Tuesday, December 28, 2010

ten on Tuesday

This week's topic is 10 Intentions for the New Year....

Very timely, isn't it? I'm all about resolutions, making lists, organizing my world...and then promptly forgetting where I put the list, creating excuses for not being resolute and finding myself searching through the piles of stuff around the house and screaming at PC that I can't find anything. So, resolutions have not worked out so much for me. Intentions, on the other hand, I can get behind. 

(these are in no particular order)
  1. get fit. PC brought me a Wii Fit Plus and I have a YMCA membership, so I should be the most fit individual in my suburb, but I am not. In fact, my BMI (a la the Wii) last night frightened me so badly that I woke up this morning, decidedly not hungry. Being fit will let me play tennis longer, swim farther and finally be able to get a bicycle. I want a bicycle for Christmas one of these years (a cruiser, with a basket),so that's my goal. I also want to roller skate. PC & I live near the Charles River (oh, about 6 houses away) and there's this great path that goes from our house to the Hatch Shell.... I want to bike it or roll it.
  2. eat & cook healthier. I have every healthy cookbook known to man and I cook the same things over & over. With PC doing a Weight Watchers diet and me following South Beach, it's not easy to make yummy dinners that satisfy us both (PC loves his carbs too). But, I have to do it. No more chinese take out each week. No more pizza.  My insides are revolting against me and I feel better when I'm eating lower-carb.  
  3. Focus more at work. I lose focus at work sometimes and I'm working on getting more aligned with my work. It's a long term goal, but one I can get behind.
  4. Manage finances better. This one's hard, but I'm going to do it. I need to sit down and budget my money. I need to take some risks and some safer options for my money and head out into the world. I will not turn 34 in 2011 without having some of my money work for me. A house will not buy itself. Some necessary steps will be taken this week.
  5. be a more considerate partner. Sometimes I forget how good PC is to me and how lucky I am. I need to be more considerate of his feelings. 
  6. work on my relationships: I need to reconnect with an old friend, badly, and I need to re-establish a friendship with someone I lost touch with. 
  7. get involved in more community outreach. I find myself with too much time on my hands sometimes and I used to channel that energy & time into helping others. Now I sit & eat ice cream. (see #1 and #2)
  8. blog 3 times a week: Monday, Wednesday, Fridays.
  9. publish 1 pattern per month on my blog (and get Trek to teach me how to upload them on the sidebar,etc).
  10. knit from my self-appointed sock club each month. I'm taking a page from the yarnharlot's book and running with it: I have a LOT of sock yarn and I'm going to knit 1 pair per month. With my travel schedule, this should be easy :) 
How about you? 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

...the day after...

So many toys, I just needed a nap! Mom & Dad are recovering from hosting dinner for all my grandparents ( and a surprise visit from my aunt in England! She has a dog, but I like her anyway), so I thought I'd blog. 

Hope Santa brought you lots of toys ... I got a new climby thing! I love it. It has a hidey hole. I keep my toys in it...they are safe there. I stole mom's ack talking thing and took a photo for you. Don't I look great? 

Well, gotta go knock ornaments off the tree...

Pumpkin.  (meow)

P.s. Wait til you see what mom knit this weekend...
-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ten on Tuesday list....

10 things on my to do list:
1. Buy a Christmas tree. We are supposed to do this tonight, but PC's still under the weather (and he's the one who hauls it in, let's be honest, so I'm at his mercy).

2. Decorate said tree. (and thanks to lovely Kim, my Christmas tradition is not ruined...more on that later!)
3. Finish brother's slipper socks.... I need to finish sewing the soles on, but I'm at an impasse... PC tried them on and didn't love how they feel. I might need to rip and reknit this weekend.
4. Create & plan a holiday dinner for 10, including 1 vegetarian who has crossed the "pond" for the holidays (PC's sister), and I don't want to feed her just side dishes. (I've been told by other vegetarians it's rude to just assume they'll just eat extra veggies)
5. address & send holiday cards... all 30 of them. This might be a job for tonight. I have to make up the sheet of address labels for our return address (makes my life easier!).
6. wrap gifts... somethings are getting out of control and I need to start wrapping so I know what I have!
7. go to the Container store to get small boxes and large boxes for kids gifts... I love what we bought, but I don't love that they didn't come with boxes. and kids need to rip wrapping paper, not open a bag.
8. make sure Santa is feeling okay--- we may need a 2nd run to CVS for cough drops, etc.
9. make fudge... I need to do this tonight too. It needs to set for 2 days and I have some co-workers who have been discussing this fudge since September. Including one boss who is reminding me that she's leaving for Ireland this weekend and fudge needs to be consumed pre-take off. :)
10. Finish knitting my quiviot cowl: PC and I have a deal: I'll finish my cowl by Christmas eve, he'll start his beer.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Busy weekend, Busy Mini

Do you remember these mittens? Yep, the ones for my SIL.... well, she mentioned to me recently that she's buying a new coat. This coat is going to be black, from Lands' End and well, it certainly didn't come with a hat. Now, this SIL is the one who LOVES a handknit. Loves them. And has received many: cabled mittens, a scarf, a bag, a sweater. In return, she has provided me with a great nephew. I think it's a fair trade :)

Well, the Fiddlehead mittens are for her Christmas gift. But her head is cold NOW. So, what to do? Make her a fiddlehead hat, of course. And, now the mittens will be a BIG surprise because she's totally not expecting the matching mittens, right?

Don't stress out trying to work out this pattern. i'm going to do it for you this weekend. You'll need to buy the Fiddlehead mitten pattern to get the chart, but you can download the pdf instructions from me for free.

And since when I was making the hat, I was flipping out about running out of yarn for the hat, I bought two more skeins... 1 gray, 1 purple. And never used them.

My mom 's jacket is purple.... so, she's getting post-holiday mittens & matching hat. I'm reversing the colors from my SIL's... mom's will be purple background, gray accent.

And, I have a mitten fail. I have a coworker who would be a great mitten recipient, but only really sticks to basic colors; I thought a gray mitten with a pop of color would be nice. The "fail" is that the mitten is much to small. I cast on 38 stitches at 4spi, but looks like I need to rip back to the ribbing and increase the stitch count with an increase round. (I prefer the ribbing to be 1) tighter gauge and 2) smaller # of stitches: keeps the wind out). This will be a pdf download here on the site as well. And, I'll need some mitten testers after Christmas: let me know if you are interested.

Info: 200yds (100yds of each color) chunky weight wool and US7 & US8 needles, stitch markers.

Oh, and did you see my bag? That's a Stitched by JessaLu original BIG BOX BAG.(Psst.... i heard a rumor that there will be Rudolph bags being made.) Yup, she makes them. You have to be "in the know" and well,... you are now. :) I got two: owls and gnomes. The gnomes will make their debut soon; they are holding the Kathmandu Aran sweater I am working on for PC. It's a top down raglan using the Incredible, Custom Fit Top-Down Raglan Sweater Design

Monday, November 29, 2010

You, too, can knit a scarf!

Flipping through the Macy's circular yesterday, while eating my late lunch, I stopped dead in my tracks.

I know the world is alive with handknits & chunky cables (go to Pottery Barn and witness the poorly constructed over-priced acrylic (ick!) throw blankets & pillows on every.single.surface).

