Monday, December 31, 2007

The Loot

And here you thought the season for receiving was over!

Here's the pretty you could win if your name is drawn tomorrow for the regular December K.A.Y.E. drawing.

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Mmm...Cascade handspun. In some color I can't remember, but it's purty!

If your name isn't drawn in December for the regular drawing don't dispair!

You could win the grand mini-stash pictured here:









Crap.

I laid out all the kindly donated yarn in order to do a photo shoot and I went to go grab the camera.

Only to find it gone.

Freaking Dr. Mad Scientist is his moronic glory took it to work so he could try to take a picture of the New Years Revelers in Times Square.

The man can't remember to grab his cup of coffee in the morning, but leave it to him to remember to steal the camera! D'oh!

Did he learn NOTHING from going to the Times Square Toys R'Us on Black Friday?

I've got bets he isn't even able to surface at Times Square on his way home from work tonight.

So you'll have to settle for a list of the various yarns donated for the grand prize. The colors are all nice--nothing barfy at all.

1 skein Manos Del Uruguay Cotton Stria
1 skein BMFA Socks that Rock Mediumweight 100% superwash wool
1 skein Malabrigo Kettle Dyed Pure Merino Wool
3 skeins Crystal Palace Yarns Cotton Chenille (dif. colors)
2 skeins Colinette Jitterbug (same colors)
2 skeins Knit Picks Shine (same colors)
3 skeins Knit Picks Shine Worsted (2 are same color; 1 diff. color)
1 skein Knit Pics Wool of the Andes Peruvian Wool Mist
1 skein Cestari 75% cotton/25% wool
1 skein Heelside Farms 100% wool
2 skeins Sensations Dolcetto (same colors)
1 skein Cascade 220 100% wool
2 balls Regia Jacquard sock yarn (same colors)
3 balls Woole Rodel Sport & Sturmpfwool Extrastark (same colors)
4 skeins Colinette Enigma Cotton & Rayon (same colors)
2 skeins Cherry Tree Hill Silk & Merino DK (different colors)
1 skein Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud Laceweight
1 ball Cascade Fixation (make yourself a string bikini)
1 skein Farmhouse Yarns Single Ply Worsted Wool
1 skein Perchance to Knit 100% handspun superwash merino (sockweight)

WHEW!

I'll also of course throw in a little somethin' somethin' from me too to the grand prize winner.

I want to thank (and pardon me for not linking--I've got to run and pick up the aforementioned moron and my camera from the trainstation in a few mins--but I wanted to get this post up before January 1!):

Kay
Zknitter
Rosie G.
Linnea
Turtlegirl
Sarah (momsknitting)
Weeze
Ladylungdoc
Cindy
Irishgirlie
Knitmongrel

And I'm pretty sure I'm missing at least one person. I had been keeping good track of who sent what but by about August, I lost track! My apologies!

Now, here's the question: Do I continue this for next year? Or does that take the "magic" out of it. I do love a kosher excuse to hit the yarn store...even if it's not to buy yarn for me! Ha ha!

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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Year End Reflections

Last year I did a week long wrap up of knitted objects I did during the year.

I don't have much time to do that this year, so you'll have to settle for a mosaic of 35 of my FOs.

2007 FO Mosaic

This was definitely the year of the sweater and baby crap. Five sweaters (if you include Chunky's Freebase Sweater and the Anthropologiethingama Shrug), and eight baby do-dads ranging from sweaters to squid pacifier holders.

2008 is shaping up to be no different as one of the two WIPs I have on the needles right now is the baby towel.

I also went through my picture library and made you a quick mosaic of everything non-knitting that we went through this year.

2007 Round Up

January--Hell (Texas) Froze Over
February--We got the HELL out of Texas and moved to New Jersey!
March--I started the Great Urban Potato Experiment
April--I thought about working at the Boobie Bar across the street.
May--Grandma Mad Scientist and Prima Cousinrina visited us.
June--I threw myself into One Local Summer.
July--My Pot Garden started to bloom
August--We visited the Jersey Shore for the first time.
September--Chunky started kindergarten!
October--My sister T. came for a quick visit.
November--Our Chunky turned 6!
December--The Bez family, in December, visited New York (wink, wink, nudge, nudge!).

Resolutions for the new year?

Meh, I prefer to save my resolutions for Chinese New Year. February is about where I start feeling motivated to do anything anyway.

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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Out With the Old, In With the New

Oh so many new toys have come after Christmas!

Our cell phones had been slowly dying and we decided to finally break down and get Jersey ones. Now Dr. Mad Scientist and I have truly assimilated.

Farewell 517 area code cell numbers! I really liked my Michigan cell number since the last four numbers were 6230. My birthday! (and a zero!).
But then yesterday, less than a week after the death of its predecessor, my new baby came via a UPS miracle.

