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December 2006

Stick a fork in it...

Dsc09150It wasn't 'til late -- in fact, I believe the actual lightning strike occurred as I was arranging the silverware in the caddy while preparing the dishwasher for its maiden voyage.  "Hmmm," I thought, "a fork. What about a real fork? Fork. Meat. Done. Meathead. Done. Fork."  I remembered the sterling fork that Maddy recently wrapped 'round her wrist as a bracelet, and the lonely little fish fork (or whatever) in the drawer...

This really couldn't have turned out any other way, could it?  Stick a fork in it, baby... IT'S DONE!

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Not only did I borrow her fork bracelet, she was a good sport and modeled it on the hat, too.  She doesn't look too pained, does she?  Maybe a little...  Sterling for dressy, a mix of silver and wood for everyday.  Ya think?


Gettin' Grinchy with it

Some random Wednesday stuff, knitting first.

Dsc09149Are you sick of the Meathead yet?  How much blog mileage can a person get out of one goofy hat?  I haven't come to any conclusions about the embellishment yet.  I did pull out the lucet and figured out how to make a cord and... okay, that's pretty cool... not sure I can do that for very long, though.  My wrist, hand, and fingers aren't taking to that repetitive pincher action much.  I will admit, as I looped along, that I pondered using the lucet as embellishment rather than as a tool to make the embellishment.  I still love it as a finely crafted tool, love the wood.  I'll still probably use buttons and buckles as embellishment for said hat.

I finished the other front for the Coup d'Etat Cardigan and cast on for the back!  I love the pattern -- it's mostly a chart with minimal written instruction (just the particulars, mostly the numbers).  And I love how this cardigan is turning out -- with both sleeves and both fronts out of the way already, I'm on the long home stretch!

Today we'll be installing a new dishwasher.  The old one is now not only screaming louder with every load, but also leaking.  I bought, brought home, and installed the last one all by myself.  Yeah, don't ask.  It was one of those periods in our relationship.  It really feels good to know that I can do something like that, though.  This time, I stopped and looked, hubby came and looked, too, hubby hauled one home, and later today I'll play the role of lovely assistant handing over tools and aiming the flashlight.  Last time, I bought a fairly expensive dishwasher with a big name and stainless steel interior.  This time, well, it's not quite the bottom of the line, but not much further up because, dammit, if a dishwasher is only going to last 4 or 5 years...

Blogging every day for a month is harder than it looks.  Is it hard because it's November?  Hard because I threw down the gauntlet for myself at the last possible moment with barely a thought except, "Oh, I can do THAT!"?  That's kind of how I agreed to quit smoking all those months ago -- "Oh, I wanna do it, too!!  Can I?"  That turned out pretty well, I guess.  (Interesting news bit I saw yesterday, which of course I can't find right now, about how cutting back doesn't really help much to cut the risk of death from smoking.  I was a little surprised to read that in that study I'd have been classified as a "heavy smoker" at a pack a day.  I never, ever thought of myself as a heavy smoker!) Anyway, it's been interesting.  I wish I could have spent more time on it and made more of a plan.  I've never been much for the blog planning.  It usually goes like this:  sit down, write, pop up and take a picture, sit down, insert picture, write a little more, linky-dinky-do, hit "post," refill coffee cup, check Bloglines.  I apologize for any lame of late.

I like to look at the blog list for NaBloPoMo, particularly the Ks.  There's a fair number of knitters.  I like how I'm all KNITORIOUS, in all caps like that.  Heh.  The Zero Boss, also a NaBloPoMo-er, noticed and called me out in a post that I only recently discovered.  Then there's the fun NaBloPoMo Randomizer!  We love the random in the blogosphere, don't we?

One of my favorite Christmas songs is "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" and pretty much the only person who can really sing it as it should be sung is Andy Williams. Katie and I heard it on the radio on our way back from Chicago recently -- on a Milwaukee radio station that plays Christmas year 'round.  It seemed a little early for that kind of thing but, well, is it?  You know, if they play it all year long...

I'm trying hard to keep the blinders on, to not be discouraged by holiday excess and idiocy -- the shopping and over-the-top, Christmas-puke-all-over-front-lawn-in-lights decorating*, in particular.  A little thought and focus goes a long way.  I'm trying to keep my inner Grinch squelched -- it almost feels like The Incredible Hulk, but not so beefy and with a little more fur.  Inundated with TV advertising for months already, watching the Christmas stuff fill the shelves fast on the heels of Back-to-School, ramping up to Black Friday and what was it that they dubbed last Monday with the internet shopping?  Only a few more weeks to go...  I've got to set a different internet home page because if I see one more story about what gifts the uber rich are giving/getting or one more car with a big red bow on top -- along with the TomKatKidRockPamelaSueBritneyLanceBrangelinadonna crap that constitutes news these days, well, I'm sorry, is some of my green fur showing?  And THEN... I have a post in draft from long ago in which I ranted a bit about about the banking and credit card "industries."  What a scam.  Have you seen the catchy, new check card commercial -- the well-oiled, musical, commerce machine brought to an abrupt and annoying halt by a customer who screws it all up by paying with cash?  Yeah, there's no percentage on total transaction to be made by a financial institution with cash.

Pardon me, I've been awake since about 4:00 a.m., tossed and turned and tried to get back to sleep until about 5:30 a.m., when I gave up and got up.  It's my frickin' day off today, too.  I should be sleeping in.

Well, and because it is Christmas and I do have to engage in commerce, I'm trying to do it well.  St. Nick treats have already been purchased from a local confectioner.  I used my always-seems-like-play-money PayPal money (that doesn't sound very fiscally responsible, does it -- and this is money that "costs" also)  to purchase the You Grow Girl 2007 Calendar as a gift -- this looks absolutely fabulous and I can't wait to see it -- and also (finally!) Stranded Color Knitting, which may or may not be a gift.

One more thing.  I was reading at Norma's today, then Mama Cate's, then I saw at Carole's later, too, all about this guy named Scott with a project who needs us to write about and link to the project and also ping.  I'm all about that.  Love showin' what knitters can do.

*ETA:   What I mean by... well, really, it's not excessive so much as "excessive."  God, I loved (probably more than I should) the house that was all over the internet last year with the lights and the music and it was synchronized and flashy and sparkly and loud -- and there was some substance, at least some creativity and know-how, some thought.  It's the yards with the hyperflashing tree over here, the light-up nativity scene over there, why not Snow White & Her Seven down over there, the walkway lined with light-up candy canes, the spotlight(s) shining on the wooden cutout santa, sleigh & reindeer (the light shining right through two neighbors' yards and into my front window, besides!), the two angels next to the carollers and Rudolph and the Grinch and the light-up, blow-up drummer boy and the thingamajig and every other light-up and/or musicalmajig that would fit into the cart at the store.  You know?  That kind of excessive!  ; )  Don't worry, I won't be calling the homeowners' assocation.  I do understand that one woman's tacky is another's Taj Mahal.


112806_0634I thought to use buttons and buckles for the Meathead embellishment, but exactly how is still a mystery to me.  I sifted through the button collection and found a few likely suspects -- I found more than anticipated, actually.  It's all been sitting there like that on the kitchen table, waiting for the inspiration to strike.

On a whim, I invited my sister Karen to visit this weekend.  She'll be bringing her boys -- and her quilting.  I need to clean my house!

