Sunday, August 31, 2008

Not Quite As Clever As I Thought I Was

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I've been knitting lots of socks lately. So when I pulled out the clown yarn, I thought to myself, "Myself, you've been knitting lots of socks lately. Let's see if you can just knit this one up without a lot of fuss and pattern reading."


What's that they say about a group of lions and a precipitous decline?

I cast on my 68 stitches and chugged right down the leg. Got to the six inch mark and took the 34 stitches on the back needle and did my heel flap. Yesterday, while sitting at The Black Sheep and bathing my soul in fibery vibes and wooly goodness and friendly chat, I turned the heel, with a little help from a copy of the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules. Picked up the first set of gusset stitches and then knit across half of the instep stitches...let's see, half of 68 is 34...half of 34 is 17. Knit across 17 stitches, switch needles and knit across the second 17...wait a minute...I only seem to have 13 stitches here on the second half. I must have miscounted.....ummmmm, no.


I seem to have 34 stitches on the back needle and 30 stitches on the front needle. Well, that's weird!

I counted my cast-on three times....let me repeat that....THREE times! But somehow I seem to have only cast on 64 stitches, not 68. I am mindboggled.

But Tracy, up at The Black Sheep, encouraged me not to rip the whole thing out. I'm just going to keep going on it. And try to remember to do the second one the same way.

What an idiot.

But here's a picture anyway.

I came home from The Black Sheep with a few skeins of could I not? Some Claudia's in the Walk in the Woods colorway and some Aracaunia Ranco in the most scrumptious shades of red and rose and pink and coral. And this book: Little Sweet Peas. It has some adorable sweaters in it, and the sizes go up to 7. Cute, cute, cute.

Current Reading

Mostly I'm reading snatches of this and that. Mr. Pointy Sticks and I are trying to cut down on the number of books in the house and I am trying to be ruthless about getting rid of books I don't think I'll ever read or that I've read once and won't want to read again. So far, we've taken 7 or 8 cartons of books to the library as donations. And there'll be more to follow. So I am trying some of the books that I think I might want to read before we get rid of them. Mostly, they are going into the donation boxes.

But...I am reading one book I like a lot. Winter Wood, by Stephen Augarde. It's the third in a series that started with The Various and continued in Celandine. Good English fantasy. Reminds me of William Mayne or early Alan Garner.

Friday, August 29, 2008

That Old Rachel 2

A month or so before Rachel's second birthday she and I were watching Sesame Street one morning. For the first few minutes of the show the transmission was screwed up and the colors were all kids running on purple sky.... And then there was a close-up of a little boy and he was all blue. "Look!" I said, "that kid's all blue! Why do you supposed he's blue?"

And Rachel looked at me and said, "Because he's a boy!"

Poor dumb mother.

Guilt Works!!

Look at all those nice comments! I love you all and thank you from the bottom of my crabby little heart for taking the time to comment.

The bathroom, save for the faulty shower door and the magnetic latch on the medicine cabinet, is (I think) all done. The door is back on the hinges, significantly increasing the room's utility. Mr. Pointy Sticks was in there a bit ago and, from behind the door, came the following: "I'd forgotten how small this room is." It really is tiny. But now it's nice and tiny instead of God-this-is-gross and tiny.

It's pouring rain and Mr. Pointy Sticks is out running...but it's Friday night. I want to do something! I don't know what...chances are I'll just opt for a beer.

I am on the heel flap of the first clown sock...and you know, in this morning's gray, misty, sort of autumnal light??....well, it was sort of cheering and nice. I may learn to love these socks.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Someone's Happy It's Fall!

(Rachel sent me this from her cell phone. Thanks, toots!)

Sigh. It's so depressing to hear your email beep and see you got a comment on your blog and then see that it's a spammer. That's all I get these days. Are y'all not commenting because you have to wait for me to okay the comment? Notice that I am not offering up the option that you're just ignoring me.)

Some Things Are Working Out

Our new Pella window is in...the one with the blinds in it. It's so spiffy. It's so neat. And the medicine cabinet is in and the light fixture. And the exhaust fan. There are still some little fixes that need to be made...there's some paint touch-up and some paint clean up. We need a hot air vent cover.

And the toilet paper holder was put on the wrong way, even though I left a stickie on the wall with a note and a big arrow pointing in the direction I wanted it to point. (It is similar to this one...with no annoying springy thing.) The worker fastened it to the wall with the opening open toward the toilet which means when you're sitting there and pull on the paper it tries to slide right off the holder. So now I have to decide if I want to fuss about that. I hate fussing about things. But I think I am.

