Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Here you go, Melly.



Fourth photo in the fourth folder. Riveting, isn't it? lol This is a carrot cake I made for MissE's birthday last year. As we're not ones who use refined sugar, it got a honey and cream cheese topping a little later. (Wasn't very pretty, though. My baking skillz have gone down the tubes since we quit sugar.)

I still have the pan, and should really use it for tonight. The kids would love it.

Thanks so much for the fun chain post!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Mother's Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the abode
Only one creature was stirring, and she was cleaning the commode.
The children were finally sleeping, all snug in their beds,
while visions of Nintendo & Barbie flipped through their heads.

Yes, and dad was snoring in front of the TV,
with a half constructed bicycle propped on his knee.
So only the mom heard the reindeer hooves clatter,
which made her sigh, "Now what is the matter?"

With toilet bowl brush still clutched in her hand,
She descended the stairs, and saw the old man.
He was covered with ashes & soot, which fell with a shrug,
"Oh great," muttered the mom, "Now I have to clean the rug."

"Ho Ho Ho!" cried Santa, I'm glad you're awake."
"your gift was especially difficult to make."
"Thanks, Santa, but all I want is time alone."
"Exactly!" he chuckled, "So, I've made you a clone."

"A clone?" she muttered, "What good is that?"
"Run along, Santa, I've no time for chit chat."
Then out walked the clone - The mother's twin,
Same hair, same eyes, same double chin.

"She'll cook, she'll dust, she'll mop every mess.
You'll relax, take it easy, watch TV and rest.
"Fantastic!" the mom cheered. "My dream has come true!"
"I'll shop, I'll read, I'll sleep a night through!"

From the room above, the youngest did fret.
"Mommy?! Come quickly, I'm scared and I'm wet."
The clone replied, "I'm coming, sweetheart."
"Hey," the mom smiled, "She sure knows her part."

The clone changed the child and hummed her a tune,
as she bundled the small one in a blanket cocoon.
"You're the best mommy ever. I really love you."
The clone smiled and sighed, "And I love you too."

The mom frowned and said, "Sorry, Santa, no deal.
That's my child's LOVE she is going to steal."
Smiling wisely, Santa said: "To me it is clear,
Only one loving mother is needed here."

The mom kissed her child and tucked her in bed.
"Thank You, Santa, for clearing my head.
Sometimes I forget, it won't be very long,
before they'll be too old for my cradle and song."

The clock on the mantle began to chime.
Santa whispered to the clone, "It works every time."
With the clone by his side, Santa said: "Goodnight.
Merry Christmas, dear Mom, you'll be all right."

Sometimes we need reminding of what life is all about.
Especially at times when the Holiday season shouts,
and all we do is clean, bake, and procure.
You get the picture -- I'm sure.

So stop for a moment and hug that little one so dear,
whether he/she is 2 or 22, or even older this year.
For they are the gift that God gave us from Heaven above,
and what a special gift to be treasured, with endless LOVE!

May The Real Meaning Of Christmas Be With You All Year.

--Unknown
(If you know who wrote this, please leave a comment so I can attribute it properly.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

News from the Snopocalypse

We're all safe and warm, thankfully.  We've had over a foot of snow, and are among the lucky ones who still have power.  Surrounding areas haven't been so blessed, so while we've had successive brownouts each evening, we're warm, illuminated, washed and fed.

And now, some evidence of the Stormaggedon.

This first one is of Cair Paravel (a.k.a. the back patio), on Sunday morning.  We thought that was an impressive amount of snow for Portland.  After all, there's about four or five inches accumulation on those chair seats.



The part you can't see in that last photo is the layer of ice over everything.  Witness other examples . . . a tree at the park:



A nearby Japanese maple:



And from this morning, (before additional inches fell), showing the astounding whiteness that the latest front dumped on our heads:



And all of this in a place that just doesn't get persistent snow, or freezing temps.

More snowy photos to follow . . . 

Monday, December 22, 2008

Now That's What I'm Talkin' About

It will be interesting to see how this unique economy handles the coming crunches and market corrections.

The Economy of Women

"The only way through, is through." --Gwen Bell

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Here She Is!

There was a ring at the door, and there stood a friendly-looking woman, with this huge box for me. :o) It was easy to see, from the stickers and postage, that this box had made the trip from New Zealand . . . my wheel had arrived!



Oh, wait. Did you want to actually see what's inside the box? So did I! It was a little tricky though, keeping all of my helpers' little mitts out of the contents. Thankfully, it was naptime, and I only had the two oldest wanting to help. ;o)

Oh yeah. The box contents . . .



Beautiful, isn't it? {sigh} But wait! There's more . . .



There. The long-awaited wheel portrait. Spinning next to the fire is one of my most favorite things, e-v-e-r. And, thanks to Sheepish Creations, I had some lovely sample fiber all ready to spin.



I haven't come up with a good name for her yet . . . and a Majacraft Suzie Alpaca needs a proper name. She's smooth and easy to work with, and lovely to look at, as well. MrC, my 9-year-old, has quickly taught himself to spin with her, and has turned out some fairly nice singles, considering they're half the diameter of the ones he made with his wimpy toy-wheel spindle I made in September.

First wheel yarn:


The aforementioned 1oz. sample of hand-dyed Merino from Sheepish Creations, a mother/daughter team I found on Ravelry. It was almost too soft to be nice to touch in roving form, but once spun up, it's lovely.

Here's show-and-tell on the plied SC Merino:


Not the most even, but not too shabby, eh? (It's a pretty lousy photo, but I haven't built my light box yet, so please forgive me.) I spun from the fold, trying to pull the colored sections off cleanly. Didn't work entirely, but the colors were preserved fairly well. It was fun to spin. And the wheel is lovely, lovely, lovely!



Here it is, the sweet little skein. I'm not sure what I'm going to make with it, but I'm eager to do something. Maybe an accent on some fingerless mitts, or a band of colorwork on a handspun hat.

And now, the rest of the day awaits. Or rather, it's steaming on ahead at full speed, and I've got to do my best to not be run over . . .

More handspun soon!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Did you say Snow?

And I was looking frward to a temperate winter . . . . this was issued after nearly a solid week of frigid temps and snow on the ground.

At least reading these to Vern lets me practice my "weatherman" voice. ;o) I could so totally be a news anchor. (Well, except for not being able to keep a straight face.)

Issued by The National Weather Service
Portland, OR
9:56 pm PST, Thu., Dec. 18, 2008

... WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 AM PST FRIDAY FOR THE GREATER PORTLAND AND VANCOUVER METRO AREA... ... WINTER STORM WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY MORNING THROUGH SUNDAY AFTERNOON FOR THE GREATER PORTLAND AND VANCOUVER METRO AREA...

THE WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW IS NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 AM PST FRIDAY. A WINTER STORM WATCH FOR SNOW... FREEZING RAIN... AND WIND REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM SATURDAY MORNING THROUGH SUNDAY AFTERNOON.

SNOW SHOWERS WILL CONTINUE ACROSS THE PORTLAND AND VANCOUVER METRO AREAS TONIGHT. SNOW ACCUMULATIONS ON THE VALLEY FLOOR WILL BE GENERALLY LESS THAN AN INCH EXCEPT ABOVE 500 FT WHERE 1 TO 2 INCHES OF NEW SNOW CAN BE EXPECTED. SNOW SHOWERS WILL BEGIN TO TAPER OFF EARLY FRIDAY MORNING.

