Monday, July 31, 2006

Art and Bowling (Blogstalking and more!)

Yeah, go with it -

This is my favourite piece of art in our apartment:

Andrew bought this calligraphy picture for me up in Estes Park, Colorado on one of our many jaunts up there when we lived in Boulder. The quote resonated so much me - having lived in another country and having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world (we lived in Japan for three years) has made us different and better people.

My mother worked on this cross-stitch project and gave it to us after Willow was born, and it, too, means a lot to me. My parents allowed my sisters and me much freedom and I think we bloomed under it - and I hope to be able to do the same thing with Willow.

Another calligraphy project - this one was a wedding gift from my in-laws. If you look closely in the painting, you can see the words "Andrew (heart) Jo":

This picture was a gift to Andrew from our friends Tom and Melanie:

This is a picture in Willow's room that we really need to get a frame for... I'm not sure where we were, but Andrew and Willow were badgering me into saying we could get a cat (my stance is we have to be in a house first) - and Andrew's compromise to Willow was to buy her this cat sketch:

Now, I wonder if the photographer in question will pop in and claim this one... Andrew's friend Steve took this photo and Andrew very insistently said it had to be in our bedroom...

This print was a gift from my Auntie Daryth, and it depicts Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. She took me there when I was a young girl (maybe 3-4 years old) and apparently I told her the big mountain in the middle was my castle. Yes, I dream big ;)

This wall hanging was a gift from our employers in Japan, Margaret and Yuichi Otake. We really needs to get a more sophisticated hanging system, but for now we have this on our bedroom wall opposite our bed, and I like it there because it makes me think there is another window in our bedroom.

I couldn't leave out Willow in this journey through the art in our apartment! Here are some of her paintings - the big one on the left was a tie-dye project using a coffee filter (and is supposed to be a flower) and the smaller one on the left is the butterfly coming to land on the flower:

And Willow's other kitty cat (I love the expression on its face!):

And now onto the bowling! Yes, see - I did get to it! Willow's class had a field trip last Thursday. They were supposed to go to a farm and go for a hayride, etc. - but the school decided against it due to the 90'F+ heat. So, instead we went bumper bowling... and for most of these three and four year olds (Willow included), it was their first experience bowling. Believe me, I tried to get a decent picture of Willow bowling, but without luck:

In this picture she decided she might be better off *kicking* the ball to make it go down the lane. She quickly found out it wasn't a smart idea to kick an 8 pound ball...

She had a great time - and I think I would love to take her 5-pin bowling the next time we are up in Canada (it's much easier for the little kids!)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Maybe this is what gets me in trouble...

Your Brain is 33% Female, 67% Male

You have a total boy brain
Logical and detailed, you tend to look at the facts
And while your emotions do sway you sometimes...
You never like to get feelings too involved

Monday, July 24, 2006

Project Colorswap Ponderings for August

I know I am getting a little ahead of myself here, but since Project Colorswap moves from mid-month to mid-month, I thought I better come up with a few ideas for my partner for August, Elizabeth at

At first I organized things into color categories, but then moved more into sense categories - here goes:

Favourite Neutral Colour Flavours:
Allsorts Licorice, vanilla, chocolate, sugar cookies. Oh yeah - and roast beef, but that would be a little hard to mail in a package!

Favourite Neutral Colour Smells:
Cinnamon, vanilla, cotton sheets, ginger

Favourite Neutral Colour Colours:
Rich chocolate brown, oatmeal beige, silvery grey, maple syrup colour, ivory

Favourite Neutral Colour Things:
Undyed wool, natural wood, terracotta


I suppose I should stick in a few dislikes as well - I don't particularly care for white. I am infamous for spilling things on myself. I'm beginning to think it is my superhero power. I'm not overly fond of cotton, either. Elizabeth - let me know yours!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Happy Birthday Willow!

How did my little baby girl go from this:

to this:

in four short years? Unbelievable. This kid is already 2/3 my height (okay, since I am five feet tall on a good day with thick socks that isn't so hard... but still!). At birth she was was (very jaundiced, as you can see above) 7lbs 13oz and 19.5" long. At four years she is 31lbs and 41" tall - and all legs at that. When she was born we thought she looked more like me, but the older she gets, the more and more we think she looks like Andrew. The dark hair she was born with fell out when she was about 6 months old and grew in curly and blonde. She never ceases to amaze me - the things she remembers (the exact exit off the highway to her uncle's school), the things she wants to do (be a firefighter like her Papa Guy), the things she believes (the organist at church is God), the things she loves (alt-rock and cooking shows), and the very fact that she smiles in her sleep when I come into her room at night to tell her that I love her before I go to bed.

