Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Remembering Grandma

I don't have a whole lot of memories of my grandma, but the ones I have are good. Every summer when I was a kid my parents and I would take our summer "vacation" road-trip to Michigan to see the family. The car ride was seriously endless. Memories are weird and all I have are vibrant little snippets, but here they are:

I remember grandma's house was all white and fluffy and smelled nice. My feet would sink into the carpet as I walked. She always had soft, fresh caramels in a glass dish that I would eat one by one. And mementos from her cruises that I wasn't supposed to play with. She always had pop for us kids in a fridge in the basement. We would stay at her house sometimes and in the morning she would make the best blueberry waffles ever. One time I slept on the couch next to the big grandfather clock and listened to it tick all night long. I slept funny and couldn't move my head the next day. She never forgot my birthday and would send me cards with checks every year. I remember one had a cat on it and said something about "knits and purrrrrls". She knit her own washcloths. She used to send them to my mom by the boatload. We had more washcloths than we knew what to do with.

She liked to bowl, I have pins from when she bowled a perfect game. She liked birds and crossword puzzles and taking walks. She liked to travel and had a map on her wall with pins of places she'd been and a star where she threw my grandpa's ashes from a cruiseship. She liked Big Boy restuarants and we went there for her 80-somethingth birthday and she got a free, little chocolate cake.

She gave me a necklace when I was a little girl with some sort of Chinese symbol on it. It came in a little pink, silk bag. She had the same necklace, only bigger. I still have the necklace and I still don't know what it means. But I remember she wore hers all the time.

Then I got older and didn't want to go to Michigan anymore. And the birthday cards started to skip years and then stopped altogether. She was getting more forgetful. The neverending washcloths started to fall apart until there was only one left, and then none. She started to have trouble driving and they took her car away. We went to see her and she had a huge black eye from falling down her front steps. We took her to the doctor and they thought we did it. There was talk of putting her in a nursing home. She walked out at dinner when she heard. She wanted her independence. She hated the nursing home at first but then said she loved it and always had. She had a friend there, also named Betty, and they would wander off and get in trouble sometimes.

They told us she had alzheimers and she started to forget who we were. I didn't see her for years. Then my dad and I went up there last year to do a half marathon and we went to see her. She was trying to talk to us but was frustrated that she couldn't find the words. Her nursing home had a glass birdhouse so she could watch the birds. We sat with her a while and then it was time to go. They wheeled her out to sit in the hallway with some other old people. I don't know if she knew who we were or why we were hugging her but when it was my turn she didn't hug me like a stranger. She hugged me like grandma. And I'll never forget it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I played hookie from work on Monday and it was totally worth it. Lately that place has really been getting to me. It's one thing to hate your job and it's another to cry on your way to work everyday. So I called in sick and went for a four mile run (it was supposed to be three... I got lost). After that I worked on a picture I'm doing for the Art with Heart charity auction for the local humane society. It's pastel, which is something I'm pretty inexperienced at. I don't really like it but I think I was starting to get the hang of it in the end. The next one will be better. Howie dropped it off for me yesterday when I was at work and the lady there said it was "Beauuuutiful!". We're getting complimentary tickets to go to the auction/dinner. I hope it makes some money for them.

Then Howie had his piano lesson and I decided to go with him since the Borders is right next store. I hung out there for an hour looking at art books. After his lesson, we split a peice of carrot cake, then we went downtown to check out the art store. It just reopened after being remodeled and they didn't have much there. It still looked like a battlezone inside. It's the weirdest place, though. It's a combination art store/cupcake shop. Weird.

Next we swung over to the used bookstore. That place was crazy. It must have just opened because they're in the process of painting the outside with famous authors. A lady showed up to work on Shakespeare while we were there. And the guy who owns it is this crazy hippie-type old dude with a big beard. There were bad oil paintings hanging around (one was, I think, John Lennon) and it smelled like oil paint and old books. Such a good combo. The books were just everywhere with no order I could tell. I got a book on Surrealism/Dada, the James Beard Bread book and the most awesome find of the year:

The Mime Book!! It's the "definitive" guide to becoming a mime. I'm totally going to learn some stuff and be a Mime for Halloween. Maybe someday I can move to Disneyland and be a mime full-time. There are worse things I can think of.

To top off my day of not working, Howie and I went to Olive Garden and then to see Inglorious Bastards. It was actually really good. There was some nasty blood stuff in there, but not as much as you'd think. We went to a late show so we didn't get home until almost 11 and it was time for bed because I had to work the next day. But now it's my weekend. Yay!

