Saturday, November 14, 2009


To my sisters on this journey; Amy, Nikki, Amy, Stacy, Gina, Christina, Michelle, Lisa, Cindy, Carey, Jackie, Georgia, Sherry, Heather, Joanna, Anne, Amanda, Rhonda, Amy, Margaret, Nicole, Lin, Cheri, Jami, Vickie, Kathy and countless more...


Many of you I have never even met face to face, but I've searched you out every day. I've looked for you on the Internet, on playgrounds and in grocery stores.

I've become an expert at identifying you. You are well worn. You are stronger than you ever wanted to be. Your words ring experience…experience you culled with your very heart and soul. You are compassionate beyond the expectations of this world. You are my "sisters."

Yes, you and I, my friend, are sisters in a sorority. A very elite sorority. We are special. Just like any other sorority, we were chosen to be members. Some of us were invited to join immediately, some not for months or even years. Some of us even tried to refuse membership, but to no avail.

We were initiated in neurologist' s offices and NICU units, in
obstetrician's offices, in emergency rooms, and during ultrasounds. We were initiated with somber telephone calls, consultations, evaluations, blood tests, x-rays, MRI films, and heart surgeries.

All of us have one thing in common. One day things were fine. We were pregnant, or we had just given birth, or we were nursing our newborn, or we were playing with our toddler. Yes, one minute everything was fine. Then, whether it happened in an instant, as it often does, or over the course of a few weeks or months, our entire lives changed. Something wasn't quite right. Then we found ourselves mothers of children with special needs.

We are united, we sisters, regardless of the diversity of our
children's special needs. Some of our children undergo chemotherapy. Some need respirators and ventilators. Some are unable to talk, some are unable to walk. Some eat through feeding tubes. Some live in a different world. We do not discriminate against those mothers whose children's needs are not as "special" as our child's. We have mutual respect and empathy for all the women who walk in our shoes.

We are knowledgeable. We have educated ourselves with whatever
materials we could find. We know "the" specialists in the field. We know "the" neurologists, "the" hospitals, "the" wonder drugs, and "the" treatments. We know "the" tests that need to be done, we know "the" degenerative and progressive diseases and we hold our breath while our children are tested for them. Without formal education, we could become board certified in neurology, nephrology, endocrinology, and physiatry.

We have taken on our insurance companies and school boards to get what our children need to survive and to flourish. We have prevailed upon the state to include augmentative communication devices in special education classes and mainstream schools for our children with cerebral palsy. We have labored to prove to insurance companies the medical necessity of gait trainers and other adaptive equipment for our children with spinal cord defects. We have sued municipalities to have our children properly classified so they could receive education and evaluation commensurate with their diagnosis.

We have learned to deal with the rest of the world, even if that means walking away from it. We have tolerated scorn in supermarkets during "tantrums" and gritted our teeth while discipline was advocated by the person behind us on line. We have tolerated inane suggestions and home remedies from well-meaning strangers. We have tolerated mothers of children without special needs complaining about chicken pox and ear infections. We have learned that many of our closest friends can't understand what it's like to be in our sorority, and don't even want to try.

We have our own personal copies of Emily Perl Kingsley's "Welcome To Holland" and Erma Bombeck's "The Special Mother." We keep them by our bedside and read and reread them during our toughest hours.

We have coped with holidays. We have found ways to get our physically handicapped children to the neighbors' front doors on Halloween, and we have found ways to help our deaf children form the words, "trick or treat." We have accepted that our children with sensory dysfunction will never wear velvet or lace on Christmas. We have painted a canvas of lights and a blazing Yule log with our words for our blind children. We have pureed turkey on Thanksgiving. We have bought white chocolate bunnies for Easter. And all the while, we have tried to create a festive atmosphere for the rest of our family.

We've gotten up every morning since our journey began wondering how we'd make it through another day, and gone to bed every evening not sure how we did it.

We've mourned the fact that we never got to relax and sip red wine in Italy. We've mourned the fact that our trip to Holland has required much more baggage than we ever imagined when we first visited the travel agent. And we've mourned because we left for the airport without most of the things we needed for the trip.

But we sisters keep the faith always. We never stop believing.
Our love for our special children and our belief in all that they will achieve in life knows no bounds. We dream of them scoring touchdowns and extra points and home runs. We visualize them running sprints and marathons. We dream of them planting vegetable seeds, riding horses and chopping down trees. We hear their angelic voices singing Christmas carols. We see their palettes smeared with watercolors, and their fingers flying over ivory keys in a concert hall. We are amazed at the grace of their pirouettes. We never, never stop believing in all they will accomplish as they pass through this world.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Hey look, a post!

Wowzers, long time no blog. I did not fall off the planet, although many of my friends may think that I have. The past two months have been totally crazy. First we had the Walk for Autism. We raised about $28,000!!!!!!! Fantastic, considering it was our first year. I was beyond thrilled with the way the day turned out.

Then, just five days after the walk I had a hysterectomy. I know, unexpected, right? Well, I'd had some inklings for awhile that something was wrong with my "girl parts" but I didn't realize how bad it was till everything was removed & examined. I won't go into gory detail, but let's just suffice it to say that only 3 weeks post-op and I am already feeling significantly better.

In there we also had Knitter's Day Out, where I taught two classes (fantastic experience!), the Big Sock came to Uncommon Threads, Beastie lost THREE teeth, Medium child got a new car (a Honda Civic), Homecoming came & went, we finally sold the Excursion and I cast on about 8 new projects and completed maybe two. A pretty typical two month period.

I'm finally feeling like myself again and more regular blog postings should be happening from here on out again. Meanwhile, here are a few pretties to keep you guessing...

sexy sock!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Amazing Race will feature contestant with Aspergers

Meet the teams on new season of 'The Amazing Race'

