30 November 2008

So Close!

This has been a busy and productive weekend. And look - I'm working on the last of the Christmas gifts I had decided to make at the end of last year, for family members this year! Actually, this picture is from Friday, and since then, I have finished this sock to where you start the toe, and am more than halfway through the foot of sock #2.

I am calling these Fly Eagles Fly! Socks, as they are in the team colors of the Philadelphia Eagles. They will be a gift for my niece Julie's husband, Keith, who is an Eagles fan. You may recall that earlier in the year, I made socks for two other nieces' husbands in the colors of the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens.* I'm pleased with how these are turning out, and hope to maybe finish them tonight - or tomorrow night at the latest!

By the way, look at these socks - cool, huh? I may have to give these a try sometime. Meaning, not any time soon, as there are other things I would like to get to first. But I'll file the pattern away, and someday be completely surprised to see it ...

I also got some little projects done/put away, and some things organized for the next few weeks. And believe it or not, I even cleaned! Yep, I got the third floor cleaned up and it looks pretty good, I have to say. Let's not try to guess - or remember - the last time I cleaned, OK? Everyone will be better off, trust me.

Others were worn out from the holiday long weekend:

You know how it is - when you are used to sleeping 22 hours a day, and you only get 20 hours in, it can be exhausting!

*Never, ever will you see me knitting socks - or anything - in the colors of the Dallas Cowboys. Just so you know.

28 November 2008

Wrapped Up

Well, we had a great Thanksgiving Day yesterday. We stayed put, watched parades, ate too much, drank wine, watched the Eagles win (why couldn't they play like that all season??), and then even though we ate too much, we both had a big piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream and a cup of tea. Very enjoyable. And there are still some leftovers, hooray!

I also finished knitting the item below, and blocked it overnight. This is the Herringbone Neck Warmer (free pattern), and once you get the hang of the herringbone stitch, it's a really quick knit!

I signed up for Back-Tack 4, a really interesting swap that this year has the theme of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. At least one of the items you send has to be hand made, so this is what I chose to send. My swap partner, Kaitlyn, said her favorite color was orange, and this yarn (Sheep Shop 1) has a lot of pretty reds and oranges in it.

The buttons are ones that were in one of those little "Extra Button" envelopes that you get when you buy clothes. They belonged to a jacket that I no longer have, and I think they are perfect for this. I'm glad I found them, since a) the package goes out tomorrow, and b) I had no other interesting buttons that weren't singles. Hopefully the recipient will like it. I'm really pleased with how well it turned out. I think I will make another one for a gift, since I finished this in four days, while also working on, and doing, other things.


Pattern: Herringbone Neck Warmer
Yarn: Sheep Shop 1, colorway G049; 1 skein
Needles: US size 11
Started: November 24, 2008
Finished: November 28, 2008

And so, tomorrow morning, this happy package of surprises will be on its way to Arlington, Virginia.

Back soon with more show-and-tell!

27 November 2008

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.

Happy Thanksgiving!

25 November 2008

Uh-oh ...

This cannot be good ...

Is your cat plotting to kill you?

22 November 2008

Plenty of Nothin'

It's a good thing today is Saturday. Because I barely made it through yesterday, and had absolutely put up with as much of the end of the week as I could. If today had been Friday, I would have had to call out sick and therefore upset the delicate balance of the universe at work where they think that it *may* be OK to call out sick if you are literally in a bed in intensive care with tubes coming in and out of you all over the place.

But it is Saturday, so I have been able to just relax, knit, watch TV and movies, and then watch Notre Dame snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. In spite of that last thing, it's been a pretty good day. I have been able to engage in my coughing fits in privacy, therefore not bothering anyone else, or making them think I'm infectious. (Well, a couple of times the Garden Kitty was startled and had to run downstairs, but I don't really count that.)

Yes, I still have The Cough That Will Not Stop and Has Now Caused Me To Pull a Muscle So That It Really Hurts When I Cough. The rest of the cold/bronchitis/crud/whatever has cleared up. So my plan for the coming week is to see if I can get in to see the doctor again. Because I don't get to see enough doctors on a regular basis ...

Moving on.

