Mittwoch, Dezember 31, 2008

Guten Rutsch!

I had to have my Ravelry friend, Waldmaus, explain that to me. Everyone I know who speaks German says it on New Year's Eve, but it means "Good slide," not "Happy New Year." Now I know it's a wish to get us over the hump into the new year. Tomorrow we will appropriately say, "Gutes neues Jahr!"

I wish my Rutsch would leave the flu behind. Yes, I had a flu shot, but they aren't 100%. I have fever and a horribly stuffy, runny nose and can't sleep, but I don't think I will get pneumonia.

I think I will be able to leave Paul's scarf behind in 2008 as well. I am ready to shape the shawl collar edge.

Mars from Twist Collective

Since I went up a total of three needle sizes, I have fewer rows, so I had to recalculate the shaping instructions. We will see how this works.

And I'm planning for New Year's Day. Whatever you do on New Year's Day is what you will do throughout the year. My list:

  • Study scriptures

  • I am currently researching references to fear (anxiety is just a kind of fear) in the Bible and have made it through Leviticus, using LDS Books, an iPod touch application

  • Knit

  • I want to start the hat that goes with Paul's scarf

  • Spin

  • Lancelot and Gwenhwyfar arrived in today's mail

    Lancelot and Gwenhwyfar

  • Visit with family

  • Celia is having a luncheon

  • Get a new phone

  • Yikes--I hope I only have to do that once in 2009

  • Play music
  • I oiled all the recorders last week, but maybe I should pick an instrument I don't have to breathe on.


    So--what are your plans for New Year's Day?

    Samstag, Dezember 27, 2008

    The Christmas Loot

  • There were beautiful handmade things.

  • Laurel's quilt
    Laurel made me a quilt!
    (I am wrapped up in it as we speak)

    Merino silk by Joanne
    This delicate yarn is a 3-ply,
    representing a lot of work by Joanne

  • There were funny things.

  • Trusty Calendar July

    Trusty Calendar Dec
    Trusty Calendar, created by Todd and Joanne
    for Paul (with a little help from Photoshop and Shutterfly).
    I hope Todd will make the photos available online
    so you can see them all!

    Yes, it does have the fried peanut butter
    and banana sandwich recipe.

  • There were musical instruments.

  • Soprano recorder
    Soprano recorder, Moeck, boxwood;
    OE got a toy electric guitar

  • There were things from around the world.

  • Rajasthani puppets
    Cherry bought these Rajasthani puppets
    for me while she was in India last month

    Rajasthani puppets, borrowed from Cherry
    Here is how the puppets look in their natural environment
    (photo taken in India by Cherry)


    Helen sent me a carved stone pendant from Gemstone Beach and yarn from the Ashford shop that she got while on vacation in New Zealand

  • There were books.

  • Books, in both printed and audio versions, included Beedle the Bard, the newest Mma Ramotswe book, an audible gift certificate.

  • There was snow.

  • Light on snow

    In fact, there was a lot of snow.



    Our Christmas celebration is still going on. Everyone made it here to eat on Christmas Eve, but between Paul's work schedule and the snow, people opened gifts on both Christmas Day and Boxing Day. We are on our way to Celia's in about an hour to take them their gifts to open tonight.

    The kids had fun. The kids had so much fun that the grownups had headaches. That sounds like a pretty typical Christmas to me.

    I started over on Paul's scarf, the former Mystery Project.

    Paul's Scarf

    That sounds pretty typical to me, too.

    Montag, Dezember 22, 2008

    I Survive Church

    Here is the weird thing.

    My knitting doesn't have to be perfect. Yes, I frog if there's an obvious mistake, but a lot of stuff just doesn't bother me. If I have three stitches at the end of the row where there should be two, I purl two of them together, or whatever will work with the pattern. If the sock pools, I don't care.

    So why does it bother me that my organ playing isn't perfect? The knitting will still be sitting there years from now, with the fudged edge stitches, or the pooling colors. The performance is gone even as it takes place. Better luck next time.

