Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'm on fire!

I am knitting up a storm. I feel very accomplished. . . lots of FOs recently :) And somehow laundry and dishes are still getting cleaned and dinner is being cooked. I wish it was always like this!

I finished two projects this weekend. First, my Woolgirl June Sock Club yarn became socks. Even though it's not a color I love, I liked knitting them up and the colorway did grow on me. They'll get a lot more 'in boots' wear than anything else. . . they were in shoes because I was going to a knitting group :) And, I have to say, with just a bit showing, they're not as overwhelming.
And, I adore my Frye shoes, so any excuse to wear them, you know :)

It's been unusually cold and so I decided I needed a better hat, too. My Dizzy barely covers the ears. I bought some Chunky Malabrigo almost a year ago to make a Clara hat for me, but never got around to it. Saturday night I wound up the yarn and Sunday morning I had a new hat. With all the yarn overs, I'm not sure how warm it'll be, but I like it anyway. Perhaps Koolhaus will be my 'warm' hat when I get around to it!

Knitting aside, is everyone Turkey'd out yet? I am, and we still have a ton left! I made stock Saturday and soup Sunday. The carcass made a lot more stock than usual, though, so I have plent to freeze to use later. I made a tukey shepherd's pie (because I made 10lbs of mashed potatoes!) that was marginal. I've never had shepherd's pie, so I don't have anything to compare to, but it definitely needed more seasoning (I used this recipie).

I had such a nice 4 days away from work, it's going to be TOUGH to get up tomorrow morning, that's for sure!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!

My pie is baked, the cranberry relish is sweetened, the cranberry sauce is thickened and the potatoes are all cut and in water in the fridge (courtesy of Jake, who told me last night to sit down and knit for a while and he'd take care of the potatoes!). The oven is preheating. All that is left is to stuff and bake the bird and roast the squash. .. . . and spend the rest of my day knitting!

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dream in Neutrals?

I had a dream about yarn last night. Not a general dream with yarn in it, or knitting, a dream about a very specific skein of yarn in my stash - a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock. I can't say I've ever had such a specific fiber dream before. I blame it on my late night stomach contents of gin & clam chowder. Or the CTH is jealous that it wasn't chosen to be wound up yesterday when I wound two new balls of sock yarn.

Last night, Jake & I went to see Garrison Keillor. It wasn't a taping for Prairie Home Companion, just him, all by himself. When I lived in Minnesota, I went to the Fitzgerald to see a taping, I was worried last night would be a waste of the ticket money. How entertaining could it be, after all, to be JUST Garrison Keillor? Incredibly, would be the correct answer to that question. He has such an amazing gift for storytelling, and perhaps more importantly, a voice that is totally enchanting. Even if you sort of lose interest in the actual story, just listening to the tone and cadence in his voice is supremely comforting. If I were a billionaire, I would pay him to come to my house and tell me a bedtime story every night. I can't imagine a more lovely way to fall asleep. So it was a great evening, and certainly more interesting than the usual Tuesday night! It was a bit odd that I think I counted 6 other people in our age range. There were younger folks there who seemed to be dragged with their parents, and pretty much everyone else in attendance was in their 50s or beyond. As Jake would say, when he jokes on my knitting, I'm apparently an old lady trapped in a young body :) The show wrapped up around 9, so we decided to go for a cocktail at Kincaid's.

Ordinarily, I'm not a huge fan of chain restaurants. . .. especially chain restaurants in shopping malls, but I make an exception for Kincaid's. The bartenders there. . . let me tell you. . . they can make a Gimlet. A gimlet that is worth the $10 price tag, to boot. You wouldn't think it's such a hard drink to make, but I've ordered it enough to know it really throws off the majority of bartenders. We walked the couple blocks to the mall and ordered cocktails and checked out the menu. It was chilly through the whole show (apparently Chrysler Hall doesn't believe in central heating) so combined with my lack of socks (wearing high heels) and the outdoor walk, the Clam Chowder on the menu spoke to me as a nice warm up. It was a nice end to the evening, but put food in my belly far too close to my bedtime, apparently.

I woke up this morning and resisted the urge to go wind the CTH up. I'm in the midst of some major knitting - I've cast on an unruly number of new projects recently, I really don't need yet another pair of socks!

