Sunday, December 25, 2005

The rest of the day is going to be cloudy and flat, to end in rain, but it started out with a bang.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ice under snow - I hate it. That rain we had on frozen ground last week? It's still there. Today was the first day we haven't had new snow. In fact, today was the first day it crept above 30 F. So of course, today the newer snow is melted into the ice, but there wasn't enough heat to truly melt the ice or make it let go. I just love skating up the drive into the garage.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Now, this is an excellent example of why children should have two or more adult figures in their lives. It rained yesterday after having been below freezing for several days. Rain + frozen ground = ice. About a quarter inch or more of ice before it got cold enough in the air for the snow to fall on top of the ice. About 7:45 pm, K&S started dashing about madly - where's my coat, where's my hat, MOM help me with my snowpants. Where are you going? I inquired. We're going Sledding! I need my SNOWPANTS!

It would never have occurred to me to think of going sledding on ice in the dark with rain still coming down 45 minutes before get-ready-for-bedtime on a school night. Had a child requested permission of me to do so the answer would have been a resounding NO. And yet, if I am honest, my response would have been fundamentally based on: It's cold, dark, rainy, slippery and _I_ am not going out there to supervise. Daddy suggested it, Daddy was willing and eager to participate, Daddy and the juvenile members of the household had a blast. The 20-something neighbor came out and joined them. Mommy stayed inside and eventually made hot chocolate and herbal tea to lure them inside again with. They were warmly dressed, the heirloom sleds they just received from Grandad at T-day got a great workout, their coats dried overnight. They were only a few minutes late going to bed, and they have a memory that will stick with them for a long time. Much more of an event than Mom would have arranged.

The dog was exhausted last night. I am quite, quite sure that a mouse moved into the garden sometime recently. We covered the bed with fallen leaves to compost down over the winter. Deep bed of leaves, endless supply of birdseed from the feeder - what more could any little mousie want - aside from that pesky dog tearing up the neighborhood.

Brandon spent the better part of 3 hours turning over the leaves at the base of the birdfeeder and got quite short with me when I suggested it was time to come in.

I got quite a bit done on my Braids cardigan this week. The charcoal grey Lamb's Pride does not photograph well, but I've finished the back and am almost to the adjustment for the neckline on the fronts. I'm going both fronts at once, and since the whole thing is done seamlessly, I'm sure you can imagine the tangle that two fronts and two skeins of yarn can get into with the finished back lolling about.

Monday, December 12, 2005

I bought a fleece last week and have been waffling about how to deal with washing and processing. It's a merino and I just hate dealing with the amount of lanolin involved. On the other hand, I really don't want a merino overprocessed. Decisions, decisions.

Anybody know a processor who's really good with fine fleeces?

Tiger thinks K's angora is extremely munchalicious. She's going to have to guard this one. K is finding the prep to be wonderful to spin and has a bobbin already to go.

The newest spindle lost a chunk at guild. I was very sad. A moment of silence will now be held.

A large piece of the chip was found about 15 feet away, but a smaller piece wasn't located. Dunno yet what I'm going to do about that. Superglue for the large piece, yes, but then what?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Ok, never mind. I understand exactly why "girls" now. I haven't seen such a catty, gossipy, self-centered and greedy bunch since high school. Not all of them, but several. At least I know which ones to try to talk to next time.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Spinning guild meeting today and it was fun - holiday fiber gift exchange. Everyone (who wants to) brings 8 oz (or so) of prepared fiber, wrapped and unlabeled, and puts their name in a hat. As each person's name is drawn, they pick a present from the table, or that someone else has already drawn. If your present is stolen, you pick another present. When everyone in that round is through stealing presents, another person's name is drawn. Obviously, if you have your eye on a particular present, being drawn last is a benefit. This does not lend itself to finishing quickly: 39 presents took 1:10 to finish down to final distribution. I didn't count the longest stealing chain this year; last year's longest was 8 but I'm sure we beat that record this year.

Katy went with me, as she's now a member under the "family membership" plan I went with this time (I figure, if she's been to guild more than half the meetings this year, she ought to be a member). She wanted a particular present in blue shiny wrap and stole it 7 or 8 times only to lose it at the last minute. Oh, well. I do not feel too sorry for her - her gift was a lovely angora/wool roving. Which, coincidentally, was exactly what was in the blue gift she originally tried for. My gift contained llama and wool, which I was very pleased with, but which I can't photograph worth a darn in the dark. Maybe next time.

