Thursday, May 31, 2007

The guilt got to me...

I made a special trip to the Post Office tonight to send the SP10 package. At least on the way there I got to watch people on roller coasters (I live near a Six Flags and it is on my route).

One of the things I love about modern life is the ability to go to the Post Office when it is not open, and still send a package.

I was going to buy some one-cent stamps so I can use up the rest of my 39-centers, but that machine was being commandeered by some woman who was emptying her life savings into it, a penny at a time. Oh well, at least that was a different machine than the package-sending one.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Need to vent...

OK, so I posted about this elsewhere, but I feel this needs a wider audience, so here goes:

So today I was leaving work (quite late as usual). My office is about 100 feet from a major intersection, very near to which there is construction going on. So there was nasty traffic. It took me 10 minutes just to get up to the intersection to turn right, because the cross street was full of traffic, even sitting in the intersection when the light was green for our street.

Well, this jerk behind me starts honking because apparently he wants me to drive THROUGH the enormous FedEx tractor trailer truck that is immediately in front of me in the road. And proceeds to honk every 30 seconds because he seems to know some miraculous way I can go underneath it or fly over it, or something. Of course when that truck moved, the light was green for the other road, and the guy kept honking as cars streamed past in front of me with maybe 20 inches between them. Suddenly I see him open his car door and GET OUT OF HIS CAR AND START WALKING TOWARDS ME. He looked about 50 and very out of shape, but menacing.

Just as he got to the very front of his own car, I saw a tiny opening, and even though someone immediately opposite me was turning left and headed for the opening, I squeezed in. That meant that while he was scurrying back to his own car, that left-turning car and several others got between me and him...and luckily it seems he was not getting on the expressway I was, because he did not end up behind me in the left turn lane.

It all ended well, but how scary is that? I can't believe some people are such jerks. Basically he was just taking the bad traffic out on me, because I guarantee you, had he been in front of me instead of behind me, he wouldn't have been able to go anywhere either.

A little more...

So here is the SP package I got a little over a week ago:

More luscious Malabrigo...

And some fun buttons. I am sure I will make something at some point that needs buttons...just no more zippers!

I also recently bought some more sock yarn:

Couldn't resist those colors. It's DK weight, so not sure what pattern I'll use it for, but I imagine it will knit up fun and go with lots of things in my wardrobe at the same time.

Last but not least, this came as a late b-day gift from Mom last night:

Yay! I have been wanting this since before the publication date. My old favorite, Retro Ribs is in here, along with a few others I really want to make.

No gardening tonight - got home a bit too late for that. I think I'm going to petition my boss for a laptop so I can do my e-mailing at home after supper rather than while I should be getting myself home to cook and eat supper!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Playing catch-up.

Work has been KICKING MY ASS lately. Add in the commute (an hour plus each way) and I don't have much left.

Over the holiday weekend we worked on the garden. It is always a jungle by this time, but it is a swamp until the second week of May so we can't get on top of it early. We weeded, turned beds over, and loosened soil. We got all 100 tomato plants in (that's right, a hundred, not a typo), 5 bell pepper plants, and a couple cucumbers. Tonight I did some direct seeding of butternut squash, buttercup squash, hubbard squash, muskmelon, and watermelon...oh, and pumpkin. Those all take up tons of room so I only did 3 seeds of each. I'm going to try to spend 15-20 minutes in the garden every evening so the weekend won't be so bad. There is still so much to do!

I have an outgoing Secret Pal package that has been sitting by my front door for 2 weeks. I feel like a schmuck. I also received a package a week ago and haven't posted photos yet. Basically, I suck in the SP department right now.

I have also been knitting. I'm almost halfway on the second Monkey sock. I need one more monkey related item before I can send that package off, but the rest of it is packed up in the box.

Depending on when I get home tomorrow, I am hoping to take and post some photos.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Monkeys #2

So here is the STR Love in Idleness yarn, wound up:

I think it looks even better here than it did in the skein...and it gets even better when it knits up!

I started this at knitting group on Thursday night and am almost ready to start the heel flap (just a few more rows). I love this pattern and it looks so great with this colorway. I sort of wish I was going to get to keep these...but they are for the swap, so I hope the recipient really enjoys them. I am making a point of not knitting super tight (like I usually do) and am getting a lovely soft fabric.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Baby Socks

These are for my new niece Juliet in Atlanta.

