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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to all!!!

I wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas from Princess Ivi and myself, I hope you all get to rest and relax and enjoy your family time.

I'll be back in 2010!!

-Lennette

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I have so much to do but I can always sleep on the plane...

In an effort to get a feel for where I am concerning the holiday, I am copying my earlier to-do list and revising it as necessary.

To Buy
1.Princess Ivi's Gifts
2.Isaac's gift (which needs to be mailed 12/18)
3.Gifts for nephews and niece (I am thinking the first few Harry Potter movies for the boys and a Joann's gift card for Emily since she likes to sew and needs fabric and notions)
4.Baking supplies
5.10 Dollar Swap items to be shipped no later than 12/20
6.Carry-on size bag for Princess Ivi
7.Messenger style bag (or something like it) for me that can hold personal items (phone, wallet, etc.) plus ample knitting materials for plane trip and layovers Don't need because Princess Ivi is going to let me use one of hers. Didn't need since Princess Ivi will let me use hers.
8.Gift for Princess Ivi’s dad(??)
9.Stocking Stuffers
10.Gift for Mom
11. MOTION SICKNESS MEDICINE

To Bake
1.Cookies for Baking GALS (to be shipped no later than 12/16)
2.Cookies (for mailing to sister on or about 12/18)
3.Goodies (like Christmas mice, peanut butter chip brittle and possible Nigella Lawson’s Hokey Pokey) for mailing on or about 12/18

To Knit
1.Surprise project for Princess Ivi
2.Stick shift cover, ice scraper mitt and steering wheel cover for Rob all in Gator orange and blue. Will hold off until next year.
3.Hello New York Scarf Easy Ribbed Scarf for Pat using Grampian DK (purple)
4.Hat for Barry using Jiffy (black)
5.Wise Owl for Will
6.Spiders for Will and Jake Made other projects instead.

To Assemble
1.Two pairs of wristers
2.Two surprise gifts for Princess Ivi

To Visit
1.Princess Ivi's dad for Christmas (sometime in January)
2.Brother's family prior to Christmas day Not going to happen

To Wrap
1.All presents

To Stuff
1.Two Stockings (mom's and Princess Ivi's)

To Do
1.Ship package to sister on or around 12/18
2.Charge and load ipods before Christmas
3.Charge batteries for camera
4.Pack for trip to sister's house (leaving Jacksonville at 11:50 a.m. on 12/25) -of course this includes making sure there are sufficient clean clothes for said trip as well as pulling out our cold weather gear (which thankfully isn’t too far in the closet)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh, Fudge!!

I attempted to make peanut butter fudge last night. It isn't fudge though. It is more like gooey peanut butter caramels. It tastes good but unfortunately, it wouldn't package well for my goody packages for the office.

I may use it to make chocolate surprise cookies and stick it in the middle of the cookie...or I might just eat it with a spoon.

I have to make the chocolate cookies tonight and then finish packaging the containers for the office.

I finished my last Christmas knitting last night. Mom is going to do some seaming for me on Wednesday which is great since the seaming that needs to be done is beyond my sewing ability. Once that is done, those 4 gifts can be wrapped and put under the tree.

I am going to wrap Princess Ivi's gifts tonight and my Mom's and then, I think, I might be ready for Christmas.

10 New Year's Resolutions

I don't normally make resolutions because I hardly ever keep them but I am going to try this year.

1. Blog more regularly (every other day, every three days, etc.).
2. Take more photographs.
3. Get out and explore more whether it is going to parks, museums, or just driving around.
4. Go to the gym.
5. Go to the knitting group at least one Sunday a month.
6. Do something with the fleece (alpaca and llama).
7. Look on the bright side as much as possible.
8. Enjoy my time with Princess Ivi. It goes by too quickly!!
9. Knit more. See Knitting Resolutions to come.

Can't think of anymore....may edit to add #10 later.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winner Again

I won the Treat Bag Download from Elle's Studio that Skip to My Lou was giving away! Yay!!

Best Laid Plans

I had the best intentions of getting all of Christmas knitting and baking done this weekend. That didn’t happen though.

As for the knitting, I am close. I have to finish the Grumpasaurus that I started on Friday. I have to knit the feet and the comb and put him together. I also have to knit a beak for the Wise Owl.

As for baking, I mistakenly put it off until Sunday and now I regret it since I woke up Sunday and couldn’t swallow, had a fever, runny nose and was coughing. I did do the following with lots of help from Princess Ivi:

Double batch of the peanut butter rollout cookies (which included making the dough, slicing it and baking them);
Helensburgh Toffee;
Dough for the Mexican Wedding Cookies (it is in the fridge);
Iron Skillet Butter Garlic Rolls; and
Yummy Italian sausage and white bean soup.

I hope to bake the Mexican Wedding Cookies tonight along with making the peanut butter fudge. Tomorrow night, I will make the Chocolate Sugar Drop Cookies.

I had also planned on photographing all of this but since I felt bad, that didn’t happen either.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Surprises

After getting up this morning to go to the post office to ship packages to my sister, go to the grocery store and the Dollar Store, Princess Ivi got the mail and this was in it.


It is my free skein of Naturally Caron Country. Isn't it beautiful?!!

The color is sunset. I got this just by sending three ball bands from Caron Simply Soft. I wasn't able to choose my color but surprisingly, this is my favorite color so it all worked out perfectly. I just want to know how those folks at Caron knew that this was my favorite color.

The yarn is soft to the touch and has the perfect sheen to it. I can't wait to knit with it but, of course, that will have to come after the Christmas knitting is done.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Broken Hearts Club

I come from a very dysfunctional family. Dysfunctional with a capital bold D. Something happened today to make me see that dysfunctionality so clearly but before I tell you what that was, I feel I should give a little intro...

I am 32 years old. I have not seen my father since I was 6 years old. In short, he abandoned me.

I spoke to him once on the phone from the time I was 6 until I was 19 and only then because I happened to answer the phone for his call to my mom to tell her that his mother (my Grammie) had died.

When I was 19 and Princess Ivi was a tiny baby who suffered from severe asthma attacks, I decided it was time to talk to my father to get some health info. I spoke to him once on the phone and he and I each exchanged one letter apiece before he pushed me away with his cruel words. I never did discover any health information.

I went through a genealogy phase in my mid-20s and set out to answer the burning question of "who am I" by researching my father's side of the family. I was pretty successful with the genealogy aspect, tracing the family back from Massachusetts to Quebec to France in the 1400s. However, all the research and names never answered that "who am I" question.

My sister attempted to mend fences with him even though her memories were solid memories of hurt rather than some wispy tendrils like those rolling around in my head. She is 6 years older than me so she was a real "person" when we last saw him. After some months, my sister abandoned those attempts when it became apparent that in the mending of the relationship, the past would have to be rewritten to ease the conscience of our father. Given the fact that my sister was in her early 30s by then, it seemed unfair for her to have to pretend that life didn't happen the way it had.

My brother has not spoken to our father or seen him in 26 years. Neither my brother or father ever took steps to mend their relationship.

Dysfunctional? Oh yes!

Brought to light today by the email I received from ancestry.com advising me that there was a social security death index match to someone in my tree. Imagine my surprise when I opened the email to see that the match was to my father. After some research, I was able to discover that my father died on April 13, 2009, forty-eight days before his 70th birthday. No one, not my step-mother, my half-sister or my half-brothers, bothered to tell me or my sister or brother about his death.

It is hard to think that he is dead. In my head, I always knew that he wasn't going to wake up one day and realize he missed his kids and commit to doing whatever it took to make a relationship with them. But it didn't stop the little girl's heart that lives in me, that small and fragile heart, from hoping that one day he would realize that he wanted me and loved me. Now that little heart is broken and sad.

Strange but Funny and True

I drive by a baptist church everyday on my way to and from work. For the last few weeks, I have notices all sorts of construction type projects going on. I figured it was going to be some sort of live nativity as those are popular here since it is Florida, the weather usually cooperates. The living "nativity" began on Monday. However, this is unlike any living nativity I have seen or any nativity at all. Let me explain.

The "nativity" takes up about 3 football fields and it takes place about 10 feet from the road.

The first little scene is the manger complete with a burro, a baby and Mary and Joseph. Every time I have driven by there has always been one man kneeling on the ground with his arms raised in the air. I guess he could be a shepherd. There is no sign of the kings or an angel.

The second scene is about 100 feet away. The scene shows Jesus being crucified on the cross. The scene is complete with Roman soldiers, Mary kneeling at the cross, and the bloody crown of thorns.

About 50 feet away from this scene is a tomb where a deceased Jesus is brought after being taken from the cross.

The fourth scene is a King on his dais while white robed people (including children) bowing and kneeling as if in prayer. I guess this could be King Herod or Pontius Pilate. Still not sure?

I have driven by it 4 times now and each time I ask myself "what is this?". It looks like a weird version of "Jesus, this is your life".

