Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Family Portrait

I love this picture.

This is the first picture I have ever seen Willow draw where the people actually looked like an identifiable person. It's not an exact likeness - I mean, my legs are certainly not that long (!), but you can see bodies, eyes, smiles - and on the drawing of Andrew she even made sure he had shoes on. And for some reason she couldn't fully articulate, she had to be drawn in yellow while Andrew and I were green.

Hans Holbein, eat your heart out!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Recovering and Whatnot

We are recovering... the phlegm is abating and I don't sound like a frog anymore. With the help of Neo Citran and Mucinex, I even slept through the night.

Here is a picture of our Christmas tree. I really wish I had thought to take a picture before the hordes (aka Willow) set in and moved things around.

Here is Willow in her Tinkerbell costume along with her Uncle Stewart and her new vacuum cleaner. It's a toy Hoover than works on C batteries and actually sucks stuff up. She's in love with it and wanted to vacuum Grandma's whole house. The dog, understandably, was terrified.

And a close-up of the Tinkerbell costume. Although we didn't discuss it with Stewart beforehand, I'm glad that it was Tinkerbell and not one of the Disney princesses... or Barbie (shudder!)

And the hop ball - I was so afraid that this wouldn't arrive before Christmas! It was an aerobic workout getting this thing blown up with a hand pump! It's still a little big for her, but she was bouncing away all the same - sliding off, getting back on, and jumping up and down again.

What did Santa bring me for Christmas? My big present was a Sunbeam Standing Mixer! I can't wait to try this out :) I also received S.M. Stirling's _The Protector's War_, two sweaters from Lands End, Canadian Halloween candy (Coffee Crisps!), a necklace with a jade pendant, a stained glass votive holder, and knitting money! I'm planning to get some of the handpainted merino from www.handpaintedyarn.com to make myself another Sweetness sweater from Knitty.

Happy Boxing Day!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Reasonable Facsimile

I’m trying to recreate this because it was a great post.

I’m sick. There are no two ways about it. Today was supposed to be a fun day. We were going to visit our friends Asami and Gara and see their new baby, Ray, for the first time. Asami’s Mom Keiko is also in town from Japan, so we were excited to see her too. Instead, I am having trouble breathing, look like crap, and have started to hork up green phlegm.

Merry Christmas.

Did I mention Willow and Andrew are also sick? Why does cold medicine last only 4-6 bloody hours? Most of us don’t want to wake up at three o’clock in the morning all stuffy and coughing!

It doesn’t feel like Christmas. It’s 50’F (10’C) out right now and is supposed to be even warmer tomorrow. Willow and I shucked off our jackets yesterday while doing the last of our Christmas shopping because it was just too warm out. I feel like a git because I didn’t get my Dad’s present off in time. In an attempt to assuage me of my guilt, he said that the older you get, the less you care about presents.

What does it say about me that I already feel that way?

Don’t get me wrong - I’m looking forward to seeing Willow open up her presents tomorrow morning. As an adult, though - the entire thing seems so anticlimactic. We don’t have that sense of expectation or anticipation that made this season so magical when we Believed. All I am really thinking about is the mountain of work I have waiting for me when I get back to the office on Tuesday.

I asked Jen over at http://meangirl.blogspot.com/ to give a list of the top 10 songs on her iPod, so I am returning the favor with the top 10 songs from my Lyra (in no particular order):

1. ‘As Cool as I am’ - Dar Williams
2. ‘Escape’ - Enrique Ingles as (so cheesy, I KNOW!)
3. ‘Don’t Bother’ - Shakira
4. ‘Times Like These’ - Foo Fighters
5. ‘Heaven’ - Live
6. ‘Hurt’ - Johnny Cash
7. ‘The Letting Go’ - Melissa Etheridge
8. ‘Where Was I’ - Sawyer Brown
9. ‘Closing Time’ - Semisonic
10. ‘Try’ - Blue Rodeo


I don’t have a main knitting project right now so I am half-heartedly working on a few different things: a pink and yellow baby blanket, a pink Nippertail hat for my niece, and I am thinking about casting on Veste Everest from the Summer issue of Interweave Knits in a royal blue heather.

Someone Up There Doesn't Like Me

I just wrote this long eloquent post about Christmas, adulthood, being sick, and my top 10 songs on my Lyra and this bloody machine ATE IT!

I'm sick.

