Monday, January 31, 2011

Anticipation, Procrastination, and Procreation

My fingers and toes are just a-twitchin' with excitement at the news that the Rockin' Sock Club has shipped, and is on its way to me as we speak.
Oh, the anticipation.....

My stomach is doing feats of acrobatics in disgust at the thought of Doing Taxes, which for us is a four day marathon of paperwork, resulting in the writing of a check that my hand refuses to write. I have to make The Big Guy do it.
Oh, the procrastination....

And I do believe I have entered a whole new level of obsession with knitting. Finding my time swallowed up by countless phone calls and utter nonsense lately, I have rebelled by escaping to the only room in the house I am guaranteed some privacy.
The Bathroom.

As much as I enjoy the short-lived solitude, it's boring in there.
I have small-ish kids. There are no candles or magazines or books. Nothing that could fall in, and wreak havoc on the indoor plumbing that I cherish and cannot live without.

So I snuck in some knitting.
Small knitting:  socks-in-progress.
 Hygienically sealed in a ziploc baggie, and stashed safely in the closet.

Best idea I've ever had.

I managed to eek out this pair of worsted weight  knee socks for Thing Two in two days.

There ARE two of them, just not on the blockers. That puppy is stretched to its max, disfigured for the purpose of a photo op.

Oh, the procreation...
What?? Trust me, the only thing being created in this house is food or yarn related.
That ship sailed, then sank.


I don't think I've ever knit ANYTHING in two days, which is testament to the amount of time I spend in the bathroom....
Just kidding. The majority of the knitting took place hanging out in my truck, supervising the kids ice skating on the pond. While watching Netflix and surfing the web.
I don't 'rough it' anywhere.


Speaking of web surfing: have you seen this?
photo from The Loopy Ewe website. Obviously, right?

Sheri, at The Loopy Ewe,  now has Riveting, a cotton yarn made from recycled blue jeans.

I'm pretty sure I've died and gone to heaven. I'll know for sure when it arrives.



Thursday, January 27, 2011

A 'Personal Best'

May I introduce: The Heavily Cabled Socks.







I love them.  I knit them in 10 days.(That's a record for me!)
 I'm wearing them right now.
I may not take them off.
I will absolutely do them again.
And, as this was a cable challenge, I'm happy to report that I have a multitude of cable needles that will be repurposed...as soon as I can think of a repurpose for them.
Because I can totally Cable Without A Needle now.


Sorry, been experiencing random Valley Girl flashbacks lately.

I've already got another pair on the needles, because *sniff*, Thing Two asked for a pair of wool socks for skating.
Of course, I immediately obliged.

But I'm otherwise Between Projects. I spent a good 3 hours, adrift in a sea of patterns before finally settling on Charlize, a lace shawl that seems a quick knit.
I need a 'quickie'; I have two baby sweaters up next, and a little girl's dress after that, but, alas, none of the yarn is on the island. Enter...sock yarn stash.

Armed with shawlette pattern, I approached the hiding place yarn cabinet.
Unfortunately, I forgot The Big Guy was underfoot.
Let's just say... that might have been the first time ever that I was not unhappy with the size of my arse, which blocked the interior of that cabinet. Whew.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cleaning For A Reason

I have a confession to make.
     I hate housework.

If you know me, you know I clean obsessively. If you know me well, you know that I do it not because I love to clean, but because I love it to be clean.
Huge difference.

We've probably all been in a situation where we just couldn't get to the cleaning.
Illness, sick kids, crises at work, extended family or friends needing time or attention...there comes a time when our own housework gets set aside.

Remember this, 20 year old who routinely lifts 300 pound post CABG patients without help 5 nights a week: Someday you will be 40, with far more responsibilities (kids, house, volunteer work, job) and no back-up. THAT'S when your back goes out from that lifting. Not when you're 20. Enjoy.


And that right there, is exactly why this is THE GREATEST THING EVER.

Free professional house cleaning services for woman undergoing treatment for cancer.
Yes, yes, and YES!


from the home page of www.cleaningforareason.org

Some days I'm overwhelmed from my little, insignificant job at the Post Office that seems to commandeer so much of my time (why IS it so contentious, that little post office??), and the school board, and the kids and the Bakery...
...and really? Now I've got to go home and look at dust??

And then I think....imagine coming home from chemo....to dust, and dirty floors, and pissy bathrooms (If you've got boys, you've got pissy bathrooms. Fact of life.).

 I can't think of a nicer thing to do for somebody.

And yes, friends and family can, and do, offer to clean. It's not the same. Most women will never ask. Most will say NO to help. Most don't want people they know poking around their pissy toilets. 

If you have People Who Help Maintain Your Home, please pass this on! 


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sloppy Joe's!

