Monday, March 31, 2008

Is Madness Reversible?

The second round in Sock Madness was posted this afternoon, so despite being home this evening with the flu (thanks to my son!), I'm trying to knit. I'm hoping that slow and steady will work, because I've taken so much decongestant that fast just isn't an option.

The pattern is beautiful. It's called Reversai, and it's by the same designer that did the I Love Guernsey socks that still get so many compliments every time I wear them. The pattern is easy (thank goodness - see above paragraph); it just involves following along the design chart. It's got a short row heel, which doesn't scare me anymore. (I conquered that fear with the Noro socks I recently finished.) I'm using the Araucania Ranco yarn my daughter sent me, and it's absolutely gorgeous. (Am I obligated to give her the socks since the yarn was hers, or can I keep them for myself?)

I'm trying real hard to avoid the temptation of panicking early again with this sock pattern. I promised myself after the last round that I would not obsessively check the postings to see how many people had already finished, and I would not make myself crazy by trying to knit non-stop for however many hours it might take.

Of course, promises were obviously made to be broken. I just peeked, and so far there are no finished socks in any of the brackets. (But once is not really obsessive, so it shouldn't count. Right?) And it shouldn't make me crazy to stay up just a little later knitting tonight...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

As a teen, you're constantly trying to figure out who you are... (Mandy Moore)

I don't have a picture, so you'll just have to trust me on this one. After having it "easy" with my first two children, I'm finally getting a "real" teenager to deal with. We're talking shoes, clothes, boys, constant phone, make-up, parties, and Attitude (notice the capital 'a'!). This evening she dyed her hair red. Then she informed me that she had saved up almost enough money for a tattoo, or maybe a nose piercing...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others. (Winston Churchill)

I thought this was one of the saddest things that I've ever seen. I was at a thrift store (Thrifty Tea Swap!) and I saw these photographs. I wanted to just cry for the woman in the pictures. I really have no idea if she donated the frames, or if it was a relative/friend who gave away the picture frames. But when I think of the memories these pictures represent, just given away as an afterthought with $1 frames...

I have literally thousands of photos in my home (sorted in scrapbooks, storage boxes, and computer memory cards). I hope that my children would think that these photos are important enough to either save or destroy, should anything happen to me.

Friday, March 28, 2008

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full. (Henry Kissinger)

Remember this from Wednesday?

I think I've wallowed long enough. Yeah, I'm overwhelmed by work. It's not the first time I've had to work hard, and it certainly isn't going to be the last time. At least I'm able to pay all the bills this month. And yeah, I've got a lot of things to be depressed over. But I've got a lot of things to be happy about, too. It's time to start focusing back on the happy side of life.

So I'll be back online tomorrow, with a (hopefully) funny story and news of my latest knitting project. Oh wait -- my current knitting project is a gift for a friend, so I can't say anything yet just in case my friend stumbles across this blog. (Hey, my high school boyfriend did...)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible. (Arthur C. Clarke)

(I just realized that I don't have a picture for today. I thought I did, but there's nothing new on my camera. I'll try to remember to take something to post for tomorrow.)

The Madness is still going strong, and I'm pleased to be able to rest until the next round (which should be some time next week). I did go ahead and cast on another pair of socks while I'm waiting, but let's not talk about that.

On a totally unrelated subject: I would dearly love to have a dash cam installed in my car. There are just too many odd-ball things that I see as I go through my day. A video to prove that I'm not making them up (as if even my imagination is that good!) would be nice.

A good example is the motorcyclist I passed the other day. Something made me take another look. His motorcycle was a small red model, probably a Yamaha. (I like Yamahas; they're cute bikes as opposed to "manly-biker-dude" bikes.) He was just an ordinary guy, young-probably in his twenties, wearing jeans and a white t-shirt. Then it dawned on me. His helmet was on backwards. You know how guys wear their baseball caps turned around, so that the brim is down covering the back of their necks? That's how this guy's helmet was. Baseball caps look cool when worn that way. You can't say the same for motorcycle helmets. So now I'm left wondering: did he wear it that way on purpose, or did he just not know how to put on a helmet?

