Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sunday, December 09, 2007

He travelled in order to come home. (William Trevor)

My mom, my aunt, and I went on a road trip today to Lake Wales. We wanted to visit Bok Tower Sanctuary to see the holiday mansion. Mom and I have made this trip before, and as always it was well worth the trip. I wish I could have taken pictures inside the mansion, because the decorations were gorgeous. It really put me in the mood to pull out all my boxes of holiday stuff.

Instead, I found my house just as beautifully decorated by my very own elves while I was out! (I love my children.)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig. (Paul Dickson)

I love my family. I really do. We are the greatest, goofiest group of people (despite our tendency toward the melodramatic) to gather together by blood and/or love.

I was reminded of this today at our First Annual Florida Ornament Hunt. (In case you’re wondering, it’s sort of like an Easter Egg Hunt, but with Christmas ornaments.) It was the brilliant idea of my sister, who was supposed to be planning a very simple picnic. She even carried an artificial Christmas tree to the (heavily wooded) park for us to decorate with the found ornaments.

Needless to say, we had a blast. One of my cousins was the winner, and while I won’t go so far as to accuse him of cheating, I will mention that he was caught with extra ornaments in his pockets. (This was the same cousin who presented my son with the mounted boar’s head for our living room.) I was too busy taking pictures to actually find any ornaments. (Hey, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!)

By the way, the boar’s head isn’t nearly as hideous and I was afraid it would be. Wilbur (yes, we’ve already named it courtesy of my cousin’s wife) might even be considered cute…especially once I’ve had a chance to dress him up with a Santa hat and sunglasses…

Friday, December 07, 2007

Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far. (Thomas Jefferson)

I'm tired.

I've tried telling myself that I'm a very lucky person. My client's schedule includes walking laps in a local park three times a week, which means that I'm now walking laps three times a week. And how many overweight, out-of-shape people get paid to exercise?

I'm still tired.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I knew there was a story; once you find a dog with a fork through it, you know there's a story there. (Mark Haddon)

Oh my gosh. If you have not read this book yet, stop reading this blog and go get yourself a copy of it. It's really that good.

I work with autistic adults (amongst other developmental disabilities), and this book was amazing. I have no idea how accurate it is (whether or not this is the way someone with autism sees the world), but it certainly could be accurate.

Besides which, the book was just plain fun to read. Once I started it, I barely put it down. And I'm already planning to reread it.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Oh for a book and a shady nook... (John Wilson)

I am so tired. There's just too much to do, and not enough time to do it in. Of course, it would help if I would just learn to say "no" once in a while instead of agreeing to fix two trays of finger sandwiches. Oh well, I'll get to it in the morning. Hopefully.

Monday, December 03, 2007

I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions. (Augusten Burroughs)

My son was being obnoxious, so I looked at him and said "That's one." He just stared blankly at me, with no apparent remembrance of his early childhood training (whatever you do, don't let mama reach three!). So I told him a joke to explain:

There was a couple who had reached their 50th wedding anniversary, without ever having been heard to argue. At the party, several people wondered how the couple had managed to stay so loving for so long. Finally, someone went up to Herb and asked him, "How did you manage to stay married for 50 years without ever having a fight?"

Herb smiled, and said that when he had first gotten married, he and his wife had taken a wonderful honeymoon to the Grand Canyon. While there, they decided to take the mule ride down into the canyon. Herb's wife rode down first, and Herb followed behind where he could see and admire his beautiful bride.

Unfortunately, the mule that Herb's wife rode on was a little frisky and had a tendency to kick. After a couple of bumps, Herb's bride got off the mule, walked around to look it straight in the eyes, and said "That's one." Then she got back on the mule and continued down the trail.

The mule behaved for a little while, but soon was back to playing tricks. After the mule suddenly stopped and refused to go on, Herb's wife got back off the mule, walked around to look it straight in the eyes, and said "That's two." Then she got back on the mule and continued down the trail.

Herb watched this in amazement. It was astounding and fascinating that his bride had such self assurance. After a little while, the mule started to act up again and tried to rush down the last bit of the hill without regard for his rider. Herb watched his bride get off the mule again, walk around to look it straight in the eye, then she pulled out a gun and shot the mule dead.

Herb was appalled. How could she so carelessly kill an animal? His wife calmly looked at him and said "That's one."

Herb finished his story with the explanation that he never quite had the nerve to let her count any higher than that.

Just about the time I finished this joke, I noticed my daughter had come into the room. She was clearly upset.

"My aunt shot a mule?!" she demanded.

Apparently she walked into the middle of the joke, and assumed that the Herb in the story was her Uncle Herb.

She better hope her Aunt doesn't read this, or she'll be on "One!"

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation. (Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners)

It's been a really nice day today. My aunt is visiting, and I spent the day with her and my mom. We started by visiting a yard sale, then went out to breakfast. In the afternoon we treated ourselves to a movie. (Enchanted, which was adorable!)

Best of all, we got to talk and giggle and have fun together.

And we're going to do it again next weekend...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the task itself has become easier, but that our ability to perform it has improved.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Paul Klee
"The One Who Understands"
Metropolitan Museum of Art

* * *

Did I tell you about the high-speed chase I was in yesterday? It was kind of cool, although to be honest I didn't even realize what was going on until afterwards.

I was driving down a road that I wasn't really familiar with, so I was just barely going the speed limit. Or as my son would say, I was driving like an old lady. A car came up behind me, and he obviously wanted me to go faster because he stayed real close to my back bumper, but I was not going to be bullied into going any faster than what I was comfortable with. Unfortunately, he couldn't pass me because there was only one lane in each direction with a tree-lined median between them and no real shoulder on the road. So I continued to just drive, ignoring the guy. Just about the time that I noticed police lights coming up behind us, the median ended and the guy rushed past me close enough to scrape my side mirror. The traffic light down the road in front of us was red, but he never even stopped. Seconds later, the police car passed around me, and he flew through the red light as well. When I got to the light, the policeman had caught up with the first guy.

