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

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Wonderful little giftie!

I was RAOK'd today! What a wonderfully uplifting feeling it is to have someone take the time to send you a much-coveted beautiful gift! I received a generous sample of roving from Deb, aka Dudleyspinner, who makes some truly gorgeous dyed rovings! There should be enough here for me to make a felted change purse, which will give me a chance to try out working with roving as well as felting a project - both first time efforts. I can hardly wait to get it going! Of course, I will document my experience here (after all, that's what this blog is about, right?). I'm nervous and excited all at once, lol! Thank you so much, Deb!

Here are a couple of pics of this soft and luscious hunk of wool:
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I realize that it appears that the two pictures are identical, but due to the angle of the setting sun, each picture drew out the colors in this roving in a different way, emphasizing certain colors, so I figured I'd share them both. If you want to get a closer (or rather, larger) view of these shots, to see what I'm talking about (especially if you are as much of a color/fiber junkie as me!), take a look here and here. You will have to hit your "Back" button to return to this page after viewing each link, unfortunately, as I still don't know how to set it up to make the links open up in a new window instead of replacing this one. If anyone knows how to do that, I'd be eternally grateful if you'd share the secret!

Okay, now I'm off to go crochet. I'm amazed at how quickly I frittered my evening away without getting much of anything done yet! Oh well...

So proud of me!

Pattin' myself on the back now, for not procrastinating and getting the lawn mowed! Here's some pics of the back yard to prove it...
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My front yard is about a third of the size of the back. I always start with the front, it makes it easier to get the job done. It also makes it easier in case I can't get the whole thing done, though fortunately that's never happened. Still, it's a real workout for me - an hour of running around pushing a mower, then about an hour and a half of recovery time, lol!

There are still large areas where the grass hasn't fully recovered from the summer drought, mostly toward the far rear of the property where the pine tree sucked up whatever moisture was available, though there was still plenty of stuff to mow - a lot of weeds! Nothing seems to affect them! But I don't mind them all that much - if not for the weeds, my yard would be seriously boring. Since this is a rented house and I don't have much in the way of disposable income to be spending on landscaping and gardening a property I don't own, I take my enjoyment from the weeds. It gives the place more of a "country" feel, lol!

Adding to the "country" ambience are the critters that occasionally parade through the back yard, driving Meeps out of her mind. Mostly it's other cats and rabbits, but the other night I watched a possum go wandering into my garage through the barely cracked side door. I used the automatic opener to raise the big door and ran in to shoo the critter out, but he, uh, well, musta been "playing possum" (sorry), I couldn't find snout or tail in there and finally had to give it up. I generally leave the small door cracked so Meeps can keep the mouse population from proliferating in the garage, after they did some serious damage to stuff I'd stored in there the first winter after I moved into the place. I mean, they practically had a mouse condo built from the stuff they'd raided! Meeps has worked diligently ever since to help with the eviction notices, lol! Haven't had a mouse problem since, but it does, unfortunately, draw all the other hunters in the neighborhood, forcing Meeps to enforce her territory. Only rarely have I had to run out to break up the fight, worrying about my 4 pound declawed kitty getting her butt kicked. Almost every time, I've found the opposite to be true. She may be small, but she is fierce, especially when defending her turf! It's the wild blood in her, I'm sure. The lack of front claws hasn't deterred her either - I've watched her climb trees with a dexterity that is truly amazing, though I've had other declawed cats that could do the same when they so desired.

I also took a shot of the said fierce Meeps staking out an "area of interest" by the fence. Unfortunately, I was still rather shaky from my mowing efforts and couldn't hold the camera steady enough to avoid blurring the picture. But I think you'll still recognize her!
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I've got one more post to make, then it's off to crochet for awhile. My, how quickly the evening flies!

Brave New (Corporate) World

Well, I made it through the week without losing my job. Considering the way things are going there, though, I'm not so sure anymore that it's such a good thing. Things are solidifying into the most oppressive environment I think I have ever experienced, making it extremely difficult to find any excuse for enjoyment at doing my job. As I told someone, I feel like I'm living in a fishbowl, or maybe it's more like under a microscope, my every movement tracked and monitored, every bit of work noted down for later "grading", and a severely "fixed" schedule that I must adhere to or "lose points" on which my potential future raise will (may? There's never any guarantee that the owners will be willing to "share the wealth" and in this corporate-controlled political environment, they don't have to if they don't want to.) be determined. I was able to stick to the set-out schedule this week, but that's only because things are a bit slow right now - we have yet to get slammed with the fallout from "busy season", which has started for other departments but hasn't quite trickled down to us yet. That doesn't usually happen until after Labor Day, and then we are usually crazy-busy through the end of the year. Oh - and there is still no overtime allowed, no matter how heavy the load. From the look of things, overtime will be a rare bird this year. At this point, I'm better off finding some other way of boosting my own financial bottom line, I'm finding it difficult to force myself to wait out the clock to get my standard 8 hours in before I hurl myself out that door!

It's beginning to feel more and more like slavery. And then I wonder why I tend to drag my feet in the morning?

We are expected to be good little uncomplaining robots, and they are squeezing us all into that mold. The grapevine is abuzz with constant resentful griping and bitching, yet everyone still manages to glue that plastic smile on their face in front of management that we are expected to wear all the time. I've never been very good at this sort of thing, which is one reason why I never sought to work for one of those huge corporations, always preferred to work in a small business environment. But the small guys are disappearing, either getting eaten up by the bigger ones (like we did) or perishing in the extremely competitive environment. Pretty soon, ALL business will be owned by a handful of mega-corporations, and our lives will certainly never be our own again. It is now okay for a company to dictate to employees how they live their personal lives, even outside of the workday. You'd better comply or risk losing your job. And it generally has nothing at all to do with how well you perform at what you were hired to do. If that isn't economic slavery, I don't know what is.

Welcome to our Brave New World - comfy isn't it?

In order to avoid the debilitating effects of the depression that has taken hold of me because of all of this, I am finding myself feeling the need to bury myself even more deeply in my crochet projects. As long as I am crocheting, I can hold all those negative thoughts and feelings at bay, and even feel pretty good. I've got a death-grip on that crochet hook, good luck peeling it from my fingers!

So that's where things are for me right now. It's funny, but when the week started, I was feeling pretty decent, almost perky. Maybe it was all those completed scarves I was hauling with me, feeling hopeful that I might be able to sell some or all of them quickly. I even made it through the day with that sense of positive feeling intact, and thought that having that extra day off over the weekend had made the difference in helping me to rebalance myself emotionally. When I signed off at the end of the day, I decided to take a look at where I stood timewise, by looking at the accumulated punch-ins and -outs tab for the current pay period. That's when I got the slap in the face that immediately dumped me back into the doldrums. There was a lengthy "explanation" showing on the page for my added PTO ("paid time off") hours for last Friday. In all the years I have worked for this company, there has never been a requirement to "justify" PTO time taken. Ever. It infuriated me to see that there, and made me feel like I am going to have to justify any time I take off from now on. Once the fury passed, the depression set in, which is normal when you are caught in a situation under which you have no control.

I managed to force myself not to think about it too much the rest of the week, thereby allowing me to function fairly normally. But each day would bring yet another little bit of pressure or sense of violation. My future, such that it is, has been reduced to the same formula that my finances have been in: I am unable to see beyond the next day, taking it day by day and hoping for the best and praying the worst doesn't notice me.

It would be nice - and so much easier to deal with this - if I knew this was just a temporary thing, and that things will get better eventually. But that's not gonna happen, and I would be a fool to even try to imagine otherwise. There are more things coming that I am aware of that will add to the burden, things which I have no control over and therefore have not wasted a lot of time dwelling on. I'll just have to figure out how best to adjust when that time comes.

For now, it's back to the one thing that continues to bring me genuine enjoyment - crochet. Oh yeah, and there's a lawn to mow, too. I think things have started to cool down enough that I might want to consider giving it a whirl, unless I manage to procrastinate myself into tomorrow again. I'm really good at that! Later, I'll have an all-crochet update to post, hopefully with pics.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Rant warning...

You know, I really wish I could keep up with browsing everybody else's blogs, I really do. I so enjoy reading what's going on with everyone else, and seeing what projects they're working on, or have finished, etc etc. But it takes so dadburned long to get around that I end up losing interest and wandering off to do something else after awhile, and forget what I was doing online.

It's that stupid "resolving host" problem again, and it's been really bad lately. I never had this problem until I was forced to "migrate" my account when SBC-Yahoo took over Ameritech. It has something to do with relaying on their servers is what I have been given to understand from someone who's husband is a tech with SBC, and there's not a damn thing that can be done about it. And thanks to the constant corporate mergers and acquisitions, our choices are fewer and fewer...

When I got my dsl line, it was like a dream.. I would click on a link and the page would appear almost immediately! Time after time after time! I zoomed around the "information superhighway" at blazing speeds. It was wonderful! Then, sometime during that first year SBC took over Ameritech, and then merged with Yahoo to become "SBC-Yahoo". They set things up to have tiers of connection speed, at different prices (gotta boost that profit margin, after all!). When my account came up for renewal, they talked me into getting the higher speed (it was the "midrange" of their 3-tiered plan) by making it appear to be less expensive than just sticking with what I had, which was the "regular" plan. Because of the changes in ownership, there was a migration process I had to go through in order to take advantage of the features that were supposed to come with my new plan, and I had to upgrade my software. My computer has never been the same since! And the "resolving host" issues began to crop up.

