Friday, February 27, 2009

The Getting On With it

Sometimes getting on with it is a bit..... hard. This time is certainly no exception. It has been a wild week of ups and downs, the biggest down of course being the death of my brother. The up in part is the preparation for a trip that is 85% pleasure and the rest work, a longed for and much anticipated nearly two weeks of 'away'. Warm. Beaches. I'm hoping for sunbathing and Cuban food, the knit and quilt shops out of state that become exotic and issue their siren call. My sister in law has not determined if or when there will be any type of memorial service and I loudly hear my brother telling me to get on with it and go have some fun. It will be tempered fun but I am going to give it my best shot.

Besides my knitting to take along in the car for the 18 hours of lovely drive (which I seriously enjoy) come a couple of other important elements:

Chee*tos, the red crunchy ones. You emerge from your car at gas stations to potty and perhaps find a S*nickers or M*allow Cup with orange fingers and bits of telltale crunchy clinging to your t shirt. Well worth it if you ask me.

And lots of Diet C*oke, mine will hopefully not be erupting. Did you even KNOW that you could make a bit of an eruption with Diet C*oke and M*entos? I did not. The hilarious W*ikipedia article is here, should you need a head shaking grin today. You can't travel very far at all without a cold refreshing beverage when contemplating beaches, sand, palm trees and weather that is not snowing.

I ran right over to the Cast On website and because Brenda now has Audible as a sponsor, I thought I'd give her a bit of the jingle when I signed up. I do love me some audio books and signed up using the link on her site. When you do--- voila--- a free credit to be used this month on any audio you would like. Yay! And I don't need to tell you that there are LOADS of them. I spent my time carefully searching as the road trip audiobook parameters are narrow. Not scary, not too serious, somewhat romantic, a bit of travel involved is nice, anything with a red cover scores points, and if Italy is involved in any way the bonus points really rack up. The winner for the trip is "Very V*alentine" y A*driana T*rigliani. Unabridged. 16+ hours of delight!

My iPod is loaded with Valentine and I've been hoarding up knitting podcasts (my traveling companion be damned) for the road. The cabled cardi is packed along with another fat cake of Eco---- I tossed in yarn and dpi's for a pair of socks just in case all that lapfull of wool gets to be too much. After all it is going to be WARM. The mere thought of that makes me smile. Spring clothes are packed, my cell phone is charging and the house will sparkle for the open house being held on Sunday (buymebuymebuy me I shout to the Universe!!!).

I'm ready to head out. I need to head out. I'm almost gone.

Blips from the road blitters------ photos and stories to come!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Miss you already Mitch--

My brother passed away yesterday. It was, as you can imagine terribly unexpected---- well, maybe not totally unexpected just much sooner than anyone anticipated.

Mitch was a:
  • husband
  • father
  • brother
  • son
  • lover of every genre of music
  • avid concert goer
  • hard working and self-employed
  • ex-Marine
  • funny as hell in his wry humored way
  • a Republican who voted Democratic for the first time this election season
  • silly man who loved to argue with me about S*arah P*alin
  • argumentative cuss who enjoyed the sport of arguing for that alone
  • creative in his own right and always appreciative of my creative gifts
I'll miss you bro, rest in peace.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Knitting Little Gold Men

Oscars, I love them! :) Not so much all the movies (I think I am the only person in the world who is not a huge S*lumdog fan)--- but the Red Carpet festivities are so fab!!! Did you SEE that vintage gown from Balmain that P*enelope C*ruz wore????? Gorgeous!!!! Total glam, total wow!

The most fun was knitting in my (vintage) jammies and reading along with the live Oscar blog event over at Kay and Ann's place! Mason Dixon, you charmed me yet again! :) If you did not participate in the fun, head on over and read the transcript, many giggles to be had!

Bryan Crowe / A.M.P.A.S.

Sorry, I thought M*iley looked like Disco Lettuce. She makes me crazy anyway, perhaps that did color my overall impression.

Pass the M&M's........... maybe some honey roast peanuts?????? Dinner was roast chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, a perfect dinner for a fun evening.

