Monday, December 27, 2010

Knitting Injuries

So the knitting rush caused by the holidays has finally come to a end for 2010 and my hands are glad for it. It's quite embarrassing to have to wear braces on my wrists during this time...never admitting that the injuries are knitting related. I simply tell people it's from doing too many push-ups, or from climbing Everest in my down time. You know, the usual things I like to do (serious eye rolling occurring on the other side of the computer at the moment). But yet I continue on, knitting more and more projects just not in the psychotic mode I was attempting only a few days ago. Now I look to not only knitting but new projects that my mind is reeling for. I just ordered a sewing machine that should be showing up by next week. Finally I am attempting to work past my horrid memories of home-ec in middle school when my teacher had to have a parent/teacher conference just to discuss the fact that I couldn't sew a straight line for the life of me. Then around 10 years ago I decided I wanted to try to quilt. Half way through the quilt I noticed that the squares weren't exactly lining up. In tears, I ripped it apart and have yet to sew again. My family is already asking for me to start whipping up clothes, curtains, and many other things.... things that weren't really on the to-do list once the sewing machine arrives but I guess any practice is good. Hopefully I can work out the straight line issue and start bringing the multiple ideas I have had for years to life. A crafty adventure I can't wait to get started on. Beware People! Crazy crafty ideas are coming up ahead!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Secret Life of a Roller Doll

Hopefully within the next six months you will be seeing me in a picture like this. A little secret I have yet to tell the world.... I have always wanted to do roller derby. Well guess what?? I start in what is called the "Fresh Meat" program in January for the Lava City Roller Dolls here in Bend. After three months of training I can move up to the big leagues to throw down with the big girls on the local team that travels. I am so freaking excited I am beside myself. So in anticipation I give you a pic of the local girls. Mom.... might want to close your eyes.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My First Offical Shawlette

Well we will see if I finish this one since the last one I ended up ripping out after feeling like I was going to lose my mind! So far I have only cursed at it a half dozen times but its for christmas so atleast I have a deadline no matter how bad I end up wanting to yank it out and burn the yarn.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Ramblings of Life

So what is the next step in life? Will it be something that jumps out at me and tells me what to do? Or will it be sneaky and completely unexpected? The things that you have seen for years, or only for mere moments, suddenly being the foundation in a complete change of your life. The people you talk to giving you a pathway to something new or something you hadn't seen. The anticipation grows as life takes it's next turn. The surprise of life is exciting when you simply let life happen. No more directing things in a way that wasn't meant to be, time to try to direct life in a way that builds up to something that we can see ourselves in the rest of our days. Each day is precious, and it's those that take advantage of that thought that see happiness for what it truly is rather than just another thing to acquire. Seeing the fight of a loved one against cancer has changed my life. A rocky road but one that will soon have an ending. So what to choose? So many options... and so much time to experience them all. And any bump along the way is simply a challenge I know I can handle. No more of the times in which the hurdles of life where so high they were seen as impossible. It's time to break through.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A few days older and a littler wiser

So never would I have thought that I would be saying that I want to stay in Bend. Just two years ago I was ready to drag this whole family out of here to get a change, experience the world, and actually be able to say I had lived somewhere other than Central Oregon. Max too was ready for a change but not with the instance I had. So now, after moving to Portland and coming back, I can safely and committedly say that I will be here for the long haul. Having family and friends around you means more as you grow up I am starting to realize. And if there is ever a problem you need to sweep in to help solve you are simply down the street. So yes mom, you were right, I fully admit it now (but don't get used to me saying that!). Now it's time to focus on the little changes at home. Making it a home that we want to come back to each and everyday. Finally it's fully landscaped this past week and the house looks beautiful. So for now I will simply be happy with an occasional trip to my favorite place in the world... the Oregon coast, as long as I know I always have my family and friends just a few steps away.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Instant Gratification High

So it seems as if lately I can only focus on knitting hats, it's gotta be the instant gratification that is just too much fun to give up. In addition to knitting up some cute hats for my mom as she starts to lose her hair from the chemo, I have thrown in a few of my own along the way. The scary thing is that there are so... so many more just waiting to get knit up that I might be knitting them through next year! Woo Hoo!! But I do have to squeeze in a sock knit-a-long starting in just a couple days and a sweater that I stupidly said I would try to get before December. I must have been hopped up on sugar that day and wasn't thinking. Not to mention the couple fiber trips with friends, one of which called Oregon Flock and Fiber I can't wait for. This will be my first year and I have heard nothing but great things about it. Yes, my exciting yarn filled life. I contemplate this as I sit here at 2:30 am, having just finished another hat. Yes, I am considering right this second starting another hat. Yes, I am slightly nuts. But yes, being slightly off your rocker makes life just that much more interesting! And thus I leave you with a few pics of hats I have finished in the past couple weeks. Nighty night!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pastry School.... Check!

