Sunday, June 26, 2005

I'm turnin' out the lights...

I love and appreciate how many of you very wonderful people come to visit my blog regularly. However...and this is the big however...I am about to delete this blog completely and swap over to the new one entirely. Please, please...if you want to continue to have me on your Bloglines, you need to go to the new blog and CLICK ON THE SUBSCRIBE BLOGLINES button for the new blog. There are two feeds...it doesn't matter which one you use.

Your job, dear knitting readers, should you choose to accept it, is to subscribe directly to the new blog and delete your subscription to this blog.

This blog will self destruct in four days. As of July 1st there will be no more Blogger account for this blog.

I'm hoping you'll follow me over to the new blog...I'll miss you if you don't...


Ciao....

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

There's a little CONTEST....

....on my new blog. ------------------------> To the contest...

Friday, June 17, 2005

I'm outta here...almost...

I've unpacked most of the boxes over at my new blog home. I'm looking into repainting some rooms and perhaps putting up a little wallpaper...maybe even contract for a new blog banner...Please stop on by and visit. I think that after I finish taking down the pictures and sweeping up over here at Blogger, I'm gonna sell the house...

Drop by for coffee and a little knit! Susie's new blog...


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

New site almost ready...

Oh my dearest blogland friends...my days of dual blogging are almost over. Finally, I've managed to learn enough about the web world to customize my new site. Please come visit me and start changing over your Bloglines subs (and any others you might subscribe with) to:

To Knit, Perchance To Dream...

I'm not sure how much longer I'll be leaving the Blogger account up for, so if I disappear, you'll all know where to find me...

Blessings,
Susie

Shawl we dance...?

So it was like 2:15am when I got finished (please do not ask what I was doing awake at that time. Neither shall we speak of the fact that Katy was there as well...) but finished I am. Ta da. I was at a Boy Scouts Committee meeting when I bound this baby off. Came home. Got a little dinner. Chatted for a bit. Congratulated myself on completing the shawl sooner than the day of the wedding (my usual M.O.) Realized that I had to fringe the danged thing...fringeing that would mean hours of bending awkwardly over the bed and pulling many pieces of assorted yarns through small holes. Yep. I sure love to fringe.

But I absolutely love the way a heavy fringe swings around. And this shawl is long...longer than mine, and I had more fringe-y stuff to use...so I got started around 11:30pm. Cut the yarn into appropriate lengths. Here's the setup...


No sooner had I begun the task when my able assistant showed up to lighten the work lay on the work so as to make things much easier for me. Thanks, Riley. There'll be a little extra in your food bowl on Friday...


And in the end (around 2:25am) out lovely spokes/shawl model gives us the picture on the finishedness.


Someone woke me up at 5:15am with a totally unwarranted phone call. Unable to sleep, I made coffee and took the shawl out to be photographed in natural light (and a soft drizzle. Great. God's doing my blocking now...thanks, Lord!) However, I wish this had turned out better. Even the outside light shot cannot convey the sparkle and fringe-ishness.


Shawl ala deck. The beauty shot.


And as if finishing the shawl wasn't enough, in beween knotting fringe I decided to show this silky combed top alpaca who's boss...and spun a whole bunch (I'm learning...)

I'll leave you with a picture of my favorite potted posies. I had quite a time trying to figure out what would work together from the motley assortment I purchased. I didn't want the traditional geraniums with spikes type of stuff. So here's something a little different...

Cosmos and wax begonias. I could start a trend, no?

Thanks for suffering through all this shawl strutting. There are so many accomplished knitters who casually pose their incredible gossamer lace works of art and pass them off as a little something they worked on while the kids took their piano lessons. Maybe so. For me, this shawl really is just a newbie thing; perhaps it'll be the gateway to greater, lacier things for me down the road. Thanks for letting me show off. I just love y'all!

Monday, June 13, 2005

So where's the knitting?

It's been hot and sticky (icky) and occasionally stormy, and because it's June, this is the Time To Get Things Planted in northern Michigan. As much as I love the beauty of the woods and enjoy my horticultural accomplishments, on days like these I wish only to be in front of the a/c, knitting away.

