Tuesday, February 23, 2010

another row

Mr. Sophanne says, "Honey, are you going upstairs to bed?"

I say, "Yes, I just have a row to finish."

He says, "I know there's a row to finish. Your a knitter. There's always a row to finish."

And then sings to the tune of Row Your Boat-

Row row row your knitting, gently up your scarf.
Merrily merrily merrily merrily, you might end up with a sweater."

I was just relieved that the rhyming word wasn't "barf."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"Check for Gauge" Deniers Unite

and join me in a big ole "hellsya!" for the Big Bird in Hand Mitts!

Berroco Ultra Alpaca and size 4 needles will make you some gauntlets if you're so inclined. I really did look around the house for my size 3 needles and took it as a sign from the universe to use size 4 when I couldn't find them.

Fortunately, being alpaca, these will stretch.

I've cast on for the second mitt- what good is one gauntlet?

Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dog Luge

O.k. not really but the path we carved for our dear LizaJane kind of reminds me of a luge track. Minus the hills, the curves etc. Mostly it's just a tunnel without a lid. O.k. really it's just a path around the house. BUT- you've never seen a happier dog. Makes me wish I had some toy action figures around to position in the snow to crack me up.

Building the track.

Inspecting the progress

The Long View

Fibery Flibbertyjibbet

Last weekend we bought "Mario Galaxy" for the Wii. For those of you keeping track, not only do I help Olympic athletes from my comfy knitting chair, I'm also inclined to bob and weave with cartoon characters on video games. What's Wrong With Me? I believe this takes "empathy" to a "whole 'notha lebel."

The granny square afghan in my not favorite colors is finished. The weight is perfect. It took 7 days with a couple of snow days thrown in. There were 2 skeins left over. I could have extended the border but was sick of the whole thing. I sent the last two skeins to 5elementknitr. She needed some alpaca that was leftover in my stash (that I was also happy to be rid of given the FAIL of the grinch sweater way back when- it was my lesson in alpaca stretching and later alpaca felting) and I decided that her payment was to be taking the last two Rowan plaid skeins off of my hands.

The lesson here is that I have no patience for blog contests/giveaways. Plus I always want regular readers to win anyway. So if you're interested in the possibility of random stash-busting from me for the rest of your life, make sure I have your mailing address.

Given the success of a finished afghan, it would be logical to assume that I went straightaway to work on the more than halfway done Kilkenny shawl.

Not so.

Instead I grabbed some ultra-alpaca from the ne'er completed Olives Afghan (again another lesson in alpaca and the accompanying halos/dust bunnies) and cast on for another pair of Bird in Hand Mittens. I finished the cuff of one last night. I think I must enjoy the forced relaxation of hands in stranded knitting.

Hence the title of this post- fibery flibbertygibbet.

In other news... I just went to back my car up the driveway a little (to ease Mr. Sophanne's exit) and found that my car would not go in reverse. That's a problem.

eta- reverse has returned-not sure why it's back or why it left- now I'll have something to worry about for the rest of my life with the car. Yippee.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's Saturday... again.

Not really but the last 2 weeks have felt like a boatload of Saturdays with one Monday thrown in for good measure.

What I'm really saying is that there have been some snow days. Every morning we wake up to this:

What you can't see is the snow falling and the usual range of mountain-type geography above the farthest tree-line. Each night I wake up hourly for a peek at the weather. Each morning I wait for Mr. Sophanne to come to the bedroom with a "Seinfeld Soup-Nazi" voice saying "No School For You." It's not so much that I hope for it to be one way or another- I just feel so unsettled in the not knowing. I'm sure this could be a life lesson somehow.

Once the day gets going (which it never really does) I am afflicted with droopy eyelid syndrome- lacking the energy necessary to fill rather than waste the day. Yarn barely appeals to me. Instead I am in some kind of snow-laden amnesiac trance that lifts temporarily when the dog suggests some activity or when Mr. Sophanne comes home. Coffee is useless.