Did you think I forgot to put some knitting in here? Never! I finished the Frankensocks! I love them and wore them to the Saturday morning knitting. It warmed up as the day went on and I had to take them off. I can't wait for it to get cold enough to wear wool socks. (Crazy, I know):

And started a new sock right away with my new Mini Mochi yarn. I've finished one sock already but all I have is a little teaser picture. It'll have to do until I finish the other...

...which might be pretty soon since I'm meeting up with Natalie at the coffehouse to knit tomorrow. Last Saturday's knit was really fun. Howie and I had breakfast there with the Wheelers and then Howie went off with them and I knit. Natalie got a little puppy (!) and they let you bring dogs in there (totally awesome). Then we went to the International Festival downtown, where all the venders were out and about and we wandered around a bit. And she was also able to bring her puppy into the yarn shop and the artist's co-op shop two doors down. Totally animal friendly. I'm going to train my cat to walk on a leash and bring him next time. In a fashionable handknit argyle vest. We'll be the talk of the town.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mini Minnie Roadtrip

Howie and I have been looking for a new car for a while. He got his current car back in 2002 (used) and it has a ton of miles, is leaking transmission fluid and oil and the serpentine belt is cracked. So today we rented a car and drove to Farmington, MN to look at this Subaru he's had his eye on. It has 105,000 miles, which is just a baby in Subaru years and it looked pretty good. The price was right, so he got it! Yay! I got to drive it home. All 2 hours of it. Kinda scary in a new car, but I totally feel comfortable in it now. Then we stopped at Red Robin and ate 2000 calories worth of food, but who wants to cook after 4 hours in the car all day? I'll just have to run 20 miles tomorrow to make up for it.

It's a hatchback with fold-down seats for the bikes. Yay! I think we're going to drive up to a state park tomorrow and go biking if the weather is as nice as it was today.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Natalie and I met up at the coffeehouse this morning to do a little knitting. I finished one of my Frankensocks!

I'm really happy with how it turned out. It's probably the best fitting sock I've made yet. I don't know if it was the pattern or the fact that I was using 1.5 size needles instead of my usual 2s. Who knows, but I love this sock and I can't wait to make it's *sorta* twin. Well, I'm not actually looking forward to doing more of those zig-zagging twisted cables but it's worth it in the end.

Howie and I went to the resale shop and I got some cool fabric so I'm thinking I might sew up some things tonight. I need to put something on my sad, empty etsy site! We stopped at the Farmer's Market, too. We got some leeks, basil, raspberries and zucchini. And I got a beautiful bouquet of flowers for $3! Woo!

Hopefully the cats won't eat it like usual...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Flea Flowers

My foot is almost all better but I tried to stay off it this weekend. Driving around to garage sales didn't seem like it would do any harm and I got some awesome stuff. The flea market in town was supposed to be having a big sale but it mostly sucked. I did get this, though:

I don't know what it is about these old metal enameled flower pins but I love them. And they're usually super cheap, which is a plus. The fabric backdrop is actually a score from another garage sale. It looked like all clothes from the road but I felt called to stop at it. The table was full of fabric! Yay! Cheap 75-cents-a-piece fabric! I got a big ol' stack.

And I got some cool old wooden spools at the flea market...

And I made this little guy with my leftover handspun and sock yarn. Every time I see him sitting there knitting, it makes me so happy :) It's really hard for me not to just make a thousand of them. Maybe just one more...

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Spirit of Columbus

I thought I would split my blogs into two today since it's been forever since I've written. I was getting lazy about uploading pictures but here it is, in backwards chronological order :)

I just got back from a mini-roadtrip to Columbus, Ohio. My dad and I went out there to run the Spirit of Columbus Half Marathon. I was not prepared for the run. My longest training run was just under 4 miles and my total for the month was 9 miles. Not the best. I tried not to think about it.

My dad picked me up Thursday and we drove back to Illinois. The next morning we left. I made sure to bring lots of knitting with me. I finished my bamboo scarf before we even got to Illinois.

On the way through Chicago at 5am, we were hit by a drunk driver. I was sleeping and woke up to the crunching noise of the cars bumping up against each other. The traffic was crazy so we didn't stop and neither did the drunk. He continued to weave in and out of his lane. We tried to see the license plate but it was too dark. At the next rest stop we got out to check the damage, imagining a huge dent in the rental car. It was just a little scratch. Barely noticeable. Could have been worse. A lot worse.

