Sunday, December 26, 2010

Not Home For The Holidays

It's the end of the year, practically, and I'm in a horrible mood.  My dream of home ownership for 2010 is unattainable, and I don't feel that things are promising for 2011.  Typical me, I want to blame someone for this.  When I'm angry or hurt or slighted, I must direct my emotions to someone.  I feel better doing this.  The person solely receiving all the blame this time is my realtor.  Around the time of my birthday, the middle of December, the promise of closing on a house fell apart.

On that day, my birthday, my realtor called me and told me to contact my mortgage broker because I had to close before the end of the year.  So, on December 13, with approximately 12 working days left until the end of the year, I had to get my loan originated, underwritten, approved, and closed.  I told my realtor this was nearly impossible.

The house I was purchasing was a short sale, and I knew that my loan officer would need to see the short sale approvals as a part of the loan process.  When I requested those from my realtor, they never materialized.  I could see that this closing was not really going to happen by December 31, and I would be left holding the bag for the cost of a survey, appraisal, and home inspection for a home that would never really be mine.

We didn't give up right away; our realtor convinced us to submit a new, lower bid for the house, and it was quickly turned down by the sellers.  And, in keeping with the mess that this whole process has been, my realtor informs me that the sellers are not approved for a short sale.  Therefore, this means that some time between December 13 and December 23, ten days, the sellers went from a short sale approval to no approval at all.

I am frustrated because I feel helpless and stressed because I'm worried that there is not a house out there for us.  I am also sick of living in this small apartment and anxious to move out.

I've not done much knitting this holiday season but I'm planning to expand my craft during the new year and tackle a bigger project.  Perhaps something like a simple cardigan.

I will blog again before the actual end of year.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Future Impatient

My sweater wrap is off the needles but it needs to be blocked.  What worries me a bit is there appears to be some pulled stitches and I don't know if blocking will take care of that.

Only a small portion of the completed wrap
I bought mats and pins for blocking, so I'm really going to try to do this correctly.  This means I'll be back on the Internet, researching blocking procedures.  I think I'll go to the store and get some Wool-lite because I'm hoping that will fix the problems with the pulled stitches.

I started another cat blanket in order to use up some of my stash yarn and to practice knitting stripes.  The blanket is coming along great (it's so easy - all knit stitch) but I messed up by running out of a color in the middle of a row.  I'm not sure how to fix it and, of course, this glaring error almost ruins the blanket for me.  Then I remember, it's for the cats.  I'm going to have a bigger problem getting them to actually use it.  I'm just going to look at the error as a lesson learned.  

Ran out of pink and messed up the stripes
There are only four weeks left in this year and it looks there will not be a closing for us.  Realistically, I knew a  short sale would be a longer process, and my frustration stems from having a lazy realtor.  I never get updates from him and he randomly returns my emails.  I know he can't make a closing happen when there are a ton of variables out of his control.  However, he could and should be updating me on a weekly basis, even if it is to say "there's nothing new".  I am quite annoyed that I have to stay on top of him about everything.  I already do this as a matter of practice for Mr. Grumpbump but that's because I love him and he's my husband.  And sometimes, even doing this for Mr. Grumpbump pisses me off.  So, having to take care of a lazy realtor, who is supposed to be working for me, makes me completely insane and I have a hard time controlling my anger.  

After I sent him an email, telling him that, "while I don't expect you to make a closing happen, I am very disappointed by your lack of initiative in getting updates and information on these deals."  He responded after two days and said that he has sent me over 20 emails since October 7, including new market comparable listings. And that I have to be "patient".   I can't imagine being more patient with this fool, who has ignored me for the whole month of November.  My expectations are realistic, but his interaction with me has been disappointing.  Of course, his answer to tell me what I need to do.  I am so unhappy with him and just hope that one of our contracts is accepted and I can't get out of this business relationship with him.


Meanwhile, we are in a holding pattern with our apartment.  There are several things we need to buy but we have zero storage space (when we have people over, we have to use our closet as a temporary hiding place for junk using left out in the open).   I did break that rule and buy a cat condo over the Thanksgiving. Mr. Grumpbump wanted to wait but I couldn't see a good reason why we should.  I bought it hoping that Delilah Cat would like it so much that she would stay inside more.  I know you can guess what I'm going to say next, but Delilah is underwhelmed by it and makes no moves toward it.  Do not put it past me to pick her up and put her on it.  She quickly jumps out and runs to the door, yelling at me to allow her outside.    


Before you pity me for wasting money on this carpeted condo, remember that Miss Macy is a very good housecat.  And she loves the new views she has from the perches.  Also, in even better news, she actually uses it as a scratching post.  As if it is a part of my contract, the camera comes out and I've taken so many pictures of her in the condo that it even bores me now.


When I get close to her, she looks HUGE in this little perch
Macy The Spy.  

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Does Walking to the Mailbox Count As Exercise?

I am so lazy on the weekends, or at least that's what it seems like.  Actually, I think it is more accurate to describe my weekends as "a body in rest, stays in rest; a body in motion, stays in motion".  Today, I am definitely in motion.  It's not that I did anything extraordinary, and actually it is a rainy, overcast day, but I managed to prepare two casseroles, one for the husband and one for a co-worker who just had surgery, complete the laundry, clean the kitchen, and make chicken for stir-fry tonight.

After I finish this blog post, I'm going to go back to knitting my sweater wrap, which has been on my needles since forever (February of 2010).  I have about 12 inches left to knit on it but it feels like I have a mile to go.

