Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fire in the Sky

Last night my daughter & I went driving around looking at Christmas lights.  At one point, we were driving down a dark road & we could see a weird orange glow off in the distance.  We had the conversation about how we hoped someone's house wasn't on fire & kept driving.  A few miles later we entered a neighborhood and what did we find?

It wasn't a fire making the sky glow.  It was a Tacky Lights tour house.  It was impossible to get a good picture because there was a line of cars waiting to see the house & when you made it to the front of the line, you were too close to get a picture of the whole thing.  Here's another picture, very blurred because we were rolling but I like the way the lights squiggle in it.

We made our way across town & entered Windsor Farms which is an old money, extremely well to do neighborhood in Richmond.  Big mistake!  Those old money folks don't waste any of it on street lights or road signs.  We got so lost!  The neighborhood is not laid out in straight, rectangular blocks like most city neighborhoods.  The roads twist & turn and vee off of each other.  And did I mention there was a distinct lack of street lights & road signs?  Anyway, we drove around in there trying to find our way out for almost 30 minutes.  We finally ended up depending on the car's compass & just kept trying to go in one direction.

We finally found our way out of Windsor Farms & headed down to the James Center.

Being a Monday night, we were able to find a parking space so we stopped, got out of the car & walked around in the lights.

Rudolph!  I just love Rudolph!

And a shot of Sarah standing in front of Rudolph.  And yes, the photo is cropped strangely.  I swear, the pile of trash by her feet that I cropped out was not there when we were taking the picture.

After the James Center tour, we warmed up with a stop for ice cream because any Richmonder knows, there's nothing like the cold wind that blows up downtown Cary Street.  In comparison, even ice cream felt warm.

As for knitting news, don't ask & I won't start screaming.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Smut

Well, I'm not in jail.  Yet.  A week of no knitting and I haven't killed anyone!  Instead, I have read two self help books & several trashy romance novels.  For some reason, I always get the urge to read Christmas smut this time of year.  Coming Home for Christmas, by Jenny Hale doesn't qualify as smut but it was a great read.  I worked for the author's father for years & years & am quite proud of Jenny for writing such a wonderful, clean romance novel.  Since I knew her before she was even old enough for braces or boys, it would have been just plain weird to read a bunch of 50 Shades of Grey smut coming out of her mouth.  Or maybe I should say coming out of her pen.  Whatever.  It was a nice, well written and well edited story.  In fact, it was the first book I've read in quite a while where I didn't find a single typo!  Go Jenny!  Another book I really enjoyed was Rebel by Elle Casey.  It also doesn't qualify as 50 Shades of smut but it did have a bit of an edge to it.  What I enjoyed most about it was the silly situations the main character kept finding herself in.  She made me laugh out loud many times, once while sitting alone in an Arby's restaurant.  Quite embarrassing!

So, reading is what I've been doing instead of knitting for the past week.  I'm afraid I may be reading for another week too.  My hand has been healing much faster than expected and I even began to knit a little last night without pain.  Yay!  I didn't get much done yesterday though, only one mitten cuff.  I didn't want to push it & reinjure myself so I only allowed myself one TV show's worth of knitting time.  First thing this morning, I cut off the tips of two fingers, one on each hand, with the new packing tape dispenser.  Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one.   The cut on the finger on my left hand is only a little worse than a bad paper cut.  But you know how paper cuts can hurt! The cut on my right hand is ....  well, I might have needed stitches.  Or at least some of that emergency room glue they have.  This cut is much deeper and much wider and hours later, it continues to bleed if I look at it funny.  But you know me.  I don't do doctors.  As long as the old ticker continues to beat, I'll treat myself thank you very much.  I learned long ago that enough antibiotic ointment and a tight enough Bandaid will seal just about any wound.  But, with two hands with cuts, one of which is sporting a bandage oozing ointment & possibly bodily fluids, I'm back to not knitting.  For today at least.