What have I been knitting, you ask? Well, over the weekend I finished the wedding present I was working on but I need a small army of T-pins to block it - and you know, no photos until the recipient gets it. I finished knitting and felting Jake's slippers. They are still drying right now. I also finished my Socks that Rock (which, by the way are the most perfectly fitting socks I've knit to date. ... I LOVE them!!). Because I still wasn't prepared to go back to Jake's sweater or socks, I cast on for one of the wedding shawls. I'm making Wisp for both of my MOHs. It's pretty but simple enough that it won't take a crazy long time and so if neither of them wear it again, I won't be upset. The Kidsilk is a bit of a challange to work with, but the result is pretty so far. And WARM! It's noticeable the temperature difference where the scarf sits on my lap when I work on it. Then yesterday I felt the need to start more socks. For the 'instant gratification', I wound up the Dashing Dachs from the second shipment of the Woolgirl sock club. It's sportweight so should work up nice and fast. The 'Froggin' colorway isn't anything I'd pick myself, but if nothing else I can wear them in my boots and no one will see them. The pattern I'm using is Swirl Socks. I'm already up to starting the heel gussets and they only have seen about an hour of knitting. Pulling the Dashing Dachs out of my stash, I came across the Misti Alpaca Sock I got a few months ago. The yarn is totally luscious. Alpaca/Merino/Silk blend, with some nylon for durability. Given how cold it's been, I wanted a treat for my feet so I wound it up and decided it would become the Herringbone Rib socks from the latest Interweave (sorry, no link since it's part of an article and not a stand alone pattern). I haven't cast on yet, because I think I'm going to attempt two at a time, so I need to wind a 2nd ball. I think it will be a Thanksgiving project.

Tonite I'll be pumpkin pie baking and cranberry making. I hope everyone has a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving. I personally am thankful that Jake didn't have to go overseas for work and will actually be here for dinner. What are you thankful for this year?

Monday, November 24, 2008


This is not at all knitting related, so feel free to ignore :) I did complete THREE projects this weekend, though, but I'll post about them when I have photos!

I hate my job. I have hated it for quite some time, but Friday pushed me over the edge. The place is on fire and 95% of the leadership has decided to throw both ethics and good business sense out of the window. It took all of my common sense to not hand in my resignation effective immediately. I know it would be stupid to quit without something else solid lined up. Part of me hopes to stick around long enough for the inevitable layoffs (in the 7.5 years I've worked here, there have been at least 7 rounds of layoffs so far) that will come in the First Quarter to attempt to make earnings look better. At least if I get laid off, I get a hefty severance check. Part of me just wants to find a new job that I will actually have the motivation to care about going to. It's hard to get out of bed to go work for someone you don't respect. If I didn't have a good work ethic, I wouldn't even care about the customers I support. Lucky for me (and them) I do take it seriously and try to make sure my customers get the best support they can, so I still actually show up to work. I am just not so much with the 'above and beyond' anymore.

So why all the whining? Because I'm so tired of people telling me I need to stop complaining and just 'BE HAPPY' I have a job. I mean, really, why should I be HAPPY that my employer treats me like crap? So many people I know are trapped in jobs - particularly people in Vermont who don't have many other options than to work where they are now. I feel BLESSED that I'm not in a situation where I'm a sole bread-winner and that I'm not living paycheck to paycheck. I feel grateful that I am well educated with a strong resume and therefore have the flexibility to consider leaving my present employer. I'm thankful that I chose to leave Michigan when I graduated from college so I'm not riding the roller coaster that is the auto industry (though given that when I started in Vermont there were 8200 employees at my location and when I was there last week the count was barely 5000, I'd say percentage wise I didn't make the best choice of industry moves!). I'm a lot of things, but I'm not HAPPY that I have this job. I am even LESS happy that so many people feel like they have to deal with this kind of crap. No one should have to continually 'suck it up' and be disrespected just because their employer knows they have no where to go.

So there. And no, I'm not being self-righteous, I just refuse to stay in a job where my personal ethical line is being trampled on by the majority of leaders. It's only possible to be buffered from it for so long.

