Friday, January 29, 2010

Mr. Postman

Today I went to the post office at lunchtime to mail a few goodies to this friend. I recognized the man behind the counter because he's there almost every time I go (which is a lot-- the post office is about two blocks from work, and I love all things mail-related). Today he asked if I wanted to get a post office box. I said, "No thank you, I don't live in Middleton." He said that he didn't either; he lives in Janesville. Janesville is about an hour away.
So of course, being my nosy self, I asked why he had such a long commute. He said that he had recently gone through a divorce, and the taxes in this area are too high for him. He said he had hoped to transfer to the Janesville post office but couldn't. He ended by saying that he's so close to retirement, it doesn't matter anyway.
I wished I could reach across the post office counter and give him a hug.


Yes folks, it's true. I'm cleaning house and getting rid of some treasures while I'm at it. So I'd like to offer two lucky blog readers the following items. Each winner will receive both items (I have doubles of both of them).

The Knit-It Kit: 10 Fun Beginning Knitting Projects. No yarn or needles and no gift box; just the super-cute instruction book and project cards. You know you want to make leg warmers!

Avi's latest book, Murder at Midnight. The cover says it's for ages 9-12, but I'm 32 and I liked it. These are actually advance reader copies, so they're softcover and may have a few typos. Get ready for a good mystery!

If you'd like to enter to win these amazing items, just leave a comment or send me an email telling me what your ultimate knitting project would be. Even if you don't knit.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dwight Schrute is Following Me

For the past few days, I've been thinking I see Dwight Schrute everywhere. This morning, the guy in front of me on the bus had the exact same hair as Dwight, and I spent the whole ride trying to get a peek at the front of his face without being too obvious. Turned out it wasn't him.

Then at the pool today, I totally thought Dwight was getting in the lane next to me. Long torso, geeky swim trunks, glasses (I hope he took those off before getting in the pool!)... but then it turned out not to be him.

Why am I so obsessed with Dwight? And who are all these Dwight look-alikes that are showing up in my life all of a sudden?
I wish it were Pam instead of Dwight, because I feel like Pam and I could really be friends.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I love home.

I got home on Tuesday night from a six-day trip to Boston. While it was fun (I got to go to the aquarium, hang out with my brother, and eat a lot of seafood), it was a looooong six days, mostly spent inside the convention center. I was so ready to come home at the end. I could not have been happier to see my sweet husband at the airport!

My plan was to go home and do laundry on Tuesday night, because I was jumping right back into work on Wednesday morning. Fortunately, the airline lost my suitcase, so there was no laundry to do. Karl and I went out to our favorite Thai restaurant instead of to our kitchen. Mmmmm.

My luggage did get delivered to our house late Tuesday night. The delivery people probably thought I had bricks in my suitcase, but of course it was full of books. One of the coolest things about library conferences is getting your hands on books before they are available to the general public. Coolest but heaviest, that is.

And the Winner Is...

I told you it was going to win.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Three More Favorites

Here are three more books published in 2009 that I think are too good to miss. Just my opinion. In order of my favorite-ness:

Speaking of opinions, I'll tell you my prediction for the winner of this year's Newbery: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. To be honest, I personally didn't love it, but I can understand why it's getting a lot of attention and why it's probably a top contender for this year's award!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

One of my favorite books of the year

Okay, okay, I'll share a couple of my favorite 2009 Newbery-ish titles with you.

These are both "don't miss" titles. They're unique, unexpected, and captivating. If you have liked other books by these authors, do yourself a big favor and check these out (at your local library, of course!).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

One Year Ago

One year ago, I was getting on a plane to Denver. So were 14 other people across the country. We all arrived with binders full of notes, books full of post-it notes, and lots of anticipation! We spent several days in a closed room together, discussing, voting, discussing some more, voting again... to choose the Newbery winner and honor books.

