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September 2007
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November 2007

Help me, I've fallen...

UfochallengeI have fallen off the saucer.  When did that happen?  It must have been a long time ago, but I've only just noticed.  I did have a few early triumphs, and I don't think I've added TOO much to the UFO pile this year (that's not sayin' that the project list/queue hasn't grown) (shall I thank Ravelry in every post, tongue-in-cheek or not?).  I'll have to climb back aboard and see if I can't resurrect my resolve for the resurrection through the end of the year.

Dsc01439Can you feel it?  That end-of-year, new year's a comin' feeling?  The holiday hoopla will soon start.  The weather has thrown me off -- it's been so mild, it's almost surreal -- and I wonder if it'll ever get cold enough to snow.

Yeah, right.

The light was not great last night -- it is not my favorite place to meet, but the company more than made up for that.  I managed to sew down all the ends on the shawl -- thankfully, that particular ribbon yarn is  somewhat forgiving even if I wasn't exactly a neat-freak in the doing.

I finished Oddfellow!  Alison has dubbed him "Bean."  This is for her friend, Ben, and I like it:  Ben & Bean, Bean & Ben, Ben's Bean, Bean's Ben, two peas beans in a pod.  Ben has always loved Oswald (Ali's Oddfellow), and has told/asked/begged me, sweetly, a hundred billion times how much he'd love one of his own.  I discovered a few weeks ago that Ben & I share a birthday -- and that tipped the knitting needles in his favor.  I have one more to make, yet-unnamed (YU), for a girlfriend of Al's who has also been sweeter than sweet (my kids have really lucked out in the friend department), and after the group photo shot (Ali's request -- in fact, Bean is forbidden to leave 'til then), Bean & YU will be on their way.

Bottom line

An 82-yard TD pass by Vinny Testaverde's dad (a.k.a. QB Brett Favre) on the first play in OT for a mile-high win feels so good.  You want to know how good?  I discovered that I forgot to do an increase on Der Blaue Mond Argosy scarf and will have to rip back about four repeats and, still, I smiled.  Smiling all the time.  We're 6-1.  ; )

I think I'll be sewing & un-knitting out tonight -- sewing down ends on the ribbon shawl I finished a while ago (so I can give it to Mom) and legs on the first of the two Oddfellows on my list.  I brought the new shawl and mittens to show (and I see that I also need to add them to the photo album), and I'll be ripping back the scarf.

Okay.  So.  As much as I'd like a new car, it ain't happenin' right now.  I don't want to buy a car because I have to buy a car, I want to buy a car because I want to buy a car.  I want to take my time and consider things and take test drives.  I had to think about it a little bit this summer when I needed new tires, and I bought those new tires with the idea that I'd have this car for at least another two years, and so it will be.  I'll patch up the Saturn and it'll be just fine.  Not perfect.  Not what I want.  But just fine.

Caution your teenagers against using the roof of your car as a perch to stargaze, or have a heart-to-heart with their best friend, or sit and drink a latte -- whatever was going on up there -- because (FYI) replacing the roof of a car is not a small thing when it comes to calcluating value.  I'm working things out with the insurance company.

It'll be just fine.

I'm over the (opal) (blue) moon


Opal Sock Yarn, Hundertwasser... LOVE.  Der Blaue Mond (Blue Moon), Regentag auf Liebe Wellen (Rainy Day on Dear Waves), Wartende Hauser (Waiting Houses).

Hunder2 Hunderargosy2

Hunderargosy1 Hunderargosy3

Argosy in Der Blaue Mond (with thanks, again, to Ravelry and to Joan/giolou who did it first).  I wasn't so sure about this and almost gave up after a couple of repeats, but it would have been too soon.  The longer this thing gets, the more in love I am.  Talk about being entertained and mesmerized by color changes -- YOWZA, THIS IS A TRIP!!

See the Green Bay Packer section?  You know where I'll be tonight... I am ready for some football.


Hahaha, I found this at Norma's today.  It may explain a few things, like why I've been in such a funk and why I've been doing everything EXCEPT what I should be doing (homework, housework, yardwork -- looks like anything to do with work!).


