After I do all the things I should do today, my day off -- or at least the things I have to do but perhaps not all the things I want to do -- I'd like to sew these sweater pieces together to make a Trellis! I may have to un-do the collar join at the back of the neck and knit a few more rows as I think it's just a smidge too short. Luckily, I usually leave ample tails. Oh! I'd like to make some twisted cording today, too!
...if I can tear myself away from the Sugar & Cream! I confess, I've started a fourth dishrag.
I finally kicked my own WW butt last week, after my complete chocolate cherry collapse the previous week, and lost 3.4! What did I do differently? I QuikTrak'd for a couple of days, I forced myself to drink a bottle of water (most days) before hooking up the daily caffeine-free Diet Coke drip (and sometimes even had an extra!), I ate strawberry-rhubarb stuff instead of chocolate-cherry stuff, I walked a little bit. ; ) There is still VAST room for improvement in the areas of water consumption and exercise, but I have at least begun. A few more weeks on this general track, and I think some of my physical ailments will begin to subside.
In the works: picot pictures, the letter "K," and more -- pretty soon, a new t-shirt (you can get one, too!).
Do not adjust your dials! Despite appearances, this has not become a food blog...
It was DH's dad who sent those very good yet very bad chocolate cherries to the girls that I could not resist, and the more fruity portion of their gift arrived on Friday -- pears and apples and teensy weensy miniature baby bananas. I immediately grabbed my camera, as you can see, and was told that Katie and Maddy had each already photographed the cute bananas. I don't know what that says about us. ; ) They taste like regular bananas, though gone after three bites -- the only discernable difference is that the peel is a bit thinner!
It was a very relaxing, stay-at-home, 3-day holiday weekend, and yet I got a lot done -- even with House, M.D. - Season One making a house-call at our house. On Saturday, by chance, a stumbled upon a rummage sale and bought about a half-dozen balls of Sugar & Cream cotton for about 50 cents each -- I already have at least that much, but with the Mason-Dixon warshrag on my mind, well, you can't have too much and the more the merrier as far as colors to choose from! It was just the impetus I needed to start -- that, and having spied Vera's finished work on Friday (she's right, they are just like potato chips!), not to mention her adorable baby kimono (I just learned this morning of a baby boy due in October!). I knocked off three dishrags over the weekend -- each a little bolder and more bodacious that the last.
On Saturday afternoon, I went to the nursery -- yet again. I didn't really need anything, but it's relaxing and everything's so pretty and I was asked to ride along! You know I came home with somethin'... tomatoes! After a hiatus of at least a dozen years, I'm trying them in containers this time rather than anywhere near the toxic black walnut tree. I'm so excited!! I've got a Big Boy and a Better Boy, already potted and caged, and a Sweet 100 cherry that will hang. I've been reading the Eat Local Challenge blog, mostly because of Birdsong, and while nothing can be more local than the tomatoes in my own back yard, I have found a CSA on the outer edges of my general area that participates in a local farmer's market where I can pick up my share, which I'm really looking forward beginning at the end of June!
While Trellis soaked, I used up the rhubarb I'd been given and made a WW Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler and a batch of polenta! I may have used a bit more rhubarb than called for and Katie did tell me that the strawberries weren't sweet, but I made no adjustments to the sugar content of the recipe and man, that's one tart cobbler! Luckily, a little scoop of frozen yogurt is all it takes to bring it around. ; ) I have heard of polenta, but have never seen nor tasted it in my entire life, but that didn't stop me from making a HUGE batch. It's one of the easiest things in the whole wide world to make and... hey, Mikey, she likes it! I have had it only with parmesan cheese and butter, so I'd love to hear how anyone else likes it best!
One more food-related item -- I've been challenged! This, I believe, shall satisfy the Spammer/ann:
Spam with Spaghetti-
O s'wonderful, s'marvelous,
S'smooth like Fred Astaire.
The whole weekend was a scorcher, and we got the a/c units in the windows just in time -- I took apart and washed four fans, too. I keep saying that I'm going to call and have central air installed... and saying, and saying, and saying...
The water looked like pea soup when I pulled Trellis out, and the green dye just kept coming out as I rinsed. I pinned it all out and it looks great, but the color is quite a bit lighter. I also found instructions online to make twisted cord using an electric drill and as soon as Trellis gets put together, I'll start experimenting with making cord and frogs to see if I even want to consider that for Fib.
I wasn't able to visit the llama farm yesterday -- their line was either busy or there was no answer, and I don't want to just drop in when the sign says to call first. The farm is on the last corner before turning down my brother's road, there's no way to avoid it, and I know it'll happen eventually. Yesterday may not have been the best day, anyway. I'm thinking that perhaps in muggy, hot, 90+ degree weather, the llamas (with or without their "beans") are best enjoyed from the comfort of one's air-conditioned vehicle, rather than up close and personal.
...and my bilingual stepdad would say, "It's pronounced yam-e."
My brother called this morning and he continues to improve, slow but sure. He said that upon awakening, nearly everyday this week, he's felt good enough to go to work! That feeling doesn't last even 'til noon, he starts getting stiff and sore and there's still pain, but isn't that GREAT? He's hoping to start easing back, on a part-time basis, after the 4th of July -- fingers crossed. He's going to start going stir-crazy at home, I think! His cognitive abilities have also shown great improvement since his release nearly two months ago. Wow, that long already?
Anyway, since I didn't go up north this holiday weekend, I thought maybe I'd run up to visit Mike and my SIL on Monday. Mike has wanted to get a better picture of us with the blanket, too. It bothers him that the ones we have are all blurry.
I told him that I'd like to call that llama farm that's at their corner and see if I could stop in. He said, "Oh, are you coming for some lima beans?" I said, "Llama..." He said, "I know, are you coming for some 'llama beans'?" I said, "No... fiber, you know... yarn." He said there's a retired guy down the road who calls the llama's poop "llama beans" -- and it makes great fertilizer! I've never given a single thought to llama poop in my life before this morning! Heh, I'll have to check it... llama beans. ; )
|Your Brain's Pattern|
You always amaze your friends by figuring out things first.
You're also good at connecting people - and often play match maker.
You see the world in fluid, flexible terms. Nothing is black or white.