ANOTHER SLOPPY FRONTAL SYSTEM WILL SPREAD A WINTRY MIX OF PRECIPITATION INTO THE METRO AREA BEGINNING SATURDAY AND CONTINUING THROUGH THE DAY SUNDAY. THIS STORM HAS THE POTENTIAL TO DROP SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW OVER THE AREA. STILL QUITE A BIT OF UNCERTAINTY ON AMOUNTS... THOUGH 6 TO 12 INCHES SEEMS REASONABLE. IN ADDITION TO SNOWFALL... STRONG EAST WINDS SHOULD DEVELOP LATE SATURDAY INTO EARLY SUNDAY POSSIBLY CREATING HAZARDOUS BLOWING SNOW CONDITIONS ACROSS AREA ROADWAYS... AND POSSIBLY BLIZZARD CONDITIONS NEAR THE GORGE. AS WARMER AIR MOVES IN ALOFT... A TRANSITION TO FREEZING RAIN IS POSSIBLE BY EARLY SUNDAY... GIVING THE POSSIBILITY OF SIGNIFICANT ICE ACCUMULATION FOLLOWING THE SNOW. SLIGHT FLUCTUATIONS IN THE EXTENT OF THE WARM PUSH NORTHWARD WILL HAVE A SIGNIFICANT AFFECT ON SNOWFALL AND ICE ACCUMULATIONS.

A WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR SNOW MEANS THAT PERIODS OF SNOW WILL CAUSE PRIMARILY TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR SNOW COVERED ROADS AND LIMITED VISIBILITIES... AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.

A WINTER STORM WATCH MEANS THERE IS A POTENTIAL FOR SIGNIFICANT SNOW... SLEET... OR ICE ACCUMULATIONS THAT MAY IMPACT TRAVEL. CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS.

Photos to follow . . .

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dare you to memorize this.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Do You See What I See?

No lights.

And I can't find the photo of the dark house front I just took and imported either.

Excuse me, now, while I go have a Yosemite Sam moment.

Pretty Woman . . .

like you've never heard it before. :o)

Friday, December 12, 2008

What if . . .

Mass-tagged by Melly, here goes. 

1....you could bring one character from your favorite book to life, who would it be?
Lotty Wilkins, from The Enchanted April 

2....you could solve one of history's unsolved mysteries, which would it be?
Who Killed Rodger Rabbit. 

3....you were stranded on a deserted island, what 2 people would you chose to be stranded with?
Vern, and an eldery native of a similar island, to teach us how to survive. 

4....you could spend a day with any celebrity, dead or living, who would it be?
 Thomas S. Monson.  I'd love to get a chance to see him as Tom, who his family and friends know. 

5....you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? 
To know what to do so that I could take care of my family the way I really want to. 

6....you could live anywhere, where would you live?
Right where I am.  (Or at least within a five mile radius. ;o) 

So, not too exciting, not very unusual.  Hopefully it works, though.  I hope all of you and yours are having a wonderful December, and will have an even better Christmas and New Year.  And now, off to feed the hordes . . . again . . . 

Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Catalog Creativity

So, my bloggy friend Amy Boogie challenged her readers to find something to do with the glut of catalogs we all get in the mail.  



(What's up with the catalog avalanche, anyway?  It used to be the JC Penney Catalog and the Sears Big Book, and that was it.  I'm just glad they can be recycled.)  I counted the stack, and a couple other strays, and I had collected 15 in ONE week.  Yikes.

So, as I was trying to think of something fun to do with them before they went into the recycling bin, I came up with a kid-friendly idea.  Kiddie decoupage.  (Unfortunately, no children were decoupaged during the making of this project.)  Even better, kiddie decoupage on some of those boxes we keep getting in the mail.  (Since when did cardboard become so ubiquitous?  Cardboard boxes were such a rarity when I was a kid.  Hmmm . . . a glut of catalogs and cardboard boxes.  Could there be a connection?  Ummmm . . . nevermind . . . Vern, you didn't just read that.)

Materials:

Catalogs
Previously-used cardboard boxes
Glue sticks
Scissors
Munchkins

Give the children their tools (age-appropriate scissors, please), and let them snip and trim to their hearts' content.  

While they're doing that, take all of the tape and shiny labels off of the boxes.  The glue stick glue won't stick very well to the glossy surfaces, and this saves a lot of frustration for the little ones.



Try to get them to cover the cardboard completely with the pictures they cut out.  Glueing the edges down is helpful.  Only the sides, and the larger flaps on top and bottom need covering, as the short flaps will be covered by the other flaps once the boxes are closed.



Do your best to keep them focused until the boxes are covered . . . but if not, Daddy will likely love it anyway. :o)  And finally, voila!, you'll have works of art in which to nestle precious gifts from children to beloved relatives and friends.  (Almost as good as wrapping gifts in comic pages, no?)



I don't have a finished photo yet of the boxes . . . naptime was finished before they were, and then dinnertime and bedtime and all of those other mandatory -times took precedence.  They're coming along beautifully, though!

So, there's a way to use up fairly large portions of the catalogs, and reuse boxes, too.  Double recycling karma points, eh?  I can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with.  I woud love to win the contest, but I'm afraid my contribution isn't as beautiful as other's will be.  Here's to hoping. :o)

And lastly, a teaser . . . 



Guess what those are???

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Overheard at my Island

MissE, playing make-believe with the Anderman:

"And, how about, when the volcano was interrupting . . ."

Anderman:

"Yeah! While the volcano was interrupting . . . "

Pass it on, please . . .

Don't let this one get you.

Man, I hate viruses . . .

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Words I needed to hear.

". . . I realized that spending all your energy on things you have to do makes your life disappear . . ."

Thank you, Lene.  We've never met, but I deeply appreciate your Celebratory post.

Lately, the "have to's" in life have required more hours than I have in me.  I've been depressed, exhausted, weak and a lousy  mom.  Here's to spending my life on things that bring me to life, and sharing them with my children.

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Refining the Plea for Tolerance

Thank you, everyone, for your responses to my last post.  I especially appreciate Dave's comment.

Dave said:

So when women were refused the vote - they should have just accepted the rule of law and just shut up? Black people should have been happy with slavery because the law demanded it? Repression leads to protest ... bigotry to outrage ... that TOO is part of the democratic process.

I agree with you that it's a good thing women have the vote, and human rights don't hang on the color of skin.  (Understatement reigns supreme. ;o)  I'm not one to champion the tyrranical nature of democracy in the least.  If memory serves, it was Benjamin Franklin who said "Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for dinner."  Tyrrany of the majority it is, and that's why America began as a republic.

(Btw . . . did I miss something? I don't remember championing bigotry or prejudice . . . if someone would point out how I managed to do that, I'd be happy to edit and revise, as that wasn't my goal.)

I completely agree with Dave's closing comment: protest and outrage have been, and continue to be, a part of the democratic process. They are a normal and often healthy human response to events in the world. I completely accept that as true. I don't accept that vandalism or violence against peaceful people is a necessary part of democracy.

I endeavored to say that I wish the vandalism, intimidation, and hateful screaming by protesters would stop. Those in opposition to Prop 8 have destroyed property, shouted epithets and picked fights with those whom they believed to have supported Prop 8.  I'm sure there have been some of the Prop 8 supporters, as well, who have been less than peaceful . . . but I have yet to hear about more than one . . . and he was covered in spittle with a damaged truck before he finally gave one of the male spitters a bloody nose.  The current legal climate does a good job of keeping them in check (which is a good end to that means, imho).

