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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Gross Old Year

12 x 12 = 144. One hundred forty four is a gross. Remember your basic math. Knitter's use math all of the time. Sometimes, a pretty complex formula must be executed to make a pattern all that it is supposed to be. Think Algebra here. (x+y-z)3 is the same thing as the knitting direction of: (sl1,k1,PSSO) repeat 3x. You can do that. You little math genius!

Last year I made a secret challenge for 2008. I never like to make resolutions. I have failed at so many. The annual weight loss one for sure! Anyways, I decided to try to blog 3 x a week, for 4 weeks, 12 entries per month, for 12 months. A perfect gross. For a gross 2008. I claim the title for 2008 due to many factors. Economics the lead reason. Mathematically, this year sucked.

If you do the math and look at the column to our right- you will see that some months I exceeded my quota, while other months, I fell short. The good news is that the total adds up. I made it. It was a plan destined to succeed. The expectations were not unrealistic.

I have read some bloggers that vow to blog daily. I cannot do that. It would become more of a chore, than a true communication. As it stands now, I speak when I have something to say. To that end, I have decided to challenge myself again, realistically. Next year may not bring all that we are hoping for, but I am praying for a numerical upswing. Let's see if Obama can Owow us.

I want to see the numbers trend positively. Jobs up, foreclosures down. Health care up, infant mortality down. Confidence up, depression down. Can 2009 be FINE? I hope and pray it will be. Let us all put the past behind us. Let us vow to improve the future, starting with the choices we make every day. Happy New Year with love...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Dinner at The Wenskay Casa

Here we are on Christmas evening enjoying dinner. Thank you Brian for the special centerpiece.
We had Prime rib roast from Tip Top Meat. The best we ever had. The poppers provided the festive head wear. Aren't we swank. A good time was had by all. Jerry Abels is our official Santa look-a-like.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Returns R Us

Today is the day I will brave the stores- post Christmas. I have to return some things at Target. The wrong size toilet seat, maternity pants I tried for Ryan. Ryan has low tone in his tummy area and can not wear pants without elastic. Hard to find in menswear. I thought that maternity pants might work. I still think it is a possibility. I just got the wrong size. I will try again.

Then, Brynn got a generous gift certificate for Nordstroms. We will hit the Rack. More bang for the buck. After strenuous shopping we will meet friends for sushi at the Loveboat Sushi in San Marcos. The best. Bar none. Please try them. You will be glad you did.

Laundry, cleaning and decoration removal will all have to wait for a few days. Brynn returns to Monterey on Friday. So, we want to continue the holiday until then. Maybe we will karaoke tomorrow?

Best Gift Ever

That is a gift card for a "new" car. Specifically, an El Camino vintage auto.
That is a happy 16 year old.

Welcome Arabella

We did not have the pleasure of the Hunter/Vianalos Family for Christmas dinner this year due to Alexanandra's advanced stage of pregnancy. She was unable to travel down from LA. She was here for Thanksgiving and the car ride was miserable. She is a tiny little lady and the baby within needed to claim it's space in the world without.

Happy to report that Paul and Al received their little pink bundle yesterday afternoon. It seems that their family is not as "techy" as mine. When our grand nephew was born we had phone photos within 30 minutes of birth. I have heard from Aunt Christine that Arabella is beautiful. I can't wait to see her myself.

Fearless Knitter Request

The Encinitas Starbucks location was snarly with me, but- the Solana Beach location was friendly and generous. The sweet little manager said come see me the 26th and your wish shall be granted. Viola'!!! I now own the Christmas decorations from the SB store. They are here in my house and will be stored lovingly for future years of North Coast Knitters Guild functions, as well as the holiday activities of the KnitWits.

Ryan went home late last night after 5 days of Xmas cheer with the family. It went very well. He really has mellowed. It was hard to get him home last night. He lives about 3 miles from Qualcomm Stadium. Last night the Chargers were beating the Denver Broncos to a pulp. So we had to wait for traffic to settle down before making the 50 mile round trip. I was able to knit last night for the first time since the party season began.

