Thursday, November 24, 2005


Well, the boys and I have arrived safely in Florida. On arrival they immediately changed into their suits and began cavorting in the pool.

Here's Younger Son

and Older Son (I had to get a photo to prove it) disporting themselves.

And, Dave called us yesterday morning and guess what?! His birthday gift finally arrived in China! I suspected that when I traced it whatever post office it was stuck in in China would disgorge it. He says he really likes everything (a Hard Rock Pittsburgh Tee shirt and pin from me and a harmonica from his mother.)

Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! I'll take photos and put them up later!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

News From China

Dave sent the following pictures of his birthday party in China:
Dave's onstage with his birthday cake (he's wearing makeup for Halloween), and another Halloween perfomer (with better makeup).

Here's Dave's latest missive:
Many people in Anyang want to learn English, but very few know more than a few phrases. A few days ago I ran into an English teacher for a local school, and she asked if I would speak to her students, so they could hear a native English speaker.

Thursday, some students and parents met with me in a conference room at the hotel.
I showed them photos of my family and our activities on my laptop, and I came across a pretty picture of a friend, Cathy, on her wedding day. The teacher made the
students repeat the words bride and bridegroom, then I told them how I met Cathy.

I arrived to play guitar at a club in Roanoke Virginia, when I saw many people dancing an active, athletic dance that I had never seen before. I asked someone there, Mike, what these people were doing, he replied “swing dancing”, and he asked Cathy to teach me a few steps.

I have since spent a lot of evenings learning swing dancing with these folks (in the basement of the Holy Spirit Church on Merriman Street), and although I have never become particularly good at it, swing dancing is almost too fun to be legal. This from a guy who is still learning to walk.

Back in China, the teacher asked me to demonstrate what swing dancing was, and I managed to demonstrate the basic step. All the students had to try it out, so imagine eight giggling fourteen year-old Chinese girls chanting “triple-step, triple-step, rock step”. I wish I got a photo, but it was over too quick.

I included a picture of a Chinese street walking street ( no cars allowed),

a chef slicing my Peking Duck,

and a street vendor near the hotel.


Thursday, November 17, 2005


OK, so I'm going to knit the baby dress from Brown Sheep's Cotton Fine. Which means I have to call Patternworks and order a cone in red. So what else should I get? Maybe another cone in "Teddy" (tan) for more socks, and a couple of skeins of a worsted to make "One Skein Wonders" for my Evil Twin for Christmas. Hopefully if I order tonight it will be delivered in time for me to take it with me on vacation. So let's see...What else do I have to have for my Holiday knitting....I think that's it. I'm hoping to get at least one "One Skein Wonder" done while I'm on vacation so I can leave it with my Evil Twin and another little giftie done for my other sister (can't say what it is, don't want to ruin the surprise!) Then the baby dress by Dec. 11. I think I may be being optimisic, but if I buckle down on the weekends I still think I might make it. Still working on Younger Son's Halloween Birthday socks. I'm closing in on the end though, look:

Just when did his feet get so freaking BIG!?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


I'm a knitter. Everyone who knows me well knows that I am. So when major gift-giving occasions crop up (as they regularly do) it has now become expected that I will produce a hand-knitted gift. And not just any handknitted gift, but because I am a knitter of long standing, I'm expected to produce an elaborate hand knitted gift. Not for me the simple garter stitch scarf. No, no, we want the matching scarf/hat/mitten set! Not just one pair of socks, no sir. An entire wardrobe of socks for me! Not just a simple 5 Hour Baby Sweater, no sirree! A layette including a sweater, hat, booties, and a blanket! Something in lace! I suppose I have only myself to blame. For years I have been using these occasions to stretch my knitting skills and I used to revel in making each item more elaborate than the last. This week as I'm struggling to get Younger Son's birthday socks knit and trying to figure out where I'll find the time to make something for my God Daughter's layette I realized I've become trapped by my knitting! Does anyone else feel this way? I don't want to disappoint anyone, but I don't have the time to make what I'd like. Ah well, all we can do is our best.

I've decided to make this dress in red with white fur accents (the ends of the sleeves, hem, and in place of the garter ridge at the bodice)for my God Daughter's baby. I've got a ball of white Fun Fur around here somewhere. Just have to find a nice red yarn. And these booties to match, both from the same book.

In other news, I've put a trace on Dave's birthday package, which has not yet arrived in China. I'm hoping that the search process shakes it loose from where ever it's been hiding and it gets delivered.

I'm now on book 3 of 11.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Birthday Party

Younger Son's birthday celebration was a success! Here's Younger Son and Older Son at the movies:

And here's the cake: and a couple of shots of the blowing out of the candles:
This one's a great action shot. And here's YS showing off the sweatshirt his big brother made for him for his birthday.

