Sunday, December 28, 2008

Counting down 2008

Knitwise of course:

10. Kauni Effektgarn Wool. Slightly scratchy, great colour repeats, and wonderful for steeking. I bought mine at Little Knits, and sing the praises of their customer service. They're actually so nice that I joined their board on Ravelry just to hang on the fringes.

9. The tidbits from Lucy Neatby. The Astrophysics of Knitting.

8. Korres Lipgloss in Nude. Not knitting, but a girl has got to look good doing it. And have soft lips in case TAO is around.

7. The incredible colour artistry from Bob at Winderwood Farms. Such lovely spinning fibers.

6. The great sock yarns and fibers from Leah at Yarn or a Tale

5. Little Loopy. Knitting needs a mascot, and life needs a smiling face to put on your monitor.

4. Harmony Options. Again, not new for 2008, but I didn't get any until this year.

3. Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard. Following my usual pattern I picked this up at the library. What was unusual was that I loved so many patterns from it that I promptly bought my own copy. The instructions for a top down set in sleeve...Amazing!

2. Namaste's Cali Collection. My Laguna is perfect for me. Soft, lightweight, sturdy, cleanable. And a Zuma was ordered by TAO for my birthday. Rich, I tell ya', I'm rich

1. Ravelry. Yes it wasn't new in 2008, but still my favorite tool. Patterns, yarn, friends, forums, queues, rubbernecking. Love it.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Birthday

Another year gone. It was exhausting and franic while it happened, yet it doesn't seem very long since I was typing last year's entry.

I'm grateful for TAO and the dogs. Grateful for the new friends I made this year (waves to the backroom girls), I learned alot from them. Grateful for friends still hanging in from prior years. The year could have been so much worse.

Hoping everyone is having good holidays, staying healthy and well.

Smooches
Time to eat naked angel food cake.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

-19 Farenheit ~ Gee what to do now?


You can tell what Loopy opted for.
ETA: Loopy was working so quietly that I dozed off and dreamed that a giant canary and a giant twinkie were sitting on a porch swing arguing over sock yarn.

Monday, December 08, 2008

New and Improved - or Still Not

I aways find myself talking to my stuff when I pack to/from an assignment. "Will I need this? Use this? Be provided comfort or contentment from this? If I leave this behind will I be sorry?" "Why Do I Have ALL of this?" usually said at 2 am before a 10+ hour drive

This last trip was no exception, fortunately I had a semi grip on the packing leaving the assignment which lead to little re-packing when I reached the house and TAO. Good thing, because while TAOs surgery went well, and his recovery went almost too well, my computer suffered a catastrophic lost of information. Upon hearing the screaming blue streak in the basement, TAO logically pointed out that if I were going to have to reinstall all that information, I should buy a new laptop with more bells, whistles, processors, and such. Right, but I'm not ready to go Fruit yet (willing but not ready) which leads to the PC option. Despite it's having been on the market for more than a year, I still hear mumbled cursing from people on the big V system. Having learned computers pre-windows, I hate the new point and click softwares, they've been dumbed down to the point that everything is 9 times more complicated than when you just had to know how to use it. And there isn't a way to circumvent the "idiot friendliness" you just have to slog along clicking here there and everywhere.

The upshot was a new laptop, which hates everything about my old information and has made me really look at my virtual possessions. "Do I use this file often enough to pull it off the harddrive and de-bug it now so it will run in V, or can I leave it for some other day?" The biggest PITA has been, unfortunately, some programs I use daily, and have so far, been a crapshoot as to whether big V will link to it day by day. "What do you mean, file not found?, you freakin found it yesterday and it did not go anywhere in the meantime, because Look, it's right freakin here!" Did I mention that the Search feature has been so improved that it's now just about useless? Unfortunately, I have 678 emails to read, bloglines has sent out a little dog with a cask of brandy and my favourite workout isn't recognized. Not much knitting either.

On the bright side: Due to my anal backing up of stuff, very little "good stuff" was lost, and my niece will receive my old 80 GB laptop with a newly recovered system. Also, the nicest "stuff" in my virtual world -the friends I've made through it- didn't go down with the crash.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Time to get out the tape measure

I knit fully 70% of the Ski Lodge Scoop. Enough that I could try it on and discover that it was HUGE. I was on gauge, perfect stitch count, no issues there. Measured the object...it's what the patterns says it should be.

Now, the scale says I haven't lost any weight. Nada, zippo, zilch. But I've had a run of weird fitting experiences over the last 3 weeks. There was a cute store bought sweater that just wouldn't hang right, until I finally figured out it was too big; the pants that seemed just a little saggy and required constant pulling up, that type of thing.

So I got a co-worker (thanks MOS) to measure. Hmmn, think I found the problem. The girls are the same size as before and that's what I see looking down, but there has apparently been some renovation under the girls but before we get to the hips. Uh, Yay!

Except my almost finished sweater is now returned to it's natural state of cakes of yarn. Hmmn...yay? more knitting without spending? yay? (perhaps not)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

For winter

I used stash yarn - gasp what a concept, eh?- to whip up this little winter hat.
It's the Jenny cloche by Julia Madill*. And can we say Very Fast Knit? I cast on Thursday morning, had the hat portion done by Friday night, and the bow finished on Sunday. It's worked with 2 strands of Malabrigo (in Paris Nights) held together and the hat part took exactly one skein.

I made the bow a little smaller than the pattern called for, because this is already dashingly fashion forward for me, and huge bow? No. I also stitched the tips of the bow down to the top so that it didn't blow around in the wind, thereby ruining some of the charm, but making the hat much more likely to be worn by practical me. There's just enough yarn left that I could make a neck warmer or fingerless mitts to match. It's a soft snuggly rib that wraps around the head and covers the ears, forehead and base of skull. I even plan to wear it indoors occasionally, as I tend to keep hotel rooms chilly in order to sleep comfortably.

*seen on a ravaltar, ordered, and downloaded from Ravelry

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Happy Anniversary TAO

I simply wanted to tell you that it's wonderful, challenging, and rewarding all in one. I am so happy to be where I am today with you there to share it with me.

Whenever I look at my life before marrying you and am tempted to berate myself for poor decisions made along the way, I remind myself that each decision brought me to this particular moment, and changing even one would have led to missing you as a compass point in my life.

Thank you for your patience, love, and sense of humour.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Yarn - not Yawn.


I actually managed to finish the second sock. Yay! The leg is the pattern from
Twilight socks with a crocheted cast off. The yarn, while really, really warm shed short brown fuzz the entire time. (New Zealand Possum) Fuzz which matted up and snarled the yarn while in the ball. Matted up and snarled if you had to rip. Matted up and sticks to your hands when you wash the socks. I may post my other colourway on Ravelry for trade. Although...warm socks, may prove to be worth it eventually.


Last secular New Year on Ravelry there was a flurry of group forming - Stash knit down, sock stash, this a month, that a month, resolve resolve resolve. I actually did pretty well, except the sock a month, looks as though that will be only 6 pairs. I guess that's A sock a month, but the goal was pairs.

This year I'm forgoing outside challenges and sticking with social/technique groups.
I wrote out a knitting project philosophy that works with my lifestyle. I plan to let this be my knitting compass for the year.

The flash card version of it is: Simple socks for portable knitting and complex end of sofa projects for home/stressed to the max times.

This allows me to use sock yarn I own, gives me rosary knitting, and sets it up so that my large projects (which I wouldn't carry around anyway) will feed a different part of my creative needs. I haven't decided what this means for TAOs 2009 sweater. I find that complex socks languish because they aren't portable, and I don't want to work on them at home. If I have to read a chart I want a shawl or fair isle at the end, not socks. (Just my personal opinion, you do not have to agree.)

I also set up a yarn Menu, rather than a yarn Diet. I earmarked some limited edition yarn that is set to come out, a sweaters worth each of a yarn for TAO and myself, and enough for 4 other projects. Big, small, whatever. This will encourage stash diving and still leave cheat days.