Before I show you what (pitifully little) knitting I've been working on, I have to post an update on the front of the yard where we have Moved Large Amounts Of Dirt and Spread Grass Seed in Copious Quantities (which has yet to sprout) and where now, there are Plants.

Note the presence of Plants. All the stuff on the ground around the plants is grass seed...


These are the Plants...Celosia and Hostas (when she was young, Katy used to call them 'hostages'. It stuck. I was very embarrassed when I said that in front of the Home Depot kid/clerk. He just looked at me weirdly.)


And more...the Vincas, also known as Periwinkle, which I'm hoping will spread. (It's supposed to.)


All this rain and icky weather makes me miserable, but it seems to have a dramatically different effect on the plant world...here's the lupine last pictured 4 days ago (see last post for photo):


So. The knitting. Well, in my defence, I have to call your attention to the fact that my current UFOs are ensconsed in my recent FOs...Branching Out (now at a remarkable 9 repeats) is residing in the Button Bag.


The Fiesta Yarns shawl which is for the Lady Who Is Doing The Music For Katy's Wedding (it's begining to sound like a title...or a mantra...) is currently hanging out in Sophie. In 5 more rows and the fringeing, this will be an FO, and not a moment too soon. The wedding is in like, 26 days...


And there is some new stuff. Here's a pattern I've been looking at for quite some time. In typical Susie fashion, I do not have the correct yarn (not even something in the near-same yardage) yet I am attempting this tank.


Remember this? It's Cascade's Fun, an inappropriately named yarn if I ever saw one. It's not actually plied, rather it's 4 strands that sort of pull along together...most of the time. Not easy to knit with. Naturally, I'm gonna give it a shot.


The first round of the lace. As Stephanie says, it always looks like a wadded up mess until the magic of the blocking. I hope this is true.


And finally, here is what I've been spending all my time on. I am still totally incompetent. I cannot draft and spin together. Draft. Spin. Draft. Figure out what I did wrong. Join. Spin. Read the instructions. Draft. Toss down in frustration. Spin. Draft...you get the picture. I simply cannot wait until our local fiber fests in August so I can have someone show me how to do this properly.

Even so, note the presence of just a few yards of single spun yarn. It took a reaaallllly long time. I was totally irritated and frustrated.

And I'm hooked.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Rain, rain...and the happy results...but first, a rant.

We live in the woods. (Did I mention that we closed on the 1.5 acres next to us on Saturday? If I did, forgive me. It just thrills me to know that no one can build within 270' of me on either side. Yay!) In our woods are small acreages which are own by...for lack of a better word...downstaters. These are people who come up during the summer to camp or fish or just get away from the city. This would certainly be okay save for the fact that these people are bent on burning down the woods (the place of my primary (and only) residence) by starting fires they have no control over. In fact, in the last 3 years we (my family, just neighbors, not volunteer firemen) have responded to 2 out-of-control fires wherein the firebug had no a) hose, b) bucket of water, or in one case, c) access to water to control said fire. Lunatics.

After a disturbing lack of snow this winter, and less rain this spring, we found ourselves short by over half of our annual accumulated snow/rain to date. And school's out. And the loonies are arriving in droves. This always makes me nervous because of their often cavalier attitudes. (I suppose it's easy to be cavalier when your own primary residence is not in jeopardy of torching.)

So it was with great delight that we welcomed the deluge yesterday afternoon. Beautiful rain, turning my brown grass greenish, making all the perennial beds smile (I'm sure of it!) and washing down the pine dust, leaving pools of yellow-ringed water everywhere. Dropping the temperature from an unseasonable 89 to 72F. Glorious. Or not.

And then the power went out. Four hours of 105% humidity. No coffee. No a/c. No computer.

Nick fired up the generator (you've gotta have one of these babies if you live out here) and I turned on a fan, made coffee, and settled in to knit, sweat, drink my coffee, sweat and wait for the power to, please, God, come back on. And sweat. Did I mention how well I handle heat and humidity?
I'm almost 52. Heck, I make my own heat and humidity.

