Monday, December 31, 2007

Uno más.


Click to embiggen.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

the end of the year

This is prolly the last post for the year, and I feel all nostalgic about it. Yes, I know that's weird, but whatever, that's me. I'm a weirdo.
I've been thinking about what I want for the next year, as seems to be a requirement in our particular culture. I don't have resolutions, more like goals. If I don't meet them, I won't consider myself a failure, nor will I work on them all immediately starting on 1/1. I have some ideas, though, so I figure I'll post them here for accountability purposes.

  • I don't want to spend the next holiday season in a state of hysteria. To that end, I plan to knit a few holiday gifts throughout the year. I have decided that this will be the Year of the Hat. I believe, rightly or otherwise, that I can whip out a hat in a week with no special effort. That leaves a full three weeks a month, plus a little, to knit what I want. It also (maybe) satisfies my desire to knit a zillion things at once. If I only get one single gift knitted ahead of time, I'll still be ahead of the curve, and will consider this goal successfully completed.
  • I want to knit some more for charity. Somehow these things always crop up right before the holidays, and I'm in the middle of full-on holiday knitting meltdown. I will knit a few extra hats or the occasional pair of mittens throughout the year, leaving them aside for charity donations. If I only get one item done, that's more than last year and I will consider my goal successfully reached.
  • My health is crap for a 34 year old woman. (Heck, it's not that great for a 54 year old woman.) I feel better when I eat well and move a little. This coming year, I want to make better choices about my body. More playtime outside, more vegetables, more sensual pleasures like massage. In addition, I want to revamp my thinking on the subject. Not "crap, I need to exercise" or "damn, I don't want to have to eat salad again". I am going to make a concerted effort to find movement I enjoy (chasing Bug around the park comes to mind, and the kid would be over the moon ecstatic about it) and remind myself how much I like feeling GOOD. It's not about weight or amounts of time or numbers. It's about ME. All about ME. I'm pretty sure I can focus on me some. (Heh. I think I'm actually pretty good at that now. MEMEMEMEMEMEME, YUP, I'm on top of this one.)
  • I intend to smear the virtual trivia floor with Lene and wallpaper my house in her prints. (We have a "friendly" little wager going on for January - a pair of handknit socks if she wins, a print of my choice if I win. When I win the first one, it will be easy enough to convince Her Competitiveness to wager again...)
  • I intend to avoid any and all swaps and knitalongs. I stressed myself out with them this past year, and I'm not going to do it again. If I want Harry Potter socks, by FSM I'll knit them myself and save myself the hassle.
  • I intend to smother you with Bug pics. This one I like to call, "I should have changed that diaper at least one pee ago." Or maybe, "Thank FSM for the extra absorbency."

    plumbers_crack 12/28/07

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Holiday Hangover

Wow. Has it really only been four days since I posted? I feel like I've been run through the wringer, in a good way. (In another generation, will anyone know what that phrase means?)
We traveled to Phoenix to spend Christmas Eve with my mother's family at the annual Aunt's Christmas Eve party. The aunts loved their votives, though they only got two each. (I ran out of wire midway through votive #6 and the bead shop was closed on Christmas Eve. Note to other wire-knitters - that pattern says 5 yards per votive, but with 40 yds I only got 5 sleeves.) I plan to finish them and send the others off later.
Christmas was a whirlwind. The Bug was thoroughly and shockingly spoiled. He got every single Cars-related product made. My BIL apologized several times for the overwhelming amount of stuff he was given and I thought many times about possible ways to limit my sisters next year. (In their defense, he is the youngest of their nephews by many many years, and it's been ages since they've had a little kid in the family to spoil.) DH and I have co-opted Bug's fuzzy Mater blanket, though - that thing is awesome.


Since then we had time to hang with Bug's sister K, who came down for a few days, we ran circles around the airport (I'm thinking about having an escalator installed in our house since it is clearly the Bug's favorite thing ever), we texted K all night as her connection in SLC was delayed, delayed, delayed some more, a pilot was lost, a pilot was found, etc etc etc. She finally arrived home after 2am. I am not a fan of the SLC airport, y'all. Also, the DH rekindled his desire to live in Denver and has been contacting realtors, finding properties, considering modular homes, etc. (Aside - my first response to the mod home idea was NO WAY until I saw these things. Did you know you can buy a factory-made 3500 square foot multi-story cape-style home? Neither did I. Check these things out - all modulars.) I finished the blue Vermont sock, and started again on DH's socks. As seems to be the case after the focused rush of the holidays, I feel at loose ends not having deadlines. I have been giving some serious thought to what I want my goals to be, knitting and otherwise, for the next year, but nothing has really gelled yet.
Here are a few photos to warm you up...


Show-off grapefruit.


Shy orange.


Mockingbird against blue sky.


