Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Let This Be a Warning to You

What is the worst way to spend a holiday morning in Southern California? It's really simple. Just join a few tens of thousands of complete strangers and elbow your way into Disneyland. Ugh! We don't go to the land of The Mouse very often, but Young Man enjoys it, so off we go. Wonderful Husband scored free tickets with the catch that they expired on the 31st. We knew it would be bad, but we never really imagined that it could be this bad.

We arrived at the park just after it opened and it was already pretty crowed. We headed immediately for our main target, Space Mountain. I cleverly got FastPass tickets while my guys waited in the main line. After waiting nearly an hour, we were informed that the ride was down and we had the option of waiting for another hour (maybe more) or walking away. We chose to walk.

We hiked across the park to go to Pirates of the Carribean, but it was closed. Hmmmmm. Then we headed to Haunted Mansion. Can you guess its status? Yes, it was closed. Even with the crowds already hitting the majorly annoying level, many of the food vendors weren't even open. We were assessing our remaining options when Haunted Mansion opened and I got into the line. Due to a combination of miscommunications assisted by a dead cell phone battery, the guys never met up with me and I went through the mansion alone. In hindsight, this turned out to be not such a bad thing. Disneyland decorates the Haunted Mansion for the holidays in the manner of Nightmare Before Christmas. Young Man has watched some of this movie, but isn't really into it. Some of the decorations were dippy and others were really scary. I didn't mind, but I don't think Young Man would have liked it.

When I exited the mansion, I was greeted by my somewhat grumpy guys who had now been in the park for two hours without getting on a single ride. Young Man had a frozen sorbet that was so cold that he couldn't eat it. The vendor even cautioned him not to lick it because his tongue would freeze to it! C'mon, this isn't the happiest place on Earth!

A hike back to Space Mountain told us that the ride was back up and we had 15 minutes until our FastPasses were good. We melted enough of the sorbet so that Young Man could get some of it and went into the mountain. The reworked Space Mountain rocks! It's short (too short after the wait), but wonderfully intense. Things were looking up.

Foolishly, we pushed our luck and attempted to go to It's a Small World. I have never seen a line that long for that ride. We ditched this idea and headed out. Downtown Disney didn't even attract us for lunch. Young Man was terribly disappointed to have spent a total of five hours on Disney property to only get one ride. The Parents were glad that we didn't pay for the tickets. $10 US for parking was more than enough for that experience!

Even in the less than pleasant overall experience, there were a few shining moments. We went to the park "in disguise" by all wearing North Dakota State University sweatshirts. Several people commented and one cheered as she was a fellow NDSU graduate. Most people were nice. A lot were clueless (stopping in the middle of the crowd is NOT a good idea), but none that we encountered were truly mean.

After Space Mountain, the highlight for me was that I finished the last couple of inches on the leg of my first Child's First Sock (shell pattern) from Nancy Bush's Vintage Socks. Standing in line is good for something. The Guys practiced their sign language.

We will go back to the park again, but we will not do it during the holidays. Our favorite Disneyland day has been the day after Labor Day. It may be hot, but the crowds are gone. So, if you go to the land of Disney during the holidays, don't say I didn't warn you and don't forget your sock knitting!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Christmas Recap

Well, did we all make it? Are we happy about it? First, the recap and the scoring:
  1. Parrot Socks for neighbor - done
  2. Skinny Scarf for co-worker - done
  3. Amble Socks for sister - done
  4. Kiri Shawl for fabulous 3rd Grade Teacher - done
  5. Aran Sandal Socks for Mom - done
  6. Multidirectional Scarf for sister - done
  7. Hurry Up Spring Armwarmers for sister - done
  8. Live Dangerously No-Swatch Hat - done
  9. Fuzzy Feet slippers for Mom - done, but changed to give to neighbor's mother
  10. Surprise gift for secret gift exchange - yarn and needles ready to go
  11. Frou-frou scarf for co-worker - done in 3 hours on Wednesday night (two skeins of Fancy Fur and a drop-stitch pattern)

Not only did the all but one item on the list get finished and delivered on time (thank you, UPS), but I added more to the list:

  1. One felted gift bag thanks to Susan
  2. Seven mini-socks for ornaments
  3. Two Fellowship Brooches made from polymer clay for Young Man's best friend and her brother

Today I started one of the two Knit for the Cure scarves that I plan to donate in January. The first one is a terribly simple one made from Trendsetter Blossom and Fun Fur. I know, but it is cute and very soft. It is also perfect for knitting while getting my hair done. Next will be the surprise and I'm really looking forward to it. The wool and the pattern both are wonderful.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the scarf and armwarmers for my sister and the Aran Sandal socks for my mother. I have asked begged my sister to do her best to take pictures. The Aran socks are beastly difficult to photograph because of the dark blue wool. I do have a few pictures of the most recent efforts.

First off, Fuzzy Feet the Second went very well. This time I used Brown Sheep Co. Lambs Pride (as recommended in the pattern) and the mohair makes them beautifully fuzzy. I made the rolled edge a little longer so I did have to dip into the second skein. Then I used some of the same yarn for the felted gift bag.

Next up are the mini-socks for this year's gift ornaments. I used Brown Sheep Co. Wildfoote in Ragtime. This is the same yarn that I used for my recent mosaic socks. I also plan to use this for Jaywalkers.

