Friday, September 28, 2007

Swap-Bot Swap

A few month's ago Chris found a hand-dyed swap on Swap-Bot and talked me into joining it. It was a really small swap - maybe 12 participants. I sent my yarn out earlier this week as noted here. Mine had to go all the way to Philadelphia and I have no idea if it got there yet.

I was a very lucky recipient. My swap sender was someone known to me,
Louise. She's an awesome sock knitter and a really wonderful hand-dyer. Louise is a friend of Jeanne's. Louise knew that Jeanne and I spent an obscene amount of some time dyeing yarns together and asked her for suggestions on colors. Jeanne's response: "She never met a color she didn't like!"

This is the "freebie" yarn Louise tossed in with her swap yarn. She didn't think it turned out right and suggested that I could over-dye it. Having a lot of experience in this arena myself, I know that my first step is not to go pack to the dyes but to re-skein.

Step 1 - I don't know Louise. It's looking mighty good here. I have a really good feeling about this.

Step 2: on to the niddy-noddy for skeining. Yup - this is a keeper. I'm calling it Juicy Fruit. You, uh, don't want it back now do you? Because it's really quite lovely.

I'm not sure how she managed to pull this off. Given my love for Endless Summer Hydrangeas and their special significance to me this week in particular, Louis dyed this beautiful colorway she named Endless Summer.

Thank you so much, Louise. I will think of Leslie as I knit this yarn into socks and remember her when I wear them.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Up in Flames

Remember this? I neglected to answer the question on what this was. It's not a crop circle or a burn ring from an alien craft. It wasn't a grill accident as some suggested - but close.

Siding remnants ripped from the house. Some people would just - well, I guess I don't know what some people would do with them. But I can tell you that this guy gathered them all in the outdoor fire place and . . . .
. . . lit the match. Boys and fire. It's just a thing I guess.

Dye 'N Dine

I know that Chris, Jeanne and Miss T have already given their reports on our wonderful Saturday together. I really don't have more to add except a few different photos.
Miss T finished a bit earlier than some of us and so she grabbed her knitting and sat peacefully while Chris and I fiddled away with our few remaining skeins.

Jeanne also had some time to knit for a while while Chris and I continued on our merry way.

See the serious look on Chris' face? Yeah me either. Perhaps because you can't see her face? It's because she to busy trying to catch up so she can sit happily knitting like the others at this point.
When all is said and done, that's a lot of yarn. Too much for that small table that's for sure.
Wait - what's that - a new looooooooong table. Thanks for the new table Mr. It sure came in handy with the addition of a new person.
And thanks for taking the group picture - and for understanding the whole "No, you can't show her in the picture!! She wants to be hidden! It's her "thing". Especially when you were ready to leave - like ten minutes ago!Some of my yarn - not reskeined.

The rest of my yarn. The top two are from this weekend as well, and are re-skeined. The grey, black and purple went on to a Swap-Bot exchange. Hey KmKat - You won the Happy Hour Contest!!! Guess what's coming your way sister!!! Send me an e-mail with address etc.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
Thank you all for you wonderful comments about Leslie. They lifted my soul. Her Memorial Service is this morning and I will carry them with me in my heart.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Endless Summer

In memory of my friend and neighbor, Leslie, whom I first told you about here. She passed away on Saturday evening. It was sudden and unexpected, despite her illness. She had a chemo treatment on Thursday afternoon and became ill. By Friday evening there were concerns that she was besoming dehydrated and she went to the hospital for IV fluids. She was to be kept over night and sent home on Saturday. By Saturday afternoon, it became apparent that it was more than dehydration and that she had a virus which her body was just unable to fight. By 8:00 on Saturday evening, she was gone.
Leslie was a wonderful lady - in every sense of the word. She raised three great boys. Two graduated from college last year and her third is in his second year at Purdue. She taught them things like "Drive VERY slowly down our street - Kathryn could be playing out in the street at any time". She made me laugh at all the things I worried about and taught me that I worried way too much about parenting - especially about parenting one daughter. She asked for nothing when she first got ill - no food, no company, nothing. How ironic then, when one of our elderly neighbors was sick that it would be Leslie who would be the one to organize the rotating dinners. She wanted no sympathy, no pity or sadness. She asked to be treated like a "well" person. She acted like a "well" person. We forgot she was sick. Last Sunday we were out playing with the new puppy and she was laughing and playing with him too. She laughed at me because I thought her wig was her real hair. Wednesday she was walking her dogs.
I think she spent this summer exactly as she wanted to. With her husband Joe, her boys, Paul, Curt and Todd, and Raleigh and Owen - her dogs. And now, it's her Endless Summer. Godspeed Leslie. I am missing you so much.......

