Tag Archives: fun

Yay stuff!

This has been SUCH a busy week.  Yesterday I was moving CONSTANTLY from 7am until 10:30pm.  Work work work.


To pick up my saga where I left off (since I know you’d be disappointed if I didn’t :-P), on Tuesday I verified with our landlord that unfortunately a replacement washer is *not* included in our lease (boo), and then got to go washer shopping (whee?).  I found one at a well-reviewed used appliance place for less than $200, the same model of Kenmore that my parents have.  Our last set in St. Louis were Kenmores, too.  I love those.  You can’t kill ’em.


We ran a couple more errands on Tuesday, too, and I canned 4 quarts of the apples from last weekend’s adventure, into unsweetened applesauce.  And I have this little doohicky that makes things go RIDICULOUSLY FAST!

I actually got it on clearance at Target at the end of last season, and I think it’s the best $13 I ever spent.  I was able to core, peel and slice my whole pot full of apples in about 15 minutes.  That usually takes me HOURS.


Our local grocery store also had 20-quart stock pots on sale for $4.99 each this week, so I picked up one of those and did Wednesday’s batch of applesauce in it, instead of my big Le Creuset pot.  I was able to do 5 quarts of applesauce in one batch (cook the apples down in the stock pot, then heat the sauce in the Le Creuset).  So two days work = 9 quarts of applesauce.  And that’s less than half our haul!


Oh I do love canning.


I’ve also been making cinnamon rolls like there’s no tomorrow.  I did one batch for us, and then decided to get on the neighbors’ good side by making a batch for them.

In a marked departure from tradition, I sprinkled just the tiniest hint of nutmeg on with the cinnamon and sugars, and then put some maple flavoring in the icing.  It’s like eating fall.  OM NOM NOM AUTUMN.  (Here’s that recipe again, if you’re interested)


The new washer was delivered on Wednesday morning, and I spent all afternoon and evening chugging through the massive laundry pile that built up over the past two weeks.  I’m *still* not all caught up, but a lot of that is because I’m doing a wash-strip-rinse-rinse-rinse-wash-strip-rinse-rinse-rinse on all the diapers (two loads), to try and get out all the built up detergent and ammonia that crappy old washer was (unbeknownst to us) failing to remove.


Don’t tell anybody, but I actually think stripping (and just normal laundering!) diapers is kind of fun.  They’re so fluffy and soft and nice smelling!


Today, though, was the most exciting!  First we got to go to the HYUNDAI DEALERSHIP!  wheeeee!!!  And we got to eat breakfast there (cheese sticks, granola and banana!), and play with A BASKETBALL!  And Mama got her car fixed!  And it was under WARRANTY!

Yeah, it’s not exciting.  No matter how I spin it.


On a completely different (and legitimately exciting) note:  Ohio Mart!


I had been looking forward to this for SO LONG, until Jeff and I actually looked at our calendars and realized that it conflicted with his cousin’s wedding in St. Louis.  And given that Jeff has to go to that silly place called “work” every day to earn “money” so we can “eat” (Ugh.  PRIORITIES, MAN.), he wouldn’t be able to go with us on Thursday or Friday.


Which meant that we had to have a Weekend Adventure in the middle of the week, with only 67% of the usual adventuring team.  But we pressed on.


Ohio Mart!


I present to you the finest photo ever taken at the festival’s interest:

Blurry back of a stranger’s head? Check!

Photographer’s finger in corner? Check!

Lack of discernible subject?  Check-CHECK!


Simon was none too impressed, either.

Actually, that picture was taken about 15 minutes before this happened:

This was the perfect situation to have the stroller, BTW.  No Jeff to help bear the load, a bunch of random crap to haul, and a baby who suddenly finds the wraps to be more exciting than sleep-inducing.  So I wore him about half the time, and strolled him the rest.


I shouldn’t have been surprised about the demographics represented here, since we went on a Thursday morning and all.  It was mostly retirees, “ladies who lunch”, and a handful of other young moms.  All other things being equal, I think I prefer adventuring on weekends.


It was nice strolling on the beautiful grounds and window-shopping in the booths (a lot of the stuff wasn’t really my taste, but was pretty anyway).  And then there was…the rest.  Take the World’s Largest Assemblage of Fun Fur, for example.

That hurts my eyes.  And my heart.