We sent The Big Guy ashore Thursday, so essentially, I had the weekend off.
Three days in which to have full control of the remote and the hassock he uses as a footrest and I use as a table for knitting paraphernalia. Awesome!

Friday and Saturday nights, The Things and I watched Hogfather.
Great movie!

We all agreed that the Bad Guy was very creepy, even more so in the second part.

In fact, I may have scared the crap out of myself after The Things went to bed Saturday night,  imagining Mr. Teatime in every dark corner of the house.
I had no choice but to eschew the horror movies I had lined up, and opt instead for a marathon of old Saturday Night Live shows, including the Best of Chris Farley.

I woke both kids up screaming laughing at this.

Enjoy!




Sloppy Joes....Slop, Sloppy Joes!!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

More Fun With Forts

And now, a Duplex.


Apparently I will have to wait until after bedtime to fold what's left of the laundry!

Unplugged

My kids have made a fort out of couch cushions and throw pillows that is approximately 2 feet square and have climbed into it.

There's only room for them to sit, shoulder to shoulder, and take shallow breaths.

They've been in there for 5 minutes, telling each other 'ghost stories'.

It's awesome. And quiet.

There are TWO Things in there!
Shhhh. If we don't distract them, they may not come out for hours.
 Think of all that lovely peace and quiet!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Old Dogs and New Tricks

It's snowing.


Like, a lot of snowing.

Which suits me juuuuuust fiiiiiine, because I'm sacked out on the couch doing my best Peggy Bundy impersonation, snitching leftover chocolate covered cherries and knitting.

You guys...my socks. The Heavily Cabled socks. I am in love.

It took a whole day in which I invented two completely brand new cuss-words to 'get' the whole Cabling Without A Needle thing down.
There was pain.
There was frogging.
There was ripping back so intense, that I went all the way back to the cast on. 
Yep, that bad.
Then, there was a practice session.
In which I made this:

Because only a true moron attempts to cable without a needle on a brand new, fairly intricate pattern on size 0 needles with fingering weight yarn.
And I am that moron.

Enter size 9's and the fattest chunky weight in the stash. Viola!

Turns out, the biggest obstacle was the pattern. Oh, not how it was written- that's impeccable.
It was charted. 
I don't chart. I didn't know that.

One whole frustrated and rather bitchy day later, I stole the Things' colored pencils, and attacked that chart like it was the map to Bin Laden's hideout.

Perfect! Color coded and Visually Stimulating.
And that was it folks, I can barely put these down. Despite covering the Post Office the last two days, I am completing the turn of the heels (two-at-a-time, on magic loop).


It's, like, the most fun you can have with your pants on.

On a side note, doesn't my manicure look lovely? I like my nails to be well manicured; it makes my middle finger look so much better when in use.

So, to recap:
Snow. 
Manicure.
Socks.
Two new cuss words.

Jay1 offered to pick the things up from school, saving me a ride in the snow. (I actually like driving in the snow here on the island. There's very little to 'bump into', unlike Boston. We have some fun!) 
I snapped up his offer so I wouldn't have to explain to anybody that the van (The Big Guy's ashore with the truck) is pretty well stuck in the driveway. Whew! Dodged that bullet! Stellar driving skills covered up!

And then the kids walked in the door, and Thing Two is all FREAKED OUT that he forgot his math homework and he's going to be expelled or tied out to the flagpole for a whole day in sub zero temps...
Naturally. I'm going to have to dig that van out after all. Insert new cuss word here!

Don't tell The Big Guy: I'm toying with the idea of pulling out the 4 wheeler to plow out the driveway, against his express orders not to touch anything mechanical in the garage.

HIM: I'm not taking the 4 wheeler, but don't touch it. Just leave it in the garage. Do Not Touch the 4- wheeler. (totally unreasonable)

ME: But it's supposed to snow Friday, and then turn frigid and it's all going to freeze and then you won't be able to plow it on Sunday. (totally reasonable)

Don't make me steal parts off the thing so you can't use it. Just: Don't Use It. Please. Please don't touch the 4 wheeler.

But it's going to snow, like, a lot. I'll need to plow out the van.

YOU don't plow out the van. YOU shovel out the van, if you have to. Don't touch the plow!

Yeah, yeah, mumble, grumble, insert cuss word number two here, growl that you never see HIM shoveling out the drive, groan, mumble, cuss.

I didn't technically agree to anything, right?




Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fire On The Mountain. Or, Frenchboro.

Give yourself two points if you picked up the Grateful Dead reference.

Photo used with permission. And nausea.



We had a fire on the island last night.

An empty house caught sometime after dinner (cause yet to be determined) and burned to the ground.

