Friday, December 28, 2007

And the Winner is...

Well after many hours of careful deliberation and the assistance of Yarnhog and my son I was able to finally make a big decision - I ordered yarn. Now, I must pay my respects to all of you experienced knitters who routinely buy yarn. After my ordeal I can truly say that it is no small feat to buy yarn online. One has to jump through many hoops - and here begins my litany of complaints -

1. Yarn swatches are too small. Why can't I enlarge that 1" x 1" sample. Imagine the benefit of seeing a full screen size of yarn - now that's exciting!

2. All variegated yarns should have to have a picture of the yarn in a completed project. One can never know how the colors are going to play out. Will there be blotches, swirly whirls, or just plain yuck once they are knitted?

3. Why can't yarn be returned? If I can return underwear in an unopened package I see no reason why yarn stores can take returns.

4. After you have carefully made your selection and decided with all your heart to invest, one has to overcome the final challenge - Shipping. This has got to be the last great stand that all mail order company's take. They absolutely must charge a much as they can get away with for shipping. Because they know there is no turning back at this point - one has already wasted hours deliberating and studying, one must have the courage to pay $7, $8, or $12 for shipping. It's yarn how much can it weigh?

5. Now to all of you lucky, lucky knitters who can simply go to your favorite yarn store and actually see and touch and smell the yarn. Those of you who can actually compare yarns side by side in natural light or fluorescent. And who get to avoid paying shipping - count your blessings. All the rest of us need and I repeat Need to create a "Stash" - in other words our own store of yarn.

My final selection is Rowan's All Season Cotton #208 - Glad. It's a heavy worsted weight, it is machine washable and it was $2.99 a ball ( I refuse to use the word skein) however, I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I bought plain old blue yarn -



But it's very pretty yarn! And now since I ordered Friday night on a holiday weekend I need to wait for my lovely yarn to arrive.. and of course finish my sweater.



P.S. I bought it at Webs . They are having a sale.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Help wanted

Dear advanced experienced knitters of blog land. You know who you are. If you knitted more then 3 scares and 1 vest then you qualify. I need your help. Today I spent way too much time wandering the Internet in search of heavy worsted weight yarn - I'm almost done with my "knit lace border top", just started the second sleeve, so like any knitter I need to place an order for my next project. I need to do it right away or I just might not have anything to knit for a couple days and I might be forced to finish other projects, like ironing.
Today I thought I might enjoy a stroll through the virtual knitting store. But I was sadly mistaken as I went from site to site and found that they have no uniformity. They are all different and I can't find anything. Why don't they all have a search button? Why can't I just type in,"heavy worsted weight yarn" and magically have all the yarns available appear. Why can't I, Why, Why, Why????
Some sites have the yarn categorized by the yarn type. Now I realize that all you "Pros" know, Noro, Debbie Bliss, blah blah blah, but I don't. I don't have the time to search through 15 different types of yarn only to discover that none of them are the right weight and even worse they are all way to expensive - worse because by now I have fallen in love with the color and the description.
This is why I need your help. I have read and seen on many blogs your beautiful yarns. Yarns still in the package, yarns in the finished project state, yarns, yarns, yarns,. Yarns so wonderful you photograph them still in the box, minutes after the UPS driver hands them over.
You know yarns and I don't .
Here is my order -
I would like a heavy worsted weight yarn - gauge is 16 stitches and 22 rows to 4 inches on size 9 needles. I need 850 yards. I would like it to be $5 or less, maybe more if it's really special.
Please help.
All suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
P.S.
I would like to know your favorite online yarn stores, and your favorite yarns.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Helping neighbors

Todays paper gave the story of a lady who wanted to help a man who had lost his house in the recent wildfires. Here in San Diego many, many people lost their homes in late October. Now if you ask a knitter what she can do to help, what do you think she'll do? This lady decided to knit blankets in the form of 8-inch-by-8-inch knitted or crocheted squares. One blanket needs 24 squares.

She received over 250 squares the first week, and I had never heard about it. The idea spread and now her goal is to make 1,588 blankets one for each family in the county who lost a home to the wildfires.

A group of 35 women met at the library the other day to knit, crochet and stitch blankets. Now that sounds like a good time to me.

If you would like to help go to sandiegowildfireblankets.blogspot.com

The Knitting Drummer Knits While Playing The Drums

The Santa Story

A few days ago I had the privilege of eavesdropping on a conversation the children were having in the car on the way home from school. I drive home a kindergarten, 1st grader, two 2nd graders, 7th grader and an 8th grader. The younger ones started taking about Santa.

boy- Santa only brings 3 presents

boy2 - If your good

boy3 - I have NEVER gotten coal

boy -What's coal?

boy3 - I think it taste bad

girl - You have to be really good all the time and that's hard

boy2 - Who said you only get 3 presents

boy - My mom

Boy2 - She's wrong. You get more, but you have to be good.

boy - No my Mom's not wrong. She's really smart. I think she knows everything

boy3 - Did she graduate from the 16th grade yet?

boy- Yeah she graduated from college when she was like 37, I think

boy3 - NO way you have to be like 48 because it takes forever

boy - You go to college right after High School

boy 3 - My mom is 49 and she just graduated from college , she knows

girl - Santa likes girls better than boys because we get more than 3 presents, but you have to be good. Boys aren't good.

boy2- No that's wrong Santa likes all kids

girl- Santa leaves a bag of toys at my house , but you have to go to sleep early and you can't go down stairs.

boy - You guys are all wrong Santa only leaves 3 presents the rest you get from your parents.

boy2 - Parents don't get presents from Santa

Needless to say the conversation was enlightening. I began to wonder,
What stories do other parents tell their kids about Santa?
I know why the boy was told that Santa only leaves 3 presents because he has 3 other brothers and it simply isn't affordable to leave any more.

Do you even talk about Santa?
We never really did, that's not what Christmas is really all about. But all the children learned about Santa from their friends.

How old are your kids when Santa doesn't come anymore?
Some kids insist they still believe just to get more stuff.

A Christmas Meme +

I got this from Yarnhog who got it from someone else, and they told two friends who told two friends...I added one question to the original list.
I had fun answering the questions. If you would like to do your own version, simply copy the post and delete my answers.

1.Wrapping Paper or Gift Bags?
Gift bags all the way, all the time and by the way you get the gift not the bag.

2. Real tree or artificial?
We have what I call a pseudo-fake tree - an artificial tree with real cuttings strategically placed to both fill out the tree and give the house that wonderful piney Christmas smell. Try it you'll like it.

3. When do you put up the tree?
Usually about the 1st weekend in Dec. Two reasons - 1. It takes me a couple days to decorate the tree, 2. It takes me a couple days to decorate the tree.

4. When do you take down the tree?
Around New Years day depending on how I feel that day.

5. Do you like Egg Nog?
Love it!! Especially with Brandy.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
A Magnus chord organ. I don't know what happened to it but I still remember playing the organ and singing all the songs.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes, many. I seem to collect them. One of my favorites my mother bought me from Costco, the craftsmanship is really nice, but it's very delicate.

8. Hardest person to buy for?
My mother and my husband. My mother always says, " Well I don't know".. and my husband, well this year he made a list.

9. Easiest person to buy for?
My daughter. I always wish I could buy her more.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
When I was 10 years old my family drove to Indiana to have Christmas with my Grandmother and all the relatives. I got 3 jewelry boxes. My dear Grandmother read the disappointment on my face when she gave me hers and added 3 silver dollars and gave me a hug and a kiss that I will never forget. Like I always say -everything is good.

