29 December 2007


so busy so busy. even more so now than when i first started writing this post, oh 15 days ago. one sunday i was caught up, and then we had a week to get ready for MA. and a bunch of holiday festivities.

we went to the north pole ice park with a couple from church. the fairbanks ice park is usually in march, but this year north pole decided to do one too. i don't know if it was the time of year, or the fact that it's in north pole, but the theme was christmas (the fairbanks one always has a theme - last year it was sea stuff). and not only was there santa claus stuff, but several nativity scenes. very good for getting in the holiday mood. chuck even got some good shots in.

nowhere but alaska would you find a sculpture of santa riding a salmon, or a reindeer on a harley. i like how there's always a few life-sized sculptures that you can sit on (even if the pic of me on the camel was a bit blurry). and the slide they had was way fun. they even provided sleds to go down it. whoo-hoo!

then we had two bank parties, a cookie swap, and christmas dinner with chuck's family. so tuesday was the only free night we had. craziness. somewhere in there we finished decorating the tree.
not bad for a fake one, eh? while the camera was out, i shot some of my favorite christmas decorations.

a straw pig and straw julbock (christmas goat) from sweden. *sigh* i miss swedish christmas. maybe it's just the difference in culture, but i miss their traditions. i weasel in whatever i can though *wink*
like our advent candles.

knitting did not get much time in before we left. the most i got done was at work, which meant the hedera socks. we (chuck put in his 2 cents too) settled on a heel flap, it seemed best suited to the lace pattern. the toes always seems to come fast after the heel. before i knew it i was decreasing. but when i tried it on after a couple decrease rows, i noticed this
normally i start the toe when the foot reaches the base of my big toe. and this was a bit past it. so i think i frogged back 2 lace repeats, finished the toe and it fits perfect.
yay!! one more to go. the lace on this pattern really stretches. i wasn't sure it would stretch enough, but it does. the second one i cast on in transit, and right now it's past the heel on the home stretch to the toes.

the FFF shawl is hibernating for christmas vacation. in the bustle before we left, i didn't quite make it to the yarn store for an extra skein of yarn. just in case i needed it. i wanted a shorter shawl (since i started out with the summer shawlette as my chosen pattern - remember?) and since the yardage was good for that pattern i thought, hey it should be enough for this one right? hope doesn't kill you i guess, but it doesn't give you those extra hundred yards either.

that's my only complaint so far about stahman's shawls - no solid yardage requirements. her only advice is to measure etc. the woman made a couple shawls in each design - couldn't she have written down how much she used? i mean, she's got the same brand yarn for every shawl, just tossing in the yardage, even in small print, would have been nice. i wouldn't have minded. so while flying, i finished my second skein. and wouldn't ya know it, it's not 15 inches long yet. augh. so i just have to really really hope that no one's bought that yarn since i did and maybe the same dye lot will still be there. except if i'd known i wouldn't be able to work on it the whole trip, i'da left it home to finish after. since i'll have to anyway.

based in how much knitting i did in arkansas, i maybe went a little overboard in how many projects i brought with me. i definitely forgot how time disappears with my family. our first week was busy busy getting ready for christmas and doing last minute shopping (all the way to christmas eve). usually my shopping's done early, but with traveling we still had a few things to find. but you know what? christmas eve just might be the key to stress free shopping. there wasn't a grouchy person in sight. shoppers and workers were pleasant and lines weren't too awful either. i would have expected otherwise, especially with the east coast reputation for attitude.

so between family and christmas (and driving. i never realized how much car knitting i got done because chuck was driving. i like driving but miss the knitting), i think i pulled out knitting for the first time.....sunday. um yeah. so chuck's sweater? not getting done. i'm determined to finsh at least the hederas cuz it would be ur-pathetic not to (ur would be the swedish equivalent of uber i guess). but my clessidras and charade socks will not be seeing much, if any, action. bummer.

on the other hand, seeing my family has been fun. there's just something about family jokes that nobody else gets. compared to our tree, my mom's seemed a bit straggly and bare of ornaments, but somehow lights and presents transform everything.
giving and receiving is always fun. a lot of our gifts have jokes or meaning to them, so we appreciate them more for that. we didn't take very many pictures this year like we usually do. since we were kids we had this tradition of opening presents one at a time so we could see what everyone got, and then playing for a bit. no matter how few toys we had, christmas always stretched out all day. sometimes it drags a bit, but mostly i like it. seeing reactions is fun, and enjoying what you get takes away some of the greed and commercialism i think.

