Christmas Booty

Hee hee! My lovely sister-in-law gave me this for Christmas:
Reason #1 why I love this book? It is adventurous. I love playing with patterns, adjusting a neckline here, or adding a vent or seam there, in case you haven't noticed by now. The sweaters in this book allow for variations in guage, yarn, texture, and pattern. After you peek through this book for a minute or two you come up with some original ideas. My favorite is the "everything but the kitchen sink" sweater.

It shows you how (in theory) to take a mishmosh of beautiful yarns and make a pullover worthy of wearing to work, or as the pictures suggest, sitting in a sunlit cafe, wearing seductive liquid eyeliner, sipping a latte. I feel hopeful that if I could complete such a sweater I would most definitely leave work early one day. I would go to Algiers in Cambridge and enjoy a decadent coffee while posing pretty-as-a-picture in my own handiwork. (Reality check: knit with washable wool and dark colors that may be resistant to the staining qualities of baby spit-up. Eyeliner is a no-go, as sleepless nights result in the frequent rubbing of one's eyes.)

Reason #2? It is young and hip. The tops are cute and fitted without being sleezo. If I wanted to knit a potato sack I could knit a tube with sleeves with my eyes closed. In the middle of a Jethro Tull concert. High. No thanks-I'd like to make something more flattering. Someone decided that I would be prone to gaining weight in my lower body rather than mid- or upper-, so I need to work with what God gave me. Baggy pants are good. Baggy tops are out of the question.

Well, enough of the rambling-with the holidays, work pressure, and 4 weeks or less to go before babakins arrives, my brain is mush.

I smuggled a basketball...

Well, back to work. I hope you all had wonderful weekends. I intend to spend the next two days reading about all of it on other blogs in detail! As for us, it was a quiet and peaceful holiday. More anticipatory, really. As we finished opening gifts and sorting through our stocking stuffers (I am sooo spoiled) we enjoyed our last quiet Christmas morning together, knowing the holiday would have a whole new meaning for us next year. For years it has been 'you, me, and Scout makes three' as our little domestic unit and we have been very content! However, having had a taste of what being a parent brings, we know there has been something missing.

But we made great use of the time, and enjoyed some peace and quiet together. We also got in our last sporting event before little Rand arrives:

So there you have it: we saw the Sox back in month 3 and the Patriots season-opener in September. We watched the Bruins take the ice in October, and now have seen the Celtics take the court in December. This baby has been to everything but soccer before he's even been born!

Toys in Babeland

I've been catching some criticism for my lack of knitting lately, and for this I am so sorry! I try to plug away at the baby cardigan, but find myself frozen in mid-purl in front of the latest episode of Nip Tuck or Top Chef. Or standing in front of the cutting board slicing up dozens of biscotti that I will never eat.
Or the latest: organizing the nursery and packing, unpacking, and re-packing the hospital bag. None of this make sense. None of this is typical Heather. I've always been more of a go-go-go kind of person, but completely lacking in organizational skills. Now I'm a sit-sit-eatacookie person who spends an hour sorting baby socks and onesies by size.
Mr finds it hilarious, and turns to me quite often to prompt, "knit, woman, knit!" and makes whipping sounds when he finds me frozen, #4 needles stuck in mid-air. I'd make a great entry in the world's first knitting wax-museum.

One Week Before Xmas

If you worked at my office you'd have a piece of my mocha-almond or cranberry (chocolate-dipped) biscotti right now. To which there is no recipe. Its all in my head. many things...
Well, having a baby changes your life entirely, so I have heard over and over again. Yes, I get it. None of these changes are unwelcome.
Except one.
The hard top is on the Jeep.
Since the day we bought it, the ragtop has been my best friend. And the hard top we removed that same day has been ruminating somewhere on the farm. Last night I finally said goodbye to the freedom of zippered windows, flapping roofs, icy cold morning drives, and said hello to my first concession of motherhood. Automobile comfort and safety.
They still won't get me to give up my heels!

Adam's First Christmas

Can ours be this cute? Oh please please? This is baby Adam in his PJ's, one of the latest additions to our Kappa Delta Phi circle of friends (but more like family.)

Oh, how things have changed. Last saturday as we all gathered for a Christmas party, we gingerly stepped around the house to avoid all the wandering and tottering kids one of us was muttering, "What in the world are we going to do in ten years when we all have crabby teenagers..."
We won't think of that now. I know it will happen in the blink of an eye (and that scares me!), but for now just look at the little darling! Merry Christmas Adam, Joseph, Lauren, and Nicholas. We will have a new playmate for you soon!

London and a Silly Hat yesterday I was reminiscing about London. In all the places we have lived and visited, I have never felt so at home. And with all the places on this earth I wish to see, returning there tops my list. Even if I had to choose between jolly ol' England or being the first knitter in space...well, London would win. I would move there permanently if given the choice. (Sorry Boston.)

