Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Twenty Ten Sounds Cool

I'm still working on that perfect fitting hat. I think I've mastered adding a color; I made this hat with pink stripes. Delilah is admiring my work.

I just don't know when to stop knitting. The circumference of the hat is good but the length is too long. So my fat head requires a total of 76 stitches but the body of the hat needs to be less than 7 inches.

I'm not an optimist at heart but I have a really good feeling about 2010. I started out the decade in a relationship that I thought would define the rest of my life. That premonition came true, but not in a good way. I've been recovering from that six-year relationship for a while now. In this decade, I experienced, and came to respect, karma. However, I finally feel like I've paid for all my past sins and transgressions. I'm going into 2010 on my own terms and, for the first time, I trust myself to make the right decisions.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Homemade For Christmas

This graphic represents a summary of the words used in my blogging, the larger the font, the more frequent the word use. It was created by Wordle. It's not a surprise that the largest word is "Delilah".

I actually made something for my co-workers for Christmas. Although I briefly considered making a knitted gift (found this really cute knitted lump of coal, did you see his name is Grumpy? Ha!), but I didn't really have the time or the stamina to knit five gifts.

Then, I remembered a sweet snack called White Trash Mix, which I was introduced to at office party years ago. There are a ton of variations of the recipe out on the internet, but the way I remember it (and how I made it) is:

1. Melt 1 package of Almond Bark in microwave
2. In separate large bowl (sprayed with Pam), mix 2 cups of Corn Chex, 2 cups of Cheerios, half of bag of pretzels, a bag of M&Ms and one-half of a can of party peanuts.
3. Pour the melted almond bark into the dry mixture and fold in carefully.
4. Spoon out mixture onto wax paper and allow to cool and harden.
5. Once cooled, break up into pieces and keep in airtight container.

I ended up with enough for gifts for five co-workers and an extra bit for home. Here's a picture of what is left.

I also tried my hand at peanut butter fudge. However, I feel like I cheated because this was the easiest and most simple recipe possible. It turned out pretty good, but I have a lot left over. I love peanut butter so much, but this stuff is very rich I can't eat too much without feeling bloated.

I packaged up my White Trash Mix and Peanut Butter Fudge and gave them out in cute Christmas-themed chinese take-out boxes from Michaels. I was pretty satisfied with my efforts and I was confident that my co-workers would like it. We had decided a few weeks ago that we would not be extravagant in our gifts this year due to the economy and knowing that most of us were not in a position to spend a lot. This was especially true because we did not get Christmas bonuses this year. Only one person went overboard (in my opinion) and got everyone gift cards from Outback.

I made another knitted cap; I would imagine this is called a skull cap. I just love the pattern on the crown of this hat. This variation has two small stripes, so I can practice adding colors. I'm pleased with the results; I have some black and pink yarn I want to use next but I would like to include more than a stripe. I would love to do hearts or something feminine. I'm searching the web and Ravelry for patterns.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

When There Aren't Any Directions, I Overcompensate

Until now, I've skipped over patterns that require color changes. If any of my previous knitting had different colors, it was because I was using variegated yarn. While browsing the forums on Knitting Help, I came across an easy pattern for hats. They recommended adding a color to give it some character. So I rummaged through my mish-mash of Michael's yarn and found some blue and red worsted weight yarn for my project.

The instructions for the simple 2x2 ribbed hat were minimal, and the hat knitted up really quickly. I searched the internet for the best way to add color to knitting in the round, and I declare my first attempt a success. However, I made two mistakes in the main color knitting. I dropped a stitch at the beginning and had to go back and weave some additional yarn in there to cover up the hole (you can see it in the picture in the lower left-hand corner). Additionally, I messed up the ribbing for about 10 stitches (not visible in the picture since I made sure that was on the side you don't see).

The other huge error on my part was making it too longer. The pattern only gave guidelines ("work for 7 to 9 inches"), so I knitted the maximum (number of stitches in round = 88 and length of knitting = 9 inches). As you can see by my modeling of the cap, it is way too big. I am searching for someone with a huge noggin, because even with my extra big head and fluffy hair, I'm still swallowed by the hat.

However, I'm not letting this get me down. I've already started a new hat, with fewer stitches (76) and I'm not going past 7 inches in length. The requisite red stripe will be present in this second attempt.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Birthday Thoughts

Today is my 39th birthday. While brushing my teeth this morning, I looked at myself in the mirror and thought about myself at 19, and tried to remember if what I am at 39 is what I pictured then. I couldn't remember. At 19, I was dating my ex-husband, working at an engineering firm and attending community college. Now, I'm divorced for almost 8 years, working for an attorney, and enrolling in graduate school.

