Goldi's Locks of Yarn

My place to discuss my raging obsession with yarn and crochet along with happenings in my life and the world at large

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Quick note

Just wanted to post a quickie tonight, as I hate falling into a "once a week" posting rut here. I may get a chance tomorrow to finish the message I started to write this morning before I got too overwhelmed with work to get back to it today. There will be much more info in that one. For now, I'm just taking a quick break before I get back to my frenzied rush to finish up with my Bathroom & Kitchen swap projects. My absolute deadline is Thursday, and I plan to be shipping it out via Fedex then. There will be more about this in tomorrow's update as well.

Thursday, I will be doing a photo session at work, so I should have some pics for y'all to look forward to. Maybe later tonight, I will also post a pic or two which I received from Isis of her finished afghan, if I get a chance.

For now, back to the hooks!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Knit Picks and - OMG!

First of all, I have to mention that my Knit Picks order arrived on Friday. Because of my B&K commitment, however, I did not spend as much time drooling over my beautiful haul as I would have liked. I will have to save that for later. But I must mention that the Iris Alpaca Cloud I ordered is TO DIE FOR!!! Oh. My. GOD! It is absolutely drool-inspiring! Once I have some headspace, I will put a pic together of the whole shipment, with heavy emphasis on this gorgeous fiber so you can see for yourself. I am beside myself with excitement over it!

And speaking of excitement! I spent part of the afternoon and evening working on the basement (the Pit), another one of those "deadline" deals, as the landlord wants to do some work down there. I think I've got things at least tidied up enough so I won't be majorly embarrassed for him to see the mess down there. But in the process, I discovered a bag of long-lost WIPs! My Bernat Sweety has been resurrected, along with something else I'd completely forgotten about!

I was shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, to discover that I had made 5 complete motifs for the afghan the Sweety was for! I hadn't remembered getting this much done. My only difficulty now will be in figuring out how to eliminate the awful basement smell from my yarn.

The other item was a thread fashion doll blouse I had been in the process of making, no doubt for one of Isis's dolls. I found a whole skein of purple variegated #10 thread with the blouse, as well as my #5 steel hook, one of the 3 or 4 I was missing out of the set I have. I am still missing #4, and possibly up to two others (how high do the numbers go on these hooks? I have up to #12, is there a 13 and 14? There's two slots in the case indicating two more hooks belong in it...). Also in the bag was a booklet of fashion doll crochet outfits.

Now, the only item still missing (that I know of) is the afghan kit that had yarn to be woven through a lattice piece of cloth. Sooner or later, I'll trip over that too.

I'll post pics of these as well as my Knit Picks yarn as soon as I get a chance!

The usual Sunday night Catchup

Well, you can tell I'm no longer on vacation, eh? A whole week since my last post, but whadda week it was! Lessee now, Monday I returned to work and spent the entire morning digging and sorting through the piles that had accumulated on my desk from the week before, finally spotted the desktop sometime around 1 pm! For some reason, when we all got to work, it was to discover that our accounting system had crashed and burned on us, so no business as usual - which was fine by me since I wasn't ready for business as usual. Except that I had one check request that absolutely had to go out that day, and so I went hunting for the old dinosaur: a typewriter. Almost forgot how to use one of those things, lol!

The accounting program woes worked to my favor Monday, as I needed to leave work early to go run some errands that I'd held off on due to trying to stretch my fuel as far as I could. I was also hoping to hit one of the gas stations I knew to be reliable in delivering at the lowest prices available in our area. On my way to the first of two errands I had to make before 6 pm, I passed a gas station near my "reliable" one that was selling gas at $2.11 - the lowest I'd seen to that point had been $2.17. Got my bottled water (10 gallons of it instead of my usual 20 since I'd cut into those funds going bananas at JoAnns on Sunday) and my oil change done and then drove by the "reliable" station - and they were selling the gas for $2.19!

I thought about driving back through Fox Lake to hit the $2.11 place, but then thought about the Citgo on 41 that I otherwise usually go to (Fox Lake is way out of my way normally), which has the car wash special - and I really really needed to wash my car too. With the car wash, their gas was $2.07 a gallon, ten cents off their regular price of $2.17 - so I decided I would do that instead. As I was driving along, I started to think about the fact that I would have to backtrack a bit to get there, and it was getting late (and I was getting tired, having only had about 3 hours of sleep the night before, my usual Sunday night insomnia) and decided I would hit it on the way in to work the next morning...

Tuesday, as I was driving to work, I started to get a real bad feeling, as I passed station after station where the gas prices had jumped 10 cents (some even more!) a gallon, and sure enough - my Citgo had jumped to $2.27 a gallon overnight! With the car wash, it would be $2.17... Since I was running late anyway, I decided again to wait, knowing that no matter what, I had to fill up on my trip home, and ended up paying over $30 for the fillup and car wash, ouch!

Tuesday, we were still without our accounting program until late in the afternoon - they'd had to recover from the Friday backup, but it still took all day to get the program operating again. I continued working on my piles, but felt scattered and unfocused, and the one and a half hour meeting in the middle of the day didn't help at all, neither did having my part-time office-mate be there to chatter and distract me. I basically had nothing much to show for my day, even though I stayed an hour extra to make up for leaving early on Monday (I had a total of 2 hours to make up, which I didn't want to take out of my PTO time).

Wednesday and Thursday each had two meetings for me to attend, as we labored to explain our refunding policies and processes to our customer service department, so they would be better able to set the refunds up properly (we'd been having a LOT of problems with that) and would know what to tell the people who call looking for their refunds "yesterday". The meetings were long overdue and desperately needed (and hopefully informative and effective), but boy they sure wrecked my schedule, seeing as how I now had nearly TWO weeks worth of work piled up on my desk - and it all has to be done by next Thursday! And Friday wasn't any better! Yet another meeting (this one a company-wide "pep rally" by upper management to let us know the company's goals and aspirations, which none of us yet feels a part of seeing as how all the talk of "profits" does not translate into anything meaningful for those of us busting our butts to make it so - boy could I go on a serious rant here!) plus the presence of my office-mate for the 4th consecutive day served to continue helping me to not be able to focus and concentrate. And I was NOT feeling well, in fact hadn't been feeling well for most of the week. Perhaps the heat had somewhat to do with it, combined with the usual shift in my hormonal cycle, suffice it to say that I was feeling pretty miserable, especially Thursday and Friday.

So, the sum total of my work week was a whole lot of running around and frenzied activity - with little to show for it! And that pretty well sums things up for my personal life as well - at least in the area that mattered most to me: my crocheting! I did manage to continue with some of my housecleaning/reorganizing projects, even though it wasn't a huge amount, it kept the momentum going. At least until Thursday, when I felt too awful to do anything at all, and besides the house was like a furnace, despite the strategic placement of my many fans. I couldn't spend much time at all on the computer, as this room was the hottest of all!

And I've been scrambling like mad to get my Bathroom and Kitchen swap items done. Until this weekend, it was frustratingly slow as usual, with far too much time spent frogging my work. These are dishcloths and facecloths, fer cryin' out loud! It shouldn't have taken me nearly FOUR DAYS to get ONE lousy, stinkin' little cloth crocheted! I'm in full-blown panic mode now, with my Thursday deadline breathing hot fire down my neck - and far too ambitious plans to be accomplished in the time I have remaining, especially when I can't even get through a 12 x 12 cloth in less than 4 days!

It has improved this weekend, TG. Weather moderated to more comfortable levels, my hormones dropped back down to normal levels and the swelling in my feet went down with the hormones. And I got quite a bit of crocheting done - though still not nearly enough - even despite losing nearly a whole day yesterday. But it was a good day, so I don't mind as much losing all that crocheting time.

I had scheduled a visit with mom for yesterday, and in a happy surprise, Isis decided to join us! She has been wanting to go see gramma for awhile, but her own life and schedule has been crazy busy as well. We all had a wonderful time together, and I could tell when we left that mom was on cloud 9.

One thing I didn't manage to do this weekend that now needs to be crammed into the last few days of the month is to sign up for the 3-day pass at the YMCA. Why the big rush, you may ask? Well, there's summer special going on, with a family plan membership that can be bought for use of all their facilities for the next 3 months. The price is right, however there's no way I can afford it - but Phil is willing to pay for it, for both of us, but only if I show I will definitely use it. And this 3-day pass is sort of my "test" to prove to him that he won't be wasting his money on me. This "summer special" deal expires on July 3rd...

