Friday, December 30, 2005

It was a Happy Christmas

I've been putting off this post until I could get pictures together that I want to post...but I just can't be sure when I will find the motivation for that, so here goes.

I got everything done but one thing. I didn't finish the Bubby for my mom. If I would have made it the same size as the pattern, I might have finished. But on the ride to Dayton, it got dark about an hour in and half an hour later I finished the parts that I could knit without seeing what I was doing. It turns out that I didn't have enough yarn. I would have finished on the return trip to Pittsburgh, but I ran out of yarn. Oops. I was using leftovers from another project, so it wasn't a total shock. I'll buy more on the 3rd (my first day back at work) and send Bubby home by the end of the week.

We had nice visits with family and friends in Ohio. Although I will admit that I was stressed underneath it all until all the presents were wrapped on the 24th. Until that point, my mind raced with the items left on my to-do list every chance it got.

Everyone seemed to really like their presents and I liked everything that I (and we) received. I haven't found homes for everything yet - especially the "house" stuff. But except for one white porcelain cat, everything will look great in the house and I'm eager to find places for it all. And maybe while I am at it I can get myself to hang a few more pictures.

I also got a speaker base for my iPod (so I can listen to it anywhere in the house), a compound mitre saw, a new watch, a swift and winder for my yarn addiction, as well as several knitting books, some yarn, a yarn shop GC and some other odds and ends. Only one CD this year (Spamalot) and no DVDs, so I plan to use a little christmas money for media and then a few new pairs of pants.

R and I plan to spend today in our respective offices dealing with our stuff. We've already spent some time on the couch watching movies. (He got Star Wars III and Serenity.) And the first floor has been straightened up, we are basically caught up on dishes and I have made progress on laundry. I realize that these are not the most glamorous things to be doing on ones vacation...and honestly, if I hadn't knitted christmas presents I would have done it before the 25th...but that's not how things panned out this year.

There is a short list of things that I should really do before Tuesday's return to work. I think there is enough "float" in our schedule that I should be able to convince myself to do them. :-)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

11 hours

That's all I have left of work for the year. That is assuming you don't count the time on Friday that I will be taking photos in Ohio for a proposal we'll be doing in January *and* that you don't count coming in for "clean up day" as work. (It mostly isn't)

Still too much to do for Christmas, but I've made great progress. About 16 presents are wrapped (it would be 18, but I ran out of tape at 11:45 last night). 3 presents need sewing, 2 presents (5 pieces) need to have ends woven in, 1 present has about 1 1/2" knitted and the last hasn't been started.

I will get it all done, it's just a question of how much sleep I'll lose this week...and I'm tired already.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Brief Update

All items to be felted, have been felted and are drying.

Yarn for second to last project is partially wound.

Tags are done except for washing instructions.

Tonight - Casting on for both of the last two knitting projects so they are bus-worthy and just-before-bed-worthy knitting. Also, photographing finished projects, making their tags and *hopefully* the beginnings of wrapping. Or at least finding suitable boxes.

I must start wrapping by Tuesday night so I can figure out if I will have enough wrapping paper... I always have gift bags I can fall back on...I just don't think it's the same as wrapped presents!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Getting there

As of last night, all but two projects were knitted. And I began weaving ends in. I continue the weaving and sewing today, and given the size of the pile of "finished" items, I think I'm at least halfway through. Though I'm saving the striped items for last. Probably a mistake, but I might even start photographing and wrapping the other things before I tackle the stripes. I need to have a few things wrapped before the weekend is over or I might panic...

I went with a couple of girlfriends to see "Pride and Prejudice" today. I really enjoyed it and I plan to add the book to my reading list. I found with "Sense and Sensibility" that seeing the movie and then reading the book was a good combination. It helped me appreciate the differences between the two more. I would probably be harder to like the movie if I fell in love with the book first.

I also want to comment on a phenomenon I've noticed lately. I really have trouble feeling all "there" and coherent right after a movie. It's like my brain needs a little time to adjust back to the real world after being focused on the movie for 2 hours. It's possible that this adjustment is a little easier when I watch all of the credits and have that 5-7 minutes to get my head back in the game. (The first time that R and I went to a movie I was pleased that he was like me in his desire to watch all of the credits. Maybe its silly, but its just one of those nice little things that we have in common.)