And now, my to-date mostly half-assed job hunting is now going into full gear. My goal is to send my resume to at least 10 positions each week until I find something new. I did 5 today. Wish me luck.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

X is for Xenophobe

I dare say this was the most difficult letter of this ABC-along (my Y and Z are chosen, and I get a pretty easy pass with the Z!). I racked my brain, searched the internet for X words. Nothing seemed appropriate so I took a BIG leap, and I give the xenophobe in my life:

I know, I know, I hear you - Carly, that is your dog Jimmy Ray. How does that fit? I told you I was taking a leap here. Jimmy Ray is quite possible the polar opposite of Zosia. Zosia is a ridiculously outgoing dog. She is not scared of anything or anyone. She's quite the social butterfly. She makes best friends with anyone who comes to the house. Jimmy Ray, well, he had a rough start in life. Jimmy Ray came to us through a local rescue. He spent the first year of his life penned in a garage with 4 other beagles - all the same litter. The owner was a trucker. His elderly father was supposed to come by to feed and water the dogs, but often forgot. One night during a thunderstorm, the dogs escaped and a caring neighbor gathered them up and went to talk to the owner when he returned. He agreed to turn over the dogs to the rescue. Thankfully he wasn't physically abused, but the neglect and lack of any socilization as a pup resulted in making Jimmy Ray very scared of anything unknown. It took him several months to even start to come near Jake & I. He's come very far in the time we've had him (nearly 2 years!), Zosia has helped him come out of his shell. However, he's still scared of strangers. He's small and cute so everyone wants to pet him when we're out and he tries to flatten himself to the ground or hide behind our legs. So there - Jimmy Ray is scared of strangers, so that makes him a xenophobe! (But he's a cute one!)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Something Old, Something New

While I'm having a far from traditional wedding, I still plan to do the old/new/borrowed/blue thing. Call me superstitious :) Because I really want a vintage feel to things, I decided several months ago I wanted to find a beautiful cameo for the day. The thought originated with my originally planned dress, but it stuck. Shopping on Friday I found the perfect one - and I bought it!

To be fair, I actually found this several months ago and decided not to buy it because the price was a little steep. I love the uniqueness of the rectangular gold backing, though, and it really stuck in my mind since I saw it. When I shopped for others, I would gauge them against my memory of this one. So, when I found myself at the same antique shop, I went to see if they still had it. I still loved it, and I had a particularly crappy day at work so the price tag didn't seem so bad. Then the sales girl told me she could take 10% off AND Jake told me I could use some of our shower gift money (earmarked for something for us of course) to pay for part of it, so it came home with me! (but for the record, I'm not using 'our' gift money to pay for any of it, but it was super sweet of him to offer, right?!)

I think it is beautiful and I've decided to make an effort to wear it for more than the wedding. Broaches aren't really my thing, though, so I think it will take some work to figure out how to incorporate it in my jewelry rotation :) The piece is from the 1920s. I'm told it's particularly unusual given that the subject has her hair up. It was far more common for the portraits to show flowing locks. I never would have noticed myself, but after the owner told me, I did notice every other cameo was down. The cameo itself is conch shell. I came home and did some research and found out I got a very good price, given what I found of comparable age and size, so all in all, I am quite happy. Now to decide. . . . is it my something old or my something new?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Home Again

I had a mostly uneventful trip, which is nice for once. The only little hitch was a surprise snow storm as we were trying to land in Burlington, forcing the plane to make 3 approaches to see if visibililty had increased so our little Turbo Prop could land. After the 3rd, had we not landed they were sending us back to La Guardia. That would have sucked. Apparently, Vermont has gotten smaller since I lived there. When I got to the airport at 8:20 for my 9:10am flight, security was closed. Yeah. . . . just closed. . . . no TSA to be found and the door leading into the screening area locked. What kind of airport CLOSES security?! About 15 minutes later, the TSA came back - group break, I guess, and being a tiny airport, it was mostly a non-issue.

