Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

These are pictures from my Favorite Halloween Costume - I was a Ladybug of course!

I made the wings out of felt and glued large black dots to them. I sewed them on to the cuffs and back of a large black turtle neck.

In between the two felt wings is a thing sequin fabric in black. It shined and glittered when I spread my wings! This was for Halloween in 2003, but it is still my favorite costume.

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Snippets: October 30, 2011

Sunday Snippets: A Snapshot of this Sunday in photo's with no other explanation's.....

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Landmarks and Goals

It's Saturday morning and that means it's Weight In day! Today I hit a goal that I have been dreaming of for literally years. When I weighed in on my Wii it told me I was Overweight rather than Obese! I have never had it tell me I was anything other than Obese! Wahoo! I had hoped my little Mii figure would shrink a little in size, but it doesn't look like it. I am pretty sure I just barely crossed the line - but I will take it!

This week I lost -1.1 lbs, my Weight Watchers weight loss is -16.5 lbs, and my total weight loss is -31.5 lbs.

With the hitting of this goal and turning the big Four-Oh a week from today, I find my thoughts are turning to the significance of numbers and goals quite a bit. I told my husband that I wanted to hit 40 like a ton of bricks and not have 40 hit me like a ton of bricks. And I am very pleased with where I am in my health quest and am definitely feeling stronger and more in control of my life than I have previously. I know that the day I turn 40 I will really only be one day older than I was on the day I was 39, but I can't help thinking about the importance that is placed on a number or a date. I think because I am learning on a daily basis that you can erode negative habits just like you can erode positive ones, I am seeing the significance of every single day and how it can really impact your life to work towards something a little at a time but consistently. So I have to wonder, should I place so much weight on a number? My head tells me to celebrate a landmark, do a small victory dance, glance down the hill so I can see how far I have some, and then got back to climbing my mountain.

As for turning 40? It sure beats NOT turning 40!

So as a birthday present to myself I am off on vacation for the next week. I started doing this a couple years back after an unfortunate Birthday spent at work and having to scoop a customers vomit out of the sink in our public restroom. Yeah. Awesome. I vowed I would do my best to NOT have to work on my Birthday again, and so far I have been pretty lucky.

I am already thinking ahead and wondering how I will do on my health quest this week. A little voice in my head, the very one I keep stomping on with my workout sneakers, keeps telling me you only turn 40 once. You should have a slice of birthday cake when you turn 40! You should celebrate your weight loss and put on a fancy dress and go out to eat! Hu. Where does that voice come from? I cannot deny the importance that food has on a celebration. And after my Birthday is Thanksgiving and then on to Christmas. And the family will praise you for getting healthy in the same breath that they cram food down your throat. So I think I will be thinking about this a lot over the next month or two.

In other news, I figured out how to get my WIPS progress meters on my blog - so I have those staring at me now. I really need to get some of those cranked out and over with. My first tread-mill afghan has so little left to do! I would love to have that one completed before I finish knitting the squares for the second one. (And I am getting close so I really need to move my butt here!)

Last night I started my second mitt on my set of Wine about Winter Mitts (free pattern Easy Half Mitten 106 on Ravelry) and because I started it late at night when I was tired I messed up the ribbing and ended up frogging it out.Will start over again when I am NOT exhausted. Better success ratio.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday and Life is Good!

And so it is Friday and So I am on VACATION and so Life is good! Wahoooo! I take a week of vacation a couple times a year and I always take the week my birthday is happening. This year it's working out that I will be off this next week and I am sooooo excited! Double blessing is my husband will be off work too! So I expect many fun things to occur in the next 9 days. 

It's hard to tell in the shot, but Izzi is snuggled up to Emma and has her paw over her head to block out the light. We turn the temperature down at night, so in the morning after feeding the girls they are starting to huddle for warmth together. It's always so cute.

Here is a picture of my new table top tripod! I picked it up at Wal Mart for $6.00 and am very excited to have a tiny and portable tri-pod! My big tripod is just a beast and I never want to drag it out. Instead I will balance my camera on crazy items hoping to get a good height. Sad! But no more!

