••• Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sordid Sundays 

Okay. Maybe not so sordid. Or not at all. Even.

On Friday, I walked into the post-hack debris of a co-worker, who had COWOCOed ::Cough-WithOut-Covering:: just a few steps in front of me.

Within seconds of the airborne interlude, I knew I had conceived.

And now I got it bad.

So if this post feels a little hacked and stuffy, there's good cause.

Will's Step Bro
Feeling under the weather has at least provided me with some knitting time.

I'm up to the armhole shaping on the back, and am quite enjoying the ride. I love knitting cables, especially since I learned how to do them without a cable needle. I still haven't decided what I'm going to do with the collar. I'm thinking I might want to keep the contrast colors at the bottom of the sweater and cuffs, and will just do a simple rib in the main color for the collar.

Or maybe I should wait until I'm off of the Dayquil-Ritalin-Coffee cocktails before I make any rash decisions.


I haven't been able to post my mileage progress at Run-a-Go-Go because I accidently deleted my password and have been too busy/tired/lazy/ovulatory/premenstrual/postmenstrual/lazy to figure out how to get a new one.

I now impose said progress upon you, my faithfully quiet readers.

Lots of people at Run-A-Go-Go have been sharing pictures from their run/walk routes. Because I've mostly been A-Go-Going on my elliptical machine in my bedroom, the only pictures I'd have to offer from that perspective would be the T.V. or our master Room-A-Go-Go.

Last weekend at the cottage, I commandeered The Cakers' pocket-size camera and with it, went all A-Ga-Ga on the Go-Go.

This here is a snow drift, Northern Michigan style:

Some rusted cans, blowing in the wind:

I'm not sure of the purpose of the rusted cans blowing in the wind, although if it's a tool devised to keep away the walking paparazzi, um, I think they're going to need a bigger can, 'cause I walked right up on the thing, without the remotest sense of disquiet.

For those of you who don't get out much, these are windows. For those of you who don't count much, there are two of them.

Red door on a cottage. Just one.

And here we have Uggs on Dayquil:

These boots were made for walkin'.
And that's just what they gofer.
On this day these boots are gonna
Walk all over to the sofa.

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••• Friday, February 23, 2007

Skeye Candy 

I know that particular play on Eye Candy been used numerous times, but now that La's punned me to shame, I seem to have lost my taste for it...

Come to think of it, I've used that sky and hut and frozen lake before too.


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••• Thursday, February 22, 2007

William's Step Bro 

Or I am the Anti-Knit.

Or Worst Blog Post Ever.

Anytime we plan a special getaway to the cottage, I try to infuse a sense of renewal to my knitting pile, by starting a special getaway knitting project.

The Baby Williamsbro was to be that project for last weekend.. ::Okay, its real name is Williamsro but I like Williamsbro better.::

The pattern in question calls for two different Noro yarns, Iroho and Blossom, both of which are worked on size 8 needles. I decided not to use the Noro yarns in a sweater for my five-year old, for obvious reasons.


Instead of the Noro yarns, I'm using Encore. I like the Encore because it's soft, washable, comes in a variety of variegations, plays well with size 8 needles and the yarn store near the cottage has the largest selection of Encore that I've seen.

So, Saturday morning I took my pattern book to the yarn store, so that the nice yarn lady there can help me with the Noro-to-Plymouth conversion, ::I hear you all choking on sacrilege outrage.:: and left the store with what I thought was a lovely combo.

::I realize this tale is about as interesting as watching teats crack on a dairy cow. I promise, it won’t be getting any better.::

When I got back to the cottage, I cast on for the back. Because I wasn't using the proper yarns, I didn't follow the directions using the proper yarn names. I went by the picture. In the picture, the variegated yarn is on the bottom, so that's what started with.

Over the course of the afternoon, I completed about 5 inches of cabling, in the colorful yarn. When I checked the directions to see how much longer I had until the color switch, I was a bit alarmed to read that I was to continue the pattern to the armhole.

