About Me

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Six years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Taking comfort in the familiar

Fiberjoy commented recently that she does the K2 P2 top-down socks because they're comfortable, and familiar. I think there's absolutely nothing wrong with sticking with something that works for you. I am big on traditions, myself. One tradition that I am honoring as we speak, is my long-held one of not putting the Christmas stuff away. My folk art Christmas tree, which never quite got decorated because I was in a snit over Romance Gone Sour, is still partially blocking the door to the hallway. The wreaths didn't make it into the windows and are still stacked, slipping a little, on top of a storage box.

Some folks might think this a little weird. I prefer to think of it as charmingly eccentric.

What is weird, is how I could have gotten Ms. Knitingale's husband's cold when he's in the Greater Seattle area and I've never met him. Flo, honey, please tell him to turn his head the *other* way when he sneezes, OK? But the same wonders of modern technology have quite possibly brought me the cure: something called "cold calm" that Knitspot wrote about in her blog recently. I haven't bought any yet, but tomorrow is payday, and once I find out what's in it and if it's compatible with my Rx's, I plan to try it out.

I love living in a time when there are so many different therapies available. I've never needed acupuncture, but I'm open to the idea. I've had three massage therapists that I rotated through: one I still see who does the whole lovely Swedish thing with aromatherapy and soothing music and quiet conversation, and another woman who does sports massage, and a fellow who does shiatsu when I've let it go too long and basically need to be broken apart and put back together. I saw him for the first time about a year after my mother died, and it felt as if he were scooping living fire out from under my shoulder blades.

I had my first baby in the hospital and the other four at home using a midwife. I take Chinese herbs [ba nguyen] for my fall allergies. Work has been pretty tense this week, and while I would love to take the time for a full-body massage, I think I'd be equally happy with a me-sized fondue pot filled with almond oil, and I could just fry my troubles away and get a tan while I'm at it.

I begged out of a church meeting tonight because of these sniffles. I am bagging the dance tomorrow night for the same reason, and I called Firstborn on the way home from work to ask her to pick up LittleBit's and my quilt blocks on Saturday. She owed me an equivalent amount of cash for some incidentals I picked up for the granddaughter's dance a couple of weeks ago, and it's been too crazy around here to get together since then, so everybody wins.

Unfortunately, it's been nearly two months since I last saw Secondborn and BittyBit, but I see no sense sharing my cooties with them, particularly since Secondborn is pregnant and taking classes and quite sick enough already.

So what did I do tonight? Grabbed a movie on the drive home and watched it while working on the 0000 project. I didn't catch it in the theatres before Christmas, and I saw a trailer a few weeks back while checking my email. "Stranger than Fiction". Will Ferrell has a gift for playing men who are smart and well-meaning and about half a bubble off level. I loved him in "Elf". I'm probably going to watch this one at least once more before I have to return it. The only major character whose work I hadn't seen was Maggie Gyllenhaal, and I liked her, too.

Will close with the inscription I saw on a T-shirt at Wal-Mart way too early this morning. "You used to be my type ~ but I got help." Sadly, it does not come in my size, or I'd get one and wear it to the next church singles dance. The sisters, at least, would find it amusing.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

If you can't dance, "Jitterbug"

I needed something mindless to work on before a church meeting last night. I grabbed my Crystal Palace 0's and the "Jitterbug" that I bought with a gift certificate after Christmas .

Cast on 63 stitches and worked 14 rounds of K2, P1 ribbing as for the Prodigal Sock ["Child's First Sock" from Knitting Vintage Socks]. Thumbed through the book before church this morning and decided on a variation on "Oak" from the same book. Worked another round of ribbing and began the pattern. At round #5, decided to try the interrupted rib that I'd used for LittleBit's Baby Cashmerino Mitts that I unvented a couple of months ago. Essentially, a purl round every fifth round to produce a garter stitch bump in the knit columns. Liked it on the K4 part, not so much on the K1 part, so grabbed my crochet hook and meticulously turned each single purl bump back into a knit stitch. I'm now 11 rows into the leg and liking it.

Love the yarn, so far. I won't know until the socks are done and I've worn them at least once, but I think I might end up liking this yarn even more than I like the CTH from my first pair. It makes delicious, plump, non-skewed stitches that glide from one needle to the next.

