Sunday, December 31, 2006

Holidays 2006 - Day Eight

Ah, yes. The end of 2006 and all the baggage that went with it. Tonight we are celebrating with our good friends, the Connors, who also happened to be the parents of the coolest kid we know. Games, movies, food, and wine will be had a-plenty.

Wishing you a noisy, fun, memorable New Year. Drive carefully, or better yet - not at all - there be CRAZY people on the roads tonight...

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Holidays 2006 - Day Seven

Well, not much happening today. We are thoroughly unmotivated, sitting back with a few beers and watching Mega Builders on Discovery Channel and being thoroughly impressed at the amount of rebar used on a bridge project.

Knit-wise, I've started my sister-in-law's purple socks, as well as My First Sweater. I'm also finishing up my SP9 project, but I have a feeling that I'm going to keep it and make her a new one. Long story that I'll discuss after the secret is out. Let's just say sometimes my learning curve is a bit longer than normal.

In a little bit I'm going to make some sauce for the lasagna we're bringing over to the Connor house tomorrow night, but otherwise I'm just trying to savor this day. Actually, I'm surprised I'm even out of my pajamas.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Holidays 2006 - Day Six

Wow, working one day out of ten really takes a lot out on a gal. Bwah! Today was kind of a weird day, for a holiday. Had to take Coz to the vet (he's a snotty boy - literally - who needs some antibiotic help). Then I had to attend the wake of a coworker's wife. It was very, very sad. Now I'm back home and trying to focus on happy things. Like having some wine. And celebrating my new, clean Bastard Room!

Why is it called the Bastard Room, you ask? Well, it was billed as one of the five bedrooms in our house (uh, so was our closet). But it's barely big enough to hold maybe a single bed and one of those small kid desks. Maybe. I can ALMOST touch two opposing walls at the same time. Anyhow, when we moved in, since we have no closets, a lot of crap got shoved into this room. So it became the Bastard Room - the room that has just about everything in it. My goal for the holidays was to finish cleaning it out and make it a total craft-and-exercise room. Voila!

Clockwise, from noonish: a portrait of my great-great-great grandfather, a self-portrait of my mom, my DVD-TV Christmas present from Joe with Dead Like Me season two playing, misc cross-stitchings that have no other home, part of my treadmill, my stash which might look pathetic but is really too big (large basket is hidden), cabinetry from our laundry room while that room gets a new look (plus a select few stuffed animals that I can't put in the attic where they would surely suffer certain death), and - hmmm...what is that? Need a close-up?

Ahhh, yes. My new swift (courtesy of Joe) and ball winder (courtesy of Awesome Sharon). Took me a few tries to get it right, but here's my new sweater yarn, rapidly becoming ballish. Yay! Joe wasn't too thrilled - only because he was preoccupied - making beer. Or as we say - BEEEEYAH!
So now while Joe and his buds go to the beer supply store for stuff to finish the beer in the next week or so, I'm going up to the Bastard Room, winding and wining, and watching more of DLM s3. Life certainly does not suck.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Holidays 2006 - Day Five

Yes, I know...I'm a lucky SOB. Each year we get 12/24, 12/25, 12/26, 12/31, and 1/1 off for holidays. When those days fall on weekends, then the holidays are pushed into the work week. So the only day I have to go to work this week is tomorrow, then I don't go back until next Tuesday. That is a definite perk for someone with little vacation to spend.

Spent a goodly part of the evening at the House of Larson - one of my cool coworkers and his wife. We had a great time meeting their friends and family and were sitting back just having a lovely conversation when I totally lost focus and spied a cabled sweater knitting book. Turns out, his wife is an awesome knitter and is getting ready to start a knitting group in the area. Uh, YAY! Plus she's kind of toying with opening a yarn shop, since there aren't too many good ones close by. Let's just say I probably came on a bit too strong, but she's a trooper and wasn't totally weirded out by my excitement.

Random pic of the day:

My best friend Jeanine and I, circa 1983. I am the unfortunate-looking one. We Harris kids went through some really awkward phases. Jeanine is now a professor of environmental education at Western Kentucky University and is the mother of the cutest, brightest little girl. We practically lived at each other's homes from 1st grade until 7th, when her family moved to Oklahoma. I remember the day this picture was taken - one of the few "major" snow days in Georgia. She had these cool plastic sheets that we used for sliding down the neighborhood hills.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Holidays 2006 - Day Four

Happy Day After!

Yesterday was a wonderful day of calling family and drinking margaritas.

Yes - the fajitas and enchiladas were as delicious as they looked. We have leftovers for days! Today I've got to finally get going on my holiday to-do list, as my time off is almost half over. Gone are the days of cooking, drinking, and knitting all day. Drat.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Holidays 2006 - Day Three

Merry Christmas!

What a wonderful time we had with Russ, Roe, and their family and friends yesterday. Much food and wine (beer, bourbon, limoncello) was had by all. So much so that this morning I did a hilly 5K on the treadmill and feel bunches better.

Hey - I finished Joe's gloves! Not a great pic, but he was in the shop when I wanted to take a pic, so this is me with the camera on timer. Hence the baginess of the gloves. This was a great pattern - very easy to follow. I would just recommend, however, writing down how long the fingers are on the first glove. Even though I knit up the 2nd glove by CONSTANTLY comparing it to the first one, evidently I'm about a row short. In socks, it's not noticeable. In fingers, it's a little snug. I should rip them out and start over, but Joe won't have that. Maybe I can block an itsy bit of length out of the fingers...? Anyhow, I loved this pattern and already have requests from his cigar-loving friends. But that'll have to wait - I've got too many "required" objects right now, and knitting ceases to be fun for me when I have a deadline.

On today's agenda - FELIZ NAVIDAD FIESTA! As is tradition, when Joe and I aren't with family or friends on Christmas, we pull out the tequila and avocados and rock with some Mexican food. We went to the market for some awesome cheeses on Saturday, and our pals Russ and Roe gave us a fajita kit last night for Christmas (including that sizzly pan and the cute black bowls all the sides come in). We're so psyched. Chips, salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole, tequila chicken fajitas, spinach enchiladas with roasted tomato sauce, and many many margaritas and beer. Betcha wanna join us now, eh?

Merry Christmas to you and yours. Peace.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Holidays 2006 - Day Two

After much fun, cleaning, cooking, and beer yesterday, we ended up in bed by around 8. Didn't roll out of bed until about 12 hours later. Yaaaawwwnnn.

This was Christmas 3 years ago. I'm not complaining AT ALL about our current weather, but I wore short-sleeves outside yesterday. Just a weeee bit different this year.

