Pixie Portal

Delve into Wendy's World of Knitting, Illustrator, Cats, and Pixie Magic.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Mom's Here

Mom arrived from Knoxville, TN last night. She had a bumpy flight. The pilot turned the seatbelt sign on and left it on for the last two hours of the flight. Needless to say, Mom was walking briskly off the plane when it landed!

We opened Christmas presents this morning. Mom gave me lots of wonderful presents including the shirt in the photo and a book "Zen and the Art of Knitting" which I'm dying to start.

(I have to add an aside here. I had a kickin' hairdo when I left the house. After walking in the rain, I sported this lovely "bowl-cut" hairdo for the rest of the evening. Sigh....)

We piddled (yes, it's a real word) around the house for most of the day and then went to McCormick and Schmick's with buddies Jeff & Heather for dinner. I had the lovely red tilapia and scarfed one of Heather's crab cakes (what a sweet friend!!).

Then we went to the Portland Trailblazer's basketball game. Our joyful party was much engaged in basketball talk. I sat back, critiqued the cheerleaders, and watched the crowd.

The best part of the evening was when Jeff went tearing off after the Sno-Cone man who was visiting a nearby nosebleed section of the stadium. Watching him chase the vendor and then proudly hand the cone to his wife was a site to see. (Me husband... me get sno-cone for wife!)

Good Times!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

New Cell Phones

Karen and I have been playing with our new Motorola Razor cell phones this evening. We got a great deal at Comp USA.

I'm still programming in phone numbers into the address book but I thought I would take a break to show you my first cell phone photo. You've got to love a Mac! You simply point the cell phone at the computer (Bluetooth enabled), highlight the picture you want to send and press copy. Then Bingo! your picture is on your computer. How awesome is that!!

I imagine that soon you'll be seeing lots of weird photos that I've captured from my car window. Portland is full of strange bicyclers, bumper stickers and other unusual sites and people. I can't wait!

PS - our cell phone numbers are still the same.

The Chronic -what- cles of Narnia

I saw this spoof a few days ago but my buddy Jeff's Blog reminded me of it.

Click for a funny SNL video about the Chronicles of Narnia .

I love to see two white boys rapping about a movie, cupcakes and Matthew Perry!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Holiday Food Musings

I wonder why I associate holidays with food indulgence. I had been doing well with my diet and exercise. And then Christmas week struck. This week, I've eaten WAY too much dessert. And WAY too much crappy foods (hot dogs, biscuits, Reese's peanut butter cups, etc.)

I wonder about people who manage to stay on their diets during holidays. Do they feel superior and smug? Is it a battle for them? Or do they simply not have the same food associations/indulgences that I have?

It's been pleasurable to eat all this stuff. But I have to say that I've felt crappy afterwards. Last night, I actually woke up with "food sweats" (the larger of my reading audience will understand this term).

So tomorrow, I'll return joyfully to healthier foods and to the treadmill.

Kitten Chloe will also be going through withdrawal. She will have Christmas tree withdrawal. The Christmas tree has been a source of constant kitten amusement. She has used it as her fort. She has rolled around in the tree skirt. She has hidden toys in the tree skirt. She has knocked off countless balls. And this week, she has climbed it relentlessly.

For more hilarious kitten photos, click here

Withdrawal for both of us. Wish us luck!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Jedi Mind Trick

Karen and I went to see "Narnia" today at the movies. When we go to the movies, we get to practice our Jedi Mind Trick on other movie-goers (silently of course).

"You don't want to sit in this row."
"There aren't any seats available here."
"Move along."

If you decide to try this yourself, I must warn you. Do not use the statement, "You do not see me" or people will try to sit in your lap!

If the theater is really crowded, then we also deploy our Romulan cloaking device over an entire row of seats. This technique can also be used when driving past the police (used sparingly of course).

Let's see if I still have enough Jedi mind powers:
"You want to leave a comment"
"You will feel unfulfilled unless you leave a comment".

Oh... by the way...Narnia is wonderful. Very similar to the CS Lewis books.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Fun with Illustrator

I finished painting Karen's portrait in Illustrator. And then I had to have a little fun and created a "brainy" version. Click on the pictures for a larger look.

The inspiration for this second drawing came from the magazine Digital Creative Arts Nov/Dec 2005 issue. There's a great tutorial on page 58 on creative t-shirt design. Lots of fun! Don't you want one too?

Back Support

Chloe decided to snug against Karen's back for a catnap. The cats love it when Karen is home. I flit around the house all day but Karen sits still while she works. The cats gather around her and purr. I've posted some more cat photos on our
Flickr photo site .

