Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year’s Eve

It’s the last day of 2007. True to form, I have left this blog post to the last minute. Not a whole lot has been going on around chez DPUTiger, if you don’t count cleaning up.

Weeding and re-organizing the TV room (also known as Knit Central) somehow morphed into a two-day adventure, with a day off (today) in between. Why was today an off-day? Because I had to rake leaves. Raking leaves on New Year’s Eve. I kid you not.

But, I now feel as though I’m ready for the snow that is supposed to arrive tonight. We just finished putting together the Hubster’s big Christmas present. No, not his Wii, although he did buy a new game for that today. He got a snowblower from my parents

When my parents moved out of this house, my mom was completely fed up with her snowblower, so she gave it away. She got a good one for the Hubster for Christmas, and we put it together and got it all fueled up today. We’re only supposed to get an inch tonight and another inch tomorrow. Not exactly snowblower weather, but better to be prepared, right?

The other thing that has popped up this weekend is that on Saturday I was doing my usual Ravelry thing: watch radar while I knit.

I came across a thread in the “Green Crafting” group about how Nalgene water bottles may leach dangerous chemicals. I am NalgeneGirl, so I freaked a little bit. We field tripped to South Side Works yesterday so I could visit REI and get me a new water bottle. I bought a 40-oz Klean Kanteen, and I like it. But it’s stainless steel and not insulated, so this thing sweats. Once I get through my January plans (I’ll speak to that on another day), a water bottle cozy is most certainly on the agenda to keep this thing from dripping as much water off the outside as it contains inside!

The Yarn Harlot asked in today's blog about the piece of knitting that we’re most proud of. Because I start many more things than I finish, I can’t really say it was one of y sweaters. Actually, I’m leaning towards saying my Bart socks. A year ago, my knitting life was sock-free. Now, I think I will have a sock on the needles most of the time, in addition to whatever else I’m knitting. The portability and fantastic available yarns are just about impossible to beat if you ask me.

Football-watching is on tap tomorrow. It’s always good to OD on college football just in time for it to vanish for the next nine months. Plus, we may have to have our favorite cheese dip to celebrate (It’s velveeta and Ro*Tel. Nothing fancy, but boy is it yummy!)

Meanwhile, I hope that you do something enjoyable to celebrate the end of 2007, and that your 2008 is happy and healthy!

Amazing Race Sunday: They U-Turned WHO?

Late posting. Lost the battle for the remote, so I started watching at 11:30. Why am I apologizing? 75% of you won’t read past this paragraph!

Travel to Mumbai (neé Bombay), India
Departures from Florence: Nick/Don 10:12 pm, Nick/Jen 11:55 pm, Ron/Christina 1:06 am, TK/Rachel 2:11 am, Kynt/Vyksin 3:23 am

OK. If I wasn’t blogging this show, I never would have noticed this. Did you see the times above? Did you see that Kynt and Vyksin were over and hour behind TK & Rachel to finish the last leg? The editing last week made it seem like there were mere moments between the two arrivals. Like they out-sprinted to the mat. Sure it was minutes. 72 minutes!

Nick/Don and Ron/Chris got reservations on the web before getting to the airport. The other three teams had to wait until the airport opened at 4:30 am. Then the ticket office opened at 5:30. Kynt & Vyksin decided to start at Lufthansa then went over to Air France. Only Nate and Jen were able to match the Air France flight that the Web Folks got.

First flight (through Paris, delayed in Paris, arrival 11:05 pm): Nick/Don, Ron/Chris, Nate/Jen.
Second Flight (first to arrive, 10:30 pm): Kynt/Vyksin
Third Flight (Lufthansa, 1:05 am arrival): TK/Rachel

Of course, the newspaper stand where they got their next clue opened at 6 am, so everyone got to sleep on the street in Bombay (ewww).

All the teams struggled to find the ad in the newspaper that was their next clue. Kynt/Vyksin were first to find the clue, then Ron/Christina, TK/Rachel, Nick/Don, Nate/Jen. Nate and Jen started snarking at each other very early in the day. I love that when Jen started her little freak-out, Nate sneaked a look over at the camera dude as if to say “help!” Classic!

Nick/Don had the best rickshaw driver and arrived first at the clue box. Remaining order was Ron/Christina, TK/Rachel, Kynt/Vyksin (their Speed Bump was right off the bat), then Nate/Jen

Speed Bump (Kynt & Vyksin ONLY): Perform Yoga
Not too challenging, just time consuming

Detour: Paste ‘em or Thread ‘em
Paste ‘em: Correctly paste a 6-panel Bollywood poster onto a wall
Nick/Don had a bad taxi driver on the way to past ‘em and arrived second. They were very methodical and made up the time lost in transit • Ron/Christina – Well, Ron reverted to form almost immediately, shouting at Christina and telling her she was being too cheap with the paste to hang the Bollywood posters, then started yelling at each other. Especially when Nick/Don finished first. Christina understood how their poster wasn’t aligned correctly but Ron couldn’t handle it. Yikes.

Thread ‘em: Create a 108-flower lei and deliver to a nearby bridegroom to receive clue
TK/Rachel – Rachel works in a floral shop and cruised on this. They were the first to finish this task. • Nate/Jen – The happy campers arrived snarking right off the bat. They really lost it when Kynt/Vyksin showed up before they were finished with their garland. The best part? Jen thought that the “bridegroom” was an elephant before they figured it out. Yikes! • Kynt/Vyksin – Slow and steady wins the race. They were very close behind Nate/Jen when they finished the task

TK/Rachel were first to arrive and chose to not use the U-turn. Nick/Don were next then Ron/Christina. None of the first three used the U-turn despite the fact that it was the last one on the course. Ya know, I kind of hope Kynt/Vyksin can U-turn Nick/Jen. Karma! And??? AAAUUUGHH!!! Kynt was sure Nate/Don were behind them so he chose to U-turn them instead of Nate/Jen. Wow. WOW. This is the turning point in the leg.

Road Block: Deliver Propane Gas (participating team member listed in order of arrival)
Nick: Had trouble with directions, but was second to finish. Nick was looking really bad at the end of the leg and had to stop the cab to the Pit Stop, apparently to puke. Here’s hoping he can rest up for the next leg!
Ron: He insisted that he could do it, apparently forgetting that he had a hernia. He wound up pushing a person in addition to his propane. Hysterical! Third to finish
TK: Very methodical. First to finish!!
Kynt: Couldn’t figure out the brakes, which was pretty amusing. Got lost. Beat out Jen for the elevator, which was pretty funny. Was quite close behind while finishing last. Of course, he also screwed up the receipt stuff and had to go back.
Jen: Found the places quickly, but forgot her receipt. This is a very Jen thing to do. Her second customer pointed out that she forgot her receipt. Nick/Jen really screwed up thinking they could walk to the pit stop. This should be a real sprint to the finish!