I even got them to match :)

Pattern - "Infant Socks" from the 2007 Pattern a Day calendar.
Needles - size 3 DPNs
Yarn - Opal DK

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Time for something light...

Found this on the Internets, and it looked fun :)

Mark with bold the things you have ever knit, with italics the ones you plan to do sometime, and leave the rest.

Garter stitch

Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: cuff-up
Mittens: tip-down
Knitting with silk

Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL

Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn

Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (=modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Baby items

Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffiti knitting
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)

Lace patterns
Teaching a child to knit/crochet

American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting

Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cosies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on one or two circulars

Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with dpns
Holiday related knitting

Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting two socks on two circulars simultaneously
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener stitch
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO

Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self patterning/self striping/variegated yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere

Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern

Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mits/armwarmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine

Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories

Knitting in public

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Update time...

So I got another SP package the other day - imagine my delight when I found THIS inside:

Malabrigo! I usually gush about Manos del Uruguay, but Malabrigo is pretty much the same thing (and let's face it, the name is more fun). I love the colors! Also, some fun Burt's Bees goodies - I love Burt's! She also sent some really nice Body Shop perfumes that I unfortunately have no photos of because I was too allergic to them to take them out of the ziploc bag :( I will find a good home for those, though.

Here is a better view of the yarn for the Monkey Swap socks:

Whee! I do have to say the colors are a bit deeper than in the photo, though. I did wind the yarn, but didn't take any photos of that yet.

And now for something completely silly... I wandered into the washroom on a different floor of my work building today, and encountered this sign:

I couldn't help but snicker. They REALLY used the terms "#1" and "#2" to identify the various, um, "deposits" you might be making? Good lord. I am actually all in favor of this technology to avoid wasting water, but are we all 6 years old? (I know. I can't believe I went and got my cell phone to take a picture of it either, but seriously, this was too ridiculous not to share.)

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Just finished:

I managed to avoid the "ears" on the second one by grafting really tightly (thanks Julie and Sharon!). Not sure yet whether I will keep these or give them away.

These are (obviously) "Monkey" by Cookie A. Yarn is Socks That Rock Mediumweight in the "Meteorite" colorway. I used size 2 Knitpicks DPNs.

Friday, May 11, 2007

100 Things About Me

1. I was born about 6 weeks prematurely. As you might imagine, I am a very impatient person.

2. I never sneeze just is usually between 5 and 7 times in a row, with the occasional 9 or 10. People who know I do this should wait until I'm done, instead of saying "bless you" with more incredulity with every sneeze that comes out. That got old really when I was 6 years old.

3. I have very little tolerance for people who are high maintenance in any regard.

4. I love my cats. I consider them family members. The sooner and more completely you understand this, the better we will get along.

5. I cannot knit in the car when it is close to a mealtime. I get all hot, sweaty, and pukey. I can read and things are fine. If we are nowhere near a mealtime, I can knit with no problems.

6. I am NOT a morning person. However, I exercise at 6:00 am because that is when I can fit it in. I still tend to not be fully awake until about 10:00 am.

7. I am very extroverted (love to be around other people, participate in social activities, etc.), but am extremely shy about initiating contact.

8. I am not one of those people who has to wear makeup everywhere they go. I only wear it when I absolutely have to...and even then I keep it very minimalist. I do love lipstick but I never remember to put it on.

9. My favorite things to eat are artichokes, tomatoes (fresh from the garden only), bread, cheese, and chocolate brownies. No, I'm not going to put them in any sort of order.

10. I have pretty nasty allergies and need to get shots for 6 different allergens on a monthly basis.

11. I bake bread almost every weekend. It started as something to do and a way to save money when I was out of work; now I prefer my own bread to anyone else's.

12. I love leftovers. I often cook tons more than I need of something so I can either freeze it, have a few nights' worth of suppers, or take some to work for lunch.

13. I hate driving. I do, however, love my car, so that makes things a bit more tolerable.

14. I have a bachelor's degree in English and American Literature, and a master's degree in Business.

15. I have a huge aversion to spending money. Even yarn purchases give me pause, and sometimes I even walk away from them.

