Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sleeping the rest of vacation away...

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
Well, not really. I'm at work today, and was here yesterday morning too. Hubs and I are splitting days because of daycare being closed, trying to keep stuff going. It looks like I'm employed til the end of Jan (shocker? not sure.) so I have to do things like run gels and set up PCRs and stuff tip boxes (which make no sense to the non-sciency) ;-)

I've got 2/3 of one mitten done for Hubby, and am working on a super secret project for Little Bro. I also have thrums done for a pair of mitts for myself, and a bunch of fleece that's waiting to either be more thrums or some practice spinning. I'll try to take pics of everything, and of the beautiful needle case Hubby got me (with some assistance from the ladies at the LYS).

I just placed my annual after-Christmas craft supply sale order, and I'm hoping not much of it is on back-order. I did pretty well with handmade gifts this year, even if it was just an ornament or two, up to hats and scarves; I managed to send something for each sub-set of the family - Big Bro & Co., Little Bro & Co., Mom and Dad, Goddaughter & her brothers out west, Best Friend. I want to get a jump this year, especially if I end up at home for a few months - N. can help if we pull him out of daycare ;-)

And now I have to load a gel... I need to get out of here in time for Hubby to get back and have a good block of time to work.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Greetings from snow city

We've dug out, and it's not too bad... although from the lack of bus service and stories of airport closures, you'd think it was snowmageddon. My camera battery died mid-video, so I'll put those up in a day or so... but, on to the good stuff!

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Joyful Boxing Day, etc etc. We've survived, had a blast, and even have some pictures. Very few of the actual present-opening, because we were webcamming with the rest of the family up in Canada. It was bittersweet, but still pretty wonderful. My heart cracked when my brother turned the camera toward the table, so we could 'eat' with everyone in my parents' dining room. I still have to get pics of my gifts from Hubby, and his still has to arrive from Maine, but we'll get there.

My first (and very sad) gingerbread house. The royal icing was too drippy, and I was too tired to fix it. The candy-coated sunflower seeds do look like Christmas lights, though.

Santa stopped by...

... and brought a big train set!

Some Cars showed up...
We clean up pretty well, methinks :-)

My big little man!

And this is how I'm spending naptime. This, and yarn.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
It's cold outside. Find your favourite stuffed animal and curl up under a blanket :-)

We had a rough 36 hours - the tank ran out of oil and when they came to fill it, the 'adjustment' resulted in the furnace kicking out around 5pm. Which made for a cold house, since the wind was sucking away any last remnants of heat. It made me miss living in brick buildings, since this is the first place I've ever lived that has no brick whatsoever.

So, we put on fleecy jammies, had a warm drink, and went to bed early. And the landlord opened a can of whoopass and the service guy came at 11:30pm. This morning we were back to being all warm and toasty.

Today is the last day of work, and I'm not sure how consistent blogging will be. I have to come in two days next week to take care of stuff, so that might work out.

If not, Merry Christmas to all! Hope Santa is good to you :-)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A totally unrelated photo post

(there were many llamas at Rhinebeck, and they all had 'tude)
Things I discovered in the last 24 hours:
  • I can bake 13 dozen cookies in one night.
  • My boss and his wife like my cookies so much that they take what I give them, freeze them immediately, and dole them out like special treasures, every couple of days, as long as they can make them last.
  • People like getting baked goods. I like giving them. It's nice to know that I gave away 144 cookies and only have 12 left. Hungry, but nice ;-)
  • My son is likely going to be slapped in the face a lot one day. The daycare teachers have always said he was affectionate, but he's taken it to another level. All the kids pat the belly of the pregnant teacher, but it turns out N. likes to motorboat when he gives hugs. This has nothing to do with cookies or llamas, it just made me laugh really hard when they told me this morning.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Waiting for Christmas

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
This was N. last year, waiting for Christmas morning to begin.

I feel a bit like this these days - not wired, but not sleeping. Just hanging out waiting for things to begin. I still have a handful of presents to wrap, and tonight I have to bust out top gear to get cookies made for N.'s teachers, but other than that I'm considering the rest of it all finished. I don't have the energy for much more, truthfully.

Yesterday was supposed to be the day I got all of that done, but I sat down to get started, and broke my sheepie mug (a pic is two or three posts down), and just gave up. I was drinking a cup of decaf coffee, the first cup of coffee brewed in our house in over two weeks, and slam! down it fell. I think I can glue the handle back on, but I feel really stupid. That'll teach me to spend crazy money on a mug (but I love it, I do). The rest of the day was so sleepy; we had gotten to church in the morning, but the afternoon was a bust. I still have laundry to fold :-( I'm debating going back on coffee, but it's been 4 weeks since I started cutting down, and two weeks completely caffeine-free, and I don't want to be the one to fold ;-)

Fiberwise, I'm partway through some mittens from a kit that I'm not loving, and I'm starting more shortly. I also have a secret project that's about 0.5% done, and will take me a lifetime, but so far, so good. Now that I think about it, maybe that's why I've been so flightly the past few days - I haven't worked on anything since Thursday or Friday.

In any case, I'll end the rambling for now. I have to see what I can get done here, and maybe get N. a little early so we can start cookie baking ahead of schedule.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

still alive.

15 dozen cookies, a little knitting, lots of crochet for Miss L., and complete lack of caffeine.

All resulting in a tired, but happy, household.

More soon.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Things I've learned this week.

  • If uninterrupted, I can knock out a toddler mitten in slightly more than an hour.
  • Giving up caffeine is not easy, but it sure cuts down on the panic attacks.
  • Putting the toddler to bed a mere 30 minutes earlier results in: a) him falling asleep faster, b) him sleeping through the night without a peep and c) better naps through the day
  • A napping toddler + Indiana Jones on TV - 1 husband (who went to lab) = prime gift wrapping time.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Thursday is still random...

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
I'm trying to find photos to use as jumping-off points, but I'm not finding much... more to take, more to upload, I guess.

It's finally dipping below freezing here, meaning I had to break out the Clapotis, and N. is faithfully wearing his mittens and hat. Sometimes he refuses, then gets outside for about two minutes and looks up at me, "Momma, my hands are COLD!" ;-)

I'm looking forward to lunch today, even though there'll be no knitting... Hubby's lab plus assorted spouses are going out for sushi at this wonderful place downtown. I've been four times since discovering them in the spring, and it's fantastic. Totally non-traditional, but oh so nom nom nom. One of the girls knows the owner, so we usually just go in, say "make something delicious for $15/person" and get a feast... I've been waiting for this all week. Time to finish making media so I can go.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesday Random Photo Day.

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
I got nothin. I had about 20mL of caffeine yesterday to try and stave off a migraine, but I'm still determined to kick the habit. Very tired today, but no headache.

This pic has nothing to do with anything, except for the fact that I haven't posted any Rhinebeck pictures and we're going on two months now. This was the qivuit they had on sale for $76.50 an ounce. I smooshed it, it was weightless and loverly, but I can't see how anyone can pay that for yarn ;-) If you have money to burn maybe, but then you don't need warm qivuit things to keep you toasty - you just burn your money.

Knitting class is supposed to be tonight, but I'm guessing most people won't show - we're getting too close to the holiday and everyone's super busy.

OH. Just remembered I had something to report - I finished N.'s mittens last night and he wore them this morning. I was very pleased with them for being an improvised pattern. I'll take pics soon.

And now I have to pour my gel so I can get it loaded before lunch. I'm desperately trying to help Miss L. get her crochet project done before Christmas, and it's getting close.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas knitting...

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
(hat sent from my mother - my brothers wore it when they were little)

I've started the scarf to go with my little brother's hat (completed a few days ago)... and I did some quick math: at lunch, I average 20 min/inch, or 3 inches/hour. Finishing it at that rate will take 18 more hours. He's not getting a scarf until after Christmas.