I'm such a flake, I don't remember where I picked this up. I haven't taken a quiz in a long time, and it's been even longer since I posted results, but this is so funny... because it's so damn true!
* * * *
What you see above is the result of at least two hours of "blogging." Yeah, I just couldn't get off the block this morning. I was going to post a few new-to-me blog links and call it a post, but only managed one -- brooklyntweed -- before I was distracted by something (I'm sure it was bright and shiny!).
So, I was just going to call it a day... a blogless day... but now, now you MUST go click and read...
brooklyntweed: a special Friday post... which will lead you to...
and I dare you to not smile and go all LuLu.
So, I had a little bit of a melt-down yesterday. I am better today, though I still suffer the occasional twitch in my left eye. I used to laugh when Stephanie wrote about that. Well, guess what? I'm not laughing anymore -- it's real! I can't believe I've lived this long and never before knew that I was so afflicted! Continued angst over a few family things, ongoing drama over some more, a little piling on of some other stuff, just a hella start to the year (the second half damn well better be better), WTF my "service engine soon" light came on within 24 hours of it exiting the service bay, and I forgot to tell them (but didn't they notice, isn't this on the checklist?) that the brake light was out on the passenger side, and quite possibly a personal best in the worst WW gain in a week ever... I found out way too late that DH loves those chocolate cherry thingies (maybe even more than me!), but at least the last few are out of my sight... and let's not discount the featured role of hormones in all of this.
Good: I walked to the auto parts store to buy the replacement brake light bulb. I dug out my tennies (can't remember the last time I wore them) and made sure there were no spiders in the toes...
Bad: I had to turn around after a block to take laundry off the line because of sprinkles.
Good: Even with the threat of rain, I was determined to walk. (It never did rain and the sun came out!)
Ugly: I shed a few tears along the way.
Bad: Special tools required to change the bulb.
Bad: The dog got out while I was in and out trying to find the special tool.
Ugly: I swore -- loudly.
Ugliest: (I think this would be the climactic meltdown moment...) I swore some more (loudly some more), and shed angry tears this time, and slammed some doors, and marched up stairs, and closed more doors, and moistened some tissues... frickin' special tools that are so teensy you can't even tell if they fit and you sure can't get any torque... I'll "special tool" ya... yeah, it was a "special tool" who designed this crap...
Good: Hubby took over (the tool sizes are misleading, he says, and it required the next size up).
Good: I QuikTrak'd yesterday and it worked well -- very well.
Good: I'm doing it again today, plus I actually drank some water (sadly lacking these past several weeks), plus I counted the steps to the mailbox (200, round-trip) -- I've ordered a pedometer, but it hasn't yet arrived.
Good: I finished the collar of Trellis and blocking will commence tonight! I should have a finished sweater by the end of the holiday weekend. I cast on for the second Lovely Lace Sock and will be taking pics of the doing of the picot edge, by special request. ; )
Bad: I had an email about Knitty surprises, but the website has been down.
Good: Knitty Gritty Thoughts -- a new-to-me blog (but not new to blogging), also new to Typepad, which is where I discovered it listed on their "recently updated" list this morning. Go tell her what you like in a blog and you could win some pretty pink Koigu.
Good: I'm staying home this weekend.
Good: See, it isn't so bad... there are definitely more Goods than Bads or Uglies!
In April 2005, I attended the spring Midwest Master's Seminar presented by Yarns by Design, a local LYS. It was my first seminar of this sort and I couldn't have picked a better way to start, having classes with Lizbeth Upitis, Joyce Williams, and Lily Chin. I also had my first-ever, face-to-face meet-up with another blogger, the wonderful Amy Lu.
In September, I spent a wonderful day on the road, traveling first to The Knitting Room in Fond du Lac on a quest to procure goods for my then-Secret Pal, Anne, and then playing an unintentional game of "Where in WI is Amy Lu." I think of that day often, and so then do I think of Amy Lu and Anne because it wouldn't have happened without them.
In January, I blogged about having leftover pumpkin lasagna that DH had brought home from a pot-luck meeting. Turns out that the creator of that masterpiece, Pat, has raised sheep and is a spinner and weaver and all-around fiber artist (though not a knitter!) -- she is spending this week and next washing wool!
In January, I sent a link for Amy Lu's masterpiece of an April Fool's Dinner to everyone in my personal address book that I thought would appreciate it or who might want to file it away in their future foolery file -- one of those people was the above-mentioned Pat. Pat emailed me again, a few weeks ago, requesting that link because one of her friends was interested in "meatloaf cake."
On Monday, there was a card in my mailbox from Pat in which she'd enclosed the latest newsletter from Bahr Creek Llamas & Fiber Studio -- she thought (correctly) that I might be interested in visiting there someday and wanted to make sure I was aware of them as a source for yarn and fiber. It thrilled me no end (I'm still smiling about it) to write to Pat and tell her that Amy Lu -- culinary wiz of the meatloaf cake and skittles pot pie -- actually works and teaches at Bahr Creek!
Road trip to Bahr Creek with Pat to see Amy Lu is imminent!
I've also had a little thrill this week at having won Anne & Ina's "I" contest in the ABC-Along. Since I owe it all to my three individuals, I'm wondering if I can thank them by knitting a pair of socks with my winnings that they can share. ; ) Thanks to Ina and Anne and for all the votes. I was talking to Ann today and I actually mentioned what I though I'd be posting for my L-word and my N-word -- the ABC-Along is part of my daily life!
And to round it all out, I received the notice of the Fall Midwest Master's Seminar classes and I am STOKED! I've already chosen my classes. I wonder if you can guess which ones -- one's a morning, one's an afternoon, and one's an all-day.
I haven't actually signed up yet, but the form is filled out...
Ann, darling, I haven't cleaned my oven yet, either, nor have I rode the vacuum today, but...
Norma's posted her short list today -- that would be the NOT shitlist consisting of only one name, the one and only Kay. I can't imagine Kay being on anyone's shitlist, really, but it doesn't seem to bode well for the rest of us, now, does it?
