Wednesday, December 27, 2006

SP9 Questions

Here are my pals responses:

1. The oddest gift you have ever received (not asked for)
when I was 16, my parents gave me a complete set of luggage. i thought they were trying to tell me to take a hike, get lost, or it was time to move
2) the oddest gift you ever asked for
a baby.
3) the oddest gift you ever gave
I would like to think I don't give odd presents...but ummm....hmmmm...honestly I don't know. I try to be so practical in gift giving.
4) the worse gift you ever got
Most certainly it would have to be the Precious moments Christmas wrapping paper that my MIL gave me one year. I do like PM and she thought I would enjoy the wrapping paper to use for the next year. Hey, it's the same year she gave hubby a case of salad dressing. :)

My answers:

1. Boy, I had to think long and hard about this one - I think the oddest gift I ever received - that I did not ask for - was a George Foreman grill!

2. The oddest gift I ever asked for - hmmmm, some people would say that all the gifts I ask for are odd! :-) But, I suppose it would be the year I begged, and I mean begged - for a serger! All that begging must of worked, I got one!

3. The oddest gift I ever gave - hmmmmm, I guess there have been some odd things I have given - no fruit cake on the list though! I gave my first husband an antique "Santa" advertisement. He returned the "begging favor" and I got it for him!

4. The worst gift - hmmm, now this is really difficult, I am telling you - there has not been a gift that I felt was "worst" - oh, I know - the year someone gave me some really awful perfume - you know, the kind that if you have it on, it arrives days before you do!?!

I have to tell you all.... my spoilee has been a true blessing. She is an amazing mom.... She home schools their children, her spouse is in the military. They host "alone" military family members at their home for holidays. She is amazing - and more!! I could not have been more blessed to receive such an amazing pal. We are having an awesome time getting to know each other - I believe that this is the start of a friendship for life. Thank you SP9 for starting us on the path to friendship.

We have had an amazing time getting to know each other. :-)

Birthday Blues

Hello everyone - I am so glad that today is my birthday AND that year number 45 is OVER! This past year has had its downs and downs (not many ups unfortunately). But, the year is over and a new day dawns on year 46 - I see it rising with hope and promise.

It has been a year of struggles - loosing a job I had worked at for a long time - a place that I gave my all and more to. Only to be "downsized". What a lovely term that is, huh? Trust me, trying to find a job at age 45 is not so spectacular. Almost every job I applied for I was told I was "over-qualified" (translation, per a nice HR person, you make too much money) When a company can hire someone for less, they do so - and I don't blame them so much. But, it was a challenge. I took a job offer in hopes that looking for employment while employed is so much more successful. It took some time, but it did work (one of the few things that did work out in year 45).

Then there have been the personal struggles - my husband determined this summer that he wanted to leave. He did so for over 4 months. In November he had contacted me to tell me how miserable he was, and we decided to go for counseling. He moved back in. We went to counseling and unfortunately he did not hear what he wanted to - mind you, the counselor told EACH of us what we needed to work on and she gave us homework each week to work on together. My husband was home less that 3 weeks when he determined that he needed to move out again. He has been gone ever since - yet he managed to call today to wish me a "happy birthday" - what I wanted to say was it would have been happier if he had not called. I did not say that - I just thanked him for the call and went on with my day. I am not letting him come back home again. No more ups and downs there anymore.

Right around Thanksgiving, my daughter's best friend's father committed suicide. It suddenly made all my problems pale in comparison - amazing how quickly life gains perspective. My family surrounded this family with meals, prayers, shoulders for tears, and we cried tears with them as well. My daughter still cannot comprehend what happened - and we struggled with Christmas joy when this family is still hurting so very much. We found thanks in the simple promise of Christmas though - and we were so happy to have each other.

If it had not been for my faith and knitting, I surely would have lost what was left of my mind. Although, my kids somedays will tell you I am crazy! I am looking forward to this new year and all the opportunities that it will bring. I am teaching some new knitting classes in a NEW place. And, I have decided to join the local chapter of the Knitting Guild here in Holland. I also am going to make it a priority to get back to choir (both bell and voice) regularly. I allowed myself to be absent and that was not good.

I also got my kids a kitten for Christmas - Miss Noel is quite a character. Copper and Penny think so too. There is much running and chasing going on at our house these days - and I realize that I need to "kitty proof" my living room! I shall get a picture posted soon of Noel. She is adorable, 12 weeks old, and she is a calico. And, she is such a mischief maker. She is providing comic relief and tell me, who can ever have too much comic relief??? Laughter is a balm for the weary soul.

So, as my 46th year dawns - I see the light of new promise and like the birth of the blues - I shall sing and dance on! Tonight, I shall drink a wee toast to all of you, my blog friends. Cheers!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Welcome to our world!

I want to share with you all something written by R. Kent Hughes from "The Gift". May your Christmas day be most blessed!

The Birth of Christ

From ground level, Joseph and Mary were insignificant nobodies from a nothing town. They were peasants. They were poor, uneducated, of no account.
Joseph and Mary capsulized the mystery of grace - because the King does not come to the proud and powerful, but to the poor and powerless. As happens so often in life, things were not as they seemed to the world around, because humble Mary and Joseph were the father and mother of the King of Kings.
They appeared to be helpless pawns caught in the movements of secular history. But every move was being made by the hand of God. The Messiah had to be born in tiny, insignificant Bethlehem! As the virgin traveled, she bore under her steady beating heart, hidden from the world, the busy thumping heart of God.
The Creator had woven Himself a robe of virgin flesh.
The baby Mary carried was not a Caesar, a man would would claim to be a god, but a far greater wonder - God who had become a man!
The journey left Mary increasingly weary as she trod those dusty miles to the south. And when she and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem they were exhausted - especially Mary. And then the pains began. Perhaps at first young Mary wasn't sure and didn't say anything to Joseph. But then, when there was no doubt that it was the real thing, she informed him - probably with tears. She was just a girl of thirteen or fourteen years.
We are all familiar with the haunting simplicity of Luke's description of the birth: "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, as son."
In Bethlehem the accommodations for travelers were primitive. The Easter inn was the crudest of arrangements. Typically it was a series of stalls built on the inside of an enclosure and opening onto the common yard where the animals were kept. All the innkeeper provided was fodder for the animals and a fire to cook on. On that cold day when the expectant parents arrived, nothing at all was available, not even one of those crude stalls. And despite the urgency no one would make room for them. So it was probably in the common courtyard where the travelers' animals were tethered that Mary gave birth to Jesus - with only Joseph attending.
Joseph must have wept, as well as Mary. Mary's pain, the stinking barnyard, their poverty, the indifference, the humiliation, the sense of utter helplessness, the shame of not being able to provide for young Mary on the night of her travail - it would make a man either curse of cry.
If we imagine that it was into a freshly swept, County Fair stable that Jesus was born, we miss the whole point. It was wretched - scandalous! There was sweat and pain and blood and cries as Mary reached to the stars for help. The earth was cold and hard. The smell of birth was mixed into a wretched bouquet with the stench of manure and acrid straw. Trembling carpenter's hands, clumsy with fear, grasped God's Son slippery with blood - the baby's tiny limbs waving helplessly as if falling through space - his face grimacing as he gasped the cold and his cry pierced the night.
My mother groaned, my father wept. Into the dangerous world I leapt.
It was a leap down - as if the Son of God rose from his splendor, stood poised at the rim of the universe, and dove headlong, speeding through the stars over the Milky Way to earth's galaxy, finally past Arcturus, where he plunged into a huddle of animals. Nothing could be lower.
Luke finishes the picture: "She wrapped him in strips of cloth and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." Mary counted his fingers. She and Joseph wiped him clean as best they could by firelight, but Mary wrapped each of his little round, steaming arms and legs with strips of cloth - mummy-like. No one helped her. She laid him in a feeding trough.
It was low. No child born into the world that day seemed to have lower prospects. The Son of God was born into the world not as a prince but a s a pauper. We must never forget that this is where Christianity began - and were it always begins. It begins with a sense of need, a graced sense of one's insufficiency. Christ comes to the needy. Ultimately, he is born in those who are "poor in spirit."
The story moves quickly as Christ's birth is announced. Shepherds were the first to hear. "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified." The shepherds on that wintry night were naturally huddled close to their fire, while above, the icy constellations swept by. Suddenly, as if a star burst, glory dazzled the night, and an honored angel stepped forth as the shepherds recoiled in great fear - despite his reassuring words.
That the message came to shepherds first, and not to the high and mighty, once again brings us to the refrain that God comes to the needy, the "poor in spirit." Shepherds were despised by the "good," respectable people of that day. They were regarded as thieves. The only ones lower than shepherds, at this particular time in Jewish history, were lepers.
God wants us to get it straight: He comes to those who sense their need. He does not come to the self-sufficient. Christmas is for those who need Jesus! Whatever our situation, He can deliver us. The angel said the "good news" was for "all the people." Whoever you are, He can deliver you. "Because Jesus lives forever...he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them" (Hebrews 7:24-25). Listen to the angel's words, again, slowly: "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."
Now see what happens. "Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." Here we need a little Christmas imagination. Perhaps there was a flash and suddenly the bewildered shepherds were surrounded by angels.
Not well that it says that it was a "great company" - beyond count. I think that every angel was there because this was the most amazing and greatest event that had ever happened in the universe. I think they stretched from horizon to horizon, obscuring the winter constellations. I like to imagine that they radiated gold, pink, electric blue, hyacinth, and ultraviolet - and that some were sparkling. And then, when they lifted their voices to God, it was cosmic stereo!
How we all would like to have been there - to be a fly on the ear of one of the shepherds' sheep. But hear this: though the choir in Heaven did it, we on earth have a part, and it is the best part, because we are children of grace. God became man, not an angel. God redeemed us, not angels. Ours is the best part, and we will sing it for eternity!
The angels departed, the glory that lit the countryside faded, the constellations reappeared, and the shepherds were alone. They allowed no grass to grow under their feet. They took off running, leaping the low Judean fences, and entered the enclosure wide-eyed and panting. They searched the stalls and quickly found the new mother and her Babe out in the open among the animals. Immediately they began to announce the good news, telling all who would listen about the angels and the baby. When they left, they continued glorifying and praising God for all they had experienced.
This Christmas is not enough to hear about Jesus. It is not enough to come peek in the manger and say, "Oh, how nice. What a lovely scene. It gives me such good feelings." The truth is, even if Christ were born in Bethlehem a thousand times and not in you, you would be eternally lost. The Christ who was born into the world must be born in your heart.
Christmas sentiment without the living Christ is a yellow brick road to darkness. That is the terrifying thing about all the Chrismas glitz - that Christmas can be burried by materialism and sentiment and people will not even know or care.
He really did come into the world; and because of this, he really can come into your heart. This Christmas, let us lay our lives before Him and receive the gift.
In this world of sin,
Where meek souls will
receive him still
The dear Christ enters in.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas is coming....

