Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Decisions, decisions

For you knitters out there.

If you had a chance to spend $190 on knitting books no questions asked, would you?

We have this system at work in my department where you can get reward points for not pissing off the client you are working with too badly, dealing with an ugly client issue quickly and competently etc... Needless to say, in spite of my usually less than tactful approach to many things I have $190 to spend anywhere I want.

Okay, anywhere I want that is on THE LIST and it's a stupid list. Not a knitting shop in sight. Their definition of hobbies, is apparently limited to golf and hunting and camera shops. I don't golf or hunt and our camera situation is fine. The travel section is apparently limited to cruises and anyone that's ever been on one knows that $190 doesn't even cover gratuity.

I don't eat at any of the places on the food list, and I certainly don't go to spas. The clothing stores range from Kohl's (which I love but don't need anything) to some place called Yoox.com which apparently deals in really high end clothes that a T-shirt and jeans girl like me will NEVER wear.

So Amazon.com maybe be the saving grace for this stupid list. I like the rewards program, but I wish we could just get it in the form of a VISA gift card or that places like Home Depot or Best Buy were on the list, instead of Pottery Barn (three dogs and four cats mean I shop at IKEA) or Sharper Image or Hammacher Schlemmer.

When I win the lottery and pay off all our debt, and put my husband through law school (he's not in it now but I'd love to be able to send him - he'd be great), build my own observatory and open a dog shelter on Tahiti, I'll shop at places like that. But for now I really need drywall, electrical wire, flooring and three more doors for the garage shop addition. I don't think Amazon carries those, and certainly none of the other shops on the list do.

So, I'll settle for books. Knitting books that is, with maybe a Clive Cussler or Dean Koontz novel thrown in for even more fun.

Here is what is in my wish list so far:

No Sheep for You by Amy Singer
Crazy Aunt Purl's Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair by Laurie Perry
Cables Untangled by Melissa Leapman
A Gathering of Lace by Meg Swansen
Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby
Nancy Bush's Folk Socks and Knitting Vintage Socks
Elizabeth Zimmerman's:
Knitting Without Tears
Knitting Workshop
Knitter's Almanac

So ladies, what am I missing? I have all the Yarn Harlot's books already. Romi's isn't out yet (hurry up would you? ;-) ).

So if you had a chance to add all your favorite knitting books to your library, what would you choose?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

When the cat's away...

...the dogs are grateful. Hehe

It appears that my colleagues have lots of time, ink and post-it notes on their hands. Or rather in this case, my desk:

Back story: I'm the OCD freak of the office (or at least the only one that admits it). All my co-workers are aware of this and go through extreme efforts to drive me nuts on a regular basis. Granted, that is generally a short trip, but there are SO many different drivers. :::vbg::

We have had a lot of personnel turn over lately, no major reason, just people coming and going. I made myself responsible for the mailbox labels (it is MY label maker after all). We just had a rush of newbies come in, so it was time to rearrange the mailb
oxes again and print up new labels.

Now vacations are ripe times for practical jokes, read that as rigging cubes while the occupant is otherwise occupied. Therefore, they all opted to label almost all of the items in my o
ffice. I have to admit I was laughing and they will all stay up till they get in my way, or I go on a cleaning binge (thankfully those don't happen often and can be stopped with a dose of chocolate). I'm doubly thankful of the unspoken "don't go in other people's file drawers" rule, else I'd probably need a couple of new label cartridges.

More on the vacation specifics later (I have to pull all the pics I want to
post from the laptop). But I do have this!

This is my first sock ever! Using the Yarn Harlot's Basic Recipe from Knitting Rules! I am doing short cuffs - I don't like long socks. I worked on it during the trip.

Ms. Susan, the wonderfully whacky owner of A Knitting Beehive in Grants Pass, Oregon, was kind enough to show me how to pick up my stitches, even though I wasn't that far yet when I managed to stop by. So I
have a K2 P2 rib (about 11 rows), with about 4 rows of straight stockinette, then on to the heel flap and beyond. It looks like a sock and there are NO holes where I did the pickups.

While carrying this thing around in my purse, I found out just how much I hate dropped stitches, and I was dropping them regularly, because the needles would shift inside my purse. On the heel (hehe first typed that he77 and it was ripped at least three time so it's apropos) flap with the S1, K1, that can be a nightmare, let me tell you.

So dig out the Dewalt container of the knitting notions and low and behold, those cute little plastic spring things from Clover (I think). I can push all 5 needles together (three are too loose - but of course the sock is only on three at a time with one working needle) and VOILA! no more dropped stitches! Woo hoo!

It's good to be home.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Flying through

Trying not to leave my work in a mess, get everything packed, and enjoy my vacation without worrying about anything else.

Everyone have a great week. If I can blog while gone I will, but it won't be a priority.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Raining? Why on earth is it raining?

Here anyway?

For those of you that don't know, I live in Northern California. I have done so for 11 years. (Wow - didn't realize it's been that long).

The first year I moved here, it rained for four days straight the middle of May (I got to town May 9th) then it didn't rain again until October.

This is pretty much standard operating procedure for the weather here. Which is why we THOUGHT it was safe to start Operation Garage Demo, because well rainy season is 3 MONTHS AWAY!

