Monday, March 26, 2012

The Tally

It's not a secret that Paul and I love, Love, LOVE ice cream.  Especially soft ice cream, which is seasonal.  Often in the summer, dinner will revolve around whether or not we are going for ice cream.  And sometimes dinner IS ice cream.  So, I've decided to keep a tally of the ice cream that Paul and I get this season!  Don't ask me why -- chances are you will be shocked by the number of times we go out for ice cream (for example in this past week it has been 3).  Then again, I'm trying to eat a little healthier these days, so maybe I'll be able to exercise some restraint once the novelty of ice cream stands being open wears off....  When I figure out how, I'll put a little counter somewhere on the blog page.  Ok, full disclosure -- this is more for me than for you.  I was curious how much ice cream we ate and a blog counter seemed a good way of keeping track.  You probably don't give a hoot.  Hopefully there is something else in this blog post that interests you...

Yesterday, we ventured down to Chappaqua, NY to the Northeast GS/GN Buick club spring meeting.  Paul usually goes to this by himself, or with Rob and Raymond, but for some reason this year he invited me to come along.  I was one of three women there (all of us guests of club members, not members ourselves), among about 60 car-loving-racing-loving men.  Lots of bench racing going on....
I chatted a little, but mostly daydreamed listened intently.  I can usually keep up with the conversation, but then there's a point where I get a little overloaded.  So, what else did I do?
Sold tickets for the 50/50 and raffle prizes.  Gave me a chance to walk around a little.  There was a "business" meeting first (upcoming drag racing events to participate in, nominations for new officers etc) and then we all ate an 80 foot long sub.   Paul and I didn't win any of the raffle prizes (mostly car wash things, which I, of course, would put to good use.....).

On the way home was:
#3 of the week and the season.  The Red Rooster Drive-In in Brewster, NY.  Yum.  Isn't that such a classic looking drive-in??????

In Knitting News:
On the drive to the meeting I worked on the Summer Flies shawl:
I can't spread it out too well yet, since there are so many stitches on my needles, but I'm almost done and will show it to you next post.  So, here's the thing.  I wasn't supposed to start anything new without working on/finishing-if-possible a work-in-progress right?  Ha.  Apparently I'm having trouble with that.  In my defense, this was a potential summer time class project so I wanted to knit it asap to determine if it would be a good class. And if so, it should also be finished soon so it could go up as a sample in the shop.  Pretty good defense, I think.  Jury is still out about the class. I'm waiting to finish it before I decide.

I've also been working on my Cranberry Capelet, also a potential class, but in the fall:
The collar and beginning of the decreases.  Getting familiar with the pattern took some doing but now I'm on a roll.  Looks weird right now.  That's a cable in the middle, which will be more obvious when I do the next one.

Finished my Swirl Hat for the charity knitting collection at The Spinning Room yarn shop:
Great pattern - very easy to remember.  Knitted up fairly quickly, but it's fingering weight on a size 3, so at times it didn't seem so quick.  But, really, it was.  Wonderful, lightweight hat for spring summer, or even as an indoor accessory in the winter.

In Gardening News:
The crazy weather continues, as now it is back to 40 degrees, and it's expected to get to 16 degrees tonight.  I'm worried about our daffodils:
...which actually will be started to die off soon anyway.  But they are in full bloom now!
And our pretty Bleeding Heart that did horribly last year and we put it in a new spot for this year and already it looks a gazillion times better than last year....
....I think we had about three leaves on it last year (really).  I don't want it to die before the pretty pretty pretty flowers come out.

And our rhododendron:
...Just about to bloom.  This one also seems to be doing better than last year, with tons of buds.  We'll do the best we can to cover everything up.  But SIXTEEN degrees????  I hope they make it.

In Book News:
I'm in the middle of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt: A Novel, by Beth Hoffman and will give a review of it soon.  I have also met yet another person who told me that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo really does get much better so I'm thinking about picking it up again.
But, in real book news, Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, Book 3), has been purchased for the Nook!Paul has started it, so i have to wait for him to finish it before I can read it. I hope he hurries up.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ah, Spring

Gorgeous, gorgeous weather, warm temps, light breezes and crocuses blooming:
But, there is a downside to spring for someone in our household....

Mandy is mad at us....
She desperately needed a bath and yesterday was so nice and warm, so she got one.  We even filled up buckets with WARM water, instead of using the hose (except to rinse her belly).  Now, I think that's pretty considerate of us.   I was soaked, my shoes were soaked, Paul was soaked, so it wasn't all fun and games for us either. But no, still getting the cold shoulder.
But now she is nice and soft and fluffy and smells nice.  I'm sure she'll forgive us soon.

Since it was such a beautiful weekend, Paul and I took the opportunity to take a drive.  Just around.  Nowhere special, as long as we ended up at a Target to run an errand.  We also ended up here:
Giffy's Bar-B-Q in Clifton Park.  Mmmmmmmm...... bar-b-q.

