Friday, January 26, 2007

Lady of Leisure

This week I gave formal notice to my HR department that I plan to "retire" on May 1st. Yes, I know, I'm not "old enough" to retire. That's the beauty of starting work when you're six. Well, ok, I was a little older than that. But still, it ain't bad to be able to retire before the age of 50. Of course, I do have to use a big chunk of my 401(k) account to buy some service and make it happen. But I'm too burned out to take any more, and I really hate hate hate being a manager. Did I mention that I hate being a manager? Give me programming and I'm happy. I was planning to continue working there part time for a while to help ease their pain, but the Utah legislature has a bill in the works that will (if passed) prevent me from working at the same agency for a year (even if it's only a couple of hours a week). Oh well, it'll be their loss, not mine.

So now for the fun part. What should I say in the future when people ask me "what I do". With no kids, I'm not a SAHM. Should I be a "lady of leisure"? I doubt I'll have all that much leisure time. A "woman of independent means" (more like "adequate" means)? Should I tell people I live off my "boy toy"? I don't want to be a domestic engineer or even a domestic goddess - who wants to be domesticated?

Whaddya think - anyone have a good suggestion? I could, of course, just say "I knit".

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Lark's Heart

I was so pleased for Lark when she announced her engagement on New Year's Day. I knew I just had to make this heart for her. I had the pattern, I had the yarn, and now I had the inspiration. I even had lavender from my garden that I'd dried earlier this year, just waiting for a good use. What could be more fitting than to make a "Lark's Heart". The sachet's been done for a few weeks, but I hadn't gotten the chance to give it to her until tonight. Fortunately, Jo had done some of these in the meantime and had blogged about them, so I already knew to expect a bunch of leftover stitches at the end that the pattern doesn't say what to do with. (Just sew them up when you close the top opening.) Otherwise, I would have figured I'd messed something up. I suppose I would have come to the same conclusion in the end, but it was good to know about it ahead of time. This was my first time doing mitered squares, so it was a good learning experience, too.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Valley Blahs

The weather forecast projects highs in the low 30's for the next week. Well, I guess that's an improvement from the 20's. One of the bad things about living in the Salt Lake valley in the winter is the inversions. The cold air in the valley gets trapped by warmer air above, trapping in all of the smog and haze. We're lucky if we can even see the mountains through all the crap. But the good thing about the valley is that when we do have inversions, it means there's better weather and beautiful blue skies in the mountains, just a short drive away. So when it gets too ugly down here, it's easy to get out of it for a while. I was so sick of the inversion last weekend that I suggested to my husband that we go up Big Cottonwood Canyon and have brunch at Silver Fork Lodge. Big Cottonwood is my favorite of all of the canyons along the valley. The terrain is quite different from its nearby neighbors, because it was formed by a glacier instead of a river. Although we go up the canyon several times a year, I hadn't eaten at Silver Fork for probably around 8 years, and my husband had never been there. Every time Margene would blog about it, I'd remember how nice it was.

So off we went Sunday morning, and not surprisingly, there were Margene and Smith, finishing their breakfast. They invited us to join them, which we did. We had a nice chat, and got to enjoy Utah's beautiful blue skies for a while before heading back into the sludge. Good food, friendly conversation, and beautiful scenery. What more could you ask for? So here's some of that lovely sky, and the aforesaid Margene taking a picture of me taking a picture of her taking a picture of me... or, er, something like that.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

VLT Scarf

After sadly neglecting my VLT scarf for a couple of weeks, I finally was able to pick it up last night and work on it a little. Of course, after being away from it, I had a little trouble getting back in the rythmn, and had a couple of boo-boos. One was a row of knits that should have been purls, so I had to frog back a couple of rows. The other was missing a yo/k2tog. That one I didn't notice until 5 or 6 rows later, so I decided to just ladder down and fix it. It wasn't fun with all of the fuzz on the yarn, but I did it! I'm almost half-way done with one edge. Not nearly as far along as I would have liked to be by now, but it's looking nice.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Junk Food Junkies

