Friday, December 28, 2007

What I Got For Christmas

In my family we've given up giving big gifts. This year we reduced it even further, to only stocking stuffers. Still, I got some very nice things.

My brother and Carla gave me a tea kettle with apples painted on it. I think that was probably a little bit more than a stocking stuffer, but maybe they were figuring that if each of them had given a $6.00 item it would have made up to that. Anyway, I really like it, since apples are the motif in my kitchen. They also gave me a bottle of their home made wine.

My brother Ross gave me a set of very nice salad spoons from Ikea.

My brother Robb gave me a really good quality can opener. He was over for Thanksgiving and had had to use my crappy can opener. Next time he can use this good one! He also added a few nifty $1.00 sewing toys.

My mom gave me an insulated lunch bag. And a box of flavored herbal tea. And a pair of socks. And $30.00 to buy something I wanted.

I took that money and bought a cute Christmas tea pot (on sale 75% off) and everything I needed to make myself a rag rug for my livingroom.

That's a list of things I got. Material things. The real gifts were the hours I spent with Ross wandering around downtown Fargo looking at the cute shops that have started down there. It's the relief that all the family members got along for 6 hours. It's being sad that Gina, Bill and Abbey, and our nephew Joshua couldn't come because of bad roads in the Cities, but happiness that they were able to get back home safely after nearly going in the ditch several times. It's watching the old home movies from thje 50s and 60s and hearing my mom say "Oh, that's your Cousin Sophie" and "Do you remember your dad's Uncle Joe?" Stange, look how young and attractive my parents were before they had 6 kids. It's the look of interest and appreciation on Carla's face when the kitchen cordial book was unwrapped. Why is it that the least expensive gift is always the favorite? I had debated whether or not to give that little book, since I had picked it up for 99 cents in Canada. Same thing happened a couple years ago when I gave Ross a 25 cent cup with a goat on it. It just goes to show that it's not how much money was spent that makes a gift special. It's how well it matches the recipient.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Dance!

This morning I got an email from SallieMae, the folks who have my school loans, that my last payment would be Jan of 08. Wow, isn't that great? My monthly payments weren't all that high, but even $85.00 a month makes a big difference when the budget is squeaking. Now I can afford a two bedroom apartment. And put a little away each month for a down payment on a new (used) car. My current vehicle, Harvey the Miracle, has 149,880 miles on him. Thanks to the guys at the Car Care Clinic at church Harvey is still going strong. I'd like Harvey to make it for another two years. Then I will have another loan paid off and I'll be able to afford car payments.

Another good piece of news is that I was given an additional $100 bonus at work for the overtime I've put in during the year. So I'm splurging and buying myself a yarn swift and a warping board. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A-Ha! Success!!

I've been working along on my brother's socks, becoming more and more fretful as I drew nearer the end of the yarn. I've searched for the exact yarn online, with no luck, for about a week. I checked eBay on Saturday, and Sunday, but no. I looked at Little Knits, Webs, Royal Yarns, and a ton more online yarn shops, but even if they carried the JaWoll, they didn't carry the JaWoll sport weight, and if they did have the sport weight they didn't have my color, #50. I was frantically wondering if I could use a matching red or blue and have a very long contrasting toe. But today I finally found a perfect match. On eBay. Even the dye lot is the same! I should have it in 10 days or so.

That's the kind of day I've been having. Usually when I use those words there's a heavy depressed sigh at the end. But this kind of day is a GOOD day. Two claims in my desk at work finalized today. After 5 months of figuring and trying to fool the computer system into wanting to let them pay correctly they finally worked. There are going to be some happy Medicare Beneficiaries in a few days when their checks arrive in time for Christmas. And then around 1pm I was able to smell that someone had burned popcorn in the lunch room! And then I was able to complete a task that I've been trying to get to for about 9 weeks! And, then while I was daydreaming on my break it came to me how to write a certain scene in the story I've been playing with.

See? It was that kind of day! Thank you Lord, and could I please have some more like this?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Knit News

Well, my sense of smell is slowly coming back. Sometimes I can smell a little something, faintly, and sometimes I smell nothing. Hopefully in a few days it will be here and strong. I know it's just a temporary reprieve but I'll enjoy it while I can.

I've been busy knitting the past week. I've finished Ceri's shawl. I used Lion Brand Homespun, in a dark rich purple, which is one of Ceri's favorite colors. It's a really easy pattern, just half a dishrag, so it was super easy to make. I really like it. After the holidays I might just make one for myself.
I also got started on a pair of socks for my brother Ross. He chose the yarn himself, a sport weight JaWoll in black with random stripes of red, blue and yellow. I only bought two skeins, which for me would have been plenty for a pair of socks. So I need to hunt up another skein. If I can't match it I might have contrasting toes (actually, half a foot) I bought this yarn in the Cities, and I called the store to see if they had another skein. They don't. So I'll check the Ravelry folks to see if anyone has one to sell or trade, and then I'll try ebay.
The kitties are getting along great. Magic and Masuka have really hit it off.
They are best buds. Poor Merry is getting left out sometimes. But aren't the two of them cute together. And sometimes all three curl up together. I'm a lucky woman.