The evenings omg moment for me? Easy----------- G*oldie Hawn during the group presentation of the best supporting actress. I looked everywhere for a photo but I think perhaps the papp decided that it was too scary. Personally the reason she had on a dress that her boobs threatened to jump out of at any moment was that it was like watching a train wreck, you could not take your eyes off the boobs! Stay in there, please, do NOT make me look!!! EEEEEEK. And this was her brilliant subterfuge, brilliant I tell you. When you stared at her scary cleavage you did not notice that she was totally plastic in the face. I am once again asking (no begging) you to keep me aging at least somewhat naturally. T*ilda Swinton did have on a shiny potato sack but at least she didnt look like the Bride of Frankenstein for heaven's sake!!!! (Not that she was remotely attractive or anything).

I'm totally bummed that S*lumdog won over Button or M*ilk. Sigh. I did applaud wildly for S*ean P*enn winning----- he was so fabulous as M*ilk.

Knitting. Ah, did I mention I knitted? I'm about ready to castoff one half of the fronts of my cardi---yay! While planning some car knitting coming up this weekend I'm thinking maybe I'll cast on for the other front instead of wrestling with two hunks of yarn for the two sleeves! But who knows.......... As I told the Sunday afternoon knitting girls, I'm still really enjoying the knitting of Alexi, after what seems like a zillion stitches and cables and diamonds and that endless seed stitch. Always a good thing when you still have two sleeves, one remaining front and the fiddly bits to attend to. As I told Robyn today, we shall not speak of the felted bag laying silent and accusing in the closet.

Maybe I'll knit a copy of that Ballenciaga gown! :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Old and Mardi Gras

I'm in the Studio working today, another (yay) non wedding Saturday. NOBODY gets married in this town on Mardi Gras Saturday! (To which I say amen and hallelujah!)

Out the window when I came in were the floats lined up and ready to head the few blocks to the parade route. The one with the porta potty and the guy with green and purple balloons glued to his bare nippes caught my eye. Especially as it is 16 this morning.

I am feeling most especially old as I watch the tons of Mardi Gras go'ers park here and walk into S*oulard for the big day, all are wearing beads (to be soon augmented by many more) and bundled up against the cold. Many are getting a jump on their alcoholic intake. As I stood and watched them shuffle toward the parade with beer in hand, at well before 10 a.m. I felt old.

Sometimes age does bring with it wisdom!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Musings

We all seek peace from the crazy stuff 'out there'--- and as creative sorts I believe we're one step ahead of the game when we understand that in some fashion it does come from within us. We nurture that grain of quiet and peace when we knit, or quilt, or do something that is usually the work of our hands. In today's "Daily OM" I found an interesting bit that felt right to me........ and I share below:

"In our noisy world, we often find ourselves longing for peace and searching to find it somewhere else. While it’s true that there are places we can visit where we can experience peace, such as sacred sites or buildings, we do not need to wait until we get to one of these places to feel at peace. Instead, we can learn to locate the seed of peace inside ourselves and cultivate it so that it grows into a reliable source of serenity that we can always access, no matter where we are.

We experience peace when we are in a state of mental calm and serenity. It might surprise you to notice how infrequently you allow yourself to be free from anxiety. Realizing this is the first step to inner peace. If you wait until all the details of your life are taken care of to allow yourself to experience peace, you will never feel peaceful because there is always something that your mind can grab onto to create anxiety. It is important to consciously set aside your worries and make time to cultivate inner peace.

Ideally, you could schedule time each day to meditate on peace and experience what it feels like to be calm and serene. It takes practice to learn how to let go of your worries, so give yourself some time. Inhale deeply, and feel your worries dissolve with every exhale. Remind yourself that soon enough you will be able to take care of everything you need to, but right now you are taking a break. As the clutter of your thoughts and concerns clear away, you will start to feel more serene. Allow yourself to move deeper into this state with each inhale. Realize that you have the power to free yourself from anxiety simply by deciding to do so. The more you practice feeling peaceful, the easier it will be for you to feel at peace."

