Saturday, February 28, 2009

Stalled Again on the Infant Pants!

Did you ever just "hit the wall" on a crochet project? You're cruising along just fine, and all of a sudden it takes everything you have to make yourself pick up your project and work on it. The sweater and hat were fine to work on. But I'm about ready to tell the kids the sweater and hat are all they are going to get, and these pants will be relegated to the UFO (unfinished objects) pile. I don't know - I'm a rut? Tired of single crochet? Need to take a break and work on something else? All of the above? The problem is that if I don't finish them in a timely fashion, they will be out of fashion, or won't fit Justin anymore.

I think it's time to take a look through my pattern stash and see if there isn't something small to work on to break the monotony. Maybe a few days break is what I need.

Speaking of Justin, I guess he's going to be with his other grandmother tonight. The kids are going out, and they invited my younger DS Tom to go out with them. I hope they all have a good time.

They're calling for snow this Sunday into Monday. I hope it's a good one! As much as I can't wait for spring to arrive, one really good snowstorm would be great. A day off from work - yippee! I think Sunday evening there will be a run on the stores for bread, milk and eggs. Everyone wants French toast! Go figure!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Closing in on the Weekend

I've decided to give up chocolate candy for Lent. Lately, I've been craving chocolate candy, and making lots of trips to the vending machine for chocolate. So giving that up seemed like a good move. I've been put to the test already! On my morning stop at the Wawa on Ash Wednesday, the Zitners Butter Krak eggs were on prominent display all over the store! I mean all over! They were at the registers, they were at the coffee machines - everywhere I turned I saw Butter Krak eggs - my favorite of all time!
I did pass them up...this time. LOL!

I didn't leave much of a post about my grandson's visit to work on Wednesday. I was so tired on Wednesday when I got home that I dozed off on the couch before 7:00 PM! I woke up around midnight and then slept fitfully the rest of the night. I did not want to come to work today, but made myself get ready anyway. I could have just put my head down on the desk and dozed off.

My "playdate" with my grandson went well. I'm so glad the kids were able to bring him over. I've been showing everyone photos and talking about the baby constantly. I'm glad they got to meet him in person. Not that he was much in the mood to greet everyone. He was sound asleep when they arrived, and never really woke up even though he was handed from person to person. He weighs over 11 pounds now at 6 weeks of age, and he gets heavy when you stand and hold him for a while! I forgot to give them the bib I made for him the other day.

I'm waiting patiently to hear if either one of my patterns will be published in the Crochet Pattern-a-Day calendar. I sent two, but I'm not sure the toddler's poncho pattern will be published. I think they prefer that you send clothing patterns with a range of sizes, and this was only written with one set of directions. I don't think they list the selections for next year's calendar until April...that seems so far off. But considering that it's almost the end of February already, the year is flying by.

I bought some interesting yarn during the summer while I was out of work. I ordered it online when it was on clearance. It's called Beadies. I think that I might try to work up a necklace or bracelet using this yarn. When I have one made, I'll post photos.

Made a little more progress on the baby's pants. I would have gotten a little farther on them yesterday at lunch, but I left the pattern book at home. I brought it today, though, so I am working on the pantlegs now.

My order from Annie's Attic arrived, with 5 new pattern booklets and sheets that I can't wait to try out. I have a severe case of PAS - Pattern Acquisition Syndrome. I would have to live to 150, and still not have enough time to make everything that I have patterns for. There is always the "someday" pattern - someday I'll try that one! One of the booklets I purchased was to make fashion doll items. I was playing Barbies with my great-niece a couple of weeks ago, and promised her that I would make some Barbie clothes for her. Annie's Attic has a booklet listed on their website, with furniture patterns as well as doll clothes. Some of the evening gowns shown in the book are beautiful! So that is not a "someday" pattern - I can't let a little girl down! I promised her Barbie clothes, so I must make Barbie clothes! In all honesty, I think this spring I will have to go through my pattern stash and weed out the "somedays" that aren't as important to me as they used to be. My loss will be someone else's gain - we are planning a yard sale for sometime in the spring.

