Thursday, January 31, 2008

We call her "Duck Slayer"

Whelp, she has gone and done it again! In between working 6 and a half days a week, knitting, running, and chasing down opportunity, those wheels in her head just never stop turning. (If you listen you can hear them, we all do!) Jimmy has yet again come up with a way to spoil the "Team Jimmy Bean" gals rotten. What has she done this time? She treated us all to the most original idea yet....a cooking class at Nothing To It! We all gathered together in a beautiful kitchen and had ourselves some fun! *ETA* This was a way of celebrating the fact that we have sold some yarn. Enough yarn that if you tie all the ends together and stretched them out....way out...we have circled the entire planet! Watch out Mars!

Douglas Dale of Wolfdales restaurant in Tahoe City was our host/teacher. Besides being handsome as all get out, he was friendly and not the least bit condescending about cooking. Rather, he was passionate and inspiring! I am the first to admit a bit of "stage fright" when it comes to being put on the spot. Case in point, when it came time to actually cooking, the last thing I wanted to do was mess up in front of Chef or anyone else...that is why when he asked for volunteers to make the Japanese noodles I raised my hand immediately. How hard can noodles be, right? I will tell you that nerves take over and all you can think of is how many things can go wrong with noodles.

I remember a friend of mine when I was about 12. Her mom's technique for testing for doneness of spaghetti was to throw a noodle across the room and if it stuck, it was done. Well this is a good time when you are 12, but in a cooking class in front of all your friends and the handsome chef....not so cool. We were there to learn people! I have to add that one time when I was staying over at my friends, we had a noodle tossing/testing heck of a good time, and were throwing noodles around like crazy. We ended up in her bedroom and one finally stuck on her wall behind the bedroom door. It was there for ages. I can't remember how long later (years?) we went to remove it, and the paint literally came off the wall still sticking to the noodle! We laughed forever about that one. This is the same friend who gave me all her old Tiger Beat magazines full of Donny Osmond, Sean Cassidy and Leif Garrett. My mom wouldn't buy them for me, but her being an only child seemed to have everything I ever wanted. The same walls were covered with photos we would pull out of the magazines and tape to the walls...then imagine who was our boyfriend. She was a good friend until she took the turn in middle school and started smoking....but that is another story!

Again, can't do this in class. Oh well, I managed not to mess up the noodles by watching my clock intently for the 3 looooong minutes, and about every 15 seconds at the end pulling one out and tasting it....NOT tossing it any place.

The entire class was split into groups and each was assigned a portion of the menu to cook. Team Jimmy Beans was in charge of the duck! I am happy to say that we kicked some booty, but in my opinion the soup group came in a close second.

Douglas had preprepared some tea-smoked duck which was then deep fried in a giant pot of hot oil. This terrified me to no end! Something about that much hot oil nearing the flame over point and I am standing at the back of the class. We also got to stuff a duck, which Sandy loved! Here she is having a good time with her new friend...

I have never eaten duck before, but when something is being prepared in such a real way i.e. not by me, I will try anything once. I have to say that it was amazing!! If you ever get the chance to visit the restaurant you will not be disappointed!

The next thing was slicing and dicing and Jimmy was elected against her will, but still gracious enough, hence her name...."Duck Slayer"!

In her dream life, she is a chef who happens to knit! She is like "Duck to Water"...pun intended!

At the end of the night we all sat down to a delicious dinner prepared by everyone there and loved every bite. I would take another class there in a heartbeat! So much fun and the yarn shop that cooks together, stays together. We also eat together, play together, knit together....

Thanks once again, Jimmy, for an amazing adventure!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Around the World! ...and My World Is White

oh goody. it is snowing. .....again!

My dog's print right before he "yellow-ed" some white snow....

My doors are white...

My favorite Mary Poppins doll is white...

My "old school" iPod is white, though I did just get a fancy new black one!

The fire is warm...

Oh, and the yarn I just bought? Of all the colors I could have come home with yesterday, after my first day back at work in a shop full of color? The yarn I came home with?....WHITE! What on earth am I thinking?

