Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mary Lou Fowler

2/3/1909 - 7/17/2007

This has been a very sad week for my family. My Grammy passed away Tuesday morning.

I posted a while back about my grandmother - "Grammy." She broker her hip back in March, but even though she was up there in age when it happened, she basically made a full recovery. Only used a walker, but other than that, she went back to life as it was before the fall.

She was a wonderful woman, very strong, very kind, very stubborn. It is very hard to find just the right words to put here, because she was so wonderful that I don't want this to seem trivial.

I loved her very much. It seems very strange not to have her in the house anymore.

Even though here lately, she slept a lot and was very particular about what she wanted going on in the house when she was awake (well, she was 98, could barely hear, and couldn't see much at all). So she was entitled to the no music, CNN preference on the TV, and PLEASE don't watch a movie if I'm awake stance that she took here for this last little while. When I walk past her room, I find myself trying not to look inside because I don't want to see that she's not there.

I'm going to miss her, but I know she is now resting and not tired, or struggling, or bored out of her mind for not being able to do anything. Hopefully, wherever she is (do I dare to believe there's a Heaven?) she's knitting a sweater for Da - her late husband - and has already managed to find a map of the country where my sister and her husband will be stationed, so she can finally "see" exactly what we've been talking about lately, and is sharing a good (if weak) cup of coffee with her friends who have gone on before her.

I know she is in peace.

We will miss you, Grammy.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Cute, Sexy = Frustration

Why is it always the cute, sexy ones that give me the fits?

This is my Sahara after much frustration, teeth gnashing, swearing, ripping (very, very much of that!), and an extra glass of vino or two! I tried SEVERAL times to get the patterned edge on the hem of the sweater, before ripping it out, forgetting the words "Diamond Rib" even existed on the pattern and substituting good old seed stitch on the hem of the thing! I plan to do the same for the sleeves and neckline. And, for the record, shortly after taking the above picture? I figured out I was doing the neckline wrong and would need to remove IT as well. Lovely.

I'm sure, once it's finished, it will be worth it, but right now, that thing is making me hate all things purple, and lately I really love purple!

I am also stalled a bit on my MS3 project - need to tink back at least one row to fix a mistake, but I'm thinking "one problem at a time." So, after I finish working out the kinks in Sahara, I'm going to work on the stole again. I figure I have until Friday to get through this clue for the stole. I'd also like to start a new project, but I'm trying to be a reasonable obsessive knitter and finish at least one of the 5 things I have going before I start something else.

And when I say 5 things going, I am probably underestimating seriously, so I'd better go get knitting.

I'll leave with a picture from today's trip to Fort Washington National Park, in which The Boy and I found a cute little strip of beach that's great for finding shells and, well, relaxing. Just look:


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Visual Review

OK - I hope that I have at least a few visitors from the Hogwarts Sock Swap visiting my blog, and I'd like to open up a discussion of the movie here on my blog! I doubt that anyone involved in the swap is unaware of the actual events that would be in the movie, but just in case, I want to have this discussion here instead of there, to avoid "spoiling" any movie happenings for those that didn't rush out on opening day like me. Sorry, it's a tradition for me - I've never not seen the movie the day it opens! Wasn't about to start now.

So, I saw the movie with my cousin and her 12 year old son yesterday aftternoon. It was excellent! It appeared very dark, though, and I'm sure that was to keep the mood of the book. I made sure this time to review the book before the movie came out. I actually listened to it on tape in the evenings while I knit on MS3. And I remembered that when reading it the first time, I kept thinking - man, Harry's having a bad year! So much stuff was taken from him this year - privileges, the knowledge that his idol/mentor Dumbeldore was supporting his efforts, quidditch and his broomstick, his godfather to top it all off in the end, etc, etc, etc. So, it was a tough year for Harry, and I think that's why the majority of the movie was so dark, visually.

I also noticed, having read the book very recently before seeing the movie, that they changed a few vital points in the story! Most notably to me was that they made it Cho Chang that betrayed Harry by telling about the secret, DA meetings! I thought that was very interesting, and wonder what Rowling herself had to say about that, and also how it might fit into later movies/books. I guess in the long run it all works out in that the main thing - the secret club being discovered did happen, is all that matters!

What else . . . I keep thinking how dang lucky Rowling was to have chosen the people she did to play these characters - not only the kids, who get more gorgeous each year, but the adults as well. Snape/Alan Rickman gets me every time. I love his timing, and his attitude, and the way he plays his detest of Harry, Hermione, and Ron so well! He's really a brilliant actor. Every word he utters, every gesture is 100% right on!

The only change I would have liked to have seen was the Umbridge character. I really didn't like her. Maybe that has something to say about her being a good actress and all, but I was really hoping for Judi Dench. For some reason, she was who I kept picturing as I read the book, and well, I don't like my visual ideas being changed like that. I wanted Dame Judi!

Anyone else have any comments? Did you like something I didn't? Did you completely hate it? I know someone on the sock swap blog said she didn't think the movie was the best one she'd ever seen. So, what is YOUR favorite one? Do you think this one ranks highly, gets good marks, etc? Or what?

