Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wednesday Picture #2

Today's Wednesday picture is my cute, tiny little Grandma. As I mentioned yesterday, she recently turned 90, but this has not dulled her wit one bit. Grandma is hilarious.

One of my cousins went shopping for Grandma's new wardrobe, because we want to keep her looking hip. But, she didn't like her new capri pants. Quote: "I didn't like those short pants. My friends don't wear those." Hmm, I guess the nonagenarian church ladies are harsh critics. I guess she needs to stay modest, after all, she isn't 70 anymore.

Grandma gets super-excited every time she sees me, sighing with relief that I haven't grown any taller. For some reason she thinks it's totally hilarious that we're the same size. At this rate, I'll probably be about 4'5" when I'm her age.

One of my aunts told us a story about her friends who decided to give their 9o-year-old grandma a surprise birthday party. Unfortunately that proved to be a bad decision, and grandma um, didn't make it. So my aunt said, "We are NOT surprising Grandma." However, in the excitement of opening her presents and being crowded by small children, Grandma suddenly lost her balance and fell over, as old ladies are prone to do. There was a huge gasp as the crowd collectively sucked in their breath, but luckily Grandma was OK. She popped up and yelled "I'm OK!" and everyone clapped like she was a soccer player arising unhurt from a nasty collision.

Here's to many more birthdays, Grandma!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Last week Jason & I used my cousin's wedding as an excuse to visit a big city: Chicago! Because we live on a desert island (as in, a small town surrounded in all directions by desert), going to a city is always somewhat of a culture shock. Um, people here don't own ridiculously large pickup trucks? And they talk on Blackberries? (I thought that was a fruit.) And they shop in stores other than Wal-mart?? Weird.

Thanks to the generosity of the folks at the Holiday Inn hotel points credit card, we got to stay at a sweet hotel up on the 22nd floor of the Merchandise Mart, above the Chicago Sun-Times offices. Through some stroke of luck we got a corner room with huge windows. This was our view of the Sears tower:

And it was even cooler at night:

Visiting from New Mexico, we thought it would only be right to visit a Mexican restaurant (Rick Bayless's Frontera Grill), and the next day, visit the National Mexican Art Museum. (Ironically, the Mexican food and art is of much higher quality in Chicago than it is less than three hours from actual Mexico.)

This piece of art was crafted entirely out of seed beads!

The remainder of our day was spent hitting up the major tourist sites, such as the Sears Tower, Millennium Park (home of "the bean"), Buckingham Fountain, and because we're major nerds, Powells Books. I totally would have broken the bank in that place if I wasn't saddled with the knowledge that I would have to carry anything I bought for the rest of the day.

A view from the Sears Tower:

And the crazy huge bookstore!

Our second day in the city consisted of a trip to Navy Pier, where we had a incredibly uncomfortable speedboat ride that was so torturous it became hilariously funny. Little raindrops - not so harmful when you're standing still, but like metal BB's slamming into your face when you're on a speedboat.

On to the family part of the visit... one of my cousins was getting married (not such a big deal, because I have something like 21 first cousins on that side of the family, and there's been a marriage or two every few years for the last, say, 25 years.) People these days like to have marathon wedding weekends, so this also included a pre-wedding picnic and an epic 10-hour wedding/reception the next day.

Sunday was my Grandma's 90th birthday party. All but 4 members of my 75+ giant family showed up for the event. My favorite is this picture of my Dad, his mom, and his 7 siblings. Aren't they cute? (My Dad's the short one, in case you are wondering where my size comes from.)

Whew! I now have 2 more nights to finish packing for Yellowstone. We're gone for 9 weeks, which is just long enough to agonize about what to take. Do I have enough yarn? Should I take any sewing supplies? What books should I take? These, my friends, are the important questions.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wednesday Picture #1

I've decided to start a new "feature" in my attempt to post a little more regularly. Every Wednesday I'll post a picture, either one from the past or one that I have just taken.

This week's picture is of the birthday cake I made for myself last year. After watching way too many episodes of "Ace of Cakes," I figured the whole cake decorating thing couldn't be that hard. As you can see from the picture, I'm not exactly an artistic genius. First of all, there was WAY too much (lemon) filling in this cake, and it kept seeping out under the fondant. The bulge you can see on the left side is one of the layers sliding out of place.

The cake itself was pretty horrible. I got the recipe from somewhere on the internet, and it turned out oddly dense and tasteless. Making the fondant was easier than you would think, but I realized how important the shape of the cake underneath was!

