Thursday, June 28, 2012


It's been a very dramatic day today.  After pouring coffee, I headed outside for my morning ritual of garden checking followed by porch knitting.  The garden is looking pretty good.

Okay, don't laugh.  For me, that's an Excellent garden!  For a southern girl, I can't grow diddly squat outdoors.   But this year.... I've got tomatoes, more tomatoes than I've ever grown in my entire life combined!  I've got green pepper plants and I've got squash plants.  They are all doing fantastic!  I'm super excited about the whole thing and feeling a bit like Martha Stewart.

Want to know my trick to my new found ability to garden?  Lay a bag of dirt down where you want to plant something.  Cut what's now the top of the bag off, leaving a few inches on all four sides.  Take a pitchfork (an ice pick will do in a pinch) and take your frustrations out on the bag.  Go psycho on it and just stab, stab, stab the bag.  This creates holes on the underside so that water can drain out and the plant roots can grow through the bag into the ground.  Then plant your plant in the dirt.  Presto-magic - you're farming!

But, the drama started when I discovered that the squash plants are covered in these bugs:

Honestly, I'm not sure how terrible those bugs are because I kind of forgot about them when I discovered

My morning coffee drinking chair has failed me.  It's been dying a slow death since late March.  Every morning, I notice that a few more .... what ever you call those plastic fake wicker tubes things  have broken.  I've known the end was coming, but I didn't think it would be so soon.  What you can't see in the picture is that the seat is no longer attached to the front of the chair at all.  It's come completely separated.  The seat still holds me, but it's sort of like sitting on the couch without a cushion.  You feel like your butt is going to hit ground at any moment.

Well, I guess if my chair had to die, it picked a good time to do it.  For the next four days, we are supposed to be hitting temperatures between 101 & 105F.  Doubt I'll be doing much porch sitting this weekend!  Hey - maybe I could knit a new seat.  I've got four days to try!

The next bit of drama was over dog food & laundry detergent.  We've got two dogs, Minnie and Max.  Max NEVER misses a meal and will in fact start barking at me if I'm as much as five minutes late feeding him.  Minnie on the other hand likes to savor her meals occasionally.  Sometimes she waits several hours before she eats her breakfast.  The problem is, on those days, she gets mad when Max goes into the kitchen.  She'll hear him on the move and will come Running from upstairs or even outside and cut him off at the pass then she starts growling and barking at him.  So, today, she happened to be laying in the kitchen guarding her bowl, but not eating from it.  I was pouring laundry detergent with my back to Minnie.   Max entered, Minnie went wild & it startled me and I dropped the open bottle of laundry detergent.  The brand new, first time it's been used, economy size bottle of liquid laundry detergent.  From now on, if Minnie doesn't eat before the coffee pot finishes filling, I'm taking away her bowl.

Next, it was shower time.  I reached in & turned on the shower, stripped naked, took off my glasses and stepped under the stream of water.  I looked down and Holy Moses!  A bug!  A big, gigantic bug! A bug big enough to look gigantic when I don't even have my eyeglasses on!  I immediately grabbed the shampoo bottle (Mike's of course.  I certainly wasn't going to get bug guts on mine!) & started smashing it.

After that, it was time to check the email.  My email won't open.  I have two addresses and neither will open.  They start to open.  The bar goes almost all the way across, then it just stops.  Uh-oh.  And it dawns on me.  Last night, after shutting the computer down, I accidently knocked it off the desk.  Did I break it?  It's had worse falls before and been fine.  Was last night's fall the proverbial straw?   I went over to Hubby's desktop and was able to get into my email just fine.  Back to my laptop.  Shut it back down, turn it back on, go to my email, and the bar starts going across, then stops just shy of being done.  For both email addresses.  I won't repeat here what I said then.

Finally, our IT guy wakes up (our teenaged son) and I holler for him to come help me.  He messes with the computer and decides there's something wrong with Safari.  For some reason, even after resetting it, Safari won't access my email.  I'm going to have to use Google Chrome.

