Saturday, February 23, 2008

And the Winner is....

First of all, I have to say that you all really blessed me with the gift of laughter when I read your posts! Thank you so much for sharing your embarrassment with me.


JoJo and I just did the drawing and Lynda from Knit Together is the winner! Congratulations!Please e-mail me with your address and I'll send a skein of Tofutsies your way.





Just for fun... take a good look at the picture below. Can you spot the potential problem I'm facing today? (Aside from my goofy teen. Speaking of him, it always amazes me how fair all my boys are compared to him.)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Power of Seven

Sarah over at Mom's Knitting tagged me for the following. Here are the rules:



1) Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2) Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3) Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4) Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.



Let's see...

1) I think getting tagged is enormously exciting.

2) I spend way too much time thinking about random things... like why yarn should be organic if I'm not going to eat it?

3) I have no idea how to make "small talk" and avoid it at all costs.

4) I'm not much of a people person (see above).

5) I got out on the second round of my 6th grade spelling bee because I spelled tax, "tacks".

6) At the age of 39, I was diagnosed with ADD (see #2)

7) What was I just saying? How many am I supposed to do?
Oh, I snap at my kids when they talk during Survivor. But it doesn't matter. They won't stop talking!


Okay, now tagging 7 others:

Julie
Auntie Pudentaine
Sophanne
Kristie at Guilty Pleasures
Marie-Grace Yarn Slayer
Octopus Knits
Nurse Shar

Happy tagging!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Embarassment is in the Eyes of the Beholder

Still musing over the notion of the ability of the human mind to repress painfully embarrassing memories, I have found that there are many things that should embarrass me that don't. Apparently, my loved ones have no problem at all with such memories and can be quite helpful when trying to recall them.

According to my oldest son, I should be embarrassed every time I get behind the wheel of our bulky SUV. Sure, after 6 years I still struggle a bit with parking the beast but no biggy. But in the last 24 hours alone, I have run over the curb at the Carl's Jr. drive-thru, accidentally hit the gas when parking at the grocery store propelling a shopping cart to within inches of a parked BMW, and this morning I accidentally ran over an orange pylon which got stuck under my car where it stayed firmly in place whether I went forward or backward until my #2 son got under the car and dragged it out. And yes, of course, there was an audience.

My sons were also quick to agree that I should be embarrassed anytime I sing, throw a baseball (apparently I throw like a girl, go figure)... or wear my clear plastic clogs. (As if they didn't embarass me practically every time we're out in public!)

Now, I haven't asked her for fear of the painful memories she would un-earth, but I'm sure my mother would be quick to bring up the hours spent in the Mexican airport with my younger brother and a bottle of tequila. Technically, I believe this would fall somewhere under shame as opposed to embarrassment but honestly I really feel neither. It was, afterall, quite expensive tequila that had already been opened and it really would've been equally shameful to waste it. And do we look bothered at all in that picture? I think not.

As a final addition to my husband's earlier contribution, he also feels I should be at least vaguly embarrassed by my obsessions with LOST and House. (But many of us know better.)

So there, I've gone above and beyond in laying my shame before you. So skip down to my contest and share a little shame. Please. I'm so enjoying this!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Special American Idol Edition

Since I really know nothing about music and have yet to buy a CD put out by an American Idol winner (or really any CD at all for quite some time), I must keep my opinions on the current AI contestants brief. So let me just say... Michael Johns.

I will add however that I was most rattled (disturbed, distressed) by Colton's choice to sing Suspicious Minds (with sappy smiles and all). Did he not see Chris Daughtry steal the show with that song a couple of years ago? Puhlease! If you don't remember Daughtry's performance, it's just a few clicks away on You Tube. I trust you can find your way.

Fortunately for me, the show wasn't a total let-down because it hasn't really ended here...


Yep... he is a child of many talents... and this is my life. Welcome to it.

Oh, and DH read my blog and was quick to help me with my faulty memory. He has requested that I share the time that, as young sweethearts, he managed to convince me that they used electric shock to get the dolphins and whales to jump out of the water on cue at Sea World. It wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't shared this amazing news with an office full of co-workers over lunch the next day. This is by far one of DH's favorite stories. Me... not so much.

Laziness is the Mother of Invention

I am loving your comments on my last post! You all are really making my day... and are even bringing back a few memories of my own that I'll have to share in return some day soon. Please keep the comments coming and I'll keep the contest open until Friday afternoon, say 8:00 pm Pacific Time. This will give you plenty of time to embarrass yourself this week if you, like me, don't have a clear memory of the past.

