31 December, 2008

New Year's Eve

I wish you all a wonderful New Year's Eve, and a fantastic new year to come. I'm feeling like 2009 will be a good year, and a productive one.

I am so thrilled to be feeling better, finally. This flu completely kicked my butt. I commented to David today, as we had stir-fry for lunch, "It is so nice to have the energy to cook something from scratch again." I even made a start today on the MOUNTAINS of laundry that built up over two weeks of sickness. Three loads down, and six to go.

Our New Year's Eve is going to be lovely and low-key. Lots of nibbly party finger foods, the Looney Tunes DVD set to help us stay awake (small David's idea, after enjoying it so much last year), and then fireworks on the BBC on the big telly. Good times...

Christmas was good - I was still sick then, and slept much of the day, but the kids really enjoyed their presents and David made a lovely ham for Christmas dinner. Kid David's 10th birthday was low-key but nice. He requested Pizza Express for his birthday meal, and we were happy to comply. I cannot believe he is into two digits now. After birthday dinner, we looked at newborn David pictures and squeezed him a lot. He's also grown half an inch this month, as has Lily.

19 December, 2008


Sick, sick, sick. I spoke too soon. After I posted Weds. afternoon, the symptoms came back with a vengeance, and I have been laid out on the couch, shivering and acheing and miserable, coughing. Add to that tossing my cookies violently, after trying to take cough medicine.

Small ones are coughing but fever-free. Both have been angels, and very good about getting their own food, etc. David came home Thursday coughing and shivering, and seems to be 24 hours behind me in symptoms, but without fever. Of course, he got a flu vaccine through work, so we think maybe that has lessened the impact.

Right now, I feel stuffy and achey and nauseous, but that is pretty great compared to before. Thanks to my angel neighbor, who dropped off AlkaSeltzer Cold and Flu on the doorstep after she called this morning to see how we were because I didn't make the school run. I cried tears of joy when David brought me the medicine. I'm not kidding.

17 December, 2008

Easy Christmas Elves for Knitters

The lurgy's on me with a vengeance, but had to struggle up off the couch to share this post with you. Check it out. Wouldn't those make the CUTEST Christmas elves ever?

Also, I totally love my husband, who wrangled dinner and managed to find one of the last two Christmas gifts to be got for kids, in between picking up new uniform items and a ton of other errands. Even as I type, he is upstairs putting Lily to bed so I can moan, cough and blow my nose in comfort. He does it all, not because I ask, but because he's the dad. And a very, very good guy.


This lovely photograph is not icicles. It's the flu virus. Who knew something so lethal could be so beautiful

As the title says, I've been derailed. Yesterday morning, I was fine. Yesterday afternoon, I coughed once or twice. By 5 PM, I was starting to feel shivery. It all went downhill from there. I shivered under 3 blankets, with a lovely fever, aches, and chills. Did I mention chills? Fortunately, by this morning, the fever and its friends were gone, except for a brutal razorlike cough and headache. I don't think it's flu because it's moved so quickly through the stages, to be honest. It sure felt like flu, though. Maybe it's Super(Rapid) Flu...

Sounds like the day's back on track. Right? Not so fast. Small D. complained of feeling cold and tired last night, and went to bed voluntarily at 6:30 PM. He was a bit warm last night when I made it up to bed, but at 7 this morning, he had a good ole fever and a massive headache. I got Lily (still healthy, but for how long?) to school and dosed up David (still wan, in bed) with some Calpol. He complained that his legs were "dizzy" when he got up to use the bathroom, so I've moved him into our bed. Dizzy legs and a loft bed are a dangerous combo. He's feeling less headachey now, but is still happily in bed as of 11:15 so you KNOW he's not feeling well.

So. I have sympathy for him. Believe me, I do, especially after how miserable I felt last night. However, I'm wondering where I will find an extra day in my calendar... I have had to cancel my drop-in at craft morning for Christmas festivity, the meet-up with my girl Chrissie to exchange presents, and the mailroom run to mail off "New Year's" packages (little somethings for my sis and family, etc.). And the purchasing of the last bits (paper goods, snacks, soda) for Saturday's Christmas party at the chapel. And the purchasing of the last presents for David and Lily with money from Grandma and Grandpa (I have put David on the case there, though - we'll get it done!). And the mini-commissary run. And I am sure there are 50 other things to be done.

Instead, I'm here at home curled around a mug of herbal tea, and adding sneezes to my repertoire. All things considered, I'm probably better off here than breathing on friends and the public, but I feel like such a slacker. I could sort and wrap the 30 Santa presents for Monday's Santa event at the squadron, but I don't want to risk David seeing them, even though he "knows" about Santa. There are also, of course, the kids' own Christmas presents still to be wrapped, but the same applies there.

At least I have a festive environment in which to sit and be miserable. I have warm things to drink, blankets to wrap up in, and heat to savor. I have a beautiful Christmas tree to look at, and a stunning evergreen/floral arrangement to dote upon (thanks to the three lovely ladies who will remain anonymous). I must download the pictures I took, so you can all see how pretty it makes the living room.

15 December, 2008

Christmas Cards for Bloggers

Because you know the three wise men were bloggin' dudes. This card absolutely cracks me up.

Go here to see all 11 great geek Christmas cards.

p.s. Twelve days of Christmas gifty update.  Day 1 was icicle ornaments, day 2 was a dozen mini-candy canes, and day 3 (today) was a set of Cadbury milk chocolate ornaments.  How sad will it be if they don't even make it as far as the tree?  YUM!

13 December, 2008

Secret Santas

I like surprises, when they're nice ones, and I got one of the nice kind this week.  Someone from church put together a Secret Santa Sisters bag for me, with 12 days of Christmas.  These particular 12 days started this morning (13 December) and will take me up to Christmas Eve.  The kids and I had a fun time sorting the little packages by day and putting them under the tree before I opened day 1.  Now that I'm a "grown-up," Christmas is about making things special for the kids, more than presents for me, and I generally like it that way.  So I was surprised at how FUN it was to have packages of my own, and a little something to look forward to every day as we prepare for Christmas.  This Secret Santa thing...it's cool.  Very cool.

09 December, 2008

Gratitude, or...When I Was a Kid.

When I was a kid, we had to walk to school. In the snow.  Uphill. BOTH ways.  You know the drill... [Actually, my mother totally won this one with "When I was a kid, the snow came up to the second story sometimes. We had to shovel a path.  We STILL walked to school.   It was so cold we couldn't wear rubber snow boots. Ours were FELT." All true, boys and girls.  Rural Sweden during the World War II years.  She didn't see a banana until she was 9, after the war.  That impressed me, and my children.]

It amazes me sometimes what we, and our children, grow accustomed to.  My friend Sheena sent me this link.  Watch, laugh, and remember to be a little bit grateful for all we have today.

08 December, 2008

Our Christmas Traditions

I've written about the Christmas elf in this post but I wanted to blog it again, for Jenn at Frugal Upstate, who is doing a collection of Christmas posts. This week, she's talking about frugal traditions.

For us, Advent calendars and the Christmas elf mean Christmas is coming.  Every year, we buy a chocolate Advent calendar for each kid  (pound shop or grocery store).  In addition, we have two felt calendars with pockets (very pretty nativity scene on each), and every day there is a tiny gift in the pocket, like a 20p coin, a small candy cane, or a chocolate coin. 

The Christmas elf is a tradition that comes from my family. My mother was Swedish, and the Jultomten are a Scandinavian thing.  At the beginning of December, the elf appears in our house to watch over the children and report back to Santa Claus. Every day, he's somewhere new (usually somewhere up high so little fingers won't grab him).  Ours is a little wooden elf (an ornament from IKEA bought years ago).  He's about 3 inches tall. When I was small, the Christmas elf was made from a wooden spool. He had a red corduroy jacket, a stocking cap, and ravelled wool for a beard.  I can still remember him vividly, although he was lost many years ago.