I also saw this craft, which falls in the category of “cute idea, crappy execution”:

I could see myself putting together something sort of like that (only better… ;-)), maybe in blue/white, for late winter?  I’d use Lamb’s Pride Bulky or Lion Brand Thick ‘n Quick and do it a little more thicker and rustic looking.  I can see it in my mind.  It looks nice in there.*


But ANYWAY.  The gardens! And the hall!  I wish we could’ve gone inside (but I decided to save that for sometime when Jeff can come :)).


I think I’m going to doctor up this photo and make it my phone wallpaper.

Have I mentioned I love autumn?


I also love food (because duh).  I pretty much gorged myself all day.  With hot spiced cider!


And pumpkin roll!

I know I’ve said it before, but I’m seriously going to have to breastfeed forever so I can gluttonize guilt-free.  Or else take up ultramarathons and/or Zumba once the last Hoopling is weaned.  Probably ultramarathons.  Less silly looking.


I’ll wrap up with a picture from the end of our visit (not coincidentally, about 5 minutes before it started pouring rain):

(My mom showed that to someone at her work, who said “He’s so sweet I could get diabetes just looking at that picture!”  I concur, work lady.  My wonderful sugary babyface!)


TWO SEPARATE groups of old ladies stopped behind me and started cajoling Simon to smile for the camera as he posed in this little setup. 😀


(I also texted that picture to Mona, Miss “Orange County winters are so cold!”, and she started chastising me for not having Simon bundled up enough in the harsh midwestern air.  It was 75*!  Silly California friend.  I miss her :))


Yay for OhioMart!


Kathy, I only wish you could’ve come along 🙂  We’d have had a blast!


This has gotten long enough for tonight.  Tomorrow I’ll show you my most exciting find from the festival.


What’s your favorite autumn activity? (we’re on the lookout for more weekend adventures…)





Officially a tradition

This weekend was awesome, dudes.  Awesome.


Friday night we had a dinner with some of the people from Jeff’s work, at an Italian restaurant here in Akron.  When I was getting ready for the dinner, I hit some sort of breaking point re: my clothes.


Remember how Jen and I had that style blog a few years ago?  How much fun it was, and how even though I’m not, like, the most stylish person ever (HA), I enjoyed combining pieces to make fun outfits, and finding good deals, and looking put together?  Well, I’m sure I’m the first person in the history of the world to say that that all changed when I became a SAHM.  😛  Really, though, since before I got pregnant I just haven’t really bought any nice new clothes.  I got a few pieces here and there, but they’ve all been utilitarian button-downs or plain tee shirts.  And so for the past 2+ years, my wardrobe has become progressively more boring and threadbare.  Couple that with the postpartum weight loss and Magic Boobs, and everything I own is suddenly either too big, holey, stained, or out-of-date.  Or all four.  And I’m kind of tired of it.


So after whining to Simon and trying on sixty different things for a casual yet sort of professional dinner (I ended up in an old work shirt – an olive green button-down from Express, my faithful corduroy GAP skirt, and an Old Navy cardigan that should be relegated to the rag bag), I snapped.  I was done!


Jeff apparently loves me, so I got to spend a while browsing on LLBean.  They’re having a “spend $50, get a $10 gift card” sale, and I already had one gift card from ordering a new casual winter coat a couple weeks ago.  So I used that, shopped the sale section, and now have a couple new pieces coming my way.  I got *another* $10 gift card from that order, so in a week or two I’ll order some more (just to hit that $50 minimum to get yet another $10 card :-D).  Winning!


Then yesterday in the course of our running around (more on that in a bit), I found an outlet mall in Aurora that has a Banana Republic outlet.  Banana was always one of my favorites back when I was working, so I was psyched to hit their outlet.  But it wasn’t quite like I remember.  Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I always had good luck finding natural fibers at Banana.  Silk and cotton and wool, not rayon and polyester.  Browsing yesterday, though, it seemed like just about everything was synethetic fibers.  Disappointing.  I did find a couple cute things, though, that fit within my self-imposed rules of “not slobby, not neutral, not boring”:

That short-sleeved shirt looks sort of sickly colored in the pic, but I promise it’s quite lovely 🙂  It also has a really great waist detail shaping.  I think it’ll look good with some of my handknit sweaters this fall :).