By DERRIK J. LANG (AP) – Sep 9, 2009

LOS ANGELES — One team will have a leg up on the competition in the upcoming season of "The Amazing Race."
Two of the Harlem Globetrotters are among the 12 teams starring in the 15th edition of the CBS reality show, which premieres Sept. 27. Nathaniel "The Big Easy" Lofton, 28, from New Orleans , and Herbert "Flight Time" Lang, 32, from Brinkley , Ark. , believe their experience will help them dominate this season's course, which spans eight countries in 21 days.
"I've been to about 65 countries around the world," said Lang. "I definitely think that gives us a little bit of an advantage when we're traveling to different countries, as far as knowing how to interact with different cultures, managing our money and communicating with taxi drivers and whoever else we need to help us get from Point A to Point B."
Justin Kanew, 30, and Zev Glassenberg, 26, best friends from Los Angeles who met while working as camp counselors at Camp Greylock in Becket, Mass., are more excited about the journey than the possibility of winning the show's $1 million grand prize. Glassenberg has Asperger's syndrome, a milder form of autism.
"I don't think the fact that I have Asperger's will hinder me," Glassenberg said. "I do tend to think outside of the box, so it might help us. It'll be weird going into these social situations around the world. I might not take it all in right away, but I know I'm racing, so I'll probably get past it really fast."
Other teams include Maria Ho, 26, and Tiffany Michelle, 25, who are professional poker players.
"It's obviously different from competition at the poker table," said Ho, who came in 11th place at this year's World Series of Poker in Las Vegas . "It's outdoorsy. This is physical and mental, but we will definitely be applying whatever skills we have as gamers to this competition and push ourselves in different ways that we're not used to doing."
Among the teams who are romantically linked: a feisty engaged couple from Boston; grade-school sweethearts from San Diego; a dating couple from San Francisco who met online; married yoga instructors from Encino, Calif.; dating aspiring country singers; and a former Miss America and her husband.
"They are now suddenly putting their relationship under a microscope," said host Phil Keoghan. "I personally wouldn't want to do that, but teams do, and audiences love to watch it, and there are a number of teams on this season that are coming to the race to test their relationship, and it sounds like some of them might get quite testy in the process."
For the first time, one team will be booted at the start of the trek, and racers will have to tackle the Switchback, a new twist that sends teams back to one of the series' most challenging "roadblocks." Executive producer Bertram van Munster said the racers will set off from the Los Angeles River , then first head to Tokyo to complete several zany tasks.
"Have you ever seen Japanese tourists following a tour guide with a little flag?" said van Munster. "Well, our contestants are going to be the tour leaders. Each team is going to have to run a group of 20 tourists through the center of Tokyo as fast as they can. Whoever brings their entire tour group to the Pit Stop first will be the number one team."

Seaside gets $30M to pursue new autism drug

Seaside gets $30M to pursue new autism drug
September 17, 2009 — 9:04am ET | By John Carroll

Cambridge, MA-based Seaside Therapeutics is emerging from stealth mode this morning with an announcement that it has raised $30 million to pursue mid-stage clinical trial development on new therapies for Fragile X Syndrome and autism. Founded back in 2005 and built around an early-stage program licensed in from the defunct Sention, Seaside's 22 staffers are pursuing one of the most puzzling diseases on the planet with an approach that they believe has the potential to significantly improve the lives of autistic patients and their families.

Seaside isn't your average biotech, as CEO Randall L. Carpenter, M.D., made clear in an interview with FierceBiotech. This new venture money was put up by an unnamed family investment firm that has provided the bulk of the $66 million raised to date. And the firm has committed to fund the company through to profitability, "if necessary."

"It allows us to decouple ourselves from the market," says Carpenter, who has been working with Mark Bear, a neuroscience professor at MIT, on developing these new therapies. Seaside is currently enrolling patients in two trials for Fragile X and autism. To date, says Carpenter, only one drug--the antipsychotic risperidone--has been approved for autism symptoms. And the initial efficacy endpoint that they'll be studying is the same: to improve irritability in children and adolescents who suffer from autism. But Carpenter says Seaside's therapeutic approach has the potential to do much more.

"It may allow individuals to speak, to learn normally," he explains. "It may enhance their ability to relate to the environment, be more calm and less anxious and potentially more interactive. We're seeing profound effects in our animal models; how that translates to humans is what we'll find out in the next year or two."

The company's lead therapy, STX209--which inhibits glutamate signaling in the brain--entered a Phase II clinical study in adults and adolescents with Fragile X in December 2008 and a second trial in adolescents with autism spectrum disorders was launched in March 2009. Seaside intends to expand both studies to include children as young as six years old during 2009. Data from both Phase II studies is expected in early 2010.

Read more:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Not trying to stir drama, but...

If you wanted a reason not to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch, here is a good one:

Girl: I was treated like a 'misfit' at Abercrombie & Fitch

Abercrombie & Fitch was fined $115,264 for refusing to let an Apple Valley teen help her autistic sister try on clothes.

By JAMES ELI SHIFFER and JANE FRIEDMANN, Star Tribune staff writers

Four years after Abercrombie & Fitch refused to let a teenager help her autistic sister try on clothes at its Mall of America store, state officials have fined the company $115,264 for discriminating against a disabled person.

The hefty penalty from the Minnesota Department of Human Rights pleased the Maxson family of Apple Valley, which was forced to push hard for satisfaction after the retailing giant refused to apologize for the incident and even questioned whether the girl was disabled. The fine was levied in June but made public this month.

Michael K. Browne, the department's legal affairs manager, said the size of the penalty is the largest in at least two years. The amount reflects his agency's effort to prevent future discrimination of this kind, as well as the cost of litigation forced by the "pushback" from Abercrombie & Fitch. "We don't want anything that happened in this case to repeat itself," Browne said.

Molly Maxson, then 14, was with her older sister on a back-to-school shopping trip in August 2005 when a store employee told them they couldn't both enter the fitting room because of store policy aimed at preventing shoplifting. The store refused to relent even after the sister, and later the girls' mother, explained that Molly couldn't be alone because of her disability.

The confrontation humiliated the girl, who told a psychologist hired by Abercrombie & Fitch that the incident made her feel like a "misfit."

"She was singled out and required to hear her sister and mother repeatedly ask for accommodations based on her disability, in front of a long line of customers, at a store that markets itself to young people as a purveyor of a particularly desirable 'look,'" administrative law judge Kathleen D. Sheehy declared in her ruling.

When several complaints to the company were ignored, the girl's mother, Beth Maxson of Apple Valley, took the case to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.

The investigation encountered strong resistance from Abercrombie & Fitch. The retailer, based in New Albany, Ohio, posted $3.5 billion in sales last year and has been the target of several discrimination lawsuits. In 2004, the company agreed to pay $40 million and set up a diversity program to settle a class-action suit charging the company with discrimination in hiring and employment. The suit had accused Abercrombie & Fitch of excluding minorities from its sales floors and adopting a virtually all-white marketing campaign. The company admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to new policies to promote diversity.

In the Maxson case, the company denied that the girl suffered from a disability until the first day of an administrative law hearing in April. She was diagnosed as autistic at age 2.

In her ruling, Sheehy concluded that Abercrombie & Fitch violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act and ordered the company to pay the girl $25,000 and cover the family's attorney fees of $41,069. The company had to pay the state a $25,000 fine and cover other expenses totaling $24,194.

Abercrombie & Fitch also was ordered to post signs in its seven Minnesota store explaining that disabled individuals should seek out a sales associate if they need an exception to the company's policy allowing only one person in the fitting room at a time. The company also must provide an hour of training for all employees in Minnesota who interact with the public to make sure they understand how to help disabled customers.

A spokesman for Abercrombie & Fitch did not have an immediate response Tuesday afternoon to the state's action.

The judge found that the store policy allowed fitting room employees to accommodate disabled shoppers, but that employees interpreted that to mean people with visible handicaps.

Abercrombie & Fitch isn't challenging the findings of fact in the case, but the company has appealed the penalties and corrective measures, Browne said. Sheehy denied the company's request to lower the attorney fees, finding that Abercrombie & Fitch "transformed this case from a relatively simple matter into the expensive proceeding it has become."

In an interview Tuesday, Brittany Maxson, now 21, said that the 2005 shopping trip was supposed to be an occasion for Molly to find clothes that would allow her to fit in better with other kids at school.

