Monday, March 31, 2014


It may not look or feel like it, but I'm making progress.  I have already knit 40,257 stitches on the pi shawl.  For those of you wondering, that means I've finished the 4th pattern repeat on section 4.  Progress is slow going at this point, partly because of the 576 stitches per round & partly because this project doesn't travel well.  The yarn is on a cone which seems to grow approximately two feet in both diameter & height when I attempt to wrestle it into my knitting bag.  In hindsight, I should have balled the yarn off the cone but... it's an awful lot of yarn on that cone!  If I'd tried, I'd probably still be winding yarn instead of knitting with it.  40,257 stitches (and that's not counting the zillion projects I started with this yarn then threw away because they looked horrible) and you can barely tell I've used any yarn off the cone.  It really is a LOT of yarn!  I'm definitely getting my $4 worth out of this GoodWill yarn deal!

I've also made progress on my money soap.  Remember my money soap?  You can find that post here.  I finally got the money out.  It was $1.00.  But hey, a buck is a buck and the soap was nice & lasted forever.

I'm making progress on my to-do list as well.  I finally found the directions for how to set up my direct deposit for the local theme park paycheck (they'd been lost in the disaster zone I call a desk for a while now.)  Not only did I find the directions, I followed them!  I'm all set to receive money.  Receiving money is always a good thing.  And since yesterday was the first day of the new season, it was something I needed to do.  Quickly.  Having to go pick up an actual paper paycheck is a pain in the rear & takes longer than my pi shawl is taking to knit.

Another item on the to-do list is donating 40 bags of junk or large items to GoodWill in 40 days.  I'm up to 16 bags so far.  I'm running out of time though.  I really need to focus on purging my junk instead of counting stitches on the pi shawl.  Not to mention, I might need a valium just from knowing how many stitches that baby contains so far.

The other main goal on my to-do list has been to get the house ready for me to return to work.  In other words, it's clean.  Or at least as clean as it can be until I finish purging.  I learned from experience last year that not a whole lot of housework will get done over the summer.  Last year, I was classified as part time & averaged 55 - 66 hours per week.  This year, they have me classified as full time.  I'm a little scared.  If 55 - 66 hours per week is part time, what the heck is full time?  What ever it means, it will be okay.  I need the money.  I need a new car, a new computer & a new phone.  In other words, I need money!  And best of all, when things are slow at work, I'm allowed to knit.  It's not a bad gig at all!

The only thing wrong with work is that it's classified me as a working mother.  One day into the season & I've already missed a big life event for my child.  Zack bowled another 300 game yesterday & I wasn't there to see it.  For those of you wondering, a 300 is a perfect game, 12 strikes in a row.

Well, I'm off to, hopefully, raise my stitch count well above 40,257.  Happy Monday!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Nerves & knitting

I need heavy doses of Valium knitting today.  Knitting has always calmed me so today I am knitting.  Knitting frantically.  Knitting like my life depends on it.  Or, knitting like my son's life depends on it.  Why?  Because he finally got his driver's license yesterday.  Today, for his first solo trip, he's going to the bank, to the gas station then on to work.  Work is 42 miles away.  He doesn't get off work until 1:00 or 1:30 in the morning & will have to drive himself home.  Drive himself back home down those long, lonely 42 miles of darkened highway.

What have we done?  How did we allow him to pull out of the driveway alone?  My heart is jumping out of my chest & my husband has already started to drink.  How on earth do parents survive this?  Mike keeps reminding me that all the other parents out there have gone through the same thing and they've all survived, kids & parents alike.  But he forgets.  Our kid is much more special than those other kids and we love him more than other parents love their kids.  I need Valium and yarn.  Heavy, heavy doses of yarn.

One benefit to this total freak out I'm experiencing is that I may actually crank out the remaining million rows on a gazillion stitches of my pi shawl.  Or, my heart will stutter & my hands will shake & I'll drop all gazillion stitches off the needles.  Either way, I will be done with this shawl.

And I'm taking a deep breath.  I just received the text that the boy has finished at the bank & is moving on to the gas station.  He's still alive!  I'm going to go knit another row to celebrate.

Wow.  That photo is just wrong.  It's Magenta (one of the new mannequins) modeling the pi shawl, but it looks like a giant boob.  Not a great modeling job, but have you ever tried to take a picture of a gazillion rows of a gazillion stitches on circular needles?  It's not easy to show the progress being made.

