Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Go West! Again!

Tomorrow Brewguy is headed back to Milton-Freewater, Oregon to help his mother with her taxes. He's been doing them for a few years. We are Turbo Tax'd here at the Brewgal household. She is still paper and pencil. Brewguy was going to do her taxes when we all visit in March. Uh, no thanks. I don't want him to spend our entire visit working on an IRS spreadsheet while we sit around twiddling our collective thumbs. When I make the trip to Oregon, I want trips to thrift stores! And wineries! Thrifty wineries! I urged him to make a separate visit for the taxes. So it will be just me and the little brewers until Sunday.

We are starting an "all vegetable" week. The little brewers have been having problems with indigestion lately. Poor LB#2 actually woke up in the middle of the night, his tummy hurt so bad. The indigestion could be related to the cassava chips or the plantain chips or the CANDY they've been eating (they deny all knowledge of the candy).

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Brewguy moved into new office space last week. They neglected to mention the building was already occupied.
Actual shot of mouse sneaking into the room. If they're obvious enough to photograph, you know there are a lot of them around.

Monday, January 28, 2008

We're entering the final week of my month of daily posting. I feel it has gone fairly well. On the whole, however, I've come to the conclusion that my daily life is not that exciting. At least, the part I can post about. My work life is full of fun stuff I can't discuss online (congressional document requests! angry consumers! research!). This exercise has forced me to be more creative, and that's a good thing.

Remember the porter spill? Apparently porter makes a really good fabric dye. I have permanent splooshes on my fleece and jeans. Maybe I should try it on wool. Using beer for dye...hmm...drink and dye!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Odessa progress

The Odessa at Sunset hat continues to progress. For those of you following along, this is the Odessa pattern by Grumperina worked in Nashua Wooly Stripes Fiesta, designed to match my Sunset Scarf.

I attempted my first spit-splice. It seems to have worked fairly well. I won't know for sure until I start wearing the hat.

I am still concerned it might be a *bit* big for my head.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Norway, 1973

El Hefe is working on converting all my Dad's slides to digital files. This is part of the first set. Norway. See the mountains.

The lovely lakes.

A fjord or two.

And, of course, a few scientists.

My first thought on seeing this photo- is that an authentic Norweigan sweater? Why isn't there a better photo of that? How am I going to copy the pattern if the picture is all blurry?

I need help.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Crocheted birthday hats for the neighbor girls, in contrasting colors. Lovingly modeled by the little brewers.
Actor Heath Ledger found dead.

Bummer. He was only 28.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Ravelry is great. It is also intimidating. I am completely overwhelmed by the level of creativity emanating from Ravelry's members. Knitters! Crocheters! Spinners! Designers! Designers who space dye yarn with colors lovingly squeezed from selfless plants, obtained in a non-threatening way from organically raised sheep! Using solar power! Every so often I have to step back and not log in for a week, just to give myself some space. It is an amazing resource, however.

I have been inspired to try knitting a hat. A new experience for me, hat crocheter that I am. I am trying Odessa by Grumperina. And because I cannot follow a pattern, I am making it in a different yarn (Nashua Wooly stripes, to match the scarf I've just finished) without beads (because beading yarn is too fiddly and foo-foo for me). It calls for size 4 and size 6 circular needles. Lo and behold, the stash of doom comes through. Not only do I have both needles, I discovered that at some point I seem to have picked up a set of Addi turbos in sizes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. I am rocking the thrift store needle acquisition.

I cast on today and I am up to row 4 or 5 in pattern. It looks rather large. I am afraid once it is done it won't fit my head closely.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Souls for the master

In a totally good, non-satanic sort of way!

A few months ago, one of the parents at little brewer #1's bus stop was admiring the hat I had made for her and asked if I could teach her how to knit.

"Of course!" I said. "But this particular hat was made in crochet."

"Oh, ok. " She seemed rather disappointed.

It turns out she already knows how to knit. She had simply let her skills lapse. We arranged to get together today so I could refresh her knitting skills.

