Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Ramblings of an Exhausted White Woman

No disrespect meant by the title. It's a take off of a new movie out--something or other about a Mad Black Woman. The previews I've seen look very entertaining. I am not a Mad Black Woman, but I am a very exhausted white woman. We moved another three loads of crap from the old house tonight. Just a few more loads to go, and the inside is done. Then, that just leaves the basement (where I won't go, because there have been snakes in there!), cleaning the yard, washing the siding and deck on the house, and cleaning the house from top to bottom after it is painted, papered, and the new vinyl put in the kitchen. *sigh* When will this end?? I won't even mention the cleaning, painting, and unpacking that need to be done at this house.

We picked some blue berries here at the new house tonight, and I've been instructed to make muffins. I think pancakes might also be a good use of these berries. When we went over to the old house, we found the blackberry vines covered in ripe berries. I have a bowl full that will find its way into a cobbler this weekend. Yummy! I haven't had blackberry cobbler in years.

Here's something for you to think about. When you have a question, what do you do? Do you look it up, or do you just ask someone? I grew up being told "look it up" when I had a question. I guess my parents figured they'd better get their money's worth out of that nice set of World Book Encyclopedias!! I've become the mom who says "look it up" and the boss who says that, too! People learn more when they look things up from themselves.

Frankly, I think it's lazy to ask a question that you could answer yourself with just a little bit of effort. With the Internet, there is a world of information quite literally at our finger tips. How hard is it to Google something?? If I'm feeling like a real smart ass and see a simple question posted to a forum, I will say "Did you Google that, because I got X number of hits when I typed it in." I just really cannot tolerate laziness in any form including the on line form. I don't think that's a weakness on my part.

You will notice that once again there are no pictures in this post. I simply do not have time, and I am not apologizing for that. Besides, daughter dearest has discovered that our digital camera makes quick time movies. She's turned into a regular little film maker this week. I couldn't get my hands on the camera if I wanted to.

OK. I'm done for now. If I don't make it back again this weekend, Happy 4th to one and all! I took Friday off so it will be an extra long weekend for me.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Settling In

We've been in our new house for a week now, and I guess we are settling in. It's still hard to believe this wonderful place is really ours. I don't think any of us ever want to move again. We are still moving "stuff" out of the old house. I think we are about done there. I don't know how three people accumulated so much. We are taking time during packing and unpacking to go through and evaluate what we want to keep and what we need to discard. Goodwill is going to love us.

Moving day went pretty well thanks to my mom, brother, and his girlfriend. I don't know what we'd have done without them. We had nice weather up until the very end. Raindrops started falling as I took the last piece of furniture off the truck, and then a monsoon settled in. Our living room is still bare. The antique sofa I want to put in there is still in storage. I do have an old half round table in there. It belonged to my great grandmother. My plan is to furnish the upstairs living room and dining room in antiques. I'll do that slowly and just add pieces that I really like. We have several antique malls here, and my mom knows a man in our home town who sells antiques. We bought the old sofa from him (Duncan Fyfe) and it is a great piece.

We've met some of our neighbors all of whom seem very nice. Here's a photo of one of our favorites. We've seen her twice so far in the week we've lived here. She's a real "deer". (Look to the right side of the photo to see her.)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Can A Person Die of Tired?

Can a person die from "tired"? If so, husband and I are in big trouble. I think we are both walking zombie people, him in particular, poor dear. We've been hard at it with packing, moving, and cleaning since last weekend. He's been painting as if his life depended on it. I swear I never threatened him!! My poor baby was painting at the new house until about 11:30 last night. He did a beautiful job on daughter's sunny yellow room, and now he's turning our room into a lovely, soothing shade called ibis white or something like that.

We are surrounded here in our present home by boxes. You know what? I don't have enough boxes either. I've been lugging things to the new house, unpacking, and using the boxes over and over again. How tiring is that. I'm also beginning to hate the stairs in our new house, but I imagine that feeling will pass when all I have to carry up and down them is my own weight and not my weight plus a darned heavy box.

Husband and I were wise enough to realize taking tomorrow off is a good thing. He has an appointment with the security system company to see about getting that installed, and I'm looking forward to a date with the lovely young men who'll clean our carpets. We also plan to squeeze in more moving and painting tomorrow.

