About Me

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We are Familia FIG. We are a bi- lingual, blended family. Belalu was diagnosed at 9 months with hypochondroplasia.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

I got a package in the mail on Monday from my SecretPal9. Yeah! Here are the goods (minus the candy because Juan ate it all!!!). Yes, it's true- he ate all my candy in about 5 minutes. grrrr. Anyway, it's been a crazy week, which is why I have not had the time to post or even look at my favorite blogs. In my lovely surprise on Monday I received a cute little fall scarecrow, a ball of brick-red yarn that I'm thinking would be great for socks, though I am not sure you can do socks with one skein since I've never done them before, a couple of cute little Halloween characters and a fun (homemade?) moon/bat magnet that now decorates my office quite festively, some pretty blue stitch holders, about which I am very excited since I've always been jealous of other people's pretty homemade ones, and the already-mentioned candy that didn't last too long. Thank you so much SecretPal9!

Below all this, you can see my current on-needles project. It's the hourglass sweater from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. I had to frog my previous plans for this yarn because it was too thick for the pattern and it was making my hands hurt trying to cable with it on too-small needles. This is what I have done in a week- up to the arms. It is knit in the round, so no side seams! Now I need to get another pair of needles for the sleeves, which I have not had time to do this week. It's driving me crazy, because I was really enjoying knitting this and would like to wear it! Hopefully tomorrow will calm down a little and I can run over to the Cinderella Shoppe- the only store in town that sells circular needles. It's actually a fabric store with an acrylic selection of yarns (i.e. I don't buy their yarn), but I do buy lots of needles from them. I would think I have every size by now, but no, there always seems to be more.

Monday, October 30, 2006

An Hour Gained

How did you spend your extra hour yesterday? We had a lovely brunch (that is usually Juan's area- what that guy can do to eggs!) and later Mobi and I went for a nice walk through the bluffs above the cemetery (very peaceful there :) The Y is back to being open on Sundays, so my 4 pm yoga class is back, too (yeah!). After class, I like to soak in the hot tub and relax in the saunas with a great book. I've been reading Camille Paglia's Break, Blow, Burn which are close readings of supposedly "Four-three of the World's Best Poems." The subtitle is a BIT of a stretch, considering they are all British, Irish, or North American authors. Not exactly "the world". But the book is great for my purposes- I can read a poem or two and her commentary and then pick it up again a few days or months (ahem, summer) later without any break in the rhythm or pace. Having read Paglia's other books, (see Sexual Personae, Vamps and Tramps, and Sex, Art, and American Culture), I was expecting more controversial, bold statements that would have me reeling, but since I am supposed to be reading this and relaxing, I am glad for the departure from the norm.

I hope you all had a great extra hour and this week goes well. Keep in touch!

Monday, October 23, 2006

My Oh My - Even more finished projects!

Here are the last of the finished projects. First up, we have the fabulous fingerless gloves, Fetching, from Knitty.com. These are very easy to knit up in a weekend, and are a lot of fun- I love the cable detailing. I knit them up on four, size-six double-pointed needles with a blue Jaeger Shetland Aran that Doris, my SecretPal8, sent me all the way from Singapore. These are great to have on hand in chilly places (which are most places to me), or when you need warmth but also use of your fingers.

Since I had some of the Shetland Aran left over, I decided to make this fun little neckwarmer from Stitch N' Bitch Nation. It is a pretty frivolous item, and Juan told me I look like I am wearing a sock around my neck, (which probably explains the look on my face here), but it was fun to do. I also used some leftover Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk for the leaves. I had used that yarn to make the sweater you can barely see here- the Lara cardigan from the Alpaca Silk book. Incredibly soft, warm yarn that is great to knit with. The flower is left over yarn from Juan's alpaca Aran sweater I knit him last winter.

