Monday, January 21, 2013

Market Fun

Saturday we went to the Rochester Public Market.
I love that place.
I could have taken more photos, but I was busy shopping.
So perhaps next time.
It wasn't as cold as one would think because oddly enough our temps got up to 42 degrees that day, so we were quite comfortable.
But even in the colder weather they have blowers sending hot air around to various spots throughout the market - both in the "shed" and also outdoors under the overhang.
The market is shaped like a large horseshoe, and then there are open areas on the end where some food vendors and other produce vendors are selling their wares, as well as some food carts. In the shed which has people with reserved spots such as some butchers, some farmers selling beef and poultry, the Pierogie Guy, Pappardelle's pasta, the Hanzlian sausage guys, and the list goes on.
I stopped to get some sausage from the sausage guys, and after trying a sample (who doesn't love a free sample?) the guy was trying to tell me about their different sausages.
I said to him, "You don't have to sell me on how good your sausage is. I've had it before, and I want some more now."
They do make some amazing sausage.
Right next to him was the indoor stand for Juan and Maria's Empanadas. They have a permanent stand outdoors too, but the inside one was new.
And who was working it? Why, Juan himself.

There he is on the right. I guess you could tell because his shirt reads, "Juan."
Very nice guy, and we just absolutely love their empanadas. (He's originally from Chile, in case you're wondering, but as a Rochester resident he and his wife is very involved in the community here.)
We each had a breakfast empanada, and the baby girl enjoyed hers with some Spanish mayonnaise.

You know she just loves having her picture taken while she's eating.
That's the thing about the Public Market, it's more of an experience than a shopping expedition.
There are buskers and wineries, handbags and 50 pound bags of potatoes for $10-$11 (seriously), and so much more.
Here's a guy playing his accordion outside:

And here's a bread stand (I bought some of the garlic chèvre at the end on the right - beyond delicious):

We don't go every weekend, but even in the winter there is still fresh produce, as well as some produce that you know is coming from, well, somewhere else. Honestly, we don't grow mangoes in Rochester. In the summertime I make it a point to buy only local produce and support local farmers.
It's the least I can do - but it's something we all should do.
Next time we go I'll try to take more pictures because who doesn't like to see 50 pound bags of onions, I ask you.

Friday, January 18, 2013

This Week's Joy

This week's joy comes in having a day off today.
Unfortunately that joy has been minimized because leaving at 4:00 last night was not an option since I was juggling a lot of different things, and then ended up leaving at almost 5:00 and deciding that the best thing was to just go into work this morning and clear things up.
On the plus side, Monday is a holiday, and I'm not working.
So, my four day weekend will turn into 3 1/2, and I suppose that I can live with that.
Another thing that I'm finding joy with today is music.
Well, that's everyday, but today I think while I clean up the house, and find time to knit, I'll be listening to some music from the 60s.
Namely Gerry and the Pacemakers.
What a geriatric sounding name, don't you think?
Although I suppose in the early 60's when they started becoming popular the idea of a "pacemaker" was of someone setting the pace, such as a musician, or even a race car. This, as opposed to contemporary vernacular where we only think of it in terms of someone who is old and whose heart needs to be electronically maintained so it continues to function.

In doing my search for Gerry and the Pacemakers I just discovered that they'll be playing at Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls on June 1 and 2. Hmmm, my anniversary is on June 1. Guess where we'll be going, honey! (And I think that I might even bring my mother along.)
Today, however, having received a good inch of snow, there's no worry that we'll have any sun to bother us while we're crying.
Don't worry about me either.
I'll be inside catching up on my knitting and humming along with the boys who represent the Mersey Beat.