My cry is simply for decency . . . for respect . . . and for rational behavior. Destruction and anger only leads to more of the same. Peaceful protest is excellent--it raises awareness, and opens the doors for education and dialogue. A number of the protests surrounding the outcome of the Prop 8 vote (those I've seen video and heard accounts of) are a far cry from that.

Add to that the unsettling thought that protests and rallies in history which have used anger and mob politics to fuel their cause have been linked to miserably failed political/economic systems, (USSR, anyone?), and this situation surely gives one pause.

All of the fighting and conflict over this makes one wonder whether or not government should have anything to do with marriage at all.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Common Sense Holidays

This is some of the best common sense about the holiday season that I've ever read.  It's from the Managing Your Life blog, written by Rebecca herself:

"One thing I've found with Christmas, birthdays or any holiday, is that while the build-up is tremendously exciting, it also puts super duper pressure on one day. In that sense, it's always going to be a bit of a let-down when the day is over. I used to save every little purchase, whether gifts or fun food for Christmas day; in an attempt to make it as magically wonderful as possible. There is really no amount of anything that can take away the fact that the day will end; you will not be able to play with all the games received or eat all the food prepared... Cutting back and spreading the cheer to more than just one day has helped me and my family be more fully excited about the entire season."

We've been discussing, Vern and I, this kind of thing, and trying to figure out how to spread the holidays out over as many days as possible.  Rebecca just said it so clearly, I had to share.  (Not much clear thinking is going on in my head right now . . . sick kids, little & late sleep, and a losing laundry battle are taking their toll. lol)

G'night . . . 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

November 16: International Day for Tolerance

Can't we all just be nice to each other?  Please?

With all of the craziness that has been sparked over the result of Prop 8 in California, I've been wishing harder than ever that we could all just be respectful.

In this country, we still have the opportunity to vote.  Once those votes are tallied, law is made.  If there are people that don't like the result, it is then their opportunity to bring their own proposition to the people at the next election, or bring it to the court.

If I went and pasted signs in support of Prop 8 on the homes of gay and lesbian couples I know, (with whom I'm on good terms, btw), odds are I could be put in prison, fined, or both.  In our current political climate, that's considered a hate crime.  The Prop 8 opposers have done just that . . . only their posters were on the house of my God.  And since Christians (and other religious sects supporting the Prop 8 definition of marriage) are not protected classes, odds are no such charges will be brought against the demonstrators.

Deomonstrating in large, angry crowds on Sundays outside of the buildings where members of my church gather does nothing to change the result of the voting on Prop 8.  It's intimidating to church members who are gathering peacefully as Christians are instructed to do.  Demonstrations such as those are no more than retribution and intimidation . . . and that's not supposed to be a part of our political process.  

And if singling out one church from the multitude of churches who actively supported Prop 8 isn't discrimination, I don't know what is.

************************

Closing note:  I welcome respectful questions and statements in response to this post.  Dissenting views are welcome, provided they are not laced with profanity, vulgarity, or hate.  No disagreement was ever settled with any of those.  Thank you.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

This will have to suffice.

In the place of a real blog post, I give you:



My Autumn Test Results



You are a energetic, warm, optimistic person. You approach everything with a lot of enthusiasm.



When you are happiest, you are calm. You appreciate tradition and family. You enjoy feeling cozy.



You tend to be afraid of change. You are never ready for things to be different.



You find abundance to be the most comforting thing in the world. You love shopping and having nice things.



Your ideal day is active and full. You like to keep busy with your favorite things, and you appreciate a routine.



You tend to live in the moment. You enjoy whatever is going on, and you don't obsess over the past or future.


For once, one of these things is pretty much spot-on.  Fun. :o)

I'm up this late due to a little boy who broke out in hives today, hopefully due to the mild virus he had earlier this week.  Vern and I even had a date planned (with a baby-sitter, good friends to eat with, and everything!).  However, I just couldn't leave the Anderman, looking so uncomfortable and with big, red hives all over him.  They've mostly gone, now; just a few are left on his extremeties, and on the back of his neck.  Hopefully by morning he'll be good as new.

I have a feeling I won't be, though.

I've been up until at least 11pm every night this week so far, and I'm feeling it.  This is the latest I've been up, but now that my little guy is asleep and breathing easily, with most of the concerning hyper-allergic reaction dissipated, I think I can go sleep, too.

I hope all is well in blogland.  I've been reading, but not commenting much as we've had company and the Anderman's aforementioned illness.  I'm desperately hoping for some nap time tomorrow . . . we'll see how it goes.  The baby's teething, so he's not sleeping for long stretches, either.

Ah, the joys of motherhood. ;o)

Have a wonderful Sabbath, everyone!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Introducing "Tuesday Tips!" at the Passionate Mind.

As if I already didn't have enough to do, I thought I'd come up with yet another day-related theme for the blog.

Tuesday Tips!

Each Tuesday, I'll regale you with a "how-I-do-things" kind of tip, and I'd love it if you'd leave one of yours in the comments.  Sort of like a modern "Hints from Heloise".

And so, without further ado, I give you this week's installment of . . . 

Tuesday Tips!

In my house, we use good ol' fashioned, handmade, bar soap for hands.

Have you ever seen a soap dish after even one small child has used the bar soap in it?

Exactly.

So, at my house, we have a protocol for bar soap usage.  While it may seem a little extreme, if you've ever had to be the one responsible for cleaning the bathroom, you'll understand completely.

How to Wash One's Hands Without Making a Mess
(This is the version I use when I help 3yo Lil'MissL wash her hands.)

  1. Turn on the water.
  2. Wet one hand.
  3. Pick up the soap with your other, still dry, hand.
  4. Rub some soap off onto the wet hand.
  5. Put the soap back in its place, damp side up.
  6. Wet your dry hand.
  7. Make bubbles.
  8. Scrub.
  9. Rinse
  10. Dry

--Humbly subimtted in the hope that someone, some day, will no longer be enslaved to the rigorous toil of de-sliming a soap dish. ;o)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Music Mondays, Ressurrected

Today we have a number from Ryan Shupe & the Rubber Band's latest album, Last Man Standing.  You can listen to the album version through the band's Jukebox at Shupe.net, or here's a live version I really love: 



(Hopefully you won't have the same buffering trouble I did today.   I think it's time to reinstall XP.)

This one always makes me misty-eyed, for not only am I a complete sucker for a good retrospectiv, and have been to a lot of the places and experienced a few of the things Ryan Shupe sings about, but I'm blessed enough to get to feel this way about a man who feels the same way about me.