It's official.... pastry school is finished! The internship was done two weeks ago and I found out Friday the final grades were in and I was done. So that means another associate degree and an offical graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Portland. So now I am relaxing for a bit. I didn't realize how much energy this drained out of me until I finally sat down. It's been a very long year and a half but if I hadn't done it it always would of been "a what if" in my life. So the next step? Who knows! Right now all I know is I'm back home with my family and out of all this I did learn... there's no place like home.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Nook Pocket

So my husband and I recently entered this century with the purchase of a Nook. At this moment you are probably asking what on earth a Nook is. Well, it's one of those fancy things that downloads books for you to a portable media reader so that you can read books anywhere your little heart desires. It's pretty much so I don't have to haul around a handful of books every time we go anywhere since I can never decide which one I want to read first. A Nook is the Barnes and Noble version while a Kindle is the version. So with the purchase came the question I waited for... "Honey, can you make me a cover? The cats are getting paw prints all over it!". And so I give you the Nook Pocket. A very easy knitting pattern for those that just want to read their books without the paw prints.

The Nook Pocket Knitting Pattern

Needle Size- US 9
Yarn Shown- Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica
    in #708- Midnight Blue   
Amount needed- 1 Skein
Also needed- tapestry needle and 1 button

1. Cast on 20 stitches.
2. Work 1x1 ribbing for 1 inch.
3. On the next right side row k1, p1, k until 2 stitches remain, p1, k1.
4. The next row (WS) p1, k1, p until 2 stitches remain, k1, p1.
5. Repeat these two rows (Instructions 3 and 4) until the item reaches 7 inches

6. On the next RS row k1, m1, p1, k7, cast off 2 stitches, k7, p1, m1, k1. This will now give you 22 stitches.
7. The next row p2, k1, p7, cast on 2 stitches, p7, k1, p2. This will have closed the open hole you created in the middle. This area is for the charger for the Nook.
8. Now k2, p1, k till 3 stitches remain, p1, k2.
9. Next p2, k1, p till 3 stitches remain, k1, p2.
10. Repeat the last two rows until the item reaches a length of 18 inches from cast on edge.
11. The next RS row k2, p1, k7, cast off 2 stitches, k7, p1, k2.
12. The following row p2, k1, p7, cast on 2 stitches, p7, k1, p2. This will close the button hole.
13. Next knit 1x1 ribbing for 1 inch.
14. Cast off.
15. Fold the piece so the charger hole is at the bottom. This will leave one side longer than the other.
16. Seam up both sides of this area to the cast on edge.
17. In the middle of the area just sewn up place your button, making sure it lines up with the location of the bottom hole and sew it to the pocket. It is best if it is just below the cast on side ribbing (not on the ribbing).
18. Sew in any remaining loose fibers or strings.
19. Place your Nook in the pocket. Button it up and show it off to your friends!