Bah Humbug.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Nippertail Hat (aka Red Hat the Second)

You will have to forgive the model's constitution - she has a bit of a stomach bug right now and was trying to eat her stomach-stabilizing crackers and watch 'Max and Ruby' in peace, but I kept on trying to pose her so I could take a decent picture of the Nippertail hat:

This was supposed to be my hat, but before I had a chance to weave in all the ends, Willow decided the hat was hers. I offered to make her one in any other colour, but she wouldn't budge. She wanted *this* red hat. (Dad, it must be your influence!)

It was a very quick knit - I started it Tuesday night at my SnB and I think only worked on it for an hour two nights later - and finished it Friday night. The pattern can be found in the archives at http://www.magknits.com and is called a Nippertail hat. There is one glaring bit of awkwardness in the pattern (about where you start doing the straight knitting to separate the two sides) but I think I can just forgo that and do it how I think it should go next time.

A view from above:

The colour isn't really this tomato-y - the yarn is 'Cranberry' in Wool of the Andes from Knitpicks. I think when I make my hat (you know you can never have too many hats) I will make it with a single ponytail hole out the back because that is how I normally wear my hair on casual days.

I will try to take a picture of Red Hat the First later when I am a bit more presentable. Three year olds don't care so much about being presentable...

Friday, December 16, 2005


My SP5 downstream partner, Jen ( http://meangirl.blogspot.com/) posted this link ( http://www.myheritage.com/ ) where you could upload a picture of yourself and it will tell you which celebrity you look most like. The site looks like it is under maintenance right now, but when I was playing with it earlier, I was told (using a variety of pictures) I looked like Sofia Coppola, Liv Tyler, Audrey Tautou (from the French movie 'Amélie'), Katie Holmes - and with a 70% likeness, with Nora Jones. I'll take that Nora Jones likeness and run with it! I put in Willow's pic just for the fun of it and it came up with a 65% likeness to Mira Sorvino - not bad! When I was a child (like Willow) I was told I looked like Shirley Temple - but I think that was/is due to the ringlets more than anything else. As a young woman I was told I looked like Natalie Wood - I think that is because of my eyebrows.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Someone Stop Me...

From knitting more red hats...

Pictures to come...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Denim Project Finished

I was lucky to catch her in a photogenic mood...

A few months ago my friend Tara told me about a craft challenge her friend Shanda proposed, in which you have three months to come up with something along a particular theme. Tara told me that Shanda's theme was denim and asked me if I wanted to participate. I love challenges... but the thing is, I don't sew and that is the first medium that for denim that comes to mind. I asked Tara if it were okay that the project were denim-coloured rather than being made out of denim and she was okay with that... so, I give you:

Willow in Denim Vest

The yarn is Plymouth Encore's Colorspun in 'Sky Twist' and the child's vest pattern is from Ann Budd's "The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns." It took about 1 and 1/16th skeins... so I have quite a bit of this left to make a hat or mittens or other small thing.

A full-length view:

And the jeans? Levi's 501s in size 4T! I found them at Goodwill for $3.99 and they are in perfect shape.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Wonderful and Miserable Things

First, the wonderful thing... Last night Andrew and I went to a sneak preview of 'Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.' I must admit that I had never thoroughly read the book - I got as far as Aslan's sacrifice and cried so hard I couldn't pick the book up again. I cried in the movie as well - in some parts I hadn't expected to. My maternal grandmother was one of these children who were sent out of London during the bombings of WWII and the scene at the beginning of the movie when all the mothers are tagging their children and putting them on trains to go far away to Lord knows who just tore at my heart. This scene affects me as a mother in a way I simply could not fathom as a child reading the book for the first time. I digress... But the movie was wonderful - the child actors were a bit stilted, but then again, so were the Harry Potter cast in their first go-around. Anything had to be better than the BBC production I remember as a child...

And now for miserable things... snow and slush and freezing rain. Everything looked so pretty this morning when I woke up - all crystallized and white and quiet. I love the quiet when it is snowing out. However, when I had suited up and trudged out to the car to get Andrew's boots (which were conveniently in the trunk of the car...) I found that the snow had changed to horrible freezing rain. Bah humbug!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Not a lot of knitting content at the moment - with three weeks left in the year, a ton of paperwork at the office, mandatory vacation days (during which I will freak out because I have so much work to do), Christmas shopping for impossibly difficult people... I feel like I am drowning. Add to that only about 4 hours of sleep at night and you will have an idea of my current state of mind.