And I had to test it out. Took me about 10 minutes to figure out the self timer (why I can never remember that...) and the light in my Den is rather awful, (Apparently I was directly under the light as I have a head shadow on my chest!) But I am pleased with how my tri-pod works! Notice the shirt? It's been in my closet for about 4 years. I have never been able to fit into it. I wore it to work today in complete comfort. :) Yay! Not sure if you can read it - but it says "Life is Good" under the pumpkin. Indeed!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

KAL Cowl Complete!

My First KAL is over and I am VERY pleased with the results! The cowl took just under 300 yards of worsted yarn (2 strands held together) and I am soooo looking forward to wearing this when old man winter stomps on my nuts this winter. (Just kidding, I don't have any nuts!)

In this photo, Emma gives me pleading eyes and begs me to stop making her model my knitting. Sorry Em's. It's the price you pay for being so darn cute!

Here you can see that it has cables and that I found the largest door knobbiest buttons imaginable. I really love the buttons.

And here is a terrible picture of me standing in the bathroom and taking a picture and hoping I don't cut off half my head and that the zit on my chin isn't too noticeable... Drat. It totally is. Look at the cowl people - DO NOT FOCUS ON THE HUMONGO ZIT! (that worked right?)

And because I get goofy after I have been awake 15+ hours, here is the sheep in my den/craft room wearing my cowl. Feel free to gawk at all the crap in the background - Most of the time the background stuff is more interesting than the actual photographed object. Not this time of course, but sometimes.
Happy Knitting!     Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Haiku Haiku Haiku - Gesundheit

Day Twenty-six now
Running out of stuff to say
Screw it! I'll Haiku!
No pictures of pets
No knitting to show and tell
What else can I eat?
Joy is in your heart
When knitting is in your hand
I knit with my love

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday - Insomnia Fest Continues!

I am kind of getting sick of this. Yesterday I had a TERRIBLE headache and went to bed at 7:00 pm. Woke up at 12:30 in the morning and could NOT go back to sleep. UGH! Come on! So I finished knitting my KAL cowl and got caught up on this season's "The Biggest Loser". Then I went to work knowing I needed to cut the day short so I could come home and get a nap and try and be less of a Zombie and more of a Jenny. Of course this happens when my full timer took a day off and my other worker decided to call in. (Am pretty sure they planned this in advance since they decided to "Work ahead" the day before.....) Grrrrrrrrr.

So I went in and performed all the "Have to get done's" and then went home. Got back to sleep at 11:00 this morning and didn't wake up until about 4:00 this afternoon. Am trying not to think about what is going to happen tonight. (will I be able to go to sleep at a normal time? will I get any amount of sleep tonight?) And I still have my headache. Which is often a precursor to a cold. Think I will need to get some of those Cold Eeze products and take care of myself the next few days. I do not need to spend my vacation sick! :) Oh yeah - I am off next week on vacation! Wahoo!

The Girls were being very cute this morning when I was up early. Emma loves being snuggled in our old blankets and Izzi will seek out any heat source to snuggle on, so I get a picture like this every once in awhile. Too cute!

This is my KAL Cowl with all the ends woven in and it pinned out on my blocking boards. I really like this Yarn! It's
Vickie Howell's yarn for Caron Yarns called Sheep(ish) and it's cheap, soft and you get good yardage. I had not splits in my two skeins I used for this pattern as well - which is always a nice bonus! I will be making more projects with this yarn!

So this is the blocking method Vickie Howell recommended for this project. Apparently this yarn does not react well to steam blocking, so this is just a wet cotton hand towel that I pinned over the top of the whole thing. I placed this in the basement to dry over night and (hopefully) when I get home from work tomorrow and get through my work outs I will be able to get the buttons on and have it be DONE! It's in the 40's and raining here today - so we are hitting that time of year when knit accessories are a must. Looking forward to wearing this!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Monday, La la, La la la la

Emma lays on her bed. Izzi attempts mind control of the dog from the hallway in the hopes that the dog will being her some food. No such luck.
Maybe if I jump up on the Females chair I can whisper in her ear to make the food come now.