So the next time my kids tease me about driving slow, I'm going to remind them that driving slow helps nab the bad guys.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Persistence plus no dignity equals success. (Cynthia Wang)

Well, I did it. I've managed to post every day for the month of November. And it's been fun. Some of my posts have been better than others, but then some of my days have been better than others.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure that I can say that I learned anything. I don't think my writing has improved. And my choice of topics is still far from the upbeat, amusing stories that I have been promising since the beginning of this blog.

But the main thing is that I set out to post on a regular basis, and I accomplished that. I'm so giddy with success that I'm going to continue to post daily, just to see how long I can keep it up. Anyone care to make a little side bet on how long I might last?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Having a holiday weekend without a family member felt like putting on a sweater that had an extra arm. (Pamela Ribon)

Right now, it's all about missing my daughter.

I had a couple of more interesting things to blog about. After all, it's my 300th post so I wanted something really memorable. Or at least something slightly exciting.

Instead, I've started moping because I might not get to have my little girl home for the holidays. And even if she does come home, it won't be for long enough. So I'm all sad, which makes me a boring person to be around. My other kids went to bed early to avoid having to get involved with the drama of it all.

I'm still trying to work it all out. So with any luck, tomorrow I'll be all happy and sunny and there will be bright, intelligent, amusing things to read about in my post. (Which would be awfully nice for a change.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other. (Jane Austen)

I don't have a photograph for today. I took photos. Quite a few of them, in fact. The problem is that I didn't realize until later (when I went to upload them to my laptop) that I had forgotten my scan disk in the computer at home. So all of the photos I took are on my camera's internal memory. Which would be fine, except that I can't find the cord to download them off the internal memory.

One of the bloggers that I read, Kristal A, had a wonderful post a while back that has stayed with me. It was a description of a photo that she didn't take, but wanted to. Since then, she's made several "written picture" posts. (Kristal credits Unphotographable for the idea.)

I really enjoy the mental pictures, and have been thinking about doing something like it myself. Today, with my pictures trapped inside my camera, seems to be the perfect time to start.

On the corner, waiting for the light to change colors, was a big black guy on a bike. He was wearing a baseball cap worn backwards and pulled low on his head; big, over sized t-shirt; pants several sizes too large, worn below his waist to show off several colorful pairs of boxers. Even from the distance his clothes looked new and clean. Basically, he looked like any other guy in the neighborhood. What made him memorable was the over-sized tricycle he was sitting on. It was originally one of the "old-lady bikes" with three wheels and a basket in the back for groceries. But it had been pimped out with fancy handlebars and shiny over-sized wheels, putting the seat at least four feet off the ground.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Choose your pleasures for yourself, and do not let them be imposed upon you. (Lord Chesterfield)

I've now got three projects on my needles. All of them are Christmas gifts, which means that (1) I can't show them off yet and (2) I have a very limited amount of time to get them all done. There will be one more project to do as well, that I'll start next week.

I figured up my Christmas budget, and I think it's going to all work out this year. Provided, of course, that I actually stick to the budget. I'm not going to allow any negativity to cloud my thoughts, but I will point out that this will be the first time ever that the word "budget" meant more than "amount you can comfortably spend, if you had any intention of being comfortable and didn't want to worry about how to pay the next electric bill when it comes." Of course I did the budget today and I haven't actually been shopping yet, so it's easy to still be optimistic.

(But of course someone who blithely starts four knitting projects four weeks before the holiday while picking up extra hours on top of two regular jobs is, by definition, optimistic. Or foolish. I always confuse the two.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income. (Errol Flynn

It's been a rough day. I just didn't have any energy, and as a resulted I haven't accomplished much.

On my way home from work, I stopped at Walmart. All I needed was Miracle Whip so that I could make potato salad for dinner, dog food for Millie, and the filter for the A/C filter. It took me over an hour. In the beginning, I was wandering around to get an idea for Christmas shopping. But somewhere along the way my exhaustion just hit me and I found myself just standing in the middle of an aisle wondering what in the world was I looking for.

When I finally made it home, I choose to sit at the dining room table pretending to still be eating rather than find the energy to get up and clear the table. Since then, I've been pretending to write this blog post instead of doing my bedtime routine tasks.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. (Plato)

I feel like I'm posting tonight only because it's NaBloPoMo. So far I've managed to post everyday in November, and I don't want to mess it up at this late date. Besides, it's become a part of bedtime routine; I'm not sure I could go to bed if I didn't come up with something to write a few paragraphs about.

I spent most of today knitting. I worked with one of my clients, a wonderfully bright developmentally disabled woman. (Yes, that's a contradiction in terms. But that's how I see her, as being wonderfully bright despite her disability.) She's determined to learn to knit socks like the ones I knit, and I don't think it'll be long before she actually does a pair. We've gone basic stitches (garter, stocking stitch, and ribbing) to been working on reading and following a pattern (dish clothes) and knitting in the round. This week she learned to use the double-point needles that I prefer. This is a picture of her project -- the first of a pair of leg warmers. It's also the first time I've designed and written a pattern, so I'm proud of it for both of us!

I can't post a picture of my own knitting project here, since I was working on a Christmas gift. I'm excited about it, though. It's turning out even better than I had thought it would! I've already picked out another pattern with color work to do when this one is finished. (Although I still have a few more gifts I should do before I start something for fun.)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on. (Robert Byrne)

I finished my Black Diamonds socks today, and I'm so proud of them! This is the first time I've done any real color work, and I think they turned out great. I really like the way the diamonds are formed by the contrasting color and by the knit/purl/cabled pattern.

