Monday, November 28, 2005

Obligatory Knitting Content

Too much time or too much leftover sock yarn? You decide. But it sure is cute. I just need to figure out how to keep the big clip on it at the same time. Yeah, definitely too much time on my hands.

For the first time in 10 years, I have addressed Christmas cards. It is not yet December and the house is decorated with everything except the tree. I, gasp, have wrapped presents in my living room. I have no explanation for this. Is there a chance that we (ain't nobody happy unless momma's happy) get to enjoy the holiday this year? Keep your fingers crossed for me, will you?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Yes, They Are Adorable Aren't They?

Thanksgiving was truly something to celebrate this year. All the kids, save one niece , were home this year to gather around the big bird. I fell asleep to the sound of them all gathered in the family room laughing at some stupid movie. Joy!

Nephew N has enlisted in the Army; he will leave for basic training less than one month after graduation. I ask all of you to pray for his safety as he begins this journey. He is so proud; I am so nervous.

We have one more photo of my oldest; isn't she a talented thing? My mother looks impressed doesn't she?

And did any of you venture out to consumer wonderland for "Black Friday"? A black day indeed when shopping for Christmas means we trample our fellow man in a 5 a.m. stampede to get the 2005 must have item. Did any of you see those video clips on the news? I paid homage to the mall last weekend, from this point on it is all virtual shopping.

Enough computer time. Off to enjoy the southern branch of the family before they leave for Tennessee.

P.S. My macho brother is in 7th heaven - he just found a "Good Times" marathon on the tube!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Rebecca Needs...

Another far from original, but tres cute blog entry. Google "Your Name" and the word "needs" and see what you get!

Rebecca needs...
  1. ...enlightenment.
  2. ...a family that is structured and consistent.
  3. find out.
  4. get out and find a boyfriend.
  5. ...just one good, meaty, dramatic role, and the chances of her skyrocketing into fame will increase tenfold.
  6. ...a home where she can get a lot of love and attention.
  7. ...direction.
  8. have that ankle operated on.

Now let us see which ones apply :)

Well yes, I am searching for enlightenment. If only it was like one of Willy Wonka's Golden tickets and I could find it in a bar of chocolate! But what have I been able to find out? That although my home is far from structured and consistent, the people in it are getting a lot of love and attention. (I told you I spend a lot of quality time locked in a car with them on a daily basis yesterday, didn't I?) I also mentioned yesterday that I had wanted to be an actress. I think I found the "good, meaty, dramatic role" : middle-aged, slightly over weight, suburban mom. I think I am doing fairly well with that one. Oh yeah, and if I do manage to find a boyfriend, my ankle probably will need some medical attention after I get kicked out of the house. So who knew Google had all the answers.

Tomorrow I am taking a, gulp, crochet class...they tricked me and said it was for knitters. I'll hopefully have some pix to post tomorrow.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Random Ideas

I am stealing Liz's random idea, that she swiped from Holly , who grabbed it from... oh you get the idea. So here are 20 Random Things About Me:
  1. My favorite thing in the world is ice cream.
  2. I currently spend over one hour a day driving three kids to various activities.
  3. I have successfully dieted twice, kept it off for many years, and then gained it all back.
  4. I hate exercise. Maybe that was why I was in the "remedial" PE class in elementary school.
  5. I have been knitting so long I do not remember learning.
  6. I really do not like spending too much time away from home.
  7. I have three children; two of whom are twins.
  8. I wish I could play an instrument.
  9. During the course of my lifetime I have wanted to be a nun, a psychiatric social worker, an actress, a singer; I ended up being a teacher. Except for the nun part...most days I get to be a little of all of the above.
  10. I am good at my job, but often think about changing careers.
  11. In theory I love the idea of having huge blocks of uninterrupted time; in practice I cannot stand it.
  12. I cannot pick one favorite book, but if pressed: To Kill A Mockingbird.
  13. I dream of living in loft in any city.
  14. I dream of living on a farm.
  15. I filled out the application for the PBS Frontier House series, but I never mailed it.
  16. I do not attend a formal church, but think about my relationship with God daily.
  17. Chewing gum gives me a headache.
  18. I "write" the first paragraph of "my novel" in my head at night when I cannot sleep.
  19. I hate Christmas.
  20. I love the day after Christmas.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Is Tomorrow Really Monday? Again?

Last night I was sitting in my car watching my oldest through the front windows of the store where she works. It was closing time and she was scurrying back and forth: wiping, sweeping, vacuuming. And suddenly I had a vision of her as a toddler. Holding on to one of her Fisher-Price toys, doing that little walk that only 11 month olds do. Back and forth across the room, over and over again. That proud smile, that laugh. Hard to believe that was 16 years ago. But she still has that smile and a great laugh. What a wonderful young woman she is!

And so to those two people who decided they needed to be rude to my little sweetie who is trying very hard at her first job... that grouchy old man who has had his entire life to learn patience: no...she is not "retarded or something" because she could not make your sandwich fast enough on her first day of work... the lovely woman whose husband decided that he needed to rattle off the sandwich ingredients as A was making did not "want him to come back there and make it for her."

And while I am at it... the woman at the Transit Wegman's. Would it have killed you wait for me to get my cart completely out of the row before you walked in front of me and started pulling yours out?

I am honestly at the end of my tether with rude people. And I would tell them so, only that would be rude.

Knitting wise I attended the Guild's Shadow Knitting class. Cool, but something that I definitely could have taught myself. I may break down and buy the Vivian Hoxbro book. Stitch N Bitch also has a really cool alien scarf pattern.

Later this week: Christmas in September.

Monday, October 17, 2005


It is apple pickin' season and all the city folk are heading to the farms. Growing up surrounded by orchards on all 4 sides, I cannot help but find this amusing. Having trees full of fruit is something I always took for granted as a kid.

Each summer we were mesmerized by the bee man as he dropped the bee houses, but for some reason had a healthy respect for those buzzin boxes. We would spend hours plucking (shhhh...don't tell) the pink and white blossoms off the trees for our mud pies and other crafty creations. Throughout the summer my mother and I would run for the clothesline in a frenzy when we heard the spray truck start up. It meant extra loads of wash if the pesticide mist hit clothes :( And then the fruit! My sister and I literally made one fresh pie per night the year we learned to bake them in 4-H.