We've come to an agreement with the contractor about the shower door. We will eat one third of the cost, he'll eat two-thirds and he can take the door away and use it elsewhere. Or sell it. He was actually okay about it. I don't think he was particularly happy, but he said his goal is to have a happy customer...that's the only thing that matters. Frankly, I don't think we should have to pay anything...but we will. I did tell him that I thought he had dropped the ball a little.

So...onward and upward.

I love my window.

Oh, in sock's surprising how quickly a sock can grow when it's all stockinette. To wit:

Have I mentioned that I love my window?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Know Any Clowns?

Because they might like these socks...

Good News, Bad News

The good? We came home this afternoon to find that our shower door is almost completely installed.

The bad? It's the wrong damn door.

Have I mentioned how tiny our bathroom is? It's weensy and when we first talked the job over with the contractor we discussed how weensy it is and how a hinged door, while attractive, wouldn't work. And lo and behold, that's what he installed. Because, he says, I didn't specify a sliding door when I gave him my choices of glass and finish. And I didn't specify sliding because I was following a "Door Wizard" on the site he recommended and ruled out hinged in one of my early choices. I didn't realize that the specs I then gave him for finish and glass would apply equally to sliding or hinged doors. And he didn't bother to call to verify...even though he has every possible phone number we own.

The door looks nice enough. But it bangs against the toilet when you open it and when the towel rods go up, there will be even less room to maneuver oneself into the shower.

And I have a bad headache.

I'm At Work...But I'm Not Happy About It

Still feeling a little queasy and a little achy. So perhaps I did have some sort of bug rather than having been attacked by something I ate.

I have started a new sock. It may be the world's ugliest sock. The yarn looks lovely in the skein...happy, happy yellow with bits of bright and green and pink and purple and...grey?...anyway, it looks all happy and bright and playful. And it's knitting up in rawther garish bright stripes. Pictures this afternoon, perhaps.

Haven't made the fifth stab at the Red Scarf. I may try to work on that this evening.

And baby Alexandra's sweater is languishing. Alas.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Home Sick

Did anyone lose some Ebola virus? Because I think I might have found it.

Actually, I think it might have been a bad shrimp from yesterday's lunch. Whatever it is, I am riding low in the water today.

I did, however, before I started my Night of Horror, start a new sock. And the red scarf? It's history.

Monday, August 25, 2008

So...I'm Thinking This Is A No-Go

Here's the red scarf so far.

It's curling rather badly and, while the pattern looks pretty cool in the front, the back is bleah. I think I'd better rip it out before I get any more invested in it.

Teach Yourself Knitting

Charis asked, in a comment on one of yesterday's posts, how she could go about learning how to knit. So here are some suggestions:

Personally, I think nothing beats learning from an actual, real life person. I think my first suggestion would be to either find someone who's willing to teach you for free (friends are good for this...too bad Charis isn't closer to Baltimore) or to take a class. Is there a knitting shop in the area? They will usually offer classes or will, for a price, sit down with you one-on-one and teach you. I think at The Black Sheep $35 will get you an hour of one-on-one knitting tutorial on the subject of your choice.

But if books are your only option --

I've heard good things about the "Teach Yourself Visually" books. There is Teach Yourself Knitting as well as a volume that will teach you knitting and crocheting. I haven't used them but my neighbor has used the Teach Yourself Sock Knitting and likes it a good bit, I believe.

Amazon has another beginning knitting book that seems to get good reviews and looks okay in the snatches of pages you get to preview. It's called Getting Started Knitting. And there may be other books. I would just make sure that whatever book you get has lots of pictures. Knitting instruction truly is a place where a picture is worth a thousand garbled, confusing words.

Take a trip to your library to see if they have any good beginning knitting books. That might at least help you rule some books out. Though our library, I must say, has a pretty paltry knitting section.

There are also lots of helpful sites on line. With videos, which are helpful. has a library of videos. They aren't exhaustive (they show two methods of casting on when there are quite a few more than that) but they would be helpful in combination with a book.

My biggest piece of advice: There's no right or wrong way to knit. As long as you are happy with your process and your product, then you're fine. There may always be something new to learn, but there's no way anyone can tell you "Hey, you're doing that all wrong!"

