Archive for August, 2006

Ravens and Bookmarks

I hate losing things. It’s especially frustrating when I’ve misplaced something myself. My brain isn’t as young as it used to be, and I guess I just can’t keep up with myself.

Sometimes someone, or worse, “nobody” loses something for me. Oy people – don’t be touching my stuff! – and if you borrow it, put it back! There’s a universal Mother’s Mantra if there ever was one.

When I was a kid, if something went missing, especially if it was small and/or shiny, Junior probably stole it…. and you’d never see it again.

Junior was our “pet” raven. Yep. Dad came home one weekend from a hunting trip with a “surprise” for us kids. We were so excited. What could it be? Well, we sure weren’t thinking “raven.”

Now, Mom will probably be mad and disappointed when she reads this, because she liked Junior. But, me…. not so much.

Junior was a pain in the butt. Of course that was just my view – because that bird had it out for me. It’s like they say – animals can sense fear…. well, I was afraid of that bird, and he knew it. He’d peck my toes, scare my friends, and steal my hopscotch markers. You could NOT play hopscotch around that bird.

He also stole a lot of my brothers Hot Wheel cars. We found a whole bunch of Junior’s stash years later, hidden away under the back shop.

He loved my Mom and Dad. When Dad would get home Junior would jump up on his shoulder and rifle through the papers in his shirt pocket and eat the erasers off his pencils. He would sit on my Mom’s shoulder and make cooing sounds in her ears. He would jump on my shoulder and pull my hair.

I was not a big fan of the bird… and, it didn’t help that it was my brother’s and my job to scrub the bird poop off the patio every Saturday. That was especially fun when Junior had found purple berries to eat or, even better, crayons.

Nope, not a fan of the bird. He was cool, I mean, not everyone has a raven for a pet…, and he never learned to make bird sounds, but barked like our dog, but the bird and I were not close. And…. he stole stuff. You didn’t leave stuff lying around outside if you ever wanted to see it again.

So, I don’t like to waste time looking for stuff. It’s one of my major pet peeves. Looking for something that isn’t where it’s supposed to be. “Bookmarks” save me endless frustration in this regard. I have a bookmark for blogs, a bookmark for on-line knitting sources, and a bookmark for future possible projects.

I was browsing through my “To Knit” bookmarks, where I stick everything that catches my eye while I’m out in knitting blogland…. the “maybe knits,” the “think abouts,” stuff I find and might want to knit someday, when I came across Prosperous Plum. When I first came across this pattern I wasn’t too taken with it, but later saw it here… and loved Heather’s version.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to work on next, but this is the perfect project. I have the yarn, and I think it’s gonna be a relatively quick knit, it looks like something I’d actually get a lot of wear out of, and I’m not in the mood to work on socks right now… So Prosperous Plum it is.

Yes, I know I was participating in UFO August and shouldn’t be casting on for anything new but, actually, this is the yarn from one of my UFO’s, Spring Fling, which just wasn’t doing it for me…. so, I’m just kind of trading it in on a new model. That’s not really cheating, right?

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It’s This Soft

Pattern: Wrap Yourself in Nature, from Inspired Cables, Fiona Ellis
Yarn: 3-ply Prime Alpaca, Musk
Size 6 needles
60″ x 17″

Modifications to pattern: This is meant to be knit in two pieces and seamed together in a “V.” I knit it straight, in one piece, to the same length as my favorite pashmina.

This Prime Alpaca is the SOFTEST yarn… and very warm. I enjoyed every minute of knitting this yarn and pattern. The cables were fun, and I LOVE the triangled edging.

PS – in the 2nd picture… that is NOT a hole. It may be where I joined yarns… but you don’t see it in the actual scarf.

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School Supplies

What is it with school supplies? You have to have NEW school supplies every year. The pens, paper, notebooks, backpacks you finished out last year with, a mere 3 months ago, will not possibly do.

I totally get this.

