Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Rules

Look! Buddy Bill's afghan is finished! The final round was completed at knit nite last night. Details? Crochet granny square. Generic. Lots and lots and lots of Tatamy Tweed Worsted. At least 10 balls. I am amazed at how much more yarn crochet uses up compared to knitting. Size H hook. Nearly a month to complete.
Tonight the kids will go out begging for treats. Mayhem is a witch of sorts. Absent-Minded Professor is becoming one of those kids who doesn't dress up but goes begging anyway. He is only wearing camouflage pants and shirt and a camo bucket hat - you know, kind of like a guy from M*A*S*H. At my house, those kids get Dum Dum lollipops instead of chocolate. Really. (The same rule applies to adults who drag infants out trick-or-treating. Puhleeease! We know who will be eating that candy!) If you can't take the time and effort to come up with a costume, you don't get the good stuff. Some of the high school kids in the area, armed with only a pillow case and no costume, know to bypass my house because they have learned that I have two separate bowls and the unspoken rule of "no costume, no chocolate." I have heard them pass on wisdom to others, "Hey, don't go there. All you get is a retard sucker!"

Wait until you see the wonderful jack-o-lantern that has been carved for our yard! It's gonna look great all lit up in the dark.

Both kids have had colds for the past week and today it sidelined me. Absent-Minded Professor's cold is turning into something bigger and he may head to the doctor. Mayhem has turned the corner and is almost well. And me? Too soon to tell. I spent the day sleeping and getting a little TLC.

After three weeks away, I made it to Insanknitty last night. I'm back in the corner with Patti, Mary and Julie (another crocheter) finishing the afghan. (I stole this photo from Insanknitty blog! Shhhhhhh!)

Stay warm, friends. It's supposed to get chilly!

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fall Colors

Buddy Bill and I went back to the cemetery yesterday to see if the leaves had changed more. They had, indeed!!! A rainy day was just clearing, giving me just the right combination of dark clouds and sunlight. So, just fall photos for you today, but they are stunning. Eye candy.

Bury me under a tree like this!

Knitting news:
The afghan will be finished today! I also received an advance invitation to join Karida's sock club which will be announced to the public on Monday. Of course I jumped in! She has the yummiest yarns, and Washington is one of my most favorite places.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

I Gotta Knit!!!

There seems to be a plethora of knitting patterns that are calling to me right now, not to mention to Mayhem and The Absent-Minded Professor.

Take the Brain Monster Hat for example. Both kids love this one! Mayhem has requested that hers be pink or purple. A-MP has assured me he would indeed wear it, but has not decided upon a color. He immediately thought of the joke about "a brain sucker starving to death" when he saw the pattern.

After seeing The Secret Knitter start this ribbed beanie (pdf), I really have been itching (OK, given recent events, maybe that was a poor choice of words!) to make a few to donate and stash away for Christmas. This hat has "college kid" written all over it.

The pattern for the felted clogs from Fiber Trends is still sitting at home, staring at me, taunting me. I have two friends who are finishing these right now, and are ready to felt their clogs. Thanks, girls. You know who you are.

Here's the WIP update: I am slowly working on a simple stockinette pair of socks for me. They stay in the car, mostly, so I am not getting very far. Last night I started on the border for the granny square afghan. Yes, the border!!! It WILL become a Finished Object (FO) this weekend, then Cobblestone is coming back out of the knitting bag. Everything goes slowly with the wrist pain (which is manageable most days with meds and the wrist braces), and I get frustrated at times with my seemingly lack of progress.

Thank you to all of you who had suggestions about the hives! I took an allergy pill (Rx) before school today and so far so good. I really didn't want to keep itching! Besides, this weekend I have plans to make some homemade oatmeal raisin cookies. yummmmmmmmm

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Holy Hives, Batman

You probably think I forgot all about giving you an update on the dinner theater, right? Wrong!

