31 December 2007

Dude, where's my car?

So I woke up this morning and looked outside and yet again a good 6-8 inches of snow had fallen through the night... well, yippee. And my car is under all of that. Lucky me. Let's hope it's nice and fluffy so I won't be hoisting ice floes off my lawn.

And when I had taken that picture, I looked over and Zeekie was posing by the tree angel (I don't have a Christmas tree this year to put it on) and the silly kitty was waiting patiently for me to take her picture. I think she thinks she's a model. She let me take five or six shots before she was done and walked off the set. Some people have working dogs, I have modeling cats.

In other news, I have decided my Dad needs this. Dig the propaganda: "On a whirling table, with one's head to the rim, gravity is overcome as though the patient had escaped to some planet of Eternal Youth."

30 December 2007

Cassady's Socks

My friend--no, my best friend-- Cassady requested knee socks, so I have been working on them. It's a pattern I made up-- just decreasing by 4 sts every ten rows, and then a row of simple eyelets--and I am just ready to start the heel now. This is such lovely yarn, and the color-- it's a not-too-obnoxious electric blue with flashes of green and chestnut here and there. This is Apple Laine's Apple Pie line, in the color Best Friends. (Cassady and I work together, and all of the kids tease us about being best friends (when I walk into her room, her students yell out, "your best friend's here!!") so I thought this particular yarn was especially apropos.

In other news, my sister gave me a Tazo tea sampler for Christmas, and I have been working my way through every flavor. Some I have had already, like "Awake" (strong and black) and "Passion" (a fruity herbal blend) but some are ones I have never seen before-- "Joy", (a green, black and oolong blend), "Organic Chai" (heavy on the spices, especially the anise-- yum) and "Berryblossom White" (a white tea with blueberry and cranberry flavors--absolutely delicious). I wish I liked minty teas, because there are so many out there, but they just make my stomach churn so I avoid them-- so the "Zen" tea doesn't get a strong vote for me (yay for lemongrass, nay for spearmint). But overall, these are some incredibly yummy teas.

I know---- I sound a little like a wine connoisseur: "lots of toast and vanillins, outstanding apple and pear in the nose and taste, complex and lingering with an oaky finish." If I ever wanted to change my profession, I could be a professional tea connoisseur!

29 December 2007

Angus in the Tree

This is my Mum's cat Angus, and one of his favorite toys. He believes that the tree is put up solely for his benefit. Angus is not very bright, as you can see.

"I'm going in!"

"Durrrrrr.... I'm an ornament!"

"Now I'm one of these light thingies.... wanna plug me in?"

"This is my new cat bed. Leave me alone."

In other news, I shoveled my back steps, my path, my driveway, the car and the oil tank. It's that heavy wet snow everyone detests. I did where the plow had packed the banks down first, and after that it was a breeze. Still very heavy, but pushable. Now it's all melting. Yay.

Snow Snow Snow Snow (ala Bing, Danny, Rosemary and Vera-Ellen)

So I woke up this morning and there is another good 4-5 inches out there. It's very pretty--and since it's still relatively early in the season I don't mind shoveling so much.

I slept for twelve hours last night-- I woke up and was like, it's going to be about 7 o'clock, and I'll have time to putter and then jump back in bed for a little while, and it won't be all that late when I get up again.... I looked at my watch and it said 11 o'clock. Whoaaaa. Like Ellen, it will take me a few days to get over being at Mum's house-- the allergies aren't all that bad when I'm there, but when I come home and breathe normal air again my eyes burn and my nose plugs up and my throat gets all icky and I am generally just miserable. No asthma, though-- but my poor sister's lungs just cease working and she has to break out the iron lung or something.

Nothing much exciting happening today-- I have to do some cleaning, and some laundry, and play with the kitties and bunnies... I think they all enjoyed traveling, but they are all happy to be home. Julian is such a needy kitty-- he needs to have his little cat carrier box thing in the front seat of the car where he can see me at all times. Now that we're home he won't leave me alone-- he follows me everywhere, and if I sit down he has to perch on the highest spot in the room and "protects" me (protects me from what I will never know-- he's scared of thunderstorms, vacuums, plows, trick-or-treaters...). Right now he is curled up in the warm spot in my bed. Silly kitty. Zeekie just rolls her eyes at her big brother and goes back to sleep.