I love school supplies. They appeal to the nerdy, obsessive side of me. New, shiny, crisp books that have yet been cracked open…. New pens. New pencils with pristine erasers. And I don’t even go to school anymore – but I was almost beside myself in the college bookstore with Kaity yesterday. Surely, there’s some reason I NEED those cool pastel plastic envelopes in every color, and new Sharpies, and dividers with pockets, and these cool Post-Its in colors I don’t have… etc.

So far this year, for myself I’ve stopped myself and limited my personal purchases to journals (actually, Mead Composition Books – did you know they come in COLORS now?), and pens. Journals are my new obsessions. I’ve got one for Bible study, and a prayer journal…., and a knitting journal where I jot down random thoughts (you know, I have a mind like a steel…. uh, sieve, and if I don’t write it down, it’s gone forever). You can’t have too many journals. Or enough back-up journals.

I’ll be dropping enough $$ at college and university bookstores this year on stuff the kids need, I can’t afford to be wooed in by all the cool pens, paper, etc, etc, etc – but it’s all so pretty!

My new KnitPicks chart holder totally appeals to my nerdy, organized side. I had a perfectly fine metal board and magnets that held my cable charts just fine…. but that’s not the point. Shoot, I mean, if we’re talking function, a Post-It works just fine, stuck right to your pattern. But that’s hardly the point. Um, hello! – this one is obviously so much better. This one folds closed, and has a cool cover, and snaps! I mean, come on…. what’s not to love. It’s the $9 Cadillac of chart holders! Love it. I really needed it.

However…… the next time I see some teenage kid (boy)… and there have been a few – check it out, moving all the magnets around, which of course I don’t notice until they say “Hey, what’s this?” ….. I’m wapping him upside the head with it. Well…… it DID keep track of where I was in my cable pattern. DID…

People need to keep their hands off my cool stuff. It’s my cool stuff. Get your own school supplies.

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“26-miles across the sea, Santa Catalina is a-waiting for me….”

Yeah I fell for that once, 35 years ago or so, and swore NEVER AGAIN was I going on a boat. I.Get.Seasick.

Crapola – I just keep talking myself into stuff. Forward to 2 years married, in Hawaii for vacation, on a sport fishing boat. Sick again…. I tell myself NEVER AGAIN!

Since then I’ve paddled 30 miles in a canoe – that’s okay, canoes are little. I went to a wedding on a party boat in Laughlin – on the river, not to choppy, took my Dramamine… felt like crap, but had just lost weight and was looking good and it was the first time the hubby and I had been away together in a long time….. so it was all good. Didn’t warf and embarrass myself.

Forward to last Saturday…… eh. The invitation says “join us aboard the Condor Express as we celebrate 20 years.” Apparently the couple whose anniversary it is, took the “old” Condor Express to the islands (Santa Cruz, to be exact) to be married, on the island, 20 years ago. Oy – boat people. If I’m thinking celebration – I am DEFINITELY NOT thinking boat. Well, go figure, he’s a lobster fisherman.

So, the hubby says, “it’ll be fine – it’ll be a harbor cruise, they won’t leave the harbor…. you can do it.” I call to RSVP and the “groom” says, “we’re really looking forward to it- the weather should be great, and we’re hoping to make it to the island and back!” Panic now starts to set in. I don’t do boats – for more reasons than just the sea-sickness.

Saturday, driving to Santa Barbara, the hubby looks out at the ocean and says, it’s pretty rough and windy today – I’m sure we won’t be going to the island. You’ll be fine.

Yeah right…. these are lobster fishermen… they’re not going to let a little wind stop them. Next thing I know, I’m on a boat, headed 19 miles out to an island I CAN’T EVEN SEE…. and once you’re committed, there’s really no turning back!

Now, to be fair, on the ride over I was feeling fine – believing in the wonders of modern medicine and drugs, and enjoying the trip. It was very choppy, but that’s better than the wee-wah floaty stuff that’s sure to make me sick. I got to see a pod of dolphins doing their stuff – that was very cool. And, once you could actually SEE the island, it was really very pretty. We cruised the entire length of the island… and then- the.boat.stopped. And floated – you know, that wee-wah get sick kind of floating. While the happy couple looked out at the spot where they were married and reminisced – I was getting greener every second and making note of all available places to puke with the least amount of embarrassment.

