Thursday, November 27, 2008


Thanksgiving marks one of my favorite times of the year. To me, it is the start of an entire season filled with traditions, good food, fellowship, and simplistic excitements. As preparation for the holiday season, I try to spend some time on Thanksgiving cataloging all the things for which I am grateful. I general keep this list to myself, for no real good reason, but this year, in a time of hardship, I think it would be nice to share the list.

I have to admit, my life is pretty blessed. "Blessed," I don't use that term very often, but it seems fitting. I remember the first time I actually rolled the word around in my mouth and seriously chewed on it as a way to describe my life. Italian, Little Clover, and I were grocery shopping. Little Clover was two months old and I had just recently lost my mom. A random lady approached our cart to tell us we had a beautiful baby and were a beautiful family. Italian and I smiled and replied, yep, we were pretty lucky. She in turn replied, no, we were blessed. What a short little seemingly inconsequential encounter in the produce aisle, yet her impact on my viewpoint has been profound. She was right, I do feel blessed for many reasons and I am grateful to her for pointing it out.

I'm blessed because I have a home. It's not the biggest or best decorated. A few things are in need of repair and some things are very outdated, but it is a home filled with people who love each other. We fill our house with lots of laughter, warm memories, small traditions, and a ton of snuggles and hugs.

I am blessed because I have a job, and not just any job, but one I actually like. I have food enough to eat, can keep my family warm, and have remainders to share.

I am blessed because I have a large extended family made up of blood relatives, people who have married into the crazy mass we are, and people who I've met along the way who are life long friends. I hope to let them all know how much I value them.

I am grateful for my blessings, small and large. Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yarn on a plane

Each time I go to Minneapolis for work, I get a better taste of life up north, and this trip was a very different winter experience. I've been in Minneapolis when the high was -6(F) and the actual temperature was -20(F). I've been there and walked around downtown when the weather was around -10(F). The cold temperatures never bothered me and the snow was always beautiful. This trip though, there was no snow and a shockingly cold wind that stole the breathe out of your lungs the second you stepped outside, and it was only 30(F)! Not only was it cold, but people up there don't seem to really notice. I saw women walking around wearing heels with no stockings, let alone something reasonable like Mukaluks. People had on short sleeve shirts with nary a goose bump. Meanwhile, I'm wearing a quiviut scarf indoors with Bohus wristlets and I was still cold. I have a new found respect for everyone who lives north of the Mason-Dixon.

The trip up north did provide me with ample knitting time, especially on the plane where I zoomed through the majority of a foot for a man's sock. During long phone calls home to the boys, I finished up the foot of the sock. The flight back provided me with time to turn the heel and I shockingly worked on the leg while watching Bolt at the movies. For my first attempt at knitting in a dark movie theatre, I think I did okay.
From Irish Clover

The sock is progressing much, much faster than the sweater I wanted to wear over the Thanksgiving holiday. In order to maintain warmth, modesty, and sanity, I will pack other clothes to wear this upcoming weekend.
From Irish Clover

Since this is a picture of the only sweater piece I've been knitting, it is pretty safe to say that the sweater won't be ready for a while.

Oh, and I did find out what a "yarn forward," yfon (yarn forward and over needle), yfrn (yarn forward and 'round needle), and a yon (yarn over needle) mean! According to Knitting Help, they are all the same as a yo (yarn over), which is good, because that's how I was knitting it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Middle School

I came to a shocking realization this week that almost brought me to my knees. It all began innocently enough. I was talking to Papa Clover about Little Clover's upcoming play and was asked if this was the school Christmas play. I told my dad, "Nope, the elementary school does the Christmas play, the Middle School does the fall play." At this point, I stop and the words I just said slowly start to hit me. Little Clover is a Middle Schooler. I told my dad I was too young to be the mom of a Middle Schooler! He just laughed at me.

Little Clover did an awesome job during his play (well, it was more of a musical review). He was one of two kids with a solo out of three grades and his performance was adorable. He had the role of "bowler." At one point, he and his other bowling team mates turned as they sang and the back of their shirts spelt their mascot's name. Trust me when I say it was too cute.
From Irish Clover

We celebrated his stellar performance by taking him out to dinner and devoting our weekend to him. He decided to see Madagascar 2, which was fun and had knitting, and not just any knitting, but sock knitting. It was a rather subtle scene, but when the character produced a sock on knitting needles out of her bag, Little Clover and I cracked up! I'm sure the people around us were trying to figure out why we were laughing.