A few things on the agenda today - bake the mac&cheese for the brunch, head over to the Hornbeck house for some Christmas Eve food and games, and pretty much nothing else. Except I HAVE to finish Joe's gloves. They are a Christmas present, after all. Next on the needles: a little sumpin' sumpin' for my SP9 pal for her final package, then I've been informed that size 8 purple socks are expected to be in Sarasota pretty soon. Because evidently "Beth will knit you some socks" came across as "you'll get socks for Christmas" to my sister-in-law, and someone was a bit disappointed. THEN I start on my first sweater. Finally.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Holidays 2006 - Day One

This is the moment to savor. That first morning when you lie in bed and realize that you don't HAVE to get up until you WANT to get up. Even if it's at your normal time - it's all about WANT. And then you realize that you have many, many more mornings like this just waiting in the wings. Day One. That's what it's all about.

Random pic of the day:

This is Dobby doing what he does best - being cute while sleeping. Joe installed some cabinets in our office a few years ago with nice halogen lights underneath. And they get WARM. Voila - the ultimate Dobby warm snoozy spot.

On the agenda today - beat the crowds to the grocery store, make some mac & cheese for tomorrow's brunch, hit the liquor store for Christmas Margarita fixins, and finish my ChriNew Year's cards. Cleaning the kitchen will be required for proper grocery restocking. Yup - that's my exciting (and wonderful!) Day One agenda. Sure you don't wanna come over and, say, wash some dishes?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Watch it. Now.

A musician's search for the human cost of war.

I don't care which "side" you're on. If you're human, you should watch this film.

Warning - Bah Humbugs Up Ahead...

This year, Christmas just ain't right...

We don’t have a tree or any decorations except for our normal “Welcome Wreath” on the kitchen door and a new fresh wreath from LLBean that we accidentally shipped to ourselves (was supposed to a present for someone else).

Joe got his bandsaw and chair-making class presents WELL before December, and his presents for me would seem kind of lonely without a place to be (like under a tree), so rather than wrap and open, I just got them out of the shopping bags when he came home with them last weekend.

I’ve only sent out 40 of the 100+ Christmas cards on my list – so the majority will now be New Year’s cards, since I don’t think I’ll even get to them until this weekend.

I haven’t done ANY baking. Each year I typically make enough dough between Thanksgiving and Christmas to make about 75 dozen cookies – most given out during the holidays, the others socked away (as dough) in the freezer for last minute take-along goodies throughout the year.

I haven’t been home on a weekend since Thanksgiving when my house was packed with friends and family. Since then I’ve traveled to GA, to DC, and to CT. Laundry and dishes barely get done, bills are paid but haphazardly so, and my office is one big mess.

I’m not complaining – merely stating that I need a break before *I* break. I need one good day to knit and watch chick movies and wind down. Then I need several days to finish cleaning up from Thanksgiving and the aftermath (yes, I know – I think I still have a bowl of leftover potatoes in the scary back of the fridge). Then I need to clean my office, catch up on paperwork, and actually file the things that are piled everywhere.

Then – and only then – can I begin the New Year with the following points of focus:

1) ME. Get off this weight loss plateau. Walk each morning. Track everything. Take the time to plan meals and buy groceries. Schedule my volunteer commitments so that my personal life does not become one spastic “have to” for everyone else. That just might include saying NO from time to time or even bowing out of current obligations. We’ll see. Knit more. Much more.
2) US. My wonderful hubby and I all too often work long hours and then veg with TV and take-out. That’s gotta stop. Not only have we lost ourselves, but we’ve been spending too much moolah. We know that when we focus we are unstoppable debt-reducers. What better time to start than now?
3) HOME. Since the Great Foundation and Porch Work of 2005-2006, we’ve shied away from interior improvements, mostly from burnout. That too must change. Half of our house still looks like it did when we moved here 6 years ago. We’ve gotta start taking care of this old gal and help her shine like we know she can. There is a tremendous amount of work we can do with very little money. It’s all about time and effort.

Well, that’s about it. May you and yours have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Me and Joe? We’ll be hangin’ out at home. Come on over.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Words Fail Me...

This evening, I left work, headed over to the Humane Society Prez's house for my biweekly gathering of info and paperwork, ran by Subway where my not-so-favorite person was behind the counter, giving me a wicked look for requesting all the veggies (including hot peppers) on my veggie sub and Joe's club (soooo sorry to interrupt your break beeyatch), then drove home, checked the mail (received endless Christmas cards which are wonderful but remind me how very late I am this year) and settled in for an evening in front of the PC working on shelter stuff.

Then, as I headed up the front stairs, I thought I'd turn on the porch light and see if there was anything on the porch.

There was. Actually, there WERE. Two boxes. One was the last of Joe's presents to me (Michael Franti & Spearhead Yell Fire! CD and his movie I Know I'm Not Alone). Yes, happy happy joy joy, it's what I wanted, but I was kind of expecting them since he had the Amazon confirmation sent to our joint email address (d'oh!).

Then there was THE OTHER ONE.

I knew by the address that Ms Snarkypants was the culprit. Maybe soap? I did mention soaps I like. Big box for soap, though. What could it be whatcoulditbe? Tossing the Amazon box aside, I grabbed the scissors and raced for the table (after getting a beer, of course - unwrapping usually requires adult beverages with which to savor the opening of goodies - in our house, at least).


Working clockwise, from noon:

Not one, but TWO! hanks of Handspun in a lovely LOVELY mango merino/silk. Holy cow! How will I ever think of a project special enough for this beautiful yarn? It's soft and golden - it simply glows - and it's so fun to touch and love...

A ball winder (!!!) - a nice used one (that makes fine little funny balls!) that needed a new home. Now, this is from Idyllic Chick, who is simply amazing as well (though I've never met her). Dude - did you realize that when we went to DC and visited the LYS that Joe was totally buying me a swift and winder for xmas, but they had no more winders, so I just got a swift? This is THE BALL WINDER OF DESTINY!

2 CDs of MP3s - one each from Snark and Idyllic - which I will be listening to as soon as I'm done with this post.

Again from Idyllic - 2 skeins of Jawool superwash in a GAW-JUS deep burgandy/olive/indigo colorway. Yippee Skippee!

Also from Idyllic - a sweet set of Clover antique needle holder charms. How very cool! I now have knitting paraphenalia!

Snarky Soap - FOUR BARS! I'm not gonna tell you what scents, cuz I don't want you to be too jealous. But YUMMY.

A Snarky handknit bag from 100% corn fiber. It's so adorable - I want to carry it around with me and show it off - "Hello, person-on-the-street, my friend made this for me. From CORN."

Last but certainly not least - Snark's G-ma's Chex Mix. Must. Find. Place. To. Hide. From. Husband.

Tonight, my WW points don't count. I'm toasting a beer or two in salute of you, my wonderful online (and Snark - briefly in person) friends. It is simply too much. Thank you.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Six Weird Things About Me

Thanks a LOT, Snarky McSnarkypants... ;)

“THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.”