So, backtracking a bit:  we had the dinner on Friday night, which was fine, whatever.  Friday is *also* when we discovered that the washer (which came with the house but isn’t maintained by the property manager) is broken – and apparently has been since we got here.  The agitator doesn’t agitate (though the spin cycle still spins, and it fills and empties OK).  So I called a repairman who came out, looked at it, and said it’s un-fixable: the motor is completely seized; the repairs would cost more than the washer is worth.  Ugh.  So no we have to go buy one of those.  But that also solves the mystery of why none of our clothes really felt like they were coming clean, and Simon’s diapers were building up ammonia despite 3-4 rinses on each load.  And yes, our landlord is a damned dirty liar in yet another regard “Oh yeah, the washer in the house works!”.  Bullshit.


The Akron Marathon was Saturday morning, and Jeff had signed up to volunteer for it (two of his co-clerks were running the half marathon).  But since somebody waited until the last possible minute to fill out his volunteer form, the only position left was “recycling steward”, on a 5:30-8:00 am shift.  Oh, that did give me such joy!  That my beloved would spend the wee hours of Saturday morning sorting recycling.  Because I am not a nice person.


Simon and I rolled out of bed at our usual time and strolled over to the marathon route (the portion running down Market went through Highland Square proper, just a few blocks from our house) to cheer on the runners and our stalwart (recycling) steward.  This is the only picture of any runners that I got before my phone started being an asshole:


Simon didn’t think much of the whole thing at first…

but he quickly picked up on the fact that there were people clapping all around him, so by the time Jeff’s shift ended and he joined us, Simon was busy clapping every time he saw someone (runner or bystander) pass our spot.  So helpful!


The rest of Saturday was pretty much just spent around the house.  I got a fair amount done on my cross-stitching project and the stripey knee sock I’m knitting, and we went on a nice long family walk that evening, through the ritzy neighborhood adjacent to ours.


But then Sunday.  SUNDAY!  So much fun!  I got up early and did a bunch of random cleaning (the kind that’s impossible to accomplish with a toddler underfoot), then when my boys woke up we headed out on a super autumn adventure 🙂


First stop was the aforementioned outlet mall and lunch at some local grill up there – nothing too exciting.  After that, though!  APPLE PICCKKKINNNNGGGGG!!!!


We went to Monroe’s Orchard, just northeast of Akron.  It was SO AWESOME.  Much more authentic than the orchard-that-must-not-be-named 😉  (Yes I AM still on about that.).  More fun than the orchard in the desert of 2012.  Pretty much in line with my previously-established high expectations, circa 2011.


Look! I was positively giddy with excitement!


Jeff was his usual cool self, and Simon was underwhelmed:


I then enthusiastically dubbed myself the Apple Wench, and set about scampering among the branches and gathering a full bushel of Cortland apples:


Everything was just right!  YAYYYYY apple picking!


All miiiiiiiiiine!


I MAY decide to share with Jeff and Simon.  Maybe. 😛

There were perfect rows of apple trees!  And a wagon with hay bales to ride out to the orchard!  And hand-painted family signs!  Even the cute-but-surly teenage son that Eckert’s was lacking.  SHEER AND UTTER PERFECTION.


Then after we deposited our overflowing apple bags in the car, we headed over to the orchard’s pumpkin patch.  Because DUH.


We found a Simon-sized pumpkin, and a Jeff-and-Kate-sized pumpkin:


Then we rounded out the trip with a peck of Macintosh from the store (they didn’t have any for you-pick), and a candle and some local honey.  It was marvelous.  Monroe’s Orchard gets an A+ from us!


Here’s our front porch this morning:

Doesn’t that look nice?  I need to paint all the white with Killz before it gets too cold, and do something with those poor sad flowerbeds.


And now I must away!  The wee one is whining for boob + lunch, then once the washer repair guy leaves I have to run to the store for quart jars, and start canning! 🙂


Happy Monday, friends!

I could be stitching

But I’m taking the time instead to tell y’all all about the past few days in the Hoops household.  YOU’RE WELCOME. 😛


The funnest (shaddup) thing was on Friday night:  I’d seen signs stuck on various lawns and curbs advertising a Greek festival, and there is literally nothing in the world I love more than eating baklava and watching children dance in ethnic garb, so that evening we loaded up and swung by the courthouse and retrieved Jeff.  I plied him with gyros and spanikopita, yes I did.