Monday, December 03, 2007

I Can Smell!

Sure, it's not really there yet. I only got a brief whiff of my hand lotion. But I got a kenalog shot on Thursday, and the other 2 times I got kenalog it took about 2 weeks for it to really kick in, so I figure I'm good. And I hope to be able to smell (and feel pretty good) until the end of january. So 3 cheers for kenalog.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Autumn Carolinas Finished!

Look! I finished the socks for Mairghread! Ain't they great? Made of Cashmere and Merino Wool from JoJoland called Quartette. So soft and snuggly that I want a pair for myself. The pattern is from Socktopia. It's called Carolina, the last Queen of Naples (long name for a fun and easy pattern than makes waves. The colors are very autumn-ish, and the zigzags make me think of falling leaves spinning around in the wind) These are in gratitude for the time I went to Fina's house exhausted and crabby and the minute i walked in the door there was Mai, jumping up from her comfy place on the floor pillow to make me my favorite non alcoholic Cosmopolitan. These will be off to her soon, just in time for cold Minnesota winter weather.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A Whole, Glorious Week Off

I am off of work this week. Happy Sigh. I have my time off all planned out. I'll start each morning with hot coffee and a scone and an hour of leisurely knitting.

Monday I am going to clean my apartment and then meet friends to check out the new yarn store in Fargo. I'll go through my fabric stash to find just the right stuff for my new Italian Renaissance dress. Something fairly casual, not court fancy. I wonder how much of that blue linen I have? In the evening I'll hug the kitties and watch all my favorite shows.

Tuesday I have to vacate my apartment while they spray so I'm off to the library, the coffee shop and mom's house, knitting in tow. Maybe read a book? I'll spend the evening finding out which other wonderful dancer they'll kick off of Dancing With the Stars and petting the kitties.

Wednesday I plan to cut out and begin sewing the plain Italian Renn dress. In the afternnon I'm meeting friends to knit. Then we're having a special service at church that I really want to go to. 6 people are being baptised, including my friend Callie. I really wish my SCA meeting wasn't on Wednesday nights too. But in this case there is no contest. I'm going to church. After I get home I'll set the logwood and Brazilwood to soaking. Then I'll play with the cats.

Thursday I'm dyeing some wool fleece with the brazilwood and logwood dyes. First I have to go thru my fiber stash to see what odds and ends I can throw in the dye pots besides the fleece from that poor sheep I butchered trying to shear it last spring. I thought I'd toss in some silk and some cotton too, to see how the color differs. But I'm not sure I have enough tannin to mordant the cotton. Then I'll work some more on the Italian Ren dress. And in the evening I'll chase the cats around.

Friday is set aside for making another chemise to go with the Italian Ren dress. By the time all that's done I'll need to clean the apartment again. Maybe I can sit and read a book. And cuddle with the kitties, of course.
I wonder how closely I'll stick to that schedule?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Breathing -- Is It Too Much To Ask For?

I have some fairly serious sinus troubles. I have had 4 sinus surgeries for my nasal polyps. It's a painful business and to add insult to injury, surgery gives only temporary relief. My last surgery was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN on June 1, 2006.

I was doing pretty well until the middle of September, even though I lost my sense of smell last summer. At first I thought my misery was allergy related. Although I'm not really allergic to anything except mold and cats, it was a bad allergy season and my ENT once told me that I was probably sensitive to various things. In October I was using my albuterol inhaler 4 or 5 times a day. I was coughing loud enough to wake the dead. My nasal passages are swollen shut. Every now and then I blow a large, dark thick wad of something disgusting out. What fun. My head hurt. My throat was sore. Well, when I called my GP to make an appointment I found out she is going to another clinic and won't be seeing anyone there until the 1st week of November. So I went to another doctor at the clinic and she said it didn't look like a sinus infection. I asked for a Kenalog shot and she said she didn't give out steroids for any reason. She perscribed Singulair for my wheezing. Well, that was really good. I don't wheeze much anymore. But it cost a lot and did nothing for anything else. Now my gums ache and I just want to be able to breathe through my nose. Really, I'm pretty sure it's a sinus infection. After 15 years and $75,000 I consider myself an expert. I called my ENT for an appointment. The earliest opening is Dember 13. Good grief.

So next payday, when I can afford it, I'm going to see if I can get in to see my regular doctor and get taken care of. She'll give me a kenalog shot and some antibiotics that might help.

Sometimes life just sucks, ya know?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Autumn Carolina

I just LOVE this knitting pattern. It looks so intricate, but it's so easy! This is from the Socktopia page, and the pattern is called Carolina, the last Queen of Naples. I'm using JoJoLand Quartette, a merino and cashmere blend, and boy, can you say soft? These are yummy! I hope to have these done by the end of the month. But I have signed up for yet another project which will demand overtime. I'm not going crazy this time. I'm limiting myself to only 4-5 hours a week. And only one saturday a month. I won;t be beginning this until next week. This morning at work I started having a scratchy throat and a headache. When I got home I took my temperature and it's up a little over 100. So I'm cancelling my plans to attend the japanese event in Minneapolis and will stay home and rest. Fortunately I'm not too sick to be able to knit.

