Showing posts from 2007

Astounding Myself With My Own Cleverness

Well, Christmas has come and gone and Andy did receive half of his pajamas:
(Amazingly, he considers posing in them for a picture for the blog to be WELL outside of our marital vows--he mentioned something about "human Ken doll" before fleeing the room....)

The missing material is for the sleeves for the shirt, and now I am not only unable to find the material in any stores, it turns out I am unable to locate where I hid the shirt in progress.

Because I made them in November, I wanted to hide them somewhere Andy would never find them. Well, it worked. Even after a rather exhaustive search of the house, we can't find the shirt. Luckily, for some reason known only to myself at the time, I did not hide the pants in the same location, so we have those. We're hoping to find the shirt sometime before NEXT winter at least.

Some days I amaze even myself, but not often in a good way.

A Call For Help!!!!!


All I need to complete Andy's Christmas gift is one yard of this fabric. I found it at a Joann's store in Ontario, Oregon. It is a 45" wide flannel. Between my friends and I, we have been to 9 stores (Idaho, Oregon, New Jersey, and California) looking for one more yard and have not found it! Uranium is easier to find.

If anyone can find it, I need one yard and I will send you the money and a knitted hat or scarf as a Thank You. I just need sleeves!!!!


Attention Mice, Birds, and Voles of the World, and more specifically, Boise:

Many of your brethren have disappeared in the last year. They have not relocated, nor will they be returning. Thanks to our two cats, they have ended up in our bedroom, and I can assure you that they experienced decent--if not a little odd--burials courtesy of our local trash contractor.

In order to prevent more of your kind experiencing a similar fate, we have put bells on both cats. Since they have continued to remove members of your community fairly regularly, it has occurred to me that perhaps you have not yet realized the significance of said bells. So, henceforth, if you hear a jingling bell, it is not the arrival of Santa. It means probable death. Please pass the word along, and take appropriate evasive action, especially amongst the bird community. The feathers never go away, no matter how often I vacuum.



Question for the Universe:

WHEN DID PHONE SYSTEMS AND CABLING BECOME CHRISTMAS PURCHASES???? And what exactly was wrong with any of the other 11 months??????

The Aftermath

And what have we been doing with ourselves since the spending ban lifted? Have we been left laying on the floor, panting and exhausted, after a frenzy of retail activity?

OK, there has been a bit more spending. We needed a few items to finish Christmas gifts--most notably google-eyes and fabric paints for the puppet kits. Then the mad wrapping binge, which I am proud to say was done without tempting purchases like gift boxes, gift tags, and gift bags. Four hours later and:
At least we are doing our part for the economy via the United States Postal Service.

I thought there would be a huge temptation to buy lots of "impulse items," and though it has been fun to look knowing we could buy things, when you look at something and have to ask yourself, "Is this worth waiting a month for?" the answer is invariably "no." So our spending has still been quite moderate--with one exception:

New tires for Andy's truck.

We are wild, I tell you--just wild.

We Rejoin Capitalism!

The spending ban is over!!!! We are capitalists again!!!

I started the day with these two gentlemen:

First thing on our agenda:
They're even knitting stamps--it just doesn't get better.

Then I went hunting for the missing material for Andy's Christmas present:

Nada. Nothing. Zip.

Not just one store--I checked all the local stores. At the last one, a clerk asked if he could help, so I described what I was looking for, that I'd been to several stores looking for this particular material, and that this was the very store the material originally came from, hoping for something.

"Yeah, that happens."

OK, I should have been more specific--I was hoping for something HELPFUL!

My next call was to "America's Best" Eyeglasses--heavy stress on the quotation marks--asking if they could order another set of frames for my glasses, as the lenses are still fine. Not only did they not still carry them, they do not fix, take special orders, or in any way do anything h…

Day 31 - HALLELUJAH!!!!! It's the last day!!

Today is the last day of the self-imposed spending ban! Tomorrow morning we will each receive our $40 allowance and can go as wild as anyone can with only $40.


Day 30 - In Which I Am A Child

After the mad rush to finish projects this weekend, and with an upcoming trip to Disneyland involving a plane trip & standing in some long lines, I decided to cast on the Elizabeth Zimmermann Pi shawl as a good portable project. It's a circular shawl based on the geometric principle of pi, and can be as simple or as complicated as one wishes to make it--the shawl I mean. Pi can get pretty complicated when you get right down to it..