Hello everyone! Are you almost ready for Christmas? Has your Advent experience been getting you ready for Monday? There is still time to stop and think about what all this preparation is really all about. I absolutely love this time of the year - the lights, the music, the decorations - all of it! But, the reason I love it most is what was done for me 2000 years ago in a stable - we all got the best gift we will ever get - and we did not have to put it on our list or worry about anyone watching whether we have been naughty or nice - how awesome is that? If you have not done so - get out the Christmas story and read it with your family before Monday - spend a few minutes - or longer - thinking about the gift of Jesus. I promise you that they will be minutes well spent as we all hustle around so we are ready for Christmas morning.

Speaking of gifts...I had a package waiting at my doorstep when I got home last night. My secret pal had struck again - I will try and have my daughter help me post photos this weekend, but I will share with you all the great little gifts she sent me (I was worried, I had not heard from her and I am glad she is alright!!) I got some awesome Sockotta yarn - in a denimy colorway - I can see some new socks in the New Year from this great yarn. She also sent me some awesome finishing clips - wow, these are so cool. I have seen ones like them in magazines but not in any of the LYS's in my area - good incentive to jump in to seaming up a project!! I also got a great little scissors!! I find that scissors are a bit like measuring tapes - I know I have them but where are they??? She also sent me a GREAT magnet! I love it and it is residing on my fridge! It will be great to keep my 2007 Knitting Goals list in sight!

Speaking of 2007 Knitting Goals, have you all been to YarnLife?? If you have knitting goals for the New Year and want some help this is the place for you to go! What better way than to stay on track with fellow knitters. I also want to remind you all that there is still time to knit a cap or two for Caps to the Capital. Knittymama had a great reminder on her blog about this. You can get directions at Caps to the Capital. Won't you join me in knitting a cap or two? I think that Knittymama also has a link for a contest if you knit also! There is some additional incentive.

I hope that all of you, my blogging friends, have a very Blessed Christmas!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Coffee Goodness and an amazing scarf

Hello everyone - while I cannot post a photo (I cannot find the camera cord!!) I wanted to thank Carin for the wonderful goodies she sent me! It was an awesome box of goodies! Starting with some Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn in a yummy coffee blend of colors, some yummy Chocolate Cherry Walnut biscotti, some delicious Rocky Road Fudge, some awesome coffee - Demon - roasted locally in New Hampshire where Carin lives - wow is it amazingly good! She topped off my package with some much needed "knitters" post it notes entitled - "socks, socks, socks". Quite appropriate! Carin, thank you so much for the yummy goodies! You were a great swap partner!

I also wanted to post photos from the ISE2, but as I said earlier - I have no clue where the cord to the camera is! Too much Christmas clean up!!
I received such an awesome scarf package from Nancy - she knit a gorgeous scarf out of Alpaca - wow, I am impressed! I also got 2 skeins of Noro Kuryeon - my favorite! Thanks, Nancy for the lovely goodies!

It has been a hectic time here at the homestead - I am behind on so many things! Work has been very busy, this is a good thing, but I could use a little respite! I am vowed to finish my Christmas shopping this weekend - I need to finish up the stocking stuffers. I have one mitten left to knit - so I am confident that my holiday knitting will be complete. I also seem to have come down with some kind of bug - I am tired all the time, my nose is drippy and my throat is a bit scratchy! I am eating Vitamin C's and working on trying to get some rest! Hope you are all doing well as Advent winds down and we await Christmas.

Have a great week all.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Norovember goodies!

Hello everyone - sorry it has been so long between posts, but I have been so busy at work! It has been a bit crazy here!

I have finished my Clapotis! I LOVE IT! This is probably my favorite item ever knit - it is so soft, and I really love how the yarn worked so perfectly with this pattern. I have worn it for several days now and I get compliments every day on it!

Here is the photo shoot that my daughter took last night after work:

It is amazing, isn't it?

If you have not knit Clapotis, you need to - it is a fun knit!

And, it is so versatile!

Go to Knitty and knit Clapotis!

On the other front of Norovember - I have completed mittens that I cannot publish here yet - shhhh, they are a secret! I am working on a second pair and will start pair #3 after that. I have also almost finished the sleeves for a sweater that I cannot publish yet either. Norovember has been very productive for me!!

Hope you are all having a great week - I will try and catch you all up this weekend.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Secret Pal 9 Goodies!

Hello everyone! Are you all getting hungry for some Turkey and all the fixing? I sure am!! My daughter #2 and I have been menu planning for a couple of weeks now! We have got our "game on" and we have our cooking marathon planned! From potatoes to stuffing, from cranberries to veggies, from turkey (fresh from an Amish friend) to pumpkin pie (from fresh pumpkins and home made crust) Heidi and I are ready to prepare the "Feast". I am so blessed to have a daughter who loves to cook like I do. She is fun in the kitchen as well - I love the holidays.

I arrived home on Friday and found a wonderful box on my doorstep - my Secret Pal has struck! Inside the box were some wonderful goodies - a great circular needle case, some amazing coffee (I have tried it - wow is it good) Buzz Blend is so wonderful! I also recieved a new tape measure - I, like the Harlot, can never find a tape measure when I need it - there has to be 8 gajillion in my house - however, none in plain sight! She sent me the rare and coveted Black Sheep from Lantern Moon. He is so cute! I love him!! I also got a amazing skein of Alpaca in a great brown/black/grey colorway. It is so soft - wow. Beautiful stuff. Thank you so much Secret Pal - you made my week! I will post pictures on Wednesday when my daughter gets back home from her dad's house.

Speaking of daughter #2 - she gets her driver's license on Friday! This will be great. And, she is excited!

I have so many things to be thankful for this year - many, many things. I will share more later - have a great day all.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Yarn Aboard Goodies and more!

Hello everyone - wow has it been busy here! New job and stuff to learn makes for long days!

I wanted to share with you all the wonderful things I got from Lisa from Yarn Aboard - she sent Lewis and Clark loaded up with lots of goodies!

Anyway, Lisa sent me yarn to make not 1 but 2 pairs of socks! And, one of the yarns was STR that she got at Rhinebeck!! She included such wonderful little treats in her package - tea packets and mini M and M's and a great little notebook for my knitting bag! She also included some stamps for Easter cards!

Lisa - you are awesome. I really feel like you took the time to read my blog and get to know me! My daughter wants me to knit the funky socks you sent YESTERDAY! :-) They are so cute! I am looking forward to casting on with all the yarns you sent me!

Thanks for being a simply awesome pal! And, thanks to Amanda for organizing such a great swap! I will definately sign up again!!!

As for Norovember - I have finished my entrelac bag -

And - I am on the decreases on my Clap - she is looking lovely!

