Friday, March 31, 2006

Displacement Actvity

WE INTERUPT THE RED SMOOTHIE CARDIGAN TO BRING YOU AN IMPORTANT BREAK FROM BOREDOM........ Yes, it's true. I spent a good portion of yesterday sitting with ice on my back and knitting on things other than the red cardie. Don't get me wrong, I do love it still, but it is so slow going I really needed to see some significant progress. Given the fact that there are a couple (?) other projects on needles, I chose these: This is the tiny little beaded purse kit that I brought home from Camp Knitaway a few weeks ago. I had been wanting to try this technique for a couple years, so I was really pleased to be given this motivation. Here's what I'm learning: 1. Making a mistake is very easy; fixing the mistake is not. I have frogged this about 3 times, and figured a way to pick up dropped stitches at least twice. 2. There is no rhythym to knitting with beads, in this case there are only two knit stitches between sets of beads, just enough to get into the groove of knitting, and then you have to stop what you're doing to slide beads into place. While this is an amusing diversion, it is NOT soothing, as repetative knitting can be. 3. That my camp buddy Ginger was right, it does get easier as you go along. Working with 0000 needles is really tricksy at first, but it isn't long before it feels "right." The very sad part about this little project is that I don't think I have enough beads to finish the whole project, at least I don't have what the recipe calls for. I am looking at this as practice, an experiment of sorts to see if I like doing this kind of beadwork and to teach myself the technique. If I run out of microscopic seed beads before I finish, I will make a decision about either looking for more, or choosing diffferent beads and pearl cotton and doing one "for reals." Just so you get an idea about scale..... That is a quarter next to the wee little project. Go ahead, ask....what was I thinking? The other project that provided an enjoyable diversion yesterday was the sock on one circular needle. I've been working on it hit and miss for the last few weeks, usually when I've been out or when conversation is more important than keeping track of patterning. Yesterday I decided that I had enough leg and was ready to turn the heel. Since the socks are for me (I think) and I don't like long legged sockies, I gave it about 5 inches and read up on how, exactly, I was going to make the transition from leg to foot using just the one needle. Now, if you have read anything I've written about doing socks, you know I have always done socks on 2 circular needles, and although turning the heel is absolutely and by far my favorite part of knitting socks, I was having trouble wrapping my mind around how I was going to do it with just one circular needle. I am here to confess I am now a complete convert. It was far and away the easiest heel I have ever done, picking up the gussett stitches was a breeze and I oohed and ahhed for a good long time. Even Brad, deeply imersed in the taxes, turned around to see what was causing all the joy and exhaltation. It is such a clever technique, easy to pick up and frankly, I may never go back to 2, or even try 4. My only disappointment is that the needle is a size 3, and will not produce a really comfy sock, but again, it is all about learning something new, and I have more sock yarn and can always get a smaller needle for the next pair. Just look at that pretty little sock....... Okay, maybe you're not impressed, but I am. I love learning something new. Another thing that captured my attention yesterday was the idea rumbling around in my head about tackling a Fair Isle sweater this year. I did several Christmas stockings last fall, each with a Fair Isle bit round the top, did a sweater for Kramer with a bit across the shoulders, but as far as a garment, with sleeves and steeks and such, I'm a Fair Isle virgin. There is a photo is this book of a sweater I'd like to try, but if you've read anything by Elizabeth Zimmermann, you know that she gives just enough of a recipe to get you going and leaves the details up to the knitter. A marvelous concept if the knitter knows what he or she is doing; possible disaster if the knitter is me, unexperienced in the ways of Fair Isle technique. It's actually not the knitting that worries me, it's the planning; figuring how many pattern repeats there will be, where to place them, which to choose and so on. Any helpful suggestions other than miles of graph paper and trial and error? I also thought about another wee sweater, but I'll save that discussion for another day. And now, for those of you who thought I'd forgotten it is Friday.....

If you've been to Florence, you will recognize this as the Ponte Vechio or Old Bridge. It is truly one of the must sees in a city full of wonders. The bridge is lined with jewelrey shops and busy with tourists. I had such fun imagining what it must have been like during the late 1500's, while Michelangelo was busy sculpting, Savanarola busy trying to burn books, and the Duomo was under construction.

The fun part about this picture is that (if I remember correctly) I took it while standing on the balcony of a yarn shop, owned by a lovely woman named Beatrice Galli. She was such a delight and I had a grand time choosing a bit of merino (you didn't think I could come away with nothing did you?).

The other thing that makes this particular photo special is that later in the day, I bought a watercolor from an artist that was painting near the Ufizi Gallery. Brett and I debated a very long time over which painting to buy, they were all wonderful; the painter (another delight) had a very impressionistic style. We finally settled on a picture of this bridge. When we got home and took a good look at our pictures, I realized I had bought an impressionistic painting that is almost identical in content to this photo. While the painting suggests shops nearly falling off a bridge, the photo confirms that it is indeed a good representation of the Ponte Vechio.

Here's the watercolor, as it hangs on my wall in my livingroom. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

It's all good

Yesterday turned out nothing like I had thought, but it was all good. I had just settled myself into the tub with my book in progress for a nice long soak when my friend Eva called me. She runs her own business, and has- since he was born- taken Stephen along with her. Well, you can imagine, a 2 1/2 year old fella gets a bit bored, day after day, and yesterday he had reached critical mass and started his meltdown. Miss Heesa to the rescue. I drove to the shop and the little dude and I went to the park. Later, while he was napping, Eva and I ordered Chinese and had a bit of a sit down. I believe there is a reason God gives children to young women, not the least of which is energy and nerves. This was brought home to me again while I watched the dude climb up a big old slide (1970's vintage I'm sure...remember when they were really steep and tall and metal?). I stood there watching, wondering if I should climb up behind him, thinking 'well, obviously he's done this before,' remembering when my guys were this age (or trying to anyway), and hoping with everything in me that he would do okay.....it was a long way down, AND he did great, came down the slide and landed on his feet and everything! Later on, after the swings, and the bouncy thing and the climbing stuff we tried the slide again. "You go first, Miss Heesa!" I talked him into going up ahead of me, dang, that was worse than watching from the ground. The lesson here? Next time we go to a newer playground with nice round edges, plastic covered equipment and woodchips. That old park 'bout did me in. Last night, Eva brought over Memoirs of a Geisha and we ate popcorn, drank wine and enjoyed the movie. We had both just read the book (I know, I'm a bit slow to jump on a bandwagon), and have been looking forward to the film. If you haven't read the book, it's wonderful. If you haven't seen the movie, read the book first, it helps a bit. I will say that the filmmakers did a decent job, that the movie pretty much followed the book (much better than, say, The Count of Monte Cristo. Geesh, what a disappointment that was). And let me just say here, WOW, Ken Watanabe is so handsome! Great evening. Next selection for movie night? Derailed with Jennifer Aniston. Can't wait. Thank you to Chirs and Margene for their comments yesterday. I have new resolve to finish the mate to the yellow sock. In case anybody is wondering, it is called Columbine Peaks from this book and is knit from Cascade Fixation. Today I'd like to get to either the LYS or one of the bookstores in town for some birthday shopping. I have to admit though, right now the idea of sitting around with ice on my back (remember I went to the chiropractor yesterday?) is very appealing. Enjoy whatever your day has in store for you.....remember: it's all good.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

