Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Coming Soon!

Tomorrow a winner shall be named in the first monthly drawing for KAYE yarn!

There's still time to enter this month's drawing if you have fulfilled any of the criteria listed in the rules (and just happened to space it during the month--which I doubt, but hey!).

I've got three entrants sofar who are entered to win:

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This love lump of sock yarn.

And I'll even throw in one of my g-fab bookmarks:

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Don't fret if you haven't had your annual cooter rootin' yet, this is a year-long deal. And to the two people who don't get their name pulled tomorrow, don't worry, your names will be rolled over into next month's drawing!

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Six Things Meme With a Twist

Wendy tagged me about a week ago with the “Six Weird Things” meme. I think I did this back in December. But not to be deterred I’ve come up with my own variation to fit my mood today!

Six Things That Piss Me Off

1. People who insist that baking is a science. Pish. Putting an extra gram of flour in the recipe or omitting the salt is not going to wreak havoc on your loaf of bread or cookies. Pioneers didn’t have a $30 set of measuring cups when they baked their bread. My ancestors survived just fine with that extra gram of flour and no salt, did yours?

2. When someone describes yarn as “yummy” or even worse, “scrummy.” Ok, I’ll admit it, technically this is perfectly OK as those two words can lawfully be used to describe non-edible objects. However, these two words grate on my nerves. (As do the words “moist” and “hot cocoa.”)

3. Why someone like the Yarn Harlot can make money publishing mildly funny musings about yarn and knitting, but chicks with ten times the humor like Penny Karma don’t see a dime for writing about their much more amusing lives.

4. Jerk-offs that park incredibly close to Chunky’s daycare and then give me the evil eye when I try to squeeze past them with my car because they can’t put their infant in the back seat with their door open in oncoming parking lot traffic. Do me a favor you lazy woman, park in the normal parking lot like the rest of us. The extra ten steps you have to walk will add 30 more seconds to your life and burn .39 calories of that baby weight you’re trying to lose.

5. People who walk slow and in the middle of the sidewalk. Sure, I’ll walk in the mud so you can stroll lazily along taking up the whole sidewalk.

6. Overly poetic romantic mushy-squishy writing. For the love of monkeys, just freaking say what you want to say. Cut out all the shit! What cracks me up is that that article is called “What I Cannot Say.” Yeah, tell me about it. This is the same reason I was only able to read the first chapter of Jane Eyre before looking into buying stock in Rogaine because it made me tear my hair out. A romantic I am most certainly not.

I won’t tag anyone back since I know some of y’all could count that in your list of six things that piss you off!

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Forgive Me Freecycle!

Yeah OK I take back what I said about Freecycle when I had Cinco-the-long-donged-dog's owner Ms. Flakesalot freak out on me when I was trying to unload a TV/VCR.

Not all Freecycle users are weirdos with well endowed dogs.

I put out a request for moving boxes. I got two replies VERY quickly.

I'm sending Dr. Mad Scientist out on Wednesday to a school to grab some boxes. But check out what I scored today:

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All via my beloved Freecycle!

One box, you ask? Oh ho, no. Take that box and times it by twelve. They're HUGE! I've included this Chunky in the box for scale. He's on his knees in this picure and the kid is now a freakishly 3'11" tall (and did I mention his feet are 7" long? My feet are only 9" long! Funny, I don't remember hanging out under any powerlines when I was pregnant.)

And they're all brand new!!

The lady who gave them to me was the complete opposite of Ms. Flakesalot. She even introduced me to her two cute little daughters.

Maybe I'm paranoid but I treat Freecycle like a blind date. I like to meet people in well lit parking lots and never give out my exact address.

I also gave my notice at work today. February 9 is my last day. Papa Bear Boss brought out her broom. She brings that out as a warning as to when she's getting bitchy. It's actually funny because she's so mild mannered. She's pissed about UTSA revoking his postdoc. Very sweet of her!

In knitting news I'm paranoid to cast on anything new. Don't get me wrong, I really want to cast on something new, but with moving about to kick into high gear I don't want to start anything new for fear of losing my mojo.

So it's chug-along time on the Cordless Yoke Pullover and the other swirly sock. I'm going to be so sick of 2x2 ribbing by the time I'm done!

Oh and stay tuned for Wednesday people! I've got three entrants in the first month's KAYE giveaway! Oh it's the little things that excite me!

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Bandwagon and Not So Bandwagon Knitting

Apparently all the cool kids are knitting Calorimetry.

Of course I jumped on the bandwagon.

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I'm not cool enough yet to pick my nose with my tongue like some people I know who read this blog.

The obligatory top-shot:

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I've started walking to work on the mornings Chunky stays home with Dr. Mad Scientist. Believe it or not it does get a bit chilly so this will come in handy. And hey--it gets cold in New York!

I really dig knitted "not-hats" since that sloppy bun is how I wear my hair all the freaking time. I had previously been wearing Coif, which is similar but I think I'll enjoy the button on Calorimetry better than the tie on Coif.

Speaking of the button, here's mine. One of the things with this pattern is I like to see the different types of buttons/beads everyone is picking to finish theirs. I used a metal button I cannabilized off of this godawful zippered sweater thing someone gave me when people treated me like the local Goodwill at my last job always giving me their reject or dead mother in law's clothes.

