Friday, August 15, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Oh, for Pete's sake.....

It's once again been forever since I blogged! It seems that the more I have going on to share or muse about, the less time I have to blog about it! Life, eh?

So, here's to catching up again in bullet form:



  • Go check out this blog. She's an Austinite, and recently blogged about our (very typical) record-setting heat. Always a fun topic around here this time of year! Wendi Aarons blog

  • Congrats to Ali Edwards and her husband Chris on their baby-on-the-way! Big brother Simon will be wonderful with the baby, I am sure.


  • Band camp started up August 2nd for Eric and Alex. It's old hat for Eric, and brand new for Alex. I worked in the Med Tent that first morning, and when I got there at 10 am the band had just finished running for 10 minutes straight, and doing Pilates. All of a sudden the tent filled with staggering teenagers, some ashy white and unable to see (dizzy), others dehydrated, and one vomited. Yippee! I think it probably happens every year: the kids are warned to get outside, acclamate to the heat, drink lots of water, etc. They don't, and they pay for it. I am proud that both boys never did use the Med Tent...they both toughed it out. My only concern is how Alex is going to handle the pressures of marching season and the demands of this year's show...it's very technical, and quite hard on the brass players. Guess we'll see.

  • This past weekend was my last official time working at Archiver's. I was supposed to be done the previous week, but when I gave my notice I said that I'd 'return' to help out with the Make-and-Take weekend. It's always a busy and fun time, and they certainly appreciate extra help. It felt weird, on my last day. I brought in my camera, and was able to get photos with most of the other employees at the store. I was a good girl, too, with my last purchase with employee discount: I bought a lot of cardstock (mmm.....Bazzill.....), adhesive refills, and supplies for a Christmas gift/project. I'm considered a "casual" employee, available for employees to call if they need a shift covered, and the store manager said that any time I want to go back onto the schedule I can just give them a call. That in and of itself was a wonderful and flattering thing to hear, but what also made me feel all squishy inside was the when others heard I had given my notice, they were mad at me and didn't want me to leave! It's good to be loved.


  • Now that I have my days back (and my weekends!), I need to keep myself grateful for the time I have. My plan is to keep myself very busy, so that I do not fall into a lazy and slothful routine that would put weight back ON...I still have only lost the 45 pounds, and want to lose another 15. Perhaps when school starts I will join the greyhairs at the mall and walk. Shoot, I have the grey anyway! The plan of attack for staying busy is LISTS. Lots of To Do lists. I am drafting a list for each day of the week, starting with things I need to do daily, followed by the chores I need to do that particular day of the week. (I also have one for monthly and semi-annual, but I won't start those up yet. Daily is first.) I'm taking all of the things I need to do around the house every week and assigning each to a day...hoping to get a real schedule going, so that I can check things off as I go. Today was Day 1...I'm not far into this at all, but today was great! I feel like I was very productive, and had pretty much everything done by the time the boys were home from band at 5 and when Joe was home. I even played Becky Home-Ecky and made Toll House Cookie dough balls and Rhubarb Coffee Cake tonight! In case you are wondering, here are the sources I used for the basis of the lists, and my favorite organizing blogs and sites:

Spending time watching Olympics, especially the swimming...last night's 4 x 100 freestyle relay....HELLO! Go USA! There's more to share on the knitting front, including photos this time, but the swimming is about to come on again. I'll save that for next time.


Later, gators!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

QUACK!

It seems that summer goes more quickly every year, doesn’t it? Here it is halfway through July, and school starts August 25th for us. Wow.

This weekend for the first time in a long time I was able to enjoy a day in which I didn’t have to be anywhere all day. I was able to dictate my own time, and I loved it! Joe and Eric went to San Antonio to watch DCI (Drum Corps International) competition, while Grace, Alex and I hung out here at the house. I finished up my ‘hippie purse’ made of mitered squares of leftover sock yarn, even the straps. The design of the straps took me the longest, with much research via googling and on Ravelry. I finally decided on using 4 I-cords and braiding them together for each of the 2 straps. I also covered a piece of plastic canvas for the bottom interior to keep it stable. I am really happy with it.

We’ve come to a big decision here, too. Looking forward on the calendar, we saw that along with 2 weeks in August of Marching Band Camp for the boys from 8-5, Joe also had travel pop up this week (to Minnesota), as well as a strong possibility of all of September to various locations. (Who knows yet what could come up last minute in August!) When school starts in August, we’ll be watching to see how Alex does not only during Band Camp, but also as a freshman in high school. We wanted me to be as available as possible, especially with both boys after school every day with band, leaving Grace needing a ride home.

