"I have never felt that anything really mattered but the satisfaction of knowing that you stood for the things in which you believed and had done the very best you could." - Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #174

1. I was wanting rain so that I could knit and watch old movies, but that didn't happen.
2. Rushing to get out the door for an appointment and I left my book on the night stand.
3. Why can't I work for myself is a thought that I have often.
4. My mom was in my thoughts today.
5. One of my father's favorite sayings was "any job worth doing is worth doing right the first time".
6. "There's nothing to eat in this house" --I know that feeling!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to regular Friday night TV shows, tomorrow my plans include The Kentucky Derby and the Hou-Tex Chapter Meeting and Sunday, I want to finish the Calais Shawl I started!

Location, Location, Location

Today's topic: Where do you like to indulge in your craft? Is your favorite arm chair your little knitting cubby area, or do you prefer to ‘knit in public’? Do you like to crochet in the great outdoors, perhaps, or knit in the bath, or at the pub?

This is a funny one for me. There are lots of places that I indulge my hobby. In a past life, while I was with SWCNLBN, I was forbidden to take my knitting in public. It was embarrassing for her. Why I ever let that stop me is beyond me. Since August 2008, I have my knitting with me where ever I go. It may not ever make it into the establishment I go into but it is there in case I need it.

I have taken it to coffee houses, restaurants, pubs, bars, sporting events (football/baseball/golf/basketball/volleyball), the vet, the hair dresser, doctor's office, concerts (outdoor ones) and to motorcycle events. I have never knit on the back of the motorcycle, yet.... :) I am proud of this skill that I have and now am fascinated by the responses that I receive.

SF is very fond of the fact that her wife knits and loves it when I indulge myself the time to knit. When I first moved in with her, I was a bit shy about knitting, as I was unsure how she would react. Not that I was afraid, but new relationships are not always the best places for fiber crafts. She was wonderful. She insisted that I set up a little place on the side table beside the couch. I always have at least two WIP's there and the tools needed for them. I also have my Martha Washington Sewing Cabinet in the living room. The link is not mine, but a picture I found on the Internet that is very close to what mine looks like.

So, where would you least expect to see a person knitting? Let me know so that I can see if I can add that to places I have taken the knitting....

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A New Skill

Today's topic is a skill that you hope to learn one day.

I spent some time thinking about this one. There are probably at least a dozen things I would love to learn how to do. Some would make my knitting more productive and others would just be to try something new. But one skill still eludes me.

I want to learn how to steek. There are dozens of on-line tutorials available. The thought of making a garment in the round and then adding the sleeves and neck options via a series of cuts into the garment fascinates me. Initially, I was very intimidated by the thought of cutting into a knitted item deliberately; however, the more I read and researched, the more I was convinced that this should be the next skill I learn.

I don't have any particular pattern in mind; however, I am certain that I will most likely knit something for a baby to start with. Less intimidating overall and the finished product will look good regardless. Because everyone knows that babies make everything look cute! If you have a pattern in mind, please feel free to share.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One Great Knitter

Today's topic is to write about a knitter whose work I enjoy. Not an easy task I tell you. There are several that jump instantly to mind, Like Elizabeth Zimmermann, Norah Gaughan and the Yarn Harlot herself. But there are two knitters that I have grown very fond of over the last three years and so I will have to do a double shout out.

The first is Knittymuggins. She can be found here. I will tell you that I fell in love with her as soon as I started reading her blog. She has a wonderful husband and now has added a wee little son. What is so special about her? Maryanne has a heart of gold. I have wept and laughed with her posts. She knits from the heart and her Warm Woolies involvement was a testament to her love of knitting and that need to help one's fellow man/woman/child. She continues to be an inspiration to me even now, as she enters the next phase of her life as the mother of the wee little one.

The second is DeathByYarn. She can be found here. Amy has been the best friend I could ever have, even though we have not officially ever met in person. From day one I felt connected to this new knitter. I loved her enthusiasm and zest to learn about this wonderful craft we call knitting. Her daily life as a CNA, a Civil War Re-enactress (is that really a word?) and married to a wonderful man that makes his own beer and doesn't mind her yarn addiction. She was my shoulder when I was going through the end of the last relationship, the start of my new life and the beginning of the new relationship with SF. She sent me recipes and a wonderful welcome to the new house/birthday present last year. She reminds me why I begged my Aunts to share this craft with me in the first place.

So, these are my two great knitters bundled neatly in this Wednesday Feature. Who is your great knitter?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

An Inspirational Pattern - Knitting and Crochet Blog Week - Day 2

The Saga of the Sunburst Pullover

Most of my "local" followers will know that I am a die-hard Coldwater Creek lover. I don't get to shop there as often as I would like but that is a story for another day. I think it was about three years ago when I posted on an edition of Tuesday Temptations about a sweater that I was dying to own. If I recall, I even asked the wise FemiKnitMafia for her sagely advice.