One benefit of being 39 is that I've got a lot of experience (and, not that *kind* of experience...get your mind out of the gutter :p). I analyze situations for solutions and I have trust in myself to get things accomplished. I'm not afraid to ask questions when necessary.

I do not mean to imply that I have found inner peace. There are many aspects of my life that I think require a ton of work, and I have difficulty motivating myself for issues related to my personal care (emotional and physical).

I have repaired my relationship with my parents and I have a deep respect for my younger brother, who I am proud to point out to people that we are related (although I am not so sure he can say the same).

No matter how much I want to, I'm not going to annotate my resolutions or plans for my 39th year. I'll just build them up in my brain and report on them as I feel necessary.

I actually have a Christmas tree this year, complete with real presents around it (not underneath because I'm in a small place and this is a table top tree - complete with fiber optics). One picture is with the flash (no lights) and the other is sans flash (fiber optics glowing). For the first time EVER, I realize how quickly Thanksgiving turns into my birthday turns into Christmas.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Latest Addition

I neglected to blog about the fact that Delilah is now my roommate. The neighbor who owned her left me a note on my door that she knew Delilah had adopted me and that she wanted her to be happy. So, long story short, Delilah now stays with me, and my neighbor has visitation rights.

Delilah loves the outside. She howls at the door to be allowed to leave. She seems to be pretty good about hanging around my building. Of course, I still worry that she could take off or someone could take her. Our relationship is still pretty new, so I cave in and give her outdoor time, but only when I'm home. If I'm at work, she's stuck inside. Lucky for me, she just uses that time to sleep.

I'm working on a scarf, using up some really weird yarn I bought a year ago. The yarn is dark gray in color, so I figure this will be a man's scarf. Now I have to find a man that needs a scarf.

My 39th birthday is one week. I'm working on reasons why this should make me happy and not depressed.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

One Hand For Knitting; One Hand For Petting

Delilah's owner has been very gracious and patient with me; she has continued to allow Delilah to come over and spend the night with me. However, I realize that I need to either get my own cat or leave Delilah to my neighbor. I find myself searching online for a cat that tugs at my heart the way Delilah has. My friend's sister-in-law has a few strays hanging out at her house, and I'm going to go see if any of them will become my cat.

But first, another picture of my friend, Delilah:

I was reading the Knitting Help forums and came across a discussion on "no-brainer" flat knit patterns. I've got a sock on my dpns, and it's been there for a few weeks now, even though I've made it all the way to the toe. I just can't seem to finish it. One of the easy patterns they discussed was a scrunchable scarf. The pattern is ridiculously easy, K2 P1, on any multiple of 3 stitches (and you could add one on each side for selvage). This is my attempt at that scarf and it's the first time I've tried fringe. My fringe started out really long, but I'm a really bad barber so the fringe is short.

This scarf was really easy to do while watching tv or petting Delilah. I might try it again, now that I've done it once so I can improve on the original. As I knitted, I was thinking that perhaps I can gift the final products to family. My final product, for this first attempt, is not something I would be willing to gift because it feels too homemade. However, there is always the second time. Or third. Depending on if I get bored with it and finally go back to my poor sock.

Monday, November 16, 2009

She's Gone

Well, my joy was short-lived. My immediate next door neighbor is the owner of Delilah (that's her name, which fits her well, actually). She works nights and has a small dog named Cookie, who is Delilah's friend.

The only problem is that I instantly fell in love with Delilah, and I think I need my own pet. Something in the back of my mind is that my mother is highly allergic and she has always told me not to get a cat. But, honestly, she never comes to visit, I always go to her house. I posted a note on Craigslist about my search for a cat.

I received a promising email from someone looking for a home for her cat. The cat comes with flea prevention (three months), food, and litter. The lady giving up the cat said that she has two dogs and the cat really needs to be in a single-pet household. The cat is strictly indoors and is friendly and needs a lot of love. I'm going to arrange a meeting to see if the cat is a good fit for us.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Finder's Keepers

The weather has been very cool the past two days, so I've been opening the windows to let the fresh air in. I had a visitor one day, who jumped up on my window sill, curiously looking into my apartment. After seeing him several times in as many hours, I invited him in for just a minute. A minute turned into a day, and this morning I went to the store to buy food and litter.

This guy definitely belongs to someone. Although he is well cared for, he does not wear a collar. I'm torn because this little guy is really sweet and I could see myself keeping him as my own. I know I should canvas the neighborhood and ask if anyone knows who he belongs to.

I'm going to post a "Found Cat" poster by the mailboxes to see if anyone will claim him. I'm secretly hoping that he needs a home and that I can keep him.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Silent Night

I can't believe it. I had no Halloween trick-or-treaters this year. Not even my cool pumpkin drew them to my front door.

