Thursday, January 31, 2008

Movin' Right Along

Look! Progress on the blanket! Only another 14 inches or so before I start the picture.

In other news, Little Squid just asked if we had gun cleaning solvent and I was able to answer "yes." What does that say about me? (I have it because apparently mice like the taste of it so I use it as bait when they are ignoring peanut butter.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Oops, better call the Maytag Repair Man

After seeing this commercial,

Little Squid had to make this for his dad.

(Look closely)

Papa Squid's reaction?
"AWESOME!!!"

Healing Kids and Stitch Markers

Thank you all for your well wishes for the kids' recoveries and on their performances. Both are feeling a bit better and Little Squid will return to school today. And my generous children? They gave me their cold! Sniff, sniff, cough, cough.

Yesterday's mail brought the last of my stitch marker splurge. See? One set is called "Penguin Wannabe" and the other ... yeah, I don't remember but aren't they pretty?One of the other fishies broke last night. Oh well. I think that almost has to be expected with glass stitch markers. It was cute while it lasted.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sick Day ...

... actually a half sick day. Mike will be home in an hour or so to relieve me so that I can go take care of some business at work. Little Squid is curled up on the couch next to me, sick and miserable. This is the first time I have kept him home from school for illness in several years. Squidette was not 100% either but she was in good enough shape to go to school and has an assessment after school that she has to be at. She's been "off" for a week now and is finally showing signs of feeling a bit better. So that means that yes, they both performed yesterday while feeling icky.

I'm antsy right now and I really don't know why. I put some time in on assembling the school blanket. Not a lot of time, but some. My goal is to put a few blocks together every day this week and maybe have it done in 10 days or so. My students keep asking about it so I really should get cracking. I also knit a few rows on Squidette's blanket. It is a project I can do while reading so it is better then the vest right now. I did finish the back of the vest yesterday and am working on the left front now. The end is in sight if I do not get distracted by other projects and sick kids.

Now a bit more knitting before Mike comes home and I have to leave for my meeting.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Squidette In Concert

video

(This is take 2. I blew it the first time and forgot to actually record. The accompanist and Squidette humored me by doing it again after the rest of the families left. She was much better the first time out. Trust me, she really was. )

Little Squid in Concert

video

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Hat



To keep my daughter warm.

Pattern slightly modified from this.

Yarn: leftover Cascade 220 Superwash from the sweater I knit for her last spring.

Now back to knitting my vest.

***

Tomorrow -- Violin Recitals!

Friday, January 25, 2008

More Granola and Some Stitch Markers

My stitch markers are starting to arrive. Only one package is outstanding and it is making its way across the border from Canada.
This should give you an idea ... 4 each of the ducks, 5 of the teapots, 4 sheep (one black), four gold fish and the other sea creatures.

Today also saw the arrival of a miss-shipment of more granola. It was supposed to be a different flavor. They said we could keep it and are sending out the correct order.
With the granola, came a complimentary T-shirt. Now we can show our true feelings about this granola.
To answer your questions ...

The reason that we ordered 26 pounds of granola (the Maple Almond flavor) is because we both eat it as part of our breakfast and Mike uses it for lunch as well. I add it to plain yogurt with a bit of honey. Mike adds it to his morning oatmeal and to his lunchtime yogurt. Our usual purveyor of it tends to go through dry spells and neither of us has found a comparable substitute. Mike has a back up granola but I am a girl of habit and like to have my breakfast taste "just right" to quote a certain golden haired porridge stealer. So, after the last two trips to Fairway failed to yield our favorite flavor, we finally caved and ordered it on line.

I'll let you know when it is time to order again.

Thanks for Making My Day



Two, count them, two other bloggers awarded me the "You Make My Day" award, citing my NYC posts among other things. Thanks Cat and Dee! You two made my day!

With this award comes the obligation to bestow it on others.

So, in no particular order ...

Susan for giving me a glimpse of life in Oklahoma and for being a shoulder to cry on when I really needed it.

Cookie for her no-holds barred approach to griping about life. Sometimes you just have to tell it like it is. She is also an amazing fast and amazingly good knitter.

Sarah for inspiring me on the biking front as well as on the knitting front. Her pictures make me really want to bike in New England.

Debby, another cycling knitter for organizing the Tour de France knit-along this summer. The day-by-day summaries were a must read for the entire Tour.

