Thursday, October 28, 2010

Punkin Pirates and Pizza Party

I am so blessed to have the best bunch of fun friends ever in my life. Tonight, Rob and Joey invited me over to have some pizza and carve our pumpkins for All Hallow's Eve. It's their first Halloween in Madison and their furbaby, Bobo's, first Halloween ever! Rob carved the big pumpkin with the witch. Somehow I came away without a picture of Rob or of his lit pumpkin but it's awesome. You can see it there in the foreground The first one he's ever carved. He's a natural!

And show-off Joey free handed the little cat pumpkin for Bobo since, with his lack of opposable thumbs, he was having problems doing in himself. If you look back in the first pic, you can see that he performed all of the necessary quality assurance tests before he pronounced it pumpkinrific!
I fiddled with mine until theirs were finished, then we had pizza and a visit, then I fiddled with it some more until I got the result I wanted. I've never been known for being the quickest knife in the pumpkin.

It's pretty gnarly in the daylight, but I like the way it looks when it's lit.

This year I'm only putting it out in the evening when I'm here and bringing it in the rest of the time, or covering it or something. The squirrels munched the face off my Bentley pumpkin last year before Halloween even rolled around. How rude! But how could they resist. I'm betting a Bentley pumpkin is extra sweet. What pumpkin did YOU carve this year?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's A WHAT Now?

Last week I had a pain in my belly, which developed into a lump, which was assumed to be a hernia. Over the weekend the lump tripled in size and became uber-painful convincing me that it was not a hernia but, in fact, one of those alien babies that bursts forth directly from your torso like in that movie that time. Frankly, I got kind of excited about it. I went to work on Monday morning and made the impending birth announcement via Facebook, 'cause I'm cutting edge that way (and cheap when it comes to postage). Friends rallied 'round with offers to loan me car seats and help me knit nine armed sweaters and craft clever, little tinfoil hats when the time came. I had a shopping cart all picked out over at WalMart to push it around in.

But by 10:00 am, my excitement faded as nothing happened but the advent of more intense pain and the loss of my ability to stand up straight without saying words I wasn't even aware I knew. Stupid Alien Baby. Can't do anything right. So, I called my doc. I explained to him that something had gone wrong in the Alien Baby birthing process and that I may require his assistance. He seemed kind of excited about it too and asked me to come in right away! Alas! A quick exam dashed all of my nine-armed sweaters, tinfoil hats and shopping cart dreams....I was not to be an Alien Baby Mama, but rather the proud owner of a tennis ball sized abdominal abscess. Lemme tell ya after going through what I went through to 'birth' of THAT sucker, I'm opting for the Alien Baby next time for sure.

So I've been changing bandages and working from home for the last two and a half days. I can't say that I've missed being out in the Wind-o-pocalypse that's been howling outside for two days, but I am beginning to miss human companionship, so I think I'll find a stick to bite down on and head on in to the office tomorrow. I hope they've taken down the "It's An Alien!!" balloons and decorations by the time I get there.

In knitting news, friend-Scott bought a bunch of yummy yarn (wool, alpaca) for his aunt to make him a gansey sweater. This is the same sweater he's been hinting at me to do for two years now and I've not so artfully dodged the issue, thinking that it was a bigger deal than I could handle. Turns out his aunt didn't want to knit it with that yarn and he can't return it because it was clearanced. Guess who owns it now? And guess who is getting all hot and bothered about attempting the gansey. That's right. I'm stupid like that.

There is absolutely nothing remotely intelligent about this plan.
  • I've never knit a gansey.
  • If I fail, he'll be getting a tangled glob of yarn back; over $100 of tangled glob.
  • It's just before Christmas when I should be working on gifts.
  • It's a hard pattern that you have to sew all the little parts together which I've never done before. The only sweaters I've made are top down cardigans and baby surprise.

Yup, there's nothing positive in there. But I have a tiny little niggling voice in my head all the time saying, "I'll bet you could if you tried." Stupid Alien Baby!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Maybe You Can Teach An Old Dog New Tricks!

I took my first guitar lesson on Tuesday night. I've had a guitar, a gift from my parents, for years but have only fiddled with it, so when a guy at work started offering private lessons, I jumped at the chance. I was SO NERVOUS. When you're an adult, you lose that 'It's-OK-If-You-Make-Mistakes-When-You're-Learning' thing. Learning new things tends to be less about having fun and more about trying not to embarrass yourself. Once I got there, I made up my mind that I was just going to do my best and not expect to play Spanish guitar the first night out. Consequently, I had a ball! I made my teacher's eyes water a couple of times but he didn't fully burst out into a tears so I'm considering it a success.

I left having learned how to form the A, G, E and D chords. I also left with no feeling in the pads of the fingers of my left hand, but I was happy. My teacher stressed only practicing for 10 minutes a day this week to build up tolerance; for both my fingers and my neighbors. And Ben, as it turns out. He slicks his ears back and squints his eyes when he sees the guitar now, but at least he doesn't howl along! Rumor has it we're working on James Taylor's 'Fire and Rain' but I'm not hearing it yet. Doesn't matter. I'll accept anything sound that comes out as long as it doesn't have that evil 'twang' of a string not fully squashed down.

The crush at work has eased up a bit. Actually the work load hasn't let up, but I'm starting to feel that I'm over the worst part of the steep learning curve so I'm not running around like a headless chicken all the time. I'm better able to organize and prioritize. Consequently, I've even had a little knitting time to work on my Laminaria Shawl and a new tam I'm working on. That little bit of extra time with sticks and string is even sweeter now that I've experienced what it's like to go days without it.