Well, perhaps if you were knitting this way...

Note to non-knitters: Those are the wrong ends of the needles....

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fourth Time's A Charm!

I think I have come up with a pattern for my red scarf...

Pardon the color, which is horrid here...but it's taken with my web-cam, late at night, under fluorescent lights. It's actually a bright red Malabrigo...though not as soft as most Malabrigo, for some reason.

Hello, Fred.

Rachel is back in Fredericksburg, neatly ensconced in her room.

It was a rather fraught day, full of short tempers and snappiness. One of the problems? Rachel had gotten a notice that all the beds in the dorm had been replaced with new ones and they were all lofts. She was also told that she was allowed to de-loft her bed but that she would need to bring a hammer with which to do so.

So we get to the room and she hated the lofted bed. So we start trying to take it apart. Three of the legs came apart easily. The fourth leg wouldn't separate....and wouldn't separate...and wouldn't separate. Mr. Pointy Sticks and the father of Rachel's room-mate worked on it... broke the claw off a claw hammer. Bent the shaft of the rubber mallet. Eventually the room-mate's dad went and got his car jack and that finally made the bed give up the struggle.

Unfortunately, a few of the things Rachel wanted to take down with her didn't get into the van...which was packed to the gills...this child does not travel it looks as though tomorrow we'll be shipping some stuff off to her.

Oh, and let me add that I got Beth's socks all washed and they are drying out. So they'll be all nice and fresh when I send them off to their new owner.

Oh, and also? I made three stabs at starting a Red Scarf on the way down and ripped all three out. I was too disheartened to try on the trip home. Sigh. Perhaps I can get started tomorrow.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Well, Lookie Here!

I do believe we have a pair of finished to wash them and wrap them and get them in the mail.

And I went to The Black Sheep today and got some red wool for the Red Scarf Project. Some Malabrigo...I think I'll make a nice ribby scarf of some type with this....and some Debbie Bliss Rialto in a gorgeous red that I think I might make a cowl out of. Yum. Off to wind the Malabrigo.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

That Old Rachel

As promised (and yeah, I know these probably won't be of any interest except to me, but they might give you a little chuckle), a story of the Rachel of yore. Specifically, the Rachel at age two.

We were sitting around the dinner table one evening and she said, "May I shriek?"

"Oh," I said, "we don't shriek in the house."

And she looked at me and said, "It will take just a minute."

She was sometimes a reasonable child.

Ahem. Anyway, so, Beth's sock....lookie here.

The heel is turned, the gussets are decreased and we are racing down the foot. And look how nicely it's covering my double chin! Such a good sock! I hope to get it finished before Sunday so that I can work on something else on the trip to Fredericksburg and back. Like a red scarf. Besides, I want to get these off to Beth before the cold weather hits where she lives...and it is almost September.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Everything Goes With Red!

Scout reminds us that it is getting to be that time of year again. Get out your red yarn and start knitting up a scarf for the Red Scarf project. I’ve done this for a couple of years now and it’s absurdly rewarding. These scarves go to warm the necks of foster kids who have aged out of the system and are headed off to college on their own. And this year they are accepting scarves starting September 1st. I have got to get on the stick...or rather, get on the sticks! The first year I did four scarves...last year they asked that each knitter only send one scarf, as they were, apparently, overwhelmed with contributions. So last year I did one nice scarf and enclosed a Target gift card. Since the date sort of snuck up on me this year, I'm thinking it'll just be one scarf this year, too.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The World's Easiest Blueberry Pie

So I am, as I type this, chomping down on a piece of blueberry pie. Blueberry pie from heaven. Not only is it wonderful, it requires no baking so you don't heat your kitchen all up. Want the recipe? I thought you might. And darn, I wish I could throw in a picture. I'll just have to make another one when my camera is hooked up again.

First, you buy a graham cracker crust. You'll also need blueberries, enough to fill the crust, level with about the edge. You'll need some red currant jelly, some sour cream and some brown sugar.

Wash the berries and let them may even want to pat them a bit with a paper towel. You want to make sure they won't get the crust all soggy. Pour them into the shell.

Empty the jar of red currant jelly into a saucepan and heat on medium until it's melted. Pour it over the berries. Pop the pie shell into the fridge for a couple of hours to set up. Just before serving, spread the top with a layer of sour cream (I used most of a 16 ounce container and probably would have used all of it except that Rachel doesn't like sour cream that much) and sprinkle with brown sugar -- eh, several tablespoons, I guess. Serve. Keep chilled until it's gone.