I couldn't sleep after that and so I started to knit. I finished the hat before we hit Ohio. I'm sure glad I brought sock yarn, too.
When we got to Ohio, we checked into the hotel and picked up our race gear for Sunday. We had a day and a half to kill. Most of it we spent driving around lost. Apparently they're really anti-signs in Dublin, Ohio, where we were staying. We went to some fun shops and I got some ceramic beads at a cool beadshop with flamingo statues all over and fat, friendly cat. We asked about a yarn shop and headed off to find A Tangled Tale. Awesome yarn shop! The ladies were super nice and friendly. They were having their knit night and about to watch A Christmas Story on tv. The shop had all these yarns I've been lusting after on Ravelry. I spent way more than I should have. I got two balls of Mini Mochi, a Zauberball and some Ty-Dy sock yarn. I also got some 1.5 double pointed needles for the Frankensocks I started using 2s that were coming out a little big. And my dad bought me an Addi Turbo circular needle so I could finally start a sweater I've been sitting on forever.

That night we had pizza and ran through the pouring rain back to the car. The next day we ate at a sushi place, where I had to pick fish flakes (gross) off of my tofu, and saw the Time Traveller's Wife. Good but not as good as the book. Are they ever?

Sunday we got up at 5:30 (4:30 our time) to get ready for the run. Eat breakfast, take a shower and a dump, drink water. The weather was perfect and chilly. There was another runner stretching outside her room as we were leaving. We got there with lots of time to wait in line for the port-o-potty and walk around. The run started a little late but went pretty well. There was no water at a few stops and no oranges and candy bars like promised. I'm just glad I always bring my own stuff. I was having an awesome time, though. No problems with the lack of training. Why train ever? I'm going to do this for all my marathons! At around mile 8, I think, my dad went ahead. I always slow down at 8. At mile 9 I broke out my iPod for moral support. The tendon in my foot started to bother me at mile 10 but I wasn't about to stop. I ran past the finish line in 2:51. Not a terrible time, but my worst yet. I got passed right at the end but I couldn't move any faster, I wanted to walk so bad. I got my medal and finisher shirt (out of smalls... and hats, which were also promised). There were no oranges at the end. Or water. Just vitamin water. At least there was watermelon and pretzels. I couldn't stomach much, though.
My foot hurt and it was hard to walk on it. I iced it on the way home. It's 100% now but the other foot is messed up. Go figure.

We stayed the night in Bloomington to avoid Chicago and got horribly lost because of construction. The next day we drove the last 6 hours to Wisconsin. I finished reading a book on knitting and worked on my sock more. We had Red Robin boca burgers for dinner and hung out looking at old running bibs and relaxing. It was a fun week! And I got a lot of knitting done. Here is what I had on the sock by the time I got back home:

Needless to say, I took a little break from knitting for a few days when I got back.

I've been drawing a lot and yesterday Howie and I went to Borders so I could use my 40% off coupon and $5 in Borders Bucks. I got an awesome cookbook for $12...

I've heard good things about it. So last night I made the "lazy" Indian dinner. There was nothing lazy about it. I was in the kitchen for probably 2 hours. It's always good to read the instructions fully before starting. I did lots of chopping but ended up with some yummy food.. even though we didn't eat until 9:30.

Samosa stuffed baked potatoes with mango chutney, sauteed spinach and tomatoes and jasmine rice.

Our potatoes were smaller than what was called for so I foolishly made more. I ended up having to scoop out the insides of 12 potato halves. I had leftovers today. And probably will tomorrow and possibly at work on Sunday, too. Yeah, it made a lot.

Well I'm off to knit now. I'm making a little creature from my leftover handspun. :)

Sheep fleece and metal fish

About two weeks ago I was feeling super crafty so I made some stitch markers to (hopefully) sell on etsy. For those of you who don't know what stitch markers are, they're used in knitting to keep track of stitches during lacework or whatever else.

Later Natalie took me to the Mill Ends Fabric store. It was awesome. Here's what I got there:

My parents came out to visit Howie and me and we took them around to all the coolest places. We had tea at a shop with 168 different types of teas, hit the resale shops, ate good food. Good times. I got some cute little sheep at the huge antique store downtown. I couldn't resist. I also found out I'm going to be an auntie soon. My mom is ridiculously excited about it. So I better get started knitting baby things and finding #1 grandpa shirts.

We were going to take my parents to Harmony Fest but they had to leave. Howie and I went and it was pretty lame. They advertised ethnic and vegetarian food. It smelled good but the vegetarian food was egg rolls. I did get some handmade metal fish earrings and some squirrel beads, though, so it wasn't a total bust.