Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Day in the Dark

I woke up this morning at the regular time, hopped into the shower, grabbed a bite of breakfast, picked up the paper off of SuperNeighbor’s lawn (he’s out of town until Monday afternoon. I wasn’t stealing it) and settled in for another day of I’m-never-quite-sure-what with the new job.

After about 45 minutes in the office, I heard Something Big pull up out in front of the house. It was a Duquesne Light truck. No biggie, I thought. We just switched the utilities into our name last week after we closed on the house. They’re here to read the meter.

But, about 10 minutes after that, I heard a knock on the door. So I went to answer it.

It was Duquesne Light Guy.

I was going to be without electricity from “very soon” until about 3:30 pm. “Why?” I asked.

“Well,” he said, “The transformer behind your house is about to fall off of its pole, and we need to fix it.”

Well what can you say to that? I called the home office, fired off a few quick emails and got ready to lose power. That happened at about 10:40 am.

From that point on, this was the view straight out of my kitchen window. OK, so the photo is taken from my living room window, but only because there was a tree in the way when I looked out of the kitchen window. The dudes were up there for about an hour when I left for my parents house where they had both electricity and the Internets.

Oh, and that thing hanging out of the lower guy’s right hand? It’s connected to the pole that goes to our house and several others in the neighborhood.

Between when the power went out and when I left for the afternoon, I did a few things that didn’t require electricity. I laid out my blocks so I could sew tonight

Well, they aren’t exactly how they’re sewn, but it was fun to play around with the colors

And then I headed out.

I spent the afternoon with my mom, stopped at home (power was on when I got back here at 3:15 pm. New transformer is on a different pole behind my neighbor’s house) and then picked up a very good friend who is in town for a few days for business.

No pics were taken, but Beth got the grand tour of Pittsburgh via automobile. I picked her up at the Westin and we drove down the point, then up through PPG Place past the ice rink, then over to Sixth and up to Grant to see the Steel building, courthouse and old jail. We then looped onto the Liberty Bridge and up McArdle Roadway to Mt. Washington. I pointed out some significant landmarks, then we went down to the South Side to peer at the Steelers/Pitt football complex then zipped over to Oakland where we drove past the chunk of outfield wall from Forbes Field, past Phipps, back through CMU to Forbes, up to Fifth by Heinz Chapel, then back to the South Side where we met up with the Hubster for dinner at Primanti Brothers. Whew!

It was fun, though. And yeah, I’m realizing just how much I talk. Too much, actually. I need to work on that. (Sorry, Beth! Sometimes I just don't know when to shut up!)

So that’s about it from here. Let’s all appreciate the Internets and Electricity. It can get awfully dark and boring without them!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

WiP Wednesday: Thangles Edition

We’re taking a break from our regularly scheduled knitting to bring you some quilting!

Since I moved east, it has been 90% knitting around chez DPUTiger. With no quilty running buddies and a plethora of knitty friends, it just hasn’t been as easy to spend time with fabric as it is to sit down and knit a few rows. Plus, the knitting is much more portable and can be done in much smaller chunks.

However, the bestest quilting buddies a girl could ask for still want to keep me in their quilting mini-group. So I had to get cranking on my M&Ms task so it can get to Sandy’s house in SoCal by Monday for the next mini-group potluck and fun-fest.

It’s a row-robin of sorts. Everyone does a row of five 12” blocks and decides on a theme for their quilt. You hand over your row and whatever guidelines you want to provide and you won’t see it again until your 60x80 quilt shows up at the end of the year.

So I had a theme in my head then picked a 12” block off of Quilters Cache and went to town.

Thangles, as always, are my friend. I love Thangles.

I picked my fabrics out of my stash on Monday and cut stuff out tonight.

I even got them all pressed open and ready to sew into blocks. I should be easily ready to head to the post office on Friday. Yes, I need another night of sewing, but it’s very do-able and I’m looking forward to it.

As was the case when I made the little notebooks for holiday gifts, it once again felt great to be sewing. I have sixtybazillion kits and other projects of a quilty variety. I need to start making time to go down into the basement and SEW!!!

Tonight’s sewing was actually accompanied by this movie. I knew it would be a warm fuzzy chick flick. I didn’t know it would be wicked funny. Better than I thought it would be!

I maybe have done an additional inch on Cobblestone since last week, but my second spiraling coriolis is just seven rows of seed stitch cuff and EZ’s sewn bind off away from finished. I’m going through a rare bout of project monogamy. Cobblestone is next in the spotlight.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

RT Does SuckFest PirateFest

It was a snowy Sunday in the ‘Burgh, but Roaming Tigger wanted to get out. Where did he want to go?

Yup. PirateFest 2008.

RT made some friends

That's Sauerkraut Saul and Halapeno* Hannah (*i know, i know. It should be Jalapeno, but then the alliteration doesn't work.)

Saw some dudes wandering the crowd playing some fun music.

Saw a player getting interviewed by a local radio dude.

(We think it was “Pirates prospect Andrew McCutcheon,” but we don’t really know. The Pirates really should have had the players wearing jerseys. Or at least had table cards for ID purposes at stuff like this particular booth. These guys aren’t exactly household names, you know.)

Absorbed the top sentiment of the weekend

Oh, and I managed to find a jersey that met all of my requirements:
1. No name (what, I'm supposed to pick one of these no-names who's my favorite?)
2. No Number (same reason)
3. NO RED!!! When did Red become part of the team colors? I object!!