UPS tried delivering it at 2:00 p.m. but left a note that since we weren't home they'd have to deliver it on Wednesday. Ugh I was so not looking forward to taking down the tree without my new baby around. But then Dr. Mad Scientist called me at 5:30 p.m.--on my new cell phone!--to tell me that 5 minutes after he came home, UPS knocked on the door with my baby. They tried redelivering it the SAME day!

Behold! My new Hoover Tempo Widepath!

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Springs is getting to know his new enemy.

I've decided to name it Larry since I automatically think it's a Widestance, not a Widepath vacuum.

To the right you can see my old vacuum--my Hoover Elite. Ah, she served me well for eight years.

Oh but this new vacuum is a sucky dream! It's 12 amps of pure raw sucking power under my hands--Elite only had 7.2 amps. Larry's not self propelled, but he's so powerful that he nearly jumps out of my hands when I vacuum.
Why all this boring drivel about vacuums?

I'll fess up, there hasn't been much knitting going on here. I'm working on a super top-secret project involving the Etsy store that I'm not a liberty to discuss.

I'm hoping to finish it up this week and get back to the knitting. So stay tuned, it won't be all boring vacuum posts for long!

Finally before I go, in addition to being with my vacuum for eight years, today marks the eighth year of marriage to my Dr. Mad Scientist.

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Aw, we were such cute little silly kids weren't we?

If I could go back in time, the only advice I would have given that 21 year old Bezzie would be to warn her about the farting.

Dr. Mad Scientist never farted in front of me until AFTER the ink on the Marriage Certificate was dried.

Smart man!!!

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Present Wrap Up

I can finally show off some of the stuff I made for Christmas presents!

First up, the glasses I made for my Oldest Younger Brother and his wife:

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Actually these were more for my husband's wife who is always giving me shit about drinking Coke Zero with my rum and coke. Dude, it tastes just like Coke but with no calories!

The "acid" kind of dripped on my brother's glass, but I liked the striped it made under his name, so I left it.

Next up is a simple hat I made for my Old Man.

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A simple hat made out of Lion Brand Homespun.

There's a story behind this hat though.

It must have been a little after my sister T. taught me to knit that I decided to make a hat. The only problem was I didn't know how to decrease, knit in the round or even purl.

The resulting "hat" was basically a giant gray garter stitch rectangle with a red stripe that I sewed up one side and didn't bind off--I just gathered the stitches to close it up.

Dear lord it was ugly!

But my Old Man loved it and wore it every winter.

Somewhere along the line it got lost.

He mentioned earlier this winter he sure did love that hat, and when Older Younger Brother's wife sent me a couple of clumps of gray and red Lion Brand Homespun, I went ahead and made a nice re-creation of that funky garter stitch hat from about 15 years ago.

The Old Man says he likes it, but he still misses that funky ugly garter stitch number. He liked the amateur feel it had! Ha ha!

As for received presents, I didn't get anything knitting related from Dr. Mad Scientist and Chunky, but I did get four pounds of cheese from The Dairy Store, Annie on DVD (the ONLY musical I can watch without a barf-bag), my normal year and a half supply of shower gels, and one of my fave presents yet--a SLED!

I have a sled that's all my own! No more sharing with Chunky! WOO!

Now if it would just freaking snow!!!

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Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

The last day of Christmas Cookie Countdown!

This one is from my reprint of the 1963 Betty Crocker Cooky Book.

Love toffee but don't have the teeth or candy-making skills for it? This is a great substitute. It's one of my faves.

Toffee Squares

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 a 12 oz. bag of chocolate chips
Chopped nuts (optional)

Cream your butter and sugar together. Add the egg, vanilla and flour next.

You should have a big old ball of what feels like cookie dough.

Plop it into a 9"x9" greased pan.

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Push and spread it down.

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Bake it for 25 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

It will come out all golden brown.

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Here's where you have to work fast.

While it's straight out of the oven--dump a bunch of chocolate chips on top. Add more than what's in this picture--trust me.

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Now put a piece of aluminium foil on top to keep the warmth contained.

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After about 5 minutes your chocolate chips should be melty enough to spread.

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Add your nuts...

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Now here's something else important to do: cut it into squares before the chocolate hardens! After you cut it into squares, refridgerate it and enjoy once the chocolate hardens.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas.

Remember to:
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("Knit, Drink...")

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("...and Be Merry!")

Glasses possibly coming to an Etsy store near you (once I can figure out how to take a 1/2 way decent picture of etched glass!)

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Yawn

Because this is a knitting blog, wanna see my knitting?

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Yup. It's the Pig-Come-Bunny Baby Towel. Talk about boring.

I finished the first ball and it gave me 5.5 inches of knitting. I've got 8 balls total. I think I'll be able to get the whole thing done out of 8 balls. That's the "fun" part about "designing" stuff (I use quotes because I don't want anyone to equate me knitting some rectangles to really be considered true designing) you never know how much yarn you'll need til it's done!

Aside from boring knitting I've been engaging in other boring tasks, like researching vacuums.

Right now I have my eye on this one:


vacuum


It's a Hoover U5140-900 Tempo Widepath.

