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Monday, January 29, 2007

Sweater progress and how do you drive these things?!

Tubey is coming along pretty well. I've decided that instead of trying to get a skein of black yarn to make the center stripe, I just extended the two color stripes that were on either side of where the black stripe was supposed to go. Normally there would be a black stripe in between the dark blue and light blue stripes. I think it looks fine. Now I'm nearly half way done. :)

Here's a close up of some of the stitches so you can see the colors a bit better:


Oh I can't wait to finish this! I'm a bit worried though about the bind off. See... I need it to be really stretchy and I knit kind of tight. If I go to larger needles, I wonder if that will give me enough stretch. Of course, I could bind it off like I do socks. That makes them pretty stretchy but it doesn't look that great. I'm just not really sure of what to do. I'll need to figure it out soon because at this rate, I'll probably finish it soon.

I dropped off the Jeep to get the repairs done and got my rental car. They gave me this:

Holy crap! Who can drive these things? Certainly not me. I hit the brake pedal three times when I instinctively went for the clutch. It steers like a bus and doesn't exactly turn on a dime. :P Funny enough, it was the smallest vehicle they had. I can't imagine them giving me like a Durango or something along those sizes! :O I'm just so happy I got it into the lines on the first try. *laugh* As you can see, I parked all the way at the top of the deck so I wouldn't have to worry about being near anyone else's car.

In response to comments:

LaBean said: Tubey's comin along nice!! Finish this!!

Yes Ma'am! ;)

I could have sworn you finished I DO.. My mind's eye tells me there's an FO pic with YOU in it...

Nope. I have a pic of me with half of it on. *laugh* But I will finish it soon. I pinky swear!

But I know what you mean about projects that go by the wayside.. I have a few of my own I'd rather not talk about

Oh yeah. We ain't talkin' bout those Cut Your Teeth socks. Nu-uh. I won't talk about them. :P I just keep them in a box.... in the closet. *hangs head in shame*

Ragan said: Hey...my list looks like that too. heh heh. I think that I have more things that I want to make than I can make. And...you have to come down and visit...I actually have a yarn stash now.

O_O You do?! Oh yeah, I'll have to come on down now. Tee hee!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I've got more UFO's than Roswell, New Mexico!

Well I decided to get out all the UFO's I have and see where I stand. It's pretty sad ya'll.

I have:

I Do.
A tank top from Creative Knitting.
Cut Your Teeth Socks. (I can't believe I have a pair of socks I haven't finished!)
A baby blanket from 7 Day Afghans (been almost a year!)
A scarf for Eric that should have been done two Yules ago. (*hangs head in shame*)

I'd take pictures... but the shame is too great. Shame, shame, shame. :P

So this begs the question... why can't I focus? I know that we knitters love to just dive into new yarns and new patterns. But why can't we stick with a project that when we started it, we were just nuts for? Where did the love go? Was it that last slipped stitch that was the final straw? Was it that last k2tbl that put you over the top? I tried to pick all of them up last night.. but I just couldn't do it. They were mocking me. I could hear it. I Do said: "Oh yeah... you were gonna add beads to me. Yup. So pretty. All the beads are done... why can't you finish and then block me huh?" The baby blanket said "You know that baby you were knitting this for? Yeah well she's gonna be two years old soon you know." The Cut Your Teeth Socks had nothing to say to me and the scarf for Eric just laughed and laughed.

I will make this vow. You know...the same one I have made before... but a bit different this time. ;) I vow to complete one UFO a month. Starting next month. (yeah, that's the ticket.)

In response to comments:

Anonymous said (with regards to the unknown bird in this post):
Its a coopers hawk

Thanks! I'll look up stuff on them now. :)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Holy fuck! Is Bush still in office?!

