, you know, now that..." and
    "I'm not as think as you drunk I am."

Some are easy to figure out, others are more mysterious.  I haven't revisited any of them.  I think that last one was an ode to Major Houlihan on the heels of a TVLand M*A*S*H marathon or something.  Maybe I'd had a beer.  ; )

3.  I'd like a beer now.

4.  I'm trying to convince myself that dropping a class does not make me a failure.  NOT dropping a class and failing that class... now that would be a failure.  I haven't been able to make it official yet, but I'm making myself sick with the constant weighing of the pros and cons, back and forth, yes or no, sink or swim.  I'm drowning over here, and this third class joining the fray at mid-semester is pulling me down.  I can only do so much -- and this is TOO much.  I wonder if I like school.

5.  I received an email over the weekend celebrating a certain number of days that I can't remember of not smoking.  It's always been the big numbers I like... closing in on 20,000 cigarettes that I did not smoke.  TWENTY THOUSAND of the damned things.  ONE FREAKIN' THOUSAND PACKS OF CIGARETTES which totals well over $3,000!  I do believe I heard that taxes alone will be increased by $1.00/pack in my state... soon maybe?  I don't care!  It doesn't really concern me anymore.  Anyway, I can never remember if it's been a year or two, now, closing in on three (?) since we've quit!  Ann?  I know it was March 17th.

6.  I've had some bad, bad cravings for a cigarette in the last 24 hours.  Can't remember when I had it so bad.  (Don't worry.  I won't.)

7.  There was hardly a thing in the house when I left this morning, or so I was told.  No bread, no mayo, barely any milk.  I hadn't done any of my shopping for the holiday, either.  The cupboards will be full upon my return, however, because Ali & Maddy came by this afternoon and picked up my list!  Personal grocery shoppers!

8.  I was a little distraught after class (the above-mentioned) last night, and decided to skip knitting out.  If there hadn't been an asshole or two on the road that made me miss my turn and want to cry, maybe I'd have gone.  I didn't have any knitting with me, anyway.  I did think about going just for something to drink, a little treat, some socializing.  Talked myself out of that -- didn't need the calories, couldn't imagine doing anything but whining.  Well.  I missed a very happy announcement!  Some of the happiest news I've heard in a while.  Congratulations, Ann.

Sheesh.  I must be up to about 189 random things on the blog now.  And I do feel a little better.

20 November 2007

Table top mirrors life

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The degree of order and available free space seen here pretty much mirrors life these days.  Until recently, that little bit of visible tabletop at lower left was occupied by one of my Larger Than Life swatch squares, which I often use as a coaster -- when it's not covered up by something else.  The swatch/coaster was inadvertently grabbed off the table along with something else and, actually, I'm not quite sure where it is at the moment.  I might have to find a new coaster.  And, yeah, one of those hanks of yarn at upper right DID recently fall from its precarious, cantilevered perch.

The Hundertwasser leftovers (Argosy scarf) became squares for Oliver's American Blanket.  I found some Lorna's leftovers (Celtic Braid socks) and made a muted one, too.  That's about as complicated as I can handle with the knitting these days.

I've barely made a peep about Dancing With The Stars this year, but I've recorded and watched almost every single episode.  WHO'S GOING HOME TONIGHT???  Marie?  Jennie?  WHO'S GOING TO WIN???  Melanie?  Helio?  When I see Marie, I think, "This one's for the girls!"  (All grown up and filled out, like me.)  (Go, Marie!)  She isn't going to win it, but she sure is fun.  Jennie really has improved and she's nice to watch, but it would be even more fun if she believed.  (Bruno is so right.)  How darn cute is Helio?  He and Julianne make me think SHOWTIME and GLAMOUR and HOLLYWOOD, BABY!  Maks & Mel are smokin'!  They rule the paso (x2).  I loved the whip -- and Len!!??  Should be fun...

Thursday's festivities are at my house and I think I've nailed it down.  We're having lasagna.  At one point, I was going to make my nod to the pilgrims by using turkey instead of beef, but I was talking to Michael last night and he said, No, make it like you usually do because it's the best.  (Something sweet like that.)  We agreed that it's the people, not the turkey, that are most important at Thanksgiving.  I think I'm going to go all the way and make insalata caprese and minestrone soup and, of course, we'll have bread.  My nod to Plymouth Rock will come at dessert: Zucca e Aranci Torta (Pumpkin and Orange Tart).  Gobble that.

