31 January 2011

Fire & Ice Fingerless Mitts

Quick health update: I officially have "post-nasal nastiness," which may or may not have caused a bronchitis, which is to say that she (the nurse practitioner that I saw) isn't as convinced as I am that I have bronchitis, although she admitted it's a possibility, and she further admitted that the post-nasal nastiness irritates the bronchials and causes the coughing.  How this isn't a bronchitis, I'm unsure, but whatev.

Anyway, she gave me a magic cough medication that she assured me will knock me out (YES! I get to sleep!  FINALLY!), and told me to only take it at bedtime.  I told her I'm unemployed and I intend to take it all day so I can sleep.  She then questioned me thoroughly about whether I have children, dogs that need walking, etc., which I thought was funny.  I assured her I have only a cat and we can both sleep the day away together.  I promised the health update would be quick, so that's all for now.  More tomorrow.

So - the fingerless mitts.  The pattern (as I said earlier) is called Fire & Ice, and it's a free Ravelry download.  I was struck by all the cables.  I liked how there was one cabling pattern on the backside of the hand and another cabling pattern on the palm and forearm.  I also liked that the pattern came with both a charted version and written instructions, as I love charts.

Of course, this proved to be one exception where I ended up following the written instructions.  One thing that was nice about this pattern was that you could choose to do the "short" version or the "long" version.  The short version is purported to be 8" long and the long version is supposed to be 13-14" long.  Then, of course, you can choose to do a small, medium, or large, depending on your hand size.  It's kind of like a "choose your own adventure" of knitting.

Overall, I liked this pattern.  It was well-written, and (like I said) I ended up following the written directions rather than the chart.  The chart didn't use conventional notations, and thus it ended up being a little confusing.  Also, because of the "choose your own adventure" nature of the pattern, you ended up jumping around in the pattern, which is not noted in the chart (which is also understandable because it would clutter up the chart quite a bit).  So it just ended up being easier to follow the written instructions.

I did find it annoying a couple of times when it told me to "Repeat Row 15" when the directions for row 15 were two pages ago.  Would it have killed the designer to have copied and pasted the directions?  I'm busying cabling!

The yarn I used was a wonderful cashmere, baby alpaca, merino blend.  It's called Lana Vida, and this is the Hannah line, which is a worsted weight yarn.  It's the charcoal colourway, which is a wonderful dark grey.  It's soft and smooshy, and for you Philly locals, Loop has lots of it in several other colours.

30 January 2011


I am still sick.  Mom has talked me into getting up early tomorrow to get an urgent care appointment.  We both suspect I have bronchitis.  I have moderate asthma (I take three daily meds for my asthma), so I'm particularly susceptible to bronchitis, and I've been coughing nearly nonstop for 11 days now.  Plus, it'd be lovely to be able to sleep.  And the production levels of sputum are simply fantastic.

I finished "The Inner Circle" by Brad Meltzer.  It is awesome.  Go read it.  I also got either amazingly bored or amazingly literary-minded and put about five books on hold at the library.  This includes about two inter-library loan requests.  Never mind the fact that there's currently a book at the library now with my name on it that I have yet to retrieve because of the weather and my health.

I also finished the fingerless mitts.  Well, technically, I still have four ends to weave in, but they will be woven in by the end of tonight.  I will try VERY hard to get pics of them and blog about them tomorrow.

Other than that, today was all about the Winter X Games.  My mom SERIOUSLY needs to get a TiVo or a DVR.  I had to call her about every ten minutes as she tried to juggle the X Games, the Hallmark movie, and the Pro Bowl game.  She wanted to know when certain athletes went down the superpipe.  Keep in mind, though, that when they go, it takes all of ten seconds - and that's if they last the entire run.  Dude.  She needs help.

29 January 2011

Knitting: Back in the Saddle

One of the Ravelry groups I'm in does monthly knit-a-longs (KALs) for fingerless gloves. Although I joined the group last year, I spent most of last year throwing the patterns in my Raverly queue (a list of patterns I want to do) rather than participating in the KALs. Well, since one of my goals this year is to stash bust, I decided that I should actually participate in some of the KALs, but only if I had the yarn in my stash.

I fell in love with the pattern that had been selected for January, as it had all kinds of cabled goodness. And, as luck would have it, I had yarn for it, too! I started out strong, and the first mitt flew off the needles. The second mitt was on the needles in quick succession, because the pattern was so much fun. (Don't worry, there'll be more on the pattern itself when I post the FO pics.) But when I got sick a week and a half ago, there was no way I was doing any knitting. I was barely doing any reading.

In fact, I had to put down the newest release by my favourite author (shameless plug - "The Inner Cirle" by Brad Meltzer - go read it now) because I was getting to the end and I couldn't understand it. When I complained to my friend Kirsten about this, she suggested it was time for mindless reading. So I knew I had been right to not bother to pick up knitting that had two different cabled patterns in it (or knitting that involved counting at all).

But today was the first day that I felt like I might be able to handle some knitting. It took FOREVER. Seriously. It took me about 3 hours to do 21 rows (of 44 stitches each). But I did it! I still have to do the thumb gusset on each mitt, so that's the goal for tomorrow, since I'm supposed to finish the pair in January. Two thumb gussets and block these suckers.

Wish me luck!

28 January 2011

My mom, the comedian

Last night, Mom tole me I'd wake up this morning feeling perfect. When I woke up this morning still feeling half-dead, I called her first thing.

Me: I'm still sick.
Mom: No, you're not.
Me: I'm not?
Mom: Nope. Mind over matter.
Me: Why didn't you tell me that a week ago?
Mom: I thought you'd figure it out.
Me: Why don't come here and take care of me?
Mom: I told you last night - I'm getting my hair cut today.

I called her later that day.

Me: Tell me a funny story.
Mom: Why?
Me: Because that's what moms do when their daughters are sick. They tell them funny stories to keep them entertained.
Mom: But I don't know any funny stories.
Me: Make one up.
Mom: Um... Okay. Joey Logano (her favourite active NASCAR driver) was a cute, handsome -
Me: Okay, Mom. That's definitely made up, but it's not FUNNY.
Mom: Oh, okay. Weeeell. How about this: Tony Stewart will win the Daytona 500 this year.

Sorry, Ria, but it DID make me laugh.

After tonight's X Games ended, I called Mom to do the post-games wrap-up. We talked for a bit, and I ended with "Did you think of a funny story for me yet?" She said she hadn't. I scolded her, telling her she had ALL DAY to think of one. Then I made her listen to me cough for about ten minutes in hopes of making her feel guilty for not coming over to take care of me (it didn't work).

