Monday, October 22, 2007


This morning I woke up and got ready for work per the usual Monday morning routine. I was watching the news and they were giving updates on two fires in San Diego county that had broke out yesterday afternoon.

As we are having Santana winds, everyone in Southern California knows that this can be a challenge for the area Firefighters. However, after the Cedar Creek fires of 2003, I don't know if anyone in San Diego county will ever look at another fire storm as predictable again.

I go to work, and some of the people that I work with were being affected by evacuation orders and there seemed to be a lighter number of people in the building. The next indication that we were needing to brace ourselves was a call from the two school districts that Jillian and Janeva are in. School was canceled!

Well, I managed to stick around work for a couple of hours, not really able to get any work done as I was getting radio news and internet news of road closures and evacuations orders. It is times like this that even if you are not directly impacted, you just want to be with your family. So I left work and went home.

To be truthful, the air quality in our area was better than I expected, the roadways that I traveled were clear and the traffic was fine. Seemed like overkill really. But, I convinced myself to continue onward to home.

When I got home the girls seemed glad that I came home. We discussed the lessons learned from the 2003 fires and I decided that I would go NOW to get the car fueled and get some water....batteries......and some COMFORT food (which explains why the girls were happy to see me).

Grant was home on a day off, so I convinced him to go with me to COSTCO...(for our Australian fans, that is a huge warehouse where you buy food in bulk, saving massive amounts of money on the "per unit" cost, but never can manage to get out of the damn place for under 300 dollars and watching your husband blow an "O" ring from shock!!!) So Grant and I wandered through the warehouse and I was thinking back to the 2003 fires remembering how bad the smoke and ash got and how miserable it was to go for a quick food run to the corner grocery store. Well......I was on top of it this time....I was on a mission. I bought a boat load of meat....a case of toilet paper (nothing makes you feel worse during a Natural Disaster than realizing that the roll on the dispenser is half gone and is the LAST roll in the house!! eeeeek!!!!) We bought a case of size C batteries (still haven't found anything in this house that actually takes C batteries though) and then cases upon cases of water, diet soda, and regular soda. OH...and I bought a magazine too!! Grant looked at me sideways when I put the magazine in the cart but I pretended to not notice.

After I wrote the check, and Grant picked himself off the floor, we made our way to the car. I was actually feeling pretty smuggly and confident that we were set for just about anything now.....THEN IT HIT ME!!! I turned to Grant and said "OMG....this is a FIRST for US!!!" Hugs were given in the parking lot and Grant pulled back with a look of concern and said "WHAT, is a first for us?" (I think he was trying to figure out if that was the largest check I had written at Costco) I said, "This is our FIRST Natural Disaster......TOGETHER!!" He acted like I was nuts.

Later in the day, the news was informing viewers what to take in the event of an evacuation order. Grant decided that this would actually be a good day to kinda work out a family plan and we should actually prepare as if we were going to evacuate. So.....Grant gathers up the pink slips to the cars, insurance policies, his immigration papers...INCLUDING his Greencard......our passports, birth certificates and marriage certificates and all that practical crap.

Meanwhile, I get my preparedness bag ready. I sort out knit patterns, picked our 5 projects our that I want to make (this was soooo difficult), went through my yarn stash and coordinated the appropriate yarn and quantities with the right patterns. (this was also a tremendous task) I placed each pattern with it's appropriate yarn in those large ziplock bags....the BIG ones. Then I got a change of underwear and my toothbrush, a pillow and a pair of comfy shoes and headed for the living room. Janeva arrives in the living room, with her favorite blanket, a pillow and a stuffed toy and the remote to her tv. Jillian came out with her ENTIRE wardrobe, her entire set of bedding, all of her shoes and her Curling Iron.

Grant has spent the rest of the afternoon and evening, drinking.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Back to Me........

In the last few months I have had some computer issues, work issues, knitting issues, kid issues, back to school issues, and Australian to American, Man to Woman translation I have finally realized......I HAVE ISSUES!! So to recap........

