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November 2004
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January 2005

'05 is dawning

All of a sudden -- I guess because I actually thought about it -- I'm looking forward to the new year.  There's a lot to look forward to!  DH and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary on the 20th, Mdd will enter high school, Ai will start college, Kt will not change colleges, I'll become a new auntie in late spring/early summer (I don't know exactly how to say it, but the placenta praevia is correcting itself and becoming a non-issue -- yay, baby knitting!), there's a new knit-blogger reading group, lots of knitting plans -- it's just all beginning to look good.

Happy New Year!

My family (and my our camera) will be home this morning!  They called from Memphis last night and they're ahead of schedule.  I'm so excited for Mdd to go get Mickey -- I don't think Mickey's going to be able to contain her excitement, if you know what I mean.  Is it just my dog, or does every dog kind of lose it right on the floor when they're super-excited?

I'd hoped to wind all that Debbie Bliss Merino Aran into balls last night, but it wasn't quite dry enough.  I think I'm going to make that my first FO of the new year -- get started with a bang.  That poor thing's been marinating in the frog pile for over a year.  It's kind of an "out with the old, in with the new" thing.  Then, in likely order, immediate plans are to finish 1) the mitten, 2) St. Brigid, 3) Cromarty.  There might have to be another pair of mittens, or maybe some socks, between 2 & 3.

So I worked on the mitten cuff last night.  The mitten cuff has stripes and one of the things I wanted to try was Meg's Jogless Jog.  The first cuff has a white spiral through the aubergine (just the nature of stripes in circular knitting) and I think the MJJ is working so it looks more like stripes, but more on that in the new year!

Totally wacky weather.  It's been raining and warm-ish here and most of our snow has melted.  While I was talking to my sister last night, she wondered aloud if she'd just seen lightning; thunder a few seconds later confirmed it.  A thunderstorm -- in Wisconsin -- in December.

I'm awaiting confirmation of the transfer of funds into my PayPal account so that I can purchase patterns for lovely socks and beautiful wristlets, as the creators of these patterns have pledged all proceeds to tsunami relief.  It made my heart full to see the news story last night about what a difference the internet has made (increased number of donations, as well as increased dollar amounts -- and all done instantly) to relief organizations and, especially, that they've been overwhelmed in recent days.

It boggles the mind

After two more hours last night, the blue cardi is officially history.  The yarn was wound into hanks of varying sizes on the swift and then given a Eucalan dip and hung out to dry on my shower rod.  It's an incredible amount of yarn.  I'd like to get it all wound up and out of the way before the family returns.

In a valiant effort to thwart the dreaded Second Mitten Syndrome, I cast on and knit a few rows of North Star Mitten #2.  I'm anxious to correct some things with this one.

Mickey was, of course, happy to see me when I picked her up yesterday from doggie day care, and didn't seem as pooped out.  She usually sleeps with Mdd, but most of the time she stays downstairs until I go up.  It often seems like she'd rather come and snuggle up with me, but then runs in and hops on Mdd's bed.  She tugged at my heart last night when I took her upstairs and she immediately went and stood in front of Mdd's closed door.  I opened it so she could see that Mdd was not there.  She hesitated a moment and then jumped up on the bed anyway.  Awwww.  Mdd feels the same way -- the first thing out of her mouth when I've spoken to her this week is, "How's my dog?" not "How are you, Mom?"


I would be remiss as a Green Bay Packers fan if I did not acknowledge the death of #92, Reggie White, the "Minister of Defense."  He died in his sleep on Sunday, at the age of 43, of a lung/respiratory ailment possibly combined with sleep apnea.  His funeral is today in Charlotte, NC.  I met the man once and he was a big, BIG ol' teddy bear with dimples; a very warm, kind and caring man.  The team as a whole has been dealt an undue share of sadness this year -- it is a visibly emotional team and the suffering of one is obviously felt keenly by all.

Truthfully, in terms of global tragedy, words fail me -- the devastation is unthinkable, the numbers are incomprehensible.  The tsunami death toll rose from 70,000 to 114,000 in a blink of an eye this morning.

One death, one hundred fourteen thousand deaths.  Incredible sadness felt by many, many more.

Any doubts?

In the last day or so, I've had umptybazillion livejournal hits from this post where the link points to Katie's Point 5 scarf as shown on this very blog a few days ago.  Commenting is restricted there, or I'd have said Howdy-do & Thanks, so let me just say it here!  Don't be shy, you guys, I'd love to hear your comments.  I talked with Katie last night and shared all the wonderful comments about her funky, artsy-fartsy scarf, and she was quite pleased.

The family checked in from New Orleans yesterday afternoon.  They'd gone to Gulf Shores, Mississippi, yesterday afternoon (where they'd originally intended to spend a night) and also to Kiln for a photo op.  Huh?  They're staying at the edge of the French Quarter and called me after having dinner last night.  I just about died laughing when DH told me where they ate -- Chez Wendy's.  Ah, well, a 2-hour, $30/person dinner would have been completely unappreciated by half of that party.  They'll be heading a little further west this afternoon.  And, van repairs took a day and cost less than $500 -- I was expecting double that dollar figure, so I guess I'm *happy* with that.

I am day-boarding our beagle, Mickey, this week while the family is gone.  I work a 10-hour day, and I'm gone more like 11 with travel time, and that's just way too long for a pup to be alone.  She's just a few doors down from where I work.  Yesterday was her first day and boy, was she excited to see me and pooped when she got home.  She reminded me of Chance (Michael J. Fox's character) in the movie Homeward Bound, greeting the kitties with a frenetic enthusiasm to which they responded... well, yeah, what's the big fat deal ya dippy dog?  Poor Mickey, she was SO excited to see them!!

In other news, a corner of a tooth broke off last night and have to make the dreaded call to the dreaded dentist.  There is some sensitivity, but it's not painful.  I was eating caramel popcorn with almonds and pecans -- just recently delivered by my Boy Scout nephew.

If you've ever had any doubt about how well you sew up a sweater, just try taking one apart.  I've had at least two garments in the frog pile for about a year.  Last night, I decided that I'd tear apart a blue cardigan.  I started at a little after 7 and thought I'd get it done during NCIS.  Well, maybe House, too.  Okay, Law & Order SVU.  Huh?  Crossing Jordan, too, and I'm still not done.  I ripped the button bands and collar and wound them on the swift.  What was I doing for four hours?  Finding the damn ends from seaming and undoing them.  In all that time, I managed to detach the sleeves and undo the side seams.  I've still got front and back attached at the shoulders (I think I three-needled those).  Good grief!