Today would have been an even better day to have a dash cam. I was driving home from work in the early evening, just as it was starting to get dark, and I noticed up ahead there was a car pulled off on the side of the interstate. It was a small car that reminded me of my mom's 4-door Toyota (older model), and the trunk was open. The driver stood by the open front door of the car as three guys were running back along the road -- my guess was that they were trying to retrieve something that had fallen out of the open trunk. As I got closer, I watched the guys run up to one of the construction barrels, pick it up, and carry it back to their car. As I passed them, they were trying to close the trunk lid on the barrel as the driver urged them to hurry. (Yes, I probably should have been paying more attention to my driving, but this was more interesting!) I think I witnessed a theft. So now I'm left wondering: what are they planning to do with an orange-striped warning barrel? Will they put a glass top on it and make it into a diningroom table? (We had an electrical drum as a coffee table when I was growing up.) Will it go in their front yard, next to the car on cinder blocks? Or will they start to feel guilty and leave it by the side of the road somewhere (which will confuse drivers in the morning as they look for the new construction)?

Monday, March 17, 2008

I'm finished!

Well, it's over. I think I made it through this first round, but I won't be sure until the update the division listing later on. (It's too late/early to expect anyone to be doing that now.) I had planned on using my daughter for the model (the socks would have fit better, and the photo would have looked much nicer), but there is no way I can go wake her up right now.

It's been a very intense few days. To paraphrase Bethtoons on the Ravelry boards, panic started much too early this year. This was the easy pattern. So what am I going to do if I make it through to round 4 or 5?

I didn't even post my "I hate knitting, what am I doing this for?" stage, which occurred around 2 pm today. I was so tired of knitting, and so stressed that I swore I would break every knitting needle in the house, shred every bit of yarn, start wearing sandals so that we wouldn't need socks, and never even look at a sweater again. But then I took a break to do some work, and I decided that knitting was not invented as a form of torture after all.

And now that it's all over, and the socks are finished and look beautiful... I just want to get some sleep in the two hours I have before it's time to get ready for work.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I'm giving it all she's got, Captain! (Scotty, Starship Enterprise)

I finally finished the first sock. I honestly didn't think that it would take me as long as it did. Now it's time for a couple of deep breathes, a bite of lunch, and I'm off to do the second sock. I think I'm still in the running, but it's going to be a close thing.

Tell me again -- I was doing this for fun, right?

Time to take a quick nap, I think

I've just spent five minutes looking for my glasses (I usually take them off to knit), only to realize that I was wearing them. I think I'll go lay down for a couple of hours and hope for a return to sanity soon.

All night long...

I'm afraid to stop for any reason. I've gotten both legs done, and I have a definite rhythm to the pattern going. Remember back when I laughed about some of the women talking about taking their knitting to the bathroom during competition? Well, it doesn't sound like such a far-fetched idea anymore. There are now 8 completed socks in my division, and I have not idea where the others are in their knitting. I still have to do the heels and feet. I keep telling myself that this should be the easy part; after all, the heel is a garter edge heel flap which is my favorite heel to do. But I'll feel a lot better when I can report that the socks are done.

Notice the m&m's and Pepsi in the background of my progress picture. I swear that this is what is keep me going right now. (Knit a row, eat a chocolate. Finish a pattern repeat, take a drink.)

My kids have gone to bed, but my daughter has agreed that I can use her feet for modeling the socks if I get them finished during the night. (She actually agreed to doing this in the morning for me, but I figure that whenever I get done will be "morning.")

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Purl 2, Knit 2 (or is this the yarn over?)

I got home from work about an hour ago, and sat down to finish the first leg. Now it's time for a quick break to run my daughter to her friend's house (Are you sure you couldn't just walk? Mommy's busy knitting!), and then I'll be home to do the next leg.

I will admit to obsessively checking the brackets, and so far 19 socks are finished. Only three in my division, so I still have a chance to make it in the top 40. (Maybe.)

Friday, March 14, 2008

I need a couple of hours of sleep

One leg is almost finished. I was hoping to have both legs done before bed, but it just isn't going to happen. I'm starting to make stupid mistakes. What's worse, I've stopped caring that I'm making stupid mistakes. My wrist hurts, I'm tired, and even Lorelei is starting to get on my nerves. So I'm going to set my alarm for 4:30, and I promise I'll work some more on these before I go to work tomorrow.