FINALLY that evil cat went away. Now maybe I can get my nap in.
Wow. I am TUCKERED out today. You know how you have one of those Mondays where you almost need to just stop and breath in and out a few times in hopes that you aren't running around like a complete nut job? Yeah. Today was one of THOSE Mondays. Felt like my feet hit the floor running from the start. Uffda.

Am seriously thinking I might need a big ol' bubble bath and a glass of wine instead of whatever it was I was going to do. Tomorrow is another day, right?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Snippets: October 23, 2011

Sunday Snippets: A Snapshot of this Sunday in photo's with no other explanation's......

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Reach up for the Sunrise!

Reach up for the sunrise
Put your hands into the big sky
You can touch the sunrise
Feel the new day enter your life
~(Reach up for the) Sunrise by Duran Duran
 Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. Saturday morning! Waking up after a solid 8 hours sleep to a quiet house. It's dark now until about 7:00 in the morning or so - so I had a little over an hour of quiet darkness. Well, quiet except for Emma barking at the deer in our backyard and breaking the silence of our sleepy neighborhood. But that is pretty normal.

Today I had my weight in and I was down 2.2 lbs this week! I was surprised I did so well as I had terrible insomnia this week, lots of stress at work and I only did two work-outs this week rather than the four. So I was trying to prepare myself for a less than stellar weight in this morning, but I guess I didn't need to! :) Yay! So my totals are: On weight watchers I am down just over 15 lbs in 8 weeks, and since my heaviest weight I am down just over 30 lbs! YAY!

I try to notice the little things, so here are some "YAY!" moments with my Health Quest this week.

1. Last weekend we were at a busy grocery store trying to shop. I turned around to grab something and my hubby and I got separated. When he turned around to see where I went to he spotted me and then was like "Wait, is that Jen's butt I am staring at?" (I was bent over some produce.) When I plopped the pear into our cart he looked at me and told me "You have lost enough weight and changed your shape enough that I wasn't sure if that was your butt I was looking at or not!" Um....YAY! Probably one of the best compliments EVER on my weight loss and really the only person who can tell you how your butt is looking is your Significant Other - so ....yeah! NICE!

2. I have been wearing the same belt for quite some time. (I refuse to show crack thank you very much!) Last winter I remember going out and looking for a bigger belt because I was kind of feeling tight on the last hole of my belt. (Not a happy shopping day. I did not end up buying a belt - I decided to just work harder and drop the weight.) Yesterday I went to put my belt on and realized I was on the last loop on the other side of the belt! I have lost inches off my waist and will soon have to switch to a smaller belt so I can still be a crack free vixen. YAY!

3. I have hit the point where I need to stop wearing some clothes because they are starting to look crazy big on my. Yesterday I put on one of my favorite winter long sleep shirts - and it was huge on me. So the pairing down of the closet and the letting go of my old wardrobe has begun!

So, even though this week has been tough, I am pretty pleased with all the positive things that I see in my body. Just need to work on this insomnia stuff.

The tree in my neighbors yard is quickly going bare. I posted a photo of this same tree two weeks ago in my Sunday Snippets and it sure has dropped a lot of leaves since then!
 The seasons are flying along and I even heard the dreaded "S" word in the forecast this week. (S=snow) It's been in the 30's in the mornings this week and I have had to break out my knitwear this week. YAY! I get to wear all the hats and scarves and accessories I have been knitting all year! As much as I loath winter - I do love rocking out my knitting. Wahooo!

Speaking of knitting, here are some pictures of my KAL Cowl I am working on.
Last night I did my first cable repeat on my cowl. It was a bit of a challenge to sit on the love seat with my husband, dog, cat and me trying to knit cables while watching Ghost Adventures too. I decided I would quit after only one repeat because I was getting crabby! This is the front view of the first cable repeat.