    But, as I say, I survived it. The parts with the choir went really well, which was the most important to me because I would hate to mess them up when they've worked so hard. It just bugs me that every time I went for an A with my left foot I got a G. I guess it was not an A day.

    Apparently some people couldn't see my pictures from yesterday. They were on Flickr. If you couldn't see them either, let me know, especially if it happens more than once. I can use Blogger's photo loader instead if lots of people can't see them.

    The ones from yesterday are pretty much at the front of my Flickr photostream.

    Sonntag, Dezember 21, 2008

    I Play Dolls

    It finally stopped snowing. The gingerbread house decorating session that had been postponed could finally take place.



    The fuse sticking out of this one seems ominous

    Demolition of some houses took place even before construction was completed

    The mailman came.

    Fairy Tale II: Rapunzel by The Sanguine Gryphon

    We played dolls.




    Not sure where Snuffles's bonnet has gone

    We knitted.


    I love how the candy stick pattern looked when extended into the ribbing (although the yarn began pooling at that point, no doubt due to the change to twisted stitches).

    The cast-off is a 2-stitch picot (cast on two, cast off two) followed by two stitches cast off using the knit two together method, repeated around.

    Some people just slept.



    As for me, I'll feel more relaxed when church is over this afternoon and I'm not worrying about whether I can play the carols at twice the normal speed, which is what the choir director wants.

    Samstag, Dezember 20, 2008

    Snow on Snow

    In the bleak mid-winter
    Frosty wind made moan,
    Earth stood hard as iron,
    Water like a stone;
    Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
    Snow on snow,
    In the bleak mid-winter
    Long ago.

    From In the Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rosetti


    Freitag, Dezember 19, 2008

    I Knit All Day

    7:21 a.m.


    I do some laundry.

    The pattern turns out not be hard to do with Magic Loop. I discovered that I could set up the stitches so that a left-leaning decrease started each line of stitches, and that the k4 that preceded it was at the end of each line. This meant that I had 26 stitches on one cable and 39 on the other, not a problem.

    3:07 p.m.


    I fall asleep and have to do something else to wake up.

    I think I've finally worked out my favorite way of doing a line of left-leaning decreases. Here I've used sl 1 k1 psso in the active row, and then knitted that stitch through the back loop in the following row.


    Still not perfect (it is the left edge of the diagonal band) but better.

    10:31 p.m.


    I think they are ready for ribbing. They are very close to the "fold in half" rule of sock measurement.


    Tomorrow. I am going to bed now. Trusty had better not wake me up to go out, either.

    Wait. Have you seen this yet?

    Click to order

    It has a menge of super ideas for making self-striping yarns do all kinds of interesting things.

    * * * * * *

    Oh, sorry, I forgot to post the winner of the OEXPTQ contest.

    2nd runner up: Teri
    1st runner up: Lynn
    Winner: Laurel

    The answer was: Owen from Paul and Tan. X meaning Latin ex for "out of" and PTQ to mean Paul and Tan, in the same way that the Romans used SPQR to mean "the senate and people of Rome (senatus populusque romanum). But it wasn't a very fair contest, because I think only members of our family know that Owen invented his own spelling of his name before he started school: OE. So everyone who tried gets a prize. Winners, please e' me with the color family of your choice and whether you want chunky or sock. Note: Many more colors available in sock.

    Mittwoch, Dezember 17, 2008

    One Thing at a Time

    Today's Goal: Focus!

  • Get the pets set for the day

  • Check.
    We're not walking far in 20 degree weather.
    If at all.

  • Get the appliances started on their jobs

  • Check. With two families in the house, something has to be running all the time.

  • Wrap packages that still need to be mailed.

  • To wrap

    Do not repair the bird ornament
    that came out of the box without legs.
    Do not even look for the glue gun.


  • More laundry

  • A cat has thrown up on my duvet cover.
    Check--until next time.
    Stay. Away. From. The. Computer.

    I mean it!