What I am thinking is this: My sister called after reading my blog (she is a lurker/non blogger) and pointed out who had hand knits listed and who did not. I should clarify before I get another call, it was my niece who was noticing that she in particular did not get mentioned and my loyal sister was defending me. My loyal/best friend/confidante/sister pointed out to my niece ALL the people in our family who are still in line and waiting...including my own children.

My oldest has asked for this sweater a while back. He even bought me the book! "Son of a Stitch N B***h" There are actually a number of things both my sons have pointed to and said they liked, so I am feeling all guilty I guess. I called him and said
"What color?" So there is the answer.

I must be snowblind or something. Can you see it? There at the bottom of the loop? I
don't know how I didn't catch this but every once in a while you make a mistake that is a groaner. Yep, it's twisted!!! Ugh!

Radical change of subject....In my email this morning I got this! We are all pretty excited about it...

Reno, NV, JANUARY 22, 2008: Ten days into the launch of their internet yarn business, Doug and Laura Zander began tallying the number of yards of yarn they were selling. They quickly realized that, if strung together, the yarn that they had sold so far would reach the center of nearby Reno, NV – a town 30 miles away. The message was clear: sell enough yarn to make it around the World.

More than 4 years and 44 million yards of yarn later, a single purchase on January 20th, 2008 marked the end of their quest to circumnavigate the Earth with pieces of yarn. The critical purchase was completed by a Virginia knitter and consisted of approximately 2700 yards of yarn (enough to knit 4 pair of socks and a baby blanket). The average ball of yarn contains between 100 and 200 yards.

“Without the help of knitters around the World, we could have never achieved this tremendous goal.” said Laura Zander, co-owner, Jimmy Beans Wool. The Zanders currently sell yarn to yarn-enthusiasts in over 50 countries.

So what’s next for these fiber-pushers? “Mars!” exclaims Zander, “We’ve set our sites on circling every planet in the solar system.” And with more than 1 in 3 U.S. women able to knit or crochet (according to the Yarn Craft Council), the Zanders will be knitting their way around Mars in no time.

Founded in 2002 by Laura, aka “Jimmy,” and Doug Zander, Jimmy Beans Wool is both a bricks and mortar and Internet knitting superstore, offering knitters worldwide a comprehensive selection of the finest yarns and knitting supplies along with the latest fashion trends. With customers from Los Angeles to Kazakhstan and all points in between, Jimmy Beans Wool has successfully created an international knitting community comparable to that of the local yarn store, and is the resource for knitters looking for inspiration, instructions and project help. Headquartered in Reno, NV, the store was recently the subject of a small business profile in Fortune Small Business (July/August 2007)

That is a whole lotta yarn people!

Monday, January 21, 2008

"You do me honor"

Have you ever had one of those experiences that changes you? Or at least you really truly hope you are changed...for good? I have them now and again, and they usually are a "God thing", but I am sadly not always permanently changed. Being honest I would have to admit that. I want to be different, pray to be different, even give God permission to MAKE me different yet in the end I tend to go back to my habits. So sad.

This weekend I had such an experience and I hope it sticks. I am a Young Life leader and we have a weekend each year that is officially a trainin
g sort of thing, but I find it to be much more of a retreat. It is for adult staff and volunteers (like me) to get together and encourage one another, and it is something I look forward to each January.

In spite of my dental issues this week, I packed up my bag, my even larger bag of drugs, one husband and an open heart. I was not disappointed. The speaker started off the first session referencing a verse that I had been studying for a while and had sort of come to this weekend with packed in my heart....insert Twilight Zone theme song...

Without getting too out there, I will zone in on one particular part of one particular
event and try not to butcher it :-)....

