Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ten Categories

Okay, I've caught Crazy Aunt Purl's ( )wide-flung tag...

TEN random things you might not know about me:
1: I'm extremely organized, but doomed to clutter
2: I don't mind not getting much sleep
3: I constantly dream of tornadoes, but have never seen one in person
4: I love bran muffins
5: I am addicted to 'Degrassi: The Next Generation'
6: Uh, yeah... I'm 33 years old
7: I grew up in a family that loves seafood and eats the good stuff a lot...but I love fishsticks
8: I am pathologically unable to stop spilling food on myself
9: I could care less about make-up, but I go in for spa pedicures so I will have pretty feet
10: I wish more people would comment on my blog

NINE places I've visited:
1: Reykavik, Iceland (on a layover)
2: Lindisfarne, England
3: Betws-y-Coed, Wales
4: Tokyo Disneyland, Japan
5: Montreal, Quebec
6: Galveston, Texas
7: Boise, Idaho
8: Edmonton, Alberta
9: San Francisco, California

EIGHT ways to win my heart:
1: Bookstore giftcards!
2: Give me a foot massage
3: Indulge me when I have odd ideas
4: Let me sleep in while you watch Willow
5: Eat the fishsticks when I make them (Andrew, that means you!)
6: Make me laugh
7: Surprise me with flowers
8. Look the other way when I buy yarn

SEVEN things I want to do before I die:
1: Start writing again
2: Travel through Iceland. I saw an article in a National Geographic a few years back and was entranced
3: Travel back to Japan and see my friends again
4: Check out why Teri loves the Yukon so much
5: Finally get to a healthy weight
6: Learn to rollerblade
7: Have 'A Room of One's Own'

SIX things I'm afraid of:
1: Spiders
2: Losing my family
3: Slugs
4: Not giving Willow a sibling
5: Flying over deep water
6: Finding out I have cancer

FIVE things I don't like:
1: Living so far away from my family
2: Smoking
3: Living in an apartment
4: The Willfully Uneducated
5: My body shape

FOUR ways to turn me off:
1: Whisper behind my back
2: Be cruel to an animal
3: Remind me that I'm overweight (gee, really?!!?)
4: Send me chain letters / emails

THREE Things I do everyday:
1: Drink strong coffee
2: Hate the bras I have to wear
3: Brush my daughter's hair

TWO things that make me happy:
1: When a certain 3 year-old climbs into bed and kisses me awake because she thinks I am Sleeping Beauty
2: Getting unexpected packages in the mail

ONE thing on my mind right now:
1: That I need to get my Christmas shopping started...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Willow's School Picture 2005

Willow's School Picture Posted by Picasa

I've said this before and I'll say it again...

Where did my baby go!?!?!?

Friday, November 25, 2005

In Which Jo Proves She Does Finish Projects and Doesn't Just Buy Yarn Incessantly

But first you have to see our zoo pictures! We went to the Philadelphia Zoo - on probably what has to be the coldest day yet this autumn. I don't think it went above freezing today. Now, the downside to this zoo visit is most of the more popular animals were hiding in their respective barns... however, I don't think there were more than 50 people at the Zoo so we were able to roam everywhere without getting lost in the sea of strollers that flows through the zoo grounds in nice weather. And the trip was completely worth it just for our time with the giant river otters:

They were so curious about Willow and were following her up and down the glass case - almost like they were playing tag (well, they were probably thinking 'food'...) . We also saw these cheetahs, who make the most housecat-like mewling sounds... all the better to trap you with, my dear.

Gratuitous picture of Willow in the car:

Okay, onto the finished objects! Here is Andrew's hat (that the sharp-eyed people may have noticed he is wearing in the river otter picture) that I made out of the Bulky Six-Ply merino from I cannot recomment this yarn enough - it is easily the nicest stuff I have worked with (even better than Manos!) and at $7.50/skein, it doesn't break the bank to make a hat. I was on their website this morning looking for colours for a hat for me now - and maybe some of their laceweight yarn to make the wool and satin scarf from Alterknits. In any case, Andrew loves his hat - and while we have been married for over 8 years now, this is the first thing I have ever made for him.

