Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dreaming in Tongues?

I must've had a really fitful sleep and been fretting about not winning the lottery, because apparently I was talking in my sleep. When I woke up this morning, my husband asked if I remembered asking him about the plywood. I didn't.

Apparently I was telling him that I needed a bunch of 8x4 plywood. Except, he said, that you would normally want to say "4x8." I looked at him and asked exactly how big is a normal sheet of plywood. He replied, "Four-buh-eight."

Weird. I have no idea how I knew that in my sleep, because if you asked me any other time, I wouldn't be able to tell you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fingers Crossed...

It’s Lotto Fev-ah, baby! So, since my desperate (and thus-far unrequited) plea for grant money earlier this week, Gina ( and I have decided to become lotto partners. From now until the end of 2007, we are going to take turns buying a ticket for the Wednesday night lotto drawing, and split the winnings. There are 19 Wednesdays between now and New Year’s Eve...nineteen chances to make it big (or at least afford yarn!). Woohoo!

I mentioned it to my husband who started going off about how stupid the lottery is and something about a “Welfare 401(k)” and such, and how if I just put the money in a savings account instead, I could have all the yarn I wanted, blah, blah. So, just to make things interesting, I will also be putting the same amount of money into a high-yield/low minimum savings account at the same time. So, I guess it’s just a little stand-off between ING Direct and the Idaho/New York Lotteries. Gentlemen, start your engines!

This whole lottery thing reminds me of these office lotto pools we used to do at work. One of the secretaries, Julie, would organize these elaborate pools and collect everyone’s dollars, logging the results into spreadsheets, etc. It was kind of interesting how the winning tickets were often the ones she purchased “for herself” and weren’t part of the group lotto anymore, despite the fact that there only seemed to be one spreadsheet. At least it didn’t cause any of those office riots—we just sort of wrote her off as being silly/eccentric.

And she was eccentric! I remember one time we all went out to lunch in my car, and Julie wanted to get the lottery tickets on the way back. I needed gas anyway, so as we were going back to work I stopped at the gas station. I was filling up and reminded Julie that she was going to get lotto tickets, but she looked at me, shaking her head and said, “No...not here. I don’t have a good feeling about the tickets here.” HUH?! She was serious, by the way.

Not only that, but she would also take them (the tickets, that is) to church on Sundays to have the priest bless them. Hmmm...either God didn’t care about her winning the lottery and donating a portion to the church, or he felt the church was already swimming in money, or.....hmmm.

Okay, so here are the numbers for this week. I’ll be at a CAbi party tonight, then joining my husband and his rock-climbing buddies for pizza after, so I probably won’t get to check in until late. You can check the numbers yourself here:
Wish us luck!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ooops du Jour! Finished!

The Ooops du Jour is finally finished and made its debut today (thank goodness it was cool and somewhat rainy out...maybe not so much for the pictures as for the fact that I could actually wear a sweater in August!). The Ooops has had a history, actually, and started it’s existence as the Scoop du Jour from Chic Knits. I found the yarn at a craft store of all places (but then again, in my town there’s only one, very tiny, LYS) and fell in love with the stretch, slightly shiny, totally chocolate aspect of it.

I wanted it in a nice cardigan with a modern, sort of boxy shape. Something you could wear over your bikini when the air gets a little cool at night while you’re lying on the pool deck (okay, so this never happens, but that’s the “feel” I wanted). I searched high and low for a great pattern and found the Scoop.

Loved the design, ordered it, and began whipping it up. I love the design, but there were things about the pattern writing I didn't love, and it was just plain irritating to follow at times. Times like decreasing the armholes---you go through this rhythm of decreases for a while, and then you get this, “oh, and by the way, you should have been counting rows all along because now you need to get to XX number of rows since the beginning of the decreases.” What?! If I wanted to go back and count rows, I could just make this up myself! if she couldn’t have just said something like, “knit X (X, X, X) more rows even,” and saved her knitter having to break out of the forging-ahead rhythm.

Anyway, as I was going along with the back, the front panels, and almost through the first arm, I noticed something strange...I didn’t have enough yarn! Agggh! I thought for SURE I’d bought much, more than enough (because I was planning to make something else with it, too) but couldn’t find it in my knitting bag, basket, backpack, under the seat of my car, in my desk drawer at work...nothing! Gone!