I couldn't find red currant jelly today in SuperFresh so I tried red plum jelly. It was every bit as good as the currant. You could maybe use apple jelly, too. I wouldn't try jalapeno, though.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

I Can See Clearly Now...

Or I will be able to sometime soon. We came home Thursday afternoon to find our bathroom window sitting on the front porch...this after great exhortations from the guy at the Pella store that we would be called 48 hours in advance of its delivery and would have to be home to sign for it. Just waiting patiently to be let in. So I assume that one day soon we will come home and find it all nicely installed.

After we took Friday off, in part to make pasta with Rachel, she didn't get up until after noon and never did get showered or dressed. And hey, we all like a day like that once in a while. And the day wasn't a total loss for us. We got the Camry in for service and I got my haircut and we got a couple of cartons of books to the library as a donation.

And today we bummed around a bit...and went out to dinner at Jessie Wong's. It wasn't as good this time as it was when we ate there a few weeks ago. And it was freezing! But still, beats cooking.

As for the sock...I'm ready to pick up stitches for the gusset. Perhaps I'll go do that now. Or I might just go watch the women's marathon with Mr. Pointy Sticks.

I am sorry for the total boringness of the blog of late. I can't wait to have photos again!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Is It Friday Yet?

Actually, it sort of is Friday as we are taking tomorrow off. I think Rachel and I are going to make fresh pasta.

And hurrah! We have running water in the bathroom! And a working toilet and sink. (We have a working shower, as well, but with no shower doors it isn’t really useable.) The white white white of the fixtures against the dark blue-y green walls looks really sharp, if I say so myself. Still need shower doors, medicine cabinet, light….oh, and window. But the end is in sight and that’s pretty neat. I think the downstairs room is pretty much finished…oh, I forgot to check to see if the can lights are all done. They were up but didn’t have their…what to call them?...frames? done. I can’t wait to put up pictures.

Current Reading

I’ve read a couple of mysteries. The first was Laura Lippman’s In Big Trouble, a Tess Monaghan mystery that was…fine. It was set, for the most part, in San Antonio, a town Lippman says is very similar in some ways to Baltimore. There was one amusing part when Tess, checking out an old apartment house, sees that one of the tenants’ name on the doorbell is Linthicum. A little shout out to Baltimore and the surrounding area. But then later, thinking about it, I realized that Tess should have been all “Hey, weird. That’s the name of a suburb outside of Baltimore.” In fact, a detective looking for someone who was from Baltimore who might have been using an assumed name should have thought, “I wonder if X is using Linthicum as his name.” Oh well, a small niggle. I find the Tess Monaghan mysteries pretty good workmanlike mysteries. I enjoy the Tess books but I think Lippman’s stand alones are better books.

Then I read a mystery set in Iceland – Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indriđason. This was a really good mystery…kept me guessing up to the end. I think I had, while I read it, about five different theories about how the skeleton found at the beginning of the book was killed and about as many ideas about who the skeleton was.) I can’t say you get a real sense of being in Iceland as compared to being in any other sort of country. But the mystery is a good one.

And last night I started Haven Kimmel’s newest book, Iodine. I love Haven Kimmel's books and have high hopes for this one, though I think it's is going to be a good bit different from her others. I started it just before bedtime and I didn’t want to turn my light out. If I hadn’t had to come to work this morning, I think I would have stayed up all night reading it. If it keeps up to the promise offered by the first 48 pages, I think it’s going to be an incredible book. Or at least, a book I really like. Whether or not critics would like it? I dunno. I don’t know what makes one book seem so much better than another to me. I mean, I can say that so far I really like the main character here (a somewhat psychotic young woman named Tracy Pennington) but I can’t tell you what it is about the writing that makes her come so alive for me…and whether she would come alive so well for anyone else reading the book. Maybe I should get Rachel to give me a quick course in literary criticism. “How To Intelligently Talk About A Book 101” But a lot of it is all so subjective, isn’t it?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Readerville Redux

A couple of months ago (has it really been that long?) I wrote about Readerville’s anniversary. Anyone who knows me at all knows I’ve been a big fan of Readerville pretty much since day one. It’s a great site on which to find a bunch of funny, bright, bookish, chatty people. And the proprietor, Karen Templer is not only all that, she also has the patience of a saint to wrangle all the personalities on the site.