I'm trying to finish mittens for N., because the ones he has now aren't the best for staying on. I improvised one, and hopefully will be able to make sense of my notes for a second.

I wish I could make stuff for everyone, N.'s teachers, my boss, all my relatives... but once I pushed through a few, I realized I'm not that fast. Combine that with the fact that the parcels for people living away need to be mailed ASAP, and I think I'm done with gift knitting.

Baking, however, is still on the agenda :-)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hat and scarf in action

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
Or, post-action, after we came inside.

Not much to say today; day 18 of caffeine reduction strategy, first day with ZERO intake, and I'm fuzzy in the brain. Oh, and *might* be employed until the end of January rather than the end of December. Sigh.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

just got back from a lab party

... and we're tired ;-) More tomorrow.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A finished object or two

Black and whites for a party this weekend...

N.'s hat and scarf, which he's worn 4 days this week ;-)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thursday randomness

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
A random picture post (N. with the "class penguin" who was with us for a weekend), combined with a work bitch. Not really a bitch, I guess; I'm just desperately avoiding this one bit of sequence analysis and trying to decide if I can get it done before the boss comes in after lunch.

Nothing much to report; it's back to being closer to freezing outside, and I'm ashamed to say I want it to chill off enough for flurries. N. happily wore his hat and scarf this morning, and I'm determined to make mittens after I finish the hat for Little Bro. I'll see if I can't get a photo later tonight or tomorrow.

... and now I have to finish that sequencing. Funny they don't pay me to blog, huh.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 1st

... and it's raining and 55 outside.

My brain is fuzzy, but I'm plowing through; knit night/class is tonight, and we're going to our first 'holiday' type party this weekend. I also managed to finish N.'s hat and scarf last night - pics on the camera, not on the laptop :-( He asked to wear the scarf while he was eating his bedtime snack, so maybe that's a good sign. I immediately cast on for Little Bro's hat, and had finished another Boteh scarf on Monday, so I think I might actually get Christmas knitting to people on time this year.

And, even though NaBloPoMo is over, I'm going to try to see if I can keep it up... once the prep start in earnest, I can't promise anything. The photos do need to be updated... maybe I'll try for a photo a day instead of a post...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My heart is upside down.

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
I took this picture the day before Dad showed up for his visit, and was going to turn the cup around and take another, but decided not to.

I still don't quite understand the obsession with Thanksgiving down here ;-) but since this is the first year we really celebrated, and with another family member visiting, it's the first year for that dreaded post holiday let down.

I'm excited about Christmas, I've squirreled away ingredients for a whackload of cookies and things, but I'm feeling like I want to be back with the rest of the family...

More Christmas decorating, and some baking, and maybe that'll cure what ails me.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The house is always so quiet

Dad left this afternoon during N.'s nap, and it's quiet... although the Christmas lights are helping immensely.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Evidence of doing more than sitting on my a$$

I made this pie, using my mom's crust recipe and increasing the filling ingredients by an additional 1/3. Baked the sucker for the extra 20 minutes called for in the recipe, and after it cooled, we ate it. Oh. My. Gawd. If you like pecan pie, make it, for the love of all that's good and holy. Or unholy. Because this pie is EVIL. There's a half slice left. That's it.

Miss L.'s Swallowtail. I did the math, but forget the number - it still took less than 400yds of knitpicks palette using US6's. Blocked out nicely, and was to its recipient on Wednesday afternoon.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Post turkey quiet day

I'm blogging from my little putt-putt of a laptop, since Hubby had to work today, so no pics...

N. is asleep, earlier than usual (a long story involving a deathly fear of vacuum cleaners and the threat of said devil machine), and my dad is dozing off in the other room. The dishwasher is running (have I ever mentioned how much I love my dishwasher?) and I have the daunting task of digging out the Christmas decorations from the back of the storage closet.

Not that I'm complaining ;-)

The second I turned on the radio this morning, the holiday music was in full swing. And after such a good day yesterday, I'm willing to let the spirit in, so to speak :-P We took a quick run to Walmart yesterday out of sheer boredom, and while it was empty, I was a little surprised to see they'd set out the barricades outside the entrance. You know, the ones that are supposed to force hundreds of people to queue properly and snake up towards the door in an orderly fashion? That was a little scary. Combined with the mounds of merchandise that were piled in the aisles with signs saying, "Not for purchase until Friday", I decided staying home was the best option. We then had a really great turkey dinner, and a nice multi-way phone call with Mom and Little Bro and JR, so it was a pretty good Thanksgiving all in all.

And now I'm going to stop rambling because I have coffee and about 2 more hours of quiet, and I want to make the most of it :-)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Turkey Day!

N. is not napping (yet), and Hubs is at lab to set up an overnight experiment (Dad is driving him)... so I'm going to get the bird in the oven and get ready for our first ever Turkey on Turkey Day.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Heading home after a short morning

Daycare closes at lunch, but Hubs is working a full day, so I'm going home without internet for the rest of the afternoon...

Power outage this morning, not fun. Giving away a Swallowtail Shawl in about 25 minutes? Priceless. More updates later on tonight, or perhaps tomorrow.....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tired. and broke.

We went for groceries etc. directly after work yesterday, since Dad is here with his car... and it was exhausting, and I think we spent every penny we had. N. was good while we were out, but it riled him up so much he didn't sleep til nearly 10:30PM. While we were waiting for him to doze off, we were chatting, and of course that lasted until nearly midnight.

I'm still trying to seriously reduce my coffee intake, and the exhaustion is setting in. If I get past this and get a few good nights' worth of sleep, it should be better, but for now I just want to crawl into bed. Either that, or go off the wagon; I nearly jumped someone in the caf who was leaving with six large coffees on a tray for her coworkers.

The good news is that the Swallowtail is nearly done - two more rows then a castoff. I'm hoping to knock it out tonight, pin it, and maybe give it to Miss L. tomorrow.

Monday, November 22, 2010

So. Tired.

Nothing exciting happened yesterday... I got 2/3 of a row done on the swallowtail, which should be fun to pick up because I don't remember where I stopped.

I'm bone tired, too. Sunday nights are a pain, because we're usually wired but should be getting to bed early and it never happens. Combine that with trying to wean myself off coffee and it's all bad.

I'm allowing myself one medium cup at work (which is actually 16oz, which is pretty big), so I'm getting that shortly... then we'll see.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Not so lazy Sunday

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
That was weird. Spontaneous posting through Flickr before I even hit the button...

Anywhoo, it's been a fun weekend :-) Today Papa arrived for a surprised last minute visit, and we got some shopping done... the latte, however, is from yesterday's little walk through the neighborhood.

Tonight, who knows what's on tap... all I know is that it's cold outside, and I only have one more chart on the Swallowtail to go before the edging...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Boo. I missed yesterday...

... because I played hooky to see Harry Potter and then was conscripted into giving a lab party at the last minute because the original host got sick.

A successful day all in all, although today I have a grumpy toddler and a LOT of dishes to do.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I have to remember that not everyone cares about knitting...

I was by myself for most of lunch today, Hubs was at a lab function, and Miss L. is home sick.

As I was finishing a nupp row on my latest Swallowtail, two women showed up with big containers of soup and asked if they could share my table:

"We don't want to interrupt, but is it OK if we sit here?"

Me: *big smile* "Please, go ahead, I'm leaving in a few minutes anyway."

"Oh, we wouldn't want to get soup on your BLANKIE." (emphasis HERS, loaded with contempt and sarcasm)

Me: *thinks* It. Is. Not. A. Blankie.

Me: "Heh heh." *looks back down to knitting.

ETA: I have nothing against blankies. I love them. N. has several wonderful ones. I more took issue with her mean, dismissive attitude :P

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

That was a close one...

I nearly forgot to post, and I'm supposed to be leaving a little early to teach the knitting class tonight....