I keep opening my door and stepping outside to look around and listen for the sounds of little footsteps and laughter. I don't hear anything but cars driving by.

This Halloween is bumming me out. There aren't even any good scary movies on tonight. I watched two Vincent Price films, The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Diary of a Mad Man but both are pretty campy and not exactly spooky. Perhaps I'll check my OnDemand schedule and watch old episodes of TrueBlood.

I had good quality candy too! Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Butterfingers, Nestle Crunch and Baby Ruth. I didn't go for the yucky and cheap combo bags with those nasty orange and black peanut butter kisses and Mary Janes and tootsie rolls.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Deserve Better

An appreciative client gave me a beautiful white orchid. I don't have many plants because I can't even manage to keep my lucky bamboo alive. However, this beautiful flower has all of the buds open and it's been in my possession since October 9.

However, the next Friday was not a good one for me. A different client came into the office and I was in charge of assisting him on the transfer of real property. I had no idea that this particular client was discharged from the hospital one night prior for the treatment of H1N1 (swine flu). My boss failed to inform me, but instead told me, after the client left, to "wash my hands".

After I washed my hands, I went to lunch with a co-worker. It was from this co-worker that I found out that the client was hospitalized and treated for swine flu. When we returned to the office, I immediately went to my boss and asked her directly if the client had the swine flu. She said yes.

I was so angry with my boss, and I confronted her about it. Of course, she failed to understand that the issue was the fact that she was aware of this client's illness one full day before he came into the office but she failed to notify me, the person who would be in direct contact with him. She just ran around trying to reassure me that I would not contract H1N1.

Typically, I let things like this go because I cannot see the value in creating tension at the office. However, I have been pushed past my limit with this woman, and I needed her to know that her unprofessional behavior had not gone unnoticed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My To Do List Is Long

It's been quite a while since I've posted; the last time I posted was the last time I picked up my knitting needles. The main reason was because I bought some books during vacation and I couldn't put them down.

This weekend, I finally picked up my sock project - it's from Sock Innovation by Cookie A. The pattern is called "Angee". I'll have to post a picture later. I think this is another pattern in which I will run out of yarn. The pattern also requires that I read a chart, which is something new for me. So my progress is pretty slow.

The weather is simply beautiful today. A touch too chilly for me (64 degrees at 3:00 p.m.), but the sun is so bright and beautiful.

I renewed my lease for the apartment I'm living in. Yes, this is the same landlord in foreclosure. I justify this by telling you that I negotiated $100 off the rent and added a provision to the lease that in the event the foreclosure is re-initiated (it's basically stalled since April), I have the right to cancel the lease early without penalty. With the way things are going at work right now, I'm glad not to have to worry about moving in addition to everything else that seems to be going wrong.

I will get my act together and start catching up on everything I've been putting off since I've been back from vacation.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Live from the Eastern Shore

Sitting outside my brother's condo in beautiful Ocean City, Maryland. I'm enjoying the view and the weather, which has been mostly in the upper 70s and low 80s. Even when it's hot here, the breeze keeps it from being intolerable.

One thing I can say is that it certainly does not smell like the beach to me. My brain has a hard time resolving the fact that I'm on a beach vacation but I've only been in my swimsuit a handful of times. I do miss the smells associated with Florida beaches....a mixture of coconut oil, Coppertone sunscreen, and salty surf.

I managed to finish a pair of socks while I was here. I'll call them Ocean City socks.

I'm off to go take a walk on the beach, sans socks.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

100 Marks This Spot

This is my 100th post! Don't expect too much; I'm weary from a very busy day and I have to get up early and complete a week's worth of work tomorrow.

I finished my sock last night. I will not take a picture of me wearing these beauties until I finish the second of the pair. I really like how it turned out.

My cable provider recently added several HD channels to the basic lineup. I was excited to see that one of those channels was AMC, which broadcasts my most favorite show of all time, Mad Men. I was excited because I thought that the added bonus of seeing my most treasured show in HD quality would be the icing on the cake. But, last Sunday, when the channel was first available, I watched the show in HD without any more admiration or awe than the week before. (As an aside, the only HD programming I truly appreciate is sports and nature shows - that's where you can really see where HD is kick ass.) Thus illustrating the strength of this show and the quality of the production because I could watch the damn thing in black and white and still be utterly enthralled by it. I think my love of the show is a result of the beautiful but flawed characters and the time period.