LOOOOOONG, miserable story short…. I hung over the rail, in the cold, cold, dark, wraped in my now slightly damp, but beatiful Icarus Shawl, focusing on oil rig after oil rig twinkling in the distance, until I could FINALLY focus on the DISTANT shore…. while I could hear everyone else partying not 5 feet behind me in the cabin, eating, drinking, celebrating and dancing to the live band. HOW do they do that??? I’m feeling so craptastic I’m hoping I live to make it to shore – me and the one other poor seasick lady sharing the rail with me. Boat people – I’ll never be one.

NEVER AGAIN – and I mean it this time.

So, why am I casting on for the Prosperous Plum Tank the minute UFO August is over? I’m going on a cruise in April, remember?

Queen of denial.

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Somebody Stop Me

For some reason – I’ve obsessed with this sweater for the last few days. Maybe it’s because Wendy was talking about vamping up the ol’ Fair Isle the other day – or maybe that just fueled my fire, because ever since I started to knit, everytime I cruise through the KnitPicks catalog and see this sweater, I am stopped dead in my tracks.

I love this sweater. Kaity thinks its UGLY. Pshh…

Maybe I’ve been spending too much time on college campuses lately and just want to be the girl in the sweater. Young, collegiate, smart-looking. Come to think of it – I don’t think I’ve ever been those three things all at the same time – ever.

So what – it also looks like a grandma sweater. So, since I’m somewhere in between – it’ll work for me and my daily jeans. And it should match about every T-shirt I own – right? I can work it….

I want to make this so badly, the pattern and all the yarn are already in my Shopping Cart – just waiting for me to push “Buy.” But, I’ve made myself hold off – waiting to see if I come to my senses.

FACT: It’s knit on Size 3 needles….. that’s a whole lotta knitting
RATIONALIZATION: It really doesn’t matter if it takes me years to make it… I don’t even need another sweater. I just WANT another sweater. I want this sweater.

FACT: I have never knit a stitch of Fair Isle – and this looks like quite the project. Maybe I’d get all the yarn home and find out I HATE knitting Fair Isle – like intarsia (boo, hiss.)
RATIONALIZATION: I sat myself down tonight with four colors of my beloved Cascade 220 and gave it a go. This is FUN! I like it! No more than two colors at once, never carrying over more than five stitches. Easy. Fun. And I even knit it back and forth, not in the round like you’re really supposed to. I can do this. I LIKE doing this.

FACT: Part of me just wants to see what it’s like to get THIRTY different colors of yarn in the mail in one day.
RATIONALIZATION: duh…NONE – what’s wrong with that?

FACT: I looked all over the kitchen for my glasses today – they were on my head…. I have been to the store 3 times in a row and forgot the toilet paper- even when it was on my list…. and I KNOW one of you out there is knitting this – I’ve SEEN it – but for the life of me I can’t remember who….
RATIONALIZATION: So what if I’m half brain dead – I’m pretty sure I knit with the other half.

FACT: Maybe Kaity’s right and it really is an ugly sweater and I’ve just lost all perspective.
……. you’ll set me straight, right?

Good thing it’s UFO August and I can’t start anything new right now (I’m pretty sure swatching isn’t cheating). And, good thing I’ve already ordered yarn for a different “next sweater” – and a scarf.

I think I’ll just let this sweater sit in my shopping cart a while and see if I’m still obssessed next month. Maybe it’s a whim. I’ll probably have a whole new whim by then (although I’ve loved this sweater for a loooooong time). Maybe you’ll all talk me out of it – I’m very impressionable.

I still have to finish my shawl. I’ve got a month or two to think about it. To come to my senses. Or not.

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Tyranny of the Urgent

I saw this sign yesterday morning when I took Kaity over to the college, and it got me thinking. Ahhhh, if it were only true.

Wow, I thought about this a LOT yesterday.

Warning – I’m feeling “deep” today…

Time is the great equalizer, isn’t it? No matter who we are, we all have the same 24 hours every day. It’s how we choose to use them.