I'm so excited to see some of my fellow committee members this weekend in Boston! And I can't wait to find out what this year's committee is going to choose. The announcement is made on Monday morning. I have my favorites, but I'm not going to tell you what they are. Not because it's a secret, but because I'm lazy.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I Love Food

Later this month, Karl and I get to go to this restaurant. The last week in January is Restaurant Week in Madison, so all of these fancy schmancy places have three-course set menus for $25 per person. And we have a gift card, so our dinner will actually be free. Why is food so delicious?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ten on Ten: January

1. I just learned that dry beans are five times cheaper than canned! Here's my latest batch, bound for a pot of chili later in the day.
2. A can of olives I found in the pantry, marked with a #8 from a food give-away party my friend Bridget had before moving to Portland. They went in the chili too.
3. The view out our front window. That lump on the snow is our Christmas tree, waiting for pick-up.
4. The hippo I'm knitting.
5. Getting ready to pack for the American Library Association conference in Boston this weekend.
6. Our kitchen table, ready for lunch. You can see the laundry chute on the wall... so convenient for dirty kitchen towels!
7. My new plates from Anthropologie, drying after lunch.
8. Taking a break from reading (Harriet the Spy).
9. Our bathroom floor- one of my favorite things about our house! Nice and clean, thanks to my husband!
10. There he is, queuing up an episode of The Office for us to watch before bed.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Knitting Olympics

There is this really cool thing going on in the knitting world: the Knitting Olympics. If you're on Ravelry, check it out there. Knitting Olympians cast on when the torch is lit on February 12 and aim to finish their projects by the ending ceremonies 16 days later on Febrauary 28. Knitters are encouraged to choose challenging projects, and doing gauge swatches ahead of time is allowed!

I'm planning on trying the hedgehog pattern from Alan Dart's book, Irresistible Gifts to Knit. This is not your everyday hedgehog; he's wearing a bathrobe and carrying a hot water bottle.

What are you planning on knitting during the Olympics?

January Give-Away Winner

Congratulations to this month's give-away winner, Jenny! Her favorite moment from The Sound of Music is:
when they're at the concert and max is announcing the winners... "the von trapp family singers..... The family von trapp!...." and then the soldier runs in... "THEIR GONE!" and then the music starts... dododododododdo the chase begins...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Meet a sweet little elephant, knit in cotton for a very special baby. Many thanks to Kate for crocheting the ears! Find the pattern here.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!

Welcome, 2010!

Karl and I kicked off the new year with a three-day getaway to Cedarburg, Wisconsin. We stayed at the same hotel where we stayed during our honeymoon. We actually stayed in the same exact room, because we loved it so much the first time around. It has a fireplace and a huge tub with whirlpool jets:

I honestly would have been happy staying in the hot tub the entire time (I think it took about an hour in there just for me to start to thaw out... I've been cold for three months straight). But we did venture out a few times. We saw Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs at the movie theater and visited the Cedar Creek Winery.

My favorite non-hot tub part of the trip was a morning we spent at a coffee shop. It was so nice to just relax together.

I worked on a hippopotamus I'm knitting, and Karl read. We played a couple of rounds of Boggle and our new favorite game, Lost Cities.

It snowed while we were at the coffee shop, which of course made it more picturesque. I loved this tablecloth at the shop. I'd like to make a similar one for our dining room table (but bigger, of course, and minus the glass... I guess I just liked the fabric).

We left Cedarburg on New Year's Eve after lunch, and we drove to Fond du Lac to visit our good friends, Mac and Amanda. Mac grilled steaks (Yes, he actually put the meat on the grill, outside! His soda was frozen when he came back inside.) and we watched approximately two hundred and fifty episodes of The Office and played Wii Family Feud and good old Boggle.

On New Year's Day, we all went hiking at a state park on Lake Michigan.

The mix of sand and snow was really pretty.

Good thing we all bundled up for the hike!

We had lunch at a Mexican restaurant after that, and then Karl and I headed home to Madison. We hope you had a fabulous holiday!