this and that

It's nearly 70 degrees here this morning, (at 9 a.m. and according to my spiffy little digital thermometer) I can't believe it.....oh wait, that's because there's a possibility of snow tonight and tomorrow. And you thought spring was finally reaching us here on the Front Range. Not so, my cyber friends. We get most of our snow in March and April. I'm still waiting for "the big one." In the meantime, this is a good opportunity to raise the literary bar, to explore new verbiage, to add to the everyday vernacular, to.....to...... It must be Wednesday. Today's word is pertinacious an adjective that means 1: adhering resolutely to an opinion or purpose 2: stubbornly unyielding or tenacious. Good word, huh? You can see the similarity between this word and the word tenacious, which means "tending to adhere or cling." Both of these words come from the Latin word tenex (meaning tenacious) and the Latin verb tenere (meaning, to hold). While tenacious implies persistent, or and adherence to something valued or habitual, pertinacious suggests an "irksome or annoying persistence." An example???? While many in the debate over immigration policy are adamant about a guest worker program, there are those who are pertinacious about deportation. OR....Though spring officially arrived last week, winter has been pertinacious here in the Rockies. Margene has a very colorful PROJECT SPECTRUM update on her blog today. It's got me thinking about what I will knit during April. It is frightfully obvious that the red cardie will not complete its journey (to borrow Margene's euphemism), so I'll need a little something to satisfy the PS guidelines for using yellow and orange during the next month. Here's what I'm thinking. A couple years back I did the first of a pair of socks (yeah, serious case of second sock syndrome) and I was thinking this might be the motivation to get the second sock knit up (given that I do have 2 feet). I also have this...... It has lot's of orange and yellow (plus blue, and green and purple and watermelon) Perhaps this should become a pair of PROJECT SPECTRUM socks (since it will take me the whole time to get them knit) Well, I'm off to the business of the day, which will include a trip to the chiropractor and knitting in some form, and I should really enjoy some of the nice weather before winter returns. cheers!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Isn't there a Beetles song about the Taxman?

I could go on and on and on this morning about a plethora of topics, but fear of going to far will keep me from going to far (how's that for elegant speech). Top on my list of complaints this morning is the mess that is our American tax system. I got started on the process yesterday, and was so frustrated by all the steps and questions and wondering if I put the right number here or there, that I took a break and watched Oprah. For crying out loud, why does it have to be so hard???? Here's what my dining room looks like this morning. I remember when doing the taxes to half an hour....tops. But with moving, turning rental property into primary living space and turning primary living space into rental property and investments and mortgages and 2nds and.......well, it's just more than a nurse who knits is up for. Frustration was the mood of the day here. (This is where I really want to vent, to tell you--whoever you are-- how frustrated I was, how I felt like an incompetent idiot when my DH said 'I did it for blah blah years, it's not that hard.' How I said to myself, 'well screw it then, he can do it'....and several not so nice things. But because this is a blog about knitting and nice things like that, I'll just keep it to myself). The rest of the afternoon was spent folding laundry, going to the park with Eva and Stephen, and knitting. Progress is being made on the red cardie, but it is slow going. It's hard to see the progress when there are so many stitches to slog through every row. I predict I'll pick up another project, an intermission of sorts, to stave off boredom. There's nothing worse than getting to the end of a project, and finding that you're so sick of looking at it you don't wear it for months. Am I the only one that feels that way? Well, I'm off to run errands....not the least of which is getting the doggie friends bathed. I still have all my birthday money and would love to while away the afternoon in the yarn shop or booksellers. And of course, just sitting around with two sticks and a string is an appealing thought. Here's hoping your little corner of the universe is free of frustration today.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Birthday Review

First of all, heartfelt thanks to each of you who stopped by to wish me happy birthday. It was such a treat to hear from so many of you, and very much appreciated. By Friday evening I had been inundated with flowers and good wishes. The first offering looked like this ...........

......and I opened it to find TULIPS, from my friend Angela.

A few minutes later, my friend Eva arrived at the door with these.......

.......and a gift card for dinner at a nearby Italian eatery. She even took me to coffee.

Once back home, I got changed for dinner and the show, and DH came home with MORE.......

.....his comment was something along the lines that it's the most flowers he's seen in the house at one time, and nobody died.

The Glenn Miller Orchestra was wonderful, though I highly doubt any of the members were even born during the big band era. There were many who took advantage of the dance floor, several who looked like they may have danced to the sounds of the original orchestra---what fun to watch. We had good seats, very central and enjoyed every minute of the show. If they come to your neck of the woods, I encourage you to go see them.

The rest of the weekend was mostly uneventful, with the exception of a surprise birthday/wedding reception party thing (confusing, huh?) for one of DH's colleagues. There are many international researchers that are a part of Brad's work environment, and the couple that had just been married were from Germany and Mexico. It made for a fun party. Sunday was dreadfully windy, so we skipped the afternoon constitutional in the park. Late in the day we bundled up and went up the hill to the local park, and quickly back home. I passed the afternoon and evening catching up with a couple magazines I receive, one that was still in its wrapper.

Time to get busy, I've got a list of things that need to be done, not the least of which are the taxes (I'm stalling in a big way). Have a great Monday......

......and wish me luck.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Happy Birthday Brett

Today, son number one turns 23. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was phoning home from Japan to tell my Mom that she had a new grandson. It doesn’t seem like 20 years since storytime at the library, preschool co-op and trips to the zoo. It doesn’t seem like18 years ago that we signed up for T-ball and soccer, went to the Art Museum with the kindergarteners or 16 years ago that he shared his chicken pox with myself and his 3 year old brother. Was it really 13 years ago that he got selected for the elite soccer team, and had his first “girlfriend” or 11 years since he won a prize for art and one for science in the same year? I can’t believe it’s been 8 years since he road his bike off to high school and got his first part time job and started to drive. 5 years since graduation in the top 10% of his class, 5 years since he got a real, everyday job and almost 5 years since he started college on a soccer scholarship. 4 years ago we moved to Washington and he moved out of our house and in with his Grandmother in the next town over. Still close enough to hang out with, but starting to find his own way in life. 2 years since the significant 21st birthday, complete with cocktails and dinner, and knowing now that there was this whole other person that was separate from me. It’s been 1 year since we were planning a trip to Italy, one that I was going on under the condition that there would be “no mothering involved.” And two weeks since hearing “my house, my rules,” and the question “are you here as a mom or a poker buddy?” Where does the time go? I can still see him chasing chickens in our backyard, bringing in an armload of eggs he had found behind the air conditioner. I see him playing “Ladies and Gentlemen” and hear him saying “hody moke.” I remember him picking flowers at a Napa winery and when I told him we couldn’t do that because they didn’t belong to us, he looked at the flowers, looked back at me and said “they do now.” I see him standing on an overturned milk carton in San Francisco for a better view, and people throwing money at him. I see him playing t-ball at the Y, and proud in his select soccer uniform. I remember the first broken bone (and the 2nd and the 3rd). I remember spending a late night in the ER with a broken arm, and driving him the next morning to take the SAT’s. As my firstborn turns 23, I reflect on all these things. And I can brag a little too. Brett is a handsome, kind, generous man. He is loved by everyone who meets him, he’s friendly and funny, sensitive and thoughtful, a loyal friend and a watchful brother. He is serious and a thinker, but knows how to have a good time. He loves movies, and books and music and poetry and dogs. He’s an outdoorsy guy, likes to hike and camp and fish. There isn’t a sport he can’t play, and he can kick your ass in most of them. He tells a wicked joke, can make you laugh yourself silly recounting the details of some random encounter, and can put forth a well thought out argument. He is articulate, but can’t spell to save his soul. He is great to do coffee with, to go on a European adventure with or watch a video with. I am lucky to know him AND be his mom. Happy Birthday Brett. I love you.