Pit Stop: Bandra Fort
1. TK and Rachel. Yay! They are my favorites. Very even-keel and they work well together as a team. 2. Nick/Don, 3. Ron/Christina and the end result is???

4. Nate/Jen, 5. Kynt/Vyksin

It was that stupid U-turn. That was their chance to stay in the race. I can totally believe what Lime 'n Violet's Violet said about Vyksin being a truly sweet person (Vyksin is Miss V's cousin-in-law). I’m not so wild about Kynt, but they seem like basically decent people. I would much rather have seen Nate/Jen go home, but it wasn’t up to me.

Back tomorrow! I hope to post before RT, the Hubster, the parents and I head out for First Night Pittsburgh tomorrow night. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Ho! Ho! Ho!

I know it’s Yarn Pr0n Friday, but I don’t have anything photographed and my head hurts. So you get to see/hear about my Christmas presents!

I did pretty damn well IMHO. Got two gift certificates from Bloomin Yarns (Hubster and brother/sis-in-law) and one for The Loopy Ewe from the in-laws. Also got a gift card from my parents for my gym so I can find me a good personal trainer.

It has nothing to do with New Years Resolutions, but I’m fed up with the weight I’ve gained since moving home to Pittsburgh and am informally planning to get rid of all of it by Memorial Day. Not an unreasonable goal as long as I get back on the Workout Wagon and stay there!

Anyhoo, the Hubster really scored with the trio of books he picked for me.

I'm still poring over my Harmony guides. They're extremely cool! I also got More Sensational Knitted Socks, and my jaw hit the floor when I opened up a package and it was the Sweater Wizard CD! I have no recollection of asking for it this year (I did ask last year, but didn't get it), but I must have marked it in the KnitPicks catalog I gave to the Hubster as a shopping guide. Yay!

Oh, and what did I get for the Hubster? A book, a new electric razor and this

Yep. I just happened to be at Costco when they put out a whole flat of Wii, so I snatched one up. Now you see why the basement had to be cleared out. It’s the official Wii Area, since that’s where the bigger TV lives!

In other news, as much as I loathe Black Friday, I really kind of enjoy the day-after-Christmas sales. I buy all of my Christmas cards for next year at 50% off and hit some other sales as well.

Mom and I hit the stationery store at the Galleria, You’re Invited (stationery) in downtown Mt. Lebanon, the kinda pathetic sale at Quilters Corner, Trax Farms (I got a bunch of clearance Xmas stuff, including all new extension cords for the outdoor lights for next year, since what we have out there now is, in a word, scary) and then I hit Michaels. That’s where I probably got my favorite single item of the day

It’s a snowman basket for all of our incoming Christmas cards! And I think it was just $3. I love clearance sales! I’m hoping that by next year, we’ll have an entryway table of some sort for this basket and the two awesome snowmen that I have purchased in the last two months that are itching to be displayed. I'll pick snowmen and penguins over santa 90% of the time. I just feel like they have a longer shelf life ... more "winter" than "christmas"

Today I got the rest of what I wanted to acquire to store all the holiday junk in the attic. 2 more red/green tubs for Christmas stuff, and I actually found a purple/black Halloween tote (!!!) for $3. Yay, clearance, again!! I figure we’ll do the packing up and putting away of the Xmas junk in two weeks, since Tree Recycling is January 12. No sense in putting away most of the stuff and leaving a naked tree sitting in its stand if you ask me.

OK. My headache is not-so-politely asking for a nap, so I think I’ll give in. I hope Santa brought you what you wanted for Christmas … or that you found it at a bargain in the last 72 hours!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Four Pin Heads

That’s what you can find in the very bottom of your container of basting pins when you empty the whole thing out. This happens when you first pin a queen size quilt for your mother, then pin a long-but-narrow “couch quilt” of your own.*

Yep. The reservoir of pins is empty, the basting tables are broken down and the space is now free for the Hubster to use. I'll probably get to that tomorrow :) Of course, I do have one more container of 100 pins that’s fresh from the store (I stalked these things and bought when 50% off for several months about two years ago. They’re bent and I like them)

*I didn't take a new picture of the quilt, since it looks the same as it did in my very first post ever, just with pins in it. Backing is the backdrop on the pin photo above.

In other news, Bill called me this morning and he sounded So. Much. Better. He sounded like himself for the first time in a few days. I want to thank everyone everyone who commented on yesterday’s post. It meant a lot to me and hopefully Bill will appreciate it too when he’s ready to take a look. If I didn’t send you a personal thank-you, it’s most likely because Blogger didn’t provide your email address and I didn’t already have it.

Since yesterdays’ WiP Wednesday was pre-empted by that much more important post, I’ll give you a peek at where things were this afternoon.

This is my Bruin scarf. Same as the Steelers scarves you’ve seen Derf modeling in my Ravelry avatar, but in Bruin blue and gold. The very end started to curl when I started knitting it, and since my one pet peeve with this scarf is trying to un-twist this thing as it goes along, I decided to encourage it to curl. It's working :)

I’d guess I’m about 40% through each of the in-use cakes of yarn, but I’m not unraveling the damn thing to measure it. Sorry!

In other news, I’m thisclose to being finished with the no-purl Monkeys that will be a Christmas present (late) for my sister in law. I’m ready for the toe decreases. These will most likely be off the needles by bedtime. Yay!

They are too small for me, but seem to fit my sister in law just fine (she tried on the finished sock on Christmas). Yay! Gotta say I'm not loving this Yarn Love that I'm using, but I have plenty more sock yarn in my stash just waiting to become socks for me!

Not much else going on here. Lots of busywork. Here's hoping for a productive tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Sad News

I waited to post this because I didn’t want to bum anyone out on Christmas.

Delta didn’t make it home. Edited 12/29 to add a link to Delta's Dogster page

She wasn’t my dog, so it really isn’t my place to eulogize her. But I did want to thank the folks that commented on my previous post, say a few words and post a few pictures I took when I was in Oxford back in late June.

Bill called me on Christmas Eve, about three hours after I had posted asking for happy thoughts for Delta's return home. He had found her that morning, dead. She had a run-in with a trio of local pit bulls and came out on the bad end. The Sheriff is aware of the dogs, but local laws mean that there’s nothing that can be done, since the pit bulls took down a dog, not a human.

I only met Delta on that one visit, but I’ve been hearing all about her since I met Bill in March of 2005.

Some people don’t understand how much a part of a family a pet can be. But I know a fair number of my readers are “animal people” and understand.

She was an awesome dog. Here’s hoping she didn’t suffer too much and is in a better place. And that Bill and Jackson (his other dog) will soon be able to remember more of the happy times they had with Delta than the horribly sad way they lost her.

Bill checks in here very occasionally, so I’m going to let him know I’ve posted this so he doesn't get surprised. If you want to leave any messages for him, please feel free to comment and I’ll make sure he sees them, when he’s ready.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Splice This!