Warning - much venting ahead. It's really good to see an article indicating that kids are more open to healthier food choices, and that schools are trying to make lunches better. But there's something about all of this that still really bugs me. A hot dog is not a healthy food choice. And while I appreciate that schools are using whole-wheat buns and whole-wheat pizza crust, what is the point? Are they really teaching kids how to eat healthy meals, or are they just reinforcing the idea of junk food? Do kids really understand that the pizza they get at lunch is any different than the one they get at a pizza parlor (except that the school lunch one probably doesn't taste as good)? Shouldn't they be learning that pizza is not really a healthy choice? I'm not saying it's wrong to eat it at all, in fact I had some myself last night. But that's a treat - it's not how I normally eat.

It seems to me that if you give kids hot dogs, tacos, pizza, and other "fast food" type items, even if they're made "healthier", all you're teaching them is that's the kind of food they should eat on a regular basis. And they'll just go out to the restaurants and get the non-healthy versions, because they don't know the difference. I know that the schools claim that kids won't eat the food otherwise. Is that what parents should do? Just say, "Oh well, Johnny won't eat anything but french fries and ice cream, so that's what I give him". Can you say "enabling"? If they're not learning proper nutrition at home or at school, where are they going to get it? And even this article says that kids actually ARE eating carrots and apples, when a few years ago you'd just hear how "kids wouldn't eat them". I don't even want to get into all of the crap in the vending machines, or the justification that if the kids can't get candy at school, they'll just go out at lunch and get it somewhere else. Bullshit. The schools just want the money they get from all of those nice little vending machines. Wouldn't it be nice if schools would provide the kind of meals that people SHOULD be eating, so that they can learn what a real meal should be like? Maybe they could even offer occasional lunchtime voluntary seminars/classes/demonstrations. Local farmers talking about the benefits of fresh vegetables, and providing information about Community Supported Agriculture programs. Maybe an individual food item that's in season could be highlighted - for example, give a session on green beans, and how you can prepare them in a simple and healthy manner. What herbs can be used for seasoning, etc. Nutritionists talking about what they should and shouldn't be eating, and why. Maybe even some little cooking demonstrations with simple, nutritious ingredients (complete with recipes for the kids to take home to their parents). I'm sure there are many free resources for this type of thing. Even if only a few kids attend, wouldn't that be a start? Maybe they can help educate their own parents.

And don't get me started on how the soybean industry is pushing soy substitutes as a cheaper, lower-fat protein alternative for school lunches. Especially highly-processed TVP.

Whew! I feel much better now.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Holy Sockotta, Batman!

Some months ago, I scooped up a skein of Sockotta in the LYS bargain bin. After arming myself with "Simply Sensational Socks" by Charlene Schurch, I embarked on my first pair of top-down socks (my entire prior sock experience was one pair of toe-up anklets).

The nice thing about this book is that it has a chart of average foot measurements by shoe size. Comparing my own measurements to the book, I seemed pretty much right-on for the measurements for my 8-to-8.5 shoe size. So after swatching, I just followed the instructions in the book for the garter rib sock, and finished the first one late last night. What I didn't realize was the bad thing about this book - the instructions do not allow for any negative ease, or even mention it (at least, not that I saw, but I do admit I have not read the entire book). I ended up with a sock that agreed with my measurements, but which was much too loose to wear with a shoe. I could tell that the leg was a bit on the large side while I was making it and trying it on, but it seemed like it would stay up, so I didn't worry about it. And after finishing it, it seemed comfortable enough with just the sock on my foot - but once I tried to put on a shoe, it was clear that it needed to be about an inch shorter, because as the sock stretched, all the extra material just bunched up at the heel. I figured I could just rip out the toe and make the sock shorter, but clearly the foot circumferance was a bit too bulky too.

I had my husband try them on just for fun, and not only did they fit him, he said "I'd wear socks like these". Dilemma solved. Now I just have to knit the other one, and he'll have his first pair of hand-knit socks.