Weekend wrap

112606_2219I finished the Mango Moon Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf before the pre-game show was over yesterday, wrapped it 'round someone's neck for a photo, and emailed it off to Norma for the Red Scarf Project blog.  It turned out to be a great little scarf -- definitely not the warmest, but very cute and it made me very happy while knitting it to think of it possibly making someone else very happy to wear it.  ; )

I can't believe it was over two years ago that I answered Larissa's call for Meatheads.  It's so weird to write about, refer to, and link back to things like that on my very own blog, when two years ago I barely knew what a blog was and now I've written over 800 posts (and counting) of my own.  Blogging has brought a richness and an awareness, an unbelievable camraderie and (even more incredible) real, live, actual friends... but I digress.  It was a no-brainer, when I read about Larissa's new Meathead project, that I had to join up.  I picked up some Lamb's Pride Bulky at Iris last week and used it up to knit up two hats yesterday.  Is there a quicker hat to be knit?  The first was on US15 needles and turned out small (may be given to Mack), the second was on US17 and may find it's way into a box with those red mittens.  I still need to embellish -- that's the challenging part for me -- and post before the end of the KAL on Thursday.

Mittens heading to New York!  I actually found more singles than pairs in my mitten pile, but also this pair of unfinished handknit ones -- I've only a thumb seam to do and they're finished.

It's Monday, the Packers are in Seattle tonight, you know where I'll be.

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Thanks for the nice comments on Mack's stocking!  I thought I'd post a photo for scale -- the thing's about as tall as he is!  I'm so happy that it went home with him yesterday.

112506_1430_1Birdsong requested a photo of the Mango Moon scarf for the Red Scarf Project that I'm Knitting Unto Others in a comment wherein she also said, basically, that she'd be prayin' for me as I ride shotgun with Madeleine, a greenhorn behind the wheel.  Well, there's the progress on the scarf up there -- I plan to finish that off today during football -- and there's a photo of Maddy driving me around.  She got a little time in on residential streets, country roads, and the highway, and executed a Y-turn (with help because my suggestion was rather ill-timed).  She also parked at the grocery store and I don't think I've ever parked so far from the door before in my life!

Hm, something seems familiar in that scarf photo...  Look what's back for a tweaking -- it's Shirley Shrugs!!  Did I mention that one side was a wee bit longer than the other?  I need to fix that.  I also need to shorten the underarm seams a bit, as Mom finds it a little too tight right now.  She'll try it that way for a while, but said she might possibly have me un-do the seams altogether so she could wear it as a shawl.  ; )  I really wouldn't mind that at all -- I think it makes a wonderful, warm shawl.  I plan to post more details about my pattern modifications, particularly the short row shoulders.

Last night, I went to the movies!  Casino Royale... it was great!  It was the perfect movie for my mood and very, very well done.

It's just too much

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It's so damn cute, you can hardly stand to look at it!  Alas, not quite finished.  There was that long phone call on Thursday night with one twin, cutting into the knitting time (I need a headset!), then the long phone call last night with the other twin...  I think most of the ends are woven in, so there's only seaming, the blocking, the procuring and sewing-on of some jingle bells (which I may already have somewhere in the craft stash), that attachment of some sort of strong hanger.  Dsc09119I love the fuzzy -- I'm using Lamb's Pride Worsted and carrying a strand of mohair.  I added the stripes at the toe for a touch of green down there.

Did anyone else have turkey soup for supper last night?  Yum.

Say my name

112306_1054Have I mentioned that I'm having fun with my new camera phone?  I plugged in the rollers and went for curly yesterday.  See?  I forgot the pre- spray stuff for heat styling, so it didn't hold as well (my hair really needs to be held), but they were big, soft, and loopy even in relaxed mode.

Mack said my name yesterday!!!  I've only been coaching him -- "Say 'V-v-v-v-v-v-icki'" -- for the past 17 months.  He says, "Bicki" and it just melts my heart every time.  He crawled into my lap for a few readings of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? yesterday.

Dsc09077I'd like to thank Ann for linking to Aunt Mabel's Cranberry Pie Cake recipe (and more -- click!) -- it was delicious, and so easy!  I almost felt guilty that it was my only contribution to the meal -- the only thing that could make it easier would be to buy the walnuts already chopped.  Yum.  It was great -- alongside turkey and mashed potatoes or (especially) mingled with whipped cream and apple pie.  Mom made Cranberry Chutney, which was much closer to sauce and absolutely delicious, so I'm glad I did something different.  The chutney recipe was found online (go Mom!), but I'm not sure exactly where.

On Wednesday afternoon, I took Maddy to the DMV where she passed the test and is now the holder of a learner's permit.  She's anxious to drive!  For me, time at the DMV = time to knit!  I brought along the Mango Moon and worked on the Multidirectional Scarf and it won't be long before I can send it off to the Red Scarf Project!  I love how it looks and can definitely see more of those in my future.  The Mango Moon is interesting -- very thick and very thin and sometimes it just pulls right apart in my hand.  My at-home knitting time has been devoted to Mack's Christmas stocking and, as of last night, I'm about half-way down the foot.  They will be here until tomorrow and I see no reason why it can't be finished by then!  I have some ends to weave in and the back of the leg to seam (the foot is worked in the round), and it's looking great.  It's big, too!  Mack will thank me for that in years to come.

V is for...

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Grandma and Grandpa's house.  I miss them.  Grandpa died a few years ago and Grandma has been getting more and more lost.  She recently dislocated her hip again, after falling while wandering the halls where she lives.  She doesn't know where she is.  She will be 94 on Christmas Eve.

There were many, many holiday meals in that dining room.  The grown-ups around the big table, card tables set up for the kids.  My grandparents had six children and nine grandchildren.  We are lucky enough that there have even been meals with great grandchildren around the "kids' table."

I remember my sister Sharon being made to sit at that table until she finished her mashed potatoes.  I know... it was Christmas (or whatever)... and she didn't like mashed potatoes... but there were children starving in Africa.

I remember my kids and nieces and nephews, spending much of a Christmas afternoon building and decorating a gingerbread house, which we then had for dessert!  That little activity was one of my few-and-far-between strokes of genius!  Mothers, take note:  The kids were kept occupied and they had fun and they could slip a piece of candy or lick frosting from their fingers, there was little-to-no whining about when-this and how-come-that!  What's not to love?

I remember my Uncle Jimmy coming home from his first year away at college.  His hair was longer.  A lot, lot longer.  He wore a braided leather headband.  We listened to Cat Stevens records and played board games in the music room.  Grandma asked him to say the before-meal prayer and he stood up, almost shouting:

Thanks for the grub
Yay God!

Well, yeah!  Grandma was... "stunned" is a good word.  It kinda blew us all away!  Grandma always thought more carefully, weighing potential risks, about who she assigned that task to from then on.  We remember it, warmly, and laugh at every single holiday meal.  "Remember the time when Uncle Jimmy..."

I've written about my grandparents' house a few times.  It is very, very old.  During the '30s and '40s, a doctor lived in the house and it also served as the "hospital."  When I assisted at a rummage sale there a couple of years ago, lots of people came just because they wanted to see the house.  One woman asked, "Do you know which was the Birthing Room? I was born in that room."  I didn't really know which was the Birthing Room, but I gave her my best guess(es).  All I really knew about the use of rooms at that time is that Grandma's "dining room" was the "operating room."  Another man had a little blast from the past as he walked up the back steps, remembering the same walk some 70 years earlier when he'd come to have his tonsils removed.

My favorite room was always the music room.  It could be accessed from the vestibule, had sliding doors to the living room, and there was also a door to another adjoining (possibly the "birthing" room).  My dad built a huge book case and cabinet surrounding the window on the entire east wall; it held books, of course, and also the stereo and record collection.  I used to spend hours in that room when we visited, with the doors closed, listening to records and looking at Grandma's old photo albums.  I memorized every word of Jesus Christ Superstar in that room.  One Easter at Grandma's, there was a little scavenger hunt for us to find our baskets.  The last clue led me to the music cabinet where I found a "45" of Don MacLean's American Pie nestled among the jelly beans in my basket.