All I Need

I’ve been to New York City Central Park 
Then headed out to upstate Lake Champlain 
Crossed up to Montreal and heard a band playing mandolins 
While we were standing in the rain
I’ve seen castle walls and waterfalls 
And bridges spanning over Venetian waterways
Backpack summer drifting through the mountains 
Filled with European hostel stays

but all I need is you, here, falling in my arms 
and me, there, subject to your charms 
and I don’t know if I have ever felt this way before 
all I need is you 

I’ve sailed out in the San Francisco Bay 
And I’ve seen fireworks light up the night 
I’ve eaten dinner with good friends 
Authentic Mexican patio dining in the moonlight 
I’ve spent days skiing sunny powdered peaks 
And hiking up to zions where the angels land 
I’ve dropped off cliffs into the crystal blue 
And I’ve set up tents on golden sand 

but all I need is you, here, falling in my arms 
and me, there, subject to your charms 
and I don’t know if I have ever felt this way before 
all I need is you 

I’ve been all over the rocky mountains 
Splashed in England’s Hyde Park fountains 
Seen Denali rising up at three A.M.
Watched the wind blow through the redwood forest 
Heard the tabernacle chorus 
Singing songs like angels do in heaven 

but all I need is you, here, falling in my arms 
and me, there, subject to your charms 
and I don’t know if I have ever felt this way before 
all I need is you 

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Love me some Leelou Blogginess

Leelou

If you're ready for a really sharp-looking blog, c'mon over and see the great ones Leelou has designed.  (And I'm working on a how-to to make the templates strech.)

Friday, October 24, 2008

So Appropos.

"You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd." Flannery O'Connor

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Did you know . . .

Red Heart makes sock yarn?????

I almost bought a skein just to be sure I didn't imagine it . . .

So many posts, so little time.

Blogging To Do:

Mason-Dixon Signing
Spindling progress
Making Spindles
Grandchildren photo shoot for my Mom.
Going Raw

I know there are more . . . I had at least three others in mind as I was doing a quick grocery stop tonight . . . I'm sure they'll come to me.

But for now, you'll all just have to be appeased with the knowledge that I'm doing well. (Camera disconnect, or I'd have photos.)

G'night!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Guess where I'm going tonight . . .

To see these knitters, and get them to sign me one of these.

Woot!

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Rare Sighting

After publishing that last post, I caught sight of something in the library . . .



Hold on a second, I thought. What could that be? Knitting? Actual blog fodder???

Upon closer inspection, it appeared to be a wad of lace. Would you like to see?



Well, like it or not, you get to. ;o) Dear blog reader, may I introduce you to the Old Shale Scarf?



(She's charmed.)

I'm not sure if I was influenced subconsciously by all of the Clap knitting that has been going on, but I cast on for this about a month ago. I wanted to knit up this gorgeous wool/silk blend from Sheep Shop yarns, and I wanted something for me to ward off the coming chilly, wet winter. (But please remember--I'm thrilled down to the bottom of my little knitter's heart that it's not a freezing, snowy one!)

I've been wanting to knit something in Old Shale for a while . . . my grandmother, who passed away just over two years ago, knit a baby blanket for me in a garter variation of Old Shale. (Knit every row instead of making row four purl.) My daughters now love that blanket, and I wanted to make something for me to carry around, too. ;o) I miss my grandmother, and I find myself wanting to have things around me that remind me of her.



I'm just over halfway through . . . unless it turns out that I'm really just over a third through. I may made it a little too wide to get enough length out of the two skeins of Sheep Shop Three I bought at Apple Yarns in Bellingham, so I've got to decide if I:

1. Rip the entire thing out and start again with 1/3 fewer stitches (more thrifty, but waaaaaay more work, and not as smooshy and luxuriant a scarf at the end), or

2. Call Andrea and have her send me another skein from the same dyelot, if she has any more. (I surely hope she does, because otherwise I'm a stuck knitter, aren't I?)

And I want you to know I'm totally open to suggestions. Please do fire away . . .

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Full Circle

Isn't it funny how one event can suddenly make you see things in a different way? Open your eyes to a realization of what has happened, and make you appreciate it more?

For nearly the entire 15 years I've used the internet, there has been one overarching theme: the internet provides what my IRL experiences did not. From chat rooms in college to discussion forums on breast feeding and cloth diapering, healthy eating and alternative medicine, economics and politics, the internet has provided a wealth of information and a venue for expression simply unavailable anywhere else.

Blogging made the experience more personal, where family members and friends could visit and respond. I'll never forget the first few online encounters with people whose faces I actually knew. Since those first few emails and blog comments, it the real-life utility of the web has continued to grow.

Today I posted a fairly "poor me" rant over at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival group on Ravelry. I was feeling lonely, left-out, and confused over why I couldn't seem to find any knitters. Here I am, close to one of the more notable cities for all things fibery (can you say Grafton Fibers? Dublin Bay? Yarnies all over the place?) and they were all hiding. I joined a couple of groups on Ravelry for local knitters, but the most I could find that wasn't straight downtown was a once-a-month meeting 25 minutes from home.

So, I whined. (Sorry, everyone.)

And, it worked. (Please don't tell my kids!)

I've since been invited to a Yahoo group for the PDX Knit Bloggers of Yarn Harlot fame, and told how to start my own knit night by someone who has actually accomplished that feat. (I know, it sounds simple . . . but I was just too timid to try it until someone said: "Hey you! It's stupid simple. You just do this . . . " Except the Raveler who told me was way, way nicer. ;o)

Now, to go make good on some of this great info . . .

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Just for Fun

This is too cute:



And hold on to your sides, because this is too funny:

Americans are just weird.

I don't recommend the rest of the site, but that post is hilarious.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No Longer Hanging

Well, my watery adventure this morning was nothing nearly so fun as a swimming pool failure, nor was it as nasty as a dunny* death. It was, well . . . let me tell you a story.

After breakfast, I washed my hands at the kitchen sink. I love my sink, by the way. It's a beautiful, deep, indestructible Kohler porcelain job, set at a 45-degree angle into the corner, with two windows behind it, looking out into the backyard. There's a wonderful spot there, behind the sink and in front of the windows, that holds all of my houseplants. They thrive there, with the indirect sunshine, and near-constant humidity from the heavy use of hot water there. (With a family as big as mine, you use the kitchen sink a LOT.) And after sitting, forgotten and forlorn, in the dark of the Bellingham garage for nearly a month, they deserve it. (I only believe in houseplants that can fend for themselves.)

But where was I? Oh yes, washing my hands.

So, I washed my hands, and turned off the water, like any normal human being accustomed to a kitchen sink would do. Then I heard this incredibly fast, near-deafening, hammering sound. I stood there completely stunned, my brain racing a million miles an hour. It wasn't a hammer, because the noise was continuous . . . but it pulsed and pounded . . . Finally it sunk in that it was coming from behind the sink . . . from BELOW the sink. The hammering was hitting the underside of the counter!

I tore open the cabinet doors in front of the sink, and looked back to see, to my horror, that the plastic supply tube leading to the faucet had been blown out of the compression fitting on the supply valve, loosing a stream of full-municipal-water-system-pressure straight up onto the particle-board under-surface of my countertop. Looking down, I saw a sheet of water just cresting the front edge of the cabinet and spilling out onto the vinyl, rapidly spreading out over the floor.

Squinting in the spray, I climbed in under the sink and took a short shower while cranking the shut-off valve. I started hollering for MrC to get towels, for Vern to get downstairs, and generally feeling like a deer in the headlights . . . unable to leave the ever-spreading water, but knowing I had to get SOMETHING to sop it up, and fast. The hand and dish towels hanging by the sink were saturated in seconds, while the burgeoning lake laughed at my puny efforts. Finally, gut-wrenching seconds later, Vern threw down a couple of towels from the master bath, and MrC appeared with the towels from the kids' bath. (Where he disappeared to between going upstairs and appearing with the towels is beyond me. He had plenty of time to walk sedately down to the Haggen and back to pick up some Ben & Jerry's.)

