Sunday, August 6, 2017

National Sister's Day

It's National Sister's Day and I'm shouting out to the best sister a girl could have.

The best sister, helping me move into my first college dorm at Radford University in 1980.

She may be ten years older and growing up, was frequently more like a mom than a sister, but she's the best!  Thanks for always being there for me, Cary.  Thank you for never killing me for playing in your makeup, thank you for allowing me to tag along on a few of your dates, and thank you for introducing me to 'real' music such as the Stones, Three Dog Night and Crosby, Stills & Nash long before my peers were tuning in.  You helped shape my life in ways you'll never know.

The scary part of this holiday is, how is it possible that the most recent photo I have of the two of us together is from the fall of 1980 when I went off to college? And why was I taking all those plants with me?



Friday, August 4, 2017

The things we do for love

So, Sarah announced she wanted me to knit her a blanket.  A big, soft, cuddly blanket.  I was pretty excited because she rarely asks me to knit for her.

knitting a blanket with yellow and orange chevron stripes
Spice Cake Caron Cakes yarn

She happened to go to Michael's with me later that afternoon and latched on to this very orange Caron Cakes yarn.  Luckily it was on the half-priced clearance rack because I'm probably going to burn my retinas which will require a trip to the eye doctor by the time I finish knitting the blanket.

Now, if she'd only choose a pattern.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

It's been how long?

Good grief! I knew it had been a while since I'd taken part in #craftingon Tuesdays at Frontier Dreams or #untangled Wednesdays over at As Kat Knits but....  Good grief!  Apparently, I never participated during the whole month of July!  And here it is, August!  Good grief!

What's even more amazing than how long it's been is my lack of knitting during that length of time.

Simple lace scarf hand knit with Stroll Gradient from Knit Picks
Rocket Ship

 I've barely made any progress on my Rocket Ship scarf, but at least I have made it into the gray section.  That feels like a big step forward.


I made a friend while knitting on the deck. We've had the strangest bugs this summer.  I think it's probably because they cleared the lot next to us & have started building a house.  When they cut the trees down, all the bugs relocated to our yard.

As for reading, I'm almost finished Dangerous Behavior by Nancy Bush.  I'm enjoying it much more than I thought I would.

I only have five more weeks of the summer work schedule to get through then I can get back to my normal life of obsessively reading and knitting.  Although I am suffering from a massive case of fall fever, I haven't begun having the 'Will this season EVER end??" thoughts yet.  Honestly, I'm a little freaked out at how few paychecks there are left to come.  Have you seen the new Hawthorne Tonal yarns from Knit Picks? Let's just say, I was a bad, bad girl.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Lost

Did you think I'd gotten lost?

I've been MIA from the blog for a few weeks and I certainly felt lost. My days off are the only time I have for blogging.  On work days, I only have an hour of non-showering awake time so basically all I get done is a quick peek at the most important emails, packaging any Etsy shop orders, and a quick raid of the refrigerator.  So, what have I been doing with my day off time since I last posted?

First day off - spent at the vet's.  Always an adventure.

Second day off - spent at the Ear, Nose & Throat doctor's office.  Yeah, the sinus infection continues.  Except I think it may be beaten into submission this time. The ENT doc decided to give me one more round of even stronger antibiotics & steroids before sending me off to get a CAT scan.  I still have a few more days of meds to take and I haven't had any symptoms in a couple of days so I'm hopeful.

Third day off - spent buying a computer.  Finally!  It killed me to spend the money because my trusty MacBook had served me well for 12 years.  Twelve years!  Other than having to keep it plugged in because the battery no longer worked, there was nothing wrong with it.  Well, nothing but the  outdated operating system.  What worked worked fine, but it was so outdated most sites wouldn't allow me to make online purchases, Twitter had stopped showing me pictures and I was frequently unable to open video links.  It was time to bite the bullet and buy a new laptop.  It happened to be Amazon Prime day and my local Best Buy price matched and gave me a screaming deal on a new  Windows computer.  I know.  Windows.  Something I swore I'd never go back to, but a new Mac just wasn't in the budget.

