Monday, December 29, 2008

100th Blog!

I can't believe I actually have made it to 100 blogs! Of course a celebration is in order!! I haven't selected the exact goodies yet, but a drawing is definitely called for. I can pretty much guarantee yarn but haven't selected it yet. Anyone who comments on this blog by end of day January 4 will be included (that means all five of you so your chances are good :-))
Now that Christmas is over I have some pictures of my Christmas knitting projects for your viewing enjoyment. You'll have to envision these colors darker since the flash tends to wash them out.

These are Nicole's monkey socks (and yes there are two). She was very happy with her new socks and wore them all Christmas day. As you all advised, the Trekking yarn did get much softer after washing.

These are my daughter-in-law's transition gloves using Shibui knits wasabi and periwinkle. The pattern is seriously lacking in directions for a beginner to Fair Isle and knitting thumbs, but I was able to puzzle through it.

This is my son's new hat (scarf still in process). I used Dream in Color superwash worsted in the special blue they do exclusively for The Loopy Ewe. It is an absolutely beautiful blend with shadings of blue and purple.
There was a definite knitting theme going in Nicole and my Christmas presents. She got a yarn sampler from Knitpicks and a variety of knitting themed stocking stuffers. Here are some photos of my Christmas haul.

The knitting bag and yarn were gifts from my daughter. She picked out the fabric and her friend Billy made the bag (she's a quilter). The yarns are all local products from when Nicole visited Colorado over the summer. Nicole's new boyfriend contributed one of the skeins so he gets some brownie points. The books were from my husband, a loving and generous man. I'm saving my new Sanna book to read New Year's Eve and Day.

I'm ready for 2009 knitting with new Knitpicks interchangeable circulars, Harmony dpn's, Custom Knits and a good laugh with "It Itches". Thanks to all of you for your support of my knitting efforts in 2008 with particular thanks to Amy Lane for bringing me over to the dark side :-) I never would have thought a year ago that I'd be so excited about all my knitting presents!

I told you all I was working on some special projects for the kids, which I can now share. For years I've wanted to transfer our home VHS tapes over to DVD. I was concerned about fading or breakage on the oldest ones. My husband and children did a lot of local theater over the years and all of those performances were on VHS too. Last year I used my birthday and Christmas money to buy a Panasonic VHS, DVD, hard drive recorder but never got around to doing much with it. November and December of this year I transferred roughly 50 videotapes on to 35 DVD's and made 3 sets. The kids each received a set for Christmas and I kept a set. I used archival pages, for storage so hopefully they will hold up well.

My other fun project I learned about from Dani at Sunshine Yarn. She had posted on her blog about a website called Wordle, where you can create free word clouds. Since I was looking for some low cost Christmas gifts, I went there and made each of the girls one. My husband and I picked words that made us think of each person and then the program generates a pattern and colors. There is a lot of flexibility in colors and patterns. You can't save your projects unless you are willing to publish them to the web, so I just printed them out once I decided on a pattern.
Tomorrow we take my son and daughter-in-law back to the airport. I can't believe how fast the visit went! Nicole and I took my daughter-in-law maternity shopping while she was here so she can breathe in her pants again. It was a great outing and we had so much fun. We've watched movies, read new Christmas books and eaten way to many cookies. All in all, it has been a great holiday and we look forward to 2009 with anticipation.
Wishing you and yours a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Handsome Christmas Dog

Blue models his new Christmas sweater. He's been wearing it for several days and is very proud!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Egad - It's only a week away

I got up this morning in a panic when I realized that Christmas is only 1 week away!!! I have now pared down my "to do" list to only those things that must be done (like disinfecting the hall bathtub which some unknown cat keeps using as an extra litter box).

I am now absolutely sure that the Christmas knitting will not be done by the big day. I do have enough for each person to wrap with an IOU for the rest :-) I should be able to finish by the time they all go home. Nicole will be here from Saturday, the 20th through the 26th and can help with all of the baking and cooking. Dominic and Alex will be here the 22nd through the 31st to eat the cooking and baking. They are all here a long enough time to get a real break from the daily grind.

In answer to KnitTech's question, the baby's due date is May 12, so I'm looking at knitting cotton items initially. I think I have enough of the blue yarn I used for the toddler sweater to make a six month version. I love the color plus it is quite soft and washes well.

Yesterday it was cold and rained all day. That got me in the mood to do more decorating (finally!). We have quite a few buildings for a lighted village but I haven't put it up in a few years. The set up isn't bad but the taking down is a drag. I'm just getting out select pieces and putting small groupings around the living and dining room which adds light at this dark time of year.

Tonight is the Christmas Chamber of Commerce mixer so I'd better go try to make myself look festive. After that I need to do some serious knitting. Probably means I shouldn't have more than a glass of wine at the mixer or I could have some very interesting FO's.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Closer and Closer

I'm trying really hard not to look at the calendar but Christmas is coming closer anyway. I've actually made a lot of progress. Cards are mailed, packages are shipped and the shopping is almost done. Then I remember, nothing is wrapped, I'm still chipping away at the house and I have invitations to design and get printed for a foundation annual meeting in January. Other than that I'm in good shape :-)

Amy Lane asked about the pattern for the toddler sweater. It is the Buttons Cardigan from the Cabin Fever website. I delivered the sweater last Friday and got to see it modeled. I think he'll be able to wear it for a month or two and then it will be too small. Oh well, it was really good practice for the GRANDSON we are expecting.

I got an excited text message this afternoon from my daughter-in-law making the announcement of her ultrasound results. I've already sorted out the knitting patterns that will work for a boy and put the cute little lacy sweater and hat patterns away for a future time. Since my GRANDSON will be living in the cold country for another year or two, wool will definitely be in order.

My daughter called tonight to let us know she completed her first semester of nursing school with an "A" average. She was very excited and glad for a break from the studying grind. She'll be here on Saturday to help me start baking. We'll probably do our annual tour of the lighted houses over the weekend as well.

Nine more knitting days until Christmas - Yipes!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Knitting photos

This will be a quick one as I'm off to meetings again, but wanted to show you the completed toddler sweater. I learned so much and am happy with how it came out despite a few errors. I need a good method for weaving in ends though, as one pulled out in the wash.

I couldn't get a good take on the color, which is a royal blue and much darker than it appears here.
Once I know the sex of my future grandchild, I'll try another one.

I also took a picture of the weiner dog's sweater although it looks pretty much like a long tube. His mom will try it on him and then let me know if we have to make any adjustments over Christmas. I used Universal's Classic Chunky LP, which is a wool, acrylic blend and knits up quickly. TaTa for now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

To the great Phoenix and back

For the last twenty four hours I've been off to Phoenix for school board orientation. I now know enough about school finance formulas to recognize how much I have to learn. It is going to be a busy year trying to figure out which end is up.

It was definitely a worthwhile day, just really long. Since the Superintendent and I drove down and back together, I had lots of time to ask questions about what I heard. I'm getting a rudimentary understanding of the numerous acronyms and educationese. It is way more complicated than speaking knitting as a second language.

I'm tired after stuffing my head full of facts, figures and laws. Bed is calling and I plan to answer :-)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Making progress

I'm making progress on my holiday knitting, which is more than I can say for my Christmas cards. I do have the cards purchased and sitting on the table, so might get them out before the 25th. Today is the day I need to make my plan for getting the house clean and cooking/baking that needs to be done before the kids come in. We do a lot of it together (like decorated sugar cookies) but don't want to spend all of our time in the kitchen.