And I don't mean that the people are impossibly difficult... just impossibly difficult to buy for. One male person has a great and seemly masculine hobby - but nearly everything I have found online or in catalogues concerning this hobby is blatantly female. I found one interesting thing - but then was told it wouldn't ship for 4 weeks... Grrr... I need at least 8 more weeks before Christmas comes.

And so much for my dream of giving people handknit presents... next year perhaps.

I did finish Willow's vest out of Encore Worsted. Tara - this will be my entry into the denim contest - I hope that is still going on. Willow isn't in the mood for posing right now, so maybe I can post a pic this weekend. I'm working on a red hat for myself right now - and no, you can't have this one, Dad! Remember - red was my colour once upon a time as well.

Andrew, Stewart (Andrew's oldest brother) and I went to see 'Les Misèrables' at the Dupont Theatre on Saturday afternoon and it was wonderful. I've wanted to see this musical since it first became popular when I was in high school many aeons ago. I thought Fantine's verbrato was a little forced - but Jean Valjean and Eoponine both had wonderful voices. This trip to the theatre was our Christmas presents from my in-laws. Thank you!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Thank You, Andrew

Andrew read my Ten Categories this morning and surprised me by buying me flowers on his way home from work. Unfortunately, we kind of got in to a tiff over another matter completely, but I love the sentiment, Sweetie... and also that these aren't funeral flowers :)

(Sorry - private joke)

And as you can see, I am using my oh-so elegant mini-thermos as the only vase I own is a bud vase Auntie Daryth gave me when I was about 18 years old...

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Ten Categories

Okay, I've caught Crazy Aunt Purl's ( http://www.crazyauntpurl.com/ )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 Handpaintedyarn.com 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 www.magknits.com) . The olive in the front is scrumptious soft and is hand-dyed merino from www.handpaintedyarn.com 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 ( http://www.joann.com/catalog.jhtml?CATID=82324&PRODID=82526 ) 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!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Thank You SP5!

Woo-hoo! Look what I got! My second package from my Knitty SP5 came in the mail today and there were all sorts of goodies inside. First of all - on the left you will see 3 different 12" Clover circular needles! Sizes 5, 6, and 8. Visions of sleeves, baby hats, and mittens are already racing through my head! In the middle there are 4 skeins of this very pretty pale blue-green wool to make fingerless gloves with... the pattern for which is included in the letter in the front. There is a very sparkly bag (which housed the needles in the package) that I am going to transfer all my DPNs to so I can separate the DPNs and crochet hooks (with hopes of being able to find the size/hook I need *when* I need it)... and last - but certainly not least... CHOCOLATE! That scrumptious square on the right is a hand-dipped smore from a gourmet chocolate factory...

And, behind all of these goodies you will see my new pillow - one of a pair that my mother-in-law just made for me!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Things You Don't Want to Hear From a 3 Year Old

"Mommy, how do we clean this up?"

Wait, wait - let me put this in context. Willow and I had finished eating dinner and I was here toodling away on the 'puter while Willow played with her toys. She does this thing where she takes out all her animals and toys and pretends to plant a garden (with the toys being the plants). Every once in a while I would turn around and she was still 'gardening.'

Willow: "Mommy, how do we clean this up?"

Me, barely glancing up: "Well, pick up the toys and put them back in the toybox."

Willow, more insistent: "No, Mommy - how do we clean *this* up?"

Curious, I get up out of my chair to find out what 'this' is. My darling daughter had found the basket of spices and sundries I take to my in-laws house when I make pizza there... and in that basket there is a small tupperware container of cornmeal. She had decided the cornmeal was fertilizer for her garden and she had sprinkled it all over her 'plants.'

Me, groaning: "Ohhhhhh... Willow..."

And, realizing it was ultimately vaccuumable, started laughing. Then Willow started crying. And the harder I laughed, the more stricken her tears became. I couldn't help it - what other kid creates a garden out of her toys and then decides it needs fertilizer?!?!?

So, we pulled out the vaccuum and cleaned it all up - no harm done.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Field Trip to Ramsey's Pumpkin Farm

Today Willow had her field trip to Ramsey Farm's Pumpkin Patch and it was a glorious day for the trip. Originally the trip was scheduled for last Wednesday, but it was pouring with rain that day so the trip was postponed.