So I decided to step back and rework. I thought about it and decided I could fashion the Scoop du Jour into an elbow-sleeve pullover instead of a long-sleeved cardigan. Voila! For fun, I started calling it the “Ooops” du Jour. It worked out pretty well, the ripping went fast and after some figuring on the arms, I got them at just the right spots with enough ribbing to balance everything out and make it look “on purpose.” And that’s just about the exact moment guessed it! I found the rest of my yarn! Yeah...fate can just go screw itself.

I honestly took a look at frogging the whole thing out again and doing the cardigan, but I started really falling in love with the Ooops. I think I actually like it just as well, if not better, and the shape and sleeve length work really well in my wardrobe. So, the Ooops is a hit! Oh, and I got a great compliment within an hour of donning it: I was at the coffee shop this morning (of course!) to get my morning latte and as I was walking out, my friend (and bridesmaid) was walking in. “Oh, wow! LOVE your sweater!” she says, and she didn’t even know I was knitting it. Thank God I didn’t get the dreaded, “Oh....did you make that?”

Monday, August 20, 2007

Knitting Update

Okay, so the knitting. Well, the Sunrise Circle Jacket was done...mostly. Truth be told, it was done last week, it was just done wrong. You see, for whatever reason, I made the foldy-over part smaller on one of the panels. Strange, and I didn’t really notice it until after I got the whole thing sewn together. Grr.... I kept telling myself that it didn’t matter, that no one would notice. But then I hung it up and kept looking at it and every time I would just get annoyed. I also decided to enter it in the fair, and so it really does have to be perfect...Mormon ladies do the judging around here, and those ladies really know their handicrafts. And their white bread (white bread is the fiercest competition going at the Eastern Idaho State Fair!).

It’s actually pretty fortunate that I decided to enter it in the fair, because otherwise it would probably take me another eight months to rip that section out and redo it. It’s also fortunate that I’m dying to start the Coachella, which uses the same size needles at the Circle Jacket, because otherwise I would have launched headlong into Coachella and then been up until 2 am this Thursday, getting the Circle Jacket ready for entry on Friday.

As it was, I was up until 2 am this morning with a little insomnia and wandered into blogland for a while before finally getting the surgical scissors out and re-opening the Circle Jacket. Again. Counted, added another three rows and for some weird reason only known to the knitting gods, now it was bigger than the rest. Wha...??? So, rip some more, bind off, and .... perfect! Phew! Now I just need to resew and block. Pray the blocking works. I’ll show you the real results before it goes to the Fair on Friday. I totally love this sweater, though.
In other knitting news, I did allow myself a little swatch of the yarn I’m using to make the Coachella. It’s a fun, wobbly silk and cotton mix I bought eons ago, and it was really always just waiting for something like Coachella. The swatch is awesome, but a little bigger than the specified gauge, so I’m going with a smaller size and hope it kinda evens out because the yarn is so wonky that I think it would be hard to knit it in a smaller gauge. Yeah, it’s a kinda risky tactic, but we’ll see what happens. I’m not so afraid of ripping stuff out as I used to be.

And the Ooops du Jour is completely finished. I really like it, but I’m not sure I love the yarn as much as I thought I did when I started. It’s pretty heavy, and it does sort of give me that “big girl” look that I don’t like. I would think the ribbing would help accentuate my waist, but I guess having been a former “bigger girl,” I’m still a little sensitve to that. Anyway, I’m going to debut the Ooops tomorrow, so I’ll get some pics to post.

I’m revelling in the fact that this will be my last free Monday, once school starts next week. I’ll be revellling on Wednesday, too, for my last free Wednesday. It always seems like I have something to do, and while I really like that, it is nice to have a night where you can just come home and do...nothing every once in a while. I’m seriously considering cutting back on some of my nighttime Pilates classes for that very reason. It’s so hard to do that, though, when you have people wanting (and many, needing) to work out with you. But since fulfilling my New Years’ Resolution to “knit more,” I’ve really been enjoying that and wanting to keep that momentum going.