I've already started another pair of color work socks, but I can't show them on this blog because I don't want to spoil the Christmas surprise. I am putting them up on Ravelry, so you can sneak a peek there, if you would like.

Other than knitting, I haven't gotten much done. All of my wonderful plans to pull out the Christmas decorations and reorganize my closets were just abandoned in favor of watching movies and knitting. Actually, I wasn't feeling well enough to get out of bed, so at least I was being somewhat productive by knitting.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The world is round; it has no point. (Adrienne E. Gusoff)

I don't have a picture for today. I don't really have all that much to say, either. I've been (im)patiently waiting for my turn on the computer, and now that I've finally gotten online I'm too tired to remember anything I wanted to talk about.

At least I got a lot of knitting done. There's only one more diamond pattern and then toes left to do on the second Black Diamond sock. So I figure I'll be able to post pictures of the finished pair sometime this weekend. IF I have any energy left... I've already warned the kids that tomorrow we're going to pull all the boxes out of the attic (it's actually a walk-in closet, but since we store everything in there it's become our "attic") and start our Christmas decorating. I'm not sure what the home owner's association has to say about outside displays, but I think we'll go ahead and string up some lights over the garage.

Hmmm, while I'm at it, I wonder how much a plastic Santa Claus for the rooftop would cost?

Love they neighbor as theyself, but choose your neighborhood. (Louise Beal)

I don't have a picture for today. I don't really have all that much to say, either. I've been (im)patiently waiting for my turn on the computer, and now that I've finally gotten online I'm too tired to remember anything I wanted to talk about.

At least I got a lot of knitting done. There's only one more diamond pattern and then toes left to do on the second Black Diamond sock. So I figure I'll be able to post pictures of the finished pair sometime this weekend. IF I have any energy left... I've already warned the kids that tomorrow we're going to pull all the boxes out of the attic (it's actually a walk-in closet, but since we store everything in there it's become our "attic") and start our Christmas decorating. I'm not sure what the home owner's association has to say about outside displays, but I think we'll go ahead and string up some lights over the garage.

Hmmm, while I'm at it, I wonder how much a plastic Santa Claus for the rooftop would cost?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

So what is in YOUR refrigerator tonight?

Somehow I've managed to go almost the entire day without taking any pictures. Mom and I spent all morning together, cooking the turkey and all the trimmings. For the afternoon feast, we were joined by my sister and her family, and some friends. It was absolutely wonderful, and I think everyone had a good time. There were lots of tall tales traded, and much laugher shared. But somehow, my camera managed to stay in my purse the entire day.

The only picture I took, in fact, was my refrigerator stuffed full of leftovers. And this was only my share! (Mom, my sister, and our friends all have at least a meal's worth of leftovers as well.)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What a beautiful, sunny morning. It makes you happy to be alive, doesn't it? We can't let the sun outshine us! We have to beam, too!

(Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka and Toshihiro Kawabata)

I'm doing a happy dance, and just had to share my excitement. I came home from work and jumped online "for a few minutes" (hah! as if I'm ever online for just a few minutes). I wanted to check my emails before starting my errands and housework. To my great surprise and delight, I found a wonderful note from Jaimi. She was letting me know that she would be sending me sock yarn next week.

Yup. I'm getting random sock yarn from a wonderful fellow knitter-blogger. She had a contest on her blog, asking for stories about knitting in public. I posted, and she choose me as one of the winners. Be sure to check out all the stories that were posted. And if you happen to be a KIPper, too, let me know!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The old saw about old dogs and new tricks only applies to certain people. (Daniel Pinkwater)

It's another one of those days where I don't have a whole lot to report. Despite having had a cup of coffee and a large ice tea this evening (along with all the caffeine contained in them), I'm yawning my way through typing this short passage. So here's just a quick highlight tour of the day, and then I'm running off to bed.

  • I made a commitment to myself to knit one full diamond pattern a day on my socks, since that is what it will take to get the Black Diamond pair finished by the end of the month. This commitment lasted approximately half the day.
  • I went to work, although I can't in all honesty write that I worked today. I accomplished small amounts in even smaller bursts of enthusiasm.
  • Downtown at the Gardens is a wonderful place to stroll around, although I was disappointed in the popcorn. But not disappointed enough to keep from buying two large bags (one of which is already half gone).
  • Miracles do happen. My ex and I sat down at the same table, and talked with the children as a united front. My advice is for the general public to pull out your scarves and mittens, as hell is surely in the process of freezing over.
Now I'm off to get some sleep. The kids don't have school in the morning, which means I get to sleep in late tomorrow. My alarm can be set for 6:30 am, instead of 4:30!

Monday, November 19, 2007

If you find serenity and happiness, some people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. (Mother Teresa)

Isn't it beautiful?

This sock is turning out great. I finished the first Black Diamond sock in a little more than four weeks. I have two weeks to finish the second one of the pair. I think I can do it...

But I was actually referring to the row-counter bracelet. It came today, just when I really needed something good to focus on. PJ ordered it for my birthday, and I really like it. And Hide and Sheep, the Etsy shop that I bought it from, was terrific! I really liked the white and onyx, so they remade it slightly bigger so that it would fit me correctly. And even though they said it would add several days to my delivery date, it only took five days to receive it. (I guess they stayed up all night, working on my order!)

Other good news today included a great report from my behavioral client's doctor. I don't think I deserve as much credit as I'm getting for that, but it did make me very happy.

All in all, I've managed quite well this afternoon to ignore the tribulations of my teenagers.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The world is full of women blindsided by the unceasing demands of motherhood, still flabbergasted by how a job can be terrific and torturous.

(Anna Quindlen)

"That nervey guy, No-Name Pete."

