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August 2010
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October 2010

Tell me something good!

My hi-i-igh hopes for today have been somewhat thwarted, as I was called in to work... probably not for the whole day, but I don't really know for how long.  It might be for the whole day, in which case I can possibly have my day off tomorrow.  It's a highly unusual situation for which there is no precedent!  My coworker and I have always prearranged our switching around of days off; neither of us have ever had to "call in sick" in my almost seven years on the job -- EVER -- until today.  I hope she recovers soon -- and I'd wish for that even if she wasn't a BFF.  ; )

Seven years?  Yikes.  The time does fly.

Here's a crappy camera phone pic of my MacGuyver'd knitting that I took at lunch time yesterday and forgot to post (hey, it's been BUSY)!  The loose leaf rings standing in for stitch markers remind me of big hoop earrings on either side!  It's the '70s!

I heard Chaka Khan on the radio yesterday...

Help me get through the day and keep my good vibes goin' -- Tell Me Somethin' Good!  Tell me, tell me, tell me...

Ten on Tuesday: The Fridge

Ten on Tuesday10 Things in Your Refrigerator Right Now

1.  Process American Cheese.  I bought a package to make All-American Cheese Soup on Sunday, and bought another (smaller) package just because... it's my favorite in grilled cheese sandwiches.

2.  Some cheddar and mozzarella and string cheese, too (at least).  Hello, this is Wisconsin!

3.  Milk (skim).

4.  Yogurt (mostly Greek).

5.  Half & Half.  The threat of running out of Half & Half prompts an emergency run to the grocery store even more than the threat of running out of milk.  I like my coffee "just so," thanks.

6.  Butter.  The real stuff -- both salted and unsalted.

7.  Chicken soup from Friday's chicken dinner leftovers.

8.  Bacon, of course.  (Duh!)

9.  Pesto.

10.  Eggs.  I wish I could find a local source for eggs.  If things go the way I hope, maybe I'll BE my local source for eggs next summer -- well, not actually ME, but perhaps the hens in my own back yard!


There's always time for some of this...

Twelve.Days.Old.  Ali's BFF's new baby boy.  His grandma told me that I just have to get one of my own.  Heheh.

I got to swaddle him all up and then, when he started to fuss a bit, bounced him to sleep on my shoulder.  He was visiting for a reason -- I was supposed to be taking his photos -- but I didn't really want to put him down.  I wanted to cuddle and bounce the afternoon away.  I did put him down, though, and voila!

I've been working on processing photos from a recent wedding -- emphasis on PROCESS because, man oh man, you get into a project that big and it's all about The Process or you'll be eaten alive!

Stuff's movin' and shakin' over here.  I made some progress yesterday and, while there's still a ton o' shit on my plate, it feels good -- like I'm back in control.

And I started a new (portable) knitting project.  Parcheesi has been blocked, arranged, pinned together in workable pieces, and sewing up will commence as soon as I decide which yarn to use.


If I wasn't so busy, I'd tell you about my weekend.  I'd also take a look back in the 6.5 years of near-daily blog archives to see if this overwhelmed feeling is a recurring thing every September-into-October!

The real scary part is all of the things I said "No" to that I could have done (and maybe even would liked to have done).  The truly frightening part is that I can't blame my kids or my husband or anyone but myself.

Yeah.  I'm over here catching my breath and thinking about my priorities.



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I think this shall be a Wordless post.  Heh.  Well, you know, this is about as "wordless" as I can ever be.  Happy weekend.

Do or do not. There is no try.

The lips are a bit pursed, no doubt due to the emanating sound effects.  He blows me away.  It's a very, very short trip to beatboxing for this kid.

I'd thought about driving down to my sister's on Friday night, but had been feeling on the edge of getting a cold all day.  I thought a good night's sleep in my own bed would be helpful, even if I'd have to get up early to drive in order to make it by race time.

I drove in the rain nearly all the way, and it was still quite damp and misty as we started the race.  Gah!  Misty weather is one of the things I hate most about wearing glasses.  I dressed in layers, but not the BEST of layers, given the circumstances, and could only imagine that I was pneumonia-on-a-bike waiting to happen.  Would that be "riding pneumonia" rather than "walking"?  Heh.  Thankfully, albeit SLOWLY, the weather greatly improved as the day wore on.