16. Whenever organic is an option, that's what I choose.

17. I live pretty much the same way I did when I made half the amount of money I do now (see #15).

18. I love giraffes. I do not, however, collect items that are shaped like giraffes, or have giraffes on them.

19. I really, really hate flying. I will do it, but I'm pretty much miserable the whole time.

20. I am scared to death of tornadoes.

21. I have constant ringing in my ears. I don't notice it most of the time, but sometimes at night it is so loud I can't sleep...especially if I am under a lot of stress.

22. I put lots of sugar and cream in my coffee, but can't stand to put either one in my tea.

23. I hate when the temperature gets above 78 degrees.

24. I never, never, never buy clothes or shoes at full retail price. It is physically impossible for me to do so. I once witnessed a friend pay $70 for a blouse, and wasn't sure whether I should faint or vomit. In my opinion $70 should get you at least 3 or 4 articles of clothing, and even then I feel like I'm spending a ton of money.

25. I have wanted to live in Seattle since the first time I went there about 10 years ago. Actually, I decided I wanted to live there even before the plane landed, as I was looking out the window. Someday, I will do it.

26. I swim 10 miles a week (spread over 5 days) and do yoga once a week for an hour.

27. I grind my teeth at night, so I wear a night guard to protect my teeth. The dentist made it for me. It was not cheap, but it was some of the best money I've ever spent.

28. I always save the comics section of the paper to read with C. I have done this since we were first dating a LONG time ago. Right now we have over 2 months' worth piled up, waiting for us to read them.

29. I speak French halfway decently, and I speak a teeny-tiny bit of Italian. When we were in Italy last year I discovered that I also have a French accent speaking Italian (whereas I assumed I would have a really bad American accent).

30. I love wine. Red wine. I do not like beer at all, and I can take or leave most mixed drinks.

31. I drink far more water than anything else, though.

32. We stopped eating processed food sometime in 2000 or 2001. It was a big change at the time but now I can't even imagine buying that stuff.

33. My last name has an apostrophe in it, which many many web sites cannot handle. C says this is due to sloppy coding (and I believe him since he works for a web site right now).

34. When I am walking on a regular basis, I can walk a 12-minute mile outside. However, I am limited to a 16 or 17-minute mile on a treadmill, because walking any faster will give me horrific blisters. I have no idea why I generally only get blisters when using a treadmill, but it happens consistently.

35. I love things with smiley faces or hearts on them.

36. I am extremely allergic to roses and have been all my life. Due to this, I think they are ugly and smell bad. (Most men I tell this to cannot believe how lucky C is in this regard.)

37. I really am not interested in jewelry at all. (Again, C got very lucky here.)

38. When something happens to embarrass me, I usually stew about it for days.

39. I have horrible hand-eye coordination. Someone once tried to teach me to shoot pool, and I kept missing the cue ball. In general, I am really bad at any sport involving a ball (unless you count bowling, where I am very inconsistent, but sometimes get good results).

40. I am extremely anti-WalMart and will not shop there or Sam's Club. If this surprises you, I beg you to rent and watch this movie.

41. I pay off my credit card every month. I think I would break out in hives if I left a balance on it.

42. I am somewhat spatially challenged and often walk into the edges of doorways, thinking I have full clearance. I also commonly walk into the corners of file cabinets at work. I almost don't notice this anymore.

43. I used to love milk chocolate and hate dark chocolate, and then somehow my tastes suddenly reversed.

44. I stopped eating beef the day they found Mad Cow Disease in Canada. To satisfy my red meat cravings, I eat bison, ostrich, and venison. I think all of these taste better than beef anyway...though I do really miss corned beef.

45. I don't read many books...I was an English major in college, and the last thing I wanted to do with my free time was read a novel. That has pretty much stuck, though I do love cookbooks, gardening books, and knitting books.

46. I am, however, completely addicted to magazines. I have about a dozen subscriptions. I can usually read a magazine while knitting, which is a bonus.