I also finished my thank-you cards from the wedding.  I have two left to do, and they are for my bosses at work.  Of course, I only had a few stamps on hand but I'm sure I have a few extras in my purse.  In fact, I found a stamp stuck to the hand lotion in my purse.

Just about the only thing that isn't making me satisfied is my weight.  I gained very slightly last week (I attributed it to the wedding) but I am not feeling the love this week either, even though I'm on plan.  I hope I'm just maintaining and that I'm not actually gaining weight.  I would hate to start the holidays this way.

I've been bugging Mr. Grumpbump to buy me a EA Sports Active 2 for the Wii.  I actually used Active and I should probably just start using it again until I get the latest and greatest version.  In fact, if I'm being honest at all, I need to start exercising in order to see results on Weight Watchers.

Possible good news regarding my cats.  Although they do not hesitate to hiss at each other, there have been developments that offer promise and hope that one day these guys might be friends.  On three separate occasions, Delilah and Macy have been on the same couch without incident.  Typically, these two just steer clear of each other and do not share the same space.

Temporary Truce
We can always count on Delilah to provide drama in our lives.  She has now taken to napping in the dryer, if we leave the door open.  Mr. Grumpbump is guilty of this as his idea of doing laundry does not include taking the clothes out of the dryer and putting them up.  Instead he just uses the dryer as additional clothes storage.  And, of course, Delilah takes full advantage of that.

Dryer Cat
We still have no word on our house purchase.  I am getting depressed that we might not close before the end of the year.  With only three working days this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, I am sure we will go yet another week without much news.



 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I Now Pronounce You Crazy Cat Couple

I made vegetable soup today.  Nothing fancy, just a bunch of vegetables I bought at the Farmer's Market this morning.  My goal was to make something very weight watchers-friendly.  It's not exactly zero points (I added chicken stock and whole-wheat rotini) but it's still relatively okay for my new eating plan.

I have not lost any weight this week.  I've splurged too much and I'm afraid to get on the scale.  I have to get out tomorrow and do some exercise, just to justify the extra intake.

Back to the soup, the good news is that it smells really good.  I'm having a bowl of it right now, but it's too hot to eat so the verdict will have to wait.  I made it in the slow cooker and you really can't screw up crockpot food.

Macy and Delilah have exciting news.  Two members of their staff, the ones who provide Delilah and Macy with food and water and love, got married on Thursday, November 11.  Yes, we are very happy.  We are now Mr. and Mrs. Grumpbump.

We had a few guests to our house on Thursday, and, honestly, we were most worried about Macy.  She's still edgy about sudden movements or loud noises, so with everyone in the house, we were convinced she would hightail it to the safest place in the house, under the bed.  We figured Delilah would just ignore everyone and go about her business.

Macy definitely surprised us, in a good way.  While she was not social, she was not shy about walking around all of the new people in the house.  She did not run and hide but stayed out front in her normal positions by the  window.  Delilah hung out in the bedroom and ignored us.  After the wedding, when we got home, we thought all was normal.

That was a big mistake.  Delilah might not have acted out while company was here, but she certainly let us know later that she was over us.  We let her outside, as is the normal routine but she never came back.  After several hours, I went outside to look for her.  She was nowhere.   I had Mr. Grumpbump go look for her and Delilah typically will respond to his calls.  Again, no sign of her.  Of course, I get upset.

Then, around 11:00 p.m., our phones rang.  It was a neighbor calling us to say Delilah was at their house, which was at least five buildings away.  Jeezo'man, I was relieved but also embarrassed because a lot of people have definite opinions about cats wandering around.  Mr. Grumpbump and I walk over to the house and sure enough, Delilah is hanging out and talking to the neighbors.  After introducing ourselves, we explain that Delilah has been like this since we've known her and we do have a collar (with our phones numbers) for just this reason.  Mr. Grumpbump called Delilah to come to him and she headed his way.  However, she then made a beeline to the next house, yelling at us and warning us with her tail swishing that she wanted nothing to do with us.  We cornered her and I picked her up; Delilah was howling at me the whole time, definitely unhappy that we were taking her away.

I was even more upset as Delilah has never acted like this before.  Sure, she doesn't always stay right around the house, but she has never before been unhappy to see us.  We had her inside that night for about 10 minutes before she started howling and crying to leave again.   We let her out.

I'm not sure when she decided to come back in but later that night, I woke up and Delilah was in bed with us, as normal.  My concern was elevated because that next day, Mr. Grumpbump and I were gone for the whole day and were staying at a hotel that night.  I called a friend of mine, who agreed to stop by and look after the cats while we were away.  Delilah was in the back of my mind all night.

When we got back from our trip today, Delilah was in our bed, sleeping, not concerned about anything.  I felt pretty silly about working myself up and convincing myself that Delilah was leaving us.  Macy was awake and alert.   Macy has so many good qualities and I'm sure that her sensitivity will wear off as she gets more and more used to us.  She already is very good about sitting with us on the couch, and she talks to us all the time.

Delilah is my fickle, quirky cat, and her indifference to me makes me try harder to control her.  Of course, this equation equals failure.  In fact, as I type this, Delilah is out roaming the neighborhood, while Miss Mace sleeps on the couch behind me.

When our guests were here, Mr. Grumpbump left the door open and Macy actually walked four steps outside.  We all panicked and followed her, calling her to come back.  Lucky for us, Macy is smart and knows that the home she has means constant food, water and love.  She took her four steps of freedom and turned around and came back in the house.

