Friday, January 25, 2008

To do or not to do

Thing to do when it's 42 degrees out...

Get a Hot Rock Massage.

Thing not to do when it's 42 degrees out...

Get a pedicure.
Can you say popsicle toes?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Love is all we need

This birthday had a rocky start. Not because I was getting another year older but because the thin icy sheet over my reality pond on which I skate, gave way, and revealed a place of hurt, loss, and abandonment. This startling plunge of reality left me a little bewildered and a little lost. I am using the diminutive but the void was deep. I was ready to pass this birthday with little fanfare and try to find a protective cave to wallow in.

However, I have fierce friends, who wouldn't dream of not celebrating my birthday. They took my hand and held me up and made me smile. Carla, my sweet, started banging on pots, making some calls, and sending some emails and a party was in the making. On the actual day of my birthday she took me to lunch at Eat Well (yum!) and then we went shopping at Loehmann's. The post-shopping pick-us-up was a trip to Pinkberry. A small, regular, with strawberries and chocolate chips. It was the perfect topper to a lovely afternoon. Later that evening my friends, Mitch and Joey, took me to a delicious dinner at Cheebo. I was feted and well fed from morning until night in the company of good friends.

The snappy, whipped up soirée took place on Friday night at the Urban Craft Center. We had a class with teachers, Carolyn and Jamie, and needle felted! What is needle felting you ask? You take some wool fluff and a sharp needle, start poking, apply more woolly fluff, keep poking and voilà have a cupcake, or an egg, or a penguin.

I have been working on this post for too long. Trying to organize pictures and more importantly my thoughts. You can find pictures and posts here and here.

What I want to say is a big THANK YOU! After a crafty night with good friends my heart was full. I felt loved. I am truly grateful that I have good friends and that they brighten my days. I went to bed very happy and I woke up with as much enthusiasm and good feelings as when I went to bed. We talked about the party for the next two days. We marveled that we made something out of nothing and that it was so damned cute. I also want to thank everyone who called and posted and emailed me good wishes on my birthday. In spite of how it started my birthday was great and it's all because of good friends and people like you.

Big Hugs and Kisses to you all!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

41 year ago today...

a baby girl was born.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Let the party begin..

It is the eve of my day of birth. My hubby has left for a meeting far away. Since he is missing my birthday I got to open my presents today.

Here is my present!

YAY! I am soo excited.
This is a mini screen printer from Japan.
I have been wanting one for years. They are difficult buggers to get as they stopped selling them in the US. But now I am the proud owner and anxious artist.

Now what should I do?!

Stay tuned.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Word Play

The Washington Post Neologism Contest Winners.
Neologism (n.): a new word, usage, or expression.

1. Coffee (n.): the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.): appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3. Abdicate (v.): to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.): to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly (adj.): impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.): describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
7. Lymph (v.): to walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle (n.): olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. Flatulence (n.): emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash (n.): a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle (n.): a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude (n.): the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon (n.): a Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster (n.): a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. Frisbeetarianism (n.) (back by popular demand): the belief that, when you die, your Soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent (n.): an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

The Washington Post's Style Invitational Winners.

Readers are asked to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

1. Bozone (n.): the substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating the bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

2. Cashtration (n.); the act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

3. Giraffiti (n.): vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

4. Sarchasm (n.): the gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

5. Inoculatte (v.): to take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

6. Hipatitis (n.): terminal coolness.

7. Osteopornosis (n.): a degenerate disease.

8. Karmageddon (n.): its like, when everybody is sending off these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

9. Decafalon (n.): the grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

10. Glibido (v.): all talk and no action.

11. Dopeler effect (n.): the tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

12. Arachnoleptic fit (n.): the frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

13. Beezlebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

14. Caterpallor (n.): the color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you are eating.

And the pick of the literature:

15. Ignoranus (n.): a person who is both stupid and an asshole.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

From the Archives

Here is my first scarf.
It was made in the Spring of 2004.
I started it on March 18 & completed it on March 20.
It is simple garter stitch on size 19 needles.
Manos del Uruguay. 1 skein. 60" long.
Color 04.

Here is my second scarf. I made it for my mom.
It was started March 20 & completed March 21.
Garter Stitch on size 19 needles
GGH Esprit 1 skein. 60" long.
I added 3 shell-like beads to the bottom for fringe.