The show's third season is currently showcasing 1963, which was certainly an amazing year. The modern women's rights movement is born with Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. And in August, the March on Washington, certainly a milestone in the civil rights movement. And then the sky is about to fall on all my Mad Men characters in November with the JFK assassination. At this point in the season, we are in June of 63, right after the Buddhist Monk sets himself afire in protest (one of the characters watches news coverage), and, ominously, we as the viewers are exposed to the wedding announcement for a minor character, which gives the wedding date as November 23, 1963. I sucked in my breath when I saw that scene. I cannot wait to see how the writers deal with the JFK assassination and how the characters I'm so heavily invested in react to this news. Is it how I felt when 9/11 happened? Like you couldn't count on anything? Everything you just took for granted was all just a facade? I live for Sunday nights and Mad Men.

Wow. I wrote a lot for being tired and needing to pack for vacation. This turned out to be a pretty good post (I feel like Debra Winger in Terms of Endearment - where she has to say goodbye to her children since she's dying and she tells them "I think that went pretty well, don't you?")

What is wrong with me? Comparing my blogging to Debra Winger's death scene? I'm too much.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

For The Love of Art

I started a new pair of the BFF socks. I'm using Patons Brand of Cotton Yarn called "Grace". The weight of this mercerized cotton yarn is heavy and I can tell that as I knit this sock. I'm actually on the toe portion of the sock today and I should be finished tonight. I really love the colors and I think this yarn shows off the BFF pattern much better than the yellow-greenish yarn from before.

I met the sweetest couple a few weeks ago. I had to make a visit to this couple's home to have papers signed for an upcoming closing; I'll call them Mr. and Mrs. B. Mr. B is in his late 80's and Mrs. B is 92 years old. I walked into their home with a singular goal in mind (to have my paperwork signed) and sat at their kitchen table. As I was leaving, I turned and took in the living room and hallway to discover their walls are covered with paintings. Real art. No glass. The pictures are beautiful and Mrs. B informs me that she is the artist. She studied in New Orleans and she works mainly in oils but tried watercolor when she moved to Florida, as watercolor seemed to be the preferred medium. I was overwhelmed by her paintings and I wish I could have taken the rest of the day to sit and talk with Mrs. B. I don't think she paints now, especially because I've seen her signature and it's rather shaky. Her pictures were mainly of still life (flowers, fruit, buildings) but she had some paintings featuring people (nuns kneeling in prayer, young ballerinas practicing in front of a mirror), and I was drawn to them immediately. Simply wonderful work, even to the untrained and novice eye. I feel silly for feeling this way, but I was moved by her work. I will get to see Mr. and Mrs. B tomorrow when they come by the office, so I'm going to try and see if she will tell me more about herself.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Good Luck Knitting

I finished my BFF socks. As appears to be my luck, even though I start the socks at the same place from each ball of yarn, the color variation does not exactly match. Cables are really so easy to do but look like you put in so much extra work. Cables are definitely a good "investment". These socks fit nicely around my foot and leg, but they bunch a bit in the front by my ankle. So it was hard to get a good picture of me wearing them.

Knitting socks definitely requires an investment in both fitting the sock appropriately and in getting the right pattern with the right yarn. So I have some books, which I read and marvel at the diligence it takes to figure this out. Then I see beautiful patterns and I just want to knit them. Research and planning be damned; I just guess at the size I want and go for it. I usually take notes while I knit (on index cards, which are now strewn about the living room) but I'm not really that organized. This is why I probably will never be a good knitter for sweaters or jackets or clothing that really requires you to be precise.

Strictly a pessimist at heart, I never have faith that good things will stick. So, when, by chance, I met the department head of UCF's Technical Education and Industry Training Department, I didn't think it would amount to much. However, I was very excited to hear her tell me that her master's program would not only fit my schedule but that I was the perfect candidate for it. Dr. Whiteman was even kind enough to tell me that she would watch over my application and she would be my advisor. This program would allow me to teach at a community or technical college in a specific field of study. This would mostly like be legal studies because of my work experience, but perhaps I could branch out to some type of computer training. I don't really have a plan as to how I will pay for school and I sometimes hear on the news that student loan money is harder to get these days but I don't care. I'll figure it out.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Restless and Anxious

I'll start off today with one finished sock. The pattern is BFF socks by Cookie A.. I can't wait to get the matching sock on the needles. I'm sure the pair of socks will turn out cute. I was more in love with the yarn before I actually knitted it. I just keep buying cheap yarn. I have to learn to splurge on better yarn.

I'm having problems sleeping soundly. It's stress and anxiety due to my job. For example, my favorite night of the week is Sunday. I love Sunday. All day. Sundays are so comfortable and I feel free. I always spend more money on Sundays. I rarely do housework on Sunday. I do most of my knitting on Sundays. And Sunday nights are now filled by viewing of Mad Men, my most favorite television show. However, the last few Sundays have been filled with me counting down the hours until Monday, when I have to go to work and face the projects I'm months behind on and I know I will not accomplish anything close to what will get me out from under this mess. When things get tough or I get scared, I tend to flee. Flight or fight? I'm definitely under the flight category. With my state of mind, I worry that I will do something foolish to get out from under this stress. If I had proper health insurance, I would go find a therapist to help me get out of this funk.