It turns out that FemiKnitMafia was on to something when she told me to contact Coldwater Creek about the designer. I was in the process of sending out an email when another knitter on Ravelry steered me to Norah Gaughan. Turns out that the exact sweater was her design and the pattern had been published in the Summer 2002 Interweave Knits issue. I was ecstatic.

I was at Yarns 2 Ewe for an edition of Friday Night Knit Nuts and was lamenting over how to get a copy of a 2002 issue (was not available at IK's online site). Zarina was nearby and said that she thought that she had a spare copy of that issue.....sure enough, she did and the next time I was in the store she handed it to me. The yarn called for in the original pattern has been discontinued, but I doubt that will dissuade me. I have even been stalking the Webs site and found an exact fiber match that I love. Since it is a Fall/Winter sweater I will probably go for one of these three colors (in no particular order): 0538 Leaf, 1012 Espresso or 2430 Coleus.

The main reason that I have not started this one as of yet is the yarn diet I put myself on. When I moved from the apartment to SF's house last year, I decided to knit from my stash until I had depleted as much of it as possible. I have been sticking to it and as a result, this one will have to wait until I make it through at least one more bin of the stash. Unless I get the yarn as a gift from the daughters or SF.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Knit & Crochet Blog Week

First, I can thank Twisted Knitter for getting me in touch with the week-long event that you can read more about here.

Today's topic is:

Starting Out -
How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? Was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda?

Well, I think that I have posted about this in the past; however, I am too lazy at the moment to draft this and search for it. If I find the post, I'll edit to link. Otherwise, this will be the official story.

We lived in Memphis (Cottonwood/Parkway Village) and my paternal grandparents lived very close. My Aunt Patricia was their baby and she is only eight years older than me. Until I was old enough to babysit my brothers and sister, she was our designated sitter. She was and still is a very crafty woman. She was crocheting purses out of Macrame string and I was captured. I kept insisting that she needed to teach me how to crochet. She finally decided that for my tenth birthday she would give me a beginner's crochet present. I got some Red Heart yarn (950 - Mexicana is the closest to that 1970's version) a size I hook and a Crochet Made Easy booklet.

The next time she babysat, we started with chains and by the end of that night, I was making three row book markers. Very exciting indeed. I practiced and practiced. The next lesson was granny squares. Oh boy, I made them in every size and color I could. By the time she sat for us again I had thirty squares and I learned how to join then for an afghan. The final lesson was a purse. Nothing exciting, just a simple granny square purse with a draw-string closure and a cloth lining that I made on my hand-me-down Singer.

For the next two years I made baby blankets and ponchos (the rage in the 70's). I was getting bored with the craft and had started sewing. I was making my own sundresses and tops and discovered that I could make more with the sewing machine than I could with the crochet hook. My Aunt had never shown me how to make sweaters. Shortly after my twelfth birthday party, we were at my grand parents' house and my Aunt was making something with two needles.....again I was enraptured by the process. After only one month of badgering she broke down and taught me to knit.

Again, we made squares to practice stitches and technique. Once I had enough we joined them together for another afghan. I made about a dozen scarves as I recall before I ventured into anything else. My first garment was a baby sweater. Bad choice for a novice. It was made on teeny tiny needles and was complicated. I finished it but I think it became my baby sister's doll coat. I dabbled off and on with knitting until we moved from Memphis to Charleston WV. At that point, High School and dating got in the way. I think it was about five years before I picked it up again.

At that point I was really rusty and there were very few people my age that even had a clue, so I had to ask around at work and church for some "assistance". I found a wonderful woman at the bank where I worked that patiently re-taught me a few things and I was off knitting again. I made a lot of vests, again popular in the 80's. I did not know about the joy of a Local Yarn Store until I went to NYC to see my Aunt one summer right before I moved to TX. At that time she was one of the designers of sweaters for Ralph Lauren and she took me to some of the most amazing places in NYC. She bought me yarns that are no longer even made (companies closed) but for the time period they were decadent.

I moved to TX and began to make sweaters and vests for everyone again. I also learned how to construct garments and took on baby items again, as I was pregnant with Stephanie (now 27). When I saw my Aunt again, she was getting married and we were in NYC for the wedding. She was so happy to see me with my WIP. I noticed that the men in the ceremony all had matching ties and socks. She had knitted the ties and the socks. I wanted to learn socks right then. Silly me...she couldn't teach me that visit due to her pending nuptials. But my Aunt Margaret, who was Pat's Sister-In-Law (married my Uncle Chuck who is only ten years older than me). She took me to a LYS and we got some sock yarn and a set of size 2 (US) dpn's which I still have to this day.

