Archive for January, 2007

Yeah, right.

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

So, last night there was no post because I was busy having fun at a knitting night thing that I’ve done for several years now with some women that I used to work with back at the software company back when I was an overworked, but well-paid software designer. We have never been much good at getting much knitting done – we spend the entire time gossiping and talking about our kids and husbands and stuff – but we still call it knitting night, and I bring along my knitting and pretend that that’s what we’re doing. Come to think of it, there was quite a bit of knitting content last night.

In any case, I don’t have much for you tonight. I’m exhausted. Sophie hasn’t slept well the last two nights, and she had a bad couple of days in a row. Warning – poop content ahead!

The thing is, Sophie has been waking up crying and acting super-clingy all day for the last few days because she’s stopped up. Ever since she got more interested in solids, pooping has become more of a chore for her, and I almost dragged her into urgent care this evening when – well – let’s just say it was really bad. I actually took a picture of her trying to poop this afternoon, and it is cute in a very sad, embarrassing kind of way. But looking at that picture made me realize that there is a line and I’m right at the edge of crossing it, so I’ll protect her little privacy just this once.

Back to me. It’s been miserable. Trying to comfort her, wishing there were something more that I could do besides all the right things I am already doing – limiting cereal and other stop-it-up foods, feeding her fruits that start with a P at pretty much every meal, giving her a bit of juice, even, rubbing her tummy, bicycling her legs, giving her a warm bath, and mostly just holding her and telling her it’s going to be okay as she strains. Ugh!

Well, she finally got some relief tonight, and hopefully she will sleep and I will be a happy mama again tomorrow. I can only hope. In the mean time, I got almost all of the prizes packaged up and will probably make a trip to the post office while Julie is at school on Thursday. Now I’m off to watch a DVD, fold some laundry, and do a bunch of chores before I can play with the blankie.

Eff to the Oh!

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

For my non-knitting-blogger readers, I’m talking about a finished object, a.k.a. FO, or in my upper midwestern white-girl interpretation of gansta speak – Eff to the Oh. Trust me, it sounded much funnier last night while I was thinking up this post as I tried to get Sophie back to sleep. But I do indeed have a finished object to show off, and it is so cute and fun I can’t believe it took me over a month to get around to finishing what amounted to only about five hours of work total.

I am pretty happy with these little mittens that I knit up with the left over Malabrigo from Julie’s tiger hat. I knit them on size three dpns, using my own pattern that I then felted. My friends who warned me about how well Malabrigo felts weren’t kidding. Usually, felting takes forever in my washer, but they felted nicely after one run-through.

Julie was just a little excited to put them on. She’s wearing them still wet from the washer, and didn’t want to take them off. And of course she’s still wearing the purple tutu.

“Show me how you roar like a tiger!”

A note on the technique I used here. It’s sort of a hybrid between intarsia and fair isle. It’s done in the round, with no duplicate stitching, and involves slipping stitches and knitting back backwards on the rows with patterning where the yarn is on the wrong edge of the motif. I’ve seen this technique referred to as “motif knitting” and “festive knitting”. I have a sock pattern in print that explains it all, and I’m thinking about whether I should type this one up or not.

Moving on, here’s what came in the mail the other day. I’m so excited. I’ve been meaning to order some Socks that Rock for ever, and while I had my credit card out the other day ordering some Vesper yarn, I went ahead and did it. For some reason, the checkout on their website didn’t work properly, so the nice lady at Blue Moon called me the next day to clear it up. Very nice lady, I can’t remember her name. Anyway, while I was chatting with her I asked if they had a colorway with some brown and pink in it, and it turns out they do – it’s new enough that it’s not on their website, though. I said “Send me some!” So she did. Yum!

I don’t know exactly when I will be knitting this, but it will be socks for me, so I ordered the medium weight because I like thick socks in the winter. I was pleasantly surprised with how yummy this yarn feels, as well as with the extra bonus bumper sticker and postcard included in the package. Luckily, I drive an old beater car, and I have no qualms about putting stickers on the bumper at this point. As soon as it warms up a bit out there, I’ll be cleaning off my bumper and adding a little more decoration. Maybe I’ll take a picture and show you the other two stickers I have on already.

Watch out, here come some kid pictures. We haven’t had enough kid pictures lately. I haven’t caught it on camera yet, but Sophie has learned to climb the stairs, and she is thisclose to walking. She loves nothing better than Joe or me grabbing her hands and helping her walk around the room. She also loves putting things in containers and taking them out. Here, she’s putting some blocks in the bag and taking them back out.

