Saturday, January 28, 2006

Puppy Pictures

Lest my dogs get jealous thatI've been posting too much about other dogs, this post will be all about Picasso Moon:

And Darkstar:

Picasso is a happy-go-lucky dog who loves to carry something around in his mouth (contraband or not), to play, to sit on snow piles for hours,
and give bear hugs. We like to call him the big white lunk. Darkstar is the alpha dog, and he wants to remind us of this fact in this pose:
Darkstar is more quiet than Picasso, but when deer enter the yard, he becomes one tough defender of the homestead. He is a sucker, though, for a butt-rub:

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Feeling Lucky

Lately I've been feeling lucky because I've won a couple of contests. First of all Kim had a contest in November to name her new wheel. I looked online for names that might appeal to Kim, names that would have to do with fairies, elves, etc. And she picked one of my suggestions, Ellette, which means little elf. The prize was two skeins of beautiful, hand-spun salmon-colored merino yarn:


I'm not sure yet what project the yarn will turn into, but I like to take it out once and awhile and pet it. The yarn is sooo soft. Thanks so much Kim!

The other contest that I won was from the Holiday Gift Knit-Along that I participated in. At the end of the holiday season, all of the kniters who finished their gifts were entered in a drawing for prizes. There were only five prizes, and a lot of knitters. So I was really surprised to find out that I had won these lovely stitch markers made by Raellyn:

If Alison hosts another Holiday Knit-A-Long I will have to donate something to keep up the good karma.

And the last reason why I feel lucky is that I wore the wool socks that I made for my mom, and at the end of the day there were no rashes, no hives. I'm so glad that my dad's genes kicked in, because I didn't want to have to give away my first pair of socks!

Friday, January 13, 2006

ChristmasBirthdayChannukahBirthday

Yes, our holidays up north were jam-packed with celebrations. First we celebrated Christmas on the 23rd-24th to allow for my brother and his girlfriend to head back to Packer territory for other Christmas parties and work. We had a great dinner on the 23rd, and on the morning of the 24th our traditional Christmas breakfast an almond paste coffeecake that my mom makes from scratch. The stocking-stuffer presents were opened on the 23rd, and the main presents on the 24th. My mom went a little overboard with the stocking stuffers this year, and this was one of several that I received:

Yeah, in my family we don't take ourselves too seriously. In addition to several knitting books, I received two knitting calendars and my new fabulous knitting bag from Offhand Designs:

I also got a portable DVD player from my honey, so now I can knit and watch movies when I go out to visit him. My dad really liked the Jerry Garcia doll that I made by adopting the Knit-Your-Own-Rock-Star pattern from Stitch-n-Bitch Nation.

I made Mom some socks, but sadly they were too itchy for her to wear. Luckly we have the same foot size, so the socks are mine now. I knew she was allergic to wool, but I figured that it was to just scratchy wool, not something soft. Oh well. I guess I will be shopping for some cotton sock yarn.


My brother's girlfriend and I decorated gingerbread people, with some untraditional decorations:
Next was my birthday on the 25th, which we celebrated by taking the dogs for a long walk around the neighborhood, eating pizza, and watching the Bears-Packers game. My honey is a dyed-in-the-wool Chicago Bears fans, so much so that one of his stipulations for a wedding is that it doesn't take place during a Bears game. So I really didn't have much of a choice as to what we were watching. But I had my knitting. And he did make me a cake for my birthday.

Now B. is a lot like his grandpa. One year B.'s grandpa gave B.'s grandma earrings that she already had. In the store he thought that the earrings looked like something she would wear. So when I opened up my birthday card from B. I burst out laughing before I even opened the card. Why? Because he gave me the same card last year:




A few days later, when we (sort of) recovered from all the food, B. and I cooked a Channukah meal with B.'s bubbe's brisket recipe, latkes (with sour cream and homemade apple sauce) and a Sephardic green bean and tomatoes dish. My mom bought some Channukah poppers, and we all got a little silly with the hats, even the doggies:


Finally, it was my mom's birthday on the 31st. B and I made her a low-fat, low-calorie chocolate cake (the only kind she would allow us to make), and she opened presents. Mom also got a DVD player from her honey (my dad), and of course the felted tote bag that I made. She loved it.

That's it for the celebrations. I have lots of dogs pictures left to post though, so stay tuned.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Ski Trip to Brule

This will be the first of several posts about my trip home to Duluth/Superior for the holidays. The day after I arrived, my dad, my brother, his girlfriend, a friend of his from high school and I all went nordic skiing at the After Hours ski trail in the Brule River State Forest. It was so beautiful there, as you can see from the pictures. Living in south-east Michigan, I don't get to be around such deep pine forests, and I miss it. The contrast between the dark green trees and the white snow with the light coming through the branches really caught my eye, so I took lots of pictures.












Skiing is my favorite sport, and I've been skiing since age 7 when my dad put me on skis. Back then I skied a couple of km to please my parents and then went inside for hot chocolate. Or I would go play on the playground equipment, because swings and slides were way more fun in the deep snow. Today I love skiing because gliding across the snow feels like flying, because it's a chance to get outside in the winter, and because I love the feeling when I'm done: my muscles are tired, my head is clear, and I can do anything.

There are actually two kinds of nordic skiing, classic and skate. Classic is the technique where the skier goes in parallel tracks, as shown on the right side of the picture. Skating is just that, making the same V-movements as an ice skater but on skis. You can also see skate tracks on the left side of the picture. Skating is probably my favorite because you can go faster, but classic gives you a better work-out. I did both techniques in high school when I was on the nordic ski team.




As I skied past a stand of deciduous trees, I saw a woodpecker, and took a picture of him. Don't you see him?







Okay here's a blow-up of the woodpecker:

He's the white triangle in the center outlined in black.

And here's another picture:














All in all it was a wonderful day. It was my brother's girlfriend's second or third time on skis, and she looked great! I was very impressed. I finished up the socks for my mom, but more on that later.


And then we came home and saw some other "wild" life