I realize that alot of people don't know diddly about all things computers. But it really frosts my cookies to have software that installs itself in secret locations on your computer without your say-so, or to be forced to install stuff you don't want, which is what happens with SBC's package. They don't allow any options for someone to do a "custom install" so they can choose which programs they need and leave the extraneous stuff behind - you get it all, whether you need it or not. And forget about reinstalling ONE component if a problem pops up with it - you have to reinstall the whole shebang because of the way they have it set up! In trying to troubleshoot my "resolving host" problems with an SBC customer service agent who did not speak English as their first language, I nearly went bald from the process, and the end result became a non-functioning computer! Fortunately, I had a backup computer that I could use, a stripped down model I had gotten free from work (they were going to throw it out, it had been replaced with new equipment), so I limped along on that one while trying to get this one back up and running, starting with a forced reformat and fresh install of my Windows, which managed to get corrupted in the process. It took far longer than I'd expected it to, and I was on that backup for months while I researched to find a connecting software I could use to avoid using SBC's load of crap, which had also caused conflicts on my backup. Oh, and the "resolving host" problems continued on that one as well. They had tried to blame it on my computer, as they always do when things aren't working correctly.

I was finally successful in finding a piece of software to use to connect to my service without using their bloated, invasive stuff. I'm very happy with it, but it did not solve the "resolving host" problem. That's when I found out that the problem resides at their end rather than mine, after talking to a local SBC repair person's spouse (who happens to work at my company). They'd had the same problem (and live in another state too, btw) and he was unable to do anything to fix it either. And I learned, early on, that trying to work with their "customer service" will only result in a busted computer because they will have you tinkering with your computer to death (literally!) because they work from a script, and are unable to bypass any of the steps to get to the crux of the matter. They always start out with the assumption that the problem is on your end rather than theirs, and it can take hours to go through this review process of elimination. I know - I've done it! More than once!

My account is coming up for renewal again, and I have to make a decision. My options are extremely limited, thanks to my busted finances, but even if I stay with this company, I have already decided I will be going with the "lower" tier plan, and hopefully shave the bill down a bit. I don't need "blinding fast download speeds", I don't download music or video files or much more than the occasional pdf file, I just don't need that kind of speed. I can wait for the pictures to load, I already do anyway. Besides, with this "resolving host" issue, I'm not getting it anyway! For the past year, I have NOT been getting what I paid for! I can't tell you how much time I've wasted this past year trying to get this problem fixed!

Sorry if I've bored anybody with this little diatribe, but I needed to vent a bit. It just gets so frustrating to do anything online when I seem to spend half my time waiting for the system to resolve itself! It ends up taking me forever to view a blog with links to other areas of interest (and I'm definitely interested!) that I'm lucky if I get to see a few blogs a day, even using my Bloglines account, or reviewing some of the new threads on Crochetville.

Okay, this rant got started because I'd clicked to go view somebody's blog and got bogged down with the "resolving host" message yet again! I know it finally resolved itself and the page is now sitting there waiting for me to view it, so I will post this and go to it, then back to my scarf project.

from Weather Underground: Some of the best photos I've seen in awhile!

Wanted to share a "photo pick of the day" with you all, but two of them tied for the honor so I will share them both. I often get lost in the photo gallery at Weather Underground (my favorite online weather station), and have managed to collect a pretty decent number of spectacularly breath-taking photos from around the world to be used as wallpaper on my computer. These two are some of the best I've seen:

Reflecting on a sunny morning

Night Mists

This is my current wallpaper - isn't it nice? There is something very calming about this picture, I love it - and it looks great on my desktop!
Thunderstorm on Charlotte Harbor And Sunset

I am nearly done with the Wildberries scarf - the colors seemed rather dark last night, but then again, that was the crappy lighting in my house, lol! When I looked at it this morning, these colors really pop! But I'm a tad miffed at Lion, am thinking of writing to them to complain. BOTH of the skeins had a section - well into the yardage - where it was TIED, a KNOT! I'm sorry, but if the yarn breaks, or it runs short, than it shouldn't be sold as a full-price yarn, it should go in a "seconds" pile to be sold at a lower price! This yarn is no RHSS, we are paying premium dollars for a small amount of yarn. It should be unblemished. I've run into this on occasion with the Homespun too, and I know others have also complained about it. Makes me mad!

Go Cindy!

I have deliberately kept from posting "controversial" stuff on my blog, keeping it's focus pretty strictly on my own life, which went into serious disarray from lack of attention starting in 2001, that infamous year. But I'm posting this because it kicks butt, and desperately needed to be said!

And if I can ever get my own affairs in better order, I plan to eventually set up a seperate blog for this kind of stuff, which I used to share with many folks via email (they've been wondering where I got off to). I just ran myself into the ground with it all. Crochet has been my therapy, my way of hanging onto a sliver of hope that our world can yet be saved. It's going to take all of us to do it. I'm still waiting for the rest of you!

FOCUS | Cindy Sheehan: Hypocrites and Liars

Hypocrites and Liars
By Cindy Sheehan
t r u t h o u t | Letter

Saturday 20 August 2005

The media are wrong. The people who have come out to Camp Casey to help coordinate the press and events with me are not putting words in my mouth, they are taking words out of my mouth. I have been known for sometime as a person who speaks the truth and speaks it strongly. I have always called a liar a liar and a hypocrite a hypocrite. Now I am urged to use softer language to appeal to a wider audience. Why do my friends at Camp Casey think they are there? Why did such a big movement occur from such a small action on August 6, 2005?

I haven't had much time to analyze the Camp Casey phenomena. I just read that I gave 250 interviews in less than a week's time. I believe it. I would go to bed with a raw throat every night. I got pretty tired of answering some questions, like: "What do you want to say to the President?" and "Do you really think he will meet with you?" However, since my mom has been sick I have had a chance to step back and ponder the flood gates that I opened in Crawford, Tx.

I just read an article posted today on by artist Robert Shetterly who painted my portrait. The article reminded me of something I said at the Veteran's for Peace Convention the night before I set out to Bush's ranch in my probable futile quest for the truth. This is what I said:

I got an email the other day and it said, "Cindy if you didn't use so much profanity ... there's people on the fence that get offended.

And you know what I said? "You know what? You know what, god damn it? How in the world is anybody still sitting on that fence?

If you fall on the side that is pro-George and pro-war, you get your ass over to Iraq, and take the place of somebody who wants to come home. And if you fall on the side that is against this war and against George Bush, stand up and speak out.

This is what the Camp Casey miracle is all about. American citizens who oppose the war but never had a conduit for their disgust and dismay are dropping everything and traveling to Crawford to stand in solidarity with us who have made a commitment to sit outside of George's ranch for the duration of the miserable Texan August. If they can't come to Texas, they are attending vigils, writing letters to their elected officials and to their local newspapers; they are setting up Camp Casey branches in their hometowns; they are sending flowers, cards, letters, gifts, and donations here to us at Camp Casey. We are so grateful for all of the support, but I think pro-peace Americans are grateful for something to do, finally.

One thing I haven't noticed or become aware of though is an increased number of pro-war, pro-Bush people on the other side of the fence enlisting to go and fight George Bush's war for imperialism and insatiable greed. The pro-peace side has gotten off their apathetic butts to be warriors for peace and justice. Where are the pro-war people? Everyday at Camp Casey we have a couple of anti-peace people on the other side of the road holding up signs that remind me that "Freedom isn't Free" but I don't see them putting their money where their mouths are. I don't think they are willing to pay even a small down payment for freedom by sacrificing their own blood or the flesh of their children. I still challenge them to go to Iraq and let another soldier come home. Perhaps a soldier that is on his/her third tour of duty, or one that has been stop-lossed after serving his/her country nobly and selflessly, only to be held hostage in Iraq by power mad hypocrites who have a long history of avoiding putting their own skin in the game.

Contrary to what the main stream media thinks, I did not just fall off a pumpkin truck in Crawford, Tx. on that scorchingly hot day two weeks ago. I have been writing, speaking, testifying in front of Congressional committees, lobbying Congress, and doing interviews for over a year now. I have been pretty well known in the progressive, peace community and I had many, many supporters before I even left
California. The people who supported me did so because they know that I uncompromisingly tell the truth about this war. I have stood up and said: "My son died for NOTHING, and George Bush and his evil cabal and their reckless policies killed him. My son was sent to fight in a war that had no basis in reality and was killed for it." I have never said "pretty please" or "thank you." I have never said anything wishy-washy like he uses "Patriotic Rhetoric." I say my son died for LIES. George Bush LIED to us and he knew he was LYING. The Downing Street Memos dated 23 July, 2002 prove that he knew that Saddam didn't have WMD's or any ties to Al Qaeda. I believe that George lied and he knew he was lying. He didn't use patriotic rhetoric. He lied and made us afraid of ghosts that weren't there. Now he is using patriotic rhetoric to keep the US military presence in Iraq: Patriotic rhetoric that is based on greed and nothing else.