I told her to tell me a story about Grandpa (her dad; he died when I was four). She said he wasn't funny. I said there had to be at least one funny story about him, and then she started laughing. She said one when they were water-skiing, he decided to let go of the rope, and he was going to come up on the dock. But he missed and hit the middle of the diving board instead.

27 January 2011

Winter X Games

(Otherwise known as the period of time during which I shouldn't call my mom unless it's during a commercial.)

This is the period of time during which my mom and I start speaking our special language. We start speaking of backflip heel-clickers, McTwists, and Michalchuks.

We discuss which is cooler - the superpipe, the boarder cross, or speed and style events.

We argue over who (if anyone) will dethrone Shaun White.

Mostly, though, we like to have fun watching the athletes compete for the fun of it. Sure, they have sponsors to please, they would all love to win, and they trained hard to get where they are. But you'll also see ALL of them cheer each other on. You'll see the most sportmanship at the X games than at any other sporting event I've ever watched, and they're really there just to have fun and represent their respective sports.

What's not to love?

26 January 2011

There's this gravestone in New Orleans...

My mom's husband Dale has a habit of telling the same stories over and over again. When he starts, Mom looks and me and we giggle. Sometimes, under our breath, we finish the story before he does. And we can do this because he has this habit of stopping at random points in a story and making you think the story is over. You may even start to reply. But as you do, he'll start talking again, and you'll realise he's finishing the story.

One of his stories is about a gravestone in New Orleans (and each story is told basically the same way each time). It says "I told you I was sick." The most recent time this story came up was when I was home this past Christmas, and we were talking about my ongoing lower GI issues (don't worry, no details here). I said that every doctor was convinced it wasn't in their speciality but that every doctor agreed SOMETHING was wrong. So I was just going to wait until I died and put "I TOLD YOU SO!" on my marker. Cue the story. "You know, there this gravestone in New Orleans..."

Since last Thursday, I've had a cold. It didn't start out too bad, and I was hoping that maybe I'd get to attend the two events I had planned for this past Tuesday (a friend's thesis defence and my favourite author was appearing at the local library), but alas, it was not meant to be. And the past 24 hours of this cold have been downright vicious. Last night, I didn't well because I was coughing so much. This morning I napped fitfully because of all the coughing. I tried to nap again in the afternoon, but again with the coughing. The coughing fits are so vicious that I end up gagging and dry heaving (sorry). My back, sides, and abdomen hurt from all the coughing. And I can't breathe, which seems problematic.

So I called Mom to ask her if anyone had ever died from a cold. She told me no. Go to bed, lay on my stomach, and I'd be better soon (this is a long-standing inside joke). We didn't talk long since she got tired of hearing me gagging (she's always been an empathetic one), but we were on the phone long enough for this:

Me: So, you're sure I'm not going die?
Mom: YES.
Me: Okay. But, you know...
Mom: What?
Me: There's this gravestone in New Orleans...
Mom: And it says "I told you I was sick?"
Me: You got it.
Mom (laughing): I love you, honey. Bye!
Me: Love you, too. G'night.

I then called my friend Med Student, who told me people CAN die from cold, but they're usually old and immunocompromised, neither of which I am. I relayed this to Mom later, and she said, "So I was right; colds don't kill people. The heart attack that the cold gives the people kills them. Or when they're coughing and they fall down the stairs, THAT kills them. But the cold itself didn't do it."

Moms. They always gotta be right.

25 January 2011

My Missouri Home

Some of you have heard me talk about my mom and how she has an eBay store with American Girl doll clothes and accessories.  The eBay store is mostly doll sheets since AG sells doll beds but no sheets (those poor dolls!).  For some reason, she sells the doll clothes better at craft fairs, but the sheets sell better online.

This is a picture of her clothing inventory:

I'm showing you that picture first because I had to walk through the inventory storeroom to get to my "bedroom" in the basement (that's a long story for another day).  When I got the airbed that my mom got for me for this visit, I had a surprise.  The bed was already occupied:

For those of you who aren't NASCAR fans, that's Michael Waltrip (more commonly known as Mikey), Mom's favourite driver, who is now semi-retired.  And that's one of four (yes, FOUR) life-sized, stand-up, cardboard, cut-outs that she owns of him.  I also wish that I could say that this is the only picture that our family has of him in bed.  The other one may or may not be of Mom beside him.

This is Mom's older dog, Sasha.  Her full name is Sasha Tory.  Tory is short for Tornado.  She is an orphan dog, and her parents were victims of the Missouri 2006 tornadoes.  She's a pomeranian.  Mom always swore she wouldn't get a pom because they yap too much.  Guess what she hates most about Sasha.

But here's one of Sasha's cutest tricks.  When we come home, Sasha likes to "hide."  We have to say, "Where did Sasha go?" and "Where's Sasha?" and "Oooh, I found Sasha!!!" before she'll wiggle out of her hiding place.

Because Sasha actually likes Dale (Mom's husband) more than she likes Mom (when Dale goes hunting, Sasha will sit at the front door for days waiting for Dale to return), after New Dog died, Mom wanted to get a dog who liked her.  I tried to explain that she couldn't just place an ad for "cute dog who will like me," but Mom lucked out and actually got a dog who adores her.  She got a part-pom/part-shih tzu.  Here's a picture of Mikie (yep, you guessed it - named after her favourite NASCAR driver):

And that's a mini-tour of my Missouri home.

24 January 2011

Really! I'm not THAT old!

The day before my birthday this year, I got a solicitation for a Hoveround. I called my mom to ask if she was the one who had put me on the mailing list, but she denied being the culprit and said she hadn't thought of it.

When I called my sister for her birthday on Thursday, I told her about it (she's several years older than I am), and she told me that on her 25th birthday, she got an advert to join the Older Women's League. Again, she couldn't figure out which of her friends had signed her up, but she knew one of them was behind it.

But, see, in both cases, we think the joke is actually on them. I got to looking at the advert for the Hoveround and it's actually kind of nifty. There's a cupholder in the armrest and just behind that is a place for a totebag. So I can drink and drive AND always have my knitting handy! And I figured out that if I start socking away ten bucks a month now for my Hoveround, by the time I actually need one, I'll be able to get a really GOOD one. Laura said I'll be able to upgrade to the Audi of Hoverounds while all you will be rolling around in the Hondas.

