Sunday, October 26, 2008

Rhinebeck and other AWESOME October happenings

WOW. That word pretty much sums up Rhinebeck (otherwise known as New York Sheep and Wool, one of the biggest fiber festivals in the country). That, and AWESOME. And yes, it deserves all caps. It was a wonderful time, hanging out with some of the people who live in my computer. Mary and I left Friday morning with eleven dozen cupcakes (Pumpkin Spice with cream cheese frosting, Mexican Chocolate with Kahlua glaze and chocolate ganache frosting, Vanilla with just plain vanilla frosting, Ho-Ho filled with vanilla cream and frosted with chocolate buttercream and Nutella, need I say more?) and 2.5 gallons of beer (well, 2 gallons of beer, half a gallon of cider). We arrived around 7, connected with my last-minute roommate Hopi, and figured out where we were going for dinner. Ktb and her mom made reservations at a fabulous place called Gigi Trattatoria. There were supposed to be eleven of us, but Cyd's train was delayed, so Pixisis was anxiously awaiting a phone call to get her. The call came just after dinner. Bowen was there, up from Philadelphia, with a stop on the way to pick up Silver. Also in that car was Monica from Portland (yes, Portland, Oregon), who had flown in a day or so earlier. And we can't forget the wonderful Dan, aka Brewergnome! Definitely an enjoyable meal.

Saturday was the festival! We found Melcentrica in the lobby at breakfast - we ID'd her because she, Mary and I were all wearing the same shirt. (Cyd wore hers, too, but we met her Friday night at the hotel. Our room was party central, as I had the cupcakes and beer.) Then it was off, across the Kingston Bridge, to the Rhinebeck fairgrounds!

We met at Completely Pointless and Arbitrary central - the Tsock Tsarina's booth! She and Jennifer (as well as Glenna and the Tserf) were incredibly busy, but they always had a moment for a hug or a cupcake. Jesh was pricing her gorgeous spindles, and by the afternoon they were nearly gone. (I did get to snag a tasty peanut butter cookie, though!) We also met Franklin on the way there. He is as charming and wonderful as expected, and Mary gave him her well-received Delores creation. Once at the booth, I overheard someone talking about beer (they were pondering and did purchase the Oktoberfest in Chocolate Stout, as did I - Mike will someday have beer socks to wear to festivals), and wouldn't you know that it was Holly! After much squeeing and hugs, she introduced her husband and we made arrangements to hang out at the hotel after that evening's Ravelry party.

Made a few purchases, too - Nine Tailors and Imbas as well as Oktoberfest, and some beautiful Gnomespun yarn, and a Yarn Fairy skein of Holiday Yarns. Wandered off to the Ravelry meetup. Showed up a bit late (that was typical of the weekend), but met Ravelry leadership Jess, Casey and Mary-Heather, as well as a few others of the Rav family. (And shared cupcakes.) I didn't really take many pictures; I let others do that for me. Lots of those pictures can be found here, if you have any interest.

Picked up a bit of other yarn along the way, but really ended up investing in roving. Yes, I don't know how to spin yet, but if all goes well that will be remedied on Wednesday. I could not resist one bit of Corriedale. Oh, the colors! Beautiful blues and purples. I carried it around for something like 2o minutes before deciding that I needed to take it home. Picked up some incredibly soft undyed Merino as well - grabbed a bit for the amazing dyer Jen, then couldn't resist buying one for myself. Snagged 2oz of llama as well, and 8oz of Acacia, one of the lovely Burgis Brooks alpacas. She wasn't there, but Manny and Tito were. Mary brought home some of Manny's yarn, since Tito was only available as a blend. So yes, I have a lot of spinning to do, especially since Kelly sent me some roving from an Alpaca farm open house in North Carolina.

Anyway, Saturday was quite a day. We went to the Ravelry party, and showed up about 30 seconds after they ran out of goodie bags. It's estimated that there were 650 people there. Lots of fun (lots of door prizes - Mary won some beautiful Briar Rose yarn, and Kathe won Small Bob!), although it was quite cold. I was most amused by Hurricane Kitty beer. Because Kitties cause hurricanes all the time, you know. After the party, we congregated back at the room for more cupcakes and beer.

Sunday morning, Mary and I took off after breakfast. We delivered Hopi to her ride home, and followed some back roads to find the Fork in the Road. Then it was off to Kerhonkson to see the World's Largest Garden Gnome! I do have a picture of him, but haven't uploaded it yet. We'd pondered going to Hershey, but after getting stuck in construction in Scranton, I doubted that we'd get to Chocolate World before they closed (although looking now we might have made it). So it was an easy ride home - we just followed I-80, arriving home around 9:30.

Anyway, Rhinebeck was an adventure, and we're already making plans for next year.

It was a busy week before Rhinebeck, though. Gretchen showed up on the 11th, and we spent most of Saturday at the Rock Hall. After that was lunch at Melt, then visiting with Jessica and Mary after the Miss Chickpea knit-out that Gretch and I missed. Sunday we had plans to play in the leaves and maize maze in Peninsula and see Wade Chapel. Since Gretchen is unlike most of our houseguests in that she is ready to go before noon without prodding, I revised our agenda to start in University Circle. After two quick cupcake drops (yes, four dozen cupcakes is a bit much for four people), we were at Wade Chapel. Gretchen has always loved Tiffany, so we spent a decent bit of time admiring his genius and talking to the docent. We wandered up to the Garfield Monument, too, and braved vertigo to walk up and down the steps. Then it was off to the Art museum! Hadn't been since the galleries reopened. Definitely a good setup for their legendary collection. I'd nearly convinced Gretch to stop in at the Natural History museum (she knows how I am, and generally avoids such places with me) to see their wildlife area, but it was still before noon, so we wandered off to find lunch and such.

Mike had just eaten his leftovers, so there was no point in stopping at the Lizard near home. Gretch wanted to investigate an Archivers, and there was one in Montrose, so we stopped by for a pre-lunch visit. I put my blinders on and got out my knitting so as to avoid picking up yet another hobby. Anyway, no Fairlawn Lizard, as I try to avoid unfiltered Akron water. We were inspired to try Vegiterranean, but alas, they were closed on Sunday. On the way to the Peninsula Lizard (sense a theme here?), I got a panicked call from Mike: "Come home now. Zuzu got outside and I can't find her." We won't talk about the how, but he knows he was not a good indoor-cat parent.

Drove home, getting increasingly worried as the "I found her" phone call did not come, and started wandering around looking for our kitty. Mike was back behind the house. I walked around the pond, and asked everyone I saw if they'd seen Zuzu. Set some kids to search as well. No luck. I'd finally nearly given up for the moment, and was heading back towards to house for a blood-sugar boost, when I halfheartedly called for Zuzu. She bolts from her hiding spot in the thick weeds in the empty lot next to us (which is where Mike started looking) and plops down in our mulch. She'd been about 20 feet away, if that. I scooped her up and brought her inside. Whew. After Zuzu was found, we were off to the local Lizard for a late lunch, and then took Gretchen to the airport. Lovely kitty is now curled up on Mike's lap, covered with a sweatshirt, all adventures forgotten.

Monday afternoon my mom showed up. It was time for the North Coast Tour de Stitch yet again! Monday we hit Inn Stitches in Canton, Crafty Ewe in Broadview Heights, and Just Stitching in Strongsville. Tuesday we picked up Megan and visited the shops in Vermilion, Toledo and Findlay. Sadly, the planned yarn shop visits didn't work - one wasn't where we thought it was supposed to be, another was only a mail drop, and the third was going out of business and had been picked over pretty well. It was still a nice day, though. Wednesday brought a trip to the Red Apple in Madison, and we stopped at Wade Chapel on the way home. We spent about an hour soaking it in. Mommie was quite impressed, and thinks my dad should see it as well.

Wednesday night was Frightened Rabbit at Music Saves, which was a fantastic performance. Discovered that the video feature on my camera no longer works, but at least I have the audio to my favorite song of theirs - The Twist.

Thursday was work, then cupcake time! (After a failed trip to get new phones and dinner. Apparently Thursday night is a busy time both at the Independence Lizard and Verizon store.) Woke up around 3am Friday to finish before Mary and I took off to Rhinebeck. And that brings us to the beginning of the story.