For more pictures check out my Nook Pocket on

Thursday, June 17, 2010

When The Floor Drops Out From Under You

      So things in the last week have made life well.... hard to say the least. Things have started to pile up to the point that I start to wonder when I might just crack. We all know that life is never just easy. There are hurdles that start to get in our way and we have to simply take them one at a time until we reach that straight stretch again with nothing in our way. Right now the hurdles are one on top of another, a pile if you must, and it reaches to the sky. It started with a minor problem, having one of those weeks at the bakery where I am doing my 12 week internship. While there were things going right throughout the day, it would be the one bad thing that I screwed up that would ruin everything that went right. Yes I am the intern, a person that is supposed to be learning. I have to keep telling myself that. Everything that was going wrong mainly stemmed from a lack of information about the ways things were supposed to done at this location. Okay, fine, I can fix that. Lesson learned. But at the same time I am a perfectionist and one wrong move will make me kick my own ass for days.
       While this was happening, and I was trying to tell myself that I had still made the right decision as a baker and not to retire after 5 weeks, I got more news. Tigger, our cat that had decided he loved it at my parents house so much he was moving in permanently, was missing. While he was no longer living with us I still considered him one of my "kids". Yes I am one of those crazy ones that considers my pets as my kids. These little guys may be as close as I might ever get to having kids in my lifetime so therefor they are my kids. No I don't dress them up.... okay maybe once or twice as a hilarious joke.... but I love them as one of my own. So the thought that one of my own was out in the world by himself, lost, or worse made me lose it. A panic attack kicked in and I balled my eyes out. Two days later and he has yet to be found. I can hope someone found him and took him in as their own but in my mind, the worst case scenario always kicks in first. And then, it only got worse.
       The worst news I could hear simply put me into a full shock mode last night and only now am I starting to be able to comprehend everything. My mom let me know she found a lump, and a biopsy is being done on Monday to see if it's indeed breast cancer. She had went to the doctor yesterday and they said it didn't look good and wanted further testing. They said it was only in one area which was a good thing but that one area was not good. Luckily in today's society, where breast cancer is becoming more and more frequent, there is a much higher percentage of women that are living through this and going on to lead normal... healthy lives. After watching my mother-in-law fight this like a champ, with two different types of breast cancer and not given very good possibilities to make it through, I know my mom can do the same. My mother-in-law has been in remission for some time and has moved on with life... enjoying playing with her grand kids among other things! When my mom told us I couldn't say anything cause of the sheer shock, thinking this was happening to my mom of all people is at the top of worse things to happen. But both myself and Max will be with her through this process every step of the way and we love her very much. Hopefully she knows that, since I have never been good about expressing my feelings (and better at writing it!). This will be an easy fight, so she can get on with life.
       So today, luckily, I got an extra day off and I am spending it at home. Emotionally and physically drained, I need to have a pajama day with my kitties while I knit away. The only way to calm down right now is to knit, and keep knitting. I need to be strong for my mom, I need to be strong while we try to find Tigger, and I need to know I can bake the hell out of anything I want and I just need to give this baking thing time to sink in at this new job. Life will get better, for everyone. It's time to start climbing the hill of hurdles cause I will make it over them, to move on with life.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Feeling of a Project Done

Before leaving Portland I headed into one of my new favorite yarn stores called Happy Knits. Thinking I was going in for just a single ball of yarn, I walked by the cutest knitted shirt that was being displayed. Suddenly I stop and analyze the project. No too hard, mostly one piece (no seaming....), very cute feather and fan pattern in the front. Then I looked at the tag and saw that it was only 8 balls of yarn to do the project. Now if you have looked at a lot of projects in knitting magazines like Vogue Knitting, you will find that many of them can take up to 20 balls of yarn at some instances. Then you times that by the price of the yarn and suddenly faint! Luckily the yarn for this project was fairly inexpensive. Then, after going through this and telling myself I need to finish the projects I have going on, the woman working at the time notices me looking at the knitted shirt and mentions the yarn she used to make it. Once I felt the cotton and cashmere combo I was hooked. I suddenly was creating a good reason in my head for why I should add yet another project to the multitude of projects that are currently in the wings. So before I knew it I had the yarn at home and was getting cast on for this obviously cute project for my mom for her 50th birthday. I finished it up this past week and got it to my mom, with a sigh of relief. I had knitted so fast to get it done for her birthday that my hands were cursing me. But it turned out beautiful and I got a call from my mom later that day saying that it fit perfect.... that made the crippled hands feel a little better. Nothing is worse than knitting your heart out to end up with a project that doesn't fit the person you were knitting it for. At least with babies or kids you know someday they will fit into it (if it's a little big).... even if it may be 5 years down the road! So another project done and I have already started on the next one, a lace shawl. My first one with some awesome colored Malabrigo lace weight yarn that I purchased (yet again) at Happy Knits. Maybe it's a good thing I finally moved home to Bend. Any longer and I might have been financially supporting the whole store with each of my projects I purchased from them. They would have had to name one of the rooms after me. Scary thought.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Goodbye Portland