Nobody was hurt, and it wasn't a year round residence, so (we think/hope/pray) nothing was lost but memories. The owners haven't been out here much in the last 10 years due to health concerns, and hopefully didn't leave anything valuable or important behind.

Last night was pretty tumultuous, as you can imagine.
The fear we live with every day out here is that if fire breaks out, it will burn until it reaches water.
We have no means to control it.
The best we can do is contain it.

We all felt that fear last night.

Today, I spend the day with the Whatifs. Do you know them?
They are the cousins of the Oulda sisters...you know, Woulda, Shoulda, and Coulda.

The Whatifs are nasty.
They say things like:

Whatif the wind had been blowing, as it does 90% of the time out here?
Whatif, instead of losing one structure...we lost that whole side of the island?
Whatif we couldn't contain it, and the entire village burned?
Whatif it had been one of our year round residences?
Whatif one of our volunteers was injured while helping with the fire?
Whatif there were people in there?
Whatif there were freakin KIDS in there?

Every one of those freaks me out, but that last one makes my guts shake, and I pee just a little bit.



They're saying a lot more, the Whatifs. I'm drowning them out with very loud music.

I just know that I am very grateful nobody was injured.

Though I'm saddened by the loss of this house (it was one of the prettiest here), I'm thankful that it's just a house, which can be replaced.

I'm thankful it was just ONE structure we lost.

We are all very aware of just how bad it could have been.


I (as well as everyone on Frenchboro) am very grateful for the support of Swan's Island and Tremont Volunteer Fire Departments who assisted, and those who provided transportation to get them here so quickly. That would be Chris and Travis and the Captain/crew of the Henry Lee, who all get gold stars. With glitter.

And I'm grateful to the people who live here, who responded without a thought for themselves.
Who forgot they even had differences and squabbles, never mind 'put them aside'.
Who jumped into their boots at the word 'fire', and were out the door without even asking 'where'. (It's very small here. Easy to find fires.)

Arthur. Ann. Tim. Donald. Mikey. Becky. Ski. JayF. Doug. Michelle. Jessica. Paul. Zach. Jackie. Nate. Jay1. Debbie. Joseph. Davie. The Kid Staying In Coler's House Whose Name I Don't Know. (Sorry, Kid)

That's every person on the island, save the 5 Mothers home with their children and three older folks. I counted, while fielding phone calls and texts for over three hours, right up until my cell battery died. I'm still fielding calls today. I've had to charge my battery twice.
(You know why I counted, right? Same reason they count heads on the ferry, even on the very calm days. Again, I want to throw up at the thought.)

Those 20 people listed above are who responded to this fire within minutes of the first, 'Is it me, or is there smoke coming from Forsgren's house?' call.

EVERY AVAILABLE PERSON ON THE ISLAND.

And shortly thereafter, Chris and Josh were here. Travis, with guys from Tremont. The ferry crew, with Swan's Island's fire truck, ambulance, and crew.
I'm sorry I can't name who they all were- it was dark and very confusing, and not all are known to me.
Know that we are deeply grateful for every one of you, and the effort you put forth.

There are a lot of things we could have done better. But, there are a lot of things we could have done worse.

The fact that everybody who could, showed up...that's island life.
How 'bout you? Does your entire town show up to an empty house fire?

We may not be trained, or even effective. But, dammit, we're there!
I say, let's celebrate the fact that we're all here for another day!

Tonight, the drinks are on the house.

p.s. The calls came out around 9pm-ish. The streets roll up early in this part of the world, so we were all pretty well tucked in for the night.
I ask you...How many people were at that fire last night with boots on,
and no underwear???

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy New Year.

I'm not doing any 2010 recap, because it pretty much sucked raw eggs and there's no sense re-living those trying moments.
Yes, there were good ones, too, but to get to them I must trudge through last January, February, and on and on, and...maybe in a few years. Not today.

We found him like this somewhere between 2:15 and 2:30am.
He was so proud to have made it to 'New Year's'.
He had me up at 8:26 the next morning.

Well, I don't know about you, but MY new year is off to a rollickin' good start! (Is TOO a word.)


I've been shacked up with these for a few weeks now, and would totally leave my husband and run off with them to some OTHER deserted island to live with forever if I could get them to take out the trash.


We're very happy together, prompting me to make this utterly useless item.

Scarves and I don't necessarily get along. My usual name for a scarf is not 'scarf', but 'potential and probable cause of my death by strangulation'. This will be adorning someone else's unsuspecting neck. This will be the first Christmas gift for next year. And because I've never been that far ahead in my entire life, it may be the only Christmas gift I make for next year.
Murphy's Law. Somebody's law.

