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.

23 November 2007

a lazy day

no black friday for us. i have nightmare memories of my mother waking up at ungodly hours to crowd through filene's for an extra 5% off. somehow it never seemed worth it.

we spent the day chillin with chuck's parents after waking up very late (we were up till 2.30 with chuck's mom). we're not adapting to the time change very well at all.

Xela's first sock is almost done, but i'm not sure i'l have enough yarn now. i made the leg a bit longer than specified, cuz i found that my pair were just a hair too short. even though they're not falling down, i feel like i should be pulling them up all the time. hopefully they're not too long for xela!

i worked on the FFF again, and got through the yoke (shoulder increases) and started the feather and fan pattern. it's looking pretty good, but i'm not sure about the size of the neck. i never made one of these before, so i'm a bit uncertain, but it almost looks kid-sized. since it's neck down i can try it on, but i want a bit more length to make sure.

chuck's parents are so funny when i switch projects. they've seen all 3 of them now, but when i switch their eyes get all big and they look at me in utter amazement, like they can't believe i'm doing another project. or like i did a magic trick and they're not sure i really was knitting on something different a minute ago.

we went to branson MO looking for some christmas light display. branson is like a mini-vegas, that i never heard of before. it's got a little strip and lots of shows. and traffic. first we couldn't find the display, and then once we found signs for it we missed the turns, so all we ended up doing was driving up and down the strip a couple times. i got to cuddle with chuck the whole time, so i didn't mind it a bit.

my favorite thing from the strip was a restaurant called the plantation. seriously. and i couldn't help but wonder - do they only have black waiters? cuz the word plantation just calls up images of mammy in the kitchen and the overseer whipping slaves out in the field.

we did talk a bit about racism in the car, cuz chuck's dad, well. he says he's not prejudiced, and then says he only ever knew 2 good blacks and tells us their names. i've always figured if you have to go around telling people you're not prejudiced, you've gotta be. every once in a while chuck's dad makes a derogatory comment and it shocks me. haven't we figured out yet that we're all just people? we'll talk to him about how every group has good and bad mixed in it, whether you're looking at race, sex, ethnicity, country of origin, economics or what have you. and he agrees. and then says they're all bad. *sigh* what can you do?

and a tip on Southern cooking: when they say fried eggs, they mean it. in at least half a cup of oil. somehow my tablespoon of butter doesn’t seem as bad now.

22 November 2007

you can get anything you want at alice's restaurant

i hope everyone took a second to listen to alice’s restaurant today. that's my favoritest thanksgiving tradition. and remember, if you’re ever in a difficult situation, just walk into the shrink (wherever you are) and sing a bar of alice’s restaurant and walk out - it might not help any but you’ll laugh :D

oh, and look what i found while getting links (but be warned: it's 18 minutes long!) bummer embedding was disabled.

meeting all the in laws today went pretty good. chuck's the oldest, then comes linda. she was there with her husband gary.
lindngaryall bad pictures are chuck's fault cuz he doesn't check to make sure they come out ok. sorry linda!johnhis brother john had long hair to everyone's (but mine, cuz hey, i never met the dude before) surprise. since he retired from the air force and has a outdoor guide-type job he figured he might as well.dean carving turkeywe ate our feast at his sister debbie's (no picture of her by herself-oops!). she lives on the same property as his parents. her husband dean cut the turkey, and we had all the traditional things. nothing scary and southern that i never heard of. although we did have fake stuffing :( and i missed our traditional apple pie with cheddar cheese too.

and here's all the kids together with their parents (debbie's in blue to the left). chucks famone of linda's daughters came by with her kids, and john's son was there so we got a pic of the great- and grand-kids too.hardy great grandkidsthere was much telling of family stories, and i was being social so i only knit a little bit (still clocked in 3 hours), mostly on chuck's sweater. when my family gets together we always talk about stuff that happened, so it was cool to hear another family's stories and feel more connected to them. chuck's started working on his genealogy again, so he was asking questions about older family too. his family has some seriously crazy history, some of it tragedy. we showed pictures of chuck's kids and stuff we've done. so overall it was a good day, and everyone was nice to me (that's most important first time meeting the whole family).

after everyone left and we were winding down for the night i made up a chart for the FFF and worked on it a bit. i'm using dale baby ull, and it's such nice springy stuff. makes me want to use it again. for the provisional cast on, i thought i'd be a genius and use the working yarn, pull it out and cruise on. so i finger chained the crochet and picked up the stitches. except when i went to pull out the crochet, it wouldn't unzip since the first stitch was using the yarn. yeah. so i undid the knot and pulled it out backward. still worked pretty good i guess, just not as fast and clean as unzipping. oh well. now i know that.

