Thursday, January 26, 2006

Retirement, again

The past couple months have been torturous for me. My life has been falling apart, I haven't thought about picking up needles or hooks in the longest time, and quite frankly I just don't have the time or emotional energy to keep up the blog. I thank everyone for their interest in my blog, for the kind comments I've received over the past couple years. But this is something I need to put in the past, and spend more time living my present and planning for my future.

Goodbye & Good Luck to you all!

**Shannon**

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Back on Track

While I hesitate to say that my personal crisis is over, I will say that it has subsided enough that I'm confident of my place in the world again. It has been a draining few weeks, so much so that I haven't accomplished a thing having to do with fiber or crafting in quite a while. Not a single stitch knit in longer than I can remember. But I have had a chance to work on a collaborative podcasting endeavor I've been invited to join... now if I can get a mic when my paycheck hits the bank, I can record it. The mic headset I just bought in November or December is making me sound like I'm talking into a tin can - I must have dropped it one too many times.

What I have been contemplating lately is my vacation to Disney World coming up in March. Dh & I are planning our first ever getaway - we didn't even take a honeymoon. We're leaving the kids with my parents and fly out on Saturday, flying back the following Sunday. We think. The small problem of not having the money to schedule the trip ahead of time is sort of putting the whole thing on a hit-or-miss schedule. We get our bonus from work on Feb 28th, and then we can put down the deposits on everything. Since we're planning to return in a few years when the girls are old enough to keep up and remember the experience, it won't be a big deal if we have to forego some of the sights due to our late planning. I'm busy reading up on sites that offer tips. My co-worker Joe just got back from a trip he took their with his wife last month and he's full of information. I haven't been to DW since 1987 when I was 10, dh has never been there. Dh is already asking me what knitting project I'll be bringing with me.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Beginnings & Endings

I was reminded by a post by Theresa on Keyboard Biologist to be so thankful for everyone we have in our lives that make things so much better. She's going thru what I imagine is a personal crisis right now and mentioned how wonderful her family has pulled together to help her thru it. My life is taking somewhat of a destructive turn for the worse, and like her, I'm not going to air all my laundry here, but wanted to chime in and mention how while blogging and journaling can be freeing and theraputic as well as fun, it's also a place where you need to draw the line. There is a time when you have to hold back what's really in your heart or going on in your life, no matter how much you wish you could just get it off your chest. I learned that lesson the hard way when I began talking about a job at one point. This is something more personal. Ironically, it is going to involve digging out journals dated with the year 1996! And how much similarity there is with the upheaval in my life these past 3 weeks and the months of it I endured over the same type of situation back then. Learn history or repeat it... I hope I don't have to repeat the whole saga, this time on the losing end.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!

It's 1:22am, I'm still awake, and have to get up at 5:30 to go to work (please, people everywhere, don't call to complain about your bills today! Give those of us who have to answer the phones a break!) I worked on a crocheted shawl, and just realized that I screwed up the pattern, which is why I'm running out of yarn and still have a long way to go. The good news is that it's about 3/4 done - I just may need to go buy a 3rd ball of yarn to finish it. I was inspired by this pattern, but I was only decreasing at the end of each row, not the beginning & ending. My bad. I also finished the first ball of Foliage for my scarf, and can't decide what to do next - if I should try to block it either longer or wider, and leave it with the current 1 ball of yarn, or if I should make it a 1 1/2 - 2 ball scarf, or if I should try to make a hat and if there is leftover yarn add it to the scarf. Decisions! I'm just waiting for Wednesday to roll around. I need to get more knitting done, since I seem to be in a groove right now. Wednesday is my next day off. The good news is that today starts a new year at work, and I don't need to be on 100% panic alert about every little thing... I've got a bit of a buffer. My horoscope said that I should plan big with my new year's resolutions... I haven't made any in years. I'm going to give it some thought. How about you?

Friday, December 30, 2005

Time Flies

I have no idea where my weekend went. And I got to sleep in today because I switched shifts with someone and don't have to be to work until 12:30. I did run to the yarn shop on Wednesday and bought one of the lantern moon rice baskets and some yarn to make myself a wrap and scarf. Later that night I went out and got some Red Heart, too. Before anyone starts frowning on me, let me explain. I found a pattern in the Knitter's Magazine that I bought a few years ago when I heard about the More Than a Sweatshirt pattern that was being done as a knitalong on the ample knitters group. That pattern isn't the one intriguing me right now - it's one called Ridged Raglan, and it's done with Berella 4, a 100% acrylic yarn that I'm not sure even Michaels carries anymore. I could have paid a fortune for Encore at the yarn shop, if I wanted higher end acrylic, but I'd just as soon pay $1.57 for 7 oz of Red Heart and not feel guilty about it. The picture in the mag is done with winter white and muted green, blue, purple and burgundy, I think... I decided to use light fushia as the main color with pale, med & dark purple and a variegated as the accents. The sweater is worked in sections that have mitered corners at the underarm, so I started with stitches that go up the seem from the side hip seem to the wrist seem. This is the back right side of the sweater. The genius of the pattern is that the seaming is done with a 3 needle bind off, so there's no sewing. I wish they had the pullover version for women, like they do for the kids, but I'm not in the mood to fudge something like that, so I'm going to make the cardigan version. The scarf I'm working on for myself is made from Berroco Foliage, in color 5930, which is navy, green, purple, turquoise and black. The yarn I bought to make myself a little wrap is Filatura Di Crosa Multicolor, in color 4053, which is mainly burgundy with other shades blended in. That capelet or shawl will probably done in crochet, just so that it gets done this winter so that I can wear it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Burning a Hole

Yes, the yarn store gift certificate and cash I got from my family for Christmas will be flying out of my purse tomorrow as soon as I can get to the yarn store. I am excited - it is not often that money I spend on yarn is not taking away from something that it is really meant for - ie. bills. Now the question will be what do I buy with it? I've been eyeing the drawstring rice baskets from Lantern Moon - those are about $36, if I remember correctly. I can still get a decent amount of yarn if I bought one of those. I've thought about getting another set of Denise needles, but really, how many projects do I want to be able to start - I already have about 100 sets of straight and circular needles - if I was desperate, I could use those. It's sort of like getting a 2nd puzzle mat - I'd like to start a new puzzle I got,but I'm forcing myself to finish the first one and only have one going at a time.

As far as yarn goes, I'd love to work on something small and simple, and preferably for myself. Unless I found a pattern I loved and yarn I could afford to make myself a sweater - it would be a first - I've never completed a sweater for myself. In a bulky yarn I might actually be able to accomplish it. Actually, I really wanted to make myself the More Than a Sweatshirt from Knitter's Magazine for a few years now, so maybe I can look for something that I could use for that, and then the basket would hold the project. I also want to finish a scarf for me and another for dh. His I've got going on size 15 needles and double stranded wool with a mock rib pattern, mine ... I don't even know if mine is still on the needles, I'm so frustrated with it. I'll probably rip out what I've already done, then go double stranded and crochet something with the cool alpaca that I'm going to destroy by frogging it. But at this rate, it'll never get done! And I'm coming to the conclusion that simple & bulky but done is better than a complicated UFO that never sees the light of day.

Episode 3 of Unraveled is coming, I swear! I'm finally 95% over my cough! You'd think that with all this time between episodes I'd have a lot of material set aside, but I haven't really done squat with anything except work, sleep & the holidays lately.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Happy Holidays

The holidays always seem to be the longest & shortest parts of the year. It's a chaotic mess of weather, driving, and shopping, which seems to go on forever. And then, around Dec 27th, I'm at the mall still waiting for the wonderful event... Wait - Christmas is over? How did I miss it? I suppose better planning would help me feel more relaxed around the holidays, but the one year I power shopped and got everything bought way ahead of time, it felt like I skipped the hustle and bustle part that I enjoyed. Well, that was before I had kids and lived, worked and shopped 20 miles in different directions! And since we have multiple families to celebrate the holidays with, and I have to work both Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, we're actually doing our christmas with my kids tomorrow after work. Then, hopefully, I can at least see them open the gifts from me and my parents. I spent Tuesday night programming "Know Your Name Elmo" so that he says "Courtney" every other sentence, and intermittently mentions the people, animals, colors and foods she likes. The damn toy is for my 20 month old and has a USB port - What is the world coming to??? Johanna is getting a Dora discman and a Chicken Little Cd & book. Hopefully we can find more books on cd for her, and I doubt dh's family took the suggestion and got her some. We tossed around the idea of getting her a mini dvd player, but she watches so much tv that I just didn't want to encourage her spending even more time watching movies. Maybe when we get our tax refund we can get her Hooked on Phonics, if they've come out with a cd version - the BJs & Sams near us only carry the cassette versions and we don't have a tape player for her.

The past few days I've been working on my Gauntlets from the cover of Not Just Socks by Sandi Rosner. I'm using yarn I got from Knitpicks.com, Simple Stripes in the Sweet Tart colorway. What I love about the pattern is that it makes the striping yarn look as if it's actually some sort of entrelac or modular knitting, but it's just the stitch pattern's wavy-ness. Although the stitch pattern is very simple, I find it takes some amount of concentration, and working k2tog with size 2 needles and fingering yarn is somewhat of a pain. I sort of wish that I'd used the plum parade yarn which is sport weight and would have worked up quicker, but on the other hand, this light weight yarn will still be good for these gauntlets although the stitch pattern is a little airy and I'm not using as small of needles as I would if this were a sock project - this yarn would probably require size 0's for socks (it reminds me of the Opal socks I made myself a couple birthdays ago - very thin yarn), but I'm using size 2's. I just hope to have them finished before the cold weather is over.