For now, I'll have to bandaid my issues by looking forward to my vacation. I have two weeks coming up in the middle of September. I'll be in Ocean City, Maryland at my brother's condo for at least a week; however, I have no definite plans for the other week.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Clean Up Your Act

I'm watching ESPN right now. Brett Favre is giving a press conference about coming out of retirement and signing with the Minnesota Vikings for $25 million over two years ($12 million for the first year and $13 for the second). While I'm not really a huge football fan, I am surprised that this man is giving a press conference while dressed in a ugly t-shirt, a worn and beat up cap (not even a Vikings hat), and unshaven. This is a man who was offered $25 million to stay retired for goodness sakes. He reminds me of Steve on his day off....as long as he's clothed, then he's good to go.

Onto my knitting, I finished my socks mentioned in the last post. I actually took the socks to work and one of my co-workers said she wanted them. As you can see from the pictures, the socks are a bit big for me. I don't truly understand how to do a test swatch to gauge needle size for the pattern requirements, so I tend to just guess about what needles to use. These socks would be perfect for me if I just use one needle size smaller.

I've done five cookie-cutter type socks (the basic, simplest pattern). I really thought I was ready to venture out into the intermediate patterns and I chose this cable pattern (Best Friend Forever by Cookie A. I've only knitted the cuff and leg and I am working on the heel flap. As I read ahead, I'm wondering if I will be able to figure out the gusset, which looks complicated. The cable pattern continues again on the gusset so I anticipate I will have a problem picking up the pattern again. Cookie A. is a well-known sock designer. If I can master this "basic" pattern of hers, I will definitely consider investing in quality sock yarn and knit some of her more complicated patterns.

Monday, August 3, 2009

It's Not All About Eve

The office I work in has a lot of turnover of personnel. The percentages are pretty equal, with half quitting and the other half getting the boot. The revolving door is a major annoyance, especially when a good worker makes the decision to get the hell out. I just get stuck with covering the work until the next contender comes along.

The newest addition is a young girl, right out of college. I'm sure that she views me as some old sick-in-the-mud, which I can't really resolve in my mind because I don't feel old, but I am really very happy she's here. She's now responsible for a whole division that fell into my lap, and I'm more than happy to hand it off to her. I just can't seem to convince her that I'm not possessive about the files. I would love for her to far exceed my capabilities so that I can be let off the hook. However, the other people in the office anticipate more conflict than teamwork. I'm not worried. I'm going on vacation for two full weeks in September - that's what is in my sights, not some silly power struggle.

I'm working on a new pair of socks. There is a local yarn store that has a sock-making class this Friday, and I'm considering enrolling. A friend from work has tentatively agreed to go with me. Now, this is not a done deal, but it might some fun if my friend and I can go together.

Friday, July 31, 2009

I Woke Up For This?

Actually, I've not been to sleep yet. Flipping channels late at night and I catch an infomercial for Time-Life and they are advertising Sweet Soul of the 70s. I am instantly hooked; my mind is racing - I can't sleep. I want this CD collection so badly, but not enough to call as requested by the infomercial. I just get out of bed and I'm at the computer, looking up the actual cost (because it was advertised for the "introductory" price of $9.95 with free shipping). I tell myself as the computer boots up that if it's under $50, I'm buying it. There were so many good songs I could not keep up with them.

I sense you doubt me. Let's examine my top ten songs from the infomercial (in no particular order):

1. Earth, Wind & Fire - That's the Way of the World
One of the greatest bands of the 70s. This is my favorite, but I also love Boogie Wonderland, Shining Star, Let's Groove, Fantasy (...and we will live together until the twelfth of never...).

2. Diana Ross - Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going Go)
Hearing this song brings up feelings that I had when I graduated from high school. And I don't mean my general feelings about graduating from high school, but literally getting ready to walk into the auditorium as a candidate for graduation.

3. Smokey Robinson - Cruisin'
"If you want it, you've got it forever, this is not a one-night stand". Smokey is my answer to Barry White.

4. The Stylistics - I'm Stone in Love With You
Always wondered how you get "stone in love" with someone.

5.Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. - You Don't Have to Be a Star (To Be In My Show)
Love this for several reasons: Marilyn McCoo hosted Solid Gold for a while and I was a Solid Gold fanatic (which aired right before Dance Fever on Saturday nights); Marilyn and Billy were in one of my other favorite groups - The Fifth Dimension; and, finally, as a kid, I always dreamed about who would be my vocal partner while we sang this song to each other.

