18 December 2007

She Did a Bad Bad Thing

She went to The Fold is what she did. She went there to get something for the Cast Away Knitting Guild Christmas party gift exchange. She went knowing that it would be dangerous. The Fold is, after all, where she parted company with a good amount of credit card during Stitches Midwest in August.

After getting in the car she loaded up Husbands new toy with the address in Marengo. She followed as instructed and ended up at what appeared to be a charming farmhouse out in the country. She went to the door and was met by a lovely woman and her large, friendly German Shepherd. "What a quaint little place." she thought as she stepped over the threshold. Little did she know that she was playing the part of the Fly to the proprietresses Spider. As her eyes adjusted to the light she was nearly overwhelmed; fleece, roving, spinning wheels, spindles, everywhere. She grew lightheaded from the fumes and she wasn't even a spinner.

After adjusting to the shock of all of the wooly goodness, she stepped through another doorway into the opium den yarn shop proper. A fog descended over her eyes and she entered a fugue state. When she came back to her senses she was walking out the door with two skeins of Socks that Rock, one skein of Crystal Palace Splash, Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters, a set of US3 DPNs, and a skein of fingering weight Buffalo Gold. Dazed and confused, she got back in the car and let the new toy tell her how to get home.

After arriving back at the house she did the only thing she could think of: she knit Daughter's teacher a scarf, wrapped the Buffalo wool and put it under the tree addressed to herself from Husband, and took a nap to sleep off the last lingering effects of the wool fumes.

17 December 2007

Tis the Season

Tis the season to be jolly, even when the spirit of grinchiness is trying its best to get to you. I am maintaining my good mood even in the face of:

1. The basement refrigerator/freezer is now only able to perform the duties of a cupboard. There is no freezing or refrigerating happening in there. There wasn't a lot in there, but what was there was the mostly expensive cuts of meat that I got while they were on sale.

2. Son has decided that a mohawk is not enough of a statement. He is now the proud owner of a bright green mohawk.

3. Several weeks ago I purchased tickets for a choir concert for Daughter and I. Yesterday 3 hours before the concert Husband took Daughter sledding with the neighbors. Daughter came back so windburned that she didn't want to go out to the event that I had already paid money for.

4. This will be the first Christmas that I have not spent with my parents and brother. We will be flying to Colorado to have Christmas with In-Laws.

5. While I was out running errands Dog jumped up on the dining room table, knocked down the box of Christmas cookies that Mom sent me and ate them.

6. Cat has decided that the litter box is only one of many possible places that he can relieve himself in the basement.

On the plus side, I have finished Bartholomew's Tantalizing socks and moved on to a new jacket. It's made of Moda Dea Ticker Tape, which is sort of like a ribbon yarn, but it's a ribbon of nylon. It works up quickly. which is a nice change from the socks on tiny needles. I've already finished the back and have started a front. If all goes well it should end up shaped like a jean jacket.

11 December 2007

It's Fraining

Greetings from sunny warm lovely Chicago. It's been fraining all day today. It's just warm enough for rain to form instead of snow, but at soon as the raindrop hits something it freezes. It makes for some lovely scenery. All of the tree branches are covered in an icy sheath, there are little icicles hanging off of my patio furniture. It really is lovely to look at from the comfort of my living room couch while I sip a big mug of steaming hot tea. Sadly, sitting on the couch sipping a mug of tea is not on the agenda for today. Sitting on the couch will not get the Christmas cards picked up from Walgreens. Sipping tea will not help the chuck roast that is at the grocery store move itself into my cast iron dutch oven, and viewing the scenery will not get Daughter to her after school activities on time. All of these things require that I go out and drive around in the frain. Not surprisingly, the ice that has completely coated all of our vegetation has also totally coated our slanted driveway. Just getting to the mailbox is a feat best attempted with ice skates today.