My Dad, who went to culinary school, taught me how to make the top roses using a light bulb (you use it to make the petals paper-thin on the edges.) That was probably my favorite part of the whole process, and a technique I hope to use again.

My cake decorating days are not over, but since it is an involved process, the inspiration for a second go-round has yet to strike.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bike Commuting

Claudia over at Claudia's Blog had a brilliant idea for a project: the Bicycling As Transportation/ Knitters Alternatively Transporting ("BAT/KAT") project. Click on the link for the full story, but the goal of the project is to replace a number of car trips every week with another form of transportation, such as biking or walking. I just got a new bike, and as gas prices skyrocket, I'm more and more motivated to bike instead of drive.

Look at my new shirt: INFINITY miles per gallon, get it? Hehe.

Here are a couple of links worth checking out. If you are contemplating biking to work, this site answers a lot of questions. If you live too far from your workplace, this site will give you a list of bikeable locations in a 2-mile radius from your house (here's the YouTube video.)

If you are still wary, then you definitely need to click here: this calculator will tell you how much money you will save, how many calories you will burn, and how many pounds of toxic emissions you can save by a single bike trip. My round-trip distance to work is 7.5 miles: So if I were to bike to work just one day a week, I'd save $161.72, burn 14,040 calories, and prevent 379 pounds of emissions from entering the atmosphere. (There's also a calculator here: this one said I will only save about $60 - it's probably more accurate.)

If you are way into keeping stats, try out BikeJournal - here you can enter your distance, time, and other info on each ride, and it will all be added up and averaged for you. You can set up a goal, say ride 1,000 miles a year, and a cute little ticker will tell you how far along you are. If you are on Ravelry, there is a biking group called Two-Wheeled Knitters that is a lot of fun to follow.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Picture Meme

I don't usually do too many of these meme thingamabobbies, but I really liked this one.

1. Hedgepig, 2. Fresh Fruit Salad, 3. Skull and Crossbones, 4. Mangosteen, 5. Anderson Cooper, 6. afternoon, 7. The Queen and her commoners HDR, 8. homemade berry ice cream, 9. Untitled, 10. llibreria - bookstore - Amsterdam, 11. Time..., 12. Great-Grandparents' Wedding - 1884

You use FD's mosaic maker to put together your flickr searches for the answers to the following questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

Official rules:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker).

Consider yourself tagged if you want to make your own mosaic!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Two Colors? Check.

This weekend I finally got up the nerve to try stranded knitting - and guess what? It wasn't that hard! The hardest part was getting used to knitting with my left hand, something I hadn't done before. Here are my super-exciting results:

Not too shabby if I may say so myself. I have a couple projects in mind, but I need to get some more yarn first - and that will have to wait until after I get to Yellowstone, to save on car space.
Something sort of interesting happened to me last week. I've been purposely vague about my job, but in order for this story to make sense, I have to tell you that I create ads for a newspaper. So, last Monday, one of the classified ads that I had made appeared on Jay Leno's "Headlines" (or maybe on David Letterman... no one seems to be clear on that)! Even though it was only there for the purposes of mockery, it was cool to see something that I had made on TV. (Well, for other people to see... I missed the show myself.) The aspect of the ad that was being mocked was totally not my fault. The client was advertising for a janitor, and at the end of the ad it said "Bring police record." It sounded like you HAD to have a police record to apply for the job... something I pointed out as I was typing up the ad. But apparently this particular establishment is forbidden from hiring child molesters. So it would have been totally funny if I had changed the ad to read, "NO child molesters... other criminals OK."
Recently I took a look at my yarn stash, and realized that this hunk is taking up way more real estate than reasonable. I bought this because it has really neat color transitions... but I don't know when I will ever get around to using it. It's Joann Sensations Rainbow Boucle, and it's huge (853 yards, about the size of a football.) If you want it, leave a comment & include some way to reach you. If more than one person wants it, I'll pick a name out of a hat.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Ribbed Shrug

I hunkered down with an episode of Medium and finished up this sucker last night. And I have to say, this is probably one of my favorite things I've ever knit:

Pattern: Two-toned Ribbed Shrug from Fitted Knits
Yarn: Berocco Comfort
Needles: Size 8 and 5 Knitpicks options circulars

Here's what the back looks like:

And I know I said it was getting boring talking about the weather, but this is just unbelievable. Today's current temp:And if anyone says, "It's a dry heat," I invite you to stand outside for 5 minutes in this heat and then see how comforting that phrase is. Tomorrow's high has been upgraded to 108 - I live in Hell.
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