Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

From Maggie and Maxine

The boys have decorated the house. This weekend we were at Target where I was eyeing some tasteful grapevine pumpkins with little white twinkle lights. I was promptly told that I get to decorate for Christmas, but Halloween is for my husband and son. Tasteful is not the goal. Well, they don't have to worry, there is nothing tasteful in their decorating.

Their favorite new decoration was obtained while I was away. It is a battery operated rock with a motion detector. When someone walks by it lights up and moans. Imagine my joy at finding this while walking up the walk to the door in the dark one night. By the time my shaking hand was able to unlock the front door, my son was down the stairs laughing so hard he was doubled over.

Son: "Mom, I could hear you scream all the way up in my room!"
Me: "mrrgfl"

Yeah, they are a funny bunch around here. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Chicago Bound

I'm off to Chicago until the weekend. I'm attending a conference on the aging workforce. Sounds like fun, huh?

I will leave you with a picture of my new special knitting assistant.

Albert the cat has been bravely (okay timidly) venturing out of my son's room these days. Of course Maxine Louise the BHFH wants to play with him and he wants absolutely nothing to do with dogs. But we are making progress.

That cat better stay away from my yarn!

Monday, October 23, 2006

No Time For Knitting

I'm trying to get myself organized so I haven't been blogging or doing much knitting. My apologies!

I spent the last three days getting organized. Friday I got all my summer clothes put away and hauled all the winter stuff out. My sweaters! I love my sweaters! This will be good news for all of us here in Minnesota who have been dealing with an early cold snap. Taking out all my warm clothing will certainly bring the mercury back to the 70's soon. It has been in the 30's and 40's most of the last couple weeks and the sun has been a no-show. This is too early for cold, even here on the frozen tundra and it's making people crabby. If it doesn't warm up again here soon, expect a February of crankiness and possible road rage. Of course road rage here consists primarily of rude gestures, but still. . .

This weekend was spent cleaning our garage. I know that there are men out there who take a great deal of pride in a perfect garage. My husband is not one of them. Our garage has been an absolute wreck for two years. I've left it to him to do whatever cleaning or organizing there is to do. He is generally very organized. So much so that at one point when he was laid off, he reorganized my cupboards, drawers and the credit cards in my purse. This lead to a heartful (and loud) discussion of when a man should go rummaging in his wife's purse (NEVER). Anyway, I pitched in and helped this time out. I found some interesting stuff:

  1. Jack stands. We have never once, no matter how strapped for cash, worked on our own cars. Never. Now that he has a hybrid, my husband can't even get his oil changed anyplace but the dealership. When I lobbied for donating said jack stands to charity I was turned down.
  2. Four 5 gallon buckets of floor adhesive, primer, etc. from when the house was built 7 years ago.
  3. Five big, giant tubs of fabric and pillow forms from when I used to sew all the time.
  4. My antique, mahogany, Georgian drop leaf table. Yikes!
  5. A bucket of pieces of brick?

Why we were holding on to this stuff I'll never know. Thank goodness for dumpster service. In the end, I can actually drive my car into the garage and leave it there all night. I can get out of the car and walk in the side door without climbing over things too! Next week after the last of the stuff has been hauled to charity, we will be able to fit both cars in the garage. I know that many of you do this every day, but in our household, this is a major accomplishment!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My Celebrity Rant Plus Before & After

Does anyone else find this phenomenon of celebrities visiting impoverished countries and coming home with a baby, strange? I understand there isn't a Barneys in Africa. Madonna couldn't buy the new Prada boots on her trip so she brought home a child? Did her daughter get a t-shirt that says, "My Mom Went to Africa and All I Got Was a Dumb Ol' Baby Brother"? Aren't there nice middle class folk using their savings to travel back and forth battling other countries' red tape for months or years waiting to adopt? I'm just saying. END OF RANT

So here is the before:

And the after felting:
This is my first felting project using Brown Sheep. Three strands are used throughout. I really liked this pattern. The lifted increases create a strong ridge that mimics the ridges found in a pumpkin. Looking at the sample picture, it appears they felted it more than I did mine, but I wanted to keep it a little larger. Overall, I'm pleased. The pattern is in the newest Magknits, uses four skeins of Brown Sheep or Cascade 220. I started this last Thursday night and as you know, I didn't get as much knitting time as I would have liked this weekend. I think it could be a weekend project.
Pumpkin? I thought I was mom's little pumpkin!! Anyone know how I get this fridge open?