I loved it, as usual. Besides Dame Judi, I wouldn't have changed a thing! Well, maybe seeing a litte more of Ron's side of the story and the fact that Ron and Hermione were supposed to have been prefects this year . . . that kinda was forgotten 100% . . .


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Questionnaire and an Update

I have been trying like mad to finish reading HP and The Order of the Phoenix, in preparation for Wednesday! I am listening to the book on tape and knitting on the MS3 project at the same time. Updates later. And, uh, it just so turns out (ahem!) that The Boy will be with the babysitter that day since I have a doctor's appointment that morning (ahem again!). I'm looking forward to doing luch with a girlfriend in Baltimore after the appointment, then catching the movie before battling traffic on the way home. How conveniently that all worked out.

So, since HP is so much on my mind lately, here's the next questionnaire for the NEXT round of the Hogwarts Sock Swap (in which I will become a lofty "Second Year"!!):

Hogwarts Sock Swap Questionnaire
Second Years

1. What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into? GRYFFINDOR

2. Shoe size? Foot length? Foot circumference? SHOE SIZE 9, FOOT LENGTH 9 1/2 inches, CIRCUMFERENCE 9 inches around the middle (hrm - very square, eh?)

3. List your three favorite sock yarns.
a. Koigu
b. whatever I knit socks with last
c. whatever is soft (can you tell I'm not all that picky?)

4. Would you like to try a new brand of sock yarn? If so, which brand? Cherry Tree Hill, maybe, or STR.

5. Do you prefer variegated or solid sock yarn? Either

6. What colors would you like to add to your sock yarn stash? I seem to be on a red kick lately and don't have much in my stash (considering making a Clapotis out of the red Jitterbug I got in the Spring).

7. What kind of sock patterns do you gravitate toward? Lace? Ribbed? Fair Isle? Lace, since my standard "no pattern" is ribbed these days.

8. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, animals, etc.) Very “sensitive" to 100% wool.

9. Will your socks be exposed to cigarette smoke or animals as you knit them? I do have a cat.

10. Are you willing to have an international Hogwarts Sock Pal? You bet!

Signups begin on June 14th, so all you HP/sock fans, get in on the action!

Friday, July 06, 2007


Uh, dude - we broke Yahoo. Not good.

Please, please, please, please, please, Yahoo - forgive us, don't kick us out! We'll be good next time! We promise!

So I tried for a solid hour this morning (9am,EST to 10am) to get into Yahoo, period. A couple times I got the welcome screen for our group, but it would not let me sign in - "cannot find server" was the favorite phrase.

I gave up, took a shower, fixed "brunch" for me and The Boy (he and I are on similar Summer schedules - get up when you feel like it, eat when you're hungry, go out in the early afternoon to explore/adventure/find mommy some yarn, beads, buttons, etc!:O) Now, I am finally in and have printed out the second "clue" in Mystery Stole 3! Since I'm only on row 50 of the first clue, it's not really that big a deal to me. I was hoping for another clue as to the theme, but for now I'll settle with reading the clues my peers are suggesting. There are some interesting ones out there so far, but I don't know that I'm completely agreeing with anyone just yet. Maybe after a little more knitting.

Later:And on that note, I have decided that I am not 100% happy with the yarn I chose to begin with, and have now switched to the wonderful black colored Acero yarn I got from Brooks Farm at Stitches East last year. It took some consideration.

After looking over a good number of the photos in the yahoo group this morning, I noticed that many were more "solid" on the knitted portions than my first 50 or so rows that I managed to get through last night (while listening to The Order of the Phoenix, in preparation for Wednesday). It was just too open. I briefly considered reknitting with a size 3 needle, but I really was not thrilled with the beads I had on hand to go with my yarn, either. They were gold tubular type beads, and with the Autumn colorway, I just wasn't thrilled.

So I wandered around, peeking into my stash (which is in different bins all around the house). For a moment, I thought I had some eggplant colored Misti Alpaca that would work, but that, unfortunately, is worsted weight. Now, I did want a bit of a more substantial yarn, but worsted is pushing it. When I saw the black Acero hanging out (I was considering it for Wicked a while back, but reconsidered), I knew that was gonna be it.

I swatched:

While swatching, I realized that the iridescent green-ish beads that I had on-hand would work with this yarn. I think it will be a very interesting and beautiful stole. Here's the beginning. You can almost see the beads, but the lighting is weird:

Here's another shot where you can see that I am actually going to need to use clear beads in the center of the shawl and put the green on the outside edges only - won't have enough of either to do the whole shawl, and I'm probably going to actually have to go pick up another pack of the clear beads to be safe. Which is good, cause the clear ones came from AC Moore. The green? A specialty bead shop in Kitty Hawk, NC (last year). Not too good a chance of getting more of those! So here's the beads.