Leave me alone; I'm trying to knit!

Okay, I've been through the Veronica Mars DVD and part of a Gilmore Girls episode, and this is where I'm at. The kids are starting to get annoying -- I warned them that dinner was not to be expected while I'm knitting. Thank goodness for Papa Johns online.

Since I had to pause anyway, I thought I would post these photos real quick. I'm too scared to take a peek and see how the others are doing. (Just breathe regularly, and remember that you only have to be in the top forty Uconn Cast Ons this time around, Sandi.)

I'm already folding under the pressure

My plan to stay up all night knitting didn't really work out very well. I did the first cuff, and then decided to rip it out and start over. I didn't like the gauge I was getting on the size 1 dpns (2.25mm). So I started over on size 1.5. I'm really not sure why .25mm makes a difference, but I do like the way this is looking much better. The problem came in when I decided around 1 am to rip out the cuff again. My reason? Because the tail was too long. As I pulled the first needle out of the stitches, I realized what I was doing. I put the knitting down, and went to bed. This morning, I managed to pick up the stitches back onto the needle, and then simply cut the affending tail shorter. I figure that at the most, the yarn I cut off would have gotten me another two rounds of sock knitting. If I find that I run out of yarn two rows early, I think I really can live with that.

I'm off to work now. But I'll be back to knitting around 4 pm. (Or do you think they'll let me go home early for due to my advanced case of sockitis?)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I'm in trouble...

I sat down to write a real quick "I'm off to start on my sock now" post, and I made the horrible mistake of checking the flickr group first. There are people who are already done with their first sock. I've cast on my first sock and have two rows of ribbing finished, but that's not even close to being done yet.

In my defense, I did have to work. Sometimes I can knit while with a client (it comes under the guise of teaching how to ask for attention appropriately), but it figures that today was not one of those days. (Why did he have to learn NOW how to say "excuse me please" instead of throwing a tantrum?)

I did pick up a couple of items on my way home: frozen dinners for the kids so they wouldn't expect real food until the socks are finished; french vanilla creamer, since I'll be drinking coffee in excessive quantities (starting tonight as I try to catch up to the others by knitting all night as those swift-fingered knitters waste time sleeping); and the large party-sized bag of m&ms (so that I don't waste time opening wrappers as I grab for chocolate while knitting).

Now as soon as the pain pills (for my wrist) kick in, I'm ready to kick some yarn butt...
I just got the pattern, and I can't believe I have to wait for another two hours before I can cast on. It looks like a fairly straight forward cuff down sock, except for the scary dropped stitches. (You want me to drop a stitch on purpose?!) I still haven't decided which yarn to use. The green would be pretty, but the red/brown would be more zombie-ish.

Don't worry, there will be frequent updates...

Waiting is heck! (Anon)

The first pattern in Sock Madness comes out today, and that's all I've been able to think about. I packed and repacked my knitting bag to bring to work with me today so that I'll be ready. I've got the yarn I finally decided on (the green Wildfoote), and the red yarn just in case I change my mind (again). I have all my needle cases, all of which have been relabelled (because I wouldn't want to grab the wrong sized dpn). I've double-checked my notions case, and the scissors, darning needle, and tape measure are all present and accounted for. I don't have any safety pins, but I'm trying real hard not to worry about that. After all, Walmart is only two blocks from my house and is open 24 hours, so I can always stop and pick them up when I take the kids home this afternoon. (If I need them before that, I have a box of paper clips in my desk drawer.)

Now if I could stop obsessively checking my email...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Time is: Too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear. (Henry van Dyke)

This was going to be my last sane posting for the next couple of months, since the Madness begins in earnest tomorrow. But I find myself unable to think of anything other than knitting. How close to noon will the pattern come out? More importantly, will I have time to cast on the socks before I have to leave for my afternoon job? Do I really have to go to my afternoon job, or can I call out due to knitting? (Okay, I know the answer to that one -- yes, I have to go to work. Otherwise I'll feel really guilty the entire time I'm knitting.) Should I pack up my knitting bag to take with me to work tomorrow morning, just in case? Am I going to make it past the first round?