"Because of her autism, she's very vulnerable," Brittany said Tuesday. "In social situations, everything is new to her. It's very unpredictable how she'll act. ... We've never left her alone, even at home. We never let her go anywhere by herself. We've always kept a close eye on her."

As the sisters went from store to store in the Mall of America, a clerk at another store also questioned the girls when they entered a fitting room together, but consented immediately when informed of the girl's disability, Brittany said. But at Abercrombie & Fitch, store employees would not budge, even after the mother called the company's customer service hotline.

In its legal battle, the company challenged the family's claim that Molly was disabled, requesting medical and school records and subjecting the girl to an interview with a forensic psychologist, her mother said. Molly told the psychologist that the incident made her feel "bad" and "scared," and that she never wanted to shop there again.

"I am a misfit at Abercrombie," she told the psychologist.

Molly's mother said she's "very thankful" that the state took the actions it did to enforce the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

"I refuse to have a belief that this law has no meaning," Beth Maxson said. "We're going to continue to move forward, hoping this never happens to anyone again."

Friday, September 04, 2009

Flash Mob, York PA

Every once in awhile, my hometown rocks...

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Help Support the Walk for Autism

Dear family & friends

I am writing to you on behalf of my son, Jay Place. As you know, Jay just turned six and in addition to being a beautiful, loving and amazing boy, Jay also has severe autism. This means Jay can't ask you this himself, because as of yet, Jay can't speak.

On October 10, Autism York is hosting Walk for Autism at John Rudy Park, York, PA. We will be participating in the walk and have set a personal goal of raising $250 to help support this organization. Autism York is dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders and provides York and Adams County families affected by ASD, a place to get advice, encouragement, and support. Additionally, 100% of the money raised will be used locally to sponsor support meetings, presentations and trainings, social outings, community outreach programs, and a lending library as well as many other worthwhile programs.

Please help support our efforts and the work of Autism York by making a donation. You may send your tax-deductible donation directly to me with checks payable to Autism York or make your contribution online at my personal Autism York Walk for Autism webpage, at, and use my sponsor link:

Thank you so much for your help! Every amount helps to make a huge difference in the lives of those who are impacted by autism.

Jay Place & family

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sexy Lacy Socks, Day 2 & a yummy dinner

Almost finished the first one. Would be finished except I ripped a big bunch of it out to re-do and I somehow took a big dig out of the knuckle in the middle of my left index finger, making it a bit tough to crochet today.

So anyway, here is your gratuitous leg shot...

Life has been so crazy lately, between getting the website up & running for the walk, the heat, the billboard fiasco, school starting and preparing for my impending surgery I don't even know if I am coming or going.

I have been making some amazing dinners lately though. Using lots of fresh vegetables -- the only good part of August, I sincerely believe.

Tonight's dinner was a yummy one. Not sure what to call it -- I'll take your suggestions.

Tonight's Dinner:

4 packs chicken ramen
2 tomatoes, diced
3 ears sweet corn, cooked & cut off ears
4 slices bacon, drained & chopped
2 T. ranch dressing
2 T. Parmesan cheese

Break up the ramen noodles & cook as directed. Drain and rinse with cold water. Sprinkle the seasoning packets on the noodles and incorporate the remaining ingredients. Top with Parmesan cheese. Mega - yum - yum!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

new crochet socks!!!

So here & below you will see my new crochet socks. I started them yesterday! Eeep!!! They will be done in time for Friday and the Sock Hop Party. Knee socks! Have I said, Eeep!!!

LOVE ---- LOVE ---- LOVE them!!!


More details soon; need to chase the beastie!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sad, news & fear


Sparky & Clark's closing today
Daily Record/Sunday News
Updated: 08/20/2009 12:55:06 PM EDT

Sparky & Clark's Roasting Co. and Coffee Bar in the 200 block of West Market Street will close for good at 3 p.m. Thursday, its two full-time employees said today.

The company's Martin Library location in York will stay open, co-owner Mike Butler said. Butler declined to say why the West Market Street shop is closing.

The employees, Jen Schreiber and Vanessa DeLisio, said they will try to open their own coffee shop downtown, possibly in the same West Market Street location. The two collected customers' e-mail addresses Thursday, hoping to inform them of future developments. "We'll be back," Schreiber said.

I will miss my Sparky's runs. Good luck girls!!!

Front page news in our local paper: After objections, autism billboard comes down

Fear Factor:
Beastie had his appt with his new GI doc & he is amazing! I LOVE him!!! He actually “gets” autism, which is rare. We go up to Danville on Sept 10th, stay at Ronald McDonald House & then on Friday morning Beastie will be sedated and have a colonoscopy, upper endoscopy, allergy testing, biopsies of several of his organs, pancreatic function testing and I can’t remember what else. I had planned to go to the Penn State game on Saturday 9/12, but now I’m not sure I should.

I also found out yesterday that I will indeed be needing a hysterectomy. Not sure when it will be. I have my pre-op appt on Sept. 8th. I’m hoping for late October or November. After Knitter’s Day Out, the Walk for Autism and Rhinebeck. So now I am doing all that nervous, researchy stuff. Terrified, but glad to know the end is in sight.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

crochet ribbing

So I've scoured the internets trying to find a good eplaination of how to do the ribbed crochet edge that I use for my hats. I discovered a few things. 1) nearly every crochet hat pattern out there is top down. 2) apparently no one does the ribbing thing the way I do.

No I'm certainly not saying I invented (unvented?) this technique. I just can't find a good tutorial of it out there, so I'm posting my own.

chain 10

skipping first chain, sc in next 9 sts in back loop only; ch1, turn

fpsc in the first 8 stitches, sc in the last sc, ch 1, turn. (9 stitches)

Repeat this row until ribbed band measures 22" or size desired for hat band.

Pretty simple, I realize, but horribly effective. The FREE pattern that goes along with this band to be published tomorrow. Look for pics very soon!

if you aren't part of the solution...

recently my ASA chapter put up some billboards that said...

"If 1 in 150 children were kidnapped we would have a national emergency. We do. Autism."

This is a quote from a PARENT of a child with autism.

Suddenly we are in the middle of a controversy about these billboards. I am not going to link these sites that are bashing and slamming my group. The things these people are saying about my ALL VOLUNTEER group of mostly MOMS of children with autism are horrible, hateful and malicious. I am not going to give them publicity; if you want to see, just use your google-fu.

I still stand by the decision to run these billboards 100%

HEY..... ALL YOU PROTESTERS..... why don't you take a minute to actually READ THE BILLBOARD!!!

we are NOT saying kids with autism have been kidnapped or that their brains are being held hostage

we are making a comparison to make people realize that autism is serious & that if it were anything else people would take it more seriously.

I am so completely pissed off right now. And I'm tired. And yes, congrats you evil hate-spewing people.... If you wanted to make the mommy of a six year old little boy with a beautiful smile, an amazing sense of humor, curly blonde hair, blue eyes and the most tickle-able belly ever, who also happens to have severe autism cry, hooray you -- you did it! Don't you feel good about yourself now?

I will spend tomorrow devoting another 12 - 14 unpaid hours volunteering to clean up this mess and deal with your hate. For tonight I am going to go snuggle my sleeping angel and then probably cry myself to sleep.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Thanks to all who helped organize the effort. He was visiting from out of town & has been reunited with his family now.