28 December 2007

Yay Christmas!

So here I am back home, after four days of staying with my parents. Kate and Ellen came down too for a few days! Here they are opening their stockings.

.....and here's Mum looking on...

....Dad looking thrilled...

....and me in a bunch of poinsettias.

We had such a great time. My family is nuts. We did nothing but eat and tell stupid stories the entire time. My aunt gave my Dad this very tasteful gift of a chihuahua-like stuffed animal dog thing that you strap to your leg and it humps you, energetically and relentlessly. It was beyond fabulous. It's just one of those presents that you cannot believe any sane person would ever wrap up and give away. No one in my family is sane, so we try to one-up each other every Christmas. Ellen gave me a phallic glittery lamp thing which my Mum was entirely too OCD about ("it glows red 21 times before it shuts off!"). Another aunt gave us each one of those fake water scene picture things you sometimes see hanging in cheap bars, where you plug it in and the water appears to move. Lovely. I shall always treasure it (no I won't). And my other aunt seems to labor under the delusion that I am exceedingly religious, so she gave me a scripture-of-the-day desk calendar (which I will thank her profusely for, just to be polite, but I will never ever even open the thing, much less actually use it). I used to have this great-aunt named Olga who would give us the most extraordinarily useless presents (always clothes, always tacky-- shimmery sweaters, often gold or beaded or rhinestoned, often all three, and either size XS or XXXXXL) but she died so we have to look to other relatives to fill that role. Thankfully there is no shortage of candidates!

But it's getting late-- more stories later-- and more pictures, because I have a camera! Yippee!!!!!

23 December 2007

Elphaba and the cabbage

This is my sister Ellen, and the lovely Kate... and what happens when Elphaba is given free reign of a cabbage leaf.

22 December 2007

Happy Solstice!

It's the Winter Solstice, and that means it's time to bring out the special candles and light up the night. I've been puttering all day-- it's vacation!-- so I napped, worked on Dad's socks, and braved the crowds at Walmart (sigh) to finish up the last of the Christmas shopping. I am almost done-- just Dad's big thing, which I still have to think about. Luckily the things I have in mind for him are sold in stores which will be (mostly) open the next few days. Plus, if I need to, I don't absolutely have to get it by the 25th as we will be having our second Christmas later in the week with the rest of the relatives. 'Tis the season for procrastination!

I absolutely hate shopping at Walmart. I detest it. The crowds, the lack of open registers, the crappy merchandise they sell, the corporate nightmare, the brainwashing monopoly they hold on the availability of items (if they doesn't have it, you don't need it and your life will be just fine without it; conversely, if they do have it, you need to have it and you'd better get it)... and yet I shop there, as we all do, feeling sick to our stomachs at the dire prospects.
..........That having been said, I got "You'll Shoot Your Eye Out" wrapping paper!! Woot!

So, sock update! I am on the toe of Dad's sock #2. They are so very gorgeous-- when I brought them to school to work on them, everyone was oohing and aaahing over the colors. They're manly but still fun (from a distance they look like a very dark reddish brown, but up close you can really see the greens and blues and golds), and the dark green toes just make them. The second sock will be done tonight, and then I can wash them! I don't have a blocker big enough for them, and I hate using coat hanger blockers, so I'll just put them on the small blockers to dry and then as Dad wears them they will eventually block themselves.

.....And for the zillionth time, I wish I had a camera so I could show you!!!

20 December 2007

Veddy eeeeeeeenteresting

Ever wondered how to get ballpoint pen ink off a doll? Well, it involves acne cream, sunlight, and some unexplainable chemical reaction. Here's a how-to (via Boing Boing).

17 December 2007

Christmas presents galore!!!

<----- Angus's contented yet goofy Christmas grin is exactly how I feel right now......