Before I go any further, I need to confess that unless I'm knitting something like a footbridge for pregnant women and children of The Rainforest, or a neo-natal ventilator, or an algebraic DNA modifier or any item in which faulty construction could have dire, if not lethal consequences, I NEVER read through a pattern first. K?

Sensing an impending, life-threatening danger, which included my own personal safety and that of a nearby, unopened bottle of wine,I read the pattern through. It was only then that I learned that the colorful, bottom part of the sweater is supposed to be a done in a thick, chunky yarn ::on size 8 needles?:: and is added after the rest of the body is done, by picking up 190 stitches around the bottom.

Problem,we have a Houston.

So I ripped.

And then I got to fiddling, with two things on my mind:
1) I do not want to pick up 190 stitches at the end of the sweater, because it is a skill at which I suck mightily.
2) Because I’m not using the proper yarn-weight, the final, resulting fabric may not be exactly what the designer envisioned.
3) I can’t count for shit and I really do not want to pick up 190 stitches in order to finish the sweater.

Long story longer, I spent most of Saturday and Sunday trying to make the worsted, variegated and mostly acrylic Encore, look the part of the Noro Blossom while precluding the need to pick up 190,000,467 stitches at the end.

The results were less than ideal, and more like 7 miles of ripely pimpled ass.

And then I had a great idea. Why not recreate my original mistake and just knit the damn thing all in cable? I mean, back in much happier times, when I was knitting it wrong without knowing it was wrong, it looked all right to me.

Is that so wrong?

And it's not like The Cakers is going to be pointing out the mistake every time someone gives her compliment on the sweater ::No, ‘cause that'll be me.:: Nor will she carry the pattern book to school in her backpack, so she can show her friends how it's really supposed to look :: because I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that little piece of evidence pattern book mysteriously disappeared for a few years.::.

So that's what I did.
And it went something like this:

I did modify the pattern a bit this time, by 86’ing the 8 stitch cables. On my first rightly wrong run, the big cables turned out kind of floppy. On the variegated yarn, they looked like the wings of a Peter Maxi-pad.

But now I’m thinking it’s going to be all right.

Don’t you just love it when a good plan sours to the point where all you can do is puke and hurl and retch and heave until there is nothing left but the will to die, but then it’s finally over, and you feel so good about feeling better, that despite the horrible taste in your mouth and your sore abdominal muscles, you feel nothing but relief at being alive to enjoy yet another day of knitting stupid?

Me too.

P.S. I’ve been putting off publishing this post until I could show a picture of what I have so far, with both yarn colors, but an inch into the new color, I had to rip her back. And it’s almost Friday. And Mercury’s in wet degrade. And I need to move on.


••• Sunday, February 18, 2007

What's the Pig Idea? 

::This post is photo intensive, so please spare rib bear with.::

February 18, I guess that would be today, marks the first day of the Chinese New Year. The Year of the Pig.

On Friday, February 16, about two minutes after posting Friday's post and about three minutes before getting into the car to come north, the UPS man delivered me a package.

A package of pigs.
And stuff.
For Valentines Day and just because.
All the way from Idaho.
Gifts from my Not at All Imaginary Friend*, Kim.

Here's the primary pig who I have named Snorts, in honor of what The Cakers calls pigs snouts.

I'm really trying to spend a lot of time with Snorts right now, because I have a feeling that he will soon be stolen away from me by a younger woman. A blonde.

Here are the three other pigs from the package. From left to right, may I introduce
Drop-a-Load Pig, Illuminating Pig and a Pig Bar of Soap.

Oh, and here's one I call Natural Lighting Snow Pig. As soon as I had gotten the pigs lined up just right on the window sill, to bask in the natural light, the shadow of the Natural Lighting Snow Pig, stole it all away.

This is a demonstration of the unique skills of Illuminating Pig. When you push his button, his snorts light up and he makes a pig noise.

