Thursday, August 30, 2007

It Ain't Rocket Surgery...

You know that old saying, "Better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt..."? I sure wish I could adhere to that one. I am the only person in a group of fifteen coworkers without a Ph.D. (or two or three) in a science-related field. It would sure help my image not to mention my self esteem if I would just SHUT UP once in a while...The story goes like this.

The new boss bought my kids (the scientists) a new fancy-schmancy coffee maker. This thing looks like it was made by the space shuttle people. It has bells and whistles, knobs, dials, buttons and options for things I've never even heard of (decaf-half-fat-espresso-frappa-mocha-chino-what-o?) Now I've been against the whole idea from the start. We have a perfectly good vending machine nearby that dispenses coffee, cappuccino, hot chocolate and sometime copious amounts of money (See July 11th's entry for details). A new fancy-schmancey coffee maker is all well and good until someone has to FILL it, or CLEAN it, or FIX it. And then who's job do you think that will be? That's right. Good 'ol Molly Bee. The same person who makes the other 'magic equipment' (printer, copier and microwave etc..) around here work. That's right folks, the toner-changing-paper-filling-crud-scrubbing fairy doesn't do it! I DO.

So when I realized the game was afoot, I embarked on my evil plan. First I raved about the coffee in the vending machine. [That was a stretch actually, because that coffee is really vile and they know it. But after a while, it deadens your taste buds and you can live with it.] Then I made sure everyone knew the story of how the money in it all came cascading out of it one morning into my eagerly awaiting hands. Nothing like the promise of a surprise jackpot to get them turned around to my way of thinking. Nope. They weren't buying into it. Then I gave them the talk. "Now I know a new coffee maker seems like fun, but it's a lot of responsibility you know. You'll have to walk it and groom it and feed it." Nope. That didn't work either. So, defeated, I just resorted to grumbling and taking pot shots at the whole idea.

So the fancy machine was ordered. It arrived and I set it box and all out in the department. My personal boycott didn't allow me to pet and coo about it, read the manual, set it up or, Lord forbid, drink anything that came out of that abomination. I turned my back and walked away. The first thing they did, being the good scientists they are, was to toss the manual to the side along with the carton and packing (which yours truly then had to dispose of). This was all going exactly as I thought it would. They filled it full of water and fired it up; poking buttons and spinning dials with glee. At one point someone got burned.The water leaked all over the floor. There was cussing and cries for help but I stood strong. I didn't intervene; not my responsibility! I don't even drink that coffee!

And at the end of the very first day I walked by it and sure enough a bright red light was blinking on the side. I turned to the nearest kid and sputtered:

"Uh Huh! I was RIGHT! I just KNEW this would happen". No one knows how this STUPID thing really runs. It's broken and flashing a '358' error code message and no one is paying any attention to it! Now I have to read the manual to find out what a '358' error code means and fix it before the darned thing detonates and blows up the whole company! I told you this coffee machine was a BAD IDEA!" (All the while, I'm huffing around in righteous indignation mode looking for the discarded manual. I am nothing if not a drama diva! )

The kid looked at me kind of bewildered and said, "Ummmm...the 358 means 3:58p.m.....you know... two minutes to four. It's a clock. "

Oh. Uh. Never mind. Maybe I over-reacted. A little. By the next day, everyone in the department had heard the tale and now not only do I not have a leg to stand on where the fancy-schmancy coffee machine is concerned, I have to endure the frequent shouts from over there..." Oh No! What's a 10:49 (11:17, 12:00, 1:26) error message mean!?!? Where's the manua?!?l". Hardy Har !Har!.....I'm still not cleaning it so the last laugh is on them! Off to get some coffee...from the vending machine!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

WallFlower

Heavy sigh.....
As of today........

Ravelry
You signed up on August 2, 2007
You are #22591 on the list.
11771 people are ahead of you in line.
7129 people are behind you in line.
35% of the list has been invited so far

It's harder than getting Packer Tickets!!! I want to join the dance! I want to get off the porch and run with the big dogs!!!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bugs: Gastro and Knitting

This pretty much sums up the general atmosphere at Chez Bee these days. I had some kind of gastro bug last Wednesday and Thursday and never being one to not share (way to double those negatives MollyBee), promptly gave it to Mr. Bee who has been at home the last two days cursing my name. A lot of folks at work are being felled as well. I don't know if I'm the actual, original, Typhoid Mary ( I could be working off some bad leprechaun karma) or if someone else had it first, but it looks like everyone will get their turn with this one. Nasty little bugger. Gotta love that recycled office air!