Finally, we have a return to one of my other creative endeavors. Years ago, I saw a polymer rendition of the Fellowship Brooch given to the Fellowship of the Ring with their Elvish cloaks. Young Man's best friend's brother is reading Lord of the Rings and his mother is making both children cloaks. This was the perfect opportunity for me to drag out my supplies and have some fun.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Living On the Edge With Hats

I live dangerously. Oh, so dangerously. I knit, I measured, I ended up with a dangerous hat. Why is it that when Wendy makes a mistake into a hat, it turns into a cute Rasta hat? When I make a mistake that began and ended as a hat, it looks like something that Patty Hearst wore in the 70s.

Ah, well, I had much better success with the eight (count 'em, EIGHT) hats that I made for the school program. Four cute mob hats that photograph well and four wonderful tricorn hats that don't photograph at all (even when they are modeled by my favorite model). That's what I get for using black felt.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Weekend Fun?

The lacrosse scrimmage was great fun even if we did end up going up against those extraordinarily tall 4th (?) graders from Irvine for one half. Young Man took it much better than he did last time. I had enough knitting time in to nearly finish the Live Dangerously hat. I finished it at home and, well, I certainly lived dangerously. It is large. Extremely large. I may just try to slightly felt it when I felt Fuzzy Feat, the Second. I measured my stitches, honest, I did!

In other good news, the four mob caps are finished and I nearly have the pattern ready to go for the tricorn hats. Good stuff.

Finally, some quizzy stuff thanks to Lilac Wine.


While you might be a defendant's best friend, you aren't exactly polite to others. You have
seven separate grounds on which to dismiss a plaintiff's case. You are a bit paranoid, since if you fail to raise your 12(b)(2,3,4, or 7) in a motion or a pleading with one of the other 12(b) defenses or a 12(e) motion, you waive those objections for the rest of trial. Some might say that 12(b) is the biggest bully of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but hey, somebody needs to keep the peace. You might not be the most popular guy in the office, but you're probably the most important.

Which Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Friday, December 09, 2005

What? Still No Pictures?

I know, I must be saving it all for one gigantic photo free-for-all. The armwarmers and matching scarf are finished. I just want to do a quick wash and block to see if the Noro Kureyon can be coaxed to be slightly less scratchy. The hat is closer to finished (it would have been even closer if I hadn't done almost as much tinking last night as knitting).

Of course, all of this is taking another break while I spend a crazy weekend sewing hats for the school program on Thursday night. The music teacher told me two weeks ago that she needed some mob hats, but didn't say how many or whether she needed anything else. She finally got back to me on Monday that she would like four mob caps and four tricorn hats. Eeeep! I have patterns and materials and can now sew like a madwoman in between everything else that needs to be done (lacrosse scrimmage, Chronicles of Narnia viewing, you know, the usual). Yes, I am fully aware that pulling off the impossible again just encourages her to procrastinate on her costume decisions. I just keep telling myself that it will all be worth it on Thursday when the kids look so darn cute.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Lost In Yarn...

Too much knitting here for posting. Since most of the gifts from Chez Engineer must travel many miles after they are entrusted to the folks with the Big Brown Trucks, holiday deadlines come early. This year, the knitting bug has resulted in a wild furry of flying needles and yarn bits. Let me esplain - no, there is too much - let me sum up.... (with apologies to S. Morgenstern and Mandy Patinkin)
  1. Parrot Socks for neighbor - done
  2. Skinny Scarf for co-worker - done
  3. Amble Socks for sister - done
  4. Kiri Shawl for fabulous 3rd Grade Teacher - done
  5. Aran Sandal Socks for Mom - done (they are wonderful, pictures soon, I promise)
  6. Multidirectional Scarf for sister - 75-80% done (need remaining yarn from project 7 to finish)
  7. Hurry Up Spring Armwarmers for sister (or niece, we'll see) - 60% done
  8. Live Dangerously No-Swatch Hat for ??? (maybe SIL) - 75% done (with Patron's 100% wool purchased at Michael's - I was so shocked to see it there that I had to buy it)
  9. Fuzzy Feet slippers for Mom - have yarn, haven't cast on
  10. Surprise gift for secret gift exchange - have yarn half wound; haven't cast on
  11. Frou-frou scarf for co-worker - have yarn; haven't cast on

So, it's a race down to the wire (as usual). Of course, in the middle of all that I also finished the baby quilt and first pair of Fuzzy Feet slippers. The armwarmers are going really quickly. I knit the first one today and am cruising on the second. I want the remaining yarn (Noro Kureyon, Color 40) to make the Multidirectional Scarf longer. I like long scarves and I think my sister does as well. It gets cold up in Northern Minnesota (it was -6°F when I spoke with her last night, brrrrrrr). These two projects started out as stashbusters since I had leftover from a felted bag made in the spring. Of course, I needed more to do the armwarmers, and you know what happened then...

I'm pretty happy with the projects that are coming off my needles. It amazes me to see how much improved my knitting has become over this one year. I already have several challenges lined up for 2006. This was aided by two bag sales at local yarn shops. Eeek! I don't think I'll post photos of the damage done to the yarn budget. Let's just say that I really shouldn't buy more yarn for a good long time. Shall we take bets on how long I will hold out?