Didn't see what stopped me dead? Here's a close up.

And, what threw me for more of a loop? The price:

$20 for about 240 yds of acrylic blend with plastic needles. And do you see a cable needle in there? Hmm... unless Martha's planning on teaching you how to cable without a needle on the back of that 3 inch X 3 inch wrapper, you're going to need some new tools.

I'm happy to see mainstream companies embracing the knitting, I am, but this made me giggle a little.

Happy Cyber Monday!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pfffttt at Dear Prudence

So, this question to Dear Prudence is odd, yes, but Prudie's reply is something else. (on the record, I think it's a bit nuts to knit socks for every member of a pre-school class... finger puppets: yes, small toys: yes... but socks?)

Everyone who has a relative who begs for handknit socks, raise your hand.

Yup. I thought so. I just felt a huge draft of wind as all your hands shot up.  

I'm guessing Prudie is 1) not a good knitter, if one at all and 2) not getting another handknit anything from any knitting friends anytime soon...

Q. Help! Advice on Gift-Giving: I am a knitter who is knitting socks for my son's preschool class. I intend to give these socks as Christmas gifts this year. I am keeping them a secret as I would like them to be surprises. The only one who knows is the teacher as I needed her help getting the kids' feet sizes. My question revolves around the note I am going to include with the socks. Of course it will include washing and drying instructions (cold water and low heat); however, I am stumped about how to ask for the socks back if the kids don't like them, so they can be redistributed. Now, I don't really want the socks back for my own son; I would like the socks to go to someone who'd actually wear them. What would you do in this instance?

A: In this instance, I would stop with the socks and knit a sweater for my own child. While many people enjoy handmade scarves, there's a reason people stopped wearing lumpy, itchy, droopy handmade socks as soon as industrial looms were invented. It's sweet of you to want to make gifts for the entire class, but you're investing way too much time in a gift that won't be appreciated. If you want to do something handmade, maybe you should bake some treats. Or you could offer to come in and do a knitting lesson for the kids. Unless you're making socks they can hang by the fireplace for Christmas, no one wants handmade socks in their Christmas stocking.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

10 on Tuesday: Turkey Style. :)


10 things to Love about Thanksgiving:

1. I don't have to cook. I love cooking, I do, but I cook (and PC) for Christmas and that's quite enough holiday cooking for me.  PC's aunts cook. 
2. High School football. Yeah, i know? Weird, I don't particularly enjoy football but the high school games on Thanksgiving remind me of my cheerleading days (grades 3-12) and it's always fun.
3. Gravy. I love gravy on mashed potatoes, my turkey... pretty much everywhere.
4. PC's aunt Paula's cranberry relish... it's delish. She makes it just for me now. :P
5. Family... we go to PC's family for the "bird" and try to catch up with my family for the "pie." This year that gets trickier b/c my family will be in NH while PC's is in Massachusetts.  I miss my family on Thanksgiving when we don't get to see them; and I hate racing around trying to get there in time for dessert.  Growing up, it was always a crazy day in our family: we'd have grandparents, god parents, cousins, 2nd cousins...everyone stopping in for some turkey, a slice of pie, a cup of coffee.... and the wood stove burning after the table was cleared.
6. Traditions: new & old. PC's family doesn't have too many Thanksgiving traditions that I can see except his dad carves the bird and they (used to) rotate houses for this holiday, but now this is my tradition too... so new to me, but old to him! 
7. saying grace. Growing up, we said grace at the table every night. Nowadays, the holidays is the only time we say grace (or with our friends) are the holidays. I think of it as a time to slow down and remind ourselves to be thankful for the people in our lives and the blessing of having food to put on the table. Once you had your 1st Communion, you could say grace at the holidays. Ours was fairly basic, but it stands the test of time. 
8. Thanksgiving dishes.  I know... I should hate it right? But, it always was the "girl" time in my house... and I learned a lot about being a (future) wife, (future) mom & woman in that kitchen. In PC's family, this chore appears to be detested,but I enjoy it. 
9. my mom's paper turkey. it's from my brother Rob's 1st Thanksgiving (the other 2 of us didn't have 1st Thanksgivings, I guess) and it was put on our table every year. And every year, Jon & I tried to  knock it over with a roll. 
10. Piantadosi rolls. If you grew up in the Melrose/Malden/Everett/Medford area.. you know these rolls. And if you had a ma like mine, you got them from the factory on the outlet days, when you could grab them off the racks as they came off the production line... still hot. :) 
11. Chocolate pudding pie. My grandfather & my dad wouldn't sit down unless they knew it was already in the house. And, I have to admit, it's my favorite too!

So, from my family to yours: a moment of grace:

Bless us, O' Lord, for these gifts which we are about to receive through your bounty. And bless us, always, with family and friends. Through Christ's name we pray, Amen. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday Greetings... or not?

I have a "thing" about holiday cards. I love sending them. It's my tradition to sit down the weekend after Thanksgiving, with  my red & green pens, my list of addresses and the stack of cards. But, in the digital age, it's great to see all the new photo cards, etc that come our way. PC & I don't have kids (unless you count Pumpkin, and we do) so it's fun to see all the kids in their Christmas clothes and such. I'm always amazed at how many people have managed to get their trees up in time for the photo, processing, printing and re-sending. 

But, I have a gripe. I do. And I feel bad about it. The lack of handwritten anything on some of the cards. I know, I'm terrible, right? Last year I received a bunch of (beautiful) computer printed cards (shutterfly, kodak...etc) in envelopes with the "to" and "from" printed off of computer labels. Now. I DO print out our return address labels from the computer. And I see the advantage of downloading the address book into an Avery file and printing them out. I get it... I really do. But, when everything is done on the computer... where's the connection? Where's the "happy holidays!" or other seasonal wish from you to the ones you love? Am I just being a curmudgeon? Am I begrudging those who have small people underfoot and are struggling to just get the.damn.cards.mailed.!!!?? 

I'm a bit old fashioned, I know... I like real trees, strung popcorn (Pumpkin eats it, so we can't do that), hand signed cards and a home cooked meal at the holidays. PC knows I'm hokey like that, my family knows and my friends know. 

So, am I just too far behind on the times  with this one? 

I'm happy in my hokeyness. So, after Thanksgiving has passed and we're well on our way to thinking about snowflakes... bring on the Christmas cards. And, truly, I'm happy to have them no matter what.  Because if you are on my Christmas card list, it's because I truly want to wish you & yours a very special holiday season. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday: meh

Yeah, it's Monday. It's a COLD Monday. Well, not really... it's actually a seasonal one, but I'm feeling very cold today. I woke up cold, I got out of the shower cold, and I'm at work: cold.  And, there's a very slim chance of sunshine today.  

Today is also the 1st day of Phase 1 of South Beach for me. Yes, before you ask, I'm going to Phase 1 right through Thanksgiving? Yup. If there were ever a holiday to do this, it's turkey day: low fat turkey & tons of side dishes that are veggies. :) And, on Thanksgiving, I'll allow myself a little treat: like gluten free, low carb stuffing and a little cranberry sauce (PC's aunt makes the best).  So, as I've done in the past, I'm going to tell you what I'm eating and what I'm cooking. All of the dishes are good for the non-South Beach community as well. 