Anyway, I'm going to knit the very same cardigan (I think it's Debbie Bliss Merino), just a little bigger.  I've used the pattern before with different yarn and it's one of my favorites -- a sweater I wear a LOT.  It's also a very quick knit.

Finally, Cara has formed a knit blogger's reading group, Knit One Read Two -- it'll have a blog and everything.

Mississippi by-pass

Well, my family was supposed to be in Mississippi yesterday, but were instead enjoying the amenities of South Beloit, Illinois, while waiting for car repairs.  They will have to skip Mississippi altogether and should be in New Orleans sometime today.  I still don't have a clear read-out on what all had to be done to the van -- I did hear distributor cap and spark plugs, and that was not as bad as the original diagnosis of timing belt/chain (I guess) -- but the grrs called from somewhere south of Chicago last night and they were happy to be moving!  DH was sleeping at the time (I'm sure he was pretty stressed).  Mdd only wanted to know how her dog was doing!

Dsc03330Kt was so happy with the knitterly gift bags she found this year (at Target, I believe -- on sale NOW!).  Inside this one was my very own copy of "Knit Lit, Too."  She'd also found a bag with some mittens on the front and used it to hold the thrummed mittens she knit for a friend.  She was thrilled to find such fitting bags.  I can't wait to tell her how much you all liked her Point 5 scarf.  The funky quality definitely comes from the Target scarf that inspired it, but the yarn most certainly makes it artsy, don't you think?  All three grrs have creativity coursing through their veins -- I'll take credit for a teensy bit of that, but the vast majority comes from the greater gene pool!

Dsc03322I have a step-sister who is a clothing designer (nothing to do with the grrs' gene pool, but I think association counts).  She was commissioned to make something for the grrs this year for Christmas and they each got a very nicely made faux fur vest.  My niece (on the left) received the "mink" one because it went best with her coloring (she's a natural blonde, but dyed her hair black this summer and now, after some recent "color correction" has a hint of red!); Ai's is white and the softest of all; Mdd's is pink (she was wearing the pink skirt I made for her, too); and Kt's is a soft tan.

My nephews got a karaoke machine, an extra microphone, and some Disney CDs for Christmas.  Do you see any little boys in that picture?  Actually, I think they're going to have the toughest time getting the mike out of my sister's hands!!  One of my nephews got a drum set from Santa, so they're going to have a very musical house!

My knitting news is dismal.  I did finish the first North Star mitten on Sunday night.  My camera is heading south, though.  I was so distracted yesterday (I'll tell ya, it wasn't the relaxing day off I'd envisioned) that it was hard to concentrate on much of anything.  I thought of casting on the second mitten, but pulled St. Brigid into my lap instead.  It sure would be nice to finish that and still have time to wear it this winter.

Warm and toasty

HatsscarvesmittsIt was a very knitterly Christmas!  The grrs are modeling the mittens (thrummed or not) and Waterspun Weekend hats I've knit for them over the past few months.  Scarves, from left to right:  Ai is wearing a lacy scarf that Kt knit for her; Kt sports a scarf from Target given to her by Mdd, and Mdd is wearing a soft, fluffy, drop-stitch scarf that Ai made for her.  Woo.  No one will get cold 'round here.

Pointfive2For the first time ever, DH and I were awake before the kids on Christmas morning, thanks to the kitties.  The phone rang just after 9 -- one of Mdd's friends with news of an exciting present -- and the grrs began to appear.

Pointfive1I was finally able to get a shot of Kt's finished Point 5 scarf.  This was inspired by the very scarf from Target that Mdd gave her for Christmas.  She used two hanks of yarn, knit a narrow garter scarf, and tied on bits of yarn at each end.  She has received lot of compliments on this scarf, and why not?  I think it's a very striking scarf.

It was a great holiday weekend with lots of family visiting and way too much eating.  I wished DH a happy birthday yesterday and then waved to him and the grrs as they set off on an adventure combined with business trip to the Gulf.  While I enjoyed "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" last night with my sister and nephew, they called with news of a broken down van (some sort of belt problem they think) at a toll booth and an unexpected overnight stay in Illinois.  I'm awaiting news this morning -- hoping and praying that it's a little thing and not a big thing and that they can be on their way shortly.


Merry, Merry Christmas!

He sees you when you're sleeping

Northstar3_1_1I'm smitten with a mitten, and I'm not the only one. Katie loves it. Maddy loves it. Ali hasn't been around much, but I'm sure she'd love it, too. Maddy wants it/them -- even more than the pink thrummed mittens. I think the thrums will win her over on her first walk with Mickey on Christmas Day when it will be 20 below with wind chill. After the photo op, I picked up the stitches for the thumb (peeking out at left) and knit about half. Woo.

Katie's home! My heart's been warmed this week, reading about holiday prep and homecomings. I couldn't help but remember this time last year when Katie came home after her first semester away at college. We hadn't seen her in four months, and the whole family went for a late-night greet at the airport. I spotted her before she saw us and busted my buttons -- I was speechless. DH stood right next to me and asked, "Where's Kate?" Expecting to see the high school kid we'd sent to college, he didn't recognize the sophisticated, confident collegiate that returned. "Did you know she was going to look* like that?!"

Grapes20with20peanut_1_1As the Christmas ornament parade draws to a close... Hey, there's Peanut! This is probably the dumbest ornament on the tree, but we've all grown quite fond. It was one of many gifts/ornaments I received at the cross-stitch retreat where I got my tree skirt project. It's a regular old peanut in the shell, painted to look like a snowman -- he has a painted carrot nose and a HUGE charcoal smile. Next to Peanut is one of a pair of small nutcracker ornaments that has a working lever in the back. In the rear is a bunch of gold plastic grapes that Mom gave me; they'd belonged to her mother. I found that there is significance to grapes on a Christmas tree, as well as pickles and many other things!

Oneeyed20santa_1_1As at the end of every Christmas parade, Santa Claus brings up the rear. You better watch out! Even with only one remaining googly eye, this Santa can see you when you're sleeping and he most certainly knows when you're awake! This is Katie's second grade handiwork. Our one-eyed Santa joins many, many other ornaments made by the kids -- among other things, there are be-glittered pinecones, pipe cleaners, cotton balls, clay, paper, plastic lids, puzzle pieces and old cards.