The room that adjoined the music room was occupied by my great grandfather, Grandma's dad, until he died.  He loved doing jigsaw puzzles and my sister Karen would often help him; in high school, she worked at a nursing home, the only one of us who ever did.  I was always a little scared of Great Grandpa, he was old and thin and quiet and whiskery, and I didn't know what quite what to make of the well-read Bible alongside the Playboy magazines on his shelf.  During a family meeting in the music room once, my brother Mike and a cousin carpeted the entire living room floor with Playboy centerfolds, giving Grandma quite a shock as she emerged from the room!

Those two rooms were later used as showroom, classroom and studio for many years after Grandma retired from the bank and taught ceramics or painted.  She had huge kilns in the basement, shelves and shelves of plaster molds and tools, glazes, greenware, bisque, books and trade rags, buckets and boxes of slip and clay.  After Grandpa retired, he did all the pouring and took great pride in doing it well; he liked the compliments of the ladies, Grandma's students.  Grandma was a prolific painter, as well, generally watercolor, mostly scenes from the lake.

I always loved the attic in that house.  It was a walk-in attic, in the space above the dining room and kitchen, accessible through a small door in the upstairs bathroom.  It was fascinating -- all that stuff.  Furniture, clothing, books, paperwork, holiday decorations.  I remember finding a really cool old vintage coat, way back in my high school days, that Grandma let me have -- it was wool and pink and had a huge, decorative button.

It was interesting to me that my grandparents did not share a bedroom.  They had adjoining rooms, though, hers a little bigger and only a tiny bit frillier than his -- Priscilla curtains at the windows.  They would share Grandma's bed if the house was full and they needed Grandpa's bed; it was the same at the cottage.  I remember Grandma's dresser with all the Avon jars and bottles, her jewelry box and earring tree.

The most flattering full-length mirror in the world was at the end of the upstairs hall.  I used to hike up my skirt and do the runway walk -- oh, if only my legs really were that long and thin!  I remember mentioning the magical mirror to Grandma once and she laughed, "Oh, you mean I don't really look as good as I think I do?"

I am thankful for family, thankful for memory, thankful for friends -- friends like you.  Thank you.  Thanksgiving.  Rub-a-dub-dub...

U is for...


Under.  Why, yes, I did try getting under this chair with the camera.  There wasn't room for both of us.  This is an actual chair in my kitchen.  There is usually a padded cushion where the platter is which prevents most people from falling through -- works best if you have a butt of a certain size, no guarantees for small children.  It is not the only chair in this condition that is in used 'round my table, but I believe it is the worst.  It really couldn't get any worse in terms of seating.  There's more in the basement, including rocker with caned back and seat which is stripped and ready to go.  My dear husband put a moratorium on chairs several years ago, particularly if they were minus a seat.

My favorite place to look when I'm in an antique store or junk shoppe?  Under.  If a dish or bowl strikes my fancy, I look under.  I've been known to do it in restaurants and in friends' homes.  Homer Laughlin dinnerware is a particular favorite; my "grandma dishes" are Homer.  If a particular press on a chair catches my eye, I look or feel under.  Is it caned?  What's the condiiton?  Set in or done by hand?

Y'all still want to come over for coffee?

What about the knitting?

Dsc09060There really wasn't much knitting done over the weekend -- I drove to Chicago while Katie snoozed or snapped pictures of things like "Mars Cheese Castle" with my camera phone.  I drove much of the way home, too, or it was dark.

Oh!  What did I wear?  I ended up wearing a borrowed outfit from Chico's Travelers Collection -- something like the Skyla Jacket and Riverside Pant, both black.  I found a cute tank with some nice detail on sale at Nordstrom's to make it my own and wore that underneath, using a large sterling silver brooch with a calla lily design to hold the jacket closed just below the bustline.  Katie kept telling me how great it looked and how flattering, so I may have to add a few pieces from the collection -- which definitely lives up to its name -- to my own closet.

Carol asked how I was holding up with this NaBloPoMo, post-a-day business.  Let's just say it's harder than it looks and I've never taken more than a day or two off before, but might be looking at a little break come early December.  ; )  I wish I had more time to devote to blogging at the moment, but life and work are always getting in the way of my fun!

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I have started to Knit Unto Others and made good progress on a Multidirectional Scarf for the Red Scarf Project.  Norma's enthusiasm about this project hooked me and she was absolutely right!  I am using the recently won Mango Moon recycled silk, which I originally intended to stripe with something, but that wasn't working.  This is -- it'll be a great scarf with nice weight and drape.

Last night, I had to take a little time to Knit Unto Mack... that Christmas stocking is just not knitting itself!  They will be here sometime over the Thanksgiving holiday and I'd sure like to have a finished stocking!

Work will be weird this week -- I have tomorrow off and Thursday, of course, but not Friday.  Yeah, I know.  That's okay -- I'll bring knitting because I don't think there's going to be much else for me to do.  I have to make "cranberry something" tomorrow, and do some cleaning, and mail some mittens From Hearts to Hands... and blog.  ; )

It's only words



1. Yourself: happy
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend (spouse): creative
3. Your hair: back
4. Your mother: elegant
5. Your father: sportsman
6. Your favorite item: photographs
7. Your dream last night: none
8. Your favorite drink: margarita
9. Your dream car: sportscar
10. The room you are in: office
11. Your ex: none
12. Your fear: invalid
13. What you want to be in 10 years? healthy
14. Who you hung out with last night? family
15. What you're not? boring
16. Muffins: blueberry
17. One of Your Wish List Items: book
18. Time: short
19. The last thing you did: calculate
20. What you are wearing: Fib
21. Your favorite weather: sunny
22. Your favorite book: drama
23. The last thing you ate: chocolate
24. Your life: good
25. Your mood: happy
26. Your best friend: outgoing
27. What are you thinking about right now? tonight
28. Your car: red
29. What are you doing at the moment? typing
30. Your summer: short
31. Your relationship status: married
32. What is on your TV? dust
33. What is the weather like? sunny  ; )
34. When is the last time you laughed? today

Lifted from Kathy, the sock-yarn-winning Patriots fan.  ; )

If the Packers and Brett Favre weren't enough to cry over yesterday, the Extreme Makeover Home Edition episode last night featured the Koepke family from Wisconsin.  Their home is an hour or so south of where I live, but the excitement when the crew was there last summer was keenly felt in a wide area.  Anyway, the tears always flow freely during that show, but last night... oh, the tissues were kept very, very handy!

On the shelf

My sister Ann called this morning.  There's a bookshelf in their upstairs hallway that holds an eclectic collection -- whatever books find their way upstairs and then need to be "put away" somewhere land there.  Considering the occupants of the house range from one-and-a-half to slightly going-on-49, you can imagine.  The book that Mack pulled off that shelf and brought to his Mom this morning was Green Eggs and Ham.  I had to read that book to Annie so many times when she was a pre-reader that I came to HATE it.  Now, of course, I love it precisely because I hated it, and I can't wait to read it to Mack myself!


One more picture from Madison Michigan Avenue (where in the world was I?)... this one from the camera on my phone!  Yeah, I know, I don't get out much...

Football today!  My fantasy team is set -- no changes.  There's even a friendly sock yarn wager with an east coast Patriots fan to make it interesting!  There has been practically ZERO knitting in the past couple of days, so there will be some of that during the game, too!

What I did in Chicago...

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Dsc09054It started with the view of my two favorite buildings in Chicago from our Amalfi Hotel window.