I get the manger and if I knew for certain the king was King Herod, I would get that part too. But what's with the crucifixion and the tomb? Maybe they confused their holidays (Easter and Christmas) or maybe they wanted to show us the whole story.

**EDITED ON 12/21/09: I figured out that the last scene isn't a king. It is Jesus after his ascension. So the whole enactment is the live of Jesus from his birth to his ascension.**

Either way, the whole thing is rather distracting and I fear it is an accident waiting to happen since all the drivers are rubber-necking and like me, are trying to figure out what the whole point is.

Another funny thing
Last night while watching the Jaguars vs. Colts game, the announcer said at least three times that the Colts were down by 4. However, the score was 28 to 31 which means they were actually down by 3. Apparently, the announcer skipped the math class where they did basic subtraction.

Completed Knitting Projects


These are the Wristers from the spring/summer Knit 1 magazine for Princess Ivi. (I started these in September and have had them done for a while but I was dreading the seaming. I don't know why I made such a big deal about it because the seams look great.)


These are the Alice wrist warmers for my niece which I think look very Dr. Seussy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Giveaway at Mommatudes!! Go check it out..

Check out the awesome giveaway of a Thirty-One Skirt Purse at Mommatudes and go check out Thirty One.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

10 Things You Love to Eat/Drink During the Holidays

Thanks to CaroleKnits for today's 10 on Tuesday idea...

10 Things You Love to Eat/Drink During the Holidays
1. Ribbon candy.
2. Candy canes.
3. Brach's nougat candies (the mint ones with the Christmas tree in them).
4. Peach blossoms.
5. All the yummy, fancy goodies that come in the gift baskets that our work gets (my co-worker and I split the goodies up).
6. Turkey. (we eat it during the rest of the year but there is something special about it at the holidays.)
7. Lots of Christmas cookies.
8. Apple cider. (We can only find it in the stores in Florida around the holidays.)
9. Appetizers. (This is normally what we do for dinner on Christmas Eve.)
10. Hmmm.....

100th Post for 2009

This is my 100th post. I feel like I should post something deep and meaningful but I don't think I can pull it off.

Facebook - Love it or hate it?

I will say this, I love Facebook. I love the fact that I can reconnect with old friends who I have lost touch with because let's face it, when you are 15 and move 1,500 miles away, you don't think too much about keeping in touch with those people who you love. It is only as we get older and think of those people and wonder about those people and miss them that we wish we could go back and write more, call more, visit more. Granted Facebook can't go back in time so you know that person's whole story but it connects you and makes it possible to ask for the whole story, if you want.

I am a winner...
I was contacted by Tammy at Mom Knows Everything because I won her Pulse Yoga DVD Giveaway. How cool is that?

Christmas...Ready or not, here it comes!
I went to Walmart to pick up Christmas Ivi's gifts last night after work. I hate Walmart at Christmas. It is always crazy. Too many people and of course, there are always those shoppers who stop in the middle of the aisle, not leaving enough room to go around them, and take forever to do anything. Or those people who visit with others in the middle of the aisle instead of moving over a little bit to let others pass.

But I had a semi-successful trip. One of the things she asked for was there and the other was not (but I was able to order it for ship-to-store this morning) and I was able to pick up some stocking stuffers as well as some wrapping supplies.

I still need to pick something up for my nephew in Massachusetts. I am going to do that on my way home.

As for my brother's kids, I have a slight dilemma. I am not sure we are getting a Christmas bonus this year and without that, I don't have any more money so that means I have to knit stuff for them. Considering the fact that there are 10 knitting days (counting today) and I have to work 7 of those days and can't be knitting then, I am starting to worry.

I am working on a pair of Alice Wristwarmers for my neice that are neon green and white striped. They look very Dr. Seussy - how is that for a non-word?

As for my nephews, I am stuck. Will is very smart, loves books, science, science fiction, puzzles, etc. I am not sure what to knit for him. Jacob is very smart, loves Lord of the Rings, action figures, Star Wars, etc. I am thinking of a sword belt, a crown and a ring. Then he can be Strider from LOR and have his crown for when he is made king. I would just need to pick up a plastic sword for him.

I feel bad that I can't do more for them especially because my brother is currently out of work and won't be able to do much for them either.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Welcome Back, Peanut Butter Cookie!! (and Christmas knitting update)

I used to make batches and batches of peanut butter cookies for my Uncle Dave. But when Dave died in 1999, I couldn't make peanut butter cookies anymore. The smell of the peanut butter was just too much for me to handle and made me miss him too much. After years of abstaining from the peanut butter cookie baking, I made a batch this summer. I used the same recipe that I had used all those years ago but I didn't like them anymore. Absence in this case did not make the heart grow fonder. They were too crumbly and just not what I want in a peanut butter cookie. I had resigned myself to being peanut butter cookie-less for the foreseeable future.

However, after yesterday, I see peanut butter cookies in my future once again. I made the Peanut Butter Cut-Out Cookies from Hershey's. I didn't roll and cut them out because I have bad luck with that. Instead I just sliced and baked them. They are so good. Instead of using peanut butter, you use peanut butter chips. They taste like real peanut butter and they are soft and chewy. I made these for the Baking GALS box I am sending to our soldier in Iraq since her favorite cookies are peanut butter. Mom and Princess Ivi agreed that they were so good and I thought I would have to fight them off with a stick to be able to get enough cookies to ship. I also picked up two boxes of cocoa, some tea and some chocolates for the package and Mom is making me a batch of caramel corn to include so it should be great.

The new Knitty is up. I just took a look at it. There are some really pretty patterns in there. The Zora Cardigan is beautiful. I also like the Quadrat Pullover although I am not much into the belted look. The Pyroclastic Sock is awesome. Maybe I could beat second sock syndrome...or maybe not. I am adding them to my list of projects to knit. With these, my Ravelry queue is 30 projects long...hmmm.

As for Christmas knitting, I finished three surprise knitting projects for Princess Ivi this weekend. I can't post them here but I will post them after Christmas. I also cast on for a pair of Alice Wristwarmers for my niece. They are neon green and white striped. I made good progress with them and am extremely pleased.

I did some shopping on Saturday. My sister and brother-in-law are done (well, my sister will be done once I locate the gift I bought for her months and months ago). My nephew is almost done. I am picking up Princess Ivi's gifts tonight on the way home. As for my niece, nephews and brother, they are going to have to wait for the Christmas bonus.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Another Completed Knitting Project


I started this Watch Cap from Lionbrand on Monday and I finished it up last night. It is a gift for Barry, (Mom's male boss and landlord).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

10 Great Things About the Holidays

1. Hanging out with family...especially this year since we are traveling to Massachusetts to see my sister and her family.
2. Yummy treats like Helensburg Toffee, peanut butter fudge, peanut brittle and oodles of cookies.
3. Wrapping paper. I love wrapping paper at the holidays and I have to try very hard every year not to buy more since I always have leftover rolls from the year before.
4. Giving knitted gifts that are appreciated.
5. My daughter's face when she opens her gifts and sees the things she asked for.
6. Playing Santa. I love staying up late and filling stockings and hiding presents under the tree.
7. Remembering the true reason we celebrate Christmas.
8. Advent calendars.
9. Seeing the Salvation Army bell-ringers.
10. Seeing my daughter's generosity to those less fortunate grow each year.

Monday, December 7, 2009

One Down, So Many More to Go

I finished Pat's present this weekend. I was going to make her the Hello New York scarf but the pattern seemed like a lot of fuss for something that didn't look all that great. A lot of yarn-overs but not a lot of ooh factor at the end. Instead I made this simple ribbed scarf. I am very pleased with it.

Princess Ivi was kind enough to model it as long as I didn't take a picture of her head since she was very upset with her air-drying hair (a curly, unruly mess).
Scarf: 27 stitches on size 8.0 mm needles, K3, p3 ribbing
Yarn: Grampian DK held double throughout

Daughtry, Theory of a Deadman and Cavo Concert Review

I am finally getting around to blogging about the Daughtry concert from November 30.

The day was crazy. I had to work until 2:00 p.m., then run home and bring Princess Ivi to a doctor's appointment. We arrived at the appointment at 3:34 p.m. only to discover that her appointment was at 3:10 p.m., not 3:30 p.m. so rather than being 4 minutes late, we were 24 minutes late. I hate it when that happens.

On top of that, the doctor was running late. They didn't bring us back until 5:00 p.m. We would have left but since it was for Princess Ivi's last shots for her Hepatitis and her HPV and I was worried that it would mess up the whole process and we would have to start them all over.

This was Princess Ivi's idea to kill time while waiting for the doctor.

After quickly throwing on sneakers at home, we headed back to Gainesville. It took some hunting but we were able to find a parking spot with a short walk to the O'Connell Center. Unfortunately, we had to climb to the nosebleed section. I imagine I know how they felt hiking Mt. Everest. Except Mt. Everest wasn't built out of wobbly bleachers.