Meanwhile, she actually joined OWL. She figured that if she investing in OWL then, "they'd have their shit together by the time [she] got to the age [she] actually needed them." And, in her words, "this is what happens when you try to play jokes on Capricorns who are over-achievers and have their shit together! We'll show them!"

Well, this was all fun and games until today. In today's mail I got a letter from a law firm informing me that if the hip replacement I had received wasn't going well, I could join a class action law suit.

Seriously, people, I'M NOT THAT OLD!

23 January 2011

Where have I been?

visited 46 states (92%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

As I was saying a few days ago, our summer vacations were usually centred around Coca-Cola conventions. Each year, the week-long convention took place in a different city in the U.S. Since Mom was a teacher, we had the summer off, and we could have a summer-long road trip.

We'd plan our road trip around where the convention was, which accounts for why I've been to most of the states. We can't figure out how we missed South Carolina, but neither of us can remember being there, either. Same with Vermont.

One of the more memorable trips was when we went to California (from Missouri) by way of Florida.

Perhaps in the coming days (and when I'm fighting to stay away through a nasty cold), I'll talk about some of the adventures we had.

22 January 2011

I have a speshul cat

During the months when the radiators aren't on, I usually cover the one in the living room with a towel so Felix can sit on it and still look out the window.  In the fall/winter months, though, I remove the towel so the heat can come out of radiator.  However, Felix has apparently decided that the lack of towel is no reason to not sit on the radiator anyway.  But instead of sitting on the radiator and looking out the window, he sits on the radiator and rests his head on the couch cushion to either nap, watch television, or keep an eye on me.

But this isn't why he's a speshul snowflake.  I was talking to the woman who owns a local pet shop just two blocks from my house about Felix's odd litter box habits, in the hopes that she would say to me, "Oh, yeah, the reason cats do that is because..." but, no.  Here's what happened instead:

I explained to her that Felix tends to use his litter box, and then hop out of it and randomly scratch at the litter mat or the lip of the litter box or the walls, in the apparent hope that this will cover what he's just done.  (Now, apparently, THIS part isn't so unusual.  But the NEXT part is.)

I then explained to her that before he uses his litter box, he will spend a great deal of time digging a hole.  This hole has to be the right size, the right shape, and in the right place.  And then he will sometimes abandon the hole and jump out of the box.  Then he will come back to the box and some point in time and dig an entirely new hole.  Again, right size, right shape, right place.  He then puts his FRONT paws in the hole, and does his business - not in the hole -  but wherever his hind end is while his front paws are in the hole!

I asked Courtney, the pet shop owner, if she had explanation for this, and her only answer (as she laughed), "I think you have a speshul cat."

21 January 2011

When authors change it up

I just finished a book yesterday by an author I normally like very much.  I've read all of her books except one.  And that book I started, but it went back to the library after two chapters because she had amusement park clowns coming to life and talking to people.  And when one has a clown phobia, this is NOT what one wants to be reading about.  Particularly when one does the bulk of her reading in bed just as she's falling asleep.

This author is known for writing fun, flirty, humorous romance novels.  But the one I finished yesterday was very different.  I had an idea it was a bit different from the cover art, but I didn't know HOW different.  This was very dark, and it involved a lot of paranormal stuff.

When I talked to my sister last night for her birthday (we talked on the phone for five hours and 49 minutes!), she told me that the book was meant to be a modernised The Turn of the Screw.  My sister Laura also likes this author and reads her blog, so she was up on what this novel was supposed to be, whereas I was totally surprised by it.  Laura hadn't read The Turn of the Screw before, so she read it before reading this book (which she hasn't read yet, so we couldn't discuss the book in detail).

I think had someone handed me the book and said, "Read this; I think you'll like it," I may have liked it more.  But since it was a book by an author I enjoy and who has written several books that generally fit neatly into one category, I've come to expect certain things from her.  And when she changed up that formula by a LOT, it really didn't meet the expectations I had.

It got my sister and I to talking about other authors who change things up.  We understand that authors get into a certain groove and then feel the need to stretch creatively, but it's a little unsettling for their fans sometimes.  For instance, with Laura Lippman, I ADORE her Tess Monaghan series.  While I also like her stand-alone books, I miss Tess when Lippman isn't tending to her.

A particularly egregious offence was Sue Grafton, who lost me at "S" and "T" when she started playing around with non-linear storytelling and multiple narratives, respectively.  Why do the same type of writing style in a series for 18 books and then suddenly switch styles, beginning with the 19th book?  (And, for God's sake, if you're going to switch, make it to a style that doesn't bug the ever-loving crap out of me!)  If you really feel the need to do something different, perhaps write a stand-alone book that has nothing to do with a beloved series that has clearly served you well, where readers have come to expect something in particular.

So, what about you?  Does it bother you when authors change things up?  Or are you more forgiving of writers then I am? 

20 January 2011

Remembering Jerry Mathis

All of my childhood vacations were centred around Coca-Cola conventions.  My mom collected Coca-Cola memorabilia, and we were members of the Coca-Cola Collectors Club International (and the local chapter, Mid-America Coca-Cola Collectors Club; we were Big MACC, until McDonald's wrote us a nasty letter).  If you ever visit my mom's house, you'll see that our full-sized basement is set up like a town square (complete with Astro-turf in the middle to simulate a park).  We have store fronts going around the perimeter of the basement, and each store front represents a different subset of the collection.

As you might imagine, when one goes to such week-long conventions, one meets colourful personalities.  One such personalities was Jerry Mathis.  Although I lived in Missouri at the time, and he and his wife Audrae lived in Kansas, I rarely saw them at the local chapter meetings.  But I always saw them at the national conventions.  He always wore these red long johns - the old-fashioned, footed kind with the butt-flap in Coca-Cola red.  He would usually do some kind of dance and lower the butt flap, and reveal a Coca-Cola patch or something.

His training was a paediatrician, and, of course, he was great with children.  He was also rumoured to have a bit of an alcohol issue, but, of course, as a child, I only heard rumblings about this, and I saw only that he raised his voice every once in awhile and this wife would lead him away saying, "Now, Jerry..."

Where is this blog post going?

Well, Mom just called me.  Jerry Mathis passed away in December.  As happens, it sometimes takes awhile for news to travel through the Coke grapevine, especially since Mom and I aren't especially plugged into it anymore (certain circumstances caused us to estrange ourselves from it when I was 17).  He suddenly got tired in summer or fall, and eventually went to Mayo Clinic for a diagnosis.  He had a rare and aggressive form of ALS (aka Lou Gehrig's disease).  He was told he had two months to live.  Exactly two months later, he died.