A few weeks ago I bought Mindy, a girl I work with, some yarn & needles and cast on her first sock project. It's actually her first knitting project period. Well, she hasn't gotten anywhere with it, primarily because I spent about 6 mins with her on a break trying to show her knit & purl. The good news I got today is that we seem to be working the same shift starting at the end of January, so I will hopefully have a knitting buddy on my team. Dh thought I would be upset, he got the same hours as me, 7:15-4:15, but he's off Mon/Tues and I'm off Thurs/Fri. While it's not exactly what I wanted, which would have been both of us off the same days, we're getting 1/2 of what we were looking for - we'll be able to drive together Wed, Sat & Sun, we're both working day shift so we'll have nights together, and my mom will have one of us home 4 days during the week. It sucks that we both have to work weekends, but this will hopefully only last until april, and then we're going to try again for the same shift. Alan keeps focusing on getting thru to our vacation in March/April. We really need that break and the time to spend together. Dh asked what knitting projects I'll be bringing along. :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Long Week

This has been the longest week of my life. It actually started taking the turn last Sunday when I started feeling sick, continued all week while I was so incredibly ill and without any sick days to take. And when you're sick and have no energy, every little thing seems like a big deal. This Sunday, still being sick and having gotten little sleep because I was christmas shopping until 11pm the night before, I ran out of patience with my kids at 7pm and had to call dh to take care of them until bedtime because I just couldn't. Today is my friday, and nothing could be better news. Except that dh swapped schedules with one of our co-workers so that we're working the same day shift instead of him working nights. We'll actually be able to do "Christmas Morning" with my kids on friday night when we get home from work. Saturday & Sunday I have to work and then go straight to the festivities at my brother's house one night and my in-laws the other, so we wouldn't have a chance to spend time with the kids for them to open their gifts with us. I love the holidays, but I rarely get to enjoy them with all the hustling from one place to another. Tonight we're going to get the wrapping done, I have a few more gifts to buy, but I'm trying to get everything done by Thursday.

Last night I got my 2nd gumball sock finished. I just need to weave in ends in both socks and then I can wear them. I started my swirl Sweet Tart gauntlets. I'm convinced that these are a great idea since my wrists and arms are so cold most of the time at work & home. I also discovered SuDoku puzzles and bought a book of them as a christmas gift for myself, so I've been working on those at work on my breaks and before bed. They are addictive. I first tried them at shockwave.com.

Podcast 3 will be recorded this week, if all goes well. My voice is mostly back and if I stop to blow my nose every 10 minutes I shouldn't sound too stuffy.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Down & Out

Well, I've gotten another bad cold. I swear, they give my kids flu shots and I get sick every time. I lost my voice today and customers were telling me I was breaking up - it was like I had built-in static. I'm about to get a good night's sleep I hope. I got my new phone today. It's red. The important thing is that I got a pink Bluetooth headset, and !Shocking! it seems to stay on my ear unlike every other earpiece I've ever tried! I started Mindy's sock for her today on our break, hopefully I'll get her to master knit & purl by tomorrow afternoon so she can go with it on our weekend. I've come to the conclusion that I'm not going to have enough yarn to finish my spa cloth that I'm doing with orange cotton yarn. I'm starting to think I'll do narrow rainbow stripes on the one corner to liven it up. A design element, if you will. I don't feel the need to invest in another ball of bright orange yarn! Last night I also went and got "Podcasting" from B&N along with a knitting magazine and a book of origami for a christmas gift for myself from my husband. I obviously won't be recording episode 3 until my voice is back.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sigh!

Well, it looks like I've made more podcasting progress in the past 8 hours than in the past few weeks. I got my RSS feed going, I think. And I figured out how to use iTunes as an aggregator so I've been subscribing to all the casts I've been listening to and updating my iPod. Next on the list is getting a new mic.

After checking in on cast-on.com and reading that Brenda was charged for MB usage because we used up too much bandwidth listening to her, I made a hasty trip to my host's new website (which, ironically, just changed hands and names this week) and tried to find out where my bandwidth limit was. I knew I had one, I just had never come near using it all. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that I'm only using a tiny <1% of what I'm allowed. Unless I have some unprecedented increase in demand, this should be fine for now. I can't find anywhere what the overage rate is, but I'm betting it's not cheap.

A big thanks to Caroline at FiberCast for pointing me in the direction of Feedburner. That was the easiest part of this whole production so far!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Incognito

The problem with the internet and blogging is that while you want people everywhere to read and agree with you, you don't want some people to find them either. It's sort of like hiding contraband under your mattress as a teenager. Like that's not the first place your parents are going to look. My point was proven this week when I got a comment from a possible co-worker, and dh came home with the address of a friend/former supervisor's blog to check out. You try to be as public as possible without disclosing too much. I found out the hard way a couple years ago to try to keep work out of the picture as much as possible. Even though I never gave my last name, the last names of any of the people I mentioned, or the name of the company I worked for, knowing that I needed to keep myself anonymous if I was going to gripe about work, I let a friend who was not so blog savy put some posts about her job on my blog and she *did* use last names, and next thing I know I'm being walked into HR to be fired, no questions asked. So why does work keep slipping into my Fluffy Cloud world? Because it's about 1/2 of my life! More, actually, since dh & I both work there and talk about work even when we're not there. Case in point, I've been up since 3:30 this morning, talking to dh about these darn schedule bids. I've come to the conclusion that the whole mess was designed to keep us from having any damn clue what it is we're asking for, therefore leaving us unable to dispute whichever schedule they end up giving us. It took me 2 1/2 hours to rank them all! And this process is supposed to be easier than going to us and asking what schedule we want... that's the funny part. Anyway, work has been eating up a lot of my life with it's grief lately. I got written up for not using my sick days and coming into work late, so now I am facing a brick wall for 6 months where I can't be late or call in without being put on a 9 month final warning. I'm not giving anyone the satisfaction of being fired or quitting over this. I just got a promotion and I refuse to let them push me out over something as dumb as being 5 mins and 15 seconds late to work. I think I got about 1 row done on my spa cloth yesterday. I still haven't finished the heel on my second gumball sock. It'll probably sit there for ages before I get back to it even though I know I could have it done and wearable in 30 minutes. What's holding me back? The gaps at the corners of the heel where I pick up stitches. It looks sloppy and I hate it. The first sock was bad, too, so I know I need to darn these closed somehow and work on some technique to use on future pairs. But that is the only drawback I've found to the afterthought heel method.

In regards to the podcasting... I got some great hints, mainly that I needed to get a podcasting book. Unfortunately, I don't get paid until the 15th, so you'll have to stay tuned until then for me to get the RSS feed going. But I promise that better stuff is coming.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Don't ya hate spam?

I don't know what's up lately, but I've been getting the oddest spam postings on my blogs lately. Today's insanity "ahhh, no one has commented on this post because God does not want you to deride his true church. By the way, True believers also believe in naturalism and not wearing any clothes at all...so god argument, sinner." I can do nothing but laugh, shake my head and hit delete.
My new phone order was finally processed - I ordered it last Saturday morning, it was just processed before noon today, I probably won't get it until next monday or tuesday. I really can't wait. I love new electronic toys. This phone has an MP3 player, broadband video, plus I got the pink Bluetooth ear piece (another thing to keep charged! As if the ipod & phone weren't enough!) But, hey, maybe if I don't have to have some stupid wire connecting my ear to my phone, I'll be able to use the phone more. I honestly use my phone less than 100 minutes a month. Probably has something to do with the fact that I talk 8 hours a day, 5 days a week at work. Jamie & I talked one night for 3 hours - I'm surprised the phone didn't burst into flames from the shock of it. The key to getting the Bluetooth earpiece was getting it pink so that dh didn't absorb it into his collection of stuff. If he wants one, he's going to have to get his own. We both still need memory cards for our phones, and of course they aren't even the same kind so we do need to buy 2 different ones. If they were the same, I'd probably try it in mine, decide I didn't really need it and give it to him.

Tomorrow is Silly Hat Day at school for Johanna. I made her a truly hideous Fun Fur & Woolease nightmare! It's a red wool ease, rolled brim, stockinette stitch cap that starts with red funfur, then goes to medium blue (still red wool ease yarn), then went back to red & red, with an icord tassle complete with a pompom at the end. I bet it will be warm, too. But honestly, it's absolutely grotesque. Kids love anything furry or shiny, so I'm hoping she likes it when she sees it tomorrow. Hey, if nothing else, it's something handmade with love. And it knit up fast enough for me to say that I could honestly knit her a presentable version in a few more hours.

The gumball socks are literally 1 heel away from being finished. They are on the back burner this week, as I really need to get the spa cloths done. Christmas will be here in no time. Tonight I spent an hour writing my kids names & date on the back of about 60 wallet pictures to sent out in my mom's Christmas Cards. I needed to pick shorter names! Johanna & Courtney is very long... if Jo had continued calling herself Jo Jo and we'd continued calling Courtney CJ, it would have been much easier, but we actually call Courtney "Courtney Jayne" and Johanna calls herself "Johanna" so I guess those names are sticking until they hit first grade and start to pick up nicknames. I'm sort of surprised that Johanna is called by her correct name - they don't mispronounce it or shorten it. I suppose that she's got a lot of years ahead of correcting people, but right now it's not bothering her, or maybe she doesn't even notice when people call her Jo Hannah or Jo Hana. For the most part, once we tell people her name is "Joanna" they don't pay attention to the silent h. What we think is really funny is that Jo prounounces it "Jew-Anna" like my great grandfather who was from Italy would call my grandmother Johann (Jew-Ann) with his accent.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Fortuitous Timing

Tonight was the midnight madness sale at AC Moore, and of course I took the opportunity to ask Mindy if she wanted me to pick up some sock yarn and needles for her with my 25% off coupon. She jumped at the chance, which was cool - it gave me an excuse to go buy knitting stuff! With someone else's money! What could be better? She warned me that she likes dark, boring colors, like Black. Ok... I thought we were going to get along here, but I can see that we just parted ways on color choices - I like bright, outrageous stuff, she's more conservative. I got Magic Stripes, not one of my favorite sock yarns, but the price was right and she wanted something self striping. I picked up one ball of yarn and a set of size 2 dpns for $7! What a deal.

I came home and worked on my sock, which is now missing a heel and about 2 rounds at the toe before I graft it closed. I can't believe how fast those socks worked up! Now, I might have been thinking about the Crayon colorway next, but a miraculous thing happened tonight: I found my cheat cards for the Weeping Willow shawl! I have these little micro flashcards on a binder ring that I had written down the pattern repeats on, one row per card, and as I finished each row I turned to the next card. Well, the pattern went in one direction, the yarn in another, and these flashcards in a third. I had been stalled on the project because I couldn't figure out where the heck I'd left off. I really want to work on that project. Maybe on my weekend, Wed & Thurs. I also need to start working on the spa facecloths again. Work has been incredibly busy, so I haven't had a chance to work on them there. I just really want to get 1 set done for my one aunt. I think I can handle that during the next few weeks.

