Category Archives: Knitting

The Big Ugly Sweater Lives!

Please ignore the crazy woman wearing it.

crazy-sweater-lady.JPGPlease ignore the crazy woman wearing it.


Filed under Knitting, Me Me Me

It’s DONE!

The Big Ugly Sweater is DONE! I finished it last night and I am so happy. It’s big, it’s ugly, but I made it all by myself! What’s more amazing is that I actually FINISHED a project. Finished knitting projects are rare jewels in this house.

There must be something in the air today because I have been wicked productive. I cleaned the fronts of the kitchen cabinets (they were grody), did laundry, and reorganized a portion of the yarn stash. I’m afraid to dig any deeper into it, but I did manage to put a bunch of it away and pull out the yarn I’m going to need for the Less Big and I Hope Less Ugly Sweater which I am about to start. I hope it doesn’t take me 8 months to do this one.

I will post a photo later, I promise.

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Fun-ish things (I like lists)

1. I have given away both copies of the book I promised to the Tomato Nation Comment Army. Thanks for the interest and good luck to all! Once the NCDS is over, we’ll get started in earnest, yes?

2. I have been trying to ignore it, but apparently I need to re-organize my cupboards a little better. This morning, a bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce fell out of the cabinet and splashed me in the face. Not an awesome way to start the day.

3. I made a big batch of waffles this morning. Ever since I discovered Jillian’s intense and burning love for all things leavened, I have been making waffles about every 5 days. I figure I have saved approximately $527.32 just this year alone by making them from scratch (ridiculously easy) instead of buying Eggo. The child can put away two of them each morning, no problem. She’s a machine.

4. While Freddie and I both have our own iPods, we share the iTunes. Therefore, EVERYTHING that is on the iTunes ends up on my iPod (18GB) because there is no way in hell I’m manually managing 5,000 songs. During the day, I like to put it on shuffle and let it go but today I found I may have to re-think that. Collective Soul came on. I mean, Collective Soul? On MY iPod? Ew. I do believe this is grounds for divorce.

5. I have a fairly eclectic musical palate. I’ll listen to most things, but there are a few things that make me want to stick rusty scissors in my ears. The Eagles come to mind. Collective Soul is another one – they were EVERYWHERE in the mid-to-late 90’s and I’m sick of them (still) on top of the fact that THEY SUCK. Freddie already had that CD in his music collection when we got together because I for sure didn’t authorize that purchase. Thank God he dislikes country as much as I do or I really would have to call my lawyer. If I had a lawyer, that is.

6. I… like the smell of Murphy’s Oil Soap. I didn’t used to – when we moved out of our last apartment and into our first house, I scrubbed the shit out of the hardwood floors in the apartment using the MOS. And for some reason, the smell of it was unpleasant to me, but in hindsight that might have had more to do with the fact that the whole apartment was kind of stanky when we got there. It smelled like the dumpster behind a Chinese restaurant – like old sesame oil. Hrm. Perhaps that’s why sesame oil still makes me heave a bit when I cook with it. Interesting. Anyway, I finally got fed up with the grody milk driblets all over my TV stand and coffee table (thanks, toddler!) so I busted out the Murphy’s and went to town. Much better.

7. Technology, which is sometimes the bane of my existence, is actually doing nice things for me these days. Via Facebook and MySpace, people are falling back into my life after long absences and I couldn’t be happier. As I reconnect with these people, I feel like the pieces of me that are connected with them are joining back up with the whole of me. It’s a nice feeling, even if talking about it makes me seem a little less than sane.

8. My little brother is coming to be our houseguest for a few weeks. This means I have had to shovel out the 3rd bedroom and make it habitable for him. I also needed to buy curtains, since the previous owners left little valances across each window which is fine when nobody is living in there, but now that there’s a tenant, he might want some privacy. So I went to Target this morning and picked up some curtains. For ONE window, despite the fact that there are two perfectly useful windows in that room, both of which need curtains. Because I am… how you say… RETARDED. Therefore, once The Jillian wakes up from her nap (blessed, blessed naptime, how I love you so), we are headed out to Target AGAIN. Because I’m a dumbass.