First, and most importantly, please send happy thoughts to my friend Bill in Oxford, Mississippi. His black lab, Delta, decided to take herself for a walk at about 4 pm local time on Sunday (yesterday) and hasn’t been seen since. His whole family (parents, sister) was already in town, and I know they’ve all spent today checking shelters and vet offices. Miss Delta needs to be home for Christmas!

And now, back to the previously promised crafty content.

When my parents came over here yesterday to enjoy the benefits of electricity, my mom brought the next in her never-ending series of white-on-white quilts that she hand quilts for her church every year or two.

This was part of the reason that we picked up those three eight-foot tables at Costco. I knew that my M&M quilting buddies in Los Angeles had successfully used this plan to pin their quilts after Bearly closed in May, and I had measured out my basement furniture layout to make sure they’d fit since we can’t count on Pasadena weather to pin outside :-)

Mom’s quilt top is queen size (108x90”) and I knew that my bolt of Warm & White was only 90” wide. So I dug under my cutting table and found my Quilters Dream Select queen size batting and we got things started.

The top was longer than the tables (in both directions), so we couldn’t totally check the edges before we started pinning. This proved to be a problem later.

Mom and I got the back, batting and top all laid out, then called my dad and the Hubster downstairs to help pin. After remarking that "there must be 100 better hobbies than this," my dad threatened me if I got him in the picture, so that’s his hand way over in the corner on the left and mom pinning away.

We finally got finished with the main part, sent the boys back upstairs for football-watching and shifted the quilt. Ruh-roh Shaggy! We were about 2-3” short of having enough batting to cover the bottom edge of the quilt. At that point, we were both tired so we decided to punt until today. Ironically, the quilt top was 108x90 and the batting was 108x92 and we were fine on the width. It was the length that was the problem.

After various errand-running this morning, I went back down into the dungeon to try to fix the problem. I cut about an 18” swath off of my bolt of Warm & White and started the surgery.

I tried to machine sew the cut together and it was pretty much a disaster. We wound up re-cutting the edge and mom whipstitched it by hand before we finished pinning the quilt top this afternoon. She is now ready to start hand quilting The Monster!

See the really heavily pinned part there? That’s where mom started :)

Next up will be pinning my Row Robin quilt from a year ago, the one that was featured on my very first blog post! Mom agrees that she owes me some pinning time, but neither one of us was up for that project today, so we’ll tackle it later in the week.

Off to finish my second Monkey sock, since I think that pair is about to morph into a Christmas gift. I doubt I’ll post tomorrow, so I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas or a great Tuesday, whatever your preference. :) Meanwhile, I’m off to watch NoradSanta!!! (and remember ... happy thoughts for Delta making it home safely!!!)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Amazing Race Sunday: Can You See It? I can't!

Pardon my tardiness. My parents electricity went out around 3:15 pm today and they called around 5:30 asking if they could come over. We wound up sharing our dinner with them and mom and I wound up pinning her white-on-white quilt until about 8:30.

Had to run the parentals home, then got back to the stuff we had been planning to do. Nothing major, but progress is good. Onward!

Travel to Ancona, Italy
Ron and Christina are first to depart (2:19 am). Then Kynt & Vyksin (2:55 am), Nate & Jen (3:45 am), TK & Rachel (5:37 am), Nick & Donald (7:06 am)

As a side note, the “exit interview” with Azaria & Hendekea for had some very interesting things to say about K&V. Mostly along the lines of “they really played to the cameras and wanted nothing to do with the other teams.” Interesting!

First bus to Split, Croatia, leaves at 5 am, so it’s another equalizer to start the leg. First three teams on the first bus. TK & Rachel made it on the 6 am bus, then the 8 am bus was just Nick & Don. All the teams wound up on the same ferry boat to Italy, so whatever advantage was gained on the buses was negated by the next leg of transportation. No transport disasters this week!

The ferry arrived after dark and we had a mad scramble to run right past the clues. I always love that. Teams are to drive to Empoli, Italy, and are given a Blackberry in order to receive a message during the 200-mile drive.

Kynt & Vyksin change drivers because Vyksin can drive a stick and Kynt … not so much.

The directions are a challenge for how to get to Empoli. Oh, Lordy. TK and Rachel left their clue at the café where they got directions. This is BAD and it hits their normally solid relationship like a ton of bricks. To their credit, however, no shouting or snarking.

The Blackberry messages were messages from family members to all of the contestants. It’s not as “big” as words from home when you’re on Survivor, but it’s still good.

The ace in the hole for TK and Rachel is that they were one of two teams that was not sent through Bologna. Very important because the highway out of Bologna to Florence was closed until 6 am. That impacted Ron & Christina, Kynt & Vyksin and Nate & Don. Nate & Jen - who also avoided Bologna - were first, then TK & Rachel. TK&R's joy in being second to arrive was great. Vyksin had a meltdown on the way to the ultralight and Kynt wasn't very supportive. Not pretty.

The next part of the race opened at seven AM and only the first two teams were there. Third was Ron & Christina but they can’t find their number, fourth was Nick & Donald who chose the fast forward. Kynt & Vyksin were last to arrive by quite a bit.

Road Block: Search from Ultralight
The flying team member must keep their eyes peeled for their next location, which was spelled out in a field

Nick found it first and came back down. This made Jen happy, since she is still very bitter about not finishing first on a leg.

TK couldn’t see the clue and had to come back after the 30-minute limit for refueling. Christina got up in the air shortly before TK could get back up. And she came back before he did. He Just. Couldn’t. Find. It. Very tough to watch. Kynt & Vyksin actually arrived as TK was taking off for the third time. He didn’t find it that time either, while he was up with Vyksin. Oy vey. I think his pilot helped him out a little bit on the fourth flight (which means this part of the adventure took two hours, and I’m totally OK with a little help from your pilot at this point.

Fast Forward: Get a Tattoo
This is the only Fast Forward on the entire race, but both team members must get “FF” tattooed onto their body. Wow. I think I’d have a big issue with this one if I showed up and found out I had to get a tattoo. Not my thing, and it’s Permanent. Nick & Don decided to do the fast forward. Yeek. And you thought Joyce shaving her head on AR7 was big!

When they boys arrived and found out it was a tattoo, I was a little surprised that Don was the one that balked. The team talked it over and Don agreed. He actually had probably the same reaction that I would have had, so I can’t really blame him.

Detour: Invention or Tradition
Invention – Assemble a crane and use it to lift a stone one foot off the ground and read a message on the bottom of the stone

Only one team tried this part of the detour and only two even looked at it. TK & Rachel chose this one and stuck with it. They got it done before K&V got to the flags. Yay!

Tradition – Learn a traditional local flag routine
Jen & Nick ran up the hill to daVinci’s birthplace instead of driving and were pretty wiped out by the time they got to the top of the hill. Nate struggled with the flags but Jen coached him through on the second try.

