Monday, September 19, 2011

I love my new job.

I have a big office that came with a computer...

...and a great view.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I hurt.

Fibromyalgia is horrible! 

But Fiber In was totally worth the pain.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fiber Fun!

We made it to Orlando last night, just in time to check into the timeshare and then go out to dinner. We did manage to get a little knitting done, with thanks to Peggy who volunteered to be our designated knitter. (The bottle of wine, Dr. Heidemanns' Riesling, was delicious!)

This morning we enjoyed coffee on the balcony before heading off to Fiber In. I was very glad that we were on the second floor. It seems everywhere I go now, there's a duck looking for my knitting.

(I did tell you that story, didn't I? The day that I took the bus to pick up Becca's car, I had to transfer at the VA Center. The ducks there are very aggressive, and one of them came up and bit my toe. I was wearing sandals and had old nail polish on, so I think that the duck might have been nearsighted and mistook my toe nail for dropped food. When he bit my toe, though, it scared me and I dropped my dpn. The duck grabbed it and waddled away with the dpn in his beak. I spent the next bus ride just holding my knitting since, for the first time ever, I had chosen to leave the extra dpns at home. Darn duck!)

 Fiber In was wonderful. I love being with other people as fiber-crazy as I am. There were spinners, and knitters, and hookers (aka crocheters). There were probably also some weavers, but since looms are difficult to travel with I didn't manage to find any. And I resisted, by virtue of being totally broke after buying the tires Thursday night, from adding to my stash. Although I was tempted.

I did get to show off my Hide-the-Horrible-Hairdo hat in the hat parade.

Peggy and Mom, two of the Fiberista Foursome.

And Rebecca.
We had such a great time, we've decided to do a Knitting Retreat / Women's Weekend. After looking at the calendar, it will probably be in the middle of January. We're thinking that Bonnet Creek Resort in Orlando sounds like a perfect plan, although Daytona would be another possibility. I'm already counting down the weeks!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy Blogaversary!

I'm in a bit of a hurry. I need to drop off my computer with a tech/geek, and then I'll be heading to Orlando for Fiber In. But I did want to take just a moment to thank everyone for putting up with my ramblings for the past six years. It's hard to believe that I've been Staying Focused since 2005!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Knitting Saved My Life

I don't have a picture for today. I should have taken one, but I was so distracted that it never crossed my mind. And by the time that things settled down, it was too late. (I know. I'm a bad blogger. I should have had my camera out before doing anything else.)

It started with the decision to go to the Thursday night knitting group. I considered just going home after work, since I had homework I wanted to do. But it was Thursday, and I was already in Boca, and the justification was made in my mind.

So I passed the turn to get onto the interstate, and drove one more block before turning onto the highway toward the shopping plaza. As I turned, my "Low Air Pressure" warning came on. Normally I can go a while before I absolutely have to stop to put air in the tires, but since I would be traveling the interstate at night I made a mental note to stop at a gas station after knitting. I drove just two, maybe three miles on the highway and then made my turn into the shopping plaza.

Just as I turned, I heard a loud "plop!" Then my car started going "ba-bop-ba-bop-ba-bop-ba-bop-ba-bop." Since my car doesn't usually go "ba-bop-ba-bop-ba-bop-ba-bop-ba-bop" I pulled into the first empty parking space I found so that I could take a look. My front tire was completely, totally flat.

My knitting friends were great. They quickly organized things, calling AAA to put on my donut and getting me pointed towards Sears. Luckily, Sears was still open (even though it was evening by then) and I was able to get two new tires. It took my entire first paycheck, but i was grateful that (1) I had a job and (2) that it just happened to be my first payday.

The mechanic at Sears, after taking a look at the flat tire, asked me where I was when I had the blow-out. When I explained about turning into the plaza when the tire suddenly went flat, he told me that I was very lucky. According to him, if I had been traveling at any rate of speed, I would have had a full blow-out and that it would have been bad in my tiny car. So I'm very glad I decided to pass the interstate entrance in order to knit.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sock season is officially open

I finished the baby socks that I knit two-at-a-time on magic loop. With Tour-de-Sock quickly approaching, I wanted to practice this technique. I've always be a firm dpn lover, but who knows what they will throw at us for the competition. It was actually fun using the magic loop method. I think that having a decent circular needle made a big difference. I bought Addi turbos to use. When I had tried magic loop a few years ago, I probably only used the cheap cables from Joanne's, since back then I hadn't learned the joy of having good tools to knit with.

These socks are actually closer to a toddler size, rather than an infant. So I'm not sure who I'm giving them to. Put your bid in (to be paid in complements not cash) if you have a child they would fit.

