26 May 2007

My two little brats...which is wurst???

All right, I got the puns out of my system...I promise! On Friday night we went to the World's Largest Bratfest for supper. They had Johnsonville Brats, Boca Brats (vegetarian) and Hot Dogs, along with a well-equipped condiment bar, soft drinks, beer (of course), and ice cream. We also got to see the world's largest grill (65' x 6', details here), pulled by a semi big-rig, much to Bug's delight. They also had a carnival, live music, and other craziness. All-in-all a lot of fun. If we weren't trying to get ready to leave for Oregon tomorrow, we probably could have spent a nice evening there listening to music. As it was, we ate supper, wandered around a bit, the kids went on a couple of rides, and then we packed it in and went home.

Today is running around like crazy trying to get everything packed and ready. We are looking forward (??) to three days of driving before getting to Grandma and Grandpa's house. But once we get to Oregon, we should have a good time visiting with Grandma and Grandpa and Great-Grandma W and having some fun at the zoo and the coast!

21 May 2007

Random, random, and more random

So, I have once again gotten behind and need to catch up...also, KnottyKitty tagged me, so I have a meme to do to. Since there is little hope of coming up with anything coherent in catching up, it is just as well that the meme is a random things one! At least we'll have a theme going!

Last Thursday, we got motivated to go out the door to Farmer's market a bit early, so we took the opportunity for a long detour and went to see the field that we saw burning the week before. Nothing but beautiful pale green new grasses as far as the eye can see! Okay, the kids weren't nearly as impressed as I was...oh well. Then on the way back, we drove through "Keys Park" and saw the carnival set up for Fitchburg days. Thus, once we got to Farmer's Market, Bug had to tell everyone he saw that Keys park had become a carnival. Now that's exciting stuff!

Since we have been watching "Electric Company" videos and Burger King's kid's meals have had Spiderman toys, Bug has become just a little obsessed with Spiderman (note that "just a little" means flinging webs at everyone 24/7 and centering every conversation around Spiderman). So we decided to rent the first of the Spiderman movies. We watched it twice. If we hadn't had to return in to the video store, we would probably have seen it every single day since.

In addition to Spiderman, Bug's current obsessions are Battlestar Galactica and Star Wars. He often mixes them together. When Spiderman was fighting the Green Goblin near the end of the Spiderman movie, Bug was feeling nervous about it and decided he was a Cylon and was "dunning" the Green Goblin with his "dunners" to help Spiderman ("Dunners" are guns that go "dun, dun, dun, dun"). Then, after reading one of Uncle J's vintage Star Wars books at bedtime last night, this morning he was chasing Ewoks around and shooting spider webs at them.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a barefooted Bean on my lap and we started playing "This Little Piggy," so for a while her feet would say "oak, oak, oak" to me. Then she decided that they weren't piggies, but cows, so now they say "mow, mow, mow" (rhymes with "ow," not what you do to the lawn). She also thinks it is an absolute hoot to try and put her cows up on the table while we are eating. We are discouraging it, but it's still pretty cute when they say "mow, mow, mow"

On Saturday, the four of us made a short road trip up to Susan's Fiber Shop so that I could spend my gift certificate that KittyDaddy got me for our anniversary and Mother's day. The kids enjoyed looking at the sheep and lambs and I got to wander and look at pretty fluff. What came home with me included a one-pound cone of pale green Jagger Spun laceweight

that will become a "Frost Flowers and Leaves" from A Gathering of Lace. I also got 100g of mystery sock yarn. I saw it and it reminded me of someone, so it will be gifted once it becomes a pair of socks. There will be pictures after the gift is received, just in case the recipient reads my blog. I also got one Fiber Trends pattern for adult and child sized felted ballerina slippers that I have been planning to get. On the spinning front, I got myself a Turkish Spindle.