So, after shoveling out the foot or so of snow that fell yesterday (and ice and freezing rain and all that ick) I was finally able to get to my mailbox. There was the key, signaling that I had a package. It took me a while to get the stupid lock to work (it was frozen shut and the key was bent... grr!) but I finally succeed. Inside was a box from the Loopy Ewe. A big box. Two big for just two skeins of yarn. Huh. So I went inside and while I was thawing I opened it. There was more than two skeins of yarn in there-- it just so happened that this was my sixth order and I have now been honored as an official Loopy Groupie!! There were tons of surprises in that box-- Loopy kisses of many sorts (SHEEP! I love sheep!) and a tote and a lovely note from Sheri! Oh, it made me cry, it was so wonderful and incredible. And the Regia matches Dad's socks perfectly. It was certainly worth battling this crazy weather and the intolerable wait to get this package. Thank you, Sheri!! :) :)

And I also got a girt from my ed tech Judy-- fudge sauce, strawberry sauce and homemade gingersnaps. Mmmmmmmm. It's been a tradition the last few years for me to tuck them back into the little bag and "regift" them to my Dad. We open them up during Christmas break and have ice cream sundaes. Mmmm. And Julian, the weirdo, likes the cookies. Is it normal for cats to like bready-type food? Actually, now he doesn't want to eat the cookie crumbs but rather bonk at them with his head. Crazy cat.

So I am planning a relaxing evening with my beautiful new yarn and finishing at least one sock while watching a Christmas movie. I am so happy! :)

(For some reason I have this stuck in my head, even though it has nothing to do with anything... just happy music, I guess:)

There's so much joy in life,
so many pleasures all around
But the pleasure of insomnia
is one I've never found
With all life has to offer,
there's so much to be enjoyed
But the pleasures of insomnia
are ones I can't avoid

Lids down, I count sheep
I count heartbeats
The only thing that counts is
that I won't sleep
I countdown, I look around

Who needs sleep?
well you're never gonna get it
Who needs sleep?
tell me what's that for
Who needs sleep?
be happy with what you're getting
There's a guy who's been awake
since the Second World War

Yay BNL!!

16 December 2007

A Snowy Day

6-11 inches expected today-- lovely. Do you think we'll have school tomorrow? I would love to have another day off-- I really don't care how late we go into June. I don't care about the future as much as I do the present! :) And I certainly could use a day off to work on things (like socks...).

So last night I traveled with my friend Michelle to a teachers' party at our principal's house-- it was lovely. she has a gorgeous house. I sometimes forget how lovely houses can be when I live in a drafty squalid little trailer. The house is out in the country and has plenty of room for her big family (oodles of children, mostly middle- and high-school aged) and there's things like a pool table and a home theater and little nooks and crannies-- it's hard to have nooks and crannies in a trailer. I loved it. The kids did a great job decorating. It was beautiful. I got to talk with a lot of people I don't normally get to-- the music teacher, the technology guy, people from the other schools... And the food. Mmmmmmm, the food. Deviled eggs and cream puffs and spaghetti and peanut butter fudge bars and spinach dip... 10,000 calories in one evening. It was glorious. So good. And I got to hang out with Michelle, which I don't often get to do because we're so busy. Afterwards we went to Wal*Mart to shop for our Secret Santa recipients and we got laughing over those corny stuffed animals that sing and dance. This one dancing turkey kept tap-dancing to the left and proceeded to make inappropriate advances on an unsuspecting penguin. I was so afraid we were going to get kicked out we were laughing so hard.

So I am still waiting for my order from The Loopy Ewe-- it's been more than a week but I think it's just the weather holding everyone up. I can't finish Dad's socks without the hunter green yarn. Maybe they've delivered it today-- I doubt it, but I'll check when I go out to shovel. I've turned the heel on the second sock and started the gusset decreases and went back and fixed some goofs I made on the instep (my nice tidy little ribs weren't lined up properly, but thankfully they're easy to fix by dropping stitches and doing surgery with a crochet hook-- I REFUSE to frog more than a row or two, especially if it means reknitting a heel-- if I can't fix it with a crochet hook then I just let it be and hope nobody scrutinizes it too closely). These socks will go fast now that the heel is done-- I hope the toe yarn comes soon! :)

Okay, funny teacher story time. So I was in bus line, and there are these little first grade twin boys in my line. One twin is always picking on the other, and the picked-on little guy came to me for help. "My brother just called me an asshole!" he said, and before I could respond to that, he continued: "And what's worse, what's really really worse, he also called me--- the... the... THE SHUT-UP WORD!"