I can not count the number of times I have accidently pushed the Safari button today.  And the worst thing is, the Safari screen & the Chrome screen look exactly alike, until that blue bar gets stuck & refuses to finish going across.

Oh, and we are out of chocolate and Cheetos.

It's been a very dramatic day.

Oh, I almost forgot.  One good thing - I finished the first baby sock.

Sorry - the picture was taken with my phone.  The phone I dropped and no longer has working sound 100% of the time.  Okay, so technically, it isn't finished.  I still need to Kitchener the toe but I always wait until I have knit the second sock before I Kitchener.  It's just easier to compare measurements, I think.  Actually, I generally wait until I have 50 or 60 socks to Kitchener.  Kitchenering (boy, that's hard to say!) ranks up their with weaving in ends.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Is it finished, or is it not?

So, I'm wondering.....  What do other knitting bloggers do when they finish the knitting part of a project but still have a looooong way to go before it's truly finished.   As in, say, they have about two weeks worth of ends to weave in.  Do you consider your project finished when the knitting is done, or not?

I finished the mitered square table runner last night.  Or a least I finished the knitting part.  I'm dying to move it from the OTN list to the Finished list, but I know I have hours and hours of weaving in ends to go.  Part of me is afraid that if I go ahead & move it, I'll never get around to weaving in those ends.  Specially since another clue came out today for the Summer Solstice KAL.

By the way, Wendy, I'm pretty excited about the short sections of shawl we are knitting.  So far, at least.  At first, I was frustrated.  I knit the first clue and was left with the feeling of "That's it?  That's all I get to knit?  I don't get to repeat the pattern 80 times?"  But when I stopped and thought about it, I'm liking the short clues.  It means I can do the knitting during afternoon coffee or while watching TV one night.  It means I don't end up stopping my life for days and days or starving my family night after night because I'm knitting the KAL instead of doing what I oughta.  So, thank you Wendy.  And my family thanks you too.  At least so far.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Marvelous Monday & Plastic Cups

I can't believe that my favorite thing to ramble on about this week is a plastic cup.  Obviously, I have simple tastes.  But my new plastic cup from Walmart is awesome!

For several years, I've been using my Run Like a Girl sports drink bottle for all things cold but sadly, it's been leaking for the last few months.  I love the bottle - it's cute & has a pretty blue flower on it, but I was getting pretty tired of wearing my drink every time I tipped it up to drink.  So the other day, while at Wallyworld with my daughter, she pointed out a display of plastic cups.  They came in several different colors & styles.  Sarah got a blue one that doesn't sweat - supposedly.  I'm not sure she's used hers yet.  Mine is obviously red & is freezable.  It has some kind of gel in between the layers of cup and you put it in the freezer, the gel freezes, then your drink stays cold without the need for ice.  It works great!  The cup itself does sweat a bit, but your hand stays dry due to the rubber ring thing around the cup.  Dry hands are important to me.  I have no idea why, but I HATE having wet hands.  I'm a little bit OCD about it.

Oh, & the other thing I like about my new cup - it makes me feel like Nancy Botwin from Weeds.  She was always walking around with a big cup in her hand.  I also have to say, I rather admire her.  Granted, her claim to fame is being a pot dealer, but she does it with entrepreneurial  style.  She discovers she has a talent for something and she goes for it.  She's willing to learn as she goes.  She makes mistakes & recovers.  She never quits.  She never gives up.  Frankly, I like her style.  Anyway, every time I pick up my cup, I think of Nancy Botwin.

In knitting news, I'm almost finished with the mitered square table runner.  I've just got one and a half sides of the border left to do.  I'll post photos in the next few days.  I'm really happy with the way it's turning out.

