Monday, November 30, 2009


This year, it seems like everytime I've made a grand announcement about things beforehand they get thrown out the window.

Best intentions and all that, right?

My reading and my knitting were completely thrown off the tracks with the Sock Summit madness and then moving right when I came back from Portland.

I'm still on the third book of the Dark Tower series, so even my little 4 book R.I.P. Challenge was unsuccessful.

And the knitting??

Are ya kiddin' me? I joined the Sweater a Month thing on Ravelry and I have finished four. Really all that challenge made me do was cast-on twelve new sweaters. Not really, but close. I should be able to finish another 3: one short and chunky (no comments from the peanut gallery), Dave's (that I started August last year), and the Hateful Bed Jacket that still just needs the final trim and it's done. I would be able to finish them but I have this stupid holiday knitting that I'm trying to crank out.

I finished a Just Enough Ruffles scarf for D2's teacher (pictures after I block it) and I still need to do a scarf for T's teacher. I want to crank out some dishcloths for Dave's 2 half-brothersandtheirwives and for his parents as well. I also want to finish Dave's sweater by xmas for sure. I made a scarf for my stepmom and I need to make one for my dad as well.

Somewhere in there I have to get caught up on the sudden burst of orders for Stitch Savers I've been getting from LYS's that carry me.

I decided to do that November Blog Every Day thing but I thought if I said it out loud, it wouldn't've happened. I did it! Yay! And now that I'm back in the habit of blogging more often, hopefully I can keep it going! (Does that last bit count as a grand announcement? Oops!)

Running as fast as I can, Ruth!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


How about another FO today? I finished this pair of socks for myself in September. The yarn is from my friend Skeindalous and it's the Drusilla colorway.

First, here's proof that there is a PAIR of socks...

I knit them top down, two at a time, Magic Loop on 2.75mm Knit Picks metal needles.

No pattern. Generic sock pattern, mock cable every other rib, every 4th row...

Notice the lovely sweeping heel and the wee stripes on the stockinette bits...

And how's this for my first Kitchener stitch? Not bad, right?

Top down socks went well. They stay up better then the toe-ups I did for Dave but I'm not giving up on toe-ups yet.

I know people have definite opinions about their knitting (what type of needles to use, what type of cast-on/bind-offs to use in different situations, etc.). I try not to make grand proclamations about knitting. I remember when I discovered Garnstudio's free patterns I proclaimed I'll never buy a book, mag, pattern ever again! Yea. Right.

I use the word "prefer". I prefer Magic Loop over DPN's . 98% of anything I knit in the round, I Magic Loop it. I prefer cable cast-on. I use cable cast-on for everything! I find it keeps me from having a too tight CO. I also prefer doing socks two at a time. But I know when I tackle something complicated (looking at you, Cookie A!), I'll do them one at a time.

Yep, I definitely try to avoid making sweeping, definitive statements about my knitting.

If only I could apply this to the rest of my life, Ruth!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

SYTYCD Breaks My Heart

If you've been here awhile you know that what I wanted to do with my life was dance. I wanted to be a dancer but the Army got in my way.

Dance was my life. All through jr. high and high school, I was all dance all the time. It was my sanity and my salvation. It got me away from my crazy family and took me out of my head. I had Very Bad Things when I was little and I carried pain within me that I couldn't shake. Except when I was moving. So I never stopped moving.

I'd be in my room, dancing. Once I got a car, I'd go to the high school. My school had a really great football stadium. I'd grab my boom box and some tapes and I'd be in that stadium at all hours. 3 in the afternoon, 10 at night, 2 in the morning. Practice, practice, practice, choreograph, choreograph, or just turn on the music and let go. I'd be there to escape and to take flight.

When I went to college, I was a Dance Major. My plan was to go to New York, be on Broadway for 5-10 years then become a choreographer (either in New York or L.A.). When I came back from the Army and discovered I couldn't dance anymore, I went home from that class, crawled into bed and didn't leave for three days. When I finally did get out of bed, I joined the Army for real (up to that point, I was only in the Reserves) and told them I'd only join if I could go overseas. I went to Germany.

Being a professional Dancer didn't happen for me. And it's OK. I didn't get the amazing life I wanted so I went and made a different and equally amazing life. When I realized I would never dance professionally, I made a thick callus and put it over that broken part of my heart. Dancing ceased being a passion for me and became merely a social thing where it drifted into the background of my life.

I watch dance whenever I get the chance. I missed the first few seasons of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) because that judge named Mary gets on my damn nerves. Can that woman say anything without shrieking it? Stop yelling already!

But I watch it now. And no one else in my house cares about it so I watch it by myself. It's just as well because often, I get caught off guard by a particularly good dancer or a particularly amazing choreographer and I cry. Those stupid little broken bits under that callus rub together like broken glass under my ruined feet and I cry.

This routine completely did me in. The premise of this routine is the boy represents the fear and the girl is trying to free herself from her fears.

Routines like that make my feet and my heart ache like I imagine an amputee feels ghost pain in a missing limb.

I miss flying, Ruth!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Whittling Away

Does anyone else think it's entirely unfair how easy it is to gain weight and how hard it is to lose it?

And that shit sneaks up on you! Here I am thinking everything's fine then a summer goes by and winter rolls around and I put on my jeans and BAM - they are tighter then they were last year!

One of the main benefits of moving to Highlands Ranch is that all the Rec Centers are free gyms with indoor pools. I've been going nearly every day for over a month now and I've seen no changes. I'm not going to quit but it is a bit disheartening.

One of the tricks I use to motivate myself is to pick a paperback I want to read and I can only read it while I'm working out. It works pretty well!

My gym book is Anno Dracula and it's not bad. The premise is that Queen Victoria is a vampire and Jack the Ripper is a vampire killer. The author has thrown in EVERYone associated with that time period into this book. At first it was kind of cool but then it got stupid. OK, we get it, it's Victorian times. Even so, the story line is keeping me interested. I'm about halfway through and I still haven't figured what the Anno in Anno Dracula means.

Speaking of books, did y'all read the comments yesterday?? One of the authors I invited to my fantasy Thanksgiving table commented! How fucking cool is that?? So, Dave King, author of The Ha-Ha, here's the little write-up I did when I read the book and if you're ever in Denver, I'll treat you to lunch!

Reading my way to fitness, Ruth!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


(Shamelessly stolen from kmkat)

Ten people I'd like to have at my Thanksgiving table...

Family and friends are a given so I'll skip them although I would like to see

1. My Grandma Hofer - she passed in 1997 and I miss her every day
2. William Shatner - my love for that man has been well documented on this blog
3. Seth McFarlane - the creator of Family Guy - he missed a flight that would've put him on the plane that hit Tower 2 on 9/11 and he's a straight guy that loves musicals
4. "Mick" Mennucci - my dance teacher from high school
5. Stephen King and Maya Angelou - my favorite authors
6. Joshilyn Jackson, Matt Diniman and Dave King - more authors but authors of the best books I've read in the past few years (Gods in Alabama, The Shivered Sky and The Ha-ha respectively)
7. Salvador Dali and Michael Parkes - my favorite artists
8. Oscar Wilde and Tennesse Williams - my favorite playwrights
9. The Marx Brothers - my favorite comedians
10. Brian Urlacher and Tom Osborne (along with his lovely wife Nancy) - the first is a defensive linebacker for the Chicago Bears and the second is the greatest Husker football coach of all time. These guys are for Dave to be able to watch football with on Thanksgiving. (OK, Urlacher is also eye candy for me!)