Learning a new 'skill' as well as to appreciate the simple, little, things like a moment of time to call your own...two hard won lessons in ONE WEEK! Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Houston, We Have NO Problems!

Yesterday I concluded my45th successful mission completely around the sun and I was truly overwhelmed by the embarrassment of riches, both physical and emotional, that cascaded my way! I lead a blessed life and am surrounded by the best family and friends.

I kicked the successful mission celebration off by bringing a 4 layer pumpkin torte with caramel and candied pecans to work. I think my kids set a land speed eating record; I had the cleaned plate back in about 60 minutes! It got 15 sets of thumbs up!

I was amazed at all of the online, mailed and spoken wishes through out the day and was touched by the gifts. Friends Rob and Joey remembered a story I told them about the wee Wade Wimsey hedgehog, that my grandmother got in a box of Red Rose Tea, and how I loved it when I was little and they gave me one of my very own! I cried. Don't tell them though.

I went to Knit Night at The Ear and they were having their 10th anniversary bash so there were tons of people, and most importantly wine and cake, so the celebration continued. Friend Jen finished the hobby horse that she was making her daughter's birthday next week. The head is basically and large hand knit sock and it's on a dowel. Clever no? The picture is great but in real life it's ADORABLE. Any more wine and I may have given it a spin or two around the block!

When I got home in the wee hours, this beautiful bouquet was waiting on my doorstep. My upstairs neighbors, Mikes One and Two, dropped them by. I cried again. Don't tell them either.

This morning, I spent several minutes communing with the Macaws at my car wash. They were dancing to Copa Cabana. This guy has got the moves!

Then I took Rob and the two Joeys with me to Baraboo. We stopped at Ski Hi Orchard for apples, cider and cider donuts. Joey T. even bought some Root Beer Jelly. I decided to wait for the reviews to come in before I tried that one.

Then we went to one of my favorite spots in Wisconsin, Pewet's Nest. We had a successful hike; no one fell from a great height or got their shoes wet! We started out at the bottom or the gorge...

where there is a peek-a-book glimpse of the waterfall....
Then we climbed to the top and walked the path along the edge.

And looked down on the beautiful views.

Perfect weather, the woods, the water, and dear was an AMAZING day. I can't think of a better way to begin my 46th mission. My you all be as blessed...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Knitting Guild

Just got back from this month's Knitting Guild meeting. What do all of these things have in common: uber-talented, artistic, intelligent, well-spoken, polite, down-to-earth, interesting, forward-thinking? They are all qualities that are wrapped up in the awesome, impossibly adorable little package that is Jared Flood, photographer, designer extraordinaire and author of Brooklyn Tweed, that's all!

He was our guest speaker tonight and I was looking forward to seeing him. I've been impressed by his blog and his patterns. I've made his Koolhaus pattern a zillion times for chemo caps.

It's an relatively easy but ingenious pattern and is soft and stretchy-perfect for sensitive skin. I also made his Noro Scarf pattern and loved the way the colors blended together.
But after hearing him speak, I'm stunned at what a creative thinker he really is. His presentation tonight was about how he got started blogging and how it bloomed into a career in teaching and designing knit wear, but it was the snippets of insight into where he draws his inspiration from and how he incorporates those inspirations into his designs that blew me away. He's taken his talent in photography and turned it into amazing inspiration for innovative designs. His Koolhaus hat, for instance, came from the architecture in the Seattle Public library.

See all the diamonds? Now scroll back up and really look at the hat. I'll wait.....See! Clever, no?

I'm afraid I did develop quite the fan girl crush after hearing him speak and fondling his knit wear (no he wasn't wearing it) so I had Dale Harriet take our picture together. Now, I did have a glass of wine with supper beforehand, but was NOT and I repeat NOT as wasted as I looked in this picture. (Actually I had a wicked case of school girl giggles; it probably would have been better if I had just been drunk.)

But it's the only pic I got so try and just look at the right half OK? Anyway, listening to and meeting Jared was too much fun. Now I have to find his new Wayfarer Scarf Pattern and some of his yummy new Targhee/Colombian yarn and get to work!

I also did my first Show and Tell at Guild too. I stood up in front of the 80 bagiggatrillion people there (hence the fortitudinal glass of wine before supper) and showed off my Wine and Cheese Scarf.

And my Fir Cone Stole.

Using the microphone was weird and I couldn't really hear myself over the speakered version of me so I don't know if I blasted folks out of the room or not. I had an almost irresistible urge to break into a rousing version of Danke Shoen but the folks with the big, giant, hook got to me in time. I'll have to cut my intro shorter and break into song earlier next month.

Next up: Laminaria and Things That Go Rouge In The Night.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Mt. Horeb Fall Festival

Took a break from my crazy work schedule and went to Mt. Horeb with friends Rob and Joey (above) on Saturday to their annual Fall festival. There was a little bit of everything, antiques, books, rope making, hay bale making, troll carving, carriage rides, crafts and good food. Here are some of the entries in the pumpkin decorating contest.

See the four part Seadragon? And I really liked this Artsy-Martha-Stewartesque Pumpkin.

And this Mt Horeb Troll Eating Pumpkin

Aside from work, I've been busy with my blogger celebrity status. They recently unveiled my new stamp

Even the cast of Friends reunited to be there!
But mostly I've just been hangin' with my best bud!

What have YOU been up to?