We arrived just after Cavo took the stage (early). Cavo was awesome. They sounded great and they looked great. And we could actually hear the words he was saying (more on that later). I really hope Cavo does well and continues to be so successful so that they eventually have their own show because they made the whole night worth it. Here is a pick of the stage...


After Cavo, Theory of a Deadman came on. They looked good but unfortunately, they didn't sound good at all. The music was so loud, you couldn't hear the words. It sounded like he was mumbling quite a bit too.

Here is a view from our seats.

After Theory of a Deadman, the crew came out and put this curtain up. I thought it looked like a present. Too bad a shirtless Daughtry wasn't behind it.



When the lights dimmed, the light show began...


After they dropped the curtain, Daughtry came out. He looked wonderful but again, the problems with the sound.


I think some of the sound problem is that this is the O'Connell Center where the basketball team plays so the acoustics pretty much suck.
All in all, it was fairly disappointing except for Cavo. We actually left shortly after Daughtry took the stage since we couldn't hear anything.

Friday, December 4, 2009

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas

at least here on the blog. Not so much at home but putting the tree up this weekend.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hope

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

-Emily Dickinson

Favorite Holiday Recipe - Swedish Cream Wafers

I was given this recipe by distant cousins that I met while conducting genealogy of my father's family. The story I was told was that my Grammie's mother (who was Swedish) used to make cookies like this and the recipe had been passed to her son's wife who continued to make them and pass the recipe to her descendants. These cookies re so good. They are light but seem very decadent because of the yummy filling.
SWEDISH CREAM WAFERS
1 c. soft butter
1/3 c. whipping cream
2 c. sifted flour

Mix butter, cream and flour. Chill. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough 1/8 inch thick on floured board. Cut with a 1 1/2 inch cookie cutter. Roll only 1/3 of the dough at a time. Keep rest in refrigerator. Coat both sides of cut dough with granulated sugar. Put on a cookie sheet and prick with a fork 4 times. Bake 7 to 9 minutes. Cool. Put two cookies together with frosting.

FROSTING:

1/4 c. soft butter
3/4 c. sifted confectioners' sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla

Feeling Lost and Unable to Find My Way Home

I am 32 years old. I spent the first 15 years of my life in a small, rural Massachusetts town. Then, after my mother and stepfather divorced, we moved to a small town in rural Florida. We stayed there for a year and a half and then moved to a small, rural town in southern Georgia. In 1998, after five years, I moved back to that small town in Florida with my daughter who was two at the time. Years later, we moved from the rural towns to the bigger "cities" of Gainesville and Ocala and then eventually back to that small town when I got divorced. In 2006, we moved to Massachusetts but after a difficult time, I moved back to Florida in November of 2008. My daughter will be 14 in February and she has relocated seven times.

I have asked myself so many times what spurs me to pack our belongings and move and the answer is simply: I do not know where I belong.

I have never "put down roots" even when I owned a house with my second husband. I have never landed in one spot, city or town that truly felt like home.

I don't know if it is because I moved at a time when I had my life planned out - how the last years of high school would be, where I was going to college, who my roommate would be. Instead of those plans, I became the weird, awkward girl with no Southern accent surrounded by people who didn't know my story. I didn't fit and I have spent my life since then feeling like I didn't fit.

Sometimes I feel as if I don't fit even surrounded by people who love me and have known me my whole life.

I know there is a plan for my life but I can't help but wonder if feeling as if I don't fit and not having a home is part of that plan. To what end are these feelings? Then I remind myself that I don't need to know all the answers. Someone else, someone bigger and better than me, knows the answers and I just have to trust that He knows what he is doing.

Gratitude for a great website

I am a subscriber of Balancing Beauty and Bedlam. I have been avidly reading about Jen's brother's adoption of a special needs child from Ecuador. On her post today, she sent us to (in)courage to read her brother's perspective on little Edison and his addition to their family. This is a great story and I love that they welcomed a child with Down Syndrome into their family.

After reading the posting, I started exploring (in)courage. I love this site. I subscribed to the feed and read every post, often struggling to hold back my tears. I would encourage everyone to check it out. (Follow the link here or click on the (in)courage button on my sidebar.)

One thing that I read that I really liked. So much is this.

"Gratitude is a decision. It's also a gift; it multiplies and spreads to those around us."

During this holiday season, remember to be grateful for all the gifts in your life. Even if you can't see them as gifts, they are gifts and each and every aspect of your life is part of the plan for you.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Too Much to Do

To Buy

  1. Princess Ivi's Gifts
  2. Isaac's gift (which needs to be mailed 12/18)
  3. Gifts for nephews and niece (I am thinking the first few Harry Potter movies for the boys and a Joann's gift card for Emily since she likes to sew and needs fabric and notions)
  4. Baking supplies
  5. 10 Dollar Swap items to be shipped no later than 12/20
  6. Carry-on size bag for Princess Ivi
  7. Messenger style bag (or something like it) for me that can hold personal items (phone, wallet, etc.) plus ample knitting materials for plane trip and layovers Don't need because Princess Ivi is going to let me use one of hers.
  8. Gift for Princess Ivi’s dad(??)
  9. Stocking Stuffers
  10. Gift for Mom

To Bake

  1. Cookies for Baking GALS (to be shipped no later than 12/16)
  2. Cookies (for mailing to sister on or about 12/18)
  3. Goodies (like Christmas mice, peanut butter chip brittle and possible Nigella Lawson’s Hokey Pokey) for mailing on or about 12/18

To Knit

  1. Surprise project for Princess Ivi
  2. Stick shift cover, ice scraper mitt and steering wheel cover for Rob all in Gator orange and blue.
  3. Hello New York Scarf Easy Ribbed Scarf for Pat using Grampian DK (purple)
  4. Hat for Barry using Jiffy (black)
  5. Wise Owl for Emi
  6. Spiders for Will and Jake

To Assemble

  1. Two pairs of wristers
  2. Two surprise gifts for Princess Ivi

To Visit

  1. Princess Ivi's dad for Christmas
  2. Brother's family prior to Christmas day

To Wrap

  1. All presents

To Stuff

  1. Two Stockings (mom's and Princess Ivi's)

To Do

  1. Ship package to sister on or around 12/18
  2. Charge and load ipods before Christmas
  3. Charge batteries for camera
  4. Pack for trip to sister's house (leaving Jacksonville at 11:50 a.m. on 12/25) -of course this includes making sure there are sufficient clean clothes for said trip as well as pulling out our cold weather gear (which thankfully isn’t too far in the closet)

This seems so overwhelming especially when I consider that I have one pay check between now and Christmas (I am not counting the check I will receive on Christmas Eve). Thankfully Princess Ivi is out of school starting on the 21st and she is really good about helping with laundry and stuff. She will also make sure she has what she needs to keep herself occupied on the plane.

Judging from this list, my life will be very crazy for the next few weeks.

Great Magnet - I want One

While browsing the Net this morning, I came cross Slipped Stitch Studio's Etsy shop. She has some great project bags and pin back buttons. I especially love this magnet.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

10 Things I Want but Won't Buy for Myself

1. A ball winder. My mom is currently my ball winder but when I move out, I guess I will have to consider buying one.
2. A Wii or Playstation or Xbox.
3. A fancy phone with a keypad.
4. New clothes
5. Lazor hair removal.
6. Lasik eye surgery.
7. More yarn.
8. A new purse
9. A wireless keyboard for work (added 12/3/09)

okay so I can only think of 8 9. (edited on 12/3/09)

Two Great Programs to support our troops-Check them out

I just found two things I am going to participate in. One is the Holiday Mail for Heroes program through the American Red Cross. I am going to pick up a box of Christmas Cards on my way home and Princess Ivi and I will get signing tonight. (Edited on 12/3/09: Our cards are on the way!)

The other program is Operation Baking GALS (Give a Little Support). This sounds like such a great program. It will allow me to bake which I love and support our troops which I love. Double the pleasure!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Reassessment of Life

Every once in a while something happens that makes you stop and reassess your life. It makes you ask “Am I doing everything possible to get the most out of my life?”

What caused me to pause and ask myself that question is that a good friend of mine had a stroke on November 22, 2009. She is 37 years old and is a single mom of two daughters (a 15 year old and a 21 year old). Like me, she is a paralegal and we met on-the-job at my first “real” paralegal job. She has had her ups and downs in life but she always manages to smile. The stroke has left her unable to work, unable to drive, unable to use her right leg, unable to remember events and details from the past few years, unable to be left alone because the doctos fear another stroke, and feeling very depressed and alone. My heart aches for her and her girls right now.

