Thursday, December 20, 2007


What the hell is wrong with people who assign names to describe colors? Particularly, yarn colorways. Look at this.

Scroll down to the 4 colorways. Pay special attention to the colorway: "mellow."

Mellow? Someone looked at that and said, "A-HA! Mellow!" I say, "Psychotic stabbing at a preschool." Much more fitting, don't you think?


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Laughing Too Hard

Ok, people.


And scroll through the pictures. I haven't laughed this hard in ages. There are a lot of pictures to go through, but I think #5 is, by far, my favorite. Followed closely by #43, #48, #49, and #53.


12/22 Edit: They moved my favorite to #25 as of today. Kid's name is Bella. Funny as hell.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

How Did This Happen?

Winter is finally here. Well, at least it seems that way. It was 21 degrees this morning. And it snowed a little yesterday. At least, enough to have a terribly annoying commute on I-95 this morning.

When we packed up and moved to Delaware in early March, we tossed all our hats, gloves, scarves, etc., into a box that we labeled "coat closet." I bought one of those wardrobe boxes for the coats and jackets, too. Now, our new house has a rather large coat closet in the foyer. I'd say that it is probably twice the size of the coat closet that was in our South Philly home. Yet, inexplicably, we can't seem to fit the same number of items in the new closet as we did in the old one. Yeah, I really don't get it either.

By the time most of the unpacking was done (and hey, is unpacking EVER really done?), it was April. The last thing on my mind was where Todd's winter hat was. So the box o' winter accessories got relegated to the basement.

This morning in a frozen panic, Todd and I were like, "CRAP! FIND THAT BOX!" I found it; I'm good at finding things. I pulled out what is one of only 3 knitted items that I have ever made for myself: The loopy scarf. God, I love this thing. It is my total go-to scarf. Anyway, I started rummaging for a scarf of Todd's. I found ones that he'd used over the years. What is the deal with men's scarves? They are PATHETIC. Flimsy, too-short, drab-looking pieces of woven fabric, with the consistency and softness of a paper napkin (even though they all said 100% wool). It struck me, "My God! Todd doesn't have a decent scarf! How could I, a knitter, let this happen?"

I hung my head in shame.

So, as soon as the holidays are over, or I come to my senses and recognize that I am NOT going to finish that kimono sweater I am knitting for my mom in time for Christmas, I am going to grab some delightful merino wool and knit up a more-fitting scarf for Todd. Shockingly, he's actually wearing the hat I made him, probably because it actually keeps him warm! But I think I might make him a new hat, so he can have winter accessories that actually match for once in his life. I mean, I love that hat, and I think it looks great on him, but there is no way I can ever match those colors.

Yes, I changed the skin of this blog yet again. I'm not crazy about this one either....

Monday, December 03, 2007

Injustice For All

Rant #1: the library

Anyone who knows me can tell you that reading is near the bottom of my list of hobbies. I do it. But not a lot. Something really has to GRAB me. College killed my desire to read. I think after reading 14 books on Suleyman the Magnificent and every piece of literary work from the pen of Henrik Ibsen pretty much sucked the desire to read out of me. Yeah.

However, I do fully appreciate and respect the value of books. I sincerely do. So much so that it greatly pains me to see the condition of most libraries. Most notably: the library associated with the university in which I work. SHAMEFUL.

First of all, they are reconstructing the front steps and entrance to the library. It looks shitty. Mostly because there are no handrails to be seen (still) and there is NO WHEELCHAIR RAMP. Um...hello? I thought that was why you tore out the steps to begin with: To join the rest of humanity and put a wheelchair ramp on a publicly-accessible building. I guess not. Imbeciles.

Second, OH MY DOG. Today, as I was walking from the parking garage, which is down the street from the library, I was absolutely horrified to see (through the ugly glass wall, so common to 1950s-1960s architecture in this stupid city), several students sitting there and eating. And I'm not talking about a granola bar and a bottle of water. No. I would have a tolerance for that. It's still wrong, but, hey, I was a student once. I had (still have) stomach issues. I really do understand that sometimes you NEED a Coke and a bag of pretzels. Really. But a sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast burrito wrap with hash browns and a coffee is A PUBLIC INJUSTICE AND UNACCEPTABLE FOR ANY REASON WHATSOEVER IN A LIBRARY. End of discussion.

Rant #2: Iman Idiot, a.k.a. the bane of my existence

Yeah that student. You know the one. The one who doesn't know how to write numbers over 100, or apparently can't read his/her own handwriting? That one.

Ok, well that student was supposed to see me Friday at 4:00. I hung around until 4:45 waiting for their dumbass and they never showed. Of course. So I am greeted this morning with this e-mail:


You are my advisor and I have a few questions:

Is it too late to register for winter classes?
What is the minimum GPA to make the Deans List?
Can I meet with you some time with week to talk about possibly double

I hope to talk to you soon. Thanks and have a good weekend.

Iman Idiot

SIGH. Look, you don't have to tell me that I am your adviser. Unfortunately, I KNOW; very well, thank you.

Technically, it isn't too late to register for classes, however, at this point, I think it's free-for-all registration. See, all our students get "time tickets" to register, based on what class they are in. Upper-class students register before lower-class. For example, seniors have their time tickets before juniors. Well this student is a junior. Their time ticket was back during the first week of November. All the best courses---and probably ones this student should be taking---are probably FULL. So now I'm going to have to jump through hoops to try to get this student into closed courses. Nice. Maybe on the form, in the "reason for request" section, I can write, "Because student is too stupid to register during prescribed time-ticket."

Are you SERIOUSLY asking me what the minimum GPA is for Dean's List?? Wait, let me mop the tears streaming down my face from laughing so hard. It's a 3.6. So... I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you don't have a prayer, kid.

DOUBLE MAJORING? OH MY LAND. You can't be serious. I'm seriously going to say, "No, I'm sorry. You can't double major at this juncture." God forbid! This student will be here like an extra 3 years. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Why me?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Get Back To Work, You Bums

That's part of the first sentence of an e-mail that I so badly want to send to the idiots, er I mean writers who are on strike. Now they are "writing" these silly, self-serving, eye-roll-inducing web ditties about how important they are. They even give their e-mail address, just in case you want to write a letter to them. You know, so you can tell them how awesome they are. PUH-LEASE.

Here it is:

And here is my letter:

Dear "Writers" Guild:

Either shut the hell up or get back to work, you bums. That is, if you can even justify what you do as being "work." You guys write the most trite, contrived, stupid garbage that has ever had the misfortune to be committed to scripts and/or screenplays. Believe me, I really can survive in a world without the likes of Saw 4, Two and a Half Men, and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. Really. If you spent a quarter as much time writing half-way decent stuff for television and film as you did to write your own whiny, self-aggrandizing bullshit that's on YouTube, then maybe I'd actually want to watch TV or go to a movie.

Get over yourselves. You suck.


You know, when I think about it, almost every fairly decent movie I've seen over the last 10 years or so has been based on someone ELSE'S writing. For example: The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And honestly, the only current TV show I watch is Lost. Everything else I watch on TV is on BBC America! Maybe these writers can tune in there and take some lessons....

Monday, November 12, 2007

You Can Take the Girl Out Of South Philly....

Yes. I am from South Philly. Actually, I am MORE than just "from" South Philly. I actually lived 35 years in South Philly. My parents, all their 65 years, and counting. And my grandparents, all their 88-89 years. There is no hope for me now. I went to Catholic school, from kindergarten through high school, which in my time as a kid was compulsory. I attended a high school which was---and probably still is ---THE penultimate stereotype of what it means to be/talk/act/think "South Philly:" St. Maria Goretti. How I made it out of there speaking recognizable English and not pregnant is a major triumph of my will.