Because we’ve recently been quite blessed, we decided that it was best for the family that I didn’t have a work schedule to be a possible stressor added to an already packed and tenuous family schedule. Without a work schedule, I am available for the kids whether it’s during the daytime or evening, regardless of whether Joe is in town. We won’t have the added income, but we’ve run our numbers and feel quite comfortable.

So I am a lame duck employee at Archiver’s. (Thus the title of this blog post.) I gave my notice, and am working through this week and next as scheduled (I gave notice last Monday giving 2 weeks…which is actually becoming quite atypical in the workforce nowadays, sadly). I am returning the following weekend to help with a hopefully sales-filled Make and Take weekend, and will be considered an ‘as needed’ employee; this means that part timers can call me to work for them, I can offer up dates when I am available if they need me, and whenever I am able I can be added back on as a permanent employee. There is a lot that I will miss (like the 3-% discount!), especially the amazing women that I work with, but I feel I am doing the best thing for my family right now.

So, yeah, QUACK.

Have a great week!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Yes, Virginia, there IS good stuff on YouTube....

Alex and I are watching our DVD of the Bugs Bunny and Road Runner movie. (I highly recommend it to the parents and kids who love to laugh!).

A slightly different take on the Rides of the Valkyries, by Wagner. (You know his sponsor was crazy King Ludwig, who built the stunning Newschwanstein in Bavaria, right? Yep, I was there. coolest thing evah.)





And one we can't stop laughing at: Rollercoaster Rabbit, with Roger Rabbit.

Enjoy!

They're villains, Claire.....

Oh yeah, coming September 22!



Sure, I'll be watching the Olympics. But seriously....I am looking forward to Heroes this season. I wasn't thrilled with the last season, but I think this one has real potential. Sigh, another addiction! And I'll just be getting over Hell's Kitchen (season finale tomorrow night, people!).

Crazy summer that it is, notes on the Summer of '08, thus far:

  • I miss Eric! He was gone for 2 weeks counselling at Camp Allen. Then home for 2 days, and off again for 2 weeks on a mission trip! He's completely incommunicado, too. Can't wait to have him home again! So glad I had the week with him in June, while Joe, Alex and Grace were on the mission trip. Cool thing: he was able to send text messages from camp, and one ended with "Give Mom my love".... what a great kid!

  • It seems that this summer I've been able to have a full week with just one of the kids at a time. When it was just Grace and I (Eric was on week 2 as counsellor, and Alex was a camper), we had a few days during which we didn't have obligations, so we declared them "No Pants" days! We just hung out with the dogs, cleaning, scrapbooking, etc in our Tshirts and grunders. Poor Joe when he got home: we were all giggles! Such fun.

  • Grace is at camp this week, so it's just Alex at home this week. Besides time at Archiver's, I am helping out a friend with getting their daughter to her cheer camp. Hoping for downtime with the Zandermeister! Tonight we are hanging out and watching a couple of Mystery Science Theater movies. Tomorrow night, of course, is Hell's Kitchen...he's a huge fan, too. We are bummed that the DVDs that are available and the computer game are NOT censored. Rats.

  • Bringing back a few memories from the high school years, another link to Wendi Aarons' blog. You really should read her blog on a regular basis. What a hoot! Here's the one on a week in the life, and here is the one on having a party.

  • Family health is an issue, if you are shooting up prayers, please include my extended family. Thanks.

  • Powerwashing makes a heck of a difference on our patio and driveway. Grace and Alex are both wonderful powerwashers!

  • Oh, my new photo! It seems that I have grey hair coming in, and it has decided to be curly. I've had stick-straight hair all of my life. Perms were the only way to get a curl. But my hair guy, Tim, tells me that often times grey comes in a little freaked out, and a different texture at first. It'll probably go straight again. Oh, why can't you see the grey? That's because I pay Tim a pretty pennyto keep me as very blond as possible. One can never be too blond, right Zillbutt?? So for now I am loving the natural curl.

  • And although I still have about 15 pounds more to lose, with the current loss of 45 pounds, the ensuing necessary wardrobe change (including my first 2 piece swinsuit in a scary amount of years, and a size change now at 4 down!), and the curly hair, Joe has gotten himself a new trophy wife! He says it's easier this way...he doesn't have to 'break in a new one.' I agree!

Hope for more soon....trying to enjoy life inside the revolving front door! It seems that school just let out, it's now into July, and before I know it we'll be up at the crack of dawn again for school. Life zooms on!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Right here, right now....