Monday, December 19, 2005

Karen's Home

Karen flew home to Portland today. She was supposed to fly home yesterday but was delayed due to our ice/snow storm. Portland doesn't get much snow so the town did the usual freak-out (car wrecks, rushes to the grocery store, etc.)

Phoebe, Chloe and I are grateful for her safe return.

The snow is mostly slush now but still pretty.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Red Loopy Scarf

Last night I finished my red loopy "Crazy Aunt Purl" scarf.

If you don't read www.crazyauntpurl.com's blog, you really should. It's written by Laurie who is a divorced, obsessive-compulsive knitter with four cats. She's an incredibly witty writer. And she gives great knitting instructions. I learned the loop stitch and drop stitch (see photo!) from her. She also taught me how to block my knitting. (By the way, blocking simply means to steam your knitting and then stretch the heck out of it).

Laurie gets 60 - 80 comments for each of her posts. I have major comment envy. By the way, I recently learned that the comments on my blog were restricted for registered users only. I have changed this. Now, anyone can comment. So, if you swing by my blog, leave me a comment. I LIVE FOR COMMENTS!

I was trying to publish this blog last night at 11:45pm when our power went out. It was out until around 1:30am. When the power fizzed out, I smelled that mechanical burning smell that means one of your machines has just fried. You should have seen me running around the house with my flashlight, sniffing the air like a bloodhound. Fortunately, nothing got toasted. The smell must have come from the heater kicking off or something.

I'm pretty sure the power kicked off because of the high winds we are experiencing in Portland. And the weather man says that an ice storm may come our way tonight. Karen's flight home to Portland was cancelled. I know lot's of people are hoping for a snow storm so they can stay home from work but please, send some energy that Karen gets home first.

Until then, I guess I'll clean my house and knit. I've got 3" completed on my felted bag (7 more to go) and 7" on the front of my sweater (20" to go).

Here's some groovy pictures before and after blocking pictures of my red loopy scarf.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Messing Around

Tonight I was cruising some other blogs and found the blogthings.com website. There are all kinds of quirky quizzes (say that 10 times fast) and your quiz results can be added to your blog. I liked the answer to the question:
What animal were you in a previous life?

You Were a Fox

A good observer, you often watch others while remaining unseen.
Cunning and courageous, you also have a gentle side.

Check out the site if you are so inclined. I also really liked the "Which celebrity matches your taste in music?" quiz. I matched up with Nicole Kidman's Itunes playlist. How awesome!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Lighted and Lit

Since when did the advertising world start to use the word "lighted" instead of "lit"?

In the numerous shopping catalogues I've received in the mail, I've see descriptions such as "lighted candles" and "lighted Christmas tree" and my personal favorite, "a lighted cigarette".

Now the southern, country girl in me rejects this. Where I'm from, you "light" a cigarette but once it's on fire, it's LIT. Same with candles. And definitely with Christmas lights.

I mean, come on.... in the South at night you drive around looking at other people's holiday lights and when you see a particularly striking home you say, "Well... that house is ALL LIT UP!"

And when you set fire to a firecracker you yell, "It's LIT, RUN!" You don't stand there in your tweed jacket and say, "My dear, that is a lighted firecracker."

Don't you agree? And yes, I have checked with dictionary.com and both can be used as adjectives.

And here for your viewing pleasure are the Christmas lights on my front porch. And these are LIT wreaths.


Since Crazy Aunt Purlposted instructions on how to make a loopy, drop-stitch scarf, I've been dying to try it. So this morning, I pulled out a leftover skein of burgundy yarn and cast on. Now I have THREE projects on the needles. (Give me strength... or rather, give Karen strength!)

This scarf reminds me of the macrame project I did in Girl Scouts. Maybe when this scarf is done I'll wrap it around an empty bottle of wine and melt candle wax over it.

Chloe wanted to be in yet another picture. (Click on the picture to see her delightful pink tongue.)

And Phoebe says, "You strange human. Stop knitting and get some therapy."

Monday, December 12, 2005

Pink Feathers Flying

Chloe has a new cat toy - a feather boa with bells! There are feathers everywhere!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Finished Sleeve

Today I finsished the first sleeve for my sweater. It only took me four days to complete it. I learned how to "increase" with this part of the project. I started with 26 stitches and increased one stitch every three rows until I reached 50 stitches. The sleeve is 22" long. I have no idea if this sweater is going to fit me when I finish it but hey... it will fit someone!

