Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Visit from My Sister

We can't wait to open our presentsMy very dear sister Boo has just left after a four-day visit, which was of course not nearly long enough but I was so happy she was able to come out for the holidays. Unfortunately, the Ghost of Awful Christmas Photos was haunting our house on Xmas morning... please pardon the way I seemed to catch a goofy expression on everyone's face. Believe it or not, these were the best of the bunch.
Yah, sure, you betchaShe came, of course, bearing gifts; what else? There were many wonderful & funny gifts exchanged all around. One of the funniest was a furry hat that Boo found for Mike -- the kind with the ear flaps that can be buttoned either up or down. It was immediately christened the "Mister Bus Driver" hat. Perfect for those cold mornings driving down those rural roads to pick up the farm kids.
Super bulky hatShe knows me too well, of course, and knew I would love anything yarny. She brought me two skeins of Lion Brand Chenille Thick 'n' Quick in the wonderful Terracotta color, which is only clashing a little bit with my burgundy t-shirt. She described the store swatch as "suede-y" which prompted her to choose it. It really is a lovely soft velvety chenille, and so fast at 2 st/in. I immediately cast on for a quickie stocking hat, which was finished before she left. (Mike to Boo: "She knits as fast as she reads.") It took only one of the two skeins; the other will be a little matching keyhole scarf.
Just what he wantedThe gift which received the most intent interest, however, was a box for Hunter that was so big that it's been called "Mt. Everest" by the kids for the past few weeks. Unwrapping finally revealed it to be a driveway basketball hoop, something for which Hunter has been asking for a while. My beamish boy!
H-O-R... do I have an S yet?The hoop was set up with only a little hassle, and provided a good deal of entertainment for the remainder of the visit. Here, a game of Horse is underway. I look like I'm directing traffic while Ali shoots, but I am probably just reminding Hunter to practice boxing out, which Boo is taking good-naturedly despite being nearly three times his size. (Boo won the game only narrowly over Ali, who is turning out to be a good clutch shooter.)

Of course, the visit wasn't just about gifts. The sitting around, gabbing, hanging out, and all that was the best part. She wanted some famous KC barbecue, so we drove up to Fiorella's Jack Stack and had a late lunch before dropping her off at the airport. Plans are already underway for lots of interesting things to do during her next visit. Have a safe trip home, Boo!

Happy New Year to all of you!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Knit From Your Stash for '07

Knitters make stash-reduction resolutions like most people make diet resolutions... I'm no exception. So, in the spirit of the coming New Year, I thought that Wendy's KFYS idea is a most worthy endeavor. I'll modify the rules slightly for my knitting style, however.

Knit From Your Stash 2007: Guidelines for Kay
  • 1. The Knit-From-Your-Stash-a-Thon will start January 1, 2007 and run through September 30, 2007 -- a period of nine months.
  • 2. I will not buy any yarn during that period, with the following exceptions:
    • 2.a. Sock yarn DOES count. What? You think I don't have sock yarn in stash?
    • 2.b. If someone asks for a specific knitted gift that I really and truly do not have the yarn for, I may buy yarn to knit that gift.
    • 2.c. If I am knitting something and run out of yarn, I may purchase enough to complete the project.
    • 2.d. Small amounts of souvenir yarn purchased during a road trip does not count. (A little vacation tradition I have.)
  • 3. I am allowed to receive gifts of yarn.

(I removed the fiber rule, since I don't spin)

My stash is still pretty well-mannered (about three tote-bins' worth), but I could honestly see it growing to alarming porportions in a hurry once we get moved into the dome and it has a chance to expand to craft-room size. Agressive stash pruning seems a good habit to establish now.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Charter Sux

Wait for it to come out on DVD, reallyFour days without an internet connection or cable teevee, people! First, the nice customer service person in New Delhi or wherever said that there was no reported outage. Then, on Day 2, a different nice person in New Delhi said that there was a large outage, it was affecting the entire neighborhood & that it would be restored in 24 hours. Then, on Day 3, yet another nice person in New Delhi said that there wasn't an outage, he didn't know why the second person said there was an outage, but he would schedule a service call. Finally, on Day 4, the technician shows up and quickly discovers that, when the people around the block from us were hooked up for their new internet/cable bundle last Friday, we were accidentally unplugged from the hub box. Or something like that. {sigh}

