Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Another picture-free post. Sorry, you will just have to satisfy yourselves with this heart-felt, wordy rambling thing I am choosing to call a post. So there!

With the new year approaching faster than the bill collectors, I have been thinking a lot about things. Just things in general, not resolutions, goals or "must change, stop or start" things. Things like how lucky we have been in the past year, how blessed I am to have wonderful friends, loving children and talents. My girls are always on the front burner of my mind so this is about and for them.

Things I hope they will always remember about me:

My passions run deep.
Education is something to be valued and is a life-long pursuit.
Loving what you do makes it worthwhile beyond your wildest dreams.
Money buys THINGS, not love, honor or respect.
I love them with every ounce of my being.

Things I hope they are able to forget about me:

I am quick-tempered.
I'm too practical at times.
I'm overweight.

Things I hope they learn from me and carry with them forever:

A love of creating something on their own, whether it be fiber, textile, poetry, whatever.
A love of reading and knowledge.
Time is the best gift one can give or receive.
Family is what you make it. It is not restricted to bloodlines.
Age is a number on paper. You are only as old as you feel.
Generosity towards all, especially those you hold the dearest.
Charity goes along with that. I hope they remember that as well.
Being a strong woman is a good thing.
Crying can be a good thing too, although I never do it.
Laughter is many things: an ice-breaker, a healer, a tension short, it is good.
To make time for themselves as adults. Another thing I do not do enough of but still, I think it is important.

Enough with the mushy stuff for now. ;o)

Knitting is happening here at Chez Duckhouse. The opposite striping socks are now crusiing toward the middle of the cuff. And already, at least one person has requested them as gifts. Go figure. Mama knits herself some socks that are slightly wacky like her and everyone is in love with them. I guess we will see who they fit best when they are all done. I like the fit through the foot but am thinking the cuffs are looking a wee bit snug for my ankles. Oh well...time will tell.

Spent some time this evening coloring J's hair. I wonder if the older girls have any idea how lucky they are to have such a "cool and hip" mama. My mother nearly shit a cow croaked when I had my hair highlighted for the FIRST time in my twenties. Sure, I'm a natural redhead and stand out enough without help but still, I'd have loved the chance to experiment as a teen. So I make up for it by allowing the girls to do theirs as long as they agree to purchase the coloring kits and to either live with the results OR pay to have it fixed by a pro. So far, it's all been good. We've had slightly purple-ish hair on J once or twice but it was subtle, lovely blonde highlights for R that passed for natural on vacation. J and I have decided to let her color mine in a week or two. Maybe I'll let her do before and after pics. MAYBE.

Craft on!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Mama's got a new trick

I just love it when the light bulb comes on...especially when it's blog related. After months of trying to figure out this simple neat html, it occurred to me to use the "view" and "source" features of my browser to see how others were doing it. D'uh! I had asked J, the teenage whiz, to figure it out for me and she couldn't. Double joy because Mama got to show off a bit. Oh yeah!

My energy level is really at rock bottom. I had plans to take some pictures of my latest WIP, the slightly messed up lovely Simple Stripes socks but I could barely drag myself out of the chair today so it will have to wait. I have used Knitpicks SS yarn several times (about 5, I think) before this and never have encountered this problem before: one skein was wound opposite of the other. My personal style is a little wacky and these were planned for me, so it's ok. This. One. Time. Maybe this will teach me to wind balls instead of knitting straight off the skeins. I doubt it. lol

And look! My blog is suddenly how it should be with the sidebar starting at the top instead of the bottom. What was that all about anyhow? It's a good day in blogland.

Thanks to my dear friend, Kris, for the info on the ebay guy with Addi Turbos cheap. Cheap is right! Next week, I'll be ordering some while muttering prayers of thanksgiving for her and a few that the knitting fairy will sprinkle some fun dust her way (and help sell her house!).

