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May, 2008:

My turn? Okay.

Let’s see. Andrea and I were tagged by PrincessPea for the “Peeps I Want to Know More About” meme.
The rules: Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.
1) What was I doing ten years ago?
This is a downer, so sorry. Ten years ago I was dealing with the loss of one of my sisters to complications of systemic lupus. She died six weeks before her 50th birthday. A major reason for my recent trip to South Dakota this Memorial Day was out of respect for her (and some other people I dearly miss). And to spend some time with the living as well!
2) What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today?
• Doctor’s visit this morning for routine skin check. When you’re my age, fair-skinned, blue-eyed and freckly, you do that.
• Change cat litter (and I also need to buy cat food).
• Work some more on baby blanket.
• Stop and buy coffee (decaf and regular) on my way home from work.
• Call plumber (slow-draining bathroom sink … ughhh!).
3) Snacks I enjoy
• I pick salty before sweet, and am more likely to seriously pig out on something disgusting like circus peanuts or candy corn than on chocolate, though I absolutely love chocolate.
• Anything cheese (not good for the cholesterol, but probably worth it).
• I’m crazy about fresh, raw vegetables.
4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire
• I’d quit my job. Yes, I think I would quit my job. And do fun things like travel, take some classes to learn things I know nothing about or do things I suck at.
• Hopefully I’d do something to improve the world like support work to find cures for some of the really devastating diseases out there –autoimmune diseases like lupus, cancer, heart disease, diabetes. Or maybe spend my money and energy beating the “come on, people, could we work on feeding the starving masses, and on education and health care, instead of war?” drum.
• I’d pay off my mortgage and all other debts, and those of my kids as well. I’d set up trust funds for some people: my kids of course, but also for some of my family who need really a lot of help and haven’t exactly managed their own lives and finances so well.
5) Places I have lived:
These are in alphabetical order by state, then city/town.
• Illinois: Chicago, Libertyville, Waukegan
• Minnesota: Appleton, Canby, Milan, Minneapolis, Montevideo, Olivia, St. Paul
• South Dakota: Gary, Pierre, Presho
Most of this moving around was done when I was a kid. I’ve lived in Minneapolis since 1972.
6) Jobs I have had:
• Working in my parents’ retail store when I a kid.
• Waiting tables. (I was not good at that!)
• Detassling corn (redefines “sunburn”).
• Various clerical jobs, mostly in medical research settings, while in college.
• Office manager and consultant for human resources consulting company.
• Self-employed while raising kids (mostly computer input and coding for electronic typesetting).
• Currently managing small IT Department.
• The best, most important, challenging, rewarding job ever: Mom.
7) Peeps I want to know more about:
Shyness apparently runs in the family. I’ll do my best, though. Let’s see, a couple of these are from blogs already listed on our site; some are people/blogs that I know little about but that look interesting, most found on Ravelry:

Happy Memeday

PrincessPea tagged us for the “Peeps I Want to Know More About” meme. A while ago. But hey, better late than never, right? Mom, you have to do this too.
The rules: Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.
1) What was I doing ten years ago?
Ten years ago I was in college at the University of Minnesota, still trying to figure out what on earth I wanted to major in. I had been toying with biology at that point but was wrestling with the ethics of it and becoming a vegetarian (I ultimately got a degree in studio art, instead). I guess it must have been my second year living in the dorms and I was getting ready to move into my first-ever apartment, a run-down place near campus with five roommates, treacherous stairs up to the third floor, and a wooden fire escape (good idea, no?) with an old abandoned toilet down at the bottom of it. It was such a dump, but I have such fond memories of those times.
2) What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today:
Is it bad that I really can’t think of five things on my to-do list that have nothing to do with work?
- Have dinner with a good friend.
- Remember to eat good foods (I’m on a nutrition kick right now).
- Um, empty the dishwasher?
- Go to bed early (had a bad night of sleep last night)
3) Snacks I enjoy:
Chocolate (especially dark chocolate), fruit of almost any kind, nuts. But I don’t always eat healthy. My favorite movie snack: Sour Patch Kids. Yum.
4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Besides the obvious paying off of my and my family’s debt and financing future generations’ college educations? Travel the world. Give money to a cause that isn’t getting enough money. Maybe for Pancreatic Cancer research. I wouldn’t get a massive house, but would instead buy small apartments in a few favorite places (New York, maybe somewhere international once I’d traveled the world and figured out which places I liked the best).
5) Places I have lived:
I’ve never lived outside of Minnesota (other than being born in Illinois and living there for, what, a year?), but I’ve moved around the Twin Cities a bit since leaving the nest. The longest I’ve lived anywhere since moving out of my parents’ house has been at my current house, in which I’ve been living for three years (and am getting quite antsy to move on, honestly).
6) Jobs I have had:
Babysitter, software company intern, newsletter writer, typist, web developer, graphic designer.
7) Peeps I want to know more about:
I don’t really feel like tagging anyone for the meme. Maybe I’m too shy.
Mom, your turn.

Well, hello, hello … I’m back in town

Oh, what am I working on? A baby blanket … all garter stitch but with a pulled-up stitch that gives it a nice pattern.
I’ve knitted this particular blanket before (for a baby girl) and the mom really liked it. She says she uses it all the time, so why mess with success? It’s from a pattern booklet I bought at JoAnn Fabric a year or so ago. The booklet contains four easy baby sets, all of them really cute.
I’m doing only the blanket (not the whole set) from the “Little Boy Blue” pattern. (I think that’s the name of it.) The last time I knitted from this pattern, I used a yummy-soft washable chenille yarn in a light shade of teal and cream. I wish I had a picture of it, it was a nice combination. This time I’m using an equally soft but more satiny acrylic yarn in blue and white, so it should look pretty much like the photo. Ya, I know, acrylic. But sometimes easy care is the most important criterion. And this is machine wash, machine dry so hopefully mom will feel like she can use it and use it.