RT wasn’t the only one to get a picture taken. This guy scanned our tickets to get in

And a good time was had by all …

Friday, January 25, 2008

YPF: Zen Edition

OK, so it’s sock club central around here this week. My first Rockin’ Sock Club shipment showed up this afternoon, but I had already planned today’s Yarn Pr0n Friday around the Zen Yarn Garden Harmony Semi-Solid Sock Yarn Club shipment I received on Tuesday.

You see, just a day after accepting my shiny new job a few short weeks ago, I was minding my own business and reading my bloglines. Waaay back in September, I stumbled upon the blog of Baseball Knitter (only 19 days until Pitchers & Catchers report! Just two short months until the Buccos are eliminated from the postseason!), and on that particular January day about three weeks ago, Beth was talking about having signed up for the aforementioned sock club.

I read her post about six hours before the club closed to new members. And I caved. Now, I’m pretty darn glad that I did!

These pictures don’t really do the yarn justice. Trot on over to Roxanne’s club blog for a much more color-accurate picture. It’s more of a green with dusky gray shadows. Like I said, her picture is much closer to the real thing.

It’s 3-ply fingering weight, 450 yards and it’s 70% Superwash Merino, 20% Bamboo and 10% Nylon.

No idea what I’m going to knit with it, and I haven't decided if I’ll start with my STR or this when I finish my second Coriolis.

That’s about it from here. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Just For My Friends in SoCal ...

On the way home from an errand today, I stopped at Costco. This Costco.

For my readers who live outside of Southern California, here's what you need to know to understand why I'm posting this.

When you go to Costco in SoCal, it's a contact sport. You have to circle the parking lot half a dozen times just to get a spot that's a full football field away from the entrance. Once you get a cart and actually get inside, you're shoulder-to-shoulder with a thousand of your closest friends and it takes a good solid half-hour to get through the check-out line on a good day.

And if you go on a weekend? Double everything I just said.

So today, I tooled into my local Costco. Eased into a parking spot that was about three spaces away from the closest possible point to the entrance. I went inside, and as I got towards the back of the store, it felt ... empty.

I completed my shopping and snacking (gotta love the sample carts!) and walked towards the front to check out. There were a grand total of THREE people in the front third of the store. They were all checkout people, and they were congregated under one of the checkout registers examining ... something.

When they noticed me standing there, waiting, two of the three then helped me unload my cart onto the belt, and I was on my way in under five minutes.

As I walked away, I felt the need to document this for posterity.

Yep. Crickets. Did I mention that this was at 4:30 pm? A full four hours before closing time? Sorry. Didn't mean to rub it in.

I love Costco. Well, I love Costco when it's outside of SoCal ...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

WiP Wednesday: On the Cobblestones

Yeah, there’s knitting happening. Around all of the work. And believe me. There is LOTS of work. Yeek.

But I try to keep the sports off of this blog. I want you all to keep coming back, ya know? And believe me. I know how many of you feel about sports! (no offense taken. I’m a firm believer that it’s a GOOD thing that we aren’t all the same!)

Anyhoo, I finished Spiraling Coriolis #1 over the weekend. Here it is, facing left and right:

It’s the teeniest bit small. I did 64 stitches around and it’s OK. But I’m going up to 66 stitches for Coriolis #2

Speaking of which, here's No. 2 as of about 4 pm this afternoon

It looks more like a toe now. Stitch markers are from HIDEandSHEEP. I keep finding new things on that site that I want. ::sigh::

In other news, I have started the Hubster’s Cobblestone. Here’s a view from the TV room carpet on Monday.

And here it is today in the bright sunshine

Color is better in the second shot. I’m enjoying the project. It’s the first thing I’ve ever knit a sweater in the round. Hard to believe given my love of seaming, huh? At times, it feels like it’s taking forever. Then I remember I’m knitting for the Hubster, who is larger than I (although not as large as the MWP. Jenn deserves a medal for that one!). And I’m knitting the whole thing all at once, so it’s not going as fast as just a front or just a back would.

And I do feel like I’m making progress. Just sloooow progress. But the shiny new Options needles are pretty neato. I’m a happy camper.

If I could just get that work stuff wrangled. All in good time, though. All in good time.

By the way, This has been playing on AMC a lot over the last week or two. Fantastic movie. I could watch it over and over, especially if it was unedited and commercial-free.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Lame Trip Recap

Wow. I’m actually pausing mid-workday because my brain just can’t take it any more. The holes in the Division II information are creating equivalent swiss-cheese holes in my brain. (I came back and finished/posted much later)

No, it’s not the job itself. It’s the state of things that were left behind for yours truly.

You see, over the last seven days, I have come to the conclusion that this job was vacant for a month at the exact wrong time of the year. Summer? Annoying, but not a problem. During the collegiate season? Someone would have had to do some kind of maintenance. December/January? When everything gets organized for the Feb. 8 first pitch? Disaster. Nothing was done. NOTHING.

Oh, and my predecessor didn’t exactly clean out his computer knowing that he was leaving. Let’s just say that I now know what his wife wanted for Christmas. She likes jewelry and handbags. Seriously.

My trip to Mississippi started early a week ago today. Up at 4:30. Driving to Greater Pitt at 5. Landing in Houston (Bush) only to discover that my connecting flight was taking off in 25 minutes. On the other side of the airport. Let’s just say that I got my workout in. Oh, and signage in that airport is horrendous.

Got to Jackson, Miss., without further incident. Rented my car and drove the two hours up to Starkville. No worries. Got a grand tour of Starkville from the new boss, then taken to “World Headquarters” then dinner. Sleep was my friend that night.

Tuesday, I was bombarded with information from all angles. By 4 pm, my brain was mush. Just too much new information. I have six pages of notes.