In another week and a half or so, though, I'll be nearly at my biorhythm zenith, almost a tri-bi-rhy-fecta!


Heh, looks like I'll have my cake and eat it, too, and then it's all downhill from there!

Look at what I made.

Dsc01423 Dsc01422

Autumn House Farm's "Garden Shawl," designed by Mary Jo Walters, using AHF's Shantung Silk, one hank (150 yds) in a color called "agate."  The colors are gorgeous.  The pattern called for 19US needles, which I didn't have (not even straights!) and did not want to purchase just for this, so I used 17s and it's just fine.  As I wrote yesterday, I started this on Thursday night and had already suffered a substantial rip by bedtime.  Apparently, switching from doing something on every other row to doing the same thing on EVERY row was too taxing on my brain.  Last night, I decided that I just could not recover, so I breathed deeply a few times and ripped the whole thing out.  As I rewound the yarn, I had time to contemplate and focus on just what was being asked and cast on the second time with confidence, casting off just before the end of the late news.  There's an event that I can wear it to tonight!  I wish it was just a tiny bit less pointy, but at this rate, I can rip and redo someday if it really bothers me.

Shark bites

SharkThe Morehouse Farm's Shark Mitts, my other "big" Rhinebeck purchase, will be made this Christmas for Mack.  I'm not sure I'll do these entirely in seed stitch, as that's a wrist-killer for me, but they're small... they'll get done.  The yarn is super soft and squishy -- this will be a fun project.

I'd planned to run up to Loops and Links in DePere on Tuesday after work because I had an email that they received their Opal order, including the Hundertwasser!  (Had I checked my email, DH & I could have stopped to pick it up on our way home from the airport on Monday.)  Anyway, I've had Hundertwasser-on-the-brain and Ali was looking for some Tuesday night distraction, as was I, so she drove.  While we were there (surprise, surprise), she found some yarn for herself!  She chose some Lumpy Bumpy Yarn in the "Indian Corn" colorway and I found this great Worm Scarf pattern (thank you, Ravelry) (which I like more than Ali, but it's a start), and she is looking forward to doing some knitting during breaks at work.  She likes to knit, but has chosen some tedious projects in the past, plus she's impulsive and impatient and likes to see quick results, so they've all been pretty much doomed from the start.  Despite the flushed excitement with which she'd start these projects, they've all been abandoned.  I love being part of my girls' A-ha knitting moment(s) and I hope the Lumpy does it for Al.

I wound up the Lumpy Bumpy, the Morehouse, and the Autumn Hill and even started that AH Shawl last night.  This week has taken it's toll, though, so I've already had a substantial rip.

I am so very happy that it's nearly the weekend.  I plan on taking it easy, though the urge to neaten & cozy up my den has come on strong all of a sudden, and also hope to (must) catch up on some homework.  It'll be a good weekend for that.  I had to write a little blurb a couple of weeks ago for the class that I've had ups-and-downs about, not to mention serious doubts, and I got the paper back last night.  A+.  "A pleasure to read."  I have to say, no matter the circumstances, that feels good -- fills my tank for the weekend's work.

New Mittens!

Rhinebeck_mitts2 Rhinebeck_mitts1

Rhinebeck_mitts3I'm calling these my Rhinebeck Mittens.  I cast on quickly on Wednesday night and knit a few rows of ribbing so that I wasn't caught boarding a plane with bare naked needles.  I know that the sticks don't raise many flags these days, but I figured five double-pointy sticks would be questioned even less if they were actually being put to use.

So.  I knit in the airport in Green Bay, since my flight was delayed by an hour (but I wasn't informed 'til I was half-way there), and on the plane to Atlanta.  I did not knit in Atlanta, though, because I was too busy running and making up time (WHEW, I made the connection).  I caught my breath, then knit during the flight to NYC.  I knit at night with Cara and Ann.  I knit on the way to La Isla Poughkeepsie while also playing the license plate game.  I knit in Poughkeepsie.

Then I did it all in reverse -- including the delay on the first leg of the return flight home and the sprint in Atlanta to successfully make the connection (owie, owie, owie, dragging my right foot the final 100 yards, shin splints, anyone? oh, how that hurts).  I finished the thumb on the way to Green Bay -- everything except weaving in the end, because I didn't have a needle -- and started the first of two Oddfellows.