And to Guptill's Coney Express for our first ice cream of the season:

Sorry, too excited to remember to take a picture of the actual ice cream.  It was yummy.

In Gardening News....
Not much news, since it's still too early to do much, but I just ordered these from Amazon:

I'm very excited to have a garden this year!

In Knitting News....
I've been crazy busy this week teaching knitting classes.  Thursday was the first Daybreak session, Friday was the first Car Seat Blanket Session, Saturday was the first 2-Socks-on-1-Needle session and the first Baby Kimono session, and Sunday was the first Sycamore Vest session.  Whew.  I was a little wiped out Sunday afternoon (at which time we decided to tackle the aforementioned bath....).

So for knitting I've been sticking to the Skew socks:
A little less complicated than getting into the Cranberry Capelet which I hope to work on this week.  Yes, they are crooked.  They are supposed to be, hence the name "Skew".

I also started the Swirl Hat which The Spinning Room is doing for a charity knit-a-long:.
Yes, that's my new favorite way to take a picture of my yarn...
These hats will be donated to a local hospital's child and adult cancer centers.  The pattern is nice and easy so it's nice to have that to knit while I watch tv.

In Book News:
I'm reading First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, Book 1) by Darynda Jones  (kindle version:First Grave on the Right) on a sort-of recommendation from a knitting friend.  She actually recommended the next book, Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson, Book 2) (kindle version: Second Grave on the Left )  but I didn't remember the name correctly when I went to get it.  I didn't mind, though, because sometimes I get a little finicky about reading a book series and I would have wanted to start from the beginning anyway.  At any rate, so far I'm liking it and I will give you more details when I'm done (soon).

Also book related, Paul went on a business trip and I convinced him to take my Nook with him so he could read The Hunger Games (kindle version: The Hunger Games).  It actually did take some convincing because Paul is not really a gadget guy.  First, he sort of wrinkled his nose because I think he was resisting the idea of using a gadget since he thinks there are too many in the world (and he thinks I have all of them, which I don't.  I have a couple.  There are way more people who have way more gadgets than me.), and he didn't want anyone to think he was one of those gadgety people.  Then he was all, "I don't know how it works."  And I was all, "I'll SHOW you."  At that point he was really out of arguments.  So I showed him and he read on the plane.   He couldn't put it down either!!!!  Then, he started reading the second one and is in the middle of that.  We both can't wait to see the movie.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bench Racing (and a whole lot more)

Last weekend, Paul and I went to an auction at a car repair business in Cooperstown.  He was looking for some ..... car repair stuff.  We had to stand, since it was a full house, for two hours as they went through the list of 400 items.  FOUR. HUNDRED.  Paul was watching for several items on the list but was most interested in the car lifts listed as number 200-something.

Here we are at #67:
You can imagine this was incredibly boring riveting, so the only natural thing to do was:
I worked on my much-neglected, but very simple (garter stitch) fireplace rug.  I made this with two strands of Debbie Bliss Eco Cotton (aran weight) with a size 9 needle, to make a nice, dense fabric.  It now sits in front of the fireplace to catch the wood bits and stray embers.
(with permanent fixture, Phoebe)
It's pretty bland and boring, but functional.

But, while we were in Cooperstown (with nothing in tow from the auction), we had to stop at Sal's for pizza and the lake for a pretty view:
And on the way home we saw this along Route 20:
It's always so odd to see an Amish buggy on the road.  I can only imagine how they feel.

So, as a result of standing up for two hours with a knitting bag on my shoulder, and knitting for two hours (a physical therapist's nightmare scenario), I not surprisingly ended up with some sciatic pain.  Love that. (not)  In addition, I caught Paul's icky cold!  Let me tell you, it was a fun week.  Hence, the reason for the delay in blog posts.

I didn't knit much all week until yesterday (which I'll tell you about later...), but I did read some books!

The Jaguar (Charlie Hood) by T. Jefferson Parker (click there for the book or here: The Jaguar for the kindle version):  This was a recommendation by my mom and is the latest in a series with the main character Charlie Hood.  This is a book that starts out with a kidnapping -- a ransom request follows and the search for how to secure the release of the kidnapped woman.  She is being held in Mexico and the story revolves around drug cartels and her husband's involvement with them (whom she did not know has this secret other life).  Charlie Hood is a friend of the couple and is involved in helping with her release within a certain time frame, faced with the very real threat that if they don't get there, she will be skinned alive.  Overall, I was definitely drawn into the story line and I enjoyed the book, reading it fairly quickly.  However, the topic of drug cartels and military/political-type issues is not my usual interest, so I would look forward to the parts of the story that involved the kidnapped woman and her experiences (as opposed to the parts of the story that involved her husband and friend getting to her in armored cars, killing the enemy along the way).

Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games), by Suzanne Collins, (click there for the book or here: Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) for the Kindle version) was the next book I read.  Oh. My.  Gosh.  AGAIN, couldn't put it down for the life of me.  Lots of excitement and the end (AGAIN!) leaves you with a cliff hanger that makes it nearly impossible to wait for the next book.  I am waiting, though, (and I've already read another book), because I like to let books in a series sit with me a little bit before I move on to the next one so I can think about them.  And enjoy the feeling of having read a really great book.  I love that.  Also, I don't want to risk feeling on overload by the story line, or worse maybe getting bored.  But, I must say with this one, it's more that I don't want them to be over so I'm dragging it out a little bit.

Heft: A Novel, by Liz Moore (click there for the book or here: Heft: A Novel for the Kindle version) was the last book I read.  This was a recommendation of Jennifer Weiner, an author whom I follow on Twitter.  I like her books (Good in Bed, In Her Shoes and more) and, usually, her book recommendations (not to mention, I like supporting someone that came from my hometown and whom I graduated high school with !).  She described this book as She's Come Undone (another great book by Wally Lamb) meets Anne Tyler.  I haven't read Anne Tyler but pass along the description for those of you who may have.    This was a really great book, centering around the lives of two people (mostly), a man and a teenage boy, and how their lives eventually intersect.  Definitely not a light-hearted book, and there are lots of heavy emotional parts, but really a nice story of overcoming hardships in life.  Another one I couldn't put down.

Yesterday, I went to the yarn shop for some knitting time with knitting friends.  I was telling Paul what a nice time I had, chatting with everyone not only about knitting, but books and food and that I was also telling them about drag racing things since a couple people had asked when he was starting (April, by the way).
Paul: "You were BENCH RACING???"
Me:  "Ummmmm. I don't know."

Apparently, if you talk about racing when you are not racing or are not at the race track, it is called bench racing.  Since I was talking about racing times and speeds and what you need for fast racing (a parachute), this qualified as bench racing.  Who knew?

What am I knitting you ask?
I finally got back to work on that project I was stringing you along about:

This is the Cranberry Capelet, which clearly in my case is not cranberry in color.  Mine is a pretty blue/gray.  After 8 inches of knit one, purl one ribbing (ugh), for the turtleneck portion, I'm ready for some more interesting knitting with the increases for the shoulders and cableing.  I think it's a very cute pattern and can't wait to see how it turns out.

Also, I started a project that I've been dying to do for some time, the Skew socks (that link is to, the free Ravelry download is only for non-english instructions):

This is a toe-up sock pattern with unusual shaping, for which you have to use one long circular needle or two shorter circular needles.  Because of the shaping techniques you cannot use double points, and at one point you have up to 102 stitches on your needle.  I'm using one long needle and the magic loop method.  As you can see, I'm only a few rows in, so stay tuned.  The pattern is 7 pages long, so it might be a while.  And I'm breaking my recently adopted policy of knitting 2 socks at the same time, since I have no idea how this pattern will go. Maybe as I get into it, I'll buy another needle and start the second one.  Don't you love those colors, by the way????? (Colinette Jitterbug in "Fruit Coulis")

Whew!  Hopefully you are still with me after this marathon blog post.  It's a beautiful day today (Sunday) and we are going for a drive.  More beautiful weather is in store for the upcoming week and I'm so hopeful for Spring....

Friday, March 2, 2012

So annoying. (but SO pretty.)

The biggest snow of the winter came Wednesday/Thursday.  Twelve inches.  TWELVE!!! So annoying.  I'm really just ready for Spring at this point.  But, you can't argue with its beauty:
Love that.

Don't love this so much:
That's ME by the way! Plowing the driveway.  Paul had an awful cold this week, along with an awful long week at work.  So, I had to offered to do the plowing (with him supervising).
It is REALLY hard to drive that thing.  Shifting and turning the steering wheel requires series muscle, in addition to working the lever to raise, lower and turn the plow.  But once you get the hang of it, it's kind of fun  easier to drive sort-of-but-not-really-fast and push the snow around. Don't tell Paul.  He might think I'll want to do the plowing next time....(I don't).

And to add insult to injury, just saying, "Ha, ha, not spring yet, but here is something to tempt you", these arrived in the mail Thursday:
My heirloom seeds from Beekman 1802!  Yes, you can look forward to "Gardening News" in the blog this spring.  I haven't had a garden for over 7 years (since before I met Paul!), so we'll see how green my thumb is.  Right now I'm obsessing over where to put it in the yard. And how to keep the bunnies out.  And the deer. And the groundhog.

Knitting News:
I finished my Dipped Infinity Scarf!
Taking a bath
 I got a little nervous when I soaked it -- see the blue-ish water on the right side of the bowl?  I though it might make the lighter blues darker, but it turned out fine.  See?:

LOVE. IT.  The color changes are so pretty and I love the denim-y look.  I think I'm going to wear it today since it is still cold and icky out.

And here is what I'm starting next:
More later!  Ha.  Just trying to string you along.  (Ha! get it? "string"????)