I also bought the You need a budget software (love it, love it, love it) and filled yarn in there right next to TAOs hobbies. Knitting books come out of credit card points for Amazon.

As I was getting ready to post this I noticed that one of my favourite
Authors died. Sad, but really...what a full life he lived. And when you get to the bottom line, isn't that what it's all about?

That's not what I meant!

When I chose nurturance as a word, it wasn't supposed to be about money. It wasn't buy, buy, buy. Apparently, though, it's going to play out that way occasionally.

On one of the forums I belong to a recent thread has been "spend it while you've got it?" Talking about stocking up on stable items in today's dollar values rather than waiting and purchasing at inflated prices with devalued dollars. On some levels this appeals to the squirrel in me. And as one person so pithily put it "get work done now, while contractors are scrambling and will actually answer the phone." So the TAO and I are considering the floors this year after all. Considering being the key word, as the flooring that took 2 years to find and reach an agreement on is no longer produced. And the new flooring I like is not available in a 100 mile radius of our home. (knew there was some downside to living in the tundra). We've lost more than the floors would cost in the recent shake up, so it's tempting to pull some of it and invest it in something tangible.

On another level affectionate care and attention is going to cost cash. TAO ruined his coat. Dramatically. In a way that will require knee surgery and two weeks of no weight bearing. I, of course, am trying to maneuver things so I will be home. TAO is so much of why I work and consequently, more important than the work. But the idea of loss of revenue is an uncomfortable one for me. Yes, we can afford it. Yes, we can afford it and the floors. It's just, you know...a very noisy voice between my ears.

Back to the coat. Obviously with Wisconsin winter arriving (it's already snowed) I can't make him wander around like the Matchstick girl. He does have a couple lighter coats, but this was his Winter Coat. So I promptly jumped online, oh look they still make it. Oh look, they make a new pricier version too. What's the difference? Hmmn, the old one is rated to -15F. The new one is rated to -35F. Ring Ring, "What colour do you want honey?"

While waiting for him to decide, I notice - they make a woman's version. Also rated to -35F. I have the old version. I have a coat. It's a good coat. I got it cheap at the outlet more than 10 years ago. Yes, one sleeve was chewed by the washer and is patched. But it's a good coat. Still...TAO has gotten 4 good coats in those 10 years. (that was an ugly thought). And look, this coat is warmer with new features. And if you wear it 10 years, it works out to $16 a year. That's when I realized that I was being both cheap and mean. Mean to myself. If the coat was for TAO, my niece, or hell, for-the-dog, it would already be in the cart. So I have a new coat waiting at home. Yay for me!

Still...it wasn't supposed to be about money.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Calling a Spade...

Had an interesting week filled with hate mail. Took a little time to track it back and discovered this:

I joined the 2008 Year of Lace KAL. As part of my attempts to hone social skills, I did some blog hopping of other members, commenting here and there - you know the type of comments: "nice work, cute project, excited about the club, feel guilty about the sum, etc."

One site, I commented in January, never heard anything else from the person, thought nothing of it.

Fast forward to October - the person is imprisoned for psychological and physical child abuse. When the newspaper releases the story, it carries several references to her knitting blog, ravelry profile, etc.

As a result people slam her blog, prior to this she had about 3 comments a post, average for nobody in nowhere, now each post has upward of 75 comments, all hateful, vicious and vilifying. This seems stupid to me. Both adults are in prison, one hardly thinks their reading a blog. At this point commenting on her blog just gives the defense an in to argue violation of privacy, etc etc.

But these supposedly "good, concerned" people didn't stop there, they have been clicking through to commenters profiles and spreading their vicious nastiness around. As though I do background checks, go to bloggers homes, or indeed could pick bloggers out of police lineups. Having survived an abusive childhood, I now find in adulthood, that I am being accused of condoning these actions. Which feels personally violating. Of course, these people don't explain why They didn't step up and stop it. Could it be that they didn't know either?

All of this brings up an interesting case: Legally, if you post it out in the interweb, at what point can it be used against you? Or for your defense? At what point can a commenter be considered "involved"? I see alot of new legal specialities arising.

I resent not only the nasty mail and comments, but the fact that I had to turn off the Anonymous capacity, thereby cutting one of my favourite people off from commenting.

Off the soapbox and back to the knitting.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How did that happen?

I realised today that all my projects are either on tiny needles (size 0) or on small needles (size 2) and really complicated with charts. As a result I am fighting the urge to slurp up 3 skeins of Cedar Tweed Cascade 220 and cast on a slipover. Or pull the February Lady pattern out and start on it in Valley Sugarloaf. Picture sweating brow as I turn from thoughts of size 9s and contemplate current WIPs

I did finish one sock today - Yay!
I began with Lucy Neatby's Square Bosnian Toe from Cool Socks Warm Feet


Worked my way up to the short row heel, remembered vividly why I don't like short row heels. I am a loose knitter and my socks run about 48 stitches around on a zero, which when combined with a short row heel always leaves me with either a line of wrap/turns under my heel or the sock pulls down into the shoe.

According to standard sock instructions this is the point to start working the leg. Uh right.

So I filled it in with short rows, to oppose the shortness.

More about the leg if I ever finish the second sock.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Hah! Finis.

Just a quick casual shot, modeled by an obliging co-worker. The pattern is Smokin' by Jared Flood from Son of Stitch and Bitch. As usual, this would have been a much faster knit had monogamy been the game plan, but I knew TAO wouldn't be wearing this in summer humidity. And then the little episode of having to knit both sleeves over again. It took 14 balls of
Shamrock in Doyle, with less than 10 yards left over. Personally, having knit Two Full Sized Male sweaters out of this yarn, I never want to see it again.

Modifications were only for fit, the usual short rows to accommodate TAOs bodybuilding physique. Otherwise, knit as written.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

5769 Word

I had been mulling over the word for the year. For the background on this idea, blatantly swiped from Chelle check out her post.

I had initially chewed on "Meticulous". I noticed that I was spending increasingly more time fixing minor errors, typos, spills, etc. Also a lot of time looking for lost items, trying to remember interrupted thoughts, forgetting to get things done. I considered that focusing on being precise and careful would help me find a solution.

Then, I realised that the real problem was that impossible had become the new normal. I consistently perform 11 to 15 one-hour exams in an 8 hour day. Hard not to make typos when you are typing with your toes. Easy to spill food when you are eating it with one hand as you do something "more important". Not work time is about doing the books for TAOs business, being the CFO for the family, studying for the MN boards, exercising, and squeezing in some knitting.

When you are juggling two chainsaws and taming a tiger, motion seems more important than details.

The word my life needs is "nurturance". Loving care and attention. I am going to focus on more ways to bring that into my life. Periodically eating food with a knife and fork off of a plate, getting much needed sleep, mild and moderate exercise to deal with stress, drinking water out of a glass instead of a bottle.

What about y'all? What do you do to nurture yourself?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ketiva ve-chatima tovah

May You Be Written and Sealed for a Good Year

Rosh Ha-Shanah, the Jewish New Year, will begin as the sun sets on Monday evening (September 29).
This new year will be 5769. Jewish time begins, not with the first ancestors of the Jewish people, Abraham and Sarah, but rather with the beginning of everything. On Rosh Ha-Shanah, the liturgy proclaims: "Ha-yom harat olam." (Today is the birthday of the world.)

There are actually two other significant new years besides Rosh Ha-Shanah: the new year for months is in the spring, starting with the month of Nisan and the New Year for Trees. Rosh Ha-Shanah, literally, "the head of the year", which falls at the beginning of the seventh month, Tishri, as the year turns, is the New Year for years. Because, you know, nothing is ever simple.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

100 days wrap up

As I was gearing up for Rosh - paying off bills, apologizing to people or attempting to make amends, sending funds to charities, organizing my stash (I am a knitter), I realised that I had never done a wrap up of the 100 days.