The kids LOVE the Christmas elf tradition. It brings them downstairs, excited, every morning.  On Christmas morning, he lands in the tree, then disappears until the next December.

Christmas Trivia

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your friends. My little silliness for you....

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping Paper

2. Real tree or Artificial? I love real trees but we have a pre-lit artificial one right now, and I love the lack of shedding needles. I just burn a pine candle and pretend :)

3. When do you put up the tree? Sometime early in December

4. When do you take the tree down? On Epiphany (6 Jan), although there was one memorable year it was still up at Eastertime. That would be why I like to take it down earlier these days.  The shame...

5. Do you like eggnog? Yep, even the kind in a can...

6. Favourite gift received as a child? Many, but I remember the year I got a Fisher Price Little People castle and A-frame. That was a VERY good year.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, plus some on the tree. This year, the nice set and the Veggie Tales set have gone AWOL. I hope I find them this week...

8. Hardest person to buy for? Family gift exchange

9. Easiest person to buy for? Lily

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? E-mail, the past few years. I love, love, love getting mailed cards, don't get me wrong. However, I get overwhelmed at the cost of mailing to all our friends and family, and am trying not to feel guilty about cutting out mailed cards.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? If there was one, I don't know what it was. I don't really care what I get - I just like being here at Christmas, KWIM?

12. Favourite Christmas Movie? Lots! A Christmas Story (you'll put your eye out!), Elf, It's a Wonderful Life...

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually November, although I may find something early and put it aside. 

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't know...I might have at some point, but I can't recall off-hand.

15. Favourite thing to eat at Christmas? Swedish gingerbread cookies (and anything else in my path)

16. Clear lights or coloured on the tree? I like both - we have clear lights on this tree.

17. Favourite Christmas song? O Come All Ye Faithful, O Holy Night, Mary Did You Know?, Silver Bells, White Christmas...all of em.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Stay home, although home is far away from family...

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Dasher-Dancer-Prancer-Vixen-Comet-Cupid-Donner-Blitzen. And himself...Rudolph

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? A star. Actually it's a beautiful greenish copper starfish star. Santa brought it when we lived in Monterey.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Pajamas for kids on Christmas Eve, usually, and everything else in the morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? The greed in the air, mailing deadlines, feeling guilty about not doing cards.

23. Favourite ornament theme or colour? Exploded Ornament Boxes...I like a LOT of stuff on the tree, and I don't have a color theme. Although we do always have red beaded garlands on the tree.

24. Favourite for Christmas dinner? Ham.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? Happiness for everyone

26. Who is most likely to respond to this? I'm not tagging anyone. Hope you had fun reading!!

06 December, 2008

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas...

It's been a very Christmassy couple of days here at Casa KnitFarm.

Last night, we went to the school's Christmas coffee evening. The bigger kids ran games (guess how many sweets, name the bear, etc.), there were cakes and coffees, tombolas, a raffle, and the children's Christmas craft projects were for sale to the parents. 

I love that part :)  They make the projects - we buy the projects...like we wouldn't!!

Lily made a Christmas mug, and some fudge to fill it.  Yom.  David made mincemeat and a candle in a holder.   We all had a grand time, and even won a Chinese-themed food basket in the raffle.  There was also a Santa's grotto. Santa had gifts for all.  Lily got a craft kit and David got a stargazing kit, with a booklet, charts and glow-in-the-dark stars.  Very cool. We've been hearing about constellations ever since.

Today we woke up early, so the kids and I could go to the annual Breakfast with Santa on base (only one parent per family, for space reasons).  It was terrific.  David and Lily loved putting weird toppings like cherries and chocolate chips on their pancakes, there were games and crafts, and Santa himself, of course.  Santa once again had a gift for every child.  Lily got some Blendy Pens (which they both played with all afternoon), and David got a gift card, which we took right over to the BookMark.  He used the gift card to get If You're Reading This, It's Too Late by Pseudonymous Bosch.  Is that not the most amazing title?

Tonight, we put up the Christmas tree.  I'm really pleased with how it looks - we managed to wedge a ton of ornaments onto the tree, even though it is smaller than trees we've had in past years.  Sparkly, sparkly, sparkly...

I'll post a few pictures -  kids with Santa (Lily looks nonplussed, as usual, but also has a cold), kids under tree, and a random shot of somewhere on the tree...

I love Christmastime. That's all I have to say about that!

04 December, 2008

The Movie

To answer the multitudes who inquired about Quantum of Solace, it's almost as good as Casino Royale, which blew my mind when it came out.  See Charming Husband's blog for a slightly more critical (and fairly so), but still positive, review.

Great action sequences, interesting female character, compelling story even.  Really, though, there are only three words necessary to explain why I enjoyed this film.

Best. Bond. EVAR. [Still.]

03 December, 2008

Perfect Day

Recipe for the perfect day
Take one husband, add train ride to Cambridge, sunny crisp weather, a trip to the Apple Store and John Lewis (and many other browsing opportunities), Wagamama for lunch, chocolate, the new James Bond flick, and a birthday present found for darling son. (Check out that link  - very cool.)

That was today, and it was wonderful.  Thanks to our awesome friend, who came over with her daughter to play, make pizza, and babysit so we could come back later than usual.

I feel like Christmas came early!! 

[Not so confidential to David:  I love you, baby...]

02 December, 2008

Random Morning Thoughts on a Wintry Day

D. looked out the window a little while ago, and reported, "It's SNOWING."  It was, too...big fat flakes.  Now, of course, it's raining, but it's wintry cold nonetheless.

Later, we have ballet run and a Christmas evening for me (ladies from church).

Turkey soup is in the works, so the house smells yummy. I have hot cocoa nearby, and I just took the Princess Bride Trivia Test.

I'm Inigo Montoya. Heh.  Try it for yourself...

Inconceivable! You scored ###!

A decent score, but you can do better. You may not have studied swordplay for 20 years, or watchied the movie 20 times, but you have seen and appreciated it, probably more than once. You are familiar with the basics but you need to work on the finer points (pun intended.) Watch it a few more times and try again.

01 December, 2008

To Start Off Your Holiday Shopping...

Happy December, everyone!!

If you're a yarny person, Sonny and Shear's got a nice 15% off coupon for the next 2 weeks, and a good contest as well. This is one of my favorite on-line retailers - AWESOME customer service. Check it out:

Now for December's contest. Who in Cher's life was named "The Bagel Boy" by the press?

Email your entries to contest AT sonnyandshear DOT com by December 27, 2008. Include your name, the name of your blog (if applicable) and, if you’d like, include your Ravelry ID as well. A winner will be selected using the handy dandy random generator and will be able to choose a skein of Blue Ridge Yarns (either one) in the in stock color of their choice.

 COUPON - Have a fiber filled Christmas. Save 15% off your total order*, by using the coupon RudolphTheRedNoseSkeindeer. The coupon expires December 15, 2008. (Madlinetosh is exempt. Coupon does not apply to club registrations, special orders and cannot be combined with other coupons.)

30 November, 2008

Santa Has a Blog!

Who knew!?  Yes, the Claus Chronicles is out there.  Ran across it today when small D. was researching time zones and Santa delivery tracking for a school assignment.  It looks pretty funny, actually...

Today is the final day of NaBloPoMo 2008. That snuck right up on me. I still find it hard to believe I've made it every day.  Wooohoooooo!

