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.