Monday, December 13, 2010

There's Gratitude for ya...

At 47 years old I still didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. (I don't feel grown up, but that's a post for another day.) Before I hit 30 there were many things I thought about doing. Some of them were what every other kid wants to be, like a school teacher. I realized that although I like kids, I really didn't want to be around them all day. I have 4 of my own, and I don't want to be around them all day. I relish going to the grocery by my self.

I had thought about being a photographer, but then I realized not all of them reach the status of Annie Leibowitz. I wasn't about to photograph weddings for the rest of my life. Writer! That's the ticket. But I like having a roof and food and heat, and "Harry Potter" was taken already.

So, I bumbled through life without a plan. I studied English Lit in college thinking I would get a Ph.D and teach. I got as far as getting accepted to grad school, but practicality won out and I got a job instead. I would fall in and out of jobs that sounded interesting, married a guy a couldn't stand in college, and 17 years later we have 4 kids and a great marriage. Not having a plan some times works.

Then the Husband sent me a clip about this lady. She's 98 years old and has been knitting for the troops since WWII and has no plans to stop. She has made almost 500 scarves this year alone! She donates them to a fantastic organization called Operation Gratitude that donates care packages to our service men and women. If you don't knit, they could use other donations as well, even money for postage.

After seeing the clip, I want to be Joan when I grow up. Since according to the calendar I am grown up, I should knit a scarf for the troops. So maybe those of us that knit or crochet could take a little time during the crazy busyness of the holidays to knit one scarf to donate. Joan has the other 500 covered.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


This time of year brings to mind all of the great "curses" that Darren McGavin unleashes in "A Christmas Story", especially when after reaching the shoulder shaping on the front of a sweater with a huge honkin' cable design up the front, you realize that the design isn't in the sweet 'flalinglupo'* middle.

One only comes to this conclusion after missing the instruction in the pattern where one is directed to start decreasing for the arm hole shaping, and by "one", I mean "me". So I ripped back a few inches and continued blissfully unaware that I had made a mistake way back at the beginning.
*my own curses

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Public Service Announcement

It has come to my attention that each year hundreds of words regularly fall out of daily use. This is a travesty that must not be allowed to continue. The good folks at the Oxford English Dictionary are asking that we, as users and lovers of the English language, adopt a word.

By using our adopted word in our correspondence, meetings, and even blog postings, we can prevent some good, hardworking words from disappearing from our lexicon. Please go here and do your part.

"Wool stapler". Look it up. Thank you.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Title Here

As you can see by the title, I'm not feeling terribly creative. I'm still knitting, but following patterns. Every now and then, it's nice to not have to think. Ravelry is helping.

Those of you that are on Ravelry, have you seen the option where you can marry up items in your queue with your stash? It's really cool. You can see what yarn you already have on hand, how much, and what the weight is, and do a search of things in your queue that would use that amount and weight of yarn. You can then attach that yarn to that project. By doing this, I have decided to knit through my stash.

The husband has been complaining that I have too much yarn. So by turning it into sweaters, scarves, hats and socks, it will take up less room in the house. Sounds logical, right? Just go with me on this.

With that said, I found that I had enough Beaverslide Dry Goods worsted to make me a vest. I used this book since the math was already done for me, added a leafy trim (which I think I'm going to rip out and change) around the bottom,
add single crochet around the arms and neck; and, Bob's your uncle, I have less yarn in the stash! Never mind that it just moved from the plastic container in the closet to the cedar chest.

Now I'm working my way through some Cascade 220 to make a Wishbone. It too will move several times. It will move from the closet, to the tote bag while in progress, to the cedar chest. All that matters is that it will be out of the closet, and the Husband will notice a few less skeins of yarn in there.

Maybe. All I see when I look in the closet are his eleventy pairs of black boots. Although, I could start shoving yarn down in his boots. Brilliant! I'll be back, I have to go shopping!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Summer of Smalls

Yes, I am quite aware that our British friends use the word "smalls" to refer to their underthings, but "The Summer of Little Projects" just doesn't sing. Having knit the same sweater twice this past winter, I was ready for quick and fast-ish projects. Let me ', there is too much, let me sum up.*

I made the green cardigan from Malabrigo that I have had percolating in my head for quite some time, but didn't pay attention to what size my body really is. Evidently I believe my self to be built like a San Diego line backer, when I'm really the size of an Oompa Loompa. So I reknit the thing using the Mr. Greenjeans pattern, because I was tired of doing my own math (math turned out not to be my strongest intellectual attribute). It fits just fine and I love it. In fact I wore it for about a week straight in May when we still had spring weather. I also wore it at night while camping in Watkins Glen, NY. It needs a good wash, and I had to pick leaves off of it before taking the picture.