Brynn will have a sweater by the end of January. I swatched the bobble pattern and it is so pretty. She thinks this is too hard and is worried that it will be too big or stretch out. I have the guage perfect and I am making a size medium. Hopefully it will fit her the same way it is shown in the book. She loves it and I am happy she is pleased.

Fearless knitting this year. Let's all try smething that we have never done, done poorly, or just always wanted to try and never made the time for. I am looking for control and discipline in a world seemingly out of control.

This discipline needs to apply to my diet, recreation, work and job seeking. I really do not want to go to work full time. Really. It breaks my heart. I work almost full time for the church and school and Guild and charities, of my choice. Choice, control, needs and wants. Mix it all up in the bowl and it has to come out in a new form. Same ingredients, different out come.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Remember Knitwits 2006 Xmas Decor

I have been a very good girl this year. In the effort towards good stewardship, I gave up my "Venti-iced-Skinny-two pump sugar-free vanilla latte" habit. At $4 a pop, upwards of five times a week, it tabulated to $80 a month. Truly a utility payment.

I inherited a Krup's espresso machine purchased at a garage sale for $1, and got busy at home learning to be a barista par excellent. Pretty good hot, lacking pizazz when iced.

So, imagine my surprise when passing a Starbucks the decorations caught my knitter's eye. There was a nationwide chain of very popular shops full of knitting inspired decorations! Two years ago I made wreaths covered with balls of red and green yarn for our KnitWit Christmas party. Here was a better version times a million. I want them. I asked the supervisor "What do you do with the decorations after the season ends?" She replied with disgust "You and everyone else. Come back the morning after Christmas and we will take names and have a drawing." I was dismissed and dismayed. Who else has a large knitting group and annual knitting Christmas parties? Who else out there would love and take care of these items as well as me? Who, I ask?

If anyone reading this can snag me some of this knit bling, I will knit you a beautiful "fill in the blank" of your choice...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

My Favorite Secret Santa Ever

Last night we participated in our third Secret Santa Gift Exchange. It was a re-gift exchange in the spirit of one less thing to buy. The results were hilarious. Some of the ugliest, useless and just plain ridiculous stuff reared their heads from the back of the closets of many homes.

The weird thing is that "one man's trash is another mans treasure" thing happened to me. I got a discarded Christmas platter that I just love. I also traded a bridge set (I will never use) for the latest gizmo called a Ped-Egg. I'll let you know...

Not Your Typical Christmas Prep

We planned a low key Christmas with the emphasis on frugality. Gifts to the minimum and trying to adjust to a different, less extravagant holiday. Enter the rains. We were almost swept away with the storms on Monday and Wednesday. There is more on the way. The good news is that the drought is being alleviated. We need a big snow pack to fill the reservoirs and we have got a good start. The bad news is that a lot of that rain fell inside of my house.

A new roof is out of the question.We had prepped with tar and patch where we thought it was needed. But several inches fell in heavy, windswept deluges that overcame our sincere efforts. There will have to be some sort of professional intervention. Oh my.

Today we are replacing a kitchen faucet and a toilet seat. Cha-ching! Both broke on Thursday.
You know how nice it would be to maintain status quo. One of the kids favorite story books as tots was titled "It Could Always Be Worse". It was based on a Jewish folk tale and the moral is self explanatory. I try to keep it in mind when ever I get too whiny. Our friend Mark is coming over to help Don with the Kitchen plumbing. Grateful to him and ever watchful for the blessings in this crazy situation.

Trying to knit a sweater for Brynn and it keeps me distracted from all that I have not done...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Steezy Editorial

As far as I am concerned, the holidays mean I am neglected. There may not be a big storm, but enough rain to make mud that sticks to my paws. This makes a mess on the floor and slows me down on the keyboard...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Black Bear Goes Postal

It is finished for a month now. I just really liked looking at it. But, it is time to send the Black Bear to Roxanne in MI. I wanted to have all my packages shipped together and make just one trip to the post office. Not happening. Organization is elusive this year. Thank goodness Mr. Bill is around to help me. We say a fond farewell to one of our favorite bags....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Where is the Storm?