I have one of the Cascade Tulip Socks finished. There was a bug in the pattern. I'm pretty proud of discovering it, figuring it out and fixing it before I confirmed it with Bentley's hero, Heather, down at The Sow's Ear. I really like the pattern, but if I were to make them again, I would do a ribbed top and not seed stitch because I just tried it on once and the top is already floppy. Actually the floppy top looks a little lacy-like in this photo. I kind of like it.


If you tilt your head to the right, squint and look through the make-believe binoculars that you make with your hands, you can see the tulips...kind of. The ones on the sample at The Ear were much nicer.
I have so many knit socks now that I am contemplating getting a pair of Birkenstock sandals to show them off in this fall and winter. I usually wear boots to work and change into house shoes when it's snowy anyway. It's pretty granola but folks have seen me wear every style and color of Croc type shoes, I don't think funky socks will shock them too much! They've come to expect the unexpected where I'm concerned.


I just signed up for a stole knit-along that starts in October. I'm excited because I've never done anything like this with knitting before and a little scared because I am such a fledgling lace knitter. It's called The Secret Of The Stole and it sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun! It sounds a lot like a 'mystery quilt' which I have participated in once before but that was a disaster. This one sounds much more organized. Am anxious to get started and I still have a month to wait!

Off to knit my second sock and tend to the sick and wounded....

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Note to Self: Don't Pour Molten Liquid in Your Head!

This just in from the "Just When You Think You've Heard It All' department. Friend calls up and asks me to come help her 'candle her ears'. Since I'd never heard of it, I didn't jump on the full-agreement bandwagon just yet and asked her what that was exactly. I still don't really know, I kind of blacked out a little bit when she got to the part about putting some kind of a LIT candle in her ear. Yeah, you heard me.

Now at this point, I'm thinking, Holy Crap, what kinda gunk do you have in there that you have to go to those lengths to get it out?!?! I'm also wondering if she has maybe done this one too many times in the past and accidentally pulled out the bit of gray matter that is responsible for knowing not to pour molten liquids directly into your head! But I was curious, so I ask what my role in this macabre, voodoo-esque ritual will be. Chanting? Beheading the chicken? Gathering the eye of newt? And she says...get this...my job would just be... 'to keep the candle from going out'.

Now I think I'm a pretty good friend. I'll make you chicken soup when you have a cold. I'll water your plants when you're out of town. I'll tell you if your skirt is tucked in your pantyhose when you come out of the ladies' room. I'll provide bail money...hell, I'll even help you move (the truest sign of friendship)! But make sure your head remains on fire? Not so much. I'm afraid you're on your own with that one, Sister! Sheesh! Keep the candle lit. Good Lord. As it turns out that I'm also the type of friend who will gift wrap a box of Q-Tips real fancy-like, set them on your doorstep, ring the bell and run away!

Anyway, Elizabeth, Linda, Cindy (who I only figured out after the fact is Baxter's mum. I know! THE Baxter!) Anne and I knit the afternoon away and had a great visit. It was wonderful to finally get back there! I even finished my Tidal Wave socks! Here they are lounging around in their natural habitat; standing on the deck in the sun. They toe in. Who knew? I had no idea when I was knitting them.
And here's the artsy pose...
And a close up of the patterning.
I really loved working with the Toefootsies yarn even though it split a lot. But you would too if you were made out of tofu run-off and crab shells. But the socks turned out wonderfully soft and held the pattern well. The patterning was amazingly close in each one although I didn't do anything special. I started another pair of socks last night-Caascade Fixation tulip socks. I think I found a mistake in the pattern though and am kind of grounded until Heather gets back into the Sow's Ear tomorrow so I can ask her. I think there is a YO missing in the 13th row.
Well, Mr. Bee and I are off to geocache on this beautiful afternoon...in the cemetary. Yeah. I'll letcha know how it goes!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Sky's On Fire

I don't know what's going on but there is this huge glowing orb in the sky today. It appears to be on fire and it seems to be heating the very air around us! Glory be the rain has stopped! It's about time, Mr. Bee and I had already set upon our path of collecting gopher wood and figuring out what to heck a cubit is! I'm not kidding people. It's been jungle rot and ark time here for a couple of weeks now. The bible says that God promised not to make it rain for 40 days and 40 nights again. This time he only went for 39! Thank goodness we live on a hill!

I was felled by a virus of epic proportions on Wednesday and Thursday. It was nasty but allowed me to finish my 'So Called Scarf' in record time.