So back to the book and the patterns - after reviewing the pattern I used for my anklets, as well as a number of other patterns, nearly all of them say to reduce the number of stitches determined by your gauge and foot measurements by 10-15%, in order to provide negative ease for a snug fit. After realizing the problem, I did remember doing that for the anklets. I'm really surprised that this book said nothing about that. Also, I found her instructions for rearranging the heel stitches after knitting the heel flap to be incredibly confusing. After looking at some other sock knitting resources, I figured out what it meant. Once I knew what I was supposed to do, the instructions made more sense - but I think the instructions could have been written much more clearly, and perhaps with some illustrations. My other gripe with this book is that it should have been spiral-bound. It's impossible to keep it open for reference. But I don't mean to make it sound like I don't like the book. Now that I've made one sock, I understand the instructions. And knowing that I need to modify the sizes for negative ease, I'm sure I won't have any problems knitting more socks from the patterns. Things that I really liked about the book are that it shows both toe-up and top-down socks with the different sections knitted in different colors, the charts for standard foot measurements, yardage charts, the instructions for 4-needle, 5-needle, and circular needle knitting, and of course, all of the patterns for different pattern repeat counts.

Can't Beet Chocolate

Thursday night my husband and I went to Cannella's for dinner (500 South/200 East). As of last week, they're now open Monday-Saturday for dinner, instead of just the weekends. And now that they've expanded into the area where Junior's Tavern used to be, they've got a full bar, complete with bartender. The dinner menu is brand new, and expanded from their previous offerings. I was sorry to see that they no longer provide the free antipasto tray with dinner, but they do have a number of appetizers. We didn't have an appetizer, but we did each order a specialty cocktail from the menu. The bartender even came over to see how we liked them, because they were the first ones she had made. (They were perfect.) I had rigatoni with sausage, and my husband had the seafood marinara - which was really great. Service was really slow because there was only one waitress plus a trainee (and they has a full restaurant, including a table of 20), but we weren't in a hurry so we didn't care. The waitress was very apologetic and gave us a free dessert - we chose our favorite, the chocolate beet cake. Trust me on this, it's amazing. You'd never know there were beets in it - it's just an incredibly dark, rich, chocolate cake. Oh, and if you're wondering about lunch, nothing has changed other than having the expanded seating - the food's the same as always. But now for the odd part. After the remodeling, the bathrooms are now in the basement. I went to the women's restroom, and found it very surprising. It's one large room with a lock on the door, but there are two toilets and two sinks. I wondered if that gave a new meaning to women going to the restroom in pairs. I suppose maybe they're going to put in partitions, but don't you think they'd have done that in the first place? Of course, I had to send my husband down to check out the men's room. Two urinals and a toilet. I know you were wondering.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Wee Sheep

After seeing the darling Boston Terrier stitch markers that Jacquie bought, I had to go visit the Wee Ones website for myself, and I ordered a set of Merino Horned Sheep stitch markers. They came today - and like Jacquie's little doggies, I just can't believe how incredibly detailed they are for being so tiny. They're just adorable. Just so you can see how "wee" they really are, that's a dime in the photo below. I highly recommend them! The price is very reasonable for the amount of work that must go into these, and the customer service was great. And Jillian will make special orders too, if you don't find the kind of critter you want - she'll even work from a photo of your own pet. How's that for great service?

The Trouble with Tribbles

Is that they keep multiplying. This is the first six of the hats for the Children's hospital, and I have one on the needles. I was hoping for ten.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Serpent

I snitched this Meme from Katherine, because it sounded fun:

The Page 123 Meme
1. Grab the book closest to you.
2. Open to page 123, look down to the 5th sentence.
3. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog.
4. Include the title and the author's name.

"Quinn walked along the perimeter of the disturbed soil until his eye caught a roundish object protruding from the dirt. He dug away at it with his hands and after a few minutes revealed the head and shoulders of a terra-cotta soldier. He dug some more and found other soldiers."