Happy Birthday, Willow!

And now onto a Blogstalking photo... the contents of my freezer:

It's small and really has nothing spectacular: a Kids Cuisine frozen meal (for when we have something spicy like chili that Willow won't eat), frozen fish sticks, frozen vegetables (peas, green beans, corn, broccoli, onions), frozen cherries (for smoothies), hot dog buns, coffee, leftover pot roast, and a loaf of french bread that could probably be thrown out. There is usually a bottle of citron vodka in there... but I seem to be out at the moment...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What $5 Will Get You...

A pristine copy of Alice Starmore's _Aran Knitting_:

I kid you not - someone at work posted a handful of knitting books for $5 each on the intranet bulletin board and this was one of the selections...

It's so purty :)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Purple Goodness from Jae: Project Colorswap

My purple swap for Project Colorswap arrived over the weekend from Jae of and look at all this purple goodness:

Jae (and everyone else I have swapped with so far), thank you so much for sending something for Willow your package. Willow gets such a big kick out of someone sending her presents - and trust me, she does help when I pick out the presents for all of you. Up top you see the feather boa for Willow - and she had an absolute blast with it - the boa became everything from a skipping rope to dog leash to princess crown. There are some stickers and candy for Willow as well... I think maybe Jae intended the candy for me but Willow seems to think that all candy is for little girls, not for Mommies. There is a scrumptious skein of jeweled-purple Manos, two skeins of a lovely lavender Queensland Aran, and sweet-smelling lemon lavender votive candle. In the middle you see a copy of Vicki Howell's _New Knits on the Block_ - Jae couldn't have known it, but I already have this book, so I am donating it in her name to my local library. They will put a little plaque in the inside cover saying she donated it. Jae - thank you again - I can't wait to dig into that Manos! My package to you went off today and hopefully will be there within a couple days.

Oh - and I'm sorry there are no action shots of Willow and the boa - but after no nap this afternoon and 90 minutes in the pool this afternoon, she dropped like a leaf about 7:00pm... not even finishing her dinner! This kid is always going at full-speed, so it was a bit comical to see her with her head on her table, nearly asleep.

We'll see if my purchase comes through tomorrow - but someone at work was cleaning out her knitting book stash and sold me her copy of Alice Starmore's _Aran Knitting_ ( ) for $5...

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Look what I have!

My friend Michelle and I went out to King of Prussia today to go to the TKGA Convention (Knitting Guild of America) and did a little retail therapy... Teri, you will be happy to know that I went with specific items in mind, so I didn't go all willy-nilly with the spending (although it did come pretty damn close to that!). In the back from left to right:

  • Magic Loop booklet (Oh, I have wanted this for so long!)
  • 5" sock needles in US2. I would have liked US1, but them's the breaks
  • Brittany straight cable needles

Now the three big skeins in the middle:

  • Dark bluish-grey Malabrigo
  • Red wool hemp blend sport weight yarn
  • Emerald and blue Malabrigo

And the three little skeins in the front from left to right:

  • Violet kid mohair (destined for my Project Colorswap partner, Jae)
  • Two skeins of the worsted weight hemp-wool blend yarn

I can't tell you what the yarn is for because they involve my Christmas plans - but I have a project in mind for every last piece! I even snagged a free knitting magazine that I will pass onto my Mom or sister since I already have a subscription to Creative Knitting.

The nicest vendors there were the people from Carodan Farms ( and they have a gorgeous cable knit sweater I am planning to buy the pattern for in September once the test knitting is finished and they are ready to sell the pattern.

Whew! After all the walking around and touching the most gorgeous wool ever, Michelle and I were starving and getting a little dizzy. We went to the nearby King of Prussia Mall, intending to go to the Cheesecake Factory, but even at 2pm there was a line up out the door. So, we went next door to the much less crowded Bamboo Club and were fed immediately. We even scored an extra course to our 3 course meal as they brought us out hot and sour soup rather than the Thai cucumber salad. Michelle, thank you for a wonderful time - I will go shopping with you anytime!