As for the knitting, I finished my convertible mitten caps and sewed them to the fingerless mitten part.
From Irish Clover

Then, I picked up a Noro sweater and knitted away before I realized I had absolutely no idea what they mean by "yarn front" and "yarn front around." I'm knitting pattern Y785 if there is anyone out there who knows what either of those mean, please let me know.
From 2008 Finished Objects

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Scenery and belated birthday

From 2008 Nov Fly Fishing

There are several things I love about my small part of the US. For starters, when I went to the voting polling station, I was greated with a little party. I walked over to the table to sign in and said hello to one of my neighbors, then I walked to the table to hand over my sign in card, and was shocked to hear them exclaim, "Yay! You made it! Hooray!! The last one is here!" Evidently, Mrs. Soprano, The Godfather, Xavier Guy, and of course, Italian all came to vote before me. The voting volunteers were thrilled to find out we were all related and they kindly asked if I had gotten over my cold. They made this voting experience one of the most memorable and enjoyable.

Then, we spread our wings this weekend and ventured out a bit to another favorite spot of ours, the Arkansas Ozarks, for a little fishing trip. The river remained too high for Italian and I to fish, so we followed a local guide and world class fly fisher to a small stream dedicated for fishers under the age of 16. Little Clover received some one on one time with the guide and by the end of the day, was quite the little pro. Italian and I loved watching him cast and hook each fish and the thrill of seeing them zoom off after being released tickled us all.
Yes, that is a trout, a very large trout. From 2008 Nov Fly Fishing

We also got to watch the trout run, which basically entails seeing several fish jump head on into a waterfall as they try desperately to jump up the waterfall back to their birthplace to lay eggs. When a trout actually made it up the waterfall, we cheered with genuine excitement.
Trout jumping from 2008 Nov Fly Fishing

I did take the fingerless gloves out for the trip since the temperatures were in the 40s during the day. My hands and finger bases stayed nice and toasty warm, but my fingertips were chilled to the bone. I'll knit a cap to make these convertible mittens. While camping, I did work on a few Christmas ornaments for the annual Festival of Trees. An organizer for a local charity sounded the alarm with the knitting groups I belong to. She didn't have enough for the warm knits themed tree. Although five is not nearly as many as I would have liked to finish for her, I hope they help.
From 2008 Nov Fly Fishing

Finally, I need to wish Nana Clover a belated birthday. Her birthday was last Tuesday, election day, and she was a bit under the weather. She is a woman who brings joy to many and who lights my dad's soul. Nana Clover, I hope you are feeling better and have celebrated your birthday in a proper way. I wish you a year of good memories and a year of happiness. We send our love to you and lots of hugs to wrap around you whenever you need one. Each day we are grateful to have you.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Vote, Bohus, Books

Today is election day in the US and if you haven't done so, please go out and vote today. Not only will this election be fun to watch, but this election is the first one I can remember in a long time where there were two strong candidates who are bringing people out to vote. Remember those who came before us, honor their memories and their sacrifices and exercise the right they fought so hard to win. Cast your ballot.

Now for something knitting relate, I vote for a cool front to sweep through because I have finally finished the Bohus wristlets from last year's Bohus knitting class with Susanna Hansson.

I'm actually glad I took a year off between the first wristlet and the second wristlet. My approach to the second wristlet was much calmer and confident. Although, still a challenge, the second one did not seem nearly as difficult as the first one. I also knit the second one a touch bit looser, so I think my stranding technique is getting better. I would say I'm ready to tackle something large, like oh, a Bohus sweater.
From 2008 Finished Objects

Pattern: Blue Shimmer - Part of the class

Finally, a little book review:
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Loved this book! The ending left me wanting more which is no small feat for an audible book of over 28 hours. The book is an investment of time, but an investment which will bring great returns. I found myself looking for excuses to be in the car or doing mindless activities so I could spend more time with the novel. It is essentially the story of two magicians in pre-Victorian England and their rise to fame, but it is more than just this story. It seems to be more of a compilation of short stories which share a common set of characters and interwoven plots. The footnotes alone are a pleasing read. I highly recommend this book, especially around Halloween. Oh, and the ending! This book has a truly fantastic ending!

View all my reviews.