21 November 2007


at the start of our last flight, from chicago to little rock, the pilot tells us the weather in little rock. mid 40s and cloudy i think he said. we stepped out of the airport into a humid summer day. it was like 70. whew. that's a 50 or so degree difference for us. we were glad we didn't bring our coats.

our drive up to harrison went pretty fast, and when we were about 15 minutes from his parents' house, chuck calls them. he's talking to his mom, and she starts (naturally) asking about thanksgiving. and me, i could have deflected her easy, but chuck has no idea what to say. he tells her what his kids are doing, and that we'll crash someone else's dinner so we don't have to cook. hehe. but then he tries to get her off track by talking about our trip to MA for christmas. and she wants to know, why aren't we visiting them? ummmm............wait a few minutes and we will. chuck got his way out of it somehow (i thought he was going to wait until we were closer to call in the first place, but....what can you do). he's talking to his dad when we pull up, and he tells him to come let us in cuz he's tired of talking to him on the phone. and here we hit a totally unexpected snag: his dad doesn't think we're really there, so why should he go to the door. he does though, and "just about jumps out of his britches" as chuck says.

it was a good surprise. at first they seemed kind of blasé about it, but they were still in shock i guess, cuz after about an hour they realized they hadn't hugged us. they were all excited though, because chuck's brother that lives in missouri was coming down too, and it was the first time all their kids had been together for thanksgiving in like 20 years. so that was pretty cool.

despite having overnight flights, i did get a fair amount of knitting done between yesterday and tonight. Xela's socks are just zooming along. check em outxeals broadripple 1 halfwaygotta love that larger gauge. i've got chuck's sweater and FFF along too, they got some attention but the progress isn't as noticable as socks. maybe i'll take some shots at the end of the week.

20 November 2007

i'm leaving on a jet plane. . . .

(obviously i didn't get this posted before i left, but what can i say. better late than never and all that. one more postdated post won't matter)

monday i got another day of babysitting teaching math. good to have another day of work, but boring as all get out. i ran across some of my sunday school kids, and they said hi, which is always cool.

today was a no-work day, getting ready for arkansas. my biggest worry before trips is not what clothes to bring, but which books and knitting projects to bring and how many. there's all those hours on planes and in airports, the 3 hour drive from little rock to chuck's parents' house.......all those boring hours in between listening to family talk........i can't stand to have nothing to do.

and the very worst thing of all? make sure you're sitting down and all that: they don't have internet. that i'm worried about. but i'm going to be a good girl and take progress pics and write posts on my computer and put them up once i get home.

although i think for the FFF shawl, i'll take pics and post them all at once at the end. do kind of a start to finish post on it. but i'll still talk about it, you'll just have to imagine what it looks like ;)

for a really cool faroese shawl, check out the raven one at knitspot. wow. the yarn (from blue moon fiber arts) is a new line with all these raven-esque names, awesome black with slight tones of other colors. irtfa'a was designed to actually look like a bird, with feather patterns and this awesome feathery edging. i have so got to buy me that pattern. some day. when i've caught up to my queue - if i can wait that long. like after christmas maybe.

the green man collection was very good. i didn't quite get through all of the stories before the book was (over)due, and it's one of those awful books with references to more cool books, so i'll have to get it back out again later. cool forest stories, i really liked them.

last night we had potato soup in an effort to use up our milk before leaving. we had some kielbasa so i threw that in too, but then the dill that normally goes in potato soup didn't seem quite right. so i put in some cumin and coriander. mmmmmm, that was good. you should try it sometime.

speaking of food, we had a thanksgiving dinner at church last week. i brought stuffing, the real kind. with sausage. everyone else that brought stuffing did the fake stuff. it just doesn't taste as good, and real stuffing is dumb easy to make so i haven't ever figured out why people make the fake stuff. since stuffing is one of my favorite bits of thanksgiving, i asked chuck if his parents would make real or fake and he didn't know. *sigh* if i knew, i'd offer to make stuffing for them. i wonder what kind of food we'll get there anyway, since they're in "the south." could be interesting. . . . .

anyway. . . . 4 books, 2 knitting magazines and 3 knitting projects later, my packing's done. and you know what? i'm still worried i'll finish it all and be bored stiff. silly. huh?

