Tuesday, June 28, 2005

So much to say, so much to say

What happened to my summer? Its almost July and it seems like June just got here. I've been running around all month like a chicken with my head cut off and July doesn't look like its going to give me a break either. I'm writing this post on the fly as I just found out that our friends from California are coming to visit next week instead of the week of the 18th - yikes! Not only do I now have to tackle Mount St. Helens but I've got to do some serious cleaning before FRIDAY! Hokay, here's my quickie synopsis of my trip to DC last week:

* Traffic driving up 95 - SUCKED!
* Hilton Washington - Also SUCKED (except for the very kind housekeeping staff, the rest of the staff acted like we were doing them a favor by staying there and the temperature in the entire hotel was always set on "freeze your ass off" cold)
* Dinner at Outback with Heaz and little Miss Pixie - an absolute dream! The time flew by way too fast. I've finally met someone who talks as much as me (which is quite a lot). We love so many of the same things, very like minded and it felt like we'd known each other forever.

* Folk Art Studio Cafe - What a neat place! It has comfy chairs to sit and knit in, a yummy coffee shop (mmmm, aztec cocoa), a paint it yourself pottery section and of course yarn. Kathy, the owner, has such a verve for life and was bouncing off the wall over the Cheeky Little Monkeys.
Heaz and Pixie posed with the monkeys while we were there. I could have stayed there all night (we actually tried to but all good things must come to an end).

* Stash Enhancement - Heaz gave me the sweetest welcome to Maryland gift. I'm still overwhelmed at her generousity. Feng Shaun (why hadn't anyone told me about this book) and the pink and black Rio de la Plata were a couple of self indulgences. From H, there's the new Scarf Style which is chock full o' beautiful and unique scarf patterns. A pattern for fingerless gloves (forgot to include it in the picture), a needle roll with tulips on it that Heaz made (I SO needed one for the five billion double points I've accumulated as of late), a skein of gorgeous multicolored Manos (say it with me "mmmmmm, Mah-nos") and some fragrant wild rose french milled soap that she snuck in during our shopping trip. Ei gave me a set of Pony finishing (thanks Ei) needles that worked like a charm weaving all of the ends of my socks in. The gift that meant the most was by far the smallest and you can barely see it in the picture. Its a tiny stone with "believe" engraved in it. I'll keep it with me always to not only remember my trip but to also remember to have faith in myself. Thanks again, H!

* Meetup with Lolly, Ei and H for dinner - more fun than words can do justice. My sides hurt so bad the next day from laughing so hard.
Yes, as you may have already read on their blogs, the waiter sucked ass. I try to give people a break when they're not overly enthusiastic about their jobs. Maybe they had a bad day or maybe life has thrown them a curve ball. But this guy went out of his way to tell us that he "just comes to work and punches in and doesn't really pay attention to the menu". What the hell was that all about? In spite of him (and trust me it wasn't easy), we had a mahvelous time. Among other things - heh heh heh - we learned that we all use different cast on techniques. Who knew? These ladies are very talented knitters and it was great to be surrounded by such good knitting Karma. Thanks again for sharing life, love and laughter with me and plan to do it again soon.

Here's a retro picture of the goodies that Zira came back from MDS&W with. It's so sinful to have so much great yarn and fiber to play with.

And finally, I really have been doing some knitting and spindle spinning (my legs are still under doctors care but are finally starting to feel a bit better). I finished what I call the "Fuggly Koigu Socks".

See why I call them fuggly. I designed them for function not beauty. I wanted four things in this sock: 1.) I hate socks on my calves so they had to be only ankle high 2.) I only wanted to use one skein of Koigu 3.) I wanted the heel and footbed to be uber comfy and 4.) I needed some room for these dawgs to breathe. The ankle has a few rows of some Lana Grossa yarn (that so happened to be in my stash and so happened to match perfectly) double stranded with the Koigu which made it super soft.

The heel is slip stitched and the foot bed was purled so that it has extra bounce when you walk on it (I love how Koigu does that). The toes were left out so I can wear these year round and even with sandals if I want (yeah, if I want to get laughed at). I love these socks and have two more skeins of Koigu destined to make more. I can't imagine anyone else wanting to make a pair of these but if you want the pattern, let me know in the comments.

