Monday, December 31, 2007

While hubby is away...

wifey can be talked into joining him.

So hubby left Wednesday evening for a weekend of quad, ATV, off road riding. Something that I have absolutely no interest in.

Had I gone, I would have spent the weekend in the rig with the fur balls worrying about whether or not I was using too much propane (dry camping) keeping myself from freezing to death while he was out and about on the trail.

Since I could knit at home, that was my option. Little did I know...

Hubby called up Thursday night and start the 'wearing Jenn down so she'll come up for the weekend' process. I had already rented a ton of chick flicks and decided what I was knitting this weekend while I had the house to myself. He says - It's snowing. It's gorgeous. I miss you. Scrat has never seen snow... Help!

I say I'll think about it, knowing FULL well if Hubby finds a cell service area on Friday all my arguments are toast.

Hubby calls Friday. I had checked the weather report (UGLY let me tell you - why do people go there in the middle of winter?) and had my arguments all set up. I haven't driven in the white stuff in 11 years. I shouldn't drive at night if it can be helped, ESPECIALLY not in a storm on unfamiliar roads.

Hubby retorted
with come up Saturday morning and go home Sunday (I have to work Monday you know). He hangs up and promises to call again later.


I really can be a smart cookie sometimes and decided that this isn't a battle I'm going to win. So hubby calls back and I say 'Yes I'll come up in the morning'. Hubby goes 'I love you too, you need to bring this, this and this.' That's Jenn, the pack horse at your service.

So get what I need together and I'm on the road by 11:30. Dogs are ensconced in the car (note to self Oscar has to ride in the front since he gets car sick -UGH) and we are on our way up some of the twistiest roads in Northern California.

I get lost. Apparently Leesville Road is only marked from the other end that I was trying to get to. Thankfully I am happy to stop and ask for directions and I get where I need to be by 2
:30 or so.

The camp sight is a giant mud pit. Perfect. Three dogs, 12 muddy paws, one was clean rig carpet. Glad I packed extra towels.

They had just come in from a ride and hubby was thawing. After he could feel his legs again, we got our friends together and headed up to the snow line.

Well to get to th
e snow line, you have to go through the mud line. Thankfully my car can technically be taken off road (Explorer XLT AWD) but I don't as a rule. If I get stuck I'm screwed, big time. But hubby is fearless and up we go.

Scrat had a blast in the snow. Funny thing about tennis balls in snow. They don't bounce. So Scrat kept barreling right past it (hence the paw prints in the pic).

Ken and Shane and Paul had a snow ball fight, in which you then saw Scrat trying to catch the snow balls.

He finally found one of the tennis balls and just ran around with it.

All in all at the end of the evening Scrat was NOT ready to leave.

We headed back down for dinner and the camp fire. I knit around the campfire, and hubby was the pied piper of the camp ground with the fireworks.

Sunday morning dawns bright and sunny and still cold and they all got geared up for a ride and I headed home.

I wish I had a picture of all the three dogs bundled in the front passenger seat on the way out of the park (camera battery was dead that morning). Totally worth the drive.

Happy New Year everyone. Remember the big rocks, which is what my weekend ended up being.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What day is it again

and why am I at work?

Oh right, work = money = yarn

Well Christmas has come and gone for another year and I have no idea where that year went.

I made one gift this year:

This would be my take on our favorite Harlot's Unoriginal Hat.

This is what happens when I first got to the last three rows and

  1. Ran out of yarn
  2. Realized I TOTALLY cannot read and missed the cable cross on the first big cable
  3. Ripped all the way back and realized I'd have to do my own mod if I wanted to finish it without running out of yarn again.

The yarn is Lion Brand Jiffy Thick n' Quick. I chose
it because the recipient made an afghan in the same yarn.

I used size 10.5 US (6.5mm ?) because I didn't have any 10.75 US (7mm) DPNs (heck couldn't find any in the shops till AFTER I finished the frakking thing).

In the end it looks like a schizo gumdrop, but the recipient likes it and it fits. Doesn't get much better than that.

We had a busy four day weekend, which started Friday night with the company Christmas party down in South SF.