I started and completed another one in the next couple of days
but I don't have a picture for it.
Again garter stitch & size 19 needles.
Mondial Allegro. 2 skeins.
This yarn was a boucle, thick and thin, variegated in orange/blue/cream.
I made it for my friend Melissa.

These three scarves were made after my first Knitting class and before the next week's class. I got the bug immediately. People in class accused me of being Amish, but I took to knitting like white on rice. It's been a love affair ever since.

I have the notes for my first projects in my Knitting Journal. You might remember the one. It's blue with a woman in blue, knitting and sitting on a big, cushy, overstuffed, green chair. There is a kitty and a tangle of yarn at her feet. Now we have the wonder that is Ravelry and it is a wonder. However, my little knitting journal has my label and a little snippet of yarn along with my notes. It is the little bit of yarn that really evokes the memory of that particular project. It just reminds me how very tactile the art of knitting is. I love the ease of Ravelry and of course the community but I may need to make a trophy book of yarns from my past projects. I realize this is very serial killer, but hey, an obsession is an obsession. The picture is great but I may need to fondle my wooly fragments in the future.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Fetching Fabrics

Here are my finished Fetching - fingerless gloves


I used Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran.
Size 6 dpns
1 skein, plus a little more for thumb.
If I did them again I would do one more cable repeat at the top to cover more of the fingers for warmth.

Here's the pair...
and my last minute stash attack before the New Year started. Hancock's of Paducah got me with a last minute sale. I had been browsing and just made a wish list. That was until I got the SALE email. I rationalized the purchase because the New Year hadn't started yet. I know, I was weak.

But look how fabulous the fabric is!
Trees, Squirrels, Owls, & Bunnies

This is Moda fabrics by Tula Pink the Full Moon Forest collection.
Tula Pink...full moon absolutely dreamy.
I really couldn't resist. I have been toying with the idea of making a quilt. I think this would make a beautiful quilt. I also have a black, yellow, and white quilt rattling around my head. Oh the quilting dreams...they go on and on. But this is the year to create. I will keep you posted.

Monday, January 07, 2008

The ghost of Christmas Eve 2007

On Christmas Eve my hubby's brothers and significant others and a nephew came over to celebrate. Carla came too...hopping all the way.

What I love about my friend Carla is that when life served her up a broken leg she made a cast sock! Her tootsies were cold and she was resourceful and crafty and knit it up that day. She has just finished it and slipped it on.

Those tootsies are toasty now!

The Christmas Eve Menu
Brined Rotisserie Cornish Hens
Cornbread Gorgonzola Dressing
Greens Beans with Almonds
Mashed Potatoes
Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Pumpkin Pie
Carrot Cake

Yes, it is as good as it looks. Delicious.

There are the birds. The brine really makes a moist delicious bird.

Here we are at the table.

Here's a plateful.

Here are the Girls showing off their new finery.

Dinner was delicious but being with family and friends is the best part of the holidays. I am grateful to have such fabulous family and friends in my life.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Breath of God


Yes. You can believe your eyes. This is a tin of Scripture Mints and it is not a joke. My friend Charissa lives in Texas. She sent them to me. You can pick up your Scripture Mints at many a checkout counter. No Lie.


Each tin contains a bible verse and the mints are shaped like fish. You know, the one you find on the back of cars. This verse is Isaiah 55:11 "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it"...and with an intense wintergreen taste. You can check out other fine products at Scripture Candy.

Charissa tells me there is a Testamint Gum too.

What an interesting world we live in.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Nature v. Home Owner

Yesterday I had a lovely rainy day outing with Carla. We went and saw Juno. I give it two thumbs ups. I really enjoyed it except for the woman/parrot next to me who kept repeating any and many of the funny lines in the movie. When I arrived home I opened the door to find two small spots on the carpet and thought to myself who pissed now (see previous post). But then I looked up and the roof was leaking. Great. I grabbed a couple of bowls and started making some calls. The roof is maybe 4 years old and the roofer is awol. All numbers lead to the wrong the person. Great. I worry about the roof caving in and what the leak is doing to the wood ceiling. Great. The solution is to put out some bigger bowls, turn on TV and pick up my knitting. There is really nothing else I can do until morning when I can get on the roof.