Mom asked me if I remembered Jerry Mathis.  "Sure, the guy in the red long johns!"  She kind of chuckled.  Then she told me the news.  Then she told me that he had asked to be cremated in his red long johns.  While I'm sad that he passed away, it makes me happy that I remembered him in a way that was apparently very meaningful to him.

19 January 2011

Taco Soup

Taco Soup with Pinto Beans

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
3 14-oz. cans pinto beans
14-oz. can tomatoes with chilies
14-1/2-oz. can chopped tomatoes
15-oz can tomato sauce
1 pkg. dry Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
1 pkg. dry taco seasoning
15-1/4-oz. can corn, drained

1. Brown beef and onions in skillet, drain.
2. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker.
3. Cover. Cook on low four hours, or until ingredients are heated through.

18 January 2011

The Cozy Chicks

Those of you who follow me on goodreads know that I've been making my way through a bunch of cozy mysteries lately.  For those not familiar with the genre, cozies are a specific subset of mysteries, and while people tend to have their own definitions (and your mileage may vary), here's my definition: cozies are mysteries where the protagonist is generally an amateur PI/detective.  There won't be a lot of gore or violence; any murders usually take place "backstage" and then are stumbled upon.  And loose ends are all tied up by the end of the book.  No sinister partners still lurking around to scare the good citizens of Village Whatever.

So, back to my story now...

I originally got turned on to one cozy series by Kate Collins, the Flower Shop Mysteries.  As the name implies, these cozies are set around a flower shop.  Specifically, Bloomers, which is run by Abby, who flunked out of law school and subsequently became a florist.  As in most cozies, she isn't really a private investigator of any kind, she just sort of stumbles into these mysteries and then always manages to have some kind of motivation for solving them.

But what's really clever is that several cozy writers have banded together to form this nifty site: The Cozy Chicks.  Among other things, there's a daily blog.  Each writer is responsible for writing in the blog on a certain day.  For instance, Kate Collins is "The Monday Chick."  And Maggie Sefton (who some of you knitters/crocheters may recognize as the author of the Knitting Mystery series) is "The Tuesday Chick."

They have some great perks there, too.  Each month, they have a random drawing from those who have commented on their blog posts.  The winner gets a $10 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble.  And the more times you reply, the better your chances to win!  Also, they have a link on their site for you to email them to get a free bookmark.  When I emailed, I expected to just get a simple bookmark "Who Are the Cozy Chicks?" bookmark, which I wanted so I could have it as a handy reference for taking to the library/bookstore with me.  But when a thick-ish envelope arrived at my house less than a week later - boy, was I surprised!  I got a pack of six, laminated bookmarks, one of which was autographed by the author who had sent me the pack!

While I obviously understand that the bookmarks are advertising and promotional materials, I also think it's great that these authors support each other in this way and reach out to their readers.  I also think it's great when people who are NOT 20-something utilize social media in some way to reach out to their fans and expand their fan base.

Here's hoping you, too, might enjoy some cozy-ness!

17 January 2011

Scalloped Shrimp and Potatoes

From: Taste of Home Simple & Delicious, Dec/Jan 2011

1 4.9-oz. package scalloped potatoes
2 1/4 c. water
1/3 milk
1 lb. peeled and deveined cooked medium shrimp
3 c. fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 c. (4 oz.) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

1. In a large skillet, combine the potatoes, contents of sauce mix, water, and milk.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally.

2.  Add shrimp and spinach.  Cook and stir until spinach is wilted.  Stir in cheese until melted.

Yield: 4 servings

16 January 2011

Birthday Celebration, Part Tul

Ria and Curt were in Philly today to drop their daughter Angelique off for the Spring term.  The residence halls opened at 10:00 a.m., they arrived at 10:02 a.m., were shooed out by Angie shortly after 10:30 a.m., and arrived at my place at 11:00 a.m. straight-up.  We exchanged Christmas presents, and they gave me my birthday presents.

I gave them some Candy Cane Joe-Joe's from Trader Joe's.  To understand why, you have to understand the backstory to this.  Last month, Ria and I went to Philly TJ's for some because I'm not allowed to go to Missouri without these.  But they didn't have them.  But Ria and I spied ONE box in a display on top of the freezer.  The display was a sleigh full of boxes, one of which was a Candy Cane Joe-Joe's box.  But we needed some kind of stick-like device to poke the box down.  So Ria found a chip clip that was empty in another aisle.  But an old lady was standing in our way.  So before we knocked down the entire display, we decided to ask if the box was even full.  She hands me the big stick and wanders off to ask.  So here I am standing in the middle of frozen foods with a big stick.  Thanks, Ria!  Come to find out, it was an empty box.  But the people at the Captain's Desk at TJ's called around and found out that the nearest TJ's that had CCJJ's was the Wilmington TJ's.  So I rented a ZipCar (an hourly rental car) and headed down.  As it started to snow.  What would have normally been a 30-minute (each-way) trip turned into a nearly 2-hour trip because of the snow and the morons who were all "ZOMG - white stuff is suddenly falling and I must drive 35 MPH on the interstate!"

So I got them two boxes of Candy Cane Joe-Joe's, a box of dark chocolate Candy Cane Joe-Joe's, and two bottles of Gate's barbecue sauce - one is Original formula and one is Extra Hot.  When you go to Kansas City and ask where to go for good barbecue, people will start wars over whether you should go to Ollie Gates' place or Arthur Bryants.  I obviously favour Gates, and I regularly cart his sauce back to Philly with me.  But I told Ria I'd bring back some Bryants sauce next time so she could make up her own mind.

Her Christmas present to me was the really excellent book, "Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders."  I had a quick look-through when she was here, and I got excited about some stuff in it, and I've looked through it again since she left, and I've already tagged some possible projects.  What a great addition to my library!

Her birthday presents to me were two skeins of sock yarn: Noro Silk Garden with some great browns, blues, reds, and purples running through it; and Knit One Crochet Too Crock-O-Dye in the Chocolate colourway.  I also got three Aero bars; yummy!

Felix also got two Christmas presents: two catnip mice!  Each mouse has a bell at the end of the tail, and it looks like we need to have a talk about not chewing bells.  He doesn't seem to understand that bells are not for chewing.

After gift opening, we took Philly by storm.  I don't think Beck's Cajun Cafe at Reading Terminal Market will ever be the same after our visit (hint: an hour after we visit, when we go back and ask "Do you remember us, and they laugh and go "Oh YEAH," that's probably not a good sign).  IKEA survived, but barely (hey - it's not OUR fault people were in our way!).  And Super Fresh will probably be making some changes to their signage after our visit (again - it's not OUR fault it we point out they're wrong!).