47. When I was a kid, I loved dinosaurs and wanted to be a paleontologist.

48. What I actually do - work in database marketing for a huge bank.

49. When I get a cough, it usually will not go away without the help of prednisone (nasty, nasty stuff).

50. I wear black more than any other color, but my favorite color is plum/eggplant purple.

51. I have been coloring my hair red since I was 20.

52. I have a bad habit of piling things, which translates to a huge mess in my house. I can't seem to break the habit for more than 2 or 3 days.

53. I wear wool socks year round. Good thing I like to knit them!

54. My favorite season is autumn.

55. Now that I've been to Europe once, I have this huge urge to go back and see more. Constantly.

56. I have no gaydar. None. Every time I've found out someone I knew was gay, I've been surprised.

57. I love taking surveys.

58. I hate staying in hotels.

59. I have very little concept of time. If I don't have access to a clock, I am very likely to under or overestimate the amount of time that has a lot.

60. I get very uncomfortable in banks, gas stations, and post offices. I really have no explanation.

61. I still get excited at the end of every day that I am going to see my husband when I get home. (We have been together for 12 years; married almost 5) :)

62. I don't really like talking on the phone, and I usually cringe when my phone rings. This is kind of weird to me, because I used to be completely the opposite. Not sure what happened or when, really.

63. I don't wear high heels very often...I like them, but it's too miserable driving in them, so I don't usually bother.

64. I get very grumpy when my blood sugar gets low. It's best to keep me well fed. :)

65. I also do NOT deal with sleep deprivation very well...even if it's only a little deprivation, like the cat wakes me up 1/2 hour before the alarm goes off and I don't get back to sleep. It usually takes me at least a week to get back on track from missing an hour.

66. I am very superstitious. I have lots of superstitions that I have made up on my own (and will not admit exactly what they are). They are not the classic ones.

67. I cannot stand misuse of quotation marks, apostrophes, or commas. Makes my skin crawl.

68. I hate toe cleavage. Ew. I will never buy a pair of shoes that creates it, and I can't stand to see it on anyone else.

69. I always use cloth napkins.

70. I like burnt toast.

71. I do not like to leave home on Sundays. For anything. I do go to the gym first thing in the morning, but that is it. If I need to run errands on a Sunday, it grates at me. I need this time to prepare for the coming week. I have been like this as long as I can remember.

72. I have a weird thing with my jaw called TMJ. It causes headaches and all sorts of fun things. Because of it, I cannot chew gum and usually stay away from other chewy sorts of foods.

73. I love textures...especially in fabric. (This, I think, means I was destined to be a knitter.) The thing that bums me out most about warm weather is I can't wear velvet or moleskin or warm fuzzy sweaters and fleeces.

74. When I was very very young, and my mom was not home, my dad would sit in the dark and burn incense and listen to Pink Floyd. (My guess is he was probably also smoking pot, but I was all of 2 years old so that would not have sunk in with me.) Ever since, I have very violent reactions if I hear any music by Pink Floyd. I shudder just thinking about it.

75. When I was in college, I went with some friends to see a showing of The Wall. Don't ask me what possessed me to do this. I don't know how I survived.

76. I love bumblebees. They are so cute and fuzzy. I would like to pet one, but I suspect it would not take that attention the right way - so I just sit and watch them do their work.

77. I loathe carpet. Really can't stand it. Am not the least bit happy that there are still two rooms in my house that have it.

78. I have more than a little disdain for smokers. Sorry if you happen to be one, but the disdain isn't going away.

79. Ditto for SUV drivers. I may like you in every other way, but if you drive an SUV there is always going to be this little black spot on my thoughts for you.

80. My favorite flowers are sunflowers.

81. It drives me crazy when my house is not clean. Unfortunately, I also detest cleaning. This puts me in a huge conundrum most of the time. I am usually a bit agitated due to the mess.

82. My blog title comes from the song "Jasmine and Rose" by Clan of Xymox.

83. I have a ridiculous piling habit. I make piles all over the house. This leads to most of the angst in item #81.

84. I think that, in general, the U.S. Democratic Party is WAY too conservative.

85. I love coffee so much that when my doctor told me I had to cut out caffeine, I searched for and found a good quality decaf. It's not just the caffeine I love.

86. I don't like walking into a dark room. I do not mind being in the dark, but I hate walking into a room that is already dark.

