Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hogwart's Sock Kit Swap Questionnaire

1. What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into. RAVENCLAW

2. List your favorite double-point needle brands, including size and length. Or would you prefer circulars? BRITTANY; SIZE 1-1/2; 5"

3. Would you like to try a new brand needle? If so, which brand? Size? Length? I HAVEN'T TRIED MANY OTHER BRAND NEEDLES SO I'M VERY INTO TRYING A NEW NEEDLE. I DO LIKE 5".

4. If you are a RAVENCLAW, do you prefer the colors in the film or the book? Do you have a strong preference? I PREFER THE COLORS IN THE BOOK, BUT HONESTLY EITHER IS FINE.

5. Do you have any allergies? YES, CATS, BLOOMING FRUIT TREES, AND DUST

6. If you are swapping scarves - what is your desired length for the pattern? This will help your partner find the pattern that is just right for you and buy yarn accordingly.

Only a few more hours......

.....and the weekend begins. I am so ready for it! After work tonight I'll stop at Weight Watchers to weigh in (and hope for some good news), before jumping on the train and heading to downtown Minneapolis for the last Vikings preseason game. Chuck got me partial season tickets for my birthday this year. Yes, I do bleed purple. Then it will be back home to pack a suitcase for a weekend trip to California. Aimee, my cousin Gail and I will be taking part in the Disney Family Fun Run at Disneyland on Sunday. (Aimee is running...Gail and I are walking.) The route of the fun is through Disneyland and California Adventure, and we have to be finished before Disneyland opens for the day. Aimee and I will then spend the entire day at Disneyland. It's been a while since we've done an open-to-close. I have to look for High School Musical 2 stuff for Ellie, particularly a backpack. Who knew that at 6 she'd be too old for Princesses and into HSM? Then it's back home on Monday only to repack the suitcase for Scotland. Aimee and I leave on Saturday, Sept. 8 for 10 days. I can't wait! We're going to be mainly in the Highlands this time around with a special emphasis on visiting whisky distilleries! We will spend a couple days in Edinburgh though. I do love that city. Gotta take at least 1 ghost tour and we have reservations to eat at The Witchery. Now I just have to be patient and get through today!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Now the purging of food begins......

Day Two....

...and still no power. Have you ever tried to stitch quarter stitches by candlelight? Not an easy task. And, I can't use my curling iron. Enough to make a girl super crabby. I did get quite a bit done on the sweater I'm knitting for my new granddaughter who is due December 1. It's turning out very, very pretty. I decided to do it in a size 1-2 years instead of a smaller size so she can get more use out of it. Besides that I'm in the dark about most things..........

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Another Storm....Another Power Outage

For the third time in the month of August we've had a storm during the night and have ended up with no power. This is getting OLD. There are trees down all over the city, including one just around the corner from us which fell partly across 81st Street. The wind was horrendous, the rain so heavy it was one solid sheet of water, and the hail violently pelted everything. How long are we apt to be without power this time? I hope it's not 2-3 days like in the past. I might just as well empty my refrigerator and freezer and start over. (At least I could get them cleaned!) I decided just to come into work early (me? early? ROFL!!!) so I could at least read my email. I look so "lovely" since I couldn't use my hairdryer or curling iron and was putting my makeup on in shadows.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Garage Sale Treasures

Chuck and his friend Jerry have spent most Saturday mornings this summer at garage and estate sales. Jerry looks for tools that he can turn around and sell at his booth at a Sunday flea market. Chuck basically tags along for the fun of it. In the process he has brought home some wonderful finds, including an incredible 5" cedar chest in perfect condition for $75, a big old trunk which I can refinish for $5, a beautiful china hutch (which he is refinishing) for $10, and lots of miscellaneous cut glass, one thing I collect. A couple weeks ago he came home with 2 cross stitch pieces that he got for $.25 each, including this one. They have 1929 written on the back. I love this piece and am considering recharting it.

I am spending lots of time putting the final plans on the trip to Scotland Aimee and I are taking in September. We have almost all the lodging in place, except for one area and hopefully I can get that finalized today. One place we are staying is an actual old church. Check it out! I'm really excited about that one. I'm still trying to find some needlework shops to visit in Scotland. I visited Nifty Needles in Linlithgow when we were in Scotland last time and LOVE that little shops, but I'm not having much luck finding any other fun shops. There must be more!! I keep asking but so far I'm not getting any answers. (Like I need any more stash!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Drama When a Wannabe King Comes to Town