And I was early in Green Bay!  I gathered my luggage, waited for DH, made about four or five phone calls, waited for DH, waited around inside, waited around outside, and then -- finally, THEN -- I checked the time and we weren't even due to land for another 8 minutes!

The Rhinebeck Mittens are an adaptation of EZ's Mitered Mittens, one of the May projects in Knitter's Almanac.  Having tried short rows to alleviate pulling on the palm-side, with some measure of success, on the first pair, I had an idea to knit the palm side straight and try a gusset with this pair.  There is also some measure of success here and they are perfectly wearable, but still not PERFECT.  I think I may, one day, try again -- omitting the increases on the mitered side while doing the gusset increases to eliminate excess fabric 'round the wrist.  I haven't blocked either of these pairs yet, and some of these issues may even end up disappearing.  Wouldn't that be nice?

It's official.  They're going to "total" my car.  I'll get all the detail$ tomorrow.  It's a 2000 Saturn wagon -- which is 7 years old, though in car-years, that's more like 8 or even 9 -- with 132+K miles on it, and there have been some issues and not a little angst, and I fell out of love a little over a year ago (mostly due to the stupid "service" department at the dealership), but it's gotten me where I've wanted to go (except once, though I'd have driven straight into a huge snowstorm, so it's serendipity or something).  I'm not sure what's going to happen.  I am thankful beyond belief that there were absolutely NO injuries to any person involved -- oh, don't I know how lucky we were.  And in the big picture, my car is a very, very, very small sacrifice.  Thank you all for your kind words and wishes.  It's been a tough couple of days and they really do help.

I bought yarn

Autumn1 Brooks1

Autumn2 Brooks2

...but I didn't buy very much of it!  These are plenty different in fiber content, but awfully similar in color, don't you think? The intended purpose is pretty much the same for both hanks, too. 

On the left is Shantung Silk from Autumn House Farm in the color called "agate."  It will become a shawl with an AHF pattern that I purchased -- as soon as I can get my hands on some 19US needles (yikes!), I'm not sure I have any that size.

On the right is Macero from Brooks Farm Yarn, a superwash wool-viscose-silk blend that is also destined to be a shawl with a BFY free pattern (pdf).  Big surprise, huh?  There may be enough to also make a scarf.

There's a teeny tiny bit more -- some mittens to knit, some mittens to share -- but I'm a bit distracted this morning.  There was a Vicki/Saturn sandwich on the highway during the morning commute.  I'm fine, they're fine, we're all fine -- and besides a bent tail pipe on the vehicle in front of me, the other two cars suffered only scratches and are fine -- but my car is not so fine.  It can be driven -- well, let's say I drove it to work, since it wasn't that far -- but it's got scratches and broken stuff and a chunk missing and bends in parts that aren't really bendy.  I have an appointment with the drive-through claims adjuster tomorrow morning -- Yes, I'd like an Egg McM*ffin with that -- and we'll just have to see.  The guys at work thought $2K, easy.  I'm not sure my car is worth a whole bunch more than that.

Time out.

Sheep & Wool in New York



Tunis, pictured at top, was the featured breed last year, I believe.  I'm partial to the redheads, you know.  I don't think I even knew there was a featured breed the first year I went to Rhinebeck -- they were all stars in my book.

I think I ate more at this festival, and definitely drank more -- continuing the tradition, begun last year, of draining beer kegs everywhere I go.  The weather was perfect -- for t-shirts and tank tops.  It was not really sweater weather -- oh, there were plenty of woolens on the fairgrounds, but I don't know how they did it.  I'd have melted, for sure.  I wore Williamsro to dinner on Saturday night because it was a little bit cool outside, but otherwise...  Do you know how much space two wool sweaters take up in a suitcase?  I could have used that space!

Pictures and more tomorrow -- you can check my few shots on Flickr in the meantime.  It's going to take me a while to catch up around here.

In the company of squares

07bingowebbutton_2 B2

I'm a Saturday-only square.