So much stuff has happened since the 4th of July. At the end of July, Grant and I took my mom to the Hannity Freedom Concert. Grant and I had gone last year and we were amazed at the crowd and the vibe there. We both knew my mom would be thrilled if the concert was half as good as last year. Grant was able to get tickets; stage center, 8 rows from the front. That concert was a blast!!! All for a great cause, to raise money for the families of fallen soldiers and to ensure their children will be able to go to college. A lot of American Pride, Flag Waving and giving thanks that we as a crowd could praise God and not be told that it was politically incorrect to do so. This event really deserves it's own blog post complete with pictures. I will tell all about that evening in an upcoming installment.

Shortly after the concert my mom needed to get back to Nebraska because her sister was failing. So Grant drove my mom to New Mexico on a 14.50 hour adventure which at one point nearly got Grant deported!! He drove through an Arizona Border Patrol station. As the border patrol agent started to wave Grant and my mom through, Grant asked why the flag there was flying at half mast (because seriously, when DOESN'T Grant ask a question or offer comment??). Recognizing that Grant's accent didn't sound "Southern California" but rather from somewhere farther South, he was asked for his license and Greencard. Problem was that Grant didn't have his Greencard with him. So he got grilled by a cranky border patrol agent who threatened to detain him then tried to roust my mother for transporting an "undocumented alien" cross state lines.

Okay, right here should have most American's rolling on the floor laughing out loud with tears running down their cheeks given the current political climate. We have hundreds of thousands, and most likely millions (depending on whether you are a Democrat or Republican stating the statistics) of undocumented Mexicans and "Other than Mexicans" (OTMs) running over our borders to "do the jobs American's won't do" and plenty of times to "do the crimes most American's won't do" as well. As a wife of an Australian Immigrant, I have PLENTY to say about this Country's dysfunctional immigration policy..........But I digress......

Long story short.....finally they got waved through and Grant and my mom got to enjoy the rest of there journey without incident.

Next, Jillian and Janeva start back to school. I'm thrilled with how this year is going for both girls and their mid semester report cards are FABULOUS!!! I'm really proud of both of them. Both girls are working toward a major milestone....Jillian is working toward graduating from High School next June and Janeva will be graduating from Middle School the day after Jillian. So I'm already planning their celebrations!

Grant and I have some really BIG news.....but he has sworn me to secrecy till sometime next Spring. For our Australian Family, that would be about April/May of 2008. OH......and let me just take this right off the table now....I'M NOT HAVING A BABY, so ya'll just calm down already!!! I can assure you, the news is BIG and we are really excited about it, and the fact that I have to keep a secret that long is going to test me greatly.

So....I'm back, I now have full function within this blogging program and look forward to learning all I can to bring more links and news. I've got lots of knitting projects in the works and am looking forward to showing those off soon.

Lyn, keep'll be able to see some things that will be coming your way!! 8-)
Olga, now that I have a gauge and the sizing down a bit better, you should be seeing something posted in a little over a week!!
Nancy, the weather is getting cooler and so I'll be stepping it up on your cable knit sweater as well.

OH...and this update is for Michael. The red scarf I was working on while visiting you is in about the same state as when I left Australia. I have told Grant that I think it will take a round trip to Australia to get this scarf done! I think the scarf is going to be stunning....but it is a total bore to work on and it puts me to sleep after only a few rows!!!

More to come........

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Weekend Knitting

Since this is actually a "Knitters" blog, I figure I should have a post now and then about some actual knitting.

This weekend I felt completely burned out from the week before so I pretty much stayed close to home and did some knitting on a FEW of my WIPs (works in progress). I just realized that all of these projects have one thing in common, they are knitted from the top down, in the round, and with a raglan sleeve style. I had never knitted anything from the top down till about 5 weeks ago and so far, I think this is my preferred method for the moment. It requires little finishing work when the knitting is done and that is a HUGE BONUS. You can literally finish knitting in the afternoon and typically walk out in the evening wearing any one of these projects.