Last, but certainly not least, is probably my favorite FO this week. I introduce you to Benny, the stuffed bear (short for Benito). I have really been wanting to make a stuffed toy lately, and found this pattern in the Last-Minute Knitted Gifts book. I almost bought it at Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago, but then decided I didn't want to spend the money for one pattern, so I got it from the library. I actually really like the book, and have started on a sweater from there, which you will see later. The stuffed animal pattern is actually for three different ones: a bunny, an elephant, and a bear. This guy, though I love him so, will be going to NC for a newborn baby there. It's going to be hard to part with him, but I hope he will be just as loved in his new home.

Ok, folks, that's it for now. Stayed tuned for works-in-progress in the next few days!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

More Finished Objects!

Blogger was not cooperating yesterday, which is why I had written "objects" and then only showed the hat. Here are two more FO that were completed this week:

This scarf is knit in a 2x2 rib with some fun yarn a friend gave me. It has a ton of colors in it, and seems like the perfect kid's yarn. So, I decided to use it for the Dulaan Project, which sends knitted items to Mongolia, especially for orphans there. I have some other yarns that would also be great for this project, which I will start working on soon.

Here, next to the Dulaan scarf, you can get a glimpse of another international scarf- this one I made for myself. I used sari silk yarn, which is made from recycled saris in India, and then spun into yarn in Nepal. (This business has allowed women in those countries to empower themselves and to feed their families- gorgeous stuff you can feel good about.) I also knit in a strand of fushia Kid Silk Haze, which my Secret Pal 8, Doris, gave me. It makes the texture even softer and also gives a certain color consistency throughout the scarf. You can't tell from the picture, because I have a terrible, horrible, no-good camera, but the scarf has a variety of colors in it, ranging from greens to blues to oranges and yellows. I used the "Yo, drop it" pattern from Stitch N' Bitch Nation

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Finished Objects!!!!

I FINALLY have some finished pictures for you. As some have already noticed, I was wearing my first fair isle project a couple of weeks ago during homecoming before it got too hot. But, I wanted to give her a proper introduction. So, ladies and gentlemen, here she is: my Ooh-la-la Latte Beret as she has been christened

A back view.

Here is an inside view- almost prettier than the "right side" and very reminiscent of Missoni designs, though a bit more homespun.

The pattern is, Misty, from Rowan's A Yorkshire Fable. Yarn used is whatever I had left over from other projects, including Rowan's felted tweed and 4-ply wools, both in several colors, as well as Kid Classic.

Just for the record, the pot pie has been made at last. It only took me four days. Good thing it's going to last at least that long. I had a lovely day off, though I didn't do a scrap of work. (But that's what a day off is all about, right?) Stay tuned, over the next couple of days I plan to have a few more finished object pictures (remember those goregous fingerless gloves from Knitty?) It's been a busy knitting period for me- lots of little fun things. And I can't even show you the Christmas presents I've got going on (what a tease, I know ;)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wasting time

I was up at 3:00 am this morning making a crust for a chicken pot pie I had hoped to make on Sunday so we could eat it upon coming home this week, but after spending three hours in a cemetary and another three in the kitchen roasting chicken, chopping veggies, and making soup, I just couldn't do anymore that day. And I haven't had time since (which is why I wanted the darn pot pie done in the first place). So last night I woke up at 1:14 and was unable to sleep thinking about all the things I had to get done over the next few days, and of course my mind fixated on all the ridiculous, mostly un-important-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things stuff like a dirty bathroom, unmade chicken pot pie, the fact that Juan had not eaten enough vegetables yet this week and too much chicken (you see the state my mind was in by this point), so I finally stopped tossing and turning, got up, cleaned the bathroom, made the pot pie crust, cleaned the kitchen, and went back to bed, but not before stubbing my toe in my zombie-like wanderings.

Needless to say, the brain power is not on high today. My mood isn't too bad, though, because I've decided to take a personal day tomorrow as a favor to myself and my students (the 8 a.m.-ers have started audibly groaning when I get to class, hoping against hope that just one day I won't show up and they can go back to bed instead of having class). We are in mid-semester, the time when everyone gets sick and run-down and grumpy and the days are getting shorter and the weather colder. I have many things to do tomorrow which are related to school, so I won't be on vacation, but that's ok. I'm happiest when being productive- just not having to do so at 6 a.m.

