Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor. (Victor Hugo)

Sigh. I did it again. I was almost finished with the Pettine, and I frogged it. It just wasn't big enough. So I'm trying it on a slightly larger needle (size 7, instead of size 6). I already like it better.

Monday, December 27, 2010

We were all pretending. The important thing is to maintain a straight face. (Maurice Valency)

Every year about this time I debate on whether or not I should make New Year's Resolutions. I really like the idea of starting over and doing a better job with my life. On the other hand, I have a horrible track record on actually sticking to the resolutions.

So do I act the role of the optimist, and take the opportunity to better myself. Or do I admit that I'm never going to successfully change and save myself the inevitable failure. (Huh, I guess I am a pessimist after all.)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Music is the universal language of mankind. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

This past week I went to Cityplace see Andrew Doll sing. He's my friend's grandson and has an amazing voice. What a wonderful concert! I'm looking forward to hearing him again soon.

Actually, he's going to do a concert for Exceptionalities next week. I can't wait!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn't come from a store. (Theodor Geisel)

Christmas only lasted a short time before the kids had to rush off to be with their father.

I'm going to spend the day with Dr. Who. And my new camera: A 12 megapixal Coolpix that Becka and PJ gave me. It's very nice. (But dinner with them would have been better.)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Money can't buy you happiness, but poverty can't buy you anything. (Timur Sahin)

It is Christmas Eve, and I've just spent the day shopping. This has got to be the latest I've ever done my shopping, and I don't understand how anybody would purposely wait until the last minute like this. Of course, I'm still trying to Bah, Humbug my way through the holiday. There just doesn't seem to be any reason to be happy this year.

Shopping at the last minute didn't help.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either. (Elizabeth Zimmermann)

I finished the Pettine shawlette. Well, it still needs to be blocked. But the knitting is done. It was a lot of fun (except for the little frogging setback). In fact, I've already cast on another shawl by the same designer.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

If we do not ever take time, how can we ever have time? (Wachowski Brothers)

Now that I've settled into the food plan, it's time to add activity to my weight loss program.

I'm trying to walk a little bit every day, even if it's only ten minutes at a time. I figure that something is better than nothing. And I do like to walk.

Eventually I'm going to need to do more than just an easy walk. My apartment complex has a really nice gym, but I don't know what I should be doing. The treadmill is pretty self-explanatory. But I don't know how to use the rest of the equipment.

I wish I played tennis, or something that would provide a fun means of getting exercise. I wonder if I could do yoga? Or maybe I should find a dance class. There has to be something I can do...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons. (Woody Allen)

Sigh. Does anyone know of an opening in my field? I'm willing to relocate.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

If you're going to be able to look back on something and laugh about it, you might as well laugh about it now. (Marie Osmond)

I had a message on my phone this morning. It was one of those calls that every parent of a teenager dreads. "Mom, everything's okay but I screwed up and the police want to talk to you."

Let me go back a moment and say that I left my son at home alone. He's 19, but very mature and trustworthy. He's been working full-time for a year now, and he knows and follows my house rules. Besides which, he's a hermit. By that I mean he has two friends and otherwise keeps pretty much to himself. So it's not like he's going to be having wild parties or getting into trouble. His dad lives half an hour away, so there is an adult he can turn to if needed.

What I totally forgot was that even though my son has two friends, those two friends have lots of friends. And somehow all those friends ended up at my house for a party. The police got involved because of the noise. (I've not had any evidence or complaints of alcohol involved, so I'm trusting my son when he says it was only noise. Nevertheless, I'm upset that he allowed a situation to happen that involved the police at all.

I won't be taking any more trips that leave him home alone for a while.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Man is made that he can only find relaxation from one kind of labor by taking up another. (Anatole France)

I brought my spinning wheel with me, with plans to finish the Corridale. I even bought metallic thread to ply it with. Unfortunately, I haven't done as much spinning as I thought I would. Part of it is because I'm upset. I have a suitcase that I pack the wheel in for traveling. This usually keeps it safe. Except that I tried to save space by packing all of my clothes in the same suitcase, and I obviously over-packed. The screw for the maiden head was threaded, and I had to McGyver a fix. Which I was able to do, luckily. But I'm still upset at myself for being so stupid and not taking one more bag. As a result, my spinning mojo is off and I can't seem to get the calming rhythm.

