Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day and Knitting Mojo

Happy Memorial Day everyone! I hope everyone takes a few moments to remember and thank those who have served in the military and protected our freedom.

So anyone who follows me on Twitter (MuddyMooseAK) has noticed that I have been in a bit of a knitting funk.  Friday, while at work, I realized the yarn that I chose for a mystery knit a long kids vest wasn't working. So I ripped that out. It was too late to go to the yarn shop, so I had to find a new one.  So I decided I was going to start the baby sleep nest that I wanted to knit and had ordered the yarn for. So I broke that out... except I must have been looking at the wrong page of the book when I ordered the yarn because the yarn I ordered would not work for the project. So now I have yarn that won't work, no yarn for that project, and I'm stuck wondering if it is worth the shipping price to return the yarn... ugh. So I spent some time on Ravelry looking at patterns trying to determine what to knit next. I downloaded the patterns for the French Press Slippers and the Artemis shawl... (Rav links) I have the yarn for both of these projects in my stash. But neither one of them seemed to be what I wanted to knit. I was cranky that I couldn't knit what I wanted to. At this point it is probably 11:00 at night. So I go to my room and I start digging through my stash and find some louisa harding yarn that I bought for a wrap around Christmas and decided to knit that. I got started and everything was going fine, so I went to bed around 12. I took my knitting to work the next day, and around 1:30 I realized something was wrong. And I didn't know how to fix it... I think they abbreviated something weird and I had only copied the pattern, not brought the book so I couldn't look it up. So I was stuck at work until 4 with nothing to do. Cranky again. I didn't knit at all that night. I didn't want to think about it. I was getting so mad that nothing was working out.... Yesterday I went to work at the quilt shop, where I picked out new yarn for my wool baby nest. (I will post pics later, W has the camera) I'm really happy with it and think it will look awesome. I even looked at the pattern and figured out how to knit it all as one piece instead of as a front and a back, did some math because I'm going to make mine striped instead of all one color, and I'm ready to knit. But I'm still a little gun shy and have yet to cast on... I worked on the last sleeve of my baby romper last night, just have an inch to go. So the plan is to finish that up today and then cast on my new project. Hopefully by then my knitting mojo will be back and everything will turn out fine.

If not, my knitting will have to sit in the corner while I make a quilt or something... I really hope it doesn't come to that, because it has been so nice (actually, a little too hot for my taste, but I won't complain!) that I like to be able to take my knitting outside with the pups. Speaking of the pups, they are very anxious to get to walking... so I better take them out before their whining drives me insane. Enjoy your Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dog Parks

We subscribed to the weekend newspaper the other day when students were going door to door trying to sign people up. I like knowing what is going on around town, and I find it very hard to find that information in the online version. For example, tomorrow at the zoo is a kids sing-a-long where the kids get to play instruments and have fun... awesome.

The article on the front page reminded me why I hate to read the paper though.  It is about my favorite dog park over by UAA. I don't take my dogs to off leash parks often because they have a dog pack mentality and will tend to get a bit too far away for my comfort, but when we do take them I prefer the UAA park.  There are only five off leash areas for dogs in Anchorage. The article is about all of the problems people are having with the UAA park and they are complaining it should be shut down.  I understand some of the complaints, parking is ridiculous over there and should be taken care of (as far as I know, there are only 8 designated spots...), and I do know that not everyone is a responsible dog owner and cleans up after their dog. That doesn't mean everyone should suffer for the mistakes of a few. There are clean up days at the park where volunteers go and clean up a ton of trash and dog poop, but it is still a problem.