On to knitting... After months of searching for the perfect pattern to use up a respectable amount of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran that was one of my first aquisitions to end up as stash, I found the perfect pattern in one of the first pattern books I ever bought. The pattern is Grace from the Debbie Bliss Cotton Angora book. When I purchased the book a few years ago, this sweater was way beyond my skill level but I think I can tackle it now.

I took Maria's advice for a sock pattern and have started some Groovy Rib socks from Sock Pixie with my ever fabulous Dream in Color Smooshy. Great yarn... great pattern... yada yada.... (Plus I love copying Maria.)


Finally, I'm going to share my most ingenious (probably not) sock swatching idea that I mentioned last week. Let's start with the fact that I rarely swatch for sweaters let alone socks. (Nope, I didn't even swatch for the sweater above... it's a big squishy cabled sweater... it will be great... and the gauge looks good so far... besides I've found that superwash wool stretches and/or shrinks as needed.) Anyway, since I have found some benefits to knowing your stitch count when selecting a sock pattern (and especially since I was bored), I decided to follow Cat Bordhi's swatching instructions with my DC Smooshy and cast on as if I was knitting a toe-up sock using Judy Becker's famous instructions.


However, instead of stopping once I had determined my proper gauge and needle size for the DC yarn, I decided to switch to some Chewy Spaghetti yarn to determine it's gauge. I quickly determined that my needle size was too big so I knit a purl row and switched to smaller needles. I still need to knit a bit farther to determine my gauge... and ideally my swatch should be a bit wider (2" would be good), but I figure that I can keep adding to this swatch to test different yarns without casting on each time (this would be where the laziness comes in... but it will save time). Eventually, I'll have a really long sock snake I suppose.

Okay, so my idea is probably neither unique nor ingenious, but I thought it was fairly clever so I'm passing it on. Please ridicule me in private if necessary. (I would hate to be embarrassed!)

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Thing About Bob (& a Contest)

Not too long ago, the Pioneer Woman had a contest on her blog. As you may, or may not, know, Ree's contests usually require some sort of cleverness in the form of naming a photo or whatnot. Exposing my lack of cleverness to the world is not on my to-do list so I've only entered one of her contests and that was only because a title struck me instantly and it made me giggle even though it had no chance of winning. This, by the way, was breaking one of my basic life rules of never entering contests that I don't think I can win... not that I'm competitive or anything... cause I'm really not. At all. Really.

Anyway, all you had to do to enter this particular contest was to leave a comment sharing an embarrassing moment and the winner would be selected by a random generator. Geesh... what could possibly be easier than that? I mean, I embarass myself pretty much on a daily basis (assuming I leave the house, although sometimes that's not even necessary). The things I've said, the things I've done, the times I've fallen... goodness, I could right a book! A great book. If... If... I could remember a single one of them. I sat there after quickly leaping to her comments section and couldn't think of a single embarassing moment. Still can't. For somebody who could probably have chosen embarassing herself for a profession, what was the deal? What level of professionalism have I reached that I am able to supress painful memories to such depths?

Well, a few days later I had an epiphany. I'm well aware of my fine tuned skills in the art of denial, but I recognized the real life skill that saves me from just giving up and living with my head in the sand while recently watching What About Bob?... again. Now I realize that some of you find Bob terribly annoying... but it has got to be one of my absolute favorite movies. If you haven't seen it (then you should), Bob is an obsessively phobic and neurotic basket case who insists on intruding on his therapist's vacation. (Yes, Julie, he is way, way out of line. I understand. But it's still funny... just try not cringing.)

Bob is terrified of everything from germs to elevators to dying from any number of terminal illnesses. But Bob comforts himself by pretending to have things he doesn't have (like Turettes) because he reasons that if he can pretend to have it, then he doesn't really have it so it's one less thing he needs to worry about. So as I'm watching this, void of the memory of any embarassing moments, I realized that I do the same thing. Only my method involves immediately sharing my agonizingly embarassing moments with at least one other person... because, obviously, if I can talk about it, it must not have been that embarassing. Right? Of course. Like magic, the embarassing moment is properly filed in my (maybe less than perfectly stable) mind. Yes, they do surface every once in a while... usually in the middle of the night so they can keep me awake for a few hours of distress... but eventually I'm able to shove them back into that dark corner of my mind where they can rest peacefully. I know what you're thinking, but hey, don't knock it until you try it. That's what I say.