In yesterday's comments, Cara wrote, "Every Xmas I send my best friend ornaments for her tree. Every year she says when they set up the tree, it's like I'm there! I love that." That just couldn't be more true. It's been so much fun to share some of my ornaments and their stories and memories with you -- and to hear about yours in the comments you've left and to see and read about them in other blogs! I have plenty of plain jane ornaments, but even many of those have memories attached... the shiny blue and clear green ornaments in the Santa picture were Grandma K's... the crocheted stars made by my aunt... lots of ceramic ornaments made by Grandma B... the glitter-covered, pock-marked, styrofoam balls that hung on the trees of my childhood. ;There's one ornament that I swear I won in a first grade spelling bee, but Mom recalls that I made it -- we "argue" about that every year -- it looks like shit (it's been a WAY lotta years) but it gets a place of honor every year. Katie put her ornaments on the tree yesterday and later told me that she moved that one, briefly wondering why such an ugly thing was on the tree, and then she remembered... That's what it's all about.

*She did get a tattoo while she was away, but that wasn't the big difference. DH was not privy to our chatty, girl-talk emails where I'd learned that she was styling her hair differently and shaping her eyebrows and wearing make-up -- those things were part of it, but even more, I think, was the confident and sophisticated air about her -- there was truly Something About Katie...

Let me entertain you

CrosssantaNow that I'm looser, it should be easier.

It's a good thing that I didn't finish my mitten last night.  If I had, I'd have wanted to take a picture.  I wanted to take a picture as it was -- well into the decreases at the tip -- but DH took the camera yesterday and didn't bring it back!  He is really, really lucky that I didn't have an FO.  That mitten just thrills me to no end; I can't believe I'm doing it.

PansySo let me entertain you with ornaments.  Fat Santa is cross-stitched on perforated paper and has seed bead buttons on his very cute coat, and jingle bells dangling from each hand.  I always liked perforated paper (especially for ornaments -- stitch, cut, make a loop and yer done) and have a couple of very old, framed mottos stitched on perf paper hanging in the living room.

I wouldn't be a very good pansy collector if I didn't have a pansy ornament, now would I?  This is one of two and it is very, very lightweight glass.  The other one has real pansy flowers decoupaged onto a gold painted ball.  Cool.

KarensantaAnd this is one of three Santas that my sister made -- one for each kid.  (Sorry for the dark pic.)  Isn't he adorable?  His face is an upside-down wooden heart.  Each has a different fabric for the hat, but they all have that stiff, curly beard, and they're big!  That girl comes up with the greatest projects and always does a very fine job.

Still not a single present wrapped and I haven't baked anything, but I think I polished off the shopping last night in only three stops!  I also went to the library and came home with Ray Romano Live at Carnegie Hall and Amy's Answering Machine -- they will join Steve Martin in entertaining me while I do the Santa duties on Christmas Eve.

I'm getting loose

One of my big problems with circular knitting is that I knit too tight, especially on DPNs.  So why not?  Try it with two colors!  I was trying to be aware, but I could see that there were places where I still carried the yarn too tightly -- it's not awful, but there's definitely room for improvement.  While I knit last night, I made a very conscious effort to loosen up; geez, it makes the knitting a lot more enjoyable, too!  Now, if I can do that from the get-go, it might be called progress.  Anyway, I have finished the first snowflake (tight) and started the second (loose) and I'm just plowing right ahead...

Thanks for all your nice comments on the mitten.  After further consideration, I think I will definitely knit that second mitten and I will wear them proudly!  I hope the second will demonstrate that I've learned from and can correct my mistakes.  And dang, they're going to be nice warm mittens and baby, it's cold outside (and colder weather's coming)!

Thanks, too, for the nice comments about my kitchen.  I'll tell ya, I'd rather cruise around blogland and look at all the pretty pictures of real life home and garden than spend $7 on a no-one-can-possibly-live-this-way, nothing's-ever-this-spotless home magazine!

We have snow!  I'd say that about 5" fell yesterday, a little more overnight, and still some this morning.  I saw a fresh vehicle in the ditch on the way to work this morning, so was cautious.  At the first snowflake, the kids think "snow day"!  Mdd left a wishful note on the kitchen table last night asking that we wake her up before her alarm goes off (6:18 a.m.) if today was a snow day.  No such luck.

I spent most of the day cleaning the bathroom and putzing yesterday.  It was stupid cleaning -- the kind I usually do when company is due to arrive -- like the dusting that requires a stepladder (no one will see), rearranging the cabinet (no one will see), and completely ignoring all the things that people WILL notice (like the sink).

I've still got shopping to do (hopefully tonight on the way home) and I haven't wrapped a single thing.  I don't think I like Christmas falling on a Saturday.  DH has been given a short shopping list, himself -- and, he's actually been writing and sending cards to "his" list.  I have completely ignored mine.  In fact, while dusting in the computer room, I found last year's cards and the photo/note thing I made to enclose -- lots of them!

I usually do the majority of Santa duties and face the brunt of it on Christmas Eve after festivities with my family.  Even if I've already wrapped gifts, they usually still need tags and bows, and the stockings need filling, and it just seems to take a long time.  I used to turn on the TV and watch holiday stuff while I did it, but a few years ago I picked up an old Steve Martin album at a rummage sale and listened to that instead.  I can't help it, he just cracks me up.  I still recall an appearance he made on The Tonight Show -- I can't tell you what he said or did, but I have never, EVER laughed so hard or long in my life, it was one thing after another.  Anyway, I think there may be a reprise this year.

Bad choice

Northstar2NorthstarOooh, I'm lovin' the mitten.  Lookit, I decided to do a braid after all.  I'm lovin' it, too!  I can't believe how easy it was and how gorgeous it is.  The bad choice is in the yarn.  Fuzzy wuzzy was a mitten.  I'm going to finish it, though it may never have a partner -- it'll be my learnin' mitten.  I'll hang it on the tree or something.  My little mistake in the salt & pepper pattern is visible a few rows above the braid to the left of the two white stitches; to the right are the thumb stitches held on some waste yarn 'til later.

Y2k_starStar_treeY2K.  This is one of 24 quilted stars that my sister made and gave to me for Christmas 1999.  The fabric coordinates on all of them, but each one is unique.  I display them atop a small cabinet in the kitchen each year on this gorgeous wire tree that I bought from Smith & Hawken.  This one is 40" tall, but I don't think they offer that size anymore (if I recall correctly, they also had one that was 5' tall or so that year).

