Saturday, March 31, 2007

My Life

Yarn and kitty pr0n, all at once
This photo, originally snapped just for the cuteness factor, is actually a pretty decent representation of what's going on in my life just now.

1. Red and gold yarn: The Quidditch sweater is coming along nicely. I've finished the front & back & have just started on the sleeves, which I am knitting both at once. Speaking of Harry Potter, there's a whole bunch of new photos just released -- stills from the new movie this summer. Can you believe that they've changed the house sweaters yet again?!? Now it's a charcoal-grey cardigan with fairly large black or dark grey buttons, with house colors trimming the waist and cuff, but not the neckline. The shirt has gone from crisp white to creamy ivory. Hosts of knitting fan-costumers stamp their feet in frustration. Hunter's Quidditch uniform is firmly placed in SS/COS, in case you're wondering; I'm not going to rework it at this point. (That's Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets for those of you who are not obsessive HP fans.)

2. Stark Bros catalog under yarn: The garden is getting ready to go, and there is much planting of sprouting trays (see previous post). We also put in two Stark apple trees out at the dome, a Lodi and a Braeburn. Hopefully they will thrive and become the start of our own little orchard.

3. Tax preparation software behind the yarn: Yes, I know I ought to get that done. It's almost finished, really.

4. And finally, nothing is ever finished in this house until it has picked up its share of cat hair.

Signs of Spring

I think that I shall never seeNow that Winter has finally loosed her grip on the Midwest, we are enjoying the early signs of Spring. The air is greenly fragrant with moist earth, Oestara has veiled herself in that glorious yellow-green of new leaves, and the flowering trees are a riot of color. Here's a picture of one of the redbuds in the backyard -- always so lovely for those few weeks between flower and leaf. The pollen count this wet spring, well, that's a different story. I think I am single-handedly keeping the makers of Claritin(r) in business.
Box of greensThe other sure sign of the season around here is the seed-starting trays that come out a few weeks before last frost. One thing makes me nuts, though -- the stupid cats like to sample the tiny leaves as they unfurl. Who knows why? The last straw was when they chewed my salad burnet down to bare stems. I asked Mike to build me a sprouting box, which is basically a big wire-mesh cage to protect the tender seedlings from maurading felines. Add a couple of grow-lites and a timer & voila, instant garden. The burnet is recovering nicely, thank you.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

JV Lady Cougars

I got it I got itAli's playing softball this spring, and enjoying it a lot! She is playing second base on the JV team, and is turning out to be a pretty good infielder. She made a couple critical stops in their game tonight, a 3-3 tie against Santa Fe. (The girls dropped their first game, 0-5, to perennial division powerhouse Holden, and thus are standing at 0-1-1.) Here, she's reacting to a pop fly that actually went to the shortstop, which ended up being a double play when the runner at first inexplicably failed to return to base.
Waiting for the pitchAli was pretty far down in the batting order, and had only one at-bat tonight (the game was called early due to impending rain; the home coach was quite antsy to get the tarp down, apparently.) Her batting skills are slowly improving -- she's getting the bat around much more quickly & makes contact more often. Tonight, she only fouled one back before striking out. Oh well, lots of practice there will make things better. We'll probably end up hitting the local batting cages with some regularity.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Cold Weather Corset

Cold Weather Corset, just in time for springCold Weather Corset
Yarn: Austermann's Melissa
Colorway: Tapenade
Needles: 11
(i-cord lace is Paton's Merino Classic in Leaf Green)

Damn, another vest that came out too big. I have trouble knitting stuff for myself that has to walk the line between fitted & tight. I'm so convinced it's going to be too small that I end up giving myself way too much ease. Is this a big-grrl thing, or is it just me?

Anyway, the Melissa is beautiful and drapey, but the chenille has almost no spring or memory, so the ribbing at the side doesn't draw in at all. And the armhole is way too droopy, as I am demonstrating in the bathroom mirror here. (Please be kind enough to ignore the clutter on the bathroom counter.)

Overall, I'm not too thrilled with how it turned out, but it is quite soft & warm. It'll make a good middle layer when the weather gets cold again. And the colors are wonderful.

Next up: Hunter wants to be Harry Potter for Hallowe'en, so it's a Quidditch sweater from -- you guessed it -- Elann Highland Wool, my fave basic wool that comes in every color you can think of. Lots of 2x2 ribbing in my future.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Youth Basketball Season Ends

The Bolts with Coach Brandon & Coach Corey
Last night was the youth basketball league's award ceremony. The Bolts finished with a respectable 4-3 record (four games were actually cancelled due to inclement weather, so the schedule was a bit abbreviated.) At the awards ceremony, the kids each got a cheesy little medal on a ribbon while the coach read their names out over the P.A. A charming picture of small-town youth sports, no?
Ooooh, spookyThat is, until you notice that Hunter's eyes are glowing with evil.
Eerie JoshGood gosh, Josh looks like an extra for Children of the Corn. Thankfully, Chet seems to be unaffected by the creepy vibe.
Feet on fireAs if that weren't enough, both of the coaches seem to have developed a case of radioactive athlete's foot.
I really need to get a camera with a better flash, huh?