Thank you to everyone who sent birthday wishes to The Tim. He was quite pleased. We had a very nice day together on Tuesday (both of us took the day off), with birthday cake and presents in the evening. Then last night, we celebrated again with Karen and Sebastian. So I think it was a successful birthday event. Now for the next four months, The Tim and I are the same age. Which means he will have little to say about it, since calling me old would make him old too. And we can't have that!

So I saw two things in the newspaper today that intrigued me. First, the story about Jimmy Carter being banned from visiting Zimbabwe to investigate human rights violations. I find it amazing that Jimmy Carter would be banned from someplace. I do, of course, understand what Zimbabwe is doing, but still - Jimmy Carter??? Banned??

Then the story about the glitches in the new system in the space station that will recycle urine to provide drinking water for astronauts. Ew. Once again, I understand why it is being developed in the first place, etc., but still - ew.

Other than that, all that's left is this:

Your Hair Should Be Purple

Intense, thoughtful, and unconventional.

You're always philosophizing and inspiring others with your insights.

Who knew I was inspiring? Or even had insights? The things you learn about yourself from online quizzes ...

18 November 2008


Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday, dear The Tim,
Happy Birthday to you!

... and many more!

16 November 2008

W - Not What You Think ...

As the ABC-Along 2008 moves along, the letter W is next up (for me - actually I should have posted this before yesterday, but to be honest, I kept forgetting). Over the last 8 years, we've heard "W" used as our president's nickname. Since I am not a fan of his, I wanted to have something else for that letter. Originally, W was going to be for Waffles, but after I uploaded the picture I took this morning of my breakfast waffle, I decided if it had actually looked like the picture, a) I wouldn't have wanted to eat it, and b) would have gotten sick if I did!

Then I remembered there were still a lot of pictures that worked for the letter W, and I got a few more organized. As a result,

W is for Wedding!

More specifically, my niece Julie's wedding this past August in Puerto Rico. We have tons of pictures, so many that I'm not even halfway through looking at them, much less organizing them, editing, etc. But here are a few more that I haven't posted before.

The ceremony

Left: Zach

Right: My niece Lauren, her mom Nancy, and my niece Liz who was the maid of honor

Julie and Keith get ready to dance

It was such a pretty wedding, in a beautiful setting - and now it seems like it was ages ago! But I think it's the perfect thing to use for my W post.

12 November 2008

October Book Report

Last month, I only managed to read three books. "Only" because two of them really qualified as novellas, so you'd think I would have read more. But I was busy with holiday knitting projects, a lot of running around, and a killer of a cold that of course turned into bronchitis, meaning little sleep and coughing fits that made it hardly worth trying to follow the plot of a book!

My first read was Washington Square, by Henry James. I mainly read this because it was in the same volume as Daisy Miller, which I had read in September. I figured if they were both there, I'd read both before returning the borrowed book.

Washington Square refers to the New York City address of a doctor whose wife dies young, leaving him with a daughter to raise. He invites his sister to move in with them, and help raise the daughter. I loved the descriptions of the houses and the different areas of New York City from the 19th century. As is often the case, I was frustrated by the social limitations placed on women during that time, as well as their unwillingness/inability to speak for themselves.

The story deals with the daughter as a young adult, meeting and falling in love with a cousin of the man that her cousin is going to marry. As time goes on, she becomes more and more enamored of him, with her aunt encouraging them both, and the father disapproving. The daughter will inherit a nice estate upon her father's death, and because he disapproves of her young man, her father threatens to disinherit her if she marries him. In the meantime, it's clear that the gentleman suitor is not the most admirable character. Catherine's refusal to marry him, and the resulting life she leads before they meet again years later, did not surprise me based on the rest of the story.

The saddest thing is that it wasn't until I reached the end, that I realized it was the book upon which the play "The Heiress" was based, which I had actually seen on Broadway with Cherry Jones in the leading role a few years back. I enjoyed the play much more than the book, I have to say, and I think because the actors supplied nuance and visual cues that I could just not get from the book.

Next up, an enjoyable novella: The Uncommon Reader, by Alan Bennett. This was the last book on my list for the Novella Challenge, which officially ended in September, but I wanted to read the book anyhow, so I just continued.