Macy Love

When we get our house, Mr. Grumpbump is concerned that Delilah will be hard to train to stay around.  If we get the house we want, Delilah might just be forced to be indoors all the time.  If we can convince her to stay indoors, most of the stress associated with her would be gone.  I think our best bet is also to introduce ourselves to our neighbors and let them know who Delilah is.  We will deal with it when the time gets here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy With Less

I'm working on another pair of socks.  This pattern is knit 3, purl 1 rib.  It goes well with the variegated yarn of blues and browns.  The sock is rather large on me (as usual).  I could not get a decent photo of it on my foot so here it is on display:


The second of the pair on the needles but I'm slow going on it.  I have been busy lately.

I have lost 10.6 pounds since September 22!  Slow and steady - about 1.5 lbs per week on Weight Watchers.   I've not had a week where I didn't lose weight, although I had one week where I only lost .2 lbs.  Seriously.  What is that?  However, I rebounded the next week with over 2 lbs.  Weight Watchers has really helped me with portion control and eating smarter.  My vegetable and fiber intake has dramatically increased. Now I actually eat vegetables with pleasure.  I have finally reached adulthood!

I'm still waiting for an answer on the short sale offer on two houses.  I would love to have a definite answer from the seller's bank before Thanksgiving, but there are no guarantees.  

The cats are doing fine.  They aren't friends but they manage to stay away from each other enough.  I feel like Macy does not get as much as attention, mainly because she is not as pushy with us as Delilah Bug.  Macy is so sweet and does like to sit with us on the couch, compared to Delilah who is usually too busy outside to give a hoot about us.

Macy Gray relaxing on the couch
This upcoming week should be a big change, but I reserve the right to post about it until after the event.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Covering Up

I finished my socks. They are unremarkable and I'm hoping to improve on this new short-row heel technique I've learned.

Nothing Fancy.

The New Heel
These socks were knit with size 2 dpns, which are easily my favorite size.  I just cast on 64 stitches and knitted a cuff of 12 rows of K1, P1 (but you knit through the back loop of the knit stitch).  The foot and leg are simple knit stitch all the way around.  The socks don't have a good fit, probably because the garter stitch does not have very much give.

I've started a new pair of socks, but this time I'm going to do the leg and cuff in a rib pattern, to (hopefully) insure that the fit is more snug.  The color pattern of this yarn is also variegated - this time it is greens and browns and gray and turquoise.  I'm planning to knit more of a knee sock.  We will see how this first sock goes.

I have completely given up on trying to do cable patterns in my socks.  I used to love knitting cables, but with socks, I find it too aggravating.  I tried to do cables in my newly cast-on sock, but I frogged it back to the cuff after about four rows.  I'm searching for some patterns that are based on rib stitches but create interesting patterns.  I have a couple more skeins of solid colors (purple and pink) that would really show off cool stitch patterns.  I am relying on Ravelry searches to find free patterns.

I'm trying to distract myself from some real problems at homes by concentrating on my knitting.  So far, all I have been doing is pushing them to the bottom of the pile, but those problems have a way of creeping back up to the top.  I'm not sure what do to; I'm only sure that when these problems come to light, I'm going to be in trouble.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Typing This Post Is Distracting Me From Snacking

I finished Sock One of the variegated sock yarn.  Of course, true to my knitting prowess, it's a bit on the big side.  What makes this one special, to me, is that I learned a new heel technique called short row heel.  While I'm not sure that I applied it correctly to this sock, I'm going to knit the second of the pair and then do a search on the internet to see if I did make a mistake.  The wonderful thing for me is that I actually learned this strictly by reading!  I didn't cheat by watching a video, which is not technically cheating, but I feel smarter being able to read and understand knitting instructions.

I knit socks on double-pointed needles, top-down.  The generic heel pattern is one in which you knit a heel flap, and then knit back and forth on it with a short row technique that causes the flap to take a cupped shape, and then that gets connected back to the sock itself by you picking up stitches.  When this technique is done, there is a clear delineation between the heel and the sock itself.

This mitered heel, short row technique creates a heel that is, in my opinion, less obvious but more just a seamless part of the sock.  Now, where I think I screwed up is that I did not do any decreasing once the heel was finished.  As a result, my sock looks really wide and fits that way too.

Seamless Heel!

That's Macy's butt in the corner.
I started Weight Watchers, as I mentioned last time, and I have lost a few pounds.  I am eating so much better these days and making me accountable via the Points system is really the reason for my success (so far).  Some of the replacements, substitutions I've made:  turkey and veggie burgers for hamburger, whipped cream cheese for mayo, sandwich thins for regular bread; I've also added fresh vegetables to lunch and dinner.  I've learned the key is to get low-point but filling foods.  My next step is to increase my activity level so I can start maximizing the weight loss, which is currently due just to me cutting back.

I'm still looking for a house. I have two contracts on homes, but both are short sales.  Therefore, there is really no timetable but instead I have to just sit and wait for the seller's lender to determine if the price is acceptable. What could potentially be terribly frustrating is if after waiting for months, the bank comes back and rejects my purchase price.  However, I try not to dwell on that and instead there is a little part of me that is so excited to consider being a homeowner for the first time in almost ten years.