It is amazing to me that I've been off of full time work for almost a year and at least half of my house is still a disaster. When I was at the office 50-60 hours a week I blamed the mess on lack of time. I have now affirmed that my clutter is out of control because I hate to clean and my husband isn't terribly picky.

The bedroom where my son and daughter-in-law will be sleeping still is about 1/3 full of old family photos, books that don't fit in the bookcases, wine from our vineyard tour 4 years ago, collectibles I don't have room to display and artwork I haven't gotten rehung since I painted in the spring. I suspect, as in past years, it will all go out in the garage on a table for now. If it were a financially flush year I'd put them up in a hotel and call it good but alas, that will not happen. On the bright side, that bedroom used to be 3/4 full so I have made a lot of progress. Sadly, cleaning the bedroom only shows how dirty the carpet is. For that I'm calling someone in!

Now that I have whined a little, I have 1/2 of each Christmas knitting project done with two weeks to go before the kids start arriving. Since these are pairs of items, I can at least put one under the tree and give an IOU for the other :-) There also were some creative suggestions on a previous post about knitting in front of people or giving the yarn with an IOU! Next year I either start earlier or skip the holiday knitting.

I did get the baby sweater knitted but still have to weave in ends and put the buttons on. Except for a couple of minor booboos, I think it came out very well and well have pictures later in the week.

This morning I have two more school tours so better get moving. Later.

I have a couple of other kind of cool projects I'm working on for Christmas but can't post about them here since at least one family member reads the blog occasionally.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Moving along slowly

I'm slowly making progress with my sore toe and have been able to wear sandals this week. After a couple of hours on it I have to take a break. I'm sitting in the recliner preparing to watch Miracle on 34th St., my all time favorite holiday movie and knit. I'm making steady progress on my Christmas knitting and may get my primary projects done by the holiday.

I'm decorating little by little and playing some holiday music to try to get in the mood. We are still above normal temps for this time of year so feels more like spring than winter. We had one fire in the fireplace over Thanksgiving thanks to a rainy day but suspect that may be the last one for a while.

I've gotten most of my shopping done except for stocking stuffers. I know we should shop locally but I much prefer doing it online and having everything show up at my door. I usually give the UPS delivery people a workout but have cut back quite a bit this year. It still should be a nice Christmas together. As my darling daughter pointed out, we are lucky to already know that the most precious gift is our time together. May we never take it for granted.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Relaxing weekend

I've just finished a lovely two days with our daughter and am missing her already. We tag teamed the Thanksgiving dinner which was a huge help. Dinner was awesome with plenty of favorite leftovers for the rest of the weekend.

Yesterday we started watching the first season of "Supernatural" based on the glowing description by Amy Lane. By the end of the first disc we were hooked and have now added the rest of the season to our Netflix lists. It was a relaxing day full of laughter and knitting as well.

At 10:30 PM, I realized we hadn't gotten the Christmas tree assembled and decorated as planned. Having slept in late, Nicole and I decided to get to it. After an eggnog toast we went to work. Although we usually have a real tree, this year I opted for the nice artificial one sitting in the garage to keep holiday expenses down. We played some carols and generally had a nice time.

Today as Nicole was leaving to head home, I got whacked by my husband's recliner footrest as I was getting up. It appears that I have bruised, sprained or broken the little toe on my right foot. It is painful to touch and I can't wear a shoe, so that is going to make life interesting for a while. I've been icing it, taking Advil and keeping it elevated. If it is still this sore by Monday I'll probably go to the doctor and at least get something better for pain. Ah, the holidays are such fun :-)

Have a great rest of the weekend!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

The house is quiet this early morning as I ready the kitchen for a day of cooking. Our daughter got in last night and will help today, which is always fun. Our son and daughter-in-law are going to my dad's to cook dinner there today. Thanksgiving to me is all about family being together. That is far more important than the turkey, pie and all the other goodies.

I remember a few years early in our marriage when we were alone for Thanksgiving. It felt strange after years of big family gatherings. Yet it also was a chance to create our family traditions, ones we would share with our children (It also gave me a chance to learn how to prepare a Thanksgiving on my own, as my husband was most forgiving).

Today, I wish for each of you a wonderful day to give thanks for the good things in life, whatever they may be!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lazy Fall Day

It is a beautiful day in Arizona with clear blue skies and temps around 75 degrees. If it stayed this way all year it would be awesome! Next week is supposed to bring rain and colder weather so we might actually be able to use the fireplace on Thanksgiving. That always gives the holiday a nice cozy feel.

I wish I could say I was ready for Thanksgiving but I haven't even started my menu yet. Probably need to do that this afternoon so I can go shopping Monday. Nicole will be in Wednesday night or early Thursday so she can help with the cooking. She and I are the only ones that like deviled eggs so this is our holiday to make them. We usually finish half of them before the meal starts, but no one cares so all is good :-)

I am beginning to panic a little about getting the knitting done before Christmas but keep working away. I made it through both sleeves on the baby sweater so now am just finishing the body. Should be done sometime this week. I'm having trouble finding buttons online. It uses 5 13mm shank buttons and most of the really cute buttons are quite a bit larger than that. If you have any favorite button sites, let me know.

For those that wondered if attending school programs is a school board expectation, the answer is "no". I'm trying to show the principals and teachers that I am interested in what their schools are doing. Having worked with boards for many years, I know how easy it is to become disconnected from the real work that is happening. My goal is to be out at the schools at least a couple of times a year even though it takes a lot of time.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and stay warm if you are in the cold country!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

One sweater down

Well, I got one FO off the needles! Blue, the weiner dog, now has a new sweater. I'll be casting on for his brother Stumpy's sweater tonight. Since it is starting to get quite chilly in the Midwest, that is a good thing. I'm making good progress on my Monkey sock, except I can only work on it during the day. It is a darker colored yarn and I'm using Knitpicks Harmony DPNs. I love the feel of the needles but it is hard to see the stitches against the dark wood (or maybe it is my old eyes).

In the last two days I've felt like a real (not sick) human being. What a relief to finally feel healthy. I still have a few days of antibiotics to take and will faithfully follow the rules cause I DON'T WANT THIS BACK!

I'm working on getting out to visit all the schools and meet the principals, now that I'm a real elected official. Tonight I went to the 5th grade program musical program at my neighborhood elementary school. It was fun and I look forward to seeing more of what our schools are doing.

I keep working toward getting my desk together but haven't made much progress. I fell asleep on the couch this afternoon and barely woke up in time to go to the program. Just my body's way of telling me I'm still recuperating. I hear Roxie in my head reminding me to rest and take care of myself and go back to sleep :-) Based on her advice, I have also increased my garlic intake.

I'm off to Facebook to see what my daughter-in-law's latest craving is (last week it was coconut sno cones) and whether my daughter is surviving her nursing program this week. The instructors somehow missed that there weren't enough total points in the the test schedule and suddenly added a huge test in the next three weeks. Very unhappy students. Life is challenging all over but liberal doses of wool and purring cats reduce stress.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Knitting news

Empowered by the knitting prowess of my blogging buddies, I have four projects going right now for the holidays. I am confident these will be done in time - the other 4 or 5 I had planned might not make it. I like being able to pick up different projects to keep me from getting bored. I'm also finding that some I can do while watching Phoenix Suns basketball, some work with movies and certain projects demand my full attention.