~ "Serpent" by Clive Cussler

This is the book DH has been reading. As it turned out, I had 3 other books at about the same distance from me, depending on which direction I turned. This one, however, was the only one which actually had sentences in that section of page 123. The others were charts, lists, etc. But just for fun, here are the titles of the other books: "Knitting on the Edge" by Nicky Epstein (mine, of course), "C++ for Dummies" (DH's), and "The Art of Electronics" by Horowitz and Hill (also DH's).

Christmas in January

My mother gave me some money for Christmas, which I thought I'd put towards something special. And I did - I just received my Alice Starmore Seaweed Wrap kit from Virtual Yarns. Aaaaahhhh.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Soup Day

My last post was an "I hate it when..." post. Maybe this one should be titled "I love it when...". As in, I love it when I find a recipe that's as easy as opening up a few cans, but it's full of healthy ingredients, delicious, and tastes like you spent a lot of time on it. No highly processed foods, no long list of unpronouncable and/or unidentifiable ingredients. I looked at a loaf of "bakery" bread at the grocery store the other day. What happened to flour, water, salt and yeast? Instead, there's a list of 20-or-so ingredients, most of which I can't identify. Maybe that's how they can justify charging you three dollars for 25 cents worth of flour. I just hate all of the crappy ingredients food manufacturers foist on us. But I digress.

Yesterday I grabbed this recipe out of the latest BH&G, and today I whipped it up. Dump a few cans of stuff into a saucepan, add a bit of herbs and spices, and TA-DA! Nearly instant yumminess. The sage definitely makes this recipe - I wish I had fresh. And the lime adds just a touch of brightness to the flavor. It definitely needed salt, I added somewhere around 1/2 teaspoon, but I was using a low-sodium broth, so YMMV.

Pumpkin-Bean Soup
Serves 4

1 (15-oz) can pumpkin
1 (14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk
1 (15-oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14-oz) can vegetable broth
1 tsp dried leaf sage, crushed
salt and ground black pepper
cracked black peppercorns (optional)
fresh lime slices (optional)

In medium saucepan combine pumpkin, unsweetened coconut milk, beans, broth, and sage. Heat through.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with black peppercorns. Drizzle with lime.

For those who must know: each serving is 285 cal, 19 g fat, 0 mg chol, 729 mg sodium, 28 g carbo, 8 g fiber, 9 g pro. Provides 335% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A, 7% vit C, 6% calcium, 21% iron.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I Hate it When...

... It's so cold outside that my nostrils stick together.

Monday, January 15, 2007

My $2 Needle Case

Or, What I Did on My Day Off.

Today I spent a whopping $2.00 and a bit of my own time, and made a knitting needle case for my DPNs, following the instructions here.

I bought two placemats at Big Lots for $1.00 each, and stitched them together, using rows of stitching to make pockets for the needles. The instructions call for grosgrain ribbon for the tie, but I didn't have any. What I did have was some bias tape (which is about 20 years old), but which happened to be a good match for color. We won't talk about whether or not it's appropriate to mix florals with polkadots, okay?

Since this was for DPNs instead of straight needles, I was able to use the placemats horizontally, and I had enough room for 9 needle pockets. I could have made the pockets smaller if I was storing "bare" needles instead of leaving them in their packages, but this worked for what I needed.

I had been thinking about making one with some of the enormous amount of quilting fabric I have stored in the basement, but I was too lazy to dig it out and I really didn't want to go to that much work. (Not that it would really be that much more work, it's just the thought of it that made me shudder - I really hate sewing.)

Anyway, here's the finished product - for 2 bucks, it ain't half bad!

Oh yeah - and I made another fun fur hat too! Just in case you thought I wasn't knitting.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Fun with Fur

I whipped out two fun fur hats yesterday for Kate's project for the Children's Hospital Boston. Today I'm working on another one in dark blue Lion Brand fun fur I picked up today at Jo-Ann's (both Jo-Ann and Michaels have their fun fur on sale right now for $1.00 per skein, so if you want to join in on the fun and don't have any stashed yarn, you can pick it up really cheap right now).

These were pretty quick and fun to make, and I'm sure the kids will enjoy them.