Oh, and hey, look! Masuka and Magic are getting along pretty well now!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I've Been Busy!

I know, that's no excuse for not posting for over a month. But really, I've been busy! I finished knitting the hat for my Castel Rouge friend's niece, so I was finally able to start knitting the socks I've been dying to make. (of course, I still have Landra's baby sweater to finish, plus my mom's sweater, and the socks for Susan and the shawl for myself. Oh, and I have the purple yarn to start Ceri's shawl too, but these socks must be started now!) These are called "Carolina, the Last Queen of Naples" and the pattern was designed by the gal at Socktopia. Since my grandmother was born just outside Naples, I figured I had a direct connection to this pattern. The yarn is a lovely cashmere blend by JoJoland called Quartette that I received as part of a swap. At first I had planned this yarn for Lusche. The colors are perfect for her. But she said she wanted thick, warm socks. These will probably be warm, but the yarn is fingering weight, so they will probably be too thin for her. So instead these will go to Mairghead. I've just barely finished the cuff, so you can't tell what the pattern will be but I promise to post another photo soon, so you can see if the yarn will show off the pattern or hide it.

Another thing I've been really busy with is my new friend. Her name is Koneko no Masuku. It means (maybe) the Masked Kitten. I don't actually speak japanese, but a friend who went to college there told me that was how it would be said. I call her Masuka, although it has begun to be shortened to Sukey. One of her parents may have been Siamese. Her ears and tail are darker than the rest of her. But she has a white blaze right over her nose and mouth. It seperates the dark mask on her face so that she looks like a raccoon or like she's wearing a mask. She's very striking in appearance. She's probably about 10 weeks old now. She and 3 siblings were rescued from a state park about 70 miles east of here and brought to a pet rescue group called PAAWS. I went to volunteer to pet the kitties and help socialize them one day and took her home a week later. I fell in love with her. She's very shy with me, but it's funny the way she won't let Merry and Magic boss her around. She's cautious with them, but still does what she wants. I brought her home 3 days ago and they're already beginning to tolerate each other.
I had to put all my yarn safely away in rubbermaid tubs. It's frustrating not to be able to just reach into the hanging netted containers I used to have, but almost certainly not as frustating as it would be to come home from work and find the yarn all over the floor, unravelled and shredded buy tiny kitten claws.
I've been pretty sick the last month or so. I was hoping to get another Kenalog shot, but my doctor has left Fargo to practice in Whapeton. So I have a new doctor and she doen't give out steroids in any form unless it's absolutely necessary. So tonight I'm going to start Singulair. I hope it works. I'm awfully tired of wheezing and not being able to breathe through my nose...
And I had some friends crash with me on their way from Winnipeg to Crown and one of them had a nasty cold, and I think I'm getting it. I only worked for 3.5 hours today instead of the 8 I needed to make up time because I felt so miserable. But now that I've finished my to-do list i can go sit down with a cup of hot peppermint tea and go back to knitting. yay!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Baby Sprout Hat Free Knitting Pattern

In my last post did I mention that I knitted a hat for a friend's baby while I was up at Gimli? They had gone up to Canada without a hat for the baby since Fargo was so hot. They just forgot that the baby might get cold and need a hat to cover her tender little head. They mentioned the need for a hat and I just happened to have some Lamb's Pride Bulky wool/mohair yarn and needles that would work. So I cast on that evening and finished a dorky looking little hat out of bright teal in a couple hours. (I had a bubblegum pink, too, but really, that's so traditional. Kinda boring, ya know?) Everyone in their cabin was already in bed so I just crept in and stuck the hat on a top bunk. They found it right away. When I walked past their cabin the following morning they were on the porch, and the baby was wearing the hat. The little I cord loop on top is cute. My friends said she looked like a little sprout in it. So I've named this hat the Baby Sprout hat. Feel free to use the pattern. It's nothing special or particularly innovative, and the directions are bare bones, but it's here if you're interested.


1.5 – 2 oz bulky weight yarn (I used Lamb’s Pride Bulky)
Set of 4 double point needles, size 11
Yarn needle, scissors

Cast on 48 stitches, divide onto three needles, 16 stitches per needle. Join.

Knit every stitch for 4 or so rows. This makes a rolled brim
Purl 1 row to keep the rolled brim from rolling too far
Knit 10 or 12 rows. It should be maybe as wide as your palm depending on baby’s head.
Purl 1 row
Knit 1 row
Purl 1 row
Knit 1 row
To make crown:
Row 1: Knit 6, knit 2 together. Repeat. You should have 42 stitches left
Row 2: K nit
Row 3: Knit 5, knit 2 together. Repeat. 36 stitches left
Row 4: Knit
Row 5: Knit 4, knit 2 together. Repeat. 30 stitches left
Row 6: Knit
Row 7: Knit 3, knit 2 together. Repeat. 24 stitches left
Row 8: Knit
Row 9: Knit 2, knit 2 together. Repeat. 18 stitches left
Row 10: Knit
Row 11, Knit 1, knit 2 together. Repeat. 12 stitches left
Row 12: K nit 2 together. Repeat. 6 stitches
Row 13: Knit 2 together. Repeat. 3 stitches left.
Work 4 inches of I cord
Cut yarn, and thread it thru a yarn needle. Pul
l through hat at the same place as I cord begins to make a loop and fasten off. Weave in ends.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Gimli Was Great