Mysteries of Life

My knitting life has been rather uneventful lately, I just haven't gotten all that much done. I should have a before and after on the felted pumpkin for you soon though.

I've spent the last three days driving back and forth to and from St. Cloud. It's about 60 miles north of here. Saturday I went up because my SIL (yes, RC's wife) had a Tastefully Simple party that I promised I would attend. My dislike of home parties is legendary amongst my friends and family so my attendance at one of these things is a gesture of love. Especially driving 60 miles to attend a dreaded home party. Luckily the Tastefully Simple party involves a lot of food and some wine. Plus my SIL's friend who is the rep doesn't pressure everyone else to throw a party. And she is relatively normal. Part of what I hate about home parties of any kind is an uber-perky sales person trying to get me to host a party of my own, or worse work for her giving home parties. "But you can get up to $100 of free merchandise!", howse about I give you $100 to leave me the hell alone?

Sunday the whole famdamily drove back to St. Cloud to set up a booth for a trade show. Being in the car for more than an hour makes my son squirrely. After a half hour stuck in "coming home from up north" Sunday afternoon traffic, listening to him sing commercials and make up songs, I nearly put him out on the side of the road.

Yesterday I drove BACK to St. Cloud for the trade show where I spent 8 hours on my feet in heels smiling at people who were only there for the free stuff. As my free stuff basically sucked, I practically had to be a carnival barker to get people into my booth. I've got a basket full of business cards and really sore feet to show for it. Yippee.

Last night we attended parent teacher conferences at the High School to find the answer to the burning question, why is my son getting a better grade in French than in English? English being his native tongue and all. The high school was built a zillion years ago and is a one story building laid out like a maze. Much of our two hours there was spent looking at the provided map and arguing about whether hallway F is really next to hallway G or inexplicably next to hallway A. After stumbling around lost, we discovered the answer to the French vs. English question and discovered that if he doesn't start paying more attention in Social Studies he will make a fine and funny feature on the Tonight Show's Jaywalking segment. He is, however, getting A's in math and gym.

So with all the driving and the smiling and the parenting I haven't gotten much knitting done.

Friday, October 13, 2006

A Rather Blustery Day

I've been up on and off all night. The wind has been blowing so hard that the rocking chair on our deck has been rocking. Unfortunately the deck is attached to the wall by our bedroom so all night long it sounded like people were walking around on our deck. Of course our crack team of watch dogs was snoring soundly (while trying to push me off the bed and stealing the blankets) and I was wide awake. Finally at about 3:30, I woke my husband and made him check out the noises. This prompted instant action on the part of the watch dog team. They jumped up and moved to the warm spot on the bed he had left and went back to sleep. At least I got my blankets back. So if my writing seems groggy today, it is.

It should be a terrific day though. As the firm made our 3rd quarter financial goals the managing director has declared that we may wear "smart" outfits with jeans on Fridays for the remainder of the month. There has been considerable discussion around the office about a)what constitutes smart and who will be the judge; b)when we became English without anyone telling us. Okay our resident managing director's boss is English, an import from the London office, and he may be influencing things. Smart or professional I don't care, I'm just happy to get the chance to wear jeans. It's so much easier. There is much less outfit coordination involved in jeans. Men don't entirely understand this, but it's true. Everything goes with jeans. Including this:

It's my $9 cardigan! I finally got it blocked and sewed on a button. Plus it's certainly cold enough to wear it today so wear it I will. Just to refresh everyone's memory, I bought the yarn for this when visiting my parents in SD back in August. The JoAnn at their mall was going out of business and clearancing everything. The yarn was 80% off and cost a total of $9, hence the $9 cardigan. The yarn is bulky and has a little shine to it. I used this top down pattern from Knitting Pure & Simple bought from Jimmy Beans. I really like their patterns. Most are top down and they are well written and easy to follow.

