Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ladies night again

Gina – Is this Heart? If so, probably not the best choice. Sometimes a little rough, but I liked it. And nice that they’re giving the backup singers credit.

Alaina – Starts boring. You know, I don’t know if I’d pick a Dixie Chicks song – at least not this one - if I’m trying to get America to vote for me. Don’t get me wrong. I love the Dixie Chicks. I couldn’t really care less about entertainers’ politics, but there are plenty of people who still really don’t like them. I think she’s gone tomorrow.

LaKisha - Midnight Train to Georgia. She’s from (of late) my area, so we’re cheering for her. Might be a first to have a hometown connection. I wasn’t thrilled with this song choice, but it got better and she did her thing.

Melinda – My Funny Valentine. Excellent song choice. Although the weird facial expressions could go. I love this song and the originality of the choice. And she knocked it out. We got a hot one here tonight. I’m going to try to incorporate Randy-speak into every commentary.

Antonella – scandal aside, she needs to suck tonight so we can send her home honestly. Oh, good she’s helping out. What a crappy song choice. Why did no one suggest something different for her? Oh, so we would be able to honestly vote her out. Dude, it wasn’t for me.

Jordin – aw, honey. You’re so cute, and you sing well, but, well, this is boring.

Stephanie Edwards – What a pretty dress. Now I sound like Paula. She’s in the top half of the girls for sure. I mean top three, maybe. There’s definite lines being drawn. And I think she just drew one.

Leslie Hunt - She’s just a little too forgettable. Which is kind of a shame because she’s good and I like her. But how about some Janis Joplin or Mama Cass?

Haley – So to counteract the overly old performance of last week, she’s going overly young. It’s not working. Pack your bags, sweetheart.

Sabrina – Ugh, what a dull song. She’s good, but I hate this song.

Top three: Melinda, LaKisha, and Stephanie
So who’s leaving? Haley, Antonella and/or Alaina

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

American Idol Men: Can they suck less?

Let's find out. Sadly, I have a feeling I know the answer for some of these poor gentlemen ::cough:: Sundance ::cough::

Phil Stacey - John Waite. Love it. Great song. I actually didn't love it immediately - sounded a little off, but he really ended it well.

Jared - Breaking out the Marvin Gaye/Barry White. Nice. Why do I find this guy attractive? I mean, one minute I look at him and I'm like "Um, he's weird-looking," but then I look again and I melt. He's got the David Boreanaz brow thing. And that song? Nice. Not necessarily the best singer, but I think I might have a crush.

AJ Tabaldo - Dude can actually sing. Huh. Too bad he annoys me for no apparent reason. Okay, a deeper look at my psyche might reveal an ex-boyfriend he resembles. At any rate, I'm bored with this song.

Sanjaya - He's such a cutie pie. Oh, except not so much in the pony tail. He's so soft and quiet. I don't mind it, but he's not the best. He won't be around long - probably one of the evictees on Thursday unless two other guys really bomb.

Chris Sligh - That's his wife? Nuh-uh. Okay. Nice song. Interesting choice. Wonder if it's getting downloaded on iTunes.

Nick - Fever. Blah. Boring song choice. So overdone. And it now can only be done if it's aMAZing. His was not. I knitted my way through most of that.

Blake - Hey, welcome back beatbox boy. I love the way he wove in the beatboxing completely seamlessly with a hip performance. Seriously seems like the most in touch with the young music scene.

Brandon - I kind of like this version of Time after Time. A little subdued, but not bad.

Chris - Geek in the Pink. I can't even imagine trying to sing as fast Jason Mraz. Again with the bouncing. Dude, you make my head hurt. But I like it. To your grandma? I don't get it. Maybe not necessarily the song, but the performance in general.

Sundance - Mustang Sally. To his son. Yeah, I'm sure it's hard to be away from your newborn, but you'll excuse me if I'm a bit more sympathetic to your wife (who's way hotter than I'd have guessed). Okay. He's good. I still don't like him, but he's definitely better than last week.