19 November 2007

Lost and...

Dsc01571_2FOUND!!  It's long-lost BEAN!!  Well, he was lost for a week or two, anyway.

*I* did it.  I put him in a safe place.  He wasn't in Ali's room at all.  Not under the bed, not stuck in the covers, not lost in the laundry basket.

She kept tellin' me.

I kept tellin' her.

WHEW!  Amy was over the other day and collected BENA (who was promptly renamed, but she'll always be Bena to me) and now Ben can have BEAN, and almost everyone will soon be happy.

Almost...

Oh, I am so tired.  The big report is finished, handed in, the accompanying Power(F-ing)Point has been presented, handed in.  Someday I'll share all the things I've learned about myself SO FAR during this one semester of school.

I didn't go to bed 'til midnight last night and was up well before the butt-crack of dawn this morning (4:40 a.m., to be precise), and that's after playing host to the nightly Kitty Gong Show 3 a.m. Dance of the Kitties.  I did a little editing and rearranging during breaks/lunch today and emailed them home for Alison to REprint and deliver to me on her way to filling in for someone at work.

Thank goodness for my little thumb drive (which I love beyond reason).  Thank goodness for high-speed internet and email.  Thank goodness for wonderful children (thank goodness this fit into her schedule).  Lord knows I've saved them enough times, delivering forgotten homework, books, lunches, projects, et.cet.er.a, et.cet.er.a, et.cet.er.aaaaa (please, in your best Yul Brunner).

Okay, okay, y'all can stop sweatin' now.

18 November 2007

Classic

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I was matched up with Kathy B. with the Irish Eyes for Lynne's most recent Special Swap.  The theme was "movies."

Isn't this a most spectacular package?  I stole Kathy's picture because I forgot to take any!  She put it together with a black & white theme, since I'm a lover of classic movies, and it's all just fabulous.  Gregory Peck!  Movie popcorn!  Junior Mints!  There was even Chapstick in the classic black & white packaging.  And multi-cultural ying-yang cookies from a Jewish bakery!

I'm not sure yet what will become of the Classic Elite "Desert" yarn, but I'm thinking fingerless gloves/gauntlets for the "Inca Marl."  Ooooh, it's so soft.  My hands are already getting cold at work and it's barely even winter!

Thank you, Kathy, for a most delightful package.  Thank you, too, for your patience and understanding.  ; )

17 November 2007

Pretty in pink

Dsc01561When Sandy showed her beautiful, golden hydrangea yesterday, I was reminded of some that I cut and brought in this year.  I usually cut them much earlier, so I don't know if this gorgeous color is on account of my being so late or because our weather this fall has been so mild, or maybe it's something else altogether.

Dsc00858I pretty much expected that the early season pink (photo at right) and green would fade to brown -- perhaps a golden brown.  It's been a few weeks now and they're still beautiful.  One of the flower heads is plunked in an old bottle on a windowsill where I'd expect fading to occur very quickly.

Yesterday, we had some big snowflakes fall from the sky for a while.  Today, they are very tiny -- a real snow shower.

16 November 2007

The eyes are the mirror of the soul

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...or so they say.  The eyes also have it.  There's eye candy.  You may believe in "an eye for an eye."

Scott2_2These are (some of) the "EYES OF THE ARTIST," photographer Scott Edwards' current show at Main Street Art Works in tiny (quaint and cute) Hilbert, WI.  Scott's subjects are all local artists, some of them members of MSAW, many of them in attendance at last Friday's opening.  It was quite interesting to witness their reactions, as none had seen their portraits prior to the opening.  Mostly, they were stunned, dazed, and amazed.

They're simply awesome.  Insightful, compelling, expressive, mysterious, mesmerizing.  A statement by the artist accompanies each portrait.

Hilbert is way out of they way for nearly everyone who may happen upon these pages, but maybe... you never know.  It's worth the drive if you're in the area.  Maybe you're looking for something to do this weekend -- or next weekend!  Next weekend, when you've had your fill of turkey and it's time to entertain the company.  Or you want to do some not-at-the-mall holiday shopping.  There's plenty of art for sale.  ; )  Scott's show will be up through November, into December a bit.  The Village Hearthstone Restaurant (right down Main Street) is a great place to refuel before heading home (or elsewhere).

U-Rah-Rah.  TGIF.  On Wisconsin.