11. Mail or email Christmas Cards?
I LOVE getting Christmas cards but I am seriously challenged with the ability to send them. I really regret not having done yearly family picture Christmas cards. I would love having the collection of pictures of my family.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
A Charlie Brown Christmas - yeah I know it's not a movie. I love everything about it even the story of how Charles Schultz wrote and produced the story.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
These days one must have a plan or else you lose and have to spend Dec. 23 hopelessly wandering from store to store in search of Lego kit #9145.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Yes. I also return a lot. It's the thought that counts not the paisley leg warmers.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
My mother-in-law is Hungarian and she makes two treats, Kalatch and keiflies ( I used to think they were called flee-flee's). Kalatch is a pastry made with cream cheese and stuffed with minced walnuts. It's rolled up and baked. Keiflies use the same pastry but each nut is wrapped. I'm the only one who can and does still make these treats. They take hours but it's tradition.

16. Clear lights or coloured?
I love white lights, inside and out. I think they are magically beautiful.

17. Favorite Christmas Song?
Santa Baby - I sing it too my husband in my Teddy - it's one of his traditional Christmas gifts.

18. Travel or stay home at Christmas?
Travelling with three kids at Christmas time it too difficult. However if I won a trip to Hawaii I'd figure out how to work that deal in a minute.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s Reindeer?
Of course.

20. Angel or Star on the top of the tree?
Angel. One of many on my tree.

21. Open Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Christmas Eve we open presents from the relatives. When I was a little girl we opened Aunt Sue's presents. They were always a dud. One year I got dollar symbol dangly earrings - I was 9 and I didn't have pierced ears.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
The malls and trying to find a parking space. Plus I hate how everything has the tag line, "The perfect Christmas present" Oh really, like Homer Simpson Chia pets are, "The perfect Christmas present". Funny not perfect.

23. What’s the corniest family tradition you do or miss doing?
We always read the night before Christmas on Christmas eve. My husband won't let us go to bed until we do.

24. What’s the worst thing you’ve seen related to Christmas?
A Homer Simpson nativity set.

25. Which looks best, theme trees or homey trees?
My Mom took a floral design class and ever since then she has a Theme decorated tree - they're wonderful, but I can't resist hanging some of my favorite ornaments.

26. Gingerbread or Sugar Cookies?
Both please and a cup of tea.

27. Do you like fruitcake?
I love it and I make a really simple and delicious one from a store bought date bread mix. My mother's is good too but she takes a week carefully lacing hers with brandy or is it rum - it's Good.

28. What is you favorite Christmas memory?
I was maybe 6 years old and our family had an early Christmas eve dinner. My mother was washing the dishes when my father decided to take us up to the mall to see Santa. Back then Santa wasn't everywhere like he is now. So we were delighted to go. When we came back Santa had come to our house. All the toys were there. My Mother simply explained that Santa had come while we were gone. GREAT We immediately got to playing with out toys. The only problem was that we lived in an apartment and we quickly asked if Santa had come to our friends house next door. Ooops. Well Santa only comes when the kids are either asleep or out of the house. He would have to circle back to drop off presents after the kids went to sleep next door. The neighbor ladies were definitely not happy with my mother that year. We loved her.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Jason!!!



Well it seems like just yesterday when Jason was born but today he is 8 years old. Oh how the time flies. Jason is my last boy and final production in what seemed like a show that would never end. At 41 and pregnant I can honestly say that I wasn't to happy with the "happy" news . In fact it took me 2 weeks of intermittent crying before I was able to regain my typical gung-ho spirit, and I am truly blessed and happy that I did. Now surprises are not my forte but this little guy has definitely changed my mind. You see Jason is the baby after a very heartbreaking, difficult, painful, scary and dangerous miscarriage. The kind that sends you to the emergency room and you don't get to come home for two days. The kind that they try for three hours to give you a blood transfusion and finally give-up because they can't find a vein. The kind that makes you think "Well I can't have any more babies" But I recovered -physically. I made more blood and got busy. But deep, deep down inside I was sad at the way my body had behaved. I had another miscarriage before and it sent me into a whirlwind search for the answer to "why" or better stated, "Why Me" and when I could search no where else I finally surrendered to the reality that Yes indeed, "Stuff happens" and sometimes it happens to you. So I moved on content to believe that it was as they say, for the best. I got pregnant right away ( 7 weeks later) and had a whooping 10 pound baby! Damn straight I can't have a baby. I sure proved those doctors wrong. But after my emergency room miscarriage it was pretty clear that I couldn't reproduce so quickly. I needed to heal - my body and my heart. Then 5 years later I discovered that I was going to have a baby.

By now my two little boys were both in school and I had settled into a nice stay-at-home Mom routine. Life was pretty nice and I had adjusted. But... One day while I was saying night prayers with my big boy Brain I asked him what he wanted to pray for and he said, " A baby". Well okay. But I tell you the fear of God struck me at that moment and I knew that I was going to have a baby. Now my big boy is rather stubborn and determined and he continued with his prayer request night after night - even at school ( he goes to Catholic school). The rest is history. It wasn't an easy pregnancy - usual never ending morning sickness, aches and pains, indigestion etc... The only thing I do well during pregnancy is Push when the doctor says it's time.

When I learned that the baby was a boy ( final count - boys 3, girls 1) I proceeded to pick a name. Jason means -healer. I can truly say that from the moment he was born he has lived up to his name. Jason is my Christmas present for 1999. The little girl across the street was 2 at the time and excited about the new baby. She thought his name was Jesus and Christmas had come. Well it had come for me at least.

It is said that "Everything is a gift, everything is a blessing" In that regard it must be understood that even the bad heartbreaking things that happen to us are in actuality "good" . But it is difficult to accept saddnes as a good thing. All I know is that it is so good to look back and connect the dots that form the meaning and history of our lives. Jason my dear sweat little boy is the puctuation mark that has changed my life - for the good.

So today I celebrate Jason's birthday - He's happy to have a party (Chuckee Cheese what would we do without you?) and get presents and I am so very happy to have him and the memory of a very special event in my life.

Yes it's true children are a gift from God


Monday, December 10, 2007

The Morning Shuffle

This morning has been a time when I think that Homeschoolers have out smarted all of us. They don't have to go through the morning struggle of extracting children from their warm beds and getting them dressed, washed, brushed, fed and out the door with a lunch (the lunch that of course no matter what you create usually gets thrown away because they want to play). They don't have to find yet another creative and entertaining way to wake the dead and lure them out of their coffins. They don't have to sign permission slips that were hidden inside the backpack, find overdue library books, homework or socks at 7:15 in the morning. Morning must be a peaceful time in homeschoolers houses. I can just imagine how the children calmly and happily come down to breakfast where they eat a nutritious meal (not a breakfast bar, breakfast shake or an orange in the car). After breakfast they all go upstairs to BRUSH THEIR TEETH, then they simply open their drawers and closets and get dressed - not yell out Mom " I can't find my pants - bottom drawer, where they always are" They begin the day by delicately transitioning into the morning routine with serene voices and soft music.

Later in the day Homeschoolers avoid the dreaded carpool event - where in our great wisdom Mothers pack extra kids into their cars at a time of day when children should have no interaction with adults. If it weren't difficult enough to navigate the ever challenging "pick-up line" at school - which for me is what I affectionately call the "Loopty Loop" because I have to go through 2 lines, we then have to survive the noise and chaos of driving 6 children home from school. There must be some kind of explosion that goes off in a child's mind when they hear the final bell ring at school (which at my children's school should be outlawed as cruel and unusual punishment to the eardrums), because when my kids board the van they change - ah the big, big change the one that their teachers have been circumventing all day long. The change where the subdued controlled almost robot like child, who carefully obeyed all the rules all day long can take it no longer, because at this time of day they have to scream, 'I'm a child and I need freedom" Well, okay I can understand that, I felt like screaming this morning, but not in my car, not in a closed environment, not in traffic. In my futile effort to manage the noise I feed them and then I end up with crumbs and wrappers all over my car, but I still believe the trade off is worth it.