I am completely taken by spinning skinny singles and have discovered that I can't do Andean plying to make a 2-ply yarn without completely cutting off the circulation to my hand. I had enough trouble doing it with thicker yarn. With a Turkish spindle, the spun single get wrapped into a center pull ball. Once the single is spun, the center shaft slides out the bottom and the two cross pieces slide apart, leaving the center pull ball, which (in theory), I should be able to do two-ply by joining the ends. I also got three little bags of fibers (about an ounce of each) to fill out the gift certificate: viscose (rayon), a merino/rayon blend, and bunny (angora, I think). The yarn on the Turkish spindle is the merino/rayon. I have the alpaca from the previous SFS trip on my other spindle.

In less than a week we are leaving for our vacation. We are driving to Oregon (the state, not the town in Wisconsin) starting next Sunday (it will be a three-day drive). So the kids and I have been running around trying to get ready. Two weeks ago, we got a two-screen portable DVD player to keep the kids quiet entertain the kids and in yesterday's paper, it was on sale for $50 cheaper! Fortunately, they refunded that amount most graciously! Of course, every day since we got the player, Bug has been asking if it is our trip day. We are all looking forward to visiting with Grandma and Grandpa and Great-Grandma 'Dell, as well as seeing the coast (and the aquarium at Newport) and the Oregon Zoo. Hopefully, I will also find some blogging time so I don't have to do a HUGE catch-up after the trip! I am also looking forward to some serious knitting time on the road...yay!

I have also discovered that I can't call my parents from the Taco Bell parking lot anymore...at least not before I eat. When we went in to order, the only thing I could come up with is "Nachos Supreme, no sour cream, Bean Burrito, Fresco style, Fiesta Potatoes, and two senior drinks." I had to slap myself around a little before I could come up with the right order (two kids meals, both with two tacos and a number three with softshells). I have also permanently confused the Banfield (in Portland), with the Beltline (in Madison). I inevitably get them reversed and then can't think of the other name to save my life. My brain cells have apparently marinated in pregnancy hormones long enough.

The meme I was tagged for requires eight random facts about me, so here we go...

  1. Things that happened the year I was born: the moon walk, Woodstock, and the premiere of Sesame Street. Obviously a good year.
  2. While the only language I have ever been fluent in is English (well, most days), I also know some French (two years in high school), German (four semesters as an undergrad), American Sign Language (one semester in summer school during college, plus a teensy bit of review in a Signing with Baby class when Bug was tiny), a tiny bit of Spanish from Sesame Street and Dora, and Chinese (four semesters in grad school). I really enjoy learning languages, but wish I was better at it!
  3. I love music and play piano (not nearly often enough) and played clarinet and saxophone in high school.
  4. I hate hot weather. Although I start to get cabin fever if winter stays too long, I would take 6' snow drifts over 90°F and humid without even having to think about it. Heck, I would even take it over 80°F and humid, though I might try to negotiate down to 5' snowdrifts. Of course, my first choice would be 60's during the day and 50's overnight and lots of green and flowers.
  5. I love to read, especially mysteries. My favorite authors (that I have read most, if not all of their novels) include Robert B. Parker, Sue Grafton, Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs. There are certainly others, but I can't think of them while a four-year-old is putting his feet in my face and asking me to smell them.
  6. My tastes in TV tend to run along the same lines as my taste in fiction. Before we got rid of cable last fall, I enjoyed watching CSI (the original and sometimes NY, but NOT Miami), NCIS, Without a Trace, Cold Case, and House, M.D.
  7. I find it difficult to think of things to put in a list when a four-year-old is trying to get me to smell his feet.
  8. I have a tendency to march to my own drummer and do things the way I want, regardless of how I'm "supposed" to do them. This will become clearer in a moment.
Now I'm supposed to tag eight people, but I am going to fudge a bit and do it in three categories (see #8 above).
  • People I am tagging: my baby brother and his wife (they share a blog, but I think they each need to post a list) and Nothing But Hnat (please include a gratuitous Ni pic, please!!)
  • People I would tag if they had a blog: Namma and my (formerly Iowan) friend Cherie.
  • People I am conditionally tagging (consider yourself tagged unless you have done this meme or a similar one...I can't remember what I ate for breakfast, much less what I have read where): Ms. K and Marianne
  • People I was going to tag, but went to their blog and discovered that they tagged me first (crud, I really gotta get caught up with bloglines and dude, I'm only doing this once, so this one's for you, too, KnittyMama): KnittyMama...everyone else can go and read her list and pretend I was the one who tagged her ;o)
And here are the faithfully reproduced rules:

1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog you need to tag 8 people and post their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

15 May 2007

Oh Namma...