I am about 1/3 done with the Cabin Fever Button Cardigan I am making for my friend's little boy. I don't remember where I saw the pattern but thought it was really cute. I read somewhere that a baby sweater is a good place to start learning the mechanics before trying anything for an adult. It is a top down pattern knitted in one piece so I am learning lots of new skills. I've never worked this much on circular needles but it is going well. Thanks to my sock knitting, I was ready for doing the sleeves on DPNs so I don't have to seam and so far have remembered my button hole rows. Once I have both sleeves down I'll post a picture. I'm using Berroco Comfort for ease of care and like working with it.

I've got one pair of socks going and have at least one more pair planned. This time I'm doing Monkey Socks, a pattern I've heard a lot about, but never tried (other than the baby ones I did). I'm using Trekking XXL but it doesn't feel as soft to me as some I've worked with. I'm wondering if it will soften more after washing.

I've started the Transition fingerless mitts which is a real challenge since I've never done any color work. I'm trying to learn Continental style so I can hold one strand in each hand. It is working but is slow going. Any tips from your experience?

My final project is another dog sweater for my granddog. This one is a wool blend so it will be a little warmer for those Iowa winters. I'm over halfway done with that one and then will cast on for the other dog. My Dad's neighbor wants a sweater for her weiner dog too so have to get that done sometime before the first of the year. Those are easy, basketball knitting kinds of projects so don't think it will be problem to get them done.

Hope your holiday knitting is moving along as well. The countdown to Christmas has started!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A slight delay

I was charging ahead on cleaning out the bedroom, got the desk ordered and got all of my software in, when my sinus infection reappeared. Little by little I could feel the symptoms returning, so I'm back on antibiotics trying to kick this thing once and for all. For the last two days I've done nothing except watch television and knit. Hopefully by tomorrow I'll be ready to get back to work.

I'm saving the assembly of the computer desk for the weekend so my husband can at least help hold pieces. We don't always work together well but for furniture assembly it really takes two sets of hands (especially when the predrilled holes don't line up).

All of those projects can wait until tomorrow. Tonight I have a marinated pork tenderloin baking in the oven and the Phoenix Suns game is coming up, so all is well. Throw in a little knitting and it sounds like a fine night to me.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

It is that busy time of year and I have four WIP's on the needles (plus a couple more planned that need to get done before Christmas). Although it seems like a long time until Thanksgiving, when I look at the calendar, it is just around the corner.

We are doing turkey day at our house this year instead of going to my sister-in-law's house in California. I hope I still remember how to a fancy holiday dinner. It will be just the two of us and our daughter this year, so probably will have way too much food. On the other hand, leftovers solve the dinner problem for a couple of days.

I had my first meeting with the school superintendent this morning and got up to speed on a couple of the issues. Even though we don't officially take our seats until January, the new board members are included in most meetings so we can learn. I am trying to get out and visit all of the schools before the end of December, so that should keep me hopping.

I've spent the last couple of days shoveling out our spare room and trying to find spaces for the all those extra things we store in there. Do not move to Arizona if you have a lot of stuff (toys, collections, sports equipment etc.) There are virtually no basements or attics, which makes for interesting storage issues. I just ordered a computer desk to go in the bedroom, so I can set up the new business computer. I'm much better on a deadline, so knowing the desk is coming makes me move faster. Today I'm packing up part of my depression glass collection as I don't have room to display it well. When the economy picks up, I probably should sell some of it on Ebay. For now it is going in storage.

Thank you for the nice break. Now it is back to work before I weaken and take a nap :-)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I got elected!

Can you believe it? I actually got elected to school board on my first try. I picked a good year to run given the country's mood about incumbents. Of six candidates, I was the second highest vote getter with 6614 votes. The top finisher had 6642, so it was pretty darn close. One incumbent was re-elected but had significantly less votes than we did.

Thanks to all of you for your support! I'll probably need it even more when I find out what I've gotten myself in to. I have accomplished several things this year that I never thought I would, and you've been there every step of the way encouraging me. That means a lot.

Well, I'm off to pick up my campaign signs before someone writes a nasty letter to the editor about littering!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Another sock off the needles

I just finished my Spring Forward socks (now that it is fall). I really like how they came out and would definitely knit them again. Now I can start working on some of those Christmas presents I've been meaning to get to.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I wish it felt like fall

As I sit here in Arizona, the temperatures are still in the 90's. It is supposed to drop a little next week and then come back up. This is the time of year I hate the most. The calendar says it is fall, fall clothes are in the stores and have been since July, I need to be planning for the holidays but it still feels like summer. I'm sick of summer!!!

I want to wear sweaters and my new hand knit socks. People will still be wearing sandals until Thanksgiving. Every year it is getting worse. The summer last from March or April through November and the winters are mild. Summers are hotter and dryer. My conservative father keeps telling me that global warming is a myth perpetuated by Al Gore (we all have our crosses to bear) but we are all living with some weird weather/climate changes.

Thanks for letting me rant. I always get this way until the weather finally breaks for good. By then, of course, I'm way behind for the holidays.

I am continuing to recuperate but get pretty washed out if I do too much (like go grocery shopping). I talked to a friend yesterday who had the same bug with a secondary infection and she's still not 100% after 3 weeks. I'll just have to be patient (not one of my virtues) and do what I can. I'm just grateful for full nights of sleep in my own bed.

I got ultrasound pictures this week of my grandchild. I can already tell her or she is attractive, smart and talented :-)

I'll probably drive you all crazy with baby news but at least this first time I get to celebrate a little. I've lived long enough to know that you have to take the sweetness in life when you find it, to balance out all the other crap that rolls in without permission.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Turned the corner

I'm happy to report that I now have rejoined the world of the living. I can tell it is going to take a while to get completely well but there certainly is a big improvement. Thank you for all your good wishes, I'm sure it helped. I took Roxie's suggestion and pretty much dosed with cough medicine all day too. I've slept a lot and done nothing when I am awake except watch television and knit.

Thanks to the magic of Netflix I've started watching Monk, which I never saw when it was on. It's quirky, intriguing and cheap entertainment. I've also been using the instant movie part of Netflix to watch Dead Like Me on my computer. I remember the buzz on the show when it aired but never saw it.

We finally watched Iron Man and I know understand the comments about Robert Downey Jr. you all made. I absolutely agree with whoever said that isn't fair for someone to look that good when they've done everything he has. Very fun movie!

I'm rereading the Charlaine Harris, Sookie Stackhouse books. Hubby and I have been watching True Blood and I needed to revisit the real Sookie. I haven't decided whether I really like the show or not. Anyone else watching? What is your reaction?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sleep, sleep, sleep

I'll keep this short as my life is really boring right now. The cough medicine worked and I actually slept last night for the first time in days. What a difference that makes! I have antibiotics, codeine cough syrup, nasal spray and eye drops. On top of everything else, by yesterday I had a raging case of conjunctivitis in both eyes.

It is really sad when your doctor's PA looks at you and says, "Poor thing, you are a mess". That is never a good start to a visit! I can tell it is going to take a few days to really get results but as long as I can sleep, I can deal with that. Thankfully, this is a little lull in our business development while are brochures are being printed so I'm not missing anything major.