Near the end of the day, Bill (my best friend, who lives in Oxford, Miss.) called my cell phone. I was meeting with the new boss. Needless to say, I let it go to voice mail. He actually left a voice mail, which is quite odd. When I got back to my phone, I had a voice mail and a text. The text was from my friend John who works at Kentucky and it said “Where are you right now?”

I was a little panicked at first, because Johnnie is dating a wonderful woman who lives in Pittsburgh and I thought something might be wrong there. [Oh, and cell reception at the office? Spotty at best. I have decided that Mississippi is where cell phones go to die.] Then a little bell went off in the back of my head. Somebody mentioned that MSU had a home basketball game that night! Sure enough, Mississippi State was hosting Kentucky. John works with Kentucky men’s basketball. We were both in, of all places, Starkville, Mississippi, on the same night! (Bill had been calling to warn me that John just found out I was in Starkville, since Bill is the one who realized that we were both there. One doesn't exactly check with all of their friends to see who else is going to be in town when they travel to Starkville, Miss.)

So I went to a basketball game

At this point, I must admit that RT slept through his 4:30 am wake-up call and didn’t make the trip to Mississippi. I hang my head in shame. I did take a Yarn Harlot Traveling Sock photo, but the sock-free one came out better, so that's what you get. I thought about photoshopping the little dude into the photo, but that just felt dishonest.

At the MSU-UK game, I sat with the head softball coach from Alabama. He’s a great guy who I’ve known for years and he was at the game for the same reason I was, to see John.

A good time was had by most (UK lost, so John didn’t exactly have a great time). Jonathan Papelbon was honored during the first half, so that was kinda cool. Plus, my seat neighbor is a big Red Sox fan, so he was pumped (Papelbon is the the psycho star relief pitcher for the 2007 World Series champion Boston Red Sox, since I know I have several sports-challenged readers).

On Wednesday, I had a 6:30 am wake-up call so I could go to breakfast with an old friend who is an athletic trainer at MSU. Of course, the hotel decided to give me a 5:30 am wake-up instead. I blame that for part of the reason why it took me so long to recover from this trip.

After breakfast with my friend, I started tackling the toxic waste dump that was the first major thing of the DPUTiger administration in the new job. I was going full speed all day with a minor slow-down for lunch with my predecessor, then back to the toxic dump.

I managed to get out of the office at 4:30 pm for the 90-minute drive up to Bill’s in Oxford. It was either dark or raining the whole trip, but it was an easy drive. I pulled up to his house just as he called to see where I was. Bill, Jr. (my friend), Bill, Sr. (his dad) and I immediately turned around and went right back out the door to the Ole Miss-Florida basketball game

Ole Miss won the game. Bill, Jr. did his undergrad at Ole Miss and graduate work at UF. Bill, Sr., did his undergrad at UF and graduate at Ole Miss (where he met his wife!). It was funny sitting between the guys as they cheered (quietly in Sr’s case) for opposing teams. When we got home, Jackson (Bill Jr’s dog) and Dixie (Bill Sr’s golden retriever) played for about an hour while all three of the humans in the room played dueling laptops. It was too dark to get a good picture and I left at the butt-crack of dawn, so no furry cute-ness from this trip. Sorry!

But it was great to be able to stop in Oxford. And really good to see for myself that Bill is doing OK after having a truly lousy Christmas.

So that’s about it from here. I finished my first Coriolis sock and have started the Hubster’s Cobblestone. I desperately need to get my butt down into the basement and get the M&Ms swap idea in my head out onto sewn fabric so it can be mailed to California in time for the February swap. Yikes!

And, once again, we’ve gotten to the end of a day and I am Wiped. Out. I’m trying to settle into a routine and hope to keep up my more prolific blogging schedule that I’ve gotten used to in the last few months. Type at ya soon!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Amazing Race Sunday: Finish Line Edition

Hi, all! Yes, I’m still alive. The trip to Mississippi was good. I’ll blog it later. But I’ve been totally pooped after all the work stress (So. Far. Behind.) and haven’t had the energy to blog the trip, or much of anything else. I’ll try to get back on the bandwagon tomorrow. Meanwhile, we have a finale to discuss! Recap delayed b/c AR couldn’t bump out the NFC Championship game. I had no problem with that.

Taipei, Taiwan
9:47 am Ron/Christina, 10:30 am TK/Rachel, 10:37 am Nick/Don

Travel to: Anchorage, Alaska/6th Avenue Outfitters. Final Destination City
A side note, I’ve made one trip to Alaska. It was awesome, and I was there in December. This should be fun!

OK, so Ron is now all about the free upgrades. Very humorous. This time, it was a free upgrade into the lounge, where the used the internet to find the address for 6th Avenue Outfitters. TK was totally freaking out when they didn’t see Ron/Chris for a while.

Somehow, none of the teams went through customs? Must have been very routine. ☺ Ron/Chris were first to 6th Avenue Outfitters to pick up their gear. TK/Rachel were second, Nick/Don third. And they forgot their bag of gear. DOH! TK/Rachel had a bad taxi driver. Don totally started snarking at Nick on the way back to 6th Ave to get their bag-o-gear. This was one of the clips we got to see last week.

Ship Creek Boat Launch
Detour: Cut the Cod or Grab the Crab
Cod: Cut through 50 cod, search for miniature clue. Gross, but fast.
Ron/Chris – Holy crap! They found the clue in their first fish!
Nick/Don – Don found it on his second fish. Damn, he was fast with that knife!

Crab: Search through biting crabs for one with race colors. Not gross, but tedious.
TK/Rachel – This was the clip from last week’s preview. They were about to punt when TK found the crab … just as Nick/Don arrived back with their bag of stuff to start cutting cod.