Happy for the rain, displeased about this powerless turn of events. Grateful that no one could burn down the woods in the rainstorm. Sweaty and miserable. Dichotomy. I'm told that no one has ever died from perspiration. I would like to contest this.

So today I went outside to photograph God's bounty be completely eaten by huge mosquitoes and black flies while taking pictures. Herewith, the place I live and what's blooming in my garden: a short pictograph.

This is what you see when you pull into my driveway. This is where Katy and I moved the huge pile of dirt. There's lots of grass seed there now, and hopefully there will be grass soon. I have some annuals to plant out here and a few perennials as well...just waiting until it's cool enough to breathe outside again...

As you pull up the drive this is what you can see to your right (I didn't snap the left side...more of the same...)

...and further up the drive (293', more or less...)

...standing on the driveway apron looking back into the yard. We have much more woods than yard, though when we moved in 6.5 years ago there was a 20'x50' strip of grass in front...and nothing else but weeds, sand, and woods. Now we have a yard.


Can you see why it makes me crazy when people come up here and are careless with fire? Scary!

This is a closeup of the front bed in the picture directly above. It started out as annuals. I became a perennial convert quickly when I realized that they came back every year. (Duh! Some green thumb, eh? ) The strawberry bed is visible in both pictures too. Berries love
sand, so they're planted directly in the soil. Everything else has to be in a raised bed with imported dirt (real dirt...) and humus and manure. Quality stuff. This bed has monarda, foxglove, echinacea, heuchera (I don't remember everyone's formal name...) German Catchfly and Fleabane.


The bed directly across the front of the yard. The pretty blue flowers in the middle are Katy's Jacob's Ladder. I have aquilegia and lupine and dianthus, Spike Speedwell and yarrow in this bed too...


This bed is the newest and it's in the backyard. It gets lots more sun and I have not been really good about making sure the stuff I plant can take all that sun, ergo, I have repeatedly yanked frizzled, dried plant corpses and replanted something else in hopes of success. There's a lamium in here (pink), coreopsis, heuchera (white) and the thrift (see below.)There are also two huge daisy installations that come back each year in spite of the fact that the seed packet promised no more than one season.



I just figured out how to make pictures even smaller...this is cool...unless like me, you have to shove your glasses up on your forehead and press your nose up to the monitor to see them...

Lupine on the left, thrift on the right

Johnny jump-ups (violas) and the yellow lamium

One of six trees sporting hosta aprons, German catchfly

So now you sorta know where I live. Feel free to come visit.

My drop spindle arrived today and I am completely incompetent but totally enraptured.
Knitting content tomorrow...promise.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I have a new friend...

...her name is Rebecca, she's a newbie knitter and on her way to law school (doesn't it make you hopeful about the future of the legal profession to know that there will be a knitter among them?) Her blog is called Chronically Pink. She's a budding knitter/crocheter and an enjoyable read. Please drop on over and say 'Hi!' and tell her Susie sent you...help her feel welcome.

One of the issues she's encountered is that most of the knitters she chats/emails with are (like me) a whole lot older than she (she's 23.) Any of you out there that are closer to her and understand what life's like for the young and single and more college bound, especially, drop her a line, wouldja?

Thanks,
Susie

PS: Guess what? My multicolor felted baby hat cum yarmulke is going to Israel! Moze, of Mozemen's Blues will be recieving this lovely, unintentional kippah in the near future! How very cool! Who knew my Jewish roots could emerge, unplanned, in my knitting?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I felted, you felted, he, she, it felted, we felted...

Herewith the last of the felting for a good long time. And with good reason.

Remember that pretty homedyed yarn I posted a while ago? I decided to make a little Dulaan hat. Turned out cute, eh? But for some reason it didn't sit quite right. I thought that felting it, while making it smaller (for a littler person) would make it look proper.
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My bad. Felting cause this little hat to lose every single bit of its hatness. It is now a yarmulke for Shrek, as best as I can figure. Nick reluctantly allowed me to photograph him with it on. As a side note, this is the Knitpick's dyeityourself worsted. The orange handdyed purse Pammi made was also from Knitpicks. This yarn seems to take a very long time to felt. This project was an error in knitting nonsense judgment.
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Here, on the other hand, is a happy project. This is the Sophie bag right after completion. Late. Very late. And I still had to felt it immediately.
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Here it is in the morning sun, all felted and happy and almost dry. I had it in mind to use Norma's method of adding the beaded handles, but when I got to the handle knitting I thought it was so cool that I had to try it. I will knit this one again...maybe with beaded handles. This purple one is Patons and Cascade 220 pulled 2 strands at a time.
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And lastly, a gratuitous dh and friend picture...
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Monday, June 06, 2005

Nothin' much to say...