Kristen
, yet another cycling knitter (see a trend here) for inspiring me to get off my rear and work on preventing osteoporosis.

Dave, for his amazing photography and way of spinning a tale. Love that Ms. Lulu.

There are so very many blogs in my google reader, but these are just a few that I make sure to click through to every day. Thank you all for making my day!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Public Service Announcement

Life is too short ... go tell someone how much they mean to you today while they are still around to appreciate it.

Go ahead, call them, I'll wait.

...

Well? Who did you call? Were they nearby? Did you give them a real or virtual hug?

Me? I got some good news that moved me to tears. And then called her back to tell her just that.

Just a little PSA from your friendly neighborhood Squid.

***

Mom, Dad ... I do not know what life would look like without you. And I really don't want to find out! (Sibs, same goes for you all.)

Books Without Paper

A few months ago, Mike started looking into Amazon's Kindle . The Kindle is an electronic book reader that is supposed to have a really good look and feel to it. Mike's main objection was that he wanted them to come up with a book swap program so that he could send back his paper versions and get the electronic free -- or maybe reduced cost. The logic being, of course, that he had already purchased the book. The cost and our lack of need for yet another gadget may also have convinced him to hold off on the purchase.

I liked the idea but it is yet another gadget to schlep around. And, I doubt that they will make knitting books available initially. Yes, I read popular fiction, lots of it and I have now found a great (for me) way to procure my "girlie books" and mysteries without having to schlep to the library and tote around paper that may very well be harboring those same buggies that I am trying to kill. (Yes, I am a bit obsessive these days. My obsessiveness did not stop me from requesting a copy of More Sensational Socks when Mike went to Borders yesterday.)

I also like to read while I knit and balancing a book on my lap (and keeping the pages from flopping about) can be somewhat awkward. Doesn't stop me from doing it, but it is a bit cumbersome. I also love to read on the subway but hate schleping extra weight so over the years I have experimented with reading books on my Palm. Initially I was getting them from Project Gutenberg which led to reading a lot of Louisa May Alcott for a while.

Then I discovered that the New York Public Library has the electronic version of TONS of books available for free download. They only stay active for 3 weeks so taking out a virtual stack of books is not a good idea if you are a slow reader. When I first discovered this, I only downloaded the books to my Palm and ran into the deadline issue. If my phone is the only place I am reading a book, it takes a very long time to finish because I am not likely to pick it up at home and I just do not ride the subway that often these days.

Then I realized (about a week ago) that I could read the books on my laptop. Woo Hoo! Using Mobipocket, I load the book and view about half a page of text at eye level while I knit away. I went through two books this way this weekend. Understand now how I injured myself?

Yesterday, during the usual "have to kill time while kids are in religious school" time, I took myself to the public library, found a comfy chair, propped my Palm on my lap, put the book (same one I am reading on my laptop) on "scroll" mode and knit away. Finished the toe of a sock. Yes, it was a bit odd to do this in the library but hey, it was a library book.

I'm in heaven! Now to see what they have in non-fiction ...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Jammed!

"...It appears to be Jammed!"

"Jammed ... Raspberry."

"There's only one man who would dare give me the Raspberry. LONE STAR!" (From Spaceballs)

Or perhaps my husband. Left on the counter from making the kids' lunches. And found on my finger.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Knitting Injury

Knitter down! Seems I set my goals a little too high this weekend and between trying to surpass them and no obligations, I seem to have given myself a repetitive stress injury to my "throwing" finger. Boo. Maybe Squidette's new hat will not be finished today.

Injuries aside, I had, indeed, set myself goals, not just for the weekend, but for the week. The plan was to knit a minimum of 12 long rows per day (or 3X as many short ones once I split for the back) on the vest. Then, 8 rows per day minimum on Squidette's blanket. The hat got started last night when my brain could no longer process knitting instructions. The hat is all knit. That's probably where I did myself in.

Fear not -- just the act of typing this post seems to have loosened up the joint a bit but I won't push it. No knitting until after breakfast. And then ... maybe some spinning instead.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sitting Alone in the Dark

Until just a moment ago, I was sitting alone in the dark. Now I have filled the darkness with the light of a single bulb -- and am still alone.

No, I'm not being metaphorical.

I got up at 6:15 and came out to have my tea in a still quiet living room. As is my wont, I did not turn on the lights but made the tea in the dark and then sat at my computer to read blogs. The light of the screen was plenty.

