Thursday, December 31, 2009

Decade Recap


How many people remember where they were ten years ago today? It really shouldn't be that hard - ten years ago, people were in the throes of Y2K hysteria. Andrew and I were still living in Boulder, CO then - he was in law school and I was working at a private school. I woke up the morning of December 31, 1999 knowing for absolute certainty that nothing was going to happen. Andrew was in the kitchen washing dishes, and when I came in the new year's fireworks were going off in Tokyo on the morning news. Ho-hum. It was a snowy day, and Andrew and I walked to Connor O'Neils, a brew-pub off Pearl Street, had dinner and walked back in absolute silence in the snow. Apparently some people hadn't seen the news that morning! (Although, in full disclosure, we had so much toilet paper that I don't think we had to buy any for another 6 months!) Unfortunately, I didn't have a digital camera in 2000 and my scanner doesn't want to scan, so no pictures.

2000 also started with some sadness as my Grandma had cancer and it was very apparent she was not going to be with us much longer. I flew up to Vancouver in March to see her and she passed away a few weeks later.


Andrew graduated from the University of Colorado School of Law in May 2001, and we drove cross-country via I-70 back to his parents' house in Delaware.

Andrew's Law School Graduation

We weren't sure where we would end up - the plan was to stay at Andrew's parents' house while Andrew studied for the bar exam, and then in the fall move to wherever Andrew was hired. Well. 9/11 happened. Andrew found out that he passed the bar exam a week later, and absolutely no one was hiring. We ended up staying with Andrew's parents for the next three years, and we will always be grateful to Andrew's parents for sheltering us all that time. I started to work for a pharmaceutical company and Andrew did legal contracting work.

I started taking knitting lessons at my local Michaels in October 2001, wanting to find a way to help calm myself...

Late in 2001 we found out that someone else would be joining us in the new year.


I spent the first half of 2002 pregnant with Willow, and the last six weeks were horrible! We had something like 30 straight days of temperatures over 90'F and it made for an uncomfortable pregnancy. My Mom flew out to be with us when Willow was born, and I was so happy to have her with me.

Sprout close up

This little one came to us one stormy night in July and she has kept us on our toes ever since!

Jo and Willow after bath

(Doesn't she look like a little monkey?)


Auntie Daryth came out to visit us, and Willow was baptized in early 2003 in a gown sewn by my Gram.

Willow's baptism

She and I took our first (of many) solo trip out to Canada in the fall of 2003. My parents had moved to Vancouver Island, so our trip was a bit longer now. People gave me the weirdest looks for having her in a harness, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

Willow on ferry3.jpg

She already had Andrew under her thumb (or her bottom, in this case) - even at this age.



We flew out to Vancouver Island in the summer of 2002 and Willow celebrated an early birthday there:


We were there for Canada Day and my Mom had made Willow this sweet maple leaf dress. She wore it to the festival and a newspaper photographer took her picture and immortalized her on the cover of their newspaper.

Airplane 2.jpg

Me and Willow - Fall 2004. I loved that haircut!

Jo and Willow 0804.jpg

I was hired full-time at my job and was promoted. In 2004 we finally moved out of Andrew's parents' house and into an apartment of our own.


My sister Teri came to visit!


Look at those cheesy grins - there is no question these two are related!



Unfortunately, my photos from 2005 - 2007 are rather sparse because our computer imploded on us and I lost countless photos. For this reason, everything gets uploaded to Flickr now... although I really need to get in habit of getting prints of the ones I really like.


In 2007 we bought a house! We had been searching for over a year and I am sure we frustrated our realtor with the sheer volume of houses we saw. Once again - computer failure - the only photo I could find from then is a picture of Willow in our backyard!

SP's scarf for WIllow

I went to my first MDSW in 2007 with my friends Kathy, Michelle, and Denise (and I am a little embarrassed as I looked through the old photos that I still haven't used up some of the yarn I bought on that excursion!).  I also met Cristi and Pam on a hill outside of the main barn. That fall we branched out to Stitches East as well in Baltimore and spent the weekend in a hotel room with a fabulous view:

View from Hyatt 1

Willow started kindergarten!

In January 2008 we adopted this handsome fellow:


I can't imagine our lives without Lucky now - he has made our house a home.

In March 2008, I went on a business trip to Las Vegas - and what did I do? Yes, take pictures of the carpets in the hotel. What?!?! They were pretty.

Wynn Decoration 4

In May 2008, my friends and I went to MDSW again - this has become a yearly trip for us now - I am always amazed at the sheer variety of fiber stuff - and plus, I met Bezzie on this trip!