Saturday is the BIG DAY when we'll load our remaining worldly goods into a huge truck and cart them to our new place, with the help of my wonderful brother, mom, and brother's girlfriend. Brother dear has already warned his GF not to even think about telling me where to put anything in my new house or offering suggestions of any kind. He told her that while I appear to be a charming person, when under duress and exhausted, I can be quite the bitch. Wow. My little brother knows me well.

Tonight is the last night of pottery for this week. We finish up completely next week. Thank goodness. This hasn't been a lot of fun for me. I have resorted to rolling out balls of clay into flat pieces and cutting shapes with cookie cutters. My shapes are destined to become wind chimes--a flower one, a butterfly one, and a star one. The teacher told daughter she's a natural!! She certainly didn't get that talent from me. Miss Artistic Genius whipped out three very nice pots on the pottery wheel last night. I'm impressed.

There has been no knitting going on here this week--no time! I definitely hope to put my feet up on Sunday night and knit SOMETHING!! ANYTHING! I have a severe case of knitter's withdrawal and I need a fix.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Wheel Isn't for Me

The potter's wheel and I do not like each other. We only have two more days of actual clay work in class; next week is devoted to glasing and firing. I have decided coil pots and perhaps some free form cut out objects are more my speed. Daughter, on the other hand, produced two wonderful jar/bowl objects on the wheel tonight. I think I like fiber much better than clay.

The moving game still continues. Today, we got the dining room table and chairs moved over. I guess that means the end to scarfing down take out while perched at the kitchen counter!

I Should Be Packing

I should be packing, yet here I sit staring at the computer, reading blogs, and generally wasting time. My body is one mass of aches, and I'm dizzy. I think the dizziness is brought on by sheer exhaustion creeping in on me. We've been pulling some really long days working on the house, packing, moving bits and pieces, etc. and I'm sleep deprived.

I finished the hardest job yesterday--cleaning the downstairs kitchen. As my faithful few will recall, the new house has two kitchens--a full kitchen upstairs, and a kitchenette downstairs. The kitchenette had been under the supervision of the man of the house and used for his own hobbies--beer making among them. Needless to say, the place was a wreck!! It's now spic and span and ready for whatever we decide to do with it. We'd toyed with making it a dye kitchen, but husband is going to have his outside workshop for fibery endeavors.

Last night daughter and I had our first pottery/ceramics class. I'd like to say it was wonderful, but that would be a huge lie. We were running late. That was no big deal. The instructor had us all sit around and watch him demo and describe some techniques to start the class. Lucky me happened to be sitting in between two teenage girls who apparently were bored and decided to pass notes back and forth right under my nose. I, of course, made a bit of a scene by telling the girl to my left to trade seats with me because she and the other girl were DISTRACTING! Honestly, these two were old enough to know better than to act that way in a class. Grow up already. Their behavior didn't improve as the evening went on. The instructor finally told one of them "you are spinning the potter's wheel too fast and this is the last time I'm telling you that."

I really don't think I like working with clay. I used the wheel last night, and it was OK...not nearly as fun as it looks when other people do it. I have 25 pounds of gray clay (Raku) that needs to be made into something over the next two weeks. I'm completely uninspired. Last night, all I made was a mess. Tonight, I guess I'd better buckle down and make a coil pot or something. Yippee. I'd much rather be knitting. Maybe I'll surprise myself and actually make something that looks decent enough to be seen in public.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Frozen Pizza and Sub Sandwiches

We picked up the keys to our new house Saturday evening, a bit earlier than anticipated. Sunday found us bright and early back there cleaning, painting, and getting the place ready for our big move this weekend. I'm almost done with my cleaning--just the downstairs kitchen to do, but what a chore--but husband still has a lot more painting. He got the ceiling done in daughter's room yesterday and primed the walls. Today, the "real" paint goes on. We found that the whole place is going to need to be painted with the possible exception of the living room and dining room. Once all the furniture was moved out, the bedrooms and den just didn't look as fresh and clean as we want them. Husband hopes to get our bedroom painted next. The family room, office, and spare bedroom can wait until we're moved. I also need to schedule carpet cleaners to come over by Thursday so that the carpets can be cleaned before we bring over all the furniture.

Our first meals in the new house were frozen pizza for lunch and sub sandwiches for dinner. Exciting stuff, huh?? I'm sure that in spite of pretty common fare, the memories of these two meals will last our life time.

