Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Nupps and Beads, but not much else


I am totally obsessed with the Aeolian Shawl, and that seems to be the only progress I've made this week. Officially I'm working on the sleeves of the baby sweater, since my knitting student has started her sleeves. But all I did was put the stitches onto the needles in preparation to knit, and then I set the sweater aside while I did a few more rows of the shawl chart. And I did plan to knit a few more hearts for Yarnified Love Bomb day (today!), just as soon as I did a couple more rows of the shawl chart. I brought my Super-Secret-It's-A-Gift project to start at knitting group, but the shawl chart kept calling my name and I couldn't concentrate to count the cast-on. (Okay -- I probably went too far on that last one. I mean, seriously, claiming I couldn't count the cast on yet I can add beads and bubbles while chatting?

At least the shawl is making progress. I did have to buy a third tube of beads, which is absolutely ridiculous. Counting repeated charts, I'm on chart #18 with only 3 left to go!  Depending on the nupps, I may even finish the shawl this week.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Vero Beach



I'm fortunate to have a friend with a timeshare in Vero Beach. Every year she invites me to spend some time at the Driftwood Resort with her, and every year I have an incredible time. She's a gracious hostess and the Driftwood is a beautifully unique place. This year I was only able to stay one night, but we managed to get a lot of relaxation fit into the two days I was there.During the days we alternated between the beach and the pool. In the evening, we played Mah Jongg.

If I had the money, I would be very tempted to purchase a timeshare for myself there. My friend has owned her's since the Driftwood first offered the timeshares. Her children spent time at there at beach and pools growing up, and now their children (and even grandchildren!) are there with her this week. (I, of course, had nothing to do with spoiling my friend's great grandchildren -- even though I made every attempt to do so!)




Sunday, August 10, 2014

I hate saying Goodbye

 
It's been a very stressful weekend for me. I really hate saying "goodbye" to the people I love.

The first "goodbye" was not a goodbye in the regular sense. A good friend, one of my church ladies that I had gotten close to, has Alzheimer's and is now in an assisted living facility. I'm lucky enough to be included on her visitor list (which is very limited, since she is easily agitated and gets very upset -- apparently a common reaction when you know you should recognize people and places but can't). When I first arrived, she didn't know who I was. But I was able to gently remind her of some of our fun times together, and we ended up having a great time together.

And it really was a great time together. We chatted about the things she remembered. We giggled over things we had done in the past. We made plans for future visits. And if some of the things that she remembered weren't quite right, if she mixed up people, or if there were moments that confused her -- we were able to find a way to accept it and laugh together about it.

It wasn't until I got home, after telling her goodbye and promising to come visit her again soon, that I cried. Because even though my friend is still there, and we can still laugh and have fun together, I can see that she is quickly leaving us (both mentally and physically) and the day is coming when "goodbye" really is "goodbye."


While I was still trying to accept my friend's condition, I received a message from an old friend and ex-sister-in-law. Sharon was letting me know that our very good friend had unexpectedly passed away on Saturday.

I still don't know what to say about this. It's been a while since I've talked with Pats, and even longer since I've seen her. But we had a friendship that time and distance didn't affect. I always knew she was there, and either one of us could pick up the phone and we'd start in the middle of the conversation just as if we had talked every day. I'm feeling very lost knowing that I don't have that safety net anymore.

Pats was my college roommate. She was the maid of honor when I got married. She was godmother to my firstborn. She was there when my marriage fell apart, helping to put me back together when I thought the world was ending. She was there to kick my butt when I was being an idiot, and to give me high-fives when I was celebrating. She was my best friend, even if time and distance kept us apart.

I hate having to say "goodbye."

Monday, July 28, 2014

It could be worse.


For $400 I got an afternoon of knitting by myself, a cup of bad coffee, and the check engine light to turn off.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Flower grows on YouTube


I picked up a grapevine wreath on sale at Michael's, and now there's one more project on my needles. 


Originally I had thought to add some of my crocheted hearts. I think that would have been very pretty.

But then I found a couple of videos on YouTube showing how to crochet multilayered flowers. And of course I had to try that out.

I ended up spending the afternoon making flowers. I probably could have finished the wreath as obsessed as I was. Only somebody is not house trained yet, and peed all over my yarn--which was in my lap at the time.


Surprisingly, no animals were harmed in the making of my wreath. 


Saturday, July 26, 2014

All Fun and Games Today

On Saturday mornings I usually walk down the street to meet some friends at Starbucks for coffee and knitting time together. We'll spend a few hours together then go off on our separate ways. Recently we've started to expand our time together into a full ladies day. (Although we aren't excluding guys. They just haven't shown any interest in joining us.)


After knitting, we now head out for lunch together. Today we went to The Diner on Gateway. It was my first visit and I was very impressed. The portions are huge and delicious. When she brought out my spinach salad I thought I had made a mistake and ordered a family portion instead the individual salad. It was so good, with lots of goat cheese and strawberries. (And I had enough left over for dinner.)