I always have a great time at Gimli but I think this year was the best yet. Too bad I forgot my camera. The new Baby was there and her parents forgot to bring any hats for her so I quick knitted a little hat on Friday night. It was made out of a thick bright teal wool and mohair yarn, so it didn't *look* like it should have been a baby hat, and it looked a little dorky, but it was a cute sort of dorky. It was plenty warm during the day (the feast hall was a sauna!) but at night and in the morning the breeze off the lake was pretty nippy. I guess it's a little strange, but I kinda like getting up at 3 am and wrapping up in a cloak to walk to the bathroom. And then crawling through the bed curtains and snuggling back into bed afterwards. For me it must be a sort of "magic moment" although it was more likely that in period they would have used a chamber pot or the garderobe. Ew!

I taught a sock knitting class so the Baby received a couple baby socks too. I wasn't surpised that Ceri caught on right away, but I was pretty impressed with Ravenna, who hadn't knitted since she was eight, and had never purled, or decreased before.

The only thing that would have made the weekend better would have been seeing more friends, some of whom had to cancel due to money or passport issues, and others were having fun at Travis and Jen's wedding.

Now it's back to work. We are once again strongly encouraged to put in 10 hours of overtime a week, although we are not required to put in more than five. Sigh. Well, it means some larger paychecks, and that's always a plus. And it's only thru Sept 30. So if I can just hold on that long, I can have Meritcare Clinic, Mayo Clinic and one of my credit cards completely paid off by by October 15. Well maybe not one of the credit cards. Still, I'll be furtbner ahead than I was. It just means I don't get to go to Coronation this weekend, or CeCil's Siege, and that's a bummer.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Marvelous Day!

I woke up this morning at 7, stared blearily at the clock and rolled over and went back to sleep until 8:30 when the cats demanded breakfast. It was a blissfully cool 59 degrees. I staggered out of bed and fed the cats, then jumped into the shower to wash my hair and shave my legs. I sat in my chair and stared at the History channel while I shovelled in Raisin Bran. As I sat there I thought "Do I really need to go to church?" I would have to cut out early anyway to get to my mom's by 11:30. My two brothers who live in town were going over there too for lunch. I felt slightly guilty, but I decided to skip church. So I sat happily in my chair and knitted until it was time to go to my Mom's.

Hamburgers were great. And my oldest brother has a peach tree that had a bumper crop this year, so we ate those for dessert. I doubt that peach trees are all that common in North Dakota, but I could be wrong. These peaches were quite small but very juicy and soft, and so sweet they didn't need sugar. Yum. Then all four of us (me, my mom -who could care less about baseball- my older brother Steve and my youngest brother Robb) headed out for the RedHawks baseball game. It was a good game. The opposing pitcher took a no-hitter into the 9th inning. Our pitcher did a decent job, but gave up 6 hits that translated into 4 runs. Then we had a very exciting rally in the bottom of the Ninth, with some close plays. We got 2 runs, which was exciting, and lost by 2 runs which was disappointing. Still, a very good game. The weather continued to be cool, probably in the mid 70s, with a light breeze and overcast skies, so that was nice too.

As soon as the game was over I drove immediately to Island Park to hear the Jazz In The Park Concert. I got there about 15 minutes after it started and had a bit of trouble lugging my chair, blanket, purse, knitting bag and two bottles of water from the parking lot, through the park to where my friends had set up their chairs. Boy, I could tell right away that they weren't my SCA friends, because not a one of them offered to help me get my stuff settled. I had called from the parking lot to ask where they were set up, and one came out to lead me in, and never even offered to carry any of my stuff. Hm. Like I said, I could tell right away that this was not an SCA event... But it was a really nice concert. I liked all the music, especially the first band (I missed half their set, pooh). The park was beautiful

And now I'm home, kinda tired but still so happy that I had such a good day. I'm really bad about getting out to see friends and doing things with them. This is something that my counselor tells me I need to find a "happy balance" of. Some time for me, and some time for friends and things outside me. I tend to be a home body and once I get home from work I'm too tired to want to go out. I am one of those people that enjoys my own company and I can happily spend days at home reading or writing or knitting. But when my friends do things without me I tend to feel left out and pout. Which makes no sense, really, since when my friends call me up and invite me over I often say thanks but I'm too tired.

But this weekend I've been a good girl. Yesterday I spent several hours devouring Stephenie Meyer's latest book Eclipse, (that counts for "me" time) then had a church friend and her daughter come over in the evening to work on a knitting problem, and then out all day today. See? Balance.

I'm bushed!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

It's Too Hot To Wear Wool Socks

I finished Typhaine's Stars & Moons socks last month, but I haven't sent them to her because it's just too darn hot to be wearing them. I think they turned out nicely.

