Thursday, June 29, 2006

In a funk

Not of the George Clinton variety, however. I've just been terribly down lately, and I'm getting tired of it. I'm one of those people who is totally understanding when others have this problem, but I have absolutely no patience for my own frailties. Bleah. The dishes haven't been done, the laundry is piling up, there are tumbleweeds in the corners in the kitchen, I haven't baked anything in ages, and I'm tired all the time. Food doesn't even taste right, which is really irritating. I've been skipping meals, though not necessarily on purpose, because nothing sounds good, and when I do make myself eat something, nothing tastes good either. One would hope that this would help me on the whole weight loss thing, which would be a major bonus & darn near worth the crappy attitude, but sadly, it's not to be. I even blew off cleaning the cat box for nearly a week, and let me tell you just how dangerous THAT can be. It's like a kitty version of Russian Roulette. (Gotta love my Stripes, though...she never did a thing to chastise me for it. Or at least if she did, she hid it so well that I still haven't found it yet...eeg...)

Anyway, suffice to say that I'm not feeling myself lately, and I'm fed up with it. In perkier news, however, my much adored SP8 sent the most lovely thinking-of-you gift a while back--a cute little notebook (I truly do have a weakness for such things, which would make a bit more sense if I wrote more, but hey, we cannot control our loves) & an awesome lotion bar in a tin. The lotion bar is wonderful--it smells incredible, and is the *perfect* size for popping into my knitting bag. I tend to have dry skin, especially if I've been working a lot, and I hate the way my hands feel on my knitting when they get that way. A couple rubs with this lotion bar, and I'm good to go! Thanks so much, SP8!! Oh yeah, and she also sent a kickass postcard that says "Friends Don't Let Friends Knit Drunk". Major wisdom right there, my friends. I *have* knit while drinking (though never fully drunk...I don't drink enough to get that far), and lemme tell ya, the stitches, they do get wonky.

And speaking of drinking, and my lovely SP8, I hereby present the very simple, yet damn tasty, aforementioned Apple Martini recipe. Shake equal parts green apple vodka & green apple Pucker (stupid name, tasty liquor) with a splash of Sweet & Sour mix & cracked ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into giant freaking martini glass, add a maraschino cherry, sip, and holler "dayum, that's good likker!". Or, of course, you could always just be like my not-so-much-a-drinker-yet-still-Irish husband & forego the booze & just eat the stupid cherries. He's a little weird sometimes.

Before I go attempt to tackle the huge pile o' laundry, monster stack of dishes, and vacuum up an entire colony of dustbunnies, I leave you with this parting shot. We've been getting a ton of rain around here, which seems like a pain in the arse, until you remember that last year at this time we were dealing with such an awful drought that half our farmers couldn't even break even for the year (and then you sorta shut up & qwitcherbitchin). It's really slowed down the playground time for the boys, and the lack of sunshine is hard on me, but sometimes, it's all worth it in the end.... Well, there WAS going to be a pretty shot of the view from my living room window, with stormy clouds & gorgeous lighting & a pretty rainbow, but NO, Blogger REFUSES to freaking post it! Omg, I'm really getting irritated with this! I try to upload the picture, and it even goes so far as to show me the blue "done" button, but no picture ever appears!! Grrrrrrrrrr!!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Stitch markers for swap, part two

A couple more photos of stitch markers available... (For more information on the swapping of the stitch markers, refer to the original post down below this one.)

Top row, starting at the left--These first two are honey/topaz colored sets, very warm & pretty. The next two are very much like the amber/tiger's eye sets in the previous post. The fifth set in the top row is a mix of translucent & opaque blues--very nice! The second row begins with two colorful sets that remind me of aliens. The beads have tiny little bumps on them--very cute, but rather alien-y. Or maybe I'm just weird. The middle set in the second row is light blue & pink, variegated like polished gemstones. Next is a pretty blue set with tiny silver accents, and the last set is a red, blue & green & crystal set with beautiful swirls of colorswapped. In the bottom row, we have first another colorful alien set, then a GORGEOUS pink/crystal set (the large bottom beads have tiny roses painted inside them--how cool is that?!), and finally threetwo colorful sets with a sparkly gold accent swirl. The top two rows of this picture are the bottom two rows of the last. The bottom row here starts with a green/crystal set with blue accents. Next is a pretty translucent blue set swapped, then a pink/opaque crystal set, another lovely blue set with blue flowers & butterflies, and finally a green/crystal set with red accents. The first & last ones are personal favorites of Eldest Boy, who picked the beads out himself.