15 November 2007

Livin' the dream

The living room couch has been recently occupied by knitters of my own creation -- and I mean that in just about every sense.  They are my girls.  Now, they've all knit at various times -- some with more success than others -- but I don't think it's ever been quite like this.  I could have Knit Night every night right in my very own home.

Dsc01555aMaddy has been working on a loosely knit garter stitch scarf with one of the other Opal Hundertwasser balls -- Regentag auf Liebe Wellen (Rainy Day on Dear Waves).  She recently quit her job at the local coffee shop -- yes, it's true, The Barista Sisters Trio has broken up and my personal arsenal of coffee-slingers has been reduced by one (but we shall soon have a sandwich maker in our midst).  Having admired my Der Blaue Mond Argosy, she decided that knitting a similar scarf of her own would be a good way to fill her between-jobs time.

Dsc01556It might be noted that the knitters shown here are not on a living room couch.  I'm not only living the dream in my very own house, I actually get to take it on the road.  I know... it's almost too much.  We drove down to Beaver Dam last night to exchange cars with Katie and these two brought their knitting along!  I wasn't even going to bring MY knitting along, and there they are bringing theirs.  Oh, you don't know what this does to my soul.  After further review, it has been determined that Ali can't knit in the car (motion), and Maddy didn't get much done, either.

But, hey...  Knitters in the car!!!  ; )

Alison is working on two scarves and has the yarn for a third.  One of them is knit with two strands in shades of pink in simple garter -- it's nice.  The one she's holding, which nearly matches her dye job, is for a co-worker.  It has a border of garter on each side and there are large, reverse stockinette diamonds on a field of stockinette (or vice versa, depending on personal preference), which I assure her will look much better after blocking.  I'm not sure Alison has ever finished a knitted project before, but here she is designing stuff on-the-fly.  Maybe that's the trick.

Dsc01557We met at Benvenuto's Italian Grill.  It was a very convenient place to meet and the food was fine.

Can you believe Thanksgiving is a week away?  Kate & Al will both be slinging coffee for early morning travelers that day, but will be home for some family stuff later in the day.  We're not even talking turkey in these parts -- lasagna has been mentioned.  It's all good.

Did you feel that chill emanating from the northeast yesterday?  I think hell froze over in Vermont to the 8th... 9th... no make that 10th random degree (whatever that memes means, but you get the idea).

14 November 2007

Shark bites

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I rewarded myself for hard work on Monday night and continued progress on Tuesday by knitting out for a couple of hours last night.  I'd already had one shark mitt knit up, and knit up the other from start to finish last night.  These will be for Mack and I have plenty of that yarn left to make a wee pair of hand-coverings for Addison.

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The shark mitt is supposed to be knit entirely in seed stitch, but my wrist cannot take it, so I used it only as a border and knit the rest in stockinette.  We talked about wrists a bit last night -- I'm not the only in the group who suffers from repetitive motion-related problems.  I mentioned the lovely striped scarf that I'd hoped to do as a coordinating gift with my SIL's Noro Mitered Mittens, since I have more than a ball of the same Silk Garden colorway left, and that I'd even started it, but it became clear I wouldn't be able to hack the K1,P1 rib for an entire scarf!  Well, Ann... she's always talking, you know, sometimes to herself (did someone say "cashmere"?) and sometimes to us all, and sometimes... sometimes there's brilliance!  She suggested that I try K3,P1 or some variation that might not be so taxing.

I'm also working on some Hundertwasser Der Blaue Mond Squareness for Oliver, which is looking very green and gold right now, but trust me, it's "blue moon."

It's a busy day... back to it!

13 November 2007

Get up and do it again

Or, can we just pretend that yesterday never happened?

Yowzers, I was doing pretty good all day, for a Monday.  I lent an ear to this person and another to that person and then to this person again, and added my two cents when appropriate.  I digressed only once or twice (far less than usual) (but they were doozies), going off on related tangents that became wild hairs, eventually (some time and maybe a few subjects later) getting back 'round to the point prior to departure.  You know.

I don't think I was feeling smug -- in fact, it felt really good to listen and be a good friend -- I just mostly didn't have anything much to complain about.  Or maybe I'm all complained out.  That's a good thing?

Deserved or not, the slap-down occurred right around suppertime.  Well, right around the time I'd normally eat supper -- if I wasn't going to school after work instead.  I didn't even have a class, but I get so damned little done at home with all the distractions that I thought I'd go work on my big project in the lab at school for a while.  Not that there aren't distractions there (it's just the normal noises in here), but I thought, surrounded by all the other studious students, that I'd be less likely to stray.  And I was.  Less likely.  I did not stray.  I put my head down and got to work.

