Tuesday, July 20, 2010

10 for Tuesday - Anniversary Edition

10 Reasons that on this, our 19th Wedding Anniversary, I think my husband is Fantastic.

1. He's my best friend. There's no one I'd rather have a bottle of wine or a beer with.

2.  He makes me laugh.  (Sometimes even when I really don't want to.)

3.  He said in Pre-Cana that I was the only one who had enough energy to keep up with him.  On the other hand, he gets me to do things I would never otherwise do.

4.  He jumps off cliffs - into water or on skis.
5.  He's a crazy good father.

6.  Music!  All kinds and lots of live music.
7.  He doesn't mind that I'm a knitting/sci fi geek even though he isn't.
8.  He buys me yarn.
9.  He still kisses me hello whenever he sees me.
10.  He loves adventure. 


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Water Wars

I'm still working on the River Socks.  I have one done and have started the second.  It should go pretty quickly.  I was also able to do 3 rows on my Maplewing while I was at the River but as unblocked lace really doesn't look like much I won't add another picture here.  And I wound my purple Malbrigo sockweight into a ball so I'm ready for my Kai-Mei's (Rav Link) as soon as I finish Mom's socks.

There was also a nice yarn crawl with Mom while I was up north and I really love the selection of yarns at Misty Hollow in Potsdam.  I got sock yarn for DD's Johnny Boy (Rav Link) which I hope to have done in time for her birthday but that might be a stretch.  I also got a sock yarn for myself there and another at Fiber Options in Renssalear Falls.  More on that when I have pics.

Or more vacation madness.  Of which there was lots and I don't know where to start.
There were fish and chips and Tiger Tail ice cream.  If you've never had Tiger Tail ice cream you're really missing out on one of the wonders of the world.  It's orange ice cream with stripes of black licorice through it.  Well yes, you have to like black licorice but if you do this stuff is absolutely the best.  And of course what makes it even more special for me is the only place I've EVER seen it the ice cream stand on Blockhouse Island in Brockville, Ontario.  If you ever get there you must give it a try.
There was jumping off the cliffs into the St. Lawrence Seaway Channel.
That's 7 yo DD taking her first jumps off the lower cliffs with DH and I.  Honestly, is there anything better to do on a 95 degree F day?  I don't think so.  But DS isn't a jumper so he took the pics.  You float down the channel a couple hundred feet keeping close to the cliffs so you don't get pulled too far.  Then you climb up the rocks to get back on the island. 
And there were Water Wars.  I've never seen this elsewhere either but this can't be the only place that has it. 

First you fill your balloons.  Then you load up and prepare to fire at the other side.

And you end up looking like . . .

I will fully admit to ducking out of the firing range several times to keep from getting utterly soaked which, according to the posted rules of the game, is a no-no and opened me up to jeering and cat calls from the crowd and my family.  The crowd was quite nice about it.  My family, not so much.  I'm sure they'll never let me live it down.

And so I spent what will probably be the hottest days of Summer 2010 fully enjoying the St. Lawrence and all it has to offer.  And knitting.  And buying yarn.

Friday, July 2, 2010

River Socks


(Check out the sky.  And this is anal but don't the needles match the yarn really well?)
The middle of the St. Lawrence River is a fine place to knit a pair of socks.  I worked on these in the boat today after a great adventure which I'll describe further below.  These are for my Mom, who we're visiting, out of some of the JoAnne's Sensations Sock Yarn that I got on sale a couple of weeks ago.  The cool thing about these, I hope, is that I'm trying Nancy Bush's Estonian Cast on and I knit the first row and purled the second row as she suggests in this video.

Quite honestly when the sock isn't stretched out I think it's a bit bulky for a K3P2 rib but when I stretch as it will be when it's on the leg I think it looks nice.  I think it would work better with a non-ribbed pattern coming right after the purl row or without doubling the "thumb" yarn and/or skipping the K row and the P row.  I guess that will only make sense if you watch the video, which I highly recommend.  I'll keep you posted on how it turns out.  It's also supposed to be extra stretchy which I hope will make it easier for Mom to put on.

We're on vacation at home, My home.  Where I grew up.  Home being my folks house on the St. Lawrence River also known as The Most Beautiful Place In The World.  The air here is clear and the water is clear and the sky is clear and it's clean and quiet and very Siddhartha.  I sit on the dock for hours listening to the water and watching it go by.  And I do some knitting.

For an adventure today we took to the boat about 15 miles upstream to Dark Island for a tour of Singer Castle.  Check it out here

One of our favorite rooms was the Breakfast room where you can watch the sun rise in the morning over the U.S. and watch the sunset in the evening over Canada.

There are windows on 3 sides of the room.  It's amazing.  My goal some day is to spend the night in the Royal Suite, get up before sunrise and watch is rise over the U.S. then sit all day in that room knitting and watching the water go by until the sun sets.  It would be coolest to do that on June 20th - summer solstice.

Another cool fact is that Mr. Bourne, who built it - not Jason Bourne mind you but another most likely less hot guy but with an island-full of money - also bought a couple small neighboring islands.  One of those neighboring islands was in Canada.  He used it to grow vegetables for the main island AND, during prohibition, his daughter used the Canadian island to store her booze since it was still legal there.  Apparently there's a huge wine cellar over there.  Here's the wine cellar on the main island which holds over 500 bottles in terra cotta.  It's cool.

Other interesting facts about the island are that there are 2700 books in the library including a first edition of Woodstock by Sir Walter Scott and a 2nd edition of The Raven by Poe.  I would have liked more time to look around the library, that's for sure.  I think she also said there's an original Rembrandt in the library but my family disagrees.  Also, I got to sit in the 1920's era steam tank in the sports room - no steam working today though, but it was fun.