I wanted to write all about why this is so special -- not the festival, really, it's all about the people -- but I've run out of time.  So quick...

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be going to Rhinebeck for the third time -- wouldn't have gone the first and second times, either -- if it wasn't for Cara, Ann, and Katy -- and a bunch more, really, but I've got a flight to catch!  Time has NOT been on my side lately.

I'll either see you at Rhinebeck, or back here on Tuesday!


Dsc01372_2Addison was in my BIL's arms when I checked for fit and cuteness, and this was BIL's reaction (speaking for Addison, of course):

"At your service, my liege!"

Yeah, my BIL is a funny guy.  Ya think he was maybe not as tuned in to the cuteness of the Sweet Baby Cap as the rest of us.  The rest of us thought it was A-dorable (with a capital "A").  It fits beautifully, and it ought to fit all through the winter!

Not only did I not get a decently cute photo of the baby wearing the hat, I didn't get a decent FO photo of the hat, either.  Thank goodness we've been seeing each other often.


I'm not knitting out tonight, nor am I attending a scheduled meeting of my LYS's Master Knitter Group, because the boys are in town!  Cuteness trumps all.  I gave the Sweet Baby Cap a good, softening Eucalan soak last night and I'm looking forward to seeing it on the intended's Sweet Baby Head!  Also looking forward to a good, modelled picture. I did enjoy a brief visit last night, but tonight will be better -- it'll also include pie: Mom's Spaghetti for supper and DH's Apple for dessert.

I'm having Abbey's Chili All Day for lunch today.  It's probably tied with Vicki's Roasted Tomato Sauce for the best and most-used recipe I've found anywhere on the internet.  I make that chili a few times every winter (oooh, that's harsh) soup season and it's always a hit!  I started a pot at kick-off time on Sunday (right after DH finished with the banana bread) and let it simmer all day.  By dinnertime it was perfection in a big ol' pot.  Yum.  It ages well, too.

Speaking of football, it's awfully darn nice that the Packers took my schedule into consideration when setting theirs this season, isn't it?  Their BYE and Rhinebeck are the same weekend, so I won't miss a thing! On the fantasy side, my Knitorious Knaves took on Beth's Touchdown Hounds in Week 6 and, well, let's just say that Beth remains the only undefeated team in the Crafters' Fantasy League!  Congratulations to her!!

Look for sweet pics tomorrow!

The truth about my obsession

Yeah, so between typing "Obsession" as the title to the last post and hitting "publish," I went in a completely different direction.  Not that I haven't obsessed about those things -- do obsess from time-to-time, will undoubtedly obsess in the future -- they just weren't the consuming obsession on my mind at the time.

The obsession about which I intended to write, but didn't because the story must have been getting long or time was running short, is the knitting.  Always very high on the list of interests, the obsession does sometimes show, such as on Thursday morning, preparing my departure for the airport to pick up my husband after a two-month absence, when it suddenly occurred to me that, with careful planning and a little hurry-up, I could fit in an opportunity for some fiber fun on the way!  I've been recently fixated, for various reasons, on Opal's Hundertwasser sock yarn -- the whole concept of it just fascinates me -- the mere thought was like fuel on a fire, so I checked the PT Yarn's Shop Lists and came up with a likely Opal suspect carrier retailer.  Loops & Links in DePere isn't exactly "on the way" to the airport, but it wasn't too far out of the way, either.  I'd never been there before, I could check out the just-opened, brand-new bridge and its shiny double-roundabout, there was a chance of yarn, and there's even a case for helping the environment by making it part of an already-planned trip -- all good reasons to give in to the obsession.  ; )

SweetAlas, they had the Opal but not the Hundertwasser.  I indicated which colorways I was interested in, though, and they were going to check availability and let me know.  I didn't really have time to check out the shop completely, but first impressions were very favorable -- I loved the location, the storefront, and the interior space -- and now that I know my way... I'll definitely go back.