Nabbing the terry cloth boon, I threw them at the flood plain, and then hit my knees and began tearing everything out from under the sink. (Note to self: from now on EVERYTHING under the kitchen sink stays in baskets or boxes. No more of this "Throw it all in there" stuff.) Mushy cardboard boxes of steel wool and magic erasers, scrub brushes, plastic gloves, dishwasher detergent, sponges, dishwasher accessories, (could someone please tell me why I need two silverware baskets?), a stock pot too tall to fit in any other cupboard, and the list goes on.

With all the hud** cleared, I began sweeping the water out of the sink, trying to keep the particleboard and drywall as dry as possible. It's a little unnerving, doing that while knowing what water can do once it has been in contact with the cut edges of melamine-finished cabinet interiors, not to mention drywall. It was only after I had sopped up most of the water on the cabinet floor that I realized I was kneeling in puddles lined with wet towels. I then set to work trying to chase down the last of the errant pools which had formed around the perimieter of my terry cloth bog.

And thus began the day that was sucked down the "household repair" black hole.

Overall, it could have been much worse. That supply line could have blown free while we were gone last week, and poured water into the house for hours or days. (Be still my beating heart.) My trip to Home Depot only took an hour, and I got exactly what I needed (and what the builder should have used in the first place): a braided-steel supply line with built-in compression fittings on each end.

The silver lining? I was able to finally go to the welding-supply store just a couple of blocks down the street from Home Depot and get 316 TIG welding rods, a.k.a. blocking wires. 18 36" wires in three different gauges, for $8. PVC and caps to hold them: ~$5. Now, all I need is a box of nickel-plated T-pins from an office supply store, and I'll have a blocking kit for about $14. I'm in lace-knitter's nirvana. ;o) Photos to come soon, once I find the memory card that doesn't send my computer into an epileptic fit.

G'night!



*Dunny: Ever see the second Crocodile Dundee? A dunny is what sits next to the bidet.
**Hud: a Utahrnish*** expletive. Syn: junk
***Utarnish: that which belongs or pertains to the vernacular of the Utahrnians****.
****Utahrnians: the select portion of the population of the state of Utah which evokes a strong desire to leave Utah.
(Authors note: Not everyone who uses the word "hud" is a Utahrnian. After all, I just used it, and I definitely don't live in Utah. (Anymore. ;o)

Caught by Surprise

I'm sitting here with my jeans wet to up above my knees, my sleeves wet above the wrists, a load of totally wet towels in the washer, and the kids in the car ready to go to Home Depot.

I'll give you three guesses . . .

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Too Much for Words

Have you ever had a time in your life when things moved so fast, you simply couldn't blog or journal about it all? Couldn't even seem to keep up with all the changes, even though you noted and were thankful for each and every one?

That's where I am now.

Life seems to be pouring out over me all of the knowledge and information I need, at this very time in my life, to move into new directions, changing the things that I've ached over for years. All at once, or very nearly so, new energy and life have been swirling around me, letting me know that now really is the time when I can finally make progress on the course I've spent so much energy plotting and trying to follow over the last eight years. It's like sitting in a small boat, lifted and propelled by ocean swells. There's so much power and momentum already, I just have to avail myself of it, and sail with all the effort I can muster.

Over the last week or so, I've been thinking about how I've taken lousy care of myself, nutritionally speaking, for the last six months or so. Lots of high-fat, un-heart-healthy foods. Can you say "b-u-t-t-e-r" on everything? Lots of turkey sausage? Way more eggs than any human should eat? Almost no veggies, lots of packaged stuff. Granted, it was natural, often organic packaged stuff, but still pre-packaged nonetheless. I've imagined what shape my circulatory system and heart must be in, and shuddered at the thought. And I'm only 32.

Yesterday, after Vern's family left from their week-long visit, I was thinking about them, and realized something ground-shaking. His mom had a heart attack that nearly killed her when Vern was a teenager.

She was 34.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Shiver me timbers and blow me down . . . the internet is awash with a shipload o' phony pirates!

Yarrrrrrr!

Even Ravelry's been boarded. The Ravatars all have parrots perched upon 'em!

Monday, September 15, 2008

AAAUUUUUUGHHHHHHH!

Guess who is cutting teeth!?!?!?!?

BabyB! At four months!

Nooooooo . . . . not already! He can't be that big already!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Like my new look?

I just stumbled upon Leelou's blog templates, and they're beautiful. Even better yet, they're free! She also has a custom blog service, but her waiting list is currently closed.

Just goes to show . . . the best form of advertising is to give away good stuff. ;o)

P.S.) Vern's in my followers over there, if you want to see a picture of him on a mountaintop. Can I just say I'm in love? {Sigh}

Friday, September 12, 2008

Oh, the Irony of it All.

I decided, since Vern and MrC are off on a manly campout, that I would spend my quiet evening at home getting my FCSS blocked out. (Rav project here.) I want to wear it (as does MissE!), and I wanted to block "real" lace. (Sweet river doesn't really count, although it was fun to block.)

So, I got it out, wove in the two ends, and put together my trusty hopscotch squares. Once the kids saw me put pins in them once upon a time, they went to town with bamboo skewers (bracing for their construction projects, don't'cha know), butter knives, pencils & pens, and whatever else they felt like taking to them. However, they're still good enough to pin knitting to, so they're what I've got.

I worked and fiddled and crouched and got stiff . . . carefully taking pictures (even though Vern has the good camera, and all the batteries were dead on Oly), only to find upon sitting down to blog that I was using the internal memory on the old EasyShare, and I'm out of commission until I can find the docking station or an appropriate USB cable. Ugh. UGH.

So, please do accept my apologies for the stark lack of photos and content in this post. It's all coming . . . once I can retrieve the photographic evidence. What good is a post on blocking lace without show-and-tell?

And now, I'm off to weave in a few ends (lol . . . like 3,000) on a little soaker I knit, and the off to bed. Although, bed sounds awfully good right now. Hmmmmm . . .

Monday, September 8, 2008

Follow Follow Follow Follow, Follow the Yellow Brick Blog

Hmmm . . . that just doesn't have the same ring, does it?

And this blog definitely isn't paved with yellow brick.

However, you can still follow it! Even though it's not moving . . .

So, not yellow brick, not moving. But still follow-able. Honest!

Here's how you do it:

Check out that nifty little gadget at the top of my sidebar. It says "Passionate Readers" at the top, and has a little profile photo of my lovely Birrd friend underneath. Click on the orange letters that say "Follow this blog", and Google will walk you through it.

This is all made possible by a new Google nifty-thingie called (amazingly enough) the Google Follower. (Man, I wonder where they come up with these names, don't you?) There are two benefits to Follower. First, you can go to http://reader.google.com, and see all of the blogs you're following there (when you're logged into your Google account, of course). Secondly (and this is my favorite part!), I get to know who you are! Can you just see my big grin from here? Statcounter is nice, and comments are frosting on a bloggy cake, but the Follower makes me feel like I've got permanence, ya know? It means that even without comments (which I still long for, btw), I can know that I'm read, I'm heard, and not just shouting out into the void of cyberspace.

Quick plug for Google Reader: it's like BlogLines or other feed management tools, except it rocks. Straightforward, stupid-easy to add feeds (and now completely automatic with the Follower feature), and error-proof. (Let's not talk about my woes with Thunderbird and TypePad blogs. They're few but pernicious.) And the best best best part of all, you can Follow private blogs! Yep! So, you can go to the Google Reader and see all of the latest updates to your favorite blogs, even if they're private blogs (I have a few I read), and even if they're non-Blogger-blogs. (More on that later.)