Six weird things about me:
1. I have a set of lists for when I leave town for a week or more - locks and windows to be checked, appliances unplugged, etc. I cling to that list, because it's guaranteed that within 30 minutes of leaving for my trip I'll be POSITIVE I left something on, and this proves that I did everything.
2. I can't eat meat on the bone. Too many oogy parts.
3. I have a birthmark on the edge of my wrist that I didn't notice until the 2nd grade, when a CUTE substitute PE teacher was pulling us over this big canvas ball thingy. I thought he smudged some dirt on my hand, and I wasn't going to wash it off. Little did I know it was a freakin' birthmark.
4. I loved oregano so much growing up that I put some of it in a batch of St. Patrick's Day cookies (well, it's green).
5. I have really large, flat, ugly feet. With stubbly toenails.
6. I always tear up at the end of Mr. Holland's Opus, Love Acutally, Rent, and V for Vendetta.

As far as 6 people to tag, I don't think 6 people even read my blog. And of the few that do, only a couple have blogs. And those folks have already been tagged. SO...if you're reading this, leave a comment either directing to your blog and answers or respond in the comment itself.

Man. Is it Sunday night already? Bummer...

Friday, December 15, 2006

Home Again, Naturally

Took yesterday afternoon off to come home, change into sparkly clothes, then travel to Connecticut for Joe's office Christmas party. It was held at a lovely place called The Mill On the River, and we had a grand time. We stayed over in CT, drove back this morning, and I'm laying low today (due to having a grand time with the open bar last night) and struggling to get some things done. SP9 package #2 is mailed out, Mom's socks are drying, and I finished #1 of Joe's cigar gloves. Fun pattern that would knit up quickly if I actually worked on it all the time.

It's a bit big for me, but it fits Joe rather well. I was pleased at how the holes between the fingers were actually a function of the pattern (mentioned in the bind-off instructions) and not just due to my incompetency. I enjoy knitting, and I can do it, but sometimes I feel really inadequate. I need to get over my damn self.

Anyhow, just hangin' out with the kitties and going through about a week's worth of mail, getting a jump on the weekend, which will be a crazy time of catching up on shopping and chores.

Happy Friday!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I Was Going to be Good...

...but then I wasn't.

This weekend we went to Washington DC to see our neighbor Hal in the musical She Loves Me. So we planned an activity-filled weekend around the show.

Got to see our old Atlanta buddies (now residing in suburban DC) Regan, Susan, and their kids. Only spent a few precious hours with them, but it was wonderful. The show itself was just stupendous. It was performed in the round, and we were on the front row - I could have leaned over and touched the actors if I were so inclined. Such great talent in a sweet, classic musical. And Hal was awesome, as usual. We had Tex-Mex food, brew-pub beers, and a couple of pints at a great Irish pub (where the owners are actually Irish and not just Notre Dame fans). We went shopping in Old Alexandria and got a goodly bit of presents taken care of.

The clincher, though, was when we were in the hotel, getting ready for our morning out in Alexandria, when Joe said, "I'm surprised you didn't look up a yarn shop for the trip."

Me: "Nah, after the Sheep and Wool Fest I really don't need to buy anything else."

Joe: "Well, I see something online right here - it's right off the main street where we'll be."

Me: "Oh, okay. Maybe. If we have time."

Let's just say I made a bee-line for the shop as soon as the clock ticked past its 10:30 opening time. Knit Happens - a lovely store with lovely people (and a lovely class going on as I was fondling and playing with the yarns on the floor like a girl does her Barbie dolls). And so - even with the INTENTION of being good, and knowing full well that I could get these yarns online or in my LYS when I really needed them...

11 hanks of Debbie Bliss tweed for a (way far in the future) sweater for Joe and 3 skeins of Lorna's Laces Bullfrogs & Butterflies for I'm not sure what yet. In the store I was thinking maybe Clapotis, but I'm not sure that I got enough. Maybe a variation on it. Who knows. Now I really can't buy anything else for a while.

Oh. And this gorgeous basket? Got at a farmer's market that morning from a Ghanian (Ghanese?) woman. I took it with me shopping all day and got the best compliments on it! PERFECT stash basket. Perfect shopping basket. Perfect "I'm just out for a stroll with my lovely basket" basket.

We're back, we're tired, and I'm very behind on updating the gallery photos (way back to Thanksgiving). Give me a few days to catch up, and I'll resurface later.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Day Off!

Yup - I'm sittin' here in the comfort of my own cold, drafty house - no makeup, comfy slippers, and flannel. I don't get a lot of vacation days, so I often take them in ones and twos. The end of the year is coming, and I had (gasp!) 2.5 days left! So here I am burning Day #1.

There's something so lovely about laundry, dishes, and catboxes when they are cleaned on a normal weekday.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It REALLY irks me when...

...people say "new-CUE-ler"
...folks call Alzheimers "Old-Timers"
...apostrophes' are us'ed in the completely wrong place's
...idiots hunt for trophies. Honestly, now, was shooting that giraffe really in self-defense? Are you feeding your family with it?
...people stereotype based on occupation (accountants, engineers - they can't be CREATIVE, can they?)
...New Yawkahs talk about waiting "on" line (vs waiting IN line)
...people spend hundreds of dollars on a pedigreed pet
...anyone limits free thinking and creativity
...people are rude. There's no excuse for rudeness.
...parents and schools churn out completely unprepared kids because they didn't feel it was appropriate to play a game where someone loses or score a test where someone might fail.
...courts are used to determine "good vs bad" and "accident vs victim" rather than if and when laws have been broken.
...I drop a dpn between the cushions of the couch. cat is all comfy on me and I have to get up to pee.
...people assume that my impatience indicates a bad mood. I'm just fine - you're the problem
...people think the South is either a wasteland of Deliverance or laydehs sippin meent jewlips own tha verahnda
...bigots drop racist slurs as though they were discussing the weather
...I can't find something
...I'm rushed when traveling
...people use the phrase, "Not for nothing." What the heck is that supposed to mean?
...platitudes are uttered
...I realize that I really was smarter then than I am now
...we're raising an entire generation who thinks that "OMG - DD is ROTFL - CUL8R" is an appropriate way to communicate
...folks at work call me a "cat person" - as if that's the only thing that identifies me.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Uh, yeah. Winter is finally here. Pros and cons:

Pro - SNOW!

Con - Having to go to work in the snow


Con - Drafty old house that struggles to maintain 63 degrees

Pro - Cats stuck to you like velcro whenever you sit or lie

Con - Having to warm up the car

Pro - Pellet stove, flannel sheets, down comforter

Con - Being nice and warm and cozy and realizing you have to get up

Monday, December 04, 2006

From Serious to Silly in Just One Posting...

Anyone searching for the perfect gift this Christmas? It would go so well with my Elvis whiskey bottles that I got for graduation...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Will You Be My Friend?

There are so many reasons why you never should
But I will make you laugh
And love you quite a bit
And hold you when you're sad...
Will you be my friend?
For no reason that I know
Except I want you so.
- excerpts from "Will You Be My Friend" by James Kavanaugh

This past weekend, my friend buried her son. She did not do it alone. She was surrounded by family, neighbors, church family - and, of course, friends. Friends who sometimes act stupid and silly. Friends who made her and her husband laugh. Friends who didn't know what to say - only that nothing would suffice. Friends who knew that they just Needed To Be There. Friends who knew that there would be Too Much Quiet when everyone left. Friends who knew they hadn't spent nearly enough time with that wonderful family and hated to leave. Friends who realized it shouldn't take something this horrible for us to get together again.

