Aug 31, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Ways to Lighten Your Mood

Today the topic is 10 Ways to Lighten Your Mood. Who couldn't use a few ideas about that?

1. Eat something delicious.

2. Spend time near running water. This always makes me feel good.


3. Take a walk.

4. Curl up with a good book.

5. Spend time with people you love - friends or family are the best.


6. Watch a good movie.

7. Get a mani-pedi. So relaxing!

9. Enjoy some nature.


10. Enjoy an adult beverage.

Aug 30, 2010

A Week With The J-Man AKA My Staycation

I'm back in my office today and predicatably I'll have quite a bit of catching up to do. I usually check in on things during my vacations but this time I really unplugged. I didn't pay much attention to the news or the mail or the blogs. So although I stayed home, mentally I was pretty much checked out.

So while I'm catching up I've got a quick post on what I learned over the past week. Really, it can be summed up in 3 words - boys are different. My nephew was visiting last week. I mentioned this before the vacation and referred to him as the J-Man. It turns out that he liked the name so it stays.

For the J-Man everything is better with Starbucks - especially site-seeing. He get's that from his mom.


Boys have lots of energy. They tend to bounce off of and over things. Even walking down a sidewalk gets very interesting and the brief stairs at a bowling alley become very amusing.


J-Man was easily converted to a Nats fan. Sitting 7th row behind the Nats dugout and scoring 2 Nats shirts (1 was a giveaway and one was caught by Bruce) at the game helped a lot!

On a related note, Stinkerbelle tried out for a select, travel, softball team over my vacation - and she made it! We are so proud and excited.


The Newseum is a great place to get lost. Even though the kids were both lukewarm on going, they got really into it when we got there and we spent way longer than expected. Re-doing their news report 3 times contributed to the fun.


These two cousins are very silly and get along great. There were rough moments but most of the week was spent like this...


Laughing a lot and thinking of ways to make me crazy.

It was a great week but it's really nice to have both of my girls home again. I selfishly plan to keep them there for a while. Getting back to school and our regular, crazy, schedule sounds really good right now.

Aug 20, 2010

ECF - Freer Flowers Edition

I was over by the Mall this week and these yellow flowers in front of the Freer Gallery of Art caught my eye. They're so happy and sunny. Looking at the picture later I noticed that the arch-shaped sculrture had replaced one of the three arches in the entry to the museum. Very cool.


As I mentioned earlier this week, I'll be hosting my nephew next week so I'm not sure if there'll be any posting. I'll see how it goes. If not, have a great week!

Aug 19, 2010

The Garden Report - August 18

Well, I've given up on the broccoli. It did produce more florets after I cut it back but nothing terribly promising or enticing. The brussels sprouts are a similar disappointment. There are sprouts on the stalks but they're still rather puny. I'm not sure they'll ever amount to much.

I'm the only one who really tends the garden at all an since I was busy running around much of the summer it got pretty weedy. The green beans got lost in the overgrowth and by the time I saw them they were past theiir prime. Ditto for the green peppers. The animals got to some of it too.

Speaking of animals, that damn squirrel also got to my garden. Those last lovely strawberries that were ripening at the time of the last garden report - he swiped them! He also swiped a bunch of lovely little tomatoes from one of the 2 plants.


Thankfully that theiving pest didn't want the tomatoes on the other plant. Not sure why. Too big for him? Not his favorite variety? Whatever, I harvested these just the other day. I haven't tried any yet so I can't say how they taste but the miserable scoundrel didn't get them and i call that a win.

The big win for this year in the garden turned out to be zucchini. We had 3 zucchini plants in the garden this year - 2 that I started from seed planted new and one really tenacious return from last summer. Care to guess which one produced the most this year? Go figure!

Anyway, we've given away a few zucchini's but we're still up to our eyeballs in then so we're finding creative things to do with it. That may be worth a post all by itself.

Aug 18, 2010


Look, see the pretty flowers!


