Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Yarn Story

So I finished one handwarmer yesterday.

Knowing I could possibly finish a whole pair out here depending I brought a back-up project. The original nemesis lacey stole. I packed some green pima cotton that I didn't have time to wind in the pre-holiday/travel momentum.

Well, I thought I forgot my yarn for the handwarmers in the airport. (It had rolled past my lap) so I started rolling the beautiful shiny hank of green. However my husband made us line-up early. Which is fine. So I had to shove it back in my project bag.

Needless to say, I've spent a day and a half untangling and rolling it.

I'm less than excited about it now. I still had to knit 2 rows to try and get over it.

I think I could've used a smaller needle ...

Arizona Time

The header is lame. Sounds like badly designed iced tea cans, but honestly, Arizona time has been really nice. We were excited about just seeing everyone and hanging out, but we were surprised that Uncle Eee took so much time off with his family. There was no obligation or anything, but just to hang out.

I went shopping in the morning on Monday with my SIL and her Sis and baby R. It is true what they say about the sale racks in Arizona. My SIL gave me the thumbs up on an impulse shirt for $5. ha! We met the boys back at the house where The Kid was reveling in the loot from a local candy store they visited and watching cartoons with his Uncle and Aunts other kids The Boxer Dog Boys. Just cozy family time.

Lunch at the Tata's house was tasty and fun. Everyone was there for that all generations, all brothers. There are oranges and pools in every one's backyards. The Arizonians think it's cold enough for sweaters, and outdoor heat lamps. Recycling rules seem ... very different than San Francisco. My son's love for dogs is insane.

Yesterday we went to Lee Lee's Oriental Market. I am kicking myself for not taking pictures.  However they probably wouldn't have made it up here anyhow. This place was giant like 99 Ranch.

Asian prepared food take away stall? (Mese bahn mi?) check.
Chinese restaurant with cooked hanging fowl in the windows? check.
Aisles upon aisles of cans, jars, and odd and familiar fresh and frozen produce? check

Things that set it aside? All the Asian Countries were segregated. An aisle for Japanese, An aisle for Korean etc. It was awesome. Asian foods included Middle Eastern and Indian. They had bins of bulk fresh bamboo, a serious selection of frozen dumplings. (They had Shanghai dumplings!)

So we went back to the house and made a bunch of food for lunch. We made chicken wings on the grill, sausage rolls, a berry puff pastry tarte, (mainly for the kids), pork belly, two kinds of gyoza, and sizzling rice soup. The kids were okay however the family doesn't really eat chicken wings. I understand, but it is so different than the way I grew up eating. "We don't eat a lot of chicken wings (boys), it's the skin and a lot of work." It's true! I also think that's what I learned to prefer about it. Better for their health! Better for my taste buds.

I worry the leftovers are cluttering their fridge, but they are too sweet to say anything.

My BIL was going to take The Man Friend his littlest brother to the hockey game last night. It sounded fun and my SIL loves Coyote hockey as well, which I knew, but we were chatting about it. Next thing I knew, she got us ALL tickets! I was excited I had never been to a professional game before. Wow! they got us seats from their very kind friends who have a box. The Kid and I and SIL and Baby were up there while the boys were down RIGHT by the ice in their season ticket holding spot. Whoa. Blood on ice. So weird to see Refs allow them to fight without stopping it! I felt like I was at the school yard and wondering where the "Supervision" was. ha! Obviously I don't really know hockey eh?

The Kid was pretty wowed in the beginning but then restless, which embarrassed me. I know he's a kid. But no feet on chairs, don't act bored, when someone was kind enough to bring you with them. Your being here represents someone else's effort on your behalf. I don't know how to explain that. He is so sick of me nagging everything right now. I am too! I am sick of the sound of my own voice and his name!

I know Man-friend's family want to make this a fun and special time (hence the potato gun) which they have, so generously so. However "de-programming" his ass is may be special but it will not be a fun time. heh. I see his sense of fun has become entitlement. I had to give him the Read for 15 minutes thing before he could do anything electronic today. See? Evil Mom again.

Today we see Reecey and her Minion for breakfast/coffee. I will try to run the boys to Barnes and Nobles at some point to get them some reading material for the flight home. (Manly the husband) Our flight is already delayed and I sense some airport downtime.  Lunch with the grandparents and we are off.

Back to California, but real life and real work are at bay for a few more days since we have the rest of the week off. There will be chores but the pace will be relaxed.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Knitting Catalogs

I admit I like to peruse online Yarn/Knitting stores. I like to see what kind of nifty gadgets they are offering. I like to see what other yarns are out there that I haven't "discovered" yet at my own local yarn store and of course ... I like to see if there are any better deals on certain things I did see and loved beyond my budget at the local yarn store.