The evening at Gratzi was wonderful! Buddy Bill had never eaten there, but I had. As always, the food was fabulous, and the service impeccable. Bill was pleasantly surprised by the food. We both ordered chicken dishes, but different types, and shared. The performers were fun; they clearly enjoyed what they were doing, and that made for an enjoyable evening. Good food, a glass of wine and wonderful company. All that on a school night!

It took me a while to get to sleep after I got home, which is pretty normal for me. The problem was, I woke up at 2:15 AM itching like mad. A peek in the bathroom mirror confirmed my suspicions: Hives!!! EEEEK! I don't have food allergies, so it wasn't something I ate. No med changes, either. I decided against benadryl at 3:00 AM because I would have trouble getting up at 6:00. The problem with that plan was that I didn't get any sleep at all! The itching nearly drove me mad and I ended up calling in sick at 6:30 in order to medicate myself enough to sleep.

Brainstorming all day, and consulting Bill and another good friend, W, resulted in the following conclusion: stress. There's someone at work that is really annoying me and the hives were a reaction to the stress. I was going to nix that theory until the hives started to flare up again today after a run-in with that person. That person isn't going away, so I have to figure something out. I can't take sleep-inducing antihistamines every day! Any ideas? I would knit, but remember I'm not allowed to knit at school!!! ARRRRGGGGHHH!

OK, here's two happy photos:

This is one reason why my favorite color is red.

Bruno says, "Gimme a cookie!" (How can anyone resist that face??)

The afghan is almost done. Watch this space for a photo!!!!!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Blogiversary, Insanknitty, Gratzi. oh my!

Life has been so hectic, dear friends, that I totally forgot my own First Blogiversary! October 14 last year was when I started this here little knitting blog. I can hardly believe it. Since then I have learned to knit cables, I have learned to knit socks - top down and toe up, I made the Baby Surprise Jacket. More books and sock yarn have come into my house than I can catalog right now! I became a Loopy Groupie. I even made it into Ravelry!

One of the big events related to knitting this year was finding Yarn Haven and regularly meeting with the knitting group on Tuesday nights there. The Insanknitty gals are so much fun, and are great support for more than just knitting. Some nights I'm still laughing as I turn the corner and drive away toward home. The credit for my finding YH goes to fiber friend Sarah Lou, because the first time I went to YH, I was meeting her there to knit on a Tuesday nite. Walking in there is like walking into a second home now. It's so homey that some of the girls were talking about wearing their PJ's tonight!!

This evening, however, even though it's Tuesday, I'm heading to Ann Arbor instead of Insanknitty. (Sorry girls!) Gratzi, a wonderful Italian restaurant, is having dinner theater. While in A2 a few weeks ago, Buddy Bill and I saw a flyer for the event and he decided we needed to attend. The Phantom of The Opera is the performance, and it is only playing for two nights - last night and tonight. Bill made the reservations and invited me on a date (awwwwww), which we've been anticipating ever since. There will be knitting, since I already have my sock in progress ready for in the car on the way up and back.

I'm blogging on my lunch time, from my desk. No photos today. I'll let you know tomorrow how the dinner went. Someone peek in at Yarn Haven and tell me all about that pajama party!

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

So much to say, so little time

There's so much to catch up on, but there's a really important baseball game coming on in an hour, so I'll let these photos do it for me.

Mayhem can knit! Slowly, painstakingly, but she is, at last, knitting. She sat with a bunch of us knitting girls at Panera yesterday morning and did it! (Too lazy for links, but hi Sarah, visiting Renee, Mary, Johari, other other Karen.)

The afghan for Buddy Bill is growing, and growing. See? Another row of oatmeal, two more rows of gold, then a border and I'm calling it finished! I need to get back to Cobblestone. (The colors are little washed out in these photos - sorry)

Yesterday afternoon was a perfect day to get pictures of our beautiful autumn foliage. Buddy Bill and I took a walk and I photographed the trees. Don't laugh, but one of the cemeteries here in town has the most beautiful maple trees, so that is where we went.

Have a great week, everyone.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cleveland Rocks!