I've created my own Knitting Olympic event- except it's crochet. I mentioned the Rowan Plaid granny square afghan. Here's where it is so far. Each skein makes 4 squares. I've finished 6 skeins and have 6 to go plus a couple of extra for a border. The challenge here is speed rather than skill. Given the trance like quality of my daily existence, will I be able to make the last 24 squares and seam it all together before my mind is tapioca? Later when life is normal again I'll give myself bonus points for major stash-busting. I'm not sure how much stash-busting credit a person can take if she is ordering more from someone else's de-stash while finishing her own.

Monday, February 15, 2010

crackin' up

There were a couple of random crack-me-up moments in the lunchroom today-

I teach in a rural area. People hunt. They have guns. Secretary Sandy told us that her husband was distressed at the amount of snow on a pine tree that was precariously balancing over their house. So he got out his shotgun and started shooting snow from the tree. It worked. She said he looked like Elmer Fudd.

The local newspaper had a segment where they were asked "what is love- how do you know your parents love each other?"
They included answers from a set of twins at our school. One said "Mom helps dad feed the pigs." The other said "They like to play leap frog together." LEAP FROG!

That's a keeper.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


I once dated a guy who always told me that he "liked me better than beer." My stock response was "but not more than whiskey." Actions eventually spoke louder than words and that ill-fated relationship ended much later than it should have.

Round these parts now, actions do speak louder than words and I've got myself one awesome Valentine in the Mr. Sophanne. You've read about him in these parts before but really there aren't enough words.

He took the day off to get me home safely on Friday and we had plenty of time to turn our dungeon back into a home. When he arrived at Aunt of Sophanne's he had a dozen roses to give to Aunt. Now I will admit to my suggesting this but what I did not suggest is that he have another dozen hanging out in the back of the car for me. When I got home my car was unburied- free of snow-moved and drivable. Today we are taking a test run on the somewhat rural roads so that I am not terrified of travel tomorrow morning. Tomorrow I'll be driving his truck with On-Star just so I won't be anxious thinking about it all night. Did I mention he's making dinner tonight?

When I express gratitude for such things he says, "It's what we do. I'm on your side. We're in this together." (o.k. now I'm getting all teary-eyed so I'm moving on.)

Olympics. I didn't join any Olympic knitting which is probably a good thing because as I watch my body inevitably and uncontrollably contorts into whatever position I feel the current athlete needs to attain for success. I remember this happening during the Summer Olympics with my legs snapping into toe-pointing perfection as I watched the high dive. I would also do a little duck/tuck move if I felt like their heads were too close to the diving board. It took watching about five luge runs before I realized I could loosen my butt cheeks and that I wasn't going to fall off the side of the chair when the one swooped up close to the lip.

New Knitting phenomena- I've gotten through 3.5 of the seven skeins needed to finish the Kilkenny Cable shawl. I love knitting this. Therefor I have not been doing so. There is some psychological barrier that says "when you finish it you won't be able to knit it anymore so stretch it out." It's like the Halloween Candy of knitting. I want to make it last. Nevermind that I have the Highland Triangle Shawl on the needles ready to go and had to put it down because I liked knitting it better than the Kilkenny.

Instead I got out the 10+ balls of Rowan plaid (a $170 retail value that I scored for $50 at MDSW) that are in a color that will never be an article of clothing ((lavender-fuscia-and a subtle lime green) and began making granny squares. Babette was such a lifesaver during this past weather crisis I decided that another granny square afghan would be the way to go. Plus I can luge while crocheting. No fear of pretending the hook is a ski pole during the downhill events.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The lights are on

but nobody's home.... yet.

Mr. Sophanne is on his way to Steubyville as I type.

Lights and water are on - he says now it's a warm dungeon.

He dug out my car yesterday. It hadn't been attended to since before last Friday so I know it was quite a feat.