19 November 2007

miracles do happen

usually when i swatch, i end up going down at least one needle size, sometimes more. since i have both metric and US needles, it can take a while to figure out which size i want to go with. but last week i decided to swatch for a pair of broadripples, using (almost) the yarn specified in the pattern. and you know what? i used the needle size they said and got gauge dead on the first try. wow. how cool is that?
xela light swatchxela swatch dark
(on the left the overexposed pic, on the right the truer to color but too dark pic)

the broadripples are for (my brother) adam's girlfriend xela. she liked the pattern and picked out yarn ages ago, sort of for fun. but since i have some time before christmas (and lots of travel time coming uup) i thought i'd make her some socks got christmas. cast on yesterday, and you know, i forget how fast knitting can go if you have less than 6 stiches per inch. after just a few hours, i've got about 6 inches. these won't take long.

even though xela picked out the yarn, i'm not convinced she'll like it. the colors are a bit different than the website showed (it's elann esprit print berry garden colorway), a little darker. and they're not all colors that i would pick out for myself. but then chuck pointed out if she doesn't like them, then i won't have to make any more socks for her! an excellent point.

as of friday, the thujas are all done. (hence the new projects) i haven't got a good picture though. doesn't seem to matter what kind of lighting i try, they come out as black-looking blobs (despite being navy blue) *sigh* i'll keep trying and post good pics once i get them.

i was brave and finally ripped back the hederas. the one oversized, and the other past the heel. i figured if i was going to rip it out i might as well add an inch or two to the leg. before i start working on it again i'm going to have to do a swatch, just to make sure i know what i'm doing this time. augh. i'd rather swatch and be sure, but it's not my idea of fun knitting.

last week i even took time to be social on top of all that knitting. chuck got tickets through work to the top of the world classic, the first session on thursday. there were two games, the first was the UAF nanooks against the tennessee state tigers. that one was not too exciting, but the second was colorado state against oregon state, and that was more competetive. it's an invitational tournament, but there aren't very many well-known names that come. still, it was a fun night out, and free to boot.

today i finished up the FFF (Feather and Fan Faroese shawl) swatching. the silly pattern says 4-5 stitches per inch is best, and row gauge is the critical bit, but then they don't say what the row gauge is. duh. so i think i swatched 4 different needle sizes (remember that whole US-metric thing? yeah) and somehow got 6 stiches per inch for US 5/3.75 mm through US 7/4.5mm. how that works out i don't know. finally i said screw it and cast on with the one i liked best (they did look looser as i went up in size, but somehow the stockinette measurement stayed the same). after a few rows of seed stitch for the neck border i measured and it was 5 stiches per inch on the US 5. *sigh* swatches lie. trust your instincts.

14 November 2007

so i can't count

it was more like 16-20 rows left on that woven stitch towel, but i still finished it monday night. yay! yesterday i washed and dried both towels. no bleeding that i could see - the water was a little pink when i peeked once, but no color at the end of the cycle. the yarn loses a lot of stiffness, it's still cottony-stiff but not as harsh. both sets of towels i washed with other bath towels to test the colorfastness, and while the color stayed put, all kinds of blue and red fuzzies got over the other towels.
woven stitch setmossgrid set
don't they look good (in all their fuzzy picture glory)? mostly they just look like towels, which is good enough for me. the woven stitch is a bit square, but since i didn't do any math, i can't complain. funny the difference 1 inch in width makes. *shrug* oh, and the edges on the red towel? no more curling. whoo-hoo!!! (you can see the stockinette trying to pop out between the mossgrid squares even in the pictures).

the thuja is at the heel turn now. the math teacher job i have the rest of this week is looking like worksheet babysitting stuff, which equals knitting time. i'm figuring it'll be done by the end of the week.

and then. . . . all the projects that were demanding attention took a chill pill so i'm trying to pick my next project solely by how much i want to knit it. that feather and fan faroese shawl i think will still be up next, but it should be a (relatively) fast project. if for nothing else, because i've only got 2 skeins to use on it ;) i'm feeling kinds cramped since i narrowed my focus to get the last projects done. i might need to cast on 3 projects at once! and definitely pick something not in any shade of red. bright red is not my friend at any time, but maroon i can get friendly with. chuck's sweater and those towels are in the red family, as are the hederas i should be finishing up. so something not red.

chuck's at a church meeting tonight, which makes for good swatching. . . .