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And before I forget, that's Lorna's Laces worsted weight in "Lakeview." I used a majority of the skein to make my mom a pair of fingerless mitts and even after Calorimetry, I still have a clementine sized ball left.

Onto the not so bandwagon knitting.

I finished The Spawn Sweater!

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I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

See that string at the top? That's the amount of yarn I had left! Almost exactly one yard--can you hear me sighing from here?

The specs--

Pattern: My own design very loosely based on a hooded baby cardigan I saw in Hip Knits. I hate that book and a lot of the patterns are barfalicious (I bought it for $10 during my knitting rebirth--sue me!), but it does provide a great jumping off point for helping me come up with my own stuff. The cable on the bottom is taken from the Karaoke Cable Scarf. The cables on the cuffs are merely the bottom cable split in half.

Yarn: 2 skeins (just barely!) of TLC Cotton Plus in Kiwi

Needles: The cabled bottoms were done on US 8s and the body was knit on US 7s.

Comments: If I could change one thing, I would try to get rid of those pooches on the cable seams at the bottom there. I'm keeping the target audience in mind though. Is a six month old girl spurned of the loins of my sister and brother in law really going to care? Nah. Probably not.

My favorite part of the sweater? Yeah, it would probably have to be this (even though it's blurry!)

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Thank you iron on transfer paper and Wonder Under!

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Sweaters and Socks and Sock Yarn Oh My!

First up the Spawn Sweater in the blocking phase:

spawn sweater

Wow, it matches Squeaky's eyes too!

It's actually seamed up right now and last night I put the DPNs and picked out the waste yarn. I've got a yarn ball about the size of a peach pit (approx. 12 yards). I think I'll be able to squeege out a small collar.

At lunch today I finished the first swirly sock:

Swirly Sock

I only dropped one stitch! Woo! I always tend to drop two (or more!) stitches in the boring parts of the arch of the foot. I tend to knit so fast that I miss the last stitch at the end of the needle. I don't scoop the needle enough to come through the loop.

Best part? I think I'll have enough to make the second sock after all! The ball leftover is about the size of a good sized orange.

I recently catalogued my yarn and I classified a lot of the oddballs that way: "tomato size," "garlic clove size," "clementine size." I really need to get a scale or something.

And finally--the much awaited KAYE yarn prize update!

Feast your eyes on this:

KAYE Jan Yarn

Oh dear lord, this picture doesn't do it justice at ALL!

Click here to get the specs. Oh the colors are so rich, and for 100% wool--it's very soft!

I have to say Mystical Creation Yarn rocks! Shipping was super fast--only a week! But here's the kicker, dumbass me forgot to change my the address it shipped to (Paypal still has Lansing as my default address). So imagine how much faster it would have come if I hadn't messed up my address!!

So this gorgeous skein of yarn will be the January prize for the first month of my Kootchie Awareness Yarn Extravaganza.

Click here for the rules if you're unfamiliar with them and are wondering what the hell I'm babbling about!

There's still only one participant this month, but there's still four days remaining!

Moving on...

Thank you for your kind words about our hellish move/job situation.

These past couple of days have been an emotional roller coaster and I feel like a giant psychotic waffle.

So many decisions! But as I was doing my laps at lunch today for 100 Miles By April 1 (I do two laps--1 mile--at lunch around the outdoor track at work and then knit for the rest of my hour) I had an epiphany.

Each month we live here in Texas we eat anywhere from $300 to $600 into our savings. I've managed to save a bit of money by downgrading Chunky to part time at preschool, but seriously what they say about state workers being underpaid is true. (But hey, I'm a lazy worker so that part is true too--I figure they don't pay me enough to work as hard as I used to in the private sector. It's a vicious cycle.)

Anyway, if we drag our feet waiting for a job offer in a more convenient place to live then the possibility exists we'll have NO money to move with after a few months.

Y'all know me. I'm a cheapass! I'm an even bigger tightwad. I hate spending large amounts of money.

So screw it. We'll throw caution into the wind and just go. So what if we don't have an apartment? Our back up plan is to park the moving van at Dr. Mad Scientist's brother's place (he's the one about to have The Spawn in May) in Virginia and we'll drive my car into the city to hunt for places.

I'm praying we can at least get a little money when sell Dr. Mad Scientist's car and maybe if we're lucky (but I'm not holding my breath) we won't owe any taxes this year.

And I feel like guess I should clarify. I don't hate the PEOPLE of Texas. All of the people I've met here are great people. I just hate the situation and I project it on the state.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Yeah Never Mind.

I just don't think we can do it.

The move to Texas decimated our savings and, and, and, there's a ton of "ands."

I'm handing this all over to Dr. Mad Scientist. He can look for a place to live and shit if he really wants this job.

I hate this place. I hate Texas and this situation so much.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Yeah I Think We Could Be Nuts

Dr. Mad Scientist was offered the Mt. Sinai position. He'd be making twice the amount he made in Michigan. But that area of the country costs twice as much to live in. So hey we'd be breaking even right.

I'm searching for places to live now.

He hasn't officially accepted the job, but there's a very damn good chance now that we could end up like this:


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Oof. Most-Stressful-Move-Ever!!!

I'll post Kootchie updates and knitting news soon.

Oh my god! I've got it! We'll live in bus lockers! Screw trying to find an apartment!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Someone Toss Me the Knitalin

Maybe I can get Dr. Mad Scientist to create a drug that allows knitters to concentrate on one sole project from start to finish before they get distracted by something else. Ritalin for knitters=Knitalin.