Remember the baby blanket I knit & promised to post pictures "tomorrow"?  "Tomorrow" being so long ago I couldn't even find the post?  Sheesh.  Anyway, I finally took a picture.

I used an old Mac & Me pattern and Schachenmayer Nomotta Grande yarn for the body and Cascade's Ultra Pima for the ruffle.  The Grande had been in my stash for quite a few years and needed to be used up.   I realize that tan is an odd color for a blanket for a baby girl, but when I started knitting it, we didn't know the baby's sex yet & I was convinced it would be a boy.  But, the peach ruffle girlies it up a bit and the parents of the baby are both outdoorsy so it should be okay.

And now, I'm cutting this short.  The TV is suddenly screaming at me that we are having a tornado.  Better go put my shoes on & take cover.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Apology Not Accepted

Sorry USOC, but I don't think I'll be accepting your apology.

Sorry Yarn Harlot.  Apparently, I'm not that classy.  You are welcome to send me yarn from your stash, however.  (Hey, if it works for the USOC...)

Obviously, I'm still pissed.  I'm not "batsh*t" insane about it anymore, but I'm still pissed.  Actually, I'm even more pissed now after reading the USOC's second apology letter.  I mean, come on.  You are going to insult knitters world wide and then have the balls to ask us to give you our time, energy and money?  Come on!

Ok, for those of you living under an even bigger rock than I, the USOC sent Ravelry a cease & desist letter regarding the Ravelympics.  The letter was supposedly a standard form letter but it had some pretty derogatory language geared towards the knitting community.  The knitting community instantly went "batsh*t insane" to use Yarn Harlot's term.  I completely understand the USOC's desire to protect their trademark name and their logo.  In fact, I've been surprised that people were aloud to use the Olympic Rings in their own creations and then post pictures of those items on Ravelry, or anywhere on the internet for that matter.  And yes, changing Ravelympics to The Raverly Games would not be all that difficult.  But it's the spirit of the thing that gets me.

I guess a big part of why I'm so upset is because my Olympic knitting is geared towards charity.  My knitting group has always had the Knitting Olympics where everyone signs up for a "sport" (a sweater, a shawl, a hat, mittens, dish clothes, an afghan, something lacy, something with cables.....) then they knit as many of that item as they can while they watch the Olympics on TV.  Once the Olympics are over, our group gathers all the knitted items and donates them to various charities.  There are no prizes involved other than the satisfaction of knowing that you knit X number of items for a good cause in a relatively short amount of time.

I'm also upset about the USOC's wording... "a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games.  In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country's finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work."  Well, what about knitters' hard work?   Knitters have to train their fingers, hands & wrists to form the stitches.  We build our biceps by holding the needles.  We train ourselves to wield a variety of types and sizes of needles.  We train ourselves to read what is basically a foreign language. Many knitters train for a lifetime, not just for the first third of their life like most Olympic athletes do.  While we may not run for miles and miles in the hot sun, we tax our bodies in other ways.  For example, we've been known to stay awake for 36+ hours straight when we are under a knitting gift deadline, or simply when the project we are working on is just too much fun to put down.  We skip meals so that we can continue knitting.  We occasionally fail to feed our families and/or wear dirty underwear rather than pause our knitting to do laundry.   And hopefully, I'm not the only knitter who's been late picking up their kids because I had to get in just one more row.   I'm sure an Olympic athlete has special dietary concerns, but hey - I've been known to eat beans three meals a day for days on end so that I can afford that special skein of cashmere.  I bet I'm not the only knitter who's had to make the choice between food and yarn before!   We pay for our own "athletic equipment" and training classes/coaches.  Knitters are not government sponsored either.  And heck, a few of us even take steroids just like a few of those "real" athletes.  And then there's the accolades.  After the games, many of the athletes make a small fortune selling their name or image & promoting products.  They win medals.  They win fortune & fame.  Meanwhile, knitters, specifically charity knitters, end up with nothing to show for their efforts, not even a tax break.

