Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge: What I Wear, Week 1


I have a simple rule about what I wear: Always wear one thing that is truly eye-catching. The one thing can be a garment, a piece of jewelry, a bitchin' pair of shoes--whatever! Everything else will be understated. If I choose a fabulous piece of jewelry, then the garment near the jewelry will be very simple. If I choose an eye-catching garment, then the rest of the outfit will be very subtle. Today's eye-catching piece is my pair of anodyzed aluminum earrings. I purchased these at a gallery back in the 80's when everyone was wearing big earrings. They've gone through years of hibernation, but I always end up resurrecting them. They are light as a feather, both are different and they are very colorful! What more could I ask for! Today I am wearing them with a simple black silk tunic, jeans and plain black boots. They add a touch of whimsy to my total look. Whimsy is a good thing!

Visit the Self Portrait Challenge for more of what people wear!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Oops! I did it again!

I came, I saw, I shopped! I guess that should be my motto of late. This shopping venture didn't come close to the last one, however, which is a good thing. I also think that internet shopping shouldn't count. Unfortunately my checkbook doesn't agree with me on that point.

My Malabrigo came from Fabulous Yarn. I love the colorway. It is called Autumn Forest and has all the colors you would expect to see in an Autumn Forest. This yarn is for Cherie Amour.


I also got some felting yarn for a specific holiday gift which I cannot divulge here. The purple is much brighter than in the photo and the colors look quite nice together.


I also got some buttons for Juliet. They were quite pricey and I like them okay. The problem is that I don't LOVE them. I wish I did. I'm seriously thinking about not putting buttons, but rather using and antique duette style dress clip to hold the sweater together.

I'm just about done with Juliet. I will finish her by tomorrow, then I'll have to block her. I would have liked to add sleeves, but the yarn was no longer available.

Of course, no shopping spree would be complete without footwear! I wanted to replace my short black high heeled boots and I found these brand new Cole Haan boots on Ebay:

They are quite comfy and look very nice with dress pants and jeans!

I'm so excited that we are almost done with the dining room renovation. We hope to have Thanksgiving dinner in there! It will be nice to have the living room and dining room back. I've hated having boxes piled in the living room. It will be nice to be able to decorate for the holidays!

I'll be going to a conference this weekend so I will lose a couple of days in cleaning things up, but I will catch up!

Bushism of the day:
"Well, it's an unimaginable honor to be the president during the Fourth of July of this country. It means what these words say, for starters. The great inalienable rights of our country. We're blessed with such values in America. And I — it's — I'm a proud man to be the nation based upon such wonderful values." —George W. Bush, visiting the Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C., July 2, 2001

Kitty Cam:
Greg is afraid that the new pumpkin will take over his job as Chief Halloween Decoration.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge: Food and Me Week 4


I'm a prissy eater! By that, I mean that I like to eat my food in pieces and/or with a utensil. I've never been one of those people who can pick up a piece of fried chicken or barbequed ribs and tear off the meat with my teeth. I need to cut the meat off the bone. I'm like that with certain fruit as well. I'll eat a banana in one piece, but apples, peaches, nectarines and pears--well, I cut them into manageable pieces. This became easy when I discovered this item:

I have one of these at work and at home. When my kids were little, they called this an "apple flower." That's what they would ask for! An apple flower! I like pear flowers too!

For other Food and Me self portraits, go here!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wake up Cat

I know that Greg would resort to such desperate measures to wake me up if he had the smarts. Fortunately, he's a lover, not a thinker!

Surprise!

I got a surprise package from my Secret Pal today! Goody! I love surprises!

Look at how pretty she wrapped it! There is a card with a funny photo and a recipe for "Filet of Tofu."

Handspun yarn with three plies--one of wool, one of silk and one of mohair. It is incredibly soft!

Each ply is a different color! One is goldish, one red and one green! It has a real autumn look to it and I love fall colors. I'm thinking a small scarf or trim for a hat!

Bath soak! My achy body can sure use that!

Thank you, Secret Pal, for thinking of me! You are the best!

Bushism of the day:
"We must have the attitude that every child in America – regardless of where they're raised or how they're born — can learn." —George W. Bush, New Britain, Conn., April 18, 2001


Kitty Cam:

Mikey likes to get under the throw rug and run around like that. He almost went down the stairs this time!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

When the going gets tough . . .

The tough go shopping! At least that's what I did this week. I hadn't been shopping in a while--just internet shopping. First of all on Tuesday, Ems and I went to Sephora. She needed some stuff so I decided to tag along. Nothing soothes the soul like a new tube of lipstick! You may remember that red lipstick I blogged about last month. Well, the new one makes that one look understated! It is called "Heat Wave" and it is beyond vivid! I rather like it!