Time for the nostalgia bit of this post. (Because it certainly isn't long enough already.) Got to talking to my friend Ed at the Frightened Rabbit show, and found out that the Friday following (Rhinebeck departure day) was his anniversary (Happy anniversary - hope you guys had fun!). Which is near ours. How exactly near? Not sure. He got me thinking about our wedding, and why we don't know the exact date we got married. Yes, we have a piece of paper with the details, but we haven't dragged it out for a while. So here's the story:

Mike and I got together in October 1999. Well, we spent time together before that (college from December 1995-April 1996, then that summer of 1999), but it was decided in October that yes, this could be something serious. My grandmother got sick about the same time (she and I were supposed to go to Hawaii that October but she got sick so my mom and I went), and although she recovered for a while, she went into the hospital on Memorial Day weekend and didn't come home. March 2000 I moved home from Cincinnati, as I could afford either a car payment or rent at my current job, but not both. Since Cincinnati and I didn't get along, I gave up rent and moved home. June 2000, I am grandmotherless, living with my parents, working a temp job, and having nightmares because I was grieving. Figured out that I didn't have nearly as many nightmares when I had a kitty sleeping with me, so I started staying with Mike a lot more. No, we weren't living together, because I still got my mail at my parents' house.

Fast forward to late September 2003. Temp job turned into a permanent position, our friend and Mike's coworker has met and married a woman in Cleveland. Our options are either stay in Pittsburgh and either Mike or Tom finds a new job, or move to the Cleveland area and I am the only one out of work. So that is the plan. We like our life together, and have a committed relationship and a nice family with Zuzu. Mike tells his very religious mother that he and I will get married before we move into a new house together. Well. News to me! Anyway, I can kinda deal with the idea of a piece of paper justifying our relationship, especially if it will end the stress of family visits, so we decide to get married. We're scheduled to move to Cleveland in August 2004, we're partial to October, and we don't want the drama llama visit that seems to happen with any overly planned wedding, so we decide it's a go for October.

My dad was Psycho Penn State Fan at that point, with season tickets and tailgating themes for each home game. (He has since recovered a bit.) We looked at their schedule (which I just pulled up to research the dates), and October 18 was a bye week. So we started planning our party. We got the license, and made an appointment with a magistrate for Friday night, and dinner reservations for afterward. The ceremony was supposed to be small, with just close friends (one each) and family.

Gretchen flew in on Thursday (I think?), Mike had a bachelor party of keggerator cleaning and beer drinking with a few friends, Gretch and I create vast quantities of food. I think we were on the way back from picking up the one storebought cake (from Eadie's Kitchen, definitely recommended!) when I realized that the license needed to be at the magistrate's office before 4:30. We were 20 minutes in the wrong direction, so we called Mike. He and Tom hit the road, Tom in bare feet, with license in hand as well as a phone book and a cell phone, calling the office to say they were on the way. They were repeatedly told, "We close at 4:30." They finally find the place and pull up. 4:31. Tom runs up to the door (having put his shoes on while in the car.) The door is locked. NOOOOO!!!

Being as we did not want the sort of drama that occurred at my sister's wedding (a story in itself, though I will say that I had four people walk up to me and apologize for their behavior), we were upset for just a bit, then stopped at Cold Stone (which was still a new franchise then) for ice cream. That was our drama - and it ended with everyone having ice cream.

We all still went out to dinner, and had the party on the 18th, we just didn't get married. It was the running joke at the party that we missed our wedding, so therefore it was a pre-wedding reception. It was great fun, lots of friends that we rarely see showed up (like Kelly from NC, and Erica from Vegas), there was plenty of food (three pans even went to a women's shelter the next day) and beer.

The next Friday, the 24th, we took the afternoon off, and stopped in at the church next door to where I worked, and got married. Nothing fancy, no rings, no pictures, but we have the piece of paper that caused our car insurance to decrease.

To add to the date confusion, Mike's family had a party/reception for us, too. His parents are very anti-alcohol, so they weren't invited to our party due to all of the beer. His oldest brother's wife, a sweet and generous soul, wanted to have another party for us. It ended up being a weekend in early November, with no easy point of reference to find the date. At any rate, we have a week-long anniversary, with flexible starts and ends, as we have a hard time remembering the actual dates.

So there you have it. The story of our bungled wedding. We're celebrating our anniversary today (the 26th, I think), because we can. Anniversary pirogies and a Steelers game. Good stuff. We're still together, still happy, and still ringless (we still don't have serious ones, though I did get a dragon one with flashing eyes and a pair of adjustable ladybugs that we wore for about 30 minutes until they pinched too much). So thanks, Ed, for reminding me of the subject, and playing one of our songs today. This is why I got confused when talking about the dates.

Hope everyone enjoyed the Rhinebeck visit and nostalgia! Will post pictures of the goodies at some point.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Aten't Dead

Courtesy to the wonderful Terry Pratchett for the title. Really, I aten't dead, just busy, wondering what happened to the summer.

Yikes. It's been a long time. It was pointed out to me (not even very recently) that my drive-by posting was August 1, and it's now October. I hadn't realized that it had been so long. Anyway, what have I done lately? Should I categorize by month? Maybe.

July: I ended up in the Cooperstown area visiting the lovely and blogless Kathe during the last weekend of July. Very nice drive, wonderful visit. The cupcakes and beer were appreciated. We went to Ommegang, wandered around the nice bits of Oneonta, saw some entertaining signs ("25 years of relatively safe flying" and "KILTS"), and Kathe scored me a ticket to the Glimmerglass Opera where she works summers, so I saw I Capuleti e i Montecchi.

Caught a few performances of the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival over the summer (Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead), as well as a Tri-C performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream. August 2 brought the Weakerthans, which was a lot of fun. Made a metric tonne of cupcakes that day, too, as it was also SAAZ Blues and Brews. Mike went there, cupcakes and beer in tow, and apparently it was a great location (with indoor plumbing - yay!!) and an enjoyable evening. He got home later than I did, even.

Skipped the Stan Hywet Blues and Brews festival this year, too. I was all about skipping the beer parties in August for some reason. But what did I do? I think I dyed yarn. Managed to drag myself out on that Friday night to see A Lion In Winter at Notre Dame College. Was surprised at how entertaining it was. Met a girl who was new to our knitting group, and must have underwhelmed her, as we've never seen her again. Hit up a few Wade Oval Wednesdays, though not as many as planned. Darn work got in the way!

Mike and I saw Great Big Sea in Akron on the 16th. They're always a good show, and were in rare form that night, with random parodies and covers, and Lock 3 Live is a great place to go. We'd never been, but you can't beat free parking and $5 tickets. Will definitely go again next summer, depending on the schedule.

Ended the month with a cookout at Melita's. Very nice time, quiet but enjoyable afternoon. Got to show off the sweater that I'd finally finished!

Had some knitting group drama at Studio-A-Rama. Enjoyed the evening, otherwise, and the person in question is no longer in our group (not like we'd ever met her), so no worries there. Joined the bandwagon and started a clapotis, which my mom promptly claimed shortly after arriving for her visit later that week.

Went to the Vatican exhibit with my mom. Had a very nice visit, saw all sorts of papal clothes and accessories. One robe looked like something Elvis would have worn.

Took a fabulous course called "Horrid Musicals." Watched Xanadu, Can't Stop the Music (the Village People movie), and The Apple (a look at the 90s music scene from the perspective of the 1970s). Best Thursday evenings I've had for a while.

Tried to see Dar Williams in Pittsburgh, but due to Ike causing a power outage the concert was cancelled. Had a nice lunch with my dad anyway. Gotta love Fat Head's!! Ike also blew one of our deck couch cushions into the pond. Luckily it floated the whole way across - Mike was out there with a fishing rod trying to retrieve it, but it swam right to him. Very happy that it floats!