Traveling is remarkable to me because it packs more surprises than a cheap horror movie. One such occasion that I will never forget was a quick dinner at this funky spot on Drury Lane. We were going to see 'My Fair Lady'and needed to eat first, and were drawn to this cute little wooden door surrounded by a lush little garden. Stepping inside, we found a great long room, decorated something between the theme of Arabian Nights and a high school theatre prop room. The place was called Sarastro, and was supposed to be almost a theatrical dining experience, but it was quiet that night, or maybe we were very early (they eat very late in that city, usually after the show). So we were led to a little nook where we were suited on golden batik-printed cusions and served a half-way decent mediterranean meal.

We were almost done when Mr. decided to hit the restroom. He came back with a stunned look on his face, and after a moment he murmured, "there is porn in the bathroom. ALL OVER the walls."
I couldn't contain myself, and picturing walls pasted with pages from smutty magazines, of course made a mad rush to see for myself. (Later we checked a guide of area restaurants and found that this place was recommended for families. Sweet.) Who wouldn't?

The ladies room as well was painted wall to wall with a fresco of little devils having their way with plump little nymphs. In every possible position. Quite happily too. On every inch of wall. You couldn't find a safe place to keep your eyes, as even while you washed your hands, the mirror above reflected dozens of wicked little figures having the time of their lives, while you cursed having to rush off to a rated G musical....Screamingly funny.

I could have told you that...*sigh*

You Belong in London

A little old fashioned, and a little modern.
A little traditional, and a little bit punk rock.
A unique woman like you needs a city that offers everything.
No wonder you and London will get along so well.

Happy Birthday Blogless Sharon!!!!

I happen to have the most wonderful mother on earth- she's free-spirited, intelligent, sweet, loving, thoughtful (and zany like me.) And today is her birthday!!! So I thought I would share some of the wonderful memories and gags that come to mind. (And sorry for stealing the photo, but it just captures her so well.)

1) She is kind and graceful- with her influence even her rough and tumble sons have grown up to be sensitive and giving young men.
2) She spent years organizing a team of women and going to schools to teach children about the dangers of drug abuse.
3) When she enters a room she brings grace and dignity. I love how my mother takes pride in herself-unlike stories I heard from other kids, I was never embarassed to be caught in public with my mom. In fact, when she was a field-trip chaperone, all the 'cool' kids vied to be in her group. Afterwards, the 'cool' kids would give me the proverbial pat on the back and talk about how great my mom was, or perhaps something funny she did or said.
4) She would do anything for us kids. She would sew any Halloween costume we so desired, or spend hours creating an authentic gladiator costume for Ed's latin class (haha, Ed. Do you watch movies about gladiators?) She would wake at 4AM for hockey practice. She would drive to the college library for desperately-needed and last-minute research.
5) She's so creative, off-beat, and takes everything in stride, whether it be having an alligator chase her and a stroller in the everglades, having a team of oxen unexpectedly dropped off at the farm, or coming home to hear chainsaw being started up in her bedroom...
6) She can't say no to a puppy or kitten. Or racoon. Or flying squirrel.

7) Mom is beautiful. Without even trying.

Fuzzy Baby Boggy Brain

I'm sorry for the bland post, but my camera is home. It's getting harder to accomplish even the ordinary tasks, and as for keeping up routine? Even worse. I'm not totally disorganized yet, but in small stages I can see it happening. First came the physical signs; walking trash to the basement went first. Then I became complete helpless in the cleaning department, and the house began looking a bit like a used-clothing drive. I could sort things into piles, but physically the follow-through just-wasn't-a-happenin'.

Now here's the catch-I can shop for three different types of sugar, whip up a batch biscotti, improvise a double-boiler and dip them in chocolate, but I can't find my way to the sock drawer.

Shortly thereafter came the signs of mental weakness- I have always been terrible with the telephone, but now I forget my cell phone even exists. If you want to reach me, send a carrier pigeon, write it in the sky, or shoot an arrow, but don't call! If I don't write it down in my calendar, I even forget to shower.

Again, its bizarre that I can knit half a dozen cabled hats, but if you ask me to call the vet the scheduled a Scout-checkup, I can't find enough time!

Just an update on Dave and the furniture situation- the pieces did not show up thursday as I was told. However, after receiving a visit from Mr. they called just hours later to notify us the furniture had arrived. It must have been magic.

Hats Off!

I finished another fuzzy and soft cable beanie last night, and am reluctant to let it go! But I really did want to participate in the Knit Unto Others KAL, so I gathered all my finished hats for one last goodbye.