my brother adam got me this t-shirt
which i had got my dad. hehe. i wonder where i got my squirrel-hating tendencies from?

of the few pics i have, i liked seeing miah's reaction to his rubberband ?oozie? it's a 5-shooter.

we gave him a ball of rubberbands in his stocking, of course. two part preseents are the best cuz you get the first part and wonder half the day, what the freak do i need rubberbands for?

shela squeals of joy at her socks were very gratifying. she said they felt " soft and comfortable." then yesterday she asked me for another pair. hmmm. . . . . maybe handmade socks wasn't a good gift idea after all *wink* and the thujas i made went to my pops. my mom seemed to like the washclothes she got too
although they weren't made for her head.

my niece serenity got a new doll. she curled up next to it and was out in less than 2 minutes.

07 December 2007

i used to be schizo but we're (not) ok now

i guess getting up those thanksgiving posts wore me out, cuz i've missed almost a week now.

tuesday our knit group met. we're still only a few people each time, but there's starting to be regulars who are really interested. having people to talk knitting with is so much fun. one lady, who's more of a spinner than a knitter, said her daughter asked her where she was going. after saying she was going to knit with the neighbors, her (teenage) daughter said, "it's confirmed, you're officially in the old lady group now." except the spinning lady was the oldest one there. *giggle* which she was going to be sure to tell her daughter.

sunday night i cast on xela's second sock, and got a few hours in on monday, putting me herexela2heelthen i got past the heel at knit group, and wed morning i went with chuck to the doctor. military doctors, so it was hurry up and wait. by the time we left, i needed only another half hour to finish the sock. whoo-hoo!!xela's doneall done, all done. i love it. in less than a week. i'll have to make more sport-weight socks in the future. i just wonder how they fit into shoes. there wasn't much yarn left either :)xela leftoversall this month i've been a good girl, only working on a few projects rather than my normal uncounted mass. finishing things faster is nice, but i'm starting to get itchy hands. my ravelry queue is gowing in leaps and bounds as i find more i want to make. any mention of sock yarns has me surfing the net wanting to buy something (for all those queued projects of course). there was a little bazaar here last weekend, and a local was selling alpalca yarn. oh, it was so nice and soft, in natural cream and charcoal (and brown but i can live without that). that was soooooo tempting, but i resisted. sweater patterns keep calling my name. finally i realized my project schizophrenia was too repressed and needs to come out. so i'm going to dig through my sock yarn and start some of those sock projects.

now that xela's socks are done, it's time for the hederas to get done. i'm adding to the leg, and thinking about a short-row heel. here's where it's at right now hedera take 2maybe 2 lace repeats were added to it today (pre-picture). after no calls all week, i got an all day science teacher job. quizzes and babysitting, with some pain in the butt energetic kids. not much knitting gets done with those kinds of jobs.

and the FFF is started again, after frogging and re-swatching. football and faroese shawls may not be a good combination though. we were watching the patriots nearly lose to the ravens, and i kept losing track of my stitches. finally i gave up and devoted myself to agonizing over the offense's bad blocking. since frogging it, i am not nearly as enthused about it as i was. part of the problem is (da dum) gauge. i like my lace a bit tighter than most gauge recommendations, so i think my next lace project i will pick a sportweight yarn maybe.

our christmas tree is slowly working its way up to fully decorated. it's up, and has lights on it, but no ornaments yet. we want to do them all at once, i think, but haven't come across a big enough chunk of time yet. our fake tree has fake berries on it too, which actually don't look as bad as we thought they would (we didn't realize it had berries till we got it home - oops). my very favorite lights are these candle-wannabes
bubble lightbubbling
we had those when i was a kid and i love the way they bubble.

tonight we're going to listen to some military band play. with a christmas theme (i think? i hope). not bad for a date night.