Joe and Julie yesterday playing with a laptop toy she got for Christmas.

Julie and me goofing around with the camera. She loves it when I take her picture, then show her the screen. To a fault. It’s difficult to get a normal picture of her, and using the video camera is nigh on impossible.

I spent most of last night and this evening so far preparing prize package stuff. I started printing out note cards using one method, then decided I didn’t like it at all and printed out the rest another way. Everyone who gets note cards will get three of each kind and can give me feedback on which way is better.

I also took some time to wind some yarn that will be two of the prizes for the main contest. In the foreground, some of the self-striping sock yarn I dyed several months ago. It’s brown, blue, green and white stripes. In the background, a skein of the Knitpicks blanks that I’ve rewound and pre-measured for some lucky person who wants to dye their own sock yarn. The winding part really is the least fun of the whole process.

I’ve also got the chocolates ready, and I think I’m about ready to distribute some prizes.

I’m changing the way I’m awarding the prizes just a bit, so let’s review what the available prizes are first.

One skein of Euroflax linen in cream color – perfect for wash cloths if your hands can handle knitting with it.

The two sock yarns pictured above – each is a separate prize.

Five balls of Fantasi by Marks & Kattens – I described this in the post about the second contest, but none of the winners wanted it because they don’t like knitting with bumpy yarn either. It’s still super-cute yarn, once you get it knit up.

There are also three sets of note cards left – only six per set, I’m afraid. There is some chocolate as well, but I’m not going to say much about the chocolate this post. It’s sort of a fun surprise that I will mention after the prize packages have been sent out.

I’m going to start off with four winners announced tonight. E-mail me with your address at shelly at shellykang dot com and your first, second and third choices of prize – if you don’t see some yarn in the prizes that you want, say so and I’ll send you note cards. I don’t want to send you something you won’t use. That’s a waste of good yarn and postage too. I can always find a good home for yarn! First to respond gets first choice. If after this round the yarn is not all gone, I’ll open the prizes up to all who responded to the original Contest post. Comments are closed there now, so no cheating!

And the winners are – oh, this is strange. I was going to give a prize to the person who referred me to my favorite of the new blogs, but when I went to look her up, she is one of the winners from the other contest. Jen – if you fancy one of the yarns listed above, e-mail me and it’s yours! I absolutely adore your suggestion of Somewhere on the Masthead. It’s not a knitting blog at all, but I love the way this guy writes, the way he tells stories, and best of all the way he calls his wife Her Lovely Self. Thanks for sharing.

The rest I’m drawing at random – Melanie, Gretchen, and Flan.

Okay, I think that’s it. Running one of these contests is more work than I imagined. Fun, but it takes a little organizational skill. I hope I haven’t messed things up.

From the comments, Debi asked why I don’t use the “embiggen” function to do my pictures. Well, because I’m a big dork and I don’t. I do use blogger for writing my posts, but we host our own server – it’s sitting about 20 feet away from me in Joe’s office – and I find it easier to resize the photos in Photoshop, FTP them to the server, then hard code the links while I’m typing in Blogger. All the photos are hosted on the same server as the blog. We got tired of dealing with the crappy hosting provider we had, and a year or two ago Joe set up an old machine we had sitting around to serve as a Linux box. It works, unless someone like Stephanie links to me, and then we’re screwed. I can set it up so that clicking on a photo will lead you to a bigger version of the photo, but it takes a bit more effort and it uses up a bit more hard drive space. For the most part, I imagine most people are happy with the lower-res photos. In the cases where people have asked for higher-res photos (it’s only happened once so far) I’ve obliged.

Country Mouse wanted to know how the egg slicer works with mushrooms. We had beef stroganoff for dinner tonight, and I was all excited to try it out. For about the first three mushrooms, it worked great. Then, it sucked. Little bits of mushroom got all smooshed in there and caught in the wires. Chopping with a knife was much quicker and neater. But I have pretty good knife skills. Well, for a very-amateur home cook.

By the way, thanks everyone for the awesome birthday wishes! It really made my day to watch the comments from y’all trickling in. My readers rock!

Now it’s late and I have to go get some sleep.

Blankie Friday – urp!