On the positive side, I did actually sit down and work on Bart 2 last night. The heel has been turned and the foot has been commenced. As I've mentioned, this sock is from Cat Bordhi's book New Pathways for Sock Knitters. The designs in this book are very cool, and I love the socks that I'm creating.I have just one teensy tiny issue with the way the book is laid out. I'm making Bartholomew's Tantalizing Socks, on pages 27-29. I've carefully followed all of the instructions on pages 27 & 28, right up to the part about the heel. I'm told that I should make a reinforced heel, directions for which can be found on page 124. I dutifully truck on over to page 124 (Master Reinforced Heel) and begin following along with Step 3 as instructed. My heel turns, and I move on to Step 4, which according to the book is "Same as for plain heel (page123)." I page back to 123 and start rearranging stitches as per the diagram. I then move on to Step 5: Work back of heel. I am cruising right along creating what is actually the bottom of the heel, feeling pretty good about myself because this is easy and doesn't require a lot in the "Paying Attention" department. After about 20 minutes I look at my first sock to make sure things look right. Stop that, I can hear you laughing you know.

Turns out that I was supposed to go back to page 124 when I got to Step 5. I now have one sock with a reinforced heel and one sock with a reinforced heel flap and a plain stockinette heel bottom. In case you ever need to know, unknitting 20 minutes worth of knitting takes about 60 minutes and 2 seriously dropped stitches. It also takes another 20 minutes to knit back to where you were when you found out you're an idiot, again. I'm sure I'm the only one who would make such a bonehead play, but should you ever be making a reinforced heel from Cat's book, be aware of your Steps and pages.

10 December 2007

It Smells So Good

If I am a bit distracted, this <- is why. It is very difficult to concentrate on the work at hand when there is a lovely bunch of Toasty Toes sitting next to you, calling your name. How is a person supposed to be able to keep their mind on the business at hand when they have only to inhale deeply and they are overwhelmed with the lovely sheepy aroma of merino wool? And even if one could manage to get anything accomplished with the wool next to the keyboard, there are beads, too. Beads. Lovely silvery beads, sitting there mocking me while I attempt to do my work. I know that I'm supposed to avoid the things that lead me into temptation, but the mailman delivered it right to my door. How am I supposed to fight that kind of power?

To Bart's second Tantalizing Sock: I apologize. I know that I have treated you badly, through no fault of your own. You can't be blamed for the intrusion of Sock Gang wool into our formerly happy home. I know that I first abandoned you before you even had a chance on the needles. I just got so excited to see my first installment of Sock Gang wool that I couldn't contain myself. I am weak, and I know it. You can hardly be blamed for losing some of your tantalizingness. You know that I love your color, and that the pattern is very cool. I even remember that your brother is the best fitting sock that I have ever made for myself. I hope you can forgive me for my previous infidelity. I know that it must seem ominous that you sit on the arm of the couch in the same place you've been for days while I get out the swift and ball winder. I promise that after I have wound the Toasty Toes into balls I will immediately put them away in the craft room and leave them there until you and I are done. I'm sure I have the willpower to resist the siren call of superwash merino when it's in another room. Right?

04 December 2007

Help Defined

This past week was very eventful, and not in any kind of way that I like. The fun began last Wednesday. I was ill. I'll leave the gory details out and mention only that between 4:00 am Wednesday and noonish on Thursday I did not leave my bedroom/bathroom area. I didn't even have the gumption to knit. I managed only one row on the second Bart sock before exhausting myself. On Saturday I was finally feeling like a human being again, so I started the process of decorating for Christmas.

I feel compelled to point out that I am a Christmas nut. I am the opposite of the grinch. I love the entire time between Thanksgiving and Epiphany (January 6.) I have more decorations than can actually fit in my home and buy or make more every year. I have about 75 Christmas books, some of which I can't read to my daughter because they make me cry every single year. We have a 9 foot artificial tree, more ceramic Santas and reindeer than you can shake a stick at, and enough lights to outfit an airport in an emergency situation.

Because I had been feeling poorly for the last few days, and because there was so much work to do I assumed that my family would be happy to help with the decorating effort. Based on the results that I saw it seems that we will need to amend the definition of "help."
Merriam Webster definition: 1: to give assistance or support to 2: to make more pleasant or bearable 3: to be of use to 4: to change for the better

Husband definition: To work on the computer for 8 hours. To not bring in the step ladder. To not bring down the boxes from the attic. To ask, while the living room is completely full of boxes, "Don't you want to bring up the tree first?"