In Knitting News I'm still knitting black socks. I hope to finish soon. I have to make at least one more baby thing by December 11 when I will go to the baby shower for my God-Daughter. We know the baby is a girl. I want to make a blanket. I'd like to knit one like the Lion Brand 'Artful Afgan', except in shades of pink. But I don't think I'll have time. (What am I saying? I KNOW I won't have time!) So I'm undecided. Crochet would be quicker...I dunno. I'd also like to make a little red and white dress for the little babe for Christmas. I'm thinking a red plushy yarn with white fur accents. I already have a little pink hooded sweater for her.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my baby!

He's twelve today.

We plan to celebrate by going to the first showing this morning of Wallace & Grommet - Curse of the Were-Rabbit and then going out for lunch (his choice of movie and restaurant). This evening we will take pizza to my Mother-in-Law's and celebrate with the family.* I got him the Bionicle 3 movie along with a Bionicle from the movie. The poor kid is convinced he's getting nothing for his birthday because I took him out shopping with me last night and he didn't see me buy anything (yeah, I'm that good). I told him I'm giving him half a pair of socks. I finally had to tell him I really do have a gift for him before he went to bed because he was so upset.

Parent Teacher conferences went ok yesterday. Actually better than I expected. (Going in I viewed any outcome that didn't involve me being escorted from the building as a success.) Younger Son's teachers all say he's very intelligent, and that he would have A's if he would just complete his assignments (If only he would use his powers for good!) I pretty much told them I am at my wit's end with getting him to do work and we discussed some strategies to implement. Older Son's teachers all love him. Almost every teacher told me he should make a career of that subject. This is great news to me as just a few years ago I was in the same position with him as I am with YS. I refused to bow to the pressure from his teachers (and some family members) to take responsibility myself for his schoolwork. I insisted that it was HIS responsibility and if he chose not to do the work he could suffer the consequences. And consequences there were. He had straight A's this grading period. I feel vindicated.

*I have not been best pleased with Younger Son lately as he has not been completing his homework and his grades show that. He currently has no privileges. I think my MiL stepped in because she was afraid I view a Birthday Party as a privilege. I was up in the air about it. But since she offered I now have no qualms about telling YS the only reason he's getting a party is because his grandmother is giving him one.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I Can't Go Back There Again

Well, I can't ever go back to the Starbucks across the street from work again. I got my drink today (a venti Peppermint Mocha) and then proceeded to knock it over and spill it all over the prep station. At least it wasn't on me. The nice barista, although visibly annoyed, made me another drink and started cleaning up. I tipped her for her trouble, but still. I'll have to walk two blocks around the corner to the other Starbucks in the Barnes & Noble from now on. Well, at least I get a discount there. I shouldn't be allowed out alone in public.

I also didn't get the Cranberry Bliss bar I ordered, but (wisely, I think) decided not to make an issue of it. And I restrained myself and did not purchase the Christmas cd displayed on the counter. It took alot of willpower, though. I'm hoping to wheedle my sister into buying it for me while I'm visiting for Thanksgiving. She may not, though, since she has little patience for collections and thinks that the 60+ Christmas cds I already own are sufficient. (Never!) I also have not yet purchased the Kohl's Christmas cd -- I have the past 2 years' cds and they're both favorites. Again, I'm hoping to get it as a gift (BIG HINT THERE). I think I've shown considerable restraint. I deserve a reward!

No New Knitting News! I'm working on sock 2 of the Halloween/Younger Son's Birthday socks. It looks just like the first one.

Everyone please think good thoughts for me tomorrow afternoon. I have something like 20 parent-teacher conferences to go to. An hour and a half of smiling politely while "professionals" tell me how bad my children are. I hope I can hold up.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A Change in the Weather

It's a dark and stormy night...Very windy, thunder and lightening, but no rain yet. (Update, it's raining now.) We're supposed to get snow tomorrow night, but then warm again. I'll have to make the Skinny Boys (hey CQ!) wear their sweaters and socks to bed. Younger son will want to come in and snuggle with me if he hears the thunder.

I'm making some progress on things here and at work. But I don't know...Sometimes it just feels like whatever decision I make is going to be the wrong one. I had to sit through a meeting today in which I was told (oh so nicely) that the way I had done something was wrong. (Not what I'd done, that was more or less ok. I just picked the wrong way to get there.) Oh well, all I can do is muddle along as best I can.