This has caused me to reevaluate my life and take stock of things such as:

  • My mental health which has been taxed as of late by stress (always a constant in the life of a single parent): For my mental health, I have decided to delay our move back to Massachusetts until the summer of 2011. This will allow us to save more money while still paying off debts. And most of all, it will allow me to have a job. My fear has been that I will leave this job, move 1,300 miles and not be able to find a job. Granted, that could still happen later but if I have more money saved for us to live off of while I am looking for work, it won’t be so bad.
  • My physical health which is in need of some serious attention: I have decided to join the YMCA in January and to go to the gym everyday at lunch even if I do nothing but walk on the treadmill. I would also like to take a Pilates class if possible.
  • My emotional well-being: This is the tricky part for me. Some days, it feels like nothing will help me feel better and every little effort is too much. This will be an area hardest hit by the decision to delay the move. Part of the motivation to move is to be closer to my sister (who is also my best friend). Being this far apart from her is so very hard and obviously the longer we are apart, the worse I feel. There is no real cure for being away from her except to be sure we communicate (by phone, email or mail) as much as we can. I steered away from doing this for a while but I am going to get back in the habit of sending her a snail mail package at least once a month which includes all those little things I see and think to myself “Marci would like that”.

    Another project that I am going to undertake for my emotional well-being is to work on my organization. Since I live with my mother, my room is my only private space. Currently it is not a very relaxing place. It is too cramped and unorganized and I can’t stand it. It doesn’t help that my room not only contains my bedroom but also all my yarn, my paperwork, and any thing that I don’t want in the storage shed.

    My room has the following pieces of furniture in it: One Queen size bed; one night stand; one metal two-drawer filing cabinet; one glass-door shelf which holds DVDS, photo albums, and binders of knitting patterns; a chair which holds clean clothes, yarn, etc.; an armoire for clothes and books; and a three shelf wire shelving system.

    My room also contains rubbermaid bins of yarn, boxes of cookbooks, all my paperwork, etc. My room mess has also spread into the hallway outside of my room. The hallway currently holds a bookcase with photo boxes, board games, and knitting books. There is also a box of photo albums on the floor and a box of books that need to go somewhere.

    In an effort to do something with all this mess, I am going to do the following:

  • Sort all loose paperwork into three piles (knitting, cooking and to be filed) then file it appropriately;
  • Purchase a small bookcase for the hallway which will hold remaining photo albums, loose board games, cook books, etc.;
  • Put away all clean clothes;
  • Dust, sweep and mop the floor;
  • Reevaluate all items that are not currently being used for a better storage solution (shed, under the bed, etc.);
  • Sort through closet to determine if any items can be donated;
  • Get rid of box of books to be donated; and
  • Finish sorting through magazines and get rid of them.

    I figure if I do all this, my room might become something a bit more relaxing. Of course, I can’t get rid of it all until I find a place of my own but I can at least make things a bit better.
  • My social well-being: I have the tendency to be a bit of a hermit which is never a good thing when you also suffer from anxiety and depression. Before you know it, months have gone by and you realize that other than your mother, your kid and the dog, you haven’t had a real conversation with anyone else. For the past few months, a group of women have gotten together once a month to chat and visit. The common denominator in this group is that we all work in law offices or the legal field. It is a nice way to put a face to the person you have been speaking with for years. I am going to make sure I continue to go to this outing.

    Also, I am going to go to the Stitch n’ Bitch on Sundays. I am going to commit to going every other Sunday since it is an hours drive. Before or after the meeting, Princess Ivi and I will run any errands we may need to run but we will also go somewhere fun like the Museum of Natural History, the Botanical Garden (although we will need to remember to take an allergy pill), the bookstore to browse, a movie, or something like that.

    I would also like Princess Ivi and I to go to see the sights. There are many places here in Florida that we have not seen or Princess Ivi has not seen and it seems a shame to be here and not see them especially since we won’t always be in Florida. I am going to order one of those Florida vacation guides and we are going to start going to see the sites.
    • None of us knows how long we really have and I don’t want the time to come where I realize that my time is up and there are things I haven’t done and seen and I am not satisfied with the way I have lived my life.

      Check out this beautiful picture from The Pioneer Woman.

      Tuesday, November 24, 2009

      Knit Purl Gurl's Giveaway

      Check out this contest at Knit Purl Gurl. She is giving away a Namaste Hermosa Bag that is beautiful. I want one so bad. Go check it out here.

      10 Things You are Thankful For

      10 Things You Are Thankful For

      1. Princess Ivi
      2. My Sister, Marci
      3. My adorable nephew, Isaac
      4. That someone special who has the end of my red string. (See post of November 24, 2009)
      5. My family
      6. Yarn, Needles and the ability to create
      7. The military for fighting for our freedom
      8. Their families who sacrifice their time with their loved ones.
      9. Faith
      10. Coffee (sorry, I am super sleepy this morning).

      Red String of Destiny

      I learned about something interesting last night while watching "Trauma". The background is this...there was a Chinese man who was having a heart attack and his friend said, "he can't die because he hasn't met his soul mate yet (paraphrased)."

      Apparently, the red string of fate, also referred to as the red thread of destiny or red thread of fate, is an East Asian belief originating from Chinese legend. According to this myth, the gods tie an invisible red string around the ankles of men and women who are destined to be soul mates and will one day marry each other. According to Chinese legend, the deity in charge of "the red thread" is believed to be Yue Xia Lao (often abbreviated to "Yuelao"), the old lunar matchmaker god who is also in charge of marriages.

      "An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break." - an ancient Chinese belief

      I really like this. So much in fact, that I am thinking of a tattoo on my ankle of a red thread. It would wrap around my ankle and the ends would cross but not be tied. Then, the ends would float off to attach to the string around the other person. Make sense? I am also considering having the text added that says "the thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break."

      Monday, November 23, 2009

      Hococo the Lemur Pattern

      I have been asked many times for the pattern for Hococo the Lemur which I obtained from Hotter Comfort. I have been advised that the email contact for this pattern is no longer valid so I am posting the pattern here. The posting of this pattern is in no way meant to infringe upon anyone's copyright.

      (****This is not my pattern. This pattern was designed by Alan Dart for Hotter Comfort Concept. Therefore, I would ask that you respect the copyright of this pattern and use it for its intended purpose only.****)

      Hococo the Lemur

      ‘HOCOCO’ THE LEMUR designed by Alan Dart for Hotter Comfort

      This lemur pattern was commissioned by Hotter Comfort Concept to be knitted and sold to raise money for the Sisters of the Good Shepherd orphanage in Madagascar. He was named Hococo by Hotter Comfort Club reader Jean Summers of Wooton Under Edge.

      Cheques should be made out to Money for Madagascar (reg charity no 1001420) and sent to Llwyncelyn, Carregsawdde, Llangadog, SA19 9BY. If you cannot sell Hococo you can send your completed version to Dorothy Devereux, Felinwynt Rainforest Centre, Felinwynt, Cardigan, Ceredigion, SA43 1RT, where he will be sold on the charity’s behalf.

      MEASUREMENTS
      22cm/81/2in tall.

      MATERIALS
      Of Sirdar Country Style D.K. 100g balls: 35g in Hazel (shade no.500), 15g in White (shade no.412), 5g in Black (shade no.417), and a small amount in Mango (shade no.583).
      Pair of 3mm (no.11) knitting needles; 40g of washable toy stuffing; long tweezers.

      TENSION
      26 sts and 36 rows to 10cm, measured over stocking stitch worked with D.K. on 3mm needles.

      ABBREVIATIONS
      beg = beginning; dec = decrease (by working 2 stitches together); gs = garter stitch; inc = increase (by working into front and back of stitch); K = knit; P = purl; ss = stocking stitch; st(s) = stitch(es); SKPO = slip one, knit one, pass slipped stitch over; tog = together.

      NOTE
      Use 3mm needles throughout, cast on by using the cable (two needle) method, and begin all pieces with a K row.

      BODY BACK make 1 piece
      With Hazel cast on 10 sts for base edge and ss 2 rows.
      1st inc row: Inc into every st to end [20 sts].
      P 1 row.
      2nd inc row: (Inc 1, K1) to end [30 sts].
      Ss 5 rows.
      3rd inc row: (K1, inc 1, K1) to end [40 sts].
      Ss 19 rows.
      1st dec row: (K2, K 2 tog, K1) to end [32 sts].
      Ss 5 rows.
      2nd dec row: (K1, K 2 tog, K1) to end [24 sts].,
      Ss 11 rows.
      3rd dec row: (K5, K 2 tog, K5) twice [22 sts].
      Ss 9 rows.
      4th dec row: (K5, K 2 tog, K4) twice [20 sts].
      P 1 row.
      Cast off for neck edge.

      BODY FRONT make 1 piece
      With White cast on 5 sts for base edge and ss 2 rows.
      1st inc row: Inc into every st to end [10 sts].
      P 1 row.
      2nd inc row: (Inc 1, K1) to end [15 sts].
      Ss 5 rows.
      3rd inc row: (K1, inc 1, K1) to end [20 sts].
      Ss 19 rows.
      1st dec row: (K2, K 2 tog, K1) to end [16 sts].
      Ss 5 rows.
      2nd dec row: (K1, K 2 tog, K1) to end [12 sts].
      Ss 11 rows.
      3rd dec row: K5, K 2 tog, K5 [11 sts].
      Ss 9 rows.
      4th dec row: K5, K 2 tog, K4 [10 sts].
      P 1 row.
      Cast off for neck edge.