I am certain that having the kids home all day long has it's own share of troubles but today I truly wish there was another way to get kids off to school.

When will someone make a real teleporter? Now that's an invention that the world really needs.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas



It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!! When I was a little girl we never had lights or out- door decorations at Christmas. It wasn't as common as it is now to put up lights. Well my family didn't even put up lights. I've put lights on my house for many years but never gone the next step and really punched up the idea - until last year. Maybe it was the neighbors enthusiasm that spurred my spirit or simply that I finally got my act together but I put up lights on the house, around the yard, the garage door, spiral lighted Christmas trees (5), wreaths with lights (of course) and a super big poinsettia plant (Costco, of course). Now that's a lot of decorations! Our utility bill goes up and we trip a circuit breaker at least 3 times - the microwave, dishwasher, washer, dryer and refrigerator are all on the same light - one nuked hot dog can cause us to go dark.
Nightly we go through a routine of plugging in all the lights - 3 outside the front door, three upstairs in the kids bedroom and three in the garage - I know there has got to be a better and easier way - maybe timers, but we haven't gotten to that level yet.

After we light the house I go outside and enjoy my work for just a few minutes - it's getting cold in S.D. almost 50 at night sometimes - Burr, that's cold for me. And then I go inside.

It's the neighbors who really get to enjoy the lights. And in the regard I want to send a collective thank you to all the people who spend time putting-up lights and decorating their houses. I know it takes time, money, creativity, energy and guts (climbing on a roof can be dangerous to your health, if you know what I mean).

Thank you for your spirit and generosity, the season wouldn't be the same without you.

Thanks for the festival of lights!!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Fr. Mooney




Today Dec. 2nd was Fr. Mooney's retirement day. He was a priest at my church for 14 years but he has been a priest for 52 years. He retired because of Dr's orders. As he announced his retirement at mass today he calmly explained that he has a hole in his heart and he needs to rest. Many people may think that a priest doesn't do much -maybe only works on Sunday. But it really is a very demanding job. Typically a priest works 18 hour days and is always on call for emergencies. Fr. Mooney taught history and religion at many schools and USD where is was also dean of discipline. It is true that a priest never has a family of his own but it is also true that he is a part of many, many families. Fr. Mooney always began his homilies with a joke or a story - sometimes they were funny but mostly they were corny. It didn't matter because the way he told the story always made me smile. He was very passionate about his faith. He had a very big strong voice and sometimes when he talked he would get so loud that it silenced the church.
Many times today people gave him a standing ovation for his service to the community. In one family alone, he confirmed the woman, married the couple, baptised the baby and gave her first communion and there are many stories like that.
He loved to travel and had a travel club that he organized. Every year they took a big trip to Europe and throughout the year smaller trips.
I will miss Fr. Mooney very much because he was one of the old timers who really knew his stuff and never felt obligated to anyone to say one thing or the other. I often said, "Fr. Mooney is a fatherly father", because he had that strong, confident yet caring manner.
Fr. Mooney you will be in my prayers.

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Last Knit

Knitting can be obsessive?

Angelica Sepe - Ave Maria

Recently I read about her struggle with her faith. How she often felt lonely and that God wasn't hearing her. She did such amazing and wonderful things. Projects that will last a long time. Her tremendous faith changed so many peoples lives and yet she had her doubts.

Waiting Time


After reading my friends blog and her long wait time at the Dr's office I was all prepared to settled down for a good 45 minute wait at my appointment today. I've been hoping to have some time to knit away on the felted bag that I'm making which will replace the canvas bag that my husband brought home from an engineer trade show. I'm still wondering if an engineering trade show is as boring as I imagine. Anyway.... I barely sat down in the first waiting room (five stitches knitted) when the nurse calls me. I'm thinking great they're running on time, but no I want to knit. In waiting room 2 after I'm all snuggled-up in my extra large paper towel I retrieve my knitting and begin again. Not two minutes go by when someone knocks on the door and says, "Sorry for the wait, we're running behind today". I'm thinking Wow this place is great! Super thoughtful of them to tell me before I have to ask. Poway Women's Center you rock the Ob-Gyn world. So I start working my knit stitch. Concentrating on not throwing a stitch, Must pick-up stitches. Must work the continental. Have to break my bad habit. One row done. Yeah, Two rows done. I hear footsteps in the hall and voices. NO, don't come in now. No, I want to knit. I must knit. I have 35 more rows of super boring garter stitch to work and I must do it now while I'm "waiting. I planned for this.

In walks my wonderful Dr. Kohatsu who as I'm stashing my knitting away says, "Wait I've got to see what your working on". Cool. I now proceed to explain to her as if I know what I'm talking about, how to make a felted handbag. Very Cool. Great Dr. technique and style.

After my appointment I needed to have blood drawn. One of my all time least favorite things to ever do in the entire world. I would rather pick-up dog poop, clean the toilet or even egads, cook dinner than have anything done with a needle to my skin. But I'm a grown-up so.. I think maybe I'll have to "Wait" and I can get some knitting done. Okay. I sign in , grab a seat and start knitting. At this point I'm at pedal to the metal speed knitting - no fears it's a garter stitch on a felted bag, but no I barely knit five stitches and the nurse says, "Janet I'll take you right now"

At this point the usual queasy, nauseous, fear begins to run chills up my spine. Must look down at the floor. Must not see the needle. Without ever looking directly in the technicians eyes I try in my calmest voice to say, "I am not good at this, so I am hoping that your a real pro" I've used the line before with great success. I begin to take my calming breaths that I learned in Lamaze class that never helped me during labor. Close eyes, relax, imagine your happy place, breath in slowly count 1,2,3,4,5, breath out...

I am still wondering how this nurse was able to insert a needle into my skin and draw a vial of blood without me ever feeling it. When she said I'm done. I opened my eyes and said, "Thank you" Dear sweat wonderful nurse lady in Poway you deserve the Star of the Week because you are truly talented.

The most knitting I've accomplished today was in the carpool line at school. I thought I'd really be able to make progress today because it's raining and that means that everybody has to go through the carpool line so it's super slow. It hasn't rained in 6, 7 , maybe 8 months in San Diego so most people are totally confused about how to deal with this natural phenomenon. I'll probably run out of yarn. Yeah! But No wait some strange anti-knitting force must be at work because for some odd reason the cars moved steadily along, albeit at a snails pace, but they never stopped. Now I can' knit like that.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Good Night Sleep