We were treated to a biblical dinner Saturday evening. This was a 3 hour meal that was taught as much as eaten. A pastor came and while wearing period clothing, he lead us through a feast that was "Last Supper"ish in it's design. Not really Passover,
but a feast that would have been typical of that era among friends. Each aspect of the meal was explained. From the invitation to the feast, and how the person was invited and what it meant, to the individual things that occur during it, like offering a cool drink of water and washing the guests feet. So much that I cannot go into for fear of being too "religious" and because the meal was 3 hours people!

Anyway....One part of the meal is a time where bread is broken and it is dipped in olive oil. You then feed this to another person and say "You do me honor". This was explained to mean so much more. See, in this era (and locale I imagine) there was no such thing as self esteem. It really was a humble time, and other people were regarded as higher than oneself. During the meal if you were about to place a bite of food in your mouth and it looked good to your friend sitting beside you, it was an HONOR if they took it from you and ate it. If you asked for a bowl of olives to be passed to you, the person passing the bowl to you would say "You do me honor"
because it was an honor for them to serve you in some small way.

Wierd eh? It was an experience I'll tell ya! To be honest it was wonderful in ways I can't describe but not without its share of giggling!

So back the the bite of bread. During the feast at any time you are allowed to get up and go to someone else and place a bit of olive oil dipped bread in their mouth and say "You do me honor". This meant a lot of things. It meant "I forgive you forever", it meant "I hold you higher than myself", it meant "I would die for you, friend", it meant "you mean so much to me, I esteem you"....this simple gesture means so much and I hope I am not doing the aforementioned butchering of this element.

I was trying to take it all in and really get it. I was awkward because I was not feeling great and that was a distraction. I was a bit uncomfortable because this sort of thing almost makes you feel silly for its lack of normalcy...we were eating with our right hands for crying out loud. (No silverware at ancient feasts and your left hand was what they had in place of toilet paper) I was also astounded at the real meanings behind everything. It was living history and that always gets my heart and mind going.

Then a sweet friend of mine came up to me. She is a girl I had in Young Life but who is now a leader herself. She came from all the way across the large dining hall where she had been sitting and tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and there was her sweet smiling face and she was holding a piece of oil dipped bread and she said "You do me honor". All I could do was open my mouth and receive.....oh, and cry like a baby!! It is not part of the feast but of course I hugged her too.

All I can say is that this in one lesson I really want to "get". I really want to have a
heart of humility and to hold others higher than my own silly self. As a mom and wife and person in general. I get tired sometimes picking up after everyone in my house, but I want to choose to see it as an honor to serve my family, because it is. I could make a list a mile long of all the little annoyances that life tosses my way, but if I could remember to stop for a moment and insert one humble phrase "You do me honor", I would be thrilled!

I like to think that this is a thing we can all appreciate regardless of where you hang your hat faith wise. If you have hung in there this far, I am grateful and please know I am not in any way trying to be "preachy". This gal is a firm believer in taking the giant log out of my own eye before I try to remove any specks of dust elsewhere...I am simply sharing something that I hope has changed ME.

The pictures are not from the feast I was at, I swiped them from the website of the pastor who came and shared this with us.

Speaking of Honor.....Tammy has knocked me over with her little "You Make My Day" award. I was thinking "Huh? Me?". I think the only people who read my blog are co-workers and friends and family members who I force into it. And Tammy! So to her I say "You do me honor" and I have a feeling she will "get it" too. She is cool like that.

Never having done this before, because no one has never tagged me in blogland, I am a bit nervous. I also just cleaned out my bookmarks in an effort to prioritize my time, so I don't know if I have 10 people that I visit all the time. Also do I want to admit just how much time I spend reading other peoples lives? Yikes! In no particular order, but simply because this is fun, these are the people I am willing to admit to that they have their own personal stalker....ME!

I feel like we could be buddies Tammy Knits
Her wit kills me Knit and Tonic
Not nearly as "Crusty Old Broad" as she thinks, Freaky Knitter
My dear friend who is far away and I miss terribly, Dot-San
Always a good read, Marie Grace
Who doesn't read Yarn Harlot ?
never comment, but I often read Green Apples
a well rounded gal, Madre Adoptiva
An Irish girl loves an Irish girl, We Do Not Have A Knitting Problem
From a town I adore, and a customer I miss seeing, Busha Full of Grace

That was fun! Made me think of how much fun I have looking in on everyone and their lives and knitting and such. Oh, and TAG, you are all "it"...your turn to share who makes your day!

