31 December, 2007
Happy New Year's Eve; Snowballs...
[Edited to delete the Gushy Gram because I can't get the thing to stop TALKING when the page loads. You can go here to see it, though. Sorry 'bout that.]
26 December, 2007
On Books, and Love
For Christmas, I bought this edition of Pippi Longstocking for myself and for the family. David took it up last night for bedtime reading. My mom read this book as a child, and I remember her reading Pippi to me when I was very small. She obviously thought it was very funny. Later, I read the original and the sequels for myself, loved them, and still do. I know mom would have loved this edition. The illustrations are by Lauren Child, who writes Charlie and Lola - a new favorite in our family.
I have so many memories of books and mom. When I was 7 or so, I got a book called Arabel's Raven - I found it laugh-out-loud hilarious, and I just had to share it with someone. I must have read most of it aloud to mom, who listened, and laughed, with a patience I only truly understood once I had children of my own. I still love to read aloud, when it's something worth sharing, but it's so hard to LISTEN when someone else does the same (small David and Foxtrot comic anthologies, I'm talking about you), so I try not to read out loud too much, or too long.
In second grade, when I changed schools because we moved to New Haven, the teacher told my mom I was reading too much. Mom didn't take that well, thank God, and the (awful) teacher shut up about it.
Mom introduced me to books that she had read as a child (Mrs. Pepperpot, The Spettecake Holiday, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils - it's interesting in retrospect that all these Scandinavian books were available in the New Haven branch library we frequented...such variety is tough to find in the libraries I know today). And she found new books that she thought I'd like. I remember the first book I read was Sam and the Firefly. As soon as I figured that out, she gave me On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and I was off to the races, reading "like the wind, Bullseye!"
Mom loved those Little House books as much as I did, I think, and she re-read them often. She liked Farmer Boy best, because of all the food descriptions, and she really had an empathy for the characters in The Long Winter, because of all the long, hard Swedish winters she remembered. She didn't talk much about her childhood, but she did talk about the snow, the incredible deep snow that you could tunnel through, and wearing felt boots because leather would freeze and crack.
Later, I met books like The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lords of the Rings trilogy (and The Hobbit, of course), and the best of the best, The Once and Future King. I have read it uncountable times now, and it's still a book I'd take to a desert island. Mom loved it so much she embroidered a t-shirt with saying from the part where the Wart is turned into an ant: "Everythng Not Forbidden Is Compulsory." She grocked that.
Even when we were poorer than poor, there were always books. Books and bookcases were the defining decorative element in all our homes. Curtains? Thrift store finds or made from sheets. Chairs? Sofa? Thrift store for sure? (I got my love of thrift shops and yard sales from mom, as well. So many wonderful things we got second hand...) But books, books were always with us. The library was an important place, always. Wherever we lived, we knew the library intimately. And whenever there was any money to spare, we bought books - new, used, just books. I'm still a sucker for a bookstore, and I find it hard to say "No" to my own kids (or myself) in a bookstore, even here in England where books cost twice as much as in the States.
As I grew up, our tastes in comfort reading stayed similar - Josephine Tey (The Daughter of Time, Brat Farrar, The Singing Sands, all of them really), Dick Francis, Nevil Shute's A Town Like Alice, Helen MacInnes, Mary Stewart. When the Harry Potter books came out, she was every bit as hooked as the rest of us. It became a family affair, going to the bookstores on launch night. When I pick up old favorites from the shelf now, they're ones that mom and I both held and read many times, so I feel connected to her. It's a lovely feeling.
Reading is perhaps the best gift my mom ever gave me. I do wish so much she were still around to share that gift.
25 December, 2007
A Photo-laden Christmas Post
Once David opened this book (Do Not Open), it was difficult to get him to open anything else. It's just as riveting as he thought it would be. Seriously, he sat for the better part of an hour before he opened his other gifts.
He was quite happy with the Doctor Who action figures when he did open them, however. Here's Brannigan.
Lily, she was thrilled with her fairy wand and fairy wings from Santa Claus. Apologies for the blur in some of these pictures, but it's tough to find the right setting for early morning inside shots without making everyone look pasty white.
Probably the biggest hit for Lily apart from the fairy bits is Baby Alive. As you can see, they've bonded already. Lily said "She's the doll I've always wanted!" BA has been christened Isabelle. Thank you to Auntie Laura and Uncle Doug!
Apologies, Gentle Readers, for the poor layout of this post. My Mad Bloggin Skillz are not up to the challenge of getting the text to stay in the right spots today, but I did want to put the pictures in for you.
This wondeful thing is my present from David; it's an electric "wood stove" to heat the hitherto-unheated knitting house, and I've been wanting one for over a year. It's even nicer than I hoped, and I have it going in the big house today just so I can enjoy it. I hope you are having a cozy, comfy Christmas morning too, wherever you are.
24 December, 2007
The Waiting Is the Hardest Part...
How do you spend Christmas Eve? We have a little Norad Santa tracking happening, a little Christmas music playing, a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle to puzzle over, and some Christmas cards to marvel at. It's all good.