As soon as the toddler socks were off the needles, I cast on the next pattern in Cookie A's Knit.Socks.Love. This is the Mona pattern, and I'm using Schoeller&Stahl Fortissima Colori Socka yarn out of my extensive stash. The pictures in the book really don't do this pattern justice. If I hadn't decided to knit my way through the book I probably would have skipped this pattern. And yet it's turning out to be a really nice lace pattern. At the rate I'm going, everyone I know is going to get socks for Christmas!
 * ~ * ~ *
Blanket Update:
207 squares in 256 days
(Status: So very far behind.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A 50x50 update

Sadly, here's my update on the 50 by 50 list. I wish I had a bunch of items that I could cross off. But that would mean actually working on the list. Instead, I keep changing my goals and going off on other tangents.

9. Take a trip to NYC. Naturally, I haven't been able to do this yet. However, I did get an invitation. For my birthday, my three children have offered me a trip to NYC for a week in October. I've always wanted to go to Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival. (Okay, I haven't always wanted to go, but only because I didn't know about it when I was younger. Now that I'm an avid knitter/spinner/weaver, I really would love to go since this is one of the biggest fiber festivals in the country.) The birthday trip from the kids includes Rhinebeck. They really are amazingly wonderful children. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if I can accept, since I literally just started my new job which means that I don't have any vacation time coming to me yet. But I'm going to talk to the powers-that-be, if I can figure out who that would be, and see if I can flex at least a few days off. Keep your fingers crossed for me! Even if I don't get enough time to make it to the festival, I might be able to still get up to spend a few days visiting with my daughter.

12. Write 50 thank you notes. I am a really bad person. Because a good person would have written several notes by now. I owe thank you's to so many people. And even though I sent emails thanking them, a handwritten note would be so much better. I really have to make this goal a priority.

13. Go to SAFF in October (or any of the big fiber events). If I can talk enough time off from work, I may be attending Rhinebeck. Which is way better than SAFF.

16. Finish or frog the 10 existing WIPs. I actually got to cross off one of my long-standing WIPs. The lemonade sweater was frogged and then knit into a shawl that I actually like.

23. Start recycling  at home (for at least 3 months). It's been over 3 months, and my recycling bin is still in use. I think I can call this goal a success.

41. Change my job. Although it wasn't what I had in mind, I have totally changed my job. As of this week, I am the Administrator of a church. It's a little bit of a commute, so I'll be moving when my lease is up in October. I think I'm really going to like this job. I get to do a lot of different things, so it's not going to be boring. The people are great (although I do miss my students). Best of all, there are no angry rants or politic bullying.

44. Podcast twice a month for 9 months. I have tried twice in the past week to record the next episode of the Lilypad. The first time, I erased the entire thing because I went off on a tangent and never came back. The second time, everything went beautifully. It sounded great. But I wanted to tweak it just a little bit, so that the intro music and the conclusion music merged a little smoother with my words. Unfortunately, I was very tired and didn't remember to save as I went along. There was a system crash, and my files were lost. It took every bit of willpower to keep the computer from being lost. I'm having tech service done with the computer this weekend, so I might be able to record on Sunday.

It's a pretty short list, considering how long it's been since I updated it. But on the plus side, at least I was able to cross off several items. So that's a good thing.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Today's favorite

I love avocodos. Sliced on sandwiches, as guacamole, or just plain, I really love avocados. Which is why I was so excited to find a SlimCado with 50% less fat than regular avocados.

I'm still giggling over this!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

To think that the day started out so dreary...

I'm having a lot of fun using Magic Loop to knit two socks at a time. And I'm getting pretty good at it.

I had a call this morning from Pastor Tom. I'm going to start work tomorrow morning. Just when I was about to give up, life is looking better.

My daughter called me this evening. It seems that my children have gotten together and planned a special surprise for me. I've been invited to visit New York, which would be wonderful enough. The best part of the surprise is that I would be going up the week of the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Knitting Magic

I have several things to show off this week. Fist of all, I finished the Florida A/C Shawl. This had been the Lemonade Shawl, until I frogged it and tried a different pattern. I don't know why I resisted frogging this for so long. I guess I just hadn't wanted to admit defeat and give up on it. But I'm so much happier with the new pattern. I've been keeping this shawl out in the living room so that I curl up in it. It's so soft and pretty, I think I'm going to get a lot of use from it.

I also finished the Hedera socks Wednesday evening. It really is difficult to see the lace pattern in the picture. The variegated yarn gets most of the attention. (It's pretty yarn, so it deserves attention.) When the socks are worn, the lace blocks out really nice. I think this may be one of my favorite sock patterns so far. It was fun to knit, just difficult enough to be interesting but easy enough to memorize so that you could knit it in public.

I'll be casting on the second pattern from Cookie A's book, Knit.Socks.Love, soon.

 I think I mentioned the Emergency Hat in Friday's blog post. I did finish it early Saturday morning, and I've been wearing it almost everywhere. The Florida Fiber-In is next weekend (September 16-18), and one of the activities is a hat parade. I think I'm going to use this as my entry.