Things were certainly rockin' at The Jake last night friends! 50,000 fans waving terrible towels madly in the air and cheering wildly made an exciting game even more so. The Tribe needs one more win in this series over Boston and they are headed for the World Series!!

Buddy Bill and I arrived plenty early and walked all the way around the field to see the sights, take in all the yummy smells and let me take pictures. Bill carried the bag with my knitting. He carried our coats. He good-naturedly tolerated the red sheep shoes. Arriving early also gave me time buy the kids a couple of souvenir baseballs, which is what they begged me to bring home for them. This is the view from the outfield, just after we arrived at the park.

Our seats were along the Third Base Line, right up above Kenny Lofton's spot in left field. Kenny was on fire! He caught everything! We also had a birds' eye view of Manny Ramirez, who just couldn't get no lovin' despite having played for the Indians in the past.

There's one moment of the entire evening that stands out, though. It stands out even more than the amazing Seven Run 5th Inning! I can't tell you what inning it was. I can't even tell you who was batting, except that it was someone from Boston. At that moment, I leaned into Bill, seated to my right, and rested my head on his shoulder. Bill turned away from the game and said, "I love you, Sweetie."

Just then, the whole crowd did this:

Bill responded by saying, "See? The entire stadium approves!"

Now, this certainly was not the first time Bill expressed his love for me. I must say, though, it is definitely one of the most memorable, thanks to the incredible timing of the Cleveland crowd.

Finally, to top it all off, before midnight, the home team won.

Yes, indeed. Cleveland rocks!

(I finally crawled into bed at a few minutes before 3:00 AM today. For the record, I did go to work!)

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Sunday, October 14, 2007


For as long as I can remember, I've been a fan of the Cleveland Indians baseball team. Even during the years when they couldn't seem to win a game if their lives depended on it, I was a fan. My siblings are fans. My parents are fans. My dad took us to games at the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium when we were kids, usually to watch a battle against the Yankees. That old stadium has since been replaced by the beautiful Jacobs Field.
Image from Ballparks of Baseball

If you follow baseball at all, you might know that the Indians are still alive in post-season play! They are battling the Boston Red Sox in the playoffs right now, and the series is tied at 1-1. The Tribe is coming home to Cleveland to play games on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

Well, guess who scored tickets for Tuesday night? Yep! Me!!!! Buddy Bill and I are going to the game. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it! Do I care that I won't get home until probably 2:00 AM and then have to get up for school? Not one bit! When will I get another chance to go to a playoff game?

That does mean I will miss Insanknitty at Yarn Haven on Tuesday night. I will knit, however. I promise. While waiting for the Tatamy Tweed to arrive I have been working on the cast aside Log Cabin afghan. I've also been working on Buddy Bill's Cobblestone sweater. And today I might just start another pair of socks. I have some Colinette Jitterbug calling my name.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Missing Kid Not on Milk Carton

I'm missing my Absent-Minded Professor. He's been gone since Monday morning. No phone calls, no emails, not a word. Rest assured, though, you won't see his face turning up on a milk carton. He's just gone for the school week at outdoor education with his whole 6th grade class. Tomorrow afternoon my first-born will be home again. I'm sure he'll have great stories about Michindoh.

My house sure is quiet with him gone. It's not that he makes a lot of noise. The clashes he and Mayhem get into over stupid stuff create a lot of noise! Normally when he's gone he can call, or I will call and talk to him at night before bed. AMP regularly goes to stay with my parents for several days to a week at a time, so I'm OK with him being away from home. This is the first time he's been somewhere without family, though. I'm quite sure he misses Bruno and Coco more than he misses me! The dogs and I did send him mail.

The granny square afghan is 45" square. I ran out of the Tatamy Tweed worsted in Oatmeal and have just a scrap of the yellow (Gold) yarn left. My LYS is out of those colors; remember I bought it on clearance months ago when they decided to stop carrying it. Today I decided to order some directly from Kraemer Yarns in order to finish the afghan the way I want. Now that it's finally cool, I really want to finish this and get it to Buddy Bill's!