Friday, March 24, 2006

a little me time...

Those of you who know me and know that I am currently sans employment, are laughing hysterically right now, wondering how in the name of all things woolly I can possibly have any more me time, (stay with me here). As one who lurks around cyberspace on a daily basis (did I mention I'm not currently engaged in money earning activity?) I have notice that many in the greater blogisphere post what is called a meme, or a page of factoids about themselves. These are sometimes structured, following a set format, but the ones I like best are very random. And so, because I have been thinking about this for a few days, and because it's MY BIRTHDAY here are 100 random things about me. 1. I'm having trouble knowing where to start. 2. I usually have trouble knowing where to start. 3. Once I get started, I'm fairly articulate. 4. I get frustrated when I'm not able to articulate what I wish to say. 5. I enjoy conversations when one person talks and another person listens. 6. I hate being interrupted. 7. It makes me feel small and unimportant. 8. So does tardiness. 9. And call waiting. 10. I love meeting friends for coffee. 11. I need more friends who feel the same way. 12. I love musical theater. 13. I love musical anything, really. 14. I have been known to cry watching a band walk by at Disneyland. 15. I love Disneyland. 16. I have lived in 6 states and 2 countries. 17. I can't say the Pledge of Allegience without getting choked up. 18. I have been a military wife for 26 years, but have never watched my husband go to war. 19. I am afraid of getting a debilitating illness. 20. I am an adopted child. 21. I've never felt an overwhelming urge to find my birthparents. 22. I know I have a sibling somewhere that shares my name. 23. I was an only child. 24. I never doubted for a minute that my dad loved me, but he never told me. 25. He never told my mom either. 26. I tell my kids that I love them all the time. 27. I have two dogs. 28. I tell them I love them too. 29. I love hockey and football. 30. I yell at the TV. 31. I don't have a best friend. 32. I don't have a group of lifelong girlfriends. 33. I miss that. 34. I grew up in Washington State. 35. I thought it rained everywhere. 36. I was wrong. 37. I love the ocean. 38. Someday I want to live where I can see the water, and smell the salt. 39. I had my belly button pierced when I was 40. 40. I like to go camping. 41. I like to hike, as long as it's not too hard a hike. 42. I like thunderstorms. 43. I like blizzards. 44. I want to go back to Italy. 45. I've never been to New York, but would like to go. 46. I want to see Boston, Maine, Vermont. 47. I want to see more of the Florida Keys. 48. I love zoos. 49. I don't have a favorite color, but I do love red. 50. I could never have too many bottles of nail polish. 51. Or books. 52. Or purses. 53. I want to write a book. 54. I don't know where to start. 55. I would have liked to meet Princess Diana. 56. I think we could have been friends. 57. I keep a lot to myself. 58. I think red wine and dark chocolate are medicinal. 59. I love to take my medicine. 60. I hate making phone calls. 61. I hardly ever get bored. 62. I like being by myself. 63. I like being around other people too. 64. I think I'd like to study art history. 65. Or maybe literature. 66. I like to watch Star Trek Next Generation reruns. 67. I don't look good with long hair. 68. I wish I did. 69. I like to give generous gifts. 70. I think you get what you pay for. 71. I like traditions. 72. I'm not married to them. 73. I want to raise alpacas. 74. And have chickens. 75. Maybe a sheep or two. 76. I'd like to have a store. 77. I'm lousy at business, and really bad with numbers. 78. I'm a good organizer. 79. I don't like it when people put me in charge. 80. I feel like my thoughts and opinions are every bit as valid as yours. 81. I don't like being forced to defend my thoughts or opinions because they aren't the same as yours. 82. I believe that respect is earned, and it works both ways. 83. I miss my children, but don't want them to live with me. 84. I am anxious for grandchildren. 85. I wouldn't want to be a teenager again for anything in the world. 86. My dream job would be singing back-up for James Taylor. 87. Or writing a bestseller. 88. I would rather receive no gift than a gift that is poorly thought out. 89. I love tulips. 90. I don't sing in the shower. 91. I don't like telling people it's my birthday. 92. I want them to remember on their own. 93. I think having low expectations is better than having great expectations and being often disappointed. 94. I think that the older I get, the more accepting I am. 95. I think acceptance is a good thing and is NOT the same as agreement or condoning ones actions. 96. I think that the Christian community (of which I consider myself a member) spends to much time focusing on sexual sin and not enough time focusing on the sins of neglect, anger, cheating, lying and so many others. 97. I know not everyone agrees with me. 98. I'm okay with that. 99. I like being 45 better than 35. 100. I think that's enough. Tonight DH and I are going to the Pikes Peak Center to see the Glen Miller Orchestra. I love big band music and so I'm really looking forward to the show. Tomorrow, another birthday.......guess who?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Random Musings

Sunshine has returned to the Front Range, along with a slight breeze. It's too chilly to say that spring is again in the air.....it is after all still March and the month of the greatest snowfall, historically. We've seen snow on Easter, and several years ago got over a foot in the late part of April. We've even seen snow past Memorial Day, so it's fair to say, I'm in no way confident that the worst is over. I will say, however, that I'm grateful for the sunshine, it truly elevates ones mood after several days of grey. When people find out that I grew up in the Northwest, the first question they ask (9 times out of 10) is "does it really rain all the time?" My answer is that yes, it does rain a lot, but the consolation prize is the beautiful green you see everwhere. I'm also asked if it's depressing living in all that rain, and my answer is "why do you think they invented Starbucks?" It does seem interesting that in a place that is grey and damp for a good part of the year, we have the genesis of Starbucks Coffee, America's drug of choice, as well as Microsoft and the computer gaming industry and perhaps even more importantly, Boeing, who manufactures the ultimate means of escape. Honestly, I never really thought much about the rain until I moved away and realized that it doesn't rain like that everywhere. When you grow up in that climate, you learn to cope with it. You understand that if the weather report says there's a 30% chance of rain, it will rain 30% of the day, and more than likely during the time you are planning your picnic. After a bit you understand the differences between "rain" "showers" "damp" "light rain" "sprinkles" "mist" "stormy" "cloudbursts" "thunderstorms" and all the other things the newspeople use to euphemize WET. You learn to always take an umbrella, to have a raincoat in your car and the importance of good wiperblades. The other thing you learn is that you can grow ANYTHING in the Northwest. The variety of plant life is simply stunning. The undergrowth in the many wooded areas is too thick to walk through, ferns, wild berries, moss and fungi abound. Leave something in a vacant lot and the next time you return you'll have to whack back the blackberries to find it. When I moved to Colorado I asked the gals at the elementary school that my son went to where I could buy fruit trees. They laughed at me. I planted tomatoes in the back flower bed and was coping with the short growing season and looking forward to tomatoes when along came a thunderstorm and the hail beat the snot out of every single baby tomato. And so I rejoice in the one nectarine that our tree produced last year, find happiness in what does grow (realizing I won't see it till May or June) and buy my produce at the market. Now, on to other things. Not much in the way of knitting happened yesterday, I spent most of my time either on the computer or on the phone. The computer has a way of sucking me in (I heard that snicker), and I hear the tone sound when new mail is delivered or someone is sending a message, drawing me like a moth to a flame. I. Just. Can't. Leave. It. Alone. (call me weak) Last night we went for dinner with our friends, and I knit a little, while their dog found a comfy spot on my lap. Once home I watched a little Tivo and knit a few rows on the body of the sweater. Perhaps today I can "finish" the sleeve, and then maybe knit on the sock or something else for a bit of variety. And now a treat :). When I opened my email this morning, a friend had sent me a link to this website. What a display of imagination. Any of you who are art lovers, will truly appreciate this. Any who enjoy a bit of whimsy will as well. And for those of you who walk around like you're the center of the universe, you will have to re-evaluate. Go on, check it out and let me know what you think. Here's a teaser!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

