Category Archives: Life

Happy New 2010

(taken from a second-story window last night at 12:01! )

Happy New Year,  and may this year bring all good things to you and your families.

Summertime

…and the livin’ is busy, apparently.  (Hey!  That’s not how the song goes!)

Sorry to worry those who were concerned about my whereabouts!  Just working a lot, traveling some, a little bit of illness at the house, nothing too remarkable.  But not much blogging (I am very behind on reading blogs too).

I even missed taking a Saturday Sky picture one weekend!  (Gasp.)  Granted, I worked, but I did see the sky at one point.

But here’s a quick synopsis of Saturday Skies so as to catch you up on the last month. (Oops.  A month. Wow.)

This past weekend, I worked, but it was a lovely summer weekend; not hot enough for my kids, but I liked it.  We could use rain, but still, one has to enjoy wonderful summer days when they come and when one can.

Saturday-Sunset-August-1-20

Above is the sunset lighting up my front yard Japanese maple.  It glows like an ember when the light shines through it.  So beautiful.  It’s a slightly hardier cultivar that has survived our past winter with -22 degree F temps, which I found at a local nursery: Acer palmatum “Emperor”, by Monrovia.  It is  slower growing in these conditions and won’t get big, but it’s done very well in its west-facing (as you can see) location.

Last week we were among very different trees and skies:

Storm-cloud-over-Walt-Disne

Can you see the ‘different’ trees?  How about now?

palm-trees

Yes, there are no palm trees in Wisconsin.

I and my daughters were enjoying 95 degree F heat and high humidity plus daily scattered thunderstorms in Orlando, Florida, where I had a meeting and the girls were tagging along to swim at the hotel pool (and go to Disney) while our husband and father was on a church trip to equally hot and humid New Orleans (granted, he was working harder than we were).

While in Florida, we also visited New York,

touring-new-york

San Francisco,

Touring-SF,-FL

making-a-call-in-SF,-FL

and Nepal.

touring-Nepal,-Florida

(We get around.)

Before that, in July, I worked…and forgot to take a photo one Saturday.

Another Saturday, it was apparently a nice day.

Saturday-Sky-July-11-2009

I think I worked.

And that brings us back to the last day I posted, the Fourth of July!

july-4th-Mississippi-River-

Here’s another picture from that evening: the Mississippi River at sunset, with boats awaiting the start of the Independence Day fireworks.  (Which were great.)

There has been knitting, of course.  I’ve been plugging away on my Monkey Kaw Kaw socks monkeys-on-my-car (here before I turned the heels, the which is now done), and I finished a project I’ve been working on for two years, but there is an entire tale attached to it, so that will await another post.  I finished another pair of socks after the DC trip, with my favorite Twisted yarn.

grass-fire-socks

(Playful yarn base, Scorched colorway, my own design, though there are similar ones around, I have found now.)

I knit a scarf all over Walt Disney World, shortly to be finished, and a baby hat was started while I had a root canal a couple weeks ago, and the hat finished two days later.  (It was my stress relief in The Chair.)  I am no doubt forgetting things, due to lack of blog maintenance….though I haven’t been keeping up as well on Ravelry either.  More knitting to come!

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This coming weekend, we leave for our annual Family Camp vacation.  So I won’t be suddenly catching up on blogging then, needless to say.  But I’ll try hard to pop in before we leave.  Fear not!  I’m back!

Can’t take pictures of what’s not there

1)  No heat in the dryer. And no round and round action, either. As I predicted, it stopped working again (since it started working for no apparent reason for the repairman).  Happened last night at 11:30 pm.  It was working fine earlier in the day.  You know: the daytime.  When the laundromat was open.   And when my parents were awake and their dryer was therefore potentially available for use.

So the Gothlet (aka the Germophobe who hates re-wearing clothes that have touched her body in any way, shape or form) has no clean (or at least unworn) pants this morning and we have a load of wet jeans in the non-working dryer.  (Mental wager with myself: how long will it take the husband to call the repairman, and how long will it take them to come?)

2) Hard to take meaningful pictures of a furnace that’s not working.  (I suppose I could have taken pictures of the thermostat.)  Now I know some people set their thermostats to low 50s on purpose.  We don’t.  So it was quite a shock to wake up to that ambient temperature this morning.  The old gas furnace pilot light/boiler apparently went out yesterday pm sometime.  Because it’s hot water radiator heat, it cooled down slowly; it was a bit chilly at bedtime, but I thought it was just because it was windy outside (when the wind blows from a certain direction, it finds its way into our 1891 house). 

There were tiny pawprints around the pilot light; the kitten had gotten in the basement last night.  She’s been in a playful mood.  My husband really thinks she did it.

3)  I forgot another knitting project has been completed.  My father’s second Christmas sock made great headway in Madrona and en route, and I grafted the toe shortly after returning.  So now he has a pair.  But I forgot to take pictures before giving him the pair.