I hope that is enough to distract you from noticing that I've got nothing today. No pictures of finished objects, no progress reports, nothing at all. I'm trying but the last 2 inches on the current sock are slooooow and the second sleeve of Que Sera hasn't knit itself. I do have a finished potholder but it really needed blocking to be in any way presentable.

I think I'll just take a wee cat nap and hope that tomorrow is more blogable.

Aug 17, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - Improvised Edition

There is no official Ten on Tuesday topic this week so I thought that after whining about being sick yesterday, I'd list 10 things that are making me happy right now starting with this picture. It's another one that I took when we were in the mountains. Rushing water and pretty flowers are perfect together.


1. I've got an awsome commuting buddy this week - Stinkette is at camp here in the city so we're commuting together. So much fun!

2. My latest potholder for the Dazzling Dozen Swap is nearly complete and I like it so much I'm tempted to keep it for myself. I won't though.

3. I'm really enjoying the book I'm reading right now. I haven't been following my reading list much but I am reading mostly good stuff.

4. On a related note, the list is out for the 2010 National Book Festival. This has something to do with me straying from my preset summer reading list because I really want to read some books by some authors I hope to see.

5. One person I don't need to prepare to see is Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. I love her blog and I just need to make sure that I get to her tent early enough to grab a seat. That's going to get crowded.

6. We ate Stinkerbelle's famous roasted potatoes last night with dinner ... using potatoes that we grew ourselves! Yum!

7. I'm nearly finished with another pair of socks. Than means that I can start planning the next pair. Yay!

8. DQ is going to be away next week. That actually makes me a little sad BUT... we're getting my nephew in exchange. DQ will get to rest on the hammock with her cell phone and a book while visiting with her aunt and we'll get to show J-man a great time.

9. J-man has never seen any of DC at all! That means that Stinkette and I get to play tourist while showing him EVERYTHING! I can't wait.

10. Next week I'm taking vacation! It really doesn't get any better than that.

Aug 16, 2010

Hitting the Wall

It would appear that I hit a wall last week and the wall won. I'm talking about a figurative wall of course but it left it's mark on me just the same. Whatever it was that I hit left me voiceless and exhausted so, with the exception of a few essential errands (groceries, mani/pedi & yarn) I stayed home and relaxed all weekend.


I didn't mind that it was overcast on Saturday or that it was wet and dreary on Sunday because I was on the couch watching HGTV, reading books, knitting, and crocheting while drinking hot tea. It would've been better to relax and recouperate by the pool but then I would've been voiceless and sunburnt and that's no good at all.

Happily, today I'm well-rested and my voice is showing signs of returning soon. It's not there yet so I'm still drinking lots of tea.

Aug 13, 2010

ECF - View From the Pool Edition

Here's one more shot of the mountains from last week. This is what we saw when sitting by the pool.


It really doesn't get any better than sitting by the pool on a warm, sunny day enjoying a gorgeous view like this.

Aug 12, 2010

A Little Something For Keeping Warm

I went to see Green Day last night and all I can say is wow. Or I would say wow if I had any voice at all. Thank goodness this isn't a podcast. Anyway, the band played for over 2.5 hours and the whole audience, including us, were on their feet, hands waving and singing along for all of it. It was so worth the money and the exhaustion the day after.

On to the knits. Last week I delivered not one, but 2 knits to my M-I-L. The first was the hat that I shared yesterday and the second was a little shawlette. As soon as I saw Summer Flies by Donna Griffin I thought of my M-I-L who is always cold these days. She's the only one I know who's wearing sweatshirts in this heat.


I loved the simplicity and laciness of this pattern. It was interesting without being fussy. When my M-I-L was visiting in June she was looking at and admiring some of the lace that I'd made in the past. I knew she wouldn't want something big but a little something to put over her shoulders would work.


As I mentioned before I couldn't go with straight wool. She'd never believe that it would be ok for Florida. After looking at many yarns I wound up with Panda Silk which does have wool in it but it's mostly bamboo and silk. I just fell for the color and the softness and I knew that the wool would be better for holding it's shape after blocking.