Saturday, January 27th, 2007

Shoot. I was all set to come here bragging about how not only is Blankie Friday happening on Friday night, or perhaps the very early hours of Saturday morning by the time I actually hit Publish, but more importantly about how very much work I got done on the blanket this week. Then I had to go and count the squares I finished this week, and the number is pretty sad. Only fourteen squares this week. But it was my birthday week, and the whole family was sick. Shit. At this rate, the thing is not going to be done by the State Fair. Not the end of the world, I know, and I will keep plugging away at it and maybe I will surprise myself.

Now for some good news. One reason why there were fewer squares knit this week is because I decided it was time to knit some more of the edging. I can really only work the edging on the right hand side as you’re looking at it face on, because that’s where I left off before and I want it to go in one continuous stream around to the starting corner, where I will graft it together at the end. Still, I was tired of all those strings – both yarn ends and provisional cast-on ends – hanging there, and I wanted something a little different to keep me interested. It took a full evening’s worth of work, plus a bit, partly because getting those live stitches back on even a size zero needle was a bit of a bitch. But I did it and now I am happy. Now I’m really going to have to have an end-weaving session this week, I imagine.

Other happy blankie news is that I am only three squares away from having used all of the yarn bits at least once. I’m only counting the yarn bits that are eligible – the cotton blends, the Koigus, the solid-colors, and the ones that were not fingering or other blends besides wool/nylon do not count. Still, this means that I can allow myself to start re-using bits of yarn, and that means I can start gleefully picking my favorite colors out of the lot and knitting them with abandon. I’m pretty sure I’m more than halfway done with the blankie, barely, so I’ll have to decide whether I must reuse every ball a second time before using any a third. I have a feeling the anal-retentive side of me will insist on that. And, of course, if I get any more scraps in the mail, they will be used before any others.

Here’s the current picture.

Also in knitting news, but not my knitting news, on Wednesday I saw my friend Meleah at knitting group. She just finished knitting a pair of socks using a pattern that I wrote a couple of years ago. It was originally published in Dawn Brocco’s now-defunct Heels and Toes Gazette, and I sell it in pamphlet form through a few local yarn shops now. It’s a lacy pattern knit with Cascade Fixation, and I liked it quite a bit when I knit it up way back when. This was my first time seeing someone else knit this pattern up in person, and it was fun in a kind of surreal way. I really like Meleah’s color choices.

Here’s a picture of my original ones:

So anyway, part of the reason this post is so late tonight – well, my posts are late most nights, I know, but tonight Joe and I were out to dinner BY OURSELVES! Joe’s company has a party every year in January instead of trying to do it during the stressful holiday season. Last year we didn’t go because I was super-pregnant and we didn’t want to deal with finding a babysitter for Julie – I think we’ve had babysitters maybe four times since Julie was born, and they’ve always been either Joe’s parents or a very close family friend. Tonight, I arranged for one of Julie’s pre-school teachers to come over, and Julie was elated to see her at the door. Everything went off without a hitch, and perhaps we will get another night or two out this year if our budget can swing it. Between paying the babysitter and paying for an actual activity out of the house, it’s not something we’ll be able to do even once a month! But it was good time tonight. I even got to eat chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream again. Wahoo!

Upcoming topics: The yarn that showed up in the mail today (oh my!), the yarn I expect to show up in the mail next week (whoo wee!), a conclusion to the contests, the objects that I finished in the car today while the girls were napping, and that damned blue stripey sweater and what the hell am I going to do about it.

34

Friday, January 26th, 2007

No, not 34 blankie squares. We’ll talk about that tomorrow night, hopefully. 34 years. I’m getting old, and every year just goes faster. It hardly even felt like a birthday today, and we had a fairly blah day me and the girls and our colds.

But Joe came home, and he took us out to dinner at the Edina Grill, an upscale diner that we love. I had sweet potato french fries, which I shared with the girls, and seafood macaroni and cheese, which when I asked the waitress about it, she described as “love in a bowl”. I’m always a bit leery about creamy pasta dishes since the one time many years ago Joe and I were at a fancy resort on the north shore of Lake Superior, and the alfredo dish I ordered was so gloppy I couldn’t eat it. The evil waitress that evening refused to bring me anything else, and I went to bed that night hungry. That time sucked, but tonight did not. Tonight, I agreed with the waitress that my dinner was “love in a bowl” – it was that good, and the pint of Summit EPA tasted just fine with it too.