I have yarn and a pattern for a sweater that the Husband wants, but I'm just not in the mood to have something large and hot in my lap. Do you hear that Brunnhilde? You are not a lap dog! Although, it won't be long before I can start, but not right now. We are still having 80 degree days.

Thing 1 had been riding my butt to finish his Sheldon turtle that I realized had been sitting untouched for a year. So, it was quickly dispatched. Suddenly, I had an epiphany. I realized that it's fun to actually finish something that only takes a few days to knit. Duh.

That is when I decided it will be the Summer of Small(s) Things. Nope, still doesn't sing.

I vowed to only knit on little items this summer. Those items being, but not limited to, socks, Sheldons, scarfs, and shawls. (The S Summer? The SSummer? No, absolutely not, too Third Reich.) Although shawls can be rather large (hence, not small) they can be holey, and if knit with laceweight yarn, quite whispery. So in my mind that counts as being small. Besides, I purchased the pattern and yarn for Anne Hansen's Cluaranach, and it's coming along great.

So, I diligently cast on, and finished Thing 2's Sheldon; cast on, and finished thankyouverymuch, the Zakuro cowl, and finished the second of this sock. (Alas, I did not take a picture of it, and it's upstairs and I am down here. Steps are involved. Here is a picture of the Zakuro cowl instead.)

So, what should be next? Should I finish the Husband's Tabi socks that have been languishing for over a year? Or maybe treat myself to using the Flat Feet I just recently purchased? Perhaps, I should finish the shortie socks for the Girl. These are going super fast since she requested ankle socks. I've knocked out 1 1/2 socks in one week.

Today's post was brought to you by the letter "S".

*Mandy Patinkin in "The Princess Bride"

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lazy Days of Wha'?

Whoever coined the phrase "lazy days of summer" was an idiot, or certainly someone that had no job, home, family or somewhere to be.

Since summer began I have had more laundry than usual. In addition to washing our "regular" stuff you can add swimsuits, beach towels, and sleeping bags that got smelly on our camping trip. I don't even complain when I notice that Thing 1 and Thing 2 have worn the same clothes, usually p.j.'s, for the third day in a row. That means less laundry!

Oh, yeah, the camping trip. I took the kids camping in Watkins Glen, NY. This involved tracking down supplies, purchasing new supplies, and driving 8 hours with the kids (one way) to have a really good time. The weather was perfect (not too hot, low humidity), the company was fantastic, and I didn't blow my top until the morning to pack up and come home. I'd call that a successful trip.

I have also recently acquired a rental property (can you say "slum lord"?). The property I have is not a slum. It's a nice 4 bedroom in a nice part of town. But it had wallpaper in certain rooms that had been there since the 70's. It also had a base layer of wallpaper that had been there since the early 60's. I know this because the house was built in 1963, and there was nothing under that layer except plaster.

So I spent much time getting the house ready to rent. Consequently, my house is in ruins, the laundry has grown exponentially, and I can't see my garden any more for all the weeds. I know I have tomato plants out there somewhere.

I have been knitting. Slowly. By the time I sit down in the evenings, usually about 9pm, I'm too tired to even lift the remote. So I end up watching whatever channel the kids had on. I could probably give you a synopsis of all of the "iCarly" episodes, and Spongebob isn't so bad if you are really exhausted.

I keep telling myself that once the kidlets are back in school, things will slow down. At least I'll have less laundry.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Best "Holiday" Ever!

Tomorrow is National Doughnut Day! National Doughnut Day started in 1938 as a fundraiser for the Salvation Army, so it's not just an excuse to eat a doughnut, like I needed one.

For those of you being careful about your calorie intake, you can knit or crochet a doughnut in honor of the day. These projects could all be great stash busters and depending on the color of your yarn, you could make many different flavors.