She took me aside and when Stephanie was sleeping or in her Grand mother's arms, I was getting lessons. Aunt Margaret was from the old school of knitting and resisted circulars up until the day she died. She insisted that I learn how to make socks the "proper" way and that was all there was to it. I learned but I hated dpn's and still resist them to this day, unless there is no other option.

Over the years I have learned top down knitting, magic loop, fair isle, argyle, cables, lace and many other techniques but I have never forgotten the two Aunts that made certain that my love for fiber was well fed and educated. I have not been able to teach either of daughters yet; however, I did teach SWCNLBN's niece Jillian to knit. I was also honored to have Grandma Grace (SWCNLBN's paternal grand mother) teach me how to make Pixie Slippers. They were from an OLD knitting booklet and she had it memorized. She carefully wrote it down and when I got home from the visit, I typed it out and saved her hand-written one for posterity.

I will look through my stash of pictures and see if I can find any of these old projects. If I do, I'll scan them and add them to a post....

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #173

And...here we go!

1. Where are my creative vibes when I need them most?
2. If wishes were horses I'd be in good shape, as I know how to ride horses.
3. I'd like to see the whales in Alaska or on one of those special whale cruises.
4. When I was a teen, I thought I would marry someone that would never need me to work outside the home and we would travel the globe together.
5. One of my mother's favorite sayings was "you play with fire and you will get burned".
6. I'd have a hard time doing without my ability to knit or crochet.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to date night with SF, tomorrow my plans include a much needed visit to get my hair colored and another Open House at a Stubbs and Sunday, I want to possibly get the patio and pool ready for the upcoming opportunity to swim. I love Texas!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thoughts on Thursday

Thursday...yes, looking at the calendar it is indeed Thursday. It is also Earth Day. Be good to Mother Earth, as she is the only one we have....

Not to get on a soap box today, but I wonder why we have to have a day set aside to remind us to be good to the Earth.... If we are all to be concerned, why aren't more foods packaged in containers that can be recycled? How many cottage cheese, margarine and yogurt containers are thrown out daily? Why are more products not packaged in containers with a 1 or a 2? Why aren't more things packaged in the smallest amount of space possible? Why aren't apartments required to be in recycle programs?

Don't get me wrong. I am an active participant in our community's programs. I have spent the last eleven months following behind SF making sure that she recycles as much as humanly possible. She complained at first but now checks everything and asks when she has doubts. I admit that having to take the cardboard to the center is a bit of a pain; however, I work with the neighbors and we trade off going. Curbside we can toss glass, aluminum, magazines, newspapers and containers with 1's and 2's on them into the bin.

Additionally, I use the reusable bags whenever I shop. I have one for cold foods and about a dozen for everything else. SF is the only person that brings home the plastic ones. I keep a few for the trash cans and for odd jobs like poop pick up in the back yard and then I take the rest to the store and put them in the recycle container.

Any how....enough of that....carry on with what ever part you play, as long as you actively participate in some manner.....

I neglected to mention a few special dates this month:

  • Mitzi passed away on 04/12/2006
  • Carnegie passed away on 04/12/2009
  • the girls' dad had a birthday on 04/21
  • my SIL Bobbie also had a birthday on 04/21
  • my BIL Tom will celebrate his birthday on 04/26
  • my Uncle Chuck will celebrate his birthday on 04/30
Looking ahead....this Saturday, I will be updating the hair color in preparation for pool weather. I will be getting it just a little lighter so that the sun will not fade it or make it too brassy. I want sass not brass. Weather permitting, we will also be participating in another Open House at Stubbs Harley-Davidson. Look out for next Thursday. It will be a full moon. Arbor Day is the 30th. The 136th Kentucky Derby is Saturday May 1st! I will be making a few things for SF like Mint Juleps. I can't do too much, as we have the Hou-Tex Chapter Meeting and BBQ that day.

Okay...enough rambling....back to your regularly scheduled day....tomorrow will be another installment of Friday Fill-Ins.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday Temptations

Yes...it is Tuesday already!

I will start with this. SF has been a Parrot Head for many years and was so excited when she saw the date on his stop in Houston. I am well aware that the concert is on a Thursday. Guess what...she has the next day off. Next task is to get some appropriate Parrot Head attire. I may just get this one and be done with all the shopping. Although I would love to have this or this if there is time to get it ordered and delivered. The second one would be able to do double work, as we have a Pink Flamingo Party to attend again this year.

