Friday, December 28, 2007

Be it therefore RESOLVED . . .

I CANNOT (or will not) stick to any tpe of New Years resolution. Were it otherwise, I would be svelte, fit, would not swear or live in a messy house, or car. So, my quasi-annual self improvement takes the form of learning something new.

Four years, five photography/darkroom courses and 8 cameras, assorted lenses, filters, tripods and vats of chemicals later I can take a photo, develop the film and make a print. THEN came knitting . . . Christmas 2006, my daughter wanted to learn to knit. Although I learned as a kid and re-learned when my kids were babies, I never actually completed anything. Now however I can (and do) knit (and complete) mittens, socks, and most anything I put my mind to doing (not lace). I have put my mind to knit quite a bit. AND, I've acquired a comfortable backlog of projects and to dos as well as a handsome yarn stash. So, what's next?

DECLARING I have no interest in a subject is often the precursor to my complete immersion in it. Based on this observation, my path in 2008 is already cast. In much the same way that I proclaimed I had absolutely no interest in doing darkroom work (note: i LOVE it), I have said I have absolutely no interest in spinning. UH OHHH!!

AS LUCK WOULD HAVE IT, I received a spindolyn spindle for Christmas from very attentive and champion gift-giver gal pal, Beth. That, of course required that I purchase and secure expedited shipping for some fiber to spin--of COURSE. I have yet to spin anything, but there are only two possible outcomes for attempts at spindle spinning: 1) I'll make a mess of some great fiber and hate it altogether, which will make the case for obtaining a spinning wheel because of the inadequacies inherent in spindle spinning; or 2) I'll absolutely love it, which makes the case for obtaining a spinning wheel because I would love that even more.

AS LUCK WOULD FURTHER HAVE IT, barring an ice storm or other natrual disaster, I am taking my daughter to school in Atchison by way of Lawrence, home of the Yarn Barn, which just so happens to also sell spinning stuff (spelled W-H-E-E-L-S).

IT JUST SO HAPPENS, that the listing for the sale of my medium format camera on e-bay will end in enough time for me to have the money in hand before I leave for Lawrence.
(Note the beautiful symmetry in the sacrifice of the noble tools of one hobby to feed another--circle of life, baby! Awwwww, don't get too teary-eyed at this Disney moment, I still have 7 cameras that I use).

TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the convergence of so much luck and so many just-so-happens, it would be plainly foolish to resist the temptation to get a wheel. In fact, so many signs are in line, the wheel is probably not temptation at all, but divinely ordained. Who am I to resist such a force?

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED I can justify just about anything.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Overrun by BEAVERS!!

Most of Tulsa and the surrounding area lost power for days due to an ice storm . . . or was it? Believe the ice storm story if you must, but for me the evidence points convincingly to a massive city-wide assault by crazed, drunken and woefully disoriented --- BEAVERS.

Mother Nature's little architects seem to have gone on a wild binge (no doubt caused by global warming) and have left their handiwork in yards all over town, even those miles from the nearest stream. A cursory glance down any residential street in Tulsa will confirm the theory as practically every yard has its own useless beaver dam.
Some houses are nearly obscured by the damnable dams:
I'm not sure what I hope to accomplish by bringing this to light. I mean the beavers no harm, but think it is time for those destructive critters to move on.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

My Cup Runneth Over . . .

. . . and I'm not talking about my bra, although I could be.

Thanksgiving is a distant memory -- the food was delicious and the company interesting. The day was perfect, except I didn't get a bike ride in. I fell asleep while the last two pies were baking the night before, didn't hear the timer go off and consequently they were burnt to a crisp. So, I had to re-make those in the morning. Plus it was a little cold outside for a bike ride. Well, maybe the day wasn't quite perfect, but it was darned close.

The Christmas knitting is coming along nicely, but I foresee being jammed up in a week or so--oh well, 'tis the season for hurriedly completed projects.

Lately I've been in a baking slump--everything I've baked has been gross. The expresso-hazelnut bread went in the trash. What a waste of innocent hazelnuts. Now that I think of it, that bread deserved to be gross--the recipe doesn't even sound good. The carmel-iced banana muffins went where all really bad muffins go--trash again.

I had a firm plan to move to Montana, raise a few Alpacas and play in yarn, darkroom chemicals and bread dough in the shadow of the mountains for the rest of my life. That fell through last week when some folks in Rhode Island got the powerball money I was counting on. Fortunately I had a back-up plan. Unfortunately that plan mostly involves working and paying taxes.

This weekend (Dec 7-8-9) I'm chaperoning some Bishop Kelley high school kids on a retreat at a state park. I thought the days of doing such things were over since my kids both graduated but I was asked and . . . You can call me Ado Annie cause I really cain't say no. (lame Oklahoma! reference--sorry). The retreat should be an opportunity for LOTS of knitting since the extent of my role is to be a warm bodied adult, a task for which I am remarkably well suited. BUT, that means the Christmas decorations and the attendant cleaning won't occur this weekend. Oh well.

To continue . . . on Monday I'm driving to get Meredith from school in Atchison, Kansas. (Meredith calls it Atchi-town, residents are Atchi-folk, and odors are Atchi-stink or Atchi-funk, etc. ). I'll leave at about 4:30 am and get back home by about 5pm. It always amuses me when I drive all day and end the day in my own bed where I started. The good news, aside from having Meredith home for a month, is that I drive through Lawrence and will stop at the Yarn Barn. Maybe I'll buy a drop spindle and some roving . . . I've never tried spinning and probably shouldn't. I do NOT need to enable my stage 4 PCD (project completion disorder). But DANG, as I sit here I am ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that's what I'll do.

