Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Book List

Books Read in March

31 - 01 Casting Spells, by Barbara Bretton (3/4)
32 - 02 Hey, Good Looking,
by Fern Michaels (3/9)
33 - 03 Ghost, Interrupted,
by Sonia Singh (3/13)
34 - 04 The Valcourt Heiress,
by Catherine Coulter (3/16)
35 - 05 Stork Raving Mad,
by Donna Andrews (3/18)
36 - 06 The Man You'll Marry,
by Debbie Macomber (3/19)
37 - 07 My Sunshine,
by Catherine Anderson (3/21)
38 - 08 Almost Home, by Debbie Macomber (3/23)
39 - 09 Carolina Isle,
by Jude Deveraux (3/27)
40 - 10 The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (3/31)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A whole lotta knittin' going on

I can't believe I've gone three weeks without posting about my knitting. I'm also a little surprised at how much I've accomplished these past few weeks. I honestly didn't think I was getting very much done.

I finished the Yoga Monkeys that I had been working on. This is the pair that my friend ended up buying from me. I really like the way they turned out. So much so, that I even considered taking up yoga just so that I'd have an excuse to keep them for myself.

Once the commissioned yoga socks were finished, I was able to knit the chemo caps for Knit Love Into It. I can't remember if I mentioned this before, and I'm too tired/lazy to go back and check my previous posts. I had met Carmen in Orlando back in October. Carmen is actually from the Ft Lauderdale area; it just happened that we were both vacationing in Orlando and I was able to help her out with a "knitting emergency. " Fast forward a little bit, and Carmen's daughter asked me if my knitting group would be able to help with a service project she was doing for school. Jennifer had committed to donating 100 hand-knit (or crocheted) hats to Miami's cancer center. Naturally my friends and I agreed to help. The Wednesday Night Fiberistas ended up making a total of 15 chemo caps for Jennifer's project.

My first contribution was the Braid-Edged Cap (pattern by Judy Gibson) out of Lion Brand Homespun. This pattern is knit flat, with short rows. Very fun to make. Although the Homespun made it a very warm cap, more suited for northerners.

My second hat was the Pi Topper Chemo Cap (by Corey Laflamme). I thought this was a really cute hat, otherwise I wouldn't have chosen the pattern. But it looks even better actually on. Well, on me. In most of the pictures, the pat is pulled way down as a cap. But I tried it on and wore the band up a little higher on my forehead, which let the cap slouch just a little in the back. Very, very cute. I will definitely knit another one of these, but to keep for myself.

I had used yarn that Jennifer gave me for the project: some Knitpicks Crayon, which is a cotton boucle. This yarn may become one of my favorite yarns. It's so much softer than I expect a cotton to be. I think it would make a wonderful baby sweater.

The next project that had to be knit was a pair of baby socks. One of the girls my daughter works with just had a baby, so this was a little something that Becka could give her co-worker.

Once the deadline knitting was finished, I finally had a chance to start on my EZ challenge. I did Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket using Knitpicks Cotlin in midnight blue and linen. I've actually finished all the knitting on this (I just haven't taken a new picture), and all that's left is the shoulder seams and buttons. I think the striping turned out amazing.

My current project is another Elizabeth Zimmerman pattern. I had started a February Lady Sweater back in 2008, and it's been sitting in my WIPs drawer all this time. I can't remember why I had gotten distracted and put this aside, or why I haven't pulled it out to finish it before now. The yoke and most of the body are already done. I decided to do the sleeves before finishing the body, just to make sure that I had enough yarn. (Once the sleeves are the right length, I'll knit the body until the yarn runs out since I like my sweaters long.) The yoke was knit from one of my first handspun yarns, and the lace portions are Malabrigo. I truly can't imagine why I would ever willingly put this project down.

I also have a pair of socks going, just as a carry-in-my-purse knitting. I'm using the left-over yarn from the Yoga Monkeys and knitting my favorite toe-up sock. I figure I'll just knit until the yarn runs out. Hopefully mom likes this yarn, since it's her turn for socks. If not, I'll keep them. (Wouldn't that be horrible, to have to keep another pair for myself?)

By the way, do you see the sock on the left? I started that sock in the waiting room at the doctor's yesterday, and then worked on it at the pharmacy while waiting for the prescription that they couldn't fill (thanks to the insurance plan). Most people would be complaining about waiting around three hours; as a knitter, I can describe it as having spent half a foot waiting. Plus I got to have an interesting conversation with a girl who came up to me and announced: "I used to do that when I was in prison." (Fiberistas, that's probably the first time I did not invite someone to come out to our knitting night.)

* ~ * ~ *
Blanket Update:
85 squares in 88 days
(Status: I was keeping up
until the Malabrigo lured me away.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Life just seems better with chocolate.

I'm blaming these cupcakes on Becka. She's been asking me to bake some for her for the past few days. So I did a very simple chocolate cupcake, with chocolate buttercream frosting. And a vanilla cream filling, to make it fun.

Better than Hostess's.