I'm hoping by this afternoon I'll be able to knit again. I've been so tired I couldn't concentrate and my eyes were so gunky I couldn't read to see the pattern. I'm excited about trying this baby cardigan as it is good practice for my future grandchild. Since my 401K is now in the toilet, I might as well invest in wool. Does that sound like a good plan?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Still not better

I am now pretty sure my cold has turned in to bronchitis. I've had it a number of times before (back in my smoking days) and recognize the constant cough and technicolor drainage. I'm doing all the things I know to do but still am only getting a couple of hours of sleep each night. The cats think I have taken up residence on the couch, except when I've got my face over a steaming pan of water with a towel over my head. That one really confuses them :-)

I know that current wisdom is that bronchitis is viral and I'll just have to deal with it, but I think I'll try the doctor tomorrow for some heavy duty night time cough suppressant so I can sleep. Hopefully they'll decide it is a bacterial infection, give me antibiotics and I'll feel better in a couple of days.

My goal for the week is to get the new business computer set up. I have to arrange with the geriatric care software company to get our charting system set up and then do a bunch of data entry. That should keep me out of trouble for a while (a week or so anyway).

On a totally different subject, if any of you are in to Homeric works, the Sanguine Gryphon's Kypria line of yarn is fascinating. She's been working on reconstructing the Kypria, lost in the 3rd century CE, which was the 3rd Homeric work, containing stories of the events leading up to the Trojan War. Each colorway contains a small piece of the story. Those of us who have a skein or two are adding our pieces on Ravelry so we don't have to buy every colorway to read the whole thing. My husband is still trying to figure out what Homer and yarn have to do with each other :-)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

That's me

I borrowed this from KnitTech. Who knew an internet quiz could be so true :-)

You are The High Priestess

Science, Wisdom, Knowledge, Education.

The High Priestess is the card of knowledge, instinctual, supernatural, secret knowledge. She holds scrolls of arcane information that she might, or might not reveal to you. The moon crown on her head as well as the crescent by her foot indicates her willingness to illuminate what you otherwise might not see, reveal the secrets you need to know. The High Priestess is also associated with the moon however and can also indicate change or fluxuation, particularily when it comes to your moods.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's cold and flu season again

For the last couple of days I've been struggling with a scratchy throat, itching eyes and that dry hacky cough that keeps you awake all night. I'm not sure at this point whether it is allergies or a cold but it certainly is annoying and messing with my schedule!

I therefore gave myself permission to do pretty much nothing today. I reviewed some bylaws for a local nonprofit and typed up some notes for the new president. That led to a much needed nap due to the stimulating content. It's been a tough day LOL.

We had wild winds blowing through today, so of course all of my campaign signs are down again. Sigh. Sigh. I'll probably have to make one more attempt at putting them back up since the election is less than two weeks away.

I've talked to my daughter (loving nursing but still exhausted), my son (trying to stay on top of all those papers to be graded), my daughter-in-law (3 tests this week and starting to show just a hint of pregnancy) and my dad (asking if I thought he'd like beef stroganoff). Just call me communication central. Thank goodness for unlimited home digital and cell phones that let us stay in touch.

I've cast on a baby cardigan for a friend's little boy. Since I've never done a sweater before I may need some helpful hints. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Keep your puppies safe

First, thanks to all of you who responded to my last blog. I sometimes have to be reminded that there really is a lot on my plate and I'm not a slacker for being tired. Dad seems to be coping and is managing with the resources we put in place. He still gets very down about the sudden change in his life but is trying to keep moving forward. Most days that is all any of us can do.

My word of warning this week is to keep your dogs and cats safe from coyotes. Over the weekend my good friend Sue had her dog killed in the fenced back yard by a coyote that sailed right over the wall. Sue and her husband knew the coyotes were hanging around the neighborhood and were trying to be especially careful to go out with Taz or check the area carefully. In a flash it was too late. Although coyotes are particularly plentiful in the Southwest, they exist all over the country and are very smart.

On the bright side, hubbies band played over the weekend and sounded great. Our daughter came for the day to hear the band and brought her new boyfriend. Surprise of surprises, we both like him. (If you knew our daughter's dating history you'd understand that one). It was great to see her except for the dark circles that have reappeared under her eyes. Twelve hours of sleep per school week doesn't count as rest.

I'm off to run my morning errands as the fur people are out of food and I still have a box of campaign signs in my back seat that need a home. Have a great day!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Is it November yet?

I'm now remembering how crazy our fall schedules used to be. It wasn't just the soccer, plays rehearsals, dance, school events etc, etc, it was all of my clubs and volunteer activities hitting high gear. That was before the holiday crazies piled on top (but we won't go there today).

I've had a comfortably busy but relatively quiet life for most of the last year. I've now officially thrown myself in to way more activity than I really want and am starting to get that "I told you so" look from my husband. I have something scheduled every night and most of the days for the next 10 days. I knew intellectually with a new business, sitting on two boards and running for elected office it was going to get this way but the reality is always different and more exhausting.

I know I'm whining and cranky this week and I'm sure part of it has to do with worrying about my dad. I'm also feeling the time crunch of having been gone for 10 days. The world and my responsibilities just kept moving along and now I'm racing to catch up. I think this means all those holiday knitting projects I had planned are getting scaled way back.

Enough complaining for today. The world awaits and it is a glorious day outside.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Facebook Games are so addictive

I'm a sucker for extra points.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Tired but Happy

Home - it is so good to be home. Much as I love my dad, I want my own bed, my own shower, my cats, my husband snoring loud enough to wake the dead (ok, maybe not that last one) but you get the picture.

I think we got things situated as well as we could in Iowa and I'm glad I went. The timing couldn't have been better, as the next couple of weeks are pretty packed. I may go back in November for a weekend providing that Allegiant Airlines keep flying those Iowans out to gamble in Las Vegas. The fact that I'm going the other way doesn't seem to concern anyone and I don't lose any money in the slot machines.

I stayed in Las Vegas last night since my plane didn't get in until 10 PM. I always get nervous driving across the desert by myself at midnight. There are some big stretches of nothing and no traffic should something go wrong. Adding in the voids with no cell service, it seemed better to wait until morning. Wouldn't you know, coming back today, I hit something in the road, popped a tire and was sitting on the side of the highway with one bar of cell signal. Everytime I managed to connect to the auto club, the signal dropped. Thankfully a very nice man and his wife stopped and changed my tire. I was able to get to the next town on my little donut tire and buy $235 worth of tires (so I'd have a matched pair that will wear evenly). I do know how to change a tire but can't necessarily break those lug nuts free. It is good to know that there are still Good Samaritans in the world.

On the exciting news front, I can now officially announce that I'm going to be a grandma for the first time! I got to hear the baby's heartbeat last weekend when my son and daughter-in-law came up to visit. So many knitting projects to plan. This kid had better like wool :-) My daughter already has dibs on knitting hats, since she won't have a lot of time to knit while she is in nursing school.

On that note, I'm headed to bed. It may be 9PM here but my body still thinks it is 11 PM. G'nite.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Day by Day

I just wanted to give you a quick update in case you were wondering how my dad is. Radiation is going well and already is showing some results. Volunteers are supposed to be lined by the American Cancer Society to take him back and forth to treatment the next three weeks.

It is a huge change for him not to be able to drive and I'm sure none of us would adapt well to that sudden loss of freedom. The life care facility he lives in does have transport vans but of course you have to go on their schedule. We are putting together options and making a little progress.

