Wednesday, November 26, 2008

WooHoo! 4-day Weekend.

Yeah!! We have a 4-day weekend this week. Although I do have to work on Sunday, but still can't wait to get out of here (as in work).

Tomorrow of course is Thanksgiving and I can't wait for the food. YUM! Of course I'm on pop patrol again this year. Am starting to wonder if my family thinks I can't cook or something. I know my Mom has eaten food prepared by me before, but makes you wonder. And I always make the mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. Granted, they are usually already boiled and ready for me to mash when I get there. And really how hard are home-made mashed potatoes. You mash the potatoes and add a little milk and A LITTLE butter. Not a whole stick like some family members insist I add. Sneakily, there are some years when I don't add the butter, and no one ever notices. They all drown them in Gravy anyway. Not me though. I like corn on my mashed potatoes. And not that snotty looking cream corn either. Yuck! My Aunt Margaret, won 2 turkeys last week. So there will be plenty of that to go around.

Not sure what I'm doing on Black Friday. Other than not going to Kohls at frigging 4AM!! Can you believe they are opening that early. Oh and the McDonalds across the street from the Kohls on the south end of town is advertising that they are opening at 3AM, in case you want to stop there before hitting Kohls. Gaahh! I do have to make a trip to Lane Bryant and Hallmark, but it doesn't have to be super early.

On Saturday afternoon, I'm going to be meeting with a few old high school friends to discuss the idea of a 20 year reunion. Yes, I said 20! This is a first get together to throw ideas around. Maybe discuss sending postcards to see if anyone is interested in attending before we go to the trouble of planning the whole thing. The Decatur Raiders Class of 1989 only had a whopping 44 members, so it doesn't have to be a big bash. Personally, I'd be happy with a Pig roast/picnic like my brothers class of 1986 had.

Although we had something like that at the 5th reunion and there were quite a few complaints from the hoighty toighty people. They thought we should have had a fancy sit-down dinner with dancing (like a prom almost). McKelle, Debby, and I had planned that one, because no one else would help. I was so disgusted with the complaints, that I said I would not be planning the next one. And look, it's been 15 years since the last one. I told McKelle when she mentioned the 20 year, that I'd help, but only if the other class officer's stepped up this time. Guess I should have mentioned that only McKelle had been a class officer (Treasurer). Debby and I were just volunteers. So this weekend, 2 other class officers (Julie & Sherry) are going to be coming, plus McKelle, myself, Carol, and maybe Debby.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tag, I'm it.

I've been tagged by Liz, and now must tell everyone 7 random things about myself. Jeez, this may be hard.

1. I played Varsity Softball in 9th grade. I was an outfielder. I was only a mediocre player, and since I didn't like the coach, I didn't play the next year.

2. I'll take good black licorice over chocolate ANY day.

3. Here's a good one. You know the Lawn Darts games that were outlawed during the 70's as being too dangerous? I was stabbed in the hand by one when I was 3 or 4. My brother and his friends were playing the game in the backyard. I wasn't allowed to play as I was too small, so I was sitting on the sidelines on top of the well housing. I can remember seeing one of the darts being thrown into the air, watching it fly up and over and then down, right into my hand between the thumb and the first finger. I still have a scar from it. I don't remember crying, just thinking huh? as I pulled it out. I probably did, but like I said, I don't remember doing that.

4. I am an ardent fan of Ansel Adams. His Black & White Photos are awesome! I've done some of my own and would dearly love to install a dark room in the basement.

5. I have worn glasses since I was 3 years old. My mom used to get really frustrated because I wouldn't clean the lenses of my glasses. I have a vague memory of my Mom taking my glasses off to clean them and thinking that the light was way too bright when she gave them back. That should tell you how dirty they were and that she had a ligit reason for yelling. However finally, to get her off my back, I started licking the lenses and then using my shirt to clean them. Boy did that drive her crazy! Of course my Dad wouldn't let her punish me for it, because she'd been yelling at me to learn to clean the glasses, and now that I was, it would give me mixed signals to yell at for cleaning them. I only occasionally do it anymore and that is usually only when I'm around her and she is annoying me or if they need cleaning and I'm somewhere where there is no sink.