I talked to my parents on the phone today and they were (surprise, surprise) getting ready to go to Taco Bell for lunch. As an aside, this is not a huge surprise as Taco Bell is a VERY regular lunch spot for my parents. We joke about how TB will go out of business if they skip a couple of days. They always order the same thing, so when the employees see them coming, they put in the order so it is waiting for them when Dad walks up to order. His comeback is to have the correct change ready to hand to them when he walks up. Clearly, some of my oddities are genetic...at least I come by it honestly.

Anyhoo, when they said they were going to Taco Bell, Bean was on my lap so I told them that her two favorite places right now were Burger King and Taco Bell and she obliged me by saying both for grandma and grandpa. We all chuckled over her cute pronunciations and that was about the end of the conversation. So after I got off the phone, Bug perked right up and asked if we were going to Taco Bell for lunch. I tried to explain that grandma and grandpa were going and not us, but then he wanted to go and meet them for lunch. I told him 2000 miles was a bit much for just lunch, but that we could go to Taco Bell with grandma and grandpa in a couple of weeks when we visit. By now, Bean is piping up with "Go Taco Beh-yo" so I finally gave into the inevitable, embraced the rainy day and we all went out for lunch.

When we got out to the van, Bean started prancing around in the rain like a little colt. She was having such a good time, that I promised her some rainy play time after lunch. So after lunch the kids ran around in the rain and jumped in puddles. Not surprisingly, Bean managed to find the one dinky mud puddle in the whole paved area. However, they had a blast and got thoroughly soaked and definitely didn't want to come inside again, but Mama was starting to get thoroughly chilled. Even Little Brother thought it looked like a good time and was dancing and kicking (or maybe that was just the Pepsi Mama had for lunch...). So they finally came in looking like this:

Mama stripped them both to their birthday suits in the front hall and sent them up to the bathtub and dumped the clothes in the washing machine. Let me tell you, that water was pretty nasty by the time they came out! But they were back to clean and dry in no time! Bean sure took a good nap...guess who is going to be up partying all night tonight...

Catching up...

I have discovered a definite drawback to marvelous spring weather...the kids want to be outside 24/7 and, even though I have a laptop and wireless network, it's too bright to see the screen without getting a whopping headache! Eventually, I will be able to send them out to do their thing and stay inside to do important stuff like blogging ;o), but Bean tends to wander off for now. In addition, she has mastered the skills of letting herself out the front door and the sliding glass door and doesn't quite understand the concept of "You can't go outside without Mommy." She has also developed a keen fashion sense and enjoys picking her own wardrobe:

We had absolutely gorgeous spring weather during the end of last week through Saturday. Warm and sunny during the day, but cool breezes in the shade and nice cool nights. The kids and I spent a lot of time at the parks or in the backyard. After our weekly Friday library trip, we took a blanket out on the grass in the back and read our books under a tree. Really, a very lovely way to spend a Friday afternoon. Although the computer doesn't do well in the backyard, it is a nice place to sit on the deck with some knitting, so I am trucking along on my entrelac purse-to-be. Between backyard doses and Battlestar Galactica episodes in the evening (courtesy of Blockbuster online), I should have a new purse before the old one completely falls apart. When we go to the park, I have my sock in my purse, so I am making great headway on it too. The pair of sock before this one took about six months without going to the park over the winter months! On this pair, I am about an inch from turning the heel on the first sock! Sure, I know a half of a sock in a month is not blazing fast, but I never work on my purse sock at home.