And this is the back view of the cable repeat.
I am really enjoying this project, but I have to say I prefer doing a cable when I have less distractions. I have to say I am really not fond of how the pattern is written out. I am happy that it's not just a chart I have to follow, but the directions are abbreviated quite a bit - so I am having to think them out a lot. For example: it states"Row 2 and all (WS) rows...." and then it gives directions for all the (RS) rows so your 10 row cable repeat only ends up having 5 lines of directions. You have to know what row you are on and then find the row it tells you to do instead of spelling out the row you are on. So on row 6 I have to look at the directions for row 2, and then remember I am on row 6 not row 2 when I complete the row and move on to row 7. Add to that the directions for the cable rows refer you to another set of directions - and it gets confusing.  I normally rewrite patterns so that I have the exact directions for each row and can check them off as I go, and I think it was a mistake not to do that with this pattern from the get go. I just always try and work the pattern the first time through as the designer wrote it - so I can really get the feel of what the designer did.

All that aside - I am really loving the product this is making and the KAL experience as a whole.

Time to get out of my jammies and into my work out clothes so I can get my weekend going. Happy weekend everyone!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Yippie Skippy it's FRIDAY!

Most of my flowers have died out for the season, but I still have a few that are fighting against Old Man Winter. (OK - I know it's fall, but Fall in MN is kind of like Winter anyway....) This sad little white Echinacea has popped up in my front garden and has greeted me everyday when I come home from work. It's dark out in the morning when I leave so I don't get to see it then.

In my back garden this purple Echinacea is still hanging in there. You can see the dried up Aster next to it and a bunch of leaves have curled up from frost - but this one is still hanging in there.

Yeah, I'm hungry too Em.
I am SOOOOOOOO Happy it's Friday! What a long week! Work was stressful and occupied my thoughts a lot. I missed two work-outs this week due to Zombie status (Insomnia) and I just feel like my shoulders are up at my ears. You know that feeling? When you are just so stressed out that you just can't seem to unwind? Argh. My mission this weekend is to get my shoulders down to a normal level. ;)

Tonight I am looking forward to dinner, some Ghost Adventures on the TV, and working on my KAL. I am up to the cable section and Vickie put up this video on Utube which is super helpful. I love doing cables, but about half the time I get confused and cable the wrong way. Very frustrating when you realize your cables or going all wonky. So I will watch the video again and get cranking on my KAL Cowl.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Another night with me waking up at 1:30 in the morning and not being able to fall back asleep. This stinks! I only tossed and turned an hour in bed before I gave up and got up.

I know there are several factors causing my sleeplessness.
1) The last week of my cycle is almost always when I have insomnia.
2) I didn't eat enough calories yesterday and my stomach was growling when I went to sleep. (too much food and not enough food are factors for me.)
3) I woke up overheated. I assume this is from my work-outs since I can't blame the food.
4) Stress. I am having a pile of stress lately and it's causing me to wake up in mid dialog. (Often yelling at a co-worker or a family member in my dream....) And there is nothing like middle of the night sleeplessness for ramping up negative thoughts - let me tell you. Depressing.

And normally I would subscribe to the "Knowledge is Power!" motto, but sadly in this case it's not actualization. So instead I just have to roll with the punches here and make the best of a pile of lemons.

Starbucks opens in two hours.

In other news....

I started my Kal last night! I finished the initial ribbing section and will start the cables next. This is the first time I have worked with this yarn. It's the Vicky Howell yarn from Caron called Sheep(ish) in the color Gun Metal(ish). I am loving on this yarn! It's cheap. It's pretty. And it feels like soy yarn or maybe even approaching Malabrigo for softness. You get 167yd/152.7m per skein of yarn, and each skein was under $4.00 US at JoAnn's Craft and Fabrics. My only question now is how well this yarn will wear. I love malabrigo and other soft yarns - but they pill and wear rather poorly - so we will have to see how this looks after a Minnesota winter!