Curt was kind enough to install my new-from-IKEA spice rack when we got back to my place (after Curt and Ria kindly helped me haul everything up from the truck).  Then we hung out and ate the dessert we had leftover from Beck's.

Ria and I made tentative plans for February.

All in all, a great continuation to my birthday!

15 January 2011

Aflac Adventures at Trader Joe's

As some of you may recall, I received a Carl Edwards jacket for Christmas:

I wore it today to Trader Joe's when I went to pick up some groceries.  Now, to understand this story, you have to know that the checkouts (at least the one I was at - the express lanes are different) are shaped like squared-off Us, and two cashiers stand back-to-back.

My cashier Andy and I were chatting, and the next cashier turned, saw me, and quacked like the Aflac duck.  Now, if you don't know the Aflack quack, you probably either don't watch a lot of TV or you fast-forward through all commercials.  And you certainly don't watch NASCAR commercials.  So, for your convenience, here's an Aflac commercial, starring Carl Edwards himself (gotta pimp the Missouri boy):

So, back to the story.  Cashier quacked, and laughed.  Andy went, "Huh?"

Cashier quacked again.  I said, laughing, "It's okay; I get it."  Andy said, "I don't.  What?  Do I need insurance?"  Cashier quacked again.  I said, "Do you really not get it?  Andy said, "I really don't."  I made a Vanna White gesture over my chest with my left hand, and Andy sheepishly grinned.  "Oh.  Well, you know, you have so much OTHER stuff going on there," and he pointed to the sponsors above the Aflac logo.  "Uh-huh," I said, "See you next time!"

14 January 2011

Birthday Events

Some of my friends met me at one of my favourite restaurants tonight, AKI, for all-you-can-eat sushi.  One of the friends I invited couldn't come because she had to go to her sister's birthday party, and another friend was visiting her grandparents for the weekend.  One of my friends popped in for a bit after an appointment, and it was good to see her, if only for a few minutes.

We had a great time stuffing ourselves silly and playing detective.  A large party near us had a reservation under the name "Alex", and we spent some time and employed some tactics trying to figure out which of the party was named "Alex".  Over the course of the evening, we developed elaborate backstories - they were all named Alex and this was their meeting; ALEX was actually an acronym (Assembly for Lively and Educated Xenophobes); none of them were named Alex.  Eventually, one of the guys said "This is for you, Alex," and I literally grabbed someone's arm in excitement as the real Alex was about to be revealed.  You'd have thought I was about to win big money on a game show or something.  I can't remember laughing that hard in AGES.

After supper, the idea was for some of us to come back to my place for dessert, general hanging out, board games, etc.  But instead the supper crew all went home and people from the West Philly Knitting group ended up coming over.  For dessert, we had Pumpkin Pie Pudding that I had cooked earlier today.  It was nice and warm in the Crock Pot, and it seemed to be well received.  We watched some episodes of "How I Met Your Mother" as they hadn't ever seen it but wanted to, and (of course) got some knitting done.

It was a great birthday, spent with a good variety of friends, in spite of it also being the first birthday with Kirsten, Kristi, and Sarah all being in various parts of the country now.

13 January 2011


I'm tired today.  I got a full night's sleep, but soon after I woke up, I wanted to sleep.

Just after I started to drift off into napland, my property manager showed up to look at my bedroom radiator, and then I couldn't get back to sleep after he left.

I did some light housekeeping, took a shower, and then was so tired that I started to fall asleep again.  So I headed to bed for a short nap, as I had plans at 7:00 p.m. with two women from the West Philly knitting group.  That was around 5:20 p.m., and I set my alarm for 6:30 p.m.  My mom called and woke me up at 6:04 p.m.

Aye yi yi.

Now that I'm home and it's 11:30 p.m., guess what?  Yep, wide awake, not tired at all.  Ain't that the way?

12 January 2011

The Adventures of Mom's Middle Finger

My mom had minor surgery on her middle finger today.  This is the second surgery she's had to have on a digit, and she'll probably have to keep having them as she ages.  It's because of her Sjogren's Syndrome.  I don't claim to fully understand all of the details, but it has to do with her fingers getting really stiff, locking up, and causing her a lot of pain.  She can get this treated with cortisone shots, but that's only a temporary measure.  The doctor goes in and cuts some tendons so she can bend her fingers but still have controlled use of them.

The last time this happened, it was her thumb, and she didn't realise that as she waited and continued with the cortisone shots, the pain would increase to the point where she would suddenly yelp at random times.  So this time, she only tried two cortisone shots before opting for the surgery.

As you can probably imagine, there were many jokes leading up to today since it was her middle finger being operated on (and locking up!).  Especially since, for Christmas, I had given her bowling team prints of a picture of Mom "accidentally" flipping the bird to her favourite driver - behind his back!  We were at on pit road, and she caught him as he was walking to his car to qualify.  He grabbed her hat and started walking, so she was behind him.  I took a pic just then and the way Mom is holding her hand is... suspect, to say the least.  What's really funny is there's a guy in the background who happens to have a really frowny face as if to say "I see you, lady, and I disapprove!"  So there have been many jokes about "Well, if you didn't use that finger so much..."

Her bowling buddies has asked me to send the picture in to the driver and tell him to watch his back.  "This is your fan.  Just imagine what people who DON'T like you are like!"  They've also asked me to make this picture next year's Christmas card.  Mom has asked me not to publish the picture, because "you might stop me from getting a job someday!"  Uh, okay, Mom.

Even her anaesthesiologist got in on the act today.  Just before he put her under, she asked how her finger would be bandaged.  He told her she'd have her choice of pink, green, or blue Ace bandages, and they'd wrap it sticking out for her.  She told him she wanted the pink.  But when she came to, she was disappointed to see that only her palm, part of her thumb and just a tiny wrap over her middle finger had been wrapped.  She looked for the anaesthesiologist, but he wasn't in the recovery room.

Tonight, I called her to see how she's doing, and she said her finger is swelling up and she can't move it.  She doesn't remember this happening with her thumb, so she's going to call her doctor tomorrow if it doesn't improve overnight.  Although I hope she's okay, the fact that her finger is getting fat and stiff kind of makes me giggle.