Just typing this makes me feel plastic and fabricated - you really have to look around, see your true friends, and realize that you cannot let lame excuses get in the way anymore. It's just not worth it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

WW Confessions - Week 34

Stayed exactly the same after missing a week's meeting and scarfing down more food and wine than should be legal. I'm taking it as a sign to get back on track, and after 2 days of walking in the morning and staying within my points, I'm doing just that.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanksgiving Is...

...cuddling up with the ones you love

...taking a break with good food, wine, and family

...playing loud games with neighbors

...playing silly games with your brother

...playing creative games with friends...and their beaver

...being adults but not acting like them

...hoping your best friends can find some peace when The Worst Thing Ever happens

I wish you all peace, happiness, and lots of reasons to be thankful

Saturday, November 25, 2006


My dearest friend has lost her son.

I cannot express how much my heart aches.

I love you.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


The excitement from this morning quickly evaporated into sleepiness this evening (now having been up for 20ish hours), as my family's flight was delayed for over 30 minutes, and I just talked to them not too long ago as they stopped for coffee and some food. Probably another 90 minutes or so until they get here. It's 11:30. I picked up the turkey, put sheets and blankets on beds, made up the couch for my brother, put together the ice cream cake portion of the Mocha Baked Alaskas (they do rock), baked 2 pecan pies, am letting them cool, started knitting, realized I was too tired to knit...

Yes. You read that correctly. I'm too tired to knit.

Called the only people I know on the West Coast, and they aren't home, checked a napping Joe to make sure he's still alive, obsessed about the strange noise coming from our furnace (of course at 20 degrees tonight it's acting funny). And now I'm blogging.

And if I might take a few moments from my frivolous rant...if you're reading this, please think of a very dear boy - Evan - and how much his family loves him and wants him to get well. The next few days are crucial. If you pray, pray. If you don't, then send every positive thought and virtual hug his way. I've known his mother since she was just a tad older than he is now, and my heart aches for her. Pammy and Evan, we love you.

One! More! Day!

So I'm sitting here this morning, just killing time before going into the office for my LAST day of work until Monday. Yay! As I am vacation-time-challenged, this time of year is always lovely with the "free" days off. Today will be spent wrapping up a few annoying work items, killing time with my good buddy Todd, and trying not to throw staplers at the people who annoy me. There are a few of them.

Then it's off to Jack's Meats for our free-range organic turkey, running home and putting linens on the guest beds, then baking some pies while I wait for my family to get here. Yay!

And now that I know I have another reader, I'd like to give a shout-out to dear friend Eric. HAAAAY! We missed you, buddy! I'll try not to be so knitting-centric.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

STILL on the Needles...

Here's what you're likely to see on the needles for a while...although I'm hoping to complete some by Christmas...

Mom's Sock #1. I kind of got to a stopping point, because I wanted her to be around (she's coming up for Thanksgiving) to make sure I got the sizing right. She says just to make one like I'm making it for me. But she's got a larger foot than mine, and I don't want to take chances. So here it stays for now.

Joe's Cigar Glove #1. Once again, I'm waiting for a fitting. This is my hand, so it's a little baggy. Joe tried it on, and the knucks were fine, but I want to get the length of the ring finger correct. So waiting for him to get back from Sarasota today. Then again, we'll be too busy working on the house to do any fittings until after the family leaves.

Started this sock at the laundromat this morning. Because, yes, sadly, my dryer is toast. Well, technically it's just soggy bread. Because it doesn't dry or heat anything anymore. Tried the old tricks again, and I think it's more than just the heating element. Of course, I had one more load in the washer when this was discovered. So Sunday morning trip to the laundromat. The yarn is Sockotta, and it's okay. I like the patterns of the yarn, but the texture isn't my favorite. I think it'll make a nice bright pair of socks, though. I picked it up in St Louis when I was on a yarn high.

So that's about it. Joe should be home any moment, and the rest of the evening will probably be devoted to dusting, vacuuming, and detumbleweeding the house. If you have furry pets and hard floors, you know what I mean.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

WW Confessions - Week 32 and Giving Thanks

I'm not going to spend a lot of time talking about my gain this week. Once again, I'm reminded of the following equation:

No exercise + drinking + too many bad foods - not enough good food = GAIN.


But I'm very positive this morning. Part of it is due to this lovely blog I read from time to time, written by great folks who probably think I'm a stalker. Read this, and you'll be inspired as well.

Another thing - at Blazing Bagels this morning, getting my coffee, I ran into my friend M behind the counter talking to another customer with the tell-tale WW books in her hand. We had a great discussion to start off the morning.

And something else occurred to me this morning - maybe it's because I got to drive the "good" car to work today(that's what my hubby gets for parking behind me in the driveway) - I have a very good life. Very. Good. Life.

I'm having family and friends up for Thanksgiving - family I rarely see and friends I never get enough time with. I have friends online and close to home that bring me constant joy. I have a home that is drafty but filled with the warmth of fond memories and loving felines. So with that in mind, I'm going to stop being such a Poopyhead and just enjoy.


Exactly one week from today I'll be waking up with a house filled with five extra people for Thanksgiving! Augh! My house is a wreck! I know it'll be a lovely time, but between now and then I'm in HOLIDAY PANIC CLEANING MODE!!!

Deeeeeeeep'll all be okay...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


...didn't realize I was such a downer last night. Probably heavily influenced by spending a few hours on shelter financial statements last night. Really isn't that big of a deal, but I usually put it off until the last minute when I DREAD doing them. Plus it means our monthly meeting is not far behind, and to put it mildly those are always horrible. 2.5+ hours on a weeknight with people bickering over the tiniest little things. I'm one of the few with a fulltime job, and I'd honestly rather stand in line at the DMV than be at those meetings. At least standing in line I could knit a sock.

Speaking of knitting, I've been rolling along on Mom Sock #1 and Hubby's Cigar Glove #1. Had to frog some of the fingers due to total inexperience with the transitions (left some major holes between the fingers), but I think I'm getting the hang of it.

Finally felted my French Market Bag swatch, but it didn't felt so well. Now, being a logical person, I cannot jump to the conclusion that it's the yarn - it could be the fact that I now use a front load washer. I've read a few things online - how it takes longer but it still works, etc. So I'm going to give it one more try with my hedgie-felting-fave yarn. If that doesn't come out spot-on, then I'll be forced to save felting projects for a neighbor's house. Or hand felt. Maybe not.

Monday, November 13, 2006

For Lack of Anything Better Right Now...