There was more snow on the ground this morning but it was fluffy and not nearly as offensive as we've seen lately.

as Dorothy says...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Same Sophanne Time Sophanne Channel

In the comments in the last post Yvonne wrote:

Has power returned to your house? Have you returned to your house? I feel like the old Batman episodes...tune in tomorrow, same Sophanne time, same Sophanne channel!! :)

and it made me laugh

No power in the house. No water in the house. No heat in the house. No me in the house. No dog in the house. All things still freely available at Aunt of Sophanne's house.

Word on the street is that power might return tomorrow night.

The powers that be have scheduled teachers meetings in lieu of kids coming to school tomorrow. I won't be there. And I won't be there on Friday even if they determine it's safe to go. It just wouldn't be safe to try and do all the things that we would need to do to make that happen.

And if you wrote a blog post that made me laugh today- I am SO DAMN GRATEFUL!

Monday, February 08, 2010

the real story

Got some free time on your shovel-calloused hands? Forget the Gargoyled pine needles and Splintering Firewood Dragons.

Here's the real story- feel free to click to the next blog if I don't capture your attention with my slightly self-indulgent though possibly occasionally entertaining story of the past few days. It won't hurt my feelings.

Friday- no school because of the threat of snow. We had 10" by 6:00 pm and another 10" landed that night.

Mr. Sophanne and I did the grocery store run on Thursday night- so very far ahead of the game.

We bought a roast to put in the crock pot.

I put it in the crock pot at 10:30 a.m. I added vegetables at 3:30 pm (slightly later than I had anticipated but I was distracted by a nap) Once I added the vegetables, crock pot was set on "high."

Mr. Sophanne came home at about that time and indicated that he wasn't "all that hungry so I'll turn the crockpot back to low and let the vegetables cook that way."

At 5:30 pm we discovered that he had mistaken "off" for "low" and he had crunchy vegetables. I had leftover pierogies.

At 8:30 that evening the electricity went out. In spite of our best snowstorm shopping efforts, we really did not plan for a power outage. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition or apparently a power outage.

We go to sleep with the vain hope that the power would return as we slept.

On Saturday morning with no power in sight, Mr. Sophanne bravely faces "the fireplace that we never use because we're not sure when the flue is open or closed and it's always smokey no matter what and it hasn't been cleaned in ages." (Is creosote the word I'm looking for?)

He was able to determine that the flue was open and started a little fire (all in the fireplace). What he did not anticipate so much was the weight of the snow slamming the flue shut. We experienced a great deal of smoke. So much in fact that I am just now breathing relatively normally. (Part of these breathing difficulties may have been as a result of all of the scented candles we were forced to use the previous night.)

In order to rid the house of the smoke (which rose from the finished basement into the rest of the house) we had to open all of the doors and windows. Brick houses (which ours is) retain heat relatively well unless the doors and windows are all open to prevent asphyxiation. I would be suspicious of any yarn I might give away at an incredible price with a "slightly smokey smell." Mr. Sophanne closed the glass windows of the fireplace, went into the mudroom to breathe and say a prayer and voila we had fire. He's a mighty powerful pray-er.

Somewhere in all of this we realized that we had no water (it's an electric pump that runs the well) but there was in fact plenty of snow. We remembered the French press coffee maker that I had from a previous life and the all metal soup pot he had from a previous life. It doesn't take nearly as long as one would think to turn snow into boiling water in the fireplace. Fresh Coffee. (hey- we can DO this.)

Later that night the roast found it's way into the pot and into the fireplace. Yum. Dinner by the fire. We played a few hands of gin rummy, watched two episodes of "Flight of the Conchords" on my laptop (until the battery went) and went to bed. Truth be told, I was feeling kind of "Zen snowy monastery oh the peacefulness"-ish.

This is where the trouble begins. Mr. Sophanne did not camp much as a child. He did not have the experience of a "heat free" South African winter. It troubled him to be warm under the covers and still be able to see his breath in the cold. Also troubling him was my mother's question "Aren't you claustrophobic? You can't get anywhere." He spent the evening by the fire. I spent it upstairs under eleventy-seven blankets with 'lil Liza (who was still quite suspicious of the former smoke spewing cave in our house) I think his "breaking point" was when he realized that the pot that we boiled the coffee water in was now full of pot roast stuff.

