Monday, March 30, 2009

What Part of Spring Are You?

You Are Blooming Flowers
You are an optimistic person by nature. In even the darkest times, you are hopeful about the future.
You feel truly blessed in life and can sometimes be overwhelmed with emotions.

You have an artist's eye. You are always looking for beauty in the mundane.
You have a good sense of aesthetics, especially when it comes to shapes and color.
It seems everyone has this quiz up. Pam of 30 Something and AliP. Are we really all that optimistic? Does this quiz know something that I don't? Yeah, that sounded really optimistic, didn't it! HA

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


It wasn't too pretty in the Valley yesterday. Kids and parents alike were a bit shocked that schools weren't cancelled here. Hubby and I ventured out for a short while and the roads were hideously slippery.
I was in a bitchy mood all day (between my brain pain and super-long naps, anyways).
I think someone forget to send an email to Mother Nature that it is @*(%*$^! SPRING now. And apparently the robins forgot to cancel their flight plans. Poor buggers.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Happy Spring!

The storks weren't back yet from their winter homes when I was in Poland, but I did manage to acquire a couple for my mantle anyway. To me, storks are spring, and the one thing that reminds me most of Poland.

I borrowed this picture from Wikipidia.
I forced some early signs of spring at home:

And what's more spring-like than starting seeds? The tomatoes are up, as are marjoram and carnations. Peppers are a no-show to date. I still have to track down my seeds from last year, and I am hoping that I won't have to turn the house upside down to locate them. Don't tell anyone, but I may not be the most organized person in town.

Here is Sam guarding my March Sweater Madness sweater. Progress has been pitifully slow. Last night I finally finished another ball of ALaFloss Lopi. You'd think that this thing would fly now that I'm working with 80 stitches less. And it's not like the cables are difficult. I know I'm going to like the finished product. I just have to make myself finish the darned thing.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Crap Happens

Yeah, a swatch might have helped. Hubby said, "...but you're good at this stuff. What happened??"

I really didn't want to tell him that lazy happened.

So I spent the evening ripping instead of knitting. And cyphering. And re-casting on with 80 fewer stitches. 80! Which I still had difficulty counting, because crap happens to the best of us. After two hours I barely had an inch of ribbing, so I gave up the fight and went to bed.

Today is another day, and I have hope that things will progress a bit smoother. After all, look who visited our yard this morning:

I love cardinals. Love, love, love.
Anyone want to venture a guess at what kind of bird that is? The orange belly makes me think it's a robin, but hubby disagrees because of the white bottom.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spring is Not Far Now

Last Wednesday when I was in Bridgewater for a Dr's appointment with my first born, I decided to take a little zip into Liverpool to finally meet Sheri, of the Just in the Knit of Time fame. She does some lovely knitting, just like the lady herself. Drop by her place and say Hi, and scroll down to check out the latest escapades of Jaws aka Jewel.

That's Sheri at work. Who needs a stash working in a shop like that, eh? Confession: since I don't work in a yarn shop anymore, and therefore don't have that amount of yarn at my disposal (STOP Laughing ALIP!), I may have accidentally purchased three balls of sock yarn. And perhaps a few more at the $ store in Bridgewater.

Moving right along...

I'm doing the March Sweater Madness again this year. I finished the first cable chart repeat. All day I've put off working on it because I suspect it might be a touch too big (says she that laughed in the face of the mighty swatch). I know that before I knit another stitch I have to string all 26o stitches and try it around my widest part. Not like I'm procrastinating or anything of that sort.

For the record, I'm another 3 balls of yarn down from the 100 ball goal.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Knitting on Vacation

Ever since I finished the Lopi sweater a little over a year ago, I knew that the finishing was somewhat lacking. The neck kept stretching and even making the sweater droop off my shoulder occasionally, the button band was too long, and I didn't even do a very good job of sewing on the buttons (I actually lost one, because I was too lazy to sew it on properly when I noticed it was giving up the will to stay attached to the sweater). Every time I wore The Lopi I kept telling myself that I had to fix it. But I am a master procrastinator. So I kept wearing it the way it was, with all its faults and barely hanging on buttons.

