Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Only in Chicago

This morning, on my way to work, the Puppet Bike was rockin' it at the corning of State & Randolph.

I love the Puppet Bike!!

What's the Puppet Bike, you ask? I wish I would remember that I have a camera in my phone so I could show you a photo. Check out their website - if you click on "Dance" and then choose Dance 3, you'll see a pretty good example of what I saw this morning. The Puppet Bike is, literally, a box on wheels that houses a puppet stage. A person actually sits inside of it (a skinny person) and does puppet shows, and it's absolutely hilarious.

This morning, I heard the music and saw them across the street. "Wheeee!!" I thought, "it's the Puppet Bike!!" I crossed the street to watch them and were just brilliant. I see the Puppet Bike almost every day, chained up outside of the Cultural Center right where I catch the train, but I almost never get to actually see a show. I think the puppets usually sleep in on work days.

I wish I had had time to stop longer and actually watch them (I'm late for work - I get docked . . . ). Everyone was hustling on their way to work and, for the most part, were completely ignoring the Puppet Bike - which is really pretty hard to do, given that it looks like it was painted by Red Grooms on acid, and this morning, given that two puppets were doing a wild dance to "Hut Sut Rawlson." I was laughing out loud - it put a smile on my face that lasted all day.

I wish I had had more time - and some loose cash. The light changed and I had to cross the street away from their spontaneity and joy, and I felt bad that didn't have enough time to search for a dollar to put in toward the light bill (it's on the box). Next time you see the Puppet Bike, please feed the kitty - I most certainly will. :-)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Who Am I?

I keep finding all these quizzes . . . and so I decided to take them all . . . be afraid. Be very afraid.

First, we have the Jung Typology Test

According to this one, I'm a Provider Guardian: "Providers are very likely more than ten percent of the population, and this is very fortunate for the rest of us, because friendly social service is a key to their nature. Highly cooperative themselves, Providers are skilled in maintaining teamwork among their helpers, and are also tireless in their attention to the details of furnishing goods and services. They make excellent chairpersons in charge of social events. They are without peer as masters of ceremonies, able to approach others with ease and confidence, and seemingly aware of what everyone's been doing. And they are outstanding hosts or hostesses, able to remember people's names, usually after one introduction, and always concerned about the needs of their guests, wanting to insure that all are involved and provided for. Providers are extremely sensitive to the feelings of others, which makes them perhaps the most sympathetic of all the types, but which also leaves them rather self-conscious, that is, highly sensitive to what others think of them. Because of this Providers can be crushed by personal criticism, and will work most effectively when given ample appreciation both for themselves personally and for the service they give to others. This is not to say that Providers are afraid to express their own emotional reactions. They are quick to like and dislike-and don't mind saying so-tending to put on a pedestal whatever or whoever they admire, and to come down hard on those people and issues they don't care for. "

Next we have the Knitting Personality Test

According to this one, I'm: the Contented Knitter: "You are to be envied as the happiest of knitters. You knit for the enjoyment of it. Whether it's the satisfaction of making a jumpter for yourself or the pleasure of making a gift for a friend. Knitting is a relaxation. You don't get overly worried abot learning new techniques. You tend to lack confidence in your ability and will often stick to a tried and test patter rather than try something new. Remember that your favorite patterns were new once. Beware of getting stuck in a rut, especially when you knit for other people. . .

Next I thought I'd figure out Who is My Ideal TV Boyfriend

OK - skipping this one . . . it came back with someone and I had no clue who he was . . . this means one of two things: (1) I don't watch this kind of telly, or (2) I'm too old to care. Moving on . . .

Next I headed over to Blogthings

Where I learned that my 1950's name is "Vivian Yvonne," and if I were an Art Movement, I would be Surrealism, which is pretty funny because who knew that my current favorite style of art (really!) implies that I'm high?! :-D

My Pirate Name is:
Iron Anne Cash

A pirate's life isn't easy; it takes a tough person. That's okay with you, though, since you a tough person. You're musical, and you've got a certain style if not flair. You'll do just fine. Arr!

I had a YaYa name (From Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood). It was Princess Glimmering Moon, but that site seems to be gone now - You'll have to make up your own :-)

What Tarot Card Am I?

This one says I'm the High Priestess
Spiritual enlightenment, inner illumination, hidden power. Link between seen and unseen. Balance of positive and negative forces. Receptivity. Unseen guidance. A young woman sits on a throne holding a scroll labeled "Tora" meaning "law." On her breast is the sign of the meeting of heaven and earth, the Maltese cross. Her crown is the full orb supported by horns, the crown ofthe Mother Goddess Isis, who rules all things changeable, shown by the moon at her feet. Her power, upon which her throne rests, derives from the creative principle of duality, shown by the two pillars of light and darkness. To those who know and love her she dispenses the sweet fruit of the world itself, symbolized by the pomegranites.