Lecture season at the museum started again, with a talk on the polar regions and changes that have occurred there, with the next lecture on ecological design. Bought more yarn for the Museum Scarf, as it has been promoted to the Museum Set, and will include a hat and possibly mittens. Learned that the yarn gets really soft after washing. The set will be used to decorate a wreath for the Women's Committee mini-fundraiser, and hopefully bring a decent amount. Discussed the idea at an event at Dike 14, received good feedback, so the wreath will be decorated with knitted goods rather than Alejandro's sunflowers. Which is probably good, as the sunflowers didn't seem to dry as well as I'd hoped.

~ picture interlude ~



from Dike 14

Speaking of the Women's Committee, I am now the recording secretary. Or is it corresponding secretary? I'm not exactly sure, but I get to hang out at board meetings and such. Have also been recruited somewhat for a Membership Subcommittee at Kirtlandia, possibly because I am under 40.

Found out that I won't be working weekends this school year. I'm not exactly sure what I'll do with all the extra time, but I am not complaining. Couldn't complain about the job, but can't complain about not working, either.

Spent a Saturday dyeing yarn with the knitting group. Participated in a shop hop of stores throughout Northeast Ohio - explored a few new shops, had a lot of fun. A few of us (Megan, Mary) visited four shops that Saturday before dyeing. I tried to hold back, and did a decent job of sticking mostly to one skein of sock yarn per shop. Took a combination knitting course with Annie Modesitt at River Colors/Stitch Cleveland, and learned some new things.

Other highlights of the month were: seeing Neko Case at the Beachland (she was wonderful!), taking an Angels tour of Lakeview Cemetery, going to a book reading at the Akron library and meeting Chuck Klosterman and other Akron-area authors.

October (nearly done!):
Started the month by going to see Eliot Abrams at the Natural History Museum for an Archaeology night lecture. He was as brilliant as ever, and I wasn't paying tuition this time.

First weekend of the month was our annual October party. We chose the date when I was expecting to work weekends, so it was a bit earlier than we would have preferred, but we'd sent the "save the date" notices by the time I found out weekends were free, so hey, we stuck with it. We had a good crowd, about 30 people (cupcake to guest ratio was 5:1 this time), and I forgot food. Oops. Meant to put out a veggie tray, cheese and crackers, dip, and a few other things. Like chips and salsa. Really. I forgot the easiest bit because I was focused on ho-ho cupcakes. Luckily the beer cheese soup went over well. And that's nearly all of the past excitement - we're on to things that Will Happen!

This weekend, Gretchen is visiting! We'll hit up the Rock Hall, Lakeview Cemetery, and who knows what else. Maybe Melt. If we have time, we'll hang out with the knitters at the Miss Chickpea Knit-In in Hudson.

My mom will be driving in on Monday morning for the North Coast Tour de Stitch. We'll drive all over Northeast Ohio, from Madison to Toledo to Canton. Wednesday night is an in-store performance at Music Saves - my current favorite band, Frightened Rabbit! I am pondering staying for Jennifer O'Connor's show at the Beachland Tavern, but we'll see how awake I am. Thursday is a workday, and Friday Mary and I are off to Rhinebeck!

Seriously debating going to visit Kelly and Carry during the NC State Fair on the last weekend of the month. We'll see what happens. I will do my best to keep y'all informed.

Finally, I was tagged twice for the Six Random Things meme, which is very similar (IMHO) to the Seven Random Things meme that I did several months ago. Erqsome and ktb both tagged me, so I guess I'd better participate, eh?

The Rules:
1) Link to the person who tagged me (see above)
2) Mention the rules
3) Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about myself
4) Tag 6 other bloggers by linking to them
5) Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they’ve been tagged

1. My hair changes color on its own. I was born with black hair, that fell out and what grew in was blonde, and it got progressively darker as I got older, with a reddish phase in my high school/college years. During the HS years, I dyed my hair red once and my mom didn't even notice.

2. I am a packrat, and tend to carry lots of unnecessary things with me. My backpack weighs enough to be considered a passenger by my car. (At least it is light enough not to require the airbag.)

3. I am a compulsive list-maker, whether or not anything will ever happen with the lists.

4. I am an overachieving slacker. I want to do everything, but lots of the time sleep wins.

5. I have a fear of having nothing to do. I generally have at least one knitting project (usually two-four) and one (or more) book with me at all times.

6. I have what some people consider an encyclopedic knowledge of 80s music, although I have forgotten a lot of it.

There. I really don't feel like tagging anyone else, so if you want to be tagged, tag yourself for me.

Anyway, I think it's quite funny that it's taken me several months to post, and I keep getting errors saying that Blogger cannot be reached and there may be errors in publishing. Oh well. I will keep trying. Have fun!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Drive-by posting

Was very amused by this. Hope you enjoy!

You Are Pecan Pie Soda

Sweet, but totally nuts

Monday, July 21, 2008

Oh, the places I'll go?

I am a road trip junkie. I am jonesing for a fix. I have this weekend free. Where should I go? I would like to go no further than 800 miles from Cleveland, as that is two tanks of gas, and that's about as much as I'd like to spend. I can also drive all day Friday, spend the day at my destination on Saturday, then drive back on Sunday. So.... Where should I go? Any suggestions are appreciated. Current thoughts: Mammoth Cave, KY; Minneapolis, MN, just driving west until I can't drive anymore.....

On a side note, Zuzu has an addiction problem. I am growing some kitty grass (oats and barley) for her, and lately she has been staring at the container hoping for a fix. This morning, she did not want breakfast, but she wanted kitty grass. I was trying to sleep, but she would not let me snooze. Finally, she climbed onto the table (she is not allowed on tables) to get to the kitty grass container. She pulled the whole seed bed out of the container and made a bit of a mess. I put the grass on the tall counter behind the sink, and it was out of sight, out of mind. Once she couldn't see her kitty grass anymore, she ate her breakfast.

Also, bought more cheap yarn last night. Three sweaters' worth of yarn for $60. Can't beat it. Will link to prospective patterns in the near future.

Oh well, work is calling, so off I go.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It's true - pictures get more attention than words

In response to the comments from my last post:

Mary, if I ever get off my butt and make some T-shirts, you will get one. I'll have to bring you cookies at some point, too. Also, glad you took a kitteh. I hope Bobble comes out from under the fridge!

ChickenLil, yes, you are a slacker! :-) I tagged Ktb with the meme you tagged me for. I could probably come up with 7 more random things, but I am a slacker, too, and don't feel like going back to see what I posted originally. So I'm going to ignore the circular tagging, at least for now.

Emmms, the sock yarn is JL Yarn's Salvia. No idea what they are calling the colorways, but I call them autumn/harvest and winey. And the "Sun Tea" yarn was dyed with grape kool-aid. The colors split when you leave it alone for a while. Not sure if you're familiar with Sun Tea, but that's when you throw teabags in a clear glass container filled with water, cover it, and let it sit in the sun all day. So no, I don't drink purple tea. Or kool-aid.

And finally, Ktb, thanks for the compliment on the yarn. I am still thrilled that you adopted Miss Marple, too. I think I have a new career, as a kitteh pusher.

Anyway, consider the contest from the last post closed - Mary is the only winner, as she is the only one that read to the end and mentioned cookies. I might consider sending cookies to Ktb, but we'll see.

Speaking of contests, there's one you should know of. Brittany is running a contest to celebrate the opening of her Amia Yarn Company, and giving away some beautiful yarn. Love the butterscotch! May also need to pick up a yarn bowl. Anyway, enter!

So what has happened around here lately? The Indians broke their 10-game losing streak on Stitch and Pitch night! My mom visited last weekend, and we didn't actually do all that much. We spent Friday evening hanging out on the deck (with Zuzu in her harness), Saturday we visited a cross stitch shop in Akron, my favorite garden store in Fairlawn (The Precocious Dandelion), and then went to the Rock Hall, after stopping at home to visit Zuzu and wait out the rain. We'd hoped to visit Wade Chapel on Sunday, but it rained all morning, so I made sugar-free cinnamon rolls instead. Mom was quite happy to have cinnamon rolls with frosting that she could eat. I'm not all that thrilled with the Splenda taste, but hey, Mom deserves Happy Birthday Cinnamon Rolls, too.