I wish I could stay longer but am glad I could take this week to help him out. I should be back home by Monday. On the bright side, the fall weather has been beautiful. I think October may be my favorite month of the year in the Midwest. Glad I got to experience a little taste of it!

Friday, October 3, 2008


I'm sitting here on the couch trying to get motivated to pack, clean the cat pan, shower and all those other little things I need to do before driving to Las Vegas to catch my plane. It is pretty sad that the only thing I go to Las Vegas for is an airport, when people come from all over the world to party there. I'm either hopelessly boring or have just lived near Vegas for too long (I'm pulling for the latter).

I did attend the training on the open meeting law and found it as stimulating as I thought it would be. Major Yawn. The lesson I came away with is that you shouldn't really talk to any board member outside of a meeting - you might violate the law and someone could think you are colluding on school business. I get the intent but the application is just stupid!

I finished my five more questions from the forum. They included things like, "Is it important to fund athletics?" Do you think that is a hot potato? In 200 words or less I focused on the need for all extracurricular activities for a well rounded education and then pushed the state tax credit to help support them. Our override is due for renewal in another year and if the economy hasn't picked up, probably won't pass. Then not only will extracurriculars be on the chopping block, but art, music and pretty much anything other than the 3 R's. UGH. I picked a great time to run for school board didn't I?

I have to admit to you all that my knitting has been at a stand still for the last month. This has not stopped my stash from growing (Harry Potter yarn did come out after all). I have been spending way to much time playing on the computer in the evenings. My addiction is not new, just revitalized. If cutting down on computer time works as well as my diet, I'll be on the computer 24 hours a day.

On the exciting side, I got new family room furniture. I would like some proper appreciation for stimulating the economy, which I'm sure will help us turn the corner on this subprime mess!
Our recliner sofa mechanism broke for the fourth time and it just had to go. The timing wasn't the best - I was pulling for it to go another year. Anyway, I got a new sofa and love seat and matching tables. It looks like grown up furniture and when I get back I'll take a picture for you. Since I am not a grown up, I have already gotten a salad dressing spot on the sofa. Now it feels broken in.

I'd better get moving on those morning chores or the plane may leave without me. Have a great weekend.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Back in the Air

After last week's trip I expected to be around home the rest of the year. Unfortunately my dad has started having some health issues and would feel better if I was with him. He fell last week and didn't tell me for about 3 days and is starting a month of radiation for a large skin cancer on his head (NOTE - USE SUNSCREEN)

He's been doing so well for his age (91) but I knew it was only a matter of time before something happened. Hopefully he will bounce back but it takes longer and longer. The sad part is his mind is still quite sharp. He and my mother-in-law have both told me that getting old is not for wimps.

I'm not leaving until Friday, so might even get in another blog before I go. It is just weighing on my mind tonight.

Tomorrow I get to go to a school board meeting and learn about the open meeting law. Our current board accidentally violated it earlier in the year so all of us, including candidates are being asked to show up for training. Yawn. I know it is important but not very interesting.

I'm making little progress on the knitting front. I'm thinking that maybe my Spring Forward sock is going to be a little small. I did size 1 needles to get gauge but am just not sure. Anybody have an experience with the pattern to contribute?

Time for bed. Sleep tight.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Do I look official?

Tonight was a candidate forum for school board sponsored by two PTA groups but open to the public. I would be the middle one in the black and white stripes just in case you didn't recognize me :-)

The format was a five minute opening statement followed by 6 questions from the audience. We each had two minutes to respond to the question. At the close of the evening we got a 1 minute closing statement. Unfortunately we still have 6 more questions to answer in writing since we ran out of time. Our mayor was the moderator and did a fine job of keeping us all in line.

There are six candidates for 3 seats so the process took a while and they didn't even give us water. I am parched even now just thinking about it. There were only about 100 people in the high school auditorium. Thank goodness for the musical theater I've done from that stage or I would have been totally intimidated.

The newspaper has already posted the article in their web site and I don't think I sound like a total moron. The danger when speaking off the cuff, is that it sounds awkward in print. I find myself thinking, "Did I really say that?"

At least it is over and I'm still in one piece. Upward and onward.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Home at last

I'm home! Back after 5 days in sunny California. The conference was great and we met a lot of very helpful and knowledgeable people. My head is now stuffed with information, that will probably leak out of my ears by tomorrow morning. Thank goodness I have notes.

No, I did not take knitting. We had little time in the room other than crashing to sleep. Did meet some very interesting people at the jacuzzi though. The weather was beautiful and I wish we could have spent all of our time on the beach instead of just yesterday afternoon.

I did meet a very handsome eligible guy outside the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Huntington Beach so don't tell my husband :-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Off to the wilds of California

I'm leaving this morning for a 3 1/2 day conference in Costa Mesa, CA. Here's to plenty of learning and having the right layers of clothes for hot and cold conference rooms!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Baby socks, Wollmeise and campaign signs

I feel like one of KnitTech's lists tonight. My brain is pinging all over the place trying to keep up with the different projects I'm supposed to be working on.

I did finish the baby Monkey socks for a friend's new little one that I started last month. I also made a pair of newborn socks out of the stripey leftovers. They are so cute and the stripes mostly match. I almost didn't want to give them away.

Last month I was able to grab a skein of Wollmeise from the Loopy Ewe so I could see what all the fuss is about. I haven't knit with it yet but the colors are striking. Then I saw a notice about the lottery signup for the first Wollmeise sock club. How cool would that be! Figuring I'd never get in, I signed up on a whim. Guess what - I got in. The first package arrived Friday and I love it. Not only are there two skeins of yarn and a pattern, but DPN's and marzipan too! The colors are hard to capture but I thought I'd share pictures of my loot anyway. The skein on the right is a deep purple like the pattern. I'm not sure I'm ready for the pattern yet but it is something to look forward to. My husband just doesn't get why yarn from Germany would be at all exciting. After all it isn't an amplifier tube.

Things are moving along in my school board campaign. I have a candidate forum later this month and ordered some campaign signs and buttons tonight. I signed the waiver for minimal campaign expenditures so this is probably it. Too bad you all don't live here, I'd come solicit your vote :-) I got to go visit two our schools Friday with the superintendent and helped the first graders sing the verb song. I now know that tree is not a verb (except, as my husband pointed out, when a dog is treeing a fox). I somehow don't think there are a lot of first graders riding to the hounds in Arizona :-)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It is good to be back

I made a decision over the weekend. No more high school reunions for me (except maybe the 5oth). It isn't that it was a bad experience, it just wasn't worth flying across the country for. I suspected it would be a small turnout when they had to cancel the formal dinner for Saturday night due to lack of interest. This is pretty typical for our class. There almost wasn't a senior prom the year we were juniors. Our class was supposed to put it on and nearly didn't get around to it. The musical was canceled our senior year for lack of interest. Are you beginning to see the pattern?

Friday night that were about 25 classmates (out of 180) hanging out at the park. The organizers had everything well prepared with lots of drinks and snacks to share. It was a nice evening of catching up on families, jobs and reminiscing a little. None of my close friends from high school attended so after the initial meet and greet, I was ready to go home.

