Saturday, December 29, 2007

Package From Norway

This little penguin came all the way from Norway! And he didn't come alone... He brought some sock yarn (the boys are eyeing it since it is blue...), polar bear socks, a polar bear key chain (made of bone - very nice), Christmas greetings, Santa tissues and...
...his Marzipan pig friend! See - isn't the pig cute? I really like Marzipan... Although I know that I'll have a tough time eating this little cutie.
A special thanks go out to my still unknown Sock It To Me Twice spoiler for the very nice surprise! I love the polar bears and the penguins. Polar bears are most definitely
something that Canada and Norway have in common.

I still need to post the pictures from my Winter Wonderland Coffee Swap package, but the package is upstairs and I don't want to risk waking Mr. Me. I prefer to blog in peace...!

Friday, December 28, 2007

How I Spent My Lunch Hour Today - A Meme

Do you have any pets?
1 cat. Tiger. The kids have 2 gerbils. Whiskers and Scooter.

What color shirt are you wearing?
Blue and white striped buttoned shirt with white collar and cuffs.

Name three things that are physically close to you.
I’m doing this at my desk at lunch so my tape dispenser, a glass of water and my phone.

What is the last book you read?
I have a number of books in progress. The last one that I finished was Startled by His Furry Shorts.

Are you or were you a good student?
I was. I always sat at the front.

What's your favorite sport?I am not athletic. Not at all. I like to go bike riding with the kids and we have a sailboat, but that’s probably about it. And of course I enjoy a nice walk if it is just a little warmer than today (above freezing, please…).

Do you enjoy sleeping late?
I wouldn’t want to sleep late all the time, but occasionally it would be nice to sleep as late as I liked. Considering that the alarm goes off at 5:15am, it doesn’t take much for me to have slept “late”.

What's the weather like right now?
Cold. It was snowing earlier, but the sun is shining now.

Who tells the best jokes?
Hmmm…. That like asking me who my favourite comedian is, right? And I don’t have one. Humourists? Sure – Stuart McLean and Jonathan Goldstein. Yeah, I like the CBC, so shoot me…!

What was the last thing you dreamed about?I
have no idea. It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve remembered a dream.

Do you drive? If so, have you ever crashed?
Yes I do drive, and no I’ve never really crashed. I’ve grazed a cement bollard and the odd snow bank, but not for years!

Do you believe in karma?
I’m not sure, so I try to err on the side of caution. It never hurts to do something good.

Do you believe in luck?
Luck right up there with karma...

Do you like your eggs scrambled or sunny side up?
Over hard. I’m not eating something that appears to be looking at me and I really don’t like “creamy” scrambled eggs which is how everyone else seems to like them. Blech!

Do you collect anything? If so, what?
I have a collection of Madeline ragdolls (they're no longer in production so no link) and a small teacup collection that came from my Grandmother.

Are you proud of yourself?
Not always.

Are you reliable?
I try very hard to be reliable and succeed most of the time.

Have you ever given money to a bum?
Occasionally, but not too often.

What's your favorite food? Tough question! I love Mediterranean foods, does that count?

Have you ever had a secret admirer?
Yes. In many ways I wish that it had been kept a secret. He had been a good friend. The declaration of his feelings for me ended that since it wasn’t truly reciprocated.

Do you like the smell of gasoline?

Do you like to draw?
Yes, although I don’t do it often anymore.

What's your favorite invention?
I have no idea! I’m quite certain that I take many of them for granted.

Is your room messy?
Define messy… Okay – yes, it is messy. (This refers to my sewing room since it is the only room that is truly MINE!)

What do you like better: oranges or apples?
Generally – apples.

Do you give in easily?
At home, yes. At work, no.

Are you a good guesser?
I don’t really know. It depends on what I’m guessing about. I have good instincts about some things, but unfortunately not everything.

Can you read other people's expressions?
Not consistently.

Are you a bully?
I don’t think so, although I do remember bullying another child when I was about 8. It was to get back at her brother who had bullied me.

Do you have a job?
A single job??? I have many jobs. One of them actually pays me, too.

What time did you wake up this morning?
5:15 am.

What did you eat for breakfast this morning?

When was the last time you showered?5:45 am.

What do you plan on doing tomorrow?
I’m getting my haircut by a new stylist at 9am. Beyond that, hopefully it is a quiet day at home just puttering around.

What's your favorite day of the week and why?
I don’t have a favourite day although I don’t really like Thursdays. I always expect bad things to happen on a Thursday.