You can imagine that question crossing my mind when I saw this the other day:

I couldn't believe it. I haven't seen gas this 'cheap' in years. It's still nearly $0.25 more expensive in Chapel Hill though. One of the benefits of living in a tiny town. Of course this would affect my heating bill too... if I had one. We finally called PSNC Energy to cancel our gas service. Of course they were surprised we would be doing that in the winter. When I told them it was because they wouldn't finance us with a new HVAC unit the gal said: "Oh. Well thank you anyway." *laugh* On the good side, we'll be getting back nearly $150 from them for a deposit we had had to put down. That's always nice. That will go toward the electric bill to pay for the space heater. :P

I've made some more progress on Tubey as well. See...:

Yeah it's a crap photo but I kind of took it right before I was running out the door this morning on my way to work so I really didn't have a chance to set it up nicely. I figured you would all want to see some progress. :) Oh and it's official. I'm going to run out of black yarn. Damn. I'll have to call Ragan to see if she has a skein I can snag from her. If not... I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I don't really have the funds to order another skein and well... I really want to finish this sweater. Maybe I'll finish it off with different colored stripes. *shrug* I'll figure something out. :)

In response to comments:

Mouse said: awww! My cat wanted to go out this morning onto the deck until she realized it was covered in a sheet of ice and that it was about 20 degrees out.

Fang is not an outside kitty, only Trouble enjoys it outside and she was in no mood! Not with that snow out there.

Janna said: Cute! And what would she do if you opened the door? Would she want to go outside?

That is a negative Ghost Writer. The one time I took her outside on a leash... she broke the harness, and bolted for the house (thankfully instead of the road) and has refused to go outside ever since.

Helen said: that is so, SO sweet. not being an animal-owner, i have never seen such a thing, nor even imagined a kitty getting so excited about something she's never seen. oh, thank you for sharing!

Oh no problem. I'm always happy to talk about pussy! ;)

Batty said: So cute! I used to live in upstate NY too. A lot of our free time was spent watching snow.

Tell me about it. I'm pretty sure that was the first 24 years of my life...

Bezzie said: Ha ha! Too cute! It's those little things that make cat rearing all the sweeter!

Oh yeah. Especially this animal along with her big sister. We refer to Trouble and Fang as Princess Headbutt and The Instigator. :P

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Fang's First Snow

It happened last night... a rarity for North Carolina. It snowed. Fang woke me up this morning... her tail whipping back and forth excitedly, pawing at my arm and meowing at me to wake up. I thought it was because she wanted some crunchies (cat treats) but it was because she wanted me to see the snow. (Sorry about the blurry photos.)

As I stood there looking at her eagerly pawing at the glass of the door and meowing at the flakes (purring the whole time) I realized that even though she is two and a half years old, this is the first time she's seen snow. The last time it snowed, she was still in the shelter, in a cage. Then last year, it didn't snow at all. I went over and scratched her ears while she gazed at the snow.

It was so cute to see her sitting there. It reminded me of being little, living in Upstate New York and doing the same thing... my nose pressed against the cold glass, watching the snow fall.

I'll bet you anything, she's still looking out that window when I get home tonight.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Lazy weekend

It's been a lazy weekend at chez urbanpagan. Pretty much Trouble and I had the same thing in mind all weekend:

Racked out on the futon, not doing a damn thing.

The weather has been rather clement, thankfully, so we've not had to worry about heat. Although there was one night where there was a bit of a cold snap. I had to crank the new space heater than night. Fang was so happy too:

I guess her paws and her nose were cold...

While things like the dishes and the laundry did suffer a bit, I did get a lot of knitting done. I even finished the sleeves on Tubey. Here's a shot from the front:

And one from the back:

I'm making it in the large since I've got big hips and wide shoulders. I think the sleeves fit nearly perfectly! I started on the body as well. Picking up all those stitches was a bit of a bitch. Tip one for all knitters with cats... when laying your current project on the ground to pick up stitches, it is best to feed your cats something truly stinky that they love so they will not bother you and allow you to blast expletives at the top of your lungs and pick up all your stitches without twisting your work. I'm doing this every time from now on. It's so much easier than pushing cats off your work and losing count of how many stitches you have picked up...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Atta' Boy!

Last week I posted about my husband, Eric, and about how he's a flight attendant. Well on Friday, on his way off the plane, he was handed a letter stating that for all of the flight attendants in PSA, for the year 2006, he was rated number 1 for on-time departures. It got him two extra days off with pay. :D (He was shocked. I guess it was completely unexpected...) So he's been home for three days now. It's so nice. It's a rarity that he's home for more than two days at a time.

