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.