1. Yourself: tired
2. Your spouse: away
3. Your hair: restrained
4. Your mother: South
5. Your Father: deceased
6. Your Favorite Item: found
7. Your dream last night: wacked
8. Your Favorite drink: margarita
9. Your Dream Car: Outback
10. The room you are in: office
11. Your Ex: nonexistent
12. Your fear: irrelevance
13. What you want to be in 10 years? different
14. Who you hung out with last night? cats
15. What You’re Not? quick
16. Muffins: nah
17. One of Your Wish List Items: unindebted
18. Time: rushed
19. The Last Thing You Did: ate
20. What You Are Wearing: sweater
21. Your Favorite Weather: cold
22. Your Favorite Book: unread
23. The Last Thing You Ate: lasagna
24. Your Life: repetitious
25. Your Mood: somber
26. Your best friend: many
27. What are you thinking about right now? sleep
28. Your car: eh
29. What are you doing at the moment? typing
30. Your summer: over
31. Your relationship status: wondermous
32. What is on your TV? dust
33. What is the weather like? rainy
34. When is the last time you laughed? weekend

And with that, I bid you good night.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Fire, Fire, Fire, Light up ya Lighter

So Come on Come on, Sign up, Come on
This one’s nothing like Vietnam
Except for the bullets, Except for the bombs,
Except for the youth that’s gone

The show TOTALLY rocked. Almost 3 hours of jumping, yelling, and singing - college students and Baby Boomers, dread-heads and gray-heads. I was probably only 20 people from the stage, and I thought that the Mtn Jam show was amazing - this topped everything I'd been to in the last 10 years or so. Wow.

Fortunately I had scheduled today off, so I'm working on the house, which is a miserable wreck. You think I'm kidding?

Yeah. I thought so. This is our office nook leading into the laundry room (note the awesome new washer). So we recently realized we needed our armoire-turned-stereo-cabinet-office-storage to really be an armoire upstairs. Everything came out of it, and we moved the beast to the 2nd floor for blankets and clothes. And this is what I'm dealing with today. Yeah. Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Power to the Peaceful

Guess who we're going to see tonight...

Yup. Michael Franti & Spearhead. Way excited. Saw them at Mountain Jam, and to me they were the highlight. Am prepared to do lots of jumping and dancing and screaming.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

WW Confessions - Week 31 - And Fiber Arts Avengers!

Not much to report this week - very slight gain, but my behavior wasn't the best. My goal is to lose a solid 2 lbs this week so I can hit that golden 30-lb mark (I had been so close I was just rounding up, but who was I kidding) and get a new freakin' star for my bookmark. But as my wise meeting leader says, "if nothing changes, then NOTHING CHANGES." So my going to Copperfield's once every few weeks for a handful of beers and their buffalo chicken wraps (oooh, food of the gods) isn't helping my cause. Neither is the occasional pizza. Or bottle of wine. Or getting up too late to work out. Or not getting groceries on time and running out of healthy food. Or just letting the healthy food rot while I'm too lazy to cook. Man, I need a mental adjustment. I need to change my evil, evil ways. So that's my project for this week - scheduling time to take care of myself.

On another COMPLETELY different note - I got an email from bestest friend Amy:
"Here is a link I've been thinking of sending you, to do with as you please -- I'm on a message board of mothers, and one of them has a son with a brain tumor (you can read about it on the link) and they're selling knitting patterns to raise money for healthcare costs. So I thought I'd pass the link along to you in case any of the patterns appeal to you. Do with it what you like. Use, ignore, pass onto others, whatever. Should go to bed. Have stopped using complete sentences."

I should note here that Amy is the mother of a toddler and should be excused from using complete sentances, or words for that matter.

And so I have a new button on the sidebar - I've looked at the site only briefly this morning, but aside from the extremely good cause, I'm all about badass knitters. The patterns look cool, and there are several ways to help - the most important of which is sending good vibes and love their way. And Amy? I am SO going to learn how to crochet and make BTU that lobster! It rocks! Rock Lobster!

Dammit. That song's going to be sticking with me today, I can tell...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

My First Sweater...or, The Joy is Short-Lived

So I got this GREAT yarn at the Rhinebeck festival, and the lady who owned the business also gave me a pattern of a sweater I saw in her booth. It looked a little, well, sparse on paper. Like I might need to take a class or something to understand it. So I spent a whopping $2.65 on some nasty yarn to knit a mini-version of the sweater - smaller needles, 1/3 stitching in all directions...
I don't think it turned out bad at all. I wanted my most pliable cat, Otis, to pose in it, but he would have none of that. Smart cat. It's more of a tunic shaping, so there's nothing complicated about it. But I'd like to have more instruction on the seams, so maybe I'll try another mini-test-sweater with another pattern. Not that I expect perfection, mind you - just don't want TOO much crap going on.

On another note...Sigh...SIGH...

This is my new washer. It is awesome. I had a smile on my face when I told Joe I was going to wash clothes (for the first time in 2 weeks at home). And then I put the load in the dryer. I don't know if the dryer was intimidated by Ms Neptune or if it was sad from the loss of its faithful companion of over 10 years. But I've had the same load in the dryer for about 2 hours now, and nothing's happening. I'm so very, very sad. Mostly because we'd hoped to wait a while before plunking down the cash for another appliance. And now, even if I order it tomorrow, it will probably be another 2 weeks - even for pickup. I'm so very, very sad.

EDITED (20 minutes later) to add: HA! AHA! I freakin' FIXED it! ME! The liberal arts major! As opposed to the Tech grad! BWAHAHA! There is joy in Mudville! I have a dryer again! Yay! Yay me! Yay to my clothes! Yay to our checking account! Yay!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Waiting to Felt a Swatch

So I bought this lovely yarn back in March when I met Snarky for the first time in NYC. We went to the Green Market and found such wonderful things - including this bounty. Strangely enough, my house is closer to the farm than Union Square is. Nonetheless, this looked like nice happy yarn to me.

Oh, what to make, what to make...I was still SUCH a novice at that point. My snarky new friend also introduced me to That Which Is Called LYS, and thus created a monster. But I saved this yarn for something...special. My first thought - and attempt - was the Knitty Wavy scarf. Bad idea. I realized the HARD way that yarn with varying thickness is NOT good for patterns that require pretty standard stitch size to show off the stitches. Of course, I started this scarf several times (and got half-way through) before I gave up on it. It just wasn't happening. So that's why the balls on the right of the pic are a little darker - they've been handled too many times to count.

I'm still saving them for a happy project - now I'm thinking Knitty's French Market Bag. The problem is, I don't know how this felts. I have no washer, and felting at the laundromat is rather pointless (and expensive). Not gonna even go to the place of hand-felting. Nope. No way, sistah. And so my perfectly-on-gauge swatch awaits the arrival of my new Maytag Neptune (the Toyota version, not the Rolls Royce version). And let's hope I can get a happy market bag going soon.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Finally on the Needles...

Spending a few hours at the laundromat has its advantages...