Hope you are all having a great week and will have an awesome weekend.
Night all!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Yarn Aboard!

Lewis and Clark arrived at my doorstep yesterday - updates and photo's this weekend! :-)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Post Election Bliss - or not

Hello Everyone. I don't know about you, but I am soooo happy that all the election ads are OVER! It was impossible to avoid them - they were EVERYWHERE! I never thought I'd be so happy to see November 8 roll around! I will avoid the discussion on winning and loosing candidates - I hope all of you voted - I did, end of subject!

On to Norovember! I am finished felting my entrelac bag - tres' cute! I will post photo's soon. I have to just weave in the ends of the Noro mittens I made for daughter #2 - shhhhh, they are a Christmas gift for her! I am two stitch markers from decrease rows on my Clap - I love this knit!! I am so happy I started it! I cast on at lunch yesterday Sursa for my girlfriend - again a Noro creation! My husband leaves Saturday morning for "Deer Camp" (more on my husband in a later post) but then I am going to finish the sweater I am knitting for him for his Christmas gift. Wow, there is a lot of Noro going on here!

My good friend Lynne has a great idea that you all need to sign up for. She is looking for mitten donations for some Buffalo inner city children. Let's all get over to her blog and sign up to send some mittens her way for This is the perfect way to get your family involved in helping! Knit mittens, buy mittens, clean out your mitten basket and send gently used, clean mittens! Help keep some kids hands warm this winter!

On the work front - I started a new job on Monday - more on that later, when my brain stops swirling around.

Have an awesome Wednesday everyone!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Norovember is well under way!

Hello everyone! Hope all of you are having a marvelous week - I am working, knitting, cooking, and doing laundry! Life is hectic here in Holland! We have tests to study for, papers to write, books to read - and those are the things that I have to keep my teenagers on pace for! Halloween was a pretty good sized "speed bump" in the road for them. You know, houses to teepee, etc! :-)

On top of that, I am loving all of the Norovemberish things I am knitting! I have an entrelac purse that I am almost finished with, knitted in Kureyon - this will get felted and hidden away for a Christmas gift! I am half done with one fun mitten - knit from Kureyon and a strand of mohair - also a Christmas present. I need to cast on the sleeves for Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton's Larstorp in Iro! As you can see Norovember is well under way here!

Well, I have to get dinner in the oven - so I can sit down and knit ;-)

Have a great evening everyone!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Some Coffee and Norovember

Hello everyone! Are you all ready for time change this weekend? An extra hour to sleep? I am excited because there is an extra hour to knit! That is awesome in my opinion - although I do have to work Friday night and all day Saturday. I will still have an extra hour to knit!

My daughter has the "Decomposers Festival" tonight - a ghoulishly fun time for orchestra students! What is "Decomposers Festival" you ask? Well - it is a concert where all students dress up for Halloween - and the audience can dress up as well. They play some "scary" music - and since my daughter is so witty and bright - she and her friends are the "deal or no deal" girls - I know, what am I thinking! Pick your battles, parents. But, Heidi is in the Chamber Orchestra and the Symphony Orchestra - so I get to listen to her play twice! It is a fun time for all.

Does anyone out there like coffee as much as I do? If you do you might want to head over to the Knitter's Coffee Swap site and sign up. Hurry - there are only 50 spots available and I have taken one of them!!

If that does not interest you but you love Noro yarn then Norovember maybe be for you. I was so excited about this KAL - I have cast on Clapotis in Noro Silk Garden - I just took a class on entrelac and knitting backwards - yes, knitting backwards - and I picked Noro Kureyon for that - it will be the cutest felted bag when I am done. AND, I got some Silk Garden this summer at a 'close out sale' to make my girlfriend Sursa for Christmas. I also want to get out a sweater I had started last year - all I need to do is finish the sleeves of Larstorp done and sew it together! If I get really motivated and get all these projects done - I can cap off the month by knitting Gesta with some Kochoran I got on sale this summer as well. I think that Norovember will be soo much fun.

Hope you are all having a great week. I cannot believe that October is almost over - but it has been much colder than normal here with snow and freezing rain. I hope that November warms up a bit!

Have a great Thursday all!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

48 Things You Could Care Less About

1. FIRST NAME? Kathy
2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? I sure was – my mom and a great aunt.
3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Yesterday. I cry easily – like for commercials. I am pretty sappy!
4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? It is not bad, if I do say so myself.
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? I am not a fan of cold lunch meat – but I adore corned beef and hot pastrami sandwiches.
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Yes, I am a good listener and extremely loyal.
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Nope, they have been gone for years.
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Not in this life – or the next!
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Special K Red berry – mmmm, I like that stuff.
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Hmmm, do I have a pair of tie shoes? I don’t think so, but if I did I don’t think I would untie.
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Strong? As in muscles? Nope – but I am strong in faith, strong in spirit, and extremely bull headed!
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Anything coffee flavored.
14. SHOE SIZE? I am a size 8 ½ to a 9, depending on the style.
5. RED OR PINK? Red, never – EVER pink. I am not a pastel kind of gal.
18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? Sure, or at least leave a comment so I can go read it!
19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Black pants and shoes and a green shirt and jacket.
20. LAST THING YOU ATE? Chicken tenders at Uccello’s for lunch today.
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Muzak at the office and Teresa talking.
23. FAVORITE SMELL? Bread baking in the oven and the smell of newborn babies!
26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON you stole THIS from? I think I do – I like to read her blog.
27. FAVORITE DRINK? Chardonnay, please.
28. FAVORITE SPORT? College football – college basketball, pick one depending on the season.
29. EYE COLOR? Hazel
30. HAT SIZE? I don’t know, large? Not that it is filled with brains! ;-)
31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Nope, I am at the “in between” stage of glasses – not quite ready for reading glasses.
32. FAVORITE FOOD? Pasta anything.
33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Never, ever scary movies – happy endings, please.
35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Hmm, I love all seasons, but if I had to choose I would say winter.
36. HUGS OR KISSES? I have to pick????
37. FAVORITE DESSERT? Crème Brulee.
38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? I have no clue.
40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Other than knitting books? Hmmm, maybe I need to get books on tape – then I can “read” and knit!
41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE Pad? Not a thing.
42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? Jeopardy and Law and Order something or other. Now if I answered on Thursday I would say Grey’s Anatomy and ER.
43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? My daughter playing the cello (only a mother would love that – and she is so much better now than when she began 5 years ago!)
44. ROLLING STONE OR BEATLES? Both – there is no way to choose!
46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? I don’t know if a positive, upbeat attitude is a special talent, but if it is not, I don’t have one.
47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Zeeland, Michigan
48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? Stolen from!

Have an awesome Wednesday everyone!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Swap Pictures or I Am One Lucky Knitter!

Hello Everyone - I wanted to show off the treasures I recently received from my swap partners!

First off from Renee who was my partner in KTS2 I got these wonderful goodies - I wanted the picture to do justice to my discription! Thank you Renee! Notice especially the cute card with "Knitting Mice" on the front! I love it and all the treats, Renee!!

Next up are the goodies I got from Shelley my Hot Socks Swap pal. How awesome are they? She did a GREAT job of spoiling me! I am one happy knitter -

Thank you Ladies for the wonderful treasures you sent me! You both rock!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

When it rains, it snows?

Hello everyone - well, I am certainly one lucky knitter. It has been raining swap boxes this week! And, we had our first SNOW last night!!

Renee was my spoiler and did she spoil me!! I will post photo's this weekend, but I wanted to share with you what treasures she sent to me! In my package, all neatly wrapped, were not 1 but 2 skeins of Lamb's Pride worsted in the Winter Blue colorway. There was a skein of Sockotta yarn in an awesome blue, green, grey colorway (can you say Socktoberfest?) She sent me not 1 but 3 different teas - Zhena's Gypsy tea bags, Almond Happiness loose leaf, and Cherry Vanilla loose leaf! 2 HUGE bars of dark chocolate with orange! And, a great candle with a lovely Christmas holder. Renee, you are so amazing - what awesome gifts. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I feel so spoiled!

Have a great day everyone - and if it is cold where you are - stay warm!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Really HOT socks!

Hello Everyone - I arrived home last night and found a package on my doorstep! Shelley was my Hot Socks Swap partner and she sent me a little box filled with big goodies! Inside was a lovely card hoping that I enjoy the goodies as much as she enjoyed getting it ready for me!! Shelley - I LOVE THEM! She made me the most gorgeous "sock bag" - I love the fabric and I have already filled it with a pair of socks I am working on! I will post pictures this weekend when my daughter brings the camera home! Inside the bag were some awesome treasures - a skein of Regia sock yarn in a wonderful blue-brown-green colorway, a small knitted bag that held 6 gorgeous green stitch markers that Shelley made herself! They are so cute! And, they are my favorite color!!! She also included a bag of Starbucks Bella Florentina Coffee! Thanks so much Shelley for the wonderful gifts you sent!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Get to know you questions!

