Nov 30, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Favorite Places for Online Shopping

Hmmm, not that I ever do online shopping at work, but if I did, 10 Favorite Places for Online Shopping would be a great topic.

  1. Amazon - When you're a member of Amazon Prime it's awesome. Stuff is cheap to start with and then you add free shipping that often comes overnight and it becomes just about unbeatable. Especially if you forget to buy a gift for someone until the last minute.
  2. Knit Picks - Cheap needles and yarn. Yay!
  3. Elann - I try to stay away from here because when I get sucked in it gets bad. It's likle I fall down the rabbit hole and suddenly it all looks too good to pass up and the next thing I know there are a pile of boxes in my house holding more yarn than I can possibly use.
  4. Lands End - This is one situation where shopping online is way better than the stores or the catalog. Only online do you get the stuff that's "on the counter" and the "not quite perfect" stuff. Deep discounts on really good stuff.
  5. Loopy Ewe - Yet more yarn! And the pack it up so prettily... with treats!
  6. Borders - My family doesn't just read books - we devour them.
  7. Department Stores - in general I love to troll these web sites for good stuff. I don't always buy it online but it's oveten easier to see what they have online than in the store.
  8. Consumer Reports - I go here all the time to research my purchases. It's almost impossible for me to do anything without it.
  9. Etsy - I honestly don't buy here as often as I'd like but I really love it. They have such great stuff.
  10. Ebay - I haven't been here in ages but the deals I find when I do are fabulous.

And here's a completely unrelated picture, just because I like it.

Nov 29, 2010


I'm back! I was in New York for the holiday visiting family and friends and staying in a home with the weakest wi-fi evah! So much for my plans to blog during my vacation.

Although it's not Thursday and Thanksgiving is behind us now, I'm feeling very thankful for the weekend that was so here's my last "Thankful" post for November.

1. I am thankful that my girls are such good travellers. The drive to and from NY was still awful but not nearly as bad as it would've been if they were fidgeting, complaining, or required regular pit stops.

2. I am thankful that, as my brother-in-law said, everyone who was around our table for Thanksgiving last year, was there again this year. Given the fragile state of my mother-in-law's health this is saying a lot. I only hope that I can say the same thing next year.

3. I am beyond thankful that my trip to NY included a lengthy visit with my grandparents. We enjoyed a lovely lunch together (Ny deli - yum!), my grandfather played games with my girls, and we all laughed a lot. It is truly a gift that my girls are able to enjoy the same kind of relationship with my grandparents that I have - and love hanging out with them.


4. As much as I enjoyed our trip, I am so thankful to be home again. I never sleep as well anywhere else.

Nov 23, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Things You Love About Thanksgiving

Quite the surprising topic for this Ten on Tuesday. Ha! It's actually perfect because I am definitely in a Thanksgiving frame of mind.

  1. Family & Friends - This has got to be the very best thing about Thanksgiving. There are so many people that we plan to see this week and I'm looking forward to them all equally.
  2. The smells - There is nothing that can put me in the Thanksgiving mood quite like the smell of a turkey and fixin's in the oven.
  3. Relaxation - I love all the holidays but this is the only one where there are no other requirements other than to relax and eat. Of course there is cooking to do too but it tends more towards confort food and things that are pretty easy to make. Mostly we just relax and it's awesome.
  4. Cranberries - Cranberry sauce and cranberries in stuff. Yum! Cranberries and Thanksgiving go hand in hand.
  5. The Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade - I've only seen it once in person, way back when I was little, but I watch it on tv every year and I enjoy it very much.
  6. The festive table - warm it up with some candles, maybe a seasonal flower arrangement, figurines of pilgrims if you must.... of simple and elegant with crystal and fine china.
  7. Apple Pie - Make mine warm with streusel topping and a scoop of ice cream. Divine!
  8. The colors - There is something so warm and inviting about about the browns, oranges, and golds that dominate the Thanksgiving decorations.
  9. Apple Cider - This is really more my husbands thing than mine but warm apple cider on Thanksgiving is kind of perfect.
  10. Laughter - when we all get together around the table it inevitable that there will be teasing and great stories.