I thought everything was going along great. I initiated conversations, or at least attempted to, and was lead to believe that everything was fine. Apparently, this was only so that I wouldn't either worry or holler (I'm not sure which was the prevalent reason). And so I went along happily, bragging on my wonderfully bright child. And I'm not saying that she isn't wonderfully bright. She just hasn't been very confiding. And as a result, I'm going to have to schedule a meeting with her teachers and see if we can salvage any of this semester.

On top of that, she wants to change her course of studies since she "hates" the medical field now. (Apparently "hates" means "is failing miserably but didn't want to say anything to mom.")

Up until this little bombshell, it had been a great day. I feel like such a failure as a parent for not seeing this coming.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

It is not real work unless you would rather be doing something else. (J.M. Barrie)

The Demidoff Table
Lorenzo Batolini
On display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
"...the genius of ambitious rectitude in work
sleeps the agitated sleep of misfortunes and glory...
his head extending beyond the periphery of the world."

I am far too exhausted to make sense tonight. I worked with my behavioral client this morning, who was a joy, and would not have been an issue except that I also volunteered with SHARE this afternoon. So now I'm tired. Since I'm working with another behavioral client all day tomorrow, I think I'm going to go lay down and try to get some sleep.

The sad thing is, I know I had some really cool things to talk about. I just can't think to remember them right now.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sometimes people do things that hurt and it's not because they mean to. They just do. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with you,

but you end up hurt because of it.
(Randy K. Milholland)

Candace Kling
Candy Sampler - Perpetual Indulgence
On display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

When my children were young, it was easy to soothe away any hurts that they had. Most of the time, all it took was a band-aide. A bloody knee -- put a band-aide on it! A bug bite --- put a band-aide on it! Just about everything was able to be fixed with a band-aide.

Of course, there were various types of band-aides (plain, colorful, Disney, etc) and I had the full collection. That was because the type of band-aide needed depended on the severity of the hurt.
For a simple, small, scrape or cut that could be kissed better, a plain everyday band-aide was all it took. A larger, bloody scrape, however, would require at least a Disney Princess band-aide. The Superman band-aides were kept for the truly horrible boo-boos.

When my daughter was about five, she came home from school crying and asking for a band-aide. A Superman band-aide. Naturally I started the immediate panic because after all a Superman-sized boo-boo deserved a little panic. I got out the band-aides, and asked her what hurt. She looked at me and answered, "My feelings."

How in the world do you go about bandaging hurt feelings? I was clueless, but she was quite insistent. She wanted the Superman band-aid for her hurt feelings. After trying to think of an appropriate response, I finally just asked her. It turns out that the band-aid for your hurt feelings gets put just above on your right elbow.

I tell you this because for the past three days I've been walking around with a band-aid on my hurt feelings. It's only a plain band-aid because I couldn't find the superman type. The band-aid, applied with liberal doses of chocolate, seems to be helping.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves. (Thomas A. Edison)

I know, this is a really horrible picture of me. My client took it this evening while we were at the park. We had gone there to knit by the water, which is an incredibly peaceful activity. The two of spent about an hour knitting and chatting, until it started to get dark. I wish I could post a picture of my client -- she's doing so well with her knitting! She's the third person this month that I've taught to knit. I think I'm on my way to becoming a knitting evangelist.

I'm also posting the promised picture of Becky's Christmas stocking. I had a lot of trouble doing the name. I probably should have just done duplicate stitch (putting the name on after the stocking was knitted), but I had my heart set on actually knitting the name into the stocking. It became one of those "if I had known it was impossible before I did it, I never would have done it" things. Intarsia really isn't a technique that adapts well to knitting in the round. (What happens is that your second color of yarn ends up on the wrong side when you go to the next round). I had some helpful advice from the Sock Knitters group I belong to in Yahoo, including give up and do duplicate stitch like an experienced knitter. I also was told how to knit&slip stitches/purl&slip stitches in order to get the pattern to come out. I can't remember the name of the woman who advised me right now, but I owe her a really big thank you!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away. (Phyllis Mcginley)

I've decided to make Wednesday "WIP" days (works in progress). This way I'll have a legitimate reason for showing off my knitting.

I'm almost finished with the first "I can do these" Black Diamond sock. I need about half a pattern repeat (half a diamond) more on the foot and then I do the toe. Here's a picture of it that I took while I was in New York. Since it's for my daughter, I let her try it on. She told me it was "yummy." Of course, she has to say that if she wants me to keep making her socks. But I happen to agree. I've very proud of how well it's turning out. And it's a lot of fun to do, too.

I only hope that I can find time to get the second sock finished by the end of this month for the KAL!

I have another sock on the needles, but I can't show a picture because it's a Christmas gift and I don't want to spoil the surprise. It's using my wonderful Fairy Kisses yarn and the embossed diamond pattern from More Sensation Socks. I love the yarn, but I was worried because it's so thin. But I decided to knit it on size 2 needles (the smallest size I own), and it's turning out to be a really nice fabric. But because of the tiny gauge (about 11 SPI) I had to cast on 90 stitches to get the right size sock. Which means that I'm going to be knitting forever!

My third project, Becky's Christmas stocking, is actually finished as of this evening. I haven't taken a picture of it yet, but I'm really pleased with how it turned out. She's going to be able to get a lot of gifts in that huge thing, so I think she's going to be happy as well!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Never tell anyone that you're writing a book, going on a diet, exercising, taking a course, or quitting smoking. They'll encourage you to death.

(Lynn Johnston)

I've made it to the end of Day 1 of my diet healthy eating formula plan, and all I can think of is how much I want a piece of chocolate right now. I'm not hungry, I just want the taste of chocolate.

But after the way I was huffing and puffing while chasing after my daughter in New York, it's obvious that I need to (1) lose some weight and (2) get back into shape. I am determined to make a change.

If I'm going to make it, though, I need to go to bed before I give into temptation. (There's a bag of Hershey Kisses calling out my name from the kitchen counter...)