So I left work yesterday and the sky was looking ugly - like tornado weather in Alabama (where I moved from) ugly. Note to self - remember they don't have tornadoes here, just earthquakes. Hit the store for vacation stuff, get home and start making sure nothing that can get wet is left outside.

Ended up tarping the big gapping whole in the back of the garage. Sigh.

Absolutely no knitting news, what with getting ready for vacation and all. Oh yeah, and work. Why do I do that again?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Happy Birthday Nephew Mine

I don't have pictures (I can still blame your mother for this - Hiya Sis!), so I wish I could show everyone what a tall, handsome young man that squishy little red haired thing turned out to be. FYI, he's about 6'6", with blond hair and green eyes these days.

I cannot believe you are 21 today. In some ways it seems as though not enough time has passed and in others that way too much time has gone by.

I hope you are well Michael.

Aunt Jenni

Where did my car go?

Reasons not to have direct access to the CCTV Camera system your husband installed to keep an eye on the place while we are on vacation (yes we will have a house sitter too, but that's not as much fun). I swear that thirty minutes ago it was parked on the other side of the driveway. Now it's GONE!

The next phase of construction on the shop addition to the garage started today. There is now a BIG honking huge pile o' crap in my front yard. How do I know? I can see it.

However, it appears that darling dearest just used my car to bring our utility trailer up out of the side yard to start loading said pile o' crap. So hopefully it won't be there for long. Actually now it looks like they are UNLOADING stuff out of said trailer. (see I told you this was a bad idea)

I really must get the sound working on this thing. Wouldn't it be cool if it were bi directional and I could talk to hubby while he's out in the yard thus freaking out the contractors... "No that doesn't go there." "What were you thinking throwing that away?" "I'll give you $20 if you hide X in the pile too." ::big evil grin:: And boy could I torture the dogs when they are outside. Bwahahahaha!

Needless to say, things are very busy at the Villa (ha - if only it were a villa set smack in the middle of the Tuscan countryside) what with prepping for a vacation - anyone want to come clean my RV carpet? - and start a monster demolition on the garage so that we can get the new shop framed as soon as possible - i.e. before rainy season starts up again.

All interior work I believe will be finished by hubby honey and yours truly. I'm guessing he wants more than open framing and a concrete floor in there. ;-)

We spent most of the weekend clearing all the remnants of the retaining wall debacle of winter 06/07 - meaning 70 + bales of rotted decomposed straw - to which I'm highly allergic - have been removed from my side yard. It's flat again! And mostly rock free (those things multiply faster than rabbits). Lots of play area for the mutt boys.

It was long weekend of dump runs (thank goodness for dump trailers that are available for rent). But all old concrete fence support posts are gone. The final remains of the old dog run are bye bye and a lot of brush and debris that got rake up with yet MORE ROCKS. Oh and one major ant colony - queen and all - I saw her. Now if we could just get all the spiders to relocate....

On a knitting note. No further progress made on the booties, and the little darling they are for made her appearance this morning. Yep - gonna be late. The crocheted item from last week has not gotten any bigger. But I did manage a 1/3 of a row on a sock while waiting for dinner from Carl Jr's Saturday night.

Next week is vacation, so I hope to maybe at least finish the booties while we are on the road. Mutt #2 and Mutt #3 are staying home (aka Oscar and Scrat, aka the monster shedders) and Cliff the Mutt gets some quality one on one time with Mom and Dad.

Lake Shasta (jet skiing), the Rogue River (more jet skiing) and Redmond, Oregon (The Rally - big RV rally) will be host to us and about a billion other people. Should be fun.

Hands off the stash while I'm gone ladies. ;-)

Monday, July 2, 2007

In the dark

There are things that should be done in the dark...

Watching movies
Star Gazing

There are things that should NOT be done in the dark...

Knitting - unless you really are JUST THAT GOOD. I'm not
Crocheting - or more specifically starting a new project if you only know how to start with a chain
Bathing a Cat - you want to see all those pointy ends coming at you

We had a great weekend on the water. A bunch of friends came up yesterday and I managed to haul my behind out of the water onto a water ski (yep just one) for the first time in about 3 years. It was a blast.

Then reality hits and you know you have to go to work the next day while hubby honey and the doggies get to stay and play. (Granted hh is dealing with any client fires he can via remote access, but still, he's there and I am here).

So I rode home with one of our friends who must also toil with the rest of us this week, with the request to keep him awake. Yeah - that's confidence inspiring especially on the day you know your life insurance value increases by about $45000. Hmmmm....

So I grab almost all my yarn stuff for the ride home, in the dark, while making sure the driver stays awake. There is only so many times you can sing Great Green Gobs of Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts! at the top of your lungs before you figure he'll leave you at the side of the road. But it sure is fun to try. We agreed that I'd stop singing and he'd put in hubby's Paul Simon CD. About the time he started smacking the windshield at random moments (apparently there was a mosquito only he could see...) you start doing something else that requires concentration, so you are not dwelling on you imminent demise.

So I grabbed my crochet. Technically it's not a new project (no yarn was purchased here darling mine ;-) ) Just one I have to keep restarting because I keep frakking it up. But there I go chaining in the dark and reading the pattern sheet by headlight.

Here's how far I got:

I have no idea if the first row is right, but it will be covered by the second half of the scarf.

Here is the pattern if you're interested.

Wide Crochet Scarf

Hopefully the intended recipient will like it and not notice that it was started in the dark.