Here it is begrudgingly modeled by Bentley. Oh he was all for it when I asked him yesterday and it was rainy and he was cold. But he totally reneged today when push came to shove since it's sunny and warm He was such a fuss-budget about it that Mr. Bee had to be enlisted to help. I made it long enough so that it can be halved and the ends tucked through the loop so it will stay snug better. I couldn't demonstrate that here because our Il Divo wouldn't allow for it.


I also got my sock blockers! Yay! I got them from Chappy's on Ebay and they are gorgeous. They make them on spec so they still smell deliciously like new wood and varnish. They even included the cutest, little moose stitch marker.
Now all I have to do is finish the rest of the foot on my Tidal Wave socks and I can model them on my new blockers! I will probably finish them this afternoon as friend-Anne and I are going to Mrs. Sable's Last Saturday knitting this afternoon. Then this evening, I will be perusing the stash to see what my next project will be:

Option One: Recycled bag bag. I have been saving the brightly colored plastic tubes that the Sunday paper comes in for a couple of years now. I want to cut them into strips and knit them into a tote.

Option Two: Socks! Socks! Socks! I have so many fabulous sock yarns (I just got my new Socks That Rock Sock of the Month kit in the mail this week-yummy)

Option Three: Coat scarves with the Cherry Hill Ribbon I got a while back for cheap. It was discontinued ends that the Yarn Girls were practically giving away!

Now I guarantee you that I will go down, look through my many treasures and come upstairs with something totally different because that's how I usually roll. But I love that moment when all things are possible! Off to get my stuff together to go knittin'!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

IrishFest and Leprechaun's Loot

Mr. Bee and I toddled on over to the thriving metropolis of Milwaukee yesterday to go to IrishFest. In true Irish tradition, it poured. Wanna know what's scarier than wall-to-wall people? Wall-to-wall drunken Irish folks wielding umbrellas! Yikes! But we had a great time although I missed meeting up with Beth of Chocolate Sheep fame. I just missed her at the Curragh tent. Rumor has it that her husband's team won the races though!


We heard some new Irish music, including a band out of Chicago we'd never seen before called The Tossers that we really liked, watched the Trinity Irish Dancers, listened to the Boudran and fiddle players, ate some yummy shepherd's pie [Which isn't really made out of shepherds at all. I asked.] and bought some authentic Irish tea at the Irish Supermarket. My favorite part, though, was the Irish Canine exhibit. I know...go figure. I am totally in love with Irish Wolf hounds. There was one male that was over 4 ft high at the head. And he was so gentle and sweet. If my dream comes true, I'll have one someday. I shall call him Seamus and ride him around the neighborhood, perched in my custom made, shiny, purple saddle! Wheeeee!(See how fun it is to live on my planet?)

I worked on "My So Called Scarf" on the way in the car. I really like the pattern-kinda herringbone-like:


Now you all know that I am on a yarn diet. No yarn buying until October. But the weirdest thing happened on the way to IrishFest! We were heading there (way out of our way, north of the city, in Whitefish Bay, WI) when we 'stumbled' on a yarn shop called Ruhumas! I'd heard of it, but never been there so I was obliged to check it out, being so close and all. Ohmygosh! It was amazing.!Tons of yarn! Tons of sock yarn! Gadgets and bags! Nice helper ladies! And me on a yarn diet. Alas. Whoa is me. Sigh.

But as I rounded the corner, empty-handed, to head out of the store, I encountered a leprechaun! It's true! You can only imagine my surprise. What luck! What frickin' IrishFest luck! And he was carrying away a wee pot of treasure as fast as his tiny legs would carry him. So I kicked his little, green butt and stole the treasure for myself. 'Cause it's only right. That's what you're supposed to do. I've seen it in movies and on t.v. a million times. Oh, I'm not saying it was easy. They're little but they're scrappy, but steal it I did and here's what the treasure contained:


Red and purple variegated "Bearfoot" sock yarn and blue variegated "Jitterbug"sock yarn.


Two different skeins of Anne sock yarn. I have never seen sock yarn so soft and fine as this!

I KNOW! How lucky is it that sock yarn is my very favoritist and that's what the treasure was!?! I am truly a blessed kicker of leprechaun butts! :Blissful sigh:

So that was my weekend; went to IrishFest, worked on my scarf and made a grown leprechaun cry. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wool Wads and Doggie Detox

Well, the time has finally come. We have put Bentley in rehab. The poor boy can’t even begin to hold his licker and it’s time for him (and us) to dry out. Yes, his name is Bentley and he’s a kissaholic.