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Government Without Politics

It probably sounds like an oxymoron, but in this case, at least for me, it was true. Last Friday morning I had the pleasure of watching a very dear friend achieve a career high. That probably sounds like there were drugs involved - trust me, there were not. This is our friend, Jim Keeler, being sworn in as Carver County Attorney, by Judge Michael Fahey. Jim is father to Kathryn's BFF, Maggie. Yea - there are many BFFs - but Maggie holds the esteemed title of "True BFF" and "Second Daughter of Carver County" (she has an older sister).
So now it's official. Jim returns to Carver County where it all started. I feel safe and yet I suddenly realize, I can't get into any trouble in Carver County any more. Oh well. I 'll just go across the street to Hennepin County. I hear it's pretty lax over there since Jim left.

Congratulations Jim! You done good!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New Neighbor - New BFF

We live in a very quiet, secluded neighborhood. No one has moved into or out of our neighborhood since we landed here 13 years ago. So when this little guy showed up about three weeks ago, there was quite a buzz.

Meet Cooper. He's a 12-week old toy poodle who just moved in next door to us. While he technically belongs to Julie, Holli believes the she is responsible for Cooper and they have become the best of friends - despite the David and Goliath thing they have going on.

"C,mon Big Dog. Can we wrestle? PLEASE????"

"Easy now Cooper. I'm not as young as you are."

"OK now, pay attention. This is when they start making you sit still. But if you do it well, you usually get a cookie! Look at the camera...."

"You'll never make a good Blog Dog if you don't learn to look at the camera, Cooper!"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Nearly Missed My Own Party

A network upgrade, and the lack of an engineer during business hours, left me unable to post yesterday. Said engineer also made it nearly impossible to enjoy the beautiful weekend with his new project. Don't worry, that small patch of siding will be coming off too. This project is kind of like picking at a small piece of yarn and unraveling the entire sleeve.
And so it wasn't until Sunday evening that I was able to enjoy the gorgeous sunset, a cool glass of ice tea, my best friend, and some quiet knitting time. I found my Lutea Lace Tank, unfinished stuffed under the bed while trying to retrieve a remote control. I have one strap to finish. Just in time for fall!
I have a few entries from others' virtual Happy Hours - Let's see yours!!
This photo from the back yard - wile it might look like a crop circle or the remains from an alien space craft has a much simpler explanation. Look back to the fist picture and see if you can guess.

Friday, September 14, 2007

You're Adventures of Huckleberry Finn!

by Mark Twain

With an affinity for floating down the river, you see things in black
and white. The world is strange and new to you and the more you learn about it, the less
it makes sense. You probably speak with an accent and others have a hard time
understanding you and an even harder time taking you seriously. Nevertheless, your
adventurous spirit is admirable. You really like straw hats.

Um - no. But next time you see (or hear) me, I may just be speaking in an accent because that's the only part of this that sound even remotely fun!

Have a great weekend - get ready for Happy Hour!!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Happy Hour

ETA: Now with contest goodness!! Post a Happy Hour picture by September 21st and you could win some yarn and related wonders. After you've posted a picture, let me know at deb at secrestfamily dot com.

Dear Carole,

So it didn't work for me to bring my knew
knitting bag out to Massachusetts, and it's not too likely that I'll be in Utah this weekend either. But we've talked about this idea of a virtual Happy Hour for a while. And it seems to me if you can pull off a virtual baby shower, well this should be a piece of - brie.

I'm partial to vodka martinis, as I believe you are. If memory serves,
Margene prefers gin?? I don't have any blue cheese stuffed olives, but I do have blue cheese (it was a bit early to pull it out of the fridge this morning and deal with the smell!) and I can make my own when the time is right.

I'll probably work on this sock for my sister-in-law. Baby cable rib in Koigu. Yum. I'm working on the short row heel and loving it. I may have to get through the heel before I get too far into my martini though. Just sayin...
So here's the deal. At some point this weekend, have a virtual Happy Hour. Get your martinis and your knitting ready. Take a picture. Let me know where you were, what you were working on, who you were with - blah blah blah. This virtual Happy Hour is open to anybody else who wants to join in. Around these parts it's supposed to be a pretty spectacular weekend. I'd expect to see some really nice outdoor "Happy Hour" pictures!
Shaken or stirred??