And should I cast on my daughter's hat, or maybe the shawl I've been wanting to do for a while now, while I'm waiting for tomorrow to arrive? After all, there's at least another two hours of knitting time left tonight. And since I know that starting a sock would be a bad idea right now...

I did think about doing a post about the latest book I'm reading, but that wouldn't be any help. I've just gotten a copy of the Yarn Harlot's The Secret Life of a Knitter. (Well, when you're obsessive, you're obsessed.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

But I know somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars. (Martin Luther King Jr.)

Okay, I admit that I'm obsessed. But the specs are out for the first entry in Sock Madness, and all I can think about is: "What in the world do they mean by a scary semisolid-colored yarn?" And is calling out "knitting" an acceptable work excuse?

Oh yeah. I've hurt my wrist. I think it's just sprained. But I'm having trouble typing (gotta love a left handed hunt and peck), and I haven't even tried to pick up the knitting needles this evening. Maybe it will be better in the morning?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Accomplishing the impossible means only that the boss will add it to your regular duties. (Doug Larson)


I was talking with my client's mother today, and she wanted to know how I manage to do all the things that I do (private clients, full time job, teenagers of my own, knitting, and sewing my scrubs). I told her that it was easier for me, since I'm not the mother of a handicapped child.

When my children were little, I was constantly having to do for them so I don't think I got to do as much. But now that they're teenagers and (fairly) independently, I have more time to spend doing the things that I want to do.

Besides, I don't really do that much. I have things that I have to do, so I get them done. And things that I want to do, so I try to get them done. I don't spend much time cleaning my house (that's what teenagers are for!). I don't spend a lot of time cooking (I plan ahead so that I don't have to, or I resort to take-out). I don't spend a lot of time hanging out in bars (although it might be nice for a change) or going to the movies, or socializing in public. (The hours that I have to socialize are usually late at night, so I tend to hang out online with people who have equally chaotic lives.)

Other people have different priorities and different needs. Our priorities and needs tend to be flexible, depending on where we are in our lives. I figure that it all evens out in the end.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Deal with the consequences of your actions, 'cause life ain't no video game. (Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka, & Toshihiro Kawabata)

My son got his PSP this weekend, and he's been totally enthralled with it. It really is incredible. He's able to download music and videos onto it. (Well, music anyway. But he could put videos on it if he had enough money left to buy some.) The game graphics are unbelievably good. And it even has wireless internet, which means that his sister was able to get onto the computer for a change. This thing is so cool, I almost want one.

I feel really old for saying this, but games have come such a long way since I was his age. I remember when Pong was the big thing. (Anyone else remember playing on an Atari?) I mostly watched my friends play, since I didn't have Atari at home. Even back then, or especially back then since the graphics were so very basic (a round ball of light bounced back and forth between two paddles on a black screen), video games were more exciting to play than to watch.

I will admit to liking the video games at the boardwalk arcade a little bit better. Probably because I actually got to play the game there, instead of watching. My favorites were Space Invaders and Pac Man. (I still like Ms Pac Man the best, when I take the kids to an arcade.)

Saturday, March 08, 2008

A bore is a man who, when you ask him how he is, tells you. (Bert Leston Taylor)

I'm still working on these socks, trying to get them finished before the Madness starts...

(I really love the Noro, and I'm already planning on getting more Noro sock yarn to make more socks for me. I also want the Noro Kureyon to make a matching Lucy Bag.)

Friday, March 07, 2008

Ducks and geese are foolish things, and must be looked after, but girls can take care of themselves. (Washington Irving)

When she left for school today, my daughter was wearing matching shoes and scrubs. But she traded clothes with a friend, and a shoe with another. As my son would say: She's such a Girl!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Oh that way madness lies; let me shun that. (William Shakespeare - "King Lear")

It's official. The first pattern for Sock Madness will be released on Thursday, March 13th.

Of course, since I work all three jobs on Thursdays. I guess I'll be stopping off at Dunkin Donuts for a Large Mocha Latte, extra expresso, on my way home that night.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds;

and the pessimist fears this is true. (James Branch Cabell)
I'm very upset today by something I read in the papers, and I think I'm going to rant a little bit. You're welcome to walk away now if you'd like, otherwise feel free to chime in with "I can't believe it -- how horrible!" at appropriate intervals.