I like to think that this little habit of mine is supporting the Fiber Arts community.

I am happy to know at least 2 friends at work in the Craftastic Club keep their catalogs in the bathroom too. I'm not as shameless in losing time as The Kid with the LEGO catalog at least.

Knitting catalogs build my hopes and dreams, they let me relax, they allow me to give (to others via online purchasing or 1-800 calls.


Boxing Day

The Man-friend said he wanted to fly out the day after Christmas to Arizona. We both thought I at the very least would be working Christmas Eve (which by the luck of Supervisor I didn't have to) and that we'd probably be having some sort of makeshift family over between Xmas and Xmas eve.

The British call it Boxing Day. I heard it's when you give your servants a tip. I heard it's when you box up your leftovers for the needy. I heard it's when you box up your excess hoard for the needy. It all appears to be untrue. I'm not ready to find out via Wikipedia and just see if I learn the truth -- kind of like when I heard Sausages and Potatoes got the name Bangers & Mash during the meat rationing of  the War. Which War ... ugh I am not sure. I'll go with WWI. bah I don't know.

Anyhow we fly out Boxing Day. We go to the airport, but he makes no Sky Park reservation.Why no reservation? Because he forgot it was the holidays. Hmm. They were full. Hmm. So they sent us to the Long Term SFO Parking, but guess what, they were full. But hey, they were cool, sent us with a voucher with bad accented directions to the International Parking lot where there were no parking spaces for 4 floors. We felt like we were in a video game. Whatever we were doing what we needed...


I was cool ...

We stalked a spot. We got in the elevator. It wouldn't work. The lights flashed, the doors wouldn't close, the button outside wouldn't hail another elevator. I swore.

Elevator goes away. Non-possessed elevator comes. We are in the wrong terminal. Tick Tock you don't stop, Mr. Clock.

We take the Tram. It's okay, I'm playing it cool-ish. But my eyes shoot venom.

We are doing fine. We only need boarding passes. We are doing fine. We go to the bathroom and make it through security and have plenty of time. We are ... you get me.

We get food, we get on the plane, I start knitting. We sit on the runway for 50 minutes. Other people's children are disgruntled, so am I, but I'm an old grumperella and can cope better. Who can one blame? Why
blame when one can knit?
We are on the loudest flight ever. Really? It hasn't been that long since I've flown. But it's really loud, makes us nervous. There is turbulence. It's okay. The Kid is antsy but that is okay, he's got my iPod, but he can't really hear it. He eats chips, he holds his hands over his headphoned ears. He is better he says when he lays down in The Man-Friend's lap. Then Man-friend spills an entire airplane cup of ginger ale on my bathing suit region.

I'm sticky in my bathing suit region and imagine bizarre explanations regarding UTI medication requests and I'm resigned. Man-friend apologizes profusely, knowing it's not his fault, I cannot say anything at least know I have good story coming. Frustration is hot and bothered like a pair of ginger ale panties.

Plane lands safely! BIL is there ready for us. He had checked flight times and was not waiting too long. I go to the bathroom ... I take a "Trip" in the ladies room, bruised knees and a stranger picking me up. I thought that was very kind.

My husbands family, my in-laws, my son's appropriate excitement, and an excellent meal with excellent wine (Dutton Ranch & Cote Rotie) were fantastic.

My BIL & SIL have a tv that they let me stay up and knit to like my own private AMC theater. The Kid has not asked to play Club Penguin once. Between my father and My BIL/SIL he is in NERF blasting heaven.

Have showered and fresh clothing self since ginger ale incident, unfortunately In Laws washing machine is possessed. I feel for them. We can wash stuff when we get home. They have one more chore to deal with, on top of 2 kids in house, a business, 2 dogs and US in the house. Thankfully they are kind and patient.
Tomorrow's update: Shopping AZ sales avec SIL. Ry's introduction to Chowder and TaTa's luncheon.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cookie Crazy: Cookies Greatest Hits

Lots of people are into some serious Baking Business right now. I won't lie, I'm right there with them. This year my MIL suggested I bake cookies for the families out in Arizona. So it got me to thinking, why don't I bake a few tins for people out here.

HM took one look at my tin sizes and said I was insane. I have decided on smaller tins for local/work friends, and saved 3 larger ones for the Arizona Families. These must be filled by Thursday morning so my BIL and his wife and daughter can drive them out in their RV Thursday night. Seriously. They are driving to Arizona in an RV during Christmas time.

