Tuesday, November 28, 2006

So proud...

I finally got to sit down with my work friend today and taught her how to knit. I felt HORRIBLE though! I'd given her the book I taught myself with, some wool and needles to play with in case she felt like it over the Thanksgiving weekend and she sat down and got stuck... with the slip knot. I felt so bad. I've been making slip knots for SO long I didn't even think about it. But today we sat down at lunch and while she didn't catch on so fast to the long tail cast on (it's the only one I could pick up from reading the book) she got the cable cast on quickly (and I learned how to do it finally!) and then knit. I was so proud of her. She's unsteady with the needles (who wasn't?!?) and the stitches are not even but damn it, she's knitting!! The last half of our "class" all I was bascially doing was going "uh huh, yeah, you know what you do next, right! yup! you're doing great!" Of course there was some stitches that fell off the needles (am I the ONLY one who wants to type kneedles??) but I told her just stick 'em back on and keep going. Knitting is fun and I don't want her to stress over all the things we all did/do. She's doing great!

So, any one got any ideas on a cast on she might do better with (and I could learn too.. until lunch today, I could only do the long tail)? Any one have any hints for how to keep the damn needles in your hands? I already told her don't be afraid to use your thighs/armpits/whatever it takes to hold 'em still. Or just general teaching hints?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sick at home

I guess sometimes being home sick with the stomach bug does have its advantages. I mean besides not being sick at work. I finished some stocking stuffers today. Well, I say finished I started them today too.

I'm not sure who all will get them but all in all they were very easy. A few weeks ago at AC Moore I picked up the ornaments and the yarn. I wanted something a little shiney/sparkley and most importantly cheap. They were having a great sale on Paton's Cha-Cha. I got the ornaments and yarn for less than $5 total. I got the idea from Mary's TNK group. The hardest part (besides keeping the yarn as being used for cat floss) was untangling the Cha-Cha. At one point in time, I cut it it was tangled so badly. I do like the more colorful yarn that Robin H used in hers but yet I like the solid white ones too. Its sort of like my yearly "struggle" with white or colored Christmas lights!

If you want to try this I'd recommend having a little crochet hook (or dpn) handy for reorganizing the yarn if needed and be careful putting your finger in the top of the ornaments. There were a few I had that were chipped and rough. I don't need a cut finger on top of the stomach ick.

For 6 ornaments it took a whole skein of Cha-Cha. I used some sharpies I had on hand to write Merry Christmas 2006. I wanted to write them all in silver but with the white yarn it didn't show up so well.

Now, go, make ornaments for all of your yarn friends (and maybe a few who just appreciate something pretty)!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Weekend Update

Here's a little weekend update. I've been knitting away on dishrags. I'd share pictures but some of these are presents. However, my hands did get a little sore from working with cotton so I started on a felted purse for my boss. It seems that I forget that cotton is stiff and unyielding until I get some good ol' wool on the needles. I love wool...

We've all taken a nap or two this weekend. Thankfully, there's no one here to take pictures of me while I'm sleeping.

Working backwards, Saturday Pepper was in a snuggly mood while she napped.

Hmm, I never really noticed how much my pajamas match my blankie...

Friday morning (and I mean EARLY morning! So early I was questioning what's left of my sanity early...) I went out to Radio Shack - NOT the one at the mall, I'm not that crazy - and bought my Christmas presents.

All I need to do now is install it in the truck and set up the subscription. Those may have to wait though since sometime this weekend I ALSO bought Christmas presents for my mom, step-dad and sister. (We're not going to discuss those though...)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

turkey day

While there are too many things that I'm thankful for to list them all here, let me say I am thankful I learned how to knit. Its been very enjoyable for me.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Because I like pictures too...

Here's a dischloth I designed myself for some friends of mine for Christmas. I doubt they'll see it so I thought I'd share. It went very quickly and I'm right proud of it. :)

It's a simple square stitch cloth. I changed the colors every 10 rows and cast on maybe 36 stitches. In hindsite, I think I would've made it a little wider but all in all I like it.