I wish someone had told me about this link before we left for the Florida Keys. I didn't know there was a web cam on Duval Street. Gladys and I were up and down Duval when we were there. Had we known about the webcam, we could have stood in front of it and waved to Gladys' sister Gloria!

Justin's Visit

DS Dan and Nicole brought Justin to work today! He slept through the whole visit. Everyone ooooohed and aaaaaahed over him, and wanted to hold him. He is such an angel.

His visit made the day go quickly. Hmmmmm - I wonder if I can have them bring Justin by every day...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday Ramblings

Another bad night with acid reflux last night. What is wrong with me? Why can't I remember to take my medication as directed, on schedule? I know that the problems I'm having are my fault, because I neglect my medications so much. I'm starting out this morning taking my prescriptions and hope to be able to stay on schedule the rest of the day. One day at a time...

It is SO COLD! I cannot take this cold weather anymore! It's bone-chilling cold - my windows in the car are frozen shut and I can't get a Dunkin Donuts coffee without opening the car door. BRRRRRR! Hurry up, springtime!

I stopped in at Giant last night to pick up some things for the collection bin in the cafeteria here at work. There is an employee who drives through Philadelphia and hands out blankets and food items to the homeless people he comes across. I picked up several of the items on the list he provided and will try to get a few more next time I'm shopping. I've started clipping coupons to see if I can knock a few bucks off the grocery orders. When gas prices skyrocketed, food prices did too. Gas came back down a bit, but I don't see any bargains in food stores.

And I was (not so) shocked to hear this morning that the Philadelphia Inquirer's parent company released their records, in order to declare bankruptcy. They say that it will not affect the publication of their newspapers. Big surprise - last year, when the little guys were convinced to make financial concessions and give up a $25 a week raise, the CEO gave himself a $240,000 a year raise! What a creep! No one should make more money than the President of the US. Sorry - you are running a company - he is running a country. We are a nation of greedy, selfish people for the most part. Company bigwigs rake in the dough at the expense of their employees. The low man on the totem pole is always the one who is willing to make sacrifices for the good of the company. Something is wrong with this picture.

I did decide what to make for dinner last night. Pasties (pronounced pass-tees, with a short a, not a long a) - they are pie crusts filled with beef, potatoes and onions, seasoned with salt and pepper and baked in the oven. I cheated and used ready-made pie crusts - cut each one in half, heaped some extra-lean ground beef, diced potatoes and diced onions onto the pie crust, and crimped it shut after seasoning with sea salt and pepper. After baking until the hamburger is browned and the potatoes and onions are tender, I serve with mushroom soup for gravy. These were my all-time favorite meal when I was growing up. I haven't made them with home-made pie crust in a long, long time.

Hoping DS Dan can bring the baby by tomorrow morning so that I can introduce him to my friends at work.

Today is Fat Tuesday and tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. Need to decide what I'm giving up for the next 40 days. I think it will be chocolate candy. I can eat candy bars like they are going out of style! I am a chocoholic, so that will be the ultimate sacrifice.

I started yet another WIP last night. Still haven't finished the baby's pants. I know, I know. He'll outgrow them before I finish them. Which is why I left the finished sweater and the hat with Dan and Nicole. At least, he will get to wear those. I think I'm just tired of working on that pattern. Most of it is single crochet worked in alternating front and back loops, so it's slow going! Still have the Sweetheart Ripple afghan on standby, and picked up some Red Heart Super Saver aran fleck yarn I had on hand here and started a shawl. It's a basic triangular shawl, and I'll trim it with scallops in one of the darker colors in the yarn.