Monday, November 12, 2007

To do anything truly worth doing, I must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger,

but jump in with gusto and scramble through as well as I can. (Og Mandino)

This morning I was with my daughter, but I was cold and tired.

This evening I'm warm, but still tired...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My Big City Adventure

Wow! I am so cold, and so sore, and so excited to be in New York with my daughter. I am totally in awe of the easy way she just navigates around the city. Yesterday (Saturday) we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, then up to SoHo to a yarn shop, then back under the Brooklyn Bridge (DUMBO?) for dinner. Today we went to Union Square and visited the Strand and a six-story Barns & Noble (yes, we're both bookworms!). This is my child who grew up getting lost trying to walk around the block. So I am absolutely amazed at the way she jumps on and off the subways. (And a little scared of the way she crosses the street...we've reversed who's hand is being held at intersections.)

I was also surprised at the subway system itself. I mean, I've seen it in movies and on TV. But I had the idea that you went down the steps to the loading platform, and then back up when you got off the train. I had no idea that some of the subway stations are huge! At some of the stations you go down the steps, and there are five, six, or more loading platforms along with magazine sellers and food venders. If my daughter had any left-over resentment for her childhood, she could have easily gotten revenge by simply walking away from me while we were down there. I was completely lost and at her mercy the entire time we were out and about!

I was pretty good about taking pictures; or rather, at not taking so many pictures that I screamed out TOURIST everywhere we went. Although my daughter would probably disagree with that statement. Especially since I kept trying to get a picture of the subway rats. Those things are huge, and they come out onto the tracks whether people are around or not. We even saw one up on the loading platform (not ours, luckily, or I would have been upstairs looking for a taxi faster than you could have said "cheese!"). Unfortunately, the only picture I managed to get did not turn out because there just wasn't enough light. Sigh. Maybe my daughter will get a picture of the rats of me...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My Big City Adventure - prelude

Well, I made it to New York, finally. It was a very long trip, with a three hour layover turning into almost five hours. The Charlotte airport was nice, though, and I love the rocking chairs they have scattered around for waiting passengers. I was able to enjoy a comfortable place to knit while I waited.

I have decided that while I love to fly places, I don't like getting onto the plane. For some reason, I have a problem with the walkway out to the plane. I think it's stepping over the "grated" areas (which allow the hallway to be extended out to the plane, and retracted after use). Anyway, I ended up hyperventilating while trying to make my way into the plane. A wonderfully kind woman behind me and a young college student realized I was having a problem, and the two of them took me by the hands (literally) and walked me onto the plane. The flight attendent was sure that I was going to be a problem during the flight (my phobia was clearly evident from the tears and breathing difficulty), but was soon as I was on the plane itself I was fine.

My favorite flight attendent of the day was JoJo. My flight out of Charlotte into New York was on a little commuter plane, and at that time of the evening it was only about half full. Once everyone was seated, JoJo made an announcement: "Before I do the final passenger count, everyone get comfortable. Some of you in the front can move on back to the empty seats in the rear of the plane." Nobody moved, though, and the flight attendents went down the aisle, counting. A few minutes later, JoJo was back on the intercom. "I asked ya'll in the front if you wanted to move. Now I have to tell you. The flight needs to be balanced, so six of you from the first seven rows have to move to the back of the plane." Nobody moved, so five minutes later JoJo says "I'm not kidding around. The captain is not going to move this plane until it's balanced. If six of ya'll don't come back here, I'm gonna come up after you." Three people moved. JoJo announced, "For those in the front who can't count, that was three. I'm still waiting for three more of ya'll to move to the back of the plane or I'll let everyone in the back know you're the reason that we're running late." Six people moved. So JoJo had to sent three people back, amongst grumblings of passengers who can't follow directions.

Because of the long delay getting out of Charlotte, I didn't land in New York until close to midnight. My daughter was waiting for me, with gloves, scarf, and hat. Good thing, too, because it was much colder than what I'm used to in Florida. We did the subway back to her place, which took about an hour and a half. I got an extremely brief tour of her apartment, and then we fell into bed. I think I was asleep before she finished saying goodnight!

Cari has lots planned for our weekend, so I'm off and running...

Friday, November 09, 2007

Travel is ninety percent anticipation and ten percent recollection. (Edward Streeter)

I'm running late (does that surprise anyone?), so here's another really short and picture-less post. I've made about six more lists since the one I posted last night. And as my son pointed out, if I would just DO the stuff instead of taking the time to write it in a list I would be finished with everything already. Sheesh! Where would the fun be in that?

Anyway, I'm off to work for a couple of hours and then I'll be leaving for the airport. By tonight I will finally get to see my oldest daughter, and you can't even know how excited I am about that! I know that kids have to grow up and start their own lives, but nobody mentioned that it happens much too soon.

I'm sure that there are going to be lots more pictures and posts about my trip in the next few days, so I had better run off now...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Go through your phone book, call people and ask them to drive you to the airport. The ones who will drive you are your true friends.

The rest aren't bad people; they're just acquaintances. (Jay Leno)

I don't have a photo today. Sorry. It was either go take a picture real quick, or find a quote for the title. And since finding a quote meant that I didn't have to stand up for a few more minutes, that won.

I'm totally exhausted, so luckily I only have about a dozen things left on my "to do" list. I would love to just leave them until the morning, but I know that whenever I do that I end up oversleeping or remembering something even more important that has to be done and then none of the items will be finished. Since I'm leaving work early to fly to New York, I probably should do the stuff on my list (like packing my suitcase).