Tomorrow is my daughter's "wear your pj's to school" day. Friday is wear a funny hat day, so I'm going to dig thru my enormous stash of fun fur and make her the fuzziest hat I can come up with!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I can almost taste it...

Completion, that is. Gumball sock #2 is now beyond the heel stitches put on waste yarn, meaning that I'm in the home stretch! I think I have about 6 stripes until I begin the toe decreases. These will definitely be done by the end of this weekend. I'm also into the decrease half of the first spa facecloth, which is from a pattern found in Knit It!, not Easy Knitting as I'd mentioned in one of my Unraveled episodes.

This morning I went to my storage unit to pull out yarn for my aunt. My mom's sister Debbie passed away in August from Pancreatic Cancer at the age of 52. My other aunt, the baby of 4 children, asked if I had yarn I'd like to donate to her to make lapghans for the cancer center. Taking acrylic yarn off my hands - no problem at all. The question was what to give her first. I ended up giving her the chunky red heart and Chunky USA. I also pulled out a small bag of sock yarns for me. :) As if I needed more today, right?

Wednesday I went to Joann's and got a "basket" made of metal and with the look of a school locker - vents on one side like on the top of my Jr High locker. It's bright pink. It's going to be my desktop yarn bin for work. I already tossed in 3 socks in progress (Blues, Crayons, and Gumball) and the cotton for my spa facecloths. Now that the weather is getting crappy around here, I'll most likely stay inside for my breaks & lunches and veg at my desk with my ipod & yarn.

I can't believe it's December already! We're bidding on schedules this week that will be in effect for Jan-March. Usually, they are 6 months at a time, but I guess this time we're going just 3 months. I think they're getting desperate and are just trying a lot of different things to see if any of them work. The big problem for us is that dh & I both work there and are close in seniority, which is how the bids are ranked, but there are almost as many different schedules as there are people, so trying to either get the same days off or the same start/end times is almost impossible. It went fom about 35 for July-Dec, this time is 482 choices! To put into numerical order from most to leasrom t favorable. I guess I really wouldn't care so much except that dh & I really need to carpool, and would like to have at least 1 day off together. It's going to be better no matter what because we'll both be working days, giving us time to spend together with the kids every night no matter what. For the past 5 months, I've been working days and have the kids every night, dh works nights but has weekends off, so really the only time we see each other is Sat/Sun nights after I get home from work. People at work make comments about how great that must be for our marriage, figuring that if we don't see each other we must not fight, but we are just the opposite, when we are together the most is when we get along the best. We started out as friends and I still consider him my best friend, so when we don't see each other for 3 days at a time it gets frustrating.

Oh, and as a side note, I was listening to talk radio on the way to pick up my car from my brother's today and heard that The Medley Centre has banned card games & chess playing in the food court. Love it! It's about damn time they decided to play fair and keep the older loiterers out of the mall. Even though I'm well out of my teen years, it still ticks me off that the security guards and mall managers chase out the teens who are more likely wasting all their money in the mall, yet let the "free refill" coffee crowd hang out all they want. I remember when the mall first opened and I'd go there on weekends with my friends, my mom would make sure I had at least $5 in my pocket so that I wouldn't get in trouble for loitering. The Walden Galleria mall in Buffalo has a 'no teenager without an adult' rule in effect on weekends that I think is a spectacular idea and hope that the Medley Centre folks start something similar.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Socks Galore

Well, the sock addiction is still in full swing here. I worked on the mate to my Gumball sock that I finished last week. We were on the thruway heading to Niagara Falls this afternoon when it was really crappy out, rainy and miserable. I'd struggled to pick driving projects, but settled on the grey wool scarf (Dh gave me a deadline of Thursday for that to be done - HA! Obviously the man has no idea how long 6 feet of boring 3x3 ribbing with size 7 needles and worsted yarn will take me!) and the gumball sock. Now, the 2nd sock in a striped pair always seems to go quicker for me because I can literally pull out the amount of sock yarn needed to get to a certain point, then just work until I run out of loose yarn. Case in point, I pulled out the 5 stripes worth of yarn that needed to be ribbed. These are going to be identical (instead of fraternal) socks, so rather than measure with a tape, I will just compare the 2 socks as I go and use the first sock as my guide.

Since I do have so many started socks using this Parade yarn from Knitpicks.com, I'm running out of size 2 dpns! I'm actually using the bryspun ones I hate on the gumball pair because I was so anxious to get the pair done.

One of the girls at work saw my finished sock (we were in a training the week before while I was working on it and she doubted my ability to turn what I was working on into a real sock.) She said that she wants me to teach her to knit socks. I told her that it might be a good idea to start with something simpler, like a scarf, rather than 4 dpns and fingering or even sport weight yarn. She said that she's only interested in socks - she likes the idea of her feet being warm. Well, ok, I guess. She has me to help her, so it shouldn't be a complete disaster, but I remember my first sock and how concerned I was about the gaps between the needles, etc. I think I also went thru 2 sets of Brittany #1 needles because they lost all rigidity and strength (sort of like a toothpick if you suck on it for any amount of time will get limp). Unfortunately, she & I don't have the same lunch time, but possibly when we start our new schedules in January we'll be able to have knitting time at lunch. I just got an easy sock pattern using the after-thought heel and woolease/size 5 needles, so maybe we can use that to start. Since I taught myself to knit, I have a hard time teaching other people what to do. If someone had taught me, I might have some idea of how it was explained to me, and therefore be able to explain it to someone else. I can only show them.

Today I watched an episode of Knitty Gritty that featured knit ankle boots. And I can only say - WHY? And I noticed that the same boring episodes of Knit One, Purl Two are on again. I think there were only 6 episodes of that show taped, and none of them are that outstanding, although I love her baby blanket. Can't afford to make it, but I love it just the same. I will say one thing - that show was on about 3-4 years ago when I first started knitting and the hat pattern she did in the round with Noro Silk Garden was probably my first project with "real" yarn. I'd been to the yarn shop before, but hadn't gotten into any of the special yarns, and that pattern is what really prompted me to give expensive stuff a shot. Of course, 1 ball of that yarn is not enough to make a hat that is big enough for my head, but that didn't stop me from making 2 or 3 of them anyway! Just love the way that yarn stripes!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Unraveled: Episode 2

Finally, here is the 2nd episode of Unraveled: Shannon's Battle with Life & Yarn. I think I finally figured out a work-around for the recording of the show and conversion to mp3 format, it's just a tiresome and drawn out process. Now, be patient while I try to work on the RSS feed!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Black Friday

Ok, first let me start by saying, due to technical difficulties, I have not been able to get episode 2 of Unraveled into mp3 format, but I'm still working on it.

Today we got up at 4:10am to go do the early bird black friday sales. It was the first & last time we'll probably bother. We stood in line at Best Buy behind about 1,000 other people, and by the time we actually got in the store everything in the ad was "sold out" until the next wave came up in inventory at 10am, of course after the sale was over. I'm sure it makes sense to someone to purposely withold product that you have people standing there with cash in hand, but it doesn't make much sense to me. Dh got a wool pea-coat from BonTon, reg $150, for $48. We got all the kids done at Toys R Us, which was a relief. I went to AC Moore because they had a 60% off coupon, of course spending way more than I wanted or needed. I got wool to make dh a ribbed scarf (boring!) to wear with the coat. Grey! I was trying for red or blue, but he insisted on boring grey. I got some sequined yarn in deep purple to make myself a little coin pouch, and 6 bright balls of crap cotton to make spa facecloths for christmas gifts. I also picked up the Little Box of Scarves with the coupon. I also picked up pads of christmas and pastel scrapbooking paper, for scrapbooks and also for letter writing, etc. The paper is cheap enough if you buy it in bulk packs when it's also on sale, so I don't feel like it's a waste to write a letter or copy a pattern onto the fancy paper.

This afternoon I ran to the yarn shop for another set of Lantern Moon needles, my new obsession. I thought I loved Brittany's but these are better. They are also a lot more expensive. I now have sizes 7 and 10. I decided that if I'm making 4 cloths x at least 5 people, it was worth the $19.99 investment.

I also got my 2nd shipment of sock & shawl yarn from Knitpicks today. I love when the cute mailman brings me yarn - that's a dream come true. I was really impressed with the Color Your Own wool, it's not as thin as the Zephyr I was comparing it to in my mind. Now I need a nice simple pattern to turn those 2 big skeins into an awesome warm wrap. I have so many gifts going. Today my mom mentioned wanting me to make her friend a red felted purse for christmas. I don't mind, the felting projects go fast because of the huge needles. Unfortunately, she didn't mention it before I went to the yarn shop. Now I'll have to make a special trip - Darn!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Oh - My - God!

Can you believe this? I've been mentioned by name on another podcast! From Europe! I'm totally tweaking here! I got a comment email today from Marie, who mentioned me in her own podcast KnitCast! I feel like a star!

In the wake of this recognition, I feel like I must put out episode 2 right away. The problem is trying to get it recorded without everyone in my family hearing me talking to myself! This is something that my parents would never be able to comprehend and my husband humors me about.

The good news is that I am making knitting progress. 1 sock down, 2nd wedge of my Pie Wedge Ravenswood shawl finished, Clapotis still moving forward slowly but surely.