  • Watching Eric kill off bad guys in Rainbow 6 (XBox game)
  • Wishing Joe, Alex and Grace a wonderful week on their mission trip to Houston (Grace's first!) .l.. which means Eric and I have the place to ourselves this week! Well, except for the 3 dogs and the hamster.)
  • Still full from lunch at Mesa Rosa after church!
  • Got 2 beds' linens washed
  • Completed the second of 2 wristwarmer/gauntlets (made to match the Logan River Wrap I finished last week...I just adapted the cable pattern and designed as I went.). Amazing deep, smoky purple yarn in a wool/silk/cashmere that I got on sale!
  • Comfy on the couch, ready to watch some Family Guy on my Ipod before I go toddle off to bed
  • Planning on going to the pool tomorrow after I get off work at 2, to start on the real tan...
  • As opposed to the streaky orange color I am right now. But I'd rather be streaky orange than pastey white!
  • Kind of excited to wear a new swimsuit this year, with 45 less pounds on me! (Still have about 15 more to go....)
  • Thinking I really do need to take photos of knitting projects to post to Ravelry
  • Have quite a nice list of 'summer projects' for myself...actually looking forward to some deep cleaning/purging/organizing!
  • Realizing that I am the only one here all summer, while everyone else comes and goes for a week or more at a time. Grace thought that an "In and Out" board on the wall would be a good idea so we'd know who was here each week...I am starting to think it's not a bad idea!
  • Going to set up time for Eric to have friend K overnight this week, so his parents will get a night at home without kids! Hoping Eric can stay at K's also, and I'll end up with a night here to myself! "Risky Business", anyone? Party at Kris' house! Bring chocolate and 'Ritas!
  • Wishing I had taken a photo of a gift I made. Alex has had the same team for Special Ed and Inclusion for all 3 years in middle school. I really wanted to thank them in a tangible way for all they have done for him, and helped him become so selfconfident and able to advocate for himself. I found a wonderful transparency/overlay at Archiver's, that had a heart design and the quote "Teachers touch the world one heart at a time". I made a scrapbook page, kind of a collage really, with some vintage looking school papers I had, a ton of embellishments, and used clear 'ghost' letters of an a and a v on it, and framed it. I wish I'd taken a photo of it before I wrapped it and had Alex drop it off! The note he wrote for them was so sweet and heartfelt. He was pretty emotional the last few days of school. He was like that leaving elementary school, too. He gets very attached to people; I think it's wonderful. Such a neat, neat kid!
  • Realizing I should get off the computer and get some sleep, if I intend to be worth anything in the morning when I work. Sigh. I don't sleep very well when Joe isn't here.
  • Saying goodnight.....

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Feeling the love, and the gratitude....

Just sitting here with Grace, watching "So You Think You Can Dance", and realizing how blessed I am. (Yeah, I wish I could still dance, or at least be as limber as I once was, but I do love to watch dancers all these years later.)

There are so many reasons I am grateful right now. Too many to list, really. There are people in my life who are blessing us in ways that are immeasurable, and certainly in ways that cannot be repaid, but will definitely be "paid forward." I have friends with whom I celebrate right now, and friends with whom I grieve right now, and I feel priveledged to be a part of both. There are many changes coming for friends...some wonderful, some -well- not so wonderful. I only hope I am able to make them feel grateful for me in their lives during the changes.

The boys are home from high school music camp, and although Alex has (a little more than) some adjusting to do, I am optomistic. We are one week away from the end of the school year...and Alex will start high school in the fall. I do think I'll be wearing my knees out in prayer over his success.

Eric's combination of academic grades, lack of absences, and phenomenal TAKS scores allow him to excempt ALL of his finals this spring.

Grace has successfully navigated the often treacherous waters of 6th grade girlhood, and maintained a strong self-image and a confidence I know I never had at that age.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I added a badge to my sidebar, to the left. It's taken from Ravelry (thanks, Sujo!), and here's the description (I felt I deserved it!):

The “I Will Crush You With My Math Prowess” Badge - The recipient has applied the principles of higher mathematics to knitting including, but not limited to hyperbolic planes, Fibonacci sequences, Klein bottles, Moebius strips, fractals and Flying Spaghetti Monster hats.

So I'm back to watching the auditions, living a little vicariously through the dancers, in jammies and freshly cut and colored hair. (Thanks to Tim, I'll be a blond for as long as I possibly can!)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Just checking in.....

Here's an interesting blog entry. (I read a LOT of blogs about organization. Turns out it's not osmotic. Who knew?)

the Organized Mom

And a little funny I copied from a friend's blog...some are oldies, but still funny.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a CHANGE! The chicken wanted CHANGE!

JOHN MC CAIN: My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure -- right from Day One! -- that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.......

DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on 'THIS' side of the road before it goes after the problem on the 'OTHER SIDE' of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his 'CURRENT' problems before adding 'NEW' problems.

OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

COLIN POWELL: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road...

ANDERSON COOPER - CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

NANCY GRACE: That chicken crossed the road because he's GUILTY! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain. Alone. (from Kris...this still cracks me up!)

JERRY FALWELL: Because the chicken was gay! Can't you people see the plain truth?' That's why they call it the 'other side.' Yes, my friends, that chicken is gay. And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media white washes with seemingly harmless phrases like 'the other side. That chicken should not be crossing the road. It's as plain and as simple as that.

GRANDPA: In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its life long dream of crossing the road.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken2007, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check book. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken. This new platform is much more stable and will never cra...#@&&^(C% ......... reboot.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of chicken? AL GORE: I invented the chicken!

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?

DICK CHENEY: Where's my gun?

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.


Have a great rest of your week! ....and knit on!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cool Beans.....

Just a few little links:

Wendi Aarons blog....known as "The Always Lady", she lives and blogs from Austin. Just hysterical, especially this post.

Keep watching Ali's blog...she's doing one layout a day, and they are wonderful.

The Summer Interweave Knits in in 'da hizzouse' and the patterns are fan-stinking-tastic once again.

Lisa Bearnson's latest book just arrived in Archiver's yesterday, and my copy is sitting impatiently for me to pour over it. More ideas for scrapbooking the things that really matter, and what I want to remember. I've really enjoyed doing that lately...even to the point of either staging photos for the story I want to tell, or using a photo of the kid from any age and telling the story. My mojo is back! Whee!!

and I gotta tell ya....I am just BUSTING with good news about a dear friend! But I wasn't told whether or not I could tell, and I don't think I should yet anyway. But hot dang, IT'S SO FLIPPING COOL!!

I don't know if my friend reads here, but.....if you see this, friend....like I said to you: I am so happy, and so honored you told me!

Have a great Memorial weekend....enjoy and be safe!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Yeppers, it's been a while....

hasn't it? I had a rough couple of weeks in there. It happens, thankfully not too often. But it's over, and all is well. So let's just move on, shall we? Yes, let's shall.

I'm going to share some little goodies I've been collecting for a while now, just to share with you:

Ok, is this not adorable? These are the kinds of little things we want to remember about our kids, isn't it? Glimpses into their minds.

If you don't know who Peter Walsh is, you've not been watching Clean Sweep or Oprah. He's a professional organizer, and helps those who are really out of control. Not the mainstream "I can't seem to get this house together," but rather the hoarders, those who are unable to part with things emotionally, and are paralyzed by the thought of getting rid of anything. He has the ability to get them to that lightbulb moment of realization that getting rid of the years of newspapers is not getting rid of the parent who collected them. Things are not memories. Can you tell I'm a huge fan? He's got a new book out, called : "It's All Too Much." If you even think you might have issues with STUFF, I highly recommend reading his books. Life is so much better without the stress that too much stuff brings us!! Click on the title for a link to Amazon.


Many of you know that I am a member of a message board of scrapbookers. Some of the dearest people to me live there, in my computer. I have been lucky to have met a handful in real life. The first weekend in May I spent the weekend in beautiful Salado, Texas with 40 other women from this board, scrapbooking, eating, sharing lives, and just plain refreshing ourselves. It's something that women need, I believe, to have time together away from our everyday lives. And these other women are so giving and loving....and stinking funny! It was wonderful to have sore stomach muscles from laughing that hard. Who knew a pregnant woman could kareoke "I Like Big Butts" so very well? We recently lost a member of the board to a very aggressive cancer. (We've lost more than one over the years.) Our Mickeylou touched us all with her courage. I wanted to share a little ditty from a scrapbook page made by Mickeylou: The quote reads: "Gentleness is not unmanly. Remember that Jesus, St Joseph, St Francis, Pope John Paul II and Grandpa were all gentle men. Being gentle does not lessen men, rather it is a true characteristic of manhood. Great men tend to be gentle men."

And to catch you up on life here at Chez Van Allen:

We are really looking forward to the end of the school year (last day June 5th). We're just ready for the lack of scheduling in the summer. We are in the midst of band concerts and marching camp for incoming freshmen...good grief, Alex will be in high school next year! (His annual ARD meeting went extremely well, we are all anticipating a great year for him next year, and the band directors are all on the same page that we are regarding Alex's Asberger's and his toleration of marching season. And by the way, he takes four TAKS tests this year -state standardized testing- and we have 2 results so far: he passed math, which we expected, and he not only passed his reading/writing but scored at a commended level! this is the boy who used to have difficulty with readong comprehension and written expression!)

