Thursday, April 26, 2007

Random Things, None of Them Knitting

I finally managed to wrest the camera from my husband's clutches, so without further ado, here is the mystery pink snowball bush that is on the front side of my house. It's very pretty, and as far as I can tell, doesn't smell. Does anyone know what it is?

We have two large azalea bushes in front of the house on either side of the front door and they have started to bloom as well. I have to say I am a bit disappointed - compared to some of the beauties in my father-in-law's garden, the colour of these bushes is rather blah.

And, as promised, a picture of our carpet in sunlight - I took this picture without flash and the colour turned out much truer. The lighter taupe colour is almost an exact match of our sofa - and when we get around to painting the walls, I want them to be a lighter aqua colour than in the carpet.

And, because many of my friends have requested... here is a picture of Willow on her brand new big girl bicycle. Um, she dressed herself. That is all I am going to say. On second thought - that isn't so bad. She originally had mauve pants on with the orange sweatshirt (and green socks). We went for a ride (well - her riding, me spotting) around the block and she only managed to fall off the bike once. I kept telling her that she needed to be able to control the bike - whenever we were going down a shallow decline, she was letting herself coast and go fast. This is all very well and good if you know what you are doing... but she doesn't.


And finally, I wanted to say a big "BOO" (no, not the scary boo - rather, the "you dumbass you" boo) to the people in the local school district who voted against the initiative for full day Kindergarten and other school improvements. People didn't see the educational improvements - all they saw was the property tax increase of $50 per house. Because of this, we have to pay $3500+ for optional full-day Kindergarten in a BLOODY PUBLIC SCHOOL for Willow next year. Don't get me wrong - I am not begrudging my daughter her education in the slightest - I just feel it is ridiculous that in this day and age when in so many families both parents *have* to work to make ends meet that full-day Kindergarten is still considered 'optional.' How much is it needed now? When I was enrolling Willow, the woman who was helping people fill out the paperwork mentioned that her daugher had been 80th on the waitlist the prior year. This particular school had plans for one full-day class of 20 students and there were 80+ kids on the waitlist. And yes, our state is slated to have mandatory government funded full-day Kindergarten... the year after Willow needs it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pleasantly Surprised

It's been a beautiful past few days here - temperatures in the 80s on the weekend, a tad cooler on Monday and Tuesday (but still unseasonably warm) and everywhere around us flowers have popped up and bloomed. Um, no - I don't have any pictures. I will soon - trust me! Yesterday I pulled up in front of our house after work and came to a dead stop - in the front left corner of my house was a little bush that had somehow bloomed *WHILE I WAS AT WORK*! I swear it was all twigs and buds that morning, and in the late afternon it was a mass of tiny pink snowballs. I have no clue what it was - I described it to my father-in-law and he doesn't think it is an azalea. I will try to get a picture up here tomorrow so someone can tell me what it is.

Now, along with the nice weather there is something else we need to start doing. Yardwork. My father-in-law has been over a few times with the dandelion poison so we can start having a nice lawn rather than a dandelion farm. This weekend we need to buy a lawnmower and Andrew has sworn up and down he will not buy an gas mower. He wants to get a pushmower, but I vetoed that because I know *I* will be the one mowing the lawn on many occasions... so, an electric one it will be. We also need to order a huge pile of sand and start filling in the massive potholes in the backyard - and hopefully find the elusive drain. There is a small raised garden plot set aside in the backyard, and it will soon be the home of the tomato plants my mother-in-law and Willow seeded for me. I also want to look into getting a pepper plant or two. And I know this yard needs a lot of work, so I am happy if a few of these vegetable endeavours end up being in pots for the time being.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Smelly Blog Prize and an Interview...

Once again, please forgive the craptastic photography...

I received my blog prize from Nell yesterday, and it was smelly... in the most wonderful way:

In addition to the two skeins of light turquoise Lorna Lace's sock yarn (how on Earth did she know this is one of my favourite colours?!), she enclosed one of her handmade soaps - in lemon verbena. I honestly don't know if I have received a better smelling package ever. I can't wait until I use up the soap currently in the bath so I can start using this one. Thank you, Nell!

Whilst surfing blogs this afternoon, I came across a set of interview questions on Lynnea's blog. She invited people to respond and she would send them interview questions in return - so here we go:

1. What one thing would you never buy at a discount store, no matter how great the bargain?

Other people's underwear (squick!)

2. If you could go back and change one decision in your past, what would it be?

Ooh... that's a heady question. I like to think I live a life of no regrets, but the truth is that there are things I wish I could change. I wish I had been able to say a proper good-bye to my Grandma. She died around this time 7 years ago. She had lung cancer and it had metastasized in her brain and was becoming less and less lucid. We knew things weren't good, so I flew up from Colorado (where we lived at the time) so I could spend some time with her. The first thing she did when she saw me? Accuse me of stealing the suitcase I was carrying from her. It went downhill from there. When it was time for me to fly back home she locked herself in her room and wouldn't come out to say goodbye to me. This makes me cry even now because I didn't fight for this and I let it go and she died a few weeks later.

