Little Monday

Gaylen came up with this idea, and it is surely a little Monday today.   Sissy was still stressed last night, so we were up and down and sleep was a precious commodity.  Don’t look for any news about Gretchen though; she won’t be ready until somewhere between five and eight tonight.

So, more on my blues busting cocoa swap package…  The rich, minty cocoa is hiding on the right in the back, under the little sheepy.  (More on that later.)  In the nice, big mug next to it are more rosewood needles, and Gretchen has learned her lesson and leaves my needles alone now, so these will be safe!  There are even his ‘n hers treats, so the next cold night, we’ll snuggle up and I’ll stir my mint chocolate sticks in my cocoa while the Knight munches on some buttery pastries.

Now, for the ooooh factors!

One of the requirements for the swap was a blues busting buddy.  Darcy knitted this cute, soft sheepy for me.  He’s on a keychain, so he can travel and make himself useful.  I actually have a plan for him already, so he’ll be pressed into service very soon, maybe even tonight!



Then, there’s the Tudora neckwarmer.   You can find more information about both projects HERE, on Darcy’s project page on Ravelry.  It’s very soft and very warm, which means I won’t be wearing it this week with our big heatwave!

Last, but not least is the yarn, Malabrigo SilkyMerino.  Yum!  I’m not sure yet what I’ll knit with it, but I’m looking forward to giving it a knit.

Thanks Darcy, for spoiling us all so nicely!

I’ve received a couple of awards lately too, and PLEASE don’t misinterpret my silence as disinterest.  I heartily appreciate them, but my head is in a fog, and as MJ put it, my heart is torn in two, with each of the fur-girls!

Now, I’m going to go clean up the lunch MJ made us, and resist the urge to call and check on Gretchen.

Fur-Girls Update

Thanks for all the good wishes for me.  I’m in good shape now.  It was just a little rude, but almost routine procedure for me, but boy is Gretchie in for a shock in the morning!  I heard it said that she’s getting spayed tomorrow. 

Thanks, Sissy.  I’ll fill in the details now.  Sissy had another anal gland issue.  They were expressed, she felt better instantly, but long-term care had to be discussed.  Clearly, just feeding her Wellness CORE isn’t working.  So, she’ll get a teaspoon of Benefiber mixed in her canned food daily, and I’m supposed to get her to eat canned pumpkin.  Riiiight.  We tried that before, way back with the first gland issue.  She won’t eat plain, canned pumpkin.  So, I’m to make her pumpkin puree, with a slosh of milk…

And yes, Gretchen’s spay surgery has been moved up nine days, partially so she can be healed and ready for her first trip to the beach, but most importantly, because I’m seeing signs that her horomones are raging.  We really have the best vets, techs, and office staff willing to go the extra mile!

What Sissy doesn’t know is that all the water will be picked up when Dadaw goes to bed, and she won’t get fed until Gretchen and I head out in the morning.  Then, she’ll have a quiet day alone, and then I’ll have my hands full when Gretchen and I come home.  Sissy was groggy as all get-out after her surgery, but I’m sure she’s going to be worried about Gretchen and want to check on her constantly.

I still need to show you much more knitterly goodness.  My cocoa swap package arrived today, and was a great pick-me-up after an afternoon at the vet, complete with two dogs getting car sick on the way home. 

There’s a quick group photo, and I’ll share details later.  Thank you, Darcy, for an awesome package and great timing.

Now, to convince the fur-girls to wind down for the night…

Oh Bother!

I’m feeling Eeyore-ish today.  It’s grey outside, my inlaws are crabby (and I would be too if my hot water heater had been on the fritz for ten days, with one repair in there that obviously didn’t take), and it’s just not a happy day.  I have an FO, but secret knitting abounds, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

How about cocoa topic #3?

Marshmallows/Whipped Cream – The big debate.

How do you prefer you top your cocoa?  If you like marshmallows, do they need to be the big ones, little ones, homemade, gourmet, flavored?  If it’s whipped cream, is it fresh, the kind in the can, flavored?  Or are you a fluff gal?  Or… do you like your cocoa naked?  Tell us about how you top off your favorite cup of chocolate!

To heck with all of that!  The Knight has created his own perfect cuppa’, and he kindly made a cup for me and for Mrs. Pissy (who isn’t a pissy person at all, but that’s the easiest way to describe her).  It’s heaven!  He takes a packet of regular hot cocoa, a packet of french vanilla (yeah, I claim to hate the stuff), and dumps them into a 16 ounce cup, adding hot water.  He then drops a peppermint in, and stirs until it melts.  Once it melts, he adds liquid creamer, and that’s perfect for me. 