Breakfast: 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (nonfat, plain) + 2tbsp sugar free maple syrup
Snack: celery sticks + hummus
Lunch: Romaine lettuce + pine nuts w/ sherry vinegarette; pulled pork (6ounces) + green beans
Snack: lentil + black bean salad (see below)
Dinner: Balsamic roast w/ onions & mushrooms; asparagus with provolone; 16 ounces milk

Veggies: 9 servings 
Lean protein: 2 servings
Dairy: 3 servings

Lentil & Black bean salad:
Ingredients: lentils (cooked), 
black beans 1 can (rinsed), 
2 small cucumbers, 
3 pieces of roasted red pepper, 
1 small onion diced & cooked, 
1 tbsp olive oil, 
1 tsp crushed garlic, 
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped.
Cook lentils in equal parts water. Cook onions in small amount of olive oil and garlic until softened. Dice pepper & cucumbers. Toss everything in a bowl and season w/ salt & pepper. 
1 serving: 1/2 cup. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Beauty is...

A pile of hand knit mittens :)

Yarn: Cascade 220 (blues)
Needles: US 6 dpns
Modifications: none.
Recipient: brother's girlfriend.

Pattern: Fiddlehead Mittens (Rav link) by Hello Yarn
Yarn: Cascade 220, purple & gray
Needles: US 2, 40 inch circulars (a la Magic Loop)
Modifications: I knit this at a very tight gauge b/c I like my colorwork mittens to be "windproof" and these are most definitely! They are not lined.
Recipient: sister in law.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

Today, I am thankful for:

1. Modern medicine and the Mass General Hospital. We had a scary moment over the weekend with my dad. The doctors at MGH were AMAZING to my dad: he was zipped in, taken care of... my mom was also taken care of and treated well. The doctors, nurses and staff there don't "talk down" to the patients and family. And, Nurse Kristie from the 10th floor of the White Building, took time out of her shift to talk to my mom while my dad was getting tests, had O2 delivered for my mom (to supplement her travel tank) and made sure she was 100% up-to-date on my dad's condition. Dad's home this week and we all know he wouldn't even be alive if the MGH wasn't there 4 years ago.

2. Veterans. My grampy was a vet and he was so proud to have served his country. While it did make him a strict, distant father, he was a wonderful grampy with great stories and a love for strong coffee & peanut butter. I guess if you were in the Navy in the 40s, you ate a lot of peanut butter. Grampy was a cook and thought there was absolutely NO reason for the men (enlisted or officers) to eat bland, boring food, so he often spiced things up, trying new "secret ingredients" to recipes. One of them involves ketchup on a ham: salt was rationed, but ketchup was not... :)

3. My car. This sounds silly but this morning, my car started. My neighbor's did not. I'm thankful that PC & I have the funds to own 2 cars (PC has my old Kia and I have a new Subaru) that start in the morning, every morning.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Ten On Tuesday: this week is all about dream vacations. I've got so many places on my to-see list that I may never see them all, but that doesn't mean I can't try.

1. The moon. PC insisted I add this one. We love the moon and we'd really like to go there. Not for long, just to see what it's like. PC and I are like that: we say "hmm... I wonder what it's like there" and then we go. This is how we went to Niagara Falls.
2. Norway. I want to go above the Arctic Circle (again) and visit the people. These are my people. Yup: I'm 1/2 Norwegian and I would love to wander around.
3. Annecy, France (again): this time I'd take PC. The Alps are GORGEOUS and I loved Geneva, but this sleepy little resort town, 2 hours south of Geneva, in the Savoie region of France blew.my.mind. I saw wild swans on a lake, a small village with canals and a church in the woods.
4. Rome. I know, it's loud, it's dirty, but it's filled with amazing art & architecture that spans so many different eras... and of course, there's the Vatican. As a Catholic who is more fatithful than "church-y", I don't feel the pilgrimage pull to the Vatican, but I would like to stop in Saint Peter's Square, stand in the middle and tell my godmother "I am here." She stood there just before my 1st birthday and prayed for me to become a strong, independent woman.
5. Israel. This one place has caused so much conflict in the world. I'd love to see Jerusalem and visit Nazareth. My godfather once told me that he never felt as close to God as he did in Nazareth on Christmas day.
6. South Africa. A land of duality: ocean & mountains; peace & constant change; old & new. And, the sharks. I want to see the sharks.
7. Kenya. African safari as only the Kenyans can do it... sleeping in camps, riding into the savannah in a jeep, armed with a DSLR and a LOT of memory cards. PC and I will be there one day.
8. Alaska. I loved Alaska... the first day there, I told my parents I found home. I still feel the pull to go and explore.
9. Quebec City. I've never been. I can drive there, but I've never been.
10. Stockholm. A cosmopolitan city so clean you can simply jump in the ocean. Imagine doing that in Boston?

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Christmas knitting....

I'm not normally a night owl. Well, not a past-midnight one, at least. Last night found me up at 1 a.m., just dying to finish this mitten. I love this mitten. I hope the intended gift recipient will too.

One down, one to go. :)

No great adventures in color dominance here... but I did use the Magic Loop method and it greatly affected my gauge. I was surprised. I like that I didn't get that weird ladder-ish type mark in the middle of the pattern (it's always easily remedied by a good soak and blocking), but the "around the corner" stranding was a bit tough. I'll use the same method on mitten #2, but I have one more pair of mittens to make this holiday season and I don't think this will be my ideal method. The only way to know is to try, right?

And: knitters... help me. I'm trying to find instructions to make a February Lady/Baby sweater for a 5 year old size. I'm sure it's just a matter of adjusting the cast on stitches, but I'd like more guidance than that. Anyone have a link for me?

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

Thankful Thursdays are Back! 

Last year, you'll remember that I wanted to remind people to be thankful. For their health, family, friends, ability to knit, intelligence, freedom... whatever you need to be thankful about: this is the month.

So, join me in being thankful today: leave a comment on this post and tell me what you are thankful for (links to blogs accepted as well).

I'm thankful for:
1. my job. I know I did this one last year too, but I've been here 14 months and it feels like "home" and I'm eternally grateful every other Friday, when they deposit my check. Not only does my job provide PC and I with the ability to pay our bills, splurge on some yarn/cds/books, but we have been able to re-start the 401k and savings account addition cycle (as opposed to the subtraction cycle...).

2. my health. 2010 was a scary year for my health: new diagnosis, new medicines, new diet... i'm doing well, and while I could be doing better (and yes, PC, I know: going to the gym), I'm not doing bad. And, PC and I have learned that we are enablers to each other, so we are trying to be VERY aware of not only our own activities, but also each other's. 

3. personal time off (PTO). I'm taking a day tomorrow b/c I need it. I just need a day off. I'm not running errands or cleaning the house. I'm not doing anything but recharging my batteries and drinking tea, while knitting. :) 

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Holiday Gift Knitting

As knitters, we've all been there: you have a friend at work or a relative that you really like. And you want to make them something for the holidays. Do you? Don't you?

