Thursday, June 17, 2010

We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements in life, when all we need to make us really happy is

something to be enthusiastic about. (Charles Kingsley)

I got tired of chasing the little yarn balls around when working on my What-Was-I-Thinking-It's-Never-Gonna-End Blanket, so I put together a mini swift using tinker toys at work. I don't know how practical it is, but I had fun making it. And it really does work.

I've finished 178 blocks so far this year, which means that I'm keeping up with my goal of knitting one block a day. I won't mention how I'm doing with any of my other goals, and I would appreciate it if your eyes did not wander over to the lack-of-progress bars on the side of my blog.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats. (Iris Murdoch)

I have decided that I have gone completely around the bend. The nice men in white might as well come along and fit me for one of those snazzy jackets with the arms wrapped around the back. It would go really well with the little treat bag I've suddenly started wearing on my belt loop.

By the way, if you have a bag of treats snapped on your waistband, it isn't a good idea to sit in the middle of a group of puppies with your knitting bag. I wanted a picture for the Great Gold Coast KIP Hunt. (Remember, I told you about it Saturday.) One of the locations on the hunt list is "school." Originally I had figured that I would just take a picture at work. But since tonight was Puppy School, I had the brilliant idea to knit there for the Hunt. Just in case anyone else thinks that this is a good idea, let me point out a couple of things:

  • Puppies like bamboo dpns better than metal dpns. They like them enough to steal them out of your purse. Apparently bamboo dpns make really nice little chew toys.
  • A ball of yarn is almost as much fun as a tennis ball.
  • When playing keep-away with several puppies, a ball of yarn is not a good keep-away object. The yarn tangles everyone up, and it isn't a pretty sight.
  • Owners of puppies tend to be very excitable. Especially when a game of yarn-ball-keep-away is initiated.
  • A sock project bag is easily confused with a treat bag. And that confusion is lessened only after all of the puppies have had several chances to taste the sock to be sure it isn't hiding a treat.
  • It helps to have a sense of humor when puppies are nibbling on your hand-knit colorwork socks.

Monday, June 14, 2010

It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required. (Sir Winston Churchill)

Warning - this is a bit of a rant.

Sometimes people absolutely amaze me. The apartment complex where I live provides doggy stations. They're kept stocked with plastic bags, and there is a trash for the scooped-poop. I know at least eleven stations, and there may be more. It seems like every "open" grass area has a doggy station.

So how could I possibly have stepped in dog poop this morning? I was less than four steps to the doggy station. As I was cleaning off my shoe, I noticed four more unscooped-poops in that one area. How lazy and selfish do you have to be to leave poop on the ground within reach of the doggy station?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save. (Will Rogers)

I managed to get a couple more locations for the Great Gold Coast KIP Hunt today. First I drove all the way to Jupiter, hoping to snag a bonus point by getting a picture of David at Burger King. Instead, I just got lunch (plus one "fast food" point). Then I drove to the beach, hoping to get the beach point in the Hunt plus a photo for my Virtual Vacation Swap. Instead, I drove around and around the parking lot before giving up -- there just weren't any parking spaces left. So I ended up at the mall. At least there was air conditioning and Starbucks, so life was still good.

I've decided that it is very strange being without children. The first couple of days was fun. I could eat what I wanted, and do what I wanted, and I didn't have to worry about being somewhere that they wanted me to be. But the novelty has worn off, and I'm starting to feel lonely. I have a new admiration for my mother and my daughter, both of whom have been living on their own for years now. It's the little things, like figuring out how to cook dinner without having enough left over for the rest of the week, that has me baffled. (So far I've been coping with that by bringing leftovers for lunch to share with my student.) I imagine that I would eventually get used to it, but I can see myself spending a lot of time sitting on the couch by myself knitting to audiobooks. I will probably also spend a lot of time at Starbuck. But then again, I already do that.

Thank goodness my son comes home in five days. So I should probably enjoy myself while I can. Besides, tomorrow my mom and aunt will be visiting me. (Maybe I should just give up drinking wine when I'm alone.)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Before beginning a Hunt, it is wise to ask someone what you are looking for before you begin looking for it. (Pooh's Little Instruction Book)

Today was the first day of World Wide Knit in Public Week. To celebrate this, my friends Paula and Jennifer have been helping me plan the Gold Coast KIP Hunt. I had gotten the idea from the Yarn Harlot, and thought it would be a wonderful way to show that knitting is appropriate anywhere, with anyone. Luckily, people seem to agree with me and we have several participants for the hunt. We've also gotten some really great prizes. Naturally, as an organizer, I can't win any of the prizes. But I'm going to play along for the fun of it.

To start off the first day on a great note, my sister and our friend Josie drove up from Boca and we spent the afternoon at CityPlace. Originally our plan was to have lunch, and then to knit for a while. It was a good plan. A very good plan, as it turned out.

For lunch we went to Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger. They have the world's best onion rings, in my opinion. Plus they have egg creams, and I love egg creams.

Then we decided to hop a ride on the trolley to Clematis Street to check out the waterfront park. By then, my niece had joined us (she had been to the Norton Museum on a field trip) and she took over the photography. Thank goodness, because it left the rest of us free to knit and enjoy ourselves.

I hadn't been to Clematis Street since they finished the new piers. It's really nice. They now have three public floating piers, with benches and umbrellas all along the way. It's a wonderful place to catch a breeze while you knit or read or just enjoy the scenery. Cathy can attest to the "wheeee" factor of the waves. (We didn't tell her that it was the floating pier at first. Instead we let her think that she was even more unsteady on her feet than normal.)