Here's a near-demonstration of Drops-a-Load Pig. You only need to load him up with brown-toned jelly beans, push his back...and there he goes! ::You really need to click it big for full impact.::

Well, he almost goes. Evidently, if the poo bean is lodged lodged sideways at the, er, hole, it can cause a bit of a strain. Notice how the Soap has managed put some distance between himself and the demo? And Illuminating Pig just fell over in a dead faint. They are both thinking "We rode in a box, all the way from Idaho, with THAT?" Even Natural Lighting Snow Pig, who had just witnessed her beloved labrador eating his own doo in the snow, was mesmerized.

And that wasn't all, folks. I also received these lovely items:

Some Shea Butter soap, Knitting Girl mints, Candy hearts, an Angel Food Cake scented air freshener, ::pigs need lots of good smells around them.:: and a tiny package of Earl Gray tea. And best of all, a skein of alpaca yarn from Toots LaBlanc, and Company.

Thanks Darlin'.
Somehow I get the feeling that the Year of the Pig is behooved to be a good one!

*Cakers asked who sent me the package. I said it was from a good friend. She then started naming my friends who she knows. When she exhausted the list, she started on categories, e.g. A school friend? A work friend?

No. No. I said. As I was thinking of a way to describe internet/knitting friends, she said "I know! It's from your Imaginary Friend!"

I guess she wasn't too far off. Some friends are almost too good to be true!

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••• Friday, February 16, 2007

Eye Girl Friday 

Aww and Paw...

Ever since The Cakers was a baby, her father has been counting down the years until she turned five and he could take her to the annual, community Daddy-Daughter Valentines Dance.

I was the chauffer for the event. On the short drive home from the drop-off, I found myself fighting a case of the baby blues. It just didn't seem that long ago when my adorable husband started counting coup on the years until he could take his rightful place at the dance.

Then I started thinking about my son, away at his second year at college and how it wasn't that long ago he was in high school, with girls who not that long before that, had gotten all gussied up in their velvet and tights and maryjanes, for a real live date with the very first man of their dreams. Daddy.

And it doesn't help that my baby girl is already "tall" for her age, which definitely enhances the feel of her growing away from me.

A cute little side story: My husband and Cakers went out to dinner at a nice restaurant that was offering a special daddy-daughter deal for dinner. About half-way through their meal, the place was filling up with "dates" and Cakers suddenly got up from the table. My husband thought she went to talk to someone she knew. She quickly returned to the table with a plateful of croutons, which she had helped herself to at the salad bar.

Dates do that.

P.S. We're suppose to be headed to the cottage for our four-day mid-winter break weekend. My husband got held up at the bank ::not like that:: so I thought I'd use the time to bang out a post. But he's now here so I gotta hit the road, without proofing. Sorry.

P.P.S. I don't know how this ended up back in the draft pile so I'm republicking.

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••• Thursday, February 15, 2007

Too Tired for Pudding 

I know. It doesn't seem possible that any human could be too tired to consume a container of Jello Brand Oreo pudding. With whipped cream, no less. But I was. Last night.

Before bed, I had a hankerin' for something sweet, so I went grousing in the fridge. And way in the back there it was, the lone pudding. A sweet, squat soldier, awaiting my next command.

It's not that I was too tired to reach back for it. I was too tired to deal with the rest of the business required for consuming a container of pudding. You know, the pulling the top back on the container, the getting the spoon, the whipping out of the can of whipped cream, the removing the lid, the spraying the whipped cream, the putting the lid back on and the putting the can back into the fridge. And then I'd have to eat it.

But I didn't.
I was too tired.
Too tired for pudding.


••• Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Get Your Heart On 

To my husband, who is not Jay Leno:

You weren't my first Valentine...

...'Cuz I was saving the best for last.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.
For anything.

I love you, Manpie.


••• Sunday, February 11, 2007

100 Months of Sundays 

That's the first word, er, sound that comes to mind whenever I set about to write a blog post lately.

Eh is sound number two.

And funny how I have the sudden urge to write a post, when I have absolutely no time to do so.

Why don't I have any time, you ask?

I've got 100 reasons why. And not a one of them is that I plucked out both my eyeballs with an oyster fork. Yet.