Well... I think there is a lot to this decision. PC and I discussed it last night: you knit for those who appreciate it:
  • My mom is always on that list.
  • My dad: not so much. He would love a sweater, but that's a lot to get done before Christmas. So, he'll get a February sweater and he'll love it. \
  • My brother R: nope.
  • My brother J: yup. Even though he the afghan I made him over his head as a shawl. I might be rethinking him.
  • My sis-in-law... even when we weren't getting along, she was always a yes. No one goes crazy for a handknit quite like my sis in law. :)
  • PCs' parents: mom (yes), dad (no), sister... maybe. She's a tough one. She lives FAR away (think different continent) and I think she likes her handknits, but who knows, right?
  • My nani: yes. she loves them. LOVES them.
So, while I'm making a lot of gifts for the holidays, not all of them will be handknit. In fact, I have a kind of cool project I'm going to try this Sunday for "couple friends"... it involves ceramic tile and scrapbooking. Yeah-- -it's that cool. :)

On my to-knit-for-holidays-2010 list:

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

10 on Tuesday

10 ways to simplify your life....

1. buy a crock pot and use it. Year round, I use this handy kitchen tool before I leave for work to create delicious and nutritious meals for me & PC. I cook chicken, beef and soups in it. 20 minutes in the morning keeps me from stressing over what to have for dinner when I get home. And, best of all, when curling season starts (2 weeks ago), I use it so I don't have to rush home to cook dinner on an early draw night. :)

tonight; beef curry w/ lentils and baby carrots. It took 12 minutes to put together, 7 hours on low and it'll be yummy central when I get home!

2. stock your pantry. Mine is stocked pretty well. I have found a new love in my pantry though: Penzey's stock in a jar. It's concentrated bouillon, basically, for beef, chicken and veggies. I love that the little jar is like 10 cans of stock, but takes up less space. We have lentils, barley, rice, couscous, and quinoa in the house at all times; add chicken with some spice rub and you have dinner.

3. keep the house tidy. It really does matter. For example, on Sunday, I spent a good part of the day tidying the house and I have to say: it's easier for me to currently find and put things away. I'm invested in keeping the house clean (PC is too and if not, after reading this, he will be) and organized b/c I'm not exhausted just looking at the mess around the house.

4. I *love* my to-do lists. I make them at work, I make them at home... they are my "thing."

5. Grocery shop together. PC and I have been grocery shopping together since we moved in together 5 years ago. It's something that we both do to 1) keep ourselves on track (no 4 boxes of ice cream sandwiches) and 2) it engages both of us in the process of selecting our meals.

6. Buy in bulk. Not everything and certainly not all the time. I buy poultry in bulk. I go once a month to my chicken guy in Cambridge and spend $30 and get my chicken for the month. I get thighs, legs, breasts, whole chickens and quarters. And, when I get home, I freeze them in "meal" sizes, in ziplock bags, with the item indicated on the front in sharpie marker.

7. Keep things where you need them. All my spices are the right of my stove b/c that's where I need them. It's not where you need them, it's where *I* need them.

8. try it before you buy it. This is in terms of crafts for me, as I tend to hop into a new hobby all willy nilly and with a $200 investment. No more. I like to sew/quilt and knit. I'm not really into paper crafts, beading, etc.

9. Shop the stash first. I have a lot of stash yarn. I'm slowly working my way through it. When I want to run to the LYS to get new yarn, I head to the back room first in my house. And I shop the stash.

10. Give and get hugs. This simplifies my life b/c it reminds me of what is most important: family & friends. This morning, I hugged PC twice just b/c I needed to be close to him and he gives great hugs. And, luckily for him, I do too!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Overweight and being openly blasted in a fashion mag?


The article above has me beyond livid. A friend sent it to me today, because she knows that 1) I love this magazine and 2) this article would make my blood boil. Especially the horrendous back-peddling by the author.  The list of "nutritional advice" from the author is also laughable:

(I'm happy to give you some nutrition and fitness suggestions if you need them — but long story short, eat more fresh and unprocessed foods, read labels and avoid foods with any kind of processed sweetener in them whether it's cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup, increase the amount of fiber you're getting, get some kind of exercise for 30 minutes at least five times a week, and do everything you can to stand up more — even while using your computer — and walk more. I admit that there's plenty that makes slimming down tough, but YOU CAN DO IT! Trust me. It will take some time, but you'll also feel so good, physically and emotionally. A nutritionist or personal trainer will help — and if you can't afford one, visit your local YMCA for some advice.)

Seriously? What about women like me? Women who spent 10-15 years CRYING at Weight Watcher weigh-ins? Women who had doctors tell them that they would need weight loss surgery b/c of "lack of self control?" I'm an overweight (obese, to be honest) woman in the U.S. who had to fight her primary care physician to get a referral to an endocrinologist. He only agreed if I saw the specialist to get approved for weight loss surgery. What was the first thing my endocrinologist tested me for? A brain tumor. Yup. He was so concerned about my lack of "health problems" and my weight steadily increasing over time that he thought I had CANCER.  (I don't, I have insulin resistance due to ovarian tumors/cysts that are reoccurring; I need to eat a highly regimented diet and take medication, but it's nice to know that those 10 years I thought I was 'doing it right' (fruits, veggies, walking...) were right, just not right for me.)

What do you guys think? Fat people making out on TV — are you cool with it? Do you think I'm being an insensitive jerk?

yes, she's a jerk, but more than that, she's a mean girl. What about this author? is she black? Indian? Asian? 

So anyway, yes, I think I'd be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other ... because I'd be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. 

Does she have small boobs? Small boobs make me uneasy, we shouldn't let small-boobed women on tv. Oh, even grosser? What if she's a tall woman? Ewww.... any woman over 5'5" inches is gross.  What if I wrote for an  international magazine and said "black people kissing grossed me out." Or Indian people. Or gay people. Fat is the last acceptable "mean girl" target and I am tired of it! I've had coworkers, bosses, friends, family and complete strangers feel like they had the right to make fun of me for being overweight. Really? Do I tease the BALD one in the family? What about the one with the learning disability? No. Because I am NOT MEAN.

To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I'd find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair.

To that point (and on a more personal level), a few commenters and one of my friends mentioned that my extreme reaction might have grown out of my own body issues, my history as an anorexic, and my life-long obsession with being thin.

And really? You are going around making fun of people with weight issues and you have one? Welcome to the real world, sweetheart... I really hope no one starts telling you how disgusting you look. How you make them feel uncomfortable for just being the room with them. How the sight of your lack of muscle tone and creepily sagging skin over your  bones makes them want to hurl. Because that would be bitchy and mean. Like you. 

Marie Claire editors: fire this person. Fire her now. Pack her desk and leave her on the sidewalk. She doesn't do anything for your magazine but perpetuate the idea that woman are disgusting, slovenly and worthy of hatred being spewed upon them unless they are 100lbs.  You put Nina Garcia on Project Runway touting the "every woman" design and you let this filth be printed and associated with your magazine? Shame. Shame. Shame. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Color Dominance and... doh!

Herringbone Mittens (Elliphantom is the designer), knit with Cascade 220 in two lovely shades of blue. A quick knit (US 6 needles) with easy to memorize pattern. Lovely, right? And a Christmas gift. Even better, right? Because they only need some thumbs?