I spent what little time I had at home over the next week cursing the new computer.  You probably heard me screaming at it all the way over at your house.

Fourth day off - spent back at Best Buy telling them what a piece of $^$#$$^& their computer was.  Turns out, there was actually something wrong with it and it wasn't just computer challenged me trying to convert to Windows after using a Mac for 12 years.  Thankfully Best Buy was great about allowing me to exchange the broken computer and they even gave me another screaming deal on an even better one.  A much fancier one that actually works.  Or at least it will when I figure out how to deal with Windows.

garter stitch shawl knit with 14 shades of Palette from Knit Picks
Ocean Stripes

So, all that to say, I haven't gotten much knitting done over the last few weeks.  It's hard to knit while trying to tug two large, unwilling dogs into the vet's office, or while doctors are poking things up your nose, or while throwing temper tantrums in Best Buy.  But I did manage to add a few rows to my Ocean Stripes shawl while I waited for the broken computer to restart itself over and over and over again.

And hey - look at that!  I found the file that contains my pictures.  That's more than I knew how to do yesterday.  Progress.  Slow, slow progress.  Now, if I could only figure out how to edit the photos once I find them.  Guess I know what I'll be doing on my next day off.



Friday, July 14, 2017

Eleven

Because of my summer work schedule, my knitting is progressing at a snail's pace.  A snail with a broken leg's pace, actually.

I usually participate in As Kat Knits' Unraveled Wednesday link up where everyone talks about what they are reading and creating, but these days, I'm feel pretty proud of myself if I read my email each day.

So, between not knitting and not reading, what am I supposed to talk about here on the blog?  I decided I'd tell you about a few of my all time favorite books that have shaped my life and made me the quirky, timid, scaredy-cat, twisted, neurotic, thrill seeker that I am.





Nancy Drew:  As a child, I owned and read every single Nancy Drew book there was.  Many of 'my' books were actually my older sister's.  They were all hard bound, had yellow covers and in some cases, yellowed pages. Miss Drew taught me to love a good mystery.

The Outsiders and That Was Then, This is Now, by S. E. Hinton began my love affair with bad boys.  As a pre & young teen, I must have read those books 100 times.

Jaws, by Peter Benchley:  As a child, I spent my summers on a large river, not far from the bay. I probably swam with a shark or two without ever knowing it.  As a teen with a day job, I spent many a summer evening water skiing in the dark.  As a young adult, I experienced the thrill of having dolphins surround me and literally push me back to shore while a shark swam just a few yards further out.  It was only natural that Jaws should become a favorite novel and that I should reread it almost every single summer for the next 30+  years.  As a mystery loving, thrill seeking, slightly rebellious gal, there couldn't have been a better book for me to add a little horror into my life.

The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights, by John Steinbeck:  I was introduced to this book by a much older friend, Brenda.  I was in the early years of  high school and she was in college and she lent me her copy.  I was hesitant at first, I mean, come on!  Read John Steinbeck, for fun?  His work was on my assigned reading list for goodness sake.  But read it, I did and after only a few pages, I fell in love with Arthurian legend, knights, and men in chain mail & leather in general.  Have I mentioned my 'thing' for bad boys?

Desperation, by Stephen King:  While I'd read Carrie & Salem's Lot, and enjoyed them, Cujo was the first of Stephen King's books that made me go in search for other books written by Mr. King.  Over the years, I've read, and enjoyed (if you can call being terrified enjoyment) just about every single one of his books, but Desperation is the one that stands out in my mind as the most terrifying.  Thanks to Mr. King, I am now gut wrenching, heart-stopping afraid of spiders and you can not convince me that every spider in existence is not a brown recluse.  Thanks to Mr. King, over the years I have become afraid of my mom's washing machine, fruit pie (I always thought it was cherry pie but Wikipedia tells me it was strawberry,) rabid animals, clowns and a whole bunch of other things, but nothing and I mean Nothing terrifies me like spiders.