3. What one talent do you wish you had?

I wish I had the talent to commandeer people's radio in their cars. That way when I have an idiot driving around me, I can break into their (surely crappy) radio station and say things like, "Dude! Seriously - ever hear of a turn signal?!?!" or "Pick a fu^%*&%ing lane and stay in it!"

4. If you could have lunch with one person in the world, who would it be?

Right now, my friend Tara because she is going through a tough time right now and all I want to do is give her a hug.

5. What one thing would you make illegal if you had that power?

Smoking. Plain and simple. I hate it and hate having anyone do it around me.

Want to play? Here's the scoop:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me." (and give me your email address if you can to make this easier on me!)
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Can't wait to see your answers!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Happy Wedding Day to Teri and Carl!

Don't they look lovely?

Okay - the pictures were later than intended - Teri sent them to me two days ago but I was having a problem downloading them for some reason. Teri and Carl were married up in the Yukon last week after a whirlwind romance. I love how my sister wears red on her wedding day ;) We P---- girls are something special!

This next picture knocked my socks off - my first thought was, 'Hmm - nice rings." My second? "DAMN! Why can't my camera take close-ups like that!?" Teri's friend Hazel took the pics and has passed along the model and specs for her camera. I see a camera purchase in my future once the bank account has recovered from paying the taxes!

This picture made me cry:

That is a pic of the happiest I have ever seen Teri look in my life. She is hugging our youngest sister, Jaime and Jaime's son, William. I wanted to be there so bad, Ter - but you are so far away!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Our New Lakefront Property

Isn't it beautiful?

That picture was taken about 9am Sunday morning, and trust me, it looked a lot worse 7am this morning... when there was a layer of ice and bloody snow (*#@#!*) on top of the lake. The rain had subsided by this afternoon and the water had receded and much more of our grass was showing by the time I got home. Scratch the new bathroom... project number one has become re-grading the backyard and having an external french drain installed. Oh - in the picture above Andrew was attempting to have a pump draw out some of the water to the street drain, but we had too much length of hose for the pump to be effective and so it overheated.

I went to a baby shower in the midst of the nor'easter yesterday, and this was my present to my friend Teri:

The baby sweater is Daisy from Knitty and the only change I made was to knit the sweater in one piece (I mean, joining the sleeves to the body at the armpit and knitting the raglan decreases all in one piece rather than sewing the sleeves on afterward). The hat is just a generic in my head pattern, and the booties are from the most recent issue of Knit Simple magazine. I know the booties look different sizes - buts trust me, they aren't!

And here is the lovely mom-to-be opening up her present at her surprise baby shower:

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Blog Contest Prize, New Carpet, and a question...

My blog contest prize from Suzanne arrived on Friday:

Worsted weight Mountain Colors in 'Ruby Red' - back off Dad - it's mine! I think an extra-warm pair of socks might find their way out of this pie of yarn.

Also in the mail on Friday... our new living room carpet!

Don't judge it on her expression - she thinks it is a wrestling mat now! It's an area carpet because we wanted to leave some of the glorious floor visible - but realized we needed a carpeted area for Willow to play. The carpet is from Home Depot in 'Multi Mallory' - it is sort of a muted aqua/sage/moss squares and rectangle pattern with bamboo leaves on top. One afternoon when the sun is coming in the window I will have to take a better picture.

And onto the question... some of you are heavy duty gardeners - I know by seeing some if the projects going on on your respective blogs right now. We have a *big* drainage problem right now, made worse by the current nor'easter laying a deluge on us right now. I'll take a picture later to demonstrate - but does anyone have any ideas on how to better drain your yard? Andrew has just run out to Home Depot to try and get a pump so we can pump it to the street drain - but we literally look like we have a lake in our backyard at the moment. And no, this was nowhere in the disclosure when we bought the house...

Friday, April 13, 2007

This is so not a surprise...

Found on Shan's blog:

You Are 8%

Um... you're a guy, right? If not, you're the most boyish
girl in the world.
And for you, that's probably the ultimate

The only two parts I said yes to were occasionally worrying about my weight and being a sucker for babies and kittens. I've been a tomboy from the start and being married and having a child hasn't seemed to change that. Andrew compares me to a Spartan mother - "Come home with your shield or don't come home at all" I think is how it goes. Lately Willow has been whiny about her friends: "So-and-so was mean to me or GirlA said she didn't want to play with me..." Oh my goodness - truly - I don't want to hear it. I tell her to make her own fun - and if someone hurts your feelings or makes you angry, tell them so. We will see how it goes.

