Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Happy Happy

I finished the snowflakes!

Why I need new glasses

And we’re about to open stockings…

With Care

Happy Holiday Of Your Choosing…


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Things I wanted to finish by today:
– Handknit gift for Mom
– Handknit gift for Dad
– Handknit gift for Middle Sister
– Handknit gift for Youngest Sister
– Clearing out the basement for the guests arriving in a week
– Get my car started and inside the garage so it can warm up
– Go through the boxes still in the garage from the move
– Refinance the house
– Not slog through snow-covered roads
– Set up a joint savings account at my bank
– Pack clothes and food for overnight visit with relatives
– Plan menu for New Year’s Eve and guests arriving in a week
– Find my brain long enough to remind myself that I am in fact a smart woman who can figure shit out and get shit done, because I’m starting to feel like everything is slipping through my hands due to my own incompetence

Things I actually finished by today:
– Refinanced the house
– Set up joint savings account at my bank

While I’m certainly counting those two as a win, there’s still a bunch of fail left on my list. And I’ll talk more about it (and share pictures) behind the jump BUT IF YOU’RE RELATED TO ME, DON’T LOOK BEHIND THE JUMP. Instead, enjoy this lovely picture of holiday cheer made tangible.

Frosty Holidays

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Why I Love Owning My Own Home, recent additions to the list:

* We have a garage. Even though I’m a total idiot who scraped off the sideview mirror last week while backing out of it, I’m in love with having a garage.

My car is the one that fits in the garage (there’s still a bunch of crap in there), which means my car is the one that does not need to be shoveled out, scraped off, or pre-heated. The garage is made of win, and now I don’t hate winter quite so freaking much.

* Since it’s ours, we get to decide on the appropriate level of catness or dogness, and last night we decided that we should increase our level of catness by +1.

Portrait of a cat

She’s 3 years old, needed a new home due to a grumpy old dog, and she likes us. We brought her home last night and have been keeping her in NinjaHusband’s office till she gets used to being in a new place, then we’ll let her run free. Her previous family (N’s aunt & uncle) called her Missy, but we’re trying to come up with something else to call her. So far “Cat Benatar” is high on the list, as is “Miss Kitty Face.”

Any name suggestions?

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Best Picture Ever

Happy Anniversary, sweetheart.

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My Bread and Butter

When I was growing up I was sometimes a foolish child. I ran around the outdoors, played in the forests and fields and creeks, and helped my Dad chop down trees. Tomboy. Everything that was outside was awesome, and everything that was inside the house (cooking, sewing, sitting still) was boring and silly.

Foolish child.

My sister Laura became the baker, the stitcher, the inside daughter. She sent some of her cross stitch work to the county fair, astonished family and friends with her kitcheny skills, and is an all around domestic goddess. I was the one who mowed the lawn, hauled branches, and ran fast. If you saw my childhood pictures you might doubt my Swedish-German-English-Dutch heritage, so brown was I from being outside all the time.

Only in the past five or six years have I developed any kind of respect for indoor activities and traditional women’s work. I’m not going to treat this blog post like a therapist’s couch and try to figure out why I hated that kind of work; I like it now, and I’m proud to say that. I think being able to make your own food, make your own clothes, and be self-sufficient is a great skill and in many cases has been turned into great art (quilts, master knitters, etc).

I’m not making great art here, but I did recently learn how to preserve my own pickles. And I’m so freaking proud of myself!

On the last Sunday in August my Mom (who’s been doing this since she was probably 5 years old) showed me (age 27) how to make bread and butter pickles (in her house, not mine).

First you slice up the cucumbers and onions, then soak them in ice water and salt for THREE WHOLE ENTIRE HOURS.


Go for a walk while you wait. Talk about life stuff with your mom. Learn about wild plums, elderberries, wild grapes, and crabapples as you walk past them, and the best way to preserve them all. Also, prepare your spices.


When you get back from your walk, boil some jar lids (this sanitizes them).

Lids a-boiling

Stand at the sink and be a little embarassed and a little proud that your mom is taking pictures.

At the sink

Have ready your great-grandmother’s pressure cooker, in which you will boil the jars. Admire the winking design.


Fill up a pot with some sugar and some apple cider vinegar, making sure you know how much to use. Remark several times that it looks like pee. Get disapproving looks from your mother.


After the entire THREE HOURS has elapsed, rinse the cucumbers & onions, then add them to the sugar-vinegar-spicy mix.

Cukes & Onions

Meanwhile, have your jars waiting in superhot water. Pull them out nowish. Again, feel the embarassment and pride when your mother takes a picture of you pulling a jar out of a sinkful of water.

Jar, Sink, Hand

Your cucumbers are starting to look more like pickles. Get hungry.


Fill up your jars with the veggie-spice mixture. Use a 40-year-old wide mouth funnel for help. Try not to spill on the clean counters, but fail.

We Who Are About To Be Boiled...

And after you lid the jars and boil them for 15 minutes, you have pickles that you have made yourself.


They are all home with me, and they taste delicious because I made them. And because they are delicious.

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That would be great.

My uncle died last Monday. He’d had brain cancer, but we were all thinking months, not this soon. He was my Mom’s youngest brother.