Meanwhile, I was involved in a three-way perusal of the results of searching "baby hat" and "baby cap" patterns on Ravelry the other day and, while someone wasn't as enamored with the Sweet Baby Cap as much as I, and the other is directly responsible for the possibility of my two little nephews soon sprouting horns, my love for the Sweet was renewed (it was already in my queue) and the next thing on my needles turned out to be a little cap!  I had a 50g ball of Kroy Sock Krazy Stripes and, really, what better use for it?  As of last night, it is finished -- complete with a 12-inch I-cord tie on each side!  The best part is -- the little one for whom it is intended will be in the house tonight!  Woot!

The obsession is working overtime this week as I prepare for a Thursday morning departure to NY and my third visit in as many years (which makes it an official tradition, I'm told) to Rhinebeck.  What to pack?  What to bring?  What to wear?  Like Norma, I will not have a Rhinebeck sweater -- the Hand-to-Hand Aran will make the trip, but merely for purposes of comiseration and consultation.  St. Brigid again?  It might be fun to compare with Jody's stunner, if she wouldn't mind -- half-sister sweaters.  Fib?  Williamsro?  Williamsro has never made the trip.  Heh.  Mostly, though, by the way things look, I'll be wearing a moisture-proof jacket with a scarf or shawl and mittens and maybe a hat.  I hate hats, but I think I've got a Calorimetry around here somewhere.


The hubby is home and all is well and I thank you for all your kind words and well wishes.  He was off doing things that needed to be done, and he may go off again and do it some more -- not sure yet.  He wasn't in harm's way.  He could come and go at will.  We are very fortunate that he wasn't called to leave his family to go fight a war or something (he already did that in '69 and, thankfully, there wasn't a wife or kids involved at the time); Godspeed to those who were.

Triangle1 Triangle3



Triangle5There's an FO!  I finished the Knit One Crochet Too Ribbon Triangle Shawl for Mom, using the Tartelette she bought when we were in Door County.  I already knit this once, but must have missed a M1 or a K2tog (they're crucial) because when I unravelled the fringe, it unravelled way more at one point than it was supposed to.  I ended up frogging the whole thing and letting it stew in time out for a couple of months.  This time, it worked like a charm -- magical and very clever.  I knit the larger size and used 4 balls of yarn.  I bought 2 more in a different colorway, to make a smaller version for myself.  In the meantime, Melissa sent me 5 more hanks of the same color that she couldn't get to work, so maybe something... bigger, and not a shawl.

Drumroll, please...

We are mere comments (of an undisclosed number) away from a milestone on this here blog.  The 10,000th comment looms!  Amazing, no?  I can hardly believe it -- that I've written over 1000 posts and that y'all have been reading along.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate your reading and taking the time to write to me -- but especially the reading -- and that you keep on writing even when it's clear that I totally suck at replies most of the time.  Thank you.

That kind of thing just begs for a prize, doesn't it?  I haven't mailed goodies to the contestants who won the last two prizes yet, but that shouldn't stop anyone from trying!  I've never been so late with that sort of thing, but I've never been so busy, either.  I'm working on it, and I most certainly haven't forgotten.  Anyway, drop in and say, "Hey!"  You might be the one -- the 10,000th one -- to win a very special prize from a very special place!

Speaking of contests, there's less than a week, over at Who's Gonna Be "The Boss" Now, for shower attendees to enter the Baby Matching Game!  It's a hoot.  It's never too late to join the party -- let me know and I'll send you the log-in/invite -- it's all about having fun!  Eventually, we'll even let Cara in, too.

It was really fun knitting out last night.  Maybe the change in the weather, maybe the coffee shop's Happy Hour -- whatever the reason, the result was a raucous bunch of knitters (+ one crocheter).  New people!  Lots of chat! Lots of laughs!  I got plenty of knitting done and am past the half-way mark on Mom's shawl -- nothing but decreases to the end!  I got a peak at Cat Bordhi's New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One, and Deb brought the book's first project to show us.  I did not want to want this book and was in full resistance mode... WAS being the operative word.  This book will now be way up high on my Birthday/Christmas List -- right next to the Sterling Silver Needle Gauge Necklace (scroll all the way to the bottom, it's worth it) that I've been love with for over a year.