So in no particular order here are things I learned (mostly about myself) during the 100 days:
  • You can't wear granny butt undies to a cardiosculpt class if you wear Puma workout pants, the rise doesn't match.
  • Some exercise DVDs need to be played in halftime for the first month, until you stop tripping over your feet. If a month goes by and you haven't graduated to regular speed, it needs to go back to the library, get real.
  • When you first go to an exercise class, get where you can see the instructors feet, and don't watch the arms. The arms are lying sneaky things. The feet are what will keep you from being mowed down when the rest of the class changes directions.
  • Keep trying different multivitamins. Eventually you will find one that not only makes you feel good, but agrees with your digestive system.
  • When you are sick, admit it and lie down.
  • If your hair flops in your face, cut it. If the cut proves to be darling, but high maintence, get a pixie. The amount you spend will be the same, but the sleep you gain may save your life someday.
  • When you ask the teenybopper too young to vote, what size she thinks you should try on, and she looks you up and down then replies in a doubtful tone "You could try extra large", vote with your feet and leave. (I wear a 9)
  • Get some friends 20 years younger than you, and go shop in a gaggle. It can be good for your wardrobe.
  • Just as the Book title says "Money can buy Happiness". But it's not about the shopping.
  • Dark chocolate M&Ms taste better eaten out a tiny tin that says "Love". And it's instant portion control.
  • Eating 35 gms of fiber a day does make you lose weight. Until you stop doing it.
  • Gauge is a tricky thing. And if you teach yourself a new knitting style, your gauge will change.
  • A state of Shaker philosophy, where things are simple, useful and lovely, is a delicate balance.
  • Chelle recommended the TamileeWebb workouts. I bought a great DVD. Someday I may get all the way though the 15 minute workout. I learned that I am in even worse shape than I thought.
  • If you keep knitting, eventually you'll finish something.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Loopy slave labour


Little Loopy finished the Striped Hat from Knits from the Heart. Except we thought stripes-eh, so we skipped the stripes.

This little hat is more toque-like in my opinion, very nice for when you want a noodle cozy but don't want something on the ears. But that could be the Jewish heritage showing through.

I say Little Loopy made this because I certainly did nothing besides work and sleep this week.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Upgraded

To: Sick as a Sheep with a Wool Allergy.

Little Loopy did finish the Blue Comfort hat. We have now cast on a different hat from "Knits from the Heart" in a soft coral colour. I figure it's the same amount of postage to ship 3 or 4 as it would be to ship 2.

I did take something one night hoping that deep sleep would help knock this stuff down, instead I dreamed that TAO and I were frogs. I was a beautiful frog with orange eyes. Anyone know if frog dreams are a good omen or a bad one?

I obviously haven't been working out, just working and sleeping with some episodes of Season One of Columbo thrown in. However, I have mentally been gearing up for the 10 days of Awe. Making my list of things that need to be settled in order to start the new year fresh. This has included a financial review of sorts. I'm not making solid decisions right now, but reading and gathering info so that after I feel well I can make some changes. Which leads to yarn...

What is it's place in the budget? Entertainment? Hobby? Necessity? We settled that TAOs hobbies are working out and watching TV. Figured out what that cost every month. Agreed that my hobbies should have the same financing. TV is very expensive when you break it down to hours of watching (since he watches surprisingly little). It put my knitting into a perspective.

I'm also mulling over "Meticulous" as the word for the new year. That is a trait I would like to cultivate, without going overboard. What springs to mind when you hear that word? Positive? (detailed, concise, organized) Negative? (Anal, controlling).

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Under the weather

Little Loopy (a go away bribe gift from co-workers) and I are spending the day consuming large quanities of fluids, watching knitting videos from the library, and finishing a second hat for the 7 Long charity. Other than that, not much productivity, unless someone patents a way to convert energy from a fever to a usable source.

Monday, September 08, 2008

7 Long


I get to cross one of my goals off for the year. A little hat for the 7 Long Project. It's a chemo cap for adolescents. In Berrocco Comfort, which while really soft, and washable was a little splitty for my tastes. I have another ball in a denim ombre, and the next hat is already cast on.

Monday, September 01, 2008

For Donna

I tried cajoling, I tried hinting, I even tried coming right out and asking but was unable to get Donna to crochet me a French Press cozy. So I did what any grownup would do:


I sucked it up and knit it myself. Made from a remmant of stash Lion Brand Landscapes, felted with the regular laundry, button attached, and press is snuggly.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A TAS finished for TAO


Off the needles:

Turn a Square for The Adored One. This is well written pattern which with project monogamy would work up quickly, or if you're me - takes a month.


The yarns are Cascade 220 and Kureyon. As for warm? Very warm, I broke a sweat trying to take a picture of the back of my head. (Admittedly a very amusing thing to watch.) Plenty of yarn left over, so either I or a charity will receive it. The second half of the Kureyon ball is the brightly coloured half. Planned that in advance, since lilac was not one of the colours TAO mentioned when I asked what colour hat he would want.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Busier than...

A cricket with Restless Leg syndrome.

Which is not to say "Productive". My job involves a fair amount of uncertainty and that has been around in abundance the last few weeks. And the entire thing included some decisions that later proved to be poor decisions and others that, while not sterling, are okay - if I don't look at the money too closely.

There was a little tension on the home front because we have talked for 5 years about new floors for the house. And 2 years ago I found Just The Floor I wanted. So we decided to save cash for the floors. This weekend TAO got a new home theatre. (I do not watch TV, I hate TV.) The total came to 9.80 less than the quote for our floors. The only real meltdown came when I figured out that the new sound system would banish all my lovely stereo components to some other (unheated) part of the house. It wasn't pretty, and aired some sulphurous thoughts. Since I don't give a flip about the TV I take my stereo very seriously. In the end, each of us demonstrated maturity when the other didn't, each of us took turns venting, and a happy medium was achieved. TAO is wonderful. The new "theatre" is very nice, and TAO is excited about it being in time for football. Floors will happen in 2010.

I have been so busy that I didn't get around to posting pictures of my variation of the Syrian Shoulder Shawl from Victorian lace today. I used one skein of CamelSpin and had a trifle left over. It's soft, lovely, and due to the addition of some short rows: doesn't fall off the shoulders. I skipped the lace border from the pattern and instead did a crochet chain border.




Sunday, August 03, 2008

Drat and Blast!

Apparently this post is going to be photo-less. I thought I had already taken a photo of the two sleeves but am unable to find said photo, and now am sulking and refusing to take photo of one remaining sleeve.

Two became one?

I am still slowly making Smokin' for TAO. And I worked diligently the past two weeks to get the sleeves to match and be ready to attach to the body. So instead of knitting on my new love, a hat for TAO, I decided to be a grownup and attach said sleeves.

I admired my rows of labelled coilless safety pins that meant the sleeve increases were in the same location bilaterally. Then I thought "this fabric doesn't feel the same as the body", got out my ruler and AAArgh! I had absentmindly knit the sleeves in the Continental method instead of Eastern Uncrossed and the gauge is different. How different...oh about 1 stitch per inch smaller on the sleeves.

So I unraveled one sleeve and have re-started it. The truth, though, is that I don't want to be a grown up and knit sleeves for a sweater, I want to knit something else.

Perhaps it will be a nice anniversary sweater instead of a nice birthday sweater.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A little Farther Down

The Slippery Slope.
I spent Sunday with 28 alpaca....
so of course I came home with

The fleece of the brown and white one in the center "John". Because afterall I have so much space in my car and so much free time. Do you think TAO will believe "but it followed me home honey"?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Burning Rubber ~ Spinning Tires


The other - busy - day I started a blog post that went like this:

"I just keep knitting on UFOs and getting no where - it's like those "lost time" stories people tell after being sucked up. I Need to Finish Something, ANYthing, just to relight the joy candle in knitting." I ended going to workout instead of finishing a post. Exercise is time consuming when you start this far out of shape.