And last, but not least to my sister...

Happy Birthday Teri!

I love you so much - I hope you are having a wonderful birthday!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Project Spectrum: Purple

Gentle Reader - I assure you that I did not orchestrate this photo.

I was sitting here reading through my bloglines, waiting for the Chicken Chow Mein to finish cooking and thinking I hadn't taken any purple pictures for Project Spectrum this month. Honestly, it's a little difficult for me to get excited about purple. It isn't a colour that looks good on me - it's more my mother's thing with her tanned skin, green eyes and blonde hair (yeah, I don't take after my mother too much - Willow has more of her colouring). Right now there aren't many purple flowers in the garden, either. I did drive by someone's yard the other day and they had the most gorgeous royal purple hydrangeas... but I don't know how much they would appreciate a stranger sneaking pics of their yard.

Anywho... so here I was moaning about my lack of purple for Project Spectrum when just who should come barreling through the living room dressed up as I'm not sure what - it looks remotely like some Aztec ball game - so I grabbed the camera before she had a chance to squint.

Enjoy ;)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

In My Life

Borrowed from Nancy over at

Life's to do list - I've bolded those I've gotten around to:

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07.Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08.Said 'I love you' and meant it
09.Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11.Visited Paris
12.Watched a lightning storm at sea
13.Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14.Seen the Northern Lights
15.Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17.Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18.Touched an iceberg
19.Slept under the stars
20.Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22.Watched a meteor shower
23.Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25.Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26.Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30.Had a snowball fight
31.Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33.Seen a total eclipse
34.Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36.Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38.Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 10 provinces
41.Taken care of someone who was drunk
42.Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44.Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47.Taken a road-trip
48.Gone rock climbing
49.Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51.Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
53.In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56.Alphabetized your cds
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59.Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61.Gone scuba diving
62.Kissed in the rain
63.Played in the mud
64.Played in the rain
65.Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67.Started a business
68.Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69.Toured ancient sites
70.Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72.Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74.Crashed a party
75.Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77.Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80.Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
83.Got flowers for no reason
84.Performed on stage
85.Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Panned for gold
89. Gone to Thailand
90.Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92.Buried one of your parents
93.Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror.
96. Raised children.
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named your own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100.Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102.Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an illness that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108.Piloted an airplane
109.Petted a stingray
110.Broken someone's heart
111.Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show - (but on a radio program, yes!)
113.Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116.Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117.Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118.Ridden a horse
119.Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127.Eaten sushi
128.Had your picture in the newspaper
129.Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133.Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135.Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136.Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138.Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141.Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146:Dyed your hair
147: Been a DJ
148: Shaved your head - (parts of it - anyway!)
149: Caused a car accident
150:Saved someone's life

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Somewhat Lacking

I am not a well-put-together Mom.

By this, I mean I do not wear cosmetics, I don't iron clothes, and as soon as the weather permits, I am wearing capri pants and sandals to work everyday. My entire hair care system consists of washing it once a week, conditioning it everyday, and putting enough gel on it so it doesn't become a frizzball, and popping a hairband on to keep it out of my face. My skin care regimen is much more elaborate - cleanser, toner, moisturizer - I do want to look young and have nice skin.

I started out in my girlhood as a tomboy and it seems I have reverted back to it. My Mom rarely, if ever, wore make up when I was a child, so I had no frame of reference for it. I distinctly remember the first day I wore make up to school when I was in grade eight - I was laughed at and I made some excuse up that I had let my sister (sorry, Teri) put it on me and I didn't have a chance to look in the mirror before I left for school. And then I promptly went into the bathroom and washed it all off. I did get better at it as I got older - and was probably quite the girly-girl when I was in university - but this all ended when I moved to Japan when I was 22. Why? Well, it was so damn humid that cosmetics simply melted off my face! That and the fact that I had a very difficult time buying cosmetics in Japan - with not having the right skin tone (fair-pinkish as opposed to olive) and all. Now I rarely wear make up because everyone feels the need to comment on it when I do - favourably this time, but it is embarrassing nonetheless. In an odd sense, I wear cosmetics now to hide who I am rather than to show off who I am.

Why am I getting into all of this?