We did eventually make our way back to the trolley, just in time to watch the band set up at CityPlace. Unfortunately, by the time they finished their "check, check, 1-2-3, check" over an hour had gone by and it was getting pretty late. We only stayed to listen to a couple actual songs before giving up and heading home.

All in all, it was a very good day. I hope we get to do it again soon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cities, like cats, will reveal themselves at night. Rupert Brooke)

I took a cheat on today's photo meme. I can't really call where I live "urban," although it's definitely not the countryside either. I live in a large apartment complex, which seems even larger when you're out in the middle of the night walking the dog. Again.

I have done more walking the past three weeks than I did in three months pre-puppy. With both of my teenagers out of town this week, I have to walk the dog every two hours or so. (And if I don't, I'd have to clean up the mess. So we walk.) I've even gotten comfortable with walking the neighborhood late at night (and early morning).

At least I've been making lots of new friends. People who would normally turn out of their way in order to avoid eye contact, now smile and strike up conversations about the puppy who is eager to play.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought. (Dorothy L. Sayers)

Remember the Aeolian Shawl that I started as a knit-along with my daughter? I decided to frog it. I loved-loved-loved the color. I really loved the beads. I even loved the pattern. I just didn't like the way the color and the pattern went together. So after a lot of soul searching (it wasn't easy to give up after finishing 5 of the 19 charts), I gave a big sigh and pulled it all out. I'm going to try to find a beaded shawl that isn't quite as fancy lacework so that I can show off the color without all that effort.

Since I still wanted to do the KAL with Cari, I ordered a pretty sterling gray laceweight from Knit Picks. Then I made a trip back to the bead store and found matching beads. At least it gave me an excuse to play with my new ball winder that Becka and PJ got me for Mother's Day. That was fun!

And look how nice the balls of yarn turned out.

I've finished four charts, so I'm almost back to where I was. (Actually, if you look at the pattern you'll see that there are only ten written charts. But between repeating charts and working on multiple charts at a time, I figure that I will need to go through 19 sets of charts so that's how I'm counting it.)

I think I made the right choice by changing yarns on this project.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Every boy should have two things: a dog, and a mother willing to let him have one.

Every boy who has a dog should also have a mother, so the dog can be fed regularly.

Meet Rocky, the newest member of our family.

Yes, I remember that I said I was never, ever going to get another dog after the disaster that we created with our last dogs. We were horrible, irresponsible pet owners and I promised that I would never again put an innocent animal in that position. I told everyone that there was no way I would ever again put myself in that position.

But I was depressed, and my son saw his chance and took it. At a time when I was feeling unloved and alone, my son offered me another chance at unconditional love. He did his homework (instead of just walking into a pet store and falling in love with the first creature to make puppy eyes at him), and found a dog that met both our needs. Then he offered financial security, both to the apartment complex AND to me, that the dog's needs would be met. He even signed us up for doggy school, so that my children and I will learn along with the dog how to behavior properly.

Rocky's been with us three weeks now, and so far things are working out pretty well. He's not the cuddly baby-creature that I had hoped for, but he's also not a hyperactive destruction machine that I was afraid of. My son took me seriously about giving away the dog (and keeping the security money for myself) if the dog messed up my house, and as a result Rocky is pretty much house-trained already.

Tuesday nights Rocky and I go to puppy school. If my son isn't working, he comes along too. But I've been having so much fun with the classes, I've pretty much taken over training the dog myself. Last week we learned the "sit" command, and already Rocky understands and responds to both the word and the hand command. Yes, I'm teaching my dog sign language. This week we're working on loose leash walking, and it turns out that Rocky is ahead of the class on that skill as well. (I can't help bragging. I've been a teacher's pet all my life.)

Rocky is scheduled for the last of his shots in three weeks. By then, we'll be ready for play dates at the dog park. I'm actually looking forward to it!

Monday, June 07, 2010

I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read,

and all the friends I want to see. (John Burrough)
* * Not to mention all the things I want to spin and knit! * *

I want to do a quick update on my spinning. I've been meaning to post this for a couple of days, but I just haven't managed to get further than uploading the picture into "drafts."

How do you like the picture of my wheel? I was at the dollar store, and splurged on a strip of Wallee's. They're designed to be put up on your walls, and (hopefully) won't damage the wood/paint if you move them around. I decided that the butterflies would look good on Yarnell. And if I change my mind, I'm out a whole dollar.

This past week I signed up for the Tour de Fleece. Remember the Ravelympics? This is for spinning (obviously). The goal is to spin every day that the cyclists are racing during the Tour de France. I'm hoping that with the Tour as motivation, I'll actually manage to catch up with my roving stash. In fact, one of the teams I'm on is "Stashbusters." I also listed myself with "Rookies" (because it's my first year doing the Tour), and "Palotin" (because I like the idea of sticking with the pack). Originally I had thought that these three teams gave me more than enough to do. But then I found a local group, Team Golden Treasure Coast, and of course I had to join that one. So with four teams to spin with, I had better get something accomplished.

Not that I've been doing too badly. I finished another four ounces of the white roving. It's another 2 ply, 12 wpi which is a nice worsted-weight yarn. I managed to 250.5 yards. I really, really like this yarn - it's so soft and squishy!