All our love to all of you - may you have a lovely Christmas.
23 December, 2007
A Little of This and That
Re the comments on the gingerbread house - yep, we really used duct tape! To keep it stable after changing from one to two floors, I frosted the gingerbread to a cardboard backing. Then I duct-taped the cardboard pieces together from the inside to form a frame before adding the roof. It worked really well. We do eat bits and pieces from the house over the season, but never before Christmas, and usually it's just the candy that gets nibbled. That may change with this house because I tasted some of the unused gingerbread and it ain't bad at all.
Watched The Santa Clause with kids this afternoon, which was fun. Now that they are abed, I am watching this:
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? It's Casino Royale, with the Hawesome New Bond Daniel Craig. As one of the mummies in the schoolyard put it, "He's tasty. " (Sorry, O husband mine :)...) This movie is a winner in the Bond genre. The opening foot chase blew my mind when I saw it in the theater, and I'm still impressed.
While I watch, I'm also working some mindless knitting - a version of the Yarn Harlot One-row Scarf. My evening knitting for the last little while has been a Sunday Market scarf of this same yarn (yes, Jill, the beloved Noro Kureyon is stiiiill going - I've gotten to knit so much neat stuff from this). I finished that this week, in time for Christmas giving even.
Anyway, the Market scarf/wrap was a loooong piece of straight stockinette, time-consuming because of its length but not particularly challenging. When you're done, you drop stitches allll the way down and end up with something nice and airy. The dropping of the stitches actually took me a couple of hours. It ended up about 2 feet wide by almost 8 feet long, I think, but scrunchable. It looked very dramatic in the Noro but I didn't get a picture on the recipient. I will try to do that.
This one-row scarf is a much smaller endeavor, about 6 inches across, and I am using my light-up needles for the first time, although the flash washed out the lights as well as totally changing the color of the wool. Knitlite needles - they are tres cool, and so easy to use while watching telly.
That's the news from Happy Acres. I hope you all are having good Christmassy fun, wherever you may be.
20 December, 2007
Yuletide Bakey Goodness
14 December, 2007
Miscellany, with Pictures
David left yesterday afternoon. Got e-mail today and he's arrived safely. Before he left, we decorated the tree. Trees.
One main tree (pre-lit and artificial) decorated to the nines by all of us, two little trees (also faux) decked out by the kids, and one pink tree dressed by Lily. They're all clustered in the playroom, with the nativity on the mantel.
We went The Way of the Fake Tree this year because I wanted to put it up while David was still here, but strangely, I wanted a tree that still had needles at Christmas. Now, me, I am not so good with the watering and care of cut trees. Additionally, taking out the real tree after Christmas is a two-person job. I'm burning piney candles, and pretending...
On Tuesday evening, Lily was one of four angels in the school Nativity pageant, which is the Big Annual Event for the Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 classes (pre-K, K, and first grade in the US). Here's a pre-performance shot. She was lovely, of course, very serious and focused. There were also many innkeepers, multitudes of animals, and the Holy Family. My favorite line? "You'll wike the bye-bee" by Mary, who has quite the Norfolk accent. [You'll wake the baby...]
On Wednesday morning, the costume got a repeat wearing when Lily and I woke up early so she could put a green "leafy" crown on and carry coffee and pastries by candlelight to the others in the house for St. Lucia Day.
This is a tradition in Scandinavian countries and I have foggy memories of doing it as a child with my own mom, who was Swedish. The holiday is really on the 13th, but because Dadster was leaving the 13th, we pushed it forward a morning.
D. left on Thursday. We dropped the kids to school, he said goodbye, and I drove him to the terminal. We were able to have lunch together because the plane was delayed coming in.
Then it was back home to collect the kids and head down to the unit's Christmas party. Babysitting was provided, the kids had a great time, and the grownups (that would be me) had a wonderful time. It was a good way to distract ourselves from the farewell.
Today, Lily woke up with a fever so she stayed home with me so as not to contaminate the classmates. Now that the kidlets are in bed, I'm going to read The Ipcress File, by Len Deighton, a golden oldie. A few months back, I watched the movie version, and found it really interesting. Very early Michael Caine.
06 December, 2007
When I brought the bag to the counter, the woman at the till asked if I would like the box it came in. Why, yes. Yes, I would! It's so nifty to know a little bit more about an item. This was an applique-by-numbers bag kit, from General Crafts in Baltimore, MD (obviously, karma meant for me to have this bag, with all my Baltimore time), from 1967. So it's 40 years old, and absolutely mint for all that. I'm absolutely tickled by my find. Now I just need the hairstyle and some white gloves, so I can be every bit as rockstar cool as the model on the box.
This blog showcases zillions of vintage bags; click on that embedded link for several that come from the same maker as my new baby. I like the travel-themed one, and the peacock bag, myself.
05 December, 2007
The Donkey's Trip
Hello. I’m the donkey Mary and Joseph chose to ride to Bethlehem. Out of all the donkeys, why me? And Bethlehem, of all places!
