My husband and I got back last night from a four-day trip to Las Vegas to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. (Child bride! Child bride!) It was a wonderful trip, full of memorable meals, a couple of shows, a fancy and romantic hotel, and a smallish bit of gambling. I think I came home with a few dollars in winnings, maybe. And, as it is always nice to have extra family members along when you celebrate your wedding anniversary with your husband, my father was in Vegas playing poker at the same time we were and my brother and sister-in-law drove in to say hello one day, too. I refuse to share any photos, as one or all of us looks positively demented in every single photo that I took. We stayed at the Venetian, which is always fun, and saw two shows, Penn and Teller and La Reve, both of which were really good, especially since we lucked out and had perfect seats both times. My big complaint (besides my late-night freak-out the night before we left when I realized that I had nothing cute to wear in Vegas) was that, once again, I didn't see any celebrities. I'm not talking about an expected celebrity at a show, but a random sighting, with the possibility of some minor stalking on my part, like the time Ozzie Osbourne and I were touring the same thing in Hawaii. But Vegas, never. This annoys me to no end, because everyone except me, sees a celebrity, even a questionable reality show star, in Las Vegas. Even my father, who has no interest in celebrity sighting, except if he happened to be playing at the same poker table with someone famous, saw Dolly Parton step out of her limo this past weekend because there was some sort of country music awards ceremony on the strip. This, of course, led Dad to reminisce about the time, years ago, before I was born, when he rear-ended Charlton Heston's limo with a news truck he was driving in New York City. Look, all I'm asking for is a random celebrity sighting while in Vegas. I couldn't just sort of bump into Nicole Kidman in a public restroom or see Reba at the pool? Hey, they were there for that country music thing, too, but I didn't see them. I almost think it's a conspiracy. Conspiracy theories aside, it was a nice, quick get-away, and it was especially gratifying to talk to my mom back home, babysitting the kid, when I was luxuriating by the pool, and she said it was sleeting in Kansas City. Of course, now it's back to the real world, which Las Vegas certainly is not. I went and worked out this morning and stocked up on salad greens today in an attempt to make up for the, um, excesses of the past few days.
Kansas City was supposed to wake up this morning covered in anywhere between 6 to 10 inches of snow. The whole city was gearing up for it and the grocery store was packed yesterday after work with people stocking up on milk. I was one of the masses, not because I felt the call of stockpiling before a storm, but because I hadn't shopped all week and we really needed milk. Anyway, no snow yet, just sleet. It's not that I have anything against snow. It's just that it's almost April. We should be done with the snow thing. So, I'm planning on hunkering down and knitting this weekend and watching basketball. March is a huge month for college basketball and it's especially exciting for our family since Missouri is doing so well. (Go Mizzou!) Right now we're in the Elite Eight, which I believe we've only achieved once before and we've never made it to the Final Four. I'm not sure how accurate those facts are. My mom told me them and as she's extremely proprietal about "her boys", her all-encompasing term for both the Mizzou basketball team and Mizzou football team, (I always have this mental image of "her boys" in little cub scout uniforms, looking about 5 years old when she says this) she's probably right. I really wish my nephew, Jordan, was still here. He's lots of fun to watch sporting events with. We did have to clarify to him, that even though we're on the state line between Missouri and Kansas, we root for Missouri always, and only slightly, and with polite reserve for Kansas, but only when it has no effect on Missouri's standings. (I should note here that as of last night, Kansas is out of the running. Too bad. So sad. Not.) Anyway, my nephew is fun to watch the games with. If he doesn't know something, he has a tendency to "BS" about it and completely make something up. I enjoy calling him on these things. It amuses me. For instance, he was trying to tell me that players get 6 fouls, not 5 in tournaments. Yeah, right. My husband and the kid are less into the games. They generally just wander into the room every few minutes to check the scores, but they don't watch the whole game. My husband likes to comment on all the tattoos the players sport. They don't yell at the television screen like I do.
So, this afternoon as I'm rooting for Mizzou vs. Connecticut, (I know nothing about their team) I'll be knitting on this sock. I love the pattern, which I think is called Olympiad Rings, but I'm not positive. I'll give full details later, when I finish the pair. It's a very ribbed pattern, so I slipped it on my sock blocker to take a photo. It looks sort of deformed and skinny with all the ribbing just on it's own. I love this pattern. It's instantly memorized and it looks good. I'm sure I'll be knitting this one again and again.