We walked and shopped on Michigan Avenue for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon, and had a late lunch at Redfish before heading to the Starbucks Avant Grande event at the Merchandise Mart.  It was a long, long night -- Katie had to check in at 5:00 and it wasn't over 'til midnight.  We did wander the Mart in the late-night hours -- way cool stuff.

The art was fun to see, the atmosphere was really pretty great, the hors d'oeuvres were very good, the Espressotini, Frostini, Mudslide Martini, Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale  -- all very good.  I was very disappointed that I wasn't able to speak with fiber artist Mary Lawrie -- I tried a few times.  Very intriguing work, no?  Did you read the fiber content of that first ball of yarn?  I just love it!  There was one ball of plied yarn where one of the plies was dental floss.  ; )

This afternoon, we drove north and shopped at anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, but not before driving the very, very long way "around the block" on Lower Wacker Drive to State Street, and then we drove even further north and met up with Christine (following her hubby's most excellent directions) at Knitting Workshop!  We spent an hour or so looking in cubbies and baskets, looking up and looking down -- there is so much to see in that shop!  It's very, very cute though.  And Christine!  It was so nice to meet her.  We both approved this photo -- and honestly, Christine, you look GREAT!  (Did I ever mention that the only plastic surgery I ever thought I'd go for -- this was before the chin started to be troublesome -- was an eyelid lift?  They're open, they really, really are.)

We took the very scenic route out of Chicago and saw the "houses" where the kitchen displays at the mart would fit!  We finally ended up in Highland Park (where I went to first grade!) at about 3:30 and had a late lunch/early dinner at Yummy Bowl -- Katie had Chinese and I had Thai!  It was, well, yummy.  ; )



...867-5309... or is it 555-5555?

I can't remember my new number -- I have to keep checking.  But it matches -- or at least "goes with" -- almost all my long-sleeved shirts.  Yeah, I was folding a "dark load" this morning.  ; )

We're off!  No kidding.  As soon as I hit "SAVE" and grab the camera, we're off to Chi-town.  I'll be back tomorrow!

I am smokin'

NOT!  But I am smokin' HOT... because I'm NOT... not smokin'.

Today is the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout.

Tomorrow marks 20 months, to the day, since I smoked my last cigarette.  I was going to link to The Very Day, but the whole month is pretty much it -- Who, What, Why, Where, When and How.  (One of these days, I'll get all those posts linked to the "smoking" category, but March of '05 is where it starts.)  That's over 600 days without, more than 12,000 cigarettes not smoked -- OMG, do you believe that number?  In the twelves of THOUSANDS?  Holy crap!!  It's also over $2,000 saved -- how about THAT number?  In the twos of THOUSANDS?  All I need do is look at that and any guilt I may have about spending money on knitting classes, flying to fiber fests, buying books and yarn... gone.  Totally gone.  The money saved is now far outpacing any money spent, including all the early, at-the-time-not-yet-earned rewards (I guess you could call those incentives).  More importantly, because I quit smoking, I have "saved" over 3 months of my life -- that much more time to use the books and fiber that the money can buy -- and it's a number that continues to grow with all the others.  I wasn't smokin' like a chimney, either, folks; I smoked about a pack a day -- your mileage may vary.

I used QuitNet and QuitAssist, nicotine patches, and a little assistance from my health care provider -- in fact, they reimbursed me the cost of the patches after only a few months quit.  I did a lot of planning ahead, too.

Mostly, though, it was Ann (it was her bright idea in the first place!), Cara, my sister, my brother-in-law, support from all of you in blogland (the inspiration and support in the comments of some of those early posts -- phenomenal), my family, of course...

I'm not one of those ex-smokers, but I am proud of my accomplishment and deserve the right to crow about it now and then.  I'm SO proud of Ann and my sister and Lesli -- Lesli, who (my eyes are filling up right now) says that I was her inspiration to quit smoking and who credits the quit with her ability to become pregnant after SEVEN years of trying and who recently gave birth to a healthy, beautiful baby girl, whom I affectionately call "my fairy blogchild."  I am SO proud of you, Lesli, and so incredibly happy for you!

Anyway, my quitting smoking will forever be tied to wide world of knit-blogging.  I probably could have done it without you, but I don't know if I would have...  Thank you.  (Soapbox now getting the boot...)

My morning squeeze

Dsc08985I got a very satisfactory amount of toothpaste out of this tube after its photo shoot this morning.  I expect to fill my brush at least one more time, maybe even two or three.  It's at the point now, though, where I have to put the brush down on the edge of the sink, in a spot where it's balanced and has a little bit of support, while I take aim with the tube and use both hands to squeeze.

Dsc08986The fact that I'm such a nut about using every last bit of toothpaste in a tube, that I actually made a special trip downstairs for the camera this morning, that I actually took a picture of my nearly-but-not-quite-empty tube of toothpaste and have given soem thought to writing about it, that no doubt y'all will have a little reaction of some sort, perhaps something to say about it or a little story to share...  mmm, yes, this is what I love about blogging.

Meanwhile, we have booked a hotel near the Merchandise Mart -- and my angst has waned a bit.  Your comments yesterday were sweet, my family was reassuring, and I've got curly hair today.  Yes, I found the electric curlers and, at the moment, curly hair helps!  We're going to leave early on Friday so we have time for a nice lunch and maybe even shopping!

I'm making a list of Latvian Mitteneers and other interested parties, thinking about some ideas for the knit-along.  Yes, Virginia, there will definitely be a knit-along!  Rule #1 will be, of course, that a book must be secured in some manner so that a pattern may be chosen; please don't ask for copies.  The most fabulous thing about this is that it's the perfect time to add Latvian Mittens to your gift list; perhaps Latvian Dreams, too, if you've been very good!  Other than that, I'll just be working things out over here in the background -- I'm very excited -- and there'll be much more after the holidays.

Getting a jump on the random thing

Oh, man, there's so much going on around here...

I'm thinking it's time to do some ditching and consolidating with the various phone services we have and that means that I'm researching cell phone plans.  I'm trying to keep it positive, keep it fun.  Oh, yeah.

I am seriously thinking of taking a couple of classes in web design and development.  I cannot find anyone to help me, work with me, to do a simple task without wanting to do a complete redesign or a complete take-over.  I enjoy this kind of stuff -- it's kind of an extension of my old typesetting days in a way -- and I know I could do it, have almost even done before with dumb luck and when I had a little more time to fuck around focus and figure it out.  One of the classes is offered either on-line or in the evening, the other is an an hour on one morning and two on another morning that I normally work...  I think my work time could be covered, and the school is just a hop from work.  It might work.

Speaking of school.  There was a glitch in the accounting at Ali's school, so I'm attempting to figure that out today.  First call this person, then that person, then another one.  Thank goodness, everyone's been nice and helpful and I haven't had to listen to crappy canned music, nor have I had to press 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 more than once or twice, I think.  I believe I have one more call to make -- but I have to wait a bit before I can -- I guess that will be the make it or break it one.  I'll give it a little more time.  UPDATE:  It's been all straightened out and I'm still smiling!  ; )

Katie does not have to work on Saturday, as she thought she might, and we must have been high on the whole acceptance thing when we thought we could drive down to Chicago on Friday, attend an opening that lasts 'til midnight, and then drive home again.  Chicago is, like, 3-1/2 to 4 hours away -- one way -- on a good day!  Um, yeah, now we're trying to find a hotel near the Merchandise Mart.