Just so you know the level of obsessiveness I can reach, here is a peek at my list:
  • vacuum, dust, and generally clean downstairs (I can't have mom see the house the way it is)
  • Clean the downstairs bathroom
  • clean the kids's bathroom (just in case mom uses it)
  • clean my bedroom (mom will be staying in there)
  • change the sheets on my bed (again, for mom)
  • clean my bathroom (hey, most of my work is because of mom...)
  • get the bugs out of the tub
  • call Cari to make sure she's going to meet me at the airport (because I can't do the subways by myself!)
  • deposit my paycheck
  • balance my checking account on the computer
  • drop off items at the dry cleaners on the way to the airport
  • try on my clothes that I want to take with me to make sure that they all still fit
  • pack for the trip
  • finish the laundry
  • thaw the hamburger meat for dinner (and remind the kids to make dinner for their gramma!)
  • prep knitting bags to take with me (I want to have the second "easy" sock cast on, which means the yarn has to be balled first. I also want to get the patterned section of the colorworks sock so that I can cut the cc yarn before I leave for the airport. )
  • decide on one two books to take with me

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

No animal should ever jump up on the dining-room furniture unless absolutely certain that he can hold his own in the conversation. (F Lebowitz)

It's been a while since I've posted pictures of Millie, so I think I can safely talk about my baby today. I try to control how often I talk about her, for fear of revealing how totally ridiculous I've become about the little terror.

And make no doubt about it, she is a little terror. A completely spoiled 6-pound princess of a terrior, to be precise. Whatever Miss Mildred Rose wants, she ends up getting -- either by begging for it, whining until we give in, or by outright stealing it. And because she is so cute, she gets away with all three!

It is totally impossible to be in the kitchen unless you're willing to give Millie something, anything, to eat. She starts out by begging: she'll sit next to your chair, looking up at you with big, pitiful, "I'm so hungry, pleeaasse!" eyes. I swear she even manages to squeeze out a realistic tear. If by some super-human means you manage to ignore her, she'll start jumping up to catch your attention. As soon as you look toward her, she'll turn the sad eyes back on you.

The second phase, should the begging not work, is to try to trick you into giving her something. She'll run and get her toys, one by one, and drop them at your feet. The idea is that you'll start to play with her, and give her a treat as a reward for one of the tricks she's learned. If your attention wanders and you forget to give the reward, a sharp bark will draw your attention back to it.

Finally, if these first two methods fail (like, if you're a mean, horrible mommy who's too busy reading and eating chocolate birthday cake to pay attention to your sweet, lovable, hungry baby), then Millie will resort to the final stage. She curls up in George's crate (since it's bigger and has a thicker pillow--she's not about to chance being uncomfortable, after all), and whines pitifully until one of the children, being either more sympathetic or gullible than mommy, comes into the kitchen and gives her a treat. You have to be careful to lock the crate door, though, if you decide to give George a similar treat or Millie will steal it right out of his mouth. (Then she growlingly guards BOTH treats from George.)

And I won't even get into a discussion about how a tiny 6-pound puppy can manage to take up an entire queen-size bed...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

If you are not a liberal at twenty, you have no heart. If you are not a conservative at forty, you have no brain. (Winston Churchill)

Can life get any better than this? I'm getting paid to knit...

* * *

By the way, today's quote is in tribute to my Very-Much-a-Democrat boss.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage, and those who manage what they do not understand.

(Putt's Law)

I can only do a quick entry today, since there is a problem with my internet providers. I've spoken with three different people, who have given me three different reasons why I can't get online. I've even paid the bill a second time, hoping to expedite things. Supposedly it'll be back up in 20 to 30 minutes... but I'm tired and just can't wait any longer.

Can I make up for this tomorrow?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure. (Segal's Law)

On my way to my client's house this morning, my cell phone rang. It was my client's mother, wanting to know where I was. "I'm on my way to your house," I told her, wondering why she wanted to know. I had already gotten my mocha latte fix, so I was hoping that she didn't want me to stop at Dunkin Donuts (which would have meant me drinking TWO iced lattes in one morning...the resulting jitters are not a pretty sight).

"I thought you were going to come at 11 o'clock."

"I am. I'm about 15 minutes away from your house," I reassured her.

"Well, it's just that you didn't call and let me know that you'll be late. I was worried that you weren't coming," she informed me. The conversation was still not making sense to me. After all, I was only 15 minutes away, and I wasn't supposed to be there for another 30 minutes. Then it dawned on me.

"Did you remember to set your clocks back?"

"Oh. Was that today? Never mind then," and she hung up.

This is my "real" birthday cake; a Carvel ice cream cake with lots of extra crunchies. The kids and I celebrated this evening with a birthday dinner and then the cake. I'll show off my presents (earrings and yarn -- my kids know what I like) another time.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

There is no old age. There is, as there always was, just you. (Carol Matthau)

I turned 45 today. I've been dreading this day for a while now. I'm not sure why. I didn't notice when I turned 30. Even turning 40 was no big deal. (I was given a surprise party at Chuckie Cheese, which should speak for itself.) But turning 45 really had me upset.

I think it was partly due to the fact that my daughter turns 20 in two weeks. I was a mom with three young kids. Then a mom of teenagers. But now I'll have a child who is an adult, rather than a teenager. I'm old. Or at least, older.

Also, some of my cousins (even the younger ones) are now grandparents. My mom was a grandmother at my age (thanks to me). It's scary thinking that I'm old enough to be a grandma.

But now that it's actually happened (my turning 45), I don't feel any older. I certainly didn't wake up with any of the wisdom that's supposed to come with age. And my hair isn't any grayer than it was yesterday (which, trust me, is gray enough). So maybe turning 45 isn't that big a deal after all.