When I arrived, she pulled out the afghan she had been working on for 11 years. Gorgeous dusky blue, garter stitch edges with a slight ripple pattern. Her problem was not knitting skill- it was lack of time. She wanted to make a hat for her youngest. All my hats are done in crochet. So I whipped out the crochet hook I had conveniently brought along and proceeded to show her how to chain, join, and work in a circle. We drank tea, ate bread and cheese, and switched to beer when her hubby got home. Let me tell you, alcohol does wonders for a too-tight gauge. When I left, she was well on her way down the sides of the hat. heh heh heh. Another person drawn into the bicrafty league!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

This letter was among my grandmother's effects after she passed away. The gem is on the back.

A transcription of a knit hat pattern from the British War Department. How cool that she decided to save it all those years.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Here we see the little brewers checking out the kid habitrail at McDonald's.

Static electricity.
I am convinced the marketing genius of McDonalds lies in its appeal to kids. I've realized when my children say they want McDonalds for lunch, what they really want is the toy from the Happy Meal. They don't particularly like the food. I am rather partial to double cheeseburgers but 1,150 mg of sodium in one burger is waaaay too much. Yikes.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Winter Wonderland

Snow pictures!

I love snows that cling to the trees.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Gettysburg Rocks

No trip to Gettysburg is complete without a little rock climbing. Here we are near the Pennsylvania Monument, discovering battlefield cannons.

My son and I clearly have different definitions of the word "cold."

Off to search out Devil's Den. My father used to bring my brother and me here on weekends to climb rocks and wear ourselves out before driving back home.

Go! Climb!

You can do it!


Look Mommy! I can see rocks from here! And trees!

I'm king of the world!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Poor little sick girl

Lincoln Street's new evening feature: My Day, by Little Brewer #1.

Today I felt dizzy and my head hurt and I just stared at my paper for 5-6 minutes and it felt like I was not there the whole time. Today was not fun. I WANT TO GET BETEEEEEEEEEEEER PLEASE!
I have found my Pennsylvania yarn Nirvana.

No, not this:

It is this.

I've found The Mannings. I see The Mannings at Maryland Sheep and Wool every year. I've heard many people sing its praises. My reaction has been... eh. In the 9 years I lived in Gettysburg, I never made it out to The Mannings. I was convinced I had already been there and it was just a store.

I was mistaken. It turns out the shop in East Berlin, PA I had previously visited was Woolgatherings. I bought my copy of Knitting in the Old Way there.

The Mannings is situated on a lovely spot of land right next to Conewago Creek. It was the creek that caused us to miss it on first pass. Oo, look at the creek! And the cute bridge! Is that a house? Why are they building a house right on the banks of the creek? I see flooding in their future. You can juuuust see the white retaining wall of the new house under the bridge.

Vroom, right past Mannings. Such is the discussion in Brewgal's car.

Anyway, we completely bypassed the Mannings on first try. Made it all the way out to the main road where we saw a sign pointing back the way we came. We quickly deduced, in our Scooby-Doo sort of way, that we had missed the store. That, and the TomTom feebly saying (in its oh-so-cultured English accent, "You have reached your destination. Turn around.")

Thank goodness for the signs. Hello, Mannings? Love the signs! THANK YOU FOR THE SIGNS.

The Mannings is a barn-sized weaving/spinning/yarn store. There I met Ruth, a wonderful person who loved the store so much she got a job there on weekends. When she found out I had never been before, she gave me a tour. Gotta love a store that inspires people to work there in their spare time.

When I walked in I though, Ok, some books and some yarn. Cool. No no no. This was just the first room. The front room has the books, tools and sock yarn. The next room has the laceweight yarn and cashmere. Then there's a room of DK weight and chunky yarn. And a room of spinning wheels. At the back of that room, behind the table of knitters, there is a wall of fleece, helpfully labeled with the type and name of the sheep it came from. With a photo of the sheep. She encouraged the LB's to stick their hands in the fleece to feel it's "hand."