Anyway, it was a pretty low-tech weekend. We took the kids to see Eragon, a movie that pretty much consists of taking a book with the most cliched, predictable characters & hackneyed, mono-dimensional plot and making it even MORE cliched/predictable/hackneyed/one-dimensional. Bah. Hunter liked it, though. The rest of us had fun picking it apart afterwards.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I think I can, I think I can

Ragna frontAfter allowing Ragna to languish most of the year with occasional bursts of knitting, I have moved it to the top of the Finish-It list & have been cabling like a fiend. I really like knitting large things (sweaters & such) but they take so long! No wonder knitters have so many scarves & hats & little knitted things. Anyway, here is the front of Ragna at about the halfway mark; back and sleeves are done. Once the front is finished, I need to block, seam, and knit the collar. I may wear this thing before the year is out, yay! :-)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Dance of the snowflakesThe weather outside has been frightful all day, icy & sleety, but it didn't get really started snowing until just about dusk. Natch, we had to step outside & goof around for a few minutes, catch a few flakes on our tongues, all the usual first-snow-of-the-season stuff. The kids are still out there right now, playing flashlight tag in the dark. In the snow.

Winter is here!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The World's Best Longsnapper

Some of you may remember that I used to say that Patrick Mannelly was my hero, back in my football days. Here's why.

Monday, November 27, 2006

La Luna


You are The Moon
Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.
The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

O Tannenbaum

How lovely are thy branchesIt's becoming a tradition... the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we go, with our friends, down to the local choose-and-cut farm and pick a tree. Last year we didn't get end up getting one because we were going out of town for the holidays, but this year is a different story! My trick for getting the most out of a tree in a small area: get a five-footer and put in on a low end-table, then stack the gifts all around the table in a big heaped display. This technique, honed during my days of apartment living, makes it look like you've got a seven-footer but doesn't take up nearly as much space. Now to start wrapping presents...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

A happy little turkeyI'm thankful for all my wonderful friends & family! I hope you all have a very blessed Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The World Traveler Returns

I am finally home after nine straight days of travel. Whew!

Day 1 (Friday): Ali & I fly out to Orange County, CA, for the bat mitzvah of Ali's friend Talia. Almost nobody flies directly from Kansas City at a reasonable rate, so we end up changing planes in Salt Lake City. We have dinner at Ruby's, and call my mom & dad from the restaurant... "Hey, guess where we are?"

the HoraDay 2 (Saturday): Talia's bat mitzvah. We haven't seen her for almost a year; she has grown quite tall and looks lovely. She is also very composed & does a beautiful job of reading from the Torah, without the blushing & flustered stammering that I have seen from other bar/bat mitzvahs. A reception follows with lots of food & dancing.

Once the festivities end, we drive up to have dinner with Mom & Dad. My sister Boo happens to be coming by for dinner too, so we get to have a nice visit with the whole fam damily!

Day 3 (Sunday): We fly back to Kansas City, this time through Atlanta, GA. This turns out to be a mistake because it makes our trip back longer by several hours. Additionally, Atlanta is a huge airport, and Ali & I have to hustle clear from one end of it to the other in order to make our connection. Imagine our chagrin when our second flight ends up delayed by more than an hour. By the time we get home from the airport (the drive home features the valet service losing our car for a while, getting lost trying to find an open restaurant, getting pulled over for speeding by a highway patrolman who saw how pathetic I was & let me off with a warning, and finally settling for some only moderately wretched breakfast wraps to-go from Waffle House), it's after 2:00 am.

Day 4 (Monday): I get up, put a load of laundry in the washer, & drop the kids off at school (Ali's dragging pretty badly, but she's a teenager, she's resilient.) Once the laundry is done, I repack the suitcase & head back to the airport to fly out to Austin, TX, for a two-day software user conference. Once I arrive at the hotel & check in, I grab a quick bite & then sleep like the dead.

Day 5 (Tuesday): The conference is full of techie goodness, and I learn that we are using maybe a twentieth of the capability of the software. Lots & lots of information. They also feed us spectacularly well. I am surprised to learn that I am actually signed up for two days of hands-on user training following the conference, which means I am staying through Friday. I have to scramble to change my plane, hotel, and car reservations.