Maiden Voyage, by Tania Aebi:  This is the story of the youngest female to ever sail around the world alone.  I picked the book up for 25 cents at a yard sale and I have to say, it was the best deal I've ever made.  This is another book that I have re-read a zillion times. I dream of adventures at sea and of simply stepping onto a sailboat and sailing off into the sunset.

The Shell Seekers, by Rosamunde Pilcher:  This book was recommended by a long-ago boss.  Actually, she didn't just recommend the book.  It was more like she forced me to read it.  I thought it sounded incredibly boring but once I gave in, picked up the book and read a few pages, I was hooked.  It turned out to be one of those books where as I read the last sentence on the last page, I instantly wanted to go back to page one and read it again.  This book is another on my 'read every summer' list.

Deep End of the Ocean, by Jacquelyn Mitchard:  This book.  Oh My Gosh!  Although it makes my top 5 favorite books of all time, I had THE hardest time reading it.  It was so emotional, I could only read a page at a time. I only read this book the one time but the horror of the story will be forever burned into my brain.

A Series of Unfortunate Events:  My kids got me interested in this series.  I was a little concerned when they began reading the books.  They were so young and so innocent and the books seemed so dark....  But they were reading (even the boy child was willingly reading!) so....  At some point, the kids checked out the first book on tape and we listened to it in the car.  We spent a lot of time in the car back then and it didn't take me long to fall in love with the series.  The three of us listened to and/or read just about every book in the series and it about broke my heart when the kids wanted to donate their copies to Virginia Homeschooler's book sale.

Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling:  This another one of those books/series where I was so surprised to find that the book(s) actually stood up to all the hype.  And again, the kids introduced me to the series.  The kids read the first several books to themselves but I quickly grew impatient waiting for them to finish their copies so that I could borrow them.  The last two books became re-alouds.  I will never forget trying to get through the final chapters of Deathly Hollows.  I'll never forget, sitting on the sofa in the living room with the kids snuggled up on each side of me, my husband cooking breakfast in the kitchen (not sure why that is such a strong part of the memory but I can still smell the bacon cooking) and me struggling to read through the tears.

The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood:  Mr. King may have given me an odd fear of washing machines & spiders but this book.... Wow.  As a woman who would be lost without her debit card, this book is THE most terrifying thing imaginable.  Orwell's 1984 was a scary look at our possible future, but this, The Handmaid's Tale....  I get chills just thinking about it.

So that's it, my  top eleven favorite books/series of all time.  It's been quite a while since I've enjoyed a book well enough to add it to the list.  If you have an all time favorite you think I should read, please, let me know.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ocean Stripes

So, I've been calling this one Ocean Stripes.

Garter stitch shawl knit with Palette from Knit Picks
Ocean Stripes

The colors remind me of swimming in the warm waters of the Gulf.

It's a work in progress.  I hope it to be shawl depth but we'll see how the yarn holds out.  I should have plenty.
shawl scarf knit with 14 skeins of Palette from Knit Picks
14 shades of Palette


The shawl is super simple to knit but not very portable.  It's all garter stitch with built-in fringe.  The fringe may get cut off to make way for a knitted border on each end.  We'll see how it goes.

As for the stripes, I ordered 14 colors of Palette from Knit Picks.  I simply used their paper catalog & went down the list of greens.  As for the knitting, I have two buckets and I take a skein out of one bucket, knit a row, cut the yarn & toss it into bucket #2.  When Bucket #1 is empty, I 'stir' the yarns around in bucket #2 and reverse the process.  I try very, very hard to blindly grab a skein each time & to not choose a favorite color or one I think would look good next to the previous.  The idea is for the stripes to be completely random.

Frixion Erasable Highlighters

Meanwhile, my Frixion erasable highlighters finally arrived.  It took almost two months for the highlighters to arrive from Japan.  Waiting for them has been killing me!  About three weeks after ordering them, I discovered that Michaels had started selling them.  I was a good girl though and waited, somewhat patiently, for my overseas order.  I'm glad I waited.  The colors are gorgeous!  Just look at that pastel aqua.  My erasable highlighters coordinate with my knitting!  And they actually erase!!  How cool is that?