Son definition: To play one of 50 combat shooting games on the XBox 360 while watching Mother make 6 trips upstairs carrying books. To groan exasperatedly when asked to put up the lights on the outside shrubs, then continue playing one of 50 combat shooting games on the XBox 360.
Daughter definition: To help get the boxes down from the attic. To stack them in the narrow hallway. *To haul the interesting ones into the living room, remove one or two decorations, unwrap them, put them on the floor. Repeat from *25 times. To hang ornaments on the tree from the underside, creating a Special Place.

After 3 days of this kind of valuable assistance I have 90% of the decorating done. While I am sure that given the chance I would be a loyal S.P.E.W. member, I sure do wish I had a house elf handy.

27 November 2007

Confession is Good...

Happy post Thanksgiving everyone. Hopefully you all had a lovely time and a wonderful meal. We drove from Chicago to Detroit (and once we got into Indiana we actually got above 30 mph,) and stayed with Brother and his family. Brother is an excellent cook and grills or smokes his food nearly every day of the year. He smoked us a turkey which was delicious and we had all sorts of other yummy dishes as well. I asked the "What are you thankful for?" question and got the sort of answers you'd expect. The kids were thankful for the Webkins that I brought them, Sister-In-Law was thankful for the health of her kids, and Husband was thankful that I hadn't asked what he was thankful for...until I asked.

I do have a couple of confessions to make. First, I didn't bring any knitting with me. This was because I didn't think the lace stole would work out well with the kids and animals (Basset Hound is the most shedding dog in the history of dogs,) so I accomplished nothing knitwise. Second, we spent the entire day on Friday watching Ninja Warrior on G4. By entire day I mean approximately 12 hours. This show is like a car wreck. Once you see it you can't look away. The basic premise is Japanese people doing an impossible obstacle course. The announcers are Japanese, but they do provide subtitles if you really need to know what they're saying. I encourage you to click on the link and check out the Best Wipeout video. It was like that all day Friday.
Once we got back home I turned into a knitting machine. I was determined to have the stole done by this morning. I finished putting the last bit of edging on last night at 11:00, then blocked the thing as best I could in my sleep deprived state. As the Yarn Harlot says, blocking is magic for lace. It looks like a lumpy mess, goes for a swim, gets stretched a little, pinned a little, then POW it's something beautiful. I turned on the ceiling fan at 11:30, locked the cats out of the room and by this morning it was dry and ready to go. This also concludes the no knitting for me challenge. Now I face the task of deciding what goes on the needles next. I only have about 50 possibilities in mind. Perhaps a trip to the yarn shop to inspire me...

21 November 2007

Technology is Cool

Remember the old days whe you went on a trip with your family in the car? You would spend your time looking at the license plates of the cars around you because you'd get a penny for each different state, and a dime for anything outside the country. When that got old you'd get a list of landmarks to look for from Dad. "An all black cow, a barn that's not painted red, 4 birds on a wire, a silo (we drove through Wisconsin a lot.)" Then you'd play the make a story game where each person writes 3 words then passes the paper to the next person. Remember those days?

I write this as I sit in the car on the road between Chicago and Detroit. I just got done checking a real time traffic report that verifies that we are driving in the worst traffic area in the entire Chicagoland area and there's no way out. Daughter is watching a Scooby Doo video in the backseat while Son is plugged into his Zune. I just got a call from Brother asking how far we had gotten since we called an hour ago (12 miles) and when I'm done with this blog post I'm gonna go check out some other blogs. Who'd have thunk it.

19 November 2007

I Am Thankful

It has been pointed out to me that when I talk about Husband here on the blog I tend to only point out the less stellar of his personality traits. He says that this deters him from reading the blog. In the interest of fair and balanced reporting I give you the following Reasons I Love Husband: He is a good looking, hard working, man who loves his family. He's a great Dad, understands computers and thinks I'm worth keeping. Though he grumbles, he puts up with a lot of yarn, scads of UFOs, and mountains of books. He is a neat freak who complains very little about my lax housekeeping methods. He tells me, "Dinner's good, Honey," nearly every time I cook dinner. He does the dinner dishes and all his own ironing. Though he'd like me to go back to work, he doesn't really expect that I will and he's OK with that. When a cat creates a hairball he cleans it up (if the dog doesn't beat him to it.) He doesn't play golf. He has great taste and did an excellent job redoing the bathrooms and all the woodwork in the house. He lets me keep the Christmas decorations up until January 6th even though it drives him a little nuts. He cleans Dog's ears and trims his nails. All of his dirty clothes make it into the dirty clothes basket. He reads to Daughter nearly every night before she goes to bed. There would be items in the refrigerator capable of colonizing distant planets if he didn't clean it out as frequently as he does. He is going to let me choose my next car all by myself, he will then help me haggle and get the best deal possible even though he hates that part. I am thankful that I found him and snagged him for my very own.