Even though the Christmas decorations haven't made an appearance at my home, I apparently got overcome by seasonal cheer because I invited my MIL to ride along to Atchison. ARGHHHHHHHH I figure 10 hours in a car with her following on the heels of spending a weekend virtually locked inside a cabin with 12 high school seniors ought to move my Karma-meter waaaaaay out of the red zone. OR, does talking about the Karma-meter counter act the stored good? I am not making fun here--I just like to know the rules. Regardless, the weekend and the drive will be certain fodder for future blog posts, unless those folks in Rhode Island give me my money, then I'll just blog about that.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Felted Clog Heaven (or Hell?)

I've momentarily abandoned all sock, hat, mitten, shawl and sweater knitting in favor of my newest passion--FELTED CLOGS! At least I'm hoping these will be a passion because I've purchased enough yarn for a baker's dozen of these nifty slippers. (That would be 70 balls of yarn).

Two pair are for pre-Christmas birthday gifts, ten are for Christmas gifts and one pair for ME. I got most of the yarn from KnitPicks, and the rest from Loops.
I have one pair done, except for felting . . .
And one pair in progress . . .
So, by the 20th of December I should have found my way to Felted Clog Hell. I have a different Holiday Hell for myself every year. . . the more memorable ones were:

bike shorts hell . . that year I made chamois-lined lycra cycling shorts for EVERYONE because the kids were so small, I couldn't buy any to fit. I re-drafted adult patterns to fit my pre-school kids. So, while I was at it everyone in my family who bikes got a pair, I made shorts for 10 people.

AND, there was apple pie hell. Kelly asked me to make apple pies for everyone in his department for Christmas. It was all fun and games until about pie 15 and I had 9 to go. 24 STUPID double crust apple pies. (for the record, there was NOT full disclosure on the number of pies to be made--the number sort of grew as the pie-making weekend progressed) Anyway, you can't start making homemade crusts and using fresh apples and go to frozen and canned implements. And, you can't decide at pie 15 this is too dumb--what do you do with 15 pies? You can't give pies to some and not others. You just have to keep making the stupid pies. I started Friday evening and by Sunday afternoon, I was ready to kill Kelly. Every freakin' flat surface in our house had pies cooling, and I was a wee bit cranky.

That's quite enough revelation of my nuttiness for one sitting--no need to re-live wire & bead bracelet hell, or cotton throw jacket hell right now.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Nice Buns!

(Rolls, really--cinnamon variety)
I made these sourdough cinnamon rolls for Kelly to take to the office today.

If you are in the mood for a delicious and EASY pumpkin treat to share, check out Phara's recipe for pumpkin pie bars.

Today was a big-crafty day for me. I wore my newly completed sweater/jacket/cardigan and hand-knitted socks to work today. Note to self: The extra 10" of visual girth added to silhouette by sweater knitted of extra bulky weight yarn is NOT flattering to the queen-sized frame. Oddly, I like the sweater anyway.

I decided what to do with some of the Mountain Colors homespun (lupine colorway) that I've been hoarding. I'm making the Loops 3-some mini-wrap. (again, with the super bulky weight). The stitch pattern doesn't show with this yarn, and it will not drape like the cashmere the pattern calls for, but I know that and it's OK. I LOVE this yarn -- wool and silk and deep colors. If I could afford it, AND if the whole gamut of Mountain Colors was available locally, I'd knit EVERYTHING with it.

AND finally, I HATE EASEMENTS!!!! We have this mess of electrical crap in our back yard. The mess was previously hidden by bushes, but for some reason AT&T was not happy with that situation, so last week they tore out bushes and relocated the post from the hidden spot to a more visible locale. (See the bright obelisk in the center of the photograph).
Notice the tree stump and the tilt of the green electrical box in the picture? A monster cottonwood tree grew atop that stump once. It was up-ending the electrical box, so we notified PSO of the problem and they graciously removed the tree. That solved the worry we had that the big tree would someday crash into our neighbor's house. BUT, the idiot sticks left the stump which is still causing the electrical box to tilt. So, PSO solved our problem, but not their own. We've called over and over to advise PSO. They've sent crews out who (no kidding) eat their lunches and take naps in our yard but are unable to work on the stump.
So, one day the stuff in the electrical box will overheat or short out like it has before. And, several houses or even the whole block will be without power, like they have before. And, PSO will replace the box, like they have before. Unless PSO takes action on the e-mail I sent today. We'll see . . . anyway, THAT's why I HATE EASEMENTS!!!!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

My first EVER sweater--Completed

I just finished seaming up my FIRST EVER SWEATER!! It was made with a bulky yarn, Trendsetter Savvy. I wasn't exactly sure what I would use to secure the edges while I sewed the seam. THEN, I noticed a #2 circular needle, all lonely and needing something constructive to do. I sort of basted the seam together by stringing the needles and cable through the seam. It made the sewing easy to complete and was simple to remove. That's probably something other knitters do all the time, but I've never seen that suggestion.

AND, in other news . . .

Halloween pointed out what a pathetic person I am with an empty nest. You need not look any further than THIS for evidence. Lacking other ways to entertain myself, I made some properly burnt toast (homemade whole wheat sourdough) and smothered it with pumpkin butter (not homemade) and then . . . TA DA. . . decorated the toast with canned whipped cream for Jack-O-Toast. I said I was pathetic!

Then, there is THIS:

A co-worker brought SCARY chocolate body parts to share. As it turns out, it looks like MY finger was the model for this particular scary part.

knittin 002

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Panda Wool Socks and Scary Stuff

Completed these last night.
Made with Panda Wool (bamboo & wool) I obtained at SWAK in Guthrie while I was on FreeWheel (cross-state bike ride) this year.

I picked a stitch pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks and did a short rolled (stockinette) edge instead of ribbing and varied the heel for a wide heel.
I knit one sock on Turbos and one sock on bamboo circulars--magic loop both. I like the metal turbos better, that sock went a LOT faster.

BOO! HA--happy halloween. Changing the FONT every few words is about as scary as I'm gonna get today--how sad.

I'm living vicariously again.