The latest cat news is that Delilah and Macy are still living separate but equal lives.  However, I haven't figured out if Delilah is trying to get closer to Macy for good or evil purposes.  Delilah does push the boundaries, sometimes, by getting as close to Macy as possible until Macy starts growling.  Macy will eventually slink away but Delilah stands her ground.  It could be a case of Delilah stalking Macy (I notice Delilah rubbing up on a lot of things lately - marking her stuff) but it could also be that Delilah wants to get close to Macy and is less afraid and more curious.  Macy's still too fearful to be receptive to Delilah, but Macy has been very good about always sitting near us, whether it be on the couch or under the table.

All that being said, what is more cute than a sleeping cat?

Delilah stole Steve's heart and now his favorite chair

I'll tell you what....a cat in a laundry basket.

Caught!

She's had it with all the pictures.





Monday, September 27, 2010

Living Up To The Grumpbump Name

I am so hungry.  I started Weight Watchers on Wednesday, September 22.  My plan is to use the Weight Watchers online tools to help monitor my weight and eating, not this blog.  However, I will make sure celebrate any success I have with the program here without getting too specific.

I never realized how poorly I ate and how I have developed the worst eating habits, regardless of my weight.  I know I should have made the connection but I am really good at justifying my behavior to myself.   No crisis of conscience for me when there is a brownie in my sights.   This past week I have really adhered to the program and recorded everything I've eaten.  I've also turned my food intake upside down - I now eat more vegetables than anything else (thanks to a visit to the Farmer's Market on Saturday).  I'm trying hard to incorporate more fruit as well.

One of my worst traits is my quick submission to my cravings and weekends bring out the worst in me.  I added as many vegetables as possible to my meals to fill me up but it was not easy.  My saving grace is that I'm not a very picky eater, so the options available to me are varied.  For example, I made a vegan burger for dinner, with red onion, tomatoes, cucumber slices, and bread and butter pickles.  I use sandwich thins for the bread and I splurged with a teaspoon of mayo on the bread.  Very filling meal and I still have a few points left to eat some yogurt and fruit or even to enjoy some Weight Watchers ice cream.

In order to keep myself busy, I started a new pair of socks - this time using a variegated yarn.  It is so hard to find a pattern for variegated yarns because the changing colors can overwhelm most stitch patterns.  I started the same sock at least four times, each time making it about 20 rounds before I decided I hated it.  My knitting tends to be tight, and on top of knitting with small needles, projects that require you to knit into stitches more than once really have me pulling my hair out.   I'm going to start again tonight.and this time I'm going with something very easy and simple and I'm going to jump up one needle size. Variegated is pretty but not as fun as a solid.

Macy knows what you are thinking!  Shame on you!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hoping For A House


I finished the second sock!  It took me no time to get that one done, even though I realized my notes from the first one were not as complete as I needed them to be.  So I did a lot of holding up the first sock to compare it to the second one in progress.

From Steve's View

From My View

I am joining Weight Watchers starting Wednesday.  I am not looking forward to this, but when the commercials for Jenny Craig and NutriSystem actually start to look promising, I know it's time to do something about this problem.   I started exercising in the mornings - not of my own free will and not even because Steve has been on my case.  It is because the cats start screaming at me for food starting around 6:15 a.m.   After making sure that Delilah and Macy are eating (separately) and they have clean food and litter, I turn on the television and look up the OnDemand exercise channel.   The selection is varied but I've only been doing the cardio workout.  

I wish I had good news about my house purchase, but everything dealing with short sales is hurry up and wait.    I have a contract on a really nice house but I'm waiting for the seller's bank to approve the contract.  It is really hard not to put all my faith and hope into one house because the reality is that there are too many variables in short sales.  The key is to be patient and have lots of offers and options out in the market.  I was patient for, let's face it, about ten days.   I am going to start a new pair of socks to provide me with a distraction so I don't yell at my realtor (again).

Don't Mess With Me, Delilah!




Sunday, September 12, 2010

I Actually Did Things This Weekend

I completed two projects this weekend.  The aforementioned patchwork cat blanket and now, Sock One of Two, which was started more than a month ago.  Here's hoping that I can get Sock Two on the needles tonight.  It always seems that the second sock of a pair goes quicker than the first.

I still have fit issues. I understand the mechanics of sock knitting but do not have the patience or the fortitude to adjust the pattern for my feet.  Instead, I just strictly knit the pattern as-is.  Although, this pattern calls for size 1 needles, but I just could not get those to work for me.   This sock was knitted on size 2 needles. (Hint:  If you click on the pictures, you can get a closer look.)

No cables, but the look is intricate

I'm not sure I like this heel

Macy said I did a good job.

I have a ton of sock yarn in this colorway (deep solid purples, blues, and pinks, with variegated versions too).   I'm leery to do a cable pattern because I have problems with knitting cables on such small needles and cable patterns are a lot of damn work!  Socks can be nice when they are a quick knit (comparatively speaking).   I'm the type of knitter that is okay with taking time on a project when the pattern is easily memorized.  My cat blanket took me longer than I normally like, but the pattern was so easy to do and also to put down and be able to pick back up at any time.  Cable patterns....not so much.

Sunday nights are my favorite at this time because it means Mad Men, even though Monday morning is right around the corner.   I'm going to get my Sock Two on the needles right now so I can feel I had an even more productive weekend.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Things That Distracted Me

I missed a whole month of posting due to my  preoccupation with (i) work; (ii) my favorite television show, Mad Men, and the newest season; (iii) knitting; and (iv) everything else that interferes with sitting in front of the laptop.