We had phonics in grade school. Sometimes I think my generation must have been the last one to actually have phonics as a subject. But man, oh man, in retrospect? I am so glad that we did. I can only imagine what I'd sound like if I didn't. I think, because of the wonder of phonics, I learned to suppress my South Philly accent. What is a South Philly accent? Oh boy. It's pretty bad. If you know what a Philadelphia accent is like, then times that by like eleventy. There you go.

Mostly everybody knows the colloquial things we say as Philadelphians. Like "Jeet?" "No, Joo?" And all that garbage about cheesesteaks, soft pretzels, and water ice (pronounced "wooder ice"). People, listen, I've only ever eaten like 5 cheesesteaks in my entire life and none of them was from either Pat's or Geno's. Both places suck. Cheesesteaks, in general, SUCK. They are greasy and gristly (at least the ones from Pat's and Geno's are) and just meh.

I digress.

What I am talking about is the distinct linguistic difference regarding how all of us from South Philly were brought up pronouncing certain words when compared to the rest of the universe. To better explain what I'm talking about, please read this very informative article. Here's a quote:

"But there is a distinguishing feature of some South Philly speech: it's r-less, like the rest of the East Coast. There used to be a sign in my neighborhood that said, 'Frankie is a Bastid.' Good phonetic spelling, but not north of Fitzwater Street."

Once you fully comprehend our bizarrely complex vowel structures, how we randomly drop Rs and Ts in words, and how we make up words that don't exist, then you can fully appreciate this story:

How Gina, a "growed" woman, got "all South Philly" on a cashier in Petsmart.

People have always told me that I have the patience of a saint. I don't. I have no idea where anyone got this idea. For this reason, I could never be a teacher, nurse, or parent. I do, however, have a strong ability to control my impatience and swallow my rage and frustrations. Thus why I have been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, acid-reflux disease, and nervous bowel syndrome. A doctor once told me, "'re an Italian from South Philly, you are going to have stomach problems." Agita is as prevalent as dandruff in South Philly---if not more so.

So, anyway, last week Todd and I were making one of our many visits to Petsmart to load up on supplies for our beasts. You might say we rolled-up there. :-) It was straight after work. I had to pee and I was starving. Two conditions that tend to wear on my already frail patience. I forget most of what we bought there because we are constantly buying the necessities like food and kitty litter (which my family has now termed "cat rocks." Hey, it saves 2 whole syllables) . I do recall two unique items that we purchased during this particular shopping visit: a hooded pet bed and a cardboard, ramp-style, scratching thing. This is it:

Note the dimensions: 17.1 x 8.2 x 10.4 inches.

Ok. Todd was carrying something really heavy and large, probably a 24-pound bag of dry food or a 40-pound box of cat rocks. I had the pet bed and that scratcher thing. We may have very well had more stuff too. So we get in line. We're in line for about a minute and a new cashier comes and opens up right next to us. She says out loud, apparently to Todd, "I can take you over here." So, Todd jumps over into her lane. The lady in line in front of us kind of got pissed. I guess she figured that she was technically "ahead" of us so she should have gone into the new line first. Normally, I would agree, but I think that because Todd was so heavily burdened, the cashier spoke directly to him. So the lady gets in line behind us, slams her 2 puny items on the counter. What-ever. She is standing like 1.6 centimeters from me. Literally, breathing down my neck. I feel my RAGE level rising. I take out my Petmart discount card and debit card and pay. She gives me the receipt and my cards back. I am fumbling with putting away my cards and zipping my purse as fast as I can because the lady behind me is like OMFG ON TOP OF ME. Todd is practically out the door already. I pick up the pet bed. For some unknown reason, the cashier chose to put the scratcher thing in a bag. A bag, which, might I add, was WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too small for it. Then, she didn't hand it to me. She put it behind her on a counter. So I had to reach over there and get it. Well, it nearly falls out of the bag and then I drop the bag. I drop the pet bed and try to pick up the bag. Meanwhile, at this point, the lady behind me is IN MY COLON. I squish the pet bed under my arm and pick up the bag with the scratcher. It falls out altogether and slides across the floor. Todd comes back in like, "What is taking you so long?" So I pick up the scratcher and out loud say:


Todd's like, "Gimme that pet bed...." So I hand it to him and he puts it under his arm. He goes, "You got everything?" And I said, "Yeah. Let's get out of here before someone ELSE gets UP MY FRIGGIN' ASS." (with the -a sound, like in "hair")

Sigh. Yes. As soon as I got outside I started laughing hysterically. You really can't take the South Philly out of the girl. And guess what? I'm kind of glad.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Cute Baby Fix

Ok so here's some pictures of Aubrey from last week. Because I am a complete idiot, I forgot to bring my camera on Halloween. Thus, I missed the opportunity to take pictures of her dressed up like a pea-pod. I hope my sister sends me one!

Anyway, here she is with my sister holding her at the baptism, wearing the sweater I made (it fit her perfectly! The booties, however, were too big.):

After a little water, a little chrism, and more than a little bit of tears, here she is asleep:

Later, we had a reception and my sister changed her into a more casual, comfortable outfit. Here's one of her many feeding times! My brother-in-law looks exhausted. Aubrey looks like a delightful little peanut!:

I just love this picture. She really looks like my side of the family: a very Italian baby!

We had a good time having them all up here. I will be heading down there to NC to look after Aubrey during the second week in December. My sister has to go back to work and the child-care person isn't contracted to start until February! So we're all pitching in to help. My mom will be staying with my sister for the whole month of January.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Caption The Cat: #6

Do you mind? I'm posing for heads of the $.03 coin of Catopia

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Frustrating and Funny At the Same Time


So I work on the third floor of what is perhaps the ugliest building on campus. People who work in the Humanities ALWAYS have the worst/ugliest/most-deficient building on any college campus. At least, that has been my experience. My department office isn't too bad. We do, however, have the foulest carpet to which I have ever born witness. My little office that is located within the department office is fine. At least I got to choose the paint color. It's a grayish blue. Very soothing. Any, boy, does it need to be, too with what I deal with on a daily basis.

Anyway, the Dean's office for my college (humanities, of course) is undergoing a major renovation. That office is located directly above my department office. Basically, they are making it look like our department office, which is: a large, open reception area surrounded by several small offices. Ok, fine. Construction has been ongoing for over a month. And once-in-a-while we can hear the jackhammers and drills, etc. from above. I have learned to tune this kind of noise out because our departmental office is also situated above the music department. The percussion classrooms in particular. Yeah. So I hear stupid off-beat drums all freakin' day. It's awesome!

So this week is, apparently, the culmination of all the work upstairs. And the construction guys need to work on plumbing, electrical, and heating issues up there...through our office...MINE in particular. Yesterday, I got kicked out of my office at about 2:00, not that I am complaining that I got to leave early. Today, my boss--- the department head---comes into my office to talk about the construction---

Goddammit they are drilling or sawing something right now outside our front door. I can barely hear myself think.

Sorry, I just had to interject that.

Anyway, my boss comes in we have the following conversation:

Boss: So this is going to be a bad week for the construction.

Me: Yes, I figured. They came in my office yesterday afternoon and I had to leave.

Boss:...oh, really?

Me: Yeah they had to move my furniture around in order to access the portion of the ceiling that they needed.

Boss: Well tomorrow they are coming back down to do more work upstairs, probably through your office and So-and-so's office next to you. (a professor)

Me: Great. Sigh.

