Monthly Archives: December 2006

Joyful, joyful, we adore thee…….

Lady Eleanor 

Yes.  I totally caved in to temptation, and the addiction is full and complete.  It has been a long, long time since I’ve fallen so hard for a project, in fact, I’m not sure of the last project that held me so tightly in it’s grasp; both as process (the entrelac is captivating and not scary at all), and as project (the yarn is creating a stunning stole which will be oh so welcome).  And already the ooohs and aaahs have been heard, from our favorite 3 year old who spent the day here yesterday (“that sure is nice yarn you’ve got Miss Eesa”) to his mom who remarked how very cool it is (“is it hard??”) to DH who said “look at you go, girl” and “is the yarn doing that by itself??”  My joy is complete.

And we have perfect knitting weather here today—what a bonus!  As I look out the window just now, the houses across the street are only a blur, snow is falling sideways, being pushed along by gusts of wind up to around 50mph.  The weather channel is saying we may be measuring the snow in feet, rather than inches before it’s all over sometime tomorrow.  My only concern is for Brad who took off to work this morning before the snow began falling and may—if reports are to be believed—-end up stuck in his office if he doesn’t head home shortly.  Every school in the area is closed, many churches and extension programs and several businesses as well.  Whatever will people do, if’n they don’t knows how to knit??  I suppose this is what Sony and Nintendo had in mind when they invented those game thingies, huh?

For our quickie trip to Washington, I grabbed a fresh book off the shelf to read on the plane.  Let me pause here and say, I belong to a couple ‘book clubs’ of the mail order variety, and this book came to me quite by accident, as in, I don’t remember ordering it.  I am so glad I didn’t give it away or send it back!!!  The Thirteenth Tale is a wonderful read, spiked with intrigue and familial secrets.  It explores the special bond between twins, plays with the idea of ghosts and keeps you guessing until the final scenes.  Loved. It.  I’ve ordered another copy and somebody is getting this book for Christmas (not sure who, but somebody).  It was the kind of book that had me so wrapped up in it, I was sad to finish it.  No knitting—-of any value—-got done on the plane (I haven’t yet mastered knitting and reading at the same time).

Now it’s time for a New WordSeptentrional is and adjective meaning northern.  Yep, northern.  Why we need another word for northern is anyone’s guess, but as you may have guessed, it’s roots are what make this word interesting:

 “What does ‘septentrional’ have in common with the month of September and the Big Dipper?  The Latin word septum meant ‘seven’ and September was the seventh month in the earliest Roman calendar.  We picked up ‘septentrional’ from septentriones, a Latin word used to describe either of two prominent constellations of the northern sky: Ursa Major (Latin for Greater Bear) or Ursa Minor (Lesser Bear), also known as the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper, respectively.  Septentriones in turn derives from septem plus triones, meaning ‘plowing oxen.'”

Got it???  Good.  I’m off to knit 🙂



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Monday, Monday

It seems that after taking time away from the blog, it is much more difficult finding a place to start.  I have lots to talk about, but can’t seem to settle my mind enough to go a single direction—-in a spirit of randomness then……..

I have been glued to the television for the last 24 hours or so, watching with rapt attention the news about the lost climbers on Mt Hood, Oregon.  As news unfolded yesterday, and commercial interruptions ceased, I sat, watching, wishing and hoping for a positive outcome, cheering on the rescue crews as I cheer on our Olympic athletes.  I, like many others, was saddened to hear that one climber had been found, dead in his makeshift shelter.  My thoughts and prayers go to his family and to the others who are waiting for news. 

On the job front, the flurry of activity continues.  Last week it was a physical, this morning came requests for my birthdate and SSN (you think they would have had that by now), and then later in the morning, a request for a copy of my diploma……which has gone missing.  Never, have I ever been asked to provide a copy of my diploma for employment, and given that we have moved twice since getting it, no telling where it is.  I looked in all the logical places, in several illogical places and most of the file boxes in the basement.  I looked in a few unpacked boxes of books, and finally gave up, electing to go to the college website and request a copy.  For now, an unofficial transcript will have to do the trick.  As of right now, I’m scheduled to start on January 8th.

