Friday, December 29, 2006

Knitting Progress!

Yes, I actually did some knitting while I was in the 'Burgh. Finished the fuzzy feet for Bigfooted friend #1 (big-footed boy #2 would be the hubster. He's going to wind up trying on this first pair). No photos of those Fuzzy Feet. Hey, they're Fuzzy Feet. They all look the same.

This, however, is FF#1 for the next-to-last pair. I changed the toe a little. Did the decreases differently so they aren't so pointy-toed. I like it better. Knit and learn, right?

I also cranked on my Jo Sharp cable sweater. Above is a progress shot. The longer front piece is ready for the shoulder-shaping decreases, but I decided that I'm Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer when it comes to the instructions for this shoulder shaping and therefore I'll wait until I can visit Beach Knitting and get Irma to help. Yes, I should be beyond this need for hand-holding, but let's face it. I'm not.

Close-up money shot of the fronts. There are eight purl stitches on either side of the 25-stitch cable pattern, but they are all rolled up. Can you say "blocking before piecing?"

I had a few things in my living room jump out at me while I was taking my knitting progress shot this morning. First:

Derf and Baxter. Still playing nicely together. Aren't they cute? (Hey. Most knitters have cats. I have bears. Get over it.)

Secondly, it was all the stuff on our mantel above the enormous pile of knitting stuff and various other fribble fireplace. What do I "collect?" Well, it's up on that little shelf.

Art glass (or "paperweights." Take your pick)


My aunt Suzie gave me another glass penguin for christmas to add to my collection. He'll get a Glamour Shot taken tonight or tomorrow and I'll post it on the blog. I haven't unpacked my suitcase yet, and he's in there.

Why have I not unpacked? Well, yesterday morning I got up and went straight into the office for an un-productive day of fake work. When I got home, Hubster and I went to drop off my engagement and wedding rings to be re-sized so they will no longer fall off of my hand at random moments. This is yet another casualty of my weight loss.

Wedding band was a size 9, and has been since Day 1 (7/12/03). Engagement ring was re-set in August as a size 7.5. When Hubster picks them up later this morning, they will both be a size 6.5. Scary.

We also went out to dinner (Outback is yummy), then went home to watch the end of the bowl games, then watch my employer's men's hoops team squeak out its Pac-10 opener. I barely stayed awake for all of our game, then fell asleep while "watching" the double-OT game across town. Having my body clock on east coast time isn't all bad, though. I kind of like waking up on my own around 7 am.

I'm very happy to hear that Marie has the pattern for my mom's quilt. Awesome! And thanks for the comments. It's nice to feel like someone is reading these rantings. :)

Well, off to sweat then get some good writing done. It's good to have goals, right? If I can sweat and then work efficiently, I may try to get in a few field trips this afternoon (or tomorrow). Ideally, I'll visit here and here, and try to not spend too much money. These would be much more frequent stops, but they're too damn far away from my regular life here in LA.

Happy New Year if I get lazy over the weekend

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Back from the Burgh

OK, so I didn't manage to post while I was home. These things happen.

Why do I love this city so much? I don't know the answer, but I know it has to do with more than my family living there.

This shot of the city was taken from Heinz Field during the suck-fest Steelers game on Xmas eve.

I was only able to catch "the pouring of the ketchup" once. It only poured twice. Not a good day for the Black and Gold. Nor is it a good shot, since it's slightly out of focus. But you get the picture.

I wanna make THIS HAT. There's another one too, but I didn't get a pic of it on an actual human and can't find it on any of the Steelers Store websites. Bummer!

The day we arrived in the 'Burgh, I had to felt all the fuzzy feet that I made for family gifts. My dad's wound up too small and I'll have to re-knit. Width was the problem, not length. I'll probably add eight stitches to the round. Also concerned about two of the three pairs that remain to knit. They are both for big-footed boys, so we'll see what happens.

Anyhow, my mom's new washing machine at the condo is a front-loader. Useless for felting. So I had to go over to Eisenhower, to the house where I grew up.

Which was a great big empty. I knew it would be, but it was still hard. I cried (big surprise), but recovered fairly quickly. The new house is perfect for my parents, but it's different and I'm not all that good with change (but i'm improving!!)