Boss: But definitely on Friday they will be working in your office and so-and-so's office, and maybe even the office next to that. Also, Friday, in fact, they are turning off the heat and the water so they can install heat and water upstairs.

Me: Sounds like Friday is a good day for me to not be here....


Boss: ...Well...or you could dress extra warmly or wear your coat.

Me: O_o

He was fucking serious. In the middle of 3 dudes ripping through my ceiling, no heat, and no water on the entire floor, I am supposed to sit in my office?!?! And DO WHAT, exactly, pray tell? It's so ridiculously insulting and dumb that it's hilarious.

Why do Ph.D.s, for all their wealth of knowledge and education, lack all concept of common sense?

Friday, November 02, 2007

Thanks, Dishcloth Pal!

Today I received my Fall Into Autumn Dishcloth Swap package from my secret swapper. It's Barb N., all the way from Alberta, Canada! Here's a picture of the goodies:

Two dishcloths, a mini tote bag, a ball of Bernat Handicrafter, a knitting notions case, a 2008-2009 pocket planner, and some white ginger body products with a mini puff. Many thanks, Barb!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Portrait Of A Football Head

I seriously love his football head....

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Just In Time...

For my sister and her family's visit up here for Halloween and the baby's baptism, I knit up not only the little sweater and bootie combo (see previous post), but also a jack-o-lantern hat for my niece, Aubrey and a cool, beanie hat for my nephew, Ethan. Here they are!

I am really happy with how this turned out! I used TLC Cotton Plus yarn, which is a 51% cotton/49% acrylic blend. It's a dream to work with and it's inexpensive and machine washable, which is really a nice feature. The face features were double-knit on after I completely finished the hat. I see more fruit-themed hats in the future!

And here's Ethan's hat:

So, apparently, it's all the rage in London for teens (especially guys) to wear these close-fitting, beanie-type, wool hats. Ethan is just recently in his teens, having turned 13 this past August. However, he's quite tall and broad for a 13-year old. He could pass for 16, if his voice changing wasn't obvious ;-). Anyway, I think this hat is suitable to meet that cool, non-dorky, urban, somewhat-trendy Londoner look, without looking either metrosexual or, as Marsha said, "like a thug." So I knit this in a chocolate brown washable merino wool that Marsha bought for me from the Netherlands when she went to visit her in-laws. Fancy! The green and gray stripe area is wool and alpaca yarn, respectively, which I had here in my stash. I think the stripe looks good too. Not overwhelming in color, but yet not a plain brown hat.

So that's what knitting I've been feverishly working on over the last week or two.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

More Baby Knitting

So my sister and her family are coming up here next week. They are spending Halloween here and then having the baby's baptism up here (on November 4) as well, due to a major complication at their parish in Wake Forest: the Pastor died! As a result, baptisms are backlogged until March 2008! ACK! My family is crazy-superstitious about that sort of thing. Not having Aubrey baptized until March 2008 would cause widespread panic through my family. Although, didn't the current pope basically abolish the concept of Limbo recently...sort of? Well anyway...

Todd and I are not the godparents. My brother-in-law's sister and her husband are. So it's their responsibility to purchase the baptismal gown. Having done this for my nephew 13 years ago (I am his godmother), I remember how costly these things are. And in South Philly, holy shit. There are stores that SOLELY sell baby Christening/baptism items. Yeah, it's a big deal over here. I don't get it, really.

So since the baptism is up here, and the weather here has been absolutely insane, I decided to make a baby sweater and booties for Aubrey to wear the day of the baptism. You know, just in case it's suddenly like 40 degrees here. The weather has been crazy here. Cool and autumnal one week, hot and raining the next. Insane.

Anyway, I absolutely LURVE the way the sweater and booties turned out. Here's just the sweater:

This was a free pattern that I got from the Internet somewhere. It's knit from the neck down. And it was so fast and easy. A lovely pattern to knit. I used a worsted-weight yarn called Filatura Lanarota Summer Soft on size 8 needles. I got the yarn from Smiley's. It was CHEAP. I think it was $1.50 or $1.99 a ball. This sweater was made using just about 2 balls. It's a rayon and acrylic blend and, oh my, it IS soft. Perfect for a baby sweater! Machine washable too, a plus.

As for the booties, well, I died in a fire when I saw this pattern. Baby, knit Mary Janes? FLAILING FROM THE CUTE. The pattern for these is in a little pamphlet-type booklet that I found on clearance at the check-out in the supermarket. You know where the TV Guides and such are? Yeah, there. It's strictly patterns for babies and toddlers. I bought it like December or January. These were surprisingly easy to knit. I used about 1/2 a ball of the Filatura Lanarota Summer Soft to make these. And I used size 4 needles. Now I am trying to figure out a way to adapt this pattern into adult-sized Mary Janes. Hmm....

I can't believe October is almost over. Where is the time going? So much to knit, so little time! :-)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Topic Of The Week #6


How was your experience in the exchange? Did you enjoy the folks you met? Did you just love the cloth and goodies you received? Please share any thoughts, criticism, and things you loved!

Overall, I had a good time! And I will participate in the next one. My downstream spoilee was Cynthia W., in Tennessee. What a sweet lady and a fantastic sock knitter! I mean, seriously! I'm still waiting for my package from my upstream spoiler. It should be coming soon. I enjoy this swap a lot because it is a one-time package. I think that's a super way to get to know more knitters/crocheters, without having to make a huge time and/or financial investment. My only criticism is that I think there needs to be better enforcement of the "rules." Nobody likes a swap with a lot of regulations, rules, and restrictions. I realize that. However, there are some very basic foundations (what I consider to be no-brainers) of swaps that I have seen completely disregarded in this swap and in the one prior to this one.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Titus Every Morning

Notice how much the bed is all scratched up. Yup. Ours too.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


YAY! I got my Ravelry invite last night! So i signed up and began poking around there. OH. MY. DOG. There is a bajillion things to do there. It's the perfect site for someone like me: anal and a knitter. I can actually catalog every item in my stash! Oh why are the days only 24-hours long?

Speaking of stash management, I signed up for DeStash, too. I just have to get around to taking pictures of some stuff that I want to get rid of. And, holy cow, let me tell you, I need to do some serious de-stashing! I re-organized my knitting room last night, to the best of my ability. And you know, my yarn hording has gotten to the point where I can't even fit all the yarn I have into that IKEA cubby-hole shelving unit. I had to leave some of it in one of my rolling storage bags (yes, I actually have 2. Oy vey.) That's un-good.

Anyway, if you want to look me up on Ravelry, my name there is "mirthful."


Monday, October 15, 2007

Topic Of The Week #5


Now that it is getting cooler here, it makes me think of apple picking and hay rides. Are you the type that likes to go to participate in all the fall festivities like apple picking, pumpkins, decorating for the fall, hay rides, baking fall goodies, etc. or do you just sit and count the days till Thanksgiving/Christmas/Hanukkah?

Well, I really enjoy apple/pumpkin/fruit picking, in general. But I never seem to have the opportunity to do it. And I am almost positive that Todd would not enjoy that activity. He's more like the "Can't we just 'pick' these at the supermarket?" kind of guy. In fact, I know there are a few orchards near his family's house in Virginia (the place we call "The River" because it's situated right on the Potomac River). And nearly every time we are down there I say, "Hey! Let's go to that pear orchard!" And he's like "Uh...what pear orchard?" Yeah.

I like decorating, for the most part. I'm not a great pumpkin carver. But I can draw or paint on them pretty well. Although, I don't really decorate any more for any holiday other than Christmas. I just do not have the time to do it. And, well, I get no help, if you know what I mean....