And here's just a nice pic of the castle.  Have a good night.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


It's here - the last day of school. My youngest is home playing basketball in the driveway and the older guy will be back soon. I love having them home. I love planning fun things to do and having Star Wars marathons and Monopoly games on rainy days. When my whole family is home my world is at peace so there's lots of that in the summer even if we have to wait for my husband to get home in the evening. I know - June Cleaver all over again but that's just how it is for me - with maybe the Dead for the soundtrack instead of The Toy Parade.

Here's my brainstorm for the kids finding things to do this summer without me having to orchestrate everything.

It's filled with slips of paper that have ideas of things to do written on them. Everything from Have a Pretend Christmas (seriously, cookies, a big dinner, a gift for everyone - why the heck not) to Jigsaw Puzzle. Some are things that cost money - most are not. Some are the toys we have that never get played with, some are places to go, card games, jigsaw puzzles, libraries, parks, hikes, you name it. So far it seems to be working with both kids - even the 12 year old who I thought might be a little old for this. But I put ideas in there for bigger people too, like Change All the Songs on Your Ipod or Make Optical Illusion Photos. (Check out these good instructions eHow Optical Illusions Photos.) And my 12 year old is a good guy, generally up for anything as long as he can bring a book just in case.

Oh, and did I mention that I'm going to do some knitting? Duh! I'm in the Christmas Monthly Make Ahead group on Ravelry and although I make big plans in January that I don't seriously intend to keep I get an awful lot done during the year by having a list of ideas. I do have 1 out of 3 kid blankets made out of Lion Brand Homespun for my brothers kids so I'm doing the next 2 this summer for sure. Plus I love making them. I want to finish that gorgeous Alpaca pullover that has been dormant for, um, several months. I'd like to have it for work next fall when it gets cool again. So that's 3 projects. I don't want to tie myself down too much because I like to let my mood direct my knitting.

How funny is this. Younger one just came in and said, "I'm hungry and I want to do a craft. Can I have some clean scissors to cut a tortilla into a snowflake?"

It might take some practice but it's fun!

Here's hoping everyone has a great summer.  I'm going to do some knitting.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The 8 Questions Game and Swiss Cheese


I'm making the Swiss Cheese Scarf by Winnie Shih out of some 5 year old laceweight Rowan wool and I am just loving how it's coming out.

You probably can't see the great nubs and texture on the yarn but they're there making this one of the most tactile projects I've worked on in a while.  It's lovely boring garter stitch which works well for me right now in my sleep deprived state of mind.  The bind offs and cast ons for the holes keep it interesting enough and when it's blocked it'll look even cooler.  Here's the Ravelry Link for the pattern.  Check out the projects page for it.  I think it looks great in varigated yarns too.

So here are the 8 Questions from VoolenvineKnits Blog.  I think these things are fun.

1. What's your staple meal (ie. what meal do you cook most often when you can't be bothered to be adventurous) ?  Sandwiches.  They're my favorite thing to eat anyway.  They're completely easy to make.  I always have something or other that I put in it if it's cream cheese and jelly, peanut butter and banana, cheese and mustard or egg salad or something even "fancier".  And there's very little clean up which is the main reason I can't be bothered to make something adventerous.  I also love love pretzels so a couple of pretzels on the side makes it a perfect meal for me.

2. What do you want to be when you grow up?  I'm already there.  I want to be a stay at home Mom.  I work part time but next year I need to take a full time job if I can get it so my dream job is almost over but, we do what we have to do.  If I get the job I want working with kids in the computer lab at my daughter's school that will be perfect and the next best thing to being a stay at home Mom.

3. What book are you reading at the moment (if any)?  I'm in the middle of book 2 of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan but it's getting a little slow so in the middle of it I read I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak which is FABULOUS.  It's a young adult title although a little rough even for young adults in my opinion but it's riveting and very well written.  I highly recommend it.  Not a book but I also read the New Yorker magazine regularly and really enjoy it.

4. How do you relax?  Knitting - of course!  Running, lifting, yoga and skiing too.

5. What color are the interior walls of your home?  Ours are all white.  We've only lived here for 2 years and when we moved in we got the whole place painted white but I love it!  Aside from the fact that they get dirty easily they really show off my husbands collection of prints.  If there was color on the walls I think it would detract from the artwork.  Here's his most recent to go up. (Sorry for the glare.  I guess I should have sprung for the glare free glass.)

Check it out - Dali's signature in the upper right corner. Cool!

6. What is your guiltiest pleasure?  Well, I already blogged about this.  It's the Wendy Williams show - hahahahahahahaha.

7. What time is bedtime and getting up time?  Bed about 10:00pm - awake at 5:30am. 

8. How long do you spend reading blogs (per day or per week)?  I'm going to say about 3 hours per week.  I'd like to read more but I just haven't got the time.  There are so many great writers out there!  To me it's like reading magazines that are super-targeted to my interests.

Have a great day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Various and Sundry

I yarn binged this week.  Caught a sock yarn sale at Jo Anne Fabrics on Patons Kroy (a long wearing standby for me) and Sensations which I haven't tried yet but it gets good reviews from Roue on the Knitcents Podcast so that's okay by me.  First I went to the yarn section of the store and there were 2 bins.  One was a butt ugly colorway but I still picked it up for a while.  In a fit of sanity I put it back down.  The second was my second favorite colorway evuh.  I picked up all 3 skeins and figured I was good to go.  I went up to the registers to pay and there, waiting, just for me, was a basket of MORE sock yarn on clearance.  With 4 more skeins of my 2nd Fave colorway and bunch more great ones.  Oranges and Greens - SUCKER . . .  Pinks and Blues - FOR MOM . . .  I picked through it.  Then, damn her, the check out lady at the other register saw me pawing through the basket and said, "Hey Honey!  There's another whole basket of that stuff over here."  Crap.  It was on sale cheeeeep in fun colorways and I bought so much that I'm not posting a photo.  Seriously.  It's embarassing.  But I'm loving the preprinted sock yarn so much for knitted baby gifts that I apparently, obviously, damn the groceries and let them eat . . . well . . . pb&j's I guess, couldn't resist.
Check out the Johnny Boy and hat I just finished. 