Under normal circumstances I would have just said "don't bother". I hate exercising, to be honest, and frankly with my schedule, it's going to take a major commitment on my part to make sure I use it more than once or twice. Problem is, I really need to do this! While I'm not overweight by any means, I am certainly out of shape, far too sedentary and smoke too much. And I'm getting awfully close to that 50 year marker... I need to start doing a better job of taking care of myself, and Phil has been a major pest in reminding me of this fact I'd just as soon forget! He is being incredibly generous in offering to get me this membership, and after a few scares this year, I feel compelled to take him up on his generosity.

And so, even though I have this crocheting deadline breathing down my neck, I MUST make the time to go get some serious exercise! It's a real nice facility from what he's told me, and comes complete with a sauna and a whirlpool, as well as a fully-stocked exercise room. And it's only about 5 minutes away - right on my driving route to and from work, couldn't be more convenient! Not only that, we have a second facility, also about 5 minutes from me in the other direction, that has a swimming pool - and both are available for use on this program (as are all of the Y facilities, from what I understand).

This week is gonna fly! And, as if all this isn't enough - the overtime I've been begging for may just start this week as well, sheesh! I am hoping it will hold off until next week, though, or it will spoil my other plans. I guess I'll just have to wait and see how things go. For now, I have several loads of laundry in process and a bed to make, plus packing up for tomorrow, including exercise and sauna apparel and other equipment, PLUS continuing with my frenzied crocheting! Somewhere in that mess some sleep needs to be accomplished too. I hope...

Monday, June 20, 2005

Your order is on the way!

"Your Knit Picks order shipped 06/20/2005! Your package shipped Best Way and will arrive in 5-14 calendar days."

OOOH - an email message to make a yarn addict's heart go pitter pat! Mine's racing a mile a minute ::grins widely and rubs hands with glee:: Hmmm, need some lotion here...

If I get as lucky as I did with my first order, I should be holding my yarn in my greedy little hands before this week is over!

If, by some small chance, you haven't discovered Knit Picks yet - I enthusiastically recommend it for the most luscious natural fiber yarn at an affordable price anywhere! Check them out!

Well, it was back to work today. Last night, with my usual excited anticipation for Monday to get here (yeah, right. LOL!), I managed to stay up until the cows - er, Meeps - came home, somewhere in the vicinity of 3 or 3:30 am. Considering that I'm now half-catatonic from exhaustion, I think I will try to wrap up my garbage-collecting duties and get it all to the curb, then proceed with my nightly ritual of preparing for the next day. I will follow that up with a session of crocheting, if I can stay awake. And somehow I intend to be in dreamland by midnight. Hopefully, I won't experience my usual "second wind" routine, which has wrecked many a similar plan in the past and set me up for further zombie-like states. And then I wonder why I've developed the annoying tendency to sneak dumb mistakes into my work, requiring huge frogging sessions! We shall see as the evening progresses. At least I hope it's progressive!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Drum Roll Please!

And now, the winner of my biggest stash of a single yarn goes to...


HOMESPUN!

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I KNEW I had a lot of that yarn - after all, it is my all-time favorite, one I simply can't get enough of, but until I gathered it all together for this photo-shoot, I didn't realize just how much I really had. If I were to factor in the skeins of this scrumptious yarn that I have used up in the last 8 months, this pile would easily be double what it is today, maybe even more! And I am still on the prowl for several colorways I've been coveting heavily, and feeling frustrated because many of them are so rarely seen! Every single one of the skeins in this picture was bought on sale when I happened to have some blessed green in my pocket. It nearly killed me a few weeks back to see that Smileys had SEVERAL of those colors I'd been dying to get - at $2.99 apiece! And I couldn't take advantage of it, because I simply had no money at the time. I have projects in mind for most of this yarn, with a few exceptions - and some of it I am trying to decide between one or more projects! Can you tell I love this yarn???

Oh, the 4 skeins of Patons Divine ended up here because they got overlooked during the earlier photoshoots. I think they're in good company, though!

If you'd like to drool over a full-screen shot of my pile (just so you can more clearly see the colorways, you know), you can click here.


Well, folks, we have come to the end of our yarn stash, believe it or not! At least, so far! Although I've sorted and inventoried my yarns, I have yet to come up with a good way to store it all, so it is currently back in the bags and stashed back into closets and the corner of my bedroom - and all over the living room, lol! I have a serious space issue in this place, can't store them in the basement due to the smell down there (not a very useful storage area when you
can't use it), and there is simply no space large enough for me to crate them all in Rubbermaid totes and keep them in the main part of the house. But at least they are a bit more organized (all the cottons are together, all the threads, etc) and I know what I have. Someday maybe I'll get lucky enough to have a bigger house...

I didn't inventory or photograph my bead collection, though that is still a relatively small one. Maybe sometime soon. It's time I reviewed those again, so I can remember what I have.

And now, to figure out what to do with my pattern collection! I had one large box with all my old crochet mags and patterns still sitting downstairs. I brought them up last night, with the intention of browsing through them looking for some specific kinds of patterns, but I didn't get far - the smell was atrocious! The box and all it's contents have sat outside in the sun all day today, hopefully getting a bit of an airing. I will have to do more, however, because after spending several hours in the hot sun, they still smell pretty bad. I'm bummed! Most of these magazines and booklets are otherwise in perfect condition...

A quick break

I'm going to try my best not to get lost on this dang computer (again), as I take a short break from my kitchen-cleaning project (my house looks like a bomb went off in it, stuff everywhere!).

Regarding the WIPs post I just made, I just wanted to add a little comment regarding that second one, the sweater set. The tote bag you see being pressed into service for this project is one I received from my mom - yup, she made that! It's a very nifty little tote, just the right size for a medium-sized project such as this one (the extra yarn supply is kept in it's box until needed), and it has a roomy little outer pocket to keep my hook and pattern, and other little miscellaneous tools, in. Mom does great work on these totes, it's one of her favorite things to make.

And speaking of mom, in related news, I received a phone call today from my dear foster-sister Yasmine (I confirmed the spelling of her name with her, so now I know I've got it right). It was wonderful to get a chance to speak with her again, I'm hoping we will be able to keep in touch much more frequently from now on! She discussed some ideas she has for helping mom out with me. She remains grateful for all the wonderful things my mom did for her as a small child and would like to find some way to thank her in a meaningful way, and her idea is certainly meaningful! I won't go into details on this (not that mom would ever even see this, not even having a computer - which she wouldn't even know what to do with if she did, lol!), suffice to say that the generosity of the offer took my breath away! I have some research to do on my end to see if what she has in mind can be done. I will probably recruit Isis to help me out with this. I'd like to get her more involved with her gramma anyway.

I now have Yasmine's email address recorded in my address book, so I can keep in touch with her via email as well, and of course will be sharing the link to this blog too! (Hi Yasmine!). Lucky gal - she will be spending the summer in Europe (an annual event, according to her) visiting her brother, hopefully she'll still be able to check her email while she's overseas.

Phil came by for a brief visit on his way to the Y for a workout, and I immediately put him to work, lol! He helped me get my "thread-board" set up by predrilling the holes through the base and the dowels, but I still have some more finishing work to do on it before I can consider it "done". I can't understand why, but as soon as he was done with that, he was outta here! LOL! Do you think he might have been afraid I'd find another little project he could help me with? At any rate, he's invited me over for dinner. It will depend on how much I manage to accomplish here whether I will be able to leave to go eat, though. Since tomorrow it's back to work, I am in my usual "end of (fill in the blank)" frenzy, trying to have something to show for this week off. Unfortunately, it won't be much. Losing that 3 days at the beginning really wrecked it for me, and it was far too easy to fritter my time away online than get anything seriously accomplished after that. But I will refrain from beating myself over the head about it - and just get back to work!

On my next break, I will post the promised "grand finale" shot of my stash. For those who may have been following this, have you noticed any particular yarn that has been conspicuously absent from all these shots? Hmmm, wonder what it could be?

Stay tuned, and you'll soon find out, lol! Okay, back to work!