Now I am being vilified and dragged through the mud by the righties and so-called "fair and balanced" main stream media who are afraid of the truth and can't face someone who tells it by telling any truth of their own. Now they have to twist, distort, lie, and scrutinize anything I have ever said when they never scrutinize
anything that George Bush said or is saying. Instead of asking George or Scotty McClellan if he will meet with me, why aren't they asking the questions they should have been asking all along: "Why are our young people fighting, dying, and killing in Iraq? What is this noble cause you are sending our young people to Iraq for? What do you hope to accomplish there? Why did you tell us there were WMD's and ties to
Al Qaeda when you knew there weren't? Why did you lie to us? Why did you lie to the American people? Why did you lie to the world? Why are our nation's children still in harm's way and dying everyday when we all know you lied? Why do you continually say we have to "complete the mission" when you know damn well you have no idea what that mission is and you can change it at will like you change your cowboy shirts?"

Camp Casey has grown and prospered and survived all attacks and challenges because America is sick and tired of liars and hypocrites and we want the answers to the tough questions that I was the first to dare ask. THIS is George Bush's accountability moment and he is failing ... miserably. George Bush and his advisers seriously "misunderestimated" me when they thought they could intimidate me into
leaving before I had the answers, or before the end of August. I can take anything they throw at me, or Camp Casey. If it shortens the war by a minute or saves one life, it is worth it. I think they seriously "misunderestimated" all mothers. I wonder if any of them had authentic mother-child relationships and if they are surprised that there are so many mothers in this country who are bear-like when it comes to wanting the truth and who want to make meaning of their child's needless and seemingly meaningless deaths?

The Camp Casey movement will not die until we have a genuine accounting of the truth and until our troops are brought home. Get used to it George, we are not going away.


Go directly to our coverage of Cindy Sheehan's courageous stand in Crawford, Texas.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Hopeful little enterprising venture kickoff

I went to my local JoAnns earlier this evening, spent a few of my precious cash dollars on two skeins of the boucle in a red colorway for another one of those scarves. I was a bit confused by the fact that they didn't have a sale sign up on that yarn, until I realized that it probably won't go into effect until tomorrow. I keep forgetting that today is Saturday, it's been feeling like Sunday all day to me thanks to being off work yesterday. But anyway, I had a couple of 40% off coupons, so it was only $6 and change for these, hopefully I will be able to turn it around for a fast $20. The yarn will be on sale all week at $3.86, which is a 25% savings off the regular price, still enough to be able to sell the scarves at $20 and make a reasonable return on my efforts. These scarves should be pretty popular, but I'm going to have to aggressively market them to sell, and I'm not very good at that as a rule. Desperation might give me more of a backbone though, lol! I've got a bunch of two other colors here from the clearance sales back in July, enough to make about 6 of these scarves (3 of each colorway), plus the one from this new purchase, and I also hit the JoAnns in the next town over for 2 skeins of another color (had more coupons, being of a very resourceful nature; several were expiring today - use 'em or lose 'em). I also have enough to make another Taffy, so that will be five colorways for people to choose from directly. I will also bring the Lion catalog so people can see what other colors are available, and if they prefer one of them, they can prepay for me to pick those up and make them a scarf. Once the yarn is no longer on sale, though, I will have to raise the price a bit, so I will be using that as a marketing tool for faster sales.

Wish me luck - I hope to be a scarf-crocheting fool for the next few weeks!

The evening with Phil ended up a bust, thanks to "failure to communicate" - his cell phone's been acting up all day, which is why I couldn't reach him. I dallied around the house, hoping to hear from him, until the last possible moment before I had to race out to do my shopping before the stores closed at 9, and I swung by his place on my way home only to find that he'd been home for most of the day. He'd only left for a short while to go to Angel's to get his radiator fan replaced. The hilarious thing is that he finally did call me, wondering where I was - right after I left the house, go figure. So, seeing as how it was already kind of late, and very dark (I get a bit disoriented at night and don't like to be out driving around as a result unless I absolutely have to), I decided to come home and we'd try again tomorrow. I will go over and watch a movie or two with him while I work on these scarves. It's been months since I've had enough of an attention span to watch a movie, not sure if I have one yet but I'm willing to try. His library has grown to massive proportions in the meantime - he collects movies like I collect yarn, lol! Just about anything my little heart desires can be found on his shelves - he rivals the rental places for variety. Tonight's fare was "The Existential Detective" with Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin.

Okay, I'm gonna go see what's been happening at CVille while I was gone, and then it's off to work on the Wildberries scarf.

Taffy Boucle!

Last but not least for today, we have the Lion Brand Boucle scarf I finished up around noonish today. Wouldn't you know it, but JoAnns has this yarn on sale this week! I do believe I will pick up some skeins in different colors and whip up a few more of these scarves for a "quick sale" item, I suspect I will be able to move these fairly quickly. This one took me probably about an hour and a half total to make, with only 2 skeins of the yarn! I deliberately made this one skinny and a bit shorter because of it's bulkiness, and made a chain-loop fringe. It is 4 inches wide and, including the fringe, is 60 inches long, made on a Crystallite "L" hook.
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I had a dickens of a time photographing this one! Here's a shot of it on the hanger hooked on my backyard fence, with the wind adding it's own challenge - and here I'd brought it outside to avoid the problem caused by fans as well as lack of light! Oh well.
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Here's a larger shot of it, in the less-friendly confines of this room, lol! Go away shadows!

I'm sure I could further embellish this scarf and make it even fancier, but then that would drive up the cost, forcing me to set a higher price on these, and like I'd mentioned earlier, everyone's been crying broke at work, so I want to provide something that I can set a reasonable price on. Best of all, I can crank quite a few of these out pretty quick. Having the yarn on sale will be a mighty big bonus, so it looks like other WIPs and projects will be getting moved down the list for awhile. I need to strike while the iron's hot!

Nevertheless, this one's mine! I just LOVE the color combinations on this one!

Angel Hair!

Here is my completed Angel Hair scarf...
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You can also get a better view here.

Please excuse the excessive shadows and somewhat blurry images - thanks to the airflow due to all the fans I have blowing in this room, it was a tad difficult to photograph the resulting "moving target"! Drove me nuts, lol! But you should be able to see the rich color and fuzzy quality of this yarn (by checking out the larger-sized pic in the link above) - it is incredibly SOFT! It feels WONDERFUL wrapped around my neck, and will be a fabulously warm addition to any winter wardrobe. This scarf took me a little over 1 and 1/2 skeins to make it, at 6 inches wide by 60 inches long, excluding fringe. I worked this up using a Crystallite "N" hook, and the yarn is marvelously easy to work with, a real treat for the hands!

I am looking to find a nice little "bucket" style hat to go with this scarf now. I think it will make a nice little set, a perfect gift item. This one will be going to my daughter (Isis: avert your eyes!).

Seraphina Redux

Okay, a couple of shots of my now-completed (sans fringe - still haven't decided on that) lace-weight Seraphina.

Not having any space horizontal or vertical where I could spread this thing out for a flat view, I tried to just hold it up by it's tips. My arms don't stretch wide enough for that, lol! But here's my effort anyway...
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And here is a shot of me wearing it - that extra four rows really did make a difference, eh? It's exactly how long I wanted it to be!
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Last, but not least, my silly daughter decided to play with my shawl - there's always got to be at least one joker in a family! She gets this from her dad, I'll have you know!
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I just absolutely LOVE this shawl in the laceweight yarn - it's soooo light and soft, yet warm! This is perfect for cool summer evenings - and probably at least partway through the fall, too - as well as heavily air-conditioned offices. I hope to find time to get started soon on the Iris laceweight I want to make, as well - and hopefully I'll have more than half a brain when I work on that one. This shawl really shouldn't take all that long to make, it was only because of my many stupid errors that it took as long as it did, and of course, there were several long breaks in the process while I worked on other things, too.

Modelling my Winged Hair Kerchief

Okay, I'd promised pics today! Finally got them all downloaded and ready for prime time.

Here are a couple of pics of me wearing my nifty headgear, the Winged Hair Kerchief designed by Tiggzie from Crochetville. I did not include a flower on mine, maybe someday I'll get around to making one I can pin on here. I just loooove this headscarf, and as soon as I can find time, want to make a couple more in different colors. I've received many compliments on this! But my primary reason for it is a practical one: I needed something to protect my hair while driving with my car windows wide open. For that purpose, this works mahvelously! It drives me batty to have loose hair blowing all over my face, and the scarf keeps everything nice and tidy.

Oh, and as a bonus, you get to see my rarely-spotted tattoo, my Bird of Paradise (that has faded with age, it's nearly 30 years old now)!
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Hmmm, as I was writing this up, a thought occurred to me for a modified version of this pattern. I'm not always wild about how the kerchief sits (or "flies") in the back and have been trying to think of ways to "batten it down" a bit. Rather than attaching the ties to the tips, perhaps if I make one LONG tie and weave it all the way from one tip down to the point and back up to the other tip, I can then "gather" the edges as I tie it in the back, so the whole thing becomes like a cap... I will have to play with that and see how it works.

White Knights...

Or should it be "Knights in Shining Armor"? One of 'em anyway...