Warm pibble in sun.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Desert Christmas


See you back when I feel like blogging again. XOXO - safe travels, happy times, all that jazz.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Summertime, Summertime

Sum- sum- summertime!
Okay, so yesterday I was out looking for photos of warm summery things, and really, I think I got the perfect ones.

First an extreme close up of tiny purple sage. (Texas sage, I think)


Next, this one actually says summertime! I don't know about you, but I feel warmer just thinking about it...



Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Queen is Done, Long Live The Queen!

Juno Regina, that is.




I hope that last one makes you think of summer, Joan!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

For Joan.

Joan says she's feeling cold and unwell and wants to remember summer. I decided to send her some virtual flowers.



I wanted to show some sunshine and blue sky, but I didn't get home before the sun set, so Joan, these will have to do for today. Tomorrow I will take some at lunch.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Almost up.

The time, that is.
This weekend was all about the Christmas. We got our tree, I baked and baked and cleaned and baked, and STILL only had four batches of goodies. We had friends over for holiday light watching and cookies, though, and we barely made a dent in the goodies, so I suppose that means I just need to have people over again, right? The Bug LOVED the lights, and had a grand time watching the horses and mules pulling wagons and buggies through the streets. We saw about six different Santas (and only one Mrs. Claus - reverse polygamy?), a couple of Marines in full dress (so very handsome) collecting donations for Toys for Tots, and the local food bank collecting money and canned food. The Winterhaven collection gets our food bank quite a chunk of change every year, and I just love it. This means I also participated in BigAlice's food bank contest!
I made a dent in the quilt too, though I am having to revise my original plans yet again in order to have any hope of finishing this thing. Have I mentioned before that I hate machine quilting? I think I might have. Anyway, the lovely and talented Cassie gave me a hint about hand-quilting, so I might try it again on a top I have waiting (and waiting and waiting) to be finished.
I didn't even touch the stole, but I have hopes of grafting it tonight. I'm a little trepidatious about it, though - when I graft socks, I take them off the needles because I can do it without instructions that way. I'm not entirely sure I'll have the fortitude to do it with several inches of laceweight. Maybe I will try only taking a few stitches off the needle at a time... And finish the quilting... And the laundry... And some shopping... Sigh.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Cutting my losses

The knitting on Juno Regina is finished. I laid it out last night and decided I didn't really need to have 42 inches of stockinette in the center. According to the pattern, that leads to a blocked stole of 80 inches, and I think that's a little too long for a woman who will never stand up again. So, I am calling her done. (The knitting, not the woman.) I have 36 inches in the center, which I figure will block out to somewhere in the mid 60s, and I think that will be just right for MIL. Grafting may ensue this weekend.
In the meantime I have been working on FIL's quilt. I started the top years ago when MIL was first injured. She woke up from her coma and the first thing she asked for was the quilt Gramma made her. It occurred to me that FIL didn't have a blankie of his own, so I set out to make one. Like usual, I sewed the top, bought the backing and innards, and let it sit. I have come to the realization (again) that I hate machine quilting. If I had a long arm, I might feel differently, but since I have neither the room, money, or quilting obsession to need one, that's out. ETA: this is an example of a high end long arm. There are cheaper ones, but this is the mack-daddy. Note the prices. Scroll past the prices for a picture and note the size - that is a full sized monitor and keyboard hanging there.) I will finish FIL's quilt, hopefully this weekend, and then, somewhere in the future, I will just have to learn to hand quilt. (I know people send their quilts out to have someone else with a long arm finish the quilting, but that just doesn't feel like the right solution for me.) Anyway, I have the majority of the center block quilted, and the rest is all straight lines or easy free-motion stuff, so I hope that it won't take me too terribly long or be too much of a hassle. I still need to finish the votive sleeves for my aunts, and I hope to whip out a hat for the Bug so the Yule Cat won't eat him. There's an adopted stray in this neighborhood who's big enough to do it, too.
I have also decided that it is now too cold to go outside barefoot anymore. Sigh.
The DH returned from his business trip, and I am SO HAPPY. I gotta tell you, I don't know how single parents do it. I know you rise to the occasion and do what needs to be done, but holy cow, just those four days was hard and exhausting, and I only have one relatively easy child to deal with. I would just like to take this moment right now to tell any single parents who might read my blog: you are amazing, thank you for doing the hard work, and I hope that your children someday thank you for everything you do to raise them well.
This weekend looks like baking, decorating, baby snorgling and light watching for me. (Oh yeah, and the aforementioned quilting.) The babysitting gig is back on, though probably not for the whole evening like I'd thought. My friend's son developed a hernia and had to have surgery Tuesday (7 weeks old, damn) but he is doing so well that his parents will likely go to their concert anyway, just for a little bit. So YAY, I get to snorgle a tiny baby. I didn't make any dough for cookies ahead of time (see above whining about my hard four days) so I will have to do that this weekend and hope that the DH doesn't mind running for supplies. Oh yeah, and I have a hair appointment tonight! YAY for pampering! Maybe I will stop on my way home for some baking things and hope that the high from the pampering will offset the hate of the shopping...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It might be a little chilly today.

