Monday, December 31, 2007

The Snuffleupagus Generation Gap

Several of my co-workers are about 10 years younger than me. Many of them graduated from college recently and were born in the 80s. Wow. They are young. They don't understand a "Who Shot JR?" reference, the Space Shuttle tragedy refers to the Columbia, and the Simpsons has pretty much always been on TV.

And...everyone on Sesame Street has always known Mr. Snuffleupagus.

I didn't think about this until today when I was telling a co-worker how I had been referred to as a "snuffleupagus". She just looked at me askance. And then I realized...in her world, Snuffy was never accused of being Big Bird's imaginary friend! Everyone always knew him! When I watched Sesame Street, Snuffy always took off before Gordon, Maria, or Bob ever showed up. No one thought he really existed.

I think this is a little sad. Never will they be able to say to a friend, whose significant other they have not met:

"I don't think she exists. She's a snuffleupagus."

A great loss for that generation. A great loss.

Zoey The Cat

Well, Zoey has been with me for about three weeks now. She has really warmed up to me. She loves to sit in my lap and be petted. Whenever I am holding something, she has to come over and check it out. She'll nip at the remote, my cell phone, knitting needles, whatever it is in my hands. Fortunately, she doesn't seem too interested batting around my yarn or playing with my projects. She may knead the fabric a bit and sit on it, but that's it.

Zoey drinks from a water glass (hey, Gretchen and Matt...how did that start?). Matt brought "her glass" with him when Zoey came to live with me. Unfortunately, it looks just like my glasses, so I have to be careful. A couple times this weekend she tried to drink from my water glass.

She still likes to sit in the closet...


And the bath tub holds a certain fascination for her...


I bought her some new toys this weekend and she had a lot of fun batting them around. It was really funny to watch.


She's a sweet cat. I wish I knew what all her meows mean. She was so chatty this morning. Maybe she was trying to wish me a happy new year.

A Well Received Gift

I got together with my friend Lucy last night to deliver the Thinking Dress. I was worried it wouldn't fit Mara (21 months). She called me when she got home and said that it fit perfectly and that Mara loved her new purple dress. In fact, I could hear Mara in the background running around and shouting. Yay!

In other weekend knitting news, I finished up the right front of the Ribby Cardi. The pic isn't that great.

So, on to the back! And then the arms! And then the finishing!

I also started the Friday Harbor Socks. I didn't get very far, but here 's the progress. I worked on this while watching Bruce Almighty on Fox Friday night.

You might notice something in all these pictures. Why, it's my new table! Saturday morning I went to Ikea, had their $1.99 breakfast, and then bought a table!


When Zoey the Cat tries to jump on it, she sort of slides across.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Quick Knitting Update...And Video Game Update

The Ribby Cardi is coming along wonderfully! I'm about halfway done with the right front. It's a perfect project for bus knitting and social knitting. I could probably finish it up tonight, but since I plan to be home alone knitting, I think I may work on something that requires more concentration. Such as....

The Friday Harbor Socks. I printed up the Errata and will maybe cast on for those tonight. I'm using my Silkie Socks That Rock.

In other knitting news, I spent part of Tuesday night frogging all the pieces of the Dragon Hoodie. For you non-knitters out there, that is when you rip out all your knitting. Get it? Rip it..rip it...rip it. I loved this line from Knitty.com:

"The term frogging gives the impression of a rather exuberant ripping out of knitted stitches."

It was not nearly that much fun.

The other thing I try to do when I get a chance is play Ratchet and Clank. I'm on Planet Barlow right now...and about the only the I have left to do is win the hoverbike race. Playstation keeps track of how long you've played the game. I've played about 10 hours total, and I think it may take me nearly as long to win the hoverbike race. I can't move on to a new planet until I do that. Sigh. Fortunately, Ratchet and Clank do not reside at my home, otherwise who knows how much time would be wasted. Precious knitting time.

Last night I had to turn the sound down while I played so I didn't have to listen to poor Ratchet's cries as I dropped him in to the abyss over and over. Poor little guy.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

More Christmas Goodies!

I know my sister is excited to see more pictures of some of the gifts I received for Christmas, so here goes.

First up, my Sox Stix! Aren't they beautiful? They are Rosewood in a size 3. I'm planning to knit some little swatches with some of my sock yarn and then make a decision about what to knit with these. I'm very excited. I think they are so beautiful...I just want to carry them all over with me.
Then I got this! The coolest thing ever, and it matches my red kitchen perfectly. It's a butter bell! It keeps your butter fresh and at room temperature (SPREADABLE!). Now, I just need to get a salt pig. Maybe not a $30 one tho'.