I love their bold and beautiful crazy.

I have been prepping myself for this moment. I have been doing my best to identify recipes in and out of my repertoire that will not make me crazy trying to replicate but won't be super boringo to eat either.

I have been perusing the blogs. And shocker! Knit and Craft bloggers are kind of cookie obsessed too. But it makes sense, it's methodical, there is an exactitude and of course an opportunity for personal spin. Lemme show you some examples.

Panopticon, who I will check twice a weekday to see if he's updated his blog. (He's really smart and funny and creative smart) had a fantastic nostalgic cookie post.

A friend to knit with not only had some photos that made baking look pretty and fun, she had a link to a cookie recipe. I think I will try to recreate these, chilling the dough for refrigerator slices.

Yarnharlot  gave me some hope that I will come out of the Cookie Extravaganza of  the winter of 2010 A-Okay. Not only did she have festive cookie photos, but photos of knitting and happy family too. Dang man. These people and their Martha-ness ... it's enough to give one a complex. (Thankfully I have too many to be bothered with acquiring another this holiday season.)

Well drawing from examples I have my strategy:
Monday: Bake Milk chocolate & dried cherry cookies for co-workers and friends. (batch 1)
Tuesday: Make Chocolate Crinkle Cookie dough. Make sliced cookie dough. Chill both over night. if time Bake one batch of semi-sweet and cherry.
Wednesday: Bake Chocolate Crinkles and Sliced sugar cookies - pack Arizona cookie tins
Thursday: Chocolate Kisses Thumbprints and Nutella and Jam sandwich cookies

Thursday may remove one batch and Tuesday may switch-up the semi-sweet and cherry for thumbprints. Not that you care about details. But I do damn it, this is cookie logic we're talkin' about.

Disclaimer of the Day

I realize if I were a true blogger there would be pictures to accompany most of these written reports. However I'm cheap. Cheap with my time, and since I lost my card reader USB which minimizes photo upload. I just haven't had it in me to spend that amount of time with the photo thing.

I regret it, I will regret it when looking back I want to a visual reminder. Oh well.

By the way, I take craptastic photos. I'm no Little Snoopy. However I'm thinking maybe by hanging out with a cool person, I could learn by osmosis. Then again, I could try reading a camera manual as well ...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Reflections -- Not the PTA Art Contest - but the bad jr. college creative writing kind.

He likes when I watch Star Wars Clone Wars and knit with him. Sometimes he legos ... sometimes he doesn't.

When he spends the night at a friend's house Friday night, on Saturday mornings I'll often still make myself a cup of tea and knit at 9:30 when it's on. I do not start playing legos.

We had a nice apartment party last night. With the parents of 3 other kids from school. The "Only Child Club" though we are still cool enough to be seen with the Sibling Crews too ;) We hung out in the kitchen and the kids ate mini sausages and drummettes with carrots and cucumbers and of course Lego'd and watched Harry Potter. So much for our Arts and Crafts idea, but they were happy and good to each other.

And now still playing catch-up with a small set of odd dishes, there is really not much else to do but knit and organize and prep out for Christmas. However the thing I ask myself to do the most, is relax and sleep. I really think I owe it to myself.

I will take better care of myself. I will rest my weariness so I can spend more time like last night. So I can knit more, so I can read more with The Kid, so I can enjoy things, so I can enjoy taking care of things.

Mother, mothering herself. "You worry too much Mom."

Has somehow my warped brain confused worrying with caring? Have I somehow misdirected energy I obviously have ... again? Well even so. I will not flog myself. I will still try to share and channel the happy but without inducing wrinkles and stomachaches and insomnia. Most importantly I don't want to raise a worrier. He's already pretty cautious and that would be really bad parenting. Risk assessment, okay. Negative Nelly, Bad.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Knitting Kindling

I must knit everyday.

Sometimes just a few quick rows between bus or streetcar stops does me a world of good. My shoulders drop, my face softens, and something slightly warm within me spreads. I think they call it optimism.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Phone-Free Organic Me

If you know me in the real world you will have to stay in touch via email until I get a replacement phone. The Man Friend and I had a less than successful trip to AT&T last Sunday. Our crazy notions at getting smarter with a Smart Phone together in a reconciled family upgrade and plan was blown to smithereens. For various timing reasons our upgrades are completely due at different times. Because we both want iPhones, the conditionals for early upgrade are even more specific. Honestly I don't need a fancy phone. I sit in front of a computer. But The Man Friend checks his email so rarely, I know before he knows his mother's travel plans etc.

Truth be told being phone free has been liberating. Plans are made, plans are kept, an effort to be punctual is even stronger.