And just so that there's some kind of photo in this post, I'll leave you with a picture of my deal of the season mini Christmas tree.  It's only about three feet tall, but it was a steal for $4 at GoodWill & came with working lights & decorations.  Can't beat that with a stick!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Total knitting panic mode

Where do I even start?  With the Christmas countdown on 20 Panic Days remaining and 18 projects on the Get It Done Or Else list, I hurt my hand/thumb and can't knit.  You've heard of "shopping till you drop"?  Well, I shopped until my thumb fell off.  Good grief!  I was carrying one of those plastic shopping bags hooked over my thumb and the weight tore something in there.  My palm & base of my thumb ended up bruised, swollen & miserable.  Unfortunately, in the panic of realizing I couldn't knit, I failed to take a picture of the fairly impressive bruising.

Luckily, minutes before going on that fateful shopping trip, I cast off this slip stitch hat.

So, that's a horrible picture taken in bad lighting with a flash.  In real life, it's "regular black" not the shiny black it appears to be in the picture and the colors are like muted stained glass.  As simple as it is, I think it may be my all time favorite thing I've ever knit.  Too bad it's too small for my head.  December has NOT been my month!  But that's okay.  I have more yarn and one of these days, the coloring in my hand won't be matching those greens & purples in the hat & I'll be able to knit another one.  A larger one, large enough for my freakishly huge head.

So, what have I been doing with all my non-knitting time?  Well, I have to admit, I have watched a Hell of a lot of Netflix, eaten my weight in self-pity Twizzlers, I've thrown a few more temper tantrums than normal, I've threatened to poke out the eyes of anyone who comes near me (with knitting needles of course) and I cleaned out my linen closet.

Yeah, that before picture isn't pretty.  Everyone had just been cramming stuff in there every which way & when ever someone dropped something, they left it where it landed.  For many, many months we've all been putting off changing our sheets as long as possible because no one wanted to have to fight trying to get the door re-closed.

So, the "after" isn't exactly pretty or decorative, but it's a lot less junky.  The door closes now, the sheets may not be folded perfectly, but they are once again stacked by size & the first aid supplies, medications, batteries & screwdrivers are back in their respective baskets instead of all jumbled up together.  Once I finished tossing the medicines that expired in 2007 (why was our family so sick in 2007??) and getting rid of the hundreds of pillow shams that don't match anything we currently own, look what happened -

An empty shelf!  Oh My God!  I have an empty shelf!  Think of all the yarn I can cram in there!

And for those of you paying attention & wondering why I have a kitchen strainer in my linen closet....  It's for cleaning out Poor Fish's bowl.  Or his rocks I should say.

Something else I've been doing is learning to paint making a mess with paint.  Apparently, I can hold a paint brush, but not knitting needles.  Argh!  But the painting has been a lot of fun.  A friend got into mixed media painting a while back & I've been pretty jealous of her creations.  I can't even draw a recognizable stick figure!  Recently, I found this book and have been following the directions and having a blast with it.

Actually, I haven't been following the directions so I've been making a lot of mistakes but I learn something from each of them.  For example, on that page, I was supposed to paint "media gel" over the black lines with a small brush before I watered down the rest of the water color pencil colors.  I failed to do the media gel step & the black lines smeared all over the place.  But whatever.  I had a good time playing with the pencils.  (And now I have the verse from Alice's Restaurant about sitting on the Group W bench & playing with the pencils running through my head.)

So yeah.  Instead of working on Christmas gift projects or shopping for items to replace the handmade ones, I've been attempting to paint & spending all my money on art supplies.  So, if you actually do receive something knit from me for Christmas (or maybe Easter - yikes!) and it's covered in paint, you'll know why.

And, now our power is starting to flicker so I think I'll rush this to a close before I end up loosing it.   We are in the midst of a three day ice storm.  We had freezing rain thunder storms yesterday which were fun!  I just pray (& so should everyone else) that our power doesn't go off.  I'm not sure I can survive if I loose both the internet and knitting at the same time.