29 November, 2008

Great Quote

I saw this quote today in a Ravelry forum. This one's for you, sweetie DH! Isn't it great?

“Sovereign ingredient for a happy marriage: Pay cash or do without. Interest charges not only eat up a household budget; awareness of debt eats up domestic felicity.”

Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love, 1973

We're doing OK - my little car is back from its tune-up and repairness. One little part remains to be replaced, but DH has Ebayed it and will be sticking it in place this week. Meanwhile, the Awesome Mechanic has done some tricky bypass of said part, so the car won't just...stall. Cool.

I've even thought of a good Christmas present for the Great Gift Swap - can't mention here as potential giftee in-laws may be reading, but hope you'll like it!

28 November, 2008


My friend Susie's brother David didn't survive the emergency surgery yesterday. Please, keep her and all of David's family and friends in your thoughts at this heartbreaking time.

27 November, 2008

Healing Thoughts and Prayers Needed

My friend Susie's brother, who's named David, was very badly injured at the start of this month. He had made some good progress in the hospital, but now infection has set in and things are quite serious. If you're a praying person, please say a prayer for him and his family, or send healing wishes. They can use all the good thoughts you can spare.

Today is American Thanksgiving. I'm so thankful that our little family is here and healthy, and able to celebrate the holiday, even if the kids don't like anything except the pumpkin pie.

26 November, 2008

Scary, Scary Numbers

Spent my day with stomach upset and TV watching...not much to share with you, Gentle Readers, except this horrifying thought, from an article David showed me:

The current Credit Crisis bailout is now the largest outlay In American history.

Jim Bianco of Bianco Research crunched the inflation adjusted numbers.
The bailout has cost more than all of these big budget government expenditures – combined:

• Marshall Plan: Cost: $12.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $115.3 billion
• Louisiana Purchase: Cost: $15 million, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $217 billion
• Race to the Moon: Cost: $36.4 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $237 billion
• S&L Crisis: Cost: $153 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $256 billion
• Korean War: Cost: $54 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $454 billion
• The New Deal: Cost: $32 billion (Est), Inflation Adjusted Cost: $500 billion (Est)
• Invasion of Iraq: Cost: $551b, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $597 billion
• Vietnam War: Cost: $111 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $698 billion
• NASA: Cost: $416.7 billion, Inflation Adjusted Cost: $851.2 billion
TOTAL: $3.92 trillion

25 November, 2008


It's mighty cold here in Norfolk this week. Cold wind, cold rain, cold hail, even that snow on Sunday.  Makes me thankful for heat, thankful for down comforters, thankful for woolen socks, and thankful most of all for a warm spouse at home. It's a good thing I'm practicing the thankfulness, with Thanksgiving jsut around the corner. We expats have to do our thing without benefit of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade or a jillion football games.  Just turkey, pumpkin pie, and each other.  [Actually, I think that's nicer...]

24 November, 2008

Completely Random. Also, Happy...

First off, happy.  David is home, and off work for the next long little while - see his blog for details.  It's a good thing.  We may even have a date or two in there, as well as some great days together.

On to randomness.  Haven't been knitting in days and days, and I realize it's because I have been avoiding the Mystery Socks.  Love the wool, loved the cuffs, love the ankle pattern.  Don't love continuing the pattern on the top of the foot, for a couple of reasons.  I don't like bulk over my instep, and I reaaaally don't like having to think about a pattern for half a round and then knit plain, for row upon row.  Solution therefore is to rip back to the heel, and reknit the foot in plain stockinette, so I have the joy of the pretty pattern up top and the comfort of plain vanilla along the foot. 

Smart, no?  I plan to do this tonight, while David and I watch an episode of Life together.

More randomness...still loving the audiobook of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.  I'm through disc 8 of 11 now, listening only in the car.  My rhetorical question is this:  If you were an author, and you put in a character who was also your namesake, would you make her the incredibly annoying, rather dull, superhumanly nice character?  Why?  Especially when it's rather obvious that you are a student of human nature, and you DON'T really think the best of everyone, or else you never would have written the book.  Ahem.

23 November, 2008

Off Tenterhooks

I'm off tenterhooks because David is HOME!!  I was on tenterhooks (how I love that phrase) all morning, from the time I was woken up by a phone call (first plane delayed by three hours, please call all affected families) and looked out the window to see snow.

Scrooge that I am, I was not happy about the snow.  Nor was I happy about the freezing rain that fell for an hour.  When it changed to big white fluffy flakes, the children could not resist going out to enjoy it and try a few snow angels.  I spent the time inside, worrying about whether it would let up enough so I could get up the hill and out of the village.

Then, alleluia, around noon, the sun came out and things started slushing up.  We made it down to base in ample time, and David was only the teensiest bit behind the announced time. 

He is here. He is home. He is safe. My cup runneth over.

22 November, 2008

Hey, It's Tomorrow!

Here I thought I was getting in a double post today, but really I'm posting for tomorrow already.  Today. Whatever - it's late. Or early.

So....Twilight. Sparkly chaste vampire love and all that.  Yes, I totally AM going to see this movie as soon as possible. And I shall immensely enjoy myself.  Even though I'm a grown-up. Shut up.  Heh.

However, despite my affection for the characters, I still found this Go Fug Yourself post hilarious.  Even grungy, that Cedric Diggory/Edward Robert Pattinson fellow is still awfully pretty, don't you think?

21 November, 2008


Doesn't that sound fun? Knittingfrau is planning a little Scrooge knitting (knitting something fabulous for one's self in the holiday season). If I had the yarn pictured in her post, I'd be making something for myself, too! Go have a peek.

I'm not a holiday knitter, in any event. I think it's hard to find someone who appreciates handknits. In addition, some people equate "handmade" with "cheap" unless it's a craft they are intimately involved with themselves.

Lily FeverBean is feeling better. No fever since yesterday late afternoon. Now she and David have matching coughs. How lovely! Just in time to welcome Daddy home in a couple of days, too...

[note - edited this because it didn't pass the “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?”  test.]

20 November, 2008

Day Three of FeverGirl, plus Bonus Funny!!

Just as the title says, Lily Bean was home for the third day in a row because she was still running a temperature at 3 this morning.  Medicated that away, but she was definitely blossoming with a great cough by this morning.  So no school.  Unfortunately, I had unavoidable errands on base, so she had to endure two long car rides, but all was OK.  A couple of naps, even, so you know she wasn't at her best.

No fever since around 3 PM today, so one hopes we're back into normal "cold" territory again.

Sorry I haven't got any knitting to share with you;  I haven't picked it up all week!  However, I do have a funny bit about the decline of maths instruction over the years.  Enjoy...

The Evolution of British Maths Teaching

1. Teaching Maths In 1970

A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

2. Teaching Maths In 1980

A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or £80. What is his profit?

3. Teaching Maths In 1990

A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100. His cost of production is £80. Did he make a profit?

4. Teaching Maths In 2000

A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100. His cost of production is £80 and his profit is £20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

5. Teaching Maths In 2010

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of £20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers. )

19 November, 2008

Black Boxes and Kind Thoughts

Lily's "polly" (poorly, as she pronounces it) again today, so we are once more housebound for the day. No big deal, really  - she's still got a fever, but is less wan than yesterday, so I expect she'll be feeling much better tomorrow.

Black Boxes - check out the widget to the right here. If you click on Decide, it gives you a series of choices and then you can click on a blog it thinks you might like.  Useless, but fun.

Kind Thoughts - while surfing blogs this morning, I came across a line in a comment that didn't really have much at all to do with the original post, but had a lot to do with what I was thinking. Here it is:

.... the sign over the phone read: “Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?” and hung there for 12 years.
That's a continuing struggle for me, to keep  from saying unkind or judgmental things about other people.  The quote above's quite simple, but it packs a punch.  How much better could I be if I subjected everything I say to those tests?