Looking forward to the Turkey Thorazine shuffle, Ruth!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A SEAL and His Needles

I recently told y'all about my friend Phil who is a Navy SEAL and among his many talents and skills, he's recently learned to knit.

We've been emailing each other nearly every day since we reconnected (Facebook does have a purpose beyond Scrabble!). The email he sent me yesterday started with this...

I have been in a bit of a dry spell for a few days. I totally ran out of yarn! How awful it is. I am sure you know the feeling.

BWAHHAHHAHA! I explained to him that I am in no danger of EVER running out of yarn. Like the Yarn Harlot, I collect and hoard yarn as though there will be some tragic sheep blighting disease that will eradicate new wool forever.

Someone sent him a box with some yarn in it and he dug right in. (It wasn't me, I am putting together a package for him but haven't finished/sent it yet.) He sent me a pic of the scarf he started...

I emailed back and about an hour later he responded and sent another pic of the scarf.....

It's a bit depressing that he knits faster then I do and I've been at it for about 6 and a half years now!

When he first told me about his new hobby, he sent a pic of these rockin' arm warmers he made...

I love those! It's also a wonderful pic that shows off some of the great tattoos he has. He's had ink from many parts of the world. The last time I saw him in person (1999), he had a beautiful angel on his arm - it had the most delicate face - that he got in Amsterdam.

I was thinking of having a contest... You know, you send me yarn to mail to him and then I pick a winner from the people that play. But then I remembered he's in Iraq and needs to travel light. I know how generous knitters can be and I think sending him a metric ton of yarn probably wouldn't be the best idea.

His birthday is this Friday and I'll be mailing his package on Monday (ish).

Oh! and here's a picture of him...

Even squinting into the sun, he's still beautiful! Behind him is the solar oven he made (this pic is from his house in the US).

He's sent me a some really cool pic's. One of him in his full combat gear with a really gorgeous weapon. One of his outstanding Harley with his equally outstanding sons in front of it (I was going to post that one but I didn't want to put his kids on the interwebs).

Since Dave and I both have a real thing for guns, I showed these pic's to Dave and when he saw the above one (with the solar oven), Dave commented that Phil looks just like "Castle". In that pic, he totally does! Especially the squint and the way his hair is.

Anyway, Phil ended yesterday's email with....

This knitting thing is biting me pretty hard, I wonder if it will ever let up!! Phil

Now that's something I can relate to!

Enabling him with yarn, Ruth!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Another Meme

Got nuthin; must do meme.

Ten Random Things (stolen from Knitiot Savant)

1. Magazines subscribed to: None, really. My MIL bought us subscriptions to Reader's Digest (which T just loves!) and Taste of Home which is an excellent magazine full of recipes. I'd love to get a subscription to Interweave Knits.

2. Aside from knitting, my favorite pastimes are - Reading - love reading. Watching movies, playing around on the Internet, hanging out with my family.

3. If I were not a recruiter (insert your own profession) I would be: Once upon a time my choice would have been professional dancer, preferably on Broadway. Or an actress. Now, I'd love to make a living with yarn. Or be a successful writer (of course, all these fragmented sentences would have me banned from the publishing world).

4. I am irrationally worried about - the boys getting hurt. Going through tunnels or under bridges has always been an irrational fear for me.

5. If I were the opposite sex - I think I would be a great guy. I've never been terribly girly and I love guns, driving too fast, sports. It would be nice to be able to pee while standing.

6. The thing I miss most about childhood is - running around like a crazy person with no one actually thinking you're a crazy person. I still run around like a crazy person but now I get The Look.

7. I like to collect - Yarn. And books.

8. Though I've never been there, I feel inexplicably homesick for - Asia.

9. I've never really liked to eat - Lima beans.

10. When I have nightmares, they're usually about - being in a big empty office building/warehouse, there's bad men trying to find me and I have to escape. There's other people (or sometimes just one little kid) and it's my responsibility to get them out safely; to get them away from the bad guys with the big guns. I know, oddly specific right? This has been a recurring nightmare as long as I can remember.

I'm not going to tag anyone for this meme, if you want to pick it up - go for it!

Working on the writing, Ruth!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I've Got Sunshine....

on a cloudy day....

In Basic Training they have lots of GI parties.

It's a trick. There's no party. A GI party is what they call it when they make all the GI's get together and clean something. Scrub it senseless.

Good times.

I remember one time in particular while still in Basic Training, myself and another girl in my platoon (Majette) were instructed to go to our classroom (on the bottom floor of our building) and clean it.

We were grumbling and griping and grabbed some brooms and mops and went to our party. Majette is a really shy, unusually quiet girl. She's so silent during our cleaning I keep forgetting she's in the room with me!

I can't stand the silence and I've had this song kicking around my brain for days now so I start singing it...

I got sunshiiiiine, on a cloudy day.

I really belt that line out and in the silence of the echoy classroom Majette looks at me like I'm a crazy person.

when it's cold outside, I got the month of May.

Then a slow smile spreads across her face and she grabs her broom handle like a mike and we start to sing together....

I guess, you'd say what can make me feel this way? My guy, my guy, my guy!

We are singing like crazy, sweeping and dancing around the room like a coupla fools. We have our backs to the door and are doing the Temptations dance along with the song and when we hit the next my guy chorus, I swing around, then she swings around and we see our Captain standing in the doorway.

Whenever an officer enters the room, someone (technically the person with the highest rank) calls, "Atteeeeen-TION!" and everyone else is supposed to snap to attention and the person who called it salutes (with their right hand).

I knew we were busted for screwing around and the only thing I could think to do was let him know that we knew.

I snapped up my left hand and said, "Triple Ate Up, Sir!"

A popular military phrase is "Triple A O". It means..... I forget, Asomething, Asomething, Adapt and Overcome. "Ate Up" on the other hand means.... F'd up.

I could see the corners of his mouth twitching like he was trying not to laugh or smile and he told us to "carry on cleaning, soldiers" and walked down the hall.

We both breathed a sigh of relief then started giggling because we could hear him cracking up as he walked away.

Once again, my dorkiness saves my ass.

There's a lot of tedious jobs in the Army. A lot of them. I love to see soldiers who make it fun.

This video is a favorite of mine on youtube. I know I'm easily amused but this video cracks me up every time I watch it. Every. Time. I especially like the guy at the workbench on the right. He holds out just as long as he can but finally breaks down and joins in.

It's also very typical of the other soldiers (higher ranking or not) to walk around such shenanigans like they aren't happening.


I do have sunshine on a cloudy day, Ruth!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Johnny Two-Hats

I have this thing with hats...

I always have to make hats twice. They always end up either way too big, a little too small or too short.

Every single hat I've ever made.

Working on a hat right now. Finished it, had Dave try it on. Too short. sigh.

I'm not so frustrated with it this time since I was kind of thinking I wanted to go a different way with it anyway.

That's the other reason I frog so many hats. I get halfway through then think I want to add/subtract, do something else with that yarn. I can never seem to be completely satisfied with the hats I make!

Then there's the yarn substitution problems I give myself. Instead of swatching so I can get it right the first time (which is what you're supposed to do when substituting yarns), I usually just go for it.

With all this ripping and frogging, it's a good thing I like knitting. And it doesn't really bother me but this time of year... I'm already getting behind with my holiday knitting. Must knit faster...

Hats are my nemesis, Ruth!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

About Last Night

Our date was so much fun!

We were laughing at the drop-off with the kids. You should have seen all the beaming parents who knew they were about to have a night without children. One woman walked to her car after kissing her kid goodbye and actually jumped for joy before getting into the car.