Okay, back to the yarn needle. I need to felt tomorrow, 'cause it doesn't look like it's going to happen tonight...

Oh, and for any readers who might be on our mailing list, it looks like we will be sending a new years card this year instead of christmas cards. :-)

Friday, December 16, 2005

Not a baker this year

It's not the best idea, when transporting both a frozen entree and an iPod to work, to put them next to each other in your bag. C-c-c-o-o-o-ld earphones...

Finished one present last night and started the first leg on Bubby. ( I'm making him 50% bigger than the pattern calls for because his torso just looked too small at the pattern size. I'm thinking I should have made the head 100% bigger since he's so lanky, but he'll be cute...and that is all that really matters. One of these days I'll get in the habit of taking those cool in-progress pictures that everyone else takes...but not while the clock is ticking down to Christmas.

I've heard many references from others who are making cookies for the holidays. Even from those people doing plenty of other things. I enjoy cookie making, but I just can't justify it when presents aren't ready yet. Besides, as long as I keep our kitchen stocked with pumpkin pie, I don't think R really cares that there aren't any cookies.

I am looking forward to many aspects of this weekend. Although I know it will be one where there is so much that I want to get done that I won't be able to go back to sleep once one of the kitties wakes me up. And I'll be too busy for a nap. But then again, I only have to get through 3 1/2 days of work next week and then I'm off for 11 1/2, so there will be time for extra sleep soon enough.

Lastly, I'm going to be doing a little "work" while we're visiting family in Ohio. We are short-listed for a project in town, so I will take an hour or two on Friday to shoot photos of the relevant sites that we can use in our interview presentation. It won't be hard work and I'll look uber-dedicated to be "working" while I'm on vacation. Not bad. I also plan to ask questions of family members who have lived there forever, and see if they have any thoughts about the area. Can't hurt.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ten Days

I was incorrect when I posted about knitting projects on Monday. I had two projects in progress and four to do (not two). I have been spending basically all of my free time knitting. I finished watching the DVDs I rented last week on Tuesday night and I started watching "Angels in America", this time from the beginning. (Long story)

Since Monday, I have finished one of the projects that was in progress and I'm 75% done with two projects started this week. So that leaves me at three projects in progress and two that are not yet started. My attention will be focused on finishing the last item to be felted, so I can felt it all this weekend.

Will she make it? Will she have to lose any sleep in order to finish? And if she does finish, when will she get it all wrapped? ;-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


So we're transitioning to a new file management database at work. The new database won't recognize certain file types. So before we transition, the unrecognized files either need to be added to the database to be recognized by the database or moved to a different folder not managed by the database system. (Trying to describe it in layman's terms, so that probably isn't totally right, but you get my drift.)

The woman next to me is not savvy with computers. Fine. She's a pleasant person, and I don't mind helping when I can. I helped her last week to try to explain to her what she needed to do with all of her unrecognized files. I spent 15 minutes helping her. She took notes.

Now she's going through exactly the same stuff with someone else from my office, as if I hadn't told her anything. She did make one statement about something I had told her - but it was the opposite of what I said and totally wrong.

*grabbing my iPod and slapping the headphones over my ears*

Monday, December 12, 2005

Holiday Music

I should also add, that I am completely enthralled with the holiday CDs found here:

I'm speaking specifically of the "Broadway's Great Gifts: Carols for a Cure" albums (although I'm sure the rest are great, too.) Each CD is $20, and $10 of that is tax deductible. And it is not required that you be a musical geek like me to enjoy them, although I'm guessing that there might be a few reading this that would enjoy these with the same fervor that I do. There is nothing like recognizing a singers voice because they also sing on a cast album that you have listened to over and over and over again. :-)

Glad to know that knitting isn't my only obsession?


There are many pictures I want to post...I just haven't been able to get the stars to align to get them up here. With Christmas presents to knit, many other things are getting shoved down the to-do list. Although I did manage to clean the kitchen floor (it was gross!) and put up the Christmas tree and indoor Christmas decorations this weekend. We really have more decoration than I'm willing to put up, especially since it is likely that only Rudy and I will see any of it (other than the photos I'll post eventually). I did decorate the banister in the foyer (which does not prevent Stewart from sitting on it in his favorite spot), the mantle and a few surfaces in the living room and the bay window where the tree is sitting.

