Saturday, December 30, 2006

Holiday flicks

You all know I was half joking with my previous post, right? Just to prove that I'm not a holiday grinch, here are some Christmas day pictures.

All in all, we had a bunch of fun.

And other distractions...

I whipped up my holiday eggnog. The only 2nd best thing to do with a dozen eggs and and jug of cream.

That's my 20+ year old Cuisinart. I bought it for myself as a wedding present. While everything else from that early period of my life has broken down or gone missing, that sucka still works!

I use the spirits only to kill off any traces of salmonella... Honestly!

Got some knitting done too

I made a bunch of these wrist thingys for little girls who lose gloves. I told them that they could add a bit of bling to their outfits just by pulling on a couple of these (another fine way to use up the muppet fur!)

As many of my fellow knit bloggers have resolved, I too am knitting from my stash. I have some Noro odds and ends I made these with -

This shot is sort of an inside joke...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Coming up for air

Christmas was peaceful and without much confusion. This is the first year really I didn't have to sell sexual favors in order to get a power ranger toy or make some faustian deal in order to appease a beloved child who ends up playing with the box...

When your children are teenagers, they become easier to reason with. For example, what were the hottest teenage gadgets this Christmas? That's right, - Playstation 3 and that Wii thing. In order for any of my children to request big ticket items like this, I require that they embark on a small research project first, they must be able to answer the following:

Question 1: How much did said company make last year?
Question 2: How much does said CEO make (including stock options - if you don't know what a stock option is go to Question 3);
Question 3 - why do you need to make said CEO richer?

No, I am not being unreasonable. Besides, what could be better than a great book and an iPod (oh, speaking of stock options...)? Believe it or not, they agreed except for the 12 year old. With him, he needed a bit more convincing so I sent him this email.

Wii shipment problems, PS3 delayed again

By INQUIRER newsdesk: Monday 18 December 2006, 13:33

As previously reported by the INQ, Nintendo has offered to replace more than 3.2 million Wii remote straps after users have reported that the connecting cords broke too easily. You can check out the newer version at Nintendo's site, which allows a comparison between the newer straps and the thinner, older offerings. Users need to call customers services on 0870 60 60 247 or send an email to Nintendo, the strap can then be sent back, after which Nintendo will send a replacement.

Nintendo and Chart Track have confirmed that the Wii has become the fastest-selling videogames console ever within the UK, with 105,000 systems already sold. Similar record-breaking success was reported in our PAL-utilising cousins in Australia, where 32,901 Wii units were sold in the four days following the console's launch.

However, it seems Nintendo have also fallen foul to smaller than predicted launch day shipments, although not quite on the scale of Sony.

Gamasutra reports that although Nintendo has not stated a change in shipment plans, the company did retract a small part of an earlier press release which indicated that 600,000 Wii consoles had been sold in the Americas in just eight days. The main shipment figures aren't in dispute, but a sentence at the end of the press release stating "Despite spot shortages in some locations, well more than a million Wii systems will be available in the United States by the end of the year", was later retracted.

The conclusion formed by Gamasutra is that Nintendo is no longer confident of being able to ship the original figures promised this year, and this is supported by the European launch of the console last week which saw less stock then expected being delivered - apparently many pre-orders weren't fulfilled due to Nintendo not shipping the previously promised quantities.

Bad bad news came for European Sony fans from site CVG this week.

Sony's head of Worldwide Studios Phil Harrison recently told Official PlayStation Magazine that he wouldn't like to make any definitive statements about the March roll-out for PS3.

CVG also claimed that a source has spoken of a PS3 delay as far back as September 2007, pointing at further component shortages.

Fortunately SCEE boss David Reeves specifically told "We're still on schedule to launch PS3 in March throughout the PAL territories. All speculation otherwise is without foundation." - Don't expect the rumours to stop anytime soon though.

No, I don't think I was being unreasonable. Try it one year.

Anyway, for his Christmas gift, he received 2 Wii controllers and this note from Santa:

Dear Jonathan,

When Nintendo get's their act together and can drop ship some Wiis to the North Pole without me having to ask Mrs. Claus to sell sexual favors and maybe if you play your cards right, your mom will hook you up when Game Stop gets their shipment. In the meantime, here are a coupla controllers just in case you get lucky.

on a different note...