Do you have any nicknames?
None that I care to share. Sorry.

Have you ever been scuba diving?
Are you crazy? Of course not!

What's your least favorite color?

Is there someone you have been constantly thinking about? If yes, who?
Constantly thinking about? I don’t think that I have those powers of concentration!

Would you ever go skydiving?

What toothpaste do you use?
Good old basic Crest.

Do you enjoy challenges?
Usually, yes.

What's the worst injury you have had?
I broke a bone in my foot about a year and a half ago. Very painful… And I’ve managed some very impressive bruising with some of my other klutzy adventures.

What's the last movie you saw?
American History X. It was on TV recently.

What do you want to know about the future?
Probably nothing.

What does your last text message say?
I’ve never sent nor received a text message. Yes – I am a dinosaur!

Who was the last person you spoke over the phone to?
Mr. Me.

What's your favorite school subject?
Mathematics and Chemistry.

What's your least favorite school subject?

Would you rather have money or love?

What is your dream vacation?
Today it would involve a beach and warm weather.

What is your favorite animal?

Do you miss anyone right now?

What's the last sporting event you watched?
I have absolutely no idea!

Do you need to do laundry?

Do you listen to the radio?
Yes. Usually the CBC.

Where were you when 9/11 happened?
I was at work. Mr. Me called me and told me about it. I didn’t really understand what he was telling me initially since there is also a World Trade Centre in Halifax. It took me a moment to clue into it being in New York. I couldn’t figure out why I hadn’t heard anything since I was only 2 blocks away…

What do you do when vending machines steal your money?
I try to avoid vending machines .

Have you ever caught a butterfly?
I don't know.

What color are your bed sheets?
Cream, pink and sage green plaid.

What's your ringtone?
Whatever the phone came with...

Who was the last person to make you laugh?
Probably my boys yesterday evening. Little boys are very funny without even trying.

Do you have any obsessions right now?

Do you like things that glow in the dark?
That depends… Sometimes yes. Sometimes no… I’m not a big fan of things that surprise me by glowing at me.

What's your favorite fruity scent?
Citrus scents. They smell so clean.

Do you watch cartoons?
I have 2 kids. What do you think? Of course I watch cartoons! I love Arthur, but I usually only get to watch that if it is just myself and Younger Son.

Have you ever sat on a roof?

Have you ever been to a different country?
Yes. The United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Name three things in the world you dislike.
Selfishness, fanatics and raw mushrooms.

Name three people in the world you dislike.
No. I don’t feel like being that rude today.

Has a rumor even been spread about you?
Yes – by one of the people I’m not naming above.

Do you like sushi?
I’d rather eat other things.

Do you believe in magic?
Yes. There has to be a little magic!

Do you hold grudges?
Not really.

And that was my lunch hour... I'm not tagging anyone since I was just being lazy with my time today.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Pics, Ma'am... Just the Pics

So you've seen the brown box before... And I'm still having issues with the uploading of photos with Blogger... To be precise, I can upload, but I can't move them around. And since Blogger inserts each new picture at the start of the post I've had to load the photos in reverse order. Is this why my brain hurts? Since I received not one, but two packages in the mail today, I was determined to post the photos from my SP11 package first. More swappy goodness later... Here we go - first glimpse of the box contents -

The group shot.
The Cadbury Magical Elves. They weren't really moving all that fast. It must have been me shaking in anticipation of getting to eat them! Chocolate with "popping" candy. Very yummy and FUN!
My beautiful new tote bag.
The very cute card.
Non-dietary fibre. A hand blended batt from Spritely Goods and 2 balls of Crystal Palace Kid Merino that may end up as this. Aren't the colours gorgeous?!
Pampering bath products.
Patons Cables booklet. There isn't a single pattern in this booklet that I don't like!
A porcelain spoon from the Franz collection. Isn't it pretty?
I'll thank Jinxsa again now that you've seen "the goods" and I understand that a few of you have been over to visit her and have had a few laughs... Sorry - I should have included a "spray warning" about reading her!
More photos later. Next up - Winter Wonderland Coffee Swap package and a big "thank you" for Cheryl in Texas and my SITMT spoiler who sent me a package all the way from Norway! I'm feeling pretty special today. I'll post pics of both packages soon - hopefully tomorrow.
And I still want to tell you about the knitting goodies that I got for Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sometimes It's Not What It Looks Like

It looks like just an ordinary brown box, but is it? No - it's not!!! It's my final SP11 package. It arrived the middle of last week. I've been trying to post about it but Blogger has been feeling cranky... Maybe they had a really good office Christmas party and Blogger is feeling a little hungover? So - does anyone want to know who it is from and what's inside???