Until I had to plug in one of those spam preventer codes while commenting on a blog! I am not sure enough of my touch typing to do one as complex as this one was without looking at the keys. Hence the single bulb in my reading light.

Now I guess I'll read blogs and knit on my vest.

Friday, January 18, 2008

TGIF

Today was the last day of the semester. Need I say more?

I worked through my day, made sure that all is ready for testing on Tuesday (nice alliteration there) and left early to pick up Little Squid and take him to his audition.

The audition, according to Little Squid, went well. He was asked if he was Squidette's brother which, when I think about it, can only help. Hey, if they remembered her from last summer ... And, he thinks he played well. Time will tell.

This was not for NYSSMA but was for the Manhattan School of Music summer program. The same program that Squidette was in last summer. She had a wonderful time and grew and matured so much that I barely recognized her at the end of the summer despite seeing her every day.

To unwind from the rigors of the week, I spent much time this evening surfing Etsy and wound up splurging on lots of handmade stitch markers. I really wanted a yarn crawl but recognized that I still have more yarn then I can realistically knit through in a couple of years and limited storage space. Stitch markers are small and relatively inexpensive. I'll show them off once they arrive.

Now on to a 3 day weekend. Woo Hoo!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Supper Mommy Strikes Again!

Elapsed time from identification of the problem to location of the lost item? Less than a minute.

Super Mommy Strikes Again!

She may not cook but boy can she find things!

Lost and found item? The un marked up copy of the music that Little Squid needs for his audition tomorrow.

Good thoughts flowing his way around 3:30 Eastern Time would be appreciated.

Now You See It ...

Later you won't. I was getting nervous about the amount of yarn I had left and then took what was there and wrapped it around me. It's too big. So, I am ripping and will reknit on a smaller needle. (That's how Oberle resizes this vest.) Yup, I am reknitting. Promise!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Using it Up

I get a strange satisfaction from finishing stuff. Not just projects, but stuff. Like a line of staples in the stapler, or the last vitamin in the bottle or all of the ink in a pen. Or, of course, a ball of yarn.

I have no idea what drives it but since, as weirdness goes, it is a small one, I humor myself.

That said, I was actually pleased to see that one of my compact florescent bulbs was burned out. I've had that bulb for roughly 15 years. We were early adopters -- and no, the bulb has not actually been in use all that time but it has been in use in the same fixture for about 8 or 9 years. It was the last of its type in the fixture, though not the last in the apartment. When I took it out, I put it next to it's replacement and realized just how far compact bulb technology has come.
On the left, the original compact florescent purchased through Con Edison for $3 back around 1991. In the middle, a slightly later generation "compact" bulb probably purchased in a multi pack from BJs or Costco. On the right, the current generation -- also purchased in a multipack from Costco just a few months ago. Look how small it is! It is actually totally recessed into the fixture while it's neighbors (of the middle variety) are all poking out.

Yes, its the small things that make me smile! Now to figure out how to dispose of these things safely ...

Monday, January 14, 2008

NIght of the Three Queens

Last night we had the pleasure of watching two of the Three Queens depart. While others trouped to lower Manhattan to see all three, we waited and watched at the window for a glimpse of the the Queen Elizabeth II and the Queen Victoria. We have a partial river view and can view water traffic through a sizable gap in the buildings to our north-west. To give you a feel for the size of the gap and the size of the ships: the QE II does not fill the gap, the Queen Victoria almost fills the gap and the Queen Mary II overfills the gap and, is as high as the buildings that form the gap. (The Queen Mary II left from Brooklyn last night but we've seen her before.)

I'd show you a picture but my long distance night photography leaves a lot to be desired.

Instead, some pictures of knitting.

I'm halfway up the back and hope to finish by the end of next weekend. Don't laugh at me!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Squid on Wheels -- Starting out in 2008

We had absolutely no intention of going for a ride today. Squidette had band practice and then both squidlings were supposed to have a violin recital rehearsal with the accompanist but she had to cancel. The cancellation put a crimp in our dinner plans since Papa Squid and the squidlings were going to pick up sandwiches on their way back from the rehearsal. The only solution to our dinner problem? To ride down to the sandwich store, Pane Peppe. And Chocolate Haven. And The Birdbath. And H&H (we were out of bagels).

