Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cotton Candy Pink

This evening I finished a cute little knit for one of the LYS in Kansas City. This was a quick knit (I love knitting for kids) - I started it last Friday and finished it this evening. Here are the specs:

The Pattern: Darla from Knitting at KNoon. The pattern itself is free, and is a simple little sweater pattern with a lacy motif. The only modification I made was to knit the sleeves in the round rather than flat. If I had it to do again, I think I'd probably do the body in the round, just to avoid the seaming.

The Yarn: Little Lehigh, a cotton and acrylic blend, DK weight, about 650-700 yards.

The Needles: Hem line on 4's, the rest on 5's

I particularly love the neck detail here. Even though the applied I-cord was sort of a pain to do, it marks my first time with this technique and it does create a clean edge and cute tie for the lacy keyhole neckline.

And now I'm off to bed - tomorrow I begin my temp career on a one day assignment as a File Clerk EXTRAORDINAIRE for a local office!


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ode to my Windshield Wipers

When I lived in California, I did not realize the importance of the windshield wiper. Sure I've driven I-5 in the middle of the summer (can you say bug city?) and needed those babies to squeegee the bug guts off my window, but until I moved to the Midwest and drove my own car, I didn't realize how dirty winter is and how necessary the wiper is.

See, snow falling is pretty. Really pretty.

Until it hits the streets. And then someone drives on it. And it gets brown, and dirty and oily. And then it splashes onto other cars. And as you're driving your car, your windshield gets spotted and oily. And then it's freezing outside and you try to use your windshield wipers only to find that your washer fluid is frozen. Or the tubes are frozen. And the nice man at the gas station tells you not to use your washer fluid because you might crack the tubes and have to have them replaced. And your dad tells you the same thing. And you drive around for two weeks with a really dirty windshield simultaneously hoping that you haven't broken your wiper tubes AND that someone splashes a LOT of water on you so that your wipers can actually clean your windshield because it's so dirty you can't really see out of it.

And then the weather warms up (to the 40s) and you test them just once more and washer fluid coats your windshield and cleans it and you can see again and you marvel at how clear the world looks, almost like the first time you got glasses. And you're so thankful you didn't break your tubes, because who knew you could do that?

Oh yeah, and it's going to be 60 this weekend.

The end.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Domestic Goddess I am Not

One of the more interesting challenges I face in my new life in the Midwest is that of dinner chef. Since I am not working at present, my contributions to our family are the household chores: cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. These have not been imposed upon me by Wes, but rather are my way of thanking him for providing for me while I get my ducks in a row.

The sad fact of the matter is, however, that I am no cook. Given that I am now responsible for several meals a week, this is a skill I'm trying to improve upon. Wes has provided me with almost a year's worth of his subscription to Cooking Light and I have been perusing them for ideas for new meals each week. Tonight I was hoping to regale you with my triumphant tales in the kitchen.

Last week I made a delicious dinner: chicken with onions, peppers and mushrooms in a Marsala wine sauce. I served it with brown rice and we both enjoyed it very much.

Last night, I made a tasty creole recipe with Turkey Sausage, canned tomatoes and a box of Zataran's. (Hey it counts as cooking if it requires the stove!)

But, this week I also decided to get more ambitious. Lately Wes and I have been enjoying a lot of Thai food. A particular favorite of ours is Tom Kha Kai, a coconut lemongrass soup with chicken and vegetables. Somehow I got the notion that I could replicate the soup we love so much on my own stove. I consulted one of my wisest friends, the internet, for a variety of recipes and suggestions on what I should include in my soup and headed to the local market to stock up. Surprisingly, the local Hen House has a great selection of Asian delicacies: fish sauce, coconut milk, and others. Sadly though, it is lacking in the fresh spice and vegetable department. I had to substitute or omit many ingredients. The result was predicable - the soup tasted nothing like I had hoped it would. Wes declared it not entirely a failure since "it's edible!" but I was hoping for something better. So much for victory laps around the house.

However, I will persist. Just tonight I found who will ship me the fresh spices and herbs that I need, but couldn't get here. I learned that I should cook the broth and chicken, and put the vegetables in the pot much later in the process. I also learned that this should make a downright tasty meal when served over rice. So I'll try again and some day soon I'm hoping for this:


Sunday, February 24, 2008

"I can't sleep. These sheets are too ugly."