Now farms are something I do not understand. They have suddenly become a form of entertainment now known as Agritainment.

The first farm was purchased by a college grad with tons of ideas.
Murphy Orchards is located a few miles from my parents' house. It makes lots of fresh jams, jellies, and juices. Little old ladies can come and enjoy a civilized tea in the renovated room in the old farm house. Little kids and scout troops can see the hole in the barn that was part of the Underground Railroad. These are all worthwhile activities.

Next, we have Becker Farms. This is an old family farm that is simply responding to the times. It learned that it was simply more profitable to allow pre-school groups and families from the Buffalo suburbs that a day in the country was all about U-Pick apples, hayrides, and pasturized cider. Each weekend during the fall it is packed with families in SUVs and half bushels of apples. I think it is nearly impossible to find a family in the area that does not have great memories associated with this farm.

Now we move on to the real money maker. The Maize. For just $5.00 a head you can run wild through a field. Send away for a cool computerized planting schemata and look what you can do! Allow the little critters to smash the plants and have some wicked corn cob fights. Not to mention the great hidden corners for all the teens on the flashlight tours. C'mon, we know the maze police cannot see everything! It is also a great place for parents to dump their kids for an afternoon if no one is looking.

I know I sound bitter or something, but that really is not the point. It is just an old country girl amused by the changing times. Something like going on a whale watch and expecting Sea World. Know what I mean?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Why Are Weekends Only Two Days?

Yesterday Knox State Farm hosted its first fiber festival. I think for a first year, a decent showing. Knowing that I had over 10 pounds of fleece in my garage and two under bed storage containers plus full of yarn upstairs, really took the edge off of any buying desire. But I did buy a wonderful glass bracelet from a really talented artist! Another plus was the tons of good advice I was able to pick up while manning the Knitting Guild "Learn to Knit" area. There were several spinners set up - including this awesome woman who spent the day spinning dog fur!

September kicked the snot out of me. I am feeling totally overwhelmed with the back to school routine. Today I washed about 1/3 of the fleece and started combing with some dog slicker brushes. I now have some lovely, soft rolags piled in my basket. However, I also have a HUGE pile of not combed fleece on the picnic table. I think it is safe to leave it there for a day or two...the temps are still unseasonably warm. October and 77 degrees usually does not happen around here!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

It's Knit Night!

Guess what time it is? Time for me to have some fun! No, I am not running off to the races. I was bummin' cause I had missed the Hemlock Fiber Festival, but San Diego was almost as fun as being knee deep in fiber!

Anyway, this weekend Knox State Farm is hosting its first Fiber Arts Festival! And I cannot wait. So yes, Bonnie, I will be there!

I shall not jinx myself, but this day is going a bit too smoothly. K does not have scouts, E got in a good car pool for drama, dinner is in the oven, and I actually have all my papers graded until tomorrow morning. Nothing to do but make one car run and go to knit night. Happy, happy...

P.S. I have returned from Knit Night and am now not so happy. One of the girls brought a woman who evacuated from New Orleans with her husband and 2 children. How brave she is! I would not be able to move from pure despair! Her house was spared from the waters, but not from looters. They are currently living with her father. Her husband's job no longer exists in NO, but they are willing to transfer his position here - she wants to return. It was interesting to learn that they have evacutated the city 12 times in the 13 years she has lived there.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I Know, My Husband Already Told Me

So I've spun every piece of fiber I own. I stumble across a new spinning, weaving, yarn kinda store. I enter the store, and immediately am greeted by a woman working on a loom (one of two) in one of the large storefront windows. The owner is sitting in the opposite side of the room. So I tell her I am a new spinner, and need something to work on (did that translate into something else in her mind?). So anyway....

First she shows me the lovely undyed something with random bits of VM. I receive instructions on Kool Aid dying. Nah...not really what I had in mind. "No? Let me think.... Oh! OH! I know! Follow me!" Her enthusiasm is contagious. What is it? I feel like a kid on an adventure.

We go to the back of the store. The part you can always see, but cannot enter. "Come on, " she frantically gestures. She grabs large, overstuffed garbage bags, dragging them to the front. "Where is it? This one? no....this one? no....Here, oh just wait!"

The bag opens and suddenly I have entered the husband says the zoo, but what the's animal pooh no matter what your point of references. Lovely, energetic shop lady tells me how this fleece is one of four from a poor group of neglected sheep. This fleece is the result of TWO years of growth (thus the extra piquant aroma). Nice lady advises me that I should spin this in the grease, as is - no combing, carding anything! Can she be right? I keep thinking, if I run this through my wheel, my orifice will be permanently lubed and FILTHY! She promised me she personally skirted the nasty thing and removed all tags, and whatever you call the urine stained (eeeesh) areas.

Some staple length, huh?

As keen observers of the obvious, I am sure you have all deduced I walked out the door with this fleece (and some felting least I KNOW those will get used).

So, if anyone out there is accustomed to working with raw, greased, whatever the heck you call fresh off the sheep fleece, could you please tell what to do. I think I should wash it first. I do not have combs, but I really think I can, if careful, just spin directly off the gently, freshly washed pieces.

Although I love the lanolin, I do not like the barnyard in the house.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Life

When DH and I moved into our house, daughter A was a 1 1/2 year old toddler. A few months later ground broke on the adjoining lot and in moved a friendly couple with two pre-teens. The years went by and we watched those two kids doing all the things teenagers do. I can remember countless nights thinking their games of driveway basketball and conversations in the front yard would never stop! There was an endless parade of friends and family in and out of that home.

Bob and his sister eventually went off to college. The skinny young kid became a young ROTC officer. He embraced his role in the United States Army. He became a very proud soldier and officer who shared his parents love of country and God.

Bob went to Iraq. His parents heard the good things: the roadways he and his unit protected with their tank, the little kids who squealed with delight when they saw the American soldiers roll into their village. The e-mails he wrote to his sister told the truth: the daily attacks he faced, being spit upon by Iraqi citizens, the fear that would not leave him, and a nagging doubt that began to follow him.