Ever since we adopted him in March he’s had a compulsive people-licking problem and doesn’t want to stop when he’s told ‘no’. Any body part exposed is fair game and sometimes if skin is not reasonably accessible, clothing will do in a pinch. For the past three days, we have cut him off cold turkey, telling him ‘no kiss’ and pulling away every time he tries, which is… conservatively estimated…every 2.6 nanoseconds. There is such a hurt look on his big, goofy, doggie face, but he seems to be getting the hang of it. Now instead of rushing at us, lapping with wild abandon, spit and drool flying; he tentatively approaches and kind of sticks his floppy tongue out and gently touches you with it as if to say, “Is this what you said not to do?”. After he 'gets it' completely, the doggie instruction manual says that we can start offering a cheek and asking for a kiss. It says that this is a way for him to show affection and a small strategically placed buss on the cheek is much easier to tolerate than the full body bath we’ve been taking up until now. It’s a question of boundaries. Some days we honestly can’t tell if we are raising a human toddler or a canine!

Work continues on my second Tidal Wave sock. The sock blocker people sent me an email yesterday to ask what size blockers I wanted, which I am taking as a positive sign that I am actually going to receive them someday. I ordered them on Ebay and then I think they went to Stitches Midwest which delayed things significantly. And I have a lack-of-patience problem some days.

I also spun up a bit more wool last night. I still have the second wad [See how ‘spinningly challenged’ I am? I don’t even know the technical name of said 'wad'!] of yellow/red roving so I was going to make a second skein so that I’ll have enough for a hat or a scarf, but a weird thing is happening, the single is not as lumpy and bumpy and thick and thin this time around! It’s much more thin and uniform and I can’t seem to make it match the first skein so now I will have two skeins that are the same color but different consistencies; each too small to make anything with! I could use it as an accent yarn I guess…on something small…or just chalk it up to a learning experience.

I also have a BIG wad of lovely, lilac-colored soy roving but am scared to try it because the lady that sold it to me, took my money, lovingly put the soy in a sack and handed it to me with a smile. As I turned to leave she said (snidely and under her breath), “Good luck spinning THAT! I’ve never had any luck with it!” She’s a seasoned pro and I am…well, we’ve already determined my skill level…and at that point I hadn’t spun but a handful of test merino to try the drop spindle before I purchased it. I reeeeaaaaalllly would have either appreciated the commentary BEFORE I spent good money on the product or no commentary at all because now I’m totally freaked out to even try it. I’ve spun alpaca and wool and so far wool is my favorite because it’s not as slippery and hangs together a bit better. Has anyone tried soy? Any tips?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Eventful Week

It's been an pretty eventful and productive week at Chez Bee. We belong to a Community Supported Agriculture program and got a butt load of fresh veggies last week so I have been looking for new and inventive ways to use them. I made a killer Ratatouille and some refrigerator pickles. New potatoes and green beans are on tap for tomorrow's supper and kielbasa and summer squash after that! We also got the world's tiniest watermelon. It was a little smaller than a cantalope. I kinda felt bad eating it but not too bad because it was YUMMY! Here is a truly sad photo of it before its demise with my water bottle for reference.


Things were productive on the knitting front as well. I finished sock one of my Tidal Wave socks and was pretty happy with the way it turned out. It's made out of Toefootsies Yarn which is a blend of (among other things) soy and shellfish shells! The truly disastrous photos continue with a shot of the sock and a close up of the pattern. The closeup is more indicative of the actual color.


OK, all you folks who know how to properly spin fleece into yarn might want to save yourselves and turn away now because my prize accomplishment of the week is turning this.....



Into this.....



It's lumpy. It's bumpy. It's thick and it's thin, but it's mine all mine! My first attempt at spinning any quantity of wool into usable yarn on my drop spindle. This photo is of the skein I have uncerimoniously hanging in the shower to dry. I carded it, spun it, plied it, skeined it and set the twist. ME! I did that! So if you see someone wearing a hat knit out of funny looking yellow and red yarn in the future....it's ME! Be sure and say hi!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Domestic Goddessry and Drinks That Will Kick Your Butt

My evil plan worked fairly well this weekend. Didn’t do a whole lot, just hung around the ol’ abode. It was the first rainy weekend we’ve had in forever so it was nice to just curl up inside with a good book, some 'Eureka' and some knitting. I cleaned a bit and cooked a bit: made a taco salad, some lemon crumb bars and baked chicken. It was good to be a domestic goddess for a couple of days. The lemon crumb bars were great. It was a new recipe I’ve never tried that called for lemon cake mix, sweetened condensed milk and saltine crackers. If you’re intrigued, comment me and I’ll send you the recipe.