This weekend Wes and I headed back down to my in-laws to finish the first of our forays into building furniture together. It was a long weekend (although he graciously let me sleep in this morning) and yesterday was full of sanding. I do believe I sneezed an entire tree out my nose last night, despite wearing a mask for most of the heavy duty power sanding. However, I just can't complain. Here is a sneak preview of our beautiful new furniture:

The furniture is still in progress. It is half glued and drying here. We were stymied by a tragic wood glue shortage, and some jimmying that is needed so the pieces fall into place appropriately (something about glue and a lot of little dowels). Despite that, I love the red stained shelving contrasted with the pale natural pine. I love that it's a perfect mix of my light wood preference, and his dark marbled wood preference. And I love that it's the first piece that we built together. (He gets all the credit for design and instruction, but I helped!)

In other news, with a abundance of knitting time (between coats of stain and polyurethane) I managed to finish the Nutkin socks which have been on my needles for a couple months. Here they are on my very own homemade wooden sock blockers.

The Pattern: Nutkin. I thought this pattern had an interesting look to it, and that it might look neat in the green - little did I know that it would almost look leafy!

The Yarn: Koigu KPPM in a color I like to call jade. I stared at this Koigu for months, and finally gave in and took it home with me. I love the depths of the green (you probably can't see the light and dark parts in the sock, but it's just beautiful!)

The Needles: My trusty Addi 2's, Magic Loop Style


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Fear the "Wintry Mix"

My friends, I am learning so much about the Midwest. Today I learned about the goodness that is the "Wintry Mix". Fear the "Wintry Mix". For those not in the know, "Wintry Mix" is what they call it when they know it's going to precipitate but they do not know what is going to be falling from the sky. It could be rain, it could be sleet, it could be snow, it could be ice. It's a veritable grab-bag of winter fun!

Sadly, I couldn't stick to my normal winter day plans and just stay home and knit. I pulled myself together (and scraped ice off my car for 20 minutes), ran errands, dropped a finished piece off at the knitting store, and headed over to the neighborhood AppleOne Temp Agency for a little interviewing. That is definitely the bright spot in the day - my account executive practically drooled dollar signs when he saw my resume and fell all over himself to be my permanent "representation". Hey he makes money if I make money, so I'm happy. Hopefully he has an opportunity for me that will start next week!

On the way home I had an experience I would never have in California. Sadly my wonderful car was running on empty and I had to get out in the yuck to pump gas. I decided I needed a cup of the super sweet vanilla cappuccino, and then saw the anti-freezing windshield washer fluid. (I might add that my windshield washer fluid has been frozen and unusable practically since I got here.) I told the lady to add it to my tab. She asks me if my car is out in the lot, and I reply in the positive. Next thing I know she has her high school worker come out to my car and put it in there for me. I was so sorry that I didn't have any cash on me, because the poor kid was out there in the cold fixing my car.

Now I'm home, on the couch, safely knitting and staying warm. Blasted winter.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What happens when you run out of yarn.

'Nuff said.


Welcome to the Old New Apartment

For those that have been eagerly awaiting pictures of my new they are. Sorry for the mess, the boring white walls and the Flickr notes that I enjoyed putting on them, but now you know where I live!


Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Knitting Profession

So far I haven't found a job in KC. Not that I've been spending an inordinate amount of time looking, but I've applied for a few things and haven't heard back. In the mean time, I seem to have racked up quite a few samples to knit. So while I'm waiting to hear, I'm avoiding the cold weather and staying indoors and knitting (oh and catching up on tv too!)

This week I finished up some hand knit socks for A Mano Yarn Center. They're going to be teaching sock classes soon and wanted a few samples to show to the students. One of the best parts about this was that I got to knit a couple of different patterns - and only one sock each! So I took a beautiful ball of aqua and green Tofutsies and made one of my favorites.

The Pattern: Monkey Socks (by Cookie A., found on Knitty)
The Needles: Addi Size 0 (Magic Loop for me!)
The Specs: Top down, with heel flap. Calls for larger needles, but fits my tiny feet when knit on size 0's!

For the second sock I decided to try something new.

The Pattern: Double Eyelet Rib Socks by Wendy Johnson (of Wendy Knits!)
The Needles: Addi Size 0
The Specs: Toe-up (learned the Figure 8 cast on method!), gusseted heel. A pretty simple lace pattern - definitely good if you're new to socks!

I am very pleased with how both of these turned out and can't wait to put my own ball of pink/burgundy Tofutsies to use as well as my new sockblockers!

For now it's onto a sweet little baby cardigan for a LYS close to my house, Yarn Shop and More. For this one I'm using a beautiful new yarn, Nashua Handknits Sonora. Progress pictures to come!