Top two? Aw, jeez. Who says that? Anyway, I don't know. Both Chrises. Blake. Phil. That's four.

Bottom two - Sundance (I type this in before he sings, so he's really going to have to bring it to get out of this spot. Okay, he sang well, but I still don't like him). As an alternate, I suspect Brandon's low-key performance might not fly. Oh, and Nick. I don't like him either and he was also boring. And I hate to say Sanjaya, but, well, Sanjaya.

Friday, February 23, 2007

A little Idol, a little knitting, a lot of yarn...

So Paul and Rudy are the evictees for the guys and Amy and Nicole for the girls. I was half right. I picked Rudy and Nicole to leave. I liked Paul from the early stages and thought he had some good stuff to come, but I guess no one much agreed with me. And Amy, well, while boring, not the worst. I guess boring is worse than horrible these days. Sad, really.

Here's my bag that I don't think I'll ever get as long as I want it. It's going to be felted so it has to be a lot bigger than the finished size I want.

And here's the baby blanket I started for my nephew-to-be:

And I ordered a ton of yarn for felting projects last week. And I'm astonished by just how much yarn I have. I'm giving up craft supplies for Lent (although if it's to FINISH a specific project I may decide that's permissable - not sure yet). That means no scrapbooking stuff, no yarn, no knitting needles, nothing. I'm going to try avoiding the craft stores altogether, just to facilitate my resolve. Look at this stash - only the new stuff, mind you:

Most of it was purchased with very specific projects, or at least people, in mind. For my grandma's birthday or Christmas (yes, I'm planning ahead - I'd like to actually finish stuff this year) and my sister's birthday felted purse - a little stripey number in this:

or maybe this for my sister:

And this is for a felted cloche hat for me - what? knitting for myself? It's revolutionary. And almost warm here, so this project may wait until after next Christmas, the next likely time for it be cold enough to need a winter hat. The main color will be the black with accents of the tan, gray and cream.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It's ladies night...m

Ready for another round of American Idol? I am. Tom is at meetings every night this week, so I get to Idol to my heart's content. And by the end of the day, I need some Idol.

So why do I only recognize one or two of these girls? And at least one of the recognized one I don't like because of the drama they showed her involved in (that would be Antonella).

Stephanie - She can sing for sure. And she seems to have the stage presence that many of the guys were lacking last night.

Amy - I like her slightly country take on I Can't Make You Love Me. Is this sung by a guy? Subdued, but good, not amazing. Not sure subdued is the right way to go for this first week, but doing it well at least is important.

Leslie Hunt - dogwalker. Singer. Wow, a girl of many talents. Okay, I wasn't sure about her but I'm becoming sold. I'd like to see her singing something...Joan Jett-ier than Natural Woman, but it's still good.

Sabrina Sloan - I don't remember her at all. She's a professional singer? Is that allowed? I guess as long as they don't have a recording contract, but how does she call herself a professional?

Antonella - girl, go home. It was...horrible. What the heck is that shirt? She does have nice hair. Bad song choice.

Jordan - she's cute and this is a fun performance and she really sings it well.

Nicole - OMG, she's annoying. Ack, I think she's going to try to eat me (anyone watch Angel - she was totally trying to vamp out).

Hayley - Oh, honey, couldn't you pick anything other than Celine. I mean, maybe you can sing it - maybe you can't (my money's here since most can't), but such an Idol cliché. Okay, you can somewhat sing it, but you're no Celine. Kind of average, didn't make me recoil in horror, but didn't make me say she's the one.

Melinda - she can totally sing. And she's got the stage presence. Good song choice. Best of the night?

Alaina Alexander - the Pretenders, really? No offense, honey, but you don't have quite enough...brass in pocket for this song. You're cute, is this really your style? Sorry, haven't seen enough of this girl to know if it is or not (and side note - she's totally stolen Ryan's look from last night), but I think a more pop song might be more suited to her voice.