Monday was knitting, as always a nice time. Tuesday was SAAZ Night Out at 69 Taps. Fun evening, although the frosty glasses were freezer-burnt and the Oberon was old. Skipped WOW on Wednesday, since Mike left me again this weekend. I ended up with a surprise afternoon off, so I played with the kittens and watched Jen dye yarn. I have been trying to spend time with the kittens before the Forever Friends Foundation takes them away. Of the five kittens, Mary adopted one yesterday, and Jen is going to keep at least one, possibly two.

Mike went to Athens on Friday for Ohio Beer Week. I was very jealous that he could have as many Burrito Buggy burritos as he wanted, and I could not. Friday evening, Jen and I had some much-needed yarn therapy, and visited a family that is moving overseas and selling a yarn shop's worth of yarn. We each walked out with enough yarn for several projects - and we hope to go back today. I have looked at my Ravelry queue, and will get yarn for several sweaters.

Yesterday was another Adventure in Yarn Dyeing. Valerie sent me a HUGE box of handspun yarn for dyeing and felting. I have some Jacquard Acid Dyes on order, but they haven't arrived yet, so the dyeing experiments involved kool-aid and Wilton's cake dyes. Mary and Jen came over to play. Quite a fun afternoon, and the perfect day for it. Afterwards, we ordered pizza and played with the kittens before Mary took one home.

pile of yarn with Zuzu
Yarn from Valerie. Zuzu is included to provide scale.

test hand-dyed handspun
Dyed handspun. Kool-aid on the left, Wilton gel on the right

I will be making a bag or kitty bed from the dyed yarn, to see how it felts. Yarn has been wound into a giant ball, and I cast on in the round, but haven't really started knitting yet. I have too many projects going on right now!

Oh! I should talk about some of the other wonderful things that showed up in the mail this week. Got some goodies in a sock-knitters' swap, as well as a surprise from Norway. (I am really getting to know our mail carrier.)

zelda mittens
Beautiful zebra mittens from Elin, to match Zelda, the zebra hat she sent me earlier this year.

sssk swap
Swap goodies from Sherry. Love the sock yarn, and looking forward to testing the Paula Deen cookbook!

Have a road rage story to share. Was merging onto the express lanes of 271N. There was a guy, also merging, behind me, that wanted to go faster than I did. One would think that since there was no one in the left lane, he would have merged into the right lane behind me and then immediately moved into the left lane to pass. No. He stayed in the on/off lane, on the right. I had cruise control on, and did not change my speed. Apparently I was supposed to move into the left lane to allow him to merge, because he sped up just before the off lane ended, and stuck his hand out of the window to flip me off. Could I have changed lanes? Of course. Should I have moved into the left so that the angry guy could pass me on the right? You tell me.

What else? Have been hanging out around the house today, knitting, even. We had planned to visit a friend in Kent, but scheduling has been an issue. Waiting on a callback about the yarn, and will hopefully later tonight. I have not yet taken pictures of the yarn that I bought, but I will... I am lacking lots of pictures. Maybe that is how I will spend the afternoon. Or trying a strawberry cake experiment. We'll see. I should post this so I can get moving on to something else...

I will leave you with today's token cute Zuzu picture. No, that is not my leg.

kitty stretch
Stretchy Zuzu

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Where does the time go?

Wow. Where has the time gone? I understand the passage of time, but the way the days just add up and suddenly a month is gone just baffles me. And really, I am not normally as grumpy as the last post would have me seem.

So what has happened in the last three weeks? A lot. Aside from having several miserable days at work, I've actually had a lot of fun. So yes, this will be quite the long post.

The weekend of the 20th was quite busy. Mike went to the National Homebrewing Competition and Conference in Cincinnati, so I was alone, but not unoccupied. Friday night was "Hamlet" with the knitting group. Mike called around 10 to check in, and I told him I went to see a boy. Hamlet's a boy, right? Saturday brought the Kirtlandia meeting in the morning, lunchtime with Zuzu and a trip to JoAnn with Jen, and dinner was a potluck at Elizabeth's. From Parma on Friday to University Circle and Elyria on Saturday - I did a lot of driving!

I skipped knitting the next week, because I needed to spend some time around the house - Kelly was coming to visit! For those of you who don't know, we've been BFF's since we were 8, which is more years than I care to acknowledge. Her plane landed around noon on the 26th, and thankfully I escaped work with just a few moments to spare. Kudos to CHIA for having 30 minute free parking!

You know when friends are visiting from out of town, there's a lot to do. On Thursday, we went to Melt for lunch. YUM! I will be going back there. After lunch, we visited the Christmas Story House. Which was fun, but I don't know that I'll do it again. I will go back to the gift shop and museum, though - must have some leg lamp chocolate bars. I refrained from buying any that day, as I didn't want them to melt in the car. After that, we stopped at Friendly's for ice cream, as a Rav-friend had been promoting their Reese's cup sundae. Yes, it is quite tasty. Thursday night, we went to the Rocky River Brewing Company for dinner with Mary and her friend Marcia, although I didn't eat much, as the ice cream had filled my tummy. The beer was great, though. As I've said many times, Matt Cole makes good stuff. Most exciting news of the day? I taught Kel to knit while we sat at the bar waiting for our friends. Mary's friend Marcia was especially amazed to find us knitting at the bar.

Friday was another long day. Off to Tommy's for brunch, the Natural History Museum in the afternoon, Indian food for dinner with Mary, and then back to Parma for "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead." The Cleveland Shakespeare Festival was playing that and "Hamlet" in repertory, which works quite well, as many of the characters overlap, and those with bit parts in one have larger roles in the other. I can now share details of one bit of my secret knitting - I finished the sun as part of the Mobile Menagerie that the knitting group was making for Patti's baby shower. The pattern was a bit odd, and suggested making the sun in two halves, and grafting together. I made one piece, as my grafting skills are not that advanced. Worst part of the whole thing was the embroidery on the face. I was not very happy at first, but was either satisfied or got tired of the attempts. What do you think? Thanks to Megan for the picture. (I didn't have time to take one before the mobile was assembled)

sun on mobile

At the play, started another big alpaca blanket. It's good mindless knitting, which keeps the hands occupied while the brain is elsewhere. And a quick knit - I started it on the 27th, and am more than halfway done. Not sure who will get this one, but unless Zuzu steals it, it will be a Christmas gift. No pictures yet, but they will follow eventually.

Saturday morning, we were off early to visit Woolfest. I was somewhat disappointed, as there weren't very many vendors, and Kelly wasn't really inspired by any of the yarn. She bought a pair of alpaca socks, though. I found some nice sock yarn, and some Classic Alpaca. Jessica made a pair of socks out of that, and I couldn't stop petting them. I might make some socks with it, or I might make something else. Not sure. Whatever I make, it will be very pettable.

Woolfest haul
Woolfest goodies

After a light lunch, we were off to Patti's baby shower. It was wonderful to see Patti again. She'd been in Georgia since just before her husband came back from Iraq, which was in April. We've missed her! Sadly, Kelly got a migraine and lost her lunch, so we drove home through the rain and vegged the rest of the afternoon. She woke up around dinnertime, and it was off to the Lizard.

Sunday morning we slept in. Well, Kelly slept in. As always, I have a kitty to wake me. We listened to Chasing Infinity (a Sunday morning ritual in the Zuzu household - thanks, Ed, for playing the Zoo song!) and dyed some yarn. It was my first time dyeing, and obviously Kelly's as well. Jen had provided several useful links and documents, and after reviewing a few of them, I decided that the microwave method would work best. We used Kool-aid of varying colors, and dyed Kashmira yarn that felt like noodles when wet. I think we got some good results! We also used some Fisherman's Wool to try the Sun Tea method with grape Kool-aid, as supposedly its dyes break down well.

kool-aid kashmira
Yarn dyed with kool-aid. Note Zuzu snoozing in the background.

fisherman's wool - grape sun tea
Sun tea yarn

We left the yarn to dry, and went to Aladdin's for lunch. Then it was off to the zoo! Tradition held, and we were rained on. (For those of you not in the know, when we went to Sea World it rained all day. We were soaked. Therefore we sat in the front row of the Shamu Show.) We had some good weather, though, and I think the threat of rain kept the crowds down. We had fun visiting the animals - it was only Kelly's second trip to a zoo, ever!