Here it is in action!


There were several items I received that had been purchased at the No-Coast Craft-O-Rama. Below you can see my Alpaca, a mug from Jennie the Potter, and a little pin that is so cute.

I also got some gift certificates, including one for a new transportation service. I'm looking forward to checking that out. This service comes complete with driver. Beat that, Zipcar!

(I actually love Zipcar. It rocks.)

Overall, this was a wonderful Christmas. All my gifts were thoughtful and perfect. I'm a lucky girl.

Zoey the Cat has found a new place she likes to hang out. My closet. I can't blame her. It's very warm.

Yeah, it's kind of a disaster in there.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Nothings Says "Merry Christmas" Like Vodka

My dad and step-mom gave me liquor for Christmas! How great is that? Just so you know, this also came with some martini glasses. If they had given me some vermouth as well it would have been perfect. But, you know what Winston Churchill said about making the perfect martini? You fill a martini glass with gin (or in my case, vodka), while looking at the bottle of vermouth. Or something like that.

Christmas Eve at my dad's house was a fun, loud, raucous evening. What can you expect when the kids outnumber the adults...and I use the word "adults" very loosely.

Emily made these really nice place cards for all the family. She drew a little nativity scene on each one (she made about 20 I suppose), and then wrote a special message on the back. My favorites were the ones that said "I Snow Love You".


Everyone had a wonderful time. It was fun to watch the kids open their gifts. Lots of toys for the little kids, and the big kids got new digital cameras.

Christmas morning I headed back to my mom's house to pick up her size two Addi Turbo Lace knitting needles. My mom got a really nice laptop from my step-dad. When I asked her what she was going to do with it she said, "Well, now when Dick is on the computer downstairs, I can be on Ravelry upstairs". Yes! A laptop specifically for knitting purposes.

My step-dad was very excited about his air compressor. And nail gun.
I could only stay at mom's a short while. It was snowing again. So, back to St. Paul I went and my cozy apartment where Zoey the Cat was waiting. We spent some quality time listening to Christmas music while I knit. Here is what I accomplished over the weekend. The left front and part of the right front of the Ribby Cardi.

No post would be complete without another cute photo of Zoey. I think she is looking out the window, wondering where the Hanukkah Armadillo is.


I'll post more later about some of the goodies I got for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Snowy Day

I thought I'd share some photos of the snowy goodness that hit us here in Minnesota this past weekend.

I woke up Saturday the 22nd to a Winter Wonderland.

It didn't snow the rest of the day. I spent the day in another wonderland known as Minneapolis - brunch at the French Meadow Bakery, visited the Walket Art Center for the British Television Commercial Awards and Frida Kahlo exhibit, treats at Sebastian Joe's (a sign of a true Minnesotan is that you go and get ice cream when it is 10 degrees out), wandered over to Uptown to see Juno at the Lagoon Theater, and then hit up Bar Abilene for some margaritas! Busy day!

The 23rd was another snowy day. High winds, icy roads, and snow, snow , and more snow made for a bad day for traveling. I celebrated Christmas at my mom's house that day, and when I left to head back to St. Paul, this is what it looked like.
Needless to say, I did not enjoy the drive back home. I made it safely, and spent the rest of the evening curled up on the couch with Zoey the Cat, knitting and watching the Vikings get their butts kicked by the Washington Redskins.

Zoey let me rub her tummy while she rolled all around my lap. She also really liked the Ribby Cardi. She spent several minutes pawing the fabric, and then she sat on it. Eventually, I got her up and then spent some time knitting while she sat in my lap.

The she curled up on the couch for a nap.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas on December 23rd!

I am here at my mom's with my niece Emily, and we are going to share some of the fun we have had today.

Of course, there is a lot of good food here at Mom's house. Here is a photo of the entire spread.
Emily did a great job stacking all the meat...

And she created this great cookie tray.

Of course, we are having Monkey Bread. Here it is in the prep stages.


My favorite part of Christmas at my Mom's house is our stockings. Here are some of my goodies.


You can see my Alpaca from Crabtree Studios, some Burt's Bee's Cuticle Creme (one of my favorite things), and a little kitty.
My brother Andy and his family just arrived, so I'll be signing off now. Thanks to Emily who helped me with this blogpost. She is 8.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Hey! Nice Pants!

Things are pretty quiet here at work today. Yesterday was the last day of finals, so the fall semester is officially over and students are heading home.

I came across two of my co-workers re-living fashion circa 1986.
Just in case you can't see that very well, here's a close up:

Another co-worker brought in a pie from Bettie's Pies...a toffee cream pie. Mmmmmm. So good!