I stayed home sick from work on Friday. I ate a questionable quesadilla for lunch on Thursday and paid dearly for it the next 24 hours. I did drop Willow off at daycare on Friday so I could come home and wallow in my discomfort in peace. I dropped her off, walked back to sign her in on the computer, and saw a very well put-together Mom.

I have no clue who she is. But she was about my age, had very nicely styled hair, a prettily-made up face, blouse, suit skirt, stockings, and heels. There I was, recently from my sick bed, dressed in flipflops, sweatpants, t-shirt, and unbrushed and extremely fuzzy hair pulled up into a messy french roll. My heart dropped. Part of me wondered why I can't look like that. Not the being thin and having straight hair - I've dealt with my hand in those situations. But why can't I look put-together like that? I feel like if I started doing that now people would think I was playing a part and not being me. I am working in an industry and department where it really would behoove me to be put-together like that and I know it.

Bah! I didn't need to see her when I was feeling bad to begin with. But still - here I am wondering about what I am going to wear to work tomorrow and if I will bother slathering something on my face to try and be like someone else.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Yay! Knitty SP7 Package Received!

Woo-Hoo! Look what came in the mail for me today!

There are two skeins of Silk Garden (oh my!), a skein of wonderfully soft Zanziba, some Starbucks milk-chocolate covered graham cookies (my absolute favourite!), a Ghiradelli milk chocolate (she says this is a hint... I have seen Ghiradelli Square in San Francisco... am I close?), a gerber daisy corsage pin (Willow has laid claim to that!), some gorgeous smelling lavendar soap, and the butterfly stickers for Willow. When I opened the box I found that my SP had padded it with junk mail shreddings... and I have to tell you that I was half-way tempted to try and piece a page together and see if there was any pertinent information on it... The box smelled heavenly like the lavendar soap and just made my day.

Turtlegirl - I'm trying my hand at yarn pron... I don't have the best zoom feature on my camera, but there you go:

And here is Willow with her stickers. Trying to get that child to look at the camera and smile is truly a trial sometimes...

Thank you, SP!

Monday, July 03, 2006

One and a Half Finished Objects!

See, I told you all I would be back later with a finished object...

Here is the baby sweater for Satomi's little girl - who isn't due until September and I am pleasantly chuffed that I have finished it so early. The pattern was designed by the Yarn Harlot herself and the pattern can be found at Knitty at if you are interested. I knit the sweater out of Plymouth's 'Oh My!' yarn (colour 13 - a pale aqua) - partly chosen because it was so soft it reminded me of stuffed animals for babies. I made the smallest size (6 months, I believe) and used 4 balls. I still have one ball untouched, so I may knit up a quick hat to go along with the sweater. I'm not sure why the left side (right in the picture) is curling a bit like that - hopefully it will get in line once the sweater is washed.

And here is the half finished object - a single sock knit out of Knitpick's Dancing sock yarn. I like how it pooled and unintentionally striped - and have resigned myself to the fact that the pair-to-be will most likely be a fraternal twin.

Project Chopsticks

Andrew and I love Asian food - be it Japanese, Chinese, Thai - we love it all. After living in Japan for a few years, we are very proficient at using chopsticks while we eat. Willow is big enough now that she wants to use chopsticks, too... and even though a part of me cringes at the thought of her using sharpish pointed sticks to eat her food, I know this is the age that Japanese children learn to use chopsticks as well.

A few months ago my friend Satomi mentioned she was going back to Japan for a few weeks to visit her family before her baby is born, and I asked (okay, begged!) her to bring back some 'starter chopsticks' for Willow. I had remember seeing them in Japan - they are connected at the top by something that oddly enough looks like a tongue - but has the effect of making you hold the chopsticks in the correct manner. There are three steps - with the divider and finger placements in, then with the divider tuned around and they have to place their fingers themselves, and lastly, with no divider at all - just short blunt chopsticks. It's a marvelous system - Willow conquered step one in about 2 minutes and ate up her sesame chicken, lo mein, and steamed vegetables in no time flat:

Now, you will have to excuse me - I didn't realize until I had blown up the picture and tried to correct the red eye that her mouth is actually full of broccoli as she is smiling. Maybe I should just be grateful my child is eating broccoli. In any case... Thank you, Satomi!

And on another Satomi note, I have finished Satomi's baby sweater and only need to buy some buttons and sew them on - look for a finished object pic tonight!