Recording the WIPs

These are by no means my only WIPs, they are merely the ones that got recorded and made it all the way through necessary processes to be postable here. Both are destined for the same little girl and both got put on hold when it became obvious I would not be able to complete them in time for the then-current cold season. The goal has been reset to late fall/early winter for these. I may try to get one of them, at least, completed in time for her early September birthday, probably the winter set, since the mittens are mostly done (only need to add the Boa trim on those).
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Nearing the end - the Baby Stash

This pile would be even bigger if I included the yarns I picked up this weekend from JoAnns, as well as the ones which are already in WIP status. I have taken pictures of some of those WIPS while I was taking this inventory, will post them tomorrow. Some of the other piles I've posted pictures of also had baby yarn in them but they were either from my original stash or, in one case, have been assigned to a project just waiting to become a WIP (that one has the pattern pic
sitting next to it at the top of the heap, a little boy's sweater in yellow with blue trim). This stack is my more recent acquisition, picked up on sale (at Hobby Lobby, I believe) a couple of months ago. These are some of the brightest and prettiest baby yarn colors, aren't they? The 3 pale ones at the bottom of the heap are a light yellow fleck, which goes with the blue fleck skeins I picked up today. Next chance I get (when I find this yarn on sale again), I want to get the green, I like it the best of the flecked yarns.

I see some baby afghans and sweaters and things coming from this pile...
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So, has everbody had enough?

It seems some of you have! Deneen left me a comment which included the entreaty: "Enough already!" and also stated "Stop making me drool over the Bernat Sox yarn and trellis yarn too!!! You are absolutely killing me!"

Well, it certainly wasn't my intention to be shortening people's lifespans over this but sorry Deneen - I just can't help it, lol! I will try to shorten your misery by wrapping up this flash session tonight, only two more to go. On second though, maybe I'll post the next one and save the grand finale for tomorrow, in honor of my last day of vacation. I suppose I should warn you, that last one's a doozy! I kinda knew what I was going to end up with, but it still blew me away, lol! We will see. I'm taking a short break from some work I'm trying to get done (gotta get back to it!), will see how I feel later. For now, I'll just post the next one and let it hold center stage on my blog for a piece.

What are you making with the Microspun? So far, I've only made a scarf with it (one of my Summer Scarf Swap scarves, combined with the Paton's Cha Cha), I didn't have any problem with it, but I was using a big hook, and I did notice that splitting was a potential problem. Both the Sox and the trellis yarns were markdowns. I got the Sox from JoAnns (another "clearance" item) and the Trellis is from Caron, got those for $3 apiece at Walmart.

And, on another side note - I made the fatal mistake of wandering back into my JoAnns today. I wasn't going to even look at the yarns, really I wasn't! I only wanted to see what pattern books they had, since I still had that last 50% off coupon which was only good for today burning a hole in my pocket... I really should have known better! *SIGH* Well, since two of the skeins that followed me home belong with the next stash-flash photo, I guess I'll 'fess up to my latest acquisition! Since my shop had diddly as far as good crochet books are concerned, I used my coupon to get a third ball of that fabulous-looking Catalina.

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I am clean out of my mind, I know! To make matters worse, after sitting up till a ridiculous hour trying to make up my mind what else to order from Knit Picks along with that hank of Shimmer I need to finish my shawl, I couldn't help but end up going $10 over my self-imposed limit on the order, and still not feeling satisfied. I just had SUCH a hard time with it! I've really been dying to get some of their cotton yarns, but I want to get enough to make an article of clothing out of it, a tank or a tee perhaps. I'd also like to make several scarves following their "stockpot" patterns, only in a crochet version, and played around with selections for that - and couldn't come up with more than one pattern's worth and stick to the budget. I'm hoping to make some samples to use for order-taking for Christmas gifts, but I guess it'll have to wait awhile. And I also want to get several of their sock yarns too. And their wool, and wool-blends - oh my!

But the two things I wanted the most of all from them, and what I ended up ordering, was more of the laceweight yarn - and some of the color-your-own yarns. I bought an additional hank of the alpaca cloud lace in Sunlight, since I have 3 and now know I will need 4 for my shawls, and I bought 4 hanks of alpaca cloud in Iris. That color sets my drool-meter to overdrive! I also ordered 3 of the worsted and 2 of the fingering-weight color-your-own yarns and may see whether I've got a talent for this process.

Soooo, thanks to my lack of self-control, I may be wringing my gastank to squeeze every last drop of fuel out of it before the next paycheck again, lol! Oh, and food? What the heck is that? I'm sure I'd have better self-control if I had other mouths than my own to feed, of course. In fact, I know I would. So, I'm not gonna waste my time berating myself over my constant insatiable cravings for yarn. Instead, I think I'll just go pet some for awhile, lol!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Meeps pic

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It's been awhile since I posted a Meeps pic. She's been graciously allowing me to use her couch to set up my stash-flashin' pics, so I thought I'd show you how my couch usually looks during the day! That cushion she's laying on was originally supposed to be a meditation mat for me, at least that was my reason for purchasing it. But she commandeered it almost out of the packaging and hasn't let go since, lol! Pretty expensive kitty cushion, wouldn't you say? What a spoiled little brat! How I love her so!

More More More!

The yarns pictured here coming out of my raffia basket and stacked up next to it was a thrift store haul, a couple of real mixed bags! All acrylic, ranging from delicate baby pompadour up to rug yarn. Most of them will probably end up in granny squares sometime down the road.
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And on the other side of the sofa, we have our little stash of Lion Microspun and some lovely ladder yarns, yum! I'm not sure what I will do with the ladder yarns, though. I've discovered rather quickly that I have a deep learning curve to work past in order to do anything with them! I suspect I will have to pair them up with a strand of regular yarn in order to be able to work with it - I found it absolutely impossible to work it by itself the first time I tried it. The scarf idea got scrapped immediately, lol! If anybody's got any hints and tips they'd like to share, I'd dearly love it!

Oh, the unmarked orange and green balls sitting on top of the microspun pyramid are the two balls of DMC Senso cotton I bought and handwound into what I thought would be center-pull skeins - until I learned the hard way that threads just don't work too well that way. I should've left them alone, but alas, it's too late! When I decide what I might like to do with these, I will rewind them onto tp rolls and hopefully will avoid the tangling issue that way.
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This is the shot of all of it together...
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Let the Flashing continue!

This is a miscellaneous assortment of yarns I found in the various nooks and crannies of my bedroom, yarns I've collected from here and there over the past few months (most of my yarn collection has been acquired over about a 4 month period - wonder how I managed to find all that money in my so-tight budget??? I'll admit, it's been good for my waistline, though, although a girl's gotta eat sometime!)... Reviewing all the yarn in my stash, I could only find a very few that I didn't buy at obscenely low prices. Gotta love those sales and clearances!

Oh, and in response to Sara's entreaty to stop it already - sorry, I can't! But you'll be happy to know that we are nearing the end of the inventory, with my big finale planned (my biggest stash of a single yarn label. Hmmmm, wonder what that might be?). I am trying to slow things down a bit, though, so I don't overwhelm anybody. LOL! Including myself...
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"We interrupt your regular program..."

Taking a brief break from the flashing, I thought I'd go wandering down memory lane for a moment and indulge in a bit of bragging while I'm there. I'm hoping it will help me to reconstruct in my mind the story of this afghan, which I made some 20-odd years ago.
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I couldn't tell you how long it took to make it, I can't remember. Searching the foggy memory banks, it seems I made this when my DMIL was still alive. I know I got the pattern from one of her subscribed crochet magazines, I still have it. It was an "Annie's Crochet Newsletter" booklet, similar to the current "Annie's Favorite Crochet" (though looking through the old booklets, they were far superior to the ones they have been offering recently, from what I can see).

The part I'm trying to clarify in my mind is the notion I carried that I had ceased crocheting sometime in my teens and didn't pick it back up until after Dorothy died. This afghan is proof to me of the fallacy of my recollection, because of my recalling of the various places where I worked on this project and where we were living when I finally completed it. Whew! My memory never used to be this bad!

At any rate, Isis remembers me working on this afghan, and I know she expects to become the proud owner of it someday. It has spent many years on my bed until recently, and has been washed many times in the washing machine. It has a slight problem with pilling now, a recent development, though it still looks pretty good, and so far is holding together as tightly as when I first sewed all those pentagons together. It was my crowning achievement, and nothing has yet knocked it from it's lofty position in my mind as the "best work I've ever done", though I am hoping to surpass it someday.

And who knows? I may pass it on to my daughter sooner rather than later, so I can enjoy her enjoyment of it.