I'm desperately soliciting the blogasphere for a collective mind meld. On Friday, December 29, I report to my local Motor Vehicle Agency to get my driver's license renewed. I've checked their website and learned that I must get one of those digitized versions and therefore I cannot do this by mail and must report in person. I am advised to bring sufficient forms of ID. Their suggested documents list makes me very nervous. Because I've left this very important business to the last possible day of the year before it expires, I've decided to be over prepared. Here's what I'll be bringing:

A. every legal document that has ever been sent to me
B. a pint of blood (for DNA purposes)
C. a urine sample (for infectious disease elimination)
D. video testimonials from my pastor and his wife
E. a letter of recommendation from my local librarian representative from the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Did somebody say Cannoli?

Oh, and by the way, the winner to my cannoli contest was my very own local cafe and bakery...

No, I wasn't being partial. And, just to see if they still got it going on...


Friday, December 22, 2006

So What's So Weird???

Stephanie over on Sharky Purl tagged me for the Weird Things Meme. This thing has been going around blog world and, so far, I've concluded that Arleta has us all beat, but you decide...

THE RULES:Each player of this game starts with the "6 weird things about you." People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as stated in this rule clearly.

In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says that "you are tagged" in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

Ok, here it goes -

1. 12 years ago, I had an affair with Ebay but we broke up after I was tricked into winning a $50 dollar bid for a 8x10 photocopy of a blackman in a WWII navy uniform (it seemed unique at the time).

2. I cry over road kill

3. I can't throw away books and I 'rescue' books that have been thrown away

4. I once conducted a secret, and private, contest for the best cannoli. I went all over New Jersey, the Bronx and Brooklyn. There were plenty of weird stares too from reluctant wise-guys restauranteurs, who no doubt wondered, "what's this black chick doing here?" I won't disclose how many I actually ate (FOGETABOUTIT), I'll let your imagination cause you to drool.

5. When I was 15, I smuggled myself into a hotel that the Jackson 5 was staying in. Joe Jackson, the Jackson's father, called my father to come and get me. He was really pissed. My dad would have killed me on sight except he was invited to the Jackson's presidential suite to hear all about how much money Motown paid for security and how it was I was able to get into Michael's room... Yea, y'all guessed right, nothing happened :(

6. I get headaches when I shop for unessential stuff (the 'not being poor anymore' guilt is a mofo!)

Ok, so who are my victims? LaVerna, Ina, Nik, Sherry, Dawn and Risa.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Holiday WIPs (Works in Progress)

Well, with all of my holiday knitting, I didn't get to complete my holiday shawl. I thought I'd wear this to see Alvin Ailey but it won't get done in time, maybe for one of the after holiday parties I've been invited to. I bought the wool at Rhinebeck back in October.

Basketball season has started for 2 of my boys. That's nearly 8 hours of basketball per week! The opening game was Tuesday night and I finished off one project and started on another. Can you imagine the amount of guiltless knitting I'll get to do twice a week on that schedule!

Tomorrow, Friday, the 15 year old is going to a girl's sweet 16 party, she plays basketball too. Me and my clever self thought that school colors fingerless mitts would make a cute gift. Whatcha think?

Yup, that's muppet fur on the bottem (formerly known as novelty yarn, come on, admit it, y'all still have loads of this stuff too). I now call it muppet fur because of Felicia's funny button!

Monday, December 18, 2006

What's Monday morning like for you???

Mine started at 5:45 am. Hubby was preparing to leave for work and I reminded him that he had to pay his driver's license restoration fee. What's that? Well if you live in the New York City metropolitan area, you are used to taxes - double digit real estate taxes, income taxes (yes plural), sales tax (7%), school fees (activities tax), and my favorite the indubitable driving privileges tax. What's that? Well they are overtime meter tickets, seat belt tickets, and irritated trooper tickets (see Back to Reality). Anyways, my hubby got an overtime meter ticket ($8) and somehow it fell into the ticket black hole and his license was suspended. This strange quirk in the New Jersey motor vehicle laws has provided me the privilege of adding him to my already overburdened chauffeur duties.

I found out last week that if I just paid the $100 bucks online his license would be restored and he'll be able to drive again. So, this morning at 5:45, I'm on the computer and plugging in the already over burdened credit card.