You could make this pattern by Matie Trewe. If you don't want to make a doughnut, she is also the creator of the giant squid hat and a knitted digestive system. Those are the patterns that are safe to mention without getting a drive by p*rning.

If jelly doughnuts are more your thing here's a pattern by Kat Lewinski. She also has a cute pattern for Easter Peeps (something to file away for next spring).

And for you crocheters here is Nevadamama's pattern for a doughnut pin cushion where your pins become the sprinkles, because it's just not National Doughnut Day without sprinkles.

Friday, May 07, 2010

A Sign of the Times

This is what I see on those rare occassions I am with the Husband (his friend, Big Steve, was with us that day).

Phone companies and the internet all use the "stay connected with friends" ploy to get your business, but I'm getting a little weary of looking at the top of the Husband's head over the dinner table during the "we don't have the kids with us, so let's go out to eat so we can spend some time together" moments. What's wrong with staying connected by actually looking at each other during a conversation?

The "technology is actually making us, as a society, less connected" rant is now over. And, yes, I see the irony in the fact that I took that picture with my phone, and am now ranting over the internet. I think I will now let my rant subside by reading a few chapters of my current book on my Kindle!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

One year ago today, I started a new chapter in my life. The chapter is "Living with a Teenage Boy". What a ride it's been.

The house has become smellier, one room in particular, his. I am waging a battle on the smell. Not every day is successful. I've also had to buy extra shaving cream. For the past seventeen years, I've only had to buy shaving cream for one man in the house, now I buy for two. Granted, only one needs to shave every day, and the other needs to use Stridex every day. And I really shouldn't think there are two men in the house; it's more like one and a half.

I also now knock when I see a closed door. In the past the door was never closed, he wanted to make sure he was included and aware of the day to day activities of the house. These days, he'd prefer to be on his own, isolated from the rest of us. He's probably pretending he doesn't have annoying little brothers and a crabby sister. The annoyers and crabby want to buy him a present, because they still feel he's one of us.

The house has become quieter in the mornings on the weekend. That happens when someone sleeps until noon. I am sometimes startled when I hear a deep voice from another room around lunchtime. My first thought is usually the same as the little kids, "Dad's home? I thought he was at work."

Over the past several years, I've had to buy bigger and bigger shoes, and many, many, many sacks of groceries. But on occasion (and I don't think he would want to admit to it), I've been told about a really cool Lego set. I was also surprised the other day by a quick peck on the cheek for no apparent reason, not in public mind you. That would be embarrassing. No one kisses Mom in public. I'll have to wait until I'm shuffling along with my walker before that will happen. I won't hold him to the promise he made to me when he was 7 that he would never be too embarrassed to kiss me in public no matter how old he was. So I'll just have to treasure the memories of the sticky pancake kisses and the hugs made with chubby little arms.

But as he grows older, I'll have more memories to cherish. Such as watching him kick butt at a karate tournament, becoming second chair trumpet in the school band, and holding doors open for ladies without my prompting. I'll never forget finding him sitting at the desk computer with his 3 year old cousin on his lap playing a game that was only fun for the 3 year old.

Happy 14th Birthday, Weasel. I am so proud of you. I know life's road can be rocky, but I am positive you will navigate your way with confidence in yourself and kindness to others.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

What in the Sam Hill was I smoking?

So, I go to the grocery store yesterday which was my first mistake. Were you aware that everyone on the planet waits until the day before a major holiday to do their grocery shopping? Who knew? I think I knew this, but it was not filed away under "days to not go to the store", so it wasn't easily accessible. It must have been one of the odd ball documents down at the bottom of the page that you are too lazy to click and move to a folder, and your eyes just tend to gloss over when you see them.

I was smug in the knowledge that I didn't need to do any "holiday" shopping. I needed food to feed the family for the upcoming week. It somehow made me feel superior to those with ham and eggs in their basket.

After fighting the ham and eggs crowd, I came home, walk in the kitchen, only to be greeted by a child that is not mine. It's my nephew and he's brought his little brother with him. It turns out that his older brother was taken to the hospital for severe abdominal pain. No problem, I've got my sea legs on, I can roll with the waves.

It turns out that the oldest nephew needs his appendix out, and Mom and Dad will be staying at the hospital with him as good parents do. So the interlopers will be spending the night here. My sister-in-law, aka PD, thoughtfully brought the Easter basket fixin's for her two so all I had to do was assemble.