I have been thinking about this for several days, and decided it would be a great chance to use a variegated lace yarn. Variegated yarns are sort of like summer hats--they look great at the time, but one never knows exactly what to do with them later. If you use them for shawls and scarves, the changes in color can detract from the lace pattern you may be using. But, like hats, they look fabulous in the store and I am convinced to buy them, only to have them take up permanent residence in the back of my closet.

Probably a year ago, I bought a colorful…

Day 29 - The Christmas Letter!

Happy HolidaysGreetings! As December approaches, it’s a time for reflection—what did we do, what did we learn, and what are we willing to admit to in the Christmas letter? Christmas letters are traditionally the time to brag about one’s 3-year-old son who just won the Nobel Prize for physics, how wonderful a 2-week stay at a private CaribbeanIsland was, and how one was made CEO after only 4 months at work. Here in the real world, Andy has been informed that Micron is outsourcing his job, though he can work until July if he helps work himself out of a job, David is doing well in second grade, though the Nobel Prize committee has not contacted us as of yet, and work has kept me so busy that I have barely managed any time off all year.But we’re all healthy and happy, and as we didn’t move, sell any houses, or plan any weddings, it was a relatively calm year.The Yearly Update:Toni’s employment:selling business telephone systems for DataTel Andy’s employment:let's just say “pending”…

Day 28 - We're "Pending"

Just a few days left, and 14 gifts are done except for the few key things we need to purchase to finish them. The Christmas letter is written, but now has to wait until we can buy more stamps. I have tracked down the name & model number of the frames of my glasses and will be stopping at the optical shop first thing on the 13th.

Maybe I'll start addressing our Christmas cards as having been sent from "Limbo Land."

Day 27 - The Temptation

With only a few days left, the temptation has certainly increased. Wednesday we can buy things. That is SOOOO close. Counting the HOURS close. Do you have any idea how tempting it is to take the day off on Wednesday? Luckily, we have set a $40 limit for each of us. Otherwise, Visa would probably flag our account for unusual activity on the 13th & suspend our account. Maybe we should warn them anyway?

The first thing I'm buying is the yard of material for Andy's Christmas gift. I almost stopped by the store today to see if I could put it on some sort of layaway, since fabric stores tend to change their inventory, and if I can't find the same material I have not yet conceived a back-up plan. I'm going to be stressing over this until I whip out the Visa on December 13. I'd like to say that I will have learned my lesson about double-checking after this little episode, but while hope springs eternal, it doesn't winter very long.

Day 26 - How Sad Are We?

I thought David might enjoy making some paper chains to help decorate the house for Christmas, but before mentioning it, we had to inventory his art supplies to make sure we had enough construction paper ON HAND. As he's only here one night a week, we're not sure if David is actually a participant in the "buy nothing new" program, but since he's not quite 8 he has no real money of his own, so it's sort of a moot point.

It gets worse--I was going to suggest making Christmas cookies--which in my world means decorated sugar cookies--but that will be postponed until we can purchase the metal decorating tips I had promised last year.

An adventure--an obsession. It's such a fine line........

Day 25 - New Ways to Not Buy Anything

1. Start working really long hours.

2. Stay away from

3. Fall behind on writing the annual Christmas letter. Start stressing about it.

4. Take a really time-involved quilting class that makes you want some serious time apart from your sewing machine & all things fabric-related.

5. Start overbooking social engagements.

6. Remember what retail areas are like during the holiday shopping season.

7. Regularly visit the respective yarn & wood "stashes" and mentally inventory the number of "potential projects" you already own.

8. Commit to daily blog updates.

9. Tell other people about your experiment. Fear the thought of the public shame of giving up 5 days early.

10. Run out the door forgetting your wallet anyway.

Day 24 - Signs This Might Have Been a Really Bad Idea

1. I'm wandering around the house in the mornings with one-armed glasses hanging partially off my face like some bizarre form of pince-nez.