I'll PASS on the hayride, thanks!

I love to bake. But I don't do it very often. I try not to have too many temptations in the house! But I think a nice pumpkin or zucchini bread is in order very soon!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Beautiful Patterns

Hey everybody!

So my friend Marsha's latest post on her blog is about knitted pumpkin hats and items for the autumn season. One such item is a skull illusion scarf. It's a free pattern at this blog.

So I went to the blog. It's a SUPER pattern. But also, I just have to say that ALL the patterns on this blog are just magnificent. I love them. I think I might purchase a few of the sweater patterns, especially this and if you scroll down, you'll see (on the right) a wrap sweater called Erica, which has a pattern coming soon. I want that too. Beautiful stuff. And the free patterns are really nice as well.

Just thought I'd share.

Friday, October 05, 2007

My Two Favorites

Maybe it's because this pretty much sums up my existence every day of my life because I have 6 beasts in my house:

Married To The Sea

and the sequel:

Married To The Sea

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Least of All Evils

Ok. Well, I decided to change the layout/skin/template/whatever-you-call-it on the blog, as you can see. I will re-iterate: BLOGGER, GET NEW TEMPLATES. This one was about the least offensive of the others, unless I wanted it basically to look like a Word document with a box around the header. No thanks.

Also---just because I have to write it down somewhere---I am drinking the WORST cup of coffee of my life, such as it is, today. It tastes like volcanic dirt. I only wish I were actually IN Hawaii, somewhere near a volcano, which might lessen the pain of drinking this crap. Some random person (who is new and from another department is using our office space until their office is finished being renovated---how nice) used our coffee maker and "surprised" us by brewing up a pot of this delightful, high-octane sludge this morning before anyone else got in. Super! Thanks! Why don't I just walk my fat, lazy ass down to the little coffee shop on the ground floor of the building attached to my building? Well, I'll tell you:

a) Their coffee sucks ass. It's new name will be "ass-coffee."

b) I went in there last week to get a quick, healthy food item to eat for breakfast (yeah, good luck finding this within 24 miles of a college campus, but anyway) because I re-joined Weight Watchers last Monday. I will post more about this later. Suffice it to say, for now, that it's going well. Anyhoo. So the only thing I could find in there remotely healthy was yogurt. Fine. Whatever. Good ol' Dannon light 6 oz. cup of blueberry yogurt.

So I get over to the counter and order a medium ass-coffee, as is my custom nearly every morning, and I put the yogurt on the counter too. She rings me up. The total is $5.07. Now, I know a medium coffee is $1.75. And I also know that they charge tax if you pay cash (crazy, I know). So, math GENIUS that I am, I figure it out and and say, incredulous, "Wait. Was that yogurt like $3.00?" She goes, somewhat sympathetically and sheepishly, "Yeah, it's $2.99." I was struck into complete idiot mode at that point and could only utter, "Wow...o...k." Then there is the little matter of the sales tax. So, after all was said and done, that yogurt cost me $3.20. Yeah. I remained. The guy behind me in line says, "Holy shit! Did you just pay $3.00 for that yogurt?!? You can get like 8 of them for that at Acme (which is a local chain supermarket)." Again, still stunned into utter stupidity, I could only nod in agreement. I picked up my yogurt and my coffee cup and filled up and left.

Hind-sight is always 20/20, as my dad says---I'd like to interrupt at this point to mention that I just spilled some of the volcanic dirt coffee down my chin and on my jacket. I think it is my subconscious brain trying to get rid of the stuff before I can commit all of it to my innards.

Thank you. To continue: I looked at my receipt later that day and it said:

medium coffee 1.75
Dannon parfait 2.99

Parfait? What parfait? Who had a parfait? Not I! I had a cup of freakin' yogurt, not a yogurt, whipped cream, granola, and fruit concoction. Then, it dawned on me. The cashier saw the word "Dannon" on the product I bought and spied the word "Dannon" on her register's keypad and thought, "DING! DANNON! This is it!" But really, there probably is a another button on the keypad that has "yogurt" written on it and she just didn't realize it.

My suspicions were confirmed earlier this week when I went in there and saw that they had actually placed labels with prices for the shelved refrigerator items. "Dannon yogurt: $1.69." Which is also criminally overpriced for a cup of yogurt, but still, it 'aint $3.00.

So that is why I am steering clear of the coffee shop if I can. And why I just choked down 12 oz. of volcanic dirt. Oy.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Topic Of The Week #4

Topic of the Week #4

How about you? Are there any recipes you especially enjoy having in the Fall? Any foods that are seasonal that you especially enjoy?
Feel free to share recipes with us too!

Well let's see.... There are SO many food items that I associate with Fall. I guess one in particular is yams. Oh Lawd, I love me some yams. I think I particularly associate yams with the Fall, especially Thanksgiving. For me, they DEFINE the holiday. I don't even entertain eating yams any other time of the year.

Also asparagus. I don't know why. Maybe because my grandmom would make her frittatas more often in the fall. She'd make them with peppers or asparagus or potatoes (OMG, my favorite), or with mozzarella. But the asparagus one particularly reminds me of fall. She'd call them "pies." I remember coming home for lunch when I was in grade school. Side note: Yeah, us kids that went to Catholic school usually lived within a walkable distance in the parish where the school was situated. So we got sent home for lunch, but it was only like 1/2 an hour or something. And my grandmother was technically closer than my own house, by, like half a block. And who WOULDN'T want to go to their grandmom's instead anyway?? Anyway, so she'd say, "So do you want a potato pie? Or an asparagus and egg pie?" As a kid, aged 9, I went for the potato. LOL But later I grew to appreciate the asparagus one!

Pies in general remind me of the fall. Especially the obvious ones, like pumpkin or pecan. But also pretty much ALL fruit pies seem autumnal to me.

Yams, pies---gee, fall 'aint good for my waistline, now is it?

Friday, September 28, 2007

More Objets Réalisés

Ok so here are a couple of items that I managed to finish over the last few weeks. I am so slow with taking pictures and posting stuff here, I know.

First off, is a funky winter hat for Todd, if he'll wear it, that is. This yarn---Oh. My. Dog. Ok. While in Vermont on vacation this year, (Which, again, I realize I have not posted about. I suck at life.) Marsha did some research and found a couple of locations to get some local yarn. One "place" was the home and workshop of Joanne Littler, called the Pine Ledge Fiber Studio. Joanne spins some truly beautiful and unique yarns there, as well as weaves some of the most incredible fabric textiles I've ever seen. Marsha, Katie, Beth, and I all piled into her home workshop and immediately began panting at the sight of the yarn. Gorgeous, to be sure, but also with price-tags well out of our range.

However, Joanne was offering some off-cuts of yarn and remainders of such for fair prices. And she even gave us a further discount if we bought out a particular yarn's last quantities. Aside from being a true artisan, Joanne is a really, really lovely person. So we picked through the remnants and each ended up with some little treasures. I got the orange-ish yarn, seen in the hat below, which is a merino/tencel blend. And some 100% merino yarn in a rose/mauve marled color to make a hat for me. This super-bulky yarn is just superb. great to work with and, of course, knits up super-quick. I can't say enough about it.

So anyway, I started knitting the hat and realized that I was going to run out of yarn. Marsha had some slate blue colored wool yarn leftover from a hat she made for her husband. It just so happens that the blue yarn had flecks of gray and this coppery-orange color in it! So Marsha let me use it to make a wide stripe in the middle. I think it looks great! Todd looks really good in orange, even if he doesn't think so. Joanne gave us the pattern for the hat below, too.