Fast forward to this morning when I realize my second mistake. What do you feed children Easter morning? The second day of the year where it's all about the chocolate, the first being Halloween? You guessed it. The donuts I bought at the store yesterday!

I am the only adult stuck at the house with 6 children between the ages of 13 and 5, all of whom will be hopped up on sugar, two of which have been diagnosed with ADHD, and a third on crutches. I envy the Husband having to work today.

My third mistake was not stocking up on beer at the store. I think I only have 2 bottles left. They will have to suffice. I need to go, I just heard a kid ask if we have any ice cream in the house and its only 10am.

Happy Easter, Passover, or Vernal Equinox.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ho Hum

The Husband pointed out a few days ago that I hadn't updated the Blog in about a month. I came to the realization that I hadn't felt particularly inspired. It wasn't that I just felt that I had nothing to write about, but I felt uninspired in many aspects of my life.

The knitting is still there. It's just not an inspiring knit. I decided that the cardigan I had made of my own design from the Malabrigo I had in the stash would be better off repurposed as a different sweater, because although my gauge was spot on, I apparently think I have a linebacker's physique. I was going for comfortable (I'm not a big fan of fitted sweaters), what I got was comforter. So, I bumbled around on Ravelry and found a suitable alternative.

What I settled upon was Mr. Greenjeans by Amy Swenson. It's a good, basic cardigan with a little pizzazz. I'm sure I'll like it once it's finished. But I feel uninspired because I really don't have to think while making it. I'm following a pattern without making any modifications. Don't get me wrong, sometimes mindless knitting can be a good thing.

I feel uninspired with my choice of reading material lately. I'm currently reading Charles Dicken's "The Old Curiosity Shop". I love Dickens. I love the silly names he gives some of his characters (Richard Swiveller and Sophy Wackles), and the even sillier characteristics some have.

"…had it consorted with Miss Brass's maiden modesty and gentle womanhood to have assumed her brother's clothes in a frolic and sat down beside him, it would have been difficult for the oldest friend of the family to determine which was Sampson and which Sally, especially as the lady carried upon her upper lip certain reddish demonstrations, which, if the imagination had been assisted by her attire, might have been mistaken for a beard. These were, however, in all probability, nothing more than eyelashes in a wrong place, as the eyes of Miss Brass were quite free from any such natural impertinencies."

In spite of that brilliant prose, I'm just not feeling it.

I'm especially feeling uninspired in my job and here around the house. I'm a part time merchandiser. I go into stores and set up displays, and keep them stocked and neat. We have one client that I have been dealing with for years, and I like them (they have a dog as the mascot). But lately, I've been sent to other retailers in addition to my regular stops. While these other retailers don't take much time, they are impossible to deal with. I mostly deal with management, and when I can find one (a manager) they are no help whatsoever. They often vaguely wave me off in a direction, tell me I need to talk to someone else, and then that someone else is impossible to find, and the manager has disappeared. This retailer is often thought to be the reason for the downfall of the Mom and Pop stores, if you know what I mean.

I find that I resent being sent to these other retailers. I just want to go to the one I like, do my job, and go home. Very uninspiring.

When I arrive at home, there are so many things that need to be done, and so many things that could be done to make this a beautiful home (right now, it's just functional), but I go through the house with blinders on.

At this point in the blog, I've lost my inspiration to even find a way to neatly tie up my loose thoughts.



Saturday, February 20, 2010

What Goes Around

I am a believer in the natural goodness of people, karma, the golden rule, call it what you will. Last evening, my belief was proven to my sometimes cynical husband.

While eating dinner out with the family at a local pizza joint, an elderly woman collapsed in the lobby on her way out of the restaurant. Where we were seated, I had a clear view of the lobby, and saw the lady go down. Several people rushed to her aid, but I noticed that nearly all were just standing, staring and doing nothing. So I assumed she was just slow to get up, until I heard "911" said by someone. So I smacked the Husband on the arm, and said, "Get over there."