As you know, I adopted another cat.  I have promised myself  that I will stop at two.  No more pets; I haven't even told my mom about Macy yet (she's severely allergic and Delilah was not a welcome addition for her).  Macy is doing better these days - we've had her since July 30 and now, almost 7 weeks later, we see definite improvements with her.  She is much more relaxed around us and she frequently joins me on the couch.  Also, she is much more playful than Delilah Bug and I try to make a habit of engaging Macy with one of those cat teaser toys.  Macy also gets a kick out of messing with me while I'm knitting.  The movement of the yarn makes her jump at it and that's when the cat teaser comes out so I can distract her from my yarn.  

I knitted a mat to use underneath the litter box (using up my scraps of cotton yarn) and then got an idea to knit a blanket for Macy to use.  So I got more scrap yarn together and made a mismatched, patchwork blanket using a Quaker Rib Stitch.  I made a real effort to get it done quickly, and every day I would find Macy laying on top of the work-in-progress.  Today, I finished the blanket, snapped the obligatory pictures, and handed it off to Macy for her total use.  Of course, she wants nothing to do with it now.

Maybe I need to wash it in catnip
It's hard to see the stitch pattern in the picture and some of the yarn I had really shows it off nicely.  I ran out of the chunkier yarn so I started using two strand at a time of the thinner yarn.  I'm glad to be using up my stash because then I can buy more yarn - Steve will not let me buy new yarn unless I make a serious dent in what I have already amassed.

I need to figure out how to make my edges cleaner looking.  The cast-on and bind-off edges are fine, but the selvage is a mess of weird bumps.  Perhaps I need to just slip my stitches at the start of every other row (when knitting flat).  I am considering knitting a nice afghan for my mother for a homemade gift, so I want that to look as finished as possible.

Finished Product
My big news is that I finally decided to start looking into buying a house.  This process requires me to be secure in my job and to have a generally positive outlook on life.  Therefore, you know this will be a challenge for me.  However, I don't want to jinx my plans already in progress, so I will not be saying anything specific until I actually have closed on a home.   

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Room Enough For Two

While I have been honest about my-less-than-satisfying relationship with Delilah (hereinafter "Delilah Bug"), I was usually just teasing about getting another cat (specifically one who likes me).  My tendency was towards a kitten, presuming that Delilah would tolerate the addition of a kitten without much threat.  But that is not what happened.

Macy Grey f/k/a Gypsy is what happened.

Macy Gray is a cute name, but could we do better?

The bedroom is her sanctuary from Delilah Bug
She was a stray hanging around a friend's house (because she was getting fed).  Macy is actually on Petfinder.com as Gypsy and you can read her short little bio there.  My friend suggested that Macy might be a suitable second cat for us.  I considered that Delilah would never be able to accept a full grown cat in her house, but I agreed to give Macy at least a two-week trial.

Today is Day Eight of Macy in our household.   Because our apartment is small, we have arranged the cats to limit their interaction unless we are in the house with them.   Macy is usually confided to the bedroom and bathroom behind closed doors and Delilah Bug gets the front room, dining room and kitchen, and, of course, outdoors.   The first few days were rough, with each cat giving her share of the hissing and posturing.  Now, however, things are slightly more mellow, especially for Macy.  

While Macy is still timid and skittish, she is much more relaxed when in Delilah Bug's presence.  She usually just sits still and watches Delilah Bug as she walks by.  Delilah Bug, on the other hand, ignores Macy for the most part.  However, when Macy is directly in her sight, Delilah Bug scrunches up her face and hisses and screams about how important she is in the household but she also usually walks off.  

Of course, we are still limiting them getting in close physical proximity to each other.  I am not sure at what time we will feel comfortable when they are in the same room together (and not constantly monitoring them and holding our breath until they both fall asleep). Delilah Bug was very angry with us for several days and she refused to be held or touched or petted by Steve, her favorite person.  She's coming around now and has started napping for a few minutes with him each day.  

By this time next week, we will make our final decision about Macy's future with us, but I am feeling good about it.

I'm going to end this post with one of my favorite pictures of Delilah Bug.

Washing Up Before Dinner

Saturday, July 31, 2010

And This Is Only Part of My Friday Story

All kinds of drama in my house, but I'll write about that later.

For now, I will just share with you the randomness that was Friday.  Friday was payday and I headed to the bank at lunch to deposit my paycheck (side note: I have been procrastinating signing up for direct deposit).  I decide to get in the drive-through at the bank, and pull up behind a car in one of the lanes.  I notice that the vehicle next to me has not fully pulled forward to the speaker.  I am not sure of what they are doing until the car in front of me moves on and I see this:


It's 1:00 p.m. in Florida in July and it's hot as hell and there are cars circling her, idling while she breathes in the car exhaust and fumes.  And, I checked, this bank has handicap access to the lobby of the bank.  Why would she not just go inside?  It's so random.

After a long day at work, I head home, a bit anxious about things, and Steve greets me at the door.  He points to the outdoor table we have on the patio-area of our apartment.  This is what I see:


Six glasses.  Steve had seen someone walking around our apartment that morning when he got home from work, and I was getting ready to leave.  He went to the door but when he opened the door, there was no one there.  He surmised that the person who was walking around in the morning left the glasses there.  I have no idea why.  Steve thinks the guy was moving out and did not want to take his glasses.  I know, it's a ridiculous theory.  How could you not fit six glasses somewhere?  This is so more than random; it's freaky weird.

Before you ask, I did take the glasses inside and washed them and I plan to use them.  What?  They are nice glasses!