If you like books at all, or want a recommendation of a book to read on a particular subject, or want to talk about how the latest Batman movie messed with the established comic book backstory, or want to share a great recipe from a cookbook you just got, or just want to crow because you finally finished Ulysses….well, there will be a ready ear at Readerville. (I’m trying to keep this all so book oriented because that is what the site is about and what Karen wants it known for…but occasionally conversations on other subjects get in…like how cute Wall*E was, or how our kids are doing, or how pretty our garden looks right now. I mean, we’re only human!)

So, now Readerville has a new site. It’s on a new platform and dues are a thing of the past. All these smarts, all this fun…for FREE!

But the best thing…the thing I love like a bright shiny bauble…is something that wasn’t on the old Readerville. It’s called Note:Books. And it’s a way to keep track of the books you read…when you started, when you finished, what you thought about them…and to watch what others read (if they choose to make it public…one can keep one's reading tastes private if one so desires…no one has to know you read Good Night Moon every night before bed)…you can follow a particular book (What is everyone saying about the latest Captain Underpants??). It’s such a cool little application. It's been in beta, but Karen told me I could talk about it here so I'm thinking it's going to be open to all pretty soon, if it isn't already.

So really…if you like books. If you just want to get a recommendation for a good read. If you want to crow about getting a knitting pattern published…or just knit up! If you want to know when John Harwood’s book will be coming out in the US. If you want to start a no-pain, bright and shiny reading journal. Come check out Readerville. You’ll find me there.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Put Me On A Pedestal (Sink)

Came home today to find the plumber busy working in the bathroom, finishing up the installation of the brand spanking new pedestal sink. He had also put in the shower fixtures. And the new toilet was sitting in the living room, awaiting installation. Which gave me pause. Because it was an Eljer toilet and I could have sworn that we were getting a Toto toilet. And, in looking more closely at the box, I realized that it was an elongated bowl model...and I want a round bowl. So I told the plumber to hold off and I called Jeff.

He said that we had talked about the fact that the Toto toilet tanks were too wide and we had decided on the Eljer. (I have no memory of this at all. Mr. Pointy Sticks has no memory of this. Rachel says, "You never mentioned that on your blog. And you mention everything on your blog.") But he did allow as how I had said I wanted a round bowl. So the plumber and I talked for a while (nice guy) and he said he'd check and see if he could find a model with a narrower tank. And he called later to say he had found a Gerber (It's the Gerber Avalanche, the next step up from the Gerber Viper. I mean, really! Would you want to know that your toilet was a viper?!) So we should get that tomorrow. Yay!

Of course, we're still waiting on the Pella window. And on the shower doors, which may not have even been ordered from the manufacturer yet. (The dealer here waits until they have six orders and then puts them all in at once. Great.) So it's going to be some time until we have a fully functional bathroom. But we should have a partially function bathroom not too long from now.

And the sock? I'm chugging along. Have a couple inches of leg done. Beth should get them by the time the cold weather comes. Of course, that'll be sooner for her than it is for me, as she's considerably farther North.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ah. Sweet Temptations!

Of several kinds...Rachel made Dog Biscuits today. Yum...I've eaten far too many of them. Dog Biscuits are Rice Krispie treats with chocolate chips added to them. As you stir the chocolate chips and Rice Krispies and melted marshmallows together, the chocolate chips melt. Oh so good. When I was little, we were visiting my Aunt Lois and Uncle John one time and my Aunt Lois had a big pan of Dog Biscuits and offered them up at dessert after a couple of the meals. I kept wrinkling my nose up and saying, "No, thank you" because the name was so unappetizing -- oh, and because they had marshmallows in them, which I didn't like. Finally, I agreed to try a little piece...and it was wonderful. And it was the last one. My finickiness had done me out of some tasty desserts. It's nice that my daughter now makes them.

And the other temptation? Loopy Ewe put up new yarns today. Including some more Numma Numma. That's the company that made the Brunch for Beth yarn that I'm knitting up for my friend Beth. It's a little splitty but, oh, so nice and soft. This time they had (and I ordered) a lovely colorway with Tabbouleh in the name. (I take it back - it's just called Tabbouleh.) And another gorgeous one called Sprinkles for Stella. Fortunately, I don't know a soul named Stella so I should be able to keep these for myself! Wait till you see the colors. They also had a colorway that I actually have on my wishlist (I'm terrible with names -- Georgia Peach...that's the name) but I didn't want to go too crazy with my order.