I have been designing a little seating plan for the area right outside the kitchen window. It is outside the fence but recessed so it is hard to see from the street. I found this collection at Pier 1 and I think that it will be perfect. I am considering the bench and one side table OR two chairs and one table. The square version of the table is more my style. I will be adding some planters with shade loving tropical plants. I am considering Bromeliads and a few other things, but that part is still in the research phase. I want a bird feeder and some wind chimes as well. I also plan on adding this as well with this to hold them.

We all know that I love my Keurig. And we also know that I have picked up a few extras along the way. Well, I get the Green Mountain catalogs delivered to the house and they are LOADED with temptations! I will order this, this, this, this, and this. Of course I can still buy coffee beans and grind them myself to use with the M K Cup that came with the brewer. That means I can enjoy any coffee I want, in addition to the huge selection of K Cups available. So, if you have a favorite coffee, please share!

I am on a mission this year to host at least two pool parties at Chez RubyRingz this year. SF hesitates, as she does not want to clean up. I have a plan hatching..... I will need this, this, this, this, this and this. The secret is to plan in advance. In the past, I have found that if I ask each guest to bring what he/she wants to grill plus an assigned item that everyone has been most cooperative. I plan on having fresh fruits, fresh veggies and a salad of some sort, like pasta. I will also have a shrimp tray out. This keeps the cost down for everyone and it becomes more fun. I also provide an adult punch and mixers and encourage everyone to bring their favorite adult beverage. Makes for a fun time and I use disposable plates and silverware when ever possible so clean up is minimal. Presto....party plans....

I think that several of these can be used for parties and for yarn. They come in a number of colors and three sizes. Speaking of yarn....I saw this mentioned in a forum on Ravelry and now I am dying to get some. I think that it would make a wonderful tank or perhaps a workable substitute for Tilli Thomas Pure and Simple. I want to make another Sahara this year and I want a yarn that has some sass.

Now you all know that I love a good glass of wine, so when I saw these I knew that they were on the temptation list. I also want to host a wine tasting party this fall, so I am putting the plans on paper so that I can create the theme, the guest list and the menu.

That's all for now....but just a gentle reminder that Mother's Day is coming up. I get to purchase Stephanie stuff now and I am looking forward to shopping over the next few weeks.

Monday, April 19, 2010

It Must Be Monday

I never like to believe that Monday is a bad day. I have always believed that if I started the week off negative then the whole week could end up that way, so I have always set out to have Monday be a positive day.

Well, today it just didn't all work out according to my plans. That is okay but it makes the recover process a little harder. For starters, storms rolled through last night and woke me up. I hate thunder and lightening and normally I just snuggle up to SF and once I smell her familiar scents I can go back to sleep. Well, since she is out of town for the next two nights, I didn't have my safety net. The rest of the night was restless and left me feeling like I had run the half marathon in my sleep.

My workout was sluggish and even my normal cup of morning coffee did not help. Not to mention the fact that we had rain most of the day....rain is only good for a select few things: watching old movies in bed, knitting while listening to jazz, or just an old fashioned romp in the hay with that special person. That's about all I ever want to do on rainy days, so working is not high on that list.

I have already heard from SF this evening, between today's training session and tonight's mandatory team dinner. She slept just as poorly because she misses sharing the bed with me too. I know....sappy and mushy but very true. Once you are accustomed to sleeping with someone it gets hard to sleep alone. She said that the storms that came though here hit her location around 8:00 PM last night and they were terrible. She knew that I would be restless but, in the end it will be okay.

I borrowed The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook a few weeks ago from the local library and I am in love with it! I have added it to the growing list of must haves for the house. I love salmon and the recipe for Steamed Ginger Salmon and Asparagus in Black Bean Sauce was AMAZING! I can experiment while SF is out of town and have a few new tricks for the rest of the week. There is an entire chapter on desserts....rice pudding, poached dried figs in spiced red wine, and poached pears with Grand Marnier custard sauce.....pardon me while I dab away the drool.

Tonight I'll watch a little of Dancing With The Stars and get to bed early. I need the sleep. I started a new workout circuit this morning and tomorrow is heavy on the shoulders and pecs. I am trying to build some much needed definition and tone up the pecs.

The list for tomorrow has grown today and I hope to be back in my regular form....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Random Things.....

As this weekend winds down, I am reminded that small changes in one's life can make huge differences. For example, what if you chose a different college? What if you chose a different career path? What if you moved to a new city?

As I come up on the one year anniversary of moving in with SF, I have been reflecting on how things have changed in my life. Memorial Day weekend will mark one full year of my full-time relationship with SF. I have not asked her how she feels about labels, so the only thing I can call it is a partnership. We do complete each other and our unique strengths and weaknesses combined make a wonderful union.