Meredith and her friends are being TROLLS today. I guess there are parties at school? OF COURSE there are--surely she won't wear a costume to class? No, she will. The costume is Depends under tights, short t-shirts, gelled, sprayed, ratted and painted hair and something shiny in the navel. Anyway, she and friends went to a Party America
store and she embarrassed herself by asking some old guy working there "do you have any really BIG jewels, i mean really big ones?" She meant for their belly buttons, but I guess he took her to be some a young smarty pants trying to make fun of him and walked off. When her friends told her what he probably thought, she was going to apologize, but they said for her to leave the poor guy alone--he'd probably keel over if she approached him again. (So, for the record old guy, if you read this blog--like THAT is going to happen, she was NOT being a brat, just somewhat trollish).

I have no idea what Alex (freshman at OU) has planned. I do know that he came home last weekend and ran the Tulsa run. He wore a pair of obscenely short running shorts that belonged to his dad in the late 70s, early 80s, striped tube socks, and a Mork and Mindy t-shirt that is waaaay too small and too short for him. The Tulsa World made mention of his get-up, but not his name.

In honor of Halloween, I'm off now to cast on the Tempted hocus pocus sock yarn from the Loops sock club. The pattern is Bellatrix from You know her--Bellatrix La Strange--one of the Black sisters, her sister is married to Draco Malfoy's mother. Of COURSE I am a Potter geek.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Yarn Swap

The Okieknitters on Ravelry have decided to have a yarn swap here in Tulsa:
Starbucks at 61st/Yale -- November 1st at 6:30. And we're supposed to spread the word

So COME!! The more the merrier.


I LOVE that first mouthful of coffee every morning . . . I found this little ditty on Amy's blog.

If you are in Tulsa and love coffee, I recommend DoubleShot Coffee at 18th & Boston. Brian (the owner) roasts and sells single origin beans and has two varieties brewed everyday. DO NOT ask him to grind the beans, he goes a little mad (as in nutty-mad, not angry-mad). And DO NOT ask him which kind is stronger . . . his coffees are all brewed at the appropriate strength. However, the beans may impart different characteristics to the coffee and hence one may be more robust than the other but the strength is the same. Last week I asked him what French Roast means . . he said it means burn the hell out of the beans so you can't tell the beans were crappy to begin with, or some variation of those words. Ok, then.

I can put up with a LOT of attitude for great coffee, and that is great coffee.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

San Francisco Fun

Day 1--SAT Oct 13, 2007
Up at o'dark thirty, or 3:30am 'cause the plane takes off at 5:53
Arrive SFO 10:05 -- being the white and uptight middle agers from middle America that Kelly and I are, we are alert for all forms of Cali weirdness. The weirdo parade begins as we exit the jetway and observe an airline person telling some woman squatting near the jetway that she cannot crouch there. WEIRD!
At the luggage carousel we observe that SFO has EXACTLY the same type of carousels that we have in Tulsa--we both recall recent news reports that the ones at Tulsa International are an embarrassment to our fair city. Apparently, San Francisco is not as easily embarrassed. The next notable occurrence in the luggage area was our observance of the fit being thrown by a lovely young lady wearing a button designating her as the "BRIDE," who was heard to say, "I can't believe this--the whole day is ruined now." The gentleman standing next to her wearing the "GROOM" button was staring off into space, we guessed he was trying to find his "happy place," which was NOT standing next to the nearly hysterical dame... cue Monty Python track Run away, Run Away, says Kelly--and we laugh.

Next stop Fisherman's Wharf. The weirdo hunt is no longer sporting and is promptly abandoned. After lunch at some Italian joint, the rest of our stay in San Francisco is foreshadowed by our choice to exit the touristy area in favor of a walk down a commercial pier. We see a whole cage FULL of crabs being lowered into a big vessel of boiling water, we overhear some young people talking to a guy who, although quite fragrant, has happily made his home with a million dollar view in a pile of junk at the end of the pier. Thereafter we walk ourselves silly this way and that, deftly avoiding the enticing pitch of a pretty young lady who attempted to persuade us to check into the latest time-share scheme. Eventually we ended up at Ghiradelli square for the obligatory ice cream sundae. As is my usual practice, I slopped all over my chest--the bright green bird shit that found its way to my hand was a San Francisco bonus. Seeing about 70 people waiting for a cable car ride, we determined to wait another day for that experience.

In Mill Valley (just north of Sausalito) where we stayed, we stopped in at Mt. Tam bikes to inquire about renting some for the week. We were met at the door of the shop by two bike-dudes who sort of blocked our way from entering the shop. They said they didn't have any more bikes for rent. I was tempted to tell them that our quest to rent bikes was a ruse and that actually we were from the EPA and there to make sure the nasty water in the pipe we observed on the workbench was disposed of in an eco-friendly way.
SUNDAY Oct. 14 finds us up early and on our way to Monterrey for a whale watching tour. We LIKE Monterrey. Breakfast for me was crab-avocado-eggs benedict. If nothing else good happened after that, the day would have been a resounding success. BUT, the whale watching was amazing--there were 8 individuals (that's what the cute marine biologist guy Martain, rhymes with rain called 'em) that we saw. We are told there are federal regs the boat operators have to follow that designate the distance the boat must stay away from the whales , but luckily the whales didn't read those regs and swam toward the boat, so we got a spectacular view. Unfortunately, I rejected Kelly's sissy-pants suggestion to take a jacket along, dumb hard-headed and now freezing cold Ann. After a delicious meal at THE FISHERMAN's GROTTO (clam chowder and a plate of fried artichoke hearts) we headed back along highway 1 into a snarly traffic jam headed toward San Francisco.