Next is a hat I made for Wesley, my sister-in-law. We don't have the opportunity to see Wesley very often because she lives in Urbana, Illinois. So we're limited to holidays, at best. We were fortunate enough to get together with her (and the rest of Todd's family) in New York this Christmas past. She knows I'm a knitter---in fact, I knit her a scarf a few years ago. So she said, "You know what I want? Can you make me just a plain knitted hat, but with cat ears on it?" And I said, "Sure, I think I can!"

Well about 9 months later, I actually got around to trying to knit something for her. Every pattern I looked for seems way more complicated than a simple hat with ears needs to be, in my opinion. So I made up my own, which I will post here, eventually.

It's basically just worsted-weight yarn on size 7 needles. I made a 1 inch or so band of ribbing, then just stockinette all the rest of the way up. Decreased until I had a few stitches left and drew them together. Then I picked up and knit in the 2 spots where the ears are. I think it came out pretty well. And I really think that she is going to like it...that is when I get my lazy ass over to the post office to send it to her....

This was using 1 skein of Elann's Highland Wool. Great economical yarn.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Topic Of The Week #3


Autumn has now officially begun here in the States!! What is your favorite thing about Autumn/Fall? Why?

Well, I've always liked autumn. It's my favorite time of year, I think. There are many reasons why. For one thing, I like sweaters. But not coats. If I could live out the remainder of my days in 55-degree weather, wearing a sweater, I'd die happy. Coats are way too bulky and I overheat in them. Also, I like to be able to enjoy the air that I breathe outside. Summer air is suffocating. Winter air rips the skin off your face. And Spring air... is a mattress....LOL, joke. Spring air is too moist. I find that I get a lot of respiratory infections in the Spring because of all that moist air. And who wants that?

Aside from Halloween, of which I have never really been fond, I actually like the month of October best of all the autumn months. I grew up in the city of Philadelphia, so we didn't have that many trees around. But I do have fond memories of rides in the car, windows down, looking at all the trees along I-95 or the Schuylkill (I-76) and their amazing colors. I also love me a good apple. And October seems to be the month of awesome apples! Seriously! J'ever eat a McIntosh apple in, say, June? Meh. Eat one in October and WOW! What a difference. And I was once a huge baseball fan (Atlanta Braves), and you know how important October is to baseball....

Also, I find autumn to be a time of renewal for me. I mentioned this on my questionnaire, too. It is probably closely linked to the fact that the start of the academic year is in the fall. And I seem to have spent most of my life as a student or working in academia. Kinda odd, when you think about it.... But as a kid, I loved the start of the school year! I was the kid that was drooling up the stationery aisle at the K-Mart. Yeah. When we finally got a Staples in Philadelphia, I was about 12. You'd think that it was Disney World, the way I reacted. And I am still a sucker for a great pen! But anyway, lots of fond memories of autumn make it my favorite time of year.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Day One: The Insanity Begins

Today marks the first day of classes at the university where I work.


Is it me, or does everyone go rat-shit insane just in time for the first day of classes? You'd think it was a full moon or a lunar eclipse or something.

Consider the following, please:

Exhibit A: Commute to work
Todd and I arose bright and early---well, maybe just early---today in order to get out and on the road early enough so that I would actually be on-time for once. Technically, my work day starts at 8:00am. I know, that SUCKETH. But I don't usually wander in until 8:30ish. Since I am salaried, not hourly, this isn't really a huge deal. But because today is the first day of classes, I really wanted to get here on time. I almost never take a real lunch hour anyway. Rather, I sit at my desk and cram pretzels down my throat while students wander about. To continue, we left the house at 7:27 am. It takes about 30 minutes to get from our driveway to my drop-off point at work. I was most pleased...for about 10 minutes. I'm not sure what happened, but suddenly we were stuck in the middle of I-95, barely moving. No exit in sight to take an alternate route. We turn on the radio and learn that there had just been a "multi-car accident" up ahead. Seven miles ahead. Yeah. So much for getting in on-time. I actually didn't end up walking in the door until 8:50 am. Swell.

Exhibit B: Student Iman Idiot
9:14 am
Me: This is Gina Waters
Iman Idiot: Um, hello? HELLO?
Me: Hello, this is Gina Waters
Iman Idiot: Oh, uh, yes, this is Iman Idiot. I met with you a few weeks ago and you helped me arrange my schedule of classes for the term?
Me: Yes?
Iman Idiot: OK, well, I don't have computer access and I can't get my schedule. I know I have 2 classes today, but I don't know where they are located.
Me: Ok, which classes are they?
Iman Idiot: I don't know. Can you look up my schedule for me? I know they are both in your department.
Me: Sure, what's your ID number?
Iman Idiot: I don't know.
Me: ...How about your social-security number?
Iman Idiot: Oh, ok it's XXXXXXXXX. My last name is I.D.I.O.T.
Me: Got it. Ok. You are scheduled for Yadda-Yadda at 10:00 in BLDG Q, Room 202. And at 12:00 you have Badda-Bing in Crap-ass Hall, 343.
Iman Idiot: ...Ok so, 202 in where?
Me: BLDG Q. And at 12:00 you are in Crap-ass 343.
Iman Idiot: I'm writing this down, BLDG Q, Room 202. And Crap-ass---what was it?
Me: 343.
Iman Idiot: Crap-ass 314.
Me: No. Crap-ass 343. Three. Four. Three.
Iman Idiot: Ok. 343. Thanks. So it's BLDG Q, Room 202 at 10 and Crap-ass 343 at 12?
Me: Yes, that's right.

And then my brain exploded.

Exhibit C: Department Head(case)
9:55 am
DH: Do you know the location for a CRSE 685? Whatshername from the Provost's Office just called me and said there are students wandering all over the place, in and out of their offices looking for the class.
Me: We offer no such class. We are offering a section of CRSE 285, meeting at 10:00---I assume this is the course they mean--- in the same building as the Provost's Office, MAIN 328B. It's the Honors section. [I snort under my breath]
DH: Oh? The Honors section? Distressing. Well can you call the Provost's Office and tell them that it's in MAIN 328B?
Me: ...Uh...I...
DH: I'll call.
Me: Why did they even call over here? We don't assign rooms for courses. And the office that does IS AROUND THE HALLWAY FROM THEM.
DH: I don't know. But they did, so we should tell them.
Me: And how many students were there "wandering" all over the place? The class only has 13 enrolled.
DH: [shrugs].

Now I have a migraine. I know exactly what happened. ONE dumb-ass student walked into their office looking for the room and they got their panties all twisted over it. GOD FORBID the Provost's Office has to, you know, HELP A STUDENT. JEEZ.

Exhibit D: Professor Mustbee A. Douchebag
10:16 am
Prof. Douchebag: Hey, did I get a package on Friday?
Me: No, I don't think so. Did you check your mailbox?
Prof. Douchebag: [Ignoring my question] Is there any way that you can call someone to see if it's on campus somewhere?
Me: it a big package? Like would it be coming through central receiving?
Prof. Douchebag: No. Well, I don't know. It's software for my computer, it should be about this big [gestures].
Me: Hmmm...well I doubt it's coming from central receiving. I can try to call someone in the mail room to see if it's there, but it's harder for them to keep track of small packages.
Prof. Douchebag: The place I ordered it from said they shipped it out on Thursday.
Me: ...Thursday? The Thursday that just passed? Well, this is only Monday, so...let's give it another day and if it doesn't show up, I'll see if I can track it down.
Prof. Douchebag: Oh...ok. [Not happy]

Professor leaves my office and goes to the receptionist, who hands over a package and says, "This just came for you." Professor yells out at me from the reception desk, "Oh never mind, here it is!"