I really miss daylight in the evening to take dishcloth pictures with. Flash just doesn't do justice for dishcloths. I know, there are the weekends but when I finish it on Tuesday and want to take a picture, I can't wait til Saturday.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I got to feeling bad that theres been no pictures lately. So here ya go. :)

This is one of how long my hair is (and the top of my pj bottoms). The bottom of the tape measure is right at 10 inches. and because it's a little hard to tell, my left hand is at the top of my shoulder. It'll be short... and I have an appt 12/16...

I belong to a dishcloth knit along and this was October's Mid Month cloth... I thought it was cute and it's the only one I've ever guessed correctly what it was before the pattern was sadly very obvious!

Monday, November 20, 2006

various thoughts

First and foremost, I must tell y'all this important information, tomorrow at work (specifically at lunch since it's hard to answer phones and help customers while teaching) I'm going to teach a friend how to knit. OK, so I know it'll be the first lesson but I have faith in her. She'll pick it up like she was born to knit. I have some nice leftover wool to take to her, a pair of needles (I'd like to take some circs to her but all of my 7's are currently being used and the next size up I have is like 10. I taught myself how to knit on size 11 straights but I shouldn't do that to someone else...) and I have the book I used to teach myself how to knit. Well, OK, so I needed some phone advice from Mom but for the most part I got it on my own.

I'm so exicted. She was studiously watching me knit at lunch today and kept asking me questions. I dutifully answered them all. When she said "I'd like to learn how to knit", I said "I'd be happy to teach you" and unlike other's who go "oh" or whatever not really interested reply, she got excited. I asked her if she wanted me to bring stuff in tomorrow so she could play with it over the long weekend and she said yes. So, we're knitting tomorrow! Now, I must confess, I read the Yarn Harlot regularly. I'm aware she's trying to get knitters to take over the world. I've even been praised in a personal email from her for even *thinking* about taking a traveling sock picture. I feel it's important to do my part in her global "knitterly" plan. It's one addiction I'm happy to share!

Polly had mentioned in a comment that she'd like to go to a chili cook off. I thought I'd post this publicly in case anyone else thought the same thing. I know in my area they're poorly advertised but they are enjoyable. Go to one of the links I listed below, either the one for the ICS or CASI, or heck go to the Goat Gap site- she lists both "demoninations" and find one near you. Most all of them listed should be public. If you have any trouble or further questions, please feel free to ask... I'm happy to share (hmm, maybe I should've titled this - I'll share my addictions with you... :) )

Lastly, I'd like to give a little update on my hair length. Are you wondering what I'm talking about? Well, this blog started as a way to document my hair growth so I could cut it off and donate it to locks of love. You need 10 inches. I'm there. I met my goal a month earlier than I hoped. Now all I need to do is make an appointment. I promise to share pictures of the whole thing.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The (insert ominous music) VET

We all went to the vet today. For two of us, it's really not a big deal. However, Bartholamew does NOT like the vet. Ever since the little day trip he took about 10 yrs ago and came home fixed. Now, I can't blame him but he goes from mild mannered easy going luv bug to nasty ass heathen. Luckily, we have good vets. The one we normally go to calls herself "Aunt Connie" and talks sweet to him despite what he calls her. The vet we saw today, Dr Jessup, was just as kind and treated us well. On top of all the shots, Bartholamew has had a little licking his fur off problem. We got medicine for that today too. She thinks it's an inhaled allergy. Do you think the crazy people who make medicines HAVE cats? I don't. They don't have this in liquid or cream form, just pills. So I get to give my biggest baby pills. for 3 weeks...

But on the bright side, Bartholamew weighs a whopping 13 lbs 12 oz and is, other than the allergy, healthy. Pepper shockingly weighs 10 lbs 1 oz. I had no idea my little girl weighed so much. But she is also healthy and has a good body shape. Or something along those lines. Basically, neither of them is overweight. Which makes me happy. I want my babies to be healthy.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Package week

This is apparently the week for packages for me. It's almost like a mini Christmas!