I would so love to tell you who is currently on my shitlist, but I don't know her name. All I know is that she zoomed right to the top of the list in her BMW last night, and nearly right up my ass, apparently doesn't have a clue about road etiquette or what a directional light signifies to other drivers, can't take a hint, or another hint, or another hint, and has a very blank, clueless stare behind her sunglasses while she's NOT rolling down her window to hear what I'm saying when at a stop light several miles down the road. I was saying it rather calmly, too, considering everything. That's when I nearly lost it. Oh, it was so frustrating that I couldn't communicate with her! You know how James Bond and Batman have really cool cars with stuff that shoots out the back? I don't want bullets, nails or oil slicks, I want a reader board on mine -- an idiot driver alert system -- it doesn't have to shoot a thing and it doesn't even have to be very big. It would be like they have at the bank, scrolling with the latest loan rates, or at the DMV ("now serving #-5-9-6"). All I wanted to say was, "Your directional light is on!" It was only after the blank stare that I would have had anything to add. ; )
That was on my way home, after picking up my car at the shop where repairs and service ended up costing twice what I'd anticipated. Over the past couple of weeks, it had become difficult to turn the key in the ignition. Katie spent over ten minutes -- and has a blister to show for it -- yesterday and they ended up having to replace the whole damn ignition thing. I grumbled and asked the service guy if this was common and he said that it wasn't, but I'm not so sure... I found other grumbles online and even the courtesy shuttle driver remarked that a lot of people seem to have trouble with their ignition. After putting service through the ringer a bit, I agreed to having it replaced but told him to make note of the fact that I wasn't happy. Ugh, whatever, it works.
I felt better after I ate supper. I finished the remaining front and joined the last shoulder of Trellis while watching Jack Bauer aboard the slow boat to China, and as Horatio Caine made plans to visit Brazil, I started the collar! I love season finales! I also went to bed early and wore my wrist brace, so that feels much better today. ; )
I woke up at 3:30 this morning when DH got up to let out one of the kitties -- he does that almost every morning and most of the time I'm not even aware (he is much more sensitive to their early morning shenanigans and/or that's a time of very deep sleep for me). This morning, though, I stirred and could not get back to sleep, mostly because of pain and tingles and numbness in my hands and arms, especially the right. I tossed and turned and rubbed and shook and flexed and stretched -- finally, I got up and took some ibuprofen, shaking and flexing all the way down the stairs and back up, and managed to get about an hour of actual sleep before the alarm went off at 5:30.
I did a little bit of planting over the weekend, but nothing too strenuous; I did some knitting (including catching-rays-on-the-deck knitting), but it wasn't all that much and not very strenuous, either; I trimmed and chopped a bunch of rhubarb and made sauce (yum), and there's enough yet for a future cobbler (I even found a WW recipe). I've suffered on and off, to varying degrees, with carpal tunnel-type problems such as this ever since my first pregnancy, much of it having to do with how much extra weight I'm carrying around, and the pain this morning was out of the ordinary -- I couldn't think of what I'd done to bring it on so fiercely. This morning, talking rain, gardens, invasive weeds and what-we-did-over-the-weekend with my friend, I remembered the big trigger bottle of weed killer that I dispensed yesterday afternoon. I hate to do that, and if you saw my yard and gardens it would be abundantly clear that I don't get too knotted up over weeds, but once in a while I must. Oh yeah, ouch -- that's what did it! I experienced some discomfort during the doing, even, switching hands a couple of times -- funny how I put that right out of my head.
I found three new plates at a rummage sale on Saturday. They're destined for a mosaic project, but will hang out around the deck 'til I'm ready. I paid a dollar a piece, which is a little more than I like, but these are perfect mosaic fodder with so much pattern. Maddy wants to do a project this summer, also, but we won't likely get started 'til July.
I still have a few viola starters to find spots for -- shouldn't be too hard, really. I planted five pots for my new plant stand, a large basket and a smaller planter for the deck, and the front porch planter. It was a great weekend for that kind of work.
I worked the fronts for Trellis at the same time to the point where neck shaping starts, then worked each side separately -- I've joined one front to the back with a three-needle bind off at the shoulder and might possibly have the second one done tonight! Heh, then Trellis and Fib will both be at the same stage -- ready for sleeves to be attached, side seams to be sewn, collar to be knitted/finished, and buttons/closure!
Oh, you'll probably learn more than you ever wanted to know if you were to Google "testicle festival"... I would just like to say that they seem to be held most often in the west -- you know, cattle country. Here in America's Dairyland, I wouldn't think there'd be enough testi to merit a festi, but it's Wisconsin and it's spring -- and it's been a long, long winter -- so we'll celebrate just about anything! Pretty soon the wood tick races ought to start up north...
I got back around midnight from picking up and delivering my daughter to her friend's house. This friend lives in a teensy, tiny "town" -- a crossroads community, really -- one of those "don't blink or you'll miss it" places with a couple of bars and a church, though this one is a bit of an anomaly due to it's having three bars and no church. It also has a miniature, fake watertower as a landmark. And -- I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, I can't believe I've lived here as long as I have and I've never known of this -- an annual Testicle Festival, or Testi Festi for short.
As Katie (she who knew of this years ago!) said, "What else are they going to do with three bars and no church?"
Turns out it's not the only one of its kind, either.
My life could hardly be described as "sheltered," but this kind of makes me wonder what else I've been missing around here.
Famous last words... and I seem to utter them with some frequency, so no doubt this isn't the last time you'll hear them from me. This in an email to Carole yesterday:
I finished the back and sleeves of Trellis a while ago, and am doing the fronts at the same time -- I had a little screw-up in the moss stitch pattern of the first diamond after picking it up again, but I'm not letting it bother me.
It did so bother me, especially since it was a) on the front, b) on both fronts, c) the same general variety of screw-up on both sides but each with its own distinctive "style." I ripped it out to a certain point last night and then spent the rest of the evening getting it back on the needles and employing my limited skills as a hooker to do the fix. Moss stitch ain't no fun with a hook.
The color is brighter than appears on the left, not quite so bright as the right. I'd like to have this finished for Mack's birthday.
This weekend, I'll be doing some planting -- this stuff is mostly for my front porch planter box and for a new plant stand that I nabbed at a rummage sale last weekend. I think I need some pots for the stand yet.
I'll likely hit a few rummage sales again tomorrow with one, two or all three of the girls. Katie and I stopped at one last night and I found the most amazing selection of hardly-worn shirts, a pair of shorts, and a couple of short-all outfits for Mack for $5.00. Woohoo. He's going to be stylin' the summer. ; ) I never had the patience for rummaging when my girls were little.