A classmate came in and sat down next to me and we contemplated a question/discussion that we'd briefly touched on last week about whether our big project is supposed to be only a presentation OR a presentation and a report.  Somehow, I got the idea that this project used to be only a report, but that the requirement had changed and it was now only a presentation.  Well, we inquired and -- I'm sure you already see how this turns out -- the new requirement is for both a report and presentation.  I've been working for the past couple of weeks on distilling information from a zillion different sources into a concise presentation (believe me, that is very taxing, very hard work!), when all along I could have been foaming at the fingertips, writing a report -- I'm good at that!

Well, the wind went right out of my sails -- it didn't help that I hadn't had the aforementioned supper and maybe my brainpower wasn't so good -- so I packed up my zip drive and left.  I called DH and whined a little and he offered to make me supper, and I was able to think and regroup on the way home.  I got started before dinner even hit the table and worked until about 11:00 last night, with later fortification in the way of some leftover candy corn and a few Special Dark chocolate chips.  I realized that I was actually doing okay, I was just going down the wrong track, so now I'm on the right track(s) and have built a little head of steam, and I'm trying not to think (at the moment) about the larger disgruntlements and questions (Why am I doing this?  Where is this going to take me?  How am I going to get this other stuff done?  What else am I forgetting?).  I think the other poor woman thought I was pissed at HER, so I sent an email later to apologize for leaving in such a huff.  Turns out the computer lab was only open until 6:00 last night, anyway.

Harumph.  I'm pulling it together.  The little engine that could.  ; )

12 November 2007

Trying to be... at your service

I check my stats almost every time I post.  The thing I'm most interested in is how people land on my blogs and, in particular, the search terms they used to get there.  Here's this morning's sampling, good for a couple of "atta-girls" and also a few grins:

  • "Latvian mitten patterns"
  • "St. Brigid knitting pattern"
  • "Reindeer sweaters with the light up nose"
  • "Knits and nighties"
  • "Can a person have two left feet?"

I made a good dent in the homework yesterday, working both before and after the game.  (What a Farvelous game!!)  I had to stop and print it out, though, because it's at the paper-and-a-sharp-pencil stage -- I need to actually draw arrows and scratch things out and scribble and things.

I finished Bena and she is now riding 2nd shotgun in Ali's car, learning the ropes from Oswald who's been Ali's #1 for a couple of years now -- except for that time when he was kidnapped by Ali's old boyfriend -- it was too traumatic to mention and, thankfully, it was over quickly and satisfactorily (Oswald maybe has a little smudge, a lasting reminder of that horrible time).  I was all excited about taking the photo with Oswald, Bean & Bena, but now BEAN is missing in action somewhere in Ali's bedroom!  She cleaned a little last night, but he still didn't turn up!  He's so darn little -- he could be stuck in the covers or buried in the laundry basket -- poor thing.  Ali's confident that he'll turn up, so I'm not going to get too worked up.  Think positive!!

HELP!!!  I need to ask my fellow Cheeseheads (or anyone who's traveled in the area) for a restaurant recommendation.  I'm looking for a nice (not fancy) place to have a really good dinner with my family in the area of Waupun, Mayville, Horicon, Beaver Dam, Randolph, Fox Lake (if you connected the dots, there'd be a sort of circle).

11 November 2007

Goin' back, lookin' back... WABAC

As seen at Norma's this morning, I'm setting the WABAC Machine for November 11, 2006 -- I know I posted something because I was NaBloPoMo-ing!  This is for KitKatKnit's Wayback Machine Contest -- deadline is midnight tonight!

Dsc09118I qualify because I most definitely saw the Wayback Machine in action during original release -- on our black & white portable TV with rabbit ears that got 3 network channels (from a maximum of 13 on the dial), not counting public TV (because we never did)! That was one busy post a year ago -- a linkfest buffet!  And there was snow!!

The question is:  What was I knitting?  I'd just started Mack's Christmas stocking.  (I should be thinking about starting Addison's soon.)  I must also have been working on my Peace Fleece Coup d'Etat because I categorized the post as such.  I've actually been thinking about that well-marinated cardigan a lot lately and it just might be time to get on with it!