Joe spent a week in ShangHai, and then had another trip to Philly. He doesn't travel nearly as much anymore.

I'm still at Archiver's part-time. We are trying to figure out how we'll handle the summer. We've got 2 kids going to camp, Eric may be asked to counsel at camp, a mission trip for Grace and Alex that Joe is also going on, and Eric will be going on a mission trip with the senior high. So I need to figure out pretty soon how I'll be able to stay at Archiver's!

Happy to be back in blogland again.....

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I've not fallen off the edge of the earth....

but it seems that as soon as I think I have climbed back up, I slip and am just hanging on again.

I'll be back soon.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Mama said there'd be days like this....

I have quite a few things in a Word document that I wanted to blog about when I had time.

But today I've had just a bad day.

The kind where you realize what a complete idiot you can be, and nothing you do is right in any fashion.

The kind where you find out stuff you did or didn't do days before and can't fix now.

The kind where you just wanna go back to bed and turn back time. At least a couple of days.

I'll be back to blogland when I am done beating myself up.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Just one little word.....

It's an idea from a message board I frequent.

Do a scrapbook layout about yourself, using one word to describe yourself. But you get the word from others who know you.

So in the spirit of putting myself 'out there' I am game.

Feel free to leave a comment here, using one word to describe me.

And be gentle.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Right now I am.....

  • caught up on my general blog stalkings, particularly with Organize Your Life and today's entry about training our kids (she calls it delegating)
  • full from eating the leftover half of an amazing club sandwich from Palm Beach Grill
  • happy to have spent a chunk of the morning cleaning my kitchen thoroughly and finishing laundry
  • thinking Joe will not be pleased that he will come home to a 'pile'...I stacked up all of his things that were on the counter!
  • pleased to know that in a few hours I will have the cleanest feeling teeth! (dental appt today!)
  • loving that we paid for all three kids' new glasses and contact lenses with cash!
  • relieved that Jackie and I know what we are doing for our goodie bag contribution for the Spring Fling retreat in May, and that it's already started! (we even know what we are doing for November's retreat!)
  • proud that Eric is still a conscientious driver. A student at his high school was killed in an accident over the weekend...it appears that the driver (another student) was trying to pass on a curve in the road and ran headon into oncoming traffic, injuring himself and killing his friend. It has hit the kids hard, and although it's terrible to have happen, it is a glaring reminder to teens that they are, indeed, vulnerable. Please pray for both families involved, for healing for all of them. This will be a hard road for both families.
  • watching Court TV on verdict watch for a trial (I'm a geek)
  • laughing at the odd positions that my dogs sleep in during the day
  • beating myself up for emails I owe people (hi Donna!)
  • excited to start up the health/weight loss plan again on Thursday...it's been a hard month off!

So what are you doing right now?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy "Van Allen-tine's" Day....

Yep, it's that time of year again!

We are not sentimental here anymore. I told Joe that I am no longer "Demandingly Sentimental"...no flowers or cards please. And really, if he has to go all out on Valentine's Day, then what were we doing the rest of the year? We celebrate all year.

Random blatherings since I haven't blogged in a while, but have been making notes to do so!

Recently watched the Muppet Show (Season 1) with the kids. Love Mummenschanz!





And then there is Shields and Yarnell. Remember them from the Donny & Marie Show?



We had to get a new vacuum this week. Our home/menagerie is hard on vacuums. We did find one at a good price that is good for pet hair. It's nice to have the smell of burning vacuum belt out of the house again!

Knitting updates, or did I mention that I hate to make gauge swatches? I really do. And I have recently had to make more than I ever have to again, ever. EVER. On one project, even! I found some great yarn on sale a while back, and got it to make a cozy for my new Ipod. I loved the pink, orange and yellow in the yarn, but as I wound it, I realized that I didn't care for the white in the skein...it was dingy looking. So as I came across the white, I simply cut and knotted the white out. Then I had to gauge out the yarn on different needles, and ended up using FOUR plies of the yarn! I was on about swatch number 9 when I stopped counting. I also went through a couple of different pattern attempts. Initially I wanted to make a perfect cozy, a la Grumperina, but couldn't get the sizing to work for the openings. And all those ends from splicing out the white! yikes! Eventually I gave up and made a simple envelope with a turned up flap that is ribbed, for the earbuds. The very end of the yarn I had left was for the tie: braided and wrapped around the cozy. Just need a big button to wrap the cord around and it will finally be done. We won't talk about the number of ends I had to weave it.



