Jul 31, 2009

ECF - Morning Glory Edition

I saw these morning glories when I was dropping off books at the library today. So pretty.
The amusing thing is where I saw them. Surrounding the fire hydrant.

Have a great weekend!

Jul 30, 2009

Blue Skies and Bluer Language

IMG_2820[1]I was really apprehensive about our plans for last night. The forecast called for rain off and on all evening with some thunderstorms and a bit of wind. Not good if you have lawn seats for a concert.

I am so happy to say that the weather people were less than accurate once again. Yay! It did drizzle a bit for a while but not enough to require an umbrella. Mostly the evening was warm and sticky but relatively dry and we saw Nickelback put on a great show.

There were pyrotechnics and they made great use of the video screen and happily they sounded great. The only thing that bothered me was some of the chatter between songs. I'm not exactly a prude and I've seen, heard and done a lot but Chad Kroeger went on and on about sex and drugs. This was even after he noted a little blonde girl sitting on her parents shoulders and how her parents would have a bit of explaining to do after the show. I will grant you that small kids don't really belong at a show like this but the banter was kind of gratuitous. Does that make me sound old. I hope not. All I will say is this - I've seen many bands and they've put on excellent shows without the nonsense. End of rant.

At least we stayed dry.

Jul 29, 2009

Random Wednesday

It's Wednesday, my girls have been away now for a bit over 2 weeks and I am officially missing them something fierce. The constant notes fron Stinkerbelle telling me that she's having fun but she really needs a hug, misses me a lot and can't sleep aren't helping at all. My baby girl needs me! I send her notes and things (lots of packages heading south this summer) nearly every day. Sometimes more than one a day. And, yes, I do know that all the stuff I send will somehow have to fit in the car for the ride home. Wish me luck on that one.

IMG_2817[1]I think that given everything I can be forgiven for feeling a little random today.

Because this is still a knitting blog I've got a pretty current shot of one of the 3 pairs of socks that are currently on the needles. Yup, three. There's the commuter knitting, the socks that require concentration, and the socks that begged to be cast on. These are my Daiquiri Sox because the color of the yarn reminds me of a strawberry daiquiri and the pattern is Sunshine by Cookie A. One is complete and I've got a finished heel flap on the other. These ought to be finished by the end of the week.

Aside from the plethora of socks, I'm also actively working on finishing a gift for a little girl who just turned two. Leave it to me to grossly underestimate the amount of ends to be woven in on a color work project. Ugh! No, actually that's a double-ugh since the knitting portion of the project has been complete for about a week and all of the weaving of then ends is preventing me from completing the finish work and calling this one done.

IMG_2805[1]Here's a picture of Teddy that I snapped a few weeks ago when I saw him in front of my building. I answered a trivia question at the conference on Monday about him. Clearly the quiz was geared towards out-of-towners because they were shocked that I knew who raced around the field at Nationals games. Duh! My name badge said I was a local.

I'm kind of partial to Teddy. Perhaps it's all those visits to Sagamore Hill as a kid. Maybe it's the fact that Teddy never wins the race. NEVER! He has a short attention span like me and get's sidetracked by things like hot dogs and pretty things. Poor Teddy.

Unlike Teddy my firm softball team was a winner last night. Yay! I made it to base on balls but I had no RBI's. I'm just happy not to have detracted from our efforts. And not to have melted. It was so disgustingly hot and sticky.

Lastly, I'm thinking of a good friend who is undergoing surgery today. I'm praying that she wakes up at the end of it all cancer-free and ready to take on the world.

Jul 28, 2009

The Brand "W" Party

Well my crazy week continues. Be assured that most of it is good stuff it's just filling every last moment of every day and leaving little time to plan and pack for upcoming trips, do laundry or much of anything else. But it's the best possible busy.

'BrandCase in point - last night DH and I attended the customer appreciation party thrown by a company that I'll refer to as Brand "W". Other law librarians and researchers will know exactly who I mean. Please excuse the lousy picture but the wine in it was mine and not my first adult beverage of the night. The alcohol was indeed flowing.