I am really enjoying the KAL. I was a bit nervous about it to be honest - which sounds silly - but I didn't know how the vibe would be or how much pressure there would be to get knitting done, etc... Man - if we could let go the fear of being stupid (or the perception of looking stupid?) we could accomplish so much more. So I found the schedule for the KAL yesterday morning and printed it out and placed it in my magazine I am working out of. And then I didn't read it right and thought I needed to work through the entire rib section on night one. (Up at 4:45, To work by 6:30, Home from work at 3:30, finish work-outs at 5:30, Shower and dinner, then knit on cowl. It was a busy day!) Apparently though it was divided into two nights - so I really could have knocked out the days schedule in a lazy hour of knitting rather than two hours. So the pace is really easy and there is no pressure. There is of course people way ahead of the herd and there are people who are struggling to find the pattern and the supplies. Vicky is being very receptive and warm and a great hostess of the Kal. I think it was perhaps a mistake to host a KAL where you can't offer the pattern up for free or even to purchase other than through the magazine - but I don't think that was thought of until after people started saying that they could not find the magazine and there was no other way to join the knit-a-long other than to purchase the magazine. Vicky pretty much told people to "Help each other out" with the pattern - ie: pattern share. You got to love someone who says that!  So yeah - this is going really well and I think I will get a bit addicted to KAL's. It's fun to be a part of a community knitting the same project and I am picking up wonderful tips and ideas on the Forums. (All of this stuff is on Ravelry btw. I just assume everyone knows that - and you know what happens when you ASSume! ;)

Notice my pretty Knit Picks needles? I really love their Harmony Wood needles. They hold up well to my really tight grip. I bend my wood Takumi needles all the time. One day I will loosen up my grip - but it's been years and years and I still knit tight as the dickens.

OK - think I will pay a few bills, feed my critters and get ready for work. Happy Thursday everyone! :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Getting ready for a night of knitting!

Before I go to far into my blathering, let me update you on how yesterday ended after my insomnia-fest. I got home from a long stressful day at work and was practically walking sideways I was so tired. I didn't even pretend I could work-out and pretty much got myself showered and pajama's on as quick as I could. I had a bowl of this awesome recipe I found on the Weight Watchers Web site called Whole Wheat Chili Mac. (I found a link to the exact recipe someone posted, so head over to this Blog if you are interested in it.) It's a really good recipe and I love it piping hot with a little low fat sour cream on it. YUM! After that I had my Skinny Cow Ice Cream Fix. Am in love with Skinny Cow products - but these cones in particular. Sooooo yummy! Keeps my cheating stomach at bay! And then I popped two Tylenol PM and was asleep by 6:00 pm! I know right? Boy - did I need that sleep though. I feel like a new woman today!

So tonight I start my first Kal! I am so excited!!!! (You can tell because I used FOUR exclamation points. THAT is how excited I am!!!!) I actually carted the yarn to work in my work bag thinking I would get some knit on at lunch - but it didn't work out. So tonight I will park in front of the TV and get knitting! Wahoo! I know I already posted this pic - but this is the yarn I will be using. Not much for pop - but I just bought a new coat and it is RED - so I am needing some neutral accessories to go with it. I almost always knit with yarn that is just vomiting color. Really saturated hues, So this will be different. I get pretty bored with neutrals, but I love the way they look! :)

So wish me luck and I will post pictures of the progress I make! Off to knit!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Climbing a Sleep Hill

Oh Insomnia. You Suck. I woke this morning around 1:30 and climbed out of bed at 3:00 to start my day. Here is the process of what happens when I have an insomnia night.

I wake up after 2-4 hours of sleep - usually with my head fully engaged in a thought. Often it's me being upset about work or some sort of hostile family scenario going through my head. I am not sure if I am dreaming about these things and wake up thinking about the dream or how that works. I just know that suddenly I am full awake and already yelling at a co-worker in my head.

I begin the dance of futility at this point. I start trying to empty my mind and play the "find a comfortable position" dance. While I start flopping and sighing the dog - who sleeps on the floor right next to my side of the bed - thinks me moving around is her que to move around too. Click click click go Emma's nails on the wood floor. Flop flop flop go her ears as she shakes her head. Achoo! The dog sneazes several times which is her" I am sort of barking but not - because I am a timid dog and I want you to know what I want but I don't want to trouble you too much...." My tossing about will get the cat up sometimes as well. She sleeps on a blanket at the end of the bed and generally my flopping about will only cause her to stand - stretch - and lay back down.