Ok. First of all? Since you ordered software for it, I am assuming you know that there is a magical, wondrous device called a "computer." And since this package you ordered was shipped to you via UPS, it has something called a tracking number on it. This number allows you to use said computer to connect to the Internet and check the progress of your package from the shipper to you. No, seriously! It's AMAZING! AND---here's the really good part---you don't even have to know what that tracking number is! You just log into your fucking e-mail and click on the link in the software company's e-mail to you. You remember? The one in which they TOLD YOU that they shipped you the package? Yeah, that one. And it will take you right to that glorious tracking information page on the Internet. See? Isn't technology grand?

Second of all: Dude. Thursday? It's Monday at 10:00. COME ON. We're closed on the weekend and UPS doesn't even deliver on weekends.

Exhibit E: Student Dummerthana Bag O'Hammers
This is an actual email from a student who is attempting to double major in one of our departmental majors AND Education. EDUCATION. To wit:

I have spoken to Youhoo in ed. and to Soandso in the student service office and have
also got the signeture from the finiancal aid office, but when I went
to the billing office to get thier signeture and have the paperwork
filed the woman there told me that she could not sign it because she
did not understand how my course of study was being worked out. What
she wants is for you, Youhoo and Soandso in the student service office to send her
a course of study for me. I am sorry for any inconvience this causes
and thank you so much for all your help.

Dummerthana Bag O'Hammers

I don't even know where to begin. First, I guess I should pick up the remaining pieces of my brain off the floor and try to shove them back into my ears. There, that's a little better.

Since when does the BURSAR'S OFFICE determine if a student will meet all their coursework on time for two majors? Since when do they CARE? They collect money. PERIOD. That I and the education advisor have to submit course plans-of-study to the Bursar's Office is INSANE.

And...this I even need to write it?

Exhibit F: The Revenge of Iman Idiot
12:04 pm
Me: This is Gina Waters.
Iman Idiot: Hi, this is Iman Idiot again. Remember me?
Me: Yes.
Iman Idiot: Well, I'm over in Crap-ass 243 and there's no class here. In fact, 243 is an office and they don't know where I am supposed to go.
Me: It's Crap-ass 343. THREE. FOUR. THREE.
Iman Idiot: Oh. You said THREE 43?
Me: Yeah. Third floor, 343.
Iman Idiot: Ok, thanks.

3...2...1...KABOOM! Brain gone entirely.

Yeah, welcome to DAY ONE, ladies an gentlemen. Can you imagine what awaits me the REST of this week? For my life, still ahead, pity me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mr. Chesterfield

This is Mr. Chesterfield:

Mr. Chesterfield is a sweet, dignified gentleman and he happens to be the latest addition to the Waters' family of cats.

I know.


Don't hit!

See, Mr. Chesterfield has a unique story. He is really unlike any other cat we've adopted. No, really!

Last Friday, we happened to be in PetSmart buying supplies for our gaggle of felines who seem to eat us out of house and home. And, as usual, that local PetSmart was sponsoring a major adoption event on the weekend for "Forgotten Cats," a cat rescue organization here in Delaware. Well there were about 50 cats and kittens there---all beautiful animals. We walked by the cages, as we always do, and there was Mr. Chesterfield, standing there in his cubby hole, looking very sophisticated and content. I loved his face the moment I saw him.

When I noticed that his name was Mr. Chesterfield, I about died in a fire. It suits him so well. Todd read his little card and learned that Mr. C (as we now sometimes call him) is, in fact, nearly completely blind. Nobody knew if he was born blind (which I doubt) or how or when he lost his sight. His story was this: he was a family cat whose family decided they didn't want him any more (probably after he went blind, the bastiges), so they dumped him off in a feral colony of cats in a rural part of the state further south. Well, as you can imagine, those feral cats wanted nothing to do with this outsider, a feeling exacerbated by the fact that he was blind. So they kind of beat-up on him and prevented him from getting food, water, etc. Very sad. Someone who looked in on the colony from time-to-time discovered Mr. C there, and notified Forgotten Cats, who came and took him into foster care.

Well, we were immediately enamored with Mr. Chesterfield. Partly because he was calm and quiet, partly because he was blind and had such a sad life, partly because his name was R0XX0R, and partly because for Christ's sake, he's not a TABBY, we began seriously talking about taking him into our home. To make a long story short (too late, I know), we filled out the paperwork, it was accepted, and we picked him up Saturday afternoon.

Yes, he's a Bobtail, too!

We thought that maybe we had made a terrible mistake within the first 24 hours of having him at home. I mean, what were we DOING? A blind cat? Among FIVE other sighted---and mostly evil---cats? We kept him sequestered in my knitting room at night and let him roam around with supervision during the day. Understandably, whenever Mr. Chesterfield sensed one of our cats near him, he would hiss and growl. Who can blame him? This cat is at a serious disadvantage not being able to read the other cats' body language. Moreover, his recent experiences with a family of cats was not good.

I must say that I am absolutely proud of how well my cats have behaved around Mr. Chesterfield. Absolutely exemplary behavior. The only one I am concerned about is Ophelia. She is terrified of Mr. C. Whenever he gets within 4 feet of her, she just starts crying and runs away. Hercules, Luna, and Titus are incredibly curious about him, but not all up in his jimmy-jawn. Sophie, upon discovering that her insane parents had brought another cat into her house, just looked at Mr. Chesterfield, then at us with disdain, then she went, "Hrumph," and walked upstairs, like, "Oh, WHAT-EVER." Hercules wants to play with him, so he's been the cat to make the most attempts to get close to Mr. C. Every day, Mr. C gets a little more familiar with Herc and everyone else (except Fi-Fi). It really is getting better every day.

I think we may even be at the point we we don't have to keep him sequestered from the others when we are not around. My bunch have made no attempts to hurt him or take his food, water, or use his litter box. So, Mr. Chesterfield is slowly realizing that he is safe and that there is no threat. He is very sweet, loves to be petted, and actually sleeps in his own little pet bed! He is so smart! Whenever he goes into a room that is unfamiliar, he walks in a 3-foot circle to orient himself. The other cats are mesmerized by this. So much so that they will literally sit and watch him for 30 minutes at a time.

The information given to us by the folks at Forgotten Cats states that he is about 5-6 years old. I have a feeling that he is a bit older than that. Maybe about 10. I have no problem with his age. We are taking him to our vet next Thursday, just to make sure that he is healthy otherwise. Although I do know that he doesn't have Feline HIV or Leukemia. And I would like to get our vet's analysis of his blindness. I wonder if there is hope for him to get some measure of his sight back?

Anyway, he really is a lovely cat, with a charming personality. He totally won both Todd's and my hearts. Not hard to understand why. Sigh. Six cats. The asylum awaits me, I know.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Topic Of The Week #2

So because I am half out of it more than half the time, uh...yeah....I totally forgot to post the first "Topic of the Week" on my blog for the Fall Into Autumn Dishcloth Exchange. That said, here is the 2nd Topic of the Week:


When you knit or crochet dishcloths, washcloths or facecloths, what do you use? What size needle or hook? What type? Metal? Plastic? Wood? A specific Brand? Why do you love that needle or hook so much? Is there one you are dying to try? Is there a particular yarn you love and use all the time for cloths? What is so special about it?

Lordy. This is like a 478562096-part topic.

Well first of all, I have only knit dishcloths. I can crochet, but I really am totally new to that skill. I have much more comfort and seasoning in knitting, so that 's what I do.