Enter color dominance and the problem with putting down your colorwork mid-project. Oh, you don't see it?
How about now? I went from holding the light blue in my left hand to my right. But these are going to a non-knitter, right? They'll never notice right? Well, PC did. From across the room. In bad lighting. While only moderately paying me any attention when I nonchalantly said "like the mittens?" hmmm.....

I knit mitten #2 while I decided what to do. ( I know, what was I thinking? I kitchenered and everything, all the while noticing the color dominance switch). I took it to knit night (rip and repeat was the advice). I knit along on mitten #2. I finished mitten #2. And then at 12:10a.m. on Saturday night, I did this:
Which at 12;35 a.m. resulted in this:
So happy together!

Thumbs will go one tonight. and it's one more for the holiday basket. Also, I'll be showing my latest design tomorrow, which is fairly easy and I can share with you a la pdf later this week: a toddler dinosaur hat with fold down ear flaps. :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

bday wishes... and merino dreams

4 ounces of delicious Rambouillet in the "hippie chick" colorway. *drool*

4 ounces of merino/bamboo blend in the "sherbert" colorway

So, my grandmother gave me some money for my *ahem* 3rd anniversary-of-my-3oth-birthday recently. Nani's always been a generous gift giver, but she told me she wanted me to get something very special. And she knows I love to knit (she used to as well). I was thinking about this for a few weeks: what to get? Lord knows I don't need any stash enhancement, but then I slipped on my favorite, well-loved, oft-worn cowl this morning. I want this, I thought. I love the squish and the feel and the smell.... and I knew where to get it. PumpkinMama had spun some of her hand-dyed wool for me a few years back (2?).

But... oh no! The etsy shop was empty! The bonus of going to all these fiber related events and what nots? I have actually met the PumpkinMama, in real life. A quick email with the appropriate amount of begging (ha ha ) and voila! 8 ounces (total) of the two fibers you see above will be coming to me in yarn form. :)

I'm not a spinner. I'm not. I've tried. Ask Mel. Poor thing; he & Cheryl tried so hard one year at SPA and I.just.can't.spin. But I love watching it, asking questions about it and knitting with handspun. I see the advantage of paying more for it. I love the special-ness of having hand-spun yarn. But, I can't do it. I've tried, I've failed.

The lesson? Don't be afraid to outsource to get what you want, what you need. Heck, I was even willing to offer up free babysitting for the Pumpkin-kids if she had really put up a fight. just kidding... or am I?

Now, to finish up other projects so I can admire and squish my new yarn when it arrives (4-6 weeks). Photos to come.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

10 on Tuesday

10 things in my freezer. Oh boy, you asked for it!

1. alligator. Yup, alligator meat. It's in patty form, I believe.
2. Venison-blueberry sausages.
3. chicken tenders
4. 2 yogurts (PC likes them cold, like ice cream)
5. frozen veggies: corn, peas, asparagus, broccoli, and lima beans.
6. garlic.
7. wild boar patties.
8. steaks.
9. chicken thighs.
10 chana masala.

As you can see, we are NOT vegetarians! :) I can tell you better what's not in my freezer: ice cream, good popsicles, naan, rice, frozen potatoes (in tater tot form).... :(

I've been trying to be really good (and protective of this wacky pancreas) by not eating carb-heavy foods. We eat a LOT of green veggies and protein. Tonight is halibut marinated in sake and lemon... yum.

Knitting content tomorrow... and it's all about the quiviot.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Down in Fraggle Rock!

I am NOT going to Rhinebeck this weekend for a multitude of reasons:
1. I shouldn't be spending $$ like that right now
2. a friend (with whom I was to travel) has been laid off and she asked nicely if we could postpone (umm, yes, been there, done that).
3. the last NE Revolution game is tomorrow night
4. I have ENOUGH yarn for awhile.
5. I haven't knit the yarn from my last trip to Rhinebeck.
So, those of us left behind, let's have a fun weekend anyway! I'll be knitting up a storm and I hope you will too! Leave a comment if you aren't Rhinebeck bound with a link to what you're knitting. :) And if you are going to Rhinebeck... pet a sheep and smooch and alpaca for me!

A Friday funny....

My favorite line? "My cardigan would look silly without lime green stripes!"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

pumpkin t. cat

Hi. Pumpkin here. her and him *finally* left for work this morning and (hee hee) he left espn.com up again, so the computer is mine! they've been leaving for work late this week... something about being tired. Tired. They don't know tired. I'm tired. I watch those damn birds all day... it's exhausting. and being neighborhood watch? two jobs takes a lot out of a cat!

anyway, it's been a while since I got to blog. I mentioned it to him last night, then her. She said no, no, no. She wants me to talk about knitting, but i don't know knitting. I know that string and sticks next to the chair. the new chair. my chair. well, it was my chair... then she came home. she leaves a lot now. leaves me with him. He's okay... he lets me sleep on the bed, feeds me ontime and puts my tush-warmy mat on the new chair. but, she. she i miss when he takes her away ( i think she goes to gramma's 'cause that's where i go when i leave the house in the car for more than a sleep). when she comes back, she smells funny. like somewhere else, so i have to rub her to make her smell right again. and then she carries me around. he doesn't understand how much work it is to walk from one room to the other.

She has a bunch of sticks and string in a basket called "pumpkin, no!" next to my new chair. she knits there until i crawl on her lap and tell her no! then i make him play with me and her watch; it's more fun that way.

there's a new kitty in our neighborhood. it's white and black and i don't like him. this morning he stood outside (under the birds!!!) and looked at me. he was mean. he meowed and told me i was a stupid inside cat. it's not true! i have outside! when the window is open, i definitely have outside! but, he said no, i couldn't run outside, so i got mad and i told him he was stupid. and i hissed. but he stayed in the yard. i told her that i wanted him to go away. she told me to ignore him and put me in a new window without him. i hope the squirrels bite him.

well, i've been up for 20 minutes so I need to go sleep. tell her that you like her sticks and string and that you missed her birthday! i didn't. he bought me a card to give to her and then all my grandparents came over and ate pizza and petted me and told me i was pretty. and they gave me a plant! something called a fern. i'm not supposed to eat it, but i like to rub it on my face. it's nice.

*yawn* well... the chair calls.

and don't tell her that i was on here...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

10 on Tuesday

10 Ways To Have Fun on a Long Car Ride. Huh. Well, since it seems like PC and I only take LONG car rides, we do a lot of the following to keep ourselves entertained:

1. Sing along to the radio.... we prefer Mike 93.7 FM when we're in the car together.
2. Chat. We do a surprising amount of our communication in the car.
3. Knit. I knit on th
e way to Friday night pizza in Attleboro (with my nephew) because of the sheer amount of traffic and the need to drive in the breakdown lane. We take my car, but PC dri
ves b/c I do not drive in the breakdown lane.
4. talk on the phone... i only do this if I'm alone. I use the hands-free and call my mom. Or Sylvie. Or Mariuca. Or PC.
5. Look out the window.
6. Look at maps... we still use maps (no GPS) and it's interesting to see what's around you as you travel down a highway.
7. Get a little lost. We like to get off on an exit and just drive; it's not always about the destination, sometimes it's the journey.
8. Play the lottery game... where I think of what i would do if I won the lottery. (i'm
not the only one who does this, right?)
9. car dance. 'nuff said.
10. ...try to think of something fun to do on the next long ride!

and now, for some knitting...