2. Andy is having dreams about shopping, which may get his testosterone revoked.

3. Our mail carrier is developing hernias from delivering 4 pounds of catalogs every day for absolutely no reason.

4. I wouldn't go to the Indian spice store to pick up ingredients for a new recipe because it "felt like cheating."

5. Joann Fabric's is sending me twice as many sale fliers as normal--their sales are obviously down.

6. Grocery shopping has become exciting.

7. We can't send Christmas cards until AFTER December 12.

9. Andy is looking forward to being allowed to buy a $3 tube of epoxy.

10. I'm starting to look longingly at stores--even Walmart.

Day 23 - I Was Smug Again

The universe really seems to hate smugness. Last night, I was feeling a bit too sure of myself. We only have a few days left in our no-spending experiment, and while I didn't actually say it, the term "piece of cake" did run through my mind.

And that's when the universe gets you.

This morning I discovered that my glasses had fallen off the nightstand & sometime in the middle of the night, I must have stepped on them, or something that was on top of them, because they are broken today. Most of the day I wear contacts, but I am now reduced to being blind as a bat first thing in the morning and at night--or at least until the stupid little experiment I dreamed up is over. Repairs might have been allowed, but we're at the "new frames" stage, and that qualifies as a "thing" and can't happen until December 13. Rats.

"Piece of cake." What was I thinking?????

Day 22 - We've Reached "Perspective"

After 22 days of the no-spending rule, we have adjusted. The 4 catalogs in today's mail were deposited in the recycling bin immediately. I generally don't even open the sales-oriented emails anymore, in spite of the offers of free shipping & huge discounts if I will once again participate in the capitalistic process. We have books we haven't read, movies we haven't watched, cooking utensils we haven't used...we aren't even going to discuss the respective wood & fabric stashes...there are just very few things we actually "need" that we don't have. And we realize that.

Today's winner in the useless-items-we-will-never-buy category: sock yarn that has to be washed by hand. For the nonknitting public: socks are, for some insane reason, fun to knit. Yes, I realize you can buy 6 pairs for $6 at any store in the country, but there is something about turning a heel that makes a knitter feel brilliant. (This is inherently satisfying sin…

Day 21 - Things you can do without spending money

1. Drive your mate crazy by tracking down every version of "A Christmas Carol" you can find at the local library and playing one every night until Christmas.

2. Decorate your house with mismatched decorations.

3. Finish projects that you've long since lost interest in, just because you can't buy new ones.

4. Try a new bread machine recipe--provided you already have the ingredients & the bread machine.

5. Fantasize about what you will buy when the spending ban is over.

6. Do laundry.

7. Play board games, even if "Payday" and "Monopoly" feel like cheating on the "No Spending" rule.

8. Put up outdoor lights that look like you hired a color-blind decorator.

9. Ridicule the 37 catalogs you receive in the mail each day.

10. Discuss what other strange "experiments" one can do for a month.

Day 20 - Problem Solved!

Secret Santa gift number two is due next week and...

Mr. Flurry was finished this afternoon. Total cost: hard to say, though well under $5 as I already had the yarn & he doesn't take much.

Being done ahead of schedule......Priceless, and frankly shocking.

Day 19 - Rats, Stamps are "Things"

I was at the post office last night mailing birthday packages to nieces (without the aid of gift boxes, as we didn't have any), and was about to purchase some stamps for the upcoming Christmas card mailing, and realized STAMPS ARE THINGS and therefore not allowed.

Well, rats. The majority of our Christmas cards will be going out AFTER December 13. Any way you look at it, the weekend of December 14 is going to be very expensive for us.

On a side note, last night we took a cooking class on Basque holiday appetizers with some friends. We had a fabulous time, tried a few Spanish wines, and learned how to make Croquetas, which are deep-fried gravy balls. Now, as my ancestors were, among other things, Irish, I have no room to talk about the food choices of other ethnic groups, but were the Basques really that desperate to contract heart disease? I admit, I live in a country that deep fries Twinkies, but shouldn't food have a trace of nutritional value? Or at least not require …

Day 18 - the "Don't Spend a Dime" Radicals

The universe likes equilibrium, and our buy-nothing-new pact seems to have caused a ripple in the universe--or at least the part surrounding the G. family. Now that one G. household is not spending money, the universe has decided that another G. household must pickup the economic slack, and the H family's poor little Ford Escort was struck dead, forcing them to buy another car as a family of 5 cannot rely entirely on bicycles in Colorado in the winter (I know there are snow tires for bicycles, but at that point, is it worth it???). Before the Escort, it was the hot tub pump. One more large item and they may stop speaking to us.