This morning after flopping around for well over an hour the dog got more assertive and actually put her front paws on the bed and nudged me with her cold nose. I knew I was doomed at that point. I waited several minutes for her to settle a little (I don't want her thinking she can do that and it means I will wake up and take her out whenever she wants. Our dog cannot tell time even a little and she would be nudging me all night!) and then caved in and got out of bed.

Outside the dog goes - with me praying that there is no wildlife in our yard or nearby. I have had to run out and grab the hose and spray three baby racoons and a mama racoon off the bird feeder with a snarling Emma standing by at 4:00 in the morning in the not so distant past. (we don't fill our feeder in the back yard anymore....) I also pray she will not be out there barking her furry butt off. Nine times out of Ten I let her out and it's Bark Bark Bark Bark. Thank goodness our neighbors haven't flipped over this.

When I let her back in she is all juiced up and ready to play. So she digs her toys out of her bin and starts dragging them around the house.

I Snapped this shot of her after she had pulled two stuffies, a chew rope and a cat ball out of the toy bin and brought them in the den to work on. I also found three destroyed Kleenex laying all over the floor in the living room. Such Fun!

 Meanwhile - the cat starts going bonkers. Just like Emma, Izzi cannot tell time. I typically feed the girls shortly after I get up - so when I get up hours before feeing time, it confuses the cat something terrible. She starts chasing her balls around the house and pawing at doors and chirping her kitty chirp. Above is a shot of her staring down one of her cat balls.
 More staring down the balls. I think she batted this one down the hallway and was watching it move.

If you look you can see Izzi has turned on her lazer beams and is now levitating a ball to her. She is pretty lazy and often wills things to just come to her.

In this one Izzi is angry that I am photographing her telekinetic abilities and is going to launch a ball at me and my camera. I stopped taking pictures at this point and had the urge to clean myself and chase a toy mouse.....

So the pets go bonkers. And I find myself looking at strange websites like Justin Timberlake Does Things and looking at knitting apparel on Zazzle.

I have Insomnia nights a few times a month. I will occationally have up to three days in a row of barely any sleep. Those are rough weeks. I can generally handle one day with a fair amount of grace - but it is a rough day. Today is a day at work where I have stuff scheduled for the last two hours of my day that I need to be on my toes for. I struggle with food on days like today. I was hungry when I crawled out of bed this morning because I had already been awake for an hour and a half. But I don't want to start eating at 3:00 in the morning.... Instead I had coffee and then around 4:00 had a banana. But it's hard to not shove food in your face when you are tired and you are awake for almost 20 hours.

Tuesday is also the start of my three days of exercise, so I am trying to figure out if I can or should exercise tonight. I try not to allow excuses and to push through stuff. (It is so easy to excuse oneself from exercise....) so I am already thinking ahead to that and how will I handle that? Meh.

No matter how you cut it - today is going to be a very long day.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hat's off to you!

No - It's not a ski-mask.

Ahhhhh - There is the smile I love!


THERE he is!
Sunday I spent some time in front of the TV knitting away on this hat. I knit it thinking it would be great for Tom. It's black (a color he loves) and it is thick and has a nice brim that can go up or down depending on the needs of the wearer. Nope. He tried it on a few times and modeled it for me - and then handed it back to me with a shake of his head. :) So now I decide if I keep it like a greedy girl or donate it. The pattern is a free one on Ravelry called painted forest ribbed hat and it is the same pattern as my Spray Hat I posted about a week ago.

We also spent several hours going from store to store looking for curtains and shades for Tom's office. No luck. We were on the road for about four hours - going store to store. It was exhausting and we came home with no curtains. I did score a very cool new shaker for some all spice I purchased at Penzeys.

I admit I am not up on spice bottle innovations - but I thought this was pretty cool. This is the bottle closed.

You poke your finger at the top and it pops the stopper open....

And this is the bottle open and ready to shake! It's pretty cool!
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