Let the swapping begin!

Rubber kitty not included.

Stitch markers for swap!

Up for swap--billions and billions of stitch markers! I started making a set or two for my secret pals, and then I figured I oughta use up the leftovers, and then things really got out of hand. Heh. These are all hand crafted by moi, and each set has five stitch markers included. Each set is unique, uses only glass beads (don't much care for plastic), and each set is valued at roughly $10 (US currency, and I honestly have no clue what that's worth anywhere else in the world). Some sets are identical, some are fraternal, and some even have one that's just different enough from the others to be a great end-of-round marker. Each set also comes packaged in a cute little organza drawstring bag (not pictured). And, because I'm cool like that, I'm more than happy to ship directly to your Secret Pal, with a note in the package & everything. Yay!

I'd love to swap for all kinds of yarn, especially sock yarns (Socks That Rock, Lorna's Laces, Mountain Colors, Koigu KPPPM, etc. etc.), knitting books, or make a suggestion! Just leave a comment & we'll see what we can do! First come first served, of course, since each set is unique. I'll do my best to update this post regularly, too.

And on to the sparkly little jewels themselves...

From left to right, top to bottom--The top four are very similar sets, and I really wish my camera could show you just how beautiful they are! These are probably my favorites, as they're a very warm, amber/tiger's eye color, and have tiny flecks of gold & green in them. Just beautiful! The second row starts with a funky multicolored set, followed by a sparkly pink set, a pink/crystal/purple set swapped, and a pink/crystal set with tiny silver flowers. The bottom row has two sets of very bright, happy stitch markers, with neato little polka dots all over. Up next, we have a gorgeous blue & bottle green set, with gold embellishments (the beads are beautifully painted with gold swirlys & tiny pink accents--just beautiful!), a cobalt blue set, and two more amber/tiger's eye sets. Second row holds a lovely red/crystal set, a stunning red/white/black set, and two very colorful sets that remind me of fruity frozen cocktails. Bottom row starts with two colorful sets with tiny silver butterflies, and two pretty dark red/silvery black (like malachite) sets. The top two rows of this photo are the bottom two rows of the last, but the bottom row starts out with a pretty purple/crystal set with tiny silver dragonflies, a purple set, and then two more of the dark red/malachite sets.

Monday, June 19, 2006

I survived my HS reunion, and all I got was this kickass knitted shirt

So I made it through my high school reunion! It was the most surreal night ever...all these people I'd grown up with, but hadn't seen in a decade. They all looked like grownups, for the most part, and that was really bizarre. Most everyone is doing pretty darn well for themselves, which is good to hear, though it was sad to note just how many people have been divorced already.

I'm glad I went...all horrible nervousness aside, I'm glad I got the opportunity to see what everyone's been up to, and to show them all that I didn't go & self-destruct or anything weird like that. It was also good to realize how much *I've* grown up since then, too. I've put on a large amount of weight, which is especially awkward because I was always the really skinny one, and while I don't look bad or anything, I do feel pretty unhappy about it. I'm also really short, so the weight doesn't get distributed nearly as well as on taller people. I have to admit, for a time there I was feeling like the squat little troll next to everyone, but I'm glad that I was able to shake that off, more or less. It was also hard going in there without a fabulous career. Several of my friends are doing incredible things, and are really successful in their respective careers, and I am SO happy for them for that! Unfortunately, saying "yeah, I'm a mom" doesn't get quite the wow effect that most jobs get. It was interesting to see what others expected of me, too. One guy was absolutely certain I'd be a vet by now! I have to admit, that's really flattering, in a weird sort of way.