What a joy getting home from work was yesterday! It took me 45 minutes longer than usual. Why you ask? Wannabe "King George" was in town for a fundraiser. And, of course, why not land at 4:30 in the middle of rush hour and completely close off a major freeway?? Particularly in a city where we are already down one major freeway because of a bridge collapse. I knew "King George" was coming, but had no idea what time, so I happily started my trip home. I get off 35W on the 76th Street Exit (which is actually 77th Street but who cares). Normally there isn't much traffic on 77th when I get off, but last night it was very slow. I figured there was probably a traffic light out because of all the thunderstorms lately. I eventually cross Lyndale Avenue...that light is working fine but the right turn lane isn't moving. Hmmm....I think. After sitting in stop-and-go traffic I finally cross Nicollet Avenue..that light is also working, but I notice people in the left lane are making U-turns. Okay, I figure they are just type-A personalities who are impatient. Between Nicollet Avenue and Portland Avenue the traffic came to a total and complete stop, a virtual parking lot, and there are oodles of cars turning onto 77th from small sidestreets to my right where there is rarely any traffic. Now it's starting to dawn on me that something is amiss. Are we without power again? Is there major gridlock somewhere? I called home only to be told by Chuck that ALL city streets CROSSING I-494 were closed and that I-494 itself was closed because of "King George". So there I sat...nowhere to go. I couldn't get home because I had to cross over I-494 and NO streets were open to allow me to do that. Just as I was about to completely lose my patience, I saw that a bus had turned onto Portland Avenue and it appeared to be moving. YAY!!! "King George" was going to allow me to get home! Now, don't you think it would have made sense to let people know earlier in the day that the streets would be closed? If I had known, I could have decided to stop at Borders and browse or meet Chuck somewhere for dinner. Instead I sat in a traffic jam fuming. My head hurts.....

Friday, August 17, 2007

Stepping Outside the Box

I've decided to attempt something new and have joined the Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap. I'm an avid Harry Potter fan and this sounded like something fun to do. Not sure what it's all about yet, but I'm sure I'll learn. Oh....I'm a first year Ravenclaw. Where's Hermoine when I need her? And when do I get my wand?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Variety of Stitches

I have gotten in the mood to knit after visiting a wonderful yarn shop in Buffalo last weekend. Debbie discovered a fun pattern for a scarf she wanted to knit and I decided I needed it as well. The yarn is soft and fantastic to work with. I've never had to follow a diagramed knitting pattern before so I ended up ripping it all out a couple times. Finally Debbie came to the rescue and emailed me the pattern in "normal" knitting terms. SO much easier! I am planning on taking the scarf to Scotland with me when Aimee and I go in September. You never know about that Scottish weather!

And here is how far I've gotten on Ellie's Christmas stocking. I stitched this for her a couple years ago. I have a gorgeous silk for the back and a matching lining fabric, plus cording for around the stocking. I went to put the stocking together for her two years ago so she could could hang it on the fireplace in their new house, only to discover that the bag contained the silk, lining fabric, cording, thread...BUT NO STITCHED PIECE! I have searched this house from top to bottom, back to front. I've been through every bag, box, drawer, shelf I can find and no stitched piece. So, what does a grandmother do for her first granchild??? She stitches it again! Yeah, nuts, I know. But the stocking is SO Ellie and I want her to have a stocking she can keep forever. Plus...I have to do another stocking for her baby sister who is due December 1st. I don't think that one will be done in time.

Monday, August 13, 2007

MN Needlework Guild Annual Retreat

This past weekend I attended the MN Needlework Guild Annual Retreat. Actually I was there for 5 days, and could have stayed much much longer. I guess time flies when you're having fun. We laughed until we cried, stitched until we couldn't see straight, and ate until our stomaches ached. My friend Debbie and I were lucky to be put in an independent study room with 4 friends...what a pleasant surprise for us all. We didn't end up with some of the personality squabbles that some rooms experienced. Our room posted the "rules" that conversation was encouraged, rowdy was required and wearing orange was strictly prohibited.

I only took one class this year...blackwork taught by Marion Scolar. I enjoyed the class immensely and even managed to finish the class project (see above). Marion is such a Lady (capital L intentional) and an incredible teacher. One of the first things she taught was that it didn't matter what the back of your work looked wasn't meant to be looked at! She is English and graduated from the Royal School of Needlework. She's been teaching needlework for 50 years, which was so hard to believe. She said she gets irritated with American stitchers who believe the back of the work must be as neat as the front...and I admit I am very guilty of that.

The theme for next year's retreat will be mermaids. I love all the mermaid charts available and am already looking for something to make a mermaid name tag. I am also going to attempt to do a Little Mermaid blackwork piece to enter into the "best use of the theme" competition. I had already thought of stitching something from Little Mermaid for my granddaughter's new bedroom since she LOVES Ariel. I have a coloring book of Princesses I got at Disneyland and there are some great Ariel images in there I think I can use. We'll see!!!