For those of you more interested in the background (y'all know who you are) -- the blurry green bit on the counter in the Y2K pic is my everyday, depression glass butter dish; a small part of the rest of the collection is glowing in the cupboard beyond.  That cupboard was on the back porch when we moved into the house, but we reclaimed it for the kitchen.  It holds cookbooks, jars of staple dry goods, spices, as well as bowls and other display pieces.  The doorway at left leads to the laundry room.  The cupboard that you see behind the tree is a piece salvaged from an area high school -- I believe it was used in the science room.  One of my chores today is cleaning all that glass.  Ugh.  The bottom shelf on either side holds our eclectic mix of everyday dishes.  The two shelves in the middle hold old bowls and platters, and a nearly complete set of Homer Laughlin Eggshell Georgian dishes.  A girl can't have too many old bowls.  It gives me great pleasure to choose the right bowl for a particular task or presentation.  Great pleasure.  The top shelves hold the punch bowl, cake plate, my collection of glass chickens, lots of odds and ends, and many, many "Grandma dishes" -- they are also Homer dishes, and the design was an important feature in my mosaic table.

What's up?

I've been cleaning and organizing.  As a reward for accomplished deeds, I've been reading blogs.  And doing a little knitting.

Gifted_mittsGifted in Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky.  Kate's wonderful, free pattern.  They're a gift.  Sometime after Christmas, the baby knitting will commence (my new niece/nephew was seen sucking his/her thumb on the most recent ultrasound!), and I will definitely be making more of Kate's designs.  Gorgeous!  Anyway, the new mitts will be packaged using these wonderful labels from FoKnits as seen on Aison's blog -- how's that for linkage?  I will use them for two pairs of thrummed mitts and underwear, too.  Does Santa bring underwear to your house?  He always brings them to ours!  Socks, too.

North_star_mitts_1I have started the North Star Mittens from Knit Mittens, a book that I recently purchased for $2 at a used book sale.  You also see Latvian Mittens by Lizbeth Upitis, my most recent book addition (part of Christmas bonus expenditures).  Having never knit 2-color (or any other number) mitts before, I thought I'd start with this pattern.  I like the design and I think I can do it.  I wanted to use a new technique from Latvian Mittens, so did a 2-color cast on (I considered adding a braid).  Heh, it's not much, but I did it, I love it, and I think it looks great!  That's more Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride, but worsted this time and I'm using aubergine (same color as the Gifted mitts) and a creamy white.

Also pictured is the newsletter I downloaded yesterday from the LYS of furthest distance that can still be considered "local."  They're announcing the Spring 2005 Midwest Masters classes.  Guess what?!  Guess who's going to be there?!  Lizbeth Upitis!  I think it's a sign, don't you?  I'm taking it as a sign.  I'll be signing up as soon as I can figure out the classes I want to take.  Among the other teachers are Lily Chin, Debbie New, and Lorna Miser.

ChocolatenutbowlCloseThis was the gift for my boss and his wife.  It's a bowl filled with a pound of roasted cashews and almost a pound of chocolates; the vessel is from a line of pottery decorated by my lovely and talented sister.  Here's a close-up of a different piece.  The girl works magic with a slip trail and glaze -- it's green, too, what's not to love?  It's hand-thrown stoneware and every piece is decorated by hand -- each and every one is a wonder to behold.

Speaking of said sister, I delivered part of her Christmas present when I visited last week -- a pair of warm, wooly mitts and a warm, wooly scarf.  Just in time, too, as the temps have been falling all week!

I'm stalling.  Yesterday, I blew the whole morning on the phone, when I should have been cleaning.  Today, it's blogging.  Yeah.  I did get a head start on Friday night, though, by cleaning the upstairs bathroom.  While I was scrubbing the sink and all, I was thinking about the Christmas Boot Camp commencing in Canada this weekend that I'd read about earlier in the day.  I had left a comment, too, about envisioning a drill sergeant; heh, Stephanie replied that she's her own and it isn't pretty.

I was washing light fixtures and polishing chrome and thinking about what drill sergeants do -- the chanting, marching sing-song thing (Louis Gossett, Jr. comes to mind, though it's been so long since I saw An Officer and A Gentleman that I don't know if they even do it in that movie).  I found some inspiration (it's called a "cadence," by the way).  I changed a few words and sent it back in an email (I'm not sure she's read it yet, though, because I forgot about the part where if it was something she really needed to see, I was supposed to flag it somehow).  Anyway, it was a diversion (one among many) and I thought I'd share it with you.

One sock, no sweat.  Two mittens, better yet.
Three concerts, think about it.  Four cookies, thought about it.
Five nogs, feeling good, like I should...

Let me tell ya, making up new words to marching songs KIND of made the bathroom cleaning a LITTLE more f... uck, no it didn't!  There are lots of longer cadences that one could play with, but I'll have to clean a bigger room to come up with the words.

Have I wasted enough of my time and yours?

Added later:  As long as I'm here (fixing a typo in the cadence, for crying out loud), I just have to add that I knit a braid on the mitten -- two colors, where the cuff meets the hand -- and I'm so proud.  The directions were very clear and it's like a miracle or something.  Awesome; I did that!  All in all, I'd say the 2-color mitten is going well (I do have an extra stitch and there's another teensy mistake, but I'm okay with that); I'm just past the thumb gore and I'll snap a pic tomorrow.  WooHoo.

Let them eat gingerbread!

Yum.  Isn't that a cute house?  And isn't he adorable?  He looks so proud.  My grrs made those milk carton-based houses in kindergarten, but by the time they made it home, they were too hard and icky to eat.

One year when the kids were young, I bought a gingerbread house kit at the corner bakery.  We were spending Christmas Eve at Grandma's and I knew the kids would be bored out of their gourds, at least until it was time to open presents -- and that I'd answer the question about when we'd open presents about 10,000 an hour unless they had something to do.  I brought the kit, a container of frosting, a large tray, and lots of candy trims.  We "built" the house and the kids and their cousins decorated it while grown-ups watched football, prepared the meal, and gabbed.  After dinner, the house was gobbled up for dessert, along with pie.  It was great way to occupy the kids and an activity I recommend highly for such gatherings.

We attended Aison's final high school Christmas concert last night.  The production on the whole was not as smooth as usual, but the kids were amazing.  It's the first time I recall a standing ovation.  Ai performed with the concert choir as well as a madrigal (participation in that last one was especially for me, she said).  The finale was "Oh Holy Night" with all the choirs -- the concert choir and a few others on stage, and the mixed and freshman choruses around the perimeter of the auditorium. Beautiful!  I had tears in my eyes.

I giggled to myself earlier, as they sang part of "Bring A Torch Jeanette Isabella" in a medley.  My twin sisters sang that song in a fourth grade Christmas concert and I'll bet they both still know the words.  I know they both still know the words!!  We all still know the words of the school song from that grade school, too!