Chloe (the photo crazed kitten) saw the camera and wanted to be added to the picture. Jeff & Heather were kind enough to let me borrow one of their cameras while Karen has ours in TN. Chloe is feeling much better after three days of her new medicine. It is a relief to not follow her around the house with tissues to clean up her sneezes.

Two of our aquarium fish have died. The orange platy named "Tux" died about a week ago. The other orange platy named "Tails" mourned himself to death. I'm not sure of the life span for our platys but I think that these fish died of natural causes. All though.... Jeff is fond of holding Chloe up to the fish tank so they may have died of fright!

I'm off to start knitting the second sleeve!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Crazy Day

I hate, hate, hate to go to the dentist and today I went for a cleaning. I hate the dentist due to some childhood trauma in the dentist's chair. It makes me crazy to go for my regular checkup and I tend to be a grumpy bitch afterwards.

I thought I was doing well sitting in the chair during my cleaning. Of course, my feet were flexed up and about 2" off the chair, my hands were clinched so tightly that I cut off the blood flow, and my eyes were winced shut. But for me, this is progress. At least I didn't cry or snarl and bite someone.

However, the dentist told me that I have a cavity. Now... I chose this dentist because he is known as "the Snooze Dentist" in town. When I have a procedure, I want gas and I want drugs. I don't know if he was having a brain fart or what but he says to me, "I think we could even take care of this cavity without numbing you". I looked him in the eye and said, "Are you crazy??!!" "I want/need the drugs and the gas or you won't get me in here ever again. Even for my so-called minor cavity."

I left the office in a huff. Wishing that I could take a black magic marker and write, "Absolutely petrified of all things dental" and "Give drugs, lots of drugs" in capital letters across my chart. So, the cavity will be fixed in January. And you betcha, I will have the gas!!

Later today I took Chloe BACK to the vet office. She had her second round of her booster shots. And, oh joy or bliss, a NEW MEDICINE which I'll have to give to her for 10 more days to fight her ongoing cold. At least I only have to give it to her once a day. I just pray that this med works.

Chloe had a worse day than me because she had her temperature taken. At least when I went to the doc I didn't have anything shoved up my bum! Chloe also had her first set of soft paws applied. For those of you that don't know... soft paws are plastic, rounded sheaths that cover the cat's front claws. The cats can still have the feeling of scratching but they won't pick or tear any furniture, wood, etc. God Bless Soft Paws! Chloe did quite well during the soft paws application. Her front toes look quite shiny and wonderful!

I'm off to have a relaxing dinner with friends. And maybe a drink... or two....

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Good Friends

My good friend Suzie came to the house for lunch today. I hadn't seen her in a couple of months. It was lovely to reconnect and learn what's new in her world. Suzie was most patient with Chloe as the kitten ran crazy cat circles around us while we visited. Chloe also contemplated jumping from the couch to the middle of the Christmas tree - as she wiggled up her bottom and prepared to jump, I caught her and blew in her face and said the requisite "NO!". Chloe was just settling down onto her new friend Suzie when I took this picture. Thanks Suzie for hanging in there amongst cat distractions! It was great to see you again!

Heather stopped by and chatted for a while. Her cat Crombie is at the vet. I hope you are feeling better Crombie!

All in all, it was a fun-filled day. But a bit tiring, I think I'll go take a nap.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Finished Scarf

Tonight I finished my pixie scarf. It's a bit shorter than my other scarves - only 42 inches long. I ran out of yarn and decided to stop rather than buy another skein. Here I am finishing it up in the tv room with Phoebe cat looking over my shoulder.

Swim Caps and Snack Mix

I'm so relieved to still have hair! I went swimming this afternoon. I had this horrible fear that after my swim I would pull off my newly purchased swim cap and all of my bleached blonde hair would fall out. I was worried about my hair mixing with the chlorine from the pool and creating some steaming, bubbling, hair-falling-out explosion in the pool! Now, (oh joy, oh bliss) I get to wash my hair with some purple shampoo that's supposed to keep my hair from turning brassy. I will say that I'm getting some interesting looks while sporting this new do. I'm not sure they are looks of "that looks nice" or looks of "why is there a tweety bird on that girl's head?"