Nobody bothered to tell me that dark colors were the choice du jour, so boy do I stand out. But I
love that dress. It was my wedding dress for wedding to current (lol) hubby.

A good time was had by all.

Saturday started bright and late. Then we tore up the work surfaces in hubby's side of the new office so we could expand his side to give him more desk space. He is much happier now and spent most of the rest of the weekend organizing everything, while I ventured out amongst the lunatic consumers.

Sunday was shopping, shopping, and more shopping. Mostly for food. Hubby was leaving on a quad riding trip the day after Christmas and it's my job to make sure he has way more food than he and Shane could ever eat in 6 days. They might run out of propane on the rig, but they won't run out of food.

Monday was a day of doctor appointments (a friend is sick and I'm m
orale support), more shopping and last minute gift buying (happens every year sigh) and more organization on hubby's office. I prepped teriyaki pineapple meatball and pineapple chunk shish kabobs for his trip. Loaded a ton of food. We went to a friend's house for dinner and had a lovely time.

Tuesday was the marathon cooking day from h*. Please note that I am not a chef. I do not want to be a chef. I don't even really like food. I eat because I have to. However I will state that I am getting better in the kitchen, which hubby likes.

Here is how Christmas went

  • Pancakes
  • Bacon
  • Toast
  • Gaming briefly
  • Find an open grocery store because I'm out of sugar for the lemonade and he won't camp without S'more fixings and I forgot the chocolate - I know the blasphemy - I'm female, I knit, I crochet, I quilt and I cross stitch, how in all that's holey did I forget the chocolate?
  • Start prep work for homemade mac n cheese - onions, macaroni cooked, destroy cuisinart grating 2 pounds of Cabot's extra sharp white cheddar (man is that stuff good)
  • Call MIL and have her talk me through the roux
  • Fill two pyrex dishes with Mac n Cheese
  • Start the ham
  • Forget about the ham (thank goodness for glaze)
  • Start the tri-tip
  • Make mashed potatoes
  • Carmelize pineapple slices for the the glaze
  • Drag hubby in for dinner - which was the ham and potatoes and pineapple
  • Stuff hubby to gills then have him carve the tri tip
  • Shrink wrap the tri-tip in it's juices in sandwich sizes for his trip
  • Do same thing with left over ham
  • Make lemonade
  • Figure out how I'm getting two batches of lemonade in the RV fridge with 2 gallons of milk, a tri tip, two buckets of crab and corn chowder, a 9 x 12 mac n cheese, one giant tub of macaroni salad, oodles of TJ's Maui Ribs, the shish kabobs, left over ham. Thank goodness for left over canning jars from the apple butter marathon of July.
  • Pack all the warm clothes hubby owns plus some
  • Load his quilt
  • Load extra blankets (they are totally going to freeze)
  • Collapse into bed
He and Shane were safely off on their trip yesterday evening. I have the house to myself, mostly - we have a house guest, but she's as into doing nothing as I am right now, and boy I don't intend to cook all weekend if I don't have to.

Just me, my knitting, my dogs, my cats, and as many chick flicks as I can stomach between now and Tuesday night. Maybe a quilt thrown in for good measure.

If any of you want to stop by for a chick knit night feel free. My door is open. Just be warned about the dogs and the cats and the anti cooking protest I have going on right now.

I will leave you with a picture of my darling Smokey Cat. Yes he is all fur and no cat. He weights a whopping 7 pounds soaking wet and no that's not a bad thing. FYI, his front feet are as soft as they look as long as he keeps all the pokey ends in.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cats on a Cat

Doesn't it seem fitting that a cat would be the model for my first learning sock from Cat Bordhi's new book: New Pathways for Sock Knitters Book One?

Please say hello to Nemo, the newest and cutest feline footwear model on my block. Okay the only one because the neighbor's cats won't come near me and Rasta (Nemo's brother) has a glare that will slice right through you. Besides Rasta was busy warming my side of the bed, while Nemo was helping to keep 'Dad' warm in his recliner.

Nemo is one of two brothers that we have in the feline crew. He loves to be loved, even
if he is convinced you are going to eat him when you are finished.