The premise of the book is that one day when Queen Elizabeth is out with her corgis, they run off the beaten path, and she finds them near a mobile library on the palace grounds. She enters, and is surprised to see just what it is. One of the kitchen employees, who is a regular, comes in, and he and the librarian discuss what he has been reading, etc. The Queen feels obliged to borrow a book, and as the story continues, she finds that she really enjoys reading.

What I enjoyed most about the story was the reactions of those around her to her newfound love of reading. They are puzzled, and often annoyed, by her literary references, and her questions regarding what they may have read, and why. The book opens with a scene where she is sitting next to the President of France at a dinner party, and asks him a question about Balzac. The President's internal dialogue of dread really amused me.

Another aspect that intrigued me was the discussion about the limitations on what the Queen can/should do or not do. For instance, the statement is made that she cannot in any way say that one thing is her favorite, since as Queen she is not supposed to be partial. Whenever she mentions to her aides that a certain book is her new favorite, they plead with her to not tell anyone else, since it would cause all kinds of problems. This is just not something that ever occurred to me prior to reading this book, even though it makes a certain amount of sense. (Admittedly, I spend no time pondering the Queen or her life, so perhaps this struck me more than it would some others.)

Finally, I got around to reading a book that my co-worker, Eileen, loaned to me a while back, called Things You Get for Free, by Michael McGirr. The author details a trip he took with his mother after the death of his father. At the time, he was a Jesuit priest, and it was his way of helping his mother deal with her husband's death, while giving him a chance to get to know her, and some family history, a little bit better.

The title refers to his mother's love of getting something for free - whether it be the free bottles of shampoo in a hotel room, or an extra excursion on their trip if they book by a certain date. As they visit different places in Europe, coming from Australia, McGirr learns how his parents met, how they were as young people before having children, and he meets relatives that he has only ever heard about in passing. Both parents having been rather reserved and self-sufficient, he is surprised to learn about their feelings and their experiences.

There is also an exploration on his part of how he really felt about his father, and how he is dealing with his father's death. His version of events and places as compared to his mother's reactions during the trip are also interesting, as he sees himself on something akin to a pilgrimage, while she is finally taking a trip that had to be postponed when she was a young married woman, ready to explore the world.

I also enjoyed McGirr's comments and observations about the other tourists in their group. The group is international, and this makes for interesting conversations between his mother and the others, as well as her later comments to him when they are alone. (I can tell you that young women from New Jersey take quite a beating in this book!)

Not the best book I've ever read, but enjoyable.

At the moment, I am not signed up for any more reading challenges, and as of today, have not been able to decide on one single next thing to read! I have been catching up on magazines in the meantime, but right now, I'm not sure what I'm in the mood to read next ... decisions, decisions!

11 November 2008

Veterans Day 2008

In war, there are no unwounded soldiers
- José Narosky

07 November 2008

Friday Night Jumble

I'm feeling a little bit scattered, so this post will have absolutely no continuity ...

First, let me get myself caught up with the ABC-Along 2008

Yes, tonight is my last chance to be caught up, with the letter V. So I must tell you:

V is for Victory!!

As in, World Series 2008 Victory!! It's still as exciting to think about as it was when it happened, and last Friday there was a humongous parade for the Phillies. I really wanted to go, but of course couldn't, so I had to wait to see other people's pictures of it, and then watch a little bit of the rerun on TV this past Sunday. I can't tell you how nice it has been to see people walking around looking just plain happy in general - which is something Philadelphia deserves, given that so much of the news around here so much of the time is not happy.

I don't know if you can tell in the picture above, but one of the Phillies even has a victorious name - yep, Shane Victorino - how about that? Whenever he comes to bat, I always think he would be a perfect neighbor for Ned Flanders on "The Simpsons" - you know, Ned would likely say, "Well, hi-dilly ho there, neighborino Victorino!"

Well, it amuses me anyway ...

The Election ...

OK, so I'm the only person who didn't write a blog post about the election outcome. But that doesn't mean that I didn't/don't care, because I thought it was all very exciting, since there were so many undecided voters, and really, you never know what could happen. Plus, I LOVE to vote! And when even one person I voted for wins, it's such a nice feeling.