Here is Willow with most of her classmates:

No - she isn't the smallest of the group - just kind of squished in the middle. The kids ran around in a hay bale maze (there was also a short cornstalk maze - maybe 4 feet tall, and a full-size cornstalk maze that was mown in the outlines of all the continents.)

Here is Willow helping her friend Riley put her pumpkin into her bag:

Willow on top of the world! (or rather, a hay bale on top of a tire!)

It was a great outing - and warm enough that I left my jacket on the bus. And we both got little pumpkins to bring home! I'd love to take Willow back to the farm on the weekend because they have a mini-café where they serve pumpkin ice cream, pies, soup - and whatever else you can make out of pumpkin and other squash. I don't know if it will be this weekend, though - by the sounds of it, we may be getting the remnants of Wilma by this weekend...I hope not - we have had quite a bit of rain lately.


For those of you who didn't believe me when I mentioned it before, this is what my husband does to my tupperware cupboard on a regular basis. I'm lucky right now - usually I can find a pot or pan in here as well...

And yes, about once a week I pull everything out and stack it up properly...

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Strolling Around Rockwood Park

It was such a gorgeous day today that we decided to head out to Rockwood Park and go for a walk. Mom and Auntie Daryth - I believe I took both of you to this park while you were here... It is one of the few former estate / now public parks in the Brandywine Valley that did not once belong to the DuPont Family. It's a great walk because it isn't level and you have to go up and down, through the woods, across the field, over a creek - but it isn't a huge acreage. Plus there is this great old house on top of the hill that sells coffee, tea, pastries... And is open seven days a week.

Mom - I know what these are, but for the life of me can't remember the name! I want to say geranium, but somehow that doesn't seem right - my mind keep on saying it starts with a 'b.' In any case, this plant is huge - easily 3 feet across. I should have had Willow stand in front of this for a good comparison shot.

Willow and a willow tree. She knows what a willow tree looks like, and whenever we see one while driving around she has to make sure she points it out to me. I thought she was making it up the first time she did this... But we were at a four-way stop and she was pointing to a willow tree on the corner!

An underground pantry I guess - Willow wanted to know why the house was underground.

See what a beautiful autumn day it was here! The leaves really turn gorgeous colours here, and after about a week straight of torrential rain, we were happy to get outside. I was really beginning to feel like a slug from being inside all the time.

And after our walk was over, Andrew and Willow had to curl up in one of the Adirondack chairs on the front lawn overlooking the pond.

I hope we have many more days like today this season.

Copied from Runs With Needles' Friday Feast (but on Sunday)

One of the blogs I frequent (http://runswithneedles.blogspot.com/ ) had these questions up on her weblog and invited others to copy the questions, so I did.

Who is someone you would consider to be a calm person?
My Auntie Daryth - now, that doesn't mean that I haven't seen her upset or angry before - but emotionally, she is one of the most level people I know.

What was your last "gut feeling" about? Were you right?
That I wasn't going to get a promotion at work when they were announced two weeks ago. I was right.

List 3 words that you really don't like how they sound.
Axe (as opposed to 'ask')
Exclusion (only because I have been working on a presentation at work and have typed that bloody word about 4 million times and seemed to have a mental block about it because I think I misspelled it every which way you *could* misspell it.)

Main Course
What kind of shampoo and conditioner do you use?
Matrix stuff for curly hair. I got a deal on it the last time I went to get my hair cut. It smells like cucumbers.

If you found out that you definitely do have a guardian angel, what would you name it?
How about Lillian? I don't know - I mean, other than angels in the bible, I have to say that I hadn't thought about angels having names. Or how about Powerball? It's up to $340 million dollars. Yeah... Powerball can be my guardian angel :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Sweetness Finished

Yes, here I am in all my 6:30am no make-up'd glory. The weather was finally cool enough (high of 62'F today) to warrant wearing Sweetness ( http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEspring03/PATTsweetness.html ) to work. Yeah... that would be the same day that the airconditioning failed to come on in the morning and everyone was sweating through their newly-pulled-out Autumn clothes... but I digress. How did I change the pattern? Well, as you can see - it has 3/4 length sleeves for my short arms - I just knit the sleeves as directed and stopped when I thought they were long enough. I also cast on 24 more stitches on the bottom when I started the sweater, and decreased 4 stitches (where the sideseams would be if there were any) every 10 rows 6 times - all this to make a more A-line sweater to accomodate my, uh, womanly hips. I also closed up the neckline about 2" on each side because I have narrow shoulders and I didn't want it to slip off my shoulders. But the most sacreligious thing of all? I knit it out of Lionbrand Homespun! It's easy to wash, soft to wear - and I am very pleased with it - plus I got unintended stripes out of it!