Despite the sad family news I do have my first vacation in years coming up in about a week so I'm working hard to try to pull even and maybe even a little bit ahead. It is an exercize in futility that I seem determined to continue in hopes of winning. Hope does spring eternal. The cardi has moved along a bit and is most yummy. I hope to have both of the sleeves cast on for the drive to vacay land. That will leave me with the remaining front which is a lovely stretch of knitting no matter the added length.

She is coming along----- indeed.

The quilt top sans borders was put together the other day and I show it to you here, with the dogs of course. They feel the need to be in every photograph and were miffed when I picked the quilt top off the floor!

Thanks so much for the comments and emails I've received about my brother, I so appreciate you all! He is at home now which is a blessing in and of itself, my Mom is there with him and family will trickle in over the course of time.

Get Knittin'! Get Quiltin'! Make your Peace!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

family update

And a sad family update at that. We've learned that my youngest brother does not merely have liver disease but advanced liver cancer. It kind of blows my mind that we went from one thing to another but there you have it. I'm kind of 'frozen'............ I putter around going from one thing to another and can't really sink my teeth into much of anything. I did have a heck of a cleaning festival late last night and can tell you that my floors are all so clean and gorgeous that you could eat off of them. This will do absolutely no good to anyone in the big picture but it surely was therapeutic.

I putter on......... we gather more information.............. and we pray and wait.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I love contests, don't you? Especially when they are Really Good Stuff. You have to admit if you are a knitter, the groove basket above is all that and then some!!!

Check the dual contest from KnitPurlGurl and Webs Yarn---- two very great places. You can get the info from KPG----

now get on over there, and play nice! :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

on down the road

So Valentines Day has passed rather quietly (as is my preference)------ or otherwise referred to as VD day around here. (wink wink). I'm just not a fan of days that 'they' (whoever the 'they' are) tell you what to be and when to be it. A day to express love, caring and all that happy jazz should be everyday, not on a day when the card companies make a fortune and the florists jack up their prices 150%. So there.

Life is kind of madness, I think we're moving! The talk of downsizing has been happening for about a year now and the time has come. The final 'new' spot will be looked at today although there is already a favorite in mind. The thought of the actual work of it makes my eyeballs hurt and the reality of very little storage is never a good thing. All in all it is kind of exciting. The opportunity to 'start fresh' is always thrilling to me and I start thinking of brand new color schemes and ways to dec the joint.

Knit has happened, the first front of the cardi is about 1/3 of the way along. Remember, this sucker is a looooooooooooooong swatch of knit! No Yoel, I will definitely NOT have the two fronts knit in a week, you are a crazy girl who is used to knit child sized sweaters for your tiny and cute little frame! :)

It's yummy and I still love it. I had to pop into my local lys to have another two fattie cakes of Eco wound as the stern reality that there was no way two chair backs and a toilet paper tube were going to handle the job. While there it was lovely to visit new yarns and goodies. You will be proud to know that I left without buying anything new.

Isn't that a LOTTA back????? It could be a full afghan for the little girl dog!!! But there is the proof of the done-ness.

Happy Monday------ Happy President's Day-------- hope that all is right and well on your side of the screen!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

On the Day of Love and Hearts and Cupids and other stuff...

Yesterday was my anniversary. Crepes for breakfast at a local purveryor of such crepey goodness. I had mine stuffed with something cream cheesy and cherry-ish, it was delightful as can be. The lady sitting next to me had the buckwheat crepe with roasted veggies that looked really incredible too. The best thing about her was not her healthy brekky but that she told me my top was darling and I looked really great. I came to discover through innocent eavesdropping (it was so crowded in there that it was hard not to) that she is some big poohbah with R*alph L*auren in NYNY so the compliment was even nicer. I think the caveat for all of us is that we need to remember to compliment people more, sincerely if possible of course. Somehow that kind of drops by the wayside and I don't know about you but I still dig hearing that sort of thing. The rest of the day was a blur of appointments and running in all directions possible punctuated only by a short stop for a Friday Only bowl of clam chowder heaven. The evening was spent watching Nights in R*odanthe which I was very happy not to have spent the big movie bucks in the theater. A fairly stupid movie even though I love D*iane Lane and think that Ri*chard Ge*re is a big ole hubba hubba. Four bucks, homepopped popcorn---- it was just okay.