He also mentioned at lunch today that housewives should spend more time cleaning and less time blogging. I told you, Dear, that would make it into the blog.

The stole continues apace. I thought I was almost done, then I looked at the pattern photo and saw that there were 4 repeats, not 3. (If you're a Ravelry member it's here.) I was hoping to deliver this tomorrow, but it looks like it won't be ready until next Tuesday.

16 November 2007

I Think That I Shall Never See...

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
-- Joyce Kilmer

But it only takes one person with a little chainsaw to wreck a tree. If you look at this photo <- you will see that Neighbors have a lovely maple tree in the rear of their yard (the one in the middle of the photo.)
Now I grew up in a maple forest and know from personal experience that they grow to be 50-60 feet tall. I don't think Neighbor knows that, or is in some other way opposed to tall trees. Every year I see him out in the yard with a little saw-on-a-stick pruning his maple tree. This year he decided that the tree was just too tall for him to prune in that way anymore. So he got a chainsaw and did this. -> (Click on photos to make them larger so you can truly appreciate the malfeasance here.) At first we thought that he just disassembling the tree from the top down, but when Husband went out to throw a couple of errant branches over the fence he told us that, no, he was done trimming. I am glad that Neighbor's name is not Vlad, otherwise I would think that he had plans on the horizon that may spoil the view from my kitchen even more. Perhaps the water on that side of the fence has some sort of strange pathogen in it, as the people in the house to the right of Neighbor have been known to trim their shrubs with a chainsaw also. They very kindly did it a just above fence height so we could see the mangled branches sticking up over the fence.

I have not knit in the last day or two, so I have nothing to show in that department. Perhaps just some stash today?

15 November 2007

Updates on things I've been working on...

I decided to go with the stripey hood, but with a solid black band. I was going to go with a solid green hood, but Fibreholic mentioned that it would look like a turtle, and I think she's right. Nothing left to do now but the little seams under the arms. I'm now trying to decide if anyone will wear this, or if they'll get a whole green bumblebee vibe and pass. Who knows.

This is a little souvenir from the Hat of Pain. I wasn't able to get a really good picture because you just can't get close enough with my camera, even on the "close up" setting (even this picture is blurry.) You can see that the flesh is falling off of my finger, but it's not quite as obvious that there is a distinct dent in my finger. Normally I would be proud of any work related injury, but this one is interfering with the stole. The marino is sticking to my finger like Velcro.

Speaking of the stole, it's coming along. I took it to a guild meeting last night and only made one mistake, and found it only 2 rows later. I also abandoned it for a while so I could watch Maria give a demo on making steeks. It was shocking how calmly she just whacked into her swatch with a pair of scissors. How can anyone in good conscience approach a piece of knitting with any kind of cutting tool? It gives me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it. I have several Old UFO's that are going to need steeks eventually, but I think the reason they aren't going anywhere fast is that I dread the thought of slicing into them intentionally.

12 November 2007


Note-I am the grade level coordinator for a very small preschool/knidergarten class. This basically means at the beginning of the year I figure out which lessons from the book we'll do on which days. Besides that and hanging around outside the classroom to make sure no sickos try to snatch a kid, I don't do a lot.

Scene: Kathy's closet office, 11:58 AM


Husband: Kathy, it's for you

Me: Hello

Teacher: Hi Kathy. My son got hit in the face with a football at school and it won't stop bleeding. I need to run him over to the emergency room. I probably won't be able to make it to school by 1:00.

Me: OK. I hope everything's OK with the little guy. See you later.


Me: Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap, darn it, darn it, darn it, DARN IT!

Husband: What's up?