We had an incident at a local Wendy's this week that got quite a bit of press coverage. A man, for unknown reasons, decided to shoot several people in the Wendy's (killing one) before killing himself. The killer has been described as a nicely dressed man, whose neighbors knew him as a good, quiet, friendly guy. We're only now hearing of some violent behavior in his past.

We've also been hearing a lot about his deceased victim, a father of five who worked as a firefighter. Naturally there is a lot of public support for his family.

One of the other, less publicized, victims in the incident is a 16 year old girl who attends my son's school. She had missed school to accompany her mother to a medical appointment. They picked the wrong place to stop for lunch. She and her mother were hiding under a table when the gunman found them. This young teenager was face to face with the killer. I can't even imagine what it must have been like for her, facing death so clearly. One of the bullets he fired hit her, shattering bones. I don't know what her recovery is going to take, both physically and mentally, but my heart goes out to her.

My son did not hear any official announcements at school about the injured student. However there was a small quote in the local newspaper by the principal: "Hopefully she can come back, and we can give her support she needs, and we can get her back on track for FCAT."

I'm not a big fan of the FCAT testing, and this quote typifies one of the many reasons why. The theory behind the FCAT is wonderful - hold schools accountable by measuring that students are learning the required curriculum. But
the annual administration of the test does not test knowledge gained, but rather the difference in knowledge level between one year of students and the next. A single standardized test cannot and should not be the basis for funding, teachers' pay, student grades, and school ratings. Since Florida does put that much emphasis on the FCATS, the result is a school system that cares more about the test than the students.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

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

Yes, we actually get paid for this!

I'm sorry I didn't post yesterday. When I got home from work I sat down on the edge of my bed to finish casting off my Training Sherman sock, and I woke up around 2 am when I rolled over and jabbed myself with one of the knitting needles!

I'm not doing much better tonight. If I start to snore, poke me with a dpn!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

There will always be knitting as long as there are two sticks and string. (unknown)

I finished Pat's Cable Ready Bag today. I wanted to be able to give it to her tomorrow at work. Only I just got a call that she's sick so I'll be opening the program by myself tomorrow. Oh well, she'll get it when she goes in on Tuesday. At least it's finished.

It's really much nicer than than Cari's Ready To Cable Bag. That one had been my favorite bag (well, along with the Lucy bag, which I'm not using right now only because it's not big enough to carry around the sock I'm working on) because it's so pretty and roomy. But the opening is difficult, so this time I got smart and didn't sew up the sides quite as high. I think this is going to make the bag so much nicer to use. I also lined it, which is very nice but definitely not something I enjoyed doing. Which is odd, considering I like to sew. Maybe it's because I was too lazy to take the sewing machine downstairs to the table, and ended up sewing the lining while sitting on the floor.

I've had a lot of knitting content on this blog lately, and I know that because of that I'm probably boring at least four of my five readers. (Hey, check out the stats -- I think there's been a few more people stumbling across this blog.) I'm thinking of adding categories to each post, so that readers could click just the subjects that they were interested in. Only, what in the world could I possibly be writing about that anyone is interested in? I'll just leave it up to you: If you want specific categories to track, tell me in a comment. Otherwise, I'll just go on rambling about whatever interests me as I write.

Speaking of interests, I've found a new podcast that I'm enjoying: Stash and Burn. It's another knitting podcast, hosted by Jenny and Nicole who are friends trying to support each other (and us!) in their quest to work through their yarn stash. I'm still trying to figure out how they ended up with such large stashes, although this weekend I discovered that my stash was much bigger than I had thought. (I had all the yarn except the laceweight needed for the eight sock patterns in Sock Madness, which did not stop me from getting more yarn specifically for the competition.) Jenny and Nicole are a lot of fun to listen to; and if I can't knit with them in person, it's nice to knit with them electronically.

I've also figured out how to listen to podcasts as I drive, which helps with the hour commute I'm now doing a couple of days a week. I really want to get a good player (maybe a Nano?) though, because the Dell Ditty drives me nuts. It's so hard to get to a specific file on it. When I'm driving I've got to just let it play whatever comes up, even if I've heard it before (which is what happened to me yesterday). But at least I figured out the Ditty enough to use it, so I'm happy.