So just imagine two of these….

dad-sock-one-of-two-2

Where’s That Pause Button When You Need It?

Another crazy weekend done, and now only 3 days until Christmas.

Gulp.  Possibly the least-prepared I’ve ever been.  The house is a disaster area, we don’t have our tree up, I’m not even sure which presents I don’t have yet.

But I haven’t been sitting around eating bonbons!

Going in reverse:

Just got done portraying “Esther”, the matriarch of a nomadic shepherd family coming in to Bethlehem to try to sell a couple sheep. Unfortunately, the village is very full and the village elders (like the one below) wouldn’t let us in to sell our sheep because there was no room yet to do so.  So we pitched our tent outside the city to bide our time, and talked to people coming through for the census.  And I spun wool into yarn, naturally.  Pictures to come at some point (from other people’s cameras).

shepherd-and-elder

(That village elder would be my father!).

Lots of fun, I’m exhausted, and I now have six balls of singles to ply.  Not the best yarn in the world, but it IS yarn (and will be plied yarn soon.  Well,  after the holidays).

Night before that, shepherding not sheep, but six preteens through the snow to see the movie “Twilight”  (the majority for the second time; I think they’re in love with Edward).  Plus an Urgent Care visit (nothing serious, just annoying).

Night before that, a piano recital. The Gothlet’s.  Here she is, demonstrating (under duress) the latest in Wisconsin evening fashion.

the-well-dressed-wisconsin

Well, OK, she changed her footwear for the actual recital.

It’s always fun to see the recitals, remembering that it wasn’t that long ago that she was the size of the kindergarteners at the same recital, whose feet are nowhere near touching the floor.

small-piano-player

And now she looks like this.

10-year-old-pianist

This recital was a bit of a stressor for me, too, as we played a duet; the which I only found out about two weeks beforehand (getting not so good at the telling me about these things, the Gothlet is — or isn’t).  Then, because despite finally getting on the stick and practicing her little fingers off, she was NOT getting the hang of the duet.  (I think it was a little above her level.)  She could have just skipped it, but we ended up changing to a different duet — 3 days before the recital!  LOTS more practicing ensued, on my part too (I’m really not that good a piano player, I only took piano for a few years, and this is starting to approach my limits).  But we pulled off  “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” with a few minor wobbles but a strong finish.

The night before:  The RockStar’s choir concert (she had a short solo).

choir-concert

Though I recorded her solo on my not-so-great-sound-quality camera, I’ll spare you that.  However, I will want to share with you the choir’s rendition of “Silent Night”.  Her choir director performed it in a way that seems to be becoming a yearly tradition now: first sung as an a cappella solo (duet this year) with accompanying ASL signing; then choral singing with accompaniment; then humming with choral signing; then signing silently: truly a “Silent Night”.   It rather gives me goosebumps.  The RockStar’s friend did signing and another friend sang the alto part for the duet.  I thought I had uploaded the song to YouTube, but it was the wrong song.  Thus I’ll add in the YouTube video once I get it uploaded, or blog it later…I didn’t want to delay this post ANY MORE.

Before that:  working late, some child had to go shopping emergently as I recall also, and then there was Nutcracker, of course, with a band concert in the middle.

No action pictures from the Nutcracker performance (not allowed to photograph in the theater), but here’s the Chinese dancer in the dressing room..

dressing-room-chinese

Who received a floral tribute….

nutcracker-flowers

She danced beautifully.  And in a very rat-like manner when appropriate.

Phew.  I think that brings us up to speed.  Now for choir rehearsals tonight and tomorrow night for a Christmas Eve cantata, and a RockStar home puking today.  (Cross our — frequently washed — fingers that no one else gets the bug.)

Now, I’m still looking for that TRULY Universal Remote with the Pause Button!  The one that works on Life too!  Seen one anywhere?

What Kind of Nerd am I?

All sorts, apparently! But music and books are right at the top. (Sounds about right.) Found on kmkat’s blog.

What Be Your Nerd Type?

Your Result: Musician
 

Doo doo de doo waaaa doo de doo! (<– That’s you playing something.) Everyone appreciates the band/orchestra geeks and the pretty voices. Whether you sing in the choir, participate in a school/local band, or sit at home writing music, you contribute a joy to society that everyone can agree on. Yay! Welcome to actually doing something for poor, pathetic human souls. (Just kidding.)

Literature Nerd
 
Artistic Nerd
 
Science/Math Nerd
 
Social Nerd
 
Drama Nerd
 
Gamer/Computer Nerd
 
Anime Nerd
 
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Work’s been crazy busy (apparently not so busy that I can’t take a quick nerd quiz at the moment) but this weekend should find me with a little more time, other than Nutcracker insanity starting (first performance is in one week). (And speaking of music/artistic/drama nerds.) I’m not in it (was in the past) but just the RockStar being in it is a big time suck. As in, “Mom, I need fill-in-essential-object-of-choice tonight/tomorrow!” plus chaperoning/volunteering at rehearsals & performances. Well, it’s a huge time commitment from everyone involved. But so wonderful to see. And the countdown begins….