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

More Than a Feeling

As we prepare to leave the house this morning, it is 37 degrees. Last week, we were expecting a high of 94 degrees. The clever folks on the radio today say things like "It's beginning to feel like fall out there". Wow. Insightful. In so many ways.
You know it's much more than a feeling when these three things break out all at once: closed- toe shoes, long jeans, and hand-knit wool socks. Hmmmm ... do you think the Monkeys will mind being swallowed up by the Bare Traps?

I gotta go grab a sweater. Or two.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

First Day

Kathryn, the animals, and I thought Jon was owed his photo-op this morning as he heads off to his first day on the new job. Everyone, even Tigger, eagerly participated in what is becoming a family rite of passage.
So dressed in smashing new suit, with Coach briefcase in hand (a gift from us the last time he started a new job) he left this morning about an hour early. And while we did not send him off with a new lunch box, we did send him with a coffee cup from a previous job.
Oh, I'm sorry - you can't quite see it? Here's a close up:
Nothing says "I'm a tough guy" like the cup from your stint as a CTU agent. Yea - CTU Western Minneapolis Suburbs. It's a tough job - "You're gonna have to trust me!!"

This new job should be a piece of cake. No nukes or toxic biological threats. Good luck honey! Knock 'em dead - well, maybe just wow 'em.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Mama's Got A Brand New Bag

Around here, the "back-to-school" shopping isn't just for the kid. I have to sneak a few things in for me. I found this in the Pottery Barn Teen catalog and knew I had to have it. Ever since Jack Bauer carried one in every episode for an entire season of "24", I've wanted a messenger bag. They're hardly practical as a purse for me (right Chris!), but as a knitting bag!
A small zippered pocket on the inside for the trinkets and trash of knitting, scissors, tape measure, small needles - you know.....
A large zippered pocket in the center for patterns, magazines, notebooks.....
A place for pencils, pens, markers, straight needles, circular needles, small note pads....
Two wide pockets for projects - enough room for the Babette yarn just on one side alone...
Now I just need somewhere to go. Anyone?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Babette and Beyond

Tigger heard that our current blistering heat wave might break today so he grabbed "Babette in Progress" to be ready.

She's such a lovely project and I'm really happy with it. The Nashua Creative Focus Cotton DK, although a little "splitty" is soft, not to heavy, and I love the colors. I'm making this for Kathryn (sorry Tigger!) so having her hang on my shoulders while I'm working on it is an extra nice bonus. I didn't get as much done on the car trip as I'd have liked to - something different about crocheting in the car versus knitting in the car I guess. So I'm happily working along on Babette ... until I get this in my email:

The "Modern Quilt Wrap" by Mags Kandis from Folk Style. Thanks because I was doing just fine without knowing about this. So like any good knitter I just downloaded the pattern and printed it out. That's all. Just to look at it. And then I ordered yarn for it but that will just sit in the box until Babette is finished. I'm sure of it.

Is it just me or does that model look a bit like Carole's lovely daughter Hannah?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Small Space

I got mostly nothing today except to say that this house gets very small when both Jon and are home together on a school day. Thankfully - it's just for today or I think I'd really go - - well, nuttier than I already am. In case I didn't leave enough room for you to read between the lines last week, Jon DOES have a new job which he will start next Monday. We will be sending off to a large telecommunications equipment manufacturing firm, based right here in the Twin Cities, 5 miles from home, as the Global Vice President of Marketing. When we conquer other planets, then, I guess, he can try for the Interplanetary Vice President's job. I'll probably go lunch box shopping for him this week 'cause I just sent away one of my favorites!! He will be travelling a lot more than any of us is used to. Kathryn and I will be eating a lot more buttered noodles for dinner! It's all good......

"Really - seriously - I mean you'd leave me here with just the chicks?"

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

5th Grade

Here is a normal, average 5th grade girl off to her first day of school. Usually this picture includes the dog, but Holli would not cooperate as I had the leash in my hand indicating a walk was imminent. Kathryn is feeling just a bit ripped-off because of her school situation. She attends a K-8 private parochial school. Around here, most of the elementary schools are K-5. "If I were in public school, I'd be the big kid and this would be my last year!" As it happens in her school, all you get in 5th grade is to be the oldest kid in one wing of the school - and your own locker. It's really tragic isn't it? To think her father and I would deprive her of so much by paying above and beyond what we already pay in taxes for her education.

For me, this is the first time in 4 years that I am not returning to my part-time job. It worries me some to think about this much free time. However, I firmly believe that these next few years are the most important years ever to be here 100% for Kathryn - to be available to listen (or to just listen in), to be available to talk, laugh, cry - whatever. To remind myself that I now have THE most important full-time job ever, I bought this little trinket and I wear it every day. Please tell me I'm right....