This whole Ravelympics thing has gotten knitters in a panic.  The Knitting Games just doesn't have the same ring to it as The Knitting Olympics.  It just doesn't give you the same feeling of competition.  And frankly, the idea that we might have to change the name irritates me (and plenty of others) to the point that we won't be participating this year.  In fact, I plan to boycott the Olympics entirely.  To be honest, I only enjoy watching the swimming.  I really couldn't care less about the other sports, I only watch so that I can chat with my fellow knitters about how when X happened, I got so excited/horrified that I dropped a stitch.  But this  year, I won't be watching at all.  I think I may even boycott the Olympic sponsors.  Curious about who they are?

The VISA thing could be difficult.  It means I'll have to use cash instead of my debit card.  But that's doable.   I'll also have to find a new brand of deodorant, toothpaste, razor blades and soap - but I can and I will.  There's also a different gas station right across the street from the BP that I normally go to, so that won't be a problem.  Not using UPS just means I either won't be ordering yarn off the internet or checking out Amazon for a while.  Cool, since I won't be using my VISA card anyway.    No McDonalds or Cadbury products - no problem.  Think of the weight I won't be gaining!  GE, well, that one may take some research.  I may end up knitting in the dark while I boycott the Olympics, but if that's what it takes....

So yeah,  my feelings are hurt and I'm still a little pissed about it.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Marvelous Monday - Fructis Triple Nutrition

It's Marvelous Monday once again & today I'm blathering on about Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition shampoo & conditioner.  I LOVE this stuff!  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

I used to use a different version of Garnier Fructis shampoo & conditioner and liked it okay.  And although I liked it & my hair dresser recommended the brand, I switched to something else because they didn't sell it at my warehouse club and/or I had a coupon for something else.  Plus, I'll admit - I get bored with the same product over & over again.

As I've mentioned before, I have the world's worst hair!  It's thick.  REALLY, REALLY thick.  As in, so thick that new hair dressers always call all the other hair dressers over to examine how thick it is.  On top of it being weirdly thick, the underside in the back grows in ringlets, while the sides are wavy and the front & outer layer of the back grows perfectly straight.  Oh, and it all grows towards my face.  I'm like a female version of  Cousin Itt.

Okay, honestly, my hair looked more like this:

Actually, it looked just like that.  Thick, frizzy, uncombed, and hanging in my face.  (Sorry, Bella, but that's really not a good look.)

Because of the curls & waves, my hair tends to be dry, except right at the scalp where it tends to be so oily, I could set up my own oil rig.  A friend lent me the book, Curly Girl, and I followed it's directions for quite a while.  The main direction was to not use shampoo.  Use conditioner, but no shampoo.  It worked fantastically, except every six weeks or so, I'd wake up and my scalp would feel funky and I'd need to shampoo.  Eventually, I ran out of what ever shampoo I'd been using and went to the store to get some more.  For some reason, the Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition jumped out at me and I bought it.  And instantly fell in love!  My hair is never, ever greasy.  Even when I was sick a few weeks ago and didn't bathe for more days than I care to admit, my hair never got greasy.  What my hair is, is soft and way less frizzy and much more manageable.  Instead of each individual hair going it's own separate frizzy way, the hair on the sides of my head form nice beachy waves.   Beachy waves like this:

And the ringlets in back look more like:

So granted, it still looks strange that the sides have beach waves and the back is in ringlets, but it's still WAY better than frizzy Cousin Itt hair.  And have I mentioned how much softer my hair feels?  I really do love this stuff!

As for knitting news, I finally wove all the little ends into the baby blanket this morning while I was waiting for a particularly slow email video to load but I still haven't taken any pictures.  Instead, I've been busy working on another mitered square project.