Monday, December 26, 2005

Darling J snapped this one snowy evening shortly after Thanksgiving. Turns out, we had a green holiday after all. Snow+Thanksgiving=Green Christmas. I hate old wives tales that come true! Oh well. The day was a wonderfully relaxing one, spent with the girls and Hubster. Honestly, I spent much of the day in bed, ache streaming from every cell of my being. Stress seems to trigger every single fibro symptom there is for me. In the week leading up to "the day" I had several migraines, stiff joints, aching muscles and exhaustion. Today has been much better!

Despite feeling so blah, knitting has been happening. R's Sweet Tart Bubble Wrap socks finished up Christmas Day. (Go see Sockbug for her free Bubble Wrap socks pattern) R has taken her socks and I may never see them again for a photo shoot. As soon as they were off the needles, she snatched them and ran upstairs. So I pulled out another color of Simple Stripes and cast on a pair of toe-ups for moi. Being annoyed with not being able to find the exact matching spots, I cast on just the same. I double-dawg dare anyone to say a thing about my "off" socks!

Santa did not get the memo about more Addi Turbos for me so I will be ordering them one at a time, I think. Yes, I know Knitpicks will ship free for orders over $30 but I sort of broke my own rule about no last minute holiday shopping and therefore blew out the budget. Don't you just hate it when that happens?! It was worth it though. They are only kidlets for a while and the magic must live on.

(and for the record: the kidlets are not spoiled. They are lucky if we spend $125 on each. A lot to us but skimpy by some standards.)

Monday, December 19, 2005

This evening in the grocery store, I had this wonderfully worded post running rampant through my mind and wouldn't you know it...not a scrap of paper or a pen to make notes? I would like to say that the thoughts were about the holidays, filled with mushiness, bordering on inducing tears but honestly, I have not a clue what those fleeting thoughts were now other than the simple joys in life and the gifts of friendship. Today has not been a stellar or stand-out day by any means. I cleaned the oven and knit. Washed laundry, made the bed and did the dishes while fighting off the aches of fibro. Stress brings the beast out of hiding like fine chocolates can push a supermodel off her diet. I guess I might have been feeling sorry for myself a bit because between the stuff with my dad, fibro and the lack of holiday spirit, I just feel "blah". The mailman made a surprise delivery today from someone I "know" via the wonderful web. I consider her a dear friend, a blessing sent at the exact moment when a blessing was so badly needed. She has been a blessing more than once in the past year with her perfectly timed emails, surprise snail mail and giggles. I know she reads and I'm pretty sure she will know I'm talking about her so I will just say "Thanks. I love ya for all you do and for giving of yourself so freely. When I grow up, I wanna be like you!"

I must brag a bit more about the whole 2s2c thing. AMAZING dudes and dudettes! This is the THIRD pair in a week or 10 days. Hubster won't part with his long enough for a photo shoot (and refuses to let me shoot while he's wearing them) and E is living in hers. These are for R, from the lovely and talented Sockbug's free patterns done in Sweet Tarts using my new favorite toys: Addi Turbos. Believe it or not, these were cast on late, late last night/early this morning and are almost through the second repeat already. Yes, both of them. While it is a little late in the year to hope for Jane's 20+ pairs in a year, next year I will without a doubt be cranking out socks faster than you can say "Joe's your uncle"! E's socks were accomplished in less than 3 days and they were 2x2 rib from the toe to cuff (for the record, I'm not overly fond of toe-up.) R's socks are a rib-ish pattern which is easily memorized and knits quickly while watching the tube. J has asked that I not knit her any socks as she is not crazy about them. She has wider ankles and says hers never seem to stay up. I think I need smaller turbos for a finer fabric and then she'd like them. Oh, Santa....I know it's late to ask, but maybe, just maybe could have a late Christmas gift this year? Some US 1 and 0 Addi Turbos?