It was a great party even though I didn't win a fabulous prize. There was good food and good company which included DH for a change. Usually I attend my asociation events and meetings solo but last night DH came with and got a to see what I've been talking about. He was very impressed with the 10-piece band and the food and, of course, the alcohol. as they say - a good time was had by all.

We came home to find a message from the child currently known aroud our house as "Miserable Teen". What else do you call a child who doesn't write at all? That's not to say that we haven't heard from her. I've gotten texts and calls in the wee hours of the morning made on her contraband cell phone. Yes, MT hid her cell phone from her counselors and has been texting her buddies at home after her cabin goes to sleep. Oh, how I'd love to see her busted.

Anyway, this message was sent legally (I think) and MT was shocked to find that DH & I weren't home. Apparently she thinks that we should be sitting home lamenting her absence. Hah! If only she knew!

Jul 26, 2009

Pool Time

IMG_2810Mark it down. Saturday, July 25th was the first time this summer that I made it to my pool for real. That's just sad. For the first time this summer DH and I went to the pool and spent the afternoon swimming and visiting with friends and just relaxing in general. It was glorious!

Unfortunately that's the last quiet time I expect for quite a while. Dealing with an issue with my new car (the dealership lost one of the keys and it's a big deal to get another one) I realized that I'm busy morning till night every day for the forseeable future. It's all good but a bit crazy. It's a good thing we had a nice quiet weekend.

Jul 24, 2009

ECF - Doodles From Camp Edition

For those of you who came here expecting eye candy in the form of pretty flowers and such... move along. Today is just a giggle from a mother who misses her girls very much. I hope that you'll enjoy it too.

This was part of the first note we got from Stinkette. She wanted us to send her iPod speakers (they'e the box-looking thing and round scribbled on the right) to camp and apparently she needed them fast. My sweet girl has difficulty with spelling so you can see in the first line that she reversed the "D's" in Dad. Interestingly she had no problems at all writing Fedex. That's clear as a bell. Score one for their advertisers.

Proof of Successful Avertising

What's making you smile today?

Jul 23, 2009

Lucky Girl

DSC_0198My mailbox has been treating me very well lately. Obviously it's not doing it all by itself - quiet summer days spent sitting in front of a computer lead to net surfing. Lot's of net surfing.
Sometimes I read the news but very often I find myself reading blogs or Rav groups. I just pop in here and there to see what's what. It's the links that are killing me. All too often someone is working with a simply gorgeous yarn and suddenly I MUST HAVE IT!

Vesper - Summer Breeze That's what happened with the Vesper sock. I saw it on a blog and needed it something fierce so I went over and ordered a skein of Sweet Summer Sky which was indeed sweet with all it's blues and pink .

But then things got weird and I found myself signing up for the Vesper Sock club... before I'd ever even touched the yarn much less knit with it. I'm not a sock club girl and I'm definitely not a stripe girl. Or maybe I am. Maybe I'm evolving as a knitter.

I was encouraged when I got the Sweet Summer Sky that maybe the club wasn't a huge mistake. I'd only been in one other yarn club before which I joined with a friend and it was very diappointing. Those yarns weren't me (or her) at all. I am so relieved to say that I got my first skein from the Vesper Sock Club and it's gorgeous. Summer Breeze is all blue and green with a bit of yellow and it's spot on. I can't wait to knit it up.

But like I said, my finger has slipped more than once. The second time it was a Rav group that did me in. Oh the Rav groups. Especially the Elann and Loopy Ewe ones. They're deadly.

Handmaiden Casbah - HemlockA bunch of folks were talking about Casbah. Isn't it yummy? Isn't it divine? It feels just like buttah. And the colors... you really have to see them. So what's a knitter to do? I looked and again my finger slipped when I saw Hemlock. I felt pretty good about it too because I used a credit I'd been holding onto for-freakin'-evah.

I felt good until the next day when I popped into the same group and saw that I'd missed Wollmeise by hours. Darn those ill-timed purchases.

But again things worked out because it turns out that that was my 6th purchase so my Casbah (which is every bit a divine as I hoped) came with a bag and treats and a pattern and more yarn! Yay for free Cherry Tree Hill yarn. Hubbo love the color and claimed it for himself. thankfully there are 420 yds per skein so i can make socks to fit his massive feet.