The fates, however, were working against us. Just as Papa moved his bike into the corridor, he noticed a flat tire. 15 minutes later, the tube was replaced and we got ready to go and ... he had another flat (same tire).

Defying the fates, the Squidlings and I headed out anyway and got as far as the elevators. Where we waited. And waited. And waited. I think we had to let at least half a dozen elevators go by before all three of us made it to the lobby.

Once on the streets, however, it was relatively smooth sailing with a brief stop to admire this shark fin.



See the Squid?!!!

As we concluded our first errand, the sandwiches, we noticed a strange site on the other side of the street. Papa Squid! We did it, we defeated the fates!

Sandwiches, chocolate and pastries procured, we turned back north and hit an incredible head wind. The ride up to H&H was brutal and by the time we arrived our fingers were very cold.

The return ride? Took about 2 minutes. Take a vicious head wind and turn it into a tail wind and voila! we were home.
9.6 miles. Not bad for a windy day in January.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Mystery Bruise Unmystified!

Do not try to diagnose the aliment that I outline below -- the answer is in the essay.

For many years I have had a sore spot on my left hip. It only bothers me when I initially snuggle into bed at night, facing my dear husband -- and then only a little. I did wonder about it but, by the time morning rolls around, I forget about it. Periodically, it disappears but I never made the connection between when it disappears and what I am doing in my life at the time. If anything, I associate the lack of soreness with an increase in exercise.

A few weeks ago I suddenly had an "ah ha!" moment and realized why I have that perpetual sore spot. The moment came as I was at work, pushing open a particularly sticky door. With my hip. D'oh!

Yes, all these years I have been using my left hip to assist in opening the sticky, and non-sticky doors at work. And my sore spot? It corresponds directly to the part of my hip that I use to open the door. I repeat -- D'oh! Now, I don't just use my hip to help open the door, I do a quick hip swivel to provide lots of force. Remember your physics? Newton's third law? "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." So, if you whup a door with your hip, repeatedly, you will bruise. Especially if you have very little padding on your hip.

Will this stop me? Nah. But is does explain why the spot gets better over the summer!

And those sticky doors? They are becoming fewer in number as Dept. of Ed carpenters quickly replace all of our outside doors. I barreled into a new one yesterday and nearly fell as it opened smoothly and easily. Oops!

Sometimes, I am just a bit slow on the uptake.

Progress

I have not done much on the Clock Vest this week due to my brain being totally fried by the time I get home from work.
This is where it now stands. Last night I found myself absolutely loving it. The yarn felt so soft to my fingers -- I think the slight row compression due to the panels of traveling stitches is making the yarn a bit poofier in the final analysis, hence making run of the mill Cascade 220 feel much softer then it usually does.

Whatever the reason, I'm loving it!

Teens Knitting: A Snapshot

Yesterday was all about purling and trouble shooting mistakes. About a dozen young people came out, grabbed stash and left, leaving me with three young ladies sitting and quietly knitting. Once we got the mistakes sorted out, I also sat and knit quietly. It was first frantic, with questions flying from all directions at once, and then calm as only a few stayed behind.

Earlier in the day I had come close to canceling the club because I was not feeling well but as the day dragged on and approached 3:00, I decided that I'd made it that far and could keep going for another hour. I'm so glad I did. The pleasure that I get from these young people is truly indescribable and works better to soothe me then any drug.

Our first blankie for the year is still on my balcony in pieces. I'll leave myself a reminder to wash them this weekend -- I refuse to let them into my place unless I have washed them and dried them on HOT first. I will do this. I promise!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Can You Spell "G E E K Y?"

Do you think we have enough computers? And there are three not in the picture!
Look what you can do with multiple XOs.Click on the photo to get the total effect. I'll wait.
Yup, the computers are taking pictures of themselves. The top photo was taken by an XO, the bottom on my little Olympus. You can see me in the computer screen if you look closely.

***

On a fibery front, I am almost finished with Lil' Sis's socks and added 22 rows to the vest yesterday. I will probably finish the socks during dinner with Little Squid on Tuesday and have balled up a really happy sock yarn from Dave to start socks for me. No photos because I didn't take them yet and now my nails are sticky as I perform my weekly "back to work" manicure.

Spinning also happened as I stick to my "Sundays are for Spinning" pledge.