By the way, discussion continues between my brother and my friend, Rachel, about why Rach's father-in-law's computer blocks my blog with his porn filter. My brother contends that it has something to do with Typepad itself. My girlfriend says it's because I'm just a dirty girl. (I'm not really, but it's rather exciting to be perceived that way.)
Our nephew went home yesterday, and the house seems like it has a hole in it somehow. Having two 13 year old boys in the house was entertaining and actually less stressful than I thought it would be. (Except for the one evening of endless wrestling and threats of underwear wedgies.) I really enjoyed having my nephew here. The kid was moping around the house, sort of dejected today. He misses his cousin. Me, too.
On the knitting front, I finished up the elaborate Django socks, which are a Cookie A pattern. They're actually much more complicated looking than you would think. The pattern is really quite straightforward, especially if you're comfortable knitting from charts. I actually bought a magnetic strip board this week, which works out a lot better than the post-it note strategy I usually use for graphs. These socks are knit out of Sundara sock yarn, in a colorway called Aloe.
Finally, a weird, yet funny thing--my friend, Rachel, emailed me and told me that she tried to access my blog from her in-laws computer and her father-in-laws "porn blocking" computer program BLOCKED my web site! Seriously! I thought she was joking with me when she was asking me what I was posting these days. I was so shocked, I double checked my blog, you know, just to make sure that I hadn't done anything I couldn't recall, but all I saw were fairly non-titillating photos of knitting and the kid and my nephew eating hamburgers. Not especially hot stuff. She said that she thought it was probably my blog name, since porn-blocking programs don't have a sense of humor. My husband and mother think the whole thing is hysterical and ribbed me about it a lot this morning.
I've been enjoying having both my nephew and the kid here during Spring break. It's quite entertaining, although the house is heavy on the testosterone level. My nephew's "unaccompanied minor" airplane flight here to Kansas City was uneventful (thankfully) and I had to sign for him at the airport. I even got a written receipt for him, which still cracks me up. The last few days have been spent doing things like rock climbing, paint ball, baseball batting cage practice, and playing pool. I feel a deep urge to do something girlie in retaliation, but at the same time, I'm happy that the boys seem to be having a good time. They've resisted all of my attempts to plan things out, so I've admitted defeat and refuse to be the social director at this point. I'm getting a lot of knitting done in the meantime. I'm finishing up a pair of Cookie A socks, in the Django pattern, for a "Shawl/Socks swap" on the Sundara Yarn Love board on Ravelry. This is the Aloe colorway in Sundara sock yarn, which is gorgeous. My photo skills are lame and I can't capture the depth of the color, so trust me when I say it is beautiful. I'm loving this pattern, too, so I'll have to knit a pair for myself, otherwise it will be too hard to part with this pair of socks. I really admire Cookie A's design capabilities--the cuff pattern flows beautifully into the leg pattern and there's cable and stitch patterns on the heel flap.
Hmmm....one of my sisters just called me with some wild plans for meeting in Chicago and seeing an Oprah show filmed. I wonder if this will work out. She also said that if I knit while we're in the Oprah audience, she will pretend she doesn't know me. Harsh.
Ah. The weeks pass and I don't blog. This is because knitting time has been really limited and I didn't have much to show in the way of completed projects. I knit just about every day to chill out (i.e. retain sanity) but when you only have time to do a row or two, here and there, there's not much to show or blog about. I have finished a few baby items. Here are two Gnome Hats, knit out of Lorna's Laces sock (the blue) and some Lorna's Laces sport yarn leftover from a sweater I knit my niece. There was enough yarn in the single skein of sock yarn to knit both a baby hat and matching booties. My husband was visibly appalled by the pointed hats, which is my own personal judge-o-meter as to a baby knit cuteness. Mike: horrified=Baby pattern: super cute. I also knit a hooded jacket for the same baby out of a pattern called "Duck Soup" from a Canadian designer with a company called Jujube and Lolo. It's a top down knit, with a cute knotted hood, so there's very little finishing. The pattern calls for knit i-cord frog button closures, which are very cute and actually work. In true form, I knit the jacket and then the fasteners and then waited a few weeks before actually sewing the suckers on. Quite typical of me. The jacket is designed to "grow" with the baby. The designer says that you roll the hood and sleeves back and have a roomy coat for the first season and as the baby grows, you unroll and have a fitted jacket for the next season. I used up the remainder of the sock yarn from a pair of socks knit last month for the frog closures, which appeals to my inner frugal core. Actually, I'm not sure it's a frugal core, but rather the contentment that comes from using up all your yardage in a project.