One of the fastest and most engaging knits I have going on right now is a pattern named "Fifi". I got the pattern through The Sexy Knitters Club who is using this pattern as one of the Summer Knit Alongs. I have worked on this sweater for a little over a week now and it is moving along swiftly. I am going to modify the pattern to make 3/4 sleeves instead of the cap sleeve as written in the pattern. The yarn I'm using is the yarn recommended by the pattern, Rowan Calmer. Calmer is a soft cotton with an incredible memory and one of the few cotton yarns that behaves like wool and makes this particular pattern a joy to knit.

P1010734 P1010735

The next pattern, has been a great knit as well. It is a pattern named "Wicked" which I found online at Zephyr Style. The picture doesn't show the detail of the neck edging which will be repeated on the sleeve cuffs. Other than the neck and cuff detail it is mostly a straight knit which makes it a great project for mindless knitting in front of the TV or in the car. I have been working on this knit for a little over 3 weeks now. (I can get 3/4 of a row done at a long Traffic Light!! 8-) )


Last but not least, is a pattern named Boatneck Bluebell, from the Fitted Knits book by Stefanie Japel. When I got this book I truly hit a jackpot. I have several projects going from this book and the detailing and the fitting on the patterns are fantastic. I used Cascade 220 wool for this knit and it is all but done with the exception of a little sewing up of the 2nd sleeve and then it needs to be blocked. This sweater took about 1 1/2 weeks to knit up, but has been sitting in my knitting bag for about 3 weeks begging to have the finishing done on the sleeves. I have enough of this yarn left over to knit a vest for Janeva for her back to school wardrobe!! (an added plus)


Aside from this knitting, I cleaned out some drawers, and Janeva and I baked a cake to practice for our Cake Decorating class that we are taking together.

All in all, a very quiet weekend and sometimes I think those are the BEST!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Australian on the 4th of July

The day started off like any other holiday. All the girls slept in till about 9am and then slowly the house woke up and a steady hum could be heard. Grant was the last one to get moving. Apparently, he didn't get the memo.

My mom is staying with us for the summer and since EVERYone in the U.S. BBQs on the 4th of July, she decided that Grant needed a brand new BBQ to break-in for this 4th of July festivities. At 9:15am we realized our first problem. The BBQ needed to be assembled.

I wake Grant up with ...."Grab your hand tools!"

It would help if I explain: Grant is a fabulous writer. He is wonderful with computers. He loves to hike into the middle of nowhere and is fearless when confronted with the indigenous wildlife there. He single handily helps clumsy drunks stay in their seats at the ballgames. He is incredibly patient and kind when he rolls over in the middle of the night to find the random knitting needle that I had been searching for just a few hours earlier. He will even confront a neighboring diner in a restaurant when they say something vulgar or use "inappropriate language" in front of me. But when it comes to power tools....or hardware....wellllllll Grant assembled the tools needed to assemble the BBQ, I readied the first aide kit. With everything laid out in the side yard, and instructions (yes my husband actually READS the instructions! :::she says proudly:::) and a couple of beers under his belt, the assembly took place without a grumble or even a DNA trail.

Mom and I had planned a large meal, so together we got ready for Grant's first American BBQ.

Mom presents Grant with "BBQ TOOLS" (insert Tim Allen's man grunts here) and the one that really enthralled Grant was the spatula with a bottle opener built in it. He pulled the tops off one beer after another with that thing.

The BBQing went really well, and Grant did a fabulous job. Everything came off the grill finished in perfect timing. Grant got into the holiday BBQing and his confidence was high as he was flipping the meat with one hand and tossing back a cold one with another like an old Pro. (The oven-mitt Grant is using has a Christmas pattern on it.
NOTE TO SELF: buy Grant a butch oven-mitt)


My mom and Grant had a great time and it should be noted that they get along fabulously. She cheered him on as he cooked, and Murphy was hopeful that one of them would drop some food for him. Max who is camera shy and had the smarts enough to stay away from the hot BBQ just sat back and supervised.