What did I accomplish on my trip? Well, work wise, my meeting was great. Which is good, because I busted my butt to get everything coordinated and prepped. Of course, do you think my boss even gave me a 'nice job' or any sort of positive affirmation? Surely not. . . . reason eleventybillion and seventy two why I have to find a new job. Friend wise, I got to meet my friend Nikki's brand new baby who happened to be born on my birthday :) Knitting wise, I have almost a pair of socks! Not Jake's socks. . . a BRAND spanking new pair that I started on Tuesday while flying. If medium weight Socks that Rock were a person, I would totally marry it!! Just like the last socks I did from the yarn, the stuff knits up so fast! I figured I'd keep on the instant gratification knits for the time being. The pattern is the Double Waffle Stitch from More Sensational Knit Socks. It does a good job of masking the color spiral/pools that the STR does (it must be how she dyes, because it's the SAME way the XMas Rock colorway knit up).

Monday, November 17, 2008

The cure for Knitters Block

Phew! I tell you, nothing gets your knitting mojo back like some quick satisfaction knitting! I didn't necessarily have knitters block, but I'm not all that into stuff I've had OTN. Jake's socks are tedious, Jake's sweater - it's in timeout due to more pattern errors, my lace scarf is simple but moving slowly and my goddess is suffering for lack of motivation, since it won't be warm enough to wear for quite some time and the secret gift is nearly done, and I just don't want to do the cast of and blocking. Then I knit the test knit mittens. . . . in a day. . . then I cast on for Jake's slippers (hmmm. . . that's a lot of knits for him now that I list what's OTN!) and I'm nearly done with them. Now I feel like a knitting CHAMP! I still have to figure out what to start/take on a work trip with me. I leave in the AM. I'm thinking of continuing on the quick knit and wind up the STR I have - since the last pair I made I did in two days. Or, I'll treat myself and wind up the new Malabrigo sock yarn I got (sooooooooo nice!) if I can live with a simple basic pattern for it. Remind me I have this mojo when I'm complaining about the shawls I'm knitting for my wedding :)

Sorry no pictures. . . it's dreary and overcast AGAIN (surprise!) here, so not so photo friendly light.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

W is for Weekend Knitting

Holy Cow, people! I knit an entire project from start to finish on Saturday. This is surely a record for me. I give you my Faberge Mittens.

They are not really MY mittens, they are a gift. They were a test knit for a Ravelry designer, the same woman who did the Faberge Cowl. Pretty, huh?

W is also for Wii :) Yes, Jake & I joined the rest of the world in buying a Wii today. We've spent the last 4 hours bowling and playing tennis. Can you say huge time suck?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Is this just a Michigan thing?

So given it's early November, and the Weezer Red Album is getting constant play in my house and it's talked about in Heart Songs, the Edmund Fitzgerald has been on my mind. The famous Great Lakes Freighter sank on November 10, 1975. It has a fair bit of folklore behind it, since no trace of the wreck or bodies have ever been found. There was no distress call from the ship, it just sort of disappeared. The story was put to song by Gordon Lightfoot in 1976.

EVERYONE in Michigan knows this song. And just like the song says, the Mariner's Church in Detroit tolls its bell 29 times in honor of the wreck on the Anniversary.

When I lived in Minnesota, the boy I was dating was into all things Maritime (he's a Navy Pilot now) and we took a trip from the Twin Cities up to Duluth to see a play in the hull of a ship that was based on the events of that fateful night.

In short, the Great Lakes states take this seriously! Then it somehow came up in conversation at a knitting night and every single person looked at me like I had 3 heads when I talked about the song. I have always just assumed, since the song was #2 on the Billboard charts, that it was pretty well known and it wasn't just a regional thing. So, I gotta ask. . . who else has at least heard of it? Am I really that much of a southern anomaly?!

Maybe I am odd. . . . I used to think everyone could name the 5 Great Lakes, but apparently that's also only something they teach you if you live near them, which I figured out when I moved to Vermont. (For the record, remember HOMES to know the great Lakes. Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior)

Sweater Status

Jake's sweater is coming along, though it's really not all that interesting to look at in a picture, so you don't get one! I'm quite convinced I could have been done by now have I not had to spend so much time trying to figure out pattern errors. Based on this experience, I definitely will not purchase KnitPicks patterns in the future, since they clearly don't do much in the way of tech editing. The errors I'm finding really don't have much excuse, a non-knitter who can count could at least figure out something was wrong, even if they couldn't fix it! So I'm up to where you're supposed to 3-needle bind off the front and back of the shoulder together and the count is off by 6 stitches. I guess I can just put the extra stitches in the collar, but it really does tick me off! The collar should be quick knitting, and then I just have the sleeves, so hopefully by month end it'll be done. And then I shread the pattern! I do hope the pattern is right that the yarn will stretch with wash & wear, because it's a bit short for him as it is now!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Baking Queen? Not Quite.