My very fabulous SP11 spoiler was Jinxsa! And I must say that Jinxsa has made me feel very spoiled with all three of my packages. Looking back, it looks like I neglected to post photos of package number 2, although I know I mentioned it. We backed everything up to disk given the computer's recent health issues, but Mr. Me (who is in charge of tehcnical issues) didn't save them in such a way that I can find anything. I'll try to find the package 2 photos for posting, but I'm not hopeful... I may just have to share it's yarny goodness. And speaking of yarny goodness, shall I get on with the photos? Okay...
Oops - maybe not. Blogger seems to think that the brown box photo is enough. AAARRRGGGHHH!!! There will be photos later showing off my fabulous new tote bag, yummy fibre (I'm going to have to learn to use that spinning wheel), chocolate elves (RIP dear elves - they didn't live long), delicious mohair, a beautiful porcelain spoon, spoiling decadent bath products, a wonderful Patons pattern booklet and the sweetest card with a white Scottish Terrier on it. I'm sure that I have forgotten something but without the photos to jog my memory I'm completely lost!
If I don't get back before the 25th, Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it, and enjoy a day off to those who don't. Jinxsa works in retail and has a special post planned for tomorrow... Drop by if you're curious.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Contest Girl...

Okay - so I'm still loving a good contest...
If you wander over the Cynical Knitting Gal, she is having a contest to give blog names to her siblings. How fun is that? Tell her I sent you, okay...???
Or you could wander over to visit Sharon at Adventures in My Creativity for her 2nd Blogiversary Contest. Sharon was my downstream pal for the WWCS. She's had a lot going on in her life lately, but I've learned some very interesting things from Sharon and will most certainly continue to read her blog. And by this point, I'm sure that you know the drill - tell her I sent you, okay?

SITMT Contest - Christmas Holidays

New Contest: Holiday memories and Holiday knitting. Contest starts today and will end on Friday, December 21st. All you have to do is write a blog post about the holidays. Include memories from when you were a child, Christmas knitting you are working on this year, and holiday traditions. 5 points for the post. If you include pictures, you will receive 1 point for each photo. Have fun!

I think that I will start by directing you here to see the Christmas knitting. Yes... Lots of socks, but then you all "get that", right?

Do you people really want to hear about my childhood Christmases? Are you SURE??? I guess that I'll have to admit that my memories of Christmas are not universally happy memories. I grew up approximately 20 miles away from both sets of grandparents. My grandparents could not have been more different. My Dad's parents were I suppose, middle class, and pious Baptists... Now I have nothing against Baptists, but that did mean that they were decidedly different from my Mom's parents. You see my mother is from a "mixed marriage"... No - I am not talking about racially mixed. My Grandma was raised as a Baptist, but horror of horrors, she had married a Roman Catholic!!! And my Mom's parents were decidedly working class.
At Christmastime, this often meant two separate visits, and sometimes two Christmas dinners. We always had to be on our best behviour at my paternal grandparents, while mayhem seemed to rule at my maternal grandparents. And then there was the temperature difference... I never ever remember eating a hot meal at my Dad's parents. It was always a sit down meal at the dining room table, with my Grandpa at the head of the table and my Grandma at the foot. I sat at my Grandpa's right since you need to have a woman to the right of the man at the head of the table and I'm left handed. It always made my cousin's jealous....
Dinner at my maternal grandparents was always decidedly less formal. My mother is the second oldest of five children. I have 3 cousins on my Dad's side, but there are 13 on my Mom's side. And my Mom's parents had a very small house... After at best a warm meal at my Dad's parents we would go up to my Mom's parents and take turns on the back porch to cool off. And dining? Well, that involved TV trays!
As for traditions, we had very few when I was a child. I always felt like this was something that I had missed. As we got older, I enjoyed making Christmas cookies with my sisters. We would hang sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies on the tree as ornaments. Gradually over the course of the season the tree would become barer and barer...
Our tradition now with our children is to go to the Christmas Eve service at our church, come home for a late supper and then off to bed after leaving Santa and the reindeer at bit of a snack (and a note of course). Christmas stockings always have Terry's Chocolate Oranges in the toes and a bag of chocolate money for prosperity in the year to come.