Hello everyone.

Jody, one of the hostesses from SP9, posted some questions on her blog - I invite anyone to answer them - as she did. Here are the questions and my answers!

1. Where is your favorite knitting spot?
I love to knit anywhere - but my favorite spot is the sofa in the living room. My dogs will come and get curled up with me as I knit - makes for a peaceful way to pass time.

2. If you suddenly could never knit again (shudder) - what would you do instead?
Boy - this is a tough question! I am sure that I would make cards - and probably alot more than I am doing now! I also might do a little quilting occasionally! I would definately not be as happy doing those things as I am knitting!!

3. If you could travel anywhere in the world - where would you go and why?
Scotland - I am fortunate to have been there twice - but I would love to live there! I certainly would like to go back as a knitter - I was not knitting when I went there before. The people are so nice, the scotch is so good, and the country is so gorgeous!

4. When you were little - What did you want to do "when you grew up?" Are you doing it?
I wanted to be a mom more than anything in the world - I got my wish, I have 3 amazing children who are the joy of my life!

5. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
I love coffee icecream!

Have a great day everyone - please leave me your email address or blog address so I can stop by and say hello!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Socktoberfest questions...

Hello Everyone - Lolly asked us Socktoberfesters to answer a few questions about our sock knitting history. So - here it is!

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class? I started about 2 years ago, when I began knitting. The LYS where I took my first class was having a "toe up sock" class. I loved the sock yarns - and the teacher/owner promised me that I could do this! So, I signed up.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time? My first pair was some self striping yarn and they were awful - my heels sucked. I was taught short row heels and I had major difficulty with the wraps and turns. I also struggled with the cast on technique - thank goodness for Judy Becker!! The socks have held up well - no one wears them! I use them as an example in my classes that I now teach on toe up socks.

What would you have done differently? I would have frogged them and knit the heels again. I would have also spent some time looking for a better pattern!! I was intimidated by dpns - I should have tried them. The second pair I knit was out of Cascade Fixation - I made some socks for my daughter - they turned out wonderfully - knit on dpns - and they have lasted wonderfully!!

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed? I love Lorna's Laces, Koigu, and Schaefer sock yarns. I also have knit socks with Blue Sky Alpaca Silk and with Drops and with Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino - wow are they also nice to knit with!! RY Cashsoft is also yummy and makes even yummier socks!

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method? I have never, ever crocheted socks - eewwww! LOL. I have knit socks on dpns, 2 circs, magic loop and I really prefer dpns. Don't tell my students - I teach toe up magic loop!

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?) I love the heel flap version for myself - it fits my foot better. It also fits daughter #2 better, but daughter #1 prefers short-rowed heels.

How many pairs have you made? I have knit myself 2 pairs, daughter #1 - 2 pairs, daughter #2 4 pairs. Shhhh, I am working on Christmas socks for my son and my mom! My completed total is 8 pairs.

Have a great day everyone!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

International Scarf Exchange VS Socktoberfest

What a battle!

I am trying to finish my scarf for my ISE Pal - but I was overcome by Socktoberfest yesterday! I tried to resist but I was down for the count - have you all seen the new Jo Sharp book? Knit 1 has some awesome patterns in it - and there are not one but TWO sock patterns in it! Of course I was looking at the Alpaca Silk Gorgette and before I knew it I was casting on a pair of socks! I am doing the lovely picot-edged socks in the book. I have about 3" done on sock one. I hear my scarf calling to me - traitorous knitter that I am - I am ignoring her. I have about 36" done - half way - and I have "floor time" at work tomorrow, I promise that I will sit and knit during the 4 1/2 hour time block. I am a captive audience for calls from people asking about interest rates, etc. It has not been the most productive time spent - work wise, but it is excellent knitting time!

We had rain again yesterday - and more is expected for today. The leaves are beginning to turn colors - I bet that north of here they are getting some great color. We will all have to stop in to say "hi" to Susie and ask her how the leaves are looking. You might also check out her Etsy shop - she spins and dyes some amazing yarns. Be sure to tell her that Kat sent you. All you Socktoberfest and Hot Socks participants might find something lovely to knit up a pair of socks for yourself or your loved ones!

I better get back to work here gang - have an awesome Tuesday!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

SP9 Questionaire Answers

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I love Jo Sharp and Rowan – basically anything they do. I also love Shaefer, Lorna’s Laces, To Knit Perchance To Dream – Susie’s yarns are so awesome, and Koigu for socks (or lacework). I would love to try some STR – I have not had the pleasure as of yet. I am not a fan of acrylic’s at all.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? Good question – I am currently not using anything other than the packaging they came in.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I have been knitting 2 years – my Knitaversary was August 17. I would consider myself an adventurous intermediate – or I know enough to be dangerous!

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Yes, I do.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.) I like crisp, clean scents. I really don't care for floral-y scents at all.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I do have a bit of a sweet tooth – and I love dark chocolate.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I have been known to make a card or two and I sew. I do not spin.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) I love jazz – Diana Krall, Michael Buble’, Tony Bennet, Harry Connick Jr. are some of my favorites. Yes, my pc can play MP3’s.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? I tend to gravitate towards earthy tones; greens, browns, rusts, greys, blacks. I dislike pastel colors – pinks, yellows, beige.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I have 3 teenagers (Rachel, Heidi, and Sam) and 2 Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (Copper and Penny).

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Scarves and mittens – yes. Hats – not very often. Poncho’s – occasionally.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Socks!

13. What are you knitting right now? I am working on a couple of sweaters, some slippers for Christmas gifts and socks.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? I love to receive handmade gifts!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I prefer circ’s and I have a nice collection of Addi’s, some bamboo, and some Bryspun plastics that are great for lacework.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? No – I do not.

17. How old is your oldest UFO? Boy – I have a sweater that is almost 2 years old. Yikes!

18. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas and Easter!

19. Is there anything that you collect? Antiques and Santa's.

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 have been bitten by the “lace” bug recently – I don’t have a lot of lace patterns, but would love to work on a collection of them. I have a subscription to IK.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? I am a “beginning” lace knitter. I have knit some lace socks – they are treasured by my daughter who I made them for. I picked up a skein of Lorna’s Lace this summer and have recently cast on the Half Pie Shawl – and I really love how it is looking. Of course, it is a fairly uncomplicated pattern! I love the shawls that I am seeing on so many blogs – I would love to learn lace knitting and in all it’s complicated glory!

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? Oh, yes – I am such a sock knitter! I wear a ladies size 8 ½ M shoe, my foot is 10” long – and I like my socks to be a little loose on my foot.

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd) 12/27

SP 9 and much more fun!

Hello Everyone! SP 9 starts today! Wooo Hoooo! Socktoberfest starts today, too! Could life get better????

I am knitting more inches of my scarf and plotting out my sock progress! I am so excited to work on socks! I have some plans for socks and October!

Did you all see my post from yesterday? There is a contest brewing here as well - If you post your suggestions for this lovely Indira Gandhi yarn -

Some lacy pattern - any and all suggestions will be entered into a drawing. You have until Midnight - EST - on Friday to post your suggestions. You could be the lucky winner of a skein of Shaefer Anne for Socktoberfest!

On to SP9 - the questionaire's are posted on the blog and I will be working on my answers and posting them later today. Hope all of you are having a great Sunday!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Dreary Weekends and a CONTEST!

Hello Everyone! It is Saturday and it is still raining! We saw a rainbow last weekend, so I knot that the flood is not coming - but I am sure it has been raining for almost 40 days! It has been cool and damp - good weather to have a fire in the fireplace (if you have one) and get your knit on!
I have been working on my scarf for my scarf pal - it is gaining in length s-l-o-w-l-y but surely. I love the yarn I chose - Alpaca with a Twist Baby Alpaca. This yarn is a dream to knit with. I am seeing some socks in my future using this yarn!
Socks seem to be the theme for fall - from Socktoberfest to Hot Socks the blog world is filled with sock themes. I have read about sock knitter casualties from Sock Wars to Toasty Toe Knitters working on their socks for their pals. If this does not get your fingers itching to cast on some socks - I don't know what will!! I am teaching another sock class in October as well - I love new sock knitters!
I did some "Stash Enhancement" yesterday - I tried so hard to resist, but I found a skein of Schaefer Andrea yarn (100% silk) in the Indira Gandhi colorway. Before I knew it I was shelling out some money and driving away with this treasure. There are 1093 yards of this beautiful silk - I am going to look for a lace pattern to knit this up into. I will welcome any and all suggestions for patterns. I think I can even have a contest around this - the winning suggestion will get a skein of Shaefer Anne for a pair of socks! Leave your posts as to your suggestions - I am excited to see what your ideas are!
Have a good weekend everyone - stay warm and dry!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Autumn is here!