Also finished "Marley and Me" - I highly recommend this book to everyone who loves a dog. It truly celebrates the fact that your dog loves you no matter what. It is bittersweet at the end - we all know that there will come a time when you have to make a difficult choice on your friend's behalf. We live with a senior citizen miniature pinscher. The ending brought tears to my eyes, but the book is written with such love, you can't help but know that John was Marley's best friend to the end. Kudos to John Grogan - loved the book!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Afternoon - A Quiet Day

It's been a nice lazy day today. Other than a load of dishes and some laundry, I haven't done much today. I've been reading "Marley and Me", an e-book I downloaded to my Amazon Kindle. Did I tell you how much I love that reading device? It holds hundreds of books, and since I purchased it a few months ago, I've done more reading than I have in the last 4 years! I used to read voraciously, but got out of the habit a long time ago. Anyway, getting back to Marley and Me, I have been laughing out loud at some parts of the book! It reminds me of the yellow lab my husband and I purchased shortly after we were married and moved into our current home.
The dog was a lovable lunkhead, and I miss him a lot. I'm getting into the sad part of the book at the ending, which makes me miss Bucky even more. We went a long time before getting another dog - about 15 years. Now we have is interesting!

I finished up and washed the baby bib I made for Justin. I made it with a self-striping cotton yarn and fashioned it from a Lily Chin pattern - the free pattern can be downloaded here. I did not do the reverse single crochet border around it - instead just used single crochet. I like the way it turned out, but it might have been better to use the recommended rsc border.

I was seriously considering making a christening outfit for Justin, but I have decided against it. The baby's christening outfit is such a personal matter and I will leave it to Nicole to pick out what she wants the baby to wear. I know I make a lot of things for the baby, and don't want to force my handmade items upon her. I would hate for her to feel like she had to use what I made, if she really has her heart set on shopping for something new, or even if she already has a family heirloom to use. The christening will be in March.

Dinner was good today. I wanted to try to recreate the meal I had at Sundowners restaurant (onion crusted mahi-mahi). I couldn't find fresh Mahi-mahi in the Giant yesterday, so I bought tilapia. I dipped the fish fillets in egg wash, and then covered them with crushed French-fried onions (the kind you use to make the green-bean casseroles so popular at Thanksgiving). Baked them until onions were crisp and fish was done and served with baked potatoes and peas. Tasted great!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Joys of Grammy-hood

I was talking to DS's girlfriend Nicole on the phone last night and she was holding the baby while speaking to me. I could hear the baby gurgling and making other little baby noises! How magical, to be able to watch the little sweetheart developing new skills day by day!

I cooked up some chicken soup, and made both rice and noodles to go with it. I offered some to Nicole, who has been under the weather. She said she is feeling a lot better, but would welcome some soup anyway.

I'm babysitting tonight. The kids are going out for dinner and then to spend some time with friends. So I get to spend time with my favorite little baby!

Got a new photo too! DS Dan is holding Justin on a rocking horse.

Also have some photos from the Florida Keys diving excursion.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Home Again, and Back To Work

The trip home was uneventful - it was a nice flight. Or two nice flights. We had a short trip from Ft. Lauderdale to Charlotte, NC. Then after a short layover, we traveled from Charlotte to Philly in about an hour. It made the trip a bit longer, but also a bit more comfortable.

It was back to work yesterday. I had a lot on my desk to catch up with. One thing at a time...

I've updated my ravelry page (icrochet247) with some recent projects, like the mittens I worked up without a pattern. I'm still proud of myself that I was able to do that. I actually got both mittens to look the same! Will wonders never cease? I've got two wips to work on. The sweetheart ripple afghan is in standby mode for now, and I'm concentrating on the baby outfit. I must finish it before Justin outgrows it! He's already almost 11 pounds of joy, at just one month of age. I love him so much!

New photo!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sunday in The Florida Keys

I've added a photo of the baby outfit I've been working on. I hope to have it finished soon. Here is Sunday's entry for our trip to the Keys:

Sunday – The Trip Is Almost Over

Early this morning, we went out to K-Mart to pick up an extra bag. DH packed up some of his stuff and sent it down UPS, but didn't want to send it back the same way since he wasn't familiar with the UPS store locations down here. So I bought an expandable duffel bag with wheels. We'll check that bag, and lighten up the load in the carry-ons. On the way to K-Mart, we stopped to shop at Shell World. What a cool store. They have some of everything there.