Now, as you're wondering why on earth you should bother, let me tell you: because I really really really want you to! (And since you're a devoted blog reader, you'd do it to please me, wouldn't you? Since I work so hard taking photos and typing on this keyboard that has a flaky t-key, and thinking up strange/fun/entertaining/knitterly/munchkin stuff to blog for you, it really is the least you can do. Even if you Follow anonymously (which I guess is okay, even though I don't get to see your cool profile photo), it still shows me I'm being read.

So, now you're wondering how you can add this useful pot feature to your blog, right? Well, just go to your blog's Layout tab (linked from your Bloggger Dashboard), and click on the "Add a Gadget" link at the top of your sidebar or footer. Type in a witty title (or use the one they supply), and you're in business. I highly recommend putting it at the top, or near it, so it's easy to see for all of your bloggy lurkers.

I've got to get done with this, so ChickenScratch can play with his blog. Later, my future Followers! {ahem} ;o)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Structural Integrity at 28%

My head is about to explode.

No, I'm serious.

It's stuffed full of unwanted new info on cracked cylinder heads, leaky head gaskets, motors, valves, coolant system leaks, repairing or replacing the same, and a slew of places to call and spit all this info back so they can tell me how much they'll charge.

The 4Runner is at a dealership shop in the next town over, its guts lying on the shop floor around it, with a bill of $700 just in tear-down time. They want either $6,500 or a starting point of $5,000 (sliding upwards from there) to fix it or put in a new motor. I've found a new motor for $1150 (with fewer miles and nearly as good a pressure test as their $5K motor!), and now I've just got to figure out how to get my ol' buddy out of the prison he's in and to a place that's friendlier.

Needless to say, I won't be telling the dealership what I think of their prices until after I've talked them into discounting my bill, I've paid for it, and the 4Runner is on it's way to either my driveway (to be sold for parts) or to a reasonable mechanic.

My dad put it this way: Dealerships are out to sell cars. More expensive repairs mean more car sales and trade-ins.

Add to that the fact that my washer has nearly the most expensive problem possible, and it has been quite the 24 hours. Thanks be to heaven we bought the "Master Service Agreement", (and for about 1/4 the cost due to a labeling mistake at Sears!), and don't have to pay the horrifyingly-close-to-$1,000 bill. The washer cost $1200, for Pete's sake. It's only three years old!

So, with my head spinning about repair options and service scheduling and wondering what this is all going to end up costing, I'm going out to forage for groceries tonight. Wish me luck. Otherwise who knows what I'll bring back.

Sardines and strawberries, anyone?

Mutant Play Dough Munchkins

The kids were hankerin' to play with play dough the other day, so I stopped by the store on the way home from an errand (registering the van, not as painful as I thought) and picked up the things I didn't have in the house: white flour, veg oil & food coloring. It's funny . . . those, along with the white sugar, are up on a pantry shelf together in the "not for human consumption" section. (The sugar is for the hummingbirds.)

So, making play dough was interesting. Easy, quick, and not too messy. Here are the kids goin' at it:



The Anderman, displaying his work, while Lil'MissL happily chops away with a butter knife on MrC's kayak fleet.



MissE, carefully explaining the finer workings of a play dough kayak.



MrC, (aka ChickenScratch), providing his insights on the finer points of play dough kayak construction. As you can see, he's a master builder with a fleet of aquadynamic vessels.



The night before, playing with some commercial PD MissE was given at church:



I don't remember what prompted the pink boils, but they sure got into it.









And MrC's crowning achievement: a play dough pirate ship.



And, just because I need some warm fuzzies today, a photo of my favorite part of my little house, complete with hydrangeas and roses from the front yard.



Have a great Tuesday, evereyone. I'm sure going to try. (Oh. I guess it's Wednesday, isn't it . . . )

Monday, September 1, 2008

Socks

Socks are the bane of my existence.

Not my own. Not Vern's. I mean little, disparate, smelly, mischievous munchkin socks.

I picked up 21 socks from my downstairs tonight: 17 icky, dirty ones and two clean pair. They were everywhere . . . under furniture, behind things, mixed into the toys, under the kitchen table . . . and this is during sandal season, when I try to keep the kids out of socks as much as possible.

At least there weren't any in the piano.

Hopefully the slight, but persistent, smell I've been chasing today is now banished. Ugh. Maybe there's a reason I haven't knit socks for the kids that are big enough to remove their own footwear.

I think it's time I go and do some reading on the barefoot movement.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Old Habits

I sat down to finish the Boho Baby Soaker for Apple Yarns yesterday.



I got comfy, and began working the k1p1 ribbing on the last leg cuff. As I stitched away, noticing the familiar sounds of the kids playing quietly in the next room, a soft contentment came over me. I looked up . . .



and realized something wasn't quite right. {Ahem . . . who has been complaining about the lack of furniture in her life for the last few years?}



That's better. And after a 45-second tidy, I got to knit in a lovely living room. (That first sofa shot was for you, Shan. ;o)



And a few minutes later, I had happy company. Even better. ;o)



And no worries, Mom. I'll post photos of the kids now that I have the computer set up for it. And if I'm not posting enough of them fast enough, just leave a comment and let me know. (Comments have great power over bloggers.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Long-Awaited Story

How We Got to Oregon
by Annalea

So, waaaaaaaay back at the end of April, we accepted an offer on our house in Idaho. The terms were perfect . . . really, just what we had been praying for. The buyer wasn't in any hurry to close, so the closing date was set for six weeks out. We would then rent from the seller for an additional six weeks, giving me at least a month postpartum before the move.

The time passed as those blurry days before childbirth and moving often do . . . packing, life feeling pretty chaotic, and all of the stress and work that go with both of those things. (I highly recommend not combining the two . . . ever.) Vern did the lion's share of packing and moving, sparing me stress that my body honestly couldn't handle at that point. Around that time, (can't remember exactly now), I was also finally diagnosed with hypo-glycemia. All of the strange and debilitating symptoms I had been struggling under
(depression, panic attacks, night terrors, lethargy, sleeplessness, hormonal imbalances, headaches, racing/pounding heart, muddy thinking, short-term memory loss) finally made sense, and I was able to take steps to quit exacerbating my condition and learn to live with it.

At long last, the moving day came. With lots of help from friends and family, we made it to Bellingham over a two-week stretch. The lag between loading the truck and walking into the rental in Bellingham was spent with parents and cousins, and was a necessary and welcome respite from the horrors of packing/unpacking. While staying with family in Oregon, Vern and I came to the realization that the quiet dream we had of living in that beautiful area could become a reality. We had considered moving there about four years earlier, but the relatively lower land prices in Idaho clouded our judgement, and made the two and three acre parcels available here seem exorbitantly priced and restrictively small. The dream was shelved, and we went back to the reality we chose in Northern Idaho. But with the continuing development in our area there, the prices soon came into line with Oregon's, and Vern kept scaling back his idea of an acceptable place to live. First it was 20 acres, then 10, then 5. And then, staying over for that week at Miriam's house (on less than 2 acres), Vern could see how much space it really was. He saw what a wonderful place it was for her children to grow and play, and the wheels began to turn. So we began talking about settling there . . . someday.