9. I wonder what kind of proof-of-address the library needs in order to issue me a card. We moved here last October and I only just recently got around to getting on the DMV website to change my address on my license. You can do it online and they send you a sticker to put on your license and thus saves you the immense hassle and ass-pain of actually GOING to the DMV. Yay, right? WRONG! While I might sit in the DMV with a speed-freak toddler for a few hours, at least I would HAVE MY STICKER. Because I did it online? Three to four weeks. Yes, WEEKS. For fuck’s sake.

10. But I need to go to the library. Small and dismal our town library may be, at least it has books. And I have read all of my books. ALL OF THEM. Even the shitty ones that I got for free at some of my various and sundry book-related jobby jobs. Most of the books I have read twice. Or three times. Or, in a few cases (Gone With The Wind), upwards of 150 times. I need some new books. That I do not have to pay for.

11. No, that’s not a typo. I have read Gone With The Wind more than 150 times. I got a paperback copy of it for Christmas (or my birthday, I forget which) waaaaaaay back in 1983. I was eight, and [duh] reading at a much more advanced level than most people are at that age. Books written for my age group: a) bored me to death; b) had stupid, condescending plotlines; and c) took me roughly 15 minutes to read. Since I wasn’t athletic (that’s putting it extremely diplomatically), I read. A lot. So the parents, pissed off at having to drag my nerdy ass to the library every two days, bought me Gone With The Wind in hopes that it would shut me up for a good long time. It took two weeks for me to read it that first time, and once I got to the end I promptly started it again. It’s my favorite book.

12. I don’t hate the movie, exactly, but it has so little to do with the book that it bums me out to watch it, even though I think I could rock a hoop skirt.

13. In knitting news, I am about done with my Big Ugly Sweater. I ran into a bit of a problem in that the sleeves are a bit longer than the body pieces will allow so I sort of have to do a little bit of hillbilly engineering to get them to look presentable. This problem will be fixed next time because I will knit the sleeves first and then make the body pieces fit. If there is a next one. I initially knit this in the ugly color scheme as a test run before I knit one for Freddie. The ugly color scheme doesn’t bother me at all but it will blind most people (wait for the photos).

…and there you have it – today’s brain mush!

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Filed under Books, Freddie, Friends, House, Jillian, Knitting, Me Me Me, Stuff

Old lady rants

1. I finished knitting the pieces of The Big Ugly Sweater that I started around last Christmas or so. Go me! Now all I have to do is sew the pieces together, figure out how to do the neckline and I will have a sweater! Freddie suggested I knit things to sell, but if I were to sell this sweater at a price that would give me an above-sweatshop wage, it would have to sell for $500. I’m a slow knitter, what can I say?

2. At some point during this knitting odyssey, I discovered that I have arthritis in the pinky finger on my left hand. This is not awesome. I am 33 years old, which is far too young to be busting out the arthritis pills. Then again, I’ve had various hand/knuckle issues for a long time so I’m not shocked about it, just pissed off!!

3. Now I need a new knitting project that I can ignore for a bit. I have resolved to learn to knit socks, but I do not get along well with double-pointed needles and the frustration has been insurmountable so far. Perhaps I’ll make a few hats to appease the knitting crazies and then I’ll be able to indulge my penchant for self-abuse.

4. Just… don’t let me go to a yarn shop, okay? I do pretty well with restraint when my only option is to buy online, but get me in the actual yarn shop and I sort of lose my head a bit. Storage is tight here (and about to get tighter as we welcome a long-term houseguest).

5. I wonder how old Jillian needs to be before she can figure out knitting? Right now is probably not a good age, since she’s still a bit of a dervish, whirling here and there and leaving a wide swath of destruction in her wake. Perhaps around age 4.