11 November 2007

counting down

to our arkansas trip. at least chuck is. he's getting as excited as a little boy in a candy shop. but when he says, "11 days" do you know what i think? a horrified, "oh no, i only have 11 days to finish the last towel?" i suppose it's extra motivation, and i did pass the halfway mark yesterday.woven stitch almost doneit's looking good now. i actually dreamed i was checking in at the airport, and realized suddenly that i didn't have any knitting with me! i went into a panic, but since i was 3 hours early for the flight (definitely a dream-i haven't ever been that early) i was going to go home and get projects - i even knew which ones. but people kept preventing me, and that's how the dream ended. ugh. but i just counted before taking pics, and i only have 2 pattern reps to go. which is only 12 rows (a lot less after sunday evening knitting than it was this morning). so maybe i'll finish it once this post is done. whew.

my thujas aren't progessing very fast lately, since i've had jobs where i actually have to teach - again. *sigh* so i try to knit at least an hour at home. and there's all that flying time coming up. . . . . i'm sure they'll get done this month. at least i'm on the second sock! the back of chuck's sweater is almost through the ribbing now. i'm still only knitting it in church, but it will get lots of attention in arkansas.irish moss back ribbingthis picture actually captured the color pretty good, and if you enlarge it, you can still see the stitch pattern. all the other pics make the yarn look too pink, or bright red.

this week i've got jobs lined up every day. the checkbook is very happy. especially with trips coming up. it's weird having holidays getting closer and not needing to plan for them. no cookie baking, no family get-togethers at our place. no stress :)

i finally learned, in one of my sporadic trips into html-land, how to space my pictures so they're not right up on each other. blogger only lets you pick central, left and right aligned or none. now i fight the temptation to go back and properly space all the pictures ever posted. that's not anal or anything, is it?

a minor miracle occured last week. the frosted lemon verbenalemon verbena backtolife
came back to life! they were out in the garage until i got around to dumping them and reusing the pots. it's cooler out there, and they don't get any light, except a few minutes when we leave the house. but somehow that was enough, and it's got just a couple shoots struggling to grow (just one plant, the other's still frosted). i'm babying it as much as i can.

my chives are back in the house now too. the roots needed to freeze for a month. unfortunately for them, it snowed while they were out there and chuck didn't see the pot. they got shoveled right off the deck. luckily they stayed in the pot, and are coming back to life now.

we got a new bird house, since our stooges seemed a bit cramped. they didn't like being moved (bit chuck's hands!!) but they seem to be settling in fine and liking the extra space.
birdhousesettling in
oh, and another winter surprise: my rose is blooming again!nov rose

10 November 2007

i *never* act like a kid anymore. . . . .

so another thing i haven't quite gotten over from my childhood (besides sitting in the back of the room so no one can pull my hair and make fun of me) is walking in newfallen snow and matching my footprints to another set so that it looks like someone was jumping.footprints in the snowjumping at an angle maybe, but jumping. i still giggle looking back at the tracks and picturing someone coming along and thinking "what the. . . . . .?"just to prove i am grownup, here's a pretty picture. see how the spruce needles contrast the snow?

08 November 2007

some things you just can't predict

like when your interweave knits will show up in the mailbox. last issue came in about a month after it hit the stands (no, i wasn't a new subscriber or anything) and the winter issue is here. today. a whole week before it's out on the stands. did i do something good today? this month? craziness.

and some sock yarn i ordered came in. some things can make it to alaska in less than a month! since i ordered it monday (i think) that was way faster than i anticipated. i'll have to work faster on those thujas now so i can start a new pair finish my clessidras. and hedera. gulp.

another thing you can't predict (and wouldn't that have been a good title for reviewing how many don't come to knit group) is how intertwined tamora pierce's series are. luckily, bonnie at knit group started talking books with me. when i told her i was about to read trickster's choice and realized it was after the lioness rampant books, she was kind enough to let me know the immortal books fall in between the two. man, i'da been irritated to find that out late. some books are independent enough it doesn't matter what order you read them in, but i like to follow a character's development. and those series don't let you know that they have anything to do with one another.

i now have to the hilt by dick francis in my stack too, recommended by the crochet lady. although i mostly read fantasy and sci-fi, i'll read anything good, and she says he writes good mysteries. so we'll see.

also hard to predict? if i'll get any dishes done with a new IK, new yarn, and pierce books tempting me.

