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.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Miscellaneous Ramblings

Having friends takes a lot of time (well worth it, but a lot of time nonetheless). I've told you this before and it shouldn't come as a surprise to me. What has been a revelation in recent weeks is that most of my friends aren't doing any better at it than I am. In my tunnel vision, I thought I was the only one that forgot special dates, let months (or years) go without contact and just generally sucked at balancing the work/family/friendship thing.

Now that I have a chance to step back and try to repair some of the perceived damage, I find that many of my working friends are too busy for me. If they aren't good with e-mail it is a particular problem. Can you imagine - some people want to talk on the phone! I think I've been spoiled by blogging. With blogs I get daily doses of what people are doing, thinking, dealing with etc. Local friends seem to think they need to save up "real" news to make it worth getting in touch. There isn't a simple solution but I'll keep working on it.

The husband's band is playing a public gig on the 12th. If I can stay up late enough to hear them (they don't start until 10 PM), I might get a snippet of video for you. He's still loving it which makes me happy to.

I've been approached about taking an interim position as exec for a local association while they do a search. I don't know if anything will come of it but it might be a good experience (and increase my yarn fund). It is at these moments my confidence wavers. I have to remind myself how many times I told someone else to "fake it until you make it".

The cats are thrilled that I am home and will not leave me alone. They think it is vastly unfair that I go away and leave them with only my husband for company. Of course they also lie about him having fed them, so I take their meows for what they are worth.

It is hotter than blazes here and I am hiding in the house. I should go run errands but it is already 116 degrees. Too bad stores aren't open at 6 AM when it is only 98 degrees. Our resort town will be overrun with boaters this weekend so I'd probably better go grab some food to tide us over before the hoards descend.

Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend!