Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Still On Track

It's lunchtime here in Central Florida, and I am still awaiting the arrival of Tropical Storm Fay. So far, not much rain has fallen and the winds are relatively calm. The local news people are telling me that we still start to feel the effects within a few hours. Oh joy.

I got up early today and completed phase two of my master cleaning plan. I cleaned all three bathrooms. Tomorrow is the bedroom.

Although now I have a ton of laundry piled up. Perhaps I need to start working on that today, since it's still relatively early and my hands are idle.

For the last three weekends in a row, my good friend Danielle has had garage sales. Last night, around 9 p.m. or so, I got the cleaning bug and hauled out a bunch of stuff for a garage sale. Danielle said she's going to have another one this Saturday.

If Danielle is still up to the fourth garage sale in a row this Saturday, I'm going to pack my car and take this stuff over to her house. I will take any offer for my things. I just want them gone. And, truthfully, I could use a little extra cash - I'm still unemployed.

Now if Danielle is sick of spending Saturdays in the sun watching people slowly peruse her driveway goods from their cars, then I will put my junk in our garage. My community does not allow individual driveway sales. The HOA have approved two semi-annual neighborhood-wide events, with one already earlier this year and the next in early October. My precious items will just sit and I will participate in the October sale.

I'm off to start my exciting day of laundry and reading and watching the rain come down.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Into My Life, A Little Rain Must Fall

Tropical Storm Fay is headed our way, probably hitting Central Florida tomorrow mid-morning.

I've been pretty lazy about housework lately. I'm at the point where is it too much to try to take care of in one morning. Therefore, in a sign of my ongoing maturity, I have decided to tackle one room a day. In this way, I get the house clean within the week under manageable conditions.

Today, the first day, I took on the kitchen. I cleaned out the refrigerator and freezer. I stockpiled ice (for the storm). Also, the shelves and pantry are organized. The stove and microwave got a thorough cleaning. I even put stuff aside for my friend's garage sale at the end of the week. Finally, I got on my hands and knees and cleaned the floor.

Whew! I love a clean kitchen; although the rest of the house is unkempt, my kitchen gives me hope.

Tomorrow is the big storm and I'm taking on the bathrooms (2 and 1/2 technically). They aren't that big so I can consolidate them into "one room" for my cleaning schedule. I'll update you tomorrow.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I'm Not a Prodigy

I've been knitting since Memorial Day weekend, which is about 3 months. I love knitting. It's the one hobby (other than reading) that I'm serious about and I haven't given up before I ever really started (Example: Piano lessons - which, by the way, I still have all my books, notes from the four or so lessons I took, and the Casio keyboard I bought. I keep hoping I will go back to it one day. Sure......just like I'm going to lose this weight).

Back to knitting. I feel invested with this hobby but practical in the same vein. I have not bought a ton of yarn (partly due to me being out of work but also because I'm not good enough to buy the expensive yarn). I'm really a novice. Especially when I peruse the knitting blogs and forums out there.

You know what really makes me jealous? Socks!!! People who knit socks. I am in awe over the beauty and the workmanship it takes to knit socks. I could spend all day looking at knitted socks. When I go to the bookstore, I flip through the books on sock knitting. However, one look at the instructions, and I'm convinced that I will never be able to do this. But I want to!!!

I find knitting so full of contradictions. When I first started reading about it, all the books and how-to guides said all you need to know are two stitches, knit and purl. Everything is built on the foundation of these two stitches. So I'm intrigued! I can knit and purl. So I'm a pro, right? Wrong. Every time I make a stride in my knitting education (knit and purl stitches, binding off, cables, i-cords), I'm confronted with what I don't know....how to sew seams, how to block, how to properly weave-in the ends. And don't get me started on double-pointed needles and knitting in the round! I want to learn these techniques so badly (to produce those lovely knitted socks) but I really believe I should master the other techniques first.

So I'm slightly disappointed with my slow progress but overall I'm so glad that I picked up this hobby. Knitting has done wonders for my stress level and I can knit a fantastic scarf or washcloth. When I finally take that step to knit a pair of socks, I will post them proudly and loudly. Don't miss it! (But don't worry, you have at least a year to wait....)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Still Stumbling Along

I'm into my second (and last) week of babysitting. I've settled into a routine with the 2-year old. She's still unhappy to see me on certain occasions (I can't hold it against her). After this assignment, I have to start focusing on finding regular employment. I miss regular work, and the freedom that a paycheck brings you. It doesn't have to be a big paycheck, after all, there are no kids and no husband in my life. It's just me and a few bills.