1) Tomorrow is 100th Day at Cakers' school. It's a near frenzied-pitch-holiday-like celebration of the 100th day of school.

2) In honor of the holiday, Cakers must bring in a piece of poster board to which is adhered 100 same-item somethings, e.g. 100 cotton balls or 100 stickers or buttons, etc.

3) In the parent manual titled How to Get Your Child and Family Safely Through The 100th Day Celebration and Beyond, we were instructed to keep it simple by using items we already have around the home. You know, those every day items you keep in 100-count packages or piles.

4) Aside from feminine hygiene products, cans of creamed corn and whatever the hell I harvested from behind the bathroom door last week, we don't carry much around here in 100-count bundles.

5) But then I found the bin of pictures. Lots and lots of pictures of all the people and creatures in The Cakers' life. I cut them into face-size squares for her to count and put into bundles of 10, for later adhesion.

6) In the meantime, Cabana boy went to the store to fetch posterboard and two-sided adhesive tape.

7) In the meaner time, Cakers and I finished up the homemade Valentines for her class party.

8) The party is Wednesday.

9) The Valentines are due tomorrow.

10)After I cut and pasted Cakers' artwork onto the cards, she signed the cards and addressed the envelopes. Keeping her on task was not as easy as I make it sound. Picture that ol' Family Circus standby, where the kid takes a five-mile detour through the neighborhood, after being sent on a 50-step trip to the garage.

11) In the meanest time, Cabana Boy returned with the 100th Day project booty.

12) In addition to the 100 Things poster and Valentines, tomorrow we must also supply 100 small pieces of food thingies to put into the 100th Day stew.

13) Cabana Boy got right on that 100-same-food-things thingie, while I grabbed some miles on the Ellipticator.

14) Cabana Boy also supervised the adhering of the 100 things to the poster board, while I Ellipticated.

15) Tomorrow evening is the annual Father/Daughter Valentines dance.

16) After I worked out and showered, we were off to take Cakers for a scheduled manicure. ::My sister is a hair stylist and made the offer.::

17) The hair salon is right in front of Costco, so Cabana and I headed over there,while Cakers gets stylized.

18) Just inside the entrance of Costco were some tables of clothing in which I showed some initial interest.

19) A minute after leaving the above mentioned table, I noticed something out of the corner of eye. It was a pink baby outfit on a hanger, dangling from the outer pocket of my purse. I yelled out to Cabana, who looked, shrugged and kept walking. As I turned to bring the outfit back from hence I presumed it came, a woman approached me to say that she had been watching and thought it was pretty weird that I had a baby outfit hanging from my purse.

20) Hahaha I said. Crazy-ass bitch, I think.

21) I ran into the same woman further into the store. "Have you been able to keep things from jumping onto your purse?" she asked. Tee Hee.

22) Teeheehee, crazy ass bitch.

23) Cabana shrugged and walked away.

24) After the manicure, we were off to find some dance shoes and tights for Cakers.

25) Then people had to eat.

26) Bob Evans. Cakers' favorite.

27) Bob Evans. Momma's Barfinfuckinola.

28) I finished the front of Polar. The turtle boat neck thingie didn't work out, so I did some calculating on the orginal collar, so it won't droop so much, in the event I ever finish it.

29) When I fetched that piece from the couch to photograph, I came upon a bad scene: Cat barf all over the back piece of the sweater, and on a skein of yarn.

30) I've tried to deny it all day, but you pretty much gotta know that the sweater is doomed.

31) Survival status of the cat: Pending.

32) After returning from errands and getting Cabana's new girlfriend to bed, I spent some time looking at hat patterns, again.

33) I'm very pretty sure the sweater is doomed.

34) Anybody seen the cat?

100) I was absent the day we counted to 100 in grade school.

P.S. I think the poster turned out really cool.

P.P.S. I think that Ted Haggard should jump on the "I'm the father of Danny Lynn" bandwagon. It could give him some straight cred.