We had our first guests last night, too. The couple from whom we bought the place stopped in to pick up some things. The poor lady got all teary eyed. Who can blame her? They designed and built the house themselves and raised their family there. They gave us a nice gift of the original drawings and blueprints for the house. What a treasure! I wonder if we can have them framed? I'd better check the paper for a Michael's coupon!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Fibery Goodness

I give you Miss Dashwood:

This photo shows off the swirly pattern made by the crown decreases. Pretty cool, huh? Kim asked about the pattern. It isn't too bad. I'd never done a knitted or picot cast on, but the instructions were fairly easy. It was slow going, though, and it took me a long time to finish the brim. Also, I made the second to smallest size (the 3-6 months, I think) and I found an error in the pattern in the stitch count. It is nice that the author indicates what your stitch count should be after certain sections, but having one number on my needles and another on the pattern threw me for a minute. When I went back and counted and compared to the pattern, it turns out I was correct, thank goodness!!

If I ever make this hat again, I'll change a few things. For one, I'm not really happy with the buttons used to hold up the ear flaps when they aren't in use. Babies in the company of buttons make me a bit nervous. Likely, I'll omit the ear flaps completely if I knit this hat again. Second, I don't care for the ties. They are knit one, purl one on the right side, then purl one, knit one on the wrong side. I don't find the resulting fabric very substantial and will likely go with I-cord next time. The I-cord looks better and seems like it will hold up to use better than the ties on Miss Dashwood.

I used half a skein of Plymouth Encore for this hat, and I just couldn't stand having half a skein left (in a color I'm not likely to ever use again in the near future). This roll brim hat worked up in no time and solved my leftover yarn problem:

Here's the lovely Baby Doll modeling for me.

An envelope of fibery goodness arrived at my house yesterday. It's from Knitpicks. Included were 4 skeins of fingering weight dye it yourself wool. I am going to try to do some self striping yarns using directions from the Yarns to Dye For book. I also got two pairs of Bryspun needles to complete my set. Well, as complete a set as I can get from Knitpicks. I saw that Elan also has these needles in sizes 13 and 15. They also have Bryspun DPNs, but I think I'll just stick to the straights.

I have nothing on the needles right now, and that fact makes me a bit nervous. I don't know what I want to make. I'm not really up to tackle another tank top now. Some toe up socks for myself in cotton might be nice, but considering our schedule the next few weeks, I'd likely not finish a pair of socks. The Airy Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts is enchanting. Hmmm....Maybe I should just do some packing, but where is the fun in that??

Tomorrow is our BIG DAY. We are finally able to get into our new house (barring any problems with the current folks moving out today). We spent a small fortune last night at Wal Mart buying cleaning supplies, a new mop, a couple of brooms (one for indoors, one for outdoors in the garage), etc. For once, I'm really looking forward to cleaning.

Monday, Daughter and I start pottery classes at the local art institute. I'm sort of wishing we hadn't signed up now. We had no idea we'd be buying a house and moving when we registered for the class. I know it will be fun, though, and it's too late to cancel now!! Daughter's art teacher from school is the instructor for this class. He is a wonderful artist and teacher. We should have a great time. We even get to use a potter's wheel.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Surrounded by Baby Hats

I completed Miss Dashwood this week except for blocking her brim. As soon as that's done, I'll share a photo. I enjoyed the pattern very much and found that it worked up quickly after getting past that picot cast on!

There was no way I needed half a skein of heathery pink Encore, so I decided that the recipient of Miss Dashwood also needed a simple roll brim hat for every day.

In the making of these two hats, I put my Plymouth interchangeables to the test. Sometimes the shortest cord length (about a 16 inch needle) seems too tight. I knitted down to 40 stitches with the Plymouth and it was just fine.

We get into the new house Sunday to start the cleaning and painting process. I'm actually looking forward to cleaning that house!! Last night, someone came to this house to give us an estimate on painting and wall papering. He seems quite affordable, so I believe he has the job. The man is someone husband works with.

That's all for now, folks!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Purple Crayon Tank--Done!

In spite of doing a three needle bind off so that the seam came out on the public side, I finished the purple Knitpicks Crayon tank top last night. Here is a photo of my very reluctant model:

Overall, I'm pleased with the fit of this tank. The arm holes are not too long. The body of the tank could be a bit more snug, but I figure that with 100% cotton yarn, I'm bound to have some shrinkage. As with most items I knit for daughter, this one went on the body pre-washing or blocking!