I'm not sure if you can tell from this picture but the yarn has a shine to it. The silk or bamboo take the color a little differently than the wool and that gives the yarn a slightly sun-kissed appearance.


I loved this project. I only saw the pattern and got the yarn a little over a week before I left on my trip which put me in quite a time crunch. I needed to knit it and block it before I left. Happily the pattern was fun and easy to follow and it went really fast. I finished the knitting in 48 hours. The less said the better about how I did it.

So, did my M-I-L like it? Yes, she says it's perfect.

Aug 11, 2010

A More Stylish Option

The preparations for my trip last week included more than just the usual packing. There was knitting and blocking involved too. It was good because I needed the distraction from missing my girls.

The first project was one that they inspired - or more accurately, demanded. As you know, my M-I-L has been battling cancer for quite a while. At this point she's given up on ever getting her hair back. When she goes out she wears a wig but it's uncomfortable so she takes it off when we're in the house. She doesn't look bad with her bare head but she's constantly cold so she was wearing these terry-cloth turban things and they're not the most stylish things around.

Predictably my daughters looked at me and asked if I could come up with a better solution. How could I say no?


It was pretty challenging because she's not really one for a beret and I didn't want to make a boring hat. I really wanted to make something she'd like. I was so happy when I found Piper by Christa Giles. It was similar in style to the hated turbans but a little cooler.

Don't be fooled by the picture below, this hat fits the recipient perfectly. I didn't think my M-I-L would want to model for the blog so DQ did the honors but she's got more hair and was wearing a pony tail in this picture which threw things off a bit. On my M-I-L it fits perfectly.


Not only was it challenging to find the right pattern - the yarn was an issue too. My M-I-L lives in souther Florida and wool doesn't do it for her. I needed an easy care yarn that was soft and had a nice, rich, color. I wound up using Elann Bamboo Fusion and found it a little frustrating to work with but the end result was great.

It's a loosely plied yarn which makes it very splitty and not what you'd want for a project that requires you to pick up lot's of stitches (to create the piping). On the positive side, the color is great and it didn't bleed much at all when I soaked it. Truly, it's the end result than matters and this one looks lush and velvety and feels just as good.


I really hope that my M-I-L has lot's of opportunities to wear it.

Aug 10, 2010

Tuesday Minus Ten

IMG_3211Not only am I posting late today, I'm also missing the bacon. Ooops!

It's not that I don't like bacon. It's just that this nice Jewish girl doesn't have much experience with it beyond appetizers. Potato skins and cheese fries are definitely better with bacon but that's about where it ends for me.

Happily I have something else to share that I think is pretty cool and relevant. It goes back to last week's list where I said that I was hoping to bring the names and adresses of yarn stores with me on vacation. Well, my pre-trip research identified at least 3 yarns stores in the general area of where I was but it turns out that the place we were staying was way up on top of a mountain and only accessible by a winding, nearly vertical road - not conducive to quick trips out to the store. If you go down to town once a day it's plenty.


Even so, I came across something in my research that I just couldn't pass up. I read online that Laura's Yarn Tastic had some trouble earlier this year and came up with a great solution. The store moved into a section of a local independent book seller - Black Bear Books. I really don't recall the details but I think it's very cool and creative and I had to pay it a visit.


Sure enough, tucked away among the books was an alcove full of yarn, knitting books, buttons and tools. It wasn't huge but it was there. These days, it must be really challenging to be a shop owner and I really admire the way they managed to work it out. Besides, what could be a more natural pairing than yarn and books. Perfect!

Aug 9, 2010

Mountain Weekend

I'm home again after a brief vacation in the Mountains of North Carolina. My inlaws took a house there for August to escape the Florida heat. I'm thankful for that because it's a gorgeous area and I was lucky to experience it.


It's pretty much all beautiful up there. This picture was taken in the pool area. There is a landscaped hill with a waterfall there. I took a boatload of pictures.


That wasn't the thing that had a smile on my face for the past few days though. The best sight I saw over the weekend was this...


and this...


It was so good to see my girls again.