And then it was over. Bob was home on leave and then returned to his unit in Germany. Basic training exercises are a part of a soldier's daily routine...and this day should have been like all the others. He became a victim when crossing railroad tracks in his tank, a high voltage line arched.

Bob received 3rd degree burns over 70% of his body. His face, upper chest, and arms were unharmed; his torso and legs were severely damaged. The civilian hospital in Germany is credited for saving his life. They also took his right leg above the knee. Bob spent the next four months in San Antonio, Texas at the Army's burn and amputee hospital. His fiancee left her teaching job in New York State to stay by his side. His father sold his business. His mother's employer told her to take as long as she needed. His sister delayed her wedding. And we prayed.

Despite the numerous skin grafts, infections, ventilator problems and problems too numerous to mention, Bob's parents remained optimistic. They often told us how lucky their son was in comparison to the other brave soldiers that were brought in day after day. Four months dragged by.

Progress was good, the skin grafts were taking. He was being weaned from the ventilator and moved to a "sitting" position for longer periods of time each day. All he wanted was to go home.

Bob died yesterday morning.

For what we now feel - there are no words.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Knitter's Block

It's Thursday and I have three days of school under my belt. I told the superintendent it was a smooth start; I only lied a wee bit. For some reason everyone around me is in a foul mood. Heck, you would think after two months off - unpaid - we would all be more than ready to earn our keep. Apparently not. For some reason many teachers seem to think they are self employed and have the right to set their own working conditions. I shall say no more lest I offend.

Katrina has dealt so many a terrible blow. And to add insult to injury I heard something on NPR that was truly depressing. Apparently the city of New Orleans has been steadily sinking. Since the 1950s, the city has sunk about 2" every 10 years. The scientists believe that the current flooding will only cause increase in the drop due to the compacting of the softer soils near the Lake area. The assumption is that when the next large storm hits, even the French Quarter will be under water. No wonder so many people are saying that they will not return...the prospect is just too frightening.

I have had no time to knit. I have managed to seam four of the five panels of the Manos Afghan from Hell. We may see fringe on it before Sunday evening. Now the next big decision is to decide what to take on our trip to San Diego. Something airplane friendly. I think perhaps the alpaca cream and white alpaca.

More to come later!

Monday, September 05, 2005

I Am Thankful

Tomorrow I go back to work. Summer is over. Traditionally, this is an evening that makes me a bit sad. Instead I have decided to be thankful for the fact that
  1. I have a home.
  2. I have food and water.
  3. I can account for all my family members.
  4. I actually have a car, regardless of the cost to run it.

Let me never forget my problems are really meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

Thursday evening was the first Knitting Guild meeting of the year. We have a great program coordinator (yes, you Bonnie!). We are truly blessed with some great knitters in the Buffalo area. Each year the guild sponsors two weekend workshops. This year our own, Heather...this is her latest, most popular pattern. She also has a pattern in the Ponchos (Vogue on the Go Knitting Series). Heather will be teaching shadow knitting, in addition to double knitting, in October.

But the one that really has me is excited is our April weekend. Annie Modesitt is coming! Just open any issue of anything and you are sure to see a pattern...and they are always so clever!

And another exciting thing to look forward to...the Buffalo area is having its very own fiber festival. October 1st at Knox Farm will be the place to be! My spinning wheel is jumping up and down with glee.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

In the Bag

Hey, even the teacher needs a new backpack for school! I just love this. I felted it last week as I told you, and spent the afternoon sewing on all the straps while making my chili sauce. The pattern is from Interweave Knits; the yarn was from the "ugly" pile from the annual guild yarn auction. I just need to make a trip to the fabric store for the D-rings. The pattern called for an inside and outside pocket, but I really did not want either.

I have a royal blue Lamb's Pride bag that I would like to embellish with some funky dry felted design.

We had another great weekend in Chautauqua. The kids finished their golf lessons for the season. E was thrilled; she had her best game ever. I never saw a kid so happy with scores of 15 on ONE hole. Little does DH know that she is only convincing me that Mark Twain was right: Golf is a good walk ruined. Sorry, but I would rather knit, spin, or read than spend four hours in the hot sun chasing a ball. Someone remind me that I said this if you find me playing in my post-retirement years. Truthfully, I have a real problem with the tons of fertilizers and water those prime pieces of real estate use.

We finished our weekend with a trip to Chautauqua Gorge - one of our most favorite places! Thank goodness the kids still love running up and down the creekbed looking for crayfish and salamanders! Lazy mom just dips her toes in the COLD water and reads her book in between laughing at the kids and the dog. Someone make them stop growing up so fast!

And a bizarre thing...someone came to my site through a Yahoo search looking for "homocide pictures". Heck, I know I am not a Master knitter, but what the geez Louise!

As I am typing this, I can hear the Weather Channel covering the hurricane in New Orleans. Those poor people.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Oooo, That Smell

Just a quick update on my "Eat Local Challenge". Today I made my Aunt Marie's chili sauce. Tomatoes and peppers from Dad's garden, hot peppers and onions from the local produce stand. I only made a half batch, but it smelled as yummy as a full batch! Want the recipe?

  • 35 large tomatoes, peeled (I never bother)
  • 8 large onions
  • 4 hot peppers, 1 with seeds (use more if you like a bit more kick)
  • 4 green or red sweet peppers

Grind the above ( I use the food processor) and place in a large pot. Add:

  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, dry mustard, and paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground dry ginger

Simmer for 4-5 hours. My mom always canned it from I just throw it in the freezer. Great on scrambled eggs and meats!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

It's A Race to Finish

The summer is drawing to a close all too soon. I know my southern neighbors have been sniffing the chalk dust for about three weeks already, but we Western New Yorkers are sinking our teeth into the last few days that remain. I am now frantically trying to finish all the things from my July "to-do" list! The kids power washed and re-stained the deck, I just bought the paint for the yuckky plastic chairs and finally bought a hanging plant (half price and size of my front porch!). But you know it's over when field hockey practice starts and the "lesson" people are starting to ask for their checks.

So on to better things...

Aren't these great? These are two gifts from my very thoughtful neighbors. What is better than some Rowan directly from England! Ian dropped a hint that his wife really would not mind the orange. I just wish I could capture the colors!