We used to go to one in Kansas City every year when I was little, and I always loved it.  Jeff had never been before, so I was excited to share the experience with him too 🙂


This one was PACKED.  Definitely not a secret among Akronites.


We waited in line to sit out in the tent, and Jeff got his gyro and I got my spanikopita (NOM) and we split an order of calimari (meh).


And then there was dancing!  Wee little kiddies dancing in traditional clothing!  My favorite!

See the tiny girl at the end of the chain?  She was so cute I could hardly stand it.


But then something miraculous happened:

That unassuming triangular pastry, my friends, is the most delicious baklava to have ever existed.  EVER.  Something about it…the honey?  The nuts that were finely ground but not paste-like?  The tiny hint of clove?  PERFECTION.  And I should know, I’ve eaten my fair share of baklava.


It has set me on a mission:  I must replicate this baklava!


BTW, here’s how you know that Jeff has become of secondary import in my life:

Sorry, Love. But the baby was being cute! 😛


After the dancing and baklava eating and such, we browsed inside at the silent auction and tag sale, and then I found a little cardboard art print of a girl babywearing ($1!) so that came home with me.


It was an awesome time.  OPA!


On Saturday we just ran some errands.  It was rainy so Simon and I wandered around the mall for a bit while Jeff got his hair cut (I found Simon the cutest little footy pajamas on clearance at The Children’s Place – they have castles and baby dragons!).  Nothing too exciting.  Then on Sunday Jeff and I went on (duh duh DUNNNNNNNNNNN!)…


A date!!!


All by ourselves! Like two grownups!  For the first time since about MAY 2012.  That, in case you’re curious, is about 16 dateless months.  Think on that.


Lucy and her daughter Sarah came over to watch Simes and Roxie (mostly Roxie), and we went to see The World’s End – the new Simon Pegg movie, the final part of the Cornetto trilogy.  The movie was OK (not as good as Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead), but it was SO NICE to have a grownup conversation with Jeff, eat popcorn and Red Vines, and just not be “Mama” for a couple hours.


When we got home, Simon told us in great detail about all the fun he had with his babysitters:  they gave him cheese!  And played with blocks and the pushwalker and wagon!  He definitely had a good time, and I think Jeff and I will be able to leave him and go on another date before a further 16 months have passed 😉


This week so far has been pretty uneventful:  now that we’re mostly unpacked (everything but the office) we’ve really been ale to settle into a routine.  I need to take pretty pictures of the house to share with you, but I’m sort of procrastinating because I’d like to paint the front porch and buy some furniture for the office first.  And I desperately NEED to get the big ol’ baby gate partition thing installed around the staircase and TV.  Simon has gotten too dang fast at scrambling up and down those stairs.


Yesterday afternoon I decided that we needed some sort of cute seasonal decoration for the front door, so Simon and I headed out to Michaels and JoAnn.  I got a couple autumn leaf garlands and some cinnamon pinecones for the mantle.  Nothing called to me for the front door, though:  it was all either insipid, tacky, expensive, or some combination thereof.  Then while I was browsing the pre-made wreaths in JoAnn (and giving Simon a detailed explanation of why each one was lacking in some vital way) I saw this picture on a display:


Cute, right?  Simple and classy and not all froofy.  No droopy-eyed scarecrows or inexplicably glittery apples.


I wasn’t madly in love with the color scheme though, or the way the raffia was obviously wrapped around an angled foam wreath form – it reads a little “beach wedding in 2006” to me.  So I got a round straw form and some raffia in more autumnal colors, and a a super helpful associate told me how to replicate it.


Suffice it to say that my little project didn’t go as smoothly as I’d planned (do they ever?).  Dinner plans went out the window as I wrestled the glue gun, and Simon spent a good chunk of the late afternoon in his high chair munching on cinnamon apple sticks and watching me curse under my breath.


THREE FUCKING HOURS LATER, covered in innumerable hot glue burns and ankle deep in raffia scraps, I had this:

And there it is, on our front door.  I sort of love it.  I’m glad it turned out well, but I need to remember that this kind of “product” crafting is no fun for anybody, and I should have just bought a damn wreath.  But hey, it was only $20 (including glue sticks), so not a bad way to kill an evening.  If anybody’s madly in love with it I can share some tricks for making your own, but I’ll spare the tutorial if no one cares 😉


Do me a favor?  Next time you even SUSPECT that I might be contemplating a fun fall craft, just shoot me OK?  My family will thank you.