And I love Phazelia's Mitred Sweater (Ravelry Link) too.  So what's to stop a girl from buying a boatload of sock yarn on sale?  Just sayin.

My 7yo wants a Johnny Boy too and I think I got enough of a great red/black colorway for that.  Sweeet.

However, I was looking for the buttons for the Johnny Boy and it dawned on me (rather, it slapped me in face) that if I NEVER buy another craft supply in MY LIFE my kids will still be trying to sell this stuff at the Estate Sale.  Really, can I burden them with that?  So here's my plan.
Knit something out of my scrap yarn.
Knit something out of my scrap yarn.
Share - give away - use.
Never go to Jo Anne Fabrics again (muhwahahahahahaha)*
Repeat between *. . . *

Get the idea?  Anyone need anything?  A belt buckle?  Buttons?  A Kilt Pin (or four)?  Beads?  Needles?  Embroidery Floss? and don't get me started on the non-fiber crap I'm saving either for crafts that I never have time to do because I'm a Knitter in Motion (thanks Knitajourney.)  Seriously.  Contact me. 


P.S. Happy Father's Day tomorrow to all Dads.  You are wonderful.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ode to a Shrunken Sweater

Ode to a Shrunken Sweater

Merino Wool
a gift
Stitches formed in the hotel
looking at the majestic pine tree and
the orange sunset of April warmth
in the mountains
then ripped out and begun again
Forty hours come and gone in
Pleasant Pastime
Soft and supple caressing my skin
Joy and Comfort
But what is love for a thing?
Let go
You are shrunk

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Trekking and Knitting

You know you're a knitter when you start getting up at 5:30 to get a few rows in on that intense project before the rest of the house wakes up.  And yeah!  I have 2 FOs this week, a baby hat and DDs socks but no pics as of yet.  Maybe later today.
You know you're a Trekky when all things in your life reference Trek.  For example, last night I was thinking about a crazy movie that I watched once, the name of which escapes me, where 2 young women were in abusive relationships and got out of them.  It's a black, black comedy with abuse (obviously) and drugs and what not and I usually steer 1,000s of miles clear of those kinds of movies because that stuff upsets me and those movies get into my brain, I thought, just like one of those grubs that got put into Sulu's ear and drove him mad.   Seriously, do you reference Trek in your musings even when you're not even talking to someone else?
You know you're spreading your Trekkiness when your daughter, who is in 1st grade at the time, gets to tell a joke in class one day in school.  "Oh," I said, "what joke did you share?" 
"I told this one," said DD. 
"Why did Captain Kirk go into the ladies room?  He wanted to go where no man had gone before."
Good joke, no?  But sad to say, the other 6 year olds didn't get it.  The teacher thought it was funny though.  Do you think my daughter will bring this up in therapy when she's 23?
Pics later, I hope.  The chillins' are waking up now so I must go play Mommy.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

On Time and Monogomy

Lately I've had a couple of knitting fails. 

I made the first of the purple cable socks for my Mom but it seemed a bit big to me.  So although I started the second I wisely decided to wait until she tried on the first before I finished the second and boy am I glad I did because it was way too big around the leg and it wasn't going to work out.  I figure that took about 15 hours.  I haven't ripped it out because maybe I can think of someone with a big leg and foot that it would fit.

On Friday I started a pair of ankle socks for my 7 year old daughter.  I was on a school bus trip with my son - 2.5 hours of prime knitting time on the bus.  For 8 hours we were at an amusement park where I spent a good 3 hours knitting and watching people go by and guarding stuffed animals and wet clothes.  5.5 hours of knitting time on a sock for my daughter but before I finished the toe I decided to let her try it on and I'm glad I did because it was too small.  I ripped it out to start again on Saturday during a 2 1/2 hour car ride.

So here's my question.  What happened to that time?  On the one hand it's lost time.  Wasted.  Because the products I thought I would have at the end of those 20.5 hours weren't there.  Then again I do consider myself a process knitter and I enjoy the act of knitting so didn't I enjoy those 20.5 hours and gain some personal benfit from them?  So maybe they weren't wasted.  And as I sat in the amusement park I was chaperoning and watching all the people so by double tasking those hours I was still doing something and they weren't wasted.  And all that car riding was just car riding - nothing lost there.  But it nags at me.  All those hours of knitting with nothing to show.  All those stitches and my hands are tired and nothing to show.  Then again, isn't a beautiful thing that I could pull that second sock out and re-knit the yarn into a sock that does fit?  Isn't that just neat?  I'm not sure what happens to that knitting time but I suppose it will happen sometimes and it's not going to keep me from knitting of course.

On project Monogomy I have this to say.  I think it's a cool idea but I can't do it.  Not only do my hands get sore from working with the size 1s all the time and I need to switch to a project with larger needles for a while but I'm socked out for now.  I love lots and lots of projects going so I can pick and choose depending on my mood.  In fact, maybe I'll cast something new on after dinner.  So there.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lack of Proofreading

Please note:  Any proofreading errors in the following are not the fault of the writer and can be attributed to severe sleep deprivation and exhaustion.