So, this morning as I stared at my computer monitor displaying the slow progress of the scandisk on my F drive, I tried to think about creative solutions to my car dilemma. I felt rather paralyzed and anxious about it, so I did the only sane thing a person should do under such circumstances: grabbed some yarn and a hook and got to crocheting! I had started on a scarf out of this luscious Lion Boucle in the colorway called "Taffy" over a week ago, had gotten about 8 to 10 inches into the project and realized I'd made it waaay too wide! So I frogged it - and as anyone who has worked with any kind of boucle yarn can tell you, frogging it is NO fun! But I'd somehow managed to accomplish it, but hadn't had a chance to restart the project.

After my computer had crashed last night, I'd figured I would just go to bed and crochet for awhile. I have been working on the Angel Hair scarf, a couple of rows every night before passing out. I decided to measure it last night and discovered I'd reached my targeted length. All that was left was to hide a few ends (from attaching the second ball of yarn) and fringe it. Fringing not being a good "before you go to sleep" crafting activity, I went looking for something else to work on, and my Taffy Boucle waved me down. So I'd managed to get about 5 or 6 rows in with that before having to shut the lights off and go to sleep. This morning I continued with it and managed to work up a full skein (which is not that big a deal, seeing as how they're only about 55 yards, but still...). I also got half of my fringing done on the Angel Hair scarf. All of this by 11 am! But then Phil showed up (having called me a short while earlier), and the remainder of my day was no longer my own - but the end result of it is a car that is now purring instead of rumbling!

He truly is my Knight in Shining Armor (but don't tell him that, it might go to his head!). I owe that man BIG time! To the tune of $300 smackaroos, as a matter of fact, though if he wasn't such a wheeler and dealer, it would have been a hundred bucks more. But it was a rather long and roundabout way that we took to getting the exhaust system fixed.

We started with notions of a temporary patch job, and went off to two different auto parts stores looking for the right materials and coming back with something from both. I then tore this room apart, sifting through my accumulated 6 years (or more) worth of receipts (I really think it's time to purge, don't you?), looking for the paperwork from when I'd last had the exhaust system done. In the meantime, he picked up the phone and called the muffler place where I swore I'd taken the car for it's previous job, and had them look in their system. Nope, it wasn't them, which meant I must have taken it to the shop near our previous residence (when we were living together). My memory is atrocious lately! While he had them on the phone, he tried to get an estimate out of them on what it would cost, and they tried but finally suggested we just bring the car in and let them have a look (it was free). So off we went to the muffler shop six blocks down - me in my loudly rumbling vibrating car, he in his overheating one (he was also having car troubles, believe it or not). That's where I found out that besides the muffler and tail pipe, I would also need a new catalytic converter. The price they quoted was just shy of $400!!!

We backed out of there slowly (actually, they were very nice about it all, and almost apologetic about the cost - I think the guy behind the service counter noticed me blanch and was worried I might pass out, lol!), and headed back to my place for a reconnoiter. Since he couldn't dilly-dally (or risk his car overheating), he got there first, and I found him laying flat on his back on my front lawn when I rumbled up, talking on his cell phone. He contacted the auto repair facility where he regularly takes his cars (he goes through cars rather quickly, thanks to his job - putting 3 to 400,000 miles a year on a car tends to wear it out pretty fast!), and got a quote from them for $100 less than the muffler place. Only problem was that Angel's (yup, the name of the repair shop) is about 15 miles from my house. But after today, I don't think I'd even think twice about taking my car anywhere else to be fixed! It's not often you can find an auto repair facility that charges FAIR prices and gives PREMIUM service to boot, and this place was it! I didn't make it down there (Phil again preceded me, at breakneck speed to keep his car cooled down) until a little after 3 pm, and by 5 I was driving away in my now-quiet car. He was also able to get his overheating problem diagnosed and would've had it repaired on the spot if they'd been able to get the part right away. He will have to return tomorrow for his repair (radiator fan replacement, at about a quarter of the cost elsewhere - he checked).

So now I am mobile again, one less fearsome worry behind me, and deeper in debt to a friend who just keeps on giving. He has now more than tipped the scales after I'd saved him from being dumped on the street last year in subzero weather (he was in the process of being evicted by an evil landlord during one of our coldest snaps - temps in the minus teens etc etc). I had been a bit bent out of shape when the rescue turned into an eight month stay in this very tiny house. But I will never bitch about that again!

Alas, though, this is going to put a serious crimp in my future yarn budget! Looks like I will be leaning harder on my current stash to fulfill my creative urges, though I have no doubt I'll still manage to find ways to squeeze some money out here and there, just can't go as nuts as I've done recently (really shouldn't have anyway, though there are no regrets).

It's getting late again, and I have a bit of catching up to do with what's transpired online today, so I will post this - and I'm shooting to finish up the boucle scarf by morning. I did manage to finish fringing the Angel Hair scarf, and my oh my, does it look wonderful! I ran out to buy ONE ball of the marvelously soft stuff this evening (I was so good, even managed to resist the "Angel Glitz" I petted while there!), to make a hat to go with the scarf, which only took about 1 1/2 skeins. I'll post a pic of the scarf tomorrow, and will also be able to post a pic of the Taffy boucle as well. I'm close, maybe about one more hour's worth of work on it to be done. I suspect this one is going to become my favorite one! I don't know if I will be able to interest anyone at work in buying one of my scarves, I didn't get many orders last year as everyone was crying broke, but I thought I'd try anyway. It might help that I'm starting earlier than November too, I think that might have had something to do with the lack of orders, lol! These scarves I'm making now will be models to show to hopefully spark some interest. I sure do need the money, that's for sure - and I'd much rather be able to make it doing something I love to do anyway. I have several more models I am planning to whip up, so my hooks should be busy for awhile - that ought to keep me out of mischief. I think.

Oh, let me take a moment to thank folks for comments: thanks to you, Jewels, and yes the crocheting is helping me to pull through - don't know what I would have done without it! Maybe I'll get that chance to do that dyeing this weekend. I think I'll try to get the skeins divided tomorrow (today? already?! sheesh!), and maybe I'll get to play with my Kool-aid Sunday, will keep my fingers crossed.

And thank you, Deneen, for those happy thoughts - as you can see, they're working! As bad as it started out, things have definitely taken a turn for the better, hopefully we'll be able to keep this momentum going!

One of these days, I will find out what the proper way is of responding to comments left on my blog - is there a "proper" way? I have sometimes responded with comments of my own, but then wondered if the recipient would ever see them since they'd have to go back and look. But even if I don't respond specifically and directly, I do deeply appreciate any and all comments people are so kind as to leave me!

Okay, tomorrow there will be pics, promise! I have a backlog of them to download from my camera, so expect a picture dump, lol!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Okay, enough already!

As if I didn't have enough things weighing on my mind and dragging it down last night, shortly after I posted my last message, my computer took a huge belly-flop, giving me the dreaded blue screen with an ominous message: "Unable to write to disk F" (F being my humongous GB secondary drive which I use for just about everything except the operating system, the idea being to make things easier in case I find it necessary to reformat drive C and reinstall said OS). The system did not recover when I followed the onscreen prompt ("press any key to continue"), leading me to be forced to do a hard shut down (hold the on/off switch in until everything turned off). It was very late by that point, and I was absolutely numb from all the hits I'd taken, this one being the last straw, so I didn't even bother trying to restart the computer and went to bed, hoping today would be a better day.

Since I knew I would be staying home today and wanting to be able to take advantage of that and sleep late if I felt like it, I made my "not coming in" call to my boss and left a message on her voicemail before I hit the sack. It didn't take me long to slide deep into my pillow, and I barely stirred until I woke at around 8 this morning, the hour my body naturally wakes up at when I'm not forced to follow a schedule imposed on me. It was a good 45 minutes after that before I became mentally coherent enough to actually do anything, which again is pretty much the norm for me. At that point, I decided to cross my fingers and try turning the computer on to see what would happen.

It went through it's usual startup routine and then into what I call the "scold screen" ("you didn't properly shut down therefore it is necessary to scan everything to make sure there are no errors. If you don't want to see this screen again, shut down the right way", never mind that the only time I get this stupid screen is because Windows f**ked up! Grrrr!), but this time with a twist - it stated that it had detected a problem with drive F and would need to do a full surface scan on the drive, which it then proceeded to begin doing.

My F drive is a very roomy, very LARGE 75 GB, as in GIGAbytes... Do you know how long it takes to do a surface scan on a 75GB drive?

A very long time indeed!

I turned on my computer around 8:45 this morning (approximately, I was still not fully alert and so did not take note of the exact time). I finally broke down around 6 pm and stopped the operation at about 77% of the way through...

What had been scanned already had come out "clean" (no problems indicated) and what was left was totally empty space, so I figured it really wasn't necessary to wait several more hours. Besides, I've rarely seen the scandisk to actually find any problems on my drives, unless the drive was fried, and this drive is just fine. My Windows operating system, however, seems to be another story entirely. It's flakey, unpredictable, and very problematic, and I would dearly love to dump it. I may get the nerve to do so someday, but since my brain is similarly afflicted lately, I am (patiently) waiting on that to recover before attempting to learn a new operating system. Right now, I can't even remember the name of the system I want to try! How frustrating!