Mayhem gave handknit socks her stamp of approval today. It was chilly in the house and her feet were cold last night at bedtime. I suggested she could wear the Thuja socks I had made for her during the summer. This morning she proclaimed that her feet stayed toasty warm and those were now her bed socks. The way her feet are growing, they won't fit long! When I knitted them in June she thought I was nuts, of course. "It's too hot for those socks, Lady!"

Tonight I plan to get Cobblestone back out and work on the sleeves. Grey's Anatomy will be on, and I know I'll be parked in front of the idiot box, as my dad so fondly calls the television. Now that it feels like October, Buddy Bill needs his sweater.

Any big weekend plans? I think I'm going to try to get out and photograph the fall foliage! Oh, and knit of course.

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Mail and Simple Pleasures

Normally checking my mailbox at school is not much fun. It typically means more work in the way of paperwork to complete, referrals from teachers and administrators, messages from parents to return, junk mail to sort through. The other day a turquoise-colored envelope caught my eye though, and immediately I recognized the handwriting on the front. Buddy Bill had sent me mail at school! (You can all say "awwwwwwwww" now.) Inside was a card with two Labs snuggled up together in a chair, one yellow and one dark, just like my Labs.

(Greeting card from Avanti Press)
The card contained some silly, mushy sentiment which made me grin. It's still here on my desk, making me grin. Knowing he's not one to buy greeting cards makes it even more special.

Simple things bring me great pleasure. Sitting outside enjoying a quiet afternoon, with a book or my knitting, brings me great pleasure. Really. As the mom of two active kids, two dogs, and being someone who works full time and tries to keep up with all that and keep a house... well, quiet time to just sit and knit for an extended amount of time is rare.

Receiving a card in the mail from someone special, just because, brings me great pleasure. Just thinking of you, no special occasion. It's normal to get cards for birthdays, and around the holidays, if you've been sick, or going through a tough time. A card out of the blue for no special reason is always fun for me.

Taking a walk in the park, particularly now, as the leaves are changing, is also a great pleasure. (OK, not so much when it's 92 degrees, but when it's typical October weather!) We are fortunate to have an incredible Metroparks system here, full of beautiful wooded walking trails and nature centers. You forget you're in a city when deer cross the path fifteen feet in front of you.

An evening in front of the fire with a good book, a glass of wine and the dogs brings me great pleasure. My dogs don't know they are dogs, so it's typical for one or both of them to get up on the couch once they think I'm not looking. Bruno will usually wait for an invitation, but Coco pretty much owns the spot at the end. Add in some good company to share the wine and it gets even better!

Knitting, which has been around for centuries, brings me so much pleasure, as does creating knitted items for others. I started knitting as therapy for myself - to not snack in front of the TV, and to keep my mind off other troubles - yet nearly everything I make goes to someone else. I love the joy in the recipients' faces.

Do I like nice things? Do I like to go nice places? Yes, and yes. I'm finding more and more, however, that they are not so important. I get much more pleasure from simpler things, and certainly many more treasured memories.

Now someone please, please, please, send some cool weather!!! It's almost 90 degress again today. That does not make for good days in a junior high. P.U.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Heat Wave

How in the world can it be 87 degrees in October?

Look! This is on my back porch, on the north side of the house, in the shade of a BIG apple tree.

Yesterday we set a record for high temps, and the weekend forecast is for temps to be near 90.

And what am I knitting and crocheting? An afghan and a wool sweater! Hello!? It's not summer anymore!! Guess what I did last night? I turned my AC back on!!! (But in October in northwest Ohio??) Then I curled up on the couch under the granny square afghan for Buddy Bill and stitched away. Here's a pic of the afghan in progress. All those leaves prove it really is October.