We have promised to let them know well in advance when we try this for a longer time period, as they may want to purchase a few extended warranties or invest in a team of sled dogs.

Day 17 - Beginning to Crack

Andy had a dream the other night where he drove to Costco, got out of his truck and was walking to the store, thinking of what he needed to get, when he suddenly realized he couldn't buy anything anyway, so he had to leave. Poor man--he isn't even allowed to shop in his dreams.

One thing we have both noticed are the emotions tied to shopping--both the thrill of buying something new, as well as the emotions that tend to cause one to buy something in the first place. The marketing world has long known and used the emotional connection to shopping--women in bikinis selling basically anything to men, ads of men fawning all over women because of their brand of lipstick, etc., --but it has been very surprising to learn that the emotional response isn't really being caused by marketing; marketing is simply exploiting something that already exists.

To get a little "retail fix," we have started alternating grocery shopping, but I'm not sure a head of lettuce packs the…

Day 16 - We are SO Proud

Today's reason for not spending money:

It's the Talking Larry Craig Action Figure.

We here in Idaho are SO proud!

Day 15 - Space Heater Envy

Winter arrived in Boise last week, and in my office today. Even with an oversized sweater and drinking weak coffee, I am freezing. Granted, I am female was not born with the "self-heating" option so I am used to being cold, but when one's nose is numb and one is using their laptop to warm one's fingers, it's cold. Several of my coworkers have purchased space heaters for under their desks--definite fire hazards, but the freezing are a desperate lot. I am walking a fine line between visiting their offices for legitimate business reasons & stalking them for warmth. It's official--December 13 I will be shopping for a space heater. In the meantime, I'm going to start knitting a wool cardigan for the office. At least my fingers will be warm!

Day 13 - New Challenges

Today we decorated the house for Christmas, and ran into an unforeseen challenge:

We can now add longer extension cords to our list of "things we would have bought by now." I admit, we had been coasting along pretty easily the last few days, and had been toying with the idea of trying a 3-month "buy nothing new" project next year (anything sounding good when it's a year away). If we learn nothing else from this experiment, we will learn better planning skills.

Day 12 - Black Friday

The Secret Santa problem is almost solved! There are perks to having a bin full of half-finished projects. Look, it's a half-finished snowman!!!
He's cute, he's inexpensive, and he can be done by December 12!

Da y 11 - Thanksgiving

Or as it is known in America, the official kickoff for the holiday shopping season. Traditionally known as Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving is generally the day that retailers move into "profit" for the year. So, I suppose one can hardly blame them for aggressive marketing tactics--If I had only a five weeks to make a profit, I'd be pulling out all the stops as well. Stores will be opening at 4:00 AM, 5:00 AM, 6:00 AM with special "doorbuster" sales. Some stores are choosing to open at midnight tonight for "Moonlight Madness" sales. Midnight, are they kidding? After the biggest day of turkey consumption of the year? Have they not even heard of tryptophan??? It's almost 8:00 PM here & I'm barely able to stay awake. Perhaps there is a large epidemic of sleepshopping that I am unaware of, or perhaps this is when vegetarians shop. Personally, even without the ban, there is no product that would get me out of bed that early. O…

Day 10 - Temptation

Today has been difficult. We have sadly had to pass up the following decor options:

And we SO wanted to go with the serial killer motif....

Day Nine - The Plan

So the question is, what happens on December 13? A mad spending spree? A trip to the mall? An uninterrupted hour of "quality time" with the Southwest Airlines Visa card?

We've decided we each get $40 that morning, and we can do whatever we choose with our money--no questions asked. As it is a work day for both of us, a mad dash to the mall seems unlikely, even if it weren't against the very core of my being to venture to the mall between Thanksgiving & New Year's Day. Andy is undecided as to what his first purchase will be as I just suggested the one thing on his "wish list" to someone as a potential Christmas gift. Mine will, without question, be the stupid yard of material to finish Andy's Christmas gift. As it isn't really for me, Andy thinks that doesn't really count, but as being unable to finish a project because I was off by a measly 3/8 of a yard (13.5 inches for the non-fractional) is causing a tick above my left eye, I …

Day Eight

Today we received confirmation that we Americans have too much money. It is no longer a question of what we personally do with our money. If this is what we, as a society, do with our money, I don't think we deserve it:

How exactly are you dressing if THIS coordinates with your ensemble???