We got the funkiest storm yesterday. I have never experienced a winter storm with thunder and lightning. Don't you need warm air for thunder? It was in short supply yesterday. (Well, maybe a CEO was talking a lot in Tucson.)

This was yesterday's scary sky, made slightly scarier by the fact that I took this while in my car. (I wasn't driving - I was sitting at a red light that turned green right as I took the photo.)

We got lots of rain and hail in about 20 minutes. It's a good thing it didn't last longer - the streets were flooded just from that little bit.

We even lost power briefly, though I had a fire going so the Bug wasn't terribly worried about it and it was back on before I could get a candle lit. (HOW again did the pioneers manage to knit by the fire/candlelight on long winter nights? Geez.)
Alas, I did not get as much crafting done as I wanted, but since a few of my plans are falling through for the weekend (and it occurred to me that I can stop knitting on this stole whenever I want and just graft 'er and call 'er done) I'm feeling okay about the state of things.
The DH is still in Chicago, and the Bug has been asking for him. It's sweet and heartbreaking, both. Poor little guy doesn't understand where Daddy is, though he WILL talk to him on speakerphone. (He is fascinated by the little box that sounds like Daddy. Or maybe he just wonders if Mama stuffed Daddy in there after all that threatening... Har.)

Monday, December 10, 2007


It's crunch time in pacaland. I managed a measly 10 inches on the stole this weekend, and nary a stitch on the quilt. I did get it re-basted, which counts for something, and most of the quilting motifs are straight lines, so we shall see. The problem is this: the DH is out of town for the better part of the week (freezing his butt off in Chicago, ha ha) and I have about a thousand scheduled things to do this coming weekend. Not so much time for the finishing of the crafts. I have to get a tree (yes, I know, I don't have to, but I wanna real bad), I have to babysit (oh poor me, I get to snorgle a wee mite of a baby for a few hours), and I have to go look at Christmas lights with my friends. Woe is me, wahhhhh. Yeah, I know I shouldn't be complaining about any of this, because it's all fun stuff, but I am starting to feel the pressure of the finishing of the gifts of the season. (Only three prep clauses? Drat, must try harder to be obtuse.) ANYWAY. Next Sunday my buddies will gather to see the Festival of Lights at Winterhaven, and then will return to my house for hot chocolate and cookies, made by moi. Which means I also need to make cookies. (Yes, I know, I could buy them, but home-made cookies are one of those mustn't-cross-or-you-are-doomed lines. I would never be able to call myself my mother's daughter if I bought them. It's my neurosis, leave me alone.) All of this complaining about various fun schtuff is designed to make you feel sorry for me that I must indulge in my two favoritest hobbies for long hours each night this week before having a fun-filled weekend. Sucks to be me, right?

This is from last week, but it's still appropriate for today:


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thursday? Are you sure it isn't last Saturday?

See, I have to specify last Saturday because I am really not ready to have only a week to finish the quilt and the stole for mailing. Dec 17 is my (self-imposed) mailing deadline, and I'd really really like to be able to ship these things off so they will be under the inlaws' tree Christmas morning. My inlaws don't have much to look forward to, due to the lack of MIL's health and the level of constant care she requires. Since the DH's new job meant that we couldn't go to their house for the long visit like we'd planned, I can at least hope that the little gifts I make ease the sting of missing their grandson a little. (I can say that because I get to munch his cheeks and hear him say "I LAHK EET!" (I like it) every day when the Christmas lights come on.)
Really, though, I am not terribly stressed. I am not so much in the Christmas spirit in the house, but I LOVE seeing lights on more neighbors' houses each day on my way home. I love that this weekend DH will finish the shrubbery lights (and maybe I will have time to go get the lighted grapevine moose from Target that I have coveted for years). I don't watch many commercials (oh TiVo how I love thee) and don't go to the mall, so for me, the approach of Christmas has been slow and deliberate. I limit my exposure to the bits I could do without, and the rest of it maintains that magical quality it had when I was a kid and Mom was in the best mood she'd be in all year. (This does not mean to say that I didn't stress about the cost of the as yet unbought gifts on Tuesday night when I discovered that I'd inadvertently paid December's mortgage TWICE. Oy.)
Yesterday I found a channel on XM radio called Radio Hanukkah. I had no idea. It was hilarious, listening to traditional sounds of the music, the minor key, the clarinet-ty tunes, over a reggae back beat, complete with some Jamaican-accented rap. (I do recognize, unversed in Judaism though I am, that it is highly unlikely that was a traditional song.) Awesome. I love the festive holidays. All of them. Secular, religious, patriotic, all of them. Spectacle is my favorite mode of expression (so long as the spectacle is not me, of course).
Anyway, I suppose I am being so effusive with the love of the season because last night I got lots of sleep. The previous night (that of the mortgage payment discovery) was quite restless, sleepless and yucky. Even the dogs had nightmares. Last night, I was in bed at 8:30 and I slept until almost 7am today. Completely glorious. They say you can't "make up" lost sleep, but it sure feels wonderful to try.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Mama's Little Helper