Turns out we're only going to have 3 students tonight; the director has meetings in a neighboring town, and the teacher who initiated the class (and missed last week) is missing this week too :-(

I'm still looking forward to it, and I'm hopeful... plus it gives me time to work on stuff of my own, coming on the heels of last night, when I went to my friend E.'s place for craft night. There was knitting, crochet, engraving (!) and pumpkin cheesecake. A thoroughly enjoyable evening.

And now, I need coffee. I tried to cut down, for 24 hours. I got a migraine. I'm giving in.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

On behalf of all knitters, I apologize to the universe.

Maybe I'm an optimistic person, or maybe it's a little bit of self-centeredness, but I like to think that knitters on the whole are extra super. Something about how we're willing to spend hours and hours lovingly knitting something to give away to a special person in our lives has to mean we're just a little more caring and compassionate, right?

I was ashamed to be a knitter this morning.

Our bus is often very crowded in the mornings, and it takes about 20 minutes from my stop into work. I got on and noticed a woman knitting in the front seat; I'd seen her for the first time yesterday wearing very nice handknit gloves, although she wasn't knitting at that point.

I had N. with me, and had to walk halfway down the bus, at which point a young man (who my parents would've called a ruffian) popped up like a toaster so that I could sit down. No big deal; there was one more empty seat way in the back anyway, so we all got settled. Knitter Girl just kept going, working on what looked like either a plain vanilla sock or glove on dpns, no heel or fingers in sight - just the tube.

I didn't think much of it, since at my stop everyone got a seat.

The next stop, however, about 20 people began to pack on like sardines. The back seats were taken and the entire aisle filled up with standees. And when I looked to the front of the bus, Knitter Girl was sitting there working on her project, while a mother with TWO kids, 4yrs and 15 months, was standing. HOLDING THE FIFTEEN MONTH OLD, WITH NO GRIP BAR AROUND TO STEADY HERSELF.

And she just kept on knitting. The little 4 year old was squished into the corner of another seat next to Knitter, but she never made a move to let the mom sit down with the baby. It wasn't like she was in the middle of something complicated - I watched her for a few minutes, and she was a very competent knitter who could have easily put her project away at any point.

I don't knit on the bus much because I have N., but when I have the luxury of a mommy-alone busride, I also don't knit when it's crowded, and I don't hog seats. My bag goes on my lap or the floor. I give seats to moms and kids, to pregnant women (don't get me started on how the people at this ever-so-intelligent ivy league school treat pregnant women on the bus. they're horrible) and to elderly faculty members. And they're always appreciative, as I am when I'm in the same situation.

I know, I know, people tell me that breeders like me don't deserve seats on the bus by default. I get it - I chose to have kids, and so did the mother on the bus this morning. But we're entitled to ride the bus with our kids. Purely from a safety perspective, if the driver had to slam on the breaks, that baby was going to go flying. It's common consideration, people; it's the right thing to do. And for those who are against 'breeders', who give me dirty looks when I get on the bus with my kid, they all conveniently forget that they themselves were a pain in somebody's arse for a lot of years before becoming a so-called contributing member of society.

So for every person who sees me knitting on the bus in the future, please know I'll gladly stop and give up my seat. And for every person who gives me the stink eye when I get on the bus with N., wait five freakin seconds. You'll quickly realize he's likely the quietest, best behaved child on this bus, and he'll smile at you and probably melt your heart. If you give up your seat, I'll thank you a million times over. And I'll mean it.

/end rant

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday blues...

Had an interesting, nearly knit-free weekend, and I'm still tired.

I got two rows done on Miss L.'s swallowtail when we were out for coffee and a bagel on Saturday, while N. was being an angel. He promptly turned demon whenever we were inside the house, though, and it lasted all weekend. Fighting naps, fighting dinner, fighting the bath. Usually when this happens, he ends up with a cold 48 hours later, but the defiance has been going on for weeks. Then I remember he's two. And realize this is par for the course to some extent, for the next while.


This morning, I logged into fb while the boys were eating breakfast, and noticed my brother had posted pics of his place. Which was my Grammie's place until recently. He and JR have done some rearranging, bringing their stuff in, and it looks great.

But it's not Grammie's house.

I can see the ghost of what I knew, in the marks on the carpet where her furniture sat for 30 years. On the walls, all of our baby portraits and our grad photos left faint eggshell rectangles when the rest of the wall has long since bleached out to white. The tile in the kitchen is the same, but the table is different, and somehow there's more space than there ever was.

I'm so happy that they're taking it over, and if they decide to stay it'll be even better. But it's not the house I grew up in. It always freaks me out when I see how different a place can be with someone else's stuff. Our apartment now looked completely different when our friends lived in it two years ago. This is becoming J's place, and I'm happy, but some part of me thought he'd move into it furnished and leave it as it was. I never even considered the fact that he'd probably take the photos down. That killed me.

I guess I need to be thankful that I'm not seeing it stand completely empty before handing it over to some stranger. I'm not ready for that.

*sigh* What a way to start the week... time for coffee, I guess.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

This was my class set up...

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
... before anyone came. I forgot to take pics when we were up and running, but that's because it was going so well ;-)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Crappity weekend posts are the order

because apparently I have more free time at work.

Weather is lovely, toddler isn't napping. We'll see how the rest of the afternoon goes.

Friday, November 12, 2010


No pics, but I got a great deal done on the Swallowtail for Miss L. I'm hoping to have it done soon so I can switch back to family holiday gifts... and with that, I'm off... keeping the productivity going while the toddler is still quiet ;-)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Life happens, but so does knitting

Well, we had four students last night, and the breakdown was:

1 former crocheter, C., who wanted to learn to knit because it looks relaxing and she grips her crochet hook too hard (and gets numbness and pain)

1 present crocheter, L. who wanted to learn something new

1 former knitter (25+ years ago) (whose name escapes me) who wanted a refresher (and could never really cast on or bind off by herself)

1 present knitter, G., who knits from her memory and makes things up (very accurately, I might add) as she goes along.

So, I ended up teaching two people how to cast on and knit garter, reminded one how to knit and helped her cast on, and watched the last one whip out a swatch with three stitch patterns before I could blink twice, and work on a baby sweater that was GORGEOUS.

I'm calling it a success. G. was there mainly for the social aspect, and thought I 'might know how many stitches to cast on for a woman's sweater', since she's never actually done a full-sized one. I told her we'd work on finding her a pattern.

The rest of them were patient students, and didn't get frustrated at all. After an hour and 10 minutes, the two newbies had a few rows of garter and were going along without any assistance. C. ended up making a buttonhole by mistake, but decided that was OK :-)

The teacher who'd spearheaded the whole thing, D., couldn't make it last night because of illness, although she called up the director and was in tears because she was so disappointed. A lot of others had things come up, which is understandable. We're going to try and do it every week until Christmas, so I'm hoping to get a few more as we go along.

I have no pictures, because we were busy busy, but I'll try for some next week.

The best part of the whole night, though, was afterward. When I got home, N. (the consummate Daddy's boy), ran through the house, jumping up and down, yelling, "Mommy's home! Daddy, Mommy's home! Look Daddy! Mommy's here!!! MOMMY!!!!!!!!"

And now, I'm going to keep working; my knitpicks order arrived in the mail last night, so I want to start Miss L.'s Swallowtail at lunch today, which means I have to get media plates made ASAP so they can set over lunch.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Knitting class tonight.

Well, here goes nothing. I'm going to attempt to teach people, who aren't old friends who have infinite patience with me, how to knit.

I figure if I get three by the end of the session who don't run away screaming, it'll be a success :-)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesday miscellany

My boys
The weather is better today, none of this torrential rain... we even had snow briefly yesterday morning, but I just don't want to think about it yet...