Gotta go to lunch, so I'll finish this up when I get back. If I can think of anything else.....

6. I don't like the scent of Lavender. (Most especially when someone shoves a bar of lavender soap under my nose to verify that I intensely dislike the scent. :-P ) My favorite flower scent is Hyacinth. To me that scent represents spring.

7. I know how to make home-made Tamale's. My Mom and I usually make a batch every Christmas.

Tag Michelle M., Kary, & Vicki

Thursday, November 20, 2008

First Christmas Part of the Season

I forgot to blog about my first Christmas Party of the season. Last weekend, I and several other knitting friends converged on Carly's house for food, fun, knitting and cheesy Christmas movies. I was very impressed that she had even put up her Christmas Tree for the occasion.

We had Potatoe Soup, Chips/Dip, Vegies, Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread (YUM!! and I want the recipe Faith), Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies (YUM also!!) and Pop with the biggest bag of ice I've ever seen. We were supposed to have more cookies, but Liz thought they were (a) sitting in the driveway at her house, or (b) scattered all over the road in front of her house being devoured by the neighbors dogs.

We also had an Ugly Christmas Sweater contest. From left to right: Me, Carly, Faith, Liz, Mary with Aubrey in the front. Not pictured was Rachel who had to leave early to finish homework. Aubrey won the prize with her lovely black sweater.

OK, I don't consider mine ugly (the blue with snowman), but I didn't have an 'ugly' one, and I still wanted to participate. My friend Kirsten asked "who would purposely buy an ugly sweater." To which I replied "Ugly is in the eyes of the person not wearing it." Because all of the other sweaters were purchased at Goodwill, so you know someone had originally bought them thinking they looked great. Personally, I didn't think Carly's was too bad, but you'd only want to wear it on Christmas day and then put it away for the next year. Or 5.

Gingerbread (a.k.a Graham Cracker) Houses were also made. I didn't participate in this as I was busily knitting a complicated row on my Cascading Leaves Shawl. However, I did watch and occasionally snitch candy. They all turned out very lovely, however there was a slight seismic occurance and several houses were completely distroyed. At last report, only 2 of the 5 survived the earthquake.

PS Thanks to Carly and Aubrey for the lovely pictures which I snooched off Facebook. I forgot my camera and the camera phone's batteries died enroute to the party.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Color Swap Package

It sure felt like Christmas yesterday when I got home last night. Not only was there about 4 inches of snow lying on the ground with more coming down, but my swap package was tucked in between the screen door and the front door. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to get in the house and open it. The funniest thing about it was I had come from the Post Office where I had shipped my Color Swap Package off to my secret friend.

My lovely purple package came from Xtiand in the United Kingdom. There was a beautiful purple Stolen Moments Wrap made from Sirdar, some great Wild Fire Fibres Sock yarn, Purple buttons, stitch markers, note pad and mechanical pencil (I love Mech. Pencils), Rose scented bath soak, a Simply Knitting Magazine and Simply Knitting Sock Calendar. They both have some great patterns. And lest I forget some great Loose leaf Earl Grey Tea and Yummy black licorice.


And here is the wrap. Isn’t it great?

Stitch markers and Buttons


I should mention, that I have been wanting to try the loose leaf tea for quite some time. I even bought a small tea pot with a removable mesh basket made specifically for loose leaf tea. And Earl Grey is one of my favorite flavors. I immediately made myself a pot of tea last night. Normally I only drink 1 cup, but last night I drank the whole pot. It was so good. PS: The mug was from Sarah when I participated in the Hot Cocoa Swap last year.


I would have dug into the licorice also last night, however after sitting outside all day it was hard as a rock. But I’ve already opened it this morning and tried it. YUM!!