Dave and I had dinner out then we went to see a movie. The movie didn't start for another hour. We thought it started every half hour but we were wrong. Who cares! We had no time limit! We bought our tickets then walked to a nearby bar and had a drink. Hung out and killed time for a half hour then walked back to the theater and went to our movie.

We saw 2012. It was OK. Amazing CGI disaster scenes! It's phenomenal what they can do with computer graphics. Definitely wouldn't have wanted the kids to see this movie. There's no specific blood but there's lots of falling bodies and destruction. John Cusak was good as usual (and lovely to look at!) but the movie was predictable and a bit cheesy. (When the Vatican splits, it does so perfectly splitting god and Adam? How precise.)

The movie had this character actor that I quite like. I have a real thing for character actors! This guy's costumers always seem to put him in bow ties for some reason. I guess they do kind of suit him. In this movie, they've got him speaking with an atrocious English accent. At least I think it was supposed to be English - it was hard to tell.

There was a preview for a movie with Leonardo di Caprio called Shutter Island. It's set in the 50's and these two detectives have to go to an island where there's an asylum for the criminally insane to find a murderess who has escaped. Thirty seconds into the preview I think I already know what's going on. Ben Kingsley is the warden and during the preview he makes a comment to the effect of, "I've spent too much time building what we have here to let it be ruined." That sealed it for me.... it's a movie about the inmates taking over the asylum. Set in the 50's makes it the perfect setup. Sketchy phones, no faxes, no Internet. A sequestered island - how would strangers from the outside know who was supposed to be running the place and who wasn't? It still looks really good and I look forward to seeing it on video someday and hoping I'm wrong.

Need to get rid of the kids more often, Ruth!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Date Night

I'm going on a date tonight with my husband! I'm really pretty excited about it!

The school has a giant sleepover night and it's tonight. They have the kids together up until a certain point then the boys sleep in the gym and the girls sleep in the library. It was $60 for both our kids to be able to attend so we moved some groceries budget around and they are set to have a great night of fun.

Which means Dave and I have a night to ourselves. Splee! We're talking dinner, maybe a movie, maybe some poker, maybe all three!

I'm so excited, I'm going to leave all knitting at home! (Unless we go play poker somewhere, because then I'll be out before he is as usual and when I'm out of the game... I knit.)

We used to have a date every Saturday afternoon when we lived in Tucson. The boys would go hang out with Dave's parents and we'd go have lunch and hang out with each other. I miss that!

We stopped doing it here. Dave's parents are 80 and 81 so it's not as easy for them to watch the boys. They say it's easier as there's no lifting or diaper changing to deal with. We've kind of taken them at their word lately since we've been going to play poker on Sat. afternoons sometimes. But we feel guilty about it.

But tonight - no guilt! I can't wait to drop the boys off. The little dears.

I'm gonna hold his hand, Ruth!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Notes From The Frog Pond

I get the Knitter's Review emails. Do you? It's a lovely newsletter thing that I'm entirely too lazy to link to tonight. It's done by Clara Parkes (met her at the Sock Summit!) and if you do a search for either, you'll find it easily.

This question was posited in this week's edition under the "Knitter's Poll":
Would you consider knitting with yarn from someone else's unraveled project?


Are you kidding me?? Is this really an issue? I do it all the time with my own yarn, why would it bother me to do it from someone else's??

It's sort of a running joke in this house that whenever Dave hears me grumbling at my knitting he says, "What, do you have to tear it out and start over?"

For years, whenever there was a mistake in something I was working on, I'd rip it all the way back to the beginning and start over. Finally, I learned how to drop a stitch down and fix the mistake or to rip back to the mistake and not to the cast-on.

I rather perfected starting the do-over while simultaneously ripping out the original.

I know some people feel you should frog the yarn, wet it, hang it on a hanger with a weight so it unkinks the yarn but I'm much too impatient for that nonsense!

So, even though I have too much yarn - if you have a project you aren't happy with or is half finished and you don't want the fiber anymore or can't bear to frog it - I'll take it!

Waiting by the mailbox, Ruth!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I have people following me on Twitter and I have no idea why since I don't Twitter. Ever.

The only reason I have a Twitter account at all is because I wanted to enter a Neil Gaiman photo caption contest and you could only do it through Twitter. (I didn't win.)

After I got my Twitter account, I followed a few people but I never have time to read them so the only time I even see twitters (tweets?) is on the sidebar of the Yarn Harlot's blog (right funny, those!).

I can barely keep up reading the blogs I like much less adding a bunch of Twitter stuff!

I wonder how the people that follow me found me, why they chose to follow me, and what are they following since I never do anything over there.

Is someone pretending to be me and posting really funny, witty tweets under my name? That would be kind of cool as I am not terribly witty and only marginally funny sometimes.

I ask that last question because I was following Christopher Walken's tweets for a bit but then they disappeared because it turns out it was not CW, but an impostor who'd opened an account with his name and picture. Shame, really, because the guy was damn funny!

I don't understand Twitter.

Feeling a bit old, Ruth!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A World of Color

I keep hinting that I have FO's to show you. The wait is over my imaginary friends!

I've also confessed to a weakness for sock yarn. As I've said before, I have enough sock yarn to make over 200 pairs of socks. Two hundred.

98% of that sock yarn consists of beautiful, sometimes actually stunning, hand painted sock yarn. I'm a sucker for the hand paints!

So, with all that bounty of color and beauty to choose from, what color did I pick to make my first ever pair of socks?

That's right, folks. Plain vanilla white. sigh.

Dave never wants me to knit anything for him. Then he sees the handmade socks Donna made for Daren (the couple we hang out with) and turns to me and says, "Why don't you ever make me a pair of socks??" Are you kiddin' me?? I've been wanting to knit something for him forEVER.

About a year ago, I talked him into finally picking a sweater that I can make just for him. It's a simple affair which makes it slogalong dull to knit and is still in the works. I made a pact with myself that when watching Husker football with him (his favorite team), I could only work on that sweater.

Dave is not color adventurous. Not. At. All. And he only wears white, cuffless, ankle socks. So I got some Berroco Comfort Sock in white and using a generic toe-up, magic loop sock pattern, I got started. I did ribbing for the top of the foot to give it some hug and used a short row heel. Halfway up the toes, I had him stick out a foot so I could see how many more increases I'd need and I tell him, "By the way, these are socks for you." He looks at them and says, "How come I don't get fancy ones like Daren?" I almost stabbed him with a needle. In the eye.

I plug along and finish them anyway - both of them. One at a time. Finished somewhere back in July! Discovering things along the way...

Do you see how tiny the stitches are?
Turns out, on the label, Berroco Comfort Sock calls for a needle size of 3.25mm, not the 2.75mm I randomly pulled from my needle case. These socks are 80 tiny, itty, bitty, stitches around. Eighty! And Dave wears a size 11 shoe! The next picture gives you a better look at the tiny stitches.

It also turns out that I have no idea how to end a toe-up sock properly. First bind-off was super tight and he couldn't get them on without breaking the BO. Second bind-off was super loose and useless. Third bind-off, I bought some Cascade Fixation (which is a very stretchy yarn) and bound off again and that seemed to make it better. (Hence the color change on the cuff.) Even so, you can see that it is still too loose and he can only wear them around the house because putting them in shoes drags the cuff under his heel within minutes.

One of the classes I took at Sock Summit was a one hour wonder about stretchy toe-up bind-offs with Chrissy Gardiner. Great class! Now if I can just find the handout before I finish my next pair of toe-up socks. sigh.