For many, many years now I have suffered with a mild case of insomnia. Every night I would wake -up around 2am to go to the bathroom and then I wouldn't be able to fall asleep again. For up to 3 hours I would lie awake. Most of the time trying to fall back asleep but totally involved in thoughts about whatever issues were troubling me and mostly about all that I was going to get done the next day. Talk about self-defeating thoughts. If I can't sleep I'll never have the energy to get-up and do anything.
Since this has been a problem for me I have read all about "How to get a good night sleep" - Have a routine, take a warm bath, drink a cup of calming tea, listen to relaxing music, don't eat dinner to late or go to bed on a full stomach, blah, blah, blah. Most of the advise is so simplistic that I'm usually disappointed to shell out the money to read it. Needless to say I have tried to overcome the problem but I have not been successful.
Yesterday in complete desperation to get a full nights sleep I took an over -the- counter sleeping pill. Just one. Very carefully. Fully aware of the risks and dangers, but so wanting to get some sleep.
This morning I woke-up and slowly turned to look at the clock, it was 6:24am. I had slept all night!!!! It is sooo wonderful to get a full nights sleep, I feel like a new woman. I am certain I look ten years younger and twice as smart. I almost hopped out of bed as I ran to the bathroom.
Now I promise you the plan is not to take a pill every night. I am going to "help" my body when I know I am not going to be able to sleep, when I absolutely must get to sleep, to get a full night's sleep. This will of course help my family, my friends, everyone I come into contact with and probably most of the English speaking world (Hey it's the world wide web).
Anyway with that problem solved I rejoice for yet another reason. Being able to fall deeply asleep prevents me from hearing my husband snore. For some reason if you are in a semi-comatose state you are unable to hear noises that would pierce your eardrums and scare harden criminals straight.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Stormy and Me

Today I had the most incredible experience. I met a lady who has the exact same birthday as me. April 23, 1958. Her name is Stormy and she works at the 4S Ranch library. I knew about her since a couple weeks ago when I had to renew my library book for the reading club that I am in ( Thanks Tammy) Anyway I tried to renew online but couldn't so I called and Stormy answered. I explained that I had trouble with the online system and she said no problem she just needed my birthday. Well, I told her and then she said, "We have the same birthday" and I said, "Well, maybe the same day and month but not the same year" and she said, "no, the exact same day, April 23, 1958" She told me her name and when she worked and today I went to the library. I asked the lady at the counter (Stormy) where the returned books went and then I asked if Stormy was there and she said, "Are you April 23rd?" And I said, Yes it's me! We hugged and then she took me in the back and introduced me to her co-workers, "Hey everybody this is my sister" I explained that I have a blog and that I wanted to take a picture. So we went outside by the fountain. We plan to meet for lunch soon.
It is truly a very wonderful and strange feeling to meet someone who has your same birthday and when I think of the number of coincidences that had to occur it really amazes me.
1. I had to join the book club (Tammy has a online book club and we are reading, "The Robe"
2. I had to decide to get it from the library
3. The library had the book ( that's a really big surprise)
4. The 4S ranch library had the book
5. Stormy was working that day and answered the phone.
6. I had to have trouble with the online system
I feel wonderfully charged/energized to have met Stormy (Great name!) and I can't wait to learn more about her.

Progress


I finished the front and had to line it up with the back to be sure that life was good and it matched. I am now fully into the, "appreciate the progress stage", besides I have to make a choice at this stage. Somehow I discovered that I have two 5.o circular needles so I just left the back on the needles and started the front with my second pair. Well, I need to put some stitches on a holder (like 30) and I don't like doing that so I need to finish the back, remove the needles and then work on the front. But I'm not done with the ,"appreciate the progress stage" that I go into so ...
Well I'm sure other knitters start a project, get into it and then for some odd reason go off on a tangent and start another project. I decided that the canvas bag my husband got at an engineering trade show that I use for my knitting had to be replaced. So I thought why not knit a cute felted bag. I found a great pattern - Lion Brand Felted toted #40647 but it is too small so I used the dimensions off another pattern and now I have to knit 86 rows of garter stitch just to complete the bottom - boring.
Now I have heard of "Outlaw knitters" a group who claim to knit everywhere - church, the beach, concerts well I can top that list - I knit at stop lights. Yep! That one at Pomerado and Twin Peaks has got to be 3 minutes long and I can finish two rows (almost). Only problem is that when the light turns green I find myself torn between finishing the stitch and moving forward.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A New Beginning

After knitting almost five and half feet of Isadora ( AKA "Tubey") I sewed the sleeves and discovered what I had always thought. It felt funny. It didn't fit right. Now, after spending so many days knitting ST st I was faced with the challenge of ripping out my work and starting over. I know many experienced knitters understand my angst. To stuffer the defeat of lost time and trouble. Unable to take the first yank I put the project aside and silently morned. I couldn't write during the obligatory black days. Those troubled days when life has no direction because there is no yarn on the needles and a confusion lingers. I didn't know what to write. I was sad.

Then I found a new pattern. A delightful fun pattern that was only One page, and I could read and understand all of the directions (almost). I liked the pattern, It was pretty and interesting and Me.
So thirty minutes later I had unraveled Isadora and began, Knit lace Border top - Yeah I know it needs a name.
The pattern is really neat because the bottom of the top and sleeves is lace knitting. Which means that you only have to suffer 32 rows of knitting lace. I knit the back and was so proud of myself -


I stared at it and smiled. I made that!! Yeah Me.
I finished the border and knitted some St st but got bored so I started knitting the front. I knit the first 25 rows perfectly but the last 6 had to be redone three times. The first time was completely wrong, the second time was half right and the last time was perfect. Then I lined up the front and back to discover that I had made a mistake. I Purled when I should have knit so the entire piece was backwards.
Yep I had to pull it out.

A Night to Remember

The day after Thanksgiving we took a trip to the Ronald Reagan library and museum. I am not political so I have no comment about his presidency what he did or did not do etc... the museum is in Simi Valley near my brother's house so we went.

At this point I need to backtrack to my brothers' house and the end of the best Thanksgiving I have ever had. I left the table with a very full belly and a headache, stomach ache, chills, body aches and sore throat. I had been sick since Sunday but I thought I had recovered (fools me every time) and now all I could think about was getting back to the hotel and going to bed. But that would have been way to simple. Shortly after getting into the car the fuel light goes on and my husband says, "We need to get gas". Great. "Why didn't you get gas earlier?" "I forgot Besides it's your fault because I wanted to get gas in San Diego but you said to wait and get it in L.A. because it's cheaper" Okay. We are now driving in a city we don't know, trying to follow my Dad to our hotel because we don't know where that is and my cell phone doesn't have reception. I tried to call but only got the recorded message blah, blah, blah out of service...Thanks, isn't there an emergency number that I can use?

To make matters worse I am now certain that I need to throw-up. My husband says, " I need to catch up with your Dad" I'm thinking, "What are you James Bond, but I say, Let's just get gas and make a call from the station" So he pulls off the freeway in search of a gas station, but they are all closed. Surprise. Three times we search for a station. The third time we find a place. At this point I am so weak I can't stand and I have to throw-up. I open the car door to ask my husband to get a paper towel but I make the mistake of saying, "Hurry" My husband doesn't hurry ever. His response looked something like a really bad silent movie with keystone cops fumbling about. You've seen it, arms waving, darting back and forth, lots of anxiety - but no towels. I am holding back the puke when my cell phone rings. My son answers it but can't hand the phone to his Dad because the pump is blocking the door. So.. as I hold my hand to my mouth I grab the phone, hand it to my husband over the roof of the car and grab the two towelettes he has . Great. I proceed to retch, in public, in a gas station bay, which is certainly one of the best echo chambers. I don't care. I will never see these people again in my life and I can't really see them right now. We leave the gas station and meet up with my Dad. Miraculously no four letter words have been voiced . We finally get to our hotel. It is the military base, Point Magu. Okay. I wanted to stay at the Hyatt (5 minutes away) but I compromise. I get to bed. Every two or three hours I get up to go the bathroom. Okay.

Next day everyone wants to go to the Ronald Reagan museum. I'm feeling better so...
besides I thought it'll probably only be an hour and then we'll go home. No such luck.