What's that about too many cooks?

Chocolate-Plum Thumbprint Cookies.  Mom made the dough and I made the filling; three batches, one at a time.  Good grief, have you ever chopped dried plums (the fruit formerly known as prunes)?  What a sticky, gooey mess.  I should have brought my chopper thingy, though it probably would have been hell to clean.  I got a little stuck to my job, so even when Mom remarked about how dry the first batch of dough was, it took me a while to check the recipe -- not until after she had a pan in each oven (woo hoo, double ovens!).

"Did you use one cup of margarine, or one stick?"

"Umm, oh..."

Heh, we finally figured it out and had 'em all baked and packed up by noon.  The cookies were good -- not real sweet, but that's okay.  Whew!

After a little lunch, I ran some errands and did a little shopping -- some Christmas, some not -- among the stops were the chocolate shop and the LYS (within two blocks of each other, how could I not?).  As I was looking over the checkbook yesterday, I discovered that I've written a check to the LYS once a week for the past three weeks; yesterday's visit was cash (much less of a trail).  Not big purchases, but still, once a week?  I bought the DPNs that I needed -- plus another set and, oh yeah, how about some yarn?  I think I can fit in another quick Christmas project, don't you?

Teeny little rant (you may click away here) -- I'll try to keep it teeny -- nothing new to anyone, but this is the first time I've actually been witness.  The LYS was busy, but mostly it was buzz from a knitting group.  As the customer before me was being waited on, the phone rang; it was another customer asking if the shop would wind some yarn -- I assume it was yarn already purchased or to-be-purchased at that shop.  The reply was, "If I have time.  We're very busy."  I don't know the situation at this LYS; it was not the owner manning the store yesterday and it's been my experience that the owner would rather stick a note on the door and close than hire anyone to fill in, so perhaps she's taken on a partner.  After hanging up, the clerk grumbled -- a lot -- to the in-store customer about customers expecting to have yarn wound for them.  When it was my turn, she continued grumbling, and even said, "I have a real problem with winding yarn" and that she didn't think it was something they should be expected to do.  Wow.  After recovering, I replied that winding hanks of yarn can be a tedious and overwhelming job, and that I felt fortunate to have a swift and winder of my own (man, so I don't have to ask YOU to do it).

It's all about customer service, people.  I've worked retail, I know how pissy and demanding customers can be and how I'd have rather clocked them than anything else, but you put on your best you're-like-suckin'-on-a-whole-lemon-but-I'm-gonna-smile-anyway face and keep them happy because they just spent $5, $25, $50, or $100 and you'd like them to come and do it again -- and you'd also like them to tell all their friends!  And, you know, it's never a good idea to complain about customers to other customers...

Too bad.  That LYS has a good selection of yarn and they'll special order anything, and my frequent buyer card was filled yesterday ($20 off next time), but I might be carrying it around for a while.

The customer ahead of me told a cute story about the winding of a hank of yarn gone wrong over Thanksgiving.  Her husband and his hunting buddies came in for lunch and untangled and wound the whole thing before they went back out.  She didn't even ask them to do it. /rant

There was a help wanted sign at the candy store.  I brought an application home for Ai.  Do you think I'd get fat if my daughter worked at an award-winning chocolate shop?


Mom is participating, for the second year, in a cookie exchange.  I, for the second year, have been enlisted as assistant baker.  That's on the morning docket.

This afternoon, I hope to make it to the candy store.  I have one of the breathtakingly beautiful, slip-trail decorated bowls that my sister makes and wish to have it filled with nuts and chocolate for my boss and his wife.  Mmmm, the candy store, chocolate...

StockingvI also need to buy some 2US DPNs.  I can't believe I don't have even a single set!  I wanted to start some mittens last night -- I did start some mittens but they will soon be ripped.  What in the world was I thinking?  I've had some pain in my lower back the past few days and all I can say is that it must affect my knitting judgment, too.

The knitting has been pitiful, nothing worthy of a picture.  To brighten things up around here, a pic of my own Christmas stocking.  Obviously, I'd moved into the sampler stage by this time.  I'm not really religious, but the vast majority of samplers have biblical verses -- I always kind of liked this one, anyway.

I should be cleaning or checking my list...

A few years ago, two of my sisters and I planned a shopping trip the weekend before Thanksgiving.  The plan was to stay at a B&B near Minneapolis, and shop at the Mall of America.  We found a very nice B&B in Stillwater, MN.  Guess what?  We never made it to the mall, we never even made it out of Stillwater -- we spent the entire weekend browsing and shopping in antique malls, kitchen/cooking stores, specialty clothing and accessories shops, gift shops, sporting goods stores (I had my brother's name that year).

It was an aligning of the stars or something.  We all got a lot of shopping done, crossing items off our lists with every stop.  Sometimes we'd browse through a shop and not really find anything until we were on the way out -- something would catch an eye and it turned out to be the mother-lode!  On Saturday evening, as one store would close, we'd find that the next one on the block was open an hour later.  I swear, it was like dominoes.  Every time the grrs opened a gift that year, oooohing and aaaahing and asking where it came from, the answer was, "Stillwater."  To this day, they think that Stillwater is a shopping mecca and would like to go there themselves one day.

I think I'd like to go again, too!

Dog toy

My knitting time was severely curtailed last night due to 1) a meeting and 2) the demand for clean clothes by my children.  I got my fix by looking at all the pretty pictures in Latvian Mittens.  I read some of the words, too.  It is an informative and interesting book to read.

I am thrilled and rather surprised to say that Mdd is enamored with these mittens, too!  She has been having knitting fits and starts, so I picked up Klutz Knitting over the weekend for a Christmas present.  I have loved -- more importantly, the kids have loved -- every Klutz book we've ever owned, so between the book for reference and my support, I think Mdd will enjoy more success.

The time between loading machines and folding clothes -- time that would otherwise be spent knitting -- was used to sort through and attempt to find partners for orphan socks.  Really, it's so bad in my house that Mdd doesn't even care if her socks match -- kinda-sorta is okay with her.  There is a milk crate in the laundry room that serves as the collection point for orphan socks and the attempt at sorting/matching is made a few times a year.  The crate has overflowed. The socks are like a tidal wave creeping across the floor.  I have kept and held out hope for particular socks for years -- I don't know why -- even if I found the match to one of the half-dozen purple sock variations the elastic is probably shot, the grrs have probably outgrown them, and none of them will even wear purple socks these days.