When I make a dish/wash cloth, I use cotton yarn. I have made a couple of bath mitts as well, one of which was a cotton & linen blend. And OH MY DOG, I love knitting up the bath mitts! I am going to make a dishcloth with a 55/45, cotton/acrylic blend, just to see how that turns out. I think it might have more durability and scrubbing prowess than just the plain cotton. We shall see....

I have a few favorite patterns that I use for dishcloths, and I just found 2 more today that I ADORE. Like this one. But, anyway, I always use whatever needle size the pattern calls for. If none is stated therein, I use the yarn's recommended size, and if that's not there, then I will go with a size 7.

Well, if you asked me 2 years ago "which type needle do you prefer," I would have shouted, "STRAIGHT, thank you very much!" But now, I'm not so sure. I think I really like the flexibility of a circular needle in my hands. And it's easier to store a work-in-progress if it's on circulars. And...well...I don't poke my boobs either. (This is why I like circulars for socks, rather than DPNs. TMI, I know.) So I have to say that I like using my Denise needles for dish/wash cloths, in general.

As for "metal, plastic or wood," I'd have to say resin/plastic come in first because of that touch of flexibility, with metal second because of their speed, and wood last. I just really dislike those blunt ends of the wood needles; it splits the yarn, especially cotton! And cotton is pretty unyielding, so it often sticks and catches on the wood as well. I find that wood is a good option when I am knitting something I am not too familiar with. Because it slows me down and forces me to pay attention.

Brand isn't really important to me. I do like the Denise set a lot. And Addi Turbos are all that people say they are and MORE, especially for socks. One of my favorite "brands" of needle is Bryspun. They are resin, I think, or maybe plastic. But they have a certain feel to them that is a lot warmer and smoother than plastic needles. I find knitting with the Bryspun is a visceral experience for me. It's almost like the needles become an extension of me. TMI, again, I know. Even though I am not a huge fan of wood, I am dying to try KnitPicks NEW, COOL-ASS Harmony needles. I mean just LOOK AT THEM.

For $1.35 a ball, Sugar N' Cream and/or Peaches N' Cream knits up a helluva fine dishcloth! So I do use that all the time. I have used Bernat Cottontots, as well. This makes a really soft and uber-absorbent cloth. My only complaint about Cottontots is that it doesn't come in enough colors. All the colors are like kid-oriented. Like would it kill them to make a tan, plum, and sage green colorway instead of purple, lime green, and white? I would really like to try a fancier, softer cotton, I think. I have purchased some Cherry Tree Hill cotton yarn, which sort of has a bouclé texture to it. That seems like it will be fun to use. I also have some pure Louet linen that I got on clearance. I am going to try that soon too.

That's all for now.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Deserted Island

Well, Marsha is running a contest to celebrate her Blog's 2nd birthday!

The rules? Just name three things that you would want with you if stranded on a desert island.

This is really tough. I keep thinking about the movie Castaway with Tom Hanks! He didn't get the opportunity to choose. Being pretty equally left-brained and right-brained, I can really see the necessity for practicality, as well as the value of comfort and pleasure. So choosing three items has proved quite a challenge. Adding to the challenge is not knowing how long this desertion will be. I would probably choose different items if it were 3 years rather than 3 months. Nevertheless, here they are:

1) My green knitting bag, aka "the luggage." There are so many things I can do to occupy my time with what is in this bag. Also, there is the option of re-knittability. I can knit something, keep it for a while, then frog it and knit something else.

2) I'm going to assume that this is an island kind of like what's on Lost, albeit without smoke monsters, the hatch, and Matthew Fox (dammit). So in that case, I would want a book identifying all the edible flora, fauna, and fruits, etc. and which things were poisonous or posed some other health concern.

3) One of my cats, probably Titus. I was going to say Todd, but I don't think it's fair that he would have to be deserted with me, although he'd probably love it. Anyway, I chose one of the cats because I think everyone needs some kind of companionship and needs some living thing to care for. It's what makes us alive, I think. Why Titus? Well, he's the most easy-going of the cats. He pretty much eats whatever you put in front of him and he loves me to death. I'm sure he thinks that I am his mother.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Babies, Cats, and Knitting

Hey, everyone. So I just returned from visiting my sister and my new baby niece, Aubrey, in North Carolina. Oh my DOG, she is so cute. I took TONS of pictures. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Here's Aubrey having a "chat" with her mom. She is so alert and really wants to communicate with all of us. She is only 3 weeks old, but she really wants to talk to us!



Here she is with the hat I made her as part of that kimono/hat/booties matching ensemble. It fits her perfectly! Now I am going to make her more hats. Because, hey, babies with hats are like over-the-top cute:

Yeah, so, my sister recently got a pure-bred Siamese (the cute, apple-head, non-cross-eyed kind). They named him Neko, which is the Japanese word for cat. I think he's about 5-6 months old now. He is awfully cute, and a very sweet cat too. And he has THE bluest eyes I've ever seen. Just magnificent. He also...well...really loves the baby....

He would periodically sneak in there with her whenever we weren't looking!

Here are my sister's 2 other cats:


(who is actually a boy, but, well, it's a long story....)

And here is the baby blanket that I had been working on for the last few months. I finished it and did a semi-block on it the day before I left. Overall, I am very pleased with how it turned out. I think my sister really liked it, too.

While I was in North Carolina, I made a dishcloth to match my sister's kitchen. I happened to have with me the cotton yarn that my Dishcloth Swap spoiler from the last round gave me! The dishcloth is actually the same pattern as the blanket above. I absolutely love that pattern. It was a free one from the Dishcloth Boutique website.

I also managed to finish one sock out while there! I switched to Addi Turbo needles (size 2 on 12" cables) and it was infinitely easier. Like, WHOA. Now I am working on the gusset portion of the second sock in this pair. So it looks like I will actually finish my first pair of socks ever! And I DO see more sock knitting in my future. Thank you, Addi Turbos!!! My only beef with the sock is that I made the foot portion too long for me by about 3/4 to 1 inch. But, hey, for the first pair ever? I think that's ok! :-)

And I leave you now with pictures of a couple of my cats being very, very silly:




Thursday, September 06, 2007

Wrongfully Accused

Do you remember when this happened?

I do. Very well, thank you.

Recall, if you will, that I automatically assumed that it was Titus. I made this assumption based on his prior atrocities, such as this and this.

In a great, loud disturbance that I had yesterday morning at 5:30 am, it was revealed to me that I had, indeed, wrongfully accused Titus and that it was actually Hercules that managed to knock everything off my dresser and onto the floor. Yes. Hercules. Allow me to divulge the full epiphany on you:

Despite the fact that our house has central air-conditioning, for the last several months, we have had a window-unit air conditioner in our bedroom window. Why? Because the central air just does not make it upstairs. And I can't take heat, especially when I am trying to sleep. So we popped a window-unit in there. It's great. Well, apparently, the neighborhood birds think so too, but probably for a different reason. They love to come tuck themselves under the thing or on the side, or build a little nest in the corner of the window outside, using the air conditioner as a supporting wall. Plus there is a big tree in our front yard, and its branches do touch the master-bedroom window---the very same window with the air conditioner. These birds make quite a ruckus. And the birds, in conjunction with the tree make for some interesting moving shadows all around the bedroom.

What does this have to do with anything at all ever in the history of time? I'm getting there. Bear with me.