On Saturday, we walked over to the neighborhood meat market to pick up what we needed for burgers and 'dogs for a Mother's day picnic cookout. After we got home, we all played out in the yard for a while. We dug out our yard toys...badminton racquets, baseball gloves, Frisbees, jump ropes, etc. and had a blast. Bean is clearly destined for the Major Leagues:

That is, if she ever gets to be as big as the glove! Bug is starting to pull together the skills for throwing a Frisbee and he has a killer arm, which is usually employed for throwing things at his sister (most likely at her head), so we had a lot of fun.

Since it started raining buckets in the wee hours of Sunday morning, we ended up changing our cookout to a cook-in. We used the stove top griddle/grill and everything was pretty tasty, but not nearly as good as over charcoal. I did get a chance to go hang at the coffee shop and knit for a while ALL BY MYSELF, so not a bad Mother's Day, in spite of the weather.

Yesterday, we got a sneak peek of summer. It was in the upper 80's and didn't cool down as quickly last night. Today is gray and rainy and it looks like we will be having more spring later in the week! I think we will take advantage of the cool and rainy to have an indoor day. Bean is drawing gotes (ghosts) with crayons and Bug is up to his usual goofiness. I am catching up on the computer. I am also planning to work on folding laundry (the never-ending chore) and maybe spin a little of my alpaca roving.

10 May 2007

Yeah, okay...

Here I thought I was being ever so clever and it turns out I'm just too darn subtle for my own good. *sigh* Therefore, I will provide an additional, less subtle hint. When I posted the most recent ultrasound picture, when you click this:

you get this:

not this:

Does that clear things up any???

09 May 2007

A Big Day

Yesterday, KittyDaddy and I celebrated being married for nine years. Bug, Bean, and I brought him some flowers, a balloon, and a card at work and then took him out to lunch (Culvers, in case you're wondering...we are nothing if not completely classy). Bean was moderately distressed about leaving the balloon behind, even though we discussed that it was daddy's balloon the whole way. He reciprocated with a card and a combination anniversary/mother's day gift certificate to Susan's Fiber Shop. Incidentally, I started spinning the alpaca I got at Susan's a couple of weeks ago. It is really amazing stuff! After the kind of roughish wool I had been spinning last, it was like spinning with clouds...so soft and fluffy! I can't wait to shop for more fluff there!

While we were driving home, we passed through Oregon (the town in Wisconsin, not the state) and saw a prescribed burn on field of prairie grass. We took a detour to go take a look and I showed the kids what they were doing. It was quite beautiful and quite amazing to watch. When I was in graduate school, I took part in a prescribed burn with a friend. She was doing her graduate research on fires as a part of prairie management. Incidentally, she was one of the witnesses at our wedding, so the timing of seeing it yesterday was kind of neat.

Kids are starving and we desperately need to go to the grocery store after lunch, so that's all for now...

07 May 2007

Pretty yarn

Fortunately, I'm a better spinner than gardener! I finished up the half pound of brown, black, and white wool a while ago, but finally got all together for some pictures. Although I am so sick of these colors I could just scream, it made some excellent practice and it's kind of interesting to see how the spinning progressed (the pics are in chronological order). Before starting I experimented a little with spinning singles with one color at a time versus lumping all the colors together and decided that I preferred the result with keeping the colors mostly separate. Interestingly enough, all four skeins are almost exactly the same amount of fiber...weighing them on our kitchen scale showed that they were all 2-1/8 ounce (to the nearest 1/8 ounce) or between 59 and 61 grams. I expected them to all be in the ballpark of two ounces, since that seems to be how much fits comfortably on my spindle, but was surprised at how close they ended up...especially since the last hank I just kept going until the bag was empty!

The first hank is a fairly bulky 2-ply from one long single and 59 g became 22 yards.