That's it (pretty much)!  I sorted through all the colored and patterned socks and made lots of matches.  I tied together three or four that I've finally given up on and made a new toy for Mickey.  I threw the rest away, um... except for most of the patterned ones.  Am I an optimist or an idiot?  (You really don't have to answer that one!)  Damn it, how can so many brightly colored socks get LOST?

The crate is still full of white socks.

Can't knit and drive

I was on the road over the weekend, overnight to the southern part of the state to visit with two sisters.  I did manage to knit a measly two rows on St. Brigid on Saturday night -- which is better than the last time I visited when it was zero -- and a few rows last night while I did laundry, but that's about it.  I had a nice visit, though, and was able to do a little bit of shopping.

The spending-my-Christmas-bonus-early book came in the mail over the weekend -- Latvian Mittens by Lizbeth Upitis!  I purchased yarn last week to start a two-color mitten pattern in Knit Mittens, and might try to incorporate an element or design of Latvian influence.  We'll see... the two-color knitting might be all I can bite off right now.  I'd actually brought Knit Mittens and the yarn with me over the weekend, but didn't bring the needles.  Duh.

The parade continues.

Stockingk Stockinga Stockingm

These are the grrs' Christmas stockings.  They're a Jan Hager design called "Carol."  Carol was a brunette and my grrs are not, so I experimented to make two redheads and a blonde.  Actually, I've made three redheads, because I also made a stocking for my mother (who also has red hair, but takes after her grandchildren rather than the other way around -- if you get my drift).  Sometime between the stitching of Kt's and Ai's, I found the male version of this designed, called "Chris," and used the design from that pattern for the toe and top of Ai's stocking.  For Mdd's, I used the original design (as in Kt's), but switched the colors for top and toe.  And sometime between Ai's and Mdd's, I decided that I did like the old-fashioned "A."  I would say that I stitched the majority of these in 15-minute increments during breaks at work and in what was left of my lunch hour those many years ago.

Christmas parade

Oldwire_1This is a gorgeous, antique ornament that I bought from one of our dealers when I worked at the antique mall.  She had three and now I wish I'd bought all of them.  The most likely reason I didn't is price.  I don't recall how much this was, but I think it was a lot -- $25-30?  I love these old wire ornaments -- and this one has that cool tinsel dangly thing at the bottom.  It's one of my faves.  I have a lot of faves -- because of the way they look or for sentimental reasons -- and it's more a struggle every year to give each the place of prominence on the tree they deserve!

Crosssanta2And this little guy is one of three -- I made one for each of the grrs.  I believe the pattern was in Cross Stitch & Country Crafts magazine and it was some years ago.  The head/body, arms, legs, and boots are each stitched separately.  They are backed with fabric, sealed (I forgot exactly what was used for sealer) and cut out.  The pieces are joined with string and knots and if you pull on the red beads at the bottom, it all moves like an old-fashioned toy.  This is one of my most favorite cross-stitch Christmas projects -- it was intense, but worth it!

I'm heading south for an overnighter with my sis -- another will join us for lunch and teensy bit of shopping this afternoon.  I don't want any snow hindering travel, Mother Nature, so try to hold off 'til Sunday, okay?  Snow and cold on Sunday afternoon, starting at about 3:15, would be okay -- the Packers play the Lions at Lambeau and, well, snow and cold and Brett Favre go together like brats and mustard and beer!  Have a great weekend everyone.

Documenting Christmas

Treeskirt_1For a few years, I went on a weekend cross-stitch retreat at a B&B about an hour from home.  It always happened to be right around my birthday.  One year there was a Christmas theme and among the projects was this tree skirt.  The burlap skirt was pre-made and features three different Santa designs.

Santa_1Perenoel_1 StnickIt was fun to do, and quick!  I love Pere Noel's tree; in the favorites department, it's a toss-up between his jacket at St. Nick's.  The retreat was put on by two sisters, one of whom had once owned a shop.  The B&B owners got a rare weekend off as we all moved in.  The food was always marvelous, the setting divine, and projects wonderful.  One of the sisters passed away a few years ago after a long illness; I feel privileged to have known her and to have stitched some of their designs.

PinkmittsPinkcuffHere are Mdd's pink mitts.  I absolutely love the cabled cuff -- especially in pink.  Very feminine, no?  I seamed the gray Cascade mitts, and that's all the knitting news. I was feeling a bit off yesterday, so went to bed early.

Decorating the tree took away from some of my time otherwise spent knitting last night, too.  There are a few things to do yet -- prisms and icicles and maybe bead garland.  None of Kt's ornaments are up yet, either.  One casualty (my fault) -- an old blue glass ornament that was Grandma K's -- darn it.

Don't you think Martha's slippers (see yesterday) would make a good gag gift.  Even Mdd agreed that they look kinda comfy.  I'm glad y'all had a good chortle.

I had an email from my sister this morning (she's the one who sent me the slipper idea, and she's crafty).  She is making their Christmas cards -- she's made all her cards for years and would be hard-pressed to say when she last lined Hallmark's pockets.  This year, apparently, the card has something molded and something embossed.  She said that her mold shattered in the microwave yesterday, and she's lucky it didn't shatter the oven's glass door!  Then she burned out her embossing gun, holding it too close to the card.  She tried the "old-fashioned way" by holding the card over the toaster, but burned that out, too.  Last effort was using the stove, but the card got scorched (apparently, a glass-top doesn't work so well.)

I'm happy to be counted among the wackos, are you?


I don't know who gets credit for this... My sister sent me this email and it was too good not to share.

SlippersDear Friends,
Let me know your sizes. Christmas is tight this year. I've learned to make bedroom slippers out of maxi pads: You need four maxis to make a pair. Two of them get laid out flat, for the foot part. The other two wrap around the toe area to form the top Tape or glue each side of the top pieces to the bottom of the foot part Decorate the tops with whatever you desire, silk flowers, etc.

These slippers are soft and Hygienic; Non-slip grip strips on the soles; Built in deodorant feature keeps feet smelling fresh; No more bending over to mop up spills; Disposable and biodegradable; Environmentally safe; Three convenient sizes: Regular, Light day, and Get out the Sand Bags.

Happiest of holidays........

Martha Stewart
Inmate 55170-054

Squeaky clean

I had a long list of things to do yesterday and I managed to cross off every single one!  There are many, many things that need to be done that weren't even on the list, but I'll take my successes where I can get 'em.

Marketing place
Oil change
Call dentist
Krispy Kreme gift certificates
Christmas lights outside
Restaurant gift certificate
Install & hook up scanner
Scan pics

There's a marketing firm in the area that occasionally calls me for testing products.  Man, I love getting paid to give my opinion!

