It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Eastern Bluebird at suet feeder
Good morning!  And, welcome to the New Year!!  After two days of rain and drizzle (AKA:  yucky weather...:), the third day of 2011 dawned bright and beautiful...albeit a bit on the nippy side (still in the 20's at 9:00 a.m.).  This photo (right) of an Eastern Bluebird was actually taken with Mr. T's new BirdCam last week/last year, but I still thought it was appropriate to the title.

We spent yesterday watching the pro football games on TV, while taking down the tree and packing up Christmas around Casa 3917.  It may take us a week or two to de-decorate the outside, though, since we'll have more of the same type of weather throughout this week, with snow expected again next weekend.  Having reindeer in your yard on Valentine's Day isn't too terrible, is it?  We could start a new trend in Sailing Point.  Hey, if one of my neighbors can have a live goat, who could possibly object to a couple of lighted, white-wire reindeer?

You'd think we'd be sick and tired of football after watching multiple bowl games over the past few days, but you'd be wrong.  At one point, we had two going at once, using the picture-in-picture feature to swap views on the Alabama game with the Mississippi State game.  SEC 2, Big Ten 0.  Hoo-rah.

Masa Mittens for Me -
First Finished Object for 2011!
 I actually do love watching football games, 'cause you couldn't ask for better knitting time.  On New Year's Eve, I started a pair of mittens for myself with some yummy-soft Ultra Alpaca in a warm yellow color called Masa.  I had picked up this skein in the Orphan Skeins bin at Common Threads last week for 25% off regular price...a find!  As it was basic pattern, modified in length to fit my short, stubby hands and worked on US 7 double-points over 40/41 stitches, from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns, made for warmth and utility more than for show, I was able to finish them in a day (photo, left).  Now, my hands will be warm on my walks. 

BTW, I find it a wee bit humorous to report that I purchased the 5" double-points I used for these warm, (alpaca) woolen mittens on my trip to Arizona last year.  They are the perfect length to use for mittens and what if they came from the desert?

We made sure to welcome in our New Year with all the foods that are supposed to bring good luck and financial rewards throughout the coming twelve months:  sweet rolls and grapes with our Mimosas for breakfast; then for dinner, black-eyed peas (out of the freezer, packed from our own garden!), pork chops (seared then slow-cooked), turnip greens (or cabbage-slaw for Mr. T, who won't touch either greens or sauerkraut), rice, and sweet corn muffins.  As a child of the South, I grew up with the peas, greens, and pork lucky triumvirate, but we've added the sweet rolls (as a substitution for the sugared donuts, which would be acceptable but require more attention to detail early on New Year's Day...:), rice, and grapes over the years and the moves we've made to other parts of the US.  I sure hope we covered all bases with our menu!

I'll make this post brief (well, brief for me...:) as I want to take advantage of the sunshine and get my walk in this morning, wearing my new mittens of course.  Before I leave you, though, I'll share a couple more of the BirdCam shots:  the one on the left (below) is a Northern Cardinal and the one on the right is...well, you recognize the biggest "bird" we have at our feeders, don't you?

Northern Cardinal at feeder
Guess who?  Grrrrrrrr.


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