Episode 2 of Unraveled will be posted tomorrow. And, I am working on the whole RSS feed thing - apparently that's what officially makes an mp3 file into a "podcast" - who knew!?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Sock Addiction

Ok, I know I'm now completely addicted to sock knitting. I realized that I may or may not have enough to yarn to do the toe & heel on first Knit Picks Parade "Gumball" socks using the afterthought heel. What should I do? Hop online and order $30 more sock yarn, of course! I picked up 1 skein of each of the 3 colorways I bought last time, 2 skeins of the fingeringweight Crayons colorway, 3 skeins of a blue/black colorway of the fingering weight yarn for dh's socks. I love the afterthought heel idea. Now, when I'm cursing about doing the heel in a few days, remind me I said this. But my big hangup with socks is that I get stuck at the heel/gusset because I hate having to pay attention to what decreasing I need to do. I feel like I spend all my time counting and recounting. This method allows me to spend my knitting time actually knitting, and then when the time comes to do the heel, I can choose a quiet time when I have the ability to pay attention to what I'm doing. I've whipped up most of a sock in the past 2 days. I can even get dh's big socks done within a week at this rate. With the sucky winter weather upon us, I will probably stay indoors during my lunch break and just work on my sock at my desk like I did today. The thing I love about striping yarn is that it's so easy to see progress and measure how much of the knitting you want to get done in a specific amount of time. I usually pull 1 stripe of yarn out of the ball at a time so I can see that I'm making progress as I go. I might need to buy more dpns, which I never thought I'd have to do, since I had so many. But now I can see myself having a pair on the needles at home and at work at the same time. I just hope that I don't regret spending the money on the lighter weight yarns. I have a lot of them already, but sometimes the stuff you already have doesn't inspire you. I also picked up some natural undyed lace weight wool to make into either a lace scarf or shawl. I image painting it with dye after it's knit up... with polka dots and wiggles.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Too many choices

This week I have been doing a lot of knitting, but not making a whole heck of a lot of progress. Last night I was even contemplating declaring myself "done" with knitting once I run out of yarn. Ha! That lasted until this afternoon when I got purple & red woolease to make my daughter a "red hat ladies" scarf for her red winter coat. Last night I stopped on the way home and picked up a book called "Not Just Socks" which has patterns for self patterning sock yarn being used for socks, gloves, legwarmers, scarves, hats, you name it. I've been wanting to make myself gauntlets or fingerless gloves, so that was my first intention, but then I realized there was a pattern for afterthought heel socks, so that's what I cast on for last night with some of the yarn I got from Knit Picks a week or so ago. I also picked up a bunch of new stitch markers (the lost sock fairy seems to be getting into the knitting implement business - I seem to be losing them at Mach speed!) and a Crocheknit cable hook to use with the woolease I picked up today for that scarf. Let me just save you all the wonder and tell you that it's a very long process to get any substantial length built up, and you'd certainly do better with either crochet or knitting than trying to combine them both and coming up with something sort of sloppy looking. I picked up the stitch markers to use on my Clapotis scarf, which is coming along, however I am still doing the set up rows - I have about 30 rows left to go before it's the correct width and I can start dropping stitches.

Oh, another fun thing I did today - went to a new store that opened here, "Steve & Barry's University Sportswear." I've seen the store on my trips to Buffalo but had never been inside of it. LOVE the store!!! Guess where my christmas shopping will be done? Everything in the store is 9.98 or less! Even coats! I'm not a sports fan, but they have other cool stuff like tshirts with cool sayings on them (I got dh a hoodie that says "I see dumb people" and a ribbed shirt he can wear to work, and a New York faux-long sleeve under short sleeve shirt in an awesome shade of pink that I've found I look awesome in - and it came in my size XXL - all 3 items came to 30.17 with tax!) I asked the cashier if the 9.98 or less pricing was permanent or just for the grand opening, and he said that the prices might go up a little, but not much - according to the website nothing is over $10 in any of their stores - but the guy also told me that the Buffalo store also has a high price of 7.98. In my town we had this awesome mall built in 1990, which rapidly declined to 3 anchor stores (ie - Sears) and a few vitamin (GNC/Vitamin World) & sporting good stores like Champs & Footlocker. Even the foodcourt emptied out over time. Well, a new developer bought the mall around this time last year, worked out tax breaks in order to get the ball rolling. They renamed the mall "Medley Centre" ( I remember when they opened the mall 15 years ago and it was named Irondequoit Mall and on our town markers at the edge of town, they said "Home of Irondequoit Mall" - There was such outrage from the townspeople that they eventually took them down - they said that we were much more than a place with a mall. ) What has been really sad for me is that I remember spending so much time there as a teenager, I worked there for several years, at CVS (where I met my husband), Electronics Boutique, Lechters, Lauriats Books. My husband & I met there and had a lot of friends there. And then the place turned into a ghost town, where the only people there were either the geriatric coffee crowd, the power walkers, and the shoplifters. There had been rumors that people were being mugged and attacked there, and of course no one ever made a strong enough point that these incidents were usually urban legends, so the fear started bleeding into the community of snobby suburbanites. People have been critical of the mall since day one, saying it was a mistake to build it in the first place. These pompous assholes are the reason the place fails, because people like them are the ones making the decisions as to what should be in the mall... and they think they have their hand on the pulse of the shoppers in our area. The mall is on the city border, and a lot of urban culture is centered around showing off certain things, like the brand of shoes and clothing, the jewelry, the electronics... and brand name stuff doesn't come cheap. Instead of having those stores in our mall, where it might attract undesirable shoppers, we make them drive across the city and spend their $150 on sneakers in another suburb. Somehow, that was making sense to the decision makers. On the other hand, my wealthy cousins will go out of their way to purchase something "average" at the best price they can find. I'm just hoping that the mall gets back in working order, because it's a shame to see it going to waste. They are opening a kids play area next month, which I can't wait to see. I am the type of person that will frequent a place that I want to see succeed, even if it's not the "best" place to go. I figure that if we all give up on the newbies, places like my favorite yarn shop wouldn't exist. I thought it was humorous to see all the town board folks there to observe the shoppers actually showing up there today... the town supervisor taught me Clarinet as the music teacher when I was in 5th grade, one of the other board members was the career placement person at the business school I attended, failed me on my mock interview because my skirt was too short (ok, now, ya'll know how conscious I am of my weight and that I'm overweight - I've NEVER been accused of wearing anything too tight/short before or since), and the only person she succeeded in getting a job was herself.

Anyway, off the soapbox...

After the mall, we went to lunch and the woman behind me had a kureyon felted bag that was looking as ratty as mine do after a few weeks of wear. I'm going to start a new felted bag using some of the Cascade 220 I have stockpiled. Not sure if it will be striped, intarsia, or solid - I need to think some more about it. I do have that book 1000 knitted motifs that I could use. I've never done intarsia, although I have done a lot of fair isle, so maybe that will be my next challenge. My need for warm things may be going downhill again, they seem to have the temp in my office set to "brick oven" lately - to the point that I'm getting physically ill from being too warm, coming home feeling dehydrated, headachy and nauseated. But a new purse is never a bad idea!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Unraveled: Shannon's Battle with Life and Yarn

Ok, here's my first attempt at podcasting. I will warn you that I was very nervous at the beginning and my script reading is evident. Hopefully I can loosen up for the next bit. Please, any comments are welcome, topics are encouraged. I expect to do more with the next one - this was enough of a trick to put out for now. I need to try out different software - the stuff I downloaded already sucks. Since I don't know any famous knitters, I can't do interviews. Since my software won't allow me to record music at an audible level, I can't do that at this point either... but I'm working on it.

I also received the bag of !!FABULOUS!! sock yarns from Knit Picks today. Very cool striping yarn, enough for 4 pairs for me and a pair for dh. I started a pair of legwarmers today since dh forgot to bring home my sock in progress from work. The cold nasty weather is upon us, I've lost almost 20 pounds, and I'm feeling chilly almost continuously. I'm planning to make myself wool scarves, gloves or mittens, and legwarmers to get thru the winter. I think I might use some of the striping yarn to make Jo a pair of legwarmers, too. At least if it's sock yarn it won't shrink or felt if it gets thrown in the washer/dryer. I'm using a heathered green with hints of red & navy Cascade 220 to make my "Minimal Legwarmers" from The Knit Stitch, a book I've decided I really NEED in my collection. I'm not sure what size to make Jo's... how tight, how long. They will likely need to fit over her pants and under her winter boots. I don't know if I should make them fitted at her ankle so she can wear them around the house without them bagging down and making her trip over them. I have a book of legwarmer patterns, but none are for a size 4-5T child.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Broadcast Background

Ok, it's 4:48am and I'm wide awake. Only at this hour of the morning could an idea become so exciting that you can't sleep. I was awoken by a crash as dishes dh had stacked fell on the floor, then of course I was up and we bitched about our jobs a bit, he crashed at 2:30 and I decided to check my email and browse my daily links. I was on Laura's site and decided to click the links to the podcasts she'd mentioned. I listened to a few minutes of Cast-On and thought "Hey, I can do this!" I was a DJ in high school and miss that soapbox. I miss the creative aspect of it - preparing the material for the show, what music you are going to play, what tidbits of information & trivia you'll share, what recent experiences you want to express your opinions about. And what the hell, if no one listens to it, what difference does it make? I'll still have the experience of creating the 'cast. No pressure, no live dead air to contend with, and what the heck - it might help my performance at my job if I'm getting some practice with speaking slowly and clearly. The next step is to get a headset with Mic if we don't already have one around here. I'm psyched. Anyone have any advice?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

More Sock Yarn

Well, I couldn't resist the Knitpicks email yesterday, so I ordered 11 skeins of sock yarn last night. Enough for 4 pairs for me and 1 for dh. How could I resist, at 2.99/ball? Dh said, "well, order $20 worth" when I mentioned that there was a good deal on the yarn. I said, "But, button - it's free shipping if you spend $30" and then he said to go ahead, it was better to spend $30 on 10 balls of yarn than hundreds of dollars on a few, like I tend to do. And, I also got 3 balls in a manly-ish colorway to make him a pair of socks. He likes the Regia socks I made him and reminded me that I'd started a pair for him. I didn't feel like working on those, so I pulled out the yarn I got from Smiley's a while back and started a pair of boring ribbed socks from my Vogue Knitting on the Go book (I think it was Socks II). I'm about 2" into the cuff on the first sock, using size 1 needles and green/beige/grey yarn that looks sort of camoflauge-y. I hate ribbing, but I'm going to force myself to follow this pattern. If I finish a pair for dh, I can work on the next pair for myself without feeling guilty about it. I still need to finish up the pair for my mom as well. Those are being done with the Magic Loop method and I get tired of dealing with that in short spurts - it's hard to get back in the groove.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

BYO CYO



Well, today I dug out my CYO Philosopher's Wool sweater and worked a few rows. It's going to get done eventually, but probably not before spring. I bought this kit in Nov 2003 and have been swearing that I will get it done each winter & spring ever since. I think I'm about 16" done with the body, just 3 more inches to go before I start the armhole steeks. At this rate, it will be 2007 before I get to the shoulders, and probably another 2 years before I actually have the guts to cut open the steeks.