And I think the Rainbow bag will come in handy for all those little shopping trips.

Next, lest you think I have been lazy... The glove is knit side to side in Noro. Only problem - my fingers are a bit shorter than those of the glove. But they are soft and snug and will make a great Christmas gift for some lucky person.

I have also finished two felted bags. One is a backback of IK in two shades of red; the other is a royal blue Booga Bag. They are currently on their second day of drying...Pictures to follow on those soon.

On the book front, I just finished reading In the Forest. I bought it many years ago after listening to a review on NPR. If you are looking for a study of everything that can go wrong in the juvenile justice system, this is your book. O'Brien based her book on an actual triple homocide: a mother, her small child, and a local priest. Next read will be Atonement by Ian McEwan.

And finally, for those of you wondering where your blog is headed - check this out! Just click here for a good belly laugh!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

He looks sweet doesn't he? See what's under his chin? It's hubby's brand new sock. You think he is giving in without a fight? Not a chance. I love my dog; I really do. But there are certain things that just drive me nuts about this bundle of FUR...

The good news...daughter E is now home from camp with the socks! She had a great time and only missed me/us once! But as soon as one returns, another flies the coop! Her sister left for a one week vacation with friends. I can't say I am exactly enjoying all the little trips my children are taking away from home; I miss them!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Summer Count Down

I have been a bad blogger... did ya miss me?

Today I froze a bunch of these. Home grown and very yummy. And just like Pocket Farm Liz, I also like to keep the pointy end on.

Then I found an old recipe torn out of Southern Living Magazine and used these little gems from my friend's garden... ok, not exactly these...I never took their picture before they became an ingredient in the squash casserole. In addition to the squash, we had homegrown "musk melon", blueberries, and tomatoes. I love August simply for the tomatoes!

Last night I put up about 10 more cups of blueberry preserves. I am so addicted to the preserve concept. No need to add pectin and a ton less sugar.

Tonight my book club met. I cannot say that I loved the book. In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez is the fictional account of the Mirabel sisters. These women were rebels in Dominica during the early 1960s against the Trujillo regime. I think I need to re-read the book, as another club member did, and focus on one of the sisters at a time. Generally, I have no problem when a story "hops" around, but there were a number of issues that made this one difficult for me.

Daughter E's socks were finished in time for camp. She was given direct orders not to lend them, wear them outside without shoes, or leave them behind. She insisted on taking them because they were pink. Go figure...

I also finished another scarf. Move over Alison! This is a horse shoe or double cable made from Lopi that was purchased at the Buffalo Knitting Guild's annual auction. I may post a photo later, but it seems like too much of a hassle to stage the shot for another scarf; boy am I lazy.

Still working on busting that stash, I found two skeins of royal blue Lamb's Pride Bulky. I knit up a Booga Bag over the weekend. Rather than use a bag closure, I plan on turning it into a back back. And to jazz it up I have visions of needle felting some very colorful '60ish flowers on the front. Sound good? I better make it cool, because when I realized I was one skein short I snuck into E's closet and grabbed her unfinished bag and cannibalized it for mine. Yea, I know, I am a rotten mom.

Tomorrow night it is off to one of our LYS for another evening of fiber fun. Just imagine a room full of wool junkies ... I love it! Last week there must have been four wheels, as many drop spindles, my friend's loom, and tons of needles.

But right now I am crabby because I have to go to work tomorrow. I keep thinking of Sharon and her "endless" summer vacation. I am so NOT wishing my life away, but I am a tad envious. But there are still three full weeks of summer vacation to savor, so I better get out there and enjoy it!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Aren't You Glad ...

Today was a good day. I love it when I can make a list of things accomplished:

  1. I was able to make my 16 year old feel safe and me feel needed at the same time. Who knew 16 year olds had nightmares that required their moms to come in their rooms until they fell back asleep.
  2. I apologized to my mother for being a 46 year old brat. She has been very helpful lately. I have not been grateful.
  3. I let my son and his cousin catch frogs and jump in the pond by going to the cousin's house while his parents were at work.
  4. I bought, cooked, and served locally grown produce. Sweet cherries, peaches, plums, green beans, peas, and beets.
  5. I got to enjoy a really great memory while shelling the peas. One summer my dad planted peas. He dragged them out, vines and all. I remember the three of us (me, brother, sister) sitting under the birch tree on a huge sheet. If I remember correctly, we ate almost as many as we popped in the kettle stuck in the middle.
  6. I played with the dog. I have been ignoring him lately and I think he is actually under the weather.
  7. I took daughter E to the orthodontist.
  8. I learned that my 12 year old is not completely '12 going on 22'. She wanted a CareBears DVD and ZooAnimals plastic cutlery.
  9. We ate fresh from the oven chocolate chip cookies before dinner and I promised not to tell their father if they did not say they were not hungry at dinner.
  10. We laughed at dinner.

I also finished two books today. No, I did not read them both today. I have a bad habit; I read the way I knit - more than one at a time.

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson is a book I can recommend. This is a debut novel by a Canadian now living in England. If you grew up in rural anywhere, you will have no trouble visualizing the setting. The only flaw of the novel is Lawson's use of suspense. She keeps hinting at a horrid tragedy. When she finally discloses it, the reader (and all the other characters in the novel) realizes that the only tragedy is in the narrator's perception.

Next, we have The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier. This is an historical novel in the same vein as The Girl with the Pearl Earring. Chevalier's novel centers on the characters involved in the making of six tapestries commissioned sometime during the 1500s.

Like The Girl with the Pearl Earring, she does a marvelous job painting a vivid picture. The structure of the novel is very clever - a woman in the painter's life serves as the inspiration for each woman depicted in the panels. I cannot say I ejoyed this as much as the Vermeer inspired piece. But all in all, well worth the read.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Wasted Time?

Oh my. I love Keanu. Truly. Even comic books turned into movies deserve better writing, and (tears dropping on my key board), better acting.

Two hours of my life that I will never get back. And that is the reason we knit while watching movies. A guarantee that it is not a total waste of time. That is until you look down and realize that one of the cables was a cable front instead of a cable back. And it was in the fifth repeat and you are on the 12th.