At 6 am starts the really hard stuff - waking up the children on Monday morning for school. Let me tell you, this is not for the squeamish. There's the drama around who gets to use the bathroom first (there are 2 other bathrooms located on the first floor but I guess that's too far to walk early in the morning...)

Then there's the - did you wash my uniform questions and did you remember to fill out this form and that form and can you write a check for this activity and of course lunch money.

Finally, everyone is dressed and now starts the eating drama. I make scrambled cheese eggs, ham and biscuits. Not a big deal - the biscuits are easy with just a couple of cups of flour, butter, baking powder, salt and milk. They are brown in under 15 minutes in a 450 oven.

The drama -

"Did you put ham on my eggs." Says the 17 year old, 4 year veteran vegetarian.

"Why would I put ham on your eggs?" Says the 47 year old, too tired for this crap at 6:45 in the morning Mom.

"Well I have to ask, you always put ham on Andrew's sandwich." Says same teenager.

"I am fully aware that you are a vegetarian, and I always, never, put meat on your sandwiches - 4 years now." Says I.

"I have to ask, because maybe you'll forget one day." Says the same extremist vegetarian.

"Trust me, before I forget to put ham on your eggs, I'll first forget to wake up at 5:45 to get YOU up for school and make YOU a hot breakfast before you go to school." Says I, growing more tired.

"Why is everyone so irritated? It's Christmas, why does everyone have a bad attitude?"

I'm thinking that I should write Chomsky and ask him if he'll ever do a book entitled, Manufacturing Teenager Dissent.

On the Knitting Front

My holiday knitting is coming along. I've made 5 sets of Fetching mittens, here's the last two that I finished this weekend.

The thing about these that are special is that I knitted them with some yarn from my stash that has got to be at least 10 years old! Yes I have vintage stash stuff, sad right? It is a Tahki yarn named Sable, an angora and merino blend. They are heavenly soft. On one pair I did a Noro trim just for variety.

The other item I finished was a Manos scarf done in mistake rib stitch. Oh and that's my brand new mug from my Knitter's Coffee Swap buddy, LaVerna.

The final thing I want to show you is this beret I have to finish for the hubby. He picked out this kit himself so I guess that means he'll wear it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Lost in translation...

Camille - Ta Douleur

I don't know what she's saying but I think I've had this dream once!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Idiosyncratic or...

ADHD (acronym for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - for all of you foreigners out there who don't live in a society that sticks a disorder name on all of your weird character traits). I've discovered that I prefer knitting things that require two matching pairs, at the same time!

Crystal Palace Taos

You see I know me in all of my idiosyncratic, ADHD leaning weirdness. I know I would be the perfect victim of second pair syndrome (socksters call this second sock syndrome but since I CAN'T knit socks, I've created my own name). This is a condition that one suffers when one successfully FO'd (finished object) one part to a pair and never get around to doing the second. So far, I've finished 2 pairs of Fetching mitts this way and my psycho brain thinks I finished a pair at the same time!

By the way, thats ROOT BEER not bourbon.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Hey Mom, what's that smell???

Friday afternoon my former crip tonight son yells up to me, "hey mom, a package just came for you!" Oh, goodie, I was expecting my Knitters' Coffee Swap package to come and I got so excited about what LaVerna had sent me. Then he yells, "Hey Mom, what's that smell? It's coming from the basement!"

I'm thinking, ok, what's in my basement - laundry room, bathroom, furnace room, media room... Could be a sewer pipe? OMG, could it be gas?? I creep down the stairs and, regrettably, passed by my package from LaVerna. Then it hits me - THE MOST GOD AWFUL SMELL OOZED INTO MY NOSTRILS. I took a side glance at my birds to see if they were still alive, thinking that if it was gas or carbon monoxide, they'd be dead right? Then I remembered that carbon monoxide is odorless and none of the alarms in the house had gone off - that left gas or a sewer pipe. I didn't hear water, I didn't see water, then it couldn't be the sewer pipe (besides I've used up all of my plumbing debacles for the year already).

I decided not to take any more chances and I evacuated the house out into the 20 something degree temperature. I pull the car out of the garage and told my son to get in. I call the gas company and the furnace company. Inside 15 minutes (the way all first world countries ought to work, notwithstanding the dozen or so blackouts we've had so far this year), the gas company shows up. The guy is fisted with two meters and he creeps into the house. After 5 seconds he says, "Lady, you got a problem worse than gas." I'm thinking what #^%$$ could be worse than the possibility of my house blowing up?"

they are not cute in a cartoon

or in real life

The gas guy had a real laugh at my expense, meanwhile the smell is getting worse and I'm thinking that if I can get my yarn, my birds, my pictures, my books out of the house, I just might blow it up myself move out...

