Saturday, September 30, 2006

Megan's Hedgie

Didn't have a productive day yesterday. After working 6-day-weeks all month long, I thought the gift of a day off would have been nice. Alas, no. So during the afternoon my poor tired brain made a to-do list for the weekend, at the top of which was finishing Megan's hedgehog.

I thought it turned out pretty cute - she wanted an all-yellow one, but I couldn't find yellow-only Fun Fur. So I had to get a little creative. And since this is my 4th one, I feel I can really make some rules for myself in the future.

First of all, I'm not crazy about how Cascade 220 felts. I've made a felted bag and two hedgies out of it, and it's not my favorite. It doesn't felt wacky or anything, but as you can see in the picture above you can still see the rows of the pattern, and I'm just not fond of that. The other hedgies were made from Patons Classic Wool, which is pretty inexpensive and can be found in Michael's and A. C. Moore - an advantage, since that's where I get the Fun Fur too and can match colors directly. And it felts perfectly, seamlessly.

Secondly, I need to pay better attention to the Fun Fur packages. Some multi-colors are all over the place, and some are, well, striped...

From the back he looks like a big fuzzy Easter egg. Don't get me wrong - he's still cute as a button. But when I'd gotten a few rows of the back done and realized it was striping Fun Fur, I was a bit disappointed. But not enough to stop, since I think this color scheme went better with yellow than most of the others I found.

Again, I'm not disappointed - this is a spot-on fail-proof pattern that's easy for even quasi-beginners like myself. And it's such fun to see the little guys go from spongy oven mitts to cute felted hedgies. I'm just taking a few mental notes for the future.

Off to a fun-filled weekend that will involve crafts (pottery!!!), Broadway tunes, and food. Certainly there will be interesting pictures to come.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Tasting

"People keep looking over here - I think it's cool."

Thus spoke a very tipsy Joe to his DD wife at last night's Golden Rail beer tasting.

The Golden Rail is a great little beer bar that I wish were within walking distance of the house, rather than 25 minutes by car. It has a fantabulous selection of NY brews and nationally recognized craft beers, as well as normal bar items. Just about every month, Brian (proprietor and generally great guy) opens up the bar for a tasting. Unfortunately, they're on Thursdays, so let's just say it makes the Fridays tough. We've been to the porter/stout tasting, seasonal brews, Belgian...and last night was Oktoberfest. The beers we sampled:

Otter Creek Octoberfest (ale)
Harpoon ("")
Hofbrau Munchen
Stoudt's Fest
The Kaiser - draught
Ayinger - draught
Brooklyn - draught
Erdinger Weisse-Fest

All in all, very tasty. I didn't take notes, because I was knitting Joe's 2nd Sock! I figured I needed to get that up and running - we have a lot of events this weekend that would go well with sock knitting. And the *whole* evening, as I sampled beer and worked on the sock, I kept getting weird looks. Not like I was bad or rude (normally I don't like knitting in a forum where someone is giving a lecture to a small group, but HELLO - this was a bar. With drunk people. Who babbled during the talk. Knitting was the least offensive thing I could have done). They kept looking at me like I'd stepped out of another dimension. What is this thing you are doing and what does it mean? Again, I'm in a very blue-collar area of NY at a very blue-collar bar. So there you go.

But what was so funny is that my VERY tipsy husband kind of took it like a badge of honor. "Honey - you're so cool - you're knitting in a bar. And you look hot!" I do so love my husband.

Monday, September 25, 2006

WW Confessions - Week 26

Quick post, since I'm at work (ahem) and am very busy. Didn't post last week, although it was a good week (3.2 losss) - this week was 3.4 loss, for a total down of 29.8! Woohoo! It's amazing what following a simple plan will do:

Eat better foods x Eat less volume + Move more = Success!

The last few weeks I've been focusing on tracking and walking a lot more, and it shows.

Damn. Boss coming. Gotta go.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Painting the Porch

It's a coolish, overcast day in the Hudson Valley, and Joe and I are putting the first coat of paint on the porch trim. We want to get this done before the cold weather really starts. It's going pretty well, but we needed a break for lunch, and he stopped off next door to see if he could help neighbors Brad and Angela with a possible leak. He's such a handy guy. How'd I get so lucky?