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Here’s some random crap!

It’s not that I don’t love you, my four blog readers… it’s that, well, things are a bit of a tornado lately and there just hasn’t been time to sit down and write about how awesome I am.

So here’s some random junk.

1. WTF is up with my right foot? The sole of it is all hard and leathery and has cracked in places, which is uncomfortable at best and fucking painful the rest of the time. Getting a pedicure is out of the question at the present time, since I’m sure they want someone with oozing sores getting germs all around the place. I suppose I could maybe quit wandering around the backyard in bare feet and put some damn shoes on, but I probably won’t.

2. I managed to catch a cold. In July. At first I thought it was allergies, but after the initial early-spring pollen showers, I haven’t had any problems. Until this week, which brought on the sneezing and the sneezing and the sneezing. I think it’s going away now, but I still have that sunken-eyed feeling. Sexy.

3. My garden is quite a sight. The front garden was strewn with wildflower seeds in hopes that SOMETHING would grow there until I can actually sit and look at it and decide on a more permanent way of going on. It’s very pretty, with lots of blue and orange flowers that Jillian enjoys chewing on. Hope they’re not poisonous! I also have a few sunflowers that are still alive, which is a miracle to me since I have never been successful with those.

4. The back garden is… a tomato jungle. I planted sixteen pods with tomato seeds, thinking I was going to do it right and thin them before sticking them in the actual ground. I overestimated myself and ended up just putting the whole pod in. So now I have a veritable rainforest of tomato plants, which are being held up by a combination of cages and yarn. I need to stake them, like yesterday, but haven’t yet been able to carve out the time. I am hoping beyond hope that the hornworms don’t find us. Those things creep me out SO MUCH (more than soggy Cheerios, if you can imagine anything more horrifying than that) and if I see one, I’m busting out the Agent Orange.

5. The cantaloupe and the zucchini didn’t make it, sadly. It seems that buying plants from Home Depot is a bad idea – I have never done well with them, because they’re always diseased or something. The peppers I bought seem to be doing okay, and the eggplant… might live… but the others I bought DIED. DIED DIED DIED! Fuck off, Home Depot. Next year we’ll be more organized (ha ha!) and start zucchini and other fun things from seed.

6. I am trying to get Freddie to let me bust up the front lawn and put raised beds in there, but there is something encoded in his suburban DNA that makes him shrink with horror whenever I talk about NOT HAVING A LAWN. As it is, I refuse to water it no matter how brown and grody it gets because using fresh water on something that is ornamental and ultimately USELESS is so wasteful, it makes me want to barf. So… brown lawn. I did convince him to use a more or less ignored strip on the side of the house for next year’s veggie garden. We’re going to build the beds in the fall and hope that when spring comes, we’ll be able to grow stuff there.

7. My knitting projects are coming along nicely. I have finished the front of the Big Ugly Sweater and have started work on one sleeve. I might get it done by the time winter rolls around, but let’s not hold our breath. It’s my Aries nature – I love to start things, but the finishing… not so much.

8. Sewing is happening as well. Sort of. I am far too impatient to actually follow directions, so my projects tend to stall until I have some kind of brainwave that gets me through to the next section. Again – love to start things. I adore picking out fabric, but when it comes time to actually do something with it, I’m already bored and onto the next thing.

9. Tomorrow I’m heading up to Massachusetts to party with some of my Imaginary Internet Friends. I need some time away, badly. The last month or so of life here at The Butterfly Ranch has been extremely difficult, but I haven’t really been able to talk about it. It sucks, but that’s the way we roll here. I am thankful that I have my IIFs to vent to, or else this last month would have found me curled up under the dining room table, scratching at imaginary bugs.

10. Sunday Freddie and I are going to see the Mets! We weren’t counting on being able to get tickets at all this year, since it’s the last season at Shea Stadium, but thanks to his connections at work, we are using someone’s season tickets for this game. WHEEEE! Or, as Jillian would say “Yay Mets! Baseball!”