On a brighter side, it's nice to see my mom is officially a full-fledged Knitter now. She has multiple projects on the needles, and she brought them all with her. She even had several projects out at one time. (And I remember her seriously asking me why I didn't just finish something before starting a new project.) Welcome to the dark side, mom!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Don't grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach. (Michelle Held)

My favorite thing this week is the sound of the ocean. Mom and I have been keeping the balcony doors open so we can hear the crash of the waves on the beach. It brings back such wonderful memories!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

He who would travel happily must travel light. (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

I took Becka to the airport this morning, and then mom and I drove to Daytona Beach. We've got four days at the time share, and I am so happy to be here. Even if it is cold and rainy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

You bet I did. And I enjoyed it. (Michael Bloomberg)

Since I had a couple of days before my daughter's trip to New Jersey, I decided to make a hat for Cassie. I 've been wanting an excuse to make the Rosebud pattern out of Itty-Bitty Hats, and this seemed like a good time to knit it. The hat itself took no time at all, but the roses were a pain in the butt to sew on.

I can't wait to see a picture of it on Cassie!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work. (H.L. Hunt)

I am a total point miser.

Weight Watchers allows you to eat whatever you want, as long as you count the points. (Points are based on the protein, carbs, fat, and fiber content of the individual food.) There are daily points, plus extra weekly points that be used. Without going into details, I have an awful lot of points so I really can eat what I want. Instead, I carefully hoard my points and only eat foods with minimal points. For instance, I passed up a cookie (7 points) to eat a clementine orange instead (because it was 0 points).

Being a point miser would be a good thing, except that I generally end the day with more than 10 points left untouched. (So I could have had the cookie after all.)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pace yourself. An elephant can be bite at a time. (Annon.)

I have a new datebook. Maybe now I'll be able to get control of my life.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

I haven't done much spinning lately, but that's changing. We (Lisa, Paula, and I) have decided to bring our wheels to knitting night on a regular basis. Peer pressure is a wonderful incentive to be productive!

I did finish the Shetland Top from Crown Mountain. I did a 3 ply, and it came out to be a nice fingering weight. When I finished plying it was 20 wpi, but it fulled out really wonderfully to a fluffy, soft 18 wpi. I ended up with 374.6 yards.

I also did a little bit (29.25 yards) as a navajo ply. You can see the difference the two techniques make in the picture.

My next project will be a Corriedale Wool Top from The Woolery. The colorway is Dark Green, but it looks very dark with individual strands of color carded into it. I have 8 ounces to play with, so I want to do a thin fingering weight that can become a shawl.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients. (Julia Child)

At work my secret santa gave me a pedemeter. It's really neat; it tracks steps and miles, calculates the calories burned, and even checks your pulse.

My first day using it I tracked 1, 526 steps. Considering that I keep reading websites that state a goal of 10,000 steps, I think I need to get a little more active.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy. (Albert Einstein)

My favorite thing this week is Fruit. I've been eating a lot of fruit because it's free on the Points Plus plan. I've been eating bananas every day. I've also discovered clementines, a type of tangerine orange that is sooooo good (no seeds, and easy to peel). Cherries are also really wonderful, although they are a bit expensive right now.

Actually, I think I'm going to go grab a snack right now...

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Christmas isn't a season. It's a feeling. (Edna Ferber)

I'm sorry, but I just cannot get into the holiday mood. By now I should have my house decorated, and cookies baking. But honestly, I'm not sure I even want to put up a tree much less go out and buy presents to put under it.

Can't we just skip the whole thing this year?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits. (Satchel Paige)

But mostly I just knits. (Sandrilene)

It's Wednesday WIPs and FOs, and I have a lot of knitting projects to brag about. Not because I've been knitting any more than normal, just because I got so far behind with my blog posts.

I finished the baby sweater for Bia's baby. I've been promising my daughter that I would knit a baby sweater for her friend ever since she told me that Bia was pregnant. Bia had the baby this summer. She was premature, but that doesn't excuse the fact that I didn't get the sweater done on time. I didn't even have the sweater started when the baby was born. Luckily we live in southern Florida, so I was able to use the excuse that it was too warm for a baby sweater. Instead, I knit a 6 month size sweater for the baby to wear in December/January, when the weather actually gets a little cool. I used Judy's Grandmother's Baby Sweater pattern from Greetings From Knit Cafe. I used this pattern before, and I'll probably knit it again. I love the way it looks, and it's a very easy knit. The yarn was Lion Brand Baby Soft, a nice easy-care acrylic for young first-time mother.