The holiday spirit has increased around Black Sheep Central with a little Christmas knitting……


The red and grey stockings were knit last year for my sons……the white was just finished for Brett’s darling Cora………… 


……and a gift exchange among the merry band or knitters.  Everyone had a great time and was pleased with what they took home.  I left with two big balls of brown/grey handspun wool, a wee project bag and some pretty stitch markers that Chery made. 

The last three nights, Brad and I have driven around ourneighborhood in an attempt to judge the displays of Christmas lights.  This is a much harder task than one would think; how do you determine which is “best?”  I prefer nice, uniform lines of lights, a unified theme and meticulous execution.  I think that Brad enjoys the “more is better” philosophy.  This has made things very interesting—-we settled on our top six or seven in each category, the clean look and the more is better look.  Tonight, we will meet with the other judges and pick our winners.  Since there is money involved, there could be an interesting evening ahead.

I’m battling a terrible urge to start a new project.  A few weeks ago, my pal Anne finished up Lady Elenore (from Scarf Style).  I really hadn’t given it much thought, and now, I’ve got this craving to make one just like it.  I’ve borrowed a copy of the book, and just need to get to the store for the yarn—-Anne used Pattons Soy Wool Stripes in Geranium and it is stunning, now I need to decide whether to use the same colorway or go a different direction, perhaps blue.  It’s not like I need another project, with Alex’s Cambridge Jacket still on the needles, and the Palette Fair Isle knitalong coming up right after the new year, but I am craving a simple (but not boring) project to do over the holidays, and would love a big stole to wrap up in on chilly winter mornings or evenings.  I need to get myself over to the store this afternoon.

I just got off the phone with Alex, who arrived safe and sound in the homeland last Friday.  He has worked every night since arriving, and it seems as though he is in line for a management position.  I miss having him around, but rejoice that he seems to have made the right decision in going back. 

As Hanukkah celebrations continue and Christmas is around the corner, I wish all of you a peaceful week. 


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The way we were

Okay, first up today:  New Word Wednesday.  Over the last several posts, some of you may have noticed a recurring theme.  Just now, I’ve discovered a word that sums up the way I’ve been feeling (stick with me here).


ver·juice [ vúr jss ]


1. liquid from sour fruit: an acid liquid made from crab apples or other sour or unripe fruit. Use: formerly, in cooking or as a condiment instead of vinegar.
2. unpleasantness: sourness of temper, attitude, or expression
[14th century. < Old Frenchvertjus <verd “green” +jus “juice”]

Verjuice explains my mood exactly; a prevailing pall of sourness, with moments of holiday mirth and good cheer punctuating the unpleasantness.  I’ve been able to chalk it up to uncertainty over my job situation (more on that later), the impending departure of Alex and Tony (this morning), and the busyness of my overeducated spousal unit (which I will also report on later).  If you toss in hormones and holiday preparation, well, can I get a witness??   I’m endeavoring to maintain a cheerful outlook, take deep breaths and to not be too hard on myself in the process, but I swear, the slightest thing will send me into tears of frustration, and frankly, verjuice it is.

Okay, enough of that.

Last Friday was indeed a banner day, the culmination of over 4 years of effort and endurance.  Brad presented his research/dissertation to his panel of advisers and got a resounding “Well Done!”  As I understand it, he only has a few finishing touches to put on the document, and he will be officially finished and able to add PhD to his signature.  He had a pretty large cheering section, both parents (plus spouses), a former student, myself and Brett’s girlfriend Cora, who, when we were asked if there were any questions, whispered to me “I didn’t understand a word of what he said.  Should I ask him to go over it all again?”  We had a fabulous celebratory dinner, and a great time visiting with Brett and Cora at their cute new place.


I know some of you are wondering about now (if you’re not, play along, okay??) about Baker, the grand puppy.  He is, by far, the most mellow puppy I have ever seen.  A big, huge mass of creamy white fluff, sweet and mild mannered and altogether fabulous.  He is up to 58 pounds at around 6 months old, and isn’t showing any sign of tapering off.  It was so fun to see him.  We have more pictures of him, than of anything else on our trip (sad, huh?).

Other highlights of the trip included a wonderful lunch on the waterfront with my Mom and Cora, a little shopping and giftwrapping and a trip to the family “compound” affectionately known as Harveyville, for a nice dinner with Brad’s family.  It is always hard to squeeze everything you want to do into a finite amount of time, and this trip was a really quick one—-3 days and 15 hours according to our car rental information.  I kept telling myself I could sleep when I got home—but then things come up, once you’re home.