This one says I'm the Empress (couldn't get the HTML to work here either - sorry)
Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, luxury, dissipation.

The Empress is associated with Venus, the feminine planet, so it represents, beauty, charm, pleasure, luxury, and delight. You may be good at home decorating, art or anything to do with making things beautiful.

The Empress is a creator, be it creation of life, of romance, of art or business. While the Magician is the primal spark, the idea made real, and the High Priestess is the one who gives the idea a form, the Empress is the womb where it gestates and grows till it is ready to be born. This is why her symbol is Venus, goddess of beautiful things as well as love. Even so, the Empress is more Demeter, goddess of abundance, then sensual Venus. She is the giver of Earthly gifts, yet at the same time, she can, in anger withhold, as Demeter did when her daughter, Persephone, was kidnapped. In fury and grief, she kept the Earth barren till her child was returned to her.

I'm thinking that's enough for tonight. I'm quizzed out!

Have Fun!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Stay Warm

As it is wont to do here, it's warming up again before the next Arctic blast of cold - but here's the industrial strength hat and scarf (with my polar fleece neck/face warmer). You can see why it has to be really cold to wear this stuff. I love it! This year I'm going to see about getting some mittens to match.

It's a lazy Sunday here - and I really have to get the Christmas stuff down :-D But I have some Wensleydale on the wheel and I'd like to finish it up. I actually got it because it reminds me of Wallace & Gromit. Wensleydale is the cheese that Wallace loves :-D

Wensleydale is a long wool - very lustrous. I have some bluish black and some natural. The natural is almost a buttery shade of cream. I'm thinking some dressy mittens . . . we'll see. In the mean time, I had better get cracking on the Christmas stuff - this is getting to be far too protracted a process, even for me.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Whatta Week

Why is it that short work weeks completely discombobulate me?? I can't believe how happy I was to blast out of work today. I was Crabby Appleton today! (Rotten to the core!) ===:-O (Clueless? OK - if you weren't watching Captain Kangaroo in the 60's, you prolly never saw the old "Tom Terrific with Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog" cartoon.)

Sorry. I digress. :-D Anyway . . . I am truly a Chicagoan. I know this because today, when I left my office, it was 21 degrees Fahrenheit, and it felt like a heat wave to me :-D Far too warm to be wearing the industrial strength hat. It has to be low teens, single digits or there has to be a brutal wind chill to be able to wear that hat and not have my head sweat.

I got home to about 2" of snow already on the ground. Who Ya Gonna Call? Snow Blower! Man, that was money well spent. I'm in for the night - evening plans were changed to accommodate this snow - and I should be putting the rest of the Christmas stuff away (how embarrassing is it that it's almost February and I have boxes strewn across my front room still?!). But I'm not. I'm here, with you for a bit, and then I'm knitting. And having popcorn for dinner. And watching a movie. Doesn't that sound great? :-)

It's been a busy week - I did get a lot of fiber-related stuff accomplished, however. Here are some skeins that I finished spinning over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. They are Blue Faced Leicester - one combed and spun worsted (on the left), and one carded and spun woolen (on the right). Clearly I need more practice in carding - I don't care so much for woolen yarn, which is probably why I don't card so well as I comb.

<---- The DIY Sock Club is ready!! I'm pretty excited about this, and it's a boatload out of my stash! I ended up with 8 patterns instead of 6 - this is like two freebies tossed in for good measure ;-D
L-R, top row: Country Girl Socks w/Bamboolaine; Rainbow Socks w/Opal Rainforest; Gothic Spire Socks w/Colinette Jitterbug; Fawkes Socks w/Fleece Artist Sea Wool. L-R, bottom: Blueberry Waffle Socks w/J Wray & Co. Hand Painted Yarn; Waterloose Socks w/Socks That Rock Medium Weight (thanks, Linda!); Monkey Socks w/Duet Middy; and finally, Jaywalker Socks w/Numma Numma Toasty. Prettty kewl, huh? :-) Here they are, all ready to go! I have absolutely no idea which bag is which :-D
Time to get settled in the sunroom to watch some telly and have some popcorn . . . but, before I go, however, I must confess to having bought yarn. I am rationalizing this purchase in that it was not for me. It's for a PIF exchange partner and since she reads this blog, that's all I'm going to say about that. ;-)

Keep warm!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Pay It Forward :-)

You might have seen the "Pay It Forward Exchange" on a blog here or there. I signed up with Wendi at The Knitted Squirrel a few days ago. I am so on board with this concept - sort of way to keep Christmas in my heart all year :-)

The "Pay It Forward Exchange" is based on the concept of the movie Pay it Forward, where acts or deeds of kindness are done without expecting something in return, just passing it on, with hope that the recipients of the acts of kindness are passed on.