I'm starting to get in the holiday spirit, though, so maybe a little snow isn't such a bad thing. We're probably not doing a huge Thanksgiving celebration, pretty much the same as last year, but turkey is just the lead-in to Christmas.

I feel like I've got less free time to plan things this year, but I'm working on it. I'd like to do at least a few kinds of cookies, and I picked up an extra cookie sheet to help make it happen. My apartment oven is tiny, and I only had one square 14"x15" that would fit in, so when Mom was here we picked up a second one. Combined with my pizza pan, I should be able to get assembly-lines going.

We have a lot of decorations that we gathered last year, so that part should be easier. Our tiny tree will take up residence in the corner, I have several strings of lights, and of course a couple of new ornaments have already been tucked away. I can't wait to put stuff up, but I'm not sure how N. will do this year - he's a big fan of grabbing stuff, and it's not just random grabbing like last year. We managed to take the gates down from around the TV, and he's stopped frigging with the DVD player, so hopefully it won't take too long.

(How the heck did this post get over to Christmas so quickly?)

Random subject change - tomorrow night is my little 'learn to knit' class at N.'s daycare, and after checking in with the director to confirm the location, it turns out that it's not just one night, but several ;-) I should've known not to volunteer myself because it always gets out of hand... although truthfully I'm looking forward to it. If even a few of them catch on and like it, then it can morph from a class to just a little knitting group, which will eventually go on without me. But that's getting ahead of myself, I guess.

I'll try to get some photos, and hopefully be able to report back on some success stories :-) And now, coffee. It's all about the coffee.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day on, day off, day in and day out.

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
I'm not being paid today. I am, however, making media and preparing for tomorrow's experiment. 8 more weeks of this, with nothing else yet on the horizon. I'm not qualified to do animal care, which seem to be the only positions opening up lately. But, I'm remaining optimistic, and thinking that we can afford to keep N. in daycare for a few months, so I'm keepin on keepin on. And blabbering, it would seem. I'll try not to have 30 days worth of job-bitching posts...

This weekend, N. decided to *let* me put his new hat on his head for a few minutes in exchange for the swiffer-toy... he doesn't care for it (the hat, that is; he loves swiffering), although he really seems to like Daddy's. It's nice and warm, and I'm hoping to get the scarf finished soon.

I've done a bunch of snowflake ornaments, with at least 8 waiting to be pinned and bedazzled with one of my many colors of glitter. Sparkly makes me happy.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Yay for sleepy toddlers

N. didn't wake up early :-) We heard one short yelp at around 6:30am, but he was quiet until 7:45am. Time change accomplished for the time being (we'll see how the nap goes this afternoon)


Saturday, November 6, 2010

A quick post...

Nearing bedtime, and there are teeth to be brushed and stories to be read...

No knitting today (yet), but I baked an espresso chocolate cake that is to die. SO good. Need to share with everyone I know.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Anniversary to ME!

It's Friday, and it's my 5th wedding anniversary :-)

I've just come back from an extended lunch at a local italian place that we've never been to before, but will go back again for sure. Their ravioli was delicious, and they made a creme brulee that was to die for (I'm very particular about creme brulee, because I make it on occasion, and it needs to be smooth as silk. This one was.)

And now I just got a beautiful vase of flowers delivered to my lab, and it's much more colorful than everything else on my lab bench ;-) So, I'll wait for the boss to come in for our quick meeting. Then, hello weekend!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

One photo, one post

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
(which in my geeky brain immediately switches to one gene, one enzyme, and that statement is long since proven inaccurate, so I don't know why I keep going there. I just wish flickr would let me double up on photos in a single blog entry.)

Ahem. Where was I?

So, it's pouring rain here, and I have to sit in my little hideyhole of an office and work on DNA sequence. And my brain is foggy because a) I haven't finished my coffee, b) my coffee isn't with me because my office is in a BL2 state regulated lab, and c) I'm still fighting this bronchitis and I don't sleep as well as I should.

(Aside: we just bought new pillows at Ikea of all places, and they're actually the best ones I've tried in a while).

Right. Today. I have no idea why I chose this pic, so I'm running with it. It's Briar Rose Grandma's Blessing, and it's the prettiest color irl, but it's a strange amount for me - only 600 yards. Too much for just a scarf, not enough for a sweater. So, I'm thinking I'll do another Swallowtail, because I have them on the brain.

My lunchtime crochet friend, Miss L., has become very dear to me over the past months - She and Miss A. have lunch with me every day, and they're pretty special. Miss L. doesn't really knit, but is working very hard on completing a big crochet project with my help. I want to make something for her because I know she'd really appreciate it and she's NOT PUSHY. So, yesterday, I told her to pick out a color from the Knitpicks catalog that came in the mail, and I ordered yarn to make up either a Swallowtail or an Annis. I also asked that she not tell Psycho Hat Lady, because of what's been going on.

It turns out PHL said something to Miss L. a few weeks ago, about how she didn't think I would ever make something for her and that she'd just stop asking.

Like the whole thing is my fault. She's been alternately ignoring us all completely (including Miss L. and Miss A. who are her coworkers), and being sweet as honey. It's annoying, and I said as much to L.

Miss L. looked me straight in the eye and said, "Don't you dare make anything for anyone that you don't want to. That includes me. You do what YOU want, and don't worry about anything or anybody else!"

(I have to mention that she's a grandma, and she's wonderful, and she's like my second mama down here as well as a good friend ;-) )

So, I'm making a shawl for her. Not a hat for PHL, not a scarf for the other random cafeteria lady that asked me. A shawl, for my friend, who wanted something in a nice warm camel color to go with her winter coat.

And the rainbow one will be for me :-)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Have paperwork, will travel?

The latest twist on this whole thing is a new one. I got my papers today, and they're valid for three months - until the end of January.

The thing is, we only have funding for two of those months at the moment. The department fronted me the extra month while waiting for that decision.

Which means we have a gentleman's agreement that, if the funding for the third month doesn't go through I will resign rather than holding the department responsible.

I wish it was the department that had been causing the problems up until this point, because I'd put the screws to them and force them to give me the third month. Thing is, they've been the most helpful, and I don't want to leave them in any worse of a financial state than they already are.

And, either way, we're not travelling on this set of papers, because whenever I try to travel with only a week or so left, I get hassled. So Merry Christmas to me :-P

In any case, today, I'm back at work after running around after said paperwork, and according to the email my boss sent me, I have two options: 1. Stay for the afternoon to help clean out the -80degree freezer (fun!) or 2. go home and nurse this cold that's rapidly becoming bronchitis.

I'm going to stick around for a bit and see.... I hate that I can predict when my colds change, but at least I was able to take it easy for the past two days. I felt yesterday evening that I was functioning on significantly reduced lung capacity (whine), but this morning it's a little better. I'm cheering myself up by deciding what to cast on next that's fun (besides the boring yet functional hat for my brother that's next in line), and thinking about the fact that it's Christmas soon. Which means baking cookies and decorating :-) I'm also debating making a shawlette for my lunch-time friend, because she takes care of me and she isn't pushy like psycho hat lady, and I like making shawls ;-)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A sick day

I will be taking the rest of the day off, boss-sanctioned. However, I have a parent-teacher conference at daycare that I can't miss, so it'll be more like a half day off.

Still waiting for paperwork, still trying not to lose my mind. I also finished N's hat yesterday, and while he was reluctantly willing to try it on for a few seconds, when I asked him to leave it on for a picture, I got a very emphatic, "No 'sank you, Momma! No 'sank you!"

And still, I'm going to make the scarf too. Glutton for punishment, I guess.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I'm going to attempt the seemingly impossible...


October was super busy with lots of visitors, and we're heading into the cold winter months.... and, just like last year, I'm starting off sick, although I don't think it's as bad yet.

I'm theoretically employed for two more months, too... so I'll be able to blog from work. Weekends? Not so sure, but we'll see.