And some pictures of the baby blanket (finally) completed for Asami and Gara's baby (who I think still hasn't made his appearance... I haven't heard from Asami in a couple of days!) Willow wanted in on this picture - so you know if it can wrap up a three year old squirmer, it can hold a newborn :)

Asami's blanket as a shawl - I'm trying to show off the basketweave pattern on the blanket. I am a firm believer that blankets should be reversible... but I am glad that this project is over and I don't have to count to 5 a billion times anymore!

And on a last note, RIP Ruffie.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Finished Baby Alpaca Hat for a Baby

This hat will be en route soon to my friend Molly's daughter Jadira as soon as I get a little padded envelope to mail it in. It's made out of purple baby alpaca - so soft! I think it looks really good on my doll, too!

I haven't been avoiding Asami's baby blanket - I put a good three inches on it this afternoon - but wanted something more compact as I was watching the season finale of 'Rome.' Asami - I hope to get the blanket finished by this weekend so I can get it in the mail before Taro makes his appearance!

Andrew and I went to see 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' last night - wow! I can see why it made $101M this weekend! However, we did have to do the mandatory dissection of all the parts they had to leave out of the movie... No Mollywobbles! And I have to ask - is it naughty of me to fantasize about the Weasely twins?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Stop! Stop! Thief!

Well, it's been a whirlwind around here the last 24 hours. Andrew comes come last night, brings in the mail, and the checking account statement is in the mail. I open it up, go through it, and find out someone had debited $802.61 from our account on 10/12! Neither Andrew or I had incurred that sort of expense, so we looked up the number next to the transaction line item - AND IT WAS A COLLECTION AGENCY! Now, you have to take into consideration that Andrew and I have absolutely no debts - so there isn't any reason why we would be dealing with a collection agency. We called the number to try and find out what was going on, and the person wanted to know our names, addresses, birthdays, bank account numbers, and became quite belligerent when Andrew wouldn't supply this information - they wouldn't even tell us who or what caused the collection. We said we would take it up with our bank... We did a credit check last night just to be sure, and nothing at all popped up for us. We took all our information to the bank (Thank goodness our bank has Saturday hours!) and they said we will get our money back - and they were appalled that this collection agency was requesting the personal data and wouldn't even doublecheck to see if we were the people who caused it. The bank said most likely it was a mix-up with the bank account number because collection agencies can't debit your account without your permission. So... it has been very stressful around here.

You know what annoys me - that there will never be any apology of any kind from the collection agency. This isn't an interest-bearing account - but what if it was? And what if that amount of money constituted the majority of our savings and it was - in effect - stolen?

SP5 - I know you don't know who I am yet, but I hope you understand that this is why your last package didn't get put into today's mail. It will get mailed on Monday.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Two and a Half Hour Hat

Forgive the odd photo - there is only so much smiling you can get a toddler to do at 5:30 in the morning... hmm... I just realized that my subversive reading material (Maureen Dowd's 'Are Men Really Necessary: When the Sexes Collide') is in plain view in the background...

Anywho... Here is Willow's 2.5 hour hat. For the life of me I can't find any of the cute hats I made for Willow last year - including the amazing stripey one that my sister Teri coveted. And, with the weather dropping to a chilly *high* of 42'F (about 5'C) today, I knew I had to get one churned out toute de suite. The yarn is Caron's Simply Soft Chunky in sort of an apple green. She wanted a purple hat, but the alpaca one I started for her will be more baby-sized when done, so she had to deal with what Mama pulled out of her stash. She likes the hat - has been wearing it inside the house for the last 45 minutes. I didn't use a particular pattern - but here are my specifics:

Size 10.5 needles - 16 inch
Cast on 64 stitches, join, and work in 1X1 rib for about 4.5 inches.
Knit for about 3-4 rounds.
Start decreasing as Knit 6, Knit 2 together, next round plain.
Every other round, Knit one less (i.e. Knit 5, Knit 2 together then Knit 4, Knit 2 together).
Switch to DPNs when it gets too tight for you.
Bind off when you have 4 stitches left and weave in the ends.

Hat fits a three year old :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Stash Enhancement

Oh my lovelies...

Here are some of my 'Jo treating herself well' birthday purchases. The red and green on the left are Wool of the Andes from Knitpicks, and I plan to use those to make Nipper Hats for Willow and me (from . The olive in the front is scrumptious soft and is hand-dyed merino from and is destined to be a hat for Andrew. The blue and red bulky merino also from Hand Painted Yarn are to be mittens - and the blue is for a denim-themed challenge I have joined.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me!

I'm nearly one-third of the way to becoming a centenarian - just give me another third of a year. It's been a pretty good birthday - the weather was beautiful, Willow behaved, I got to have lasagne and ice cream cake... and I received a kick ass MP3 player and music subscription for a year from my husband and daughter. This could be dangerous... someone needs to monitor my intake - if I start filling said player with the Smiths and New Order, someone needs to take me out for ice cream and cheer me up. I'm looking forward to looking up obscure songs I like from even more obscure artists - so throw out some names of musicians/songs you like so I can check them out.

Yesterday I went to my friend's baby shower. Asami isn't due for another couple weeks, but she looked like she was willing to have that baby now! It's ironic that we want so bad for that baby to come and so happy to be pregnant... but the pregnancy always seems to be about a month too long to be comfortable.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Personality Profile

Your Birthdate: November 13

You're dominant and powerful. You always need to be in charge.
While others respect your competence, you can be a bit of a dictator.
Hard working and serious, you never let yourself down.
You are exact and accurate - and you expect others to be the same way.

Your strength: You always get the job done

Your weakness: You're a perfectionist to a fault

Your power color: Gray

Your power symbol: Checkmark

Your power month: April

Well, nearest and dearest - how does this fit me? And remember, I know where you live.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Llamas and learning the right way

We spent another gorgeous Saturday at one of the parks in the area - Willow's favourite is the Josephine Gardens/Brandywine Zoo park... where we found:

Llamas! Willow went around telling other little kids (and a few adults) that those are, "Llamas and you get apaca (sic) wool from them." Yes, she is three years old and I am teaching her all the right stuff - she already wants to learn how to knit. If I wasn't certain she would put my or her own eye out, I might seriously consider it. So, in the meantime, I show her the much more benign (and less pointy) crocheting. Basically I crochet her a square and she pokes the crochet hook in and out of the square. It's a start.

Back to the park:

Josephine Gardens is bordered on one side by the Christina River - a fine place to feed ducks and geese. I'm not quite sure why it is called the Christina River when everything else around here is called 'Christiana.' Here is a pic of Andrew and Willow on the now-defunct railroad:

Here are some goofy girls:

And my squinchy-eyed beauty. Seriously, I don't know what is up with the nose squinching.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Thwarted once again!

After reading in a few people's blogs about the joy of finding a good sweater to frog in a Goodwill or secondhand store, I went on a quest yesterday. Well, I think the title gives you a good idea of how it turned out... I went to the Goodwill store on Kirkwood Highway, and found precious little that was wool or wool/acrylic - mostly they were misbegotten 1980's Bill Cosby style sweaters that I think would defy any attempt at frogging. The only thing I found remotely close was a melon-mango coloured turtleneck tank... however, in cotton. I try not to knit on cotton because I find it just hurts my hands.

I bought a new toy last weekend... and promptly cut my left hand trying to get the toy out of its &$*%^* packaging. Why do they package these things in that hard flat plastic that you can't rip open, cut open, saw through...? Anyway, my new toy is an Embellish Knit ( ) for making i-cords. I taught Willow how to use it too (and then quickly hid it from her so she doesn't try doing this on her own...). She made herself a 10" rope and said it was a jump rope!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mom, I tried (really, I did!)...

... but the kid just wouldn't cooperate. We went to the 'Boo at the Zoo' party at the Wilmington Zoo and I hoped to get some great pics of her, but she just wasn't interested in getting her picture taken.

We only hit about 15 houses last night - after that Willow said she was tired and we ended up pulling her home in her red wagon. I was a bit peeved, though - we went to three houses in a row that had all lights on (and one even had decorations out front) and when we rang the doorbell, they said they didn't have candy to give out. WTF?!?! I always understood that if you were choosing to not give out candy, you turned your front lights off or put a note out front so people didn't come to your door. It was hard trying to explain to a three year old why these people didn't have anything for her. The funniest costume I saw? A 10 year old boy wearing a pink bunny costume... with a Darth Vader costume on top of that!