Thursday, May 31, 2007

Almost Finished!!!

The Great American Bathroom Remodel, that is...

It's not the ultimate bathroom of my dreams, let me make that clear. The UBMD would be at least 4 times this size with a very large tub having a wide tile surround that I could put plants and candles on, and a separate shower with a rain head, and two sinks and mood lighting, heated towel bars, and hell, while I'm at it, a small refrigerator that would hold a couple of bottles of champagne. (And somebody to keep the place clean would be nice, too.)

But what we have is a 5' X 8' space that needed re-plumbing, modernizing, minimal maintenance while being beautiful and functional. We weren't willing to do structural house changes, and enlarging the bathroom would have cost us what little closet space we have and/or the other bathroom-- neither being an option.

I'm happy so far, and I trust I'll be when it's finished out tomorrow.

I'm really pleased with the tile. It's a bit pricey, and we chose to tile the entire room. It feels like being in a canyon-- very organic, cool (I hope I don't regret that in the winter), and peaceful.

We're completely grouted, and the fixtures and plumbing fit-out get installed tomorrow. We are eventually planning on a glass slider for the shower, but for now we'll use a tension bar and heavy-gauge shower curtain.

Check it out (and click on the pics to enlarge-- the detail of the tile guys is pretty neat-- never thought I'd be so inspired by a "good grouting"):

The Shower- check out the little tiles on the shower floor.

The little stone shelves at each end of the shower-- and the polished stone accents at eye level (eye level for tall people, that is.)

The stone and antiqued brass towel bar and stone tp holder. (The blue tape is not a design feature-- it's just to keep the towel bar in place until the cement and grout cure.)

The grout needs to set for a week, and then we can use the shower.

Think I'll treat myself to some new towels.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

I remember the Memorial Days of my youth. We'd go to Mass, then march in the parade-- I was with the Girl Scout group, and various brothers and sisters were in the grade school band. I don't remember it ever raining, but it was usually getting a bit warm out. We'd march to the cemetary, where there was another memorial service, and flags to place at the graves.

It was before Memorial Day became another occasion for stores to have yet another sale. We remembered those who served, and we were grateful for their sacrifices.

May was a busy month at Saints Peter and Paul elementary school. Since it was "Mary's Month" there were May altars in the classrooms, May Crowning in the church, and first communion services.

I remember the smell of lilacs. It was warm enough to walk to school, and many of the homes along the way had lilacs blooming. They were especially sweet in the morning when it was cool, and the moisture of the dew seemed to enhance the scent. Those who were, in my mind, fortunate enough to have lilacs growing in their yards would bring the fragrant blooms in for the May altars, and we'd smell the lilacs all day long. My mom wasn't fond of lilacs, and when we moved to a house that had a small patch growing at the side of the yard, they left in short order. Only later did I understand that they were in a spot that obstructed a traffic view. But she still didn't like lilacs.

Today I'm not doing anything special. I took the opportunity to read the whole paper-- not something I can frequently do. I'm cleaning out a room that needs severe de-cluttering, while listening to audiobooks and podcasts on my iPod.

And I'm lamenting the fact that the plumbing in the middle bathroom is failing, as in non-stop dripping that is impervious to normal repairs. As soon as our master bath is completed and useable, we will have to go through this again. The plumber who did the estimate for the renovation in the master bath told us that getting to, repairing and refinishing the center bathroom shower plumbing would run at least a grand. We made the decision then that we would do a limited remodel at that time (we were thinking next year) instead of basically throwing away the repair costs, since the 60's bathroom really needs an upgrade.

So today's family discussions haven't focused on cooking out, or even the philosophical aspects of Memorial Day. Instead we're discussing alternatives for paying for another bathroom renovation, and ways to treat it as a capital improvement while trying to spend less than the cost of a new car. Again.

There are many, many blessings to be counted. We have a house. We have bathrooms. We will be able to do this while still maintaining our standard of living. We are very fortunate.

But this is really inconvenient. I'm such a whiner.

More Hokie Squares in progress. The Husband will take them to Gina at Mosaic this weekend.

I wanna go to Blacksburg!!!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

No Way!!!