Special thanks to Amy Sealover, Holly Giglio, Michele Segal, Brenda Hartman, York Regional Police and everyone else behind the scenes who jumped to the call early this morning.

If anyone has any further questions or concerns, please email us,

Thank you!!!

Help find this boy's family


Approx age 12-16, Caucasian, blond hair, non-verbal. Found in Red Lion, PA on Monday, July 27 around 8am.

If you have ANY information on who this boy might be, please contact York Regional Police or ASA York, 717-801-1272.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

must. breathe.

Holy cow! I love spinners!

I’ve gotten orders for over 60 bags already! Anyone who orders from this point forward will be “pending”. That would be pending me having enough fiber to fill all the orders, having enough envelopes, having some sanity, etc. My hope is to pack up & label these bags all tomorrow, ship them Tuesday & then have an update on Wednesday with estimated shipping time for any new orders that come in. I don’t think having enough fiber will be an issue, but I don’t want anyone to miss out on some of the good stuff.

Let me catch my breath, but feel free to comment me in the meantime & I will add you to the pending list.


GRAB BAG FRENZY: Holy Mother of all Fiber Purges

So, as many of you know, I used to be a “professional” novelty spinner. Some of you may know me as the co-founder of Material Whirled. Sadly, my health & my life have gotten in the way of my spinning. Now I find that I only spin sock yarns anymore and yet I still have bins and bins of fibers that I don’t know if I will ever use. I would like to offer up a purge of grab bags, each filled with some fun & funky.

THE DEAL: Each bag is full of whatever I can cram into a tyvek envelope. Not full enough to pop, but plenty full. Weight varies depending on what I put in there, but I promise you a full bag. You may get cotton, silk, alpaca, blends, batts, angelina, firestar, mohair, opposum, camel, yak, oh yeah, and of course wool. I’ll mix up the colors in each bag and I’ll make sure everyone gets a handful of fun novelty spin-ins, some thread or yarn snippets and/or some fun trims or beads. I’m guessing the weight on the few that I’ve packed up so far at about 8 oz. or so.

THE PRICE: US Postage paid will be $8 per bag. Want more then one bag, price is the same, since each bag will ship separately. If you have allergies or fiber/color preferences let me know & I will see what I can do. I literally have hundreds of pounds of fiber to go through and this seems the most efficient way to get rid of gobs of it at once.
Payment via Paypal only. PM me for my email address.

Any spinners who know me can tell you, this is good stuff, not crap. I’m not a fan of crap. :D

International? Let me know and we will see what we can work out for you.

My house is smoke free and pet free.

Any questions, just give me a shout!

Friday, July 17, 2009

It's a good day

Not only is it Friday, which makes it good, I got my glasses AND I get to go see Harry Potter on a lunch date with my hubby. All of which make it a very, very good day.

In fact, now that I look at the time I have to run, but I at least wanted to share...

Movie review & knitting news coming soon! Happy Friday!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Random Thoughts & Giggling Nephews

  • I hate insurance companies
  • My inbox has over 4,000 messages in it. that sucks.
  • putting a 'whale tail' on your chevy celebrity will not make it look cool
  • nor will painting flames on your ford escort station wagon
  • I have serious knitting ADD
  • My spiffy new eyeglasses are in & I am dying to go pick them up
  • Someone *might* be interested in buying the Excursion. cross fingers.
  • Long Island Iced tea is the Devil's own private concoction
  • I still miss my Reenie
  • We got approved for partial funding for a fence! We will have to pay over $500 but still, every little bit helps. Just need to do the paperwork & get the permits now.
  • I love the new Ravelry chat feature. And bacon.
  • My state's governor is a moron.
  • I just finished watching Firefly. I am now a part of the cult.
  • I just started watching "Dead Like Me". Love it so far (2 episodes in)

Today's happy video -- my adorable nephew:
Nathan has the giggles :)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ode to Joy

Beastie is home from his eye exam. Everything went smoothly, although he came out of the anesteshia rather mean & grumpy. His astigmatism has gotten much worse, but the good news is that the cupless optic disc in his left eye looks the same as it did a year ago & the right eye is showing no new issues. So, in celebration I give you some Beaker!

Monday, June 29, 2009

some WIPs & some tnna & some Beastie

(wow, that title almost sounds naughty! anyway.......)

I've been kniting & crocheting like a mad-woman lately. Never without 2 or 3 (or more) projects with me wherever I may be going. Some of them are TSS (top secret stuff, not therapeautic support staff [sorry kristy!]) but some of them are able to be shared, so I will happily do that now.

First up is my second Summer Sock Hop Sock

This was taken yesterday. Since then I've gotten almost to the toe decreases. And yes, in this photo the sock is on DPNs. But that really didn't work for me, so never fear, it is back on the loop and buzzing along fine again.

I hope to have this one done tomorrow. It will be perfect knitting while Beastie is having his eye exam (more on that later).

Next is my Geisha Wrap by Kristin Omdahl from the book Wrapped in Crochet. I'm doing it in the Moda Dea Silk N' Wool blend that I got from Coats & Clark as a thank you for organizing the Special Olympics Scarf project on Ravelry. I'm almost through my second skein of yarn and it is just skipping right along. Perfect mindless summer crochet.

I'm hoping to finish it in the car this weekend when we are on our way up to the Poconos for the weekend for a family reunion. Won't that be cute for firework snuggling?

I truly believe absence does make the heart grow fonder. I was gone for five days at TNNA. What a fantastic time we had, but wow, was I happy to get home to my men. And I'm pretty sure they missed me too, although with all the testosterone floating around they would be hard pressed to admit it to anyone.

I met so many wonderful, amazing people. I tried hard not to act like a fangirl a few times, but wow, was it hard when so many of your needlearts crushes are so near. I won't name any names in order to save myself embarassment, but suffice it to say that I get to check off some names on my "people I'd like to meet" list.

Our booth was great looking & great fun too. There were so many wonderful LYS owners stopping by to see the new yarns and so many great designers coming in too. Really, it was a fibergirl's dream come true. I'll blog about the new yarns later this week on the Paca-Blog and be sure to link here when I do so. You better get your bibs ready, because these babies are drool-worthy!

And speaking of babies...

Beastie sacked out after a long hard day at camp. Tomorrow morning he goes in for an eye exam under sedation. It appears as though his astigmatism has had a 90 degree shift in the past year, something that is highly unusual, so we have to have another 'surgical procedure' done to see what is going on inside those eyeballs of his. Cross your fingers for us; I'll update on his results as soon as I can.

Summer Sock Hop Sock on DPNs

I've gotten a few requests to modify the pattern for knitting on DPNs. Since I seldom use DPNs anymore, I will try, but bear with me if I'm not explaining it perfectly.

Using your preferred method, cast on 140 stitches. Divide evenly onto 4 needles, 35 sts per needle, and join in the round.

Rounds 1 - 4: Knit
Round 5: *K2tog, K3tog* (56 stitches remain)

Continue knitting in stockinette stitch for 1" or to desired cuff length. A cuff longer then 1" may require an additional ball of Panda Silk.