In the evening, a bus takes us to the Alamo Drafthouse, where the Sinus Show skewers The Terminator à la Mystery Science Theater 3000. If you've never seen MST3K, it's basically three guys watching a movie & inserting their own phony dialog, snarky commentary, and general comedy for the enjoyment of the rest of the audience. The Sinus boys are hilarious... seriously, I am in danger of wetting my pants at some points. Fortunately, disaster is averted & I make it back to the hotel with dignity intact.

Day 6 (Wednesday): More techie goodness. I confess that the avalanche of information becomes a little overwhelming in the afternoon & I skip out of one of the sessions to take a nap -- it's the EventHandler overview, which I think I can safely miss, since I understand the concept pretty well (being an ex-programmer & all.)

I don't have near enough clothes packed, so the evening finds me in a laundromat. Pretty boring stuff.

Day 7 (Thursday): The hands-on user training starts. Oh my gosh, I am learning so much stuff that my brain may burst. I can't wait to get back to the office & show everybody the cool features that we didn't know about. In the evening, we head to an apparently famous local Tex-Mex restaurant which has some of the best tomatillo salsa I have ever tasted.

Day 8 (Friday): More brain-busting training. We cover the EventHandler in depth today, so I don't feel too bad about missing the overview session anymore. I love what I am learning, but I am exhausted & just want to go home. Ironically enough, when I get back to the hotel & collapse in front of the teevee, TBS is playing The Wizard of Oz.

Day 9 (Saturday): Clicking my heels together doesn't work, so I schlep myself & my stuff (now heavier by several binders) back to the airport & start the journey home. The whole city of Austin seems to be turning orange -- folks are flying in for UT's game against Kansas -- so everywhere you look, people are wearing their Texas gear and flashing hook-em-Horns signs at each other. I buy the kids a couple of 'Horns t-shirts just for fun.

No direct flight, so I'm flying through Dallas' Love Field (thankfully avoiding DFW). Being a domehead, I am delighted to spy a geodesic dome home just across from the airport! (It's on the left side of the plane as you taxi out to prepare for takeoff. Check it out next time you fly out of Love.) A packed-to-the-gills but uneventful flight gets me back to KC. There's no place like home.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Winter Tales

Winter is coming early this year, as anyone who tuned into Game 3 of the World Series the other night saw. (My California sister, chatting on the phone with me during the game, saw a fan-cam shot of all the people at Busch Stadium bundled up in their heavy coats & scarves & asked me "How freakin cold is it there, anyway?") But we've known for some time that we're in for a long, cold one this year. Even the trusty Old Farmer's Almanac takes a back seat to old-timey weather folklore.
All of them, spoonsOzark lore holds that splitting a persimmon seed lengthwise & examining the shape of the sprout-to-be will tell the coming winter's severity.
  • If the sprout is shaped like a knife, winter will be icy with a cutting wind.
  • If it's shaped like a spoon, winter will have a lot of heavy, wet snow & you'll be digging out.
  • If it's shaped like a fork, winter will be mild with light, powdery snow.

Well, an informal & unscientific survey (six persimmon seeds that someone brought in to work) yielded eight spoons, two seeds too mangled to read, and one cut finger. (Hey, science is sometimes dangerous.)
Another old weather rhyme:
Onion skins paper-thin,
Mild winter coming in;
Onion skins thick & tough,
Coming winter cold & rough.

The last batch of onions I bought at the farmer's market before it closed for the season were tasty, but they had skins like cardboard.
Good gosh, look at the size of that thingOf course, everyone knows that animals can sense the coming winter & will act on it during the fall months. Squirrels will store nuts earlier than usual, cattle will grow a shaggier coat than normal, and so forth. Here at chez Imperatrix, the cats are heavier-coated & fatter than I have ever seen them in their six or so years. Just look at Friday's poochy little belly! I'm telling you, they know somehow.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year




You Belong in Fall



Intelligent, introspective, and quite expressive at times...

You appreciate the changes in color, climate, and mood that fall brings

Whether you're carving wacky pumpkins or taking long drives, autumn is a favorite time of year for you

Thursday, October 05, 2006

My Dead Celebrity Soulmate

My starry knightWhy have a boring ordinary romance when you can have a famous other half? Visit this site to discover your true celebrity soulmate! (One caveat -- all the celebs are dead.)