It’s so far away! Ah well. Shh, they’re talking! “Are we there yet?” That’s Mary. Nice woman, but kind of heavy. “Mary, just relax and hope the baby doesn’t come yet.” That was Joseph. When we pass people, I hear whispers about kings and something called “the East” or “the Orient”. What could it mean? Oh look! There’s Bethlehem. And there’s the inn where we’ll stay. Peace at last! Wait!
Joseph and the innkeeper are arguing. Joseph says to let them in because his wife is about to have a baby, but the innkeeper says they’re full. Ooh, now they’re shouting. The innkeeper says they can stay in the stable. Just in time, too! Mary’s just had her baby! He’s in the manger. Ooh, that’s a bright light outside. It’s almost like a star…
02 December, 2007
Tag, I'm It!
1. I (not-so-secretly) want to be an archaeologist when I grow up, and I think the archaeologists on Time Team are haaaawt, even the big scary, hairy guy.
2. I regret not haven taken physics in high school, and sometimes think about taking it now, except that college-level physics is going to be far beyond my ken.
3. I'm afraid to make a fire in our fireplace by myself.
4. I used to keep random action figures, like She-Ra, on top of my computer monitor at work. This amused me much more than it probably should have.
5. I like to draw out quiet people in a group setting. I probably talk too much in groups. Is this two things? Yes, yes, it is.
6. My mother made better lasagna than any Italian.
7. In my heart, I'm monumentally lazy.
I'm tagging David, Susie, Lynn, Vyvyan, Clarke, Samantha, and Jill. Go to it, my friends!
The Rules are as follows:
1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
01 December, 2007
New Month, Same Old Look
Can I just say that Playmobil Advent calendars are "some assembly required" items? Sheesh. Good value, though. A couple of years ago, I bought the Nativity one. This year, they are completely non-Christmas in theme - gamboling unicorns and princesses, and treasure-seeking knights. Good stuff, and they'll make a lovely addition to our Playmobil collection.
The Jultomten is back, and Lily was overjoyed to find him this morning. The Christmas elves come to houses where there are children of Swedish descent, and make behavior reports to Santa Claus. Handy, those elves.
Many events coming up this month, but one exciting Christmas-related one for our Swedeliness is Lucia Day. Lily is old enough for it this year. I have fuzzy memories of celebrating this when I was very small. Little girls in the household dress in white with a wreath of candles (maybe we'll make paper ones), and go around waking everyone serving coffee and pastries. It's a Good Thing. Depending on when D. leaves for Operation Deny Christmas we may celebrate earlier than 13 December, but I think it is a lovely tradition to keep.
We have Breakfast with Santa on the 8th, D's big party on the 9th, David's work Christmas party for the kids on the 10th, Lily's Nativity play on the 11th, as well as Lucia day and the work Christmas party on the 13th. BUSY week or two ahead.
30 November, 2007
Thinking about "first songs," I can recall several. I don't think of one in particular. I think my taste was greatly influenced by the fact that my sister is almost 6 years older than I am, and played a lot of neat stuff in her room or on our radio. Killing Me Softly by Roberta Flack, Stuck in the Middle with You by Stealers Wheel, Bye Bye Miss American Pie by Don McLean, I Wanna Hold Your Hand and Maxwell's Silver Hammer [there's a sick little tune] and so many more by the Beatles. Funnily, or naturally, I suppose, I still like every one of those songs.
I also remember Harper Valley PTA and Lynne Anderson's I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, from the time when mom worked nights in a country bar and I sometimes slept in my sleeping bag among the cases of liquor in the back room. Ahhh, the lack of child care for single parents.
The first albums I ever bought were Donny Osmond's A Time for Us and the Beatles' Abbey Road. Torn between pop and the groovy stuff, even at 8.
What were your first songs? First albums?
29 November, 2007
The Cold - it is being held at bay, but at night comes back to pummel me with achiness.
The Weekend - it approaches quickly, but not as quickly as I would like.
The Blogging - it lacks a certain something.
On the bright side, I had a really good time at the coffee morning today. It was a chance to chat, and just hang out, getting to know some ladies a bit better. A Good Thing.
Ciao for now!
28 November, 2007
I continued to base with Chrissie to drop her, and D. took kids toward home and fed them. While they were eating out, the road past our house was closing because of an accident, so they took back roads home. I followed, about 20 minutes behind, and even the diverted traffic was absolutely jam-stopped for about a mile before it unclogged. I think that's as bad as it gets here.
D. scratched his eyeball pretty badly with Lily's seatbelt, and as soon as I got home, I loaded everyone in my car to take him to the ER. Which is VERY busy because of the accident I mentioned. Plus two others. He's got at least another hour to wait, so I took the littles back home to put them to bed, and D. will get a taxi home once they patch him up.
It wouldn't be quite so bad, just painful and a pain, if it weren't for the fact he had had surgery on these very eyes not 6 months ago.
It started out as a good day....that seems like a loooong time ago.
27 November, 2007
One Word. Lots of One Words.
Schoolrun (two words)
Scarf (tie dye, for HP party)
Argos (delivery guys)
Dentist (forgot to reschedule - crud!)