It's less than $100 but it's got some really great reviews on Amazon. And Best Buy has it on sale with free shipping.

Tempting, very tempting.

The only thing holding me back is a.) it's cheap, and you do get what you pay for--but the people reviewing the vacuum say it's a steal and comparable to your pricier vacuums and b.) our last car before the Buick was a Tempo, I have associative problems with that name now.

I did want to hit the stores and pick up a vacuum so I could vacuum before Christmas, but that would mean hitting the stores on Christmas Eve (I can't go out today--I didn't get my paycheck Friday as a result of Chunkito blowing chunks so shopping will have to wait til Monday). Chunky's doing much better by the way, thanks for your well wishes. It was only a 24 hour bug.

So I have to ask, what's your favorite vacuum?

Please don't say "Dyson." I hate Dyson's on principal. They're expensive and suck up too much dust. I'm a big believer in living in a somewhat dirty house. I think our society is heading for bad times with all the anti-bacterial anti-dust/dirt products on the market. Like Chunky's Great Grandpa used to say: "You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die."

Also I think that Dyson guy might be in bed with Steve Jobs in the taking over the world division by infiltrating every household with Macs, iStuff, and super sucky vacuums.

Products with such a fervent devotion by consumers scare me. The cult following Apple products have and the near orgasmic reviews of Dyson vacuums I read seriously frighten me. (No one said fears had to make sense right?)

Hm, that said, maybe I need to reconsider that Tempo. Why are so many people loving it?

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

And You Thought Your Day Sucked

10:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

I'm attempting in vain to resuscitate my Hoover vacuum that started making CRAZY loud noises when I fired her up this morning. I thought I blew the belt, but when I popped the hood, the belt was fine. I think the motor went. Normally I'd be pissed, but this vacuum is almost exactly 8 years old. We bought her with a stack of Sears gift cards we got for our wedding presents. I think I paid out of pocket $4 for it.

Anyway, I'm sitting there screwdriver in hand, when we hear what sounds to be a woman's high pitched scream and then a slamming noise.

We run to the window.

Wrong about the scream--it was car brakes.

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Yowza.

Black Corolla nailed Silver Somethingorothermodel as Silver Somethingorothermodel was making a right turn. We didn't see it, but I would guess that Silver Somethingorothermodel would be to blame trying to make that turn with Black Corolla so close.

Anyway, the crash knocked Silver Somethingorothermodel driver unconscious and the good Samaritans driving by, walking their cute little beagle, and taking the trash out across the street came running to help her.

We watched as they tried to pry her driver's door open. Finally a guy who had been driving by retrieved a hammer from his truck and the broke the passenger window.

In 5 minutes there were three fire trucks, four cops, and three ambulances, and one poor NJT bus (see it there at the right of the first picture) stuck unable to make a turn or back up to take a different route past the accident at the scene.

Things got pretty intense when the Crowbar of Life couldn't get Silver Somethingorothermodel's door open and they had to fire up the Jaws of Life to cut her door open.

When they finally pulled her out about 1/2 an hour after the accident she was awake and moving. I don't think it was too bad as the ambulance they put her in didn't leave until after the tow truck collected the damaged vehicles.

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I contemplated not taking pictures as it seemed distasteful at first. But then I thought "do unto others as you would do unto yourself." Would I mind if someone took pictures of my accident? Nah, not in the least.

I gotta say I was highly impressed with the multitasking abilities of the city police, EMTs and fire peeps. They worked like a well oiled machine. While the EMTs worked on pulling Silver Somethingorothermodel driver out of the car, the cops were taking pictures and doing the paperwork, and the fire peeps were busy popping the car hoods to make sure nothing was going to catch on fire, kitty littering the spilled oil/radiator fluid, and sweeping up the broken glass.

I feel bad for both the drivers though. What a shitty thing to happen this close to Christmas.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Upchucked

In honor of my inadvertent Christmas holiday day off today thanks to my Sweet Chunky, I'm recycling this post I did last year.

Sadly my day off means I'm exhausted from cleaning barf out of bedsheets at all hours of the morning and running to the corner store in my sweatpants before Dr. Mad Scientist goes to work so I can pick up some saltines and Gatorade and pay 10 times what I would have to pay for it had I purchased it at Shoprite and NOT a convenience store.

But hey! It's Christmas! Suck (or mop) it up, right?! Ironically (because I didn't plan to do it this way) I posted this exactly one year ago today on December 21st as my little cyber nose thumbing at the grinches and negativity that seem to run rampant this time of year.


Listen! Do You Wanna Know a Secret?

I love Christmas!

I don’t mind that people go to the mall and fight tooth and nail for the latest animatronic Muppet that giggles, dances, and shits itself.

I don’t buy that crap for my son and he doesn’t ever want it. I don’t have to go near the toy store or mall to fight the crowds.