When we went out to take the tank photo this evening, I noted how lovely the flowers look. Take a look at this lily:

The flower beds are usually pristine, but for the past couple of years husband (the family gardener) has not paid them much attention. I don't think most of the flowers mind that. I can see now why he wants to dig some of these plants to take with us to the new house.

I had a surge of "Domestic Goddess" this weekend. I made a pan of home made lasagna Friday night, and last night I baked a sour cream pound cake. I'm sure this feeling will pass soon enough. Maybe my interest in cooking is because I don't want to pack for the impending move.

Speaking of the move, we can get into the house Sunday morning to start the cleaning and painting. We'll also begin moving some items over then. The following weekend, we have family coming to help move furniture. I'm excited about the move, but more than anything, I just want it to be done.

Daughter and I made a trip to the library at lunch time today. We picked up several of the books that are on her summer reading list. She has one required reading novel for English, two extra credit books for English, and an extra credit for Social Studies.

I am going to cast on for Miss Dashwood tonight. One of my co-worker friends had a baby girl yesterday, and I think this hat would be the perfect gift.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Prayers for Natalee Holloway

Surely you've heard about Natalee Holloway, the 18 year old girl from Alabama who "went missing" last week while on a graduation trip to Aruba. My gosh, what must her poor mother be feeling right now? I cannot even imagine what I'd do if it were my child. I am hoping and praying they find Natalee alive, but part of me fears they won't. Please keep Natalee and her family in your thoughts, prayers, etc.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Pictures Look Like I Feel: Out of Focus

You know you need to update your blog when your own husband comments about how long it's been! So, I give you the terrible, horrible, no good out of focus photos. They kind of look like I feel with the impending move--out of focus!

Here's my market squares bag getting chummy with the Ashford Kiwi:

I'm going to line the bag, but that won't happen for a while. I'm looking at this as a fall/winter purse rather than a summer purse.

I have a big business meeting coming up in August and will need a little bag to keep my hotel room key, a bit of cash, and maybe a credit card handy. I'm the meeting planner and will be dashing around madly throughout the 5 days of the meeting; I won't want to carry around my purse. I think this little bag will do nicely for what I need:

I'm making it out of Patons Brilliant. I'm going to add a lining to the bag for stability (in case I want to put my cell phone in it!) and will add an I-cord strap. I may post the pattern once I get everything worked out.

I am still working on the purple Crayon tank. It went all the way to Philly with me this week and I didn't knit a stitch. I also decided not to pose the tank taking in the sites in Philly a la Harlot. I think it was really cute how her sock went on tour with her, but it seems like everyone and her sister is stealing the idea and posing their WIPs seeing the sites. Folks, there is only one Harlot, and she's da bomb!

School is officially out for summer for daughter. Yesterday was middle school awards day, and she received a certificate for making honor roll this year. *proud mom moment* I can't believe we'll have ourselves a seventh grader next year.

Husband is running around like a mad man packing up things and worrying about how long it is going to take us to move out of here. That is usually my job. For once, we've reversed roles as I really am not interested in packing anything. Next Sunday, we can get into the new house and start cleaning. Once I do that, then I'll begin carting truck loads of belongings from this house to the new one. For now, CHILL OUT!!!!!!!! Personally, I can't wait to get the house keys next weekend and start scrub, scrub, scrubbing and cleaning in preparation to make my own dirt in the new place!

It's been raining since Tuesday night!! We were supposed to be at the beach again this weekend but couldn't quite bring ourselves to sit cooped up in the villa while the rain poured. Instead, we rented a couple of movies for the weekend.

Last night we watched Phantom of the Opera. It was quite good, but as husband said, someone who is not already a fan of the musical may not enjoy it. We saw Phantom in Atlanta at The Fox a few years ago and fell in love with it. We also have the sound track with Sarah Brightman. The only thing I found lacking with the movie is that the man playing Phantom did not have a very good voice in my opinion.

Tonight, we'll watch National Treasure. Daughter informs us that the movie "sucks" because all her friends said so. She's not seen it. We decided not to take the word of a bunch of 12 year olds, so we'll pass our own judgment on this flick. It has Nicholas Cage. How bad can it be?