Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vegas--the highlights of a party animal

What I've done in Vegas:
  • got a migraine from the cigarette smoke at the taxi stand at the airport, before we even got to the hotel;
  • got a haircut, manicure and foot massage the next day, with the money I saved by not being able to leave the hotel room the first night;
  • survived 103℉;
  • went to a Jimmy Choo shop AND a Christian Louboutin shop, where I bought nothing since I didn't win the lottery last week;
  • had dinner at Bouchon--I'd better win the lottery next week;
  • and knit just enough to figure out I need more beads to finish my Celaeno tomorrow.
What I've seen in Vegas:
  • skirts so short they look more like band aids; 
  • some guy I'm sure is an actor in one of those silly sitcoms I never watch, and I couldn't Kinnear him, and since I don't watch any sitcoms, I can't remember his name;
  • a roller coaster that flips over (on purpose) right outside our hotel window
  • a cheesy gondola in a pricey hotel
  • and many, many people drinking beer at 9 a.m.; I was not one of them.

What I bought in Las Vegas:
  • gifts for Tilly, and DD (because she hasn't wrecked my car);
  • tennis shoes for me, which I paid too much for but they make me look like I have game;
  • and coffee, lots and lots of coffee.
Last stop before we head back? In-N-Out Burger

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Celaeno Shawl--almost

I'm almost finished with my Celaeno shawl, just a couple of rows to go. So what am I doing today? An urban abstract photography class. Don't try to figure me out. Just go with it. Meanwhile, here's a few photos of the scrunched up shawl. Hopefully, I'll be blocking it tonight.

We leave for Las Vegas tomorrow. Since I'm not really into gambling, I plan to take lots of photos. I'm hoping to get some good information from the class today, so that I can come home with some interesting pictures. There will also be knitting accomplished and perhaps a nice glass or wine (or two) consumed. It's going to be about 100 degrees there, so any knitting will happen inside. I wonder what they'd say in the casino if I sat at a slot machine and knit?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Shout-Out to Blogless Wanda and My New Friend

Remember this blog post? Blogless Wanda--I don't know who you are or how to get in touch with you, but many, many thanks for your explanation about yarn weight and yardage. Makes a whole lot of sense. Are you in the business? Are you really blogless? Anybody know Wanda's identity? I just love a mystery!

Speaking of mysteries, my beaded project doesn't have to be kept a secret anymore. In fact, I could have revealed the pattern about a week ago, but since I was too preoccupied with a certain adorable granddaughter, I missed the pattern unveiling. Celaeno is the latest offering from Romi Hill. It's part of a collection of what will eventually be seven shawls with some bonus goodies thrown in. I loved knitting Celaeno, but I shouldn't be using the past tense just yet--I have a couple of rows to go. It will be finished soon, because I plan on wearing it when I go to London, Ontario next week. I'd post a photo of my progress but lace all scrunched up on needles really isn't much to look at. Admire Romi's finished Celaeno instead, then go to Romi's website and buy the eBook subscription, or check her out on Ravelry if you're a member.

DD stayed home from school today, so I did what any mom with a sick teen does--left the house. There were some things I had some errands to run, namely buy more Cold Snap, and stop by DD's school to pick up some homework. Her locker is still so tidy and organized, it's a little scary. You'd know what I mean if you saw her room. It's like split personalities.

I'm still managing to dodge the bug that's going around DD's school but I've washed my hands so often and doused myself with so much hand sanitizer, my skin is permanently wrinkled. Can't be too careful, though. Don't want to contaminate my yarn.

Giving a shout-out to my new friend and neighbor, Cpeezers at Home. Check out the story on her blog. It really is a small world!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Soup to die for

There's been no knitting accomplished today. None. That's what happens when you over-sleep, go for a workout, lunch with your bff, pick up your sick kid from school, then come home and cook soup. Oh, but not just any soup, my peeps. This is a soup that says, "I love you so much, I'd take a bullet for you." To top it off, I'm fighting tooth and nail NOT to get a cold. *Cold Snap don't fail me now! I have DD and DH to thank (they felt lousy first) but to show there's no hard feelings, I made this:

Yes, the recipe is involved, but break it down into parts and it's doable for just about any skill level. I made it in about two hours. A sane person would make the spice mix one day, roast and puree the squash the next, then pull it all together on the third day. To add the carnivore element, I lightly steamed some Italian sausages, cooled them a bit, then cut them into small chunks, which I browned on both cut sides--easy meatballs without the fuss. I also roasted the seeds I pulled from the squash for garnish. If you look at the recipe reviews you can see my notes (Susan, Lakewood CO).