If people want to wait in the cold in a line at Oh-Dark-Hundred to get their hands on the latest plasma screen HD automatic crescent wrench shaving cream warmer--I don't mind. Whatever flips their cookies.

I'd rather get four pinecones that make me smile in the mail from an old coworker back in Lansing for Christmas.

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I love Santa and Mrs. Claus.

I love that my son came home from school a couple of weeks ago after Santa and Mrs. Claus visited them and informed me that Santa was very nice and Mrs. Claus was looking “quite fashionable.”

I love that he believes in Santa.

I don’t mind that I have to “lie” to him about Santa. I remember being “lied to” about Santa as a kid and guess what? I don’t hate my parents and sob into the couch pillow of a therapist about how they ruined my adult life with the myth of Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.

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I love that my son refused to tell me what he wanted for Christmas because if he spoke what he wanted aloud it “wouldn’t come true.”

I love that when I finally did get out of him what he wanted for Christmas it was two things. Two simple things.

I love that I know even though I didn’t get him one of those two things, he will be totally enamored with everything else under the tree that it won’t matter.

I love that my family doesn’t mind getting homemade presents. Or if they do mind, they don’t bitch about it to my face.

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I love the stress of getting the decorations up and the cards sent and the cookies baked and the Christmas dinner served. I thrive on that stress.

I love the way the last two weeks of the year the world slows down, people take time off of work and school to stay at home and the mood in the air is one of a palpable laid-back nature.

I love that nothing is expected of me the last two weeks of the year at work. And if something is expected, if it’s a little late they’re willing to use “the holidays” as an excuse for its tardiness.

I love that some people try to be PC around this time of year and wish others a “Happy Holiday” or a “Season’s Greetings” in case they don't celebrate Christmas.

I think it rocks that so many different trains of thought all seem to converge at the same station this time of year for the same purpose of peace, love and understanding.

I love that on Christmas we will spend half of the day on the phone calling the two sets of parental units in Alaska and a certain sister of mine who will probably be bitching about how "cold" it is in Atlanta.

So many people have meltdowns or go ranting and raving about everything from the excess consumerist gluttony we experience or feel pressured to experience this time of year; the sham of a fat guy in a red suit; how crappy it is that some people call it a "holiday tree" and not a "Christmas tree" as not to offend anyone; how frazzled and stressed they feel to keep up with the Marthas and make sure their napkin rings match the toilet seat cover; or how they hate having to juggle Christmas dinner between spending it at drunken Uncle Louie’s house and their sister Chatty Cathy's house.

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I’m just thankful that:

I have a kid to lie to about Santa Claus to and buy presents for;
I have a home to worry about decorating;
I have friends and family to send Christmas cards to;
I have friends who don’t celebrate Christmas (but a different holiday instead);
I have a family to spend Christmas with (Even if it is just my immediate family. Enjoy your Drunken Uncle Louie and sister Chatty Cathy's Christmas dinners! We haven't seen many of our siblings and some parental units for nearly 7 years!)

But finally, I'm thankful that y'all are here to listen to my own little Christmas rant!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

K.A.Y.E.: Let's get personal---reeeeallll personal!

Gather ‘round children and let me tell you the story of Bezzie's Great Cooter Rootin' of 2007.

You can leave if you’re uncomfortable with frank talk of cooters and probing and what not.

Let me start by saying I should have probably done my research when I picked this office.

However it has taken me pretty much all year to schedule this appointment.

Why?

Because I am part of the lucky few (i.e. lowest people on the totem pole) in my office that were told that they had to take a lunch between 12 and 1 every day.

Do you know how hard it is to schedule a doctor’s appointment between 12 and 1? Most doctor’s offices, and rightly so, go to lunch at these hours.

Now if it was any other type of appointment or doctor, I might consider making the appointment from work at my desk. But I sit in an office set up which is basically a fat hallway with desks lining each side, there is no privacy whatsoever. I’m not about to air my personal business like that.

I had compiled a list of doctors in the area that accepted our insurance, and had kept the list in my car. Finally, one day, my boss asked me to stay into my lunch hour so he could get a letter out and afterwards I was able to go to lunch—during normal doctor’s office hours!

I made the call and secured my date. Hooray!

Today was that date.

I showed up at 8:45 a.m. and I’m greeted by a dingy office with worn out carpet and signs on the door exclaiming that you are on camera and don’t even try to eff with anything because you WILL be prosecuted.

Oh boy, I knew this was going to be good.

A sign on the reception window explained that copays are paid before the visit and in cash only. No checks or credit cards accepted.

I pray to the Holy United Healthcare Gods of Mt. Sinai that my copay is only $10 or less as that’s all I had in cash on me (don’t you think that would have been nice to have been informed when I made the appointment?)

Thankfully my prayers were answered and the Holy United Healthcare Gods of Mt. Sinai do NOT require a copay.

After filling in all the requisite paperwork I get called back to the exam rooms.

First off they have a digital scale.