Had to take a run to Traverse City today for Nick's dermatologist appointment. I had many things in mind to do, but only got around to a few as we had to be home early. No.yarn. I repeat: I bought NO yarn. A first, and probably a very good thing too, given my recent yarn-ho behavior.

That is not to say that I did not make it to Yarn Quest. But several sets of dpns and a 32" size 6 needle don't really count toward the yarn hoard...in fact, they help bust the stash (I hope.) Am finishing up the Sophie bag and will likely toss it in to felt before I sleep tonight. Before and after pictures tomorrow.

We did buy a few more scrapbooking things for Katy to make a 'curent friends and family' book to take with her when she leaves for Okinawa, and we bought a fabulous wedding scrapbook (JoAnn's had them all on 50% off, thank you very much.) I'm getting dragged into this scrapbooking thing. Trouble is, I am way too ADHD to be able to organize a page, and it requires Kate's help to even figure out which pictures go together. She says we have to finish this before she leaves or it will go back into the closet for another 10 years. I am sure she's right.

More on that as it happens. Photos tomorrow. Film at 11.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Yarn and other things...

As promised, some yarnish photos from our travels of the past few days.

This is Katy and her Koigu sock. They are still asleep although it is almost 11am. Sleep Katy. Sleep sock.

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Katy's sleepy sock...her very first. She loves Koigu and it's working up fast. Except when it's asleep.
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The trip to JoAnn's in TC netted me enough Cotton Ease for a summer tank.
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Later, we stopped by Yarn Quest.

Remember my beautiful Summer Tweed? I centerpull balled this skein and started to swatch it. I had trouble knitting with this stuff. It just seemed hard to work with. Am I the only one who feels this way? Any way, I returned it and with the credit I purchased....
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..this! Three huge skeins of Interlacement's Oregon. I am so excited about working with this stuff that fall can't come soon enough for me.
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An update on the Sophie bag. I am currently working on this because this was one of the felting things I started when Pammi was here. Everything else is on hold. But there will be no more felting for a while after this. I think.
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On to the yarn I bought at Threadbear:

Some fabulous Lorna's Shepherd worsted. This color is like summer sky and clouds. (I don't think that's what they call it, but they should. In fact, I think they should hire me to think up new and whimsical yet appropriate names for their yarn colorways.)

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The huge pile of Cascade's Fun, an odd name for this cotton/viscose blend yarn. (See above. I'm sure I could do better at naming this stuff.)
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The start of the swatch. There's a tank pattern waiting for me to finish the Sophie bag.
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And Laurie, (of the anonymous postings,) this is the alpaca top I purchased and wrote about. I could not resist, as it is softer than any yarn I have ever fondled. Yet when I started looking into drop spindle 101, I discovered that alpaca is too slippery a fiber for beginners. (I don't think I'll let that stop me, but I'll start out on the merino top that's coming with my new spindle...)
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Finally. FINALLY! There are blossoms on our strawberry plants. Which leads me...out the door and away from my knitting, to work in the yard before the rain comes.
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Have a lovely and blessed weekend!

Moving Day is Coming...Eventually...

I'm moving blog hosts...slowly. I've only begun to comprehend what this new blog is capable of, and so, have only transferred a few recent posts over. I've got a coupla links from my Bl*gger sidebar, but I have so much more to learn.

Having said that, here's the link to my new home. Just as we took a month in two houses so we could clean and pack one before we left, and paint and prep the other before we moved in, that's what I'm doing right now...only I have to figure out where to get the paint and how to use the rollers and where the heck I put the dropcloths...if you catch my drift. I know that I can now host photos on my site instead of at PhotoB*cket, but I don't know how...yet. I know I can post the code for all the rings I belong to, but I can't figure out how...yet. And I may wind up changing (or even creating anew!) the skin of the site as Rox says it reminds her of the Partridge Family...any comments on that one? (I just liked the bright colors....)