Knitting (sadly ignored)
26 November, 2007
Four More Years! Four More Years!
Yes. Four More Years!!
I'm just a little happy.
25 November, 2007
[Update on the invite situation - we all decided that inviting his year group plus best friend in the next year up was OK, so 13 invited, Friend of Whom I Blogged invited in that number, and David pleased about all the possible attendees. Moving on, then.]
Parchment printer paper and real sealing wax were scored this past Friday. Tonight David and I finished work on the invitations, with many thanks for wording to the amazing Britta. This is a woman who has thrown three incredible Harry Potter parties and has posted her awesome preparations and pictures from the parties on her site. Wow, is all I can say. I'm not wooooooorthy.
Here you can see the invitation addressed to Lily [who will be put to work during the party dressing as Dobby the House Elf, and manning Honeydukes, the magical candy store. She's stoked.]
24 November, 2007
Lakeside Mall - spent a good hour in Starbucks with kids while David checked out some ManTiques. Spent a good hour in line for Santa's Grotto with Lily while Davids checked out MORE ManTiques. Yes, David did not want to see Santa. No, we have not had The Chat About Santa with David yet. Is it time? In denial here. Had an AWESOME dinner at Wagamama - something for everyone there. Miso soup for small D, rice and panko-crumbed chicken for Lily, udon for me, ramen for D the Elder, and yum for all.
Santa pic to follow - meanwhile I'm outta here.
23 November, 2007
We're Off to See Ikea....
Before the days of Ikea, back in the 1970s, getting Swedish food involved a trip to the Swedish Store somewhere in New York City. I have vague memories of stocking up on lingonberries, Swedish fish before you could buy them everywhere, and delightful clogs in perforated red leather. And Dala horses. In my childhood mind, I sort of thought the Swedish Store was an embassy, or consulate, or something official. It was a very important place, at the least.
22 November, 2007
Thank You for Being
21 November, 2007
The Windmills of My Day
20 November, 2007
19 November, 2007
Diary of a Poor Lad
some of last night's cheese. I took our last shilling to buy a
small meat pie for lunch and went to the market area. After I
took the pie home, I went to get some more money.
"Clear the street for you?" I asked a man, and when he
nodded, I swept him a path through the muck.
At noon I went home and found the rats had eaten my
blanket. I ate half the pie and went back to work. By the
end of the day, I had 10 shillings and sixpence - enough for
By tomorrow my hat will probably have been eaten. Ah well
- time for a bit of sleep
18 November, 2007
What Number Are You?
***You Are 2: The Helper***
You always put on a happy face and try to help those around you.
You're incredibly empathetic and care about everyone you know.
Able to see the good in others, you're thoughtful, warm, and sincere.
You connect with people who are charming and charismatic.
At Your Best: You are deeply giving, altruistic, and humble. You devote your life to others while caring for yourself too.
At Your Worst: You are manipulative and enjoy making other people guilty.
Your Fixation: Rejection
Your Primary Fear: Being unworthy of love
Your Primary Desire: To be loved unconditionally
Other Number 2's: Mother Teresa, John Travolta, Princess Diana, Dr. Phil, and Mr. Rogers.
What Number Are You?
I spent some quality time with the antique book booths; I could have spent hours, but there were so many more places to check out. One vendor was selling dozens of antique sewing machines. He showed me a few I have never seen before, and I took his number so I can take my UK-spec Singer Featherweight in for repair. Then there was Gracie's Toffee. Wow, that's good candy.
After my browsing/shopping, I did a volunteer shift for the squadron, who man a food booth for Filipiniana. Fantastic food, and it was really interesting to be behind the scenes. Good thing I brought a warm hat and an extra sweatshirt to layer, though, because those outdoor food booths? VERY cold.
17 November, 2007
What Do YOU Think?
A little background here: D. wants a Harry Potter-themed birthday party, and he's thought of tons of activities, etc. We talked about different ways to do the party, and have decided to go for a smaller group of invitees and having it here at home. He's limited to six guests so we can do more involved things. He didn't choose to invite one child who's among my favorite of all those he hangs out with. They seem to be irritating one another at school these days, and he hasn't invited him around in a while. I don't know exactly why I'm so bothered.
Yes, I do - when he does invite this boy around, they play SO well together, with focus and creativity. They can set up a train layout and go for hours. One on one, they get on so well, it's a shame it doesn't translate to school time. A lot of it stems from David and Friend being at very different levels in some subjects, I think. I worry that he's dismissive of Friend because "he's not as clever as I am" and doesn't see that although they may be on different math/literacy levels, they're probably the closest-matched when it comes to play. I think that's really short-sighted. But he is 8, after all. From my grown-up perspective, I hate to see him throw the friendship out with the academic bathwater, or whatever.
However, it's not my place to make my child's friends. It's not my place. It's not my place.
How would you feel? What would you do? Or not do? I'm really interested to know other people's opinions and ideas here.
I thought I might ask once, only once, if David wants Friend to come over for a play date this week. If yes, and it goes well, we'll ask him if he's changed his mind and wants to invite Friend to the party as well.