The museum is huge. I really do like museums. I like to read all the captions and really look at everything. But not today.

The museum sits high on top of a mountain in Simi valley and has a spectacular view. But it was very, very, very windy that day. Santa Ana type winds and I was freezing. The first thing we saw was his burial site. Then this...



It is an exact replica of a portion of the Berlin Wall. The beauty of the single slab of concrete set against the vast background of the sky and valley seemed to yell, "Let Freedom Reign"
I wondered about the artists who painted the wall. Were they given permission to paint or did they sneak at night and smile silently to themselves when the city awoke to find color in place of cold grey cement?


Here's a picture of my daughter and the wall.
Inside we paid and proceeded to wander about.

Three things -
1. I enjoyed the gallery with Nancy Reagan's clothes. I read somewhere that she was a size "0" but I thought it couldn't be true. Well it is. That woman is tiny. I mean she is about the size of a small 14 yo. Yikes.
2. Inside the museum is a wing where Air Force One is housed. It is absolutely spectacular. The airplane sits atop pillars that are three stories off the ground. The plane is positioned at a 2 degree angle so that it appears to be in flight and it is pointed at the largest window I have ever seen in my life. Long, long, long lines of people waiting for their turn to enter the aircraft wraped around the top floor. I got queasy thinking about standing in a line that long so I decided to go downstairs -near a bathroom to wait.
3. There is an exact replica of the Oval Office. What impressed me most was the absence of technology - no computers, no televisions, nothing. Very interesting.

I left the museum thinking what an incredible life Ronald Reagan had. He did fun things like acting, he met great people, he traveled the world - in style, and he made a difference.

Here's a picture of my oldest son next to a bronze statue of Ronald Reagan.

Thanksgiving Day 2007

Thanksgiving was a super special celebration this year. My brother Steve hosted the dinner at his house in Oak Park. His family (wife and three sons), my family ( me, husband + 4), his wives sisters family ( husband + 2), my Mom and Dad, and his wives Mom and Dad = 19 people and the equals a great day.!Everyone pitched in to make the dinner the best meal I have ever eaten. Steve prepared the turkey. His brine recipe begins the day before when he soaks the turkey in his own special blend of herbs and spices - a new concoction every year. He cooks the turkey twenty mins. breast side down and then flips it for the remaining time. He stuffs aromatic leaves under the skin and pats of butter then bastes the bird every 45 mins. It is really, really, really moist and super delicious. Absolutely the best turkey I have ever had. Thanks Steve. Everyone pitched in with their own specialty, fresh candied yams from Cheryl, mashed potatoes - Lori, green beans and fresh corn straight off the cob and stuffing from Carol. A honey baked ham. Micheal, my nephew made the gravy, Steve also made fresh cranberry sauce and then the desserts. My Mom made apple and pumpkin pie, Garrett made fresh vanilla ice cream and Michael spoiled us all with cheesecake topped with fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.

Steve asked that both the Catholic and Jewish blessings be said. Which I enjoyed immensely.


I thought long and hard of what I would answer to the question, "What are you thankful for?"


Out loud I said, "I 'm thankful for what I have"


Sunday, November 4, 2007

Real Estate Report

Although it may appear that all I do is take care of the kids and knit I am actually a Realtor and I do work. I have a website at , http://www.jmccarthy.mcmillinrealty.com/, I have a monthly e-mail letter that I send out, and I also publish a printed newsletter that I usually give out at open houses. Part of the plan is to educate clients on the buying process. This months letter includes the following Market Conditions Report for Nov. 2007.
According to the University of San Diego’s Center for Real Estate the Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) for San Diego County fell 1.0 percent in September. The list of economic indicators are; building permits, unemployment insurance, stock prices, consumer confidence and help wanted advertising. When each area is reviewed all but stock prices show declines. The study cites the weak housing market as the dominant factor responsible.
Another key area to examine is affordability. San Diego’s median price is around $500,000; however the media family income at approximately $70,000 cannot support either the required down payment or monthly payment. With lenders tightening their mortgage standards fewer first time buyers will be able to enter the housing market.
Most analysts are careful when evaluating the impact of the recent fires on the economy. With approximately 1300 homes destroyed the effect on the Real Estate market should be substantial. Families have a few choices; rent while they rebuild, rent temporarily and look for a home or buy now. The increase to the rental market will cause rents to continue to rise and the consequence will encourage renters to buy. Although it is against the law to price gouge within 30 days of a disaster, some owners have reportedly already taken advantage of the "opportunity". If they get caught it's a $10,000 fine.
The influx of FEMA and insurance monies from claims should boast the economy in a variety of ways; increased purchasing of consumer goods and increased hiring of contractors. These factors may help the housing market here in San Diego.
Traditionally the Real Estate market slows down toward the end of the year and begins to pick-up around late February.
Although most of the news indicates a continued slow down, buyers continue to have big opportunities, with high inventory, low interest rates (rates dipped below 6%, the lowest since March) and seller concessions ( paying closing costs, HOA fees etc...)
Other reasons to buy now include; no bidding wars, lots of choices and options, and seller renovations and upgrades.
While many buyers may choose to wait they will be paying rents and losing a valuable tax deduction. If you are waiting use the time wisely by getting a copy of your credit report. Review any of the discrepancies (there will be problems) and fix everything you can. Improving you credit score will guarantee you the best interest rates.
Don’t wait to find a good loan and interest rate.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween 2007




It was a dark and scary night and spooky sounds filled the sky.
We had a lot of fun decorating our houses but most all just being kids again. Oh no did somebody eat too much candy??? Oh well there's always at least one puking pumpkin on Halloween.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Fire Damage

As I continue to clean and unpack my house from the fire I have uncovered some distrubing damage to my house.

1. Last night as I was knitting I began to feel a throbbing pain in my right hand. Although I ignored the voice of pain for an hour longer, believing that I only had a few more rows to finish in order to finally complete the sleeves, I knew that something was very wrong. When I did put away my knitting my hand still hurt. I didn't think it was possible to have a knitting injury. Knitting isn't a dangerous craft - although those double pointed needles do look like medieval weapons. Knitting was fun, knitting was enjoyable, knitting for three hours straight was painful. Yes it was true I had managed to steal away for 3 hours and knit. This is not normally possible. I am in big demand at my house. Many, many important calls to answer (Mom I'm hungry and Mom I'm bored) many, many important things to do (dishes, laundry, shopping blahblahblahhhh) and many, many important appointments (take Brian to the dentist, pick-up carpool, help in classroom). How could I have possible been able to knit for 3 hours? My only conclusion was it was because of the fire. Since I couldn't get outside I have been stuck inside my house and in my sadness I had turned to knitting for comfort. The fire had caused my knitting injury.

2. Earlier that same day I was sorting some cans in my pantry when I came across the bag of Halloween candy. I bought a bag of candy at Costco two weeks ago. 150 pieces of candy; snickers, almond joy, twix, hersheys, peanut M&M's (the good stuff) and now I could only find maybe 30 pieces left. How could this have possibly happened, especially since I have a very strict policy about not opening the bag of candy until Halloween. My children did not know where the candy stash had been hidden, so I could only conclude that somehow I had managed to eat 120 pcs ?? of candy (they were bite size). Again my mind raced to the fire as the true cause of the missing candy. Since I could not get out of the house and go anywhere I had in my sadness turned to candy for comfort. The Halloween candy was gone because of the fire.

