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!