Call me old fashioned, but I like me some of those slidey weights that tell me how fat my ass is. I don’t own a scale, but the readout on this scale was not a surprise. I would have preferred it the old fashioned way though.

I’m of the “if my clothes keep fitting, it’s all good” mentality. And my clothes haven’t had problems fitting since I was pregnant with Chunky. Vanity sizing in women’s jeans aside!

Next I’m led to the requisite teensy room decorated with every educational diagram of the female vagina and uterus you can imagine. There’s the leg-spread shot, a cute one of a ripe egg being released, and an artsy cross section shot of an ovary.

I’m told to strip from the waist down.

So I do and I curl up on the table under a giant Mardi Gras brand paper napkin emblazoned with an advertisement for some vaginal cream that has an applicator that looks like a cross between a tampon and a fire extinguisher—with a nifty eyelet at the end so you can hang it on your keychain or something in case of vaginal emergency.

I love the way women’s pharmaceuticals are advertised with those cartoons that look like anorexic Bratz dolls with the doe eyes doing fun things like riding a Vespa.

“I may have a foul smelling green discharge from my vagina—but with VagoStinguish that won’t stop me from zipping along on my cool scooter!”

I try to amuse myself half nakedly as I listen to the doctor counsel the woman in the room next to me on her upcoming tubal ligation. He takes a majority of the time to tell her that the term “tying your tubes” is a misnomer. Your tubes are cut and rubber banded off, not tied into a pretty Christmas bow.

Oh the HIPAA violations!

After about half an hour waiting and checking out my sexy hand knit clad socks in the full length mirror that is on the door and determining that although I really love STR, the way they pill and felt on the heels is quite annoying, Dr. Earl comes in.

Now those of you reading for a while will know I prefer a man gynecologist.

I like that they have bigger hands and can get in and out and on with things when they’re rooting around in there. And they’re not so, I don’t know, female.

But anyway, Dr. Earl comes in.

Close your eyes and picture what you think a typical Jersey guy looks like.

Is he short?

Check.

Is he stocky?

Check.

Does he have a thicket of chest hair peeking out of the top of his shirt?

Check.

The only difference between this guy and a Sopranos extra was that he was wearing a lab coat.

And I was kind of surprised he was even wearing that.

I read somewhere that lab coats are kind of a thing of the past and many doctors opt not to wear them anymore.

I know Dr. Mad Scientist, even though he’s a not an MD but a PhD, only wears his if they know they’re being inspected or if they’re doing something particularly bloody that day.

Execution Day at MSU was lab coat day. He came home telling me stories one day of the undergrad that forgot her coat and was sprayed by a particularly juicy rat one Execution Day. Makes finding mouse turds in your tuna helper seem benign huh?

Shockingly, Dr. Earl doesn’t get into the standard conversation I have with people, especially doctors, about my last name. Usually it’s “Mrs. Bez-bez-bez-bez----um, how do you say it?” followed with “What ethnicity is that?”

Dude, I don’t know, it’s freaking Czech or something. Ask my husband, it was his people not mine. I’m just sleeping in this family tree.

No no, he starts with “Where you from?” and asks me where my husband works. I inform him that he's a PhD researcher at Mt. Sinai. (Pay attention to this fact.)

Dr. Earl got down business quickly. He asked if I wanted a chaperone (i.e. a nurse to come into the room) before I spread ‘em.

I told him no. What's the point of choosing a male gyno if you're just going to have to drag a nurse in to watch? Get a female gyno then!

While he’s got me spread and doing some weird yoga knee flex to loosen things up a bit (I have never in my life been told to bend like that during a pelvic exam) he asks me if he can interest me in upgrading my pap smear to include an STD screen for gonorrhea and syphilis.

I had a flashback to when I was a teenager working at the movie theater and how I earned $25 for upselling a medium to a large popcorn to a secret shopper.

I hope the kickbacks Dr. Earl obviously receives from whatever testing company making these tests are good.

He gives me some schpiel about how they’re asymptomatic and not a bad idea, blah blah. He laughs and says hey if it comes back positive, my husband would be on the hook for a new car or some jewelry.

Later after the exam was done, he asks me if I smoke or drink. I tell him I do drink, but only once in a while.

He laughs and says "Ha ha, so you're not an alcoholic yet!"

Holy mother of Fatzah. YET?

I think this dude was perceiving me as the Cartoon Doctor's Wife: a drunk shrew that drives her man to cheat on her and then weasels him out of diamonds and shiny cars when he brings home the STD du jour to me. And my husband's not even an MD!

Jesus, Cartoon PhD Wives have short gray hair, and bake delicious cookies for departmental Christmas parties (those chocolate covered cherry cookies went over very well at Dr. Mad Scientist's departmental party today, by the way!). Cartoon PhD Wives trust their husbands to not cheat on them and we don't like diamonds and Lexuses.

But like many of you have emailed me with your K.A.Y.E. stories—it was good that I went in. While he was wrist-deep in there, he told me I had a nice little fibroid growing.