The main concern is APU land borders the dog park and they are unhappy with the way it is being used. It is marked that your dog has to be on a leash and should be kept off of the soccer field, however, that is part of the loop around the lake and very few people do that. I'm guilty of letting my dog stay off leash on that side, but I do keep them close to me and not on the field. The new APU president is kind of being a bit rude about it... saying dog park users can't even use the parking lot of a building after hours, even though it is an office building that doesn't have anything going on at night. I feel like if he were willing to compromise on some things, the city would be more willing to help him out. You catch more flys with honey, I believe the saying goes. The president has also complained that people have been attacked at the dog park, but no reports have been filed. I agree that this is a major problem. We have encountered dogs at dog parks that are NOT friendly to other dogs, or people, and that is a problem. Those owners should be cited and not allowed to be there. Again, don't punish everyone because a few people are stupid.

The other complaint about the dog parks is that joggers, cyclists, and walkers are having to use other trails because they don't like having to deal with the dogs. I don't mean to sound rude, but I don't care about this. There are SOOO many trails in Anchorage, it is amazing. These parks aren't the nicest trails (and I don't believe this is only due to the dogs), nor are they really in the most convenient areas. Five places to lose to dog parks is a drop in the bucket of trails here. It always amazes me how un-dog-friendly our town can be considering the sheer amount of dogs there are. There are plenty of places for everyone to run, bike, ski, etc. There are very few places for people to allow their dogs off-leash play. I could see if the city decided to make 50% of the trails off leash, even I would think that would be excessive.... but it is probably more like 5%, if even that. Grow up and learn to share people.

I've run into people on these trails (mostly while skijoring) that clearly hate dogs. They are rude to me and complain about dogs on the trail. I'm sorry, I'm on the ONE trail that allows dogs here. There are at least 20 other trails within walking distance. If you don't like dogs DON'T be on the dog-friendly trail, jerk. And I understand not everyone can like dogs, there are dogs I don't like, but I don't make a point to get in their way and complain about them. People are so weird.

So basically, I hope that the city can find a viable solution to the dog park problem. I would hate to see the most loved dog park in town shut down because of petty complaints and a few irresponsible people. Alright, off to walk my dogs and head to work. I hope everyone is still enjoying their long weekend!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Long Weekend

W took today off and headed to McCarthy, AK for the weekend. He will be back Monday afternoon. I am home with the pups, and working every day. Which is fine! I actually don't mind being home alone most of the time... I have already picked up the house a bit and I'm now planning to eat dinner (mac and cheese! something that W doesn't enjoy but I DO... probably too much) and perhaps get some spinning or knitting done... the posiblities are endless! And I can watch terrible TV, go to bed at 8 (or 12!), do whatever I want. It's pretty nice. But, I think 3 nights is about when the fun will end and I will be ready for him to come back home. I know the dogs miss him. They will just lay around and pout probably. I walk them before I go to work and when I get home, which helps... but they are still just so pouty. I guess I'm just not as much fun as W!

If you are out enjoying your long weekend, please be safe! Always wear your seatbelt and a helmet! (I haven't blogged about it, but I have a HUGE problem with people who don't wear bike helmets. Maybe one day I will get around to it) And if you are in AK, please make sure to keep your fires under control. The fire danger is a bit out of control right now. Although in Anchorage, it looks like it might be thinking about raining... just like AK to have a nice long weekend and crappy weather. :)

Alright, off to go boil my water. Is it weird that I am already excited about that?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Dear Mother Nature,
You know I am not one to complain. I know there is nothing I can do about the weather, so I choose to just embrace it. But, please, PLEASE consider raining. It hasn't rained all summer. And while I am greatly enjoying the sunny weather, my allergies are going nuts and my lawn is dry. (Which actually is making W incredibly happy because he just got a new sprinkler... the lawn tractor type that moves around your yard by itself... I'm pretty sure he will be watering even in the rain he is so obsessed with it.) Rain has been promised in the forecast for a while and yet has not shown up. I don't want AK to have a crazy wild fire season. I just want a little rain....

And while I'm being picky, can it rain at night?

Thanks in advance,


Monday, May 24, 2010


In the past 10 days or so we have watched the movies "The Green Zone" and "The Hurt Locker". Both are stories about the current war we are in and are very interesting.