Ever since we picked up Hercules off the street (literally) he has been intrigued by sunbeams, and shadows and how they drift and change around the room. Why, I recall many a day when he sat on the steps in the living room (at our old house), absolutely rapt, for hours watching as the sun would move in the sky and change the shadows that it cast on the stairwell wall. And, indeed, nearly every early am since we've had that air conditioner in our bedroom window, there's been Hercules jumping around from dresser, to chest-of-drawers, to lingerie chest, trying to catch the shadows.

Usually we are aware of what he's doing, and manage to hit him with the water in the "NO, NO, BAD CAT" spray bottle that we keep on the nightstand. He'll scurry away, only knocking off one or two things. Well...yesterday at 5:30ish am there was an ear-drum-shattering CRASH across the room, which came from the chest-of-drawers. Hercules had miscalculated his trajectory and managed to drag down the table runner (WHEN WILL I LEARN: 5 CATS = 0 TABLE RUNNERS) and with it every freakin' thing on the chest of drawers. I knew it was Hercules because:
a) only he jumps around in the morning on the bedroom furniture.
b) only he chases shadows and sunbeams and
c) Titus, the usual suspect, was nestled in the elbow pit on my arm, licking away, as is his custom every morning.

Shut up. I know they are spoiled. And Titus seriously thinks I'm his mother. It's...kind of cute.

I did not take pictures because I just did not have the emotional energy to do it. So later that morning (I was off yesterday; I am recovering from tonsillitis), I started picking everything up. And Titus was right there at my elbow, completely intrigued by the mess and how I was cleaning it up.



Hercules jumps around on the tops of my bedroom furniture. Hercules chases shadows and sunbeams and has been doing so for 3 years. So it was Hercules that actually spawned my "I can't have nice things" post, NOT Titus.

So, my dear Squinty Fuzzimous Sean Connery Football Head McGoo, even though you can't read (I assume), this apology goes out to you.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Fall Into Autumn Dishcloth Swap Questionnaire

1. Do you knit or crochet? How long have you been doing it?

I've been knitting for 3 years. My friend Marsha taught me in the summer of 2004. It was always something that I wanted to do. My grandmother was a great knitter and an expert at crochet. I have a crochet tablecloth that she made. Incredible. Marsha's husband, Jan, taught me how to crochet. I just really like being creative and making usable things. I would consider my skill level in knitting to be almost intermediate. I'm still just a novice at crochet. I very slowly build up my knowledge of stitches and techniques. I'd like to be able to master a particular skill first before piling on something else.

2. Have you made dischloths before? Do you use them yourself, give them as gifts, or both?
Yes! And Yes! I think a dishcloth makes a really nice gift. And I love to make them.

3. What's your favorite cotton to make cloths from? What cotton would you like to try that you haven't before?
Well, I really like the good ol' Sugar & Cream cotton yarn. It's inexpensive and comes in a bajillion colors. I also like Bernat's CottonTots yarn. Its texture really makes a nice, absorbent cloth. I love the feel of mercerized cotton, Plymouth Fantasy Naturale is my favorite. I have yet to try that in a dishcloth because I don't know if the mercerization has any effect on the cotton's absorbency, thus rendering it useless as a dishcloth! I recently purchased some Araucania Pehuen cotton yarn, which has a really neat texture! I can't wait to try it. But I would like to try some Mission Falls Cotton, or Blue Sky Alpacas cotton, or Lion Brand Organic Cotton. And I'd love to try a cotton/bamboo blend.

4. If you knit, do you prefer circular or straight needles? For all, do you prefer wooden, metal, or plastic needles?
Hmmm...well, I have all kinds of needles (wood, plastic, metal, resin, etc.) and I think my favorite needles are made by Bryspun. They are sometimes hard to come by. But use them once, and you'll love them, especially the circulars. No tangling/twisting, which is my biggest complaint about circular needles. I recently purchased some gently-used Denise needles from a friend and they are SUPER! And Addi Turbo circulars ARE all that people rave about them and more. They are 'da bomb!

5. What are your favorite colors? Any colors you don't like much?
Well, I don't think it's really a question of me not liking colors, because I pretty much like ALL of them, except for teal. Teal should be obliterated from all human existence. Really, it's more like what colors don't like me! For instance, I love yellow and orange, but they look hideous on me. However, I will admit that I'm not a huge fan of pastels. I guess I like heathered, natural colors the best. I'm fond of plums, sagey greens, denim blues, gray, terracotta, coral, browns and mocha. I like red, too.

6. What do you like best about Autumn?
I like the crisp, clean air. It's very refreshing. In fact, I find that Autumn is more of a time of renewal for me than Spring. Maybe it's because I work in academia, and the start of the school year is in the fall....

7. Pies: Pumpkin? Apple? Pecan? All of em? or No Thanks!
Oh, hell yes! All of those and more! But honestly, pecan is my favorite.

8. When you were a kid, were you the one who couldn't wait to get started with school , or the one who overslept on the 1st day?
Could. Not. Wait. Like INSANE. Like couldn't sleep for a week before because I was so excited and nervous about it. But after about 3 weeks, my mom needed a bulldozer and the New York Philharmonic to get me out bed.

9. Do you celebrate Halloween? (The real key here guys is especially knowing if you have an aversion to the holiday or little goodies/decorations associated with it, given the timeframe of the swap)
Well, I'll be honest with you. I am not a big Halloween fan, never was. Even as a kid. However, I am not at all insulted by or opposed to Halloween-themed items. I usually do shell out candy to the kiddies, so I guess I actually do "celebrate" it. But I don't send cards or buy gifts for people. I refuse to succumb to Hallmark's diabolical scheme to make every freakin' day of the year a card-giving holiday. Didn't you know? Today is National Show-Your-Buttcrack Day! Spend $4.79 for a card! You know you want to!

10. If you had to choose just 3 edible 'goodies' to eat for a full year, what 3 would you choose?
Icelandic Noi
Sirius Konsum dark chocolate bars. Best. Chocolate. Ever. Not kidding.

11. Do you have any pets? Kids? Husbands who seem like kids? ;)
Heh. Very nicely phrased question! I have five furry children, all cats, all mostly evil, except for the oldest, Sophie. You can poke around my blog pretty easily and find pictures of them being bad. They are: Sophie, Hercules, Titus, Ophelia (we call her Fi-Fi for short), and Luna (who has now greatly surpassed Titus as the evilest one, which I did not think was even possible). So, yeah, FIVE cats. Hey, less time in purgatory.... And one big kid: Todd, my husband. :-)

12. If you were to describe a particular yarn that shares traits of your personality, what would it be and why?
Wow, interesting question! Um...let's see. I'd have to go with cotton, actually. Because I am dependable, easy going, and very what you see is what you get. And, to confirm that I really do know myself, I just took this quiz:

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Dishcloth Cotton.You are a very hard worker, most at home when you're at home. You are thrifty and seemingly born to clean. You are considered to be a Plain Jane, but you are too practical to notice.
Take this quiz!

So there you have it! I do like to be at home or with people who are very familiar to me. I am hardworking and thrifty, but I do buy a lot of STUFF! As for being born to clean, meh, not so much.

13. Do you use your cloths mostly for dishcloths, or as facecloths?
Well probably half and half!

14. Favorite Fall Holiday: Halloween or Thanksgiving and why? (Feel free to share another fall memory if you do not celebrate either of these holidays)
I gotta go with Thanksgiving. Mostly because of one thing: candied yams. Nuff' said.

15. Do you have any allergies or aversions your pal should know about?
No allergies that my pal would need to know, unless they planned on sending me some drugs. LOL (I am allergic to Sulfa drugs.) I have a STRONG aversion to Indian food, particularly curry and I hate gummy-type candy, particularly Twizzlers or any of its rubbery, stringy look-alikes. Yuck.