But wait - there's more! I told you I was a lucky girl. I was one of the winners in Grumperina's Knitaversary contest and she sent me a very cool set of crochet hooks. They've arrives at the perfect time too because I'm feeling the need to crochet again. Maybe I'll make some potholders for me or... for my sibs who are each moving to new digs this summer. Hmmmm... what colors to choose, what patterns to use.

Clover Hook Set

What's making you feel lucky today?

Jul 22, 2009

Miss M's Dress

My niece recently celebrated her first birthday and I am pleased to say that my birthday gift for her was received right on time. That's a rarity for me.


Now that she has her gift I can share it with everyone else. This is Summer Breeze by Zabeth Loisel-Weiner which is listed on my projects page as Lacey Girl. I get a kick out of the fact that either of those links will show you pictures of my version on the pattern. It feels good to know that the designer approved of my modifications to the pattern.


You can read all about my mods on Ravelry or either of the earlier blog entries about it. I really am happy with the way the dress came out and pleased with the decisions I made. There is only one thing I'd do differently in the future. I used a row of purls to transition from the green to the blue and it works well but I should've done another straight knit row after it before starting the lace. You can barely see it in the picture but there are two little purl bumps at regular intervals where the lace and purl row intersect. It's not fatal but it would've been better without that tiny bit of wonkiness.


Mattie in dress 2I used KP Shine Sport in the River and Green Apple colorways for this dress. I love the colors of the yarn and the softness and ability to put it in the washer make it perfect for kid-wear but I have small misgivings about the yarn too. As I knot with it I could feel it getting slightly fuzzy. This stuff is destined to pill like nobody's business. I just know it. But if you're looking for a cotton yarn with great colors in a sport or worsted weight your choices are limited. Many of them are near misses - not soft enough, narrow color range, too heavy. Someday someone will come out with a perfect cotton yarn and I'll be waiting.

The most important thing about this dress is that it fits. It fits! I made a size 3 for my year old niece but she is an *ahem* big girl for her age. She is cute though. My hope is that she can continue to wear this for quite a while. At least until I made her another one.

Jul 21, 2009

Ten on Tuesday - '10 Favorite Places to Eat'

Now this is a topic I can really sink my teeth into. Here are my '10 Favorite Places to Eat'.

  1. Cosi - At least once a week I go in to this little sandwich shop conveniently located across the street from my office and get a salad. Always the same. A signature salad, no grapes or pears just extra cranberries. YUM!
  2. Outback - there's one near our house that's become our "celebration" place. Birthdays, good reports cards, father's day, mothers day - we've celebrated most of these at that Outback.
  3. Ruth's Chris - Outback is nice but if I want a real steak it's gotta be Ruth's Chris or...
  4. Morton's - One time my inlaws took us here and when they brought out the tray with all the cuts of meat DQ (who was 8 or 9) chose a huge one. After a good laugh they ordered a smaller cut that was more appropriate for her age. And then another one because my girl LOVES steak.
  5. Ben's Deli - Sadly these are only in New York but they do ship their food. I'd rather eat it there though. Preferably with my grandparents.
  6. NY Diners - One of the biggest shock upon mobving to Virginia was realizing that they don't really have diners here. Not really. In NY you can go to a diner any time of the day and order any damn thing you want. A steak dinner at 6am, a pancake meal at 11pm, fries and gravy any time of day. My favorite thing at diners are pizza burgers. YUM! Give me a diner with a 25 page menu any day.
  7. Baskin & Robbins - When we bought our house many years ago we had a short list of location requirements. Good schools, a pool, and a Baskin & Robbins nearby. We got all three.
  8. Emilio's Pizza in Commack, NY - This place has been around since I was little. They've expanded, changed the name and decor multiple times but it's still some of the best pizza ever.
  9. Most NY pizza places - there are places near me that do pizza right but it's a little hit or miss. In NY there is pizza by the slice everywhere and most of it is delish.
  10. NY in general - Really I'd have to say that the food is one of the few things I miss about NY. Deli's, bagel places, pizza, diners... I really miss it all. NY has some very good eats.