One of my friends mentioned last week that with as much work/thought I was putting into my package and she sure hoped I got a good package in return. At that point, I was having so much fun, that I wasn't even thinking about what I would be getting. But you know, I couldn't have asked for a better package. It was perfect.

I love swaps! If you've never tried one you should. Thanks again Xtiand!

Friday, November 14, 2008

When it Rains, it Freaking Pours

It's that how the saying goes?

Well I sure feel like the Peanuts character that walks around under the black cloud this week.

First a dear friend passed away and I attended the viewing and funeral. I hate to say it, but I'm glad it is all over with. It was just so emotionally and physically draining.

Then yesterday I dropped the car off at the shop, because the front end was bouncing and squeaking when I drove over bumps. I figured I just needed new shocks. Well my car has struts, so there are no shocks. So the tech tells me, but if it is the struts they should be covered under warranty, because I just got them replaced not too long ago. Got the call at 4pm that they haven't figured out what exactly is wrong yet,but they were pretty sure it wasn't the struts maybe an axle. They need to keep it overnight and do more investigating on Friday. I just knew something would go wrong as soon as I paid that damn thing off.

Wait, wait, it gets better!

When I got home last night, I noticed the house was a little cool. So I go check the digital thermostat, because it's not programmed to warm up until 5:15 and I wasn't sure what time it was. Well, it was 5:30 and I could hear the furnace cycling, but no blower coming on. I went down to the basement, took off the front panel of the furnace and look at the blinking LED light. The damn things not supposed to blink. You have to count the blinks to see what the error code is, then look up the code. Some airflow thingy was either not opening or not closing, can't remember now. I checked the filter and the air intake opening on the outside of the house. It was blocked by leaves, so I moved that all away and went back into to turn the furnace off and back on. At first it acted like it was going to work, then that stupid blinking started up again. So I called the service people and they will be out on Friday sometime after 5pm.

If it's true that things happen in 3's, then I am DONE. Nothing else can happen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chicago Yarn Crawl

Like I mentioned yesterday, a group of my knitting friends and myself took a road trip over to Chicago on Saturday for a tour of the Lorna's Laces Factory. We got a tour/history lesson on the business, a dyeing demo and then a shopping spree. ;o)

What truly amazed me was that Beth Casey bought the business from Lorna Miser (the original creator of Lorna's Laces) without knowing anything about dyeing yarn or even any experience in dyeing yarn. I would have been petrified to try that.

Here's a picture of Beth, as she demonstates how they set up for and do the dyeing of the yarn. Her 'recipes' for each dyelot are tacked to the wall above the sink.

I could be wrong, because a few times my attention lapsed as I drooled at the yarn hanging all around, but I believe she said each dyelot consisted of 10lbs of yarn, which was equal to only 40 skeins. So if you decide to buy Lorna's Lace yarn, buy extra of that dyelot, because there is no telling where in the world the rest of the dyelot went. She said they have no clear way of tracking particular dyelots. (Thank God for Ravelry and Rav. Members who are willing to trade/sell excess yarn!)

Anyway, once the dye is applied to the yarn, it is put into steamers and cooked for 45 minutes. Each dyelot usually takes up 2 steamers at a time.

Once it is done cooking, it is put into a regular (cheapy) washing machine, where it goes through two spin/rinse cycles. It is NOT adgitated, just rinsed and spun to get the excess dye and soap out of it. Then it is hung on PVC pipes to dry. Not sure which 'recipe' she used for this demonstration batch, but it sure looks like the Tuscany Shepherd Sport yarn that I bought.

Once the demo was concluded and all questions answered, Beth turned us loose to do some serious shopping. She had 3 tables of Mill Ends for sale. The one pictured below held Shepherd sock yarn and sport weight yarn. There was also one for Shepherd Worsted/Bulky weigh yarn. The 3rd table held her a good selection of her Organic Green Line yarn.