I have a week before we need to send out invitations...
Or should I just let it go, and send the invitations as he's decided already? I lean toward "Let it go" right now this minute. How about you all?
16 November, 2007
I haven't made a lot of knitting progress this past month (too busy having outings, etc.), but here's what I have got done on the Basic Black (that's Khaki in my world) Cardigan. That's 90% of the first sleeve, and it's a 3/4 sleeve at that. Not so much with the progress. I like the pattern, and I can actually knit while watching one of the many millions of episodes of NUMB3RS we've been catching up on. Oooh, dangling preposition. Bad me.
Other wearables are pictured here. The kiddoes wore silly hats at school to raise funds for Children in Need today. Quite fetching, actually....
15 November, 2007
The Good, The Bad, and The Funny
The Bad...does this image give you a clue? I broke a tooth tonight. It's a back molar that's had a root canal, I think, so no pain. Obviously, some urgent dental work is in my future. The Bad here is mostly trying to work my schedule so I can get that in. Tomorrow is not good - it's the squadron Thanksgiving luncheon and I really shouldn't miss it. Then there's the weekend. I'll have to chew one-sidedly and hope for the best.
The Funny...small D. is a major fan of thinkgeek.com, and found this video linked on their website. How to handle your office stress in a most entertaining fashion.
14 November, 2007
Lots of tasty nibbles, and we talked so much that the "hostess" ended up flipping the lights out on us to get us to scatter, like little ants at a picnic. There were some new faces, which is always great, and I think there'll be a cool day trip coming up. Christmas markets are getting into full swing now, and there's a Dickensian one in York, a HUGE one in Lincoln, all the German ones which are do-able as day trips, possibly even a King's Lynn one, although I haven't heard about it myself and I practically live there. Doing some research on that puppy today!
Today is set to be full of boring but necessary bits, like laundry, vacuuming, picking up, a trip to the grocery store, some volunteer-related calls, some volunteer-related list merging, and the usual stuff. Lily's got a friend coming over for playtime and tea, so I want to pick up some fresh playdough. If I had less going on, I think we'd make some, because that's a lot of fun, but their play time is limited, so I'll just have some ready. Our old playdough has gone sort of gray from repeated color blending, and sometimes it's fun to have the bright stuff.
13 November, 2007
Pictures as Promised
Today I did a little erranding, a little knitting, and tonight I'm heading out to a spouse group meeting. I always love these - it's so nice to talk to grownups, especially those who relate to your husband's crazy work...
12 November, 2007
Shopping Recap and All That
Pictures of the new jacket and bag and me to come, tomorrow, I hope.
Also, go see David's new game.
11 November, 2007
10 November, 2007
Not a big post today as we're heading out overnight. D.'s trying to figure out why our phonemail isn't working...both of us need to be reachable and get messages so it's another annoying thing.
Happy days to all of you, and calm, serene ones I hope.
09 November, 2007
08 November, 2007
Lovely New Jacket...
This is my newest clothing purchase. I am in luuuurve. Bought it last week at Tschibo in town for 17 pounds 50, after seeing it and thinking a week. I think it actually looks pretty good, although I am not the sleek chickie pictured here. The fitted cut works for me, and I love the chocolate brown wool.
Tschibo is a great shop - I thought it was only a coffee brand until I arrived in England. I've seen brick and mortar shops here and in Germany - the selection of items changes weekly, or bi-weekly and ranges from cooking gadgets to camping gear, jewelry and clothing to bicycles. You never know what's in stock, which makes it quite the adventure to stop in the shop.
FYI, the potentially bad news has turned out to be not bad, thank God. Life goes on, and life is good. Chocolate is also pretty good. And coffee. And Numb3rs. OK, I'm definitely in an "up" state of mind.
I cast on a new knitting thing yesterday. I'm not participating officially in NaKniSweMo ([Inter]National Sweater Knitting Month) but if a sleeve happens to be on my needles, and sweater bits happen to be knitted in November, it's not a bad thing. Working on the Basic Black cardigan from MagKnits, but in an olive khaki color. It's such a clean-lines sort of sweater that I have a teensy but of faith in my ability to add in bust darts. I'll keep ya posted, you lucky readers.
Has anyone out there started an Unoriginal Hat from the Yarn Harlot's recent post? So cute, so simple-looking. I have a ball of chunky wool that would rock out in this pattern. Maybe this weekend.
07 November, 2007
Vocabulary and Rice
Thanks to the Shrinking Knitter for the link.
06 November, 2007
Friends are a gift. We knew that, didn't we? However, on a day when I'm awaiting potentially very bad news, it was fantastic to be able to meet with a recent acquaintance for our weekly crafty time and end up not knitting at all, just talking about everything under the sun and cementing a new friendship. Maybe even the beginning of a new fitness buddy partnership, too!
Slowly, slowly, I'm gathering good friends here in England. I have tons of friendly acquaintances, but very few friends for just hanging out. Recently, that's been changing for the better, and I am so happy for it.
Thinking Happy Thoughts and Hopeful Thoughts...