And by the way, I'm loving the new camera except, look how small the picture is.  I need to figure out how to change that.  The camera is incredibly easy to use but the photo editing program is not.  Or maybe I should break down & read the manual.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Meet the girls

I have THE best husband in the world!  Look what he brought home...

Three girl mannequins.  It scared me at first.  He came in & said, "How'd you like some new girls?"  I thought he was offering me a boob job.  My next thought was puppies.  But mannequins are much better than new boobs or puppies.  Specially puppies.  Which is weird because I've been thinking we needed to add a small dog to our zoo but.... for that second when I thought he'd brought me puppies, I sort of wanted to kill him.

Anyway, since my original mannequin is male but likes to model women's shawls, he's known as Dr. Frank N. Furter.  It only makes sense that these ladies will be Janet, Magenta & Columbia.

So, don't I have the best husband?  He does commercial maintenance & renovations & was clearing out a store that was going out of business.  The girls were headed for the dump but Mike rescued them for me.

And of course, Dammit Janet is now stuck in my head.  Want to sing along with me?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday's Food - Chicken & Peppers

Yum!  One of my favorite dinners is chicken with peppers.

It's such an easy, low cost, low effort, fast dish to prepare.  It's simply chicken breasts cut up into bite sized chunks, green (and other colors if you have them) peppers cut into chunks, a sweet onion cut into thin slices, as much garlic as you can stand & a tablespoon or two of mexican seasoning all cooked together in a bit of olive oil and served over rice.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014


I'm still on section 3 of the Wendy Knits lace pi shawl.  Section 3 should, however, be numbered section 4 because it is taking 4-ever to knit!  The lace pattern is simple, it's just a four row/six stitch repeat.  Easily memorizable, even for me.  But those four rows repeat 12 times over 288 stitches.  And well, let's face it.  I've been catching up on missed episodes of The Walking Dead while knitting.  If I'm going to be honest about it, I might be spending more time watching the screen than the knitting.  In other words, there's been a lot of tinking going on.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

TMI Tuesday - Irrational Fears

Today's topic - irrational fears.  Here are a few of mine:

  1. Black panthers.  Ever since I read the Little House in the Big Woods as a child, I've been terrified of the black panther that lives in the tree limbs above my head.  I know he's there, just waiting to jump on me the second I step out of the house after dark.  
  2. Escalators.  I hate those things and it takes me 15 minutes to work up the courage to step onto one.  And of course, the craft/art book section of my favorite bookstore is upstairs & requires a ride up the escalator.
  3. Spiders.  Thanks to Stephen King's Desperation, all spiders are giant, deadly brown recluse spiders and are out to get me.  In fact, just about every bug found in nature is a deadly brown recluse out to get me.  It is an irrational fear after all.
  4. Clowns.  They are just plain creepy.
  5. Sock Monkeys.  They are just as creepy as clowns.  It's something about that big red mouth...
  6. Chucky.  Actually, any doll that imitates a human older than an infant.  They are just wrong & completely freak me out.
So, how about you?  Do you have any irrational fears that don't feel so irrational when you can sense that black panther creeping up on you?  Specially when he's probably bringing his brown recluse spider friends with him.  And you just know they've banded together and are dragging some kind of creepy doll, clown or sock monkey with them.

In knitting news, the pi shawl continues to grow.  Slowly.

I'm on the third section with 288 stitches per round and working the pattern repeat 12 times.  So yeah, it's growing slowly.  But it is growing and the yarn is still happy to be becoming a pi shawl.

Meanwhile, it snowed again. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Hope you enjoy  Galway Girl sung by Mundy & Sharon Shannon.

Have a safe & joyous celebration.  Please remember to drink responsibly.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

And the Band Played...

Today's Irish musical tribute is an old classic, The Band Played Waltzing Matilda by Shane MacGowan.

Hope you've got your green on because tomorrow's St. Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

New toys

I got a new toy and I am so excited.

I finally broke down and bought a new camera.  I've been wanting this baby for quite a while but it really wasn't in the budget.  I finally said to heck with the budget & splurged.  Now, if I can just figure out how to use it....   Actually, it seems to be pretty simple to use.  It pretty much does everything for me, at least in automatic mode.  When not in automatic mode, it practically does my dishes for me!  If it would only attach the carrying strap to itself....  Of all the things I can't figure out...  Good grief!