Dsc08949I'm trying not to get too anxious over the whole Merchandise Mart Avant Grande Chicago Art thing coming right up on Friday, but I'm not sure I'll succeed.  I remember going to Art Expo New York at the Javitz Center, must have been 1992, a young-ish wife and new-ish mother, me... from Wisconsin... I saw my first pierced eyebrows at that show.  And Deborah Harry, I saw her, too (CALL ME!, man, I love that song). (By the way, I've been thinking that the soundtrack for Rhinebeck '07 should be all GIRLS!).  But the eyebrows, man, I couldn't keep from looking at the eyebrows -- multiple piercings in each one -- furrowing my own brow, trying to imagine how it felt, every time I passed a certain booth.  Trying not to stare, but, oooooh, the eyebrows!  Anyway, Katie bought a chic new dress to go along with her cute new haircut... she's so hip and cool and the place is going to be hopping with the hip and cool and I'm feeling not so hip and cool.  It's 2006, now, and Chicago... oh, whatever shall I wear?  Did I tell you that she's going to have a pager?  There's a VIP and press thing early and she'll be given a pager to carry around all night?  At an art show?  I never heard of such a thing.  I hope she gets paged!  I'll definitely be bringing some knitting, maybe I can find a nice soft couch, out of the way, at the Mart, practice deep breathing, be a wallflower.

I have heard from many a Latvian mitteneer, both accomplished and wanna-be, in the past few days.  The words "knit along" have even been spotted in emails.  Whaddya think?  Any takers for that sort of thing, say, after the holidays?  A friendly little, no-pressure knit-along, maybe with a blog, where we could commiserate encourage each other in tackling the Latvian mittens?

Change is good

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My favorite puzzles were word searches and mazes, and the ones where you had to find all the differences between one picture and another -- what's missing, what's been added, what's changed?

There's not a lot missing or added between those two pics of "my area," but a WHOLE LOT has changed!  The lingering evidence of recent travels was organized and put away; stickiness from something spilled but not quite all cleaned up (Maddy's Halloween party, I think) was wiped away, along with a fair amount of dust; the at-hand accumulation of books and magazines pulled for reference or casual perusal, plus a few additions to the stack from my birthday and recent thrift store finds was easily taken care of with a pair of bookends!  What a difference, hm?

The materials for Mack's stocking, pieces of Coup d'etat, materials for Latvian mittens, and my workbag for socks are the only projects atop the chest.  The basket to the right holds both Travelers' Vests... and I will be getting back to those, sooner rather than later, but not soonest.

I cast off the second sleeve of the Coup yesterday afternoon as Favre left the field at that big, bad Minnesota Metrodome with a HUGE victory.  (Ack, I should have listened when they said "the Vikings defense is No. 1 against the run" and benched Ahman yesterday, as I did suffer a Fantasy loss.  Oh well.)  I watched the game at Mom's, then came home and did my clean sweep thing.  I cast on for the left front of Coup last night and am nearly at the half-way mark!  At this rate, I might have a finished sweater to wear by the time Knit Unto Others kicks off!

A show of hands

Dsc05910I think about mittens constantly, particularly the Latvian mittens.  And all the while I've thought about the Latvian mittens, I've knit thrummed mittens and pop-up mittens and mittens with big yarn and contemplated knitting little baby mittens and I'm not making any progress with the Latvians at all.  With snowflakes flyin' and winter 'round the corner, mittens are on my mind more than ever, and of course there's endless inspiration (goading)!

Of course, you've got your Latvian Mitten KAL blog where I can understand very few words, but a picture's worth...

And, as mentioned yesterday, I keep a close watch on Nanette's doings at Knitting In Color... oh so many beautiful mittens and gloves!


You've got your Warm Hands Knit-along, brainchild of Sandy (who, of course, is the mastermind that has so many of us looking to the sky every Saturday).  I don't know why I haven't officially joined that yet -- it's not like she even makes any demands or has any deadlines!


And you've got your "Heart to Hands" project, launched by Lynne last week because, in discussing the list wishes and needs with a pastor in Buffalo, he told her, "We simply need mittens for the children for Christmas."  Oh my goodness, you can just feel it, can't you?  The adrenaline rush and Lynne's instinctive reaction to those words?  "I will get you mittens!"  Now, I have to admit that one of the most appealing things to me about "Heart to Hands" is that I do not have to make the mittens... I can buy mittens or donate mittens that I already have.  I have raised three children in Wisconsin, we breed mittens around here -- leave a pair alone in a closet and they're just like bunnies, I swear.  Honestly, I find stray mittens everywhere -- even with the kids practically grown!


So here's the part where I continue thinking out loud, attempt to organize my thoughts, tie all these buttons together, and declare my intentions -- so I don't forget what the plan is.  ; )

I plan to participate in Carole & Margene's 2nd annual Knit Unto Others by finishing a pair of mittens that have been sitting in a drawer (awaiting only a seam, for crying out loud) and sending them off, along with the current litter of mittens I find in the closet, to Lynne.

Vera wrote yesterday to tell me that she's sent my Week 9 Fantasy Football contest prize, which happens to be a ball of Mango Moon recycled silk that looks to be mostly RED.  That's provided the inspiration (and additional yardage) that I've needed for a RED SCARF. Have you seen Norma's wonderful new scarf?  That Multi-directional Scarf (MDS) stuff has intrigued me for a long time, too, and I've never done it!  So, I've printed the pattern (probably for the thousandth time) and plan to use the Mango Moon, along with either some Cascade 220 or Lamb's Pride that I have in stash, to knit a fiery MDS for the Red Scarf Project.  This knitting also fits in nicely with the above.

The only other deadline I have is for Mack's Christmas stocking, which I hope to have delivered in time for St. Nicholas to fill.  I am in the midst of a Coup d'etat, but it's going very well and if it drags on for a little while, that's okay.  The second sleeve ought to be completed during today's football watching, and I haven't decided whether to start a front or the back next.

There's a bunch of other stuff in the wings, on the needles -- including Latvian mittens that I started and then stopped because of a broken needle (see photo above) -- and that excuse for not continuing sounds about as good as "I broke a nail," which is what comes to mind.  I'm putting it all away.  Out of sight out of mind.  The other day, Cara said, "Knits don't really have feelings do they?" and all I could think was, "Um, no, but I think its eyes follow me around a room."  It's time to clean up, put away, and organize for the holidays, anyway, and I only want one pair of "eyes" following me around the room... Latvian!  I can do this.

"Keep New"


There was a dramatic shift in the weather yesterday.  This is the view out my computer/laundry room window this morning (I just saw a deer walking on the path way down there!).  It was in the 60s on Thursday, thunder and snow and 30s on Friday, sunshine and 40s today -- and pretty much the rest of the week, I guess.  Yeah, like Amy Lu says.  There's even a little hint of my still-gray-but-soon-to-be-sunny Saturday Sky for Sandy!

I have to admit that while I have a Newsgator account and sometimes like their service better than Bloglines, I use Bloglines more.  Lots more.  If you use Bloglines, you have probably noticed -- and maybe use -- the "Keep New" feature at the bottom of every post.  I currently have 10 items checked off as "Keep New."  Let's check 'em out!

1.  Vera is the "commissioner" of Needles Hooks and Yarn, a fantasy football league for crafters, and maintains a blog on "space" donated by Beth.  I saved a Week 9 post because I actually won a contest!  I am having more fun that I ever imagined with the fantasy team.  My family thinks I'm nuttier than ever with my enthusiastic whooping for a good play and then a mad dash to the computer to see how it affected my fantasy score.  ; )  Yeah, I'm now a sports nerd of gigantic proportion.  My record is currently 4-5 and I'm looking to even that off this week.  We'll see.

2.  Dyeing With Kool-Aid -- A Pictorial by Rete at Arts & Quilts is saved -- to be more permanently bookmarked (or even printed and filed) for future reference.  I have yarn, I have Kool-Aid....