The Saturn dealer was right around the corner -- I didn't have an appointment, but I needed to get an oil change.  They said it would take an hour or so.  There's an antique mall right next door, so I went and poked around for a while.  I hadn't been to that particular one (it's huge and overwhelming and I've heard such bad reports about quality of merchandise) in probably 10 years.  I was pleasantly surprised; the light seemed better and, at least in the half that I saw, stuff was good.  I managed to find a book for the hubster (Christmas) and a small sewing stand to add to my Christmas list.  I need another sewing stand/small table like I need a hole in the head.

There is an internet kiosk at the Saturn dealer and, while I had a few minutes to wait, I thought I'd check some blogs.  I didn't have a problem getting to my own, but the "inappropriate content" filter would not let me check on the Harlot or PurlingSwine.  I knew better than to even try Norma -- with her mouth?

Since our old computer died, we've been without a scanner.  It's a 12-year-old SCSI model and I was just not looking forward to installing it in the new computer.  Kudos to HP and others for making it easier to do-it-yourself these days.  You could have knocked me over with a feather -- I installed the card and software, hooked up the scanner, and it worked right off the bat!  Woohoo!

I took care, given the physical ailments, but had to finish the pink thrummed mittens last night!  I made Mdd wait, even though she wanted to go to bed, so I could get a picture.  Ack.  I forgot to send it (and all the others I took yesterday).  Thanks for your kind wishes; my hands, wrist and arm are a lot better this morning.

Drive by

There's been a lot of drive by blogging lately -- I guess it's the time of year.  Today's my day.  I have LOTS on my list today that I'd like to scratch off.

I have one more thrum repeat on Mdd's mitten before decreasing, and then the thumb to do, but it's getting close!  There was a bit of "Tuesday is For Me" knitting, too, as I worked a bit more on St. Brigid.  Not much, but it's all progress.

I'm feeling all this fiddly knitting.  My fingers were numb this morning and felt like sausages, my whole right arm feels a little weird, and my wrist was making itself known.  Carpal tunnel type problems are not new to me, but I can usually shake it off pretty quickly.  I'll have to take it easy today.  Darn it.


Originally, this post was to be titled "Monday is For Me... or Look Who Came Out to Play!" and it was going to be posted much earlier than this!

Things were funny right off the bat today.  The short story is that it's taken from 6:45 this morning 'til now (1:15 p.m.) to reestablish my connection to the server and the modem's and router's connections to whatever, and the internet connection.  I got to talk with SBC tech support (twice) and with D-link's, too!  I unplugged stuff and plugged it back in again, restarted 100,000,000 times, all the while looking at little red and green blinking lights.  All I can say is that I think there was a power outage last night and even though the UPS system kicked in, something(s) must have been affected.

Last night I replaced the string of lights on the tree, as intended.  Then I sat down to seam one of the Magnum mittens, but decided I don't really have anything suitable (in the neighborhood of color) for seaming.  I think there will be an LYS stop tomorrow morning.  I pulled out Mdd's thrummed mitts instead, and I think I'm feeling the second mitten syndrome big time with this pair -- didn't feel it at all with the first.  I worked two or three thrum rows and then decided that "Monday is For Me!"

I brought St. Brigid out to play!  We fell in together as if it's only been days instead of weeks apart.  I polished off the fifth repeat and it was FUN!


I didn't watch any news or weather yesterday, so I was surprised to wake up and see snow on the neighbor's roof this morning!  It was only an inch or so, but wet and sticky, and clinging to the trees -- very pretty!  I saw two cars in the ditch on the way to work.

DH & I went to my company Christmas party on Friday night -- it was fun, too much food!  He got a stocking full of goodies as thanks for letting me work there...

When we got home, I had to be St. Nick.  I know, I know, he's supposed to come on the 5th...  Katie was home for another whirlwind work weekend and had to leave right after work on Saturday (originally, I thought I'd only have to move it up a day), so Friday it was...  St. Nick brought her the other hank of Colinette Point 5 she needed to finish her scarf (which she did on Saturday night -- and she loves it!); Ali & Maddy each got a new shirt; and they all got a bunch of other little things (including candy and the requisite popcorn ball).

On Saturday, after finishing up the transcription (YAY!), I picked up another hank of Cascade Magnum -- I really liked the thick mittens I made using the Lion Brand Santa Mitten pattern.  I knit one up on Saturday night, and the other on Sunday, but this time I used some of the shaping in Kate's wonderful, new, free pattern.  What a great pattern!  Thanks, Kate.  The mitts are for my sister and will coordinate well with the scarf I made for her.

SewingSince the stockings were up for St. Nick, my attention turned toward Christmas preparations at home.  I did some cleaning over the weekend and we brought the tree up last night.  I had to move my great grandma's sewing machine because we're putting the tree there this year -- a new location!  I took a picture of it, Ann (excuse the dust).  That cabinet has definitely seen better days -- there have been pieces of wood replaced (with crap, I might add) and there's a knob missing -- most importantly, the "apron" is missing.  I have my maternal grandmother's machine upstairs and it has a rather large, decorative piece of wood between the drawers on each side that kind of swings in when the machine is lifted out -- it hides the machine when it's put away.  The machine I saw in your Thanksgiving dining room, Ann, looks similar, but it looks like the apron piece is much smaller.  What say you?  I took a close-up of where that piece should attach, but I forgot to resize it and, well, most of you would not be interested in a humongous picture of hardware!

I have to replace one string of lights on the tree.  I got all poked and scratched during the removal part last night, and will likely put the new ones on tonight.  Then ornaments...  Oh yeah, it's been a tradition for quite a long time that St. Nick brings the grrs a new ornament for the tree.  They each have their own boxes for those ornaments, plus others they've received over the years, and they'll have a nice little start when they someday have their own trees to decorate.  I often pick these up at after-Christmas sales for the following year -- and I sometimes forget and then I'm either ahead or they get two!

Thank you all for your kind wishes for my sister.  The problem is placenta praevia -- according to my mom's medical dictionary, this is something that usually occurs in the third trimester and my sister is only entering her second.  An early caesarean birth is likely if it doesn't move -- and it might, but I don't know the likelihood.  Anyway, Annie's not exactly on bed-rest, I guess, but she is under strict orders to take it easy and mind the signals.