* * *

I had a really nice day. The kids went to their dad's house for the weekend. They offered to stay home with me to celebrate, but since their dad doesn't take them very often I thought that they should take the opportunity to spend some time with him while they could. We're going to do dinner and birthday cake when they come home tomorrow night. I spent the day browsing the used bookstore (treating myself to a birthday gift, of course), and then went shopping with my mom. Since it was just the two of us, we were able to literally spend hours just window shopping. We did go to the grand opening of Catherine's (a plus size clothing store), and I found a couple of outfits that I liked. (I'm really difficult when it comes to buying clothes, so this was a great thing.) Mom talked me into letting her get me a birthday gift there (even though she's already watching the kids next weekend as my birthday present while I go away to New York), so I have pretty new clothes to wear while I'm in New York!

Mom and I also celebrated the day with lunch out. We tried a new Japanese/Thai restaurant -- Sake Too. It was yummy. After we finished, I remembered that I hadn't taken a picture for my blog yet. I told mom that I should have taken a picture of the food before we ate, it was presented so prettily. We joked that I should ask the waitress to let me take a picture before she delivered food to the table next to ours. So what does mom do, but ask the waitress if I can take her picture for my birthday...

She thought it was a strange custom, but was willing to go along with us. "Otanjoobi omedetou gozaimasu!"

Friday, November 02, 2007

I write down everything I want to remember. That way, instead of spending a lot of time trying to remember what it is I wrote down,

I spend the time looking for the paper I wrote it down on.
Beryl Pfizer)

I changed back to the palm pilot today. I've been using a Franklin Covey day planner. Even though I had the compact one, which is big enough to write on but small enough to carry in my pocketbook, I was still tired of carrying it around. Okay, I just wanted more room in the pocketbook for my knitting bag. So the Palm Pilot is back.

Neither system is quite "right," which is probably why every couple of months I bounce between the two. (Oh yeah, three, since I also like the Daytimer's spiral pages, and have invested in that system a couple of times.) I also read just about everything I can find on GTD, but it hasn't helped me. I think I spend more time making lists than actually doing anything about the listed items.

If I really admit the truth, the calendar and to do lists are just my security blanket. I know what I have to do and when I have to do it. And most of the time, I do what I have to without ever referring to my calendar book/palm pilot. But carrying around a written record just makes life seem as if it's under control. If I'm bored, I can look at my list and see that there's a lot I could be doing. If there's too much going on, I can look at my appointments and see the "free time" that makes up the rest of the day. And if things are too quiet, I can look at the addresses listed and know that there are a lot of friends I could call if I wanted to.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

No one can speak the words on your lips. Drench yourself in words unspoken. Live your life with arms wide open.

Today is where your book begins. The rest is still unwritten.
(Natasha Bedingfield)

Tuesday Challenge
Just for the record, my daughter is actually
average height for her age (5'5"). She
only looks short in this picture because
her little brother is "freakishly tall"
(her words, not mine) at 6'2".

NaBloPoMo officially started today, and already I'm at a loss for words. One of the online groups that I'm in (Ravelry's NaBloPoMo Knitters) suggested having a loose plan for the week, with regular daily topics. For instance, Wednesday's WIP or Mondays with Millie. It's really not a bad idea, except that I'm not very good at sticking to a schedule. (I bet that surprised some people. The truth is, I like having a schedule more than I like keeping to a schedule.)

Maybe I'm over thinking the whole thing. I'm getting too concerned with making this an interesting, informative blog. All I really wanted was an excuse to take more photos and a place to tell the funny stories that made me giggle during the day.

Right about now would be a real good place to tell one of those funny stories. The only problem is that I can't for the life of me think of a single one.

My youngest offered to help me out. She suggested that I write "boo," after which she started to giggle. When I just looked at her (actually, I was waiting for some sort of explanation), she just repeated "boo" and started to laugh even harder. I must admit that I'm totally baffled. I don't get what's so funny about "boo." Maybe there's some sort of reference there that I'm missing. I don't know. But at any rate, "boo."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Opportunity may knock only once, but temptation leans on the doorbell. (Unknown)

I waited with bowls of candy, but we only had a couple of children come trick-or-treating. So I guess that the kids and I are going to be able to claim the chocolate and the Skittles for ourselves. (I hope I sound appropriately saddened by that.)

Seriously, I am disappointed that there weren't more children out tonight. Our neighborhood has a lot of families, so I expected to have quite a number of visitors. Earlier the weather threatened to get nasty (there's a tropical storm out to the east of us), but it turned out to be just a little breezy and a smattering of raindrops. I guess parents must have decided to play it safe anyway, keeping their children home, or taking them to one of the many indoor Halloween activities offered around here.

While waiting for a knock on the door, I sat and knit. I managed to turn the heel on Becky's Christmas stocking, which was pretty exciting. The short row heel worked out nicely. I did a double wrap, using bits and pieces I picked up on internet tutorials. (I'd love to give exact credit, but I looked at so many sites that I don't remember whose I actually used.)
NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) starts tomorrow, and once again I've joined in. This is the year that I actually succeed in posting something everyday in November. I might have to give up the quotes, though. It takes so long to find an appropriate one each time. And I really need to be as effective as possible with the blogging since I'll have limited time: I'll be adding a second job in November (another behavioral case), as well as slipping off to New York to visit with my daughter for a weekend. At least I should have material to write about!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

This isn't good or bad. It's just the way of things. Nothing stays the same. (Real Live Preacher)

How ridiculous would it be to turn down a raise? I was offered one today, with a change in my job description. I know I'm supposed to think that it's a promotion, but I'm not happy about the change and I really don't want it. I'm not stupid enough to walk away from the job, but I'm thinking that maybe I can at least keep my pride about it...

(Okay, now it's time for some chocolate.)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something. (Jackie Mason)

I could be, and I really should be, depressed. And I was, for a couple of hours this afternoon. I wasted three hours on the phone with my ex-husband and a slew of customer service representatives, who between the eight of them managed to give me nine answers...none of which were of any help at all.

