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.