Are you ready for some knitting? Socktoberfest is right around the corner!! What could be more fun than knitting socks on an Autumn day! Get on over to Lolly's and sign up!

I am so ready - I have my sock patterns and have been looking for some fun yarns! I want to do Widdershins from Knitty in some lovely Mountain Colors Barefoot - in a gorgeous fall colorway. And - some Jaywalkers, I think in some Koigu I recently acquired. And - I have some awesome Lorna's Laces that I got from Judy that I am itching to knit. So many fun things to do! Get your knit on people! It's Socktoberfest!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Rainy days and Mondays....

Hello there, it is a rainy, cool Monday here and I have come down with a heck of a cold. Can a Monday get better than this?

I am working from home today so I won't infect my entire office - although I am sure that is where I got this cold!

It was a quiet week and weekend - I worked most of it, but I had yesterday off - I slept most of the day and I knit a little. So much for a productive day of knitting!

I have a beginning knitting class to teach this week - that should be fun! But, I have decided to not teach classes next month. I have to work on a fundraiser for school and I can see that it is going to require some extra time to get it done correctly.

The new season of television is here! Are you all excited for Grey's Anatomy to start on Thursday night??? Okay, I know - I admit - I am BORING!!! :-)

Well, I better get back to work - have a great day everyone!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

16 Candles!

16 Years ago, I gave birth to the most amazing baby - she was a gift from heaven. A sweet, adorable, sleeping through the night at 5 weeks of age miracle. Miss Heidi was a joy - the sweetest toddler - inspite of temper tantrums! And, she has turned out to be the most lovely young lady. Here she is with her best friend - my "other daughter" Shaina - my Heidi is on the right. She is 16 today and I could not be more proud of her. She is truly an awesome person - and I am blessed to call her daughter. God was smiling on me the day he sent her to me. I give thanks daily for this precious gift. 16 is a great age - she is 14 hours away from her permit - drive on, Miss Heidi-Lou-Who! I love you!

On the knitting front - I finished the socks from "Greetings from the Knit Cafe'" Wow - are they comfortable! Blue Sky Alpaca Silk - mmmmmmmmmmmmmm, are they a treat. These socks scream - put me on and relax! They are the first socks I have knit for me! What a treat they are!

I love them!!

Hope you all had an amazing weekend - I know I did!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Oooh Laaa La!

Hello everyone! Happy Friday. I wanted to be the first to let you all know that Becky - my spoiler from SP8 - has started a KAL!!! Wooo Hoo Becky! Come on and join us in the Oooh Laaa La KAL It will be loads of fun - we are knitting the "La La Scarf"

Looks like fun? Go get the book - it has amazing patterns in it - you will want to knit them all! Or, maybe all of them ;-) Get some Kidsilk Haze and get your knit on! Join us and make this gorgeous creation for fall!

And, when you stop by to say 'hello' to Becky - congratulate her on her new job!!

Thanks everyone - and have an awesome weekend!!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Laboring on Labor Day

Hello Everyone! Did you all have a great weekend? It was not bad here - I got all the furniture moved on Friday with the help of my friend. We unloaded the truck on Saturday morning with help from a couple of friends - so my garage is packed to the gills with furniture. I worked today on unpacking the boxes - putting things away and moving some furniture around. I moved in the kitchen (photo's later) a "sideboard" that has some excellent storage - it replaced a smaller cabinet that I moved downstairs for the stereo that came home from Clare - now the kids can have music (can you call what teenager's listen to music?) downstairs - thus saving my sanity. Smart mom, huh? I moved my bedroom around - but I am waiting to finish up until Kyle gets his dressers out of here. Then I will move in a couple more pieces from the garage.

I have been trying to diet - emphasis on trying - but it is not easy working 2 jobs and dieting! I am figuring that I have done some good exercise this weekend moving all that stuff around! That is a bonus - I am in the and I am not happy to admit that I have only lost 1 lb. since signing up. I am hoping that stress keeps me from loosing weight - sounds good, doesn't it? :-)

I did get some knitting done last night and this afternoon - I worked on my socks from Knit Cafe - I am close to (within 10 rows) to my toe decreases! Woo Hoo - and just in time - the weather has been decidedly nippy at night - sock weather is knocking on the door. Photo's of these great socks are coming - stay posted.

Have a great evening everyone - school and work tomorrow.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Ushering in September

Hello Everyone. Well, it is Friday and September 1st! Welcome September! I am ready for a new season - school to start - life to get back to normal (is there such a thing?).

As Labor Day weekend unfolds - I am heading to Clare today - moving furniture out of the cottage. A friend is helping me - and I am eternally grateful for his help. My challenge for the day is biting my tongue and saying nothing to my husband - wish me luck, or better yet - say a prayer for me!

The remainder of the weekend, I am cleaning the house and moving my bedroom furniture around. A new perspective all around.

On a positive note - SP8 ended yesterday and sign ups for start today. Get on over there and sign up - it is 3 months of fun.

Have a great long weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

OK Go - Here It Goes Again

Okay - one take and "Here It Goes Again" Now, this excercise could be fun!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The end of an era

Hello everyone - I think it is time for me to share with you what has been going on in my life recently. It has been kind of surreal around here lately, but I am forging onward - taking it one day at a time.

My husband left me on July 17th - the day my basement flooded for the second time in a week. Perfect timing huh? Did I know he was leaving? Nope, I certainly did not. Had he left before? Yes, unfortunately he had - a number of times. But, he was never gone more than a night. And he was always sorry for leaving. He really picked a great day - he knew I was going to be out of town all day - and he finished packing (he informed me that he had been packing things since the 4th of July - but, as he was so eager to point out I did not notice) He has moved in with "someone" else. And, yesterday he informed me he was filing for divorce. So - it is the end of an era. Sometimes, you cannot fix something that is broken, no matter how hard you try.

Can you be competent in your life - yet incompetent in relationships? I am definately feeling the need for a Relationship 101 class - maybe even Remedial Relationship classes! Too soon old - too late smart.

Here's to having a happy Tuesday.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Where did the weekend go?

Hello Everyone! I cannot believe that it is Sunday night! I had to work at Chico's this weekend - thus it flew by. Here it is Sunday night - I am sitting here with a glass of wine with "Iron Chef America" on - do I lead an exciting life or what????

In light of my trying to maintain my excitement level I have joined a new swap - I saw it first on Kerry's blog You should check it out - it is the "Hot Socks Swap" and there is still room for YOU! Here is the link get on over there and sign up. You too could be getting some new sock yarn AND some choice beverages. Here are the answers to my questionaire - :-)

1)What do you prefer - solid, variegated or self striping? I love solids for certain patterns and variegated for others.... basically, there is not a sock yarn I don't like.

2)Favourite colours? I love greens, browns, earthy tones.

3)Are you a beginner, intermediate or experienced sock knitter? Intermediate.

4)Tea, Coffee, or hot chocolate - what's your favourite? If coffee, what do you use to make it? I love coffee and have an auto drip pot.

5)Do you have a fibre preference? (i.e. Are you a yarn snob like me?) I am a yarn snob - I prefer natural fibers.

This has been a LONG week - but it is over and a new one is beginning! I knit for brief moments today - my daughter drove to church, I got the heel turned on my second "Greetings from the Knit Cafe" sock - I need to get moving on this so I can get my second pair done for September for Sock-A-Month 2 - plus - the weather is getting cooler here at night - I would love to pull these babies on at the end of a long day.... mmm, that sounds heavenly.

Hope you all had an awesome weekend - more next week!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Route 66

Hello Everyone! I got home last night to find a package had arrived from Phoenix, AZ! I was stunned to open the box and find these treasures tucked inside. My Secret Pal - Rebecca of - has been my spoiler in SP8. Rebecca, I can only say WOW! You have truly out done yourself with this box of goodies! She sent me a box that has a southwest theme - sharing with me treasures from Arizona!

The pralines, chocolates, and peanut brittle (note that it is Jalapeno flavored!!!) are from an Arizona candy maker. Mmmmmmmm, yummy - yummy!

Check out the Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn in Peacock colorway! I love it!!

Her card was so perfect - she even shared with me that the Oasis Soy Silk yarn in the Canyon colorway was the colors of the sunsets. I am thinking about what lovely creation I will knit with this lovely yarn! It is so soft!

My pal knit me this lovely gift sachet! Tied with silk ribbon!! Isn't it cute!!!! Rebecca, is this knit with soy silk?