In knitting news I finished the first Halloween sock. It's pictured here on Younger Son's foot. It's just a teeny bit snug on him. But he should be able to wear them just fine. When did his feet get so freaking big? These are for his birthday, which is Saturday. We'll probably celebrate by going to a movie in the morning and then having lunch out (his choice of restaraunt, so probably McDonald's, but maybe Eat-n-Park) which is the usual birthday celebration around here. The Celtic Queen and her Celtings aren't allowed to come with us, since her husband was miffed that the last two times we went out we saw a movie he wanted to see and he couldn't go with us (he works Saturdays). He's one of those people who feel that it's only worth going out to movie with you if you're all seeing it for the first time.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I Got Nothing

I got nothing to share today. No pictures (I'm still knitting black socks, still have a sweater half sewn together), nothing exciting to talk about. I talked to Dave, and he had another music gig, playing at another mall. He still hasn't gotten his package. I think some Chinese customs worker may have just helped himself to his own little birthday gift. Or possibly the word "Priority" just has no meaning in China. (But they sure pushed Dave to get his stuff done asap. Sheesh. They could use a little of that kind of pressure at the Post Office, I think.)

I was the source of some serious amusement at our weekly staff meeting. Everyone made fun of me because I forgot to punch in from lunch before the meeting. This wouldn't be too bad, except I always forget to punch in. (When I managed to remember to punch for an entire pay period it was such a momentous occasion that the rest of the group got me a cake to celebrate.) But that's not all, it gets even better. I am the person who is responsible for overseeing all the timeclocks and maintaining the timekeeper software! (Well, it's not quite that bad. I'm not the sole person, I'm only nominally the "Go to" person.) We send out a report to all the Timekeepers listing everyone who's missing a punch and needs correcting. My supervisor asked that I not be listed anymore, it was too embarrassing.

I still haven't turned on the heat here. I'm hoping to go to the end of the month, but I may need to rethink this. I dreamed I was heading off on an Arctic expedition last night. (With my brother in law. ??) So maybe it's getting a bit nippy. It's really not that bad yet. Really. Just don't ask the Boys.

Hmmm. I could expound on something. But nothing comes to mind. I still have nothing. Maybe I'll have some epiphany in the middle of the night while I'm trekking through the frozen wasteland (With my brother in law? Where did that come from?) but it will probably just be the realization that I forgot to punch out. Again.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Ding Redux

I found out today that Dave's ding is a si-mu-wu ding. The original is really big! Much bigger than Dave's ding. And it's a Yin dynasty ding. So he has a little si-mu-wu yin ding. Hee hee. I think I giggled about this for about 15 minutes at work today. My co-workers were beginning to worry about me. Seriously though, this ding is an important Chinese artifact from the Bronze age. I hope Dave gets to see the original during its brief visit in the city of Anyang. Still no word on the package yet.

More Autumn pics:
The weather here is pretty fine. I'm hoping now (and thinking it is very possible) to go all month without turning on the heat. It will be pretty warm here this week, so I have until the 14th covered. Then I really only have to hold out until the 22nd, when Boys and I will be off to Florida for Thanksgiving. We won't be back until the 30th and that will be all month. That would be a big savings for me. We'll see.

Knitting News:
Nothing to report! I forgot my sock so could not knit on the bus today. I had Sports Team II, so spent my commuting time sewing seams, Ho Hum.

And I knew you'd get it when I showed a picture, Holly!

Still reading book 2 of 11 (in case you were wondering).

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Blow Me Over

It's extremely windy here. Windy like I may not be able to walk in a straight line. Windy like I just saw an electrical line on the pole outside blow off (not mine, I still have power, but I think some of the neighbors are out.) Guess most of the leaves will come down tonight (although they're still hanging on pretty tight on the neighbor's tree).

Here are our weekend news highlights:

Friday was Knitting Knight at Barnes & Noble! They even put up a sign for us (too bad we saw it on our way out at the end of the night.) Here's a very dark picture of the Celtic Queen herself and her Fruity Pebbles Socks along with our sign. Notice the sign identifies us as a "friendly group of knitters". This is to differentiate us from the "Unfriendly Knitters" who meet at the same B&N on Thursdays who are a "Closed Group". Closed as in they won't welcome anyone new into their group. Yeah, whatever.

The Sons both spent the night Friday elsewhere so I was home all alone. Older Son was at a lock-in at the church and Younger Son was camping with the Boy Scouts. Here's their camp-site:

They were camping at the Library! How suburban is that!!?? At least the weather was great for them. More like camping in June than November.

And I cooked today! Any more a rare occurance around here. I think I watched too much Food Network. I made a Cuban inspired chicken dish served over mashed plantains. Mmmm. The Sons turned up their noses, so I get to eat it for lunch all week. Yippee!

Here's one more Fall picture, this is in my back yard (pre wind storm):
I'm still plugging away on my Halloween socks. I did a bit of seaming on Sports Team II at Knitting Knight, but still haven't finished. Kelly didn't show up with her latest FO so I had an excuse to procrastinate. But I did take this pic of the back for Holly to try and explain how I did my lettering: See, I stranded the yellow for the length of the word, (Fairisle technique) but stopped at the end of the word (intarsia technique). In a nutshell it means I carried the pattern color only where I needed it, not all the way to the end of the row.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Someone Call the Fashion Police

I actually left the house and was halfway up the block this morning before I looked down and saw this (reenacted here):

It's a bit dark, but if you look carefully you will see that I am wearing two different shoes! The shoe on the left is very dark brown, and the shoe on the right is black. I wanted to wear my black shoes. What can I say, it was dark when I was getting dressed. Obviously both shoes have the same heel height, as I was walking around in them before I left and didn't notice anything out of whack. Good thing I noticed before I got to work.

I bought more yarn today. I can justify this because I still haven't turned the heat on. I've gone 4 days past my initial goal date, so that's 28 extra dollars I've saved (at least!). Which coincidentally is the amount I spent on yarn today. And no, I didn't try to. It just worked out that way. It's Kismet, I tell you. Nothing more about the yarn though, because it's a gift for my secret pal (well, some of it is, anyways). More fall pics!
These are the trees outside my dad's apartment building. They were in their full Autumnal glory when my mom first saw the apartment and I think they were one of the reasons she decided to move there!

This next picture is a bit blurry because I took it as I was driving down the road. But I loved the way this little red tree seemed to glow on the hillside. The blurriness just adds a sense of movement to the picture.

First off the Celtic Queen says:
Halloween socks are better than Fruity Pebbles socks.
Well, you know I love you CQ but really. Look at the yarn:
Can you honestly say you didn't see this coming? It looks like fruity pebbles in the picture! Maybe they'll have another contest over at YKW? and you can enter. Take pictures, preferable with your mother wearing them. (OK your Step Father wearing them would be good too.)

And the gracious Jean said yesterday:
Delivery to China -- relax, I'd say, it won't get there for a while, but eventually it will. They tend to hold things in some sort of Chinese limbo for several weeks, to ripen them.
I agree. But what gets me on this is that if you check the USPS web site their list of Chinese cities which expedite mail delivery for their Global Priority mail service includes Anyang. This is expedited? At this point I just hope it gets there before Dave comes home in December.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I'm a Goddess

Knitting Goddess
You appear to be a Knitting Goddess.
You are constantly giving and are unconcerned with
reward, you simply want others to love knitting
as much as you do. If someone wants to knit
miles of novelty yarns, you are there for them.
If someone wants to learn short row shaping,
you can help. There are no taboos in knitting,
only opportunities to grow. Everyone should
have friend like you around if they want to
learn to knit, and there's a good chance that
your passion has rubbed off on a few others.

What Kind of Knitter Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

The Celtic Queen sent me this. (She's a Goddess too. It runs in the family, along with our youthful good looks.) Finally someone realizes my true persona!

I'm still knitting Younger Son his socks. I think these will be the "Halloween Socks" because I started them on Halloween and they are black. Whenever I look at them I think of Halloween.

Still no word on Dave's birthday gift. We're now at 14 days and counting.

I'm going to drop in a couple of random autumn pictures here in the next few days. We've had a very late fall this year, usually all the leaves are down by now, but the change came late for whatever reason.
This is my favorite time of year, and I know some readers here don't have fall, so I'll put up some pictures so you all can enjoy it too. Oh, and I'm still only on book 2 of 11 (just in case you're keeping score).

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I've Been Around...

You may have noticed that I haven't been posting much for the past week. Well, I've been around -- I've just been...busy. You may remember I bought that new book. Well, it's number 11 in a series. So me being the freak that I am, I have to start reading the series again at the beginning and read to the end so I can read the new book. So that's ummm ten books. And they're all over 500 pages (some considerably over). Yeah, so that will take me awhile. (But I'm well into book 2 now.) Older Son is reading the new book now. He put it aside in disgust because until I get to it he won't have anyone to discuss it with. It drives him crazy. You should have seen him with Harry Potter this summer. I thought he was going to explode. I had to make arrangements for him to get together with someone who had read the book so he could talk about it and let off some steam.

Knitting News
Speaking of Harry Potter, Younger Son would not be Harry for Halloween. Look at this kid.
Now I ask you -- does this kid look like Harry Potter or what? And what a handsome handknit sweater he's wearing. (I took this and the HP scarf I'd knit to the book premier which happened to be on our regular knitting group night. I had three offers to buy it. It's knit from Wool Ease in the now discontinued color of Burgundy Sprinkles and Maize (?) for the 'H'.) I even have a long black 'wizard' robe for him to wear. No. Not interested. He was a Ninja. (For the third year in a row.) Kids.

Still no package delivery in China. Four to six days my eye.