Flashin' the Stash - Cotton Edition

Figured I'd toss in a WIP since it's made from the Lily cotton. It was near completion, but I am contemplating frogging it and redoing. I just made too many mistakes, starting with forgetting to check gauge, which resulted in my not having enough yarn to complete the project. So technically, it can be considered 3 more balls for the pile, lol! I did not include today's acquisition, since they already got their time in the limelight.

Although you can't see it, there is a second ball of red Lion Cotton hiding behind the first, lol!
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Friday, June 17, 2005

Flashin' the Stash continues - Boucle Collection

Loaded up on these three lovely colors from Bernat when Hobby Lobby had a sale - $2 apiece!  How could I resist???
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Just got back from my local JoAnns

They are trying, they really are - and they had loads of yarn I was interested in getting from their clearance racks. I had seen these the other day but didn't buy because - they are having a HUGE 2-day sale! Today and tomorrow, ALL red-stickered clearance items are 50% OFF the STICKERED price! I walked out of there with 11 balls of Lion Boucle at $1.50 each, and 4 skeins of Lion Thick & Quick Chenille at $2.50 each! Others had cleaned out most of the Lily Sugar N Cream I would have wanted, I only found the 2 lonely Supersize balls below at seventy-five cents each. The Patons Cha Cha was a nice $1.50 per ball, and the baby yarns were $1 apiece. PLUS, I had a 50% off coupon on one item (used it on the featured pillow in this pic, walking away with it at $4.99), a 40% off coupon for another item (which I applied to one of the balls of the JoAnns Catalina) AND a $5 off over $25 purchase applied to this little stash enhancement effort! 28 balls of yarn, a large pillow and another item (not pictured) cost me a little over $50... It's a bit more than I meant to spend, but I have no doubt I certainly got my money's worth!
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Bernat Sweety

I'm reposting this pic by itself, with these comments in response to Deneen, who commented "That Bernat Sweety is too cool!" (Thanks Deneen!). This yarn was acquired by me over fifteen years ago, came as part of a lovely afghan kit. You'll note that there are four empty yarn bands in the picture - they are standing in for the four missing skeins (one of each color, of course) that I had started on the project with. These four skeins as well as the pattern and the squares I'd managed to crochet before becoming frustrated with a fuzzy yarn I'd never worked with before are all lost somewhere in The Pit as I call my basement. This IS some truly lovely, VERY soft yarn, and I'm not sure I will try to complete the original project (if it ever turns up) or use the yarn for something else. The band reports it to be 80% Acrylic, 10% Mohair and 10% Wool. The pattern, as I remember it, was a rose granny square afghan, will post the pic if it ever surfaces, along with the missing yarn.
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Flashin' the Stash - more from the LR collection

These pics are of some of my more recent acquisitions, the yarns in the last pic arrived just last week and haven't found a comfortable spot yet. I picked up a bunch of curling ribbon yesterday when I visited Big Lots in search of yarn, which mine did not have. The store, conveniently enough, is right next to my local JoAnns, and I did browse around in there but it's still not a great source of yarn here either - though they've improved. I have some coupons and will be going back tomorrow to snag some stuff I saw with clearance tags on it, including some Lion Boucle for $3 a skein. So the stash will be getting enhanced, lol!
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Flashin' the Stash - starting out

These two pics represent my "starting" stash when I picked up my crochet hook again last fall. Some of it (the threads in particular) have a "smell" problem from having spent quite a bit of time in a dank musty basement, despite being in a plastic container, not sure what I will do about those yet. I'm hoping I can salvage them, as they are otherwise "brand new", even if they are over 15 years old!

These pics, and the ones about to follow, represent the part of my stash that was tucked around my "craft chair" in the living room. I did hold some yarn back for a later photo-op, as I am trying to at least loosely organize these piles for inventory purposes along with the flaunting. I still have two more rooms to mine for this project!
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Vacations can breed such BAD habits!

Okay, I'm resisting sleep now, trying to wring just a few more things out of my day. I probably could have tumbled into bed and drifted off to sleep about 2 hours ago, which is closer to the time I'm normally used to finding my pillow (even on the worknights, amazingly enough), but I kept fighting off the fatigue much like the stubborn child does, lol! This week is moving too fast for me now, and I can feel myself trying to dig in my heels to slow it down, much like I do every Sunday night.

I didn't get a huge amount accomplished yesterday, but I did get some done, and it feels like the energy has come unstuck. I'm not feeling as overwhelmed now, so I should begin to see some results from my efforts over the remaining 3 days of my vacation week. I know it won't be anywhere near what I had hoped to accomplish, but I figure if I can get the momentum going, I will be able to keep making progress. It's always been the "getting started" where I've had so much trouble, progress-wise. Once I get going, I can be like a runaway train, hard to stop, lol!

I removed the old, tired custom cover from the couch and two of the pillows, but did not remove the original cover from them. I will have to preserve them until I can get replacements. Two others had deteriorated so badly inside the double-layer of covers that I couldn't remove the outer one, or I would have had crumbled foam rubber everywhere! The fifth one, which was the first I removed from all the covers went straight to the trash. There was no way I was going to try to stuff it back into the zippered case. Phil seems to think I will have no trouble finding what I need for relatively little money, and he will be keeping an eye out too. He's a premier shopper, and as a courier, he gets around to a lot of places, so I suspect I won't have long to wait.

Going from the tired taupe to the fairly decent-condition white (there are a few small stains, but I can live with them. They're not too blatantly in your face) has absolutely opened up and brightened my tiny living room! I then spent the rest of the afternoon/evening going through the part of my stash that I had stuffed around the chair I sit in to crochet, and took some pics as promised. So I will post those, and then I will quit fighting it and take myself off to bed, asap! Tomorrow (okay, today, if you must!) will be a very busy day. And I will have more stash to flash, as I start digging it out of the closets and my bedroom, where the bulk of it currently resides.

So, next up: Flashin' the stash!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

In over my head (I KNEW this was gonna happen!)

Oh boy, what have I gotten myself into???

I'll be honest, it's been a good couple of years since I've done a seriously deep cleaning on this house, and in some parts, I never got to it once I moved in, which was during my severely challenging year of 2001. I don't know how I made it through that time period, but I've been living with PTSD ever since, whether I wanted to admit it or not. To manage my PTSD, I tightly restricted myself from anything I found to be stressful to me that I could, which was pretty much everything. Even something as simple as grocery shopping was a nightmare for me, causing high anxiety, but fortunately (if you like to think of it that way), I was too broke from the move to shop anyway. My only form of social interaction, outside of my job, was via the internet. Because my job was very much involved with the stressful events of 2001 (both personal and national, I work for a convention travel agency), it remained a constant, debilitating source of stress, further draining what energies I had left, far into the next year, and by the time that stress finally began to ease up a bit (though never enough until just recently), I had drained every last drop of reserves remaining and was merely running on adrenaline energy fed by the fear of not surviving (ie, keeping a roof over my head). Living alone, I had no one to lean on or to hold me up should I collapse, and so it has never been an option open to me. That can be pretty scary indeed, all by itself!

In all that time, there was virtually NO energy for simple, normal things like cooking and housecleaning, and so the chores would get delayed or done in a haphazard manner, and my eating habits deteriorated to the simplest and cheapest forms I could manage (I ate nothing but cold cereals for dinner for nearly two years straight, except for when Phil would come over and cook for me every Sunday). Fortunately, I am generally not a messy person, and I have always followed the rule of "clean up as you go" to minimize the amount of heavier cleaning that would otherwise result. Still, some cleaning is still needed on a regular basis, and I can't say I've managed to be too regular about it. Not only that, when I moved in here, it was in an unfortunately wildly disorganized manner aggravated by the fact that I just plain had too much stuff (and no time to reduce it before the move), and I was also hauling Phil's stuff along with me on top of it all, having agreed to store it for him, for a monthly "rent", which I desperately needed in order to make the financial ends meet - and he hadn't even packed ANY of his stuff until moving day, further complicating the move and making it the worst nightmare move of my life! For months after that debilitating move, which occurred the weekend after September 11, I was working so much overtime due to the events of that infamous day compounded with the near-fatal accident of my department's manager (which had occurred 4 days prior to the national disaster), that I had no time even to unpack, let alone reorganize it. When I finally had the time, I had no energy. When I had the energy, I had no motivation. And when I magically managed to get all three corralled together in the same room, something else would inevitably come along and totally derail my plans! It has happened with every blessed vacation I have scheduled in the hopes of finally tackling the bulk of this mess that has become my "box" for nearly 4 years now.