07 November 2007

a pat on the back

a while back (so back that i can't find so i don't expect anyone to remember it) i wrote about my project schizophrenia, my habit of having *cough* a few projects in progress at the same time. dashing from project to project i never don't always take time to appreciate what i've done. so i've been trying to take at least 5 seconds to consciously notice finishing a project, or hitting a turning point.

and then i found limenviolet through ravelry. they have all kinds of cool knitting info and links and fun articles. and they have (drumroll please) knitwars. based on chorewars, a site where you get points for doing housework, there's "knitting adventures" that you gather points for doing. it's a little silly i guess, but doing it really helps me to notice my progress and appreciate it. so instead of feeling like i'm drowning under the weight of my current projects (not to mention wishlist projects), i feel like i'm doing good. and it's fun.

a different kind of progress was made yesterday: our knit group met with 4 people showing up! besides me! craziness!! one chick, dahlia, was just learning, and got the knit and purl stitch down easy. another lady, bonnie, started a pair of socks, knitting on dpns (and in the round) for the first time. sue got the hang of ribbing again, and learned to knit and purl continental style. she'll be making her first pair of socks. the last lady was crocheting granny squares, and learned to make a miter-looking square. loads of fun, even though i didn't get much knitting done myself.

06 November 2007

it's called progress folks

the mossgrid towels are off the needles, washed and dried! not blocked properly, because i don't have to have to, and that's what my motherinlaw will do to them. 'member how the edges were turning under? they still are :( darn. my faith in seed stitch is ruined. this is the best picture i could get of them - tomorrow i'll try outside.mossgrid fsh but that one towel set done. and the second woven stitch towel is started! with jobs for the next week and a half, i'm expecting the thujas to be finished soon. the other socktoberfest hopefuls, hedera and clessidra, will be getting some attention once i get the thujas and their deadline out of my system. and once i get the courage up to rip back the hederas. ouch.

somehow on sunday, while watching the highlights from the patriots-colts game (cuz chuck was being good and not watching tv on sunday and we forgot about the game till it was over :( bummer!), i almost almost finished the front of chuck's sweater! oh the agony of being almost (but not) done, watching the clock get closer to too late, and being only a couple rows short of done when you discover you messed up. *sigh* somewhere the decreases jumped out of order while i was watching interceptions and randy moss catches (and gloating over a payton manning defeat). so i yanked them into order tonight and here's the front
irish moss front that is the closest i've gotten to the actual yarn color so far. now for the back! i'm still hoping to finish this by christmas................

o happy feet

this is thy sheath

finally, the finished broadripples! finished last tuesday i guess. time flies faster than i take and post pictures. and, reporting a bit late and all, but finishing these and getting through one thuja were my socktoberfest results. i was quite happy with them. finally getting these done (and still not remembering why i stopped working on them) made my month. i want to wear them every day. just cuz i have nice socks for myself. finally.

03 November 2007

bad habits

lately i've gotten into the bad habit of not having time to write a post and just scribbling down a few notes of what i wanted to post. except then they build up into novel-like posts. so while i'm not joining any of those crazy almost-acronyms i am going to try to post rather than scribble. cuz when all those scribbles add up? it feels like work and i don't want to post anymore.

so .....let's see what i have today. i've been reading a bit on the side, mostly YA novels (this means they're shorter so i whiz through them). heartlight was a pretty good book, very similar to a wrinkle in time, but with less depth. the first few pages made me wary, because they were so so similar to l'engle. a new england farmhouse, malcontented teenage girl with braces, interested in science but not in school, father/grandfather working on faster than light travel & mysteries of the universe. the story line was original though, with some cool ideas. somehow it seemed a little superficial, with a resolution similar to wrinkle. i'd still recommend it though.

apparently the seeker wasn't a great office box hit up here cuz it was in and out before i could see it. not that i was dying to see it in the theater, but it could have been a good date. lately we've been getting lots of movies i never heard of for very short runs. thank goodness for netflix. we finally saw pan's labyrinth. i really liked it, although it was unexpectedly bloody in parts. the fairy tale aspect was fascinating and surreal, and at the end you're not sure if it was real or unreal. a good movie, but with those violent bits (most war related), i wouldn't watch it with kids.

i've been anticipating the golden compass' release next month, but i'm a bit worried about the interpretation. kind of like the seeker. *sigh* hollywood did such a good job with narnia, why can't they show the same respect to other fantasy novels?

for halloween we went to a little party (ok there was tons of kids and people you normally don't see) at church. they always call it a "harvest festival" for some reason, except it's on halloween and exactly like a halloween party. i shake my head at the silliness. kim and austin came , with seth dressed as a lion (no, we're bad, i don't have any pics). we had fun. there was one little girl around a year old in a white bear costume that had the cutest growl. her face lit up if you asked what a bear says and she'd growl a few times for you.