Monday, I got a box from Dad. I have to take too much stuff when I go visit so I ship some down ahead of myself and then he ships it back up. And before you say anything, have you ever camped in the desert in the end of Oct/beginning of Nov? No? I thought not. You don't know what the weather will be like. It could be (and has been...) frigid cold one day and 90 the next. It makes it difficult to pack. So I ship down the heavy coat and long johns and well... shoes. Or more appropriately, boots and sandals.

So, Monday, I got that box. No pictures. It's nothing really to brag about. Just some dirty boots and heavy cold weather items. But it did come while I was home for lunch so I didn't even have to go back to the post office to get it!

Tuesday, I got my package from my secret pal. We've already discussed that one so I'll breeze by to today's package.

It's small... but like the items it it, it packs a punch!

Those are chili powder blends. Deadly Dudley and Champion Blend from All Things Chili. It's a great site with all kinds of great spices and chili blends. Super nice guy too! I've decided to get back in to competetively cooking chili. I'm still working on my spice stash but getting these is a nice start.

I'll leave you with a few chili links...

International Chili Society
Chili Appreciation Society International
The Goat Gap Gazette
A Bowl of Red
Mild Bill's Spices
Pendery's Spices

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Thank you, Secret Pal!

I got my first package today from my secret pal! and it is WONDERFUL!!

Apparently, I wasn't opening the presents fast enough for Pepper...

Bartholamew gave his sniff of approval...

Now, here are the goods without any help from the cats...

I got two wonderful skeins of schoeller stahl Elfin. It's color #7, a orangy burnt sienna color. and it's a mohair blend. I almost just want to leave it unused so I can pet it and snuggle with it! :) However, I'm thinking it'd make a wonderful scarf and maybe wristwarmers or hat or something else... I just don't know yet what it will become.

I got 4 very beautiful wooden snowflake ornaments (at least one of those is going to work with me!)

There's a really cool DPN holder. It's got the cutest sheep on it and the zipper pull has a sheep head on one side and a sheep hiney on the other!

I got a sachet of bath confetti, a handful of tea bags and a very nice card.

You SO rock, secret pal!!!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Socktoberfest recap

I must confess, I did not get even one sock completed for Socktoberfest. I did knit on the one I've had going all summer long, but I didn't finish one. I'm not a very good Socktoberfest participant.

Mom and I went out to begin our holiday shopping today. It's called the Stocked Market where 100s of vendors come and set up a little shop inside the civic center. We had a great time but bought very few gifts...

However, I did get this cute little "bandana" for Pepper out of a $1 grab bag bin. She doesn't like it very much. Right after I took this picture she went running off to fight the almighty bandana to see if she could take it off. Trying not to laugh too hard, I did unvelcro it for her. At least she doesn't give me those "sleep with one eye open" stares that Bartholamew does if I try to dress him up.

Lastly, since it is Veterans' Day, I'd like to thank all the veterans who fought for everything I (we) have today; all those who are currently serving; and especially all of those who died in the line of service. On a personal note, I'd like to say a special thanks to both of my grandfathers, my grandmother, my blood uncle Joe, my chili uncle/dad Joe Willie, Larry, Bill, Alison, all the generations of my family who I never knew who served/died and lastly (but certainly not least), Daddy. Love y'all.

PS- Happy Birthday, Judy and Sarah!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

vacation dishcloths

Wow, ok that last post was a long one. This one will probably be long too but is mostly pictures.

I took a bunch of dishcloths down to Texas with me as gifts for my friends and family. I pretty much got all of them done that I wanted to. Although some were done on site while otherwise being lazy.

A large handful of people got various colors of Texas:

Dad and Pat not only got a Texas but a Virginia:

I made a Colorado, South Dakota and Arkansas (however, I forgot to take a picture of Arkansas)

These were made for several other friends (and yes, that is an Alien Head):

These two I made on the flights down there and back home:

I got most of the patterns here. They were all easy to follow. I started another cloth with a cowboy hat on it but it's not done yet.