I knew that he would be more of a help than those that were just doing nothing but staring. Being a former paramedic and currently a police officer, he is trained in these types of situations. Evidently, the crowd of looky-loo's realized that he knew what to do, because when he pulled out his ever present mini flashlight to check her pupil's dilation, the crowd meandered back to their pizza. I like to joke with the Husband that he is a bit squirrely because he never leaves the house without certain items. He claims that you never know when you might need a flashlight, or knife. I call it "geeky", he calls it "prepared". Although, come to think of it, I hardly ever leave the house without my small knitting bag, because you never know when a knit fight might break out.

Once the paramedics arrived and took the lady to the hospital, the Husband returned to his now cold hoagie from which he had only taken one bite before I made him spring into action. Here's the good karma part, the manager came over to thank him for taking charge, and said that she would take 50% off our bill and she made him a new hoagie since his other one had gone cold. It was an unexpected, but welcome gesture. I think she may even have called him a hero. The Husband insists that he is not a hero, but that is just typical of any man or woman in uniform. If you call them a hero, they will tell you that they are just doing their job. Regardless, hearing the Husband called a hero made the kidlets beam with pride.

They know what he does for a living, but they have never seen him "in action". They only get to see him when he drags his tired self in the door after a long shift. In spite of that poor woman's state (I sincerely hope that she is o.k.), last evening was rather uplifting. My children got to see that there are good people in this world, and that when someone needs help, you should come to their aid without expectation of reward. But sometimes, you may receive a reward, like a warm hoagie.

Monday, February 15, 2010


I give up. You win. After gallbladder surgery, a fatblobremovedfrombackectomy (it is too a procedure), a week of headaches and neck aches, and kids home from school because of snow, a holiday, and the teacher's wanted to combine the holiday with an "in service" day so they could have a 4 day weekend, and more snow, you win.

I'll be in bed. Wake me in April.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


My new obsession is being delivered today! It's a Lendrum.

I had the opportunity to try out other wheels during my class. I worked on a Louet, an Ashford, a Majacraft, and a Schacht. I found that I really liked the Lendrum. The Ashford Saxony was a bit wobbly for my taste. It just didn't feel solid. While I liked the Louet, Majacraft, and the Schacht, I think for the money the Lendrum was the best buy. It's solid, very easy to assemble and disassemble for transporting (if you are into taking your wheel with you), and it comes with a good range of spin ratio's right out of the box. I purchased the "complete" model because it gave you the jumbo flyer for plying or making bulky yarn and the fast flyer. If purchased separately, it would have been more expensive than buying the wheel and adding these later.

I guess I won't get in the shower until the postman arrives. I can't risk missing the momentous event! Yeah, I'm squirrely that way.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


That's the sound I make while I recover from gallbladder surgery. Lots of sleep, and lots of grunting. Every one I spoke with that has also had their gallbladder removed tells me that I'll realize how bad I was feeling before the surgery, because I'll feel so much better after. Well, duh. Anything will be an improvement over the soreness and bruising around my multiple (but small) incisions.

I'm rather late in letting all of you know (all 3 or 4 of you that bother to read this) that we made it through the holidays unscathed, and it turned out to be the best (and by best, I mean least stressful) holiday season ever. This year I actually managed to get everything done in a timely manner, so I only had to sit back and enjoy the time with family.

But I didn't get any rest once the new year began. In between doctor visits for me, the Girl, and Thing2, I took spinning lessons! ...with a wheel... I have a new addiction. One that I currently suck doing, but an addiction none the less.

I am lucky enough to live in a part of the country also occupied by one of 5 master spinners in the US. She has rubbed elbows and is on a first name basis with some of the big playas. Gord is one, as in Gord Lendrum, maker of the Lendrum spinning wheel. And let's not forget Judith. On our last day of class she showed us, and let us try, making Judith's "Wolf Yarn". This is a mohair yarn that she said Judith sold a lot of when she first started spinning and selling her handspun. She called it "Wolf Yarn" because it kept the wolves from the door. Judith? Judith MacKenzie McCuin.

And now, possibly the bravest thing I have ever done. Pictures of my first attempts at spinning and plying. One caveat, though, the light isn't the best if that will make up for it's suckiness.

My first handspun from Corriedale fiber.
My modest attempt at spinning ramie. This stuff is so soft. It's worth attempting again, but I think I'll wait until I am way more confident with my skills. Like when I get to the point where I'm proud to show off the handspun.

Finally, my attempt at the Wolf Yarn.