It's going to be a table runner or dresser scarf, depending on how the yarn holds out.  I'm hoping for a table runner.  I absolutely love the colors, except they are not showing up well here.  At least not on my screen, which is weird because the same photo viewed from my desktop looks fantastic, but loaded to the blog, it's washed out and rather icky.  Weird.  But anyway, I love it!  The color saturation in the yarn is fabulous and the yarn itself is Heaven to knit with.  I believe that if I could only knit with one yarn for the rest of my life, Mini Mochi would be it!

Okay, I'm going to end this post with a shout out to Snow White & the Huntsman.  My daughter and I went to see it a few days ago and I really enjoyed it.  I have to say though, the Huntsman turned a good movie into a GREAT movie!

Phew!  I'm having a hot flash!   Even Mini Mochi yarn can't beat a hot, scruffy guy wearing leather & toting an ax.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Benefits of being sick

I've discovered a few benefits to last week's illness and I'm pretty excited by them.  If you'd asked me last week while I lay dying on the couch, or at least wishing for death, I'd have said there were absolutely no benefits to being sick.  But this week...

  • My medicine cabinet has miraculously been cleaned out.  All the old, expired medicines are gone as well as the many, many bottles & boxes that contained only one or two doses of various cough, cold & flu meds.
  • I didn't spend a dime on groceries.
  • I didn't spend a dime on yarn.
  • I didn't spend a dime on new books for the Kindle.
  • My refrigerator is now even emptier than the medicine chest & is ready & waiting to be wiped clean. 
  • Since I ate nothing but watermelon & ginger ale for six days straight, I lost seven pounds.
  • Since I ate nothing but watermelon & ginger ale for six days straight, I kicked the '3 deserts a night' habit.
  • Since I ate nothing but watermelon & ginger ale for six days straight, I kicked the processed foods habit.
  • Since I didn't have the strength or mental power to knit during several of those six days, I lay on the couch pretending to watch TV.  Since the only choice daytime TV offers you is cooking shows or shopping opportunities, I watched a lot of cooking.
  • Since I watched so many cooking shows, I have a lot of ideas for new, healthy meals to make.
  • Since I didn't spend any money on groceries, yarn or books last week, I was able to replace our broken food processor this week.
  • Now that I have a new food processor, I'm dying to get in the kitchen and chop something.
  • Since I didn't spend any money on groceries, yarn or books last week, I had extra money in the budget this week for yarn.  (Notice I said "had", not "have.")
  • I also had extra money so I could go ahead & order the kids' end of year homeschool tests.  One less thing on my to-do list.
  • During one of those cooking shows, Rachel Ray taught me to make my own tinted moisturizer.  Since I don't have to buy my normal expensive tinted moisturizer this week (it just happened that I was running out) I can spend the money instead on taking my daughter to the movies.
  • Because my memory is pitiful, I no longer have the 40 gazillion craft project ideas running through my head.  This means that I can focus on the current projects and maybe actually finish one of them.
  • Since I didn't knit for several days, my fingers, hands and wrists are ready to rock the needles.  Which is a damn good thing since I have a bit of yarn coming via UPS (see above.)
  • Since the yarn is all coming UPS, I have a day or two to cook all those healthy meals I've been thinking about.
Now, if I only had some food in the house to cook.....

Monday, June 11, 2012

Marvelous Monday - Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch

It's Marvelous Monday & today, I'd like to talk about Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch sunscreen.  I LOVE this stuff!  I have to admit, the scent of Hawaiian Tropic (and Coppertone, for that matter) sends me into scent Heaven.  One sniff and I'm instantly on an island, a sailboat, or the beach I where I spent my childhood.  A second sniff and I'm tan and model thin. And 20 years old.   That coconutty smell instantly takes me back to my youth and a zillion different awesome times I've had with friends and family.  Which is sort of odd actually, because I was never very faithful about wearing sunscreen during my youth.