Knit across Needle 1. Turn and purl across Needle 1 and Needle 4, consolidating all 28 sts onto one needle.
Row 1: (WS) Sl 1, P 27, turn
Row 2: *Sl 1, K 1*

Repeat these two rows 16 times, for a total of 32 rows.
then repeat row 1 once more.

Row 1: (RS) Sl 1, K 16, ssk, k1, turn
Row 2: Sl 1, p 7, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 3: Sl 1, knit to 1 st before gap created by turn on previous row, ssk to close gap (1 st from each side of gap), k1, turn
Row 4: Sl 1, purl to 1 st before gap created by turn on previous row, p2tog to close gap (1 st from each side of gap) p1, turn

Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all stitches have been worked - 18 sts remain.

Set up Row: Knit across working needle (Needle 1), using same needle, pick up 16 gusset stitches, plus pick up one extra stitch between last gusset stitch and Needle 2 in order to eliminate any possible holes in your sock.

Needle 2: Knit all sts
Needle 3: Knit all sts

Reintroduce Needle 4, picking up 1 stitch between Needle 3 and your first gusset stitch and then pick up 16 gusset stitches. Still working on Needle 4, knit the first 9 stitches from needle 1.

At this point your stitches should be aligned as follows:
Needle 1: 26 sts
Needle 2: 14 sts
Needle 3: 14 sts
Needle 4: 26 sts

Begin gusset decreases:
Round 1: Needle 1 - knit to the last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. Needle 2 & 3 - knit across the top of your foot. Needle 4 - k1, ssk, knit to end of needle.
Round 2: Knit all sts.

Continue repeating these two rounds until you get back to a total of 56 sts with 28 sts on each needle.

Knit all stitches until sock is 2" shorter then desired length of foot.

Round 1: (even round) Knit
Round 2: (decrease round) Needle 1 - knit to 3 sts before the end of needle, k2tog, k1. Needle 2 - k1, ssk, knit to last 3 sts of Needle 3, k2tog, k1. Needle 4, K1, ssk, knit to end of needle (4 sts decreased).

Repeat rounds 1 & 2 until 16 sts remain (4 on each needle). Transfer sts from Needle 2 onto Needle 1 and from Needle 4 onto Needle 3. Graft sts together using the Kitchener stitch.

I hope I did all the conversion correctly! If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. Enjoy!!!

Monday, June 08, 2009

Free Summer Sock Pattern!

Nothing better then cute, flirty summer socks to chase away the humid knitting blues. This is my current favorite pattern, many thanks to my dear lovie, Tasha, for being the inspiration.


Yarn: Panda Silk (52% Bamboo, 43% Superwash Merino Wool, 5% Combed Silk), 1 ball, 204 yards
Needles: Size 2 circulars, 32" or longer
Stitch Marker
Gauge: 36 sts per 4" in stockinette stitch

Note: This pattern is written for Magic-Loop. If you are not comfortable with 'looping' you can find videos at Knitting Help:

Using your preferred method, cast on 140 stitches. Divide evenly onto 2 needles and join in the round.

Rounds 1 - 4: Knit
Round 5: *K2tog, K3tog* (56 stitches remain)

Continue knitting in stockinette stitch for 1" or to desired cuff length. A cuff longer then 1" may require an additional ball of Panda Silk.

Using only one needle you will be working 28 stitches. Turn sock so that wrong side is facing.
Row 1: (WS) Sl 1, P 27, turn
Row 2: *Sl 1, K 1*

Repeat these two rows 16 times, for a total of 32 rows.
then repeat row 1 once more.

Row 1: (RS) Sl 1, K 16, ssk, k1, turn
Row 2: Sl 1, p 7, p2tog, p1, turn
Row 3: Sl 1, knit to 1 st before gap created by turn on previous row, ssk to close gap (1 st from each side of gap), k1, turn
Row 4: Sl 1, purl to 1 st before gap created by turn on previous row, p2tog to close gap (1 st from each side of gap) p1, turn

Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all stitches have been worked - 18 sts remain.

Set up Row: Knit across working needle, using same needle, pick up 16 gusset stitches, plus pick up one extra stitch between last gusset stitch and work on back needle in order to eliminate any possible holes in your sock.

Switch your loop around and k28, this is the top of your foot. PM and then pick up one stitch between the needle and the first gusset stitch and then pick up the 16 gusset stitches.

You will have more stitches on one needle then the other, but that's okay. Needle 1 will have 35 sts (18 sts from the heel, 16 from the gusset plus the 1 you picked up from between the needles); Needle 2 will have 45 sts (28 sts across the top of you foot, then your marker, then your 1 extra st from between the needles followed by your 16 gusset sts).

Round 1: Knit all sts.
Round 2: On your first needle, knit to the last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. Switch your loop around. Work across the top of your foot, slip your marker, k1, ssk, knit to end of needle.

Continue repeating these two rounds until you get back to a total of 56 sts. Your first needle should have 23 sts and your second needle should have 33 sts (28 across the top of the foot sts, your marker and then 5 sts). At this point you are done your decreses. Slip the 5 gusset sts that remain on your second needle back onto the first needle to make a total of 28 sts on each needle.
Knit all stitches until sock is 2" shorter then desired length of foot.

Round 1: (even round) Knit
Round 2: (decrease round) Needle 1[top of foot] K1, ssk, knit to 3 sts before the end of needle, k2tog, k1. Needle 2 [bottom of foot] K1, ssk, knit to 3 sts before the end of needle, k2tog, k1 (4 sts decreased).

Repeat rounds 1 & 2 until 16 sts remain (8 on each needle). Graft sts together using the Kitchner stitch.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

well, thank god that's over!

So I got back from Jamaica and promptly got sick. Really sick. I know, what's new, right? I feel like this has been six months of pretty much non-stop sick, but this one was a doozy. Lung capacity down to 30% and nearly landed my pretty little butt in the hospital this time. Hooray for prednisone (betcha never thought you hear me say that one!)

So enough whining about me. On to some news. The 4th Annual Autism Awareness Fair was a smashing success. Which we of course knew it would be, but omg, the stress of making this event happen every year makes me wonder why we put ourselves through it. But then I look at the numbers. 750 through the door, 200 kids dropped off at the play area, countless families finding the resources they need. The kids talent area was a big hit as were all the old reliables. I am humbled to be a part of such an amazing group of dedicated women (and a few men too).

Our group also had these billboards installed at several locations around York this month:

Pretty impactful, don't you think?

And there has been knitting! Alert the media!!! See, there is always knitting going on, I just usually never remember to tell you guys about it. This one is for work, it's Knitty's Pioneer, modeled by the lovely & beautiful Tasha.

Made from Swizzle from The Alpaca Yarn Company in the color Academy Blue. Yum, yum, yum!!! Only took me a few days to knit and I am absolutely in love with the way it turned out!

Next on the needles is Flit + Float from the same issue of Knitty. This one is made from The Alpaca Yarn Company's new color of Glimmer, Mint Kiss. I'm knitting it on size 5 addi lace turbos and I'm totally in love with it so far. There are SIX charts to this sucker, but the first one is very easy to follow and memorize. Of course, as I say this I am in the midst of trying to figure out where I made a mistake, but yeah, it will all work out eventually.