I've got another pair, toe up that I'm working on for him (the DNA looking one from the book Eclectic Sole), a pair of toe-up in Colinette that I'm designing as I go, a pair of Nutkins that are giving me fits (the perfectly well-behaved skein is in time out after a second frogging), and a couple others on needles that are cuff-down. All these (including the cuff downers) are two-at-a-time magic loop.

Still deciding which I like better, Ruth!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dr. Twizzler, D.D.S.

T has a left front tooth that is a little bit loose.

Dave's mom gives us 2lb. bags of Twizzlers on a regular basis. (Part of what she puts in the weekly bag of what I've come to call "grandma grenades".)

Apparently when you add those two facts together, you get small tooth placed into your hand.

Strangely, the tooth that popped out was not the tooth that was loose! It was a lower tooth to the right of the two front teeth (his right). He said he didn't even know that one was loose!

He's had it pretty easy so far with the teeth coming out. Last night there was a fair bit of blood but no apparent pain. Easy for him and easy on Dave and I!

The tooth fairy came and left a dollar as usual. She didn't need to borrow that dollar from T's little brother like last time. She learned her lesson and stockpiled a few dollar bills in a secret place.

Unfortunately, she's not nearly as stealthy as she would like to believe and T has gotten much better at faking that he's asleep so T is on to her.

He's promised not to sell her out to D2.

He's a good boy.

Anticipating his beautiful smile, Ruth!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Snowy Days and Mushy Brains

Davis went to the second session of Creative Writing and he's hooked! For those just joining in, he went to the first session and sat there the entire hour not doing anything. Dave told him he could quit and I said he had to go to at least 2 more sessions (there's 7 total).

I think the problem with the first session is that he didn't know what he was supposed to do. I'm a bit disappointed with the teacher. When I talked to her (with Davis) after the first session, she said she didn't realize he wasn't writing. I mean, I realize it's a free library class but there's only about 8 kids in the class and I don't understand how she didn't notice he wasn't doing anything.

Once we got him home and Dave and I explained what creative writing was and got him to kick some ideas around, he got it. Last Monday's session, he did 4 pages in the "What If..." book they gave him! It was only a sentence or two per page but it's a start. And he seemed to really enjoy it this time!

It snowed today.
That means Dave had to work and that means no new knitting group meetup for me. But, on the other hand, no one else felt like braving the snow so we'll try again next week!
Here's a pic of the last snow we had...

That snowstorm (the week before Halloween) was a 3 day stunner! Today was pretty average and although the snow began last night, it had stopped by noon today.

Our minivan has new tires (and therefore, better snow traction) so Dave took it to go get his plow truck and go scrape some streets.

Me and the kids were stuck at home all day. Bummer.

Yea, right! They played videos games until I kicked them outside (where they played for almost two hours!). They came back in soaked and happy, I had them go take a warm bath, I made them lunch, then they spent the afternoon planted in front of the TV/video games/computer. Their brains are nice and mushy!

As for me, I watched TV all day while I worked on a special order of Stitch Savers and knit on some holiday gifts. So my brain's nice and mushy as well!

I watched a bunch of stuff I DVR'd. SVU, Community, National Treasure - Book of Secrets, and the first two episodes of the updated miniseries V. So, yeah, your basic completely mindless entertainment. National Treasure was so-so, nothing special. V is predictable and a bit cheesy but I've never been one to pass on a show because it's cheesy!

I'm going to read myself to sleep tonight and try to prop my squishy brain back up where it belongs!

Mushy, mushy, Ruth!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Prickly Situation

I forgot to tell y'all about something cool I saw awhile back. It happened in September...

The boys and I were going back and forth from the old house to the new, moving stuff. On the way back to the old house, I saw a man walking onto the edge of the road about 2 miles ahead. What the hell is he doing?? It's a super busy road - 3 lanes on either side of the median, speed limit 50 MPH. People are slowing down and most are stopping in their lane, some are actually pulling over.

What's that in front of the man? A dog? Too low to the ground. A beaver? What.....

Have you ever seen a porcupine? A for real, in the wild (sort of), not a picture, not in a zoo porcupine?

I have!

The above picture is of the man who I originally saw. The poor little porcupine! He was obviously confused and didn't know what to do. I can only guess the man saw him in the street, trying to cross and pulled over to make sure the porcupine made it. He was clapping his hands behind him and trying to get him to go. I don't know where the little guy came from or where he was headed. Oddly, this went down right next to the Natural Science Museum! The museum is surrounded by fields of really tall, wild grasses. Maybe the porcupine wanted to try out the delicious cafes across the street?

If you look at the background, you'll see a man in a motorcycle helmet and he's got a tiny black backpack in his hand. He came into the road and used the backpack to gently push/encourage the porcupine in the direction it was originally heading (crossing the road). The hand-clapping man was doing his best but as you can see, he wasn't really dressed to play with porcupines.

I just happened to have our camera in the car and got a coupla decent shots before I was able to move again and be on our way.

Here's a closer shot...

Beautiful, isn't he?

So why did the porcupine cross the road, Ruth!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

100 Words

Last year's R.I.P. Challenge had a 100 Words contest. You write a piece with 100 words - no repeats on the words and the title doesn't count (for repeats or word count).

This is the example they gave for last year's contest and you rest assured that I'm SO happy I didn't have to go up against this writer! (Not that I won anyway or anything.)

Beneath the Bed

They have always been here with us. Not just symbiotic to you or me, but humans in general. Imagination gave them form. Darkness confers life.
Tonight there come sounds. Raspy voices carried on forked and barbed tongues. I wonder about their purpose. Listening intently, understanding follows quickly.
“Our man should taste good,” one says.
“He has surely matured well,” another.
We are livestock. Bred for this moment, by creatures that reside beneath the bed. A hairy arm reaches out from under thick box spring. Monsters emerge, no longer afraid, nor needing to hide among dark shadow.
It is my time.

Story by Stuart Clark. Not included in the contest as Stuart is one of our judges.

They didn't do it this year! Bummer because I had already come up with my entry a few months beforehand.

Here it is...

Dog's Nightmare

Stretching languorously, sleepy canine nestles in warm bed under favorite blanket of yellow and red. Large, white hailstones pelt down unnoticed.

The tractor beam catches some attention! Cowering fearfully, Fido looks up, too scared to move. No comforting bright light, just pulled toward scary dark cave surrounded by misshapen, yellowing stones is all he sees.

Peeking over an edge, what was once tranquil sanctuary, now a suicide's leap away. Realizing limited options, Rover trembles, sweats helplessly.

Life flashing behind frightened eyes....
Regrets nothing.

Peace begins....
Ends as quickly when cavern closes around pup's middle, tearing half away.

mmmmm, Hot Dogs!

Hope he has the contest next year, Ruth!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Magicians and Bloodsuckers

I forgot to tell y'all about Halloween!

First up, we have our evil sorcerer...

I'm pretty proud of this costume. We bought a second hand evil robe and I got some glow in the dark and silver metallic fabric paints and painted all over it. Then I got a stiff piece of black felt, made a cone and stapled it shut, then a soft piece of felt, made the brim, more stapling, more paint and viola! (The staff was purchased. And we couldn't quite get his makeup right, looks like he dipped his face in milk!)

Then we've got D2 as your basic toothsome vampire...

Fancy shirt (as he called it), black jeans, cape that T wore when he was a 2 year old vampire (6 years ago!), some make-up and rubber fangs.

Here he is showing off his cape and his little rubber bat ring...