Saturday we all met at a local watering hole to watch the Iowa Hawkeyes and talk more. Only a few additional people showed up and I left early. Part of the problem is that the core group of attendees were from the popular crowd in high school. They are friendly enough now, but their memories of high school are quite different than mine. As adults, we don't have much in common so a few hours together pretty well covers the basics.

That isn't unusual. All of my reunions have convinced me that about once every 5 years is frequent enough to keep in touch. But I usually have a good time learning about people's lives. This time was frankly kind of boring. Our kids are, for the most part, grown. People are starting to retire or are thinking about it. The focus is more on security than creativity. Many are hopelessly middle aged. It made me appreciate all the more the wit, creativity and zest for life I see in you, my blogging buddies!

On the up side, I had a nice time celebrating my dad's 91st birthday and seeing the kids again. Unfortunately, bad weather in Chicago really screwed up my flights back and I spent a lot of time sitting on the tarmac, in the terminal and on my cell phone keeping family apprised of my schedule. I wound up getting in to Las Vegas very late and stayed overnight rather than drive 2 hours across the desert by myself in the middle of the night.

Yesterday I was basically vegetative except for attending a 3 hour school board meeting last night. My cats and husband are thrilled to have me home and today it is back to work on the business plan. Hope everyone is having a good day!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I'm back from my trip and will write more tonight or tomorrow. For now, I borrowed this list from Donna Lee. Mostly what I found out is I'm not a big fan of Charles Dickens.

The Big Read is an NEA program designed to encourage community reading initiatives and of their top 100 books, they estimate the average adult has read only six. I've read 51 and have two on my "to read" list. Not as many as I thought but far better than the average adult. I'll be satisfied with that for the time being.

*Look at the list and bold those we have read.
*Italicize those we intend to read.

Share this list in your blog, too, if you like.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman*
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini*
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

High school again?

I'm getting ready to leave Thursday for my 35th high school reunion. Guess it is time to drag out the year book again, though by now it doesn't help that much. We are all older, fatter and grayer except for those few we all love to hate who still look damn good. I'd like to say the reunion motivated me to lose a pound or twenty but this time it didn't work. Guess they'll have to take me as I really am.

I'm not sure why I keep going every five years except them it is kind of like a longitudinal study. I'm fascinated by how people's lives have worked out. I do lots of listening, talk about my kids and then I'm good for another five years.

I also am going for my dad's 91st birthday! My kids are driving up on Sunday so hopefully we'll have a nice day together. This is a quick trip but should be a nice break. My loving husband is staying home to take care of the cats and keep the home fires burning. He's a good man.

I was incredibly lazy over the Labor Day weekend but did finish the baby monkey socks and another pair of newborn socks for a friend's new baby. Made a little bit of progress on the shawl and cast on the Spring Forward socks. That will give me something to work on while I'm gone.

Now I just need to write a newspaper ad for the Women in Business special insert and four pages of web content for the CarePath website before I go. That may be challenging since I'm still in weekend lethargy, but I've never missed a hard deadline yet :-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm green but not with envy

you are mediumspringgreen

Your dominant hues are cyan and green. Although you definately strive to be logical you care about people and know there's a time and place for thinking emotionally. Your head rules most things but your heart rules others, and getting them to meet in the middle takes a lot of your energy some days.

Your saturation level is very high - you are all about getting things done. The world may think you work too hard but you have a lot to show for it, and it keeps you going. You shouldn't be afraid to lead people, because if you're doing it, it'll be done right.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.
the html color quiz

Yup, this sounds like me. My personality profiles always come back as idealist because I see people and situations for what they could be and try to help them get there. I like to lead but can follow if that is the role that is needed for a successful project.

Monday, August 25, 2008

It was a great birthday!

The international celebration of the anniversary of my birth has now drawn to a close. The day started with many greetings from Facebook game buddies from all over the world. Never mind that half of them can't remember whether yesterday was today or tomorrow depending on time zone, it was all good fun.

My one meeting was canceled so I gave myself permission to have the day off and lazed through the morning sipping my coffee and reading. Suddenly the doorbell rang and who should be on my doorstep but the florist delivering a gorgeous bouquet of birthday flowers from my son and daughter-in-law. I love fresh flowers, but unfortunately, so do the cats. I spent much of the morning chasing Pippin off of the table, greenery firmly clutched between his teeth! I finally resorted to a couple of quick blasts in the face with a spray of water and he's been less inclined to snack. I did put the flowers on a high shelf overnight.

Next thing I knew, the mail arrived with an awesome card from my daughter. I told her that tears of happiness are a good thing (and it wasn't just because the card arrived on time :-) She just visited Colorado and went to some great yarn stores in Estes Park. She's supposed to write us a review on her blog someday. We've discussed before the joys of adult children and I had two wonderful reminders today.

My new business partners took me out to lunch and insisted that I partake in a warm chocolate chip brownie with ice cream, fudge and caramel sauces. Not wanting to spurn their gracious offering, I nibbled on a few dozen bites.

My husband arrived home with a surprise bag containing the exact bluetooth headpiece I wanted for my new phone. It is amazing what sending those Amazon wish lists can do! Now I too can appear to talk to invisible people in public. He offered to take me to dinner but I was too stuffed from my dessert, so have a rain check for later in the week. He ate left over Chinese, which means three nights this week I don't have to cook (what a shame).

I had e-mail greetings and calls throughout the day, which is the best part of the day for me. I didn't think much about being a year older, I thought about the richness of my life and the special people that are a part of it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I did it again

July and August are good times to be in Arizona. Aside from the blazing heat, most of life slows down tremendously. Parking spaces open up as the faint of heart (or heat) flee to cooler climes. Most organizations and clubs take a hiatus so all those extra activities go away. Unless one has a boat or pool, the summer months are a good reason to stay inside, enjoy movies, read and otherwise relax.

Of course every summer I think I am also going to make use of that time to work on special projects like getting our homes VHS movies on to DVD (I have all of the equipment and even have the movies sorted) or organizing all of our family photos. As one day drifts in to another, it seems like there will be plenty of time until. . . . Suddenly Labor Day is just around the corner and none of those projects are even started.

This year I could say I had an excuse with the school board thing and business start up, but the reality is I just didn't do it. I have gotten in to the slower pace of being semi-retired and love it. I've mentioned before that if it weren't for that money thing, I'd be good with not working. I have meaningful volunteer work I could put a lot more time in to and lots of projects (see previous paragraph) I could do. Boredom is rarely an issue when I'm home.

Life is starting to move at a faster pace (not as fast as Amy Lane's thank goodness) and I can see that the fall is going to be very busy. Then the holidays will be here and we'll be back at New Year's resolutions. Maybe next summer I'll get those projects done. Now I just have to figure out where to stash them until then :-)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Baby it's hot!

No pictures today as I'm afraid the camera might melt. I ran errands this afternoon because I had a meeting to go to and just about had heat exhaustion. I know Roxie wrote about her love of August, but for me it is about the worst month of the year. It is an ugly month heat/humidity wise and we know it isn't going to get much better until October. It is an endurance contest for the hardy folk who stay in town for summer.