The furnace guy came and announced that something definitely tried to get in through the duct work that leads from the chimney to the furnace because part of the duct work was clawed out! I tell you people, I wanted to run right then and there but it was my house and all my stuff was in my house so I had to be brave and find the 'IT' myself.

Four or Five hours later I gave up the search. Wherever or whatever IT is, it's gonna have to wait till morning.

LaVerna's package was my only consolation to an otherwise crappy Friday night.

And what did she send me?

In addition to all of that great stuff, there were 3 bars of chocolate (better than prozac) and there was this other thing that was totally uncanny -

I put the soap in my pocket just in case the IT showed up...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Georgia O'Keeffe I'm Not

I adore her paintings. I can stand before one and lose myself in dreams of possiblities. What do you see when you see these?

The one above reminded me of a scene I watch grow each day as I do the dishes -

This time, when I saw this, rather than dream about the obvious, I was reminded of some super giant needles I bought at a yard sale. I got to thinking about colors and textures and I remembered that I had some super bulky mohair boucle that I bought at Rhinebeck -

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Mad hatter!

I think I'm growing more and more allergic to wool. It is especially difficult now to wear wool hats. The other day when I was out to lunch with friends, I found myself scratching and rubbing my forehead. Leslie noticed my discomfort and suggested that I put polar fleece around the inside brim to make it more bearable. After lunch Phyllis took me to her sewing room and cut me a piece of fleece she had (knitting buddies are the best).

As you can see I like strange hats. The novelty yarn that was popular a couple of years ago, I would combine with 5 other strands of yarn and make chunky, strange creations. This year I'll leave the wool alone and go with cotton and, gasp, more acrylic.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The inadvertent Christmas decoration??

My buddy Phyllis graciously volunteered to perform a post mortem on my sock. No, that is not my sock there, that's her sock. They were done on respectable #2 needles. The stitches were nice and tight too. What a metaphor for everything that is wrong with me...

After one look at my sock she proclaims, "er, perhaps you need to go down to a zero."

"As in no number?" Says I incredulously. I'm thinking, doesn't a zero mean that the needles are invisible?? Actually, I know better because I used to crochet lace when I was a teenager, you know when my eyes were good and my stitches tight...

Phyllis kindly suggested that my gauge was off which is why I have a sock for Big Foot.

Ok, ok yall, I know you want to see it for yourselves -

Phyllis also suggested that I might have discovered another use for it -

But I was way ahead of her, this is what I did with the other sock, the one I screwed up first -

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Finished one sock, sort of...

Ok, it's 12:30 in the morning and I've finished off one sock. IT HAS GOT TO BE THE UGLIEST THING I'VE EVER SEEN. Would you believe that after frogging it several times, I finally get to the end of over 20 pages of instructions when I find out that I actually have to sew a seam at the toe! Geez, couldn't it have just worked it's way into a nice square toe without me having to use my nonexistent sewing skills!

Tomorrow, or rather today, I get together with my knitting buddies. I'll let them do a post mortem on it and hopefully I'll get some advice. Maybe, just maybe, I'll show y'all a picture and all of you sockaholics can have a big laugh on me.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Party at the LYS

On Thursday I stopped over to my favorite LYS, Close Knits in HoHoKus, New Jersey. They had an anniversary party sort of. I had a fun time chatting it up with other yarn zealots. I also had fun learning about a new yarn to make this scarf -

It's a tape yarn that comes out ruffled after you do this strange technique. Silly me forgot to write down the name of the yarn. I tell you what, the first person to identify it, I'll send you 2 skeins! I think all it takes is 1 or 2 skeins to make the scarf but the kicker is you don't just knit it, you jab your needle into the tape yarn and pull it through, very weird. Here's one of the owner's demonstrating it

I am giving this thing a try but I think my brain and my hands are arguing about what to do...

I caught one of my knitting buddies checking out some glitterati yarn, some of us know just what we want -

I tried to limit the wine and cheese goodies. Wine, yarn and checkbooks don't mix!