Me: That was Teacher. She's not going to be able to make it. I have 58 minutes to get a lesson plan, stories, and a snack ready. Crap, crap, crap, darn it, darn it, DARN IT!

Husband: What's the lesson on?

Me: Being thankful.

It turns out 58 minutes is enough time, but only because the library has kindly put all of the Thanksgiving books together and the grocery store had autumn cookies just inside the door.

I am thankful that I haven't made any major screw ups on the stole lately. Having said that I expect that a cat will catch it's claws in it and rip the whole thing to shreds.

07 November 2007

You Design it, I'm Tired

Green hood or black hood? Stripes or solid? Discuss.

06 November 2007

The Candy Wars

This Halloween I decided to perform a preemptive strike against the mess that usually happens around the house post-Halloween. I informed Daughter that if I found any empty wrappers anywhere other than in the garbage can, she would lose the rest of that kind of candy. Clever, no? No. I failed to take in to account the evil cunning of my dear Daughter. I walked into the living room on Friday and saw a Skittles wrapper on the coffee table. "Ah Ha!" I said to myself.
"The Skittles are now all mine." But upon further investigation I discovered that she had outwitted me. Inside the Skittles wrapper was one single skittle. The wrapper was not empty. I was forced to concede that she had managed to find a loophole in my brilliant plan. Later that day Husband kindly pointed out to Daughter that she could also leave the wrapper from the last piece of any particular kind laying about as there would be no repercussions from that either. Perhaps I should just give in to the inevitable and strew trash around the house myself.

I started the last of my required 5 not-for-me projects. I'm making a prayer stole for a friend who is having some health problems. I'm sure that Whoever is listening will be able to sort out the good wishes from the, "Aw crap I screwed it up AGAIN!" My first attempt went a little something like this:

Now I could claim that this is what it's supposed to look like, but I'd be fibbing just a little. A little frogging, a little patience, a little reading the chart correctly, and this is what you get:

Neat little rows of squares. In the interest of full disclosure I feel I must add that I haven't managed to get more than 4 rows yet without finding a mistake and having to tink at least a row and a half. But I have come up with a system so that I find my mistakes more quickly (drat those missed Yarn Overs,) and manage to get some praying in without curse words. Knit each section, of which there are 3, then stop and count before moving on to the next one. This way I can fix my screw ups quickly and then have the whole purl row to be contemplative of my friend and her situation.

01 November 2007

It's Called Capitalism

Like any other holiday, there are parts of Halloween that I like, and parts that make me want to pull out hair. I like how the house looks when it's decorated, but I don't like undecorating the house, or the state that it's in during the in between stages (boxes strewn everywhere, fake cobwebs sticking to any porous surface, daughter playing with Mr. Snuggly the Rat.) I like trying new recipes (Easy witches hats: slightly melt the bottom of a Hershey Kiss and stick it to a flipped over fudge stripe cookie.) but there's always the risk something will go horribly wrong (I won't discuss the cheese fondue episode.) And now that the Trick-or-Treating has finished it's time for The Negotiations.

This is Daughter's haul. A large and varied bunch of tooth rotting treats. The problem is that Daughter does not like all of these treats. She does not like nuts (scratch the Snickers, Peanut M&Ms and Baby Ruth bars) nor does she like anything with caramel (out go the caramel Reeses cups and the Twix bars.) Any trace of coconut is unacceptable (goodbye Almond Joy) as is anything gummy (farewell gummy body parts of every description.) Husband and I will eat nearly any of the aforementioned problem items but there's a hitch. Daughter has earned these treats with the sweat of her brow and is unwilling to give them up without compensation. She would rather hide them in her room, never eating them, and keeping them for who knows what unholy purposes, rather than letting us just have a piece. So at this time of each year I purchase several bags of Kit Kats and we negotiate. One Snickers is worth one Kit Kat. The big Baby Ruth is obviously worth at least two, and we won't buy gummies at any price. At the end of the process everyone ends up with about 17 times more candy than anyone should really eat during a year and I'm left feeling like a fair, but still bad, mother. The dentist loves me, I'm sure.