I drove down, did the race with Annie, showered and packed up the kids, met Sharon to shop at Wisconsin Sheep & Wool, and then drove back to Annie's before, ultimately, driving back home!  You would think that I'd have been drained, especially after feeling rather lowly the day before, but adrenalin (or something!) (not drugs!) (very little caffeine!) was keeping me going.  Honestly, I was more sleepy and tired driving down in the morning than I was going home.

Anyway, before I left, I was charged with taking photos of the boys in some of their costumes.  They each have a different version of a Yoda costume, and Mack wore his new Incredible Hulk costume to Sheep & Wool (I don't think I've seen him in regular clothes in months), and the U.S. Army outfit (worn under Yoda -- Superman-style) is also new.  Yay, city-wide rummage sales!  Here he is "at ease."

Oh, the incredible cuteness.  It was a great day with a terrific send-off.

And I am, miraculously, completely pneumonia-free!  The weather has turned again, though.  Darn it.  My body has not acclimated to this sudden change from summer to autumn.  I'm happy to be pulling out, and even wearing, some of the woolens again and thinking about new projects (my new Aran Knitting: New and Expanded Edition arrived yesterday!), but oh... too cold too soon!

Sheep & Wool!

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The little puppy was only six weeks old -- still incredibly soft and so very fluffy -- and he had absolutely NO IDEA what to make of the sheep, so he tried his best just to ignore them!

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As for the sheep, they were easily distracted, anyway!

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But gorgeous, no?

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After the amazing win in Saturday "Amazing Race," Annie and I quickly showered, installed the boys' car seats in my car, strapped them in, and headed to Jefferson to meet Sharon at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival!

I'll tell ya, I jam-packed my Saturday.

This was my first-ever visit to WS&W and I was not disappointed.  It was FAR smaller than Rhinebeck (I'm a three-timer there) and, as expected, the food was not as great -- though I did have a delicious, homemade piece of zucchini cake.  Two very do-able barns full of a great many small LOCAL vendors, as well as some from afar, and even famliar faces -- Briar Rose Fibers, Susan's Fiber Shop (which I've only ever visited in NY before), Mielke's Fiber Arts, Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill, Yarns by Design (one of my LYSs), and more.

Ann bought a Blackberry Ridge vest kit, which is interesting to me because she used to work in Mount Horeb.

Sharon -- currently not knitting (in fact, she gave me all her needles, yarn and books) but knitter of some extraordinary sweaters (most of which Mom has permanently "borrowed") -- showed a great deal of interest in the weaving.  I just happen to have a small BRIO loom that used to be Katie's and I wonder if that would work as a "starter."

I bought a little bit of yarn -- I don't really need ANY, but, you know...



It was a very busy & very fun weekend!

Saturday was jam-packed, beginning with Wiener & Kraut Day festivities.  And how could you possibly have such a celebration (in Wisconsin) (do they have these types of celebrations elsewhere?) without some Klement's Racing Sausages??  Pictured above are Italian Sausage, Chorizo, Hot Dog, and Polish Sausage (not pictured, Bratwurst; perhaps he was at another event).

Before I was hanging with the DAWGS, though, I was competing with my sister Annie in The W&K Day Amazing Race!

We rode our bikes downtown to don our t-shirts, collect our "passport" and map, and formulate our plan of attack.  One of nine 2-person teams, we competed by earning points for completing a list of tasks -- stipulations being that team members must stick together and that all travel must be accomplished by bike or on foot.

Most teams hit the in-town stops first, but Annie and I decided to head out of town to the furthest location and work our way back, which meant nearly five miles out to Crave Brothers Farm (some of that route was familiar to me from last month's triathlon relay!).  We earned points just for getting there (an achievement on its own) (and, in fact, we were the first to arrive, even before the attendant who drove her car!); we also earned bonus points at that stop by finding a specific phrase written on something in the room (a piece of paper placed inside a promotional folder).

