Tuesday, December 29, 2009

my world has stopped spinning (temporarily)

Please pardon the long absence. My husband went into the ER yesterday and was finally admitted to the hospital late last night. He hadn't been feeling very well for most of last week and then he just worsened over the weekend. He's still at the hospital and will be there indefinitely. I spent most of today there with him and got a lot of knitting done! Though I am quite tired..and of all days to find the monkey at the house, my dumb brother had to pick today!! I just spent the last hour or so scrounging for all the necessary paperwork in order for my husband to be considered for a certain program at the hospital. Goodness. Of all times for this to occur--when I'm not working and no longer have insurance. Ugh. The good that came out of this is we at least have an idea of what was causing him to be so sick for so long and they are taking the necessary steps to get him back on track. Tomorrow is going to be a big day for him. And it's going to be an early one. It's also his birthday. Can you imagine having to spend your birthday in the hospital? His friend said at least he's able to have another birthday which is very true. Christmas was good. It was nice having my sister around too. For a few days I was able to forget that I was still unemployed (and pathetic!). I received my first sewing machine! It's a mini-one but still a sewing machine. I'll try to get a picture of it once all the madness has settled--or has settled a teeny bit. Can I tell you that that was all I wanted?? (*I had intended to post on my blog about how all I wanted for Christmas was a sewing machine but never got around to it but apparently, someone did hear me.) I was a bit worried and thought maybe I was getting a wii fit for Christmas since I didn't see a box the size of a sewing machine anywhere but whew! I was very wrong.:) My parents gave me money so I was able to get a cute knitting bag, a subscription to Interweave Knits since I had to discontinue mine, a picture frame with a pic of myself and my hubby at the wedding from my sister, a portable dvd player, oh and some sundara yarn! :) Photos to come in future posts! I also was able to finish a cowl last night while we were in the ER and late last night I cast on for maximus. I'm nearly finished with it after all the knitting from today! So pictures will be up shortly..possibly after the new year (unfortunately but we'll see..). If I don't make it back here before the new year, I hope everyone has a grand one!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

a recap

Well, I dragged my poor hubby to the mall on Tuesday and we spent a good..I dunno, two and a half hours in that freakin' place and all I could find was one thing that I liked for my SIL. This is not good. I don't ever wait this long to get all my gifts done but there I was. Then late Tuesday night, I had an a-ha moment. A calendar!! A calendar with photos of the monkey. I checked online and some websites said it'd take a couple of weeks to get done. I called CVS and they said all I'd have to do is come in, they'd set me up on a computer and it'd be ready in an hour. Can I tell you that I was in awe of this kiosk that I saw! Typically I don't print up the photos I take--though I do keep a knitting journal of all my projects so the whole idea of having a kiosk at my fingertips where I could upload, edit, and print pictures on photo quality paper without using my own ink was wonderful! The calendar came out nice though I wish the kiosk had had the option of adding more than one picture. Plus I didn't like the format the calendar was set in--no room to write anything. Oh well. Still cool. I showed it to the monkey and she said, "Cool." Most of the presents are wrapped..I'm still waiting on the monkey's computer to get here so I can wrap that up and be done with it. I baked one batch of cookies last night and it was a nightmare. It's SO SO cold here that the butter in the fridge basically freezes (which I'm not used to) and I'm the type of baker who'll just toss the butter in without thinking about softening. Ha. Can I tell you I've gone through two hand mixers in the last few weeks?? So I had to whip out the stand mixer (which is a pain because it has yet to have a permanent home anyplace that I've lived). The monkey made an ornament Tuesday night. I wasn't sure if she could handle it but she liked it. She got distracted and stopped for a bit but she did return to it. She asked me yesterday if I had any more and I knew she meant the pipecleaners. I saw some at one point in my parents' garage but can't for the life of me recall where exactly they went to.. As for the knitting...I had planned on having all the knitting completed on Tuesday so that the shawl could have part of Tuesday and all the way through to tonight (if need be) to block BUT, life interrupted and I barely cast off for that sucker this morning. Hopefully it'll be dry at least by tomorrow! The bane of my knitting existence for the last week:

(but how pretty she is!)