Like the job, for instance.  Let us first recap:  About one year ago I sent in a resume to the Clinic at the Air Force Base closest to my home.  About 6 months ago I got a call asking me if I still wanted a job.  2 and a half months ago I got called to interview for an open position and 9 weeks ago they offered me that position.  About 7 weeks ago we negotiated my salary, and since that time I’ve been checking in at regular intervals to see what might be going on, what I should be doing.  When we got home Sunday night, I had two voice mail messages and two email messages saying something like, “we need this and this and this before we can give you a start date,”which gave the impression that all of a sudden I was falling down on the job, that I was being the sluggard and darn it, where was I and why couldn’t they get a hold of me.  So Monday, I delivered the requested license and documentation, and scheduled a physical—for this afternoon, oh joy.  It remains to be seen if this flurry of activity will lead to me marching off to work any time soon, but it is progress none the less.


The boys left just a few minutes ago, planning to make it as far as Twin Falls, Idaho tonight.  Then on to Ellensburg, Washington tomorrow and Over the pass and home in a quick, easy (God willing) day on Friday.  Both of them have jobs waiting for them upon their return.  First glance tells me that I don’t have too much to do to get my extra rooms back in shape, but I haven’t stepped into the bathroom yet (and all of you who have young men are shuddering just now).  I told the guys the other day that I was going to hide their car keys until the space was clean—-but didn’t have to make good on my threat. 

I have very mixed emotions about their leaving; on the one hand, it was so fun to have them around, to have at least one son within hugging range.  I was so looking forward to Alex and his friends being here in town, getting together for coffee and such.  On the other hand, they can make much more money in Washington, and they have their network of friends and family there (as well).  While I think they should have given Colorado more time, it would have been counterproductive to try to talk them into staying.  And, I have to say, it will be nice to have our house back. 

It’s amazing how quickly one gets used to having a whole house to oneself.  You know your little lie down won’t be interupted, you know your knitting will be precisely where you left it, that you’ll have access to the computer and TV when it suits you, and one can go to bed with the door open. 

I will miss them.

And now, I either need more coffee or a nap. 


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Takin’ care of business

First things first:  the birthday knitting is finished…..and I had a few yards of yarn to spare.  I hate that sinking feeling you get as you’re knitting along, and the ball of yarn is getting smaller and smaller—-and you would have to order more (KnitPicks), and you’re already late for the birthday.  Happy to report, done, done, DONE.

Having finished that, I moved on to other holiday knitting, in this case, stars.  You may remember, I have a new grand-puppy, named Baker, who is growing rapidly (the last I heard, he is up around 55 lbs).  Brett and his girlfriend Cora have recently moved into a new place, and this will be their first Christmas tree.  I wanted to help them decorate the tree with things that Baker couldn’t get hurt on, should his curiosity overwhelm him.  The wee stockings pictured last week and a dozen felted stars will be a good start, and I will deliver them this week, and help Cora with the tree 🙂  If Baker decides the ornaments are irresistible, at least there won’t be broken glass, only yarn and a possible upset tummy.

Friday night, as I was sorting through the mail, I did possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.  When I collect the mail, I have my own system of dealing with everything; first, I sort out what is important and set it aside: bills, personal correspondence, magazines and such.  Then I look at the junk, and decide what needs to go through the shredder; credit card come-ons and the like.  In Friday’s mail were my holiday postage stamps, the ones that I’d ordered online and that I was waiting on, so I took those out of the envelope and set them aside.  Also in the mail (have you gotten sucked into something like this???) “materials you requested..” from some home improvement club or something, my “free trial membership” for which they would bill me $119 after my 30 day trial.  What the heck?  How did I end up signing up for this??  So, I gets on the phone, and on hold, and while I’m holding I’m taking care of the mail, tossing the junk, shredding the stuff with personal info, and finally I get to talk to someone and ask them ever so nicely to cancel this thing that I’ve somehow gotten signed up for (3 times I had to ask).  I hang up the phone and look for my stamps.  And look.  I look in the trash, I look where I’ve filed the important stuff.  I look in the trash again.  I even look by the Christmas cards, thinking that perhaps I put them there, in readiness.  With a sick feeling, and the mother of all swear words dancing in my head, I looked in the shredder. 