Speaking of pies, I called back the company about the pecan pie. The woman I talked to this time told me to keep it. I'll be taking it to my dad's on Christmas Eve, I think. I've never had Pecan Pie before!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Random Chatter

This morning I got on the bus and the woman who also rides that bus most mornings was knitting. I've been riding that bus for almost a year and have never seen her knit. Now, the last day I will be riding that bus, I discover she too is a knitter. She was working on an afghan. I shared my progress so far on my Ribby Cardi (more on that later), and also showed her the picture of my dad's sweater that I have in my cell phone. It's a little sad...a lost knitting connection. Sigh.

We have two short weeks at work, so my hours will be different, and then I go back to a regular 5-day week. For the past three years I've been working 4 10-hour days. Wednesday was my day off, and I loved it. I often said, "I wouldn't give my Wednesday up for ANYTHING."

Well, I lied. A co-worker had a baby in October (the recipient of the Cherry-O! Hat), and she really wanted to work a 4 day week, but there were already the maximum number of people doing that. I know my sister really treasured the time when she worked four days and was able to spend some extra time with Nathan. So, I offered my Wednesday to my co-worker. I mean, really, what's more important? She gets an extra day with her baby, or I get to do my laundry and run all my errands? She comes back to work in the New Year, and then I begin a regular work week.

Some people think I'm crazy...but I'm actually excited to not have to wake up at 5 a.m. and to have a little more free time in the evenings. And, I'll be done with work in time to make it to Happy Hour!

So, I spent my last Wednesday off doing some things I like to do. I had lunch with my mom downtown at Eddingtons, did a little shopping, started working on the Ribby Cardi, and then headed to The Happy Gnome to meet my friend Jon for some holiday beer...er, cheer.


We had a lot of choices for our Holiday Cheer...I had the Surly Furious.

And, as I've mentioned several times now, I started work on the Ribby Cardi. I bought the yarn three years ago. I knit one for my sister, and am FINALLY going to start mine! Not much to see so far...just a bit of the left front.


And one more random note! Last night Zoey sat on my lap for the first time! She got up, walked over, and had seat. Only for a minute or two, but it was nice.

Then she threw up.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wow. Tell Us How You Really Feel.

I overheard the following conversation while at the Target on Nicollet Mall yesterday. Apparently, these two women were discussing Christmas gift ideas for a "friend".

Woman#1: Well, what are her hobbies? What does she do for fun?
Woman#2: I dunno...get drunk and not take care of her kid?
Woman #1: Well, doesn't she like scrapbook or anything?
Woman#2: OH PLEASE! She doesn't have enough brainpower to make a scrapbook.

So, uh...why are you buying this woman a Christmas gift?

Maybe She Wants To Learn To Knit

Zoey the Cat seems to be warming up to me. Tuesday night she was crawling on me...but I think she was more interested in checking out the knitting that was going on. She sniffed at my needles and the yarn, then went on her way.

Wednesday night she actually let me pet her a little bit. That was nice. I'm sure as time goes on she'll get more comfortable with me.

She still likes to hang out in the bathroom. I almost feel bad having to kick her out...


I was off work yesterday. Zoey spent most of the day curled up at the end of my bed. Awww....how sweet.

I started working on the Friday Harbor socks from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road. They were a bit tight, so I'll try again with a larger needle. I also found a nice post that talks about knitting this sock and has a link to the Interweave erratum. I really had trouble with it because I couldn't seem to stay in the pattern. The number of stitches just DID NOT WORK with the chart. Turns out I am not crazy...there really is an error. Ha!

I'm going to use my Sikie Socks that Rock yarn for these. I got far enough on the sock to know they will be beautiful!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monkey Socks

As I said yesterday, I finished the Monkey Socks that I was making for my friend, Carrie. Carrie and I got together last night for some dinner at the Chatterbox Cafe. She recently cut her dreadlocks off so I was able to see her new haircut, and present her with her new socks!

They fit great, and she said the colors reminded her of candy. Here's the picture again:


Pattern: Monkey Socks by Cookie A., available at Knitty.com
Started: September 2007
Finished: December 2007 (no, it doesn't usually take me four months to knit socks)

I really liked the bamboo yarn. It's very stretchy. I think I'd use smaller needles next time (which means I'd have to use a size 0) as the socks were a bit loose.