Yep, a waste of time.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

It's a Secret

As my little peanut mends, I have been watching a bit more television. OK, that is not the secret. Ever watch the Food Network? Ever see this guy?

Let us list his assests:

  • He is drop dead gorgeous
  • Handsome
  • Articulate
  • He cooks
  • Unbelievabley good looking

Moving on...where is the rain? Are your lawns also like straw? Do you refuse to water because to do so is "just plain wrong"? My husband is a better person! I admit that a green backyard is a waste of water, but can my suburban front yard be green? Purely psychological, I know, it just makes me feel cooler.

Time for grocery shopping early this week. In honor of Liz and the Eat Local Challenge, I will be heading to the smaller local stand (I cannot go to the larger because they grow none of it but want you to think they do)and see what is available. I also vow that whatever is available in bulk will be processed for winter consumption! Oh. That means I need to defrost the nasty freezer in the basement. Oh yeah...

Last Monday I picked 4! Count 'em, 4 two pound coffee cans of blueberries at my parents'. I turned 8 cups into preserves. My first time for that; much nicer than jam in my book because it uses a lot less sugar and the flavor is so intense. I dried about another 4 cups. Whatever this variety is, they have always been a little tart. Not really pleasing when biting into a muffin. After an overnight in the dehydrator, they had just the right amount of sweetness. Those were turned into two batches of scones. Yummy!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Boredom Busters

Aren't I clever? See what I can make? Alright, I can see the accomplished spinners out there smiling - remembering the days when they too thought it was nothing short of the miracle of
birth to turn a blob of fibers into yarn. But a question to you spinners: Did you ever wonder if you were actually going to spin something that was worth the time and effort to knit? I am getting a little nervous. My spinning "teacher" only knits up fat singles and that really wasn't what I had in mind. Where can I go for more help and advice?

Last night I finished the scarf. This was made from yarn that I had purchased last year from the Buffalo Knitting Guild's annual auction. It is an acrylic mohair blend that was vacationing in the stash box under the bed just waiting for a reason to go to work. The pattern is from Pam Allen's Scarf Style...short repeat, easy to memorize. I love patterns that are essentially mindless, but still give you a little something to work on.

Daughter A is healing nicely, but still is not moving too far away from the recliner parked in front of the television in my bedroom. While she was taking her morning nap I started on the second "stash" scarf. This one is a double cable on 13s with a tweedy Lopi. Fast, fast, fast.

I think if I can get some quick projects out of the way, I might just get motiviated to finish the larger pieces. You know that you have too many UFOs when someone walks in the den and calls it your "junk room"! Geez, thanks Mom.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Bumps and Bruises

It has been a busy week at the Green Eyed Knitter's. Lots going on, but I can never seem to find the camera when the light is right. And with everyone home from school, I have to call dibs on the computer! Geez!

The most important report to make is on daughter, A. Back in 6th grade, she took a hard hit to the nose with a medicine ball. I remember the school nurse called me at work, but there were no major problems at the time. Her nose never bruised, bled, or became swollen. A few months later we began to notice a very subtle change in the shape of the tip of her nose. Now, entering her junior year of high school, it had shifted noticeably to the east! And the poor baby's left nostil was almost completely sealed shut. So today was the day! One fix of the deviated septum, a small shave off her "mother's nose" to balance out the straightened tip, and away we go. She is now propped up in bed with 6 pillows and full of antibiotics and darvocet. The twins are off to the lake with dad and the dog, and all is good with the world. Needless to say, I am very relieved that the surgery is over and all that is left is the healing.

On to spinning news. Boy do I wish I could find the camera! Some of you may remember the guild yarn auction. I finally dove into the mysterious bag of top. It holds three distinct colorways. Based on my limited experience with merino, I think we have more but blended with some unknown to me fibers. Slow and steady will win the race. I have started on the merino/mystery brown blend. It is rather neat...there is also a merino/mystery black blend (it looks like a reverse skunk) and some beautiful merino/mystery grey.

If my luck holds, there will be photos of all tomorrow.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Boring Bobbin

I have no idea what this is, but it sure was fun! It came in a sheet much like quilt batting. It is mostly brown with random flecks of red and green. It was also very greasy. Yuck! When I spun it up, it reminded me of candle wicking. I wound it in a hank, dropped it in very hot water with euglena and crossed my fingers. When I pulled it out, it was lofty and soooo soft. I cannot get a picture that shows how beautiful it is. But what do I with around 2 oz. of yarn? Use it for trimming on something else? Wait to get a ton of these random little hanks and so a patchwork something? Help!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

You Have Got to be Kidding!

This morning I nearly dropped my coffee. I don't hear well and I was convinced that I could not have heard this correctly. Do you know that people actually put themselves on waiting lists for "must have" clothing! That sales reps are actually offered money and FREE BOTOX injections for moving people up on these waiting lists?

Wanna see what's causing all the excitement? Shoes like this. This particular sandal is currently on sale for

Why would anyone, anyone? pay that kind of money for a shoe? Disposable income is one thing. But a total disregard for the entire human race is another. Do you know how many malaria treatments, medications, etc could be purchased for that amount of money? Seriously, how self absorbed must you be to spend money on $399 sandals?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Little Pink Houses

Boy oh boy did I have fun fun fun last night. SIL and I went to Darien Lake to see an American icon...ok maybe that is not his most flattering photo, but he still has it!

Couple him with John Fogerty and you had one happy woman!

P.S. He still looks good from the back ;-o

Monday, July 11, 2005

The House of Conspicuous Consumption

Do I feel selfish? Yes. Do I wish to change the things that are making me feel that it is currently, "All about me" week? Absolutely not! Last week I read my horoscope on someone's blog; Cancers are on the rise! Some random planet has changed its nasty alignment that has caused havoc for the crab for the last few years (?)! Geez, who knew? Maybe it is true. This month has been very nice so far.

I had a smooth end of school year, a great vacation, and an awesome birthday! DH gave me the iPod I had been coveting, dear brother and SIL gave me some sweet earrings and basket from 10,000 Villages, and then the best thing of all...