I also purchased the following books/magazines:


The book of SewStylish Gifts has some really neat little projects for small gifts as does the Interweave Gifts. Hopefully, I'll make use of both of them in the next couple of months!

The next acquisition hasn't arrived yet. I ordered 5 skeins of Malabrigo for Cherie Amour.

Then Friday was when I got into real trouble. Notice the shopping bags:

Cole Haan leather and one of my LYS!

I made the drive to Pentagon City to go to the Cole Haan Store there. I had blogged about these boots a while back and I got 'em! They are sweet! I do believe that Cole Haan shoes are the most comfortable things to have on my feet!

But wait! There's more! I saw these and couldn't resist!


Are they bitchin' or what! But that isn't all . . .
There was a clearance shelf. There was a pair of brown sandals with the Nike Air soles. They are like walking on pillows!

I wouldn't have splurged so much except Cole Haan had a deal where you get 20% off your purchase if you contribute a pair of gently used shoes for Soles for Souls. So I did that. It took every ounce of self control not to try on these:

That would have cleaned out my bank account. You can bet that I will be stalking Ebay for those boots in the next year!

I love Pentagon City! I think it may be my new favorite mall. The only problem is that it took longer for me to find a parking place than it did to do my shopping! It's definitely a place that you want to take the metro.

Next --I went to All About Yarn which was having their anniversary sale. I got these:

The book has a lot of gift ideas--particularly gloves. I love knitting gloves!

I got this yarn for Matilda Jane .

It is Sublime Merino Silk Cashmere dk in sage green and taupe for the lace trim.

I got this too:

Tilli Tomas' new beaded merino. There are only 70 yards on a skein so I bought the two skeins of Debbie Bliss to give me more mileage. I'm thinking of making a scarf for Maddie with the pink and using the beaded yarn for a ruffle trim. Gloves would be nice as well with the beaded yarn as a trim on the cuff. I haven't decided, but I really like it! Here'a close up:


Today I went to Joann's to get fabric for the dining room. I'm making a swag for the windows and I need to cover the chair seats. Here's what I ended up with:

The striped fabric looks like grosgrain ribbon. It is gorgeous and will look nice on our traditional oak T-back chairs. The 3 solids are for this swag:

I really like the colors against the jade green walls. They had a nice selection of fancy rods as well and I settled on the antique brass one.

Last of all--my Moo cards came!


I love them! You can upload and crop your photos right from Flickr! They are a nice heavy card stock and they're about 1 X 3 inches. They make great little calling cards. I feel bad though. I don't have one with Samantha's picture--only the boys. I apologized to her and promised her that she would definitely be included in the next batch!

I do believe that I am totally shopped out for awhile--at least until I have to do my Christmas shopping!

Bushism of the day:
"I want it to be said that the Bush administration was a results-oriented administration, because I believe the results of focusing our attention and energy on teaching children to read and having an education system that's responsive to the child and to the parents, as opposed to mired in a system that refuses to change, will make America what we want it to be — a more literate country and a hopefuller country." —George W. Bush, Jan. 11, 2001

Kitty Cam:
We've always suspected Harley of being a pervert, but we never thought that he had an underwear fetish!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Legacy

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.
--Charles R. Swindoll


On the Fuh River in China--Mom as an infant with her mother and two older siblings.


My mother died last Thursday. It's been coming and we've been prepared for it, but it is sad none the less. Mothers are the heart of the family unit. I truly believe that. I feel extremely fortunate to have had the one I had.

My mom led an interesting life. She was the third of four children all of whom were born in China. My grandparents were missionaries there from 1909 - 1940. They were there during the war and during the Communist uprising. The family lived in the Chinese interior and the children were homeschooled. It wasn't until high school that Mom's family moved to Shanghai. All of the children were college educated with two becoming doctors. After college Mom joined the American Red Cross which enabled her to tour Europe and Asia before moving back with her parents who had retired in Nashville, Tenn. She met my dad while playing piano in a USO club where he happened to be.

I feel very lucky to have the memories I have. My mom had several traits that made her special.

She always looked at the bright side of things. I can remember times as a kid when things seemed hopeless and she would always sit down and help me find the positive in almost anything.

She had a sense of adventure. No matter what we were doing, Mom could make it fun. Even chores! She was always able to make a game out of the most monotonous chores! She was always ready to get up and go try something new. Everything was always an adventure!

She was ready to lend a hand to anyone who needed help. Whether family, friend, neighbor or stranger-- the first words out of my mother's mouth were always "How can I help?"