OK-- so that orange stuff just isn't going to make it as a sweater. Nor is the multicolored stuff that the stripe's made of. No Way!!! Ick!!!!

I think it may become a baby play blanket. If it doesn't blind the little dears.

I'm giving myself 2 more squares to see if that's a possiblility. Otherwise the yarn gets tossed or donated.

Life is too short.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tomorrow (Today) It Begins

The Great American Bathroom Rehab, that is.

Here are the "before" pictures. The Husband has already removed the blue tile, the white and blue flowered wallpaper, and knocked out a bit of the wall around the plumbing:

Note the snazzy floor tile. The crew is arriving at 8 am to gut the room, remove the tub, toilet, vanity, and flooring, replace the wallboard in what will be the shower area, and get ready for tiling next week.

This is going to be fun...

It IS going to be fun...


In Knitting Knews,
A Hokie Bird Hokie Square, with his friends the Mitred Squares and Mr. Diagonal Stripe.

He needs to be blocked, and he doesn't have his detail stitching around the beak and waddle area, but that'll be done soon.

And I need some instant gratification, so I'm starting on a boxy summer cardigan from bulky summer stash yarn. Here's the first bit:

Sunday, May 20, 2007

What a Beautiful Day!

I hope we have some more like it! Soon!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Been Working & Been Working Some More

But before I get to that, today marks 26 years of (mostly) wedded bliss for me and The Husband. Of course, he had to work way early this morning, and I had a meeting with a non-profit I work with this evening, and-- you get the picture. It's pretty much been the story of our life together. Luckily we're both pretty independent, and able to survive a marriage despite wacky work hours and time consuming hobbies and interests. And we have two great Offspring.

Anyway, he's a remarkable man for putting up with my quirks, and I love him whole bunches.

Back to working-- it cuts a big hole in my knitting time, but that's how we pay for the yarn, no? (However, and more significantly, it also cuts into my time with my knitting buddies at Knit Happens.)

It's also how we help to pay for the bathroom re-do that will be happening soon at Casa de la Infermera. (That's The Nurse's House, more or less.)

The "before" is too fierce for vision-- The Husband started tearing things apart before I could capture the entire effect of the bright baby blue 60's tile. It looks like a war zone right now. We'll take pictures as the demolition and renovation proceed, and share it all in one fell swoop.

The Daughter is home from Tech. She arrived late yesterday, and I am just thrilled to be able to spend time with her. My time with The Offspring has always been precious to me. We enjoy being together and doing things together. But it seems even more precious now. It's been a really emotionally draining month.

Please indulge a repeat of Nikki Giovanni's tribute (shamelessly copied from Mosaic's website-- hope you don't mind, Gina):
We are Virginia Tech.
We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while. We are not moving on, we are embracing our mourning.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly, we are brave enough to bend to cry, and we are sad enough to know that we must laugh again.

We are Virginia Tech.

We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did nothing to deserve it, but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, neither do the invisible children walking the night away to avoid being captured by the rogue army, neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory, neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water, neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy.

We are Virginia Tech.

The Hokie Nation embraces our own and reaches out with open heart and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong, and brave, and innocent, and unafraid. We are better than we think and not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imaginations and the possibilities. We will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears and through all our sadness.

We are the Hokies.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We are Virginia Tech.

I've been chugging along on my Hokie Squares. I've completed 5, and they're not that terribly creative, compared to some of the others I've seen, but they're about what I can handle without lots of knitting time. I've done 4 mitred squares and one diagonal striped square. All the ends are weaved in-- that's major for me. I'm going to try a brioche square next.

And to wrap up this rather disjointed posting, I'm sending you to this remarkable song that my youngest sister forwarded to me. Apparently it is too "politically incorrect" to be played on the radio, and is not released, but gets a standing ovation every time it's played.

Thanks, Diamond Rio-- we needed that.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sheep and Wool- Good for the Soul

Just LOOK at how beautiful these sweaters are-- all natural colors:These are the work of Kelly and Kathy. After all that's happened, I've had difficulty focusing. But when I saw this display, it took my breath away. The simplicity and harmony of the natural color gradations put some order into my soul. I really can't explain it, and I know it sounds weird.

