The Big Pruple & the Ravelympics

During the last winter Olympics, the Yarn Harlot hosted the Knitting Olympics. So many of us had such a great time that we wanted to do it again. The Harlot's stance was that each event only takes place every 4 years, so we need to wait unitl the next winter games for that and she suggested another "event" for the summer. Makes sense. But some folks on Ravelry were hungry for a challenge and put together the Ravelympics. Basically the same damn thing with another name. Out of respect for the Harlot's wishes, I have decided that the Summer games are a good time for a crochet challenge.

But what?

Lace? no, I have a HUGE knit lace project OTN (I'll take some pics after a couple more tiers. It's just starting to look like something!).

Toys? hmm.. maybe... I've got a few ideas...oh wait.. those were knit...

Sweater? no way! I really like the look of a knit sweater with a crochet trim, but now that I can knit, very little crochet-wear appeals to me (same goes for hats, mittens and socks. I like the fabric of a kint better here where negative ease is a must).

A bag?- nah, I'm on a bag sewing kick..

Granny Squares? A-HA! inspiration!

A few years ago, in the time before Ravelry, I participated in a purple granny square swap. We traded 12" purple and white squares. I don't recall how many were in the group, but I remember making extra squares so I'd have enough for a king size afghan. With the remodel, move and a new baby (that'd be Colin), they got stuffed in a bag and shoved under the bed and forgotten.

My intent was to join them in a sage yarn (my master bedroom is purples and sage) to make a throw for our king size bed (again, I made extra squares already). So, now this challenge gives me the motivation to complete the UFO just in time for fall! (and with oil prices skyrocketing, we'll be in NO hurry to turn on the heat this year. Think we can make it to November?) I even found a really neat joining method, Dudessembly. A really pretty deviation from the standard double crochet border, single crochet join that was my grandmother's trademark (she made the COOLEST scrapghans! every one is like a trip down memeory lane. my hat, my brother's gloves, mom's sweater...). This weekend I went out and purchased the sage yarn - TLC Essentials (on sale of course!).

I came home to toss the yarn and a hook in the bag to have everything ready. I thought I should pull out the squares and make sure they are all close in size (that was an issue in the 8" pastel square swap I did). I counted them (being a math nerd, I count everything - borders on compulsive actually...). 30. 30? shouldn't there be 36? king size is roughly 6'x6'. The squares are 1'x1' each, so 6x6 is 36... why are there only 30? What was I thinking? What sort of denial can cause math that bad?

So, now I am working on the last 6 squares in preparation for the Ravelympics. Three down, one in progress two more to go, 10 days left... cake!

May I present: Purple Swapghan

It occurs to me now- as I'm typing this - that I will be on vacation (camping in the Berkshires) the second week. Wonder if I can start a week early, or should I jsut lug it up the mountian. Come to think of it, an extra blanket may come in handy.. even if it isn't done...



The boys room was beyond messy. It was approaching a state of Disaster. I didn't take a "before" picture because I feared someone may alert CPS...
Actually, their room had been worse - much worse. Last March, I removed ALL toys from their room. At first, they thought it was a joke.. then reality set in. you know what? All of those toys are STILL in the basement. I'm thinking they REALLY have too much shit if I can take away that much and they hardly skip a beat.
I did leave their books (can you blame me?), which were the source of much of the mess. When Andy's teacher retired, she gave away her books. Andy came home with literally hundreds of books! Mostly "Human Body" and science topics. go figure! But the books and a couple of LEGO sets that they did earn had pretty much exploded all over the room!
So after days and days of asking, begging then threatening them, I decided it was time for a new tactic. I took a page from Super Nanny's book (Figuratively - good book. don't want to rip it!). She had a couple of little girls dress up as "busy bees" to make cleaning fun... now, my boys are older, and well... boys. SO we went with Superheros!
Their mission - should they chose to accept it (and really, they had no choice) was to get their room from "super-messy" to "super-clean" and to do it "super-fast".
They picked out costumes, got dressed and went to work. They picked up and made their beds. I rearranged the furniture and swept the floor (my Goodness the dirt!). They still have a mountain of laundry to put away, and we need more bookshelves... but those are tasks for another day...
As for "toy pergatory" and the disaster that is supposed to be our family room.... I'm going to thin the toys while the big guys are camping. I hate to chose what to get rid of behind their back, but Andy personifies his toys so much (no more "Toy Story" for him!) that he finds it nearly impossible to part with anything. SInce there is SO much.. He'll likely not notice what was thinned out.