In July 2008 we flew out to Vancouver Island again so Willow could meet her new cousins. Willow is in an interesting position - on Andrew's side she is the absolute baby of all the cousins, but on my side she is the eldest by a few years.


My parents came out to spend Christmas with us in 2008, and it was wonderful to have them here - especially since Mom taught me how to make perogies and apple pies!


In April 2009, we spent a searing hot weekend (really - who expects 90'F+ in April?) at Rehoboth Beach, courtesy of Andrew's parents. Willow loved being on the beach when it was sunny, and I can't wait to do this again.


Willow went to her first baseball game, and I think I have made a convert of her - although I don't think she is convinced yet that playing ball is just as fun as watching it.


I made jam! (Yes, freezer jam - but I made jam!)

Peach Rhubarb Jam 6

Willow lost her first tooth:


My parents came out to visit us again, this time for Canadian Thanksgiving.  My Mom taught me how to cook a turkey... and I forgot to take a picture!  I was so intent on getting everything on the table...

I celebrated my 37th birthday:


And this cutie pie made her way into our hearts after we lost Caddie in the fall:


Looking through all these photos, I simply cannot believe that ten years have gone by.  How on earth did I get from 27 to 37?  And has anyone come to a decision yet what the this decade was to be called - we don't have much time left!

Monday, December 28, 2009

More Christmas Finished Objects: Amy's Socks

Socks for my manager, Amy:


Yarn: Storm Moon Knits Twilight Sock in 'Rockabilly Blues'
Needles: 2 - 16" Knitpicks Size 2 circulars
Pattern: Ann Budd's Basic Sock
Size: Ladies' Medium

Aren't they eye-catching? I bought this yarn at Stitches East a few years ago, and what caught my eye from the beginning was the contrast with the pale turquoise and the black/purple/dark green. Unfortunately, it looks like the dyer has taken an indefinite leave from her shop - it's really too bad because I love how vibrant her colourways are. I had to be sneaky about getting Amy's shoe size out of her - it's not something that comes up in every day conversation! We were talking once and she said her daughter was borrowing her socks (I think her daughter is 11), and I expressed surprise that they would wear the same size... and bingo! Had to store that in my head for a while. I'm really pleased at how they turned out, and Amy loves them.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Finished Objects

I made a few things for Christmas for my knitting friends this year, and I had to wait until after Christmas to show them. I have been meeting with these ladies for close to four years, and they are some of my dearest friends. I wanted to make them something, but knitting seemed out of the question since we are all knitters.

Hmm. Maybe I should preface these photos with the comment that my Mom, mother-in-law, aunt, and grandmother are prolific sewers - and most of them have fabric stashes that put my sizable wool stash to shame. And my longest-standingf friend Tara loves to tell people tell people that she took a steep dislike to me when we first met in Grade 8 Home Ec because I took the easy way out with a sewing assignment.

I have probably touched a sewing machine less times that you can count on one hand since that Home Ec class finished - but as I mentioned above, I wanted to make something for my friends. I went to Etsy to get some ideas of handmade things for knitters, and decided I would try to make them project bags. I found a pattern at my local quilting store literally titled "The Easiest Accessory Bag Ever" - so easy in fact, you didn't have to trace out the pattern - only cut out rectangles from fat quarters.

My MIL, Debby, gave me a quick re-tutorial of her sewing machine, and after the two of us puzzled through the first one, she left me on my own to finish the last three.

Michelle's Project Bag - chosen because I always associate her with having a tea or coffee with her.


Denise's Project Bag - chosen because she is such a dog lover, and between her and her three daughters, I think they have 9 dogs.


Patti's Project Bag - chosen because she is such a dramatic, forthright person, and I thought she would love the contrast between the black and pink.


Kathy's Project Bag - this one was a little tougher. Kathy is a bit like me, we have very similar clothing styles with Lands End Mocs and fleece - very casual - but it is Kathy alone among us who has picked the most feminine and flirty yarn to work with, so I picked this swirly purple fabric.


All finished, the bags are about 7X9", and have drawstring enclosures and handles - perfect for socks or other small projects. I was pleased as punch at how they turned out, and have already bought the fabric to make one of my own.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snowbound and Crafty

The snow-pocolapse has come and gone, and we have 18 inches of snow to show for it. We were pretty much snowbound the last two days, so I was able to catch up on most of the shows I had recorded on my dvr and finish three Christmas presents. I had finished a cowl/hat/earwarmer for someone else, and while I was modeling it for Andrew, Willow asked, "Did you make that for me?" Magic words... So, after Willow went to bed and while Andrew and I were watching Dr. Who: Waters of Mars, I whipped up this for Willow:


It's easy-peasy - I cast on, knit the whole thing, and cast off by the time Dr. Who was over - less than 90 minutes altogether.

