Thursday, November 30, 2006

Snow Day

This week we have the first winter storm of the season. It started last night with freezing rain and sleet, continuing all day today with sleet and snow. It looks like we will end up with about six inches of snow at the house. I waited until late to take a picture - evening is coming and it's almost dark. Early on in the storm we also had thunder and hail. It has been so cold that Roxy doesn't run away - she just does her business and runs back into the house. A good thing, too, because I am not very motivated to take her out for a walk. Tonight will be colder, and Friday night colder still. We should get down to about 8 degrees Saturday morning. I can't remember the last time it was that cold here.

Yesterday the weather guys were predicting that we might have as much as 8 inches of snow. We were getting heavy sleet early this morning, so I waited until sunup to leave for work so I could see what kind of trouble I was getting into. For a while I wandered around the house starting to get dressed for work, then putting my sweat pants back on. I couldn't decide whether to try to get to work or not. Finally I decided to go in, and leave around noon if the snow was coming down as heavy as predicted. I knew that I would not like to drive in more than 4 inches of snow. The local roads were vile, but I thought I'd wait until I saw what the highway was like before I made my final decision. I got off on the first exit after I got on and went home.

I was able to take advantage of the day at home to make progress on the never ending afghan. I think I am nearing the halfway point. This is a big relief because I have not done any crochet to speak of for quite a while and I was afraid I had lost my speed.

While Shana was at work I was able to do a little work on the Super Secret Project. I had not touched it since she came back from Boston, and I was beginning to worry about meeting deadline with it. I'll have a bit of time tomorrow afternoon, too. After that I think I can finish it pretty easily next week. I need it to be done then so it can be completely dry before I wrap it.

This evening I will switch over to knitting. I've got three pairs of socks on the needles - one is the Wildfoote for me. which can wait until after Christmas is necessary, although I'm eager to have them on my feet. They are coming out so pretty! I've also got half a pair of Fetching, with another pair planned. The Kimono Shawl is still on the needles, but it won't be anyone's Christmas gift, so it will also wait. I made pretty good progress on it in Boise, but haven't touched it since I've been home. With the cold weather I am kicking myself that I don't have a cute hat. Maybe this weekend I can knock out some kind of hat for myself. Jennifer bought me a book of hat patterns and a skein of Cascade 220 in a nice green that will make the perfect hat to go with my brown coat.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

More Boise

I did have a few more Boise pictures I wanted to share, although I've been home for almost a week. On Saturday Jennifer and I went out for a drive to get a look at the city from above. The dogs got to run loose a bit, and I got another perspective on the city's site. It's quite attractive, and it's easy to see why Jennifer likes it so much. I would also enjoy the opportunities for outdoor activity there, and the scenery is lovely.

Boise is also very bike friendly, with loads of convenient bike lanes everywhere. It would be very possible to get around by bike in most cases. I wish our city was as well provided for in that department. Like Oklahoma City, Boise does not have a great bus system, though. I did see some , but fewer than I would have expected. It's too bad, because the city itself is rather compact, and would be fairly easy to supply with good transportation. Because the city is surrounded by mountains on three sides they suffer from smoggy inversions, which would be fewer if the number of cars on the roads could be reduced.

We went to the cutest diner on Friday for lunch. It's in the classic diner car format, and the inside is decorated with fifties style memorabilia. They have good sandwiches, and an actual "Shake Menu". The shakes are yummy. We were not hungry for dinner Friday night. I make a chicken biriyani, but it pretty much went straight to the freezer for another day.

Crafting continues apace. There are three new finished objects to show. Both of the hats were done this weekend. The green one doesn't look like it, but is cabled up to the decreases. I read an article in Knitty about two stitch cables without a needle, and had to try it out. I want to do some cables socks, but could not face the cable needle fumbling over the required number of stitches. When I read this article I was inspired. I still can't quite handle cabling without a needle for more stitches. However, next year this WILL happen. Shana should enjoy my experiments, because she just loves cables. Everything I do with cables she is crazy about.