18 November, 2008

Love Letters

Have you ever gotten a love letter? The best feeling in the world. I'd like to share mine with you. My husband - he's a lovely, loving, warm, wonderful dude and I thank God every day for having him in my life. "I think we'll keep him," to paraphrase the horrible old Geritol ads.

Google Ancient Rome

Have you see this?  Google Earth has created a virtual ancient Rome.  Seems like a great tool for school lessons, among other things.

Another slow day at Casa Knit Farm.  Lil's got a little fever.  She seems otherwise pretty sparky, but given the rash of sick kids at school, I'm keeping her home today.  My babysitting friend is still willing to come tonight, unless the Bean feels worse, so I will still be going to the grant workshop tonight, in hopes of finding out how to get lots of lovely money for the preschool.

Otherwise, the day's a bit derailed.  Ah, well...

17 November, 2008

Feeling Logey But Still I Bring Gifts...

Hi, Gentle Readers...I ended up taking a "sick day" today.  Woke up with a narsty tummy, and after I got Lily to school  I came home, cancelled plans for today, and stayed on the couch with The Great Escape.

Feeling a bit better, but just tired, now. Lily and I are watching Valiant (a cartoon about WWII homing pigeons), and David's at Cubs (wonderful neighbor driving again).  Once I get Lily to bed, and David comes home, I will soon be in bed myself.

However, I do have a little something for you, especially if you're a Doctor Who fan.  There's a link to the Children in Need Doctor Who preview here.  Enjoy!  We did.

16 November, 2008

And So It Begins....

Nothing starts off the holiday season like a quick viewing of a Rankin-Bass production. Ahhh, the stop-motion animation of my youth. Loved 'em all, except for the Little Drummer Boy, fo some reason. We're watching Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town right now...

You know what would be great? A Wallace and Gromit Christmas film. That'd be awesome.

15 November, 2008

Saturday, Scattered Day - Some of Everything

Today's been a pretty good day so far.  We headed to base early because I wanted to meet a friend at the Christmas Bazaar, via a stop at the mailroom where a package was waiting (yarn and little girl clothes...  thanks, Jill - you rock!). The Bazaar was sort of Meh, but the kids enjoyed themselves and got to go on a couple of rides. I had fun spending a bit of time with Chrissie and browsing around, even if there was nothing that shrieked Buy Me.

Kids are watching Ratatouille (thank you, library, for free video rental) and I am catching up on blogs. After bedtime, I'll be collating some stuff I've written down and collected and getting my Sunday School lesson ready for tomorrow. Oh, and the house is still pretty clean.  Good times!!

Link of the Day - Feminist Mormon Housewives. The title alone makes this blog worth a visit.  The group of bloggers here talk about anything and everything, and the viewpoints are all over the map.  Many times, the discussion happening in the comments can be even more interesting than the blog posts.

14 November, 2008

How Did I Miss This?

A new on-line knitting magazine? Goody!! This is only the second issue of Twist. Isn't that cover sweater gorgeous?

Friday Links to Make You Laugh

I confess it - I have read Twilight.  My niece brought Twilight along this summer and I picked it up and inhaled it.  In fact, I've now read the whole series (thanks, Afton!). It's cheesy, but it's fun - chaste, angsty teen vampires and the klutzy, angsty girl who loves them. Oh, and her werewolf best bud.  Anyhoo, the movie opens soon, and someone's done a hilarious trailer spoof.  Funny, but a thousand times funnier if you've actually read the book.

Continuing the funny theme, have you ever seen the Saturday Night Live synchronized swimming mockumentary? Harry Shearer and Martin Short are two synchronized swimming brothers, one of whom can't swim very well.  Hilarious, although I can't find a link (darn copyrights!).  Anyway, my point is that synchronized swimming is a rich comedy mine, and these guys do a great job finding the funny at their talent show.

Happy Friday, everyone - I have umpteen things to do today, among them cooking a vegetarian meal tonight to bring to a family tomorrow. First, however, I think I'll have a late breakfast!

13 November, 2008

Teh Audiobook, It Is a Good Thing.

Last month, I borrowed the audiobook of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy  from the library. Read by Douglas Adams himself, it's been the ultimate in drive-time entertainment. Today, I chose something completely different: Pride and Prejudice by the great Jane Austen.  Eleven CDs worth of Jane Austen is a LOT of Jane Austen, but so worth it.   

Now when I tootle back and forth to base, an hour each way, I'm really having fun.  Too bad I can't knit and drive at the same time...

Stretching a Dollar

Today, I'm totally interested in this blog. A couple decided to try and live for one month, spending jsut one dollar per day per person for food, and this is their story.  I can't wait to read more later, after I do the school run, the base run, and dinner :)

12 November, 2008

A Clear Space

Thinking about clearing clutter and what do I read but this great post from Alison at This Wasn't In the Plan.  What happens when your craft area is cluttered?  When it's clean?   Check it out!

This post really spoke to me because the Knitting House is currently the Everything Left from the Preschool Boot Sale Collection House.  And that's not conducive to knitting there. Or even getting in as far as the couch.

11 November, 2008

More On Decluttering

This one's for Kay, and Lynn, and anyone else who wants to know what works when decluttering.  I looked at this list and almost everything on it worked for me when I got rid of things first time around...

15 Great Decluttering Tips

In fact, the whole web site looks good!

Clutter - I Haz It and I Hatez It

Here's a theory for you:  fatigue, sadness, disappointment, and anger lead to clutter, which leads to more negative feelings, which generate more clutter, etc.    Clutter's been on my mind a lot lately, and I had the chance to talk about it today with a friend over lunch.  We each committed to decluttering a bag of clothes and a bag of papers this week, and that felt like a good first step.

I've been feeling for a while that the clutter is overwhelming me again.  The house generally looks pretty good, although I can't say that about this week. (Don't, please don't, knock on my door tonight!  The kitchen is dire.)  Anyway, even when the house is looking good, the cabinets, closets, and storage areas are hiding a TON of clutter.  Being fortunate enough to have lots of storage space, I've fallen into the habit of using it to stash stuff, not organize it.

Tired?  Just bung that batch of papers and flyers into a bag and toss it in the cupboard.  After a while, the cupboards get pretty full, and you don't know what is where.

Three years ago, almost exactly, I found Flylady and really "got" it.  Her systems got me motivated to unpack a whole houseful of moving boxes, and toss two thirds of what I unpacked. For about a year, I was really on top of things and the clutter was at a bare minimum. Since then, I've kept many of her routines for daily housekeeping but neglected the decluttering aspect. 

Now, the clutter's gotten everywhere, especially inside my head. I feel overwhelmed at the thought of it.  At the same time, I want to be enthusiastic about tossing stuff again.  Looking back at my blog posts, I found the story about 100 things and the man who's trying to pare down his possessions to the extreme.  That sounds really good right now.

Any thoughts, Gentle Readers?  Tried and true tips for decluttering?

Veterans' Day; Cat in a Box

Remembrance Day, or Veterans' Day, whatever you like to call it - today is the "11th day of the 11th month." Are you wearing your poppy? British knitters have been selling a pattern for a knitted poppy to raise money for the Royal British Legion. Great idea!

For a completely random, funny link: my sister sent me the link to this crazy cat who loves boxes. Thanks, dear heart! Very fun to watch. Cracked the kids up!

10 November, 2008

Pure Joy, Linky Love, and Christmas Pictures

Pure joy would be finding "Lost Camera" so that thinking about "Broken Camera of Doom" isn't quite so painful.  Now to charge Prodigal Camera...