Friday, January 18, 2008

I think I'm going to live...

I just want to say thanks for the emails of encouragement and you are all free to share any horror stories now that my own has past....

I will say right up front that I have a high tolerance for pain, and I have had my share of trips to the dentist. This tops them all and if I had it to do over again I would have paid double to be knocked out!! The gal on the phone assured me it would be no big
deal and that for 200.00 it really wasn't worth the extra expense for the "twilight sleep" medication. She is a big fat dentist office liar is all I can say!! Two totally natural child birth experiences and I would have done either of those over again in trade for this....Can they give you an epidural for tooth extraction?

First off I have to say that I didn't know those dental chairs had so many positions. It
was really amazing and if it were not for what I was having done to my mouth, the chair ride could have been almost like a trip to an amusement park. Up, down, reclined, reclined more, nearly upside down reclined and sitting back just went on and on and on....I seriously felt like I was in a Loony Tunes cartoon!

Things I heard a lot:
"You're doing SO good hon!"...assistant
"My wrist is hurting"
"You are really doing good"....assistant
"You doing O.K.?"...assistant
"My arm is tired, I need a break"!!!

"You get a rest now honey, you are hanging in there so good!"...assistant
"Sounds like you are getting a workout", as I reach up and pat the dentist
"Yeah, this one doesn't want to come out"....laughing dentist back to me....(dentists should not laugh)
"OK, you might hear a little cracking now..."....assistant
"If it helps at all, that was NOT an easy tooth, you did SO well hanging in there!"...assistant at the end

I did bring my precious iPod and found there was a fine line between it being loud enough to distract my attention and still being able to hear enough to cooperate.

He was a nice guy, and it was not his fault but I have honestly never been more miserable in my whole life. I will give him points for good injections! Really not the worst part, as a whole, he was quite a good shot giver of a man. He had to do a few other procedures that have names I can't pronounce and I also don't want to gross anyone out.

Basically I had a cracked root and this was causing tremendous pain. Tooth had to go, and now I am in limbo waiting to heal, then a shiny new tooth will come to replace
it. It will give me time to save up for round 2, which sadly insurance doesn't cover. This little trip will seriously set me back in my yarn shopping! I am trying to forget that it will also be a set back to *sniff, sniff* bathrooms.

House has saved the day, again! I realized I have more in common that "my boyfriend" than I knew. See, "I don't have a pill problem, I have a pain problem"...that is right my friends, Vicodin is what I have been prescribed! It has taken a day or so to figure it out. I wish I knew what House sees in this med because I certainly don't get it. It makes my feel queasy if I take it straight, and takes forever to help with the pain if I take it with food. I think my magic combo is to take half a pill and break the time in half. Instead of every six hours, go for three hours but half the dose. I have made it all the way through Season 1, and nearly through Season 2....I can't believe it but there were actually 2 episodes that I had never seen!

So last night I made an attempt to knit. Imagine all this down time and just not feeling up to it!! It was terrible to lay there. All I wanted to do was knit. It was right in front of me, several projects all laying on the coffee table, and I could not manage to reach
them. But finally last night I picked up Lady Eleanor and completed an entire row! I think it was a turning point in feeling better. It really did lift my mood a bit to be doing something I was enjoying and to feel closer to normal.

I know hats can be kind of boring but I did finish the Grinchy Grinch hat from 2Askew patterns. I mainly did this hat because I was chompin' at the bit (tooth joke!) to knit with the new yarn we got in last week. Since we no longer carry Noro I was hoping this could be a nice sub for Silk Garden or Kureyon. Let me know what you think. I love the color transitions and it did not disappoint. My son was not thrilled with wearing a pinkish hat, but he did his best to humor me.