Have a great week!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Saturday at Home

We finally got our XO computers. There is a long story in there but since they came through in the end, you get to miss it. There are currently 6 of these little guys in the apartment. One was a loaner from a friend since the 5 Mike had ordered were simply not being shipped. The day that he brought home the loaner, "our" five arrived. Next week, four will leave for Mike's school where his students will have a new platform to learn on. Hopefully they will write some good stuff for the kids that really need these machines. Meanwhile, both squidlings are having fun learning some programming on them and Papa Squid is in his glory that his kids are finally interested in his hobby. Little Squid had to be torn away from his program-in-progress in order to get some fresh air. Yes, I have another computer geek in the making.

Mama, on the other hand, is keeping occupied until the yarn for Squidette's blanket comes in.*
This is destined to be the Clock Vest from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Vests. Major amounts of traveling stitches here so it is fairly slow going. The yarn is from stash.

*I stopped by Knitty City yesterday to check on the order and found that it was not yet in and that Pearl had been having some problems with a few suppliers. Shortly after I arrived home, Pearl called and told me that it had been shipped just before the New Year and should be in soon. She also promised me a discount on it. Yes, this kind of service is why I went to her instead of just buying it on-line. I'd live without the discount -- but given the size of the order, I am happy to take it.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Wildlife in the City

There is a new addition to our student body.

Yes, it is a pheasant.
It joins our opossum and the squirrels (as well as the rats and pigeons).
If it is still around on Monday, I will name it.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Working Out

By now, most readers know that I am an avid bicyclist. I do not get to indulge my passion as much as I would like due to family obligations, but I do it when I can. One of the reasons I like to cycle is because, when using it to commute, it doesn't feel like exercise. Instead, it is a means of getting from here to there and hence frees up time instead of using time.

Before Squidette was born, I rode my bike to work almost every day. I was doing about 7 miles a day and enjoyed it immensely. After she was born, I took public transportation with her to my mother-in-law's place and then rode my bike the remaining two miles to work. This continued until I conceived Little Squid. That was it. For the first few months after I returned to work, the weather was too cold and snowy to ride. Then I got a car.

Fast forward to today. I have ridden my bike to work less then a dozen times since. These rare rides are usually in August or June, before and after the kids have school. I'd love to go back to those days but as long I am serving as child-transport, it won't happen.

Instead, I get my exercise by riding the trainer bike on the weekends and during school breaks. This past break I rode the trainer every day and did weights for a few days.

Mike is pushing me to work out more after work. He thinks it will be good for me for a number of reasons that I will not go into now. Up until now, I have preferred to use my precious evening time knitting but I had to acknowledge that his reasoning was sound. So last night I did it. I didn't ride, but I did do my arm weights and hope to do my leg weights tonight. How long do you think I can keep this up?

I like the way I look when my arms are toned. Actually, I love the way I look when my arms are toned and muscular. Yeah, I think I'll keep this up. And as for the knitting? I did get the heel flap and turn done on Lil' Sis's second sock last night ...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Smelling of the Hair

Little Squid suffers from a common "boy" malady. He often forgets to use soap and shampoo when he bathes. Ick! This has resulted in a ritual known as the "smelling of the hair" wherein I ask "did you use soap?" and he replies by coming over and bending down so I can smell his hair.

Yes, yes we are a strange family. Did you really have to ask?

Back to work tomorrow. We are all happy that it is a short week.

Net Zero

I did it! For 2007 I used the same number of balls/skeins/hanks of yarn that I acquired. Exactly. And that counts the five just purchased for Squidette's blanket.

How did I do it? Especially since yesterday morning I was up one ball? I stayed up late (um, midnight) and finished the first of Lil Sis's new socks before the ball dropped. This way she will have one foot in the past and one in the future ... or some such stuff like that. Basically, it was my only active project so I managed to do it in two days.

That said, I have 17 balls on order at Knitty City and promised that Squidette could choose some new yarn for me to knit socks for Little Squid's "baby sitter" (the young woman who takes him home from school).

Now, for next year, I would like to spin and use more of my own hand spun. I have some lovely stuff on the wheel and in the stash and would like to see garments made out of it. I'd also like to start working on the yarn for Mike's new sweater. To that end, I am joining "Spinning My Wheel," and hope to get all of my wheels moving this year.One last FO from last year -- a scarf for Mom. On Mom.