Linky love is this post at  Small Notebook.    Simplify or use what you have?  What's the better choice? Is there a better choice?  When is one more desirable than the other?

Christmas pictures - wish us luck. The Good Photographer is in residence at the preschool this afternoon, so I'll be taking the kids home from school, gussying them up and heading over there in hopes of a worthy Christmas card shot.

That is all.  Hope you are having a wonderful day, wherever you may be.

09 November, 2008

Doctor Who Scarf or Blanket?

This morning  I had an e-mail from a friend (and sometime knitter - hi, Angie!) asking for yarn recommendations for a Doctor Who scarf, a la the Tom Baker incarnation of the Doctor.

Well, I've never really given a lot of thought to making a Doctor Who scarf, so I headed to Ravelry, where I found a plethora of patterns and pictures of finished scarves, complete with yarns used.  Beautiful stuff!!  I also discovered that there's an amazing website out there by Chris Brimelow, who has done patterns for all the different versions of the scarf worn by the Doctor in various seasons.  Just browsing the pages makes me sort of want to knit my own, even though the thought of knitting yards and yards of garter stitch makes me a bit queasy.  It would make great telly-knitting, though.

Then, the thought occurred to me - what about a Doctor's Scarf Baby Blanket, or even Grownup Blanket? A quick Google search tells me there's not one out there, at least not at first "hit." Two ways you could do this, or three, that leap immediately to mind.

First, garter stitch on the diagonal, increasing with every row until you're halfway there, and then decreasing your way back down. Just use the shaping from this pattern link, but change colors as for the scarf striping. You could pick your favorite section of the scarf and work those colors.

Second - just straight garter stitch, like the scarf pattern, but about 200 stitches wide for a baby blanket size. Again, choose your favorite section of the scarf and work that, so it won't be 10 or 12 feet long.

Third - knit three strips of scarf, perhaps three different sections from the pattern, about 30 or 45 inches long, depending on whether you want a pram or crib blanket. Then seam them together, side by side.  Obviously, for an adult blanket, you'd want more strips, perhaps six or seven, and longer ones.

Definitely a great GeekBaby gift, I think!

If you decide to give it a go, let me know in the comments! I'd love to know if I inspired anyone...

08 November, 2008

Thanks, Neighbors!

Not much scintillation for ya today.  Last night's Guy Fawkes party was great fun. My massive pot of chili was inhaled, along with another and a vat of soup.  There were a bunch of folks from church, a great big bonfire and three Guys to toss on it (we made one), and a long fireworks display (all the guests contributed a few fireworks).  We had a real fireman and several helpers to run that, and they did a super job.  Lily was literally squealing with delight the whole time.

Tonight, I had just put Lily to bed when I heard some fireworks noise. Looked out the window to see that our neighbors just the other side of the stable were having a party and fireworks.  Gentle Reader, these were near professional quality. I said to small David, they must have spent hundreds of pounds.  I pulled  Lily back downstairs, and we all watched from the dining room window.  What a show!

Again, thanks, neighbors!

07 November, 2008

Bonfires in the Rain; Funny Movie Link

Good morning from not-so-sunny Norfolk!  It's grim and wet today, which bodes ill for the Bonfire Night party we'll be going to.  I need to get some fireworks to take along, and some newspapers to stuff the guy David wants to bring.

I missed the Link O' the Day yesterday - sorry.  Today's link is to Stalking Santa. Just read about this film today. It's a mockumentary about some Santologists trying to prove Santa is real.  The trailer, linked above, cracked me up.  Don't think it would really interest the kids, but looks like a fun and funny one for grownups.

06 November, 2008

Word Verification; Kids' Christmas Party Suggestions?

Cohiptoc.  Tylli.  Dimicapr.  Metubses. Stmene.

I spend too much time wondering about the verification "words."  Wondering - what language does that resemble?  I wonder what it would mean.   Cohiptoc is definitely Aztec, don't you think?

We're just starting to plan for the children's Christmas party to be hosted by our spouses' group.  There tends to be a big crowd, and the kids vary in age from 0 to 13 or so.  Makes it tough to settle on a theme.  More than likely, the party will be in their meeting space; it's got a counter, sink and some minimal food prep areas and then about a dozen tables of varying sizes.  Time - after work, so heading to dinner hour for most kids.

In the past, we've had some games, a visit from Santa, bouncy house (not able to do that in this smaller space), cookie decorating, food and there ya go.

I'm thinking an ornament theme for the crafts.  My new love of the laminator has given me some good ornamenty ideas where the kids can do minimal work but end up with a pretty durable craft.  And there's always popsicle stick Rudolph  - a brilliantly simple craft.

We'll have Santa stop by, maybe a game or two (any ideas? It has to be a game in a small space, so the kids can each have a go. We don't have room for group activities apart from half a dozen kids at a time at craft tables...).

Cookie ornament decorating. Maybe a table where you can write a Santa letter, or do a wordsearch or Christmas quiz page.

I'm wide open to some fresh ideas that I can use for this, or even for a holiday party here at home.

Commenters, I welcome you with open arms!!

05 November, 2008

Sleepless Posting

This doesn't make for eloquence - I hoped to get some sleep after heading to morning craft group to finish up the Laminations of Doom (the zillion pieces of Christmas game that I cut and colored last night while watching election returns).  No such luck. I did finish up the game, but now am waiting on the plumber to return, this time to fix a leaky outdoor tap that's bleeding us dry (waterwise and billwise).

Will send kids to bed early and go early my own self.  I'm absolutely shattered from staying up all night, but it was kinda fun, anyway. Would have been better with David here, and it made me miss my mom.  She never got to vote in a Presidential election, since she just got her citizenship in 2006.  That didn't mean she didn't invest emotionally in every single Presidential race, though.  We had some good times watching CNN :) 

My sister just called - Hi, Annie! - to say: "We won!  We won!  We won!!"  She's pretty giddy, in a good way, as the local candidates she did a bunch of work for have won, and that means good things for their town.  Politics really DOES reach down to the grassroots level, and it does affect us.  And that's pretty cool.

OK. Linky Love for today: This Wasn't In The Plan .  It's a life, frugality, family, and funny sort of blog, and very, very entertaining reading.  Plus the occasional cute kid pics, too!

04 November, 2008

Tuesday Linky

I'm back from my crafty evening (made Christmas games and laminated everything in sight), and now am about to settle on the couch with cocoa and popcorn and SkyNews, or whoever else is showing US election coverage.  I'm seeing headlines on CNN.com about record turnouts!  That's fantastic stuff...

I forgot, again, to post a favorite link today.  This one's been linked here before, but I'm linking again, just because her weekly menu plan is making me hoooongry.  Jenn at Frugal Upstate - neat, neat blog.

I Voted; Now I'm Ready!

I love presidential elections.  Perhaps it's the dweeb in me, but watching election returns is like watching the Superbowl for me, except I actually also get to participate. I generally stay up until the winner is declared. Since the first polls on the East Coast close at midnight my time, I think I may nap a bit first this year!

Sent my absentee ballot in a while back; DH had to download the federal absentee ballot for military folks since we couldn't get his to him in time to get it done and counted.  The bright side there is that I was able to take DH's to school this morning so David's teacher could show the class what an American ballot looks like, and talk about the election a bit.

I hope the results are clear and decisive. I have bad, bad memories of the 2000 election.  Hanging chads, anyone?  I want to know that the people have spoken, that we've chosen a new leader, and that it's final.  Then I am choosing to be happy that the election is over, and I look forward to the new year and a new administration.