The black one is Patons Cha Cha, and the Brown one is Moda Dea Zing. Excuse the slightly drunken look in the photo, I'm really not! Maybe later tonight, but not yet.

Frigid

This is not what I like seeing in my weather forecast.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Which is Longer?

Your Netflix rental queue, or your knitting queue?

I currently have 108 items in my Netflix queue. My knitting queue isn't written down, but certainly I don't have that many items on my "to knit" list. But if we look at the number of hours each queue represents? I think the knitting far outweighs the movies. I really need more hours in each day, but don't we all? Good thing I can knit and watch movies at the same time!

I've put my lace projects on hold for a bit, so that I can knit some hats for Kate's contest to knit fun-fur hats for children at the Children's Hospital Boston. I certainly won't be expecting to win a prize for the most hats made, but at least I'll be helping out. I have some fun fur that I bought in the past for various reasons, and this seems like a good use for it.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Irish Hiking Scarf


Irish Hiking Scarf
Originally uploaded by Hither-n-Yarn.
I finished the Irish Hiking Scarf I was making from Plymouth Galway Highland Heather (de-stashed by Laurie). When I started this scarf, I planned on keeping it for myself. But the more I worked on it, the more it kept telling me that it wanted to belong to our good friend and next-door neighbor. So as much as I liked it, I gave it to it's rightful owner last night. He was quite pleased. The yarn, by the way, was very nice to work with, I would certainly use it again.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Arrowhead Lace Swap

We had a wonderful time at SnB tonight, celebrating its 3rd anniversary. Some of us started off the evening with dinner at La Cai Noodle House, then it was off to Jitterbug for coffee, knitting, swapping, and more eating. Our arrowhead lace swap items were put in brown paper bags, then were handed out randomly by Laurie, who started the group. All of the items were wonderful - it would have been a pleasure to get any of them.

I got this lovely scarf mailed in by Michaele, a former Salt Lake SnB'er. The color is great - a dark heathered red. I love red, I love heathered yarn, so what could be finer. Michaele says on her blog that this was her first real lace project - I'm honored to be the recipient. This was my first swap, and it's the first time I can remember getting a hand-knitted item from someone else since I was a kid - so that will make it even more special. Thanks, Michaele! I'm sorry you weren't there in person.

Susan was the recipient of my scarf (see what she gets for saying she hoped she got it?). I wrote up the pattern and will post it in the next day or two.

Thanks to Susan, Katherine, and Heather for coming up with the idea and putting it together! And a special thanks to Laurie for not only organizing the SnB group in the first place, but for gifting us with a special limited edition soap called "Hand Knit", scented with bergamot and lime. Can't wait to try it. (My husband loved the smell and tried to take it away from me, but I wouldn't let him.)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Espresso Finito!

I finally finished "Espresso", my Arrowhead Lace project for our SnB swap tomorrow night! I only did the whole thing three times (not counting swatches and tests). I am nothing if not stubborn - a true Taurus. I hope Espresso's recipient likes it. All will be revealed after the swap, when I'll post the pattern. I've seen a few of the items people will be swapping, and it's going to be great. I'm sorry that Lark will be out of town, but her mitts for the swap look great. I was hoping to show her my Bubble Wrap cap in person - I've gotten a lot of compliments on it when I've worn it. We'll be thinking about you, Lark, and here's a photo of your narcissus bulb - it's blooming beautifully and bringing a nice bit of early Spring to a cold winter:

Sunday, January 07, 2007

VLT progress

I now have six repeats of the lace pattern done for the VLT scarf. (Out of 22 for the border on one side.) It's looking pretty good, although a couple of times I've managed to drop a stitch in the faggoting and had a few rows totally "melt". I'm putting in occasional lifelines now. At least it's a fairly narrow strip, so there aren't many stitches in a row. Although I like the Kidsilk Haze, I'm not sure I like knitting lace with it. Time will tell.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Could it Be?

You've most likely already seen this. But could Battle Royalé, in fact, be the funniest post ever? I'm still laughing.