What do you love about Thanksgiving?

Nov 22, 2010

The Monday Before Thanksgiving

It is a generally accepted fact that Mondays suck... except when it's the only full day that you expect to be in the office all week and many other's have already left for vacation. Then Mondays aren't half bad. It's a day to get your office in order and... shhhh... catch a quick cat nap if you're lucky.


This weekend was DQ's first play as a High Schooler. She was doing what she loved best - the techie stuff. In fact, my girl was the House Manager and Assistant Technical Director which is quite a responsibility for a freshman. I loved seeing her name in the program with all her titles and I loved watching her manage her staff even more. At one point there were some people near us having trouble with their seats and I directed them to DQ and then sat and glowed as she calmly took care of it.

After the show, which was the last of this run, I was convinced by my girl to help with strike. that's what they call it when they take all the sets apart, return the costumes and props to their place, retrieve all the signage and generally erase all evidence that a show took place. What a huge job! We were there until 2 am! Then I took DQ to the cast party (she got home from it at 8am) and drove a friend of hers home to the other end of the county.

I am exhausted but in a really good way!

Nov 19, 2010

ECF - Day at the Park Edition

Woot! Way to get a whole week out of one afternoon at the park.


I love that I still see trees with gorgeous color around.

Nov 18, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

It's Thankful Thursday again and I am indeed thankful because I'm off tomorrow. Yay! It would be really good if I was taking the day to relax and knit but it actually has a lot to do with the personal issues which are really nothing bad - just a bit more than my brain can process right now. Really, it's mostly good stuff.


So I am very thankful today and here are just a few reasons why.

  1. A City with Green spaces - I love that I work in a city where there are parks all over the place. My building sits on the edge of a park and if I walk 2 or 3 blocks in any direction then I'll find another one.
  2. The Fairfax County Park System - The park that Stinkette and I visited last Sunday is part of the system, as are the rec centers where my girls have gone to summer camp and some of the fields where they play ball. I was reminded on Sunday just how wonderful it is to have so many options for our free time and I really need to remember to take advantage of them.
  3. Health Insurance - Don't worry, I'm not going political here. I'm just the mother of a girl with flat feet who was pleasantly surprised recently to get the final bill for her orthotics with a zero balance. Knowing how bad the bill could've been and how much pain my girl was in before she got them makes me really thankful. As we head into the season of coughs and colds it's nice to know that it's all covered.

Nov 17, 2010


Some personal stuff came up recently and I desperately needed a diversion so I added a boatload of books to my hold queue at the library and took on a bit of deadline knitting. Given the way my knitty mojo was flowing it seemed like a really good bet. If I was knitting madly then there'd be no time to obsess over other things.

Of course this is exactly the moment that my knitty mojo took leave. I'm not sure where it went but suddenly I can't focus on any of my projects.


Here is the state of things. On the right is the current commuter sock. This is the only thing making noticeable progress right now. One sock is finished but it took me days to cast on for the second. Days! Happily it is finally started and I think that it'll move along ok - not fantastically fast but it'll get done.

The other current sock is the flash of yellow on the left. That's Pointelle, from the new Cookie A book. I got my autographed copy the other day and I love it. I also adore this sock but I just can't focus on it. I hope to soon though, because the yarn is super-yummy and the pattern really is a great one.

The test knits are where it really falls apart. The purplish object that the other stuff is sitting on is one of them. It's going to be a lovely little shawlette someday. I've got to get moving on it since the due date is approaching fast. Even worse is the sad greenish yarn cake that's got nothing at all going on yet. Fortunately the due date for that is a bit more generous but it's also a bigger knit.

I really must get motivated fast.