Ron & Christina also did the flags. They did pretty well until Christina was convinced that they had to catch their own flags. Again, they nailed it on the second try. Classic moment when Ron started driving without Christina in the car.

Kynt & Vyksin took a look at invention and then punted to tradition. They managed to get lost on the way from Invention to Tradition and they had a meltdown on the way. Kynt, who is not very good with a standard transmission, apparently completely stripped the gears on the clutch and the car would no longer go forward. They wound up having to walk/run back up to the flag place, which was quite a ways away. (their replacement vehicle was there when they got back from the Detour)

Pit Stop: Boboli Gardens
Unsurprisingly, Nick & Don were first to arrive. Good for them! Phil’s Kiwi accent really showed today for some reason. Love it!

Nate & Jen were second to arrive. Ron & Christina third.

Drama for the final spot again. As soon as TK & Rachel got going, they blew a tire. TK did their best quick tire change. We’ll see who’s fourth and who’s eliminated. I’m really pulling for TK & Rachel. And the answer is???

Fourth: TK & Rachel (YAY!!! YAY!!! YAY!!!). Literally anything that could go wrong with this pair went wrong today and they still stayed in the race. Awesome!

Fifth – but not eliminated: Kynt & Vyksin. They’ll see a Speed Bump in the next leg. They will have an extra task at some point on the next leg. This will be interesting! In the past, the teams were stripped of all their possessions and money and were left with just their passports. I'm very interested to see what this new wrinkle will be!

Have to say I’m still really rooting for TK & Rachel. I just like them both and how they deal with each other and attack the race. Nick & Don are probably #2 on my personal cheering list.

Back to the regular crafty content tomorrow!

Friday, December 21, 2007

YPF: Zen Yarn Garden

Before we get to the yarn ... As Marie said in her blog post today, all the coolest people are born on the solstice (today). I tend to agree … HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD!!! :)

So we had our little White Elephant swap at Hurricane Knitters on Wednesday night. My draw number was #2, so I picked SJ’s package. She’s a major sock knitter and suggested the swap, so I knew she’d bring something good!

Meet my newest yarn. It’s Zen Yarn Garden!

Handpainted Superwash Merino. Sport weight, 280 yards/4 oz

Gague is advertised as 6-7 sts/inch on a US4-6 needle.

I’ll probably make some sort of heavier-weight socks with them. These are not my normal colors, but it’s a yarn I’ve been wanting to try. And seriously. It’s socks. Does it really make a difference if they’re a funky color? I think not!

I had a couple of interesting field trips today, but It’s late and I’ve been getting little “pokes” in my email and comments asking where this post is, so I have to get my posterior in gear and get this posted, yes?

Two other quick things: 1. My old boss just texted me that he just got a reference call from yesterday’s job opportunity. I think he thinks I’m in pretty damn good shape for this job, which would rock. 2. My problem with Bryant Gumbel (see yesterday's post) is that he’s a journalist (remember him on the Today show?) who is trying to be an announcer and he makes … way … too many mistakes when he’s calling a game. He's great in the news magazine/scripted format, but not so much with live action. I have issues with this because it’s my job to make guys like him sound good, and in some cases it’s impossible. I just hope he tries to sound good and at least does his homework. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Quick Update

I was mentally composing a Yarn Pr0n Friday post when I realized ... Today is Thursday.


This morning's phone call seems to have gone well. I will find out after the holidays if "they" are willing to have a Director of Media Relations who telecommutes, 'cause I ain't moving again, let alone to Starkville, Miss. (Sorry, Bill!) I know one of my (very VERY enthusiastic) references has already spoken to the person making the hire, which will either vault me to the top of the pile or scare them off entirely :)

So I'm not gonna sweat it. I'm going to enjoy the fact that I found out today that our Christmas dinner spent almost two months in our freezer and yet I don't have to cook it (mom needed to rent freezer space from us on a really good meat sale at the start of October) (I love that going to dinner at my parents house can be a drop-of-the-hat decision) (I love that I don't have to get on a plane to spend Christmas with my family this year)

Oh, and once again, I am reminded that Bryant Gumbel is an awful play-by-play announcer. If we had a radio in this house, I'd totally be listening to Mr. Hillgrove. I love Mr. Hillgrove, even if I'm too much of a wimp to eat chicken wings with him. Sorry. I can't do the extra-hot wings.

Thanks for checking in. That is all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Applesauce vs. Sour Cream

I was listening to all the holiday music on my iPod while doing the Craft Central thing today. Almost exactly two years ago, the Hubster and I went to a Barenaked Ladies holiday concert where the opening act was the LeeVees. Best. Opening. Act. EVER.

They play Hanukkah songs. Yes, I said Hanukkah songs. And they’re AWESOME. As a Goyim Friend (if you don't know what a Goyim is, YOU ARE ONE!), I can’t get enough of their CD “Hanukkah Rocks.” It’s hysterical. Highly recommend. Hit that link and listen. Or go to iTunes and take a listen. You'll enjoy it. No matter which "Tribe" you're from.

Oh, and one of their songs is “Applesauce vs. Sour Cream,” which I’ve had stuck in my head ☺

Anyhoo, like I said yesterday, a good chunk of the day was spent in the basement on a little crafty project. It’s actually one out of Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts. I originally became aware of this book when Javajem mentioned it on her blog on Sunday (Geez, it took me a long time to figure out which of the blogs I read mentioned it. I was sure it was a quilting blog. I guess not!)

While doing some Christmas shopping at Borders the other night, I found the book on their shelf and perused it. I found a pattern for these really cool “patchwork” notebooks in the 1-2 hour projects section. Here’s what I wound up with!

That’s why I had the scraps out yesterday. And was playing in the thread (it's almost all from Superior Threads. Can't say enough good things about their stuff. It's all fantastic. I used two different colors from their Rainbows line for this project with my favorite Metrolene in the bobbin) Here’s some of the other stuff I used today

I show this photo primarily because I planned poorly and would NOT have been able to finish the project without my appliqué pressing sheet, and my super awesome flat iron, which is by far the best gift I’ve ever gotten from the in-laws (it was specifically requested several years ago, and it rocks for appliqué projects). I also had a whack of Wonder Under lying around and that came in handy too.

I used the 3.5"x5.5" Molskine Plain Cahier notebooks, which is a fewer-pages soft-cover version of what I carry all the time. I hope the recipients like it!

There are several other projects in this Last Minute Gifts book that I liked and eventually want to make, so I’d have to say it’s a pretty good buy.

Hurricane Knitters was fun, although we were all very sad that our friend 40Guy did not appear this evening. The White Elephant swap was a success. I’ll have photos of my score later on. Now? Bedtime!

PS-- I have a potentially big work-related phone call tomorrow (Thursday) morning. Please keep your fingers crossed for me!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

This ‘n That

Remember this motley crew?

Well, their wonderful hard work last May left me in a bit of a quandary today.