20-Mile Glacier
Must climb the glacier to get the clue.
TK/Rachel had another nightmare cab driver, but he did manage to not get lost on the way to the speed boats. The were just moments ahead of Nick/Don, and probably about 20 minutes behind Ron/Chris.

Chris really struggled with climbing the glacier face. Ron went on and on about his fear of heights, but zipped right up that face. I have a feeling that earlier in the race, he would have freaked out and started shouting at Chris to just get the hell up the glacier, but he was actually really supportive with her as she struggled with the climb. She made it just fine, though.

Everyone, except TK, seemed to have a little trouble getting over the lip of the glacier, then did OK the rest of the way up.

Helicopter to Merrill Field/Cab to Goose Lake Park
Road Block: Re-Live Experience on the Race
Well, we had the Survivor disappearing audio glitch while Phil described the Road Block, but it looks like things just have to be matched up with the type of obstacle it was earlier in the race. There was something about one item from each leg of the race, 2 animals or animal products, 3 forms of transport and a partridge in a pear tree. Impossible to really understand without hearing Phil's v/0

Wow. All three competitors struggled with this task. Apparently, Phil’s explanation was more complicated than you’d guess!

Chris: She melted her brain on this, and that’s all they showed. She was missing Ireland on her first try, since the Donkey wasn’t on the platform. She messed more stuff up as she tried to fix it. She was second to finish and crying when she got her clue.

Rachel: She seemed to be pretty methodical with everything and was first to finish. I would have yelped at this point, but I didn’t want to wake up the Hubster.

Nick: He was kind of a disaster on this. Lots of X’s and no checks. Last to finish.

Captain Cook Statue
The taxi-drivers all wanted to cross the inlet, but they’re looking for the statue that gives Cook the view, not the inlet itself. Once again, it’s all about taxis.

TK/Rachel got the clue first. Ron/Chris second. Both of the first two teams were in sight of each other as they ran to the salmon hooker statue on 5th and G. Minutes are separating the first two teams. Nick/Don are out of this.

And the Winner Is...


They became my favorites about halfway through, and I’m SO excited for them.

Ron/Chris finished second. Ron changed so damn much during this race. Very, very impressive. He said during the finish line interview that he’s a new man. That’s completely true, and shocking considering how he acted during the first few legs of the race.

Nick/Don were third. Don is the oldest person ever to make it to the final leg of the race. And the both have “FF” tattoos to show for it, too!

With that, I hand the reality blogging baton back over to Jenn. Survivor starts again next month! ☺

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

You Know You're In The SOUTH ...

... when you see multiple TV commercials for this during two different half-hour shows. In two different time slots (5 pm hour and 11 pm hour). Yikes!!!

Trip has been exhausting/overwhelming but good. I forgot RT (bad blogger! no cookie!), so traveling coriolis sock stood in tonight. Gotta get to bed rather than taking pictures. It'll be another long day tomorrow (Wed).

Full recap when I get back home. My brain is full.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Amazing Race Sunday: Snarkfest

NOTE: I leave for Mississippi in the morning and am not taking my computer. Mostly because I know I’ll be bringing a different laptop back. I’ll be totally off the grid on Monday and hope to be back online by Tuesday. Enjoy my silence! I’ll be back Thursday, worst-case scenario.

Start of Leg: Osaka, Japan • Find Umeda Sky building, then Floating Garden which is the observatory on the roof.

Ron & Christina, 7:02 am
Nate & Jen, 7:15 am, it’s Jen’s birthday
Nick & Don, 7:21 am
TK & Rachel, 10:18 am

Ron/Chris thought the garden was on street level. The observatory opens at 10! That makes a big chunk of TK and Rachel’s deficit. Hooray! Nate/Jen are snarking at each other from the first minute.

Floating Garden screwed up TK and Rachel as well. They goofed around on ground level for a while then TK figured out it was the observatory and Rachel went along even though she felt like it couldn’t be on the roof. Oh lord. They just walked by the clue box. ACK! Well, they found it before they went back down.

Travel to Taipei, Taiwan
This should even the race back out again. Assuming that TK and Rachel can make it to the airport before these other teams can get on a flight. Nick was hysterical with saying that a bunch of pansies are left in the race.

There was a 1 pm flight to Taipei Ron and Chris made it on. We’ll see if the “upgrade for free” will give them a problem with the full fare flight. Jen/Nate lost it when they got denied for the 1 pm flight Ron/Chris were the only ones to make that earliest flight.

Nick/Don made the 1:15 flight, as did Nate/Jen. The third flight had only TK and Rachel.

2:51 pm Ron/Chris landed • 3:05 pm Nate/Jen and Nick/Don landed. Nate/Jen (well, JEN) decided to exchange money first. Nick/Don went straight to immigration at a run. • No landing time given for TK/Rachel, but they wound up in the immigration line in front of Nate/Jen. This meant that three teams were all dead even in Taipei with just Ron/Chris a little bit ahead.

Travel to: Acrobatics Jeep
Ron/Chris were on the first train. Nate/Jen somehow got a cab first. TK/Rachel were pretty close behind. All three remaining teams were on the same train

TK/Rachel were second, Nick/Don third and Nate/Jen fourth leaving the train terminal. And they had a taxi driver that got lost. HAHA!!

Road Block: Take a Tricky Ride
Ron took this one. He hates heights and I thought he was going to puke on the teeter-totter. He made it through the submerged jeep ride as well. • Rachel had a blast. So happy they made it back to second • Nate also had fun • Don looked much better than Ron did, but wasn’t too psyched about it either.