Then...oh about midnight... I hear the sound of rocks hitting the deck (uh-oh) and then a big CRASH! The root ball of dead ivy that has been clinging to the hillside for decades came crashing down and landed on the fence and mostly in my neighbor's yard.

Aside: I grew up in the Valley and ivy is a fact of life. It surrounds you. It's in your front yard and the back yard and it's impossible to kill although it will kill your trees. Just squeezes the life out of them like a big old boa constrictor. But I have never seen ivy just up and die. Well with last year's drought our ivy on the hillside died. I had hopes it was dormant because in my experience you can't kill ivy. I was wrong.

Aside to the aside: Are we allowed to say "drought"? It seems to me that drought is a politically incorrect word. I grew up during a drought. We had water rationing. Turn off the water when you are brushing your teeth. Let the lawn die. If it's yellow let it mellow. If it's brown flush it down. Put a brick in the toilet tank. Short showers. Everyone did it. We even had a gas shortage. There were lines at the gas stations and you could only get gas on even or odd days depending on I think it was your license plate. It is vague as I was young. It was inconvenient but we did it. What the hell is going on these days people? An inconvenient truth...I really get it now as I ponder why we can't call a drought a drought. Who is it that keeps us in this comfortable state of denial? The government? The media? The corporations? Ourselves? Argh! This is all spurred on by the fact that the ivy is dead and has crashed into my back yard.

Back to our regularly scheduled program.

Morning dawns. No rain. That's good. Now I can assess the damage.

There used to be a mass of dead ivy, like the left side of the photo, on the right side.

It hit the fence

and fell into the neighbor's yard and smashed her chair flat.

But First the roof. Remember I bought a new, bigger, blue tarp in order to not have a security breech on my bed. The former tarp/bedspread that smelled like pee now has a new job. I grab the ladder and head up onto the roof. Those Trader Joe shopping bags are also good for hauling bricks up onto the roof to hold down the tarp.

The ladder was a little scary but the new deck looks great.

Here is the aerial view of the mess.

After I took care of the roof, my neighbor Mary and I played pioneer women and start hacking away at the mess.

Here is Mary's pile. We took care of her yard first as it had the biggest mess.

Here is my pile. I went up on the hillside and pulled down another precarious root ball. I figured controlled elimination was better then waiting for it to crash into the back yard. Who knows if the other side will hold. Got my workout and a mud bath to boot!

Some sunshine in the rain.
Here is my finished Tudora scarf.
I finished it last night in my disgust and worry about the leaky roof.

Then I started these Fetching - fingerless gloves.
I was going to do them in the same tweed as the Tudora but that tweed is scratchy as hell. I am using cashmerino aran. I picked up some 10 balls at the Black Knittery sellout. Lucky me. This is the bright spot in my stormy weekend.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Dog Walk #2

This walk was not as painful as the first walk. I had to hurry because rain was a comin'. The big dog is more easy going and didn't guilt trip me when I came back from the walk. Tomorrow if it is raining he won't mind. Miss Tank doesn't like to get her paws wet. She's a dainty, lady like pup and pain in the patoot.

But now I have to deal with Wiggs aka Mr. Pee Kitty. He peed on the bed last night. I think I have written that my newest coverlet since the bed debacle in September is a blue tarp. Camping grade, holes for stakes, blue tarp. It is very fashion forward for the bed room. But he found a little space at the end of the bed where he could actually pee on the comforter with all the bad kitty meanness he could muster. I have no idea what spurred this piss episode. The litterbox is clean as of yesterday morning. I doesn't really get much fresher than that. I have been giving out lots of love and still I get a bedtime surprise and laundry at midnight.

Today I bought a bigger blue tarp. I need to wash the other smaller blue tarp. This one really covers every inch of the bed. I hope this works.

If anyone has any helpful tips on what to do with my bad ass cat I would appreciate it. I am at wits end and am about to send him out into the world as coyote bait. For now he gets a trip to the vet for a check up and I can post this picture in hopes to humiliate him on the world wide web.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Dog Walk #1

Okay, okay. I did it. I took the big dog for a walk.

I have to admit the guilt was killing me and I was planning on taking both of the dogs for a walk right when my good friend Carla called me. She gave me a good talking to. Apparently she reads my blog. Told me all my own reasons. But the guilt was killing me. It was like Sophie's Choice.