Since none of these are made in a washable wool, they wouldn't be too suitable for children. Instead, I'm sending them off to St. Francis House in Boston to be distributed through their means to the homeless.
About five years ago I accompanied our church youth group to an overnight there and helped with their clothing distribution the next morning. It was quite an experience-I wish I had the pictures with me. Ever since then, I think of those people we met when we have cold winter nights, as we learned its quite commonplace for the homeless to freeze to death on particularly harsh nights. It's a little 'put yourself in someone else's shoes,' moment that I have all the time. Imagine struggling to survive a harsh city in the winter, while people in warm coats, with warm offices and apartments are all around you. It makes my heart break.

Man + Beer + Turkey = FUN

Are you tired of hearing about the Fab 5 yet? Tough. Until tomorrow, when I hopefully finish my Knit Unto Others project (late late late!) and another soft cabled beanie from the Stitch Cafe pattern, you must hear about the Fabulous Five. And my fabulous man too.

Drill weekend is always a chance for the Fab 5 to have a get-together, and nothing cheers me up better than having my pals over. So I gladly hosted a dinner friday night, and enlisted the help of Mr. I had only asked him to throw a turkey in the oven since I would be at work. Instead, he be-decked the house, whipped up gourmet stuffing and potatoes, brined and roasted a turkey, cleaned up, and waited for us to arrive.

I rolled onto our street after work and spotted from 50 yards away the twinkling lights that framed our picture window. Inside this window now stood two glittering iconic holiday figures; a fluffy snowman and Santa himself, waving. At 4 feet high, they stand in our window to greet everyone who turns down our street in their gaudy glittery-ness. Eyes and mouth wide open in shock, I entered our house where Mr. calmly looked at me and said, "I have waited ALL DAY to see that look on your face."

Well, after some tasty turkey and fixins, including stuffed acorn squash, homemade cranberry sauce, corn muffins, white wine and pumpkin cheesecake squares (thanks ladies!) we have a silly photo in front of the infamous window....

Me Vs. Raging Hormones

"Hello! Baby Furniture Warehouse-Dave speaking."

"Hi Dave, I'm calling to see if my order of furniture came in today as planned."

"Hold on a moment please..."

hmmmm....da da da the girl from ipanema.....

"Hello, Mrs Rand? They couldn't fit it on the truck today."

Oh really a%*wipe. I spent all morning organizing onesies and rattles to make space because you said it would be here. "Oh that's too bad Dave. When do think the dressers will be there for us to pickup?"

"Well, with the snow I don't think we'll have them monday either."

Great. GREAT! I'm about to POP any minute now, but driving through sleet in a little Jeep is no problem for me, but it is for two grown men in a tractor trailer?

"Oh, that's the latest you said it would take-so my husband had planned to be there today or tomorrow to get them."

"Sorry Mrs. Rand, but I'd have to say they should be in on thursday."

Oh go screw yourself. I'm going to go make four dozen cookies and a pumpkin pie, I'm so damn frustrated.

"Thanks Dave, have a nice day!"

I just wanted to give you all a little insight on the evil that lurks within....

I don't have a problem....

Do you find that you collect ideas faster than you can commit to them?
Plugging away at work this morning I found in my subdirectories a chunk of free patterns- a whole folder full of tantalizing patterns and pictures, entitled "Rainy Day." It appears that in my web-travels my lust for cute patterns has snuck up on me. Mindlessly, I have been tossing anything that perks my interest into this little e:cubby for that 'rainy day.' Of course, when the time is right, I am always home and nowhere near my work computer, so that doesn't help.
I printed off the patterns to take home and deleted the evidence, in case our web administrator decided to poke around my drives during my upcoming maternity leave. (Is this beginning to sound like some form of addiction? Let's see...compulsive behavior *check* ...hiding the evidence *check*)
Easy Delite cap from the ladies at Zephyr! Mikado fingerless gloves from Crystal Palace Yarns! Why haven't I tried these yet? Does anyone else have a folder in which they stash countless fun and easy weekend projects that are never to be done? Come to think of it, just having these patterns at my disposal is almost as exciting as having a finished version of them in my hands. Just the potential of whipping off an adorable peapod hat for someone's baby shower, or felted flowers to trim a birthday gift gives me the warm fuzzies. Elbow-length fingerless gloves-so cool! Meanwhile, not a single pattern is suitable for the growing stash of yarn I have at home.

Just A Little Something....

Do you have what it takes to become a US citizen? In my continued break from knitting posts (so sorry, still working on my Knit Unto Others project while contemplating my next venture) I would like to share this little quiz from MSN. It is a sample of the questions arranged for potential US citizenship, and at the moment it is under scrutiny. Well, just give it a shot and see how you do. I was happy to see I wasn't so clueless after all, but then again these are pretty straitforward:

Showered With Love...