On tap for night is more baking--just one batch of cookies though. I scaled back this year. Though I've got some things planned for New Year's. :) Well, whatever you have planned for tonight (if you celebrate Christmas!) I wish you and yours a wonderful, wonderful night!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Crafty Night

Well, the monkey and I had a craft event last night! We finally got around to making those cinnamon dough ornaments I wanted to try out. Here's what the dough looked like after I mixed the cinnamon and applesauce. It was a bit too sticky so I added some more cinnamon. Here are our ornaments that we made. Mine are the first six and the monkey's are the last six. It was so funny watching her sprinkle the glitter! I had forgotten that she's at the age where lil' ones are prone to only one side of something. As you can see, she didn't spread her glitter out too much. She just decorated one particular part of each piece! Though I had to spread the glitter out a bit this morning because I knew when we would pick them up later, all the glitter would fall to the ground and remember, I live with an anal dad!!! We also made some handprint paperweights for her parents! She wanted to make a handprint to keep. I tried to stretch the clay (I halfed the recipe and then halfed it again!) but it wasn't going to work. I only had a recipe for the ingredients and just now looked it up on eHow and apparently I've gotta bake them for 10 minutes to get them to harden. Thank goodness. I didn't think air-drying would be enough! The cinnamon dough ornaments are supposed to take 24 hours to harden. We still have to loop strings through them. Overall, it was fun! We each became impatient with one another but we worked through it! Now the reason I've been away, is I have been working away on this: I figured that since it's taking me eons to finish the first shawl I started for my mom in the fall, I better cast on for something that I can finish quickly and it was Thursday night when I decided that I was going to knit this up as a Christmas gift! I'm finally done with all the garter stitch and am finally to the feather and fan border! The pattern is the multnomah shawl.

from feather and fan is NOT my friend to feeling inspired

As my title states, the feather and fan stitch pattern, worked over 265+ stitches (might I add) is not my friend..if anything it's currently my worst enemy. I have needed to rip back at least three or four times (and I'm in the midst of the second repeat of this blasted thing with eight more to go!!). Must I really suffer like this? Really?? It isn't helping that I keep looking at my ball of yarn thinking that I really could have increased the garter stitch border up to 300+ stitches to make it a bit longer but as it was, 265 stitches of garter stitch was killing me. I finally forced myself to go to sleep and amidst stressing over what in the world I was going to get my sister-in-law for Christmas, I finally felt inspired to draft a brand new cover letter suitable for jobs outside of teaching. I have been putting it off for so long because it took me forever to get to the current teaching cover letter that I have. I know, cover letters are supposed to be works in progress and they change and adapt as we change and adapt. Well, I hadn't expected to have to adapt to a world outside of teaching so it's been a teeny bit of a shock. Now if only I get all the knitting and shopping out of the way, I'll be able to focus on writing this letter!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

picture day!

It has dawned on me that I don't have FO (Finished Object for all you non-knitters) pictures of all of my projects. And some of them don't have decen pictures so this afternoon, I took it upon myself to give some of my finished knits some face time. Oh! I also finished knitting carrots! She's currently having a bath and will be spending the next few days blocking. I decided that I'm going to frog my current peas project since I did mention that it wasn't all that exciting. I do still want to make a cowl out of that yarn though so this morning I was perusing my pattern collection to see what I will make instead. I may cast on for a third cowl too. Oh and of course I've gotta cast on for a second habitat! Okay, here is an unblocked shot of carrots. A couple of pictures of a finished blackberry cowl (I know, finally!) My one and only clapotis. My 'wedding shawl' My spring things shawl.
And finally, pinkie! Pinkie is my niece's favorite knit of mine. Here's proof: This has definitely been a year of shawls. I wonder what 2010 will be..

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

hopeful

The internet is an amazing place. Not only have I reconnected with an old friend from high school but i've been up to my eyeballs in fantastic recipes, crafts, etc. I don't know how to pick and choose from all that I've seen today but there were these: refashioned gift tags, knit-free mittens, these fantastic ornaments (which I can't wait to try out with my niece!), and this sangria (which upon finding prompted me to call up my sister and ask her if we should have some this Christmas!). After a mostly crappy yesterday, my husband came home late last night with some good news. He had been given an unexpected check with a very surprising amount! This said check cemented for me the fact that it was a good idea to move when we did (a decision I still go back and forth about in my head) and all the things I ever wanted for my husband are now happening.

Monday, December 14, 2009

now for the knitting!

Sorry for the previous dreary post. I just needed to get those thoughts out and what better place to do it than here on my blog! I noticed today that I'm not quite the blogger. I think in the new year I'd like to blog more often. I think all the time about things to post about but I don't get around to posting those thoughts. Must. change. that. Now for the knitting! I've been working slowly on carrots.
I wish someone had told me that after the second pattern repeat, things kind of speed up! I'm now in the midst of my third pattern repeat. I plan to do four repeats. Now if I'd only spend some time knitting instead of lolly gagging on the slow loading internet, I might actually be finished!! Well actually, yesterday we went shopping during the time I probably would've spent knitting on this and then I was too tired to knit at bedtime. I've been neglecting my other cowl though. Mostly because I love charts. They're a challenge to me and I have to admit, once I get started working on a chart, it's hard to stop. The other cowl doesn't have a chart. I thought about creating one for it to make it more exciting but that didn't happen. As soon as I cast off my carrots, I'll be casting on for another habitat. This one for my best friend..who'll be coming on Christmas so I better get to knitting if I want it to be blocked and ready to go for him! And for some stash enhancement..I know. I don't have any money to spend. Credit cards are tapped but how could I resist them?