But wait, there's more! There was an entire room of weaving looms. They give weaving classes. This is in addition to the practice looms where you could try out a loom to see if you like it. Then I discovered the wall of discontinued discount yarn.

Holy crap. Discounted Noro.

I was dazed by the time I made it out of the store. I spent an hour there and I know I didn't see everything. I ran into a woman who used to drive out from Ohio just to shop at Mannings. And another who drove up from DC weekly for classes.

I see more trips to The Mannings in my future.

For lunch, we went to Appalachian Brewing Company. I had the Barley Wine and Brewguy had the Porter. Actually he had two. The first ended up all over me.

A toast!
Sploosh. A full pint of porter all over Brewgal. Soaking my jeans. Dribbling into my purse. Across my shirt. We've all had a beer or two spilled on us in the past, I'm sure. However, the experience of having a full pint of high gravity porter draped across my Levis in January, when the prospect of changing is nil because I've subscribed to the mantra of pack light and that means no backup pants, and baby it's COLD outside, tends to sour the outlook slightly.

Then I remembered Gettysburg now has outlet shopping. Hello, Old Navy!

Kudos to our server, Ben, who quickly helped up wipe up the porter-y mess and brought Brewguy a new glass gratis.

Here we see pint #2. Note that Brewguy is carefully keeping his wayward arms AWAY from this one.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Guest blogger

We have a guest blogger tonight, folks. It's Little Brewer #1 and she writes about her day. Welcome to Lincoln Street, Little Brewer #1!

Today I did the blocks. It`s tens, ones, and hundreds and we modeled them with blocks. That’s what I mean by blocks. I think today was pretty fun, but not as fun as mommy+ mommy is the best mom ever. I have a little secret- mommy is the best artist I`ve ever seen. I wouldn`t sell them (Mommy or Daddy) for anything.

Today I went to music and we sang bow-wow-wow. It`s a weird song. It`s too hard to spell the whole song for you. It`s pretty short but too hard to spell. I can try but I won’t. It`s been such a hard day since I`m sick. But let’s hope for the best. Like I said today was hard. I`m getting better. But I`ve still had the best day ever!

Gettysburg report, part 1

Well, we're back from Gettysburg. I got a fabulous deal on a hotel room that allowed us to stay for two days, rather than one. See fabulous view above.

Friday: I worked at home, which enabled me to be finished by 3:00. This meant LB#1 could come home on the bus, rather than going to aftercare. She informed me that I was *not* to pick her up at the bus stop. She was going to walk home.
[mother anxiety kicks in- what if somethinghappenscarsbadpeopleeek!]
Deep breaths.

Me: "Are you sure you want to walk home?"
LB1: "Yes. Next door neighbors 1 and 2 do it all the time. I'll just walk down the street and knock on your door."
Me: "You mean our door?"
LB1: "Yes. Our door. To our house."
Me: "You know, you can come right in to your own house."
LB1: "Oh, yeah."

This exchange is probably my own fault, having trained them not to walk into other people's houses without knocking.

At bus arrival time, I dutifully did not walk up to the stop. I stood in the carport, watching. When I saw her get off, I zipped back inside and pretended to read the paper. She made it home and was beaming, so proud to have done this by herself.

Then, off to pick up LB#2, drive over to my parent's house to water their plants (those crazy cruising seniors), back home, pack, wait for Brewguy to get home, pile in car, drive!

I still cannot believe we used to drive this commute twice a day for 4 years.

We got takeout from Tommy's Pizza for dinner and ate it in the hotel room (a Little Brewer request). Tommy's now has a drive through window but they won't let you buy beer through the window. Brewguy had to pick up the order, park the car, and go inside to buy the beer. Pennsylvania- keeping us safe from drive through beer.