Things I've Read This Week

While I haven't been blogging, I have been reading other people's blogs, news items, etc. Some of them were quite interesting!
Earlier in the week I was reading Chan Knits. More particularly, this post. Which took me over to Crimson Purl and this post. Click on over and have a read. I think that you'll find it interesting. I know I did!
And then there was the Wall Street Journal article on Sock Wars. I sent it to Mr. Me for educational purposes. His response? "You people are crazy." I shared this response with a knitting friend who countered with "Let's see if he still feels that way after he stops getting handknit socks."
The pre-Christmas stress is building around here... Hopefully I can get back to things while Mr. Me heads out to finish his shopping tomorrow. I don't have to go because I'm DONE!!!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Small Kindness

Yesterday evening on my way home from work, I decided that I needed (yes - needed, not wanted) a cup of coffee for the drive. So, being a good Canadian, I passed through the Tim Horton's drivethru on Union Street in Fredericton. Just a medium coffee with milk, please... When I got to the window to pay, the gentleman in front of me in the silver Audi had already paid for me! I couldn't see his license plate clearly because of the snow - I'm not even sure that it was a New Brunswick plate - and I don't think that I know anyone that drives a silver Audi... I honked and waved as a "thank you" as I drove past him exiting the parking lot, but I don't think that he either heard or saw my very small "thank you". It was just a cup of coffee, but even this small act of kindness and generosity is something that I found very touching. I am grateful to know that there are people out there like this gentleman. When I pulled up to the window, I was crying. I was listening to an interview on the radio with the good samaritans that had been involved in this. While their actions were of a much greater magnitude, I think that the spirit of kindness and caring is the same.
Now if only I could summon some good thoughts about the snow plow driver who just about creamed me later in the drive. Perhaps I should just be grateful that he didn't!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

WWCS Topic of the Week

For many people, Winter is a time of cold weather and snow - and many fun outdoor activities that can only be enjoyed during those times! What's YOUR favorite activity in Winter, and is it even outdoors??
I'm not the most athletic of people, so I'm not going to lie to you all and tell you how much I love to downhill ski... I tried it once. I have promised the kids that I will try it again, but it was a very humbling and humiliating experience. However, since we have lots of land (10.5 acres) and live slightly past the middle of nowhere, I do love to go for a walk in the woods with Mr. Me and the kids. It is a wonderful experience to walk through pristine snow in the absolute and utter quiet of a winter wood. All you can hear is the squeaking of the snow under your feet. Once the river is frozen, we often walk across to an old abandoned camp where we will sit in it's shelter and enjoy our thermos flasks of tea or hot chocolate. It's a great family activity, although I do need to get myself some snowshoes so that I can better keep up with the kids.

Round and Round We Go, Where the Carousel Stops, Nobody Knows!

The carousel in question would be my Carousel Cap... If we go back to a week ago yesterday, this is how my yard looked.It snowed enough that school was cancelled for the kids (no surprise), the commuter bus that I normally take didn't go into the city (unprecedented) and work was closed until 1PM (shocking), but I couldn't get out of my driveway, so that was a moot point. Yay for technology and the ability to work online from home!
The last couple of years, I was able to successfully ignore winter for the most part, but this year it appears that winter is coming. And winter is staying. And winter isn't going to be a good guest... Since I had purchased some lovely Celestial Merino a couple of years ago for a Carousel Cap, I thought that this would be the perfect time to knit it. I knit a tension swatch. I counted. Okay - I didn't wash it, but I've knit with the yarn before so I knew that it *should* be just fine...
I cast on with a provisional cast on. Since I had some leftover pale blue from my Mom's Christmas socks of last year, I decided to use that for as much of the facing of the brim as was possible and the contrast ridges. So far, so good. As I got closer to the end of the blue, I calculated how much I needed for the ridges, and stopped the contrast in the facing at an appropriate point. The beads were strung and knit into place without issue. I had reversed the rows to compensate for my left handedness... Oh - it was looking nice!
Time to start the lace pattern. Now, I could see which way the "holes" were sloping and which way the stitches were sloping... I thought that I would be fine. After 3 rows, I realized that my lace was travelling in the wrong direction. Time to frog it back to the contrast ridge! It wasn't far... Better to do it right from the start.
Off I set again, and this is how far I got before I realized that I STILL didn't have the stitch pattern right...
So back to the contrast rigde it went again.
Last night I got to within maybe 10 rows of the end of the cap and I ran out of yarn!!! To my credit, I did not throw the hat, nor did I scream, although I wanted to do both. I am now off to frog it back about a third of the way, omit 2 rows at that point and then 2 more a little further up to have enough yarn to finish. Hey - it's only 4 rows that are being omitted, and that will be better than a great big massive and enormous hole at the top of my head!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas Knitting