I had an idea of a few things I wanted at the nursery today and this wasn't one of them. My hand didn't hesitate for one second in grabbing this rex begonia, though, because it's gorgeous and so dramatic! As I read the name on the pick, "Boston Cherries & Chocolate," I smiled and thought of a particular bunch of east coast knitters. Is there significance to cherries and chocolate in Boston? The girls' grandpa just sent them some Harry & David Bing Cherry Chocolates and the very, very bad part is that I like them better than the girls and have been eating them more than the girls (oh, WAY more) and they are BAD.but.ohsogood.
And then VOTE! I'd be pleased if you voted for me, of course, but do vote for the one that you like best. ; ) And finally, have a great weekend -- I hope it's dry if you need dry, wet if you need wet.
Johnny-jump-up! From a single gift pot that the girls gave me for Mother's Day a few years ago, I now have a growing drift in one of the front garden beds. It is amazing to see these en masse, hundreds of little purple, lavender and yellow flowers, each made up of five petals, all with the same general shape, but every one so very different from its neighbor -- more yellow, less yellow, more lavender, less lavender, a big (or little) beard of purple, or no beard at all, bold center markings, or just a hint. It's one of Mother Nature's many, jaw-dropping, breath-taking, awesome displays.
* * * * *
The ABC-Along has been so much fun! I've been a big fan right from the start. The ABCs are in my blood, having embroidered many a reproducton sampler. The ABC-Along is a way to play with my camera, and a fun way to explore and express myself. I set some guidelines and figured out how I wanted to approach it, and have plans to print a photographic Abecedary with my photos when the year is over.
I signed up for Ina's "I" challenge when it was first announced -- way back around the time of "D" or "E," I think. Ina and Anne have announced the finalists, and my post is among them! How cool is that? (Way cool.) Go -- have a look at all the other entries, and then VOTE! I'd be pleased if you voted for me, of course, but do vote for the one that you like best. ; )
Well, let's just say that we're all so very fortunate to have such SMART and HELPFUL and WISE friends who are willing to share their thoughts and experiences and ideas -- with love and care, too. ; )
You know, I was watching a show on PBS the other night -- Pioneers of Primetime. It was very enjoyable, about the first "superstars" of TV, mostly comedians -- Milton Berle, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball. A big fan of old movies, I'm also a big fan of old TV; I never get tired of watching old clips. Anyway, they talked a lot about vaudeville, of course, because most of the first "pioneers of primetime" were big vaudeville (and then radio) stars before television. Vaudeville or the circus -- that's what people in small towns did for entertainment before radio and the movies and TV. There were theaters in every town (sometimes more than one), lots of traveling shows that employed lots of entertainers -- singers, comedians, jugglers, clowns, novelty acts, acrobats, dancers.
I was watching the show (while knitting, of course) and learning about the huge number of theaters that once dotted the country and all the performers that populated the stages night after night, and I wondered: What are all the jugglers doing now? You know? Back in the day, if juggling was your thing, or tap dancing or spinning plates or singing -- I daresay, even yodeling -- you could probably have found employment with so many stages to be filled. But these days, if you're a juggler, it is likely that you're not juggling to pay the bills. Well, you are probably juggling to pay the bills, but the juggling is not providing the means with which to pay. What kind of work are jugglers settling for these days?
I always wanted my kids to get a degree -- any degree -- because I think it would help them in the real world, no matter what they did, and it would be much easier, later, to add to an existing degree rather than start from scratch -- particularly if they were around a certain age. This is me talking, from my perspective, having never earned a degree of any kind. Now, at 47-1/2, I have a much better idea of what kind of work, requiring a degree, I'd like to be doing, but I really have little hope of landing my first job in a new field in my early- to mid-50s (when I'd finally have the paper), especially if I required health insurance. It was tough enough to land a regular old job -- without benefits (not my current job) in my early- to mid-40s -- and I've been watching my sister, with a special education degree and experience, only a couple of years younger than me, struggle to find full-time, permanent employment (with family health insurance) in her field for a couple of years now.
* * * * *
It was Alison who put together the framed piece with the old photos and floral embellishment for my Mother's Day present. It wasn't the first time she gave me bleeding hearts for Mother's Day. ; ) I keep this one on permanent display in one of the kitchen cupboards.
A Golden Tiara Hosta, a spurge. We've had some dramatic weather the last couple of days -- the cloud formations have been amazing with storms to the south, storms to the north, storms to the east and west -- sometimes all at the same time! When we pass from the "mostly cloudy" stage to "mostly sunny," I can't imagine how things are going to pop! Below, left, my garden three weeks ago; below, right, my garden two days ago.
Oh, yeah, knitting. I'm still contemplating how finish/close Fib -- and I still need to do the seaming so I can try it on (maybe this weekend). I have picked up Trellis again -- Mack's birthday is in 3-1/2 weeks!! I can't believe he's going to be one year old.
We recently did a big re-do in Ali's room -- punching through the ceiling to reclaim some of the nice, roomy attic space -- and she's been busy settling in and decorating. She bought a new bedside candle lamp, but the plain jane, white shade didn't cut the mustard. Y'all know what an 18-yo does with a discarded lampshade, don't you? She leaves it on the kitchen table, of course. And you know what I did with it? Plopped it on one of the six, never-before-shaded light bulbs in the chandelier that illuminates said table.
It didn't take long on Friday for my sister to comment on that, of course.
So on Saturday, while making our way through the first of my little town's two, annual, city-wide rummage sales, when my sister found a mini lampshade for $1.00, we had to buy it. It didn't matter that it was maroon plaid with loopy things around the bottom. We had a new-found mission -- and won't it be funny? who will notice/comment first? -- to find shades for that fixture. When we found the second -- this time for $.75 -- in blue plaid, well, we were on a roll, baby. We scoured the tables at every sale we could, 'til all the garage doors finally came down, but were only able to come up with two more (still well within our budget of $5 total).
There happened to be one burnt out bulb in the bunch that I'd neglected to change. Suddenly, with lampshades on all the rest, I couldn't stand the glare of a bare bulb! I arranged all the shades in a pleasing manner and then put the burnt out bulb in the unshaded socket.