Impatient to get moved in and settled, we got things unloaded at the B'ham house, and tried to start making a home there. But things weren't right. The property management company hadn't taken care of the home as they should've, and we spent the first week, barely unpacked, trying to decide if we could live with cabinets sticky to the touch with years' of grime, strange smells in the carpet downstairs, and an overwhelming scent of mothballs. (Well, overwhelming to me . . . it was just strong to everyone else. Chemical sensitivities is a symptom of endocrine system dysfunction, which is part of hypo-glycemia.) But, determined to end our quest for the ideal and get on with living our lives, we tried to stay. I told myself I could somehow manage to clean nearly 40 cabinet doors & drawers of about 20 years' grime and scrub 1800 sq ft of hardwood upstairs (rubbing it with a damp paper towel made the towel coal-black). And do laundry, cook healthy meals, homeschool, nurse the baby, cloth diaper, unpack, and explore Belligham. And then I would have a flash of clear-thinking, and realize my still-weak and wobbly body just couldn't do it for quite some time yet.

The view was breath-taking. Looking out the window, I really felt as though I was living in some ancient English manor, overlooking manicured grounds and a private lake. (Living above a golf course can do that to you.) I took so many photos, trying to catch the many moods of lake and sky. Even without pictures, I'll always remember its loveliness. Our
Bellingham ward (a church unit similar to a parish) was welcoming and friendly to the point that we look forward to attending there again when we go back to visit. We were right by the lake, where Vern could kayak on 5 minute's notice and we could take the kids to splash and play, I had found an awesome LYS, Apple Yarns, and loved the knit night there. (Hi Andrea, Hi Anna!) But this strange feeling of impermanence . . . of visiting . . . would. not. dissipate.

The second Sunday after arriving there, Vern got an email from his business partner, notifying us of his intent to dissolve the partnership. That completely rocked our world. So close to finishing a project that we had invested nearly two years in, and that Vern had been dreaming of and scheming for since before we were married (that's more than 10 years folks), he was absolutely devastated; I was shocked and bewildered. As if the rental wasn't enough of a problem to try to hash out and resolve, we now had a much bigger problem: dissolving the partnership without losing everything we had worked so hard to gain. It was strange, having someone who was Vern's ally and partner for 40+ hours a week suddenly step over the line and declare himself a completely self-motivated opponent.

And then driving one day, Vern was on the phone with someone and said something that still stands so clearly in my mind. He explained how
the partnership had been the prime motivating factor in our choosing Bellingham, and then said: "That factor is no longer there."

The reason for living in Bellingham disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Hearing that was the strangest experience. Like an old-fashioned newspaper title, the words stood out in bold black in my mind. It's hard to explain the feeling of liberation, almost lightness, than followed. We had been discussing the prospect of the Portland area, and upon hearing that fragment from Vern, it all fell into place.

One month after our last visit, we all went back to Miriam's for Vern to run in a 10k in Estacada. Again, it was a blessing to have the space and time away from that rental to think things over and breathe some air untainted by the stress and negative energy in that rental. And we decided to stop making decisions based on external pressures . . . to stop running from things we couldn't control. When we began looking back, all of our previous moves had been made in the "running from" frame of mind. Finally, we stopped "running from" and made a conscious choice to "go to".

We chose Oregon.

The next weekend Vern was back in Oregon, and found a house for us. The next Monday we sent notice to the property management company (who had failed to make a legally-required repair, freeing us to break the lease), and began packing like mad. With said due notice given, and within six weeks of moving in, we had moved out.

Since arriving here, my whole world has changed. I honestly can't detail it--there's not much tangible, concrete evidence to support that statement. But nonetheless, I feel as though I've come out of a long, dark tunnel. (Longer than six weeks . . . more like four years.) I'm having more good days than not, with decent energy and a hopeful outlook on the constant struggle that is my chosen vocation. I miss my parents a lot--it was wonderful living near them for the short time that we were able to. I hope that someday we'll be able to live near them again, or that we'll have the financial independence necessary to visit them often. (A vacation home near Sandpoint would be simply lovely, don't you think?)

And that's how we got to Oregon.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tons o' Fun

Check it out.

Later, gators!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Little Snippet

I just had to share a snippet from my SIL's blog that just ticked my writer's funny bone:

"Squeezo Naomi and I canned 20 quarts of applesauce yesterday. It would have been 21 except one exploded in the canner. Canning is very exciting that way."

You might have to know Birrd to appreciate the full beauty of that paragraph, but I think it stands very well on it's own.

I know I've been a lousy blogger lately, but I have been making decent strides elsewhere in life, so not all is lost. It's just not blogged. ;o)

Off for the evening schtuff . . .

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Thoughts Exactly

David Heinemeier Hansson is part of 37signals, and has some choice words I'd like to share with you today:

Don't be so quick to embrace your own ignorance.

Do go and read it. The 60 seconds will be well worth it.

And ITA. Don't be so quick to embrace your own ignorance!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Yeah . . . What He Said.

I saw this meme over at Knit Me a River (her dh's answers were really cute). Here are Vern's:

1)What is your favorite thing about my knitting?
Even though you've shown me how it works, it still looks like magic to me. It's kind of neat being married to a magician.

2)What is your least favorite thing about my knitting?
The stash. (We're working on a decluttering/downsizing trend. ;o)

3)What is something I have knitted, that you recall is good?
Oh boy. What to pick?

4)Do you think knitters have an expensive hobby?
No.

5)Do you have a stash of any kind?
No, I don't have any hobbies like that.

6)Have I ever embarrassed you, knitting in public?
No.

7) Do you know my favorite kind of yarn?
Not with any degree of confidence.

8) Can you name another blog?
Of course. Name mine. (I did . . . it's Entropy Coordinator. ;o)

9)Do you mind my wanting to stop at knit shops wherever we go?
Not really.

10) Do you understand the importance of a swatch?
Yes.

11) Do you read my blog?
Yes. But I have to confess, I have been known to skim through the long, detailed knitting posts.

12) If I didn't knit, what would be different?
We would have needed a smaller moving truck.

13) Anything you would like to add?
I don't think it's good to argue with people whose hobby involves needles.

And there you have it: Date Night the Bootstrapping way! So, all y'all go off, corner your menfolk, and ply 'em with these so I can hear what they say. Just be sure you tell me, so I can go read 'em too. ;o)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Handed-ness in Knitting: It Ain't Worth a Thing.

Since this is a topic that seems to come up over and over and over in KAL's I participate in, I thought I'd just blog and link instead of repeating myself. ;o)

Knitting isn't handed. It simply isn't.

You use both hands to knit, just as you do to drive. There are different actions for each hand as you drive (the turn signals are usually on the left, the gear shift on the right, etc.), but nobody talks about left-handed drivers or right-handed drivers, or left- and right-handed cars.

Mystique swirls maddeningly around lefties learning to knit, and thickens the further back you go in time. One lovely lefty lady at my old LYS, Rachel, was taught to knit standing in front of a mirror. Her instructor (a Righty) insisted it would be easier for her to learn that way. But it's really not necessary. If anything, Lefties have an edge in learning to knit, because as has been pointed out more than once: in Continental knitting the left had does more than the right. Elizabeth Zimmerman even called Continental Left-handed Knitting. Check out how I (a definite Lefty) knit:



There are only a few stitches in that clip, but watch my hands (not fingers) carefully, and see which hand does what.

More examples are here and here.

