Sunday, August 31, 2008

Adolescence is a period of rapid changes. Between the ages of 12 and 17, for example, a parent ages as much as 20 years. (Author Unknown)

I was trying to decide on a topic to post about today, and my daughter suggested the following:

"You should totally post about my feet. You could write: My daughter has beautiful feet. They're so pretty, and white, and they have nice black toenails. They are so pretty, she should be a foot model."

She actually went on quite a bit more in this vein, all the while waving her toes in my face to convince me. So what was a mother to do, except write it all down. And take a picture.

Because why should I be the only one to experience the dubious joy of mothering a teenage drama diva?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Be a fish swimming against the current, and be a tree swaying against the breeze. (Unknown)

I spent several hours at the park today. (Actually, I was there about 3 hours longer than I planned on, and about 2 hours more than I wanted to be.) The plus side of this was that I got a lot of knitting done. I sat by the water's edge, and knit a baby hat for charity. Then I moved up to a bench, and worked on the Special Olympics Scarf.

It was a very pretty day. There was a nice breeze blowing, which kept the usual horrible Florida humidity away. At the same time, it made knitting a little difficult. The yarn would waft in the wind, and tangle. The pattern slipped away to dance along the grass. And the scarf brought to mind the classic video, The Last Knit. I was convinced that at any minute the scarf was going to slip over the edge into the water, and I would be stitchin' with the fishes.

Luckily it was a westward wind, and the scarf blew away from the water's edge.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Don't reinvent the wheel, just realign it. (Anthony J. D'Angelo)

Today's theme is very appropriate, since today is one of those days that I'm spinning in circles, trying to get it everything done.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Knitting fills my days, not to mention the living room, bedroom, and closets. (Aurthor Unknown)

It's a WIP Wednesday, and I've been getting a lot accomplished. Or at least I feel like I'm finally getting something accomplished.

I'm halfway through the Special Olympics scarf. I turned the star graph around so that they'll all be facing the same way when the scarf is worn. Since I had just gotten the pattern memorized, this first reversed star has really thrown me off. And it's hard to tink (*knit backwards) with double knitting; although, like everything else, I find that the more I have to do it, the easier it gets.

The Mystery Socks That Never End are still moving along slowly. I'm about halfway through the first clue (out of four) on the second sock. When I pulled the first sock out for the photo, I broke one of my beautiful harmony needles, which really stinks. They're my favorite needles. Actually, I'm surprised I haven't broken several of them by now. The harmonies are a size 1 1/2, which is unbelievably tiny. I've heard of people knitting on double-0's (two sizes smaller than my tiny toothpicks), and that just seems like showing off.

Of course, it also means that I'll eventually have to give it a try. Because anybody who knows me knows that if you can do it, I can do it. (Or at least I have to try to do it).

With the Never Ending Socks on one set of needles, it's really doing a baby hat for charity. This one had interesting cables, so it did take me two days to get it done. I think the navy is a little dark for a newborn (my personal opinion only, of course), but I like it because of the cables. The designer, Marie Wright, has another cabled baby hat that I've added to my queue.

I worked on one other project this week, my Cari's Cabled Bag. I really love this bag, and I get a lot of compliments when I use it. The problem is that I had pretty much stopped using it because it was so hard to open. So Saturday I restitched the side seams, stopping about three quarters of the way up. This makes a world of difference. I can actually get my sock project bag, or a paperback book, or whatever, inside the bag without struggling. While I was at it, I made a quick and easy lining for the bag using some beautiful sunflower fabric I had. (It was purchased to make a scrub top, so I hope I still have enough for that.) I added a pocket for my cell phone, but otherwise pretty much just did a basic square lining. I think it really finishes the bag nicely, and it was well worth the effort of making these changes.

Naturally I still have a bunch of projects waiting. There's the Hippy Ripply Retro Socks. And the Sample Sock Blanket (which is a long-term project). I have a lap blanket waiting, and then a long line of yarn and patterns waiting patiently in a queue. The Mystery Stole 4 starts in September, and I'm looking forward to working on that.

And before I forget, tomorrow is the Boca Knitter's Leftover Ball, and I still need to decide what I'm bringing to share. So with that, I'm off to knit some more.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Victory belongs to the most persevering. (Napoleon Bonaparte)

He was supposed to get up at 4 am in order to be ready when the Sargent got there at 4:30. But since he knew that it wouldn't take him half an hour to get dressed, he slept until 4:15. Which is the time the Sarge actually arrived. Luckily his mom was already up, and he was able to grab 5 minutes while they chatted to throw on his clothes and brush his teeth.

The drive to Miami only took a little over an hour, since Sarge drives really fast. Sarge also talks really fast, which meant that he couldn't sleep in the car as he had hoped.

They signed into MEPS at 0600 hours (being a military facility, they had to use the official time), and then waited two hours for the paperwork to be processed. When they were finally handed the slip authorizing the necessary testing (which had already been requested on his previous visit), he was sent down the hall to another office.

Where he waited another hour before someone finally called his name. The medical personnel had him jog in place for 15 minutes, then he got to breathe into a tube. This was shown to the doctor, who nodded, signed a form, and sent him on his way to another office.