The time has come, and while I am ready to leave this never ending city... there are parts of it I will be forced to miss. First, the friends I have made along the way. Coming to this place in which I only knew a handful of people was a daunting task. But living amongst those heading down the same path as me throughout the past 11 months has brought some of us together. Especially two of them, who I have come know through of all things... knitting. I will miss you both more than you know. And even if I am leaving know that I am always a phone call, an email, a text, or a Facebook post away (especially when you have a knitting emergency). Also, though I cringe saying it... there will be parts of Portland I will miss. The dog park up the street where I have gotten quite a few giggles from on a bad day, the zoo where my favorite buddies Gus and Julius (the sea lions) do their graceful synchronized swim that can send you into a zen-like state, and finally the flowers. I knew the day that it was time for spring by the arrival of every daffodil in the neighborhood. They were gorgeous, and have been joined each day by more and more color throughout the many gardens in this city. The beautiful blooms are always followed by more rain, but only now do I understand that you have to loose a little bit of blue skies to get more beautiful red poppies or purple bearded tulips. Finally, I will miss the experience of it all. Moving from the only place I had ever called home was a task that was tough, but necessary in giving me the steps to try something new. I would never give this experience up for the world but I will be the first to admit that it hasn't been easy. Only now do I appreciate my family more than ever and look forward to going home to bring my family back together once again. It was this that made me change my next step in this long process, going from the Washington beach to Sunriver, Oregon instead for my internship. It was time to go home. No longer was I willing to be away, but just having the offer of going up to the resort in Washington is something I appreciate. So dead set on moving away from Central Oregon, this Saturday I move back there to start life there yet again. The time couldn't come soon enough but I am looking forward to the future as a pastry chef, a wife, a daughter, and a friend. Life is an amazing adventure, and this has only been a stop on the long journey ahead. Goodbye Portland. It's been fun but it's time to go.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Take That Elizabeth Zimmerman!!!

So this was one of those patterns that I have had forever, designed by Elizabeth Zimmerman (one of the first people to publish patterns back in the day... some of which you would have never thought up without a degree in mechanical engineering). I would look at it from time to time deciding if the time had come to knit it up but it was the construction that always made me cringe. It was just odd. But it's those things that bug me the most! Was I going to let a little knitting pattern tell me who was boss?? I think not. So I whipped this little baby jacket up in 6 days and there you go. Pretty cute if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Cooking Gene

The very last class, ever, and it has to be cooking. Imagine your first day of taking a foreign language class and you walk in and take a seat. The teacher immediately starts the class by talking in the language that you are yet familiar with be it Spanish, French, or Italian. You look up to your teacher with a blank look on your face, unaware of anything she is blabbing on about and suddenly think.... oh crap. Well, that would be the exact feelings as I walked into my Culinary Skills 2 class and the chef began cooking, while going on about the way to cook these things I had never heard of and thus the "oh crap" analogy comes into play. Day two followed with conquering mashed potatoes for the first time with a wonderful cheese sauce. With each day, each dish, each ingredient, I come closer to starting my internship and thus starting the rest of my life. But though I do go to a culinary school, I have to say.... I am not a cook and never will be. I need the structure of a great cake recipe or the precise scaling of a wonderful danish in my little baking world. The unstructured world of cooking seems to be beyond my understanding, a foreign language if you will, and so I have come to terms with the missing cooking gene. Now I still have two and a half weeks to go in class and will try as I might to get through like a champ but the uneasiness will linger. So 17 days till I leave Portland, and from there.... at the moment.... it is up in the air for where I head for my internship (which will be figured out this Sunday). Its been fun but in 17 days my bags are packed and I will be running out the door to take on the world as a baker!!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Little Knitting Laugh

Originally uploaded by gnotalex

I just finished day one of a two day finals testing in my Culinary Skills 1 class before a three day weekend. So as I pull my head out of these many books, ranging from herbs and spices to cooking in general, I look to get a quick laugh from my favorite past time.... knitting. Now back to the books, and here's hoping that tomorrow goes as well as today went!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Beginning of Life