Here's what my room looks like. Empty. I enjoyed the felting and will certainly do it again. Of course, I'll have to figure out how to program my home machine so it will agitate at its strongest level for 20 minutes. Easy to do on a "manual" machine.

Finally, here's a pic of the first quilt my mom ever made. It also happens to be my favorite one that she has made, and one that I very much want to duplicate. Eventually.

Now, after an entirely un-productive day at my desk, I'm heading home to start trying to think about what I should do for my exchange blocks. That are due on Jan. 15. Yikes!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Why I Think ...

... that Beach Knitting rocks: As I mentioned yesterday, I was a victim of the amazing separating Destiny Circular needles. I left the office at an "I have a chance" time to get to BK before they closed, but traffic wasn't friendly. I called about 30 minutes before closing time, talked to Joan, and she said if I didn't make it, she'd leave a replacement pair between the front door and screen door in front of the shop. How's that for service?!!! Curious what a busted pair of expensive circs look like?

Tah-Dah! The scary part was that I was knitting away on my cable sweater (oops! Forgot to take a pic. Sorry!), put my knitting down in my lap for a minute, looked back down and I had two loose stitches in the middle of my knitting. YIKES! Fortunately, I got everything back on the needles fairly easily. Unfortunately, I didn't even think about getting a blog pic, I just wanted those stitches safely back on a needle!

... that I hate where I live: Among other reasons, traffic in Los Angeles county sucks. And local authorities do things that let it slide deeper into Hades. For example ... Why couldn't I make it to BK before closing last night? Well, I'll tell you!

Just off of "my" freeway exit on the 405 southbound is a major traffic light. Left-hand turn arrows (these are way too rare out here, but that's another story). FOUR lanes approaching the intersection in every direction -- a left-hand turn lane, a right-hand turn lane and two straight lanes of traffic.

Last night (and this morning), the intersection was just a blinking red light. With the left turn lanes blocked off with traffic sawhorses with big Ghostbuster-type NO LEFT TURN signs. And stop signs on more traffic sawhorses. This created so much of a back-up that the freeway was backed up more than two exits. People approaching the intersection from the west were backed up for almost two miles. This morning at 6:30 am, it was a 10-minute back-up.

Would it kill these people to station a traffic cop at an intersection like this? Even for rush hour? I guess so.

... that living here doesn't completely suck: Um .... uh ... We get some pretty cool sunrises? And I have some pretty amazing friends, at work, at Beach Knitting and at Bearly Stitchin' even if I don't see them nearly enough around my work schedule.

... I can't wait to fly home tonight: Well, I'm excited to see my parents and their shiny new digs. The last time I saw the condo, it was just a shell. Totally under construction. Now it's shiny and awesome and they have been living there for almost a month. Plus, tomorrow is my dad's birthday and I have a haircut at 12:30. Yay!

Plus, there will be plenty of reading/knitting/movie-watching/family time. Gotta love that.

... I need to start my day: I haven't worked out in almost two weeks and that's first on the agenda. Plus, I want to leave the office for a week with a clear conscience and mostly clear desk, so I'd better get moving.

... I enjoy holiday music so much: A lot of it is just plain fun. The religious Christmas music is so familiar that it's really enjoyable. Then there are fun remixes from favorite bands ... Springsteen's "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" to name one. And don't forget music from the other tribe. My favorite? Check out The LeeVees! I saw them at the Barenaked Ladies holiday concert last year and they were FANTASTIC.

I'll do my best to check in from Pittsburgh. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Yes, I suck.

I have been a bad blogger. I've been traveling. I've been sick. I have not been taking pictures, blogging or doing much knitting. Humble apologies.

Here's an update: Returned from Hawaii on Dec. 10 at about 6:30 am. Slept until about 1 pm that day, then started doing a bunch of work. Worked all day on the 11th, made it to the M&Ms holiday potluck, only an hour late (sorry, ladies!). Here are pics that Lisa took of a few of the (nearly) finished objects made from our mini-group blocks. They were both AWESOME!