These last two pictures were taken at Linville Caverns. It was pretty cool there both literally and figuratively. Now I'm trying to get caught up on everything that happened while I was away.

Aug 6, 2010

ECF - Fog Settles in the Mountains Edition

I love the mountains!


Aug 5, 2010


By the time you read this I'll likely be with my girls and the blog wll be the furthest thing from my mind. As a reward for putting up with all my talk of how i miss my daughters I've got a little preview for you of finished objects waiting to debut on the blog. I don't like sharing gifts before they've been received so I can't post some of these in their entirety yet but here's a peek.

Something blue...


Something twisty...


And something that still needs a finishing touch. I only need one little button on this but i can't decide which one o use. #1 looks a little rough - like beaten silver. #2 is a mother of pearl with a reddish undertone. #3 is the wrong side of the mother of pearl and I think I may like that best of all. What do you think?

Hat buttons

Aug 4, 2010

Nothing Better

Metro still sucks. It seems like there is an inverse relationship between the fares and the service - the higher the rates go, the worse the service gets. But I don't care today.

It's supposed to rain off and on this evening. Even though I hate driving in the rain I don't mind this much at all.

Speaking of driving, I'll be on the road through most of this afternoon and late into the evening. I don't mind this at all.

Tomorrow morning I will be picking up my girls from camp and there is nothing in the world better than that!


Aug 3, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Things To Bring on Vacation

This is going to be easy since I'm packing for my upcoming weekend away right now! Just 2 more sleeps till I see my girls again!


After I get them we're going to join my inlaws up in the mountains for just a few days. When I spoke to my M-I-L she said that it's actually cool up there and to bring a jacket. It's been so hot here lately that I haven't even thought of jackets. I guess that'll be the first thing on my list.

  1. A jacket - just in case
  2. A good book - I just started reading Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo. It's about a serial killer in an Amish town and the chief of police is a former Amish with some secrets. It's pretty good so far.
  3. Knitting - I'm thinking that I'll bring some socks in progress and maybe a UFO.
  4. A bathing suit - If it isn't cool enough for #1 then maybe it'll be hot enough for this.
  5. My iPod - the drive down will be long and go late into the night so I'll need good stuff to listen to like a few episodes of This American Life. Thank goodness for podcasts!
  6. Bug spray - I hate getting eaten by bugs
  7. Allergy meds - I'll need this if I forget to use #6.
  8. The address of a good yarn store near Boone, NC - I'll be staying with my inlaws and a brief escape may be required.
  9. My camera - I hear that it's gorgeous out there.
  10. An extra bag for all the crap we accumulate while we're away.

What are you bringing? And better yet - where are you going?

Aug 2, 2010

Last Weekend of Freedom

This was the last weekend before my girls come home. Bruce and I can certainly say that we made the most of it. We went to New York City! Here is our weekend - mostly in pictures.

We took the subway into the city. I love the NYC subway! Not only because it's less expensive and more reliable than the Metro. I love the subway art that gives it so much character.

We exited the subway and found ourselves in the middle of a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts. It was very nice.

We chilled out in the pedestrian sections of Times Square. They've painted the street and set up chairs and tables. Bruce relaxed and I wrote some postcards to the girls there.

We were in NYC to see American Idiot. If you like the music of Green Day and you have similar political views then it's a great show. Thankfully I can answer yes to both of those. It was energetic and well-staged and choreographed. The only problem was resisting the urge to sing along with the lyrics I know so well. That'll wait until we see the band in a little over a week.

As if spending the day in NYC wasn't enough, that evening we went to see the Mets with my sister, Brother-in-law, niece, nephew and my grandfather. It was a great game and my voice was suitably hoarse from screaming the next day. Oh, yeah - and the Mets won!

The best part of the game was laughing with my sister and her kids and watching Bruce and my grandfather really enjoying the game that they love so much.

Now I'm tired and I think I've had my share of fun. Despite the note I got the other day from DQ telling me that she's not ready for camp to end - I am more than ready to go get my girls. Is it time to go yet?