I would like it if the universe could stop crapping on my family. Three deaths in one year is a bit much. Thank you.


So, June has been busy. In addition to the family crisis (and really, how am I going to follow that with my own personal busyness? I will find a way, apparently), I’ve got my own less important stuff to deal with.

    My good friends are getting married at the end of the month, and I’m helping out with that (a happy thing!);
    It’s the end of the fiscal year at work and we’re spending down the budget anywhere we can, which means I get to process more stuff in the same amount of time;
    People who use the library appear to be trying to play our DVDs with steel wool, so my repair log is overflowing;
    The music series at the library has been eating up a lot of my time, and it’s over after tomorrow night;
    and I’m closing in on the end of ELEVEN WEEKS of teaching knitting classes. I love it, I’m so happy I get to do it, but 11 weeks is a little insane. I taught 3 weeks of the basics (cast on, knit and purl, bind off), 3 weeks of more than the basics (k and p in the same row, inc & dec), 3 weeks of cables, and it’ll be 2 weeks of lace. I am tired.

I am so ready for my vacation, I can taste it.

Sadly, knitting hasn’t taken a high spot on the priority list lately. I did make some progress on the Ballet Cami before last week.

I got the straps on the back done…

…and I’m working on the front cups/straps/whateverthehell

This is where I still am on the Cami. Anna and I decided to do our own two-person, in-town KAL on the Tomato from No Sheep For You. We got our yarn at the same time and I really really wanted to finish my Ballet Cami before I start another big-deal project. You can see how far this thinking has taken me.

I did swatch for Tomato at the visitation (my family was entirely fine with it — I knit a sock at my grandma’s visitation), but that’s as far as I’ve gotten. I haven’t even had time to check the gauge. And does anyone know how KnitPicks’ Main Line yarn washes up? I have to figure that out. Anyway! I went out for drinks with the girls on Tuesday night, and what does Anna pull out of her knitting bag? A HALF-FINISHED TOMATO SWEATER. I swear that girl hires gnomes to knit for her at night. So yes, our little KAL has so far been Anna knitting a sweater by herself.

I’m so very ready for my vacation.

I did start a very summery sock (from the anniversary yarn!), to replace the autumnal ones.

With Fearsome DPNs!

Spotlight on...

Any guesses which sock pattern I’m knitting? Or how long it will take me to knit them up?

(Oh my god, I just realized that it’s Thursday and I haven’t yet ordered the stuff from Starbucks that I need for the concert at the library tomorrow night. Dammit!)

Vacation… so close!

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1. The weather has gone bat-shit crazy, as is usual here for March. Yesterday it rained all morning, got sunny and warm at lunchtime, then went grey and evil during the afternoon. Then it snowed all night with high winds (my apartment building? It sways in the wind. Yes.), and that seems to be the trend for today. Fantastic. But the weird-and-happy thing is, the wind that’s blowing feels not as soul-crushingly cold as it has been. That long-awaited season (I’m not going to jinx it by saying its name) is coming!

2. I have purchased new yarn.

Cherry Tree Hill in Monet.

Fleece Artist in Moss.

I decree that this is not a falling off of the KFYS wagon. I have determined that casting on for a second pair of socks practically equals finishing a second pair of socks, the prerequisite for purchasing more sock yarn. Plus I wanted it. Plus the CTH has turned into a beautiful teal-green-based rainbow of a yarn cake. And the pretty pretty Moss is for a specific project (more on that later… it is marinating just now). So I am entirely justified. I mean it.

3. Our friends Mark and Amy are coming to town tonight! We haven’t seen them since New Year’s Eve: Hammerfist Style and I’m totally excited about it. Friends of ours are having their wedding reception tomorrow, and MarkAmy are staying with us and it’s going to be awesome with the cooking together and the dressing up for the party and the hanging out. I’ve started the pre-preparation for the crockpot dinner I’m going to put together on my lunch hour, and dinner will be ready just after they get here, and all will be awesome. Awesome, I say!!

4. I have made progress on the to-be-felted tote.

I finished the base,

and cast on about thirty-seven times for the side. First it was too small. Then it was too big. Then it was way too big. Then it was too small. Now it is just right. Ugh. Garter stitch is a little sneaky stitch when it comes to how many stitches equal how many rows. This last time (the time that seems to be working, unless I have jinxed myself by saying that) I cast on 64 stitches, which is the number of ridges (2 rows of garter) I have in the base. I hope this is right.

5. My Mom’s feet make sort of cracking/snapping sounds when she walks. It’s not painful (I think) or problematic, her feet just do that. When I was little I could always tell when she was walking down the hall or up the stairs or wherever, just by hearing her feet snap. I never really thought about it until I moved out of the house and didn’t hear it regularly anymore. This morning, as I got up early to chop vegetables, my feet made the snapping noise and I realized that my feet have been making that noise for a long time. I have my mother’s feet. It made me all happy.

(I just don’t have any good recent pictures of me and Mom, what with the camera being a twit, so I give you a picture from my wedding day)

Anyone else have any physical trait from your parents that makes you smiley and happy?

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