I've pretty much kept it on the down-low, but DH has been away for about two months.  He sent the occasional dispatch, posted here, if you're interested in what one does on a boat in the bayou.  The story begins on this post -- and, as of today, the boat is still in Louisiana.  That's a bit of a bummer for DH, but what-cha-gonna-do?  Anyway, I'm off to the airport tomorrow because the adventurer returns!

Love me some nice shorts

Short-rows, that is.

Remember THIS?  It's still in my mental queue.  That's different from my Ravelry queue, which is huge, but still ain't got nothin' on my mental queue.

Have you seen THESE?  Rainbow Socks, by Susanne Kitzmann, at MagKnits.  I went over there to look at something else altogether (can you guess?), but was immediately drawn in by those fabulous stripes... and the adorable ghosts.  Aren't they cute?  I've never felted anything (on purpose)... those little guys could change my mind.

There was a comment yesterday from Christy on the Smiterittens post:

Mitten looks beautiful. But did you find that the thumb went in at a strange angle because of the mitre? I knit one mitt in Kureyon and ripped it out because of the feel of the thumb.

(I can't figure out how to reply directly to someone who uses their "Typekey" to leave a comment -- I don't have time to look, and maybe I just can't -- but lucky for us the answer fits in nicely given the subject of this post.  The only thing I'm lacking are some good pictures.  I will try to add them later.)

The thumb definitely went in at a "different" angle, but it isn't unpleasing; in fact, I really like how it fits and feels.  I did find, though, that it pulled quite a bit on the palm-side center "seam" because there is no gusset.  The body of the mitten really gets yanked out of shape unless the hand is constantly held in a position to indicate "We're Number One" or "PEACE" or "On My Honor" or "That #4 is a great QB."

I had kind of a brainstorming revelation while knitting the thumb -- after trying it on -- and my quick-fix solution was to knit a couple of short-rows on the inside-side of the thumb to add some ease.  And ya know?  It worked pretty well!  It's not absolute perfection and there's certainly room for improvement/more ease, but I'm okay with it!  Next time, I might try to do them sooner -- like right away when the thumb stitches are being picked up -- a whole extra row or two on the "bottom" and "inside-side" of the thumb before picking up the rest of the stitches.  I will also use a waste yarn place-holder for the thumb instead of snipping and pulling and later weaving-in -- it would be easier on my heart and nerves, too.  Yeah, one little stitch causes palpitations.  When the time comes that I cut my first steek, I'll need strong fortification!

Knitting out tonight!  I picked up Mom's Ribbon Triangle Shoulder Wrap for another go, so that's what I'll be working on.

You win some, you lose some

I really do like winning more, but it was not to be.  Still, on a hot August October night, there's nothin' like football in Titletown.  Yeah, dang, it was HOT!  I brought a jersey to wear and a sweatshirt, in case it cooled off, and was given a G-Force T-shirt at the door (along with a pompom) -- and I folded 'em all up and made a nice, cushy seat for myself on the bleachers!  On the way home, at 11:15 p.m., it was still 80F.  Weird.

Let's look on the bright side:

  • The Packers are 4-1.  That's still pretty darn good.
  • "The Bears Still Suck," and always will, and I mean that in the most loving and endearing and good-natured rivalry way.  Katie and her friend both wore big stickers proclaiming such, which they earned by kicking a teddy bear in the parking lot during pre-game festivities.  Heh.
  • It being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there were pink towels on the sidelines, and survivor Deanna Favre was co-captain of last night's game.  Speaking of which, have you done your daily click?
  • The UW Marching Band did not disappoint; in fact, they're awesome, and just a bit cheeky.  The tuba section marched 'round the end zone at one point, the covers on their horns spelling out:  NICE CLIPBOARD REX.  Small horn sections popped up randomly in the aisles to play a few bars of "On Wisconsin" during the second half.

Pretty much, whatever anyone 'round here feels about the game has been eclipsed by sadness over yesterday's senseless and unbelievable tragedy in Crandon.  I caught wind of it just before I left for the game, but I think most people first learned of it afterwards -- or this morning.  And it's even worse than I first read.  Crandon is about 125 miles north of here -- far but not unfamiliar, as lots of people in these parts spend their vacations or have cottages in those parts.  Too many young lives lost -- such young lives.