My goal for this weekend was to make some kind of visible progress on the afghan. I worked on it for hours (and hours) yesterday and it is twice the size it was when I started, but I was hoping for more. I know it is growing, but the difference isn't as dramatic and visible as I expected. When I picked out the pattern I truly did remember that I swore after Rita's afghan that I would never do another with stripes because all the ends are a royal pain. I do not know how I was able to rationalize this one. Still, I think it will be good looking in a manly way and the intended recipient will be pleased with it. I'm a little concerned about meeting deadline, though. I may have to take it to work for lunch hour to get enough time for it. I will definitely need more black yarn. When I bought the yarn I was thinking of a different pattern, which after I looked at more closely I did not like. I chose this one from a book I bought a few years ago, and the balance of color is a little different. I'll probably end up with some grey left over.
Thanksgiving was pleasant. I spent it with Shana's family, and it was very low key. We went to Buddy's, and didn't stay very long as Shana had a cold. It was nice to have a chance to visit a bit, and also nice to come home. We've both been a little tired, and I have gobs of stuff to do at home. The kids went to Dennis for Thanksgiving. Dennis actually cooked it himself, with typical last minute panic. He called me at 6:00 Wednesday to find out how to cook a turkey and make his mother's dressing. He called at 6:15 to ask about how to thaw a turkey. He called at 7:00 to ask about how to make gravy. He called at 8:00 to find out how to make a sweet potato casserole. He called at 9:00 to ask if what other vegetable he should have. He called at 10:00 to discuss how to time his cooking to get everything done at the same time. I called him Thursday morning to tell him to get his turkey in the oven. Apparently he was able to make the dinner successfully and a good time was had by all.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

It's the New Zoo Review

Jennifer's dogs came home today, so there is now a full house of animals. She's been missing the dogs terribly, and knowing how I muss my Evil Wild Dog of the Prairie I relented, with the proviso that if they proved to be too much they'd have to go back to Mark's mother for a little longer.

Boomer and Maggie are both labs: yellow and chocolate, respectively. Boomer is the biggest lab I've ever seen. I was not in a hurry to have them come home because I thought that labs would be too lively for Jennifer to manage, and I knew they were large dogs. Turns out that in spite of their extra jumbo size they are quite well behaved and considerably less wild and woolly in personality than The Amazing Roxanne. They do not push and shove, put their feet or their tongues on you, climb up on the furniture, leap into the air, or wrestle in the house. I'm finding them quite easy to manage.
The cats are another thing entirely. They go where they will, do as they please, and act as they like. In short, they behave pretty much like cats. They come in two varieties: Pippin the Terrible, and Little Guy the Shy. I confused Pippin by ignoring him for two days until he approached me. So far he has not bitten me, but I'm sure my day will come. He had no interest in my if I am looking at him, but when I don't he's all over me. He comes in and out of my room several times each night to look at me and smell various portions of my body. Little Guy is more pleasant in disposition, but because of his shy disposition and age comes out of his lair much less often. Pippin is in evidence at ALL times. Both of the cats are ginormous tubcats, with swingy stomachs and fur like bunnies. Because of their size and fatness they make the cutest cat loaves ever. When they are "loafed up" you can't see any feet at all.
Although they look idle, they apparently have a separate and more active life at night. Last night they fulfilled a burning desire to sample my Tension Tamer tea. They got into the cupboard, opened the box, and ate up most of a bag. No wonder Pippin was in such a pleasant mood this morning!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Arrival in Boise

I'm here in Boise, keeping Jennifer company and enjoying the wonders of Idaho. I came in the day before Dan and Bonnie were to leave, so we had time to have dinner, a little visit and breakfast at Jennifer's favorite cafe in Meridian. It's really cute and the food was great. Of course the company was good, too. Bonnie looked terrific, very fresh and pretty (not so visible in the picture, alas) and Dan much the same as always (we are all older; how did that happen?) and it was lovely to be able to spend a little time with them. Jennifer's perfect posture is the result of a full body brace. Under her clothes her torso is encased in a form fitting plastic suit of armour that keeps her back aligned so that the break will heal properly.