05 November, 2007
Do you see in pixels? Stare at something solid-colored - do you see thousands and thousands of little dots? I also see these in busy, multicolored things but it's harder to notice. Comments most welcome - I'd like to know if I'm crazy or not.
04 November, 2007
All Over the Topical Map, but Not Very Exciting
Item one: Great new sweater pattern in Magknits. I like it a lot - simple, classic, and perhaps achievable for NaKniSweMo? I've been backing off the idea of knitting a sweater in November, but if it could be done, this is the one.
Item two: Wow, do we like Numb3rs (Num-thers, as I call it). We've been catching up with Seasons 1 and 2 so far. Great cast chemistry, way cool math and science, and good crime show plots. I love a show that makes math hot. Plus it stars David Krumholz' hair, all wavy and fabulous. If a little too greasy-looking at times.
Which brings me to item three, also hair-related: The Interwebs Nit-festation of 2007 has made its way from the midwest in the USA (see my girl SusieJ's blog) to here in Merrie Olde. Saw nits and a few crawlers in Lily's hair after her bath tonight, and auuuuuuuugh. Nit combing shows none in mine or small D's, and David's hair is so close-cropped you can check visually. But I will have to deal with Lily's, and the bedding, and the soft toys, and the upholstered furniture and carseat, and any coats, and auuuuuughhh again. I hate hate hate hate hate lice. I was very chilled about it with Lily but they really creep me out. Not a fan of the crawlies.
We had a note a couple of weeks ago from the school that there was a case reported so I have been watching but why, oh, why must they hit here? Whyyyyyyy?
Sorry. So, you see. Not a very deep-thoughts sort of post, but what is completely filling my brain tonight. Now, I'm off to have a beer, and maybe watch one more episode of Numb3rs.
03 November, 2007
Frivolous Posting - A Britney Fug-trospective
02 November, 2007
Operation Deny Christmas
David came home the other day with the news that, instead of missing Thanksgiving* on a short work trip, he may be gone for Christmas. He referred to these new plans as Operation Deny Christmas. Chances of this happening - approximately 100%.
I don't know exactly why this tickles me so much when it means he will be gone for Christmas, New Year's Eve, David's birthday, his birthday, my birthday and probably Valentine's Day, but I am still amused by it. Whatever makes me laugh, I guess. Now I keep coming up with other fun ways to refer to life events in our house. So far, I've created the following:
Operation Urgent Practice (when small D. has skipped tae kwon do practicing all week and needs to do his patterns a few dozen times to catch up)
Operation Moldy Tangles - tackling all the WIPs I have that are rapidly becoming UFOs in the knitting pile.
Operation Desperate Laundry - the baskets are overflowing and there are no clean schooliform shirts.
Operation Enticing Pizza - proclaiming the charms of visiting Pizza Express in hopes that I will not be making dinner that night.
Task Force Rolling Thunder - me, on a bad day.
* Missing Thanksgiving is no big deal, as there are only four of us, two of whom hate everything about Thanksgiving dinners except maybe pie. Besides, those two have school that day anyway, here in England. I could easily do without the festivities, and be thankful without the added calories.
01 November, 2007
Let's see. There were pumpkins. And Pumpkin Pi. Snork snork.
There was a naughty witch fairy, who went door-to-door with her small friend Piglet (small James, not pictured). There was also a skeleton pirate, who went door-to-door with his vampire friend (named James as well, also not pictured). There was much candy, and even a wandering candy minstrel, who charmed me. She was escorting her children around the neighborhood and had brought her own bowl of candy to hand out, since she wasn't at home to give it out. Very neat.
As we have for the past couple of years, we traveled to the nearest base housing area so that we could trick-or-treat in a concentrated zone of Americans, who are used to this sort of thing. The kids had a great time, and Lily fell FAST asleep in the car by 7:45 PM.
31 October, 2007
PSYCHOPHANTS for sycophants. Rocked me back in my seat.
Happy Halloween to you all, and I hope you're ready for the approaching deluge of postiness from me. Tomorrow NaBloPoMo begins...a post a day for the whole month.
25 October, 2007
Instead, let's distract ourselves (look, a puppy!!) with a quick meme, lifted from Robyn at www.bitchypoo.com. Mmmkay?
One word answers.
The Air: cool.
Favorite Fall Indulgence: coffee (wait, that's all-season. Pumpkin pie).
Out Your Window: gardener truck.
On Your Desk: no desk.
On Your Feet: clogs (and hand knit socks).
Favorite Fall Smell: woodsmoke.
Temperature On Your Thermostat: 20 degrees Celsius
Your Shirt: black sweater.
Your Hair: brushed.
Something You Want to Make Sure You Do this Fall: pumpkins.
You Last Took a Fall: ??.
Your Last Drink: water.
Your Last Meal: apple.
You’re Thinking About: blogging.
Favorite Fall Color: rust.
Your Take On Seasonal Novelty Flags (i.e. turkeys, pumpkins, scarecrows): Ehh.
A New Fall Show You Like: nothing new here.
Your Plans for the Evening: none.