Well, you all get a break from the turkey-day posts with this one.
One day you're driving home from church, happy as can be, when your husband turns into the local hotel parking lot. Uh oh. Despite what he's mouthing to you, you know better-we don't eat breakfast here! Its a shower!!
(Here's a shot of my initial response-see the silly grin? Also mom AKA Blogless Sharon looked so darn fantastic!)
I won't be so crass as to single out any special gifts-it wouldn't be possible to anyways. We are so lucky to have such thoughtful friends and family. And very talented too! The room was decorated to match our nursery room decor- with little bears and twinkling stars. Then, from the detailed homemade gifts which I will take care of and treasure, to the generous and thoughtful supplies, toys and needs, I am so happy to say that we are so ready to receive this little guy!!!
There was a lot of parenting wisdom in the room as well, which helps a lot when you're trying to figure out what you will need for the first time. You quickly realize you may not have thought this through enough!
So just eight (give or take) weeks to go, and thanks to my loving family and friends, the nursery has changed from a sad and stark little room to a bright and joyful room filled with bags, bows, books, and toys.
If it is at all possible, my excitement is even greater. With any luck, I'll be waving pom poms and cheering in the delivery room rather than swearing and crying. But I need to get friendly with my anesthesiologist first.

Welcome to the Third Trimester!

Yay! We're finally in the third trimester, actually just two months to go- as of my latest visit with the midwife we are also a portrait of perfect health (knock on wood. My heart goes out to those who haven't been so fortunate.) Positive, positive, positive has been my approach to this. I figured if I could find a way to not be bothered with the yucky stuff-the heaviness, the swollen feet, the CONSTANT KICKING, it might not be that bad at all. And wouldn't ya know- I've really enjoyed being pregnant. Might even do it again. A few times.
Or not.
Some things I have learned from this experience since I just LOVE making lists, and few cutesy pictures I ripped off the internet:

1) Primary colors aren't so bad. So my wardrobe and my house is a drab collection of muted colors-pale yellows and tans. Soon it will be swamped with bright red, yellow and blue plastic, which might be a great improvement...
2) Must learn to clean. And vacuum. Because unlike Scout, little Rand will not be able to differentiate between a cookie and a fur ball.
3) People LOVE pregnant women. We're like santa claus, easter bunny, and humpty dumpty rolled into one. We bring smiles to people's faces. Children edge closer to us. Strangers smile and wink at us. Cashiers at every store want us to stop and talk about it. And expect lots of flattery-I wasn't called beautiful this often even when I was a bride.
4) I have uttered those words to describe the experience that I used to dread, "It will change your life forever." Just about 7 months ago those words were enough to send chills up my spine and make me secretly swear to avoid this if at all possible.
After all, unless you have gone through it, those words are quite ominous. But once you feel your first kick or wiggle, that all changes. You get 'the glow'-yes it does exist, and you realize the changes you are going through are welcome ones. Now after I say those words, I wonder why I waited so long to do this.
5) Dude-you get heavy! It feels like someone is making me tote a small watermelon around all day long! But as one of my preggie co-workers describes, "you have to have some reason to want them to come out. Otherwise you'd want them to stay in there forever." How true.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families. Don't forget what this holiday is about-be thankful!

Bring on the Pilgrims!

Just another tasty tidbit about my hometown- we have a great Thanksgiving Parade. Great marching bands. Tons of bagpipes. Lots of bells and whistles. And muskets. I favor the Revolutionary War-era bands with their snare drums and fifes-pretty nifty.

Cabby Shack also does a fantastic float that is a replica of the Mayflower-it is so tall that they have to lower the masts at every streetlight.

And also notable is the Budweiser draft horses, who made a special appearance and will be around town until they head off for the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. I didn't get a good shot of the horses, but happened to grab a shot of the chase-car.

It takes a lot of humility to be the pooper-scooper for the Budweiser draft horses. I tip my hat to that guy...

Sweet Charity

Its been so long since I have been involved in a charity. Or fundraiser. Or even devoted my time to any cause. (Not counting stuff for the troops.) It occurred to me how much I took those chances once offered up in high school and college for granted. Since the day I was handed my diploma, out the window went all those days volunteering at the MSPCA, those afternoons at Dana Hall organizing and arranging Thanksgiving meals for needy families, those weeks spent in preparation at Kappa Alpha Theta raising money through party events and the annual Mr. Fraternity pageant.

Yeah, so maybe I did the Walk for Hunger a few times since then, or emptied some spare change in the good old fireman's boot, but why? Take a moment and make sure your heart was in the right place when you did those things. Sadly, mine was not.