...and counting

I'm the beneficiary of a last-minute, late-notice fluke, the result of which is that I'm heading to Football Mecca (a.k.a. Lambeau Field) tonight!  I will watch the Green Bay Packers play the Chicago Bears, and see Brett Favre throw his 423rd (and I wonder how many more -- every one is a record* now) touchdown pass against da said Bears.  With me will be my mom, stepdad, a sister, a daughter, and a friend of the daughter.


It's better.  The FABULOUS UW Marching Band will provide the half-time entertainment.

Plus, it's October 7th and I wonder if I'll even need a sweatshirt... better bring one, just in case.

Go Pack Go!  Favrecandüit!

*Yes, I do know that Brett's also on the verge of taking the interception record.  He'll be the first to hold the record for TDs and the record for INTs simultaneously -- that's gotta be some other kind of record, they just need to make up a clever name!  It could be the THAT'S (HAIR-PULLING, NAIL-BITING, HAIR-GRAYING) ENTERTAINMENT record!  I wouldn't trade the last 17 football years in Green Bay for anything!

Switzerland to Argentina in less than a week

FYI:  This post is long and there is no knitting.

What a week.  I'm not kidding.  It's a wonder I've been able to remain upright and coherent and reasonably sane.

Don't burst my bubble, 'kay?

To give you an inkling, the tip of one of the icebergs, earlier this week I was compelled to write "I AM SWITZERLAND" in a family-wide email.  I wrote some other words, too, such as "Am I supposed to choose sides?" and "What is happening here?" and I do believe they had the desired effect (dousing the fire) because, last I heard, parties were making overtures in more reconciliatory tones.  I also received some words in reply: "I am sorry."

Darn, I hate being the eldest sometimes, except that the big sister is often the first called upon for babysitting nephews.  The baby smooching (and sniffing) day at my sister's definitely came at a good time!

And I had class last night -- the one where I'm the reluctant know-it-all -- or, if not exactly all-knowing, at least most-willing-to-speak bite my tongue speak.  Yeah, last week, I was "shushed," so you can see how that's going.  This week, as far as I'm concerned, the class was practically a disaster -- pure torture.  There are so many factors, across the board, I can't even begin to articulate.  There's a mash of words in my brain.  The main ones, the ones in lights this week, are "arbitrary" and "inconsistent" and "aggravating."

Oy.  I can't make a mash of words coherent?  And I want to write?  Truth is, I think it would be deflating, aggravating, and a waste of brain energy to put it into words, and I don't want to -- the lit-up words are enough.  My energy, as far as this class is concerned, will be better spent in finding my inner strong-and-silent type, in getting through in one piece, and in earning a passing grade.  Fortitude.

So, as I wrote last week, I went to Tango Buenos Aires as part of a cultural immersion requirement for my class on global communications.  I was absolutely delighted to do so, having always loved dance -- and, well, yowza, it's Argentine Tango!  I'm sure that I could have carved enough "experience" from attending the performance and the historical presentation beforehand, which included getting on our feet for a teensy tiny tango lesson, to satisfy the requirement and make my presentation to the class.  But no.  I had discovered the local Argentine Tango group -- and they just happened to meet last night!

I had decided earlier in the week that the timing was perfect and I had to go.  Learning, experiencing, doing Argentine Tango was my best opportunity -- given my North American Upper Midwest location -- to be "immersed" in some aspect of the Argentine culture.  Problem was, I was so distraught and agitated after last night's class that I nearly drove straight home instead.  I took some deep breaths and tried to focus.  I gave myself a little pep talk about timing, dancing, opportunity, missed opportunity, and regret.  I thought about having a drink.  Ultimately, I convinced myself to slip on my "dancing shoes."  Heh, I wore my Keens -- with swollen ankles -- far, far different than when I last took the floor.