Gotta run and load up on coffee. Tonight I have my first dance class. I haven't taken one in 15 years so I will probably be hobbling around stiff and sore tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Catching Up

And I am. Catching up. Caught up. Tuesday in New Ulm I was sad to see Nadel Kunst is closed. If you remember my last trip to New Ulm, I met the shop owner Nutty Cindy and really liked her and the shop. I imagine it's hard to sustain a yarn shop in a town of 13,000 but Nutty Cindy seemed to be flourishing in June. I somehow imagine her at home in front of the fire knitting her inventory now. (Now that would be a stash!)

I did make a stop at Mary Lue's (sorry Chris I couldn't find Tangled Skeins) where I ran into a group of three ladies, all over 75 years old, who were out on a shopping excursion. It seems one of them is working on her first felted project and she's trying to get her pals hooked on felting too. I chatted with them over the bins of Brown Sheep and they were the coolest. I bought some Brown Sheep to make this, some clearance, clearance Katrina, and scored a couple of skeins of Kureyon in shades I don't already have.

Yesterday I really caught up. I took a day of vacation as I had the world's longest dentist appointment scheduled and thought I could make some progress on my deadline projects. I'm happy to say that I finished Grandma Purl's squares, blocked my Lizard Ridge squares that I'm donating to Stephania's Afghans for Afghans project, finished the spa wash cloth for my SP angel-ing, and got Chris' prize together for Look Back and Cringe! I picked up buttons for both the $9 cardigan and the baby sweater and finished a sleeve on the baby sweater. By the time the boys got home yesterday afternoon, the kitchen and living room looked like some crazy yarn studio. The winder and swift were attached to the kitchen counter and there was stuff blocking on just about every flat surface imaginable. Today I can go to the post office and get everything out in the mail. A huge relief.

I have until Saturday afternoon to finish the baby cardigan as Saturday I get to go meet the baby (finally!) on my way to St. Cloud. The finishing should not be a problem as I only have one sleeve to go. I am hoping I can finish it tonight.

I will have achieved project freedom. I still have sleeves to finish for my jean jacket vest, but I won't have any obligation knitting to do on tight deadlines. I'm going to say "no" to further deadline knitting until after the holidays. I do have some holiday knitting to do but nothing elaborate. Whew! I feel like the weight of world is off my shoulders.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Another Road Trip

I'm hitting the road to New Ulm again. I'm sure I will have to hit a couple of shops on the way home. Post to come later.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Monday, Monday

Just today I wish I worked for the government. My dad did for 30+ years and always had Columbus Day off. No one who lives here in Little Scandanavia actually believes Columbus discovered the U.S., but it's still a national holiday. Couldn't they re-designate this day for someone who accomplished something more significant for our country? Susan B. Anthony or Thomas Edison or Lewis & Clark or even Martin & Lewis Day? I don't mean to downplay the accomplishment of introducing small pox to the natives of the Cayman Islands, but it seems like there are a whole lot of people (and there are no national holidays designated for a woman) who have made a bigger contribution than Columbus.

Anyway, I could use another day to get some stuff done. I got some things done around the house this weekend. All four bathrooms are clean and dusting was done. I spent lots of quality time with my son. All the laundry is done. I finished a square for Grandma Purl and I hope to finish another tonight. But I still have a ton of deadline knitting to do and I have to get packages ready to mail. I'm still feeling behind.

