I haven’t given anything away in a long time. Let’s fix that.

On Saturday morning, I ran to the store and found that the kid pools were on sale for $12. Knowing how much Scout was digging pool time at Puppy Camp, I couldn’t resist buying one for her (and the girls, obviously) to enjoy in the back yard. Because Scout’s legs are less than six inches long, we folded one of the pool sides down and added about two inches of water. Dog Heaven.

Girl's Best Friend

Dog Days, etc.

As I watched the girls playing with Scout in the pool, I couldn’t help but think about how much I’m hating this hot weather. You already know this about me, so I won’t dwell on the hate. I also won’t dwell on how much I LOVE the fall. LOVE it! Cardigans! Clogs with handknit socks! Fingerless gloves! The promise of hats and snow! I’m dwelling!

Anyway. I had an idea over the weekend. It seems that I have this yarn. It’s Manos Maxima Worsted Weight Merino, and the colorway is Fire.

Manos Maxima "Fire"

My photo doesn’t really show just how amazing the colors are. The yarn is a beautiful kettle-dyed red with golden highlights and hints of pink and orange, and it reminds me of autumn leaves and sunsets and apple butter and it’s soft and perfect for fingerless gloves or a hat. And that’s what I want to make for you.

As you know, one of my big things right now is for Aaron to get his bike. The bike costs $3800 and right now we have about $2200. In other words, we’re getting there! Many of you have already donated to the cause, making you eligible for this particular giveaway. Here’s the deal. If you’ve donated $10 to help Aaron get his bike, please leave a comment below. Similarly, if you send a $10 donation (via PayPal) to mousejunkie@att.net, please leave a comment below. (If you donate more than $10, feel free to send an e-mail to me if you wish (angela at fluid pudding dot com), and I’ll give you additional chances to win!) On August 15th, which is our first day of school, I am going to randomly choose someone who has made a donation. I will contact the winner and give him/her several pattern selections that would work with the yarn. I will then knit up the project and mail the finished product out before November rolls around. Imagine how smart you’ll look wearing a pair of striking autumnal fingerless mitts or a lovely fiery hat. (Like this hat!) Similarly, you could think of this as my way of helping you get started with your holiday gifts! Teachers love fingerless gloves! (I know this to be true.)

I feel strongly about a lot of things in life. Right now Aaron and his bike are very important to me. Thanks in advance for making this giveaway work! (Aaron’s Facebook group page is here.) ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

The Week Ahead

Do you remember when I was trying to finish up the shawl for my migraine doctor?

Finish it, I did.


My appointment was last Tuesday, and my doctor (who always asks what I’ve been knitting) was pleasantly surprised and loved the shawl and wants me to give Maxalt another shot as this week’s triptan! (Yes! It’s Migraine Week at Fluid Pudding! Roll out the Dairy Queen Blizzards and the unpredictable moods! I’m laughing! No, I’m not!!! I’m crying! Ice on my head and heat on my neck!!!)

This week is also the beginning of our school’s summer enrichment program, where Meredith will be learning Spanish and participating in American Girl activities. (This has nothing to do with the Tom Petty tune and everything to do with age-appropriate historical fiction. In other words, when the class ends in three weeks, Meredith won’t be standing on a balcony out on 441. Instead, she’ll probably be begging us to take a trip to Chicago for a doll with whom she’ll never play.)

Meanwhile, Harper will be learning percussion in her morning class, and in the afternoon she’ll be part of Book Cooks—where she’ll read stories and follow recipes and make snacks. (Have I mentioned that summer enrichment is pretty awesome?)

While the girls are being enriched, I’ll be jumping into the last of my freelance for the summer and following up with my hip surgeon. (Thank God for Photoshop. Without it, the scar on my hip would surely stomp out any Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue possibilities!) Also, Scout will be participating in her second obedience class on Wednesday before her ovariohysterectomy on Friday. (They grow up so quickly!) On Saturday, we’ll end our fostership and become her official adoptive parents just in time for Harper to attend a mani/pedi party.

One last thing: I made a batch of curried green onion hummus using the recipe from Appetite for Reduction, and it’s the very best hummus I’ve ever had. Next week will probably find me following the recipe for horseradish dill hummus or pizza hummus. This vegan thing is not as tricky as I thought it would be.
You still have a chance to win! Come on over and comment. You could win a $100 Visa gift card! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

I’ll spin you a yarn!