I'll start Mai's socks in a few weeks, after I've finished a cute little cotton sweater for Landra. I've got the niftiest wool and cashmere blend for socks for Mai and Lusche. They'll be twins!

I'd managed cut down down on my UFOs (unfinished objects). See the knitted belted red and black bag?

But that was until I got bit by the sweater bug. Now I'm working on a top down raglan sleeve sweater for my mom, and a baby sweater for little Landra, and I've got a nice royal blue tank top planned for me. I received the sport weight Shine cotton yarn I ordered from KnitPicks for that. But I better put that off and start on Christmas and 12th Night gifts. Here's the back of Landra's sweater. I love the feel of this yarn. It's so soft I want a sweater made out of it!
Tomorrow I'm going first to the Red hawks baseball game with my brothers. Then I'm going directly to the Jazz in the Park Concert. I just need to decide which knitting project to take with me...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

My New Job

So... I started my new job as Process Analyst within the same team at Medicare DME on Monday. It's been... interesting.

First of all, my access to the computer systems was changed so I could access more systems. Unfortunately, a goof was made, and I had no access to adjust claims at all. It took them two days to fix that. Since the other regular corr girl is on vacation this week I have to learn my new job and continue to do my old job. Of course, that's pretty tricky if you can't use the computer. On Tuesday morning I was hustled into a company wide meeting for writing documentation. It will be a year long project, and the group had begun their training last week. I had been told that I would be working with that. But since I had missed the previous training meeting I was totally lost. Way to make a good impression, huh? I'd like to blame my team leader for not sending me to the training even tho I wasn't officially in my position yet, but I suppose she has to follow the rules. Got access for the computer back today. Gee, I'm only about a week's worth of work behind, plus I have my new job to learn... Tomorrow I get to go to another meeting that is run by someone who really doesn't like me. I bet I'll have a lot of fun there.

I'm figuring that I'll end up really enjoying this new job. Once things get settled down I'll catch up on what I'm supposed to be doing. Meanwhile, I really need to knit. And maybe spin a bit too. I want to make a baby sweater out of this really nice alpaca top that I have half spun up. A baby girl can wear brown can't she? You betcha.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Cat Box

Why is it that when you've gone to the expense of buying your pet a perfectly comfy, padded bed to sleep in they will imediately abandon it when they see an empty box laying on the floor? The Merry Miaow spent about two hours sleeping in the little cardboard box. I'm still not sure what shoehorn she used to fit herself into it.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Baby Socks Are So Cute!

A friend of mine is having a baby any day now. She was actually due on the 4th of July, so it really is any day now. All of us friends are checking out email every hour or so, hoping for news of labor. It's possible that she is more anxious than we are...

I knitted a pair of baby socks for her. Rotten pic, I know. The toes are a bit more pointy than I had planned for them to be, and they probably won't stay on. Baby socks never stay on. I'm about to start a matching little cap, but I was hoping to find out if it was a girl or a boy, so I would be able to decide on a lace bonnet or a little stocking cap. They think it is a girl. But if I make a little lacy bonnet it is sure to be a boy. So I will wait to start. It's a quick project either way.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Moorish Tavern

I had a marvelous weekend at Moorish Tavern. I brought along my knitting and completed two whole rows on Typhaine's socks. Most of the time I was too busy strolling around the period encampments, or chatting with friends, or watching sweaty people work at the forge, or helping out at the water point for the fighters. Lady Rosele put a beautiful henna design on my hands. She offered to do it for free, since she wants to build up a portfolio so she can go to large events and charge for doing it. But I tucked a couple dollars into her basket, and so did some other people.

I love henna. Of course, when I got to work on Monday morning at 7 am I had a voice mail from HR telling me I had an interview for the PA position I had applied for that morning at 8am. Hm. Wish I would have known that before I put on a pair of capri pants and a T-shirt... And of course I had to explain about the henna to them, which led to a discussion of the SCA. It helped to break the ice, but I'm not sure it did my job search any good.

I wore my new Viking apron dress for the day on Saturday and found out that the two front panels were too narrow. So I guess this coming weekend I'll be sewing a new one. Darn. I just finished the Byzantine tunic for Andronikus today (it looks really good, by the way. Wish I would have taken a picture before sending it off with Hrodir)and I was sort of looking forward to not having to sew for the SCA for a little while. But we have the Viking demo on July 21--Yes, the same day the last Harry Potter comes out. Oh, the pain. I'm giving my old dress to a new lady in our shire, whose father is a wood turner and is going to make me another spindle in exchange. Good deal, I say.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Too Darn Hot

ugh. it's been in the 90s for what seems like forever. Actually it's been only a few days. I can not bear heat. Anything over 75 and I die. Last night when I went to bed a little after midnight it was still 85. Don't you just love that sheets-sticking-to-you feeling? This morning even taking a shower didn't help me feel fresh. And right now I'm at work, sweltering, because it takes a couple hours for air conditioning to kick in on Monday morning.

It's not that I want winter back. Really. I like not having to bundle up or driving on ice or shoveling snow. I would just like to feel comfortable enough to be able to enjoy a hot cup of coffee.