6.The Stylistics - Betcha By Golly, Wow
Best chorus ever. Musical equivalent of saying "lmnop" really fast as a part of your abc's and making it sound like one word.

7.The Chi-Lites - Oh Girl
It's the harmonica in the beginning that gets me everytime.

8.Tavares - It Only Takes a Minute
I didn't know the name of the group that sang this until tonight.

9.Rufus and Chaka Khan - Sweet Thing
"Love me now or I'll go crazy". Been there, done that.

10.George Benson - This Masquerade
Very jazzy. I think my dad would even approve of this choice.

Back to my dilemma. I really, really want to splurge and buy this collection. It's 11 CDs! And I want all 170 of the songs promised on the infomercial! I can afford this little luxury, can't it? I can justify spending $50 for all this great music.

So I log onto the computer and type in timelife.com. I click on "Sweet Soul of the 70s" and up pops the price of


And my dream ended.

I went to YouTube video and played the songs I wanted to hear, getting my fix for the night. And now I'm off to bed.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Recent Projects

My socks aren't the same color! I swear I started from the same center pull for each sock. Why didn't they come out the same? The dye lots were the same number on both skeins. My model, who wears men size 9.5, said they are too big for him. And you can see the toes through the socks! Argh. Onto the next pair and hoping that they turn out better. I'm getting tired of the basic socks, but when I attempt to do anything with a cool stitch pattern, it comes out all sorts of crazy. I find it hard to diagnose just where I screw up when it comes to socks.

I knitted a dishcloth for my mom, and I'll probably mail it to her with a cute card. I want it to be sort of a surprise - who doesn't love to receive a nice card in the mail? I feel very obligated to my mom, who provides me with emotional support and she tries sometimes to do more than that. It's the "more than that" that sometimes causes hard feelings. And I hate myself when I think I've hurt her feelings.

Monday, July 13, 2009

No Soup for Me

Today was a really crappy day. And then it was night, which wasn't much better. I realized that the farthest I have ever lived from my hometown is 75 miles, and that's not very far. This is not comforting to me; perhaps I've used it as a crutch. My dealings with my parents usually end with me compromising my desires to accommodate theirs. And, if I get hard-headed about something, well, it is that much more painful when I eventually cave in. This realization is one of those things that just sneaks up on a person - like when I realized that I'm really overweight - and I can't imagine how I tricked myself into believing anything other than what is obviously the truth. It's like I live in my head and then I suddenly become grounded with the full weight of the truth (no pun intended).

My conversation with my mother tonight made me realize that she honestly believes that it is in my best interest to have a partner who can financially take care of me. I had to explain to her that I know that I will always be responsible for my own well-being, even if I get married. How naive of her. It makes me laugh - as if there is some big bowl of man soup out there and I have to keep bobbing for that man who can provide for me financially and emotionally. Actually, I can reverse the argument and consider how well I am suited for a partner; I have a decent job (perhaps not enough to support a family) but am I of any value in providing someone emotional support and love? For some reason, of which I can't really place a reason for, the promise of financial stability means relatively little to me these days. Perhaps this is due to the reality of the economy these days. People who used to be so secure in their jobs and careers are quickly learning what it is like to have the rug pulled out from under them. Planning for the future is a nice gig, when you are raising a family or young enough to enjoy the ride, but me...I don't fall into either of those categories. I'm not trying to be nihilistic; but I am a pessimist by nature. And just a simpleton who can't see how any of this really matters; I just needed to satisfy my need to vent in public.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Weekend Rules

I don't like commitments on the weekend. I'm very greedy when it comes to my time away from work. I feel like I need to protect my downtime from unnecessary stress or from being used for anything other than my happiness. Therefore, making plans for the weekend is serious business. But don't think that this means I make exotic or exciting plans; it just means that I'm really selfish with my time.

I met with a friend this weekend to help her out with some computer problems she was having. She repaid me by inviting me to stay for dinner, which was a delicious spanish meal of pink beans and rice and pork chops. She even packed up leftovers for me. I made tentative plans with her for future weekends, but she obviously doesn't know me well enough because who knows if I will deem it important enough in the future.

This desire and need to control my time is based on my current occupation, wherein I get absolutely no say in anything and random events and straight-up craziness rules what and when I do something.

This weekend I finished a new sock, which I made too big for me, which sucks because I think the colors are really cute. I have a bunch of new sock yarn, purchased from eBay. The sock fits a man's shoe size 9-1/2 (see the pictures below).

So I will knit the companion to this sock and pray I can convince my model to wear them in public.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Cruising and Knitting

This weekend I went with a group of girls (former co-workers) on a five-hour gambling cruise. I had no idea what to expect, but since it took me 24 hours to blog about it, you can rest assured that I did not win any jackpots. While I've never been to Las Vegas (well, I switched planes in Vegas on my way to Japan, but enough about that), I have been to the casinos in Biloxi and Tampa.