I came home from Knitting this afternoon to make No-Knead Bread. I got the suggestion from a Rav member in the Cooking group as a fabulous use of my fancy Le Creuset dutch oven. It has to rest for 18 hours, but I thought it was 24, so I had to kick around a bit to have it ready at a reasonable hour so I didn't have to wake up super early tomorrow to bake it. I'm a tad concerned about the dough, as it's supposed to be 'shaggy & sticky'. While I have no idea what 'shaggy' would refer to in dough, I do know sticky and this didn't seem all that sticky. I fear I may have a bit too much water, or used flour I shouldn't have. So, the possibility of it not turning out, coupled with having a ton of yeast leftover, I decided to try another bread recipe I've had sitting around the house for a while for Honey Whole Wheat bread. (Sorry, no linky, it's not online!) I have never had the best luck with bread (except for the monkey bread last Christmas), so it was a nice surprise that it turned out edible. I don't think it's exactly right because it's quite dense, which I think means I should have let it rise more. But turned out well enough that I'll try again in the future. We'll see tomorrow how the no knead turns out.

If I were to leave Jake. . . .

it would be for him:
I told Jake this last night while we watched Casino Royale. We rented it because we both want to see Quantum of Solace, but since it's a bit of a continuation we wanted to see the first movie. It was surprisingly good for a Bond movie. Don't get me wrong, I like Bond movies, but they are not typically a 'good movie' in a broad context. . . it's like Rocky or something, you know what you are going to get! It was unexpected that the plot was actually engaging and interesting. My only critique was that it was a bit long. Of course, now this means my expectations for seeing the new one are probably too high and I'll be disappointed. As disappointed as I can be while watching Daniel Craig :) I can't figure out how he hides all that wonderful bulky physique in clothing. When he's fully dressed, you'd never guess he was built like that underneath! Yum!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Long Overdue

Well, I finished this in AUGUST but never got around to having Jake take some photos for me, but here she is, my lovely MAUDE!

Possibly my favorite project ever :) I've even almost forgot what a PITA the lace pattern was. It wasn't necessarily hard, but a little fiddly and I don't think I did a full round without having to tink back at least a few stitches, if not the whole row. Totally worth it in the end, though! Truth be told, I probably should have made the XS. I'm always wary of choosing and how much ease is assumed and I didn't want it to end up too small. It's still wearable, just a bit loose. Hopefully it doesn't stretch, that would make me sad :(

More recent - finished on Tuesday, Jake's new hat. Yes, it is the same hat I made for his dad! I really REALLY love this pattern. If I knew another person who needed a hat, it's a very real possibility I would make this for a third time. I also LOVE the yarn - Ultra Alpaca. Seriously, it could someday overrun Malabrigo as my #1 favorite yarn. It is just so soft and lovely! I got two skeins of the new Ultra Alpaca Fine in a swap and I'm hoping it's as lovely as the worsted weight!

In both cases, please excuse the marginal photos. It has been raining here since Monday and it gets dark so early there is little natural light. My camera is dying, too. . . I'm trying to choose a new one as a birthday/Christmas gift from my mom. Anyone have a suggestion for a good quality but not too complicated to use digital?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pretty, Pretty

So I finished knitting up Jake's hat, but I don't have a picture of it on him yet, so instead I'll share with you my most recent impulse buy.

I give you a skein of FarmHouse Yarn Fannie's Fingeringpurchased on a recent visit to KnitWits. The colorway is called 'Berries and Caramel'.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

V is for Velour

Yeah, yeah, I know, it's a stretch, but V is a toughy!