I wish you a Happy Valentine's Day. You look GREAT------ just fabulous!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's all about the FRONT--

Yes indeed, all about the front. I'd show you a photo of my empty needles, made when the BACK of the cardi was bound off. (And a true celebration it was!) But empty needles really aren't that exciting, well except to me at that point in time. I wanted to knit the diamond portion of the pattern to the point that it was narrowing down where the shoulders would meet but the knitting goddess deemed it necessary that I stop lest a full length coat be born. So be it.

Now that the front has been cast on, ribbed, and the pattern begun I can't get OVER how fast it seems not to have that afghan of a cardi back to work on. It's almost speedy! :) I feel a renewal of knitting even though it is the same project.

It has come to my attention from many of you out there in blogland that you may well be experiencing SPRING. I lust for and hunger after spring, can't wait if the truth be told!! Thank you all for sharing the peeks of buds, the early blossoms and the first flush of flowers it gives me hope. My backyard is mud and there is so much to be done. I'm seriously considering some downsizing and now just might be the time to do it.............. before we mow.

Until then the temp here in the midwest is a balmy 55. Not too shabby------------ I'll take it.

Get Knittin!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One With the Knit

Gettin' one with the knit, that's all I'm sayin'!

You know (or may not) that I am a HUGE rules girl. Well except for sometimes the speed limit and that doesn't count. I follow the rules, and am in fact sometimes inextricably tied to them-- as suffer the normal thought processes.

That is I think much of my problem when it comes to knitting. When I sew or quilt I don't follow the rules, I feel it in my bones and stitch by the seat of my pants. It all works out, I feel it, I know it, I am one with it.

Knitting? Hmmmmmmm. I have indeed known how to knit since small kid time but my knitting has been sporadic, dictated largely by the locale in which I lived and had need of wooly goodness. For a large part of my past I have not knit past the occasional baby sweater or schmooty item of small consequence. Because of that I was a slave to the rules. For ages and ages and ages I could not knit lace from a chart, patterns from a chart were right behind that. And I did prevail over the chart thing. I still could not knit without a stitch marker for each pattern on the needles and I was very closely tethered to the instructions. Marked clearly and encased in a sleeve of plastic protectment!!! If something happened, even ever so slightly and something went awry (because as we all know that DOES happen) I was screwed. Totally screwed.

My lovely cardi in progress has been my oneness knit, maybe (just mayyyyyyyyyyybe) the knitted piece that will turn my corner, make me one with the knit, might well make me a KNITTER. It was the damn seed stitch pattern that made me crazy from go. I don't know why, I can't tell you. No simpler stitch exists. But until you are one with that (or any stitch to be honest) and you sink into it......... can watch it, be organic with it........... you don't move past the first door. And what is behind door number 1? The 'watch' of it. The knowing that it is time to do something when it is time just because you know that you know, not because you are told to by markers, or counting or the pattern sitting there at your hip.

Perhaps it was week two of this boogerin (and I think I mean that literally) cold that has fried my brain, or the lack of sleep or the intricate combination of N*yquil and Chai, I have seen the light. I'm not using the instructions.............. and haven't for quite a few rows now. I seem to see the piece as more than the piece but as this lovely happy wooly bit that I have a relationship with. Dare I say I think it is the beginning of control?

I've almost finished the (ongoing and going) back of the cardi.... adding a few more rows because I (yes...... I) have chosen that it will be prettier at the shoulder where the panels join fronts to back if I knit on a little longer and make the diamond pattern narrower. I'm very close to this point and might manage to get it off soon. The resulting extra length really doesn't mean a heckuva lot when you are a boxy comfy cardi to begin with.

Perhaps not, and maybe I make no sense at all. But I do to ME, and after all that is all that matters. I might just be on to something!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Countdown Begins at 19

My flu has morphed into the mother of all colds. I have no voice. None. Those around me perhaps consider this a good thing, harumph.

Another wedding show has been signed sealed and delivered leaving me once again to believe with all my heart that in most cases either the bride or the mother of the bride is certifiable. One or the other, I'm not kidding. When they are both off the beam we're booked for their date, no room for possible future insanity thankyouverymuch.