There's a history in my family of not quite coming up with the right word or term, but making a damn good stab at it.  For example, rather than "Old Wive's Tale," Sharon has referred to it as "Old Mother's Fable" (cracks me up every time).  I had an email from Karen last night in which she discussed Ann's condition -- she couldn't quite come up with the term, so referred to it as "placenta primavera," which she knew wasn't right, but what the hell.  I had a good laugh.  You've got to have a sense of humor, even if it's a sick one.

I ain't on no diet

I have more yarn stashed than I've ever had before.  Some of you would laugh, I'm sure -- it really isn't a lot.  But there is a box from Elann in the laundry room with enough for two sweaters.  It arrived a few weeks ago -- I opened it, I looked at it.  Did I even take the time to fondle it?  (I don't remember.)  There's a wicker hamper in the living room, a small chest, at least one full drawer in another chest, and a Tupperware container -- all full of yarn.  I don't care.  A girl never has enough, right (see Gifts for Knitters: Day 2)?

More is on the way.  I bought some lovely, bright, Dale Baby Ull at Jody's stash sale.  Go check out her great stuff!  I'm thinking fun, bright, baby hats.  My sister's baby will definitely be a hat-wearer.  (My sis is the only person I know -- well, okay, her hub and two sons, too -- that wears a nightcap.  I swear.)  I'm also praying as that yarn wings its way to me; I learned last night that my sister's on bed-rest.  She had some spotting and there's a placenta problem.  (pray knit pray knit pray knit)

I saw Karen's gorgeous little baby tam on her blog yesterday -- and asked her which pattern she used.  She said that she's been using a pattern in Ann Budd's Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.  I have the Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, and more than once I've seen things that made me want the "plain" book.  And now that's on it's way, too.

But hell, let's not stop there.  I've been wanting to get Scarf Style for my sister and have hesitated ordering it only because I wondered if I shouldn't make the Qty 2.  I did not.  Instead, I ordered another book...

'Tis something to help me with #99.  It should be here in two weeks, at the latest.

Merry Christmas to me!  I'm using my not-yet-in-hand, I-have-no-idea-how-much-it-will-be Christmas bonus.  Let's hope it's at least $54.09 (not counting Scarf Style -- that's a gift and won't be coming out of my bonus!).

Among my stops on the way home (in cold wind and snow flurries) was the LYS.  I spent a long time looking at yarn, but came away only with what I went there to get (gift) and the new Knitter's.  There wasn't a lot of knitting time last night, what with playing Skip-Bo with Mdd, too, but I did manage to start balls 5 & 6 on the Tahki Davos garter stitch rectangle.  Oh, and I spliced yarn (twice) for the first time last night -- it worked great!

It was a very good day far as Wednesdays go!  So I titled my post "Dizzy" yesterday and elaborated on the song and the usual volume level of my radio (loud) and completely forgot to say that I was feeling dizzy, hence the title!  I usually have an idea when I start a post, but I almost always compose on the fly and sometimes lose my way between the title and the first sentence.

FlashDizzy is a feeling that won't likely let up 'til Christmas.  I work myself into a tizzy, starting about now, and ending with a little bender on the Eve of Christmas Eve -- when I'm still trying to do 100,000 things, looking something like a whirling dervish.  I eventually have a glass of wine late in the afternoon to take the edge off.  It goes down quite well, so I have another.  By the time my sister and her family arrive (one reason for the tizzy), the bottle is empty and I'm relaxed, but send my BIL to get another bottle of wine, anyway.  I'm usually pretty mellow the following day for Christmas Eve festivities.

CharmedI got a box of loveliness from across the Atlantic the other day.  Yvette and I made a pattern trade agreement (Shapely Shawlette for Caryl's Kerchief) and each sent along additional goodies, too.  The grrs helped me choose some Koigu in a pink-ish colorway to send with the shawl pattern.

Yvette wrote, "These little balls of yarn came home with me even though they are not my colour and don't belong in the stash.  (They don't fit anyway!)  I hope they find a place in your stash with all the other greens."  It's shetland from Jamieson & Smith, along with some Flash and Merino -- I'm pondering the possibilities.

There was a birthday card, a shawl pin and bookmark (love that knitted sweater charm!), some l-o-n-g DPNs, and chocolate (didn't last long).  I put a new, 100-watt Reveal lightbulb in the floor lamp next to my chair last night -- le goodies are all arrayed on the seat and the picture was taken without a flash!  The colors are just about spot-on.  I had a Varilux bulb in that lamp, but it just wasn't bright enough; 100 watts may end up being a bit too bright!

I have about half of a tape left to transcribe -- I stuck with it pretty well yesterday.

Elizabeth asked about the "vase head" picture on the blog.  I call her a "pot head."  One of my sisters gave her to me prior to a big move; she had planted the fuzzy cactus and I just love the "hat" it makes (it just keeps growing and growing)!  Those vases are quite collectible -- I remember my grandmother and aunts having a few -- but I have only one and that does not constitute a collection.  This, to me, is an especially nice example, with the jewelry and all.  Last time I checked, she was worth around $90!


"Dizzy" is the name of a song by Tommy Roe.  I loved that song so much when it was released that I used my measly allowance to buy the 45 -- and I didn't even have a record player to play it on!  I still like that song and crank the volume.  I usually make it a point to turn the radio down before I get out of my car, but I'm still often BLASTED when I turn it back on because, well, I guess I like my music LOUD!

SharonHere's my sister's Christmas Shapely Shawlette draped over the back porch railing, soaking up some morning sun.  It's not that red, folks; the yarn refuses to photograph.  It is actually dominated by green and blue.  I have a couple of ends to weave in and that will take but a few minutes.

My baby sister, eating for two now and putting on weight, forgot to take our Nordic Trak when she was here last week.  She had a ski machine of her own, and loves that kind of exercise, but it broke and she wants to borrow ours.  I talked to her the other night and she told me that, in desperation, she came up with a temporary solution -- she put a Swiffer under each foot, held on to the back of the couch, and away she went!

I have lots 'n lots to do today!  I'm doing the Norma and transcribing some interview tapes -- three down, three to go.  It's very archaic -- I have no bells and whistles and I'm sure Norma just shakes her head.  "Better you than me, kid."  I think of her every time I see a court reporter on TV (they're there more often than you think).  In a wide shot in "To Kill A Mockingbird," all eyes are focused on those leaving the courtroom at the end of a day, but I watched Atticus as he walked over to the court reporter's table.  This guy was doing it in shorthand, people.  Yikes!  Anyway, Atticus walked over and put his hand on the guy's shoulder, gave him a smile and nodded his head.  He might have been saying, "Good job, Joe."  I think he was saying, "Good job, Joe.  You'll get me those transcripts as soon as you can, huh?"