      HEAD make 1 piece
      With Hazel cast on 10 sts for back edge and ss 2 rows.
      1st inc row: Inc into every st to end [20 sts].
      P 1 row.
      2nd inc row: (Inc 1, K1) to end [30 sts].
      Ss 3 rows.
      3rd inc row: (K1, inc 1, K1) to end [40 sts].
      Ss 5 rows.
      Change to White and ss 4 rows.
      1st dec row: (K2, K 2 tog, K1) to end [32 sts].
      P 1 row.
      2nd dec row: (K1, K 2 tog, K1) to end [24 sts].
      P 1 row.
      3rd dec row: K4, (K 2 tog) eight times, K4 [16 sts].
      P 1 row.
      Change to Black and ss 4 rows.
      4th dec row: (K1, SKPO, K2, K 2 tog, K1) twice [12 sts].
      P 1 row.
      5th dec row: (K1, SKPO, K 2 tog, K1) twice [8 sts].
      P 1 row.
      Cast off for front edge.

      EAR BACKS make 2 pieces
      With White cast on 11 sts for base edge and ss 2 rows.
      Dec 1 st at beg and end of next row.
      P 1 row.
      Repeat the last 2 rows three more times [3 sts].
      Cast off for top edge.

      EAR LININGS make 2 pieces
      With Hazel work as given for ear backs.

      EYES make 2 pieces
      With Black cast on 10 sts for outside edge.
      Change to Mango and K 1 row.
      Break yarn, leaving a long end. Thread through sts on needle, draw up tightly and fasten off.

      LEGS make 2 pieces
      With Hazel cast on 12 sts for base edge and ss 4 rows.
      1st inc row: (K1, inc 1, K1) to end [16 sts].
      Ss 3 rows.
      2nd inc row: (K1, inc 1, K2) to end [20 sts].
      Ss 5 rows.
      3rd inc row: (K2, inc 1, K2) to end [24 sts].
      Ss 5 rows.
      Dec 1 st at beg and end of next row.
      P 1 row.
      Repeat the last 2 rows five more times [12 sts].
      Dec row: (K1, K 2 tog) to end [8 sts].
      Break yarn, leaving a long end. Thread through sts on needle, draw up tightly and fasten off.

      FEET make 2 pieces
      With Hazel cast on 14 sts for front edge and ss 4 rows.
      Dec row: K3, K 2 tog, K4, SKPO, K3 [12 sts].
      Ss 7 rows.
      Break yarn, leaving a long end. Thread through sts on needle, draw up tightly and fasten off.

      ARMS make 2 pieces
      With Hazel cast on 6 sts for top edge and ss 2 rows.
      Inc 1 st at beg of next 6 rows [12 sts].
      Cast on 3 sts at beg of next 2 rows for underarm [18 sts].
      Ss 16 rows.
      1st dec row: (K4, K 2 tog, K3) twice [16 sts].
      Ss 5 rows.
      2nd dec row: (K3, K 2 tog, K3) twice [14 sts].
      Ss 3 rows.
      3rd dec row: (K3, K 2 tog, K2) twice [12 sts].
      P 1 row.
      4th dec row: (K2, K 2 tog, K2) twice [10 sts].
      Ss 3 rows.
      Inc row: (Inc 1, K2, inc 1, K1) twice [14 sts].
      Ss 4 rows.
      Cast off for front of paw.

      FINGERS AND TOES make 4 pieces
      With Hazel cast on 6 sts and gs 6 rows.
      Cast off.

      TAIL make 1 piece
      With White cast on 16 sts for body edge and continue in alternate 4 rows ss stripes of White and Black, working as follows:
      Ss 72 rows.
      Dec 1 st at beg and end of next row.
      Ss 7 rows.
      Repeat the last 8 rows two more times [10 sts].
      Break yarn, leaving a long end. Thread through sts on needle, draw up tightly and fasten off.

      TO MAKE UP
      For best results, join seams and sew pieces in place using mattress stitch, working with right side of knitting uppermost. A one stitch knitted seam turning has been allowed on all pieces to accommodate this method.

      Join front and back body pieces along side seams, then work a gathering thread through every stitch along base edge, draw up tightly and fasten off. Stuff body firmly through open neck edge.

      Fold front edge of head in half and join, then join side edges of head piece, stopping 3cm away from back edge. Stuff head firmly, join remainder of seam, then work a gathering thread through every stitch along back edge, draw up tightly and fasten off. With head seam running along underside, position and sew head to neck edge of body, matching points where White and Hazel sections meet.

      Join side edges on each leg piece, leaving base edge open, then use tweezers to stuff firmly. Join seam on each foot piece, leaving front edge open, then use tweezers to stuff firmly. With seam at centre on underside, fold front edge of foot flat and join, then sew a toe piece to front of each foot. Now position and sew base edge of each leg to a foot, placing at back of foot. Pin legs on body, placing centre of leg on top of body side seam, then sew securely in position, attaching between last increase and first decrease rows on body.

      With each arm piece, fold front edge of paw in half and join, then join arm seam, stopping at underarm. Use tweezers to stuff paws firmly and arms lightly, then sew a finger piece to front of each paw. Position and sew arms to side of body, placing top edge of arm 2 knitted rows down from neck seam, then, following photograph, bend each arm at elbow and hold in position at this point with a few stitches.

      Join tail seam from gathered tip to body edge, then use tweezers to stuff lightly. Checking that lemur sits correctly, position and sew tail to back of body.

      Sew a lining piece to each ear back along side edges, then fold base edge of lining in half and oversew. Position and sew ears to head with front in line with white section, and spacing 12 knitted stitches apart.

      Join ends of cast on edge on each eye piece, then pin in position on head, spacing 1 knitted stitch apart and placing 2 knitted rows up from Black snout. Take a length of Black yarn and draw out a single strand. Use the remaining 2 strands to sew eyes in place, working backstitch over outside edge, then embroider a tiny French knot in the centre of each eye.

      Finally, use a length of Black yarn to embroider nose with 4 horizontal satin stitches, forming an inverted triangle shape.

      **ALAN DART hereby asserts and gives notice of his right under section 77 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988 to be identified as the author of this pattern.

      Feeling Froggy

      I started the aforementioned Alice Wrist Warmers Knifty Knitter Loom Along with Vickie Howell but the wristwarmers were way too small for Princess Ivi, even when I held one strand together. I debated about knitting them on the loom as a flat panel but I wasn't thrilled with the ends as they had no cuffs.
      Instead, I am making Vickie's regular pattern. Of course, I somehow lost the box of DPNs so I am making them in flat panels. They are black and white striped and I think they will be super cute when they are done. And they have a 2 inch ribbed cuff on one end and a cuff on the top (it is supposed to be 1 3/4 inches but mine are one 1 inch).

      I had some serious knitting frustration going on. I think I frogged more this weekend than I have all year.

      When I was trying to start a project for Pat, mom's boss, I started and frogged five different scarfs before I finally set it aside. I also frogged the wrist warmers. I think my knitting mojo was disrupted by these guys watching me...
      (My mom made these three quilted pillows.)
      I mean, don't get me wrong, they are cute and all but it started to feel like I was being stalked by the jolly travelocity gnome. But once I did this...
      my knitting mojo was back and I was able to complete one Alice Wrist Warmer on size 8 needles made with black and white Jiffy (striped).

      Wednesday, November 18, 2009

      Alice Wrist Warmers Knifty Knitter Loom-Along with Vickie Howell

      Knifty Knitter Loom-Along

      Since I don't have enough to do, I signed up to participate in the Alice Wristwarmers Knifty Knitter Loom Along with Vickie Howell to make Alice's wristwarmers from New Moon. The Knit Along begins on Friday. I am pretty excited. Princess Ivi really likes these.

      Tuesday, November 17, 2009

      Tales from My Boring Life

      I have been MIA for a few which I hate. I am really trying to be here more but some days life seems way too boring to post anything about.

      Knitting:

      I have been knitting like a crazy person. My sister’s project is done. My nephew’s project was started and finished last night (well, except for the crochet parts that my mom will do for me because I can’t crochet). The only worry I have is that it is too short. I have my sister measuring so I guess we will see.

      The wristers for Princess Ivi are knitted and going on the blocking board this weekend.

      I also found some surprise projects for Princess Ivi that I am working on. Her projects will help since she has asked for three things this year: a laptop (which isn’t going to happen), a digital
      camera (which will happen so I can get my camera back) and an Ipod Nano. Considering the fact that the camera and ipod are over $300, I need all the help I can get with smaller, less expensive gifts. I sort of miss the days when she was content with a Barbie. Or when she was really little and she was content with the box the Barbie came in. What is up with babies and their love of boxes?

      I still have a lot to do though. I have to make a hat for Mom’s boss/landlord. I am scared of this because lately it seems that every time I make a hat, it is way too short even though I follow the pattern. I am looking for a basic watch cap pattern that is long enough. Hopefully, I will find it soon.