Yesterday I stayed home with a sick Bug. "Sick" is misleading in Bug's case - usually he is just mildly cranky but still going full steam ahead. Such was yesterday, when he also refused to nap and stayed up until 9:30pm. Sigh.
I decided to try to baste FIL's quilt, since the floor was clean, the dogs were outside, the husband was out of town, and the Bug was otherwise occupied. I think he has a sensor for when Mama hits the floor though, because this is how I basted:




Notice the blue highlighter he has in some of those pics. Mama snagged it and chucked it in the sink when he wasn't looking, but not before he managed to get a couple spots on the gold fabrics. Of course. (There may be spots on the other colors, but they're dark enough I can't see them.) If they don't come out, I'll just tell FIL it was Bug's contribution to the effort.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sunday, with sky

It is Sunday, and we have a blue sky for the first time in several days. That storm that is pounding the northeast was a big one, and it covered my little corner of the world for four or five days with heavy black clouds. We got days of drizzle, which was actually pretty nice. The wind stayed low, so all the dust was washed from the trees and plants, and I think they all breathed a big sigh of relief. I also noticed that this year was Tucson's warmest November on record. No wonder it seemed hot for so long. (Of course, we're due to be back up in the 70s again this week, so maybe it's the warmest December too?)
I am chugging along happily on the second half of Juno. I expect to be finished with the lacy bit tonight, and then I will have days of stockinette and eyelet ahead of me. That's actually pretty nice and makes for good distraction-knitting. TV, SnB, all that stuff is doable in the body of the stole, so I get to make good progress during the week too. I have another votive sleeve started, but I want to chug through the rest of the lace on Juno while I still have weekend.
Months ago I mentioned to the DH that I wanted to make him a sweater. He was pretty noncommittal about the whole thing until Tuesday, when he announced that his new office is freezing, and how about that sweater you mentioned? I told him it wouldn't be done for Christmas, but I'm on the lookout for a pattern. I am thinking top-down raglan with wide ribbing and a zipper. (Yes, La, a zipper. I prefer zippers in man knits.) I am thinking one of the Valley Yarns worsted wools. A while ago, I asked around to other Ravelers who had used Valley Yarns in some of their projects, and the unanimous opinion was favorable. And cheap! And lots of colors! (Too bad the DH only wants gray. Not even the luscious caramel brown I picked out that would go so very well with his complexion... Sigh...) Whaddya know, looks like I might be a sweater knitter after all. I plan to finish the eyelet cardigan before I start his though - I can't be too giving or it will mess up my reputation.
Speaking of that, anybody wanna knit a pair of mittens or socks/slippers for kids for Christmas? They are needed by 12/17 (I think, but check the project blog for correct information) and will go to underprivileged children. I know there are lots of hands out asking for donations this time of year, but surely we knitters can come up with some mittens for these kids? I have some cotton/wool sock yarn I'm going to double up for a little girly pair, and if I have time, I'll get some more yarn to make a few more.
Also, BigAlice is having a One Skein Food Drive. Go, read, participate, and maybe win some stuff!
And now, since this started out boring and got worse is getting long, I have a funky sky pic for you. This was the front of the storm rolling in last Wednesday.


Friday, November 30, 2007

I love Christmas

Christmas seriously rocks. I love it all. (Okay, I don't love the jewelry commercials that start in October, and I wonder who all those Lincoln commercials are aimed at, but that's what TiVo is for.*) I don't really celebrate the original "reason for the season", I just like the beauty and the spectacle. I even like all the tacky blow up yard ornaments. The tackier the better! Bring 'em on! (I chuckle to think about the scientists up on the Mt Graham telescope sighing and saying to themselves, "Winterhaven is lit up again - no more work for us till the new year.")
It's even better this year because the Bug points to the tree in his daycare and says, "Chris-shit". HA!
This was my mother's favorite season. She had decorations for every room in the house (bathroom candle? check. mailbox tinsel? check.) and had those cute little touches everywhere that I aspire to. I have inherited the tinsel gene from her it seems. More lights please! More sparkly things! More dangling ornaments that smack you when you walk through the archway! More more more! I don't need more things in my life, and so my wants list is very very small this year, but there is ALWAYS room for a little more sparkly lights, and a little more eggnog, and a little more Christmas music.**
However, since it is still November and I am holding my Christmas urges until this weekend at the very earliest, I give you...