Monday, March 28, 2011

College Bound

When Becka was in 6th grade, an offer was made to everyone in her class (the entire 6th grade, not the individual classroom) to send them to college for 4 years. The kids had to agree to stay in school, stay out of trouble, and meet with a mentor on a regular basis. The families had to agree to attend two meetings/classes a year. Five families showed up to the initial meeting. Three families applied. Two students managed to stay in the program. Becka received her four-year scholarship last night.

I can't say enough good things about Take Stock in Children. Since 1995 Take Stock has been working to keep Florida's low-income and at-risk children in school and provide them with the opportunity to get a college degree. People in the community volunteer their time to meet with a student weekly as a mentor, letting the student know that they have opportunities that they might not have realized while providing them with a safe adult to look to for friendship and guidance. Take Stock is supported financially by companies and individuals who believe that our children are a future worth investing in. Since its inception, Take Stock has helped over 16,000 Florida children receive an education.

I only wish that more of Becka's classmates had taken the offer. And I wish that we had the ability to make the offer to all the children.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I'm back!

Wow, I can't believe that I haven't posted since whining about the doctor visits. I've had problems with the modem at home, and not enough "free" time at work to put anything up while I'm at the office. But I think things are finally under control, so I'll try to get back to posting a bit more regularly.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

You're either going to die or get better...

Anyone who knows me, knows my opinion of doctors. But sometimes you just have to give in and go. Last week I made an appointment for both my daughter and myself.

The doctor made it clear that he had the same thought as I did; there was nothing wrong with either of us and I was obviously wasting everyone's time (and my money) visiting him. But he ran a couple of tests (wasting more time and money), just to be sure.

It turns out that our vague "It hurts, make it stop" complaints had valid reasons.

While I'm relieved to be able to garner sympathy now for the "it hurts," I wish there would have been better responses to the "make it stop" portion of our complaints.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Age is just a number

I realized this weekend that I am going to be 50 years old in a little over a year and a half. I don't feel like I'm almost 50. Well, most days I don't feel like I'm almost 50.

Turning 50 doesn't bother me. Honest. I had my big breakdown over turning 46. A strange number to be upset about, I know. But it was because when I turned 46, I knew my baby (okay, my oldest baby) was turning 21. I was really upset over being old enough to have an adult child.

Turning 50 is a traditional milestone. There were so many things I thought I would do with my life. And so many things that I've done that I never imagined I would.

Turning 50 is also a chance to challenge myself. A few years ago I had decided that I was going to run the NYC marathon for my 50th birthday. That's not going to happen. I could, possibly, get serious about training for the next year and make it to the race. But other circumstances make that really improbable.

So I've been working on a different type of challenge. I'm calling it my "50 by 50" list. I completely stole the idea from "101 Goals in 1001 Days." I'm working on coming up with a list of 50 things I'd like to accomplish by my 50th birthday. Each item on the list has to be realistic. I can't put down "Win the lottery," although I can add "Buy one lottery ticket every pay period for a year." Some of the items are long-term, like "Lose 100 lbs." (It doesn't sound realistic, I agree. But this one was dictated by my doctor, and it translates to losing 5 lbs a month which sounds a lot easier to do.) And most of them are just for fun, like "Take a wine class" or "Ride a bike in the park."

I'm still fine-tuning the list. I'll post it as a page, so feel free to offer suggestions while it's in the tentative stage. The official start date will be April 1st, unless I decide I'm ready before that.

Naturally, I'll be providing regular updates as I accomplish my 50 by 50.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Where music meets the waterfront"

I won two tickets to Sunfest!

Which means that on April 30th, I'll be at the Styx concert.

And I'll try, oh Lord, I'll try to carry on.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Still monkeying around

I thought that I would be finished with the Yoga Monkey socks by now, but I still have a little bit more to do. I just want to get them done so that I can go on to the hats for Knit Love Into It. It's a shame that I have to go to work. If only I would win the lottery - then I could just sit and knit all day!

(Maybe I should stop on my way and actually buy a ticket...)

* ~ * ~ *
Blanket Update:
69 squares in 67 days
(Status: I'm actually two ahead.)

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Square #456

You would think that I knew what I was doing by now.

Yeah, right. Some days are just that way.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Just another teenager

Do you remember this cute little guy? I haven't mentioned him in a while. Mainly because I try to ignore the fact that despite my better judgement, I actually agreed to let my son get this dog.

I will even go ahead and admit that when Rocky entered our family, I thought he was adorable. He was little and cute, and I had fun taking him out on walks and playing with him. When I sat on the couch, Rocky would curl up in my lap, giving my lots of love and slimy kisses.

No matter how cute they are, and no matter how hard you wish it wasn't so, babies always grow up.

Rocky is now the dog equivalent of a teenager. He's all long legs and clumsy enthusiasm. Naturally, he is able to do things now that he couldn't do as a puppy. He will follow simple commands, as long as he is in the mood or is sufficiently bribed with a treat. He plays ball, and will keep it going for as long as he can con you into playing with him. (I tend to think of his tennis ball as the dog version of an X-Box.) He eats each meal as if he's just been rescued from starving on the streets. And he will still try to cuddle on my lap and give me wet, slimy kisses - unless he's too busy ignoring me because the "cool" kids (PJ and Becka) are around.