Gina - good song (as in, I like it), she really nailed it. I don't know if I like that she kept coming back year after year or not. But she's good. I almost could believe the Simon conspiracy theory that he sometimes picks on people to get them sympathy votes.

LaKisha - beautiful dress. Best song choice for her voice and style of the night. She's definitely got "it."

Antonella and Nicole are my bottom two.

Another felted bag...


I think this one is for my sister-in-law. It's small, but muy cute. And the stripes just are part of the yarn (Patons Classic Wool). I have it in another color scheme, but I don't think I'll make this same bag. I'm so in love with felting. I think the anticipation of seeing the felting magic happen makes me work a little faster, a little more persistently. I tend to get distracted or lose interest easily, so this is really keeping me into the project. I can't wait to get my large tote done. I'm about 30 rows and two handles away from starting to felt it. I can get that done by...well, maybe the weekend.
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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

How about some American Idol?

I've been looking forward to this all day. Not because my life is that lacking, but I've had a really crappy day. Just one of those days where you can't find a single freaking thing you're looking for. Since the kids didn't go to school for Valentine's Day, we put Mr. T and Miss G's Valetines someplace "safe". Yeah, I still haven't found Miss G's. I whipped some up on our brand-spanking new printer.

Rudy Cardenas- Free Ride
Dude, this song totally needs to be sung by someone with...well, a little bit more grit. You're just a little too happy. And stop the Taylor Hicks "whooing". So far, I don't like him. But maybe it will get worse. Or better, I guess I could be optimistic despite my frustrating day. I'm going to knit until he goes away.

Brandon Rogers -
So he's done back-up for all those famous people and he needs to be on American Idol? Really? Doesn't matter. I like him. Great song (I'm so into the 80s right now) - showed off the slow stuff and some upbeat fun stuff. His personality came across so well. He just seems nice and fun. I didn't notice anything wrong with the background singer stuff.

Ah, Sundance. I just have something against him to start with. I think it might be the obnoxious name or the fact that he continually forgot his lyrics during Hollywood week. Oh, no he didn't. That's OUR song. My and DH's first dance at our wedding song. So on the one hand, I applaud his choice, but you better not screw it up. Dude, take it back.

Paul Kim
Yeah, so I can respect the bare feet thing. I hate wearing shoes as much as I love shopping for them. He sounds too low. Not good. Too bad because I like him. Song choice again? Lovin the 80s, though. Oh, Paul. Sorry, sweetie. I really did like you.

Chris Richardson
Please stop bopping up and down. I love his look, though. This is the most interesting performance of the night so far. Unique take on a good song. Too bad I can only see Bo singing this. His voice wasn't the best, but he was so energetic and interesting, I like him.

Nick Pedro
How can you forget the words to Buttercup? I know not everyone is a freakish lyrics savant like me (seriously, why? Why are the lyrics to so freaking many songs stuck in my head? Why can't my brain remember important stuff, like if I've eaten dinner yet?) Dude, is this Richard Marx? Um, I don't think this song was cool when it was new and I'm pretty sure it's not retro-cool either. Why am I overusing the word dude? Nick, that's a no from me, dude.

Beatbox Boy
OOh, yay, beatbox boy. Shoot, I missed his name. Not that I'd know it. Kind of subdued performance, but I think he might be the best of the night so far, so it makes sense that he'd have the least...embellishment so to speak. So his name's Blake. I'll try to remember.

One of my favorites from the auditions. But well, a little boring. I don't recognize the song, so maybe I'm just not connecting to it. I don't know. I love his smile, though.

Chris Sligh
The only guy whose first and last name I already knew. He's an unlikely Idol, but I'm so on his side. Now see, I don't recognize this song, but I like it. He's selling it. Not that he's had much competition (seriously boys, next week, bring it), but he's the best of the night at this point.

Is it wrong that I have a crush on Mac, of the Mac and PC commercials?