Nov 16, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Movies You'd Like to See in the Theater

This week is off to an interesting start. I had to bring DQ to school at 6am on Monday and Tuesday so that she and the rest of the cast and crew of the school play could prepare for previews. My girl is one of the crew chiefs and she is so stressed by all of the responsibilities. Unfortunately this translated into a less than gracious awakening for me yesterday when she hit me in the head rather than gently shaking my shoulder. Great way to start a Monday! It's ok though. She felt very bad about it and I enjoyed teasing her.


Speaking of shows, the topic this week is 10 movies You'd like to See in the Theatre. I can name a few:

  1. The Tourist - Two words - Johnny Depp. Mmmmm
  2. Red - I just love this cast and it looks like such a fun movie
  3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 - Definitely a must see. family night out maybe?
  4. How Do You Know - I'm pretty sure this is the one they filmed right outside my office so I've got to see it.
  5. Morning Glory - This one just sounds like fun.
  6. Easy A - This sounded so good. I really hope that I can catch it in the theatre before it's gone.
  7. The Social Network - DQ saw this with friends and she liked it.
  8. The Town - Here's another one that got really good reviews and I meant to go see it but I'm afraid I'll miss it in the theatres.
  9. The Next Three Days - I really hope this is as good as it sounds.
  10. Rocky Horror Picture Show - this has been on my list since I was DQ's age and now it's on her list too. Thankfully it plays every weekend at the cheap theatre near our house. Ah, the joys of having a college in your backyard.
So what's on your must see list?

Nov 15, 2010

Afternoon at the Park

You have to wonder how much longer this beautiful fall weather can last. I did errands, saw friends and went for a walk in a park with Stinkette. I haven't gone to the park just to hang out in ages.

It was sunday afternoon and it seemed like everyone was there. The were fishing, playing frisbee, picnicing, riding bicycles and just relaxing.


Stinkaroonie and I both brought our cameras and we had so much fun wandering around with them until the light changed and it became less favorable for picture taking. We can't wait to go do it again.

Nov 12, 2010

ECF - Bird on a Lamp Post Edition

I was on my way to meet my ride this morning when I suddenly noticed this bird on the lamp post so I whipped out my camera and snapped a quick shot. As I got in the car my friend looked at me a little funny and asked if I always have my camera handy. Yes, I do. I left it at that.


Have a great weekend!

Nov 11, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

Last week I saw Carole's Thankful Thursday post and, since I have quite a lot to be thankful for, I decided to join her.


  1. Our veterans - I am thankful to each and every one of them for doing the hard stuff and keeping us all safe.

  2. Report cards that inspire pride. - Yesterday was report card day. I was an awful student and spent way too many hours dreading the response to my grades. There aren't words to express how thankful I am that my girls consistantly bring home grades worth rewarding - and I do.

  3. Gorgeous weather to enjoy the leaves as they change color. - It's been sunny and in the 60's here all week which is perfect for looking at the leaves. Not to hot and not too cold - just right!

Nov 10, 2010

Finished Mystery Socks

It's taken me so long to post the pictures of these finished socks that there isn't a whole lot of mystery about them any more. For the record, I did finish them on time. In fact I wove in the last ends with one day to spare.


The yarn I used for these was Pagewood Farm St Elias in Plum. It's a little thinner than I'd prefer but I did like it. I do think that a yarn with a little less varigation might have been a better choice but it works.


I was a little ambivalent about these socks as I knit them. I didn't love the little boxes and I wasn't sure about the tiny trowels either. I don't think I'm alone in that but because I do like Kirsten Kapur's other designs I took the giant leap of faith and kept knitting. I'm so glad I did because I like the end result. The tiny trowels remind me of streamers undulating back and forth down the sock and the little boxes are a nice counterpoint to them.


I'm already on to 2 other pairs of socks and nearly finished with the first sock of each pair. If I finish both pairs by the end of the year then I would have a total of 14 pairs of sock for the year. Not the 18-20 that I'd hoped for but pretty respectable. Maybe I can squeeze another pair or 2 out.