So, it wasn’t a bad birthday after all. Eating out with the girls is always fun and “fun”. Fun because we the girls get lots of admiring looks from our fellow guests. It’s nice to go out in public as a family because when Joe is there, I don’t feel all bristly wondering whether the next person giving us a warm smile is going to ask me what country they came from. “Fun” because it involves training them in appropriate table manners for restaurants, which along with being slightly more stringent than those at home, are all the harder to obey because there are so many interesting things on the table to tempt them, and such a big audience of people to notice when they make a scene. Tonight we did just fine, although Sophie was in and out of the high chair several times.

I was very full after eating most of my dinner, and wasn’t going to order dessert, but I kept thinking about the fabulous brownie sundae they serve there, so I ended up ordering one to go at the last minute, which meant that we had to wait a little longer with the girls than was best…but the nice manager lady gave it to us for free! So when I’m done writing this, I’m going to go pig out on brownie sundae, watch the last episode of 24 on that DVD, and cuddle with the blankie. I have a bit of a blankie surprise for tomorrow – something slightly different than X more squares. I know you just can’t wait, but you’ll have to.

Runny Noses

Thursday, January 25th, 2007

The whole family is sick with a cold. I thought it was just runny noses, but it hit me for real tonight. I’m pooped. I’m sitting here watching episodes from season 5 of 24 on DVD and knitting away on the blankie. I’ll be going to bed in a little while.

Hopefully I’ll have more to say tomorrow.

Two Winners!

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Reason #1,437 why I love my readers. You all came through for me on the photo wall thingie that I did a horrible job describing. We have two winners.

Winner Number one is Candy in California. Candy did not give me the link to the site I had originally described, but she gave me something better – the Ikea version of what I want to make, which is probably about the same price only pre-packaged and with instructions for my husband, who will eventually be installing it if I am very very lucky. We went to Ikea today and picked it up, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Candy, e-mail me with your choice of the prizes listed below, and your address, and then you can start waiting by the mailbox.

Winner Number two is “Not Supergirl”. She sent me back to the actual site that gave me the idea. Any idea how I got there in the first place? I’m kind of curious now, because this guy is in the Twin Cities area, so it could have been a local site that pointed me his way. Anyway, please send me an e-mail with your real name and address and which of the following prizes you prefer. Maybe both of you should give me a first and second choice, and whomever e-mails first gets their first choice if there is a conflict.

Here are the prizes. Everybody gets some yummy chocolate, unless you indicate that you don’t want it. I have two lots of yarn that came from the estate of my friend Julie who died in July of 2005. She was my best friend in the world, and I want this yarn to go to a good home where someone will use it. If you don’t really want this yarn, don’t take it – I’ll give you a different prize.

Choice #1 is five balls of Fantasi by Marks & Kattens. This is really bobbly textured yarn, 47% Wool, 47% Acrylic, 6% Polyester. Ball band says 2 sts/inch, and 25 meters per ball. There is enough here to make a baby sweater, which would be very cute, or a scarf (I think that’s what Julie intended for it) or to trim some other garment. I made a swatch with it, and it is very cute knit up. Now that I think about it, there may be a sixth ball around here somewhere – I’ll have to dig around. My only problem with it is that I like knitting with smooth wools, and I’ve made a vow to myself to only knit with things that really make me happy from now on. Too much yarn and too little time and all.

Choice #2 is four balls of Jelli Beenz by Plymouth Yarn. I think you could get a small baby sweater out of this, or you could use it for some other child’s project like a hat and mittens, or a scarf. This would have worked nicely for that Red Scarf project everyone was doing for charity. It’s 75% Acrylic and 25% Wool, and washable. 4.5 sts/inch. 107 yards per ball. There is nothing at all wrong with this yarn either, just not my favorite kind of colors.

If neither of those appeal to you, I’d be happy to send half a dozen of my blankie closeup note cards, or if you have a project that you would like to take a closeup picture of and send to me, I’ll print up some note cards special for you.

Yay! Speaking of contests, I have yet to announce the rest of the prizes for the birthday-month contest that’s still open. There is some more yarn in the stash begging to be given away to a good home. If you haven’t commented on the Contest entry yet, it’s going to be open till my birthday on Thursday.

Okay, back to the Ikea trip. I love Ikea. I love eating lunch in their cafeteria – those meat balls are awful, but so tasty with the nasty fake gravy and the lingonberry preserves. Julie saw the childcare area with the ball pit and wanted to go play in there, and since it was a quiet Monday afternoon and there were only a few kids in there I let her. She had a blast, and I only wish I had had my camera with me. She didn’t want to leave when I came back to pick her up 45 minutes later. I promised her I’d take her back and let her play another day.