Now, I don’t know that I’ve ever turned down REAL whipped cream on ANYTHING…

I also have to tell you that I’ve spent the better part of the morning trying to comply with a 25 random things tag I got (twice) on Facebook.  I was up to #11 the first time, when WordPress decided to log me off for no obvious reason, and I really tried, but I couldn’t get past #5 when I tried again – twice.

Instead,  here are a few random photos, for your entertainment.

25 Random Things

25 Random Things

Interview & Cocoa

Edit – I was suppose to wait for Ruth to give me five questions, so if YOU want to be interviewed, let me know.  DON’T use the questions below or the ones Ruth sends me!

Ruth had this on her blog, and I thought it was neat!

1) What is your favorite guilty pleasure?

Yarn.  Buying yarn makes me happy, as silly as that sounds.  And at this point, it does make me feel a bit guilty, because I have a ridiculous stash.

2) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Here.  The inlaws will be retired by then, and probably the uncle too.  Maybe I’ll have published a novel by then.  Maybe we’ll be able to travel more, get to the beach more…

3) If you found a $10 bill in your purse, what would you do with it?

Extra?  Not part of my weekly cash for lunch and such?  It would go in my mad money.  I squirrel it away for rainy days, surprise gifts for the Knight, etc.  (Gee, have I lost my ability to dream?  The last two questions sure got predictable, bland answers…)

4) What is one thing you wanted to be sure your boys knew before they left(leave) your home?

The Page has left our home (for his mother’s), but we worked hard to instill good manners, a love for reading, a sense of self-worth, and a good work ethic. 

512izjgbeil_small5) If you could meet one person – who’s alive today – who would it be and why?

There are several, but at the top of the list is Alison.  I missed my chance at Stitches East, and I’d promised to show her Fredfoot in person.

Now, if you decide to interview yourself, please let me know ‘cuz I’d love to read it.

Next, we have the weekly topic for the Cocoa Swap.

Please share how you would make your Hot Cocoa.

Again, a boring answer.  I either boil some water or heat some milk, and then mix in cocoa (depending on the directions and the time I have to spend making said cup).  If I’m so inclined, I’ll add some crushed peppermint to the top, and away I go.  The Knight is a bit more original; he likes to add about twice as much cocoa powder/mix as recommended, and then adds real cream and/or mini marshmallows on top.  If I’m garnishing his cup, I’ll add a sprinkle of cocoa powder just to make it purdy.

In other news, I’ve settled on a “buddy” for my swap pal, started the Action vest, threw the funeral socks back in the car, got a new dishwasher, and remembered I have a cocktail party tomorrow night.  How’s your week starting off?

steelerbannerpartyanimalOh – and go Steelers!  My Daddy was born in Steel Town, so I’ve always been rather partial to the Steelers.  Sissy is pulling for them because of Mr. Bettis.  Gretchen is pulling for them because she’s excited about whatever Sissy and I are excited about.  The Knight couldn’t care less, but we love him anyway.

Happy Cocoa!

photo courtesy of Anita at KDO

Happy Birthday, Michelle!  Wishing you lots of Twilight, joy and happiness in the upcoming year…  I was lucky enough to meet up with you twice last year, and I do hope we get to spend time together again in 2009.

If you don’t know Michelle, she’s BUSY woman.  Currently, she’s co-hosting the cocoa swap, so this is a good time to finally post the scavenger hunt.  (I only gave one name per questions, but there are questions with more than one correct answer.  I see other participants listed ALL the correct answers, but I did try not to use the same name more than once, without success.)

1.  Who wants to try plant fibers?  Emily
2.  Who wants to learn to crochet? The Birthday Girl!
3.  Who collects yarn? Mary Lynn
4.  Who loves yellow? Alicia
5.  Who doesn’t like fruit flavors?  Jenn
6.  Who loves Malabrigo (who doesn’t??? hahaha) ?  Ruth
7.  Who has one mitt to go to finish her Endpaper Mitts? Elizabeth
8.  Who’s favorite animal is a dog?  Becca
9.  Who likes to paint? Kathy
10. Who has too many stitch markers? Ariel
11. Who likes Bailey’s in their cocoa?  Sarah
12. Who likes Starbucks salted caramel cocoa?  Darcy
13. Who can’t stand vanilla flavored cocoa?  Me!
14. Who’s favorite animal is a hedgehog? Ariel
15. Who might stab themselves over Neon Yarn? Laurie
16. Who’s oldest UFO is at least 15 years old? Kate
17. Who likes crystallized ginger?  Chelle
18. Who likes whipped cream in their cocoa? Monica
19. Who likes marshmallow fluff in their cocoa?  Becca
20. Who needs stitch holders?  Holly

More Cocoa, Please?