Nov 9, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Dream Vacations

I would say that this is the perfect topic for this time of year but let's be honest, when isn't it a good time to think about vacations? Even if we weren't heading into the holiday season and even if it wasn't starting to get cold I bet that most of us would still be thinking of places we'd rather be.

Mallory Sunset

The picture above is from our December 2006 vacation in Key West. It seems so long ago. Here are a few of my dream vacations.

  1. Greece - This appeals to me on so many levels. Every picture of Greece has gorgeous scenery and the history. Talk about exploring old homes? And if that wasn't enough I love mediterannean food.
  2. The Southwest - I really want to go to New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. It's so completely different from anywhere I've ever been and I'd love to exlpore it.
  3. Ireland - Lush green countryside in the land of some of my ancestors. Surprised?
  4. Hawaii - I want to see the volcanos and the beaches.
  5. Israel - I was there as a teen but I'd love to go back with my family. It would be so nice to share it with them.
  6. Southern California - Truth be told I could go visit California from end to end again and be very happy but the last time we were there (December 2004) we only got as far south as Carlsbad so I'd love to see the southern part of the state this time.
  7. The Pacific Northwest - My uncles live in Washington and Oregon and I'd love to go out there and see the mountains and the redwoods. I remember reading the JP Beaumont mysteries (by JA Jance) many years ago and feeling like I'd know Seattle if I ver actually went there. I've wanted to go ever since.
  8. New England - It seems like, as a kid, so many of our family vacations were taken in New England and it makes me a little sad that my girls really haven't experienced it at all.
  9. Spain - If I took DQ with me I could have her translate the whole time! Listening to my girl speak Spanish like a native is one of my most favorite things ever! That could explain how she got me to buy her a pair of snazzy Dansko's last weekend. Seriously, I dare anyone to watch Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona and not add Spain to their list.
  10. Long Island - How weird is that? Yes, I would love to take my girls on a vacay to LI to share Montauk and the Hamptons with them. While I'm at it I'd love to show them Port Jeff and Northport and Sunken Ghetto. Let's not forget the south shore beaches too - I spent way too much time at Jones Beach and Robert Moses.

Where would you go on your dream vacation?

Nov 8, 2010

Perfect Fall Weekends

How did you spend this lovely fall weekend? We enjoyed the kind of weekend that makes you feel so good.

On Saturday, while DQ was busy at the school preparing for the upcoming play, Stinkette and I did errands, saw Toy Story 3 and generally enjoyed each other's company. That night she had a blast at a sleepover party at her softball coaches house. The adults stayed at the party for a while too and enjoyed sitting out by the fire pit huddled under blankets. There were smores too. Yum!


On Sunday Stinkette's Girl Scout troop met and together we prepared 38 boxes full of nuts, candy, drink mixes and other treats that the girls decorated and we'll send to the Marines in Afghanistan. They got so into it and I have to say that seeing the large pile of boxes covered with stickers and ribbons and uplifting messages make you feel so good. I felt so proud of them.

I imagine the soldiers receiving these boxes and knowing that we're thinking of them. I hope they make them smile.

Nov 5, 2010

ECF - Culinary Institute of America Edition

I don't know how it happened but I totally forgot to share my pictures from the CIA. I went there for dinner again this year during my trip to Rhinebeck but this year I went over early and took a few pictures.


It really is a gorgeous setting, right on the edge of the river with lovely sitting areas and fountains. I wasn't the only one roaming around there with a camera.


Nov 4, 2010

Mossy Headed

Why are old mossy rocks so fascinating? Or is it just me?


It's 2 days since the election and I'm still hearing about nastiness on election day that makes me sad for all of us. A friend of mine was handing out ballot information at a local polling place this year as she has in the past and says that this year people from the other party were heckling her and saying really awful things. When did that become OK? I wish I could say that was the only such occurrence but I know someone who voted on the other end of the county that encountered the same behavior. What is wrong with people?