You see, Sandy (on the far right. Carol is on the left and Lisa is seated in the middle) is a very good ClutterBuster. That means that almost all of my fabric scraps got tossed before the move. This is a good thing. I stink at throwing things out that could possibly be used later. So I begged encouraged let Sandy do it for me.

Fortunately, I did keep a few small stashes of scraps, which came in handy for my little Mystery Craft Project today

And that led me to get out my Bernina for the first time since it had its "healthy machine annual exam" back in August

And I got to play in the thread box

I can’t show you what I am doing, since if it turns out successfully it’s going to be “party favors” for a few of the Hurricane Knitters tomorrow night. [Waterworks Barnes & Noble, 7-10 pm. Be there or be square!]. Those Hurricane types shouldn’t worry/panic. I spent well under $5/person. I promise!!! I’ve also decided what I’m bringing for our White Elephant swap tomorrow night.

Mystery Crafty Project is going well so far, but we have yet to reach the make-or-break “moment of truth.” That’ll probably happen sometime close to lunch tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

In knitting “news” I’m still plugging away on the second Monkey sock.

I also ran the last large batch of errands today. Post office. Bank. Stuff for Mysterious Crafty Project, Office Depot … and since I was circling Village Square anyway, I managed to stop and get some peppermint schnapps. Ho! Ho! Ho! I sense some kick-ass peppermint hot chocolate in my future!

Monday, December 17, 2007


Saturday was shot picking furniture for our entryway (we only got that halfway done), and a trip to West Virginia for a family holiday party.

Sunday was shot with work. I did manage to get a little knitting in, though. In a strange coincidence, I “gave up” on the game at the start of the fourth quarter and busted out my knitting. Within two minutes, the home team had collected an interception, followed by 15 points on the board. Unfortunately, that momentum didn’t hang around, so it wasn’t a great day at work.

Today was shot too. First, I had to shovel the dusting of snow off of my driveway (so it would melt/dry during the morning sun. I was successful in my endeavor), then heading on an adventure with my mom, aunt Suz and two of Suzie’s friends from W.Va. I was in a bit of a time crunch and although he was running as fast as he could, RT’s legs were too short to catch up with me as I flew out the door, so he stayed home.

Which was too bad, because I would really have liked to take his picture in the Norwegian Nationality Room at Pitt's Cathedral of Learning, for the benefit of Carol and Ole (Carol is one of my Cali quilting buddies and Ole, her husband, is Norwegian). All of the rooms are decorated for the holidays. It’s a really neat thing to do if you haven’t gone recently. We visited 25 of the 26 rooms. We skipped Africa, because it was locked.

Knitting-wise, I’m starting on the fifth of six leg repeats of the second Monkey sock. Shouldn’t be a challenge to get the heel turned by tomorrow night.

Since I have nothing else interesting to share with you lovely people, we’ll move along to my meager holiday decorations.

Jen asked for a shot of the decorated indoor tree, so here you go:

Here’s a great shot I took on Saturday as soon as we got home from the aforementioned family party
I haven’t managed to make stockings for us yet, so I took my mom up on her offer to “adopt” the stockings she has for us, since they no longer have a spot to hang the whole yellow piece of bulky acrylic yarn full of the full family’s six stockings. Anyhoo, here’s mine. It’s 36 years old. Just like me!

And here’s the Hubster’s. It’s probably four or five years old. If I remember right, he got his family stocking shortly after the wedding, which was in 2003.

Uh-huh. I may be her firstborn, but he definitely got the better-looking stocking! Pretty cool, huh?

I hope to return these stockings to their rightful place with my mom’s collection next year, and make my own for the two of us. It’s not that I don’t love these stockings, but I’d like to make my own. Plus, I was inspired by the beauties that Dave posted a week or so ago. Aren’t they awesome?

So that’s about it from chez DPUTiger. I’ll try to have something more interesting for you tomorrow!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Home Dec, With Quilts!

I did a LOT of laundry today, and did some basic decorating. We “did” our tree last night. I thought I had taken a picture, but not so much. I also went to "knit night" at Bloomin Yarns, but wound up tagging new yarn instead, since I was the only person who showed up. It was fun!!

Oh, and the Hubster wants everyone to know that he is NOT a Scrooge. He was just cranky on Sunday when I was doing the outside lights. He was quite helpful with trimming the tree last night, and is ready to go for the holiday. Ho Ho Ho!

So aside from the magic of dirty-to-clean that is laundry, I also got three quilts hung up around the house … well, mostly around our entryway.

First, I wanted to get my Christmas Charm quilt up on the wall. This is one of my very favorite quilts, although I’m going to need to do the Penguin Charm quilt, also by Mount Redoubt Designs, that Beth and my other M&M peeps got for me at Asilomar last year. Soon. Really.

The door handle you can see is for the stairs to the basement.

I’m using the “No-See-Ums” hangers plugged -- and sold -- on the Ami Sims website. I’ve been thrilled with every thingamajig I’ve ever purchased from Ami’s website and this is no exception. These suckers are a little pricey, but I’m still a fan. Oh, and if you need a chuckle, Ami’s monthly newsletter is always pretty good. Click on the snowflake on her home page, here.

You can see the brackets on either side of the top of the Christmas Charm quilt. I was very much OK with that, since for the majority of the year, I have another slightly wider quilt that will fill that space. Plus, the gold brackets against the off-white wall are a lot less obvious in person.

Oh, and this was the first one I put up and it’s more than a little crooked. I need to get a few more Command Adhesive strips and I’ll fix it. Meanwhile, safety pins are my friend!

Next, we have another one of my favorite wall hangings, my Snowflakes quilt!

It's on the landing going upstairs. I'm basically standing a half-step to the left of where you'd be when you first walked into our front door. The quilt is a little small in the pic to give you perspective.

I didn’t think to take a closeup shot of this quilt, but each snowflake is machine appliquéd with gold metallic thread, and it looks pretty damn cool. This is also a spot where I can change out less seasonally-oriented quilts. Or, thanks to the Command strips, I can just take down the brackets entirely.

Finally, the “showcase” spot in our entryway goes to a quilt that I didn’t make, but it’s one that means a lot to me.

This is “Celestial Gekkos,” a bargello quilt made by a good friend and fantabulous quilting teacher, Mary Ellen Sakai. Several years ago, she decided to sell a few of her quilts. This one spoke to me and her price was quite reasonable, so I jumped on the opportunity.

When we were in California, this quilt had a place of honor in our guest room, and I could see it every time I went downstairs. Now, I’ll see it every time I go into the entryway of my house!

We're meeting with our interior designer on Saturday to get a piece to fill the space under that quilt. I'm hoping to get a bench for one wall in the entry and a table of some sort for the other wall.

All of the colors are a little "off" in these photos. They were taking during daylight, but it was seriously rainy in the 'Burgh today. I needed the lights on all day!