I'm still being very bad and not weaving in ends on Christmas knitting as I go. I have two things to finish, and two to knit, and then I'm going to have to spend all of my time finishing everything. Naughty Amy. Several things are felted, so knots are okay. It is the striped items that will be the death of me. At least they are for very deserving family members. ;-) I found the last few skeins that I needed at the yarn shop across the street from my office. That unfortunately means that I don't have an excuse to go visit the new one in Squill. I will save that for the week after Christmas when I have some money to spend on me.

Lots to do at work. The next few weeks are going to go very quickly. I'm proud to share that I came to work with a great burst of motivation and dealt with an item that has been on my to do list for a couple of weeks. And, I managed to keep my desk straight enough since I cleaned in off over a week ago that I can still see surface. Woo!

Lastly, let's all pray for a lack of snow in Pittsburgh during the week between Christmas and New Years. I'd really like to practice driving some more that week, but I have no desire to do so on snowy, slushy, slippery streets. I'm not scared of driving in the snow (I learned to drive in Buffalo in winter...), but worrying about moving the car from a stop without stalling is enough to think about, without being worried about sliding around! And it's not like you can drive anywhere in Pittsburgh without dealing with a hill of some description...

Friday, December 09, 2005


Official depth of snow at our house: 4 3/8"

Practically every school in the area is on 2 hour delay. I only saw a few that were closed. But I had no trouble getting to work. I left a few minutes earlier than usual (so I could walk slowly), and it seemed like the 8am bus was on time. I got to my desk a few minutes later than usual...but the bus driver got us here safely, so I have no complaints.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

One moment to complain...

...about some of our neighbors.

I really enjoy our neighborhood and I really enjoy riding the bus to and from work so I have that time to knit, read, close my eyes, etc. (and it doesn't take much longer than driving during rush hour). Even in the winter is isn't a big problem because I'm never waiting at the stop for more than 10 minutes, and it's usually closer to 2-3 minutes.

But then there is the walk to the bus stop...

I *don't* like all of the people who can't be bothered to clean off their sidewalks. It snowed here on Saturday night. We got about 1/2" and we haven't gotten any more since. I shoveled and salted on Sunday afternoon, as did about 50% of our neighbors. It is WENDESDAY, and there are still sidewalks covered in ice. If I thought the city could afford to send someone out to ticket them, I would start reporting my neighbors.

This will be my biggest pet peeve until the spring thaw. At least there is sun and blue sky today!

Wednesday already?

I can already tell that this week is going to go too quickly. It happened the same way last week, too. A full day of meetings on Tuesday means that Monday goes quickly with prep work, Tuesday goes fast because of being in the meetings and Wednesday goes quickly because of the motivation and work gained in Tuesday's meetings. The motivation flows through Thursday and by the time Friday comes you can't believe that the week is almost over.

On top of all that, there is always too much "little stuff" to do at home - dishes, laundry (which I should have done last night), cleaning the bathroom, etc. And, with much preparation still needed for Christmas, it is easy to fill the rest of the time with knitting, yarn shopping, and (hopefully before the weekend is over) decorating the house & working on holiday cards.

I know that I set my sights too high for what I wanted to accomplish this week - nothing new there. So maybe I'll just put off the vacuuming and other cleaning until next weekend. That way, our house will be clean enough during my week off that I won't be tempted to do any significant cleaning, unless I feel like straightening up my office!

Monday, December 05, 2005


The benefits of a productive weekend:

- Goals were accomplished
- Bedroom furniture is back where it belongs (I'll try to take pictures soon...but it won't happen tonight)
- Tools can be returned to the toolbox
- The kitchen sink is no longer producing strange smells
- The Halloween decorations are put away
- If we should have unexpected guests, there are LOT of clean towels
- Enough stuff is put away that I can see the dust that needs to be removed (not necessarily a benefit, but a step in the right direction)
- And most importantly, I got enough done that I don't have to feel guilty about all of the knitting I'm going to do this week.