On the plus side, I rewarded myself for surviving the ordeal without resorting to foul language or chocolate by posting my yarn stash into Ravelry. I'm not really sure if a wicker basket containing two skeins and a bunch of leftover yarn scraps be called a stash, especially compared to some of the stash photos I've seen on other blogs. But I'm excited to have a choice of yarn for my next knitting project. (Of course, I should probably finish at least one of the two pairs I'm currently working before casting on anything else.)

I also worked on my bedroom restoration. The desk is gone, and I can actually see some of the floor again. Already the room feels so much calmer.

Monday, October 08, 2007

How does a project get to be a year behind schedule? One day at a time. (Fred Brooks)

Shutterday challenge

Even though it's a Monday, I'm feeling pretty good about myself. Which is surprising, when you consider that between the flu and Gramma's death, I've only been able to work at full capacity about a week and a half of the last 5 weeks. Maybe because today is the first really good day I've had in the past month. (More likely it's the two cups of coffee I've had since getting home from work this afternoon.)

Despite the looming tower of books on my desk waiting for reports and/or goal modifications, I'm really not that far behind at work. As of today, all of the monthly and quarterly reports are finished. And the staff is finally giving me good data to work with...there were only a couple of reports that I had to get creative with explanations.

I'm coming along pretty well with some of my other projects, too. I'm on the gusset of my second ILG sock. (Okay, it's my third sock in that pattern; but remember, the first one doesn't count until I can find the replacement yarn.)

The first sock is so pretty...I'm posting a picture of it, too. I've put that sock on so many times "just to see how it looks" that it's going to be worn out before I ever get to wear the pair!

I'm also working on two socks on two circular needles. I've been wanting to try this method, even though I didn't really like the way my last toe-up sock turned out. I've decided that my problem with toe-up socks is that I don't follow a pattern for them. I don't mind listening to a pattern for top down socks on dpns, even though I know the basic method of doing a sock that way without a pattern. But for some reason, toe-up just makes me think that I know better than the pattern makers. Except that I'm totally clueless on how to do the heel from that direction.

Along with that, this pair is intended to be a gift for someone. (I'm not telling who, yet.) So I want them to turn out really good. I wanted something simple, since the yarn is self-striping. But I'm not sure that I really like the stitch pattern that I've used. It doesn't help that two different people have commented "what nice slippers!" upon seeing me work on these socks. Maybe I should frog it and start over with a real pattern. Or maybe I should keep going because the stitch will look better as it becomes a sock. I don't know. I'm open to opinions (especially from the person, although still nameless, that this sock is meant for!).

By the way, several of my family and friends are destined for gift socks. If you think you are on that list (or would like to be, since I love an excuse to knit) and you have a preference for color and/or style, please let me know. I accept subtle hints ("I wear a size 11 and my favorite color is blue.") but a direct request might be safer ("Aunt Sandi, I don't like socks but those fingerless gloves in black sound really cool for Christmas.")

In addition to my knitting projects, I started another project this weekend. I decided to redo my bedroom. I've moved the furniture around, and my plan is to make the bedroom look like a bedroom by removing the desk (Becky's excited about that, since the desk is going to go into her room once we paint it to match her decor). I'm also going through the "attic closet" with an eye to reducing the number of boxes I have stored there. I'd like to be able to switch the "attic" storage into the double closet, and then use the walk-in closet for my clothes and dresser. I don't have any pictures to post because I refuse to let anyone see the mess I've made by cleaning up the room. It isn't too bad, really. I only have to climb over two boxes to get to the lamp; and even though I would have to crawl over the bed and under the desk to reach the TV, the remote control makes that unnecessary.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Maturity is the ability to do a job whether or not you are supervised, to carry money without spending it

and to bear an injustice without wanting to get even. (Ann Landers)

I've had a horrible headache all day, and it's been really difficult to get anything done. I've spent most of the day over-reacting, or worrying that I've over-reacted, to things. Even as I write this, I'm upset because I really wanted to make an effort to write interesting, amusing posts rather than whiney self-indulgences, but it hurts to think.

At least I got all the cookies made for tomorrow. (Oatmeal raisin cookies, two batches of chocolate chip cookies, and a big pan of brownies are ready to go with us to Exceptionalities' Fun Day picnic.)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Instant gratification takes too long. (Carrie Fisher )

I'm not obsessive compulsive. Honest, I'm not. But I can see how someone might get the idea that I am. After all, I decided that I wanted to try to do two socks on two circular needless (even though I've never used circular needles and the only toe-up sock I made wasn't exactly a roaring success). I spent most of yesterday evening and this afternoon, looking for a tutorial online. I finally gave up, and just figured it out based on the bits and pieces I did find (especially Cat Bordhi's socks on two circulars video on youtube, and Judy's Magic Cast-on directions in Knitty.com).

Then, even though it was dinner time, I started my socks. I was just going to cast on and do one, maybe two rows. Only the *needles got tangled up, then the yarn got tangled up, then the socks were twisted (continue to repeat from * ad nauseum). I just had to continue to knit a couple more rows to see if it was going to work out. The kids finally gave up waiting for me, and had their dinner. (Is there such a thing as yarn orphans?)

Around row 20, the socks suddenly started to make sense. So of course I had to keep knitting, just for the fun of it. But only for a few more rows. Well, maybe until the toe increases were done. But it would be nice to see how the pattern was going to work out on the instep... Suddenly it was after midnight. (I think the kids said goodnight to me before they went to bed; I was trying to calculate out the pattern stitches, though, so I can't be sure.)

Since it was so much later than I had planned to stay up, I knew I had to stop and go to bed. After all, I have work in the morning. Of course, I needed to take a picture of the socks for Ravelry. And once I had the picture, I might as well take the couple of minutes to post it. And the picture had to be explained. And if I had time to post in Ravelry, I have time to post here on my blog.

But obsessive compulsive? Nope, not at all...