Jennifer is going in to her office for two hours every day. I'm the chauffeur, and my reward is a shot tour of Boise every day. I try my hand at simultaneous driving on unfamiliar streets in an unfamiliar vehicle, talking and taking snaps. You can just imagine how exciting it must be to be the passenger! Jennifer is especially enjoying the surprise that I have absolutely no sense of direction, and therefore every day is a completely new day. I need constant direction. Boise is not very large, but is quite attractive. Most street have bike lanes, and since it is situated in a valley, there are beautiful mountain views in several directions. There has been snow this week in the mountains, so the mountain views are stunning.
Boise has a river running through the center of town, and a system of public parks along the river. There are multiuse paths, river access for small boats and rafts, tennis courts - all kinds of public facilities and the park we went to was very pretty. It's the end of fall color, and the willows next to the duck pond were particularly striking. Jennifer had a bit of an outdoor walk and a little sun. Maybe too much walk.
We've also visited her favorite yarn access points and bookstore, and the Meridian DMV. Now that Jennifer has her handicap parking tag we'll be assured of good parking spots. She's sure this will result in extreme popularity as Christmas shopping gets into full swing.
I've been knitting on three projects in rotation, depending on how much concentration I have. The Parting Ways sock is now on the heel flap and is kicking my butt. The leg was fine. It was interesting enough to require and keep my attention, but keeping the twisty rib going down the side of the heel is a bit fiddly. I must admit I was tempted to just do a plain flap, since the pattern is not showing up all that well. The only thing that kept me from doing it was that I do plan to make the sock again in a plain color, and I'd like to make my mistakes when it doesn't show.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Go West (young Wo)Man

This weekend I will be flying to Boise Idaho to visit with my eldest daughter, Jennifer, who has had the bad luck to have a riding accident last weekend. She's broken her back. That's the bad news. The good news is that she will make a complete recovery, although she'll have some limitations in the short run. We are all so thankful that she will not suffer permanent damage, although the injury will likely exacerbate her arthritis in time. I'll be helping her around the house with the various things that are impossible to do while wearing a big back brace, and we are hoping to enjoy a good visit. Since we see each other in person rarely we try to make the most of the occasions when we are together in the same room. I'm looking forward to visiting with her, and seeing a bit of Idaho, which I have never visited. What I'm not looking forward to is being bitten by her giant pyscho-cat. She has two kitties, both are orange tubcats. One of them has a vile disposition. The other one has a pleasing disposition only in comparison with the other one. Compared to ordinary cats, he's not friendly. What do you want to bet I can tell them apart rather easily by the end of the visit? I'll also get to see her dad and his wife, who I rarely visit with. It will be so nice to see both of them, even if is for very brief time. Our visits will overlap by a little teeny bit. She's a lovely person, and it will be a rare treat to enjoy his sense of humor again.

From the department of crafty goodness, here is evidence that it is indeed all socks all the time chez Cinderellen. The blue striped socks are continuing apace during my lunch hour. The Wildfoote socks are shaping up beautifully, and are so pretty. I'm using the Parting Ways pattern from HeartStrings, which is an eyelet rib pattern with kind of a twisty look, almost like are cross between lace and cables. The pattern is very pretty and not difficult at all. The hardest thing is that it is a six row repeat, so it's not quite mindless. It's not good while watching Lost, but it's good TV knitting for Grey's Anatomy. the pattern is not showing up in this yarn as well as I had hoped, but it is knitting up so nicely that I think I will make another pair in a solid color that will show the pattern a little better.

Jeannie's socks made it to Alaska where she pronounced them "too pretty to wear". I hope she changes her mind fairly quickly, because they were meant to keep her feet toasty.

I am still working on the Kimono Shawl, and although lace does not photograph well in progress I feel I have to offer proof of its existence. I've seen quite a few around the web, including a beautiful example in red. I almost, but not quite, regret that I am making mine in a beigey tone. The yarn is actually quite a bit darker than it looks here and slightly heathered. It's very pretty in person, and after it's washed and blocked it should be very soft and quite lovely. I think the color will make it a very wearable shawl that I'll really enjoy if it does not get carried away. The reviews of this pattern by the bloggers who have done it are that it was a rather easy lace project, but required some determination to finish as it went on FOREVER. That I can easily believe. Next in the queue is probably Icarus, which apparently has been/will be knit by every living knitter on earth. I'm planning to do mine in a grey alpaca which should look like a cross between clouds and pigeon feathers. After that the Peacock Feathers shawl from Fiddlesticks. I'll probably order that pattern right after Christmas. I already have a pretty dark teal lace weight merino which will be pretty in that pattern. Possibly the best thing about my particular obsessions is that you can actually have a stash or lace and sock yarn which easily exceeds your life expectancy without it taking up enough space to look like it. My stash looks rather modest but is in fact huge in terms of knitting time.