I needed a gift for a "girl's grab bag" at a party we're going to this evening. (Aside: Why on earth is a woman in her fifties referring to herself and other adult women as "girls"? It took me the longest time to grasp that when the invitation said "girl's grab bag" she meant ourselves, not our daughters. Anyway.) I walked in to guild and Wendy was selling hand made sushi soap. I love it. If whoever gets it doesn't, they'll just have to give it back to me.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Yes, I know. Blogging always make me appear as though I had the attention span of a gnat. (hush, back there)

The problem is, there's all kinds of time available: Time when nobody is home and I don't have schoolwork or housework to do and can curl up with an audiobook and just knit or spin. Time when I have kids taking a half-hour music lesson and it's a twenty minute drive home-and-back that I'm not about to make. Time when I am co-leading a Girl Scout troop and I'm not on deck for the next ten minutes. Time when there's something interesting (nova? car race?) on that J wants to watch and I can curl up on the sofa with him but don't really need to watch the tv but I am paying attention.

Basically it breaks down into: 1. Time when I need something quick and simple that I can ditch at a moment's notice. 2. Time when I can work on something for longer periods but not so complicated that paying attention to something else for a few minutes is going to make me completely forget where I was and 3. Time when I can work on something complex and not have to worry about interruptions.

So, I wind up with multiple projects - one or more for each kind of time. (Although,I hate it when I have more than one for category 3. Those projects are usually months long at a time as it is - trying to rotate between them makes me insane[er than usual]).

This is currently a category 1. The EZ Stonington shawl is not difficult, at least in the center square, and is currently small enough to be ditched with very little notice as long as I get the needles pushed well through, and yes, I didn't do that at the drs. yesterday and spent 20 minutes putting it back on the needles and fixing dropped-and-run stitches.

It may wind up as a category 2 later on through sheer size, but that'll be ok except that I already have a category 2 (due to size) and then they'll be competing for time. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof - perhaps by then that category 2 will have moved into category 3 - knitted lace edging, only to be done with the pattern posted in front of me, my feet propped up and the headphones on.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

This was one of those unintentional projects. K wanted to spin something, preferrably the Wild Raspberry targhee I had bought for myself I ordered her some. It didn't come and it didn't come. We went to Fingerlakes Fiber Fest (a lovely little fiber fest put on by our local guild) and she bought some red/white/blue stuff which is possibly Romney. Not bad stuff for a beginner to spin, except just ever so slightly felted and stiff from the dye job. Just enough to make it annoying to spin, rather than enjoyable. So, a week later when her wild raspberry targhee arrived, I inherited the red/white/blue stuff.

It is slightly annoying to spin. Particularly on a spindle where I don't have two hands to draft, at least, not in the way I want to draft. It's slightly grabby stuff, so it doesn't want to draft consistently. So, instead of a 2 ply on the spindle, I'm 3 plying it on the wheel. It's faster this way and when dealing with annoying stuff, faster is good.

J was taking pictures with the camera and caught Snowball in mid meyawn. He then went on to take all the cats' pictures - Bitsy in grey and rather indifferent and Tiger demonstrating why one doesn't get red-eye when taking cat pictures.

Monday, December 05, 2005

It's winter time in western NY, on the shores of Lake Ontario. With lake effect snows, of course. We are just close enough to get some lake effect here, although the other side of the bay gets much more. Feed the birds, anyone?

We lost the trees in our backyard last winter and took them down this summer. That doesn't seem to have discouraged the downy woodpecker(s)we had last year though.

It seemed there was always a downy out there, everytime I looked. Then one day, I looked at just the right time and realized there were at least 3 downies around; 2 M and 1 F. They were all there in the tree at the same time for once.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

It's a very odd thing. I have about 17 or 18 blogs that I follow on a regular basis. I've had them in a stack in my favorites of my browser. No, not everyone updates everyday or even every other day, but it took about 15 or 20 minutes to check each one manually. I finally updated to letting bloglines tell me which ones had changed since yesterday. Total time spent checking my blog list? About 30 seconds.