Off to try to get some work done.

Anyone know how to get sweat off a keyboard?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Works in Progress

So, I'm not getting much of anywhere on my various projects... Actually, that's not true. I have gotten past the color work on Typhaine's Moon & Stars socks and have started the heel. It will be good to have these done. Although she won't need these until November at least.

I have decided to give up on the stitch markers I ordered for my Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap partner and will make some simple ones today so I can get the package out tonight. They'll probably come in the mail tomorrow.

I haven't touched the baby cable socks I started for myself in April. They are still in the same spot they were. This is the Koigu yarn that the Loopy Ladies bought me as a thank you for teaching knitting. It's hard to see the pattern from this pic, but it's from Sensational Knitted Socks, which I believe is one of the best sock books ever written, and though the sequel is good, I prefer the original.

And there's the black and fancy fur purse that I'm going to felt as a Christmas present for a friend. This is the project that I bring with me to the Loopy Ladies Knitting Circle meetings because it is mindless stockinette stitch. That way I can talk and knit at the same time. I'm hoping it will look nicer after it's felted...

I got an MP3 player but didn't want to pay the extra $30 for the little leather case. I examined it and decided that I could knit one for free, since I had plenty of little odd balls. Well... This little thing has taken way too much of my time. All I have left now is to sew velcro to it to keep the protective flap over it and sew the elastic arm band andthen I am done. And I'm not ever making another one! Danged if the $30.00 wouldn't have been worth it after all.

Lastly, I'm just beginning to make the Byzantine tunic Sir Tom requested for his newest squire Lord Andronicus. I went through my fabric stash and found a very nice oatmeal colored linen with a nifty herringbone twill weave for the base of the tunic and a great green/blue shot linen for rondels, segmentae, etc. It is also in a herringbone twill weave. It is actually a lot darker than the pricture shows it. I made my friend Hrodir a pair of pants from it. So if they ever stand together they will match. Also I have a really great green and gold trim that will match really well. So I'm set to get that cut out and sewed. Sir Tom plans to present it at WW, so I don't have that much time to get it done.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Harry Potter Trivia

Who said:

"Greatness inspires envy, envy engenders spite, spite spawns lies."

This was a tough one! At first I thought it was Dumbledore who said this. A friend suggested Lupin, and I thought that was it. Remember after Harry saw a vision of his dad and Sirius being mean to Snape? I remember that Lupin had said something rather wise to Harry then. But no. This was said by...


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Day dreamin'...

I've been day dreaming about handsome men lately. Here's a few of my favorites.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hogwarts Trivia

Trivia - May 27 through June 2
Who are the two people speaking in this quote and what book is it from? 5 House Points to those who post the correct answer to their blogs.

"I'm not trying to say what she did was sensible. I'm just trying to make you see how she was feeling at the time."

"You should write a book, translating mad things girls do so boys can understand them."

This is Ron and Hermione, from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Book 5

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Stars & Moons Socks

Well, have you ever had a pattern that you loved the look of and hated to actually knit? This is that pattern for me. The first sock went a bit slow -I find that although I like the look of multi color/multi yarn patterns I tend to go real slow at them, since I can't seem to use both hands for working the yarn. But the first sock was finished fairly easily. So explain to me, then, why I've had to frog this one THREE freaking times?! First I had cast on the wrong number of stitches and didn't figure it out until I began the scattered dots. Spit. Start over. Then I got as far as the second set of gold stripes and realised that I had only done 1 gold stripe at the top. Spit. Frog back to the ribbing. THEN, wen I had re-knit that section and began the stars I saw that I had miscounted and one set of stars would overlap into the next. Well, double spit! I briefly considered letting that happen. But these are a gift for a dear friend. I want them perfe--well, as good as I can make them. So I frogged again. Now I'm afraid to touch them...
The weather is cold, windy and rainy. My favorite weather! Seriously. It's perfect for staying in and knitting or reading while drinking coffee and listening to favorite music. Happy sigh. Three whole days off! And Sunday School is finished fior the year so I don't have to get up too early tomorrow! I'm having a wonderful weekend!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Hufflepuff is losing!

In the Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap each house is awarde points for posting the trivia and what not into our blogs. Hufflepuffs are supposed to be steady and dependable and responsible. So why are we dead last in the house points?!!

Here are a few pics from the movies: Mad Eye Moody--creepy looking feller, what?

And Harry and Cho Chang kiss. Sweet.

And Dobby. Personally I don't like much like Dobby. And Hermione is a little too gung ho about house elves.

Viktor Krum and Hermione. Sappy sigh. I love Viktor Krum and the way he falls for Hermione. The big lunk.