Your Relationship With Pumpkins: friendship :).
20 October, 2007
In Lieu of a Cool Post from Me...
05 October, 2007
Too Many Needles?
Who knew I had at least a dozen crochet hooks, when I very seldom crochet?
Who knew I had 29 pairs of needles without getting even halfway through the pile? Let alone sock needles and circulars. Hmmm.
This does not include the several pairs of needles living out in the knitting house, and the needles that are living in various WIPs. Hmmmm again.
I have used the opportunity to get rid of almost a dozen pairs of soft plastic needles that were well warped. I have several orphan needles so far, and I think I'll be ditching those too, rather than banding them together hopefully.
In my defense, the vast majority of my needle stash comes from thrift stores and yard sales.
It will be good to have it all organized. I still need to figure out a better storage system then up-ended into containers. Perhaps a long scarf as needle roll for the meantime.
Anyone out there type "doe snot" for "does not" a lot? Anyone out there snort whenever they do this? I do, I do!
03 October, 2007
30 September, 2007
Here Comes October...
For anyone who doesn't know her blog, you MUST check out her posting on photography, especially useful if you want to make beautiful pictures of projects or yarn stash. It's a seminar-in-a-blog and I will be reading, and re-reading, in an attempt to get some better pictures than I have in the past.
That's all. Off to steam my stuffy head and possibly even clean a room or two. Or something.
29 September, 2007
For My Darling Husband....
and an apology performed in interpretive dance (use your imaginations here):
I was wrong. I was soo wroooong. I'm beginning to think I may not have been entirely correct, even.
You were not completely crazy to sign up for Facebook. In fact, you were quite clever. Perhaps even brilliant. Or am I getting carried away?
I got invited in this morning, and have spent much of the day off and on sending invites to friends and locating other friends on Facebook. If you know me, and would like to be my Facebook buddy, shoot me a line!
I'm also loading more patterns into Ravelry, as well as reading some of the group forums, although that REALLY can take up a whole day in itself.
Feeling low and lonely, and it's nice to reach out and contact friends, even when they're pretty darn far away.
It's a good thing I can act in puppet shows, make out-of-season Easter crowns, and supervise glitterglue painting while on the laptop, though, or Lily would be mighty bored today.
Saturday Slow; Whiny Bloggin'
So, early this morning, the boys took their overnight backpack and headed to the City to see Madame Tussaud's and who knows what all... Lily and I are staying home to be sickly in comfort, instead of suffering loudly in London.
Right now I am drinking delicious hot beverages and contemplating my first sinus/headache meds of the day. Lily is painting masterpieces with glue and glitter across from me. My idea of sleeping until 10:00 was soundly rejected at 7:00. Oh, well.
My head is a ball of stuffedness, and now it's traveling down to my chest for a cough. Doped up, I feel OK and function quite well, but without meds I'm a misery. And I don't want to be doped up all day and all night because I believe a cough needs to come out. Lily, on the other hand, got nothing more than a teeny sniffle, a teeny cough for a few hours, and seems to be perfectly healthy now. Good for her :)
On the bright side, David has offered me the chance to go to London next weekend, solo! After the Tae Kwon Do grading, I can go down on the train while he and the kiddies hang out at home. Yarn shops in the great metropolis, time to actually LOOK in the shops in Covent Garden, and maybe a show? Bliss if I feel better by then.
Today's plan for me? A quick library trip to return some (overdue) videos and (not yet overdue) books, and maybe some knitting. Laundry. Whoo hoo. A nap? A girl can dream...
24 September, 2007
Details: one skein of sportweight microfiber from Germany, size 5 US needles. Finished dimensions - approximately 12 by 80 inches. I used all but 15 grams of a 180-gram skein. The stitches seemed to fly off my needles, because the pattern is so easy to memorize. Three evenings of mindless TV and some knitting this morning was all it took. I think I'll be making this again, in the wider version. You can see the sheen of the yarn in the close-up shot.
22 September, 2007
This whole "I often think I'm losing my mind because my memory is so bad" business has its good points - expecting the cute duckies, I was shocked to the socks to see all this:
Aren't I lucky? Yes, I am! The kids have laid dibs on the candy, and report that the fizzy ones are excellent. I'm tickled to death at all the fun stuff. That yarn cutting pendant at bottom right is an awesome teal on the back, by the way. I shall be wearing it as jewelry as soon as I put a cord on. Thanks, Vyvyan - you made my day so much brighter!
I took advantage of the lack of pain to take a nice hike through the woods at Sandringham Park, heading off the big paths for some small, hillier ones. Beautiful pines and chestnut, ferns everywhere, and lovely, lovely blackberry brambles. Nothing is better than a blackberry plucked from the brambles, if you ask me.
Had a nice coffee afterward at the cafe, and then headed home where I worked on my
Nice feel to the yarn, two knots so far (grrrrr), and not suited to socks as I had originally planned. Lost the ball band somewhere or I would add it in my Ravelry stash. This is a VERY quick knit. I used the Raveler-suggested modification of making the "k" between the "kbl" stitches into a purl. Doing this allows you to leave off the stitch markers.