Hey, you guys. Look what I’m making.

I'm making yarn!

It’s yarn. AND, because I tend to let my new obsessions go all crazy, I just spent a little too much time looking at spinning wheels. Conclusion: They’re expensive.

If you have a strong opinion/recommendation, tell me what sort of wheel I need. (Need. Yep. I know. Need is a strong word. I’m sort of lucky to not Need much of anything. How about telling me what sort of wheel I might want?)

(I know that portability is currently at the top of my list of features, only because I saw about four or five people toting their wheels around this weekend, and the women whose wheels were in cases seemed very smiley to me.)

((I’m currently looking at the Kromski Sonata or a Schacht Ladybug, mainly because I know of a local dealer, and buying locally is always a good idea. Any opinions?))

(((Please know that it is going to take at least a year for me to save up for such a purchase, so a hasty decision isn’t an option. Research is key.)))

((((If you are a manufacturer of spinning wheels and you want to send a wheel to me because you have wheels that you like to give away to enthusiastic beginners? I’ll send a huge batch of cake balls to you, and I’ll make sure to mention your wheel by name every single time I throw up a spinning post. Because I love you.))))

Edited to add: If you want to see a brief recap of camp from The Knitmore Girls and Miss Kalendar from Brass Needles, you can follow this link!
Less than 24 hours to go on this giveaway!
I am drinking Tropicana Pure Premium and giving away a $100 Visa Gift Card! Leave a comment for your chance to win!

This one ends on Wednesday!
I went shopping at Walgreens, and now I’m giving away a $100 Walgreens gift card! Come on over! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Welcome to Knitting Camp! With wifi!

I’m coming to you this morning from Camp KIP! Because when you go camping, you often have a wireless network connection, right? We arrived Wednesday afternoon at four o’clock-ish, and I quickly learned that most of this week’s campers consist of knitting podcasters and the people who love knitting podcasters.

All of this to say: I have work to do. Podcasts to upload! Decisions to make regarding which podcasters are worthy of my (valuable?) time! (I currently listen to three podcasts: This American Life, The Moth, and Stash and Burn. Feel free to recommend other podcasts that I shouldn’t be missing, and I’ll figure out what part of my hygiene routine I can eliminate to score some more time!)

What I’ve learned so far: I sort of enjoy the whole Making Yarn With a Drop Spindle thing! My friend from afar presented me with the drop spindle she used when she was learning, along with a bunch of beautiful roving, and we sat and we spun and I forgot the wire that connects my camera to my computer or else I would show you exactly what I’m talking about.

AND, because Some Things Are Meant to Be, last night I won a lovely BFL/silk braid of roving, which means the spinning thing is something I really shouldn’t give up any time soon, because the universe is providing me with supplies. So there you go.

Yesterday evening we had a beer tasting at the on-site microbrewery. While there, I learned that I’m not really cut out for beer tasting, especially when my fellow tasters are saying things like, “Budweiser tastes like pee! That’s not beer!” and “Check out the nutmeg notes and hint of papaya in this one!” I felt a bit out of sorts and could only say things like, “I think this one smells like chocolate, but tastes like coffee! I want to pour it over ice cream! SortOfButNotReally!” (I wrote the entire experience off when the person giving the presentation made two slightly homophobic references. Ugh. Time to bail and go spin!)

Today is vendor day, meaning people are coming in from miles around to sell us stuff. (I hope someone is selling falafel, because I have a hankering.)

I’ll have photos to share when I get back home. I hope you’re doing well!
I am drinking Tropicana Pure Premium and giving away a $100 Visa Gift Card! Leave a comment for your chance to win!

I went shopping at Walgreens, and now I’m giving away a $100 Walgreens gift card! Come on over! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

I will mangle your microwave and cripple your coffeepot.

I volunteer at the girls’ school at least three days each week, and I totally love being there. I love the teachers, I love the office staff, I love the kids, I love using the word Love, and so on! (I *did* try to employ my reliable thesaurus in order to tune down the Love a bit, and it was recommended that I say something like “I get a bang out of the teachers” or “I lust for the office staff.” I believe I will stick with Love. Thus it is, and so it goes.)