So maybe he is still adorable.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Lilypad Podcast and Charity Knitting

It took forever, but I finally finished taping and editing the podcast. I did better on taping this time around. I only started and stopped six times. The editing, however, was ridiculously long. But I think I did a pretty good job with it.

Regardless, it has been posted. You can listen to it on libsyn. You can also download it from itunes, starting tomorrow. The show notes are at

And not that I want to brag or anything, but guess what! I got my first review on itunes. maeviolet said "Your first episode is great" and she gave me five stars. She went on to write more nice stuff about me. I don't know who maeviolet is, but I think she's going to be my new best friend!

I've been trying to come up with a cute logo for the podcast. Once I have one, I plan on making buttons. And maeviolet is going to get the very first one. Because that's what best friends do.

Now I just need to decide what the topic will be for episode 3.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Friday's Favorite Thing

I love listening to podcasts. I can plug my ipod into my car radio, so I listen whenever I'm driving. I also get to listen to the podcasts when I'm waiting on Becka to get out of work. I don't often listen at home, just because it's too noisy to hear over the kids' music and shows. But I manage to get in quite a few of my favorite podcasts each week.

Here is a list of my current favorite podcasts:
  • BarknKnit - Okay, she hasn't put out an episode since last October, so I should probably take her off this list. But I keep hoping she'll get time to start up again.
  • BeanKnits and Spins - This is another podcast that I should probably take off the list. She stopped podcasting back in 2006. But she did put up an episode in January 2011, stating that she was going to start again. I hope so. I love her New York attitude.
  • Betty in the Sky With A Suitcase - This is one of my non-knitting podcasts. Betty is an airline hostess, and she tapes stories told by her co-workers about their adventures in the air. It's a lot of fun to listen to.
  • Escape Pod - This is another non-knitting podcast. Mur Laffity is the editor (I love her writing!), and each weekly podcast is a short science-fiction/fantasy story. I wasn't sure if I was going to like this podcast, but I got hooked quickly.
  • High Fiber Diet - Coggie is one of my all-time favorite podcasters.
  • Insubordiknits Podcast - Another podcast that I should take off the list, since there hasn't been an episode since 2009. But I keep hoping.
  • KIPing it Real
  • Knaked Knits - Their last podcast was December 2010, so there's still hope that it will come back.
  • Knit Obsessions with Zknits
  • Knitters Uncensored - There isn't any hope that this is coming back. They ended the podcast in 2008. But it was good enough to keep on my list.
  • Knitting Pipeline - I just started listening to this podcast, but I really like it. It's knitting, Zimmermann, nature notes and bagpipes.
  • Knitwit: Rantings of a Rabid Knitter - This is another of my all-time favorites. She's starting to get away from the knitting content, but I still enjoy listening to her.
  • Manic Purl Podcast
  • The Moth Podcast - This is a non-knitting podcast, but should be a must for everyone who enjoys a good story. It's personal stories, told live onstage. Someday I'm going to go to a live Moth show in New York City.
  • Never Not Knitting
  • Pub Songs Podcast - Irish music with a comedy bent. Enough said.
  • Socks int he City - She stopped podcasting in 2009. But maybe she will come back. Please.
  • Stitch It! - I've been listening to Megan for years, and I feel like we're best friends. Even though she doesn't have a clue that I exist.
  • Subway Knits - This is a new podcast, started just before I started mine. She's better than I am.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Wednesday's WIPs and FOs

I finished the yoga socks, using the Patons Kroy. I really like the way these turned out. I am definitely going to use this patterned broken rib stitch on the next plain vanilla socks I knit myself.

After finishing the Patons Yoga Socks, I cast on a pair of Yoga Monkeys, using Serenity Sock Yarn. I knit one half of the first sock and then half of the second. This was a very good thing, because the yarn pooled completely different in the two socks. I don't mind fraternal socks, but this was really awful. So I frogged them, and I cast on with Lion Brand Magic Stripes. I really like this much better. And they're knitting up really quickly - I love the Monkey pattern!

* ~ * ~ *
Blanket Update:
61 squares in 60 days
(Status: Still keeping up...)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

She had a pretty gift for quotation, which is a serviceable substitute for wit. (W. Somerset Maugham)

I know I've debated about this a couple of times before, but I think I'm going to give up using quotes as the titles of my blog posts.

This is probably not a big deal to anyone but me. But I really like quotes. I enjoy finding the exactly right quote to express my thoughts on the topic I'm writing about, or the day in general. A good quote makes me smile.

As I know I've said before, the trouble is that I spend far too much time looking for the right quote. It makes it difficult to post everyday to this blog, because I don't always have the time to look for the right quote.

Knowing me, I'll probably change my mind. We've been through this before. But for now, I'm going to give up stealing other people's words for my titles.

Just in case anyone cares.