Back in May I started the above socks, from Nancy Bush's
Knitting on the Road Whitby pattern. This pattern has been on my list "to do" for more than a year. I finally bumped them up the queue and cast on with Claudia Hand Paint in Chocolate and Chocolate Cherry. A lovely yarn to knit, although I've heard rumours of wear issues. Then I started the 100 days of change. I decided to knit these socks in pure Continental style instead of my usual Eastern Uncrossed. There were gauge issues, habit issues, training issues, patience issues. Goodbye May, June, and here's July.

Of course, the socks weren't the only thing to languish in the knitting basket, there's...well...lets not go down that list, I do need to sleep tonight.

Change is time consuming as well. First you have to decide what to change, then how to change it, then try it out, evaluate it for success, weigh if it's a workable change, and move on. To that end I am currently "studying" diet choices and deciding which would be the most workable for me, then I am mapping out the menus, shopping lists, etc necessary to stay on it for a full assignment, figuring that advance thought will make it easier to implement at the next place. Add to that the cyclical re-evaluation of what goes home for good and what gets back in the car, and there is plenty'o'change going on.


A snappy instance of change is my recent purchase of pink workout gear. I loathe pink. Pink is so...well...pink. But I figure, add some pink. You're going to sweat in it, they are cute hip hop capris in XL. So my fat hiney is attempting some serious shaking in pink bottoms. I feel like a kid forced to eat fried liver.
People, of course, comment on them. My mind says "they're cute, people say they're cute." My little voice says "they're outrageously Pink, and people comment because you look like a pink Barney". Change is a noisy place.


And the joy candle? Look right here!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Chewing the ?Fat?

As I mentioned last week, I spend the weekend in a microcosm of High School Girl Cliques. It was Debate Club Nerd trapped at a Cheerleading Convention nightmare. Loehmann's dressing room in a golf dome.

Still, it was an amazing time. And I lost ~not a darned ounce~. Which brings me to the other topic I pondered this week- Size.

Recently on Ravelry there has been a "heated discussion" about size, healthy weight portrayal in the media, and the rest of us.

Back in the early 90s I read a book by Gloria Steinem which made me very aware of how media influences our images of ourselves, it really changed how I look at women's magazines and their ads. Because of that awareness, some of that advertising lost it's power to make me feel inadequate without whatever it was selling.

As a result it was interesting to read the Ravelry discussion and hear other people's frustrations about clothing. The upshot seemed to be that No One is happy with off the rack sizing. Yet, we're the consumer.

For instance, I am that weird size that is not Misses, but too small for Womens. Small but 40s postergirl curvy. It's difficult to find a 34D/36C bra for athletic or everyday wear, that cup size is generally reserved for bigger band sizes. And I buy pants based on hips, not for the waist that is 8 inches smaller. And I like a waist in those pants, my belly button is not for public consumption thank you.

On the flip side, I have been shopping for workout wear. In part because I came here in the winter and packed winter sweats. In part because only having 2 changes of gear doesn't work when you have to go to the laundromat to wash. In part because I wanted to Buy new things, and workout gear doesn't seem as decadent as other options.

When I was at the convention, they had Zumba gear. Very cute. Except that I take the XXL, and even then most was too small. It was all cut for androgynous tiny people. With only a 3/4 inch difference between XS and XL. So it was interesting to me that a company selling chiefly to "healthy" women had stocked such bias clothing. The majority of people there were 30 or older, and teaching a class that encourages "shaking what your mama gave you" It was strange to see women that I considered "small" buying "large". And it made me feel fat.

By the same token, I have been frustrated buying gear because of I am not an A cup. I've resorted to buying Men's shirts. Several companies have nicely fitted tees with a conglomeration of seams meeting under the arms or across the breast - maximizing the chafing factor. I bought a pair of Puma capri's in XL that fit nicely unless I have to sit, then they pull tightly across the thighs. Dang! Fat!

Speaking of "shaking what your mama gave you." Imagine my surprise when I checked a workout DVD out of the library and then discovered that a portion of it was done by a woman in full makeup, high heels, a blue sequin G string, elbow length gloves, and tassels. Did you know that you can control the direction the girls circle in by how you hold your arms? I didn't actually want to know it. After the first shock I watched it again and laughed so hard I had to sit down.

In between cursing the manufacturers and designers of clothing I did treat myself (at full retail) to "The world's healthiest foods" by George Mateljan. This book is about the size of a major metropolitan yellow pages. It starts with healthy cooking techniques-maximizing the nutrition in the food. Then goes through 100 foods, telling what they are, how to cook them, how to select them, store them, prepare them, health benefits of them, and gives 500 recipes. It also covers what to add to your diet for particular health concerns: heart, fatigue, inflammatory disease, etc. I'm reading it in drabs, using it as part of my "additions" to my diet plan. There are several foods I would eat more often if I knew How/What/Why. But not sardines.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Zumbady Special


It's official - I can now "teach Zumba, use the Zumba name in your class title, and call yourself a Zumba Instructor."

R-oi-iight. Stop laughing. I just underwent 18 rigourous hours of training, and I can now...well at this moment...Nothing. I slept on an icepack last night and plan to embalm myself in Epsom Salts before bed tonight. I so could Not teach a class at this or any moment in the foreseeable future. But that really wasn't the plan. I just wanted to be a better student and the class was taught by Beto and the ZES team. It was amazing!

This all fits into the 100 days of change as well. I knew that I was not any type of aerobic guru, however, it was very interesting to see the different flavours that they come in. The downside was 300 women (12 men) is a set up for estrogen poisoning. Some of the people were Mean Girls at their worst. But most were just women (ages 18 to 64) trying to learn something. I'm still chewing on some of what I learned about myself.

If I were to actually work as an instructor...at least the clothes are more interesting than scrubs.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Bummer!

George Carlin died. This makes me a little sad. It seems as if he's been around my entire life. I remember him on Vinyl.

And the fervor when he got arrested in Milwaukee. Which eventually led to a 1978 Supreme Court ruling upholding the government's authority to sanction stations for broadcasting offensive language during hours when children might be listening. (This was back when children had bedtimes).

His 4 minute 35 second routine "A place for my stuff" accurately reflects on my lifestyle and how I pack.

I enjoyed him in Jersey Girl, it was a little like seeing people I knew finally all grown up. Which was also a little sad. And his stereotypical funny (but untypically clean) role in Cars.

If I didn't have to dash off, I'd run in and change into black.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I confess...

I ripped it. No one is surprised eh? Then I cast on thinner - still weird puddling only it became almost exactly green on half and blue on the other half. Ripped that after 8 inches, cast on wider, nice colour blending but Too Wide. I think that I am going to have to work an entirely different design than I originally intended. Thwarted by a dye pattern!

Unfortunately, I seem unable to just set this ball down and walk away. I keep picking at it. I fear that if I walk away it will become an expensive stash ball.

I am splurging on Saturday. I plan to fritter away some petrol by driving to see an alpaca farm near my boss' house. The lady has 28 alpaca and future plans to open a fibre mill. Camera is charged and ready to go.

Life has been busy and full of changes. Yesterday was my daughter's birthday. Gee, she would be how old? That would make me... Oh. Hmmn.

I've let my plate become very full again, and plan to use the drive Sat. morning to organise my thoughts, and Saturday evening to organise my flat because the new Year of Lace kit will arrive soon. Then Sunday will be for coma mind.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

No, not really, why do you ask?


I'm going to be the girl at your knit night that says: "really are you sure?"

I followed Melanie's advice and kept knitting. I have about 10 inches now and feel that I can get a sense of what it's going to look like as a "scarf".
Sigh. It's pretty but I...don't know...it's....(what exactly?) On a bright note, it's a very fast knit, I really have only worked a little on Sunday, and then during my walk to and from work. I have a BIG project for at home. So if I ripped...


Anyone else see Big ZigZag?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Feedback please



So I diligently swatched yesterday and decided on this pattern. Then I ripped out the swatch (Wish I had taken a photo) and cast on this little scarf.

Except...
the scarf is wider than my swatch. (42 vs 25 stitches) and I am getting these puddles. The swatch was more generalized touches of colour scattered around. So:

1) Leave it and keep going?
2) Rip it and knit it wider?
3) Switch to something multidirectional? Ala Iris Schreier
4) Knit it horizontally?

