Sunday, April 27, 2008

To go or not to go . . .

That is the question! I'm referring, of course, to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival which is next weekend. I want to go, but I have such a yarn stash that I hesitate to add to it. I have two small orders to place for a couple of projects already, so I should follow my instincts and stay away this year. I was hoping to go to the festival to get some Tilli Tomas yarn for the Labyrinth pattern. I think I will wait and just pay retail for it. I won't be making it until winter unless the SKC chooses it to be the next KAL project.

I got a deal on some Debbie Bliss Pure Silk on Ebay:

I hope to make the Hourglass Jacketfrom Stitch Diva:

I plan on making the one with longer sleeves.

I received some lovely goodies from my Ravelry Coffee Swap Pal!

A skein of Chunky Malabrigo, a skein of Chunky Misti Alpaca, a lovely mug, a pound of Sumatra coffee beans, a Scharfenberger Dark Chocolate bar, some stitch markers and a photo postcard from San Francisco! Here's a closer look at those stitch markers:

Notice--they are made out of coffee beans!

I found two cute patterns on Ravelry. One, called Sprout, is a little cropped cardigan which can be knit top down. I like that it has cables on the raglan seams. One person did yarn overs for the increases which created rows of holes next to the cables. I really liked that. Here is one photo:

I have 3 skeins of Handpainted Yarn merino which is basically the same as Malabrigo which I will use for this. The other pattern is a purchased pdf. I will have to knit the bodice at a smaller gauge as the smallest size is a 36.

The featured yarn is Tilli Tomas. I have a full skein of my Double Sea Silk left from Giselle. I love that yarn so I am thinking that I will purchase 2 more skeins and use it. I may do the crochet trim with the brown sea silk as I did for Giselle. I also have the brown silk ribbon. I think the color combo will work well for this.

I got a late birthday present this week:

A 16 gb ipod touch! I love it. I've put a lot of my photos on and part of my music. This also has wireless so I have my email accounts set up as well. My ipod mini was on the way out as was my palm so I figured this would take the place of both of them!

Other news this past week--I got my cast off! I have a removable splint which I have to wear most of the time. I cannot use my hand for gripping and lifting yet so I still can't really knit. Bummer. I go back to the doctor on May 13 after which I will start therapy to get my strength back. I had to take Mikey to the vet. I noticed that he'd been losing weight and he seemed a little lethargic. He was also crying for food all the time. These were the same symptoms he had when he was first diagnosed with diabetes. Sure enough, his glucose level was high at 296. Normal is between 125 and 150. We've increased is insulin and he goes back on Friday. He seems to be feeling a little better as you can see here:

He was watching DH trim the tree out the window!

This weekend was totally stress free! I got a pedicure yesterday and a massage today! I feel ready for my wild little darlings tomorrow at school!

It's been an absolutely lovely week. Spring at last--or not! Apparently it is going to be cold and rainy this week.

That's about it for now!

Bushism of the day:
"We actually misnamed the war on terror. It ought to be the Struggle Against Ideological Extremists Who Do Not Believe in Free Societies Who Happen to Use Terror as a Weapon to Try to Shake the Conscience of the Free World." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2004

Kitty Cam: Samantha tries to inch her way onto my lap while I type. My left arm is currently covered with kitty spit!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rock the Red!

That's the new motto of the Washington Caps! For those who are unaware, I am a hockey fan and a die hard Caps fan. As the commissioner of a high school ice hockey league, I spend a lot of time around the sport. Plus both my kids played and I spent the majority of my nonworking time in ice rinks!  Anyway--the Caps just tied up their playoff series with the Philadelphia Flyers. They were down 3 games to 1 and now they are tied and will go to game 7 in Washington tomorrow night! I'm psyched!

Something else I'm psyched about is this:

This is the Wraps Organica pattern from Stitch Diva.  It is made up of 4 different types of Tilli Tomas yarn in a variety of colors.  The total price of this would come to $260 but I found a kit for $158.  I may bite the bullet.  There will be an online live knit along on Tuesday nights starting in June.  My hands will be totally back to normal by then!  

That's about it for today!  Short and sweet!