On the left is Joe's first Cigar glove (in Cascade 220 The Heathers), and on the right is the beginning of Mom's socks (Tweed Cascade in charcoal). Playing it safe, I had them pick out their own yarns when we visited this most excellent yarn shop in St Louis. The glove is coming along better than I thought, but then again I haven't tackled the fingers yet - just held aside the thumb and pinky for working later. Mom's socks SHOULD be a no-brainer. My first socks were nice comfy socks in worsted. Then I went to sport weight, then to sock weight. I'm going to stick with worsted for now, since they're quick and comfy in this cold weather. I'll tackle more sock yarns when I get a few more socks under my belt. I'm still not as consistent as I'd like.

Totally different subject - since when was it appropriate for kids to BANG on the door at Halloween a mere 2 seconds after ringing the doorbell? I'm at the PC, only 5 strides from the door, and those little punks keep banging on my nice storm door. I'm turning into That Crusty Old Cat Lady On The Hill, I know it. But this Crusty Old Lady appreciated the 7-year-old in the Grim Reaper costume. At least he was polite, AND creative. He got two handsful of goodies.

Monday, October 30, 2006

WW Confessions - Week 30

Boy, I've been bad with consistently posting about this, eh? Well, I've been bad about attending meetings. I've been putting work first, which is really awful. So I went today, and after 2 weeks of non-point-calculating (going to STL and then being generally icky with a cold), I'm down 0.4 for a total of 28.8. So overall good news. Plus one of the ladies at work is back "on the wagon" with me, and that's always a help.

On another note - I had made a good friend at these meetings - we started basically the same week. She's about 10 years younger than I am, and she's desperately trying to have a kid. She serves in the Air Reserve, I think, so she attended the WW meetings in camo and humongo boots she'd take 5 minutes to unlace each week. In the beginning, we were the only two below the age of 50 at the meetings, and we really bonded. For a while, she'd been doing well, then she began getting really emotional (due to hormone shots and such), and the last time I saw her she was really down. Then one of the ladies at the meeting decided to get witchy about GWB and directed it towards her (hell, I don't care for the dolt, but I don't go to WW to talk politics). That was the last meeting at which I saw her, and it made me really sad. Kind of like AA, I'd only really known her first name at WW. Where had my friend gone? Did she get pissed off because that old bat got high-and-mighty with her? Did she start attending another meeting?

At the end of today's meeting, as I was packing up to leave, one of the older women spoke up. "You know that girl who used to come in with the army getup on? She came into my store the other day, and she was asking about everyone. I asked why hadn't we seen her, and she opened her coat - she's expecting a baby!" The woman reporting this then pointed at me and said, "she made special mention to ask how you're doing. She misses talking with you."

And there you go. Congratulations, Katy. I miss you too.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

SP9 Super Short Story

Per my SP9 hostess, we are to create a fiber-related short story using only six words. Here's mine:

I mailed yarn today. Beware, Spoilee!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Much to Say, But I Don't Feel Like It...

Our trip pictures are posted here.

I'd post pictures of Joe's finished socks, but I really don't wanna talk about it. Just chalk up one more rule on Things Beth Learned The Hard Way: don't cast on at a beer tasting.

After our trip, and my whirlwind outing at Rhinebeck, Joe packed up for another business trip, and I was thrown into work mode right away. So my house is a mess, I'm catching a cold, I had a late night Planning Board class Monday, and today I had to leave the house at 5am to take some inventories in Newark. Got home at 1, took Nyquil and a nap, and now am going to try and put my SP9 first little present together. I got a good swatch done for the French Market Bag, but I can't see how this yarn felts, because MY WASHER IS BROKEN!!! Yup - it was an old one anyway, but Joe put in about 8 pair of jeans while I was having yarngasms upstate, and alas the spin cycle is no more. And by taking it apart to realize it really WAS toast, we pretty much ensured it's just a really big paperweight at this point. And since I don't feel like hand-felting a swatch because it reminds me how depressed I am over lack of washer, I'm gonna wait until we get the snazzy new washer. Good thing Joe got his bonus check.

Okay - that's about enough. I need a beer and some quality yarn time. Because at this point, I'm just too overwhelmed to do a damn thing with the house. If you see us on the news in one of those "I can't believe people live like this" stories, please understand.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Please, Sir, I Want Some More...

(Sung to the tune of "Food, Glorious Food" from Oliver!)

Wool, glorious wool!

Sheep, Llama, Alpaca

Just look at the yarn

And your lips will smack-a

Who needs money anyway

Who really needs food –

With WOOL,

Once again, WOOL,

Fabulous WOOL,


A few comments: Yes, it was wonderful. Yes, I spent way too much money. No, I didn't meet Yarn Harlot, but then again unless she poked me in the butt with a knitting needle and told me to hold her sock, I wouldn't have taken my eyes off of the feast before me. 4 hours and 2 trips to the car later, I still didn't see everything. But I do have plans for several hats, even more socks, and a SWEATER! So to all you yarny friends out there - you now have an open invitation to my house this time every year.

Oh, the Fun...

My normally wordy self has been absent for a few days due to traveling. I'll tell you more when I get all the pictures uploaded to my gallery, but it involved my mom, her friend, some yarn, lots of beer and wine, horses, and a city that is very happy about their Boys of Summer right now.

My poor husband was such a good sport, considering he was surrounded by knitters.

And yes, I'm frogging that scarf. Just not yet. I'm almost done with Joe's sock, and I have an adventure today that will push all negative scarf thoughts out of my head. Forever.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

This Scarf is Goin' Down...

I was all about working on the Branching Out scarf (see below) at lunch today, and it's the first time I've brought the scarf out into fluorescent lighting. And guess what? Even though all of my Artful Yarns Virtue Cashmere skeins are the same color and lot - ONE SKEIN is of a slightly different hue - the blues and greens are duller than the other skeins. And guess which skein it is? #2 in the 2.87 I've used so far. Smack dab in the middle. Enough of a difference to notice exactly where the change is at the beginning and end of the skein. I hate them. I hate them all so very much.

So, what has Beth learned today, folks?
1) Fix mistakes as they happen. Don't let them fester.
2) Obsessively check skeins of yarn to make sure they look the same - especially after in knitting use. NO MATTER WHAT THE TAG SAYS.
3) Use a lifeline in lace projects from now on.
4) Stop staring at the damn scarf and just frog it already. The colors aren't going to change.

I want my mommy. :(

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Haaaaay to my Secret Pal!

Just wanted to give a shout-out "Jawja-style" - even though she's in NJ - to my Secret Pal (Haaaaaay). We've been exchanging emails, but I haven't said much since I posted my SP9 questionnaire. I think it'll be MUCH fun, since this is the first SP for both of us, and we're just gonna have a blast.