And that is what I knitted on my vacation. :)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

home again home again

Well, I'm home. And quite honestly, I'm not sure when the last time I was so happy to get home was. You'll have to wait til later in the week to get the full "what I did on vacation" post. All in all, I had a wonderful time. But now it's time for the whiney travel stories and few sad things.

It all started on my way out of town last saturday. I had checked the flight and it was going to leave about an hour and a half after scheduled flight time. About 10 minutes AFTER my connecting flight. Yeah. What at way to start a trip. I am not a regular flier. I fly once a year. I called Mom (who was doing double duty as dropoff driver). She recommended heading to the airport anyways as we had planned to see what they had to say. I called Dad (who was doing double duty as pick up driver) to let him know there was a possible glitch in the system. Couldn't reach Dad, he'd already left town to drive to the "big city" 3 hrs away to get some shopping in before picking me up. At the airport, I talked to the very nice and helpful check in people who generously got me on a different flight, on a different airline, leaving around the same time as I was originally scheduled but arriving 1 hr later. That would put me in Midland around 10 pm. I called Dad again and again, didn't reach him but left a message with the updated plans. Got my suitcase searched at the check in, got me searched at the security gate (apparently leaving your keys with your silver key fob locket is a good way to ensure you get searched :) ). Said good bye to Mom who was dutifully standing by just in case they wanted to take my knitting needles or scissors (they didn't). Went to the gate, sat down and cast on for dishcloth #1 (pictures to come later, I haven't unpacked yet). Called Dad again before I turned the phone off before boarding the plane. He said we were not going to try to drive back to their town after I arrived at 10 pm, we'd get a hotel room.

At this point in time, it may be benefical to clue you into the fact that I have a motion sickness problem. Dad and I found some herbal stuff I bought and he sent me some of those accupressure wrist bands.

When we took off it was very windy and the whole trip was very rough and generally icky. I survived though. :) I landed in Atlanta and that take off was rough and bumpy. The flight smoothed out and I got some knitting in before it got bumpy again. I dozed a little on the way to Houston. By the time I got to Houston, I was a little hungry. I was out of luck though, apparently Houston "closes" by 745 pm on Saturdays. Every thing, the little restaurants to the news stands that have junk. I ate the last couple of cookies I'd gotten in Atlanta. I arrived in Midland tired and hungry. We stopped at a Whataburger (Whattaburger? I can't remember if there are to "t"s or not) where I got a big fat juicy hamburger that I ate on the way to the hotel. Where we all fell fast asleep and woke up way too early (time change and for some of us, time zone change :) ). All went well travel wise until it was time to come home. (I did finish dishcloth #1 BTW after I reached final destination, along with dishcloth #2, #3 and #4.)

Time frame is a little important in the home coming story. Dad made us bacon egg and cheese sandwiches around 8am CST. We left for the airport around 9am and got there around 1145ish. I checked in with no troubles and my even heavier suitcase didn't get searched (scanned yes, but not searched - which is probably good for the TSA agent, it stunk of woodsmoke and chili spices LOL). I told Dad and Pat I had had a most lovely time with them but now that we were at the airport, I was just ready to be home. I sat around with them for about an hour when we noticed a large crowd starting to check in so I went on up to the security gate and for the first time in about 3 years, didn't cry when I said goodbye. I came pretty damn close, but I didn't cry. I did manage to get searched again but had a nice conversation with the lady about the cookoff I'd been to while she searched me. She even brought me my shoes so I didn't have to walk around in my sock feet (not that I would've minded but it was still nice and yes, I had on plain ol' storebought socks).