MONDAY Oct. 15 before sunrise (do you detect a theme here?) we head up a scary twisty turny road toward the Point Bonita lighthouse. We stop along the way to watch the sunrise over the Golden Gate Bridge--Kelly stops where I tell him, but gets the creeps because there is a nasty van parked there too. It has the side door open and we can see candles burning in there--Kelly's weirdo radar reached red alert so he insists we move back down the road some. Just after we get out of the car again 6 cars speed by, 2 marked police units and 4 other cars unmarked police, I think--they come to a stop and surround the nasty van. I am forced to admit, AGAIN, that Kelly might have been right. ANYWAY, we do watch the sunrise--WoW.

A runner stops to watch the sun come up too. He tells us he comes up there a couple times a week and has never seen the show put on for us that day. After it gets light enough to satisfy our sunrise experience we drive past the cops and nasty van location. The cops are all out of their cars taking pictures of the bridge and sunrise with their phones--There is a rasta type standing near the van--we are sure he is a serial killer they sped up there to capture, after they get photos. We continue toward the lighthouse and stop to take pictures at abandoned gun battery locations. The lighthouse is not open until after noon and it's 7:30, so we hike as far as we can go . . . we were greeted by 6 deer who were also using the hiking trail--that's OK, we can share. More photo opportunities and we are off to hike on the beach, but it stinks and the flies drive us nuts. So, we go to have breakfast in Sausalito. We were told that Sausalito is just fabulous, but it has a real Aspen, Co. pretentious feel to us so, after a quick hike around there it's off to the Muir Woods and all that red wood forest has to offer. More WoW. LOTS of German-speaking tourists and a loooong hike in the rain (ok, probably 3-4 miles, but it IS raining). Although we are NOT playing the weirdo game, we are forced to admit that the lady with the geisha hairdo, get-up and silver metallic parasol is weird.

We walked behind her for at least a quarter of a mile--I wish I had recorded the reactions of the people encountering her on the trail--it was one candid camera moment after the other. Later Kelly makes reservations at the Buckeye Roadhouse, an old style steak and seafood place that was built in 1938, the year after the Golden Gate Bridge opened up. The fireplace tools are obviously forged out of cable from the bridge, as the waiter pointed out. The place was all dark wood, cordovan color leather chairs, and crystal--perfect! I'm glad I had fish and could enjoy the baked lemon pudding with huckleberry sauce. EVERY time I see huckleberries on the menu, that is my choice--I was NOT disappointed.

TUESDAY Oct. 16 it is raining, but that's ok, because today we go to Alcatraz. We get to the boarding area EARLY and are among the first in line for our appointed time. But oops, Kelly bought the tickets online and they were for YESTERDAY. So, we are ushered out of the line into the rain to stand behind a sign that says "standbys wait here." Ummmmmm, Ann is NOT happy and even less so when the passengers for our boat begin passing us to board and stop to look at the idiots standing in the rain---ARGHHHHH. But, we did get to board and Alcatraz was worth the wait, even in the rain.

We went to Chinatown and also visited the Greenwich yarn shop where I scored some great Mountain Colors sock yarn. (Mountain Colors is hand painted in Corvallis, Montana a very small town where my grandparents lived, my parents graduated from high school and where I have often visited, so I feel like it is MY yarn--silly!).

WEDNESDAY Oct. 17 we are on the road early--AGAIN. This time it is destination Napa Valley.
We stopped in Napa, CA. to visit an amazing yarn shop--Yarns On First-(1st Street, Napa, CA)-go there if you can. The shop is friendly and nicely arranged. All the yarns are sorted by color. I got some great locally hand-painted sock yarn called Rainbow Colors? (NOPE it's Chasing Rainbows--colorway Carolyn's Nosegay)

We visited a few wineries, but what we enjoyed most, aside from the yarn, was the olive oil tasting room in St. Helena. In addition to olive oil they had balsamic vinegar--one aged 18 years---Yummmm. Kelly keeps saying he wished we had gotten some--he should tell Santa.

Now we are back in Tulsa and back to work.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Trip to San Francisco Is A Good Reason To Stay Married 25 Years!

Oh, there might be just a few other reasons too. But we scored some good times, good eats, and some lovely sock yarn. In keeping with one of the overriding principles of my life which is, anything worth doing is worth overdoing . . . I took over 250 digital pics AND 11 rolls of B&W film (5 rolls were only 24 exposures, so maybe it was not all that excessive?) So, for the foreseeable future if I'm not eating, sleeping, working, knitting, or preparing to do one of the above, I'll be in the darkroom or dinking around in Photoshop.

My camera selection showed (for me, anyway) remarkable restraint. I did not take my digital SLR or my medium format cameras, opting instead for "only" two cameras-- the OLD Pentax 35 mm (my favorite camera) and 3 lenses, and a little $129 Nikon 6 megapixel number I bought just before we left. I had gobs of fun with that dumb little camera. I now understand why people love their camera phones, despite how dweeby they look taking pictures with them--says me, the style maven. HA!!

On another note, I was sourdough inspired so I've got a starter fermenting on top of the fridge--day 7 in that process. I've used it 3 times for cinnamon rolls. (not ALL for me, I've taken some to work--SHEESH! which brings me to another thought, which is instead of embarking on another fruitless attempt to weigh less, I've embarked on a project to fatten up everyone around me--enough embarking and thoughtless punctuation for one parenthetical remark, don't you think?)


I was tagged by Amy. I've always been lousy at all forms of tag, but I think I'm supposed to: Open the book you're currently reading to page 161 and copy the fifth sentence on the page, then tag 5 bloggers.

Since I am not currently on a reading binge, my book is a cookbook, Better Homes and Gardens--The Complete Guide to Bread Machine Baking (which by the way was recommended by Eric of knit night fame)

The fifth sentence of page 161 is:
"Add first 11 ingredients to the machine according to the manufacturer's directions." (Always good advice to follow, if you ask me).

If I even knew 5 bloggers to tag I'd do it, and I'm not sure about tag etiquette, so I'm stuck here. But I did figure out how to put links to Amy and Eric's blogs in this post so even if I am a tag failure, all is not lost.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ravelry Invite Tomorrow!!