  • Errands--the post office, picking up firewood, practicing the organ

  • Organ practice--Check
    I can now play all the carols for Sunday
    twice as fast as they are supposed to go,
    which is what the director wants

    Post Office--Check
    packages again

    Only 24 minutes and $66
    for five packages and 20 stamps;
    much better than I expected, especially since
    three of the packages were going to Europe

    I hope it is a green burn day,
    because I have a fire going

    And now I am going to knit. See y'all later!

    Candy Cane socks

    Dienstag, Dezember 16, 2008

    I Survive the Piano Recital

    I may have to rethink how I do my piano recitals. A whole hour of listening to beginners at various levels of preparation and stage presence might be too much for the average audience.

    Some alternatives:
  • Have two recitals so each is shorter

  • Have the children learn two numbers but play only one at the recital based on which one sounds best at group lesson

  • Do the recital at a time other than Christmas when students have more time to prepare

  • No one wants to play Christmas music too early; and six weeks is not enough for some students to learn the arrangements they like. Of course if it isn't Christmas music I would make them memorize their pieces. I think only four students had their music memorized last night (kudos to Quinlan, Nico, Preston, and Kaden). Apologies to anyone else who had theirs memorized that I forgot to mention. Not that any of them read my blog other than Quinlan's mom.

    Did any of you have your kids take piano lessons? Do you have any recommendations?

    I know of one teacher in the area who has her students pay by the semester just like a college class, and then has a recital at the end of each semester. If I did that I would have to have two recitals, and they really stress me out, but everyone would know where they stand and that they had to have a piece really well learned by the end of the said semester.

    What to do now that all the concerts and recitals are over?

  • Practice the organ--I still have to play at church for Christmas

  • Mail away the gifts that should have gone out a week or two ago

  • Pump up my wood pile--it's still snowing!

  • Wrap more gifts--there are still cardboard boxes in my closet

  • Knit those socks I promised to my friend Cori and her little girls

  • Work on the poor, neglected mystery project

  • --but I have until Christmas Day for that one, since the recipient doesn't like to open presents early and he's working until 7:00 p.m. on The Day

    Montag, Dezember 15, 2008

    How Cool is This?

    Last night at dinner I was saying that I would like to hear Chris and Howard perform "The Trumpet Shall Sound" from Messiah. Chris sang in Messiah a couple of weeks ago with the Utah Symphony, and Howard has been playing trumpet in various college and church performances of it around the city, and actually was leaving from our house in a few minutes to perform at another one.

    I was thinking I could play the piano and they could perform, but our living room is pretty small and we would all need ear protection . . .

    So Howard had been gone for about half an hour when we got a phone call. The baritone had just cancelled. Would Chris be willing to come sing? He decided he would, so I piled in the truck with him and we headed into Salt Lake.

    Howard kept calling to see where we were, and when we were about six minutes out they started the performance. Howard met Chris at a side door and I went to park. As I slipped into the back of the church, Chris was just standing up to sing his first number.

    It was so cool to hear them perform together. The church had pulled together a nice little orchestra, and the other soloists were OK. I even got brave and sang along with the rest of the congregation on the choruses, although I have never sung the alto part and got a little lost now and then. I figured my lack of voice control wouldn't matter in that setting.

    I think it was Messiah, Himself, who said, "Ask, and it shall be given you."

    Y'all--it works!

    Sonntag, Dezember 14, 2008

    I Do This Every Year.


    OK, I don't really. Usually Amber does it, often in a marathon overnighter of wrapping, bows, and Sharpie ink. But Amber lives 45 miles away now, and has two kids, so it would be pretty silly to make her come up and wrap my presents for me. Besides, I'm not in school full time right now, so I don't have an excuse. And this year Sharman and Chris have wrapped a lot for me.

    Why am I still complaining? It's Christmas. It should be fun.

    Except it's boring. I'm not getting in any knitting time (see it hiding behind the candy canes?)


    I have to come up with things to liven it up.