Although many of these conclusions may not seem viable to the ordinary person I feel completely comfortable with them. The lesson to be learned is; If you can't go anywhere don't have candy or yarn in your house. Well maybe don't have a lot of candy or yarn in your house. Or maybe have a fire alarm go off when you knit too much or eat too much candy. Yeah that's the moral; always check your fire alarm to be sure it's working.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Old Winery Road

This is a picture of my friend Connie's house. It was destroyed in the fire on Monday.

This past summer she happily shared with friends her new pool, backyard dining area with fireplace, and drought tolerant landscaping. They bought so much artificial turf that it was cheaper for them to become dealers. She also won an award for her creative and extensive use of drought tolerant plants. When I visited her she showed me her garden. Her husband brought in mushroom mulch - very rich in nutrients and the result was amazing. Corn, tomatoes, squash, onions, leeks, cucumbers and every plant heavy with vegetables. I took home bags of tomatoes, leeks, and cucumbers. The fresh taste from the salad I made with those vegetables still lingers. They had never had a garden before.

Connie was smart. She packed the pictures, clothes, papers... the usual stuff and when she ran out of room in her car she put her china on the bottom of the pool. As I pondered this clever option I began to wonder what else could be hidden from the fire. Could I use Space Bags and stow clothes (anchored of course), or maybe computers (they have lots of important files). That's when I grew very sad, because what I really wish is that I could hide my house, on the bottom of the pool, nothing else matters.
This is a view of Connie's backyard. It's an old picture. When I was there the land was completely cleared. Connie told me that the landowner had bulldozed all the brush. He wanted to keep it clear in case of a fire. For as far as I could see in almost every direction there were no trees or dry bushes. Her backyard had been as well prepared as possible and yet her house burned down.

Today I morn the loss of my friend Connie's house and home, but I honor her courage, strength and creativity and I pray for her future.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Home Sweet Home


Today is a wonderful day. My house has been spared from the fire. A fire that destroyed 1300 homes and burned 300,000 acres. We were on mandatory evacuation orders for three days. Monday night we took shifts monitoring the news throughout the night. I had the 2am to 5am shift. Which is fine because I usually wake-up around 2'ish - but I don't usually watch T.V. I almost bought a steam mop, a revolutionary anti-aging cream and the red exercise chair fortunately my hands were too occupied with my knitting ("Isadora") so I never made it to the phone. Oh well I'll just have to wait until those goodies come to the dollar store.
After spending the night with the news I was sleepy but determined to find out about the status of my parents home. They left Sunday night and had heard from a neighbor that the tree in front of his house was on fire. I drove over to RB but had no luck getting past the barricades. Police cordoned off every possible road into the area. I then parked and found a group of people milling around the parking lot across from the barricades. I started asking questions. Everyone was so willing to talk. No one really knew anything about Oaks North the area where my parents live. I spent about 45 minutes talking and left with water and two brownies that Souplantation left for residents.
My house, patio, walkways and yard are covered in soot and dirt. I swept the patio today, thinking that I was pushing the ashes of someones home or favorite belonging into my dust pan. The story is so sad. I thank God that we were spared, this time. I have big plans for next time. There will be another fire and I am going to ready. For now I am extremely thankful to have a house, a bed, a car and friends and family.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fire in San Diego


This is a picture of my backyard. Beyond the pergola there are stairs that lead upto the top of the yard and the mountain. As you can see the sky is smoky.




Yesterday a fire started in Ramona (an area about 10 miles from my home) and because of the dry air, high winds (Santa Anna) and dry brush, the fire has spread rapidly and burned all night and all day. At 10 o'clock last night we got a call from the school announcing that it would be closed on Monday. In San Diego the kids don't have snow days they have fire days. They are home making gas masks out of water bottles, paper towels and rubber bands.

They actually work!
At about 9am this morning we got an automated call from the CDF that we should prepare to be evacuated. We loaded the car but we haven't left. It's an horrible feeling to be in limbo and completely helpless. Then again those are the components of most of lifes days.
There is absolutely nothing that I can do, except Pray. Dear God please stop the wind now.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Learning Curve

When my son saw me knitting with my new double pointed needles
he said, " Mom I don't think you have the experience points to use those weapons". 12 year olds often speak using gaming language. I laughed at the time but I'm not anymore. I have a new appreciation for all you knitters who can knit in the round with double pointed needles. I now know how very complicated it is to try to knit around all those needles, not get your yarn tangled up and not drop a stitch (which is death to the project because I can't pick-up a dropped stitch. I tried Knit Picks tutorial but ... I can't do it) I have spent a week trying, desperately trying to master the technique but - I GIVE UP.
I have unraveled my knitting so many times that I can't imagine that I will ever be able to make a sleeve - and then I have to knit the other sleeve. So, I have resorted to two things -


1. I will knit the sleeve and then sew the seams. I don't know why avoiding seams is such a big deal ( I hope I don't find out later what a mistake I made).


2. I will rename "Tubey" because it is no longer a series of three tubes.

Now I am struggling to find an appropriate name. I don't want it to be project #2 or "B". It needs to be a strong name, but not typical. A pretty name, but not too cutesy. An easy to pronounce name, but not boring. Throwing all that criteria into the bag and giving this the full two minutes of time that it deserves...

From this day forward "Tubey" shall be named, Isadora. As in, Isadora Duncan the famous modern dancer who rejected traditional ballet because she needed to break the rules in order to express herself.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

7 year old sings National Anthem - Anthony Gargiula

My 7 year old can't sing like this boy but he does the same dance.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Butterworth Dance Company

It was a special treat to have a night out with my daughter and we went to what she thought was the ballet. She is taking a ballet class and her teacher -Travis Butterworth urged everyone to go see his show and so we went. The California Center for Arts in Escondido is only a short trip from my house but when the house lights went down I was visually, mentally and emotionally transported miles and miles away. It was as if my spirit had been reawaken from a very deep sleep. I watched the young dancers move across the black stage infused by the bright lights and energized with music. Fun music that I have never heard; opera, rap, disco, and folk it was all there and the dancers moved their bodies in ways that were definitely not ballet. Beautifully bending and posing to the notes with athletic like bodies and costumes that swayed with their movements. I loved it. I remembered the countless hours I spent in ballet class, practising plies and jetes. I longed to escape once more into the practise hall with my leotards, tights and slippers. I would turn the music up high and let my spirit be the choreographer. But those days are gone and tonight was a chance to appreciate dance. During intermission I wandered the foyer to examine the silent auction items. I usually never bid but tonight was different. I picked up the pen and wrote my name down and bid and ... I won.
I won five Belly dancing classes. I am still smiling and I can't wait to start my lessons.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Taking care of Business

This weeks PSA is all about taking care of the details. If you see a mysterious crack on a beam that say might hold up your entire house have it checked out right away. Just call a termite company or two (if your in San Diego I can make a recommendation) and then schedule an appointment to have it repaired. I didn't have termites, I have dry rot damage which is a testimony to getting a good paint job. Of course the damage was on the highest most in accessible part of my roof.
Things you shouldn't do -
1. Don't let your husband try to convince you that he can do it by himself.
2. Don't wait nine months and have nightmares about your roof caving in during the middle of the night while it's raining.
3. Don't pretend it's not really a problem and that your seeing things.
Today I am smiling because -
1. I took care of business
2. I didn't let my husband try to kill himself in order to save some money
3. I will sleep well tonight ( as good as any insomniac)
If you have lived in your house for more than two years, call a termite company for a free inspection. Termites once they have established residence can travel upto a foot a year. If they find some good tastey wood they don't move around much, so you can usually just have that spot treated. In the end it will cost you a lot less to have it done today.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Happiness Project