TGIF 7/18/08

  • friends
  • family
  • mass transit
  • text messages
  • fantasy
  • reality
  • desires
  • being needed
  • a weekend "off"
  • ideas
  • my "girl cave"
  • 30 days until camp!
  • 45 days unitl school satrts!
  • creativity
  • inspiration
  • discoveries
  • pretend

When good knitting goes bad...

I found a pattern for a really cute pair of Tery Short - shorts in the book, Sexy Little Knits. I thought they were pretty Bad-ass. In fact, when I began the project in Ravelry, I named it "Bad Ass Shorts". they turned out to be "Make my Ass Look Bad Shorts". I found a great new yarn - Baby Blanket, by Bernat.

The yarn.. I LOVE! The name describes it perfectly. The one big ball makes the baby blanket pattern on the ball band. The fabric knits up cuddly and soooo soft! I can see using this for baby gifts in the near future...

The pattern.. I'm not so impressed with... I got gauge (really! I did!) yet these things are rediclously w-i-d-e. The pattern calls for a casing to be knit, then crocheted into the inside. then, the sides are cinched with a crochet drawstring. My initial thought was.. well, maybe that'll take in some of the width... not so much.... they are W-I-D-E and frankly, a bit bulky. But, I figured I just made these for knocking around the house, so maybe if they are comfy it won't really matter. So, after avoiding the sewing in the ends part for at least a week (ok 2), I fnished them up and wore them. Todd asked my why I knit myself a diaper.... It's official.. they are an UGH!

that is a 1" grid that they are laying on there! ..and just so you know that my ass isnt' that big. I laid a pair of shorts that do fit on top to give you an idea. I love those purple shorts.. SO comfy. They are what I was hoping these shorts would be..


Train Tact

It seems that a few of my fellow commuters can use a refresher course in manners. It really isn't hard, but you have to at least try to use some common sense. Here are just a few ways to be a better commuter.
  • when you are on a train platform that is packed shoulder to shoulder, do you really think that 6ft golf umbrella was such a great idea?
  • when the train arrives at the station, you will need to close it BEFORE you get on the train. plan ahead.
  • once you are on the train, where do you plan on putting that giant wet umbrella? In the overhead luggage rack? uh, NO! try again....
  • I realize that I take an early train, but sleeping across three seats on a peak-hour train is grounds for a beat down - and this train stops in Bridgeport, pal!
  • If your cell phone/crackberry ringer is set to "obnoxious", ANSWER THE FUCKING PHONE!
  • No one else in the train car wants to hear Miley Cyrus on infinite repeat for 40 minutes little girl!
  • If you want to get your arrogant Armani covered ass on this train, you better move and let me get the hell off - unless you want to "watch the gap" up close.

And while I am whining about the people on the MTA, let me complain - again - about these freaking trains. I've covered this before, but apparently no one was listening.

Now, don't get me wrong, the MTA staff on the train rocks. They are professional, polite and they take pity on you when you aren't paying attention and end up in Harlem (nothing wrong with Harlem, but I was aiming for Greenwich).

BUT can you PLEASE maintain the train cars? Yes, I am aware that you've ordered new cars. great. That may help when they get here - NEXT YEAR. Oh, wait, my bad they begin to arrive in a year, but you won't have them all until 2012. thanks. even if the train fairy delivered them all today. It still isn't enough.