For awhile now, ever since discussing it in a Bible study a few years ago, I’ve tried to pay more attention to the “important” rather than the “urgent.” All too often the urgent is more demanding, or seductive. It wrangles away my time, and the important didn’t get done, or at least done well.

Important is starting my day in prayer and remembering my priorities: God, husband, kids, job….. those are the biggies. There seem to be a million other things that fill may day, but all too often they are not important.

Doing the things and chores that are important to my family, that is important. Reading every email that comes in immediately is urgent, not important. They can wait. So can the phone, the answering machine can pick it up.

Some things aren’t especially “urgent” time-eaters, but where they fit into “important” is a matter of constant prayer and priority. Blogging, emails, a bit of TV, leafing through my favorite magazine – these are all big contenders for my time, but I have to remember their priority. In the grand scheme of things, how important are they? If I get to the end of the day and had time to blog, but “didn’t have time” to read my Bible, then I need to take a look at where my heart is.

Did I spend time talking to the kids? Did I save time just to sit with the hubby? – or did I slave to the tyranny of the Urgent all day. Was it one of those days where I was busy all day, but really got nothing done? Not good. My time is not unlimited. I need to use it in a way that glorifies my God.

Right now, knitting actually fits into the “important.” It helps me to unwind, to focus, I even pray when I knit. But, I admit there are days I give up the knitting to the even more important. And blogging is important in a way. I have met great new friends. I have encouraged, and been encouraged by other knitters – and found accountability and friendship with other Christians. You are important.

Priorities are hard.

These are just my priorities. But, time is that great equalizer – we all have the same 24 hours every day to use. Don’t be a slave to the urgent, remember the “importants” in your life.

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I Will NOT Weanie Out

Peer pressure – I won’t cave.

I remember in high school, I got wind of a “kidnap breakfast” – and I was determined NOT to be kidnapped with totally bad hair and no zit coverage. I don’t remember how I found out, but I knew they were coming to “surprise me” the next morning, along with a bunch of other suckers, and take us to breakfast…. so I put on my best PJ’s and set my alarm for a half hour ahead, so I could still be “asleep and surprised” when they barged into my bedroom, but with not-so-wild hair and not so many zits.

Well, my parents found out that I was clued in, and …. well, let’s just say, I will never get the picture out of my head – of my Dad crawling into my bedroom in the middle of the night, in his chonies, to unplug my alarm clock. Ew.

Didn’t work – I plugged it back in the moment he crawled out. I’m nothing if not determined… when it’s important. And the peer pressure was too much – I could handle being dragged out of bed and to breakfast in my PJ’s – but could not handle it with major bad hair and uncovered zits.

So, the peer pressure of boring you guys to death with this blog while I’m STILL working on my “First Class Shawl” (aka, Wrap Yourself in Nature, Fiona Ellis) – well, it’s not going to work. Sorry. I’m not gonna weanie out. This shawl deserves to be all it can be… the full 50-60″ I envision… And, since it’s only about 36″ right now, be prepared to look at it a while longer.

Sorry – I’m not gonna cave.

I’ll try to photograph it in different locales – how ’bout that? Views of the cables from the left one day… .the right another day. Maybe upside down if that’ll keep you reading.

Maybe I’ll have to order some new yarn or something – then I’ll have something new to talk about….

Until then…. sorry – prepare to be bored. And don’t even think about trying to sneak into the house on your hands and knees in your chonies to steal it some night…. I’m wise to that trick. And, I’m sleeping with my camera.

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…and not even about knitting… so you may just want to move along now…

My sis and I took our girls to the County Fair last night to see the All-American Rejects. They had a blast. Lilly (here in the picture with Kaity) said it was the “best night of her life.” It was THAT good. They are her FAVORITE band.

(Fans can click here for video from last night – and all the bad singing you hear is us, not the band!)

We waited in line for 5 hrs and had GREAT 5th row seats – they were in perfect, screaming, teenage girl heaven. It was so fun to watch them and remember what it was like.

However, I’m now old, and a parent, and as I became painfully aware last, – one of those “mean, old-fart parents.”