Which isn’t a big deal. It doesn’t give me problems like textbook ones are supposed to. But it does explain why Dr. Mad Scientist and I have been able to knock boots with impunity with no consequences for a year.

And here y’all thought I was stupid for giving away those car seats!

I'm a little saddened by this but we're lucky to have had Chunky.

Thank the holy squashes above we didn't wait to have kids though huh?

For once one of our plans actually worked!

And on that note, if you've made it this far, remember to spread the love and the legs and let people know, or enter yourself in my K.A.Y.E. drawing! Entries close for the month AND the year on December 31!

Here you thought Christmas was coming fast!

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

Are there any sweeter four words?

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 teas. baking soda
1/4 teas. baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 egg
1 1/2 teas. vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chocolate chips
4 teas. reserved cherry juice
10 oz. jar of marischino cherries

Cream together the butter, sugar, egg and cocoa. Add the baking powder, soda, and vanilla. Mix it. Then add the flour.

Roll them into little balls.

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Drain the cherries--but remember to set aside some of the juice.

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Top the unbaked cookies with cherries.

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Now prep the topping. Melt the 1 cup of chocolate chips with the 1/2 cup of condensed milk along with four teaspoons of the cherry juice.

This:

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Turns into this:

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Put it into this:

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And pipe it over the cherry.

Bake them for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees and they'll look like this.

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I love these--and they're my special "Christmas only" cookies.

I also finished up the felted Christmas trees yesterday.

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Nice to have those finally done.

Now I can concentrate on the baby towel. My thinking was along a majority of everyone elses'. Even though this coworker is NOT a very devout Muslim, I'll skip the pig and do a bunny.

However, if she names the little girl Anya, I could be right back where I started.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Death & Birth

How could I have forgotten to include this on my catch-up of what I've been doing?

Look away if you're squeamish.

I mean it, you've been warned. No bitching if you freak.























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I've been on the warpath!

Earlier in the fall Squeaky killed two mice.

I sort of shrugged it off because it was very early in the fall that she did this.

But then a little over a week ago, I was making dinner (tuna helper if you must know--sometimes after 8 hours at work and two hours in the car commuting, you don't feel like coming home to cook something nice!) and I noticed what I thought was a bug floating in the milk and water I was heating up.

It's funny because I was fully prepared, if it was a bug, to pull the bug out and keep cooking.

But it wasn't a bug--it was a mouse turd. Barf. I had to scrap the dinner, wash my pot, and start over.

Very annoying. Very disgusting.

Upon further inspection, I found many mouse turds in our cupboard.

So we purchased some traps. I set the first two in the cupboard a week ago Saturday night.

That little guy you saw up there was mouse kill #7 by me. We're averaging one kill a night. Some nights we got nothing, some nights we got two kills.

My handy little spray bottle of watered down ammonia that I used to kill ants with in Texas has become my cupboard disinfecting spray now. It's been fun hosing down after each kill as well as washing every pot or pan that comes out of that cupboard.

I'm thinking about taking the Mouse Slayer title away from Squeaky. I'm kicking her furry ass!

Finally, I'd like to invite you along with me as I design a project.

Just because Christmas knitting is over doesn't mean not-for-me knitting is. Dr. Mad Scientist has a coworker due with a little girl the day before his birthday--March 10.

Now, unlike Miss T., my inspiration process isn't very organized. I came up with this idea in the shower, of course, and went out a few days later and bought a bunch of balls of Sugar n'Cream

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My plan is to make this coworker one of those cute little hooded towels.

I searched on the internets and The Place That Shall Not Be Named for patterns--but all they had was basically towels with little pockets in the corner for baby's head.

That's NOT what I want.

I'm designing this myself. It will be super easy. I'm basically just knitting a giant rectangle and will then add the hood when I'm done.

I want to embellish said towel to look like a little piggy.

I thought this was a cute idea until Dr. Mad Scientist informed me that his coworker is a Muslim.

Hm...do you think this will be a problem? I mean it's not like the towel is going to look like a ham sandwich.

Oh but damnit, I just Wikipedia-ed the Muslim aversion to pigs and pork and read a big long description about how unclean and unwholesome they view pigs to be.

But maybe that can be cancelled out by the fact that this piggy will be VERY clean since it's a freaking BATH TOWEL.

Anyway, normally I keep the patterns I "design" under wraps til they're done, but I'll let y'all see this one as it emerges.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Official Catch Up

Ok, hold on kids, it's time for a whirlwind blog-catch up.

After I hit the post office this afternoon I'm pretty much DONE with my Christmas crap except for a few little things like stocking stuffers.

First up: December's regular monthly K.A.Y.E. Prize--

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It's two skeins of Cascade Hand Dyed Peruvian Wool. I'm not sure this is a "new" and cool yarn, but man, that color made the skeins jump into my arms!