I survived my tests this week. Buddy Bill was a godsend on Thursday for the EMG. He offered to take me and I gladly accepted the offer. Wow, am I ever glad I did! First, there was a mixup on scheduling and I reported to the hospital where I requested the test, only to find out that the person who scheduled it booked me at a different test site. We schlepped back thru the maze of corridors so typical of hospitals to the parking garage and drove to another hospital. Once there, we waited to register all over again, and then wound our way thru another maze of corridors to the correct place. The EMG was pretty unpleasant, but not the worst thing I've ever been through. I did end up sleeping for an hour and a half afterward, though, I think mainly from the stress and frustration of the runaround, but maybe from being tasered for 30 minutes. I also have bruises at each needle insertion site. Buddy Bill took very good care of me all day afterward, getting me Starbucks, fixing soup and salad for lunch, propping me up on the loveseat with my book... A girl could get used to that kind of spoiling, you know?

Oh, back to my tests! Anyway, the EMG made the mammogram on Friday seem like nothing. Really. No big deal. If for some reason you are dreading it, the mammogram is over quickly and really isn't that uncomfortable. Just go do it. The longest part of the whole procedure was waiting for the technician to make sure she had clear images on the films afterward.

Know what else? My sock yarn is calling to me! I am just dying to start knitting socks again. My hands will probably not like it, and I am going to resist the call for a bit longer, but I have all of this gorgeous sock yarn stashed here and eleventy-billion sock patterns. I really want to knit socks! Maybe today I'll wind some yarn...

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

October Catch-Up

Wow! How in the world can it be October??

First of all, thank you for all the good thoughts and prayers for my sister and my family. I saw my sister at the baby shower on Sunday (it was a shower for my nephew and his wife - my oldest sister's son). She's doing amazingly well, I think. We don't know the results of the lymph node biopsy yet, so we don't know if the cancer has gone beyond the breast area. Her doc didn't seem to think so. The area where the tumor was found was also deep into the mucscle... not an area where it was likely to be felt by self-exam. So, girls, get your mammograms. Mine is Friday. Anyway, my sister will have to do radiation for sure, but the jury is still out on chemo. Not much scares me. Cancer scares the shit out of me.

I am still trying to knit, but it hurts. Plain and simple. I'm not doing as much of it as I want, and it's making me crazy! My doc and I decided that the wrist splints and Rx meds are helping some, but we need more info, so on Thursday morning I am having a lovely test done called an Electromyogram. I won't post details about the process, but the link will let you read about what it entails. The results will tell us if this is really carpal tunnel sydrome and also the severity of the nerve damage/blockage. The next step will be to see a hand specialist.

The body of Cobblestone is knit up to the point of dividing for the sleeves; up to the armpits. I have to make sure it's long enough for Buddy Bill, but I'm pretty sure it's OK. Tonight I'm going to start a sleeve at Insanknitty and work on that. The granny square afghan is growing to the point of needing its own bag for transport! A few more days and hopefully it will be big enough to stay at Buddy Bill's on the couch.

And I'm gonna complain here. Skip this paragraph if you don't wanna read a whiny rant. I can no longer knit at school. My new principal (remember I'm in a new building) called me in Friday afternoon and said no knitting at school except on my lunch time. Ha! Most days I don't even take a lunch time. Maybe I'll start. It was normal practice for me to keep a piece of knitting out and when a student was with me for more than a few minutes, the knitting would be going. Kids found it relaxing, most would comment that someone they know - a granny, aunt, etc. - knits or knitted, and that would open up the conversation. I pointed out that I'm not knitting instead of working; I'm knitting in addition to doing my job. Nope. Leave the knitting outside of school. "School counselors have a reputation of not having enough work to do already. Your knitting just perpetuates that." I didn't agree. I still don't agree. I am, however, doing what I'm told.

Last week, Dana and Kel both tagged me for Seven Random/Weird things... but I've done it before. I might be tempted to look thru my archives for the post containing that meme. Maybe. OK, I found it: Seven Weird Things Meme. I will also offer this photo of proof that I am indeed weird. It's my latest pair of shoes. Add to it the fact that I now own 6 pairs of Birkenstocks, and you can draw your own conclusions.

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