Beth's quilt made from the black-and-white blocks (2nd and 3rd exchanges). Top only

Sandy's quilt made from the red-and-green blocks (1st exchange). Sandwiched, not quilted.

Sandy's across-the-street neighbors who have got to be close to blowing a circuit with all the stuff they have going on out front.

After the potluck dinner, I zipped home and got packed. Left for Omaha on the morning of the 12th. I didn't take any pictures of the Qwest Center or any NCAA Volleyball stuff. Sorry. There just wasn't time, and it really wasn't that interesting.

We returned to beautiful Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon (Dec. 16). Watched the final on TV. Lots of happy Husker fans in Omaha. Whutever.

I did get some knitting done on my Jo Sharp cable sweater, got the pocket placed and was cranking along on Sunday night ... until my Lantern Moon needles fell apart in my lap. Yep, I'm a victim of their problem with the Destiny circulars. I'll sneak over to Beach Knitting to get a replacement pair tonight so I can take them with to Pittsburgh for my vacation.

Oh yeah. I leave for Pittsburgh on a red-eye tomorrow night, arriving on the 21st. Can't wait. :)

Otherwise, the hubster and I visited the Mouse House last night. The halloween decorations were a lot more fun IMHO. We did dinner at the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney. Food was OK. Then, since the place was not in its normal mobbed-by-schmoos state, we went to Build-A-Bear workshop. That's where I met Baxter.

Baxter is DERF's cousin, since I got DERF at Build-A-Bear on one of our first trips to the Mouse House.

Family Photo

Today's final at-home activity (before I left the hubster to tackle a mountain of laundry so we can pack clean clothes tonight) was preparation for my best impression of Santa.

BUCKEYES AND BLACK-EYES! In the fridge ...

On the kitchen table ...

Packed up to take to the office (Yes, Barbara. I used my friends-and-family card. Thank you!)

They have now been (mostly) distributed to happy recipients. And now that I have done my mental stretching for the two things that I must actually write today, off I go. Will try to not suck quite so much while in the 'Burgh.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


I have not slept well since we've been here and have been awake for 15 hours already today even though it's only 8:15 pm HT. Please bear with me if I wander in this post.

Why did I wake up at 5:15 this morning? Well, I didn't sleep well (again) because the beds in our hotel are crap and the pillows aren't any better. And I woke up 30 minutes before my alarm was set thinking "I forgot to check what time sunrise is. We planned to meet at 6 to go to Diamond Head, and I don't want to start the hike in the dark!"

Sure enough, sunrise today was 6:57, so we hung around the hotel a little while and headed out at 6:20. By the time we got to the crater, it was definitely getting lighter and we could see easily as we started up.

I remember being exhausted and sore after my last trek up the crater about four years ago. Now I'm probably at least 60 lbs lighter and in MUCH better shape than I was now. I got back down feeling like I hadn't gotten in my full workout today. Scary, huh. OK. Time for Pictures!

Left to right, this is Jessica from OU, Darren (our radio guy) and me at the very tiptop of Diamond Head with Waikiki Beach in the background.

Me, flyin' solo.

Needless to say, it was quite windy this morning. And tonight. This is my first non-Labor Day Weekend trip to the Islands and apparently, winter is windy in Hawaii.

Wanna see the knitting I haven't touched since I left LA?

Jo Sharp sweater, first front, not quite ready to put in the first pocket. I'm also just a few short decreases away from finishing my fourth-to-last Fuzzy Foot for intended Xmas gifting. I'm gonna have one kick-ass felting party when I get my life back.

That's about it from here. Too much shopping (but it's actually fun), lots of volleyball. And hopefully, soon, some dinner and a decent night's sleep. Aloha!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A 65th Anniversary Reminder

Disclaimer: I have 10 minutes to write whatever I'm going to write and post it. The hotel here is adequate at best. No workout room. No internet access. Functional but not particularly comfortable beds. On the up-side, it has the most functional/comfortable teenytiny shower I have ever used and their towels are top-notch.

Sometimes I get so caught up in my job that I forget what's happening outside my little world of sports. Especially around postseason travel.