The Boring Overcast Sky


We got some rain yesterday, and we expect more today. It's lovely and damp out, perfect for hot chocolate (see yesterday's post) by the fire. We didn't get much more than drizzles, but boy, did we need it. YAY RAIN.


Sleeping Bug with Jammies


He learned to take his own pants off last night and after that, we couldn't keep his jammies on for anything. Thank goodness he hasn't figured out the diaper yet, or it would be all Lord of the Flies in my living room.

* I actually saw a jewelry commercial that I loved yesterday. The Helzberg Diamonds commercial. If I can get a copy on YouTube I'll share.
** I do not go to the mall. Not during the rest of the year, and especially not during Christmas. (Except the one bit I will brave to take the Bug to see Santa and get pictures.) If it only exists at the mall or the Wally World (or the Circuit City or Best Buy) my family does not need it. I limit my exposure to the annoying bits.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lies. All lies.

The schedule is full of hooey. I did not work on the eyelet cardigan last night, nor did I work on any lace at all on Monday. I love how I make myself a reasonable schedule and then completely ignore it, don't you? I DID work on a votive sleeve last night at SnB and enjoyed myself immensely. Tonight, I might (might) cast on the lacy bit of the second half of Juno. Don't hold your breath, though - I play fast and loose with the rules. Look at me, I'm a wild woman - I knit things out of order.
Yesterday I wrote a whole long post that was all crap. I deleted it before bloglines and google picked up the feed. I'll give you the rundown:
Whine whine whine whine
Piss Piss
Kvetch. (There was more kvetching, but that's too hard to type many times in a row.)

In lieu of having any actual content, I will leave you with a link. I take no responsibility for the caloric damage this will do, but I will tell you that this concoction can stop even the most deadly of Bug tantrums and produces a sense of wellbeing that is not reproduceable with any other legal substance.

Mexican Hot Chocolate.

Do not be put off by the egg, it makes it creamy and thick and borders on obscenely decadent. (But really really really really, follow the directions about the order in which you add things - I learned the hard way it's done that way on purpose.)

Monday, November 26, 2007


Blogless Lynn agreed with me. It's possible to have a knitting hangover. I knit until my brain leaked out my ears on Saturday, and knit more on Sunday. First half of Juno Regina, DONE! (No pictures, as it looks much like it did last post, only 7 inches longer. I might even have stretched it a little to measure. I don't freaking care.) I am doing the symmetrical version, so I will put this half on a stitch holder and knit another one. I am thrilled to death by this, because if I were planning to knit it as written, knowing that I had to do another 21 inches of eyelet before I got to any interesting lace might kill me dead.
Today my hands are stiff and sore, my neck has a knot in it the size of Texas, and my brain wants ANYTHING (please GOD ANYTHING) besides tiny pink stockinette or tiny beaded wire. I might take an evening to knit SLOWLY on my eyelet sweater. Don't believe the schedule. The schedule lies.(Yes, apparently it's okay to knit fat blue stockinette/eyelet instead of tiny pink stockinette/eyelet. Shaddup.) It got coldish here last week FINALLY and I am wishing for my cardigan to be complete. If it doesn't fit, I might cry.

In the meantime, there is a fir wreath scenting my house in the most lovely way. It makes me wish I could put up the Christmas tree, and it makes me fret that my gifts aren't purchased or finished yet. Such a dichotomy. I think I'll spike me some eggnog and try to work it all out.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Playing catch-up

I didn't knit a stitch on Wednesday. Thursday was an epic scene of cooking and cleaning. The DH had a low-blood-sugar episode and had to eat and lay down for a bit, leaving me to finish dinner and the cleaning. (He did vacuum the living room, even under the furniture, before he nearly keeled over, and he made the gravy after he felt better.) I managed a few rows of knitting after the guests were gone, but mostly my hands were stiff and aching. (I know, wah wah, I had to make too much food and have too much fun. Poor me, right?)
Yesterday and this morning, though, I made up for lost time.


Fourth votive done, four more to go.

Juno Regina is chugging along.


It doesn't look like it, but that's 14 inches of eyelet. Seven more to go before I can put it on a holder and make a whole new one. I'm getting there.
Of course, it turned from summer to winter in one day. (Thursday was about 80-some degrees, and today it's cold and windy.) I need my eyelet cardigan!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

De rigueur

The Thankfulness Post:

  • That I don't live here. (I am FURIOUS.)

  • Friends and family, of course

  • That even though this country isn't perfect by a long stretch, it's still the best place to live, and I can work to make it better

  • That I know and love all sorts of people all over the globe that I've never met in person

  • DH's new job (starting Monday! Whee!)

