Sunday, September 30, 2012


Today wraps up a birthday celebration that started in July when my mother began opening the daily gifts counting down 80 days to her 80th birthday.  She began displaying the gifts on a bookshelf in her living room and eventually they overflowed onto additional pieces of furniture.  She's now the proud owner of all manner of junk spanning eight full decades.

She now also possesses eight decades' worth of knitted items, some lovely, some practical, some...well, let's just say they were of their time.

Nothing says 1963 like a toilet paper roll cover.  To have a bare roll of tissue sitting naked would just be tacky, whereas this little baby is...ummm....  Anyway, the free knitting pattern is available here and my Ravelry notes can be found here.

I don't care what my sister says, these mittens are gorgeousMrs. Brady would be proud to go skiing in them and that's good enough for me.  Plus, they just scream 1974.  The pattern actually came from an old Coats & Clark accessories booklet I found at an estate sale.  My Ravelry notes can be found here.

I didn't like much about the 1980s (curse you, teenage years!), but these place mats from a 1983 Workbasket magazine are kinda cute.  Ravelry notes here.

By 1997, I was really struggling to find patterns that didn't repeat an item already made.  (The poor woman can only use so many tacky lovely bathroom accessories, after all.)   The Tiny Cables Washcloths came to the rescue.  The free pattern can be found here and my Ravelry notes here.

These Eyelet-Edged Knitted Coasters filled the spot for 2001.  The free pattern can be found here and my Ravelry notes here.

The knitting finale was 2011's Drachenschwanz.  My mother herself sent me the link to this pattern after she stumbled across it last year.  Drachenschwanz is German for "dragon tail" and the pattern has this interesting effect that really does look like the spiky back of my fire-breathing friend.  The free pattern can be found here and my Ravelry notes here.

So, the big day has finally arrived.  Before she even has her official party on her actual birthday, my mother has received 80+ gifts (including ones from family and friends), had two birthday lunches, and endured a tree full of balloons (which have popped and shriveled constantly over the last two days).  If only the city had come through with that damn permit for the fireworks display...  Happy Birthday, Mom!


* One Way to Celebrate an 80th Birthday

* {this moment}

Friday, September 28, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - Inspired by SouleMama

My mother's much anticipated 80th birthday weekend finally kicks off.  My sister and I managed to sneak outside her house at 11 p.m. last night and get 80 balloons in the trees without a neighbor calling the cops.


One Way to Celebrate an 80th Birthday

Thursday, September 27, 2012


What would I do without my
straightening iron?
I often grow my hair long and there have been times when I thought how nice it would be to have it cut and donate my tresses to a group like Locks of Love to provide hairpieces or wigs to those fighting cancer.  Then I take a good, hard look at myself in the mirror and decide that would be a cruelty to a person who already has enough struggles.  My hair is thick, frizzy, has a lot of natural curl, and I generally look like Rosanne Roseannadanna...on a bad hair day.  How could I further torture a child by making her go out in the humidity with my hair planted on her head and watch it expand like a giant wad of cotton candy?

I directed my impulses elsewhere and decided to take part in Debbie Macomber's Knit One, Bless Two project, this year benefiting Halos of Hope, a group providing chemo caps to low income folks.  This week I packed up about a dozen caps and sent them on their way.  I primarily used two patterns.

Foghorn in the Hug Cap.


The first was from Debbie Macomber's book A Charity Guide for Knitters.  It's an extremely simple pattern, designed for childrenn called the Hug Cap.  My Ravelry notes can be found here.

Foghorn in the Odessa cap.  Why does she
make me think of Rhoda Morgenstern?

The second pattern I found online and it turned out to be my absolute favorite.  Many a hat was knit while watching Ryan Lochte show his gorgeous chest swim his little heart out at the summer Olympics.  The pattern is the Odessa by Grumperina Designs and can be found for free on Ravelry here.  It's a simple pattern to memorize but with enough stitch changes to keep it interesting.  My own Ravelry notes are here.

While wearing a hat may not be quite as good as having actual hair, when you're comparing my locks to my knitting skills, I think the recipient is better off getting something yarn-y from me, don't ya think?


* American Girl Knitting

* I Heart Roving Acres Yarn

Monday, September 24, 2012


Both my kids have iPods.  More specifically, each has an iPod Touch, which does everything my iPhone does except make phone calls.  The Professor uses his for listening to music or watching videos on YouTube or playing games.  Foghorn does the same, plus she takes full advantage of the chat feature.