But I did it.

When we returned the little dog came running. Gave the big dog a big sniff and could smell the great outdoors clinging to his fur. She turned to me and was ready to go.


Now I have a little dog giving me big baby seal eyes and standing next to the front door.

The guilt continues.

It will be her turn tomorrow. That's what I keep telling myself.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Scarf Style



Here is my version of the Noro Striped Scarf by Brooklyn Tweed.
I used Berrocco Foliage instead. 3 balls of pink and 1 ball of blue.
This is a fun and simple scarf.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

This year is dedicated to trimming the fat.
This means to use more of what I've got and to accumulate less.

1. The hubby and I are not buying books for a year. This a challenge because we are bibliophiles with piles of books on the bedside table. Aside from the public library option, we have boxes of books in the garage waiting for us. We will be revisiting books and clearing out some of the garage. I like to think of it as my own personal Amazon. Dozens of brown cardboard boxes full of forgotten treasures from my own personal recommended reading list.

More creative output and less stash input.
2. Make more with what I've got. Move through the yarn and fabric stash. Be Creative. "Make it work, People!" - Tim Gunn.

3. Create a Budget! Yikes what a concept and something I find a more than a little daunting. It is scary but more scary to think I will be eating cat food when I am eighty. Yes I am at an age when this stuff matters. I wish I had the good sense to figure this out at a younger age.

4. Walk one dog every other day. I have a big dog and a little dog. It is difficult for me to wrangle them on walks together unless they are relatively short. We had a big dog incident where he tried to eat the neighbor's dog and since then I have been a little paranoid. Then this past fall he knocked me on my ass when a couple of other dogs walked by on the other side of a car. I do not like to fall down or hurt myself. I have been this way since I was an awkward too tall kid and prone to clumsiness like a new born foal. I have grown into my body (and added sufficient padding) but I still don't like to fall down. My solution is take one dog on a walk and alternate the days. The heart breaking stare of the left out dog is something I will have to get used to until we get into the routine.

The ultimate resolution for 2008
4. I am finishing my dissertation and walking this June. Look forward to lots of whinging, sweat, and tears to come. I am trying to finish my draft by my birthday in 15 days. All right it's out there in the universe. I had only told my closest friends and my therapist, but now you all know. I also know that it is a slightly unrealistic goal. I promise not to beat myself up mercilessly if it does not happen. I promise myself to keep working and not shut down if it does not happen. I will keep going.

Legend of the Warrior - Joseph Marshall

The young Lakota asked his Grandfather
why life had to be so difficult sometimes.
This was the old man's reply.

Grandfather says this...
In life there is sadness as well as joy.
Losing as well as winning.
Falling as well as standing.
Hunger as well as plenty.
Bad as well as good.

Grandfather does not say this
to make you despair
But to teach you reality.
To teach you that life is a journey
sometimes walked in light
sometimes in shadow.

Grandfather says this...
You did not ask to be born
but you are here.
You have weaknesses
as well as strengths.
You have both because
in life there is two of everything.
Within you is the will to win
as well as the willingness to lose.
The heart to feel compassion
as well as the smallness to be arrogant.
Within you is the way to face life
as well as the fear to turn away from it.

Grandfather says this...
Life can give you strength.
It can come from facing the storms of life
from knowing loss
feeling sadness and heartache
from falling into the depths of grief.

You must stand up in a storm.
You must face the wind
and the cold
and the darkness.
When the storm blows hard
you must stand firm.
For it is not trying to knock you down
it is really trying to teach you
to be strong.

Grandfather says this...
Being strong means
taking one more step
toward the top of the hill.
No matter how weary you may be.
It means letting the tears flow
through the grief.
It means to keep
looking for the answer
though the darkness of despair
is all around you.

It means to cling to hope
for one more heartbeat
for one more sunrise.
Each step no matter how difficult
is one more step
closer to the top of the hill.
To keep hope alive
for one more heartbeat at a time
leads to the light of the next sunrise
and the promise of a new day.

Grandfather says this...
The weakest step
toward the top of the hill
toward the sunrise
toward hope
is stronger than
the fiercest storm.

Grandfather says this...
Keep going.