Oh JOY!!! I am NO. 806 on the Ravelry waiting list--looks like I'll get invited tomorrow. Now I have a dilemma. I'll surely want to play on the computer with Ravelry tomorrow, but tomorrow night is also a night I have free to use the darkroom, and my 10 rolls of B&W film shot in San Francisco need attention, AND I have bunches to blog about the trip. What to do?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Equi LIBRA um

Despite the overly dorky title of this post, I have something exciting (to me anyway) to write about.
Yesterday I reached equilibrium on the waiting list. I just happened to be checking my spot on the waiting list and found that I had an equal number of people ahead of and behind my spot in line. AND what I mean by "just happened to be checking" is that when I first checked my spot, I was about 50 people away from this happy place. So, being me I refreshed every couple of minutes until I captured THIS:

You signed up on September 18, 2007
You are #33858 on the list.
7741 people are ahead of you in line.
7741 people are behind you in line.
61% of the list has been invited so far

Whoooo Hooooo!! At the current rate, I should be invited to by my birthday--which of course makes me a LIBRA. And now, there is symmetry in my post and in my world.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

MAYHEM AT THE POUND (or Mad Dogs & Meredith)

Daughter Meredith recently agreed to head up a group of volunteers for a day of caring at her school (Benedictine College, Atchison Kansas). Their destination was the humane society. Meredith dutifully called ahead to arrange the visit and to be sure they would have something to do. The lady said they could paint and that supplies would be ready for them. Of course when the eager beavers arrived all psyched up to help, no one present was aware they were coming and naturally there was no paint to be had.

The guy in the wife beater shirt wearing a confederate flag necklace (in Kansas!) said they could help him clean kennels. Displaying incredibly decisive leadership skills (which she surely acquired from her mother) Meredith quickly sized up the situation and, having noticed that there was a single hose running at a trickle and 12 volunteers, determined that their collective skills might better be employed elsewhere . . . walking dogs, perhaps? Why yes, great idea. The Kansas confederate dude obtained a bunch of leashes, the cheapo rope ones you get free at the vet or groomer.

According to Meredith, chaos ensued with the introduction of exuberant volunteers wielding leashes to a room full of caged dogs. Everyone grabbed a leash and ran to a cage to get a dog. It wasn't until 12 cages had been opened that it became apparent that no one had considered that most cages had 2 dogs, but each volunteer had one leash and only 2 hands. Meredith said the collective dumbfounded expressions were as funny as the various struggles being played out simultaneously at each cage. The howling, barking, yelling and escaping panic left Meredith incapacitated by laughter.

Eventually, however, the escapees were corralled and a number of dogs leashed so the walking could commence. In no time the group sorted out which dogs couldn't walk near others and it looked like the adventure might be a successful one. Then, someone noticed one girl was sprawled out flat, face down on the ground while her dog struggled at the leash. No one saw it happen, she probably slipped on the gravel and fell. Her face was scraped up and bleeding and she was . . . goofy--like someone with a head injury tends to be goofy. The situation wasn't helped by the fact that most of the helpers didn't know each other. Meredith wasn't exactly sure of the fallen girl's name and merely suspected that her goofiness was injury-related and not her usual mentation. The bleeding was certainly genuine.

Meredith said at this point she felt good about her decision to tell the girl on crutches that she could not walk a dog because that girl was then available to drive the fallen dog-walker to the hospital. So, the crippled girl was introduced to the bloody girl and they took off for the hospital. The picture of the crippled girl shepherding the traumatized and brain damaged aside, everything worked out just fine and reportedly a good time was had by all, especially since the fallen dog walker had a concussion and couldn't remember what happened to her anyway. About 6 of the group thought they would like to continue this service on a regular basis--ya gotta admire youth.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Sock Obsession Progression

Featured elsewhere on my blog is my very first sock. It was knitted on 2 circs and used 2 entirely different kinds of yarn because I ran out. My second pair I started just before I had hand surgery (carpal tunnel) in March. They were knitted on the magic loop, which I found to be a much preferable technique.

Pair three are worthy of the Lucy Neatby Celestial Merino Dream yarn in fiery fuchsia. Funny that I was surprised they were sooooo pink--I guess I didn't look at the name of the yarn. They were knitted on size 2 circ--using magic loop. I consider them my first real socks even though the only ribbing is at the top and they are just straight knitting. They are real socks because I really cared about how they turned out--the other two pair I knitted just for the sake of learning to knit socks.

Next, I completed the mate of my first ever sock. "The improvement between the two socks was remarkable," remarked Ann, who can always be counted on to say something as cliche as . . . (never mind).

I'm trying to hurry and complete the pair currently on my needles because the Temptation (hand painted exclusive to Loops) Koi in a Blender yarn from the Loops sock club awaits me. I need the needles for the new yarn. AND I am not not not buying more needles (probably like I am not not not coaching soccer, and I didn't didn't didn't get a new dog). I will, however, admit I am lusting after the pretty knitpiks wooden circulars Eric brought to knit night last week. Now that I think about it, I do not have any size 1 needles. hmmmmmmmmmm

Anyway, I really love the socks on my needles (pair 4). Magic loop, again. I am doing a little twisted rib thing I found in the Sensational Socks book. The yarn is Crystal Palace Panda Wool (bamboo, wool and nylon). I cracks me up that I am knitting them on bamboo needles, how's that for being easily entertained. (Actually, I have one sock on the bamboo and one on metal, which is not nearly as funny to me).
Looking at the photo, I notice the preponderance of pink. Odd really, 'cause I'm not a pink-esque person. That gives me a reason to buy more sock yarn--can't have the balance of nature upset by an overly pink collection of socks.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


My fairly crafty, but decidedly needle averse gal pal, Beth travels to book trade shows in her job. Even though she thinks my knitting obsession is goofy, she has faithfully brought me several (well bunches, actually) of swell and FrEE bags for my knitting. I have 6 such bags currently in use: (1) the dishcloth bag (2 UFOs there); (2) the side-to-side garter stitch sweater bag; (3) sock bag--duh (2 nearly completed socks there); (4) the ridiculously long red scarf bag (said scarf being knitted for son-Alex); (5) the baby blanket bag; and (6) the mitten bag.