While starting up this teensy little cardigan for Newborns in Need, I reflected upon this. Going to the animal shelter every week was more fun for me than a night out at the latest Belmont Hill dance. And cleaning out the coin pocket in my car for a cause made me feel better than a day of beauty at the dayspa. But to be honest, I spent that time to beef up my college applications rather than in a selfless act for homeless animals or people. And when the mission was accomplished, so was my volunteerism.

HOWEVER. Looking more closely at the things I have done, who is to say I was selfish at all? Most college-bound kids focused their time on friends, their grades, and their athletic skills rather than cleaning poop in a puppy pen. So maybe I was trying to look good for those admissions peeps at Union, Gettysburg, and Washington & Lee, but I most likely gave up better grades, athletic excellence, and greater popularity to do it this way.

Luckily, we get so many chances to redeem ourselves. And in the coming years, I can try to lead a more philanthropic life without working for my own gain. After all, that is what it's all about.

One Sign That I Knit Too Much

When I arrived at work today, instead of fussing about the wrinkles in my pants, I broke out the lint roller to remove the alpaca fibers from my shirt....

Molly Be Gone!

Wow- just one more poofy cap sleeve and Molly Ringwald is done. It has been a fun and easy project, and I learned a few new skills such as how to do a kitchener stitch, and how to make ruffles. Now the question is when will I ever fit into this?

Plus, I've been obsessing over what next to do. The last issue of Interweave Knits was rather blah (if anyone wants my copy please help yourself!) so I wasn't feeling very inspired. My next thought was a stash-reduction project. I have a million skeins of yarn in crimson and wine-like colors that are begging to be used before they become Scout's chew toys. On the other hand, I don't like knitting accessories as much as I enjoy tackling a sweater. But then again, with the cold weather coming, there are people in need of warm items. Maybe its time to stop thinking of myself, and time to find ways to distribute those soft and fuzzy cashmerino and durable wool hats and scarves I have made to people who will need them the most.

Veteran's Day

Since tomorrow I will most likely be sitting at a parade with Scout (probably thinking of my grandpa and crying a little) here's your Veteran's Day post from me a day early.

Please remember the veterans. At some time in their lives they made a huge sacrifice. They were sent away from home, away from loved ones, away from comfort and safety. They may have made tough decisions. Or they may have found they had no choice at all. While we can sit here and bicker about politicians, the price of gas, or the taxes for a cup of coffee, they dutifully follow orders. Even the most horrendous ones of which they will never divulge to us at home. While we are horrified by the news reports and casualties of war, they know with actually experience.

So please honor and treat our veterans with respect. If you see a VFW or American legion table set up at the supermarket, please stop for a moment to thank them. If you see a soldier, stop and thank him or her. Donate a bit of cash to the next care package drive you see.

I hate this post as I write it. I hate the years my family has suffered while our men have been deployed. I hate the fear we all feel as my youngest brother is serving overseas right now. But above all, I am so proud. While others sit back and say "not MY son..." my family bravely steps up and defends our country. I hate it, but know I am safe in my home thanks to the bravery of these men and women.

A little ode to the 82nd airborne:

(Pictured above: Phil, Mike Howie, Dave LaRosa. Lower:Mike Kent, Phil, Jimmy Lok)

A Wish List

My silly teacozy hat. A silly hat for a very silly girl....

Dear Santa, I really have a lot to ask of you this year. Since CVS is already engorged with red and green wrapped candies, tinsel, and horrendous singing stuffed snowmen I thought of bringing my list early to you. So here goes:

1) Here’s a biggie: bring my youngest brother home, healthy, victorious and proud of the service he has done for his country. And if the democrats can accomplish this before you do, kudos to them. (Even better if they do it humbly.…)
2) An umbrella-my favorite umbrella, sad to say, has shit the bed. It was so darn cute too, black with little martini glasses.
3) Gift certificates to my favorite clothing stores. After feeling like a fuzzy ripe grape for nine months, some shnazzy new duds would give me the confidence I need.
4) The ability to tell my husband that a TV of gigantic proportions is not going to appear in our imminent future. Maybe never.
5) New feet. It appears that the extra weight I’m carrying has just plain worn out my old feet. If you could, Santa, bring me a pair of bouncy, springy new feet. With prettier toes than my last set, if possible.
6) That foxy brown velvety Michael Kors shoulder bag I saw in Lord & Taylor at lunch today. Even the brown paisley (yes even in dreaded paisley) one will do.
7) Music. I love music. I want to hear it throughout the house. I want my babbakins to grow up familiar with Chopin, Mussorgsky, and such just like I did.
8) Peace on earth? Screw that. There will never be peace on earth, and if there could be, who would want it anyway. If life was always beautiful and kind, and suffering didn’t exist we would thrive, overpopulate, and consume everything in sight. So it would be, say, 50 years of peace at the price of total and immediate world devastation. So call me selfish, but to hell with wishing for world peace. I think the only purity in this world that exists anyways is in the balance and cruelty of nature.
9) A sling to hold up my enormous baby bump for the last month of pregnancy.
10) Continued health, comfort and happiness for my family and friends, yadda yadda yadda. And for my enemies, each a fridge full of rotten eggs. With 800 pounds of cole slaw. Just because they wouldn’t know what to do with all that slaw. That would get ‘em good.
11) For that nasty girl that spread rumors about me at work, dragged me through the torment of her pathetic dating sagas, made fun of my laugh, tried to copy my clothing, announced to people that I was throwing her a surprise 30th birthday party before I even knew I was throwing it, and took a personal stab at a good friend of mine, even MORE cole slaw. Hah!
12) A half pound of cole slaw, light on the cream. Yum.
13) A healthy little boy.