      I also need to knit something for Pat Mom’s female boss/landlord. I am going to make it out of the yarn she gave me last year for Christmas but I can’t decide if it will be a scarf, a hat or some type of headband/ear warmer thing. All I know is the pattern can’t be too busy or it gets lost in the texture of the yarn.

      Of course, I still need to knit for the nephews and niece as well. I am thinking of making a knitted owl (like Wise Owl) for Emi, a spider (think Aragog) for Will, and a golden snitch for Jake and then giving the three of them at least the first two Harry Potter movies.

      Oops, almost forgot about the project for my brother-in-law. Hmm. I guess I have a lot of knitting to do.

      Speaking of knitting, I just looked at the new Twist Collective. All I can say is “must finish Christmas knitting before anything else” all while thinking “yummy...ooh, I want that...I have to make that.” This is why I have so many projects on the needles at once.

      To all my fellow drivers, I am not insane. Really. I just like to sing along really loud to the radio.

      Yesterday I went to the post office and came across a station playing nothing but Christmas music. Now, I am a firm believer that Christmas music should not be played until after Thanksgiving so I would normally steer clear of listening to this station right now. But I was in my car and I had to make a turn so I stopped scanning for other stations and before I knew it, I was driving back to the office belting out lines of Frosty the Snowman.

      Busy Week

      This week is fairly busy at work which is good. Wednesday night is The Girls’ Night Out when a bunch of us legal assistant/paralegal/secretaries get together with a court reporter (my boss’ wife) and visit and have a few drinks. It is nice to be able to do that. We just have to be careful not to get on the subject of attorney bashing or we could be there all night.

      On Thursday, Princess Ivi is being evaluated by a child psychiatrist. There is some concern about bipolar or some other mood disorder along with a serious case of OCD and a possible clinical depression. I have been working on filling out the paperwork they sent me. The questions are crazy: When did the baby start speaking in full sentences? This is hard for me because it seems like she has always done this. I am glad that they gave me a few days to work on it before the appointment.

      On Friday, Princess Ivi has a field trip to St. Augustine. She wants me to go. I have to check with the school board and make sure that they completed my background check first but I think I am going to go. Apparently all of her friends want to meet me because I sound so “cool”. Of course, I have this fear that I will be the kind of chaperone my mom was and repeat the time she lost a kid in the Boston Museum of Science.

      Thanksgiving

      I can’t believe it is next week. I am going to leave work on Wednesday and go pick up my brother’s kids and take them to the house for the weekend. Then Dan, my brother, will be forced to come at a decent time. See my evil plan?

      I have to be honest and tell you that I have been looking forward to turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy for months.

      Concert

      Part of Princess Ivi’s Christmas present is a concert on November 30. I am taking half a day off since she has a 3:30 doctor’s appointment. Then we will go home and get ready to go see...wait for it...wait for it...Daughtry with Cavo and Theory of a Deadman. I am excited and I know Princess Ivi is very excited. Personally, I just want to be able to drool over Chris Daughtry but I think she is actually excited about the music. Huh?

      So that is a pretty basic update on what is going on. Until later.

      10 on Tuesday: 10 Things You Wish You Knew How to Do

      1. Play a musical instrument like the piano or guitar. I tried to learn to play the flute but I disagreed with my music teacher/band instructor on whether my fingers were straight and placed in the right spot. If I recall correctly, I told him where he could place my flute. (Dude, I am sorry about that. I blame it on the pre-teen hormones.)
      2. Make real social change like ending poverty, waging peace, or stopping domestic violence.
      3. Fly-because visiting my sister in Massachusetts would be so much easier and cheaper too.
      4. Spin my own yarn. It is on my list to do but I keep putting it off.
      5. Speak a foreign language fluently.
      6. Draw. I can do a pretty mean stick figure but that is the extent of my artistic ability.
      7. Dance. Like ballroom dancing. Of course, I am probably the least graceful person and the most accident-prone person so I would most likely look ridiculous.
      8. Find the time to finish writing the two (2) books I have in draft.
      9. Knit like Mrs. Weasley. I could get so much of my Christmas knitting done if I could just figure out how to cast a charm on my needles to whip up that hat for Barry, scarf for Pat....
      10. Shut my brain off enough to actually get something out of meditating.

      Monday, November 9, 2009

      Five for Fighting CD giveaway on Mommatudes.

      Mommatudes is giving away an autographed copy of Five for Fighting's new CD, Slice. Check it out here.

      I adore Five for Fighting. John Ondrasik has an amazing voice and is an exceptional pianist.

      Be sure to check out the giveaway and the new CD.

      Monday, October 26, 2009

      Okay, I am beginning to get the message...

      Lately, I have been asking myself where it is that I belong. I have been going back and forth about moving back to Massachusetts or staying in Florida. Last week, someone from my past came back into my life and he reminded me that I deserve the best in life and not to just settle for anything. I needed that reminder. This morning, I was reading The Wednesday Chef's blog and read this....

      "You, and only you, determine your own fate. You only get one chance at this life. Do something with your life; open your heart to risk. At some point, enough is enough and you must take the biggest leap you can and live it."

      and this

      "Once or maybe twice in life, when you get the chance for change, real change, you've got to do a whole lot more than just one thing. You've got to look deep inside your own soul and follow where it wants to go. You've got to listen, really listen, in order to hear what the universe is trying to tell you. And move mountains, then, when you finally know what you want."

      Universe, God or whoever, I am getting the hint...

      Tuesday, October 20, 2009

      Ten on Tuesday

      10 Guilty Pleasures

      1. Starbucks Venti White Chocolate Mocha
      2. Trashy Romance Novels
      3. Key Lime Pie
      4. Cheesecake
      5. Alpaca
      6. Mohair
      7. The occasional homicidal, road-rage thought
      8. Speeding with the windows rolled down and the radio blasting
      9. Referring to certain plaintiffs' attorneys as idiots and other lovely names
      10. Hating working in the legal system

      Think this will work...



      www.nataliedee.com

      Friday, October 16, 2009

      Dear Mr. Bicyclist (A Note about Nasal Hygiene)

      Dear Mr. Bicyclist,

      You don't know me but I was one of the billion or so cars that drove by you today. While I understand the need to blow one's nose, I did want to point out that it is rather disgusting to be riding along on your bike, turn your head, place the pointer finger against your nose and blow your booger into oncoming traffic. I found it very gross and I feel very sorry for the person whose windshield your booger landed on (and exceedingly grateful that it wasn't mine).

      However, in the future, when you are preparing to blow your nose the same way again, please make sure my blue Nissan Sentra is not nearby.

      Thanks.

      Finished Object and Observations

      Princess Ivi's tube scarf is finished. Here is a pic.

      I am pleased with it. I closed up both ends so that none of the loops catch on anything. Made with one skein Dark Horse Fantasy and the blue knifty knitter.

      This morning while feeling blue I saw this rainbow so maybe it is Mother Nature's way of telling me to cheer up.

      Wednesday, October 14, 2009

      I am still alive....

      I drive by this house everyday on the way to and from work. Well, yesterday I noticed that they are putting up their Christmas decorations. Ummm, I don’t understand. We aren’t even at Halloween yet and it isn’t as if it is going to slow (since we are in Florida) and they have to get them put up before then. Strange. I am wondering when they will turn on the lights.

      I read about the National Bone Marrow Registry this morning on Joy The Baker’s Blog . It sounds so cool. I went to the website and unfortunately I am disqualified from joining because I had a broken pelvis. But I do want to spread the word so go take a look and see if you qualify to register.

      Princess Ivi is making plans for her 14th birthday which is in February. She wants her dad to come down and the three of us to do something fun. She had suggested Sea World which we all thought was a good choice but then this past weekend she learned that her father has never been to Disney World and in her eyes the fact that a 34 year old has never been to “the greatest place on Earth” was a crime. She has since announced that we should go to Disney World for her birthday so she can be the one to show Disney to her dad. I thought it was sweet.

      Regarding knitting, I have been working on a tube scarf made on the blue Knifty Knitter for Princess Ivi. It is made with one skein of purple variegated Dark Horse Fantasy. It looks great and has a really nice pattern to it. I am thinking I can get away with one skein and use a little bit of the second skein for fringe to prevent it from rolling in on itself.

      I am also still plugging away on the Knit 1 wristers but I seem to get bored easily with projects that I have to make more than one of to complete. This was evidences by the fact that when I went through my yarn and UFOs, I found one completed sock with the second one cast on just hanging out on the needles feeling neglected. I found a total of 7 UFOs and I am pretty sure I have more in my closet. But I did update my stash list on Ravelry and I am hoping to make some decisions on the UFOs soon.

      Good News!!!

      Tutti Frutti the owl was rescued and is waiting on us at the Best Western in Richmond Hill. We will be picking him up next weekend (the 24th) and then he will get a quick bath and return to his nest in Princess Ivi's room.

      Monday, October 5, 2009

      RIP Tutti Frutti

      It is a sad, sad day in our house.