On the knitting front, I have started the next donate item for the pile. It's another Wallaby, this one being made from the leftover green from Wallaby past and some black that I found hiding in the stash. I'm very proud of myself that I haven't purchased any yarn in the months since Stitches (except for one minor slip with the credit card and an online purveyor of discount wool, but that hardly counts.) True, I have had some delivered to me for the Interactive Sock Gang, but that was bought and paid for in August!

29 October 2007

Time Flies When You're...

Having a Halloween Party. The party went off successfully Friday night and there were only a few casualties. This is due to Husband's diligence, not mine. The children all proceeded directly to the basement to play, and were thus out of my sphere of concern. (I was stationed in the kitchen/dining room.) Husband went down to supervise with several other husbands when it became known that Neighbor Down the Street had pulled one of the doors off of the entertainment center. It's possible that Husband was also trying to avoid being forced into playing Outburst. No one went home crying, either child or adult, so that's a successful outcome in my book. I promised several people the recipe for the Mexican Cheesecake, so here it is:

1 pound softened cream cheese
8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 packages taco seasoning mix
2 cups sour cream, divided
4 oz can green chilies, drained and chopped
2/3 c salsa

Preheat oven to 350. Combine cheeses, beat till fluffy. Stir in 1 c sour cream and taco seasoning. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add chilies. Pour into 9" springform pan. Bake 35-40 min till center is firm. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes. Spoon remaining sour cream over cheesecake, bake 5 minutes more. Cool completely, cover and refrigerate several hours. Before serving remove sides of springform pan and top with salsa.
*note: I left the green chilies out when I made this for the party.

Knitting for Charity. I finished the mittens and facecloth for franna. I just finished washing them, and they should be ready to send out tomorrow. If I never knit with that circular needle again it will be too soon. Does this mean I've thrown it away? Are you kidding? I don't have another US3, 16" needle.

Getting Cool Stuff in the Mail. I just participated in the Knitters Tea Swap 4. My swap buddy was Ceme and I got 2 packages from her on Friday. There was lots of good stuff including some beautiful Schaefer Anne yarn. The sad part is that by my count I've only got 3 of my 5 donateable items done, so it will have to wait a bit before I can get to it. That stuff's all for me, baby.

23 October 2007

Mitten Knittin'

Mitten 1 is finished, mitten 2 is on the needles. I realize that they are not the most attractive mittens ever, but it's more important for them to be warm than to be fashionable.

As I sit here in front of my computer I am wondering how it is that I again find myself in the position of way too much to do, not enough time to do it. I'm just a housewife, I don't have a "job," I'm not supposed to have this kind of stress in my life. Everyone knows that housewives just sit around watching soap operas and eating bon bons, right? Why is my life not that easy? Husband is sure that I'm bored and lonely while Daughter is at school. I'd kill to be bored and lonely.

We are having a Halloween party for some neighbors on Friday and this is what my house looks like. There are boxes of decorations strewn around the living room, and it looks like Club Libby Lu puked all over Daughter's bedroom, again. There is so much cleaning to be done I'm paralyzed by the thought of doing it all. And did I mention that Husband flew off to Houston again yesterday? That means my only help is Daughter, who has a cleaning attention span of .24 seconds and Son who has roughly 13 minutes between when he gets home from school and when he leaves again for work. Someone please, please send me some house elves. I promise I'll give them socks when they're done.

19 October 2007

How Charitable Exactly?

The hat of pain is finished. I have started on the mittens and I think I'll be able to get the hat, a pair of mittens, and a facecloth all done by the end of the month. Naturally by saying that I have just about ensured that I will have some kind of accident this afternoon which will render me unfit for knitting till October 31 at the earliest.

I now need to decide how I am going to count these projects. As you may recall I vowed to work on nothing but charity projects till I had 5 done or the month was over whichever came second. I have completed one hat, and am partway through one mitten. Here's the question: At the end of this, how many things will I have done for charity? It could be considered one project since it's all going to the same place for the same person. It could be three since there will be a hat, mittens and a facecloth. It could even be four since there are, after all, two mittens. How far can I push the oath and not get a lightening bolt?
P.S. Thanks to Mother Nature for the fall colors that are finally starting to show up.