How was your weekend?  I do owe you TWO FO reports now, but you’ll just have to wait for me to download photos.  I warned you this new camera was going to be tricky…

We had a great weekend, but I’ll share more of that later.  Right now, I need to get my Cocoa Swap 2 questionnaire up, while I’m thinking about it.


The Yarn…

1. Do you knit, crochet, or do both?

Both, but knitting is my favorite, by far. 

2. What is your favorite one-skein project?  What item do you find you knit the most of?

Well, in 2007, it was socks.  In 2008, it was lace.  I also enjoy hats, and have visions of mitts soon. 

3. Do you like using a particular type of needle or hook? (wood, metal, straight, circular) Is there something you’ve been wanting to try, or a particular size you always seem to be short on?

I let the project tell me what needles to use.  I use Magic Loop two at a time for socks (Hiya Hiya metal tips, 40″ length, any size but #1, which I have).  I like Bryspun Rosewood straights for small lace projects, and only have size US#3s in perfect condition.  (Thanks, Gretchen!)  I tend to use my Knitpick Harmony Options for shawls, but I don’t need any of those.  I also like Palmwood straights, and could use straights in either wood in anything smaller than a #9.

4. What’s on your needles\hook right now? What’s your oldest UFO (unfinished object)?

Well… there’s a ribbon lace scarf I intend to finish up this month that was started last summer, and there’s a pair of socks riding around in my car that I want to finish, but I also plan to cast on for a vest tonight.  You’re catching me at a good time; I usually have about six things going!

5. What are your favorite types of yarns? Are you allergic to any yarns, or just hate working with something? Anything type/brand of yarn  you’ve been dying to try?

No cotton, please?  I don’t enjoy knitting with it so much, and I have a ton of it, at least until I inventory my stash and part with the yarns that don’t sing to me.

Favorites?  Wee, skinny yarns that feel soft as they slide through my fingers.  I’m crazy for Creatively Dyed’s Luxury, and have no more in my stash (but I’ll see Dianne in a couple of weeks!), but I also love alpaca and sproingy merinos.

Oh gosh, so many yarns, so little time, money and stash storage.  Brands I’ve heard of and/or fondled, but don’t own include Malabrigo Silky, Miss Babs, Sunshine Yarns, Misti Alpaca, and whatever yummy stuff you love that I haven’t tried.

7. What are your favorite colors? Brights? Pastels? More muted colors? Variegated? Are there that make you want to stab yourself in the eye with your needles?

This is tricky.  I used to have pat answers for this question, but I’ve since learned that I really don’t hate any color if it’s blended with others that I love.  School bus yellow, in fact most yellows, aren’t my favorites because I can’t wear yellow well. 

I have a ton of variegated yarns, because they catch my eye, but gee it’s hard to find patterns for them.  I love the little SHORT bursts of color Dianne does (see Creatively Dyed above), but otherwise, I think I’d like more semi-solids. 

8. What is your favorite knit accessory, your fancy needles? stitch markers? your yarn cutter?  What do you have TOO many of?  What do you wish you had?

Yes, I suppose my needles are my favorites, although my talented friends have blessed me with a host of the cutest stitch markers in the world.  I also have maybe a dozen tape measures (the dogs especially love Anita’s, but only slime them).  I have one yarn cutter I adore, and several different row counters.  I’m afraid there’s not an accessory out there that I need.

The Chocolate

1. Do you prefer boxed/packets, or something homemade?

For the chocolate, I’m answering for two, as the Knight loves hot cocoa too.  Honestly, we are more apt to use the good ol’ packets.  I’m especially fond of dark and mint, and he’s a milk chocolate guy.  Once a year or so, I’ll warm milk and make us some premium cocoa, but that generally requires a snow day or something!

2. Marshmallows or whipped cream?

Neither for me, but the Knight loves marshmallows.

3. Do you use any ‘add ins’

The Knight?  No way.  Me?  Anything that makes it minty, except Sissy’s precious peppermint candies.  Can’t use those and expect the dog to leave my drink alone!  I’ve also been known to dump Bailey’s in my cocoa, or Kahlua…

4. Are you a year round cocoa drinker or just in the winter months?

Just the winter months.  I don’t do much with hot beverages from about April – September.  The Knight only drinks warm stuff if he’s cold.