Knitting it narrower isn't a flavour I'm after, I want it to cover my throat without having multiple wraps.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Canarysitting Cat.

Results in tiny feathers stuck in teeth.

A while back I made the following Claim about delayed yarn purchase. But back on March 1, 2008 I had encountered:

Handmaiden CamelSpin
300m of creamy fluffy yumminess. It's pricey (Camel being the big clue there, eh) and the shop only had a couple of skeins with no plans to buy more until winter. But I kept thinking how lovely that would feel against the throat on a cold, dark, Wisconsin winter day. And the squeezing of the skein became a seduction. Afterall, yarn like this would not only keep my throat warm but make me taller and thinner too.

So I figure that although I haven't finished the list, I have finished the April socks, Crocus Pocus shawl, BlackHearted Rose, and Wicked. In addition I am making slow progress on Smoking for TAO. (Enough progress that it is no longer walking around knitting.) Hence...guilt free Stash Enhancement. I have a couple of design ideas burbling around in my head, and swatching planned, because Silk/Camel is too precious to be treated lightly.

(The Rising Phoenix may never happen, I have GOT to face reality about fine silk and my joints.)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The 70s (Days)

I came to the realisation this week that so many women run around with a dated look because High School is where we learn the advanced dressing skills. We all learned - skirts on the bottom, shirt on the top, tie the shoes - by first grade, but we learned makeup and hair in High School from our peers. Unfortunately, I missed this important extracurricular activity being too busy graduating early so the State could no longer tell me where I had to live.

All of this was brought home by last weeks purchase of a blow dryer. There is a great line where someone tells Kelly Flynn that if she can do that "blowdryer thing, dryer in one hand, brush in the other" she can learn to knit. Apparently it's a bleeding miracle that I can knit. There was one frightful day where I looked like Peg Bundy. You know it's really bad when patients look at you, look at the floor, look at you, look away. Slightly better was the day I looked more like Mrs. Jetson. I got the dryer because the great cut I received inspired me to try harder. I mean, it looked really good with my usual MO of washing before bed and sleeping on it, but it looked Great when Dan braised it in hot air. It actually even looks good after an hour of aerobics in a room with no AC. A cut like that inspires you.

On the knitting front Rose Hearts Shawl a Ravelry pattern by Elizabeth Matthews is done.


Measures 27 deep x 52 across. The Crocus Pocus came out 24 deep and 57 across, makes sense as they were about the same yardage. Of course, the HandMaiden
has more drape and thus a dressier feel, while the Duet Sock has more spring. Only one skein on size 6 needles. It was an easy to follow pattern with only a few errors.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Back to the changes

You may recall I said I was going to Zumba for the rest of the 100. So I looked around and since I am in a large Metro area for the next two months, I decided to try the BaskinRobins of Zumba. A class here, a class there. For instance, on Saturday, I got my rear kicked by a 53 year old instructor. And it was a completely different flavour than the 29 year old on Tuesday. The instructor I love, Betty, loaned me the 2005 DVDs. Yuck! But I climbed out on the limb and bought the 2008 DVDs. Very Fun! I think the classes are still the best, because even with the same instructor, they change. So you can't worry about dishes, work, budgets, because you are TOO busy.

To go with the exercise I have made some food changes. I gave up one of my favorite foods two weeks ago. Cold turkey. Now I wonder. I gave it up because it had ingredients that I "should" give up. But it was also one of those foods that I had muscle tested in St. Louis, and had no negative testing for. So...to continue or not? I mentioned to TAO that no positive changes had resulted and he said "Go buy some" and I usually buy it on sale so that a 3 month supply is $27.00. But when I went to the Grocery and saw that it was $3.99 for a weeks worth, I put it back. I have also been adding (not subtracting) foods. More veggies, more fiber. These, of course, are filling and should cut back on other eating.

What's the upshot? Clean living is not the reward everyone makes it out to be. I have gained weight and, after a month of calls to TAO saying "I'm on my way to Zumba, coming home from Zumba, whatever" we have the following conversation...
TAO Just tell me straight, are you having an affair?
Me What?!? Let me pull over. Now, What?!?
TAO Well, every time I talk to you lately you are going to work out. You Hate working out. You hate to Sweat. You hate aerobics. So I thought maybe you were hiding something.
Me Please look at the credit card bill, there will be a fee for the gym, the shoes, the bra. (I didn't mention the videos, Shhh)
TAO Oh.
Me Besides, this is YOUR fault.
TAO Why does the man always get the blame in a relationship?
Me You're the one who decided to take up bodybuilding for your midlife crisis. I wanted to relax in our 40s, but NO, You had to raise the bar. Now I can't become a slug, because you're looking Fine. So this is your fault.
TAO Well, at least it's good for you.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Crocus Blooms

The blocking stage was reached:
Larger view:

There is a glaring error in the edging that I didn't see until I blocked it and no one will see when wearing, so I'm leaving it in.
The base pattern is Crocus Pocus. With several modifications ala When Harry met Sally "On the side is a very big thing with you." I chose to make mine from Duet Cinnamon Dulce from The Loopy Ewe. Since I rarely get gauge, and on a shawl don't find the need for gauge to be worth the finger pain, I knew the yardage would be insufficient. Consequently I cut some rows from Chart B and Chart C. Then I skipped Chart D (edging) entirely and used the heel/toe yarn to make the Alberta border from Stahman's Shawls. The error is from drowsing in my warm car on a sunny but windy day. Of all the Things I miss most while traveling, I miss my patio.

I am still working the 100 days. But that's another post for another day.

I won!



Leah, the talented dyer at Yarn or A Tale has a "name the colourway" contest. And for May I suggested the elusive Blue Bellied Roller. I saw a pair of these little birds at the National Aviary and was charmed by their colours. I think she did a great job of translating the colours into fiber. Of course I had to buy some of her "Winter Leaf" to enjoy as well. I've picked up fiber from her in the past and have enjoyed it immensely. I suggest you stop by either her main site or her Etsy store and drool over what she does with colour.

Tagged

Chelle at Hanging By a Thin Thread tagged me for this MEME.


1. What was I doing 10 years ago? Living in Kentucky working a "real" job in a hospital. I had a co-worker from H-ll and used to cry all the way to work and all the way home. The day I got fired I just kept thinking "what will I tell TAO?" And when I told him; he said "Thank G-d, that job was ruining our marriage." Funny thing is, my nemesis quit without notice a few weeks later and the docs asked me back. R-i-ight.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today? This is my one day off, what list?

3. Snacks I enjoy: Chips with my "bring TAO to his knees" dip, pears fresh off our tree, Doritos, caramel, iced decaf coffee.

4. Places I’ve lived: Rather than type type type, I'll just list states: California, Oregon, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennesee, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio,Alaska, Minnesota,Nebraska, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, but I'm not very old so I'll see where else I can fit in.

5. Things I’d do if I were a billionaire: After figuring out what TAO wants (he's worked very hard to build a business and may/may not want to move) I'd open a small business with appropriate support staff. Create a scholarship for my 14 cousins and 1 niece. Then I would start a quiet foundation that would do things in small quiet ways. Fund green spaces with programs to involve the community in keeping them clean. Donate to libraries, not buildings but sundries. Adopt classrooms for supplies and outings. Nothing flashy just enough to tip the scale in favour of those who are trying for something more. Oh, and have a bathroom with a jacuzzi tub.

6. People I want to know more about: I love people's stories. Unless it's really early in the morning. I like finding out about plain people, they have such interesting detours that take them to where they are today.

Rather than tag specific people, I'll just invite y'all to play along. If you do drop me a comment so I can come read it also.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The universe gave a little nudge.



I was trying to decide if any of the past few days worth of "Change" were worth the mention when I received today's
The Next 45 years in my mailbox.

Several things in the list were well spoken but #13:
"Happiness is the ultimate risk."
seemed to put its finger exactly on the pulse of my thoughts. Related in part to #15.