      This is Tutti Frutti.

      Tutti Frutti took a trip to Savannah with me and Princess Ivi when we went to see her dad. Well, he had a good weekend but when we packed up to check out, poor Tutti Frutti was left behind. Of course, when we went to get him, housekeeping had thrown him away because they thought he wasn’t wanted.

      Princess Ivi was haunted by Tutti Frutti’s memory the whole drive home (when we passed the hooters sign, when the B on the bowl sign wasn't working, etc.) I have promised to make an “exact” replica of Tutti Frutti this week. (A friend on Ravelry suggested he be call "Two-ti Frutti".)


      He was a good owl although he was too fat to fly.


      Or as Princess Ivi says, he wasn’t fat he was fluffy and he wasn’t short, he was fun sized.

      Friday, October 2, 2009

      Like sands through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives...

      I was talking to an old high school classmate and after I described my life to her and her reaction was "wow", I realized that my life is truly like a soap opera hence, the title.

      On Saturday, I am taking Princess Ivi to Savannah, Georgia to see her father whom she hasn’t seen since she was sixteen (16) months old. I figure this weekend should be traumatic, different, strange and difficult. The two of them have a lot of garbage to wade through to get to the pretty stuff.

      I am nervous. I haven’t seen him in 12 years since he squashed my heart like a bug. I realized that life has been good for me without him because I could easily put all of the feelings I had about him and our failed marriage into a storage box and tuck it away in the dark recesses of my brain without having to deal with it. With him back in my life (even in the periphery), I have to now figure out how to deal with the stuff in that storage box. Blech!

      Adding to the weirdness of those unresolved feelings is the fact that for the last 12 years I have been so angry with him for walking away from Princess Ivi. (He now knows he was wrong but he confessed that he tried looking for us a few years after he left but was unable to find us because we had moved. Before the move, I had tried in vain to reach him, leaving messages with his family, but never heard from him so I assumed he just didn’t care.)

      Of course, life has not been great for Princess Ivi without her dad so I will find a way to deal with everything.

      Since I am sure my stress level will hit its tippity-top level this weekend, I am planning a trip to Wild Fibre in Savannah. I figure when my ex-husband drives me crazy, I will go fondle some yarn rather than wrapping my fingers around his throat and squeezing until his head pops off.

      I am also going to bring some knitting with me to de-stress at the hotel. I am currently working on the Knit 1 wristers. They are interesting. I have never done cables before but they sure are a lot easier than they look. Go figure. I have 4 rows to do and then I will cast on for the other one.
      I am also going to bring the Red Heart Fiesta that Pat and Barry gave me for Christmas last year and work on a scarf for Pat for Christmas.

      Oh and my sister’s Christmas present is all knitted up and my mom has done an amazing job stitching it all together. Mom, you rock!!

      Monday, September 28, 2009

      Monday, Monday....

      So Princess Ivi has decided she wants to see a counselor. She seemed to be worried that she is crazy (which considering the fact that she is exposed to both me and my mother on a daily basis, I can understand that fear). Once I pointed out to her that she wasn't crazy but it was hard to be a teenager, she seemed less fearful.

      I am waiting on the doctor's office to call me back so I can schedule an appointment for her.

      Of course, adding to her emotional confusion is the fact that she is working on building a relationship with her father whom she hasn't had any contact with in over 12 years. There is a lot of anger to work through and hopefully they can do it. We are actually supposed to go to GA to see him this weekend. Well, I am just a bystander along for the ride. My job will be to make sure my baby doesn't get hurt and to keep them talking to each other. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this works out for her because it is what she wants.

      Unfortunately, him being back in our lives brings all sorts of stuff to the surface with me that I thought I had dealt with but apparently I haven't so I am slogging through all of that.

      With regard to reading, I have taken a break from books for a while. I figure with as many books as I have read this year (about 200), if I don't read another one all year, I can still feel pretty proud of myself.

      As for knitting, I am working on the wristers from Knit 1. They are coming along well. I should be able to finish up the first one this week. I also finished my sister's Christmas gift and have passed it on to my mom for seaming. I have also been planning on the rest of my Christmas knitting that I have to do (leg warmers for mom, hat/scarf sets for mom, pat and barry).

      The countdown to Christmas is: 87 days, 14 hours, 16 minutes and 50 seconds (or so).

      Monday, September 14, 2009

      What I did this weekend?

      First, I got my haircut. I donated it to Locks of Love so it is pretty short (right where my neck and shoulders connect). It is cool and it will grow fast. Princess Ivi said it makes me look younger but it is a grown up cut.

      Second, Princess Ivi and I went to FYE and I got her the Framing Hanley CD which she went on and on about for days.

      Third, we went to Applebee's for lunch. Yummm...

      Fourth, we went to Books a Million and picked up some books.

      Fifth, then we went home.

      During lunch we talked about a decision she had to make. Her father, whom she hasn't seen in 12 years, wants to try to build a relationship with her. If I had my way, I would hold her close to me for the rest of her life but I can't do that to either of us so I told her that I would support whatever decision she chose to make about her father.

      Saturday night she told me that she wanted to write to him and send a few recent photos.

      So on Sunday after running to CVS to print pics, we wrote him a letter and I mailed it today. Let's keep our fingers crossed that everything goes well and no one gets hurt.

      Today, I was impressed with myself because I talked to Princess Ivi's father, whom I haven't spoken to in 12 years and considering how our relationship ended, I was impressed with the fact that I was able to talk to him like an adult without getting emotional.

      As for knitting, on Sunday I worked on the Feather and Fan Shawl and I decided that I hated it so I unraveled it. Then I was going to work on another shawl with the same yarn but that didn't work either. I was going to start on some fingerless gloves for Princess Ivi but I couldn't find where I put the Knit 1 magazine that had the pattern. Grrr...so instead I worked on my sister's Christmas present which I can't go into too much detail here because it is a surprise. but all in all, it felt good to be knitting again.

      Wednesday, September 9, 2009

      Nothing is more difficult than parenting a teenager...except maybe living with my mother

      Man, parenting a teenage girl is tough. Especially when that girl is an unhappy one.

      School is back in session but instead of looking forward to it, even a little, she doesn’t want to go and it is a fight every morning. Most mornings, she says she has a stomachache. I hate having to yell at her first thing in the morning. I hate having to yell at her at all. It makes me the mean parent but considering I am the only one she has, I guess I have to take that role.

      The other night when I asked her what was wrong she said that she has no friends (which isn’t necessarily true), no one “gets” her (but, hey, she is 13 so no one is supposed to “get” her) and she hates it here (in Florida, living in the same house as my mom and I totally “get” her on that one because we need our own space).

      We have been tossing around ideas on how to solve the current problem which is that both Princess Ivi and myself are ready to move on with our lives. We were considering saving up and moving out here in Florida around November. We would have moved about 12 miles away from Mom and that much closer to my office. The thought was that we would move and money would be extremely tight (being a single mom sucks) but at least we would be able to live for ourselves in our own space.

      There are things, of course, that must be done in order for us to be able to move in July. First, we must save money. To do that Princess Ivi and I have decided the following:
      1. We will go grocery shopping every other Saturday (after cashing my paycheck). The two of us will wake up in the morning (for a change of pace) and go while Mom is working. This way, we will not have to buy the things she insists we need. We will also make a better grocery list and post it on the fridge so that throughout the week things can be added to the list.
      2. We will buy the Sunday paper to get coupons and we will shop at Winn Dixie using online coupons. We will also look through the sale flyer and base purchases of meat and produce on that.
      3. I will start bringing my lunch to work every day. (Not just occasionally.) This will reduce spending because fast food is expensive and even if I picked up a salad at the grocery store (from the produce department), they are expensive too.
      4. We will cut down on unnecessary spending like magazines, books, etc.
      5. I will give Mom $40 every other week. I am going to tell her that I am giving this money to her to do whatever she wants (fix her car, buy her cigarettes, whatever).
      6. We will stick with our budget.
      7. We will save at least $200 from each paycheck toward moving/saving. We will budget $100 toward debts that must be paid before moving. Budget surplus money will be put in savings. Any bonuses will be placed in savings.
      8. Tax return will be used to either pay down car loan principal or to pay any large debt.
      9. We will make homemade gifts for everyone using supplies on hand (yarn, fabric, etc.).
      10. When we get the urge to spend money because we are bored, we will go to the library, go to a free event, craft, play board games, watch movies we own, etc.

      Now, I just have to figure out how to get Princess Ivi to go to school for this year. Hmmmm......

      Thursday, August 20, 2009

      I am still alive....

      I have been such a slacker lately and haven't been posting here. Obviously....

      I haven't been knitting much either. Mostly I have been reading as evidenced by my book list posted below. I have now come to accept the fact that I am insane. Here is why I say that I am insane. Feel free to judge for yourself...