Suddenly, motorized wheelchair lady at the bank drive-through is looking pretty good next to me, right?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sock Story

I've started on a new pair of socks, and I'm happy with the pattern.  It's easy to do but looks complicated.  I usually knit after dinner and can manage to get in a few rounds while watching television.  At the end of the night, I will just deposit the knitting next to the couch.   mean, it's not really exciting.  Actually, it is sort of boring and sad, but that's my life.  The cat who lives in my house, Delilah, just ignores my yarn stash and my knitting in general.

However, yesterday evening, while I was trying to fall asleep, Delilah cat was in some kind of mood.  Steve had coated a toy with catnip earlier in the evening and typically that high only lasts about 30 minutes.  But, here it was, about 11:00 p.m., and I can still hear Delilah batting the toy around the front room.  I ignored it until Delilah came into the bedroom and jumped up on the bed, ending up behind me outside of my line of sight.  She was meowing so I reached behind to move her to my front and she started yelling at me.  That's when I saw the blue yarn wrapped around her back foot.  While she struggled and practically accused me of trying to kill her, I realized that the yarn was from my sock knitting.  I got out of bed, put on my glasses so I could see what damage she had done, and realized that the yarn was wrapped around the bed and out the door.  I was imaging the worst because I followed the yarn trail into the front room.  It lead me back to my knitting, which  I was happy to see was no worse for being part of Delilah's play time.  She had pulled out the extra yarn from the ball instead the finished product.

The Aftermath

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Not So Simple Socks

I finished my "first socks of 2010".  I sent them to my brother, but upon inspection of the photo he sent, I see that they are way too big around the leg, which was the same problem Steven had with them.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but if you look at the leg, you can see how loose they are.

Sock Envy
So, I immediately started on a new pair of socks, this time aiming for a more feminine look (for me).  I pulled out my stash of sock yarn from KnitPicks and my size 1 double-pointed needles and started K2P2 rib stitch.  I knitted ten rows (about 1 inch) and then started a stitch pattern called braid.  This stitch pattern is so cute and a really easy cable pattern.  But, on size 1 dpns, I was having a bitch of a time with the cable and not to mention that the size of my cable needle was twice that of the knitting needles.  Also, it seemed like my knitting was really tight.  I managed about four rows of the cable pattern and then frogged the whole thing.  Basically, all the work I did that evening was unfurled from the needles and I decided to try again the next night.

Tuesday night, I picked up the yarn and cast on again.  Still using the size 1 needles, I completed my ten rows of ribbing and started the cable pattern again.  I really tried to keep my knitting loose this time, but I royally screwed up the cable pattern.  I was still using that cable needle, although I did look up how to cable without a needle, but my whole problem is that these needles were just too small for me to use this trick.  My first mistake on the cable pattern caused me to rip out the stitches again and forgo knitting for the rest of the night.

Wednesday night, I tried again, but didn't even make it through the ribbing before I pulled the whole thing apart.  I've had it with the size 1 dpns.  They are just too small or the yarn I'm using is too thick.  Either way, I can't knit comfortably with them.  I went searching for my size 2 dpns, which is what I used to make my brother's socks above, and I felt like those flew off my needles.

So, here comes Thursday night and I'm casting on 64 stitches on size 2 needles.  I make it through the K2P2 ribbing, but when it comes to the stitch pattern, I've decided to change it to something without cables or just straight knitting.  I choose a pattern that is only a combination of knits and purls - called Moss Rib.  It's on the insert that came with my KnitPicks sock yarn.  I actually complete about four rows of this pattern before going to bed, the first time in a week I have knitting on my needles and not in pile on the couch.

It might look messy but it really is coming together
Our next-door neighbors had a huge fight outside last night.  Steven would not turn down the television and let me listen to what they were saying, so I could not make out what the fight was about.  These neighbors always seem to have some type of drama going on and they apparently love to share it with everyone in the complex.  I went outside to get Delilah but made little attempt to hide the fact that I was more interested in the fight.  Steven came out after me and scolded me for my nosiness.   He never lets me have any fun.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Starbucks Has Been Replaced

I like the new blogger format because it automatically resizes pictures for me.  Just another extra step I don't have to worry about.

I have already finished one sock and, true to my knitting skills, it's way too big for me.  So I immediately looked to my left to the gentleman with the size 9 1/2 shoe, and he is the lucky recipient of my as-yet-unfinished socks.    He still has room to grow, especially around the ankle, but I am satisfied with the outcome.
For My Boyfriend With Big Feet
You know how I complain about my job?  And before you think it, yes, I end up complaining about every single job I've held (since I moved to Orlando).  Today, I received some "friendly advice" not to trust everyone because I could end up on the wrong side of a "power player" and this person offering said advice has seen people lose their jobs over this.   As if losing my job scares me, that doesn't scare me; you scare me by saying I did a lousy job or my work product sucks.  But to scare me by saying I could be fired?  Not happening.  Yes, I have bills and obligations but it's just me.   I can take care of myself, even if I were to be fired.  I had to stifle a laugh when she acted like being fired was the worst thing possible.  She's never walked in my shoes.  Being fired would be a relief.  She should have said that everyone would think I'm stupid.  Now that is what causes me agita.

I can relax when I get home, although it never seems like I have enough time in the evenings, and I get to see Steve and Delilah.   The more we get to know Delilah Cat, the more I see her tailoring her activities (eating, sleeping, and prowling outside) to Steve.  She's really got herself set to his schedule.  She sleeps when he does and then when it's time for him to leave for work, she's out the door to do her own rounds of the neighborhood.   It's never been more evident to me than when I caught the two of them napping together over the weekend.