Most of these changes are tiny, really small, and it seems self absorbed to even consider blogging about them. But while the actions are small, the purpose is large...To step away from what I currently do very well, and do something else entirely.

None of these changes have actually had to do with skills needed in the new field. Underwear and eyeshadow don't impact the client. Except, that they do. We all like to do business with someone enjoying their work, someone competent, and, in a creative field...someone who shines.

In one of the stuffed pockets of my labcoat, I lost my inner zip. It wasn't something that got a lot of sunshine in my younger years, and it's a fragile nebulous thing. Now is not the time to whisk it out and expose it to UV light, but I can nurture it with little changes and build a good root system.

The type of roots that say "Yes, the black is nice, but do you have it in a Print or Celery or Bourbon? I know just where I'm wearing it to."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

NOT apple bottom jeans


But not hideously matronly either. Actually the photo is unflattering in angle and lighting but this whole photo-graph-yourself-thingy is tricky.

The pattern is Wicked. The yarn is Swish in asparagus. I'm probably one of the last people in North America to knit it. According to Ravelry I started it March 20, 2008 and finished it May 27, 2008. By no means monogamously.

There were small modifications - all made to increase shaping and play up my assets. I had yardage concerns so I knit the 3/4 length sleeves after finishing the "yoke" portion. Then to make the pattern more portable I tucked the sleeves inside the body and tied it up Shetland style. Made it very easy to pull in and out of bags. However, this technique does make it impossible to show the project to people or to lay it out and look at the whole thing without some manevuering.

I enjoyed it immensely and can foresee making it again. But I guess I should finish some other things first, eh?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Emotional Economics

So often we all suffer from this. That disease where we buy something and “Save” it for “Good”. My Grandmother did this. She grew up dirt poor – compounded by the Depression, and a marriage to a drunk. Later in life when she “had a little pin money” she would buy beautiful clothes. When she died, we found so many truly lovely things in the closet – tags still attached. “Saved”. For What? None of us could wear them, they went to charity. I remember her primarily in housecoats that didn’t hold stains.

I find myself doing this. Only with queer things. I mean – napkins?!?! Use the little buggers. Conditioner? A bottle lasts a long time – even longer if you don’t use it; of course my hair reflects that. Or how about the great new shampoo that makes your hair shine and bounce? Can’t use it until I use up the rest of the bottle that makes it hang lank and lifeless. And energy is spent schlepping this stuff, dusting this stuff, preserving this stuff.

I’m also guilty of “stepping over a pound to pick up a pence”. Yet how many times has those small economies actually saved money? –OR- worked even half as well as the slightly more costly item? Strangely I don’t do this in my home. I want TAO to have the best, most reliable, easiest. Appliances, conveniences, pantry items…buy (if the not the best) the Goodest.

TAOs hobby is amateur body-building. So of course, he has to have Stuff. $75 in protein powder…no problem. Special weight lifting gloves…okay, whatever honey. Tanning? I wish you wouldn’t but it’s in the budget. (When your ears rot off from melanoma don’t expect sympathy from me!) I love TAO and want him to be happy. He works very hard and deserves to indulge.

So what message am I sending to myself when I cut/scrimp on myself? It’s a Janus faced coin…”you’re not worth the money” to “You’re not valuable.” I’m not even that concerned with where the thought came from, right now I’m looking at the little ways that I reinforce it daily. Listen to some of these and see if you hear your own voice.
• This one is $2 more than that one. Buy the cheap one. But the other one is so much softer/nicer/better fitting. Buy the Cheap One. And it’s not about the amount of price difference. Have you ever bought the crackers that are 10cents cheaper, even though the Nips taste SO Much Better?
• You don’t need a new (item) The stain/tear/size of the old one doesn’t really show. Besides it’s just for work/play/a little while. It doesn’t really matter.
• Don’t buy that skein of handpaint (okay, so this conversation doesn’t happen that often). What will you do with $60 handknit shawl? Where do you ever go that you could wear that? You won’t finish it anyway.

I caught myself playing this game this week. I have decided to Zumba for the rest of the 100 days. I have 3 class options. Tuesday night is within walking distance and will have the advantage of camaraderie with co-workers. Least favourite of all the routines/most expensive cost. Thursday/Saturday offer two other choices. One is 3 miles away and costs less to attend. My favourite is 12 miles away and costs more. With gas prices….Do you see where this conversation heads?

I have a great workout bra. It’s hard to buy one for High Impact if you are a C cup. Especially in a smaller band size. Off I went to shop. No success. I ended up ordering the one I have off the internet. While I was already having to take everything off in the dressing room…perhaps some workout clothes in fabric that breathes? Did I even look at the full price stuff? NO. Sales rack. I did buy a great top. Then I didn’t want to cut the tag off and wear it, it was too much- I should take it back. If a friend said that to me, I’d whip out the scissors, tear up the receipt and hand it to her.

I’m not advocating wild spending. I’m not justifying extravagance and debt. There is a balance to be found. A state of Shaker philosophy, where things are simple, useful and lovely. I’m talking about wiser utilization of my greatest resource – Me.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

90

"That latitude in middle life of alternate doldrums and uncertain winds. When one realises that hopes deferred are no longer realizable. That ports not visited will now never be seen. That this journey and others before it may have been a mistake, that one no longer even has confidence in charts and compass." P.D. James

There have been times recently when I've felt that way. Sort of tossed about, not by events and situations but by winds inside myself.

And yet, there are also times when I can clearly see the progress that divides me from my prior self.

I finally went to the originally planned Zumba class with 2 20 year old co-workers.
Glad I didn't go to this instructor first...I wouldn't have returned. It was a very vigorous/high impact class. Much more hopping/boxing-less dancing.

I was very self-conscious. My bladder does not like the 25lbs of pressure forced down by my internal organs that occurs during Hopping/jumping rope/jane fonda. Even empty it always manages to save some for later.

On the other hand, I was perfectly comfortable assessing the situation...seeing the pitfall...and opting for my own low impact version. This worked well in two ways. A) I was able to concentrate on the footwork and not going the wrong direction because I wasn't trying to leap as a gazelle. B) I felt good about myself and the fact that I would do the "odd" thing, taking care of myself in the process. When I was 20, I would have killed myself to fit in. Now I look at that situation and do the best for Me...and the best chip in the cookie? My knees don't hurt today, unlike my co-workers.


Post Script:
Yummy pudding calories:

Little things

(That used to be in smaller sizes).

When I was much younger I wore what a lover called "Minimalist Underwear". I definitely know they were a smaller size.
Then, when I started wearing white scrub pants I had to switch to a full bottom white brief. In part because I have a tattoo that showed through and in part because I think red undies shining through white pants looks tacky. (For the record...I have nothing against public tattoos, I put mine in a private place and like to keep it that way).
Yup, Granny Butts for the past decade. Sigh.

When I came across 3 packs of Hanes on the clearance endcap in my size for $1.25 a pack I decided -for that price- I could try string bikinis.

Low rise is certainly a change. Sadly they make me very aware of my little pooch that is now more exposed to the world. And the seam in one pair of scrubs rubs the backside. Ouch! I spent the day muttering "100 days of change? I'll show you change, just let me get home and change my pants!"

Monday, May 19, 2008

On the 8th day

There was a recap:

Why was I doing 100 days?
Something about being able to break habits and mess up now, when it doesn't matter
When the Production goes live...just think


I need to get out more.

Actually I've learned some interesting things in only a week. For instance, this hair colour doesn't look good on me, it makes me look pale in a "Victorian Vapors" sort of way. This is one advantage to grey hair, it fades quickly.

Breaking out of the mold can be done in so many ways. I am a food cook. Some people are bakers. Some are foodies. I do not bake well (lots of ingredients, tiny amounts, precision measuring - Nope). I do however make enchiladas that tickle the taste buds, a secret onion dip that brings TAO to his knees, a sour cream lime pie that sends me home with a clean pan, and can always feed an extra person no problem. While it wasn't exactly baking I opted to make
Sheri's Banana Pudding for the work crew. I did substitute one pack of vanilla pudding for cheesecake flavoured pudding instead. It's always iffy taking a new recipe into the world. What if it flops? It can feel so personal. But I am doing it anyway.