Speed Bump: Run Through Fireworks
This is TK and Rachel only. Once again, their task wasn’t difficult at all, just time consuming. They had to don protective gear, run through fireworks and be doused with buckets of water. No biggie.

GK Teahouse
Train back to Taipei, go to a teahouse to drink tea in order to get your next clue. Ron/Chris were smart enough to pick up a timetable and made a considerably earlier train. The remaining teams earliest option was an 8 pm train. ALL THREE TEAMS made it onto that train. Fire up!! They were totally psyched and I don’t blame them. Jen was so pissed. Again. She has spent so much time on this race just being pissed off. Somehow, Jen thinks that TK and Rachel slack off. She thinks that mellow/laid back means they aren’t trying. Whut-Evah! Nick/Don went up and talked to TK/Rachel on the train. Nate/Jen? Sulked. Go figure.

And it’s a race to the teahouse! Lots of traffic.

Gong Guan Night Market
Clue was in Chinese and they had to not only make it to the market, but find a clown to get their next clue.

It’s all about taxi drivers for the bottom three teams. Nick/Don made it to the tea house first. TK/Rachel second (but Rachel wouldn’t drink the hot tea right away), Nate/Jen last but they found “friends” in the restaurant. Unfortunately for them, they then were convinced that they should take the subway and a bus to the Youth Park, where the “Earth” half of the detour took place. Jen totally changed her story about insisting on the subway when they got to the bus stop. She’s such a bitch.

Detour: Fire or Earth
Fire – Participate in Chinese ritual writing messages on sky lanterns. Send 20 lanterns to the Gods and get your clue • Nobody picked this one

Earth – Walk on jagged stones down 220-foot path for a 440-foot round-trip. Tradition says it relieves stress.
Ron/Chris whined about how it hurt, but made it just fine. • Nick/Don were next to the path • TK/Rachel ran the path and finished ahead of Nick/Don • Nate/Jen took the subway and a bus to the youth park.

Pit Stop: Chiang Kia-Shek Memorial
1. Ron/Chris. It’s amazing how much Ron has changed on the race. Hooray!

Taxis again. Nick/Don and TK/Rachel both had trouble getting cabs who knew where they were going.

2. TK/Rachel! Hooray! ☺

Cabs are a nightmare for the last two teams. Editing is probably making this a lot closer than it really was, but …

3. Nick/Don … and that means!

Nate/Jen are eliminated! Hooray! Jen got eliminated on her birthday. And was actually better on the mat than I would have guessed. She admitted that they killed their relationship on the race. Nate was much more upset about this than she was.

Scenes from next week!
It’s the finale, and it should be good. Looks like they have some cool stuff planned. Should be good!

Again, I’m offline for a while, possibly until Thursday or Friday. Have fun without me!

Friday, January 11, 2008

YPF: Office Supply Edition

OK, so this is a little different. Less of a Yarn Pr0n Friday, more of Yummy Pen Friday. Sure, I have piles of yarn around chez DPUTiger, but this was my biggest score of the week, so here ya go!

I know I have readers who have the same office supply obsession as I do. So I thought I’d share.

When I worked at UCLA, the bookstore was less than 100 yards from my office. Not my office building, my actual office. They had a pretty good pen/pencil selection, particularly a four-sided kiosk of cubbys that were always full of pens. With index cards on top so you could scribble with whatever you wanted to try out.

I’d try a new pen fairly regularly and if I loved it, I’d stock up. The last pen I “fell for” before I left Bruin-land was the Pentel 24/7

It’s a medium-nib pen. I didn’t grab too many of them, because I figured “Hey, they’re Pentel! No problem!”

Problem. I have been searching high and low since the move and have not found one place that stocked the things. I had one last hope, the Pitt bookstore.

My dad taught in one of the graduate schools at Pitt throughout my childhood. All of my school supplies, notebooks, pens, whatever came from the Pitt bookstore the whole way through college. Yep. I used Pitt spiral notebooks the whole way through my DePauw career. Goofy, I know. But when I find an office supply I like, I stick with it until I can’t find it any more!

When the Hubster and I visited the Nationality Rooms at Pitt before Christmas, I walked across the street to see if the bookstore carried my favorite pens. They didn’t.

But it was just before Christmas, all the students were gone, and I got chatting with two of the women working in that chunk of the bookstore. One of them took interest in my quest and actually photocopied the pen I had with me and took my name/number. Last week, the Pitt bookstore called to let me know that “my” pens were in!

So mom and I field tripped on Tuesday. We went to the Bookstore, then lunch with SJ in Oakland, then Natural Stitches (just a little Cascade 220 came home. Nothing exciting). Here was my haul:

Yep. I’m all stocked up. They still have plenty of black and red pens, but I hate those colors. If you can find ‘em, give ‘em a try!

I’m working tomorrow (Saturday) at Bloomin Yarns then Sunday is Packing Day. I enjoy traveling, but I really loathe packing. Oh well. At least I have a full day to get done everything I want/need to so I’m ready to leave for Mississippi. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Meet the Countess

This is yet another project that snoozed for a very long time between “finished knitting” and “finished object!”

The most unique part of this sweater is the cable. It’s a completely open cable. As in “place four stitches on a holder. Knit six rows. Go back to those stitches on the holder and knit six rows on those.” Then you re-connect the cable stitches. It’s a cool effect, even if it does create a crapload of seams

The neckband (I forgot to get a decent close-up. Forgive me!) was integrated into the knitting of the front of the sweater. Then you knit the back of the neck, grafted it together and seamed it to the back of the sweater.