The evil sorcerer likes to ham it up with his fiendish vampire brother...

D2 was so funny about those rubber teeth! They were WAY too big and at first he wouldn't let me make them smaller. He was slobbering like crazy and finally I convinced him to let me shorten them. I cut a back tooth off each side and they fit a little better. He was still slobbering a lot. It's about a 20 minute drive from our house to the party we were going to. After about 5 minutes in the car I asked D2 if he wanted to take the teeth out until we got there and he said, "No way!" He was very committed to his character! Even when he'd go up to a house, he'd pretend to die when the light hit him and he'd say, "I vant to eat your cahndeeee.", or "Look into my eyes. Now give me all your cahndeeeee." What a goof!

We went to Donna and Daren's yearly party again this year. It was in our old neighborhood so we took the boys trick or treating there (they always get a good haul!). This year is the first time Dave got to trick or treat with me and the boys. He usually stays at the house and hands out candy but since we weren't in that house anymore... he had a great time with us! After about an hour it was getting truly chilly and the boys were ready to stop and go back to Donna's house to play with her dog. Dave kept telling them, "Let's just hit the houses on the way back!" Their sacks were almost too heavy for them to carry and they were done but he kept reminding them that mom and dad were going to eat half so they should keep going!

He makes me nuts every time we are to go to a Halloween party. In all the time we've been together this is only the fourth one he's gone to (#1 was in Tucson in 1999, #2 was T's first Halloween and it was with the playgroup and #3 was last year). He's not social and doesn't want to dress up. He waits to the very last day to pick a costume but all the while he throws out ideas of what to dress up as, should we dress as a couple, what about this, what about that - it's like when he's bored and has the TV remote - flip, flip, flip flipForTheLoveOfBobPickSomethingflip.

This year he got a grim reaper robe, put on a big straw hat (borrowed from his dad) and his Hawaiian shirt and went as Death Takes A Holiday. I got him to add one of his golf clubs for a scythe replacement.

I borrowed a great costume from Donna. She sewed this really cute Little Red Riding Hood costume a few years ago and with the skirt's elastic waistband, it fits anyone! She took a pic of us before we left the party but I haven't seen it yet.

The kids played with the other kids there and Dave and I played Poker with the adults. It was great fun!

Contemplating next year's costume, Ruth!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Auld Lang Syne

Since we moved, T uses my cell phone to call some of his former classmates on the weekends. He's even programmed their names into my phone! I had no idea he knew how to do that. I barely know how to do that.

D2 hasn't asked to call anyone. His little buddy Zack has started calling us and yesterday when I asked if he wanted to call him back he said, "No. But I promise I will neeever forget him." He's so odd! I told him that was fine but if Zack called when D2 was home, he should talk to Zack and be nice. He said he would. They talked this evening and they will get together this Sat. to hang out.

Speaking of old friends....
I got a message via Facebook from a guy I used to hang out with! His name is Phil and he is amazing. I believe I spoke about him before when I told y'all about how he was my "what if" guy until I realized that in the real world even the "what if" person would still have arguments and dirty clothes.


He is a Navy SEAL and he tells me he is in Iraq again. (Again?? Bummer!) We've been catching up via email (it's been over 10 years since we lost touch) and we got to talking about hobbies. He told me he spear fishes. I said, "That is so like you! Obscure, athletic, and possibly life-threatening!" But get this....

He knits.

Swear to Bob! He sent me pic's of what he's doing! He's working on a garter stitch scarf and some excellent arm-warmers!

I asked him how that came about and he told me how he's really into these 1700's reenactment things (he lives in Virginia when he's not out saving the world). He's made himself moccasins, and he hunts and tans hides in the old style. Among the other reenactors, there's this woman who bought a flintlock rifle and they traded - she taught him to knit and he taught her to use her flintlock! Then she's gotten him to go to her knitting group when he's home!

He is one of the bravest, strongest, toughest, (not to mention beautiful) men I know and he is hands down the most diverse person I've ever met.

Love catching up with old friends, Ruth!

ETA: Forgot to say that he's the only person I've ever met who knew exactly what he wanted to do/be when he was in high school, graduated, did it, and still loves it. So lucky!

And yes, I will totally be hooking him up with some good yarn and knitting goodies!

Monday, November 9, 2009


One of the best parts of Basic Training at Ft. Jackson is going to Victory Tower. It's 56' of sheer madness disguised as a wooden wall.

Victory Tower is part of an obstacle course designed to scare the hell out of recruits. It's a separate activity from the rest of the course which mainly consists of rope ladders and rope bridges.

Victory Tower is where we learn to rappel. One person puts on a wickedly uncomfortable crotch harness (the kind that makes you feel really sorry for the male recruits) and climbs the stairs to the top. One person is at the bottom - "on belay" (I'm probably spelling that wrong). The belay person holds the rope wrapped behind them. They can walk backwards and slow you down if you end up coming down too fast. At the top, you plant your feet on the edge of the wall, make your legs stiff and straight and lean your ass over the edge - that's called "making your L". That L is the hardest part. You have to trust your harness and your belay person to keep you from... well, plummeting to your death really. Then the person at the top hollers, "On rappel." and the person below yells, "On belay." and the games begin.

Drill Sgt. Ski (the really buff one who would always bag on women even being in the Army) gave the demonstration. He put on a rucksack (giant backpack) full of whatever to make it weigh 60 pounds. He said he was wearing the rucksack to demonstrate that no matter the weight, the rope and equipment will hold you - "So all you Nancy girls can just quitchyer whinin' and get up there and get it done." Yes. He actually called us Nancy girls.

He climbed the stairs to the top of the tower with his harness already on. At the top they clip on a carabiner clip and he made his "L". He was yelling down to us the whole time, giving instruction while demonstrating. I was front row center because I wanted at it! All of a sudden, his body gave a little jerk and we could hear him saying, "Mike! Mike! mutter, mutter, mutter" He was about 4 feet down the wall and those of us that heard him looked at each other with panic in our eyes. We'd never, EVER heard a DS call another DS by their first name. We knew something wasn't right. The DS he called to was at the top of the tower in a flash holding onto the rope for dear life.

DS Ski stopped talking and made quick work of rappelling down the wall. Even with another DS on belay, during the last five feet he was just in absolute free fall. I'll never forget him landing. I can picture clear as when it happened. He landed on his back. On that 60 pound rucksack. His arms and legs splayed out and all smacked the ground while his back arched around that pack - it all happened in about one second. His landing also jerked the belay DS smack onto his face.

Bless that man and his professionalism. He hit that ground harder then any body has a right too and just as quickly he popped up onto his feet and said, "See? Nothin' to it. Who's first?" That man got up faster then his belay person!

Some of the girls started crying. A couple started hyperventilating. Even those of us (like myself) who were so looking forward to it were now, understandably, a bit reluctant.

"All right," he bellowed, "I'm pickin' then. You, you, and you - get those harnesses on and get up those stairs. You, you, and you - on belay."

Standing up front like I was, I was one of the first one's up. At the top, I took some time adjusting my harness but actually I was eavesdropping on the whispering DS's. Turns out, DS Ski's carabiner clip had broken! Damned thing snapped clean off! That carabiner is the only thing holding the harness on your body to the rope. DS Ski came down that wall solely on the strength of his hands and arms. Granted he had the biggest pipes I think I've ever seen, but add that 60 pound rucksack and... damn.

I don't know where the broken clip went because we never saw anything fall. I found out later that as he was whisper-yelling for DS "Mike", he was also stuffing pieces of broken carabiner into his pocket so none of us would see it. Curmudgeonly as he was, he was a good man and a great DS.