Oh yeah, I guess this is where I should say that Mike left us for the weekend. He went to Origins in Columbus. Funny, we were both at the Columbus Convention Center in June. He got home just in time to bring the yarn in out of the rain. We stopped at Romeo's on the way home to pick up pizza for dinner. Good stuff.

Monday we visited the Rock Hall, which is always fun. Went to Great Lakes Brewing for lunch, and then wandered around Whiskey Island for a while. Always nice to look at the lake for a bit. After that, we headed over to the Beer Engine for knitting. We were there early, so we got a good bit of knitting done before the rest of the group arrived. I made a few kitty toys for Sebastian, Kel's cat, and worked on the big blanket.

Tuesday morning we slept in, and headed to the Brew Kettle for lunch. (Yes, I made Kelly drink many beers during her visit. She has become a muscadine wine snob, and I wanted to make sure she knew about all of the beer varieties available!) Then it was off to the airport, and poof, she was gone.

Tuesday afternoon I hung out with Jessica, and we saw WALL-E. Cute movie, with several "Idiocracy"-type digs, and some 80s pop culture references. She'd had jury duty, and they finished Tuesday around lunchtime. Spent Tuesday evening with Mike, which was nice, since I'd hardly seen him during Kel's visit. Somehow, July started.

Worked two days, and went to WOW with the knitting group on the 2nd. Didn't do very much for the 4th; just hung out at home on Friday, and spent some time with friends on Saturday. Oh, used the weekend to knit a bag for a swap. On Sunday, Jen and Nick called and asked for help capturing the stray kittens in their back yard. These guys are so cute! And they need homes. Does anyone want a kitten? (Jen took the pictures)


Anyway, kitten capture wasn't as difficult as capturing mama cat. Mama got trapped, but then escaped when they tried to transfer her into the carrier. She is quite nimble, and climbed up the walls of their garage into the eaves. Apparently she has escaped the garage, and has been hanging out near where Jen and Nick are keeping the kittens. The daddy cat has also been hanging around - we are wondering if mama cat is planning to have more babies in the near future. If all goes well, mama will be trapped again and fixed, so no more stray kittens.

We are nearly caught up! Went to knitting on Monday at Abuelo's, and to the zoo with Mary last night for ZooFriends night. We walked quite a bit, then stopped at Rockne's for a late dinner. I'd never been there before, and was pleasantly surprised with their food. Granted, they had very few vegetarian options, but the fruit salad was quite nice. I am told that their soups are good, but did not ask if they were vegetarian or not. The mushroom and brie soup sounds quite tasty, if I can eat it.

Oh, on Tuesday I started test-knitting a sock pattern for Emmms. Because I can't follow directions, I ripped out the toe Wednesday morning and started over that afternoon. When I remembered how to read, the toe went much more smoothly. I haven't made it past the increases yet onto the foot of the sock, but I am further along than I'd gotten when I decided to frog. Snapped a needle and gouged another, so it is now Magic Loop for me! I had pondered scrapping her three-needle directions, but was going to continue for the sake of testing the pattern, but my needles have forced me to go ML. Pictures will follow when there's something to show. Until then, here is the yarn:

mountain colors bearfoot - juniper
Mountain Colors Bearfoot, in Juniper

Tonight is Stitch and Pitch with the Indians! Let's hope they can play a good game against the Devil Rays. Worst case scenario, I will get to visit with other knitters, including the HS girls I taught during the school year, and work on Emmms's sock.

This weekend, Mike is again leaving me, and my mom is coming to visit. He will be hanging out in Pittsburgh, with his message board pals, and Mom will be taking the turnpike west to Ohio. I know she wants to have some projects framed, so we will go on a framing spree, and maybe I can frame some of my projects and posters that I've ignored for quite a while. Should be productive, and Mom and I always have fun.

Oh! I should share the excitement. Have I mentioned Zuzu's Chipmunk Friend, Alejandro? (I was listening to Alejandro Escavedo when he told me his name.) Well, Alejandro has been spending time on our deck recently, helping himself to the sunflower seeds in the bird feeder. Apparently Alejandro is a gardener, because he planted little clusters of sunflowers in several of my vegetable plant containers as well as all around the house! I have a photo essay on my flickr, if you would like to see how Zuzu and Alejandro interact. And for good measure, here's a preview:

vulture kitty

Well, the other morning, Zuzu was running frantically from the sliding glass door to the window and back. I wasn't sure what was out there attracting her attention, but I knew she had a Mystery Friend out there. Mike discovered on Tuesday that Mystery Friend is a raccoon. Rocky Raccoon was coming up on the deck and eating the sunflower seeds, too, right from the bag in which they are kept. The seed bag is no longer on the deck, and the bird feeder is no longer on the ground. Sorry, Alejandro, but you will need to climb if you want seeds. We don't want Rocky's sort around. Yes, we are species-ist. Raccoons and skunks are welcome to live in the woods and back yard, but are not welcome in the house, and since the deck is an extension of the house, they are not welcome there. I don't want my sweet, innocent (non-rabid!) little kitty to be corrupted by their sort. Chipmunks are fine; they are cute and good gardeners. And non-threatening to the Zuzu.

Anyway, I should move along. Kudos to you if you've read so far. Maybe I should post a contest here at the bottom, to see who is paying attention. I will send cookies to the first three people to comment or send me an email about this small, silly contest, as long as you promise me that you read *the whole thing*. Maybe I should even make T-shirts that say "I can't believe I read the whole thing!" Or "I read a huge blog post about mostly nothing and all I got was this lousy T-shirt." Thoughts? I will laugh if no one comments. Anyway, I am off to straighten up the house a bit. Have fun!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Just because you sat down next to me doesn't make me want to talk to you

This week has been hell. Yes, it is only Tuesday. That does not make it any more pleasant, especially since I missed knitting yesterday. Zuzu's tail on my foot kinda does, but just because I love my kitteh. Anyway, met Mike at the local bar tonight, because I really needed a beer. (I had two. Woo. Gulden Draak and Weihenstephan. Wow, I actually spelled that right. Gold star for my forehead, right next to the "L" tattoo!)

Anyway, I am happy that our local watering hole has wifi. I was able to send a few work-related emails after escaping, as well as browse Ravelry, while enjoying some sweet beer to ease the pain. Shared some chocolate chip cookies, and was mostly antisocial, although I laughed at a Pat Benatar beer joke (Helles is for children). Until some guy walks in with a buddy, sits down next to me, and starts talking to me. "What's the bartender's name? Who was the other bartender? Is he still here? What happened to him?" Dear Mr. Man: Please note that I am staring at my computer, and not looking at you. I do not want to talk to you. No offense, I just do not want to deal with people.

So I left, and went home to hang out with Zuzu. I love my kitteh, and would rather spend time with her than with most people.

I also wanted to gripe about all the construction around our house. Some days it feels like you can't get there from here. We need to go south before we can go north, and east before we can go west. Here is a map to illustrate, although I feel like I am missing more construction. Blue arrows show the route when the roads were open. Green arrows show the detours. Map not to scale.

You can't get there from here

One last gripe: Went through the Toxic Hell drive through at 4:45 today to grab some lunch. They forgot to put cheese on my cheesy rice and bean burrito. They also did not give me napkins. If that lunch had cost more than $2, I would be really peeved.

Oh well. I should stop complaining and do something productive. Just wanted to vent for a while. Hope no one is offended. And yes, I shared cookies with the guy that I didn't want to talk to, as well as the other people that I ignored for most of the evening. But I brought the rest home, because I need chocolate too, dammit. And Zuzu needs love. Time to snuggle until all is right with the world again.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

What have I done in two weeks?

Not much, though there was definitely a flurry of activity. Meant to post last weekend, but it didn't happen. Had two meeups with my knitting group - three if you count the rained-out Aeros game, got a chest cold, had several miserable days at work, went cupcake and yarn shopping with Mary, and spent time with Mike for a change.