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This weekend Wes and I headed to my in-laws' place in Kansas to do a little woodworking. Wes has developed a love of carpentry and in his spare time has built us a few beautiful pieces. When we found our place in Kansas City, he told me that he was interested in making us an entertainment center and I gladly agreed. So this weekend we went home to start the first of the entertainment center.

Friday night we got out of town about 5pm and headed southwest-ish. We pulled into Home Depot about 8pm and picked out the wood we needed. Saturday morning he got up early (I cheated and slept in a bit) and spent a full day woodworking. There was cutting and sawing, routering, drilling, gluing and sanding. And we're only about half done! In the process we picked up a few new tools, he taught me lots of skills, I learned to ask some important questions, and I even got to do a little woodworking on my own (no pictures of me with the jigsaw, but my own little sock blockers are half-stained and drying). It was a fun, if not exhausting Saturday, complete with some yummy Thai food at our favorite Thai place and some snuggling in bed while the wind raged outside.

This morning we woke up early-ish to continue our work and hopefully get started staining. Alas, it wasn't to be. About 9:30 the power conked out and by 11 it still wasn't back on. So we packed up and headed back to KC. We'll be back there next weekend and hopefully have some photos of the finished piece to show!


Friday, February 15, 2008

A day late...but worth the wait.

I love you sweetie.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ahhh gay Paris.

I just finished my first knit in Kansas, although technically I started it in LA and it's a sample for A Mano. It was a relatively quick knit, and a combination of lace and ribbing with a yummy chocolate brown hemp yarn. I really like the pattern, especially the lacy neckline and the bindoff. The yarn was nice, and I assume it will get softer over time (and washes). My only complaint is that the yarn split quite a bit, and you have to be careful with it. All it all, it was a cute pattern and I'd definitely knit it again.

The stats:

The Pattern: Eiffel by Lana Hames
The Yarn: Allhemp6 in Chocolate
The Needles: 4's and 6's


We're not in California any more Toto!

Today was the day that I decided I would get a Kansas drivers license. Now unlike California, you don't just go to a Kansas DMV. For some reason, in Kansas you get your license in one place and your title and registration in another. I also learned, upon perusing some of the government sites, that even with a valid out of state drivers license I would have to take both the written and the driving test and provide either a birth certificate or passport because my California license was not considered valid identification and proof of identity. OY!

So I started the day going to the Kansas licensing center, hoping my quick perusal of the Kansas State Driver's Handbook would be enough to pass the written test, and that my 10+ years of driving experience would be enough to pass the driving test. I might add, that before I loaded up the GPS to find the center, I did place a quick call that went like this:

Me: Hello. I was wondering if I needed to make an appointment to take my driving test?
Her: Why would you do that?

Um....Ok....this is a little different.

I arrived a bit after noon to a storefront in a strip mall, and stood in line for a while. When I finally got to the front of the line, I presented my California drivers license and my passport. She asked me a few questions and then started typing furiously. She asked me if I wanted to register to vote today (YES YES I want to be one of the 12 Kansas democrats!) and then handed me this:

That my friends is the sad remains of this California girl's ID. Apparently my Kansas license will be here in 2-4 weeks.

P.S. The website also lies - I didn't have to take any tests, just paid my $22 and was on my way.
P.P.S. So I queried the center about where to register. She lost me after "go to the main road and just past the waffle house you'll see a...."
P.P.P.S. Of course fate also intervened - in the SAME STRIP MALL I looked over and saw a sign for Knit Wit. Ahhhhh a wonderful knitting store where I sat and knitted for over an hour and chatted with tons of people!

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Monday, February 11, 2008

A day in Kansas

Well today dawned a bit chilly (think 19 degrees) so I opted to stay in. Mostly I've been just hanging around the house. I loaded up the second bedroom closet, unpacked a few more boxes, got the rest of the boxes out of the living room, exercised (1+ miles) and found Fancast. This is a great site that archives lots of TV shows. Today I decided to give Friday Night Lights a try. I've been hearing quite a bit about how wonderful this show is so I decided to check it out I got through the first few episodes while exercising and knitting, and so far it's pretty good. That's all the news that's fit to print!

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Windy City

This weekend I went to visit the windy city and the li'l sis and to go dress shopping for her maid of honor dress. We had moderate success - we found a dress, but it wasn't the color scheme I wanted, so I'm thinking it over for a few days before we proceed. Regardless, we had a great weekend of walking around, shopping, eating good foods, meeting and greeting her friends and just spending time together. She and I haven't lived in the same place since we were in high school, so the times we spend together are few and far between.

I had a great time this weekend, despite the weather being so cold I thought my face might fall off. Yesterday was just in the 30's, but today was 2 degrees and -25 with wind chill. Even coming home to Kansas wasn't much better as it was single digits this evening. I leave you with a few pictures, most of which include my Eskimo hood!