Jared Cotter
This dude could make me melt. I don't know about the singing, but he's got some kind of chick-melting quality about him. Did you see how long his fingers are? Actually, he's not a bad singer either.

AJ Tabaldo
Seems a little young for me. I think the young girlies could like him, but he doesn't do it for me. The song choice, the clothes, the performance, all comes off as very young to me. Does that make me old? Let me rephrase. That does NOT make me old. He's probably a good singer, but he's not for me.

Phil Stacey
I love this song. Oh, dude is working it. And well. Okay, new favorite. And hearing that the baby came early makes me somewhat forgive him. He's kind of weird looking, but easily the best voice of the night.

So to recap -
I like Chris Sligh, Chris Richardson, Jared Cotter, Phil Stacey
If I get to pick who goes home (is it two?) Sundance, Nick and Rudy. I don't care if it's two. I pick three.

How many things can one person knit at once?

I don't know, but I'm aiming to find out. Right now I have four projects on the needles and plans for at least two more (when my yarn order comes in). I'm making a large felted tote that I plan to use as my new every day bag, but since I want it to be large after felting, it has to be ginormous prior to felting. I'm not super patient, so I have a few other projects that I'm working on when I get bored with that one. I've started a baby blanket for my nephew, who is due in May. I'm trying to knit each of my men a hat - I said to Tom that I'd like to try cables and he thought a cabled hat sounded cool, so that's one of my new projects. And Mr. T wants a hat like the one I made for Miss G/Baby S (whoever wears it - it fits both of them) but in red, white and blue. With stars on top. How patriotic of him. I took some liberties and it's going to be black, red and blue. Hopefully, it will please the rather particular young man.

Oh, and that doesn't count the scarves (ugh, how am I ever going to get to five feet or more?) I'm working on or the sweaters I started for Christmas and never got more than a back done of. But I pick each of them up every now and then and add to them. I'll get them done eventually. Maybe.

I read this way too sometimes. I keep a book upstairs, downstairs and one that travels with me. I don't know why my brain just doesn't like to do the same thing for a long time. I think I'm just impatient and bore easily. Luckily, over the years I've learned how to work around it (hence the dozen or so projects I always have going at the same time).

Monday, February 12, 2007

Good morning...

My morning ritual. Before we take Mr. T to school, one cup of coffee in my Starbucks mug (even though I don't really like Starbucks all that much - there's a sort of intimidation factor in ordering there that just drives me crazy. Although...I did have a peppermint mocha there when I bought this mug that was TO DIE FOR. Tom is a teacher and as such gets gift cards and things. He's not a coffee drinker at all - not even hot beverages unless he's just been outside shoveling snow or something...which we might have like a foot of this week.)

Then while we're freezing our behinds off walking him up to the school, I dream of getting home to our nice warm house and that second cup of coffee. Because it takes two to make me function. But more than two and I'll be sick. Unless it comes with dessert, in which case, coffee's always cool.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Somebody stop me!

I'm totally in love with felting. Check out this freaking adorable bag I knitted in - this is the best part - ONE DAY!



It's small, but cute. I think I'm going to give it to my cousin for her birthday. She'll be four. The same age as my middle child. I have a cousin who is younger than two of my kids. A first cousin. My family's weird like that. My uncle is only nine years older than me.

But what I really wanted to write/talk about was my obsessions. I get like this. And it worries me. Right now it's knitting (and felting the knitted item). I latch onto something new and it consumes me until I get sick of it and then I never touch it again. I have loads of crochet stuff in my basement that I haven't touched (except to revisit it from a knitting standpoint) in a year or more. And sewing stuff, from back when I was obsessed with sewing. And scrapbooking stuff from when I was obsessed with that. Now scrapbooking and sewing are still things I like to do, just not as often as my original obsessive phase had me doing it.