It's very, very late and I need to sleep but I've been playing around with the new blog and want some feedback. The content isn't new, obviously, as I just carried old posts over to see if I could...but the look is...and without the Bl*gger issues.

Cya in the morning!

Late edit: Clicking on the link to my new blog will no longer take you to the Partridge Family scene. I changed the layout completely. Still have lots to do, but I think I like this one better...looks like I'll have a little more flexibility. Rox, thanks for being so kind while I came to the realization of how just plain wrong it was.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Home to ourselves again. Now without photos.

On the heels of taking Pammi to the airport, my mother-in-law arrived to pick up her kitty and spend the night (we kittysit Velvet when Mom travels.)

Amazingly, they all let me sleep until 9am (!) this morning and when I awoke the house was all but empty and eerily quiet. I wandered around not knowing what to do until I hit the coffeepot (I always know what to do there.) Coffee and a little knit and then the day began in earnest with one of the cats informing me loudly and repeatedly that there was no food.

During her all-too-brief stay here, Pammi blessed us by teaching us scrapbooking. ::::le sigh. Another expensive hobby:::: Katy's new almost-mother-in-law spent a great deal of time and effort putting together a book about Mike's childhood, right up to a page announcing their engagement and wedding invites. She presented this work of art (as indeed it is worthy of being called...) to Katy, telling her to add pages about her childhood etc. Well, we had virtually nothing with which to do this, and a huge box of unsorted (and, gasp! undated) photos. Pammi spent a day (in between her knitting ) helping Katy organize, shop and pick out goodies for the book, and set up the pages. Thank you so much, Pam! It couldn't have been done without you.

Speaking of my sweet sister, go visit her new blog, Mommy, Mommy, MOMMY!!! and see what else I got her addicted to! Tell her I sent you. She's brand-y new at this, and you'll notice a distinct similarity to my blog in the first two posts, but she's already figured Bl*gger out and has pictures of her stuff, including her boys wearing her FOURTH FO (4 in just 7 days. How can I ever hope to keep up?) Please make her feel welcome! (Thanks guys...)

Don't have too much else to add except that our trip to Lansing to return Pammi to the airport was punctuated by the sound of a rapidly ringing cash register at Threadbear. I bought something I'm not ready for...some ready-to-spin, combed alpaca top. I know now that this is *not* for beginners (I'm not even a beginner yet) but I had to have this. I have an alpaca fetish, and this stuff is softer than any alpaca yarn I've ever fondled. I later did the wise thing, going online to order a drop spindle (the guys can't keep 'em in the store, they move so fast) and some merino top to try my hand at. (It can't get here soon enough!) Updates as they occur.

I am still awed at the RAOKs I have received. They are within admiring distance from me (except for the soap, which has made its debut in my soapdish where it is making my hands feel simply soft and wonderful.) Thank you ladies for your thoughfulness and generosity. I can't say it enough.

That's all the news that fits. Knitting content and photos tomorrow (including the Koigu sock I have persuaded Katy to start work on...which she's gaga about now...)

Hugs and happy thoughts to all....

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I've been RAOK'd! TWICE!!!

Yesterday was fun. We took Pammi to Traverse City (our largest, closest 'city') to go shopping. We hit JoAnn's, the local high-end resale shop, (having a sale!) my very favorite lys Yarn Quest, the mall...lots of wonderful shopping...ending with Border's for coffee and a perusal of their knitting books. On the way home I got a call from Nick (who had no desire to go shopping with the womenfolk) telling me that there were three packages for me in the mail and could he open them. I opined that there was probably nothing of interest to him in them and to keep his grubby mitts off them wait until I got home to open them.

When we got home from Traverse City I found that my books had arrived from Amazon: Instant Expert...a gift for Katy...A Handspindle Treasury and Spin It for me (note that I do *not* own a drop spindle...yet.) This was good enough happiness for me when I remembered that Nick had mentioned three packages. It took some doing to find the rest of the mail, but when I did, I was overwhelmed!