I'm slowly working on my knitting. Funny thing is that once you learn one skill, you have to learn four other skills to finish a piece. I'm so backwards at blocking and seaming. I think I need to find a group of knitters in my area to sit down with and learn and watch.

I'm making a purse for the little girl I'm babysitting. It needs to be seamed and I have to make a cord for the shoulder strap. I'm not quite sure what an I-cord is, but I've seen it in my knitting books and I'm wondering if this would work.

My brother's one-year wedding anniversary was last Friday (the start of the Beijing Olympics). He's a very successful man; looking back on our childhood, it's so nice to see that he is happy and enjoying his life. I don't feel jealous or envious, even though I want those things for myself. His life doesn't cause me to break into fits (as I do when I compare myself to others); normally my brother and I are very competitive, but it's almost in a silly way. I can honestly say that I have no problem or neurosis about my (younger) brother far exceeding me in the life department.

I am in the process of accepting what I have in life. The past 10 years has made me desire a life with manageable stress and the simple basics.

Last Saturday, I was looking at silly stuff on the web. I found a site with the 25 worst album covers (this is the page here). Looking at the albums (and the subsequent comments from others) sent me into a fit of laughter, of which I haven't done in FOREVER. It felt so good. I was so happy to be laughing at something so silly. It was so intoxicating.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

As Promised, A Peek At My Knitting

This is the reversible cable scarf that I am knitting. I got the free pattern from this site. However, my choice of yarn doesn't show the cables very nicely. My scarf is going to end up being very thick. I really like the colors in this yarn (it's Acrylic/Alpaca blend).

I enjoy knitting this pattern - it's very easy to do (I can even do it while babysitting). I think I've got the hang of cables now. I plan to try to do more cable designs. They just look so nice and like you put a bunch of work into it (when really it's quite simple to do).

For my second project, I'm working on a sweater. The pattern is from a book I bought, Knitting Simple Sweaters From Luxurious Yarns. And no, I didn't use a luxurious yarn....I used a wool yarn that was on sale at Michael's.

I've finished the back panel and I'm so close to finishing the front panel. I will need to start and finish the sleeves. Once that is finished, I can block the garment and stitch everything together.

I'm already in trouble with this because I don't think that the width is correct. I'm comfortable with the length of it, but the width somehow doesn't look right. I did a gauge swatch but the actual garment still falls short somehow. I'm going to wait to make a final declaration until after the sweater is blocked. Perhaps this is the push I need to lose this weight - so my imperfect sweater will fit me.

I can't wait to get a job so I can start spending money on new yarns! I would love to try double-pointed needles or circular knitting next. I am going to refrain from buying any more pattern or how-to books. I can use the internet for the free patterns for now.

Knitting has become a part of me very quickly. It's something I always look forward to doing - no matter what else is on the table.

How Much Can I Take?

So I've been out of work for over three weeks now. I'm babysitting for the next two weeks (so I consider this work - hell, I'm getting paid for it and it gets me out of the house so it's work!!!).

Unfortunately for me, I entertained an offer to go back to my old job. This is how it went down....they called me and asked me (twice!!) to come back. So I made an appointment to go in for an interview. (Now, at this point, I'm a little miffed that I have to "interview" but I can play the game....) During the interview, they offered me considerably less than what I was making before to come back. I turned them down. Perhaps not the wisest decision financially but I was extremely disappointed by this turn of events. I felt that I put myself out to be humiliated by them. First, I agreed to an interview and then I had to sit there and listen to them try to sell me on a much lower salary.

Because I quit, this gives them the right to come back to me and shame me? I gave them more than 6 weeks notice before leaving. I treated them with respect at all times; this was not recipocated by my employer.

I finished knitting the front of my sweater; now I need to start the arms. I got distracted and now I'm kniting a cabled scarf (which I think it's going to be way to thick to wear). I'll post a picture of it later.

Finding My Treasure

Now that my shawl is complete (yarn purchased during the Orange Blossom Yarn Crawl in March), it is just hanging out in my foyer until I de...