Saturday, July 28, 2007

Icky Weekend of Much Hopefulness

Hot, humid, and thunderstorms. A lovely weekend forecast. So I'm trying to be positive and hope that the weekend will bring much productivity in the form of (1) knitting and (2) reading HP5 (yes, I'm slow) and (3) working on cleaning up this horribly dirty house.

Joe came back from Cleveland last night, and today we're heading over to a coworker's house for a surprise party for another coworker's wife who just got her degree and is going to be a teacher. Yay, Tina! Made a couple of batches of whipass cornbread (bacon, fresh corn, poblanos, jalapenos, cheddar, and hot monterey jack) and a marinated veggie salad, and hopefully we'll be able to enjoy the pool before it starts to rain.

I'm frantically working on Tubey, because I have to get it done by October, and September will be devoted to a sock-a-long. Here's what I've got so far:

Done with the back "tube" and almost finished with the striping of one sleeve. After reading a lot of blogs and KALs about the inevitable problem of large sleeves, I decided to do some mild decreasing down the arm. I'm a big gal, with big shoulders, but my arms are rather skinny. So we'll see how this turns out. You can see the decreases a little bit above, moreso below.

I really love the colors - magenta and orange from Sea Colors and the blue is from Sheepy Valley. I think it'll be nice and cozy in the fall come Sheep and Wool.

I'd best go take a shower and get going with my day. Hope you have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Few More Days...

1208 people are ahead of you in line.
12567 people are behind you in line.

You knitting folks know what I'm talking about. Yesterday the count was around 1800 ahead of me.

Look for Betharoopie soon!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Okay. So. Yeah. Montgomery Mills is definitely worth a visit.

Evidently, "open daily" means "open M-F" - so when I stopped by on weekends it was all closed up. Being that it's in a very old building, it just kind of looked like it'd been closed for some time.


I ran over there at lunch, and after I parked I was met by a newly-shorn bundle of golden-retriever-mix-puppyish goodness (good sign #1). Very sweet doggy who just wanted to play. I walked through the sales office and into what looked like the factory from An Officer and a Gentleman. To the left was an enclosed room where I could see a woman with a bandana tied around her head - talking on her cell phone and operating a whirly-gig-type spinning thingy. The adjoining room was filled with closed boxes, a calico cat napping on one of them (good sign #2).

To the right was the shopping area - shelves and boxes and bins of yarn - Inca cottons, merino, silk, mohair, all kinds of blends - all made in-house. 70% or so was undyed, and those that did have color were very natural earthy tones (black, gray, musk). There was a wall of their many colors of balled merino (Cascade-ish), and some bins of Red Heart and some eyelash, but mostly the room was filled with glorious ropes of lovliness. Everything was sold by the pound, and from what I could tell they had pretty darn nice prices. Never bought by the pound before.

It's definintely a no-frills place - lots of magic marker on cardboard indicating yarn type and prices, and the needles and patterns looked like they'd been there since 1977. But I have been planning (in my mind) an aran sweater for some time, and this looks like the place to go digging for the supplies. All I need is a totebag and my wallet - I'm not buying yarn...I'm exercising!

I was very good though - no purchases. Gotta get through Tubey first and get another sweater going for Joe. But after that, it's on!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Ummm...Road Trip...?

Our sleepy little village is known for housing some famous chopper folks here. But just down the road, there was a business highlighted on Dirty Jobs recently, here and here (be forewarned - this episode is not for folks who don't want to see how leather is processed...eww).

But last night, while attending a Comprehensive Plan Committee meeting, I found out that just down the street from those two businesses is this one here, Montgomery Mills. I'd seen the old, weathered sign before, but I'd driven by, thinking it wasn't open. Ends up that it just has limited hours, and it still has a shop for the public. When I found this out, the rest of the meeting went something like this...

blah, blah, blah, yarn, blah, blah, blah, blah, must check it out during lunch break tomorrow, blah, blah, blah, I can't believe I never knew it was open, blah, blah, blah, just think - walking distance to yarn, blah, blah, blah, blah, yarn, blah, blah.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Double Yay!!!

So many wonderful things when I got home...

Day 2 of The Plumbers:

Where the new double vanity will be.

Tiling, then a toilet!


View through shower wall and into the den (don't worry ladies - that will be a real wall come October).

So many wonderful things - we're picking up our new window this weekend and picking out tile and paint colors. Uh - YAY!

And then I totally got another surprise - Joe grilled me when I got home, asking why I bought more yarn. What? I didn't buy more yarn. Ohhh...wait...I did sign up for a club a while back...

Fresh from Sunshine Yarns. I joined the Harry Potter Sock Club a while back, and I almost forgot about it. Almost. You see, you get 3 skeins of sock yarn. Two skeins are inspired by characters/animals/places, and one skein is a self-striping yarn from the house of your choice. Gryffindor, of course.