007 Snap a Dozen Days - January

Apology in advance, this is going to be a loooong post. Not to mention disgustingly sappy.

I fully expected my January 007 Snap-a-Dozen Days posting to be of some snow pictures, and talking about my love/hate relationship with snow and winters in Utah. I'd hoped to be able to snap a photo of our beautiful Wasatch mountains covered with snow and sparkling in the sun with brilliant blue skies, or perhaps colored all pink and gold by the sunrise or sunset. If you've never seen it, then just trust me, it's gorgeous. And maybe there'd be a bit of venting about how I always have big work projects going in at the start of the year, so I have to work on New Year's day and always dread the first work week.

But last night, we had a minor miracle. So while this post won't be about Januarys in general, it will be about what this one particular January means to me.

One small step for a kitty, one giant leap for Princess: Last night as we were watching a DVD, our cat jumped up on the couch, walked onto my lap (where she stood and let me pet her for a minute), then walked onto my husband's lap and stood there for petting for about 15 seconds. After that, she walked off his lap and laid down on the couch next to him, where she stayed for about 20 minutes. "So what?" I can hear you think. This week was the first time she'd ever jumped up onto the couch with us, and last night was not only the first time she'd ever sat down next to us on couch, it was the first time ever that she had ever gotten onto either one of our laps without us putting her there.

Believe me, this was a special event for us. When my husband bought this house 9 years ago, Princess was already here (and was already an adult cat), so we know she's over 10 years old now. Our neighbor told him that she had belonged to people who had previously rented our house - they left with most of their cats, but left Princess behind with nothing but her name. He had been putting out food and water for her since then. After a while, my husband took over the feeding. Princess would always want to be around us when we were outside. Although she'd cringe if you moved your hand toward her quickly (clearly she'd not been well-treated), she loved to be petted, but not to be picked up or held. She wouldn't fight if you put her in your lap, but as soon as you let go, she'd be off like a rocket.

As the years went by, she got a little less skittish, but not much. We tried to get her to come in the house, but she wouldn't have it. Eventually she would walk into the house and explore the kitchen, but only if we left the door open. As soon as we closed it, she'd freak out. If we were outside, she'd sit near us. If we were inside, she'd sit on the railing by the back door and watch us through the window with her nose pressed up against the glass like the Little Match Girl. Clearly she wanted to come in and be with us, but she just couldn't handle it. Then two years ago in October we got married and I moved in. A couple of weeks later, Princess also moved in. She just walked into the house and decided not to leave. (Fortunately, we already had a litterbox, and she knew how to use it!) For nearly 8 months she stayed in the house and showed no interest in going outside. When Spring came, she once again wanted to venture outside. Since then, we have become her doormen, letting her in and out incessently, though she's mostly indoors. She became tolerant of us putting her on our laps to pet or brush her or trim her nails, but would still leap off at first opportunity (and she will only stand, not sit or lie down). Yet she's always near, and often whining asking to be petted. Considering that she lived most of her life on her own outdoors, it's amazing what a good house cat she is. She doesn't scratch anything but her scratching post, doesn't get on the kitchen counters, and doesn't bother my yarn or knitting (other than small scraps of yarn that happen to be lying on the floor - those are fair game).

This week she finally jumped onto the couch by herself, but only to sit on the arm (heaven forbid she actually sit on the seat). Then Wednesday night, she jumped onto the seat of the couch while I was knitting, swatted at my magnetic chart holder a couple of times, and ran away. Was she jealous of it sitting next to me? Is that what encouraged her to take her place next to us last night? Did it somehow break the ice in her little kitty brain? Who knows, but for some reason, last night she gave us a special gift - the gift of trust. Yes, an old cat can learn new tricks. And as tiny a miracle as it may be, it made this January one that we will long remember.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Now You Blog it, Now You Don't

What's up with Blogger in the last two days? I'm lucky if I can see anyone's blog, much less my own. Gee, I hope it's not just me. Is it something I said? Do I stink? (Maybe you shouldn't answer that one.)