After viewing this Branching Out scarf (scroll down) and seeing the genius of the lifeline, I'm really tempted to frog all 2.87 skeins of my scarf and get it right. Because if I'm gonna spend my hard-earned dollars on cashmere, I shouldn't hone in on my mistakes every time I look at that damn scarf, right? Egads. This is gonna break my heart. Anyone care to hold my hand while I rip this puppy out? Sigh. I guess I've learned my lesson. And as my SP9 spoilee says, one thing to learn right from the get-go is just accept mistakes and take care of them as they happen. **EDITED TO ADD: There's no way in heck I'm frogging this sucker. After looking at it this morning (it's been a while since I've actually looked at the darn thing), the mistakes are a lot bigger in my head than they are on the scarf.**

It's amazing how many 1-2 year knitters I've been reading during this. I think as a 1-year knitter that I'm just a total beginner. Now I realize that the only thing limiting me is myself. VERY cheezy but true. Limitations, be damned. I'm starting something new and exciting - TONIGHT! ;) **EDITED TO ADD: So, all I did was wind some yarn from a hank into a ball and start a swatch to see if the Andes wool I bought at Woodstock would do for the Knitty French Market Bag. I've read that it felts really well, and this colorway is so pleasant. So not an adventurous evening, but I'm getting there.**

Man - I've been a bit spastic in this post, eh?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Our Last Two Weekends

What have our last two weekends been like? Exhausting. Productive. Chaotic.

This is Joe playing with a rented toy. You see, we needed to put the recently-felled maple lumber somewhere to dry. So we needed another building or shelter. Because a large house, a detached garage, and a garden shed just aren't enough on our little 0.33 acres. So we opted to get one of those temporary shelters that people use for cars and (ahem) boats. In order to build the shelter, we needed a place to put it. So this little dirt-and-rock pile that had been hanging around since the Shed Demolition of 2003 needed to be moved and/or flattened.

Because you don't want the lumber right on the ground or exposed to moisture, Joe built a floor that the shelter would rest on. So last Sunday we went to Lowe's and got, oh, 24-2x8x12s and 7 sheets of OSB. The mud flaps on the truck scraped the whole way back from the store. Basically, Joe built decking first, then put the OSB on top of it. Here is Joe working with the wood. I just like it because it's a pic of him in coveralls. Mrrow.

The finished floor, as it looked this morning. This of course was BEFORE we went through the grueling task of erecting the skeleton of the shelter. And realizing it was really a 4-person job. And that the instructions SUCKED! And that the floor wasn't big enough. But two hours and many frustrated, awkward moments later - we did it. All by ourselves. But we were too tired to even go into the house to get the camera. We went in, had some beer, some fried chicken and mac & cheese (mmmmmmm...), and we've been watching TV ever since.

This will be a strange week, due to many things scheduled this week, resulting in a perfect storm of commitments. But I did finish my scarf - just finished weaving in all the ends. Once I wash and block it, I'll post a pic. But until then, I think I need to go pass out.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Gratuitous Cuteage Here...

This is BTU - both his initials AND the cutest nickname for a kid-of-a-Tech-grad - EVAH! Props to my dearest friend Amy for this award-winning picture of her amazing little boy. Well, I guess Senor Noodle had something to do with him too. Heh.

I miss you all (except BTU - haven't met you outside of the womb yet, dangit) more than words can say. Please come back East soon so I can embarrass you with hugs and adoration. Heck. I need to get my ass back to SF.

Best Finished Object

Per my lovely SP9 hostess, I am posting my "best" FO. This is a purse for my neice Jordan from SnB Nation (I think). The reason why I'm proud of it: I didn't know what the heck I was doing. I had previously only knit the Big Bad Baby Blanket. This had increases/decreases, i-cord, changing colors, reading a chart, sewing it all together, felting, adding a zipper, and there was even an error in the pattern (fortunately I messed up in READING the pattern, so for once those two wrongs made a right). Voila!

On the Needles...

Okay. So after visiting my SP9 hostess's blog as well as some others (including my spoilee!!!), I feel totally inadequate. Man, you people can knit some serious sweaters! I'm so depressed. But here are my current projects, in all their glory. I'm rounding 3rd and heading for home on most of them, so I'm excited to start up some new ones. And be a little more adventurous.

Here's the Branching Out scarf in a cashmere I bought on a trip to NYC. Is this the best yarn with which to do this project? No. Was this the best project to start having only knit for 6 months prior? No. But I love how it's turning out, major mistakes and all. And it's sooooo soft. One more skein to go.

Joe's 2nd sock. For some reason this sock's coloring isn't as random as the first one - more blue/purple in big chunks. Oh, well. At least I started Sock #2 - now it's just a matter of finishing the dang thing.

A simple checkered scarf for me. I started this project (a) because I got this great superwash yarn on sale and (b) I wanted something I didn't really have to pay attention to. This is my knit-while-watching-Lost project, since I don't have to look at the needles much. It helps when there's a heavy Sun-and-Jin episode with lots of captions. Like last night - egads!

Okay - that's about it. I gave up on Joe's illusion scarf, because after doing the trial B of BEER! I realized I don't like illusion knitting - on a scarf, at least. Didn't like how the wrong side looked. And to me, scarves shouldn't have a wrong side. So I'm going to make him a HP PofA scarf - but I have to buy the miles of yarn first, and that's not in the budget at the moment.

Also starting up Cigar for Joe's Christmas present (it's not a surprise - he's picking out the colors). And maybe a tank for myself. You know - just to get over that first hurdle of making actual clothes.

Better go - boss is coming. Man, I'm going to get fired for this one of these days.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

WW Confessions - Week 28

Well, I had a gain. I knew I'd have a gain. It wasn't as bad as it could've been, since I missed last week (due to work, darnit, but I had 6 more days to catch a meeting and didn't - Bad Beth), but it was still a gain. Total is still 27 lbs lost, but I'm ready to get over this hurdle. I can't keep kidding myself.

It's been pretty quiet here lately, because - well - it's been quiet. Spent the weekend working on the house (we are pack-rat-clutter-freaks) while Joe cleared an area for the new wood shelter. Some fun tractor pictures will be up soon.

Maybe if I have some time tonight I'll start taking pictures of projects currently on the needles or the cats or even just random weirdness that you'll find in our house. Because (and I quote former coworker Alphonse who said this constantly and with great seriousness) it's all about ME!

Isn't that what blogs are all about?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Secret Pal 9 Questionnaire

This is my first SP, so please bear with me...I'm mighty long-winded...