I did have some difficulty getting back up and running, had to reboot something like 3 times before everything was running correctly, but it looks like I'm back online and hopefully the wierd problems will take themselves off somewhere else and leave me alone! When I say "enough already", I mean it - I really do!

Okay, I have to run out and take care of a few small errands. When I return, I will report on the other happenings of this very busy day. At least some things managed to find a happy ending, and I'm thrilled to report my next post will be a positive one! But now, after all I've been through, I'm going to reward myself and go buy some Angel Hair, dammit!

Early weekend, and for once I'm not thrilled

Well, it looks like I will be taking a day off work tomorrow. I didn't really want to, but considering that I was lucky to make it home tonight, I can't see any way around it. I came mighty close to losing my exhaust system on the way home. Alas and alack, but it has turned out to be more - much more - than just a hole in my muffler!

Yarn addict that I am, I was actually going to stop off at JoAnns on the way home tonight. I'm down to a little over $2 in the checking account and $15 cash in my pocket, and had a 40% off coupon clutched in my hand with that glazed look in my eye, lol! I was in need of a fix and was planning to get it with one ball of Angel Hair, so I could make a hat to go with the scarf I've been working on for Isis. That money sure burns a hole in my pocket. And fortunately, tomorrow is payday.

So, I'm sitting at one of those eternal stoplights, just a few blocks out of the parking lot, waiting for my turn to go and dreaming of Angel Hair (and planning on looking for that new LA leaflet with the shrug patterns). Light finally turns green and I hit the gas... The excessively loud sound confused me at first. There was another car next to me, going into a left turn, and at first I thought maybe he too had a holey muffler. But he turned and was gone, and I was fully across the intersection before it hit me - this new loudness was coming from my car! And it was vibrating! And I had 40 miles to go to get home!!! Yikes!!!!!

I'll admit it - I did actually entertain the notion of still going to JoAnns anyway, for a few seconds at least. But I managed to resist the insane temptation and turned in the right direction - toward home.

I found that once I could get my speed up to around 50 to 60 mph, the noise and the vibrations settled down to less than a deafening roar and a body-shivering vibration, and I crossed my fingers to not catch too many lights along the 40 mile journey. But since Murphy seems to rule my life, I ended up catching easily FIVE times as many lights as I normally do on this route which I travel daily! Just this morning, as part of my obsessing over the traffic conditions I have to contend with in order to make it to work on time (let's just say, there's been little else on my mind this past week, considering the consequences of my being late even one MINUTE), I had counted all the stoplights I have to pass through to get from home to work (and back). There are 43 of them, plus two stop signs. Most tend to be the kind that are traffic sensitive, changing when there's no cross traffic after a brief wait, but about a 4th are very lengthy, taking up to 3 full minutes to go through their full rotation. There's even one set of 4 lights spaced a block apart from each other. If you catch the first one, you are guaranteed to catch all 4, they are deliberately set up that way! I caught every stinkin' one of 'em, the 4 light gauntlet as well as every 3 minute light, plus quite a few of the shorter ones as well! And each time I had to struggle to get the car back up to speed while nearly going deaf from the roar emanating below my feet - and choking on the fumes that weren't being properly exhausted out the back. Oh, and watching my fuel gauge drop a full quarter of a tank!

It was with a huge sigh of relief that I pulled into my driveway and shut the noisy thing off. I then grabbed my Maglight from the back seat and dropped to the ground for a peak underneath - and it didn't take long to spot the source of my problem: the front part of the exhaust pipe had seperated from where it connects to the engine - all the way at the front. I don't know a whole lot about cars, but I did know that I was very fortunate that the whole exhaust didn't drop at some point of that slow 40 mile journey!

Now my next dilemma: how to get this fixed, or more precisely, how to come up with the money to get this fixed? Tomorrow is payday, but just about all the money has already been "distributed" or otherwise earmarked for nonnegotiable obligations. All I had left was the amount I'd managed to budget towards gas (which, btw, I also got to watch disappear at twice the normal rate, at the current going cost of $2.75 a gallon to replace!). When I had thought my only problem was replacing the rusted out muffler (which is under a lifetime warranty, so labor only would have been charged), I had been hoping to be able to hold off on the repair until the next paycheck, two weeks hence. But this situation demands immediate attention! There is no way I can drive this car any further than straight to the muffler shop, in the condition it is in now.

I'm tired, and have hardly managed to get any crocheting done today. In fact, I've hardly done any all week. I've spent most of my evenings obsessing about getting set up for the next morning, and there just hasn't been much opportunity for playing around with yarn at work. I'm anxious to start on a shrug pattern and have been trying to play with various stitches out of the Crochet Stitch Bible, I knew I wouldn't be able to concentrate well enough to actually start on a project until the weekend. Now the weekend has arrived a day early (as I am forced to use up one of my precious dwindling supply of paid days off), and I will have other things to be obsessing over, again!

Sigh... I think I will just go off to bed for now. I will get up at my usual time, even though I won't be going anywhere, and after I make the call-in to the boss, will go play with some yarn for a little while before I start the brainstorming and phoning session to try and resolve my dilemma.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Looking up...

Beth wanted to know if I was an Aquarius. As a matter of fact, I am very much the Pisces flake, with a Libra Moon and Scorpio on my Ascendant, and I've been getting clobbered with heavy transits from the big hitters (outer planets) for several years now. I'm about ready for that break now (been ready for the last 4 years). It's been a pretty rough ride, one that's pretty much wrung me out to the point where there's not much left, part of the reason for the current crisis I find myself in. I've literally used up all my reserves and can't seem to get recharged.

Although I wasn't wild about posting such revelations about my struggles, it does seem to have helped a bit with the stuck energy I've been suffering from. Phil also had a hand in that, and for that I thank him. I swear, I sometimes don't think I'd have made it this far without him being around to check on me and take care of me. We did very poorly as a couple, but he can really be a gal's best friend, the best ever! He stopped by shortly after I made my post, and after gently ribbing me (yet again) about the state of my yard, decided he needed a little exercise and mowed the grass for me. Thanks to the heavy drought, the grass (or weeds, actually - my "lawn" is rather pitiful, to be honest) hasn't really grown much at all and is still mostly brown. Except for the stray Queen Anne's Lace and Chicory plants popping up in various places, things didn't look horribly bad (not that lacy white and lovely lavender-blue flowers could ever be considered "horribly bad", imo), but just bad enough that a trim really was necessary in order to make the place look a bit more tidy and - dare I say it? - civilized. I just haven't had the energy to do it, though, and he'd been teasing me about it for awhile.

Since he was out there mowing the lawn, I figured it was time I got out there and trimmed back the out-of-control plants that had turned nearly into full-blown trees - which my landlord had stated he would be removing and just hasn't gotten around to it yet. One of them was on the edge of my property and hanging well into my neighbor's driveway, and I felt it was only right that I clear that out of her way. That chore alone wore me out, and my arms felt like rubbery jello for hours afterward. I'll probably be discovering new aches in them come morning.

He also did something else that helped my state of mind tremendously. He got down under my car and inspected my exhaust system, which had been getting progressively louder - to the point where I was imagining the whole works dropping off my car anytime soon as I worried about where the money was going to come from to fix that. His inspection turned up the fact that my exhaust pipes are in good condition and not in any danger of falling off, but the muffler is rusted through and in need of replacing. Wonderful! I had gotten the "lifetime guarantee" muffler installed about 2 or 3 years ago at the muffler shop down the road a piece from me, all I need now is to find my paperwork (an evening's worth of digging through piles of receipts) and find out what they will charge for the labor (since this will still not be totally free), hopefully I can live with the noise for another 3 weeks, which is the soonest I can budget for this, and I can finally get my car purring again instead of rumbling. And I can drive with a bit more confidence that I'm not about to leave pieces of it in my wake as I drive to and from work every day.

I did not get to do my yarn dyeing, though. I still have to set those two skeins up for the project, and that will probably take me some time, seeing as how I've never done this part before - the first hank I had to work with was already set, all I had to do was prepare my kool-aid dyes and equipment and away I went! I did unwind that yarn and get it washed today, even as I was trying to decide what I was going to make from it - it feels like a fingering-weight yarn, and I have, maybe, about 300 to 350 yards in the hank, I'm guessing. Maybe a lacy scarf? Dunno, will have to continue to ponder on this one.

My squares for the comfortghan are done, all washed and currently drying. They will be getting shipped out tomorrow. I am over 2/3 of the way through on the Angel Hair scarf I am making for my daughter - that's been a "bedtime" project this weekend. What a wonderful yarn! I am totally in LOVE with this stuff! But, believe it or not, JoAnns' has another yarn that is even softer than the Angel Hair - it's called "Beautiful", and boy what an understatement that is! It has to be felt to be believed. But despite that, I am more than happy with the Angel Hair, it's less expensive and has a pretty decent yardage to it at 120 yards per skein, and there is a good selection of colors to choose from as well. For Isis's scarf, I am using a deep purple with a lighter purple "hair", a gorgeous blend of purples, her favorite color (and mine too, I must admit). This is going to be a serious treat to have wrapped around the neck on a cold winter day! And the scarf will be warm - it's 20% wool. 2 skeins is a generous amount for a nicely fringed 60" scarf about 5 or 6" wide, done in a simple hdc stitch throughout. It's been very easy to make, and I am hoping to interest some folks into placing some orders for this one. If I can budget in some money for it, I would dearly love to buy a few of Beth's scarf kits as well. Those are some drool-worthy yarns she has selected for the kits! Another gal I am hoping to soon be able to budget a purchase from is Deb aka Dudley's Tie Dye Rovings, all I can say about her stuff is Wow! I've never worked with roving before, but I'm certainly ready to try!