I browsed about the store and got a $1.80 bottle of water (sigh...) and went to the gate. I had a lovely conversation with a lady about knitting (I'd cast on for dishcloth #6, #5 was too pattern involved to me to knit mindlessly and was in the suitcase) when I found out my plane had been delayed about 45 min. It really cut into my layover at DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth) but I made it with time to spare. Even thought I wasn't entirely hungry, I ate at McDonalds (this was 4pm CST) having learned my lesson from the whole Houston ordeal. Hopped on the plane with no problems and knit happily most of the way to Dulles in Washington, DC. As a side note, the snack we got on the plane was most yummy, it was mini pretzles with roasted red pepper sesame seed sticks and BBQ soy nuts. The package needed to be a little bigger though...

Got to Dulles tired and bored and honestly, tired of traveling. It was a short layover and an even shorter flight so I just got a small bag of wheat thins. I was really tired of airport "food" at this point in time as well and not very hungry. While waiting at the gate I finished off my bottle of water I bought in Midland and waited. This gate I was to leave out of had 3 flights within 25 min so it was very crowded and for some bizzare reason you couldn't really hear gate announcements at other gates. So I leaned up against this glass wall decoration thing. Eventually I sat leaning up against this wall. The first flight boarded and left. My flight and the other flight were delayed due to "mechanical problems". They were delayed and delayed and delayed. They told us my flight had mechanics working on it and were waiting on mechanics for the other flight. I had hope. Eventually, they told us a bird had hit the plane. My plane. But we should load about 11:30. I had called the airport transportation people who were waiting for me at home to let them know I didn't know when I'd get there and could just call a taxi when I did get there. I would've called someone else, but everyone I knew was asleep. I was very bored. And very tired. When they announced around 1140ish that my flight had been canceled. I cried. Not a lot but just that tears seeping out of your eyes crying. I got in line to get rebooked. They tried to put me on a 10pm flight the next day. I started crying again and appologized to the lady (there had already been a very nasty man yelling at them and I didn't want her to think I was going to be nasty too) and asked if there was any way I could be on the very next flight out. I got booked on an 815am flight. Since it was a "natural occurence" they weren't giving us hotel rooms or anything. We did get a voucher for a discounted room though. So I went back to a deserted gate (they all were at this point except where the the customer service counter was) and called my Mom. She wasn't at home and didn't have her cell on. So I called Dad. Woke him up and just sobbed and sobbed and managed to tell him what happened and and cried some more. I called and got a room, for a discounted rate of $75 with 2 hrs to check in or cancel. As I was trying to find my way back to the main terminal I ran into a group of people who were going to stay at the airport. I had thought of that but didn't want to stay alone. They were a comfortable group of people so I decided to stay with them. I called Dad and he didn't think it was a bad idea either since it was past midnight at this point in time and I would've had to be back at the airport by 6. I called to cancel my room and we found our gate the next flight was going leave out of and settled down. At that point in time, I thought I'd never get to sleep. It was a long, chilly night where I didn't get much sleep. And when I woke up at 430, the lem-o-lunch cookies I had since Dad, Pat and I stopped on the way to Midland, were the best cookies I'd had in a long time. However, I had nothing to wash them down with (apparently airports have something against water fountains). At 530 when the coffee shop/news stand opened I had a muffin that was so so and a coke. At 8am when they announced that the mechanics were working on my plane's PA system, I almost cried again. But we loaded up and I fell asleep. I barely woke up for take off and I woke up a few minutes before landing. Thankfully, my suitcase was on the plane with me.

When I finally got home, I called Mom and Dad and they both said all the appropriate things and told me about my sister's troubles (which I'll get to in a moment). I got a ride home and unpacked a little of the junk (I think the suitcase is just gonna go up to Mom's with me for laundry). I went to vote and get my mail and a little bit of lunch. I came home and have been in my jammies since. The cats and I had a good long nap this afternoon and I am truly dreading going to work tomorrow. I'm still off...

My sister woke up this morning to a yowling howly cry. When she got up her cat, Sweetums, was dead. The vet thinks it was probably a heart attack or aneurysm. She's had her longer than any of her other animals and she'd been there for her a lot.

Some friends of mine who we always visit with at the cookoff had to have their dog put down on the trip as well. Sadly, I don't think I have any pictures of Priscilla.

Be well my friends...