Gas prices are going up. I-95 isn't getting any less crowded. More people are taking the train, 20% more in the first quarter this year. Every day the trains are more and more crowded. The Friday afternoon trains are SO full, that the conductors can't even move up and down the aisles to collect tickets. it can't be safe to run the trains that full.

What does NOT help matters is when trains are regularly a car short. Even worse? A car short and at least one car with rain leaking in so badly that half of the seats can't be used. No, actually, even worse was the Friday afternoon express that was not only a car short, BUT two of the cars were without a/c - in July - in CT. It was so hot in those cars that it was unsafe! So glad you got that one fixed - almost a week later...

Don't get me wrong, I'm really enjoying the commute - since I don't have to drive. I really like my job, but I couldn't handle the commute if I had to deal with the mess on I-95... even if gas were free. It is just that some mornings, the little things piss you off... and some days I just feel like bitching (I'm tired and I'm sore and it's my blog. get over it.)


Another Random Recap

Saturday, we took the kids to Devon Day. there were rides, ice cream, popcorn, magic show, and, of course, face painting. Andy got a Praying Mantis (his favorite bug. he actually found one hanging out in my veggie garden a couple of weeks ago. Good bugs.. we like that!)

Ryan got a Hermit Crab (or so he called it) "tattoo" on his arm. No, he's not like his dad AT ALL...

Colin's vocab is just EXPLODING! new words every day. I forgot how amazing this phase is.

The boys filled up the marble jar and were rewarded with a shopping spree at the book store. I've never seen them so overwhelmed with options.. not even at the toy store!

This is week 2 of Karate Camp. The boys had So much fun last week, that we didn't need to think twice about sending them to the additional week.

I am making slow but steady progress on my Anniversary Shawl. I've gotten this beading thing down, so the pace is picking up now. It still looks like a mess of seaweed, just with pearls in it now. Once I finish this tier, I'll try to pin it out for some pictures.

Since Ryan liked Todd's socks so much, and I had so much yarn leftover, he is getting a pair too. They are my current commuter knit.

I finished my shorts, short of weaving in the ends. I'm not loving them. I need to force myself to sew in the ends, try them on and give them a change before I decide they are an UGH! and yes, I will take pictures of the monstrosity for your amusement.


We had a great streak going there for a while.... but this asshole blew it last night. Just when I thought people were getting the picture...


According to my doctor, my leg is healing well. I think it still looks pretty nasty, but hey, he went to Med School... I didn't... I'm back on my bike, but not without pain when I pedal. It is still better than driving or taking the cab.. I think I've become addicted to my daily rides. There are worse things....

As far as the legal action, I was contacted by the drivers insurance company and referred them to my lawyer, so I guess that ball is starting to roll...

oh- and it isnt' just me, see!


TGIF 7/18

  • bike repair
  • my pretty new helmet
  • getting the stitches out
  • family time
  • sleep
  • more drugs that work
  • karate camp
  • snack time
  • clear cold water
  • sticks, strings and beads
  • my fingernails
  • perfect and elegant timing
  • not having to sit in traffic on I-95
  • my new microwave
  • surprises
  • fancy knitting
  • leftovers


Catching Flies

All of the "bad" teenagers in the neighborhood hang out at the house next to mine. They rode their bikes/boards in the middle of the road. They tossed empty beer cans, cigarette butts and other assorted nastiness into our yard. They played their music too loud too late and woke up my kids.

Notice my use of the past tense? No, they didn't move and sadly, the kid next door has not gotten more selective about his friends. What changed? They found out that we like Iron Maiden. Todd came home one night and he was blaring Maiden on the SUV's sound system. The "kids" next door were amazed the we old farts had ever heard of them (I wonder if they realize that the band is in their 50's?). Well, once they found out that Todd and I were going to see them... we became the "cool" neighbors.