Bushism of the day:
I always jest to people, the Oval Office is the kind of place where people stand outside, they're getting ready to come in and tell me what for, and they walk in and get overwhelmed in the atmosphere, and they say, man, you're looking pretty." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Nov. 4, 2004

Kitty Cam:
Bar (AKA Harley) hangs around my head on the couch!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I've been in a funk . . .

since my surgery. Not a bad mood, just a funk. I think it is because I can't do a lot of the things I would choose to do in my leisure time. I can't knit or crochet for the most part. I did try to begin knitting a tank top--a Rowan pattern for which I have no photo. It is on size 11 needles so I thought that perhaps I could hold them more easily. I chose to use straights because I thought I could wedge them in my sides while I knit. Bad choice. First off, the needles are wood and the yarn is a cotton tape. Secondly, trying to purl with 12 inch needles, holding them the way I have to is a lost cause. I may transfer them to my knitpicks circs which will at least be slicker for the cotton yarn.

Last week, I had to get readjusted to getting up at the crack of dawn and going through the day on 5 - 6 hours of sleep. While I was off, I was able to revert to my normal sleep pattern of staying up until 1 or 2 and getting up at 9 a.m. This is my summer schedule and I feel great when I'm able to follow it. Unfortunately my professional world doesn't seem to mesh with that too well. I went back to school last Wednesday (April 9) to be greeted by two birthday gifts! First off, Pheelya gave me this:

The yarn is lovely!  Two skeins of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk for a scarf and a skein of laceweight 100% merino from Handpainted Yarns.  I love the magnetic pads too!  I go through those things like water!  Then my buddy Lisa gave me this cute shirt:

Won't that go great with jeans in the summer?

Saturday, we drove to the land of "yinz," "n'at" and "jagoff" to get ready for Bird's senior recital. For the unenlighted, that means Pittsburgh!  For more Pittsburghese, refer to the video in my previous post.  Now--understand that I am not poking fun of Pittsburghers with their colloquialisms. I'm from the Baltimore area which is well known for its Baltimorese. Around these parts, it is common to hear folks say things like "I'm from Harrid Canny (Howard County)" or "Let's go danny aishen (down to the ocean)."  When Ems comes over, she is usually greeted with "Jeet yet (Did you eat yet)? So we have our own way of altering the English language around here!

We got to the burgh around 6:30 and went to Bird's to drop off some of the food that needed to be refrigerated, before heading to the Double Wide Grill which is one of my favorite Pittsburgh restaurants. It can be found at 24th and Carson on the Southside. If you haven't been there and happen to be in the neighborhood, you should try it. It is in an old gas station and it is really cleverly done up with antique gas pumps, lighting made out of oil cans etc. The menu is really good and there are a lot of vegetarian selections. The wait staff wears work shirts etc. and it has a lot of outside seating.

After dinner we walked around looking at some of the row houses which are on the market. The house on the slopes that Bird is renting was put on the market. When I saw the price, I thought that it would be worth investigating purchasing a house since the mortgage payment would probably be less than the monthly rental. I spent the evening perusing the real estate listings for the Southside online. The homes in the slopes, like Bird's, are 1/3 to 1/4 the price of comparable homes around here. I was simply astounded! We have a 2nd year teacher at my school who is moving back to Pittsburgh because she and her husband want to buy a house. I get it now. 100K or even less is certainly more affordable than 350K! Housing aound here is just so inflated. I don't see me and DH living here once we retire. Who can afford it?

Sunday morning we headed off to the Giant Eagle to pick up the deli trays for Bird's reception, then it was off to Duquesne.  His recital was at 11 a.m.  We set up the reception in the lobby of the recital hall then I got to playing with the video camera.  Talk about a bummer!  It wasn't working!  It worked earlier in the week and I had charged it all up.  It played back and it recorded sound, but the video display was totally black!  I tried everything imaginable!  I was so upset!  At least the performance was professionally recorded so we will have a CD of it.  I was really proud of Bird.  He played extremely well.  After a walk to the Starbucks at the student union with Bird and 3 of his buddies, we left for home.  On the way home DH desperately tried to find the Caps game on the radio.  We've been excited about the Caps.  The words "Caps" and "playoffs" don't typically appear together but they've been hot lately!

This week was my first full week back at work.  I thought it would never end!  My hand and arm are improving greatly though and I've been able to do some little things that I haven't been able to do--open my Sweet 'n Low, turn the doorknob, hold the blow dryer etc. etc.  This coming Tuesday I will get the cast taken off and it will be replaced with a removable splint which will make showering so much easier.   