For today, I can report that I finished Hubby's hat and scarf while my mom was visiting last week, and am about halfway through a hat for N. I finally picked up blocking wires to do the scarf, and it came out wonderfully. The wires were totally worth the investment, and the Berrocco Ultra Alpaca blocks out nice and soft.

In an interesting turn of events, I'm somehow teaching a knitting class to N.'s daycare teachers next week. One of the girls commented on how she'd love to learn, and that she was sure she could find a couple of other teachers that might like to join in. I made a general grunt of agreement, and five days later was presented with a sign-up sheet containing 13 names. I'm sending them to my lys to buy supplies, so I hope they go and support a wonderful local business ;-)

Hubby looked at me strangely when I said I'd agreed to do it - why would I agree to teach 13 people how to knit, and I won't bother to bang out a quick hat for the crazy woman at the cafeteria? Well, I've spent time with a lot of these girls, especially when I was going to the daycare several times a day to breastfeed N.; they cover off each other's lunch hours and so a lot of them get to know the kids outside of their own classrooms pretty well. They're so good to the kids, and I know how much they love N. I also think the director (who's taking the 'class' as well) is looking on this as a team building exercise, and who am I to stand in the way of knitting taking over from paintball or golf as an accepted way to get to know your coworkers? ;-)

And now, alas, I'm going to find tea. I felt sick before Rhinebeck, but it seemed to go away... and then I felt sick the day before my mother showed up (the 22nd), and it seemed to go away again. Then the last day of her visit, it came back and hasn't left. I've already had to take out my albuterol inhaler, which usually doesn't happen until February. Boo. Boo. Boo.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rhinebeck: I came, I saw, and I'm tired.

My photos are on the home laptop, so no pics...

I am still way too tired to try and be coherent, so I won't bother. It was huge. It was crazy busy. It was loads of fun.

I got a mug, some fleece, one hank of yarn, and sore feet. And loved every minute of it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Busy busy busy

More radio silence... I guess it's just been busy.

We had a great (but way too short) visit with my Dad and brother and brother's girlfriend... which included some shopping, some fun, and then they made a quick getaway at dinner last Thursday evening. It's great to see N. get so excited when they visit, but on the flip side, he now knows (and doesn't like it) when they leave. Fortunately my mother is coming next weekend for a 9-day stay, and we don't have to waste (?) time shopping or driving around... it'll be easy-going and relaxed, I hope.

I'm also off to Rhinebeck on Friday, and am freaking out. I don't know what to bring to work on - I should try and knock out the hats for N. and my brother, but I want to work on something fun... but not too complicated, so I can walk and browse and observe while I'm doing it. Which pretty much means those hats, or else some crochet scarves. I'm mostly packed, but realized that the daycare potluck is tomorrow (my fault, since I've been ignoring emails), so tonight will be packing, yarn winding, hook finding, cookie baking, etc.

I managed to finish another doily, which I'll hopefully block before I leave, too. I'm trying not to think too much about it - it's the first time I'll be leaving N. overnight - I'm hoping he and Hubby have some fun at the museum.

The job situation is the same as always - waiting until last minute for a renewal... the crazy admin offices that were giving us trouble last time have begrudgingly agreed to approve another one should the funding come through, but somehow refuse to consider any future renewals. Which I think is BS, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. If I can remain employed until Christmas, it's gravy.

Signing off now, likely until post-Rhinebeck. If you see me, say Hi :-) With glasses and no make-up, this is what I'll look like (minus the kiddo) this weekend:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A quiet day...

So, Hubby is still off on his departmental retreat, which is a big waste of time, imho; they used to do it over three days somewhere fun like Woods Hole, but are cramming it into one day in a university facility that's far enough away to be inconvenient, but near enough that it's not an overnight thing.

He was picked up very early, and on his way out he ran into Dad, Little Bro, and J.R., who were on their way down to DC for some touristy stuff and realized we were 2.5 minutes off the I95. We got to say hi while N. slept, and everyone took off and I settled in for our Mommy & Me day.

After watching 20 minutes of Cars (normally verboten in the morning), we packed up and walked to the museum... which is free for university staff, but turned out to be free for everyone today for a really great latina festival - it was PACKED. Poor N. was overwhelmed by the pepople and the music, so we tried to find quiet corners to look at stuff, then gave up; he stopped having fun, so we made our way out. A trip to the museum store for some dinosaur erasers, and off we went for lunch.

There's a really great diner locally that makes the best greek salad, and N. loves their chicken fingers, so we settled in for a bite; N. even sat in the booth with me instead of his usual high-chair, and loved it. It was pretty busy there too, but food is a great motivator ;-) On the way home we stopped into the LYS (but didn't buy anything!).

Once we were home, nobody but me wanted to nap, but I stuck with it, and he's been sleeping for 2 hours. I managed to get the bathroom cleaned, talk to my brother (who made it to DC), and got some crochet done. I'm taking only knitting with me to Rhinebeck, and simple, no-pattern-needed knitting at that. Which means, until then, I'm going to plug away at the more complicated crochet that I want to get done for Christmas.

I'm thinking now that I should've taken the opportunity to nap, but it was nice to putter in a completely quiet house. I think N. will be awake shortly from the sounds on the baby monitor, so I'm getting ready for a simple mac n cheese dinner (with fruit for dessert), and maybe a little more Cars :-)

I may be a little obsessed...

This is my collection of size 10 thread; most of it is Coats Royale, there's some Clea, and one ball each of size 20 and 30 for when I get adventurous. Somehow I managed to get three balls of forest green; I'm sure it has to do with Christmas coming up, even though it didn't all show up at the same time. There's also one ball of French pink that's halfway made into a pineapple doily. There's a huge ball of white on the bottom right there, because I got it for 75% off and I figure it could make several doilies or a gazillion snowflakes.

I started and finished a pineapple for an anniversary gift; my cousin and her husband are celebrating their 50th on the day Hubby and I celebrate our 5th. It's not gold, but I think it's pretty:

It took me 11 days of lunch hours and the occasional evening session...

And I will tell you more about it later ;-) Hubby is at a retreat today, and I think I have to go and explain again why goldfish crackers prefer being on the table rather than being crushed and dropped in. that. order. Sigh.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Har dee har har

Busted up my right ankle yesterday, just as the left one was finally back to normal after my injury in May. ouch.

Mom's cat, who had adapted to his thyroid issues, stopped being able to climb the stairs well, wouldn't jump up on her lap, and started missing his litterbox. Turns out he's severely arthritic (he's over 14), so they've given him a cortisone shot to try and manage his pain. If that perks him up, he can keep on keepin' on. If it doesn't... :-(

And, I just got a call from daycare - N. misjudged a distance on the jungle gym while playing this morning and cracked his nose. Luckily it was a crawling-under thing and not a falling-off thing, but he had a tiny nosebleed. It stopped, he's fine and happy and playing, but I have an incident report to sign later today.

I get it, universe. You're funny. I'll stop complaining so that I don't end up being handed something to really complain about.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Monday

I wish I had fun things to talk about... but it's more of a neutral day, after a neutral weekend.

N. was frigging awesome on Saturday, perfect behaviour, ate everything (including fruit), napped well, etc. Then on Sunday the pod people snatched him and left me with a demon. No nap, no cooperative eating, nothing. I'm calling it a wash.

I'm also starting to freak out about the job situation... I got a forward which included a whackload of emails about my contract extensions... it turns out that the admins in three unrelated offices have decided that they won't renew me anymore even if there's funding, for some arbitrary reason. Which means I'm most definitely unemployed by the end of next month, unless I go crazy on their asses and point out that they can't change the rules after I've been doing this crap this way for three years.