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Baby is having a baby!

See that baby on the left? That is my baby sister Jaime (see my previous post about my disbelief that she just turned 30...). Well, said sibling called me up this afternoon and informed me that I will become an Auntie again next June! Andrew points out that this will be the first time I will be an Auntie on my side of the family. I have 4 nieces and 1 nephew on Andrew's side. I am so happy about this - as much as I would love to be pregnant right along side her, I'm kind of glad that the pressure would be off me for awhile. You may ask where the middle sister - Teri - is in this picture. Well, Teri had a big time phobia of men with facial hair and there are a couple on-Santa's-lap pictures where Teri is absent...

Anyway, here are the parents-to-be:

Like Willow, Jaime and Chris' future child will have a good chance of being taller than Jaime by the time he/she is 10 years old... Chris is about 6'5" to Jaime's (maybe) 5'1".

Interestingly enough, Willow was very upset when I told her that her Auntie Jaime was going to have a baby and that she would have a new cousin. It blew me away - once she stopped crying and I calmed her down, I asked her why she was upset - she said Jaime couldn't have a baby because she wasn't a Mommy - that Auntie Jaime was an Auntie and babies had to be born to Mommies. She didn't quite get the fact that one doesn't become a Mommy until the baby comes along...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Oh, the anticipation of it all!

I sent my Knitty Secret Pal 5 a package earlier this week, and thanks to the wonders of Fedex tracking, I know she has received it... AND SHE HASN'T SAID ANYTHING YET!!!

I'm dying here! I want to know how much she liked the stuff in the box - I keep on not-so-furtively checking out her knitting blog to see if she has updated it and she hasn't.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Happy Birthday Jaime and Assorted Knitting-in-Progress

Happy Birthday Jaime!

It was Jaime's (gasp!) 30th birthday on Monday, and being the bad, out-of-touch sister I am, didn't call her or even email her. I think I am still in denial that my baby sister has turned 30. Jaime, I hope you had a wonderful birthday - and I am interested to see what this new tattoo looks like! This was picture was taken in August when we were all at my parents' house on Vancouver Island.

Knitting Miscellany

I'm sort of in that in-between project stage again. Here are some grainy snaps of what I have in progress. I say grainy because I still have not been able to master my new camera... it doesn't want me to use flash for close up pictures.

Project #1

This is a top-down raglan sweater that I am knitting for Willow. I have never tried a top-down pattern before, so this is a learning experience. I am almost at the point where I will be dividing for the sleeves. This is a monster Red Heart skein (red-orange-yellow-magenta colourway) I bought in Canada during my holidays.

Project #2 (Tara - don't look!)

This is a crocheted baby blanket intended for my friend Tara, who will be having her third girl sometime in mid-November. She is actually due on my birthday, so we will see if that happens :)

Project #3 (Asami - don't look!)

This is a knitted baby blanket for my friend Asami, who is pregnant with her first child and is due the first week of December. I thought I had lots of time to finish this, but as it turns out, her baby shower is going to be the day before my birthday... so I need to get cracking!

To make matters horrifically worse, I have just not been in the mood to knit or crochet lately... maybe it has to do with the change in seasons, but all I want to do is read... And lately, just trashy romance novels!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Lazy Saturdays (are my favourite kind)

Now, if only a certain munchkin had let us sleep, oh - let's say, past 5:30am (!), this day would have had a perfect start... Andrew and I are off the the blood bank this morning to do a plateletpheresis donation - this really comes as close to a date as we get these days. You get to sit in comfy chairs for two hours, watch a movie (albeit different movies), and get fed Tums on demand... ah, the lap of luxury :)

Actually, the fun part of the day is that we will be able to go out for lunch and then to the outlet shops - the Wilmington Riverfront is quite nice - and they have a long walking path that you can have a leisurely stroll upon. Wilmington is striving for an urban renewal - they changed all these warehouses and decrepit shopfronts into huge loft apartments with trendy shops on the ground floor - and there are condos coming up on the far side of the Christina River. I think it would be a cool place to live - but Andrew is a little freaked about potentially living in the city.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Photography (and Photographer) Issues