This is the Winter Flame scarf from Knitpicks. (I love Knitpicks! But then, I'm hard-pressed to name a yarn store that I DON"T love.)
Gloss. 70% Merino, 30% Silk, in Espresso. 
...which had better block like a charm because I've got some serious curl going on.
It's now folded and sitting on the bookcase next to the lace shawl I'm too chicken to block.

In between repeats of the Flaming Lace, as I've lovingly nicknamed the scarf, I'm making teeny weeny ornaments from sock yarn scraps. These were on the agenda for December, but alas, the delusion of time was in full force and they never came to fruition.


They are fruitioning now.
And all the Christmas ornaments and incidentals are put away.

Which can only mean that next December I will be searching frantically for the super secret spot I will have squirreled these wee ornaments to.


Then there's the Loopy Challenge. I just happened to be on the loopy website, possibly browsing the Lorna's Laces because I have lusted after Black Pearl for eons, when I spotted the most recent challenge.

 A cable challenge.

I have Cabled Without A Needle, but need more practice. As in, a lot more practice. Very fumbly.
Sort of like me and DPN's. Picture a newbie juggler, with lots of swearing.

So I've jumped into the challenge, and picked out a cabled project for it.
(OK, to clarify...I spent three straight days on Ravelry scouring every single sock pattern listed. 12,002 patterns, give or take. I'm nothing if not thorough.)

I did manage to pick one. A heavily cabled one.

(No, the cabling is NOT going well, thank you. I spent a very good part of the afternoon fighting playing with this. Tonight, I've got one row completed, and I am not convinced my twists are twisting in the right direction. And I can't turn my head because my shoulders are so bunched. BUT. I got one row done. And I will continue.)

And did I get the Black Pearl I've lusted after for so long? 
Nope.

But in my package from Sherri was a bit of red yarn to make a teeny weeny sock, which is the one you see above. Done while we watched Val Kilmer (hunk) in Double Identity.

And the last thing I've committed to that will keep me busy this year is the Rockin Sock Club. I've vowed to jump on each installment as they arrive, thus not allowing it to linger in the stash.
I know you won't hold me to that promise. 

It's knitting, after all.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Send help. Or, at least wine.

Attempting to cable without a needle.

Again.

You know that saying about how you never forget how to ride a bike?

Does not apply to cabling without a needle.

I'm calling a furlough at 2:15 am- not a defeat, mind you, a furlough.

I'm hoping that strong coffee and some sleep will provide some clarity...and dexterity...in the morning.

(Our winter wonderland during Wednesday's snow storm. Like being trapped on a deserted island off the coast of Maine inside a snowglobe. Let it snow!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

One word:



ORGASMIC.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Nothing Meowed Under My Tree This Christmas

I dropped hints.

I whined.
I cried.
I threatened.
I cajoled.

But there was nothing under the Christmas Tree this year meowing at me.

Nothing soft and warm and cuddly waiting for me to gather it up in my arms and snuggle it.

No good can come of this.

Oh, be still, my beating heart.
I have names picked out. Girl AND boy. These were Russian sailor's cats. They love the water.
I. Want. One.

Have already vetoed this idea. Apparently they are as destructive as a gorilla. One yarn incident....well, I'll let you do the math. Ain't going there. Moving on.
They are drop dead gorgeous, though...and personality plus. And they chew furniture.
They also love the water. They jump in the shower with their people.
(NOBODY gets in the shower with me.)
After some thought, I'm sure I'd end up with a psychotic man-eater...and while that would be awesome if I could train it to kill on demand...I can't have it in the house with The Things. And me.
This, it should go without saying, would be the cat The Big Guy would concede to having.
The one I would be locked in my bedroom, hiding from.


Oh, God Help Me.

I had two of these when I met The Big Guy. Sambuca and Nikko. 
Buca HATED The Big Guy. She'd sit on top of the fridge, glaring down at him, hissing.
He hated her right back.
When I moved to Maine I had to leave her behind with my Mother.
We took Ghost. 

Remember Ghost? She died January 4th of last year, under my Christmas tree.

You know, the one nothing meowed at me from this year on Christmas morning.

Oh.
My.
God.

Um, there will be NO MESSING WITH THE YARN, however.

Sigh. LOUD EMPHATIC SIGH.


p.s. My neighbor has a couple of unwanted kittens hanging about who need a home. He said he briefly considered sneaking up to my house Christmas morning, opening the door, throwing a kitten inside, and running. HOW FUNNY WOULD THAT HAVE BEEN??!!!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

In Like Flynn

Three words:

Rockin' Sock Club.

It took two years, and an alert set up in iCal to get me there...but I'm IN, Baby!


On another note, a non-knitter said to me today, "Why didn't you tell me you were knitting hats for the sailors? I would have donated yarn for more hats!"

Silly human.
Guess what she's gonna learn to do this winter???