Yeah, I know, again with the no pictures. What are you gonna do, take away my DP's?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

In celebration of my sisters

One of my friends sent this to me. If you know who wrote it, let me know so that I may attribute it properly. Thanks!

"Time passes.
Life happens.
Distance separates.
Children grow up.
Jobs come and go.
Love waxes and wanes.
Men don't do what they're supposed to do.
Hearts break.
Parents die.
Colleagues forget favors.
Careers end.

"Girl friends are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you. A girl friend is never farther away than needing her can reach.

"When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it by yourself, the women in your life will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the valley's end.

"Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you...Or come in and carry you out.

"Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters, daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, Mothers, Grandmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, and extended family, all bless our life!

"The world wouldn't be the same without women, and neither would I. When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other.

"Every day, we need each other still."

[And then follows the request to pass it on.]

I'd like to know where it says that it's against the rules to walk alongside a friend in need. I much prefer the counsel in Mosiah 18:9 "Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—"

I am thankful for friends who have walked with me in the past, and do walk with me at present, and will yet walk with me in the future. Most of them [no big surprise here] female.

I'm off to attend the Saturday night session of our stake conference. I've spent the afternoon knitting with John Wayne. Time that I do something of more eternal import. Have a blessed and peaceful Sabbath, y'all!

Friday, February 23, 2007

I foresee lots of these in the immediate future

Here's the link: http://www.blyberg.net/card-generator/ and my thanks to the folks at Mason-Dixon Knitting for more fun than I've had all week, except when the yarn came from the online auction that I won. Nope, no pictures yet, I'm just teasing y'all mercilessly.

You'll remember the clapotis, knit from a little something that LotusBlossom ~ http://myworld.ebay.com/lotusblossom ~ whipped up. I now have four hanks of sock yarn in sundry colors and am waiting for the mohair I won from Jo. No idea what I'll make from that.

Incremental progress on the sleeves to LittleBit's "Celtic Icon" hoodie. None since before breakfast on the 0000 project. I think it's time to pop in "Ocean's Twelve" and pick up the sticks and the string... LittleBit will be home in an hour and six minutes. I'd like to have something to show her when she gets here.

0000 Oh my goodness!

Knitting for my Barbies would have been ever so much easier if I'd had 0000's to work with. I remember a pattern for really cool matching sweaters for Barbie and Ken, printed in the McCall's Needlework magazine when I was ten or so, which my mother knitted up for me to perfect gauge.

I tried to make another pair of sweaters (I'd been knitting for a couple of years by then) using the specified size 1's and fingering yarn, but the sweaters were always too long. And at ten, I really didn't understand why until Mom explained it to me. My refusal to wind the yarn around my fingers ~ it felt as if they were strangling ~ made my gauge too loose. And in the little Western town where we lived, anything smaller than a 1 was unheard of.

I am currently working on a project that requires 0000's. And, crazy woman that I am, I am liking it.

Please send chocolate until this feeling passes. [Has anybody else tried the Mayan Chocolate from Haagen Dazs? Oh man! Almost as good as dancing, and way better than that cake that's called Better than You-Know-What.]

We are almost to the 2000 point on this blog. That in itself merits a chocolate celebration!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I see that some clarification is in order

Crochet Diva's comment, "Thank you for offering to make me a sweater like the one you have on" was entirely ironic, which you can't hear in my previous post. I'll be working away on one project or another, and she will come into the break room and say, "For me? You shouldn't have", and I'll grin back and say, "I'm not."

She is one very accomplished crocheter, so her compliments mean a lot to me. I've offered to teach her to knit, and she's not interested.

Ergo, no bargain offered, implied, struck, or otherwise-verbed, though I am a fast knitter and could easily replicate my red shrug in a week or two. Plus, I am utterly uninterested in designer handbags and accessories (with the possible exception of a few bijoux I've seen at the Brighton store). Although I know that what she offers in return has a generous fair market value, even used, there's no appeal for me.

Now, if she were to offer me one or more pairs of Dansko clogs, which are coin of the realm as far as my feet are concerned, I might be persuaded.