I filled out their simple questionnaire and found out that my dead celebrity soulmate is none other than the mad post-Impressionist bohemian Dutchman himself!
Vincent van Gogh responds...
"You are as brilliant and vivid as the sun! Let us make devastating beauty together!"

N.B.: Of course, just in case things didn't work out with Vince, the site offers several backup choices. It also tried to fix me up with Leonardo da Vinci and/or Rudolph Valentino. Hmmm.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Moebius Stripes

Moebius loop; please ignore the crazy hairA quickie project I knocked out while I was travelling last week (I went to Wisconsin again for another round of software training.)

Yarn: KnitPick's Shamrock
Needles: 9
Pattern: Adapted from Cat Bordhi's A Treasury of Magical Knitting, it's a Moebius loop knitted in three rounds knit, three rounds purl, which makes a lateral stripe. It's the perfect length to make a double loop around my neck & nestle in a jacket collar.

One thing I have learned about Moebius loops -- they have handedness! I suppose if I had thought about it, I would have realized that one can have either a right-handed or a left-handed loop, same as a corkscrew... but it never occurred to me. I've found that I have to wrap this thing around my head in a particular direction, though, or I get three twists (ugly) instead of one (pretty). Go figure.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

How Much Wood Would a... you know

No more woodchucks!Further proof that we are now living in the hinterlands! Coming home this afternoon, I was startled & bemused by a strange-looking creature hanging out on the grass across the street. I'd never seen anything quite like it... it looked like a cross between an overweight beaver & a squirrel on steroids. It was actually an honest-to-gosh woodchuck. Apparently they are quite common here. Who knew?

Note: I didn't have the camera with me, so this isn't "our" woodchuck; it's an image borrowed from the Massachusetts Audubon Society website. But he looked just like this guy, really.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Autumn Leaves

Weather's turned cooler & the air has a bit of a snap to it. A few early leaves are fluttering down; soon it will become a torrent. Time to dig out the scarves & light jackets. My favorite time of year!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Which Classic Dame am I?

Carole Lombard
You scored 19% grit, 0% wit, 42% flair, and 54% class!
You're a little bit of a fruitcake, but you always act out in style. You have a good sense of humor, are game for almost anything, but you like to have nice things about you and are attracted to the high life. You're stylish and modern, but you've got a few rough edges that keep you from attaining true sophistication. Your leading men include William Powell, Fredric March, and Clark Gable. Watch out for small planes.




Link: The Classic Dames Test written by gidgetgoes on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Harvest Festival

Zeusy, I'm homeWe had a lovely time camping out at Ozark Avalon's Harvest Festival over the long holiday weekend. Couldn't have asked for nicer weather, either. Here Ali is making friends with Zeus, the big square-headed grey tom who owns the house ;-)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Did You Feel That?

So on my way in to work this morning I stopped at Sonic for a breakfast burrito (not exactly health food, but I like it once in a while.) The woman at the drive-thru window looked exactly like my old Quake teammate Steph... twin-sister close, really. So I was thinking about my football days when the woman (whose nametag announced her as "Kendra") blurted out, "Hey, are you from California?" She was looking at my tattoo. Turns out Kendra is from San Bernardino & had heard of the Quake. Small world, huh?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Right Off the Griddle

I got the bluesBlueberry Waffles! Get 'em while they're hot!

Yarn: Trekking XXL
Needles: 2
I got this yarn on my trip to Wisconsin last month... the blue shades made me think of the pretty views of the rivers. They knit up fast!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

School Daze

It's been crazy-busy around here, with the first week of school & all that. My darling baby girl is now a freshman in high school. How did that happen?!?!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Our recent trip to California was a little strange... it feels weird going back to a place we left a year and a half ago. Did we really drive in all that traffic? Did we really go around in that constant fog of smog & stress? Better believe it, and I am happier than ever with the Midwest.