The entire first hour was spent trying to get LB2 to turn down the volume on his voice, because when he's excited he TALKS LIKE THIS. REALLY, REALLY LOUD. I hope this kid finds a use for his projection talents. We finally had to explain that if the other guests complained about how loud we were being, the hotel wouldn't let us stay here anymore. That seemed to make an impression.

LB2, whispering: "Do we have to whisper?"

What a cutie.

Tomorrow: Brewgal has a run-in with porter and finds nirvana.

Friday, January 11, 2008

We're headed to Gettysburg for the weekend. Internet access may be spotty, so you may not hear from me for a few days. Beer will be consumed, friends reaquainted. Hope you all have a good weekend too!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Scarf for me

After crocheting 9 curly holiday scarves I felt it was time to make something for myself. I took advantage of the birthday discount at Woolwinders to buy some Nashua wooly stripes yarn in Fiesta.

This is worked in a 2x2 rib for four rows, then two rows of garter stitch.

CO 34

Knit first stitch, K2, P2 to last stitch, Knit last stitch. Repeat this row 4 times.

Knit all stitches across. Repeat this row 2 times.

Continue until desired length.

One skein gives approximately 14.5 inches. I'm on skein #4, and I suspect I'll have to go to skein #5 to finish the scarf to the length I desire. It's a lovely yarn, easy to work with. There is a bit of variation in the thickness, with some sections being quite loose and fluffy while others are tightly wound. I love it. The colors are so vibrant! I went back to the store the week after I bought this to get some more, which I plan to make into a hat.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More fun photos from our trip to Las Vegas in December, 2007.

The view from our tower room at the Luxor, looking toward Las Vegas Ave and McCarran airport. In the morning you could see planes taking off.

Shot from the front of the Venetian, looking toward Treasure Island (or TI, as it is now called.)

Gondolas inside the Venetian. I loved that the security guards inside the Venetian were dressed like Italian cops. Nice touch.

Brewguy's Fancy Tuna sushi at Ichiban in the Bally's mall. Brewguy's dish looked really tasty. How can you go wrong with avocado?

Ichiban was the best of the sushi places we tried over the three days. They are located in the underground mall between Bally's and the monorail station. Because I'm allergic to fish, I typically have vegetarian option or tempura shrimp. In my opinion, well-made tempura shrimp is the hallmark of a good chef.
Mmm. Tempura.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

I got a very nice thank you note from LB#2's teacher today. She said thank you for the crocheted scarf. She wrote that a lot of time must have gone into making it. I am thrilled! Not only because she recognized the amount of time, but that she could tell the difference between a knitted and a crocheted scarf. This teacher's a keeper. :-)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Commuting is an adventure. Traffic volume was remarkably low, given the potential. Brewgal’s time was 35 minutes today. Not too bad for a 14 mile run in the Washington DC area. Mondays can be quite bad. Thursday is the absolute worst day. My opinion is that everyone who wants to take Friday off comes in on Thursday to make up for it.

Commuting highlights for today included a van who seemed to be allergic to going the speed limit, a contractor truck blocking the turn lane into my campus with guys standing around IN THE LANE without warning cones or signs (that behavior will get you killed, y’all), and an 18-wheeler pulling out in front of me. Buses do this to me with alarming regularity too. Why me? Do I have a big “pull out in front of my shiny red SUV” sticker on my grille?

Slowly, ponderously, the truck pulled out into traffic, blocking first my lane then all three lanes southbound. Eeek! I slammed on my brakes and leaned on the horn, praying that the idiot who had been weaving in and out between cars a minute earlier would be attentive enough to not crash into the backside of my car. I lost my first beloved Volvo, Helen, to a rear-end crash by a teen driver. I’d hate to lose two Volvos the same way.

No crash. Good. Narrowly missing a street sign in the median, the truck moved through the intersection, put two wheels up and over the opposite curb, and lumbered on its way.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Brewguy moved into his new office today. The building used to house the newspaper's printing presses. It has been renovated into office space. All the old presses are gone, with the exception of some sort of count-o-veyer. Most importantly, Brewguy now has an office of his own, after nearly a decade as an editor. A real office with a door and everything! No sharing!