Well, tomorrow is another day. Another very busy day with stops at the UPS store, the bank and time with my dad. It is cold here, so cold the snowman want to strike, flee to Florida to visit Kris and AG for a bit before melting away. I will be layering up with my normal 4 layers plus my big, bulky winter coat before heading off to the white wonderland. I hope you are warm wherever you are.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Because Jane asked:

Christmas Elf Name

My Christmas Elf Name is
Get your Christmas Elf Name at

And because I cannot stand surprises, I had to know this:

Secret Santa
This year my Secret Santa bought me :

A Posted Dated $1 Million Cheque $1 Million For 3001
Get your Secret Santa gift at
It would be a POST-dated check for an obscene amount of money. ::Sob:: The yarn I could buy. The quilt stuff I could get. The houses we could own (I want one solely for me and my habits. I mean hobbies. So my similarly afflicted friends could have a place to crash while we work. I mean gab and eat and act like slugs.) The vacations we could take. Secret Santa, you are just mean!

Friday, December 16, 2005

New Look....or How I Drive Myself Nuts

Daughter J, the teen, has long been interested in html, building webpages, etc and being hungry for new knowledge, I have tried to keep up with her and learn html. It took me a while to master the img scr thing and the a href (my favorite!) but I cannot seem to figure out exactly how to create the desired look for this blog. What I want is three columns filled with the usual stuff: daily reads, WIPs, FOs, At the Bedside Reading, Jamming Along With...that kind of stuff. So bare (or is it bear? I always forget. lol) with me while I tinker in the coming weeks. I did manage to add some to my Knit Blogs list. If your blog isn't there yet, (Kris) it will be soon. I have a monster headache threatening to turn migraine on me in a flash so I am stopping for the morning.

In all this, I lost my code for the Knit Ohio ring and I must find it PRONTO. Also must figure out how to use the button I want for it. Any button-stealing pros care to walk me through this? In return, I will shamelessly hawk your blog, wares, and name my next pet after you...although it probably will NOT be a cat nor will it be in immediate future.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

My Sense of Style Comes Out Of Hiding

I have this long-hidden, never discussed love for stylish clothing and accessories. Not the fad stylish but rather the classic, Grace Kelly, never-out-of-style stuff. Which is probably why I have the burning urge to add these Gloves to my must knit list. They would serve this former farm-girl-turned-mama-wife-and-construction-gal no earthly or practical purpose but DAMN! They sure would look impressive on the needles and probably even more so on my arms IF I had somewhere suitable to wear them. For the record: Hubster refuses to go anywhere that has a dress code. The last tie he wore was for our wedding and that took major begging from moi. Can we see that a night out for a nice dinner and theatre is out of the question? I'm not talking about the movie theatre either!

My second Addi Turbo arrived today so Hubster's socks are moving a bit quicker now that the wonky join/bend in the Boye has been taken out of the picture. Which is great because Miss E is becoming rather impatient about her socks. What was I thinking when I bought that Simple Stripes Sampler? Oh, yeah. That I would have sock yarn on hand when the urge struck. That is the plus side of things. The minus is that Miss E is becoming a sock-crazy little gal. She was on my lap one day while I was blog-stalking and she saw some Lorna's Laces that Jane had shared on her blog recently(some suitable, girlie-girl color- Sassy Stripes, maybe?) and of course, she has begged me to buy some of THAT yarn for her. Yes, Jane, I hear you laughing from here and I hope you are enjoying the fact that YOU are partly responsible for this. LOL

More snow today. Tonight's weather forecast is calling for rain, freezing rain and then sleet turning to snow tomorrow night. Hmm...think I should stop singing "I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas" yet? Nothing says Christmas like a layer of the white stuff, snow emergencies and the three levels of snow alerts. I think the cold has gone to my head and frozen my brain cells.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Proof I Still Knit or Another Brag Session, Take Your Pick

Manly socks for my man. I love Hubster so much I tackled the whole 2 socks on 2 circs (AKA 2s2c) after much befuddlement and head-scratching. The things we do for love, I swear. LOL. Thanks to the free pattern at Knitpicks, I finally understood how this amazing method works. Vital stats thus far: KP's Parade in Checkers (choosen by Hubster himself), using one Addi Turbo and one Boye Interchangeable Size 2s, toe-up using Kelly Petkun's two at once, toe-up pattern. I am not too crazy about toe-ups because they still confuse and scare me a bit. Notice Hubster's wonky toes? Point made. But since this is HIS first pair of handknits, it seemed like the logical choice to get the perfect fit. He is happy so far. So far, I have used less than 2 skeins of Checkers but still have the cuff/ribbing to finish and then the heels to do. I have one skein of Checkers in reserve for the heels. And no, Hubster will not wear these out of the house. He is just weird like that. Other than the wonky toes, I like these a lot. The Parade line of yarn is just a smidge thicker than regular sock weight, which I like a lot. Notice how well the stripes are lining up? When I am knitting, the color changes do not seem to happen exactly at the same time but yet the stripes prove something is right.