Yep.  Lovely bits of blue and white snowflake in the bottom of the basket. 

Saturday brought more snow, along with very cold temperatures.  The knit group was scheduled to meet at the Llama store, but I just couldn’t bring myself to drive to the Forest in yucky weather, on questionable roads, so I stayed in, next to the fire with my knitting.  Yesterday, the sun on the snow covered ground made it look like a field of diamonds, sparkling and shining.  It was just beautiful, as we ventured out to breakfast, church and then to run a few errands (which of course included procuring more stamps….damn).

Today brings the count down for our whirlwind trip to Seattle, which begins Wednesday evening.  According to the car rental information, we will be in town 3 days and 15 hours—not much time to squeeze everything in.  Brad will be defending his PhD dissertation on Friday afternoon, the frosting on a cake that has taken 4 and a half years to bake.  Between now and then, he will be tied in knots (as is his nature) trying to make sure all his ducks are in a row.  I will be getting things ready for the trip, giving him a wide berth and keeping fingers crossed that his committee is in a good mood on Friday.

Having said that, I really must get to it……I have a massage scheduled, a haircut, and a trip to the mall to see Santa with the little dude (who is anxious to ask the jolly old elf for a “noisy tool bench”). 


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I’ve come to a decision, by default really, that I’m only going to post when I’ve got something to say.  Obviously, it’s been a slow week.  I’ve changed what was my normal routine of bringing my cuppa to the computer, writing something which I hope is entertaining and fun, posting and then catching up with whatever you all are doing.  With nothing rambling round in my noggin, I’ve been peeking in on you all for inspiration and ideas, and while I still have nothing riviting to relay, ya’ll have had an interesting week.

Today is Claudia’s birthday 🙂  Stop by and say hey, and check out the amazing shawl just off the block. 

Chris’s little gal May had a visit to the vet this week, which will ensure no future progeny….stop by and wish her well.

MJ changed the look of herblog, and she has a finished moebius—-very cool.  Cathy has had the flu and would love some positive energy; and last but not least (not by any stretch), dear Margene said goodbye to her beloved Schnauzer Murphy this week. 

Here, we’ve had bitter cold and a touch of snow, just enough to make the roads interesting.  As there was nothing I had to go out for, I haven’t.  Wednesday was dreadful, but pretty, with the snow falling most of the day; the sun came back yesterday, without the accompanying warmth, but the roads are clearing and I may venture out later on.  It’s funny to me, that I look at a “snow day” as the perfect opportunity to stay in, do some knitting, spinning, laundry, but just the thought of being housebound sends my young room mates into fits.  They absolutely could not be persuaded to stay in and watch movies, and during the worst of the weather decided they must go out for coffee (yes, we had coffee here), and then decided to see a movie.  They had the courtesy to let me know they were going to the movie, but it slipped their minds to check in when they met up with a friend and decided to go to a party or something.  So, here I am, wondering where they are (close to midnight), calling Alex, who is not answering his phone, and not able to go to sleep.  They finally arrived, and you’ll be proud of me for NOT getting out of bed to give them a piece of my mind.

Oh, and we had a gas leak—-same night I was worried about the guys, DH tells me he’s smelling gas on the back porch (otherwise known as the smoking lounge, regularly occupied by the same young men previously mentioned).  So, I called the utility company, who dispatched a guy, who checked it out and said it would need to be repaired but that it was not an emergency and was not dangerous and so forth.  He tightened the leaky spot with a ginormous wrench, which seems to have done the trick, for now.  Oh, and did I mention, this was at 11:30 at night, with a wind chill around 0?

On the job front—–still waiting, though there have been signs of progress.

On the knitting front—–the birthday knitting is nearly complete, but I’m fearful I may run out of yarn in the final two rounds.  I’m stalling.  I can have it done in half an hour, but I’m so worried about not having enough wool to finish, I’m putting it off (can you tell??) 

And in case you thought I forgot—-here’s a Favorite Foto:

We have an amazing tiger enclosure at our zoo, and this was taken about a year ago while I was visiting with my friend Angela (Hi Angela!!).  He was so beautiful, there in the snow, and we watched for a long time. 

Have a wonderful weekend.  Warm thoughts to those of you in the midwest this day—cozy up by a fire and enjoy some fibery fun 🙂


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