I really don't think this is what his wish to be allowed to play with yarn was supposed to turn into. ::big grin::

A cool thing about Nemo , which you should be able to see here, is that he has extra toes on his front paws. They are actually pretty perfect for filling out this teeny tiny sock.

Also he was kind enough to keep all those claws in during the modeling. No claw snags on these socks.

This is the Little Sky Sock from the aforementioned book. I did NOT use the recommended yarn or needles. I wanted to be able to do it on the needles I intend to use and the sock yarn I want to muck with.

So that said I used size 1's (metal pale green) DPNs and Koigu KPPPM. Yes I am a lunatic. I may make the mate so that my friend's daughter has a matching pair for one of her dolls. But then it's on to the baby Coriolis, because that is THE big sock I want to make out of that book.

If your interested, I made the quilt that DH is under and Nemo is holding down. It's the Pathway pattern on one side (you'd have to see the whole thing to see why it's called that) and an astronomy themed panel with borders on the other side. All in hubby's favorite color - blue.

It took me forever, but DH got what he wanted. A blanket he could tuck under his toes and still tuck under his chin. Let's just say it's big enough for a queen size bed. He is 6'1" after all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Forever 16 (PIF)

and today he would have been 37.

This is my brother, Robbie. It is the only picture I have of him, and I swiped it out of my senior high school year book this morning.

What can I tell you?

  • He and I were 3 months apart in age
  • He became a member of our family when he was 2.
  • He was 6'4" and still doing his beanstalk impersonation
  • He had blond hair and green eyes
  • He hated PE, actually I think school in general, but he was really smart.
  • When he played baseball, it seems like he could get from first to second base in three strides.
  • He adored our nephew Michael and his mother, our sister, Christine.
  • He was more troubled than any of us ever saw
  • He chose to end his life 20+ years ago and I still don't know why he did it, and it's a question that can never be answered.
And yet, to this day I wonder why, what would have become of him if he hadn't made that choice, what our family dynamics would be if he were still here.

We fought like cats and dogs - we were teenagers after all - but I miss him.

He left a lot of pain behind when it happened:

He left his pain here
But he left the rest of us hurting because we couldn't see what was so wrong that death was a better choice than life.

He also left two songs to remember him by - Bon Jovi's Never Say Goodbye and Pat Benatar's Love is a Battlefield.

I'll be playing those today, it seems appropriate, don't you think?

This also seems like an appropriate time to have signed up for the PIF that's been running through blog land.

So in his name:

I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days. That is my promise. The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

Also note that it doesn't have to be a knit item. It can be crochet, quilting, cross stitch, woodworking, whatever you choose as your craft of choice.

Help me Pay it Forward and we'll see how I did same time, same place, next year.

I leave you with my senior yearbook dedication:

There is no greater sorrow than to recall in misery, the times when we were happy. Robert you'll never be forgotten.

Love your sister,

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fetchingly Fast

For the first time in my knitting career I have finished something in the time stated in the pattern.

I started it Friday night when I got home from work and finished the pair on Sunday around 11. And by finished I mean off the needles, not all the ends woven in. ::grin::

What do you think?

Yarn is:

Hot Pink from Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran

Gray from RYK Cashsoft Aran

Now you might be wondering who they are for.

Well I am having dinner with a friend tomorrow night who was kind enough (or crazy) to admire my knitting when she was at my house a couple of weeks ago and I told her I'd make her a pair of fingerless gloves.

I was totally thinking I'd make a repeat of my Mac n Me pattern, but let me tell you those don't knit up fast.

Hit knitty because I remembered this pattern was there.

I also grabbed it's mate for a friend at work that is kind enough to cart my handknits down to another office for me on a regular basis. I started them last night.

I figured if I got the pink pair done by tomorrow Great! if not no worries.

What's even better is they are the same size and I crossed the cables properly.

Speaking of cables. Something else I did on Saturday that I never do. I actually read one of the features on Knitty. I'm sorry Amy but I want the patterns.

However I was dealing with a client issue and needed something to read till he got back to me and hit the web site.