I will spare you any details or major reviews of the movies, but I thought "The Hurt Locker" was much better... "The Green Zone" did have two good points, one made by Matt Damon (or rather his character...) that "the reasons we go to war always matter" and one made by his informant "what happens here is not up to you".  I agree with both of those points, I think the reason we go to war is always important. If we go to war based on information that we know to be false or just because we feel like it, it makes us look like a war hungry country, a bully looking for a fight. I also agree that it shouldn't be up to us what happens in other countries. Not that we shouldn't step in when gross crimes against humanity are committed, but we are not the World Police (despite the awesome movie, "Team America: World Police" :) ).

"The Hurt Locker" was an interesting look at battle from a different point of view. I really enjoyed this movie. I think it would be hard to live in a place where there are bombs everywhere and always being told what to do by people who don't speak your language. I would be a TERRIBLE bomb diffuser. High stress situations are not my thing, but I guess that is why there are different jobs for different people.

Anyway, whenever I see a film about war it gets me thinking about how interesting war actually is. Here are two sets of people willing to fight to the DEATH to protect what they believe in. And both of them think they are right. And neither one of them is willing to see anything from the others point of view... it is just very interesting. At least to me. And I'm not saying that war isn't worth fighting. I believe there are some things worth fighting for, like my own freedom. But, I don't believe that I have the ability to make those choices for another person or another country. I can't decide what is worth you fighting for, nor can I decide what is best for another country. Something that works here (like Democracy... for example..) may not be something that works everywhere, or even something that everyone in the world wants. Just a thought.

I guess this is also spurred by us watching the History channel series, "The Story of Us". I was just watching the episode about WWII... can you imagine fighting in that war?!? War was so different... I think in that war a lot of the soldiers (if not all of them) really believed in the job they were doing. But so did the Germans... they thought they were fighting for right. Isn't that interesting? Maybe I'm just crazy, but I think that is just amazingly fascinating.

And I don't take war lightly. My father is a veteran, and I remember him being gone for tours of duty and war... I never liked it as a kid and seeing my mom worry was not fun either. But, I just find it to be interesting...

Alright, off to bed. Enough deep stuff. I hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lasagna and Lost

I made lasagna a few nights ago... I froze one and the other has been in the fridge waiting for the night that W wanted to have it for dinner. Tonight was the night. The perfect storm for W, the last episode of Lost and his favorite dinner. I scored major wife points tonight! :)

I also was successful in my search for maternity clothes. I wound up getting some tops that weren't maternity, just bigger, as well as a skirt and a dress.  I also was able to find a pair of jeans and a pair of khakis that actually fit on my skinny pregnant body. I'm SO happy to have clothes that fit and look flattering on me. I am going to hold off buying any more clothes until I see what I need and what I have that is working.

Other than that, not too much happening here. It was a beautiful weekend and I got all of my flowers and veggies planted. I will take pictures of my garden to show you soon. I'm still struggling with my allergies. It is quite annoying. It STILL hasn't rained any measurable amount. I hope it does this week... I would also like to be super picky and have it rain at night so I don't have to deal with wet puppies... :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Clothes Shopping

I hate shopping for clothes. I have a hard time finding things that fit me because I am tall, thin, and have very small boobs and not much of a butt. None of these things have changed with the baby, so clothes shopping yesterday was still a pain. The clothes looked like I was wearing a bag, or playing dress up. Ugh. Very annoying. I wound up with one pair of black capri dress pants which actually fit me really well.

On a side note, the store that I went to was wonderful! Such a cute little place. They carried a lot of locally made clothes both for pregnant women and little babies. Very cute stuff. They also sold a variety of cloth diapers, so it was fun to get my hands on some and play with them.

So today I am going to try shopping again. I have a new plan... I'm not going to look at maternity clothes, I'm just going to buy bigger regular clothes. I think it will be easier for me to find things that will fit and have flattering cuts that way. Apparently the only thing that looks flattering on a pregnant woman is a v-neck and that does NOT look good on me at all. I can't believe I didn't think of this before!