87. I don't like raisins, except in oatmeal cookies.

88. I love cities.

89. I do not consider myself to be very adventurous.

90. I like very active vacations. I am not the type to sit around the beach or poolside. I want to be out and about doing and seeing things. If I wanted to do nothing, I could do that at home.

91. I love least, I love good ones where you can tell they treat the animals well.

92. I have terrible balance.

93. I can't stand the colors blue and green matched together, unless the blue is from a pair of jeans. My mom always told me blue and green did not go together, and even now that lots of people tell me that's not true, I can't shake it.

94. I love farmers' markets. I usually take a day off work a few times a year just to go (the good ones are usually on Fridays).

95. My eyes are green, but they look a different shade of green depending on what I am wearing.

96. I like massages that most people would probably think are torture. I like extreme deep-tissue work, which can hurt but it releases the tension that causes day-to-day soreness and pain. But in general I would not categorize my massages as relaxing. Therapeutic, yes; relaxing, no.

97. I'm not much of a kid person. I don't actively dislike children, but they don't excite me either.

98. I am very very picky about restaurants...but I will happily eat just about anything someone cooks at their house, without judgement.

99. I have an annual subscription to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (whom I vastly prefer to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, despite the reputation of the latter).

100. I hope most people like me, but I don't lose sleep over those who don't. It's not worth worrying about.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Yarn Porn, coming right up!

Here is the new STR in all its glory...

2 skeins of Fire on the Mountain, and 2 skeins of Ruby Slippers. No patterns for these specifically yet.

Lemongrass (will be socks for C, but I don't have a pattern selected yet), Nodding Violet (a gift for my Secret Pal reveal package), and Love in Idleness (for my Monkey exchange socks).

It is all so, so droolworthy.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I keep thinking that tomorrow MUST be Friday...

But it's not. I've just been working insanely long hours. Due to that, it is too dark for me to take photos of the gorgeous yarn I got in the mail today. (It's sock yarn, so it's allowed. Plus 2 skeins of it are for gifts.) Hopefully tomorrow.

Monkey #2 is past the heel turn and will be picking up the flap stitches and getting going on the gusset tonight. I am hoping to be done by Saturday.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Making some progress...

Been too busy to knit for a few days, but I'm now about 4 pattern repeats into the second Monkey sock... I need to get moving on it so I can start the exchange pair when the yarn shows up hopefully later this week. (I would take photos but it looks the same as the other one)

I'm also reading The Friday Night Knitting Club, which has really sucked me in. I wish I had more time to read it. Highly recommended. I haven't read a novel in I don't know how long, but this is a great one.

I am in the process of booking our vacation for this year...we are going to spend a week in Washington state...a couple days in Seattle, but mostly in the San Juan islands and the Olympic peninsula. Managed to get first class tickets with my frequent flier miles, so it should be really nice.

Also, on Friday, C won 2 vouchers for roundtrip domestic airfare...we can't use them for the Washington trip because we're doing that in late September, and the vouchers require travel by the end of August. I was wanting to do a long-weekend jaunt we just need to figure out where to go. I am thinking Napa Valley might be nice. But I'm going to ultimately leave it up to C because he's the one who won the tickets.

P.S. I have been working on my "100 Things About Me" post for a few weeks now. I have 6 to go, so hopefully I will be posting that in the next few days.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

One little Monkey...

I got the first Monkey sock done...

The photo is pretty true to color. One question I have, does anyone know a trick to avoid getting knots (for lack of a better term) on each side of a graft? You can sort of see it in this photo, but here is another (very blurry) one that shows it straight on...

Any ideas? Maybe I just need to stick to toe-up socks so I don't have to graft.

Recently, I found a knitting group that meets about 5 minutes from my house, so last night I went to one of their meetings. It was really a lot of fun - everyone was very nice and it was a diverse group. I definitely plan to go again, when my work schedule happens to cooperate on a meetup night.

Other news - I have a niece scheduled to be born later this month. I am planning to do a quick pair of baby socks, but I'm thinking maybe I should make a pair of big-brother socks for my nephew too so he doesn't feel left out. Any idea how big I should make socks for a 2 1/2 year old? I don't have a lot of experience with small children.