So, now, what do you think? What did my mother notice? Did she comment on the mismatched shades? Did she comment on the clean, sparkly beads (formerly quite dusty) that decorated the fixture? Did she comment on the fact that there were only five shades on a six-light fixture? Or did she make a comment about the one burnt out light bulb? ; )
Turns out that the light, with shades on the bulbs, is very, very different above, below and around that table -- and I really rather like it!
* * * * *
A few months ago, I was I was clucking like a lunatic as Katie made ready for her departure overseas. She was only going to be gone for a few months, but it was the first time she'd flown so far away -- so very, very far. And, as y'all told me, it was over before I knew it and she had a great time and I survived and now she's home. Celia was clucking right along with me then, and now she's got reason to do it again. I've been thinking about her and these situations and our kids almost constantly these past couple of days.
Things with mine aren't really going the way I always thought they would -- and what's going on today is different, even, than what was going on last month. Plans have changed and I'm not sure how I feel about them, they lead me to doubt how I'm handling things -- but, also, what's to handle, what in the world would I do differently?
At this point in time, I always thought I'd have two of three daughters in college -- one well on her way to whatever degree, the other concluding her first year. In reality, at this point in time, I have zero of three daughters in college and none enrolled for fall, either, as Katie has doubts about her major, doubts about where she wants to go, doubts about what she wants to do, so she gave up her spot. They're working, but neither one is going to last long at mind-numbing labor, even if the pay is good. (Yesterday, Katie was affixing labels on packages -- many labels, many packages; in an effort to stay awake and spice things up, she was crossing her eyes and seeing if she could still get the label in the right spot!) Sounds like we're all a little doubtful. I know they'll figure it out. I hope they'll figure it out. It's too expensive to be floundering around at school trying to figure it out, I guess, trying to determine which of your credits might count toward whatever -- something different. It just isn't going at all as I thought it would.
* * * * *
In other news, and on a lighter note, the weather was surprisingly nice for most of the day yesterday -- sunny, warm, dry. Today, there's more precipitation in the air, but I think the weather pattern we've been stuck in is starting to change. I took the camera with me while I did a garden check, pulled some dandelions (most of them came out with very little resistance), and things have been changing out there! This is my Sum and Substance hosta, living up to its name this year, making my heart flutter. I think this is its third year coming up in my garden -- it gets a little bigger and more established every year. My shoe (you know the one) is at the bottom of the picture for scale -- and there's still a lot of time to grow!
May 12, 2006
Well, I must say, I’ve never written to a blogging community before so this is a first for me. To start with, I’d like to thank you all for the knitblogger blanket of love as I will need something to keep my broken body warm. It really isn’t that bad. It all was very serious, but besides my neck, back and shoulder, I am doing just fine. I do believe lots of prayers got me to where I am today and I thank all of you for that. It was hard, though, reading of Barbie’s breast reduction and the superglue fun I had. My sister sure didn’t forget much, and she is a great sister. I must say, I’m lucky to be her brother.
I do like fishing and hope to get out this year, but may put it off until next year, I don’t know if my body is going to be ready for sitting for hours or dealing with waves in the boat. We’ll have to wait and see. I play in a band and hope to continue in the next few months. I want to thank all of you for the support you gave to Vicki and for the knitblogger blanket of love.
* * * * *
My SIL took the pictures -- I don't think she could tell whether things were in focus because her eyes were filled with tears.
Thank you friends.
This is my newest refrigerator magnet, direct from London! I think Katie's going to look like the female version of this bloke when I pick her up at the airport this morning... I was supposed to pick her up at the airport last night... uh-huh, she did her first overnight at O'Hare -- one of the finest aiports in the land -- that would be, "Sleepless In Chicago."
It was supposed to be a very long travel day to begin with, and featured a very long lay-over at O'Hare, for which she prepared by buying a new book, The Constant Gardener, having just finished A Million Little Pieces (which she rather enjoyed). Well, the "lay-over" turned out to be spent in L.A. -- in an airplane -- on the tarmac or whatever it's called -- and her flight to Chicago ended up arriving 5 minutes after she was supposed to have arrived at her final destination. And no more flights 'til morning...
* * * * *
I usually have only one pair of shoes in favor at a time, changing only with the seasons -- and as far as shoes are concerned, there are two seasons: sandal season and not sandal season. This is contrary to recommended practice for good foot health, but I've always been contrary to recommended practice for good health -- though I did quit smoking a year ago -- I don't floss, and I don't eat enough fruits or vegetables, I don't drink enough water or get enough exercise...
Sandal season generally runs from April to November. For many years, I favored plain flip-flops with thick soles, but I have graduated and the sandals, most recently, have almost always been Birkenstocks -- a new pair every few years -- and, yes, I do wear them with socks. In April and May, October and November, mornings in the upper-midwest can be chilly, but it warms up quite substantially during the day and toes can be fully exposed without danger.
I have a new favorite not sandal season shoe -- a waterproof, slip-on Bass -- which I happened upon last fall totally under the gun when I flew east and found that I didn't bring appropriate footwear for the weather. My friend took me to a Bass shoe outlet and I bought two pair, but the slip-ons have been favored from the first. I've never had a shoe so comfortable from the start.
There are others on the closet floor -- tennies, some mules, a pair of out-of-style heels and some strappy, dressy sandals -- special occasion shoes that spend most of their time collecting dust. I can't just grab them and go, then, because they require dust removal (it can become quite substantial between special occasions) and verification that no spiders have taken up residence in the toes. I should keep them in boxes, but I don't.
Among my favorite shoes of all time were my "ketchup-and-mustard" bowling-style shoes -- yellow and red, but not in a Ronald McDonald way -- that I wore to complete shreds in high school; the four-inch, spiky black heels that I broke while dancing to "That Old Time Rock & Roll" -- back in the days when I wore heels and danced. I do still dance, but privately and not in heels.
I always thought it a very cruel trick of the universe that my mother, a confirmed lover of shoes in the one-of-every-color camp, has feet so much smaller and narrower than any of her four daughters and most of her granddaughters, too. The shoe gene seems to have skipped a generation in our family, though, and the one granddaughter most apt to fit the stylish grandmother hand-me-downs is also a shoe-lover, and happens to be mine.