  • My corny family

  • PA140043

Happy day, folks, whether you celebrate the holiday or not.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Soft hearts make for sadness

This time of year is particularly difficult for lots and lots of people, here and everywhere. The weather is bad, the holidays are coming, the usual family crap happens (or doesn't) and breaks hearts. The DH has been asking me what I want for Christmas, and aside from a few books, I can't think of a single thing I want or need. It was frustrating, really. I mean, who doesn't like to flounce out of bed on Christmas morning and open up all sorts of shiny new presents? I couldn't even think of anything the Bug wants or needs. (Except more candy, and more socks. That kid and his socks are a force of nature.) Anyway. I wanted this to be the next in a long list of perfect Norman Rockwell Christmases for the boy, with the twinkling lights and the homemade (Mexican) hot chocolate and the perfect presents, but I couldn't think of one single thing to get him.
And then I got the email for our company's Holiday Family donation thing. A list of things wanted and needed by a family that we will donate to. And I was shamed. I remember as a kid making huge long lists of things I wanted from Santa, or later, my parents. Excess. Spoiling. And I always got that, and much more. This family... The father? Needs a belt, and wants a baseball cap. A BASEBALL CAP! A simple freaking baseball cap and this man is happy. His two young daughters need long sleeve shirts and want dress-up clothes. His boy wants a NIGHTLIGHT. His wife wants a beanie and gloves. I can't even put into words what I'm feeling. (Of course, I will try, because I am nothing if not wordy.) Partly, I'm thrilled because, my god, a few of us here can help this family have wonderful new things. Partly, holy crap, my family is so lucky and we don't even realize it. (Partly major guilt because one time ten years ago I took an angel off a giving tree and didn't actually go buy that kid the toy she wanted. Yeah, still beating myself up over it, and no, I'm not gonna stop. The guilt pushes me to do something now.)
Anyway, the emotion bubbling up here is going to make me cry in my office, so we can't have that. What I want to know is: what is the world's softest superwash wool with the most beautiful colors? Where can I get a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles nightlight?
How do I make sure I teach this kid to make the world a better place?


Monday, November 19, 2007

pacalaga's my name

Obsession is my game.
Beware, as I out myself as a true knitting geek.
I looooove the Yarn Harlot's stories. Not so much when she's on the road, but her home life and her descriptions of same crack me up. This is my favorite time of year - she's in her element with all things woolly, the holidays ramp up and cause increasing hysteria, and the kids have school holidays that drive her mad. I LOVE reading about IT. So much so (okay, here's the really geeky part) that I reread her December archives frequently and chuckle to myself. And (and here's the really SAD part of the geeky part) I have worked myself into a bit of a lather reading about Christmases gone and stressing about how I won't have enough time. Yes, it's true - I have given myself a case of IT by reading about someone else having it LAST YEAR. Sigh. It's a wonder they let me out in public unsupervised.
Or play with pointy sticks.
I finally slogged through the remaining charts on the first half of Juno Regina. It's lovely, it's intuitive, it makes perfect sense, and it hates me with an unholy passion. I knit on it all weekend and made at least one mistake on EVERY. SINGLE. ROW. INCLUDING the stockinette/eyelet parts. Yes, it's true, I cannot count to six in a repeatable fashion. (I can do it like Bug does, apparently: ooooone, twooooooo, feeeeee, fooooooooour, fooooooooour, fouuuuuuuur, feeeeeeee, six!) I have figured out that in order to have this done and blocked in time to mail it for Christmas, I need to average two inches of the stockinette part a day (with four days for the other lacy end and one whole day for the grafting in the middle). Given my experience over the last two days, I'm not sure I'm going to make it. Sigh.

Bug says, "I ROCK, DUDE. And also, peanuts are good."


Saturday, November 17, 2007

What do you get

When you use your cracked, peeling fingers to knit with cashmere laceweight?

Why, velcro, of course.


I don't know why my fingers do this. This year it's slightly exacerbated by the wire knitting, but they do it every fall, wire or no. Crack, peel, heal up, move on. They don't hurt, but they're making the cashmere a little tough to work with.

Speaking of the cashmere...


Through the first repeat of chart 3. Game on, Libby!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

On a roll

One more votive sleeve done! I made a little mistake with this one, though - it's fatter in the center than at the edges, so I stretched the wire out to make it fit, and "sewed" up the ends before I washed the glass! Augh. The Bug had his sticky little mitts all over it (which will of course help keep the thing on) but it's cloudy and dirty. I plan to see if I can wiggle the sleeve off the glass and clean it and replace the sleeve without picking out one edge of the sleeve seam. ETA: I slipped it off and cleaned the glass, but now the top of the sleeve is a little stretched out. Must remember to clean the next one before the sewing up.


Libby and I are having a little race. She and I started Juno Regina about the same time - hers for her mother and mine for my MIL. We'll have a little yarn swap when we finish, as a pick me up. :-) We thought about having the yarn go to the winner, but that seems like a little too much pressure, what with all the self-induced holiday knitting (and soon, quilting) I've been doing anyway.