Okay, it's 10:00 -- make that 10:30 now -- WHERE DOES THE TIME GO???? -- I've got two hours for homework before the football game!  Must.not.check.email.or.read.blogs.  (That reminds me, I've decided to take only one class next semester -- and definitely one that will be useful and that I'll like.)

Thank you for all the comments about my new look!  It doesn't matter the style or how much is shorn, I'm always told that I look younger after a haircut (and one has to wonder why I don't do it more often).  I love that, as of this writing, y'all think I look an average of 9.3 years younger.  ; )

Happy Veterans Day to my hubby (Viet Nam), my dad and uncle (Korea).  Thank you to everyone who has served and is serving.  I hope you'll all be home soon.

10 November 2007

Before & After

Before.  This is how I wear wore my hair 50-75% of the time.

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After.  New & improved!!  Much lighter and with more... I don't know... STYLE.

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It won't always look like that, because I don't have a curling iron or even a blow-dryer of my own. I'm assured that it will look just fine with my normal wash & wear routine; that I can "fancy it up" easy enough (with borrowed styling appliances), and that if I have to, I can still (mostly) pull it into a ponytail.

You see the lovely Hundertwasser Der Blaue Mond Argosy 'round my neck!  It's wrapped 'round twice, then tied in front.  It's very, very long.  I had more than a few compliments on it today, plus I was with Mom and she wore her Tartelette shawl, which she's worn almost non-stop (she told me that she's even worn it to bed once), and that was good for a few more.

What a day!  A quick run through the indoor Farmer's Market, haircut, lunch, a little shopping (mostly window-shopping), a stop at the LYS, some other running around.  There was a Habu trunk show at Iris Fine Yarns.  In a word: incredible.  There was some damage done.

Right now, I have to get to the store and lay-in supplies for tomorrow's INTERNATIONAL PAJAMA DAY!!  Woohoo, I am so there.

09 November 2007

New kid

Dsc01534She is such an odd fellow chica.   She has very big eyes and a slightly off-center nose and smile, and isn't she adorable?  Now this one -- just like this, without arms and legs -- is definitely a little Bean.  She won't actually be christened until she's finished, though.  (Maybe Beana?  Or "Bena" after my great grandmother!)  I ran out of the small safety eyes and was worried that the rest would be too big -- didn't want a Precious Moments-ish Oddfellowchica -- but they're perfect.  I can't wait to finish and schedule the family portrait!!

In other news, I am delighted to report that I drove myself to work today!  I have wheels!!  I'm FREE!!!  We have had a long, sad run of automotive bad luck these past couple of weeks, beginning with my little wreck on the highway.  Katie was only a few miles from home for last weekend's birthday celebration when her car overheated -- steam coming in through the vents and temperature gauge gone wild.  My stepdad thought he had the problem licked, but Katie and I traded vehicles on Sunday just to be sure -- I'm in a better position if there was a lingering possibility of being stranded.  Sure enough, on Monday morning, I wasn't even half-way to work...  To make matters worse, Ali's boyfriend hit a deer on Saturday night and his vehicle is unsafe to drive.  He just started a 3rd shift job and it would be a shame to lose it, so Ali's been letting him use her car as much as possible while he works on his future transportation plan.

We needed some systems diagrams in order to figure out what was wrong with Katie's car.  The owner's manual is quite lovely in its presentation, but utterly lacking in systems/diagnostics details.  Closing in on "vintage" status, a repair manual for a 1990 Saab 900 Turbo is not exactly crowding the shelves at book stores, though it can be had online for upwards of $100 -- which could be a very good and wise investment, but why BUY the book when you can BORROW it from your LIBRARY?  (Cue the applause!)  Yes, ladies and gentleman, I'll take that bow, and let's give a hand to our lovely librarians, too.  I found not one, but TWO useful manuals in the system, and they are directly related to the successful repair of said automobile.  My love for the library has been well documented in these pages, and it seems only to grow.

Anyway, it's been like a ballet or synchronized swim, getting people where they need to be and when.  In a bit of a role reversal, Alison picked me up after work and took me to school yesterday.  She knit on a scarf while she waited, and had some "old professors" stop and inquire about her work.  "Is that knitting or crocheting?"  "How do you make that diamond pattern."  "Oh, I never learned how to purl."  "Is that your natural hair color?"