I've finally started a wee bit of gift knitting for this year and volunteered for 2 test knits which could make for a very quiet blog. Except that the sock knitting continues apace. It may sound very ambitious but really, it's just this knitter's way of tuning out all the noise and avoiding stuff she'd rather not deal with right now. Like the last sleeve of Que Sera.

What's on your mind right now. Good stuff I hope!

Nov 3, 2010

Ball Band Journey Socks

I don't know about you but the longer a project stays on my needles, the more of a relief it is to have it finished. These socks were started in the summer of 2007 so the joy at finishing them is especially high.


The yarn was the inspiration. I found a single, lovely skein of KnitSmiths Sockezze at Mosaic in Blaacksburg, VA and I just knew it was for Stinkerbelle. And it was. my girl loves these socks and she wore them (longer than she ought to) as soon as I finished them. I have to say that telling the child that she couldn't wear the socks until the photos were done was a great motivator for her.


Although it's not obvious in some of the pictures, I worked in some Shelridge Farm in violet after I turned the heel. I just wanted to make sure that I had enough Sockezze to finish the socks.

As I worked both yarns and saw that the violet was standing out a bit I decided that rather than trying to hide it - I'd play it up a little by doing a few ball band rows for the cuff. I used the violet to divide up the blocks of purl bumps. It's no perfect but it works and Stinkette loves them.


I have to say that I really loved this yarn. I love the feel of it which is warm and inviting. I also love the way the short runs of color make it kind of stripey. No flashing or pooling - just a pleasing mix of colors.

Nov 2, 2010

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Ways to Simplify Your Life

A single pink rose with the glistening drops of a recent shower still clinging to the petals. Lovely, perfect, and simple. If only.


You have no idea how much I'd love to simplify my life right now. My head is cluttered with possibilities and all the things I need to do to make them happen. Here are 10 ways that I'd love to simplify my life.

  1. Plan our meals - Maybe even make things ahead so that we'd have things that we could just pull out, heat and eat.
  2. Really use a shopping list - I keep trying but my family members would rather just tell me what they want and rely on my (faulty) memory.
  3. Create a budget - I think that would make planning much easier.
  4. Fix my kitchen - My kitchen is old. Not classic or filled with character - just old and run down. Old cabinets, old counters, old floors. Not enough storage and what is there doesn't make sense. If I could get my kitchen fixed it then I could find things when needed them.
  5. Clean my basement storage area. - Less stuff would be good.
  6. Create a family calender to keep track of all the family stuff.
  7. Organize my stash - what the heck is in there anyway.
  8. Coordinate all of our schedules better - I hate all the back and forth and the wasted trips when Bruce ells me that he just went to a store and I realize that I needed something threre. If only he asked.
  9. Clean out my closet - Isn't getting rid of the stuff you don't need the essence of simplifying?
  10. Dedicate some time to nothing at all - like the white space on a page or the green space n a city. I need some quiet space in my life to breathe.

How would you simplify your life.

Nov 1, 2010

Monday, Monday

It was another softball weekend. One in which I had the pleasure (or misfortune) of watching Stinkerbelle's team warm up as the sun rose both days. It is just plain wrong to have to get out of the house before 7am both days to sit in frigid temps.

I couldn't even knit until it warmed up a bit but finally I was able and over the course of the weekend I finished my TTL 2010 Mystery socks and a whole book.


Sadly my productivity at the tournament didn't extend to our team's bats. Let's just say that we were certainly not the strongest team there and leave it at that.

Although we'd like to have done better, I don't think that any of us was too sad at leaving the tournament early on Sunday. Most of the girls were looking forward to perfecting their costumes. For Stinkette and I it meant an unexpected opportunity to carve 2 of our 4 pumpkins. Can you guess which one I carved and which one Stinky did?


It's safe to say that the real highlight of the weekend for Stink was trick-or-treating with her BFF. What a haul they brought home! Too bad that much of it isn't compatible with a metal mouth. I'll have to break it to her gently.