Yesterday I visited Borders to see if I could find a copy of Wrap Style. I keep seeing posts of the Shetland Triangle and I think I have to try it. I like that it is worked from the wide end down to the point. I think this is one I can do. I was in front of the knitting magazines and made a comment about the cover of Knit Scene to the woman crouched next to me. Turns out she's a knitter too. So fifteen minutes of conversation later we had exchanged the names of our favorite pattern websites, yarn shops, and books. Talked about why our puppies want our yarn and gotten to know each other a bit. I've never had a hobby that seems to bond people like knitting does. The knitting community is a weird and wonderful thing.

I have to run. Monday morning sales meeting. Happy fill in the blank Day. Whose day should this be?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Thank Heavens for Crazy Friends

I've been a bad blogger, but I've milked the birthday girl thing all week long. Obviously my friends and family know the way to my heart is with yarn. My sister took me out to lunch at PF Chang's and gave me a card with yarn money inside. My guys gave me a Knit Picks gift certificate and MFF (my friend Fritz) gave me this:

I, of course, pulled some needles out of my purse and started gauge swatching immediately. I'm getting about 6 stitches per inch on number 4 needles. Now I have to figure out what I'm going to make. Thank you Linda for helping MFF out with this purchase. You must have thought he was nuts (he is a little). Now I finally understand your comment Linda. I'll stop in next week. Poor MFF has been dragged to so many knit shops. He's my non-knitting, knitting pal. I don't really have other knitters to hang out with (which I know is my own damn fault) so it's nice to have a friend that understands and even encourages my obsession. His personal obsession is very expensive foreign sports cars so my yarn buying seems like an inexpensive hobby to him.

But before I start indulging myself with birthday present knitting, I have a lot of things to finish. Like this:

I gave up on all the Samantha lace and cuteness and decided to go simple for my friend's new baby. It's my absolute favorite Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted. I love how soft it is. I love that it can be washed (perfect for baby stuff). I love the colors. I love knitting with it. I can't find it in any of the LYSs I've visited. I've been told by one shop owner that they are too unreliable as far as shipping and availability for shops to stock. (I take this with a grain of salt as this particular shop owner still won't stock Brown Sheep because of the wait she had on orders after their factory burned down a couple years ago. Hardly their fault I would say.) So I've bought all my Lorna's from Jimmy Beans and Little Knits. Little Knits is closing it out and not selling it anymore, but they have a few skeins left on sale, sale, sale. Every time I've ordered it from Jimmy Beans they have had to substitute colors for me, but they've been great to work with. So I'm hoping to finish this sweater this weekend and get it in the mail.

I feel so behind. I've got so much to finish and not enough time. And I really do have to get some stuff done in the yard before the weather turns on me and it's too late.

I'm out here. A little overwhelmed a lot behind, but I'm out here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Don't Try This At Home

We interrupt this family free-for-all to bring you some knitting. Or some unsolicited knitting advice, cos doesn't everyone love a little unsolicited advice? I know I do! Especially from the lunch room ladies!

Remember that garterlac dish rag I whipped out one Saturday morning not too long ago? Yeah, that made me cocky and too sure of my self. Too sure of myself.

I volunteered to be an angel for the One Skein Secret Pal exchange. I felt terrible that some people got nothing. I have to come up with a hand knit gift and quick. My SP lives in the south so a wool hat or some such thing would be useless to her. So I thought, what about a garterlac done in cotton chenille as a spa wash cloth? Some nice soap, etc. I'd be all set.

In retrospect I think the vareigation in the Peaches n' Cream helped me keep track of where I was at in the pattern when I did the dish cloth. I also think (and this is perhaps the most important factor) that doing in alone in a room was the key to my earlier success. Not so with the spa cloth. First, it's all one color. Second, I tried to do it while watching t.v. with a 14 year old and two dogs. Bad idea. I've ripped it out twice all ready. The cotton chenille is not loving the frogging.

Back to it. Wish me luck.