My sister and I were busy in the spring and summer buying gifts for my mother's 80-Gifts-in-80-Days birthday extravaganza.  Since we were purchasing a gift a year starting from 1932, we spent a lot of time in antique malls.  When possible, I visited them without my children in tow, not that it saved me as much grief as I might have expected.  I'd be going through a huge pile of old magazines when suddenly my phone would ding and there would be a message:  Touche Mom.  (Touche is Foghorn's favorite, all-purpose word.)  Sometimes I was stupid enough to message her back.  Other times I'd ignore her.  Either way I'd have to mute my phone to avoid the stares of other patrons as my pocket dinged every three seconds.  She would send a barrage of messages my way, everything from insults to pleas for a toy from any booth that had a stuffed animal.

I'm not the only one who falls prey to her online menacing.  I have it set up so she can chat with only select people (i.e., not 45 year old men who might try to entice her to another state).  Since my husband and The Professor steadfastly refuse to ever answer her, that leaves me, Grandma, and my sister, Uncle Chester, to bear the brunt.  Over the summer my sister would end up in very long typed conversations with Foghorn at one in the morning.  I'd be awakened from an afternoon nap by my phone dinging and a message reading "wake up I'm starving."  Grandma usually received pleas for money.

The joy of the iPod camera...
taking pictures of yourself.
I realized last week that Foghorn and I had a true 21st century mother-daughter relationship as I stood in a Target aisle arguing with her over Nintendo DS games.  On Saturday she was due to attend the birthday party of her best friend, Haley, and her twin sister, Amanda.  Foghorn chose not to actually accompany me on the gift-buying expedition, but gave me strict orders to buy them things they'd like.  Since their mother had mentioned DS games as a possibility, I headed for the game section of the store and quickly found a Monster High game for Haley.  Amanda proved more difficult, since I know less about her tastes.  I e-mailed my husband to tell Foghorn to get on the chat.

Our conversation then went like this:

Me:            Would Amanda like a Barbie ds game?

Foghorn:     what!  thats what you want?

Me:            YES!  I'm standing in Target! 
                 (Silence for several minutes, so I dispatch another message.)     Well?

Foghorn:    oh well um she probly would. oh, and while your at it get me a barbie
                ds game 2

Me:           Or Hello Kitty?  Or My Little Pony?  HER, not YOU.

Foghorn:    aww..why not ME!

Me:           Answer me!  I wanna get out of here.


Me:            Fine.  I'm getting Barbie for HER.

Foghorn:    NOWAIT  she doesnt like barbie as much as...

Me:            Then what?!?

Foghorn:    hhmmmmm...first tell me whats at target

Me:            Either Hello Kitty or Pony.  Those are the options.  Monster High
                 for Haley.  (Silence for several minutes.)

Me:            ???

Foghorn:    well she likes hello kitty AND i do too...or maybe she likes...

Me:            Kitty it is.  GOODBYE.

Foghorn:    no wait  actually she likes pony

Me:           FINE.

Foghorn:    I want kitty

Me:           NO.

Foghorn:    Please (with weepy-face emoticon)

Me:           You owe me MONEY!  (She has yet to completely pay off the iPod Touch
                she uses to cyber bully me.)

Foghorn:    but - but - cant you just at least tel me what hello kitty game it is.  
                please.  (Weepy face emoticon.)

I intentionally waited until I had purchased the games and headed to my car before I took a snarly picture of myself and sent it with a message.

Me:           Too late.  In the parking lot.

Foghorn:    (Four weepy face emoticons.)  well then you OWE me it!  (Huge toothy
                smiling face emoticon.)  Nice picture (Winky face emoticon.)

Me:            Naaaaaaayyyyy!!!!!  (My favorite all purpose word, which usually
                 means "up yours.")

Foghorn:    nnaaaayyyy yourself  (Frowny face emoticon.)  your a beep! 
                ("Beep" is used frequently when she wants to call someone or
                something a cuss word.  She bleeps out the word like they used to on

                television, before they decided a half second of silence was better.)

While technologically advanced harassment doesn't thrill me, I'm at least happy with my daughter's grasp of newfangled communication.  Considering her school is no longer teaching cursive, but is teaching keyboarding, this is obviously her future.  Then again, if she types another comment on one of my Facebook posts that says "Touche, fartso," that girl isn't going to have a future.


* Meet the Inmates - Foghorn

* Two Sides to Every Person