As far as monkey's go, Zira's road trip plans are being finalized and she's already booked through early November. This girl has plans to zig zag the east and west coasts of the US, Canada, Israel, Finland and even Singapore. I'll get her tour schedule up next week. The Cheeky Little Monkeys will have a site in the couple of weeks or so where you can buy your own Cheeky. There's lots in store for the Cheekies so stay tuned.

Gotta get back to cleaning. Catch ya later...

Monday, June 27, 2005

The road to hell...

Have you heard the phrase "the road to hell is paved with good intentions?" Well if that's the case, I'm in for quite a trip today. I had good intentions to get up early this morning, get some work in, write a wonderful blog post and begin unpacking from the week at the beach. I had good intentions to put a dent in Mt. Saint Helens aka 10 days worth of laundry that's festering in the hallway outside of the laundry room. I had good intentions of whipping the boys into shape with a new summer schedule. I even had good intentions to get some long overdue RAOKs into the mail. However, I lack the energy and the willpower to carry out any of these intentions. We didn't get home until 11 pm last night and Thing 2 decided to wake up at 5:30 (WTF?) this morning and take a noisy shower. I promise to post my thoughts about meeting up with the lovely MD ladies and my trip to DC tomorrow but in the meantime enjoy their wonderful photos and thoughts - Ei, Heather and Lolly - as they are spot on with mine. I'm going to have a glass of wine and take a nap. Zzzzzzzz

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Muse in the Big City

A week in da big ci-tay of Warshington Dee Cee. I'm looking forward to a break from the testosterone trio. And no cooking or cleaning. However, I will not dare drive again until my ass is heading outta here. I strapped a set of cajones on and decided to drive in rather than fly or take the train. There are down sides to all of these modes of transport but being the control freak that I am, I felt that driving was the lesser of the evils. WRONG! Holy shittake mushrooms metro drivers are insane. I have selective memory along these lines until I'm in the midst of the traffic. Apparently, cars in the District are not equipped with turn signals nor can anyone see the signals on my car. I thought that I would drive into Old Town and to Potomac Mills - NOT! I'll take the Metro thank you very much. In order to insure that I do NOT go home with the Metro crud again, I have begun taking Airborne - take that you nasty germs.

As far as the conference, its on the boring side so far. Not to mention that the seats are killing everyone's backs and the rooms are so freaking cold that you could juice oranges on my nipples (TMI I'm sure). The poolside is looking very enticing right now especially since I need to thaw. And my plan to sleep in late this morning was thwarted by the asshole next door who decided to talk loud, sing Sesame Street (WTF?)and blast the news at 6 am. Damn him.

I didn't get any knitting in during the conference today because I wanted to look like I was paying attention. Tomorrow will be a different story. I have so much kinetic energy, I'm about to bust. Plus I'm PMSing and this medication that I'm on makes me jittery and dizzy - one helluva combo, huh? I hope that I can calm down before I meet up with Heaz tomorrow or I may just spontaneously combust. How funny would that be knitting, talking and then - KABOOM! Heh heh heh.

Well, I've stalled long enough. I need to get back to my session. Enjoy the day.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Eight down, Eighty "too many freaking more" days to go

Yes, summer vacation has begun for Thing 1 and 2 and I'm already counting the days until the go back to school. What does "summer vacation" really mean? Here's a little taste of my summer so far...

"Stop touching me"
"He's looking at me"
"There's nothing to do"
"Do we have to go to bed? Its only midnight."
"Brppppt" - giggle, giggle, snort "BRRRRRPPPPPT" (for those of you without boys, this is the infamous fart game)
"Shower? But I just did two days ago"
"I lost one of the guinea pigs in the space under the stairs"
"Can you help me with ________ because you don't look real busy there on the phone and typing away at your computer?"
"Will you fix me something to eat?" I receive this request about every two hours.
"Mom, Thing 2 ate an ice cream sandwich for breakfast"
"Ratatattatatat" - this would be the drum kit that King Thing bought Thing 1 so that he could learn to drum for the summer.
The best/worst moment so far was of the two boys laughing til they couldn't breathe and then running downstairs to recreate for me and King Thing the moment where Thing 2 being the super contortionist that he is, farted on his head while demonstrating to his brother how he could dance with his feet over his back and in front of his face like the girl in the skittles (or maybe its starburst?) commercial. It was a proud moment in parenting indeed.