Yesterday afternoon my mom and I volunteered to help 73 first and second graders make paper. About an hour before the kids were to arrive, the teacher showed us how to make pulp in the blender and asked us to fill nine tubs with different colored pulps. Sixty minutes to fill nine tubs with pulp. Duck soup.

After about four or five tubs, we broke the blender. And when I say “we broke the blender” I simply mean that the blender stopped working. I don’t believe we did anything incorrectly—it just overheated or something and died. (It took the microwave down with it, so I can only assume this was an electrical issue. However, when we tried to plug the blender in at a working outlet? It once again did not work. This story is growing entirely too long. May I bring you a blanket?)

The teacher, who is admirably unflappable and kind, handed some cash over and asked if I could go to the store and grab another blender. Yes I can! Mom and I rushed out, grabbed another blender, returned to the school, and made another three tubs of pulp before the second blender broke. At that point, we felt a bit Lucy and Ethel-esque.

My mom (making small talk to distract me from freaking out): Do you still have that weird spot on your hip?

Me: Yep. I think I’m going to have it cut off after knitting camp.

My mom: You know, I’m pretty good at making paper. Maybe I could cut that thing off of your hip!

Both of us: Ha Ha HA HA HA!!!!!

We were able to make due with the pulp we created before Operation Blender Annihilation, and 73 students made some pretty awesome paper before Mom and I headed home for the day. Excellent. (This morning I helped 21 kids plant grass seeds in cups, and at one point I actually said, “I don’t think you want to see me lose my patience.” As my kids know, this is the final thing I tend to say before completely losing my cool. Luckily, I was able to finish the planting and exit the building without showing everyone my ugly Jekyll/Hyde spin kick transformation. (No disrespect intended toward those with actual split personality disorders. (Bases? Covered!)))

I’m getting ready for next week’s knitting camp, and I plan on taking you with me if the WiFi connection is as great as they say. (Dear Coffee Lady, I know. This is NOT real camping, is it?!) I’m taking my current lace weight project (a Pi Shawl made from Noro “Sekku”), a DK weight project (a Seraphim made of Silky Wool), a worsted weight project (a short-sleeved Liesl made of ruby Sierra), and my latest obsession: a Taygete made from Scout’s Swag and Sanguine Gryphon sock yarns. (It’s for my migraine doctor. Because she always admires my knitting and she hasn’t yet given up on the bugs in my head.)

I am drinking Tropicana Pure Premium and giving away a $100 Visa Gift Card! Leave a comment for your chance to win!

I went shopping at Walgreens, and now I’m giving away a $100 Walgreens gift card! Come on over! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Meditation and Sweaters

Headache Doctor: So, are you currently taking any medication regularly other than Zonisamide and the multivitamin?

Me: I take a sleep aid at night.

Headache Doctor: How many times per week do you take it?

Me: Well, probably three times per week. Maybe more. Mostly more. Okay then. Seven nights per week.

Headache Doctor: We need to get you off of that. Ideally, you should be able to fall asleep and stay asleep without chemical intervention. What is your caffeine intake?

Me: I drink two or three cups of coffee each day, and I try to finish the final one before ten in the morning. With that said, I’m definitely stretching the truth, because here it is, almost two o’clock in the afternoon, and I’m drinking out of a Starbucks cup! Busted! I’M NOT VERY GOOD AT DECEITFULNESS!

Headache Doctor: Knowing that you SHOULD drink the final one before ten is a good start. Have you ever done yoga or meditation for relaxation?

Me: We joined a gym about three weeks ago, and I really should check the schedule to see if they offer yoga classes! AND, now that I’ve said that sentence out loud, I think we both know that the last thing I’m going to do is check the schedule to see if they offer yoga classes. I’m scared to death of the gym. There’s a pool there. I have no idea how to swim, I have no desire to learn how to turn on a stair machine, I know what a Kettlebell is, but I sort of feel the urge to cancel friendships with anyone who asks me to swing one around. I hate the smell of sweat. I feel awkward during all time not spent sitting on my couch, and sometimes I feel awkward when I AM on my couch. So, yeah. I take pills to sleep and sometimes I drink coffee all day. You should see my Hanes Her Way underpants. Dear God, I’ve got problems.