One non-stealth stealth sock is done.  I kept thinking it was taking me forever and amazingly it is in fact a bit long but the recipient's foot is longer than mine so perhaps it will do.  Nonetheless, I left the toe without sewing the end in just in case I need to rip it out and make it shorter.  I hope to start the second sock as soon as the second child is tucked in tonight.  I'd love to have them done by Mother's Day but with my upcoming schedule I'm doubting it.  I have 5 hours of driving to do tomorrow which I don't begrudge at all but I haven't figured out how to drive and knit yet.  When will someone invent the autopilot car, please.  Or better yet the transporter.  Still, hope springs eternal.  When these socks are done I have about 348 projects I want to start and about 5 to finish.  Does that ever happen to you?

I'm really really really enjoying the Knitajourney podcast.  Every episode has some nugget of thought provoking interesting something-or-other in it for me and I love it.  First, I am a Knitter in Motion.  Something must truly come in the way of my knitting for me to stop - and leaving the house doesn't usually count unless it's today when I had to take 2 kids to the same Dr's office at 2 different times requiring driving all over the doggone county.  I couldn't take them both at once because there was State testing going on and my concientious son wouldn't miss his test for the world.  The Dr. did a double take when I showed up the second time.  However, I had a lovely luncheon at Pannera with my 7 yo and some shopping which was also delightful which is great because I usually hate shopping.  After shopping we stopped for a short visit and a friend's house.  She's also a knitter and about 6 months ago I taught her to knit socks and she's been on a big sock bender ever since.  Guess what, I had no knitting with me.  I think it was making her uncomfortable.

Which leads me to another force of nature that can put me off my knitting - sleep deprivation.  Sing it loud folks.  I don't care how old your children get, when they're sick and up in the night you don't sleep much and you get just as tired as you did when they were infants.  Maybe I get more tired because frankly, I'm older too.  Proof of this is that I went out to buy them some shorts, t-shirts and jammies for summer in between Dr.s appt and discovered that the pjs were a size too big and the 2nd pair of shorts for my son were 3 sizes too small!  Further proof is that I left my house for a known Drs. appt, lunch, stopping at a knitting friend's house AND I HAD NO KNITTING WITH ME THE WHOLE TIME.

The stray neighborhood cat hacking up a hairball and howling on the deck outside our bedroom at 4:00 a.m. didn't help either.  Just sayin.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

No Attention Span

So I'm working away on my Mom's socks and knitting and knitting away and bang - I gotta work on something else.  Yes, I have the attention span of a flea.  It's too hot to work with acrylic and my hands are sweating so the yarn is sticky but we're watching a movie.  Seriously, you can't figure I'm gonna not knit, right?  I think I'll do a bookmark.  I'm going to try to sell some at the elementary school's used booksale to raise some money for the school.  This way I'll have a little something to do but it won't really take me away from the socks for long.  So . . . off to find a pattern and how to starch them.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hot Weather Knitting

(Spoiler Alert:  Mom - don't read this before Mother's Day - quick, look away . . .)

The hot weather is apparently here.  I sat in 85 degree Farenheit weather today at my son's ballgame with sticky hands knitting socks for my Mom which I hope to have done in time for Mother's Day next week.  The pattern is Cable Rib Socks by Erica Alexander from Interweave Knits Spring 2005.  Here's what it looks like so far.
I like it well enough.  I certainly like how it looks in the magazine.  I must have done something wrong with the split for the heel because the cables below the gusset don't seem to be 1 or 2 stitches off but upon reflection I decided I didn't want the cable to run all the way down the foot anyway because I think it might be uncomfortable inside a shoe.  So I just let it blend into the rib on the instep which I'm keeping because Mom likes them with ribbing on the instep.  If I end up not liking how it looks I'll rip back and re-set the heel.
I'm using the Bernat Satin Sport Solids again as that's her favorite yarn for socks.  I know it's probably sacrilege to most knitters to make a pair of acrylic socks but I swear she absolutely loves them!  She says they keep her feet warm and dry.  I should borrow a pair some to see because I bet they wear like iron and at $1.50 a ball on sale at Michael's (it does take about 1.5 balls for a pair) I really can't go wrong.

In other news, here's the picture of the Buttercup. Gets up slowly to go take picture . . . wait for it . . . lame photo shoot . . . loading . . . and BAM - the power of technology. 

And a close up of the lace around the neckline which makes this shirt so special.  That and the a-line fit.

I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do with my angora/wool washable sock yarn that I got in VT on vacation.  It's sooooo darn soft.  The contenders are currently two pairs of socks, Hat Heels (rav link) or Skew (rav link) OR a hat and cowl which would be the Tamarind Cowl (rav link) and a slouch hat of some sort.  I'll keep thinking about it while I finish these socks.

And believe it or not I've been making good (in my opinion) progress on my Maplewing Shawl.  I've been getting up at 6:00 a.m. on the weekends so I can have a hour or two before the rest of the house wakes up to concentrate.  I'm all the way to row 26!  Hooray.  It still doesn't look like much so no picture but hopefully I can keep plugging away at it.

Work has been quite tough which is why I haven't posted in a while.  I'm enjoying the kids' spring sports and music endeavors and we're all looking forward to concert season.  We looked at the SPAC schedule for the Philly orchestra today and picked out 6 at least that we want to go to including Yo Yo Ma, the Ode to Joy and Porgy and Bess.  Our son is auditioning on part of Porgy and Bess next month for a percussion ensemble so he'd really love to see that live.  And the Saratoga Jazz Festival is at the end of June and looks to have a great line up.  We're especially excited for the Saturday which includes Al Jarreau and my favorite - Taj Mahal.  We're very lucky to live so close to such a world class venue. 