In knitting news, I finally finished knitting the fair isle scarf.  I still need to kitchner the ends together but that much kitchnering is going to take a certain stage of zen.  Before I tackle that project, I need more sleep and a quieter household.

To celebrate finishing the fair isle, rather than picking back up the chevron scarf mentioned here, I started something new.

I'm pretty excited about this project.  It's a Wendy Knits pi shawl.  I love Wendy's patterns.  They are always well written, easy to follow, and knit up quickly although the finished product looks complicated.  But what I'm most excited about this time is the yarn.  This yarn has been crankier than a underfed, sleep deprived teenager.  I bought the yarn at Goodwill quite sometime ago & have tried to knit a zillion different things with it.  Scarves, hats, gloves, shawls...  You name, I've tried to knit one with this yarn.  Each time, the yarn has screamed, "NO!  You can't make me be a ...."  Nothing has ever looked good.  Before this pi shawl, that is.  The yarn & I are both quite happy to finally figure out what it wants to be.

Another benefit to knitting the pi shawl - I'm finally using my Caspian needles.  I LOVE these needles.  Besides the fact that they are made from my absolute favorite colors, their pointy ends are perfect for lace.

Meanwhile, the Irish music countdown continues.  Today's song is Fairy Tale of New York by the Pogues.  I discovered this song while watching the movie, PS, I love you, which I highly recommend if you are looking to both laugh & cry at the same time.  It also claims a fabulous soundtrack & is a wonderful movie.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Rocky Road

It's Friday!  Hope you enjoy today's tribute to Irish music, Rocky Road to Dublin sung by The High Kings.

I also hope you'll enjoy today's food related post.  I know I did!

It's chocolate chip coffee cake my daughter made from a recipe on Two Peas & Their Pod's blog.  Yum!  And I think it's cool that we have the same baking pan.

Okay, so maybe chocolate chip coffee cake isn't exactly Irish, but we'll let it slide because I didn't have to bake it but I did get to eat it.  While listening to Rocky Road to Dublin, of course.

Sorry the photos are a little off.  Have I mentioned that I need a new camera?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Irish songs continue

Here's a link to another Irish musical favorite.  If I ever Leave This World Alive by Flogging Molly.  It's one of those songs that I hope they play at my funeral.  Which I also hope is a long, long way off!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wednesday's song

You may have noticed that my musical tastes are rather eclectic.  Today's tribute to Irish music is a fun, rowdy beer drinking song.  Actually, it's The Epic Beer Song.  Raise a glass & enjoy!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014

St. Patty's Preparation

In honor of my Irish heritage, I'll be featuring/sharing a few of my favorite Irish songs and/or song writers everyday through St. Patrick's day.  Today's song is Wish You Well by Mick Flannery.  I recently discovered Mick Flannery & although his style is not what I generally think of as typical Irish music, I absolutely love his voice & thought his music would be a nice, calm way to start the week.

As for my knitting, the fair isle scarf continues to grow but at an extremely slow pace.  I ended up frogging more rows than I knit yesterday.  I will be so happy to see this scarf finished!  I sort of never want to do fair isle knitting ever again. There are only a few more pattern stripes to go though, so the end is in sight.  Assuming I don't have to frog the whole bloody thing.

For now, I'm off to consult the Irish cookbooks & make a meal plan.  How about you?  Do you celebrate St. Patrick's day with any special Irish foods?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Nacho Night

There’s been progress on both the rainbow chevron & the fair isle scarves, but not enough on either to bother photographing, so, instead of talking about knitting....

It was Nacho Night at our house tonight.  I love Nacho Night.  Not because of the nachos, but because of the guacamole.  I LOVE guacamole.  And it’s so simple to make.

Take an avocado, and if you have a cutting board that your dad made for your mom as a wedding gift 70 years ago, definitely use it!

Peel the avocado, remove the seed & chunk it (the avocado, not the seed) into a bowl.  A smallish bowl with a nice flat, wide bottom works best.  My smallish, flat, wide bottomed bowl was no where to be found so I used a Tupperware bowl.  

Add a little lime juice.  I usually use a whole lime’s worth but I like my guacamole to be a bit on the limey side.  Add a little salt & just slightly more garlic powder than you’d think you’d need.  I usually use a little less than 1/4 tsp. of salt & about a rounded 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder, but add yours to taste.

Then just smash it up until it’s the chunky/smooth texture you prefer.  I have no idea what the tool is called that I use, but it works great.  A potato masher works well too, as does a simple fork if the avocado is ripe & soft enough.