Now if I could just get Simone to move off of my chair.
Cheers, mates!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Whenever I Call You Friend

Do you remember that song?
I heard it on the radio the other day at a local pizza place.
We went there to sit down and eat our pizza.
It's not often that we do that - we usually get pizza and wings for takeaway, and then eat it at home.
Often the freshness of a pizza is diminished by this.
Does that make sense?
There's really nothing like sitting down to hot pizza fresh from the oven and with cheese so melted that you need a knife and fork to eat it or you'll burn your mouth.
I wish, however, that they had grape soda - instead I got orange - but there's something about sitting in a pizzeria and eating pizza and drinking grape soda that takes me back to when I was younger.
That's always nice.
This post, however, is not one about food.
Although it could be.
It's just that this Kenny Loggins song was playing in the pizzeria (along with some other great 70's songs - I'm so stuck in that era - one in which our pizzeria had grape soda).
So you don't remember it?
Here's a video (words only, sorry, no awesome Stevie Nicks singing along with Kenny):

I bring this up because last weekend I received an awesome present from my friend, Jennifer.
Now I sent her some yarn around Christmas time, and she knows that it was a RAOK, and she was in no way obligated to send me something back. I just wanted to do something nice for someone who is always helping others. They deserve special treats, don't you agree?
So I was totally surprised to find these pressents in my mail.
Love, love LOVE this project bag - aren't these sheep remarkable?

And chocolate - it's almost as if Jennifer knows that sustenance is needed if one is going to survive while knitting.

She's so thoughtful.
Then I decided to pay it forward.
My co-worker, Dave, bought pizza for five of us (it was a quiet work day), I thought that it would be nice if I provided the dessert after the pizza and wings.
(By the way, don't judge me for having pizza and wings twice within five days. Do. Not. Judge.)
Here are Dave and Andrea enjoying the dark chocolate bar.

I think they look happy with the chocolate, don't you?

You don't have to steal it, Dave, I told you I'd share!
We all thank you, Jennifer!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Brought someone special to work

I came, and they tagged along.

Good morning, socks.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Free Me From the Free Books

Dear Amazon,

I love my Kindle.
I love my Kindle Books app, and I love that I can read books on my Kindle, my iPad, and on my phone.
Oh, and on my computer too.
It's great that you can feed my obsession for books anywhere I go.
But please, could you stop marketing free Kindle books?
Already my Kindle is maxed out with books, and I fear that my seemingly unlimited Kindle Cloud space is soon going to be overflowing.
Which means no more room.
Which means no new books.
I love that I can find some truly wonderful gems amidst the truly awful free books that you provide, but enough is enough.
Last week I downloaded 40 free books.
In one day!
It took me about 10 minutes!!
Help me!
I can't stop!
If those were actual books my house would be packed with books collecting dust (instead of virtual dust).
If those were library books I'd have them stacked up all over!
What you are doing is feeding my hoarding obsession for books, and you are allowing me to continue downloading free books - You know that I don't know when to stop!
Please don't say it's my responsibility to discipline my downloading.
You and I have been acquainted for over 10 years - yes, since your internet inception - and I know that you have my complete purchase history thus making you intimately familiar with my over spending.
So stop with the free books.
Put a block on my account.
Do something - but please save me from myself!
I beg of you.

The woman who wishes that she were retired so she could actually read all 325 books downloaded onto her Kindle (and that doesn't include the Kindle Cloud Reader count)

P.S. Could you also stop sneaking in books that cost money in the middle of my downloading free books spree? Already this week you've cost me an unintentionally spent $3.99. You owe me dudes.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Weekend Movie Watching

This weekend I felt much better with regards to my health.
A sock that I had screwed up, and couldn't figure out how to fix, and one in which I just couldn't bear to contemplate while I was feeling sick, was finished.
Not necessarily matching with the other sock, but hey, done is done.
It's not like I'll be submitting them to the County Fair for judging.
It was nice, finally, to start feeling better.
I think I still have a ways to go, but like I said, feeling half-way human is a good thing.
So while my knitting progressed (ever so slightly), so did my movie watching, and man, did I watch some seriously varied movies this weekend.
First up:

Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries. Still good stuff. The scenery is great, the outfits are even better, and Miss Fisher (Phryne, because I'm nasty) is pretty forward-thinking for her time in history (late 1920's).
If you can get this on Acorn TV (remember, free trial!), I suggest you watch it before its gone next month. Even though the show vaguely resembles the books, it is still very good entertainment.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I've had this movie out for about a week. I've been meaning to watch it, but since I knew it was a cerebral film, and since I couldn't really concentrate, I knew that it would be just too hard for me to watch (hence the aforementioned murder mysteries). I'm glad I waited until I was compos mentis because I really, really enjoyed this film. Gary Oldman was fabulous, and Colin Firth (oh yeah, baby) was every bit as hot as he always is, but he was given a run for his good-looking money by Mark Strong. Yum. Oh, wait, the film, oh yeah. It almost made you miss the days of the Cold War when we knew who our enemies were, but still had to ferret them out. It was definitely more cloak and dagger over large-scale killings like we have today. Kind of sad that I miss the old days, but I think you know what I mean. And if you don't, then send me an email. Anyway, Gary Oldman was fabulous - oh wait, I said that - but he was so nebbishy, and he gave such a restrained performance that you can believe that most of the spying taking place during the Cold War really was accomplished by mid-level bureaucrats. I highly recommend this movie, but due to the sometimes hard to understand accents spoken in hushed tones, use the subtitles. This way you'll be sure not to miss anything. I think I want to see it again.

Madea's Witness Protection. It's Madea. We watch these movies to see how Madea is going to react. And she rarely disappoints - whether it's in threatening kids to get in line, or butchering the English language, she's very entertaining. It's kind of a shame that Tyler Perry keeps trying to insert some kind of storyline into his films. All-in-all, however, this really wasn't as bad as some of his other movies that I've seen, and Denise Richards gave a very restrained performance and professional performance (made me forget about her stinky reality show, and remember why we all liked her so much in Starship Troopers).

Texas Chainsaw Massacre. No. Really. I went to see this. Sure, it was at our small, local theatre, and there were only eight of us in the theatre (that includes the four of us from my family), so you know that we didn't pay a fortune for a gross comedy. That's what it was. Kind of funny, lots of stupid, and even more gross. I'm shocked that I went too. Don't judge me. At least I didn't pay $11 per ticket. And we left with a couple of good quotes. ("Do your thing, cuz!")

Arthur Christmas. After Leatherface, I needed something to clean my brain. This was about as clean as you could get - almost Care Bear clean. It was such a cute movie - it almost made me tear up at the end. Well, truthfully, it did make me tear up. Very cute, nice story, and you've gotta love a movie about an underdog (that would be Arthur, son of Santa).

Did you watch any movies this weekend?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Strange and Irrelevant

And now for something completely strange and irrelevant.
Can you tell what it is?

It's the lights on my washing machine.
I think there are more lights on that then there were on the spaceship in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Okay, well, almost.
I guess my washer isn't going to take us on any intergalactic travel, but it is kind of strange to see all these lights at night.
Almost looks like the lights on a car's control panel too, or perhaps a new constellation of stars.
Modern technology.
We've come a long way since this:

Although for the record, if things do go badly for the world, come on over because I do have an old washboard and some tubs.
Anyone else?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What Brings You Joy?

It's the middle of winter.
The bleak midwinter.
There have been songs written about this time.
(Isn't Annie Lennox amazing? Love her.)

Yes, earth like iron, water like stone. Cold. Frigid. Dead (or incubating).
Well, for the Southern Hemisphere it's the middle of summer, but I'm not talking about them.
I'm talking about us.
Me, specifically.
Sure it's going to be some horrifically anomalous temperature on Saturday, like 58 degrees or something, but we still have icy sidewalks, my driveway is a sheet of ice, and there are still about three or four inches of snow in the backyard.
Christmas is over, May and June seem a long way off, the economy sucks, and the price of gas has never returned to pre-Katrina prices.
It's hard to find joy at this time of year.
This year, however, in an effort to remain positive, I'm going to stop each week and see if I can find some thing (or two or three) that brings me joy.
It may be hard, and honestly I'll probably forget from time to time, but I think it's important to search for those things and draw upon them when low.
Because I feel some low times coming.
Today I can share with you the color blue.
Blue brings me great joy.
Not necessarily baby or light blues, but the deep rich blue of midnight:

Or the brilliant blue of lapis lazuli:

I even like Navy Blue.
I could surround myself with the color blue everyday, and it would always bring me peace, and with peace comes joy, right? (Although I'm wondering why my fingers keep typing "peach" when I really mean "peace.")
So I will share this yarn with you today because the colors of this particular one bring me great joy just to look at them.
Here's the picture from the Jimmy Beans Wool website - the yarn is Schoppel Wolle Zauberball Yarn in I don't know what color - number 2178:

It's dark, I know.
Here are pictures of the skein I received, and hopefully these are a little more true to the colors:

If I could take this yarn and place it under a piece of glass and look at it every day (and sometimes take it out and stroke it), I think I would have what would calm me - bring me peace - give me joy.
It's the deep blue, bright blue and emerald green combination that sells it for me.
Can you find one true thing a week that brings you joy?