In other news, a special little box arrived at my house today. Actually 2 boxes... but it's the little one that is going to solve world peace and global warming! Okay, I may be exagerating a bit... but it is going to repair my laptop. Hopefully. And my life will begin to return to normal. No more climbing stairs to download photos... or to get the camera I left there. No more sssllloooooowww, frozen screens. Yay! The larger box is an empty box that I insisted upon for shipping my laptop to them in case their hard drive doesn't work. The tech wanted me to play computer games with him but I insisted that my husband had done all of the diagnostic stuff, read him the list of error codes and informed him that, "No, I can not sit down with the computer right now. Sorry. My husband says I need a box."

If all goes well with the laptop when DH gets home, I should have a much more colorful post tomorrow... because yes, I do still knit. Oh, and fyi, we are now on round 2 of the flu and I am accepting pity.

Oh! I just had an idea. In order to trigger my malfunctioning memory, how about if you leave a comment sharing one of your most embarassing moments here. I'll even offer up some lovely sock yarn as a prize. I'll make it a random drawing because I wouldn't want to have to choose. So don't be shy... think of it as therapy!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Ummmm....



Oink??

Edited to add: I tried to leave this alone as I felt that the book really spoke for itself, but then I was laying in bed this morning thinking (this is when I do all my best thinking, solve all the world problems and unlock the mysteries of LOST) and it occurred to me that my flippant attitude may offend another knitter. Yikes! I love the craft of knitting because of the variety of moods and appetites it can appease. I was only speaking from within the limits of my own personal situation in which I am fairly certain that if my husband saw a knitted piggy (or any other knitted item) covering toilet paper in my bathroom, he would either take away all my yarn (gasp), tie me up with it, or have me committed. There. I feel much better now.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Language of Love

P2150004
2 lbs. See's Candy... 1/2 Raspberry Buttercreams, 1/2 Mochas. All for me.



P2150002

*SMILE*

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Fun Never Ends.

Ugh! This dastardly flu just won't leave us alone. The coughs, the headaches, the whining... geesh... and the children are doing it too! And now my #4 boy, who was the #1 boy to get this nasty bug, has come down with a fever AGAIN! But this fever comes with a stinky tummy ache. I think I'm going to move to Australia.

I wonder if weird ladies stare at you for no reason in the grocery store parking lots of Australia? I went to get some plain Cheerios for #4 boy this morning and as I pulled into the parking lot, this gal stood at the back of her car and just stared at me. At least I think it was me. Of course, I immediately started trying to figure out what I was doing that was odd or foolish (because I've been known to do the parking lot stare at the occasional odd driver who clearly doesn't have a clue and needs a good staring down) but I have no idea what the heck this woman's problem is so I just kept on singing away and pulled into my spot. Wierdo. Oh... the singing... belting out a Bryan Adams tune at the top of my lungs alone in my car. Yep, could've been the singing. But give me a break, she clearly didn't watch American Idol last night. I mean does anyone who watched it not have (Everything I Do) I Do it For You stuck in their head today? It's a good thing I like that song (and the movie... Robin Hood with Kevin Costner. Remember the music video for the song?) and everyone in my family was glad I was able to sing along once again. Right.

I'm actually pretty interested in the group they have going into American Idol this year. They seem to have some good talent... and some good looks. Not that looks are everything, but I just always think of an American Idol as a pop star... as someone who is fun to watch and listen too. The very title suggests easy on the eyes does it not? Oh well.

Anyway, I've had a plastic bag of beautiful pink yarns sitting in my knitting basket all week beckoning me. I would take a picture of them for you but, well, I'm too sick and tired and lazy to do so. But I can tell you it includes Rowan Calmer, Chewy Spaghetti, Lorna's Laces and Dream in Color Smooshy in Cool Fire. Each have been swatched (and I'm pretty sure that I've stumbled onto an ingenious way to check gauge on sock yarns but more on that later), and I've finally decided to work with the Dream in Color, but it is so beautiful it needs the perfect pattern. Since I'm unable to determine what that pattern is, it sits there. Teasing me. If you have an idea, please let me know!