It's good to know that I have done a few things right since high school. I've got two adorable, frightfully intelligent little boys, and I've got the ability & skill to homeschool the little weasels. I've got a gorgeous husband who truly loves me (and it's painfully obvious to anyone around that he does...which is SO cool!), a successful marriage, and a happy home life. I can pretty much guarantee that if I did have the cool career, these are the things that I'd be longing for & wishing I had. The grass is always greener, eh?

I am bummed that I missed out on meeting Aidan at the World Wide Knit In Public Day in Chicago, though. Personally, I love to knit in public, and do it as often as I can. You can elicit some really strange looks from people that way. Most recently, I knit at a vintage baseball game, in the rain, no less (fortunately, we were under a park shelter, so my sock didn't get wet, but it sure was humid! Made the needles feel sticky.). I figured since they're playing by 1859 rules & everyone's in (semi) period attire, me & my sock knitting should fit in just fine. Eldest Boy was pleased, too, because it's *his* sock that I'm working on right now. I promised myself that I'd finish his socks (top down, basic stockinette with heel flap) before I'd allow myself to cast on any more socks and/or boy items. I've actually had these socks on the needles for a month or two now, and I feel awful for it. I don't generally mind letting a WIP languish, except that he's so excited about them, and gets these big hopeful eyes every time I sit down to knit. I'm determined to finish them this week, mostly so I can make him happy, but also so I can cast on a couple more pairs of socks. I'm such a junkie. Anyway, I'm dying to try Wendy's Toe Up socks, from Wendy Knits, and I'm also just giddy with excitement over receiving Sensational Knitted Socks, and can't WAIT to pick a pair to work on from there. There's literally hundreds of options, once you take into account all the pattern variations, and the fact that she works each pattern on 4 dpns, 5 dpns, AND 2 circs. I mean, dayum! How can I choose??

I'd also like to cast on for a boy sweater sometime soon, too. I've got everything I need, but again, I promised myself I'd finish the socks first. I like to have a nice variety of things on the needles, so I can work on complicated things when I've got time, and simpler things when I'm watching a really interesting movie, etc. I've got the pattern all picked out--just a very simple rollneck sweater, but one that promises to look really cute on my weasels. My only concern is even if I make it huge right now, will they have grown out of it already by fall? They're such stretchy little people...Boy the Younger has recently had a bizarre arm growing incident that has me thoroughly baffled. He tried on a long sleeved shirt from last fall, and while the body of the shirt fits just fine, the sleeves are about 3/4 of the length down his arms now. HOW can just his arms grow?? He doesn't look like a disproportionate gorilla or anything...what the heck happened there?! I know the shirt didn't shrink somehow, either, because we tried on three or four, all with the same effect. Sheesh. So yeah, I'm a bit nervous about knitting sweaters for those two.

Speaking of knitting shirt-like garments, I did finish my Picovoli!! I didn't get to wear it to the reunion, but that's okay, because it was surprisingly cold & rainy that day. It's not yet blocked, but it is finished otherwise. Blocking will involve setting up my ironing board in my kitchen, which is a big 'ol in-my-way pain in the rear, so I've been sort of putting it off a bit. I really do want to get on that, though, so I can wear the darn thing in public. It's SO snug right now! I've heard good things about blocking this particular shirt, though, so I'm hopeful. Sadly, I'm completely picture-less today, but I hope to remedy that soon.

Other things that I need to take pictures of--my One Skein Secret Pal sent me the most GORGEOUS skein of Malabrigo!!! The color is called Hollyhock, and it's absolutely beautiful...shades of violet & purple that almost glow. I'm going to have a tough time deciding what to make with it. I suspect I'll spend a good deal of time just petting it for a while. Malabrigo is just the softest thing EVER, imo. Thanks, OSH!!!

Monday, June 05, 2006

H is for Ponies! No, wait...