I haven't been reading anything truly inspiring lately but lots of fun stuff.  My daughter and I are reading Harry Potter.  We're on #5 and trying to finish so we can read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy over the summer.  My son and I have just started the Wheel of Time series (12 books I believe) by Robert Jordan which David Reidy of Sticks and Strings Podcast recommends.  I thought the first book was a little slow on the start but now I'm really enjoying it.  I also hope to read the Alexandria Quartet again this summer - a series I try to re-read every 7 or 8 years - but I'm going to wait until the school year ends to attempt that.  Last summer I failed at the Infinite Jest read-a-long.  The characters in it were too creepily, realistically mad for me which is in fact a sign of really incredible writing but it was too much for me.  The biographical critic would say that the writing made it obvious that David Wallace Foster had some real experience with depression and mental illness himself.  I gave the book to a friend to keep myself from going back to it but the creativity and the fantastic, amazing ideas in it and all the deep references would make it a great read if the psychic pain the characters were in didn't bother you.

Tomorrow is the first Greenmarket of the season!  Welcome summer.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Jim's Poetry

I love having the kids write the blog posts.

To A Hungry Young Man
By Jimmy Stagnitti

Inspired by William Carlos Williams’ To a Poor Old Woman

wolfing down pizza at the
dining room table with the box
of pizza right next to him

He is hungry
He is

hungry. He
is hungry

You can tell because

he ravenously eats
slice after slice

right out of the box


a comfort of pizza
the scent filling the air

He is hungry

And then this
Kitchen Music
By Jimmy Stagnitti
Inspired by Arnold Adoff’s Street Music

T h i s r e s t a u r a n t
t h e

a l w a y s
n o I s e

the whoosh of
water going

down the drain
the clanging

from the dirty
pots in the

thwacking from cutting
boards and bubbling water

and the fizz of
waiters pouring

drinks for thirsty customers
and chefs and waiters
chattering in all

v o c a b u l a r i e s



cooking language

c o m b i n e d w i t h

the chattering

the vroom of
wheeled vehicles

passing by on
the interstate

mixed with the
unbearable noise of

cars and trucks
honking their
horns because
they want service

the building
w i t h
t h e

a l w a y s
n o i s e o f
t h i s  r e s t a u r a n t:

Kitchen Music.

In knitting news the Buttercup Tee is done but I'm having a xh*$%^ of a time getting the ends sewn in so that they don't show because the yarn has such beautiful stitch definition.  It won't be warm enough to wear it tomorrow anyway but I hope to get a picture to post.

How Bears Got So Vicious

How Bears Got So Vicious

By Cassidy
Once there were four friends and it was nearing winter so they went to find someplace warm to live in. First Bear and Cheetah found a miniature den that they could live in. Then Elephant found a small shelter that he could dwell in. It was really near winter now and Kangaroo didn’t have anyplace to live yet. Then she found a vast den that she could live in.

After a while it was the middle of winter and the friends of Kangaroo got very jealous because she had the biggest den. Poor Elephant had icicles hanging off his trunk and tail. He was very snowy because his shelter was not very sturdy and it was breaking. So he went to ask Kangaroo if he could live with her. She said, “Yes.” When Bear saw this he went to ask if he could live with them too because he thought it would be fun to be all in one big den together. Of course, he would invite Cheetah if he got to live in their den. But they said, “No, because you have more fur than us and you can stay warm.” So Bear went back to his smaller den. The next day Cheetah went to ask and they said yes because he didn’t have as much fur as Bear.

Bear got very furious at this because his friends wouldn’t let him be with them just because he had more fur. He went out of his den one day. When Cheetah saw that he was out, Cheetah went out too. Bear was still very angry so he hit Cheetah! Cheetah fell into the sticky mud and he wanted to wash himself off so he went to a nearby ocean where he washed off. Elephant was getting worried about Cheetah so he went out to see what happened. He didn’t find the ocean at first because it wasn’t in that clearing. First he found Bear. And Bear hit Elephant too! Elephant fell into the mud just like Cheetah. He wanted to wash off so he wandered around and found the ocean.

Meanwhile Cheetah was talking to Whale in the ocean. Whale said, “You might want to go over to the other part of the ocean that doesn’t have any fish. You wouldn’t want to open your mouth to drink some water and get a fish in your mouth and choke. The other part of the ocean has no fish so that’s why I suggest you go over there.” So Cheetah went over to the other part of the ocean. Elephant found the ocean and went to the same part that Cheetah had gone to first. Whale said the same thing to Elephant. So Elephant went over to the other side of the ocean where Cheetah was.

Kangaroo got worried also, just like Elephant, but she wandered off to find an ocean because she was getting thirsty. She found the ocean that Cheetah and Elephant were washing themselves off in. Kangaroo asked, “What happened? Why didn’t you come back to our den?” Elephant and Cheetah told the whole story about how they got hit into the mud and wanted to wash off and they told about the Whale and what she said.

Once Kangaroo was not thirsty and Elephant and Cheetah had finished washing off they went back to the den and visited the Whale lots of times. But Bear stayed in his den for a long time because he was still angry and sad that his friends would not let him in. That’s why Bears are always vicious.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Not Blogging

I haven't been blogging for a while because I was skiing and knitting.
Lurv the Buttercup t-shirt I'm working on.  Here's the Rav Linky since I can't copy my own picture off Ravelry and I'm too lazy to get up and go to the big computer to write this post and the picture is actually on the big computer.  Maybe I should be uploading to Flickr but I can't get myself to do one more step.
Meanwhile, although I haven't been blogging I talk to the blog in my head.  Hmmm, this would be interesting to write about.  Or that.  Or the other thing.  Whereupon the ideas promptly go out of my head and I keep truckin along.
I've also been going through all my knitting magazines and giving away those that I don't know why I'm keeping.  I've only kept a couple for the articles.  The rest that I'm choosing to keep have a pattern or two or more that I love which would normally give me a huge case of startitis but I love the Buttercup so much that I'm pretty focused.  Up until 2005 or so I'd say Interweave Knits is winning the day but after that Vogue Knitting seems to be coming on strong.  I think it would be fun to choose my favorite magazine of all and if I get time to do that I'll share.  I've been giving the cast-offs to a couple of friends at work who knit and they're enjoying some of the articles if not the patterns.  Cast On magazine and Knitters magazine seem to be not my style at all.  I saved 1 Knit 'N Style for an awesome Berrocco pattern that I'd love to make and wear but it wasn't on Ravelry so I can't queue it.  I tried to queue my favorites but lots of them weren't on there.  Oh well, that's why I'm keeping the mags, right?  I seem to be into colorwork right now.  I know I might like a pattern out of these magazines some time in the future because tastes change, right?  But there are so many patterns coming out all the time that I had to get rid of some of the dead weight.  I'm still going through them so if anyone wants them let me know - I'll mail them to you. 
In other news - bad bad bad bad sad allergy season for DS.  Who wants to keep their child inside all spring in the great weather!  It stinks.  It's very tough at work right now with the kids but there's great support from my higher ups.  I'm also bummed that Caprica is over for the season and as of last night Human Target is over for the season too!  What shall I do?  Any recommendations?
And now I've stayed up way too late.
Have a good night.