Wednesday, January 09, 2013


It's always amazing to discover something that's old especially when you feel as if this special thing is brand new.
This happens with books, music, and yes, even knitting patterns.
(Although to date I've yet to knit a Clapotis, and that is so 10 years ago, yet new-ish to me still because I've never made one.)
There has been a lot of music that I've discovered long after an artist has been around, but even though I feel a bit behind the power curve, I still enjoy it because quite frankly it may bring me pleasure.
Often it seems as if something is discovered in an almost serendipitous way, as if the entire world is colluding to ensure you (or me, or whomever) finds that special book, or music, or whatever.
I could say that this special place of honor in my life belongs to Cookie Butter:

And I'd have to tell you that this is the truth.
Cookie butter is beyond delicious, and sinfully bad for you.
Funny story - I was in Trader Joe's buying some, and the girl who was checking out my groceries said:
"Oh, I am addicted to this Cookie Butter."
"Really?" I said.
"Yeah, it's so good."
Wondering just what I was going to eat it on (although I'd had it on a hot wafel at the Public Market - now there's a story for another time), I asked her, "What did you eat it on?"
With no irony, she replied, "On a spoon."
Now that was a fabulously enlightening conversation.
But this one is not about cookie butter (but if you love yourself, and are not diabetic, eat some).
It is about a certain Flapper who solves mysteries in Australia, otherwise known as Phryne (that's Fry-knee) Fisher.
In November, I was reading reviews on Audible about the latest book by Kerry Greenwood who writes the Phryne Fisher series. As I had never heard of this series before, I thought, gosh, there are a lot of people gushing about these books, I'll have to check it out.
Over to Amazon I surfed, and surprise, surprise, the first book in the series, Cocaine Blues, was free!
If you hurry over, it might still be.
Then just a few weeks ago my friend Mel from Australia, who loves vintage clothing, posted a picture of a still from a television series filmed down under.
Want to guess what it was?
You got it - Phryne Fisher masquerading now as Miss Fisher (apparently she's only Phryne if you're nasty)!
Tonight, being curious, and having finished the first book in the series and knowing there was a TV show that I couldn't watch, I went to imdb and checked the page out of general curiosity.
Lo and behold, on imdb someone posted information about Acorn TV.
I knew about the catalog - I've received it in the past, but the prices were just a bit too high for me.
Did you know, however, that they offer an online service (free two-week trial!) and one of the series they are showing this month got it - Miss Fisher!
That's our girl.
So let's recap our discoveries:

  1. Cookie butter is sinfully good and best served on a spoon
  2. Not all free books from Amazon are crap
  3. You can now mainline your Brit TV
Please be sure to make these discoveries your own. I am merely here to facilitate.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Catching Up

I have a confession.
I've never watched any more than two episodes of "Downton Abbey" until yesterday evening when I watched the first episode of season three.
Was it difficult to know what was going on?
Not particularly, but it did make me want to go back and finish watching the first two seasons.
I had thought that I would over our winter shutdown, but I got wrapped up in other TV, and didn't get around to watching Downton.
(I do know, however, that I don't like Lady Mary, and I do like the exchanges between Shirley Maclaine and any Brit within firing range, most especially Maggie Smith.)
Or Doc Martin - I've left off where my husband and I stopped watching before he went on vacation.
It seemed like a show that we were watching together, and since it's a progressive script, I didn't want to get too far ahead.
(If anyone's interested, we've left off on the wedding episode.)
Perhaps we'll get a blizzard, or hubby and I will seriously consider early retirement in South America (where every Thursday from 10 am until mid-day the needlework group meets - no Red Hat society for me, though, count me out) and then it will be Netflix all day, all the time.
I still have to catch up with my knitting for the Mystery KAL, but I know that I've got all week to do that, and as Jennifer said, it's too hard to watch and pay attention to the pattern, so it's easier to just sit and watch (that's totally paraphrasing what she said, but you get the drift).
Something else I need to catch up on is a new yarn company.
Perhaps some of you have heard of it, but it's new to me.
Willow Yarns.
I just received a catalog in the mail today.
They seem to be reasonably priced, and the yarns are nice enough and mostly natural fibers.
I looked on Ravelry and there's only one yarn listed, and no projects yet.
Is it really this brand new?
Their fingering weight yarn, Stream, is only $4.99 a ball, and is made of wool and silk.