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
- I enjoy just about everything. I don't particularly like the feel of acrylic, but sometimes I think certain projects call for it. Since my LYS is a little ways from me, and sometimes the hours don't jive with my schedule, I'm all about getting whatever I can at a large craft store if I don't have a SUPER SPECIAL project in mind and just want to try something out.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
- I got this backpacky thing online that has some good needle storage. My circular needles were bought as part of a set that holds everything in a handy little case. But dpns are kept in ziploc bags in my backpack, as glamorous as that is.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
- My mom knit for years but only recently got back into it, making baby blankets for a local hospital. She tried to teach me, and I was just horrible. Then I bought a "Teach yourself to knit" kit, and that was okay, but the purls still weren't happening. Then I bought the Stitch'n'Bitch books. That took me in a whole new direction, and everything just clicked. Plus lots of online help from my Snarky friend. I'd say I'm a beginner-plus with lofty hopes. ***EDITED TO ADD: That didn't really answer the question, did it? I've been knitting for about a year***

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
- It's kind of all over the place, but here it is.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)
- I really enjoy grapefruit (but not generic citrus), vanilla, and anything fresh-floral. Like honeysuckle or rose, but not that perfumy "fake" floral. Victoria's Secret used to have "Her Majesty's Rose" which was a spot-on scent of real roses.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
- Currently on Weight Watchers, so I try not to go there. But if I'm going to indulge, I love me some DARK chocolate.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
- I've crocheted as long as I can remember (mostly general granny square things), and I taught myself to tat about 10 years ago (but I don't have the patience most days). I enjoy cross-stitching, but I go in spurts with that. Most of my time is spent on the upkeep and rennovation of our home, which is the ultimate DIY project. I don't spin - I think it's fascinating, but I don't think it's for me. Yet.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
- Pretty much all over the place - mainly "adult alternative," but I hate labels. I love everything from classical piano concertos (I'm a Rachmaninoff freak) to creative hip-hop (creative being the key word). I adore Death Cab for Cutie and have a soft spot for John Denver. I tend to like angry women, angst-ridden men, Elvis, and just about every singer-songwriter from 1960 to 1979. I enjoy good blues, new age instrumentals, and I'm crazy about Christmas albums. I love Broadway (new and old) and film soundtracks (Garden State, Gross Pointe Blank, Beautiful Girls). The only things I DON'T like are twangy country and violent/expletive rap. Am MP3-friendly.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
- Deep blues and greens are my favorites, but I like just about anything. Not crazy about pastels unless they make sense (things for babies, watercolors, etc).

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
- Husband, 4 cats, no kids yet.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
- Yes to scarves, hats, and mittens - it gets COLD up here! Not crazy about ponchos, but I love shawls.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
- Not really anything - mainly due to not having much experience. I'm just getting the hang of socks, so I'd like to explore some new patterns with those. Really have fun with things that are different (like hedgehogs-heh) but also enjoy things that don't require constantly paying attention to a pattern, since TV-watching usually goes along with the knitting.

13. What are you knitting right now?
- Joe's 2nd sock in Lorna's Laces Blackwatch, Knitty's Branching Out scarf in cashmere, my own "5 x 5" Where's Waldoish checker scarf for myself in some Italian superwash I can't recall, and just now doing some experimenting to possibly make Joe an illusion scarf with BEER! written on it.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
- Always.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
- Straight vs circular - depends on the project. I prefer wood for most items, but when dealing with something thin I prefer really pointy aluminum.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
- NO - hint, hint...

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
- Started the Branching Out scarf in March. Takes a lot of focus (being my first lace project), so I've screwed it up a bunch. But I'm enjoying how it's turning out. It's just slow.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
- Thanksgiving. The leaves turning and falling, the chill in the air, the warmth in the home. Guaranteed days off to spend with family and friends. I love how time seems to slow down, the last "hush" of happiness before holiday chaos.

19. Is there anything that you collect?
- Refrigerator magnets from different states, countries, landmarks, and parks - the larger and tackier the better. I use them to hold up pictures of friends and family all over the fridge, so good magnetic strength is a must. And Christmas albums. Oh - and pottery. Love pottery.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
- Anything by yarnharlot (see the amazon wishlist).

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
- I have yet to muster the courage to knit a top/shell/tank/sweater for myself. I'm just plain scared.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
- Yes - I wear a women's size 10 shoe, medium. My feet are just about 10" long and flat. And ugly. Hence loving colorful socks.

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
March 2nd

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Joys of the Hudson Valley

As this was my first weekend of not working (in a while), we thought it would be fun to just have a great Hudson Valley Weekend. We started off by driving just a smidge upstate to Rhinebeck for the semi-annual Crafts Fair.

On a day like this, most of the cons of NY (higher cost of living, NY attitudes) seem to fade away. Sometimes I just can't believe we live in a place so beautiful.

The Rhinebeck Crafts Fair is MOSTLY wonderful crafts. Joe got information about a Windsor Chair woodworking class, and we met this awesome stone-carver lady from Maine with the best company name - "She Rocks". I swear, if I had $1100 extra laying around, I would have bought this bowl, no doubt. It had to have taken her days to carve it out.

Then there are always the freaky people. Those who create dolls that look just like newborn babies...FROM HELL.

Met a great knitter lady who was selling some felted boxes and baskets (sorry, didn't get the name!), as well as a spinner lady who was selling felted hats. Now, if they'd been selling YARN, I'd be all over that. But I didn't need any hats, boxes, or baskets. What we needed was some pottery. And other stuff.

Ooooh, the addiction that we fed. From top left, moving clockwise...Photos of an old porch and the Hudson Valley at leaf-changing time. Utensil holder. Au gratin dish. 2 misc bowls. Wooden spoons and a set of salad "claws." Turned wood bowl painted the deepest emerald green. Mustard, pepper, wasabi sauce, and cranberry hot sauce. And this doesn't even include the dishes we ordered from Dutch Hill Pottery that should arrive early December. Most of our dishes, bowls, and mugs are handmade ceramic (as well as casseroles, pie plates, serving trays, etc) - we both have a problem with buying more and MORE. I'll definitely take some pics of the new dishes when they arrive.

So Rhinebeck, as usual, was wonderful. But it was very crowded in the town, so we went through Poughkeepsie to have a late lunch at The Coyote Grill. Not stupendous, but very good. Decent margaritas, too.

Saturday night we attended a Broadway Direct performance featuring our neighbor Hal. It was truly amazing. He has a voice as deep and as beautiful as his heart. One thing we learned - he was in one of the original casts of The Fantasticks. Oh, the stories he could tell...

Then Sunday we went to Taste Of Montgomery, where all the local restaurants get to show off their efforts. The day started out HORRIBLY - torrential rain. But right around noon it cleared up in the oddest way.

The tasting tent on the Little League field. Notice the Clouds of Doom in the upper left. They threatened, but they never followed through.

The only drawback was that we were held inside this beer-vs-wine prison. You could have fine local beer, but you couldn't be near the food. So we kept circling back around to the beer area, eventually just having the guy pour the beer into our wine glass then sneaking back to the food area. Sucky NY liquor laws. I shouldn't complain. I can buy booze on Sundays.

The edges of the storm, hours after it hit Montgomery. It seemed to hover in the east all day, but our Sunday afternoon was bright and even a bit warm. You can barely see our house peeking out through the trees over the middle of the long building.

The weekend we had reinforced my love for this area. I'll post more pictures in our gallery soon *Edited to add: They're HERE*, but I just don't have the brain power right now. Plus I need to think of my SP9 answers. Augh! Plus, no WW update right now - had a gain of a week, but couldn't get to the meeting due to work. We'll see if I can get it back down before my makeup meeting.