Friday, March 26, 2010


I had a day of tea and sunshine, cooking and knitting.  I signed up for the Goddess Tea Club and got my first installment last week. It contained a lovely smelling herbal tea called Fir and a small baggie of a Summer tea and a really gorgeous teacup and saucer and today was finally the day to try it.

Can you see the steam coming off the cup in the right hand picture?  The aroma was just amazing and the sun was shining on the table and I sat in the sun and drank this incredibly delicious tea and treated myself to a stupendous half hour of Peace and Quiet.  (The kids were upstairs playing legos.)  I drank the Fir and it did remind me of the forest with a slight mint taste and was very flavorful without being overpowering.  To be honest, the smell was so strong that I wasn't sure what it would taste like but it was just amazing.  I can't wait to let my husband try it.  And look at that beautiful Japanese china teacup.  I don't own anything so delicate and lovely so it was such a beautiful surprise to find it in the box too.  This is not a paid ad but if you like tea I recommend Goddess Teas and you can find her at http://goddessteas.com/.  Plus she's a knitter.  C'mon.

I'm continuing to chug away at the i-cord border of N's blanket and I love it.  I'm also starting to think about which project I want to take with me on vacation.  Oh so many choices but I think it might be one of those yummy yarns I put in a post a month or two ago.  Beginnings.  There's a quote from the movie Dune that I like about beginnings but the one from the book doesn't apply so much here.  That's what's great about beginning a knitting project.  There's not so much committment  in it because you can always rip out and start over or reuse.  Still, the time is gone but what a nice way to spend time.

And cooking.  I'm cooking pre-vacation and made some dinner rolls which came out a little funky probably due to the whole grain white flour I used and I made sauce in preparation for putting together the eggplant parmesan tomorrow.  I'm using my Mother-in-law's incredible recipe except that hers includes meat and I don't eat meat.  But I'm still including her secret ingredient which I was only given about 5 years ago (22 years into knowing this family) when she was ill and couldn't make the eggplant for the Family Reunion in the summer.  I can't reveal it here but I'll let you know next week if it works without meat or not.  And waffles.  Gobs and Gobs of waffles were made today. 

My Mom says I was born a generation or two late and she might be right because for me this was the perfect day.  Domesticity Rocks!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Babies, I-Cord and Basketball

It's not done yet but I'm very excited with N's (my 5 year old nephew's) blanket.
It's almost done.  If I had realized how much I could knit with 4 skeins of Lion Brand Homespun I would have made it wider but it got so long that I thought it would look strange if I kept going.  Too long and narrow.  As it stands now I think it's perfect for a 5-10 year old and this way I can make him another when he gets to be a big teenager.  Sorry for the rather crappy picture but the Syracuse game is on and I can't take time away to do anything nicer.  Jared Flood, where are you when I need you?  And how do you do that anyway?  I was thinking about that today.  It's the lighting.  I think an eye for that "just right" lighting is a real talent. 
But the best . . . I-Cord edging.  Why didn't I think of it sooner!  If I had I wouldn't have done the 5 stitch garter edge but it's still great even though it's going to take me as long to do the i-cord as it took me to knit the whole blanket.  That's okay.  Apparently I'm an idiot because I love doing idiot-cord.  It's rhythmic and looks so good that it's worth it to me.
No other projects going on right now but I've got one more week of work and then SPRING BREAK and SKIING for 6 days so I'm already pondering what project to bring and looking up yarn shops in Vermont.  I'm thinking sock yarns.  I've got several sweater amounts that I want to use already so unless I hit some killer sale it'll be sock yarns for me. 

And I've got a new niece!  My parents were here when we got the news and it made me wonder what it's like to see your family grow into generations.  She's beautiful, of course, and I can't wait to meet her.  New life is just amazing and reminds me to hug my children and count my blessings and wonder at the world we live in.  DD (7yo) is also amazed and keeps repeating, "We have a whole 'nother person in our family now!"

Now if Syracuse can win tonight . . .

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

And I'm Back!

It took a ski day to get my mojo back because as uninspired as I've been I could not, in a million years, think about riding in a car for an hour doing nothing with my hands.  So I pulled out my nephew's blanket in Homespun and after a few frustrating minutes trying to remember the pattern, because of course it wasn't in the bag, I got my mojo back and I got a good 15 inches done on it today.  Yeah! 

It's interesting that this came up now because just Friday while I was raking leaves I was listening to some podcasts that I was behind on.  I listened to Belle of the Ball episode 94, The Mood Ring of Knitting.  She talked about how she was stressed recently and hadn't been knitting because of it.  So I kept wondering if the same applied to me. There's been stress aplenty but actually I think I got burned out from deadline and production knitting.  The Ravelympics and knitting all those cozies did me in and I actually became more interested in cleaning the house than knitting!  Egads!  Of course the early spring weather contributed to that feeling but it's amazing how much I can get done when I put down the needles.  Which reminds me of a song, do you remember this one?