Butternut squash is a pain in the butt to peel and cut up, but so worth it. You can buy it already groomed at Whole Foods, but it will cost you about a gazillion dollars. Costco has it ready to cook around the holidays and it's much more reasonably priced, but not organic. I buy it and so far nobody has dropped dead, but I do try to go organic when I can.

It was the perfect soup for the first day of fall, and hopefully it will make DD feel better. I'll probably roast a couple of pans of the squash and freeze it for some snowy, hand-knit sock kind of days. They'll be here before you know it.

* I swear by Cold Snap. It has saved me from a cold many, many times. I don't sell the stuff and this isn't medical advice, but I've only had one person say it made her freak out and she was nuts to begin with. Consult your physician or watch an episode of House

Monday, September 20, 2010

Proof that I'm a beer short of a six-pack

I'm knitting with black yarn, I'm wearing black pants, and it's dark. If you're a knitter, you know why this is stupid. If you're not, this clip art gives you a pretty good idea of what I'm dealing with it. Pass me a beer.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I'm a hooker all the way

I've been on a beading bender lately--two projects in the last month have required placing beads on yarn. I call it a bender because this is the first time I've ever knit with beads or had the desire to do so. It's all Romi's fault, but really, it's growing on me. I wish I could show you what I'm working on right now, but let's just say there's a whole lotta beads involved.

I've never liked the idea of pre-stringing beads onto yarn. For one thing, I've never seen a pattern that tells you exactly how many beads to use. It would be a major pain in the butt to either string too many or not enough, and I'm afraid sliding multiple beads over a strand of yarn might result in some very frayed yarn. Bummer. No pre-stringing for me; I'm a hooker all the way.

Actually, finding the size 10 crochet hook needed for adding beads to my projects proved to be tougher than the beading itself. I ended up buying this set from Michaels, mainly because I had a coupon. Yes, I realize the link isn't for Michaels, but I couldn't find it on their site.

I will leave you with an adorable photo of my adorable granddaughter Tilly. It has nothing to do with beads and yarn. I simply couldn't help myself.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Photo: Chillin'

This is Tilly's cat, Clyde, doing what he does best--chillin'. We can all learn something from him.

This weekend, I'll be helping DD with her college applications. I predict minimal chillin' and maximum wailing and gnashing of teeth, so a trip to the wine store is imminent. Purely for medicinal purposes, of course.

There has been a bit of knitting going on, and it is glorious, even if I do say so myself. I'd show you, but then I'd have to kill you--top secret test-knit stuff. Hopefully, I can reveal it next week. Stay tuned...

Thanks, everybody, for your kind words for my last post. They are much appreciated.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Stop and smell the roses

I generally think of myself as a glass-half-full kind of person, but I'm a realist too. Sooner or later, your crap o'meter will get pegged no matter how hard you to try to keep it at zero. Might as well enjoy the good times when you get them, because you can't clean up the turd before it hits the fan.

This week, two people I knew were suddenly 86ed. Poof. Gone. Dead. We weren't close or anything, but it was unexpected and sad. I think of their families and my heart gets heavy. It would be all too easy for me to get paralyzed by the what-ifs and whys of life and buy a one-way ticket to Ain't it Awful Land, but I'm not going there.

I can miss Tilly and her mom and dad and be sad about it, or I can look at the photos I took during my visit and marvel at the wonder of my child having his own child now. I can be bummed about the fact that no matter how much or how fast I knit, I will never, ever be able to knit all the things I have on my list; or, I can fondle my enviable stash and indulge in some fantasy knitting. I can freak out when my youngest drives off in my dream car, or I can celebrate her growing independence. It's all about choices and how I look at what I'm given every new day.

Thanks so much for all your kind words about Tilly. Yes, she is the most adorable granddaughter ever, but it's nice to read your thoughtful remarks and congratulations. Also, I owe several of you a proper thank-you note. Rest assured, I'll get them in the mail soon. I've let myself get overwhelmed lately by the little things in life that seemed to have suddenly grouped and ganged up on me, but it's the same for everybody. I'm pulling up the big-girl panties and getting back to work. Regular blogging will commence once again. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Meet my excuse

Who thinks about blogging when they're spending time with the most adorable baby ever? When somebody gives you a smile like that, it melts your heart and makes your brain go soft. Not that I was that far away from soft anyway...