Oh, and the yarn was truly fabulous to work with. I’m sad it’s discontinued.

Pattern: Countess V-Neck Pullover by Dee Neer. Published in Classic Elite Yarns Second Edition (booklet)
Size: Medium (41.5"). Thank God … there’s a note on my pattern that I had started out knitting the small. THAT would have been a DISASTER.
Yarn: Classic Elite Countess (40% merino, 28% viscose, 10% cashmere, 7% angora, 15% nylon)
Needles: US 9 and US 10
Started: 21 October 2006
Finished: 10 January 2008
Mods: None.

Pattern and yarn purchased at Beach Knitting. I miss that place! ::sigh::

It’s a little tight, which just means that I need to lose the weight I’ve gained back since moving to Pittsburgh. I made sure I got to the gym today, so that’s a start

The arms, in particular, reminded me of SJ’s Central Park Hoodie. I do have to pull them on. I had a turtleneck on under the sweater for the shot above, but will most likely wear it with a t-shirt when it sees the light of day in real life.

I haven’t busted out the sweater that’s next in line for seaming, but I’ll probably take it to work tomorrow so I can baste on the table. Progress. It’s a good thing!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

WiP Wednesday: Spiraling Edition

What am I working on?

A sock.

That’s it. That’s the list.

It’s a Spiraling Coriolis from Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I really love this book. Yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy in Deep Seaflower, purchased from The Loopy Ewe. Bloomin Yarns now carries this yarn as well as DIC Classy. I went to TLE before it was carried locally.

The white stuff near the toe is a dental floss lifeline. I wasn't positive about my stitch count, so I put the floss in at the point where I'd have to rip back in order to adjust the stitch count. Starting a whirlpool toe is a bitch.

That’s about it in my life. I’m commencing the traditional mini-freak out in regards to my new job. I leave for Starkville, Miss., on Monday and will stay there through Wednesday. Then drive to Oxford, Miss., to see Bill next Wednesday and leave Thursday morning to come back to the ‘Burgh.

This means I will miss Hurricane Knitters. Humble apologies to the Hurricanes. I’m gonna be a little scarce over the next couple of months, but once we get to March 19, I should be around much more regularly. I’m sad about missing the time with my bestest Burg buddies, but since I completely failed at unemployment, this is a good thing in the big picture.

Comcast came and fixed whatever they screwed up on Monday, so we have TV again. In order to survive the evening of darkness yesterday, we watched this movie. It’s exactly what you would expect. ::sigh::

Hoping to have another FO ready for you tomorrow. I’m also hoping to get Santa and the lights down tomorrow morning. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Purple People Eaters

Hey! It’s a finished sweater!

I wove in the last of the ends a week ago, and it got its first wearing last week.

Pattern: A sweater wizard pattern based on a sweater that my friend Beth in California busted out one early fall evening in 2006
Yarn: The vareigated light purple is some reeeeally old Filatura di Crosa 127. Someone gave it to my friend Irma, who gave it to me. There were only 900 yards of the stuff, so this pattern was a great fit for this yarn. I had less than one ball leftover. The dark purple was Classic Elite Bazic Wool purchased at Beach Knitting. Awful stuff. It had to be steam-blocked within an inch of its life. Wouldn’t knit with it again on a bet.
Needles: Addi Turbo US 8 / 5.0mm
Started: 24 September 2006
Finished: 1 January 2008
Mods: None. Yay, sweater wizard!

There are a few little things about this sweater I’d like to share. I don’t have a talented FO photo staff like Turtlegirl, so basement close-ups will have to do.

First, the waistline. This was the very first time that I had to block something prior to seaming. I wish I had photos of how evil and wonky it was before I steamed the ever-living crap out of it (wet washcloth, hot iron, blocking board)

It’s now laying flat. I really like the roll, but I’ll never do it again if I’m not knitting in the round. Here’s why

These “holes” are on both cuffs and on either side of the waist. I kind of blew off seaming the rolls in my haste to get the damn thing done. It bugs me, so I'll have to fix it before the next wearing.

And I must say that as much as I loathe seaming, I’m not half bad at it.

Now tell me – if you couldn’t see the color change, would you be able to tell where the seam was? ☺

Oh, and check out my new neighbor. Ain’t she cute?

Her name is Sidney, after Sidney Crosby and she’s eight weeks old. She doesn’t stay still very long, especially with three boys in her family running around with her in the yard. Oh, and all their friends. She's the toast of the neighborhood this week! She was posed perfectly then as I click …


Monday, January 07, 2008

Our Long National Regional Local? Nighmare Is Over

No, there’s still a little more than a year before we get a new person in the Oval Office, but I am no longer unemployed!

The call I mentioned at the end of my Amazing Race post earlier today came in just before 4 pm. I can telecommute from Pittsburgh and will be making occasional trips to Mississippi to visit the “home office,” possibly as early as next week.

I hope to continue my part-time gig at Bloomin Yarns. The flexibility of telecommuting should work nicely with that goal, but we’ll have to see what happens. Bottom line is that, as usual, the Universe has a plan and you just have to wait to see what it wants.

I really sucked at being unemployed, so this is fantastic news, not to mention a gig that I can really get excited about. Busy time will be Feb-June, much as it was while I was at UCLA. Thanks everyone for your support as I struggled with the too-much-free-time thing. Who knew I’d be so bad at that? YAY!!!

Oh, and since every piece of good news must come with a grain of salt, my cable is out. Perhaps we’ll switch from Comcast to Verizon FiOS sooner than we thought? Off to seam Countess while watching TiVo. Hooray!