I found the alligator I wanted to take home for Justin. It's the cutest stuffed toy. What I REALLY wanted to get (but couldn't afford) was a 5-foot tall stuffed giraffe toy! It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen! But that would have taken some finagling on the plane.

I picked up a few shells for souvenirs for my friends at work, a magnet for myself, a pair of dolphin earrings, and a couple of other goodies.

More pool time when we got back to the condo – I really enjoy the sunshine here. I know I've said it before. SIL Gladys and I spent about 45 minutes sunning and swimming – the pool was crowded though and we couldn't get comfortable lounge chairs to recline on. I think that if we had, we would have spent more time there. Afterwards, we waited for the dive gang to return from a run to Diver's Direct where they did some shopping. We spent the time waiting by walking around the “beach” - it's not much of a beach here, and the water doesn't go past your knees.

After a few minutes online to say hello to brothers and sisters, I returned to the condo with G and got ready for dinner. It was Sundowners tonight. What a great restaurant. I got the best sunset photo this evening. DH Wayne ordered Key Lime Seafood over pasta, Gladys ordered the scallops (my choice last year) and I had the onion-crusted mahi mahi. Yummy yummy! It was fantastic!

We packed up the suitcases and are ready to roll out of here very early tomorrow morning. It will be a long trip home, with a connecting flight in Charlotte, North Carolina. I will be sad to leave. It was a nice trip and lovely weather.

Saturday in the Florida Keys

Here is Saturday's entry into the Florida Keys Log:

Saturday – Pool Time!

I was exhausted after our outing to Key West and dinner last night. I woke several times this morning but didn't have the energy to drag myself out of bed, so I stayed in bed until a little after 9. Wayne asked me to pick up some items from the store for the group lunch this afternoon – charcoal and matches for the cookout. When we got back from the Winn-Dixie with those items, I delivered them to the cooks. Then SIL Gladys made a big pot of macaroni salad for the group meal. We also picked up a few other items that we took with us. After preparing the macaroni salad, and once the divers returned around 12:00, Wayne and I took a little time to go to the pool. It was heaven, as the water was warm, and so was the sun, with the air temperature at around 82 degrees. I got a little color today. I don't want to go back as pale as I came down.

After our midday meal, Gladys and I spent time relaxing and watching TV, waiting for the divers to return from a night dive. Wayne is having a great time, but he looked exhausted when he left here. I hope he's up to going out for dinner when he returns. If not, Gladys and I will venture out on our own, and bring him some takeout. G and I both have a hankering for seafood. I got some crocheting done today too. Picked up where I left off with the baby's pants, and crocheted until the daylight gave out on me. The lighting in the condo leaves a lot to be desired. I'll pick it up again tomorrow.

Plans for tomorrow are crocheting, a little more pool time and maybe a trip to the Theater of the Sea in Islamorada.

Update on Nephew's Condition and KeysTrip Report

Update on my nephew's condition. Thanks to all who have been saying prayers for his health. He is out of the hospital and has been diagnosed with Bronchiolitis Obliterans with Organizing Pneumonia, or BOOP. He is slowly responding to steroids, but he has been very weak and gets winded easily. His mother withdrew him from college. I hope his condition improves greatly over the next few months. He's been so active in sports that his current limitations are difficult for him to accept.

Here is Friday's entry for our Keys trip.

After a difficult night, we made the decision this morning to start out very early for Key West. It was about 8 AM when we started on our journey. It was so easy to find – no way could you get lost. There is only one road – US 1 south. We passed through all the different Keys and made up our minds to stop on the way back at Anne's Beach for photo ops.

Key West was nice – better than I thought it would be. I've been hearing from other folks that they didn't think there was much to it. We made sure to take photos at the sign announcing the end of Route 1, and at the 0 mile marker. We did some shopping at a Margaritaville store, where I picked up the cutest little bib for you-know-who. We shopped in another store and picked up some souvenirs. At the end of Whitehead Road, we found the marker for the southernmost point in the continental US and took some photos there too. Had lunch at TGIFridays - fantastic broccoli cheese soup. We started for home, making the stop at Anne's Beach, as well as at a Scrubs store, and at the Key Lime Tree. Brought home a key lime pie – ummmm!