Dear Little Sophia,

Welcome to the world! You were born on Saturday April 10th at 11:29am up at OHSU in Portland, OR. Your shinning little eyes along with your full head of hair and your cute little toes definitely show that you belong to your mom and dad.... as you look just as your sister Bella did when she was born. Waiting for you wasn't easy for your parents, let alone your uncle and I, your grandparents, and especially your big sister but we are so glad that you finally arrived (even if it was a little early). I know it must be hard spending the first days of your life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Doernbecher Hospital but know it is for the best. You have already shown all of us that you have a fighting spirit in you and that you will be out in no time, finally getting to rest in the arms of your mom and dad at home. Each day they hope and pray to finally be able to bring you home but they know it is for the best that you stay and get strong before stepping out into this big world. Just know that you have come into the hearts of so many and that we love you unconditionally no matter where we are. We can't wait to see you slowly grow and be apart of each new experience that you come across. You have a wonderful life ahead of you and we couldn't be happier to have you come into our lives. We love you and know that you will keep fighting to get out of the NICU and get on to bigger and better things. So welcome to the family little Sophia Gail McGuire!


Aunt Lindsey and Uncle Max

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Fight Towards The Finish

Its been ten months. Talking to some that haven't seem me in that period of time act as if 10 months has been the equivalent of a week in their eyes. If they only knew. This hasn't been the easiest 10 months for many reasons but as I inch closer to the finish line I have come to realize that I wouldn't have given up this experience for the world.

The big city has been a challenge for me, coming from a small area that I was born and raised in, and suddenly getting to the grocery store was a bit more challenging at 5pm. Actually the best thing is to just stay home and don't even try it. As for getting around on the freeways the only way to learn is to get lost a few times, then get yourself back home. This was the way I found a closer Target to my apartment as a matter of fact! Before the creation of GPS systems, I shutter to think what life was like. Even with mine, I have found myself at the wrong side of Gresham suddenly when I was just trying to get home from dropping off a friend at the airport. To this day, I have yet to admit that my navigation skills aren't exactly stellar and coming here has proved that point.

Then with my husband, family, and friends so far away. The saying that you don't know what you miss until it's gone has struck a cord in me many times. When the people we love are an arms-length away we take for granted how much impact they have upon our lives. Since being away, I do see my loving family every few weeks for a few days but I dream of the day that everything will come back together. Unfortunately this will only get worse as I head to Washington next month, since my husband won't be able to be around for a few months and my family will be back in Central Oregon. But as the same time, it is the light at the end of the tunnel that gives me the determination to work as hard as I can to make him proud when we finally do become a family yet again.

One thing that was a surprise since arriving was an illness that I didn't expect. While no illness is expected, it was the last thing that I ever thought I would have to deal with. Just another hurdle in this thing called life and unfortunately something I will have to deal with during the rest of mine.

Then school. The main reason for leaving everything to find something. I was lost before coming to school here. There was something when it came to work that was missing. In no way did I have a "career" but rather a few jobs that weren't satisfying in any way, shape, or form. It was heartbreaking to come home everyday and feel as if I hadn't progressed towards anything, or picturing life in 10 years doing the same thing and simply cringing. A change had to happen, and luckily I had the support to do it. I will admit that I was looked at like this was another "crazy" idea when I finally spoke up about what I wanted to do, and everyone had that right to think that. But the only thought in my mind was that if I don't try this... I will always regret it because I know that it was the right thing. I was nervous to the point of shaking my first day but as soon as I started feeling comfortable (and not burning everything) I realized that I indeed had made the decision that would change everything for the better.

So a little over 6 weeks until the classroom setting is completed and I move on to the real kitchen. I will admit I am nervous. It's as if I must perform on a stage for all to see, as well as prove everything I have learned over the past months. Through all of the things that have happened these past 10 months, the finish is in sight. But without the challenges this experience just would not have been the same. It's the situations that take us out of our cozy little box, and challenge our ways of thinking that make us progress and evolve into the people that will make our loved ones proud.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The One in the Chef Hat