So this worries me about photography. I'm exploring taking my photography to the next level and then I can't get un-obsessed. But as I told Tom last night, I think there's just so much to learn about photography that I'll just never learn it all and that in itself will keep me interested. For those other things, at least in part, it's the challenge of learning something new. I rarely make the same recipe twice, having conquered it once. If I don't get it right, I will make it all the time until I get it the way I want. And then never make it again.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

More knitting...

My felted bag is felted and wow that was fun! I was a little nervous about taking the project I'd been working on for three days and putting it in the washing machine with the idea of shrinking it. I had no idea how it would go. Turns out it went pretty well, except that I don't like the color I used.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Knitting update...

So I taught myself to knit around my birthday. I learned from several different books because each book's explanation was a little different and they all sort of worked together to make it make sense in my head. I've since knitted a sweater for each of my daughters and various pieces of other sweaters and scarves and stuff.

A few weeks ago I started watching Knitty Gritty on DIY Network. Do you know what I discovered? I've been knitting WRONG all this time. Turns out I was knitting in the back loops all the time instead of the front loops. I've been working on correcting that ever since. I think I'm almost used to knitting the right way.

Here's a look at some projects I'm working on:

Bottom of a felted bag (well, a to-be-felted bag):

The back of a sweater I meant for my cousin's daughter for Christmas, but I accidentally made the next size up so it's now for next Christmas (woo-hoo, I'm so ahead! LOL. It still won't be done by Christmas 07).

The earflap hat I knitted for Baby S. Her head's pretty big, but it stretches just enough:

The scarf made from the original (and much-frogged) yarn I bought to teach myself to knit way back in July. It's made on the very small circle from the Knifty Knitter I bought with my Michael's gift card from Christmas. Now I just need to look up how to bind off:

I really enjoy knitting, especially when I take on a project that is actually finishable in a few days, like a hat or the cute little thumbless mittens I made for Baby S. Sweaters and afghans and big things like that or anything knit on size 6 or smaller needles? Not so much my thing. In fact, I just yesterday bought my first size 6 needles to make a hat for the baby my cousin is expecting (same cousin whose daughter might wear the back of that sweater above). Prior to that, I didn't have anything smaller than 8 and even those I don't use. I generally stick to 11 and above. I'm impatient and have problems finishing things. To counteract number one, I keep lots of things on the needles to work on when I get bored with one thing. To counteract the second, short projects that work up fast seems to be the key.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Oh, and do you know what today is?

Today is the freaking four year anniversary of the day I broke the freaking hell out of my ankle.

The short version: I was carrying my son and slipped down a hill while 34 weeks pregnant. My foot went toe-first into a hole while the rest of me fell backward. Broke both leg bones, something in my ankle and dislocated my ankle. I am now the proud owner of a plate and six pins in that ankle. And a kickin' scar.

Long version: Four years ago today it was a lovely February day. Nice and warm - well, warm for February and all. So I took my pregnant self and my 20 month old son for a walk. Dreaming of a glass of water as I chased my son around the grass, I quickly scooped him up and walked down the hill he was near to go home. Unfortunately, my foot met a hole and entered it toe first. While the foot was in the hole, I fell backwards, with all that extra baby weight, both internal and external, serving to just crack about every bone in my ankle and lower leg. I sat there screaming for help, which no one heard (I mean, it was February and no matter how nice it was, it wasn't nice enough to have windows open). Finally a neighbor came out and called my mom, who took me to the ER, where we scared everyone we encountered. Cardinal rule of ERs. Pregnant women may only enter for childbirth-related needs.

Between my refusal to take any painkillers and their reluctance to do anything to a pregnant woman, we weren't really getting anywhere. Not to mention the orthopedic surgeon wasn't on until 4 PM. I fell at 10 AM. They took x-rays. Yep. Broken. I knew that. I'd never broken a bone before, but it doesn't take a genius to know that when your ankle is a 45 degree to your leg, something ain't right. They complimented my good sense to not walk on it. Um, my ankle was not attached to my body in such a way that I could possible have walked on it. Who would try to walk on that?