And inside were these awesome earrings - made from felted balls!!! I LOVE THEM!!! Rebecca - you were truly an awesome secret pal to have. Please everyone, stop over and say hello to Rebecca and tell her I sent you! She lost her job this week - I know what that feels like. Rebecca - from the bottom of my heart - thank you - thank you - thank you! And, I will leave you with the words of one of my favorite songs (bet you did not know that Rebecca!) Whoooooooo - whoooooooo!

If you ever
Plan to motor west
Travel my way, take the highway that's the best
Get your kicks on Route 66
It winds from Chicago to LA
More than two thousand miles all the way
Hey, get your kicks on Route 66
Now you go through St. Louie
Joplin, Missouri
And Oklahoma City looks mighty pretty
Hey Janis, now you'll see Amarillo
Gallup, New Mexico
Flagstaff Arizona
Don't forget Winona
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino
Won't you get hip to this timely tip
When you make that California trip
Get your kicks on Route 66
Now you go through St. Louie
Joplin, Missouri
And Oklahoma City looks mighty pretty
Now you'll see Amarillo
Gallup, New Mexico
Flagstaff Arizona
Don't forget Winona
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino
Won't you get hip to this timely tip
When you make that California trip
Get your kicks on Route 66
Get your kicks on Route six six
Get your kicks on Route 66
Get your kicks on Route six six
Whoo whoo ------

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Shhhhh! It's a secret!

Hello Everyone! I can hardly believe that SP8 is waning! I have so enjoyed this swap. I have gotten my "reveal" gift ready for my spoilee! I knit her the Cable Footies from One Skein. I loved knitting these! What a great pattern! I used Manos del Uraguay - and needed just a bit more than one skein.

I love how they turned out! They are so comfy! I hope my Secret Pal loves them as much as I loved knitting them for her! :-)

PLUS I think they qualify for Sock-A-Month 2!! Wooo Hooo!

Have a great Thursday everyone!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Hello everyone! I have my house back - well almost anyway! The bedrooms and family room have carpeting and the bathroom has vinyl (or whatever they call it). My stairs are bare - and the dufus did not reinstall the toilet. DUH - did he think my kids would use it in the tub??? So, I call the place I got the flooring - they did not send enough carpet to do the stairs (are you seeing a pattern here?) they will order more and it will be here end of this week, beginning of next week at the latest. I ask about why the toilet is not installed (I paid for this in my bill) "He did not put the toilet back?" I am still waiting for someone to come install the darn toilet. Well, I have a place for my teenagers to go now besides my living room! Hallelujah! (can you hear the chorus, because I sure do!!)

I completed my first socks for Sock-A-Month 2!! I will post a photo later, they are a surprise for someone!! One down, five more pairs to go. I am working on the socks from "Greetings from the Knit Cafe'" - one done and I am almost ready to turn the heel on sock 2. I also am working on "Widdershins" from Knitty.

Now, on to SP8 - I sent off a HUGE package to my spoilee - I am excited to see how she likes what I sent her. This has been a fun swap - my spoiler has been awesome - and I am working on trying to figure out who she is. Hmmmm, I know she is in Phoenix and that is about it. :-)

I want to thank Lynne from she sent me a wonderful book and has been praying for me, as has blogless Laura from West Michigan - thanks to both of you for being such good friends. I will share with all of you shortly what has been going on in my life. I just have to come to terms with it on my own first. Life can suck at times - but I am working on making some sweet and tasty lemonade!

Hope you are all having an awesome week.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Picture Success!!

Well, these are the lovely gems that Judy Becker sent me! Are they not gorgeous??? As soon as I have finished my "Widdershins" and the socks from "Greetings from the Knit Cafe" I am going to cast these on using the "Jaywalker" pattern! Again - a HUGE thanks to Judy Becker - creator of the "Magic Loop Cast-On". Judy and her blog can be found here - You should check our her blog and let her know that you are a Yarn Collector like the rest of us!

I cannot believe it is Thursday - it has been a LONG week. I have started working another job, a part time position at Chico's to supplement my full time job at Heartwell. I also had high school orientation for Heidi and Sam this week, of course the school in it's infinite wisdom determined that these orientations could not happen concurrently - so I had to take off 2 afternoon's to stand in lines! I have been working early to make up for the afternoon's off. I really could use a weekend to sleep and knit to get back to the center!

I have a light at the end of the flood tunnel though - the carpenter/handy man is coming on Saturday to remove the distroyed vanity and replace it with the new one and - drum roll, please - the carpeting and vinyl will be installed on Monday and Tuesday of next week!! This is a joy beyond belief - my children will be back in their rooms for the start of school - no more 'camping' in the living room!

Well, I have laundry to do and I would like to sit down and KNIT tonight! Have a great evening everyone!

Blogger error or....

Operator error???

Okay, I have been trying to post a picture of the awesome sock yarn that Judy Becker sent me, but Blogger is not cooperating. GRRRRRRR!

I have to share with you all - I have not had much time for knitting lately and it has been very frustrating! Between back to school chaos, getting bids from contractors to replace the vanity in the kids bathroom, and work - there are just not enough hours in the day!

This weekend, outside of doing laundry - my plan is to sit and knit and knit and knit and knit!!

Hope this week is winding down nicely for all of you - have a great Thursday!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Mad Monday

Hello everyone, I apologize for being so delinquent on posting, but it has been a hectic week around here. I had a garage sale on Friday and Saturday, and spent Sunday afternoon getting household chores accomplished.

I did get a wonderful treat from Judy Becker, 2 skeins of Lorna's Laces sock yarn. My daughter took a picture of it, but she is not up yet to help me load the photo! THANK YOU, Judy! I shall use the yarn in the Sock A Month 2 contest, watch for updates. I will post the pictures later today, now I need to get out the door to work. Have a great Monday all!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Cooling off

Hello everyone - I am happy to report that we here in Michigan are going to be experiencing a cooling off - of the weather that is! It is supposed to be nice this week, in the 70's during the day and even cooler than that in the evenings!! I can only say - hurray! I am ready for 90+ degree weather to go away - my LYS - Lizzie Ann's Wool Company - has gotten lots of yummy yarns in for fall. I am resisting until I get my UFO's finished for the UFO KAL If you have not joined - you should, it might get you motivated to get stuff of the needles and finished.

I took a class in Clare, Michigan last weekend - a great beading class. So, yes I cast on a new item - but the teacher - Deanna from Deanna's Vintage Styles - came in from Detroit to teach this class. It was fun and I will post photo's as I progress. I love learning new techniques and Deanna was an awesome teacher. The techniques she taught will really add some sparkle to Christmas gifts - I have been working on a list to start as soon as August is over.

My friend, Ramona, had her 30 year class renunion this weekend - fun was had by all. I helped her out by taking tickets so the reunion committee could mingle with their class mates. Here's to Ramona and her class - who for the most part looked awesome!

Well, lunch break is over - back to work for me! Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Show and Tell

Well, it's been a heck of a week - and I promised you all that I would show you what I got this week from my SP - she is so awesome. I opened the box and you'll notice that the tissue paper and the paper crinkles match! She had a lovely note inside - and inside I began unwrapping and found some wonderful items!

I found not 1 but 3 skeins of Nature's Spun - in AWESOME colors! I love how this felts and it knits up beautifully. I have some plans for this yarn - I am thinking about knitting some socks for the "Sock-A-Month 2" KAL I have joined. Can you see them? Purple socks with green cuffs, heels, and toes? Umhmm, I can see them! Next was some really nice novelty yarn - good for my stash, my pal told me - and I am happy to say that this yarn fits in beautifully. One of the gals at my LYS was knitting a very gorgeous scarf - I am thinking that gorgeous lace weight yarn she sent me earlier and the Trendsetter Eyelash will be a nice take on the scarf my friend is doing. She is knitting hers out of a novelty yarn and Kidsilk Haze - 6 rows of the novelty yarn, then knit with the scarf body color, adding rows of the novelty yarn sporadically in the scarf and ending with 6 rows and bind off. I shall keep you all posted. Next, was some awesome hand creams, in yummy fragrances! They will keep my hands, heels and elbows soft as summer winds down! Now, the absolute BEST part was Knitting Rules - AUTOGRAPHED by the Harlot. MY PAL is amazing! I am in possession of a personalized autographed copy! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Pal - your gifts brought tears of joy to my eyes. In a week of chaos, your gifts brought me such joy. Thank you!

Now, here are those socks I knit for daughter #2 - They are the lace socks from the Spring IK. What a great knit - and I had such fun knitting them. I am working on another pair for my daughters friend! If you have not cast on these socks - there is still warm weather as August is just beginning! You can count them in the "Sock-A-Month 2" KAL also!

Hope you are all having a great week!

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Heat is ON....

...can someone please turn it down???? Okay, I know that this will come back to bite me mid February when it is 12 degree's outside, the wind howling, and there is 4 feet of snow over the ground - but, it is HOT outside, I am MORE than ready for a break from the heat. A cool breeze would be welcomed - immensely! Now that I have that out of my system - sort of, LOL, on to other things.