As I peek out my window in my bedroom here in Portland, I sometimes get a quick glimpse of the lives of the many others around me. In a three story condominium you can't help but know about others, especially since all of the doors that we must pass through to enter our humble abodes face each other around a first floor garden in the middle of it all. As a slightly shy person, yes.... shy (as some of you are rolling your eyes), I tend to distance myself from the many that share this piece of the Earth around me. A simple hello as they walk by, or a grin to a dog on its way out for a walk is as far as I go. I have simply looked at my time here as short lived and that I am going to slip in, then slip out and not try to disturb anyone. Why I feel this way, I haven't a clue. My ultimate conclusion would have to be that being in a town in which I know very few has caused me to stay closed up and focused on only was is to be accomplished while I am here. But even though there are many neighbors that I have yet to meet there are times that our lives cross in odd ways. Like the couple above the apartment that love to wear their shoes at 2 am as they run back and forth across the apartment, sounding like a stampede of elephants just ran through my bedroom. Or the lady below us that has to leave her dog at home during the day, the dog that enjoys talking to himself at the top of his lungs for all to hear. There are days that I shake my head, then put on my headphones.... then the other days (especially at 2 am) I decide that expletives under my breath are the way to release the tension. So to my amazement today I found out that some of the neighbors know who I am. As I headed down the elevator to due my duty as a knitter and explore a new yarn store that just arrived in Portland, I found myself standing next to a woman I had seen on many occasions walking her dog. A friendly hello had been the extent of our conversations, and a slight giggle on my part due to the dog taking the most leisurely walk I had ever seen by a four legged type. Suddenly after saying hello (and keeping my giggle under my breath) she asked if I was the one in the chef hat she always sees. I couldn't help but laugh. The uniform for my school is far from flattering, and the hat should be burned. Granted one of mine has been burned in the classroom but that is a story for another time. Each day I leave the apartment, donned in my appropriate attire for school.... including the lovely hat that causes your hair to be plastered to your head for the rest of the day. Then, as I sometimes find, after school I sometimes run errands. Now the looks I get wearing the attire have ranged from people laughing to looks saying I should be committed. It's not like I choose to put this on each day, I am required! Trust me, I would much rather be sporting a pair of jeans, sweatshirt, and flip flops. And do I really want to spend the time after class to change, just to run a few errands, when there is no way I can make my hair look presentable after wearing that hat! Thus, I continue to wear the uniform while I do my errands and get home to rest and knit. So, now I am officially the one in #205 in the chef hat. Finally, I have made my mark in Portland society. I guess there are worse things to be called.

A Little Pebble in a Sea of Rocks

Four months ago things hit home for me.... I would be starting a new life somewhere in the world as a pastry chef. I didn't know where, I didn't know how and I definitely didn't know who was going to hire me. The stress of it all was taking over and I was in a constant state of panic. That was about the time that I last posted on here. It's amazing how the stress of creating a future can overwhelm and before you know it, it's April 2nd. Many things have happened over the past months: I finished many more classes, created my first wedding cake from scratch, turned 29 (feeling like I am 50), spent many great weekends and this past week with my husband back in Bend, finished a couple knitting projects, started many more knitting projects, and finally was offered an actual job as a pastry chef at Kalaloch Lodge in Washington. Granted, I am still waiting for the background check to come back from the lodge but trust me.....they aren't going to find anything at all. Unfortunately in the midst of the chaos that has been life lately, my blog has suffered as merely an afterthought in the daily pile of to-do lists. When I started this blog awhile back never once did I consider others reading what I wrote, but just assumed only my family would poke in every once in awhile since it was their duty to read my rantings. This was merely a journal for me, a way to talk out into the world and sometimes write things down that had been stuck in my head or have a record of the many ongoings to look back upon someday. Slowly after mid-December I began to hear from people about the blog, wondering if I was going to put anything up on it anytime soon. Even just this past week I had a complete stranger, soon to be a great friend, tell me how they loved the blog and hope more would be posted soon. I have to admit it has been a bit surprising to me to find out that people out in the vast world have stopped in from time to time to see what is going on in my somewhat odd yet quiet world and are interested to see more. To those of you that have given me the encouragement to continue with my little pebble of a blog in this sea, I thank you. For all the kind words throughout my adventure in what I like to call Pastry World, thank you so much. And finally for those of you that have constantly inspired me to keep my knitting needles moving (even if I did just drop stitches or want to tear the whole stinkin' thing out), you rock! It's people in the world like you that make this world such a better place. Now I must get back to knitting..... and working on updating this little blog of mine!