I'm volunteering at the hospital with my mom tomorrow morning and then I'll start chipping away at my loooong list of things to do. I need more hours in the day!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

WiP Wednesday: Boring Edition

So I really only have one thing on the needles, and it’s the same Monkey sock as on Monday. It just has a heel now. Not particularly interesting.

I did do some blocking earlier this week, which brings my official Christmas knitting to a close. Here’s the second Jaywalker scarf, ready to wing it to Mississippi and become a Christmas gift for my best friend’s mother or sister.

And here’s Joe, modeling the as yet un-fringed Steelers Scarf 2.

Once that gets fringed, it is all ready to be given to my dad in 13 days or so.

I was over at my parents place a little bit earlier today, and my mom found a great scarf from my kid-hood. I totally remember this scarf, modeled by Bax.

It’s a kids-length scarf for sure. It’s actually just 40” long, excluding the scraggly-looking fringe. Oh, and how did my mom know that it was my scarf and not my brothers?

Yep. Somewhere in all of my quilting stuff, I have a whole zippy bag of those labels. How fun is that?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hanging my Head

I was a history major. My favorite era of history is the 20th Century, particularly 20th Century U.S. history.

I just finished watching 1968 with Tom Brokaw on The History Channel. I TiVoed it in the middle of the night on Monday morning.

Damn, it’s good.

But why am I hanging my head? Because I was only peripherally aware of the details of Robert F. Kennedy’s death. And I had no idea that Rafer Johnson worked on RFK’s campaign. Or that he was so close, physically, to the assassination.

I lived in Los Angeles for eight years. I worked in the athletic department at his alma mater and met him at least once. I became friends with both of his children.

And I was purely, completely ignorant. The Ambassador Hotel is gone now. I could have visited, at least to see the place in person before it was demolished.

I’ve been to Chicago a number of times, but hadn’t paid attention to that city’s history as it pertains to the splintering of the Democratic party.

There is so much history I want to learn about. I borrowed a David Halberstam paperback from the family friends we visited two weeks ago. I want to find the box that has my college reading that I skimmed instead of reading and absorbing it. I want to learn more about what has come before and shaped where we live today.

This program airs again on Wednesday night at 8, at midnight on Wednesday night/Thursday morning and at 5 pm on Dec. 15 (all ET, according to my TiVo). If you are at all interested in history, I recommend this program. There are many similarities between 1968 and 2007/08. It’s good to know what came before us.

We now return you to our regularly scheduled blog. Gotta go pick up stitches to finish turning the heel on Monkey1. Wish me luck.

Monday, December 10, 2007

WWE Are The Champions

I’m being forced to watch the 15th Anniversary of Monday Night RAW, so please bear with me. And welcome to my 200th post!

Today was full of little to-dos. Took the first steps towards getting blinds on the upstairs windows. Did some minor cleaning up.

Got Steelers Scarf II and Jaywalker Scarf II blocking

Got bothered by door-do-door religion saleswomen (THEM: we’d like to share something positive from the Bible. ME: No thanks)

Put out a holiday decoration or two

Yep. Just 15 days until Christmas. Hard to believe!

Went out with my mom and acquired a Christmas tree … our first one! It’s the first time we’ll spend the holiday in the city where we live, so there really wasn’t a reason to get one before now

It’s still naked. It’s busy slurping up water, “relaxing” and drying (it’s been raining here for about 36 hours). I’ll start putting lights on it tomorrow and Scrooge and I (uh, I mean the Hubster and I) plan to decorate tomorrow night.

But the outdoor decorations are up and running

My grandfather made that Santa. My sister-in-law got it “restored” about two years ago and after a year’s hiatus, he’s back on the front porch roof here.

Oh, and I’m through the leg on my first no-purl Monkey sock in Yarn Love. I need to tink a round and a half because I thought I was through five repeats, not six. Oh well.

In other news, I burned the crap out of my tongue on dinner … not the tip like you’d do on hot chocolate, but the middle. It was lasagna. Good (frozen) lasagna but, obviously, too hot. What to do to make it feel better?

Eat ice cream, of course! So I went downstairs (it lives in the downstairs freezer so it’s not so convenient. Helps with the self restraint). It’s not as good as the similar composition Panda Paws I can get at the Lake (what would you expect from something partnered with the Pirates? Excellence?), but it’s made by Hagan and that family is OK with me b/c they had excellent taste in homes/architects. Anyhoo, my bowl of ice cream came back upstairs with me, and now I’m mildly ill because I’ve eaten too much.

But my tongue feels better!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Amazing Race Sunday: Airline Edition

If you usually skip/skim my AR posts, at least scroll down to the paragraph under "Detour" marked with *** for an amusing YouTube link for an old M&Ms commercial. I'm just sayin' ...

I skipped the end of the Steelers debacle game to attend a Christmas carol sing-a-long event at my parents church with my mom. My voice is a little sore, but the “bonus” is that I got home just in time for the Hubster to decide he needed to punt and go to bed. This means that for an unprecedented second straight week, I have the remote control all to myself for TAR! He’s a Survivor guy, but not so much on the Amazing Race. Onward!

Proceed To: Dubrovnik, Croatia
When the first teams leave at 1 am, you just know that airline reservations are going to be a major equalizer.

Eeyore & Christina made a smart move going first to a hotel to reserve airline tickets, then to the airport. Kynt & Vyksin also had what looked like a smart idea hitting a travel agent and they were the second team to be ticketed and in line to board. Nick & Don wound up second in line at the ticketing service.

The brother/sister dynamic between Azaria & Hendekea became very interesting when they realized they were sitting in Business class instead of economy. That left them shut out on the first two flights. With just six teams left, this could be a death knell … except that we haven’t had a non-elimination leg in the race yet. Hmmm…

First flight (via Prague): TK & Rachel and Nick & Don. The flight was really late into Prague, which caused major problems. Their connection was gone and they were stuck in Prague. This put them through Vienna to Dubrovnik. Nick & Don got STUCK because of the delay. 1a (via Vienna 2:39 pm): TK & Rachel. 1b (via Zagreb .. didn’t show arrival time, but they were the fifth team to hit dirt in Croatia): Nick & Don

Second flight (via Warsaw, ARR 11:20 am): Kynt & Vyksin, Nate & Jen, Ron & Christina

Third flight (via Frankfurt, last to arrive in Croatia): Azaria & Hendekea

Road Block: Find Stone
Pick a stone that fits in a wall perfectly. The stone mason will approve your stone and give you your clue.

Ron took a little while to find the right “home” for his stone, but they were on their way before K&V and Nate & Jen even found the clue box. I love how supportive and positive TK & Rachel are with each other. They’re probably my favorite team and I’m rooting for them. Don took for-ev-er finding a stone that fit correctly but they were able to stay in fifth place, just ahead of Azaria & Hendekea

Zip Line
OK, here’s where we fine the first real instance of the occurrence in this race that always makes me shout at the TV. “Are you sure this is safe?” Of course it’s safe! Do you honestly think CBS would make you do something that could maim or kill you? Really? You think they want to be sued? COME ON, PEOPLE! Use that thing above your shoulders for just a minute!