This boat was pretty stinkin' old and every floor had slot machines. There was also one floor with blackjack, poker, craps, and roulette, but I had no desire to lose money on those games. I know I lost money at slots, but at least I had control over what I lost. It's so hard to do that with the multi-player games. My job is so miserable these days that I find it sickening to throw away that money on a gamble. I put up with craziness for forty hours a week, and if I want to throw away my money, it's going to be on something that makes me happy. And, sitting on a boat, in a room filled with smoke and listening to 200 computer slot machines, is not my idea of fun, free drinks notwithstanding.

The best part of the trip was going to the top deck and sitting in the sun and watching the ocean. Now, considering that the boat trip was only $8, I feel totally comfortable with my expenditure. I played slots in order to fit in with the other girls, but truthfully, I could have spent all five hours on the deck with a good book and my ipod.

I am working on a new pair of socks. I wanted something I would wear with my brown loafers, so I thought this cream-colored lightweight wool would work. I've knitted up one sock and it fits snuggly. However, the yarn is a bit too bulky. When I try to put the loafers on with the socks, I've got a really tight fit. Drat!

I'm going to finish the matching sock and go on the hunt for a more perfect sock for a newbie like me.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Origins

Today is Father's Day. I spent a few hours yesterday with my dad and stepmom, having lunch with them and getting a look at their remodeled patio room. My dad looks good for a man turning 69 on June 29. He's the one person in my immediate family who has changed the least. And believe me, that's not necessarily a good thing. However, it is my father who coined the word "grumpbump" when I was a child. If I was in a bad mood, my dad would call me "grumpbump" or "grouchpouch". My father is also often credited with this exchange:

Me: "Go ahead"
Dad: "Who's a gourdhead?"

I finished my second pair of socks. They are too big for me but I let one of the girls at work try them on and they fit her. I'm having a bit of problem with the toes but the socks turned out quite well. I used proper self-striping sock yarn for this project.

I am actually planning a real vacation this year. In September, I'm going to Ocean City, Maryland and then probably onto D.C. I can't wait for it. I'm also considering taking a local weekend trip for the July 4th holiday too. I'll also have to plan to move shortly thereafter in October because my lease is finally up. I can't wait to be out of this blasted rental.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

How Long Can I Milk This Sock Thing?

I loaned my camera to my co-worker. She's on a family vacation to Cooperstown, NY. You'll just have to put up with my camera phone pictures until then.

I'll start with my first pair of socks:

I'm working on a new pair of socks, with self-striping yarn I got on sale at Michaels.

I've got to go work on some beer cozies for my brother. He's using our family's patented guilt techniques, handed down over generations, to get me to deliver on my promises.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Little Bit of Learning Goes A Long Way

So I read some more, and just as I suspected, after actually working one sock, I understood the written directions so much better. Even though I messed up on the cuff ribbing and I still have holes at the gusset, this sock is so much better than the first. I'm actually going to make a second to go along with it. I mean, this sock actually has a properly formed heel and the triangle/diamond-shape at the gusset. And I thought the yarn was black, but it's more of a brownish color.

After I make this pair, I'm going to the yarn store and buy pretty sock yarn. And, of course, I'm going to read up on how to close up those holes I got when I worked the gusset.

Sock Facing Left

Sock Facing Right

Monday, May 25, 2009

One Sock

I actually knitted a sock; I can't believe it.

Sock Off The Needles

Not Exactly Hanes-Worthy

Pretty, if you don't get too close

There are a few holes in my knitting, but I've decided to leave well enough alone. Now that I have actually gone through the steps to knit a sock, I will pull out my knitting book and see if I can identify my mistakes. My method - a single sock on double-pointed needles - is not really useful if I am serious about knitting a pair. I've heard that two-at-a-time method is best because you can guarantee the pair come out the same. Or perhaps I should try baby socks next to speed up the time it takes to knit them. Wish I knew someone who was having a baby. I'm very excited about my future in socks.

I Didn't Understand the Instructions

My sock is so funny looking. Once I tried to knit the heel, I got everything confused. So I just kept knitting the best I could. The project closely resembles a sock, but the heel is so wrong that I chose not to document it. I have seams where there should not be seams, so wearing this sock for a prolonged time would probably not feel good. There will be no twin for this sock because even if I tried I could not recreate it due to the liberties I took with this one.

I have several knitting books, and I read them as carefully as I can. However, it seems that I don't really get what they are telling until after I've attempted the project. As soon as I finish my sock, I know I'll be able to go back and re-read my sock book and understand what the author was trying to tell me. Although I learn through reading, my knitting would not be as far along as it is if not for on-line video and practical application.