Writing prompt at Sunday Scribblings.
Further observations made whilst posting... Perhaps the measure of a shoe-lover is not judged only by quantity of actual shoes. Perhaps a shoe-lover could be someone who actually writes about and posts pictures of shoes -- on a knitting blog -- even before finding a writing prompt... could maybe cut some slack if it was a shoe blog, or they were knitted shoes... (who in their right mind classifies tennies as "special occasion shoes"?) maybe I am in denial about being a shoe freak.
Newspaper snippet generator (and other cool stuff -- I might have to use that cigarette pack in the future), part of this morning's edition with Mason-Dixon Knitting, Be*mused, and PurlingSwine. FYI: There is a limit -- apparently I was full of news this morning (or at least embellishment) and I had to cut my story in order to get it all to fit! ; )
I don't know about you, but I've been getting a crapload of junk email lately. Almost all of it ends up in my Trash, but I don't have it automatically deleted, because once in a while a "real one" gets caught in the net, so I always get to see the sender's name and the subject line before I have the satisfaction of trashing 'em for good. OMG, this is a good one, the sender is: PayPal Costumer Service. Hello, I don't think I'd even fall for that one at Halloween! ; )
I also had an email from a friend... with a talking monkey wearing a tiara, something about nightgowns and Rhinebeck and blogging royalty (ham queen, maybe!), but that's another story... It did NOT get caught in the net. ; )
Anyway, I have to tell you the really great news! Really, really great news. Michael had his neurosurgeon appointment today and he can LOSE THE DAMN BODY BRACE! Woohoo!!! Not all at once, mind you, but the doc expects that within two weeks (TWO WEEKS), DONE! But wait, it gets even better... he doesn't even have to wear the cervical collar! There was a time there when it sounded like he'd have to wear the collar for several weeks even after the brace was history, but NOPE! That means he'll be coming to Mother's Day Brunch (at my house -- god, yes, I even volunteered) and we'll all be together and I can give him the knitblogger blanket of love. The last time we (my siblings and I) were all together it was Michael's birthday weekend, following his birthday surgery to fix the cervical fracture, and he doesn't remember. This will be nice. ; )
...that I love you? You guys ROCK! So many great ideas and solutions to ponder!
This happens to me so often... I take the pictures, write the post, think-think-thinking all the while, trying to leave no stone unturned, and yet something totally new (or two) pops into my head as soon as I publish it and have a first real look. It's just not real 'til it's posted, you know? Typos usually jump off the screen at that very moment, too, no matter how many times I've proofread in either entry mode or preview mode.
At yesterday's initial look-see, the first thought that popped in was wondering whether the gold yarn was too light a color to use as a button band. I laughed when the very first comment, left by a Be*mused Jan, wondered the exact same thing! Great minds, and all that... The obvious reason for gold coming to my mind first is that I have the most of that color, but it's perhaps not the best reason!
A little tidbit gleaned from this little book, The Right Way to Knit (Book 1), by Evelyn Stiles Stewart, c 1967, has allowed me to determine that I probably have enough of any of the colors to knit a button band. This book was in the bag of four that I bought at last week's estate sale for a half-dollar, which means it cost me about twelve cents -- it's a treasure and has easily paid for itself -- and is a trove of information yet to be discovered. You'd never take it for treasure on face value, especially these days, or by looking at the projects -- mostly scarves and baby blankets -- but it has a LOT of very useful tidbits and information; I have just ordered Book 2 from The Yarn Barn after finding glowing reviews about both books (my cost average will still be excellent).
Carole wondered why add a band at all, and Cara wondered whether I'd even wear the sweater closed much. As Enjay suggested, I think a button band could frame the other colors nicely, though I don't know if I'd introduce another color -- the darkest color I've used is an almost-gray green, pretty dark, very neutral among the others, and would work well this this idea. I really own very few cardigans, considering how much I like to wear them (and do wear them), so this will be a most welcome addition to my wardrobe -- and I almost always wear them buttoned, except for the top two or three.
Mary-Lou, I really like the idea of thin stripes of colors for the bands! Oh, that could look so cool. This is where my head begins to swim a little, because Liz mentioned my idea to do loops, which weren't really loops (must have been my artistic "ability" that gave her that idea), but they could be! That could work! Her comment about it being "one of the happiest sweaters" she's seen makes me want to make it work. Heeheee. Thank you, Liz. ; )
Emily reminded me to watch the stripes -- I love them and hope I don't end up hating them -- and thinks a grosgrain option would help stabilize the fabric and keep the stripes aligned. It might be easier to align the stripes without a button band -- I guarantee that any straying in one direction or the other is going to be noticeable with or without!
Christine, you've got other, important things on your mind. ; )
And then Julia piped up with a thought about non-button options like clasps or frogs; echoed by Susanne who added her two-cents worth of snaps! Fabulous ideas! Oh, I could make my own frogs. I could make my own cording for the frogs with the yarn from the sweater! (Save me, people, because I even had half a thought about multi-colored tassels somewhere.)
This is how creativity works, though, isn't it? You just brainstorm your way, unedited, to a solution. ; ) The editing comes later...
And then along comes Margene. She always thinks thing through and has great ideas, doesn't she? It's soothing just to see her name in the comments, isn't it? Om. Breathe. Relax. It's Margene... And she is brilliant, as expected: I-cord! It could be attached and used in conjunction with frogs, even! It's great suggestion... but then I have to sheepishly admit to all of knitblogland that I've never made even an inch of I-cord. ; ) Am I the last knitter in the world to do it?
While I weave in more ends and continue working the gusset of a Lovely Lace sock, I shall do some pondering and experimenting. Thanks again! Man, I love you guys.
Remember how much I liked the fringe -- "A Surrey With the Fringe On Top" and all that? See the scissors and needle in the pictures above? I've been weaving in the ends of all that "beautiful" fringe. Cara, my Short-Rows sweetheart, I feel your stripey pain. Oh, how I do love this sweater, though, and Short Rows, too. It's a big ol' pain in the butt -- a couple of hours or so to do just one side, and it could be twice as bad, but I already knit in one end as I worked, and it's worth it, really. I love this -- and Short Rows, too, and who knows... could be in my future.