    Things to do while wrapping presents:
  • Listen to Christmas CDs on the clock radio

  • Listen to an audio book simultaneously on the iPod

  • Drink diet Cokes and munch Cadbury chocolate balls

  • Text people

  • Think of weird ways to tag gifts: OK, guess what OEXPTQ* means and I will give you yarn

  • Check to see if there are any new emails, blog posts, or Ravelry messages

  • write blog posts

  • take pictures for blog posts

  • make Sharman and Chris feel sorry for me so they will wrap more of them

  • Where to put them when they're wrapped is a problem. Last year the kids figured out I was hiding gifts in the window seat in the toy room. Was that before or after they broke the cover to the window seat? Anyway, that hiding place is out. The computer room window seat is available, but I would have to move gift wrap and a pirate ship to get to it.

    I am going with big plastic bins. I suppose they might end up back in my closet. But at least the gifts will be wrapped.


    *I can't stand it, I think that is so funny. You should email your guess, though, and not put it in the comments or everyone will copy you. Let's say a deadline of Wednesday 12/17, how 'bout?

    Samstag, Dezember 13, 2008

    Apples and Hubcaps

    From our discussion with the Brain Health Educator at the Cognitive Disorders Center on Thursday:

    Brain Lady: Your dad is pretty sharp mentally, right? He knows what's going on, he can pay the bills, and so on.

    Ruth Ann and me: Yes, that's right.

    Brain Lady: So we're not really talking apples and oranges here, right? Your mom and dad aren't even in the same fruit basket. Instead of apples and oranges, they're more like apples and hubcaps.

    Ruth Ann and me: !!!!!!!!!!

    We had a nice visit with each other and with our hubcap mom, but due to an impending snowstorm, it was pretty short.

    I sent Mom home with my angel puzzle to stimulate her mind

    Click picture to order

    only I had to order a replacement. It's just too cute.

    Sonntag, Dezember 07, 2008

    I Survive the Early Music Concert

    Henry VIII was a mean, mean guy.
    He had eight wives and he watched them die.

    I told Laurel I would put that on my blog if she would let me use her pictures from the concert Saturday. Which she did.

    Me with my gothic bray harp.
    Photo by Laurel Leishman

    The last section of our concert had some Henry VIII compositions as well as other Renaissance stuff. We also had some very early pieces. I played a solo on my bray harp which would have gone better if I had remembered to eat lunch or even bring a snack. My hands were shaking, and I blamed it on stage fright, but I realized afterwards that it was probably also from taking a Sudafed and not eating anything since breakfast.

    So I remembered my rug to sit the harps on and my desk drawer to raise the bray harp a little and give it an added sound magnifier. I remembered the two harps, three recorders, and the krummhorn. I remembered my music, which I had forgotten to bring to Monday's rehearsal.

    My instruments are under my hand. From left they are a tenor recorder,
    a krummhorn and an alto recorder.
    I also played the U's soprano recorder.
    Photo by Laurel Leishman

    When I carry all that stuff into the music building (and I can carry it all at once except the rug) I think of that Simon and Garfunkle lyric about "a poet and a one man band." So then I had to think of a poem. That's where the Henry VIII doggerel came from.

    So who needs food? Me, apparently.

    Donnerstag, Dezember 04, 2008

    It's beginning to look a little like Christmas

    . . . everywhere you go . . .

    With a wreath on the front room door


    Wreath by Sean at Sax Romney Florist in Salt Lake City

    And some knitting plucked off the floor


    This is the candy cane yarn from Holiday Yarns

    And a cat adrift in wrappings, you'll be sure.


    Actually the chair covers Sharman is making for me

    OK, this was not my best photography day ever. I suddenly, without warning, came down with a raging cold this afternoon. I attributed it to allergies for a while, and exposed a poor piano student. So the out of focus photos actually look the way I feel.

    Incidentally, if you live in the Salt Lake area and don't have plans for Saturday afternoon, you can come to my early music concert. It is at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday the 6th in Gardner Hall on the U campus.
    No tickers