03 November, 2008

Link of the Day

I got so excited about Halloween pictures that I forgot to add this.  Today's link is A Year of CrockPotting.  Seriously, 365 days of recipes for your crockpot.  What's not to love?  Except that MY crockpot has decided to stop working.  And it's only 3 years old.  What's up with THAT?  I need a good old-fashioned ugly orange or green crockpot from the 70s.  Those are all still working...they're the Dodge Darts of slow cookery.

Halloween - Part I

The littles attended two fabulous Halloween parties (three if you count last weekend's birthday party for a friend), one at David's workplace and one at church. I helped set up and run both parties, which meant the kids were dragged along hours before each party, too. They were real troupers, and I am proud of their great behavior and ability to keep themselves entertained while I hung banners, and all that jazz.

At party number one, David was a vampire and Lily was Rapunzel. A friend took these photos, and I am so grateful since I didn't even have the Broken Camera of Doom along.

At party number two, David was an even better vampire and Lily was a pretty Bat Princess. Again, no pictures, and I don't know if anyone got any. I may have to do a re-enactment to get pictures of that!

Both parties ended with trunk-or-treat - a bunch of folks park, decorate their trunks, and hand out candy. It's a great way to take them trick or treating in a confined area, and worked really well for church since trick or treat is not the Huge Deal it is in the US. The Littles ended up with more candy than last year, and have been on a nice sugar high since Thursday night. Actually, they're pretty reasonable about consumption, and they've still got a bunch of treats left, unlike me when I was their age.

02 November, 2008

Heat, Humility, and Hot Water

Today, Gentle Readers, I have a little tale for you. And it's even a tale with a lesson...

The Month of No Heating in October went surprisingly well. I did have two detours, when we had guests and I turned up heat for their comfort, but all in all, I think we saved a bunch of money and we didn't suffer for it.

Moving forward to yesterday morning, the day after Halloween, I woke up MORE than ready to wash the hairspray from my own hair and to wash the hairspray and dirt off the kids. I hopped in the shower but it never got more than tepid. Hmmm. All right for me, but not for kids' baths. Left the house for errands, returned, and tried the taps again, and this time the water was downright chilly. I thought the water heater was broken, but then realized that it was everything in the house, when I turned the thermostat up to check. Furnace was ticking along but no heat was coming through.

I'll pause here to ask you, Gentle Reader, what would you do in this situation? If you guessed: call the landlord and arrange for a furnace/plumber guy ASAP, then you'd be quite sensible. I commend you.

If you were not so sensible...in fact if your name were Susie and you were the owner of this blog, you would freak out at the fact that you couldn't fix this problem yourself, and call your husband who's far, far away for work and have some nice hysterics because you don't WANT to call the landlord on the weekend. [You would not be reasonable and consider that the need for heat and hot water in a household with small children trumps Landlord Convenience.]

Yep, that's what I did. I totally freaked out at the thought of having to call for help. Once David talked me off the ledge, I did call and got no answer. Aaaaack!! Then I started calling people from church, in hopes one of the members could maybe take a look. Then I called the landlord back, just in idle hope, and reached his daughter. He and his wife were away this weekend, but Wonderful Daughter took the info, called them, and was at my door 30 minutes later to tell me a plumber was on the way.

Wonderful Plumber came, diagnosed the problem (a broken pump thingie that takes the hot water from the boiler and pushes it through the house), and replaced the part. Just like that. Well, 90 minutes of just like that.

So what was so difficult about that? Nothing, in actual fact. Once I got past my fear and freakout about asking for help, I got it with no questions asked. I find it more than ironic that one of my volunteer roles is as a Key Spouse. In that job, I am there for people who need help, whether it's to provide the help myself, or show them where to look. However, when it comes to asking for help myself, I am hopeless.

Yesterday, I learned that asking for help feels OK. Remembering that I am not supposed to be able to deal with everything might be a wise thing, too. Our mom raised us to rely on ourselves, as much as possible, but I keep forgetting the "as much as possible" part.

Ahh, yes, today's blog recommendation - how about Kris, The Knitting Wannabe? She's no wannabe, and her online yarn shop rocks, too. Most of all, I love reading the day to day life stuff. Today's post (linked above) is about thankfulness, and that's just what I was needing to see, myself.

01 November, 2008

NaBloPoMo; 10,000; Blog of the Day

Happy First Day of November, the Festive Day upon which NaBloPoMo commences.  I'm sure I should bake a cake or something, but instead I'll just be taking candy from my children. Two nights' worth of parties and  trunk or treat has provided them with a nice surplus.

Are you doing NaBloPoMo?  Just click the link if you want to be all official about it, and sign up!

10,000 - yes, 10,000. In the world of micro-blogging, I've hit that amazing number of blog hits. I noticed the StatCounter getting really close, and I watched the numbers obsessively. Until I forgot to. So, now the blog's reached the dizzying hit count of 10,030.   Still, it's a pretty neat moment, knowing that my blathering on has been viewed so many times.   I'd like to thank my Gentle Readers, and all those who arrive through Google Search, especially my fellow Simon's Cat fans. Stay a while, look around, and enjoy your visit!

I've had an idea that should give me some good blog fodder this month.  Every day, unless I forget, I'll be highlighting a blog I read, but may not have linked to.  Please feel free to poke fun at me remind me in the Comments  if I do forget.

In honor of those bloggers who knit, crochet, spin, or weave, I offer this link: Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm.  This is an amazing little operation. They raise sheep and goats, and see shares in the flock's fiber production to be able to afford to give the little guys the best living conditions and care possible.  The customer pays for a share, the money goes toward raising the flock, and at the end of the year, the customer gets a portion of gorgeous wools spun from these happy little animals (spinners can request a Spinner's Share, and keep the fun of making the yarn for themselves).  Their latest news is that they will be starting a flock/fiber cooperative in New York's Hudson Valley soon.

If I sound like a bad advertisement, that's because I'm pitching this to my beloved, in case he's ever stuck for an extravagant gift for me.

Check out the blog (linked on their main page) for frequent incredibly cute animal pictures, like this one:

31 October, 2008

NaBloPoMo - Are You?

As my sweetie reminded me, National Blog Posting Month is almost upon us.  A post a day for all of November?  Are you up for it?  I'm going to do my level best!!!

29 October, 2008

Heat, Halloween, Useful UFOs, and Cabbage

The Month of No Heating continues, although  I did dial it up once again this week for a little guest. Lily had a playdate and I didn't want them shivering all afternoon.   I've got the thermostat at 10C [as low as it can be set], which is approximately 52F.  I consider that as close to "off" as we can afford to be, given that evenings are now freezing.  Given my commitment to cool, I was flabbergasted a moment ago, when I walked in from the laundry house, to notice that the kitchen radiator was warming up.  Apparently the house is/was colder than 52F.  Who knew?  I'm not going to turn off the furnace, but I think we're definitely saving some money!!

Today was a down day here at Casa KnitFarm. The kids are on half-term break: Monday we headed to an indoor playplace to meet with a couple of friends, Tuesday we had another buddy over and then had family movie night (we give Night at the Museum two thumbs up, by the way), and today I planned to head to Castle Acre for some craft activities.

Instead, when I woke up this AM, I decided to have a lazy day. It was lovely, and still is, actually. We did carve pumpkins, though.  Designs by kids, carving by mom. Lily's is a classic jack-o-lantern with a bat beauty mark on the cheek. David's is a haunted house backlit by a full moon.  The results are pretty darn good - pictures tomorrow perhaps.