I thought I was being somewhat obsessive to have that number and variety of projects going at once. UNTIL an epiphany arrived just the other day by way of (that link is really ugly--I don't know how to make it nice and pretty like everyone else does). An article there shares a lovely knitting bag and discusses the author's obsession with knitting bags. She also shares the fact that her UFOs are in DOUBLE DIGITS. Apparently this is not unusual in the knitting world as scores of others came forth to post comments confessing to similar numbers of UFOs.

HOLY SHIT. I'm not even in the running here . . . I've got empty needles . . . I've got stash . . . I've gotta cast on more stuff . . . there is the Lucy Bag, another baby blanket, booties to go with the blankets, felted slippers for Christmas gifts, something lace--I've never really done lace, except lace-ish dishcloths, and MITTENS, ohhhhhh Mittens are almost as much fun as socks, and more and more socks . . . LATER
oh yeah, Beth-- I will need more bags

How 'bout that new dog??

We already have a MONSTER POODLE. His name is Chai, 'cause he's cream colored and spicy, just - just like the Indian tea, chai.

(haven't had chai? ohhhhh drink some -- NOT from a mix and NOT at Starbucks--go to an Indian restaraunt, order some saag paneer, papdi chat, maybe a little chicken korma, or tiki masala AND hot chai--it's black tea steeped with cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, etc and milk)

CHAI is a non-standard Standard Poodle. He is 85 pounds of pure poodle love and muscle comin' at you ready for some smak-down wrestling which usually ends up with some human getting a split lip since he always manages to whack his opponent with his skull.

Long story short . . . I met Bentley our new black-as-night 14 mo old Standard Poodle at PetSmart when I dropped Chai off to be groomed . . . I truly didn't NEED another dog any more than I needed to coach soccer . . . but even in the all-about-Ann era not all things fit neatly into either the "need" or "want" column. Bentley needed a home and I wanted him, so it all worked out.

Consulting Kelly directly would have surely resulted in a veto of the second dog. I mentioned having met Bentley several times, which was almost like consulting Kelly, right? After 25 years of marriage you'd think Kelly would be just a little more perceptive. Anyway, after I passed muster from the ARF (Animal Rescue Foundation) people and got Bentley home, I called Kelly to confess my sin. He didn't hang up--didn't yell--actually he didn't say anything for a loooooong time--he just said he'd be home. Uncertain of his role in this drama, Bentley settled down on the rug by the garage door. Kelly came through that door and growled, "let's see this dog." Bentley sat up at Kelly's feet and lifted a paw to him. Kelly melted . . . "awwwwww, hello puppy."

SOLD--life is good (and I'm blessed with a fine man)

My guys (left-to-right) Captain Oblivious (aka Kelly) Chai & Bentley.

A Weekend in Atchi-town

Parents Weekend was this weekend at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. Sooooooo, Kelly and I went to visit Meredith and watch her play soccer.

Last year I enlarged a fairly grotesque photograph of Meredith's face and pasted it to a paper plate and affixed it to a stick, cut out eye holes and a mouth and waved it around during the game and pretty much made an ass of myself with it--it was fun. On Thursday Meredith called to ask what I was doing this year because it had been a subject of discussion. I told her I hadn't planned anything and she said, "oh yeah, like I believe that." Oh CRAP, I really hadn't planned anything.

Fortunately, when I was Michigan at the Dunegrass Festival (heavy emphasis on the grass for most of the other festival goers, not me) I was feeling waaaaaay too normal, so I spent $55 on a tye-dyed sundress thang. So, I pulled that out along with a big goofy hat. On the brilliant advice of my friend Beth I printed some team photos on cardstock, cut them out and strung them on some red yarn (a lovely wool, silk, and rayon mix--yummmm) for a necklace. When the team was being introduced I slipped that little ensemble on over my clothes and voila, I was suitably ridiculous looking. (See necklace on Meredith)

It was especially fitting that the dress was very muumuu-like because Meredith and her friends periodically declare a muumuu day and wear their thrift store muumuu attire to class. And now the muumuu is in the wash because Beth's son Wally has to have something suitably ugly to wear for gender bender day at BTW tomorrow. As it turns out, that $55 was very well spent!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Now just WHY am I coaching soccer???

For months I have been crowing that Friday, August 17, 2007 (the day after we deliver Alex to school at OU) would be Annie Liberation Day. That day would be the inauguration of the ERA OF ANNIE. A time when, except for college parents' days and school holidays, absolutely EVERYTHING would be ALL ABOUT ME. (and a few things might, by some serendipitous extension of my pleasure-filled life, be somewhat about my husband, Kelly).

BUT, two days before ALL-ABOUT-ANNIE-EVE (that would be Tuesday August 14) my sister-in-law called to say my niece hannah's soccer team was without a coach. "Well hell, that sucks for them" . . . and if you know me, you know that's EXACTLY what I said. . . . right.

So, the Fireballs, the best collection of under 8 girl soccer players in Sapulpa, Oklahoma got me for a coach, and soccer re-appeared on my list of obsessions--coincident with the Womens' World Cup in China, I might add. So, of course I've been getting up at 4am to watch those matches. And of course, Alex and Meredith call me at different times throughout the day to discuss those matches.

What really really really sucks about the whole Annie is coaching again turn of events is that this spring in a rare and obviously misplaced fit of maturity, I threw out my boots (soccer cleats to you). I thought, erroneously as it turned out, that at my age, being waaaay overweight, having bad knees and an iffy back, with kids both over 18, my soccer days were over, except for the pure joy of spectating. STUPID ANN

The kids are a BLAST. They are learning quickly, owing entirely to their own wits and a few simple skills poorly, but enthusiastically, demonstrated by me.