17 October 2007

Tooth or Dare

When Husband and I got married I had not been to see a dentist in 9 years. I had several reasons but the most important was that I don't like pain. As a child my experiences with the dental hygienist were not favorable. I'm sure you're familiar with the device they use to clean teeth, the rubber cup that's attached to the drill motor. Our hygienist felt that the powered tool was not effective on its own; it had to be applied to the teeth with extreme force as well. There were times, and I swear to you I'm not exaggerating, that she pressed so hard on my teeth that the thing stalled out. When I came home from the dentist after a cleaning I often couldn't chew food for 2 or 3 days, it was just too painful. Although I never had braces I feel like I can sympathize with the pain involved.

After marrying Husband he insisted that I start going to the dentist again. He found a dentist who's hygienist was wonderful. Her name is Pat and she was wonderfully kind to my teeth. She cleaned them many times and not a single time did she cause me pain. When I went to the dentist yesterday I learned that Pat has retired. Dentist himself cleaned my teeth. I will say this for him; he's thorough. My teeth feel very clean today. He uses (as Pat did) a metal pick that shoots high pressure water to clean around the gumline. But the water isn't always sufficient so naturally he then uses the pointy part to scrape off offending matter. This is fine as long as it is directed at a tooth (which is hard) but not so good when he misses and uses it on the gums (which aren't so much.) Pat also never forgot which tool was in which hand. Mirror: used to hold lips and such out of the way for a better view. Pick thing: used to scrape stuff from teeth. I'll let you work out what happens when you forget which is which. Apparently this has been designated Poke Kathy With Pointy Objects week.

The hat progresses, and I can be thankful that I'm over half done at this point. I may be able to get out of this with no permanent index finger injuries.

16 October 2007

Knitter, Know Thyself

It turns out that I do know myself pretty well. The partial Wallaby you saw last week has been returned to it's ball form. No trace of the sweater remains, which is probably for the best. What child wants to wear a peachy/orangey sweater anyway?

I have moved on to the next thing which will be a hat and mittens for this worthy cause. I'm making it out of the green wool I decided not to use for the Celtic Icon sweater. It's good sport weight wool which should keep a head and hands warm, but the downside is that I'm knitting on needles designed by Torquemada. They are the pointiest needles that I've ever used, and I'm knitting pretty tight so the hat will keep the poor man's head warm. When I knit I hold the yarn in my left hand, make the stitch, then use my right pointer finger to push the needle tip and get the old stitch off. Technique + needles = index finger that alternates between numb and numbingly painful. It only took about 3 hours of this before I thought, "gee, maybe if I put a bandage on my finger it won't hurt so much." I may be slow, but I will get there eventually. I'm actually looking forward to the mittens so I can use my less pointy DPNs. And I usually avoid DPNs like the plague.

As for the 2 truths and a lie, I WAS a parts department manager at a motorcycle dealership, I DO have a burning desire to fly a helicopter, but I have NOT gone 100 miles just to go to a yarn shop. I'm sure it will happen at some point in my life, but not yet. I'm in the planning stages of a 42 mile trip to visit a DYS (Distant Yarn Shop,) but that will be longest yarn inspired trip yet. It's just the downside of technology; too easy to shop on the Internet.

12 October 2007

And there it is, Trenton's Wallaby. Does the hood look a little on the small side to anyone else? I'm hoping it's just a weird photo perspective thing, but I'm a little concerned because kids have giant heads, proportionally speaking.

I started another Wallaby yesterday afternoon, but I don't think it's going to make it. The yarn isn't quite heavy enough to get the right gauge. The fabric is ending up looking pretty holey.
You'd think I would have caught that in the swatching process. Unless you know that my swatching process is: Start knitting. If it turns out, great. If not, frog it and start over. Or frog it and move on to something else. Which is how this one is likely to go.

I have nothing else new or witty to say, so I leave you with this game I learned recently. I will post 3 statements about myself. Two are true and one isn't. I leave it to you to figure out which is which.

1. I have been employed as a Parts Department manager at a motorcycle dealership.

2. I have traveled over 100 miles one way just to go to a yarn shop.

3. I have a secret ambition to learn how to fly a helicopter.

Perhaps I'll find a valuable prize for whoever gets the right answer.

11 October 2007

So Now What?