What or where are your favorite places to eat? Are any of them in Chicago by chance?

Jul 20, 2009


My girls have been away for one week now and already I've been to the post office 3 times and I expect to go again today. I guess that as long as they keep sending requests for stuff I'll keep sending it. In a strange way, sending forgotten skirt, belts and shampoo as well as little treats I think they'll like makes having them away easier.


Since they've been away it seems like Bruce and I have been non-stop busy. It's like we're trying to fit a whole year of stuff in while they're away. We've enjoyed fine dining, saw a great movie, got a nifty new toy and we're not nearly done yet.


About my new toy - it's not what I thought it would be but it totally rocks! We went out last weekend with three little initials in mind but we went to check out a few other possibilities just so we could say we had. You know, we wanted to pretend it wasn't pre-determined and that we had an open mind about what new toy to get. It turns out that we were more open minded than we thought.


Imagine my surprise when I took the first toy on my list out for a spin and fell head over heels. The sucker got out of it's way in a hurry, had a rocking sound system and it has enough bells and whistles to keep me busy for a long time. I love me some bells and whistles.


And they had a blue one. I really wanted a blue one! Oh joy!

The more we thought about it the more we realized that it was really the right toy for us. Better price. More reliable. And it totally rocks!

We went to look at the toy we thought we wanted but we never even tried it. We didn't need to anymore. The decision was made.



Jul 17, 2009

ECF - Gladioli Edition

Here's one of the gladioli from my front yard. I love the patterning on the petals. What I don't love is that these flowers are too darn heavy for their stems. Don't you think that maybe that's a flaw in natures design? A flower ought not to tip over for want of a strong enough stem.

I staked some of them but others tipped before I remembered. Oh well.


They are so nice to look at before they fall over.

Have a great weekend!

Jul 16, 2009

Surprising and Delightful

It's only a week since I did a garden post but it seems like things are suddenly moving very fast in our garden. The pictures posted last week were pretty current at that point. They were encouraging but there seemed little chance that we'd be feasting on home grown veggies anytime too son. Boy was I wrong!


I returned home late Monday night and DH told me to go check the garden because the corn had shot up and become quite tall. He was right about that but, in a classic bruce move, he hadn't looked very closely and he totally missed the real news. Ther was a zucchini tucked away under the leaves.


I am sure that wasn't there when I left. I check just about every day.

That wasn't all though. Something very cool caught my eye.


Isn't the corn silk pretty? It looks so fresh and light. I can't wait to eat home grown corn! Now I need to read up and figure out how I'll know when to pick it.

Thankfully socks are a lot simpler. When it has a heel and a toe and a leg it's done.


This is Sunshine, the first pattern I'm doing from Cookie A's Sock Innovation. I'll talk about it and the yarn I'm using, Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Ultra Handpaints, in a future post. Right now all that's important is that it's moving along well and I like it very much.


Oh yes, and I've got both a leg and a heel so this sock is nearly finished. Sadly, unlike zucchinis and corn - socks need mates.

Jul 15, 2009

More Knoxville

So, on our way to Market Square for dinner we found a bunch of cool things. First there was this landlocked rower that caught my eye. Truthfully, the first thing I noticed were the signs for the bank that this sits in front of but the sculpture was way more interesting.


After the bank, we passed through Krutch Park which was lush and lovely and home to many sculptures and displays. This was one of my favorites. There is something whimsical about it. I could've happily spent longer in the park but the girls and I were getting hungry after all of our walking.


After a delicious dinner at Tomato Head we headed out for more walking. This time the destination was the 1982 World's Fair site. Sitting in the shadow of UT it's a lovely and inviting space. When we got there I saw people wading in the little river.


There was also a large fountain and yet another outdoor water play fountain. It seemed like everywhere we went we saw children in bathing suits shrieking with pleasure as they danced and darted in water features. Not my girls.