Here's a pic of me on Victory Tower...

Do you see how fancy my hair is? My battle buddy was 24 and both her children were boys. She loved to braid my hair for me. (And if you've been following along, you'll know how much I needed that help!)

Despite the grimace in the pic, I had a blast! Making the L was difficult but those cheap-ass plastic boots they gave us didn't' help. They were slipperier then snot on a doorknob. You're trying to rappel down the wall and by rappel, the DS's mean to walk down the wall. The whole 56 feet. I walked/slippedslided down the first time I went. Then I did my belay then I ran up the stairs and went down 3 or 4 more times! Each successive time, I was leaping further away from the wall and flying down that rope. I even tried to make them let me attempt Australian style - that means you go... basically head first. Your butt is facing the sky instead of the ground. They said no. Regular style is is then! So. Much. FUN! I would do it again, anytime they'd let me.

On rappel, Ruth!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

We Love You Denver!

I think I also forgot to tell you that we went to the Green Day concert. I love Green Day! One of my favorite bands.

The concert landed on Dave's birthday and, in typical fashion, he chose something he sort of likes but knows that I really like. He's so sweet! And impossible to shop for.

Donna told me she was going to get tickets for her and Daren and did we want to go, too? She got our tickets (we gave her the money the day of the concert), we set up a sleepover for the kids at their grandparent's house and waited for the big day.

Donna mostly wanted to go to the concert to see the opening act - Franz Ferdinand. The concert was scheduled to begin at 7p.

On the big day, we went into downtown Denver together, had dinner at a pretty good Asian restaurant and walked back to the concert venue. Took us a few minutes to get in and we were walking to our seats by 10 'til 7p.

We heard Franz Ferdinand already playing!! Who ever heard of a rock concert starting on time much less early! We all ran to our seats so Donna wouldn't miss any more of the band she was mainly there to see.

When Green Day came on, they gave a decent show. It was strange and, frankly, a bit disappointing. I've not seen that much pandering since the last election year. It was like they had some private bet going - how many times can Billy Joe (lead singer) suck up to Denver??

"We love you Denver!" "We love Colorado!" "Denver!!" I shit you not, one of those phrases was uttered at least twice per song. Per. Song. Even the radio DJ's were bustin' on them about it the next day. The DJ's were also commenting on how incredibly long the show was! Green Day has a huge catalog of hit songs to choose from and the concert was nearly 3 hours long.

And! They kept pointing the microphone out to the audience. For a good 1/2 - 2/3 for each song! I didn't pay to hear these assholes to sing, I paid to hear the assholes on stage sing!

It wasn't a total loss, though. There were some pretty cool moments here and there during the show.

Early in the concert, Billy Joe pulled a kid of about 9 years of age onto the stage and whispered in his ear to tell him what to do and when Billy Joe gave him the "yer HEALED" tap on the forehead, the kid laid flat out on the stage and it was timed with some fireworks. Very cool moment for that kid, right?

Then the song Longview came up, Billy Joe pulled up a different person for each verse and let them sing it. He said, "I only want someone who really knows the lyrics", and each person he pulled up? They blew it. The girl he pulled up handed him her bra. He said, "What's this? Is this for me?" and she nodded and yanked her shirt up. Just as quick he yanked it down and said, "No, you don't need to do that." Awesome. Stupid girl!

Also, during one song, he paused and walked over to the side of the stage and started talking to these guys that were trying to get into a fight, "Now, now. Don't do that. Work it out, guys, work it out. We're not assholes here, we don't do that." The bouncers seemed to work it out with the fighting guys but it was cool that Billy Joe lent a verbal hand.

The last person he pulled on stage was one of the coolest things I've ever seen at a concert. It was towards the end of the concert, Billy Joe said, "And now for something completely different! I want someone for this next song that can play guitar. [Looks around surrounding crowd] You! Ya little fucker - you've been holding up that sign for the whole concert. Can you play guitar? Someone get him a mic."
Kid: yea!
BJ: How long you been playin'?
Kid: 5 years
BJ: How old are you?!
Kid: 12
BJ: All right, let's see - what key is this song played in?
Kid: G
BJ: Hmm. What fret is that?
Kid: 3rd.
BJ: All right, get your little ass up here.

Billy Joe set the kid up with his own guitar! It was way too big for the kid so BJ had him sit on an amp and that kid played the whole damn song with the band! And he. ROCKED. IT! So cool! That is something that kid will remember the rest of his life! I heard that the mom called into a radio station the next day and said she was in the car the whole time and missed it and did anyone video it? Don't' know why she was in the car while her 12 year old was at a Green Day concert by himself! Maybe she hates Green Day? Bummer she missed that! I hope someone got a video to her.

The last encore was just Billy Joe by himself - he was at the end of the long part of the stage with an acoustic guitar and a single spotlight. He sang Good Riddance and another slow song off the new album and it was quite lovely.

It was a fun night, Ruth!

An Excellent Beginning

A few friends and I started a knitting meet-up today. I invited some friends and most said yes. One had to back out last minute because of illness, one didn't respond, and one had previous plans but will be there next week.

We were to meet at the Highlands Ranch Tattered Cover at 10:30a today, Sunday. Somewhere yesterday evening, my brain decided to take a rest. We were discussing Sunday food plans with the inlaws and we decided to meet at Sweet Tomatoes for brunch. On Sunday. At 10:30a.

See, usually when these things happen, there's a little bell that goes off in my brain that says, "Wait... isn't there something else I have to do at that same time?" But, last evening, that brain bell was dead asleep. (I blame being overly excited about my poker playing.) It woke up about an hour later when I was blogging (last night) about my weekend plans. So Dave and I had this disagreement about what to do. I said we should just call his parents and see if we can move it to late lunch/early dinner and he said that would be rude to his parents. I argued that, yes it was totally my gaff but his parents generally don't care what time we eat together and not showing up to the thing that I started/planned would be rude to my friends! So we decided I would take the separate vehicle and leave the brunch a bit early. I was still an hour and 15 minutes late to the knitting. sigh.

But! We ended up staying until almost 2p! I love knitting group! There's some knitting but there's tons of talking and sharing and laughing and I haven't had a regular weekly group since I left Tucson 3 years ago! I'm so excited about having a group again, it's stupid. And, it's only the first week! Hopefully it'll stick and not fall apart in a week or two.

Our tech savvy friend said we should start a Rav group to keep updated on the time/meeting place since it's going to switch off every other week. We assigned it to her but couldn't think of a name. Any suggestions?

Yaaaay, knitting group, Ruth!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Aces High

At the bank yesterday, the cute teller boy asked if I had any big plans for this weekend and I broke it down:

Friday: Pizza night with the inlaws/grandparents.

Saturday: Drop the kids off with the grandparents so the husband and I can go play a free Poker tournament at the Celtic Pub. Then afterwards, pick up the kids and be home by 6p so we can watch the Husker game.

Sunday: Meet some of the girls at the Tattered Cover in Highlands Ranch for some knitting. (We're meeting at 10:30a and you're all invited!) Go back to Parker a third time to have dinner with the inlaws!

The Poker tournament isn't an every week thing (it depends solely whether or not it coincides with a Husker game), but it's damn fun! It's Texas Hold 'em and today I lasted longer then I ever had! I was rollin'! Playing pretty well and getting great cards. It's so much fun! Then I paid big to see a coupla hands and then about 20 minutes later, I was out. But! I was in for almost two hours! I never last that long! We usually meet our friends Donna and Daren there for the tournament and today was no exception. The last two people in the tournament today were Dave and Daren! Daren won.