Here’s what I scored:

A package of Deka wire curtain rod and clips – shorter and lighter weight than the other package that I bought. But a lot cheaper, too, so if this one works where I want it, I’ll be taking the other ones back.

A package of Dignitet wire curtain rod and ends, and a couple of packages of the clips that go with it. I thought I might need the extra length available with this one, but the hardware for the ends is a lot bigger and might be unsightly, and might put the wire too far away from the wall. The Deka hardware looks a bit better suited to this purpose.

Of course, there is no way I can go into Ikea, especially with an hour of time with only one child attached to me, without finding some other crap junk important necessary stuff to bring home.

I can’t find the item page on their web site, but it is pictured at the top of this page, but I got a french press big enough for when I have guests over during the day. My french press that Joe gave me for Christmas a few years ago holds only one cup, which is great for me in the morning, but this new one was only $12, and can serve probably three or four.

I got a 6-pack of the Kalas plastic cups for only $1.49 – I’ve been meaning to pick these up for months now. I’ve also been meaning to pick up some of the Kalas plastic plates, but they never seem to have them in stock when I’m there. Julie is ready to practice using regular cups more – actually long overdue – I’m still making her use sippy cups most of the time at home, and she can’t really go to Kindergarten still drinking from a sippy cup with a valve all the time, can she?

Go ahead and laugh at me – I bought an egg slicer because it was only $1.50 or something, and we do eat hard boiled eggs sometimes. I thought Julie would get a kick out of it because she loves watching me use the apple slicer.

Gah – I can’t find a picture of this other thing, but it’s one of those round mesh things that hangs from the ceiling with shelves to stick you stuffed animals in. It’s either going in the nursery or the basement to help control the overflow of stuffed animals our kids own. People, please stop giving my kids stuffies. They are cute, they are cuddly, and they end up all over my freakin’ house!

There may have been a couple of other items as well. At least I managed to avoid the chocolate in the grocery section. Only because I already have awesome chocolate here at home and I know I will be eating chocolate cake in a couple of days.

Now, it’s blankie time. For those who have asked lately, there is a whole tutorial on the blankie in the archives of my blog. If you scroll down far enough, there are links to it over on the right hand side of the main page.

Can I get some help here?

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Some time within the last month, I read on some blog somewhere about an idea that I really liked, but dismissed at the time. Now, I want to implement the idea, and of course, I can’t find it anywhere.

There was a tutorial. It was a tutorial on how to make a rig to hold things on the walls. It involved wires, and on those wires were clips that slid along and could hold pictures or photos or other flat type items. I thought maybe it was referenced in Craft magazine. I thought maybe I had seen it via Not Martha or Whipup. I have an odd feeling that it was one of these places, only not directly, but after following a link to some other site or trail of sites therein.

Google has been of no help so far.

Does this ring any bells? First person to give me a link to the site I had in mind gets a special prize.

Thanks in advance!

Party’s Over

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Tonight we ate dinner at the in-law’s house with Uncle Dave and Jinnie, and tomorrow they fly back out to New York. What a week of socializing and general busy-ness. I didn’t mention that I had my car in the shop this week (to the tune of $1600 – but that’s another story), which contributed to the general craziness I’ve been referring to all week. Just having people in from out of town, while wonderful and something I’d beg for again as soon as possible, even though they weren’t staying with us, can be a little stressful. Having the house generally presentable for the most part, being available for dinner or an outing at their leisure, enjoying their presence as much as possible while we have them here. As much as I seem like an extrovert to the casual observer, I’m really an introvert at heart.

Julie and Sophie modeled their new dresses that Dave and Jinnie brought for them – Julie refused to sit with D&J for the picture Idonotknowwhy, but I didn’t push it and at least they got to see the girls in them.

Sophie had no problem hanging out on their side of the table – she was actually busy circling the table trying to reach all the things we didn’t want her to have.

Sophie and Dave playing trade-the-snack-bowl. Dave is SO good with the kids, and is going to be a great dad himself one of these days.

As usual, my MIL made awesome korean food – tonight’s meal was bibimbap, which was yummy as expected. I told her a few years ago that I’d much rather have a meal cooked by her than one at the most expensive restaurant, and so she has us out to her house for my birthday and I am grateful. She sent us home with a grocery bag brimming with leftovers, which we will eat tomorrow night, and I’m grateful for that too.