The weather this morning was very overcast, but not stormy-looking. We had some fog issues in a couple of places on the way down. The Key Deer protected area is no longer a 15 miles an hour for the 3.5 mile stretch of highway. They now post at 45 miles an hour during the day, 35 at night. I guess it's due to the fact that there are now fences erected along the side of the highway. I don't think that anyone but us was at all concerned with the speed limit. Traffic sure moved at a good clip, and passed us up in a hurry whenever they could.

A couple of accomplishments then for us:

I've always wanted to see Key West – done!
I've been wanting to make Jimmy Buffett a richer man by buying Margaritaville merchandise - done!
The most perfect parallel parking ever - done! I squeezed that minivan between two cars with inches to spare and never touched either one of them! A masterful job of parking if I do say so myself!
Got some exercise in walking up and down the streets of Key West.

The weather was perfect – the overcast sky prevented the sunburn I feared, and there was a delicious breeze to keep us comfortable. What a great day!

Wayne had a great day too. They dove the Spiegel Grove wreck and did some other reef dives. He set a new personal record for himself, reaching 130 feet on his wreck dive.

Dinner was at Senor Frijoles. It was good, but definitely a doggie-bag meal. Too much for me! Top photo is SIL Gladys at the Southernmost Point of the continental US.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lost in Miami, or Get Me to The Keys on Time!

I've been away from internet service while on vacation, so I'll make my entries one at a time, over the next few days. The Florida Keys were great!

Here is day one's entry:

We have arrived in Florida, not without a few kinks along the way. Traffic was very heavy on I95 to the airport, and the plane was late taking off in high winds in Philadelphia, but it wasn't as bad as I had feared. Once we were aloft, the ride was quite smooth. We landed 30 minutes late in Fort Lauderdale but found sunshine and warm weather to lighten our mood. We waited for another person from the diving group to join us. He had arrived on another flight.

When we were all together, we headed to ground transportation and made arrangements for our 2 rental minivans – we were 9 passengers in all, with a lot of dive gear and suitcases. We arrived in the Alamo terminal to pick up...1 car! That was all there was available. We waited a long time for more cars to arrive in the terminal. Finally, we were underway, in two minivans, heading for Ocean Pointe Suites in Tavernier. The plan was to arrive at the Conch Republic Dive shop, where some of our party (including DH Wayne) had shipped some of their clothing and dive equipment ahead of time.

We started out from Ft. Lauderdale airport with a GPS that thought we were still in Pennsylvania. No matter what we did, the Garmin refused to acknowledge that we were indeed already in Florida, and it was intent on having us make a right off of our street! At last, I figured out the GPS mode was turned off somehow. After rebooting, the satellites did their thing and sent us on our way. So we thought. Let me tell you, traffic in Miami was the pits – just as bad as Philly! The GPS would tell us to keep left and then keep right. By the time we were able to get to the left, there wasn't a prayer of moving right again! We missed I95 south several times and took some short scenic routes through the streets of Miami. All the while, I was cursing, hubby was cursing, sister-in-law was laughing, and the other two passengers were mortified! They've never been a part of a Stewart family road trip before - it's definitely not for the faint of heart! Finally, not sure how we managed, we did find I95 south, and then the turnpike, and were well on our way to the Keys. Not in time to make the dive shop before closing, however. I did see an alligator, though! It was on the bank of a large pond/small lake behind a large housing development. Not a place to let your pets or children roam, I think!

In Tavernier, after a quick trip to the Winn-Dixie for groceries, we settled into the rented condo and had a bite to eat – a microwaved frozen dinner. One slight hitch here as well – ants! UGH! Hopefully, housekeeping will get that problem solved in the morning – it's almost 10PM as I write this and no one is available to kill ants after dark! Lucky for those ants!