This means that I am now officially between projects! I have nothing on the needles at the moment. My plan is to start some socks for myself with my Silkie Socks that Rock, begin the Ribby Cardi (I've had the yarn for three years now), and start over on the Dragon Hoodie.
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Last night when I got home, there was a pecan pie waiting for me. Well, not for me. It was for "Allan Family". These people must have lived in my apartment before me, but how a whole family fit in there, I'll never know. Not sure what to do, I called the company that sent the pie, hoping they'd just tell me to keep it. No such luck. "Can you send it back?" they asked, "Just call UPS and have them pick it up". Argh. I already have a feeling this is going to be more trouble than it's worth. I should have just eaten it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mom, Are You Reading This?

I have a red, KitchenAid Artisan mixer. It was a gift from my sister about seven years ago. I recently found out that there is an ICE CREAM MAKER attachment for it. If all caps did not properly convey my excitement about this, then I'll be more explicit: HOW COOL IS THAT?

Right now, it's on sale at Macy's, and then there is a 25% rebate. I think all total you can get it for about $60 or $70.

In my own Christmas shopping news, I purchased my first Christmas gift on Saturday. This was a slightly selfish gift purchase. I know this person will like the gift, but I'm hoping that I will be able to use/play with/read/wear/eat/listen to it as well. No, it doesn't really do all those things, but the person receiving the gift reads this from time to time, so I need to be a little sneaky.

When Life Gives You Ice, Go Ice Skating!

When you have a beautiful sunny day with temps in the 20s and no wind in Minnesota, it's best to get out and enjoy it. Saturday, I headed to Rice Park in downtown St. Paul for free ice skating. Even better, if you have a Wells Fargo check or credit card, the skate rental is free too!

My first comment when I got out on the ice was, "It's so slippery". Well, yeah. It's ice. I don't know what I was expecting.

The rest of the day was spent lounging around the Tea Garden and then heading over to Ristorante Luci (just a few blocks from me) for dinner.

The big news this weekend was the arrival of Zoey the Cat. Matt arrived about 5:30 on Friday and we got Zoey settled in before we headed to Cecil's for some dinner. If you have not been to Cecil's, you are missing some of the best food in the Twin Cities.

Zoey is still very wary of me, and hisses when I get too close. Occasionally, she'll bat at me with her paw and make a disturbing growling noise. I'm just trying to give her some space. She seems to like sitting on my bathroom rug. I also found her in the bathtub Sunday morning.

And last but not least, I finished the Monkey Socks this weekend! I don't have a great picture yet, but will hopefully get some of them on Carrie's feet this evening. I'll post more info on the socks tomorrow


Friday, December 14, 2007

The Mitten

I have successfully completed the first of my UFOs! I finished the second mitten on Wednesday. I really like the pattern I used: Bev's THE Mitts. It was so easy and the mitten knit up incredibly fast! I think I will make more with this pattern.

The mitten was knit flat. After completing the cuff and a few rows, you begin to increase in the middle of the mitten for the thumb. That is where the markers are. See those needles...my very first pair of needles, ever! My sister, Gretchen, bought them for me. Silvalume Susan Bates, Size 8. I learned to knit on these needles.

Once the increases are done, you leave the sides on holders and just knit the thumb. Here the mitten is, ready for the thumb.

And before I knew it....
From there, it was pretty easy. I did not make the decreases as the pattern called for...I improvised to make the two mittens match. And here they are!
As you can see, one is bigger than the other. My gauge was looser than my sister's (remember, she knit this first mitten about 8 years ago). I know I should have checked this, but they are close enough.
I'm so excited to have them done. Now, I have mittens to match the scarf Gretchen made me....


The Dragon Hoodie is up next on the UFO list, but it will have to wait until the Monkey socks are done.

I Am In Love...With A Skein of Yarn

I've been making a lot of progress on the Monkey Socks for my friend Carrie. I'm past the heel turn and working on the foot. With any luck, I'll finish them Monday and be able to give them to her when I see her Monday night!

Of course, this means I'll need to start another pair of socks, and these ones will be for me! I've been intrigued by this lovely Silkie Socks that Rock I received from my Sock Pal this past summer. The colorway is Lagoon. Little did I know just how beautiful it was!

I decided to set it out on my coffee table so I'd be motivated to pick a pattern and get started. I figured I might as well roll it in to a ball as well. First things first, I laid it out to get an idea of how the colors looked...

The yarn has lovely greens, blues, and grays. This picture does not do it justice. It looked lovely laying there on my table, but I still didn't really know how lovely.

Then I started to roll it up. Oh my...I was just blown away by how beautiful it was. All the colors having the chance to mix and mingle, and that beautiful sheen. I absolutely fell in love with it.
Isn't it beautiful?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's Like The Never Ending Gift Card

I went to Target yesterday to attempt once more to use up my gift card. I bought a pair of jeans, 2 sweaters, a toy for a tot, and a pony-tail holder...and I still have $25.98 left. It's like the bottomless gift card.