I want to hear some of your favorite (or not so favorite) summer vacation kidisms in the comments just so I know I'm not alone.

Keep in mind, I'm still trying to work from home and they are 12 and 8 so they should be able to function more on their own. I love my boys but I'm not sure I'll make it through the end of the summer. My only saving grace may be that we're joining a Country Club for their pool (there are no neighborhood pools around here) and we're sending them both to camp for a week in July. King Thing and I haven't been alone for an entire week without the both of the boys in probably five years. Hmmm, what will we do all alone?

I'll be in DC for a conference next week (while the boys enjoy a week at the beach). I'm thinking maybe I could either crash an existing knit in or could arrange a meetup at a bar while I'm in town. Anyone up for joining me? Any suggestions? I think I'm free Monday and Tuesday night. Let me know and I'm there. Next week,(drumroll please)I finally get to meet the divine Ms. H and the uber cute Pixie. I can barely contain myself. Now if I could only muster up the courage to call her (I'm such a geek, Heaz). I'm also hoping to crash Knit Nite too. I promise to take loads o'photos as I plan to bring Zira with me.

It has been a busy week. I've been very grateful that we have good health insurance because I've used the hell out of it over the last few days. I got some good anti-inflammatory drugs for my knee (I tore some ligaments in the left one), got my eyes checked and fitted with contacts and took the kids to the dentist. I'm off of Arwen for a couple of weeks thanks to the mystery knee injury (he said it might just be "old age" - hmpf) which means I dug Brighid (the Golding spindle) out of the closet and will spindle to quench my spinning thirst.

On the fiber front, I picked up a couple of skeins of Koigu (my LYS FINALLY started carrying it.) and decided to make some thong socks. I'll show pictures of the first one next week. They're pretty whacky looking (I call them "Koigulicious") and were actually the design brainchild of King Thing (WTF?). I finished solar dyeing the "mutt" Corriedale and LOVE the results. It really works especially when its really hot outside. And finally, Miss Zira made her trek back home complete with Maryland Sheep and Wool fiber goodies from Heaz (I promise to upload pictures but for now, I have to run buy father's day and birthday presents for my dad, brother and King Thing). I almost forgot - I've already received 11 responses back from people who are going to host Zira's world tour. We're working out the details for dates, etc. and I'll post them soon. This girl is going to be doing some serious travelling based on the responses so far. Zira and I are stoked. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

How to avoid writing a report

I have a report that I need to finish and submit to my supervisor by tomorrow.I'm avoiding it like the plague. Its gorgeous outside and I just want to sit on the deck with a mojito permanently affixed to my hand. Here's what I've done so far to avoid finishing this report...

* make several phone calls first thing in the am
* knit two rounds on Koigulicious ankle sock
* set solar dyeing projects out on the deck to bake in the sun
* make a Chai Latte
* do some research for the report
* yell at kids because they're driving me nuts (more about that tomorrow)
* attempt to return work emails and find that work server is down
* read a few knit blogs
* finally get back into email server and return emails that have lingered for the last week or two
* try to make up to kids for yelling at them with cheesecake covered in melted chocolate chips
* read some more knit blogs and comment when computer cooperates
* make a list of things to take to conference in DC next week
* start thinking of knitting projects to work on next week
* type a few bits of the report
* check on solar dye projects - ooohhhh, too kewl
* look at other people's bloglines subscriptions to see if I've missed any neato knit blogs
* stare wistfully at spinning wheel because doctor told me to leave her alone for a few weeks (sniff, sniff) until the torn ligaments in my knee can heal
* remember that I haven't taken my anti inflammatory drugs - mmmmm, good drugs - and motor to take them
* muster courage to put contacts in eyes for day two of trial
* use the force to get the kids to clean their playroom in the basement - "you will clean the basement" as I wave my hand
* try to think of creative ways to keep the kids in the basement for the summer without a social services intervention
* try to use the force to get the laptop to create the report for me - haven't been successful yet
* knit a couple of rows on sock; try sock on and wonder if its too freakish for me to wear
* write blog entry that only kills 10 minutes - damn!