Wednesday was a bad bad day all around. A friend got some terrible, terrible news, the DH and I had one of those fights where we both dig in our heels and refuse to see the other side, the Bug was up all night coughing, and then they did that to Garcia. That is JUST WRONG, people.

Bug therapy will help, I'm sure.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Another one!

Yahoo! Yesterday I just couldn't stop knitting. The weather was lovely and cool, and our visitors and DH took off early for Phoenix to watch the NASCAR races. (SNORE) The Bug and I played in the yard all day, and I brought my knitting out while he dug in the mud and rolled in the dirt and all those things that little boys do when they're free to get dirty. (At one point, Greta was laying on the deck, and he sat down next to her, petted her ears for a minute, then lay himself down next to her for a snuggle. TOTALLY cute. Must remember to bring the camera outside more often.)

I powered through the pain and finished a second votive sleeve! Here it is, pictured with the first one I finished.


You can't see the silver beads on there very well, but they sparkle in the most lovely way in person.

There was a casualty, though:


My poor, cracked, sore fingers. It got to where the cashmere I'm using for MIL's Juno Regina (which is coming out beautifully) was hurting. Sigh. More cashmere therapy tonight, though really I just want to knit beaded wire.

I had a little Bug photo shoot last night. (He is fascinated by pictures of himself.)




Ugh. Mama gotta remember to put makeup on if she's going to be taking pictures of herself.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

FOs abound

Okay, maybe "abound" is a bit of an overstatement, but I'm still on the happiness high from Thursday.

I finally finished Devan, and I LURVE it.



Devan from knitty, newborn size.
MCY yarn (from ebay) fingering weight in Santa Fe gold, roughly 280 yds
Lanett fingering superwash, navy blue (I don't remember if that's the actual name but I lost the ball band), most of 1 skein.

I love the Lanett - it's slightly thicker and much squooshier than the MCY. I was a little disappointed in the MCY. It was thin and, although it was soft, it wasn't squooshy at all. It made a decently nice fabric, and since the sweater is going to be outgrown before long, I'm not worried about the thinness. This is southern Arizona after all. It also bled like it wanted to be white again. I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed and rinsed and I'm still not entirely convinced I got it all. Blech.

Another FO: I finished my first votive sleeve! I lovelovelove the way this looks. I'm about a quarter of the way through another one (I want to make eight before Christmas) but, even though the second one was going quickly, I had to stop. The wire and straight needles are conspiring to chew up my already-peeling fingers. Still, I LOVE them.


I had a photo with much better lighting, but I forgot to use the macro setting on the camera. The beads sparkled in lovely blurriness, while you could see every tiny defect in the paint on my kitchen wall. Not quite what I was hoping for.

ANYWAY, I have restarted the MIL's stole - I think I'm going to do Juno Regina from knitty now. It's not as intricate as Cheshire Lace, and I don't think it will be quite as pretty in the solid yarn I have, but I think it will be easier for me to finish once I get past the charts at the ends. I'll have a better chance of finishing it before Christmas if I don't have to carry a chart with me.

And now, the Bug says it's time to go outside.


Thursday, November 08, 2007


Yahoo! Yeehaw! Hoo-fucking-ray!
Happiness abounds at Casa de Pacalaga. Major, serious, soul-soothing, earth-shattering happiness. The uncertainties of the future, especially with respect to the DH's job, have resolved in a way we never could have guessed. I mentioned before that he applied for this coveted job and got an interview. Weeks passed and we heard nothing. The recruiter called back and asked if we'd take the job and move to Houston. We said no, and the DH continued his search, figuring things were done with that company. A few weeks ago, the recruiter called back and said, "How about Houston for a year, then Denver, and $X?" It was a very significant offer, and we couldn't refuse. We made plans. We thought about selling the house, renting in Houston, me staying here, me quitting and going there, me taking my job and going there... Blah blah blah. Every possible permutation had been examined. We finally settled on a plan, pending The Meeting With The Bigwigs: he'd leave at the first of December, take the camper and find an RV spot. The Bug and I would follow at the beginning of February after packing the entire house and sending our stuff to the lake property in a storage unit, and we three and our three giant furbeasts would live in the camper until we could get moved to Denver and sell our house and all that heinous stuff. Whether I could take my job was still in question. (Yes, we know that is insane, but if I couldn't have taken my job it would have been the most affordable plan.)
Well, TODAY was The Meeting With The Bigwigs. They offered him the job, said they DIDN'T want him to move to Houston (unless he really wanted to, of course) and they'd be perfectly happy if he'd stay HERE and work in their LOCAL office. YIPPEE!!! YAHOO!!! YEEHAW!!! The kicker is that they want him in AN office. Once he's all trained up, we can basically pick wherever they have a location in the states and he can work there. Denver is still going to happen, and we don't have to live in the hot, fetid, buggy swamp that is the fine city of Houston. YIPPEE!! YAHOO!! YEEHAW!!
So anyway, I'm a little excited. Okay, a lot excited. Okay, more than that. Thank you all for your good thoughts and wishes for us and for putting up with my whining and not-talking-about-it-while-talking-about-it. You can see why I didn't want to spill the beans much until I knew what was going on - I didn't want EVERYONE to tell me that I'd go stir crazy and freak me out about something that I already knew would be difficult, in the hot, fetid, buggy swamp that is the fine city of Houston.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Global warming is a myth

My ass.