This vacation has been no different, go figure! I had finally gotten the magical 3 ingredients mixed together and fully loaded as I headed toward this week, and promptly had the balloon explode in my face in the form of illness which took the first 3 days away from me, and sucked the motivation to climb to the top of the heap and start digging right out of me! There is so much that needs to be done here, I honestly can't figure out where to begin. I am completely and totally overwhelmed by it. Not that I'm going to give up, mind you, but yet again I find that I am going to have to heavily whittle down my expectations of what I'm now capable of accomplishing, given the amount of time I have left in which to get it done. **SIGH**

Just to give you an idea what I'm talking about (a small one, so this doesn't turn into another typical novel! Okay, adding this on editorial review, and it's still a novel. Sorry about that, but I seem to be incapable of avoiding it!), here's what I started to do this afternoon and what I've discovered along the way:

With the thought that I wanted to inventory the yarn I have stashed all over the place, I decided the living room would be the best place to start my deep cleaning. I had noted that Meeps's sleeping cushion which had gotten parked on the couch on which I've rarely found time to use, due to the poor lighting, had built up a pretty decent matting of shed fur (it's one of the few things I've managed to keep fairly clean on a regular basis, but still not often enough), so I decided to start with a thorough vacuuming of that, followed by the couch. I got her cushion nicely cleaned up and moved it to the other side of the room, and then began to tackle the couch. As I vacuumed, I began to notice how absolutely dirty and dingy it looked, as well as the drapes over the window behind it, and decided now would probably be a good time to remove the custom covers to be washed, along with the drapes. When I removed the drapes, the absolutely filthy condition of the window - and the levered blinds covering it - that they'd been hiding was revealed. It had been two years since I'd even managed to reach that window, which is very old and extremely difficult to open and shut, especially while leaning across a couch. Contemplated washing the window while I tried unsuccessfully to improve the condition of the blinds with a quick vacuuming, and realized the only way I can do it is to move the couch away from the wall - but the rest of the room has to be totally rearranged to provide enough space to do that, as there is currently only about 6 inches of available floor space to pull this 6 foot couch forward from the wall!

So, feeling a bit frustrated, I turned my attention again to the couch itself, and started removing the covers from the 5 cushions that form the back of it. Despite their absolutely filthy condition, I can't remove the seat cushion covers because the contents are a deteriorating ancient custom-shaped foam rubber that I can't afford to replace. I've managed to get by with this by wrapping a woven blanket over the cushions, to hide them. I had, a few years ago, tried to buy one of those instant "one size fits all" kind of sofa covers, but they are made for sofas with stuffed backs, not the narrow ridge mine has (like I said, the cushions form the principle part of the sofa back). The couch had been custom-fitted a long time ago with the taupe-colored covers that were now so worn and stained as to be depressing just to look at! The sofa underneath is a reasonably clean (surprisingly) creamy-white color, so I thought I would remove the custom covers (except for those seat cushions, which I will find a way to cover over as best I can) and live with the white. Except, when I went to remove the pillows from the white covers so I could wash those, I found these also to be made of seriously deteriorating foam rubber, wrapped inside a weird polyester fiberfill-type "envelope".

I bought this couch used back in the summer of 1997, and it has seen alot of miles in the intervening years. These pillow forms are really bugging me, they feel really "nasty" to me and I'd like to toss them immediately. But the couch is practically unusable without the cushions, and I don't know how much it's going to cost me to replace all 5 of them, but I think it's safe to say it's more than my budget will allow at this time! These are 20 inch pillows, not usually a very cheap size. But in the meantime, I have to do something about them in order to be able to proceed to the next step!

Two hours has been expended, and all of it ONLY on the couch, with nothing like progress to show for it! And this is just a representative example of the entire project! EVERYTHING I've touched so far has revealed itself to be anything but simple in process and execution, it's exhausting just to try and plot my way through this interlocking puzzle called "cleaning my house"! And then I wonder why I'm always procrastinating over this!!!

It would be so nice if I could afford to hire someone to help me with this project, to do the cleaning part while I concentrated on the sorting and reorganizing, but that's just not possible at this time either. So I will somehow have to find a way to muddle along, and try to get something accomplished so I can feel good about myself and this so far unproductive vacation.

Guess I'll publish this little "novel" now, as Phil called and will be stopping by shortly, and I want to get back to my attempts at "progress". No matter what happens, though, I'm going to get at least some of that stash photographed. I need to pet some yarn to soothe me, even if it causes more work in the process...

Seraphina update

And now, some pics of my Seraphina as of last Thursday (June 9). I had almost decided to wrap it up after finishing the 4 row series I was working on at this point - I was nearly finished with row 2 in these pics. In this first one, I'm holding my working supply in a rather dorky manner here, lol! Looks almost like I'm leaning on something, but I'm not. DD was my photographer.
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Most folks would probably have been satisfied with this length, but I've envisioned my shawl to be at least a few more inches longer than this, which is why I decided to continue, even though it meant there would be a delay in finishing it until I could get more yarn. Good news is it looks like I will be able to swing a purchase this week after all! I will share some close-ups of the stitch detail when I get a chance, it's truly awesome-looking in this laceweight yarn! It was worth every minute (and hour) of frogging I had to do to make it as near-perfect as humanly possible. I am soooo in love with this pattern!

My baby's first major Crochet project!

Sure looks better than the potholder I made so many years ago, lol! This is my daughter's wip, near completion as of this photo.

At 28, she is fortunately comfortable with me calling her my baby!
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This was a quick picture set-up at work last Thursday, as she was even busier than I was that day. That globe you see in the background is the window into our company's president's office, lol! Good thing he's such a tolerant guy!
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The project is an afghan made from - what else? - Homespun, she held a strand each of two colors together and worked it with a P hook. Next week, I will help her to weave in the ends. This gal is a quick learner, folks! I'm pretty proud of her! We also learned from this project that not all Homespun skeins are of equal length, she kept running out of one or the other color before it's companion strand was depleted. I also learned that hard lesson when working on Phil's ripple-ghan a few months ago. Guess they go by weight and not yardage in determining the size of these skeins, which can vary depending on the colors and dye saturation levels. At least that's what I'm guessing, though I'm not real pleased about it. Neither was she, as it created a LOT more ends for her to weave in.

Shameless Flaunting

Need a hanky? I'd lend you mine, but it's soaked (and this is my OWN stash I'm drooling over, lol!) Even better in real life! I should get a few nice things out of this!
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To Sleep, perchance to dream!

Somehow managed to wring a little over 3 hours of sleep out of this beautiful, cool morning. I'm sipping my double-espresso, flavored with my favorite hazelnutte creamer and high-octane REAL cream, and I'm hoping this'll put a tiger in my tank for the day, lol!

As part of my cleaning and reorganizing efforts today, I am going to make a concerted effort to visually record my stash and get it inventoried, so I know exactly what I've got to work with. I'll be sharing that with you lucky folks (get yer bibs ready, lol!) periodically throughout the day (that oughta keep me motivated and moving!). Aren't vacations fun? YEAH!

To start, I will post a pic of my recent haul of thread, the huge bagful of Aunt Lydia's #10 100% Mercerized Classic Crochet threads in a bouquet (okay, got flowers on the mind!) of mouthwatering summery colors! I will post it directly from photobuckets and this will serve as it's commentary, since I'd like to keep this as simple as possible. What you are about to see is 24 generous-sized skeins of thread, "stolen" at a mere ninety-nine cents apiece! If I'd had more money, I would have cleared the shelves at my Hobby Lobby that day, lol! I tried, and came close, but my competition for the resources did not have to worry about coming away empty-handed after all...

Savin the best for last

I will have to pause in the picture-flowing process. I do believe I may finally be visited by that old sandman, who missed me all last night. Until later! ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz....

And here they are

In a little arrangement with my peony blooms. I didn't think to take this pic until a few days after I put the bouquet together, and the peonies blossomed quickly this year. But oh! What a
heavenly scent!
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The Back Stoop

These pics were taken a week and a half ago. Before I had the chance to shoot these, it rained, causing most of the blooms to go horizontal. Prior to that, they were all like the ones in front of my back door in this first pic! It was a bumper crop of these flowers this year, never seen 'em get this big before!