I can feel it starting with The Spawn's baby sweater. Although it's only been a week, I feel like starting something else.

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I've got about 1/2 an inch left of sleeve to do, and then three inches of the back. See that partial ball of yarn? Yeah, that's all I've got left. What is with me running out of yarn for projects all of a sudden? Usually I've got quite a bit of yarn leftover for whatever I'm making.

However that's if I'm NOT knitting from the stash. This sweater is a prime example of knitting from the stash. I had two balls of TLC Cotton Plus with no purpose and a fertilized sister-in-law. A match made in heaven--unless I do run out of yarn.

I'm constructing it in a tunic style. When it's finished it will look like a giant plus sign. I'll fold it in half vertically, and sew the arm and side seams.

What about the neck? Where is The Spawn going to poke her noggin through?

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See that yellow yarn? That's waste yarn. Originally I was going to do a simple (albeit very large) buttonhole for the neck hole. However, I suck at buttonholes. Big time.

So I knit a few stitches in the middle in waste yarn. What I'll do is stick my dpns in the stitches above and the stitches below the waste yarn, pick it out and then knit a short collar in the round. I have a glove pattern that calls for this with a thumb gusset and I did the thumbs on my Michigan Mittens this way so figured why the heck wouldn't it work for a neck hole??

The color in that picture is more true to life as well. It's "kiwi" green.

As you can see it matches a certain furbag's eye color quite well.

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Well tomorrow at work I'm getting a temp. Hee hee! It's quite funny how they decided to hire a temp while Baby Bear Boss is out on medical leave.

The first day she was gone, I went to lunch at noon and apparently the phone rang off the hook forcing people who don't normally stoop so low as to answer the phone to answer it. It's funny what higher-ups will do when they have to do a grunt's work.

At first I couldn't help but think there's no way I could keep a temp busy for 8 hours a day, however, Dr. Mad Scientist's interview in New York City went very well. Having at temp around might not be a bad thing if they need to replace me soon.

Another sign that he'll probably get the job stems from a faculty member coming up to me on Friday looking for Test IDs for the newbie students. I gave them to her and she started to walk off, but then paused and walked back to my desk to thank me for the hard work I'm doing and even though they have a hard time keeping anyone in my position because it doesn't pay well (her words!) she did appreciate it. It was very sweet of her to say that but I couldn't shake the feeling it was the kiss of death. He'll probably get an offer for sure now that she said that!

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Aw Crap.

Alright we'll start with the knitting.

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Looking good right? I've got about a 3/4" left to knit before I start the toe decreases. But look at that ball. Am I going to have enough for a second sock?

Aw crap.

Then I read this today.

Now I'm a staunch Democrat. But what am I going to do in 2008? I mean once Richardson throws his hat into the ring you're talking about a field comprised of a Black man, Hispanic man and White woman all running against each other. Ok so it's way too early for me to tell who I'd put my money on. However if you look at it on face value alone--you're asking us to choose between so many different people we'd like to see get ahead.

Aw crap.

But it's too early to tell. Like I said, we're talking literally face value only right now. I have to hear what these peeps have to say as time progresses.

I can tell you I'll never be down with John Edwards though. Something about him doesn't sit right with me and I am willing to make a cosmetic judgment of him. I almost expect him to rip away the flesh on his face to reveal a Terminator-esque cyborg. Ever see that Buffy where her mom is dating the John Ritter robot? I kind of want to whack John Edwards with a fry pan to see if he starts shooting sparks.

Aw crap (that would be amusing!).

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

What I Did On My Frozen Vacation

The ice was so bad that in addition to Tuesday being called off, they called off Wednesday as well.

By that time though, me and the Chunk had to get the hell outta the house. On Wednesday it wasn't too cold outside. I grabbed the camera and Chunky grabbed his ice whackin' stick.

Freeze Warning

Yeah our heat is broken and I'm sure as hell not leaving my faucets running until they decide to discount my water bill. Frozen pipes be damned!

Frozen Violet

Taking a page from Elizabeth's dead flower photography--I couldn't resist the iced over violets. Believe it or not these damn things are peppy and heads-up today. Violets in January! Do you see why living here bothers me so much?

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Check out these cedar flowers or are they pods? All I know for sure is that they're pollinating big time down here and you're not a real Texan unless you have an allergy to them. Sofar I'm sneeze-free. Thank god!

Never fear though! Five days off and I got some great knitting done. I cast on for that baby sweater for Dr. Mad Scientist's Brother's Baby (hereinafter "The Spawn").

baby sweater

It's my own design. It satisfies my recent craving for cables, something fast, something with sleeves, something green (yes, that a light green), something simple and something girly.

Is it bad I'm a little bummed I'll have to give it up?

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Hell Has Frozen Over!

I have no qualms about declaring Texas my own version of Hell. But today, living in Hell has it's perks. You see, in Hell they don't design the roads very well for ice and snow (think twisty, stoplights at the bottom of hills, blind corners, etc.) So when there's a possibility of snow or ice they shut down.

I got the call last night from Papa Bear Boss that we were on delay and weren't to come in until noon. Then at 9:00 a.m. she called to let me know they had shut the place down completely for the day. Hooray!

Just a few shots from Hell today:

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My frozen car door

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It's actually accumulated hail, not snow, but I'll take what I can get of anything cold and white!