I'm following the Biggest Loser workouts and menus to try to add some variety to my meals and workouts. Today is cardio and strength day so I'm going to do some bicep curls and tricep extensions and so forth once I finish this blog. Yesterday I ran five miles (new personal best) on the treadmill and lost another pound (for a toal of 14 pounds lost). The new menu plan calls for 1,000 calories a day and carbs for breakfast. I've eaten turkey bacon for breakfast for quite a while but the blueberry bran muffin I baked was tastier and more filling than I anticipated. I'm looking forward to my mid-afternoon snack which consists of 22 almonds, 2 tablespoons of raisins and 1 tablespoon of chocolate chips. Try it out. It's yummy!!

Finished Back

Thanks to some help from the good people at The Naked Sheep Shop, I finished the back portion of my sweater this morning! I was a bit confused by my pattern instructions until I realized that I needed to work up one side of the neck and then the other. So, I learned how to decrease, how to add yarn to a knitted row and the answer to the mysterious "turn the work" question. I started this back piece on 11/19. In 17 days, I knitted 25 inches of length and 24 inches of width. There are a few "tails" I need to weave in but I'm excited to have completed this portion. Hurray! Here's another picture of the neck shaping. PS - Mom & Dad, if you click on the picture you'll get a bigger picture to view.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Christmas Decorations

Today we put up our Christmas tree. My favorite part of this process is unwrapping the ornaments. This year we have two Santas from the "Father Christmas" series offered by Hallmark. We also have two Tinkerbell ornaments and two other fairies.

While decking the tree I was reminded of my childhood Christmas tree decoration days. Dad's responsibility was to string the lights. Mom and I would have the lights strung around our arms and shoulders, making one long light chain that we would feed to Dad. Mom and I would then place the ornaments. We had a ornament for every year (usually with the year printed on it). I would want to place the current year's ornament at the top of the tree and then work down the tree with the sequential ornaments. This was far too linear for Mom. For the rest of December, Mom and I would sneak and move the other's ornaments, thinking that we knew the perfect placement. We would each come home at the end of the day, survey the tree and see how it had changed from the day before. It's quite a testimony to my compatibility with Karen that I haven't doubted or wanted to change her ornament placement!

Karen did a beautiful job stringing the lights and garland on the front porch. I have more pictures on the Flickr site. Click on the badge on the right to view them.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Simply the Best

Jeff and Heather was absolutely wonderful tonight. They went with Karen and I to dinner and did not make any wise cracks or jokes about the white-blonde hair. Later we played Scattergories and Split Cards and we laughed and laughed and laughed. Thanks mis amigos for taking it all in stride and for a joyous evening.

PS - I agree Heather, some teabags are hard to open! Jeff just makes everything seem easy!

Platinum Blonde

My hairdresser convinced me to try the platinum blonde look rather than blonde highlights. When I first saw my "new" hair I thought, "Big Bird, Billy Idol, Susan Powter," Eeeeeekkkk!

I like the new cut, appropriately titled "The Pixie Cut". It took 4 hours to get it to look like this. But the new look is growing on me. There's no way I would have tried this a month ago. But since I've lost 13 pounds, my face is a bit thinner and I felt a bit braver. What the hell. Walk on the wild side as long as I can. At least I didn't add the red tips to the neck hairs that the stylist wanted to add.

Karen was incredibly sweet in reasurring me that yes, it is a shocking change but it's still me. Thanks Babe. You are the best.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Chloe Reads the Paper

Refreshing - my word du jour

I went to The Naked Sheep knit shop yesterday to ask for help with my sweater. I had apparently purled 4 stitches at the end of a knit row. The shop clerk was so friendly. At first she tried to teach me how to correct the problem. But unfortunately I had twisted some of the stitches so she ended up fixing it herself. While we were finishing up Cheri, the owner of the store, came in. She opened the door and said, "Hi Wendy. How is your sweater coming along?" How Refreshing!! I love it when people remember my name! It's such a rare gift in today's shopping climate. Thanks to these ladies for getting me back on track with my sweater and for smiling and "talking yarn" with me.

I went swimming for the first time at our neighborhood swim center. It was wonderful to swim laps again. My "refreshing" moment occurred when 6 gentlemen came to the pool within 5 minutes of one another. The swimmers who were already in the pool stopped swimming long enough for us to calmly and quickly work out the sharing of the swim lanes based on our swimming speed. It was great that we took the time to do this, rather than the newcomers just choosing a lane. Quite gentlemanly and refreshing.

Of course, nothing is so refreshing as a cold diet coke after swimming laps. Aahhhh.

All in all, it was a lovely day. I'm most grateful for it. My only "downside" moment was looking in the mirror once I returned home from swimming and realizing the my swim goggles were too high and tight on my face and had given me two black eyes. It doesn't hurt but I look like a raccoon!