It’s also starting to feel just a little like fall outside. We had some terrific thunderstorms this weekend, with practically torrential downpours. I loved it! I went over to Jackson Hole to pick up my hubby and his climbing buddies (and let him take me to dinner at the Mangey Moose), and it just poured! They were soaked to the bone.

It’s actually cold today too. Well, not cold so much as cool. It’s wonderful. I had my little heater on to warm my bare toes and ankles under my desk, which is a far cry from sweating my brains out last week!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Now Accepting Genius Grants

I used to watch this show called "Flying Blind." It was completely brilliant, and it was on Fox about fifteen years ago. My best friend at the time, Michael, and I would watch it ever week and I loved, loved loved the main character, Alicia (played by Tea Leoni). But like all my favorite Fox shows (Arrested Development), it got canned because there were only 14 or so of us who could see the utter brillance. Okay, so on "FB," the character Jordan just hung out all day doing nothing, and finally Neil (Alicia's nerdy boyfriend, star of the show) just asked Jordan what exactly was it that he did. Jordan looked at him kinda funny and just said, "You mean you don't know? This! This is what I do!" and pointed to himself, lounging on the couch in his bathrobe in the middle of the day.

So, of course, Neil goes on about how in the world can he do "this," and Jordan explains that he has a genius grant. Neil is astonished! Jordan is a genius?! And so Jordan replies, "Well, I was that one night in bed with the woman who gave out the grants!"

So, I've decided that I need a genius grant. I'm not so much into my job lately, which doesn't really pay all that much and gets in the way of Pilates and knitting anyway. I found a passel of new projects that I want to make, and they're all expensive. So between the $$ and the time, I need a genius grant. Or I need to win the lottery. What is that about not winning if you don't play? Hmmm...they might be on to something. And why is it that everyone who talks about wanting to win the lottery never actually buys lottery tickets?! I'm buying a lottery ticket tomorrow! I'm sure you can't buy them on Sunday in Idaho. You can't even buy beer until 10 am...speaking of, there was a guy in line behind me this morning at the grocery store, buying beer at 10:01 in the a.m. I totally cracked up!

Okay, so the stuff I want to make (and I feel totally justified because I have just finished the Ooops du Jour AND the Sunrise Circle Jacket...more on those later). First, up, the Somewhat Cowl by Wendy Bernard. Love, love, love the design, the fact that it's knit in the round, the yarn, everything! A must-do, and soon! Am wondering if I can get away with knitting during my MBA 610 class, given that it's over a video feed? Hmmm....

Okay, and then the gorgeous Coachella, which made me gasp the first time I saw it on It's the cutest thing ev-ah, and I think the design is totally smart-hot. Love it! And I have some great nubby cotton-silk in my stash that'll be perfect.

I just found this one today and about died. It's the Ellie Sweater from Rowan, and knit in super-bulky yarn. I'm hoping that I can do it in brown instead of black. Isn't it delicious? Can't you just see me strutting around Park City next February at Sundance, being mobbed by Paris Hilton because she's so freaking cold she'd kill me for it? Can't you see me stradding the couch like this model (well, as soon as I get all the magazines and ironing and stuff out of the way), being ravished by my stud-muffin of a husband?

And then the Union Square Market Jacket, that I remember loving but not realizing that it was a Kate Gilbert design until last week when I was trolling for new patterns. I have say, I think she's an amazing designer. Amazing! I think I might save this one for a vacation to Greece next summer.

So there you have my little wish list. If you have a grant or want to be a yarn sugar-daddy, sign me up!

Friday, August 17, 2007

C'est la Rentrée!

Yea! It's back to school time, which is always my favorite time of year, whether I'm actually going back to school or not. This year, though, I am going back to school--my first fall semester of my Master's Degree. With two semesters down (I started in the spring, and the took summer school because I was already ruining my summer with knee surgery anyway!), I feel like I have a solid start.

This is such a great time of year for everything, though. You always feel so healthy and maybe even a little wild after a summer of sunny hiking, boating, paddling, and being outside (and I'm finally able to get out enough to pick up a little bit of a tan!), and ready for the polish of new fall clothes, the possibility of a fresh start in a new semester, and the promise to be very organized and always do your homework on time (which goes to complete hell by Labor Day!).