Frozen AC
In Hell, even the air conditioners can freeze!

Icy!
Ice ice baby!!

Great Storm!
I give this ice storm a big thumbs up! Hooray for wussie Texans!

Ok, I'm now off to curl up with a lap whore (Springs, the cat) to try to keep warm. The heat is busted in this dump, but hey, we're Real Alaskans! Heat? We don't need no stinkin' heat!!

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Monday, January 15, 2007

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Believe it or not, today is the first Martin Luther King, Jr. Day I've had off from work since I think I was in high school.

And believe it or not I actually thought about MLK and his message today while perusing knitting blogs.

Now I know (Kodiak) Elizabeth has already ranted/mused about this, but I finally came across it myself. I read a story about a particular knit blogger who was blogging about how she was egged on to do something by her secretary. But she felt the need to mention it was her African American secretary.

I kept reading the post thinking that somehow the secretary's race would figure into the story somehow, but alas it didn't.

So what was the point of mentioning that she was African American (if her secretary even approved of that term)? If her secretary had been white would she have felt the need to write "My Caucasian secretary Whitney...."? My guess is no.

That just really stuck with me.

So I won't mention what kind of yarn my Cordless Yoke Pullover is made of lest anyone judge it for it's fiber content alone. I'm not here to foster yarnism.

I finished up the collar this weekend (which will be folded down when worn) and started on the sleeve.

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I'm winging my way on the sleeve as I have absolutely no clue what I'm doing. I am keeping cryptic notes on how I'm doing it though so that when it comes time to do the other sleeve I can at least get them to match.

I've been trying it on as I've been knitting it and I think if I can get this first sleeve to look decent, I might have a chance.

It would end up being a really cool sweater with a sort of "bitten out" area on the shoulders.

Maybe when it's done I'll wear it to work and show my Mexican and Haitian secretary friends.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

First Finished Object of 2007

As promised!

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My action figure is all knitted up!

As you can see she's sporting some curlers, a plastic bag raincoat, business card skirt, and a pair of handknit German flag socks.

Oh and how could I forget?

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Kung Fu Grip!

I clearly need to get a life.

There was a time in my life where I would do a self portrait every other yearish or so. I guess now that I've immersed myself in knitting it only seems right that I should knit myself.

Now that this is done I'm left with only two WIPs. In my OCD world this means I am allowed to cast on something new. So I'll be knitting my first baby sweater for the impending spawn of my brother in law.

The Uncorded Yoke Pullover is coming along nicely. I'm about done with the collar which is turning out quite well for being something I pretty much just pulled out of my butt. But I'm antsy to get started on the sleeves. I get the feeling this is where I'm going to fail.

I've also designed a bookmark too. Wanna see? Oh, of course you do.

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That's the front of the bookmark.

And here's the back:

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"Front and back? Huh?"

Yup. They're magnetic and fold over the top of the page you're on.

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After sitting in on the knitting group Janna invited me to visit last week, I think I might also whip up some bookplates too. Listening to various people try to remember who's knitting book they borrowed was kind of amusing.

Well it's raining here in southern Texas. Flash flood alerts have been sounded. And tomorrow the high is only supposed to be 34 degrees. I'm as happy as a louse in a kindergarden class!

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Woo to tha Hoo

Over at Ceallach Knits, Ceallach is counting the things she's grateful for.

While I'm not nearly a sweet enough person to do this on a daily basis I've had enough going on this week that I can count my blessings.

Happy Thing One: We got our deposit check in the mail from our old apartment management company. Wow. We lived there for six years. For five of those years we had a kid, and two cats! I can tell you right now there was a hole in the wall in the living room where water had leaked in and molded through the dryway; I broke the mirror in a postpartum flurry of wrathful bitchdom; and the closet track thingy was shot to hell. That's just a few things wrong. People in the Lansing area bitch a lot about DTN, but I'm going to give them two thumbs up! Plus our apartment manager was a super sweetie--she cried when Dr. Mad Scientist left because we had "truly" left when he left!

Happy Thing Number Two: This is a three day weekend. Thank you Martin Luther King, Jr. Enough said!

Happy Thing Number Three: Christmas in January! My Youngest Younger Sister and Youngest Younger Brother sent us our Christmas presents. There is nothing cooler than getting Christmas presents AFTER Christmas! In addition to getting us The Best of Will Ferrell on SNL (YYB) and the Knit Pattern A Day Calendar (YYS), YYS also sent me this:

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Real Alaskan Snow! The fine print reads: "Snow may have melted due to the property of solids becoming liquids at their melting point." Wuhahahaha! I brought it into work to show those Texas Natives what snow looked like. YYS also sent me that cool Buddah bracelet I'm wearing there.

Happy Thing Number Four: Speaking of snow--expected weather this weekend? Sunday 60 degrees and storms. Monday 42 degrees and rain. (Hey, I'll take the closest to "cold" weather as I can get!)

Happy Thing Number Five: Dr. Mad Scientist scored an in-flesh interview with the peeps from Mt. Sinai. They're working out the details as to when he'll fly up there.

Liz brought up two very good points, Mt. Sinai might mean living in a very expensive place devoid of real nature (well OK, based on my perception). However, the joy of a postdoctoral position is that it's only two or three years (one of the original reasons I was willing to move to Texas). Lord knows we've lived in Alaska, Colorado, Michigan, and now Texas in the past seven years, by the time year ten comes around we'll be ready to move to greener pastures.