On Sunday he found a hotel and in Herculian fashion (and with a little help from the neighbor* who knew a guy with a plow) dug his vehicle out of the snow. I would not leave the dog overnight. He would not stay in the house overnight. I enjoyed some comforts of civilization at the hotel and he took me home.

If you're still reading then you'll know that as my toes turned to icicles under the covers, Liza hopped into bed and instead of going to her usual "crook of the knee" position, went straight for the feet and we managed quite nicely through the evening.

This morning at the railroad (Mr. Sophanne's place of employment) they had 5 guys and only needed 4. The "Decider" remembered a sandwich that my fine husband had once shared at lunch and he was home free with breakfast burritos and coffee.

Not yet having crawled out of the blankets (given the one degree it was outside and all) I said, "Hey- while you're up, will you call favorite Aunt and say hey like I usually do in the morning?"

When he got off the phone- genius struck- Aunt likes my dog. Aunt likes me. Aunt has heat. Aunt has food. Aunt has toilets that flush. An hour later we were on the road to Aunt's house. Necessary prescriptions filled-a phone call to my boss saying "call me here if you need me."

Now dog and I are safe warm and happy at Aunt's house. My wallet and the refilled prescription are sitting in the back of Mr. Sophanne's vehicle 80 miles away and there's more snow a-coming.

All in all it's turned out well. We're clothed, we're warm and we're fed. We're not together but we know the other is safe. The dog is safe and I'm just saying that if in the next few days there are a couple of skitchy blog posts, you'll be able to figure out which medicine got left behind!

*seriously- a blog post with footnotes- but get a load of this neighbor- we had branches hanging heavy with snow in our access road. Rather than going out and shaking the snow off of them this guy went out with a 5 ft step ladder and a chain saw in 20" of snow and cut down the branches. I laughed my A$$ off when the branches created little mini avalanches of snow on his head. I also had the phone handy to call 911 and did not permit Mr. Sophanne to offer any assistance in that endeavor. This neighbor later brought candles and water to us and got the access road plowed so I will refrain from any further rantings of stupidity.

And if you made it all the way through this adventure, there may be some slightly smokey yarn in your future!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Pine needles laden with Gargoyled snow.
Splintering dragons in firewood glow.

That's one way of looking at it that came to mind during my brief intermission from electricity and the internets.

There's a bunch of snow here. No school tomorrow. No lights, heat or water at home. None scheduled until Friday February 12.

Everyone (including the puppy) is safe and taken care of.

Mr. Sophanne Rocks.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


Snowstorm coming.


Perogies, garlic, mushrooms, sour cream.

Awesome Husband.

Good Dog.

Comfort. Comfort. Comfort.

ETA- Mr. Sophanne informed me that I would be shoveling the 6-8 inches of snow because "he's got a note" and if I don't believe him I can call his brother. Glad I've got some carbs for shoveling energy

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Social Networking

O.k. so if a kid at school friends me on fbook, I friend them. I figure maybe their parents are monitoring them, maybe not. If they're not then I pretend I'm doing some good and I don't have any deep dark secrets to keep from facebook.

If I post anything it's something I intend for the entire world to know. Nothing snarky. Nothing unkind or unpleasant. Just the happy facts. Not all of the real stuff that's ain't nobody's business if I do.

So Zach friended me. He's in 3rd grade. The youngest I've seen on fb and all the more reason to be his friend. After confirming his friendship, I wrote on his wall. I said "Hey Zach."

He wrote back saying "hey how is life ps i just FARTED!!!!!!"

It's all I can do not to write back "EXCELLENT!"

Third grade boys crack me up.

Also yesterday Owen in 1st grade wanted to the class to sing "Skiddamarink" specifically to me and then asked me if I was married.

My job cracks me up sometimes when I remember to pay attention.