The bad part about moving was that he spent all weekend moving. The little brewers and I went today to help and check out the new space. Although it will take about the same amount of commute time, there is quite a bit more going on in the neighborhood compared to the old neighborhood. LB#2 and I took a quick walk outside. There is a thrift store, quilt store, two vets, an oriental grocery, a Halal grocery, an Indian restaurant, a Melting Pot fondue restaurant, a Pho restaurant, numerous nail places and a 7-Eleven. Just in case a Slurpee emergency arises. Mmm. Cola Slurpee.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The lions ate yesterday's post.

These are some of the lions from the MGM grand in Las Vegas. Brewguy and I took a quick trip out there in December to celebrate my birthday. It was lovely.

These lions are on display in a glass enclosure in the middle front of the casino. I wonder- can they see through the glass at the visitors? Can they hear the constantly looping tape featuring lion roars? Does it annoy them? Do we look tasty?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Meet Bertha. Doesn't she look fabulous in her new crocheted curly scarf?

Bertha the Singer 151 dress form was my Christmas present. I've always wanted a dress form. I've found it awkward to try and measuring clothing on my body while I'm in it. Watching the designers on Project Runway gave me all sorts of ideas. I could be a fashion designer if only I had a dress form!

Delusions grander than this have tripped me up.

Little Brewer #1 and I set up Bertha the day after Christmas. After adjusting her to the correct height and measurements, I stood back and took a look.

"Wow, that's a big person!" I thought to myself. "Am I really that tall?"

Apparently I am. However, Bertha is considerably more statuesque in her proportions than I. The smallest bust measurement on this model is 38", so I'll be taking in a least a few inches there. I've heard the more expensive models allow for finer measurement distinctions, but my sewing skills don't warrant that kind of spending.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Going gray and death in the classroom

My hair is going gray. White, rather. It started at age 30, a stressful year. That was the year I started collecting data for my dissertation. It was also the year we purchased a house on my graduate student stipend and Brewguy's photographer job. Money was a constant concern. My advisor had advised me into an experimental design with 64 cells. I was faced with the prospect of running hundreds of participants in groups of 4 (max). No wonder my hair turned white.

It's turning white in streaks at my temples. I think it's rather cool, a nod to my Celtic heritage. However, it's been an interesting experience in societal pressure. My hairdresser is starting to make comments about "highlights," and "covering." I no longer get carded at the liquor store. I see other Moms glancing subtly at my temples. Should I cover it? Dye it?

In other news, the gerbils in Little Brewer #2's classroom died over the Christmas break. No one seems to know exactly how, although one theory is that they died from being overfed. RIP, Pizza and Brownie. LB#2 says, "Brownie and Pizza died. I'm sorry for them because I'm sad that Brownie and Pizza died." Short and sweet.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year 2008

Crack open the doors on the egg of the new year. It's 2008, everyone! Time for Brewgal's New Year's knitting and crochet resolutions.

  1. Always carry a project to work on. It does not matter if you are only going out "for a few minutes." That will be the time you are stuck waiting.
  2. Bravely speak to other knitters and crocheters. The worst that can happen is they may brush me off. The best is I may make a new friend.
  3. Only work on projects that interest me. Life's too short for bad craft.
  4. Embrace my Continental Eastern Crossed Combination knitting technique as a cherished legacy, not something wrong to be ashamed of. I was taught to knit by my grandmother, who in turn was taught by her grandmother. I can't imagine trying to tell Grandma she was knitting wrong. Hoo boy.
  5. Try to use up my stash. Maybe I should just give up on this one right now.
  6. Photograph my projects before they are given away.
  7. Finish my projects with enough time to spare so they can be photographed.
  8. Make sure the camera battery is always &!$#% charged. Stupid camera battery.
  9. Try a new technique.
  10. Be kinder to myself. There are plenty of critics in the world. I do not need to carry one in my head.

For everyone: peace and happiness.