Starting last sunny Wednesday afternoon, the local weather team started prepping San Diego for a huge storm. High winds, heavy rainstorms and 2 feet of snow in the mountains by Monday. Get out the snowboards and wax the skis! Winter was coming for a brief visit. I write this as I sit in the dappled sunlight of a Sunday noon. Clouds flow by and an occasional sprinkle falls. Not exactly what I was hoping for.

I wanted to have an excuse to stay in. Make a fire, cook a big pot of soup and maybe cookies too. I have not begun the task of Christmas cards, shopping, wrapping or shipping. All on hold as we await a check from clients. Each day has a scheduled event that gets clicked off. But, I have a cold. It is the kind that responds well to Nyquil and hot tea. It has not laid me low, just made me slow.

I want the storm. I want to say it was too wet to drive, and too windy and cold to go out. You do not often get the chance to use the weather for an excuse in Sunny CA. Christmas is the beginning of our winter rainy season. We have had less than 6 inches of rainfall this year. God knows we need it. So, I have my foul weather apparel at the ready. I have to check to be sure it has not dry rot since the last time I needed it....

Happy Birthday Irmgard!

Happy Birthday you snowboarding expert, exceptional RN, Beautiful Mother and friend. Look at what 55 looks like. That is her Frank with her, lucky guy. Have a wonderful New Year. We love you...Irmgard Hannelore Winklmeier Mannix

Feliz Navidad

One frustrated dog - I give up!

One happy torturer.

A few years ago we received an animated life size singing iguana. It wags it's tail, wiggles it's body and moves it 's mouth in sync to "Feliz Navidad." Ryan showed little interest in it for a long time. This year it is his favorite Christmas toy.

It freaks the dog out totally. She is convinced it is alive and if I leave it on the floor she tries to kill it. So instead of lying on the hearth as usual it is on the coffee table for the season. Ryan is home this weekend and is carrying the thing around like a pet. This is causing severe pet sibling rivalry.

I have a cold and Ryan and I skipped church this morning. We are saving ourselves for the fully orchestrated Messiah concert this evening. Ryan is laying on one couch pushing the play button on the iguana over and over. From the bottom of my heart, I never want to hear Feliz Navidad again. The dog is tortured beyond endurance. After many attempts to end the life of the iguana, she has given up and is trying to sleep it all away.

She looks like she has a headache. I definitely have a headache and the recording is starting to slow down and waver every few bars of "I want to wish you a merry Christmas" Ryan pushes the button again and says "for Steezy- it makes her happy"

Monday, December 8, 2008

NCKG Luncheon and Fashion Show 2008

The annual luncheon and fashion show took place today. I have the pictures to prove it and I hope you enjoy. I had many of my Knit Wits at the event. It is magical to see the best efforts of our talented Guild members on display. Not everything you see will suit your taste, but the viewing is yummy. Enjoy...

Knitting Challenge Throw Down

I bought this book in the Spring with the intention of knitting myself a sweater or 2. I like 90% of the patterns in this book and that is rare. Brynn saw a sweater in the book while home for Thanksgiving. I decided I would knit it for her and she made an offhand comment to the effect that she wondered if it would take six years??? She chose the color and I ordered the yarn. I have cast on the back and have 3 inches done. I decided to see if Heather would take the sweater challenge with me and see who will finish by January 25th. I would love to have it done and under the tree by December 25th. Heather has her sweater well under way. She has altered her pattern and the changes over the pattern may slow her down. That girl wants to win. I just want to prove to Brynn that she is a priority to me. #1 daughter. My one and only favorite...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Walk About Drop out

"Marsha got run over by a big dog-
It happened at the dog park yesterday.
Marsha did not see the big dog coming-
And now her ankle is swollen in a cast!"