Yeah yeah, I'm horribly far behind on my ABCalong. Deal. Anyway, H is for...
McEachan. Wait...that begins with M...but whatever. This is my mom's latest love last month. He's still mostly a baby, so he's not grown into the gorgeous Freisian that he will become, but he's not half bad right now. She also owns a couple quarter horses...

This is Mozette, and her son Andy, but don't ask me which is which. They're virtually identical, and look like bookends when they stand together. This photo was taken last summer, as you can see by the height of the corn in the background. Andy is actually even bigger now, and is fully in training (Mom trains horses for a living, though she's semi-retired now, and mostly just working on her own ponies these days). Mozette was quite the showhorse in her day, but she's mostly retired too, and spends most of her time telling the other horses where to go & how to stand. She enjoys her job. She's a daughter of Mosby, who is a big fat hairy deal in the AQHA* world, and I believe he's even been made into a Breyer horse. McEachan's daddy was made into a Breyer horse just this year, too. His name is Goffert 369, and he's puuuuurty. Then there's also this guy. This is Forrest Gump (no kidding), a quarter horse gelding. This isn't the best pic of him, but the only one I've got. He was getting Reserve Grand Champion at some show or another in this shot, hence the huge honkin ribbon & goofy grin on my mom there. He's a great show horse too, but he's edging into retirement as well, partially due to aggravating allergies. (Yep, horses get icky allergies too. Drives them nuts, sometimes even worse than it does people.)

She's also got a cute-as-a-button older'n dirt pony (yeah, a real pony, not just a horse with a silly nickname) for the boys named Henry Ryder. I'd post pictures of him, because he really is cute, but the only shots I have of him have my sons in the picture too, so y'all just have to take my word for it.

Sadly, the pic that was *supposed* to be at the end of the previous post refused to post, and I'm beginning to think there's something wrong with the picture itself, because I can't get it to post here either. Oy. Sorry about that...but believe me, it was a cute cat & yarn shot. Feh.

*AQHA is the American Quarter Horse Association. Basically, the breed registry, and if I'm not mistaken, one of the largest registries in the world. Mosby has sired all kinds of world champions, which is pretty durn cool, imo.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Yay, SP8!!

Okay, so I meant to post this last week, but blogger has been giving me fits, so things have been moving slowly on the computer front. Last week, I found the most gorgeous postcard in my mailbox, from my AWESOME Evil Secret Pal! It had huge hanks of handdyed yarn on the front, with lilacs tucked in amongst the strands. I'm beginning to think that my secret pal is psychic...lilacs are far & away my favorite flower! She's quite a tease, too, and for good reason. Yesterday, I got a box in the mail from a nameless sender. Heh. Everything in it was beautifully wrapped in bright, cheery summery colors, and I'm sorry to say that I didn't think to take any pictures before I tore into it. I literally squealed out loud, which if you know me, is quite a thing...I am *not* the squeal-y type. My wonderful secret pal sent me Sensational Knitted Socks, by Charlotte Schurch, which I have been coveting forEVER!! I am SO excited about this book!! (I even called my mom to squee about it, and now she thinks I'm insane...she doesn't get the joys of a book about socks. But geez, it's got detailed instructions for working TONS of gorgeous socks & stitch patterns on 4 dpns, 5 dpns, AND 2 circulars!! I mean, GEEZ!! How cool is that!) Not only did I receive this cooler'n hell book, but she also sent stitch markers, a needle & hook gauge card, AND the most gorgeous handpainted sock yarn from Shelridge Farm! It's in beautiful shades of blue, and makes me think of Atlantic tide pools. I can't wait to see how it knits up! It's incredibly soft, too, which is always appreciated. My Secret Pal rocks!!! Honestly, anyone who can make *me* squeal out loud, thus freaking the heck outta my cat, is awesome. Thanks, Secret Pal! (Sorry for the weird quality of the's the best natural light I could get, but there's shadows from the sliding glass door & balcony railing...oy.)

Crazy Kitty sez this yarn belongs to her. (No, I didn't pose the cat...she did that by herself, and frankly, I couldn't pose this cat if I tried.)