And, for the most exciting news of all, I'm going to be going to Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival for the ENTIRE WEEKEND!!! Woot!!! I never get to go anywhere Beastie free, let alone for three whole days. I will be working most of the time, but I am sure I will be able to squeeze in time for fun too. Let me know if you are going & we can plan a meet up! Yay!!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

FDR Pebbles Review

as promised...

FDR Pebbles Trip Photo Album

We visited FDR Pebbles from March 2 - 9, 2009. The visit exceed our expectations on every level. We are in our mid 30s and were traveling with our youngest son who is 5 years old and has severe autism. We contacted the resort in advance using their online chat feature to let them know we would be coming and what special needs he had. They assigned us a nanny, Tycia, who had experience working with kids with autism.

I cannot say enough good things about the resort, the staff and the personal attention our son received during our trip. Because the resort is so intimate, you get to know the other families and the staff very quickly, which is great. Whenever our son needed us, Tycia let another staff member know and they quickly came and found us. No mega-resort can offer this type of service or attention.

Our room was in building 4, room 113, second floor end overlooking the pool and above the kids club. This was an ideal location and I strongly recommend this building to anyone. The wi-fi signal from building 6 was strong, the view was great and the convenience to everything the resort had to offer was fantastic. The room is rustic. If you are looking for a bright, airy, tropical room then you should look somewhere else because you will not be satisfied. However, if you want an intimate, cozy, treehouse feel, this is perfect. I loved the fact that this was a "kid's resort" and I wasn't constantly worried about my son breaking something or damaging something because everything was pretty much kid-proof. This is a big relief for me and let me enjoy the vacation just a little bit more. The room is divided into two sections, a living area with two day beds, a desk, drawers, tv, refrigerator & mirror. The other section contains the parents' bed, tv, two small tables and balcony access. The bathroom is small but the large vanity sink is nice and the shower is hot with plenty of pressure. The resort supplies shampoo, body wash, soap, lotion and plenty of towels. Our nanny stocked our fridge with our favorites, including red stripe, coke, ginger ale, fruit, cheese, yogurt, cereal and milk. There is one air conditioner for the entire room, which is why the wall doesn't go the whole way up and completely divide the room, as some others have commented on. If this wall went the whole way up, the kids would never get any of the air conditioning. The room light is dim, our only real complaint. I would recommend a book light if you are a late night reader.

Much of our trip was a blow-out, weather-wise. The scuba shop was closed every day of our trip, which was very disappointing to my husband, an avid scuba diver. The wind was vicious and it wasn't terribly warm. Many of the nannies were seen wearing coats or wrapped in towels, trying to stay warm, although most of the kids didn't mind. This meant that my visions of sitting at the pool bar for hours on end or laying in the hammock reading didn't quite come true. I made up for it by playing chess and billiards with my husband in the game room, getting a wonderful pedicure and spending time at the ocean grill, reading or visiting with the staff and other parents. Everyone was happy and no one complained. The staff worked tirelessly, especially the pool staff, sweeping the sand, cleaning the windows, etc, working to limit the effects of the constant wind.

Freddy, the manager, is a constant presence and a joy to talk with. You can tell he is very dedicated to the resort, his staff and the guests. While we were there our son became sick. Because of his severe autism, he cannot talk, so sicknesses are very scary for us, especially in a foreign country. Our nanny took us to the nurse who looked at his ears and felt he had a double ear infection. We agreed to call the doctor who came to the resort within 45 minutes of her call. He examined our son, gave us 3 medications and was willing to take a credit card to pay for the service (under $200 total). This is better service then I would have gotten here at home. From that point on, everyone on staff knew our son had been sick and so extra special attention was paid to him, with staff asking constantly, "how is your little boy feeling?" Again, you cannot get attention or service like this at any other resort we've ever visited.

Tycia, our nanny, was exceptional. Her devotion and patience with our son was amazing. She is truly a very special person and I cannot recommend her highly enough to anyone, especially those of you who may have a child with autism or some other special need. She gave us instant comfort and our son was so excited to see her each morning. She understood his needs and our concerns as well, doing a perfect job of executing that delicate balance of serving both the parent and the child. We had her babysit on several of the evenings and it was such a joy to be able to go be with other parents, guilt free, knowing our son was being lovingly cared for.

Although our son was small, we also have two teenagers who did not come with us. We won't make the same mistake next time. We were afraid they might be bored, but the staff who worked with the teens was sensational. They took lots of trips and did lots of activities. They constantly made sure that the teens and pre-teens were engaged and having a good time. Even those who looked sulky and sullen were soon participating in slide-races, contests and dances. Even though the resort was only about half full during our stay, we constantly saw staff interacting with these kids, sometimes just one on one, playing billiards or x-box or just sitting and hanging out, listening to music. Again, truly exceptional service.

We are already planning our next visit. We have found our new home away from home, at least for this stage of our son's life. We cannot say enough good things about FDR Pebbles and would highly recommend this resort to anyone with children.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Jamaica trip

Long time, no blog, I know. That's because since my last blog post we snuck in a trip to FDR Pebbles in Trelawny, Jamaica. What a beautiful country, resort and amazingly friendly people. I am counting the days until we can return. I just posted a very long review on Trip Advisor. As soon as it is published I'll print it here as well.

We returned home last monday. Tuesday I celebrated my 39th birthday. Well, celebrated may be a misnomer. I should say I had a birthday. There was no celebrating to speak of unless you count my grams calling and singing me happy birthday over the phone. My own parents didn't even call me, my husband didn't get home from work until 1am and while my teens gave me hugs, that was about it. Oh, and I did laundry. But it was fine, really. I had just come home from a wonderful week in Jamaica -- who could ask for more for a birthday gift?

I did manage some knitting while I was gone, although I was super ADD and jumped from project to project while I was gone. I made the most progress on my 3:1 rib socks; I am now on the gussett of the second sock. I also worked on my Malabrigo cable socks, my cozy wrap in jojoland melody and on a lace scarf with a new alpaca yarn that is to die for. Photos of the knitting soon.

When? Well, when I'm feeling better. Yup, I'm sick again. I am so terribly tired of being sick. I am going to miss the first meeting of my spinning guild today because of this stupid cold. It is another of those stuffy head, runny nose, cough up your lungs, pee your pants colds. Sparky has threatned twice now to take me to the hospital because I am having such a tough time breathing. I'm a walking pharmacy. I'll have the flonase, allegra, singulair, benzotanate, mucinex, tylenol & naproxyn cocktail please. With a side of tissues.

Back to work on the crocheted kimono now. I really want to get it finished today if possible. Again, pics soon.

Oh on the cooking front, I've been too sick to cook the last few days, but I did manage to make Jerk Chicken with ingredients that I brought home from Jamaica. Next trip I will bring home more, since Sparky and the teens said it was fantastic. Nothing much to it really, just marinated skinless, boneless breasts for 24 hours in Jerk marinade. Then cooked them on the stovetop in olive oil. Served with a side of noodles and everyone was happy. I also made a great shrimp scampi over linguini this week, with lots of garlic and lime juice. Lately everything has had a bit of lime juice added. Guess I'm still feeling tropical.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Beastie vs. the superglue

Beastie wrestled a tube of super glue last night. The super glue won.