Spring break is starting around here and my husband and I have taken some days off of work, which is nice. Our nephew, Jordan, is flying in to visit as I type this. It is his first time flying alone and I imagine that he's pretty excited about it, although he's being very cool about it. He called me a little while ago during his layover in Minneapolis. I may have told him several times to be careful and not talk to strangers in the airport, which is horribly uncool of me, but I can't help myself. I'm excited and perhaps a tiny bit fearful about the prospect of having two thirteen year old boys in the house for the next nine days. (Note to self: must stock up on food.) I've made several attempts with them to plan activities, excursions, etc, but I've been met with complete indifference and lack of cooperation from the husband and the teenagers. This may be driving me crazy (a lot) as I like to plan things out. I'm thinking that my strategy here should be just to stand back and let them "chill" or whatever. Perhaps I'll get more knitting done.
I knit this adorable pointed gnome "tomten" baby hat yesterday using a pattern on Ravelry that had been translated from Swedish. It turned out so cute that I promptly cast on another hat today. It's the kind of adorable, but utterly ridiculous sort of baby hat that I especially love, since I am a fervent believer that you should always dress a baby in goofy silly hats when they are too young to verbally complain and at best will only look disgruntled. What? You'd like to see photos of these cute gnome baby hats? Be patient, Grasshopper. I haven't taken pictures of them yet. I will now distract you with a scene from my family this afternoon. I'd just gotten home from working out and I was "glistening", (i.e. sweating like a stuck hog.) The kid gave me a hug, which is something he will still do on occasion, if he's certain that no one is watching. As he hugged me, I got a noseful of nasty, stinky teenage boy body odor. Our conversation pretty much followed like this:
Kid: "Gross. You're all sweaty."
Me: "Me, gross? You smell rank."
Kid: "Me? It's probably you. Wait a minute." At this point, he lifts up his arm and takes a deep, powerful, almost thoughtful sniff of his own armpit and says, "Nope, you're right. It's me."
Years ago, when I was in pharmacy school, I was doing an internship at the Kansas City Veteran's Hospital. I was working in the hospital's outpatient pharmacy and I think we were supposed to be handing medications out and working on our pharmacy counseling skills. There was this really old guy who kept saying, loudly and repeatedly, to me, "Ooh, you're looking good." Now, yes, I was younger, a bit slimmer, and had perkier body parts, but it still irks me that some old geezer can verbally harass you like that, even though you know he thought he was complimenting you somehow. Although, this was pre-Viagra days, so I suppose that I should give him props for having the interest in looking. Anyway, after seven or eight times of hearing "Looking good!" and "That girl is looking good!" and other derivatives, I probably rolled my eyes at the ickiness of the old man and went and got his medicine. At this point I realized that his medicines included about eight different eye drops for glaucoma and assorted eye problems. The man was probably blind as a bat, yet he said I was "looking good." The whole thing struck me as hysterical and now, years later, I still like to use this guys catch phrase, with his same intonation, whenever the situation warrants. If I'm dressed up to go out, I'm "looking good". The kid has a fedora on to go to the 7th grade dance? He's "looking good". My husband is strolling around in his tighty whities? He's "looking good". So, it is with great pride that I show you this bit of knitted lace, which when blocked, I can sincerely say, is "looking good". This pattern is called "Gothik Scarf" and it is knit out of Malabrigo sock yarn, which is not only looking good, but feeling good. That yarn is snuggly soft. The actual color is a much deeper red. I don't know why reds are so difficult to photograph and get a true color. This scarf was knit and mailed as part of a swap to a knitter in Australia, and now that it has arrived "down under", I can blog the finished product. Because the Malabrigo sock has such great yardage, I widened the pattern by an extra repeat, in hopes of making it a generous scarf. It blocked unexpectedly, though, much more lengthwise than widthwise, so it is very long and more scarf-like than shawl-like widthwise. I wasn't quite expecting it to block that way, but no matter. I think this scarf is "looking good".