I did make a scarf for Grace, the Irish Hiking Scarf. She picked the yarn; it's from Cascade Painted, and is a pretty mix of bright teal, purple and blue. I also made a scarf for myself, out of lucious Baby Alpaca in winter white, all ribbed with overlapping cables at each end, making it appear to be basket woven. Then ends are from this pattern. I used ribbing for the parts between the cables, and at the ends as shown in this entry. It was cold enough to use the scarves for a couple of days! I am falling in love with cables, and the look of them. And the look of cabled sweaters. Why don’t I live in the mountains where I can knit jillions of hat/mitten/scarf combos in fantastic alpaca? Oh, yeah....the cold. Right.





I am still way behind on taking photos for Ravelry and my completed projects. Right now I am using Ravelry for great ideas: I can search by yarn to see what others have done with it, and by pattern to see what alternative yarns others have used.



Eric is now driving, or how life has changed already! He picks up Grace and Alex after school, so there are fewer miles going onto the Surburban, and less stress in timing for me! But there is always the mom thing...worrying about the other drivers out there. So far he is proving to be a very conscientious driver, and is increasing his 'drivable radius' from the house.

Lent: Do you give something up, or take on a discipline? I once gave up soda. Back in the days before bottled water other than Perrier. That was a tough one. I'm not good at the giving up stuff. This year all I am doing is, as a part of the 'moving to a healthier me', trying to increase my water intake from abysmal to decent. I don't set the bar very high.






Tomorrow Grace turns 12. Wow. My baby has moved from this:




to this:




and as a middle schooler, occasionally looks at me like this(sorry about the tilt...this is a read-only file. Tip your head!):



She just switched from glasses to contacts. She looks so much older!

So I'm off for another busy weekend at Archiver's. Take care!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It's happened again....

I won another blog prize package! This is, if you are counting with me, number three for the wins! All were based on random number generation, so it's nothing like I had anything to do with winning, and considering the number of times I have commented on blogs offering prizes, I'm still upside down on the ratio, BUT STILL!

It appears I will be getting some ribbon goodness in the mail soon!

Here is the blog.

Coolio!

off to tend to a 'not feeling good' little girl.....

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Woman who really knows her man.....

I loved this story. I found it via a blog of a friend, Kenny, and the script of the story from a link in his comments. Enjoy!


A Woman Who Knows Her Man
Here is a story about "a graying duo" that subdued two unruly passangers on a recent flight from Minneapolis-to-Boston. A retired police captain volunteered to help flight attendants, if they needed the men to be subdued. They developed a plan whereby the flight attendants would hold up plastic handcuffs if they needed him to subdue the unruly passengers. He looked around at the other men on the plane, but all of them averted their eyes. All, that is except the retired Captain U.S. Marine Corps.

But wait, this gets better. The retired police captain was accompanied on the trip by his wife.
When the captain announced preparations for landing, the man jumped up shouting, the flight attendant held up the handcuffs, and Hayden and the Marine came bounding down the aisle. Hayden said he and the retired Marine, whose name he never got, received an ovation from fellow passengers, and "some free air miles."

Hayden's wife of 42 years, Katie, who was also on the flight, was less impressed. Even as her husband struggled with the agitated passenger, she barely looked up from "The Richest Man in Babylon," the book she was reading.

"The woman sitting in front of us was very upset and asked me how I could just sit there reading," Katie Hayden said. "Bob's been shot at. He's been stabbed. He's taken knives away. He knows how to handle those situations. I figured he would go up there and step on somebody's neck, and that would be the end of it. I knew how that situation would end. I didn't know how the book would end."


Side note: still not started the (somewhat daunting) task of photos of finished knitted items for Ravelry. Some are here at the house and will require multiple sock changes for photo shoots, and others are with the recipients, and I'll probably have to use the photos used in the patterns themselves. I hope to get to that soon. I've been getting so much great info and reference on Ravelry, I want to pay it back. Where else could I find a pattern over a year old in a Knit magazine, the Nantucket Jacket, that I would like to make, and then IN ONE SOURCE find literally hundreds of other knitters who are either in process or completed the very same sweater, list their chosen yarns, and then comment on the yarn, the pattern, any modifications they used, etc. Ravelry is a God-send to me!

Grace and I did a little scrapbooking tonight, after my time at Archiver's. Eric and Grace had music practice at the Church, for the youth band entitled At His Feet. They are going to be leading the music more often, and I am looking forward to that! Eric then has friend stuff to do the rest of the day: hangout time, movie time, Red Robin for burgers, etc. This driving thing is working out to our benefit already! And he doesn't balk when we require him to call when he reaches a destination, and when he leaves it for another.