Yes, last week I spent most evenings with Mike. Which was good, but unusual. Monday was knitting, and he did not tag along. Tuesday was SAAZ, and apparently I flustered the Winking Lizard beer guy by sharing an idea. Wednesday evening we had dinner with Jen and Nick, and Thursday we wandered over to North End for some Gulden Draak. Good stuff. Friday was the ill-fated Aeros game, and sadly we were unable to use the infield tarp as a slip and slide.

Since I spent so much time with Mike during the week, I decided to leave him on Saturday. He brewed a kolsch, and his brother came over, so he was not sitting around the house moping. I also left a few chocolate chip cookies for him. (Yes, I baked cookies before leaving at 8am. 8 dozen, I think.)

I drove to Columbus for Knitters Connection. I didn't sign up for any classes, although next year it may be worth spending a few days in Columbus and learning some new things. I didn't plan far enough in advance to do that this year, so it was market only for me. Bought some yarn, as expected, and will share pictures later. Picked up some more natural alpaca, this time in a gorgeous brown tweed, as well as enough Briar Rose Sonoma (in green) for a cabled sweater. Also grabbed a few balls of Harmony, because I am currently obsessed with laceweight, even though I haven't really knit any lace yet, with the exception of some lace sock patterns.

Oh, I should also share news of another event at the Convention Center - the Midwest Haunters Convention. As I parked at the wrong end of the building, and had to walk 1/2 mile to get to the yarn market, I passed a large number of ballrooms and exhibition rooms. As I got closer to the knitters, I started noticing people with painted faces and unusual attire. Saw one woman who had forgotten her bottoms. Knee-high boots, black nylons, and no skirt or pants. Just black underwear. She was walking the same direction that I was, and it was very entertaining to watch the reactions of people as they saw her. Guys leered, and women raised eyebrows and made faces. Personally, I was more amused by the really tall guy dressed up as some sort of thing that once appeared on Supernatural.

Anyway, checked out the market, and called Maranie to get together for lunch. Well, she had injured her foot, so our visit included a trip to urgent care before a late lunch at Aladdin's. As Vicodin tends to encourage sleeping, she crashed soon after arriving home, and I was on my way. It was a gorgeous day for driving, and the radio was doing relatively well at keeping me happy. Along the way, noticed a sign indicating the distance to Mansfield, and wondered how my college friend Jen was doing. Checked my cell phone just in case I'd stored her number at one point, and luckily I had. Gave her a call, and was very fortunate to find her home and unoccupied. So I made the detour to Mansfield, and we caught up on the past almost-five years. (Somehow we hadn't seen each other since our pre-wedding reception. We won't wait so long again.) Played with her puppies and had good Mexican food. It was a wonderful evening. Made it home just before midnight.

I have been listening to a lot of music lately. Found the House of Hair on some station, and listened for the hour between Mansfield and home. Oh, the nostalgia. Dee Snider did a good job of reminding me of the fun bits of high school. I love therapeutic driving (and even with gas prices as they are, it's still cheaper than therapy), and was so happy to be on the road, even for fewer than six hours on Saturday. Yes, I am a sucker for road trips. Especially on my own, when I can sing along (badly, of course) to whatever I feel like hearing. Also listened to the Cure a bit recently (in the immortal words of Kyle Broflovski: "Disintegration is the best album ever!"), as well as the rest of the stuff that I normally enjoy.

Had a bit of a personal epiphany the other day: For someone who hates people, I am awfully social. (Does that make me an oxymoron? Or just a moron?) I hate crowds, and even large groups, though I can tolerate them depending on the circumstance. I love my personal space, and hate space invaders, especially when they are sick and I am trying to stay healthy. But individuals? As long as I can find some redeeming qualities, you're fine. If you're some random unknown guy driving badly in a minivan, I probably hate you. And I don't hate minivans, just bad drivers that I don't know, and people in general.

Apparently Zuzu had an adventure on Saturday. Mike was brewing in the garage, and he saw Zuzu in front of the house. She'd pawed open the screen door, and gone exploring. Luckily Mike found her, because I'd hate to have our beloved kitty go missing. She is grounded for a week, which means that she won't get to spend time with me on the deck until next weekend. She might have been looking for the ducks that were in the back yard the other day, or the chipmunk that has been hanging out on our deck recently. Hopefully she wasn't tracking the garter snakes that live in the mulch.

As far as knitting, well, there's not much I can talk about. I am knitting several things that are surprises for people who might happen upon this blog, so no details yet. I am nearly done with the museum scarf, as well as the clogs of many colors. Still haven't felted the final Christmas clogs, but will felt them with the technicolor slippers. They just need the second sole attached to the second slipper, and then to be seamed and felted. Have been carrying Firebird around with me, but as it's not really social knitting, I haven't worked on it at all lately.

Anyway, I should head up to bed, as it will be a long day tomorrow. My morning client will probably take more of my time than normal, and my afternoon client will take more time than they have lately. And then it's off to Melt for knitting. Fun stuff! Will post pictures when they are uploaded.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Productivity update...and pictures!

Okay, as not to waste the rest of the day, this will be a very quick post. I am on track to finish the Christmas Clogs today - I am one clog away! If all goes well, they will get felted this afternoon. They can be felted together, even. If I am truly ambitious, I will start the Clogs of Many Colors as well.

Sadly, Geno did not help the Pens win last night. He's still cute, though:

Geno, the little penguin

I also made some stitch markers yesterday. I've been wanting to try, and had a jewelry tool kit, plus some beads, and wire, but no motivation. Well, some of these will be sent in swaps - shhh! don't tell! Although one set should be sent tomorrow, the other will wait until late June, probably. I tend to send close to the deadline. Actually, the package to be sent tomorrow is a bit past the deadline, but I made sure the swap organizer is aware of it. Anyway, here are some pictures, to prove that it happened.

stitch markers 1
Yes, I too can make stitch markers!

stitch markers 2
Second attempt

stitch markers 3
Third set; I think I like these best.

And finally, I took an updated picture of the Museum scarf/sweater gauge swatch. It is no longer exclusively worked on at museums, and has become car knitting. I need more car knitting. Oh well - once I finish a few things, I will find some more portable knitting.

museum scarf as blanket
Zuzu loves her morning sunshine!

Anyway, I am really not going to play on the computer all day. There is a clog to finish, and then felting to be done!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wildlife interactions

This morning, I looked outside to survey the landscape, take pleasure in the post-rain green, and I saw a rabbit. Haven't seen very many rabbits in our yard in the past, and I think I discovered the reason.

I was watching the rabbit graze on the selection of weeds in the brush just beyond the yard, when I noticed a small bird marching around in the same section of plants. The bird was not very big, smaller than the small rabbit's head, even. I look at the walk, the white belly, and realize that it must be a baby killdeer. Baby bird uses the distracting tactic of pretending to have a broken wing, and walks up to the bunny. Rabbit starts moving away, but apparently not far or fast enough, because next thing I see is the bird, with wing askew, running behind the hopping bunny. So that, my friends, is why we rarely have rabbits in our yard - the birds scare them away.

Anyway, it was a busy week for having little planned. Monday was the big event. (Thanks to Mary for posting a picture of the frosted cupcakes.) Tuesday I schlepped leftover cupcakes all around the east side of Cleveland (to Rebecca, in Mentor, to share with her knitting group; to Chagrin Falls to share with my friend Cathy, since we were scheduled for lunch anyway; to Shaker Heights to drop some off for the nieces, since Grandpa didn't share Tuesday's cupcakes; to Macedonia for Jen and Nick, because they missed Monday due to family obligations), stopped by the library to pick up a book and donated blood while there. Jen and Nick came over for dinner to help eat the non-cupcake leftovers (yay!), Mike poured me a beer, and I crashed hard on the couch. Monday was a very long day - 3am to 11pm, approximately, and Tuesday morning started at 6 (the post-kitty-feeding nap ended about then). Sleep was necessary. Wednesday was a long day - had an afternoon meeting at my morning client, and there were a few computer issues afterwards. They called me in from the parking lot.... Thursday was spent preparing for the server migration that didn't happen, and a good thing, too, because Friday was filled with other crises that couldn't have been ignored for user support.