I have joined UFO August! Woo Hoo, a contest is involved - I have brought my sock to work (#1 on my list) I want this sock done by next week! It could be done, although I have a class to teach on Wednesday night and a GROJ (Get rid of junk) Sale coming up next weekend that I am working on getting ready for.

I also wanted to send a HUGE thanks to my SP from SP8, SHE ROCKS - yet another box of goodies arrived at my house on Saturday. My daughter took some great pictures which I will post later today. She is absolutely the most amazing SP ever! Her box brought tears of joy to my eyes... Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!

I have to get back to work - have a great Monday everyone!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Swatching fun at Thread Bear

Hello everyone!

I wanted to update you all on my fun day at Thread Bear in Lansing. There was a great group of bloggers there knitting for the day. It was so much fun! Lynne was there from
and Laurie from and Susie from and Laura from West Michigan and Sharon from Lansing - I am sure I am missing someone, so forgive me in advance! It was a wonderful day, we knit and laughed and talked and ooohhh'd and aaahhhhhh'd over ALL the YARN at Thread Bear. Here is the best part, for knitting a swatch - they give their customers 10% off a purchase! Is that awesome or not. I have found another reason for the Harlot to recommend knitting a swatch! ;-) BTW, I heard that she is going to be in Ann Arbor on Sunday - not sure where, but that is what I heard!

The downer of the day was arriving home to discover my lower level (read finished basement) had flooded again. It was not a great way to end the day. Lynne and Laura - thanks for your listening ears on the way home. I sat down at 11:30PM and did what you suggested Lynne - I gave thanks for all that happened and felt like I was surely at the bottom with no where to go but up!

Here is the second perk - I am going to get to knit with Lynne and Laura again on Thursday. See - it is getting better already.

I went today to pick out new floor coverings, but I am most excited for the plumber to arrive tomorrow morning - I am not putting ANYTHING back until he GUARANTEES me that this won't happen again! I know, I am not asking for much!

Well, my break better be over - my tea is finished - back to work for me! Have a great afternoon all!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Flipping over Flip Flops!

Hello Everyone!

I arrived home yesterday after a LONG day at work, topping off a LONG week to find on my door step a PACKAGE! My awesome Flip Flop Swap Pal, Sheri sent me a wonderful package of goodies! First off, a really cute pair of lime green (my favorite color!) flip flops. They are beaded and have a rattan sole! They ROCK! Next off, she included not one, but TWO pairs of Ann Taylor Loft socks. WOW! She also included TWO skeins of Sugar and Cream yarn - one in Hot Green colorway and one in Summer Splash colorway (could this be more perfect for the Flip Flop Swap??) To top it all off, she included a GREAT tote bag that I can put my knitting in and head to the beach in my stylish flip flops! Sheri, THANK YOU! You are awesome!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Water, Water Everywhere...

...and all of it is in my basement! Yikes, bloggers - we got rain. And, I - unlike Noah, was not prepared! So the rains came down and the waters came up - all in my finished lower level (see how we can alter the name of the basement?) So, the water sucking up people - better known as Service Master - just left after ripping out all my carpet and padding.

Am I having fun yet, you ask? Heck NO! The only thing I am truly grateful for is that my kiddo's were not home - they are at their dad's this week. Now, imagine my joy (or not as the case may be) when I got to clean my teenage children's rooms today! If any of you out there are mothers, then you all understand that this is something I ask of them daily - you know, like a broken record - "did you clean up your room?" Begging, pleading, and bribery have not been successful in inspiring them to clean up their rooms! Well, water in the basement and only me and my hubby home did a bang up job on cleaning those rooms! When the kids get back home on Friday listen for their screams of agony as they see their rooms!

Say a prayer for me - more rain is on it's way tomorrow! If any of you know the rain, rain go away dance email me the steps!

Oh - and it is only 6 days until my knitting road trip to Thread Bear with some bloggers. It won't go fast enough!! Have a great Tuesday everyone!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Heat Is ON!

Hello Everyone! Well, summer is here and the heat is as well! We are supposed to reach 95 today with a heat index of well over 100. Heat and humidity are not the best friends of a good hair day! I told my husband that we should just sit in the shade with the mister going and a LARGE pitcher of iced tea!

It rained quite hard last night, just adding some more moisture so the dew point is really up there! LOL

Hope you are all staying cool as summer is rolling along!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Summer fun

Hello Everyone!

I signed up for a quick fun swap yesterday. It is the Flip Flop Swap
that I found the link for on Lolly's site

Check it out - sign ups are until Friday the 14th. Join us for some Summer Fun!

Happy Hump Day everyone!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Hello Everyone. Whew, it is only Tuesday? How is it that after a vacation it seems like the days drag by? Well, it feels like it should be at least Thursday!! Re-entry has it's challenges!

I brought my yarns from my Secret Pal to my LYS - Lizzie Ann's at lunch today. There were "oooh's" and "aaahhhh's" from all. My Secret Pal may not know this - but she made my re-entry week a thousand times better than it could have been by her amazing package. I am going to nominate her for Secret Pal of Secret Pal 8! She is awesome!

Hope this Tuesday was kind to all of you!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Secret Pal Surprises!!

Good Morning Everyone! We were going to head back from our cottage last night, but we had some bad storms roll through. A nice line of them in our path home. So we headed out first thing this morning! And, at the door waiting for me when I arrived was a little box from my pal! It was PACKED full of wonderful things. I was so surprised to see such lovely things! I will post photos when my husband brings his camera home from work. Until then, I will give you all a description of the treasures I received!

First off - Thank you Secret Pal! You are the best!!!! I opened the box and began to pull out my gifts - first some awesome note cards with a lovely gal sporting a great green knitted cardigan! Next, a box of tea - and Aveda tea at that! Looks delicious! Next, a bag filled with GORGEOUS stitch markers - made from fresh water pearls! They are so beautiful! Next, (and by now I am thinking, WOW, what a pal!) I opened a red tissue wrapped bundle that held not one, but TWO balls of Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed, colorway Twig. It is so lovely! It feels so WONDERFUL! Next, I opened another red tissue wrapped bundle and inside I found a ball of Kaalund Silk. Oh my gosh, it feels so soft. 450 feet of softness, looks like I am going to be working on some lovely lace! The colorway is Brushfire - reds, purples, golds - wow. It has a great sheen also! Finally, in the last wrapped package, some Zitron incanto yarn - in a blue, green colorway. It is beautiful. A HUGE thank you to my secret pal - she is amazing. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

Hope you all have as great a pal as mine is. :-)

PS to my pal - a written thank you is on it's way to you. :-)

Friday, July 07, 2006

Vacation's Over

Hello everyone - well all good things must come to an end, and so it goes for vacation. Today I take my kiddo's to Ludington to drop them off to their dad. They are sleeping right now, as teenagers are wont to do! I am making breakfast one last time this morning, bacon cooking will wake them up - don't you think?

I found something fun at YarnYenta's sight - the world's longest poem. You all need to go and check it out - It is a choka poem, older than haiku. It is easy, two lines that do not rhyme. First line is 7 syllables and the second line is 5.

My couplet is this:
Knitting in the quiet dawn
Clicking needles talk

Okay - I am off to make breakfast for the kids! Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

4 th of July Meltdown

Hello Everyone - I sure hope all the fireworks are over, poor Copper cannot take another night of loud noise. He has been living under the blankets of our bed since last Saturday. I have tried everything - music, radio, television - but none of it helps, he can still hear those dratted fireworks.

I woke up this morning to 48 degree weather, thoughts of 'summer's over' have been circling my head ever since. I promise I shall boot those thoughts out, but as I am sitting here in my polar tec robe and my wool felted slippers, savoring HOT coffee - it is a little challenging to say the least.

Here is something exciting I found - not that I want SP8 to be over, I am having fun with being a spoilee and a spoiler, check out this link I for one, will be signing up again. Thanks to Polly, for sharing that link on her site.

Hope you are all having a fabulous short week - I am working on my socks and have a pair of slippers to felt for Jenna at the lake - she is a 4 year old cutie who lives a couple of doors down from our cottage. My poor husband is back at work, but it is kind of nice to be hanging out with my kids - plus they don't say "all you ever do is knit"! While it may be chilly, the sun is out and my agenda for the day is sunshine and knitting!

Catch you all later!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday America

Hello everyone! Today America is 230 years old! Wow - that is amazing! The day looks like it will be beautiful here - it is sunny and the birds are singing!

This vacation week is flying by - we took a boat ride yesterday and I sat in the sun and knit! I ask you - does life get better than that?

We met friends for burgers last night - mmmmmmm, they were good - as was Linda, Ramona, and Ed's company!

Well, I need another cup of coffee - have a safe 4th everyone!!