Did I mention how much I am enchanted by the Ravelry revelry? It's ever so much fun adding in stash and WIPs, etc. Let's not even mention how groovy the groups are and how much time can be wasted reading the message traffic in one's groups. Not that I would know...
I didn't mention the ultrafabulous knitting bag I bought myself last week - the fabric is so pretty! It's actually a travel toiletry bag/set, with vinyl-covered fabric, but it is just right for a small project or two. The big bag unzips to reveal two huge zippable side pockets, and all those cute little baglets for various and sundry bits. It's extremely fetching. Too bad it doesn't match any of my jackets...
19 September, 2007
How gorgeous is THIS?
14 September, 2007
To go along with NaBloPoMo and NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), here's NaKniSweMo (National Knit a Sweater in a Month). How groovy is that? The new Knitty is out and there are a caboodle of good sweater patterns in there, not to mention the fab socks, and the to-die-for lace stole on the cover.
Aaaanyway, lots of sweaters to be made out there in the big wide world, and perhaps one of them will be mine.
In a completely different vein, this post about "back to school" by Fussy made me snort out loud with laughter. She is SO on.
I'm feeling OK - no knitting today yet, but I am about to sit down with it now...and that's a Good Thing.
10 September, 2007
[OK, looks like Blogger is having a photo issue, so I will link to the pictures in my Flickr queue instead. The first is 2.5 repeats of the basketweave part of the Hanami stole. For Hanami Progress, click here. The second is my driving/waiting for school pick-up/TV project, the Syrian lace shawl from Victorian Lace Today. This pattern is oh-so-simple so far, and shows off the kid mohair colors really well. For Syrian Lace, click here. ]
No walking today, but I did do some laundry and I spent a hour in the knitting house. And the house is clean. Except for the guest room, aka The Dumping Grounds. I really need to go in there and dedicate myself to putting things away. Not today, I think...
Instead, I am off to the grocery store in a minute to shop for this week's dinners. I'm using my Saving Dinner menus all week, and I hope they'll be a relative success with the kids (as in no tears). We're prepared to listen to/ignore the "this looks yucky" drama if necessary, however.
It was a good weekend around here - we wandered the High Street in Lynn on Saturday, had Pizza Express for dinner (I still love me some Pizza Express!), saw a shooting star in the evening. All good stuff. I had Knitting Time yesterday, and Ravelry Exploration Time here and there all weekend. I like the groups feature, and have had some good fun entering projects and books from my library. Haven't seen anyone I know on the site, but I don't know how I would "see" them anyway. There is so much to explore, you could stay busy for months. I look forward to entering stash and needles information. That alone will keep me busy for months :)
08 September, 2007
Updating Here and There...
I've cast on the Hanami stole (gorgeous pattern available here). Check out this post at the Hanami KAL blog for my progress pictures. It's looking very nice, I think.
I got my Ravelry invitation. SWEEET! Didn't the kids used-to say that? Heh. I'm Susieknits over there, but have only set up a profile. Will explore the site in greater detail next week, when the kids are in school.
My MS3 stole, the pattern of which has been revealed now, is still holding at Clue 4. I thought I'd dive in to finish when the kids headed to school, but I was distracted by my Hanami start-up. I may alternate days working on them, or I may finish it up after Hanami. I love the MS3 stole so far, had a bit of angst about the big change in style it takes midway through the pattern, and have decided (based on looking at others' blogs) that I will knit it as written. However, I'm feeling the Hanami love right now, so that's what I want to knit.
This seems to be the Year of Lace for me - Snowdrop, Falling Leaves, Argosy, MS3, Hanami... Remember my Argosy scarf? Argosy is sort of geometric lace. I bought some amazing hand-dyed, handspun Blue-faced Leicester wool at the Sandringham Craft Show in May, and it was telling me it wanted to be an Argosy. I cast on last month, I think, and it is knitting up beautifully. So beautifully, in fact, that I am going to rip the first version, and use it for something else. Check out the contrast between versions. The handspun is wider and a bit more vivid. I like it a lot. I also figured out that my decreases had been slanting incorrectly (I am a sort of backwards knitter), so I've corrected that in Version 2.
On the Sock-knitting Front, when last we posted, I had finished the stripey socks and the blue Horcrux socks. I had cast on another Horcrux for small D, but realized I would run short of the yarn I was using, so that's getting ripped out. Love that pattern, though. So quick and so fun!
I also cast on a basic sock in a tan variegated microfiber I got in Germany this spring, but I'm not loving it, and there's enough yarn there to do a small scarf/shawlette, so goodbye to that sock as well.
On the Non-knit Front, I'm doing better every day. I'm sad, but there are good times each day. David and the kids make me happy, a lot. I fell off the Eating-Sensibly wagon, to the tune of 10 pounds, and have pretty much climbed back on. I found a crafting group that meets Tuesdays on the base, and am hoping to make some like-minded friends there. I'll be walking for exercise, which should help my state of mind, too. Knitting is therapeutic as well, as it always is.