And now I must find myself in bed soon as Kelly and I are leaving tomorrow morning at about 4am to drive 5 hours to get to Benedictine College for a 10 am soccer game--a consequence of the occurrence of an aforementioned college parents' weekend. And THEN I swear it will be ALL ABOUT ME . . . until 6pm on Monday when it's time for practice (or maybe a bit before then because you can't just show up to coach a practice without a plan).

My blog SUCKS! . . . BUT my life is GOOD

More than once I've thought about what I should write about in my blog. I've thought about it so hard and so effectively that it was a COMPLETE surprise to me that my last entry was 6 (six) months ago. [Lawyers do that numeral (number) thing--I've always thought it was stupid].
Since my last entry I have:
--ridden my 12th consecutive Oklahoma FreeWheel bike ride
(Cross-state bike ride from Texas border to Kansas border)
--cheered my son in at least 10 bike races (including nationals in Pennsylvannia)
--moved my daughter (Meredith) home from school in Kansas--and back again
--moved my son and youngest child (Alex) into college at OU
--attended a bluegrass music festival in Michigan
--completed a fine arts photography class
--acquired a new dog (Standard Poodle, Bentley, adopted from ARF)
--begun coaching my niece's under 8 girls soccer team
--knitted 4 and 2 half socks (individuals NOT pairs) and countless dishcloths and some other stuff
--filled my i-pod with over 12 gigs of music
--listened to most of that music
--sewn a couple of skirts and some pants
--tried to teach Meredith to sew (she made a top--cute!)
--celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary
--made my bed at least twice

WHEW!!! I need to get out more . . . I'm obviously ROTTING away with all the sitting around.
SERIOUSLY . . . I LOVE my life . . . I have most of what I want and everything I need (although I could use a haircut)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Indeed I can hold a camera!

The bike race was pretty much a bust. My son had the flu this week, so he withdrew about 20 minutes into the race. He rode at the front--in the top 3 or 4 as long as he stayed in. I didn't get any good pics of him 'cause he always seemed to be shielded by other riders. But, I was able to hold the camera and got some decent photos of the race, even if they didn't include him. AND, my "new" used digital slr got better shots than I've been able to manage in 4 years of shooting film at races, so I'm sold on it for that purpose. That's my boy in front of the "bike race" sign--a little cropping may make that worthwhile.

Here he is flanked by his teammates--I've got a million of these, several hundred thousand, anyway!
This weekend -- MORE racing, and natrually, more photo opps--we travel to Arkansas for Hell's Kitchen Race--how inviting!!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Knitting after hand surgery

All of the pre-surgery apprehension was COMPLETELY wasted.

I had my surgery at 11:30 on Wednesday and was knitting on Friday morning! I knit continental so, holding the needle with my "damaged" right hand was easy--knitting and purling were absolutely no problem. Knit 2 together was more difficult because of the extra strain, but not impossible. I finished my dishcloth KAL and screwed up the pattern, so I did another one--both completed by Saturday at 9:30 am--AND I slept ALL day Thursday (good meds) AND went to a soccer game on Friday night (we won!!!).

Sooooo, If you are someone who knits, and who needs to have carpal tunnel surgery, and who happens to somehow stumble upon my obscure and largely unread blog--I'm here to tell you to FEAR NOT. I am really surprised by how much it DOESN'T hurt. I was through with the pain meds by noon Thursday. I'm the worlds BIGGEST baby so, I'm not gutting it out.

Now I'm off to so some more knittin' . . . . AFTER I go watch my son in the first bike race of the season--sucks I can't hold my camera . . . or Can I???????

Friday, March 9, 2007

Carpal Tunnel Surgery :( or :)

After MONThS of numb-sleepy fingers and hand pain, I saw a hand surgeon to have him diagnose what I knew was a fairly severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand. And, after having a nerve conduction study--a lovely experiment with electric shocks and needles (sounds WAy worse than it was), I had my diagnosis and a recommendation for <<<<>>>>> surgery. I had the surgery done on Wednesday (3/7) and here I am on Friday, off the pain meds and typing a little better than hunt and peck . . . . AND I discovered I CAN KNIT.. .. sloooooowlllllly

Dr. said I have to exercise my fingers--So, I am. I won't say it doesn't hurt--it does . . . some, but then my right hand aways hurt, this ouch is just a little different and not at all unmanagable I'd say it is not as bad as playing soccer on a sprained ankle, or riding a bike with a miserable saddle sore--which are things I've done willingly and against the advice of others who think they know more than me.

So, with all the wisdom of one who is a day and a half post-op, I can say that the apprehension of the surgery was the worst part BY FAR. AND I can honestly share that I didn't exactly dig laying there feeling the dr. tease open my ligament with a knife.(local anesthetic--didn't hurt--but you DO feel stuff). However, if the first two days is the worst--the apprehension was completely wasted--this is easy!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Knew Shews

Hit a BIG sale at Dillards and got this lovely bunch o coconuts

THREE pairs of the same shoe?????? Hardly there are THREE different colors: black, cordovan and brown--The box says $44.50, but the SALE was 30% off that........ whoooooo hoooooooooo

In this pic I think they look like a nest of birds--baby SHOE birds, just waiting for a pair of feet--MY feet . . . . ahhhhhhhhhhhhh

Taking pictures of my shoes is NOT as weird as it may seem, if indeed it seems weird. It just so happened that I had just charged the battery in my Canon D10 (or is it 10D?) and it was on the bed with my shoes. So, what would you do?? Exactly, you'd take a picture too. You probably wouldn't have grabbed the ol' Pentax SLR loaded with B&W film and shot some with that camera too. That would be weird. . . . I might post those when I develop the film.