Boy, now that the vacation is over and my parents are gone (they got here 2 days after we got home) my days seem to be full of... not much. No deadlines, no upcoming trips, no visitors coming in, no cleaning like a mad person. Well, OK so I never really get around to cleaning like a mad person, but I always feel like I should be cleaning like a mad person. I have spent a couple of days playing around on Ravelry. (PetoskyTurtle is the name to look for there) and I've caught up on all my recent CSI episodes, so now what do I do?

It looks like I cast on some mindless knitting. In looking over my last few projects I noticed a common denominator. They were all for me. I have to tell you that I'm not usually such a narcissist, but I couldn't help myself. The yarn was so yummy, the pattern was so cool, the concept was so different that I couldn't resist the temptation. But now my sanity has returned and I am knitting for someone else. Originally this was going to be for the donate pile, but I realized that it would be perfect for Nephew. His dad is an avid outdoors guy, so the camoflagishness (look Mom, I invented a new word!) will work well. I finished it an hour ago and was then faced with a challenge: What do I do next?

I could cast on the beautiful Maple Leaf shawl I picked up at stitches, or I could cast on the shawl I ordered from Fiddlesticks (thanks YarnHarlot for the enabling on that one), or I could start the second Bart sock. But again, me, me, me. Can't do it. Must knit for others. Must use my God given gift for the betterment of society.

So in the presence of God and everyone who reads this blog (which at this point is my family, MadMad, and the Fibreholic) I solemnly swear that I will knit nothing intended for myself for the rest of the month, or until 5 more projects have been completed, whichever comes second. I'll leave you to mull over the "intended for" part of that pledge, because I sense that it could become a loophole if I tried hard enough.

08 October 2007

South Dakota: The Saga Continues

Buffalo in Custer State Park. We drove around through this lovely park several times in the course of the next several days. There was a lot to see there, things like antelope, turkeys, antelope, turkeys, antelope, turkeys, buffalo, antelope, turkeys, and wild donkeys.

Wind Cave which is also in Custer State park. Daughter and I had never been in a cave before, it was pretty cool. There are rock formations found in this particular cave that aren't found in other caves. It's called boxwork and it looks sort of like square honeycombs. Check out the link if you're interested in the scientific stuff.

We went to the chili cookoff in...wait for it... Custer State park. There were 17 teams competing. The photo shows people lined up and waiting for the opening bell to sound. You purchase a kit which contains a little cup, a plastic spoon, one napkin, instructions, and a golden bean. You taste all of the varieties then give your bean to the team whose chili you liked best. The team with the most beans wins the people's choice award. Of the 6 of us who were tasting, 5 of us chose the Gold Rush team, while Brother-In-Law went with the Tailgaiters. It shouldn't surprise you too much to hear that we left immediately after we were done tasting, so I have no idea who won the competition.

On the way home from the chili cookoff we drove through Custer State park some more and came upon a herd of donkeys. These guys are very clever. They know that if the cars stop there will probably be food in the offing, so they all stand still in the middle of the road and won't move. Naturally we got out and gave them the last of the kettle corn that we still had. Daughter learned a valuable lesson: Don't stand behind a donkey. Luckily it was just a glancing blow because a straight on kick would possibly have broken her leg. Wouldn't that have been a fun way to end our vacation?

And finally on Monday we got up at 5:30 in the morning to go to the Buffalo roundup in Custer State park. They herd them in so that they can give them their immunizations, brand them, and sell the surplus animals. It was a pretty cool sight, but it left me imagining what it must have looked like 200 years ago when herds of tens of thousands of buffalo would have been roaming the countryside. It also struck me as somewhat funny that there were 11,000 people there to watch the herd of 1300 being brought in. All of the people had to stand inside of their viewing area and weren't allowed to go from one side to the other. It seems to me like the buffalo got a better show than we did.

And thus ended the great buffalo roundup trip, with one other memorable event. While waiting for our flight out of Rapid City I got out the second Sole Solution sock and worked on it for a while. I got to the heel flap, got it about half done then looked at what I had...

You see it don't you? Take special note of the toe. This may help...

I'm going to call this my Misery sock, because the only person who could wear them would be James Caan after Kathy Bates works on him in the movie Misery. So I spent the rest of the wait in the airport ripping out the heel and trying again. Mistake corrected, sock finished, trip completed!