I'll be back at Archiver's again tomorrow...we are short a couple of people temporarily. They already know what I love to do, so I am getting to do organizing within the store, and labelling! (be still my heart!) Guess my reputation has caught up with me. Always seems to.

Last on knitting, I finished my own scarf from the baby alpaca (oh, so softy soft!), and closing in on the end of Grace's Irish Hiking Scarf in the new Cascade painted. So on the 'planning needles' is an ipod cover. Unfortunately it has required me to knit up gauge swatches. eah, plural even. I've gone with a fine yarn, but it runs from shades of pink, orange and a cream that I really like. Starting with single strand and size 3 needles, too loose, size 2 were still too loose, decided I was NOT going with 1s. Frog out. Unroll complete skein to have 2 ends to wind together. Now knitting at 2 strands with a size 5. Kinda loose. Size 4....still a little loose. Now at a size 3. Looking like the squishy/protective look I want. Problem now? the assembly I designed will be too wide for using dpns...Smallest straight bamboos are size 7. Aha! I remember the Denise interchangables!! Wahoo! The smallest size is a 5. However, in looking at the Denise 5s and the Clover 3 dpns, there is not a signicant difference. I am going to continue this swatch with the Denise 5s, and probably go with them. Pattern? started with Grumperina's pattern for the front openings and will be constructing 2 more panels, that when folded and sewn together it will open like an envelope, and will have a pocket on the front for the ear buds, using a buttons and Icord tie around for the finish.

Eric was approved for Cabin Caounselor Training at Camp Allen, so he will be out there next weekend, meeting the directors for the summer and training. Hopefully he'll get lots of time at camp.

Off to Archiver's again tomorrow, to rake in the big bucks! cya!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

okay, one more to share....

I have loved Jerry O'Connell as an actor for many years. THIS is so very stinking funny....he really nails Tom Cruise in this parody of the now-famous video. Enjoy the giggle.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Double D in the mail!......

A short while ago I took some open time one morning to sit at a coffee shop and write a letter. Yeah, a real letter! It was WAY long overdue to a dear friend from childhood. Why is it that I think about my long-distance friends exponentially more than I am able to either write or email?

I was blessed for taking this time yesterday afternoon, when in my mailbox was a letter from another friend, one from my full time working days at Blue Cross in Minnesota: Donna! Gosh I think about her all the time, particularly at this time of year. Her son is not much older than Eric, and I've known her since before he was born. What a treasure to hear from her! Donna, thank you so much...I'll be in email contact, girl!

In other news.....

The deed has been done. Eric got his license! He's in front of the DPS building here:




Joe took him over there, and surprisingly it wasn't a nightmare of a wait. Because we did the driversed.com program, Eric took the final test online, passing, and we were responsible for the driving portion ourselves. At the DPS, all he had to do was show up with the school enrollment verification and the necessary papers. He's been driving to school, and will start picking up Grace and Alex when I need him too. We do have some restrictions right now on how far he can drive, and some others, that we feel are appropriate. He's even being cool about my telling him to 'drive safely' all the time...it's a mom thing, isn't it?

Because Eric shares a birthday with Elvis, we headed to Chuy's that night for dinner. Chuy's is a local chain of terrific TexMex food that is also a very fun place. They have a shrine to Elvis in their entryways. Every year on Elvis's birthday they have a party, with impersonators, dinner specials and giveaways. And free Twinkies after dinner! Of course we told the server that it was Eric's birthday so they got a group together to sing to him, and brought free ice cream. In our family, the birthday person gets to pick where we go for dinner on their birthday, and since the kids were little I added the restriction that it had to be a sit-down-and-get-waited-on place: no fast food. Otherwise we'd be at McDonald's, and we did enough of that when they were little!

I finished a scarf for myself in baby alpaca that is a wonderful ivory color, just in time for the cold weather here. I combined a ribbing of K2P2 with a cable pattern as an accent, and it's wonderfully soft. And I discovered that I really like knitting cables! A scarf for Grace (the Irish Hiking scarf) is halfway done on the needles. My design for my Ipod cover is complete, and I am making a gauge swatch (ew, I hate those).

Speaking of knitting, one of the blogs I follow, and have done a few of her patterns (Odessa hat and Jaywalker socks, and using her Ipod cover chart), is Grumperina. She also has a great tutorial on knitting cables without a cable needle. Brilliant. She just got married! Congrats, Mrs. Grumperina! Her blog is here: http://www.grumperina.com/knitblog/ , but you'll have to scroll down to the January 16 and earlier entry...her blog doesn't have links to each entry. The photography was gorgeous.