Yes, the best things do come from Canada! Isn't it beautiful? This wheel was well worth the almost 6 month wait. It spins like butter! If you subscribe to Spin Off check out last issue's article on the Lendrum shop. Can you see me jumping up and down for joy?!?

And this is what I was able to do. Not too bad for a first attempt after one lesson back in October, eh? Now what the heck do I do with it? I have about 2 oz. The woman I bought the wheel from suggested making a very open scarf on large needles. Ok, but I would not wear it. How about going through the stash and weaving in some of the subtler novelty yarns? Hmm....

Knitting progress has been made on the Lorna's Laces socks for daughter, E.

But do you see what I see? The darn stripes are NOT the same. Why? Because the dye job is not the same. Shouldn't these hand dyed self striping yarns come with some kind of warning label? Arghh...

Friday, July 08, 2005


My neighbor is from the UK. For several years, she and a group of her friends have met for 'tea'. I remember reading about them in the local paper over 15 years ago thinking it was amazing that a group of women who had never met in their native country should meet in the U.S. and become great friends. (BTW they do not serve watercress and cucumber sandwiches. I was informed that someone had tried to sneak them in, but this group has a definite sweet tooth.)

Each member of the group, save one - the only American- has family members still living in the UK. Ironically, each of them has just returned, is currently visiting, or leaving as soon as tomorrow for London. I thought for sure they would feel the outrage that so many are experiencing. I thought they would be in a panic about traveling. But they're not. They reminded me that acts of terrorism had been a part of the daily routine for them for so many years thanks to the IRA, that they almost expect such events. Rather than the acts of violence, they focused on how efficiently the authorities had sealed off the areas and how quickly emergency personnel had responded.

It was not the reaction I had expected. But it made me thankful again, that acts of terrorism are not part of my children's daily routine and that I do not accept such chaos as inevitable.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

There's No Place Like Home!

One week, 697 miles, and 24 hours in the car later...we are back to the world of grocery shopping, taxi service, laundry duty and blogging!

So where was the Green Eyed Knitter? Clarksville, Tennessee to visit her brother and his lovely family, that's where! And what does a Green Eyed Knitter do in Clarksville, Tennessee you ask?

We celebrate 16 year old Matt's birthday. Or maybe he did more! My nephew is now a licensed driver with his very own "junker". I am so glad that I was able to see the joy on that child's, ahem, young man's face when he realized that little Chevy truck was all his.

We celebrate the Green Eyed Knitter's 46th birthday! Of course that entails a trip to a new (for her) yarn shop. Off to Angel Hair Yarn in Nashville! If you link to the site, please scroll down for some interior pix! I love this shop! It is large and COLORFUL with great selections of goodies. Tons of patterns, a comfy couch, and a great area tucked in a large corner for classes. Sharon from Knitnacks was also in the area, unfortunately, I did not read her blog until I was well into my visit. I would love to have finally met a fellow blogger in person!

So what does a Northern knitter purchase in the South? Why sock yarn of course! And a very neat little book!
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Green Eyed Knitters go to carnivals and fireworks at Fort Campbell, KY with the the family. My brother is a retired BlackHawk pilot. Yeah, I know this is a knitting blog, but I really need to say this. We went to the base twice, once for the carnival and again for the fireworks. Both evenings I was surrounded my these young soldiers. Everywhere I looked, young families...small children, pregnant wives...happy families. These guys are ready to ship out again. Which one of these families is right now experiencing the last Independence Day with their father? Their husband? And for what reason? Sorry, but it really made me so sad. And so grateful that my brother made it safely through two trips to Iraq and will never need to go again. 'Nuff of that!

Did I tell you that I love Southern Living? After a careful study of the best diners in the Nashville area we decided on The Loveless Cafe for some down home cookin'! I love to eat! And this place was no disappointment. Fried okra, greens, bisquits, and pork barbeque! Yummy! Even my picky brother said he would go back. I know I will; just for that piece of coconut creme pie I did not have room to order!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Did You See This?

I have nothing new to offer on the knitting front, but have you seen this? Theresa C. you are amazing! I cannot even begin to fathom completing any project in 15 days; especially a charted one! Kudos!

Friday, June 24, 2005

A Redbird Christmas

Yes, I know it is the end of June. But if I am like most folks, Fannie Flagg is an author that catches the eye for one reason or another when spied on the library shelf. If you are looking for a light, feel good read - complete with a "too perfect" ending - this is it. A RedBird Christmas portrays a town that can only exist on paper. But Lord help me - I love to believe it is real!

But here is the reason I needed that dose of sugar. Young adult literature. I have returned the last three selections to the library unread because I could not get through them. I have had it up to here (you decide where that it is) with novels written for teens that show nothing but dysfunction. Is there an unwritten rule that states that if teens are to read it that the mother must be dead, missing, or dependent on something horrid (drugs, sex, alcohol, an abusive spouse/partner)? That the adults in their lives are all self-centered and would make outstanding poster children for 101 Ways to Be a Bad Parent? As the teacher of these young adults, may I say to the authors: That they are not sucked in! They find it depressing! They think it is fake! They want to read about worlds that they can be places of fantasy. Yes, Harry Potter. But also stories that are about them - not hordes of septic youth that the ALA seems to think are out there reading. End of rant, but I am finding it difficult to find something new to use in my classroom. Any suggestions?

But back to knowing it is the middle of June and not Christmas... bought a GREAT little scarf book. And I plan on knitting my way through the whole thing! I shall post very soon the FINISHED project. Then it is off to the socks!

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

No, I Have Not Moved to the Bahamas

It would be nice if I could spend some quality time on one of these lovely lounge chairs. Unfortunately, my time has been spent on some other high quality endeavors.

For example, we have...

...end of the marking period grading, final exams and proctoring in 90+ heat :(

Spending far too much time with these...

And really trying to fly through a lot of these to pick out books for next year's exciting 8th grade ELA class...

As the year starts to wind down, I think of all the projects that are waiting for me. Where would you begin?