As for devoid of real nature? Well that's the downside of being born and raised in Alaska.
littlesu

EVERYTHING pales in comparison.

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I mean you could walk to this river from my house.

Or see this view from simply turning to your right in our front yard.
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Seriously nothing down here in the Lower 48 comes even close. Nothing. (Those photos are all courtesy of my SIL)

Secretly I'm holding out for Wiconsin.

Happy Thing Number Six: Wisconsin called while he was on the phone with New York and left a message saying they wanted to "talk further" with him.

Happy Thing Number Seven: Browsing Kootchie Awareness prize yarn at work is a great way to sooth your nerves after having to deal with idiot faculty and newbie first semester students full of useless questions about what color scrubs to buy in case after they graduate (in two years!) they get a job somewhere that doesn't require the white scrubs we require. Boy, I thought I was cheap!

But the browsing has led me to a question--what kind of yarn do y'all dig? I know what I like. What's your favorite go-to yarn? Worsted weight? Sock yarn? Solids? Chunky? Wool? Silk? Tibetan Yak? So many choices! Half the fun of this contest is going to be buying yarn even if I am giving it away. (I cannot guarantee that if you win a prize that your yarn will come to you in a virgin-unfondled state hee hee!)

Let me know.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Kootchie Update

First off thank y'all for not calling in the men with the straightjacket when I announced my Kootchie Awareness Yarn Extravaganza. It’s always nice to know you’re not completely nutzo.

So far I’ve got one participant. Hm. I hope we at least get more than one this month to make this month’s drawing a little more interesting.

I also want to thank the people who have offered to donate yarn to the pot. You know who you are! Proper shout-outs to come in that department—stay tuned!

Also on the kootchie front, my coworker who helped inspire this whole hairbrained idea (unbeknownst to her) had her surgery earlier this week. The cancer hadn’t spread very far at all so after her recovery from her surgery she should be a-okay.

As much as I love her, I did break the news to her about Dr. Mad Scientist’s job situation (no one else in my office knows) just in case I’m not here when she returns.

Speaking of Dr. Mad Scientist. He received another email looking to schedule a phone interview.


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Any guesses where in the country he received that call based on this map showing where a majority of jobs in toxicology are? (The numbers on that map represent entities employing toxicologists. Am I the only one that's excited that Texas is near the bottom of the list in amount of people employing toxicologists?!).

New York. Ha ha! Yet again! This time Columbia University. So make that two for Wisconsin and two for New York.

Not to be mean, but I’m floored such high falutent places such as Mt. Sinai Hospital and Columbia University are contacting him for even a phone interview.

But then again, I can kind of believe it.

When I’m bored at work (which happens every other week except for this week and next week when the students and faculty trickle back in), I surf job listings for him. I’ll send him the postings at Harvard, Yale, Columbia and Mt. Sinai. When I originally did this he told me he threw deleted my emails with these postings because he didn’t think anyone from such a prestigious place would even give him the time of day or that he was qualified/had enough experience to work there.

I guess I convinced him otherwise. My rationale? What’s the worse they do when they get your CV? They throw it away and don’t call you. So what are you out? Nothing. Well OK, you’re maybe out the 3 minutes it takes to compose a cover letter and attach it and your CV to an email to them.

But looking at that map, combined with the impending cold front moving through here (flurries predicted for Monday people—FLURRIES!) are giving me hope that I’ll be able to wear this someday soon:

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That’s the latest progress on my swirly striated sock.

Speaking of “S” (sublime segue eh?) check out the supremely spectacular photo-scavenger hunt Stacie is supervising. She's started with stop signs and it seems sure that it should be successful and stimulating.

I was only unofficially Turtle-tagged for that last paragraph. I figured I’d squish two squirrels with one stone and speak about Stacie’s scavenger hunt and share in TurtleGirl's silly letter meme. Someone stop me!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sleeveless in San Antonio

Well one of you asked for it:

splah

My current WIP. The Corded Yoke Pullover from the Winter 06 Interweave Knits.

Not very cordy is it?

I couldn't figure out how to do an i-cord bind off when it was time to do so. I've since figured it out, but in my frustration to learn the i-cord bidn off, I decided to bring the chest and back up to the base of the neck and bind off normally. My plan is to pick up the stitches on the front and the back and make a ribbed turtleneck. Because seriously, do you realize this pattern called for SIX feet of i-cord? If I were to knit six feet of i-cord I'd have to tie it into a noose to hang myself afterwards. Ugh!

Excitedly, I cast on the first sleeve. The pattern tells you to knit the 2x2 rib in the round for an inch before you start increasing.

All went well until I got to the increases. Wow. Increasing a simple 2x2 rib seems to be beyond my realm of understanding. Whatever I do I just can't seem to get it! I've ripped the sleeve out three times now and it still keeps coming out looking like shit on four sticks.

However I think I've come to a solution. I have no problem decreasing a 2X2 rib--what if I turned the instructions backwards and knit the sleeve from the top down? I think I'll try this. In a couple of days when I feel like going back to it. Right now the damn thing is pissing me off.

And if if my attempt to make the collar sucks butt and my backwards-knit sleeves blow--such is life. The whole four skeins of yarn cost me $1.37. (Thank you Joann Visa Gift Certificate rewards and charging our new bed to Visa!)