My very first RAOKs! (Not my very first...ummm...giftie...that honor goes to Rox who giftied me because I turned her on to Bloglines and was her first subscriber, so I got a 'first subscriber' giftie! Thanx Rox!)

In no particular order....this arrived from Atouria, some very special treats for relaxing (I'm not sure why people keep telling me I need to relax. Do I seem hyper? Do I? Well, do I?) Ahem. Sorry.

The wonderful and vegan Atouria sent me fabulous handmade (her hands!) vegan, cruelty free soaps (Who knew vegan smelled so good?) a clever and encouraging card, and this adorable and very useful (already used!) birch wood massager. My darling, you are so thoughtful and sweet! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
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Then on the same day, out of the blue I received this from Jenn, who raoked my world with this...a postcard from her corner of the world, wherein she proffered this lovely stuff...a handcarved wooden 'guardian angel' (Lord knows I need one many, many of those...) a skein of Knitpicks dyeityourself (this has devolved to one word in my dyeing world...) sock yarn (what color....colors?!?) and three of the loveliest and most innovative stitchmarkers I've ever seen. In fact, I've never seen any like this.
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Take a closer look...see? Aren't they totally cool? Now I wanna know how she made em'! Bless you my dear, for your thoughtfulness. You brought joy into my day.
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You ladies so totally made my day. The kindness and generosity of knitters never fails to amaze me. Thank you both so very much.

My sister Pammi has knitted me to a frazzle. The yarn I dyed? Here it is, pre-
felted. She completed this in under 36 hours, learning to add carry-along yarns and make I-cord along the way.
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She woke up this morning and was knitting on this before she even got coffee. Can we say obsessed? Note the copy of Instant Expert sitting beside her (the book I'm sending to Okinawa with Katy...) I'm beginning to wonder if she coulda written it.
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And before we even got dressed, said bag was in the washer doing its felting thing. Nicely. Katy says this looks like something Seussian...a Cat in the Hat gone wrong. I disagree. This is the first time I've ever felted something I dyed and I think it's splendid. Not to mention the amazing (and fast!) job Pam did making it.
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And lastly, in the 'day late/dollar short' category, Monday was Katy's 19th birthday. My family and Scott's family, neither of which can be counted on to acknowledge birthdays, true to form, sent no cards. There were no gifts to speak of. The only cards she got were from her soon-to-be mil and grandmil. In my defense, I did buy her a 4 cd Frank Sinatra collection, but she understands that there is a Wedding in 37 days and that's where all the money is headed.

She was very mature about the whole thing except for the part where we were riding home from TC and she turned to me and said, "This birthday s*cked. Mike's on the other side of the world, Dad's working downstate, none of my friends can come over, no one in my whole family bothered to send a card or call...not even Grandpa Joe. It s*cks."

I've known about stuff like that in my life too.
I will say no more lest I become bitter...

...so that's why the RAOKs just blow me away.

Fortunately, we were able to pull together a quick, very late evening, impromptu gathering of her friends. When we got home from TC Annie (and hubby Ryan) and Bethy came over and made birthday fun and silliness until they were all exhausted and goofy. Annie, a natural blonde who seldom wears makeup, always raids my makeup stash when she comes over and this night was no different save for the fact that Beth-y wanted in on the deal too. she found some very, very red lip glaze and proceeded to 'anoint' everyone with her imprint. This photo shows her looking vixenish, something we all thought was out of character for her, but now are having second thoughts about...
here's a shot of Katy and her posse, taken at about 11:45pm on Monday night.
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These girls are three of the most beautiful, funny, brilliant young women I've ever had the privilege of knowing. Katy has been the delight of my heart since the moment I knew she was there inside me. Annie and Beth-y have caused me to shoot more liquids and foodstuffs through my nose than is probably healthy just because they are so incredibly delightfully (hysterically! frighteningly!) funny. They are beloved friends and sisters and I hope they will always remain so regardless of distance.

Happy Birthday, my Katy. How will I get through the next one with you so very far away? Let me hold you close while I still can.