After lunch a few of us continue the day with an afternoon of Mah Jongg. Sometimes we play at my apartment, but today we went to the bookstore. We should have agreed to ignore the mess at my place because the bookstore turned out to be crowded. All the large tables were taken and we had to be be a bit inventive in setting up the game. As soon as one of the big tables freed up, we snagged up and moved over.


We've started playing for money. Nothing big, just a $5 limit. Last week, our first money game, I lost 50 cents after three hours of playing. Today I won the first game, making Mah Jongg myself on a 30 cent hand giving me a total of $1.20 in winnings. 


I won a second game. This was on a concealed hand, giving me the biggest win of the day : $2.40. So much excitement! 

Looking back in the day, I question what kind of person I have become, to be so happy over a day if knitting, lunching, and Mah Jongg with the ladies. Then I answer myself - a very lucky one.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Blogger Makes it Happen!



This week's favorite thing has to be the Blogger app. Because really, it's the only reason I've been able to get back to blogging. 

I've had this app for a while, almost as long as I've had my iphone, thanks to one of my knitting pals. But it was too difficult to navigate to do me any good. I would get frustrated before I could finish a post that it was taking all the fun out of blogging. It was easier to just wait until I could get onto the computer at home. After a while, I forgot I had this app.

Flash forward to the present. I've had the iphone long enough that apps have become a major part of my life. I wake up to an app. I schedule my day by apps. Apps keep me entertained and informed. My banking is done with an app. Even my knitting involves apps! So when I noticed I still had Blogger, I decided to give it another chance.

I don't know why I ever thought it was complicated. It's actually one of the easiest apps on my phone. Granted, I still get annoyed when I'm trying to type a word and it gets autocorrected to something really ridiculous and I can't get it to stop autocorrecting. And I still have trouble getting the formatting to go the way I want it because my fingers are too big to move the tiny bits I'm trying to select. But I can type up my post, add the pictures, and save as a draft. Then it takes just a few minutes during lunch or after work to use the computer to format and publish the draft.

Hopefully I'll be able to get a working computer at the home soon. (Although parting with my much-loved-even-if-it-is-outdated-and-slow laptop is proving difficult). In the meantime, Blogger is my favorite thing to keep me posting!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thursday's Thanks Giving



 I am so grateful that I have friends who are willing to share their babies with me.

 I don't have grandchildren yet. And I don't want grandchildren yet -- I think my kids are very smart to be waiting until they are more settled, and financially and emotionally ready for babies. I know too many people who had children too young and didn't get to enjoy them, or who have grandchildren that they are having to raise because the parents weren't really ready for the responsibility. I really enjoyed my children but I don't know that I would enjoy raising any more children at this point in my life. And yet...


With my children all grown up, it is a total joy that I can cuddle and spoil my friends' babies.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wednesday's WIPs and FOs


My big accomplishment this week was finishing the Crochet Alone. All I had left to do was the border, but I thought I would never make it to the end of those ten rows! But now that it is all done, I really love it. When I started this project, I had said that I would probably give it away. After all, I only agreed to crochet the throw because the others in my Wednesday fiber group talked me into doing this Crochet Along. (Then they all dropped out before it started, without telling me, making it into my Crochet Alone.) But it's so pretty, and goes so well on my dark brown couch that I think I'm going to be selfish and keep it.

The yarn was Loops & Threads Impeccable from Michael's, in the Aqua. The pattern is Red Heart's Checkerboard Textures Throw.



I haven't made any real progress on the other active projects. We didn't do a knitting lesson this week, so the baby sweater is still waiting for the sleeves, and the ball still only has the one completed strip. I did do several more pattern repeats on the preemie blanket, although it's difficult to see any progress on a blanket. I just have five more pattern repeats (20 rows) and the garter stitch border (another 8 rows) and it can be bound off and given away.

I just couldn't get interested in any of these projects. After doing the crocheted throw in the worsted-weight acrylic, I wanted something fun to knit. Something pretty and challenging.

So I pulled out my Aeolian Shawl. I had started this back in 2010 (!) at my daughter's request that we do this pattern together. She, of course, never cast on her project. And I ended up getting distracted and putting it aside. Although I'm not sure why I would have abandoned this -- it's gorgeous. And despite using a bead every 10 stitches stitches in the pattern, it's an easy knit so far. I was actually able to take it to my knitting group and work on it while socializing. (I felt like such a hard core knitter that night!) The yarn is Knit Pick's Gloss Lace in Stirling, and the pattern is from Knitty.com.

I have two more repeats of the current chart, with all the beautiful beaded leaves, then there are still five more charts to navigate. So maybe I shouldn't get too confident. But is is an enjoyable contrast to the Crochet Alone!




Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ten on Tuesday

The Ten on Tuesday topic for today is "Ten Thresholds You Cross Everyday." This could be a very thoughtful post, like the one posted on Zeneedle. But I think I'll go the more pragmatic route, and just detail my day's (sorry!) route.

1.  The first threshold of the day is the one from the bedroom into the bathroom. It's one I cross several times in the process of starting my day, and frequently involves tripping over the cat as the cat also attempts to cross the same threshold to start its day. (The litterbox is in my bathroom.)

2. The threshold from the living room onto my porch. I have several plants out on the porch, and they need a lot of water to survive the Florida heat. So watering is a daily event for the catnip, flower basket, and aloe plants. (The Christmas cactus is out there, too, but actually likes the sun and doesn't need as much water.)

3.  The threshold of the front door. A given.

4.  The threshold into the Rosser room, which is the main entrance of the church where I work. This involves juggling my bags, the mail (which I get from the mailbox on my way in), and the alarm.

5.  The threshold into the sanctuary. I'm still juggling all my bags, mail, and keys, plus the padlock and chain. Unfortunately we've had to start padlocking the sanctuary at night. The church leases space to other groups, and we had some damage done in the sanctuary from unsupervised children. It seems like such a shame to lock up the church this way, but it was easier to just prevent any further problems. I cross this threshold several times throughout the course of my day since my office is off the sanctuary and the fellowship hall, kitchen, restrooms, and supply closet are all on the other side of the Rosser room.

6.  The threshold into the Fellowship Hall is another one that I cross several times a day. The kitchen and restrooms are actually in the Fellowship Hall.

And since I've already mentioned these, but I also manage to cross the thresholds of the (7) Volunteer Office, (8) kitchen, and (9) restroom in the course of my day.

10.  After work, I almost always end up crossing the threshold of a Starbucks. Either to meet friends for knitting, or just to grab a coffee and sit to read for a little while before going home. I try to also cross the thresholds at the gym at some point during the day.

Monday, July 21, 2014

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library. (Jorge Luis Borges)



I've been hearing more and more about the Little Free Libraries that are popping up all over the country, and I was hoping to find one. A guy in Wisconsin started this movement back in 2009 when he built a small schoolhouse-shaped box in honor of his mother,filled it with books to share with his neighbors, and put it in his front yard. His neighbors loved it, and it didn't take long for the idea to spread. Community support, word of month, human-interest publicity, and eventually a website  (www.littlefreelibrary.org) has lead to over 15,000 Little Free Libraries across the world.

It turns out that there are 100 Little Free Libraries just in Florida, and 6 are in my area. I was thrilled when I discovered that there was one in Vero Beach, where I was spending my vacation day. So naturally I went to search it out.



I found it at the edge of an empty lot, in a quiet little neighborhood. The theory of the little libraries is that you take any book you like, and leave one in its place. I had wondered if there were problems with people taking the books and not leaving anything, so that the libraries ended up empty. But the typed note on this libraries door basically said to please leave ONLY one book for each book you take, so the problem seems to be that people are overly-generous in sharing their books.

I did, of course, end up picking out a book to take. And then I walked the two blocks down to the beach where I spent a very nice couple of hours reading.


Thank you, J. J. Wilson for sharing Little Free Library #5048!

If you want to find a Little Free Library in your area, check out the website's interactive map.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Vacation!


I don't have time for a full post -- I'm getting ready to leave for a quick trip toVero Beach. We weren't able to work out a full vacation for me, but at least I have this 3-day weekend. I plan to enjoy every minute of it! (Saturday was pretty great, with knitting followed by lunch out with the gals and then a marathon Mah Jongg session.)

Missy Gray is pouting because she knows I'm leaving. I think the overnight bag gave me away. But I'm not worried. I figure she'll take her anger out on the puppy while I'm away, and then we'll have a long cuddle session when I get back.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saturday Snapshop


This is a quick knitted project I had finished in early July. I was able to give these to a friend for her new granddaughter just about a week before the baby was born. The pattern, which is well-written and easy to do, is Bows Before Bros by Carrie Briggs. This pattern is going on my list of great baby gifts to make.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The MSG Golem

It was easy to decide on my favorite thing this week. I am still smiling over PodCastle's  The MSG Golem by Ken Liu.

I love PodCastle anyway. This podcast is all short Fantasy Fiction stories, and they are almost always wonderful. (Rarely there is something I just don't get, and even rarer something I just don't like.) But The MSG Golem from the July 2nd podcast is definitely a favorite.

I think one of the reasons I love it so much is the scene when Rebecca argues theology and religious ritual with God. It's so much my Rebecca. Especially since she seems to be winning.

I also love that God keeps whining about the way He gets blamed for everything when, having given man free will, He has no control. There are a few lines in the story that have me thinking about the God that I believe in and what obligations exist on both sides because of that belief.

If you've never listened to PodCastle before, this is a great first cast to start with. It's got God, a Golem, a sassy teen, space travel, and rats.