These days in my old age, I have to be faithful about wearing sunscreen.  I've mentioned before that I have Rosacea and the medicine I take for it makes my skin HIGHLY sensitive to the sun.  Which is not a good thing because I could happily spend every warm day of the year sitting on the beach from sun-up to sun-down.  Unfortunately, these days without sunscreen, I get sunburned just driving to the grocery store.

On my last sun screen shopping trip, I picked up a bottle of Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch.  I've always liked Hawaiian Tropic but I've never used Sheer Touch before.  The main reason I chose this particular bottle was because it was one of those "Bonus 35% More" bottles.  I love a bonus and I'm so glad I chose it!  I LOVE it!  It's got that fantastic coconut and summer smell, but the smell disappears very quickly - which I also like.  As much as I love being instantly transported back to my carefree childhood, I don't want to walk around smelling like sunscreen.  A tiny bit of the lotion, as in a glob about the size of my pinky fingernail, covers my entire arm.  In other words, that bonus 35% is going to last me a long time!  But best of all, it makes my skin feel so soft and smooth!  After applying a tiny bit of $8 sun lotion, my skin feels 40 times smoother and silkier than it does after I've applied gobs and gobs of $20 specialty moisturizer.  I've also noticed that after applying the sun lotion, my hands (palms) feel soft, but not sticky.  After applying my specialty moisturizer, I always have to wash my hands because if I don't, they feel sticky for hours.

So, go get some Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch then go spend a day worshipping the sun without guilt.

As for knitting news, I got zilch accomplished last week when I was sick.  At one point, I didn't have the strength to hold the knitting needles and even if I could have held them, I didn't have the mental capacity to know what to do with them.  Talk about miserable!

Over the weekend I perked up a bit and almost finished the mitered square lap robe.  I only have three more squares plus the border to knit.  Except I'm thinking I'm going to make it into a regular afghan size and not just a lap robe.   So, while I try to make that decision, I put it aside and started another in autumn colors.  This one will be a table runner rather than a blanket.  I've only gotten two squares done so far so there's not much to look at.  I also started another lace shawl.  Although I'm 40 some rows into it, there's only a few inches of fabric and again, not much to see yet.  Oh, and I finished the ruffle on the baby blanket.  That was quite an accomplishment!  I didn't count the number of final stitches but I do know it took me a little over two hours to knit one round.  I haven't woven in the ends yet, or blocked it, but as soon as I do, I'll post a photo.

For now, I think I'll go smooth my skin with some Hawaiian Tropic then go sit in the sun and knit.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


First, I'm announcing that this blog is on hold due to the flu.  It's making it's way through the family and I have absolutely nothing to discuss unless you want to hear about the differences in Mucinex, Nyquil, Robitusin & Tylenol.

Secondly, I'd like to announce a VERY poorly planned sale in my Etsy shop.  I'd planned to make a big production of it and write a very nice blog post about D-Day and my dad, but....  the flu hit and that was the end of all plans.

The gist of the story, however, is that my dad arrived on Omaha Beach on Day 2, June 7, 1944.  His story was that before they left their ship, they were told to go straight to shore, dig a hole & get into it.  All they knew about the previous day's invasion was that "it hadn't gone well."   Well, Dad was never known to be a sheep.  He didn't follow anyone or anyone's instructions.  He was in charge of the radios & communications and had a half a million dollars worth of radio equipment with him.  He figured there was no way they'd send him into danger with all that equipment.  He hit the beach, found the only tree still standing, set up his cot & lay down.  Immediately, his tree exploded.  He'd been shelled.  Then, in the telling of the story, he'd laugh & say, "You never saw a white man dig a hole with his helmet so fast in all your life!"

But despite the tree shelling incident, Dad survived Omaha Beach and made his way over to The Bulge which he also survived.  To celebrate the anniversary of his survival, I'm offering a 50% off one item coupon in the shop.  Go check it out & if you see something you like, just use coupon code "DDay50".  Since I got such a late start making the announcement, the coupon code will be active until 9 p.m. tomorrow.