Here's autumn rose in sundara aran silky.

And here's granite falls in sundara aran silky.

I'm SO regretting not getting two skeins of the autumn rose!! Okay, hopefully in my next post I will have a FO to present!

thoughts

What do you do if someone has lost the will to live but is nowhere near dying? In a nutshell that describes my dad. I rarely post about him because I don't have much to say about him. One of the reasons I wanted to move closer to home was so he and I could establish some sort of a relationship. Growing up, I didn't have the greatest relationship with him. We were always at odds. I used to wonder what my life would've been like if say my godparents had raised me or if I had grown up someplace else, other than here. There were even times when I used to wonder what if I didn't exist at all. Maybe it was this relationship that made me want to 'escape' from here and create a new, different life someplace else. Funny I should say that because this same relationship is what has brought me back here too. In any case, my dad said to me the other day that he was ready to die. He has no reason left to live. I told him not to say such things. That we didn't want him to die. I mentioned a few things he'd miss out if he were to die and he didn't care. How does a person become this way? Today, I was reminded of the father from my past-the one that only has negative things to say. The one that I wanted to escape. Why do negative comments cut so deeply? Sometimes they're even stronger than positive ones. And as I proceeded to wrap some of the Christmas gifts I have already purchased, I wondered how did someone so positive-minded (that would be me!) come from a person so negative? I tried not to let his negative comment penetrate through my skin but my skin isn't as thick as it once was. I phoned my sister, shared with her the brilliance that came out of dear ol' dad's mouth and she reminded me that that was why she no longer called him on a regular basis. He only had negative things to say. My sister is a fellow escapee--though I don't foresee her returning (long-term) anytime soon. We were trying to figure out how to help our dad but you can't help someone who doesn't want help. So all we can do is wait idly by.

Friday, December 4, 2009

streets of bethlehem

The first week in December, one of the local churches where I (now) live puts on an event called the Streets of Bethlehem. It's a live re-creation of Bethlehem and they've been doing this for the last eighteen years (which was surprising to me because I didn't first hear about it until the last couple of years)! We took my niece and it was actually a lot of fun. I didn't know what to expect. My mom has yet to go and she couldn't come with us last night because she was still at work but we're hoping to take her either tonight or tomorrow night. Here are some pictures from the evening's events! This is one of the Roman soldiers outside the marketplace.
Here's Mary, sweeping. Here's Joseph contemplating the news that Mary is with child. I don't know what these guys were doing. To me, it just looked like they were barbequing and I thought that was funny so I took a pic. Here's another soldier. Angels. Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus (and can I tell you that I was surprised it was a real baby! I'm a dork, I know. Jesus as an adult.
I liked that it was interactive. There were stands (since we were essentially in the marketplace) and there was the baker, the magician, animals, makers of pots, spice sellers, yarn spinners (and stupid me didn't take pictures of them!! I was too mesmerized watching how they did it. lol. They made it fun for the kids and that was the cool part. We made pinch pots. We got some jewels, my niece got to pet some of the animals and I think the best part of all was that she got to feed the goats! Oh, the bus ride to the church was also a highlight. And by the time we got back into our own car and had been driving ohhh, for about 5-6 minutes, she was out like a light.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