I stumbled across this web site by the grace of God I think and I find it absolutely delightful. I actually smile when I read through the postings. The author Gretchen Ruben is, "working on a book, THE HAPPINESS PROJECT--a memoir about the year I spent test-driving every principle, tip, theory, and scientific study I could find, whether from Aristotle or St. Therese or Martin Seligman or Oprah. THE HAPPINESS PROJECT will gather these rules for living and report on what works and what doesn’t. On this daily blog, I recount some of my adventures and insights as I grapple with the challenge of being happier".
Now I'm a person who can get depressed from all the demands of motherhood, career and marriage to name a few. I've often watched people who always seemed happy. I'm sure you know someone who is always smiling and ready to give a hug. I know they have many of the same problems I do, maybe more, but there they are always smiling. There must be a bright spot on their DNA because it truly seems happiness comes to them naturally.
I want to be happy so I seek out people, places and things that will help me change my attitude, I always say, "It's all in the way you look at it".
The Happiness Project has been a wonderful resource for me to turn to. Check it out and smile :)
http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project

Here is something to smile about, my family and although everyone isn't smiling in the picture (frowning teenager at the far left) it makes me smile to remember that beautiful day on the beach.


My favorite quote for today -What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.” Colette

Thank you to -
My manager for cancelling our coaching session because she is sick.
Colleen for calling me to say she was in the area and could pick-up the kids from school.
Natalie for offering to take over the e-mailing projects for our kids second grade.
My Mom for looking for cars for me.
And to you ...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Andrew's New Smile


Teenagers don't usually smile very much. More often than not they moan and groan, mumble and sneer, but Andrew my fourteen year old is smiling to show off his new teeth without braces. Today we went to the dentist and Andrew Got His Braces Off!!!
I think they look great but then again I have paid the price for those straight teeth to the tune of $2500 and countless trips to the dentist. Unlike most Mothers who just sit in the waiting room I joined my son in a nearby chair to have my braces adjusted during most of his visits. I have braces too. Andrew and I got braces at about the same time, only he needed a special expander appliance installed on the roof of his mouth. I got a six week head start but my progress has been slower because I had four teeth pulled. Andrew made steady progress and in just about 26 months he now has perfectly straight teeth. I still have braces on and the dentist can't even make a guess when I'll be ready. I have stubborn teeth (I should have guessed) and they move slow.
Andrew has been enjoying his freedom. He loves to slide his tongue across his teeth and look at them in the mirror. Today at the dinner table he explained how much more room he has in his month now that the braces are gone. He has also enjoyed teasing both me and his brother who also has braces(we got the family plan for three members) His favorite taunt is to smile really wide and ask me to tell him if I can see anything stuck in between his teeth. Ha Ha.
Congratulations Andrew I am very happy for you. You will soon forget the agony of the braces but you'll enjoy the benefits of a beautiful smile for the rest of your life and you can thank me for that.

Complications

New yarn and a new day. Today I began work on "Tubey". I have learned that projects have names. Cable sweater was actually called, "Boogie". Evidently I don't pick projects with very pretty names.
The first step is a provisional cast-on. It seems so simple to make a single crochet chain and then knit a row into it. I can do that. The hard part is being able to pull the chain out from the knitted stitches. They don't come out; the first time or the second or the third. I tried a bigger crochet hook, thinking that the stitches were too tight - that didn't work and I think I would have thrown off the gauge if I had continued. My instructions said, "Using waste yarn..." not knowing exactly what that was I used the same thread. I'm very happy I took that thread out because it would have been a nightmare to try to separate the crochet from the knit. I then remembered my dear friends, Knit Picks, and followed their tutorial, using a contrasting thread (that's actually what waste thread means - contrasting)and the result is that I can see the cast-on from the knit stitches, but I still can't separate the stitches. Everytime I try to pull the thread it gets stuck and knots. At this point I yearn for the knitting fairy (aka Yarnhog) but she has a big deadline for Icarus - nice name. There has got to be a better way!!
Well the virtual knitting fairy came to the rescue (yes that's the yarnhog) her post about provisional cast-on's gave me the details and pictures to try another way. I worked that method for over an hour and it works, sorta of. The cast-on does easily pull out but the knitted stitches on it were too loose for me so I resorted to the single crochet chain. I may hate myself later but in the mean time,
here's "Tubey"

Notice the circular needles. I'm moving up.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Finished!!!!??!!!

I finally managed to go out with cable sweater again and it was as good as the day we first met. But this wasn't knitting it was sewing and I didn't know what I was doing - it's my first time!!! Thank you Knit Picks for the wonderful step-by-step details on the mattress stitch. I finished seaming the sweater. Then I did a single crochet (twice because the first time was too tight) around the sleaves and the neck and now modeling her first wearable knitted vest.....



But is it really done? Look closer... See all the strings ... Yes it's true I still have to weave all the threads in.



But I couldn't wait to see if it fit (A gauge is only a gauge, you never really know until it's done) And, what it looked like, especially since I was beginning to think it should be used as a rag. And now that I've entered this pseudo finished stage I wonder how many knitters out there wear almost finished projects (I call them AFO'S but I think they are really WIP's). All you have to do is carefully tuck in the strings and your good. No Problem. Or is it like those tags at the back of shirts that almost always seem to be sticking out no matter how carefully we tuck them under. Will the strings resurface and tease people to pull on them? Will people begin to think that I am unraveling?, I mean my sweater.
Why are there so many strings? The vest has two side seams and two shoulder seams but I think I count 16 strings. Is this common? Weaving in threads is really tedious work. I am a new knitter but I can easily see a business opportunity for those who love to weave. Kinda like companies that do quilting for quilters. Or do I just find a local knitting pal who say doesn't like to sew but loves to weave????
I promise to finish weaving the threads. But I hear that it takes a long time and I'm really anxious to cast on my new silky blue yarn and break in my first circular needles. ARRG
Things I learned knitting this project -
1. Knitters are perfectionist. Re-doing, taking out, and starting over until it's right no matter how many times it takes is common practise.
2. It's a lot more fun to start a project then it is to finish it.
Ironically, I finished my sweater on a day when it's 85 degrees in San Diego.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

For Your Benefit


Last Thursday my cell phone suddenly died and when I took it into the Verizon store I learned a few things about phones and batteries that I didn't know. Later that same day I shared my story with a group at the gym who also didn't know this information. Therefore since my blogs original intention is, "to share" I post todays message as a "Public Service Announcement - PSA" with the hope that others will not suffer.
1. Batteries have approximately 500 charges.
2. Your phone contract is good for 2 years or 730 days.
3. You don't need to charge your phone everyday. Probably 2 or 3 times a week is enough, or you can check the bars on the display screen and charge when it gets to 1 bar.
4. You only need to charge for about two hours, not over night.
5. New batteries cost $35.00
6. When your phone battery dies and the phone at the same time you lose all of your contacts and information that has been stored.
7. The battery and phone will probably die when the store is closed and so you will imagine that the most important calls failed to make it to you.
8. Regular phones - work great.
I retrieved my phone yesterday and found that I had missed three calls. Two from my mother and one from my husband.