You must read Techniques with Theresa. Her cable article would have saved me a TON of time on the first glove. Woo hoo! No more cable needles for Jenn, which is good since the cat used the last one for a chew stick.

FYI, the only reasons I managed to finish those gloves by 11 pm Sunday night were

1. We watched The Wind and the Lion Sunday night and I apparently can do K4 p1 rib in my sleep now

2. Hubby let me knit in bed Sunday morning while he played Jewel Quest on my DS.

3. And Theresa's lovely explanation of cabling without a cable needle. Best one I've seen yet.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Tag - you're it!

Oh my gosh - my first Tag

Rosemary is smoking some really good crack if she thinks I can come up with 7 people to pass it on to. ;-)

1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird things about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

7 random or weird things about me - boy talk about TMI

1. I have two separate BS degrees - Computer Science and Physics - and yet I cannot balance my checkbook without the use of Quicken

2. I wear hearing aids in both ears. Both the behind the ear type. One is neon yellow and the other is royal blue. I've had others that were neon orange (dog ate it) and one that is emerald green which is a backup. I intend to go with hot pink and purple for the next set.

3. I can maneuver a 35' motorhome through rush hour traffic on the 101 on a Friday evening in Sonoma County. Please note that it's always a better idea to get BEHIND me rather than squeeze in front of me, as 10 tons of Gross Vehicular Weight does NOT stop on a dime.

4. I can maneuver a jet ski trailer on the boat ramp with the best of the boys. My husband is always getting comments on it by the other guys bringing their boats in at the launch.

5. I can use our tractor (as long as my husband is not around) just as good as hubby to dig trenches, scoop and dump gravel, etcetera.

6. I am deathly afraid of ladders and bicycles, but I will use both when necessary

7. I have a mostly photographic memory, especially for numbers, which makes number one on this list all the more hilarious.

All right folks, Taunya, Shawn, Jamie, KWC, Alison, Leslie, Nathan

Three of you haven't posted in ages and I figure at least a couple of you aren't going to speak to me again after having tagged you, lol. Now is your chance.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Northern Spherechasus Chihuachsund

a.k.a Scrat the Brat and his sidekick Mr. Pitiful.

Scrat is a mutt of unknown origin so we decided to give him a breed name:

Northern Spherechasus Chihuachsund

Can you figure out where it all came from?

Kaji just LOVES him. As in HATES with a passion.

I don't think I've ever seen her ears that flat. She wasn't too happy that I took pictures of him licking her head.

Mr. Pitiful, a.k.a. Oscar the Dog, got a hair cut recently. Isn't he just too sweet? He's 25 pounds (maybe less I need to check) of total Mom Worship, hence the reason he will actualy look at me when I take his picture.

Please, please ignore the spots on the carpet behind him.

DH is on a quest to get me the miracle spot remover I use. Non toxic, doesn't have to b
e rinsed, doesn't stain, safe for the animals and WORKS. OMG does it work.

We finally had the dinner I scrubbed the house for.

I even set the table. Yes, I am very aware of the fact that the ceiling light, while centered on the ceiling, can never be centered over the table. Ask OCD girl how she feels about that, go ahead. I dare you.

I got most of the prep work done ahead of time.

Chicken marinating in Basalmic Vinegar, Olive Oil, and a spice thing from Tastefully Simple.

Chopped Italian parsley (I THINK that's what the recipe meant when it called for flat leave parsley - I don't have a clue)
Chicken broth
Cannellini White Beans
Sliced onions - which I think should be chopped for this recipe but forgot this time and chopped garlic.

It was all ready to go when the company showed up.

Just throw everything in the pans, heat, cook, toss with spinach and lemon juice, serve. Hope everyone likes it, ply them with wine before hand, so it doesn't matter. All in all have a nice evening.

I showed our guest my craft room while her partner kicked hubby's behind at pinball. We went to Screaming Mimi's in Sebastopol for dessert. And I promised her a pair of my Mac n Me fingerless gloves (see I can squeeze knitting into the conversation without even trying).

Speaking of knitting...

Go check out the latest Knitty.

My friend Rosemary made the cover again.

Luckily I have a TON of Kidsilk Haze and beads like you wouldn't believe.