Anyway, when I finally escaped work yesterday afternoon, I was very cranky. Jen sent me a note earlier in the day, asking if I wanted to visit the Pea. Of course! What better way to rid yourself of nasty work vibes than some yarn therapy, especially sale yarn therapy? I picked up Malabrigo in Vaa and Velvet Grapes, enough of each color to make the Hemlock Ring blanket. Theoretically, they will be the family Christmas gifts this year. I have enough Indigo for a blanket already, so one more colorway to go. Maybe. Actually, I already have yarn for another alpaca blanket, so perhaps my parents will get the alpaca (since one has already been made for my sister), and Mike's side of the family will get the Hemlock Rings. It's a beautiful design, and looks incredible in Malabrigo. (If you're on Ravelry, definitely take a look at the projects out there!) Apparently it's a relatively quick knit, not all that difficult, and looks impressive. And there are fewer of them to make, so they stand a chance of being completed before Christmas.

Oh, and to alert you to a tragedy in the yarn world - Malabrigo had a fire in their mill. We learned of it yesterday, when I unloaded 12 skeins from my basket, and the friendly Chickpea employees shared the news. I had to sit down. Hope they get everything back in progress soon.
Jen and I had thought about driving down to Medina to visit Studio Knit, but I'd called, as I am searching for some Malabrigo Silky and laceweight (for me and Elin), and they did not have what we wanted. Also, by the time we were finished at the Pea, we had only an hour to drive to Medina and shop. And 15-20 minutes is not enough time to explore a new yarn shop.

Anyway, that was the week. Not much knitting news. Worked on the "Museum" scarf in the car a bit here and there, finished Geno the Penguin (pictures to come later), and thought about starting the Great A'Tuin. Haven't wound the yarn yet, as I want to finish a few projects first. I have a few too many things on the needles to start more. I should finish the clogs, as they will go very fast - one pair that needs finished, then only one more pair to make as a gift, and then one for me. I could probably finish them this weekend. Maybe that should be the goal. I have a few more baby gifts to do - I think I will make toys, as they don't get outgrown before they are gifted. I need to finish my sweater - now I have the needle back, I can finish the sleeves and collar.

So, game plan: Work on clogs this weekend (and finish!). Work on sweater after that (until finished!). Baby gifts for two neighbors, and several friends (quick toy knits!). Finish Firebird. Start A'Tuin. Return to Baudelaire socks. Make Hemlock Blankets. Knock my Ravelry queue from seven pages into something smaller. (Yeah, right!)

Anyway, I should get moving - time to make the weekend productive! I am a sole away from having a pair of clogs finished. Will post pictures sometime soon.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Just a little crazy

Those of you that follow this blog already know this: I tend to go overboard. It is just what I do. I love to bake, and I love to share baked goods. This is what I made today, starting around 4am:

Billy's Vanilla Vanilla (slightly ugly but definitely tasty)
Magnolia Vanilla (my favorite vanilla cupcake. Sometimes I even prefer it to chocolate)
Peanut Butter Cup with chocolate frosting
Wasabi-White Chocolate with white chocolate cream cheese frosting (skipped the plum sake filling)
Pineapple Goo (apparently you shouldn't use fresh pineapple in baking. I learned something today.)
Chocolate with chocolate frosting
Pumpkin Spice with cream cheese frosting
Mexican Chocolate recipe only made a dozen, and they went quickly, so they are gone. Need to get more kahlua and make more - they were tasty!

Anyway, made fifteen dozen cupcakes. For ten people. The cupcake to person ratio was 17.8. I sent people home with plates full, but I still have around eight dozen left.

Here is a picture of the table, minus frosting and two batches of cupcakes:

From the upper right, we have: Billy’s Vanilla, One-Bowl Chocolate, Pumpkin Spice, Peanut Butter Cup, Magnolia Vanilla, Wasabi White Chocolate. No photos of Pineapple Goo or Mexican Chocolate. Which is a shame, as the Mexican Chocolate ones were the prettiest. Will just have to get more Kahlua and make more.

Anyway, as usual, I have been busy. Friday we had a mystery shop for lunch. Never again at that location. Started cleaning the house - my goldfish bowl of a knitting area exploded all over the living room. I cleaned out the stash basket again, to remove things that are not currently on the needles and make room for things that are. Also started removing things from the coffee table. Big mess.

Saturday was the Great Lakes Fiber Show. Jessica and I met Vicky there, and ran into Rebecca. Also saw Mary, and several other area Ravelers. Had a nice time at the Rav meetup, chatting with everyone. Yay - just found out that Rebecca will take some cupcakes for her Tuesday night knitting group.

My haul from the festival:

wooster haul
From upper left: felted cat toy kit; cone of unknown green yarn; green laceweight, to be the Great A'Tuin (I wonder if the pattern has been posted yet); Wildefoote sock yarn in Bluegrass; Prime Alpaca (undyed), enough for a cabled sweater.

Good stuff. Sunday, we visited the nieces for the elder's birthday party. Fun to see the kids. Also stopped by MicroCenter to get a new power supply for Mike's computer, as it wouldn't boot on Saturday. Cleaned a bit more. Went to bed relatively early. Oh, also received a fun swap box in the mail. Will have to share more details later, when I have more time.

Today: Woke at 3, and started baking (after finishing most of the cleaning). Had four batches done by 7. Paused for a few moments to take a picture of the kitty sunshine.

sleeping kitty
Token Zuzu picture

Zach showed up at 1:30 to help Mike brew a pale ale; Jessica walked in at 2, Mary arrived shortly thereafter, and they helped frost the cupcakes. Thanks, girls! Pixisis, Melita and family, and Megan weren't too far behind. Oh the food!

Anyway, I am up way too late, especially having been moving nonstop since 3am. If you're in the Cleveland area and want cupcakes, please leave a comment with your email address, and we can work something out.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Meme revisited

As promised, I am returning to Emmms' meme. Christopher Moore is much more fun:

"Gabe tracks rats with microchips in them," Theo said.
"It's only one of the things I do. Mostly, I count dead things on the beach."

Isn't quite as riveting as Melanie Omega, but hey, I feel better now.

Anyway, should get back to the knitting. Working on Geno. I never knew I was so lacking in white worsted weight yarn. Could report on last night's lecture, but will summarize that I discovered a new career for my mom: dental hygiene for dead people. Very intriguing lecture, especially the bits about cotton being found on teeth, which hasn't yet been published. Here's a bit of info; here's a bit more. Good stuff.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I am a very lucky girl!

Yesterday was a very good day. Work wasn't bad, had a short afternoon, and came home to find goodies galore!

My Beer and Fiber Swap box arrived, with several bottles of Russian River and New Belgium beers. Sadly, the Lost Coast Downtown Brown did not survive the trip. And the yarn! Katrina really overdid things. Socks that Rock in Monsoon, hand-dyed Lamb's Pride, and a skein of unknown yarn of beautiful jewel tones. Oh, and some felt coasters, too!

My haul in the beer and fiber swap

unknown yarn
The unknown yarn got a bath when the downtown brown broke. I rinsed it out, and wound it onto the swift to dry.

I'd just settled down to research cupcake recipes, when the doorbell rang. Our new mail carrier had an armful of goodies for me! We have:

chocolate soap
Triple chocolate soap from Turtle Cove

turtle cove boysenberry in sunshine
Boysenberry sock yarn from Turtle Cove - love the colors!!

deltafine products
Deltafine lotions, soapsicle, and clove lip balm. Please note that there is only one lip balm in the picture. The other now lives in my purse.

yarn pirate - patina
Finally, we have my booty! Patina from the Yarn Pirate.

Anyway, I was happy to get so much stuff in the mail. Yes, I am a kid.

In other news, finished turtle-Stephen. He and penguin-Stephen are now in new homes, with HS girls. I finished the turtle this morning. Skipped the I-cord attachment, and just sewed. Easier and faster, and I was running out of time. Started another penguin this afternoon. My sister-in-law wants a redwing. I don't think so. May make her husband a penguin, as theirs is a mixed marriage, and I am on his side. Especially now. Go Pens! I am looking forward to getting back to Firebird, as well. And I want to get back to my Baudelaire socks, especially now that I know magic loop. Perhaps I can try two at once.....