Blogger to the Rescue

What do you do when your website hasn't been updated in a whole year? You figure out how to get blogger to point to that index.html page of the site and start uploading pictures! My family website hadn't been updated since LAST HALLOWEEN!!! I lost FrontPage when I reformatted my hard drive and haven't been able to find the disk for it to reinstall, so I gave up and went with Blogger for now. At least they've updated it to the point that you can upload pictures directly from the interface now (something I hadn't realized in the past). Hmm, I may actually get some pix up on this site now. I've decided to keep this blog going only because I can be more blunt here than where my family goes to see what's going on. And I'm opening that site so that Alan and possibly some other family members can post to it.

I haven't gotten much in the way of knitting done lately since my wrists have been so sore. I did crochet a quick scarf for Courtney out of Paton's Be Mine yesterday. I had to double strand it with a size P hook, the only way to crochet with that crap because it's impossible to see the stitches. I put a 3 stitch hole in it to tuck the other end thru so that it doesn't fall off. Both girls love it.

Yesterday I came to the sobering conclusion that I'm not having any more kids, so I can start doing away with some of the kids patterns and books I have in my stash and also go thru my storage units and get rid of so much stuff I had been saving for baby #3. As long as I don't dwell on what I'm possibly giving up, it should be theraputic to purge that stuff. It's not like we're getting sterilized or anything - we can have another baby down the road if we decide to.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Retirement

Over the past 3 days I've been giving retiring my blogging life completely some thought. Stuff going on in my personal life is not lending itself to blogging (ie - don't want to get fired from another job because of it), I am starting to feel that the blogs are weighing me down, making me feel guilty, instead of inspiring me to keep on. I love reading other people's blogs, don't get me wrong, but I'm just not feeling that my blog is contributing anything to society. I've found myself content to keep a Word document on my computer that I can add to as a thought comes to me, using actual names and people and places from my life. No abbreviations or riddles. I've been getting spam comments, which is worse than none at all. I don't have enough time in the day to go to work, take care of my kids, and do my homework. My "weekend" was spent reading romance paperbacks for the first time in ages. And I feel like I'm living a slightly more private, secluded & safe life since the recent goings on haven't been published. Sort of like when I only had penpals via email. I think that blogging has taken a lot of that personal contact away - my friends who have blogs don't email, and neither do I if I know they're reading my blog.

Sooo, this may be my last post for a while. I'm keeping my blogs online for now, but I won't be adding to them very often.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

1 blankie down!

Well, I finished the knit portion of my afghan tonight and started the crochet edging. Have I mentioned how much I hate to crochet onto things that are already knit, woven or sewn? My mom complained that the yarn isn't soft. Well, it's $3/pound acrylic - what do you want? I'm hoping that a trip thru the washer & dryer help soften it up, and if I need to steam the shit out of it, that's on the list as well. I feel a great sense of accomplishment just from the fact that I used up almost 3 pounds of yarn in a week and actually mostly finished something. Like that adjective phrase? Sorta like my saying that I was almost half done with the bottom of my daughter's sweater coat. Dh was like, "Only a knitter would describe progress like that... how much is that, exactly, 1/8th, 1/4th? You're almost part way done with one piece of a complete project?! And that's progress?"If he knew how painful 100 ridges of garter stitch with solid colored yarn was, he would appreciate my progress!

Anyway, since I'm loving this style of blanket so much, I think I might break out the 3 pounds of "Pound of Love" I got in denim, red & white and make another blanket. That yarn is considerably softer. Maybe the next one will be for my nephew, who is due to be born any day now.

I've been reading about Theresa's trip to Hawaii and her socks in all the pictures they took along the way, and it's been making me wish for an afterthought heel sock project to take along with me to work and wherever. I've never done one and need to look up a pattern. I certainly have enough sock yarn to start a pair.

Dh & I got into an argument over our computers and where they will reside when we move into our studio at some point early next year. My mom & I are of the opinion that we should get computer armoirs so that I can shut & lock the door so my kids can't get into my crap and it doesn't look like a mess when I'm not using it. Dh is of the opinion that the computers need to stay in the basement so that we aren't tempted to clutter the area around the computers upstairs. The options really boil down to him buying me a freaking laptop with wireless broadband access, or getting the armoir... I refuse to be stuck in the basement in the middle of the night trying to surf the web after the kids go to bed because that's the only time I can leave them unattended to come down here. I wish I could just throw out the computer and go back to the old days. I remember when I thought it was so special to get email, now I get zillions of messages, mostly junk, on an hourly basis. I was writing a weekly summary for my IS class and mentioned how people are getting away from sitting at their computers for some things, like we have mp3 players, phones that can keep your address book, schedule, pictures, music, video clips, internet access, instant messaging, etc right on them so you don't have to visit your computer frequently to check into things. I can't wait until I can upgrade to one of our newest phones with a qwerty keyboard so I can email from my phone when I have a chance.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Progress, FINALLY!

I've been absent for a while, but I have good news - I actually got some knitting accomplished. I'm 3/4 of the way thru the bottom half of Jo's Einstein Jacket. I also got 3/4 of a machine knit afghan done this week. I figured out the seam as you go method on the USM and LOVE IT! The 2nd panel was a little sloppily attached, but it isn't too bad for my first try. The 3rd panel was attached beautifully. I'm going to do one more strip of blocks and then I have to figure out what kind of border I'm going to use.

We had our first AC Moore open here last week and I have been there 3 times already. I got the yarn for my afghan there - Caron 1 pound skeins for like $3 each on sale. I went back and bough a lot more, thinking I was going to run out, but I'm now thinking I might finish this blanket with the 2 solid and maybe need to break into the 2nd variegated skein since those are only 10 oz instead of 16 like the others. That means I can return/exchange the other 3-4 skeins and get my money back or swap for different colors so I can make another afghan. Today I got an oragami kit that is really worthless. Luckily, I used a 50% off coupon. At Michaels I got a ball of narrow ladder yarn, Matrix, I think it's called, in a pretty pale purple to make a scarf to go with my leather jacket that was my aunt's. I also got a rectangular loom which I may return because it's really uncomfortable to use in comparison to my wood one that is buried somewhere in storage. I also got a skein of soft pink yarn for Jo to use. I got her a set of the red heart children's needles which I think will be easier for her to use than the short bamboos I'd gotten. I got 3 wine bottle holders from Michaels the other night and plan to use 2 of them for my needles, and for Jo to use the third one for her yarn & needles.

I've also been on my diet for about 12 days and have lost 12 pounds so far and I'm feeling great. My cousin who I rarely see ran into me today (outside Michaels) and commented on how I looked like I'd lost weight. I don't know if I'm going to stay with the Medifast plan because it's so expensive, but I might try to use some regular slimfast type products instead of buying the expensive packets of food from Medifast. I broke the 200lb barrier, so my next goal is 190, which I haven't been since right after I had courtney 1 1/2 years ago.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Snags!

Tonight I tried again to work a multi-strip blanket on my USM. This time I decided to go with some acrylic ribbon yarn I got from Smiley's a while back for $1/ball. The first ball went great. The 2nd ball I decided to try using from the outside to see if that would lessen the twisting issue. BIG MISTAKE! Now it's getting all hung up trying to unwind as I use it and I think that's what is causing a problem with the latches of the needles getting caught in the weave of the ribbon. I give up for tonight. Now I know it takes a little less than 1 ball per square, and this blanket is 3 strips x 5 blocks, so I have enough yarn to make this project. It would be a nice clingy spring/summer blanket.

I'm still working on my Knitster illusion scarf and dug out my Ravenswood Lorna's Laces Heaven shawl and started working like mad on that yesterday so that I can get it done and justify the Icehouse skein I saw at the yarn shop Tuesday night. My LYS is growing my leaps & bounds - it's so exciting! Now if I could just knit faster to keep up with all the cool stuff I like! I got out The Knit Stitch by Sally Melville from the library so I could take another look thru that. I'm still contemplating the Einstein coat, although I'm afraid that I'll look & feel like the Abominable Snowman in it. I've lost about 7.5 pounds in 5 days - I'm not exactly planning ahead for a smaller size at this point. I really need to get back to the CYO sweater, as well. I think I have knitters block on that because I know I'm getting close to the sleeve steeks. I finally got my 200 Knitted Blocks book and haven't really had a chance to look at it yet. This winter I want to start a sqares afghan. It will be cold & crappy, I won't want to go out during lunch or breaks, so I might as well have a little project to work on. I'd really like to get a set of Lantern Moon needles, a small Lantern Moon rice basket, and some really classic wool yarn and keep it at my desk so I have a little something earthy in sight.

I have also had the urge to start a pair of afterthought heel socks - something really mindless that I can just knit & knit forever. I have the yarn I got from Smiley's to make dh a pair of socks a few months back that I could get started on. I'm into the instep of the Tahoe socks for my mom. I need to have those done by christmas at the latest. I know I said I wasn't doing handmade gifts this year, but our family seems like it's shrinking faster than it's growing. We lost my aunt but will be gaining my nephew within a few weeks. I feel like I should be making my aunts and mom something special this year.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Co-Workers I could do without

I was browsing some online websites and caught a link for the most annoying co-workers. They found that narscacistic people were the most annoying because they thought they were better than everyone else, but their bosses and co-workers thought they were below standard. Well, my own co-workers ground on my nerves today, and this is what bothers me - people who speak loud enough for the world to hear, then get pissy when someone responds to their statement/question, etc. I work with a bunch of mid-20's bitchy females that think they know everything and are confident even when they are dead wrong. I can't wait for this 6 month stint to be over so that I can move on to a different team, and hopefully lose touch with some of these jerks.