Other than that, the day will be mostly devoted to:
- opening the week's mail - yes, I toss it all in a big basket and don't even go through it until the weekends - about 90% of it ends up shredded or in the recycle bin, anyway
- knitting - hoping to finish Megan's hedgie - had to frog most of the back off due to poor counting skills, giving him an Igoresque lump rather than a symetrically rounded back
- finding creative ways to use the rest of our bounty from a local farm - we got a purdy acorn squash this week, and I think I'll pair that with some veggie soup for the chilly evening.
- lazy productivity - paying bills, doing laundry, pushing the button on the Roomba - things that need to get done but don't require much out of me and can usually be done while catching up on DVR'd TV shows


Tomorrow is my last Sunday of work. September is budget-hell time, so I've been working 6-day-weeks since Labor Day. It sucks. One more freakin' week, and I'm done.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Shout-out to EEEEEEE!

A certain someone told me that E's birthday was earlier this week. Since he's one of the, oh, three people that read this hokey blog, I thought he deserved some props.

Happy belated 12th birthday - to the coolest kid we know!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Holy Cow...

...I mean SHEEP!

This is basically in our backyard. Why-oh-why do I have something else going on that Saturday? But Sunday...? Totally there. Besides the yarn-o-plenty, what's not to love about a day filled with livestock, sheep dog trials, and a ventriloquist? There are some times that I just loooooove living in New York.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Whiskey, Wool, and Wood

A few updates this morning...

This was left on my desk Monday by my dear coworker Larry. It's hard to take a picture of a shot glass without glare, but it says, "Let's Get Loopy." He says he saw it and thought of me. So I did what any smart person would do and christened it with some good ol' JD. Several times. Ouch.

Finished Joe's Sock #1. Fits him pretty well - fits me better. We'll see when he gets the second one. It ended up being the perfect length - I had about 2 yards left of the Lorna's Laces skein (of course, I did have a bit more than that, but it was sacrificed into a smaller ball as a result of the Great Untangling when I started this project - I was hoping not to have to use it and potentially screw up the color pattern).

As a reward for finishing that damn sock, I started Hedgehog #4 for niece Megan. Here it is after just finishing the body. I love this stage - looks kind of like a hieroglyphic with one big boob. The shaping is done with short rows - a bit daunting at first, but easy-peasy. His "please don't shoot!" stance won't be permanent - the arms and legs wrap around once his little paws are knitted. I'm not a fast knitter (at all), but I knit this up in the time it took me to watch Before Sunrise for the umpteenth time.

CJ from the sawmill came by and started working on The Mighty Maple Logs. This kid looks 17, might weigh a buck fifty, and he plowed right through all by himself. He worked 9-6 and got through all but one log. CJ is awesome.

This is the usable wood - you can see the scraps in the background. This might not look like a lot, but each board is over 2" thick, 5-6' long, and weighs about 100lbs. Each board (other than the top middle ones) could be a table top by itself. Our next task is to get a temporary shelter up and dry these puppies for about a year.

Well, that's about it. Better get to work. Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Joe's Effin' Sock

First, let me preface this post by saying that I have only made 2 other pairs of socks before. One in worsted (full socks), one not much smaller than that (ankle socks). This is my first time with tiny-ass yarn and tiny-ass needles on a long-ass sock.

Dangit, will this freakin' sock ever be done? Will I ever have the patience to finish the other?


I'm sure I will. But I figured I owed another post to Joe's sock, since it's taken over my life. Or at least the life of my spare time. Which is minimal right now. Very much enjoying how it's turning out, though, careless mistakes aside. But I do have a few explanations about the picture.