Personalized items are always big at Christmas, though I think this maybe takes it one step too far:
Can't you just carve your initials into the mashed potatoes???

And for the hard-to-buy-for child on your list, we have:

Bob Mackie Cher Barbie. Wrong on sooo many levels.

How about something for the home to give it that nice, welcoming feeling?

Or, for the woman who has everything except, perhaps, a life....

It's the Crazy Cat Lady Action Figure.

Or maybe you feel that your children are enjoying too many happy stories and fairy tales, and you want to give them a nice dose of realism for Christmas.....

These are supposed to be Christmas gift ideas, though perhaps they are aimed at the Osbournes. …

Day Seven - What is a substitute?

I generally do the week's grocery shopping on Saturday, but opted to wait and go today, and I came home with more groceries than I generally do. Now the question is, is that because of the holiday week or am I impulse-buying at the grocery store to compensate for the no-new-purchases rule? For example, was the hot buttered rum mix a festive/seasonal thing, an I-can't-buy-anything-else splurge, or is it somehow related to the fact that I went to the grocery store much later than I usually do and the crowds and lines made me think fondly of any type of alcohol.....certainly a point to be debated. Still, I did not come home with a single item that could be classified as a "thing."

Our experiment might be making us a little odd--today Andy left the oven door open for a while, and I made a point of closing it--not because it was a waste of electricity--but because if the bulb burned out, we couldn't replace it for a month.

Our experiment also made browsing the pre-Th…

Day 6

Today's lesson, boys and girls, is about reading directions. Without reading directions, one might buy fabric for a Christmas gift for one's husband, not realizing one is 3/8 of a yard short until AFTER the no-new-purchases ban has begun. Tomorrow's discussion will be on whether or not yards of unsewn fabric qualify as a gift to a non-sewer.

Day Five - The Inevitable

It comes from being smug, and I admit that I was distinctly smug yesterday. The universe does not like smugness, and accordingly, I found the following in my email box yesterday:

Hello Everyone, There has been a slight change in plans... We are going to have our Secret Santa Party on Wed the 12th instead of Friday the 14th. Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!Did those more familiar with the immutable laws of the universe see this one coming or what?

A reminder, we said November 12 through December 12. So, it's back to the drawing board.

The universe also does not like conspicuous non consumption. Daily we receive a stack of catalogs offering everything from Big Foot statues being passed off as Christmas decorations, English muffins and crumpets, caviar and foie gras (complete with pictures of enlarged fish eggs and fatted duck livers that just make one want to scream "VEGAN!"), "authentic" Harry Potter wands and Sorcerer's st…

Day Four - I Am Feeling Brilliant

I think I have found a solution for the Secret Santa problem!

For gift one, I have some lace Christmas ornaments I have already made using my embroidery machine. Realistically, there was a price involved in making them, but I don't know exactly what it would be, as I made them a while ago. Machine embroidery thread is expensive, and these use a lot, so to be fair, I'll say I've used $2.00.

For gift two--that one I'm going to have to make--no questions there. That wasn't the solution I was thinking of.

For gift three--I CAN SHOP!!!!!!! The Secret Santa exchange is on Friday, December 14, and the "no spending ban" ends on Thursday, December 13. Whoo hoo! OK, it will not be the most thoughtful, well-planned gift I have ever given, and will, in fact, be purchased at Fred Meyer on the way home from work on the 13th, but I have only one gift to make!!!! YAY! I have NEVER been this excited about going to Fred Meyer in my life!

Day 3 - A Problem Arises

Today we drew names for Secret Santas at my office, and we are supposed to bring in 3 gifts, one each week November 28-December 14, for our secret recipient.


How do you bring anyone a gift, let alone 3, if you can't spend any money????? What idiot came up with the bright idea to do this during the holidays?!! Oh wait, that would be me.

I really, REALLY wanted to ask for an exemption on this one, but there is a family somewhere doing this for an entire YEAR and I can't last 3 measly days?????? No, we will work around this. I can make gifts--we will find a way!

Andy says if he didn't get an exemption for epoxy, I don't get one for Christmas gifts. On December 13 I will be buying the man a CASE of epoxy for Christmas. Ho ho ho.....

Day 2

We've survived our first day, though last night we had a discussion about whether curry powder counts as food or a "thing" (new "things" being forbidden)--it's a food--and what epoxy counts as--definitely a "thing." Even if this experiment doesn't save us any money, it does seem to be taking our conversations to a whole new level of weirdness.