Friday, June 30, 2006


Hello everyone! Today is my first day of vacation! We are heading up to our cottage - and I am declaring July - UFO month. I am going to use this week off to work on all UFO's hanging around this house! That should keep me from buying any yarn this month - I am saving my money for a Road Trip to Lansing with some Michigan Bloggers and Lynne - who will be visiting Michigan! I have some socks from the very first sock class I took - I never finished them - they were not my best effort, which I frogged trying to fix beginner errors that I am going to cast on to knit Grumperina's Jaywalker socks! It is really lovely Mountain Colors Barefoot yarn that deserves to be knit into something lovely - rather than the first try toe up socks that I was learning. Sunshine and knitting sound like a great combination to me - heck, rain and knitting are not too bad either!

Hope you all have a great 4th of July! I shall try and check in next week if I can find an internet connection!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Can you catch a cold from your SP?

Hello everyone! Ugh, this summer cold is gettin' me down! I had an email from my SP from SP8, she let me know she had a cold which was laying her low - and yesterday I was certainly on the path of getting the cold. Must be a sympathy cold because misery loves company. :-) She is such a nice SP, I did not want her to suffer alone.

I stayed in my office all afternoon yesterday so I would not infect anyone else - in the words of Garrison Keillor - I am feelin' pretty puny!

Hope you all have a great Wednesday - hopefully it is all down hill from here!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Gray Monday

Hello everyone! Well, it is Monday and I cannot believe that next week is the 4th of July! This month has just flown by! The weather has been lovely, but today we are supposed to get some scattered showers here in West Michigan.

I spent the weekend doing housework (yuck!!) and laundry (double yuck!!) and frogging the lace socks - okay, so maybe the third time is the charm. I am through the heel flap and have turned the heel also - they look so much better than the last two attempts. Lacework is fun - but challenging. Also, knitting with dpns is not something I am used to doing. I am not thinking about the "kitchner toe" that I will have to figure out. On this last cast on, I did incorporate a new technique I read about online - I did a 3-needle join on my last round of the picot edge - it looks so awesome! One less step on the completion of sock - I will not have to stitch that down! When my son gets up, I will have him help me post a picture of my sock.

Hope you all have a great week!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Friday again!!

Okay, there is a definate pattern here with Friday posts! I will work on trying to update the other days as well. I am working on those lovely lace socks from the spring IK - I cast on and then took them out and re-cast on. This time looks much nicer - no mistakes in the lace pattern!! I am almost to the heel flap on sock 1 - so I am working on them! My SP and I are doing a KAL with these socks! I bet she is farther them me!! I am enjoying teaching classes - but I want to knit for me!!

Have any of you seen the scarves from the latest Rowan book - the ones knit with denim and then you add adornments with bleach - ?? We are all (the ladies from Lizzie Ann's) knitting scarves right now - then we are having a "bleaching" party! We will all get together with our scarves and bleach them. They are going to be the window dressing for August! I have to have my scarf done after the 4th of July - and I only have about 3" knit thus far! I really like how the denim is knitting up though - it feels so nice to knit with it.

We are taking off for the cottage starting next Friday - so I can sit in the sun with my daughter and knit!! (She will just be laying in the sun - I cannot seem to infect her with my enthusiasm for knitting!!)

Then - before I know it Lynne - - is coming to West Michigan and we are going to get together to knit!! I am so excited to meet her - I read her blog and she is such a great knitter, blogger, person - I am excited to spend some time knitting with her!

Well - I better get moving off to work - have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Friday again

Wow, I cannot believe that it is Friday already - this week has just sped by! I had another sock class last night with 4 lovely ladies who wanted to learn how to knit 2 socks on one circular, toe up. They were a great group, I am excited to see how their socks look in two weeks. We are heading to the cottage this weekend - and 90 degree weather!

I have been working on some ideas for my secret pal - I am working on the cable footies from the 1 Skein book for her! This has been fun - thinking about what goodies I can send her!

Hope you all had a great week - and enjoy the beautiful weekend!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Frogging Friday

Hello everyone! Well it is a frogging Friday here at my house. I started to knit the Watercolor top from the spring IK and as I was working the top (after knitting about 17") I discovered I had made a mistake in a couple of the rows, skipped my row of knit on the "odd" rows. I now know I cannot knit and watch TV and read a pattern AND talk to my husband (who by the way did not notice the new yarn, hmmmmmm). AARRGGHHHH. I like knitting with the ribbon yarn, but it is difficult to tear out a couple of rows and then pick up again in the round. I am taking it to my LYS this morning to rewind the yarn.

Hope you all have a great weekend - we have some rain coming here in Michigan.

We are heading north to our cottage to finish up the painting, see you all on Monday.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Monday - Monday

How can it be Monday again? The weekend just flew by way too fast. We are down to the last 4 days of school for my kids and, like the beginning of the year, the end of the year crunch is on!

I just finished the most boring conference call in history! Fannie Mae ARM products - now I ask you, with rising interest rates who on earth is going to do an ARM? Ahh, the joys of a new job!

I did manage to knit a bit this weekend though! I worked on finishing the cable clutch for class next week, all I am waiting for are the handles!

I broke my pact to not buy any yarn though! AARRGGHHHH! I have had my eye on some beautiful Colinette Giatto and I bought it on Saturday! My stash is an ever growing thing!

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Summer has arrived!

Hello Everyone! At long last, summer arrived over the Memorial Day weekend! The weather was sunny and a hot 90 + degrees out. There was some rain, but it all came during the night. Almost a perfect weekend. My husband painted the living room at our cottage - not maybe the funnest thing to do on a holiday weekend, but it sure looks nice! We had some friends over on Monday and had a little cook out. I even did some knitting over the weekend! Yeah!!! I worked on the cabled clutch pattern that I saw on Lynne's site - it is a fun little bag to knit. I have one done - just waiting to get the handles at my LYS. I started another one for my LYS out of two strands of Rowan Soft Lux. Mmmmm, does it feel wonderful! I am teaching this as a class this month at Lizzie Ann's! I went down a needle size to a 13 and it really is knitting up nicely. My goal is to finish it tomorrow, as today is my husband's birthday! Happy Birthday, Kyle! We are having dinner out tonight to celebrate!

Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

It's all down hill from here!

Wow, what a week it has been thus far! I have had orchestra concerts to attend, orthodontist appointments to get kids to, haircut appointments to get kids to, laundry to do, laundry to do, meetings at work, web conference calls, did I mention I had laundry to do? It is Wednesday and I have barely had two minutes to knit! A week without knitting makes Kat rather grumpy!!

I am on "floor" at work right now - thus if anyone should happen to call wanting interest rates, payment quotes, etc. there is a "live body" to talk to. My boss sent out an email regarding cell phones ringing in the work place - but he has not yet said anything about knitting! Hmmm, maybe I can sit and knit this afternoon...

I am working on my second "wobbly tote" for the class I am teaching. It is not very "portable" though - socks are so easy to take anywhere - my first choice for what to knit in public. I have the second class for my Wobblers tonight. I am excited to see how their intarsia techniques are coming, and how their bags are looking. They are all new knitters and I hope they are not discouraged - I have not received any phone calls. I will take that as a good sign!

Has anyone made the socks from the spring issue of IK? I think they are so cute and my daughter would love a pair. That might be the next thing I work on!

Hope you are all having a great week - it is a LONG weekend!! And, I think summer is going to arrive this weekend - it is supposed to be in the 80's. I can sit and knit in the sun!!



Friday, May 19, 2006

Week 1 completed!

Hello everyone! I have made it through week 1 of my new job, my poor brain is on overload with all the information I have been inundated with!! I also taught 2 knitting classes this week, but outside of that have had little or no time to knit this week! A week without knitting is like a week without sunshine! That must be why it was so grey, gloomy, rainy, cold, and damp here in West Michigan. I will make an effort to get my sticks out and work on knitting this weekend!

I have a couple of bags ready to be felted to take to the Thistle Gallery - I need to get that done this weekend. I also would like to finish my Noni bag - I need to go get some plastic canvas before I line it and put the zipper and handles on. I also need to get at least one side done on the wobbly tote for my class - they have to be to row 103, ready to learn how to bind off mid-row and how to cast back on. They were all so excited last week, but I have some very beginning knitters in class.

I want to thank my SP for her email this week - she made my week with her upbeat personality and she shared some information with me about her. I am really excited to be in SP8!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

Hello everyone!
Hope you all had a great Mom's day. Mine was awesome - I had a great day with my kids and Kyle's family. It was truly a fun day. I need to get a good night's sleep because I start a new job tomorrow!!!! Plus, I am teaching the Wobbly Circles Tote from IK tomorrow night at my LYS. I just wanted to say Happy Mother's Day to all my knitsters out there - hope you all had a fabulous day!

Night, Night.