Where he once again waited. This time it only took three quarters of an hour to get the necessary signature, approving his induction. Counting the ride home (in traffic this time, so it took longer), he spent a little more than 7 hours to take a 20 minute test.

Welcome to the Military, my boy!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Never be entirely idle; but either be readin, or writing, or praying or meditating or endeavoring something for the public good. (T. a Kempis)

It's been a quiet, calm, yet productive day today. I didn't do anything too terribly exhausting, but I was able to complete some projects on my task list.

I was able to listen to podcasts while I was working, and that made the time just fly by very pleasurably. I've added a couple more podcasts to my itunes subscriptions.

Faery Knitting is one of my new favorites. Spinningerin reads a fairy tale, then discusses the symbolic and historical meaning of the tale. It really is interesting, even if English wasn't your favorite subject in school. (It was my favorite class, so I really get into all of this.) Beyond the fairy tale, Spinningerin chats about her life and goats, and of course knitting. Usually I delete a podcast from my ipod once I've listened to it; Faery Knitting is being kept to listen to again and again. (Hey, they're really great stories!)

Betty in the Sky with a Suitcase is another new favorite. And this one isn't even knitting related. Betty is a flight attendant who shares stories (her own as well as co-workers') about her many travel-related adventures. Most of these are just the short, funny anecdotes that you can imagine friends sharing as they relax together after work. My biggest complaint about this podcast is that it frequently causes me to burst into hearty laughter -- this is embarrassing if you're running errands with your earphones on, so that others don't know what you're laughing at.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

People who count their chickens before they are hatched, act very wisely,

because chickens run about so absurdly that it is impossible to count them accurately.
(Oscar Wilde)

I was hoping to share the adventures of the past week, but I still don't have the happy ending I was hoping for. And with a line like that, I probably should fill in at least a few of the details so that nobody's imagination needs to work overtime.

School started this past week, and for the past month it's been touch and go whether my son was going to do his senior year or just drop out. He wants to join the Army, and we finally reached an agreement that he could sign up for delayed entry if he agreed to get his diploma. He tried to hold out for just a GED, but for a change his father agreed with me.

Since he's in school, and just turned 17, we've been working on the paperwork for him to enlist. I've spent several evenings sitting in the recruiter's office with my ex, which really isn't my idea of a fun night out. We finally had everything in order, and my son went off Friday to MEPS (military entrance processing station, if you're interested) for his physical and the final paperwork. I was expecting him to come home today as an Army guy.

But it seems that he has to return on Monday for a more in-depth physical. Poor kid; regardless of how I feel about it, he really has his heart set on joining the military. They did process the paperwork, pending final physician approval, so he will probably be able to join. But we'll have to wait until Monday to find out.

Neither of us is very good at waiting.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. (Bertrand Russell)

It's been an interesting week, to put it mildly. I'm hoping that tomorrow I'll finally be able to share some of it; or rather, to share the exciting/fun part of it. (The rest I have every intention of forgetting for all eternity.)

In the meantime, today is supposed to be Friday's Favorites. My favorite thing this week is Double Knitting. (I know, it's going to be another knitting post. I apologize to my non-fiber fanatic reader.)

Double knitting is a method of casting on with two different skeins of yarn, and then knitting two layers of fabric together. It's really fun! And after doing three or four stars, it's actually very easy. (Okay, "very" was an exaggeration. But it is easy.) It's just color work that is reversible. It looks very cool as you do it, almost as cool as knitting with multiple tiny dpns, and it's really fun. (I'm repeating myself, but it is currently my favorite thing after all.)

The thing that really cements this as my favorite thing for the week is that I'm doing the double knitting as a scarf for Special Olympics. Last year, the organizers of the Special Olympics World Winter Games asked for volunteers to contribute scarves for participating athletes. Expecting a couple of scarves from local knitters, they received over 1,000. This year, they've decided to go all out and are asking for 5,000 scarves so that all of the participating athletes and other "important" visitors (such as coaches) can all have a scarf.

The pattern I chose for my scarf is the Knit Star Scarf by Crafty Chick Knits. (This is a wonderful first double-knit pattern, by the way, and I wanted to be sure to give Angela credit.)
But the scarves can be knitted or crocheted in any pattern, as long as you use Red Heart Supersaver yarn in the official colors (Delft Blue #885 and White #311). The scarves should be mailed to the Special Olympics headquarters by January 15, 2009. (I'm giving so much information because I'm hoping that others will want to make scarves with me.)

I have a lot of fond memories of the Special Olympics. My Uncle Ricky used to compete when I was a child. I can still picture him showing off his medals for duckpin bowling (every single time he saw me, over and over). I got to be an official Hugger while in college in South Florida. I've served hot dogs, handed out medals, and generally cheered on athletes wherever I've lived. And I always come home feeling good about the world in general.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Happy Birthday!

It's been an interesting 17 years.
I love you!