Report cards came out for the first semester and we are thrilled...Eric did well in all classes, including his Pre-AP Math and Chemistry, Grace is doing well in her first year of middle school classes/homework, and Alex got straight A's!

Pretty much everyone has seen the Tom Cruise video that was on YouTube until the powers that be had it pulled. Another favorite blogger of mine, Cathy Zielske, has been making some hilarious videos recently, similar to a mockumentary interview, a la Christopher Guest in my mind. So check out her version of 'The Scrapbooking Induction Video They Tried to Suppress":



She's such a riot!

Although life is still busy, I am feeling like I have a handle on the things I do and how to get them all done without going loopy-goobers. And that's a good thing. So far we have all managed to avoid the flu season, and that's a good thing too!

Off to do chores before heading to Archiver's....later!












Monday, January 07, 2008

A soon to be familiar sight....


Tomorrow Eric turns 16.
SIXTEEN!
He'll be driving. Wow.
Just another thing to add to the "I can't believe I am old enough to ......." list. Have a kid old enough to drive. Yikes.
But on the other hand, I am proud of Eric and the responsibility he has shown in learning to drive. He takes it seriously. He wants to be safe. His friend B is a great driver of 6 months now, and has been a great role model.
This boy impresses me. I not only love him as my own, my firstborn, but I LIKE him. I would choose to spend time with him. He's funny, witty, caring, mature, empathetic, smart....just a great kid young man.
So raise a glass, sing out loud, whatever you choose, to wish Eric a Happy Sixteen tomorrow!
(BTW, he shares his birthday with Elvis. That's cool.)
Now blogging from the passenger seat.....

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

{insert witty New Year's title here}.....

So Happy New Year!

Spent New Year's Eve with friends...annual party here at the house...fabulous time! One of the very best parties I think...everyone laughing, talking, playing Trivial Pursuit...Guitar Hero 3 in the backround....good times, good times. We were missing one family terribly but understand that right now their very first priority is to keep their newborn both healthy, growing stronger, and 'bubbled' from all possible exposures to germs/viruses. We love you all!

New Year's Day today was sleeping, jammies all day, no one showered, lots of knitting time, slugville. Just perfect.

Oh, and those Christmas cards? Yeah, still gotta go to the mail place...will probably require extra postage. And the 2 boxes of Christmas gifts will be coming along, to be mailed out to KC and Plano. And a lovely little bargainy thingy for Stacy will be on its way to Cowtown.

It's the time of year for resolutions, but I'm not one to make them. I've talked about that before. It was interesting to go back and read my blog entry from last year. Definitely food for thought. I know I've done well on some things, not so hot on others. But that all sounds pretty durned typical, doesn't it? More interesting resolution shtuff, should you choose to peek in on these blogs (two of my very favorites to visit, albeit for very different reasons): Cathy Z and Ali E.

On Christmas Eve we went to dinner with other church families, as we do every year...IHop. Another beloved tradition. This year we attending the 10 pm service, and really enjoyed hearing the choir singing carols. We arrived home to find that "Twinkles" the jammie elf had visited, and left us all new jammies for Christmas!

Christmas morning came far too early for Santa and the Missus...they were up till 4 am on the phone with Microsoft trying to troubleshoot the XBox360 that just wouldn't work. He ended up leaving a note of apology for the boys with a promise to get it fixed or replaced. (He was able to do that on the 26th...thankfully Target works with Santa on exchanging presents that turn out to be another customer's return that was broken and put on the sales floor! Grrrr...... ).

But the kids were all up by 6:30! (I even overheard a comment of waking at 4:30 and coming out to check out the gifts and returning to bed! Nearly caught Santa in the very act!) After Santa gifts and stockings, Joe and I grabbed some more much needed sleep.

The boys were wonderfully understanding about the XBox situation. Grace loved her new blue Ipod Nano! And Santa preloaded some of her music for her; Eric loaded 'better rock and roll' onto it later in the day.

Christmas Day was great, fun, all the positive adjectives. Here at home, with my parents and Sis. Wonderful and thoughtful gifts. I'll describe them another time.

Suffice to say that a great Christmas break was had by all (Joe being on vacation!), and we have one more day before school starts up again on Thursday.

Oh, and on the (frantic!) knitting front, all projects completed prior to Christmas [pat self on back] but few photos taken! Descriptions will be another time. Both the January Magknits is up, and the new issue of Knitty. Check them out! {.....reminds me of how far behind my profile/stash/photos are behind over at Ravelry.....grrrrr again.....}. If you are a member, or awaiting your invitation, watch for me. I am KriswithaK.

Rock on....