They gave me morphine while they prepared to relocate my ankle. The orthopedic surgeon suggested that my husband leave because I would scream and he wouldn't like it. He wanted to stay and I wanted him to stay. We learned three things then. I have a very high pain tolerance. I'm extremely contrary - tell me I'm going to scream and for sure I won't. I might bite off my tongue, but I will not scream. And last, morphine has no effect on my pain. Yay. Good things to know. So more x-rays (gosh, hope those don't hurt the baby - don't worry they doubled the heavy apron thing you wear and she was pretty well developed anyway). They relocated wrong. So we had to do that again. Fortunately they got it right the second time. Then they sent me home with a prescription for Percoset, which my husband went off to fill while my mom drove me home. My sister had shown up and taken my son earlier. It was close to 7 now.

The next day we had to set up the surgery to fix it. When the chief of emergency medicine (pregnant women who aren't there for baby-related things meet a lot of chiefs) came in to tell me that it wasn't just a break, it was a BREAK, I didn't believe him. Surgery? But, dude, I just broke my ankle. Slap a cast on me - a nice pretty pink one, okay? - and I'll be on my way. My husband called my ob for recommendations of orthos who did surgery at the hospital I was going to deliver at, just in case, you know. We found one and took an excruciating trip to his office. Yep, surgery. Tomorrow? Sure.

So I had surgery. Met the lovely chief of anesthesia. But the nice lady who gave me the spinal was the one I really liked. I just felt no more pain. I didn't actually feel anything below my ribs, which was freaky, since that included the baby kicking. I slept through the whole surgery, since I hadn't slept in two days. I spent the night in the maternity ward, just so the experts could monitor me. I was having mild contractions, but they loaded me up with fluids and they went away. Apparently babies don't like it when their mamas can't eat or drink for 16 hours.

Then the joy of recovery began. We had a spare bed that was going to be our son's once the baby was born, so we moved that into our living room. My family set up a schedule and someone was with me at all times. My grandmother, mostly, along with two of my aunts. So I spent the last 7 weeks of my pregnancy in bed. My daughter was a week late. I delivered her with a cast on. Fortunately, it was only about 4 hours of labor and none of it all that bad, so I was at least lucky there.

It was loads of fun to freak out the chicks at the x-ray place when I went for follow-ups. "Is there a chance you might be pregnant?" Um, can you see this huge belly? Seriously, I was asked this when I was 39 weeks pregnant. I was using a walker, so maybe the way I was hunched over hid it a bit. They had to dig for the special forms they use for someone who actually is pregnant.

Today I occasionally walk with a limp. I have trouble going up really steep hills because my ankle doesn't quite bend all the way up toward my knee. I can predict the weather much more reliably than a groundhog or our local forecasters. And one of these days I should probably call my orthopedic surgeon and have these plated and pins removed. But the idea of signing up for surgery on purpose? Yeah, I don't think so.

You might have a bad day if...

The night before your 18 month old is up every two hours crying inconsolably and then dozing off. You however cannot sleep because she kicks like the devil all night long. And you're on the sofa so your husband - who gets up for work before the sun - can get some sleep.

You make coffee and groggily wait for it to brew while you get kids ready for school. Go in to get cup of caffeine only to discover you forgot to add water. Begin to wait again.

You look outside and find it's cloudy, but the snow they called for ended hours ago. Get all the way to school (where you have to wait outside for your child to be dismissed - we don't get a bus in our neighborhood) and it starts snowing and sleeting and raining on you. And your sick 18 month old. And your very clumsy 3.5 year old.

You catch all the diseases your darling children have been kind enough to bring home from school to you.

Top it all off with that monthly visitor. Nothing like going outside in 20 degree weather with killer cramps.

Yeah, that's been my week. And I'm afraid I was rude to my sister-in-law who was kind enough to invite me to a kids event thing, but it costs money that is just not in the budget right now. And I haven't heard from Miss G's preschool about which class she's in for next year, so I don't know if I need to worry about preschools all over again or if she's in the class I want.