The HM of course has embraced this fully. She has chucked her phone (which is barely on anyways) and figures, she can make contact before and after leaving critical points like home, work, friend's house via landline there or another person's cell. She has no kids, she has no pets, her immediate response to emergencies are tempered by having other people as fall-backs (siblings), her own response if needed shouldn't be too far behind.
I sent an email to The Kid's school and after school program to let them know, the cellphone number is pretty useless at this point. I'm usually at work, I may have only stepped away. I'm never gone for very long, and well ... there's always his Dad.

The best thing, is things feel more concise. There is no more negotiating, "Call me when you get there, call me when you're near... Call me if you're going to the store."

It's, "Hey I'm leaving work am I meeting you at dinner or at home?" or "I have to stay late at work. You have to get The Kid."

Easy Peasy.

Does it mean I have forsaken my desires for the iPhone and noting cellular service availability and live the life of HM's cellular celebacy? Hmm, no. I'm just not panicked to replace it. In fact I might enjoy it a little longer.

CommonTators Commenting

I have crossed over from internet blog gawker to personal blog poster. Now I have gone to the true dark side, posting comments on other people's blogs.

I suppose I should clarify and say that it's not the TRUE dark side. After all, I'm not leaving comments of acid and vinegar. In fact I posted a few times to show support to other bloggers I don't know. I entered a contest or two (and I won! Randomly Generated ... That's Me!) I also like to comment on my friend's blog, it's really interesting to watch her explore her interest in photography, and just see her artistic talent on display. The best is by knowing the blogger, the voice is even stronger to me when I read.

It's amazing what people share, and though there are many sides of a person that may stay hidden, it's nifty to see at least one.

As far as my comments go, I think it's okay, there are only nice things to say. I haven't become one of the angry regulars on SFGate. In fact I highly doubt I'll ever post there, all my indignation still prevents me. Nice things to say in nice places. It may seem really superficial, but honestly, I don't see how it's wrong.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mom Jeans the Saga Continues

I know that I don't REALLY need another pair of Jeans. However it could be argued that I need the "right" pair of jeans.

I am familiar with the idea that I choose comfort over flattering style probably more than I should. And without the self-deprecation that it sounds like, it's mainly because right now, there is not much that I find flattering on me. In fact tried and true items. Look snug and rumply and out of proportion.

I took in a pair of jeans to be hemmed last week. Because I had two pairs. One I figure I will continue to roll w/that summer feel, and even works with my rainboots. And one that I wouldn't roll, b/c rolling actually shortens the look of my legs. ( I watch what not to wear ocassionally). I found a pair of jeans that used to be too big on me that are true Momish old Gap jeans, but I had them in my imaginary disaster kit. I took them out washed and wore them and washed again. They are very comfortable, but I look like I should be working on a farm. My Levis ... one pair too tight to me in the waist. The other is a little to saggy booty especaily according to the HM.

So when we go to the Gap to get The Kid a pair of black plain front khakis for his singing performance on Tuesday and they are having a buy one get one 60% off. I sucker in, and I buy two pairs of my favorite style there, and run back b/c I got the wrong size. Or so I thought. I put on the pants this morning, before taking off the tags, and they were really comfortable. I should've noticed that in the beginning. They are already beginning to stretch out. They look okay, a little long. (should've noticed that.) So, I guess I will have to go back and try the smaller size on and if they fit better exchange the one other pair I have.

Like Mom used to say, always REALLY try things on, and not when you're in a hurry to get your kid to school.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Knitting Nothing

Knitting Nothing. That's me. or Ellen 0 for Knitting. Okay that statistic only kind of makes sense even to me.

I knit a handwarmer for The Shell. But I'm worried the bind off is too tight. So I started working a second one figuring I'll compare, and I can alwyas fix the first one. Well, almost finishing the ribbed cuff, I note a purl where a knit should be. Hmm. Well forget that. I frogged it. I will try again, later.

These handwarmers, the angry yarn that seems to fight and break in my hands is beginning to make this knit job feel like a chore. And, I said that I would knit 2 pairs of them. Sheesh! I was so fed up with the yarn, (Crystal Palace Taos) seeing how I still had 2 more balls left, I even offered the Quiet D one. She said she'd take it for a hat (the color combinations are quite lovely) but at this rate, I'll have broken and frogged so much I'll need it!