After the meal, they served tangerines and asian pears for dessert, and I’m always surprised by how enjoyable simple fruit is for dessert. Julie couldn’t get enough of the pears, and Sophie couldn’t either for that matter. She kept taking bites off of my chunks, and did a fine job of chewing them up. I was pleased to see that Joe’s dad had put three of the giant fruits into our take-home bag.

I had a birthday present to open – Joe got me a lap desk for my computer to rest on when I’m out on the couch. I was surprised to get a present at all, since I just got a fabulous new computer, and I’m pleased with what he picked. Totally surprised me. Sophie had fun sitting in the box.

The girls were asleep by the time we got home, and we had already put them in their jammies before we left. I’ve just finished the glass of wine that was left over from last night, and now it is time for me to go sit on the couch, try out the new lap desk and commune with the blankie for a while too. I can’t believe tomorrow is Monday already!

Sixteen

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

Okay, another crazy-busy day. I’m not even going to go there, but it was pretty much all good. I’m just getting that blankie post in quick and then I’m going to go back to paying attention to our guests a bit. Only sixteen squares this week, and that’s counting the one on the needles right now. This coming week will have to be all blankie all the time, and maybe I can catch up.

Just to clarify, when I said that my resolution for Blankie Fridays was down the toilet, I didn’t mean I was giving up – I just meant that it didn’t go unbroken very long, and that I wouldn’t be surprised if Blankie Friday ended up being Blankie Saturday more often than not. And I certainly didn’t mean I was giving up on the blankie. Never fear, blankie fans!

In other knitting news, Julia restocked Knitterly Things with her beautiful Vesper sock yarn this evening, and although it is pretty much sold out already now, I managed to score a few skeins while it was available. I’ve been lusting after this yarn for months! Happy Birthday a little early to me! I’ll post pictures when it comes. mmmm…sock yarn!

No-Blankie Friday

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

So far my resolution for Fridays being all about blankies this year is in the toilet. Which is exactly how most of my other New Year’s resolutions have panned out over the years. Maybe we’ll have a blankie update tomorrow, or maybe it will just have to wait till next week. Progress this week has been dismal, and I blame it on my frazzled self. You don’t really want to see how little I’ve accomplished – give me one more day to knit a couple more squares.

In the mean time, I’m going to do another picture post that really doesn’t involve knitting at all, but if the YouTube thing works out – it’s uploading now – there may be a video at the end. This is my first time trying it so let’s cross all the bits!

We had a somewhat more laid-back morning today, since we weren’t scheduled to be anywhere right away. Julie woke up all crabby-pants, I think in retrospect because she was extra hungry. After slogging through getting everyone ready and fed, life seemed a lot better and we headed over to the library.

Julie behaved herself so well at the library, and then at Target when we stopped for a couple things that when she asked to go to “Old MacDonald’s” and get some french fries for lunch I agreed. After all, we skipped the grease the other day when we were at the Mall of America, and we’ve had a very busy week. A little Friday treat was in order. She can’t eat the sandwiches there, so we just got fries for her and I supplemented it with carrots and cucumbers, and hummus and crackers. I know I’m going to bring on some bad karma by mentioning this, but my kid at everything else first before the fries.

Later in the afternoon, Uncle Dave and Jinnie came over to play for a little while. Isn’t this cute – she obviously hasn’t been around kids all that much because she is letting a drooling infant play with her fancy little digital camera. No, really, we love Jinnie so far. She is sweet with the girls, she eats my cooking without complaint, she seems down-to-earth and decent and kind. I am so happy for Dave that he has found such a nice one, and I hope it works out with them.

Then we went down to the basement and Julie and Dave started building with the big blocks…Uncle Dave can be quite creative.

Sophie showed off some of her standing-up skillz and chewed on a finger – she’s working hard on teeth numbers 6 and 7 – there was very little sleep for me last night, in fact.

Finally, Dave built a race track with the blocks while Julie and I were on a potty break upstairs. Julie loved it, and they had a little race around it.

Remember that chocolate-chip cookie craving? Well, the muffins didn’t quench it. I threw some cookies together this evening, and while I was at it, I had my friend M from across the street over for a drink and some company in the kitchen. I had to go digging in the basement for the liquor, but it’s always fun chatting with her for an hour. Or more. Joe just shakes his head and laughs when we get together because we can’t talk for less than 20 minutes at a time, even if I’m just “running something over there”.

Ooh, and here’s the video, I hope! Dave is so good with Julie, and watching them go around the track was such a hoot. I hope you can watch it too.

I’m off to commune with the blanket for a few minutes before bed.