I made several hats for Knit.Pray.Love. My sister had suggested this charity program that she had heard about on Mornings with Brant. They were looking for 100% wool baby hats to be taken to Afghanistan through Cure International. Of course I did my favorite preemie pattern.

I wanted to try something new, so I also made a couple of hats using Leslie Clarkson's Fresh Picked Baby Hat pattern. I modified it a little bit, since I'm not crazy about the look of the i-cord on the top of the baby hat. Otherwise, it's a wonderful pattern.

My third pattern was Bev's Baby Ribs Hat. I think this will show up again with my preemie baby hats!

I had a little more yarn left, so I tried something different. A pair of booties that feature a brioche stitch. These were very clever, but I want to see them on a baby before I get too excited about knitting them again. (Although I probably have to knit at least one other pair, since this pair was sent to Afghanistan and I won't be able to see how they fit. Hmm.)

After I finished the Knit.Pray.Love. hats, it was time to knit hats for soldiers. One of my favorite podcasters, Coggie, asked her listeners to knit hats for the men that had been deployed with her husband. Naturally I had to do something to help, so I sent her two hats.

My cousin is expecting a little boy, so my next project was a sweater for the baby. I used a pattern by Nancy Pietraszek, and I think it turned out adorable. I found the best silver buttons, which I think gave this sweater a really polished look. I can't wait to see it on the baby!

It has taken forever, but my Riva is finally finished. I had originally planned to wear this for New Years 2010, since all the knitting was done. Somehow, the two side seams have taken me almost a year to sew. It's not that sewing up a seam is difficult; I just don't like to do it. But after much encouragement from my knitting group ("When are you ever going to finish that sweater, anyway?") I bit the bullet, printed out instructions for the mattress stitch, and finally finished the seaming. Too bad the sweater doesn't fit me. (But I have faith that with the help of Weight Watchers, I'll be able to wear the sweater soon.)

Becka is going to New Jersey for part of Christmas break, so I decided to make her a pair of "Oh, Shiney!" mittens. I used the pattern from Sock Yarn One Skein Wonders. I treated myself to this book, and there are several patterns that I'm looking forward to making. This has become one of my favorite knitting books!

And, since I made something for Becka, I decided it was past time to make something for PJ. Actually, my mom pointed out that I never knit for my son. So I made him a hat. I think it looks good on him!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. (Lou Holtz)

I am very excited about the new Weight Watchers program. After one week on Points Plus, I lost 7.4 pounds.

I know I'm not going to have results like this every week, but it was really wonderfully motivating to stick with the new plan.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

I like this place, and willingly would waste my time in it. (William Shakespeare: As You Like It)

I spent the afternoon at the Morikami Museum, and it was every bit as wonderful as I remember it being. I just wandered around, re-familiarizing myself with the different gardens. We (my family and I) used to visit Morikami quite a bit when my oldest was in high school. But I haven't been back in at least three or four years.

I imagine I'll be spending quite a lot of time there now, though. I was able to get a Membership to the gardens through Groupon at a really nice price. Now I can go any time I want (and bring a friend with me). I picture afternoons walking the gardens for exercise, followed by a knitting session with a beautiful view...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. (Andy Worhol)

On Monday Weight Watchers announced the new PointsPlus plan. It's fantastic!

Two years ago I lost 60 pounds tracking what I ate by counting points the Weight Watchers' way. It was easy to stay on track because I never felt deprived. I could eat whatever I wanted, as long as I calculated the points. And since I'm so obsessive with tracking details, I even thought it was fun. (Okay, now you know my dirty little secret...I like to calculate WW points.)

The brilliant people of Weight Watchers figured out that there were a lot of people like me who were doing great on the plan but who weren't really learning anything. (Okay, this paragraph is mostly my opinion. The official statement is that they wanted to stay on top of the most current research in diet and nutrition.) Although I was great at staying within my points, and I never felt deprived, it was because I had figured out that if I used 2 points for breakfast and 6 points for lunch, I could use the rest of my daily points for a Reuben sandwich with extra dressing. I never even tried to reach the recommended dairy or vegetable/fruit amounts.