Remember, you've got until December 31 to enter! Click the link above or in the sidebar for the rules if you have no freaking clue what I'm talking about. Also in addition to pulling a regular monthly winner I will be pulling a winner for the YEAR. This means you win a virtual mini-stash of yarn from knitters all over the world. Very cool!

Second up: A couple of Christmas FOs.

Sadly many of my knit and crafty Christmas present recipients read this blog, so I can't show you much.

But I can show you the potholders I made for Grandma Mad Scientist. I tried doing felted ones, but um yeah, they sucked. So I made her a pair out of kitchen cotton.

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The pattern is Chinese waves. And yeah, these kind of suck too. As you can see, I ran out of yarn on the second holder. Dr. Mad Scientist says that his mom won't care. Let's hope so!

This weekend I'll also be finishing up the beading on these:

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Kinda blurry, but it's the felted Christmas tree ornaments for my bosses and coworkers.

I hand felted these mo-fos after the laundromat seemed to run out of hot water. Holy crap, I had big old stigmata-like blisters on each of my palms. OW!

Third up: My WIP. That's right WIP--no plural, just singular.

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It's my Colorado State Jay Walker sock. Knit out of team colors dyed by Pink Wool.

It's been an interesting year for our dear Colorado State Rams. They won an abysmal 2 games this year. They fired their coach that rescued them from the depths of loserdom back in the 80s and that they named the football field after.

He was a great coach, but he was getting kind of old. And he was I think a little too loyal for his own good. He refused to fire any of his coaching staff that weren't getting the job done.

Ah well, on to better things. They've hired an old alumni who is finishing up the season with the Buffalo Bills as an assistant coach. We have high hopes for next season and the seasons after.

I guess this is my "Farewell Sonny" sock and the other one will be my "Hello Steve" sock as nods to both coaches.

So there you have my catch up--I'll leave you with some Christmas pictures from around our house.

Me and Chunky decorating the tree (a Noble Fir--what a great tree!Mnimal needle loss, soft needles and smells great!) and Squeaky enjoying her new Christmas hideout in the old Cheapass Christmass Tree from last year. It's now set up in our dining room.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Explicit Innuendos Ahead

Let that title be a warning to you. Don't complain that I didn't warn you!

Here's the thing about blogging.

Either you've got nothing going on and nothing to blog about; or you've got so much going on you don't have time to blog about it.

It's been Door #2 lately for me.

Work's still a bitch, my evenings have been packed with knitting and creating Christmas presents (I think 90% of my extended family gifts this year are homemade either by me or some Etsy person) and packing those presents into boxes for shipping around the country, and my weekends have been packed with birthday parties for Chunky's friends, tree shopping, and just this past Sunday hanging with the NY knitters that sweetened the pot when we were considering moving to Jersey.

Today has to be my most favorite day of all though.

I am hereby calling today my first "real" New Jersey Winter Storm. Oh and what a "storm" it was!

It was one of those things that the Weather Channel people call a "wintry mix." We had hail, we had snow, we had sleet, we had rain. Every form of precipitation falling from the sky you could imagine, aside from frozen plane pee chunks.

I guess that's why they call it a "wintry mix." Although when I think "wintry mix" I think of frozen Chex and peanuts.

First the good things I have to say about this storm.

I was shocked at how cautious NJ drivers are in this weather. I went out at lunch to mail some of the aforementioned packages, and people were going 25 mph in 50 mph zones! Wow!

For all the impatience NJ drivers have in normal weather, I was really shocked they behaved so well in this slop.

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Finally, the bad things I have to say about this storm.

New Jersey residents--ok, ok, broad generalization there-- let's correct that to just include the 70 or so NJ residents I work with--are pussies.

We had three classes of pussies emerge today at work.

The first class were the Big Dry Pussies. These are the people that freaked out when the weather forecast was merely predicting snow and ice. These are the ones that called in or worked from home before the snow even hit the ground. The home-workers were the attorneys--I'll cut them some slack. I guess if you spend all that time and money at law school the least you're entitled to is a day in front of the computer in your jammies.

The second class consisted of the Nooner Pussies. These were the people who made it to work (the precipitation didn't start til about 10:30 a.m.) but panicked and up and left at 12:00 p.m.

The third class were the Moist Pussies. These were the ones that were rarin' to go when it started to ACTUALLY get wet out. They all left anywhere from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Here's the rub with these three classes of pussies--the partners never allowed anyone to go home early. These people just decided to up and leave. I will cut the two girls who got calls from their daycare centers being told that the centers were closing for the day some slack, but everyone else just took the law into their own hands and left.

Maybe I'm a goody two shoes (ok, not maybe--I AM a goody two shoes) but I would never dream of just up and leaving work without permission. I'd only leave without permission if the building was in ruins after a tornado. Of course since I went out at lunch, I knew what the conditions were like and I wasn't freaked in the least.

By 3:00 p.m. there were five secretaries left.

Five.

Out of twenty total.

I suppose I can't complain too much. I was finally given the blessing by the partners to go home at 4:15 p.m.