P.S. I also bought a crazy pair of boots from NorthFace. Normally $200, these were a steal at just over $100. One of Beth's friends saw them on me Saturday night and quipped: "Those are some serious boots... snow is afraid of them." May it be so!

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Being a Type A person, I love checklists. Whenever I have too much to do, I love making lists so that I can gather my thoughts, and start tackling tasks. It give me a scary amount of joy to make lists and then check the items off as I complete them. Like so much scary joy that sometimes I write down the most minute of tasks just so I can cross more off my list. I may have even written down tasks that I have already completed once or twice, just so I can cross them out.

So here's what I have completed today:

  • Unpacked 5 boxes.
  • Exercised - 1+ miles.
  • Knitting - working on Eiffel Sweater Commission
  • Pictures for the curious:

View from my bedroom.

A little snowy.

More pictures of the new digs to follow - once I clean them up just a little more!

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Getting there.

All of my possessions arrived today, and despite the pouring rain and freezing temperatures, everything made it inside fairly dry and safe. I spent the rest of the day unpacking and managed two loads of laundry, three loads of dishes, and unpacking the bedroom, closet and the bathroom. I still feel a little like this though:

Yes, eventually I will tire of Wizard of Oz/Kansas references, but I'm still working it out of my system.

Tomorrow is more unpacking, staying indoors during storm-watch February 2008, and lots of knitting and reading. Thursday I might venture out to find some yarn stores, weather permitting and this weekend I'm off to the windy city to see the li'l sis and shop for her wedding attire.


Monday, February 04, 2008

Welcome to the Midwest. Thank you for playing.

Today's weather was 70 degrees, sunny and beautiful.

This is tomorrow:


Sunday, February 03, 2008

More news to come.

More news to come but we made it here safely, so I'm going to leave you with one last photo of us girls. Oh, and a subset of photos of the trip here.


Saturday, February 02, 2008

It winds from Chicago to LA...

That would be Historic Route 66 which Bel and I are following on this trip. We're two days, 5 states and over 1,000 miles in and we're having a great time. She has been quite the shutterbug, despite forgetting her camera battery charger. Since I'm the one driving, she's been doing most of the shooting, so the photo credit goes to her.

We left LA on Friday morning and headed out through Barstow. I had forgotten that the Mojave desert was beautiful and that we could get some great shots. After a few hours in the desert, we started into Arizona. The landscape changed slightly, much to Bel's delight. About 7pm we reached Flagstaff where Bel got to see snow (she hadn't ever been in snow before!) which she pronounced cold and wet. We had dinner at the Horsemen Lodge, which has EXCELLENT food and is a must-stop if you're ever in Flagstaff.

After dinner we pressed onwards and stopped for the night in Gallup, New Mexico. Despite the less-than-great accommodations (think NOISY all night long) we rested up and headed out this morning, destined for Oklahoma. The day dawned really beautiful and we both enjoyed the drive through red rock. The sky was absolutely amazing today, as you can see from Bel's shot of the road.

When we hit Albuquerque we stopped for brunch at Cracker Barrel. Bel had never been to this road trip institution, so we partook of brunch and a little shopping at the country store. We also enjoyed the rockers out on the front porch.

Duly fortified we trekked through the rest of New Mexico and crossed into Texas. Although there was a bit more on the road than I remembered (all I had remembered was tumbleweed and prairie grass and a few cows), there still wasn't much. The highlight/lowlight of the trip through Texas was the stop in Amarillo.

Highlight: When Bel asked me if an Amarillo was "an animal sort of like an anteater?" Remember folks - she's Aussie and isn't familiar with American geography or zoology.

Lowlight: Ordering milk shakes at a Dairy Queen and instantly regretting it as we watched the staff prepare the food behind the counter. 'Nuff said.

After Amarillo, Texas passed in a dark blur and we crossed into Oklahoma. Interestingly enough, we were listening to my iPod at the time and right as we crossed the Oklahoma-Texas line, this song was playing. Tonight we reached Oklahoma City and are enjoying the relative peace and quiet (and reliable internet) of the Hilton Garden Inn. Tomorrow we only have a few more hours driving and then I arrive at my new home.

One last shot of Bel and I in action.

I forgot to add the two most interesting road items for the day:

1. When a cop pulled off the median and set his hazards on. I slowed down to see what was happening - he waved his thanks to me and ran out in the road to remove a huge chunk of tire tread. Bel caught the action shot.

2. Some trucks move very interesting cargo.