Harry Potter Trivia

1. Who is the Fat Lady's friend?-
2. When the Fat Lady was attacked by Sirius Black and fled her portrait, who took over for her as guard of Gryffindor Tower? Sir Cadogen
3. Usually when Harry is in Dumbledore's office, what are the portraits of previous headmasters doing?- Snoozing
4. Which one of the Triwizard champions did not go to the World Cup? Fleur Delacour
5. Who did Harry give his Triwizard winnings to? Fred and George Weasley

The next two are anagrams. Rearrange the letters to get the correct words.
6. Live gong cram la man (two words) Give up
7. Owl or video I'm no good at these things
8. What author's name appears on the book "Quidditch Through the Ages? Kennilworthy Whisp
9. What does the Keeper do in a game of Quidditch?- Guards the goal-
10. In the Goblet of Fire why did the Mad Eye Moody imposter put Harry's name in the goblet?- He wanted Harry to be killed during the tasks-

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Neighbors

Now that the weather's nice, my upstairs neighbors enjoy sitting on their balcony and chatting and smoking. The balcony is about 10 feet from my bedroom window, and as I lay in bed trying to sleep their laughter and voices keep me awake. They are not being rowdy, or even shouting. But the way the buildings sit cause the noise to be magnified like in an ampitheater. Last week I stamped out in my robe and bare feet and asked them to take it inside. They were very nice, thanking me for letting them know and going inside. I think they're trying to keep their voices down tonight, but it is nearly 10:30 at night. I work at 7am, so my alarm clock goes off at 5:30. I should be sleeping now. I think asking them to go inside after 10pm is reasonable, don't you?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hogworts Trivia

Eeek!! These are really tough! I might have to make educated guesses at these. Here goes:

#1What's the name of this potion?This potion has the colour of molten gold, and while exposed to the air, large drops will leap like goldfish above the surface without spilling. Felix Felicitous (Good Luck Potion)

#2Which book is this line from?"Harry and Cho were now too embarrassed to look at each other, let alone talk to each other; what if Ron and Hermione started going out together, then split up? Could their friendship survive it? Harry remembered the few weeks when they had not been talking to each other in third year; he had not enjoyed trying to bridge the distance between them. And then, what if they didn't split up? What if they became like Bill and Fleur, and it became excrutiatingly embarrassing to be in their presence, so that he was shut out for good?" I think this must be book 5

#3Who utters these words?"Oh I am glad I'm not on duty. I wouldn't fancy having to go and tell the Irish they've got to stop celebrating." Mr. Weasley

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Reading Romance

I like a nice romance novel. I like flamboyant, exotic locales and handsome alpha heroes who fall in love so deeply that they are willing to give up everything for the women who capture their hearts. I have lately discovered ebooks. I joined Fictionwise and have read some pretty good books from there. BUT...! I just recently read a horrible book that called itself a romance. It was billed a paranormal, futuristic romance. A silly spoiled princess is kidnapped and married by a barbarian prince in a galaxy far far away. They fall in love. And live happily ever after?

No, not really. Not in love or happily ever after. For one thing, the warrior prince beats her. Repeatedly. Not a spanking. NO. Chains her to a post in front of his merry men, tears off her clothes and whips her until blood runs down her legs. My. How romantic. No wonder she falls for him. How could she possibly resist such charm? Especially since that seems to be his response to her every defiant act. Of course, he weeps while he does it. He thinks it hurts him more than her to whip her, but it's all for her own good, to teach her to love him. uh-huh.

After six month of marriage he decides that she is obviously barren and since he needs a son to rule after him he is forced to take a second wife. She weeps and begs him to not abvandon her bed. He beats her. Yeah. True love, without a doubt. At the end of the book he is is killed in battle and the princess drinks poison so she can be with him forever. Unfortunately, she doesn't die. The poison was switched and she is smuggled back to her homeland where she falls into a decline until she finally decides she must live to find her slain love's reincarnated soul and be with him forever.

Good grief. There are to be sequels! Apparently in each book she will find a man who holds the soul of her beloved prince. She will fall in love all over again.

Gag me. Don't think I'll bother to buy the sequels. The author does not deserve to rewarded for this trash.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap Underway!

I've gotten my swap partner assignment and I'm very excited! She in Gryffindor so I get to be working with colors I like! I have plans for the bag. Must go shopping!

Trivia Questions:

"You will have your reward, Wormtail. I will allow you to perform an essential task for me, one that many of my followers would give their right hands to perform..." Who is speaking? 5 House Points Awarded

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Being Positive

With things at work going crazy yet again, it is hard for me to have a positive outlook. I want to write about all the things I have to whine about. But I'm going to be strong and refrain. Instead I will count my blessings. Like, uh, well...

One of the Loopy Ladies called me last night. I had bought a pattern for a wrap sweater that I thought was awfully cute. It called for 13 skeins of Moda Dea Dream, which run $5.99 a skein. So I asked all of them to keep their eyes open for it to go on sale. Deb called and told me that it was on clearance for $1.99 at Hobby Lobby. So tonight I'm gonna walk over there and see if there are 13 skeins in a color I like. That's positive, right? I mean, $30.00 is a heck of a lot better than $80.00.

And I am listening to my mp3 player that I bought with my bonus. That's fun. I've loaded it with a weird mix of blues and gospel and folk music. At the moment I'm listening to the play list I've named "fun at work". It's the Blues Brothers, Charlie Daniels, Bob Seeger, Jim Croche and Garth Brooks. Hush. It works for me.