Biker Monday and Weekend (Knitting) Update

Inspired by all the bikers around this weekend, as well as the perfect June day today, I got on MY bike (the non-motorized kind, however), and set forth on an adventure.

Weather permitting, I often ride my bike to work (or walk, when time permits, which allows bonus knitting), as I live just under two miles from where I work.

Except one half day a week, I work at an office in an adjoining small city. I rode my bike there only once before, which required travel along a highway; much of it has sidewalks, but part of it doesn’t. Also, there is a stretch in the (rather suburban) adjacent city with no sidewalks, around a shopping mall, which got a little crazy.

But they have constructed sidewalks since then. And today was gorgeous. 64 degrees F (18 C) in the morning, very little wind, high temperature supposed to be low 80s (28 C) in the afternoon. If I didn’t ride my bike now, when would I?

So 16 miles round trip, with a few significant hills; I have this sinking feeling I’m going to feel this tomorrow, and even more the day after. But it was beautiful. There was only a short stretch without sidewalks, and I cut behind the businesses there to stay off the highway, to find this:

with Great Egrets flapping back and forth. Wow. On the way back, I took an alternate route through the marsh (yes, the area where I apparently found a deer tick, or rather, it found me; but I promise you, I didn’t go in the bushes this time, and if I do in the future, I’ll ask for a tick check. I’m sure my husband will help!).

The marsh is doing its job of soaking up the excess water like a sponge, and releasing it slowly, so it looks less like a lake now:

though the water is still a bit high in places.

The trail, however,

was dry and smooth other than one low area that was shallowly water-covered.

The ride was such a refreshing mental interlude in the middle of the day (though it took almost an hour). I’m not sure my thighs would endorse the word “refreshing”, but hey, it’s good for them!

After all that, though, I felt totally justified (rightly or wrongly), in relaxing with my knitting tonight. (I cleaned a lot yesterday, not as much knitting time as I would have liked. But I have a couple vacation days coming up, so there will be knitting!) First in the backyard, with some buddies:

but the gnats were obnoxious in the shade, so I relocated to the front porch, in the relative sun.

That’s Wendy‘s Kay’s Diamonds & Purls shawl on my lap, though my knitting of it kept being interrupted by daughterly inquiries, needs and phone calls (the other adult member of the household was working). My wrist having recovered, I also cast on for Tonks Hypnosis sock #2; here’s a better picture of #1.

Blocking seems to have tamed the bulgy bits some, but if I were to knit these all over again, I would do an extra half repeat of the charts, so as to bring the ‘convergence’ parts in front & back of the ankle, rather than at the sides. The ‘divergent’ parts bulge outward due to the topology of knitting, and that creates a bulge right where the ankle flexes, which is not very attractive. Again, blocking helped, I think; I don’t usually block socks necessarily, especially my own, but I would definitely recommend it with these. Or one might modify the pattern to decrease the bulginess, but the pattern would be less cool and hypnotic.

In other knitting news, here’s the results of curling up with my pet orange yarn this weekend while the girls cuddled with their orange pets:

Baby hat for the coworker, for whose baby shower I made the modified Saartje’s booties

in the same yarn (Twisted Fiber Art’s Kabam! Bamboo/merino/nylon blend in the Scorched colorway).

The hat is my “Grow-with-Me” Baby Hat, on my free pattern page.

I was thinking about making the baby an Elizabeth Zimmermann Tomten jacket, but it was turning out rather big and taking too long, so I pulled from the other end of the ball and quick knit up the hat.

We’ll see when the Tomten gets done. (Now that’s good meeting knitting; loads of garter stitch.) Of course, one loses the full effect of the gorgeous striping in the Tomten, which I expected, but it’s interesting to me that I perceive the jacket as brown, but the hat as orange if I had to pick one color to describe each.

I also made progress on Forest Canopy, which is visible progress to me, in that I’m on the second skein of yarn! Woo-hoo! Now back to no visible progress!

And, lastly, the former meeting socks are coming along well, to the point that I have *almost* reknit all the frogged yarn. (Sigh.)

Natural (evening) light.

Flash.

(The truth, as usual, being somewhere in between.)

Wow, I guess I have been accomplishing something! It feels as though I’m knitting and knitting and nothing’s getting done. (The baby hat was satisfying to finish today.) There are so many things I want to cast on — like the next (few pairs of) socks for the Summer of Socks, and I’m designing a lace project or three in my head. And, and, and….

You know, if I WALKED to work at the other office, that would be a LOT of sock knitting!