(OMGawd, I just realized that if you look real close at the picture above, I think the damn dog was licking the tongs that were used to remove the food off the grill!!!)


After the meal, we all lounged around and relaxed (because we could....
NOT knowing Murphy's secret taste testing had taken place!)....and waited for the fireworks.

Janeva, Grant, Murphy (I am still grossing out wondering what else he was licking) and I walked over to Kennedy Park to watch the fireworks. I was very nervous taking Murphy because in years past, both Max and Murphy would freak out in the backyard when the fireworks would go off. But Grant was determined to take Murphy and said "no worries".

We get to the park, we laid out a blanket and took our positions. Grant and Murphy were sitting in front of Janeva and I. It was completely dark, and then we see the first flare go up and then BOOOOOM! Murphy jumps up and barks excitedly into the sky. I'm thinking "that's it, we gotta get him outta of here."

Grant pats his back and says "Sit down and watch the damn fireworks Murphy. You're acting like a Nancyboy, it's not like you are in Iraqi for crying out loud!"

I kid you not! That dog sat down, looked up in the sky and from that point on, he mumbled, did little whisper barks and Janeva and I ended up watching the back of Murphy's head as he tilted it one way then another. THE DOG WAS WATCHING THE FIREWORKS!!! Janeva asked about the mumbles and little whisper barks and I said, "I think Murphy is ohhhhing and ahhhing!!!

So the night ends, Janeva and I ended up missing the fireworks because we were watching the back of Murphy's head. Who knew?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Taking the Australian to the County Fair.....

We arrived at the fair around 11am. I proudly presented my free "Exhibitors Pass" for entry and we immediately see a stage to the left. We arrived just in time for the "Animal Noise Contest"!! I'm anxious to see the Needle Arts display to see if any of the items I submitted were displayed. This was my first year submitting anything and the primary reason for doing so was to get the free passes to the fair. But now that I was at the fair.....I was anxious to see how I did.

Grant and Janeva wanted to make animal noises.....their making noises is nothing new....but to see them do it one stage would be a could I say no to THAT!!

Janeva jumped on stage first, she decided at the last minute to make the sound of a domestic cat whose tail is being stepped on. She made some hissing noises and a hedious meow cry into the microphone. So loudly and startling that I think any stray cat within a 2 mile radius ran for cover! Being the proud mother that I am, I cheered, hooted and whistled for her.

Later in the competition, my husband stepped up to the microphone. Strangely, he spoke softly into the microphone.....was he nervous? He explains that he will be making the call of a "rare Australian Red Kangaroo male"....and he proceeds to make this soft clicking, almost chirping sound. Everyone strained to hear it, because seriously, how many chances do we get to hear one of THOSE in San Diego?? Again, being the proud wife, I cheered, clapped and made a scene....but all the while looking at Grant thinking the performance was suspect. Seriously! He could make ANY noise and name it as something rare and in Australia....who, in San Diego will challenge him??

Grant warming up for the Animal Noise Contest

BTW, Janeva took 1st place, and Grant took 2nd place in the competition! While they gloated, my mom and I were thinking we should just be happy to be seen with them. (rolling eyes)

We stop off at the Australian deep fried potatoes...and anxiously wait to taste an Authentic Australian dish. We loved them, my mom raved, I enjoyed them, Janeva thought they were "okay"...and Grant said he never seen anything like it in Australia. Go Figure! to the Needle Arts Display!

I enjoyed seeing all the beautiful knitting and crochet and tatting displayed. I then was thrilled when in the midst of the display Grant found the first of four sweaters that I had entered......I took a Blue Ribbon First Place prize in the Woman's Knitted Sweater division, Third Place in the Mens Knitted Sweater division, and a Third Place for a knitted/crocheted combo sweater in the "Other" division. I was thrilled!