Why am I reflecting? Well, simply stated, I looked at how my life has changed since June 2008 and if those changes have been beneficial or not. I can say without a doubt that the new life has me healthier than I have been in over twenty years. Does that mean I am a poster child for health and fitness? No, not at all. It does mean that my body is weight that the doctor and I are happy with. It does mean that my cholesterol is at one of my best numbers ever. It does mean that I can and do exercise daily (except Sunday...). It does mean that I have run two high profile events this year with plans to do at least two more in the Fall. It means that I drink when I want to, not every night because it is just what we do.

It also means that I am very independent now. I have a number of things/hobbies that keep me busy and I am beginning to write novels again. I had forgotten how much I need writing as an outlet. I am knitting again without feeling guilty. I have not found a group here locally to knit with but I am still on the prowl. I have also reconnected with many of the bloggers that I had grown to love. So much has happened to many of them. I am also working towards getting myself back in college to finally knock that degree out once and for all.

My life has started to make sense and I don't let the little sucker punches set me back. For example, Megan has a way of working SWCNLBN into each conversation. Just this afternoon, she was in the middle of telling me that Nina is part Catahoula and part Lab. She was quick to point out that Nina was acting just like the behaviors of a Catahoula except when she spends too much time around Onyx. Immediately followed by the fact that SWCNLBN had knee surgery and will be getting the other knee done soon. When she first said her name, I said, "Who?"...funny, hearing her name now seems so foreign. I like that too. I didn't bite on the bait, so she moved on.

Now, don't get me wrong. If you read back in the blog prior to June 2008, you will find that I thought my life with SWCNLBN was this good as well. We were in love and could have had a wonderful life if we both had been able to get all the skeletons out of the closets and dealt with. There are things that the girls would never have been able to see or do had my path not crossed with hers. And, my current life would be vastly different if I had not acted on what I felt when we met. So, I cannot ignore that part of my past. Instead, I must draw the lessons learned from it and move forward.

Life is indeed a journey. I continue to evolve. I rise and soar. I float and I drift. I am a mother, a lover, a partner and an equal. More importantly, I am myself and that is something to be quite proud of.

While SF is out of town for the next few days, I will be finishing the Pay-It-Forward gift that has been on the needles far too long. I will also be starting a few items for myself. It is high time that I make some things for me to show off my skills. I have a tank pattern that I will be using Artyarns Regal Silk. I also have a shawl pattern that I will be making using Debbie Bliss Cathay. Part of the wonder that is Ravelry lies in the ability to look up yarn and find suitable patterns. Take for instance, sock yarn. One knows that socks are a given, but what other patterns are people utilizing with this beautiful yarn? Oh, I have added so many to my queue that I will be knitting until the day I die to get through them all. But, that is the beauty of the craft.

One final note before I head off to bed...I finished Stephanie's BMG Footies this morning. I made them in Crystal Palace Panda Silk Yarn (Color 4006 - Plum Tones). For those of you that knit or crochet and are reading this....if you have not used this yarn, find any excuse to try it. I love the way it feels and the patterns it made on the footies are wonderful. See for yourself....

Stephanie has a big foot for a girl/woman. She wears a size 10.5/11, so they look really big, but SF wears a 10 and they look like a perfect fit as she was gracious enough to try them on for me....

Okay...enough for today....I have an impressive list building for Tuesday....I feel the mojo returning....

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #172

1. I'd like to hurry up and finish my degree.
2. One of my most favorite romantic memories is the first time that SF asked me if I wanted to go to bed and turn on some music.
3. Last night, I had pan-seared flounder, green beans and broccoli for dinner.
4. Sorry for the lack of more regular posting.
5. Can we get the pool warm enough to swim now?
6. One of my worst temptations is hostess cupcakes which are on sale now and hard to resist!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to The Ghost Whisperer and Medium, tomorrow my plans include helping with the bake sale at San Jacinto Harley-Davidson, which will include a bike ride on the Blue Flame and Sunday, I want to finish the Pay-It-Forward so I can start on the shrug in Fitted Knits!

Enjoy your weekend and make sure to tell that someone you love how you fell, just in case they haven't heard you tell them in a while.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thoughts on Thursday

Well, we have made it to Thursday. The week has been a bit slow and semi-eventful, even for me. Monday, SF had a cancerous place removed in a procedure that took a little over 2.5 hours. She is recovering nicely, even though it is still a little tender and she has to be careful when sleeping.

I was remiss in not making a note of Mitzi's passing on Monday the 12th. She has been gone for 4 years now. Funny, I still find her hairs in the yarn basket where my leftovers live. I miss her at times, as she was such a sweet lady. Funny, Stephanie must have had a heart string pulling at her as well. She, Jack and Zoe adopted Pandora. Pandora is a Chocolate Lab, German Shepherd and Pit Bull mix and from the one picture that she sent me on my phone, is adorable. She is at the vet as I type this being "altered" and getting her shots. I can't wait to meet her in person.