My diet stuff came in today and I prepared my packets for tomorrow's meals. I'm ready to take the plunge, even set up my phone to be able to post messages to my diet blog so that I can send a quick note each morning with my weigh-in numbers. Tonight I had pizza and coke - a last supper, if you will. I have PMS, so my weight is even higher than normal this weekend. I'm prepared to be miserable for the next 4 days until my next weekend. But I'm crossing my fingers that I also lose enough weight in the next week to make the whole thing worthwhile.

I'm not sure how much knitting I will be getting done over the next 5 weeks while in my first UOP class. I'm getting a little nervous about the whole thing. I start next Tuesday. I powered up my laptop for the first time in months and found that the screen is dying fast... faster than I'll be able to replace it, I'm sure. Now that we're starting to talk about putting our bathroom in the basement and the computers upstairs in our studio, that might not be such a big problem. As long as I can access my computer 2 hours a day, I should be ok. I'm crossing my fingers that these classes are not as hard as I fear them to be. I used to be smart, I can do this... I'm going to keep telling myself that.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

1 more day!

Well, I got the email confirming that my diet stuff will arrive tomorrow, making for a perfect Saturday start. Mondays are days from hell at my job - everyone seems to read their mail and call us to bitch about everything on Mondays. Hopefully by the 3rd day on the diet I should be ok, and if not, well, I'm off on Wed/Thurs - I'll just have to muddle thru.

Today I got some knitting done on my scarf. I'm sorta stuck now because the graph has some hiccups, I think. There are rows that are coded for contrasting color, but are on rows that should be main color, or vice versa. Not sure if they expect me to know to keep knitting in the other color for an extra wide stripe or what. I might look into getting one of the shadow knitting books and find another project to work on. Maybe make Jo a scarf with her name on it? That would be cool. At least I'm using stash yarn and not wasting new yarn.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Illusion Knitting

Today I decided to catch up on some of the Knitty Gritty episodes clogging up my DVR. I watched the one on Illusion knitting and immediately decided I "had" to start one of these projects. I scrounged thru my stash at home and came up with some pastel Woolease that was supposed to be my very first sweater when I learned to knit 4 years ago. Needless to say, it's still sitting there in balls. I decided to go straight to the "Knitster" scarf design. I thought the process of knitting with these designs inbeded would be difficult, but once you figure out how to read the damn chart, you're off & running. I've got the first star and the beginning of the K forming. This is not a project I recommend doing in front of the tv - I had to sit at the dining room table with colored pencils and post-its to keep my place on the chart. There are 4 rows of knitting for each 1 row of the shape graph, and it's easy to lose your place since there are sometimes the same pattern stitch is done with each color so you feel like you're having deja vu... "I could have sworn I already did K4, P5, K2, P2, K20!" (yeah, back 3 rows and with the other color) But I like how it's coming out. I just hope I can make it another 4 or 5 feet! Or my scarf might just say "Knit" instead of Knitster!

I have to stay up late tonight because dh's car's check engine light came on today. Someone is fucking with our gas tanks, which causes the check engine lights to come on... mine came on this week, too, which is ironic, don't you think? The dealer we got dh's truck from won't let him bring it in and wait for it, so we're just dropping it off tonight and hopefully he'll be able to get it tomorrow before work. My niece isn't going to be with us tomorrow, my mom's going out for lunch with a friend and then to the lawyer with my aunt, and Jo should be well enough to go to school tomorrow, so it will just be us and Courtney for a few blessed hours tomorrow morning. Dh & I haven't seen each other for more than a few minutes each day for 2 weeks.

I can't wait to start my new diet. My mom isn't going to start until after her overnight trip next month, but I'm getting started as soon as the stuff gets here. I was 208 this morning. My mom will have a chance to see how I do on it before she starts. I'm crossing my finger that this is a miracle come true. And if it works, I'm going to recommend my mom's friend tries it. He's about 350 pounds, can barely breathe and is on oxygen and is diabetic among other things. If he doesn't lose weight, he's going to die - it's as simple as that. But because he's so sick, he's not a candidate for surgical solutions. Since this is sort of my all purpose blog for the time being, I may be posting things here, but I also intend to set up a blog specific to the diet so that I can reflect back on it later and remember how I felt, etc. Sort of like giving birth and forgetting the pain afterwards - the excitement about diets seems to wear off at the first or second meal.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Taking the Plunge

Tonight I researched, and subsequently ordered, a supply of Medifast - a mostly liquid diet that is supposed to take off up to 20 pounds a month. My mom & I saw the ad in Better Homes & Gardens and I immediately thought - wait, you just add water and eat/drink it - I CAN DO THAT! I have long professed that if someone would just give me astronaut food, I'd be a happy camper. I hate cooking with a passion. I don't see the point of spending an hour cooking something that I'll swallow without tasting within 10 minutes. So, tonight I looked into the program and my mom reminded me that there was a coupon code for 1 week free, and we agreed to bite the bullet, share a 1 month supply, and see if it was something we could stick with - it was $215 and that was after a $70-something discount, for a 2 week supply for each of us (I got the regular stuff, my mom got the diabetic line). I've put on nearly 10 pounds since I switched to day shift. The diet is about $300/month, but when you figure that you only need to supply a salad or vegetable and some lean meat for one meal each day, and a lot of water, that's really not that bad. I've been spending an average of $25/week on takeout lunches that are making me gain weight. I weigh somewhere near 207, I think (although it fluctuates between 203-210). I really want to be about 135, although I don't remember when I was last that weight or what size I wore - it was in the 7th grade, I think. I'm going to try to detox over the next 3-5 days that it takes the package to come in via UPS. If this stuff works, dh will probably want to try it, too. He's been trying to do South Beach. He needs to lose about 35 pounds, too. I don't know if we can afford 3 people in our household on a $300/month diet plan. That's more than the mortgage payment! But if it works, it will be worth it... if it doesn't - well, I've wasted more money on dumber things. I'm just thinking that I could be down 75 pounds before my trip to Disney next spring - how wonderful would that be!

In knitting news - it's been slow progress, as usual. I worked on my Tahoe socks for my mom a little in the car this week while I was on lunch. I still haven't gotten that piece of blanket with the dropped stitches off my knitting machine yet. Maybe tomorrow or Thursday. I never seem to get caught up. My week this week was horrible, starting with my boss getting fired on Friday, having no supervisor or point of contact all weekend, and not being able to get caught up on Monday or Tuesday. I might work on Jo's chunky red scarf tomorrow. I've had it in the car but the needles are too small, so I haven't gotten far with it yet. I also need to get back to Jamie's shawl. I've been getting to sleep later & later, the girls won't go to bed on time because they're sick, and I haven't had the time or energy to work on any knitting at home. Now that the cooler weather is coming up, I'm hoping for more loungy time - you know, wearing sweats and sitting on the couch watching tv and being glad I'm not out in the cold/damp/wind/rain/sleet/snow/ice, etc. Of course, I thought I would have more time to knit during the warm weather, and we know now that didn't happen either. I promise myself to get something fibery done tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Slow progress

I haven't been getting much fiber work done lately because things have been so hectic and it's impossible to knit around Courtney because she is constantly taking the pattern or running off with the yarn! Today I picked up a sock that was abandoned in my car to work on while I waited in the car with the girls and my mom went in and looked for shoes. I'm on the instep now, so the clock is ticking down on that project (this is the 2nd sock). It felt good to be accomplishing something for a change.

I also sent in the paperwork required to get my school stuff started. I start Sept 27th, and I'm both nervous and excited. I love school - I almost always have. I'm just worried that I'm not going to have a chance to get my homework done around the kids and work. I'm definitely going to have to work smarter and be more organized - like get out my palm and Franklin Covey planner that are collecting dust and start using them. I have the school year for Jo, the school year for Alan, and now my school calendar to keep track of. Hopefully, if I stay on my meds, which keep me clear-headed and able to focus better - and not dwelling on things that I'm stressed about - I can get thru this. I should be able to get thru 2 classes this year, and then 5 classes next year that my employer will pay for, and then probably 3 classes that I'll have to pay for. Then in January I can start over with them paying - it's a per-calendar-year limit. In the event that we decide to have baby #3, I want to have my bachelors degree out of the way. While I admire mothers that go back to college when their kids are older, I don't want to be missing games & recitals because I'm studying for finals. Better to do it now, get it out of the way, and hope they don't realize how much of my time I'm spending on the computer. Again, this brings up the point of the laptop... Dh is now talking about me getting a more expensive one because then I can get rid of my pc. All I know is that I'm not financing another computer - we've done that a few times and end up paying for the thing long after it's bitten the dust. But, it's not like it's not going to get used - my computer is the one piece of electronic equipment I can't imagine not having... I could get rid of the radio, tv, ipod, you name it - I can not go without my computer for more than 2 days.

In completely unrelated news, a week or so ago I got an email from a friend I haven't talked to in months since we have opposing schedules - I'm now working days and she was working nights last I spoke with her. She sent out one of those general "friend" emails to let everyone know she'd moved back in with her parents (glad I'm not the only one). I replied and gave her an update on what was going on with me over the last 9 months, which has been a lot. She never replied. Then, last night I get another similar group email letting everyone know her cell phone number and had a snotty comment in there regarding her choosing another cell company after I gave her advice on the best deals my company had to offer and offered to steer her away from the junky phones. It made me just go "what - ever" and decide that the last 9 months that I hadn't spoken to her had been the beginning of the end, and now we're at the end. She was the only "friend" I had that still lived in this city, but now I couldn't care less. I've gotten back in touch with my college roommate, who has been there for me during the rough times, and we only lived together for 3 1/2 months 10 years ago. My 17 year old former employee Steph and my former bestest pal Nick keep in touch with me thru AIM when we're all up late at night. I still miss Jamie, but we keep in touch sporadically thru text messaging - she's the type of friend that you can go 3 weeks without talking to, but send a 120 character message and completely catch up with each other.

Am I the only one who seems to outgrow friendships faster than I make new ones?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Changes, changes - Everywhere!

