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.