  • Entrelac socks
  • Lorna's Laces self striping sock
  • Brown "magic loop" sock
  • Fair Isle sweater
  • White "oh so many funky yarns" cardi
  • Eros "it will never fit you right, so why don't you forget it?" zippi
  • Side to side cardi "the one in the blue bag that I cannot find"
  • Cool chunky yarn to make the "OMG that is so easy, I can make that!" pullover I saw while on vacation
  • Tweedy Cable pullover for my husband; aka "You never make anything for me!"
  • Philosopher's Wool substitute for my wonderful SIL, that I love ever so much! Yes, she can wait another Christmas because she loves me, too!

And those are the ones on the needles. We shall not discuss what is in the bags, lined up like little soldiers ready to do battle. Oh yeah, and did I tell you I started the coolest little scarf on Sunday because it was too hot to work on the Manos afghan from Hell?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Can You Say "Entrelac Sock" 5 Times Fast?

"Entrelac is a technique in knitting whereby a knitter creates a fascinating and beautiful multidirectional fabric by knitting little squares in opposite directions. Some knitters enjoy this to no end and advocate learning to knit backward to simplify the knitting the millions of little squares. These knitters are patient and talented. In my experience, however, if you enjoy knitting entrelac, you may also want to try pulling all your nose hair out with tweezers."

Pearl-McPhee, Stephanie. At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much. Story Publishing, 2005.

This from a woman who knits Latvian mittens as though they are an Olympic sport? So let us have a peek at the little goodie up above. I LOVE entrelac. It looks really cool, and it does not require a chart. So when I saw that a LYS was offering an entrelac sock class I was in! Great pattern, not so great colors. I had a choice between muted and bright. This is bright. Me no like. I really should try to reserve judgment until they are finished.

Have you ever had a "Great! Now they have the color I want!" moment? While working on the sock, I spied the new shipment of Manos in the colors I really wanted. But nooooo....I had to be hastey and buy what she had last month, didn't I? Crap, crap, crap! And would you believe I now want to rip out the last panel and 3/4? How irrational is that? I won't. I will finish. I. Will. Finish.

It is now time to revisit the ugly from the great "Don't you dare touch that yarn" auction. I knit a sample of the 'good' blue and the 'ugly' red. Unfortunately, they do not felt at the same rate. So here's the plan: knit the backpack in red. Knit a mile or so of blue I Cord. Felt. Attach I Cord to backpack with invisible stitch. I am so excited!!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

What Was I Thinking?

The Good

The Bad

And The Ugly

Thursday night was the knitting guild's annual yarn auction. I really get very excited about it. The question is why? Certainly there are deals to be had. And this year there was more yarn than ever. I think every member over the age of 67 decided this was the year to clean out the stash that they had been willed by their knitting grannies and aunties.

Over 130 bags of goodies were lined up on the tables. But this year with a twist: No one was allowed to open the bags and fondle the goods. Now is this fair? I think not. Heavens, we do not know where some of this stuff has been. What if it came from the house of a smoker? Or had been used by the family kitty for more than a bed? Yeah, I know, I exaggerate. But you know what I mean.

I am now the not so proud owner of some rather questionable yarns. I grabbed the lopi only because it came with a really great scarf pattern. That alone would have been around $5; for an additional $5 I have two skeins of Lopi. Not so bad. For $24 I was able to buy over 1400 yards of Jeannie by Phentex: 100% cotton in a nice denim color. And the final item in the "good" lot was a rather hefty bag of top. Do I know what I have? Absolutely not! Someone said, "Hey that's way better than roving! Good for you!" Could someone tell me what I bought?

Now we move on to the "bad". Do not, I repeat, do NOT knit during the auction. Even if you think you can knit, and bid at the same time, trust me - YOU CANNOT! I pick up my paddle thinking that the huge bag of Lamb's Pride is the next item. But suddenly the local Vanna White is moving with it. I panic. I thought they were on the ugly grab bag of mismatched red wool. I bid. I win! An ugly grab bag of mismatched mostly red wool. Crap! Oh double crap! I am still in shock when the bag of Lamb's Pride went for less than $40.

I shall save face by walking into next month's guild meeting with a great felted back pack that subtle shading from top to bottom with a soft blue contrast on the bottom and flap edging. Who needs nice yarn anyway?

Monday, May 02, 2005

And Another Week Begins!

I am not sure this is the appropriate place for this topic, but unfortunately, this is an issue I am forced to contemplate each year. Normally, breaking records is a good thing. But not this time. So ladies (and gentlemen?) an all time high has been reached this school year. We now have four, count 'em four, pregnant teenage girls in my building.

Why? Why do they have sex at the age of 13 or 14? Why do they have unprotected sex? Why do they have so much unsupervised time on their hands? Why do their parents not ask who they are with and what are they doing and where they are going? It makes me sad. Very sad.

And in 13 years, one of those 'babies' will walk in to door to announce that their mother was in my class. In the meantime - I think I will have another conversation with my daughters.

Knitting wise...the work on the panels continue. I hope to finish the fourth one tonight. I really want to take it to the Knitting Guild 'Show and Tell' next month.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Me Talk Pretty!

The Green Eyed Knitter and her SIL did a bit of spring cleaning last night and it shows! Now my banner even sports a little bit of my favorite vest. YES!

The weather held out. I finished my 5 mile walk for MS a good hour before the rain fell. It made me feel good to do something constructive for others, now I just need to peddle for the cold hard cash donations! Yeah, I know I did it backwards, but we had a late start on this. All in all a great success. My daughter, E, and my SIL joined me. Thank goodness, because the lovely little kids from National Junior Honor Society that came along did not want to walk with their teacher. I give them credit! Over half of the group just finished their middle school musical last night - along with a very late night cast party. Oh to be young again ;-) Oh seriously, who could pay any of us to go back to those years?

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Awwww Geeeeeez

Do not attempt blog changes with extra children in the house! Do not attempt blog changes when you still do not understand how anything works! Do not forget that when playing with template changes you lose everything! Crap! I plan on kidnapping my sister in law for about two hours this evening and having her HTML genius give me a hand. For that, I will plug her warned...very political! Liberal!

Anyway, above you will see the panels for the Manos afghan. Three and one half of the five panels are now finished. Please explain why they are all a different length when I measured each section numerous times. After blocking and assembly, it had better not decide to pull! I wish the colors were more accurate; they really are gorgeous.