3.  I ticked this post at Mustaa villaa before going to Rhinebeck.  I have admired, fondled and considered knitting a Clapotis -- in one or another of the variations I've seen -- and yet, to this day, I remain Clapotis-less.  Knowing that I'd meet Kate Gilbert at Rhinebeck, I admit to entertaining a little fantasy about choosing the yarn for my first Clapotis with the designer.  ; )  It didn't work out that way, but it's still fun to think about.  And I continue to ponder the eventual Clapotis, and admire ones like Terhi's... but OMG, so much more over there!  I dare you not to plotz when you visit her blog.

4.  Just the other day, I saw this post at Knitting in Color with resources for glove patterns.  There's always great plotz potential at Nanette's!  Just a few days earlier, it was the mittens.  I have a couple of her books on my list...

Dsc08953...I could maybe learn something useful.  I keep taking classes in color knitting, hoping to improve or learn the magic trick, but I think it's probably practice, practice, practice -- as with anything else.  This is the start of Mack's Christmas stocking.  It seemed tight when I went to bed last night, but not so bad this morning.  I'll check again before making a final determination.  This is one of those "for all time" things and I'd like it to be the best.

5.  Knitting on Impulse -- String Bag No. 3: Streamlined and Simple.  I'm sure I have previously saved Nos. 1 & 2.  I always think these would make nice "gift wrap."  Ruth just had a birthday yesterday, too.  One more for the November birthday club.

6.  Time to Knit posted the contents of an email from her aunt that I found humorous.  I've actually copied and pasted it and emailed it to a few people I know.  Thanks Lori!

7.  Going For The Masters at Wovenflame. I've had this one checked for over a month now and have contemplated joining Marlene in this endeavor -- the TKGA Master Knitting Program.  I'm still undecided, still contemplating, will definitely keep this one checked for a while yet.

8.  I have looked at this say la vee post quite a few times in the last week or so, given the birthday and all.  I think that one shall remain checked for a while yet, too.  I think I'll want to gaze upon those beautiful faces some more.

9.  This might be the oldest check in the list!  It is directions for making (including definition of) a FAVICON, and I do so want one for my blog.

10.  This struck me, as many of Anna's posts do, and I've been trying to find my voice for her.  It will come eventually.

And finally (this will come as no big surprise), as seen at Cursing Mama's and at Ann's...

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Midland
The Northeast
The South
The West
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Actually, when I lived in Oregon, people often thought I was Canadian -- mostly because of the "about" and "house" pronunciations, and the like, and I admit that I do sometimes utter that unique (impossible to convey in type) "oo" (but if you've ever heard it, you know what I'm talking about -- go find a podcast featuring the Yarn Harlot, you'll hear it -- here's one, another).  I seem to be the only one in my family with this particular feature of speech, because even my own sisters point and laugh when they catch it.  I did live near Toronto for a year as a child -- during what must have been formative years -- and I think that maybe there were lasting consequences.

Tomorrow (because, you know, I'll be here), there will be some more talk of gloves and mittens and warm, warm hands.

P.S.  Have y'all gone over to say "Hello" to Yvette yet? Her new blog is And Sew To Knit, but she is definitely not new to blogland.  I found the first comment she ever left here -- May of 2004!  There have been many comments and emails since, along with a swap or two, and I was very happy that she was winner of my comment contest a while back.  Check it out.

Can you hair me now?

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If I may say, I've got a head of hair that just won't quit -- sometimes it's just too much and I really wish I could give some of it away.  I used to wish I could trade hair for boobs.  It's one of my best features, though, beginning way back in my days as a towhead toddler right through to the big-hair days in the '80s.  I've held on to most of it through three pregnancies and it's beginning to gray a little.  It's thick and healthy and there's lots of it -- always has been and, hopefully, always will be.  I haven't had a perm in a while, but it used to be that I'd have to book an extra half-hour just to roll it all up.  The worst condition my hair was ever in was after getting a Barbra Streisand perm -- inspired by either A Star Is Born or The Main Event (I don't remember which) and hating it so much that I demanded it be "removed."  Then came the scarecrow period.

My hair was very blonde right up 'til junior high.  Mom used to rinse it with lemon juice sometimes when I was little to keep it blonde.  As a teen, I recall treating it at various times with egg, mayonnaise, and beer (yeah, I remember washing my face with Tide, too, and it wasn't the liquid version).  Nowadays, it's usually just shampooed with whatever's on sale and rarely even conditioned.  I don't color it and I don't perm it anymore, mainly because I refuse to spend an entire afternoon in a hair salon every 6 weeks.  I tried to do a home perm once and it was pure hell -- trying to keep Roller #1 to stay while working on Roller #2 (did I mention that my hair is straight -- and stubborn?) resulted in a big waste of time that ended with tears and tingling hands and arms -- and I never even got beyond battling those two rollers.  I have tried to color my hair at home, but I'm so afraid of turning blue or lavender or green that I'm ultra conservative in my color choices and there's never any noticeable difference.  That seems like a big waste of time, too.  It definitely helps to keep my head and neck warm, and my hearing usually improves if I tuck it behind my ears.

So here's the new 'do.  Sorry for the not-so-good "after" pictures.  I did have a before picture snapped of the back -- it really was getting long!  It was basically taken up to the shortest of the grown-out layers and then layered and thinned a little more.  When I was asked how I wanted it styled, I was a little confused.  I haven't thought of my hair being "styled" in a while -- it's usually wash 'n wear around here, worn down or in a ponytail.  She said, "Straight or curly?"  CURLY???  Me?  I haven't had curls in I-don't-know how long, so I opted for CURLY (then was immediately sorry because, you know, I have all this hair).  But I tipped her big for my great big, soft, bouncy curls that I loved so much, I'm almost ready to dig out the electric rollers and see if they still work!

Dsc08952_2That should be the last time you see my mug around here in a while.  ; )

There's a coup going on over here!!

The Peace Fleece Coup d'Etat Cardigan has one completed sleeve and the other is underway.  I'm not sure about all those white specks... I love the black/blue/sometimes-even-brownish-gray main color, though.  This is intended to be an everyday cardi and it's going to look fantastic with jeans.  It'll also look quite nice with black pants, or brown, or gray... you get the picture.  This is a swatch, and it's actually my second.  The first was done with smaller needles and also had a seed stitch body on either side of the cable, as written in the pattern.  There's no way my wrist and arm would survive knitting nearly an entire sweater in seed stitch, so the second swatch was done on larger needles and I opted for plain ol' stockinette.  I like it a lot.  I think it'll improve greatly with the eventual soak and block.

T is for...

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Nothing tempts me quite like chocolate.  This is a box that I received for my birthday, custom-filled with my favorites -- turtles and meltaways.  I'm always given a box of chocolates from a local chocolatier for my birthday, sometimes for Christmas, usually for Valentine's Day -- and that's enough.  I am sometimes quite selfish with my chocolates and unwilling to share.  ; )  I love the jordan almonds, too.  They used to sell boxes of jordan almonds at the movie theater and they were my favorites because I could make 'em last for nearly an entire movie!

Decisions, decisions

I have posted more pictures of myself on this blog in the past month or so than I have in all the time since I started blogging, so I really need not post a "before" picture here, then.  Do stay tuned for the "after."  Kate made back-to-back appointments at the hair salon for us today, and I have no idea what's going to transpire in that chair.  But first, there's...

Unfinished Business (please see the Nov. 6th post if you're not sure why we're on question 39.)


Go ahead, just ask a friend for a random question and see what you get.  This one -- not even close to 'What's the last thing you ate?' -- came fully loaded.  ; )  I should have specified True or False -- or multiple choice, at least.  I've been practically paralyzed, wondering where to begin, or from whence to leap with the extrapolations for this little exercise.