I can imagine Hoots the Owl singing, "You gotta put down the needles if you want to have a tidy house." 

Check out what I found in the "Letters" section of the 1993 Winter Issue of Knitter's that I was browsing through the other day. "In your Fall, '92 issue you printed a letter from someone regarding the Fibernet computer network.  I own a PC but do not have a modem so am not able to access this network (also the phone bill would be a bit much!). . ."  At the risk of sounding like an old fogey - man, remember that!  Remember modems and paying by the minute for being online?  And look how far we've come.  Not just Ravelry but all the myriad ways the crafting community uses the internet is amazing.  What about Flikr and all the knitting magazines and sites and buying yarn online and blogging!  Wow. 

It really came home to me how crazy incredible the net is as a tool for communication when I was putting together the quarterly newsletter for my son's middle school.  So the different teams in the school and PTO committees and whoever else is interested e-mail's submissions to me.  These submissions have photos in them, links to websites and text.  I basically just cut and paste and format everything nice nice and add bookmarks and all so it's easy to move around.  Then I convert it to a pdf file, post it to the website, send an e-mail to the community so people know it's there (just one e-mail and just one e-mail address to type in), and all that amazing information is passed onto the parents and students.  Amazing!  Yesterday there were great photos of the kids in school and their projects and links to teenage brain development (very interesting) and so much more. 

It's mind blowing if you stop and really think about it. Whether you're knitting or wondering what your child is doing at school you can find really targeted information while sitting in your pjs drinking tea.  So much has changed since 1993.  I wonder what the next 17 years will bring?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Now Where's that Mojo?

And we are done with the 72 cup cozies.  They came out brilliantly and the staff at the school just loved them. 
I wish I had a picture of all of them because it was kind of impressive but it just didn't work out that way.  But you get the idea. 

So we finished them on Tuesday and since then . . . nothin'!  Okay, Wednesday was St. Patrick's day (and the 27th anniversary of my first date with my husband I might add :) and by 8:30 I was ready for bed.  I only stayed up until 9:00 so I could finish watching Human Target with Mark Valley, my new favorite show.  (Well, after Caprica on the SciFi channel.)  It's a good guys/bad guys show in the old fashioned way.  There's no psychological profiling or creepy music or rape or children getting hurt or kidnapped; all the reasons I can't watch most of the other cop shows out there.  This one is more in the vein of Rockford files with a little technology and ninja and spy stuff going on.  It's all very clean and the good guy always wins although he has some dark past that's slowly being unveiled.  Plus I went to high school with Mark which is just cool.  It's on Fox at 8:00 Wednesdays in my lineup but if you get a chance and you like this kind of show I highly recommend it.  You can click http://tv.yahoo.com/show/44757 to watch old episodes.

But I digress from the projects.  I didn't pick up any needles on Wednesday and almost didn't today because I was so busy cleaning and what not.  I mean that refrigerator!  How does all that crap get in the bottom of the freezer!  It wasn't even food.  I think.  I hope.  But it's clean now and we have food again so I took a break with my daughter before her big learning fair night and tried to knit.  I took a whack at the Quickie Cowl (Rav Link) but although I like my yarn and I like the pattern they didn't like each other.  So I ripped it.  And I didn't even pick up anything else.  Truly, I'm baffled.

But there's sooooo much to do around the house with Spring apparently coming early.  I mean really, what's with 60 degree (F) weather in mid-March in upstate NY.  That's just wrong.  Where's our snow!  Tomorrow I have to go out and rake the winter crud out of the lawn.  I'm giving myself 8:30 to noon to do it then I swear I'm taking an hour to knit.  At least I'm hoping I'll want to knit by then . . .

I took a browse through my Ravelry page to look at WIPs and that was a bit inspiring.  There are things in there I'd like to work on.  Only time will tell.  I'm not in danger of completely losing my mojo.  I hope.

Tonight's musing is a "Favorite Thing" a la Jackie at the KIPing it Real podcast and Dr. Gemma of Cogknitive.  My favorite thing today, and a short rant, is homemade vegetable stock.  Homemade veggie stock rocks.  It tastes so good, has no sodium if you choose and costs about $.50 to make.  So why oh why do they charge $3.50 per hermetic container for veggie stock in the stores.  When you add together the reduced packaging, the healthier product and the incredibly cheaper cost it just makes no sense to buy stock in the store.  It took me about 5 minutes to get the old veggies out of the fridge this morning, fill the pan with water, peel an onion and throw it all in and I've got the equivalent of 7 of those hermetic containers made out of veggies that would have gotten tossed otherwise.  Now I know that to get the finest veggie stock you're supposed to use quality vegetables but my life doesn't usually work like that and what I got today is fantastic.  I'm making vegetarian hoppin' john in the crock pot next Monday and vegetable soup and rolls one day next week so I'm just as thrilled as can be.  Yummy goodness.  Those Dove Bliss white chocolates aren't bad either.  Just sayin'.

P.S. Hi Mom!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

I'm on my way to 72.  Cup cozies that is. 
The kids have done a bunch and some other parents have done a bunch but I'm way over this thing.  I'm behind on my Ravelry Christmas Monthly Make Ahead which are totally my own goals and all things I chose because I want to make them so I'm dying to get on it with it already.  I think if I power through this weekend working on these then I'll be done and I can move on.  I'm gonna be the Little Engine That Could all weekend.  Chug. Chug. Chug.