Wow, I'll really have a lot of pretties to show you when I get my camera going again. Not the dog biscuits though, because they'll be gone, gone, gone.

Skeptical Readers Strike Back

Skeptical Blog Readers: So, we bet you rushed right through that second sock. Almost finished, right?

Me: Not quite.

Skeptical Blog Readers: What? Are you only as far as the heel turning? We know you like the heel turns.

Me: Not there yet.

Skeptical Blog Readers: Well, you've had all weekend. How far have you gotten?

Me: I've finished the cuff. There. Happy? Only the cuff! And I finished that up in the car this morning!

Skeptical Blog Readers: We bet you were playing that stupid Pokemon game.

Me: Dang.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Interweave Knits, Fall 2008

I know. I'm awfully late discussing this issue. Most people start talking about it as soon as the preview is up on the Interweave site. But I've decided that I really don't like looking at the preview....that is, I like doing it...but I hate the way it takes all the thrill out of getting the magazine.

Anyway, this is a nice issue. There is a nice article about Kate Gilbert, a sort of silly article (to me) about "rediscovering" wool. I didn't think I had ever lost it. The article has little mini-reviews of six wool yarns with four different construction techniques -- single ply, double ply, 3 ply, and cabled. I thought the article was sort of a waste of two pages...I didn't learn anything from it, really. There is an article about Cowichan sweaters, which may be wonderful. I didn't read it because I find the sweaters really unappealing. There's a good technical article on invisible cast-ons...though more and more I think that on-line videos are the way to teach this sort of thing. But then maybe that's just because I'm a visual learner.

As for the patterns...there are some really nice ones....the Dumpling Bags are just cute as buttons. The Bacchus Socks and Knotty or Knice Socks are both stunning. I love the Braided Pullover. The Big Knits sort of lost me...I'm big enough, I don't need to emphasize it with giant knit stitches. But I really like the Neapolitan cardigan and the Backstage Tweed Jacket, though I think I wouldn't bother with fastenings, as they seem to be gapping a good bit.

I even visited the website for the Seasocks cruise. (The ad is on page 95.) Hey! It leaves from and comes back to Baltimore. How much more convenient could you get? And it visits Halifax. Hmmm...I wonder if I could get Mr. Pointy Sticks on a boat?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Welcome, Josphine Claire!

My never-met, internet-only friend who writes at Ackery has a new baby girl. Josephine Claire is a thing of beauty, like the other two little Ackery-ettes. I missed meeting up with Ackery as she visited Charlottesville not long after my mom died. Anyway, there's someone new in the world to knit for, and read stories to, and to cuddle and to collect funny stories about...and that's a good thing. Congratulations, Ackery family!

Ah...nothing like a steaming mug of yarn with which to toast a friend.

If I look a little crazed here it's because I'm holding a mug and trying to get it focussed, trying to smile nicely, trying to look at the camera, trying to hide most of my chins and, at the same time, trying to get my mouse to the right spot to click to take a picture. It's all very exhausting.

Anyway, this is the Loopy Ewe second anniversay present. The yarn is HandMaiden, merino and cashmere and nylon, in scarlet, black and grey. And the mug is a lovely shade of blue, with the Loopy Ewe, in her snappy red socks right there on the front. I also got a Loopy Ewe pin and two temporary tattoos. So cool. Happy Anniversary, Loopy!

There are just all sorts of things to celebrate. I hope you have something to celebrate this weekend too. If only that it's the weekend!

We had a busy day today...went to the mall (always a tiring experience), went to a couple of bookstores to get Rachel school books for the coming semester (She is exceedingly indignant that we had to pay good money for a Harry Potter book...she doesn't think much of the books. We own them all so one would think she might not have to buy them...but the first three volumes we have are all first editions and are signed by Rowling--she saw her when she was visiting Baltimore. So I don't want those going off to school.) And what else did we do? Went grocery shopping to the tune of $250. Yeouch. But when we got home Rachel made really, really good lasagna for dinner. It was yummy. And we got a chicken and all the accouterments for a good roast chicken dinner tomorrow.

And Rachel's been repacking stuff and getting it organized for school...we take her back on the weekend of the 25th. Waily, waily. I'll be sorry to see her go. But she can't wait to get back there.

So we're all pretty tired and she's, deservedly, the most tired I think. We'll be sleeping well tonight.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Take That, You Skeptics!