And, I finished a hat. A sockhead hat, and it looks like ass. I made it 8 stitches bigger, and used slightly bigger needles, because I have a huge head, and it's still tight. it's too floppy to be a touque, and too tight to be a floppy hat. The yarn is super pretty, and I even made pompoms, but I don't like the look of it. I haven't decided if I'll rip it, or put it in the gift pile, because while I look good in proper hats (with brims, bucket hats, etc etc), stocking caps, touques, and their illegitimate children all look like hell.

So I'm going to continue on Hubby's scarf, make a hat for N., and figure out what fun thing I want to make for myself next. I need to have something colorful and pretty going, otherwise I get depressed ;-)

More pics later, hopefully; the camera battery is misbehaving again, and I can't for the life of me find a place to buy a replacement (it's too old).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Like a brick wall.

Fall is definitely here, and it's usually a little bittersweet for me. The idea of having to bundle up, shovel snow, worry about the heat in the house, these things always weigh on my mind. On the upside, there's that first crisp morning walking to catch the bus, when I flash back to all those 'first day of school' mornings. I always loved the little thrill I'd get, waiting to see who was in my class, what teachers I'd have, where would my locker be. New notebooks and backpacks, new school clothes, the potential for a great year.

At home, fall also meant that the cooking would change; less grilling, more roasting. Things in the oven, with onions, making the house smell delicious. Baking resumed in earnest, and we'd spend more Sundays over my grandmothers, where she'd make fricot (an Acadian soup/stew that's so simple it should be illegal, and so good that you'll never forget it once you've had it).

This morning, the lunch carts were setting up outside the lab, and someone was cooking with onions and bean pork. And it smelled like my grandmother's kitchen, with fricot on the stove on a Sunday after our first few days of school. It felt like I'd run full-tilt into a brick wall.

And I cried.

We still have the house. My brother is settling in, and I hope someday his girlfriend will move in too. But it won't ever smell the same. We'll never have a dinner there again in the same way. My grandmother is settling in well in long-term care, and it's so obvious that she should've been there ages ago, but it kills me.

When I went to the house over the summer, to check things out before J. moved in, things had been cleaned up and organized, but most of her possessions had not been taken out. They'd rounded them up so we could go through them - she had lots of sewing and needlework items, and some beautiful vintage dresses.

Everything fit into one room.

Her entire life, almost 50 years in that house, could be reduced to one room.

How does that happen?

I'm trying to create new traditions for my family, and we're realizing that we don't all have to live in the same city to be close, but I wonder sometimes - by creating traditions, am I just making things harder on everyone else down the line? It's a no-win situation, I guess.

*sigh* Sometimes I wish I was fifteen again, worried about the perfect hairstyle for the fall dance, and how I could convince my parents to let me go to the movies with boys, and whether I'd be able to go to the movies on Friday.

And then I look at N. and think, yup. This is all worth it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


My mother now has flights booked to visit us next month... all it took was talking to a person one level up within the Airmiles hierarchy. Turns out the 'blackout dates' were a direct result of a new computer system. Dude put the info in manually, and voila! Flights on the original desired dates.

I also have a new bungee cord for my keychain (my last one broke months ago, and I just found them for sale at Walgreens), my ID magically works today even though my appointment is still 'pending' in the computer system, my rainbow hat is coming along, and Hubby's scarf is 55% finished.

(I do wish it was further along in the week than Tuesday, but I guess I can't have it all.)

Monday, September 13, 2010


I am employed for at least another 7 weeks.
The ID center didn't get the memo, and erased me from the system, so I can't get into any buildings, including daycare.

N. woke up happy and cooperative and polite.
He very politely requested cookies for breakfast, and couldn't understand why I wouldn't pony up when he did everything right (sat down, asked nicely, said please).

I've gotten a full day's worth of experiments done.
Nobody is paying me to be here today, and it's raining, so it's not worth it to go home before the busses start running.

I bought my Rhinebeck tickets, and I can afford to a) stay at the campground and b) buy a little bit of something.
I have only a month to get a high enough antihistamine titer to make the whole thing bearable, and it's never a guarantee.

Little Bro, Little Bro's girlfriend, and Grandpa are coming down for a visit at the end of the month.
My mom was going to fly down at the end of October on miles, but the whole damn month is blacked out.

It's light scarf/shawlette weather.
I still haven't finished Hubby's scarf, or N.'s hat/scarf, or Little Bro's hat.

I started a hat for myself out of very cheery rainbow-y yarn.
Might never wear it in public ;-)

Had a productive cooking weekend, roasted a chicken, made a big pot of pasta sauce, and a chocolate loaf-cake.
Nothing bad, because there's chocolate involved ;-)

Friday, September 10, 2010


After not showing up to one meeting, I got a PFO email about this job. I'm taking it as a sign. When someone is 'desperate to hire' but refuses to meet face-to-face with a qualified candidate, something's got to be wrong.

Onward and upward!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Boogity boogity.

Yesterday, PHL didn't show up... but I didn't knit because I was afraid she would, and I didn't need the stress. Today, she showed up while I was going gangbusters... and just looked. Didn't say a word.

Which is just fine with me. The scarf is now 35% done because I worked that much faster by not looking up from my needles.

No news on this job thing... I'm remaining cautiously optimistic that we can set up a meeting.

Also, tomorrow no one is paying me. No one paid me on Monday when I came in either. So, tomorrow afternoon if the weather is good, I'm going to the movies, dammit.

I'm also trying to realistically think about what things are going to get made in time to be mailed off for Christmas. I'm doing my brother a hat if it kills me, because he's been waiting years, and I want something (even if it's small) for my niece and my Goddaughter. That, and the hat/scarf sets for N. and Hubby. Anything else is gravy. Although since I won't be driving to/from Rhinebeck, but will be a passenger, I'll have time to knit then. I feel like such a sheep (heh) for being so excited to go, but I figure there are only so many years I'll be a short car-ride away. If it's too overwhelming, I won't go next year.

The only remaining question... what's my budget? ;-)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Good juju please

a non-interview type job interview today... theoretically... although it's not certain. internal position. think good thoughts.

ETA: except when one doesn't have a set time to meet... then one might not end up with an interview... or non-interview... or anything except a migraine.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Two by two

Photobooth sux

There's something very comforting to me about 2x2 ribbing... I've started this project for hubby and it seems to be flying (relatively speaking). The hat is done, and the scarf is probably somewhere around 1/4 done. Hours of 2x2 can be tedious, but the result feels refined even in the heavier weight yarn.

I just can't wait to work on it during lunchtime, and make PHL think I'm progressing enough that she'll make it to the top of the list. Ha.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Why is it...

... that I can have the best behaved child whenever we go out in public, but on a Saturday when he refuses to nap for over 3 hours, I feel like a failure?

Friday, September 3, 2010

I am not making you a damn hat.

I don't know how much I've revealed about this woman who I've affectionately dubbed Psycho Hat Lady, or PHL, but she's driving me insane.

Many moons ago, I was pregnant and knitting a tiny rainbow cardigan for the baby that would become N. PHL was, at the time, just a nice lady in the cafeteria who complimented me on my work.

I started doing bigger projects, most significantly the Shipwreck Shawl from Knitty... and she (and others) kept on coming to watch my progress. They were all very sweet until one day she said, "I bet you could make me a hat." To which I replied, "I've never made a hat, but knitting is all very similar."

FOR THE RECORD: I never said I'd make her a hat. Never told her to buy yarn, never asked what style she'd like, never discussed colors. N.E.V.E.R.

She's gotten it in her head that I"m going to make her a hat. Some days she stops by with a quick, "You're ready to do my hat yet?"... some days she stops by for longer. I told her that I was backed up with projects for my family, and she said, "Oh, that's fine. Just let me know when you're not backed up."

I think she thinks that we have some sort of verbal contract, and I'm afraid she's going to take me on Judge Judy or something. One day I brushed her off, then later that same week she went all passive aggressive on me. Her friend stopped to chat, but PHL ignored me, and then later on she actually shoulder-checked me at the soda fountain. That was the day she earned her PHL title.

