Friday, March 30, 2007

Rain, rain, all day.....

and pretty much all week. But I don't mind. The dogs and I are having fun. And this weekend should be a great one for bluebonnets. I'm hoping we can get out to Llano to see the bluebonnet fields, and maybe even the bald eagles that have taken up residence out there for a few years! That would be so cool.

I came across a new blog to stalk, by Susie Davis. I will be attending a book club in April that she is holding based on a recent book of hers, and I am really looking forward to it. Here's a bit that I just love from her blog:

Getting rid of the unnecessary can really invigorate your outlook on life. And I’m not just talking about dumping that stuff in your over packed closet, I’m talking about freshening your viewpoint from the inside out. Because the truth is that there are tons of little things that can clutter your personal perspective and every once in a while, it’s a great idea to assess your life and get rid of the thought patterns that are holding you back. Negative things, like failing to give yourself a break when you mess up. Or always expecting the worst in life. Or even counter productive self talk. That’s just the kind of pessimistic thinking that is going to bog down your life and make you feel tired.

Wow, huh?

Along the same vein as clearing up clutter (I do so love the organizing stuff!), check out this article from the April Real Simple: Declutter Your Mind and Think Clearly. Great ideas on clearing out the clutter in our minds....making life easier and more fun!

On the knitting front (well, and now crochet, too!), I have swatched for both blankets that I would like to do next. The ripple and the Granny Square. I really do hate to swatch. But since I have no idea how much yarn I'll need, I really did need to swatch up a piece for both. For me, these are not the stash-busting projects that most of the crocheters are able to use them for. Since I pretty much have been doing socks, that's all I have in the 'stashola.' And there is NO way I could make a throw or blanket out of yarn that would take forever. So now it's time to go start collecting up skeins as I need them. No need to drop a wad of cash that large in one sitting without a sale at the the yarn store!

The Six Degrees competition/contest ends tomorrow at midnight, and Ali's badge for Austism Speaks is still holding at number one...I really hope she ends at number one. It's amazing to see how connected we all really are, and the power of the internet to bring people together for such very worth causes.

More later, now that Golden Joe had fixed my lazy computer! I do love that man.

And here's a little funny that really got very true!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Catching up...again...

I didn't get to blogging last night. I had a better offer.

I have "Wuthering Heights" on the DVR...the version with Lawrence Olivier and Merle Oberon. Grace asked to watch it with me! What a treat. We curled up together on the bed and watched about the first half, and will finish up today or tonight. I love that she still wants to 'camp out' with me when Joe is away, even at 11 years old. (Joe and Eric are enjoying a weekend retreat with the church youth group, so it's Alex, Grace and I.)

So here's what I have been saving up to share:

Are you watching the "Six Degrees" contributions I mentioned earlier? Ali Edwards' button is at the top right now, over all others! The top 6 will get matching contributions, up to $10,000, to their charity. Ali's is Autism Speaks, in honor of her cute-as-a-bug son Simon. The contest ends March 31st, and the minimum donation is only $10! Consider a contribution. Click on her name here to get to her blog, where you'll find her button and more information.

Another blog I just adore is Alicia's. She makes the cutest things, and if you look through her archives you'll see her survival story after a freak accident. Alicia brought back my love for crochet, and from her blog I found both the No End in Sight Ripple-Along, and the Granny-Along. This time when I do these, it's going to be with the 'good stuff'....nice, yummy yarns. Check out the '-alongs' to see some great work. And in the entry I linked to (by clicking on her name) you'll see the next thing I really need to do....there are some scary condiments in that fridge door.

I met Jennifer after having read her blog for a while, so when I spotted her in our LSS (Scrapbook Crossing), I was sort of a crazed fan. She shares a quote with pretty much every blog entry, which I find quite admirable. This was one that really struck me:

"Blessed are those who can give without remembering and take without forgetting."
- Elizabeth Bibesco

And here's a blog that's just plain fun. It's called Threadbared.....warning, may take you back to those Saturday mornings that your mom dragged you to the dreaded fabric store, in which you spent hours trying desperately to amuse yourself with pattern books while she shopped for fabric and patterns, notions, and sundries. Click at your own risk, and be prepared for giggles!

It's a weekend of March Madness here, so I'd best be off to watch the hoops! Have a great weekend!

Friday, March 23, 2007

On a roll, baby!....

I was going through my rather lengthy list of knitting blogs that I read this afternoon, compiling itmes for a new (and quite belated) blog entry here.

On Knitting in Pink (how could I not love that blog name?), Valerie was offering up a choice of sock yarn to her 500th commenter. Well, we are learning that sock yarn is a bit of a vice for me, so of course I left a comment. I wrote "Oh, those are so gorgeous!Dangle that lovely sock yarn in front of me, and I'll follow it like a horse follows a carrot....with a dazed, glowing look on my face and drooling slightly, murmuring 'mmmm....sock yarn......' a la Homer Simpson."

Within a few minutes, I received an email that I won! How stinking cool is that? I chose the Snow Patrol colorway from cheeky Monkey. It reminds me of the winter days as a kid in Wisconsin, playing in the snow until our snowmobile suits were soaked through to the skin.