PointsPlus still has all the flexibility built in. And if I want to save my points in order to have a Reuben, I can. But eating healthy makes a lot more sense. Before, when my choice was eating a candy bar or a large banana (both about the same points) I would always choose the candy bar. Now I can eat the banana (or even better, a mango) without costing me any points at all but the candy bar is going to cost me 8 points. The way the points are calculated now, I think I can actually attain the recommended nutritional amounts. And I will still be able to use my extra points for that candy bar, if I want it after eating a mango or a bowl of strawberries.

I lost 60 pounds the last time, although I put back 50 in the past year. This time I'm going for a full 100 pounds.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Either I've been missing something or nothing has been going on. (Karen Elizabeth Gordon)

I won't apologize for not posting the past month (two months?), although I probably should. It's been a horrible time, and I didn't think it would help anyone if I whined about everything that was going on. Especially since it really wasn't that bad, in the grand scheme of things.

And we did have some really wonderful things happen. Becka went to the Homecoming Dance in October. She ran for Homecoming Queen, which made me very proud. She didn't make it, but she handled it with such grace and maturity that I was even prouder.

(Becka's on the right, wearing her glasses.)

Also in October, my cousin Renee came down for a visit. This was Renee's first vacation in almost 20 years, and she chose to spend it with us. I was very excited to see her again. Renee and I had grown up together, as close as sisters. Our family (which to me includes aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, and basically anyone with any ties at all to each other) was always very close. Possibly too close, but it was really a wonderful way to grow up. After I married and moved away, I missed being a part of it. For a few years we were able to keep in touch by letters and cards. I credit Renee with getting me through my firstborn's infancy (Renee's advice kept me sane). She also gets the credit for keeping me alive after my divorce; I would never have been able to handle being a single parent without her example to follow. Anyway, it had been way too long since we had seen each other, and I'm so glad that she was able to spend a week down here in Florida, along with her oldest son and her mother (my Aunt Robin). We took them to Orlando for a few days (I love the timeshare!), and we also had a family picnic. I really hope that she meant it when she said that she would be back for another visit soon.

This past week we celebrated Thanksgiving. I don't have any pictures to share, but it was a wonderful dinner. My cousin David and his wife originally planned to join us from Tallahassee, but had to cancel at the last minute because their doctor felt the baby was going to arrive sooner than expected. (I'm waiting anxiously for the announcement!) Danny was able to make it (for a little while, anyway; he had to leave early to go to work), and he brought his fiancee Susan for us to meet. (She's a very sweet girl, and will fit into the family quite nicely.) Naturally Mom was there, with friends Charity and Jasmine. Even Chey and Amy stopped in. I cooked about twice as much food as we needed, but that's part of the Thanksgiving tradition. I wish my daughter could have come down, but at least we all got to talk with her on the phone.

And that's really about all you missed during my absence from this blog. There probably would have been some complaints about work (we had our annual state audit, which is always a big to-do even though we always pass with flying colors), and maybe some about the weather (which got chilly for a few days, although it was nice enough to swim today -- if I hadn't torn my bathing suit). Now that we're all caught up, I'll try to keep on track.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can. (Elsa Maxwell)

Since it was such a pretty day, I went and sat by the pool to knit for a while this evening.

I really don't understand why so many people passing by stopped to smile at me. I was only knitting by the pool.

Well, I did take my shoes and socks off, and rolled up my jeans so that I could dangle my feet in the water while I knit. But still, I was just sitting on the edge of the pool with my feet dangling in the water while knitting.

Well, I did have my ipod on so that I could listen to Marc Gunn's Pubsongs podcast. And I was probably a little loud with singing along, as I dangled my feet in the water and knit.

Yeah, I probably would have smiled at someone like that, too.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste. (Laiko Bahrs)

I made Slop for dinner tonight. It was really good. Okay, I think I just really hungry, because it wasn't until just now that I realized I forgot the peas. But for the record, Slop is really yummy and it's one of my family's favorite meals. I've posted the recipe on Family Cooking, if anyone would like to try it.

When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste. ~Laiko Bahrs

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer. (Mark Twain)

I only had 131 stitches left to finish my Renita shawl. Just four rows on the lace chart, and then the ten row final chart. By all rights, I should be bragging right now. Instead, I'm trying to work up the nerve to frog EIGHTEEN repeats of the lace chart. I'm literally in tears at the thought of pulling out over half of the shawl, and then knitting it all over again.