Bed and Breakfast Pullover Green Gansey Sweater Burgundy knitted and crocheted sweater

I was doing the Happy Knitters Dance out of the showroom, and Janeva totally into the spirit of competition entered a pie eating contest. Even though this sweet little girl of 13 was up against some hulking teenage boys (perhaps THAT is why she entered?) Janeva took a respectable 3rd place in the Pie Eating Contest!

While Grant and Janeva went off to ride some of the stomach turning rides on the Midway, mom and I decided to shop the vendor booths. We scored some hair clips and three of the "it slices, it dices, it mixes, and purees" cutters. (Mom a few days later testing the slicer gives it a thumbs up review.....only the thumb now has stitches it it!!! OUCH)

All in all, we had a fabulous time. I am knitting with a new enter into next years fair so we can get the free passes and see Janeva take 1st in the Pie Eating Contest!!!! (She announced that she is in training and I need to bake pies now.....hey....I could maybe enter one of those too!!)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The History of My Obsession

I learned to crochet when I was 19 or 20 by Jeanette, a coworker at the time and now longtime friend. I lived across the street from her during the "Dallas" and "Falcon Crest" era of the 80s. Every friday night, I'd go to Jeanette's house to watch the friday line up of night time soaps and we would be joined by all of Jeanette's cousins. Everyone was crocheting baby blankets and booties at the time and I believe all of them had learned from their Grandmother the patterns that they crocheted.

This was completely new to me, so I was thrilled to learn the basics from Jeanette and then found myself completely obsessed. I'd work all night to complete a row. I absolutely loved watching a long strand of yarn take shape through MY fingers!

At one point, I branched out to reading everything about crochet and learning to read patterns which developed into a pattern collecting obsession. Back then we didn't have all of the magazines devoted to knit and crochet as we do I'd buy anything that had "yarn" mentioned in it. In ten years, I enrolled and subscribed to any magazine and crochet club that was available and was able to have a large collection of what would now be considered "vintage" patterns. How many patterns of Granny Squares, pot holders, spoon covers, dish cloths and baby booties can you have? I'm sure I don't have them all, and yet I have more than I will ever beable to make, and I'm STILL collecting them.

I really can't explain what I'm about to disclose next. It just happened this way....

I didn't know anyone that knitted. Yet, while on a mission to find patterns of all things crocheted I'd find patterns for knitted garments and for some unexplainable reason, I'd buy them. Why? "Because maybe one day....." perhaps? I would spend hours reading the patterns, looking up the yarn they called for and just think "I wish I could KNIT that!"

In June 1990, I gave birth to my first daughter, Jillian. Apparently, that triggered Post Partum Knitpression. When I returned to work, I discovered that a yarn store was located within my reach during lunch hours. In September 1990, I walked in, found a beautiful pattern for a cable knit sweater and skirt set sized for 12 months. I purchased the wool (in a deep navy blue) the pattern and the needles. Then one of the gals at the store showed me how to cast on, make a knit and a purl stitch and what a cable needle was and then I was off to make the most adorable outfit for my baby Jillian. One of my first Motherly Missions!

I worked full time, had a young baby, and the typical household duties but with the time left over, I worked on this knit project. Remember it was sized for 12 months....

I finished Jillian's outfit in August 1993, she was 3 years old. Southern California, in August, knitted in wool. It came out quite nicely though. We had two sassy kittys, Seg and Pacer, who ended up adopting the knitware for beds.

I stopped knitting, but continued to buy knit magazines and patterns....something that I still can't explained.... Somewhere around 1998, I exclusively bought knit patterns and magazines and stopped pursuing crochet.

In 2003, I discovered Lori's Frames and Fibers in Alpine California. A wonderful and recently expanded yarn store. I rediscovered knit but stayed safely on beginnner patterns. Lori encouraged to go beyond the label of beginner, intermediate or advanced knitter and told me to just knit what I LIKED.

With all of the encouragement and support I got from Lori and the Wednesday Night knit group there I still stayed within my comfort zone picking knitting projects. Then Lori shared with me that there was a class at Foothills Adult Education Center and the team of Charlie and Athena who teaches all of the handknitting and crochet classes there.