Should we consider this a serious rival to KnitPicks?
I think so.
And to close this out with a laugh, check out this Tumblr account - Edith with Googly Eyes.
Too funny.
We are amused.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Ain't Too Sick to Knit! But, Yes I Am.

I caught a cold.
Bad luck, but not surprising.
It's that time of the year, and I'm only thankful that it's not the flu.
Didn't get a flu shot either, so who knows, that could be coming too.
Anyway, I had to drive to NYC on Friday to pick up my erstwhile travelers.
Not too taxing a drive, it's about 6 hours, but while I always say that I talk like a trucker, in actuality I could never be a trucker because driving makes me sleepy. Not a safe combination, eh?
My travelers left this:

And now they're back in the snow.
Hubby ended up driving back almost the entire trip on Saturday because I slept most of the way.
I was feeling so sick that I could barely stay awake.
Stupid cold.
Anyway, baby girl was so happy to be home, but I think she had a good time:

She came back nice and tan.
And of course is probably irritated by me already.
You've gotta love a good mother/daughter relationship.
So the crux of me having a cold means that yesterday, Sunday, I didn't do two things.
One, I never made it to church. I took some nighttime medicine at 9:00 and fell asleep again for close to three hours. Very restorative.
Two, I couldn't knit. The most I could do yesterday was rip out about 10-15 rows on a sock and then make sure that all the stitches were back on the needles. After that, I just couldn't even function.
I did do something else, an ugly necessity.
I had to go buy a new washing machine.
Something that was not budgeted for, but thank you, Lowe's for your 10% military discount.
Now we have a nifty new washer, plus a nice chunk of money to pay to Lowe's.
Is it terrible that one of my considerations when buying a washer was to make sure that I could use it to felt my knitting, if necessary? Seriously, I haven't felted anything in a few years, so why this was a concern I'll never know.
Once hubby and son got the washer installed, and once I cleaned up the water dripping down from the ceiling where a pipe wasn't fastened, I was beat.
I fell asleep by 8:30 last night which means I did not watch Downton Abbey, I did not start my knitting (although I did wind my yarn finally), and I am already behind on my Mystery KAL.
Here's hoping that I get a little better day by day, and my desire to knit comes back.
Stupid cold.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Sitting Down for Downton

Today begins the first day of the Downton Abbey Mystery KAL.
Are you a fan?

I like the show, but I have to admit that I haven't watched the entire series, but I do so love a beautiful, one of a kind yarn.
That's what I have - straight from Jimmy Beans Wool - Lorna's Laces sportmate in the Downton Abbey colorway:

Pretty, isn't it?
I should really take my own picture because of course it's a bit different.
There's still time to get involved in the KAL - just go to the Jimmy Beans Wool blog and you'll find links on there with instructions.
Now even though I haven't watched enough of the show this was something I intended to do over the Christmas break, but along with cleaning, decluttering, and exercising, watching the two seasons of the show were things that didn't get accomplished. Think it will make a difference?
I hope not.
Which is why I felt okay taking this little quiz that tells you which Downton Abbey character you are.
Guess who I am.
A maid.
To be precise:
You are Anna Smith, head housemaid of Downton. You are basically the best employee ever. Competent, practical and tough, you can handle anything life throws at you - whether it’s rude colleagues, secretive romantic partners or surprise dead bodies in the workplace. Your kindness and loyalty are to be admired, and that Bates fellow should really recognize what a catch you are.
Go figure.
Introverted me, working quietly for the people, and not the one living in luxury.
It's time to start knitting.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