In interesting schtuff, I saw this the other day:

I can't tell if it's a red tailed hawk or a falcon, but either way, it was sitting on the rail of the visitor's parking deck of the hospital. I walk through that deck on my way to where my car is parked. He sat there for quite some time. Ruffled his wings a bit. Looked around like he was surveying his domain and then flew off. Such a sight! I wsh I had gotten a better pciture though. I was about 10 or fifteen feet from him and it was just that right light where I was worried to use my flash and scare him off. Isn't he just lovely? I wonder if he's got a nest nearby. It's not uncommon to see them near the highway and near my home, but I've never seen one near the hospital.

Well this is a short post because I just got back from the eye clinic and well... my pupils must still be dialating because it's getting a bit hard to see. Tae Kwon Do class is gonna be fun tonight! :P

Friday, January 05, 2007

Hell of a start to the new year.

Well it was Saturday that we noticed the heater wasn't working properly. For some reason, it would kick on, run for a minute or two and then shut off. So Eric went outside to poke at the machine and while I was standing there next to him, we both realized we could smell gas. So he closed the valve and called the gas company. Lo and behold, we did indeed have a leak.

But this didn't fix our heating problem. The damn thing still wouldn't kick on. So I called a technician out to the house. $150 later he tells me we need a new heat exchanger. The one we have now has cracks and holes in it and most likely the reason it would run for a bit and then kick off was because there were flames shooting out of it. Did I mention the biggest crack was only about two feet from where the gas had been leaking? O_O

So three estimates of $6900, $7200, and $8900 later, we obviously can not afford to get a new HVAC unit installed. So yes it's January and we have no heat. But... it's not all bad. Yes the house is about 50 degrees in the morning right now, but that will change soon. First off, the weather has been rather clement and well, we just got paid today so we're going to go buy a couple space heaters. I found some really good ones for really cheap at Lowe's Home Improvement and well, with our house being as small as it is, we won't need but two or three.

I guess this means I need to finish that sweater huh? :P And maybe some more socks. Speaking of which, here's the pair I am working on now:

I love Knitpicks yarn. :)

In other news, check out this pic of Eric:

If he looks bleary-eyed it's because he is. This was taken in the airport at about 5am while he and the Captain and First Officer were waiting for their plane to arrive so they could start their day. That means he's already been awake for an hour and a half by then and has a full day of work ahead of him. One of the flight attendants known as a Check Flight Attendant saw Eric sitting there and asked him to hold the sign for the picture. Check Flight Attendants make sure that flight attendants are doing their jobs properly, and they make sure that flight attendants like Eric pass their certifications and are able to fly. :) So if you are ever flying a US Airways Express flight (little 50 or seventy seater) on the east coast, run by PSA and you see this guy... he'll be friendly to your knitting and may even talk to you about it if he's got the time. And don't ask for coffee in heavy turbulence. If he says it's too bumpy to hand out scalding liquids... trust his judgement... it's too bumpy to hand out scalding liquids. I really don't understand why people fight him on this. But then people fight him a lot. You should hear some of the things people 'ask' of him (it's more like demand of him). They will make you laugh and shake your head. People, he's there to make sure you make it off the plane alive if there is an emergency. He's not your personal bitch boy. (I married him. He's my personal bitch boy!) But you'd be surprised how many people think he is. Next time you fly, take a look at how people treat the flight attendants. You'll be surprised. :P

In response to comments:

Helen said: yes, fondue will go greatly with game playing. my friend got one shaped like a hershey kiss, hehe. we will have fun using it. yours....plugs in though? like a crock pot? cool!

Shaped like a Hershey Kiss? That's awesome! Yeah, ours plugs in but we can also use a solid fuel on it as well. It's pretty neat. I can't wait to use it. :)

Mouse said: Husband and I bought some board games this year too..

Kewl! Which ones? I'm always on the lookout for new games.

(With regards to the sock monkey wine cozy)

Thanks to everyone that thought it was nice. I was really worried she wouldn't like it. :P

Molly said: Adorable! I hope you got in a "touch my monkey" joke.

LMAO! I didn't even think of that! *snaps fingers*

Okies, off to work on my sock I go. It's lunch time!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Ah Yule... gotta love it.

Oh we had a good Yule this year. No we didn't have many gifts or much money but you know what... it was still great! There was definitely some excitement in the air. The cats helped me with the wrapping of the gifts the day before:

Apparently, attacking the wrapping paper helps in some way. (I'm still not sure how that is... but she was determined to attack... er, help.)