Well, today was busy & hectic - actually, my entire "weekend" was. Yesterday my mom determined that I'd procrastinated long enough - it was time to find a dress to wear to my cousin's wedding next weekend. I hate shopping, at least for clothes. We went to the first shop I usually have good luck in and found a dress mis-marked for $50 off instead of 50% off - so the $69.99 dress ended up being $19.99 instead of $34.99. Oops - next time pay attention to what you're doing. It's a cute little black number that is going to take some serious undergarments to even out my lumpy figure. I bought a large scarf to use as a wrap... when I told dh I got it he blew a gasket ... "YOU BOUGHT A SHAWL???? ARE YOU NUTS???" Well, it was $9.90 and doesn't require any all-nighter's to finish... I'm not even sure I'll use it - if I don't, I'll return it - no biggie. Then we proceeded to run around the rest of the mall and had lunch at a chinese buffet restaurant - my kids actually stuffed themselves like pigs, which is really unusual - Jo is on an every-other-meal diet lately. I picked up some body wash to use my coupon at Bath & Body (for free air freshner - take my advise... unless you want your house to smell like an apple farm, stay away from the apple scent - it was a big mistake). My mom picked up a picture frame at Michaels and a clearance table cloth at BB&B (all with coupons - my mom is the coupon queen). By the time we got home, I was ready for bed, but it was only 4:30 - luckily, the girls had a nice long nap, so I got a little break.

Today was Jo's first day at school. The bus was 15 mins late, which had dh all in a twit. We hopped in the truck and drove around the corner to watch her get off the bus at the school and took a picture but didn't let her see us because we didn't want her to be expecting that. She was happy as a clam - an aide that spent a lot of time with her at the open house got her off the bus and brought her into the school. She was excited to get off the bus and say goodbye to everyone when she got home in the late morning. She's the last pick-up and the first drop-off, so she's not on the bus very long - the school is only about a 1/2 mile away. We're hoping for a vast improvement in her behavior now that she'll be thriving on a schedule and having that outing every day, whereas she's been home all the time since my mom can't take 3 kids out by herself. We went to the developmental evaluation on Tuesday and they determined that she is not showing signs of autism spectrum disorders at this point, which was a huge relief. Now we're just playing catch up and hopefully she'll be back on track before kindergarten, which is still 2 years away.

I'm also investigating going back to school. I got a call from UOP this morning and started the process of returning to school there later this month. I really didn't want to start this soon, but it might be better to just jump in. I'm still not entirely sure how I'm going to fit it all in. #1 on my agenda is to figure out a way to buy a laptop that I can set up with a wireless router. UOP uses Outlook Express as it's basis for the "classroom" - everything is done thru a newsgroup type setting, with projects & homework being emailed. My laptop can be plugged into my router, but that doesn't get me any closer to the area where I can watch my kids. Maybe I can sync & then bring it upstairs to work, then bring it back down to sync again... very frustrating. Ideally, I could get wireless broadband if I had a computer that could take an aircard, but that would be an additional monthly expense. Maybe by Christmas I can get a really nice laptop - I just need to find a way to cope for the next 3 months.

I've gotten a really sore right side lately, I think from using my trackball with my arm unsupported so much lately, so I haven't been knitting. I did go back to reading A Good Yarn by Debbie Macomber. It's got me thinking about getting back into sock knitting. I still haven't gotten my knitting machine project fixed yet - still need to rip out all that knitting after the running stitches. I'm seriously going to have to start using my Franklin Covey planner to keep myself organized. Knitting, School for me, dh & Jo, work, doctors and dentist appointments, bills... My Dr approved my online medicine order, now the trick is to remember to keep taking it daily so I can keep my head on straight. You know you're poor and mentally unbalanced when you get excited that a 3 month mail-order supply of your medicine is cheaper than 2 months at the drugstore.

I haven't had a chance to sit down with Jo to work on her knitting again. The Encore yarn I got her had to be cut up and thrown out - she kept wrapping it all around the furniture and we couldn't keep spending 45 mins a night untying everything. Then I had gotten her a ball of Kuryeon, thinking that the multi colors would be more interesting - I'm about 1/2 way thru and finally got to green after brown, black, gray and other boring colors. So, I was at Joann's with my coupons last weekend and got her a skein of pastel baby homespun yarn, which I realize is not the easiest yarn to learn on because of the texture, but it's soft and pretty, so I'm hoping she'll like it. I ordered from Crafter's Choice a book of 200 knitted yarn blocks - another attempt to make some squares into a blankie. I figure that I can take a little block with me to work or wherever. I also got a puzzle mat - the kind that you roll up with all the pieces of the puzzle on it and can keep the completed parts together. I've been wanting to work on a big puzzle and Jo loves puzzles, so I thought that we might be able to do a family puzzle project. I'm going to start with maybe a 1000 piece one and work my way up. Assuming I ever finish one!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Knitting in the Dark

The problem with machine knitting in less than desirable lighting is that you notice after 200 rows that there were stitches dropped and now there are huge runs in the work!!! And I only got a chance to work on it this morning and when I got home from work because the kids were being watched by my dh & parents. Now I have to practically start over and rip out a LOT of knitting to get back to where I started. And I'm also not sure I'll have enough yarn to make the project as big as I want. I'll have to use a neutral yarn to work a border if I don't have enough to make the afghan as large as I want.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

A lot of yarn goes a little way

Today we went to storage and I got out 1 bin of yarn, wool-ease for the blanket I started last night and acrylic in bright colors for the blankets I want to make. I finished binding off the piece of ivory sprinkle blanket I worked on last night and worked a 54 st x 72 row square out of bright variegated Encore Colorspun I bought on ebay a couple years ago (it was supposed to be a sweater for Jo, but cables & variegated yarn do NOT go together!) Tonight I came back downstairs after putting the girls to bed at the obscene hour of 8pm (they'll probably get back up at midnight with my luck - I never put them to bed that early) and cast on with bright red Red Heart and knit until I ran out of yarn, still 54 sts wide. Rather than casting off a square, I decided to just switch to a different color and keep going, so I finished up the ball of variegated and then switched to bright yellow Berella 4 that was supposed to be a blankie for Jo when she was born, using a Project Linus crochet pattern - needless to say, it never got done. Now I'm trying to decide how long to make the strip. I keep saying I want to make a "seam as you go" afghan, but have never tried the technique. And I also can't decide what to do about the wool ease blanket - the piece of knitting is much smaller than I expected once I took it off the machine and let it relax. I have a lot more yarn than I expected, so maybe I'll use that piece for a pillow and start over with strips for the afghan. It's going to be green, navy & ivory wool ease. And I'm beginning to doubt it will ever become a gift for my nephew... I will probably keep it for us, since dh complains that his other throw is too 'hole-y'. I'm also starting to think I should put the Homespun I bought to make my aunt a blanket on the machine and make her a 4 square throw out of it.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

What is it?

In the interest of making some sort of fiber progress, tonight I got out the USM and started a blanket. Only 1 problem so far - I don't have enough wool ease at home to finish it, but I know I have a TON of it in storage. So, maybe tomorrow I can have dh go to storage and pull out some of the yarn I can use to finish this afghan/blanket. It's hard to tell how big the piece of knitting is - 90 stitches wide and 150 rows long. This one will probably be for my nephew. The next one will most likely be made of crappy acrylic and be really scrappy -lots of small blotches of color instead of stripes or solids. I'm going to see if I can find the round blanket instructions - I have 3 Pound of Love skeins I could use to make those.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

TGIW!

Thank god tomorrow is Wednesday (aka Saturday!) It's been a stressful month, and I'm hoping that after the holiday weekend, when Jo goes to school and we get back on a routine, life will go back to normal. And, as if I didn't have enough to worry about, I'm starting to suspect that I have either Adult ADD or an Auditory Processing problem that they're suspecting Jo has. Of course, this information would have been more helpful to realize while she was getting speech & special ed during the past 2 years, but maybe if I let the specialist she's going to see in a couple weeks know about it, maybe it will help with their diagnosis for her. Just a little late on this stuff... kinda like when I found out I had a lazy eye at 24 years old! I can only understand people if I can read their lips - if my glasses are off, forget it, I can't hear a thing. When people talk I have to stop & replay what they're saying in my head so I can process it. What is really odd is that I've had this problem my whole life, but kept passing the hearing tests (my pediatrician was an assembly line physician - they didn't look for anything you didn't complain about). I have a job where I have a headset on and have to rely completely on hearing the customer thru 1 speaker, which means if anyone says anything to me or too close to me, I completely lose track of the customer on the phone. I always did really well in school until I got depressed and just sort of gave up on homework, so no one had any reason to suspect I was having a problem.

In crafting news, I'm depressed that I can't go buy yarn this week during tax free week here in NY - yarn is included in "clothing & footwear." Unfortunately, I'm behind on my bills, and while we came up with a pretty dummy proof budgeting strategy going forward, getting caught up is going to be a struggle.

I caught Super Size Me on cable the other night and hope to change my eating habits... I'm one of those people who eat at least 5 meals at McDonalds a week. I've gained 10 lbs in 6 weeks doing it - not good. Dh is doing South Beach - I can't give up the carbs. I'm actually hoping to re-join a gym. The girls are old enough to leave in the onsite daycare so I don't have to worry about leaving them with my mom. What I really hate is that I spend all that money and usually stop going after a little while after paying for a whole year. Part of me thinks I should just cut the bull and just buy a better treadmill like they have, since that's about all I use there anyhow. I've already decided that if my aunt left me any money (she'd made comments that her 401k was to be divided between the 3 of us - my brother, cousin & myself, but we don't know if she made changes or even had anything in the account), that would be one thing I would spend the money on, a gym membership, so that I can get healthier. Otherwise I'll sign myself up as soon as I can afford it. Alan wants to go back to the gym, too, and he found one that's open after work. Unfortunately, the one closest to my house that I used to go to is for women only. We used to go to a club downtown (same company) a few years ago, but it's a pain to go downtown, have to worry about parking around the corner, crossing all the streets, etc. And I don't feel intimidated at the all women's club. I just put on my walkman and watch tv while I'm there, which is the secret to make time go by faster - music makes it drag, but watching Home Improvement for 30 mins goes by fast.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Sadness

You may remember back in February we got some not so good news about my aunt Debbie. She'd been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer back in February and had struggled thru rounds of chemo that seemed to do more damage than good. She kept getting infections that landed her in the hospital for weeks at a time. 6 weeks ago she went to a nursing home because she no longer felt comfortable being at home. This morning around 2:25am she passed away. I'm so thankful that I stopped up to see her yesterday and we got to tell each other that we loved each other one more time. I know she's in a better place, along with her parents, but we'll all miss her a lot. She was my godmother and was my favorite aunt to chat with - everyone pointed out our likeness. We were both pretty smart, and she took pride in my accomlishments "So smart, my niece.." Everyone always said how much she looked like my grandmother, but having not known or remembering my grandmother so young, I never saw it. In the past few weeks she's aged years and now I see the resemblance. Everyone said that I looked like my aunt & grandmother, I think I'll need to be about 50 before I see it.