So here’s how it works. I will make and send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment to this post on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I do not know what that gift will be yet (geez - I don't even know if three people read my blog :-D), and it won’t be sent this month, probably not next month, but it will be sent (within 6 months) and that’s a promise! What YOU have to do in return, then, is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog. I will send to anywhere in the World as long as it doesn't involve space travel!

Have a great day and Pay It Forward :-)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

My Very Own Sock Club :-D

I've never belonged to a sock club. Linda the Chicken Lady belonged to the Socks That Rock club for a year and she seemed like it, but at the time, I wasn't knitting socks much. Anyway - as usual, I digress. Sorry.

The Loopy Ewe just announced their sock club for 2008 - there were 300+ requests for about 100 spots, so they used a lottery system. I chose not to sign up for a lottery spot because of my Stash Busting Challenge, but there were a LOT of very disappointed people on the Loopy Groopy group on Ravelry.

A number of those who didn't get a "golden ticket" for the Loopy Ewe sock club are starting their own - and how great an idea is THAT?!?!?! I'm so on board with this!! However, rather than joining the herd, instead am going to do my own thing: I'm choosing at least 6 patterns that I've been wanting to try, and at least six skeins of sock yarn and I'm bagging them up and putting them in the closet.

Beginning in February, I'm going to pull one out every other month and have my very own sock club, all the while busting my stash even further!!

This totally rocks - almost as much as my snow blower :-D

Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside . . .

OK - the rain is gone, baby, gone, and we are at the beginning of what is promising to be a brutal stretch of cold weather. This will call for the industrial strength hat and scarf, I'm afraid. Linda (the Chicken Lady) and I got them at the Renaissance Faire one year and they've been the best investment in warmth that I've made in a long time. I'll have to see about a photo . . . in the meantime, think "Russian Princess."

I'm in for the night - no singing for me tonight - and no driving either. My driveway is slick as snot if you'll pardon the comparison. Apparently the snow that spent the better part of the day attempting to fall when it was warmer, melted on all available cement surfaces, and when the temp plummeted, it froze into a hidden, slick, dangerous batch of ice. Just not something I want to be driving around on, thank you.

Time for a little stash busting, I think ;-) Here's the latest in the fiber stash reduction. This is the 4 oz. of Colonial that I picked up at The Fold back in September. Here's a close-up. It's not quite thin enough to be considered fingering weight, and I think it might be a little short for socks (it's less than 400 yards), but I think it came out just fine, and it is just as I envisioned it - sort of Black Watch-ish.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Some January Socks

Here they are! My first socks of the new year, they count for the SAM5 KAL. They are made of Lana Grossa Meilenweit 100 Inca. This was actually the second ball of sock yarn that I ever bought! It came from My Sister's Knits, in Beverly. They are for me!

I was a little worried that they might resemble clown barf, but I like them after all, and think of them as my rainbow socks :-)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Rain, Rain . . .

OK - it's like 60 degrees out. And it's pouring. And I don't mean pouring as in, "hey, pour me a drink." I mean pouring like raindrops hitting the ground so hard that they bounce back up pouring. Pouring like I walked from the train to the corner and my feet and legs up to my coat were completely soaked through pouring. Pouring so that my back yard looks like the southern extension of Lake Michigan pouring. Pouring CATS and DOGS pouring!!

Oh, and did I mention that it's JANUARY? In CHICAGO?

A few years ago this much rain would have had me downstairs syphoning thousands of gallons of water out of the crawl space (I'm not joking); but that drain tile and new sump are proving to be worth the obscene amount of money I spent for them. However . . . this will have to be the year that the back stairwell drain gets fixed, that I upgrade the original sump pump so that it works as well as the new second pump, and that the gutters get covered / screened over somehow.

You already know where this is going, don't you? There is water in the basement. Most of it gushed under the door jam of the back stairwell. But there is water in some odd other spots down there, too, which means that this was/is (A) a very very heavy rain with a large of amount of water pounding down in a very very short period of time; and (B) I am a dork for not ensuring that the gutters were cleaned and the downspouts pressure washed to get all foreign material out of them before the snow flew . . .

I called the gutter guy around Thanksgiving, but he waited too long and it snowed, and then he called yesterday and said he'd be out Wednesday. When the gutters are not cleared, the water falls over the top and seeps down into the foundation instead of being swept away from the foundation through the downspouts and conduit.

The gutter guy is not reliable, which is why he no longer cuts my lawn. I probably should have just gotten up on the 8-foot ladder myself and taken care of it this last weekend. Too late now . . . Oh well. Live and learn.

In happier news of the day - I got my Linus and Lucy ringtone back on my phone!!! Woo Hoo!!!