Holy moly.  The difficulty begins with "decision."  To be perfectly honest, I feel that I've made relatvely few true decisions in my life.  I've led mostly a reactionary life -- something happens, make a choice (quick!) -- not so much decisions made (as in taking into consideration, making judgment, coming to a well-thought-out conclusion).  The answer to Question 16, "...lack of motivation, drive, passion," plays in well here -- in fact, this is exactly what I was thinking about with that answer.  I can most definitely be motivated, I've demonstrated drive, and I'm a Scorpio for Pete's sake -- PASSION is my middle name -- but always on a small scale or very focused, not in terms of "what am I going to do with my life" kind of stuff.  I always wished it would come to me like a lightning bolt -- THIS is what I want to do, THIS is what I've been waiting for, THIS is what I was MEANT to do...

If I get past that part, then the question becomes something like, "If you weren't married with children, what would you be doing?"  It isn't any easier to answer, given all of the above.  I guess I'm not very goal-oriented, always living for today more than tomorrow -- which is evident in my retirement savings thus far (though I have been working on that more these past few years -- so in essence, I am working today for tomorrow, pretty much -- and encouraging even my quite young daughters to NOT do as I did, START EARLY!).  When I moved into one of my first apartments, my boyfriend at the time gave me a housewarming gift -- a very practical tool set (the BEST first housewarming gift ever) and a kind of funny card with a 15-year projection calendar -- or something like that -- it was "kind of funny" because I know this particular boyfriend was also quite serious about the future plans and goals and where he wanted to be in five years.  I always thought I was doing good if I could project five minutes.  Yeah, we had a WHOLE lot of fun together for a while, and it was even this >< close to most serious for a minute, but we really weren't compatible for the long-term.  ; )

Anyway, I suppose I could blather on and on and on, but I will make a decision to wind this up.  The answer is...  I don't know.

Breaking news

Dsc08700_1_1You may recall that my eldest daughter, Katie, did a little guest blogging last month while I was away -- here and here.  She wrote of having submitted a drawing in an art show and crossing fingers...

SHE'S IN!  The graphite drawing at left will be in the Avant Grande Partner Art Show at the Merchandise Mart in Chicago on November 17th!!  It's a pretty cool deal and I'm so excited and happy for her, and so proud.  There's a chance that this could also extend to inclusion in One of a Kind.

The dumb way these things work, though, is that the work has to be hand-delivered on the 14th or 15th in Chicago and attendance at the actual event on the 17th is mandatory, which is fine, of course, but also in Chicago... it's not just a hop and skip away.  We never say, "Oh, I'm going to run down to Chicago today."  I think how it'll work is that Katie will do a day-trip to take the work down mid-week, and then she and I will both go on the 17th and make another long day of it.  It'll be a very long day, and busy, but so exciting, too.  It's a pretty big deal for my artsy fartsy girl!!

* * * * *

Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes yesterday!  Oh, they were so much fun to read and I had a smile on my face all day.  ; )

* * * * *

Don't forget to VOTE today!!!

48 Things for my 48th Birthday

48 Things You Could Care Less About... But It's My Birthday and I'll Meme if I Want To!

Dsc089121. FIRST NAME?  Victoria -- my friends call me Vicki, or Vick; my brother called me Ficki when he was little and my little sister Gicki, and now my brother sometimes calls me Gick.

Dsc089132. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?  As I recall, my dad had a friend in school whose mother was named Vicki/Victoria.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY?  I cry all the time.

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?  No.  I'm usually in a hurry or my hand is stiff or my wrist hurts -- and it shows.

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT?   Ham.  I like bologna, too, but I always get the hiccups when I eat a bologna sandwich.


7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL?  If my blog counts, and I don't know why it wouldn't, especially since I seem to go on and on sometimes about all kinds of things, probably more than I should, then yes.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?  I do!  All of my sibings do, and so do all of my children!

Dsc089299. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?  Absolutely not (this answer stolen verbatim from Ann).

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?  Post Great Grains with Raisins, Dates, & Pecans.



13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR?  Coffee (with chunks of chocolate).

14. SHOE SIZE?  9.

15. RED OR PINK?  Red.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?  My lack of motivation, drive, passion.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?  My grandparents.

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU?  WHAT FOOD WILL GET YOU OUT OF BED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT?*  Tums.  Does that count?  That's about the only thing I get up for in the middle of the night.  ; )  When I was pregnant with Katie, I used to get up and eat Oreos... 10 of them -- dunked in milk, of course.

Dsc0891819. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?  Light burnt orange v-neck with 3/4-sleeves and a black vest, blue jeans, yellow-orange socks, black shoes.

20. LAST THING YOU ATE?  Oooh, yum... one of the birthday donuts for work (it had chocolate on it).


22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?  Blue-gray (discontinued).

23. FAVORITE SMELL?  Line-dried laundry.  (Next favorite?  Something baking in the oven.)

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?  Madeleine... and then the high school attendance office.



27. FAVORITE DRINK?  Do I have a favorite drink?  I guess I've most recently ordered either beer or a margarita of the alcohol variety.  Otherwise, Caffeine-free Diet Coke.

28. FAVORITE SPORT? Football.

Dsc0893129. EYE COLOR? Hazel.

30. HAT SIZE?  I have no idea, but not small.  I don't wear hats much.

31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?  No.  I used to -- I had extended wear contacts around the time of Katie's birth and wore them for her entire first year.  Then something happened to them and I never replaced them.

32. FAVORITE FOOD?  Lasagna.

33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?  Definitely not scary.  I like the ones that make you wonder what's going to happen next, and also the ones that make my heart fill and the tears spill.

35. SUMMER OR WINTER?  Spring.

36. HUGS OR KISSES?  Foot rubs.

37. FAVORITE DESSERT?  Almost anything with chocolate as the main ingredient.

38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND?  WHAT SIDE OF THE BED DO YOU SLEEP ON AND WHY?*  If you're in the bed, I'm on your right.  Why?  Because I'm right-handed and hubby is left-handed?  It's closer to the door (though, since we rearranged, further from the bathroom and that's really more important)?

39. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? IF YOU DIDN'T MAKE THE DECISION TO GET MARRIED AND HAVE A FAMILY, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING TODAY?*  This is deep, really, really deep.  I think I shall expound on all the possibilities presented herein in an entirely separate post.

40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING?  The Memory Keeper's Daughter

41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?  Wisconsin Timber Rattlers/Time Warner Cable

42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV?  Sunday Night Football -- Colts vs. Patriots.

43. FAVORITE SOUNDS?  Children singing.


45. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME?  Home has been so many places, it's kind of hard to say...  I'm going to say Albuquerque, NM.

46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT?  Keeping my cool.

47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?  Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU?  I believe I'm the last person on the internet to do this; first seen at Cara's and Ann's.  I've been holding out.

*Thanks to Ann for providing me with three replacement questions.  ; )

Happy Birthday to Me!!  I had a most excellent, fun, and relaxing weekend, which culminated in the baking of a birthday cake and making of homemade lasagna to share with my husband and kids and mom and stepdad.  Then I wrapped my youngest in duct tape.

Strike a pose

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We listened to John Mayer's new CD all day.  I'm still fascinated with Kate's new CD player.  She got new speakers recently, so it sounds pretty good, too.  And her license plates finally came!