Monday, February 19, 2007


I just completed my FIRST sock--ever. AND it is ugly, hideous even, in a comical CAT In The HAT, Seuss-ish kind of way.

hid·e·ous /ˈhɪdiəs/ [hid-ee-uhs] –adjective
1. horrible or frightful to the senses; repulsive; very ugly: a hideous monster or SOCK.

The sock is not propped up in the picture, it is standing completely on its own. I ran out of yarn and natrually the shop didn't have another ball of the same yarn. ASIDE HERE: Ok, so I have BIG feet (size 11, if you must know). I consider them a "design feature" they very handily balance out my big butt. In my opinon, nothing looks goofier than a person with tiny little dainty girly feet and a big butt. We may have a little chicken-or-the-egg situation here. What came first big butt or feet? Now there's something to ponder. Back to the SOCK. Sooooooo I got a similar gauge and color, but dissimilar texture yarn to complete the toe. On close inspection, you'll see I kept getting lost in the ribbing so it is knit 2/purl 2 OR 3, sometimes 4. Just like mothers love even doltish and homely children, I love my sock.

And speakking of DOLTISH. (I'm talking about myself here). I've watched the Cat Bordhi episode of Knitty Gritty about 5 times, checked the Treasury of Magical Knitting out of the library--renewed the book TWICE--paid the overdue fine and bought the book. But DAMMIT, I keep screwin' up the cast-on count for making a mobius (or Moebius). THREE overly longish mobius (ii? mobii, plural?)later, I do have it figured out now and am starting an alpaca version of the cowl today. ( Did I mention I have two degrees from a fine private university--AND I essentially READ for a living??? You can't buy smarts, but sheesh you'd think I could count--especially when the show and the book EMPHASIZE how to count the cast-on).

So, now I'm off to complete (well, begin--really) my second sock, correctly count Cat's mobius cast-on technique, work on my modular scarf, and scrub the bathroom. I LOVE having Presidents' Day off.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Backwards Knitting????

Oh yeah!! I can do it!

In the Modular Knitting book I read about backwards knitting. Knitting from your left needle to the right keeps you from having to turn your work so often on short rows. I was making myself crazy AND cranky twisting the yarn around my work every few stitches. So, I tried AND can actually do it. Suprisingly the tension is really even so when the row is finished, I can't tell which way I knitted. Problem is, unless you can remember where you were (like THAT would ever happen), when the knitting is laid aside it is REALLY hard to tell were you are in the pattern 'cause you can literally go either way.

I'm gonna give it a try with the lace pattern on the monthly dishcloth KAL and see if I completely confuse myself.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Waaaaay too Pink

Well, changing the template made things way too pink for my taste. I can't figure out out how to use all that space on the margins. Maybe a different template?

WHAT the . . . ???

I am just trying to figure out how to customize my plog bage and so I imported the photo--I had NO IDEA it would be so hideous. Ohhhhh, now I see a tab that says template----wonder what THAT does????? I'm gonna go see--bye

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Really cool kniting stuff

I'm just marking this so I can find it again and try some of her patterns.

In the BEGINNING . . .

It's probably unfathomly dorky to start a blog by saying this is my first attempt at blogging, so I'll avoid making THAT comment.

My newest of many passions is knitting. Over Christmas break, my freshman-in-college daughter was home from school and asked for knitting stuff from Santa. Santa delivered (you know that's me--right?) and dug stuff from the bowels of the craft room (which my husband affectionately? calls the cavern of crap) to reveal an almost completed sweater I started when my daughter was not yet two, and half a bootie I started for my son (now almost 18).

Except for a tangled mess of a sort of scarf-like thingy in a cheap variagated brown, orange and green I attempted as a kid, those are the only things I had ever really knitted, and I didn't complete them--what a loser!

If pressed, however, I can form a stitch, either knit or purl--AND in either continental or English-style, so I'm not a complete knitting virgin. My attempts at knitting have just fallen victim to my self-diagnosed PCD. Project Completion Disorder. I was actually able to help DD (see, I have studied blogger lingo) knit a scarf AND a cell phone cover for her roommate. I knitted a scarf for myself, as well. Oh, and I knitted a hat for my son, so in the last week I've even used double-pointed needles, which I can't say I liked a bit, thank you very much. And, NO, my son WILL NOT wear the hat, which I have to admit looks like a girl's hat.

My motto is: ANYTHING WORTH DOING is worth OVERDOING. So I've spent about $300 on yarns, needles and books. We are having what the newscasters are calling a "significant weather event" (ice storm) in Tulsa, so as long as I have to be at home--I'm off on a knittng adventure . . . . >>>>>>>

I checked CAT Bordhi's (sp?) book out of the library and bought some really cool loooong circular needles to knit a mobius scarf. I thought it would be a wide collar sort of affair. BUT, somehow I screwed up the cast-on count and in addition to having chosen yarn that looks like a horse blanket, the blasted thing hangs down below my crotch (It's a lovely look sure to catch on soon). I DID however finish it--props to me! I'm going to cast on with some nasty cheap acrylic stuff I have left over from the kids' elementary school days and see if I can figure out what I did wrong. Oh, and just to be thoroughly consistent with my motto, I've joined a couple of Yahoo groups and am doing a few dishcloth KAL's. And since you asked, YES I also joined a sock KAL which will start on the 15th. Ohhhhh that's tomorrow--I hope the feeling comes back in my hands so I can get started on that. hahahahahaaha

And, through watching DIY Network's knitty gritty, I discovered that I knit in a "combination" style. So now I know why I can't seem to follow knitting book illustrations. Thanks Annie Modesette(sp?).

Well, better go--gotta take down my Christmas decorations. I have a firm rule that the tree MUST be undecorated and the stuff all put away before Groundhog day. I DO have standards, they just aren't very high.

My Tattoo

My Tattoo
A bike chain tattoo, that is It's chain lube ya know