I'll probably finish up my action figure this weekend. I just have to finish up one last article of clothing (I don't want you all to see my knitted bum) and she'll be done.

Other than that, life on the knit scene has been pretty boring and frustrating.

Dr. Mad Scientist had his second interview with Mt. Sinai today and a guy in Madison, WI called him too. The Madison guy called him to say that he had filled the position Dr. Mad Scientist applied for but that they just recieved a large training grant and that he'd look into it for him and get back to him with the details. That was nice of him I suppose--to call and tell him the position was already filled.

Alright, I'll leave you with a picture the Chunkmeister took. I can't remember which one of you hands off the camera to your kiddo, but it was inspiring.

hey there!

Not bad. No double chins--just a dumb expression. Change the picture to black and white and me into a sandstone cliff and you could call him Chunksel Adams.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Just Swinging In

Not much going on.

I'm still chugging along on the Corded Yoke Pullover. However the i-cord bind off coupled with a late Friday night has caused me to redesign this sweater. Hopefully it will work out. I've finished the body for the most part and cast on the first sleeve. Increasing a 2X2 rib is proving to be most interesting. I'm not sure I dig it. It looks kind of wonky.

I'm getting pretty bored with the CYP, and as a result, it seems I keep finding a bunch of cool patterns I want to knit.

In my weekly email newsletter from Threadbear in the "free patterns" section I came across this pullover:

waikikilace-bell3

I'm thinking that this might look really cool with the blue Sinfonia my CASP2 Knitting Mamma sent me. If I wear it over a black tank top or a long sleeve snug black knit top I have I don't think it will come off as too skankmarific.

Dr. Mad Scientist's brother has informed us that he and his wife will be contributing a girl baby to the gene pool come May. So I suppose I ought to knit her something twisted and girly.

This girl also means that currently, Chunky is the only boy bearing the almighty Bez name. I don't see Dr. Mad Scientist's brother chucking out any more offspring any time soon after this current one.

Meandering on, today also saw me visiting my first sit-down gathering with other knitters. Janna invited me to her weekly group. (Melissa--go check out her Wine and Roses Mitt--it's gorgeous and no baggy wrists!) It was fun. I knit the heel flap on my northern lights twist sock and listened to everyone talk. They seem like a very fun group. I hope to ditch Dr. Mad Scientist and Chunky again soon to go hang with them some upcoming Sundays.

Oh and how could I forget! This came in the mail today:

100_2502

Quick! Someone get me 20 ccs of haircombs--STAT!

The only thing I think that would look great with that diploma is a nice job somewhere! Ha ha!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Say Cheese!

I saw this over at Stacie's blog...it's a Mac n'Cheese Off!

I've only recently discovered the joy of making your own mac n'cheese from scratch. I usually make up a batch for Sunday supper (and Monday's dinner of leftovers!) every other Sunday.

Somewhere along the line I decided to fortify it with kielbasa. Maybe it's my Polish roots or affinity for dogs named Cinco that drew me to the kielbasa add-in.

100_2497

We had some leftover frozen peas from our anniversary dinner so I tossed those in to. This is the beauty of mac n'cheese: you can eat it plain or you can add whatever your heart desires to it. I've even been known to make it with leftover Thanksgiving turkey and salsa.

For the batch you see above I followed my Cooking Messiah, Betty Crocker's, recipe.

You take 1/2 (or a whole) kielbasa cut into "coins" and then in half and brown them in a skillet. For this recipe I used a lower fat turkey kielbasa (shhh!! Don't tell Dr. Mad Scientist! Shit, it was cheaper than the normal fatty stuff). If you chose to go with a lower fat kielbasa I recommend drizzling a little olive oil or veggie oil in the pan to give the 'basa a good carmelization.

After you brown the kielbasa, start up your pasta. I used about 1/2 a pound of wagonwheel pasta for this batch. Chunky likes to pick out the pasta shapes, and wagonwheels hold the cheese sauce very well.

Be sure not to cook the pasta completely. You'll be baking the mac n'cheese so it's best to keep it al dente--it will absorb more moisture and finish cooking in the oven.

While the pasta is cooking, it's time to prepare the roux and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 1/4 cup of butter (or cheapass 79 cent margarine in my case) and 1/2 a cup of finely cut onions (optional) in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Once the butter is melted and the onions are browned, add 1/4 cup of flour.
Stir! Stir! Stir!! The mixture will seem like nothing in the pot now and appear quite lumpy, but keep stirring. The secret to a good roux is that you NEVER STOP STIRRING.

Once the flour/butter mixture becomes bubbly, remove it from the heat and add 1 and 3/4 cups of milk (I'll bet if you used whole it would taste decadent, but I used skim).

Return to the heat and STIR! Don't stop stirring!

This is where you have to be patient. It will take about 10 or more minutes of non-stop stirring before the mixture starts to thicken.

You have to gently coax the roux with your constant stirring to thicken like you have to coax a five legged dog named Cinco to come home for dinner with a t-bone steak. (Sorry, I had to include some stupid reference to that dumb dog just to make sure you were still reading this far).

After the roux starts to boil, set your timer for one minute (or if you can't reach your timer because you're NEVER GOING TO STOP STIRRING, count to sixty--one hippopotomi, two hippopotomi, three hippopotomi...).