I had to trim them back heavily after I took these pics, so I could get to my back door! I did arrange some of them in vases to enjoy. I don't know what this plant is, but it reminds me a bit of Queen Anne's Lace, or Yarrow...
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My Summer Scarf Package

Here's a picture of the package I sent to Becky, aka crazzy cow for the Crochetville Summer Scarf swap. I just checked her blog and see she also managed to get a pic up a few days ago, despite a very punishing schedule (taking care of that many kids is ALOT of work!), so now they can be seen both places!

This was my first swap, and I gotta say I was sweatin' bullets over it, lol! I'm so glad she liked everything, makes me feel good.
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Well, this might be a first...

Amazingly enough, it's been an hour and a half since I posted my last entry, and here I still sit! I have witnessed a rare (for me) sunrise and enjoyed the sounds of various birds calling and singing to each other as they went through their early morning bird rituals. Meeps even decided to call it a night and is now comfortable curled up on her favorite sleeping cushion, sawing kitty-sized logs. And I am WIDE awake!

I wonder how long I can run on no sleep? Seems I will get to find out today.

I was busy in this time, though - no moss'll be growing under this rolling stone! Found and set up my simple little photo-manipulatin' program, resized all my latest pics I'd downloaded from my camera, and got 'em all uploaded to photobucket, ready to roll out to my blog. So, since it's still too early to be plunging myself into the work (and there is still a chance a little sleep might come my way this morning), I figure I'll start the ball rolling.

Lights! Camera! PICTURES!

Insomnia...

Well, I guess this is what happens after you spend 3 days doing nothing but sleeping at the beginning of a vacation. Here it is, 4 am, and I am sitting like a zombie in front of my computer! I feel like I just polished off a whole pot of coffee, even though I only had a total of 3 cups yesterday, most of it before noon. Meeps on the prowl tonight, just had to go break up a catfight a few moments ago. She had some poor little black cat cornered by the side of garage. And here I'm worrying about her? I oughta know better by now, I've seen her kick kitty butts twice her size, fer cripes sake! She is very territorial. So here I am, out there running around in my tie-dyed leggings and leather slippers with a big flashlight in the early morning hours, chasing after two cats, one of 'em mine, lol! Kinda glad the neighbors are all sawing logs right now!

I s'pose I can go try to crochet myself to sleep, but that's usually not too good for the crochet, probably end up having to frog it when I get back up. I've got so much to do today too! Yesterday, I didn't get much accomplished, and I blamed it on not getting to sleep until after dawn, and then being up at 9 - I find it hard to sleep much past that point anymore. Gone are the days of sleeping past noon, they're a far distant memory now! And now it's looking like we'll be having a repeat episode. But dangit! I'm still gonna get those cleaning projects off the ground, even if I have to tank myself up with a double-espresso later this morning! It's THURSDAY already, and my vacation is fast running down. Can you tell I'm going into full-blown PANIC mode? You betcha!

Well, the birds are chirping, and the dawn is breaking over the eastern sky already. Just saw an early-bird neighbor leaving for work. Under normal circumstances I would be wondering how in the world do they do that? I'm no early-bird, just a night-owl who's overextended herself...

Well, hopefully later I will get some pics posted. I found the driver I needed to get the pics off my camera to the computer, but now I have to locate the software I use to resize the images for sharing before I upload them to my photobuckets account. Someday maybe I'll get all my software reinstalled on this durn computer! I'll tell ya, going through a full reformat can be a real pain in the nether regions! Especially when you're as disorganized as I've become in the last few years. At any rate, one of the things I thought I'd try to do is inventory my stash, or some of it at least, and maybe do a little bit of flashing for you voyeurs out there! Due to a bit of budget shifting, it's looking good for me to be able to do just a bit of yarn shopping this week, both for myself and for my swaps. I am looking forward to things starting to ease up a bit for me, finance-wise, starting next month with the opening of overtime season at work. So then I'll get to trade whines - my current "short on money" one for the new "short on time" whine! I'm never satisfied unless I have something to whine about, lol!

Okay, gonna go ahead and post this, and then go crawl into bed with my hook and ball of yarn, see if I can finally lull myself to sleep for a few hours at least. Signs are encouraging, I'm actually starting to yawn! Need to go cultivate this...

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Seraphina on hold

Well, I waffled back and forth on what I wanted to do with my laceweight Seraphina (add more rows or fringe?), finally deciding to add more rows and keep the fringing option open for later. I had fully intended on stopping with the 4 row series I had commenced upon making that decision, but when I finished it, I found I was not satisfied with the length of my shawl. I was seriously tempted to finish it up anyway, with the row across the top edge, but then I decided this was foolish - why should I settle for less than what I wanted? And so I started a new 4 row series...

Only problem is that I will soon run out of yarn, and it will likely be a few more weeks yet before I will be in the position to be able to order more. The yarn has been holding out pretty well so far, I've made it halfway through row 3 of the new series without running out yet, but I figure I've got at least 5 more rows to go before the shawl will be the length I'm seeking, then I will need enough for the finishing edge. I know I haven't got enough for that. It's doubtful I'll make it through row 4 of the current series before I run out. So, Seraphina will have to be put on hold for a few weeks, until I can get more of the Knitpicks Shimmer in Mist.

I had been planning on placing an order there anyway in a couple of weeks, as soon as the money becomes available. There are several other yarns they have that I have been lusting for. I wouldn't even think of placing an order with them for less than $30 anyway, would rather all my money went to yarn instead of some of it for shipping. My only problem will be reining myself in and limiting myself to the $30!

As soon as I can find that pesky little driver, I will post updated shots of my Seraphina, which I took on Thursday, along with a few other pics I want to share. Once my head is working better, it shouldn't take me long to find it. Right now, it's hard enough to find my bed, the way I feel. Meeps has been hanging close by for the most part, she doesn't like it when mommy isn't feeling well.

Okay, I'm all taxed out, gonna post this and then it's back to bed for awhile. **sigh**

"Resolving host"

After screwing around for eight whole months, on two different computers mind you, trying to solve the mystery of my "resolving host" issues, I have finally come to the frustrating conclusion that the problem resides with my service provider and not with my systems, or the software used to connect me to said provider. If anything, the problem seems even worse than ever! I had two brief and massively frustrating phone consults with the wonderful "customer service" people from far across the world about this and came to the conclusion that they were clueless about it. But I will try again, now that I am off work for a week, with the hope that if I ring up customer service during a weekday, I might get lucky and actually speak to someone more local. But from asking around, I get the distinct impression that the problem resides in the fact that my service provider has a "piggybacked" set-up, due to the fact that the provider I originally signed up with was bought up by a bigger fish. I've been told by a gal who's husband actually works for the company that many folks have had this problem with connectivity and that there is no resolution for it. Due to my budget, my options are limited, not to mention the massive headache of shifting my many subscriptions from this email address I've had for 3 years now to a new one. My contract is up this coming September, and I'd been paying for a supposedly higher speed connection but have never benefited from it due to this resolving host issue, which tends to freeze everything for anywhere from 30 seconds to up to FIVE MINUTES! It affects everything from email downloads and uploads to webpage loading, some days it hardly happens at all, but those days are rare.

I nearly wrecked my good computer following their advice regarding uninstalling and reinstalling their stupid connection software (that's a long story all by itself), and due to time constraints and other niggling little problems encountered along the way, I spent most of the past 8 months on my backup computer without benefit of sound and a host of other things most of us take for granted before I could get this one up and running again. And I still have a bunch of odds and ends to clean up to get all my programs working again!

It's probably going to be a few more days, too, before I can even think of tackling these things. I've been down with what feels like a flu bug the last few days (nice way to start a vacation), and I can't even stay upright for more than short periods of time. Figured I'd grab one of these periods to try and update my blog so no one thinks I fell off the face of the earth (though I feel like I did). Thanks to the constant "resolving host" message I get whenever I try to do anything, not much is getting done in these short periods. So I figured I'd try and compose a few messages and then post them as I can.

I have a few pics to post, but one of those little odds and ends I need to do is to find the driver needed to hook up my camera to my computer so I can download the pics from it. If I could just remember what it was called, I could pull it from my backup drive. Otherwise, it's time to hunt for the disk that came with the camera (now where did I put that thing?) and install it from there. Problems, always problems! I still haven't located the first disk of the 2-disk set that came with all the essential software for using my dvd player/writer! I found #2, but I haven't got a clue where #1 went, and naturally it's the one I need. I'm so organized I could scream. Oh well, I'm sure there are worse things in life...