      In January, I joined the 52 books in 52 weeks group on Ravelry and then I said "I wonder how many books I can read in a year?" and the monster was born. Now, I got to the library at least every two weeks and get at least 25 books (since I can read 2 a day) and I read a lot. So far I have read 167 books. Some may say that I have read enough books this year and I should stop but I can't just stop. It isn't even September yet. How will I know how many books I can read in a year if I stop early. So I will keep going because I am not a quitter.

      Anyway, on my agenda this weekend is a trip to ....the library. But I printed off my wishlist from Amazon so I can at least knock out some of the books I have been wanting to read for ages.

      I do have two knifty knitter projects going on...one is a scarf for Princess Ivi with Dark Horse Fantasy in this beautiful purple variegated yarn. I am also making mom some legwarmers for Christmas.

      I bought some stash busting tools on Monday. I went to the store to get the pink rectangular loom and picked up four rectangular looms of varying sizes for $20.00 and then I used my 40% off coupon. Yeah.

      2009 Book List

      Here is a list of all my books read this year:

      January
      Mr. Darcy’s Daughters by Elizabeth Aston
      The Exploits and Adventures of Miss Alethea Darcy by Elizabeth Aston
      The True Darcy Spirit by Elizabeth Aston
      Persuasion by Jane Austen
      Lady Susan by Jane Austen
      Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
      Home to Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
      Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin
      When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin
      The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk

      February
      Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone by JK Rowling
      Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
      Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling
      Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling
      Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling
      Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling
      Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling
      The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
      The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Dicamillo

      March
      The House of Daughters by Sarah-Kate Lynch
      jemima j by Jane Green
      A Rather Lovely Inheritance by CA Belmond
      Chicks with Sticks (Knit Two Together) by Elizabeth Lenhard
      The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
      Divine Secrets of the Ya-ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
      Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortensen

      April
      Land of a Hundred Wonders by Lesley Kagen

      May
      Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
      New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
      Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
      Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer
      The Edge of Twilight by Maggie Shayne
      Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews
      The Sex on the Beach Book Club by Jennifer Apodaca
      To Wed a Highlander by Michele Sinclair
      I Do but I Don’t by Cara Lockwood
      Mischief 24/7 by Kasey Michaels Hey, Good Looking by Fern Michaels
      Just a Taste by Dierdre Martin
      Dark Protector by Alexis Morgan
      Unravel Me by Christie Ridgway
      If Wishing Made it So by Lucy Finn
      Journey to Forever by Carol Steward
      Protected Hearts by Bonnie K. Winn
      Follow the Stars Home by Luanne Rice
      The Witness by Dee Henderson
      One Bite with a Stranger by Christine Warren
      How to Score by Robin Wells
      Skyward by Mary Alice Monroe

      June-August
      Destiny Kills by Keri Arthur
      Lady Danger by Sarah McKerrigan
      Zen & the Art of Vampires by Katie MacAllister
      Dark Light by Jayne Castle
      Take No Prisoners by Cindy Gerard
      Deadly Night by Heather Graham
      Noah by Jacquelyn Frank
      Eternal Pleasures by Nina Bangs
      Hostage to Pleasure by Nalini Singh
      Dark Highland Fire by Kendra Leigh Castle
      A Rogue’s Game byRenee Bernard
      Maverick by Lori Leigh
      The Dark One by Randa Thompson
      The Naked Earl by Sally MacKenzie
      The Wild One by Sally MacKenzie
      It’s In His Kiss by Julia Quinn
      To Pleasure a Lady by Nicole Jordan
      Out of the Blue by JoAnn Ross
      Forget Me Not by Marliss Melton
      Dark Obsession by Allison Chase
      Into the Shadow by Christina Dodd
      No Control by Shannon Butcher
      The Wild Road by Marjorie Liu
      Mimosa Grove by Dinah McCall
      Burning Alive by Shannon Butcher
      Code Name Baby by Shannon Butcher
      Crash Into Me by Jill Sorenson
      Nights Touch by Amanda Ashley
      Always Look Twice by Geralyn Dawson
      Dark Embrace by Brenda Joyce
      Shadow & Silk by Elizabeth Lowell
      Hot Property by Carly Phillips Wicked Magic by Cheyenne McCray
      Night Secrets by Cherry Adair
      Time to Run by Marliss Melton
      Don’t Let Go by Marliss Melton
      Next to Die by Marliss Melton
      Too Far Gone by Marliss Melton
      Shattered by JoAnn Ross
      Hidden Agendas by Lori Leigh
      Wild Card by Lori Leigh
      Call of the Highland Moon by Kendra Leigh Castle
      Beyond the Limit by Lindsay mcKenna
      Dark Sky by Cara Neggers
      Touch of Darkness by Christina Dodd
      Scent of Darkness by Christina Dodd
      Mortal Sin by Laurie Breton
      One Deadly Sin by Amie Solomon
      Private Demon by Lynn Viehl
      He Could Be The One by Elizabeth Beverly
      A Very Special Delivery by Linda Goodnight
      Hide In Plain Sight by Marta Perry
      Homespun Bride
      The Bride’s Baby by Liz Fielding
      Speed Dating by Nancy Warren
      The Lady Mistress by Elizebett Rolls
      Once a Cowboy by Linda Warren
      Dancing in the Moonlight by RaeAnn Thayne
      Snowbound by Janice Kay Johnson
      Crime Scene at Caldwell by Ranch BJ Daniels
      Stranded with the Spy by Merline Lovelace
      Kiss me Deadly by Michelle Hauf
      Slow Hands by Leslie Kelly
      Rebel Doctor’s Bride by Sarah Morgan
      Price of Passion by Susan Napier
      Irresistible Forces by Brenda Jackson
      Eclipse Bay by Jayne Ann Krentz
      Look Closely by Laura Caldwell
      On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn
      Deadly Gift by Heather Graham
      Seeing Red by Susan Crandell
      Seduction by Amanda Quick
      The Healer by Sharan Sala
      The Inheritance by Antoinette Wrighton
      Dancing at Midnight by Julia Quinn
      To Catch a Thief by Christina Skye
      Primal Needs by Susan Sizemore Quiet as the Grave by Kathleen O’Brien
      Summer Light by Luanne Rice
      I Thee Wed by Amanda Quick
      Rewriting Monday by Jodi Thomas
      To Wed a Wicked Prince by Jane Feather
      Causing Havoc by Lori Foster
      Take Me Two Times by Karen Kendall
      At Last Comes Love by Mary Balough
      Bad Moon Rising by Katherine Sutcliffe
      How to Abduct a Highland by Lord Karen Hawkins
      To Die For by Linda Howard
      High Stakes by Rebecca Brandwyne
      Glory Days by Irene Peterson
      Slow Burn by Julie Garwood
      Primal Heat by Susan Sizemore
      Dark Warrior Unleashed by Alexis Morgan
      The Seance by Heather Graham
      No Choice but Seduction by Johanna Lindsey
      If you Dare by Kresley Cole
      If you Desire by Kresley Cole
      If You Deceive by Kresley Cole
      Casting Spells by Barbara Breton
      Sins of a Duke by Suzanne Enoch
      Hot Rain by Kat Martin
      Vamps and the City by Kerrelyn Sparks
      Oceans of Fire by Christine Feehan
      Hidden Currents by Christine Feehan
      Turbulent Sea by Christine Feehan
      Dangerous Tides by Christine Feehan
      Edge of Midnight by Shannon McKenna
      Breakpoint by JoAnn Ross
      Out of the Storm by JoAnn Ross
      Danger in a Red Dress by Christina Dodd
      Playing Easy to Get by Kresley Cole
      A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole
      No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole
      Wicked Deeds on a Winters Night by Kresley Cole
      Dark Deeds at Night’s Edge by Kresley Cole
      Dark Desires After Dusk by Kresley Cole
      Kiss of a Demon King by Kresley Cole
      Killer Secrets by Lori Leigh

      TOTAL BOOKS READ IN 2009 = 167

      Tuesday, May 5, 2009

      10 on Tuesday

      10 Awesome Bands
      1. Bad Company
      2. Fleetwood Mac
      3. Lifehouse
      4. Snow Patrol
      5. Hinder
      6. Jethro Tull
      7. Def Leppard
      8. Boston
      9. The Police
      10. Bon Jovi
      What a strange collection of bands. But no one would be able to guess my age based on the music I listen to.

      Down Syndrome

      As I have posted before, my nephew (who turned 4 on April 24) has Down Syndrome. Therefore, people with Down Syndrome and organizations that support people with Down Syndrome are important to me.

      Here is a really sweet video made by Scott and Julia Elliott that celebrates the work of the National Down Syndrome Society and the larger Down syndrome community. Go check it out here.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_-P4t2jR1g&NR=1

      Wednesday, April 29, 2009

      Photos


      This is a picture of my Knitter's Treasure Swap package from Nancy. I love the Kool-Aid dyed yarn colors.


      This is the book I bought for myself. Alan Dart's Irresistible Gifts to Knit.


      This is the Watkin's giveaway that I won a few weeks ago.





      These are the view of the sunset from my back porch.


      These are shots of the hummingbird at the feeder.