I love ending posts with Simon pics, so here you go.  Playing with his kitty:

(box-filled office in the background, of course).


Macbeth is SO happy in this new house! He has resumed all former scampering activities, including “crazy cat hour” (something he hasn’t done since Othello died).  He’s even started playing with his toys and hopping around like a madcat on the furniture.  His appetite has picked up, too.  I didn’t realize how unhappy he was in that tiny LA apartment, until we noticed the marked difference here :(.


Last one!

It’s kind of ridiculous how much I love him.  That dimple!


One of the things on our “Leaving St. Louis bucket list” (Subtitle: “Katie quit calling this a bucket list“) was to make one more trip to Chicago.

Every two or three years since we’ve gotten together, we’ve taken a long weekend to Chicago.  Like this one.  So we decided to repeat that once more while the beloved city is only 6 hours away from home.  We woke up bright and early Friday morning and were on our way!

For the first time ever, we drove.  We’d done some price comparison, and even with the cost of overnight parking downtown it was still the cheapest way to get there.  Which is sorta weird, because I’ve always flown, taken Amtrak, or done MegaBus before.  Because cars are scary.

But anyway.  Car knitting:

That’s a Saroyan shawl out of Dyeabolical limited edition (now discontinued) tussah silk.  I love that yarn so much it isn’t even funny.  It was seriously hard to actually knit it up, because then it wouldn’t live in my stash anymore.

And then for when I finished the shawl, I had this:

That is Madtosh Lace in “Steam Age”, and is in the process of becoming a Featherweight Cardigan as we speak.

(And despite having 960 fresh yards of laceweight, plus sock yarn, plus easy access to at least three yarn shops along the route, I was *still* worried about running out of yarn.  Knitters, you get me.)

Anyway.  Six hours and 24 potty stops* later, we were in Chicago!

This is on a big scary highway, full of people merging all over the fucking place and not using blinkers and just GOING wherever they felt like. It was terrifying. I hate city driving.  Jeff got snippy at me and then I snipped at him but then we got off the highway and found our parking garage and all was well.  WE SURVIVED.

We checked into the hotel then wandered downtown a bit.  And then we found Oysy sushi and we were done for.



NOM MISO.  (Actually it wasn’t quite salty enough. But whatever.)


This was the Chicago Crazy roll, and the only thing crazy about it was how much I nommed it.


Hot damn that was good.

After that we were pretty well spent, so we retired to the hotel (the Comfort Inn on Ohio just west of Michigan, in case you were wondering.  Very nice.) and watched Downton Abbey off Netflix and fell asleep.**

On Saturday morning I steam-blocked Saroyan, following Kara’s and Rachel’s advice:

Whee! I love steam blocking.  It’s about the closest thing to instant gratification that you can get during knitting.


(I actually didn’t end up wearing it on Saturday anyway; this is from Sunday.)

First order of business: the Art Institute!

(True story: I totally meant to download the music from that scene in Ferris Bueller to my iPod then make Jeff listen to it with me while we stared at this, or kiss me in front of the blue stained glass, but I forgot.  Oh well.  The better to embarrass our kids with when we go back in like 10 years, I guess 😉 )

Obligatory Jeff-with-map photo:

Because I know how much you like those.

Here, my esteemed husband muses upon last summer’s England vacation:

He also wonders if I’m ever going to finish blogging that trip.  Answer: I hope so.

The textiles exhibit was my most favorite, though…

I told Jeff more than he ever wanted to know about quilts and fabric and patterns and embroidery.

OK so then!  We left!  And had a late lunch/early dinner/whatever-you-call-eating-at-3:30pm here:

(We went to the one on Lake, just north of the park).

There was calamari:

Unf. So good.

And pizza (half mushroom and onion, half pepperoni. You can guess which is which.)

I know, food photography is not my forte.

And also, I have now died of fat.  DIED.  There was so much freaking cheese in that pizza that I made Jeff tie me to the back of the car, then run all the way back to St. Louis.  To be fair, he did drive kind of slowly.

But it was worth it.