He had it in his left eye, on his face & mouth, all over his hands and even on the bottom of one foot.

We didn't get home from the emergency room until nearly 1am. (he did it at 7pm)

He won't be at school today because we need to do warm compresses on his eye (read: baths), we need to put ointment on his face repeatedly (who knew bacitracin defeats superglue?) and acetone on his hands and feet.

It's never boring at my house, is it?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Yes, I'm still sick & Lime Broccoli Rotini Chicken

Remember how I said that I got sick when O made mac n' cheese last week. Wow, did I ever get sick. The yuck turned into a lung infection & double ear infection. I won't go into details how mac n' cheese can cause these things to happen, I'm sure if you really want to figure it out you can use your imagination. Needless to say, a course of Zithromax later & I'm on the road to recovery.

This has however meant a more aggressive approach will be taken with my new-found allergy. I see the specialist at Asthma & Allergy Assoc. on Tuesday. It will be another 3-4 hour day of pin-cushioning. Hooray for easy mindless sock knitting.

The knee isn't a happy tale either. I'm mostly not using crutches anymore, although with Wednesday's latest ice storm I'm not really going outside the house anymore either. If the knee is not back to 100% on Tuesday then I have to go to the ortho doc. Booooooo. I have a feeling that it's inevitable. Again, I say, Booooooooo.

Tonight's dinner, was a goodie. I did not get a picture, although I might try when Sparky gets home and warms a plate.

For those of you who don't know, I am the Princess of Semi-homemade. Of course, Sandra Lee is the Queen, but I was doing semi-homemade while she was still playing with curtains. Given my current knee issues, I'm all about super fast & easy in the kitchen, especially since I'm doing the no dairy thing and almost all carryout around here is either pizza or subs. Tonight's dinner features one of my favorites, Knorr Sides Plus Veggies (2 full servings of veggies per plateful!)

Lime Broccoli Rotini with Chicken

2 packs Knorr Roasted Garlic, Olive Oil & Broccoli Rotini
1 can white meat chicken (the big can)
1 T. margarine
2 T. lime juice

Make the rotini following the package directions, omitting the olive oil. Meanwhile, smash up the canned chicken (I'll share my favorite tool for doing that in my next blog post). When the rotini is finished cooking, remove from heat, add the margarine, the chicken and the lime juice. Serves 4.

That's it! How simple is that. I substitute the margarine for the olive oil to give it a bit creamier texture. It would be sensational with some Parmesean cheese, but yeah, whatever.


Monday, January 26, 2009

25 Random Things, a Mac & Cheese Review & tonight's recipe!

From my facebook friends,

25 Random Things

1. I'm much quieter then most people realize
2. I love white wine
3. Telephone calls annoy me
4. I tend to over-commit
5. I try to live by the philosophy that it's okay to regret the things that I have done, but it's better to do them and regret them then to regret never doing them at all. Most of my biggest regrets in life are things that I didn't have the courage to try to do in the first place.
6. I miss my Reenie
7. I am a whiz at all sorts of puzzles
8. I can wiggle my ears
9. I love grape soda but hate grape jelly or grape flavored candy
10. I hate anything remotely resembling maple syrup
11. I've been to Walt Disney World 14 times
12. I got married on the beach in the Caribbean
13. I spend a large portion of my waking existence worrying about my 3 sons
14. My 85 year old grandmother is my best friend
15. I can read upside down
16. I love twizzlers
17. My eyes are a weird green/grey/gold color
18. I have almost maxed out my plurk karma
19. If I could, I would go get a degree in Fine Art or Art History
20. My vision is 20/200 without glasses
21. My family probably wants to strangle me every time I say, "Everything happens for a reason."
22. One time I traded my roommate for a Harley
23. I didn't meet my brother until I was 24 but he has become one of the most important people in my life
24. God blessed me with a pseudo-daughter, Randi in addition to my three sons, Orin, Alex & Jay. You should all be so lucky to have your kids grow up to be the amazing people that mine have turned into.
25. I can't think about life more then about six months in the future or I get too scared. Except for that beach house that I'm going to retire to on the Yucatan. That I can think about.

Now, for the Mac & Cheese review. It was good, but given my new milk allergy, I could only eat a few bites. I still managed to get sick, but whatever. In retrospect, we would split the sharp cheddar evenly with some velveeta. The flavor was great, but the consistency left something to be desired. Yay to O for doing the cooking on this one. He did a great job.

Tonight, we present...

Chicken Piccata with Artichoke

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 ounces each)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon butter (or margarine, in my case)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoon drained capers
6-8 marinated artichoke hearts
2 roma tomatoes

1. Combine flour, salt and pepper in shallow pie plate. Reserve 1 tablespoon of flour mixture.
2. Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap. Using flat side of meat mallet or rolling pin, pound chicken to 1/2-inch thickness. Coat chicken in flour mixture, shaking off excess.
3. Heat oil and butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until butter is melted. Cook chicken 4 to 5 minutes per side or until no longer pink in center. Transfer to serving platter and cover loosely with foil.
4. Add garlic & artichoke to same skillet; cook and stir over medium heat 1 minute. Add reserved flour mixture; cook and stir 1 minute. Add broth, wine and lemon juice; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens. Stir in parsley, tomatoes and capers; spoon sauce over chicken.

Serve over rice.

Sorry the pic's not the best, I still can't find my camera charger, so you are still suffering cell phone pics. But the food was DIVINE. Try this recipe, trust me, you won't regret it!

Friday, January 23, 2009

MCLs and Mac N Cheese

So I slipped on the ice this week. The ice and I had a difference of opinion as to which way my leg from the knee down should point. The ice won and I have a strained MCL, the ligament that runs on the inside of your knee. Right now I am doing the elevation, ice, anti-inflammatories, tylenol, crutches and staying off of it as much as possible. O is home, helping with the beastie an generally taking care of me. For the record, I do not make a very good patient.

So yeah, O is taking care of me. Meaning O lives here now. Things didn't work out with him and his girlfriend. We are sad because we all loved her, but we are so thankful they figured it out at 20 instead of 30 or 40. Like I always say, "everything for a reason" -- although I'm not sure that he particularly wants to hear that right now.

The good news is that O can cook. Tonight we are trying a new recipe, Crockpot Mac & Cheese:

Crockpot Macaroni & Cheese

8 ounces macaroni, cooked and drained
1 tall can Carnation milk
1 1/2 cups sweet milk
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups sharp cheese, grated
1/4 cup melted margarine
1 egg, beaten
black pepper
2 tablespoons margarine

Mix macaroni with milk, salt, cheese, melted margarine, egg and pepper to taste. Put in crockpot which has been greased with the 2 tablespoons of margarine. Cut thin slices of cheese and put on top. Cook 3 hours and 15 minutes on low.