Again, I want to say thanks for all the well wishes and encouragement. I felt it, believe it or not....

Monday, January 14, 2008

How bad is it?

So, about a year ago I had some dental problems that I could not ignore any longer. Anyone with kids knows that you put off your own issues in favor of children and so time had passed and I had to finally deal with the pink elephant living in my mouth. Bottom line is that I have a tooth that had a root canal when I was in my teens and somehow the root of the tooth had cracked. The dentist said it needed to come out, sooner rather than later. The real bottom line is that by the time the calculator stopped "cha-chinging" I decided that as long as I was not in any pain, I could put it off. My son needs his wisdom teeth out, two of the three kids need braces, and the honest truth is that if I am going to spend thousands of dollars....I want a new bathroom!!! Here is my dream, I will settle for less....but where do you think that is? Look at the view, would ya!! Can you imagine trotting around that space doing your bathroom business in that kind of room? I have to say, there are no blinds. Maybe they are the kind of windows that turn all frosty at the touch of a button.

That was a year ago. Just got the money for the bathrooms (last week!) and this week that darn tooth started giving me fits! Go figure! Now I am nearly in tears because I see my bathrooms slipping away in favor of a dental bill, that and I am in
more discomfort than and Advil can easily handle.

What is a girl to do? I have an appointment on Wednesda
y, that is what I'm gonna do. For those inclined to pray, please do. I am a nervous wreck! I really do wonder, How bad is it? Has anyone had a tooth pulled that can calm my fears. No horror stories please! At least not until after Wednesday. I was in bed for a week after my wisdom teeth came out so I think I am haunted by that utter blur of vicodin and and sleep and the occasional small black and white television with snowy reception in spite of the rabbit ears. Small irony in that my doctor, seriously, was named Dr. Payne.

I can hardly knit! I am
trying to keep busy, but a stockinette hat is about all I can manage at the moment. Set aside is my beautiful Noro shrug, my lovely Monkey socks and the Entrelac Lady Eleanor wrap. Gone is my time browsing online for tile and toilets and vanities.

If it wasn't so embarrassing I would post pictures of the bathrooms! We have
gradually made over our home but the bathrooms were the last to be focused on. We are looking forward to the project but now it is all up in the air. I will keep my fingers crossed....that is I will try to keep them busy!

This is the hat! It is the Grinchy Grinch Hat from 2 Askew Patterns. I just love it!
Originally it was knit in Cumba but I was dying to try this new yarn we got in that screamed to me "Noro!!". We don't carry Noro anymore so if this will work as a good sub, than call me Happy Camper! The yarn feels very much like Kureyon to me. It is brand new to our store and we are loving it! Knit One, Crochet Too in a yarn called Paint Box

What do you think? I love the gentle striping and honestly would be hard pressed to tell the difference.

Worst of all, and I just have to show a picture, is setting aside m
y Transition Gloves. The blame for these (the knitting, not the setting aside) can fall firmly at the feet of Tammy. It is all her if she ordered them to my mailbox herself! This yarn is to "dye" for and the pattern is addictive. I hate that I have been so distracted by pain to concentrate on them! Look, see what I mean! See the way the variegated yarn changes so nicely between the cream? I am in love! I ordered the pattern and yarn from Knit-Purl and was very happy with their quick service!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

I'm not braggin, but....

I just have to boast! I might whine a bit but when it all comes down, I mean literally as well as "pun"fully, but in the end I just have to share the joy! Look at this, will ya! Please click on the pictures, they get bigger and more beautiful!

I get to live here!!