08 November 2007

I found my little bit o' country

Yes, indeedy, cowgirls and buckaroos, I watched the CMA Awards last night -- start to finish.  I was finishing the Hundertwasser Der Blaue Mond Argosy (still needs a bath and a block, but I'm wearing it anyway) and rediscovering my long-dormant country groove.  Other than a fairly recent dalliance with John Corbett a while back, my country groove has been so long dormant, it was nearly dead.

Well, reawakened, I am!  I tapped my toes and wiped away tears, I feel prodded and inspired and even a bit invigorated, and also heartbroken.  Big surprise.  Oh, and just when I was musing on Vince Gill, thinking how nice it would be to hear his voice, they cut away to commercial... and I did hear Vince Gill's voice!

Man, oh, man, funnier 'n hell!

I can be a little bit country and a little bit rock 'n roll (and to prove it I've set the DVR to record Oprah on Friday).

07 November 2007

Some things...

Way back on September 20th -- a million years ago in blog-years -- Kelly Jo tagged me for a meme.  I'll say right up front that I don't play by the rules.  It's NaBloHuHaMo and I need all the fodder (and forgotten old draft posts) and I can get!

8 Things About Me

1.  I love toasted bread -- English muffins, bagels, white bread, wheat bread -- and I mean toasted.  Nice and dark brown, so it makes noise when you butter it, and even with a little burned-y parts on the edges.

Dsc01528_2 2.  Besides pansies, in my Top-5 favorite flowers is the hollyhock and, as you can see, I still have some blooms!

3.  I really like going to school and learning.  I'm learning lots!

4.  I really (really) (did I mention "really"?) hate doing the homework.  I think I'd rather take a bunch of tests.

5.  I am procrastinating about homework at this very moment.

6.  I don't know what this will mean for me come next semester.

7.  I enjoyed every birthday wish!  Thank you.  ; )

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I also like my presents.  A sterling silver needle gauge necklace, just like I wanted!  A carousel of family photographs chosen, printed and assembled by Madeleine.  Yarn and patterns and books -- and chocolate!!  My friends and family know just what I like.  And they know how to take a hint, as I received two copies of The Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook!  This happens to me a lot, the receiving of duplicate gifts.  I know it has everything to do with me, and probably something to do with my past -- maybe not childhood, I can't say whether it's Mom or Dad or Santa Claus, but definitely some big disappointment somewhere along the line -- and so now I just make sure to spread the word when there's something I really want.  Katie gave me Natural Dyeing -- it's absolutely gorgeous.

8.  Maybe my homework next semester will be a little less "homework" and a little more "home work."  Well, maybe more like "home fun."  There's just got to be more balance; there are too many things I want to do.  (Simplify, simplify, simplify.)

06 November 2007

Let them eat cake!

My birthday carrot cake on Saturday had cream cheese frosting, which takes two sisters and a mother to make, you know...

Ann and Karen asked Mom (we were at her house) for powdered sugar, whereupon she went to the cupboard and produced a container of "powdered sugar."  The girls sifted and mixed and blended and stirred, and sifted and blended some more, and the stuff just wasn't getting very smooth.

"Maybe the bowl is too small," said one of the sisters.  Like that has ANYthing to do with anything except that little blips of "frosting" would fall over the edge and Karen, usually (the one wielding the mixer), would pop them into her mouth.  It bears repeating that she did this repeatedly -- well, okay, two or three times (but that would mean that it was repetition at least once or twice).

Finally, Annie tasted one of the globs and declared, rather disgustedly, "Hey, this isn't sweet!"  She grabbed that Tupperware container and turned it around to see the identifying label (because Mother's containers always have an identifier) and it said: CORNSTARCH.  Huh, no wonder that frosting was kinda THICK!

Well, needless to say, there was a store run for butter and cream cheese and we heard (numerous times) all about how Grandma would have been SO upset at the waste of all that food.  No doubt the amount of cornstarch wasted was equivalent to what one child would consume in a lifetime!  I aplogize if anyone has to endure runny gravy over their mashed potatoes and stuffing this Thankgiving as a result of this careless and inappropriate use of a thickening agent.

Heh, anyway, the cake was DELICIOUS (I've blogged it two days in a row!) and I had several (yes, several) pieces of varying sizes over the weekend and sometimes I didn't even use a plate -- just grabbed my fork and dug right in.

Happy Birthday to Me!

05 November 2007

Can't get the red out

RedoutLaugh

Do other people's children treat their hair on Saturday afternoon for a party, then dye it back to normal on Sunday?  "Twiggy" was a redhead the first time around, but went for blonde the second -- it's really hard to get all that red out!