Anyway, I have to run again, but still have more to say, so I'll
try to blog again tonight!


Thursday, March 15, 2007

No need to beware the Ides....

I don't know anyone named Brutus. But 'Happy Ides of March' anyway.

Did you know that yesteday was "Pi Day?" Neither did I. But it's a cool thing anyway! Math geeks unite.

So, yes, Eric made it home fine, and in fact sounded much better upon return than he did earlier. In fact they got into town a few hours earlier than expected! So nice to have him home again. So after a nice, hot shower, he was right back on the computer, AIMing with friends and playing games. And he picked dinner tonight...stroganoff. I do make a mean strogaoff. Recipe? Sure...if this qualifies for a recipe:

1# sirloin, cut into small bite size pieces

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 16 oz container sour cream (the 'light' doesn't melt well, fyi. use the real stuff)

1 # penne pasta

Cook sirloin pieces in skillet, season as you like (I use salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion flakes). Meanwhile cook pasta al dente and drain.

When meat is cooked, lower heat to simmer. Add soup, then add sour cream. Heat together well. Stir in pasta.

Ya. That's it. Eezie peezie.

So over on Ali's blog, she issued a nice little challenge. Go there. Cool idea, to catch the everyday. Even if you aren't making scrapbooks (and if that's true, why aren't you? tee hee), you should think about writing down everyday things for those who come after us. Think about what you wish you knew about your great grandparents' everyday life. Things have changed so much in different lifetimes...our own, our parents' our grandparents', shoot even our kids' lifetimes! Our kids have probably never had to get up to change the TV channel (and there were only the 3 broadcast and the one PBS station, right?), not had a computer, used a typewriter or rotary phone, etc. There are email lists that circulate with all those lists. Ok, off my soapbox. But seriously, think about that. Leave your mark. Record your life.

Here's an early Happy St. Paddy's Day to you all as well. With not a drop of Irish blood in me, I am sure that I'll forget by Saturday. I'll try to remember to play some of my beloved Irish Rovers music though, sometime this weekend. Really, I fell in love with these guys when I heard my Mom play The Unicorn for the first time No one sings it like them. (Did you know that the song was written by Shel Silverstein? Me either.) Go here to listen to a few of their numbers.

If you are looking for me, I am either trying to finish the cleanup in my workroom or watching March Madness. (Smart better will place their chips on the latter).


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Good knitting news! Not so good kid news....

The new Knitty is up!! Look here. The Tahoe cardigan looks so comfy. And Holy Cow... the Queen of Cups pattern for socks is a must knit!

Now if I only had my April issue of Creating Keepsakes. I hae a subscription, which I realize does not entitle me to receive it in the mail before the newsstands (only that I pay a whole lot less per year by subscription), but dang, it's already online! I need some reading material.

Eric called from the homebound bus. They made his bus, bus A of the three, into the 'sick bus'. Not everyone is sick, but apparently one of the kids went on the trip ill. Thanks, man. Now there's a bunch of kids feeling punky. One of Eric's friends even spent a park day in the hotel instead. So most of his friends were moved to bus B to make room for sickies on bus A, and he ended up sitting with a chaperone. Ya. And then he called again to let me know that he's running a low grade fever. Poor dude. I told him just sleep as much as you can (and sitting with a chaperone is even more incentive to turn on the Ipod!). At least he is calling, and I appreciate his thoughtfulness in that regard. I hope to get him well during the rest of Spring Break, since we'll have a few days yet after he gets home.

It'll be nice to have him home again. Miss this dude.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Spring Cleaning....feels like Christmas....

It's Spring Break this week around here. Eric is still in Orlando, having the time of his life. We hear from him at least once a day, usually a text message, and they are really enjoying themselves. They did DisneyWorld (and their marching in the parade) on Saturday, Sunday was MGM Studios, and today is Universal Studios and Epcot center. They really have no down time at all! What a blast.

Grace and I decided to get some cleaning and organizing done. She is working on her room, as part of a deal for a Nintendo DS Lite, and I am covering the rest of the house. But mostly I am working on our little 'workroom.' It's a matter of unpacking from the Louisiana retreat, and putting everything back into the room into some semblance of order.

In the midst of cleaning I found a Christmas gift for my Mom that I forgot to give her! Sheesh. So typically me. Mom, if you are reading this, I am sorry! And I'll get it to you soon!

Alex is off conquering the world on the computer (I believe it's Yuri's Revenge he's playing right now), with the given that he will also put some time in cleaning later on.

We had a wonderful, eight hour long rain last night. So nice to sleep in snuggly covers with the sound of a thunderstorm outside! We have some sun now, and the rain will pick up again soon. We need it so badly...Lake Travis went up 3 feet from this last rain, but it's still 30+ feet below full level. The rain will make the trees bloom even more (oh, how I love it when the redbuds start blooming!), especially our backyard peach tree, and hopefully the bluebonnets will have a good year.

Time to get cleaning again....and the chuck roast in the crock pot smells so good!!!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Living on the edge? I don't like it....