- The yarn is a lot darker in reality. Chalk this up to flash overuse.
- This was the only place I could think of to take a picture of the sock without too much trouble with light - our dining room table. Except it has the god-awful picnic tablecloth on it (see top of pic) that serves us well but disguises anything on the table (we've lost poker chips and even pieces of food to the pattern). So I pushed the tablecloth aside. Only to find...
- I haven't yet put away the table pads. Because this is our first grown-up table, and we had drunk folks over Sat nite to play poker, I wanted to make sure nothing happened. So you get a nice shot of the table pad.
- The mini-flags are from General Montgomery Day decorations - haven't quite gotten around to cleaning them and putting them up. At least they're not still in the plants outside.
- Dobby LOVES the sock yarn. I had to be satisfied with one quick photo before he started gnawing through it and one of my needles.

So there you go. Off to Copperfield's tonight for a WWPoint binge - I've been really good, seen drastic results, and due to work issues (both mine and Joe's), we need a night at the local watering hole.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

WW Confessions - Week 24

What happened to Week 23, you ask? Labor Day, so no meeting. And usually I'll make up a meeting, but all these freaky things happened at work (meetings, working late) then personally (getting ready for GMD, cleaning house)...basically, I'm good at making up excuses and weak about resisting them.

Hence the 4.6 gain for the two weeks. Yikes.

BUT I went to the meeting yesterday, which I soooo needed, and they've got these new exercise dvd thingies. I'm not so big with the walking in place while someone tells you to pump your arms, but I figure I could take notes and add the upper body movement to my treadmill stuff. PLUS I needed to start exercising again - you know, just make it part of every day. And this walking kit has a pretty decent book that has certain plans and how to increase when...I'm all about the structure. Plus there's a cd I'll dump to my ipod and take it walking in the neighborhood. This time of year is PERFECT for walking up a storm outside.

So there you go. Sucky, sucky week. But it's behind me. We had SO much party food left over, and I'm crazy about not wanting things to go to waste, so I went through the kitchen and marked the pointage on everything we had left - crackers, chips, cheese (I looooove cheese!), taquitos, poppers, etc. So even though these *aren't* the recommended foods for one such as myself, at least if I feel the urge to splurge I'll know what my limits are. Focus and planning. Focus and planning.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

GMD Hangover

General Montgomery Day was, as usual, a blast. Moreso this year because so many friends could join us. But after playing poker until well after midnight, then having to FREAKIN' WORK ON A SUNDAY, I'm so totally wiped out. So here's the link for the pictures. Enjoy. More later.

Oh - and here's a little friend I found on the back of a chair this afternoon on the porch. Just hangin' out with Joe - I wish I could have giving him a little toothpick-sized cigar...

Friday, September 08, 2006

Cat on a Wet Tin Roof

Okay - extremely bizarre experience this morning.

Woke up around 4am, just kind of tossing and turning. Dobby, my baby kitty who sleeps on my feet, got perturbed from the motion and got up to do his normal early morning wanderings. Otis, the other foot-of-the-bed sleeper, hissed his obligatory "I hate you" as Dobby passed by. Normal morning stuff.

Drifted in and out of consciousness for about 45 minutes when Otis jumped off the bed and goes over to the window. Our bedroom windows look right out the front of the house, on top of our porch roof. The evenings have been rather pleasant, so the windows have been open to allow for the breezes. Otis climbs up next to the screen and starts hissing. I'm thinking, "What kind of squirrel or bird is taunting Otis now?" I roll over to look, and I see a cat on the roof.

We have several trees with branches hanging over the porch, so while I've never seen a cat on the roof, it's not a complete impossibility. So, in my sleepy state, I wander over to the window. "Hey, Kitty - here, kitty kitty" - thinking that this feline doesn't look like any of the normal neighborhood cats. Then he starts to purr. A very familiar purr.

Christ on a cracker. It's Dobby.

Between my heart stopping, my lungs collapsing, my fumbling for the screen latch and knocking everything off of my night stand, I woke up Joe, who thought I'd overslept the alarm.

"Dobby's on the porch roof!!!"
"That's impossible."
Meanwhile, I open the screen and Dobby wanders in, then immediately senses the tension and hides under the bed, thinking he's in big trouble with Mommy.