Detour: Short & Long or Long & Short
Short & Long – stands for a short physically taxing part of the program followed by a long, potentially confusing trip through the harbor town. • Kynt & Vyksin were the first ones to rappel down the building. TK & Rachel also took this route. It worked well for both teams. No drama, no footage, I guess!

Long & Short – stands for a very long physically taxing part. Like “row around the entire harbor” kind of long. Then a short trek to find the next clue box. • Eeyore and Christina chose this option because “it’s easier” Uh-huh. We’re 20 minutes into the episode and hadn’t heard anything about Ron’s hernia. What do you want to guess that we’ll be hearing a lot about it in the minutes to come?

***It also amazes me that so many people have never rowed a boat before and/or have no concept of how to row a boat. Didn’t they ever see this M&Ms commercial? Once Christina decided to listen to her dad (and who can blame her for not believe she should listen to him right off the bat!), they got going OK. Nate and Jen had also never rowed a boat and bickered horribly the whole time.

Nate & Don started with Don rowing (why?) then Nate was rowing facing forward. A bad decision for where to catch a taxi may have cost them. Photo finish at the end!

Pit Stop: Stone Cross
Somehow, Nate & Jen beat Ron & Chris to the clue box, but (haha) they found a taxi driver who wouldn’t let them into his cab because they were still wet from the rowboat. I found that amusing. Jen started to melt down the second R&C passed them because they wouldn’t be able to finish first. Wah. They managed to find a kind soul who schlepped them up the hill and would have been second, but that was “illegal transportation” up the hill, so they had to go back down and start over. I really don’t like Jen’s attitude. I’d have to slap her after about 10 minutes in her company. Yeesh.

Order of arrival: 1. Ron & Chris, 2. Kynt & Vyksin, 3. Nate & Jen, 4. TK & Rachel, 5. Nick & Don, 6. Azaria & Hendekea

The shotgun blast as each team arrived at the pit stop scared the crap out of everyone every time. Still an elimination leg. The bulk of this leg was about airline reservations which is a bummer. Honestly? I would rather see Nate & Jen go bye-bye than A&H, but nobody asked me.

No AR next week. I know several of you are giving a hearty “hooray” at that news. Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Steamroller? Check!

Yes, I feel like I’ve been steamrolled. My body hurts and I seem to have “popped” the morton’s neuroma in my right foot (ouch). Fortunately, there’s a very strong chance that all will be right with the world following a good night’s sleep.

Between fighting with the snow on the driveway for three straight days (this is a task than CANNOT be ignored. If you ignore our driveway, it turns into a sheet of ice. NOT good.) and spending waaaay too much time in the last 36 hours with very nice people that have initials after their names like MD or RN (everyone is FINE, thankyouverymuch), I feel like I’ve been flattened by a steamroller. [NOTE: General busy-ness caused the body hurting. Walking caused the foot thing. I'm even more fine than the "everyone" to whom I so vaguely refer, so don't worry. I'm just tired. Really!]

I don’t remember the last time I was ready for bed before 9 pm, but I sure am tonight!

In nicer news, it’s supposed to warm up and melt tomorrow. Normally, I like to see the snow stick around for as long as possible, but I won’t be able to enjoy the snow until I know that: 1. the sprinkler system really did drain properly, 2. I’ve gotten as many leaves as possible off of the lawn and that 3. I have Santa on the roof of the porch and lights on our outdoor trees. Wish me luck!

In other news RT, my mom and I went to tea at the Gilfillan Farm yesterday

It was a tea for the Hospital Auxiliary. It was nice enough, and we got a tour of the home afterwards and that was really interesting.

When I (finally) got home last night, I found this

It was a box from one of my extra-awesome quilting buddies from California, (blogless) Sandy! And here’s what was inside:

I opened the box at the end of a very taxing day and it brought me to tears. I’m really lucky to have such awesome friends. In case you can’t read the post-it, it says “These are for your tree. One of these has been on our tree, however, it has your name written all over it! Open now!”

I'm assuming the re-assigned California ornament would be the Penguin ornament (I collect Penguins. Penguins, fabric and yarn. Yeah, That's all that I collect!). The Santa ornament is fantastic too. Sandy and her daughter, Deb are both world-class cross-stitchers. Wow. I was really blown away when I opened these, and I’m still pretty excited about them. And no, I haven't dipped into the cookies yet, but believe me -- I will! Now we just need to get a tree and start decorating!

Mom and I did well at the All-Clad factory sale today at the Washington County Fairgrounds. I got exactly what I was looking for, which is nice. Sale ends tomorrow (Saturday) if you’re local. I’m still thisclose to finishing the Steelers scarf. I figured out why I was having so much trouble with the Monkey sock on Sunday night (I had written the pattern onto my crib sheet incorrectly). The driveway and front walk are clear. I’m going to bed.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

WiP Wednesday: Super Shoveling Edition

So what have I been working on today?

Shoveling snow. Shoveling the front walk. Shoveling the driveway. Lots and lots of shoveling.

I’m guessing we’ve had at least four inches of snow today. Hubster had trouble getting to work because since it’s the first significant snowfall of the year, traffic was wretched. He wound up punting and taking the trolley and a bus to work, which worked out just fine.

I was supposed to go to Hurricane Knitters tonight, but I decided to punt. It wasn’t the roads that stopped me.

Nope. It was my driveway. See the semi-shoveled area there in that photo? I spent about 90 minutes shoveling and by the time I went inside and got changed, it was a little snowed over … again. I gave it a shot anyway, and couldn’t get my car past the back edge of the house.

We have one shovel, stolen from my parents, and I don’t like the way it’s pitched. Of course, the show shovel I left them with broke on my mom this morning (they now live in a condo association, so they only kind of need to shovel their front walk. This shovel would be fine for shoveling a walk, so my plan is to return this shovel to my parents and buy a new one that I like better for driveway use).

I also didn’t have any driveway salt. Fortunately, SuperNeighbor across the street had a bag he’d had for years and hadn’t even opened. He has a perfectly flat driveway, so he doesn’t really need it.

So I think I’d better go outside, do one last shovel and then start spreading some salt. The Hubster is going to park in SuperNeighbor’s driveway when he gets home from work. Hopefully by morning I’ll be able to get my car out of the driveway so I can leave the house if I want to!

I'm almost finished with Steelers Scarf II, and it should also be ready to block by morning. It may be a dual scarf blocking party …. I’m thinking wet-block the Steelers Scarf which is made of Cascade 220 and spray-block the Jaywalker Scarf II, which has a high bamboo content. Does anyone have words of wisdom for how to properly block bamboo? I’m all ears!

Forget Leaf Wars (and please don't remind me that there's a good quantity of leaves under this snow. I'll just get depressed). I’m off to wrestle my driveway for the right to leave the house! ☺

Monday, December 03, 2007

Amazing Race: A Day Late Edition

Working last night put me a day behind on TAR. Sorry ‘bout that.