Yarn: Wool Ease Chunky in Grass - less than 1 ball
Needles: 16" circulars in size 10.5
Pattern: Cast on 60 stitches, join, be careful not to twist. K3, P1 all around. Continue in pattern until you have a 8" tube. Bind off in pattern. Done!

I've made myself one, too - and I like the fact that it can accomodate a ponytail and covers your ears completely.

I don't want you to get Mattie-deprived, so here is a new picture of the puppy:


Isn't she beautiful!? I could just snuggle with her all day.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cuteness Overload

How cute is this?


Willow would sleep in the cage with newly named Mattie (for Mathilda) if we let her!


Who could resist this face?!


Willow and the newly named Mattie (for Mathilda) have become close friends. Mattie wants attention from all the adults, but whenever Willow walks into the room, it is as if Mattie thinks her long lost littermate has show up.


She has a special fondness for pulling on Willow's hair. Willow keeps having to pull it into a ponytail or bun and out of Mattie's way.


She also seems to think that Willow is her chew-toy. Willow doesn't seem to realize that means Mattie thinks that Willow is another pup to play with - Willow needs to discourage her from the nipping, but I think it is interesting that Willow is the only one who gets nipped.


Mattie wants to play with Willow all the time - and when Willow wanted a break, she got up on the sofa, and Mattie was bereft she couldn't reach Willow. She tried jumping up on the sofa a few times but can't do it yet - so she plopped her bum down and started to whimper.


To answer some people's questions - Mattie's tail is naturally docked - her litter had both long tails and no tails. Her mother was 35lbs and her father 40lbs and she was the second smallest in her litter, so I don't see her becoming a huge dog. She weighs about 7lbs right now. She has one blue eye and one green eye.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A New Addition



I don't have a name yet - my new family can't decide what to call me. The people at the farm called me Jessie, but my new family wants to give me an Australian name since I am an Australian Sheepdog.


I like this place - I've got a girl to play with. She has these long pieces of hair I love to jump up and grab -


- but she tends to yelp when I do it!


I have new toys to play with,


new laps to sleep in -


and a new Daddy who already loves me terribly.


It's a sweet life!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Grilled Cheese Love

I Love Grilled Cheese

I have to say, I make a damn fine grilled cheese sandwich. There are a couple tricks to it, but all in all, it is a simple and delicious thing. I make my grilled cheese in my George Forman grill - it cleans up easily, cooks fast, leaves neat grill marks. However, the squishy nature of the George Forman grill requires bread that can stand up to the pressure - so the best bread for my grilled cheese is slightly stale french bread. Cut slices on the diagonal about 1" thick, spread butter on the outsides of the bread, and layer cheese in the middle. Place the sandwich in the heated George Forman and grill until toasty brown and the cheese has started to melt on the outside. The buttered bread is all crisp and the cheese is hot enough that you have to eat it slowly - and savour it despite wanting to eat it all in five seconds flat.

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Super-Secret Project


Well now, I bet that is something you never thought you would see on my blog! My mother-in-law, Debby, has infinite patience when it comes to me and her sewing machine and didn't mind me sewing in fits and starts until I got used to it again (because in all honesty, I think I have used a sewing machine less times than I can count on one hand since graduating from junior high school).

The finished product? You're going to have to wait until closer to Christmas for that!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

...Put Up The Christmas Tree...



It's so nice of you to lay this blanket down for me.


And the tree with all these beautiful dangly things. So pretty - so shiny!


It doesn't stand a chance...

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Thursday's Argument

Willow and I were driving home today, listening to the local Christmas music station. "Do They Know It's Christmas" came on, and the conversation went something like this:

Jo: Oh, I love this song - it came out when I was a few years older than you. (cue to me singing)

Willow: (Suspiciously) The beginning of this song doesn't sound like a Christmas song.

Jo: Well, it's a serious song. It's about people starving in Africa.

Willow: (Affronted) Christmas songs aren't about starving people!

Jo: It's a charity song. There was a famine in Africa. A famine is when the crops don't grow and there is no food. A man named Bob Geldof wrote it and lots of famous singers got together to sing on it and it raised money to help the people.

Willow: I still don't think it is Christmas-y.


It's funny - I started thinking of the video in my head, and thought to myself that the only person that Willow may recognize - maybe - from that group would be Bono - and maybe only when he started singing.