(Thursday Theme: Festival)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke,

and a presumption that once our eyes watered.
(Tom Stoppard)

Kelsey Park

I mentioned briefly yesterday about sitting on the dock in the rain. This is the picture I took of the park when I finally returned to my car. I would have liked to take a better picture of the water (it's a really nice place to sit), but I at least was sensible enough to leave my stuff in the car. That way I was the only thing that ended up soaking wet.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I am doomed to an eternity of compulsive work. No set goal achieved satisfies. Success only breeds a new goal. The golden apple devoured has seeds.

It is endless.
Bette Davis)

It's WIP Wednesday already. This seems to be the only day that I actually blog. Sorry. Especially since I don't have all that much to report. I did manage to finish the baby hat I was working on last week. And I knit another preemie hat this week. I've decided that knitting baby hats is almost as fun as knitting socks, and they're a whole lot faster to finish

I also finished the Apple-of-my-Eye hat for my daughter.

And finally, I'm still working on the Mystery-Socks-That-Never-End. The really sad thing is that I haven't even started on the second sock yet. (Usually I knit both socks, almost in unison.) I finally have the stitch pattern internalized, so it is starting to go a little faster. I would really like to get these off the needles, though. Sigh.

I think one reason I'm not making any progress is that I've been too upset to knit. Which is dumb, since knitting is very soothing. But take last night; I sat two hours on the dock in the rain, just staring at the water and trying to figure out how to get things back to normal. Of course, after today I would gladly give up "normal" and just settle for a little less dramatic.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

My theory is that if you look confident you can pull off anything - even if you have no clue what you're doing. (Jessica Alba)

I finally finished my Something Shady Socks from Sock Madness. I can't believe these have been hanging around since MAY! I really, really don't like the afterthought heel, by the way. It turned out pretty. And I understand that it's supposed to be more convenient (keeping the design intact without interruption), but it just didn't seem worth it to me. Add in the fact that it was totally inconvenient to try the socks on for size (even cuff down socks are easier to try on), and it was a total "yeck!" for me. And I didn't even get to try the Kool-aid dye, which was supposed to be the whole point. (But if my daughter really prefers white socks, it wouldn't make sense to dye them and have her not wear them after all that work. I'll just have to wait and find some other excuse to dye something.)

Becci's hat is making slow progress. I decided to do it on the two circulars, and the needles are driving me nuts. Everyone says how much easier two circs are than the multiple double point needles. Personally, I think everyone is just lying. I have to keep untangling the cords and the yarn, and straightening out which is which. And then the cords kink as soon as I get a good rhythm going. The trouble might be that I bought the cheapest circulars that Walmart had to offer, and that if I invested in decent tools they would work better. I'm planning a trip to the local yarn store on Saturday, so maybe they'll let me try a pair of the nice circs just to see if I like it better.

Despite my decision to finish everything I already had in progress before starting anything new, I did start another baby hat. It doesn't really count as a "new" project, since I'd already started doing baby hats for charity. Right? I'm just trying to stick to my other decision of doing one charity hat per week. (No wonder I can't get anything accomplished -- my decisions countermind each other!)

And as long as I'm already speaking of going against the decision to not start anything new, I signed up for the Mystery Shawl project. It's a lace shawl with beads, but that's all I know so far. I've never done lace or beads, or even a shawl, so I thought this would be something fun to learn. And since the first clue doesn't come out until September 4th, I should have time to finish the Mystery Socks (that were supposed to be finished last week), the Ripply Retro Socks (from April's Sock Madness), the ipod cover from my handspun that I keep casting on and frogging, and the adjustments to my cabled bag that I want to get done. The projects that are in my queue can wait until after the shawl, since they've already waited this long.

And that's my final decision.

I think.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. (Albert Einstein)

Say what you will, a job that requires you to eat ice cream is a job worth doing well.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. (Theodore Roosevelt)

The Good
  • Payday was Friday, and so I sat down this weekend to write out checks. After paying all my bills, there's still money left over. (Not much, but at least there's something for groceries!)
  • Becci made me chocolate chip cookies. Because she loves me. (And because I asked her to.)
  • C/D paid me back most of the money that he borrowed, just like he promised he would. So I'm feeling a little better about the situation.
The Bad
  • We haven't done any family activities lately, so I had nothing to write about for Family Fun Day. So instead I'm reviving the Good/Bad/Ugly lists.
  • My son is still insisting that he doesn't want to go back to school for his senior year. This is, quite naturally, causing great conflict.

The Ugly
  • C/D stopped off for drink when he said he was out looking for a job. So I had to get very mean and give him the "one more strike and you're out" speech. (Although, considering I had let him stay with the understanding that one strike and he was out, the fact that I've tolerated two already should make me eligible for some type of saint/patsy award.)

Friday, August 01, 2008

The more things change, the more they remain... insane (Michael Fry and T. Lewis)

My favorite thing this week are the old wool-loop potholders. The ones that kids make on the little square looms; you've probably made a couple of them yourself as a child. I remember making hundreds of them growing up. And then helping my kids make them. Now I'm helping my client make them.

Besides the benefit of being a fun, easy craft project, these are really good potholders. They're the perfect weight and size to use; they last forever, almost; they clean up easily in the washing machine; and they can be made in almost any color scheme so they go with everyone's kitchen.