Oy (again).  I was so self-conscious -- nervous, tense, anxious, apprehensive!  It has been so long since I danced with anything (including witnesses) other than my vacuum cleaner.  Jazzercise doesn't count.  I felt big, uncoordinated, and clumsy.  I know I have good rhythm, though, I know that I can "feel it" -- not Billy Elliot "feel it," not Fred & Ginger, but I can feel it more than some -- the music gets in me, always has.  I know, too, that a passionate, sexy, slow Tango, moving with the music, responding to my partner, is exactly the type of dance for me -- the dance I dance in my dreams, with the body in my dreams, where no one knows me.  So, I brought all that, plus a desire to dance that I've nurtured for years, along with a very good reason, and here was my chance!  I took comfort in thinking that if I didn't like it, or fell flat on my face, I didn't have to ever go back.  I'd never seen those people before last week and didn't have to ever see them again.

How can I describe it?  It was FASCINATING! EXHILARATING!!  My feet stuck out, or got in the way, or didn't "collect" (come together) as they should; I lost my balance, or tried to lead, or didn't read; went left instead of right, right instead of left; I went up instead of down, stepped on toes, and dosey-doed; I perspired; I muttered, "I'm sorry" ten thousand times in two-and-one-quarter hours.  I had a blast.  I DANCED!  I TANGOED!!  It was the perfect antidote for my earlier stress and angst.

I began by learning how to walk -- backwards -- trying to brush my ankles together (here's where the feet sticking out first gets noticed).  Then I learned to walk with and follow a partner by resting my hands on his or her chest, leaning in a little to create some resistance, closing my eyes and feeling my partner's leg changes, reading the very slight movement in the chest.  Throwing caution to the wind, and in the interest of cultural immersion, I danced in close embrace with a young man of great patience and willingness to teach -- we (I) actually did a lot of talking -- I learned so much!  I DANCED!  I TANGOED!!



I managed to finish the reading for tonight's class while I watched the little guy yesterday.  I still have some writing to do.  I was much more interested in smooching those cheeks, truth be told, and I smooched 'em plenty.  Oh, yes, they're as sweet as they look!  Addison is an absolute joy at the moment.

And Mack.  Yesterday, he stood in the doorway of my room and said, "I love you, Vicki."  That's how I woke up.  Yeah, how could I have a bad day after that?!  Plus, I discovered a new favorite snack (thanks, Mack, for sharing) -- Nilla wafers spread with a little Philly cream cheese!

There have been two three failed attempts at the striped scarf to match the mitered mittens.  It occurs to me that maybe my subconscious is sending a message; maybe I don't really want to knit a scarf.  I'm still ruminating over the Hand-to-Hand.  Knitting progress has been pretty much nil.

Saartje's Sleeping Bag


Saartje's Bootees (pdf) are still too big for Addison.  Mack's making good use of them while Addison's feet grow.

Night-night, sleep-tight.  I need to go find a bootee to crawl into... I'm pooped!

Smitten + Mitered + Mittens = Smiterittens

Mitermitts1 Mitermitts4

Look at that!  Through the magic of photography, I was able to make one mitten look bigger than the other.  Heh.  Yeah, right.  There may be a slight difference in length between the two, but nothing like that.

Mitermitts2 Mitermitts3

Mitered Mittens, a May project in Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac.  I used one skein of Noro Silk Garden for each mitten and had some left-over.  These are nice and long, too.  I'll have to take a picture of them on -- the cuffs go well past the wrist and venture into forearm territory.

This was supposed to be my nearly mindless, very portable travel knitting.  They went to one knit night and a Packer game -- never even left town!  I think what I need is less stimulating, nearly mindless, very portable travel knitting.  Once I started, I couldn't stop.

The picture at top left was taken of the finished pair this morning in crappy, first of October, early morning, indoor light -- if you click-for-big, you might be able to make out the after-thought thumbs (my first after-thought anything!).  The other three photos were taken outside on Friday -- that's the first mitten, sans thumb -- and are a little more true to color.

A quick, quick, quick project, and very satisfying.  I have a third skein in the same colorway and along with the left-overs of the other two and some black Cascade 220, I've started a wrist-killing variation of a narrow Noro striped ribbed scarf, inspired in no small part by Jared's.  This part of the project will likely last long enough to do some traveling.  The mittens and the scarf will make a set, and the set will be a Christmas gift for my sister-in-law!

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The games are underway at Cara's baby shower blog -- Who's Gonna Be "The Boss" Now?