Now, if I would just feel better! I haven't got time to be sick!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Catching up on yesterday

I'm running out of today again, as usual, but I really wanted to get this in before the day (and the weekend) was over. And I want to be quick about it so I can (hopefully) make it through row 2 of my new sequence series on Seraphina (woo hoo!), and so far (knock wood), no frogging has been needed yet! I'm psyched now!

Anyway, where was I? Oh - yesterday. Well, let's back it up a bit and give some background on part of yesterday's happenings...

A few weeks ago, my mom took a nasty tumble. Very nasty, on cement, which she managed to hit with her entire left side of the body, literally from head to foot, plus both hands. She didn't let me know about this until about 3 days after it happened, and absolutely insisted I not drop everything to come see her. Mom is 94 years old. The kind of fall she took is the kind that can potentially break bones in a younger body, never mind a 94 year old one, and there was also the matter of a possible concussion. But, in her usual stubbornness, she refused to seek medical treatment. She assured me that, though she was pretty banged up, she was allright and just needed to take it easy for a few days to recover fully. Knowing that it was futile to argue with her, and also knowing that she was very savvy about her own health (which is better than mine), I accepted her assurances but insisted I would visit her later in the week. I then scheduled myself for a half-day off from work that Friday.

Then, my boss on Thursday asked me if I'd be willing to put in some overtime to help catch up on some work that's usually handled by another employee who was on vacation for two weeks. Seeing as how I'd been begging for some overtime opportunities, I couldn't possibly turn that one down. Mom must have been psychic or something, as she called me the same day to ask me not to come until the weekend because she wasn't feeling up to it. Mom's from the "old school" where it's required for her to "play hostess", complete with a meal, whenever anybody comes to visit, even her own daughter. Oh, and not only is she "old school", she's also Italian - need I say more? So, we rescheduled for Saturday.

Then, on Saturday, I woke up with the familiar pain I get every month between my active female cycles. I was told many years ago by an older Jewish gal that it is called mittelshmirz in German, and that is what I have called it ever since. What it is, actually, is ovulation pain, and from all of my research about it, the only options for treating it are to go on the pill or have a hysterectomy, neither option being appealing to me. In the last couple of years, it has gotten cripplingly worse, as I struggle through the winding down of my fertility cycles. But I have been assured that once I stop the ovulating and bleeding routine, the pain will also stop, this from others who have experienced it, so I am hanging on as best I can. But here it was, Saturday, I had an hour and a half's journey ahead of me, and I was in agony... I reluctantly decided to call mom to reschedule for Sunday, with fingers crossed that this session would be a short one (it usually runs anywhere from a half a day up to 3). When I told her I would not be able to make it till Sunday, she burst into tears on me! I felt so horrible! I promised her that come hell or high water, I would definitely be there on Sunday.

And Sunday, I was in even worse pain! Oh treacherous body! But I had promised, and so I made the trip. Because of the pain, I couldn't install her window air conditioner as she had hoped I would do that visit, but I did go shopping for her, getting her well-stocked. It was pretty obvious she would not be able to get out for a shopping trip on her own for awhile, and her usual shopping partner, her brother Sam (who lives on the first floor of the two-flat they both rent from their other sister, who owns it) couldn't really do that much shopping for her either - he's crippled by arthritis and is on crutches. Besides, I'm sure he wasn't aware just how bad off she was, as she's the type to downplay it (and then wonder why people don't know!). But despite being a bit unsteady on her feet, the bruises from her fall were already fading and she seemed to be otherwise fine. She was thrilled to pieces to have me shop for her, and concerned about my own health issues, so she rushed me home after I brought her the groceries and put them away, insisting I go home and rest.

Kind of a long introduction to yesterday! But now we're there... Friday, she called me at work (she has hardly ever called me over the years, and I'm also lousy with phones - probably got that from her. But I digress.) and sang my praises over the selections I had made on my little shopping trip for her. She sure knows how to butter a person up! But she wanted to know if I'd come again this weekend and do a bit more shopping for her, and put that air conditioner in (this, after inquiring about my problem and finding out I was now fine). Although I was very tight, money-wise (a trip to her house would put me one tankful shy of my next paycheck), I already knew that she would slip me money for the gas, so I didn't have to worry about that. I said yes, of course!

Saturday is not my best day for doing things. I usually don't go anywhere on Saturday, as I need that one day to relax and unwind from the workweek (which is always high-stress for me). Even though this past week was a short one, due to the holiday, I had still put in nearly a full five days of work in the four, since I had been offered the chance to do the overtime (but these hours would not be at overtime rates because of the holiday. Still, better than zero!). Four twelve-hour days (10 working hours plus two hours on the road getting to and from) had pretty well wiped me out. So I was hoping to make the trip to mom's on Sunday. She had other plans...

She called me yesterday morning as I was sitting here at my computer, still barely functional and feeling unusually sore and stiff, mainly because I'd slept a full 8 hours instead of my usual 5 or 6, and my body was protesting the extended stay in a very worn-out bed. The coffee I was drinking hadn't had a chance to start working yet, and before I knew it, I was taking a dictated grocery list over the phone and trying to calculate how long it would take me to pull myself together to make it to her house by 1 pm, which was "late" by her standards. I won't bore you with the details of my insane scrambling to get everything and myself ready and make it out the door, protesting internally and struggling to calm the anxiety attack this triggered, but I finally got on the road at 11:30, now panicking because it was so late, and I still had to make that grocery store stop (the list was specific to one particular store, and to be honest, it's the best grocery store I've ever been in. And it's not far from her house). It was a hot and muggy day, further adding to my discomfort (It has to get even worse than that for me to use the ac in my car, as it causes my fuel to disappear at a very rapid rate, not good when you're trying to stretch it!). Though traffic was heavy, it flowed smoothly for once, even when I got into the city (Chicago. She lives in a suburb right on the edge), and I made it in record time. I got to her house, groceries in tow, by about 1:30, only a half hour later than I'd told her!

She fed me a fabulous homemade Italian hamburger for lunch, with slices of the fresh Italian bread I'd just picked up from Caputo's, and fresh ripe tomato slices. Mmm mmmh! And then we got ready for the air conditioner installation.

Right about then, the thunderstorms that were moving through the area decided to show up overhead. Fortunately, the storm wasn't all that bad, and we got the air conditioner installed and insulated, ready to go for the summer - and in good time too, as forecasts for the next week are for temps in the 90's! (good thing I'm not done with Seraphina yet. I had predicted that the temps would probably shoot up there as soon as I did, maybe I'll get lucky now). After a bit more talk, she packed up some food for me to take home (like a good Italian mom does), and I was on my way.

The trip back home was much slower than the trip in. I left her house a little after 3 pm and got home shortly before 5 (a stop-off at the cheapest gas station on my route only used about 5 of those minutes at most). I had barely changed out of my travelling clothes and into my "lounge" clothes, thinking about a nap and then an evening of crocheting when Phil called. He wanted me to come for dinner, and maybe watch a movie. I told him I needed a nap first since it had been a long, exhausting day. I didn't want to go, and quite frankly I don't know why I didn't just tell him then.

So I laid down around 5:30 or so, and it felt like I didn't even fall asleep at all before the phone rang again! But I must have slept, as the clock reported 6:30 to me. Feeling a tad grumpy by now, I picked up the phone and said "Hello?" And heard an unfamiliar female voice say "Debbie?" On guard now, I asked, "who is this?" And she said, "I'm a voice from your past!"

It turned out to be Jasmine, my foster sister, whom I hadn't seen or spoken to since I was oh, around 14 or 15 years old! I had just missed seeing her!!! She was in town for the weekend with a friend and had decided to look mom up, and if she hadn't gotten lost, I would have had a chance to see her! I was elated and bummed all at the same time, lol! At least now we have each other's phone numbers and email addresses, so that we can stay in touch, and I am looking forward greatly to this. And I know this had to have made mom's day. She had managed to stay in touch, via letters and cards, with Jasmine and her mom and aunt, and I know she has always held a special place in her heart for the scared little girl that came to live with us direct from France so many years ago. And, from the letters and cards she shared with me, the feeling was mutual. What a wonderful surprise!

Since this post has reached epic proportions (and I still have workday prepping to do, plus that crocheting goal), I will save the telling of who Jasmine is and why she came to live with us for later, but not too much later. I am so thrilled to have reconnected with my sister!