01 December 2007

there's a downside to everything

so the FFF that looked kid-size? it probably was. cuz it sure didn't fit my neck after i put the bottom on three circulars and tried it on. which means. . . frogging. *sigh* the worst part is, since i log all my time on knitwars, i know exactly how many hours of work i'm ripping out. ouch. big ouch. otherwise i could be more diplomatic about it.

we found a cheap fake tree last night, without lights. do you know how hard it is now to find trees that don't come with lights? geez. so monday night we'll be setting 'er up and decorating. fun fun! i love decorating. when i was a kid we'd always listen to these old records of christmas carols, and those have always been my favorites that i think of as "the" christmas songs. luckily i've found lots of them so we can listen to them as we decorate. and i found candles that fit my advents holder! yay!

tonight we're babysitting step-grandbrat seth otherwise we'd probably start decorating tonight. after the last couple days catching up on bills and blogging and reading blogs and unpacking and doing laundry and most importantly not knitting, i have got an itch to knit like you wouldn't believe. but with a kid wandering around, i don't know how likely that is tonight.

my library book pile has been out of control lately. actually, it's more that i haven't been reading as much rather than checking out mountains of books (which i have done on occasion). so i'm trying to whittle it down before christmas. i'll keep a couple for the trip, hopefully paperbacks. our library has a surprisingly good selection, but most of them are hardcovers. ugh. how am i supposed to fit those in my back pocket? in our stack of mail was promises to keep, an update on jilly by charles de lint. i'm reading wild magic right now, and need to finish the amber spyglass. chuck already finished it (!) and started on a wrinkle in time. he's been testing out this reading thing, and i try to read the books (again) with him so we can talk about them.

this morning, (my brother) miah woke us up, cuz he found out what his first assignment (after he graduates in may) in the airforce would be: guam. which makes his clearance top secret, so he had to get our updated address. the military actually sends people out to ask about him. i always want to make fun of things like that, but they're so deadly, deadly serious i can't. what's cool is, guam was chuck's first assignment, 20+ years ago in the navy. so we'll try and dig out some old pics to take home for miah. all the traveling he'll get to do makes me jealous and gets my feet twitching.

30 November 2007


i'm feeling more caught up now, but there's still some stuff left. *sigh*

last night i went to discuss the count of monte cristo at book club. i read huge chunks of it while flying, a couple hours today, and finished with 10 minutes to spare. the story flowed really well, so it was fast, interesting reading. but the end of the story really ruined the book for me. the main part of the book is focused on dantes getting revenge on the people who set him up, but you can't do that sort of stuff without it affecting your soul. yet there's only one short conversation with his old love (who he doesn't hook back up with unlike the movie, and the only thing close to real life) where he realizes he isn't the avenging hand of god and that's it. he's all done with the bitterness like it never happened, except he's 20 or so years older, and goes off into the sunset (literally) with a hot young chick. the wrap-up could have given more meaning to the whole story, but was shallow instead. all the bad guys were ruined, the good people got out of the traps somehow, and it was all la-di-da fine at the end. crazy how the last pages of a book, or last 5 minutes of a film can change your whole opinion of it.

for next month we picked 2 books: the ultimate gift (which i never heard of) and all rivers run to the sea (elie wiesel's memiors). the last i've been wanting to read so this'll be good motivation.

speaking of motivation, i haven't had any at all for seaming those blanket squares. so that's one of my goals in the next 2 weeks. to at least start seaming and get as close to done as i can.

we've decided to buy a fake tree (yuck!) because we won't be in town to make sure a real one stays alive, but we want the fun of our tree and the christmas spirit. we had planned to go tomorrow to find one, but this morning chuck was all excited and didn't want to wait the one day. so tonight for date night we'll be finding a tree. and i need to find some candles to fit in this awesome birch bark advent's holder. my friend lasse in sweden gave it to me, and it's handmade (although not by him), so it has cool memories. me and chuck are doing little advent's presents this year. one each week, with the dollar amount slowly going up. it's kind of fun. i love finding special presents, that mean something but don't have to cost much of anything. the memories and meaning are what make them precious.

my family has always done the list thing, make a list of what you want. but we rarely get anything from the list, especially as we get older. it's almost like the list is misleading, so the person won't know what you're getting them. i love trying to guess what the coolest present would be, finding out details without the person knowing i am, and keeping it secret right up to the end. that's what i love about christmas.

how do you all celebrate christmas and pick presents?