I have decided that part of my future image will include someone who likes to be active and trim. So I have loaded my library request list with a wide variety of exercise videos. I vaguely enjoyed The Bollywood Dance Workout. Failed miserably at "Hip Hop for Kids" How embarrassing is that? It's geared for ages 8 to 12 and was too complex for my rigid self. How many lefts can one person have? The more I think about it the more I want to see video that shows the feet, if you're trying to dance, why should I care what your cleavage is doing? That was something I always enjoyed about the
Marilu Henner Dancerobics. She always showed the steps so well.

I checked out a knitting book from the library recently. All I have nice to say is "They used real people for the models." When I took the book back, the librarian - who crochets- asked what I thought of it...
"Should be PG 13 rated"
"?!!?"
So I pointed out the micromini which is being worn by the designers Niece. There is definite "cheekiness" in the rear view. Then she says something about the red fun fur leggings, so we had to go through the book together. It was a change- usually I find at least ONE thing I would make, if not for me, for someone else.

Oh, and I found a new way Not to do my eyeshadow.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

97, 96, 95, 94, 93

Day 93 involved my calling TAO and getting a promise from him that "We are never moving, they can just have an estate sale when we die in Assisted Living."

Which tells you what happened for day 96, 95, 94 - moving, in the rain. This actually involved several changes.

Seriously...

Someone wisely pointed out recently that the biggest change of all is: Mindset.

On the surface I initiated this move so that I can walk to work and not pay $4.50 a day to park. I lost a balcony and "yuppie" apartment complex. I gained 45 minutes each morning and evening. I lost square footage and water pressure. I gained a really nice grocery store.

As I set up furniture and belongings, I tried to think like an active person. If I put the table in a vaguely inconvenient spot I could carve out a chunk of floor space for working out. When I set up my cupboards I sought to make healthy choices easier.

I took a break from Saturday moving to attend a Zumba class taught by a different instructor. Great fun. Scored the "foot vision" spot. (I need a foot vision workout video). This instructor was not as advanced in the course, and she called out the moves- something the other didn't. Even the killer calf cramp didn't take the shine off the situation. I am going to add this to my Saturday mornings that I don't work.

Other changed included trying out a new sleeping arrangement. I am a hedgehog. But the future hold shoulder problems if I don't learn to sleep on my back. I am trying a different combination of pillows, blankets, and such to retrain myself. I also grew up in one of those environments where awareness of your surrounding was critical to survival. Any change in light or sound awakens me. However, there is no longer a drunk in the dining room, so I am working on letting go of that control. Working to be more flexible, more trusting, more relaxed.

I even looked very hard at Himz. Himz was my daughter's bear. (Himz a bear) That Sunday morning she came and got in bed with me, bringing Himz. We got up and went about our day. Later, when I came home from the hospital-knowing she was dead- I went in to the bedroom, and there he was. I've slept with him ever since. He's been schlepped as far south as Florida, as far north as Alaska. Out to Oregon and east to New York. Seems silly for a woman my age to sleep with a bear. TAO even double checks the bed when I start out on a road trip. After a few days of turning it over in my mind, I decided that right now, there isn't a reason to change Himz. Perhaps in the future.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Day 98...erh, uh, ye-ah

Day 98's change came about purely because of "100 days of change". If I had not been thinking that, I would have automatically said No. Actually, I wouldn't have just said No, it would have been "No" followed by laughter.

Three of my co-workers are slim 22 year olds. So yesterday when the more athletically inclined one saw that her gym was going to offer Zumba classes, she says "Lets all go! It looks like so much fun." Ri-ight.

For a change...I said "yes". Adding the caveat that I am at least 2 decades older than they.

In true fashion, I raced home and jumped in the shower to shave (needed because I was growing it out to wax). My phone rings while I'm in the shower. I get out to a voicemail...They all backed out. Well, 2 of them backed out and the instigator wanted to see what I wanted to do. I told her that "today, the weather is nice, go to your boyfriend's game. Next week, the weather is supposed to suck, we'll go then."

But by then I was shaved, dressed, and concerned that if I had a week to think, I would chicken out. So I went.

I am not a back up dancer for music videos. I loathe aerobic classes because my left doesn't seem to coincide with the rest of humanities. And I go to those classes and have No Idea what they are doing. That said...

I had a great time. Very glad no one I knew in a professional aspect was there, but a good time was had. There were several others that "Had No Clue". (raises my comfort level) The instructor really enjoyed herself. Everyone was friendly. I learned something that would make me try group classes again...get the floor position directly behind the instructor. From there I could see her FEET which helped immensely. Previously I had always been somewhere that I could only see flailing arms. Watching her feet also kept me from looking at myself in the mirror, not watching myself eased some of the self consciousness. The times I got really lost-I was able to laugh it off. (I think that's called growth).

The downsides were - a) Hop squats at my age require leakage protection, b) if I exercise after work I can't sleep until 11pm which sucks when I have to get up at 4am, c) I felt sorta weird doing vigorous pelvic thrusts in public.

I'm off to take anti-inflammatories with my breakfast. I hope the day doesn't require too much deep knee bending.

Monday, May 12, 2008

100, 99...

The kickoff of "100 days of Change" was neither awe inspiring nor world changing. It was-as planned-about little piddly things. Before I induce stupor by listing these radical ideas, I want to share my horoscope for today....
"Keep in mind that whatever you do now will have powerful consequences. This is an opportune time to undertake a big project or to alter your course of action. Whatever you decide, make a commitment to focus your attention on what's most important" Rick Levine

Rather amusing as my mental mantra was "100 days of change"

Day 100 actually had two big changes of behaviour - First I did not work myself into an emotional coma. Secondly, having intentionally taken a day off, I did not use it as a day to pack for my move on Thursday. Small behaviours, but big changes for me. I even laquered my nails in a reverse french using "Miso happy" and "Expresso yourself".

Day 99 was all little stuff. New eyeshadow shade - something more Tufted Titmouse thank you. A fragrance sample "L'Eau Iris" when I normally wear a Chypre instead of a floral. (That was actually a little odd, I kept getting little whiffs and looking around for the source). My biggest departure was a minor rebellion. The current work involves no breakroom, no lunchroom, and you ride a shuttle in from the parking garage. We work in the bowels of the building with no windows and no outside walls. Traditionally, the workers eat at their computers while filling out patient paperwork or-if they're really frisky-surfing the net. Today...none of this for me. For some odd reason a little ottoman has been abandoned in the back hallway of a thruway to another hospital. So today, I took my book and my sandwich and disappeared Unfortunately, gravity seized half my sandwich and it went to the trash, but I enjoyed the other half while reading a few pages. Mentally...very refreshing. Some negative feedback was expressed about leaving the department, but the time away was a positive change.

As I said, none of this is earth shattering or Oprah-worthy, but each took awareness. And I feel That is where Change will come from.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's day Goodies

AKA - Gluttony

If you are thinking this
looks a lot like a bag I own, you would be correct. TAO picked up the Saddle Brown hue for me via The Loopy Ewe I am quite pleased. It's not your standard brown bag hue. It has lighter tones of orange/rust to it. On Saturday I saw a Lime Laguna in the wild and enjoyed that colour as well.

When the Ewe sent a confirmation email I may have called and added a skein of yarn.

(TAO said I could.) It's
Duet Sock Yarn Middy in Cinnamon Dulce colour. And slated to be a beadless
Crocus Pocus with the heel yarn planned for the outside edging.

Shema

There is a portion of the Bedtime Shema that states "I hereby forgive anyone who angered or antagonized me, or who sinned against me,
whether against my body, my property, my honor or against anything of mine;
whether he did so accidentally, willfully, carelessly, or purposely;
whether through speech, deed, thought, or notion."