....now, as a teacher, how is one supposed to react to that? I think I just stood there, mouth agape, and mumbled something about brothers not always making good choices (or something).

And, it turns out, the other twin also said a word so heinous that it must not be spoken aloud, so the little boy not only whispered it, but also spelled it. "He-- he called me a F-A-T-T-Y!"

Oh heavens. Children. *SIGH*

12 December 2007

A Hamster, a Good Lunch and the Beginning of Sock #2

I got two Christmas cards today-- one from Mum and Dad, and the other from The Crazy Sisters and the little hamster (who is named now-- he's a he, and he has a name! I can't believe it! And according to the Sisters he isn't a hamster any more-- he's more of a.... a bump. But he'll always be a hamster to me). I haven't the faintest idea what I'm going to do for Christmas cards this year-- mass emails are too lame, but the idea of making, signing, addressing and sending dozens of cards makes me want to scream!

(This picture is the hamster at 11 weeks. He's much bigger now!)

Today was a good day-- I had a fun time with the kids, which means nobody melted down and I kept things reasonably hoppin'. I hung out with one of my good teacher friends at lunchtime, and we found that we had not one but two mutual friends which is incredible-- such a small world we live in. I love it. I also got to hang out with some kids that I don't know well but who are cool, and we made each other laugh. It was great.

So I started Dad's second sock-- I hate ribbing! 1 1/2 inches of ribbing is hell! This part, and the heel flap, are the two parts that just take forever. Gaaaah. But I love working with this yarn-- it's so dark and subtle, and because I'm using an 80-stitch pattern instead of my usual 60, the Interlacements isn't striping like it did on my other socks-- it's more scattered and subtle. And once I get off this dumb ribbing it will go fast-- I love the Seed Stitch pattern in the Thuja socks.

09 December 2007

Cleaning Whirlwind

So today I tackled the Cozy Room. It needed it. I have had the space heater running, and I also have a tendency to throw the junk mail on the floor, and that only makes this place MORE of a fire hazard. So I decided to clean. And so I filled two trash bags with god knows what (crap crap crap, crap that I will no longer keep) and when I found the floor I decided to vacuum. The problem is, nobody in this entire town, county, state or nation sells size T vacuum bags. Nobody. Or maybe just not in the six different places that I have tried in the last few weeks. Ugh. So I tried using these generic bags that my Mum had gotten for me, but they didn't work. Finally I did the unthinkable and just used the vacuum with no bag in it (yet another fire hazard) and I cleaned it out every three minutes or so. BIG SIGH. The nice thing now is that I am no longer stepping in kitty litter that two rambunctious felines have tracked everywhere.

But now the cozy room is clean, and I am clean (post-shower) and I will go back to my Dad's socks. The foot is about 5 1/2 inches long so far (I need it to be about 10 inches) and I have a ball of yarn a little bigger than a ping-pong ball at this point. I ordered some hunter green yarn last night to finish off the toes, but since it will be at least mid-week until it arrives I think when I get down to my last yard or so of the Interlacements I will use some random needles to hold the stitches and then I will start the second sock.

08 December 2007

Dad's Socks

So tonight I'm watching "The Stepford Wives" (the new one) which I got at Bud's for $6.99-- I wasn't going to buy any more movies until after Christmas but oh well... and I am working on my Dad's present. I don't have a camera to show off my progress but here's the yarn I'm using. The yarn is darker in real life, and is more Christmas colors-- lots of maroon and dark green. I'm using a modified Thuja pattern from Knitty which is one of my favorite quick and easy sock patterns. I don't have enough yarn to make the whole sock this color (I should have bought three skeins but I will make due with two), so I may make the last third of the foot a hunter green. I don't really think Dad will mind a pair of Frankensocks. One of these days I am going to teach myself how to start toe-up and/or do a better job estimating yardage, but for now...

Hey Look! I made a blog!

So it's a Saturday night and I decided to be creative and make a blog. Julian has signaled his approval by knocking a big pile of stuff all over the floor and then lying on my arm and gazing lovingly into my eyes. He doesn't seem to understand that I need my left armfor a purpose other than to be lounged on.*Sigh* Cats.