11 January 2011

Missouri vs Philadelphia: Winter Weather

People kind of roll their eyes at me when I head out in the winter weather in only Mizzou hoodie and maybe some fingerless mitts and roll out my usual line "Oh please, I'm from Missouri."  But it's true.  Coming from Missouri, I'm used to much harsher winters than we get here in Philadelphia.

I was reminded of this last night when the West Philly knitting group broke up for the night, and Elizabeth put on her scarf, mittens, cuffs, and winter coat, and I threw on my... Mizzou hoodie and fingerless mitts.  She exclaimed, "Is that ALL you have?!?!" "Yep.  I'm from Missouri."

When we got to the corner where we usually part ways (we walk about halfway home, because she lives near me), we talked for about ten minutes until she finally said, "Okay, I'm sorry, but I'm FREEZING!"  I said, "Oh, okay.  I'm sorry.  You have to tell me these things because this kind of weather honestly doesn't faze me at all."

I was reminded again of the difference tonight when an acquaintance posted to Twitter that her school already cancelled classes for tomorrow.  Snow had only started to fall an hour prior to her post!  The forecast is for 4-6", but who knows what we might actually get!  I called Mom to tell her that schools here were already cancelling, and we laughed.

Meanwhile, in Kansas City, there are seven inches of snow on the ground, the forecast for tomorrow is a wind chill of -15º to -20ºF (yes, that's 15-20ºF BELOW zero), and they have NOT called off school yet.  Also, here's what the handbook from my former grammar school says about the recess policy (I was looking at the handbook earlier this week trying to find out if the school still has open classrooms like they did when I went there, or if they have walls now; I don't generally make it a habit to go around checking out school handbooks):
  • +6º F and above     May have full outdoor recess
  • +5º F to -14º F       May have shortened outdoor recess
  • -15º F and below   Must have indoor recess
*These guidelines are based on the wind chill index

So, see - truly, I come by my winter heartiness naturally!

10 January 2011

Jewelry Advice

When I was in Missouri, my grandma (Mom's mom) told me she wanted to give me something, but if I didn't want it, I should just tell her and she wouldn't be hurt.  When she left the room, I looked to Mom for advice.  Mom told me it was her ring, and if I didn't want it, just give it to her after we left.  Okay, cool; no pressure, then.

Grandma brought it in and showed it to me and I'm sorry to say that I didn't remember the ring at all.  But it was a really pretty ring.  There was a main stone in the centre and then some smaller stones surrounding the centre stone.  The main stone is from Ganno's ring; Ganno was Grandma's mom (when Mom was little, she couldn't say "Grandma," and Ganno has been Ganno ever since).  The smaller stones were from Grandma's wedding ring.

I tried it on, and it was just a touch too big for any of my fingers.  But it was a lovely ring.  Not QUITE my style, but I still wanted it because it's clearly a family heirloom.  I want children (or at least A child, although I turn 36 this Friday, there's no partner in sight, the clock is a-tickin', etc.), but the ring may well stop at me.  Ah well.  We'll see what happens.  ANYWAY...

Grandma said that next time I'm in town, we'll go together to get it cleaned and resized.  The only thing is that it's silver.  Both of the rings that I currently wear (one on each hand) are gold.  Here's where you come in.  Do you think it'd look weird to wear one gold ring and one silver ring on the same hand?  Should I wear both gold rings on one hand and keep the silver ring on its own hand?  Because of the size of the ring, it probably will be  "special occasion" ring, if that makes a difference in your advice.


09 January 2011

Caera Cowl

My stashbusting has started!  Technically, it started at the end of 2010, but hey.  Before I left for Missouri for the holidays, I had one Deirdre, one of my cat-sitters, look at the different projects that I was taking home as gifts for my family and we discussed something that she might like as a gift in exchange for taking care of Felix.  I wanted to make her something since I can't really afford to pay her (having been unemployed for nearly a full year now) and since she would driving over from South Philly every other day.

She was adamant that I not buy new yarn for her project, so we went through my stash until we found something that she liked.  She liked the idea of a cowl, although she left the exact pattern up to me and told me that if I decided to do a hat or scarf instead, that would be fine, too.  (Way to commit, Deirdre!)

When I got to Kansas City, I narrowed it down to a few cowl patterns and I let Mom have the final say.  The winner was the Caera Cowl.  I used some Classic Elite Wings yarn that Mish had sent me once upon a time.  Oh so soft!  I'm glad I have plenty left over, as this cowl took just over one skein.

The cowl itself was a quick knit once I got the hang of it.  This is the second attempt, as my first attempt was just... wrong.  I misinterpreted the pattern, and those of you who are on Ravelry can see my project page notes for more details

Deirdre was going to come over today, and I was hoping to give it to her and get a picture of her modelling it, but she had a house emergency.  But maybe soon you'll see a modelled picture.

08 January 2011

One of these things is not like the other

Mom and I went to Hancock Fabrics when I was in Missouri to look for patterns, in case there was anything there I wanted to sew up.  They had McCall's patterns on sale for $1.99, but there was nothing that sparked my interest.  Mom found some doll patterns she wanted for her inventory and she needed some interfacing.

We went to check out and we were using a 40% off coupon from Jo-Ann, which we could use at Hancock since they honour competitor's coupons.  The woman rang up the order and told Mom the total was $21 (and change).  Mom asked her if she had scanned the coupon.  She then did so and said, "Your new total is thirty-one dollars."  Uhh....

Mom said, "How could a discount coupon make my total go up?"  The lady told her it didn't.  Mom said, "But you just said my total was twenty-one dollars, then you rang up my coupon, and then you said my total was thirty-one dollars."

The woman then pointed to the small thing on the counter that you slide your credit/debit card into and said, "You can't always go by that.  You have to watch this here."  Then she points to the cash register monitor.  Um... aren't they connected, though?  At this point, Mom and I both say, "But you TOLD US the total was twenty-one dollars."


Mom gives me her "Am I nuts?" look.  Just then, the woman at the next register (the two cashier stand back-to-back) asks, "Is there a problem?"  Mom tells her the issue, and the woman comes over to look at it.  Mom tells her that if it'll help, she'll just take the coupon back because at this rate, she really can't afford to use it anyway.  I walk away before I die laughing.  They get it straightened out, and we leave.  The woman never would admit that she ever did tell us the total was $21.

A few days later, Mom and I went to Kohl's because she needed to take something back.  While we were there, I bought three pairs of pants (a pair of jeans and two works pants - yeah, I being optimistic) that were on clearance.  We checked out around 8:30 p.m.  By the time we got home, let the dogs out, and Mom fired up the computer to check her email about half an hour later, there was a 20% coupon for Kohl's starting the next day.  The coupon was good for anything in the store, including clearance items.