Rather a tall order. At times I find myself letting go of some incident from the day, other times my mind is so churned up that the message skips across the surface. What I find most interesting is that while it is implied, the recitation does not specifically include myself.

Is that because "I" can be the hardest of all to forgive?

On Mother's Day especially, I find that I question my past decisions. What if...What if...I had made different decisions...Would my daughter be here now instead of gone?

I don't harbour anger toward the parent of the child who carried the virus-they've got their own problems. It doesn't work to cut away at G-d. My daughter didn't leave purposefully. That leaves only my own decisions to question. My own choices to rail at. And, just as dominoes fall, that path can be rolled back through years of decisions. It's not even a question of the quality of the choice. The direction didn't have to be better-just different and the outcome could have been radically changed.

All of which is a loop that would drive anyone crazy if we let it. And what breaks us free from this is the flow of Forgiveness. It's a choice not to flay someone/ourself daily for an act that has already gone by. Part of the fluidity of forgiveness is sometimes releasing the same moment of time over and over...Nightly, in the Shema.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

100 Days of Change

I decided to implement “100 Days of Change”. Actually I’m calling it that because 100 days of stuff just doesn’t have the same ring.

And, while most of this will be piddly, I plan to actually blog about a great deal of it, as a way of organizing my thoughts.

This has come about in part because this year Mother’s Day is also the anniversary of my daughter’s death. It was also Mother’s Day that year. However, this year I did something different…I traded schedules intentionally to have the day off. In the past I worked the day as a coping skill. This year I’m farther along the journey.

As part of pondering big events in life, I started looking down the road. Not in the financial sense, which is my usual milieu but in the sense of Me. I know that in a couple of years a big career shift is coming. I Do Not want to be the person I am today in that job.

Today’s work requires that I be a tireless sparrow pecking along the ground. In fact, on Wednesday a young co-worker and I were discussing the fact that if you were walking down the street and someone did what patients frequently do, you could call them in on a criminal charge. But when you are in a hospital wearing a name badge you have to just take it, without recourse.

In my next career I want to be, if not a Blue Bellied Roller, then at least a Grey Tufted Titmouse. Elegant, tidy, and pulled together.

Unfortunately, being a sparrow has become a habit. The midst of turmoil is not the time to implement little changes. Hence, when I am attempting to make a big career switch and going through short term pay cut, is the time I will most want to fall back on habit for daily life. Right now? Now is a good time to tweak little habits. Try new things, explore avenues, investigate new foliage. Then…when it’s time to shake the snowglobe, I’ll be ready with the little things.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Stalking the wild Asparagus... I mean yarn purchase

A short time ago, I pledged that I would NOT buy more yarn until at least the following were finished:

April Socks

Chocolate Cherry Socks - These will be the socks for May in Nancy Bush's Whitby pattern
Something in the Butter Peeps or Paris Nights yarn - this was a mental error, I didn't pack the Paris Nights, I packed the Handmaiden Mini in Ebony so consider this revised.

Wicked or TAOs Smokin. I actually got most of one Wicked sleeve done before spending time with Sir Frogsalot, buying different needles and now I am happy with how my sleeve is working out.
The five center reps of the Phoenix Rising. Yeah, this might be a problem child. I spent a little time away from this, still not happy with it. Still undecided. Still considering ripping and using the yarn for something else. Aaargh!

I am slowly closing in. Which is good because I saw the NordicStars by Candace Eisner-Strick and am really tempted to make this as a Warm winter sweater for me. It's even made of a relatively affordable yarn. As opposed to the Lopi that I am tempted to make myself whenever I wear TAOs cardigan.


And for those who remember today's Book Title, I was pleased to see new reprints from as late as 1988 were available.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Self Absorbed

So I'm thinking of taking the plunge....no, not marriage, silly...I'm going to get my hair cut by a hairdresser on Sunday. It's part of Aveda's Cuts for Clean Water campaign. And, I'm thinking of making the commitment - buying a blowdryer and a bottle of goop and getting a Style.

Currently I get my hair cut professionally about, oh, once a year - perhaps twice if PMS strikes at just the right moment. That means the rest of the time I just whack my bangs off when they poke me in the eye. That also means that my baby fine, ruler straight hair spends the majority of it's time clubbed back in various twists or ponytails. I have few hair rules but the two non-negotiables are: Not in Eyes, Not flopping around face. Important rules given that I spend the majority of my life in hospital gloves with ick on my hands, and look down at the bed, up to the screen, down to the bed, up to the keyboard, etc etc.

So when I decided to get it whacked off, the hunt for a good look comes into play. It can't be a pixie cut ala late 90's Winona, because TAO put his foot down about that a decade or so ago. Which leaves either a nice trim with some shaping and continued pull back, or some feminine cut in between that would be so short it couldn't flop forward and would not be able to club back (or catch in exercise equipment).

The later option would require commitment - get it cut regularly, keep it styled or look like the dutchBoy,no more washing at night and sleeping on it, put goop in hair, apply swirling warm air regularly. I feel vaguely overwhelmed.

So if you think I may be mature enough to handle this, kindly suggest some celebs that have good hair.

(PS - I loathe that look in which women over the age of twelve put barrettes in their hair smack at the sides of their heads, but would be open to the thought for workouts...maybe).

Saturday, April 12, 2008

April, the cruelest month

Knitting was interrupted by a coupla days spent in the smallest room of the house. You know you're sick when you're too sick to knit.

However, I am still on track for April's Socks with:

One Sock, starting Two Sock. Sorta Red, Sorta Blue Sock.

Um yeah, it's been that sorta week.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Knitting is a Myna Bird

Phoenix Rising has a couple of little areas that make me reconsider my relationship with the project. Among these were a couple of wonky areas (tension issues) that I had concerns about visibility in the finished project. Do I rip back 40 rows? Do I risk it and get to the end and be crazy because of it? How about I semi block it now to see?
Hmmn still a little wonky. (No closeups to show). Secondary to that concern, is the small needle/silk thread issue. I am loose knitter. I knit to relax. I knit because you can't drink on call, and I never got into drugs. This project at this time is NOT relaxing.

Which leads to a conversation with myself about work and the next 40 years...
  • Keep doing what I'm doing (just keep knitting this plan)
  • Keep doing what I'm doing but at a slower pace/lesser level. (keep knitting a row a day)
  • Do what I do now, but at a real job in one place (rip back and knit again)
  • Do something else entirely. (knit this pattern in a different yarn)
  • Pursue disability funds. (skip this whole project)
  • Go knit and think about this again in 2010 when the plan has been worked (Set the shawl aside, knit something else to distract me and see how I feel about it in a few weeks/months)

And they call knitting a Hobby.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Slow and painful progress thy name is



Tiny needles and tiny silk thread combined with a chart, thereby rendering it non-portable knitting. Sigh.

On a brighter note I spent some tax refund money first to House that Yarn Built, and then yesterday at The Loopy Ewe. Which led to a little guilt. Not a lot, but a little. (I did donate more than I spent.)

Which tied in perfectly with something that one of my favourite authors, Larry Winget said in his newest book
You're Broke because you want to be.

As a digression...I'm not broke, we're not broke, it's not like that at all. It's just that growing up the way I did has given me an awareness of how these decisions are made daily, and it's nice to be kicked in the mental arse occasionally. It's also nice to hear some of the gaffes people make and realise it's been a long time since You Made That One. There were parts of his other book "Shut up Stop Whining and Get a Life" that made me laugh so hard I couldn't see. I do recommend the audio books, because he reads them. (I don't recommend his wardrobe.)

This morning (post Loopy Ewe glow) on the way into work, the audio book
was having you go through some exercises. Since I was driving, I did them negligently but did find myself making a mental list of projects that I have with me. This led to the following:

I hereby pledge that I will NOT buy more yarn until at least the following are finished.
  • April Socks
  • Chocolate Cherry Socks
  • Something in the Butter Peeps or Paris Nights yarn
  • Wicked or TAOs Smokin.
  • The five center reps of the Phoenix Rising.

Because really, that's Enough.