Mirror images of each other
I snapped several pictures, without the flash to make sure I would not wake them, and I even watched them for a few minutes, much like a creepy stalker.  This becomes my  new "happy place" where I want to go when the world and life and people become too much to take.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Not Wasting Time

I have one of those energy-efficient light bulbs in the lamp over my dining table.   You know what I mean, it's in the shape of a curly-q.  Tonight, a small moth got into the house, and while I sit here at the table, I am watching this little moth fly in circles up to the light and then down from the light, like it's caught in a tornado.

I finished the baby blanket today.  I ended up using the full two skeins of yarn because I was not under a time crunch with this one.  The finished project is 28" x 40".   The mom who requested the baby specifically wanted white only.  I did not double-strand the yarn so it's a very thin blanket, which is not a problem because it's ridiculously hot and humid here.

This is pre-washing and blocking
Delilah does not enjoy the fireworks tonight; she's taken to her favorite hiding space under the bed.  I'm happy with that, as long as she's in the house.

Even though she has greatly increased the amount of time she spends indoors, when I assuming has a lot to do with the extremely warm weather, she still has her moments.  She even coined a new term in the household - "mep".  When she's had enough from me, she lets me know with a "mep", which is sort of an abbreviated meow and yelp in one.  It's definitely her signal to me that I don't need to get anywhere near her.  Just me pointed in her direction can cause a mep.  I'm going to get a sample of a mep recorded so there is evidence of just how much this cat controls my behavior.

Delilah sleeping in the printer box
Did I tell you that I am knitting socks again?  Right after the baby blanket was finished, I started my first pair of socks since my Ocean City socks from last September.  Remember I have a ton of sock yarn that I need to use up before Steve will let me buy anything else.  The only problem with sock knitting is that  I constantly lose my double-pointed needles.

I'm so glad I don't have to work tomorrow.  The benefit of a three-day weekend is a four-day work week.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tension

It's almost the end of June and I've not blogged once this month.  I have good intentions.  I open up a new browser window.  I log into Blogger.  I even start a New Post.  And it sits blank.  That has happened at least four times in the last three weeks.

I'm on the home stretch of my second baby blanket.  I'll post a picture of the finished object when it's off the needles.  I also started a new pair of socks, using Lions Brand sock yarn that I've had in my yarn basket for a while now.  After this baby blanket is finished, I'm going to really concentrate on working on socks.   With this second blanket, I'm not under a time crunch, so I will have time to appropriately block and dry the blanket.  I have noticed a few odd-sized stitches in my knitting, and I'm hoping that blocking will get rid of those odd spots.

I don't understand why I have random oddly-shapped stitches



I'm focusing more on my knitting because my stress level at work is out of control.  I am so tense and anxious during the day.  The 30-minute drive home does not even help me unwind.  I am out of my comfort zone and constantly question every single piece of work I produce.  

I want to be this relaxed and serene. 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

When It Rains, I Knit

I've been busy lately.  I am working full-time and also took on a three-week part-time assignment transcribing podcasts.  In the middle of doing that, I got a call from my friend whose baby shower I attended last month.  She had her baby girl and we talked for a while about her birth (this was her first baby).  For my shower gift, I made a baby blanket, which my friend said she loves.  In fact, she loves it so much, she asked me to make another one!  So, today, I went to the store and purchased some more baby yarn.

Steve wanted to know why I couldn't use the yarn piled high in my yarn basket.  After rolling my eyes at him, I explained that I needed baby yarn, which I don't stockpile in my basket.  He reluctantly agreed that I should go purchase yarn for this project but made me swear not to buy any more yarn until I make a dent in my stash.  I promised him I would not, knowing that I had already ordered some more sock yarn from KnitPicks.  I'm going to start knitting socks again.

Hidden Treasures in this Stash?


Sock Yarn!!!

I'm still working on my sweater wrap; in fact, I just picked it up again after letting it sit for a while.  For simplicity, I've been working on generic dishcloths in my favorite go-to pattern.  I would link to the pattern but you have to register with site to see it.  The basics of the pattern are, starting with a cast-on of 39 stitches, you  knit the first row and then alternate rows are knit 1 and then knit 1 into the next stitch below.   It makes a great textured cloth.  I knit the pattern for 10 inches or so, and bind off.  For Mother's Day, I make three of these dishcloths (I called them washcloths) for my grandmother and they turned out very cute.

I've figured out a way to get Delilah to sit (willingly) in my lap - by getting out her brush.  She absolutely loves the way the brush feels on her forehead and cheeks and her chest.  Now that we are getting into the warm summer months, she is starting to shed much more.  When I run the brush over her back, it comes out full of hair.   I figure we need to brush her at least every two days to cut down on the shedding in the house and her hairballs.  

In case you forgot how cute she is, this a picture of Delilah from today, doing what she does best, sleeping.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

No Cat Hair On Me

I have a huge complex because my cat, Delilah, hates me.  She no longer sits in my lap in the evenings and when I try to pick her up, she immediately goes into her "there-is-another-cat-in-territory" growl.   I feed this cat and I want her to love me so badly.  I guess she senses my (increasing) desperation and she just retreats.

She responds to Steve rather obediently (for a cat) by voluntarily getting into his lap and sitting contentedly.  She also will sleep next to him in the bed when he gets home in the morning.   But with me, when I try to pick her up, she immediately voices her displeasure.  To add insult to injury, she even runs and hides under the bed to get away from me, when I want to hold her and squeeze her and love her.