Amazing Race Sunday: Monday Edition

Sorry for the delay in posting. I crashed and burned last night before I could watch and recap. Onward!

Fly to Osaka, Japan (departure time)
TK & Rachel (1:25 pm), Nick & Don (1:33 pm), Ron & Christina (1:44 pm), Nate & Jen (2:38 pm)

The teams are getting smarter about using hotels and travel agents/internet to get their hotel reservations. TK/Rachel used a hotel travel agent, Ron/Christina went to a local travel agent.

6:55 pm via New Delhi and Beijing– TK/Rachel
8:25 pm via Hong Kong– Ron/Christina, Nate/Jen, Nate/Don

This obviously is where the scary teaser from last week comes into play. I think it was Jen who said “I don’t know what happened to TK and Rachel. We haven’t seen them all day!” The editors are continuing to play on this “who’s in first” theme, since they emphasized that TK and Rachel are making two connections on their way to Osaka while the other three teams make just one. That could easily eat up the 90-minute head start, or not. There’s no way to tell, since they haven’t time stamped anything since the teams ripped open their clues at the start of the leg.

2:30 pm, Nate/Jen, Ron/Christina, Nick/Don arrive in Osaka. Rats.

Christina speaks Japanese, which is always a huge bonus. Nate/Jen arrived at the castle first and were able to find the clue box first. Ron/Chris second. Nate/Don

Find: Cleaning Man at Noda Station
1. Nate/Jen, 2. Ron/Chris, 3. Nick/Don (still no sign of our fourth team. Damn.)

Road Block: Become a Taxi Driver
Seconds before revealing the clue, the first two teams talked about how awful driving in Japan would be.

Jen: Got totally lost and whiny. Big surprise
Christina: She was picked because she can speak Japanese, but apparently she’s a terrible driver. They said that both their hearts just dropped when they opened the clue. I’m pretty sure they silented out a “f^ck” from Christina. She apparently does not own a car in the US.
Nick: Had a great attitude and was actually pretty good with figuring things out.

Jen was first to drop off her passengers. Christina was second. Nick third
On the return, Jen was first, Christina second, Nick third … and lost. Still no sign of TK and Rachel at this point. Oy vey. Ooh! Airport! They landed half an hour into the edited show. That can’t be good unless there’s something ridiculous coming up. No time stamp on TK/Rachel’s arrival, which also can’t be a good thing. Nick arrived 10 minutes behind the first two teams.

We’re seeing almost nothing of TK/Rachel, which means that my favorite team is going to go the way of Azaria and Hendekea. Taken down by a travel decision.

Travel to Kita-Mido Temple
Nate/Jen first to arrive. Ron/Christina had a wheezing taxi driver who was a little scary but he got them there OK

Detour: Sense of Touch or Sense of Smell
Touch: Use mini-robots controlled by cell phones to play a game of soccer
Nick/Don – Nick said he couldn’t ID a real flower. This was hysterical. Don started swearing right away. The learning curve was pretty steep but they were able to get it done.

Smell: Flower shop, use nose to find one real flower around thousands (!!!) of fakes.
Nate/Jen – Jen says she has the nose of a bloodhound, but all the sniffing was making her lightheaded. They started downstairs then moved upstairs and started snarking at each other. They did find a real flower first.
Ron/Chris – Ron is starting to “get it” which is good. They were able to find their flower. Ron actually found it.
TK/Rachel also did this task with Rachel finding the flower

Christina’s ability with Japanese made a ton of difference with directions, and they noted on the way to the Pit Stop that Ron hadn’t lost his temper once the whole leg and they were just thrilled with each other. Maybe Ron is finally starting to “get it”

Pit Stop: Tempozan Park
1. Ron/Chris, 2. Nate/Jen, 3. Nick/Don. They started the swan song as we watched TK and Rachel go through all the steps for this leg of the race, and they used the whole time to voice over. They are obviously happy with each other and are just two even-keel people. 4. TK/Rachel.

Jen was still annoyed that that they didn’t win the leg. They can’t stop arguing, and Nate had a spectacular Freudian slip, saying that the best team was going to finish last (not that the best team was going to finish first on the last leg, which is what he claims he meant) Jen’s double-take was priceless.

GREAT NEWS! It’s a non-elimination leg. Phil tells us that TK and Rachel are almost three hours behind the other teams and will have a speed bump tomorrow. But we get to see them for another leg. Yay!

Knitting Content
Last night's Crash and Burn also derailed my plan to get Countess ready for a FO shoot. Maybe tomorrow. Sorry I don't have anything decent for today, but I've lost my entire morning waiting for the phone to ring. I got a call at 9:30 this morning from the softball people, and the person I talked to said that the big cheese would call me right back. That was two hours ago. ::sigh:: OK. Back to blog reading, then I need to Leaf Wrangle. Again. In January. This is insane. Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Monkey Business

So the last time I was between sock projects, SJ strongly recommended this pattern, but with her modification

Pattern: Monkey socks by Cookie A
Yarn: Yarn Love Juliet, Darling colorway. 75% superwash merino, 25% nylon. Purchased from The Loopy Ewe
Needles: KnitPicks 2.75mm 16” circs
Started: 22 November 2007
Finished: 28 December 2007
Mods: Changed all purl stitches to knit stitches per SJ’s recommendation
Destination: My sister-in-law Erin as a slighty belated Christmas present.

The pattern was fine, but I was just about to the heel of the first sock when I realized that I was hardly going to be able to get the damn thing over my heel.

Since I wasn’t really liking the yarn anyway (they have changed their base yarn since I bought this, so YMMV), I changed tactics and decided that this particular pair should go to someone with smaller feet than yours truly.