Big Blue Wrecking CrewHowever, the trip was not without its charms, one of which was catching a weeknight Dodgers game. Dodgers Stadium is still one of my favorite ballparks, despite the notorious history of Chavez Ravine. The Boys in Blue dropped a game to the Rockies on a bone-headed error in the eighth, breaking a twelve-game winning streak, but no matter. Dodger dogs, peanuts & cokes, cheering 'til you're hoarse, ridiculous foam finger... is there anything as much fun as a ball game on a summer night?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Two, Count 'Em, Two FOs

Unbelievable! I did a lot of knitting during my road trip, and actually have some finished objects to show.
All wrapped upI picked up the yarn for this scarf (a gorgeous 100% bamboo from Alchemy Yarns) on a road trip to California last year, cast it on during our trip to Carson City a couple months back, during which it picked up its moniker of "lettuce wrap scarf" from my seatmate on the flight back, a little boy on his way to New York who loved that particular appetizer at PF Chang's -- so it seems fitting that I finished it in Wisconsin.
Knock yer blocks offI also finished the boring but kinda cute Color Blox Sox from the Six Sox knitalong, with a bare two days left before the new pattern comes out. Phew.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Home

Seven rivers gatheredI'm back from La Crosse, WI, a lovely little town at the confluence of the Mississippi & Black rivers. Actually, there are so many waters that come together in this region that it's known as "Seven Rivers": major waterways are the Black, La Crosse, Root, Kickapoo, Trempealeau, and Bad Axe rivers, as well as the Mississippi, an impressively broad channel even this far north. My hotel was right across from Riverfront Park, which was a lovely place to stroll in the mornings before it got too hot. Here I'm looking to the south - the bridge crossing the river here heads west into Minnesota.

La Crosse, in addition to being a charming riverfront town with lots of restaurants and shopping, also boasts a minor-league baseball team -- the La Crosse Loggers, who were in the hunt for a wildcard berth in the Northwoods League playoffs when we caught a game one evening. The Loggers, who are all NCAA athletes (and unpaid in order to retain eligibility,) played sloppy but with a good deal of fire. The Loggers overcame a one-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth when the first baseman crushed it over the right-field wall with a man on third. Quite the exciting finish!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Auf Wiedersehen *

Buh bye for a bit. I'll be offline for a week while I attend a training software class in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Sadly, it also means that I won't be able to make knitting group for at least a couple weeks.

* Ha! And you thought it was going to be a Project Runway reference!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

M is for Maze

We visited Powell Gardens the other day, which is a botanical garden east of Kansas City. We took Hunter (Ali was at a sleepover) and our friend's daughter S. The gardens were unexpectedly lovely -- the conservatory is quite a gem -- but the real fun was this year's summer exhibit, a series of eleven mazes. Here we are navigating the rope maze (& looking none too graceful about it, I might add.)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Color Blox Sox

Knocking the scraps offThe latest sock pattern in the Six Sox Knitalong is a toe-up, reverse-Dutch-heel written for scrap yarn. Well, I've got plenty of that! ;-) I put together two different fair-isle prints that both had a grey tone, and then added a very dark charcoal heather & it all matched somehow.

The socks themselves are pretty straightforward, but I must say that the pattern is one of the most poorly written that I have seen in several decades of knitting. The author, trying to be chatty but barely managing to be informative, buries the actual pattern under an avalanche of asides & not-very-relevant tips. Eight pages of pattern for one pair of sox, people. I don't know what the group's editors were thinking.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Get Out da Way!

Trucker girlCheck your rear-view mirror... that's Ali at the wheel. Of course, she's nowhere near old enough to get her permit yet, so her driving is restricted to taking the truck down a quarter-mile to the end of the country road -- there's a little turnaround that would be called a cul-de-sac in the city -- and back up to the dome. Driving is one of those things that gets better with lots and lots of practice, so we figure the more familiar she is with vehicles, the better.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

L is for Lettuce

It's easy being greenGreens from the garden! And radishes too!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

K is for Knotwork

Here's the post where I show off my Celtic heritage. I love knotwork, and always seem to have some knotty projects somewhere in my world. As always, click on the picture for a larger version.
Ragna from Viking KnitsRagna is coming along slowly. Here it is eight repeats in. I have to say I am disappointed in the quality of this lot of Elann Highland Wool -- I seem to cut out two or three knotted joins in each skein. I definitely don't like those kind of knots!
Viking swordsAnother fun project was a pair of leather scabbards for two of Mike's swords. (Don't forget that we're reenactors, just in case you're wondering why he has multiple swords.) I drew the knotwork, Mike did the tooling.
Tattoo youI carry this knotwork around with me every day -- it's on my right ankle. It was inked by Pat Fish, "the Celtic Queen of the West", in her studio in Santa Barbara in 1996.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Summer Vacation