I am looking forward to seeing what happens next. Though I don't say much about it here, I'm really a political junkie, if a cynical one. Partly because I am cynical by nature anyway, and partly because working at the Senate for a few years shows you how it works, day by day. Which I appreciate, and which in the end does not affect my ridiculous idealism at all.

Also - I just want to point out that this week's election shows that "As goes Doughboy, so goes the nation" ...

Speaking of politics

Do you remember the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich? Well, I'll admit that I have never been a fan of his, politically or from what I have read about him, personally. So a couple of weeks ago, when I was eating breakfast, and was watching one of the morning news shows, they had him on to talk about the [then] upcoming election. I turned to the Garden Kitty, and said, "Garden Kitty, who the crap cares what he has to say now? I didn't even care what he had to say before!" To which it was clear that the Garden Kitty agreed.

Well, later that night, The Tim and I were watching TV on the third floor (I don't remember what we were watching, but I'm sure it was PBS - you know, just like always ...), and we could hear GK on the first floor, making this God-awful moaning sound. It was clear that he was headed up the steps, and when he got to the third floor, he dropped this at my feet:

It's a Newt Hoot! A catnip toy, originally given to our cat Molly, by our friend Carr (we met working at the Senate together)! Molly really really hated this toy, and regularly attacked it and threw it around mercilessly. For probably quite a few years it has languished at the bottom of the toy bucket, only to be resurrected in a timely fashion! Seriously, I have no idea how/why GK found this and decided to "kill" it on a regular basis, but it cracks me up. Since then, Newt gets quite a thrashing on a nightly basis.

Le Sigh. No Stitches for me ...

Finally (aren't you glad?), I am dismayed because Stitches East is this weekend in Baltimore, and for the first time in two years, I am not going. [Insert sad face.] My usual partner-in-knitting crime, Sharrie, decided that she would do Rhinebeck instead of Stitches this year. Because he is a nice person, The Tim offered to go with me, but I said never mind. Much as I wanted to go, the fact that it would mean spending money for gas, as well as buying something once I got there (I know I couldn't look and not buy anything!), made me think that with the whole employment situation being iffy, it would make more sense to stay put. Next year, I've heard it's in Hartford, Connecticut, so I know I won't make it. Not like I need anything, as you can probably imagine, but I'm sure you can also appreciate how fun it is to go.

Such is life. I shall survive, I'm certain, and I have plenty of projects - knitting-related and otherwise - to occupy my weekend. But I'm counting on any of you who do get the chance to go, to post about it, complete with pictures, so that I can be there vicariously!

04 November 2008




No matter where your interests lie, the most important thing today is to get yourself to your polling place and ...


01 November 2008

But what about U?

Once again, I'm a little bit behind on the ABC-Along 2008. The letter U had me somewhat stumped. At first, I was going say that U is for Uvula, because the word amuses me. However, the only pictures I could find of uvulas (uvulae?) were not very attractive.

But then last Saturday night, when we were in Baltimore, for my niece Amanda and her husband Patrick's Halloween party, it struck me that:

U is for Unusual!

For instance, who knew that Sarah Palin and Zombie John McCain would be there,
reminding everyone to vote?

Pat and Amanda's house looked unusual, too:

Granted, Amanda and Pat looked looked like their usual selves ...

A rather unusual set of law partners were there. Kinda makes you want to stay on the good side of the law ...

And how often do you see Braveheart and Dracula hanging out together??

Or Superman and a fairy princess??

Foudy doesn't actually need to dress as The Joker to be considered um, unusual ...

However, these girls were ready to party!

This couple dressed as each other! Everyone who knew them was really freaked out.

This woman could give Amy Winehouse a run for her money, eyeliner-wise ...

And this guy - well I think the picture speaks for itself.

Personally, I found it odd that Braveheart was married to a leopard ...

Though I also would not expect a witch, Zombie John McCain, and Guy Fawkes to hang out together either ...

And why would La Liz want to hang out with him????

Especially when she could hang out with a transgendered nun (Sister Frances Francis), a witch queen, and a man dressed as his wife????

Hmmm. Maybe Unusual was the least of it ...