KAL number 354, but I promise that I'll finish this time

I've joined up in a KAL.
Not sure why.
Quite frankly, I'm not sure how I even ended up joining this Facebook group, but there I was with an invite to a KAL, and how could I resist?
The voting is over, and the scarves have been chosen for three different skill levels - Expert, Intermediate, and Beginner.
I decided to go with beginner, mostly because I have a lot going on, and I don't want to get started on something that I don't finish. This would be typical for me, too, as I join tons of KALs and barely finish.
Resolution number one for 2013 - finish what I start.
The beginner KAL is for the Infinitude Scarf by Jeni Chase (this is the ravelry link).
It is actually quite pretty, and I like a scarf that is wide enough to put on top of your head too.
Want to join? Knitting should start on 10 Jan.

Friday, January 04, 2013

End of Year Prezzies

This was a very low-key Christmas.
I think I told you this, right?
Hubby and Baby Girl spent over two weeks in Ecuador (where hubby is from) over Christmas and New Year's.
It was a great experience for them, but since the Baby Boy and I were the only two here, and he was working a good bit of the time, I barely even got any decorations out, and decided to forego the usual Christmas/holiday hoopla.
Well, I'm pretty damn lazy too, so not having to do all this wasn't that much of a stretch for me either.
Best intentions, I have, but not necessarily great on the follow through.
I did receive, however, two very nice and unexpected gifts.
My friend, Mel, you know, she of the wonderful Stranded in Oz, sent me a copy of Yarn magazine.
(these are her socks on the cover, and that's her cardigan on the cover of issue 28 if you click on the link.)
One thing I discovered when I was in the UK quite a few years ago, and obviously the Aussies do it too, is that they are very good about attaching little gifts to the front of their magazines. Cross stitch mags regularly have needles, and knitting mags have, of course, needles!
Wasn't this so sweet?
She's a champ, I have to tell you, and her Glinda sock yarns are to dye for. Tee hee.

Check out her website.
Really gorgeous stuff, and the shipping is not exorbitantly expensive.
Next up - My cousin, Mary Lou, went on a trip to Iceland over the summer. She's always traveling, and having great adventures. On this latest trip she brought me back a skein of yarn! We don't see each other that often, although we do live relatively close, so I didn't get this until Christmas time which I think was the best time of year to get it!
It's Lett Lopi yarn in a deep heather blue - lovely, lovely color, don't you think?

That was really so very nice of her to do this - and so completely unexpected that I was gobsmacked.
I still need to tell her thank you.
Okay, I know, the iPad pictures don't come out all that well, but hey, at least you have something somewhat colorful to look at instead of reading my weird words throughout the entire post.
Sometimes the smallest, most unexpected RAOKs are really the very, very best.
Thanks to Mel and Mary Lou (sounds like a singing duo) for these wonderful gifts.
Nice way to start the year.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Must Remember to Write Thank You Note

If I tell myself that often enough, perhaps I will.
This year for Christmas, my boss gave me, and my two co-workers, Barnes and Noble gift cards.
$50 buckaroonis.
Oh yeah.
And what to spend it on - wow - the choices, but better yet, I had coupons!
For some reason that I'll never really figure out I pay the $25 a year (or however much it is) to Barnes and Noble to get their member discount.
I really don't shop there often, and I'm trying not to have as many "paper" books in my house (have to get ready for the retirement move to South America in __?__ years).
But a gift card - and coupons that come just in time for Christmas - I could buy knitting books!
Knitting books will make the move with me to SA, just in case you're wondering.
Here's what I ended up buying:

Anna Hrachovec's Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi.
I love her knitting - just looking at the .gifs on her blog is amazing - everything she makes is so cute and for the most part happy! I saw this book in a store in Soho, and thought, why should I pay $16 for a kit when I can get the book for cheaper!
I don't know that I'll ever knit anything from here, but I'm sure I'd better do it soon before the age-related arthritis makes it impossible. All those teeny, tiny little...mochimochis!