It was about nine repeats ago (about 3/4 of the way through the shawl) that I started to wonder if I would have enough yarn to finish. But I had carefully weighed and marked the halfway point of the skein. The shawl is knit with increases until you've used half of the yarn, and then you decrease for the second half. Adventurous people can simply eyeball their skein, and by guess and pure nerve pick the the halfway point. Since I wasn't willing to take a chance of guessing wrong and not having enough yarn, I actually weighed the yarn and marked the halfway point with a pretty little bow. I'm not sure if my scale isn't accurate enough (it's a food scale that weighs ounces and grams), or if I just plain did it wrong. But I'm 131 stitches off. That's a full week of monogamous knitting completely wasted.

Added to the other blows my pride has taken today, and I'm ready to take up a new hobby.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I think fearlessness and stupidity go together. (Willie Nelson)

This is a really bad photo. It was taken in my car, late at night in the dark, with my cell phone. But I took it as proof that I am a Fearless Knitter.

I was sitting the parking lot last night, waiting for my daughter to get off work. (She's a hostess at a beachside restaurant, and when she works "closing" it means that she gets off sometime between 9 pm and 10:30ish. Since I don't want her waiting for me to pick her up after work in a dark parking lot of a strip mall with various tourist bars and restaurants, I get there early and knit while I wait for her. And for the record, I know could go inside and wait for her like a normal person. But they make a really irresistible killer chocolate cake, so I try to avoid temptation by knitting outside.)

Anyway, my project while I was sitting in my car in the dark, rainy parking lot was the Renita shawlette I started at Fiber-In. It's a simple lace pattern, so I can do it with only a minimum of concentration. Or so I thought. When I stopped to admire my work, I noticed that I probably should have paid a little more attention to it. There was a mistake sixteen rows back. (It was in the simple stockinette portion of the shawl, if you can believe that, and not in the actual lace. Go figure.) Without thinking, I went ahead and frogged back the sixteen rows. And then I had to put it back on my needles, still in the dark, tiny car.

That, my friends, is fearless knitting.

Of course, 'fearless' is a synonym for 'foolish.'

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. (Cyrilla Connelly)

Pattern: Crusoe Socks
Yarn: Koigu KPPM
Made for Cari

I've been avoiding this blog because I haven't decided what direction I want to go with it. Originally my intention was to produce a photo blog, in an effort to improve (or even just develop) my artistic eye. Then I started to write along with the pictures, with the grand idea that I would stay focused on the positive things in my life.

That was five years ago. Since then, my writing has gone in every direction with no real purpose other than to follow my mind's current whims. Looking at the labels, it seems that most of my posts in the past year or so has been about knitting. And what wasn't knitting, was mostly "Dear Diary" entries. Which probably explains why I don't have a very large readership.

There are lots of things this blog could become. I could make it official, and stick with the fiber topics. (After all, knitting and spinning seem to be a predominate part of my life anyway.) I could buckle down and assess my life, then record any progress I make toward achieving my life goals (to be a thin, organized, rich, and happy gypsy). Even just one of those life goals would be worth documenting the journey. I could go back to the original artistic premise, and post pictures accompanied by creative and amusing stories. I could even take up a new hobby (like mixology -- my daughter's suggestion) and obsessively write about that.

Or I could just continue to write whatever pops into my mind each day, with no effort to amuse anyone other than myself.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Reality continues to ruin my life. (Bill Watterson)

Just in case you haven't seen it yet... here's my tattoo.

Isn't it pretty? It's caused quite a bit of a stir, by the way. I had mentioned it on Facebook (okay, I was bragging), and my sister brought up our long-running joke that whenever I do something she gets blamed for it. (It's just a joke, since everyone knows that the truth is that my mom blames me for everything because I'm the oldest!) Well, one of my aunts up north read our comments back on forth, and took them seriously. Mom gets a call from another of her sisters, urging her to forgive and forget. Poor mom, who had already seen the tattoo, didn't know what her sister was talking about. End result, my sister and I BOTH got blamed!

On the fiber side of life, I've finally got some finished objects to show off. Lately I've been binding off a project and just setting it aside so that I could immediately cast on the next project. I've ignored buttons, seams; I haven't even taken the time to weave in the ends of the yarn. I still have quite a pile to finish, but I did manage to accomplish a few things.

The baby gift for my computer tech is finished, and ready whenever the baby is. He was supposed to be by Monday and never showed up, so I'm wondering if his wife went into labor this past weekend.