When we found out about her being sick, I went to the yarn store and picked out yarn to make a shawl. I got thru the first wedge really quickly and remember saying that I should have the entire thing completed by April. Of course, like I predicted, saying it put a jinx on it. I stopped working on it, and then felt that if I picked it back up and completed it, she would pass away then. That's how I felt about the wrap I made my grandfather on the USM shortly before he died. I finally did it and then he passed away. Today I brought the shawl up to work on it but never actually sat down to do it because the girls were being out of control. After I heard my mom's cough upstairs, I went up to find out if my aunt had passed away - she'd called at 10pm to say she was staying the night there. My mom confirmed my suspicion. The calling hours will be Saturday and the funeral on Monday. Now comes the work bullshit I have to wade thru to get time off. Aunts don't rate bereavement time. What kind of bullshit is that? And my supervisor wouldn't commit to trying to get my vacation time approved thru his boss, who does have the power to get me off. Dh's boss & A.D. had him pre-approved for this situation weeks ago, and he's just a freakin in-law nephew! He had the same problem when his great-grandmother died and they decided that great grandparents don't count either! Luckily, I will be able to work Saturday if the calling hours are not until 4pm (we're hoping for 4-8pm) - I'll just have to rush home from work when I get out. Sunday we won't have anything going on, but Monday will most likely be the mass, so I'll need off that day. Alan's off because we're going to see The Wiggles on Monday night. I'm hoping that we'll be able to have some peace now. It's been such a chaotic time with her being in the hospital and nursing home for the past couple months, and before that we were worried about her being alone at home for any length of time. And we've been hesitant to use any of our time off because we knew that the funeral was inevitable. Our babysitter left for college yesterday. I'm hoping that the kids are good enough to take with us to the funeral parlor and possibly to church. We may have to call dh's cousin to see if she can watch the girls while we're inside for the mass. They have a small area with a jungle jim. I know my mom is exhausted from all the running around and the stress of all the emotions. We went thru this with my grandmother 11 years ago when she was in and out of ICU, but we were younger then, my brother & I could take care of ourselves, we didn't have to worry about finding babysitters or getting off work. My grandfather was sick but I don't remember for how long, I don't think it was as long as my aunt, and he was in the hospital and had all 4 kids visiting him, so it didn't seem like my mom was there so constantly like this time, when both my mom & other aunt were there almost around the clock for the past week or two.

Anyway, that's the reason I haven't had time to knit or update this site in a while. Hopefully the posts and knitting will resume.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Are you sure this isn't hell?

I swear, I can't wait for this week to just be over with already. The problem then becomes - when does my week start & end? Tomorrow is my work "monday", is that going to be the end of my bad week, or will it be Sunday (my wednesday)? Things got off to a bad start when I was 17 minutes late to work Monday morning. You'd have to work for my company and be in my position to understand the full ramifications 17 minutes can have on your career. Luckily, this was the first time I've been that late, so hopefully it won't have any impact at all. Tuesday I went home with the mother of all migraines and had to make up my 1/2 day today. I came home with another headache and spent most of the afternoon trying to stay still and quiet - a feat when your 3 year old is slapping you on the head to wake you up. Oh, and when I got out of work I called home to check on things and found out that my dad had lost his job - he's been there over 30 years. They're getting rid of the entire department, which I suppose makes a little easier to swallow versus the past 15 years that he's been coming home monthly giving dates of the next big layoff, the department being picked thru to get rid of a few at a time. I wonder what the suicide ratio is for this city, home of Kodak, Bausch & Lomb, Xerox - "The Big Three" of Rochester. They've been laying people off non-stop around here for the past 10-15 years. And there really aren't any other jobs. Valeo just announced that it's closing it's GM parts plant here by 2008 - that's another big employer that's been here forever. There has to be a certain number of people who can't take it and just kill themselves. The constant threat that you can be canned at any minute would drive me nuts. I lived with that at my last job, but that was only for a few years... my dad's been going thru it for decades.

Anyway, that wasn't very good news. Then tonight there was a bright spot. I was watching some of my taped episodes of Knitty Gritty from DIY. Johanna got out her yarn & needles and sat in my lap so we could knit together. I happened to come across an episode where they were teaching how to begin knitting from casting on. They had the rhyme "In thru the Door, run around the back, peak out the window and out jumps Jack" or something like that. I taught her that and she was insistent that she keep on going. We're having some problems trying to keep her hands in a place on the needles that lets the left side slide off and the right side stay on the end of the needle, but she's doing really well for a 3 year old who's been labeled as disabled. Now I want to take her to the yarn shop and get her a little clear knitting bag and some point protectors and maybe let her pick out a ball of yarn. I'm hesitant to go that route since I don't want her to get a yarn stash going at 3! But I chose her first yarn out of convenience - I ran by the yarn shop on my way home from work - and I feel like she should get to pick her first yarn. She's definitely doing better than my friend who I tried to teach a year or so ago. I haven't tried letting her hold the yarn because I just think it's too hard for her to do that much manipulation with her hands without getting tangled or dropping the needles out of the stitches. The important thing to me is that she's interested and persistant. It's after 10pm and I'm trying to get to sleep and she won't let me put the yarn away! I wish I could find some bright chunky striping yarn. I think that would be a lot more interesting for her to work with. I got her some Encore mega chunky yarn that's red with an occassional yellow or navy blotch.

I dropped one of my new fancy needles and the tip is now super sharp where I wrecked the finish. I could cry - $18 needles that lasted 2 days! Not that I can't use them, it's just that 1/2 the rows hurt to touch the tip of the needle to my finger as I work. I hope she gets more in, because I love how pointy the needles are and would be willing to spend the money on a pretty set of size 8's.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

More Fiber Therapy

Today was a horrible day for me. I actually left work 1/2 way thru the day and went home and slept for about 3 hours. Dh had been a total jackass to me last night, I cried myself to sleep, woke up feeling like my eyes were filled with sand. I used the only eyedrops I could find, generic visine, with my contacts still in. By 9am I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my skull and I had a wicked migraine. I got up to say thank you to Jo's special ed teacher who had her last class with Jo today. She's been coming to our house weekly for 2 years now. Around 4 I went to the yarn shop for some fiber therapy. I walked around for an hour, eventually grabbing another hank of the baby alpaca grande yarn, this time in a light & dark blue marl. I also picked up a pair of handmade straight needles with cool one of a kind knobs on the ends (maybe I'll post a picture one of these days). The needs are soooo sharp, I love them. I'm using the yarn to make wristlets to wear at work in the winter. I don't have a pattern, so I was just going to wing it, but my first attempt didn't come out so good, so I may be starting over again tomorrow. I wish they had the needles in size 8's in a pattern I liked to use for lace knitting because the points are ideal for that. I got Jo short needles last week and some bulky yarn to try to teach her to knit, but I haven't really had a chance to sit and work with her on it. I wind the yarn around the needles and help her pull the loop thru, but she is showing some interest in it. I've been thinking about resigning from blogging. I don't have time to devote to it anymore. It's become apparent that my family thinks I do nothing around the house or with my kids and that I'm a complete failure as a wife, mother & daughter - this is one of the few things I can actually imagine giving up without it killing me.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Just what I needed!

More yarn! Yippee. This time it's just a big fat hank of some LB Big Wool or something or other. It's huge! I'm making Jo a scarf for her new winter coat out of it. Did I need a new project? No, but at least this is a quickie once I get going. I've determined that size 15 needles are too small, next up will be 17's but there is a chance I'll use 19's. I've also come to the conclusion that I need to let a lot of my stash go. Not the good stuff, but the acrylic crap I'm never going to use. The fact of the matter is that we're spending $160 a month to store shit we'll never use, and a lot of that space is taken up by yarn in boxes, bags & totes. I'm going to keep anything there's a chance I'll actually use one day, but most of the red heart stuff will be donated to the local schools. The problem with yarn is that it's too heavy to reasonably ship to charities that I know could use the yarn. The stuff that's too nice to give away but that I won't use I'll try selling at a garage sale. We're also coming to the realization that we won't be having another child any time soon, and that we're not that great of parents so maybe we shouldn't have more at all. So, we're thinking of selling some of the baby stuff that is taking up room and that isn't essential. I had a good cry over it, but now I'm feeling ok about it, mostly.

The other thing is that we're getting satellite tv installed tomorrow. Our city has this huge battle going between the cable company and the phone company, both of which are offering all 3 services - internet, phone & tv. We've had a cable modem for at least 5 years now and it's been ok, but their phones don't work if the power goes out and they only have 1 phone plan, which is flat rate and includes long distance, but we don't call long distance. Instead, we're going with the phone company's promo for satellite tv, DSL and regular phone service. The tv will have 180 channels & a DVR - no more missing daytime television or stuff on later than I can stay up at night!!! There are also more kids channels, so we should be able to find stuff on at any time, but I'm hoping to have the kids watch less tv now that Courtney is getting older and they are starting to play together.

Last night we put Jo's bed into Courtney's room, and they slept in the same room for the first time. We went out and got them matching Princess bedding sets and blankets, which they loved. They Should, for what they cost!!! This morning they were trying to talk to each other. The problem is that Jo speaks Johanna language, and Courtney speaks Courtney language. They fought over Courtney's binky, which Jo kept stealing from her and putting it where she couldn't reach it. Courtney says "Oh, Man!" and "Oh, No!" - it's too cute.