We went up in the Sunsphere instead. Stinkette was apprehensive but finally agreed to go up and was happy that she had. On the obcervation deck we got a 360 view of Knoxville and perused a display of info about the 1982 World's Fair. Sadly I didn't take pictures because the glass up there is coated with 26 kt gold dust and I didn't think they'd come out well.


Jul 14, 2009

Knoxville, TN

I'm back. I spent a lovely (and expensive) weekend delivering my girls to camp. Now I'm kid-free for the next 3.5 weeks.

As we have for the past few years, the girls and I took a small detour on the way to camp this year. The destination was Knoxville, TN. The girls and I arrived mid-afternoon and had time to walk around and see some of the sites. My first impression is of a town that is napping. I suspect that a few weeks from now, when the students return for class, the town will be hopping. I took a few pictures to share.

We appreciated the combination of old and new. Here's the Knox County Courthouse.


We took a walk down to Volunteer Landing and strolled along the waterfront. There were two-seater swings for young and old to relax. There were also fountains everwhere in the city and children enjoyed them all.


As we walked we could see the University of Tennessee from most places we went but we didn't get a close look. Off in the distance you can see Neyland Stadium where the Vols play.


Here's one of the many bridges crossing the Tennessee River. We got there just a few minutes too late to get the last boat ride of the day. Instead we wandered a bit before heading back up the very steep hill to have a bite to eat in Market Square.


I'll finish my tour of Knoxville in another post.

Jul 10, 2009

ECF - Water Fountain Edition

By this time tomorrow my girls and I will be on our annual road trip that will culminate in my dropping them off at camp. I think we're all excited in different ways. DQ can't wait to see her friends. Stinkette is looking forward to the activities. And I'm just happy for them.
Lafayette Park Fountain
The actual drop off is Monday so I'm not sure if there will be a post or not. I'll leave you with a cooling image for Eye Candy Friday - one of the fountains in Lafayette Park.

Have a good one.

Jul 9, 2009

Gardening Delights

I have often referred to our pathetic attempts to grow veggies as the Garden of Apathy but that's not quite right. I care very much about my little garden and I check on it almost every day to see what's new.

What I mean to say is that I am stubborn and I have a tendency to ignore the conventional wisdom on gardening. Ok, I disregard most of the planting guides, directions on the seed packets, and advice given to me at the local nursery too. Basically I regard that stuff as a suggestion and then I go with what works for me on the land I own in the little bit of time I can dedicate to the endeavour.

I plant stuff and hope it grows.


This year I upped the ante a bit by starting my own plants from seed but I did it late. I was also late in planting them outside in an area that I didn't properly prepare. So it's a huge happy surprise when I check the garden and find that corn is beginning to appear.


And there are zucchini flowers all over.


But the biggest kick this year is looking beneath the canopy of large leaves and seeing a whole other world down there. This year, in addition to the zucchini, I planted punpkins and they are taking over.

Zucchini likes to spread and it will easily take over the garden if you let it but pumpkin is a whole other story. It sends out these crazy, curly, tendrils that reach out across the area and grab onto whtever the find and don't let go. It makes weeding a bit more urgent because once a pumpkin tendril finds a weed... it's staying.


Then there's this.


It's cute and fuzzy now but imagine it a few months from now when it's big and round and orange. This fall we'll be eating pumpkin bread. Heck - pumpkin everything!

Jul 8, 2009

Un-Stinky Socks

I finished another pair of socks yesterday and it wasn't fast enough. It's not that I didn't love the socks - I do. It's just that Stinkette does too. She loves them so much that she wore the first sock the whole night before I finshed the second one. That's why they don't quite match in the pictures... one had been worn quite a bit already. Now they're both on her feet and I'm not sure when I'll be able to pry them off again.

The yarn I used for these socks, Tofutsies, was kind of a surprise. I bought it because it was new to me and had a different combination of fibers. It seemed kind of thin though and I had very low expectations. I was happily surprised.

The yarn was kind of splitty but it was also really nice to knit with and yielded a very soft and pleasant fabric. The colors are also really nice. There was no pooling and in the places where the ighter bue and green mix it's got a lovely water-color quality that I adore.