Skeptical Blog Readers: Hey, didn't you say all you had left to do on Beth's first sock was the Kitchenering?

Me: Yes, that's what I said.

Skeptical Blog Readers: Huh. I bet you didn't do it. I bet you went off and played that stupid Pokemon game on your DS.

Me: Au contraire, Skeptical Blog Readers. Lookie here!

Skeptical Blog Readers: Oh fine. Well, how long is it going to take you to get around to starting the second sock? Probably weeks, right?

Me: Ta-da!

Skeptical Blog Readers: Dang!

I Found It!

That sweater I mentioned a few days back? The one with the pixelated picture on it? It's this one. I can't say I think it's lovely...but it's interesting, and plays with your mind a little bit.

We took off work early today because Rachel wanted to get out of the house and now we are sitting around not going anywhere. Actually, I think we'll be going to Daedalus and Belvedere Market in a little while and then having dinner at Zen West. Yum.

And then stopping at the grocery store and getting stuff to make lasagna tomorrow. As well as some basic food type items.

Last night I gave Rachel one of the volumes of the journals I kept when she was a little kid. I have a couple of big binders stuffed with memories. I used to go into work every morning and type up an entry and then use excerpts to send letters to family members. We started reading stuff from it and laughing so hard. I am so glad that I kept the journal, because there is a lot of stuff I have forgotten completely, but here it is for us to enjoy all over again. Rachel said, "I was sort of a weird kid, huh?" She also got a sense of how often she was sick (a lot) and how many nights she would wake up at 3 a.m. screaming (many). Perhaps I should have a weekly "Story of Young Rachel" if she doesn't mind.

All I have to do is the Kitchenering and Beth's sock number 1 will be done! So exciting. I was sitting and knitting outside this afternoon waiting for Arthur and a man walked by and stopped to ask what I was knitting and admired it. "That's as good as a sock you'd buy in a store!" he said.

Off to Kitchener!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Y'All Must Have Magic Fingers

Whew! Big sigh of relief here this afternoon. Came home and, with some trepidation went to look at the bathroom...and it's gorgeous! Much darker and richer and much more what I had in mind.

I can't wait to show pictures! Of course, sometime before that I need to find my camera battery charger...cleaned up before the bathroom demolishment began, I now have no memory of where I put it. Or rather, it isn't to be found where I thought I might have put it.

I know! Cross your fingers that I find it!!!

Oooh, I just walked into the guest room and found the guys are good!!

Fingers Crossed!

So...Monday the painter started work. We got home in the afternoon and checked out the computer room. That lovely pale, pale, pale yellow I had picked out? The one Mr. Pointy Sticks had to be talked into? "It'll be fine, hon. You'll hardly notice that it's yellow. It'll just make the room seem warmer." Well, the painter had done the primer and had started cutting in the yellow around the edges. The screaming, bright yellow. I was sort of taken aback and I think Mr. Pointy Sticks was aghast, though he didn't say anything.

Yesterday we got home and gingerly walked into the computer room, which is now entirely yellow...and we liked it! It looks much softer now that the whole room is done. Whew.

"Go up and look at the bathroom," says the painter, "I've done a first coat on that!"

I hated it.

So...cross your fingers that I'll like it today!

Current Reading

I finished Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close last night and as I expected, it left me teary-eyed. I think I could have been left downright sobbing except that I had a headache already and I didn't want to exacerbate it by crying. But what a good book. I think I had been avoiding it, in part, because Foer is associated with the whole McSweeney gang (Isn't he? He is in my mind, at any rate.) and I tend to think of them as (whispering here) a sort of over-rated bunch. Perhaps I need to change that opinion.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I Love A Charade!

Oh, I really should save that heading for when the socks are finished, but I couldn't resist. The first sock is coming along. I've caught up to where I was when all the retro-progression started and have even gone a little past there.


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Can Backwards Progress Still Be Called Progress?

I'd like to think so, because there was some backwards progress last night in the sock department.

I was knitting along and noticed that I hadn't done my gusset decrease a couple of rows back. I played around for a bit trying to figure out if one could decrease after the fact...e.g., two rows back, but couldn't seem to figure the methos for such out -- if indeed there is such a beast.

So I ripped back two rows because I'd like these socks to be nice and in the process I messed up the twisted rib, which, let me tell you, is a bitch to rip back what with the slipped stitches and the yarn overs and such...SO...