It's 9:03 on a crisp Thursday morning. There were a few brief flurries of snow when I took LittleBit to early morning seminary. I've taken the day off ~ tomorrow as well ~ and am taking a breather after an hour and a half of blissfully mindful knitting. Three more rows and then the shaping begins for the upper sleeves. I hope to be done with the actual knitting by noon.

AARP's online Sudoko is calling my name. More later.

OK, it's officially "later". Roughly 5:30. Both sleeves are done, and I have about an inch of I-cord worked for the trim around the bolero and the sleeves. Good thing, too: the dance is *tomorrow* night. Good thing I took two days off, LOL. Will be fitting the pieces to the granddaughter tonight after a bit of church stuff, and will be blocking them overnight.

I explained to LittleBit that nobody gets in trouble if we send back the aubergine yarn for her hoodie and exchange it for royal purple. "In that case, yes, please," says she. As I noted in my response to MsKnitingale's comment, below, this is Texas, where we have two seasons: February and summer. And February is half over.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

V-Day and other madness

I finally managed to assimilate something like unto the proper holiday spirit. Ordinarily, I make Martha-esque handmade valentines for everybody in the office, and one to go into my scrapbook. Not this year; all my energy that's not going into knee-mending is going into my granddaughter's bolero. So this year they got an e-card, with Word Art and one simple sentence. I got some great responses and one lengthy exchange with a woman in the office who crochets as well as I knit, and who has a weakness for designer bags. As you shall see...

Thank you, individually and collectively, for being the best part of my workday.

Crochet Diva:
Thank you for offering to make me a sweater like the one you have on. As you know, I'm not fussy about color :)

You may not be "fussy" about color, but you are extremely savvy about it!

Crochet Diva:
If you give me your red sweater, I will give you my Vera Bradley purse and matching wallet (the large wallet w/lots of slots & compartments)

Very kind of you, and I appreciate the offer, but I'm happy with the status quo, LOL.

Crochet Diva:
Man, do you drive a hard bargain…. I'll throw in a Louis Vuitton make up bag :)

Likewise very kind, and most impressive, and still no deal. I made it with yarn that I bought from my friend Brother Stilts when he moved. I'd coveted the mohair (40 year old vintage mohair, no less) for several months before he was willing to part with it. Every time I wear this, I think of him. No deal!

Crochet Diva:
You could make me one with 6 month old vintage from Walmart, and I will think of you everytime I wear it :)

She's good, isn't she? And she still isn't getting my red shrug (the one I modeled so mischievously at Thanksgiving). As the seagulls in "Nemo" were so fond of saying, "Mine! Mine! Mine!"

My KnitPicks order came today. This is the Telemark for LittleBit's cabled hoodie. I also bought "Inspired Knits" at significant discount; it contains the pattern for the hoodie that's featured on the back of the KnitPicks catalogue. It has been on my to-buy list for about six months. I was kindof hoping it wouldn't come until tomorrow, because I'm taking the next two days off to finish the bolero so the granddaughter will be un-hoochified for her dance on Saturday night. If the yarn is at the office and I'm not, then there can be no possible distraction from finishing the project, right?

Except maybe the hank of "Anne" that I bought at lunchtime for a future project. There will be no small amount of yarn patting tomorrow, in between milestones and stitch markers.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Stupid Cupid...

[Stop Pickin' on Me.] Not one of my favorite songs. *Much* prefer Sam Cooke's lovely, mellow "Cupid, draw back your bow" but am not in the mood to sing that one, either.

Valentine's Day is ordinarily one of my favorite holidays, even if I don't happen to be dating. Which I don't usually happen to be, but ordinarily it doesn't bother me.

Thanksgiving is *not* one of my favorite holidays -- I don't like being told to be thankful at 2:00pm on the fourth Thursday in November. And I'm not wild about touching raw poultry or blowing what used to be a week's food budget on one meal. But last year at Thanksgiving I had rather more than usual to be thankful for.

And this year at Valentine's Day, while the status has returned to quo, and I ought to be used to it by now, I'm just a wee bit cranky. It's all about the attitude and mine, frankly, stinks! My kids are healthy, my leg is mending, I still have oodles of terrific female friends and three stalwart male friends, and I seem to have most of my marbles.