Fall is continuing to progress here, with highs alternating between the 50's and 80's. The leaves are piling up in a big way. Here's a shot from my front porch to compare with last week. Shana says she'll be raking while I'm gone. Sadly even if she rakes like crazy she won't be able to keep up. We get 100 bags of leaves out every year, and I am not really a very thorough raker. It's the downside of a wooded neighborhood. The fallen leaves do smell good, even if the smell does remind me of the sneezing, coughing and weeping I'll be doing every weekend until we got them under control.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

3 1/2 Days to Daylight

Or at least three and one-half days 'til the Dems get control of the House (and maybe the Senate). I have two fears - What if we don't wrest control from "those people" and What if we do. My hope is that we can get control, and we can either elect some people with backbone or encourage some of our guys to develop a bit of a spine.

Shana came home today from Boston. Her mom continues to get stronger, and is recovering well from the surgery. She'll still need some help, and has a few people lined up to come and stay for a bit. Her step-daughter is there for the weekend, and one brother will come and help out for a week or so. Past that Shana will go back, or I will go out and stay with her a week (or both).

Shana came home with prezzies!!! I knew she was looking at T-Shirts for me at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and she did get me one of their cool T's for this year. What I didn't know is that there were more goodies to come. She brought me two good art pencils, and a box of art nouveau stickers of various sizes in a really pretty display box which will be great for supplies even after I use the stickers up. One bundle of stickers is just the right size to use for book plates. I was just thinking how much I would like to have some for my knitting books and they have magically appeared. There is also a little tin featuring the Creature From the Black Lagoon - perfect to contain breath mints in my purse. It will be fun to offer them around from that fun tin.

There is a little gift shop in Falmouth, the nearest town to Shana's mom's home, which has something of a split personality. In the front half there is a very nice gift shop with all kinds of dainty treasures, lovingly arranged. The back half is a yarn store which is stacked and packed with less of an eye to display quality than to just getting every possible yarn into view. They always have lots of good stuff and I usually pick up something whenever I visit Falmouth which makes a great souvenir. Usually Shana (and her mother, when she comes shopping with us in Falmouth) gets tired of watching me fondle and maul the yarn. Not only am I indecisive - I have to carefully narrow down my options, but there is so much yarn in such a small space you practically have to crawl around on the floor to get a good look at it all. Shana and her mom run off down the street rather than wait until I have pawed through everything in the shop. I didn't imagine that Shana would venture in by herself to pick out some yarn, so it was a thrill to see the familiar golden bag come into view. Wildfoote luxury sock yarn, in Brown Sugar, for me me me! I think I'll cast on for some cable knit socks tonight! Of course the picture does not look like anything much, but Wildfoote is handpainted in beautiful, saturated colors. This particular colorway has all kinds of deep autumn colors from almost purplish brown to golden and red, with a tiny flash of deep navy blue. It's very fine yarn, and will make a really pretty pair of socks. When I start knitting it up (and my camera deigns to treat me to flash photography) the colors will show up beautifully.

Of course crafting is happening this weekend. I've started the gift afghan, pictured here pretty much backwards, with the back side prominently displayed. Never mind, it's not the last appearance of this project. It'll look better next time it appears. It's black, charcoal grey, and white. I've forgotten how much "fun" crochet is to do in black. The pattern is established now, so it will go smoothly from here on. One complete blue stripe sock is finished and the other started; the first purple and green sock is getting a heel flap; the second fingerless glove lacks only a thumb, which will be done before the weekend is over. Friday afternoon and evening I worked my projects in rotation, while Rita worked on her latchhook project.

Our cycling group got together for coffee this morning - we've all been busy, so it was great to find a little time to catch up with each other in person. We'll be training after to first of the year, but in the meantime it was fun to visit. Too bad we met before Shana got back to town, because she would have enjoyed it too.