I bought some absolutely gorgeous wool/alpaca blend from them-- natural grey and cream. I don't know exactly what I'll do with it, but it's going to be spectacular.

Since I was in need of a bit of escape, I headed up to MSW on Friday night, and stayed in the Hampton Inn in Columbia. You know what a fan I am of Hampton Inns, but THERE WAS NO COFFEE in the little breakfast place.

Either morning!!!

I met some really nice people from Stuart Virginia and upstate New York on Friday night, and ran into them several more times. It was nice to have some fellow knitters (including a Y chromosome knitter!) to chat with. They comisserated on the coffee situation, and may have been more distressed than I, if that's possible.

I met up with a group of The Irregulars.

We all pulled out our knitting, and I did a little work on anotherHokie Square. (Gina of Mosaic hit the press again!)

We acknowledged that for at least a couple of us, it was "the first time":

A really special treat was that Shanti and Shanti's Mom (hey-- she really has her own name-- Lynn)were there. I hadn't seen her in ages-- I've been out of town when she's been back in the DC area, and of course, I haven't made it down south to minesweeper-land (or sea).

I never knew how many breeds of sheep there are. I fell in love with the little Jacob lambs. The pics aren't that great, but they are the cutest little things-- they look almost like little goats with tiny little horns sticking straight out of the sides of their heads. I didn't see any already spun yarn from the Jacobs, and although there were fleeces available, I haven't started the spinning. I figure I really can't do another thing right now, but it's in my future sometime. I did pick up a drop spindle and a very small amount of wool just for playing-around purposes. I tried using it, (during the Kentucky Derby) but it was pretty pitiful.

I really enjoyed the Border Collie demonstration. Those lil pooches are something else. (Could have used a couple when a flock got loose on the road in front of our bus in Ireland. Took almost an hour to round 'em all up.)

And then, of course, there was food...

I shared with some of my friends that I've had a tough time making decisions lately, even about what to eat. Hence, the recent Yodel debacles. I did make a conscious decision that I would eat at least a taste of Fried Twinkies, because, well.... I never have. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Not a Fried Twinkie in the place. I had to make do with some of a funnel cake. I did, however, not eat curly chips. They looked and smelled wonderful, and I'd show you a picture, except that for some reason, I can't upload it.

A final little note: I was bowled over when I heard this:
"Rise Up, Virginia Tech Tribute" by R Kelly. It's thoughtful, uplifting and just what the Hokie Nation needs right now. It's being released on May 15th, and proceeds are going to the Hokie Spirit fund. I'm hitting the iTunes store to purchase it on that day.

You might want to think about it, too.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Odd's and Ends

First of all:

Take 60 seconds to do this, I guarantee you will show someone else, it's too funny not to.
1. go to
2. click on "maps," above the search bar...
3. click on "get directions"
4. type "New York" in the first box (the "from" box)
5. type "Paris" in the second box (the "to" box)
6. click on "get directions"
7. scroll down to step #23
8. Laugh

Late Night was a Great Night

Lots of friends at The Shop. We laughed, and knit, and talked, and had a great time just being together. I showed off some of my Hokie Squares, Elspeth finished her very blue skirt, and a whole boatload of Irregulars- Nikki, Christine, Holly, Ann, Erin, Jasmine, Michelle, Dani, (Check out their links on the left side). We discussed our plans for the weekend:Maryland Sheep and Wool A bunch of us went to South Austin Grill. My first time out for dinner with friends in a L-O-O-O-N-G time.


I needed that.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Check it Out

Mosaic In the New York Times. That's Gina and Mimi and Lawre and Loren (who's holding a square with a maple leaf on it in honor of her French teacher),and I'm not sure whose back of the head that is... (I was sitting in a comfy chair to the left of the table. Imagine me there.)

So, are you knitting squares???? Here are a couple that I whipped up over the weekend:

I've Been Trying to Leave Comments....

... but typepad doesn't seem to like me these days. So if you're on my sidebar, and your blog is a typepad account, be assured I've been reading you.

Here's what happens: I put in the comment, and the little blue bar goes halfway across, and then I get a blank screen that says "done."

Don't know what I've done to tick off the typepad-- never used any bad words, tried not to put anyone down.... maybe it just doesn't like me.

I'll try not to take it personally.