Channeling the Domestic Goddess in Me

Call it nesting, or what you will, but I had a domestic goddess moment over the weekend. Actually, you could call it a barefoot-pregnant-in-the-kitchen moment.

My hon was working his drill weekend at the JAG office (making the best darned coffee in the National Guard, so we say) and I was home in a tizzy. A few nights before I had attempted to make my apple spice bundt cake for a dinner with the Fab 5. Fab 5? JAG office? I should start a glossary of Heather-terms. Perhaps it was because I was baking at 11 at night, or perhaps those hormones just got in the way, but I forgot to spray the bundt pan, and my lovely cake was a disaster. In crumbles.

So I haphazardly tossed some chopped apples and raspberries in two pie plates with some brown sugar, rum, and nutmeg and baked them at 350 for 20 minutes. I then topped them with the crumbled cake and some chopped walnuts and baked for another 20 minutes. And so channeled my inner domestic goddess. Success! And the house smelled pretty damn good.

Proud of my ingenuity, I wandered down to Plymouth center and did some shopping. Along the way I came face to face with THE TURKEY.

A few weeks ago Phil loved this turkey when he saw it in the gift shop. He had to have it. So now its a fixture in our home- it will probably have a name soon. We'll see...

What Turkeys!

Sometimes the toughest kind of men are just the cutest. Can you believe each and every one of these men are fearsome in their day-to-day lives?
I am truly sorry that I have just dispelled your perception of the boys in black and blue. Its true, behind that stern demeanor they can be a bunch of clowns, silly even. I wouldn't say sensitive-come on let's be real. Sensitive men are not my bag, baby. Comic, however, is just fine with me. Especially when their line of work is no laughing matter.

But I wouldn't put it past them to don a blinking sash and crown on their 40th birthdays....

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time I was a freshman at CMU in Pittsburgh. The first day I stepped onto campus I was greeted quite warmly, approached by upperclassmen, and stared at openly while waiting for my student ID photo at the campus center.

I was a bit concerned-I had heard the ratio of men to women was a bit off balance here, but was it really that bad? Men, wearing greek letters, watched me almost greedily. Unbeknownst to me, my tiny frame and low weight were considered very desireable at this campus. In fact, the first week of orientation is a wild hunt for the leaders of every organization, in order to seek and recruit the smallest incoming students.

Carnegie Mellon is host to a long-standing tradition called Sweepstakes (informally known as buggy). Every Spring, the city of Pittsburgh allows CMU to block off the roads of Schenley Park to use in this amazing raze of manpower and IQ. Veiled in secrecy, every organization on campus gathers their geek know-how to design and build the most streamlined man-powered vehicles for this 2-3 minute race. And yes, there is a person (just like me) inside there.

It turns out I was a precious commodity in college: I was driver material.
Within hours of my arrival, I was recuited to drive for Spirit, the minority organization on campus. That night, meeting new friends over beer and visiting the fraternity quad, I was constantly asked if I was driving for anyone yet. Every time, my answer was met with groans of disappointment.

So, beginning that fall, every morning at about 4:30 AM I would crawl out of bed and head over to our designated room in a hall close to the start line. Behind closed doors, I would strip down to a skintight bodysuit and don my helment and gloves and slide feetfirst into my buggy, with the help of my own assistant. At the crack of dawn four large men would carry me in my rocket-like buggy to the safety checkpoint. After a safety inspection I was off. Pushed up Hill 1 and 2 by the strongest athletes on campus, I was launched down the road around flagstaff hill with a mighty shove, and would practice my navigation and turns in order to accelerate to speeds of 25-30MPH.