Yesterday was odd for me. I was on my way to LA Fitness to work out when I was pulled over by a Pearland police officer. He pulled me over to tell me that the driver's side tail light was out. It was 5:15 AM CST, so I know he could see them very well at that time of the morning. No ticket, just a warning was all I received. I finished the workout, showered, dressed and headed off to my next destination. I was not more than 5 minutes away from the gym when I was pulled over again. Different officer but same warning. I was 5 minutes from getting on the freeway when I was stopped and warned yet again.....I think I got the message. I went to the first Auto Zone I could find and purchased the correct bulb.

Normally, I purchase the bulbs and do the replacement myself; however, yesterday I decided to let the female helplessness allow the eager worker the opportunity to be the knight in shining armor. Much to his dismay, the light housing was sealed with a grommet. I had to carefully traverse the roads to get to the closest Dodge dealership. I saw an employee outside and asked him about the light. He quickly advised that if I would let him finish his break, he would fix it for me free of charge. He went on to explain that if I requested service, it would be a minimum charge of $46.95 plus applicable taxes. I waited and he fixed it. He would not accept anything from me and even wrote down the part number so that I can purchase the tool for myself.

I have been quietly working away on Stephanie's footies and should have them finished today. I also have a Pay-It-Forward gift that should be finished by the end of this weekend and ready to get off in the mail. I also have a few more things to get for my All Things Local Swap and that package will be off on the way to my secret spoilee. I have also been looking over the patterns on Ravelry. I have some beautiful sock yarn that I have now decided should become something like a shawl or a cardigan. I'll let you know what it decides to become....

The rest of the week should be just as mellow. SF has this Friday off and with the chance of rain, will most likely clean the Blue Flame in time for Saturday's events. I will be making brownies and cookies for a bake sale at San Jacinto Harley-Davidson. We will be enjoying the open house with beer and bugs (crawfish). Sunday, she will be headed up to spend the evening at a hotel in preparation for a training class Monday through Wednesday, so I will have the house to myself again for 3 nights.....

Unitl tomorrow for Friday Fill-Ins...have a great afternoon!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday Temptations

The Friday before SF left for her audit of another facility, we ran a number of errands. One of them was to get a battery for her Swiss Army watch, much like this one. I love it when she wears it, as she looks good in burgundy.

We went to the Jared location at the Pearland Town Center, as they are authorized Swiss Army dealers. While SF dealt with the watch, I was "free" to roam about the store. I saw this and was hooked. I love Venetian glass already, so to find jewelry was a delight. The earrings were stunning and I think that I would wear any of them.

I continued my exploration of the cases....low and behold, I found pearls.....colored pearls. I am a sucker for pearls and these were beautiful. The bracelets were just as beautiful. I think that I may have to buy myself pearls for Mother's Day this year.

I saw other things that caught my attention but I noticed a sign that proudly announced that all of their gem stones are enhanced to bring out the best in each stone. That bothers me greatly. I love rubies, but I would never want one that has been altered in any way, so I made it a point to let SF know that if she ever was to purchase some thing for me, please avoid all gem stones.....

They did have this watch that I was interested in purchasing. With my mother celebrating 5 years breast cancer free, I am always looking for products that support continued research as well as survivors. I would be proud to wear this one.

I am also a proud supporter of this line as well. Speaking of HD gear, SF purchased me this Saturday at the Customer Appreciation Event. For those of you that do not ride, or do not wear helmets when you ride, you may not understand helmet hair. It is not fun.....so, we carry caps with us for when we stop and take off the helmets. SF did not like my kid-size baseball cap and thought that I should have a more appropriate one, so she has been having me try them on at each dealership we visit. Being a smart-ass, I put this on and told her that I thought it was appropriate....she was not amused but she did howl with laughter, as it made my peanut head look even funnier....then, I was not amused...

That's all for this week's edition.....because this weekend we laid low watching the Master's on Saturday while it rained and then rode the Blue Flame on Sunday, so there was little time to be sidetracked by shiny things. I am certain that this week will bring new opportunities and more finished knitting projects, so sit tight.....

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins #171

1. In 1992, I was oh so very unsure of myself.
2. Time with Zoe always brings me laughter and smiles.
3. Do what you love, with what you have, where you feel comfortable, safe and loved.
4. Wrapped in the arms of SF is where I'd like to be.
5. The trees and flowers are telling me that pollen is a bitch to deal with but more importantly, that Spring is finally here and new life appears for all to delight and behold.
6. It is the thirst for knowledge that just keeps going on.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to an uninterrupted date with SF, tomorrow my plans include the Customer Appreciation Party at San Jacinto Harley-Davidson and Sunday, I want to sit in the sun, share time with SF and knit!