Marion told a great story during class. When she first started teaching she taught in a very, very rough section of London where most of the girls were older than her, were the illegitimate children of American soldiers and English women, and most of the girls were prostitutes. They could out swear most men! One day she had reached her limit with the coarse language so she told them that vegetables were much more effective. She slammed her fist on the table and yelled PEA PODS! Most more explosive....SPINACH! I guess it got their attention and all weekend when we were frogging stitches we'd used explosive vegetables!

And, somewhere along the way, I think I lost my mind and might have voluteered to co-chair the 2010 retreat. Actually, I said I'd seriously consider it. We did spend an evening brainstorming in our room and have decided that the theme will probably be peacocks...unless someone takes that theme in 2009. Heaven help me!! What have I gotten myself into!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Cake or Death

This is one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time...the combination of one of Eddie Izzard's funniest skits and legos.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Family History Update

I recently attended the Midwest Scrapbook Association convention in St. Paul. One of the workshops I took was on making heritage pages since I really want to put together a heritage scrapbook to share with my family. This is a page I made using the wedding photo of my grandparents Lillian and Sam Ege. They were married on February 20, 1925. According to a handwritten book my Grandmother gave me, it wasn't a big wedding. They went to Moorhead, MN and only their 2 attendants were present. She wore a "beautiful blue dress" and "We has very little money so spent two days in Fargo. We ate at nice eating places, went to movies, drove around and saw interesting places which to us was very special. We hadn't been to Fargo before so to us it was exciting."
I have been doing a lot of family research the past 9 months. Yesterday I met with a distant cousin for the first time. His grandfather and my great-grandfather were brothers. My great-grandfather, Hans Ege, immigrated to the US in 1893. Reinert, whom I met with yesterday, came to the US when he was 11 years old; he's now 87. His father, Sam, had immigrated a few years earlier. Reinert was aware that there was a relative who was a "farmer in North Dakota" but he'd never met him; he'd only met Gustav, the brother who had settled in Duluth. He wasn't even aware that Hans had another brother, Tonnes, who settled in western North Dakota or a sister, Martina, who married and eventually settled in the Monterey, CA, area. He did have lots of wonderful photographs of family members in Norway, including one of the family patriarch, Sem, on the family farm in 1907. There were several photos he had gotten from cousins in Norway and he asked me if I could identify any of them. By process of elimination, I think we figured out that one of them was Tonnes Ege who none of us had ever seen. Reinert is still in touch with cousins in Norway and will be contacting them for more information. I am hoping that I can get some names and addresses of some of these cousins in Norway to further my research.
At the same time, I've been contacted by another distanct cousin in Wisconsin who is related through my Irish great-grandparents. My great-grandfather and her grand-mother were brother and sister. I knew very little about this side of my family since my parents divorced when I was small. I never knew many on my father's side. In fact, until starting this research I never knew I was 25% Irish or that my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Hogan Delaney, was born and raised about 10 miles from where I presently live.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Don't Forget To Say I Love You

Yesterday was a horrendous day for the City of Minneapolis with the collapse of the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River. At this point there are 4 reported dead, including a 60-year-old professional women who was the mother of two college daughters and a 29-year-old Hispanic man who left 3 small children surviving in Mexico and an infant in Minnesota. Names and faces are being put to those who died. There are also 20-30 people unaccounted for. The divers are having problems getting to the submerged cars because of strong currents in the river. They are using the locks to try and lower the river level, but they aren't able to get it low enough. On top of that there is bent and twisted metal both above and below the water, and the bridge is still shifting.

When I was first married, I drove that bridge at least twice daily because we lived near the University of Minnesota. We've all driven that road to get to the northern parts of the city. People traveled over that bridge daily to get to downtown Minneapolis to work, to go to sporting events and concerts, to enjoy theatre events and restaurants.

This photo was taken last fall of Aimee and I with Aimee's friends Robin and Debbie. We took a segway tour and are stopped on the Stone Arch Bridge, an historic stone bridge. In the background is the Central Avenue Bridge; we are facing the I-35W bridge that collapsed. The Mississippi River is criss crossed with bridges. Tonight there is one less. I've been on the verge of tears all day. As I drove to work this morning on I-35W the sign over the freeway read "road closed at 94". I read that and my stomach turned one more time as my eyes held back the tears. I've watched disasters on TV in the past and felt sorry for those involved, but to recognize the area where a disaster happens and to know that possibly someone you know could have been on that bridge, was almost more than I wanted to bear.

Were those people able to tell their friends and families that they loved them? Did they leave home without saying I'm sorry? Did they think I'll take care of it tomorrow? We never know when our time will come. So I want to always remember to take the time to tell those close to me that I love them and value them.