I'm not a very good player because I know nothing of pot odds or reading people. Generally, I just play the cards in my hand. If you know anything about the game, that's a crappy way to play. Today I had so many chips, I actually got to bully people! That's not as bad as it sounds - it's like bluffing but more fun.

Donna and I bring our knitting so when we're out we can still be entertained. We always seem to raise eyebrows and get questions and comments. It's pretty funny! Today I had a guy ask me to make him a scarf and a woman ask me to make little sweaters for her Yorkies. I told them both that they'd have to pay me but I could certainly do it! Also, this one guy who is tall, lean, usually drinking quite a lot and pretty funny asked me to teach him to knit! He stood there and asked me to slow down so he could watch. I'm working some Malabrigo into a brioche stitch scarf and after watching me work one row, he started telling me what I was doing! It was amazing! He said, "Over, in through the right, next two in through the left." After one row!! Crazy, right?!

Still spreading the obsession, Ruth!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Adult Security With Pointy Sticks

I had a Dr.'s appt. today, which, of course, means that the following post may likely contain waaaay too much info from time to time.

Nothing fancy, just a full physical. I didn't eat anything after 9:30p last night so I could give blood should they want it. They did. But they didn't take it until 11:30a so that horribly aged granola bar floating around my purse was calling my name all morning. (And once I got to it? It was delicious!)

I made my appt. for a day last month but since they were going to do a Pap, and since I started my period the day before my appt., I rescheduled. It was just as well. I was really leery of seeing the dr. they'd set me up with. While scheduling, the receptionist said, "I know this is going to seem like a strange and overly personal question but are you on birth control?" I said, "No. Well, yes... my husband has a vasectomy." I almost added, "I'm on that occasionally." but stopped myself and had a little private giggle instead. She said they make her ask that question to any female seeing that particular dr. because she doesn't prescribe birth control. "That's odd," I said, "Why not?" The receptionist said, "I have no idea. I've never been brave enough to ask her."

So when I had to reschedule anyway, I rescheduled with the other dr. I thought I was being a bit judgemental so I called my good friend who is a practicing Catholic. Even she said she wouldn't schedule with that dr. We both thought that a person's beliefs were their right but when it starts effecting their job... we just wouldn't be comfortable seeing that particular dr.


I get to my appt. early, as requested, to do the paperwork. One of the forms asks mental health questions and one of the questions was simply "Loss of pleasure". It seemed fairly random and for some reason that made me laugh. I know it's one of the beginning symptoms of depression but I've never seen it worded like that.

There was another patient there who was clearly losing her pleasure as we continued to wait for our respective appointments to start. Three people came in after us and they all were called in ahead of us. Two had on the wear-this-mask-if-you're-coughing things and I overheard the other talk about pain that was getting worse, so I just figured they were being triaged ahead of us - no big deal.

Of course, no big deal since I had my knitting! And yes, I still knit obsessively, though I haven't spoken much about it here. I have it with me everywhere and have even resorted to putting a small bag with a pair of socks for Dave in the glove box of the van in case I forget some.

I just got that color book by Kristen Nicholas from the library. I didn't see anything in the book I'd really tackle (sadly, I'm much more reserved in my color choices) but there was one thing she said in the book that really resonated with me. She talked about having her knitting everywhere she went and that it was really like an adult security blanket. That is exACTly what it is for me! Without it, I start to get twitchy. With it, I can wait all day long.

The RN who took me back and did my height, weight, pulse oxygen, etc. saw me knitting and said, "Oooh, I just got my pins!" She had an accent (German? Eastern Europe?) and told me how she'd just started to knit. I gave her my card and wrote the Rav site on the back. We were talking knitting and she kept calling the knitting needles "pins". I love that! "I just got my pins" - sounds like a gang initiation or something! She lamented not having any family or friends who knit who could help her out and then mentioned the nearest LYS and said she would have to call them to take a class. So she seems well on her way with the obsession.

When I got home and told Dave about the knitting RN he said, "I swear you can smell a knitter a mile away." It was pure coincidence! Also pure coincidence is the woman who lives around the corner whose son is in the same class as D2. She used to knit but hasn't since she was pregnant with her son (6 years ago?). When the boys play outside together, I'm knittin' away and she keeps saying she's going to have to get back into it. hah!

Our numbers are growing, Ruth!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Surplus Fowl

I cooked these enormous Double D-sized chicken breasts on Monday. The kind where you think the chicken breasts are big then you open the package and realize you're only seeing half the picture because they are all folded in half! I never feel comfortable refreezing them so I just cook them all and we make different things with the leftovers. (After Monday, all the things use cooked, leftover chicken.)

Put 4 TBSP of butter in a 9X13 pan and put it in the oven while it's warming. Then, dredged in flour mixed with a packet of onion soup mix and various seasonings of choice. Cook until done. (I actually had to break out the 8X8 pan halfway through cooking because they were way too crowded in the other pan!)

Get some nice rolls and make chicken sandwiches for the boys. They LOVE these. It's just the cooked chicken, thinly sliced then put on the rolls with mustard and Miracle Whip. For Dave and I, we chop up some more of the chicken and mix it with our favorite hot wing sauce for Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches. I put the white horseradish cheddar cheese I love and some blue cheese dressing on mine. Dave skips the dressing but likes the fancy cheese.

For lunch, I also discovered that the thinly sliced chicken goes really well on a small toasted bagel with mustard, Miracle Whip and thinly sliced tart green apple! Next time, I'm going to add bacon to this and see if I can stop at 12 of 'em. (Yes, we prefer Miracle Whip, Dave and I can't stand mayonnaise - it's slimy and gross!)

Go to a birthday party where they are serving pizza

Make chicken enchiladas. I love making these. It's one of the best things I make and Dave requests them every time we have too much chicken. Also, after Thanksgiving, it's great with turkey.

1. Chop 1/2 a white onion and saute until translucent, add a 1/2 (or whole depending on how many enchiladas you're making) chopped chicken breast and a small can of chopped green chilies. Mix until warm, transfer to bowl. (When I was single, I'd add chopped olives and finely chopped radish, but I'm the only one in this house that likes 'em that way.)
2. Open a 28 ounce can of green enchilada sauce (I use Las Palmas). Spread a thin layer on the bottom of a 9X13 pan. Spread a thicker layer in the skillet you just made the chicken mix in. Use tortillas of choice (I like corn and Dave prefers flour so I make some of each), put the tortilla in the warmed green sauce, count to 10, flip, count to 10 again (I use my fingers for this).
3. Transfer the tortilla to the 9X13 pan and down the center of the tortilla put a layer of cheese, a layer of the chicken mix and then roll and push to the side (seam side down).
4. Repeat until your pan is full or you run out of mix.
5. Cover the enchiladas with the remaining sauce (usually 1/3 to 1/2 of the can) and then some more cheese (don't be stingy with it!) and cook at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes.

It's messy to make and delicious to eat.

Still have 3 giant chicken breasts left, Ruth!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Magic Beans

OK, not Magic Beans but a Magical Seed!

About a year ago, T came home with a cooked, salted sunflower seed that another student at school gave him. He wanted to plant it and I told him it probably wouldn't grow as it was cooked and salted. I told him if wanted to plant it to go ahead and give it a shot.

He planted it and watered it and waited and watched.

It didn't grow.

Until about 3 months ago!

Not only did it grow - it grew like mad! Seriously, that's right up there with some of the craziest things I've ever seen.