From there, it continued to sputter downhill. Eventually, I found my way home from the headache doctor (I see her again in May. I really need to knit that woman a pair of socks for dealing with my Crazy.), and I immediately logged in to Audible where I downloaded Buddhist Meditation for Beginners by Jack Kornfield. I am not Buddhist, nor do I buy into meditation. (The thought of being barefoot makes me a bit jittery, and once I’m on the floor I can’t get back up very well. Perhaps I need to take a class at the gym! Or swimming lessons! I know. Oh, people. Don’t hug me.)

Anyway, I’ve now put the meditation guide onto my iPod, and I’ve started listening to it every night for the past five nights. Get this: I haven’t heard more than four minutes of the silly thing because I keep falling asleep and not waking up until a cello starts playing at around the five and a half hour mark. In other words, I’m in bed taking in more than five hours of God knows what (accompanied by pan flutes!) while I slumber like a stinking baby! Meditation? Yes. It totally works. Passively.

(I really need to find out if hypnopaedia was truly discredited as a method of learning, because if I could be getting my realtor license or something while I slept, I would feel a hell of a lot more marketable. Imagine the possibilities!)

Hey! I finished a sweater. It’s a Liesl made out of Cascade 220, and I sort of want to make a cotton version (not so green, maybe?) with short sleeves to wear during the summer months.

Totally unprepared am I to face a world of men! (In my new Liesl cardigan!)
I am drinking Tropicana Pure Premium and giving away a $100 Visa Gift Card! Leave a comment for your chance to win!

I went shopping at Walgreens, and now I’m giving away a $100 Walgreens gift card! Come on over! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Tossing Hats into Rings and Whispering “NaBloPoMo.”

Scary Selena Gomez and Rose Princess

So, yeah. We did the Halloween thing. Meredith was Scary Selena Gomez, and Harper was Rose Princess.

Pumpkin Mosaic

I don’t really get into Halloween, although I try my best to put on a good show, what with the “Ooh! You look so spooooky!” and the “What a beyooootiful princess!!!” schlock that I tend to puke up every time someone knocks on my door. (I really do get into the pumpkin carving thing. With that said, I believe I pulled a muscle in my back carving the Hello Kitty pumpkin for Meredith. I’m 147 years old.)

Spooky Pumpkin Guy!

There was a spooky pumpkin guy at the school’s Trunk or Treat on Friday, and his mouth looks like Jeff’s mouth. So, although Jeff swears he was working late and could not be at the Trunk or Treat, I like to pretend that he really was there—all goofified in a pumpkin head and staying silent to up his spooky cred. (Sometimes I type poetry by accident. I’m sure Allen Ginsberg knows what I’m talking about.) (Note: Goofified? You won’t find it in the dictionary. And that’s a shame.)

Ghost Socks!

I finished my ghost socks just in time for Halloween, and then I forgot to wear them. I believe Teddy Roosevelt once said that Election Day is a good day for ghost socks. (Oh! Before you think I got all crazy talented with the ghost socks, please know that the dyer actually dyed the yarn so that if you knit at seven stitches per inch, the ghosts appear. That’s all you have to do. Genius.)

To keep up with tradition, I’m thinking of posting every day this month. I already know that I’m going to have five days of trickiness around Thanksgiving, so I’m not going to officially sign on for NaBloPoMo. Let’s see what happens.
My roommate once told me I was Very Wide. Follow this link to read the story, and you could win $150! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

It’s a smart look. Leaf me alone.

I am at my most uncomfortable when there’s a camera in the room.

Just because a tiny black box with the word Nikon (or Canon or Polaroid or whatever) is around, I smirk, I tilt my head in strange ways, I suddenly look 15 years older, my face develops tics, I begin to cry on the inside, etc. (Seriously—if you think I’m an awkward hugger, you should experience my awkwardness in front of a camera. If anyone tries to take a photo of me hugging someone, I’ll most likely explode.)

A few days ago I finished a cardigan that I’ve been working on (not consistently, mind you) for two years. To take it from Work in Progress to Finished Object was HUGE, and I decided to document my victory on Ravelry.

Jeff followed me (with camera in hand) to the back yard, where I instantly smiled all crazy and proceeded to do my infamous camera freak-out.

I loaded his photos onto the computer, sighed and shook my head at the results, and quickly came up with a solution.

Until I learn how to smile for a photo, I’ll simply have to live my life as a treeface.

Linden B. Johnson. Headless.

You are cordially invited to admire my senior photo from high school and take a chance at winning $150!