The pattern started out as Wendy's Toe-Up Socks With a Difference but just after finishing the toe I saw a sock that used a simple fish-scale looking pattern that I liked and decided to work it into these socks.

The stitch motif was just 8 stitches and about 12 rows so it was easy to work in randomly and gradually. I mirrored it on the second sock which I think adds to the effect.

All in all I'm pretty happy with these socks. The only question now it whether the chitin in the yarn will really help control the stink or not. Either way I love these socks and so does my girl. As a bonus, these are my first socks for the Summer of socks '09. Yay!

Jul 7, 2009

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Things That Turn You Off About People

It's Tuesday again and the subject for the day is '10 Things That Turn You Off About People'. Here we go:

  1. Bad teeth - when someone smiles and their teeth are all nasty like they've never seen a toothbrush... ewww
  2. Bad breath - this naturally goes with number 1
  3. Laziness - oh the irony. I may have a small lazy streak myself but I still hate it.
  4. Strong perfume/cologne - being in a persons company shouldn't require a gas mask
  5. Poor grammar - this is mostly a problem because I get tired of biting my tongue and not correcting errors
  6. Negativity - it's just no fun being around someone who is always seeing the glass half full
  7. Big egos - people who think they're better than everyone else truly suck
  8. Monster muscles - I may be in the minority here but I find gym rats with mammoth muscles kind of gross
  9. Rudeness - this is just the pinnacle of ugly
  10. Lying - I'm honest and I expect those around me to be as well

That was harder to put together than I thought it would be. I'm not sure what that means. I think I'd rather list the things I love about people.

Jul 6, 2009

Bonus Days

There are weekends that fly by so fast that you wake up on Monday wondering where it all went and then there are weekends like the one that just passed - where friday feels like Saturday and Saturday feels like Sunday and Sunday just seems like a bonus. I love weekends like that.

Delphinium 1

There were barbeques each day, good times with good friends, illegal fireworks and way too much food. The fact that I took no pictures at all should be taken as a sign that I was having way too much fun.

Thankfully I had these pictures taken a while back to pretty up the post. They are delphiniums from the deck and after this past weekend they are one of the few plants that have not found a permanent home in our yard. This weekend I planted a tree and a bunch of other stuff.

Delphinium 2

We also shipped out 2 boxes weighing 50 lbs each. They are currently on their way down south to be joined at camp one week from today by my girls. The girls and I will start our annual road trip early this Saturday and by the time I start the trip home on Monday afternoon I'll be alone in the car. They're counting the minutes till I leave them at camp and I'm counting the minutes till I pick them up again.

Jul 3, 2009

ECF - Lily Edition


Have a great weekend!

Jul 2, 2009

Long Weekend Ahead

This weekend is my girls last one at home until mid-August. Thank goodness it's a long one because ther is so much to be done. Extra batteries need buying, clothes need labeling and all of the stuff needs packing so that we can ship 2 very large boxes to camp to await my girls arrival. Whew! That's some job.

For Hubbo it's his last weekend with them until they return in mid-August. I'm the one who'll do the 9 hour road trip to take them to camp so I get a little extra time with them. I'm one lucky Momma.


Although packing for camp will be the priority, I expect that we'll be able to squeeze in a bit of pool time and a few BBQ's. Oh, and knitting, definitely knitting.

I have 2 new projects on the needles and I hope to work on them quite a bit. The first one is on top. It's for one of the many baby girls I know and since that picture was taken I've added a few more inches to it. It's moving super-fast! The yarn is Elann Sonata but can you guess the pattern? It's one that I mentioned recently and so far I like it a lot.


The other new project on my needles is a pattern that is imaginatively titled Cabled Shell by Adrienne Vittadini. It's for DQ by request to replace a denim shell I made for her years ago that she has outgrown. That one was a very simple piece with no cables, shape, or details. She loved it but it was really just eh.

This one ought to be better. I've considered the pattern for quite a while before settling on this one. I think it'll be a winner because of the cabling. First, it ought to counter the lifelessness of the denim and second the ribs ought to offer an interesting wear pattern. Let's hope.

Do you have anything really good planned for the weekend?