I do have a good reason for not updating much lately - you may have read a post or two ago that somehow my digital camera broke en route to San Francisco. I did pick up another one when I got back - it's a Vivitar 3915 cheapie from Target. However, I only broke it out of its box and started to read the instructions last night. Then after doing some research on public opinion, went out and bought some high capacity rechargeable batteries to power the little machine. Amazing that it can suck through brand new batteries in less than an hour! The other issue, asthe title implies, is that Andrew thinks it is such a chore when I ask him to take a picture of me in my finished objects... and gets further annoyed that I want to set up the pic in a certain direction. (insert imaginary pic of me rolling my eyes)

I have finished the Knitty Sweetness sweater - I really like it - and when I took it into work I had so many compliments on the colour. It's made out of Lion Brand Homespun and was a pale aqua and mauve colourway - so the sweater is striped without me even trying. I need to wash the sweater, so I may not have a picture in here until the weekend.

Of course, finishing one project means I have to run headlong into another. I started working on a top-down raglan pullover for Willow in a red/orange/yellow/magenta varigated yarn. It's bright as hell, but she loves it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Almost finished!

Well, I did finish *knitting* my Sweetness sweater last night... at, uh, sometime around midnight. I couldn't just put it down when I was just a round or two from binding off the neckline! So, tonight at my SnB all I have to do is weave in some ends and kitchener stitch up the open areas under the arms. Not that it will be cool enough anytime soon to wear it, though! While in the finishing stretch of knitting last night, I caught the extended weather forecast - and it isn't supposed to get under 80'F for the next 10 days. Autumn will come - I keep on telling myself that...

Now, I do have one conundrum about the sweater - I knit it from Lion Brand Homespun - and it seems the general consensus is that the yarn spreads after a while, creating a looser weave. I have no problem with that - but my concern is the neckline of the sweater. I decided to go with the boatneck rather than the mock turtleneck - and as it stands the neckline comes within two inches on each side of my shoulders. What is the best way to to close the neckline a bit to prevent it from becoming an unwanted Flash-dance style off-the-shoulder type sweater someday?

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Where I have been this last week...

Is this a good hint?

I spent the last week in San Francisco, CA at a business conference. I had never been to the city before and I was amazed at all the walking that my coworkers and I did. One day alone I counted that I had walked 60 blocks... it really hit me how sedentary my life is in Delaware...

Here was the view from my hotel room:

Excuse my paltry photo-editing skills - my camera broke somehow in transit, so I can't change the settings, etc. The grey circle is just to cover up the flash so it doesn't distract you from the red rectangle. See what is in the rectangle - besides the annoyingly tall apartment building? Alacatraz! I didn't have the opportunity to see the island itself, but we did take a dinner cruise around it.

While in SF, I was able to meet up with my friend, Satomi - and came to the realization that Satomi and I have known each other for 10 years now - ever since Kumi introduced us to each other in Yokohama. We had dinner with my coworkers Teri and Lisa at the Cheesecake Factory on top of the Macy's building in Union Square.

I did finish my Clapotis before I left - once again, please excuse the big flash mark where my face should be. I was really worried about my camera lasting until the dinner cruise, so I took a picture by myself before we left. It's a little longer than your normal Clapotis because I did two more straight repeats to accomodate my size. I *love* the colour - it really looks strawberry red in person. I used Cascade Quattro for my Clapotis and it took about 3.25 skeins.

The camera did last until the cruise, at which Lisa took my picture - I am not as wide as this pic looks - I hope you realize my elbow is jutting out! With the pin holding the stole together in the front, it almost looks like a poncho.

These last few pics are from the conference room our meetings were held in at the Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel. The room is called "The Room of The Dons" and the murals were absolutely breathtaking. They were painted in 1924. My camera couldn't capture the colour, detail or size - they were about 12 feet tall and went all the way around the room - maybe 340 feet around in all? I had asked the gift shop if they had a book or postcards of the murals - but unfortunately, they did not. The murals are supposed to represent the different groups that came to California.

I haven't done any knitting in a week now - and my fingers are really itching for it. I did get to a yarn store in San Francisco - Art Fibers - but I am afraid it was a bit too expensive my tastes - as lovely as it all was.