Duck Joke

Rabbitch told a duck joke yesterday, which she said is just about her favorite joke. Interestingly enough, one of my favorite jokes is also a duck joke:

A man is sitting on his front porch and sees a kid walking by with a wagon full of Duck® tape. He says "Hey kid, what are you doing with that wagon full of Duck® tape?" The kid answers "I'm going to catch ducks." The man says "Are you crazy? You can't catch ducks with Duck® tape!" The kid shrugs and keeps going. An hour later, the kid comes back with a wagon full of ducks. The man is amazed! The next day, the kid comes by with a wagon full of chicken wire. The man says "What are you doing with that wagon full of chicken wire?" The kid says "I'm going to catch chickens." The man says "You can't catch chickens with chicken wire!" The kid shrugs and keeps going. An hour later, the kid comes back with a wagon full of chickens. The man can't believe what he's seeing. The next day, the kid comes by with a wagon full of pussy willows. The man says "Wait a minute - I'll get my hat!". Ba-da-boom.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Lacing Along

After a whole evening of knitting on the Victorian Lace Today's "scarf with no. 20 edging", this is my result. Let's see... at the rate of 1 1/2 inches per hour, this project should take me only about 6 years months. I'm sure that someone brighter than I would have the pattern memorized already, and wouldn't need to study the chart line by line. But on the other hand, as painfully slow as it's been, at least I haven't been making too many errors, and I've been catching them pretty quickly.

I love this book, but I sure wish it had better names for each of the projects. Sheesh. Even numbers would have been better. "Say, Cheryl - whatcha workin' on?" "Why, this is the scarf with number 20 edging on page 84 of Victorian Lace Today". Now there's a mouthful.

I used my new magnetic board for the chart, and it worked out pretty well. Except for when my cat decided to jump up on the couch and bat it a few times. Fortunately it she decided it didn't make a very good punching bag, and lost interest quickly. Even though it takes a while to move the magnetic line marker every couple of rows, I don't suppose it's any slower than using a highlighter and lots of copies of the chart, and with the stand, it's easier for me to read. And I don't worry about getting highlighter ink all over my couch.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

No Time to Knit

Except for last night's SnB, I've had almost no knitting time in the past week. Even with a 4-day weekend, I have just been too busy with other things. Grrrrr. I hope this isn't a trend. Tonight, though, I will knit! I did stop at Jo-Ann's today to pick up some Paton's Classic Merino (on sale for $3.99). I figured it never hurts to have a bit of worsted wool in the stash. I'd like to make a sweater for DH, but I have so many other things in the queue, that who knows when I'll get to it. And if not, maybe I'll just felt something. I also bought a magnetic cross-stitch board/line counter, so I can keep track of where I am with my lace patterns. Hope it helps!

I also FINALLY got out to DSW Shoes. I was so excited a month ago when a friend told me they had opened a store here (Family Center at Ft. Union, where Mervyn's used to be). Yippie! No having to go to Phoenix or Las Vegas! And I even had a $10 coupon burning a hole in my pocket. But I just never got the chance to go until today. I beelined it right to the clearance racks (as I always do), and emerged with a nice pair of brown Anne Klein loafers, and some black suede Easy Spirit casual shoes. Both on clearance, and then $10 off the total to boot. (Three cheers for DSW Rewards!) I had my eye on a kick-ass pair of sandals, but even though they were in my size, they were a little too big, and they didn't have the next size down. But, I'm happy with what I got.