Tonight my fabulous friend Brian is coming over to watch the season finale of Project Runway chez moi. I had hoped to go all out and do some tapas-style fare, but I've since settled back down to earth and am thinking about microwave popcorn and fresh fruit with balsamic cream. Or, I may go home and crash and wake up 5 minutes before he gets there. Who knows- it's not even noon yet.

One good thing about last night/this morning, is that I have made some resolutions. No more coffee. I am not a daily coffee drinker, but I like to get myself one as a treat every few days or so. But I actually got sick of white chocolate mint mochas, and whittled it down to double espressos. But I suspect that that may have had something to do with my early-morning cleaning/cooking spree (hum, you think?), so no go. Coffee and stress do not mix well in this pot. So, only black and green teas for me for a while. And I HAVE to get back into yoga. The class schedule does not work with mine anymore, so I have not been able to go to class during the week and have lacked the motivation to do it at home on the weekends. But I must start again. Not only are my pants fitting too tightly, but I can feel what little muscle I had wasting away to nothing.

Ok, have a great day! Off to talk about One Hundred Years of Solitude (which is sounding kind of nice right now :)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Reading and Watching Movies

I have really been enjoying this book. It makes me want to go to bed earlier so I have more time to read it before falling asleep. Each section gives a biography of a woman who was at some point an artist's muse and her relation to the artist. Some of the muses covered include Alice Liddell (Alice in Wonderland); Gala Dali; Lee Miller, who was not only Man Ray's muse for a while, but then went on to be a great photographer in her own right; Charis Weston and Yoko Ono. As we learn about their muses, we also get a glimpse into such great thinkers and writers such as Nietzsche, Paul Eluard, Rilke, and Freud and a better understanding of their creative process.

Tomorrow night we are showing Historias Minimas for the students (which means I have to miss our Knit Wits meeting :( but I don't mind so much because this is one of my favorite Argentine movies. As the title suggests, the stories are not grandiose, life-changing tales, but rather quiet, individual histories whose humanism goes far beyond the Patagonia in which they are filmed.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

WSU Homecoming

I FINALLY recharged my camera battery and uploaded all the photos from the past couple of weeks, so I hope to publish quite a few entries this week. Last weekend was WSU's homecoming, and we participated in some of the festivities on Saturday, like the parade and the football game (first one ever for me). We had a great time- the weather was perfect and it was fun to see the campus so lively- and we won the football game, too! (We then got in a quick canoe ride on the river before it got too dark)

Me and Mobi decked out in beads in front of the Mississippi Riverboat float

WSU Cheerleading Squad

The Hispanic Association of Students

Man Doing Tricks on an Old-Fashioned Bike

At the football game

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Project Runway Saves the World

Ok, maybe not. But it did help my day yesterday. The gloves were on the dining room table when I got home- safe away from the reach of la mala- and things only got better.

I had concocted a mushroom chicken dish in the slow-cooker which was smelling delicious and waiting to be eaten when we got home. After sauteeing up some carrots and broccoli, and some left-over mashed potatoes got revamped with apple and onions, we sat down to a delicious meal. Juan mixed up some margaritas for dessert and then at 9, as PR was about to start, I also heated up some apple crisp I had made this weekend.

And then the fun began. Project Runway is my only reality-tv weakness, but it is soooo good, and hey- it almost won an Emmy, so it can't be that bad, right? RIGHT!

My comments, knowing that we only had a glimpse: I am very disappointed by Michael's look so far. And what is with he and Uli both going for the same "safari" theme? Along with "sailing," that has to be the most trite spring-fashion theme ever. Jeff's collection actually looked amazing (excluding the bozo-the-clown green-striped blazer that was peaking out from the rack), but it appears that he won't be showing??? I can probably look on the internet and find all this out, but I prefer to wait and be surprised next week. As for Laura's stuff, I love it. I don't think she'll win because she only does evening wear, apparently, but I would wear almost everything she makes. Too bad I have no occasion to go black-tie (or anything close) these days, but anyway- LOVE her stuff.