life goes on

I've been meaning to post but end up not posting because I haven't any pictures to show off and I know that pictures make posts much more interesting! I also stumbled upon two cute links that I wanted to share! For those that celebrate Chanukah and have children, there was this link. When I taught preschool and Kindergarten, we made sure to expose the children to all the various festivals of light that are celebrated. The other link will show you how to make this: I've been thinking about things to do with my niece when she's here --but she's usually here in the evenings and the lighting in my parents' house is the worst. Plus some of the things I'd want to do with her (like crafty things!) are best done during the daytime. The monkey was over here Monday and Tuesday night. She's still having moments of cuteness. Her looks are maturing and she's not so baby. Though potty training aint her thing--particularly here at grandma's house! If you're not a fan of kid bathroom talk, you might want to skip to the next paragraph! She was hanging out with me Monday night and then we had the following exchange: Monkey: What's that sound coming from my butt? Me: I don't hear any sound. Monkey: Uh-huh. There's a sound. *Moments later, she came over to me and I could smell her. This was also the same evening when she was sitting in the couch with me and I was unfolding a blanket for us and she said, "I want to marry you." Too cute!! On Tuesday, as I was on the computer, she decided to "go to sleep" with "my friends" and here she is. Anyway, yesterday was a bit of an eventful day. Have I mentioned yet that the neighbors that live directly behind us have dogs? And one day one of the freakin' dogs jumped over the fence?? He did it twice apparently. Well yesterday, another dog had come over but this one dug his way into our backyard!!! We (husband and I) wanted to call animal control. My dad wanted to give the neighbors another 'warning.' Screw the warnings. They've been given two already for the two times the first dog jumped over the fence! Instead, my dad opted to call the owner of the house (who is renting the house out two different families apparently) and supposedly HE is going to take care of it. When my mom got home from work, I told her what happened and she said the next time a dog comes over to call animal control! So then I went into how my dad didn't want to call them blah blah blah and she couldn't believe it! We'll see what happens. We now have the number to animal control and we know the exact address of the house behind us..
There's been some secret knitting on my part. :) It's been nice to knit again but now everything else I was getting into (reading, writing letters again..etc!) has fallen a bit by the wayside. I haven't much progress to show off but I can tell you that I'm working on one of these and one of these.
Still looking for work. I have an interview next Wednesday for a part-time position and I just applied earlier today for a position so we'll see what turns up.

Monday, November 30, 2009

the week of thanksgiving

This week was filled with moments of sadness, lots of family, the eating of way too many sweets, and moments of joy. The life of my MIL was celebrated two days before Thanksgiving. She was a kind, gentle, loving spirit and she will be missed by all. She touched so many lives in so many different ways and it was because of this that people of all different walks of life came together to celebrate her. When we saw her lying in her coffin, it became real for us that she was indeed no longer with us in body but she will always be with us in spirit. There was so much grief, so much sorrow, but there was also twinges of happiness and relief because we all knew that she was in a better place. She has taken her rightful place as our special angel, guiding us always. Here she is during one of her happiest moments, our wedding day. Thanksgiving was spent with my folks and this year, my sibs and I took on a more active role in food preparation. Wednesday was devoted to desserts. We made two pies (one apple and one pumpkin) and two loaves of spicy pumpkin bread. The monkey helped a lot and was pooped by the end of the night! That girl is becoming a pro @ licking a bowl clean! Thanksgiving day, we spent working on all our appetizers a la martha. Not so sure if any of the appetizers will be making a return appearance in the years to come, but it was a good experience and now we know to start cooking our appetizers earlier so we can eat on time! lol. The macaroni and cheese with butternut squash needs to be revisited though. We substituted gruyere for the sharp cheddar and I learned that gruyere isn't the best cheese for something like that. It's not as cheesy as one would like. Here's a snapshot of what was left of the mac & cheese. As far as the desserts go, I believe they will all be making a comeback particularly the pumpkin pie with caramel pecan topping! We didn't make our own crust (since it was all butter) but maybe next year when we're a bit more pie savvy. Leftover turkey may possibly be turned into a turkey pot pie. I forgot I knew how to make one of those-then remembered while my mom and I saw a commercial last night for turkey leftovers! My sister and I went together to pick out buttons for our unifinished cardis. We kind of had to settle because as I've already pointed out in a previous blog post, buttons are slim pickins here. If I could, I'd open up a button store! So now, I can present to you, something blue AND sesame! Yesterday while uploading my pics to my desktop, I realized that I'm short a few finished shots of some other projects so be on the lookout for them. I've been itching to cast on for a cowl (even though I'm on a forced knitting break!!) and I've just found the perfect pattern to try out..

Thursday, November 26, 2009

thankful thursday

1. I am thankful that we introduced the lil monkey to the world of baking. She is now hooked! 2. I am thankful that we had more than enough hands to help create our Thanksgiving feast! 3. I am thankful that everyone got some good eats and fell asleep soon afterwards. lol.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