My first skein, which arrived today, is just so lovely. And it's called...wait for it...wait...Another Weasley! Brilliant! Perfect warm tones of orangeyrustygoldybrown. I love it. I can't wait to knit it up. The only problem is that I HAVE to get my sweater done by October, and I have a Snarky-Sock-along project in September. So, alas, no other projects for me, because I'm a slow knitter.

Here's Tubey on the way to the Catskills for the MS ride. I've done 1/3 of the back and about 3" of one sleeve. It's going quickly. When I actually knit, that is.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Bathrooms, Vegetables, and SEX*

Now that we've thoroughly recovered from riding our bikes this weekend, we've been thrust into a busy week - both at work and home. Today the plumbers came by and worked on the pipes - switching shower and toilet areas, new tubing for all the new routes, etc. Here's Joe finishing up some work after the plumbers left...

Things of note:

- Lights! We now have all the electricity hooked up, and the last thing that needs to be installed in that area is the exhaust fan. Otherwise, we're wired to go!

- Insulation! No more drafty mornings stepping out of the shower!

- Shower pan (that green thing propped up in the bottom left corner of the picture) - soon to be installed.

- YAY! They're coming back Thursday, and I should have a working toilet by then. Yippeee-kay-yay!

Next Random Topic - VEGGIES!

Last year was our first experience with a CSA - it was a wonderful farm across the river, but it was a little out of the way. It was the only local (available) farm we could find, though. Until this year. We started seeing signs for Sycamore Farms in the winter, on Joe's drive home from work. Sold.

Granted, we're now on a "full share" vs a "half share" from the other farm, but jeezus...

Above is this week's harvest. Two dozen ears of sweet corn, 3 baskets of tomatoes, basil, cabbage, zucchini, yellow squash, lettuce, dill, cucumbers, peas...much lovely goodness.

Below is what's in our fridge (last night) from June. I kid you not - I'm still eating lettuce from mid-June.

I hate using so much plastic, but I'm reusing the bags until they basically fall apart. So does anyone want any fresh veggies?

Next Random Topic - S.E.X.*!

*Stash Enhancement Expedition

I was so very weak today. Stressful week, much angst. Went to Local Yarn Shop for clarity...

Starting from Noonish:
- 3 bags of SALE!SALE!SALE! yarn - "Baker's-Half-Dozens" (7 balls-per-bag) of yarn for specified prices. Lots of good one-skein projects in the works for various holidays and occasions. Cascade Superwash, bunches of merino-cotton, and a few skeins of ribbon-stuff that I probably will only use for sparkly occasions.
- Oooh, sock yarn: Paca-Peds, Lucy Neatby's Celestial Merino Dream, and some more Mountain Colors.
- And then, there's THE BAG...

I'm not a girly-girl. I don't spend lots of money on clothes. Kitchen gadgets, knitting stuff...that's what I'm about. But when a BLUE SUEDE KNITTING BAG finds you, you must answer the call. Heeeee....

Remarkably, I felt just wonderful after my lunch hour.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

We Did It!!!

Oh, what an absolutely glorious weekend it was...

Friday went upstate, met up with others to camp, got up early on Saturday, and hit the road for the ride. The only part that really sucked was the last 5 miles, which had some killer hills.

We completed the ride in just over 3 hours, averaging over 10mph on the bikes (the last 5 miles really ate up our speed averages). The weather was PERFECT. The scenery was amazing. We had a great time with everyone, and then we headed to Stillwater for fun with our friends.

It'll take some time to upload all the pictures, but I just wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU for all of your encouragement, support, and donations.

This big girl put on her lycra and biked thirty miles! Woohoo!

ETA: The MS Ride photo album is here. There are more before-n-after pics (ie side trips and other musings) to be posted later.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Another Friday Not Worked

Due to the MS ride on Saturday, we decided to take Friday off, slowly make our way upstate, stop off by our Upstate Mom-n-Dad's house, swing by the park, hopefully register early, then set up camp for the night. We're most likely going to just "car camp," because it'd be an awful shame to pitch a tent just in time for the thunderstorms, then sleep quasi-damp until the ride in the morning. But that's just us.

We're meeting several folks from work in the camping area, so a good time should be had by all. I'm very excited - my cycling shorts came in today, and I have to give a shout-out to Aero Tech Designs. Not only do they make plus-sized cycling clothes, but I submitted my online order on Sunday, and I received the shorts today. No overnight shipping, just regular old USPS. And the shorts are AWESOME. Joe and I rode about 5 miles tonight, and other than the first few minutes of feeling I was wearing a diaper...they totally rock!

Wish us luck - I know we're going to have a blast.

And thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your words of encouragement. Yesterday's post was meant to be more of a what-goes-on-in-my-crazy-mind, but all of your kind and wonderful words mean the world to me. Many thanks to my friends near and far, and a big ol' hug to my Upstate Mom. See you tomorrow - and Saturday night I'll either need an IV or a *LOT* of Bud...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Channeling Athena

Not too long ago, while not being able to sleep and fiddling on the internet, I found Brave Athena. What really caught my eye is the quote that she has at the top of her blog:

If you're a large woman in America, your whole life is an opportunity to feel self-conscious, embarrassed, resentful and way too big. You can hide in the corner or on the couch, you can go to therapy, or you can put on your lycra bike shorts and get out there and move.
—Jayne Williams, Slow Fat Triathlete

I love it! I'd been feeling so damn self-conscious lately. I've been on WW for over a year and haven't progressed much since the holidays. I committed to this bike ride 4 months ago - can you imagine what wonderful things I could have done in 4 months? Well, it didn't happen. So now I get an opportunity to ride with hundreds of other people wearing a cycling jersey that shows a little more of Curvy Beth than the world is ready for. It's hotter than hades up here (no central a/c, so getting home yesterday to a humid house temp of 85 was most unpleasant), and any movement outside of our window unit a/c is foolish. Joe's been out of town a lot, so that hasn't helped my funk.

Wah, wah, wah, woe to me.

I come from a long line of strong women - my great-grandmother lost her mother at a young age and had to take care of her siblings and her father early on. My grandmother (her daughter) lost her husband several months before their third child was born. This was during a time when single working moms were a rarity, and she supported her family as a teacher and put all three of her kids through college. My mom (her daughter) can paint a portrait or build a piece of furniture. She knits and has pretty good aim with her shot gun (I wouldn't test her on that, though - many a snake has suffered at the end of that gun). So all of these wonderful ladies are now yelling at me in my head...

Shut the f&$* up, girl - stop yer pity party!

And there you go.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I might be in trouble...

- I haven't trained nearly as much as I should have.
- I haven't focused on my WW goals - eating (and drinking!) all the wrong things.
- And still I'm going to go for a 30-mile ride this Saturday.

What the heck was I thinking?

If (when!) I achieve my goal on Saturday, I'm going to treat myself to another piercing inside my right ear (the middle one in the pic, not the top one).

---and don't ask me why Blogger's being a butthead today and not letting me put a title on this post...

Friday, July 06, 2007

Hangin' With Ghetto...

Yesterday evening was spent mainly hanging out on the porch with our resident outside kitty, Ghetto. Now, before y'all get all up in my face about his un-PC name, let me tell you about the special kitty that adopted us.

A few years ago, this cute, scrawny marmie tabby started hanging around our house. We assumed he was a stray, but he was very friendly. Then he showed up with a collar (no tags, though). Ends up he was the companion of nearby neighbor, Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews (and some of his grown kids, grandkids, etc) lived in several houses across the street. Mr. Matthews was a retired fire chief and general everyone-knows-him kind of guy.

I don't like to see cats outside - at least not in an urban setting such as ours. I see enough dead critters in the road to know what happens to kitties who aren't street-smart. So the fact that this kitty (I think someone said his name was Chase, but it totally doesn't suit him) kept crossing the street to hang out on our porch made me nervous. But it's not like we could just steal him and lock him indoors. Besides - he seemed to like the fact that this little part of Montgomery was his turf.

Several years ago, I was at home during a day off from work, and I heard the rumble of trucks - lots and lots of trucks. From the upstairs den I looked out the window to see a line of fire trucks, draped in black, coming up the street, all their drivers and passengers in full dress uniforms. I found out the next day that it was a funeral procession for Mr. Matthews.

I believe this wonderful kitty still has a home with the Matthews kids, but I think he likes to hang out on his own, hunting moles and chasing groundhogs and birds. Only after Mr. Matthews died, when Ghetto was looking scrawny, did we start to feed him. Cats, after all, are territorial. He'd hang out at our place whether we fed him or not. We chose to feed him when we're blessed with his presence.

We called him Ghetto after a few "conversations" he had with our youngest, Dobby, through the sliding screen door. It was as though he was telling the "kid" about life on the streets. For some reason, Joe and I thought that "Ghetto Kitty" talking to young, naive Dobby was the funniest thing we'd ever heard. And so Ghetto stuck, and it suits him just fine.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy 4th, Y'all

The nice thing is that I get 2 "mini-weeks" for the price of one. I only get Wednesday off, but I think of it as having two Fridays (Tues and Fri). Tonight I baked four batches of Martha's Perfect Cookies...this is MY name for them - they are truly the perfect cookie. You must bake. Now. 10+ years of making them, I still get FIERCE comments and recipe requests. I feel no shameful pride, because it isn't my cookie. But no matter how you bake it - it's always PERFECT. Bravo, Martha.

Also made my Great-Grandmother Hughey's Chocolate Chewies. Basically a cookie-sized brownie with pecans (the link isn't my Grandmama's recipe). I haven't quite perfected them, though - the religious ONLY SEVEN MINUTES IN THE OVEN, PERIOD part of the recipe seems to turn out slightly underdone Chewies in this Yankee oven. But they still kick ass. Unfortunately, I can't erase the memory of my brother's name for them: Doo-doo drops. Thanks, bro. ;)

Am prepping the cookies for tomorrow's par-tay at Matt's house. May you have a happy Fourth of July, eat well, and drive carefully.