I have a quilt class tonight. I'm really excited about it. Here is a link to the quilt I am making. It is hard to see on the website, but the center is all hand embroidered blocks of snowmen doing fun things. It is VERY cute! Mine is going to be done in all blues, because while I do love red (esp. red shoes!) my house isn't red. And, not that I'm into matching the things I make to my house, I just felt like blue was more "me". I've never done hand embroidery before, so I just had to jump in like a crazy person!

Another thing I am excited about this weekend is planting my veggies! Some of my starters have survived and I'm going to plant them and then head to the greenhouse to pick up some more. AND the movie Babies is at Bear's Tooth, so I am planning on heading to see that as well.  Whew! I have a pretty packed next couple of days! :) I hope everyone has a great weekend, it is BEAUTIFUL here!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why I love small business...

I love to shop local, and do so whenever I can. Today, I went food shopping (at Natural Pantry, my new favorite place to shop) and then picked up pizza at Great AK Pizza Co. I called in the pizza on my way and then about 5 mins later they called me back. Weird. Except it was the manager calling to let me know that two large pizzas would cost me less than the two mediums I ordered, so he was going to make me two larges if that was ok. OK? Sure! I love paying less and getting more. AND, the fact that he called me to let me know that... awesome. I don't think Pizza Hut would do that.

Some other random things. Does anyone else think the new NBC show "Losing it with Jillian" make it sound like the people on the show are going to go crazy, not lose weight?

I made two lasagnas tonight and a nacho dip... whew! The nacho dip is for season finale Office party tomorrow. One of the lasagnas is for Friday's dinner (W's late birthday dinner) and the other is in the freezer for later.

I am officially in need of new clothes. I have been wearing my pants unbuttoned with a special stretchy band thing to hold them up, but I would like some clothes that fit now... I'm planning on going out to a used maternity store in ER tomorrow after work or Friday, depending on how I feel. Another local business... :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Quick Monday Post

It's Monday! Not that I'm excited about that... I have such a weird work schedule that weekends aren't much different for me most of the time, except that W doesn't get up. But... anyway... in my cleaning madness this morning I cleaned out my bathroom drawer. I have two drawers in the bathroom, one for my hair dyer and brush and stuff, the other for everything else. The everything else drawer was out of control. So I tamed it.

I also received an awesome package from Knit Picks today. I ordered yarn to make a sleep sack for the little one, and two kits to knit some different toys. I'm pretty excited about all of it.  I'm almost done with the coming home outfit for baby. Just the sleeves and one leg and I will be done. There is a decent chance I might get it done tonight if I stay off of the computer. :)

That is really all I had to say. Just a quick check in to tell you I'm still knitting, and still cleaning. I hate to say it, but it really needs to rain.... my allergies are going crazy and I'm sick and tired of it... the rain could help wash the pollen off of everything and turn everything super green! Tomorrow is W's birthday so he is taking the day off. I am making him lasagna later this week as his birthday dinner... I'm nice like that. :)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sunday Cleaning

I spent the morning doing normal Sunday morning things... sleeping in, walking the dogs, cleaning the house. When I clean the house I am constantly reminded of the reasons that I LOVE having a small house. If I do a crappy job vacuuming, it takes 5 mins. If I do a good job, at MAX 15, and that includes the entire house. Most of the time, I sweep the house, then just vacuum up the pile of dirt. Then I shake out the quilts and pick up all the dog toys... job done. This normal routine (which I probably do every other day if not every day) takes me about 12 mins. (And if you remember from a LONG time ago, I do have a Roomba... but the Roomba needs to go to the Roomba hospital, and we have been lazy about mailing it. I do miss it because if it was working, I wouldn't even have to sweep and vacuum, just shake out the quilts every few days...) Today I also broke out the steam floor cleaner and steam cleaned the floors. That took about 30 mins, but it is amazing the difference it makes. So after doing all of this cleaning, I am exhausted. And my house is 950 square feet. So, I can't have a bigger house... it would be too hard to clean. :)

I also love having a small house because I can't fill it with a lot of crap... my house will only hold so much. It is hard to allow things to pile up, because it is in the way very quickly. I am constantly going through my things and purging what I don't need.  If I had a bigger house, I don't think I would feel the need to do this as often and things would pile up. I also think a lot more about what I bring into my house. I only bring in things I love, because I don't have room for things I like. Oh, and the fact that there are no stairs is a HUGE selling point for a clumsy person like me.