Ann Budd's Sock Knitting Master Class.
I have her book, Getting Started Knitting Socks, and it really helped me quite a bit. It still does.
So even though I'll probably never knit the socks on the cover (too many colors, egads, I'd screw it all up), I thought that this would be a good book to get. Plus it has a DVD.
Can't beat that when you're a visual learner!

I also bought a couple of magazines which, if you're not careful, can cost as much as a book!
I picked up Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts, and Quick Knits from Classic Elite Yarns (which, oddly enough, I can't find anywhere on the internet -- was I the only person to buy a copy of this publication???).
Regardless, I do so like Classic Elite - inexpensive, yet still good yarn.
I did splurge on some tea, and of course Godiva chocolates - no wait, I didn't buy those - no, of course not - and some Starbucks Christmas coffee which comes in handy for those last minute, whoops I forgot you gifts.
I wanted to buy Ann Budd's book Knitter's Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters, but sadly the price that was on the Website was lower than the in-store price, so I decided to wait for another time to get that one.
One of these days I will begin knitting sweaters.
Okay, let me clarify, knit a sweater, and then complete it before I rip it out in frustration.
So, many thanks to my boss for the gift card - now I just need to remember to write out a thank you note!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Perfect Pitch

Of all the movies I've seen over the holidays, and I watched quite a few, one of my favorites was Pitch Perfect.
Have you seen it?
I actually watched it almost to the end on Christmas Day, and then finally the entire way through the next day.
The singing is out of this world.
Here's a scene:

A cappella is so hot right now.
What really cracked me up about the film though is that it never tries to insert any kind of reality into an academic year.
First, these students are all, well, students.
No stressing about midterms, finals, papers, exams.
The academic year (both semesters) flies by with remarkable speed.
Where's their advisor? This is a campus club - shouldn't they have an advisor?
They have so much autonomy too - they're even renting buses!
Also, there's a lot of drinking taking place on campus.
That would (should) never happen.
So if you work in higher education, suspend disbelief.
Watch it for the incredible singing.
And Rebel Wilson. She's amazing.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year

Today, the first day of the new year, I got irritated with my mother.
Well, that's really pretty much everyday (and she knows it - I'm such an ungrateful brat).
She's a talker, she is, and I can be social, but then, as my mother says, I clam up when I don't feel like talking.
Too right.
Well, today was a day that I was glad to bear all my mother's talking, as I took her over to see my Aunt Ruth in the nursing home.
Poor thing has had a time of it lately, but like her biblical namesake she will suffer all and still remain positive.
It's a blessing because, well, I'm not airing any dirty laundry here, but just suffice it to say that she deserves nothing but the best, but throughout her entire life she hasn't always received it.
My mother likes to tell the story that when they were growing up on a farm my Aunt Margaret would get upset because she couldn't go to the movies, or spend money on things, but Aunt Ruth always said, "The cows come first." That's pretty much how she is - putting others first, and understanding why.
So, as I discussed in my last post, when I saw her in the nursing home a few weeks ago (shame on me, I really need to go more), she said that she was cold, so I knew that I needed to make her a shawl.
Well hell, she's 96, probably doesn't weigh more than a twig, and is getting frail.
Plus I understand that the elderly get cold more often. As I'm poised to enter the hot flash stage of my life, I can't quite fathom that.
Homespun yarn by Lion Brand (yes, acrylic) is very warm, holds up well, and best of all is machine washable.
Exactly what someone in a nursing home needs really.
As I know that pink is Aunt Ruth's color I went with the quartz colorway because it has the subtle color changes and is pink (and purpley) but not overwhelmingly so. Of course in looking at the description on the Website it doesn't mention that it's pink at all. Whatever.
She loves her shawl and asked me to put it on her right away.
She got tears in her eyes which made me go all teary eyed so I had to channel my hard-ass self not to get all emotional.
Usually I do that by changing the subject or walking away.
Well before we left she told my mother, I'm going to be buried in this shawl.
Tell me that doesn't tug at your heartstrings.
I looked and laughed and said, "Aunt Ruth, you'll last longer than that shawl. It will probably unravel before you go."
Was that masterful deflection or what?
Here's a picture of Aunt Ruth and my mother talking in the nursing home:

Happy new year all, and knit to make someone happy (even if you only knit for yourself)!