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Our most frequented local grocery store has started a new program where we earn points which can be redeemed for gas -- the more points you have, the more cents-off-per-gallon you get.  We were up to 30 cents off per gallon yesterday, which I said aloud after I scanned my card at the pump, and a voice from the other side of the pump said, "THIRTY CENTS?!  I'm only at 27!"  Wherein a conversation ensued about points and I informed her that I hadn't even redeemed the 7500 bonus points yet that they sent me for my birthday!  So last night, I went to buy all the stuff for tonight's lasagna birthday family dinner party and redeemed those birthday points, plus earned quite a few more, and my next fill-up will be FORTY CENTS per gallon less!  Woo-Yowza-Hoo!  I'm thinking that maybe points will become more difficult to earn after the novelty wears off, but I'll sure take 'em while I can get 'em.

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We went to two LYSs and I purchased materials for Mack's Christmas stocking, and also a ball of Kureyon because I just have to try one of those Lizard Ridge squares -- they just fascinate me.  We had fun just running around all afternoon -- buying fresh bread and drinking fresh coffee while eating samples and fresh cookies.  We had lunch at JD's, a local "drive-in" that's been around for as long as I can remember, but to which I'd never, ever been before.  The only explanation I have is that when I was young, Tom's was closer and we always went there -- and JD's was just never on the way to anyplace I went on a regular basis.  Mmmm, good fries.  I think I'm going to have to find some places to go or do some re-routing.  ; )

After lunch, we hit the brand new Lowe's to consider Duck Tape possibilities.  While Katie and I piled rolls of duct tape in front of us, contemplating how many we'd actually need, a young man (employee) walked down the aisle and said, "Whoa!  What are you going to do with all that duct tape?"  Katie and I couldn't help but exchange glances and giggle a little..  "...tape somebody's car shut?"  He wasn't just commenting on our pile in the form of a question, nor was he just passing through -- he'd actually stopped and expected an answer.  I tried, as best I could...  asking if he knew what a dress form was and explaining that we were making something like that for ourselves -- of ourselves -- by wrapping our bodies in duct tape -- this is pretty much where his eyes glazed over and he took a step back -- over a T-shirt.  "Oh, good, it's over a T-shirt, because you don't want to be putting that tape ON YOUR SKIN!"  And then he hurried off.  ; )

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There's something about wearing a duct tape corset that makes you want to strike a pose and consider your super powers.

Dsc08909In the end, we used about one roll of tape each -- which means that we have enough tape to do Maddy and Ali and all of my sisters, too, if they want.  ; )  C'mon over, we'll do you!!  Seriously, I recommend it.  Even if it's never actually used for fitting clothing, it raises awareness of your body and you'll learn some things.  Katie said, "Wow, I have a waist!"  Well, no kidding -- personally, I think she has a really cute figure -- but a person doesn't (can't) really look at (see, contemplate) themselves in a flat mirror image.  She also realized last night, looking at our dressed torsos, how much broader my shoulders are than hers -- it's always been that way, she just never saw it before!

We had a blast.

And so it begins

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I can't tell you how many times I picked up The Tongue River Farm Sock Collection booklet at a recent fiber fest in the east.  And the yarn.  And the kits.  Did I buy any of it?  No.  Why not?  I can't really tell you.  I've visited Katherine Misegades website before, drooled over the designs there, even signed up for the notify list.  I can't explain it.  Upon returning from said fiber fest -- alas, not quite empty-handed, but not with any of these things -- I did receive a notification from Katherine about her new book.  It just so happens that my birthday is coming up -- it's Monday, in fact -- so I sent DH the link for a book (Cables Untangled) that I'd like, and also the link for Katherine's new book which, with a projected delivery date of mid-December, would make a very nice Christmas gift.  Always thinking ahead, we are.

Of course, I then placed an order for The Tongue River Farm Sock Collection with Schoolhouse Press (because they're nice and close and I've had them on my mind, what with missing the opening of that show in Madison last weekend and all) and it needed company so I added Janet Szabo's Aran Sweater Design to the cart, too.  They arrived yesterday, along with the new Interweave Knits.  Very happy mail day -- a lot more fun than the junk election mail.

Speaking of which, I'm considering Tuesday to be a big birthday present from all the candidates.  DH was so frustrated with one of our local candidates the other day -- the candidate, in fact, that he agrees with most and will most likely vote for -- and the relentless, annoying, recorded phone calls, that he slammed down the phone and declared, "I am not voting for so-and-so!"  Of course, he went on to say that he actually probably would, but it's all so aggravating and frustrating!  I was discussing this with a friend the other day and he wondered if perhaps that isn't the goal of some of this advertising -- that certain candidates may actually benefit from keeping turn-out low and that one way to accomplish that is to annoy the freakin' hell out of them.  This is nothing new, no doubt, but was a bit of an "oh yeah" moment for us.  Turn-out is expected to be 50% in our state.

There are so many November birthdays in blogland!  Lynne S. of Oz, Jasmine (omg, with the cutest new 'do!), The Boar, Joe, Deb... I'm sure I'm missing some (I wasn't taking notes), so pipe up fellow Scorpios.  ; ) I'd wanted to come up with a contest to celebrate my birthday -- I really had a lot of fun with my first -- but it just wasn't happening.  Instead, I'm entering one... presenting my November (office) calendar page for Deb's Calendar Girl Contest!  This is one of the cheapest calendars ever, but I loved that nearly every month of flower photos included pansies.  Yeah, I'm easy (and sometimes cheap).

Today, Katie and I will be doing this!  Woohoo!  My new sweater that I couldn't resist casting on for last night should really, really fit!

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Beaded Smoke Ring in Brooks Farm Acero (which isn't actually shown on their website), both pattern and yarn purchased at Rhinebeck.  I've finished the lace edge and I'm at the part where I just sail along in stockinette for many inches.  That's a picot edge all along the bottom that I'll be tacking up by hand because I wasn't thinking too clearly at the very beginning, I guess.  It's been a great week, sunny and clear, but also cold.  I was freezing yesterday -- maybe just tired and rundown (I actually went to bed, and turned out the light, before the late news last night -- almost unheard of) -- so there is definite motivation to knit a neck-warmer!

My brother Michael called last night and it was so good to hear from him!  He has been working more and doing more -- doing his actual work rather than busy stuff -- he's been at 6 hours per day and is bumping up to 7 next week.  He went hunting yesterday, the main point being that he's really just happy to get out in the woods and watch the turkeys walk by.

I think we're still decided on the stocking pattern for Mack, but Berroco isn't making it easy with their new stocking patterns, John and Colleen.  And what about Lion Brand?  They're introducing a new collection of handpainted, natural fiber yarns -- mohair, silk, cashmere.  Has anyone seen these in person yet?

A blog post a day ought to keep something at bay, don't you think?  I post to this here blog almost every day, so NaBloPoMo (I keep wanting to write "NoBlo...") isn't going to be a huge stretch, but it will mark the first month with wall-to-wall posts.

Dsc08875The second-to-last of the packages is heading to the P.O. today, with a completed pair of sleeves and a mailing address!  Woohoo.  This little V-neck was knit using some Kool Wool (warm and washable) that I had in stash -- mostly black, with red and purple stripes -- a big purple stripe near the cuff of one of the sleeves, just to change it up a bit.  I probably should have paid more attention while I was knitting the stripes to minimize all the ends -- holy cow it takes nearly as long to make up a baby sweater as it does an adult's!  Anyway, this will join many a handknit helping to keep the Dutchicans warm this winter!  I'm looking forward to news of their arrival -- in less than two weeks!

Labor Day Project is Complete!


a.k.a. The Pergola Project.  Most of the progress can be had here.  I can't wait to plant stuff in the planters next spring.  In the meantime, there will be lights and decorations.

Dsc08873Chances are, if I owe you a package, it's heading to the P.O. as we speak.  There are two to go -- one awaiting an address, one the knitting of a sleeve -- and then I think my obligations will all be met, for the moment, at least, and it feels good.