Mom's funeral, while sad, was a celebration of a life well-lived -- one that is a shining example of humor, civility and kindness.

My hope is for her legacy to live on through me and my children.


For my fiber loving friends, here are a couple old photos I came across,


That's me in the 4th grade sporting my new permanent wave and my leopard sweatshirt! My mother taught me to knit when I was about 10 years old! You can also see part of a cat in one of the photos. Somehow we always ended up with all the homeless animals in the neighborhood. I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Mom was a home economics major, so it was important to her that I learn to sew and cook as well. She agonized over the fact that I never took home economics in school. I didn't disappoint her! I think the need to create is genetic, so I learned all these things on my own.

Funny--Ems was speaking at the funeral about how she remembered her grandma. She was always silly and fun. I was honored when Ems said she sees her grandma everyday in me. I'm becoming my mother! Even funnier is that KC told Ems that she was becoming me! I guess we really do live on in our loved ones!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge: Food and Me Week 3


A school teacher's day is very busy. Often, when lucky enough to have a little free time, one has to choose whether to eat, use the bathroom or to try to catch up on email or other work! I typically find myself trying to tackle two of those tasks--eating lunch and email. This has become part of my daily routine!

For more self portrait challenge photos, go here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge: Food and Me Week 2


As I've gotten older, I've had to struggle to maintain my weight. I've never had to diet before and I have found that I am not successful on diets because I always feel deprived. Instead, I eat lean protein, whole grains and two servings of vegetables/fruit for my main meals. This has worked well. I do allow myself some little indulgences--lattes, made with soy milk, and dark chocolate. I make it a point to have about 1 ounce of dark chocolate every evening with my latte. One bar last me about 3 or 4 days, yet it just seems so decadent that it totally makes me forget that I am eating sensibly! The biggest challenge is in the selection. I usually buy a variety of bars at my local Organic Market--Single Origin Chocolate, Chocolate with blueberries or with cherries and almonds, Chocolate with cocoa nibs or espresso--and the list goes on! Sometimes I just can't make up my mind! Ahhh! It looks like the single origin chocolate from Ecuador wins!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Progressing . . .

I'm ready to start the lace section of Juliet. At the time of this photo, I had one more garter row to do before starting the lace.

This is really a nice quick little knit. Gotta love those Zephyr Girls! They design a nice pattern!

This has been a rather uneventlful weekend--just the usual cleaning, shopping etc. I spent yesterday working on an anniversary gift for DH. Our anniversary is this Thursday! 27 years of wedded bliss! Time flies when you're having fun!

Bushism of the day:
"My plan reduces the national debt, and fast. So fast, in fact, that economists worry that we're going to run out of debt to retire." —George W. Bush, radio address, Feb. 24, 2001

Kitty Cam:
Samantha and Harley have been competing to sleep on the new rug in front of the kitchen sink. I walked in the kitchen and found this:

Harley doing "the cow" on the rug.

I walked out and heard some kitty commotion. When I went back into the kitchen, I found this:

Samantha holding steadfastly to the rug--with no intention of relinquishing her position!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

8 Random Things

Robin tagged me for the latest go round on the random things meme. Here are the rules:

Once tagged, you must link to the person who tagged you. Then post the rules before your list, and list 8 random things about yourself. At the end of the post, you must tag and link to 8 other people, visit their sites, and leave a comment letting them know they've been tagged.

Here are my random things (hopefully they are things I haven't listed before)--None of them fiber related!

1. I live in the same state that I grew up in. That's not a big deal to some, but around the DC area, it is somewhat unusual because there are so many transplants here. In fact, I teach in the same school system I attended.

2. I am classically trained musician. My college major was music education with a concentration in piano--complete with the formal concert hall recital at the end. My minor was voice and when it comes to performing, I'm much more comfortable singing in public than playing the piano. Perhaps because I do it everyday at school.

3. I'm a hardcore Democrat. Of course, if you are reading my blog, then you already know that!

4. There are 2 things that I will spare no expense on--skincare and haircare. I pay a huge amount on haircuts and color. Fortunately my cuts are good and I don't have to go but once every 12 weeks!

5. I run a high school ice hockey league. That always surprises my artsy friends. Both my kids played ice hockey and I somehow got recruited to run the program for our county's high schools of which there are 12. We have 11 teams and I am responsible for buying the ice, scheduling, tournaments etc. I guess you could say it is my contribution to the local youth since my kids are grown and no longer play. It is the one team sport that I truly love to watch.

6. I love history--particularly anything to do with the Revolutionary War. I've always had a bit of rebel in me, so I find the study of the Revolution to be intriguing.