Other than that, not much is going on. I clean the house, the dogs make it dirty... I sometimes wonder if they can tell that it is clean and make an extra effort to roll in the dirt before coming inside... oh well, they are cute. I hope everyone had a great weekend! The weather here was pretty nice. I do wish the wind would go away. I also need it to rain (preferably at night...) so that my allergies will calm down. Itchy eyes may be the most annoying thing ever. Alright, enough random posting, I am going to go make lunch.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A weird, random list

I'm cleaning my sewing room (which is a chronic state for me... why I can not just keep it clean is something I struggle with every time I have to do this... but that is a whole other post...) and I have found some things that are making me very annoyed... here is a list.

1. The quilt backs for two baby quilts that I was looking for. If you follow me on twitter, you will maybe remember about two weeks ago I was frantically looking for the backs of these baby quilts. I looked in the box the quilt top was stored in, the bag my quilt backs are stored in, all my drawers of fabric... nothing. I had to buy a new back. Annoying. So today, it decides to show up. In this stupid basket.... ugh.

2. The canoe block for W's quilt. When packing for quilt retreat, I KNEW I had done that block. I looked everywhere for it (which is one of the reasons the room is in the state that it is in) and could not find it. So, I thought I just dreamed that I made it... until today... when it was in that same stupid basket. Good news: I'm not losing my mind. Bad news: Apparently this basket is evil.

Well, I guess that is all that I've found that has annoyed me... two things. Not too bad, I guess. But still... on a more positive note, here is a random list of things I accomplished today:

1. Cleaned the fridge. Wiped everything, organized, and dumped food that was bad. It was driving me crazy, and now its done. Now, the fridge looks a lot better, I can find things easier, and I know what there is to eat with just a glance.
2. Cleaned the oven. Wiped the inside and the outside. This wasn't as annoying to me, but I had to clean the pizza stone (I made cookies last night) so I figured a quick wipe wouldn't hurt.
3. Made ice cream. Well, it's cooling and will be put into the ice cream maker tomorrow, but that doesn't require any work, so I'm counting it as something I did today.
4. Made tacos for dinner. With grass-fed beef from Natural Pantry. (Which, PS, is going to be my new go to shopping place. Their organic produce is WAY cheaper than Carr's plus, it's a local place, and the only place I've been able to find grass-fed beef... I'm pretty excited)
5. Unloaded the dishwasher. Not a huge deal, but most days I just THINK about doing this. :)
6. Did two loads of laundry. And I even plan on putting them away before I head to bed.

Whew! So, I guess overall today was pretty productive despite my minor set backs in my room. I am heading back to the room and the evil basket now. I have to keep digging to see what else it has eaten...

Pictures Galore!

Pictures from the drive home from the quilt retreat. It was so beautiful! I love Alaska, and this is one of the many reasons why...

The apron I made my MIL. She loved it. I plan on making a few for myself to just wear all the time because the pattern is so cute. I have some cow fabric that I want to use and put a pink ruffle... 

The bag I made my mom. She hasn't seen it yet, but I'm pretty sure she will enjoy it!