11. The Jillian is, as always, a constant source of amazement and delight. She is talking talking talking all the time, and putting words and sentences together left and right. Her latest obsession is airplanes, so every time we’re outside, we look up in the sky for airplanes. She is also a big fan of flowers, and after breakfast every day, she stands at the baby gate to the kitchen and says “Mama. Shoes. Outside, new flowers!” She also likes to learn new words and will happily repeat them all day long. Yesterday’s word was “greenies,” since she wiped some boogers on me and I said “Ew! Greenies!” So yesterday was all about “Mama, greenies in my nose!” And then she would cackle.

12. I fear the child has been cursed with my hair issues. I have cowlicks all over my head, which means the hair does not lie flat, ever. Jillian seems to have the same thing – her hair grows in about fifteen different directions and cannot be tamed. I am going to break down and get some barrettes to attempt to keep it out of her eyes, but I am not confident that this will help. Freddie is all for cutting her hair, but I refuse to allow him to do that! People just stopped telling me what a cute little boy I have, I’m not about to butch her up again!

13. I need to figure out what to do with this ridiculously large head of bok choy that I got yesterday. We joined a CSA, which, yay! But you get what you get, and a 2-pound (possibly heavier) head of bok choy was in the basket yesterday and… I’m at a loss. I know it’s related to celery and that I can use it in stir-fry and possibly also a soupy-thing (there’s a Naked Chef recipe that I have made before that was excellent), but other than that… I’m stumped. I tried last week’s [much smaller] bok choy in a tomato sauce over pasta, but I wasn’t thrilled with that combo.

14. I like the CSA. So far. We paid $350 for a 1/2 share, which looks like it’s going to be plenty. The farm is organic, and our farmer sends out a newsletter every week with little tidbits about what he’s doing and how he’s doing it organically. It’s very interesting. If I had the $$, I would love to buy a bigger plot of land out in the boonies somewhere and grow more food. I’m going to try, year by year, to take over more of the backyard.

15. And there you have it. Maybe, if you’re really lucky and you wish really hard, I’ll quit being lazy and post some pictures. Jillian’s 2nd birthday is coming up (I know – I can’t believe it either), so maybe I’ll post a bunch of her.


Filed under Baseball, Food, Friends, House, Jillian, Knitting, Me Me Me

Uh oh

Y’all, I am in trouble.

So, the other day I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics and lost my mind a little bit. It’s a good thing I escaped when I did or we’d be in some kind of serious debt.

I was all jacked up and ready to start sewing yesterday when I realized that I needed interfacing for my project and I didn’t have enough. Rather than make the trek back down to the closest Jo-Ann store, I decided to check out a quilting store that is nearby.

BAD idea. BAD. They also carry yarn, so EXTRA BAD!

Anyhoo, Jillian and I went out there and I got what I needed without looking around toooooo much. Unfortunately, the creative wheels are whirring again and I’m wondering how I’m going to combat my latest crafty urge.

My grandmother used to quilt. By hand, mostly, and I wish I would have asked her about it. Maybe I can get organized and revive that tradition and then pass it down to The Jillian. The poor child is already destined to be a musician, so I might as well throw some yarn and fabric and thread at her, too.

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Filed under Knitting, Me Me Me



I made this!

And the baby wearing it!


Filed under Jillian, Knitting

Friday’s randomness today!

I have seriously been slacking in the “update my website” department. My excuse is that it’s summer! I have better things to do, like… um…. wait, it’ll come to me…

It hasn’t been all laziness here, though. We may have found a buyer for our house (HI CHUCK!), which, if it works out, is the single best thing to happen to all of us this summer. We won’t have to put the house under a Realtor’s care (which means a whole lot of extra work for me), watch it sit on the market, forlorn and unloved, and eventually sell it for not nearly enough money to someone who won’t love it.