I've added some links and corrected some names that were entered too quickly... Let me know if I missed something that you're just dying to know, okay?
Okay, I'd better be quick - before Mr. Me realizes that I'm blogging when he wants to write the annual Christmas letter. In keeping with the Christmas theme, I've got some finished object photos of my Christmas knitting.
MIL's Socks - The pattern is "My Petticoat Socks", and the yarn is Fortissima Colori.
Uncle Roger's socks. Briggs and Little Heavy Socks, knit in their 150th Anniversary colourway.
SIL's socks. Rib and Cable socks (by Nancy Bush) from Interweave Knits Fall 2005. The yarn is some of the Sisu that I purchased on vacation.
I've been found out... Gotta run... I'll try to get back with links later - bye!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

WWCS Coffee Chat

I've been busy recently, and haven't had too much of a chance to cruise through the list of participants, but I did a little bit of just that today. I wandered over to Two August Girls and met Heather. Part of me being busy is that I've just changed jobs. I'm kind of pleased that I now have a window... Heather's bosses gave her office away when she was on mat leave! Yikes!!! But when you look at the photos of her daughters, she still came out ahead in that deal. And Heather's older daughter and I have the same name. Heather is being tempted by sock knitting... I've tried to encourage her, since there are few things better than handknit socks.
I also wandered over to Purple is a Fruit, home of Vicki. I am in awe of Vicki... I'm also sorry that I missed her 500th post contest. That is quite an accomplishment! And besides, reno stories are right up my alley. I've even got some doozy before and after photos to prove it, although I'm still trying to figure out what possessed Mr. Me's relatives to do some of the previous "renos" in the first place...
And something that all three of us have in common: we're all Mom's to 2 kids.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Feet and Other Stuff

I think that my computer may be ill... It is slower than death these days! Mr. Me works from home 3 days out of 5, so I'm blaming him for the illness. Or it could be the kids and their love of computer games. Who knows, but if this keeps up, I may have to treat myself to a laptop of MY OWN and a wireless router. Yeah, like that's in the budget.
So yesterday was my last official day in my old job. Monday brings both a new job and a new office. And my office has a real window! I haven't had a window in 5 years... Of course there are still things that need to be tidied up with the old job, but I am very excited about moving on to something new. And in typical "it never rains it pours" fashion, I also received a call on another job that I had applied for. I'll go for the interview and see what comes of it, since I don't really have to make a decision unless they offer the position to me. Both of them are lateral shifts for me, so I would have to look at my longterm career planning objectives. Okay - you can stop laughing now. No - I don't really have any longterm career plans other than to have positions that I find interesting.
I managed to get the package for my downstream WWCS pal shipped out yesterday. I really hope that she likes it and that it doesn't spend too much time at the border... If I had been really organized, I would have had everything together and mailed it from Maine last weekend, but that would have been very unlike me, so that explains why it didn't happen!
The winner of the most recent WWCS contest, Lesley, is going to be co-hostessing a new swap with Michelle. Wander over to Cocoa Swap and have a look. I'm not really a cocoa drinker but the Blah Buddy part of the swap may just suck me in. I love having little creatures that make me smile around... And since this is my entry into their first contest, tell them I sent you, okay?
I've been reassigned a downstream pal for SITMT and have started reading her blog to get to know her a bit. I'm looking forward to it. I *think* that I know people who know her so if things get bumpy, I may have a backdoor in. And speaking of SITMT, my upstream pal has asked for some foot information from me. Well, pal, I'm going to direct you to here, to my questionnaire from the first swap. You may note that I sometimes get careless when remeasuring my feet, so I know that this information is accurate...
Something else that is amusing me these days is the "Gross Things Meme". I saw it over at Shut Up I'm Counting. Cass posted her meme and has been linking other people's memes as well. I've got to say, I'm am VERY LUCKY to have a very pleasant and non-gross life! Nothing that has happened to me can compare to some of the grossness I've read. While they've made me laugh, I do not recommend reading these if you have a weak stomach or are feeling at all queasy... Okay? You have been warned.
Mr. Me and my MIL have taken the kids to swimming lessons today and plan on doing some other things while they're in the city. If I'm lucky, I'll have most of the day alone! Although I need to do laundry (I know - shocking!!!) and wrap some Christmas presents. If I get a chance to upload some photos of the Christmas knitting, I'll be back...