From there we went back to Loopy Yarns (a tradition at this point), of which I took no pictures.  But I did find some yarn.  Which you will hopefully see in a forthcoming WIP post.  (Hint: think alpaca. Think laceweight.)

It was about 6:00 by then, and we had two options:

1)Go back to the hotel, watch Downton Abbey and fall asleep


2)Act like the 20-somethings we are, and do something vaguely nightlife-y.

Surprisingly, we chose 2).  For a bit. 😀

We’d heard somewhere that the view from the bar in the John Hancock building was actually better than the $$$ observation deck tourist experience.  So we went there.

And it was really dark.  Err sorry I mean, “romantic mood lighting.”  (Translation: I had trouble finding the table, and definitely couldn’t even see to knit. I mean really.  REALLY.  What kind of bar doesn’t even have convenient knitlighting?)

Jeff had a couple $9 beers, and I had one (1) $7.50 martini glass of pineapple juice that was nominally a virgin something-or-other.

(Ssh! Don’t tell the pregnancy police! I had a sip or two of this and it was good.  Not $9 good, mind you, but good.)

In case you ever wanted to know what a $7.50 martini glass of pineapple juice looks like situated next to a cocktail table candle (that, by the way, was our only source of heat), well, have I got a treat for you!

I told Jeff that next time I want to drink in the dark, I’ll just buy a container of juice from the store and stand in the kitchen with the lights off.  He said I was missing the point. I said he was right, because at home I wouldn’t bother with the maraschino cherry and pineapple wedge garnish.

Then I ate the garnish.  I’m getting my $7.50 worth, darnit!

I will admit, though, that the views were quite lovely:

So I suppose that made it all worthwhile.

BTW.  They say that the view from the ladies’ room is the best, and it’s true.  One whole wall overlooks downtown, and it’s not crowded with bar tables like in the main area.  Only thing is, you feel like a perv standing in a public bathroom taking pictures.  But whatev.

After dropping $25.50 + tip on three drinks with a collective alcohol content insufficient to give a yorkshire terrier a mild buzz, we were nearly fun’ed out for the night. So we stopped by Garrett Popcorn on the way back to the hotel…

And then crawled into bed with caramel corn, $15 worth of cranberry juice from the hotel breakfast area***, and and Downton Abbey on Jeff’s laptop.

Hey, we partied!  That counts, right?  (Right?)

Sunday morning we found ourselves here:

Where we waited in line for over an hour just to get in (grumble), only to find out that they changed the ticket pricing structure so now unless you’re willing to sell your firstborn****, you can only afford to see like three rooms.  All the cool stuff is an extra $20 a person.  NO WAY JOSE.  I’m not paying THREE WHOLE PINEAPPLE-JUICE-IN-A-MARTINI-GLASSes just to see the jellyfish or whatever.

(Oh god. I really am old.)

So instead we waited in line with the other cheapasses, and took pictures…

And then paid our $8 each and got to look at the proletariat fish.




You’re OK, Daisy. I like you.

(Meanwhile, all the otters and dolphins and stuff were off in the expensive areas, being all “Week-end? What on earth is a week-end?“)

Anyway. My point is, the Shedd Aquarium is a ripoff.  Cool, but stupidly expensive.  (Much like those drinks.  Which yes, I’m still on about.).

So then we had lunch at the aquarium restaurant, and then we went home and drove in this thick sleety snow and it took like 7 hours to get there, but that’s OK because I have this little dude and it wraps around my seatbelt and then I can see to knit without bothering Jeff.

In conclusion:  GOD I AM SO OLD AND UNCOOL.  I think next vacation Jeff is just going to take me to a Super 8 in a cornfield or something.  Maybe I’ll get to buy an Amish basket if I’m on my best behavior.


*Slight exaggeration.  Maybe.

**Because we’re hardcore party animals, that’s why.

***Using Hancock Building bar standards, of course.  Because we are normal people, though, I had nicked the juice that morning and stashed it in the room.

****They’re not interested in 15-week fetuses. I checked.

KC Renfest 2011, and starting the long goodbye

This is, I think, the first of our “lasts”.  Last weekend we went to KC to visit some family, eat angel food cake, and take our annual “sometime in the vicinity of my birthday” trip to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival.  A tradition we’ve held for six years running, it’s not one I’m eager to turn loose.