Once the minute has expired or you're potomied out, remove the pan from the heat and add 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese. I normally just add two (or sometimes three--it's CHEESE people!) handfulls of cheese into the mixture. You can really use any type of cheese that strikes your fancy. I dig the mild mellow taste that colby and monterrey jack give the final mac n'cheese.

Stir until the cheese is melted.

Now fold in the kielbasa, pasta, and any other add-ins that strike your fancy.

Fold until everything is coated with cheese, glorious cheese!

Dump the mixture into a 9"x9" pan (no need to grease it). You can top it now with MORE cheese, or breadcrumbs, or hell, both!

Pop the pan into the oven heated for 30 minutes and then you're done.

Speaking of cheese, Dr. Mad Scientist has a phone interview with a tox lab in Milwaukee today. Cross your various appendages for us! He did really well on the phone interview with Mt. Sinai Hospital earlier this week so we'll see how this one goes.

Watch, with our luck he'll be offered both and have to choose. Do we go with the less harried life of Wisconsin and the chance for him to stay in the field of toxicology? Or the more busy life of NYC and the prestige of working at Mt. Sinai?

But I've probably jinxed the hell out of both by mentioning them.

And finally! I'd like to send a cheesy hug and kiss to Roxy for sending me a Random Act of Weirdness! She mailed me these ginormous eyewear advertisements (she's a GM at an eyewear store--not a klepto for store ads)! THREE! Too freakin' cool! I've been plotting as I shower what I'm going to do with them. Hee hee! Stay tuned, I'm sure it will be something nuts!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Kootchie Awareness Yarn Extravaganza

JANUARY 2009: With bittersweetness I have decided to retire the Kootchie Awareness Yarn Extravaganza. Thanks to all who have participated and/or pimped this contest the past two years!! And remember to have your cooter rooted!


Woot! Give it up y’all! (Alright fine, I’ll accept my Texas-cyber accent.)


KAYE

Here it is! Just in time for Cervical Cancer Awareness Month—it’s the 411 on my Kootchie Awareness Yarn Extravaganza (KAYE)!

Please note there are no knitted labia to make, no crocheted vaginas to assemble—no knitting/crocheting whatsoever—just yarn!!

Who

You.

The Knitter/Crocheter/Yarn Enthusiast.

You’re person who tirelessly knits socks for Mongolians, blankets for homeless people, baby hats for preemies, scarves for orphans; or you’re the person that may not be into the charity knitting, but you still knit a scarf for your naked-necked husband or wife to keep out a cold draft; or you’re possibly even just the person that enjoys knitting for her/himself.

The underlying theme of my Kootchie Awareness Yarn Extravaganza is that we’re taking care of US for a change. Because who’s going to knit all that stuff for orphans, relatives or ourselves (yes "ourselves" sounds kind of ridiculous when asked in this question--but go with it!) if we’re not around???

What

I’m operating this much like a year long blog contest. Read the “How” to figure out how you get your name in the pot, but names will be randomly drawn from the pot to determine a monthly prize winner. The monthly prize winner will win yarn-y goodness.

How is this Cheapass financing this? Good question. Where there’s a will there’s a way. Don’t worry you won’t be winning a prize basket full of fun fur and Red Heart!

When

Starting January 1, 2008 and continuing through December 31, 2008. A monthly winner will be drawn from the monthly pool of names at the end of each month. Names will not roll over from month-to-month.

Now if you had your cooter rooted in January but forgot/didn't learn of the contest until February (or any month thereafter) you're still eligible. The month you send me your name letting me know you've had it done--that's the month you're eligible to have your name drawn.

Why

As some of my regular blog readers know, cervical cancer is an issue near and dear to me. My sister in law was diagnosed with Stage 3 last year and luckily was able to have it removed with massive surgery and no chemo or radiation treatments.

A close coworker was diagnosed with Stage 1 cervical cancer in December and will be going in for surgery next week.

Both cases were easily preventable if they had just gone in for their yearly pap smear. But for one reason or the other they put it off until it was too late.

I also know of many people (*cough* Mom! *cough*) that haven’t been in for an annual spread n’scrape (or as my sister T. so graciously calls it--a “cooter rootin’”) in years.

Cervical cancer kills more than 3,900 women in the U.S. per year. Ok, yeah that’s not as much as your more publicized disease like breast cancer, but it’s my pet-disease and I’m going with it!! I’ve always had a soft spot for the underdog.

Where

Right here at this blog baby! I thought about setting up a separate blog for this but since there won't be too much day-to-day excitement like say a KAL, I’ll merely post updates and winners on my regular blog.

How

Ho, ho! Here’s where you have to pay attention!

1. Schedule your yearly pap smear. (See Sticky Issues/FAQs if you cannot do this.)

2. Complete said pap smear.

3. As soon as you COMPLETE your exam, let me know. At this time your name will be entered into the master spreadsheet and therefore you will be in the running for winning a monthly prize. I really don't care about your results. That's your business. If you want to share, cool, but I don't want you to feel pressured to break a bunch of HIPAA rules all in the name of free yarn.

Email me your completion notification and email address to rkbezzie @ gmail . com (obviously delete the spaces).

3. Sit back, cross your fingers and hope that your name is drawn for the monthly prize.

Sticky Issues and What I’m Sure Are To Be FAQs:

Bezzie, great idea, but I’m a man/was born without a cervix/lost my cervix in the war/had my cervix removed/my real name is Ima Virgin—am I barred from entering?