Now I must go relive the agony that was Jr. High Science by helping my 13 yo describe the inner workings of the alkaline battery in a brief, well organized paragraph for his Science Fair project. We are right on schedule since his project (a unique look at battery brands and quality) is due on Monday. Actually, going by my own Jr. High timeline for such things we are about 3 days ahead of schedule for beginning the related reports and analysis. Today he is learning that if he just kind of copies a scientific explanation but changes it around a bit, he gets a paragraph that makes absolutely no sense. I am learning that he has inherited my tendency to have such things as science fairs (and well-meaning mothers) induce tears. It's okay kid... I get it. You still gotta do it... but I'm feelin' your pain.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Can You Hear Me?

Well, we're finally on the mend... except for my voice. It's gone. Completely. I've spent the last 24 hours in a household of boys unable to speak above a faint whisper. Do you think they hear me? Do you think they try to listen? Do you have any idea how happy I think this makes them?

I've been reduced to banging on walls, clapping my hands, or, even worse, occasionally getting up and finding them to get their attention. Our very co-existence depends on loud voices. They rely on things like the volume of my voice to determine how serious I am or how quickly they should respond. I feel trapped in a cone of silence. Sigh.

Anyway, it was a decent week for knitting though. I finished these socks earlier in the week...

SWAK socks

I am madly, passionately in love with this yarn, Lorna's Laces SWAK. The colors please me immensely (this photo just doesn't due it justice). I knit them according to the basic technique taught in 2-at-a-Time Socks. I must say that by the time I got to the foot, I really had the technique down. I'll definitely be using this method again. I actually finished a pair of socks in a week!

(Side note: We are watching the Grammy's and #2 son just said with a big grin, "Ha! Mom can't sing tonight!" I get no respect.)


I also started the Merino Lace socks by Anne Woodbury from Favorite Socks with some Madelinetosh yarn from my stash. I'm enjoying both the yarn and the pattern.

Madelinetosh Merino Lace


And then there's the Noro vest. It was wonderful yarn to knit with, but I'm not sure if the vest is really my style. I need to get another hank of Kochoron (an expensive pattern shortage) to knit the collar, but I'm tempted to grab a couple more hanks of Cash Iroha instead and re-use the yarn for an Hourglass Sweater. I just don't know. I'm not sure if I made a bad purchase decision due to an impending illness... or if the present illness is tainting my view. Either way, it's getting put aside for now... but please feel free to vote. A picture of the vest can be seen a few posts below.

Noro Ingeborg


(I'd also like to add that DH and the boys have increased the volume of the TV to a point that they can't even hear me clap for their attention let alone my faint request for them to turn it down. I think they're enjoying this too much.)


Breaking News: The WGA strike appears to be at it's end. According to Lostpedia.com, Carlton Cuse, producer and writer for LOST, plans to get his crews back to work tomorrow!! Just when reality TV was on the verge of a takeover, we can look forward to more House and LOST! And, you know, the other shows too.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Everyone Needs a Toni

I woke up this morning and lay in bed thinking about American Idol… more specifically, wondering how they saw talent in individuals who clearly had none. Now, I know for certain that I can’t sing, but am I, no, is my whole family so musically un-inclined that what sounds hideous to us can actually be unpolished raw talent?

This led to me thinking about my own musical shortcomings, and my gratitude to Toni O. See, I can’t sing. And I use “can’t” in the strongest sense of the word here. I can’t find the tune, let alone carry it. Tragically, I have always loved to sing… and since you really can’t evaluate your own skills in this area, I sang more frequently than I probably should have… because very few people (besides Simon Cowell) are willing to look you in the face and tell you the truth. And unfortunately, if you love to do something, you tend to overlook the subtle clues that should dissuade you.


In sixth grade, I tried out for the Glee Club. Everybody tried out for the 6th grade Glee Club… and everybody made it. Except for me. Now let me ask you, how bad does one have to be to not make the 6th grade Glee Club? During practice session, I would sit in the classroom with 1 or 2 other kids and so homework while the rest of the class sang somewhere else. This really should’ve been my first clue. But I didn’t get it.

I went on to participate in the school chorus for 7th and 8th grades (it was a class, they couldn’t kick me out) and even sang in a trio with two of my best friends at a church pancake breakfast. We spent many, many afternoons with the church’s choir director practicing the song she had selected for us, I Don’t Know How to Love Him, from Jesus Christ Superstar. In hindsight, the question of the song selection for a nice Presbyterian church event, let alone for three 12 year old girls makes for some interesting discussion in itself… but it was the 70s.