Weston's quilt. I am really proud of this quilt. I started it 5 years ago (it was the 3rd quilt I started I think...) before I knew what I was getting myself into. And now that it is done, I love it. He does too. :)

And the next pictures are the loads of fiber I received from Desert Garden. And before you think, "but wait, Sally, you haven't spun 10 yarns... how could you buy more fiber", well, I bought this a long time before the challenge started.  Jen saves my stuff until all of it is done and then mails one big box of awesome. So THAT'S why I don't feel bad... :) And it is so beautiful, it is hard to feel bad. But, it needs to be spun, because there is no place for it! ACK!

6 oz of peaches... yum!

4 oz for the Murder Mystery SAL. My character is the one who was murdered... hahahaha...

4 oz of surprise fiber. Jen has a frequent buyer program, and I earned enough "green stamps" to get a snack and spin package... homemade jelly, 4 oz of fiber, tea, and other goodies!

4 oz tigers. I want to spin this is into something for baby... seeing as how s/he is due around Halloween, I couldn't resist!

4 oz zebras. I have 4 oz of Clifford the big red dog batts from craftypuppylover and I plan on plying those with this fiber for a fun red/white/black yarn... yea!

Alright. Now that I have bombarded you with pictures, I have to walk the dogs. They are seriously whining. Enjoy your Wednesday!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Still kicking

Don't worry, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth... I was at a quilt retreat. I left on Thursday and came back yesterday. It was amazing. I got a lot done and had a TON of fun. Pictures later. I'm still knitting my gift wrap romper. I'm stuck on the short rows because I'm not sure of the directions... I need to ask a another knitter how they interpret it. After I get past that, it should be smooth sailing....

W put up the fence while I was gone. He is amazing. The fence is wonderful. I no longer have to worry about the pups breaking the weak fence that was there (they still can't stay outside, there is a small section on the other side we need to put up which he will work on this week) and our yard looks like a big fortress. It is amazing.

Alright, I have to walk the pups and head to work. I will post pictures of all that I got done later. Hope everyone had a great weekend and a Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Knitting, but no pictures

I finished my shawl. It is amazing. Seriously, I am incredibly impressed with myself... not only did I challenge myself to do something out of my comfort zone (lace) but I FINISHED it, and in only 2 weeks! I think I deserve a prize... maybe some home made ice cream is in my future. I am borrowing blocking wires from a friend tomorrow and then it should be blocked and ready for its photo shoot. I'm in love with it and if I didn't have some other things that I REALLY wanted to get knitted soon, I would probably start another shawl...

The next thing that I am knitting is the gift wrap romper (Rav link). I swatched for it today while at work and I'm going to cast on as soon as I finish this post.  The yarn is a lovely shade of yellow, which is variegated, from Desert Garden Farms. It is very similar to the yarn my baby blanket was done in, except yellow. I'm am loving the way it is knitting up and I think this will be a quick knit.

The other exciting thing going on this week is that this Thursday I am going to my first ever quilt retreat! I was invited to go by some ladies at work and I am super excited. It is down on the Kenai and it sounds like it is going to be a blast. I'm heading down Thursday afternoon and coming home Sunday. I am taking a few sewing projects (two Mother's Day presents, two quilt tops that are almost done, Weston's quilt, and maybe the toy train) and plan to get some serious sewing done.

OH! I forgot to mention this. The other morning when we woke up our mailbox was in the middle of our front yard. (As a reference, it is normally at the end of the driveway... on a post... ) The post was broken in half and the mailbox had been thrown probably 15 feet into the yard. Crazy! W did some CSI detective work and determined that someone must have backed into it in the middle of the night (or drove right into it, drunk... who knows). But, they must have been going fast because it was on a 4x4 post. We didn't hear anything, and neither did the neighbors, which is weird... So, because we had to mail something, W stuck the half of the post with the mailbox back into the ground... it was like 2.5 feet off of the ground! I was surprised they delivered our mail. All is fixed now, thanks to my handy husband, but it was still pretty funny. W also built my raised bed today and we are planning on getting the soil sometime this week. My plants are going crazy in the house. I'm worried I won't be able to plant them outside soon enough....

Alright, I really want to go knit. Hope everyone had a great weekend!