Somewhere I heard about guilty pleasures.  I think it was a podcast about books and a literature professor was confessing to enjoying a raunchy romance novel now and then.  But my guilty pleasure is the Wendy Williams show.  It's the greatest, silliest pop culture show ever.  Wendy Williams is a wild, self-possessed . . . NUT!  She's great and funny and totally camp in a not-coy way and does her pop thing with abandon.  So when the kids are gone on play dates late in the late afternoon I sneak in and watch it.  Me, the one who basically doesn't even want a TV and reads science fiction and "Literature," and knits and discusses politics and the meaning of life and how to make the world a better place.  Aw the heck with it . . . let's just watch some Wendy Williams!

But really, if life is getting too serious for you there's no better antidote than Wendy Williams.  Or the Muppets.  Or Monty Python's Flying Circus works too.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Now I Remember

Oh yeah, now I remember why I don't read anymore.  I realized today when my daughter needed something and I had to put my book down again.  It's much easier to put your knitting down that it is to keep stopping a book.  That's why I started knitting so much when the kids were young and stopped reading so much.  I'm just really really bad at putting a book down but I can set my knitting down mid-row.  I have no will power when it comes to a good book.  Maybe that's what an alcoholic feels like if they have a drink - they can't have just one.  If I'm reading a book I can't just read one chapter.  It's all or nothing for me and I can't stop reading until I'm done.  Considering that the kids still like to eat several times a day I suppose I'd better wait a while now before I dive into another good book.  And I didn't get much knitting done this weekend either.

I did, however, finish Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer and it was amazing.  It reads like an action adventure story and you can't believe it's non-fiction.  The characters are bigger than life and it certainly strips away the romantic mystique of Everest.  I love hiking.  We went backpacking above tree line in British Columbia for our honeymoon and it was magical.  Sleeping in a tent on New Year's Eve was one of the most memorable nights of my life if largely for the sound of the silence.  And I have daydreamed about big mountains.  My sister-in-law has actually done some real mountain climbing and rock climbing and I toyed with asking her to take me some time but a little tiny crevasse at the top of some bouldering in the "Gunks" of New York State took care of any rock climbing aspirations I might have had.  I was scared up there although I did manage it and in fact went back and did it a second time. 

For now it's back to knitting.  I've got 52 more coffee cozies to go unless the kids really come through and if I get them done fast enough I'd like to add some embroidering and beads and embellishments to some of the more plain ones.  But tonight I think I'll go browse Ravelry.   :)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

What the Ravelympics Did for Me

The Ravelympics got me reading again!  Huh?  Yup.  I got my first project done and was thrilled.  Today I'll get that little sweater for the baby into the mail.  I must!  Then I got a lot done on the front of my Alpaca V-neck but I can tell you exactly where I broke down.  My folks and my Uncle and his girlfriend were over visiting and I was knitting away as we talked.  When I got to the armhole bindoffs and had to pay attention so I set it down so as not to be rude.  That was the last I've seen of that project.  It sat on the floor in the living room for a couple days right where I had been sitting.  Then I put it in it's bag and it hasn't come back since.  I started reading some Jasper Fforde books instead as recommended by Dr. Gemma of the Cogknitive podcast and my mother-in-law.  Those books are fabulous!  Mystery, action, fantasy with  more literary references than I managed to catch, I'm sure.  There's a character in them called Mr. Runcible Spoon.  Seriously?  I love Edward Lear - that's pure magic.  They're funny and intriguing and smart all at once and I highly recommend them. The first book is called the Eyre Affair and the second was Lost in a Good Book.  Now I'm keen to get to the library and find some more although my son had a copy of Into Thin Air and I've started that.

Since I became this rabid knitter I really stopped reading so much and that sort of bummed me out.  But now I'm reading a lot and not knitting much and that's bumming me out.  Sometimes I can do both at once but right now I don't have the concentration ability for that.  Where do I find that elusive balance?  Do I set a timer?  30 minutes of reading then 30 minutes of knitting?  That seems a bit goofy.

And . . . out of the frying pan and into the fire.  If the Ravelympics were too much pressure for me you'd figure I wouldn't give myself anymore deadline knitting.  Right?  Wrong!  I heard "they" were looking for a little extra favor for the staff at my daughter's elementary school (which I love love) and in my infinite wisdom I offered to knit cup cozies.  72 cup cozies!  Am I out of my mind.  It's not as bad as it seems.  I teach knitting to a group of kids from the school and a few of the parents so I recruited them.  The kids were quite keen to help and I hope each of them can do 1 or 2 but it's totally bonus if they do so I'm preparing to make bunches and bunches of them.  We're just doing a 6 1/2 inch strip of garter which I'm then seeming up.  They look cute!
One of the kids made the one on the right.  I think it will make some teacher very happy.  I'm going to put a Starbuck's Via packet in each cup, a tea bag and a hot chocolate packet.  Starbuck's is giving me a nice discount on the Via packets (that's their new instant coffee) and they're donating the cups which is great.  I'm going to use Paul Newman's RoyalTea tea bags too. 

So yes, I'm reading but still knitting too.  If you like books with strong women, mystery, fantasy, humour and literary references definitely check out Jasper Fforde's books. You won't be sorry.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


  1. It's a beautiful thing when no one reads your blog (except you jellidonut and you, nameless follower both of whom I appreciate very much - and maybe Kathy is catching this post) because you can really write whatever you want.
  2. Did that young American figure skater in the Olympics last night get a bloody nose from spinning so fast or was the air just dry?
  3. Snow days are awesome.  Except that I need to go out and shovel snow.  Lots. Of. Heavy. Heavy. Wet. Snow.
  4. I need a dinner that involves using up lots of good bread.  Any thoughts?  All I can think of is French Toast.  If I melt a little cream cheese and raspberry jam on it and add powdered sugar will it seem like dinner?  More like dessert!
Two more days until more skiing.  Hubby and I got engaged at the top of Whiteface in Lake Placid.  I'm looking forward to going back.  Especially with all this awesome snow.