Learning to knit backward can be handy, as it makes button bands and other small pieces easier (turning every four stitches is crazy-making). But beyond eliminating the need to turn your work in such situations, it's borrowing trouble (as is mentioned at the bottom of the page here). Knitting backward under all circumstances means that you must read charts backward, reverse written directions, or have a mirror image of what is being knitted. But more than that, it creates a mental barrier that can grow all out of proportion. Whether in your own mind, or the mind of knitters you meet, habitually knitting backward places obstacles in your way that needn't be there.

Long rant short, do yourself a favor: learn to knit Continental in the conventional direction. It's fast, efficient, and despite requiring an initial investment in time and effort, will save you hours and hours and hours of frustration and work in the long run.

And learning an already-entrenched skill in reverse is excellent for your brain. ;o)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Where they know my name.

I'm feeling a little homesick today.

Listening to Already Home by Marc Cohn made me think of my knitting gals back in Idaho.

This is where I hang my hat
This is where they know my name
This is where they show me that
a man's not so alone.

And I realized that I never blogged about the retreat a million years ago in March. So much has happened since then that it feels like several lifetimes ago; and looking at the photos made me realize how much I miss everyone. This post isn't all-inclusive of the people I love and left in Idaho, there is also the group from church and the group from Scrap Night. (I'll catch those groups in another post.)

Driving out to the guest ranch took me up into the mountains surrounding Sandpoint, and up into the snow. Mostly gone at my house for a while, the snow was still obviously happy in the hills.



(Please forgive the date stamps. I forgot my camera, and so I borrowed my Mom's, and wasn't familiar with her settings until it was too late. ;o) The road wasn't bad at all, especially since I was in the 4-wheel drive. It reminded me of driving up the mountain when we lived on Gold Hill over Lake Pend Orielle, and showed me how soft I'd gotten when not-so-little thrills of fear would race down my spine as I made tight curves with nothing but open sky at the edge of the road. (Sorry, no photos of that. My hands were busy.)

Finally arriving, I was greeted by some barns and wooly horses breathing their steamy winter breath, and then approached the lodge.



It was fun, looking around inside, and seeing how it was made. With Vern a member of the Log Home Builder's Association, I've learnt a thing or two about log structures. Actually applying those odd bits of info was fun. (It's a special kind of nutsy, I know.)



Pretty nifty, no? Complete with sentinels on the loft railing.



There were just a few of the Stitchin' Sisters there in the lodge, and I was promptly directed up to my room. Along the way I was greeted by a few lodge denizens. First, I was cooly sized up by the resident moose:



I've forgotten his name, but he truly is a beautiful guy.



There, you can see what he really looks like there. I just couldn't resist playing up that nose. I next met Sam . . .



who was uncharacteristically silent. But I patted him affectionately nonetheless. ;o) I had a lovely little room, assigned to me because I was a month away from my due date with BabyB.



Done up in pinks and purples, it was feminine and Victorian from floor (mauve carpet) to ceiling (huge grapevine wreath full of silk flowers hung up on the wall under the vaulted ceiling. And here was the sweetest part of the room . . .



That's where I want to be someday. Holding one of my babies in a garden like that. It'll probably be a niece or nephew, by the time I have a garden in that lovely stage of full bloom, but it's going to happen. Some day soon.

My stuff hauled in and my knitting brought down, I checked out the view from the deck.



I know it's not much to look at (my little camera goes into a grand mal the high contrast of wintry afternoons), but it was breath-taking that day. The crisp air opened your eyes wide, and made you breathe in deeply, even though it reached places in your lungs still musty from long months inside.

We sat and knit and were served lovely meals by the great folks at the ranch. And trust me, there are few things as luxurious as having time completely unfettered by the task of preparing, serving, and cleaning up meals. This weekend sealed my resolve to hire a cook and maid when Vern makes it big. ;o)

The retreat abounded with all manner of things our knitterly group loved. Littered about, there were lovely magazines, yarn in yummy colors, candy (which I did eat, but only a little), and a few adult beverages (which I didn't drink ;o).




Once I took this photo, I noticed Audra's knitting in the background. She has one of the most interesting ways of picking I've ever seen . . . and she's fast. Check out how she works her tension:



She's holding the working yarn tensioned around her thumb, there on the other side of the sweater (where you can't see it). I think that at the next retreat, I'll have to go 'round and make a photo documentary on how each of us Continental Knitters manage our yarn.

I was the first one to finish something at the retreat. It was BabyB's newborn soaker set:



It was finished first thing Saturday morning, before some of the ladies were even up. I wasn't the first one up, though. There were some exceptionally early birds up hours before I appeared around 7:30.

And now, for some shout out's. First, we have the lovely Karen, who is a red-head all the way, and I love her dearly for it. She reminds me of one of my best friends, Cathy, who passed away about five years ago from complications due to diabetes. She was in her early 50's, and I miss her terribly. Here, Karen's working on a green tweedy cabled something-or-other with small needles and DK weight yarn.



Up next is Audra's mom, whom I caught unawares. I'm still a lousy photo blogger, but I'm getting better. Hopefully at the next retreat I'll be able get a more coherent photo story.



And here we have Denise & Kristy. Partners in crime, and hilarious. Kristy is also a first-rate stylist, and I loved to have her cut my hair. (I love small town crossovers. Don't you? ;o) Denise is mom to one incredibly cute little boy, who was rather impatient for BabyB's arrival. He saw me two weeks in a row at knit night, and after learning that the baby was supposed to come soon the first time, he demanded when he saw me the second week, hand on his hip, chin jutting out: "Where's that baby?" He was visibly miffed that I hadn't produced the little guy yet. lol



Below are Robin and Sally, the tall ones. They're both right around six feet tall, and lovely. Robin loves horses (and all animals, really), and has such a gentle heart. Sally has been cheerful and smiling every time I've seen her . . . even when things are hard. I've learned a lot from both of them.




Here we have Embroidery Jen, Bar-B-Cue (a.k.a. Barbara, a.k.a. Un Poco, No Mas), Audra (with the fun 'do), and the back of Angela's beautiful head of hair. On Saturday, shortly after this photo was taken, we were talking about age, and how old we were. We all thought Angela was the youngest, since she looked at least five years younger than I am. Turns out she's older by a year or two, making me the youngest one there. That was quite the topic for discussion, and comments were made about how lucky Angela is to look so young. Barb chimed in that Angela was like German women, who looked so very young. "Until they hit about 40," Barb finished. "Then it's pbhtpbhtpbht," she said, blowing a raspberry, "and they're all wrinkled and old."

"Hey!" Angela called back. "I am German!" and everyone laughed and laughed. 100% German she is, and so, the clock is ticking . . .



I had such a good time that I honestly didn't take many pictures. On the way home early Sunday morning (had to be back for church at 9am), I had to take a quick detour and try to catch this sunrise:



The dawn reflected on the snowy meadow simply took my breath away. This was just the tail end of it, on a very simple camera. I wish I could have had a DSLR and been there about ten minutes earlier. It's another one of those moments that will stay with me forever, along with much of the weekend. And in just shy of two months, I'll be trucking back to Sandpoint for the next Stitchin' Sisters retreat. It will be so good to see everyone, and to "cackle" in the group again.

I know that for most of you, these photos will be just that: photos. They're faces you don't know, places you haven't been. But for me,

This is where I hung my hat
This is where they know my name
This is where they showed me that
a woman's not so alone.
*

'Til then, knit on.





*Modifications to the lyrics are mine.