These are my most favorite lounge pants, and yes, my friends, they are VELOUR! They were formerly owned by my friend Nikki (blame her for why I say 'mum' and not 'mom' - she's from Liverpool). When she got pregnant, she was getting rid of some of her clothes and I happily took them because they actually were the right length for me (being all of 5'1" pants that do not need hemming is cause for celebration!). Jake despises these pants, but I tell you nothing is more comfortable to drive in than these pants and they are all I ever wear when going on a long car trip. And, of course, I can feel fancy wearing British clothes :) (The pants are from Marks & Spencer, Nikki's most favorite department store!)

And with that, I am caught up on the ABC-along again. Only 4 letters left, so I'm going to try to stay timely to close out the year!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Take 2

10am and there were only ~30 people in total in the gymnasium. Took me about 20 minutes to vote. Yay for the flexibility of telecommuting! I was ballot 365 in the box I put my ballot in, I couldn't see the count on the other. In the primary, I voted about the same time of day and I was ballot 29 in my box, so I guess the turnout is higher than normal!

U is for Unfinished

As in, the current state of my home renovation.

Remember my silly goal of being complete before July? Well, if we ever worked on it, it probably could have been done, but we are the laziest people EVER when it comes to doing this work! We just never have the motivation to do it! My new goal is to have drywall finished and paint on the walls and new floors at least CHOSEN if not in some state of installation by Christmas. Feasible, yes?

Try #1

So, 6:50am, I got in my car and drove to the elementary school. Lots of cars, but I was able to find a spot with no real issue, so I assumed not so bad inside. WRONG! I walked in and turned right back around and walked out! Up side, people can wait inside, down side, you can't drive by to see if there is a line. Next stop will be around 10am. . .. everyone who has to work should have had to leave for work, mom's who voted after dropping kids off at school should be gone too, so I think it has potential to be less busy. I need to go pick some sock yarn to make a basic sock with, though, in case I have to wait with Jake later. Nothing I have OTN is simple enough for in line knitting.

In an attempt to avoid politics last night with nothing decent on TV, we decided to watch Midnight Cowboy ONDemand. I was not expecting it to be such a depressing movie! And I couldn't get past Dustin Hoffman sounding like Charlie Babbit rather than a native New Yorker. It was worth the $1.99, though!

Rainy Election Day

I was going to go to the polls right at 6AM, until I saw on the news people were lined up outside in the rain waiting for polls to open. Really, I'm not that dedicated! I've never not voted in an election, and worst case I'll just go when Jake votes after work so at least I'm not waiting alone, but I'm amazed that they found some guy on the news who went to the middle school he votes at at 2:30AM to wait for them to open. Insane? I think so! All I can say is I'm darn glad today is the last day of election phone calls and TV ads.

Inspired by the soup I made last week. . . my first totally ad hoc, no reference to a recipe at all, I trolled my fridge and pantry last night and decided I would make pasta with spinach and cannellini beans. I couldn't figure out a good sauce to go with it, though, so I just googled the ingredients and came up with this one. I used whole wheat fusilli rather than bowties and I had less spinach on hand, but it was quite tasty. The only thing I can't figure out is their nutritional information:
(based on individual servings)
Calories: 545
Total Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 5 mg
Sodium: 925 mg
Carbohydrates: 99 g
Fiber: g
Protein: 24 g

Where in the hell do they get 7g of Fat PER SERVING?! I'm totally confused, since the only things with fat are the tiny bit of olive oil you cook the onions in and the cheese you may sprinkle on top! I'm convinced someone mixed this up with another recipe! (Yes, I know beans have fat, but it's negligible. The brand I used has 1g in the entire can, so for 4 servings that is .25g) It was a simple and easy dinner, with lots of protein and fiber so I think it will stay in my rotation.

I hope your poll lines aren't as long as I anticipate mine to be, but do be sure you go out and

Monday, November 3, 2008

Très Magnifique!

My Birthday weekend was so wonderful! Very little planned, which is unusual. Maybe that is why it was one of my nicest birthday's ever! Jake got home from Vegas around 6:30 Friday night. He was pretty tired, since I had warned him of how crowded the security lines in Vegas are (they always have been when I've flown through there) but it was dead as a doornail when he arrived at 5am for his 7am flight. . . . He almost gave up his seat home, thinking Delta was offering something really worthwhile since they needed like 7 people to give up seats. . . but it was only a $400 voucher, so he skipped it - but he gets major points for calling me to ask 'Will $400 help us out at all if I give up my seat? Do we need to fly anywhere next year?'