My birthday celebratin' started a little early this year.  The weekend was full of laughs and smiles, as you can see.  And I was mostly full of carrot cake.  Luscious, wonderful, homemade carrot cake.  There were even early gifts, but I must save something for my month of daily posts, mustn't I?

04 November 2007

Hundertwasser watch

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There's still a lot of yarn to knit up!  This will be one long, narrow scarf -- or I could quit early and knit a pair of Hundertwasser baby socks.  That could be fun.

03 November 2007

Freezin' my butt off for the blog

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...or Saturday Sky!  I haven't taken or posted a Saturday sky photo in ages.  This one is through the pergola, which we used a lot this year.  I think I'll have to put away the furniture this weekend.

02 November 2007

It's that time again...

Nablo0790x33National Blog Posting Month.  I did it successfully last year and some of my favorite people are doing it this year -- there may be more!  There's lots yet to discover!  Don't forget to check the Randomizer!

Ali/Twiggy's boyfriend has decided NOT to go to their last Halloween party of the year as Zoolander.  Ali's happy, because it means that Kevin won't be cutting his hair, but I am not.  Not that it matters what I think; it's not my party and he's not my boyfriend -- but, OH, it would have been SO CUTE!  He's going as some other character from some other thing that means absolutely ZERO to me -- and it won't mess up his hair.  I guess I'll have to live with it.  ; )

In news more to my liking:  Katie arrived home last night and will be in the house 'til Sunday!  She's bringing me a Noodles lunch today!

More:  Mack & Addison will be arriving in town (with their parents) tomorrow!

And even more:  I think another sister and two more nephews may also crash the party!

KNITTING:  I keep plugging away at the Hundertwasser Argosy -- I'm sure I'm past the half-way mark, but it's hard to measure exactly.  It's going quickly, anyway, and I'm quite happy with the progress.  It's getting cold outside, and we're due for an even bigger plunge next week, so the big FO ought to come at a really good time!

Happy weekend, all.  Heh, I guess I'll be back tomorrow... and the next day, and the next day, and the day after that...

01 November 2007

Maddy Mouse & holiday musing

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She's more ham than mouse.  ; )

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There's candy left in the bowl -- though the bell rang only three times, they were fairly big groups.  There was a ghost, a miniature police officer ("Officer Awesome"), Elmo, a bunch of others.  My favorite part of Halloween, for sure, is answering the door.

On Saturday night, Ali is going to a party as Twiggy and her boyfriend will be Zoolander.  Hahaha, I can't wait.

* * * * * *

There's been so much in the news about lead paint and recalls of toys made in China.  A feature this week on one of the local news channels.  Two young nephews come to mind, and I am concerned.

Usually pitched right into recycling, yesterday I turned the pages of the BigStuffMart flyer I found in my mailbox.  I noticed some long-sleeve, V-neck, all-cotton shirts -- the kind I like -- advertised for, I don't know, less than $7.  Pretty tempting.  Certainly not made in the USA at that price.  (Remember when that BigStuffMart was all about Made in America?)  The shirt could be made many other places besides China, for sure, but one thing they all have in common is cheap(er) labor and different (sub-) standards and regulations for materials and the manufacture of goods.

I gave my dad a book about wildflowers in Wisconsin a few years ago.  He was vehemently anti-anything-made-in-China even then and his first comment to me about the book was that it was made in China.  I hadn't even noticed.  My husband noted that China doesn't have the environmental regulations governing the types of inks and materials used in printing -- they're cheaper to produce, have better and more intense color; hang the environment.

These things were on my mind as I contemplated the $7 shirt.  Tempting at that price, you know?  I wonder about the dyes used for the fabric, though, even the processes for producing the fabric.  What kind of exposure?  What is next to my skin?  It made me wonder about many things -- my clothing, my bedding, the upholstery in my car, the cookware I use everyday, silverware and dishes?

I'm going to strive for a responsible Christmas this year.  My money may not buy as much, but I'm going to try and make it buy better.  It'll take some research, but my aim is to support small businesses and companies that care about the quality of their material and products, the environment, and, mostly, about their employees.  Working for a small business, I witness daily the juggling act that takes place, the anguish and frustration in trying to keep prices low enough to both attract new work and keep old clients, but charging enough to cover the overhead, with health coverage being one of the biggest concerns, and keeping people working.

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