5. Do you like flavored cocoas or are you just a ’straight chocolate’ kind of person?

See above.  I’m all about mint.  The Knight’s all about plain, but has stolen enjoyed the packets with the silly bear and a candy cane on ’em.  Warning – I can’t STAND vanilla or hazelnut flavors!

6. Do you enjoy cocoa from restaurants or shops like Starbucks? What are some of your favorites?

Weeee!  At least a couple of times monthly in the winter months, we head to Starbucks.  I almost always order a skinny Peppermint Twist or skinny Peppermint Mocha.  The Knight orders a grande single shot White Chocolate Mocha or Peppermint Mocha. 

7. You’ve just made the perfect cup of cocoa – is it in a thick mug, or a thinner cup? Where would you sit to drink it?

The thickest, biggest mug in the house, thanks much.  And I’ll take it to the sofa, where I can knit, snuggle dogs, and look out the windows (if there’s snow to see).

8. You’re enjoying that perfect cup, what treats will you enjoy with it? Are they sweet or salty? Crunchy? Soft and flaky?

Treats?  Cocoa stands alone for me.  The Knight will take something sweet, like a cherry turnover, or pound cake.

It’s all YOU!

1. Do you have other hobbies like spinning or scrapbooking?

Oh yeah.  Spinning, scrapping, stamping…

2. Do you collect anything?

Other than to support the hobbies above?  I love rooster towels for the kitchen, and anything with a basset hound or jack russell terrier, or fire department related is sure to be a hit.  I also collect Junior League Cookbooks, and while we’re running out of room,  I’m hoping for a remodel that will solve that problem.

3. What is your favorite part of Winter?

Snow.  Not that I get any.  I seem to be living in the only place in North America NOT getting snow.  We have cold temps, but they’re not lining up with the fronts and clippers, dang it all!

4. What sort of scents do you enjoy? Any difference in what you like for your house versus what you like for your body?

Body – soft florals.  House – food-related.  The Knight is a sucker for a yummy candle.  I especially enjoy citrus for the kitchen.

5. Are you allergic to anything?

Not that matters here.

6. Are you on Ravelry? What’s your ID?

Of course!  ChanKnits

7. How would you spend an ideal winter afternoon/day?

Well, if there’s snow, the dogs and I would go romp and play until we’re cold, cold, and then we’d come inside, and I’d warm some milk.  The dogs would get a sip of that before it got hot and chocolate, and then I’d share the hot cocoa with the Knight, probably while we watch a funny movie. 

8. What’s your favorite animal?

Dogs.  We do also have a poor fish who has yet to even get a photo on the blog.  Horses are another favorite, from my youth, and I’ve already mentioned the rooster in the kitchen.



Fishy Found his Home

Well, my cocoa swap package swam through the East Coast’s freezing rain to my downstream pal.  JoAnn and Scoochie were delighted with Fishy, as I’d hoped, and as many of you predicted.  I’m eager to knit up some for a mobile for the beach house, but my knitting – and crocheting – bags are already packed for four days of yarn and sand.  (Nosey, aren’t you?  Secret projects, Sissy’s crochet snuggle, not including the yarn I’m buying Friday morning for the baby blanket, due March 8th.  Thank goodness Michelle turned me onto the pinwheel blankie!) 

I hope everyone is having a nice cocoa swap.  JoAnn and I met over the summer in another swap, but it was fun to have a series of emails exchanged and to learn more about her.  I’m also enjoying my spoiler, and I hope her hubby is getting well.  I’ll be thinking of her and her cool kid tomorrow and on Sunday.  (The NASCAR fans get it Jessi.)  

I’m basically packed, but Sissy…  Mugsy and Fred just pout(ed) when I pack.  Not Sissy.  Never having experienced that a suitcase means I’m leaving for a while, Sissy just thinks it’s a big toy box.  She likes knitted dishcloths, not that I have them in my suitcase, but the girl has a clean, folded laundry fetish.  Sweet Mugsy has taken Dadaw at his word, and/or knows what the doggy duffle bag looks like, so he’s nice and calm, just watching Sissy with mild annoyance.  (I did tell y’all about the Knight teaching Mugsy “beach” in November, didn’t I?)

Since so many of you are north of me, just to make sure you hate me…  the Knight is packing shorts.  Saturday, it won’t make 50 degrees, but Friday and Sunday it will be in the 60s.  I’ll take pictures, and maybe even get sunburned for you, okay?