If Chuck buys it, we know he will love the house, and also not cause us to have to pay a commission, which = yay.

So that means I have been looking at house listings pretty much non-stop for the past week or so, trying to get my head around the fact that a 23′ x 11′ bedroom on the 2nd floor of a Cape Cod is nothing more than glorified attic space. Because it is. And, you have to remember that the photos make the house look at least 354234% better than it actually is. Trust me. You absolutely MUST do the walk-through before you start deciding where your furniture is going to go.

Jillian is all systems go, which is normal. She is currently NOT napping, but she really ought to at least try to sleep because I’m leaving her up there until 3:30 either way. Lunchtime has now become Food Experiment Time, whereby I plonk down a selection of things for her to eat and she does whatever she wants to with them. I still make sure she actually eats something at breakfast and dinner, but lunchtime is for getting used to touching things.

She isn’t walking just yet, but she is damn close. She can walk along pretty well behind one of the many walky-light-up-noisy-ass toys that she has, but walking alone is still some ways off.



I’m currently being a Bad Mama by letting her watch Sesame Street in the mornings. She likes it, it keeps her out of my hair for a full fifteen minutes, and it might actually teach her something. When she sees Elmo or Cookie Monster she claps her hands and turns around to look at me as if to say “Isn’t this COOL?” She’s funny.

In other news, the Rag Shop stores have gone out of business. I have avoided going there because I am weak in the face of discounted yarn, but today the signs said “80-90% OFF!” so we toddled in to see if there was anything worth grabbing. I got 4 sewing patterns for a buck! That’s a savings of like, 80 dollars because patterns generally aren’t cheap! Not that I have anywhere to sew or even any urge to sew right now, but patterns for a quarter? I only wish I had time to rifle through them all!

I also got a selection of odd knitting needles for cheap. I don’t even know if I’ll need them, ever, but for a dollar? I’m buying them. Someday I may start a project that requires the extra-long size 3 needles. There was a huge basket of knitting needles that, um, light up but I didn’t even consider buying them because they were stupid. There were also some really crazy sizes, like size 50, which are just enormous. Unless I’m knitting a heavy-duty fishing net for a giant, I can’t imagine what I would need those for.

All in all, I wish I would have stopped in sooner, but I’m not supposed to be spending any “unnecessary” money due to this whole Real Estate thing we’re working on.

I am excited to find a house. With a YARD! Where I can have a garden! I did pretty well with my makeshift garden this year. My tomato plants produced actual, edible tomatoes and my red bell pepper was extremely good. I should have taken a photo of it before I ate it because it was beautiful. My orange bell peppers are almost ready, as are the green peppers. Next year, if I have the space and the motivation, I’m going to branch out a bit and try my hand at something odd, like eggplant.

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Filed under House, Jillian, Knitting, Real Estate

It’s Friday, you know what that means!

It means an unordered list of things that may or may not be related to one another and may or may not have any relevance to anything at all! YAAAY!

1. I got my nails done on Tuesday. The mommy group went out en masse and got a discount at a nail place. Yay, sorta. Every time I’m getting my feet scrubbed and sanded down, I wonder to myself why I don’t do it more often. But that feeling fades almost as quickly as my feet return to their natural, hoof-like state. I hate spending money on beauty-type things like hair and nails. It shows, unfortunately, so perhaps I should get over myself and get my nails done more often.

2. The only thing I’m pissed about is the nail polish on my fingernails peeled off already. I suppose it’s because I wash my hands about 234 times a day, and my fingernails have never been very strong.

3. Is it just me, or does the Today Show suck? Did it always suck, or is it just the first hour that’s good and the rest of it sucks? It’s so, I don’t know, fluffy, that I’m not sure I’m getting any smarter by watching it. Yesterday they spent a good 40 minutes total on the Miss New Jersey non-scandal. This is news? FOR REAL? Isn’t there a war or something going on someplace?