Well, I guess I better get my arse in gear. I'll hollar at you with a real post tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Pedro's got my back

Okay, I'm a late arrival on the Napoleon Dynamite bandwagon but better late than never. Napoleon was part of our double feature at drive in movie night last Friday. The weather cooperated though it threatened to rain several times and the heat lightning was a tad scary. This concept has been tons of fun. We revolve our dinner menu around the movie each week. Of course we had tots, steak, quesadillas and brownies for dessert. I'm not a diehard fan but then again I understand that you have to watch the movie a bazillion times before it all hits you. I loved the dance scene if nothing else and Pedro cracked me up for some reason.

The other movie was Ferris Buellers Day Off. NOW this movie is one of my all time favorites. What a great way to kick off the weekend. We had a full social family calendar and have had somewhere to go every night since the boys got out of school on Thursday. I'm just glad that I don't have to move this year (she shudders at the thought).

Okay, back to fiber related activities. As far as spinning, nada, zero, zilch. Why? Because I somehow blew out my left knee and can barely walk up the stairs (there are two flights in the house) nonetheless spin :( I'm so bummed. I really wanted to get Heaz's yarn all spun up before I finally get to meet her next week. I go to the doctor this afternoon to ask him WTF I did to it. I hope that there's a simple solution. You don't appreciate the simple ability to walk until you can't do it anymore.

However, I finally finished processing last of the five fleeces - a gray new zealand corriedale. I was disappointed to find that about 1/3 of it was what I believe to be belly wool. It was half the staple length of the rest of the fleece, caked with dirt and poo and imbedded with tiny bits of VM. Here's a shot of it after the second rinse - YUCK!
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It was not fun to wash. But I'm done with it and am using this "mutt" fleece today in a solar dyeing Kool-Aid experiment. Considering that the temperatures are supposed to creep over 90 degrees today, I'd say that this experiment might be a success.

Just when I thought I was finished with raw wool for a while, I couldn't resist a great deal on some Finnsheep that will arrive later this week. I know, I need more fleece like I need a hole in my head but I really wanted it. Now, if I can score some Cormo, I'll feel more complete.

Goof ball that I am, I also broke the left earpiece off of my glasses (what's up with the left this week?). Its a weird break so even gobs of tape haven't helped to temporarily fix them while I wait until my eye appointment on Wed. I finally took the tape off (because everyone I know was calling me a nerd) and have been walking around with only one earpiece and my glasses askew on my face. Good reason to try contacts again especially since they have some new ones out for astigmatism. For me, contacts feel like three or four large eyelashes trapped in my eyes and after a couple of hours I'm clawing at eyeballs to rip them out. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that maybe they've changed over the last couple of years since I tried them last.

Sorry, I wandered away from fiber again. I have been knitting a bit though not much last week since we were so busy with end of the year school stuff. One more quick aside, I announced to the school that the strawberry festival that I chaired in May raised $10,000 more this year than last - $70K! Okay, bac to knitting. Since I was in need of a quick "real" knitting fix (keep in mind that I've been doing a lot of felting and many people think that's not "real" knitting), I tried my hand at the IK Summer 05 modular heart sachet pattern using some leftover Koigu. I thought that this would be a quick knit but alas, it wasn't. I love, love, love modular knitting but this little pattern required more chart reading than I was in the mood for. Once I memorized the chart, it flew off the needles but I hadn't planned on a knit that required me to concentrate. Here's a shot of the still damp heart.
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Overall, it was a lot of fun to knit and I'll make many of these for holiday gifts. I plan to stuff this one with some lavender and use it to ward off the moths in my knitting room.

And as promised, here are a couple of shots of the pink cheeky monkey with a RAOK from King Thing.

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He did some major shopping at Bombay on Sunday and couldn't resist getting me this cuddly teddy. He hasn't bought me a stuffed animal in nearly 8 years(mostly because I already have WAY too many). Not only was I flattered but a portion of the proceeds from this bear go to St. Jude's Childrens Hospital, a charity that helped a little girl named Suzanne from my hometown parish. Suzanne wasn't successful in her fight against cancer but her spirit lives on through many St. Judes projects in South Hampton Roads. My little bear is named Gilmore in memory of another little St. Judes patient. Major brownie points for the staff bearers this week!