I also finished the mitten yesterday! Wow...it went so fast. Actually, the entire time I was at Target all I could think about was getting home to finish the mitten. I'll post some pics tomorrow.

I've spent today getting ready for Zoey the Cat's arrival. I've got some cat treats for her and a little toy. I've been told when she gets here, after an 11 hour car ride from Indiana, that she will be...cranky. Well, who wouldn't be? She'll probably hiss at me the first few days and hide under the bed. I checked the state of under my bed this morning and was quite shocked. It was quite the haven for dust bunnies. Good thing I checked or I'd have a dusty cat on my hands.

Tomorrow, it's back to work. It was kind of nice having a weekend in the middle of the week.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Finally, an FO!

I finished the Thinking Dress over the weekend! I worked on it while watching random SNL sketches, a Timberwolves victory (no, that isn't a typo), and some football.


Pattern: Thinking Dress by Louisa Harding, available in Miss Bea's Rainy Day
Yarn: Lion Brand CottonEase in a lilac shade
Started: November 4, 2007
Finished: December 9, 2007

Sadly, it seems pretty small to me and I do not think it will fit the girl for whom it was intended. So, I might wind up knitting another one a size larger for her, and give this to someone else.

This was an easy knit and nice for a quick project. I enjoyed doing something for a child that was NOT a hat. The CottonEase was fine, but I did get frustrated when I was picking up stitches around the back and armholes. For some reason, the yarn was really acting splitty at that point.
Here is what the back looks like.

What Would YOU Do With A $100 Target Gift Card?

Me? I'd buy some $2.99 measuring spoons.


I've got a lot of shopping left to do.

Friday, December 7, 2007

A Few Things I am Looking Forward To...

Greetings! The holiday season is here (I realize my notation of this is a bit late). Other than the chance to run around wearing snowflakes on my head and listen to The Kingston Trio Last Month of the Year album over and over and over, there are many things I am excited about this holiday season.

Here are just a few:

My twin sister, G, and her family (M and N) are moving back to Minnesota in January! For years G and I have lamented the fact that we can't go shopping at Target together. This is all about to change. I hope her husband is prepared.

I'll have a cat for a bit! I will be caring for Zoey the Cat while G and M look for a place to live here in Minnesota. I've been assured she will not try to sleep on my head.

My step-sister, B, is expecting a baby...ANY DAY NOW! This will be niece/nephew 16 for me. Oh yeah...17 and 18 are on the way.

Mostly, I'm excited to spend Christmas Eve with my family, and looking forward to Santa's visit. For some reason he showed up at my Dad's house on Thanksgiving. I hope he doesn't forget to come back on the 24th!

And, I can't forget...I'm excited about all the things I am going to knit in the next few weeks. Well, okay...the one or two things.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Mitten! Kobe! More Snow!

It's been an exciting few days here in Minnesota. Well, if knitting accomplishments and watching your basketball team lose can be called exciting. I think I'll rewind a couple days....

We got more snow here in the Twin Cities on Tuesday. It snowed all day, and by the time I left work, it was a mess. I actually got to leave early, which was good, otherwise I would not have made it downtown in time to see the Wolves take on the Lakers. The bus was hot, crowded, and full of loud people. It took us a half-hour to get from Coffman Union to the Metrodome...for those of you not from around here, this usually takes 5 minutes. Of course, it then took another 20 minutes to get to Hennepin Avenue and the Target Center.

I was pretty excited to see Kobe Bryant play. He is a basketball superstar after all. Of course the Wolves lost, but we did have the game tied for one brief, shining moment!


Yeah...in the 1st Quarter. It was all downhill from there.

Wednesday was my day off. I work four ten-hour days...for a couple more weeks anyway. I woke up and this was what my neighborhood looked like.
I did the things I like to do on my day off: Coffee and the newspaper at White Rock Coffee Roasters, visit the library, went to see the movie Enchanted, and of course got some knitting done. Finally!

I completed 3 more pattern repeats on the Monkey socks, so they are ready for the heel flap, 10 more rows on the Thinking Dress (I hope mine looks as nice as the one in the link) and worked on the mitten UFO. I only finished off the thumb.


I'll start the other mitten over the weekend. My sister does not have a pattern for these, so I am going to use a pattern I found on Ravelry as a guide. It's Bev's THE Mitts by Beverly A. Qualheim. I know my sister did these flat and this pattern looks to be very similar. Now, I only hope there is enough yarn for a second mitten!