"Dobby was on the freakin' porch roof! I just let him in!"
Now I'm crazy searching for how he could have gotten out there. Being near a very busy road, our cats are strictly indoors-only. I'm a freak (just ask Joe) about making sure they don't do get out. So I'm now wide awake, panicked, and thinking there's some hole in our house. Then I get to the other bedroom window. Which is wide open. Including screen.

We put our decorations on the house last night, and Joe climbed out the window to put the swaggy things over the front of the house. He didn't close it, and I didn't notice. I think I was distracting him with my "that one doesn't look right" comments that I'm prone to make when I'm cranky.

Meanwhile, windows are shut, Dobby's out of hiding, and I'm still in shock. Looking out over the dew-covered tin roof, you see tiny paw prints from the window, to the edge, to near the trees, to the back of the porch, to the other windows, to where he harrassed Otis. God bless Otis for his hatred of Dobby. I'm going to try not to think what COULD have happened. Yeesh.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Can't Focus...Need Fun...

September is difficult for me. It's budget time around the office, so that means I'm working most weekends (and Labor Day). On the flip side, it's a beautiful time in the Hudson Valley - a month filled with local festivals and beautiful weather. So while I'm here at the office, trying to focus on labor forecasts and material usage models, I'm mentally getting ready for General Montgomery Day.

I cannot stress to you how much fun this is. Norman Rockwell Apple Pie Fun. An hours-long parade with every firetruck and boyscout for miles. A soap-box derby where very frightened kids fly down the village's biggest hill and hope their brakes work. Fireworks. Puppet shows. All homes are decked out in red-white-and-blue. And it's basically in our backyard. After living in suburban Atlanta for 10+ years, this is everything home should be.

So look for GMD pictures here after this weekend, and for those of you wanting to visit NY, might I recommend the beginning of September? Because the Saturday after Labor Day is just ripe with cheesy fun in our little village, and we have rooms and couches to spare.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Mr. Chambers is AWESOME!

I kid you not - I was standing in my kitchen, mouth agape, completely without words. Here's the whole story:

The saw mill guy showed up Saturday morning (goodness, he looked like he was 16 years old! Augh!), and he said he couldn't do anything with our tree unless the logs were on a level spot. Because if he brought his tree-moving equipment to our place (an hour drive) it would be way expensive.

And so we were left do we move these freakin' big logs?

Joe went into the village to ask folks, and our local tractor-dealership-owner, Mr Chambers, was there. A few words about the Great Mr. Chambers - he is probably close to 70 years old, is still active in the community, and on occasion cuts the grass between the sidewalks and road (really steep due to snowplows) with his whipass mower - along the WHOLE STREET. He was my favorite person to begin with.

So Mr. Chambers, after asking why we cut down our beautiful maple (we're a small town, and dangit bad news travels fast and harsh), said he'd move the logs up the hill, but he didn't know when.

3pm on a Saturday of a holiday weekend, in the cold rain - and this is what the Wonderful Mr. Chambers does - he freakin' hauls ALL of the logs up our hill to where they can be sawn easily. Please forgive the bad pic - I felt it would be in poor taste to take photos of them in the rain while he was doing a great favor. So I hid in the house, poking the camera around corners without flash. Kind of a reverse Peeping Tom.

There are certainly bad sides to small towns. This ain't one of them. Mr. Chambers rocks. A very special Georgia-pecan-pie is coming his way. I only hope he isn't diabetic.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Hedgehog Obsession...

...even without a face, he's a cutie-pie...

Can I just say that this is one of the easiest, cayyootist things ever? I'm now on my 3rd knitted/felted hedgehog, and even though I'm SUCH the knitting novice, it's way too easy to make folks happy with this little hedgie! You can see my first one here, my second one (kind of) here, and this third one is for neighbor Jacob. Got orders in for several friends and family - most of whom are over 21. If you've got a friend with kids? Or who likes cute things? Go here and get the pattern. The best money you've ever spent. You can go crazy with the colors and really personalize them (like my now-16-yr-old neice *TODAY IS HER BIRTHDAY* wants one all yellow). And this orange one is just adorable.

That's it for now - trying to finish up Jacob's hedgie while Joe primes the porch like mad before Ernesto's remnants hit.