Doesn't that look so tempting?!?! Well, we had no problem shoveling a great deal of this yarn into our plastic bags. I myself bought 11 skeins of yarn (6 worsted, 3 sport and 2 sock). I've posted it to Ravelry, but didn't think to take a photo of it all together.

By the time we were done at Lorna's, we were all very hungry. To save shopping time, we packed lunches and ate them in our cars. It was too cold to sit outside at a park. Then we cruised south on Damen St. to Knitting Workshop and Soutache (a button shop). I was still riding on the high of discount yarn, and didn't purchase any more yarn at Knitting Workshop, although I was tempted to buy some of the new Harry Potter sock yarn. I bought 2 wooden rings at Soutache in order to make the Dumpling Bag from the Fall 2008 Interweave Knits magazine. I looked for a shawl pin, however the few they had I felt were too large for me. After Soutache, we headed for downtown and Loopy Yarns. I finally found a skein of lime green sock yarn (TOFUtsies) and 3 skeins of Pastimes lace yarn, which was on clearance for 60% off. Can you say YEAH!!! I was very proud of myself. I decided to leave the credit and debit cards at home and only use cash. I came home with $8.00 to spare. Of course once we were back in South Bend I went out to eat with a few of the girls and had to use the debit card for dinner, but that doesn't really count, because I wasn't in Chicago anymore. :o)

I was so exhausted when I got home. I sat on the sofa to be mobbed by the Cats and promptly fell asleep after only about 10 minutes of petting.

Monday, November 10, 2008


The boiler must have shut down over the weekend again, because when I got to work this morning it was only 62 degrees in the front office. I knew there was a reason I decided to bring my fleece jacket to work even though I work a sweatshirt. Grandma always said "dress in layers. You can always take it off if yo'reu hot, but if you don't have it you can't put it on if your too cold." I'm sitting at my desk in layers, plus I have a hot cup of tea and the space heater going under my desk. I'm fine until I have to leave my desk. I currently need to walk out to shipping, but I don't want too because I'll get cold again. :o(

PS: I had a great time in Chicago on Saturday. 17 knitting friends and myself, took a trip to visit the Lornas Laces Factory. I'll fill you in a little later.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bad News - Good News

I always feel it is better to get the bad news over first, then concentrate on the good.

On Saturday, I had a lazy day at home where I indulged in a knitting marathon. I was trying to finish my Cascading Leaves Shawl by Vicki M. so that I could wear it this weekend. Anyway, I thought I would pace myself and take a few breaks to clean the living room and get some food. I'm not a fast lace knitter, so I only got about 18 rows down; that's 1 1/2 repeats. Anyway, I ended up majorly irritating my elbow. I've had problems with Tennis/Golfers Elbow before. When it flairs up, the only thing I can do is set the knitting aside. For a couple of weeks (3 is recommended). Darn it!! Just when I'm on a roll. I only have about 2 repeats left on the shawl and it will be finished. Double Dog Darn it!!

I've been wearing my elbow brace, but it still hurts. The worst part is that it is in my right arm and I'm right handed. Do you know how hard it is to NOT use you're right arm? I got frustrated this morning, because I was having a hard time just coming my hair with my left hand. My left hand is just too stupid to figure some things out. Last night, since there was nothing on TV and I couldn't knit, I decided to go to the sewing room and do a little sewing on my Mexican Tiles quilt. The sewing was fine, but trying to cut fabric or iron the blocks just hurt. But I did get the last of my blocks done. Now I can start assembling the quilt.

Now for the good News!!

I paid off my car today!

And I'm going on a "Yarn Crawl" this weekend to Chicago! We are going to be touring Lorna's Laces Yarns with demo in dying and access to their store. Then we will be hitting approximately 3 other knitting shops around the area. Not sure of the names yet, but I think one is Knit1 and maybe Knitting Workshop. It should be a fabulous time. There are going to about 18 of us carpooling over. It's supposed to be a little on the cold side, but I think it will be great fun!