New Word and a couple other thoughts....

Let's start today with New Word Wednesday
Today's word is obnubilate which is a verb that means to becloud, obscure. Again, here is what my little calendar says: The meaning of obnubilate becomes clearer when you know that its ancestors are the Latin terms ob-(meaning "in the way") and nubes ("cloud"). They go on to say that the word is often used in connection with politics and politicians...go figure.
Here, today, my mountains are completely obnubilated. We had a little snowfall last night and today it is just grey and gloomy. Frankly, if it's going to be grey I'd just as soon have snow. Hopefully the cloud cover will dissipate and we'll be back to sunshine this afternoon.
Yesterday's second act at the dentist was uneventful, as was the quick trip to the store on the way home. I finished the increases on the sleeve and I think I will knit another pattern repeat and then put the sleeve on a stitch holder until I get a better idea of how far the drop shoulder 'drops.' I don't think my short little arms need 20 inch sleeves. I have to admit, even though I really don't like to knit sleeves, the pattern keeps it interesting and it is easier to see the progress than on the body, where it takes me 10 minutes to do one row.
If you haven't read it yet, you really should read the March 20 post by the Yarn Harlot. Any of you who have raised teenagers will certainly identify with Steph's prose. Any of you who are teenagers will be enlightened as to what we as parents feel on a daily basis. It prompted me to leave a comment about my own experiences, now having (chronologically) adult children. It has also created an internal dialogue regarding what I should and should not---can and can not---say in this forum. While I do not have the following of the harlot, someone somewhere may stumble across this blog and think me inappropriate. Perhaps, years from now I may have several readers who then go back and read everything I've written (as I did when I discovered Yarn Harlot). Conversely, this is, as I say in the header, my ramblings about "knitting, reading and living life." (I'm overthinking this right??)
The comment I shared with Stephanie is this: that raising kids is a crapshoot. I've recently shared the analogy that while I feel like I spent my life planting corn, I now find that I'm harvesting peas. While I like peas, they are not what I planted nor what I expected. I may or may not see corn later, learning to appreciate everything about peas has become my challenge.
I was really beating myself up over the decisions my grown sons were making when it suddenly came to me that I had been successful in that I had raised young men who could and did think for themselves; they have their own opinions, their own thoughts and philosophies on life, they question things, don't do things just because "it's what we've always done" or "it's the way Mom or Dad always did it." They are their own men, and this is a good thing regardless of whether I agree with their decisions.
I also realize with a new clarity, that my job as a parent has changed; I am no longer she "who must be obeyed" but have become a friend--- and advisor when asked. It's a tough balance. I'm not sure I have it down yet. I'm not sure I'll ever have it perfect, and I said as much to son number one the other day. I refuse to be the kind of parent who is manipulative and uses guilt as a motivator, yet there are times when it is still a huge temptation. I'm sure it will take time to find my feet in this rather new role. I guess you can say my role is somewhat obnubilated.
Well, that's enough random ramblings for one day I think.
If anybody is out there (?) I'm looking for feedback on a couple things: where best to throw my birthday $$ AND what colors to put with the nutmeg colored Dale yarn for a Fair Isle.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Intermission

This morning I did something I've been putting off for about 4 years. I went to the dentist. Now, I don't mind the dentist, really I don't. I've had enough dental work done in my 40 plus years that it doesn't spawn fear in me, more a feeling of annoyance. Before we moved to Washington for a season, I was in a fairly good routine, going to the dentist every six months for cleaning and exams. When we moved, I just got out of the habit. This is in part because I hate to make phone calls, particularly to set up appointments. Doctors, dentists, hairdressers, manicures, reservations, you name it....I just hate to make the phone call. I make my next haircut appointment before I leave the salon, same with the dentist. Anyway, this morning I left my routine and visited my former dentist. He seemed glad to see me, gave me very good news and then set me up to see the hygienist this afternoon. Thus, I am in intermission. Yesterday was windy and snowy. All. Day. Long. The temperature never got above 20 and with the wind blowing at about 20 mph it was wicked cold. The roads were icy and it just was not worth going out. Fine with me, I was comfy in front of the fire with my sleeve in progress, and thoroughly enjoyed the day. I even got a little done around the house, lessoning the guilt when the time came to sit and knit. Last night I caught up on the shows recorded by my TiVo (I love TiVo....worth every cent). Today, is another intermission of sorts; an intermission between storms. (Blogger is being cranky and doesn't want to import my picture here) We have snow forecast again for tomorrow, but today is glorious; bright blues skies and temperatures in the 30's. The snow on the roads is evaporating; on my drive to the dentist I drove through slush, ice, damp and dry roads, depending on how the sun is hitting the roadway. By the time I go back in an hour, the roads will more than likely be clear, or nearly so. This is another nice thing about Colorado is that because of the elevation, the sunshine, and the low humidity, snow just doesn't stay on the roads long. It doesn't turn to slush and hang around on the side of roads, (as it does in, say Ohio or Washington), it basically sublimes, or evaporates within a few hours of exposure to sun. So I'm going to enjoy both intermissions, get a couple things done before returning to the dentist, and swing by the store on my way home for a couple things, given the roads might be nasty for the next few days. Enjoy the intermissions in your day.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Springtime in the Rockies

I have a song stuck in my head today (no not that song, thank goodness), good ole' Dinah Washington belting out "What a difference a day makes........" Yesterday early on was partly sunny and nearly warm. After church and brunch we took the dogs to the park, had a great little hike and a romp in the dog park and left, ahead of what was forecast to be a nasty storm.

Here's what it looks like today.....windy, snowing, about 2 degrees with the windchill...a regular spring blizzard. Unlike many parts of the country, the weather in Colorado is very fickle this time of year, sunny and 70 one day and 2 feet of snow a couple days later. This particular storm is promising about 10 inches total, but it looks like there will be lovely drifts punctuated with bare spots because of the wind. It's on days like this that I'm especially glad to stay home in front of the fire with my knitting or a good book (or both, you know how I love to listen to audiobooks while I knit). I find that I'm once again fighting the battle between what I want to do and what I need to do. The house really needs a good vacuuming, I need to look at the bills, and the file full of tax documents is sneering at me from the kitchen counter. However, I'm making really good progress on the sleeve of the red sweater, I'm dying to plan a fair isle project, and I've about got the one needle sock to a place where I can turn the heel. Ah, decisions.