(Never mind their grimacing mugs, it was terribly sunny that day.)

Wonders never cease, Ruth!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I signed the boys up for two free classes at the library. They are geared for 1st-2nd graders (for D2) and 3rd-6th graders (for T).

One is a creative writing thing and the other is a book club. They both meet for 7 weeks.

With the first meeting of the creative writing class, D2 went to his and was just sitting there. T, of course, met everyone in the room within 30 seconds and was writing up a storm. Dave went and asked why D2 wasn't doing anything and he said he didn't know what to do. Dave came and told me this and when I walked over to the class, the doors were shut.

After the hour was up, Dave asked D2 what he'd written and he said, "Nothing. I didn't know what to do." I asked, "You didn't know what to do or you couldn't think of anything to write?" He just said yes.

Dave asked, "Did you not like the class?" and when D2 said no, Dave blew me away when he told D2 that he didn't have to come back if he didn't like it.


I said, "Yes, he does." And I took Davis by the hand and walked back to the class and the teacher and I talked with D2 about how he could ask for help and get a better understanding of what he needed to do next time.

Then Dave and I had this argument about whether or not D2 had to go back. I said, "Absolutely!" and Dave said, "If he's not into it, then it just becomes a chore and he'll start to hate it!" I said, "I don't see how he can tell if he's into it or not when he doesn't even give it a chance. He's been to ONE session! So you're telling me if we signed him up for football and after ONE practice he said he didn't like it, you'd tell him he didn't have to go back?"

Dave said yes and I called bullshit.

I think one of the biggest problems I've had in life is the ability to quit when things got difficult. Not important things like surviving - I'm great at that! But other important things like school, work, whatever. It may be cowardly and it may be bullshit but I totally blame my parents for this. With very few exceptions, they let my brother and I quit anything we didn't feel like doing (after-school activities-wise). For my parents, it always seemed like one less thing they had to pay for/drive us to.

I don't want that for my boys. I want them to A) get some diversity and B) stick it out. It's once a week for 7 weeks. I don't want to raise quitters.

Last year, when T was doing that cumulative marathon thing, he got bored with it and wanted to quit. Dave and I decided he had to finish. It was one mile, twice a week with the final mile in downtown Denver. And that final mile was so much fun for him! He didn't want to do it again this year but I think it was good for him to finish what he started.

Dave says the difference is that T asked to participate in that activity where I just signed the boys up for the library thing.

I could use some opinions on this. I'm still going to make D2 stick it out but I'm curious to see what y'all think.

Quitters never prosper, Ruth!

Monday, November 2, 2009

What's In A Name

It's been a long time since I posted a Military Monday.

If I remember correctly, we're still in Basic Training.

I told y'all about the tricks the Drill Sgt.'s play on us and now I'll tell you about the names they gave us.

Everyone in our platoon had a nickname. Most were given by the DS's but some we acquired on our own.

One girl was disgusting and she said if they treated us like men, we should look and behave like them, too. She stopped shaving (we all did, but she stopped much earlier then the rest of us!), she belched and let gas like nobody's business. Her nickname was Monster.

There were 2 women from Haiti and one had a last name that sounded like "machete". DS McCoy kept getting them mixed up so she just started calling them Mrs. Shitty #1 and Mrs. Shitty #2 (sounds like machete?).

One girl was an enormously talented painter and she ended up doing the mural in our barracks - very cool! But, she was also one of the biggest airheads I've ever met. Her head was always in the clouds and she never seemed to understand what she was told. The Drills named her Van Gogh - talented but slightly crazy.

Wanna know what they called me?

In Basic Training, the Drills named me "Flower Child". I was always asking why the Army couldn't do things more efficiently or earth friendly. Like the Chow Hall. Do you have any concept about how much food the Army throws out? Anything that's cooked, they don't save for the next meal or the next day. If there's anything left over, they throw it in the garbage. Every. Day. Every. Meal. I thought it would be better for them to arrange for some soup kitchen to come by and pick up the leftovers (of which there are many). The Drills laughed and said, "There's no logistical way that could happen."

I asked why not and they said that the soup kitchen would have to have the capacity to transport and stow all that food, they'd have to get fresh clearance every time they came on base and just let one homeless guy looking for a buck claim food poisoning and it'd be all for naught.

They also called me Flower Child because every chance I got, I'd break rank and go pick a flower. I was so sick of green (camo green clothes, green wool blanket to sleep with, green vehicles, green walls, fake green everywhere!) that anytime I saw a spot of color I was drawn to it like a moth to flame no matter the consequences. I'd stick it in my pocket or in the skinny headband that goes around the Kevlar helmet - anywhere I thought I could get away with it and enjoy it when I had a rare moment or two to myself.

Loving green when it's real, Ruth!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Aaaaaand..... I'm Done

I have too much yarn. It's a fact. I've had to face it several times and I think it hit me in the face again when we moved.

Too. Much. Yarn.

After Sock Summit, (where I was surprisingly subdued in my purchasing), I came home and started packing. Packing the cyclone that was our basement (my own personal hidey-hole/cave) was a bit of a wake up call. I'd been pretty diligent in putting new yarn in the designated bins (Wool, Felting Wool, Good Stuff, Sock, etc.). Over the last six months in that house, I let it get away from me and when I was packing up the basement and found 2 LARGE bins worth of free-range yarn....

I have too much yarn.

I told my friend Donna, "I'm done buying yarn."

She laughed.

"No, seriously! I have so much yarn. There's no way in hell I can knit it all and I keep acquiring more. I have over 200 pairs worth of sock yarn. If I knit a pair a month, it would take me 16 years to get through it all! I don't knit a pair a month. I think, all total, I've knit.... 2 pairs."

She looked skeptical but, kindly, didn't say anything.

Then 2 days later she tells me that there's a yarn store going out of business and all the yarn is 30% off. Damn enabler! We went to the sale and I got 2 sweaters worth of really good yarn.

OK, I said. Now I'm really done.

Then there's Ravelry. I've loved the Charrua colorway of Malabrigo with a love that shall not be named. I've always thought it was a bit busy for a whole sweater but there's this person on Rav who had 8 skeins for $60 (incl. shipping). 8 skeins! I resisted as long as I could (seriously, I stayed away from it for about 3 months) and I didn't find anyone making sweaters with that color - again, it might just be too busy! I finally found someone who'd done something really cool with it (in sweater form) and I broke down and got it. Problem is, I didn't bookmark/fave/whatever the really cool thing and it's now lost in the vortex that is Ravelry. sigh.

Then the Malabrigo Junkies group has some Stockpile October Fest and a bunch of shops were having Malabrigo sales. At Sock Summit, the friends we were staying with came to Marketplace. I told Melissa to go buy some yarn she thought was pretty and I'd make some mitts and/or a scarf for her. She picked Pagoda colored Malabrigo. I thought, "Wow! She has great taste - in yarn and colors!" I also thought, yes, that Pagoda is very pretty! But when I started working with it and really seeing the subtleties of shading and color.... then this Stocktober thing came along. I bought a bag of 10.

But, here's the thing! A bag of 10 was 30% off! With free shipping! And I've been eyeballing that stuff for months now!

I know. There's no real defense here, just excuses.

But now I'm done. For real.


No more sock clubs (unless I'm trading for them), no more lurking the Ravelry ISO/Destash group (that's dangerous crack to me), no more sales.

The only reason I can buy yarn is if I don't have what I need to complete a current project, because I have Too. Much. Yarn.

Not selling any, Ruth!