In other news: baked a double batch of chocolate chip cookies today. The orginal plan was to tackle baking all day long with the kidlets but they putzed out on me after the first round so I have them ready to freeze until we have time to make another variety and some fudge. One BIL begs for my peanut butter cookies every year and since he is an OTR, he deserves some lovin' for the road. The kidlets made lists of folks who need cookie plates and want to send some to Gram and the parish priest there so we need to get our rears in gear!

More pics are coming, I promise. If any of you are blogger users and can walk me through how to change a few things, I'd be grateful. I want to add a link for the dreaded "100 things about me", "FOs" and "WIPS" along with "QUILTS" and must plead stupidity because I have no idea how to set this stuff up or where to find info to teach myself.

Stay warm and safe. Please remember to drive BELOW the posted speed limits in ice, snow and rain.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

You are Cleopatra

Beautiful and Charming. You are able to persuade anyone to do anything you would like, because of your hotness and charisma. You are an expert in gaining power over anyone you choose.

Take this quiz at

Friday, December 09, 2005

Have I mentioned I hate the COLD?

Today, I had to make a milk run. Or so I thought until I came home with the groceries and found the fridge was already hording 2 gallons. How I missed that I will never know. It is bitterly cold here, wind chills in the single digits most of the night, and well, ya'll know how I feel about being cold. So not only did I rush off to beat the end-of-the-workweek grocery rush, I did it in the cold which meant lugging groceries into the house in the cold.

Why am I whining about picking up a few groceries in the cold? Because as usual, when I pulled into the Aldi's lot, there was an old man parked in the fire lane waiting on his old lady. Excuse my nastiness here but this really, really pulls my chain. Fire lanes are marked "NO PARKING" for a reason, dipshit. They do not exist for your private, always reserved parking spot. They are not a drop off lane although I have no problem with that as LONG AS YOU MOVE YOUR FREAKING CAR. The lot was covered with ice and snow so don't get me wrong, the older woman shouldn't have to trudge through that but her husband should not be PARKED in the clearly marked fire lane.

Hubster's socks are moving along, slowly. Several try-on sessions have revealed they are a smidge too loose but I have hopefully taken care of that with some decreases. With his diabetes, I would rather have them be too loose in a spot or two than fit perfectly while I am knitting them only to discover his feet have swollen and they are too tight. He is anxious to have them finished. Men. They are like that, we all know.

For some reason, blogger does not send me email when comments are posted. I have changed my settings several times and it never seems to work. So, Kris, I am glad you enjoyed the pic. I have a hunch you will be seeing snow in the coming year. Maybe you should knit AG some mittens now before the cold numbs your fingers and sucks the joy out of it. ::giggle:: And Tanya, I have another Aussie friend who thinks snow at Christmas is cool. I will think of you especially this year as we celebrate a "White Christmas". Think of me while you sweat and bake, will ya?

I am still sorting through the treasures my father gave me. One envelope, marked in my late grandmother's beautiful penmanship, said "J---'s birth bracelet and cards". No bracelet found but I did find his baby ring, a gift from a local jeweler, a letter from someone (maybe my great-aunt?) wanting to compare birth stories and the hospital bill. Hand written on a printed form, one page, for the grand total of $59.15. For 4 days back in 1949. I am thinking about having it framed with one of my favorite pics of Dad as a baby just because I can. But perhaps the most amazing discovery in this treasure-trove of goodies from 1949 was the fact that my father weighed less than 7 pounds at birth. He's over 6' tall and I won't mention his weight. ALL of his grandchildren weighed more at birth than he did, as did my sister and I. Just blows me away because my father has always been a giant in my eyes. Until recently (the past 5 or 10 years), I could not picture him as a boy, imagine what he would have done for fun or things like that. He's always been just bigger than life to me, I guess.