Today we change internet and cable tv providers at home. Such delight, such upheaval. Although I do love my creature comforts I'll confess to missing the simple things as well when faced with the necessity of changing all log in's and details as well as notifying those in my email address book that I've departed the fix.

Knitting? Not much, a row here and there. I had an hour and a half break at the wedding show yesterday and hoped to knock back a row or two but found myself engaged in lively conversation over coffee instead. As knitting is often a solitary sport I enjoyed the banter.

Quilting? Sort of----- The quilt top is pinned and ready to be set together. I have discovered that in order to make this big enough for my queen bed (with enough drop for the fattie mattress and height of the bed) I'll need another couple rows of some kind of border. I need the top together so I can make a trek to the fabric store. NOT a bad thing I assure you.

The week starts with a tremendous bang, a whir and a flurry. I need more K*leenex.

Nineteen (count 'em, 19!!!) days until vacation. I. Can't. Wait.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Is it time to EAT?

Thanks Lisa, for sending over a photo that warms my heart (and makes my tummy growl!).
Nothing like a big ole' plate of scrambled eggs, Portugese sausage and two scoop rice to make a girl set to rights! From the BK on Kauai comes the shot above. I'm still giggling. And still hungry. For the record, yes any of those food items are not likely to be a good choice in reality, but they SOUND good............ health must be right around the corner.

I managed to knit for a couple of lovely hours last night---- and I'm hungry! I think I may live after all. Way too much work to catch up on and a big wedding show this weekend. Thankfully it is supposed to be at least 50 today so things are (for the moment) looking up. And the back of the cardi?????? Almost ready to bind off! Less than one more repeat of the diamond, things are looking up. You have no idea how I long to bring you a photo of empty needles, ready to cast on for the right front, the left front, or the sleeves. Something other than the back.

Get Knittin'!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Like a Mole

Somehow I feel like a Mole. In writing that my flu addled brain added Whack-A-Mole and Like a Virgin. Both of which I am not. Maybe whacked, but that is beside the point. I have not ventured very far from either the couch or my bed for a couple of days and honestly have no desire to, hence the mole reference. Because it is super cold only compounds that decision. It will be 50 tomorrow so I have hope.

When I woke up this morning it became obvious very quickly that work would not be a happening thing, not much of anything else. Nada.

I did however complete a very, very important task 4 minutes after it was possible to do so.

After all, a girl DOES have her priorities!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tis the Season...

The SuperBowl party was great, good fun, and for those of us who say every year that we just want a good game, this year we were not disappointed!! My team lost (sniffle)...... oh well. I hadn't made that crab/cream cheese dip in years and years as for such a long time it was the go to dish that everyone seemed to bring out for every occasion. I've remembered how a block of cream cheese, a can of lump crab all deliciously drowned in cocktail sauce and served on crackers can be. Crap Dip and Bruce seemed to make even the non-football people very happy.

I've been really smug about my flu shot this year, tempting the fates I suppose. So now here we are sick as can be. Could it be possible that a truck did run me over in my sleep? Bare minimums have been done at the studio and I'm headed for bed with no interest to knit. Tells the tale doesn't it? :)

When ill and feeling puny chocolate and alcohol do seem to perk a girl up----- bring it on!

Decadent Fragile Baby

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup Hershey's Dark Cocoa
  • 6 Hershey's Kisses
  • 2 tsp. good quality vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 oz. Frangelica Liqueur (Hazelnut) or to taste
Heat the milk in a heavy pot, do not allow to boil. In a small bowl combine the sugar, cocoa and salt. Add a bit of milk to the cocoa mixture, very slowly........... and then add the combination back into the heating milk. Drop in the Kisses. When very hot add the liqueur and the vanilla.
Stir and pour into pretty mugs. Depending on the size of your mugs, should serve 4 frozen people.

Stay warm! (As I typed, "stay warm" it occurred to me that there are plenty of you out there who do not need to think warm thoughts as you are living in paradise. I don't think I want to go there at the moment. It is 10 here, without the windchill!)