And somehow, that leaves me very flat. Exactly the same amount of new material, much less time spent on it; sort of like biting into a non-fat, no-calorie, no-taste croissant. No substance at all.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The most recent of the spindle spinning on the Lollipops. One strand angora fluff spun from top and two strands denim blue silk top. I have about twice or three times as much silk as angora, so it's becoming two ply silk when I run out of angora.

I'm not sure what any of this is going to become - partly it depends on the yardage I wind up with. How many yards can 2 oz angora and 4 oz silk turn into?

The angora is being spun on the CA Poppy spindle, and the silk is being spun on the snowflake spindle. I'm just eyeballing the amount on each spindle and since the angora is thicker in the strand than the silk is, I wind up with more silk than angora, which doesn't bother me (as noted above). The silk strands came out within inches of each other, so I guess the eyeballing is working for my purposes.

The other spindle is a newly acquired butterfly spindle from Quantum Spindles in ambrosia maple. It is lighter than it would seem at first appearances, which sort of threw me off when I first got it. It's going to be interesting to see what a full cop is on this one since I'm starting with a thinner grist than I would on another spindle I have of this size but heavier.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Chili and further commentary on the cross stitch

Ok, the chili is on, doing it's thing. I won't be here at dinner fixing time (long story, never mind) and I won't be here at pre-dinner fixing time, hence the need for the crock pot to do its thing.


1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground lamb
1 can stewed tomatoes with italian seasoning whirred up in the blender with 1 can (8oz )tomato sauce
12-14 oz beef broth
1 can red kidney beans
2 or 3 T ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4-1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder

Brown meats, drain grease, cook in crockpot on high for 3-4 hours til tasty.
Serve with cornbread.

Commentary on cross stitch.
What I meant to add earlier before I interrupted myself was: It's white Lugana, 25 stitches to the inch, using Q-snaps for stretchers, with the obligatory dime for comparison. Not that the dime is really discernable, but you get the idea.

It's been a long time since I did any work on the jaguar. I'm starting to get wistful comments on it "do you think you'll ever finish it?" The problems of working on things that you wouldn't actually want to do if someone else didn't want them. But that is a gift, yes? Giving somebody something they want instead of what you want?

So I'm back to cracking the whip on myself - gotta get it done. And no, kid, it isn't going to be finished for Christmas or your birthday. Just sometime. And I will keep working on it. One of those things I've promised myself to keep plugging away at. But where have all my handsewing scissors gone?

Eek. The time, the time. Crockpots are wonderful, but not if you don't give them enough time to do their magic.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thanksgiving is over, the kidlings are back in school and I'm supposed to start school today too. Did my instructor post anything yet to start us off? No. Does this make me feel free and easy about doing other things? Obviously not. I'm in here on the computer checking (again) every half hour for any postings from the instructor. I think those warnings to the online students to be prepared to start promptly on time the first day of term have sunk in a little too far.

In the mean time, I'm following up on my promise to myself to get back with several programs, one of which includes updating my blog more frequently. I stubbed my toe hard on that when blogger wouldn't talk to me this morning.

This fits right in with the fact that my daughter missed her bus this morning (for the first time in two years so I really can't complain too much, although I warned her she's used up her one freebie) and my son announced last night at bedtime that he really wasn't sure what he was supposed to be doing in this morning's assignment and on further questioning admitted that 3x5 cards were involved which led to my scurrying about this morning looking for 3x5 cards in the many boxes still to be unpacked in the office. (Incidentally, also a loss of privilege to visit friends this afternoon as I fail to see how it should be necessary for me to be looking for 3x5 cards at 7:10 in the morning after a 4 day weekend, two days of which he was even at home. He could probably more easily have found 3x5 cards in his grandfather's office if he had thought to mention it while we were there.)

I seem to be in the middle of many projects and not finishing up much of anything. I have 3 different spindle projects going and one on the wheel (one waiting to get back on the wheel), two different knit projects and my husband's yarn waiting impatiently. I should go ahead and start that one because the first 15 or so inches will be stockinette in the round on size 3 needles - perfect mindless take anywhere knitting project.

Maybe I'll cast that one on this morning - a useful thing to take while I sit at the dermatologist's with youngest child.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Just getting the new blog started before I direct people from the old one.