Behold my baby: VICIOUS FLOW

The tradition of buggy is one veiled in complete secrecy. The windows of every buggy are tinted to hide the steering and braking system from competing teams. The organizations do not reveal the materials or designs to anyone, as the lightest and fastest engineering is also judged in this competition. Even my weight was a matter of secrecy. Looking back, I find the whole experience a bit surreal. But at least we know now, if you asked me if I would be interested in climbing into a lycra bodysuit and be propelled down a steep road headfirst in a small rocket my answer would be "Where do I sign up?"

Trick or Treat

Well, it was a treat!

My nieces came to visit last night and join the hordes of children that haunt our neighborhood on Halloween. Its a perfect place for the holiday-quiet streets, close-packed houses with a lot of families like us. When I got home from work Phil had the driveway lit up and ready, and we watched the flashlights bob up and down the street from our picture window. Soon my mom (Blogless Sharon) and the girls joined us for cookies, and even posed for a few pictures.
We estimate that about 50 children stopped by our house last night-thank god for the backup candy stash!

I think Halloween may just be my favorite holiday ever.

Molly Molly Bo Bolly Banana Fanna...

Never again will I pick a project with miles of stockinette stitch. This lovely little number is ribbed thoughout, and what a difference it makes. Just over the weekend I finished the front, and will be moving on the the sleeves tonight. Sweeeeeet.

Have you ever considered looking for a job that is further away so you may take the commuter rail rather than sit in miles of traffic? That was my thought this morning while I was sitting on Route 3 eating my second granola bar in stop and go traffic. Wouldn't I rather be sitting on the train with a newspaper, book, or (of course) knitting. If I weigh the benefits of taking the T, this is what I come up with:

1) no more anxiously watching my gas gauge (I HATE pumping gas)
2) at least 30-40 minutes of time to fill frivolously with reading, phone calls, or knitting

However, I also considered:

1) no more fun stops on the way home at Pier1, Trader Joes, or HomeGoods
2) no flexibility with time, no lingering around the house in the morning if I feel the desire to eat some breakfast or sleep in
And last but not least..
3) Who was sitting in this seat before me? ewww.


Just so happy its friday...thought I'd share a little domestic moment. This is Scout, waiting dutifully at the picture window. From here he waits to see our cars as they turn onto the street. The best part of this little habit is that when you come home from a hard day at work, the first thing to greet you when you pull in the driveway is his big fuzzy face in the window.

I'm not sure how he feels about the jack-o-lantern dish that Phil bought, but I love it.

See you all monday!

Wishful Thinking

Well, its easy to see how I pick my projects. Could this model be more 'heather-y'? So maybe I'll look like that in my dreams, or maybe I was somewhat close about six months ago. Whatever it may be, I was lingering in Borders last weekend while all of you were in fiber paradise and finally found a purpose for those two enormous skeins of sportweight alpaca that I picked up in Connecticut this year. Molly Ringwald.

Yes, Molly Ringwald. From the pages of KnitScene (I guess the designer thought calling it "Pretty in Pink" would be a bit cliche.) I prefer to call this project Wishful Thinking, as I hope to fit into the finished project by the summer. My version will be a bit softer and more gauzy hopefully. Otherwise, I think those shoulder caps would look a bit silly on me. But to be honest, if I didn't have 20 extra pounds of babakins to carry around, I would steal this girl's outfit in a heartbeat. In fact, there's a black shirt in my closet exactly like the undershirt she's wearing..too funny.

But on to wishful thinking. With the baby boom going on around me at work and socially, the common sentiment among my adorable friends is the longing for our pre-baby figures. The new silhouettes we cast after five months of pregnancy are a bit difficult to accept, and I think we all took for granted the comfort of tailored pants and princess-seaming. My closet (now half empty because I have banned all pre-pregnancy skinny clothes) is now sparsely filled with voluminous empire-waist tops and unflattering pants that bag up around the bottom. I feel, in fact, that some time in September the circus came to town and must have mistaken my closet for one of their clown cars.

So, the best outlook until I can return to my dainty little self is with humor. After all, the preggie-walk is funny, the clothes are funny, and the weird yelps I let out every time babakins decides to give a good kick are really funny. And if I'm lucky, the little one will be able to hear me laughing.

On The Farm

This just reminded me of growing up on the farm. Usually our sheep were hungry enough to be waiting by the barn door at dinnertime. Sometimes, they weren't so hungry...

I Missed It All.

Well, I missed the greatest fiber fest of the year, and a whole lot of great news from the sound of it! But thursday before my foot became its worst, we did get to a Bruins game-and they won. I LOVE hockey. And yes, that is me and my two husbands on the big screen, belly and all.