We went back the next day with the pants, the receipt, and the coupon to see if I could get my 20% back.  We explained the situation to the customer service representative working the counter, she processed my refund, gave me cash back (yes, actual cold, hard, cash!), and gave us our coupon back so we could continue to shop in the shop in the store with it.  When Mom asked if she needed to mark our bag since we were going to browse in the store, she looked at us and said, "Oh - you brought the merchandise back with you?  In the future, you don't need to do that.  Just bring your receipt in.  That will be plenty fine, ma'am."

When we were in line to check out (they have one main line and then you go to the first available cashier), Mom asked the woman behind us if she had a 20% coupon.  She didn't, so Mom gave her one of ours.  When we got there to check out, I checked out first and used the remaining coupon.  Then I gave the coupon to Mom to use.  And the cashier (1) didn't even care that we were recycling a coupon, (2) actually knew how to ring up a 20% discount both times, and (3) let us take the coupon with us since it was still good for a few more days.

Now THAT's customer service.

07 January 2011

Ambrosia Fruit Recipe

1 20-oz. can pineapple tidbits
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. grated orange peel
2 medium oranges
2 medium unpeeled apples, diced
1 teaspoon flaked coconut

1.  Drain pineapple, reserving 1/4 cup juice in a saucepan.  Set pineapple aside.

2.  Add brown sugar and orange peel to the juice; heat until sugar dissolves.

3.  Peel and section oranges into a large bowl reserving any juice; add the apples and pineapple.

4.  Add pineapple juice mixture and stir gently.

5.  Chill.

6.  Just before serving, sprinkle with coconut

Yield: 6 servings

06 January 2011

Bag Check Game Show

Every year when I go to Missouri for the holidays, Mom and I hit the thrift shops for clothes and we hit Half Price Books.  I love HPB.  Not only are the books at least half-price, but between Christmas and New Year's Eve, everything in the store is an additional 20% off.  Plus, they have DVDs, CDs, calendars... what's not to love?  It's a huge store with books of every genre imaginable.  Needless to say, every year, I come back with suitcases much heavier than they were when I left Philadelphia.

This year was a little different.  Not only did we hit up the thrift shops and HPB, but my mom had gone through her closet and cleaned out all of her clothes that she no longer wanted, not longer fit her, or that she thought I might want.  So I had those to go through, too.  I made out pretty okay there, too.

Oh, and did I mention that I also get my birthday presents from my family while I'm there, too?  The first year I have moved here, I had brought back the wrapped presents, and I opened them while Mom was on the phone.  But (1) that was just sad and depressing and (2) now TSA would not be happy with us if we did that.  So, yeah - heavy suitcases.

Now, Mom usually has a postal scale that we can use before we head to the airport so we can tell if my luggage is over the 50-pound limit (she uses the scale for weighing her eBay store packages).  But it's been finicky lately, so she didn't want to risk completely angering it with my massive suitcases.  Last year, her scale said we really close, so we took an extra tote bag to the airport just in case the airport scale didn't agree with her scale (since unloading the suitcase and paying USPS to ship a small box to me would be MUCH cheaper than paying the overweight baggage fee).

We got to the baggage check-in counter, and - moment of truth.  I knew the red bag was the heavier of the two, so I had Dale heave that bag onto the scale first... 53 pounds.  Oops.  Okay.  We confirm with the woman that we would have to pay the fee for those extra three pounds, and she says we unfortunately would.  We make Dale take the red bag off the scale and put the grey bag on to be weighed ... (insert drum roll here) ... 45 pounds.  We ask the woman if we can exchange the load at the counter or if we need to step back.  She says we can do it at the counter.

VERY aware that there is a line of people behind us waiting to check in and get on their flights, Mom and I spring into action.  We basically shove poor Dale out of the way (after he's been slinging bags around for us) as Mom flings the grey bag to the ground, opens it, and starts handing me clothes to make room for books.  I simultaneously do the same with the red bag and start handing her books (before you even ask, NO, we did not have all books in the red bag and all clothes in the grey bag!).  We were like a well-oiled machine.  Well, a talkative one.

Mom: Why are you handing me paperbacks?  Don't you have any hardbacks?
Me: Here's one!
Mom: ONE?
Me: Why are you handing me yarn???
Mom: I thought it was a shirt!
Me: Here are two more hardbacks!
Mom: We should be good.  Let's weigh this one now.

We got the grey one zipped back up and weighed it.  It came in just under 49 pounds.  So we figured the red one should be under 50 pounds now.  I threw it one the scale, and it was now regulation.

When we were done, we were cracking up.  The whole thing actually took less than the time it took for the guy next to me to get his flight changed (he was on the same flight with me to STL, but the 25-minute delay was going to cause him to miss his connecting flight, so he had to get a new flight).

I really felt like we were on some wacky game show where you had to balance the bags in less than 30 seconds or something!

Then we went to the gift shop where I bought a shirt for Ria, and Mom pretended like she didn't know either Ria or me. It's okay, Mom; we know you're just jealous that our shirts are so awesome.

05 January 2011

Jell-O Pie

Put 2/3 c. water in a pan and bring it to a boil.
Remove water from heat.
Stir in packet of Jell-O (any flavour can be used).
Fill a one-cup measuring cup with 1/2 c. of water.
Put ice in measuring cup until water meets the one-cup point.
Pour ice/water mixture into Jell-O mixture until ice cubes are dissolved.
Put into refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Remove from refrigerator, and stir in one tub of thawed whipped topping.
Pour into graham cracker crust.
Set in refrigerator for an hour or so.

04 January 2011

A very NASCAR Christmas

As Ria could tell you, not very many of the Christmas presents in our family are a surprise.  Part of it is a byproduct of year-round Christmas shopping, and part of it because we spend a lot of time together (or did before I moved to Philadelphia - but the rest of them do).  So when we're together and someone says "Oooh, I like that!" someone else will say, "Want me to get it for you for Christmas?" and we will, but then we'll take it home, wrap it up, and the other person will have to wait until Christmas day to open it.

When we were in Charlotte for Race Week, we bought each other a LOT of stuff for Christmas.  I got Mom a Joey Logano stuffed teddy bear.  She got me Kyle Busch pajama pants and a Carl Edwards coat, and her husband bought me a Kyle Busch hat.  "Joey bear" as he was dubbed came home to Philly with me (because I didn't trust Mom not to leave him alone until December), but the rest of the haul went to Missouri to be wrapped up.