In times of project frustration, knitters usually turn to another project, but because I have a self-imposed deadline, I'm not really knitting much else.
The Scowl is languishing in the bedroom, but I have been trying to focus on sleeping a little. A girl can survive on 6 hours, but that doesn't mean she should.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

December Days

The December days are severely marked. The Kid has one week and 1 1/2 days of school left till break. His parents are going to play the "fly by the seat of your childcare pants" game which probably involves a day bussing tables for dad (He is cute as long as he doesn't drop jam on any of the hipster child haters) and a day plugged into an iPod and comic book in my cubicle.

Holiday Cards are not designed, and therefore cannot be printed, shipped, signed and mailed. These may be New Year's cards ...

I am behind, I am always behind. However I feel some relief now. Maybe I'm still riding the high of having a craft tower (I could really use 2). Maybe it's the success of replacing Henry's bookshelf -- though the old one is still sitting in the hallway. Maybe it was the Oysters and white wine I treated myself on the way home from turning in school art projects that took me longer than I anticipated ... especially with procrastination. Then again, I needed to do a lot of it at work, that is um not during work hours so I should remember that for next year.

Quick shout out to home-slice Little Snoopy ... sorry you often get my scattered, recap of where's my head madness. You're like the first grown-up I talk to in the morning. Not my best side, but I do shower for you ;)

Anyways where was I discussing relief? Yes, but now, some holiday cards and wrapping and gift boxing, I think I can do this. My weekend balancing act is getting better. So this Saturday I shall strike again! I must fight the urge to dwell on what isn't getting done, and focus more on the doing and the enjoying and ho ho hoing of it all. For as I was sadly reminded this week. Not only are December Days numbered, but all of them.

Should always be the season to be merry! Oh and to say, "Falalalala!" Right???

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Perspective

Friday's perspective is no lie, kind of messed up. I don't know, maybe it was the slow slow start I had. I still feel the weight of sleep in my eyes. Maybe I simply am a moody beast and need a laugh.
  • My underwear is moving in ways it shouldn't underneath these pants.
  • I'm typing with handwarmers on, because I'm so cold. Thank goodness for Earl Grey and Malabrigo.
  • I don't think I have a single top that can hide my chubby anymore.
  • HM says my favorite pair of jeans are Mom jeans. It's too unsettling for her to be right, but she has the knowing sisterly look. drat. The pants I'm contemplating getting rid of, because I think they are unflattering and possibly a too young cut, she says ... are fine, if not better than my MOM jeans. wtf. How has this happened. I mean I know I've given up a bit ... but ... sigh.
  • My husband is threatening to pick up my Crate and Barrel tower of Craft love. Must manage my expectations, because everything won't fit in there.
  • If I want to make a potroast ... the el dorado of cooking attempts as HM calls it, I should get the groceries for it on Saturday. I can do this, but do I want to is the question ... is the thrill going?
  • If I don't get to knit for a sufficient amount of time for the next three days I might strangle someone.
  • HM said I deserve to knit this weekend. I would knit myself into a momentary coma if I could.
  • Riding the Peaks of manic depression right now. HM said that my house wasn't the hoarding cluttering disaster she expected. (I didn't show her the pit of dispair)
  • Would my chakras misalign if I used a camping mat for a yoga mat?
  • I will have to watch my son's Club Penguin intake. This stuff is bizarre. Watch for a future analysis post.
  • I can feel my husband's grumpy from here. Going downtown during rush hour to pick up a heavy piece of furniture really has got him sunshiney. hehe
  • Maybe I can suggest pizza to keep them each calm.
Time to do some heavy lifting.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

December already

As one of the nice Social Worker's said to me the other day after asking about my Thanksgiving Weekend, "Now it's 'All Hands' and 'Pedal to the Metal' from here on out."

True, I think that New Year's Day is beginning to look like some convoluted finish line. I think I am getting better at minimizing my rehashing of the year and my ineptitude at completion. It's still an issue, just an improvement.

Honestly I have more loose ends than I'd like to have, but the one that I'm obsessing about the most, is not being able to knit as much as I'd like. I mean really, I can't have it too bad right? Besides part of the reason I haven't been knititng as much is because I've been doing things during my half hour lunch like walking, and I've been going out to dinner with my family and friends in the early evening and ... I've been reading in the later evening. Sooooo knitting and cleaning have been shoved to the side.

I have been gently toiling away at the Tuesday Night "Scowl" - (based on a cowl but is now a scarf) trying to figure out what my next steps are, since the Harry Potter sweater seems intimidating and another shawl feels very ... L O N G.

Then I remembered I want to make a few handwarmers with nice yarn for some friends in England, and that is exactly what I'm going to do...

This weekend, I will do my best to appease the knitting & cleaning gods, while obeying the rules of filial duty and I'll be damn festive about it as well! Fa ... la freaking LA!