Things you do when a bum leg keeps you from playing with the other kids at Rhinebeck:

1) You begin thinking about what to make with that soft grey alpaca you picked up in Connecticut this year, and find yourself wondering what posessed you to buy 1280 yards of sportweight?
2) You desperately rush to the mall when no one's looking in the vain hopes of getting a set of US 3 needles at JoAnn's, with no luck of course.
3) You teach yourself how to knit I-cord. (It was very easy after all!)
4) You cry like a baby, much to your husband's confusion. This includes kicking, hiding in the bathroom, and wailing "I want to goooooo!" and other various immature behaviors that you would see only from a 2 year old.
5) You eat. A lot.
6) You spend. A lot. In this case it was on furniture, since there are many stores in our immediate vicinity, so I didn't have to walk far or sit for too long in the car.
7) And last but most strangely, you feel a distinct sense of loss and loneliness, and find yourself sniffing and hugging the most wooly-scented bundles of yarn in your stash throughout the weekend.

Maybe I was trying to capture some of the fun and excitement I was missing....

Beware of Bumps Ahead

DEAR GOD! Why did I not notice this before? About a month ago these signs were erected on Route 3. It was at about that time I popped, like a well-cooked thanksgiving turkey. Someone has to warn the commuters, male and female alike! Turn back! Detour! Don't go this way or you risk getting a serious baby bump! I'm living,walking proof!

OK, in all seriousness I am having the best week ever. One absolutely perfect cut & foil with Stacy at Earth Tones in Duxbury (the most fabulous hairdresser ever), one cute silk dress and brown mary janes, tickets to the Bruins game tonight, and of course knitting/weaving/spinning mecca Rhinebeck this weekend. Could it possibly get any better? I don't think so.

I have my blogger bingo card printed and ready and I am so excited to make the rounds, meet new people, and shop. Only one problem: no project on the needles. There's a silly hat, but that would occupy me for maybe an hour of the road trip. Luckily, the company I'm with can't be beat- Blogless Sharon and Carole will be with there, so I doubt there will be any boredom or dull moments!

(Belly girth- very disappointing last night. Just 34 inches, up from 32 a few months ago. hmm. It may have something to do with the sway-back posture I've been sporting lately. It seems that with all the weight in front, I've developed a strange curve to the spine, making the belly point forward (and the butt stick out too!) Delightful.)

When I'm Happy I Go Country....

Just a little note today-I have noticed that when I'm happy I go country.

I tend to tune into country stations more often. I also pick up my old George Strait and Alan Jackson CD's, sing recklessly in my car along with John Michael Montgomery's "Sold" at the top of my lungs, and dream about getting a pair of real cowboy boots.

My co-workers must think me strange for my selection of music, but you, my friends, know the truth. I'm just very happy.

(i'm also going to the Bruin's game thursday, and Rhinebeck on friday!)

Finishing Touches

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a baby shower-coincidentally for another Heather. In fact, I think the two of us are quite alike- she's handling the last trimester with a lot more grace than I, but I am trying to follow in her footsteps!

Heather has a warm family, with plenty of sisters, aunts, and nieces to celebrate with, so it was a large shower with lots of pink presents. I was in pink paradise...However, halfway through the presents I became infatuated with her friends' little boy (I forget his name) who had to be about 2 years old, and had the nature and austerity of a little man. He marched purposefully from room to room, consumed anyting you put in front of him dutifully, and answered you directly in short punctuated bursts when asked a question. A no-nonsense little guy. Oh, and he had the biggest most beautiful eyes.

So through most of the shower I daydreamed about what our little guy may be like...And decided some more chunky, stripey, earth-tones raglans would be necessary in case we happen to give birth to a little boy like that. So while I'm plugging away at my silly hat, I'll be searching for some ultra-soft merino wool in off-white, or maybe something tweedy to make into chunky little vests and sweaters. A good mission for Rhinebeck, I must say.

Warm Fuzzies

Nothing beats 'em. I'm definitely not a hat person, but after the last weekend camping I almost broke down and bought a Fargo-inspired fur cap at the army-navy store in St. Johnsbury, VT. I look so terrible in hats that even the grizzly hunter perusing Carhart coats in the back stopped to stare. He may have even considered levelling a double-barrel shotgun at me, but I wasn't sure. After determining I would make a lousy trophy, he preferred to pick through the wondrous selection of plaid flannel.

Instead, I returned home and attacked the tea-cozy hat pattern from miss Woolly Wormhead's site with a vengeance. Ignoring the rules (as usual) I used Rowan Big Wool and started knitting on smaller needles than recommended. The result so far-a snug and airtight headcozy befitting the worst weather new england could possibly throw at me. Yum.

Cpl Nicholas Arvanitis

Please say a prayer today for the family of Cpl Nicholas Arvanitis. Cpl Arvanitis died this week in Iraq after coming under fire. He was serving in the 82nd Airborne out of Fort Bragg, NC with my brother Evan at the time. I feel deeply sorry for their loss.