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.