7. I love the city of Boston and want to live there. I've come to terms with the fact that I am an east coast person. In thinking about retiring at some point, I've been thinking about where I would love to live. I have a set of criteria and several cities fit the criteria perfectly--all east coast cities--DC, Philadelphia and Boston. I was born in the DC area and have lived there all my life, yet when I visit Boston, I feel like I just belong there--it's as if I must have lived there in a former life or something. It actually makes me sad when I leave!

8. I have a weakness for any and all animals. If DH wasn't so opposed to having more animals, I'm sure I would have a real menagerie. That's how I grew up. Any homeless animals somehow ended up at our house. As I get older, I'm finding that reason sets in and I realize that I just can't take care of a menagerie--but if I didn't work, I would!

Okay. I have tagged the following 8 people:
Pheelya, PHD Knitter, FugueStateKnits, Bri, and Gay. I know it's not 8 people, but it was the best I could do on the run!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Project update!

Here is my progress on Juliet. I'm 3 rows away from joining the body.

I'm loving this yarn. It is Cascade Venezia and it is a blend of 70% merino and 30% silk. So far so good.

I came home from work today to find this:

My order from Webs!

First I got 2 skeins of Plymouth Royal Bamboo to use for chemo caps. It feels and looks like cotton only it is shiny. The colors are really lovely!

The real surprise was the 9 skeins of Tahki Savoy which I ordered for the Tree Jacket! First off, they sent me 10 skeins. Secondly, this is the softest yarn I have ever felt! I had never seen this yarn in person, but the description sounded like something I would love, so I took a chance. According to the label, it will knit to the gauge specified in the pattern. The fiber content is 52% silk, 48% merino and it is a golden olive green. I couldn't be more pleased!


I little eye candy, courtesy of Trader Joe's. Two dozen roses! I take a deep cleansing breath every time I look at them!



That's it for now! Nothing exciting to write about.

Bushism of the day:
"It's negative to think about blowing each other up. That's not a positive thought. That's a Cold War thought. That's a thought when people were enemies with each other." —George W. Bush, as quoted in the Wall Street Journal, June 25, 2001

Kitty Cam:
Harley waits impatiently for me to fix breakfast!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Hauscome yinz guys didn't wacha Stillers Sunday?

I thought I'd share a little Pittsburghese! Translation: How come you guys didn't watch the Steelers on Sunday? DH and I went on Sunday to the "burgh" to see Bird's first concert of the year. Here he is a senior and we haven't been to any of his band concerts! Problem is that they are always Sunday night at 8 p.m. Since work basically sucks this year, I have no problem taking off Monday so we decided we needed to go. Our first stop was Bird's "new" house which is located on the South Side Slopes.


That is DH sitting on the patio. The patio is off of the second floor. The slopes are literally on the side of a mountain so a flat yard isn't something you expect to find.
Check out Bird's welcome mat:


We then went to my favorite restaurant in Oakland called Mad Mex. I love this place. They have a huge menu and anything can be made vegetarian or vegan. The servers wear shirts that say "Practice safe Mex." I think that's cute!

After checking into our hotel, we made our way to the Carnegie Music Hall. It was too dark to get any outside photos at that point. The building is a historic structure and it is gorgeous!


I had forgotten how good college bands sounded!


That's Bird and Maddy!

Monday morning we decided to ride the Duquesne incline. For the uninitiated--inclines are cable cars that go straight up the side of the mountain. There are 2 or 3 working ones remaining. They were built in the 1800's. The Duquesne incline still uses the historic cars.



I love the inside of the old station house!

Mount Washington is the neighborhood on the top of the mountain. There are some beautiful homes up there. The view of the city is spectacular!






Pittsburgh is definitely a city of bridges!

I thoroughly enjoyed the walk around Mt. Washington! After a stop at the South Side Starbucks, DH and I made our way back home--just in time for me to get my exercise session in at Curves! Today it was back to reality where I began my day with my first session of 4th grade chorus. I had 63 kids seated in my room! I wasn't sure they would all fit--but they did and they were rather well behaved!

I need to get back to Juliet. I will be posting photos soon. Right now there's nothing much to see!

Bushism of the day:
"Russia is no longer our enemy and therefore we shouldn't be locked into a Cold War mentality that says we keep the peace by blowing each other up. In my attitude, that's old, that's tired, that's stale." —George W. Bush, Des Moines, Iowa, June 8, 2001

Kitty Cam:
Samantha has her way of getting DH's attention. This usually involves standing up on the foot stool and patting his back while crying.

Obviously this behavior gets the desired results!