I have decided to wind up the 3 hanks of the Cherry Tree Hill Cotton Boucle yarn I bought from Arcadia a few weeks ago, and try it out as a short-sleeved shrug, my next planned project to be sandwiched in among several scarves and other small projects I need to get done (2 soap savers and a belt, all of which are requests), plus I need to get back to a UFO that has been hollering at me for some time, a project I had started several months ago for a gift for a special friend. That one is a rather large project and it's been too hot to work on all summer anyway, so I refuse to feel any more guilt over the fact that it stalled (besides, she's not expecting it, so it should be a nice surprise). It will be revealed in good time. And then, of course, there are several other WIPs that have slipped into UFO status from sitting around too long. It is mainly because of all of these, and my coming Christmas obligations, that I decided to take a break from the swaps at CVille for awhile. I will admit, however, that I am being sorely tempted by the winter scarf swap which is open for sign-ups right now. Must. Resist!

Okay, I have a shower to take, preparations for tomorrow (I WILL make it to work on time, I WILL I WILL!), some yarn to wind (okay, ran out of time for that, will have to move it to the next available bit of free time, hopefully this week) and a Crochet Stitch Bible to pore over in order to decide what stitch pattern will work for this shrug. Oh - somebody wanted to know what I thought about the book - I LOVE it! It's a nice, compact little design with a spiral-bound edge so the pages lay nice and flat, and it's absolutely LOADED with stitch patterns! I think I will need to pick out a skein of yarn to use to make some swatches in order to practice some of these stitches, it will be well worth my time to play around with this - probably a good project for carrying to work sometimes. All I can say is that this book is a MUST for the crocheter's library!

As usual, time is zipping by on me. I've been puttering, working on some of my preparations for tomorrow, but now I really really have to get in that shower! So, off this goes to the blog, and off I go to freshen up, to end my day with some Angel Hair to pet and work. And I pray that this will be an effortless week, as far as my schedule goes, time-wise. I will force myself, if necessary, to think positive!

Seriously depressed

...and trying like crazy to bounce back from it, but it's hard.

I've always had a problem with arriving on time to anywhere I go. I am seriously time-challenged - I cannot, for the life of me, properly calculate how much time it will take me to arrive at a destination by X time. I am always underestimating how long I need to get ready and get out the door. I have tried every trick in the book I can think of, from setting clocks ahead by anywhere from 10 minutes to up to a half an hour (to the point where I don't even know what time it really is - I do not have two clocks in this house that agree on the time. Some are deliberate, some are just due to faulty time-keeping on the part of some of them), preparing everything I need for the next day the night before (and that can take me the better part of an hour, or even more - and I still manage to find things I've overlooked doing, ::sigh::), to attempting to cut down on morning "distractions", such as checking emails while I drink my coffee and wake up. Of course, without those "distractions", I have been known to pass right out while sitting in a chair drinking coffee and trying to wake up. I am not a morning person, never have been, and it hasn't improved much over the years. I am groggy for a good hour after I leave my bed.

Even when all of those tricks work and I manage to get out the door by my pre-determined departure time, I have often been sabotaged by a factor that I cannot control - traffic. I have actually managed to leave up to 15 minutes earlier than my normal departure time, only to have traffic cause me to be even later arriving to work! That has happened the last nine times out of ten that I have tried it!

And then, there's been the few times where I totally blew it and grossly overslept - while the alarm clock blared in my ear for over an hour, unable to penetrate the deep fog of sleep I was in. Those were the times when my "trusty" backup "alarm" had gone awol and stayed out all night, therefore not being on duty when I needed her. That happened to me two or three times in the past month, something which hasn't happened in a long time previously. I've been seriously run-down due to my continuing struggles with my female cycles (which I suspect has pushed me into an anemic condition due to the frequency and heaviness of my now every-three-week flow), and this has been contributing as well. And the depression has reared it's ugly head in full force again, after several years of hibernation.

I've been trying, god KNOWS I've been trying! But there just seems to be too many factors working against me, both internal and external, keeping me from my goal. And, to be honest, there is also the factor that I must acknowledge: I have reached a point where I absolutely HATE my job, and it is showing signs of getting worse as we go forward, as the corporate environment continues to get more and more restrictive and personally invasive. The only thing that is motivating me is the fear factor - there is absolutely nothing out there that would be a reasonable replacement for the job I have now, and my very survival is dependent on keeping this stinking job. But the way things are shaping up now, my survival is in jeapardy. I had managed to greatly reduce the tardies, but have been unsuccessful at eliminating them entirely, and lately it has been getting harder and harder to do.
Needless to say, this issue has been a major obsession for me, to no avail. I arrive to work every stinkin' day in a total hysterical panic, despite my every attempt to change the scenario. And now, it has reached the critical stage.

I got called in Friday afternoon and told that I was being "written up" for the tardies - I had 3 of them in the past two weeks, all occurred this past week; two of the three were due to my not being able to sign in fast enough to hit the button before it rolled over to the next quarter hour (and there had been traffic problems that delayed me the precious extra few minutes that would have made the difference between being "on time" or not), the third one was one of those where I had left the house earlier than usual and got sabotaged on the way in - a semi blocking the entire intersection while a freight train AND a commuter train completed their run parallel to us, causing everyone to have to wait through THREE light cycles. The truck driver had decided to start his left-hand turn despite the fact that the gates were down. I watched in horrified panic as the clock ticked past the point of no chance to make it on time, and there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it. I was sitting in a traffic gridlock.

I have been told that the next time I am late, I will be sent home for two days without pay, to "think about it". The next time I am late after that, and I will be fired.

I packed up a bunch of my personal stuff and took it home with me Friday. It's pretty hard not to be feeling fatalistic about this, but I can see the writing on the wall. I will go to bed dressed for the next day, and have the necessary things to complete putting myself together packed to finish it up when I get to work, if necessary (and will risk yet another lecture over that - my work life is filled with "you should be able to"-fill in the blank), and I will be hitting the roads as early as I dare, and just keep my fingers crossed I will be awake and alert enough to make the 40 mile journey without benefit of a full wake-up time. My life will have to be shrunk down even further, with only one thing for me to be thinking about day and night: doing everything I must do to make sure I am out the door at least a half an hour earlier than needed to make it in on time - and just pray that I don't hit a horrendous traffic situation that will be enough to cause me to lose my job. The entire rest of my life is on hold until further notice, to be slipped in when I can, if at all.

And while I'm obsessing about trying to get to work on time, I will have to squeeze in some time to work out a "plan B", which at the moment (considering where my head is at currently) there doesn't seem to be one available.

You know it's pretty bad when you wake up on a Sunday morning, look at the clock and think "is it Sunday, for sure?" It has gotten so bad for me that I have actually shot out of bed in a panic on a weekend morning, and had to calm myself down once I figured out that no, I had not overslept on a Monday. ::sigh::

I will continue to crochet. Right now, it's the only thing that is keeping me from falling into total despair, my only bright spot in my life. It's the only thing keeping me sane these days. That sounds pretty pitiful, but it's the truth.

This will be the last non-crochet post I make on this blog. I debated whether to say anything at all, as I'm not crazy about putting such negative stuff here. I would much rather speak only of my crafting activities, and after this, will hold to that rule. I generally don't like to communicate anything at all when I'm feeling down, and have pretty much been holding to that (as my friends, who haven't heard from me in quite awhile, may have figured - I hope). But this whole hopeless situation is eating me alive and I figured maybe I should at least put it out there so people won't wonder too much why they are not hearing from me. I just haven't got the energy for this, and I hate to share the crappy stuff. I don't like making others feel bad from reading my stuff, and I'm not clever enough to spin it into a funny story like other folks seem to manage to do. So I won't talk about it at all. Best to just stay focused on the topic for which this blog was created.

Okay, back to my crocheting - I am almost done with my fourth and last square for my contribution to Anne's comfortghan, will be mailing them out to Tandi tomorrow as promised. I'll take a pic of them but will hold off posting the pic until after the ghan is completed and delivered. I have to admit, I've been enjoying working on these squares. It has been a long time since I've made motifs, and I think I will plan to continue making them, perhaps to send to folks who collect them for this purpose, such as Heartmade Blessings. They are really pretty easy to do, and don't take much time to make. There are so many different varieties of patterns and colors available to make that it would be hard to get bored with them either. It's also a reminder to me that there are others out there going through much worse times than me, and I do need that reminder every now and then. Like now.

I am also going to try and push through this fog of depression and get my dyeing project going today. I am hoping to dye two skeins of Fisherman's wool, which will hopefully be enough for me to make a tote for felting. I would very much like to incorporate that spike stitch that was featured in the latest issue of Crochet me, and which Jackie used to such good effect with her felted bag project. I will keep a photo documentary going of the project at each stage, for sharing.