I didn't have the right size dpns when I knit this hat, so I had to make do with my KnitPicks Harmony circulars. I've done Magic Loop in the past. It's no big deal, I just prefer my dpns. Something this time just clicked, and I fell in love. Maybe it was the needles. Having a good wire and joint on the circulars makes a big difference. Maybe it was having a duck steal one of my dpns the other day. Whatever, I just really enjoyed knitting with Magic Loop.

After the Hedera socks, I had cast on a baby sock to knit as my purse project. Since I was missing a dpn anyway (darn that duck!), I decided to knit the second sock with magic loop. The first sock (on dpns) was finished Saturday. The second sock (using magic loop) was started on Saturday and finished on Sunday.

At this point, I think I've become obsessed. I decided to knit another pair of baby socks Sunday so that I could try doing two socks at a time. It looks like I can have these finished tonight.

As my Nana used to say, "Now I'm cooking with gas!"

 * ~ * ~ *
Blanket Update:
207 squares in 249 days
(Status: Sigh.)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


I made a peach cobbler for mom yesterday. It's so good. The recipe in the Family Cooking blog, if you want some.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Wine for Normal People

I have been sick for the past week, so I haven't been in the mood to try any new wines. But I did discover a wonderful podcast about wines, called Wine for Normal People. It is hosted by Elizabeth, who despite being a Sommelier with years of experience in the wine business is able to talk about wines without making the rest of us feel dumb. Her co-host is Rick, who is a computer nerd that just happens to like wine. It works out really well between them: Rick asks the types of questions that the most of us would like to, and Elizabeth explains the answers so that even I can understand. I think my favorite episode so far (I went back and listened to everything) was episode six. Elizabeth explained some of the terms used to describe wine, such as earthy, minerality, and acidic. I loved the way that she used situations to tie memories into the wine terms. Really, you need to go listen to this podcast. It's fantastic.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Afraid to get his feet wet

 I may actually get to like being the passenger. As the driver, I probably would have missed seeing this duck hitching a ride on the back of another duck.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Ice Cream!

I've discovered an advantage to having a teenager with a learner's permit. As the passenger, I can take pictures of the odd things I see on the road -- like Peanut Island's ice cream boat. (We caught up to him at the red light, but he wouldn't sell me a creamsicle.)

Friday, September 02, 2011

Knitting to the Rescue

 I was determined that I was going to get my hair cut today. It's been a while and my hair had reached that awful too-long-to-style-but-not-long-enough-to-pull-back stage. For the past two weeks I've been stopping by to see if my usual stylist was around. (I use the word "usual" with a very broad definition, since she's only cut my hair once but I really liked the way it turned out.) I probably should have just made an appointment except (1) this isn't a fancy enough place to have an appointment book (okay, I confess -- it's a Walmart location) and (2) I don't have a clue what her name was because I lost the slip of paper I jotted it down on.

So, this morning when I didn't see her I was feeling horrible enough that I took a chance on the stylist that was there. Without even taking time to watch him cut someone else's hair to find out if he was any good. But he seemed nice.

Even a child knows better than to trust a stranger just because he seems nice. My haircut turned out horrible. Not just horrible, but oh-my-gosh-who-attacked-you-and-are-they-in-jail horrible. And if it wasn't bad enough to have one of the world's worst haircuts, he charged me a fortune for it. I take that back. He only charged me $16 for the haircut. Which is what I expected to pay. (And for $16, I truly didn't have that high of expectations -- and yet it still turned out really far below them.) But then he charged me $30 for blow drying it. What?! Really?! The explanation was that it cost so much because he had to use the metal round brush.

Being me, I paid him without too much of a fuss. Although I was mean enough to only give him a small tip. (Sigh. I still can't believe I tipped him at all. Although I did feel I was being very mean with the small tip.) Then I went home and cried. But after a while I managed to get up enough mad to call the manager, who naturally wasn't around. So I called the national headquarters. And they called the manager. Who called the store. Who called me and asked me to come back in so that they could fix it. So I did.

And they tried. Of course, first I had to have a long phone conversation with the manager about the charge to dry my hair, since that really was a legitimate charge -- if my hair was long and thick. Unfortunately, the longest (random) pieces were less than 2". Once we got that figured out, they refunded the entire cost and tried to restyle my hair. My hair is now extremely short, and still horrible. But I'm feeling a little bit better since I didn't pay almost $50 to look this bad. Plus I've cast on an Emergency Hat using a skein of my handspun yarn and I think I can get it finished before I have to go out in public again.

Thursday, September 01, 2011


My daughter bought a car. She's been shopping for one the past couple of months, and she finally found a really good car at a really great price. I'm very proud of her. I'm also very nervous, since I don't have any excuses left to prevent her from taking her driver's test. I'll also admit to feeling very old and lonely, since this is my baby that will soon be driving off without me. I might also be a little jealous of the sun roof in her new car.

But mostly, I'm proud of her.

 -- Oh, Dakota, by A Rocket To The Moon