I hope to finish the micro cheekies and show you photos later this week. They're blocking right now and waiting for faces. BTW, "Pinkie" is approximately 6 inches from head to toe. The micros are about 2 inches. It's definitely monkey madness around here. I'll catch ya later this week with the return of the divine Ms. Z and the goodies she came back from MD Sheep and Wool with.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Fell off the planet

Yes, I fell off the planet last week. In a nutshell, I wasn't completely over the flu, got really sick again Wednesday - Friday and finally became my old self again on Saturday. By then, a mountain of housework was waiting for me and I played catch up. The good news is that the Things were gone camping for 20 hours and thirty minutes (but who's counting) on Saturday-Sunday, so I had some me time. What did I do? I washed and washed and washed two fleeces (light mesa Navajo Churro and blue faced/Border Leicester cross), felted some of the monkeys I'd knit earlier in the week, started on a prototype micro monkey (so tiny, so cute) and listened to chick music. I also went to a private drive in movie nite with some friends (they set up a movie screen from their garage doors - 18'x 8', hooked up surround sound in their yard and projected Mr. Depp and Mr. Bloom on the big screen - yum!) and watched Pirates of the Carribean, ate tropical theme foods and sipped many well mixed Cosmos.

Sorry this post is on the fly but I won't have much time to post over the next couple of days (out of town and school getting out - yikes) and the power has already been out once tonight due to some hellacious thunder and lightning storms. A little foreplay until I can post some pics:

* The winner of the photo contest was the Zira and Yarn Harlot Picture. However, I'm so partial to Minx's picture with Zira too that I'm going to go ahead and print both of them :) They have to be approved by Stamps.com and I also have to get permission from Yarn Harlot and Minx but if it all goes through, I'll send some post card RAOKs out with the Zira stamps. Harlot, Heaz(who took the picture) and Minx will receive some of their own Zira stamps to do with as they wish and their own commemorative Cheeky Little Monkey. Thanks to everyone who voted!

* I finished a couple of cheeky minis in pink and a sort of creme brulee color over the weekend - they are too damn cute

* Loads of flerfy fleeces are drying all over my house just waiting to be carded and spun

* Happy one year blogiversary to me! Thanks for sharing in my wacky life and making it more fun every day.

Gotta run. I'll catch up with ya later in the week. Stay cool. As King Thing would say "its hot as balls" in SW VA.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

No winner yet...

Eek, I went to check who was the winner of the Zira stamp contest and there was a tie. Since I didn't want to decide who would win, I'm going to leave the polls open until midnight tonight in hopes that someone else will make the decision for me.

In case you haven't noticed, I rarely if ever respond to memes. Maybe that's why people don't comment. I guess I'm not always quick to do what's trendy if my heart isn't in it. However, this most recent meme that I found through Jennifer's comment on my blog yesterday (BTW, I think that the guinea girls are more like "sipping girlie drinks under the umbrellas kinda piggies") looked so fun that I HAD to jump in. Plus I'm trying to distract you from the fact that there's no new knitting content to be seen today. I must admit that as I searched on google, some of the images were racy or disturbing. Be forwarned when you start googling for yourself. Here goes:

The place I grew up:

Norfolk, Virginia


Chesapeake, Virginia (okay, so Alonzo Mourning ISN'T Chesapeake but we went to the same high school in Chesapeake, I had a locker next to him and he hit on me once)

The place I live now:

Salem, VA

My name:

Tanya - pronounced Northern Style not Southern Style

My grandmother's names:

Hazel - I choose Witch Hazel because my mom calls the two of us witches after we did some wicked cool stuff with a ouija board once.



My favorite food:

Buttercream Icing - I love me some buttercream icing. However, I haven't had any in AGES :(


Bacon (look up bacon images at google and check out the third one. Very interesting indeed.)

My favorite drinks:




My favorite songs:

Hold Back the Rain - Duran Duran


Dreaming Tree - Dave Matthews Band


Killing Me Softly - The Fugees

Funeral song:

Let it be - The Beatles

Favorite smells:

fresh ground coffee before its brewed


Unsmoked cherry tobacco - reminds me of my grampa

Most hated smell:

Chronic halitosis aka bad breath


Skunks in the summer

Favorite shoes:

Barefoot - I know that it's against the laws of nature but I hate wearing shoes

What I wanna be when I grow up:

Oprah - not for the fame, not for the money, not for the body transformation though heaven knows that would be FABO but for the ability to make a positive change in the world.

I'm not going to tag anyone (creates too much pressure in my opinion) but if you post about this meme, slip me a comment as I'd love to see your photos.