I seem to be all over the map with this post. In a month or two, when I re-read entries, I am sure I will be wondering what was in the air while I was writing this. Note to self: the magic of Christmas as seen through my youngest's eyes. Santa is a REAL person to her and therefore holds all sorts of magical, mystical powers. The thoughts she conveys have more energy than expresso. She is electric, alive, filled with wonder and all over the map herself. I guess she is just rubbing off on her mama. No complaints...she won't believe too many more years so I intend to enjoy this.

For my Southern friends

This is for my friend, Kris m who begged for snowy pictures. This isn't from today's snowfall. I am not really sure which day J snapped this shot but we have more now and are expecting another snowfall sometime during the weekend. Need I state that snow + cold = quilting and knitting time for moi?

My Knitpicks order arrived yesterday. A mere 12 or so hours after I placed my order! I splurged for the 3rd day shipping so hopefully I could whip out a pair or two of Christmas socks. Hubster requested a pair, finally (his first) and even picked out the yarn. I am too lazy right now to go hunting up the color and all that but it's KP's Parade line with a maroon-ish and black striping. Very manly for my man. Also in the order was my first ever ::gasp:: Addi turbo. I think I am in love! So much that I ordered a second one this afternoon even though I should NOT be spending any more money at this point. Rounding out the order was the Simple Stripes Sampler. Seemed like a wise move considering I have 5 kiddos in my life who enjoy handknit socks and a passion for wearing them myself.

For those not on the 2 socks on 2 circs bandwagon yet, let me encourage you to jump on. I have to admit to a huge bout of stupidity when I first heard about this method. I dutifully checked Cat Bordi's book out from the library and sat pondering it more than once. For the life of me, I could not get how this would work out...seemed like it could not work out to be in the round work. Then I browsed Knitpicks patterns and found Kelly's wonderfully detailed directions for toe-up on 2 circs. DUH! The light came on. I cast on last night for Hubster's socks using the called for 12 sts and ended up with a pointy-toed, elf looking thing that wouldn't even fit E's 6 yo toes. Frog pond visited then I cast on using 32 sts (Hubster has wide feet) and WOW! What a difference! A mere 2.5 hours spent knitting this evening has yielded 2 toe-up socks that are to the ball of his feet. I am done with the toe increases (I think) and will hopefully get close to the heel point by tomorrow night. The progress would be even greater if I had ignored my practical, penny-pinching voice and just ordered TWO Addis to start with. One Addi and one Boye are working but the Boye has that hinky join/curve thing and it is a pain for this. I am considering offering them on ebay for the original purchase price ($35) plus shipping...will sell them otherwise if anyone out there in blogland is interested.

My dining room table is groaning under a van load of treasures from my father's house. Mini Christmas trees, a new lamp, things to put on eBay for him, a huge seashell collection, boxes of travel books for the girls to enjoy. He decided to clean house in preparation for a possible move and said "Come get your stuff". One thing I thought was MIA which came home with me: his boyhood Roy Rogers copper bank. I have memories of this being on our mantle as a girl and am delighted it is living on my desk currently. He suggested I eBay it but a quick search last night revealed a similar one at $17.50. I think the memories are worth more to me. When I look at that bank, I see a completely different side of him and I like that view.

Well, I think I am going to head to bed with my library book: What They didn't Teach You About World War II by Mike Wright. Being the granddaughter of a WWII vet, the era has always fascinated me because my grandparents never talked about it, period. This book is a must-read for any history buff. 'Nuff said there for the time being.

Stay warm, dry, safe and sleep well....I will return soon with pics. PROMISE!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Anyone else notice that WeatherPixie is often not dressed properly for the current conditions? I hate to break it to her, her being so stylish, hip and all that...but when the temps dip below about 40F, we put on coats and jackets. Not sweater and tanks. Or in my case, 3 shirts and a sweater PLUS a coat when outside. Yup, I really wear 3 shirts all winter long. I'm that cold.