Yesterday was gorgeous and sunny and unseasonably warm. Today started out with cold rain that later turned to big flakes of snow, alternating with more rain. I fretted because the kid refused to wear a coat, not even a hoodie, and I'm worried that he's freezing. My husband is more practical and tough love-ish. He figures that at age 13, the kid should be smart enough to know when he needs a coat and should pay the consequences when he makes dumb choices. Anyway, as an antidote to the cold, gray weather, I give you pink and orange socks. This first pair is knit out of Sundara sock yarn and I love them. They are girlie and feminine and I want to wear a tiara and sparkly pink lipgloss and twirl while I wear these socks. I knit this pair of socks in just four days, which kind of makes me want to strut around, or at the very least, I feel like some sort of knitting rock star. I think that I was spurred on to knit lightening fast on these socks because I really wanted to get to some gorgeous orange yarn. This yarn is also Sundara sock yarn, in a colorway called "Orange over Pistachio". It is my current favorite color of sock yarn and it has been for over a week, which is really amazing, as I'm quite fickle where sock yarn is concerned. I'm further along in knitting the orange sock than the photo shows. I wish you could see the depth of the color. Either it is my camera, or more likely, my mediocre photography skills, but I can't quite capture the underlying green tints beneath the orange. It's really spectacular yarn. Take my word for it.
Happy Groundhog's Day! In honor of Groundhog's Day, I will be cleaning our bathrooms today. Granted, I would be doing this today regardless of Groundhog's or any other minor holiday. There were teenage boys in my house yesterday for the Superbowl and the house is looking a bit worse for the wear today. As always, I'm astounded by how much food these gangly, big-footed 13 year old boys can eat. Mostly, I just told boys to get their feet off my furniture and threw napkins and coasters around. At one point, I heard the kid say, "Dude, don't touch my mom's knitting!" followed quickly by, "Mom, it's okay. Don't freak." I watched the game sporadically. My husband was really into it, which is unusual for him, sometimes yelling at the tv screen, sometimes yelling at wrestling boys that he couldn't hear the game. It was a house divided around here, with the results leaving my husband disgruntled and the kid happy. Me, I was tired of all the testosterone and knit girly pink socks in my defense. These are the same chevron rib pattern that I knit my last pair of socks out of, but the stitch pattern shows up much better in this sort-of-solid yarn. This is Sundara sock yarn, in a colorway called First Blush, from her December Artist's Choice yarn. I am quickly becoming a huge fan of this sock yarn. I liked it well enough in the skein, but knit up, I've fallen in love with it. It feels wonderful to knit with and almost has a sheen, like from tencel in the knitted fabric, but it's merino wool. Anyway, I think these pretty pink socks are a great way to get ready for Valentine's Day.
Apparently, my tender-hearted approach of swerving wildly while driving to avoid death wish small mammals, has touched a sensitive chord with my family. I've already gotten severe lectures from my husband and sister, Liz, about the dangers of this practice. Luckily, my mom hasn't read my blog and no one has ratted me out, because she probably would give me a tongue-lashing about unsafe driving practices. I know, logically, it probably is safer to mow down the nasty possum or cute fat skunk than swerve wildly, but emotionally, I'm thinking Bambi and his little friends in the Enchanted Forest. On one of my first dates with my husband, twenty-plus years ago, (child-bride, remember?) a squirrel ran in front of his car and I shrieked out, "Run, baby, run!" No doubt my sensitive nature-loving personality (and still-perky at that time body parts) are why he kept asking me out. Anyway, according to my sister, unless it's a moose crossing the road, I shouldn't swerve wildly. I've yet to see any moose out here in the wilds of Kansas City, but you never know. Hey, not to be all Bizarre Foods, but I have eaten moose before. It was a moose stew and quite tasty. (Look, once again, I digress.)
I'm rapidly finishing up this lace scarf/small stole knit out of Malabrigo sock yarn. It looks remarkably unimpressive right now in a big lump, but I'm hoping to finish it up tonight and block it tomorrow. Blocking is always like the Extreme Makeover move for lace. I did just notice that I made an error in the pattern, naturally during the first few inches of knitting and I'm just noticing it now. It looks like I must have lost track of where I was in the chart and repeated about six or so rows. Argh. As this is a gift and I'm in a bit of a time crunch, the error stands as is. Hopefully the recipient will never notice, or better yet, just figure it's a design aspect.