Today was really awful. She came up and was all buttery and sweet, saying how I was so talented and that kid of crap, and out of nowhere she started telling me about this headband with a flower on it that she'd seen somewhere in Philly, and how it was magenta, and so pretty, and not even a full hat. Of course, I was knitting on a hat for Hubby (my first hat EVER), and it's been going very fast. I thanked her for being so nice and appreciating my work, and she said, "you'll be done that hat and scarf by Christmas, so you can make my headband."

I tried a different tactic today, though; I told her, in a very tired and pitiful, overworked voice, that she was "at the top of my non-family list" after explaining I had Xmas gifts for family to make... she replied, in a very snarky voice, "I should be at the top of that list, I've been there over a damn year."

Sigh. I like where I eat lunch. My dear friend L., who I crochet with, works in that cafeteria. We only see each other at lunchtime, and I don't want to go anywhere else. I'm just sick of PHL making me feel guilty for something I never promised to do, because along with feeling guilty, I'm angry at myself for even feeling guilty. I knit things that I enjoy knitting. My family knows not to expect much, they might get something, they might not. Every once in a while my knitting enjoyment intersects with someone else's request, hence Hubby's hat and scarf, but if it doesn't, I don't stress. I don't knit for payment/on deadline, because when people pay you, they have expectations and I don't want the extra stress.

Maybe I should grow a pair and tell her I'm not making her a hat, that I don't knit for pay, and that she should do what the rest of the non-knitting world does and buy a damn hat at Walmart.

Thursday, September 2, 2010





Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Crafting ADD

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
So. I'm sitting here at work, theoretically working while my bacterial cultures grow... and my baby is in the big kid room at daycare for the first full day... which sucks and is great all at the same time. He knew something was up when we brought him in and we didn't stop off at the "infant" room first, at which point he turned mountain goat and tried to climb to the very top of Hubby's head. We left after about 10 minutes, he wailed for about 2, and all was well.

Of course, a transition means teacher gifts for the ones we're leaving behind :-( I'm not fond of buying clutter that will just clog up their houses, and I often think about how teachers must dread the end of the year when they get a zillion apple/blackboard knick-knacks... so, I made them cards and baked cookies.

The cards are done with paper quilling, which I dabbled in a bit in high school and decided to take up again... because, say it with me now, I needed another craft to do. Not really, but I did it anyway. I'm enjoying it, and for some reason, I don't like to knit much in the evenings right now. This seems a nice option - I can do a couple of cards quickly in an evening. I'm hoping to do some for Christmas, but we all know how well I do with deadline crafting...

Time to check on those cultures... and drink some coffee... and think about my big boy all grown up!

Monday, August 30, 2010

My baby is growing up...

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
He's 'graduating' to the preschool room at daycare this week. I have no idea how it happened. He's not a baby anymore. His favourite word is "self"... "Downstairs SELF!" "Eat SELF!" "Dress SELF!" He will tell you what he likes and what he doesn't, and heaven help you if you misinterpret ;-) But he loves to hug, and his favourite thing to do on Saturday morning is climb in my lab and snuggle in to watch PBS Kids.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

random updates, list style

Brain is fried, as per usual, so here's what's been going on lately (in absolutely NO order whatsoever):
  1. N. now sleeps very well in the big boy bed. He's a handful most evenings, but he eventually climbs in and is still sleeping in until 7:30am on average.
  2. I am employed until the end of October. Then we hop back on the merry-go-round again.
  3. My dad, little brother J., and little brother's girlfriend J.R. are hopefully taking a trip down this fall, followed by a visit from my mom!! N. loved his Uncle J. and J.R. on vacation, so we're looking forward to that a whole bunch.
  4. I priced flights for Christmas vacation. Even if we booked NOW (not smart given the job situation), it would cost $3700. We're staying here for Christmas.
  5. I did not knit much at all on my vacation, but I'm OK with that. I bought more crochet thread, and some patterns, from the LYS in my hometown. I love it there; The owner, A. hugs us even though we only get to visit once or twice a year, and asks about the kids. It's such a warm, supportive place.
  6. One of the moms in N.'s daycare gave me two HUGE balls of lilac bernat baby yarn, because someone heard she was knitting and gave them to her for Christmas 2 years ago (she never got beyond the garter stitch scarf). I'm making a crochet granny square blanket because what else do you do with 2lb of baby yarn?
  7. I got sucked in and bought yarn to make a hat and scarf for Hubby for Christmas, because he actually flipped through pattern books on his own when we visited our LYS here this past Saturday. He found a pattern he really liked, and I couldn't resist. He's been wearing the same (store-bought) scarf and hat for six years (for SHAME!), and we're making a break from blue/navy to go to shades of green. It's momentous for him.
  8. I have successfully made blueberry, apple, and rhubarb pies, and made two on vacation at the MIL's. It was for dessert at our big dinner at the family farmhouse with everyone, and they were a hit. I was worried because Hubby's aunt (the matriarch of that branch of the family) cooks for a living. She heartily approved ;-)
  9. I need to get off coffee. I'm still drinking anywhere from 40 to 60 oz a day, and maybe one cup of that is decaf.
  10. Hubby's lab is going out for lunch today, and I'm invited, because I'm now an honorary lab member. We're going for sushi. I'm disproportionately excited.
And now, without further ado, random photos:

N. and his cousin, watching some cartoons on Saturday morning.

N., hunting pinecones in the wilds of Papa's backyard!

N. and my Grammie, his Great Grammie. We had some really wonderful visits, and I know she knew him in her own way.

N. and Daddy, by the lake in the back of the family farm.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Le sigh.

I'm sitting in the kitchen now, while 3 of the 5 men in my life are winding down before bed... Dad is leaving tomorrow, and it'll have been three and a half weeks that he's been with us. He came down at the end of July, spent a week, we drove up for our tour of eastern Canada, and then he drove us back on Sunday...

There are those few types of moments that really get me. One is walking in to my apartment after vacation (no matter what apartment, or which vacation), and feeling like I've never left. I hate that. The other, much worse kind, is feeling like I'm ripping N. away from my parents and dragging him across the continent. I hate that split second on the last day when I realize my mother is going to have to buckle him in his carseat and watch us drive away. I hate that moment. And I hate that when my dad visits, he tries to sneak out under the cover of night, so that N. won't see him get upset when he leaves. He watches N. sleep for a few minutes and then takes off. And it kills me every time.

I know there's little chance that Hubby and I will find jobs in my hometown (and zero chance of it happening in my mother-in-law's village), but when we're closer it'll be easier.

I crocheted a bit at lunch today, and will be doing more tomorrow I hope... it makes me feel better, more centered, more calm. I don't feel alone when I have my needles and my hooks in my hands, they distract me somehow... sigh.

I love visiting the farm!

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
And, obviously, so does N. :-)

More soon...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


i can't be bothered to use caps today, and may be blabbery... we're back from a pretty darn good vacation, and while i've got a temporary reprieve on the job front, i'm back on the hunt in a few weeks. can't do this 3 months at a time thing anymore.

i got zero knitting done on our trip... or 0.0000000009 - exactly two rows on the flower basket shawl. i just shut down completely, i guess. after leaving my hometown and heading to hubby's, i started another thread crochet doily, though. i'm feeling rather disconnected, so we'll see how it goes.

vacation pics sometime soon, and hopefully some more energy.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It is very difficult to get vacation knitting done...

... when one hour into the two-day car trip you burn your damn thumb with nuclear hot mcD's coffee. the need to keep your digits immersed in icewater all day puts a damper on knitting progress...

And a toddler who sleeps in until 9:45am is only good in the morning... when he's still awake at 11:20pm, not so good.

So. freakin. tired.

Friday, July 30, 2010

See ya later!