This just in!  While I was grabbing Fishy’s photo, the Knight began attempting to catch Sissy and take some foreign object from her mouth.  This in itself is hardly noteworthy, as it happens about a dozen times each and every day.  However, it cracked me up that the soggy mess extracted from her mouth was my luggage tag, the paper part anyway.  Maybe she gets the suitcase’s leaving you behind aura after all.  The best part though?  The Dog Whisperer as friends and relations call the Knight had to admit that “She doesn’t listen to me.”  Ha!  After twelve years of being outnumbered sometimes as much as four to one, girl power is at work.  I simply said, “Sissy?” and she launched herself over Mugsy, plowing into my left side and the Knight’s frustrated hands.  Good girl.  She’ll get a reward for that later. 

Cocoa Topic of the Week

What is your most memorable vacation? Where did you go? What made it memorable?

I would have to say my most memorable vacation would be our honeymoon.  We went to Arizona.  We flew in and out of Phoenix, but in between visited Sedona twice, and the Grand Canyon for a few days too.  We loved Sedona so much we seriously discussed moving there.  We went to the NASCAR race in Phoenix, and that was my first race. 

What made it memorable was the scenery.  Very much a four-seasons, East Coast couple, I was shocked at how much both the Knight and I loved the desert.  The red rocks were breath-taking, and we actually preferred Sedona’s brand of natural beauty over the more famous Grand Canyon.  I would be remiss if I didn’t toss out the Knight’s opinion on the matter.  “Have you seen National Lampoon’s Vacation?  Yes?  That’s about all of the Grand Canyon you need to see.”  I think had we been able to do the mule ride or a helicopter flight (I was due for back surgery but we traveled anyway!), we might have been more impressed with the Grand Canyon.

Oh, and the food!  I know Phoenix pretty well, and there’s some of the finest dining in the world there.  One of our favorites though is Pinnacle Peak.  The Knight adored the “no neckties” rule, and the steaks were as good as any.  There’s also a little hole in the wall that serves the best, authentic Mexican going, and while I could take you there, I don’t know the name.  However, in Sedona, we ate at the Red Planet three times and loved it.  Their spiked apple cider was incredible.  We also had breakfast at Enchantment, where the views are truly breath-taking and the food is worthy of the scenery.  In fact, I don’t think we had a bad meal in either “town.” 

Sigh.  We are we leaving for the next one?! 

Cocoa Topic #3

What is the most ‘random’ memory you have from your childhood? I know it’s not knitting content, but I love learning about the little quirks and interesting things about people!

Most random?  Singing on the back of the truck as we drove over the mountain one night.  We lived on one side of the mountain, and good friends of my parents lived on the other.  It was the 1970s, so riding in the bed of a pickup truck wasn’t illegal or even irresponsible.  It was a dark summer night, and my sister, my mother and I were all riding in the back, singing silly songs (John Jacob Jinglehimersmith, Ann!), and a bat buzzed my mother’s head.  My sister screamed, Daddy stopped to find out what was wrong, and I reported that a black bird had flown at Mom’s head…


First, there’s the weekly cocoa swap topic:

Now that we’re in the thick of ‘Winter’… has your knitting changed to match the season? Are you moving on from dishcloths, and tank tops to afghans, hats and mittens? Has your yarn changed from silk or cotton to wool, superwash or heavier cottons?

Sorta’, kinda’, maybe, but not really.  I did try cottons and bamboo and soy blends over the warmer months, but socks are socks and almost always on my needles.  I knit what I “need” to knit regardless of the season, although I can’t see doing a big wool sweater in August.  A cotton dishcloth is still a quick, fun project, just as wool socks are manageable in the heat of summer. 

Then, Michelle tagged me with this:

These are the rules:
List seven habits/quirks/facts about yourself.
Tag seven people to do the same.
Do not tag the person who tagged you or say that you tag “whoever wants to do it”.

Well, like Michelle, it’s hard to come up with seven unique things I haven’t already mentioned, but here goes…

1.  I don’t like different foods on my plate to touch, with rare exception.  I’d be perfectly happy to eat from a grade school cafeteria tray forever, if it keeps my lima beans away from my mac ‘n cheese.

2.  Cheese is a food group.  I blame it on  a couple of generations of dairy farmers in my blood. 

3.  I don’t like necklaces. 

4.  I don’t like to share cups/glasses/utensils even with family.

5.  I like things to match.  For instance, all of Mugsy’s leashes are red or dark green.  All of Sissy’s are purple.

6.  I don’t know how to use the voicemail at home.

7.  I would rather speak to a crowd than sit in a crowd and listen. 

I’m not going to tag anyone, but if you want to play along, have at it!