Drop a comment and let me know what you think. Yes, this will be a more substantial stole than with laceweight yarn, but I just wasn't happy with it - I kept thinking - I'm gonna break this thing, or snag it the first time I use it. I'm just not a delicate, lace, flowery-kinda gal! Wayyyyyy too clumsy for that! :O)

I think it's turning out just great, and have already knit the first 82 rows from Clue 1. With all the reading/listening I have to do this week, I'm bound to catch all the other speeding bullets out there!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Danged Rabbit Holes

They're everywhere on this internet-thingy (at least for knitters and other obsessive compulsive crafter-types), and I've fallen into one.

Didn't mean to, but it happened anyway.

I am hopeless.

I'll be using KnitPicks Alpaca Cloud in the Autumn colorway. I'm off to 1) swatch, 2) wind up the remaining hanks of yarn, and 3) convince myself that this is a good thing because I'm using yarn straight from my stash. Yeah, that's the ticket.

If that doesn't work, I can always convince myself of the nifty idea the Yarn Harlot posted on her blog - something about a Christmas present being ready if nothing else. That should work . . .


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th!

Today is Independence Day. Thank you so, so much, to all the troops who are facing danger, and are separated from their families on this holiday. Even though I'm prior military (USAF), I don't usually get all sentimental and patriotic, but it's just wrong not recognize and remember the sacrifices being made by our troops who are serving our country so well right now (whether or not we should be where we are or not).

Thank You!

More blogging later, where I actually get around to finishing my vacation update, and tell how the Summer is going so far. I'm off to watch some fireworks!!!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Make It Stop!

Why do I always feel like I need a vacation when I get back from vacation? I think I will ask that question probably every time I come back from vacation with The Boy. Add in my parents, Grammy, and a visiting sister, and you've just plain worn me out for the next week and a half AT LEAST! But we did have fun, and I'm a whole lot browner than when I started. I love it when I get a tan and catch up with the rest of "my people!" :O) It's a good thing I only do this once or twice a year, cause 8 hours in the sun per day is probably not all that good for you. And since you have to go south of the Mason Dixon line for the good sunscreen (read "anti-aging"), I'll be limiting my sun exposure like a good aging girl.

We went to Kitty Hawk again this year, although, just like last year, the time-share resort was such a hit with the fabulous outdoor pool and all, that we went to the beach once, and had to drag The Boy, kicking and screaming, out of the gates to go sightseeing two times. The Boy is a true fish, and can hold his own in the pool so well now that I actually got to sit on a beach chair (2 feet away from the shallow end) and read a bit of my book. Now, granted, it took about 20 minutes to read two pages, what with checking him out in the water every other word, but it was nice and relaxing, which is a big difference from last year, or even this year at out normal, overcrowded pool. We had such a good time.

Here's a quick tourist-y rundown of what we did:

If you're ever here:

Take a picture like this:

I waited a whole year to take this picture. We visited last year the REAL way - spent the whole afternoon at this wonderful national park, but forgot the camera (actually, didn't think it would be the wonderful, interesting, inspiring sight that it is), and kicked myself over and over again. This is the most wonderful kodak moment and you need to take a picture of your own kid (if you're lucky enough to have one), or loved one (again, luck is involved here. . . ) at this monument. I wonder if the architects planned this one out. It's too good not to have been a mark of someone's thoughtful planning! I went around telling everyone we saw that day that they had to go take a picture around the corner. The message " In commemoration of the conquest of the air by the brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright, conceived by genius, achieved by dauntless resolution and unconquerable faith." is inscribed all the way around the monument, which is pretty much a fancy triangular prism. It's really gorgeous, and built on the spot (sans shifting sands) where the famous brothers first took flight. Also, when you go, bring a kite, because there's a reason they took off here first - the winds are CONSTANT! Don't miss the opportunity!

This year we only ran through to take the above picture, visit the tiny small-engine airport in the park, then head out on our way to do some miniature golf (I won, thank you very much - and no, I don't "let" him win, cause he's way too good at sports for all that rigamarole! He can beat the pants off me fair and square, so I take my wins when I can get 'em), then visit the first of two lighthouses for the trip. That day it was the Bodie Lighthouse, although The Boy later referred to it as the "Wash Light." Seems that his 5-year old mind only heard the word Bodie (pronounced "body") and connected it in his mind with what was familiar to him. Too funny! At least he's making connections, though!

Even though we couldn't climb this lighthouse, we had a blast there - he took a couple pictures of it, I took one of him in front of the light where he is positively dwarfed: (picture to be added later, when Blogger has returned from IT's little vacation!!!)

and we listened to a talk by a Park Ranger about the different things that wash up on the beaches of North Carolina. Very informative. We had a really good time, and he was very excited to learn that restoration is beginning on this lighthouse, too, in order to open it up to the climbing public. Should be beautiful! The site is gorgeous!

Tomorrow, you will see the other lighthouse, stunning pictures of my sister, my mother, and myself, taken by my 5-year old(!), and the *ahem* new additions to the stash family in my house! You didn't think I'd go on vacation and not look for yarn, did ya?