I did a couple more bibs, in blues. These were intended as grandmother gifts but since the grandmothers in question are, um, less than enthused with the situation I may wait for a bit before sending them my gifts.

After knitting the bibs, I had quite a bit of Lily Sugar'n Cream left over. So naturally I went on a dishcloth binge. I swear I can knit these in my sleep!

Becka's socks were finished a while ago, but I never bothered to weave in the ends. They are now ready to wear, just in time for the new school year. (Too bad they are not in dress code.)

My just needs finishing pile is down to just the Riva sweater and the slippers. But I'm ignoring them in favor of my new projects: a pair of socks for me, a baby sweater for Becka's friend, and the shawl for the mother-daughter knit-along. (Is it really a knit along if only one person is actually knitting the project?)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

'Why not' is an slogan for an interesting life. (Mason Cooley)

I've been in a horrible funk lately, but I think I've finally come out of the worst of it. Actually, I'm trying my best to fly up over it all, with my arms flapping madly as I desperately try forget to fall when I trip.*

Anyway, tonight I went all out on my recovery and I finally did something that I've been talking about for the last twelve years. Actually, I've wanted to do this since I was a teenager. But my husband thought it was dumb and I gave up the idea while I was married. But when we ended up in divorce court, I thought it would be a nice way to celebrate my new independence.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the money at the time. And I had a responsibility to my kids. (Single moms are under a lot of pressure to set a good example.) So I kept putting it off. And then I was too old. (And too fat, but I won't go down that road right now.)

Now my youngest is a teenager, and she has her own ideas of what would be really cool to do. Her ideas don't really line up with my ideas of what is cool to do. But while I don't totally approve, I also don't want her to be in her forties and talking about things that she wished she had done while she was young enough to do them. So we talked about it, and this evening I took her to Ink Link where she had her eyebrow and her ear cartilage pierced. She looks great!

While we were there, I casually asked how much a tattoo would cost. The answer was more than I probably should spend, but a whole heck of a lot less than what I had thought it would be. I thought about it, discussed it with my daughter (who was totally "go for it mom!"), and I left with a beautiful tattoo! After twelve years, I finally have my statement permanently etched across my shoulder bones.

There will be pictures. I didn't have a camera with me while Marc was needling me, and now it's covered with a bandage. But as soon as it's healed enough, I'll be proudly showing it off.

*Bonus points for everyone who knows the literary reference.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

It's not that chocolates are a substitute for love. Love is a substitute for chocolate. Chocolate is, let's face it, far more reliable than a man.

(Miranda Ingram)

The Good:
  1. Cello cherries are on sale at Walgreens, 2 for $3. I love cello cherries, and I'm really enjoying the box I bought. (Okay, the boxes I bought. They were on sale, so I had to buy 2.)
  2. I've stuck with my goal of spinning everyday for the Tour de Fleece. It's day 9, and today I did 30 minutes with the drop spindle and 1 hour with the wheel.
  3. Becka made a wonderful dinner. And cleaned up afterwards. I didn't even ask her to do it.
The Bad:
  1. It's one week until payday, and one day until bills are due. Sigh. Why doesn't the money come out even? (And don't tell me it's because of the cello cherries -- they were on sale!)
  2. I went in and worked all afternoon, even though I've promised myself that I was not going to work on the weekends anymore. I am so far behind on the reports, it's starting to really panic me. Especially since they're talking about bringing in more students.
The Ugly:
  1. My son's dog got into my baskets of handspun yarn, and tore up three skeins. My son put the tangled, slimy skeins back into the basket on the bookcase, thinking that I wouldn't notice. ("What mom? There's nothing wrong with your yarn. It looks pretty.") It took me an hour to untangle the first skein, and I'm not looking forward to doing the others. My spinning wheel, rovings, and hand spun yarns have all been moved from the living room alcove into my bedroom. I'm not happy, since my bedroom is now very crowded and I really liked sitting in the alcove by windows to spin. But while both the dog and the boy survived (barely) this incident, I'm afraid that they wouldn't be so lucky if Rocky were to attack the yarn a second time.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

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

It is day 5 of the Tour de Fleece, and I am totally obsessed with spinning. I've managed to get in a little bit of knitting (mainly because it's easier to sneak knitting time in at work than it is to try to spin at work), but the biggest emphasis has been on spinning.