Just got back from a week's vacation -- visiting family in Carson City, NV. While we were there we took a couple of touristy side-trips! (Click the pics for a larger view.)
Trip 1: Lake Tahoe

Beautiful blue Tahoe, with snow still on the peaks in JuneWe drove up to the lake one morning for lunch and a little shopping. We stopped at Vista Point along the way to admire the view. The kids complained mightily, but we made them get out of the car anyway.
Like a rockThere's a rocky little outcropping perfect for a little climbing.
Little bear blueAfterwards, we drove over to an outlet mall on the California side. Tahoe has a funny art project going on all over town -- fiberglass bears, all in the same pose, but all painted differently & fancifully. We saw dozens of them as we drove around the lake. This one, standing on the grass at the mall, is titled "Big Water Bear" and is supposed to represent deep water.
Ski bearThis one is titled "Beary Fast" and stands in the little village at the base of the Heavenly gondola. We ate lunch there, at a Mongolian barbecue place. Yum!
Trip 2: Virginia City

JailbirdTwo days later, we went up to Virginia City, which is nothing like the old TV show made it out to be: it's an old mining town perched on the side of a hill riddled with mineshafts. In its heyday, over 40,000 people lived there, drawn by the discovery of the Comstock Lode. Now maybe a tenth of that inhabit a touristy ghost town.
Runaway stagecoach!We visited "The Way Things Were" museum, long on mining artifacts, if a bit dusty & dull. They also had this bit of silliness in the front yard.
Working the seamA mine tour was a welcome relief from the heat of the day -- the temperature inside the mine is a constant 55°F. A goofy old guy, approximately as old as God's uncle, gave a very imformative tour of the old Best and Belcher Mine, which managed to produce next to nothing despite being right smack next to the Comstock Lode. It's a fun tour & highly recommended if you are ever in the area.
A kid in the candy storeOf course, there was also some shopping for saltwater taffy.
As always after a trip, it's good to be home.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

New Adventures

I've started my new job in Sweet Springs. A bit of a drive, but I like it. Yesterday afternoon I eschewed the interstate and drove home via two-lane county roads... such a pretty day.

I've cast on for the new Six Sox pattern, a stash-buster project. Not too thrilling but I'll play along.

Also, the garden is coming along nicely. I swear the beans grow about a foot per day. I'm looking forward to putting up some dilly beans & relish! :-)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

J is for Jam

We be jammin'I have taken the canning plunge, putting up three pints of strawberry jam. Canning is easy! It takes a lot of time, though. Hulling two quarts of berries, boiling them up, so on and so forth, the whole thing took almost two hours. I think the next batch will be put up in half-pints; these jars are a little on the largish side. I don't think they will last long, nonetheless.

Little Waves sox

Waving not drowningI finished off the socks from the green & blue KoolAid-dyed yarn. The original intention, a cable pattern, just seemed too chunky and heavy, so I went with a scalloped-lace pattern that is supposed to evoke water.
Yarn: Unbranded 100% wool, dyed with KoolAid
Needles: 2

The lace, in case you're wondering, is a variation on the old Chevron Lace pattern. (Pattern is written for in-the-round, but will also work for knitting flat; start on RS at row 3.) Over 10 stitches:
Rows 1, 3: k1, yo, k2, ssk, k2tog, k2, yo, k1.
Row 2: Knit.
Row 4: Purl.
This means every fourth row will have a garter ridge that draws up into a nice wavy line with the decreases.