Halloween was sad, with my whopping total of 3 trick-or-treaters :( Last year I had 7, so this year I didn't buy too much candy, but I was disappointed. I love seeing little ones dressed up! Since Jake was tired, he sat on the couch the rest of the evening and read. . . I knit on my secret wedding gift while listening to my two new favorite CDs - Kasey Chambers Rattlin' Bones and Weezer's Red Album. If you haven't heard of Kasey Chambers I highly recommend you You Tube a few songs. She and her husband are fantastic! And I'm always a Weezer fan, this CD might be my favorite since the first.

So we slept in on Saturday, and Jake made me a fantastic breakfast - eggs with fresh mushrooms, spinach and brie! After breakfast I got to open a present - and it was a fancy new ball winder! A lovely accompaniment to the swift he made me last year :) We went out to do some shopping where I got some fab new mascara and a jellyroll pan so Jake could make the dessert I requested. We also got a few Christmas gifts for a great deal at BB&B :) We had a mini-snafu when we got home that involved my accidentally decorating Jake's truck with two new scratches. He handled it well, and on today's agenda is a trip to the Nissan dealer to get some touch up paint! I had two packages waiting from the mailman. The first from B&SIL - two supersoft skeins of Alpaca from a New York Alpaca farm. I think it wants to be mittens!

The other was the 2nd package from this round of PRGE and my awesome partner Shelvicious. My package rocked, and of course goes well with my Birthday :) The package included two Halloween Themed cocktail concoctions, cute Halloween dish scrubbies, Halloween Mr Potato Head, a gorgeous skein of Silky Malabrigo in Amoroso and a pattern to use it on, a skein of K1C2 Ty-Dy socks - which I haven't seen before but the long color repeats look so awesome on the FOs on Ravelry! Rounding out the package was a bamboo needle maintenance kit and some Ferrero Rocher yummies! Thanks, Vanessa!!

Saturday night Jen (who rarely blogs) hosted Poker night so we hung out there - where I most definitely did NOT drink an entire bottle of wine by myself! Jen made me the awesomeist apron for my Birthday! Pretty, right?

Sunday we hung out at the house most of the day, then got all dressed up to go to dinner at the WineHouse. This was our first time there since they've moved and I have to say it was disappointing. We're chalking it up to growing pains and having a lot of new staff to fill the much larger space so we'll go again, but my risotto was the gummiest, blandest thing I've ever gotten in a restaurant! But what totally makes up for a lackluster dinner? A ridiculously fantastic dessert! Jake, who always makes me a delicious dessert on my birthday, did an amazing job on the Pumpkin Roll. I think it would be super delicious as a cake with regular icing and not rolled up, too. I told Jake to add a little ginger and nutmeg, but otherwise he followed the recipe exactly. If you like pumpkin and cheesecake, you need to make this roll!

And that, my friends, is how to have a great Birthday! Though for all the dessert I ate, we will be spending some extra time at the gym today. That's OK, though, since another gift I got was a heart rate/calorie mointor, so I can play with it! I've been wanting one for a while, because I never believe the ones on the machine at the gym!

I hope you all have a great week!!

T is for Tiara

Really, I'm not THAT high maintenance. Sure, I'm an only child and I like things my own way, but I guess I'd classify that more as particular than 'high maintenance'. Clearly others have a different opinion at times. In the last two weeks, I've gotten two tiaras, so to catch up on my ABC-Along, my T is for Tiara.

First, from the fabulous Malabrigo Swap group, I got a Birthday themed package from (blogless) Deb in NJ, and she told me everyone needs a tiara on their birthday.

Then, at my bridal shower, my cousin Laura included a tiara in my gift 'So that Jake will never forget he is marrying a Princess' :)

Army of Women

I can't believe I forgot to post about this when I signed up. This was announced at the beginning of Breast Cancer Awareness Month - The Love/AVON Army of Women. It's an amazing idea - to have a nation wide network for researchers to get in touch with women to study breast cancer. Please, go sign up! You are not automatically committing to participating in any specific research. You can accept or decline all opportunities that come up. The goal is 1 million women, and they are not even 1/4 of the way there yet, so they need YOU!