How's this for stalling? A PROJECT SPECTRUM update. Here's how the red sweater is coming along. I'm about halfway up sleeve number one and I've got about 5 inches of the body done. The work on the body is rather slow going since there are 225 stitched on the needle, and I'm finding that I still have to pay attention. I was knitting away at my Mom's house the other night and noticed that I had made a mistake about 7 rows back. Now, 3 or 4 years ago would have frogged the whole piece and started over. 1 or 2 years ago, I would have carefully 'tinked' back to the error and corrected it, but this time, after weighing the options I decided to boldly go where this knitter had never gone before (I wish I had pictures, I impressed even myself). I very carefully dropped only the offending stitch, unraveled it down to where the booboo was and corrected it, using a crochet hook to ladder it back up and TADA....no mistake. The really impressive bit is that I did this at night, with Mom looking over my shoulder saying things like "I just don't see how this is going to work" and "just leave it, nobody will ever notice," and "are you sure?" I'm SO glad it worked, but really, the worse that would have happened is that I would have had to frog back to the mistake (about an inch and a half) and then pick it up from there. Instead of losing 2 hours of knitting, I invested about 20 minutes and got a huge payoff. The other thing I've been cogitating on is how to best use my birthday dollars....my birthday isn't until the end of the week, but the card with the gift is in my possession. There are several books I've been wanting, among them one by Meg Swanson and another by EZ. The Yarn Harlot's new book comes out this week sometime, and I'd really like one of those cute little knitting journals. And then there's yarn.

I won this yarn at camp, (10 50g balls/100m each) and I think I can see the beginnings of a Dale Fair Isle in there somewhere, but I need to get more of another couple colors to get it going. I'm open for suggestions. And now I'm off to do a few "need to do's" so I won't feel so guilty about the "want to do's" this afternoon.

It's all about balance.....

Friday, March 17, 2006

Notes from camp

Home again, home again......I do love to go, but my own bed is so nice to come back to. As promised, I will give a few more details about the trip and some photo's. (I know, you are all waiting on the edge of your seats...right). If you stop by from time to time you will know that I live in Colorado. Spring does not come to Colorado when the calendar says it should; we may have nice, warm, sunny days, but the grass is still dry and brown, the trees have no life showing, and you can forget about tulips or daffodils for another six weeks. In the flower beds right next the the house there are crocuses, but for the most part nothing is growing or blooming. Not so in the Northwest. (It's blurry, sorry, the car was moving). The trees are blooming, the daf's are blooming and for anybody with allergies it's not at all cheerful. For me it was heaven. Notice the blue sky??? It's not raining (well, not right here, right now---between here and camp we drove through a bit of everything, and it was only about 25 miles). Camp started last Friday, I got there mid-afternoon and checked in. Alex schlepped the bags into the room I was sharing with my mother-in-law and I sat down to do some knitting. Dinner was outstanding, as usual---not camp fare, but much more like a resort. After dinner we had a gift exchange and a little getting to know you chat, and then off to bed. I had had about 9 hours of sleep since leaving home 2 days earlier and I slept like a rock. Saturday morning after a fabulous breakfast we began learning about incorporating beads into our knitting....good fun. Unlike last year, I had chosen the right stuff for the project and had a good time with it. Here's the progress....

One of the fun bits about camp is all the door prizes, exchanged gifts and goodies you come home with. Everyone wins something, and everyone goes away with WAY more than they brought---

----the big dark thing in the middle is a fleece blanket the folds into it's own pocket, with the camp logo. This was the 10th anniversary of Camp Knitaway, and there were quite a few gals that had been for 8 or 9 of those years. I won the Dale yarn, but the prize that I wanted (and won---TaDa) is a signed copy of this book.

Here's the other thing that grabbed my interest....

I had been wanting to try one of these miniature beaded purses for a couple years, and actually scored a kit for doing one. I'm still trying to get the hang of it; 0000 needles, pearl cotton and beads is a lot to maneuver all at once. Hard to see in the photo, but the beads are lavender on black cotton, and the whole thing is ridiculously small. Whoever came up with size 0000 needles is either insane or really enjoys a challenge. Definitely NOT TV knitting...early in the day with good light and no distractions (at least until I figure out what the $%^& I'm doing.....geesh).

Okay, since it is Favorite Foto Friday I'll toss in just one more.

This is the 100 year old lighthouse at Mukilteo. I took this from the ferry, just before my mom and I sailed across to Whidbey Island for a drive. We had just lunched near the dock and were heading North for a visit in Anacortes.......very nice day.

And now I really must go. In addition to this being my first day back (and all that entails), DH is actually home.....actually taking the free day off AND it's his birthday.

Must go make merry :)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

In the Land of Dial-up

Again, my apologies for thinking there are thousands of you tuning in. My sister-in-law phoned me today to see if I was okay....the blog had been ignored for a couple days, since my internet connection has been largely non-existant since last Friday. Since she knew all the details of last weeks traffic accident, she was checking to see that I was alive and well, since there was no cyber-info available. For any of you (ha) that are concerned, you will see that I am indeed alive , slightly sore around the edges, but doing fine. Camp was FANTASTIC...I'll provide details when the frustration over slow connections is abated. Suffice it to say, it is one of the rare treats in life to spend an entire weekend with people who are as excited about yarn and stitch patterns as you are, and you don't have to feel like you're speaking a foreign language all the time. I could live in that world. The weather cooporated, beaming sunshine over the camp, the food was excellent, and I came home with the biggest pile of goodies (imagine a smiling face and giddy manner here). I promise details and photo's when I get home. Last night I joined the boys and their friends for another poker night (held in my honor and at my request) and I might have done okay if I new more about poker. Very good fun though, even if my son's had to remind me I was there as a "poker buddy" and not a mother. Hanging out with your adult children is such a balance thing. Today I made a trip to Ikea, we don't have one in Colorado, and picked up a few things I needed (I'm loosely interpreting need, you understand). Tonight, if I have any energy at all, the gang is going bowling. On a side note, Alex got the estimate for the car repairs yesterday, and I felt somewhat vindicated when it appeared that the cost will be just over $2000. Somehow I felt a little more justified complaining of a sore back, and feeling really shaken after the accident. I had not imagined it, some clown really did plow into me, and here's the bill to prove it. Okay, I've about reached my limit in dealing with this not so new computer and the dial-up connection. I'll try again soon..........