That's all the yarn I have left. The one ball, off to the left, is all I ever had of that color -- kind of a purple-y maroon and I kept it only as insurance in case I ran out of one of the other reds. I'm glad I didn't have to use it, but it could have been an interesting "feature." Now, as soon as I get the ends woven in, I'll be sewing in the sleeves and then sewing up the side seams. I want this to be a roomy sweater, but not huge and I'm afraid it's bordering on damn big. I've been thinking of buttonband options (presented in random order) that would not add too much more fabric...
Option 1: Do not add a buttonband. Instead, attach grosgrain ribbon for stabilization along each edge (there would be some fussing for a nice, smooth edge, especially on the buttonhole side), sew the buttons on one side, and make buttonholes with the sewing machine in the other. There is probably a design term for this, but I've only had one cup of coffee so far this morning. Plus: No additional fabric, will even eat up a little. Minus: Machine buttonholes in knitting; I have a well-marinated vest aging for this very reason. Another plus: Would likely get the aforementioned vest finished, too; in fact, it would probably be the lab rat.
Option 2: Similar to Option 1, except the edges would actually be folded over onto themselves. Kind of a self-buttonband. Plus: This would really eat up some fabric. Minus: Again with the machine-made buttonholes (and again with the aforementioned and attending +/-). In doubt: This could pull the body in a weird way; will need to finish seaming and then try it on.
Option 4: Knit a narrow buttonband and, rather than making buttonholes in the actual band, there would be vertical gaps between the buttonband and the actual sweater, resulting in buttonholes! (See "drawing" above -- and gimme a break). Or, a variation on this would be to knit one row like a normal buttonband, and then make the buttonholes. Or crochet an edge and then pick up to knit...
I've been trying to channel some design inspiration -- and you can, too! Summon your inner Bonne Marie Burns, Wendy Johnson, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Ann Shayne & Kay Gardiner, Anna Bell, Stefanie Japel, Jenna Wilson, and some of the fabulous, inspirational sources at our disposal these days, and help me figure out the best thing to do here! ; )
Oh, and COLOR! I'm thinking the redder maroon for the collar because it would look nicest against my skin, and the gold, maybe, if I knit a buttonband? What do you think about color, based on the quantities available?
These days, I pretty much skim through the comics section of the newspaper -- there are only a few strips that appeal to me and I don't waste my time anymore with the rest unless something jumps at me. Today (May 6), Grand Avenue and Zits were both about blogging! Zits was especially funny because of the generational thing -- and gets extra points for mentioning grandma's podcast. Blogging in the mainstream, people! Wouldn't it have been funny if grandma's podcast had been about knitting?
Sorry about the express train from Good to Ugly yesterday. I will take my cue from Carole the next time I find myself in a Good, Bad and Ugly mood! She's the Queen of GBU!! The biggest thing is to end with something good! ; )
You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
I had another email from my uncle last night and I decided to take my cue from him and my aunt. It all sucks, sucks big BIG TIME, but now is the time to stand your ground, stare it down, do your level best to be your best. That's me today. (Plus, it's Saturday and the sun is shining!)
I schlepped Maddy and a bunch of her friends to the roller rink last night -- they were all dressed in '80s garb -- Flashdance sweatshirts, Desperately Seeking Susan-ish. They were so cute. It's so interesting to listen to the twists and turns of their conversations. Sometimes Maddy and I seem so very far apart (I feel this more acutely with her than I ever did with Katie or Ali), but then we stumble upon common ground. They had fun and may do this '80s roller thing on a regular basis -- every other week or so; they like Big Band music and Jazz and want to learn to dance -- really dance! It's so funny because, obviously, I lived through the '80s and even as a young mother, I was hip enough to have had a Flashdance sweatshirt, though I was no Jennifer Beals or Madonna (can I just say... I've been wanting to say for months... that I hate the way Madonna's been wearing her hair). I adore Big Band music and have always wanted to learn to dance -- really dance! When I was in high school, living in northern Wisconsin, there was a supper club owned by an older man who used to play in a name-brand Big Band (I don't remember which) and every once in a while, he'd put out a call to his former bandmates and they'd come and play and, oh, it was SO MUCH FUN!!!
Struggling with a 6-stitch pattern and a 4-row repeat, I'm still not back on track with the Simply Lovely Lace Sock. Simply. Lovely. Hm. Perhaps I'll be feeling it a little bit later. Oh, but I did finish the Fibonacci sleeve last night and it will be getting a bath and blocking tonight. I'm so excited that the majority of the knitting is finished!!
That's the end of today's knitting content, except for a little bit about knitting bones...
Margene, celebrating her 600th post today (and it's a beauty), made me take note of some NUMB3RS this morning... this is my 625th post! That's just crazy, man, crazy. I couldn't help but also notice the number of comments. Margene gets a ton more comments than I do on a regular basis, and I know her number is thousands, if not thousands-upon-thousands, more than mine, and while I love comments, it's not all about the comments, but I am closing in on a rather significant and fairly large number of comments... in the realm of I-might-soon-be-whoring-for-more and a prize! ; )
I took delivery in yesterday's mail from Christine of one big, blue blanket made up of many, many squares. I'm pretty much struck dumb when I think about it all -- her brother, my brother, squares, blankets and many, many hearts. I am looking forward to delivering it to its final, intended recipient and perhaps I'll find some better words to express myself -- or maybe Michael will -- but until then, "Thank you" is the best I can do to Christine and all the knitters of beautiful, blue squares. Thank you. I haven't written much about Michael recently. He's still on an amazing, but painful path of miraculous recovery. Today, he sees an orthopaedic doctor due to unrelenting pain from the fractured scapula. I read that the scapula represents less than 1% of all broken bones, and it could take 6 months to a year for complete recovery and return of full range of motion. I hope they can find a way to make recovery more comfortable. On Monday, he has the long-awaited appointment with the neurosurgeon and will hopefully get the green flag to start losing the body brace, that the all the broken vertebra are healing as hoped and that no further surgery will be required. Kellee's Knit Up Some Bone drive for Mr. Etherknitter hits a little home here, too. ; ) And I hope Mr. E's good news comes soon!