saturday

First of all, thank you to everyone for your love, hugs, support, kind thoughts, and prayers. The last couple of days have been surreal. We (hubby, my mother, and I) will be leaving for the funeral Monday morning. The funeral is set for Tuesday morning. We won't be down in SoCal for very long. We'll be leaving sometime on Tuesday since both my husband and my mother have to get back to work on Wednesday. My sister will be following us home on Tuesday. She'll also be attending the funeral with us. She's looking forward to the time off and we'll be spending Wednesday probably working on the desserts for our Thanksgiving meal! I received a call from the school where I did my model lesson. It was a no. It was very competitive and I was a very competitive candidate but they opted to go with someone else. The principal said that if they had another opening she hoped I would apply again and she asked if I'd consider subbing for them. I thought why not so I have to call that particular school district after next week and get on the sub list. Maybe this'll turn into something, who knows. I haven't heard from Borders either. I'm SO bummed! But maybe, since I've had two almost jobs now the next one will be mine (preferably a teaching one). Hubby is enjoying his new job and I think it helps keep his mind off things too. There hasn't been much knitting around here. I'm trying to heal my wrist so I can go back to my marathon knitting again! On ravelry there is a Knitters with Carpal Tunnel group and there's this guy with all this sage advice about carpal tunnel or just pain in general with regard to knitting. He suggested to a bunch of people to ice their hand/wrist/arm for an hour in 5-7 second spurts for a week. I did it two days in a row and I'm actually noticing a difference! I missed yesterday though on account of my being busy with chores and then I decided to do some baking! I've had this cookbook for a lil while and finally decided to give it a shot. Wow! My niece, hubby, and I made the basic chocolate cupcakes. Those that know me well know that I'm not really a fan of chocolate cake but lately it's been growing on me and these cupcakes are quite delicious. We opted to make the mini size ones. The monkey added some ingredients and did some mixing. She also was in charge of licking the spatulas and mixing things clean. lol. It was so cute! These cupcakes are the absolute best and I can't wait to try out some of the other recipes! I'm already checking on amazon to see if the author has any other recipe books!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

thankful thursday

1. I am thankful that I had the chance to get to know my MIL who passed away early this morning. I only wish she had been around for a bit longer. 2. I am thankful for my mother who in times of crisis knows just what to say. 3. I am thankful for each day that passes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

monday monday..can't trust that day

Well, today was my model lesson and it went pretty well. I really liked the school and got a good feel from it. The teacher I would be replacing is leaving because her husband got his dream position elsewhere. She is staying through until Christmas vacation while he has already started his new position. I thought that was good of her to do. The kids were quite well behaved and worked SO quietly. I'm not used to that. I'm used to chatter and chit chatting here and there. It's promising but we all know how that goes with me. I went into it feeling as though it wasn't a big deal and I left the same way. They're hoping to fill the position by the end of this week and will be making phone calls in a day or two. I also applied to work at Borders. lol. I dreamt that I worked there so I had to at least apply. I keep thinking about the discount! My husband left for his first day of orientation a lil while ago and he was pretty excited about it. It was cute. :) I told him that I always wanted a husband/guy that had to dress up to go to work. A man in a dress shirt and tie does it for me. :) I don't know what it is. I can't believe Thanksgiving is already next week. We don't even have our Thanksgiving menu planned out yet! We've got the desserts covered but not any of the side dishes. For some reason, I'm wanting to do a homemade mac & cheese. I saw a recipe somewhere that utilizes butternut squash. Of course we'll have a side of potatoes but I thought we'd do something different this year and take some of the pressure off my mom! I can't wait for my sister to get here though. She is in the process of printing up a ton of patterns I had saved on my desktop. She's printing them out because when I first thought of this idea, she had been complaining about how she didn't have anything to do at work. SO I thought I'd help her out. ;) Aren't I a great sister?? lol. She told me earlier that she has half of them printed up and she also mentioned that there were some things she liked and might have me make for her (that was part of my plan in the first place!). As I blog, I'm looking through all the patterns that have been posted at twist collective. The winter edition is out and I'm in love with Tanit's Jacket. I also took a second look at the sweet pea coat from last winter! I'm dying to cast on for audrey in unst though. Can you tell that Gudrun Johnston is my newest knitwear icon?? :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

things are starting to looking up

Well, yesterday was the start of the Gap Friends and Family Sale so that's where most of my day was spent--traipsing from one old navy, gap, and banana to the next! I think it's during this sale that I sort of miss LA. There were SO many more Old Navy stores, Gap stores, and Banana Republic stores to choose from. Oh well. I think we got our fill yesterday! My husband begins orientation on Monday for his new job and I actually have a model lesson Monday morning for a 1st/2nd grade teaching position. I know what I'm going to do but I have to figure out what I'm going to wear and I need to make copies of everything I'm bringing. I finished seaming sesame!!!!!!!!! But guess what? I can't find buttons big enough for her. :( I wish I had made it a bit longer but that's okay. I also finished lengthening the bottom of my wicked. While I've been away, we discovered this critter in our backyard.. He was in the midst of making a getaway after my dad had lunged a 'spear' at him and something else! Last week I also received my first order from Wolfe Farms. :)