You knew there was a "but", didn't you?

*But*, because I am so disappointed in the formerly-dear Brother Abacus, my last conscious thought before duking it out with the Sandman last night was [edited for the Sabbath], "Cupid can just kiss my grits."

LittleBit's threatening to print it on a T-shirt for me and give it to me on Wednesday.

Obligatory knitting content:

Three rows to go on the second Lola sock before I start decreasing for the toe.

Thirteen rows to go before I start binding off at the underarms of the fronts on the granddaughter's bolero. I had one of them ready to bind off at the shoulder on Thursday morning and compared it [all too belatedly] with the completed back and realized that my gauge on the front was *way* more loosey-goosey than on the back. To the frog pond we marched, and I've been working both fronts simultaneously and measuring them diligently against the back. I hope to finish both fronts before bedtime, and my sock.

No nap, as they say, for the weary or the wicked or the whatever. I am ever so thankful that said granddaughter is willowy and that we are putting short sleeves on this puppy and not the long ones the designer had in mind.

Random question of the day:
Has anyone else noticed that Zantac 150 is shaped just like the profile of a brilliant-cut diamond? Which led me to warble to LittleBit on the way to early morning seminary one day last week, "A kiss on the hand may be so Continental, but Zantac is a girl's best friend!"

Edited to add that while I was trying to find a picture of the Zantac to insert for you antacid-muggles, I learned that it may make me more susceptible to pneumonia. Charming. Guess that means that I'll need to budget for the pneumonia vaccine this fall. On the other hand, pneumonia would guarantee me lots of knitting time, right? Decisions, decisions.

Friday, February 02, 2007

By the Time I Get to [Be a] Phoenix...

With apologies to Jimmy Webb.

Blame this on ladylungdoc.

You Are a Phoenix
Driven and ambitious, you tend to acquire material success easily.You have grand schemes - both for your own life and for changing the whole world.You are a great leader, and you have no problem taking the reins.However, you aren't all business. You also have great talents for performing and visual arts.

Hey, I thought I was a phoenix because I keep getting burned by men! [Yes, you may safely assume that Brother Abacus is a few beads short of a bottom line and has been neatly and quietly deposited at the curb.]

I took the liberty of correcting their spelling.

Still waiting for the material success, LOL; I'd be quite content to achieve solvency on a consistent basis. On the other hand, would I really want to have Britney's problems?

And I'm not all that into changing the world; too busy trying to pull beams out of my own eye first. Beginning with a tuneup of my "Nonsense" Detector.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

If you like cheese enchiladas, getting caught in the rain...

Seriously. I saw that on a billboard tonight as I drove home through several forms of extremely audible precipitation. One of the local TexMex restaurants, with a really great ad team. I snickered for several miles thereafter.

I think I have the "walking with three legs" thing down pretty well. I'm actually picking up speed, at least compared to two weeks ago. And I treated myself to a new tip for the cane. It's quieter than the tissue-paper snippet of black rubber that capped it originally, which is a good thing considering that I work in a restored historical building in downtown BigD, and the floors are hardwood, and there's an atrium in the center that makes every hiccup sound like grand opera. So I'm no longer sounding like a gatling gun slowed down to 33-1/3rpm.

LittleBit's purple socks are done. Picture? You want proof? Sorry, you'll just have to trust me.

Red Scarf Project opus is done, all but the weaving-in of the ends, and given my present energy level we'll pretend that I really meant to make it for *next* year. Yes, I'm quite clear as to what is paved with good intentions but you'll just have to roll me there in my handbasket, as I'm not currently in the mood to walk that far.

First sock from my Schaeffer "Lola" is done, and I cast on its mate this morning. Used the broken rib from Sock Wars, the slip stitch heel from another pair, the more gradual gusset decrease that I should have used for LittleBit's socks but didn't, and a three-needle bind-off at the toe.

What's next? Middlest grandchild has a Valentine's dance and needs a bolero. Have a pattern to modify and am thinking two or three featherweight yarns knit as one so she can keep it on and remain modest without carrying her own portable sauna on her shoulders. And also so I can knit it up in a couple of days and get back to destashing.

...Mama needs a new pair of socks...