Which is why I was a little surprised this morning when I turned on the TV for a weather report and discovered the 65th Anniversary remembrance festivities for the attack on Pearl Harbor.

I majored in history in college. I enjoy studying and reading about WWII. It has been an honor to share the elevator in our hotel with veterans, giddy with excitement about today's ceremonies. I am thankful that I have been able to speak with these men, even if it's just to say "thank you for your service" and watch their visible happiness when they hear those words. I was touched by Tom Brokaw's keynote speech that I thought was quite appropriate to the occasion, and particularly moved by the end of the ceremony over at Pearl Harbor this morning when they asked all of the veterans in attendance to stand and be recognized.

Gotta go. Hope to have some pics to post tomorrow. Bummed that our rescheduled admin meeting tonight means that I have to miss the team dinner at Duke's. Stupid Trojans.

Monday, December 04, 2006

"The Best Sushi In L.A. ..."

So one of the riffs that Ed and Steve brought up repeatedly during the "Barenaked Ladies are Me" show that Bill and I went to last Wednesday focused on this billboard. Notice the quote is not attributed to anyone. At all.

So it could be anything. It could be "The Best Sushi in L.A. is nowhere near the Universal CityWalk." It could be "Could you please tell me where to find The Best Sushi in L.A.?" You get the point.

Even if Bill and I had eaten at this particular restaurant, I would not be able to render an opinion as to whether or not this really is the best sushi in LA, since I don't eat things that used to swim. Especially raw things. It isn't that I don't like them (well, maybe a little bit), it's honestly that I'm allergic.

So Bill. We had a really great time last Wednesday. I picked him up at the shiny new Galen Center over on USC's campus and even found it on the first try. The same could not be said about our next destination, his downtown hotel. I got pulled over for an illegal left-hand turn while trying to get from A to B, but fortunately got off with just a stern talking to and examination of my paperwork (whew!).

Fortunately, we had a ton of time, so Bill got to change clothes at his hotel, ditch his work bag and we headed off to Universal CityWalk and the Gibson Ampitheater. Got some dinner and headed in to catch the opening act. Big mistake. They were awful in ways I can't even describe. Ed came out and sang a song with them and the only reason that was entertaining was because he was guitar-less and obviously couldn't figure out what the hell to do with the hand that wasn't holding the mic.

In all, I got to spend about eight hours with Bill last Wednesday night, and saw most of the Ole Miss-USC game the following night. I meant to get a pic of the two of us, but never managed to get that done. He's one of my very best friends and I talk to him almost every day, but it was a special treat to be able to go to such a fun show with him and just hang out for an evening. And before you ask, the hubster didn't mind at all (yeah, I think I'll keep him!)

What is this, you ask? Well, it used to be the dark green cable sweater in this post. I love this sweater and I had both fronts and the back (pictured) finished. Now it's all in re-wound balls of yarn. Why? Because it was sized for the "old me" which was six sizes bigger than I am now. This sweater was useless to me the way it was, so I frogged the whole damn thing. Right now I have pocket linings knit and will be taking the yarn with me to Hawaii.

Technicalities: It's Debbie Bliss Merino Chunky in forest green. It will grow up to be a Jo Sharp cable sweater (Uproad). Sorry. Can't find a pic of the finished product but trust me, it's awesome.

Oh yeah. I leave for Hawaii on Wednesday noon-ish, returning (probably) on Sunday. I'm hopeful that I can hike Diamond Head on Friday morning with a counterpart from one of the other participating schools. At worst, I should be able to replentish my Crazy Shirts supply, since the ones I currently own and love have the same problem as that green sweater, pre-frogging.

One little special treat arrived in the mail today. I got two skeins of hand-dyed yarn from the Etsy store of adam knits. The blue and yellow one is finger paints and is a thicker gage yarn (above)

while the sock yarn is called "fruit loops" but the hubster immediately thought of "Lucky Charms" so that's not so far off.

Well, I'm gonna watch the rest of Monday Night Football (which I'm sure turtlegirl is watching since her team is playing and it's tied!), sneak in a little knitting then go to bed at a responsible hour (I hope). I'll do my best to update at least once while I'm in Hawaii, but it will all depend on the job. Have a good one! :)