There’s comfort in certain things like this, isn’t there? Knowing you’ll always see the same vendors in the same locations, get to eat the same food, watch the same acts, hear the same stupid jokes about your dog being a ‘pack mule’.  But at the same time, you never know what new artisans or performers will show up, or when the price of a tiny cup of mead will leap to $7 (!!!).

So even though this was familiar and comfortable and a good way to appreciate a “last”, it was every bit as fun and exciting as always.

Our little smiler just keeps being more and more well-behaved…

(She sat on that dude’s foot for the entirety of the joust, and he absolutely didn’t mind.  Methinks he’s used to big goggies.)

Really.  $7 for mead:

(and an out-of-focus photo).

At $7 per, we decided to just split one and then go buy a whole bottle at Randall’s.  Because we’re cheap and, apparently, old.

And, of course, the joust:

This year we decided to keep a tally of the “pack mule” and “workin’ for a livin!” comments from our oh-so-witty fellow festivalgoers.

Surprisingly there were only about 12, all day (much, much fewer than ever before. Seems that Jeff and I have perfected our “fuck off” faces.)

I haven’t grabbed a picture of it yet, but my souvenir this year is something I’ve had my eye on for a while – a bread baker from Ayers Pottery.  Photo shamelessly stolen from their site:

I haven’t used it yet, either (Yeah. Fail.  Sue me.), but I think this weekend I’m going to make a batch of blueberry bread in there, and call it a “giant muffin”, and it will be delicious.

Goodbye, KC Ren Fest. I’ll be back someday, but probably not every year.


So when I mentioned that whole ‘first of the lasts’ thing above, I wasn’t being overdramatic (well, I wasn’t *trying* to be overdramatic, at least).  Last night Jeff and I were lying in bed talking about our impending move, and we decided that we need to take advantage of our remaining months here in Missouri.  So, in classic “Type A” form, we’ve started a list.  And because I know you’re SO INTERESTED, here it is.  These are all things that are Missouri- (or at least Midwest-) specific, which we’ve either not done before or want to do again before we run off.

They are:

Cahokia Mounds

Nelson Art Gallery (this is a running thing – for over six years I’ve been promising to take Jeff there during one of our KC trips, and we’ve just never gotten around to it)

Hannibal, MO

Chicago (y’all know we love our weekends in Chicago…)

The Brass Armadillo

Crown Candy Kitchen

Lawrence, KS


Plaza Frontenac (eeeet’s so faaaancy!!!! I mainly just wanna go and feel like a redneck. And go to Sur La Table)

Hillsdale BBQ for a gallon of sauce

Country Club Plaza/Crown Center (maybe this holiday season to see the lights :-))

The list is subject to change, as we remember more things.  And right before we leave, we’re planning a “farewell to St. Louis” day of other places we’ll surely visit in the meantime (our frequent offenders, if you will) that will include the likes of Ted Drewes, Fozzie’s, the zoo and Left Bank.  But that’s for next spring/early summer.

What would be on your “must visit” list if you were leaving your city?


7. Walk the dog ’till her feet are dragging.

Yesterday evening was perfect for a nice long walk.  Most nights, one or the other of us usually takes Roxie out for an adventure of some length – I just almost never bring the camera.
So yesterday, I did.

We walked on busy streets…

And quiet paths.

We saw flowers…

and caterpillars…

And the start of a sunset.

We walked until our legs were tired and our nosies pointed to the ground.

And then we went home, and cuddled up, and licked peanut butter off a spoon.

It was a good evening.

Contact High

My mom (and a friend of hers) was in town this weekend.  We ate Thai, successfully navigated old north St. Louis, laughed a lot, wandered around the Loop, watched Roxie’s tongue loll, and ate FroYo.


And we went to Knitorious and Knitty Couture.


Now, before I show you the inevitable, I would like you to refer to Provision 2 of the Yarn Diet Document.

2.  Yarn given to me as a gift, or for the purposes of test/sample knitting is OK.

You know where this is going.



Oh, yarn.  I love you.  I’ve missed you so very much.


This puts me a fair bit farther from my sub-goal of “have more ‘used’ yarns in my Ravelry stash than ‘in stash’ yarns”.  I was so close.


But with this influx of yarn comes an influx of inspiration and motivation, so with no further ado…


I’m off to knit.


Happy Sunday!


PS>Yes I have the best mom ever.