Costumes are being prepped for tomorrow's party and Friday's party.  D's got a vampire cloak, white shirt, and fangs. He needs face paint, but is otherwise set. Lily is going to be Rapunzel.  Easy peasy, as we have the perfect princess dress and a tall pointy hat.  I discovered a great use for a UFO, too - a half-finished yellow mohair scarf is easily converted into a long lush braid for Rapunzel, with some strategic wraparounds to bunch it in, like a plait.  I'll attach it to the inside of the tall princess hat and we'll be good to go.

On to cabbage....I made Frugal Upstate's cabbage roll casserole last night, almost exactly as she posted. I didn't have fresh onion, so subbed a hefty tablespoon of granulated onion; I also used more cabbage, about 6 cups total, I'd say. I used tomato soup, as suggested. Didn't add any sour cream garnish.  WOW, was this tasty!  I am  kind of abashed at just how fast this casserole is disappearing, especially since Lily refused to eat any, and David ate only a small amount.  So very yummy. I will definitely be making this again when DH is back, so we can have three of four here to consume it.

25 October, 2008


Yesterday, I played host to some out-of-town friends. Way out of town...as in, from New York state! Jim and Pat are traveling through the UK and Ireland on their honeymoon, and went far out of their way to come for dinner. It was a wonderful evening, and I added that extra-special touch for their comfort. We call it... central heating!

Yes, I turned the heat on for the evening. That means I will have to go at least one extra day past Halloween, but it was worth it not to have shivering guests at the table.

My friend Jill in the US, worried about the effects of this lack of heat pledge, has got my local weather on her computer. She wrote to warn me that Monday's supposed to be a good frost.  Fear not, Jill and other Gentler Readers, the furnace is lit and I have the heat set to kick in at 10C (approximately 52F). I may go crrraaaazy and kick it up to 12C, too.  So, we'll have heat well before the house and pipes get to freezing.  At least, that's my plan.

Getting back to visitors, if you come to stay, I promise to put the heating on if it's autumn or winter.  We have a guest bedroom, and it's nice and tidy (not even any clean laundry, SusieJ!).   I can cook, after a fashion, and the pub does a world-changing lamb shank.  We'll even make a fire in the fireplace for you, and bake cookies.  Did I mention the castle around the corner, and the Queen's country house down the road 5 miles? Just let me know when you're in this neck of the woods, Gentle Readers, and our door is open.  But not too far, or the heat'll escape.

20 October, 2008

Linky Love - Cabbage Roll Casserole

So...one of my fave bloggers posted her weekly menu, and mentioned making cabbage roll casserole. That made me prick up my ears, since I looooove cabbage rolls but do not love the labor involved in making them. I left a comment that it sounded like a grand and yummy menu item, and mere seconds (OK, maybe an hour!) later, this post appeared: Frugal Upstate: Cabbage Roll Casserole.

How cool is THAT? Sounds seriously yummy, especially now that we're heading into cold weather.

Thanks, Jenn at Frugal Upstate!!

17 October, 2008

Rievaulx; Other Knitting News

I am quite excited to see that Kelly Without a Net (a brilliant blogger I follow) has now published her cowl pattern. I have been reading about on Ravelry and her blog - it's called Rievaulx, after the abbey, and it looks yummy! I especially like the version with the rolled edges.  Check it out here.  Jill, I think some of that soft pink Elann yarn you gifted me a while back is destined for this...

Other knit updates - the wrist warmers are done and are AWESOME!  I highly recommend the pattern - doing the 6x2 ribbing for the body of the mitts definitely made for a better fit.  This was an easy knit and a good way to use up 40 grams of DK wool.  Not to mention how well they are helping me resist turnign the heat on!

I'm halfway through Clue 3 (aka the heel) of the Mystery Socks, and still liking them very much.  Pictures shall follow in daylight, when the Broken Camera of Doom tends to do a better job.

15 October, 2008


There's nothing quite the headache one gets from lack of sleep. Hoping buckets of water - both imbibed and showered in - will help me get through the morning.

I do NOT look like this lovely creature when I'm still awake at 1 AM. For more drawings and paintings by this artist, check out his web site.

13 October, 2008

Thank You, Shopper Friends!

Yay for commenters - you've given me some great links! To answer a couple of comments/e-mails, I checked out Walmart.com and Tarzhay.com first, since that's where I used to buy most of the kids' clothes (in person, not on line). They don't have nearly as much on line as they do in the stores, and none of this season's was the right kind of dress.

Kohl's looks good, and Amazon's section could keep me browsing for A LONG TIME.

My favored places for dresses have always been thrift stores (charity shops here) and the last three dresses were actually finds sent over by my mom before she died. So it's a little extra-sad to part with them. I might keep them and make a pillow case for Lily, though.

E-Bay looks very promising indeed - thanks, Elizabeth, for the search tip. I found a couple of lots of the exact sort of dress, going for 20 dollars for three dresses. I think there'll be some bidding happening after payday here.

You all rock - thanks for the good ideas, and now, I promise to get back to regularly scheduled blogging.

Speaking of which, I have not knit in a few days. I've been reading Miss Tey, and the Mystery Socks are currently staring accusingly at me form their spot next to the laptop. Wednesday, guys, I promise!

12 October, 2008

Favorite Authors: Josephine Tey

I'm feeling inspired to talk about Josephine Tey tonight. That's actually a pen name - her real name was Elizabeth Mackintosh. I have all eight of her books, and have read them all several times. My favorites are like comfort reading - I think I read them at least twice a year.

The first Josephine Tey book I ever met was The Daughter of Time, a wonderful story about Richard III. My mom was reading this, and passed it on to me, when I was perhaps 11. I know we were living in New Haven so I couldn't have been older than that. I thought it was great then. Now, I think it's fabulous. And I love Richard III. I practically cried when I saw his portrait in the National Portrait Gallery in London. [If you ever visit York, check out the Richard III Museum there...it's in Monk Bar Gatehouse of the walls of the city. Very cool!].

Another super-favorite of mine is Brat Farrar, about an imposter you can't help but love.

Seriously, all the books are wonderful. There's just something so polished and lovely about her writing, and the stories. They never grow old for me.

Perhaps Favorite Authors will become a recurrent blog topic. I do have so many favored and favorite authors, after all. What do you think, Gentle Reader?

11 October, 2008

Any Power Shoppers Out There with Advice?

Lilybean has grown out of all her casual dresses, and does NOT like wearing trousers or even leggings with a tunic.  I've been browsing a little on-line, and I found this sort of dress at Lands' End.  It's a simple jersey dress that's not too short.  However, I'm NOT interested in paying 30 dollars apiece, since I'd like to buy three or four. Military family budgets just don't allow for 30-dollar play dresses. KnowhutImean?

Anyone have a favored on-line retailer?

Here in the UK, everything costs double what it does in the US, and to go with that, it seems like Boden is the only place where you can find really simple, casual dresses without a logo or something.  And that's double the normal UK prices.

I'd be interested in either UK or US links - if you have any, or any tips on where to look, hit me in the comments.  KThxBye!

Saturday Random, with Knitting and Lego

First, the Lego bits. Small D insisted I blog this creation. It's James Bond being threatened by a villain, in an Egyptian setting. D's very proud of his work, and Mistah Bond will never surrender the jewel. So I'm told.

I'm proud of my work, too - had a great day of knit and chat yesterday with Afton, and the wristwarmers (a.k.a. The Furnace Wars Weapons) are trucking along after two days of knitting. I chose to do this Basic Mitt pattern instead of Fetching from Knitty, because the lack of ribbing at the top of Fetching wouldn't work for me, and I didn't feel like fiddling with it. This shot is a bit too bright - the actual colours of the wool are dove brown, pale gray, and very pale blue.