The saddest part is that this weather was NOTHING. It was just slush on the roads. Even if I wasn't an Alaskan-winter trained driver, it was nothing to moisten your panties about at all.

Like I told one of the other five secretaries left this afternoon, maybe somehow we'll be karmically rewarded for our hard work and dedication. I kind of doubt it though.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

I've Got Big Balls

Date balls that is.

It's Christmas Cookie Countdown Monday!

And it's also the 'rents 30th wedding anniversary today. 30 years seems like such a long time to be married. But of course for us half bastards that had the honor of attending the ceremony in-utero, 30 years doesn't really seem all that long (read: old) now does it?

In quasi honor of that, I present you with my mom's recipe for Date Balls. She only ever made us these at Christmas.

Date Balls

1/2 lb. package of dates (the squishy kind, not the rock hard dried kind), finely cut
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
7 oz. package of shredded sweetened coconut
3 cups of rice krispies

Cook the dates, eggs, sugar and butter over medium heat until thick. Turn off the heat.

Add the teaspoon of vanilla and then the 3 cups of rice krispies.

Let the mixture cool enough until it's comfortable to handle.

It should look a little something like this:
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Next, either spoon or just grab a lump o'date mixture and put it in a bowl of coconut.

I used a cookie scoop. I like my balls to be of uniform shape. Nothing worse than misshapen balls.

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Roll the mixture in the coconut and form it into a ball.

Set it onto a cookie sheet and refridgerate to firm.

Eat, enjoy, repeat.

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Weirdly enough--the recipe says it yields 20 balls, but I got 30 balls--one for each year of the 'rents marriage. Cosmic man.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas Miracle

I checked the mail today, nothing unusual about that right?

Along with the dismal discovery that the Mormons have yet again been able to track us down (Dr. Mad Scientist is a renegade lamb who broke from the flock in high school and they've been after him ever since. No disrespect for LDSers, but please, please stop calling, knocking and mailing us stuff. We've told you NUMEROUS times in writing and otherwise that we're not interested. We respect what flips your cookie, but that doesn't mean we want a bite!), and wedged in with a gorgeous Christmas card from another Kay I hold near and dear, was the characteristic set of letters (one addressed to me, and one addressed to Dr. Mad Scientist) from my favorite government agency--the IRS!

Guess what? We owe MORE MONEY!

However, the kind and benevolent jackweeds that they are, had this to say about what we owed:

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Awww!!! They said we didn't have to pay them $3.74! How sweet!

I'm not even going to talk about how much money it must have cost us as taxpayers to examine, prepare, and mail these notices in duplicate. Who voted that duplicate law into practice anyway?

I think I've covered that quite enough.

Those poor people working for the IRS. When I start to think that my job is unfulfilling I'll pull out these letters and think about the poor sap that had to draft and mail these out. I'm rolling my eyes at receiving them, can you imagine what the poor IRS employee sending them was thinking???

Speaking of jobs, I just deleted a very large portion of text ranting about my job.

Sigh. Let's just say it's been very very busy and am being rewarded for my hard work with more work.

Yay.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Is that a toddler in your lap or are you just happy to see me?

I love my local library. Somewhat.

Aside from their abysmal lack of books that I want to read when I get an itch to read about a certain subject (and no, ILL is not really an option. Remember eating local? What about reading local?)

And I don't really dig their unwritten (at least I don't remember reading it when I signed up for a card) rule of "Only four books per subject."

Despite that stupid rule, I was able to check out (gasp!) four books on knitting last time I went.

I checked out my standard three issues of old Vogue Knitting magazines (someone had them hardbound and available to checkout--I used to hate Vogue Knitting when I had to pay for it, but now I think I like it better than Interweave Knits.)

I also checked out a sweet little gem called McCall's Christmas Knitting and Crochet 1982.

They had some really cute stuff in there--including these little stuffed barnyard animals that you knit the pieces from a chart.

Kind of like cross stitch, they just gave you a graph and you knit to the stitch number of each row. They don't spell out each row for you--they count on the fact that you know how to say BO 2 sts in the beginning or increase a few sts.

Maybe I don't knit enough toys--but I had never seen a pattern written like that.

My favorite section though had to have been the toddler sweater section.

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That poor set of twins looks soooo happy to be modeling.

I feel for that little one in the knitted jumpsuit. I know it was the early 80's and I was about the size of those kids when this issue came out, but I don't ever remember knitted jumpsuits being the thing.

Then they had the section for their teddy bear sweaters for toddlers.

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Disturbing. Very disturbing. Why is there a dude in a bear suit holding these kids?

Like you went to see Santa and oops, Santa was off taking a smoke break and instead you had to sit on Buddy Bear's lap and tell him your most secret materialistic dreams.

What I think bothers me the most? The kids seem nonplussed by the whole thing.

Dude, it's a grown man in a bear suit for no other apparant reason than to illustrate that you are wearing a bear sweater!

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I think he kind of looks like Richard Carpenter.

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