Plans for Friday morning are for Gladys and I to travel to Key West, while the divers are out for the day. They'll be diving the Spiegel Grove wreck, and do some reef diving as well. Gladys and I will start out early so that we are home well before dark. Hope it's a nice trip and worth the drive!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One More Day 'Til Vacation

We'll be heading to the Florida Keys on Thursday - can't wait! I will miss my little Justin though! I've asked to have photos e-mailed or sent via phone to me!

Sure hope the weather is nice and warm for us! Looking forward to dinner at Sundowners again.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Evening TV

TV is the pits right now. I'm watching Bridezillas - who in their right minds want to marry these women? Dear Lord! They throw hissy fits over the stupidest things. One doesn't get a tea with her McDonalds meal and carries on for an hour until her fiance goes out to fetch the tea. Another screams into a phone that her coffee isn't decaf - suck it up, witch! Anyone want to guess which column these marriages will fall into - those that are successful or those that are doomed to fail?

There is a huge moon in the sky this evening. I can see it through the front window. I'm waiting for DH to get home from the dive shop. Dinner is ready now - he'll have to reheat.

3 more work days until we leave for the Florida Keys! Yippee! I can't wait for the warm sunshine. At least, I hope there is warm sunshine. They had a cold spell down there a couple of weeks ago. I would be happy to spend my time between crocheting and lounging at the pool. Here's to hoping it's in the 80's!

I babysat for baby Justin yesterday, so that Dan and Nicole could go to the Auto Show. They had a nice afternoon out, and I had nice quality time with my favorite baby! We had long conversations (granted, they were one-sided conversations) and I took some more photos to share with friends - as long as they don't run away from me when they see me coming. I just love this little baby with all my heart!

The ripple afghan is coming along nicely. I'm glad I frogged it when I did. It looks so much better. I think my Florida project will be the pants for the baby sweater set I started. It will probably be easier to carry the materials for that than the afghan, since I'm 46 rows into the afghan and it's getting pretty big.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Baby's Sweet Smile

Isn't this the sweetest photo? My grandson - the first smile I've seen! What a precious gem he is! It was too funny - his mom and I were discussing the fact that he was falling asleep at 5:30 pm and that he would fool his mom and be wide awake at 1:00 am. Just as his mom said those words, up popped this little smile! It's as if he heard and understood every word and was pleased to hear we'd figured out his plan.

Well, I did frog the Sweetheart Ripple afghan, and took it all the way back to row 4. I picked up with row 5, and this time was careful to adjust the fptr-sc stitches slanting to the left. I made sure to leave the same number of stitches on each side of the center of the heart, and this time they are nice and uniform.

I am very pleased with the way it's turning out now. A lot of people told me that they didn't see anything wrong with the way it looked before. The problem was that I saw it. I frogged a lot of rows, but am glad I did.

I hope I have a better night tonight than I had last night. I hate acid reflux. UGH! I missed a day of work - having sat bolt upright in a chair last night, I got absolutely no rest and wasn't able to function this morning.

My nephew has been released from the hospital. I am still worried about him. He was deathly ill, and I feel they released him too soon. Still keeping him in my prayers. I'm praying for his mom as well - she has been through so much.

Another baby picture - can't have too many! This is Justin and his dear mom, Nicole!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Update On My Nephew's Condition

My nephew is off the respirator, and has been moved out of the ICU and into a regular room. He is still very weak and gets tired and winded very easily. From what I've read he's still a very sick young man, and will have a long recuperative period ahead of him. Thanks to those who prayed for his return to good health - please send another prayer or two when you can.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Praying For My Nephew

My sister's teenage son is in the hospital. He has been diagnosed with interstitial lung disease. It was a sudden onset, as far as we know. He just returned from a snowboarding trip, during which he mentioned to his mom that he was coughing up blood! He did not want to tell her, for fear that he would not be able to go on the trip.

He is now in the ICU on a respirator. They are trying to wean him from the machine.

Dear Lord, please send your healing grace to Peter. Make his lungs whole again and send him the strength he needs to recuperate through your love, Amen.