I can't think of a blue-squared blanket without immediately thinking of PINK! Cynthia has had an incredible response to Warming Grace -- and I'm struck dumb again when I think of the incredible bravery and pluck of a 5-year-old. You go, Gracie, girl!
Grace leads me to my cousin Ted, then, and his mom and dad. Ted was tall and lanky and had huge dimples -- darn, it was catchy -- he was always smiling and flashing those dimples! They lived in Albquerque, so we didn't see them much when we were growing up -- only when they'd come here to visit. I went to Albuquerque for the first time about eight years ago for Ted's wedding; his mother was dying from a recurrence of breast cancer and it was uncertain whether she'd even be strong enough to attend. Turned out, the wedding day was the best day she'd had in ages... and she danced the night away. She died a couple of months later. My uncle died a couple of years after that, also of cancer; and then Ted. Ted had a rare form of leukemia for his age -- completely curable if he'd been a child -- and specialists from around the country were in the loop. He fought hard, too, but lost the battle almost two years ago.
I was recipient yesterday of a group email from another uncle; the subject line was, "Ordeal." Gulp. His wife successfully battled breast cancer a few years ago, but she's back on the battleground and underwent 9 hours of surgery yesterday -- with everything that's involved to excise a tumor -- weirdly, she also has a scapula involved. I'm a bit sketchy on the details because, as is usual for my family, this is the first I've heard of it. It's left me a little rattled.
I have two things that don't always go well together: a dog and a garden. There's a hidden benefit, though, as I would normally enjoy the bleeding hearts only in the garden. Oh, my, they make a lovely bouquet on the kitchen table! Yesterday morning the sun was shining through the window and the "drops" were illuminated -- it was lovely.
Yesterday, I was in Oshkosh (home of little overalls, big trucks, and an airshow) at one of the largest estate sales ever. It was in a small, brick ranch on an overwhelmingly Victorian street. Oshkosh is a town built by lumber and it shows! Anyway, it was a large sale and there were lots of people and we had to wait a while to gain entrance. I came away with a few little treasures, lightening my wallet by only $6.00 (not bad at all), including some DMC booklets on knitting, crocheting and tatting, along with a couple of other knitting booklets (one, by McCalls, has Barbie clothes as well as patterns for real people).
The other thing I came away with was a collection of about a dozen old photos and portraits -- wedding, sisters, mother-daughter, baptism, etc. I cannot resist these things and I choose them on total impulse and first impression based on clothing, expression, posture. My favorites are school photos, weddings, kids (individually or in groups), men, women, families -- okay, okay, I don't really have a favorite... I love them all! This one -- OMG, this one -- is my brand new favorite! (I wonder which one is his mother...)
Socks, socks, socks!
Simply Lovely Lace Socks by Karen Baumer, as found in the Spring 2006 issue of Interweave Knits. This pattern was written for two different yarn weights -- sportweight and fingering; I am doing the finer version and using Trekking XXL sock yarn in color 106, which was part of the bootie from a contest I won at JessaLu's a while back. The pattern uses Gems Pearl and size 0 needles; I'm using size 2 needles with the Trekking. I may go to a smaller needle at some point, but I may not -- my ankles aren't thin by any means, and I have problems with occasional swelling. Anyway, I did the picot edge -- you've seen it around at Claudia's and Cara's and now Sandy's, and more -- but I did not want to wait 'til the sock was all finished to tack that edge down by hand, as written in the pattern! I wanted to tack that baby down right away so I could admire it as I worked all the way to the toe! I did my normal cast on over two needles and then worked the picot cuff as written, except I tacked down the cast on edge as I knit the last row -- similar to the way I'd do a hem, but much smaller scale. I was winging it the first time around and that's why I ended up with a wonky edge and ended up ripping it out. I may have gone a little overboard the second time around -- looping a length of yarn in a contrasting color all along the edge to mark each spot where the needle should go -- but it's straight and even and it was a little bit easier on my eyes. Damn bifocals.
I worked on the sock yesterday, sitting on the front porch of the house while waiting to be admitted to the sale. Unfortunately, my count was off and now I'm in the process of tinking back a couple of rows. Last night, I worked on that last sleeve for Fib and I ought to have it finished tonight!! Woohoo! I am dipping into the small reserve for nearly every color now and I'm not sure I'll have enough of any one color for the button bands and collar. I have a couple of ideas and will likely be putting out a call to all y'all, too.
We did a little rummaging on Saturday and this is part of my haul from a sale at the home of the couple who own an antique mall in our area (not the one at which I occasionally fill in) -- it was bargain day! Holy crap, they had a lot of stuff -- a lot of little stuff. I selected these pattern books, along with a box full of miscellaneous crafty directions (knit, crochet, quilt) -- all for a dollar. There was a very nice package of quilting templates in the box that my sister might be interested in, and lots of patterns sent for from the newspaper. It's possible that whoever these things belonged to taught knitting at one time because there were multiple copies of a few of the patterns. Kate & Al went through boxes of mismatched silverware and came up with a handful each, and they found some other stuff, too. It was fun -- I love early season rummage sales after the long drought of winter.
On Sunday, while Katie spent four hours cleaning up and throwing out, I copied all 1200 +/- pictures from her memory stick to our computer, then burned them all to a DVD. I'm in the process of sorting them into folders (UK, France, Italy, etc.) and even subfolders (Wales, Ireland, Dover, etc.) for slide shows. In a word: WOW! And so many pictures that bring to mind Sandy of the Skies. ; ) The "orphan" photo above is one that Katie found at a shop in Italy -- she also brought home a couple of studio portraits, but this informal snapshot, with all the moms and aunts and grandmas and babies, is a favorite of us both. Oh, that Katie... I'm definitely rubbing off on her. ; )
Thank you for all the lovely "I" comments. I think you can tell that my individuals had a good time helping me out with the photo challenge. I chuckled at Robyn's comment about them all being in blue (Katie had a black shirt on) because I'd said the same thing when I uploaded the photos. I think their individuality shows in very subtle, everyday ways. Nothing was staged at all, it was very impromptu -- I said, "Let's go outside before I forget or it gets dark; I need to take your picture for my 'I' shot and my word is 'individual'; what can we do?" We brainstormed on our way out the door! You'll notice that Maddy doesn't even have shoes on... did you notice Ali's?