My most important non-race note is to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my mom. To celebrate, we went to Costco today (har har). How’s that for exciting? Oh, and I gave her my Jaywalkers. They’re just too small for me and her feet are smaller than mine. Happy Birthday, mom!

And now, on to the Race!

Vilnius, Lithuania
The teams were told that they had to book their flights at an official airline ticketing office. All the teams went to the Airport first but the Air France office there was closed. There was one little tiny internet café with one computer. Nathan and, well, mostly Jennifer monopolized that computer, but several of the other teams were hustling as best they could.

Ron & Christina were the first to take the bull by the horns and head to the Air France office in town. Nick & Don went straight to a different internet café. Ron & Christina were the first to get fights booked, but Ron is continuing to have quite the abrasive personality. Nick & Don were the second to arrive, then Azaria & Hendekea. Things got cranky as people were trying to not share their flight information.

Slow-moving Air France woman got Nick & Donald shut out on the first fight and they instantly lost four hours on arrival. Nick was so frustrated when this happened and I can’t really blame him.

Somehow, the very same woman got Nate & Jen on the earlier flight, and then the flight was full. Who knows. Things are weird.

TK & Rachel got a different connection (through Frankfurt) but only a 10-minute difference with the Amsterdam connection. Kynt & Vyksin got this, and Nick & Don were switched to this flight at the Air France office at the airport.

Once everyone actually got onto the flights it became a little clearer. Connecting through Amsterdam were Azaria & Hendekea, Nate & Jen and Shana & Jennifer. Through Frankfurt were Kynt & Vyksin, TK & Rachel and Nick & Don. Ron & Christina are the only ones connecting through Prague.

Amsterdam arrived first, at 1:25 pm. Frankfurt was second (1:35), Prague (2:10 pm) was third.

Kynt & Vyksin actually stopped for a map, which always seems smart to me. Nate & Jen blew the directions to the church. Christina was the only person smart enough to hire a taxi to follow. Nick & Don were first to arrive at the next clue box.

For some reason, Nate & Jen decided to ditch the car and find the church on foot. Interesting choice. Let the insults begin! Shana & Jennifer also got totally lost on the way to the clue box. They also nearly got T-boned by a bus. A bus. Really.

Road Block: Deliver Items
Nick, Hendekea, Kynt, Ron (uh … WHY?), TK, Jen and Shana are on the course.

The first wave of people seemed to find the courtyard for the first delivery pretty easily. From there? Yikes. Nick got hopelessly lost trying to find the hair salon. So did Hendekea, actually, but she found it before Nick. TK found a helpful local to take him around, so they made up huge time there.

First to start, last to finish was Nick. That was very much of a bummer

Gnomes, Gnomes Everywhere!
Find a Roaming Tigger!!!

Oops. Uhhh ... I mean a Travelocity Roaming Gnome. ☺

Kynt & Vyksin were first to arrive and found the gnome pretty quickly. This was a pretty smooth-sailing road block.

Detour: Count Down or Step Up!
Step Up: Stilt Walking (double yikes!)
Kynt & Vyksin – They tried 4-5 times then punted and went to counting. • TK & Rachel – TK was first to finish. Rachel got done in time to make them the first team to head to the pit stop. • Ron & Christina – With Ron’s hernia, you got an early clue that this could be quite interesting. He did take a spill only a few short feet from the end and had to start over, but they were still able to finish. • Nate & Jen bitched a lot, but got it done. This seems to be a trend with them. She's really annoying!

Count Down: count every one of the 717 pickets on a fence (yikes!)
Kynt & Vyksin – They had to re-start at one point, but were first to finish this task and second to finish overall. • Nate & Jen – "Mz I can do this all by myself" was snarking at Nate and mis-counted (88, 89, 100). Karma is your friend on this race. When you snark at others, it comes back in some way, shape or form! They wound up yelling at each other so much that they had to count three times before they punted. • Nick & Donald – struggled a little bit, but they were able to recover. Nick really pays attention and was able to recover • Shana & Jennifer – snarked at each other throughout the leg, had trouble counting and …

Pit Stop: Aukstaitija Windmill
1. TK & Rachel. 2. Kynt & Vyksin, 3. Ron & Christina, 4. Azaria & Hendekea, 5, Nate & Jen, 6. Nick & Don (great to see them make it in at 6th despite the challenges with the Road Block), 7. Shana & Jennifer.

Jennifer seemed really upset about being eliminated and Shana seemed to just humor Jennifer about being upset about their elimination. Can’t say I’m sorry to see them go.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Ketchup and Catching Up

Well, I’m firmly ensconced at the Big Ketchup Bottle in the boring bits of work. At some point, I’ll be relieved from my phone-answering duties to get some dinner, but until then, I may as well catch up on recent events while waiting for the start of SNF.

If you’re here looking for my weekly Amazing Race recap, you’ll have to wait until I can watch it tomorrow. Hopefully by lunch-ish, eastern time.

Anyhoo, here’s the rest of our trip from last week.

Roaming Tigger, meet George Washington. General, meet RT:

That’s from the Welcome Center at Valley Forge. I would have liked to spent a tiny bit more time there, but we did the welcome video then hopped onto the 10-mile tour loop. They also have a walking/biking trail available to tour Valley Forge. That would have been awesome in better weather. They even have bike rental available. Lots of people were out walking or running on the path.

First stop was a replica of the barracks cabins that the Valley Forge soldiers built when they arrived at the encampment.

Of course, these cabins are of much higher quality than those constructed out of logs and clay by the men that had to live in them. Can’t have random structures falling on tourists now, can we?

One of the last stops was George Washington’s headquarters complex at Valley Forge. It’s the original house that was there when GW was, and there were two “docents” ready willing and able to answer our questions

We had lunch at the Washington Memorial Chapel, which was built in the very early 1900s. It was a nice enough structure, although the actual chapel was quite dark and a little bit … odd. But the gift shop was nice and lunch was adequate.

Since I totally missed Yarn Pr0n Friday, here’s the yarn I bought at almost 50% off at the Jinny Beyer Studio. It’s Elsebeth Lawold Classic AL

50% baby alpaca, 50% merino. 109 yards. Worsted weight. It’s more of a burgundy than this picture shows, but you know cameras and reds. I have 14 balls, which should be plenty to make a sweater. Eventually.

And why did I miss YPF? Well, I was done for the day after fighting the Battle of the Bulge in Leaf Wars 2007TM. I’ll have to go out and rake one more time, but this is what I accomplished on Friday mid-day.

Mt. Lebanon has leaf pick-up off the streets weekly. Front-yard leaves go out onto the street, backyard leaves go over or around the fence, over the hill into the woods. One more Leaf Wrangling day and I should be done for the fall.

OK. My relief should be here any minute, so I should get this posted. Hope you had a good weekend!