Today I sent my school board candidate statement to the newspaper. I still have to do the one for the country superintendent's website. It was a challenge to balance a confident presentation with not sounding like a self aggrandizing, pompous ass. Thankfully, I've had experience in writing press releases, guest editorials and a couple of features for the local paper or I probably would have been overwhelmed. My one personal guideline was that I couldn't use my newly expanded colorful vocabulary (thank you Amy Lane :-))

On the knitting front, I am sort of stalled. I still have one baby monkey sock to complete. I recently had the opportunity to try the first one on a real baby and now know the sizing to be about 9 months - good for creepers and crawlers. I'm plugging away on daughter-in-law's shawl but it is slow going. It is a simple feather and fan pattern so is not terribly interesting to knit. 8 rows per day is my plan until it is done. I'm ready to cast on the Spring Forward socks in Sunshine Yarns Cilantro. They've been on my list to try since the pattern came out and might be done by next spring! I keep looking wistfully at the lovely fall yarn coming out, but people will be wearing tanks tops and sandals here until November. Sigh.

Now I need to go check out my wardrobe and see what I can squeeze in to for businesses photos tomorrow morning. Hopefully my hair will cooperate too, although the humidity makes that questionable. (I know 50% humidity isn't that much, but to us it feels like 90%) Keep a good thought that I find something in my closet that goes with a brown background, doesn't make me look to fat and comes off half way professional. Hopes springs eternal.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Back to Reality

It has been a great two days at our house with my lovely daughter Nicole. This was our last hurrah before she starts school and has an even crazier schedule. We didn't really do anything all that exciting (except decide swimmers and gymnasts are really well built). She did lots of knitting and finished her hat for a friend's daughter - the same family my socks went to. Nicole thinks pink is not her personal favorite for a color and this yarn was difficult to work with but it came out really cute .

We've spent lots of time gabbing, eating out and shopping. We had to get Nicole's favorite fried ice cream and went out for calamari and coconut shrimp last night. We believe in experiencing all aspects of the food spectrum except vegetables.

We were able to find a smokin deal on a laptop for her at Staples back to school sale and got it fired up last night. She also got some fiber love to take back with her thanks to Wool Girl's summer sale (Miss Babs worsted-colorway Iris). Nicole loves those purple and green combinations so if you see a good one in worsted let me know.

Now it is back to reality after two relaxing days. Vacation time is good!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The week in review

It has been an eventful week with lots of progress on the new geriatric care business. We have our business license, so I am now the proud owner of two businesses that make no money! The up side is we may already have a client so are hurrying to get our formal structure in place. Our logo and web site are being developed and we should have insurance coverage next week. Yeah.

The school board candidate stuff is already starting. The newspaper called about sending me a candidate survey so they'll have some background information (gulp). I guess this is really happening!

Nicole is coming to visit us next week from Phoenix, which we are really looking forward to. This will be our last visit before nursing school starts for her and days off become nonexistent. It may be Thanksgiving before we get to really spend time together again.

I uploaded a couple of photos from the Fifth Element's last gig. The bar they were playing has a tiny stage area so they didn't have a lot of room to move around.

Here I am in the spot I held down all night. Yes, they actually have a couch in this bar so I had one of the soft seats. You can't see that I put on make up and jewelry so I wouldn't look too frumpy next to all the younger women in their "club" clothes.

This may be the only picture of me dancing since I started having children (except at my son's wedding)! I was dragged on to the dance floor and made it through one song before collapsing back on the couch totally out of breath. I absolutely need to start doing some exercise before I become a total vegetable.

Here are the pattern books I received from Knittech's blog anniversary contest. There are some really cute ones and I have a few picked out to put on the future knitting list. Thanks for picking me!!

Pippin says it is Sunday morning and time to take a much needed nap. He did already eat breakfast and sit with his mom for cuddle and purr time. How exhausting! Pippin wishes a relaxing day to all fur persons (and their people).

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A short yarn

This is the beautiful bamboo yarn I received from Roxie's blog contest. It is soft, silky and such a lovely color. I'm waiting for it to whisper to me what it wants to be.

Merry thinks I should donate the yarn to him for a cat bed. I could barely keep him away from it while I was trying to take a photo. That virtually guarantees that it will be laced with Ragdoll hair by the time it becomes an FO.

I went out to hear the husband's band last night and was forced to dance. Somewhere there are photos (which hopefully will never surface since I was terrible). If I keep going I may have to actually look for some club kind of clothes so I don't look like the middle aged frump mom that I am. Wouldn't want to embarass my hot rocker hubby :-)

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Friday, August 1, 2008


Today was my first baseline colonoscopy, which I've been putting off since turning 50. I could have found any number of reasons to put it off another year or ten, but decided in the interests of health I should get it over with.

I will not share the gory details of the prep (crappy is a good word :-) , but will suffice to say, the procedure was a piece of cake. Went to sleep and woke up with it over - even I can pass that test. It appears my colon is shiny clean and everything is normal. Normal is a word I like when it comes to health.

My husband took the day off work to stay with me, though I've mostly been sleeping and watching tv and was kind enough to drive me to the surgery center at 5:30 AM. Did you know they have one of those in the morning? Amazing!

I got my bamboo yarn from Roxie's blog contest and it is gorgeous! Thank you so much for making us all winners!! I plan to take pictures of the yarn when my blog winnings from Knittech arrive and post my loot so everyone can see. Presents are such great fun.

I'm going to go read for a bit and probably fall asleep again. And to think this is how the cats live all the time.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Odd Lots

Not a lot going on today. I did finish these basic socks for me (Harlot recipe, Knit Picks Felici) and learned a few things in the process about matching stripes (can you say frog?) I started out great but didn't switch over to the heel flap on the same row with the second sock. I also needed to pick up an extra stich for the gusset as I got holes at the join. Each pair is a step closer to figuring out this sock knitting thing.

This was my first attempt at Sheri 's(Loopy Ewe) baby monkey sock. I had one problem with the heel, in which she has the 3rd row ending with S1 and the 4th row beginning with S1. It didn't work well and I've e-mailed her to see if it is an error. She did these with worsted on a Size 2 which makes for a chunky sock. I'm not sure what size baby it will fit though - any ideas?

The pink and purple socks were made from a generous donation of stash yarn by Amy Lane, who continues to encourage me to the dark side. They originally were going to be a pair of socks for my daughter when she was ill, but Nicole asked that I make socks for the 6 year old daughter of a friend who had surgery. These went more smoothly so my confidence is increasing.

My husband got back from blues camp and had an awesome time. He graciously shared one of his photos performing on the stage at Antone's in Austin, TX, which was their big performance with a live audience. It was recorded, so eventually I may have a video clip for you.

I found out this week that I didn't get the interim position with a local organization I was hoping would jump start my consulting business. Since I am going in two very divergent directions with my businesses, I'm sure eventually one of them will become dominant as far as my time. I'm trying to be patient and just keep moving ahead on my plan but I'm not a terribly patient person. I'm sure this must be another growth experience!
I've started planning with my son and d-i-l to come out for Christmas (which seems bizarre in this heat). They would like a break from the cold this year and really want to see their friends that will be in town over the holidays. Air fares are still pretty horrendous but I'm sure we'll figure something out. I can't think of a better Christmas present than having the family here.
Enough chatting - I'm off to try another baby sock. Happy knitting.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

On being single for a week

It has been 4 days since my husband left for Austin and blues camp. It will be 3 more days before he comes home and I have to give back the remote. What is bizarre is I have hardly used the remote. I've watched one movie (the second National Treasure) in his absence and the rest of the time the house has been tv going 18 hours a day fabulous.