What ever your plans include, have a wonderful weekend! Let someone know how much you care about them.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thoughts on Thursday

Just a few random things came to mind this morning. SF has been gone since Sunday afternoon on an assignment for work. In a past life I would have been upset at the prospect of being alone. Just the opposite is true this time around. Now, don't get me wrong. I miss SF and I will be VERY happy when she returns to me on Friday afternoon. The difference this time is that I actually have been enjoying the quiet.

I have only had the TV on a few times. I did watch both the men's and women's NCAA final games. I really wanted Butler to win and Stanford to win as well. Oh well, that's why they play the games. I have watched the news a couple of times as well. Other than that, I have enjoyed the quiet and my knitting. I promised some knitting FO's, so here goes:

Clapotis made with Shibui Sock Yarn in S2501 Marine. For the record: I love this yarn, love the finished product but I hated this pattern. I doubt if I will make a second one, even with raves it receives. Time will tell, or I will cave to peer pressure to try it again.

Lady Vols/University of Tennessee footies for SF made with J. Knits Superwash Me - Sock from The Yarn Haven in Knoxville TN. The yarn was part of her Lady Vol's Christmas package and she was thrilled when these were finished, washed, blocked and ready to wear.

Lime Stripes Dishcloth. I was getting to a point where I needed some quick and mindless knitting, so I purchased a few skeins of Lily Sugar'n Cream and kept them handy. This was the basic garter stitch pattern featured on the band. Nothing exciting, just fast knitting. I made it for Megan, since she still is in love with all things green.

This is just a quick dishcloth made with the leftovers from the first one. I hadn't used a crochet hook in over a year, so I just grabbed one and made the square until I was out of yarn. This one is for Megan also....

January 2010 KAL by Kris Knits. This one was fun. I should have used the color that she suggested but I was in the mood to make another one for Megan. The size three needles are a tight knit and the cloth was fun to make. I love the way the clues added up to the end result.

"Be My Dishcloth" from Kris Knits. Duh, this one is for Megan as well. Kris called for pink but Megan is not a pink kind of gal, so I opted for the red. I loved the end result and I may use the chart when I make a sweater for Zoe.

I have been doing some Spring Cleaning. We recently purchased 8 of these,

one set of these:

and one set of these:

I hand washed all of the kitchen items and cleared out spaces in the cabinets for them. I was glad to rid the cabinets of the tumblers we had purchased last summer from Costco. They were difficult to clean and they cracked at the rims. I will be keeping the best 4 from the original 16, but the rest are trash. They can't be recycled and I don't dare give them to the Goodwill/Salvation Army/Purple Hearts. As for the containers, we too are concerned about BPA's and storing in glass just seemed to make sense, especially when they can go into the microwave as well as the freezer.

The first item I shared was the solar lights. When I moved in last May SF had 7 of them around the pool that were a gift from Blue Haven when they installed the pool. By the end of the summer, all but 1 had "died". When we were trolling about a few weeks ago, I took her by Bed Bath & Beyond to show her a few things that had tempted me. Right at the front door were these lights, and for $9.99, they were very affordable. I assembled them and put them around the pool. They soaked up enough light to charge and last night I was admiring them when I decided to see if I could get some shots. I managed to get a few in between the bouts of rain.

I must admit that I do really love having the pool right outside the bedroom door. I am looking forward to the water warming up so that I can slip out to the pool when I get home from work. I am also looking forward to being able to open the windows and let the breezes flow in while listening to the water. I have a chair in the bedroom beside the window that is perfect for reading and/or knitting. I am pleased that the lights are also visible at night from the chair as well as the bed, so if I am reading in bed, then I can see them flicker to.

Okay, back to work....I have a lot to get done. I also have a lot to get done at home before SF gets home tomorrow afternoon. I have explicit instructions to make certain that I am finished with everything by noon and that we have no interruptions. She wants a "date" night with no one but us.....wonder what she has cooked up...she is a sneaky one when she gets the notion in her head to do something.....

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday Temptations

Well, this entry will be full of temptations that bounce all over the place. You can thank Stephanie and Jack for the first part.

Jack knows that I love dark beers and he is always on the search/prowl for new ones for us to drink. He and Stephanie FORCED, yes forced, me to drink a Snake Bite. They prefer Young's Double Chocolate Stout over Guinness. I have no recollection of the cider that they used but I know I need to find out to be able to re-create this one.