Here's picture garanteed to make you smile.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap Questionaire

We've been instructed to post the following questionnaire and answers in our blogs. I am really getting excited about this swap. I've never done one before. I'm already trying to decide what to put into the sock kit for my partner (and I can't wait to find out what house she (or he?) is in so I can get going on it. We have until nearly the end of June to get it sent off, so it's not a huge rush, but I'm like a kid at Christmas. I just can't wait!

1. What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into? Hufflepuff, which is sort of convenient, since gold and black are also the colors of the kingdom of Northshield.

2. List your three favorite double-point needle brands, including size and length. I prefer shorties, especially in the Bryspun size 2 & 3. Also the Brittany 1, 1.5 and 2. Nothing wrong with clover size 4 & 5 either. Living here in North Dakota means that a nice thick pair of worsted weight socks are very welcome, especially when you walk to work when it's 20 below zero. But I also like finer gauge socks too.

3. Would you like to try a new brand needle? If so, which brand? Size? Length? I would LOVE to try some Addi's, size 1 or 2 in the short 4 or 5 inch length. But they are not cheap, and I don't expect anything that expensive.

4. If you are a RAVENCLAW, do you prefer the colors in the film or the book? Do you have a strong preference? Nope. Hufflepuff.

5. If your pal decides to send candies or chocolates are there any that you don't like? I love jordan almods amnd turtles. And milk chocolate is my favorite.

6. What are your favorite scents? I really enjoy vanilla or sweet floral scents.

7. Do you have any allergies? I'm allergic to cats, dogs and aspirin, but since I doubt my swap partner will be sending any of those it shouldn't be a problem. :)

So that is my questionnaire. I hope it's lucid enough, dear swap partner, for you to understand.

Friday, April 27, 2007

My Inner Daemon is Albus (as in Dumbledore...?)

Please follow the link and take the quiz so I can see what sort of inner D I have.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap!

I've joined a swap! This one is for a sock kit, not finished hand knit socks. Good thing, since I have lots of socks on the list ahead anything new.

I am a Hufflepuff. Not as glamorous as Gryffindor or as intellectual as Ravenclaw, and certainly not as sly as Slytherin. But Hufflepuffs are steady, loyal and trustworthy. They make excellent friends. As soon as I find out who my swap partner is and what house they are from I'll begin sewing a bag to contain their sock kit. I'll need yarn in their house colors, a pattern, needles... Everything needed to make a pair of socks.
I can't wait to get started!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Most Beautiful Thing I've Ever Seen...

This is my Baronial Scroll. Isn't it lovely? It was made by Master Tarik. But this isn't the whole thing! It's not painted on paper or parchment. It is actually a hinged wooden box like a triptych, or a Byzantine icon. He made it very personal, and I love him for it! I just can't get over how beautiful it is..

This is what it looks like closed, and the inside of the side panels

Note the two cats on either side of the figure (which represents me wearing my purple and silver Byzantine court garb). This is what makes it so personal. Merry and Magic are on my scroll! When I saw those while they were putting the hat on me I *really* started to bawl. And the figure is exactly what you would expect on a Byzantine mosaic.

This is absolutely the most unique and beautiful scroll I have ever seen. It is rich and lavishly decorated. I have always secretly lusted for a scroll done by Tarik, but I never expected anything like this!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Baronesa Maria Maddalena da Monreale, landless trash

This past weekend was the Coronation of Hrodir and Giulia. They have been friends of mine since my earliest days in the SCA. Hrodir is like a brother to me, only better, because we don't fight, and Giulia and I both have a love for fiber arts. When I grow up I want to knit like her. I got to go to the event, and I had a wonderful time.
I saw Mairghread laurelled in beautiful ceremony with Auntie El doing a bit of poetry. Niklos chose to take the white baldric of a Master of Arms instead of Knight, also in a moving ceremony. Gwyneth and Zig stepped down as king and queen and then G got all painted up and trick up as a Pict warrior woman--what fun! I got to see a bunch of friends that I don't see all the time, like Daye and Pete, and the gals from Castel Rouge, and I saw the folks I should be able to see all the time but haven't since I'm working so much. I saw Ceri and Tarik, Lusche, Giovanna, and Thunderbunny and Astrid, and Greta and tons more. It was so good to see them. I had a hotel room with the Castel Rouge gals. We had such fun! I showed Typhaine the Moons and Stars socks I'm knitting for her, and she seemed pleased with them.
And a shocking thing happened. Hrodir and Giulia made me a baroness of their court. When I first was called into court I wondered what on earth it was about. Some of Hrodir's famous schtick? A quest? I was nervous. I didn't know WHAT to expect. When I finally figured out that I was being made a baroness I started to cry and couldn't stop. I think Giulia was crying too. When they told me to turn around and look at the populace all I saw was a blur of faces until my eyes fixed ion my friend Daye. She was crying too, which made me smile while I was crying.

So now I have a shiny hat to wear to events. Part of me is squirming with delight over it, and part of me feels like I really shouldn't have it because I don't deserve it. I don't remember exactly what i said while I was kneeling in front of Hrodir and Giulia but I think it was something like: "You shouldn't do this. I haven't earned it."