I stopped at Joann's and took advantage of their 99 cent McCall's pattern sale:

I'm thinking that I have fabric in my stash for all of them!  I also needed to pick up some crystal buttons for the cuffs of this Nanette Lepore silk blouse:
I picked up this blouse which retails for $310 for about $40 on Ebay.  It is new, but missing the buttons.  I've seen the buttons that come on it and they are fancy so I got these:

I decided to buy the little button pins which I've never tried. I've learned that rhinestone buttons need to be removed for drycleaning. I have a vintage jacket that has them and whenever I have it cleaned, I have to remove the buttons then sew them back on and it is a pain. I wouldn't use the pins because they would show when i wear the jacket open, but they are perfect for the cuffs on this blouse!

Check out my other Ebay scores on Nanette Lepore tops:

The top 2 are new with tags and the bottom 2 are secondhand.  I love them all!  The embroidery on the teal on is done in gold metallic thread and it is stunning.  I also snagged a pair of new black cotton Christopher Blue stretch jeans really cheap!  Gotta love Ebay!  

I have to do the FAFSA for Bird this afternoon.  Hopefully this will be the last time for that one!  Then I have to upload some Ebay auctions.  Gotta make room in my closet for the new spring stuff!

Bushism of the day:
"Then you wake up at the high school level and find out that the illiteracy level of our children are appalling." --George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., Jan. 23, 2004

Kitty Cam:  Samantha enjoys the spot of sun on the family room floor.

Pants N'at: Donnie Iris

Here's some Pittsburghese for the unenlightened!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Happiness comes in fives!

Five things that make me happy:
First--I got my cast put on.

It was extremely tight at first, but I can live with it. April 22 it will come off and I will get a removable hard splint. That will make showering easier. This still severely limits what I can do and what i can wear. I'm still in work out pants and slip on shoes! I am so looking forward to squeezing my more than ample booty into a pair of tight jeans! Plus the cast is the second step in the recovery process, so I'm moving along!


Large print books! These are particularly useful for those in my age bracket!


Kiwi berries, AKA baby kiwis! If you haven't had these, go to your nearest Whole Foods Market or Trader Joes and pick some up! They are mini kiwis which are about the size of grape tomatoes. You just pop the whole thing in your mouth! They are incredibly sweet and almost like eating candy!

Little packages in the mail that are full of yarn!

Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece from Little Knits which was priced at $4.25 a skein! This is for Titania which I showed you in and earlier post. The pastel yarn is Ella Rae Bamboo Silk from Webs which will be used for Sylph--I showed that one a post or two ago. This yarn, by the way, is the softest stuff I have ever felt!

Blog contests! Here are two blog contests --First of all Pheelya is having one on her blog. Check that one out. Second, there is a countdown to Maryland Sheep and Wool contest over at the Cloverhill blog! Check that one out too!

Bushism of the day:
"Let me put it to you bluntly. In a changing world, we want more people to have control over your own life." --George W. Bush, Annandale, Va, Aug. 9, 2004

Kitty Cam:
Bar does the cow.  

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Life in the slow lane . . .

. . . surely 'bout to lose my mind . . .   to paraphrase the Eagles.

I have definitely been living in the slow lane since my surgery last Thursday.  My daily schedule goes something like this:
 9:30 am--get up, wash face, feed cats and Elvis, fix latte, eat breakfast.
10:00 am--watch Martha Stewart
11:00 am--watch the View
12:00 pm--watch Homicide--or not.  I have the DVR set to tape this one everyday.  Every other day, I have been showering about this time.  Typically, I would shower and do the hair everyday, but it is rather labor intensive when you are dealing with this:

I have to put a trash bag over it to keep it dry.  It is quite cumbersome with all the bulk over my thumb.  I'm glad I didn't get my hair cut before the surgery.  I'm thinking of getting a stacked bob just above my shoulders.  The problem with this style is that it must be blown dry. Right now I cannot maneuver a blowdryer and brush.  I just aim the dryer and dry.  Fortunately I have a professional flat iron which is what I do to look presentable.  On the off days, I resort to this:
I love, love, love this product!  It is a dry shampoo, reminiscent of the stuff we used back in the 70's.  I keep one of these at work too.  My bangs get oily and I just zap 'em with this and brush!  Good as new!

Back to my tv schedule--for those of you who like tv dramas and have never watched "Homicide, Life on the Street," it is by far my most favorite tv drama.  It aired for 7 seasons in the 90's and was hailed as the most realistic police drama ever.  It takes place in Balitmore, so it is always neat to see one's stomping grounds on a tv show.  The writers were, respectively, a retired Baltimore City homicide detective and a Baltimore Sun crime reporter.  They are the same writers responsible for HBO's "The Wire."  Homicide airs on Chicagos WGN daily at noon (eastern time).  Today's show is the first one in season  4.  I'm on my second time through.  I've literally seen every single show of the 7 seasons and I still love it!