I'm coming up on my second blogiversary here - I was reading someone else's blog and she was talking about this so I went back to my archives to see when I started the blog - and it turns out it was on May 5th, 2005. I have another contest planned and will post the details when I have them better sorted out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

¡ Ay Caramba ! (I'm sure I have spelled that incorrectly...)

I just finished doing the rough draft copy of our taxes...

I can't wait until next year when we start getting money back because of the house payments!


On a much happier note, my sister Teri got married today up in the Yukon - pictures will be posted when she and Carl send *me* some. No, don't think it is weird that I am not there for my sister's wedding. Andrew and I got married at Sakura City Hall in Japan before my parents had even met him - at least Carl met my parents before he and Teri tied the knot :)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

Okay, my father is beginning to wonder if I am still around since I haven't been updating the blog as often as I used to. There are a few problems...

1) The computer is in the basement, so it makes it a little difficult to watch Willow and play on the 'puter,
2) Andrew is deep in the throes of his Advanced Organic Chemistry class and has a better claim to the available computer time than I have, and lastly
3) It is DAMN cold in the basement!

The only reason you are getting a blog entry right now is because the progeny and the spouse are in bed and I am typing near the dryer!

Easter was a long day - not particularly trying, just long. Willow woke up this morning, climbed in bed with me and was chatting away. Nothing about Easter, however. After about 20 minutes I asked her if the Easter Bunny brought her something and she thinks for a moment and says, "I don't know." Me: "Did you check your bedroom?" Her: "No - I'll be right back." So she scampers down the hallway and yells back, "He brought me something! The Easter Bunny brought me something!" Please, let this continue - this innocent joie de vivre and belief - for a lot longer. It's so much fun.

Here 's a pic of her decorating her three eggs last night:

Forgive the eyes closed pic - I've told you many times before that this kid is mercurial and hard to take pictures of. At Michael's I found these Paas decorating swabs - they are like QTips with ink in the plastic tube - you break off one end and the ink swells to the opposite swab and you can paint away - only $1.29 a set and the two I bought her could have easily done a few more eggs. My mother-in-law had to hardboil the eggs for her - I simply cannot stand the smell of cooking hardboiled eggs. Or the taste for that matter. I am not sure who is going to eat these eggs - Willow says she will try.

Here is a pic of Willow this morning in her Easter finery:

The hat? From the $1 Target bin. The sweater is one I knit for her three years ago and she wears it every Easter. Umm, yeah - it was a bit big on her at first ;) I want to sew in the shoulders a bit so it isn't as droopy, but my mother-in-law is trying to convince me otherwise so it will still fit her again next year! It is knit from Bernat Breeze and is very soft. The pattern is a Minnowknits one, but I couldn't tell you which one off the top of my head.

Here is a pic of Willow at our church's Easter Egg Hunt - as you can see by her heavy winter jacket, it was pretty cold - less than 45'F at its warmest today.

I asked Willow while everyone was striding up to the front for communion why Easter was important and she gave me the Easter Bunny line. I said no, and asked her if she knew why Good Friday was important - she didn't - so I explained that was the day Jesus died. No pun intended, but she had the gravest look on her face and she said so quietly, "Is he okay? Is he in heaven?" It was sweet - I explained the rest as best I could. Later that day at dinner, she was telling her grandparents all about Jesus dying as if it were the latest news.


I should have bought a lottery ticket today! I found out today I had won two different blog contests! The first, this morning, was at SuzannaBanana's 'Knitting For the Large Headed Gal' and the second tonight at Chicken Knits. Woo-hoo! Go visit their blogs and enter people's blog contests when they offer them!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Oh, I'm going to enjoy these!

Look what came in the mail yesterday!

I was stalking the mailroom guy in my office, hoping these would come soon. I ordered them Thursday afternoon and figured I had waited long enough by Monday morning! I was sick and tired of my stoically looped circulars - anything larger than 16" in anything other than Addis needed massaging and heat not to coil in upon itself while I was working on them. The last straw was with the Spring Cape I'm knitting for Willow (Yes, it was supposed to be an Easter Cape, but let me tell you - that ain't happening) - I just couldn't get the needles to even behave enough to knit a row or two without getting frustrated. I transferred the cape onto these babies last night, and let me tell you - THE NEEDLES HUNG STRAIGHT DOWN AFTER I HAD TRANSFERRED THE STITCHES! I had never seen anything like that in my life! I hope sometime in the future Knitpicks comes out with cords to make 16" needles for these as well.

Remember when I said before I have a hard time taking decent pics of Willow? She likes to squint, grimace, squinch up her face - anything other than have her eyes open and smile... well, the trend continues...

And yes, I took about 5 shots and this was the best one...