We have a few more details to sort out. Andy thinks that since we are calling it the "don't buy anything new month" that used things could count. I'm more of a stickler for "non acquisition." We hadn't thought about borrowing, though I did veto Andy's idea of giving someone ELSE the money and having them send him epoxy.

My biggest adjustment so far is not having errands to run at lunchtime. Generally, I refuse to go anywhere near a store on weekends, so I have long been in the habit of picking up anything that we need during the lunch hour on weekdays. Yesterday wa…

Day One

With Andy's job being outsourced in July and the acquisition of an attorney to cope with the ongoing hostility/insanity that is Andy's exwife, we have decided that a tighter--or any--budget is in order. There are many ways to live on a budget--set firm rules and limits and stick to them, discuss all financial decisions before making them--but all of them tend to deal with the supply side of economics, if you will. We have decided to work on the demand side instead. For those of you who either didn't study economics or are simply bored by the whole idea, we decided to address our tendency to SPEND money, rather than the amount of money we have to spend.

NPR recently did a story about a family that decided to buy nothing new for an entire year. I believe they are writing a book on the subject, presumably with borrowed pencils and scrap paper. While we are adventurous, a year seemed a bit drastic, but we were certainly up for a month. So, today is DAY ONE.

Rules: food is…

Two Hours = 1 Seam

Yesterday I had a lovely 2-hours stretch of free time, so with that "I'm about to finish a project" thrill (which doesn't exactly rival the thrill of starting a new project, but it's light years ahead of the "I'm slogging through a project with no conceivable end in sight" doldrums), I locked myself in the sewing room with the almost-completed fleece jacket which would be quite handy right about now and which I ridiculously thought I might wear to work today.

2 hours later, I was one seam ahead of where I started out.

Step one: sew the sleeve hem in place, using a knit-friendly, ripping-out-hostile jagged seam, only to notice seconds later than I misread the directions and must rip out BOTH sleeve hems.

Step two: rip holes in fleece with seam ripper. Spend 20 minutes fixing holes with fabric glue & tweezers.

Step three: pin the sleeves correctly, sew hem. Sew cool decorative stitch using embroidery thread as described in the newest sewing book acq…

Things We Have Learned This Month

* A paper cut is not the most humiliating injury ever--that would be slicing one's finger open on the foil covering a container of yogurt.

* Some companies possess the chutzpah to tell employees their jobs are being outsourced to a foreign country, then ask the employees to stay on another eight months to help transition themselves out of their jobs.

* If you're from Idaho, "wide stance," "super tuber," and "I am not gay" will permanently be part of your life.

* The "Mystery Stole" does not get more attractive even after "time apart."

* Being able to shock a divorce/custody attorney with the antics of an ex-wife is the legal equivalent of having an operation that is so unusual that other doctors will want to observe.

* Sometimes sales requires going beyond persistence. Sometimes you have to be in it just for the sport

* There is a reason normal people rent Halloween costumes

* It is best to check the house for dead rodent/bir…

Avast Ye Maties!

Leave it to an English major--trying to talk like a pirate and I'm debating how to spell "maties"

Having hosted pajama parties, Christmas parties, soup parties, murder-mystery parties, birthday parties, going-away parties, and the most-notable "Farewell to the Orange Carpet" party (explanation for another blog entry), I have never hosted a true Halloween party, so this year the "no-parties" embargo is being lifted with a Halloween bash. In true over-achiever fashion, I am making our costumes--having fully recovered from the experience 2 years ago. I admit, I am deliriously proud of myself for starting AHEAD OF TIME . My costume--Dorothy of the Wizard of Oz (movie, not book)--is done, washed, and hanging in my closet where it has been for a month and a half. My smugness would be hard to live with if I hadn't saved the more difficult costume for October.....the Pirate.