the last two days i had off for parent/teacher conferences. i was heartbroken - not! my math job is done. i think. the teacher is adopting her newborn granddaughter and may need more time off. the kids were still trying to convince me to somehow get their normal teacher fired and become their fulltime teacher. and they said they would miss me - one girl even gave me a hug. awww. made me feel good, even with the math element.

i got some other warm fuzzies too. the woven stitch towel and fjörgyn were faved on ravelry. somebody likes what i made! i feel so appreciated this week.

thursday i was a good girl and did some housework. ok, so i still didn't get the cobwebs (they'll just make more anyway) but i did fold the laundry that i don't remember washing, took screens out of windows and took down the curtain rods. they haven't had curtains since last winter i think. i got rid of them as fast as i could convince chuck to let me. windows are for looking out. i hate curtains, shades or anything that gets in the way of my view of outside. we have pretty wood frames to, so they look nice without the curtains. and they look better without the rods! i even did some handwashing (finally) - all while chuck was on ebay. he's like a little kid discovering a candy store in his back yard.

we babysat seth thursday night, which was fun. we don't see him very often, so i don't think he really knows that chuck is his grandpa. we had fun playing with himseth clappingand feeding him pizza crusts. seth and pizza crusti took advantage of kim's white rug to take pics of old FOs for ravelry. our rug's so ugly it just detracts from the picture. it's kind of cool seeing things pile up there and realizing how much i've made in the 4 years since i started knitting again. when i go home for christmas i'll be taking more pics of stuff i gave away. since i always forget to take pics. i used to have a good excuse cuz i had a sucky camera (birthday present when i was 12, very low quality - but i actually kept it till i was 27!). now i've got the digital and still forget. . . *sigh* but i think i've got pics now of everything here that i've made.
basketweave blanket wristwarmers

checked potholder spiral rib socks kilafors ribbed socks
the broadripples are all done, but will be in a future post since i washed them but want a pic of them on my feet. they went so fast once i picked them up again! the stripes are a bit different, fatter on one sock than the other, but i don't mind. they still look nice. i cast on the 2nd thuja tuesday (i think) but haven't done much on it since i haven't been in school.

despite not knitting much the last few days, the second mossgrid is halfway done. yay! i'm itching to cast on a shawl but told myself i had to finish the towels first. i was planning on knitting the summer shawlette to try out the faroese style shawls, but since i got stahman's shawls and scarves (one of my bits of plunder from the ebay spree) i decided to go with something else more interesting. a feather and fan (i love that stitch), knit neck down so i can still use up the yarn i've got. i have 2 other yarns in my stash that i'm thinking of making shawls with, but i'm not sure if i'd wear them. or what pattern they'd look good in. so those keep rolling around in the back of my head.

while babysitting and not-watching the kingdom of heaven, i started in the hand of the goddess. reading kids' book makes me feel like a fast reader again. i blasted through it and finished it yesterday. i'm liking those books too, even though it was will of the empress all over again - went to read trickster's choice and found out it was sequel-ish to the lioness rampant books. luckily i had just read the first one, otherwise i'd never have known and spoiled the ending for myself. knowing the ending ahead of time sucks.

chuck ran out of lights (we bought them last year, guessing how much we needed and never got them up since it was minus degrees when we moved in), so we bought a strand of blue lights to try out. we've got those icicle lights that dangle, and the pic on the blue box made the snow look like moonlight was on it. and for once, the picture didn't lie! the blue lights are pretties, and now i just have to figure out how to convince chuck we want to buy all blue lights. hmmm . . . . . .

oh, and if anyone knows how to get rid of the little gnat buggies that live in houseplant dirt, PUH-LEASE let me know. they're making me crazy, and i don't want to ditch the plants (which is chuck's idea of a solution).

01 November 2007

heebie jeebies

i've got this internal timeline for some things. summer ends, the air turns crisp. leaves turn to red and gold, then drift down to make piles for jumping in. the first snow comes, melts, then more snow. and right after that - christmas. that's just the way it goes. summer, leaves, snow, christmas.

living in alaska (and sweden) hasn't changed my internal clock any. so since we've blasted through summer and the falling leaves and the first few snowfalls, what i want to know is, when's christmas?

my internal clock says it's just weeks away. i'm all heebie jeebies thinking about presents for people and decorations (chuck put our outside lights up this week - it'll be way too cold and dangerous by christmas time to put them up).


the good thing is, i guess i'll get my shopping done early!