There's been very little knitting accomplished but much cuddling and cooing. I had forgotten how tiny babies are so the sweater and Skull pinafore are waaaay too big, so photos of Tilly wearing them will come later. Here's the Skull pinafore for those of you not into Ravelry:

There has been yarn procured, of course. Giving a shout-out to Prairie Yarns, in Fargo, North Dakota. I believe, "Bring her back anytime," is what they told Tilly's mom and dad. Ahem.

More later, I promise. It's hard to sit at a keyboard when you're wrapped around a finger.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Let me knit and nobody gets hurt.

Star Trek was my favorite show when I was a kid. I loved that transporter machine--it seemed totally possible to me to be turned into weird radio waves or whatever the heck they did and get beamed to wherever you needed to be. Imagine travel being easy and fast! Hm 'kay. Maybe not.

I don't mind not getting free pretzels anymore. They tasted like salted wood chips, and anyway it was kind of insulting to be teased with half a dozen miniaturized pretzels in a bag that could easily have held way more. Even if I didn't really like them, it was better than starving. Sort of. I don't miss the free mystery meat meals either. Call me fussy, but I like to know what species I'm eating. And smiling flight attendants? Let's not even go there.

What I miss is leg room. I am all of five feet four inches tall, and when my knees touch the seat in front of me, it's just wrong. I've been lucky enough to be in first class a very few times in my life and it just makes riding back in steerage feel a thousand times worse. That's what they call it, by the way. Steerage. Kind of makes you understand what cattle trucks are like.

Tomorrow I take the first of three trips in the next four weeks. Thank goodness for knitting is all I can say. I always carry the latest TSA ramblings on what is and is not allowed on planes. I highlight the part that says, "Let this crazy bitch have her knitting. It will keep her quiet." So far it's worked. Please keep your fingers crossed for me.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tigers and Yarn and Blogging--Oh my!

I haven't been blogging much lately, but I have been knitting. Just finished something so cute, it will make your teeth hurt. Unfortunately, I want it to be a surprise, so for now you'll have to check out my Ravelry projects page to see it. Tilly, tell your mom and dad not to peek. I'll be there in a couple of days.

I'm so excited to finally meet my granddaughter, I can hardly stand it. I'm bringing my camera and laptop, so there will be photos and blogging. Found a couple of interesting looking yarn shops in Fargo, so maybe I can squeeze in a yarn crawl too. I know a few of the blogs I read have declared themselves on a yarn diet, but I won't kid myself. There will be yarn purchased. I can't lie about it.

Speaking of yarn, I have a question. I noticed something with the Opal yarn I used for these Tiger Socks (Rav link):

When I weighed the yarn to divide it up--I knit all my socks 2-at-a-time with separate balls of yarn--the skein weighed about 10 grams less than the label said it should weigh. That's a lot of yarn! So here's my question: do they sell yarn by weight or by length? Can it weigh less than what the label says but still have the number of yards or meters stated on the label?

I didn't run out of yarn but I was hoping to have a little bit more left, at least enough to make a pair of baby socks. The Tiger Socks are meant for DD's band director, but I'm not sure they'll fit. LOVE the way this yarn worked up--it really does look like animal stripes. (The school mascot is a tiger.)

I have three trips coming up in the next month, so I'm focussing on the most critical aspect of traveling--which knitting projects to take along. Never let it be said I don't have priorities. What are your favorite projects to take on a trip?

Joanne, never fear. I will get your prize in the mail before I leave. Her reaction to winning is so cute, and a contest was hinted at, so go check out her blog.

More tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

We have a winner!

If you zoom in on this screen shot, you'll see that random number generator chose #3. Joanne, send me an email and I'll get the goodies to you. Congratulations! Thanks for all the great jokes and links, everybody. If you didn't win, don't worry--this giveaway stuff is fun and I'll do it again soon.

Since this is Wednesday and the day I usually post something food-related, here's a link to what I'm making for dinner--chicken with caramelized fennel. I'm going to grill some chicken breasts instead of using the chicken thighs called for in the recipe, but it sounds really good, doesn't it? Will let you know tomorrow. I love caramelized vegetables of any kind, so I have high hopes for this dish.