Oh, and I called Phil after that and begged off for dinner, asking him if we could do it today instead, to which he was agreable, and from a culinary standpoint, it worked out for the best that way. Hopefully I'll get a chance to report on the knock-out sweet and sour pork stir-fry dinner he prepared (with a little bit of an assist from me). I will be eating my share of the left-overs for the next week, and will still probably have to throw some out. I told you I haven't been starving, even if my food money is going to yarn!

How wierd!

Blogger is definitely messing with me! No matter what I try, I can't get it to apply the "normal size" font to the last two paragraphs of my "Decisions Decisions" post! That'll teach me to get cutesy with the formatting! Sorry for the need for magnifying glasses for that last part of my post, folks, can't seem to do a thing about it!

Yarn Addicts Unite!

So, I've gone ahead and joined the "Yarn Addicts Unite" webring. Am I a yarn addict? Uh, well, yeah - so what of it?! This one was a no-brainer, all I had to do was look around my house at the stacks of bags of yarn tucked into every nook and cranny in every room (except the kitchen and bathroom), and ponder the eleven pounds of yarn that are right now wending their way to my greedy little hands! Yeah, despite being broke as hell, I still manage to find ways to feed my addiction, most often by not feeding myself... Well, okay, I'm not starving - I have far more food stashed in this house by an addict of another kind when he stayed here - Mr. Phil, who apparently suffers from fears of not enough to eat such that when he cooks, he makes enough for an army! So much of it lands in the freezer, just waiting to be plundered at a later date. Which is a good thing, because that means I can just "heat and eat", thereby leaving more time to play with my yarn! I am sooo not into cooking still.

Starting next weekend, I will be home for 9 glorious days! One of my plans for that time off is to inventory and record all my yarn, and I will see about putting together a "flash your stash" post before the vacation week is over.

Oh yeah, I belong! And I'm damn proud of it!

Decisions Decisions...

It only took me a week, with a couple of frogging sessions to help further delay me, but I finally just finished the 4th row of the latest sequence pattern on Seraphina. The next row would see me with 25 full shells on each side of the shawl. Do I want to do another 4 rows? Or should I just fringe it, and be done now (well, okay, not "now", but... you know what I mean!). Once I start the next row, I'm committed for another 4...

I tried the shawl on, it now comes to the base of my back, just barely above the point where my backside slopes outward. I'd like it to be longer than that, but I'm not sure 4 more rows is going to make that much of a difference. In this yarn, it only adds about an inch of length. A lush 8 inch fringe could do it, though.

More thinking, more pondering...

I have enough yarn to either do more rows, plus the finishing row of sc across the top, or do the finishing row and use the rest to fringe. I don't think I have enough for both, though it's hard to tell with this laceweight yarn. If I do fringe, I want to use at least 5 or 6 strands per shell. That's 5 or 6 times 50 shells! I just did the math to calculate how much yarn it would require for the fringe I have in mind: at five 16" pieces per shell, I would need a little over 111 yards of yarn, a quarter of a hank. I don't know how many yards 4 rows of the pattern stitches will use, but I'm willing to bet I won't have a quarter of a hank left over by then, especially when factoring in the finishing row across the (very long) top of the shawl.

Well, after thinking long and hard about it, I think I will go ahead with 4 more rows, and see where that leads me. For a short while, when I was almost convinced to stop now and fringe it, I felt a lifting - I so want to be finished with this project! Not that it's not an enjoyable project, in fact I have plans to make many more! But I've been at it for 3 weeks now, exclusively, obsessively... And I have other projects screaming for attention, and yarn piling up all over the place, begging for my attention! Speaking of which, that will be the topic of my next post, this yarn addiction of mine...

Okay, I'm giving it one more week. Hopefully, I will be able to make better (and faster) progress on this next 4 rows, since I won't be working overtime this week, so I won't be working on it in the wee hours when I tend to go somewhat unconscious on my feet (or my butt, actually) and then make stupid mistakes which have to be ripped out the next day. You sure don't get much progress that way!

Tomorrow is promising to be another busy day for me (I think I will write about today, next - okay, so I've just noticed that we somehow slipped out of today when I wasn't looking and are now in tomorrow. As far as I'm concerned, it's still today until I go to bed, and it won't be tomorrow until I wake up!). There's the lawn mowing that needs to be done (weather-willing, there's rain in the forecast), laundry needing my attention, the seasonal clothes shifting which I started last weekend and then ran out of time to finish, resulting in piles of clothes all over the living room in addition to my bed. And Phil is expecting me for dinner and a movie. I might be able to get some crocheting done while watching the movie, but I will have to check my work frequently if I do try. He prefers to watch movies in total darkness, going for that movie theater effect. Always did drive me nuts, because I couldn't see to do anything that way. At least now he's willing to compromise and have a light on, but set low, and I need a LOT of light to work this project, to see where to place my hook. That's a problem with very thin yarns, the holes you're working with tend to be very small.

At any rate, what I'm driving at is that I don't want to get my hopes up of making huge leaps of progress tomorrow. I know I had grand ambitions last weekend - and it was a 3 day weekend, to boot! I think I got about 3 rows completed in the entire weekend! Well, maybe it was more, but that's what it felt like!

Okay, enough of my ramblings - I do write the looooong posts, don't I? I think I'll wrap this up for tonight and get started on that next row before I finally succumb to the need for sleep. I'll write about today tomorrow... Oh yeah, and one last quick post to follow this one (I did mention I would be doing it).

(Editing note: I could have sworn those last two paragraphs were "normal size" when I posted this early this morning! Blogger's messin' with me! Hopefully it'll stick this time.)


Friday, June 03, 2005

My how the time flies!

I haven't posted anything to my blog for quite some time now, must remedy this! There's been good reason - life's been happening, and dragging me along with it. I can barely keep up, yikes!

Worked looooong hours for the past week and a half, and spent most of every spare minute I could grab working on my Seraphina - and unfortunately not getting as far as I would have hoped. A big downside to crocheting when you're tired is you make lots of silly mistakes, for which you end up paying by undoing most of your previous night's progress. Today, it was an entire ROW because, even though I had been diligent at checking all my shells to make sure they were complete, I didn't think to check my "baby" shell in the increase zone. I'd never screwed up in THAT area before, so it didn't occur to me that there's always a first for everything. Yup, that first was today. Despite my exhaustion, I had managed to make it through a half a row (all 23 shells of it) after working the increase on the near side of the center line, and got almost halfway through the first half of the next row. Today at lunch I pulled everything out, eager to finish that row! Worked my way rapidly through the second quarter and then I was back at said increase zone. Only to find my baby shell which, this being the fourth row of the sequence series, should have been two dc-ch2-2 dc, was actually 2 dc-ch2-1 dc! Grrrr!

For a few moments, I seriously contemplated just fudging it instead of frogging, but seeing as how I've ripped back to redo all my errors (save one very small one that I dare you to find!), I just couldn't in good conscience ignore that missing dc. Ripping out a whole row seemed like it would be a daunting task, and also meant I wouldn't be able to sneak in any stitches during afternoon breaks, but then I got a smart idea - have my daughter help me! She rolled up the frogged yarn as I ripped, and with only a couple of snagged areas to gently work loose, we had the two half-rows ripped out in a matter of minutes, with the yarn all neatly rolled back onto my ball.

Unfortunately, my afternoon was so busy that there was no time to pull out the crocheting again, and I didn't leave work until 8 pm - only to arrive to find Phil here. He just left a few moments ago. After awhile, I just pulled out my shawl and started working on it while he talked (Mr. yakkity-yak tonight!), and though I will have to carefully review what I accomplished in that time, I've managed to get a quarter row done already! Once I post this, I'm off to see if I can at least approach my goal of finishing this 4 row series before the week is over. I had been hoping to get double that done, but I just didn't have enough time to do it. I had thought I would get more done last weekend, being a three-day holiday weekend, but two out of the 3 days were a bust, with a visit to mom's on Sunday and Phil coming to barbeque on Monday, plus some seriously needed computer repairs/maintenance gobbling up the rest of that last day off.

I had thought I would at least have this next two days free and unfettered (to a degree, chores still need doing), but I got a call from mom today. She wants me to come over again this weekend and install her small window air conditioner, and do a bit of shopping for her. Due to female complaints, I hadn't been able to do the a/c install last weekend, as I couldn't do any heavy lifting.

Okay, I wasn't planning on trying to catch up my whole missed time since my last post in this one! So I'll save the rest for later. Seraphina is calling me...