So, I went to bed in a much better mood than I had been in that afternoon, thinking in the words of one of my favorite literary heroines (insert southern accent): "I won't think about it now, I'll think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day."

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

You know it's one of those days when...

- You walk into your 8 am class and the students have the lights out, and techno music in Spanish with psychedelic visual effects is playing on the plasma tv, and you are so confused you turn around and leave, thinking you walked into another class by mistake.
- You then go back to your office after said class (yes, they were yours after all) to realize you locked yourself out and have to call security to let you in
- Several hours later you return from class #2 only to realize you forgot to take your keys out of your other bag and therefore have once again locked yourself out of your office and sheepishly have to request that security opens it for you again
- On the way to class #3, you have to battle bitter wind and SNOW in the middle of October in only a jean jacket (because the rest of the week has been in the 70s) while you realize that the leather gloves you thought you brought were not in your bag after all, and hope that you did not drop them in the kitchen on you way out the door, since a very nibbley puppy has free reign there all day and would just love something new to chew on
- When you try to sweeten the day, you realize that you had eaten all the m & m's in your g.o.r.p. the day before and only left yourself the sunflower seeds and peanuts

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Pelicula of the Week: Lovers of the Arctic Circle

We have started the Spanish and Latin American Film Series again this semester. We bring in movies for students to watch for extra credit, though now we will be doing it every other week, instead of weekly. It's easier on us and also helps keep the quality of movies high.

"Los amantes del circulo polar" is a love story about coincidence and fate, and it has you questioning both by the end. The characters are easy to like and to root for, and while some may find it a tad too "artsy" it does sweep you up in the storyline.

Secret Pal 9 Questionnaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I prefer natural fibers, like silk, alpaca, merino, cashmere. I really have a thing for tweeds. I am not a big fan of novelty yarns and acrylics. I figure that if I am going to spend so much time on something, it should be a nice quality and feel great, and I want know that it is something that is going to last.
2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have a tin that holds everything somewhat together on my bookshelf.
3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
My friend and I taught ourselves to knit on a road trip across the USA in the summer of 2004. We used the Stitch N' Bitch book and listened to Harry Potter on tape for two weeks. I came back with a matching ribbed scarf and hat set and a serious knitting habit. I am not intimidated by any pattern or technique, so I would say I am an intermediate since I've only been doing this for 2 years.
4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yes. Amazon.
5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)I tend to like scents that are "green tea" or "water" themed. I don't like single-flower scents in general or vanilla at all. Really strong scents give me a headache.
6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I am not all that into hard candy. I like chocolate.
7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I do some sewing. I also like making beaded jewelry.
8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I really like music from other countries- especially fado and tango, and for some strange reason rap in French. I also really like dance music that incorporates rhythms and beats from India. For American music, I like folk and jazz (especially avant-garde). I can play MP3s on my computer and Ipod.
9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
To wear? In winter: black, charcoal, winter white, eggplant, greens and blues. I can't wear orange or yellow near my face, but accessories can be pretty much anything.
10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I live with my husband and our Boston Terrier, Mobi Ramekins
11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I wear scarves and wristwarmers/fingerless gloves pretty much all winter. Love berets.
12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I love doing sweaters with a great texture and shape.
13. What are you knitting right now?
Finishing up a pair of fingerless gloves and starting an Aran knit sweater for me.
14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I prefer bamboo circs
16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
17. How old is your oldest UFO?
ummm... don't have one at the moment
18. What is your favorite holiday?
Easter for the chocolate, Thanksgiving for the food and family, Christmas for the ambiance
19. Is there anything that you collect?
I like things from other countries- things I get on my travels or gifts from friends
20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I subscribe to Rowan's magazine. Check out my wish list on Amazon for dream books.
21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I wish I had the patience and concentration to do lace knitting.
22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
I haven't yet, but only because I haven't found the right sock yarn yet. I wear a size 5 1/2 American 36 European
23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd) December, 28