The shape of things to come

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sock Chronicles

I'm really struggling with this sock. I've done the leg and completed the heel and heel turn and I'm now required to pick up the stitches necessary to start the gusset. I ask myself the "What-sset"? That's why I'm online right now; to see if there are any videos which might demonstrate in real time what the heck I'm supposed to do.

The Tao of a Sock

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Finally! A Sock Is Born!

Happy Anniversary to me. One year ago, I decided to teach myself how to knit. I'm currently working on my first pair of socks. Technically, my first sock. I'm using as a guide and tutorial a book I bought a few months ago, Getting Started Knitting Socks. I am not very far along, as I have never used double-pointed needles before. My only experience with knitting in the round is with a circular needles using the Magic Loop technique (which I love....it's really so easy).

Sock Beginnings

Easy Knit Cabled Hat

The great thing about knitting is that it always relaxes me. Even if it's a tough pattern that I have to do over and over (as when I tried to knit a lace stitch pattern), there is no frustration, just determination to get it right. Since I've been knitting, I can't look at a sweater or scarf or socks without seeing the pattern intricacies or the cabling involved and admiring it lustfully. I've finally found a hobby that I enjoy and that has so many levels to it that I can always be challenged and never bored.

This Memorial Day weekend, I'm starting a new project - learning to speak Spanish. !Que Loco!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Force Is With Me

Years ago, I bought this Star Wars t-shirt at the Virgin Records store at Downtown Disney (on a side note, I also got a cool Goonies t-shirt at the same time, but my ex-boyfriend ripped up the shirt during our breakup...jerk).

Whenever I wear the shirt, someone comments on it. Typically, it's a guy who says something. I've gotten "cool shirt" or "where did you get it". Today, when I was at Michael's picking up more yarn (which, by the way, I'm not buying any more yarn for at least 6 months.....I have way too much on hand right now to justify any more shopping sprees), the cashier, a young lady, said she liked my shirt but that she had never seen the movies. WHAT??? I told her it was well worth the rental to experience the Force that is the original three films.

The weirdest episode happened while Steve and I were at a pizza place for lunch. Our waiter said he loved my shirt. I thanked him while Steve rolled his eyes. Our waiter told me he felt a connection with me and took something out of his pants.....his wallet (which had the same distressed Star Wars logo as the shirt).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sweets For the Stressed

Ah, stress. In my past jobs, I used stress to push out as much work as possible. I could do a whole heck of a lot when the pressure was on and the deadline was fast approaching. This is when I was working 60+ hours per week and at least one day on the weekend. I had no life; just work.

I've decided to embrace the old cliched adage to take each day as its own and be happy. Therefore, work seems tedious and in the way of me trying to figure out what makes me happy. My reaction to stress is completely different; I don't want it and I will not accept it. When I had to take on three different jobs at work, I simply just quit doing anything except the immediate project required each day. Every day, I was another full day behind. Very frustrating, trying to keep my energy up and looking at my desk with files everywhere and nothing moving forward.

While looking for balance in my life, I face the realization that I am 38 years old and still searching for what I want in life. This frustrates my parents, who can't understand why I seem to flounder. Sometimes, when we speak, I can hear their disapproval in the types of questions they ask me or the comments they make. I try really hard not to take it personally nor to beat myself up over it. I am responsible for who I am and if I'm a work in process, then so be it.

Today, my stress reliever was making cupcakes.

Chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How I Live Frugally

I want to quit my job and knit dish towels and cozies all day.

I'm trying to decide whether to shut off my HBO subscription. I need to cut costs and my two favorite shows, Big Love and Flight of the Conchords, are finished for the season. However, I love Real Time With Bill Maher. And how much will I really be saving? $10 a month? There are many television shows that you can watch online, perhaps I can find Bill out there somewhere.

I think I could manage, albeit reluctantly, to do away with my cable package in its entirety (well, just basic) and cut my bill to close to nothing. However, I cannot live without the internet. That's my crutch. I may be reduced to eating ramen noodles and hotdogs, but I'm going to have the ability to wiki or google whatever pops into my head. And don't even get me started on Facebook.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Return of Peroni

My second attempt at the cozy is greatly improved. I can knit this thing in one evening. So, send me your addresses and I will mail you each one (at least until I get bored with knitting this).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cozy Crazy

Today, I went to my first real yarn store, Sip and Knit. It was very relaxing. But so expensive. The yarn was so beautiful and the fibers were so soft. What a luxury; too bad my financial picture does not support me purchasing yarn at $11 per skein.

Back to my house (with my Michael's yarn stash), I am getting hang of knitting in the round. I just finished my first soda can cozy. The free pattern can be found here. I don't drink soda at home, so I had to go with a beer for posing purposes.