It wasn’t until late in my 8th grade year, when, still undaunted, na├»ve, and clueless, I tried out for a solo in our year-end chorus production that I was painfully confronted with the truth. The messenger of this truth was one Toni O. Toni was a year younger than me but tough as nails and exactly the type of gal that a gifted student and member of the honor society like myself feared. (I still hesitate to print her full name for fear that she’ll find this in a Google search and come beat me up.) I will never forget the moments that followed my solo audition (in which I stood up in front of about 70 of my peers and sang my heart out). I sat down, full of hope and confidence, and Toni turned around and sneered, “That sounded like sh*t.” I think that might’ve been the only time she ever talked to me. And I have never forgotten it. Ever.

Of course I was mortified. It was one of the worst moments of my young life. But, that said, I am grateful. I am grateful that she had the guts to tell me when I was young, in a relatively private setting, so I didn’t have to hear it on national TV. Because if I have learned nothing else from watching American Idol, it’s that friends and family are either universally tone deaf… or they lie.

So please remember mothers… love is blind, not deaf! Our children deserve the truth. And if you aren’t honest with them now… someday Simon Cowell will be. And they’ll never forgive you.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Day 9

It's officially day 9 of The Infestation and the germ has done it's work of repopulating throughout the members of our household. This means very little school, a lot of medicine, and a variety of raspy voices whining for somebody they call, "Mmmmmooooommmm". I don't know who they're calling, but it certainly can't be the feverish lump of a woman that's laying in my place on the couch. Cause her compassion is shot.

Anyway, I've put together a little list of things to do when your trapped in a house with eyes that hurt too much to read for a few days. Just in case it happens to you.

1) Get The Office on DVD
2) http://www.find815.com/ (This is for you LOST viewers... especially those who enjoy wasting countless hours on the internet. This is actually fun for the whole family. Teaches logic. Uh-Huh.)
3) Ravelry (of course)
4) Watch Ellen (our daily laugh)
5) Knit a vest (almost done with Noro vest... but too tired for pictures... or to gush on about my new passion for Noro)

Take your vitamins and stay healthy! Now I must go try to navigate my ship through the reef using highly technical sonar equipment so I can reach my target in chapter 5 of FIND815.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Oh Yeah...

It's definitely flu season. All week, I've watched my children fall ill one by one, while I cram vitamins and Trader Joes' Wellness Formula horse pills down my throat. But it's coming. I know it's coming.

I stood in the store yesterday trying to find the right mix of fever/cough/stuffy nose/runny nose/headache medicine for each child. The perfect combo was on sale, but it was only for children over 6. My youngest is 5, but I could only find cough/runny nose stuff for him. After about 15 minutes of squinting through labels, I decided that 5.5 was close enough to 6. I also faced a wide range of demands for gatorade and waters, then threw in a coupld of vaporizer things, a movie and a new thermometer... because I have a thing about thermometers. (Bring back the mercury... please! My boys broke at least 1/2 dozen of those old glass mercury ones before they disappeared and they survived just fine. Unless... well my oldest... no, I'm sure it's not because of that. Anyway, at least I knew what their temperatures were and this is obsessively important to me.)

On a more positive note, this does seem to be the type of flu that makes them want to lay around like silent lifeless blobs for about 4 days. Except for my middle boy. He's a whiner and moaner (probably gets it from me). He's been placed in another room because I was born with an underdeveloped compassion gene. What can I say?

So while they lay around watching movies and Sponge Bob, I get to ditch school and knit. My 2-at-a-time socks are coming along. I must admit that it's nice to get past 2 heel turns so quick and I much prefer this magic loop technique to the 2 circulars one... fewer needles to deal with and I've been surprised to face very few tangles as well. There does seem to be a few errors (erratas?) in the book however... the most significant one being in the basic instructions at steps 23/24. There is a helpful discussion at the author's forum over on Ravelry that you should check out if you try these.

I also received a package yesterday from Yarn 4 Socks. It was their February yarn kit which included a lovely skein of Yarntini (the color is beautiful and it's so soft) and a lace sock pattern designed by my blogging friend Michelle.

Today I escaped the moans and groans poor little sick ones for a bit to make an exchange at the LYS. Have you ever noticed that your return is always less than your new purchase? Oh well, I indulged in some Noro Kochoran and Cash Iroho. Must cast on soon.


Okay, I must go. It's temperature taking time.

"I thought genius lived in lamps." Patrick from Sponge Bob (just heard it in the background... one of my favorite lines from the show)