The rain is back with a vengeance. Please think of me tomorrow as I walk for MS in the rain. Please support the local walks in your area this weekend! Living in Western New York we have one of the highest MS rates in the United States.

But for now - off to the movies! Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!

Friday, April 29, 2005

It's Called a Mental Health Day!

I am a teacher. I will be the first to admit that there is absolutely no reason for me to have access to 15 sick days during a 187 day calendar. Now that my children are in middle school, I seldom use a day. But today I needed one. Ready for the rationalization?

  1. The sun is shining and we are due for a three day rain fest.
  2. My children's district had a "Staff Development Day". The idea of leaving them alone with the 16 year old again was too much for everyone to bear.
  3. I actually got a 9:00 am hair appointment.
  4. I have a student teacher who is doing a fine job, and I just could NOT stand the thought of sitting in my chair trying to find things to do while she taught all day. Again.

Results: happy children, a mommy without "roots", one pampered dog, a real dinner in the oven...LIFE IS GOOD!

Every once in a while I go on a young adult fiction bender. I am constantly looking for books to supplement my classroom library. I have a particularly hard time finding quality fiction for the boys. You know the kind? The ones who brag that they have never met a book they liked? They are my challenge.

Today I read Swords for Hire by Will Allen. Not a great book, but certainly one with high appeal for boys in grades 5 -8. Just enough adventure, a sword fight or two, some good guys, some bad guys, and one very innocent kiss. Not a hard read, even for the reluctant reader. What makes this story appealing for me is how it came to be. Will Allen wrote this book as a Christmas gift for siblings before his untimely death. He was a lifelong friend of Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson. The book was later published by Allen's brother. And that I love. A brother and a friend, ensuring their loved one's talent can be shared by others.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Blog Theme Theft Alert

My alpologies to Liz at Pocket Farm, but her entry about her Beema's million dollar cake made me miss my grandmother. is my Grandma Sophie's story.

Sophie lived in a small German/Polish border town. Her mother had died and her German father re-married. Sophie and her step-mother had numerous problems. Fourteen year old Sophie left home and boarded a ship to America. On board the ship, she was taken in by an Italian family. Single women were not allowed to leave Ellis Island without someone responsible for their welfare. She stayed with this family as they moved from New York to the Geneva/Rome of Central New York State.

Sophie was a beautiful girl. Petite with flawless skin and chestnut hair. She fell in love with a young polish boy. Up to the day she died, she mourned his death. He died on the battlefield during WWI. Throughout those years she was persued by my grandfather. He swore to her that he would someday marry her.

After the death of Sophie's sweetheart, her 'adopted' family arranged for her marriage with my grandfather. I am sad to say that she never grew to love the overbearing Italian man who later moved her to Buffalo and later to a small town on Lake Ontario.

For as long as I can remember, my grandmother was an "old" woman. Her thin white hair always braided and coiled on the top of her head; the smell of Jean Nate clung to her heavy black winter coat.

But Sophie made a pizza bread...bread dough stuffed with ham, eggs, and cheese. Throughout my childhood we would receive phone calls at random intervals, "Come over, I have pizza bread!" We never took long to respond. It was always best eaten slightly warmer than room temperature. My sister and I have tried unsuccessfully over the years to recreate the recipe, but to no avail. And maybe that is just as well. Because no one can replace Grandma Sophie.

Monday, April 18, 2005

So Now I'm Boring?

Ok...I am insulted! My little blog has not taken the world by storm - this I know. But did I need to have it confirmed by Amy Singer, editor of Knittydotcom, that my dwindling daily visits only confirms this? Side note: Was I the only one who said, "What the hell?" when they opened this latest issue? Geez Louise! I have 100 8th graders and children who already know that about me. Is there nowhere to hide.

So, here's the deal. I need to make a decision. Does the blog get written for me? Yes, it is meant for public consumption, but where is my voice? I am trying to pattern myself after the BIG blogs. But as I tell my students, it must be authentic! And I ain't no Harlot...ok maybe, but from a literary level I know there is no comparison. But truthfully, I am not that boring. Consequently, things may start to look a little different around here. If you're out there - consider yourself warned!

So today my copy of InterWeave Knits arrived. I have a dentist appointment in 15 minutes, is there a way to read it while the hygenist works on my teeth? Let's check out the highlights of this issue, shall we? Turn to the add on page 26 (sorry no scanner), and check out the ad. WHAT is on her feet? Is that supposed to distract me from the KNIT bathsuits? OMG

To be continued...

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Monday Morning... fast approaching. I had a great weekend, and that is usually why I cannot bear the thought of the work week. I am greedy; I want more fun!

Living in Buffalo you get to count on two things: crappy weather and more live theatre in two square blocks than any place outside of NYC. A little dinner and then A My Name is Alice . But if you check out the link, scroll down...I think I really need to check out Kilt. Here's hoping for a wicked updraft!

Saturday morning E finished a Girl Scout badge by Scouting for Food. This is the first year that we did not have rain/snow/wind/buffalo crappy weather. The sun was shining, no coats and glimmers of very white bare toes in flip flops!

Then off to Chautauqua! Bliss! It was one of the nicest spring days we have had on the lake that I can remember. Hard to believe that just two weeks ago a blizzard dumped 18" of snow and last week there was still ice on the lake. There were quite a few people around for the weekend taking advantage of the early warm up to get a head start on the spring clean up. I got to park my carcass on the deck for about two hours and knit totally undisturbed for over two hours. Then guilt set in and I thought I should clean some of the winter grit and grime off the sun porch. The guys got enough fish for dinner, so everyone except the vegetarian was happy.

But Sunday morning arrived and I had empty refrigerators in two houses! So I decided there was little sense in stocking the one I was closest to as I did not know when we would be back. So hi ho - hi ho- back to Buffalo we go.

Steinmart, Wegmans, (how sad is that? I just linked my grocery store!) and to my parents for dinner. And before you know it...another weekend bites the dust.

But something to look forward to - knitting group at my house tomorrow! Now if only I could post photos, but the ladies are leery of having their faces floating around cyberspace. Maybe I should try project shots instead?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

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