1) Teenage girls do NOT wear enough clothing – well, MINE do, but, seriously, don’t these girls have parents? Who lets them walk out of the house “un”dressed like that!!??

2) Toooooo many teenagers have NO respect for their “elders.” (yeah, how “old fart” does that sound!).

A few of them will respond to “the look” – and I can give a good look. But, WAY too many totally ignore you, give you their look back – or worse get all uppity with you and tell you exactly what they think…

Here’s the scenario. Now… I’m not completely lame – I know we have seats, but I also know that we will be standing for the entire concert. You have to stand to dance and sing the whole time, even I do – I understand that.

But, you do not have to stand on your chairs, completely blocking everyone’s view. Which is what the girls directly in front of my girls do. Which my girls are not allowed to do… So, I politely tell them to get off their chairs, they’re blocking everyone’s view, and they refuse. I ask them again, not so politely this time, and, they give me their look, and they proceed to tell me why they won’t. (Now, everyone else around us is yelling at them, too – to get off their chairs – I’m just the closest and boldest, to actually tap them on their backs, and look at them, and get in their face about it). Like it worked.

Mind you, this is all just with the WARM UP BAND on stage…. it gets worse.

So we shuffle around in our seats, so our girls can see around the standers…

Then the All-American Rejects come on…. and all the people who have completely filled up the aisles, because they didn’t wait in all line all day and don’t like their seats – they’re just going to shove their way up as close as they can…

and into our seats , and ONTO our seats.

Uh…. NO! “Get off our seats! Move – get OUT!” “These are our seats!!” They are literally on our seats, or standing directly behind my girls, between them and their seats…. way too close…, and – “Hello! – these are OUR seats! GET OUT!!!

Oh, they move – for a while, but it goes on, and on, and on….. all concert long. They were like vultures. Unbelievable.

I hate festival seating….
Teenagers can be scarily rude and self-centered…
I am officially and “old fart” fun sucker…
I still had a great time….
Our girls had the BEST TIME!…

I’m very proud that I have polite kids who can roll with the punches and still have a great, screaming, teenage girl, time of their life…. without ruining it for the people around them…

I’m done now…

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I seriously need to get to a copy machine get a fresh set of cable patterns!

What ever part of your brain you need for chart reading and memorization – mine is obviously damaged. I’ve already blamed my math deficiencies on being dropped on my head as a baby…. I’m blaming my lame chart-reading skills on those three concussions when I was 19 and 20.

Car accident, gymnastics accident, motorcycle accident. Let’s just say – if you want to be a pro chart-reader later in life and excel in cable knitting… don’t fall asleep at the wheel, don’t go head first into a vaulting horse, and stay on your dirt bike.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

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Variety and Choices

The hubby has a theory – that you can tell what kind of day you’re gonna have by the shoes you put on in the morning.

Work boots – work day…

Chaco sandals – better, it means a day off, or at least they’re the first thing he puts on when he gets home from work.

Bike-riding shoes – even better. Motorcycle boots – even better. Hiking boots – probably the best. Dress shoes – he’s probably going somewhere he would rather not…

It goes right along with his “right tool for the right job” theory, “you can never have too many pairs of boots” theory, and his “it’s nice to have nice things” motto.

Kind of like bags, and purses. I mean, really – you can never have too many. Each purse has it’s own purpose and personality. Some are very functional – some are VERY nice, some are expensive, some are not. You can tell the kind of day you’re gonna have by which purse you’re carrying, too – so the theory holds. There’s the everyday purse, the dressy little clutch, the backpack… the ones that match this outfit and shoes just so….

Same with knitting bags. I have MANY knitting bags – yet each have qualities that make them best for a specific purpose – ok, maybe “whim” would be a better word here.

Here’s my newest and coolest – made by my darling daughter Kaity. I picked out the fabric and she sewed it up for me – even to my specifications. It has a zipper at the top, cute polka dot contrast lining, and an inside pocket. She even made me a little zippered notions bag with the leftovers.

Variety – ahhh, the spice of life…. in my variety of children, Kaity’s the crafty one.

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