They also provided me with this list of beers that I need to try:

I am also blaming Stephanie on my recent desire to eat these by the handful. I delivered Zoe's Easter basket and Stephanie was munching on them...Aunt Flo is on her way for a visit....and she suggested that I try them. They are wonderful and best of all, I can get them at any Wal-Mart.....

Okay, next up is swim suits. Not a topic I am thrilled about but I need some new ones since I have shed a few sizes this past year. I have always liked the variety of suits available at Land's End and this year is no exception. I have my eyes on this one for the back yard only. I prefer the Shirred Bikini Top and the Regular Bikini Bottom pieces and I think that I am going to branch out and get the Deep Lagoon Blue. As for a suit that I will be comfortable wearing around other people, I like this one in the Deep Sea Blue Uneven Squares and this one in the Blackberry. Of course, due to the dermatologist warning me about sun exposure, I need this for when I am out of the pool but not quite ready to go inside.

I am in need of new shorts as well, and I just saw these in the latest catalog. They come in a host of colors and in 7" and 5" inseams. I love the V-neck tee that they paired with them and the color choices are another bonus. And how cute are these to top is all off.

I'm still searching for summer dresses like the ones in Hope Floats, but I may have to pull out the sewing machine to make some...will be looking at patterns next to see if any exist.

Send me suggestions and if you have beer choices for me, please share them too!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Manic Monday

Well, what a whirlwind of a weekend.

Thursday, we planted some new day lilies, a nana nandino, some society garlic, and placed some new sod in the yard. We spent the majority of daylight working in the front yard. There were some muscle groups that were very angry with me.....I know who you are and now will find the machines to target your anger. The yard is starting to look wonderful and I can't wait to see it take off. We may have lost a few things over the winter but we are waiting to see if they will/did survive before we rip them out.

Friday, we started off the morning at Denny's for an early breakfast. From there, we decided to drop by and see if Dr. White could see SF for a sec to recommend who should take a look=see at a thing on her foot. Much to my chagrin, Dr. White took off three spots, none of which were any place near the foot in question. Now, don't get me wrong, I am extremely grateful that she is so diligent; however, she put a major kink in our plans for the weekend. Two of the places were/are gaping holes that will take at least a week to develop coverings on them and do not have any stitches. One was deep and did require stitches. We will know the test results from all three spots later this week.

After leaving Dr. White, we ran a few small errands and came home. Our goal was to ride the motorcycle before the weather got rainy. With her leg hurting, I was not sure that she would be able to, but she insisted that we ride. We geared up and headed to scope out where the Hou-Tex chapter meeting would be on Saturday. After successfully locating the restaurant, we headed to Stubbs to look at the new gear and see what/who was there. They had the new Sportster 48. It is the familiar Sportster bike but with the larger front tire that I prefer. I sat on her and I think that she may just have to be the first bike. Now don't get me wrong. I still pl;an on getting a Fat Boy, but after some frank discussions with SF and other lady riders, it does seem more practical to get a smaller and less expensive bike to start with and them grow up to the one of my dreams.

After Stubbs, we went to Don Carlos on Broadway to get some lunch. This is not a normal palace that I would have ever eaten at in a previous life. It wasn't posh enough. But, let me tell you....that was some of the best Tex-Mex I have ever eaten! The sour cream enchiladas were to die for. Their salsa was amazing and the sopapillas were heavenly. From there, we looked at the sky and it looked gloomy, so we decided to head back home. We were not fast enough. Near the edge of the airport property the drizzle started. We were soaked when we got home. We put the bike away and got warm showers. We watched The Bucket List and then it was time for bed.

Saturday started early. We had to clean the bike up before we could go to the Hou-Tex meeting to get the rain and stuff off the bike. We had worked up a sweat by the time we were done. Showers and geared up (including sun-screen) we headed to the meeting. We were welcomed and officially members, we joined the meeting. After the meeting, we headed for Galveston with the group for the monthly ride. We went to The Spot. It was a wonderful day for a ride and sitting on the upper deck watching the ocean and the people was fun. The food was good and the company was great. After we were all finished, we all discussed the way home. We chose to take the Seawall to the Blue Water Highway and head home. No one else was headed our direction so we said our goodbyes and rode off. The trip was great and we got home around 4:00 PM. After a shower, we went to Dairy Queen....we HAD to have a Blizzard....we were tired but we decided to give the dogs a bath since the weather was so warm. Bed was never so welcome...we were pooped.

Sunday was uneventful for the most part. SF spent the day getting herself ready to go out of town all week. She is part of an audit task force and will be gone all week. I stayed out of the way and knitted. The camera and I are now on speaking terms again, so hopefully I can get some pictures to post this week.

Okay...I'm sure that I have bored you to tears by now....stay tuned for Tuesday Temptations....I have a bunch of them stored up.....