I also have some pics I will post later, as soon as I can get them off my camera and resized. All in good time...

Friday, August 12, 2005

Speeding toward the weekend (is it Friday YET?)

I swear, my evenings disappear far too quickly lately! No matter how hard I try, I just cannot keep up with everything I want to do.

This week, I have been splitting my time between working on two scarves, trying to keep up with the online activities and attempting to organize myself for the next day of work - and not getting anywhere very fast on any of them! Well, I take that back - I'm almost halfway through one of the scarves, though it is now on temporary hold while I work on whipping up some squares for the comfortghan for Anne at Crochetville. When I read the thread over there yesterday about the plans for making this, I knew I had to jump in and volunteer some squares - I have so much enjoyed her presence on the boards that I felt this would be a good way for me to say "thank you" and to add my support for her as she goes on her healing journey from the pituitary tumor she was recently diagnosed with. I spent all of last night digging through my stash looking for the right yarns to use for these, and reviewing patterns; started on the first square at lunch today and am about half-way through it. Since I am writing this message piece-meal while working on the square and trying to get the evening chores done, etc etc, I may even manage to get that square finished before I post this! My goal is to make 4.

I had been hoping to attend the Stitches Midwest conference that is being held in Rosemont (a suburb of Chicago, right by O'Hare Airport) this weekend (started today, as a matter of fact), and had been trying to talk Isis into going with me. But she is in the middle of preparing to move, with all that it entails, and just couldn't lose a whole weekend day to go play, alas. Which is just as well, I suppose, since my lack of self-control over my yarn-buying last weekend blew my meager budget right out of the water! The now-soaring price of gas is adding to my budgeting woes, gobbling up every spare bit over the next few paychecks, so the YAS will have to be brought under control for a few months, unless I can start generating more income, perhaps by working some of my stash with an eye toward selling a few things. So, I will not be going anywhere this weekend at all, other than maybe a visit to Phil's house. Maybe by next year this time, I will be in a better place financially to be able to make it there (if they have it in my area again). I will just have to read reports on it from others, sigh...

Well, since I won't be going anywhere, I guess that means I will have some time for another yarn-dyeing session - that's something to look forward to! Deb from Dudley's Spinning asked me if wanted to play some more. My answer is a resounding YES!!! I was very pleased with my first effort, and have been playing with color combinations in my head for this next session, lol! I have everything I need for a good afternoon of playtime, and this will help me get over my disappointment over not being able to go to Stitches Midwest.

I had more to say - lots more! But amazingly enough, my evening has, yet again, zipped by, and I've run out of time. So often, I've started to write stuff like this, run out of time and then drafted it, only to never get it posted because "the moment had passed". I will go ahead and post this, and then I'm off to bed. I didn't finish that square, but I only have one round left to go on it, and it should work up quickly enough tomorrow, once I've had some sleep - in my bed, instead of the usual dozing sessions over my keyboard!

So I will try to catch you all up this weekend.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Kool experience

Shhh! Technically, I'm in bed right now - pretend you don't even see me! I just wanted to make sure I finally got this posted...

Well, last weekend I had my first excursion into the land of Kool-aid dyeing. At first, I was having mixed feelings about my level of success, not feeling sure how the project would look considering I'd had some trouble keeping the different dyes segregated, and feeling even more unsure of one of the colors I'd chosen. Looking at it on the hank was no help at all - it only made it look "messy" in those spots where the mixed dyes had inevitably hit some of the spots. But otherwise, the colors looked pretty strong and vibrant. Here's what it looked like while it was hanging to dry...

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I must admit, the resulting color of some of the overlapping areas (such as the blue and yellow above) looked quite nice - they segued into each other well! But I wasn't pleased to have the purple/green/yellow/blue dye mix also hit those spots. I thought for sure that this would have "ruined" the look I was trying to achieve. I figured I'd wind up the yarn and whip up a quick swatch anyway, see what I came up with.

I must say, I was highly pleased with my end result! Here's the wound ball of Kool yarn:
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And here's a small swatch of it worked up:
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It really looks much better than I anticipated! With the right lighting, I can even see that the purple actually looks purple, too! It looks good, I'm pleased.

Only thing is, I am going to have to unwind it back into hank form so I can wash it. I had not rinsed it all that heavily once I was done putting it through the microwave cycle since it rinsed clear right off the bat, and I was in too much of a rush to see what my final result was to even think it might need to be washed! The yarn is kind of stiff, and in this hot humid weather we seem to be stuck in, very sticky and hard to work with as a result. I have some Eucalan ordered and on it's way, which I would like to use with this, so it is sitting in a baggy waiting patiently for it's bath.

I had hoped to do some more yarn-dyeing this weekend, but other things gobbled up the time (plus I'm still gathering some other materials and equipment that I deemed necessary for the project), so it will have to be another time - but soon!

So, all in all, I feel like my first effort at dyeing my own yarn was a success! May subsequent efforts result in similarly pretty end results!

Monday, August 08, 2005

A Finished Object!

Well, managed to get through the whole weekend without doing much of anything on the computer, including making my minimum weekly posts to my blog. The crappy health issues continue, along with the work ones (gotta find time to finish up that series I started), often by the time I get home, I don't even feel like browsing online much - so I haven't been! I've managed to fall far behind in everything as a result, but the way I've been feeling, I would much rather spend what little time and energy I have available playing with my yarn. In fact, I will be doing just that very shortly!

Part of my fading attention span with being online has a lot to do with the ever-present "resolving host" issues, which makes dial-up seem like the roadrunner of being online! I can't tell you all how many times I've clicked on a link only to get the "resolving host" message and gone wandering off to do something else, not returning sometimes until an hour later, having completely forgotten what I had been involved with! I've been in such a bitchy mood lately as well that this has actually been a good thing for me to do, the other alternative could be dangerous to my computer and/or me!

So, since I'm browsing less and crocheting more, I actually have an FO to show off! I made another one of Tiggzie's Winged Kerchiefs, and even managed to include the "Puffy McPuff Puff" (otherwise known as a bullion stitch) called for in her pattern! Perhaps it was the yarn I used (I used the Aunt Lydia's Double-strand Crochet Cotton thread), but I had no problem whatsoever working this stitch! Even managed to pull the last loop through all nine wraps on the hook in one smooth motion!!! Wow!

Here's a pic of the scarf:
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And here's a close-up, so you can see the McPuff Puff (giggle!) stitches:
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I started this project Saturday night - very late, and finished it up last night, which allowed me to wear it today. I will see about getting a shot of me wearing it tomorrow. I seem to recall that my first one took me several days to accomplish, and I didn't even bother trying the bullion stitch on that one - I knew I wouldn't be able to do it. Hmm, I had thought I'd posted a pic of it before, guess I didn't:
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This had been one of my packages to my Summer Secret Pal, Jessica. That kerchief turned out pretty nice too, even if it didn't have the McPuff stitch! I really like this pattern! These scarves work great to keep my hair out of my face when I'm driving (with my "Polish air conditioning" - otherwise known as driving with the windows wide open - as my Polish friend at work tells me it's called, lol!), so I am planning to make a couple more for myself.

I think part of the reason for the improvement in speed must be due to my not spending as much time on the computer and more time concentrating on my crocheting. It also helped that I was not under a deadline pressure - with this project, whenever I got around to finishing it would have been fine, no problem, therefore I flew through it. This is what the unrelenting stress has done to me. I no longer am able to perform well under pressure.

Anyway. I didn't get home until well after 9 pm on Friday, having worked late (and got into an argument with the boss over it today, but will save that story for another time. It goes along with that "pressure" and stress thing), and Saturday saw me hitting the road for a trip to mom's, with some yarn shopping wrapped around the visit. I had been playing with my new sample yarns from the Yarn of the Month Club (OMG, what a wonderful bunch!), which got me seriously hooked on tape yarns. One of the items that is high on my "must-do" list right now is a shrug/bolero (or two, or three, or...), and I decided I really wanted to make one in tape yarn. I had those luscious balls of JoAnns' Catalina that I had bought during the clearance yarn buying frenzy, but there was definitely not enough to make what I wanted. Lo and behold, it was on sale! Plus, I had several 40% off coupons! So I plotted out visits to several different JoAnns with an eye toward a rapid stash enhancement of Catalina, all of which had to be done Saturday since it was a) the last day of the sale, and b) several of my 40% off coupons were also expiring that day.