Because of Charlie and Athena, I feel fearless at attempting any project. I knit what I want and enjoy the process of learning from any of the mistakes or adjustments needed in any of the patterns. Because of having them as a Knitter's Safety Net, I have grown this hobby into a full obsession.

I have become "A Knitter" vs "Someone Who Knits".

(OH ...SIDE NOTE: Jillian will be 17 years old next week. Three months ago, I finally made a sweater for Jillian. It is a knitted/crocheted combined sweater which is currently at the San Diego County Fair. It not only FITS her, but she LIKES it as well. My first Motherly Mission is finally completed.)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Couch Mileage

My husband had informed me earlier in the week that today is the 91st running of the Indy 500 and following that race is the Coca Cola 600. That means a full 1100 miles will be put on the couch today alone!

That also means that I have a full 1100 miles of uninterrupted knitting time for ME! Okay....uninterrupted is not exactly going to hold because I'm in charge of "Pit Stops", as I AM the PIT CREW for team Husband, the unchallenged champion spectator of race day Sunday.........meaning that when he comes into the Pit area, I'll have to be ready to drop the knitting for refueling (snack runs) and change out the tires (fluff the cushions and pillows so he won't throw a rod)

Combine that with the Encore channel's running of a "Jawsathon" (all four Jaws movies running back to back) on Monday, if I were a betting woman, I'd say that we will be shopping for a new couch by Tuesday!

For Race Day Sunday I have started the Two-Toned Ribbed Shrug from Stefanie Japel's "Fitted Knits" book. I am using a Schaefer Yarn for the MC in "Jane Addams" colorway and it will be trimmed in Cascade 220. These colors are perfect for my youngest daughter Janeva who is the intended recipient for this project. I don't usually knit with variegated colored yarn but I'm already loving the yarn and the look it is giving so far.

Two Toned Shrug

Friday, May 25, 2007

My FIRST post on my own blog!

Grant and I married in 2005. Grant immigrated from Australia to the U.S. in 2005 after a two year long distance relationship. After all the huge phone bills and several trips to the U.S. so he could take me on REAL dates, Grant decided it would be so much easier and cheaper if we both resided in the same zip code. So he made this huge leap, leaving a career, family and practically all the material things one accumulates in a lifetime behind and arrived in Southern California to start a new life with a new wife, her teenage daughters Jillian and Janeva, and their dogs Max and Murphy. Side Note: Murphy has a blog of his own and now apparently only understands Australian.

Shortly after Grant arrived he discovered that I was a KNITTER. He knew I knitted, he thought it was charming that I knitted from time to time. That was his impression BEFORE he arrived.

I wish I had a picture of the first time he opened the closet to claim some space as his own, and found my stash of yarn. Okay, well ONE of my stashes of yarn. I think maybe it was about four months before he found ALL of the yarn that is tucked in various parts of the house, the garage, closets, bowls, in bins, in plastic bags, under beds and in the attic and even in my car.

About four months after Grant's arrival, he got to experience his first earthquake. It was a mild 4.2 in the wee hours of the morning. I woke up startled and threw my arm over Grant to ensure he didn't jump up out of bed not knowing what was going on. When the shaking ended, Grant calmly asked "what was THAT?" I said "An earthquake, don't worry it was a small one and we are all fine." Grant said "no doubt, if it had been a big one we all would have been buffered by falling balls of yarn! No worries!"

A day does not go by without an outburst of laughter somewhere in the midst of our normal chaos or a simple explanation is offered of "It's okay, he's Australian" by myself or one of my daughters to a puzzled onlooker.

Life is an adventure when the subtle cultural differences and language barriers are factored in with the normal grind and routine of an otherwise typical life.

Finding out what we will get when my husband orders dinner at the drive up window in his thick Australian accent makes fast food one of those simple little unexpected surprises.

Welcome to my blog, to our adventures and all the knitting. Perhaps we can put you in stitches as well.