Offline for a bit; preparing for a trip that has come up on us rather last minute :-)

I'll spare you the details, but all's well that ends well... knitting time, here I come!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I need to take better photos...

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
so this is my Swallowtail... you get to see it because my PCR buffers are defrosting... I haven't been able to find time in decent daylight to take better pictures, unfortunately. You can even see how wonky my pinning is on this one, but once it's on, you can't tell.

Pattern: Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark
Started: July 6, 2010
Finished: July 19, 2010
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy, nearly 400yds exactly
Needles: knitpicks interchangeables, US6
Modifications: none

Loved it. Will do more. Need blocking wires.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

This is what we've been working on...

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
yes, there's been knitting, but the past few nights have been sleep training... we're working on the big boy bed, in case we get to go on our vacation.

Do we get to go on our vacation?

I have no clue. Still in limbo. Have two new friends, though - Mr. H. Pylori and his associate, Ulcer.


Thursday, July 22, 2010


Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
This is how I feel today. Like being silly. I wish I had something new to report, but I don't. I knit a repeat on my flower basket shawl at lunch, and I've reverse-engineered the next shawl I want to do using photos and a stitch dictionary I had at home, since I don't want to pay to get the book it's in... and because I'm a dork. Not casting on until I finish this one, though. Pinky swear.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I have to remember that he's two....

(The boss just called... at 2pm... to tell me he was staying home for a water filtration system replacement event... boogity boogity I thought it would be with news about the extension. Silly me. Onward...)

So, yes, two. The age of my son. The number of parents he has trying to get him to eat breakfast in the morning. Also the number of hours it took to get him to eat.

Let me preface this by saying my kid is REALLY well behaved most of the time. The teachers at daycare all love him, he's really cooperative and helpful, and he only sort-of acts out at the end of the day (and don't we all?).

He's totally figured out the whole good-cop/bad-cop thing, and I'm the bad cop. He tends to behave better (read: efficient) with me at breakfast, because Daddy lets him sit on his lap, or sit on the floor, or change chairs three times, eat cheerios with a fork one at a time, etc. We figured this out a few days ago when it started taking longer and longer in the mornings if Dad was the one doing the breakfast routine. So, we changed the rules, and Daddy is trying not to be a pushover ;-) Which, of course, is totally our fault and totally unfair, etc etc. I'm trying to have Hubs do the routine a few more times so that N. can realize that it's not time to play, especially when there's a bus to catch. The result? The child refused to eat this morning. Crying, hugging, tantrums, screaming, etc. Wanting everything else besides his cherrios (which he loves). And then he wanted pepper on everything... maybe I should've let that one go through, just to see how he would react...

I tagged in after about 40 minutes and once Daddy disappeared, and we wrestled through getting dressed, N. sat down and ate. Quietly. And was a happy angel on the bus and at daycare once we arrived.

It's fascinating, and a little scary, how quickly a child's behaviour can spiral if you let them have free reign. I don't claim to be the best smartest parent at all, but I'm kind of glad I can see this, at least in our house. And I have to keep reminding Hubby (and myself) that N. is two. There's a reason they call it the terrible twos, and it's not just because of the catchy alliteration. Here's to hoping tomorrow morning will be smoother.

On the knitting front - one repeat of the main pattern in the flower basket shawl... I'm already planning my next shawl, of course... which is not good. not good at all. Must. knit. from. stash.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Closure? We don' need no stinkin' closure.

Do I have a job after next week? Search me. I have no sweet frikkin clue. No one tells me anything.

So, I knit.

Started, knit, finished, blocked a Swallowtail Shawl in 2 weeks. This thing is small, and cute, and did I mention small? No pics uploaded yet since Hubs is constantly writing papers in the evenings when I want to do laptoppy type things. Will I make another one? Hell yes. Did I just cast on another Evelyn Clark pattern? Yup, the Flower Basket Shawl, and I finished the set-up chart over lunch, after helping Ms. L. with her crochet. It's theoretically supposed to be my long-car-ride knitting project, but I a) wanted to get it set up whilst not in a moving vehicle and b) I have no idea if I'll be in a car anytime soon, so frig it. I have 900yd of a light fingering weight, and I'm hoping to get a slightly bigger shawl. And it is BRIGHT.

As for my next Swallowtail, I'm going to do at least two more. Ms. L. wants one, and I love her so much that I would actually consider making one for her. (Have I mentioned the other woman who works in the hospital caf that keeps harassing me for a hat? No? Details at a later date, but suffice it to say, woman ain't gettin' no damn hat from me. She's a pain in the arse.) I also want to do a really large one in a heavier weight - I've seen a few in Cascade 220 on Ravelry, and it looks totally doable, minus the 5-stitch nupps in that weight most likely.

And now, I have to do PCR with oligos I designed to a specific construct 7 months ago, and I can't find them in the original sequence anymore. They disappeared. I have no idea where the sequence came from. It's frigged up. Like everything else around here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Busy little bee

I've been knittingknittingknitting, trying to distract myself from the fact that I still don't know if I have a job past two weeks. I'm also planning on our theoretical trip home, which is both good and bad in keeping my mind occupied.

I have gotten most of the way through the Swallowtail Shawl, and I love it, but fear it'll be to small. I highly doubt it'll block out to a 52"wingspan, but it's very pretty nonetheless. I'm enjoying the process so much that I went out and bought 900 yds of a really pretty fingering handdye to make another Evelyn Clark creation, possibly a mash-up of the Swallowtail and another one.

We have a lab cookout tomorrow for Hubby's lab, and I've baked donut holes so far, and will do a blueberry pie tonight if N. cooperates. He is squarely in the terrible twos now, and while I know on the whole he's still pretty darn well-behaved, baking doesn't happen until he sleeps.

More pics soon, hopefully. And an answer on the job. Sigh.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How we've spent the last few days...

Originally uploaded by Dr. Ellen
In and out of wading pools for N. (they let the kids splash around every morning at daycare, too), and in and out of air-conditioned work for me. I'm theoretically off tomorrow, but I'm coming in to work anyway. It's a chilly 84 out there today, though; we'll see.

Photo-free, but we had a knit night last night - one of the girls is moving away, so we knit, watched The Last Unicorn, and ate cupcakes and fresh blueberry-raspberry pie. And I worked on the Swallowtail shawl that I was compelled to cast on the other day. I don't seem to learn ;-)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Counting chickens and all that crap.

So, hope all you northeasterners haven't melted. I'm at work all week - free air conditioning, dammit. I had to defrost my bedroom unit on Sunday - it wasn't cooling at all, and I opened it up to find a solid block of ice on the chiller grid. Never had to do that one before.

I managed to do some crochet this weekend while N. was splashing in his little wading pool. One of my big doilies called for flowers and leaves, so they're finally done; just need to sew them on. We had a quiet holiday weekend, going for walks early in the morning and late in the afternoon, grilled some burgers and shrimp (which were delicious, and N. refused everything we offered), and had some festive cupcakes.

Also, my boss retracted his "we're good to go on the grant renewal" statement and basically said we can't call it certain until the CEO signs the papers. Which means limbo. Again. Gah.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Shoalwater Bay

Here's that cotton-rayon stuff I mentioned before... very pretty, very tough to photograph. It came with a simple feather-and-fan scarf pattern, so I decided to forge forward. It's totally slubby, which is pretty, but I'm not used to knitting with anything that's (a) not smooth, and (b) not stretchy. Hard to believe something so simple will be such a test for me. In any case, it gives a pretty result, so I'm going to try and plow through.

I'm also tentatively approved for a contract extension (quiet, theoretical "YAY"), so we're tentatively planning the drive up to see my family and MIL in August. Total driving time: 36 hours. Total time I get to drive: Zero. I can't drive a stick. Darn. Such a shame. I guess I'll have to get some more projects lined up. No more laceweight for the car, though; I learned that one the hard way.