Last, but definitely not least, a picture of my Mystery Socks. The sun has turned them vivid pink, but they are really a pinkish lavender. This is Clue 1, finished. I've had a peek at Clue 2 and I think I will do the basic version (no gorgeous cable) because I need to shorten it to adjust for my calves, which don't look great with sock over them.  Needles are teensy size 0 Clover bamboo, and I looooove them.

Today's a glorious sunny day, and doors and windows have been thrown open wide.  Later on, we'll be going round the neighbors' for a playdate and pizza tea.  Sounds nice to me!

09 October, 2008

Napoleon Dynamite: Bunny Version

[edited to fix broken link - sorry!]

If you have been reading a while, you might remember this post (30-second remakes of famous movies, starring cartoon bunnies). I watched another one yesterday - new to me. Napoleon Dynamite a la Bunny. Pretty funny!!

08 October, 2008

I Think It's Half a Pica Off....

Try the Eyeballing Game - this is an addictive little app that tests your ability to eyeball geometric shapes/angles/etc. I'm not too shabby at it, I must say. I think small D would enjoy it quite a bit!

[The post title refers to a family in-joke. Which is probably funnier if you lived in a house with three copyeditors/proofreaders, as I did...]

07 October, 2008

It's a Major Award!

(Who out there gets the reference?)

Toni, whose fiber blog is  A Little Yarn on the Side , has bestowed this award on me.  She's too kind, and I'm NOT worthy!  But I do feel quite special :)

Many thanks, Toni, both for the award, and for your inspiration to live more richly.

I'm now tasked to pass the love along, and I'll choose a random bunch from my most-followed blogs.

Lynn at Never a Dull Moment, who started blogging after I'd mostly stopped, and completely inspired me to start again. Knitting, needlework, kids, kitties, and all the fun of life. Go check out those Saturday skies...they'll make you green with envy if you're not in the Sunbelt!

Marianne at Busha Full of Grace. She truly is filled with grace. Her writing, and the love she has for life and everyone in her life, are inspirational. We could all aspire to be a little bit more Busha. I love you, man, and I don't even know you except through the Blogosphere.

Meredith at Like Merchant Ships is an amazing, frugally fabulous blogger. I'm continually wowed by the things she can do with time, talent, and frugality. She's not too active posting right now, being very much with child, but I look forward to more posts when she's ready.

and finally, David at The Wit Farm. [Yes, I'm shaming you into posting, although I don't even know if it's possible for you to post from Away right now.  I miss reading your stuff, and I'm not the only one!]

Now, the rules for accepting their blog awards:

1. Please put the award on your blog.

2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.

3. You must nominate at least 4 fellow bloggers for this award.

4. Add links to the recipients.

5. Leave a comment so the recipients know they have received an award.

Keeping Warm

I empathize with the kitty.  My son, though, could BE the kitty. When I allow him to turn on the space heater, he is Right. There. On. It.

However, there'll be precious little space heater time this month.  And no radiator heat!  We have vowed to make it to Halloween before turning on the heat.  There are sweaters, sweatshirts, warm socks, and down throws galore in this house, and as God is my witness, we will USE them.

D. left last night for a month to sunnier climes, and that's lucky for him.  Not so lucky for us, who will be both missing him and shivering.  I will particularly miss the radiant heat he throws off at night. Seriously, if I had known my husband was warmer than electric blankets, we might have married far sooner. 

This afternoon, I shall curl up with a cup of cocoa and some wooly knitting until it's school run/ballet run time.  The Mystery Socks are both finished through Clue 1, awaiting Clue 2 tomorrow.  No picture, not because of spoilers, but because Bad Camera has no battery and Good Broken Camera needs charging.  I have the Revontuli to work on, but I may have to put it aside for some wrist warmers (like Fetching), to keep my knitting hands supple and warm.

The Yarn Harlot is a lot funnier about her own Furnace Wars than I am.  [You'll have to read back in her archives a bit, but this post confirms that she lasted until 5 November last year.  Plus there's a cool free hat pattern in the same post.  Bonus.]

05 October, 2008

The Verb a Knitter Created...

Oh, my. Wow. If you don't usually read the Yarn Harlot's blog, please go right now and check out this story about the ultimate in kinnearing.

Again, wow. I've mentioned kinnearing here before (to do with me, Other Susie, and a now-not-much-a-stranger-on-a-train-anymore [Liz]).

In other bright spot news, it's LDS Conference weekend, which means to those of us here in the UK, much later church times. [OK, the down side is church on Saturday evening, too.] I like sleeping in. Heh. Especially on a rainy morning...

We made the first fire of the season last night in the living room fireplace.  Nothing gives me autumn/winter wam fuzzies quite like a fire and some hot chocolate.  Especially when we've vowed to keep the heat off until Halloween!

03 October, 2008

Socktoberfest Begins!

While surfing my favorite blogs, I came across a link to the perfect Socktoberfest project. It's a Mystery Sock! How cool is this?!

[In addition, I've discovered a new favorite blogger - her posts are colorful and interesting, and oooooh, my goodness, the knitting. Just gorgeous. Browse a little and check out those striped hoodies.

So, let the good times roll. This should be a good challenge for the Month of the Sock - a sock outside my Plain Vanilla comfort zone, AND the first sock I've made that's not a superwash wool. The yarn is one I bought as a souvenir at this summer's Pensthorpe Mediaeval Spectacular (which was, rather). It's from the Mulberry Dyer, purveyors of natural dyes and things that have been dyed naturally. Very nice!

This incredibly blurry picture is not artsy, it's what happens when the good cameras are a) lost and b) broken. The color of this wool is fairly true-to-life, however, so try to imagine a really clear picture of wonderful handspun, hand-dyed wool in place of my hideous picture.

27 September, 2008


Socktoberfest!!  It rapidly approacheth.  Are you in?  I love Socktoberfest because it's my kinda "Thing-Along."  There's no competition, no rules to speak of, no real deadline...it's just a month of socky celebration, however that works for you.  Me, I may (may, I am saying) branch out and do a sock with a lace or cable pattern, rather than my usual and beloved self-striping plain vanillas.

Check out the link above for some inspirational pictures from last year's Fest.  By the way, the host, Lolly of Lollyknitting around - that's her blog, and it is an inspirational thing, itself.  She explores the world of color and texture, through knitting, photography, weaving...there's even yoga there.  What a neat lady.

[Speaking of Thing-Alongs, I've opted out of the Mystery Stole 4 for now.  I found that my beads were too small, and my credit card too otherwise engaged to order more.  Additionally, I wasn't feeling the love for a stole that needs to be grafted in the middle.  I'd be the girl who knit one half, then lost the mojo to knit the same half all over again.  I will say, from looking at Clue One, it's going to produce some gorgeous stoles.  I'll keep printing the Clues, and hope to be re-inspired at a later time.]

26 September, 2008

My Cat, If I Had One...

This made me snort soda from my nose, just a little. You can buy the bumper sticker here.

Hope all is well with you, Gentle Readers.  Been a busy, not-very-newsworthy week in KnitFarmVille.  More soon!

22 September, 2008

Finished...One More Pair of Socks

These bad boys have been languishing for a while, but I picked them up the other day and finished off the half-sock that was left. [OK, the ends aren't darned in, but they will be.] Most of the knitting was done on the train to here and there, and some was done while listening to the Great and Mighty Yarn Harlot give her talk at IKnit London. That makes these very special socks, indeed!

Fact file:

Regia 4-color sock yarn (Canadian Classic line, colour 4741)
Size 0 US needles
My own basic ankle sock

I call them the Socktor Who socks because the tones are so much like the colour theme of the revived Doctor Who series.

I love Regia sock yarn. Easy on the hands, soft on the foot, and wears like iron.

Good times, y'all...good times...