Friday, March 10, 2006

Rollercoaster

I'm trying something new this morning. Because I'm bunking at my sons' apartment and the wireless connection is flaky, I'm writing this in a word processing program and hoping it will transfer later. Additionally, for some odd reason, Microsoft word has decided to take the morning off, so I'm trying the sample program that originally came installed on my computer. My first full day in Washington was one of highs and lows. After coffee with son number one and his departure for work, I putzed around the place until son number two emerged from bed. I took him to work around 11:30 and then stayed at the restaurant for lunch with my friend Angela. When we lived in the area, The Keg Steakhouse was our favorite place to eat, given the marvelous food and the generous discount for having children in their employ. After lunch I took a bite to eat to son number one, grabbed a cup of coffee from Starbucks and headed over to the store for a couple things. Back at the apartment, I did some tidying up and then left for Lynden, (which is very near the Canadian border) to watch my nephew's dress rehearsal of My Fair Lady. I must pause in the narrative for a moment to tell you that son number two was generously letting me use his brand new cAr....a car that I don't think he has even made his first payment on. Anyone who has ever bought a new car understands how one can be very possessive of a new car, Alex had not even let his brother drive it yet. As I drove around town, cautiously I might add, I felt so, I don't know, privileged, I guess. I was mindful of where I parked and how I drove, keeping in mind that this was my son's very first new car, actually the first car he has ever purchased. The weather in Everett, where the boys live had been unsettled most of the day...mostly cloudy, some sunbreaks and even a bit of rain. As I headed north, the weather got increasingly worse, from misty rain to heavy rain to rain mixed with snow to light snow to snow so heavy it was near whiteout conditions. I considered at one point turning around and heading back south, but I was close to Lynden by this point and my nephew had called during the day, very excited about my arrival. When I neared my destination, the snow stopped and by the time I pulled up to the auditorium, the roads were almost dry, nothing was falling from the sky and all was well. The rehearsal was so, so good, my nephew brilliant as Colonel Pickering, and the rest of the cast equally stunning. I was so proud of all of them, but especially Emory, who shares my love of musical theater. Following the rehearsal, my normally reserved nephew, hugged me, lifting me off the ground, practically dancing with joy over the performance.....I was thrilled more than he will ever know. I have to say, I have never seen him so full of glee. (Emory is the one in the top hat on the right.....poor photo but the best I could do from the balcony.....below is shot of Em and I after the show. Proud aunty :) ) At this point I was anxious to start back to Everett, a drive about an hour and a half. The guys were hosting their weekly poker night and I wanted to be part of the fun. Besides, I was hungry and quite looking forward to food and an adult beverage. Emory's father, my brother-in-law was on duty as a highway patrolman, and said the roads should be fine, he hadn't gotten any reports, or calls for assistance; seems the heavy storm had passed over and all was well. I started off, called the guys to let them know I was on the way, and about five minutes later was startled, (mild word) by a crash from behind. Someone had rear ended me, while I was traveling at about 50 mph. While the reality of what had happened hit me as well, I pulled over, expecting the other driver to the same; I saw the car now ahead of me pull to the side, and as I dialed 911, the car drove off. I could not believe what had happened. The road was only slightly wet, the visibility perfect, my lights were on and I was going the speed limit. The noise from the impact was tremendous, I expected the whole back of the car to be caved in, yet as I spoke with dispatch, I pulled ahead to the nearest intersection and got out of the car to find....no...noticeable....damage. I even began to doubt I had been hit at all, thinking perhaps I had driven over a huge pothole, or other debris in the road. It wasn't until I noticed that my finger was bleeding that I was again sure that I had indeed been hit; surely something cut my finger while I brushed the slushy snow from the bumper of the car. My brother-in-law soon joined me, looked at the car, bandaged my finger and we together worked out what had happened and filled out the required paperwork. After talking to son number one, I continued the drive home, badly shaken but unhurt. Poker night still in full swing, I was met with a good stiff drink and plate of food; Alex had gone to bed long before I got home, after his brother told him what had happened. My heart is broken that his new car is showing (slight, though they are) signs of damage, I'm angry that someone could be so careless as to hit me and then thoughtless or poltroonish enough to leave the scene, and I'm so very thankful that no one was hurt and that my BIL was on duty. What could have been even more frightening was handled with calm efficiency and genuine concern, and for that I'm truly grateful. Okay, enough of that. Today I am off to Camp Knitaway. I need to get my sleep deprived, mildly hung-over, middle-aged self up and going. Assuming that Alex doesn't commit matricide, he will deliver me to the campground, for a weekend of stitching (and more than likely a fair amount of bitching). I will have a complete report and hopefully some good photo's next week. Tune in next week when Favorite Foto Friday resumes. I'll find something really good :)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Man, I'm tired......

I'm here in Washington, after what proved to be a rather stressful day and trip. As with most journeys, mine was ripe with frustration and mishap, but I'm happy to report that I made it, had a fine welcoming committee at the airport and slept in a real bed last night. The first obstacle came in the form of yesterday's wicked weather. I'm normally all for snow (and lots of it, please), but on a day when I have to make the 80 mile trek to the airport, I'd just rather not have to deal with a storm, ya know? The frustration is only intensified by the fact that I live about 5 miles from a perfectly lovely airport, but one that the airlines have decided they can charge us an extra $100 to retrieve us from. Again, I digress. I made the meet up with my darling hubby at the north end of town and we started out. Stopping for gas, we decided new wiper blades were going to be a necessity, and picked some up at the gas station. What is usually a simple process was anything but, and poor Brad nearly froze to death in the sideways snow trying to get the blade in place. After getting only one side done, we were again on the road. Now, when we make this trip to Denver International Airport, there are several routes one can take. The route we normally choose employs a toll road, a more direct shot with less traffic. Shortly after turning onto this road, the warning signs told us that the road was closed ahead due to an accident. It cost us $1.50 to turn around and choose another route. Arriving at DIA, we're informed that the covered parking garages were all full (they were not) and so we trekked from the economy lot, schleppping the luggage on a conveniently abandoned cart. Once checked in we had a bite to eat, and I made my way to the gate for my flight that was only slightly delayed. I want to interject here one of the oddities of human behavior. Why is it that people crowd around the entry to the jet way, as if they will get to leave any sooner than the rest of us? No kidding, the plane was not even at the gate, and folks were clambering around near the door. The travelers coming in had to wade through a sea of humanity while de-planing. I wanted to tell them all "ya know what, you'll be sitting for several hours once you are on that plane....what's the rush? I will get there at the precise moment you do, relax." Once on the plane, armed with my knitting and my Ipod, I prepared to enjoy the flight. I punch the on button, they power is dead. Swell. Really swell. When I could safely reach into the case, I pulled out the pc, and located the book I wanted to listen to on itunes. This, however, made knitting impossible, since all my lapspace was being encroached upon by laptop. Add to that the fact that I could not reach the reading lamp, while seated with the laptop on the tray table in front of me and not one stitch happened on the the entire flight. Can you believe it? It was in my hands, begging to get out of the ziplock bag, and never made it. Almost 3 hours of prime knitting time, lost in the clouds. I made it into Seattle nearly an hour late, both sons and son number one's beautiful new girlfriend were there to meet me. We collected luggage and headed to their apartment about 30 north. This is my first trip here since the guys have been roomies, and while neither is Martha Stewart, they're doing alright. Of course, one is reminded as soon as they enter that this is a guys place.. This is my view this morning, the computer on the poker table, bike tires adorning the diningroom. The little round things on the walls are beer caps....who new they could be used in such a creative way? Other decorations include pin up girlies and movie posters, a veritable feast for the eyes. My plan is to take son number two to work in an hour, and use his lovely new car for the day...I'll eat lunch at the place where he works, run an errand or two, maybe have a nap and then head up to Lynden to see my nnephew's dress rehearsal for My Fair Lady. The weather is predictably grey, but I can say that the higher humidity is a welcome change after dry, dry Colorado. Camp starts tomorrow. Yipee!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Ready, set.......almost

There's something so nice about morning routine, and having that to rely on even when your day will be anything but ordinary. Tonight I will be getting on a plane (Lord willing....it's gonna snow), but this morning I'm doing my regular thing. Here's how it goes: When my mind is finally awake I usually flip on the telly to see what's happening in the world (favorite station is MSNBC). I spend a little time catching up on world events and then prompted by Kramer, head downstairs for coffee or tea and the computer. After checking my email, I check in on the blogs I like to keep up with, and then write my own. Today, my first visit was to Margene, who being fully immersed in Project Spectrum "tagged" me for her meme. Being somewhat new to blogland, I haven't done one of these yet, but as you'll see, I'm a prime candidate for this one. The challenge is this: find things in your house that are red or pink. Easy Peasy.