I ripped back a few more rows to make sure that all dropped stitches (some of which were dropped yarn overs...augh!) were back and everything was ready to go...and now I've lost about five rows. And I'm all set to start knitting again and then I noticed that, two rows back I somehow missed another gusset decrease.

And you know what?

I said "Screw it." Honestly, I think only Elizabeth Zimmerman would notice. Well, all y'all would now that I've told you about if you went looking for it. But Beth's my friend...she just won't let you look at her feet. Right, Beth?

I am just back from a yummy lunch with my dad and other assorted rellies. (And let me tell you, we are sometimes a rather odd bunch. (Heh. I first typed "old bunch" and, unfortunately we are getting to be that, too.)) Lolly did very well for someone who hates having a fuss made over him. And we had good food and yummy desserts.

And now Sunday is winding down and and, while I don't have the feeling of dread about Monday morning I used to have before I switched jobs, still, I'm sorry to see the weekend disappear. So I think I'll stop typing and do some reading or something.

Current Reading

I read, starting last night and finishing this morning, Matthew Kneale's When We Were Romans, which I liked a great deal, although the narrator (a nine-year old boy) had a voice that would have been getting irritating if it had going on much longer I think. But I think Kneale really gets some things about the way kids think spot on.

And now I'm starting another narrated-by-a-nine-year-old book, Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I had sort of been avoiding this book mostly because of all the hype about it when it came out...and a little because it's a 9/11 novel. But then a couple of Readervillians said good things about it, so I thought I'd try it.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Look Who Stopped By!

Gosh, can you tell I'm bored?

Decision 2008

No, not the election...I'm hoping that that's a no-brainer, with Obama waltzing into the White House come January. McCain creeps me out.

Rather, I am referring to paint! Yes, I have phoned our contractor with my paint selections. (And I actually got him to make a little joke...I think. I said something about waiting while he got pencil and paper and he said, "Well, I have a crayon and paper right here."

"What color crayon?" I asked. "Color's important."

"It's a deep blue," he said, "Is that okay?"'s as close to joking around as he's gotten. He's a very straight-arrow kind of guy.)

Anyway...the colors.

The color right above my fat little finger here will be the bathroom walls (ceiling and woodwork white). I might have gone even a little darker but there was a little compromise with Mr. Pointy Sticks going on.

And the color at the tippy-top of this card will be the computer room walls. White ceiling and woodwork.

So there you have it. I know the pictures are crappy....can't wait till I have camera access again.)

And today's an important's my Dad's birthday. I probably shouldn't even mention me, he hates a fuss being made. But he's a great guy and I wouldn't be here without him. So. Happy Birthday, Lolly!

Friday, August 1, 2008

This Is Driving Me Nuts!

Somewhere out there on the vast and enigmatic Web today I saw a pullover. It was black and white. Stranded knitting and the front of it was a pixelated image of a cable twist. It was witty and clever and now I cannot find it anywhere. I was thinking it was on the Twist Collective, but no, not there. (There are, by the way, lots of yummy yummy things there. Some truly drool-worthy patterns.)

Anyone else out there seen this sweater?

My Computer's Been Eating Bran Muffins!

We're all unblocked! And there is even an apology on the log-in page to Blocker. So...all better!

I think I have (once again -- third time's a charm!!) picked a color for the bathroom. It's a blue-gray-green, rather dark. And I think I am choosing a very, very, very pale yellow for the computer room. It tends to be a chilly sort of room, so I think the yellow will be nice.

Off to knit a bit!

I Hate Spam

And now I hate spam blockers. Oh, not really. But Blogger's bots have locked my blog because some algorithm indicates to their little robotic brains that this blog is spam. One reason might be because of the number of times I post. Apparently posting often is a spam-signal.

But I can save drafts, so I'll do that.

Beth's first sock is coming along. I've turned the heel and started with the gusset decreases. The twisted rib pattern used in the Charade socks is just a two row repeat and one of the row is just knitting. That row happened to line up with my non-decrease row. That makes it all very easy to remember. One the decrease rows, I have to do all the slipping stitches and yo'ing and passing slipped stitches over that makes up the twisted rib...and on the next row it's just knit, knit, knit. Nice.

So here you go, Beth. Your first sock as it currently stands.

I'm still dithering over paint colors. And I have to chose a color for the computer room. I'm thinking a pale, pale, pale yellow. With white ceiling.