Ha, I've cleared my good Addis just in time for the June Six Socks pattern! :-)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I is for Indolence

So sleepy.  Perhaps I will take a nap.Pyewacket here demonstrates the finer points of the art of relaxation. "I am simply exhausted, darling, you can't possibly expect me to be awake just now. I will rest my chin on the ledge of the kitty bed because it's just so tiring to lift my head. Perhaps if I lie here for a few hours, I will achieve the strength to open my eyes all the way. I must conserve my strength until the time that you are going to bed, which is the perfect time to chase Friday all around the house and make that noise that sounds like a herd of elephants. For now I will simply pretend to be boneless."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

H is for Hunter

Lost in Gameboy spaceMy beautiful baby boy is now a grade-schooler, just shy of nine, verging on the cusp of young-manhood. He's all skinny bird-legs with impossibly big feet (only a couple sizes smaller than his dad's, already,) a throaty giggle to go along with a nine-year-old sense of humor -- bodily-function jokes are supreme comedy -- and bouts of pre-adolescent sullenness or rudeness which are suddenly alleviated by a sunny smile. He's not yet too old or too cool to kiss his mom goodbye when he's dropped off at school, which I know won't last much longer, but I am enjoying every moment that's left of it. He also has a kid's absolute focus on electronic games. Here he is totally absorbed in his Gameboy. (For the record, I believe he was playing Tony Hawk Boom Boom Huck Jam.) He never even noticed the camera until after the flash went off.

Monday, May 15, 2006

TKGA swatches

Dull as dishwater... some of the dishclothsHaving recently completed a number of smallish projects (the most recent being a half-dozen boring cotton dishcloths in a variety of styles, more as an experiment than anything else,) I have decided it is time to GET SERIOUS and apply myself to the task of finishing my swatches for the TKGA level 1 master program. I decided that I hated the cast-on edge for three of the six swatches I have already knit, so I redid those over the weekend; now I'm on #7 and feeling pretty good about the whole project. The whole point of the thing is to be challenging & ability-stretching; I'm highly enjoying it. After I knit & block the swatches, I have to answer a bunch of questions and write a brief essay on blocking. My goal is to finish before the end of June. :-)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

G is for Garden

...but it could also stand for Grossly late in your tongue. Sorry to have neglected my ABC's for so long.

How does our garden grow?A new garden is always beautiful, brimming with promise. We have a couple of trellises for peas and cukes, as well as a bean obelisk that Mike seems to think needs to be 8 feet tall. We'll never be able to harvest the top quarter or so of our beans, but oh well. We'll dry those pods once the vines come down at the end of the season.

Lock your doorsWe use our grass clippings as mulch for the garden, just dumping them in and turning them into the soil as we work. I hate the way deep mulch makes the garden look -- it's so messy -- but I love what it does to the soil. The zucchini doesn't give a hoot what the ground looks like, of course; it came bolting up first & promises to be pretty vigorous. I'll make baby zucchini pickles if they get too out of hand.

I need a volunteerA strawberry volunteer came up in the corner of the plot with the tomatoes and basil. I decided to leave it -- we'll see if it produces anything. We also have one plot dedicated entirely to pumpkins, which will be fun. We'll save good-looking ones for Jack-o'-lanterns and can the rest for pies & muffins & whatnot.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Storm Watch

Kansas City StormI went to the home opener for the Kansas City Storm women's football team last night, which was unfortunately a bit of a snoozer. The Storm crushed the first-year Indianapolis Chaos by an embarrassing score of 77-0. Such is the unfortunate reality of women's football, which often pits an experienced team against a first-year squad due to travel restrictions. On the opening kickoff, which the Chaos inexplicably deferred when they won the toss, I saw it was going to be ugly in the first three seconds when I could see one team running, the other jogging. The Storm returned the kickoff for their first of ten touchdowns.

The Storm really have their act together, though, in terms of putting on a good show for the fans. Their PA guy was sometimes a bit silly, but they had a lot of fun little schticks -- they played a thunderclap sound effect for each standout defensive play, and their roster intro was preceded by the instantly recognizable braaak-braaak-braaak "Storm Warning" tone.

I was there for a halftime presentation in which former women football players were honored with a certificate "recognizing [our] contribution to the sport of women's football." All of the other alumnae at the presentation were former players for the Storm or the now-defunct Kansas City Krunch; I was regarded as something of an oddity ("So, what are you doing here in Missouri?")

Two Kansas City Chiefs were there signing autographs -- Ronnie Cruz, the starting fullback, and a player to be named later, who turned out to be Adam Johnson. Both of them were sweet as pie and chatted with me for a little while, and were suitably impressed by my championship ring. Not as flashy as the NFL rings, but hey, it's still pretty darn cool.

The Storm have three more home games this season; catch a game if you get a chance!