So I went out driving. I like to go out on adventures when the weather gets wild. Nothing scary, nothing foolish, but just some good old driving in the snow to see what can be seen. (Oh, and pick up some pizza for the kids)

Now I am sure that just about everywhere people live there will be some sort of tourist aspect, people who don't know where they are going, or what not. But I have to say that this is high season for "turkeys" as we call them and a simple trip to Round Table can really be an adventure. I don't want to bring myself down or get all negative, but people really amaze me when they visit our town. It is almost like they leave their brains and any shred of driving knowledge at the bottom of the mountain. I am not talking about the normal "oopsies" that happen, but rather things like stopping in the middle of the road, in the middle of the lane, in the middle of take off their chains! Not in a parking lot, or heaven forbid someplace safe, but literally in the middle of traffic. The worst part is you have to try NOT to run over their little legs sticking out as you attempt to go around them.

Phew! I am done now. But rest assured there will be more...I promise to be on the lookout for funny stories!

So I went out driving and it was really good to see something besides the inside of my house or my own snow shovel. There were many neighbors out, all waving hello and all doing what I had been up! These are my favorite kind of days, the whole winter wonderland thing. People are also very neighborly and you see it most at this time of year. My kids were out shoveling after the last storm and when they saw the lady kitty corner from us (with a new baby!) come out to start her driveway, they went over and started in on her berm. Well, the tractor guy saw the whole thing and came and did her whole driveway!! Fast forward to today, my family is again out moving snow and they brought their new snowblower over and said we could use it. So nice!! Ours is on the blink and so this was a huge gift...even with a blower we were out there for several hours.

There is something about the difficulty of winters that brings people together. It seems that good will abounds and it is just one more thing that keeps me loving my hometown.

Well, that and this!! Not that I'm braggin....

I can't forget the knitting either. There has been knitting. I got some delicious Noro Iro from Buriedinyarn whom I met through Ravelry. She was de-stashing and I was taking her up on it! I think I am in heaven with this yarn. I love Noro, and I have knit with it before but each time it just keeps me in awe of it's fibery goodness. I love how the colors so easily go from one to the next and you almost don't see it while it's happening but then all of the sudden...Wham! are looking at this thing of
beauty. I can't wait to finish this shruggy sweater so I can take even more pictures of it, not to mention wear. I will be the snow shoveling fashion diva! Right now it is my Mayzie who is the diva. She so loves to sniff my yarns! I think she smells the sheep or something. Anyone else think that is why their dogs go nuts over yarn?

Friday, January 04, 2008

What to do?

They have been telling us for days how bad this was going to be. They told us. We heard them, heck the whole country heard them. I have had people calling me from far and wide making sure we are alive and well. How embarrassing it is to admit we are, well, fine! Now I don't want to jinx anything but so far so good. Still have satellite, phones, electricity, and internet.

So what are you supposed to do in a blizzard. Knit perhaps? The dog is so bored he wishes he could knit I bet. So I just have to
say that all the fantasies about sitting in front of a fire, watching the snow fall outside, smelling the yummy spaghetti sauce's as good as you imagine!

I cast on for the new Noni Green Earth Grocery Bag. It is far from green, but it is "green". Not only because I am using up stash to do it (bonus) but because I really will use this once it is done and I like the idea of something sort of insulated for cold items. Living in the mountains I actually have to drive down to the big city to shop. It will be nice to pack colder items into this for the ride home. Should I dare try to bring home ice-cream?

I also ordered this:

Is that wrong? I am under blizzard warning!! What else am I supposed to do? Just sit there and knit? No way, Jose....a girl has to amuse herself in a variety of ways when under storm pressure. The power could go at any minute and I could be completely cut off. I have to have something to look forward to after all this mess besides shoveling and boiling water to bathe. Did I mention we have an electric hot water heater? Yeah, a few years back we had a bad storm that knocked out power. Our house was all electric. No phone, no hot water, no cooking except what I could seriously make on top of the woodstove. (I did it, we survived, but come spring we put in a gas stove I'll tell you) After a week a friend came by and said I looked like a Troll. She packed me and my kids up and took us to her house for a shower and a glimpse of the outside world that I thought had disappeared. We also didn't have a 4 wheel drive and the roads were bad enough to stay put, so needless to say I probably did look like a Troll.

I can be taught. I learned from that experience. Knit while you have light and shop while you have internet people. Back to it...