Herringbone Mitten... for J's girlfriend for Christmas.

A linen stitch cowl: right side..............

......................wrong side.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Over the weekend, I participated in the MetroWest Yarn Crawl. What a great idea! My friend, Dora, and I headed out to 4 new-to-us shops: Sheep Street (Canton, MA), In the Loop (Norfolk, MA), Dee's Nimble Needles (Walpole, MA), and Iron Horse (Natick, MA). It was a LONG day, but it was nice to see some new shops.

Dee's is right on the town square and has a nice welcoming front. I took home 2 types of sock yarn for my mom's holiday gifts, including a berroco glittery.

In the Loop had to be be nicest shop I've been to in a while. It screamed "come, sit and knit!" 3 separate, clean seating areas with large work tables were spread around the room. One was set right near the pattern books, so you could sit down with a set of pattern binders and really look through them. The staff was so, so friendly!

I saw this gem of a sweater in Sheep Street. Now, shop samples never call my name. Never. *ahem, Dora* but this one did. Sheep Street (forgot to get photo) was a smaller shop, but had great selection. A lot of good basics, a wide variety of color was represented. And they were having a 40% off book sale. Yeah.

Iron Horse was visited after lunch, and I forgot to get a photo. It was a nice shop as well, having recently(?) moved from one location to another. Lots of knitting-adjacent things too, like spinning and weaving. They had a trunk show from a new-to-me design team: Polly Macc. Great ideas in their designs... we came home with 3 patterns.

I'm in Philadelphia this week. With any luck, I'll post again tonight about my mitten-in-progress. No time to hit the yarn shops nearby (boo!) but I think my next trip, I'll maybe arrive a bit earlier.... :)

Friday, October 01, 2010

New socks, New babies, New knitter!

I have been knitting, even if I haven't been blogging. One of my holiday knitting goals is to knit my mom 5 pairs of socks: 3 pair of these cotton ones and 2 pair of wool ones. She loves these cotton socks (Cascade Yarns Fixation) and they are easy to knit up on US 3 with 48 stitches on the foot and leg. The color combos are atrocious, to me, but my mom loves them. If you want the pattern, I can post it.

And, a friend at work is pregnant with her first child. As I was the first one at work to find out (we were on a business trip and she was puking), I thought she needed a handknit for this bambino who spent 1 week of his/her 1st trimester in Arizona with me, at a rodeo.

Pattern: EZ's Baby Surprise sweater, without the button band
Yarn: Great Adirondack superwash
Needles: US6
Mods: a kimono look with a simple button and loop closure. Good for a girl, good for a boy. I may need to knit a few more of these...

And, another knitter has been made! A co-worker, Sammi, quickly requested a knitting lesson this week and I obliged last night. She learned the long tail cast-on and the knit stitch in about 20 minutes. Yeah. Really. Frickin' amazing, right? I would say I'm the best instructor ever, but Sammi's pretty quick to pick things up. Last night, post-lesson, she headed home and kept on knitting.... this is her 1 night progress.

Her tension has evened up and her stitches are getting looser (she, like us all, tried to strangle the yarn into submission at the beginning). So, give a big "woohoo" for Sammi (who will be checking this blog) for her first knitting.

Yarn: Plymouth Encore from my stash
Pattern: Cast on 25, garter until you run out of yarn scarf
Needles: US 8 (4.5mm) needles from the JCA sale a few years ago.

Tomorrow: scenes from a yarn crawl, a completed hat for charity, a toddler sweater and yarn choices for holiday mittens. (if you are my sister in law, don't look tomorrow. ha ha ha)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

10 on Tuesday

This week: 10 things in your fridge right now....

1. skim milk: the Organic Cow brand. I know, it's like $3.99  for a 1/2 gallon, but I have to drink 24 ounces a day, it's going to be tasty, organic, hormone-free.
2. chicken from the crock pot yesterday. I made a new-to-me recipe for chicken leg quarters in the crockpot (PC loved it)... and with the leftovers, I removed the skin and bones for easy lunch assembly this week.
3. chicken gravy. Low-carb chicken gravy (homemade) made from the crockpot chicken.
4. 1 sugar-free pudding (the other one is in my lunch bag)
5. 4 Samuel Adams beers. 
6. sabra hummus mini-cups. Get these at BJ's--- great portion control. 
7. 1 egg.... 2 went in my belly this morning for breakfast
8. Penzey's chicken stock "goop"--- this is indispensable. In fact, I am going to get the turkey and beef ones on my next trip.
9. sugar-free ice tea. I'm an iced-tea fanatic. This kind is peach.
10. there was roast beef with homemade gravy, onions & carrots... but I took it for lunch! FridgeBlue_V2.jpg

Friday, September 24, 2010

back to blogging

Oh, the blogging break wasn't supposed to last that long. *gulp* 

I'm back. Expect at least 3 times a week blogging from now until Christmas. I have knitting to show. I have quilting to show. I have recipes to share. 

I'm back,people.... I'm back!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

10 on Tuesday

10 Reasons to Watch Football.

Huh. This one is tough for me. I grew up watching football, attending football games, talking football... and I am a football widow. PC is a football lunatic, I mean, fanatic. I tend to not watch now, and instead I meet other football widows and knit.

1. Football is nice background noise. You can occasionally glance up and see what's been going on.
2. I like the linemen, screw those little little QB's and running backs... give me a center or safety any day.
3. Knitting. Need I say more? No one complains when you knit during football, because it means you aren't asking stupid questions.
4. I love watching the little ones play football. They look like helmets with feet.
5. I like watching the wee cheerleaders. I was a wee cheerleader (I was a cheerleader from age 7 to 18.... and team captain twice: in 8 th grade and senior year).
6. Little Chloe likes football now... she associates it with Uncle "PC" which I think is hysterical. Uncle "PC" has offered to teach her to throw a spiral.
7. Football watching means I make pot roast or some other all-day meal.
8. Football watching means I have the afternoon "off" to shop, knit, skip, sing....whatever I want, as long as i'm either a) quiet or b) out of the house.
9. PC's love of football is one of the reasons I love him. He's very passionate about it, but also knows it's not the world. I like a man who can see reality.
10. 12 straight hours of football for PC means he can't complain about me watching The Real Housewives or some other useless reality show that I am hooked on. :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ten On Tuesday

Today's Ten on Tuesday is : 10 ways to Lighten your Mood....

Hmm. this one could be tough, my mood's usually pretty darn light!