Morning Sky


Yesterday's sunrise. It's all of that nasty inversion we have in the valley that makes the mountains look so ghostly.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Top 10 Costco Items

Following Jacquie's lead, here are my favorite Costco items, in random order (I admit, I had a very difficult time narrowing this list down to only 10):
  1. Oakdell eggs (from vegetarian-fed chickens)
  2. Feta Cheese in the huge 24-oz container - great for sprinkling on just about anything.
  3. Tillamook Vintage White Extra-sharp cheddar
  4. Stacy's Pita Chips
  5. Chocolate-and-nut hand-dipped ice cream bars (oh yesssss!)
  6. Fruit: especially Clementines, bananas, blueberries. But I haven't had very good luck with their stone fruit (peaches, plums, apricots, etc.) so I don't bother with those.
  7. Batteries
  8. Sicilian Bruschetta (mmmmm... try it over pasta, or as a salad dressing)
  9. Fresh wild Alaskan fish (Copper River Salmon and Halibut when in season)
  10. Frozen Tilapia Loins (What the hell is a fish loin? Why don't they just call it a fillet like everyone else?)
Favorite items no longer available (WAAAAAAH!):
  • Lattes (iced or hot)
  • Orca Bay Cioppino (totally awesome!)
  • Half & half in quarts (it's now only in half gallons)
  • Cream cheese in individual serving cups (hate the packets)
On another note, Norma blogged today about words and phrases that are misused or overused. (Such timing after my rant yesterday about "went missing".) Reading the comments on that post is really a hoot. I must admit, almost everything listed there bugs me too. I guess that's what happens when you major in English. Several people commented on the misuse of "hung" in reference to Saddam Hussein's execution. (In case you didn't know, pictures are hung -- people are hanged.) But who knows, maybe Saddam was "well hung", in addition to being hanged. I certainly wouldn't know.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Went Missing

I hate that phrase. It was everywhere in the news in 2006. "They went missing." "He's gone missing." I kept wondering why it suddenly caught my notice. Was it that more people disappeared last year than normal? Was this just a phrase that wasn't used much before, but suddenly caught on? Why was it suddenly assaulting my senses on a nearly constant basis? I tried to tell myself to calm down and get over it. But evidently I wasn't the only one who was annoyed by it, since Lake Superior State University listed it on its annual "List of Words and Phrases Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness."

I must say, though, that one of my favorites on the list is this one:

BOASTS -- See classified advertisements for houses, says Morris Conklin of Lisboa, Portugal, as in "master bedroom boasts his-and-her fireplaces -- never 'bathroom apologizes for cracked linoleum,' or 'kitchen laments pathetic placement of electrical outlets.'"

Happy New Year 2007!

Happy New Year to all, and I hope you had a safe and fun celebration (or a good night's sleep - whatever suits you). Our evening started at the home of some friends for a chat and cocktails. Then we all headed to a party at another house. After a bit of socializing, we headed out for dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Except for one lone man who was from out of town, we were the only customers in the restaurant the whole time we were there. Good thing we made reservations, eh? At least we got great service! After dinner it was back to the party for chatting, playing pool, ping-pong, etc., followed by watching the fireworks from the deck (the house is high up in the hills in Bountiful, and has great views of the valley). It was amazing how many fireworks were going off. Probably at least 95% of them illegal, of course. Then, finally, it was home to bed for a good night's sleep. Well, at least until 8 a.m., at which time I had to get up and work. Yes, no rest for the weary. I had to put in 3 hours of work this morning to make sure all of our year-end processing went okay, and that our new file design wasn't going to barf when we hit a new year. At least I was able to do that from the comfort of my own home, in my bathrobe. There were a few snags that had nothing to do with our file conversion, but everything got straightened out. And the new file (which has been the bane of my existence)? All seems to be well! Whew!!! What a load off my mind for the day. Now I don't have to dread going into work tomorrow - I feel pretty confident that we're ready to rock 'n roll. I guess it would be pretty selfish of me to be somewhat grateful that the stock market will be closed tomorrow for President Ford's funeral, wouldn't it? Even though it means that I'll have a day of grace in case everything goes to hell? Well, what can I say, I guess I'm just a selfish bitch. I mean, it's not like I'm glad he's dead. I just have a bit of appreciation for the timing of the funeral.

With the fresh start in the new year, I've decided to go for Espresso 3. You knew I would, didn't you? Yes, I'll try once more to get through my Arrowhead Lace swap project. Of course, it's only a week away, so I can't promise that I'll be finished in time. But I'll give it the old college try. Albert Einstein once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. HAhaHAhaHAhaHAha....