29 November 2007

borta bra men hemma bäst

sure is good to be home.

our night at the hotel was not very restful. the hallway outside our room never seemed to quiet down, and that plus anxiousness for our early flight seemed to keep waking us up. we were wide awake before the alarm even went off at 4 am. we got up, made sure everything was in the suitcases, and then chuck looked at our itinerary. and yeah. the 6 am flight was actually at 8. oops. our flight home from massachusetts in dec is actually the 6 am one.

i felt like a genius all day. that's the earliest i've ever been at the airport in my life, international flights included. maybe too much flying so close together isn't a good idea.

today while taking some pics for my blog posts a minor miracle occured: i finally got a good picture of the thujas! yay! it was about time.finished thujasand look how far i've come on the irish moss backirish moss back halfwayi'm so going to finish it by the end of our christmas vacation. as long as chuck can wear it this winter, i'll be happy.

so much to catch up on! i was feeling some serious internet deprivation symptoms there. chuck's sister did have internet. so i could check my email every couple days and keep those numbers down, but no time for anything else. man did i miss talking to my family on the weekend, and reading blogs. it'll take days just to catch up on posts. the up side of that is, i'm whittling down the list of blogs i read to the ones i really enjoy.

blogland had a pleasant surprise for me too: i won a contest on lucy's blog, celebrating her blogiversary. i was going to link to the contest while it was still happening, but that was the day i left, and yeah. i didn't get that post up. so i get some exciting handspun. whoo-hoo!

paying bills and balancing the checkbook is always fun to do after a trip too. not. and we've only got 2 weeks before we leave for MA, so we have to recover quick so we can get ready for that, along with all the christmassy things happening. it's going to be crazy. but the best thing about visiting my family? they've got internet, man. thank goodness. i don't think i could handle another internet-free trip.

so excuse me while i go get lost in the virtual world for a bit.

27 November 2007

traveling tuesday

today i finally remembered to take pictures of the landscape. i admired it all week, i guess we have to be grateful i remembered pictures at all.arkansas is one of those states i always thought of as being in the middle and flat. where chuck's parents live, it's actually very hilly. rolling hills with steep declines into those famous hollers. and they have winding roads that would make western mass proud.today i learned why: the ozarks. duh. that i should have figured out for myself. but they're only in northern arkansas, and everything flattens out towards little rock.

(these obviously overlap a bit - guess i only got the stitch function to work halfway on the camera) we were down in the middle of those hilly folds there. that would be awful territory for a survey. and while i'm thinking of archaeology, in those boxes of pictures and stuff chuck went through were 2 ziplocs chock-full of rocks. most of them were water eroded and smooth (you know i had to look at them just cuz). but one of them was guess what? an artifact. it was a utilized flake, with a clear bulb of percussion, a bit of cortex on the edge, and use wear on the one edge. *sigh* the worst part was, they hadn't picked it up on purpose, his parents had just collected rocks on a cross country trip from arkansas to alaska. so it could have come from anywhere. do you know how hard i look for those things? and they didn't even know they found one. *sigh*

today was a hot day again. day 1 was hot, and day 7 is hot, with cool, perfect days in between. at least from our point of view. today was like 65. i haven't seen that for months. we didn't bring our coats, but if we had we wouldn't have worn them anyway. we went into a restaurant, and the temps were easing down but it still felt nice out, and we both had short sleeves on. the restaurant chick asks us "where are y'alls coats at?" and while i rarely play on the alaska thing (chuck does it all the time, especially now that we live in north pole) all i could think of to say was "back home in alaska"

did she ever stare at us. she must have thought i was joking, and once she realized i wasn't, didn't know what to do about that. specially after i told her it was nice out. it's all a matter of perspective i guess.

we did drive past chuck's old swimming hole where he cliff dived. this is the practice jumpthis is the real thingnice huh? you couldn't get me up there for a million dollars. the scenery was beautiful, but it still can't compare to what we found a bit further down the road .

my very very favorite place we drove through today wasbooger hollowthey had signs to let you know it was coming over 15 miles out. not sure why cuz there wasn't much there. but i did wonder if andy would want to move there once i told him about it.