BTW, did you read my sister's comments? As if anything I've ever done that my parents don't already know about would shock them!

Monday, October 02, 2006

And He Confesses!!!

So in case you didn't read my comments here is one from Anonymous:

And I would have got away with it too, if it wasn't for your meddling blogsters and your stupid dog too!!! Oh, wait, that was for when I was secretly revealed as Captain Cutler, The Black Night Ghost, or Miner 49er. Easy on the "respectable citizen" stuff, I have a reputation to keep poor. So it's true, I am RC. For you regular blog readers, I am Kate and Susan's blacksheep brother. The sibling who smokes cigars, gambles and swears. Well, the one who smokes cigars, gambles and swears but doesn't knit. At least Susan is respectable. Occasionally I've been known to wear a purse on my head and walk like the monkeys from Oz. On a more interesting note, today is Kate's birthday!!!! You can see from her pictures she has posted that she looks much younger than her 49 years. The next one will be THE BIG 50!! Happy Birthday big sister!!! Stay tuned for future comments, including "10 things you didn't know about Kate".He He He He He Dave

I'm a little afraid about the "10 Things You Didn't Know About Kate". Okay I'm very afraid. And I will have it known that I am actually 42 today. He's 10 years younger, so if I were 49, that would make his next birthday 40. So don't push my age along. And it just so happens I gave up cigars after a really bad incident involving duty-free Irish whiskey and cuban cigars. (there is no worse hangover. you're just praying to die)

So mystery solved but I may have opened a giant sized can of worms.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Presenting Roger Clinton

A few months ago I started getting anonymous comments on the blog from someone who signed themselves Roger Clinton. This person was sarcastic and funny. Commented some on my knitting, but never on their own.

Nancy Drew Clue Alert: I don't think Roger is a knitter

Then a few weeks ago there was an incident at the Minnesota Zoo involving meerkats. 5 had to be euthanized after someone let their 9 year old into their habitat and the 9 year old was bitten. Roger Clinton commented on my blog referencing dead meerkats.

NDCA: Roger Clinton is from Minnesota

A light bulb went off and I suspected I might know the identity of Roger. But he is elusive and laid low after I said as much on the blog.

Then it came back to me. Last winter I wrote a letter to the editor of our local paper after our latest school funding levy failed. I was really ticked off because I saw on the local news a bunch of 70 and 80-something women coming out of the polling place declaring they already paid too much taxes. This pissed me off. I know that they probably contributed very little to Social Security and that it takes 3 currently employed people to support one senior on Social Security. I have no problem paying my taxes to support them, but they can't give up Caribou Coffee once a week to improve my kid's school. ANYWAY. (I'm jumping off my soapbox now) Needless to say my letter was not well received by some of the senior citizens in my neighborhood. I got an e-mail of support though from the person I now suspect is Roger Clinton.

In the e-mail he said I should run for Governor and as my brother he will be happy to act as the family Billy Carter or Roger Clinton. Getting boozy at all the wrong times and embarrassing me publicly in the proud tradition of Roger Clinton.

NDCA: Roger Clinton is my little brother David.

Drumroll please. Presenting Roger Clinton:

Here is he is now, getting in shape for his role should I ever hold public office. Yes, that is a Lucy bag on his head. I knit it for my sister last winter. He is a more responsible citizen than he appears in this picture. (I wasn't going to show a picture where he actually LOOKS like a responsible citizen, how would that be any fun?) He holds a management position. He is a good dad. He follows all the DNR rules about how many fish you can catch. He has a near photographic memory that is very annoying at times because the things he chooses to remember are things like the entire script of Airplane, but all in all he's a good guy. Slippery though. The general consensus amongst the family is that he is indeed Roger Clinton but will probably never admit to it.

When everyone replied to my question yesterday that they have never received comments from Roger Clinton. My suspicions were confirmed. And when he threatened to out himself, I had to take immediate action. So HAH Roger Clinton. You're out there baby (and you're loving it!)