In addition to W&K Day festivities, there were a million rummage sales in town and one of our tasks was to find a buy a small red Christmas ornament at a rummage sale!  There were no ornaments on display at the sale where we stopped, but Annie asked and the guy in charge went inside to find some.  I was a little nervous at that point because we were IN A RACE and didn't have time to wait for some guy to go crawling around in the attic or someplace to find a box of ornaments -- SHEESH!  Would he even know where the Christmas ornaments are??  (My husband would be VERY hard-pressed...)  (And, boy howdy, it seems that my long-dormant competitive streak has been AWAKENED this year!)  Luckily, he quickly returned (I was nearly ready to bolt) with a box of ornaments and was, thankfully, amused by our goofiness and that we wanted only a small red one from the bunch.

From there, it was a short ride to a local tavern where they had a bean-bag toss -- we each needed to land four bags in the hole, or at least on the box.  Ooooh, those things are SLIPPERY!  And HEAVY!  One must toss them "just so"!

We realized that we never had the rummage sale guy sign our passport, so quickly rode back there to take care of paperwork.

I'm a little fuzzy on how the rest all went down, but I think our next stop was at the fire department.  We had to go upstairs to the equipment room and get dressed -- pants, jacket, boots, hat, and OMG that stuff is HEAVY!!  And HOT!  We had to go back downstairs, drag a full-size dummy for 10 feet or so (I was bobble-head top-heavy and took a header during that part) (the hot and heavy clothing was a bit like "padding") (I sort of felt like I was wearing a Sumo wrestler suit); then Ann had to roll up a 50-foot firehose and I had to unroll it (I lost my hat altogether at the end of that task).  This task might be one reason why my shins are so sore -- still today!

I was also on the cusp of bitchy at this point and pulling on all that heavy clothing when I was hot and sweaty and tired was not helping.  Then I thought about what it was like for a REAL firefighter -- I work with a guy who's a volunteer firefighter -- putting on those HOT and HEAVY insulated clothes and then going to fight a HOT FIRE and get all wet, besides!  I shut my trap and stopped complaining.  Also, they were all pretty fun at the firehouse.  And Annie really impressed them with her hose-rolling abilities.

We stopped at Jim's Cheese because it was marked on the map, but it wasn't actually a stop.  DRATTED WASTE OF TIME!

Next stop: Fireman's Park.  We ran up and down the concrete bleachers twice, then traversed some playground equipment -- a couple of guys right on our tails.  Run, run, run!  This stop probably sealed the deal with my sore shins.

From the park, we made our way to K&B Auto where we were charged with changing a tire on a trailer.  Neither Ann nor I had ever changed a tire on anything before!  We arrived at that stop at the same time as another team, and I ran ahead and muscled in so that they could only watch and wait 'til we were done.  (Hello, COMPETITIVENESS!)

I knew all along that there was a stop at the pool, but I just could not believe that we'd actually have to swim -- I was sure that there'd be some other goofy task related to water where we'd have the chance to stay relatively dry.  I was wrong.  I drove an hour-and-a-half in the rain to get there, ant it was still chilly and misty-damp at race time, I was wearing jeans with some layers on top... and, um, none of the layers was swimwear.  I don't even own swimwear!  I bought some in May but returned it (unworn) in June.  I was definitely NOT going to swim in my jeans and I'd come too far to forfeit, so, with apologies to all in attendance, I did it in my underwear and a shirt.  Damn.

Bowling was next.  We had 15 minutes and 2 lanes to get 3 strikes between us -- and we did it!  (There was a very fun crowd there, too!)

The last major stop was a tavern right across the street.  They thought they'd seen us all already and had just finished cleaning up when we arrived.  We would have had to dig through a small vat of kraut to find a little trinket-y thing.  Yeah.  I'd certainly have done it, but I'm glad I didn't have to!

Our last task was to sell raffle tickets -- one each at $20 a pop, and not to a relative or anyone we knew; bonus points if we sold more.  My sister Ann has been known to sell a leaf off of a tree -- for real -- so I was not too worried... and we sold four.

We didn't earn any points for speed (or, one may argue, style), but piled up enough altogether to finish in the money!

Fifty bucks for 3rd place... that's a whole lot of Wieners & Kraut!

It was crazy!!  While I saw a good number of cute wiener dogs after-the-fact, unfortunately I missed the WEENIES ON PARADE!