Steve got her to come out from her safe spot with a billion treats.  Now she's sitting by the window and I'm crushed.  I can no longer call her "my cat" - she's just the cat that lives with me and barely tolerates me.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Work Weak

My work days consist of me trying to stay as inconspicuous as possible, but somehow ending up looking like a dumbass.   Look!  It's Debbie Dumbass.

I will have to get back with you if this ever gets better.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Appreciation for Learning

Before I met Steve, I was in a relationship with a man that defined my life (and not in a good way). My life during this period revolved around said man. All of my free time was spent on him. And I spent six years with him. I voluntarily gave up 2,190 days to benefit someone else. I had no hobbies because everything centered around him.

After extricating myself from the sickness and dependence of that nightmare, I realized part of the recovery would be to get involved with something outside of work that could occupy my time. It was hard for me to figure out what I should do; I've always been a reader but reading did not give a sense of accomplishment or encourage my creativity.

I met Steve and was very impressed with his artistry in painting. I could see Steve's personality in his paintings - devotion, straightforwardness, and positivity. I envied his ability to create something. At the time, I had no tangible evidence of my creativity. Pointing to a pile of books and saying "I read these" is not my idea of great accomplishments.

Steve tried to help me figure out what I could do but his suggestions were basically things that we could do together. I really needed something to do for myself. And that's how I discovered knitting.

Teaching myself knitting has given me confidence to try other things. I'm also learning how to speak conversational Spanish (I bought a collection of CDs called the Pimsleur Method). I have to say that my redneck hillbilly accent is not evident until I speak Spanish, and then it is overbearing! There is no doubt I'm from Polk County, Florida when I say MOO-CHAS GRA-SEE-AS.

Thank you to whatever force or entity or karma or fate bought me to this place in my life. I appreciate getting to know myself again.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Come In Quietly

I made a delicious lunch today. Sunday is the one day of the week that Steve and I share as a day off. Of course, he was a grumpbump when I woke him up to eat lunch. I made ham and green beans and homemade mashed potatoes. I was feeling pretty good, thanks to my three glasses of Sangria I downed while cooking.

It has rained most of the day, but I was good enough to get my weekly shopping done early today, so I could enjoy the afternoon. However, I did not plan accordingly and ended up at Publix. I spent $100 for a week's worth of groceries. I paid more because I determined it was too inconvenient to go to Aldi's, which is further away from me. Even though I am working again, and perhaps Publix is now in my budget, I really appreciate that Aldi's can save me so much money.

I've been knitting dishcloths lately. They are a very weird shape and it is my fault because I did not check my gauge before knitting. I hate knitting gauge squares and refuse to do it. So I tolerate my weird kite-looking dishcloths.


I have taken the whole week off from exercising and I feel terrible. I have to get back on track because I sense that work is going to start sapping my energy out of me. Also, I have been very bad about not bringing my lunch to work, although the good news that I have not been going to fast food. There is a cafeteria downstairs in my office building, and I usually get a sandwich from them. I have asked Steve to help me get back into exercise.

However, right now, I'm just enjoying the rain and drinking my coffee. My silly cat is laying on the floor next to the sofa, with her paw over her eyes as if to say "hey, it's too bright in here", sleeping the afternoon away. She's going to jump up and freak out when Steve comes in (sleeping by the front door is a good way to get spooked).


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Story In Three Pictures

(Please suspend any dislike of me allowing my cat outdoors until the end of the story)

A few nights ago, Delilah and I went outside; Delilah to do her business and me to enjoy the cool breeze and fresh air.

I could hear rustling in the grassy area across the parking lot from our apartment. After my eyes adjusted, I could see the movement in the leaves. I walked up closer to see what was making the noises and saw it was an armadillo. Man, he was ferociously hunting through the leaves and grass for bugs.


I watched him for a while and he never even acknowledged my presence or looked up at me. He was a man on a mission.



I heard a noise behind me and found it was Delilah, back at the apartment, calling me to come home. I guess I needed to pay attention to her, so I politely took her picture from across the parking lot.

When I saw the picture preview on the camera, I was not sure I wanted to head home with spooky kitty eyes glowing at me. Lucky for me the real-life version of this picture was just a sweet cat who wanted to go back inside and get some food.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Knitting Till My Hands Fall Off

You have no idea how much my hands ache.  I finally finished my baby blanket today, with minutes to spare.  I had to knit for 5 hours straight to complete it.  The finished product was about 35 inches long (I was shooting for 36).

This picture shows the blanket folded over (with a close up of the basket weave pattern).


The following picture shows the entire blanket as laid out on the bed.


In a perfect world, I would have blocked it so the edges were straight, but when you get the finished product off your needles at 12:45 p.m., and  the baby shower starts at 2:00 p.m., there is no option but to just wrap it up.

As luck would have it, my gift was the last one opened at the shower.  When the mother-to-be unwrapped it, I got emotional because this is my first true knitted gift and it was for such a wonderful woman and the baby she always dreamed about.   When she held it up, I was surprised by how nice it really looked (close up I can see all of my mistakes).  

I learned a few things while knitting this project:  (a) I am not a marathon knitter, just let me knit a few hours every day and I will be fine; (b) I am terrible at budgeting my time for knitted projects; and (c) I would like to knit a baby blanket for myself one day (but I'm not holding my breath).