26 November 2007

bored out of my mind

xela's broadripple i finished friday night. i tried it on (and it totally should not have fit my huge foot) and it was about the right foot length for me. so yeah. i ripped back an inch or so and finished with just a tad of yarn left.xelas first broadripplesaturday we went to branson so we could get off the couch. talking to family is fun, but the tv always on in the background disturbs me, and after a while both of us needed to get up and move around. you know it's gotta be bad if we're shopping for fun.

we went through old branson, which had random little shops. we found an antique store, and those we could spend all day in. you just never know what treasures, or what junk, you'll find. we got this rug
new rug
to replace this rug (see the pinky red bits? they're not my friends. i won't miss them)
ugly pinky rug
sunday i got to experience a southern baptist church. chuck's sister linda invited us to go with her. i was expecting lots of music and some pulpit banging and finger pointing, but the service was rather tame. the congregation was pretty small, and about half of them were the choir. a couple of the songs they sang we knew, and the sermon was about moral responsibility in politics. an unexpected topic, and chuck's sister and brother in law were more surprised and disappointed than we were. and had a harder time following the pastor than we did. *giggle*

after another afternoon of hanging around, we were really feeling dummified and headed out to springfield MO on monday. our two favorite words for the last days of the trip were dummified and stupified. joking about it was all that kept us sane. even though we were in a different city, the shopping bored us cuz we usually only shop for specific items. we did find a coat for chuck though. and a flea market antique store. apparently the "flea market" bit makes all the difference between mostly cool old stuff and random new junk. this store didn't have much to recommend it.

our total weekend accumulation was still pretty bad. here's all our loot
combo loot
we picked up a couple huge mugs, a nautical shadow box and a lighthousefor chuck, a marble container for who knows what and a chinese style candle holder (it's a bit hard to see to the left).
we went in this cool cuckoo clock store, imported direct from germany. chuck likes cuckoo clocks, but wouldn't let me buy him one. so we settled for some wood cutout ornaments and a little cuckoo clock for the kitchen.
cuckoo clock
although the paint job reminds me more of sweden. also for the kitchen was a cloth calendar like my grandma used to have
2008 cloth calendar
in a quilt store we nabbed a king size quilt. it's even reversible too!
and man, did we need that king size. chuck is like the velcro king or something. anytime he moves in bed at night the blankets go with him. not too hard to live with in the summer, but the winter is another thing. so hopefully the extra width will keep me covered.

sometimes chuck has no understanding of moderation. they had some nice blue and yellow checkered material that i liked (the color combo reminds me of sweden). he kept asking if i liked it, and then just grabbed up almost everything he could find in it. see?
swedish pattern
he got the tablecloth, the napkins, the napkin holders (same material with buttons), the reversible placemats, and a bread basket. he spoils me rotten.

despite our haul, we're antsy to get going. tomorrow we're leaving for little rock cuz our flight's at 6.30 am wednesday. chuck said a week was all he could take at home, and i can see why. there's probably more to do in the summertime, but right now shopping is the most exciting thing to do.

i got lots of knitting in over the weekend, mostly on the FFF with a little irish moss thrown in. i'm trying to work on it at least a couple hours a day, and it's gratifying to see the inches slowly add up. chuck's mom asked me to make her a sweater. at first i wasn't sure she meant it, but once i started asking her what she wanted she got pretty excited. she also had definite ideas about what she wanted, so it wasn't just a whim. that's good, cuz i'd hate to spend all that time (and money) on a hand knit that wouldn't be appreciated. this is where ravelry comes in super handy, cuz of course i didn't have books or patterns with me. so we looked a (very) little bit and found a pattern she liked - the hedgerow coat from interweave fall 2007. which i have! yay! looks like a fun pattern too, so i won't mind knitting it. the best thing is there's no rush - she even said i could take 2 years on it! i think i can make it in that time frame ;)

once i figured out she was serious, i started asking her about details, like yarn colors and design elements like cables and whatnot. she kept saying it didn't matter and i could pick. like as if i could know all the little things she likes. having a little experience in that, i started making suggestions and got very definite no's to most of them. so not only do we have a pattern, we have a color and some idea of yarn requirements.

chuck spent some time looking through boxes of family pictures and newspaper clippings, and i started the count of monte cristo. it's a fat old book, and i have to finish it by thursday night for book club. i've got through 200 of 600 (abridged!!)pages so far. the book's size is imposing, but once i started reading the pages flew. not as wordy as i expected for the time period, or for serials being paid by the word or line.