••• Friday, February 09, 2007


Yesterday morning I was walking down the hallway towards the stairs, trying to be quiet so as not to wake the Cakers, when I heard her call from her bedroom.





My five year old said Hey.

Otherwise, I Got Nothing
Except for this picture in a coloring book we were using last night.

Is it just me, or is this female astronaut asking for a diaper change?
Or something.

Otherwise, I really got nothing.


••• Monday, February 05, 2007

Last Impressions 

Today I'm home from work on a Snow Day. To be weatherly precise, we're calling it a Wind Chill Day. Currently it's 4 degrees below zero, with a windchill of 20 below; temperatures at which the unprotected faces and minds of children can crystallize and shatter into derma dust, in a matter of minutes.

What better time, then, to reminisce about friendlier, warmer climes?

This here is a picture of us returning from our last boat ride of the summer of 2006.

And let me tell you, it was a fabulous ride. The air was the perfect temperature. The water was like glass. The sunset, fabulous.

And maybe the best thing about this last boat ride of summer, was that I didn't know it was the last ride. I did know that the boat was coming out of the water the next day, to be put into storage. I also knew that there would be a chance for the For Reals last boat ride before that happened.

But I declined on that second last ride. It didn't sound like fun. There would be too much expectation for perfection. I would have been under self-imposed pressure to enjoy the ride to the fullest, but what if I couldn't? What if it was too bumpy or windy or a seagull crapped on my shoulder? It would ruin everything.

And then there would be the sorrow. Who wants to be sad on a boat ride?

Not me.

Nope. I'd already had my perfect last ride, with my perfect cuddle nesting on my lap. :Likely the last cuddle ride ever. She was almost too big then and I remember thinking about it at the time, but had to push the thought away.::

I've thought about this subject quite a bit since that picture was taken. I've wondered, do we really want to know when we're doing Something Wonderful for the last time? A Something we will never be able to reclaim or recreate? Am I a coward for wanting to avoid the tarnish of bittersweet, on a good thing?

In the summer of 1969, I had my very last boat ride with my daddy. Of course, I didn't know it at the time. It took place during my very last vacation with him.

As camping-in-a-tent-for-two-weeks-in-Northern-Michigan vacations go, that last time was perfection. Because we knew better, we always brought our winter coats camping, in July, and that year we never had cause to bring them out of the suitcase. In fact, that vacation was the only time in our family's history, that we had a vacation without rain. Ever.

And daddy had his best fishing year. Ever.

Also on that vacation, I wore bell bottom pants for the first time, to the skating rink. They were blue and white polka dot, in a cotton blend. My mom had made them for me, with a matching cropped jacket with a huge white zipper and ring pull. I thought I was the cat's ass.

What we didn't know at the time we were having the best camping-in-a-tent-for-two-weeks-in-Northern-Michgian ever, was that my father was dying of lung cancer.

Through the rest of that summer, it was mostly business as usual, except for my dad's increasing complaints of lower back pain. He was never much of a "hands on" kind of dad, but that summer, for the first and last time ever, he took my sister and me to the city pool a few evenings, for family swim. He said up front he was doing it to relieve back pain, but we didn't care.

I'll never forget his alarm and resulting chastisement, upon seeing that I plugged my nose when I went under water. ::I was 11 years-old and he didn't know this about me.::, so during the evening swims, he taught me first to hold my breath proper and then how to dive. And even though he wasn't doing all this for us, my sister and I lapped it up.

By the time school started in the fall, daddy had been rushed to the hospital by ambulance twice. Both times he had passed out from the pain in his back.

During one hospital stay, a doctor told him that even though the back pain was likely in his head, it might be good idea to lay off the 3-pack a day habit. Just a few weeks later, he was diagnosed with lung cancer, which had now spread to his back, and liver.

And on February 5, 1970, just a handful of months from our last boat ride together, my daddy died.

And just like the last boat ride of last summer, the memories of perfect weather and perfect fishing and the perfect feeling of a cat's-ass-in-bell-bottoms and the most perfect last boat ride of my family's life as we knew it, have all remained untarnished.