The second hank is very similar to the first. Again, it is 2-ply from one long single and here, 61 g became 24 yards. One or both of these will become a scraper mitten for KittyDaddy, sometime before next winter.

Since I was pretty sure the first two hanks would be enough for the mitt, I experimented with thickness on the third hank. Some of the black parts, I could get pretty darn thin, though clearly consistency wasn't a high priority for this one! Clearly I averaged a lot thinner though because on this hank (also 2-ply), 61 g made 46 yards...approximately twice as long as either of the first two.

On the last one (where I obviously didn't have quite the choice of colors left!), I tried for thin and consistent and was quite pleased with myself! Because it was pretty thin, I decided to try Navajo plying to get a 3-ply yarn and ended up turning 59 g into 78 yards of three-ply...that's a whopping 234 yards of single-ply! And compare that to 44 yards of single-ply in the first hank!!

I am looking forward to getting started on my alpaca, camel/silk, and corriedale and seeing what comes of them! For now, I am in more of a knitting groove. With spring in the air, I am fighting a very nasty case of startitis and trying to concentrate on projects already on the needles. Since I am also thinking ahead to travel knitting (more on that coming soon!), I may be able to let the startitis pick out a couple of new projects!

And finally, completely unrelated to spinning (other than the fact that she loves to spin in circles until she gets dizzy and falls down), a gratuitous cute Bean picture.

While we were out on the patio so I could take pics of yarn and dead plants, Bug decided that he needed a turn with the camera. Among other more typical 4-year-old photographer shots, this one came out just beautifully!


Subtitled "Why you don't want KittyMommy anywhere near anything of yours that is green"

Our little adventure in killing small helpless green things gardening continues. So last weekend, we got our little seedlings transferred to containers. I took pictures, but and finally getting around to posting them:
The terra cotta pots, from top to bottom are: tomato, two jalapenos, basil, and basil. The recycled laundry detergent bucket is another tomato.

The two recycled kitty litter buckets are a pair of jalapenos on the left and a tomato on the right. Transplanting was fairly uneventful, except that Bean was a little bit too enthusiastic about helping, but we got through. I even splurged and got the fancy potting soil that is supposed to feed the plants for four months. So, a little over a week later, here are the victims plants:

The pots are in the same order, but the picture is rotated. So far we have broken one of the terra cotta plates under the pot, added discarded aquarium gravel (found behind a bush) to the tomato in the terra cotta pot and more than likely killed off both tomatoes, both jalapenos, and one of the basil. The other basil hasn't made up its mind yet.

In the kitty litter buckets, one jalapeno went missing (Bean has been having a blast moving dirt from one container to another), the other is most likely dead, as is this tomato.

Yeah, we're pretty proud of our garden. We'll give it another week. If the more-than-likely-dead plants move into the definitely-dead category, maybe we'll see how long it takes to kill some little seedlings from the store...

05 May 2007

Getting good habits started early!

Ha! I have had a few (several??) slips with questionable language, which, of course, is immediately repeated by Bug. So we discuss that Mommy probably shouldn't say words like that and could he help me remember? We've had mixed success on both sides, but now Bug has started cursing like a sailor (carpenter? knitter?). Fortunately, he has made up his own curseword: Bixit! When something goes awry, he declares, "Oh Bixit!" I have decided that this is probably a lot better than some of the alternatives, so we have been letting it ride.

In the Bean department, her new fixation is "Keh Kah" (credit cards). Gotta start early! When I was digging through and discarding junk mail, I pulled out several cardboard "credit cards" that she immediately claimed. It has come in extremely handy when she is resisting a diaper change. We take the credit cards away and she gets them back one at a time as the diaper change progresses. One for getting wiped up...one for fresh diaper...one for fresh cover...one for putting pants back on. I have to admit that I kind of get her fascinations, as I was an avid collector of magazine tugouts when I was not a whole lot bigger than she is. My dad didn't like having the tugouts in when he was paging through a new magazine, so he would tug them out and have a stack and I would immediately confiscate them!