(We’ll overlook the fact that it would take me two and a half hours to get from one office to the other, possibly longer if knitting, it does slow me down from my usual brisk pace . . . no, just let me live in my fantasy world a little longer. . . .)

Big G in the Sky

No, that’s not a religious reference.

Though the Green Bay Packers are pretty much a religion in these parts; remember this? packer-inflatable.jpg

And do you recall the Crane with Christmas Tree? Well, here’s the Saturday Sky this morning:

big-g-in-the-saturday-sky.jpg

Forecast: Cloudy with a chance of G.

Looked a little more dramatic last night, I must say.
g-in-the-sky-at-night.jpg

In other news of the realm, another weekend, another Show Choir performance:

belting.jpg

Yes, that one in the center was born to perform. (Can you believe she’s only twelve?)

Today, I hope to photograph and upload some knitting progress, slow as it may be (spread out on too many projects due to a bad attack of startitis); maybe get some stuff done at home after working this morning; and go to an office party tonight, then possibly (if I’m not exhausted) go to hear my husband play really loud music in a smoky bar. Hmm. Husband = wonderful, music = great, loud = not-so-great, smoky = ick. Probably depends on if I have a couple drinks at the party, how I’ll feel about it! Either ready to party, or asleep!

Oh, yeah, and though I am not a Cheesehead by birth, I still wish the Packers well in their playoff game today. I suspect it will be a good day to go do almost anything if you’re not a football fan — groceries, mall. The streets of the city will appear deserted. (City? Heck, the entire state!)

But maybe we’ll just stay inside and watch the game like everyone else.

tv-watching-together.jpg

GO PACK!

big-g-2.jpg

Merry Christmas!

oil-paint-wreath.jpg

Wishing you warm welcomes this holiday season.

Icicle Time

I should be doing at least seventeen other things, sleep being prominent on the list, but I had to show you what came in the mail last night:

icicle-yarn.jpg

I don’t often take yarn pictures in the dark, but I simply had to this time. (Serves me right that the picture’s blurry, since my camera, like most digital cameras, has trouble focusing in the dark.)

This yarn is so wonderful! And such a perfect melding of base yarn to colorway; and Icicle is the perfect name for it! Tencel is not a favorite of mine generally, but the merino/tencel blend of this yarn gives it such a lustrous luminescence that sets off the colors beautifully.

What to knit? I must ponder. After Christmas, that is. No time for pondering now.

Speaking of icicles, I had the same Christmas icicle lights up for the last three years. I mean, the SAME. For the entire LAST three years. As in, I never took them down. OK, I’m a twinkie. (I didn’t have them plugged in, fear not.)

But this year, they were progressively giving up the ghost.

pathetic-christmas-lights.jpg

Is that pathetic, or what? (Actually, after the above picture, half of the above lights went out. And they used to have colors. How pathetic can you get, really?)

So the Preteen and I (she volunteered! though she changed her mind halfway through and I forced her to keep going) took down the old and put up the new. See how nice?

new-lights.jpg

This time, though, I tied the light strings on with acrylic yarn rather than the bulletproof plastic locking ties my husband had me use last time (which take hedge shears or something similar to get off, I swear). Should make it easier to take the lights down in fewer than three years this time.

We’ll see.

Pavane

saturday-sky-november-24.jpg

The sun came out in the Saturday Sky for Katie’s funeral this morning.

The north wind dried the tears on my face as I walked home from the church, but it was cold comfort indeed.

november-garden-sidewalk.jpg

By randomness, this was the coffee mug I grabbed off the shelf without looking, this morning.

knit-on.jpg

“Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.” Elizabeth Zimmermann.

Advice I take to heart. I needed my needles and yarn in my hand today.

There has been a lack of visible knitting in this blog lately, but today at least I can give you an FO from lovely yarn:

fingerless-gloves-twisted.jpggloves-on.jpg

Arial superwash merino sock yarn from Twisted Fiber Arts, in the Rodney colorway. (Hey, free shipping for the next few weeks if you buy two or more skeins! And Meg just did a shop update!) I love it. I’m not sure who these are for yet; a Christmas present for someone who doesn’t mind fraternal fingerless gloves, given the glorious unpredictability of hand-dyed yarn.

And the stealth knitting that I have been doing for a couple weeks (ever since the Wedding Pi shawl was finished!) is blocking now, but you still can’t see more than a glimpse of it:

stealth-knitting.jpg

At some point, you will see it all, I promise.

Now to my next project! It’s holiday time, so goal-oriented knitting is on the books.

As others have remarked, it makes for boring blogging, though, as I can’t show you all that I will be up to in the next month. Ah, well, I will find some things I can share.

Thank you for all the wonderful quotes and poems you’ve left on my birthday contest post. I am enjoying every one, many of which I had not read before, and some have extra meaning right now as I re-read them. Thank you.