Spent part of the afternoon re-stretching and sandwiching the quilt that was bothering me and then part of the evening working on free-motion quilting. I need practice and probably lots of it but this attempt, thus far, is looking much better. I hope to finish the quilting tomorrow sometime and then sit and scratch my noodle about bindings for a bit. Not sure which way to go on binding with this one just yet but I'm sure it will come to me.

Made the usual delish Sunday dinner....this week it was chicken in the crockpot with carrots, potatoes, biscuits and gravy. Tomorrow's lunch is already planned as chicken and noodles with carrots. The girls love that dish and have converted Hubster into liking it as well. J will probably help fix it so she can learn how simple it really is to make.

Hope the weekend was good for you. Ta-ta for now!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Forgive me readers for it has been too long since my last post. No real excuse for the slacking off either, other than it is damn cold out, I am tired and have been working hard. News on the frontier? Well, my new sweeper arrived, DH bought us a "new" dining table and chairs and my freezer now lives in my garage (as opposed to my father's basement). Knitting time has been cut to the quick with both the cold and the dreaded "W" word. (WORK) I have managed to knit 4 wee pairs of socks for my TLL box. My bag of sock yarn leftovers was starting to yell at me. You've heard it before: "DO SOMETHING WITH ME NOW". So I found several free patterns on the 'net and started to work.

Quilting has been pushing for fair time as well. I worked last week on actually quilting a small baby quilt, fell in love with the finished piece until I turned it over. Puckersville and then some. After conferring with my good friend, Sz, via email, I decided to leave it alone for a while and see if it really looked as bad as I thought. It looked that bad so I spent all afternoon picking the stitching out and will tackle it again this week some time. I made sure to find the masking tape for stretching the backing out good on the bathroom floor. (See, Risa, I do all sorts of stuff in there!!)

Yes, I mentioned work. I guess it's time to spill some beans. I've been doing construction work for the past few months. My dad asked if I could help him remodel (read: gut completely and start again) a friend's house so I said yes. If I don't feel like going, I don't. We have a lot of fun and I am learning a lot about building homes. So there.

Ok, I stole this from some blog...sorry, I forget which one. The Top 10 List:

10 Random things you might not know about me
1. I'm a redhead
2. I hate peas.
3. I love tomatoes.
4. I learned to knit when I was 6.
5. I hate cats.
6. I married a much older man.
7. Pepsi should be available in IV form for addicts like me.
8. I once sang for the Gov. of Ohio in the State Building.
9. I think of my angel babies every day.
10. I wish we could have more children.

9 places I've visited.
1. West Virginia
2. Pennsylvania
3. Kentucky
4. Georiga
5. Florida
6. New York
7. Indiana
8. Canada
and my personal favorite:

8 ways to win my heart
1. Be kind to my children
2. Dislike my mother
3. Enjoy my cooking
4. Admire my work
5. Show some intelligence
6. Show compassion
7. Be generous
8. Be passionate

7 Things I want to do before I die
1. Visit Paris
2. See Lynn's house
3. Visit Rach Down Under
4. See my girls be happier than they've ever dreamed
5. Hold my grandchildren
6. Take Duck on a hot air balloon ride
7. Own a longarm quilting machine

6 things I'm afraid of
1. Losing another child
2. being hungry
3. Dying before Hubster
4. Bats
5. Drunk drivers
6. Losing the ability to do fiber related stuff

5 things I don't like
1. Peas (weren't you reading?)
2. Tuna fish
3. Cocky people
4. People who refuse to change

4 Ways to turn me off
1. Interupt me
2. Ignore my opinions
3. Rudeness
4. Chewing with your mouth open

3. Things I do every day
1. Hug my girls
2. Kiss my hubby
3. Talk to my dad

2 Things that make me happy
1. knitting
2. quilting (This one really isn't fair...I have 3 kids who make me happy beyond belief)

1 Thing on my mind right now
1. Getting WARM.