I am sure that the Simplicity pattern company does not actually employ sadis…


On their way out of Canada, Andy and Joyce found a business with a payphone and a fax, so Sunday I received a phone call asking me to fax copies of Andy's birth certificate, passport, and our marriage license (to explain why he is traveling with my passport or to let them know if they didn't let him back in the US, there would be a very irate woman in Idaho they would have to deal with--not sure which). Faxing on a Sunday can be a challenge--my office is several miles away and while I know how to arm the security system, I do not know how to disarm it and didn't want to make a strange situation worse by having Andy get home and find his wife incarcerated for breaking & entering. Luckily, I am a woman who can work Google and found an e-fax program. It took several tries--including me having to locate Andy's NEW passport (which at least explains the "why-couldn't-you-tell-the-difference-from-the-covers" question, but doesn't help with the "…

I Married A Female Impersonator!

Andy & his friends set off for their Canadian canoing adventure on Labor Day. Why didn't I go with them? I love Andy with all my heart, but while I have faithfully promised to love, honor, and cherish him for the rest of our lives, no part of that involves 10 days away from indoor plumbing. We all have our limits.

The trip was going fine--they were seeing lots of the country, neither car had any problems, no big road construction--then Thursday Andy sent me the following text page:

"The passport I grabbed was yours! Fortunately, they let me into Canada anyway. Not sure if I will make it out again in ten days. Andy"

Canada must be a lot more relaxed than we are in the States, or perhaps gender-confused canoeists are high on their list of desirable immigrants. I text-messaged Andy back suggesting that he tell the border patrol that he went to Canada for a sex-change operation, and that the passport HAD been valid when he left. We'll see. So far my impressio…

Stole? What stole?

Some knitting projects are a lot like dating. At first, it's exciting--the possibilities are endless. Everything is new and and it's all great. Then, you start to notice the little things--the pattern is a little repetitive, Mr. Maybe chews really loudly, the project's shape is a little odd, Mr. Maybe's shape is a little odd--then the doubts start. Is this really working for me? Do I want to see this person/project five years from now? Is this worth giving up closet space (notice how nicely that works for both)?

Then you notice the big things--the pattern is not just repetitive, it makes you want to remove your brain and beat it against the wall; Mr. Maybe is a boor who does everything really loudly, and condescendingly explains that to "patronize" means to talk down to, without seeing the obvious irony. Working on the project makes you want to stab someone with a knitting needle--being around Mr. Maybe makes you want to stab HIM with a knitting needle.…

"Baching it - Day Two"

I heard from the adventurers last night--they were in North Dakota. Not bad, for having left Monday. Andy & Joyce spent the first part of the journey exchanging stories. Then they read Jeeves & Wooster stories. Joyce is a lovely person who may be the only "Type A" Granola on the planet. She was arriving home from a 3-day camping trip less than 24 hours before they left. I realize this is not my thing, but if I were facing 10 days in the wilderness, I'd have been spending as much time around indoor plumbing as possible leading up to it....:)

The cats spent our first night alone squabbling over which one was going to sleep on my head. Last night Theo decided if Andy wasn't sleeping beside me, a mostly dead bird would be a good substitute. I'm not sure what that says about his opinion of Andy, but the cat & his gift were promptly locked out of the house. Since the bedroom windows were open, I was a bit worried that the neighbors might h…

Almost a year later....Wedding Photos!


Furniture Under Pressure?

After a year of searching, the china hutch that we ordered was delivered on Saturday. From across the room, I love it. It's elegant--I love the curvy wooden thingies on the doors, it matches the table, it could hold all the glasses that have been in storage since our wedding. It's fabulous.

But, like many things, when you get a little closer, you start noticing

little pock marks all over. Some aren't even so little. Without admitting REALLY publicly what we spent on this item, let's just say that we are MUCH closer to a free flight with Southwest Airlines right now. For that amount of money, we're thinking we'd like to make our own dings in the thing.

Even thought I don't generally follow such things, even I realize that the "distressed" look is very big, though in my naiveté, I did not realize there was a subcategory called "distressed formal." While I will admit that hosting formal parties might be a bit stressful, I'd like our…

Crock Pot 37, Toni 0

I love the idea of slow cookers: an appliance making dinner while I am at work. Walking in the door to the wonderful aroma of a home-cooked meal. Knowing that when I get home from work, all I have to do is set the table.

This is the fantasy.

The reality:

Toni puts a frozen roast in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours and leaves for work. Andy gets home to find a large dog's chew toy in the slow cooker with 2 hours left to cook. While Andy is willing to attempt to consume anything Toni fixes, Toni is not willing to shoe leather and orders pizza for them.