Please read about my extraordinary family, and follow the links to win all sorts of prizes! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Owls and Dinners and Roses, etc.

So, I’m thinking this year’s Christmas gifts for teachers will consist of a 16 oz. coffee cup filled with a gift card and surrounded with an owl cozy.

Owl Cozy #2

Either that or mittens. It’s a tough decision. Cozies are quicker. Mittens are more useful. Both are equally warm and woolly.

My segues lack novelty: Speaking of tough decisions, about a week ago I threw a crazy fit that had something to do with me being tired of fixing a different dinner for everyone in the house. I’m not eating meat. The girls don’t want to eat what I make for Jeff, and they tend to want only chicken noodle soup or chicken nuggets for dinner, and argh! End of my rope! Jeff, being my hero and all, quickly found a service that puts together meal plans with recipes and shopping lists based on your family’s needs.


And, guess what? We “sold” it to the kids by talking about how fun it’s going to be to eat the same thing for dinner and how it will free up more time for reading and playing games and New Chapter for the Puddings and whatever, and Friday found both of my kids eating meatloaf filled with zucchini and carrots. AND, I’m able to eat the healthy side dishes and keep the vegetarian thing going. $1.25 each week, and everyone is winning. (I apologize if I seem a bit too excited about this. When you’ve gone nearly five years fixing at least three different meals for everyone’s dinner and suddenly everyone has the same stuff on their plate and they’re actually eating it? It makes me dance. And I’m no dancer. I’ll keep their link in my sidebar until I fall out of love with them.)

Finally, do you remember how my parents gave me a lovely rose bush for my birthday and I got all horticultural and replanted it next to our house and it suddenly died? Last week, as everyone in my family was eating pork chops and gravy over egg noodles (!!!), this was happening on the rose bush.

Still a rose.

It’s tiny and sort of damaged, but I’ll take it. Also, I distributed over 100 fliers with my neighbor last week, and she thanked me by giving us a hummingbird feeder, which is the most perfect gift because Fliers and Fliers! Anyway, at this moment in time, I’m 100% into the hummingbirds. I’ve already made two batches of food for them, and they’ve promised to not migrate until early November. (I know they’re lying to me, but at least we’re communicating.)

Please read about my extraordinary family, and follow the links to win all sorts of prizes! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>

Waffles and Lace and Lace and Waffles

So, ten weeks ago (give or take several days), I received a lovely rose bush from my parents, Harper fell in love with karate, and I began knitting my summer project. The Bad News: I’m afraid the rose bush has died (I took it out of the pot and replanted it in our front yard. More sun than shade, good soil, I water it often, what could have happened?! I haven’t yet had the heart to remove and dispose.). The Good News: Harper is now a yellow belt, and as of this morning, my summer shawl is completed, blocked, and sort of lovely. (You obviously cannot tell this from the photo, but the shawl extends below my butt! Vital.)

Vernal Equinox

I firmly believe if you can follow a recipe, you can knit a shawl. Similarly, if you can follow a recipe, you can make OSM waffles.

OSM Waffles

The waffles are definitely not lovely. In fact, they look sort of spongy and inedible, don’t they? Ah, but I promise you: They are delicious and full of millet and cracked wheat and sunflower seeds and oats, and they speed up the hair growth under your arms and make you want to put on bulky shoes and go on stinky hikes for hours.

One more quick thing! Because I know some of you have absolutely zero interest when it comes to reading my product/event reviews, I tend to throw all of the links under the cute little dotted line that I’ve placed below this paragraph. I just want to mention that I have three very good giveaways going on below, and I absolutely LOVE it when one of my Fluid Pudding friends win. (Don’t get me wrong, I also love the people who simply jump from contest to contest, but they’re not FAMILY, you know?!) Anyway, you are cordially invited to follow the links below. Thanks for your time!
The kids and I went to The GAP, indulged in a bit of character reflection, and scored some awesome jeans. Come on over for a chance to win a $100 GAP gift card!

I went to the bathroom at Lilith Fair. (Believe me, it’s much better than it sounds!) Follow the link for the chance to win a $100 Visa gift card from BlogHer!

I’m going to have a Laughing Cow in my side bar for six months, and you know what that means. I’m giving money away! Come over here, tell me a funny workout story, and you could win $150! ‘ ‘ ‘text/javascript’>