The downside, is that I don't feel like I got much resting time to recharge for the week. I got enough sleep, but just not enough time for my brain to be quiet and my body as well. But, that's the way it goes. My main goal is to ensure that my week off between Christmas and new years can be as productive or as boring as I choose, because I know it will go too fast. So I want to go into it with a generally clean and straight house, with no "in progress" projects that *must* be worked on. It is looking like I might get my wish...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I don't really get it

I don't understand the "Merry Christmas"/"Happy Holidays" controversy. Have we all become so easily offended that we can't be satisfied unless our own particular preferences are being reflected all over the country and media and throughout the shopping experience?

I agree that the term "holiday tree" is silly. But I just really don't understand why people are offended if they are greeted with "Happy Holiday" instead of "Merry Christmas". It is still a greeting! The season is supposed to be about love and peace and happiness, not to mention tolerance and understanding.

If your priest or pastor starts saying Happy Holidays, you have a right to be offended. But there is no reason to be offended because your local department store doesn't say Merry Christmas. All shoppers are not christian.

This too shall pass.

Happy Holidays! :-P

Friday, December 02, 2005

Forget Regret

My goal for the weekend is to push myself to finish the bedroom. I could have made progress last night, but after kitty playtime and making dinner, I didn't have much time until CSI...and therefore I decided to camp out on the couch with my laptop. If I would have known that CSI and Without a Trace would both be repeats, I could have gotten something else done. But at the point I could have left the couch, Nora was cutely curled up in my lap...and by the time she left I was too engrossed in my laptop activities to get off my butt. Non-productive evenings are good now and then, right?

Some things that I read on other blogs last night reminded me of a few other comments I have about RENT, the movie. (Again, I've only seen the show once on stage, so it is really much more about how the movie compares with my thoughts on the show based on listening to the CD 4 million times.)

-I liked the fact that the last shot of April is her getting the HIV test results and being comforted by Roger. I had no need to see her bleeding on the bathroom floor.

-The most "uncomfortable" part of the movie for me was when Roger was in Santa Fe. I don't see a city boy like him climbing up into the mountains alone or going out into the desert. The shots of him driving through the dessert in a convertible seemed wrong, too. Yes, the car was totally beat up and old, but it just seemed very un-Roger like and misplaced. One shot of him driving was fine...but several were unnecessary.

-Jesse Martin can move - I had no idea. I loved "Santa Fe". A great example of the reinterpretation for film.

-Benny's part sucked, although I enjoyed him in his first scene on the street tearing down Maureen's posters. I don't think he ever "got credit" for Mimi's rehab and he just really wasn't given much to do other than look pretty. ;-)

I will stop boring the non-interested with this now. Although I don't promise that the topic won't come up again when it comes out on DVD!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I remembered...

...what I forgot to post about last weekend. On Sunday I had driving
practice, and it was good. We were out long enough that of course I
stalled more times than I ever had before, but it was still good. It
was the longest I had been driving since my first lesson with James in
Slippery Rock many summers ago. R and I hadn't really made it a
priority for me to learn stick shift until after the wedding, and by
that point things were busy enough that we never made significant time
to practice. There have been enough times in the past six months when
it would have been convenient for him if I could have driven the car myself.

I probably won't be driving solo until we find time for a few more
practice sessions...but if some emergency would occur, I feel confident
that I could drive the car from point A to point B. I just might make
some screechy sounds each time I started from a stop, especially on
those darn hills. ;-)

What did we ever do without the internet?

Growing up in Ohio, Heidi and Katie were my closest friends.  I've known Heidi since I was born and Katie and I met in kindergarten.  Katie's best friend was Carrie, who lived around the corner from her.  And as we all went through K-4 together, I got to be friends with Carrie, too...but didn't keep in touch with her after we left Ohio.
So, Katie and Carrie keep in touch, Katie and I keep in touch and Heidi and I keep in touch.  And now that Katie, Carrie and I are all keeping a blog, in a strange way Carrie and I can now keep in touch, too.  So now Carrie has read about Heidi's two adorable boys and I've read about Katie's younger brother being engaged - which are cool things to know but kind of odd since Carrie probably remembers Heidi as a 12 year old and I remember Katie's brother as a 6 year old.  Time marches on, even if we aren't there to see it.
I guess it really isn't that big of a deal, it is just kind of strange to be "reconnected" with someone that you haven't seen since you were both 11.  I've been reading Carrie's blog, so now I know more about what's going on in her life than some of my close college friends.  I guess that just means I need to bug my college friends to start writing in blogs of their own so that they don't seem so far away!