Can you tell I like red?

Okay.....how 'bout New Word Wednesday? Today's word is poltroon which is a noun that means: a spiritless coward. A modern day translation would be chicken, wuss, wimp.....you get the idea. Images that come to mind are the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz, Saddam Hussein when he was discovered in his little rat hole, most bullies when confronted. I'm sure you will think of your own examples. Here's part of what Merriam Webster's 365 New Word's Calendar says about poltroon:......." if you remember that chicken is dubbed 'poultry,' you may guess that the birds and the cowards are linked by etymology as well as synonymy. English picked up 'poltroon' from Middle French, which in turn took the word from the Old Italian 'poltrone,' which meant 'coward' and is traced back to 'pullus' the Latin word for 'chicken.'"

Interesting, no? Several years ago while I was home schooling son number two, we studied from a neat little book called English From the Roots Up. It was basically a Latin and Greek primer, tracing common words back to their roots. It was interesting and very handy for several reasons; one, if you can find the root word in a compound word, you can make a decent guess about what it means AND it was useful when I tried to learn a bit of Italian last year before my trip.

Yesterday, when I returned from the spa, I started packing for the trip. It's obvious by now, I'm either going to have to pare down what I'm taking, or use the larger suitcase, if I'm going to take a coat. The distressing thing about this is that this is the very suitcase I packed to spend 10 days in Italy, you'd think I could make it work for a week to Washington. I'm comforting myself with the fact that it was a totally different season, and while everything that went to Italy was lightweight and linen, what needs to go along this time is sweaters and jeans. Besides, taking a bigger suitcase will be no big deal, since I shouldn't have to schlep it very far, right? Plus it will allow me more room for the stuff I want to bring back.

Better make trip to the basement.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

In 24 hours.....

In 24 hours, I'll be dashing around like a ninny, throwing things into my suitcase and wishing I'd planned ahead a little better. In 24 hours I will be getting the house tidied up, washing up the laundry and making muffins for my hubby to eat while I'm gone. In 24 hours I'll be looking out the window to falling snow, wondering if I'll even make it to the airport, and wondering who will be there to meet me at the other end. Will anyone be there to meet me? In 24 hours I'll realize that I'm missing something vital for the trip, make a mad dash to the store, and buy more than I need. In 24 hours, time will stand still. I will enter the black hole of waiting.....waiting until it's time to leave, waiting for my ride, waiting for the plane......waiting. But today, well today is another thing. Today, I stayed in bed way to long. Today, I go to the spa for some pampering before the trip. Today, I get to fondle the new yarn, as I wind it into balls. Today, the sun is shining, the sky is bright blue and the breeze is brisk. Today, I can plan what I'm taking along, do a test run with the luggage and make changes. Today, I can sit, and knit, and read. I can linger over coffee, dawdle over email, and enjoy a long, hot bath. Trips are always a bit of a mixed bag, it's fun to go, but I long for my own bed and my own stuff. It's nice to see people I miss, but stressful to try and see everyone in a finite amount of time. This trip in particular is difficult because while I'll get to see the boys, they are busy with their own lives, and won't have time just to hang out with mom. There are things I want to bring home with me, things that I cannot get in Colorado, places I want to visit. I need to see the water, hear the waves coming in and the seagulls overhead. I want to eat seafood, where I can see the sea. I want to visit the tulip farms, see them getting ready to bloom and buy some daffodils. I want to go to the public market and bring home fresh flowers. I want to smell roasting coffee beans. In 24 hours, I'll be almost ready to go......... But today............I'd better get busy.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Finally!

At last, the yarn for the new cardigan has arrived (isn't this a nice pile of possibility??). It came in Friday's post, and almost immediately I started swatching.

I don't recall if I shared the details: the sweater is called "Tangerine Smoothie" and it is from the July 2005 issue of Creative Knitting. The pattern recommends using a worsted weight cotton blend, what I have is sport/dk weight......requiring smaller needles and generally throwing the whole gauge thing off by about 20%. So I began swatching with a size 6 needle, worked the first 12 rows of pattern and then started the next repeat on size 5's and liked the look of the fabric much better. The body of the sweater is worked all in one piece to the armpits, a whopping 225 stitches on the needle, and so I needed to make a trip to the LYS (which isn't as local as I would really like, but I digress), so Saturday morning I cast on a sleeve and started to knit. I HATE knitting sleeves, so this is my plan: (forced upon me by the fact I didn't have a long enough circular needle to start the body). I figure if I work on the sleeve for a while, then work on the body, then the sleeve and so on, maybe the sleeves will be done about the same time as the rest of the sweater---what do you think? (Yeah, I know, the poor sleeve will languish on the needles till the body is finished, but, hey, it's worth a shot).

Saturday afternoon, hubby and I made our way to Old Colorado City and the yarn store. I was really good (had to be, ya know) and left the store with only the needle and the Magic Loop book that I didn't buy last week because I knew I had one at home. We had a nice "lunner" (too late for lunch, not quite time for dinner) at a bakery/deli in town, ran a few errands and once home I cast on the body of the sweater. Since the pattern is over 9 stitches, I put jump rings every 9 stitches, which made casting on pretty easy, since I only had to keep track of how many sets of 9 I had, and now, knitting is pretty easy too, since I know where to change pattern stitches. Last night, while watching the Oscars I managed to make some progress.

Here's what I'm thinking: Since I'm not all that fast of a knitter, this sweater, on size 5 needles is going to take me a while; That even though I did the math about 5 times, I am worried that I'll run out of yarn; That I'm really glad I went with the red, which even though it's called "cherry" it looks more watermelon to me, and I love that color.

By the end of the week I will be in the great Pacific Northwest, and joining like-minded knitters for a weekend at Camp Knitaway. Last year was my first time to camp, and I won the scholarship to camp for this year. Now that I am not within easy commuting distance to the camp, well, let's just say, the scholarship was really, really nice, (too bad they didn't throw in airfare). Between now and Wednesday evening when I get on the plane, I have to figure out what I'm taking along. Saturday evening is show and tell, I have to think about what to bring, given I have to haul it 1100 miles....obviously I'm not taking everything I knit last year. I also need to wind my pink alpaca/silk into balls, make sure I have everything I need for the workshop and get together my exchange gift. I also need to write down what I want to do/see/buy while I'm there.

But right now, I think I'll knit a bit....I still have time.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

happy birthday!