Monday, September 24, 2007

FO's And NO's


This is a picture of my almost finished (AFO?) first wearable knitted projected. Since technically scarves don't count (I'll debate that issue later) this is quite a triumph for me, however it is not done. As I carefully enter the world of knitting I am beginning to understand a few anomalies.
1. FO's have a way of lingering just as they near completion. It is almost as if we deliberately choose not to end the project. Six weeks ago when I began this project - with the best yarn I have ever used and a well researched free pattern I was on fire to finish. I planned the time I could spend knitting even staying up late and sometimes in the middle of the night during my regular insomnia episode. I was so excited to finish the back and then to start the front and then to work a cable. It was fun!! Then just as I began to work off stiches and near the armhole I began to feel that I needed a new project and I started to work less on knitting and more on finding a new pattern and new yarn. All I need to do is sew the side seams and weave the threads in and yet I don't. In fact, I now have new yarn -
So my sweater lies wadded up in my knitting bag, lonely and broken hearted, wondering what went wrong with the relationship and if we will ever get back together again.
2. New objects (NO's?) need to "cure" awhile before they can be started. Like a fresh new canvas or shampooed carpet they cannot be touched until the time is right. I waited five days for the mailman to deliver the yarn, I quickly opened the box and stared at my new Love. I touched it and dreamed. But I can only think about our first date and how wonderful it will be to begin this new affair. I have to do the right thing and FO cable sweater.

The Last Lecture

Today I read an article about a professor who gave his "last lecture" to his class at Carnegie Mellon University. Professors actually do this all the time with the intention of getting students to think about what they want to do with their lives. This teacher's speech took on a deeper meaning because he has pancreatic cancer and has been given only a few months to live. Read the article at -

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119024238402033039.html

He said a few things that made me think about my life -

1. "Brick walls are there for a reason. They let us prove how badly we want things."

2. He encouraged us to be patient with others. "Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you."

3. His last words in his last lecture were simple: "This was for my kids."

The irony of these three statements is that even though they stand alone as profound and thought provoking they can also be intermingled and combined. For example,
~ The person you may have been waiting for could be your kid who often acts like a brick wall.
~ If you wait long enough it is usually your kids who will surprise you, especially if they are currently teenagers.
~ Brick walls don't go away no matter how long you wait.

I'm still thinking about what I would share if it were my last speech(blog). Would it be humorous like,
Always speel check it's the best way to make you look good.
Or
Lifes too short, knit all day.
Or would I try to be profound with -
Capture today with your heart and your smile, and you'll live a long while.
No that sounds funny too.
How about,
"Life's as hard or complicated as you make it",
"All hills can be climbed, one step at a time"
And
"Try to be thankful for everything and everyone".
What would you say?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Real Estate Work


This is a picture of a stack of approximately 300 Chargers magnets. It took almost two hours to peel and stick my business card onto the top of the magnet and slip them into clear plastic door hangers. These are the ones that I have left. I have already passed out about 300 and I have about 200 that I am trying to sell to other agents in my office. You see I couldn't resist the offer, $20 for 100 Charger magnets - last seasons most frequently requested item. Magnets are a great marketing tool, they stay on someones refrigerator for the entire season, maybe longer and all that for only .25/day. So in my great enthusiasm I bought 800 hundred. I have now learned that 800 is way too many to market. I feel like I will never get rid of the magnets. I have walked for hours going door-to-door handing them out and I will probably spend a couple more days on this project. But now I have a new project so the Chargers will have to wait.


I have an Open House to hold this Sunday and it's my companies "Open House Extravaganza" and they're giving away an Apple Iphone. So, I need to do pre-advertising and walk the neighborhoods handing out door hangers. Well, the driveways in this neighborhood are all very, very, very long and the houses are very, very, very far apart. I walked for an hour and only handed out 30 door hangers. But I did it all with the dream that someone would come by and buy the house from me and then I would be able to pay my bills!!
All realtors have this dream - very, very, very few have them come true

Open House Update

Six people came to my open house, none from the door hangers that I passed out or from the advertising that my company did. One had their agent with them, one was a neighbor who was interested in what "they" had done to the house, one said he didn't like the house, and two were interested - they left their information.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

No TV


As you can see something is missing in this picture. The TV is gone. See the dangling cords and equipment like organs on an operating table they have been left to hang, only there will be no transplant or repair. The operation is complete. It's been a difficult surgery to remove the TV from our house for two reasons. One the TV is firmly connected with both a power cord and DVD hook-up plus all the X-Boxes, Cubes or current gear. Two, they connect to children like leeches, which is why we no longer have a TV. All summer long I have been threatening to disconnect the TV and yesterday I finally did it. I feel like I have conquered a mighty foe. We are now a household without a TV.

The TV is sitting all alone in the office looking like a child in time-out.
The family is recovering nicely. The children are getting their homework done, my husband is completing his honey-do list, and I am happy to be free of the TV noise. I am imaging all the wonderful things that the kids will be doing instead of wasting away in front of the TV. The boys will probably want to start reading the classics, studying Latin or practising the piano. They might want to build science projects or paint pictures. Maybe they will want to do extra credit assignments for school or clean their room(maybe just their desk). But my dreams haven't come true. They spend most of their free time trying to figure out how to get the TV back.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Pictures



Well they say that a picture is worth a thousand words and never has that been clearer to me than lately. I had to get my picture taken for my business card. I'm a Realtor and I have to have my picture on just about everything, cards, letters, website, newsletters, notepads, magnets you name it and I have a picture of me on it.
I don't like to have my picture taken so in order to prepare I had my make-up done at the mall and carefully washed and curled my hair. I found the best photographer that I could (the only one my manager recommended) and asked for advise on what I should wear. I wanted to look friendly, smart and approachable. My only request was that I didn't want my braces to show, so I tried not to smile but in the end I smiled a lot and after twenty minutes and thirty or forty pictures I found two that were pretty good. I was happy.
Well the picture is really good, maybe too good because I get a lot of comments like, "Wow that's a great picture and you should keep that picture forever", or "That picture looks like you when you were younger" or " I didn't even recognize you". Well I finally asked the photographer, "hey did you spend hours airbrushing all the flaws off my picture?" I was so happy to hear that NO If fact all she did was whiten my teeth. Yep that picture is me on a good day with good lighting.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Holiday Time

Today while shoping at Costco (San Diego's warehouse store)I noticed that I could buy Halloween candy and costumes, pumpkin pie and Christmas toys and decorations.
Its Sept 8th and if I had been able to juggle my holiday spirit I could have done a slam dunk shopping spree and left with a smug smile on my face and the inner joy of having been able to escape the holiday mall madness. But I couldn't do it. I'm a traditionalist. To a point. I couldn't resist buying the biggest pumpkin pie I have ever seen for only $5.99. I browsed the toy aisle, admired the fall flowers and walked past the candy. Then I went home unloaded my car and laughed about my shopping experience while I had pumpkin pie for breakfast. Hey pumpkin is full of betacarotene and must be a lot better than any cereal.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Back-to-School Bliss

Today is Sept 4th, the day after one of the hottest labor days I can ever remember in San Diego. At least 100 degrees and high humidity made out door activities unbearable.
It's probably 95 today but I will take every minus I can get. We don't have air-conditioning and my house is crazy hot. Even with new double-pane windows, shade cloth covering the sky-lights, fans running day and night and our window air-conditioner we haven't been able to escape the heat. You are not supposed to need air-conditioning in San Diego.
Last night I slept on an air mattress down stairs!
Heat issues aside the real news of today is it means that my three boys (14,12 & 7) are BACK IN SCHOOL and it's for the whole day, not fake half days, but a real day of school. I am actually able to think in complete sentences and write without being interrupted, I had a conversation on the phone and was able to listen, I was able to work in my office all by myself. The TV hasn't been turned on!!! I haven't heard anyone say, "MOM" or "Look at this". In a few minutes I will go to the office and have lunch. Life is great!!!