I did make it to Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival later in the day, though!  More on that later.

Final answer

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I think that might be it.  I might move one "L" piece, but I think the squares are set and they were my major concern.  I laid it all out last night, took some photos, shuffled things around, took some more photos, then made sure everything was secure before throwing it all into the washer.

I suffered a recurring brain fart while knitting the strips, breaking off the yarn at the end of about half of them, rather than casting off -- and, of course, not leaving a long enough tail to cast off.  I used yarn to hold the stitches, mostly, and needed to make sure that ALL the ends were tired and secured.  The hand wash cycle doesn't even take a half-hour, so I was pinning out pieces before long; first watching a little football, and then Project Runway  I cast on a little something to use up some yarn.

It was an entertaining evening.

God I love this crazy thing!

Calling it

We're barely into September and I'm already booked straight through to the end (seriously, a 9/30 appointment was booked just this morning).  I'm looking forward to it all -- there's a lot of Really Fun Stuff that I want to do!

For instance, I'm participating in the Wiener & Kraut Day "Amazing Race" with my sister this weekend.  My only regret is that my event occurs at the same time as the doxies' "Weenies On Parade."

The next day, I'll be attending the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival -- for the very first time -- with that same sister + another + nephews!  Can you believe that I have never been to WSW?  It honestly looks on-par with Rhinebeck, though I doubt I'll find Artichokes French... or comparable chicken pot pies (oh, the food!)... and there will be different faces (I do miss my NYSW faces).

I'll be driving to Maddy's school (3-hour RT) twice this month (so far), as well as heading south at least one more time; sprinkle in a couple of photo shoots and the processing of those + some already in the can, and...

I'm taking October off.  I may do a charity bike ride early in the month, and a possible long-weekend super-fun mind-blowing amazing trip later in the month, but otherwise I'm not doin' Nothin'.

(I recently rediscovered my "Raising Sand" CD and, boy, I sure love that song.  And a bunch more.)

I guess I like being busy, and I've always worked best under pressure, but I don't like being overwhelmed, and the waves are lapping at my toes.  I'm scattered, forgetful, and easily distracted.

51TRdKukRuL__SL160_ Can you believe -- as excited as I was -- that I never actually consummated my pre-order of Aran Knitting?  I noticed some chatter about it on Ravelry yesterday -- comparisons of estimated delivery dates and whatnot -- and went to check my order for my estimated delivery date... WHAT ORDER?  Ha!  There it was, sitting in my cart!  Yeah.  I panicked for a split-second about a sell-out and just-my-luck and the exorbitant, inflated price I'd have to pay, and then took care of that; it'll be in-hand at this time next week!  Sheesh.

In other, very exciting news, I wove in the last end of Parcheesi (Phase I) yesterday!!  Tempted as I was to throw it all in the wash (my front-ender's "hand wash" cycle is SO AMAZINGLY GENTLE that even St. Brigid's been thrown into the drink), I had book club and knew I wouldn't have time to pin it all out.  Ooooh, it was hard, and I was so tempted to stay home rather than be social.  Heh.  I had a good time -- it would have been great had my food been better (I am getting picky and particular).  Anyway, I'll be doing the wash TONIGHT!  I haven't been this excited to do laundry in a while.



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As of late this afternoon, I have finished knitting the strips!  This project seems to be slogging along -- and I suppose it is, actually, slogging along -- but ONLY because my time has been so divided, lately, not because I'm tired of it or bored.  Look at it!  "Boring" is not a word I'd use to describe...

The other day I very loosely pinned the pieces together and laid them out on a piece of muslin.  As soon as I get the ends woven in on the last three strips, I'll pin them in and then photograph it -- pretty much as above, but neater (as in tidy, not cool... though this project is definitely COOL!).  I want to make sure the lights and darks are balanced, or at least pleasing -- I'm not worried about the strips quite as much as the six squares.  My method was developed as I knit the squares, so there are some inconsistencies; by the time I started the strips, it was rock-solid.  I may photograph a few different arrangements.

What I'm wondering right now is whether I should wash and block all before sewing up.  I'm kinda thinking I should.  What do you think?