I'll give you an update on that tomorrow. For now, I am trying to appreciate the newfound knitting time on my hands. I'm making good progress on the Feather n' Fan Organic wrap. I cannot wait until it is finished because I am quite sick of knitting it at this point. Hopefully by the end of the weekend it will be off the needles. Pics soon.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tonya Harris

As I sit and watch the beginnings of the inauguration, I cannot help but be filled with an enormous sense of pride in our nation. I remember growing up, my best friend was Tonya Harris. Tonya had a white mom & a black dad. She was an anomaly in my rural town and she marched to the beat of her own drum. The country boys I grew up with would tease her and make fun of her, most while privately lusting after her, although they would never, ever admit that publicly, least their daddies find out. The girls would shun her, ignore her, roll their eyes at her colorful outfits and her big slightly-gapped toothed grin. But they would secretly sneak peeks at her makeup bag to figure out what eyeshadow she was wearing and copy her perfume and sneaker choices. They would stare at her amazing legs, in the mini-skirts with the little anklet socks and pumps, all while jealously muttering "slut" under their breath. To me she was just my best friend. We laughed together, as junior high girls do, plotting how to make the boys crazy, how to avoid getting caught being naughty and deciding which was the best flavor of bon-bell lip gloss. We both lusted after Michael Jackson, we gave our PTO heart attacks when we did an aerobics routine to Rick James' "Superfreak" (complete with skimpy leotards -- we were straight out of 'Flashdance') at the 7th grade talent show and we collectively probably gave our mothers their first gray hairs with our antics.

She was my best friend and I loved her unconditionally. I never noticed her skin color. And considering I grew up in a relatively racist home, my parents took the friendship pretty well. But if you had asked us, in all of our 12-year-old wisdom if someone of Tonya's skin color would ever be president, we would have defiently answered "of course", while deep down inside privately wondering if that could ever possibly be true.

Eventually Tonya and I drifted apart. We weren't in any of the same classes, our houses were 12 miles apart and we didn't eat lunch together or ride the same bus. The summer between 8th grade and high school Tonya's family moved away. About 15 years later we touched base via the internet, but neither of us is very good at staying in contact.

Maybe now, with facebook, linked-in, myspace, et all, I can find her again. Maybe today would be the perfect day to do that. After all, today we are discovering anything is possible, regardless of the color of your skin, your age or your upbrining. Anything at all.

Monday, January 12, 2009

PB & Jay

This is what happens when Beastie & I both take a sick day, but he recovers waaaaaaay faster then I do....

Dontcha love that look, kinda like "What's the problem mom? I was hungry? You got an issue with that???"

Thanks OT who taught him how to unscrew lids -- thanks a lot!

Friday, January 09, 2009



Somewhere, somehow the cosmic forces that control what flows into my stash have decided that I am supposed to be knitting lace. How else could you explain the plethora of lace that has landed in my stash the last few weeks. Above is a skein of Suri Elegance by The Alpaca Yarn Company. This yarn is done in a dyelot that wasn't released to the public -- yet another perk of my job. It's a dreamy blend of lemon, peach & celery (which sounds gross when I say it like that, but you know what I mean). Beth found it in one of the bins and asked me if I wanted it -- well duh! No self respecting knitter/crocheter turns down free yarn. Ever.

Next comes a luscious skein of Fino in a mix of greens and greys that is just simply gorgeous. This one came from Sarah in my Not-So-Secret Santa Swap as part of the Harrisburg Sock Knitters group.

And finally, we have two skeins of mystery lace, also from the "Not-So-Secret" Santa Swap, from my friend Dee. The top one is a bluish-purple, a little thicker, more like malabrigo lace but still lace. The bottom one is a silver-blue ice kinda color, and I think it might have a smidge of alpaca in it. Not sure, but it's more then just wool I believe.

So, I have four new skeins of lace yarn, all calling my name to be made into something gorgeous. I don't even know where to begin! I'm open to suggestions, please feel free to comment me. Each skein is I'm guessing at least 800 yards.

Today's recipe is one I plan on trying tonight, it comes from Kraft Foods and usually theirs are pretty good, even if I occasionally have to add a bit of fresh garlic or basil to kick them up...

Creamy Chicken, Bacon & Tomato Pasta

Creamy Chicken, Bacon & Tomato Pasta

Prep Time:

10 min
Total Time:
25 min
4 servings, 1-3/4 cups each
What You Need
3 cups whole wheat farfalle (bow-tie pasta), uncooked
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
3 slices OSCAR MAYER Bacon, cooked, crumbled
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes, undrained
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 Tbsp. KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
Make It

COOK pasta as directed on package.

MEANWHILE, cook chicken in large skillet on medium heat 5 to 6 min. or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally. Add bacon, tomatoes, Neufchatel cheese, water and pepper; mix well. Cook 3 min. or until Neufchatel cheese is completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring frequently.

DRAIN pasta; place in serving bowl. Add sauce; mix lightly. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

I'll update you & let you know my thoughts on it over the weekend.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

handspun crocheted cowl & rum balls

Believe it or not, this is occasionally a crafty-type blog. I mean it's also a frantic mom, recipe, autism, funny, bitching blog, but in theory, it was started as a crafty blog.

So often I make things & send them off in the world to their new homes and never even remember to share them with you. Bad blogger! My latest FO, which I say I am keeping for myself, but we will see how that actually goes, is my crocheted cowl made from my handspun yarn.

The yarn is a merino silk blend made from dyed fiber that I purchased at Maryland Sheep & Wool 2007. It is a two ply, spun to a fingering weight. Unfortunately when I spun it, I didn't feel that it had enough twist in the ply, so I wouldn't send it off to the shop to be sold. But that didn't mean it would go to waste.

The pattern is the One Row Lace Cowl. It was a super simple and yet stunning pattern. I crocheted with a size G bamboo hook for a more open, lacy look. I actually enjoyed it so much I may make another one, although I'm the queen of hating to do something twice (hence my second sock syndrome).

Now, to prove that I can actually follow directions on occasion, I will post (as promised) my rum ball recipe.


2 c. sifted powdered sugar
1 1/2 c. crushed nilla wafers
1 1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts (and I do mean finely)
1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
3 T. light corn syrup
3 T. light rum
3 T. water

Mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly. Stir in wet ingredients until combined. In a shallow bowl pour a handful of powdered sugar. Take small spoonful of dough, drop into sugar and shape into ball, dusting with sugar to keep from making a huge sticky mess of yourself. Add more powdered sugar to bowl as needed. Refrigerate in tightly sealed container. Best if stored for 2 or 3 days before serving, but still yummy right away. Makes about 50 balls.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


It's cold. Really cold. When it gets cold I have trouble focusing on much of anything other then how damn cold I am.

And when it gets icy like this I can only sit and wonder how long till my power goes out. As you may be able to tell, we live in a very rural area, at the top of a mountain-lette (bigger then a hill, but not quite pretentious enough to call itself a mountain).

This means we lose power with frightening regularity. I am equipped with candles, batteries, flashlights & a hand-crank radio. I even know where they are all located.

This also means Beastie's van drivers are terrified to come back the lane to bring him home. If Medium can drive back & forth in a PT Cruiser they should be able to suck it up and drive back the lane, but yeah, whatever.

However, it does make for some beautiful photos.