In October, when I met Jack Roush in the pits at Kansas Speedway (which I WILL get around to blogging about someday), I got a really good picture of him.  I decided to get this picture printed and framed for Mom's husband because he hates Roush with a passion.  So I thought it would be a fun gag gift:
Upon opening it, he said, "A picture of the ugliest man in the world!"

Anyway.  First, I opened the Kyle Busch hat.  So I put it on:

Then, after awhile, I got warm, so I took it off.  And after awhile, I opened the Carl coat.  And I had to try it on:

Then, I thought it would be funny to have both a Kyle hat and a Carl jacket on.  So I put the hat back on.  Then some point later, I opened the Kyle pajama pants.  So I promptly put them on, too.  For some reason, I doubt I'll be starting any fashion fads:

This prompted my mother to tell a story about when I was a kid.  ALLEGEDLY, I was given some underwear, and I was very excited about this.  So I put them on over my pants and wore them for the rest of the day.  I asked Grandma if this was true, and she said it was.  I said, "Grandma!  You were supposed to bail me out!"  She said, "Oh, I was?"  Duh.

03 January 2011

Pumpkin Pie Pudding

1 15-oz. can solid pack pumpkin
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup biscuit/baking mix
2 eggs, beaten
2 T butter or margarine, melted
2 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
2 t vanilla extract
whipped topping, optional

In a large bowl, combine the first eight ingredients.  Transfer to a slow cooker coated with a non-stick cooking spray.  Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until a thermometer reads 160º F.

Serve in bowls with whipped topping, if desired.

02 January 2011

Why Ria owes me... a LOT

Every New Year's Eve, the local hockey team (a CHL team) has a game and we always go.  Even though our team isn't all that good, they've managed to climb to first place (as of NYE), which doesn't say much for the rest of the teams in the conference, since our guys REALLY aren't that good.  For instance - we're really good at killing our own penalties.  And most of the time, when we pass the puck, there's not even anyone there - not even an opponent to be passing to accidentally!  Most of the time, the kids who play exhibition games during the intermission are better than our guys.

But at least it's entertaining and it brings back fun memories of when Mom and I had season tickets to the KC Blades games (an IHL team) years ago.  We just happened to get our tickets next to where the wives/girlfriends sat and got to know them throughout the years, which... well, if you've met either my mom or me, you can probably imagine that we had some fun times and adventures away from the games with the women, too.  :)

Anyway, back to the game on NYE night.

Right in front of us was a guy wearing a NASCAR coat.  He had long hair pulled back into a ponytail.  This in itself isn't really that remarkable, except that most guys who have long hair and pull it back usually wear their ponytail down on their head.  Not this guy - he wore it high on his head.  And he used a light blue scrunchie to hold his hair up.  Don't get me wrong - there's nothing wrong with this; it was totally harmless.  It's just not really how Mom and I pictured a NASCAR/hockey guy wearing his hair, you know?

But the topper of the night was the Super Fan.  He sat on the front row by the penalty boxes.  He wore an orange outfit (including a hockey mask/helmet) and a light blue cape (orange and blue are the team colours).  He had a stick with cowbells on both ends (KC hockey fans are known for ringing cowbells at key points during the game - but usually just holding a single cowbell in one's hand).  He also had a big drum that he would pound with a giant stick to lead cheers.  But the most... "interesting" part is that the guy would lift up his shirt when a face-up would occur near his seat and show the opponents his rather large belly which had "YOU SUCK" written on it."  I IMed Ria to tell her about this, and she requested pictures because at her hockey game, she had nothing this exciting at her hockey game.  At first, I was only able to fuzzy pictures as he exited his section:
The Missouri Mavericks Super Fan!

But, of course, this didn't show the belly action.  So I kept trying to get the ever-elusive belly shot.
Finally, during the second intermission, I caught him in the concourse.  I ran in front of him and a photographer and I were both getting shots of him.  He saw me and said, "You can take the picture, but you have to hug me, hon!"  I shrugged and said, "Okay!" thinking, "Ria BETTER appreciate this!"  I hugged him and he pointed to the photographer and said, "I won't hug him, but I'll hug you!" and laughed.  I wished him a happy new year, he reciprocated, and we went on our way.


01 January 2011

Welcome 2011!

My main goals for 2010 were to read 30,000 pages and to knit 10 projects.

I always go by pages rather books because if I bail on a book because it's boring or because the writing sucks, I figure I should still get credit for the pages I managed to get through.  Plus, if I pick through parts of an anthology, I can still get credit for those parts, too.

And I picked 10 projects because a found a "10 in 2010" group on Ravelry.  But they had all these pesky rules (and, truth be told, some of the people there were scary), so I couldn't be bothered to join.  I mean, srsly.  Some of the people already knew in January which ten projects they were doing and which yarns they were using to do which projects.  Dude.

Sometime in June or July, I revised my reading to 25,000 pages when it became painfully obvious that I would NOT be meeting 30,000 pages.  (Side note: My goal for 2009 was 35,000 and I fell short, but I didn't have any knitting goals then, either.  This is when I was reminded of the saying "if you chase two rabbits, you will catch neither one.")

I ended up reading at least 25,530 pages.  I didn't count magazine pages, which is too difficult since I read several cooking magazines and I'm not really sure how to count magazine pages since some articles are on partial pages, etc.  And there are some partially-read books at home whose titles are on my spreadsheet but the pages read aren't.  But that's okay.  The point is that I made my goal, and I'm okay with not knowing an exact number.  I think my goal for this year will be 26,000.  Ten of the books I read this year were YA (young adult) novels, as I got on a kick when I decided to relive some of my middle school reading days.  While it's still reading, it felt like cheating to be able to breeze through 200 pages in a just a couple of hours.  So while 26,000 may not seem like that much more, it really is.  Plus, I'm hope that 2011 will NOT be a repeat of The Year that I Had No Job.

As for my knitting goal, I also met that.  In 2010, I completed 13 projects: George (a baby blanket for Brook), Gossamer Stars Scarf, my first pair of socks (which I've worn but have yet to take pictures of, log into Rav, or blog about!), two baby cardigans, two Christmas stockings, two short row scarves, a cowl, a crocheted bag, a scarf for my grandma, and a hunting hat for my mom's husband.

To answer a question that Naomi asked me via Twitter several days ago (and I didn't answer because I've been pondering the answer since), I think my knitting goal for 2011 will be some kind of combination of working on WIPs (works in progress) and stash-busting.  Does anyone have any ideas on this?