And 37 years later, I wouldn't have it any other way.

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••• Sunday, February 04, 2007

Sunday Sundries 

Hat's a Wrap

You may recall my plan to cleanse my knitting psyche while reducing yarn stash, by knitting hats for charity through the end of January. Those are the last two of my cache total of six hats.

I just love The Player. Not only does it produce an upbeat product, the larger stripe blocks create the cognitive illusion of quick knitting. Okay, it is a quick knit anyway, but it feels even quicker with the stripes.

Pattern: Bonne Marie's The Player
Yarn: Encore worsted, two strands held together.

I used a size 10 needle instead of a 10.5 because, well, it was the needle sitting closest to me. On the multi-color stripe number I added stitches and length to fit a larger noggin.

The hats are going to a local homeless shelter. We're currently under a winter storm warning and windchills over the next two days are dipping below the zip.

How Now, Knit Cow?
I had hoped the knitting of the hats would open my dried pea brain to the richly reconstituting forces of the knitting universe, whereby the path to my elusive happy knitting grounds would be illuminated.

Evidently the universal muses in question have checked themselves into a co-dependency rehab program and I've been told to figure it out on my own. So I resigned myself to the pain of my reality: I'm in a boner fried knitting funk.

Before starting anything new, I have resolved to finish my Polar. As of last night, I am up to the arm pits on the front piece. I was planning on adapting the collar to be more of a turtle and less of a cowl.

At this time, however, I continue to possess a strong urge for math-free complication-free knitting, so have decided to go with a collar like this:

I guess you can't see it well, but it's like a boat-neck turtle. I'm sure there's a real name for it, but apparently I'm also in complication-free blogging mode and not inclined to look it up. The collar is knit as part of the sweater front and back, and sewn together at the sides.

Polar is an easy knit sweater and goes fast, but I'm bored out of my ever-lovin' with it and am currently looking forward for some signs-of-spring knitting.

Arianne is my first choice in that department, but I've yet to find some yarn for the project. You may recall that one of my intendments for 2007 is to knit at least one garment in the yarn suggested by the pattern designer, Arianne was also my selection for that honor.

Last weekend there was a huge sale at a local yarn store ::60% off all yarn for part of the day:: but during a pre-sale recon flight, I found they didn't have enough of my desired brands and/or colors.

With a focus on reducing my stash this year, I'm wasn't going to settle for sale-available-only yarn, so I skipped the sale altogether. Besides, this particular yarn store drives me crazy with how they organize, and it's small and I wasn't inclined to be fighting the crowds for yarn I neither want or need, because it's on sale.

I was disappointed that I wasn't going to have some New-Project yarn to motivate me through Polar, but I'll survive. I was able I to fondle some of Bonne Marie's recommended yarns for Arianne. After feeling some up and feeling some down and plucking a couple from my velcro cuffs, the hands-down winner was Berroco Cotton Twist in Sea Glass. But they only had two skeins of it at the yarn store, so I'm looking elsewhere.

All that being said, I think my first post-Polar project is going to be the baby Williamsbro for Cakers, from Cornelia Tuttle.

This sweater will not be made up in the required Noro yarn, but the lovely and washable and practically Cakers-proof Encore, instead.

Or maybe I'll just take all my knitting and stuff it in a bag and lock it in a closet and take up lounge singing.

Got Runs?

I'm walking some ass, my peeps.

Fur Goodness Sakes

Now I gotta see a weatherman about a snow day.

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••• Friday, February 02, 2007

Eyce Candy Friday 

It's dipping to the single digits tonight in our little Mitten/Scottie Dog state. Some people might think I'm a loaf shy of a full sandwich on account of what I'm about to say, but I kind of like the occasional blizzard condition. Enforced cozy, ya know?

On other weather fronts, work has been kicking my ass for weeks and I'm feeling like seven miles of bad road.

And from somewhere, not far from here, a tall, ripe bottle of red calls my name.

Icey you later.