I have the kind of family that always has background noise going - and admit that I used to be one of them. Somewhere along the line, during the years of childhood chaos, I began to yearn for the absolute calm of being alone in my own house with no auditory stimulation (we aren't counting the cats who occasionally rise up out of a sound sleep, chase each all over the house and go back to sleep).

I try really hard to sound bereft when my husband calls, but have to admit to loving the freedom to live on my schedule or no schedule if I choose. I just spent the evening drinking wine and eating pizza with two good friends and didn't worry about the time. I eat a sandwich for dinner and call it good. I stay up and read in bed until 3 AM and sleep in until 10 AM (or would if the cats didn't insist on breakfast).

And yet, the longer the week goes on, the more I miss the laughter, small talk and companionship of living with someone who knows me better than anyone else. I turn to say, "Do you remember..." and Pippin says meow. It just isn't the same. By Friday morning I will be looking for a familiar car to pull in to the driveway, ready to hear all about "this one time - at band camp" . The tv will flip on, baseball will once again be the mainstay of evening viewing and the brief vacation from reality will end. Sounds like a good way to end the week to me.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Social workers rule!

I have spent the last two days surrounded by social workers. That isn't as scary as it might sound. I was invited to attend the Leadership Retreat for the National Association of Social Workers Arizona chapter in Phoenix. As a new member of the chapter, they wanted my perspective. As I am not exactly quiet in such settings, I'm not sure they got what they wanted :-)

If you've never attended a state association retreat of some kind, they all have some similarities - at least in my neck of the woods (desert - whatever). They all struggle with the urban/rural representation issue because so much of our state's population is centered in a couple of large population centers. Phoenix pretty much controls things with Tucson a close second. But the majority of the land in Arizona is outside the metropolitan area. The other big issue across the board is member recruitment and retention. Like workplaces, clubs and other formal sorts of organizations, a lot of professional associations are aging out (that means the boomers are getting old).

I don't know that we came up with anything all that new as far as ideas, but it was a great opportunity to talk with other people who share my professional values and interests. I've gotten much braver as I've gotten older about going off to things like this where I don't know a soul, and having a great time. I met some wonderful people and even made a few connections that may be good resources for the new businesses.

On the way back I took some pictures for you of the Arizona desert and the drive along the river my last half hour before home.

This is the view for most of the 3 1/2 hours between Phoenix and Lake Havasu City. There are occasional mountains in the distance to break up the monotony a little, but mostly a lot of big nothing. I like it, but some people find it too vast to feel comfortable.

Once one passes through Parker (about 35 minutes south of us), the drive along the river begins. It can be spectacular, particularly early in the morning or right as the sun is setting. I wasn't willing to wait around on the side of the road for the sun to go down, so you'll have to imagine it.

Right before the bridge where I cross the Bill Williams River. This is one small piece of the Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge. The green you see is cattail marsh which is very lush right now and harbors a lot of wildlife. Two years ago a tanker truck crashed on the bridge and set fire to the marsh but it has recovered quite well.

The mountains begin to fade in to the distance as the sun gets lower. This is my last good view of the river until I reach home and the lake (which you can see from much of the town). Not a bad way to end the day.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Off to the big city

I've been working on getting signatures on my school board petition this week and am making some progress. I love those friends that grab a couple of other people they know, so I can get four or more at a time. I'm doing everything in my power to avoid having to stand in front of K-mart or the grocery store in the heat. Around here they don't let you stand inside, which is a major problem in July!

Tomorrow I'll be off to a National Association of Social Work (AZ Chapter) leadership retreat in Phoenix for two days. I'm not sure how I got invited other than that they included a few new members for perspective. It is at a nice resort and I'm staying at the hotel Friday night. My daughter lives an hour away so I didn't want to drive across town and then back Saturday morning. Hubby is off to his blues guitar camp in Austin, Texas for a week so I'll have control of the remote in his absence :-)

My business license came in for consulting so I guess I'm official. Now I can get my bank account, join the Chamber of Commerce, get my logo, business cards and website and a few dozen other things. The geriatric care business is also moving along and we should be filing our paperwork with the state of Arizona in another week or so. It is exciting and gives me something new to look forward to.

See you on Saturday night and have a good weekend.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Lazy days of summer

It is that time of the summer in Arizona that they call monsoon. That means the temperatures drop to a balmy 105-110 and the humidity comes up from 15% to 45-50%. Having grown up in Iowa, which is very humid in the summer, I thought 50% sounded pretty wimpy. Actually, it's pretty ugly when coupled with the high temps.

I've been trying to get out and about town to get signatures for my school board petition but it seems that no one is home. Everyone that could escape to cooler climes has fled and the rest hibernate for the majority of the day. I will have to be up by 6 AM if I want to see anyone outside their house. Thank goodness for air conditioning, even if the bill will be astronomical.

One summer when the kids were little the AC went out and we only had the swamp cooler for 2 days. For those ignorant of swampers, they pull outside air through a wet pad to cool the air coming in to the house. It started in pioneer days when they used to hang wet towels on the windows to cool the breeze. Works great when the humidity is low, above about 40%, it turns your house in to a sauna. We lived in our bathing suites for those two days and jumped in the shower every half hour to get wet and then sat under the ceiling fan! YUCK.

Can't complain too much though since we haven't been flooded out like many and aren't breathing orange air like northern California. There are lots of open parking spaces at the grocery store and restaurants aren't too busy except for weekends, so the pace is pretty slow. Besides, I needed the relative down time to plan knitting projects for Christmas (which has a shipping deadline in about 4 1/2 months). I'll leave you with that cheery thought for the day :-)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A good start to a productive week

When I was growing up, every mom in our neighborhood had a daily and weekly routine for running the house. Monday, of course, was always laundry to get the sheets changed and clean clothes for the week. There was also a monthly cycle for bigger jobs and the infamous spring and fall deep cleanings. Many of these women followed their routine well in to their 80's.

As I have shared with you previously, my cleaning motivation is sadly lacking though I certainly know how to do it. Once I started raising a family and then went back to work, I tried to follow the pattern I had been taught but something always seemed to take a higher priority. I had no consistancy.

Last week I once again resolved to try to get my house back in order and keep it that way so I can invite people over without the 24 hour panic cleaning. Somewhere on a blog I read about and decided to check it out. It isn't like there is anything new there but much like Weight Watchers, the reminders, testimonials and hints help keep me focused. What I like best are the reminders that my house didn't turn in to clutter mountain in a day or a week so baby steps are good. So far so good though my resolve usually weakens within about two weeks (kind of like New Year's resolutions). Today I'm supposed to be weeding out storage containers that are stained or lost lids. They are supposed to have lids? I just throw some Saran on top and call it good. Ok - I'll set the timer for 10 minutes and make a little dent.

Knitting continues to consume hours and my first grown up pair of socks are 1 1/2 completed. I worked on starting a storage tub for my small stash over the weekend and Pippin decided to help. It's a good thing I put the yarn away, because I discovered some cat has been playing "Yarn Barf" while I wasn't looking.

The other exciting thing this week is that our geriatric care business finally has a name! Hopefully it will be opening in September. It has taken us many weeks of discussion to come up with the name. We had lots of great ideas but many of them were either already registered in our state or trademarked nationally. By the time we checked both places, Googled and checked for domain names in every suggestion, it was a time consuming process. Now that we know who we are, we can start on the rest of the process.

That's pretty good considering that is only Tuesday! Upward and onward.