I know it's Saturday, I know I usually don't write anything on the weekends, but hang on and you'll see why. While checking the news this morning I ran across something I just had to share. The beloved lighthouse of my childhood turned 100 years old on March 1st. You can find the newspaper article here. I know that there are lighthouses all over the world, but this is the little lighthouse that graces the beach where I have made so many memories. It stands next to the ferry terminal in Mukilteo, along the rocky shoreline and amidst calling seagulls and flying kites. When I was little, my parents would take me to the park to look for tiny crabs, hiding under the rocks on the beach. Many times I would bring rocks and crabs home, only to later bury the crabs in the flower bed in the back yard. On Friday nights, we would go to dinner at Taylor's Landing (now a different restaurant) and eat french dips and watch the ferry come and go to Whidbey Island. We would get ice cream and walk over the the lighthouse, or watch the folks fishing from the pier. As a teenager, there were dates at the beach, bonfires and volleyball games, doing things that teens ought not do, all under the watchful gaze of the lighthouse. As the sun set over the Olympic Mountains, we would snuggle under blankets, near fires and listen to the wave crashing against the shore. When my boys were little, I brought them to the beach to hunt for crabs and seashells, and still the lighthouse stood guard. While we looked for souvenirs, the sea lions surfaced, the jet skis bounced by on the waves and that solid beacon stood by. Once, while in the area on vacation, I came across a watercolor print of the lighthouse and the mountains in the background at a shop in the mall. I bought the print and it hangs in my family room, a reminder of happy times, of walks on the beach, flying kites in the park, ice cream and fish & chips. No trip to the Northwest is complete for me without a trip to the little beach at Mukilteo. I will go next week.....and wish the lighthouse happy birthday.

Friday, March 03, 2006

...On the subject of goals

It's time again for Favorite Foto Friday
Here is a shot of Kissing Camels, in Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs. As you can see, it was nearly sunset and with the moon rising over the rocks, it made for a great picture. It was another beautiful winter day, early December, and my friend Angela and I were on our way home from the zoo when we swung through the park. The park is free (I love free parks), an easy drive through, and the spot I always like to take out-of-towners. We've had many picnic suppers and lunches, several nice walks and I've even ridden horseback through the trails. It is a place of amazing beauty. Come visit! Yesterday, I was able to get the socks done (crummy picture....sorry). One of the things I told myself at the end of last year was that I was no longer going to do "time crunch knitting." If I set out to knit something for someone, they would get it when it was done, and not necessarily on a certain occasion. After the race to get the Christmas Stockings knit before Christmas and the hoodie for son number two done by his late December birthday, I thought to myself "This is not fun knitting. If I knit for therapy (as I often say) this is not therapeutic." And so, I resolved to knit on my own schedule, work on what pleases me and enjoy the process. Thus far, I haven't been too successful; the Knitting Olympics drew me in (though I finished much quicker than I imagined I would), and Project Spectrum sounded fun, so I am back in the scheduled knitting groove again. As I write this, I'm thinking, maybe setting knitting goals is not such a bad thing, in fact, I'll bet any crafter has at least a mental list of what he or she would like to accomplish. As I choose projects, I look to expand my experience, to learn something new each time. That, I think, is a worthy goal. Learning is always worthwhile, even if it's learning a new stitch pattern or a new way knitting socks, it keeps my mind active. I may not find a cure for cancer, or bring about a plan for world peace, or make a million dollars before I'm 50, but I can cure boredom, make my own corner of the world a peaceful place and make things to give to others. What goals have you set for yourself and your craft?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Some people are so clever....

So...I'm doing my morning thing, got my coffee and my computer and I'm checking in with all my cyberfriends when I run across something called Project Spectrum on Margene's blog. Hmmm, thinks I, I wonder what that is. So I followed the link and came across Lolly, who has shared a great idea. How 'bout if we all bring a little color into our lives, a different color each month through August and share what we're working on with the larger crafting community online. Fun??? Here's where it got my attention: Several days ago (you may recall) I ordered yarn for my next sweater in bright cherry red and last Friday, I picked up yarn for camp in a soft, blush pink. Guess what the colors for March are......anybody???? Red and Pink. What are the odds? The other thing is that this is NOT limited to knitters, all ya'll (that's Texan for everyone of you) can participate : beaders, quilters, seamstresses, needlepointers, scrapbookers, photograhers, rubber stampers....anybody. Please check out Lolly's link above and join the hundreds of participants. As an added bonus, she's doing a postcard swap. Check it out. I wonder if Al Gore knew when he invented the internet that it would become a forum to meet like minded folks from all over the world....there are blogs about knitting and crafting of all sorts, new podcasts springing up everyday and what is amazing to me is that---at least in my case---there is a huge community of people sharing their passion for their craft with others who share that passion. I see the same names mentioned all over the web, like we're all a big group of friends. These are people that I may never see face to face, but we share a common interest, and that creates a relationship of sorts. On the days when I don't leave my house and my phone doesn't ring, I don't feel isolated.....there is a neighborhood of knitters waiting for me online. On the home front, my sweater yarn has not come yet, giving me time to finish the socks; I should be grafting the toe in a little bit. I got some good knitting done yesterday while waiting at the lab, and catching up with my favorite shows saved on Tivo (another remarkable thing). I'm hoping the box 'o yarn will be in today's mail, if not I may knit a felted apple or two....... ......they're red you know :)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

TaDa!

Here it is...my gold medal. Hopefully some of you have collected yours as well. Yesterday was glorious here in the Springs, I sat outside (covered in sunscreen) until I actually got too warm. There was a light breeze, and warm sun on my back and knitting going on.....life was good. My thermometer reached 75.8, the official high was 74. I even opened the windows and let the breeze blow through the house. All in all a good day. And now for New Word Wednesday. today's word is cupidity a noun which means 1: inordinate desire for wealth: avarice, greed 2: strong desire: lust There has been a lot of talk in the blogs and on podcasts lately on the subject of stash (for any of you who don't understand this term, in the case of knitters it is used to describe the collection of yarn that one has amassed over time). Stash is a strange thing, a new knitter might only buy yarn for a specific project, knit it up and then buy yarn for the next project and so on. But it doesn't take long before cupidity sets in. It happens like this: The knitter is working away on, let's say a sock, and there at the checkout counter in the grocery store is a new knitting magazine, on the cover of which is a really cute summer sweater. The knitter thinks, I'll be finished with this in a week or so I'll do this sweater next. Armed with the pattern, the knitter goes off to the yarn shop to choose yarn for the sweater, while she is there she picks up another ball or two or of sock yarn, and maybe something for a scarf for a Christmas gift. Then she sees a sample sweater in the shop, and decides she just has knit it up as well so there's more yarn (and pattern and needles....you get the idea). Some have argued that this isn't really stash, since each ball or skein has a designated project, I'm not so sure. I have gone on yarn store fields trips, and picked something up at each store I visited. I had fallen in love with a very colorful jacket that required 14 different colors of a paticular yarn. On one such field trip I decided I would start collecting the yarn for this jacket, a hank at a time, each from a different store. After I had collected about 5 hanks of this yarn, I decided that the pattern it was intended for would require too much altering, which would foul up the colorwork and the yarn has been languishing in a bin ever since. Stash happens. Most knitters (or crafters of any kind, really) are at some point driven by cupidity...a strong desire to posses more and more yarn (or paper, or fabric, or stamps....). What inspires cupidity in you?