During the time I'm watching tv, I'm usually on the computer.  I have to admit that I am getting bored.  I love time when I'm not working, but typically I can use that time to get housework, sewing, knitting, gardening etc. etc. done.  I can't do any of that stuff!  Just read and shop on ebay.  That's about it!  

I then fix lunch. Lately it's been this:

DH gave me the flatbreads in my Easter basket and leftover Easter eggs make great egg salad, which I absolutely love!

Of course the rest of the afternoon is spent on Law & Order reruns. Occasionally, I hit the jackpot and actually get to watch an episode that I've never seen before!

I have been venturing out a little.  Surgery was last Thursday.  Friday I stayed in.  Saturday, I ventured out for a pedicure.  It was nice because the nail spa was dead so I got to sit in the massage chair while my nails dryed. DH and I went to Cosi's for dinner.  That was enough for my first day out.  Sunday, DH took me to BJ's and Trader Joe's.  I love that they always have stuff to sample at TJ's.  They had a really good side dish which I ended up fixing on Monday.

Here it is:

Quinoa with Grilled Mixed Veggies
ingredients: 1 box Trader Joe's Quinoa, 1 Jar of Trader Joe's Mixed Grilled Vegetable Bruschetta, 1/4 cup grated cheese.

Using 1 cup of quinoa, prepare according to package directions.  When done, mix in entire contents of the Bruschetta and the cheese.  That's it!  

It is really good stuff!

I got these at BJ's:

2 dozen roses!

Monday, I stayed in again.  Tuesday I went to Target and DSW.  Drastic times call for drastic measures.   What were those drastic measures?  I had to buy  "sensible" shoes.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I do not wear sensible shoes.  I do wear comfortable shoes, but not sensible ones.  The problem is that I cannot wear my jeans yet.  I cannot button them in this condition so I am reduced to wearing workout pants and jean skirts.   I also don't wear athletic shoes except for on the treadmill or at Curves.  I usually wear my Icon sneakers or Tsubos with workout clothes in public.  I can't tie my shoes so I had to get some shoes that would work with the pants that I didn't have to tie.  I got these:

Fortunately the Privos (the top ones) were on clearance for  $1 5.  I think they are hideous, but they are comfortable and I will use them for exercise.  I rather like the Sketchers.  My only regret is that they were out of my size in the ones made of black eyelet.  They were identical to these, but the eyelet seemed more springy.  I would bet that it is also cooler, so I would wear them in the summer.  They are extremely comfortable.

Yesterday, I went to CVS and Marshall's and today, I went to Borders and Loehmann's.  I received a coupon for $25 off of a $50 purchase at Loehmann's.  I ended up getting another pair of sensible shoes:

I also got a Donna Karan cotton and lace workout top and two pairs of bamboo socks. Total bill? $29! Gotta love that!  I also placed an order with Webs.
They are having their spring sale so I got 10 skeins of Ella Rae Bamboo Silk to make this from the newest IK:
I got a lovely pale dusty turquoise color.   I received an email that the yarn was backordered for a couple of weeks, then today I got one saying that the yarn had shipped!  I guess they were running into backorders with the spring sale and just sent out the emails as a CYA measure!  There's certainly no rush.  It's not like I can knit this anytime soon!  

I've been procrastinating on the taxes.  That was my goal for the week.  I will begin them this evening as I really can't put it off any longer.  

Tomorrow, I get to go to the doctor's and trade in this big bulky splint for a regular cast.  That should enable me to do a little more.  Monday, I will go back to work for a professional day.  It worked out well as that will give me a day to clean up, do grades and get things together for the week.  Next weekend (the 12th) we will go to Pittsburgh.  Bird's senior recital is on Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m.  I will order some deli platters from the Giant Eagle in the 'burgh and bring some boxed wine and rolls for a little reception. 

That's about all that's been going on.  It will be good to get back to work.  It won't be good to get back to  5 hours of sleep a night.  That will totally suck.

Bushism of the day:

"The truth of that matter is, if you listen carefully, Saddam would still be in power if he were the president of the United States, and the world would be a lot better off." --George W. Bush, second presidential debate, St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 8, 2004

Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

Kitty cam:
This is what you see when I leave the couch:

Meanwhile, Samantha refuses to hang out with the boys. She hangs out on her favorite resting spot in the living room.

And I thought I was the only lazy one!