1. Put on lipstick. My Nana always told me if my hair was done and my lipstick on, it wasn't going to be a bad day. Today, I put on lipstain because I finally found a happy lipstick medium for me and PC... I get lipstick and he doesn't. And, yes, we kiss that much. :) 
2. Watch a cartoon. Any cartoon. I like some of the new ones, but my favorites are still on sometimes and they help.
3. giggle. Try it. Giggle a little and see if you feel happier, joyful, etc. I know I do!
4. Dance around. Sometimes I'm dancing to the music in my head, other times it's the tunes on the radio. Even if you can't dance: dance! 
5. Car-Dance. This is different than #4 b/c you do this in the car. Find a great station, roll down the windows and get your groove on. I was once car dancing in traffic (I do this a lot) and a man stuck in the opposite direction, rolled down his window as he approached me and told me that I made his day. He had never seen anyone so happy and if I could be dancing in traffic, then he could too!
6. Call a friend. I have good girlfriends who have hilarious kids, so I'll call them and say "tell me what Chloe/Remi/Jackson did today." 
7. Eat a popsicle. It's hard to be serious when you're trying to manage the licks and drips.
8. hug someone. 
9. play with a pet.
10. knit something. :) 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mini & PC: A Love Story

I promised you the true tale of the 8 year love affair of Mini and PC... and all the mystery and intrigue involved.

Our first date happened 8 years ago today, which was a Friday. PC was on vacation from work and I had a day off, I was interviewing for a position at another department at the college I was working for.  I raced home to change to meet PC for lunch (less commitment than dinner, I suppose) at the Joshua Tree bar/pub in Davis Square, Somerville. I was nervous. I drank 3 diet cokes before he arrived... 20 minutes late. (mystery) He was late for a good reason: it was blazing hot out and while he lived less than a mile away, he wanted to take the bus, so he wouldn't arrive sweaty.

A leisurely lunch, complete with a good beer for each of us, resulted in neither of us wanting to end the date. What to do next? Well, PC stole my heart when he suggested we grab a loaf of bread and go feed some ducks.  Bread in hand, we went in search of ducks. We found them, but they wanted to bite me, not the bread. We fled the area near Longwood quickly... now where? We headed to Jamaica Pond and pulled over nearby and went for a brief walk with our bread, just in case.

Enter the drama and danger: a goose. A goose that was determined to kill me. A goose that, quite literally, hunkered down, pulled it's head in and cocked it to the side, menacingly,  and ran straight for me! PC, laughing hysterically, was pulling me along, while I was trying not trip and fall. 8 years ago today, he became my hero.

After that, because no 100 degree, 100% humidity day in Boston is not complete without a trip to the zoo (what.were.we.thinking.), we headed to Franklin Park. At the zoo, after the African wild dogs and on our way to the Andean condors, we held hands.  I thought, at the pygmy hippo, PC was going to kiss me, but he didn't.  Now, anyone who knows me could have told you that at 24, I was so done with the "dinner and a movie" thing. I had been dating a lot at this point, a lot of 1st and 2nd dates with nice, but not quite "it" guys... who were so unoriginal. Taking me to the zoo? Stole my little heart.

After the zoo, we headed back to Somerville... to PC's place. I was sweaty and disgusting. So was he. He ordered some dinner (calzones if I am correct, from Angelina's) and let me borrow a t-shirt and shorts and use his shower. The perfect gentleman, he put my clothes in the wash and stayed downstairs while I changed.

I finally got my kiss that night.

Our 2nd date was the following night.

So, the tale of PC and Mini started 8 years ago with a 24 year old girl and a 25 year old guy, who grew up less than 2 miles from each other. He went to high school with my brother, J. I knew his roommate's girlfriend from high school. All of these small world occurrences and we met and fell in love, one hot day in August 2002, over burgers, a beer and trip to the zoo.

Happy Anniversary, PC... the last 8 have been the best years... and I can't wait for 8 more.

Friday, August 13, 2010

PC and I bought a new couch. It's green. I love it. LOVE. We're tossing the old blue couches (hand me downs from bro & SIL) and putting the green couch in the living room. And moving my knitting chair (buff colored armchair) to the living room. Buying an ottoman. Swapping the rug from the dining room.


I'm still so unsure about the design. I'd love to add some great book shelves, to not only store PC's books, but also to have some seasonal accessories. A great coffee table would work too. I'm thinking circular to break up the lines in the room.

I might need help.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a designer who can work with what you have? We're in an apartment, so no painting, no re-modeling... and we have a pretty strict budget. Like $500.

So, if you know someone (design students welcome!) and are someone, let me know. We'd be willing to let our apartment be photographed for a portfolio as well. :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

The top ten reasons to love bacon? Hmmm... I like bacon, but I don't know if I love bacon. PC loves bacon. Anywho, here we go:

1. Bacon is best when crispy. Very crispy. It can be prepared in many ways from limp and rubbery (eww) to burnt.
2. It's salty, and eggs need salt no matter how they are prepared, so if you have bacon with your eggs, you don't need the salt shaker.
3. It adds a little "something" to ice cream. At this moment, there is a pint of maple-bacon gelato in my freezer.
4. Scallops love bacon. They've been known to fraternize with bacon and the results are amazing.
5. When you are camping and you want to conserve cooking gas, you can start a bacon-grease fire in the camp stove and turn off the gas. You can continue to cook your food for another 3-5 minutes, therefore conserving precious propane. (ask me how I know).
6. Bacon comes from pigs. Pigs are not very clean animals, but are very friendly and some varieties can be pets. So, bacon can be a pet.
7. Bacon can come from turkeys, too, so it can be "healthy" bacon.

Wow... I might actually have 10 things to like about bacon

8. Bacon can make any meal you have burned better. If you royally screw up the beef bourginon a la Julia Child, you can always make bacon and egg sandwiches, because who doesn't like a bacon'n'egg sandwich?
9. Bacon is a great bridge between two cultures.Canadian bacon is not really bacon, it's ham, but we still call it bacon to appease the Canadians.

and finally...
10. Bacon is tasty in a number of ways: in a sandwich, with eggs, addition to salad, etc.

Monday, August 09, 2010

cutting back

2009/2010 has been a good year for us. I'm coming up on my one year anniversary at work and I expect a good review from the boss. I'm also realizing that I've been really lax about saving some money. We were very fortunate to have my severance and unemployment when I was out of work, but I took a huge hit in my savings trying to keep up with the Jones's this year. So, I'm cutting back. And, it's strange b/c some of the ways I am cutting back are going to seem a bit crazy, but stay with me and we'll see how it all goes:

1. yarn diet. I know, I've said it, but I've been really good. I'm knitting from stash (I have got really good yarn in there!) and making 80% of my holiday gifts this year. This may be making me persona non grata at my LYS, but since I spent a good chunk of money there over the years, I'm not letting guilt seep into my brain.
2. bringing lunch. We've been doing this for years, but now we're really cracking down on the grocery bill and working through the pantry before we shop.
3. "free" time: HBO, Starz.... we get them in our cable package and we're going to start using them.  Less movies out, more movies in... and the popcorn is cheaper too!
4. take out with taking out... diving into my cookbooks to find yummy dinner ideas that are take-out like, but without the $40 price tag. This week: asian stirfry wraps: broccoli, water chestnuts, zucchini and carrots with leftover chicken in a sugar free teriyaki sauce on low carb wraps: Yum!
5. clothing donations. Tax receipts and cleaning the closets? it's a wonderful thing!
6. saving, saving, saving. I'm now officially on a budget with "play money" included each week. I'm already a little stressed out about it, but I think the first big "clink" into the savings account will cure that.
7. library for e-books. Yup, i'll have to wait for them, but at least I'll have them for free!