Sung to the tune "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer"

Steezy and I went to the dog park for an enjoyable respite from Christmas decorating. The tree is up and lovely. I cut back on the rest of the house decor by 50%. It looks great and I am happy it is done. The dog park was busy and the pack had fun running with 2 greyhounds in the lead. I needed to get home to shower and head out to the South Park Community Christmas Walk About. The Grove is a favorite LYS in that neighborhood. We like to go stroll the streets with our friends after a delicious dinner at Vagabond. I leashed up Steez and we were 20 feet from the gate when the pack rounded us and a 100 pound yellow lab collided with my ankle. Ouch!

I drove home and got ready to go. We made it to dinner and I could feel swelling and throbbing
as my shoe got tighter and tighter. The evening came to an early end. I hobbled around one block and thought I was going to throw up. My dear friends could see my pale, sweating brow; and brought the car around.

A bad sprain, no break. Boot until a shoe fits, foot exercises and time. A little Vicodin on the side and life goes on...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday No Show

Lots of folks get up early to shop today. Not my gang.
Every Friday morning we meet here as a follow up to the
Weight Watcher meetings that the 5 of us once attended.
One met her goal and is a lifetime member, one is valiant
in her ongoing commitment. The rest of us are full fledged
drop outs. This comes as no surprise. Two of us are famous
for going to the gym for an hour with a personal trainer,
and then straight out to lunch...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Need to Nap

Post turkey pig-out. Bed, here I come. After 2 days of cooking and cleaning, I am spent.
Pull back the covers, toss the pillows and look out. Somebody do the dishes...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Our bounty of friends is our thanks giving praise. The feast
of our family of five around the table will be made sweeter
with the friends that share our meal. The table is set now.
The baking is done and all that remains is roasting the bird
and peeling 10 pounds of potatoes. Praying for peace and
prosperity for all. Health, happiness and love...

Monday, November 24, 2008

OMG It's a Miracle

After 54 years of bashing crochet,
Heather taught me in 5 minutes and
I somehow had a break through.
All who know me are amazed...

Friends Like This

Don't we all know someone like this? Maybe, we are someone like this! I am the control freak type and a cook. So, I always make the dinner. Now, if they would come and clean the house and set up, we would have the perfect equation for a stress free holiday...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We Need to be a Prozac Nation

I mean no disrespect to anyone taking any form of medication for any reason. I am a believer in meds. I believe you must try every option to heal and feel well. I have long thought that our nation would be better off if we stopped chlorinating our water and started tranquilizing it. I want tranquil. I will have a house full of friends for the holiday and all of my children. I will cook for 2 days and we will devour in an hour.

One of my guests is a very good photographer. We will impose upon him to take the family Christmas card photo. That will be our main gift this year. I want to buy a cow and some sheep through the Heifer International program. Give a man a fish, and he eats a meal. Teach a man to fish, and he will never go hungry. How does that sound to everyone??? We can provide sheep to a family for wool and future knittters and weavers. I like it. Keep it tranquil.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Knitting Through Depression

Check out the Berrocco website and all of their free patterns. If you have stash, and all self respecting knitters do, then get in there and match the stash to a pattern. Now, pour a glass of wine, pop in a DVD, and start knitting. Breathe. Deeply and slowly. This is my detox from the economy. Try it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday

I dreamed of being a Mother as early as I can remember. Playing house with my dolls went on far into my childhood. Back in those days, it was okay to remain a doll playing child all the way to 10 and sometimes beyond. There was less pressure to grow up and act like an adult. So, it was actually fun to pretend to be one.

In my dreams, my baby was always a little girl. On November 20, 1985, the dream became a reality. Brynn was born at 10:30 am following an all night labor. She was 3 weeks overdue. Not too anxious to make her appearance. She could hear her older brother Ryan and was reserving her options. She had the longest fingernails (ironic) and thick shaggy black hair. If I had not witnessed the birth, I would not have believed her to be mine. My firstborn was tiny, hairless and different. The only thing they had in common was our gobsmacked love.

My dream has not disappointed me. I admire her. I respect her. She is far more beautiful than I could have imagined. She is smart and savvy. I wish her a happy birthday. I wish her dreams that come true.