4. The Mets have let Julio Franco go free. The guy is a thousand years old, but I’m sort of sad, since I watched Julio wreck the place in Cleveland through the 80’s and it would be sort of cute for him to still be playing when he’s 50. That dude that they called up instead, Lastings Milledge, seems like a real dick. I don’t think I like him.

5. I’m going to NYC tonight to see a whole gang of my Imaginary Internet Friends. I cannot wait, because it is going to be Super Fun! Of course, I’m getting old and decrepit so I’ll probably be on the train home by 10PM. Hee.

6. We leave for Lake Placid on Wednesday. We will have three days to fart around the Lake Placid area (including time for me to get my Harry Potter book on Saturday morning as the bookstore opens), then the race is on Sunday, and we return on Monday. It will be fun and exhausting so we’ll spend the week afterwards shoveling out the house in preparation for Jillian’s birthday party! WHEEE!

7. I have yet to replant my peppers and tomatoes. Perhaps I really will do that tomorrow, since I will be baby-free for much of the day. Freddie’s family is celebrating his stepfather’s 70th birthday, so he’ll be down there doing that. I will have some free time! Which I will probably waste on the Internet!

8. I made a banana cake yesterday that turned out surprisingly well. I have a tendency to make banana-related things that are goopy in the middle, but this cake held up pretty well. The middle is a bit sticky but it’s not completely raw, as my things occasionally are. The batter was SO good I wanted to eat it all. I suppose if I used Egg Beaters instead of actual eggs, I could make the raw batter work. Hmm.

9. The Jillian is starting that whole “cruising” thing. While I’m not happy about her picking up gay men in bars, the almost-walking part is really coming along. She pulls herself up to standing whilst holding on to the couch and moves from there to an ottoman. Or to the TV stand, where she tries to smack the TV or open the CD player. Great. I’m going to have to lock everything up now, but you can’t change the channel on the TV if the doors on the TV stand are closed because that’s where the cable box lives. Sigh. Her newfound mobility is going to kill us all – she tried to take the carbon monoxide detector out of the wall twice yesterday.

10. I am still working on my sweater. The knitting actually goes pretty quickly if I sit down and do it but I don’t really have much time to just sit and knit. But I’m 95% done with the back, so all that’s left is sleeves and hood. I’m thinking about cheating totally and making the sleeves and hood single colors instead of stripes. I’m sure it would be fine, since there are three colors in the stripe pattern and I can use one for each remaining piece. But that feels kind of like a cop-out, so I’m kind of undecided.


Filed under Baseball, Friends, Jillian, Knitting, Me Me Me, Stuff, Triathlon

I started over

I looked long and hard at the two sweater pieces I had finished and decided to start over. As with everything else in my life, I started this sweater with more enthusiasm than skill and, like a big dummy, I cut the yarn after every stripe section instead of just carrying it along like A NORMAL PERSON.

It’s pretty safe to say that I am not a normal person.

So I have begun again. This time, I am carrying the yarn upwards through the stripes and so far, it’s working out well. This is not something I can do while distracted, however, or I’m sure I will find I have knitted myself into the couch.

I have limited free time (ha ha ha) so I don’t get as much knitting done as I would like, but I am working on it. The fact that we are practically destitute and therefore do not go out as much as we used to (or at all, honestly) helps a lot. The fact that baseball is on TV pretty much every damn day helps a lot, too. I can knit and wonder just what the fuck the Mets are doing out there on the field.

Seriously, did you watch them last night against the Twins? It was like watching the Indians in the early 80’s. I’m thinking Julio Franco is carrying around some spare bad ju-ju from his days with The Tribe.

But I digress. If I can arse myself to take a photo, I’ll photo my work-in-progress whenever I actually make progress on it. Maybe, just maybe, it will get finished before Jillian grows out of it completely.

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Filed under Baseball, Knitting