I always have these moments of self-renewal around the start of school, not January 1.

For 2010/2011, I'm going to learn to invest some of my savings as well. All while knitting. :)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


I'm knitting Shalor for PC right now. He's been waiting 8 years, as of August 16,  for a sweater. Yup, on August 16, 2002, PC and I went on our first date. I'm not sure if I've told you all the story, but that might be a better story for our actual anniversary. And, it's  a good one. Complete with intrigue, mystery, danger and some romance.

Anyway... (I'm rivaling Carole for digressions today, no?). I'm knitting Shalor. It's a big sweater. Not in the sense that PC's some gargantuan sized male, but it's got a whole lot of cables, honeycomb and some serious seed stitch sections. And, one cable is a 4-row repeat, another is an 4-stitch/8 row repeat and the big cable is a 20 row repeat with 16 stitches....so, nothing matches up. *sigh*
And, it's a Penny Straker, so you know the pattern is flawless, but also: not.charted. Yup. I said it. Not charted.

4 pattern rows took me 2 hours on Monday night. I'm a fast knitter and 2 hours for 4 pattern rows should mean I am knitting a Guiness-record-breaking afghan on US 1 needles, but alas it's an aran sweater on US 6 with worsted weight.  So, a little sleuthing on Tuesday during my lunch break (and much whining to a friend via email), resulted in my new favorite toy:

Knit Chart

You need to have Java enabled, but it's a great program. I highly suggest it!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

10 on Tuesday

10 Things To Bring on Vacation.... since I just got back, I will tell you what I brought :)

1. PC. Srsly, he carries stuff, he's a good driver, sings along to the radio, knows when I need to get an iced coffee... and he's not too shabby to look at.
2. my nook. I wouldn't have made it camping without it. I read 3 books on my nook while camping. That's 3 books I didn't have to haul with me. It went to the beach, the water, in the car... and did I mention I had my knitting pattern in there too?
3. comfy clothes. I don't get why anyone would wear uncomfortable clothes on vacation. I lived in shorts and tank tops all week.
4. knitting. For me, it's a relaxation thing. I'm a good enough knitter that I rarely have to look down now, even when it's lace or cables, just enough to stay on track... and this means my hands are busy while my mind is clear.
5. bathing suit. I'm not going on vacation unless I can swim. I *heart* my new Lands End tankinis. Plus size gals everywhere: they are cute, flattering and easy to manage for trips to the potty.
6. mp3 player. We don't usually go on vacation where it's not a road trip, so we need this to keep us singing along.
7. money. Cash money. There is nothing worse than getting back from vacation and getting the credit card bill. I take out the amount of cash I want to spend and work from there.
8. credit cards. Because sometimes it's better/easier to charge it... and if you are buying something you want to take home (expensive trinket, etc), you want the AMEX protection :)
9. cell phone w/ navigation and/or internet access. There is nothing like being in a strange town and saying "hmm... where's the closest Dunkin'?" This solves many problems.
10. maps. Because GPS takes you where you want to go, but maps can show you a whole new world. And, sometimes, where you want to go and where you need to be are two totally different places. :)

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Home Sweet....

Oh, I can't even say it. I don't want to be home. I don't. I want to act like a 4 year old and stamp my feet and refuse to budge and yell until I get my way. And my way is back on Lake Conway, camping.

It was a perfect, beautiful trip for us. Of course, the first night it didn't just rain, it typhooned. Isn't that right Kim? Kim lives near where we camp and if my cell hadn't died after sending her an email, I would have been able to call her to put us up instead of dealing with a leaky tent. Oh, leaky is probably being generous... the rain fly was, how do you say... useless. Necessity is the mother of invention and at midnight on Saturday, I was soaked to.the.bone. running down a muddy hill in flipflops and tying a tarpaulin to the tent. It worked. We got dry. We laughed.

Everything else on the trip: perfect. We hiked up to Sabbaday Falls, rode the cog railway up to Mt. Washington and spent a lot of time laughing. We also ate the yummiest ice cream, played with our friends' daughter, Noodle, who was on her 1st camping trip!!!

There was knitting. Napping. Laughing. Drinking. Eating. Cooking. Casting out. Casting off. Casting on. Creating. Washing. Lounging. Carousing. Driving. Wondering.

PC and I had a great time.

and tomorrow, it's back to work and I think I just might cry a little.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ten on tuesday

Ten things to do instead of watching tv...
1.  Knit
2. Play cards..we like gin rummy.
3. Talk. PC and I have an hour every night where we just chat.
4. Sew.
5. Fire poke. I am camping right now.
6. Work out.
7. Hike....yes, camping.

-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fenway or....

Not?  Real football comes to Boston!
And, girl? Them footballers are cute!
-- Sent from my Palm Pre

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

This week is 10 things to take on a camping trip... it's like Carole designed it just for me! See, PC and I are heading out on our annual week-long camping trip this weekend (I'll try to smartphone-blog, but bear with me... I might just be too busy, doing nothin').

10 things ....
  1. a tent and accoutrements. I spent my childhood camping in both tents & trailers and for those of you who are campground residents, I was a seasonal kid. While we are quickly approaching the age of the camper, PC and I are still loving our tent. Our "summer house," as we call it. You'll need sleeping bags, an air mattress and chairs no matter how you camp, so bring them along too.
  2. food. I prefer to shop on our way to the destination. There must be hot dogs, potato chips and pancake mix on that list. As I'm on South Beach this year, we might do more eggs than pancakes.
  3. Beer. We prefer bottles to cans, but there is nothing like a good beer, in front of a nice fire while you stare at the lake. Yup, when camping, "lake watching" is an activity.
  4. Books/reading material. PC catches up on all his music industry magazines and this year, I'm packing my Nook. Tonight I'm going to buy 2 more books to add to it.
  5. Knitting! While PC fishes and smokes a cigar, I'm usually knitting and listening to the radio. One year, I got a whole pair of socks done between the car, the site and the side-trips.
  6. More than 1 swimsuit. There is nothing like hanging up your suit to dry and having it still be damp in the a.m. So, I always pack 2. This year I bought tankinis. Why, yes, that South Beach is going well.
  7. PC. I can't get the tent up without him. He and I are such a well matched pair-- -there is nary a fight or squabble between us when we're camping. Our first ever trip, our friends were engaged and broke up after the trip... PC and I became soulmates. :) Never live with/marry a man you can't put a tent up with.
  8. Radio. We have a tradition of listening to ball games while we play cards and eat dinner. It started on a trip 7 years ago on Lake Androscoggin in Maine, but it's continued. I don't like watching baseball, but I like listening to it.
  9. Camping crap: this is easily defined as "all the stuff we keep in the camp boxes." See, if I said "bring camp boxes" you would have been confused, right? This includes: batteries, flashlights, dishes, utensils, the big knife (think Rambo), rope, trash bags (always, always, always pack out! don't be "that guy" at the campground), bug spray, bug candles, etc...
  10. A sense of awe, appreciation and wonder for the world. I am closer to God when I am camping than any other time in my life. I love hearing the lake wake up, the loons sign their children to sleep, and watch the clouds move across the sky. I am closer to PC when we are camping as well. We connect on a level that defeats any petty argument that we've ever had.