We went to The Melting Pot with friends D&T after work Friday night. I hardly ever drink. Two glasses of wine a year and maybe a mixed drink at the Company Holiday Party and that’s it. I am a very sleepy drunk. It doesn’t take a whole lot to get me looking around for a corner to curl up and snuggle down in. But the Melting Pot makes this kind of chocolaty-Baileys-vodka concoction that I just HAD to try, considering the time I’ve had of it lately. It was sent directly from Heaven. It was chocolate with a little kick but mostly it didn’t have any alcohol taste. Musta been some in there though as it thoroughly set me on my keester. Mr. Bee said I was slurring a little but I didn’t notice. Everything was just ducky as far as I was concerned thank you very much! Why if it hadn’t been $9 I probably would’ve had another! I’m glad I didn’t. I went home and fell sound asleep promptly but then woke up with a stomach ache. Dealt with that and the thunderstorm from heck rolled in and woke me up again; this time with a headache the likes of which the world has never known. If you were thinking about doing it, my advice is to never have an alcohol-induced headache during a rollicking, good thunderstorm. Between the bright flashes of light, the crashing roar and vibrations of the thunder, the cat trying to crawl under the covers and inside your nightshirt if at all possible and the dog whining and incessantly licking anything that sticks out from under the covers momentarily, including the cat, a fun time is NOT has by all. Particularly since Mr. Bee sleeps his very best during a storm and was no absolutely no help at all with the neurotic fur babies or his drunkard of a wife.

But morning came and we got on with our weekend OK. I got the entire leg on one Tidal Wave sock finished and then tore it all out because I decided I needed to go up a needle size. Now the leg is half done again on size twos and I am liking it a lot better. I finally ordered myself a pair of sock blockers. They are really cute with wee little moose on the tops. Hopefully they will be here by the time the socks are done so I can get a proper photo for a change.

Off to do walk the dog through the sludgy humid air that is Southern Wisconsin today. Bleck!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Swimmin' Pools and Movie Stars

I finished my Kid Haze shawl Wednesday night! It’s unblocked so no photo. Jury is still out on the beads. I’ll decide once it’s blocked. It’s so soft and light and airy that I’d hate to ruin it with the cold, hardness of a bead. (Over think things much? Why yes I do, thank you very much!)

I started on my Tofootsie socks yesterday but only got the top 1.5 inches of ribbing done. I’m going to attempt the Tidal Waves pattern from the South West Trading Company site. We’ll see how it goes. Sometimes I try new sock patterns but then give up on them if they are too ’thought intensive’ in favor of the lulling meditation that is K1/P1 rib and the basic sock pattern. I’ll try to focus this time though. I really like the look of the sock and I have a good feeling.

Went to see ‘No Reservations’ last night. I went against my better judgment since Catherine Zeta Jones drives me ABSOLUTELY INSANE. She and Nicole Kidman are in cahoots to drive me over the edge with their phone-it-in-eye-fluttering-is-that-a-fake-accent-or-a-speech-impediment(?) performances. I'm not kidding. They have weekly lunch meetings to discuss their strategy. But I was feeling strong so I went with a friend. Catherine didn’t disappoint me. She was as one dimensional and cardboard as usual. The story was good though, as were the male lead’s and kid’s performance. It was the little girl from “Little Miss Sunshine”. She was amazing. She’s a goofy little thing which is her major strength. She has that Precious-Moments-eyes-tear-up-but-not really-crying thing that gets me every time. And her Mum dies in this ‘comedy’ so there was a lot of that. I'd give it a 3.5 on a 1-5 scale. It would have been a 4.5 if ANY other actress (or a potted plant perhaps) had played the female lead.

Tonight it’s off to The Melting Pot with friends for supper. We were supposed to go for D’s birthday in March and are just getting to it now and it’s almost her ‘half-birthday’. Ummmm the Melting Pot…red meat and white bread dipped in cheese…marshmallows, brownies and cheesecake dunked in molten-chocolate-laced-with-booze-and-then-set-on-fire sauce. Doesn’t sound wrong.

My evil plan is to hang around the house and do as little as possible all weekend. I’ve been struggling lately and think I need my emotional batteries recharged. No running around, just taking care of things around the house and getting centered again. Of course this will include lots of knitting while watching “Eureka: Season One” which hubby bought me this week. Work with science geeks all week and then watch ‘em all weekend on t.v.”, that’s my motto! It will also include getting Big Bentley to ‘like’ his swimming pool. He’s half lab for Heaven’s sake! Why am I the only one getting wet?!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I'm A Nerdy Science Geek

Found this quiz over at Mel's site and couldn't resist. Thanks to Mr. Sheehan...I've still got it!

Mingle2 Free Online Dating - Science Quiz