I managed to make two JoAnns on the way to mom's house, which caused me to run late arriving there. It was (again) horrendously hot out, and traffic was a nightmare, so it just took far longer than it should have to do this. Mom wasn't real happy, as she had been hoping to hit the bank (which she hadn't told me about, or I would have gone directly to her house first), so the visit started out a bit rocky but then things smoothed out and we had a nice time of it. She fed me some spaghetti and a homemade hamburger patty, followed by a slice of store-bought apple pie, all of which I scarfed down, having not eaten anything yet that day. Big mistake! I spent the rest of the day and evening in absolute agony of indigestion and gas build-up, not to mention feeling weak and drained from the heat (no a/c in my car as well as at home)! I felt pretty awful by the time I got home, and pretty broke from my frenzied yarn shopping. I had managed to hit THREE more JoAnns on the way back home! Along with the Catalina, I finally decided to pick up a couple of the crochet books I'd been coveting for some time (naturally using a couple of my 40% off coupons on those, for maximum bang for my bucks): The Crochet Stitch Bible (oh my, what a wonderful little book that is!) and Cool Crochet (the rave reviews did not lie!), plus I couldn't resist a few skeins of some of the other yarns that were on sale, or just downright too pretty to resist! Bank is busted (again - and I'm almost embarrassed to admit, this isn't even all of it: I also placed a huge Knit Picks order! Sheesh, am I out of my mind, or what? Wait - don't answer that!!!). Anyhow, here is my Saturday booty:
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Let this be a warning to anyone foolish enough to wander into a JoAnns to pet some yarn: that Angel Hair yarn will hook you in and won't let go! I am now finding myself plotting and planning how I can get some more of that incredibly scrumptious yarn into my stash ASAP! Aiyiyi - I am completely OUT OF CONTROL!

In fact, I can hear that soft and silky yarn calling me now, so I will wrap this up and get it posted, and then it's off to play for awhile before it's time to get set up for work (and hopefully I will not end up oversleeping again, sigh). Goodness, there's so much more to report, but again, I am going to put it off because otherwise I won't get to play with my yarn, and that makes me one very grumpy gal!

Oh, one last thing - I have decided to wait awhile before deciding what, if anything, I will decide to do about my major error on the Seraphina shawl. Jewels suggested I leave it as is, and at this point, I'm inclined to. It is wearable, and I think I will wear it for awhile before deciding, though this will also delay the adding of the fringe. From what I can see, the only way I can fix it at this point is to cut in around the area where the missed stitches were, add them and then somehow finish off the patched area. Frogging everything back to that point became a non-option as soon as I finished weaving in and hiding the last tail, which of course happened long before I discovered the error. So, for now, I will live with it as it is. As soon as I can, I will get some pics up of it - other than this one very small area (and I dare you to find it!), the shawl turned out spectacular. If and when I do decide to add the fringe, I will post another updated picture. And hopefully, that will be the end of my blatantly dumb errors! This one nearly did me in.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

What would YOU do?

Seems like it's always something!

Well, this was where I was supposed to be proudly announcing that I was all done with my Seraphina - excepting the fringe, which I had decided that yes, I had enough, and yes, I would fringe. The crocheting part was over, finishing row of sc across the top of the shawl and all! I had secured that last end, leaving it long enough to become part of the fringe group that would later go there and, despite the horrendous heat, had thrown the shawl across my shoulders to go admire it in front of the mirror, then put it up on the hanger to let it stretch out a bit, and to count the shells so I could calculate how many strands I would need for my fringe job. That's when I found it. A half-shell, where a full one should have been. Right on the last row, only a few shells into the last half of the row, near the center point.

That was the beginning part of the area I was working on when I was feeling so terrible the other night. I can understand making an error like that considering how much pain I was in. What I can't understand is WHY DIDN'T I CHECK MY WORK??? That's the part that's inexcusable - I should have known better! ::SIGH::

So now what do I do? Somehow UNsecure the end I just hid, rip out the finishing row and the entire last half of the last row? Or should I attempt something I have never ever done before - try to cut into that spot and patch in those extra stitches? What would you do, besides just leaving the error as is? I cannot bear to just leave that dumb error in there, not after all the hours of work I've put into this project.


Seems like it's always something!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

What a difference a day makes.

Forgive the screwy formatting. This line will disappear once I get home and can edit this post, which is being sent remotely. (Adding this later: Surprise surprise, but the formatting seems to be mostly okay now, only the paragraphs were spread out instead of every line so they must have fixed it. Only problem I can see is in this editing window - despite the fact that my font is set to "small", the words are GINORMOUS here, lol! No need for a magnifying glass here folks! So I guess I'll leave the first line after all, since I decided to add this comment. Oh, and I'll tighten up those paragraphs too while I'm at it, can't resist.)

I’m not completely back to snuff, but at least I’m feeling more than half-human again. I’ve massaged my budget a bit to squeeze out the expense for a doctor visit from my next paycheck, can’t delay it any longer, as things have been getting worse and worse with each repetition of the cycle. Last night was the absolute worst yet – I was in so much pain I nearly had to crawl to my bed! I’m tired of this! I have no doubt these “female issues” are greatly responsible for all the difficulty I’ve been having with my concentration, focus and accuracy, both in my job and in my crocheting activities. I was always proud of my dead-on accuracy and photographic mind, and the constant errors and inability to stay on task have been driving me crazy!

No doubt, the years of unrelenting stress have also had their toll, and even though much of the pressure has been relieved, my system has refused to adjust to the lighter load. Sometimes it makes me feel like a raging lunatic! So my goal over the next several months is to figure out how to reduce my “stressful thinking” and develop a more laid-back attitude about things. I am also going to stop feeling guilty if I don’t respond to folks as often, or fast, or thoroughly as I used to. I am going to lower my self-expectations until I can accomplish things without first going through the hysterical fits that seem to have become my modus operandi lately.

So now, here I am at work, feeling better, and I have this raging desire to just screw off and crochet! I am so close to being finished with my Seraphina, all I want to do is work on her. At lunch, I worked on the project for awhile, though you can’t get a whole lot done within that half-hour time frame that I have to operate under. But I sure did receive a lot of compliments on it from folks in the lunch area! It felt pretty good. There’s been a topic thread on Crochetville lately that was asking about what friends and family thought of our past-time, and it really surprised me to see that so many crocheters get grief from others over their activity. I can honestly say that this has never happened to me. Most of the reactions I have ever gotten were of the “I wish I could do that” kind, or at the very least, interest and appreciation for what I was doing. Personally, I think it’s pretty rude of anybody to question how someone else chooses to spend their time, and to call handicrafts a “waste of time” is the rudest of all! I’d probably have a few well-chosen words for anybody that had the nerve to say something like that to me, let me tell you!

Okay, well, I suppose I really should be pushing myself to get some of this work done, especially seeing as how it won’t finish itself no matter how much I beg! My level of activity tonight will be entirely contingent on how hot it is at the old homestead. Windows were left open with fans blowing, but it still gets pretty hot in there during the day and doesn’t cool down much until well after midnight lately. The area around the computer is the hottest of all (gee, wonder why?!), but I will at least get in to check, and fix if necessary, the formatting on this post.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Sheesh - where does the TIME go?

Okay, well, I was going to post the pics of my newly dyed yarn. And write about some other stuff too. But I went and got myself lost in a newly found blog and have found it hard to tear myself away from reading it, been at it most of the evening. If you choose to visit this blog (out of curiosity, mind you), you may initially run into the same problem I did when visiting the front page - messed-up formatting. I strongly suspect this may be because I am using Mozilla, and the page is formatted for viewing in IE (I run into that on occasion). Easiest solution is to click on the permalink of the first message which will take you to a page with all the postings for that month. And then, you will get an eyeful! This man has been at it, blogging for 3 years, so I doubt I'll be able to catch up soon on everything he's written, but that doesn't mean I won't be trying! Definitely check out Fragments from Floyd! I came to that blog from a link posted - where else? - in another blog I was reading, from bloglines (will I ever catch up? Not in this lifetime!). Just went back and dug it up, it was findingher by fellow CVille member Jennifa...

Well, here it is around midnight already (I swear, that clock just moves too fast for me!), and I still have to go jump in the shower. I suspect I'll be putting that off for morning now, since the hair needs washing and I hate going to bed with wet hair. I'm also hoping to finish up the fourth row on my Seraphina, but even if I only get halfway down the back end of that row, I'll still leave the weekend feeling like I made major progress. Once that's done, there's only 4 more rows to go to the finish line! It was a bit tough working on it this evening, though. I hadn't really paid all that much attention to the weather until it forced me to. It didn't get too uncomfortable here until the late afternoon, when the temps peaked in the 90's. But it feels fine now. I don't anticipate any problems sleeping tonight, but will have a fan blowing on me just in case.

Not ready for work tomorrow - but then again, I'm never ready for Mondays! And tomorrow promises to be particularly brutal, seeing as how I'm so behind on things, and they've all got to be caught up tomorrow. ::Sigh::

Better get going on the preps though, time's aflyin'! I'll get the pics of my newly-dyed yarn processed through tomorrow for posting. I'm thinking I probably would have had better results had I left the purple out, but who knows, maybe it'll surprise me. Beyond that, and the problem of the dyes running together and hitting parts of my yarn I'd rather they hadn't, it really doesn't look too bad, all told.

Thanks for the comments Deneen - and Kimberly: mucho gratitude for the pom pom wielding, may they rest in peace! Your encouragement really kept me going, let me tell you!

Well, I have lots more I'd like to say, but this engine is out of gas for the night (not to mention I'm out of time), so I will have to save it for later, as usual. There is so much I have to say, never seem to be able to find the time to compose my thoughts properly lately, and the flagging energy is certainly no help! I really need to work on that gas capacity, the tank seems to have shrunk quite a bit... Either that or octane needs to be increased. And I do wish Time would slow down and start behaving, too! Well, I'll get around to the important stuff eventually. As the old saying goes: "this too shall pass". That bed is looking mighty inviting right about now...