No more crap in our yard. No more loud music at night. They even look out for my kids and will not let ANYONE pick on them. They are even showing Andy & Ryan how to skateboard (I was not thrilled about this at first, but then Todd brought his board home from his parents... now THAT scared me!). They are nice to us, considerate of our kids and even help us out if/when they can. It is amazing what you can do when you find a little common ground.


Summer Fun

When the summer heat first started to sizzle this year, I picked up a kiddie pool with a cool sunshade/sprinkler. Colin thought it was so cool, he jumped in clothes, shoes and all!

Sunday, we were finally able to get the kids to the beach. we live less than a mile away, yet we couldn't seem to get there. Between the weather and other obligations, it was just impossible! Hopefully we'll be back again soon. Hopefully we will remember to medicate the kids first (really, how did I miss that?). Although, they really were good.. until it was time to go...

You can see Todd and the big guys in the background playing in the surf. Colin and I (and my stitches) hung out in our new cabana and played in the sand. The cabana was definately worth the $13 investment! We need more sand toys. So glad I figured this out before camp!


Back in the saddle....

I got my bike back on Saturday (yes, I bought a new helmet!). I was really happy to be back on the bike Monday morning.. until the clouds unleashed their vengeance on me about 3 blocks from the station. NOT.FUN. neither was the cold, wet train ride (I had a change in the office thank goodness!). My commute didn't improve with the bus ride. Some lady pulled out into the side of the bus. She destroyed the front end of her car and scratched the bus. Still, it is better than being hit on your bike... but really, 2 accidents in two weeks? Enough already!

Monday night also meant stitch removal for me. While I am THRILLED to be rid of them, the bandages and the itching, I'm not liking the return of the pain! It hurt getting them out and it hurts to even touch my leg again. Still, the doctor said it looks good and is healing well. I'll take his word for it. It looks like I have a vagina on my leg. (nice mental picture, no?) I did bring Andy with me. He was fascinated adn asked lots of questions. He said it looked easy...

As for the potential legal action, I'm leaving that up to my lawyer and not expecting any news soon.

While we are on the topic of commuting, I finished Todd's Patriotic Socks. He was putting the first one on while I was sewing in the ends on the second. Guess he likes them! I know Ryan does because I have been oredered to make a pair for him. I've got plenty of yarn leftover for a kid pair, so why not? next pair is MINE.


TGIF 7/11

  • good drugs
  • my little medical staff
  • mass transit
  • Henry's dreative driving abilities
  • vacation plans (I've already updated my packing list!)
  • people that "get it"
  • inner trength
  • patience
  • friends
  • unexpected gifts
  • sleep
  • Sesame Street



Previous generations called it potty training. The current PC term is "potty learning". In reality, it is all brainwashing IMO. Whatever you want to call it, it was a Nightmare with the first 2. don't belive me? check out this and this. BUT they both managed to be brainwashed by kindergarten.

I hear the other Mom's in my mommy groups talking about potty chairs and beginning the brainwashing process.. I have NO interest in even listening to these discussions. No, really, I'm happy your kid went in the potty, but I'm a cynic when it comes to the topic, so don't expect cartwheels from me. especially if your kids isn't even 2 yet. at this point, the parents are the ones getting trained and the toddlers are toying with them...

I refuse to buy another potty chair. they just gross me out. yes, you read that right. cloth diapers don't gross me out, but potty chairs do. I KNOW I am getting my diapers clean... the potty chair.. not so much.. We've already got a bathroom stool, so when I get the nerve, I'll get a kid size seat to go on the toilet - which flushes. I'm skipping the kid wipes this time too. They are expensive, bad for the septic and the kids can't use them in school, so they need to know how to actually wipe their own ass. A child isn't really brainwashed until they can do the following:
  1. recognize that they need to go.
  2. stop what they are doing and get to the bathroom.
  3. undress. (put them in elastic waist pants - no overalls!)
  4. get on the toilet/potty.
  5. go.
  6. wipe.
  7. flush.
  8. dress.
  9. wash hands.