Heck no! I’m all about the equal rights in the procurement of yarn! I’m just setting forth a different set of requirements for you!

If for some reason you are unable to have a pap smear I’m asking that tell SEVEN other knitters/crocheters/someone who digs the yarn about the Kootchie Awareness Yarn Extravaganza. You should email me their blog address (if they have one—not a requirement), or first name if they don’t have a blog (I won’t ask last names as a sake of privacy).

I didn’t win the first monthly prize I was eligible for—am I out of the running?

Yes, you're out of the running. You weren't last year. But due to people whining about the fairness of the old method, you're screwed this year. Sorry.

If perhaps a grand prize is offered for the end of 2008, then your name will be in the running for that.

What’s preventing me from just telling you that I had my exam/told seven people about your contest to be entered?

Wow. If you’re going to lie about this just to get a chance to win free yarn, dude, you’ve got bigger issues than cervical cancer awareness to worry about.

I get my exam every year. Is this contest just for people that haven't had one in a while?

Nope! Everyone's invited to join!

I live outside the U.S. am I eligible?

Of course!

I don’t knit. Can I still enter?

Sure, as long as you don’t mind possibly winning a bunch of yarn.

I discovered this contest AFTER I had my 2008 exam done--can I still enter?

Yup! Just zing me your name in an email (see above for the address).

Bezzie, I have a question that you haven't covered in these FAQs--what do I do?

I'm sure someone will find some question to ask that I haven't answered or come up with some aspect of this that crazy scheme that I haven't thought about. I'll do my best to read your comments and post answers back in this original post.

* * *

You're under no obligation to join this crazy scheme. If you merely read this blog entry and the crazy chick in curlers blowing bubbles crosses your mind a day/week/month later when you make your appointment, then we're all winners.

It’s all about spreading the word and getting it done! That five minutes of discomfort sitting in the stirrups while someone takes the worlds most uncomfortable Q-tip to your cervix is never fun, but look at the alternative.

My sister in law could have easily left a husband with three young kids to raise on his own and my coworker could have left two kids and a grandkid.

We have to do this for ourselves. Those scarfless orphans, chilly Mongolians, and sockless Grandpa Bubbas are counting on you taking care of yourself so you can knit them more stuff!!!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Maybe The Heat Goes To Their Heads

Wow. I just got what I regard as the email that shakes my faith in my beloved Freecycle.

When Dr. Mad Scientist came down, he brought a bunch o'junk with him that I've determined we don't need, namely a TV/VCR combo. (We could have put it in Chunky's room, but that's a road I'm not going down--I never had a TV in my room as a kid--why should he???)

So I freecycled it. The first person I contacted never emailed me back. So I went for another.

We set it up so she could pick it up on her way to pick up her daughter from school today. Or so I thought. Apparently she didn't read her email and sent me this scathing response:

"I promise you I am not a flake. I wish you would call me so I could explain better than this email. Anyway I live outside 1604 and 281 and I drive all the way over to Vance Jackson to take my daughter to school. When I didn't hear from you before I left for school, I came back home and then read your email intending to pick it up before I picked her up from school, but I didn't hear from you. I have to take her to piano after school and then it started raining and the traffic. Would it be ok to pick it up Thursday after I drop her to school? I appreciate your patience. I have one 3 yr old, two 4 yr olds, and a first grader (and a dog named Cinco) Do you have any children?"

Oh wah. Cry me an effing river honey. I can tell you right now if she has to drive her daughter that far to school then she's going to a private school and piano? Gee, must be nice.

She did write me a tail between the legs email AFTER she finally got around to reading my response.

But the whole "Do you have kids?" remark really gets under my skin. I wish I could have gone into a long diatribe about how nice it must be to obviously have the option to stay at home raising your children and still send them to private school and piano lessons.

And god knows that because she's got a dog named Cinco that I must not completely understand where she's coming from.

I'll bet you twenty dollars they named the dog Cinco because he's got a long dog weiner.

But I took the high road and I emailed her back in response to her "apology" email explaining the TV was available whenever she wanted to pick it up and that I was a working mother and understood how these things go.

She was probably left out in the sun too much as a baby or raised by a pack of wild long-donged dogs.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Hooray for Dead Presidents!

I did have a great post celebrating the fact that the University was closed today for a day of mourning and so I got a five day weekend, but Blogger ate it. Damn Blogger.

In that post I showed you what I've been working on the last five days.

First my Corded Yoke Pullover:

CYP detail

A detail of my round marker that my CASP2, Knitting Mamma, made for me because 2X2 rib is kind of boring by itself.

And then the socks I cast on using the Santa Attack yarn my CASP1, Lunastrixae, sent me:

Squeaky Sock

(Somebody wasn't too happy I woke her up from her sunbeam nap!) I love the way the green twists around the cuff of these socks. Reminds me of the Northern Lights.

I'm also working on my action figure but I'll keep that one a surprise. Hee!

Stay tuned because on Thursday I'll try to unveil the details of my Kootchie Awareness Yarn Extravaganza (in keeping with the Thursday=crazyass schemes day).

I also want to declutter my blog and list the blogs I read on the sidebar (since they've pretty much tripled from what you see over there) and eliminate the buttons. If you have a button would you be upset if I merely listed you instead?