Eat a spoonful to make sure it tastes right.  Then eat another spoonful just to make extra sure.  Then spoon it onto your nachos.  Yum!

Do you have a favorite guacamole recipe?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sibling Rivalry

Do you suffer from sibling rivalry?  I think my sister hates me.  

My sister runs a gift shop in a retirement home & gifts from her are always in the form of a gift basket full of all kinds of fun goodies from her shop.  The baskets are always full of such wonderful surprises.  There might be an expensive piece of hand crafted jewelry, or there might be a cheap, plastic, light-up holiday piece of jewelry that breaks after an hour’s use.  There might be clothing or a purse.  A keychain or a candle.  A silly game or a book inscribed by the author.  There might be tins of nuts or special candy from our childhood.  You just never know what’s going to be in the basket, and that is what makes it such a fun gift to receive.

But this year, this year my sister set out to destroy me.  She gave me money soap*.   And then she proceeded to tell me a story about how karma pretty much guarantees you'll only get $1 if you cut into the soap to get the money out.  Darn her!  She knows I have absolutely no patience.  And I’m also determined that if I behave and use the soap as intended, my soap bar will be one of the few that contain $20.  I firmly believe this.  So, I wash my hands 100 times a day using the end of the bar that the money is closest to in hopes of rushing the process along.  I even go so far as to rinse the bar of soap off after each hand washing just so that I might rinse away a slight layer of soap.  I have been doing this since December 26th and look where it’s gotten me:

Not very far.  Waiting for that money to come out of the soap is absolutely killing me.  I’m pretty sure my sister knew it would have this affect on me & I think she hates me.

In knitting news, I’m still plodding along on the fair isle scarf.  I’m currently on the 40th pattern stripe.  Yesterday was spent knitting from sun up to sun down, although there wasn’t much sun involved.  It snowed.  Like crazy!  It blizzarded is a more accurate description.  And what a crazy storm!  The day before, Sunday, was 64 degrees and absolutely gorgeous!  Sunday evening, it clouded up & began to rain and the temperature began to drop.  By 3 a.m. it was sleeting and when I woke up on Monday morning, we had about 4 inches of snow on the ground & it continued to fall as well as the temperature.  In the late afternoon, it stopped snowing, the sun popped out and there was actually a rainbow in the sky!  Okay, a snowbow, not a rainbow.  Very weird!   By bedtime last night, the temperature was down to 3 degrees.  That’s a 61 degree shift in temperature in a 24 hour time period.  Welcome to Virginia’s idea of spring.

*Please note, the soap shown in the link above is not from the same company but it's very similar.  I, stupidly, did not make note of where my soap actually came from when I first opened it.  The soap mentioned in the link above comes from if you are interested in purchasing your own.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Let the cursing begin

O. M. G. !  Will this winter ever end?  Okay, yes, two weeks into summer I'll be complaining about how hot it is, but....  This just isn't fair!  I went to bed last night around midnight and it was still 54 degrees.  I woke up to

9:30 a.m., it's 23 degrees and there's a blizzard out there.  They say we may get as much as 15 inches.  If it continues to come down like it is now, 15 inches may be a conservative estimate.

I am SO ready for spring.

And of course, our two car garage sits empty while all our vehicles sit out in the storm.  Good grief!

At least Max went down the stairs by himself this morning & didn't need to be carried.  He's afraid of ice.

The problem with that picture is that it has made this song stick in my head.

I really can't believe it's snowing.  I wonder if DMV is open.  My son was supposed to be going to get his driver's license today.  I'd hate for him to take the test on slippery, snowy roads but maybe it would hide the fact that no matter how much you lecture him, he speeds up for left turns.    The boy's got a bit of NASCAR driver in him, I believe.

Well, I'm off to spend the day knitting & to shoot six holes in my freezer.  Want to join me?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Goodbye Poor Fish

It's a sad day here in my craft room.  I found Poor Fish dead this morning.  Last night, while watching Black Hawk Down on Netflix, Poor Fish suddenly started zipping around in his bowl like a gigantic shark was after him.  He was swimming so fast, he actually splashed water out of his bowl.  I thought maybe the vibrations from all the bullets flying in the movie were traveling from my computer to my desk to his bowl & disturbing him.  Or maybe he'd had a bad dream....  What ever the cause, it seems to have been the end for Poor Fish.

I'll miss you, buddy.  You've been an enjoyable knitting, crafting & office companion.