Right up until the day, the kitties were constantly sleeping under the tree. They even brought a toy mousie with them too:

That morning, right when we woke up, Eric wished me Happy Yule and then said: "So let's go open our presents!" He was like a little boy! You should have seen him. He went flying up the stairs. :)

Even the kitties were excited. See:

Well Fang was. Trouble was lounging in the rising sun. So the first gift we opened was for the kitties:

Tuna! Trouble is so happy. Can you tell?

That was Eric's idea. Of course I ran with it... Like he said, everyone has to have a gift under the tree!

Then it was Eric's turn (and Trouble helped him unwrap it):

(You can see her in the back, still attacking the ribbon, now wrapped around her belly.) Ah, Memoir 44. He was soooooooooooo happy! We played -all- day. We gave the kitties their tuna and then they promptly passed out with full bellies and let us play.

Here we are all set up for the first battle in the game: Pegasus Bridge. I can say with pride that the Allies were victorious! (I played the Allied Forces.)

It is such an easy game to set up and you can play with as few as two players. It's one of the reasons we really wanted it. I think we've played almost 11 games so far and he's only been home four days. *laugh*

We saved the rest of the presents for opening the next day because we were having a Yule dinner with friends. It was originally supposed to be on Yule, but there were some schedule conflicts and well... you know how it goes. We did open one gift we got for ourselves the day of the dinner, just because it was part of the dinner decorations:

It's amazing how nice candles can look on a table. :)

Eric made a pork roast this time. A pork butt to be exact. He used the McCormick rub again (for pork), put it in a roasting bag, and poured a family sized can of condensed cream of mushroom soup over the top:

We also made cheesy rice, gravy, and Eric's carrots like he made at Thanksgiving. Our friends, Ulysses, Maura, Nate and Alesia came over. And they all brought good food. Ulysses brought the most amazing looking (and tasty!) cake. Maura brought a salad with a personal recipe for vinaigrette dressing, and Nate and Alesia brought some yummy potato salad. Check out the spread!:

Of course we all pigged out. But before we actually got to all that, we opened gifts! :)

We started off with Maura because well, she was closest to the camera:

Some silver earrings which she promptly put on. I was so happy they looked good on her. :)

Then we moved to Alesia. She's 18 weeks pregnant in the photo (I don't know if you can tell) but of course this means she can't drink alcohol, so we tried to get her the next best thing. Coffee with liquor flavors! She and Nate love coffee:

Yes, the bow on her forehead is for you Ragan. :)

Then it was Eric's turn:

His brother Joel sent us this game of UNO Attack which Maura just loves! You can see her hand pointing on the right side of the picture as she yelled, "Ooo! Ooo! Ooo! I love that game!"

Then it was Ulysses' turn:

I'd have a better picture of his gift, (A copy of Treehouse) but my ability to use a camera that day was obviously not up to snuff. I took a picture with the camera strap in the way! *smacks forehead!* He's moving to Cape Town, South Africa at the end of January so we wanted to get him something that would travel well. :)

Then it was my turn:

(yes, the oh so sexy, tongue out while concentrating picture.... thanks Eric!)

A copy of Jungle Speed. Another great game that I've been wanting for some time.

But wait, there was more:

Ticket to Ride: Europe. I love this game too! It's got some pretty crazy strategy and it's lots of fun. We ended up playing it that night. As you can see here:

Lots of fun!

Then it was back to Eric. We didn't realize Ulysses had brought us something too!:

A fondue pot and fondue cookbook with some really great recipes in it. We're going to get so much use out of it! Especially with all these great new games we got. :)

After that is when we all went downstairs and pigged out. Then Ulysses brought out the cake. Look at this thing:

It's a castle filled with fruit!

While we played and yelled and ate, the cats changed positions to under the tree:

Too cute.

A good series of days all around. Eric left on Christmas Day to head to work and he said the airport was pretty busy and he had some of the worst turbulence he'd had all year. But he said his five flights that day were pretty calm. Me, I stayed home and rested until he got back on the 27th. It was a pretty lazy vacation... I loved every minute of it!

I'll respond to comments some other time... I've let this post go on long enough. :P