I think I mentioned that I started a drop spindle of BFL since all of my bobbins were full. I'm having a great time with it, but now I've added fancy drop spindles to my Wish List. I'm starting to wonder how I'm going to get 1 1/2 ounces onto the spindle, and then how I'm going to ply that much. I had a gift card to Barnes & Noble, so I treated myself to a copy of Respect the Spindle by Abby Franquemont. I'm hoping that the book will give me some answers.

My drive band came Tuesday, so I was able to ply a skein of the Auntie's Yarn. It came out so wonderfully soft and squishy, I hate to give it away. (But Auntie is going to love this yarn, so it's okay.) It ended up as a worsted weight (14 wpi) with 243 yards.

This evening I brought my wheel to knit night, and started spinning the Shetland Top from Crown Mountain. I didn't split the roving before I went, which was a mistake. A couple of the girls helped me split the 8 ounce rope of roving into thirds, which took several attempts. We had that roving stretched all the way across the coffee shop trying to figure out the math!

My goal is to spin this as thin as I can (which turned out to be 40 wpi), and then to three ply it. I would have liked to get the singles to match, but I quickly gave up on that idea. It's definitely going to be a wild barber pole plying. I think it will still look really nice. And with the singles at 40 wpi, the final yarn should be nice fingering weight. And with 8 ounces to spin, I should have enough yardage to knit a pretty shawl or maybe even a shrug.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own. (Carol Burnett)

At work I've been trying to get through the monthly and quarterly reports. It's slow going, especially since I am checking the monthly service logs in addition to writing my goal reports.

Most of the time, reading through the service logs drives me crazy. It's very irritating to read that our blind student "watched a movie" or our deaf student "listened to the radio." Sometimes instructors get rushed, and they write an entry automatically. But today, I came across several entries that made me laugh.

One student "was in a samba mood." I guess she wanted to dance.

Another student "was sober." This is a good thing, especially since it was our big beach party day. I wouldn't want to send anyone home drunk.

But the best one of all was "played with vibrator for stimulation." It was listed as a Leisure Activity, although I suppose it could have also been an ADL (activity of daily life). As long as it wasn't a Community Event! And the state can't complain, since it is age appropriate. (All of our students are adults.)

You do know I'm just joking around about that last one, right? It was a real entry in the service log, but the instructor was referring to an electronic ball that shakes when you move it. The wording just made me laugh.

Monday, July 05, 2010

One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done. (Marie Curie)

Day 1 of the Tour de Fleece
I managed to spin up the last two ounces of what will be Auntie's Yarn #4 once I get it plied. This was after having spent four hours at work (on a Saturday!), and hanging out at CityPlace with my sister and my niece.

Day 2 of the Tour de Fleece
I probably should have gone in to work again Sunday, but I didn't want to. So I didn't. Instead I went over and hung out at Barnes & Noble with my spinning wheel. I was there long enough to spin a full four ounces of the Auntie's wool. (I wish I could remember what breed it is so that I could tell you, because it's so soft and yummy and spins like a dream). Paula came by with her daughter (such a cute kid!), so it was a really nice afternoon.

The problem is that now all my bobbins are full, and I'm still waiting to get the drive band for my plying head that I ordered to replace the one that my son's dog chewed up. Instead of being all upset, though, I'm taking it as an opportunity to do some drop spindling during the Tour de Fleece. I practiced a bit using my CD spindle (which also came in handy for several quick mini-spinning lessons -- having a wheel in the bookstore tends to attract a lot of attention). I've borrowed a small wooden spindle from Paula, mainly because I like the size of it better. It'll be interesting to see if I can do the full 3.5 ounces of Wine BFL roving on the drop spindle.

With all the spinning that I did yesterday, my hands are really hurting today. I think it was the spinning, even though I would love to blame it on the rain. Not that it mattered, since I only managed to get in about 30 minutes of spinning today. It took me a little bit to get into the rhythm of the drop spindle, but I managed to get a really nice even single that's about 32 wpi. I was hoping to produce a fingering weight, but it's looking like it will be a sport weight once I ply it.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Desire is the most important factor in the success of any athlete. (Willie Shoemaker)

The Tour de Fleece starts tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to the excuse of having to sit and spin a little bit everyday. It would be really nice to catch up with my stash, but since I have over 4 lbs (really, that much?) I doubt it.