Finished! Cell phone picture.

Oh, made 3 dozen cupcakes before work today. Took 2 dozen to the party for the kids, and had another dozen to share with non-school folk. Met my sister-in-law around lunchtime, so she could pick up the pressure washer that I couriered from Waynesburg, and gave her a plateful of cupcakes. Just basic chocolate and vanilla, nothing special. Those will wait until the weekend.

Had a nice time at the party, though. The girls liked their gifts, the cupcakes went over very well (I love walking out with empty containers!), and one very sweet girl gave me a hug. Today was a good day as well, even if I did swear a lot at other drivers.

I am very sleepy. Woke up at 4 two days in a row, and did not get my morning nap either day. Yesterday I was hoping to start the cupcakes, but Zuzu would not permit it. She wanted to snuggle. So I knitted. Today she wanted to snuggle as well, but I needed to bake cupcakes, so she settled in for a nap on the couch, under a blanket. Went to knitting group last night, learned to single crochet, and ate seaweed. Was able to carpool with Jen, which was nice. Stopped at Target on the way home for some cupcake carriers, as handles make a big difference. Was too exhausted to bake last night, so it had to be this morning. Yummy stuff.

zuzu being petted
Don't worry, Zuzu got her love even if we didn't snuggle this morning

Anyway, I have a few errands to run, plus a headache, so maybe I will just stay in and go to bed early. I don't really need to buy anything, right? I can grocery shop another time. Besides, my kitty is meowing and wants more attention.

Oh, and as far as the book meme goes, I would suggest Christopher Moore. When I think of it, I will post three sentences from "Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I don't want to work, I want to pet my yarn all day

First, thanks to EvilJulie, who showed me that you can add pictures to the Rav progress bars. And she probably doesn't even know that she was such a help...

Back from the Waynesburg Sheep and Fiber Festival. Lots of fun. Picked up a decent bit of yarn.

This is the haul:
waynesburg haul
Clockwise from the huge grey hank in the upper left: Grey 2-ply mohair homespun (nearly a pound!) from Sheepstone Natural Fibers in Darlington, PA, spun by Kris Savage; Red/burgundy/deep wine-nearly black wool, silk and viscose blend from Crabapple Llamas and Fibers in Latrobe, PA; green semi-solid superwash sock yarn from Knit Picker (not sure of location); multicolored variegate superwash sock yarn from Knit Picker; blue-green hand-dyed handspun merino from an unknown vendor.

Jessica and I had a really nice time. We left Saturday after lunch, stopped at IKEA and DSW on the way down (I bought a French press, plastic bag closures, and a small frying pan - no new furniture for me), and briefly popped into the festival around 5:30. The weather was bad, it was incredibly windy (tents were blowing over!) and many vendors were packing up. Jessica bought some gorgeous blue mohair/wool yarn for a bag, some pretty green alpaca for socks, and a hank of ivory silk light fingering weight. So soft! We dropped by Mike's brother's house, unloaded our stuff, and headed out to the only sit-down restaurant in Waynesburg for dinner - Bob Evans.

Went back to the house after dinner, and hung out with my sister-in-law and niece. And knitted. Worked on Stephen (the turtle). Finished the top and bottom of Stephen's shell, and started the "shell attachment panel." Forgot to bring Firebird, which was fine, as I didn't have time to work on it, anyway. Almost watched P.S. I Love You, as my niece and her friend had it on in the other room. Seemed like a decent chick flick; at least I appreciated the soundtrack. Camera Obscura, Pogues, Nellie McKay, I forget who else - oh, wait, of those, only Nellie actually appears on the soundtrack album. I won't be buying that one, don't think. Stayed up later than usual, but hey, I could sleep in, right? Um, no. Woke up at 6. Convinced myself to stay in bed until 7, and then went downstairs to knit. Rest of the house started moving sometime after 8.

Went back to the festival today, after a breakfast of cinnamon rolls. Word to the wise, let them warm up for a few hours before baking if they have been refrigerated. Or just make them fresh. I feel like I should have taken over my sister-in-law's kitchen and started from scratch this morning, as they would have turned out better. They weren't bad, just not as good as usual.

Anyway, I did my yarn purchasing today. Weather was somewhat better, although it was still windy. Love-love-love my huge hank of handspun mohair. Originally thought it might be a sweater; right now I think it might be a shawl. I need to figure out the yardage. Zuzu loves it, too.

zuzu getting friendly with handspun
Zuzu getting to know her mohair pal

Speaking of Zuzu, she and I were outside the other day. I noticed that when the sun shines on her fur, if you look closely, she looks like she's covered in rainbow glitter. Her fur apparently acts like a bunch of prisms and refracts light into many colors. She's my technicolor kitty! Not sure why it took me so long to notice that, but hey, I can be oblivious.

Oh well. I should head up to bed. But first, Emmms tagged me for a book meme. She is just a wild tagger lately! So here goes:

The rules:

1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people & post a comment here once you post it to your blog, so I can come see.

1. It was hard to pick the book that was nearest. There are at least five within an arm's reach. First one I grabbed was Mary Higgins Clark's Daddy's Little Girl. I almost feel like I should explain. A librarian foisted it upon me, and I haven't returned it yet. Haven't read Higgins Clark since high school, when she seemed very formulaic. Read one, you've read them all. At least that was my impression when I was 17. But it was closest, so here goes:

"I'd like that. I was kind of expecting that I'd get a postcard from Houston or L.A."
"I never send postcards."

Kinda blah. Let's grab another. No, no details of what to use for a basic rolled-brim hat from Knitting for Peace. How about Where the Girls Are by Susan Douglas? Ahh, the start of a chapter called "Genies and Witches." Sounds promising. Let's investigate:

The Journal continued, "They have rights and opportunities today the likes of which the Western world has never seen . . . .Indeed, women today are in many respects much better off than men." In its special supplement of October 1962 entitled "The American Female," Harper's maintained that American women were "repelled by the slogans of old-fashioned feminism.
But Harper's also thought it saw a trend in 1962 and named it "crypto-feminism."

Somewhat better, but still not great. Probably the best I can do before bed is from The Best of World Cafe, an interview with David Bowie:

Well the genesis of that song--- I had, I've had sort of an off-and-on long-standing thing about Tibet and its accompanying philosophy, Buddhism. And I studied off and on for three years in the sixties when I was younger and it really meant a lot to me, especially what I gleaned from the philosophy of Buddhism. And I guess over the last couple of years, my memories of that period, and also pangs of guilt for not having paid more attention to the plight of Tibet and to the Chinese, was sort of brought into focus with the lectures and speeches that the Dalai Lama is giving particularly, over the last couple of years.

Oh well. I am sleepy, and not in the mood to tag anyone (and too tired to post links to books, too). So if you are compelled, tag yourself!

Finally, kudos to Andrew for pointing me to his blog post that features Cary Grant knitting. Love the picture. Good night!

Friday, May 16, 2008

I am the brillopants

Thanks to Melissa for today's post title. I posted my favorite not-quite-a-pickup-line on Rav, and she told me that I was the brillopants. So I guess I am, since everything you read on the internet is true, right? So there - I AM THE BRILLOPANTS!!!!! I think that should be followed by an evil laugh, so Mwahahahahahahhahaha, too!

Anyway, I was a bit more concerned with the Pens game last night than I was with the blog. Still a bit down about it, but hey, they will finish the series in Pittsburgh on Sunday. Was concentrating on the game, and forgot to mention the Exciting Weekend Plans!

First, there is tonight's lecture. Read his book; good stuff. Then (and I am quite excited about this) Saturday, Jessica and I are heading to Waynesburg, PA for the Waynesburg Sheep and Fiber Festival. Mike's oldest brother and his family live in Waynesburg, so we'll get to visit them. If all goes well I will bring cinnamon rolls to be baked on Sunday morning. (Yes, I am still obsessed. I am starting to wonder if I have so many obsessions that I can never be truly obsessed with any of them, as there's just not enough time for it.) We'll drive back sometime Sunday afternoon.

What else? Nothing much, I don't think. Happy that it is Friday, but I still can't believe that it is mid-May already. Anyway, I should run off to find cash to spend this weekend.