I have another pair of socks from New Pathways on the needles that I am excited about, and that’s what is going to work with me tonight.

My other news is that as of yesterday, I’m employed! OK, so it’s part time and not in my career realm, but I’m working at Bloomin Yarns!

So far, I have learned that I really want to knit either the Tulip or Rocket sweater with Dream in Color Classy, which I am winding into smaller quantities to kit for those two sweaters.

At the end of the day, I switched to a shawl kit with Kidsilk Haze. It just confirmed my belief that I will never ever knit anything with this yarn. It’s the spawn of the devil. It sticks to everything, has its own wicked field of static electricity and is just not my thing in any way, shape or form.

The good news? Apparently, I’m not allergic to mohair. I couldn’t remember if it was angora or mohair that had made me sneeze before, but after winding four balls of Kidsilk haze into smaller quantities on a niddy-noddy and then into center-pull balls using the swift and winder, not one itch or sneeze or drip of the nose.

Well, I need to go get myself organized for work tonight. Buh-bye!

Thursday, January 03, 2008


It’s freakin’ cold outside. At 2 pm, it’s 20 degrees with very few clouds, fresh snow and it’s just … COLD. The year I lived in Minnesota, we had a week where the high temperature for the week was -10 before windchill. It’s not that cold, but after eight years in SoCal? BRRR!!!

So I sent Joe outside in his jacket to model a finished object!

It started out as this

That’s the yarn with the parka I’m hoping will wear it with. Pretty damn close match, huh?

I started it on Christmas and finished knitting and blocking it on New Years Day.

I fringed it last night at Hurricane Knitters. Since I didn’t have anything on the needles. At all. Really. (that is no longer true, btw)

Pattern: Year 1-2 House Scarf from Charmed Knits
Yarn: Cascade 220. Two skeins each in 9487 (Puget Sound/blue/from Natural Stitches) and 8412 (Pear/gold/from Bloomin Yarns)
Needles: US 8 16” KA circs. Still lovin’ these needles, even though they got put away weird at some point and the cable needs to be steamed back into shape
Started: 25 Dec 2007
Finished: 1 Jan 2008
Mods: I finally got smart and did two things with this scarf (my third of this ilk): 1. I wove in all of the ends as I knitted. 2. The stockingette edge was curling on itself as I started and I decided to encourage this behavior, as seen in last week’s WiP Wednesday post. Made it much easier to wrangle, although once I got to the halfway point, I could roll it no farther. It still was easier to twist/untwist the thing this way.
Destination: It's a birthday gift (Jan 2 b-day) for the head coach I worked with last year at UCLA. My goal in life is to make it to the post office tomorrow to get it on its way to LA.

I have two more FOs ready to post. One has had its photo shoot, the other has not. I'll be back!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Hubster and I met the parentals and Aunt Suz/Uncle Mike for dinner downtown. We saw the big parade in downtown Pittsburgh, walked over to Fifth Avenue Place, then Hubster walked around while I went with the aforementioned foursome to Pittsburgh’s First Presbyterian Church (I link simply because I was quite impressed by the building itself, and it’s a National Historical Landmark).

We were there to see the Balmoral Highlands bagpipers at the First Presbyterian Church

Hubster and I met up again at the main stage just in front of Fifth Avenue Place. Where we watched a pair of pre-teens grope each other for two hours. Seriously. I doubt either one of them was older than 16. And talk about inappropriately dressed? She was wearing a camisole top and windbreaker. In 30-degree weather. He was wearing his Central Catholic sweatshirt. Of course, they were so all over each other that they must have been “keeping each other warm.” Ewww.

Why were we there? To watch The Clarks (couldn’t get a decent pic in the dark). There was also a pretty cool display on the building (the old Hornes Building? I can never remember. It’s the one with the plaque for the flood waters on the corner), and fireworks went off atop that building at midnight.

Just after the stroke of midnight, The Clarks played their signature song (Cigarette), then we headed for the T at the Gateway Center station. It was juuust a little crowded

Believe it or not, we (obviously) didn’t make it onto this train, but we not only made it onto the very next one around the bend, but we got seats! More people got on at Wood Street, and it quickly became Sardine City. Yikes.

But, the evening was uneventful and we arrived home none the worse for wear.

I finished knitting the BruWin scarf in the middle of the Penguins game, which leaves me with NOTHING on the needles. (Well, nothing that's active, at least) The scarf is in the basement, drying after a good soak, and can be fringed and properly photographed tomorrow.

The rest of the plan for tonight is to pick a yarn/pattern for my next pair of socks, and to start finishing sweaters!

Well, literally, tomorrow is Hurricane Knitters, and I’m looking forward to that.

But in a more general sense, I’m going to take to heart a suggestion that I read somewhere within the last week or so. January is going to be Finishing Month.

My plan is to start, today, with my purple V-neck. It just needs one armpit seam. You've seen these pictures before. This is just a refresher.

Next in line will probably be my Countess, which just needs a bit of seaming and end-weaving

Haven’t decided what’s next for finishing after that, but I have at least one, probably two more winter sweaters that just need a little finishing work to be up and running.

I’m not going to go nuts and just finish everything in sight (that’s 11 sweaters at last count) for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, about half of those sweaters are warmer weather shells. I don’t need those right now. I need warm winter sweaters!

Secondly, I have three sweaters in my queue right now that are winter sweaters that am really itching to knit. Cobblestone for the Hubster. The neck-down pullover for me (photo on front page). And my Mountain Colors Twizzle sweater. At least those first two are knit in the round and will require very minimal finishing. Hooray!

OK. Off to get finishing. Wish me luck!