Weird day Thursday.

It started when I pulled the milk from the fridge for the kids' cereal. There was a bit left in the front container....I checked the date. February 28. Yargo. Thankfully no one got sick! Moved right along to milk gallon number 2!

Since getting home from the Louisiana retreat, I've been watching the gas car has the 'range' feature, then after about 25 miles left it just says 'low.' It was on low for a while, but I've done that before. After Alex got his lower braces put on in the morning, my plan was to drop him at school (appropriately medicated with Advil), pick up Jackie, fill up the tank, and head to Scrapbook Crossing and Michaels. We need to start replenishing adhesives in anticipation of the April retreat. At least when we have a coupon! As I turned out of the school after dropping Alex, the car shut off. Just shut off. Right in the left turn lane. At first I thought it was the battery. Nope, windows still worked.

I ran my car out of gas. Plum out. Past the 'I'm driving on fumes' phase. Dry as a bone.

My rescuer? A knight on a white steed? Nope.

It was Jackie. A good friend in a white Suburban. (Apparently this is also the unofficial car of Cedar Park we have decided. We both drive one, along with about a kajillion other women in Cedar Park.) She ran to the gas station, bought a gas can and filled it. While we played "Lucy and Ethel put gas in the car", we realized that these newfangled gas cans are complicated. We couldn't get it figgered out! Thankfully a man drove by, and helped us figure out the configuation of the can and nozzles. Sheesh. I was so thankful to him, and felt like such an idiot. They really should put directions on the outside of the gas can, so women can put all those pieces together.

Later in the day, Joe's car didn't start! So I got to jumpstart him in a parking lot near the middle school.

Adventures all around.

In the middle of all that, in the afternoon, we saw Eric and the marching band off on their trip to Orlando. Joe and I went to the school with some other parents, watched the kids load up on the busses (nice busses!), and they left for a week. They are driving straight through, 22 hours. He called last night to check in and say hi, and that their dinner at the Luby's in Houston was good...I love Luby's too. They are going to have so much fun, but it is hard to send off your baby for a week! How did my parents handle putting me on a PLANE, to GERMANY, for TWO WEEKS?? I was only 16 at the time. Before cell phones, emails, all that. Man, they were brave. And I am thankful: I had a blast, and it was a once in a lifetime experience. I hope the same for Eric. And I'll be excited to see him again Wednesday night.

The kids are on Spring Break next week, and we are looking forward to it. No specific plans, and that's okay....we'll have spontaneous fun.

Ta ta and toodles!

Monday, March 05, 2007

What a whirlwind weekend...

Jackie and I got back into town around dinner Sunday, after our fun-filled scrapbook retreat in Louisiana. Somehow we got home in one hour less than it took to get there...weird.
So we left Friday morning, and arrived at beautiful Lake D'Arbonne State Park near Farmerville, LA (just east of Shreveport). What gorgeous country! And the state park has lovely cottages and lodges that we stayed in .....

...12 women, 4 bedrooms, with a large common room (usually a living room) with a full kitchen. We had plenty of room to work. Our lodge was right on the's a photo of our view:

Yeah, just amazing.

I met wonderful women (you know, the axe murderers you meet from the internet), and a great gift from two of the ladies was that they gathered up everyone's memory cards from their cameras on Saturday night, and made photo CDs for everyone to leave with. What a great idea! So nice to get a copy of everyone else's photos, and right away. What did we ever do before digital???

I got a LOT done. I made a 6x6 album for Alex and another for Grace, and about 7 12x12 pages. And in the middle of all that I ate great food, laughed, talked, laughed some more, and even managed to sleep a little bit.

Here I am working....

.....and I brought quite a bit of's one of the containers on Bazzill I brought....

I did realize how old I am now...I was so tired when I got home! And I felt all the lifting/packing/unpacking in my back today. So, since the dogs insisted that I spend the day with them (they missed me so very much), I spent the day relaxing and resting up. And in April we are off again, this time to New Braufels! Can't wait. I love me some retreat.

AndI have to share this with y'all....I called Joe at work to bring home something easy from the store for dinner, like our favorite Chicken Voila (Bird's Eye brand, Garlic Chicken so good!). Instead he brought home pork chops and stuffing, and grilled dinner while I slugged on the couch! Kudos to Joe, he's a good man. He sees how much the time away with girls means to me. As Lily von Shtupp would say, "I feel wefweshed."
So tomorrow it's back to the regular life, which will include the first-of-the-month trip to Target for food and shtuff, and getting supplies for Eric's Spring Break trip. The High School band is taking a bus to Orlando, to play in a parade at Disney World and see some parks. It feels weird to be getting my (still can't believe he is this old!) 15 year old ready for a week away that isn't camp! Yikes, I hope I make it. He'll have so much stinking fun, though.
So I am off to help with 5th grade math (Yes, I do hope that I am smarter than a 5th grader...what a hilarious idea for a show!) and get back into the groove. I wonder if I should unpack from this retreat or just leave it all nicely packed for April 22? Hmm......