The French call this time of year, "la rentrée," which means time "re-enter" classes. When we were in France two years ago, we saw kids all over the place, buying their books and school uniforms. It was so cute to see them in their little outfits, taking it all very seriously but also looking little bit annoyed at the same time.

Well, today is a "Friday Off" for me (and yesterday was really only a half-day, since we had an "offsite" meeting that was really a picnic and everyone went home after!), so I'm doing some of my own "la rentrée" activities. I'm going to hop in the bath in a minute, then go to get my daily latte (the only reason for getting out of bed!), and then go to the University bookstore to pick up my books, which I'm sure will be ridiculously expensive.

After that, it's a trip to Pocatello (my hometown) to get my hair low-lighted (the sun bleaches it out in the summer), super-conditioned, and cut. I'm thinking about taking six or so inches off, because it's been so long since I've had a trim. Then a little shopping, bopping over to my parents' and my Pilates teacher's studio for a chat, and then off for a manicure/pedicure. Yea, yea, yea!

Tonight, my fabulous husband was supposed to be leading a climb up the Grand Teton but it got muffed up, so I think we're going to do a little organizing and straightening, then he's doing a big hike with them tomorrow instead. So, I will have the whole day to do stuff....what? I'm not sure just yet.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Post-Op Adventure: Stanley, Idaho

Yea! I finally got to go out and have a little fun. My knee is feeling well enough for a little sea kayaking and hiking, so we went to Redfish Lake in Stanley, Idaho this weekend. It was so gorgeous--I love Redfish, and Stanley is truly an old Wild West town. the weather started out nice and lot cooler than the 100+ temps we've been having.

We paddled to the far side of the lake, to a camping area called Inlet Campsite, where we woud spend a couple of nights. It only took an hour-and-a-half of paddling to get there (or you can hike in), but we were the only paddlers there; most people had power boats.

Well, there was one guy who swam, actually. It was pretty amazing to see that--he was training for the Navy SEALS. Once we got there, though, there were so many tents set up--we were afraid we might not get a spot! But we found one at the back--secluded from most of the others, and right along the fenceline/trail to other parts of the lake area. Very nice!
We spent most of the afternoon getting everything set up, then napping. This is why I love getting out so much--all the lazing around, reading, knitting, and napping. We slept so hard, then got up and my husband went for a little hike while I worked on my Ooops du Jour sweater. Dinner was chicken fajitas over a campstoves (there's a fire restriction right now), wine, and fruit.
The next day we went on a hike (see next post for amazing berry footage), then down to the beach for some sun, water, and more knitting (for me). Husband looking very hunky!
Sunday morning we slept in a bit and then packed up the boats and headed home. Sorry there aren't any pics of me--I guess I was hogging the camera the whole time! It was so much fun though, and I was so happy to finally get out and play a little. It kind of makes me not want to get my other knee done, because I know it just means more down time. The good news? My new knee didn't hurt at all on the hikes. Woohoo!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Berry Hiking: Stanley, Idaho

Our hike at Redfish Lake on Saturday had some unexpected treats: miles and miles of berries! I couldn't believe how many berry bushes we saw--usually when we hike, we see a few, but most have already been claimed by the bears. This was so much fun!

We saw Oregon Grapes (which we didn't eat, but I hear are good cooked, not raw):
The quintesential wild huckleberry, and there were miles and miles of huckleberry bushes everywhere! Huckleberries are best right from the bush, but also make great pancakes and jams.
Grouseberries, which are a close cousin to huckelberries, only in miniature (both the plants and the fruits). They are the cutest things, and often get overlooked because they're just a few inches high.
Here's a size comparison between huckelberries and grouseberries.
We also saw wild raspberries, which are kind of rare around here.
They're a bit smaller than domesticated raspberries, but just as sweet and flavorful.
And then we saw some thimbleberries down lower.
The fruits don't tend to last very long, and are best for eating right from the bush. The flavor is a bit like a rapsberry, but the texture is "denser."
We also saw three types of currents. These are golden, which have a very mild flavor, and we also saw red and black, which are much more sour.