Toni tries her favorite soup recipe in the slow cooker. Four hours later, the mulligatawny is lukewarm and the vegetable are only starting to soften. It's crunchy soup for lunch--and not in a good way.

A slow cooker recipe book suggests a chicken and rice dish, and following the directions exactly, Toni puts the rice and chicken in and leaves for work. She is greeted by chicken breasts in rice pudding. She calls it "Bri…

Mystery Revealed!

It's a wing.

OK, only one side is a wing.

The Mystery Stole's theme is Swan Lake, and the black stoles represent Odile, the daughter of the evil sorcerer, Von Rathbart, who turned the princess Odette into a swan in the first place.


I love ballet, took lessons for 10 years, and love Tchaikovsy's music. I love knitting and new challenges, and am so hooked on the beaded lace idea that I've been half tempted to add beads to everything I'm working on, which worries Andy as one of the projects is a sweater for him and while he may admit to being more in touch with his "feminine side" than most men, beaded clothes seem to fall in the "When He__ Freezes Over" category. HOWEVER, I now have a mostly-finished stole with, though it isn't supposed to be one, a rather evil-looking face on one side, and what will be a wing on the other end, representing an evil ballet character. It may be just me, but does that strike anyone else as being not very…


I am now in a little less remedial group with the Mystery Stole project. I am working on the last clue released--Clue 4--but I still have over 80 rows to go and the next clue will be released on Friday morning. Twenty minutes later, someone will post that they are finished with Clue 5--presumably just to mess with the "speedsters," who may have found a way to knit in their sleep and who really will finish with the clue on the same day.

This is my Mystery Stole so far:

I am using a "cobweb" yarn, which in nonknitting lingo means, "this knitter has obviously taken leave of her senses." Picture the Kate Moss of yarn and you get the idea. Shawls knitted in cobweb yarn are often so delicate that they can pass through a wedding ring. Mine will have to be blocked (picture the knitting equivalent of "the rack") before trying anything like that, but might be a future party trick at Chateau S-G.

The "theme" is still unknown (hence the "my…

Why Having Two Cats is a REALLY Good Idea

10. I'd probably be spoiled with 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
9. It might be lonely to go to the bathroom without at least one cat.
8. How else would I be known as God of the Doors?
7. Because finding a mouse that somebody lost interest in as it scurries out of the laundry room is REALLY invigorating.
6. If all your furniture is covered in cat hair, you have an instant decor scheme.
5. Otherwise, a house without children would be too calm & quiet.
4. I wouldn't realize how positively frightening the lawn mower, vacuum, garbage trucks, and my husband actually are.
3. I might not realize how many of my possessions are simply toys in disguise.
2. I would not know the difference between mice and voles.

1. Nothing says Love like a dead mouse in the bed.

The Mystery Stole

A couple weeks ago, I came across a "mystery" stole (shawl) project online (MS3). Each week, a new "clue" or piece of the pattern would be emailed out, and at the end of the project you (hopefully) end up with a shawl. I have never before intentionally knitted something without knowing what it would look like at the end, or at least having a vague notion of what it is supposed to look like, but I love new things AND I already had beads and yarn so there would be no cash outlay (always a plus for new projects) so I signed up. 350 emails (or 1 minute) later, I learned that one should always opt out of the "receive all discussion emails" on Yahoo lists, especially when that group has 6700 members in no less than 8 languages.

I downloaded Clue 1, dug out some black laceweight yarn & began. And hit

Problem #1: My smallest crochet hook was too large to be able to thread the beads with.

Next day: Visit to a yarn shop to find the smallest crochet hook they…

The birthday

Having just bought our new house, last year for Andy's birthday we splurged and took a day off from packing to enjoy a concert at the Ste. Chappelle Winery in 100-plus temperatures before returning to boxes. Such amazing adventures can be challenging to top.
Since we hadn't had a weekend to ourselves since our honeymoon in November, I decided that an extended weekend trip was in order, and started looking for potential destinations. Since Andy's birthday is in July, “north” seemed like a good general direction, and I settled on Seattle fairly early. My thoughts of a surprise trip to see Shakespeare in Ashland, Oregon, was quickly thwarted by the options of either A) surprising Andy with a road trip, or B) surprising Andy with bizarre flight times, so Seattle it was, and I went to the tourism website to request brochures. Without thinking, I gave them our home address. While it might be argued that men aren't quite as observant as women, if you have asked the man you l…