Baby blanket pattern

I actually have several projects stacking up … some knitting, some spinning, and some things that have nothing to do with either (like gardening).
We’re getting a late start on Spring here (chilly, rainy weather). If I’m going to plant anything this year, I’m going to have to get seriously crackin’ on it! I was just visiting Princess Pea’s blog and am so envious of her garden! Lovely, lovely!

Baby boy knitting ideas?

Apologies for the lack of posting around here. Mom is out visiting family in South Dakota, and I have very little knitting-related to talk about right now. I’m still plugging away on the Show-Off Ruffle Skirt. I’ve gotten to the point where I should be decreasing for the waist, but I’ve discovered that my stitch count is off. I don’t quite know how or when that happened, but it’s not a big deal. I just need to recalculate the decreases.
Oooh, exciting, huh? Not really.
So my coworker is pregnant and has now found out she’s having a boy. That means I can probably start figuring out what to knit for him. When my other coworker had a baby, I made this:

(pattern: Mary Lou Egan’s “Lace Baby Sweater No. 33″)
I love the pattern for many reasons (probably the biggest is there are NO SEAMS) and I wanted to make it again, but it’s not particularly boy-friendly. So I’m on the lookout for a knitting project for a baby boy. Any ideas? My only real requirement is that it’s not garter stitch.
Hope you all have a fun Memorial Day weekend! I’m gearing up for some contractors to invade my house next week (nothing exciting; just some water-damage repairs from a storm we had last summer) so I have some work to do at home, but I hope to get out for a bike ride and at least one barbecue. And maybe I’ll finish my skirt so I can wear it next week?

This week’s “Fiber Fascination”

For Mother’s Day, Andrea gave me some fantastic wool fiber from Aisha Celia Designs . It’s quite an interesting mix: just a little gold metallic thread mixed in with the a wide range of reds, rose-pinks, browns to tans.
fiber for spinning
I spun up a little of it.
spun single strand
And surprise, surprise! When plyed, it’s a great match to my favorite sneakers …
2-ply strand,
… and that newly repaired beaded bag.
2-ply strand
Just looking at the fiber, I actually expected a result that was more toward pink than rose-red. But that’s one of the really fun and interesting things about spinning: you just don’t know for certain how it will look until it’s spun and plyed.
Anyway, I just love the way it’s turning out.
Thank you, Andrea.

The best laid plans …

I’m taking my long-term cat-care-provider responsibilities v-e-r-y seriously. Very seriously indeed. I’m wanting to be the best long-term cat-care-provider in the whole world! (It really eats into the knitting time, so not much to report on that front.)
So on the recommendation of Alex and Andrea, I decided to stop free-feeding (they’re a bit portly), and serve them Science Diet rather than the “grocery store” cat food delivered with them last week.
Everyone I talked to agreed: Transitioning them over the course of several days to a week is the way to do it, very important.
So after work yesterday I bought me some Science Diet … not too much, though, just in case they don’t like it or it doesn’t agree with the little darlings. And I put together a well-thought-out transition plan.
I divided out the remaining old food.
I combined it with an appropriate ratio of the new food.
I put each day’s allotment in a baggie.
I labeled them: Thurs 1:5 (new:old); Fri 2:4; Sat 3:3, Sun 4:2, Mon 5:1.
Tuesday they’d get all Science Diet.
(You know where this is going, don’t you?)
I put all the little baggies in a little brown Starbucks bag.
I closed up the bag of Science Diet.
I set the Starbuck’s bag beside the Science Diet.
I neatened up the counter.
I went and watched American Idol.
Eventually I went to bed.
This morning:
Bo, you’re so busted!
So … I think I have my answer to the question of whether the cats will like Science Diet! But, is it fact or myth that normal, healthy cats will get sick if not carefully transitioned to new food? (If it’s fact, I’ll spare you the photos!)

If you look reeeeally hard, you’ll find some knitting content

You could say I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed lately. Since my vacation, I’ve only had time to go through one day’s worth of the 900 photos. Rather than waiting until they’re all done, I thought I’d show the photos I have ready so far.
They’re from our half-day in Dublin, when we first arrived in Ireland. We wandered around the city, saw the Book of Kells
(very impressive), strolled through St. Stephen’s Green (sort of Dublin’s equivalent to Central Park), window-shopped Grafton Street, and got a peek at the Dublin Spire, which was near our B&B.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.
We were quite jetlagged so we didn’t really do much that day. The next day, we left Dublin behind (until the last part of our trip), and we took a bus across Ireland to Galway, on the West coast. I was enchanted with Galway. Maybe when I have time to go through some more of my photos and post them here, you will see why.
In the meantime, instead of finishing with my photos I’m trying to finish staining and sealing our bedroom closet door before I go out of town on Wednesday. I didn’t realize I’d chosen an oil-based stain and that it would require far more time to dry than a water-based stain. So once you factor in drying times, I will just barely have enough days to get this done before I leave on my work trip to California. Nothing like trying to get ready for a business trip and having to finish up a home improvement project at the same time.
Still, it’s spring and it feels good to be busy beautifying my house and getting things done. I have big plans for fixing up our house this summer. Probably nothing dramatic, as far as most people are concerned, but neither Brad nor I are very handy, so every little bit seems like a major accomplishment.
And if you’re still reading this far, I guess I’d better throw in a knitting update. I have actually had a little time to work on the Show-Off Ruffle Skirt. Once I finished the bobble section and dropped all the stitches, the project has gone from agonizingly slow to lighting fast. At this rate, I’ll be done in no time!