That is quite a tall order for a toddler, but I guess you gotta start somewhere...

I've been kinda hoping that Colin will just pick it up along the way. He is the youngest of the 4 male humans in the house.. but I suppose it may take a bit of guidance...

The ONLY reason I am even thinking about this is that Colin just noticed that he pees. He gets nasty acidic poop when he teethes that instantly burns his butt. So, we let him "air out" in the kitchen. He started to pee and the look of surprise on his face was priceless. It turned to fascination, then glee. So, he is starting to make that connection. He is certainly capable of getting to the bathroom, he can undress and we've noticed him starting to hide while he poops. However, he isn't staying dry for extended periods of time, telling us when he is wet/poopy or even aware of when he is about to go. He isn't ready to try the potty yet, but we're starting the brainwashing coursework. I dug out the "Potty Time With Bear" DVD (we also have it on VHS...), the stuffed Elmo that goes potty, Too Big For Diapers, Calliou Goes Potty (cant stand that brat, but Andy was in a Calliou phase and I was desperate!) and, of course, Everyone Poops.

Let the games begin...



Well, I started off my Holiday weekend a little early and with a big bang. Due to possible probable legal actions, I'm not going to go into detail here, but, this is what happens when a car pulls out in front of a bike.

you'll notice that while I have street slicks on them, those are trail rims - heavier and stronger than street rims.... yeah... If you look closely, you will also see that the left brake lever is a bit on the reddish side... That'd be from impaling me in the thigh. Luckily, it went into some "well placed padding" (those were teh doctors words - not mine!) so it wasn't the worst case injury. I did end up with 7 stitches and a rather nasty bruise. I'll spare you the pictures....
While I was home and resting on my now 5-day weekend, my boys took good care of me. Dr. Andy was fascinted by my stitches and the wound itself. Ryan was busy making sure I had everything I needed and even helped me change the bandage. Maybe we have a nurse in the making? or maybe he was sucking up for marbles. By Sunday, they were over me and back to being seagulls*.
I had the camera out, taking pictures of the bike before Todd brought it back to the bike shop and I kept hearing a little voice say "cheese.. CHEESE!"
then a not so little voice say "ME TOO!"

On the 4th we went to my in-laws for a cook-out and fireworks. I had the camera out to show them the bike pictures and I heard it again..."Mommy.. CHEESE!"

then another "ME TOO!"
I think his SuperHero Face ended up looking more like a mug shot...

I just happened to catch this one... how CUTE is this?

Happy belated Independance Day!

*If you didn't get this, watch Nemo. the seagulls are exactly like little kids - "mine mine mine".


TGIF- Independance Day!

I am grateful for/that:
  • vicoden
  • skelaxin
  • ice packs
  • Wendy
  • Dr. Wendy's brother
  • Mommy
  • tea
  • my kiddos
  • it wasn't worse
  • tattoo plans
  • sleep
  • understanding
  • "emergency knitting!"
  • Tony's


On the Right Path...again...

I knit the bottom seed stitch border and base triangles of my Anniversary Shawl with NO problems. Then I got to the "right" triangle. but my right was on my left and my "live" stitches ended up facing the right (or was it left) border. Clearly something had gone very very WRONG. I checked the errata - nope my pattern was right. I checked blog land. I checked Ravelry. It seems that I was the only one who had taken a wrong turn on the path...

Finally I realized what I had done. I was using the wrong side as the right side and my right triangle was going the wrong way! so... a Sam Adam's Summer Ale (hey, I needed some fortification!) and some tinking later, I was back on the right path! I even have a lace unit done! I just need to keep reminding myself that lace looks like a hot mess until it is blocked and bent to my will.
I started with a "heather" block (note: the pattern refers to this as "fern", but I've decided it is heather) The next block will be the Lily of the valley. I found the beads! They are 6/0 Czech glass seed beads. Now where did I leave that steel hook......