Now, I have to tell you that there is something positively magical about a well finished piece of knitting. I've always known this. I don't know about you, but when I have a masterfully finished sweater I want to wear it all the time. I avoid washing it because the time it takes to dry takes away from wearing it.

Now the catch: I don't enjoy finishing. I find it sometimes takes almost as long to finish a sweater (especially one with colour work) as it does to knit all the pieces in the first place. It's time consuming and tedious. Fussy. Of course I wasn't interested in doing it twice on one sweater. But I sucked it up and started ripping. Nothing like a threat of a cold front moving in to inspire. You have to understand that the first two and a half weeks in Poland were positively balmy compared to home, with temperatures rarely dipping below zero degrees C, and no snow. So there I sat one evening after roaming around the city all day with nothing to fill the hours before bed. The weatherman was predicting gloom and doom for the following day due to an impending snow storm (while the skiers celebrated). It was definitely one of those "nothing better to do so I might as well rip apart a sweater" moments. A snail could have made two trip to my suitcase and back that it took me, such was my enthusiasm for this task. But dare I say it? As with all things we put off doing, or in my case re-doing, getting it over and done with and enjoying the fruits of our labour is certainly liberating. Aside from the still missing button (that I am convinced is hiding around the house somewhere) the Lopi sweater is finally perfect (which begged the question why I put off fixing it for so long in the first place, but let's not go there). The neck band stays around my neck just so, the button band doesn't stretch half-way to my knees anymore and the buttons are finally secured well enough that I know they wouldn't spontaneously be jumping off my lovely sweater. I would be lying if I claimed all this effort didn't require wine and liquor fortification, but there you have it. We all have our crutches.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

It's That Time of the Year Again

March Sweater Madness reigns supreme! There are three (free) great patterns to pick from, chosen by yours truly.

I still have to decide which pattern I will knit, and then go rummage in my stash for a suitable yarn. Surely, there's got to be something "just right" in there.

I welcome you to join us. The link to the site is in my sidebar.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

More Warsaw

Mistletoe. The real thing, found all over trees in Warsaw. Much nicer to smooch under than the plastic stuff, I imagine. (Although I'd have to research if mistletoe is strictly a North American Christmas tradition. Just because this parasite grows there in so many trees, doesn't mean its part of country's tradition. I sure don't remember it as such from my early Christmas memories when we lived in Poland.)

Edited to add this interesting link about the history of mistletoe.

Fountain Lights at the base of the Siren Statue in
Old Town

During the holiday season, in the months of December and January, there were areas of the city, mainly in Old Town and New World, decorated to the nines with lights. In many areas of downtown where during the summer months you'd see water spouting to the sky from the numerous fountains, now you'd be treated to a spectacular replica in lights. Unfortunately, this is the only photo that turned out.

I love Warsaw. Although its population is estimated at 1.75 million people, the city is well laid out with an excellent public transit system of trolleys, buses and now a metro line. The neighbourhoods cater to its residents' basic needs, from grocery stores, fruit and vegetable stores, pharmacies, schools, post offices, flower shops and gas stations, to bakeries and news agents shops. The only thing that seems to be truly lacking is parking space. Since my last visit in 1994, I've noticed a huge increase in the amount of private vehicles on the road, hence the parking shortage, despite the hideous cost of cars. Apparently it's still less expensive to purchase a vehicle in North America, even after paying for shipping and duty.
I love that the bakeries have freshly baked goods available every single day. A five-minute walk is a small price to pay for delicious breads and rolls and pastries, at a fraction of the cost that we pay here. And such nice presentation with seasonal paper and a ribbon. It all just begs you to indulge in a little (or a lot of) sweetness.

A neighbourhood bazaar

Monday, March 02, 2009

From Warsaw

Palace of Culture and Science My Mom, Ciocia Henia (Mom's sister), and Me
Street Performers in Old Town
with a friend's husband on the chopping block