(Click for big, to see the big high ridiculous numbers.)

We're averaging about 15 degrees higher than normal for this time of year. UGH.

I worked all weekend on the baby sweater for my friend. I forgot that 10 rows/in makes for slow making up too. Last night I worked all night and got the sleeves sewn in and one side seam sewn up. Tonight is the other seam, and hopefully the button band. Am I deluding myself that I will be able to do this effectively at SnB? Only time will tell. The sewing up is not perfect, but since it's my very first attempt at mattress stitch (thank you Knitty for the beautifully clear instructions) I'm cutting myself a little slack. After all, the kid will outgrow it in less time than it took me to make the darn thing. It IS awfully cute. (Sorry, no pictures until it's finished.)

The life changes are still looming. I am still trying desperately not to drown in the what ifs. I'll think about that tomorrow. (Actually, Thursday. Thursday is when we should have some answers.)

Friday, November 02, 2007

And so...

... I ditch the housecleaning and head off to the lake again. Things are happening with the DH's job that may either result in fast, major, life-changing things, or more poverty and denial of same with the magic of credit cards. I don't want to talk much about what's happening with his potential job yet, because a) we don't have any of the details yet, and b) it stresses me out in excruciating ways to think about it any more. In grand fashion, because I am Cleopatra, we are heading off to the lake to Not Think About It. The Bug loves the lake, mostly because we are not actually on the lake, but on a small dirt lot where he can roll and roll and roll in the dust and bring more inside the camper than he leaves outside. The DH loves the lake because he is all about the waterskiing, which he can't actually do while it's just the three of us. He is eagerly awaiting the day when the Bug is old enough to know not to jump out of the boat, and to tell Mama to turn the boat around because Daddy crashed on his skis again. I love the lake because I can sit quietly in the shade under a tree and knit and drink beer. Ahhhh.
I hope to finish Devan and maybe a little hat or bootees while we're gone. I know I said that last time, but since I only have part of one sleeve left and we're going a day earlier this time, I think it's doable.
I actually started my Christmas knitting! Yes, I know, you all hate me. I am knitting 8 little votive sleeves from Handknit Holidays. I knit and knit and knit all night long and got HALF of one done. 10 stitches, about 10 rows. Took. All. Night. (And then I realized that I didn't pick up a wrap on one of the short rows and it looks like crap so I have to frog. How DOES one frog beaded wire? And why do I keep typing fron?) Really, though, this isn't knitting, in my opinion. Yes, I'm making knits and purls and using needles and "string", but knitting to me has a flow to it. This is wire manipulation. I like it, but it doesn't feel like knitting to me. And I think I should have started in September.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

No one consulted me

It's November. No one asked me if they could speed up the calendar, people. The weather and my own internal reckoning figure it can't actually be later than August.
But, this happened yesterday.



Surely I wouldn't have done that to my kid if it hadn't been Halloween, right? (Of course not. I would have dyed his hair with Koolaid instead of that cheap spray on stuff.)

54 days, people.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Copping out

I am lame and have no good personal blog post today. (Shut up, my other personal blog posts WERE SO good, yes-huh!)
So I will give you these.

(found via Dark Roasted Blend)

and its counterpart

Found via Blogless Lynn.

Monday, October 29, 2007

We can all go home now

Because it has All Been Done. These 8 succeeded in the last weirdest thing ever.

Thanks (?) to Blogless Lynn for sending me this.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Saturday sky and more

Here's for all you east coasters (and heck, Southern California residents who haven't seen the blue sky in a while).


We don't get much leaf-turning down here. There's a little on the mountains north of town, but in town, in the desert here, not so much. This is about it.


See the golden edges? Forgive the overexposed bits - I'm no Dave Daniels.

The other night I was playing with the settings on my camera. Here is my professional moon shot:


This entertained me way too much. Here's a C-130 on a night flight over my house.


The flight path was nice and smooth. I need a tripod.

And of course, there's the Bug. Enjoying his very first caramel apple. He licked most of the caramel off, then started eating from the bottom. Crunchy dead sepals first. Seeds and all. The kid loves apples.


And now, off to the lake with me.