Monday, December 31, 2012

The Year in Knitting

2012 is almost over, and other than the birth of our first granddaughter, it was a relatively uneventful year. 

So in lieu of a sentimental journey through the year, I thought I'd share some of my favorite completed knitting projects from the year.

I had fun making this blanket for Carey for her birthday in March.  Despite the fact that it was stockinette stitch, which is usually boring, the multiple color changes kept it interesting because I was always excited to see what the next color was going to look like with what I had done so far.

My oldest niece Madelyn had her first communion this year, and I made her veil.  This was my first real attempt at some sort of design, although in this case "design" meant pulling pieces from other patterns and stitch books and working out the stitch count.  Still, I was pleased with the result, and more importantly, so was my sister-in-law.

I've made sweaters before, but never for someone else.  This year I made a sweater for my college roommate, based on measurements that I took when I saw her in the spring.  She came to visit a month or so ago and I finally gave it to her, and it fit!

I made a bunch of shawls this year.  I blogged about one of my favorites earlier this year here.  I won't go into details on all of them, but here they are in all their glory.

 With a new granddaughter, of course a couple of baby items had to be knit!  Newborns grow out of clothes so fast I decided to wait until she's a little older to make sweaters, etc. so I made a couple of blankets for her.

I had a little fun with my yarn this year as well.  Dr. Who fans may recognize these next two.  I crocheted an Ood mask for a coworker of Rob's for Halloween, and knit a Dalek for Rob for Christmas.

So that's a summary of 2012 in knitting.  I'm declaring 2013 the Year of Knitting Socks, so stay tuned!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Holidays Begin

It's the 21st of December and so far the world hasn't ended yet.

We've made it to our daughter's house and tomorrow morning, way too early, we fly out to Texas to visit our son and meet our granddaughter for the first time.

Probably no more posts until after the holidays. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2012


When people ask where Sanford is, I always say I live in the middle of the state.  Apparently, that's a completely accurate statement.  The exact center of NC is located in Lee County.  Who knew?

We spent some time Saturday at the Alston House, also known as The House in the Horseshoe, for their Christmas open house event.  It wasn't a large event, but we enjoy visiting historical sites and this one is close to home.  You hear so much about Civil War sites in North Carolina, I often forget that there were Revolutionary War battles fought here as well.  

We wandered around for a while and talked to some of the re-enacters and demonstrators.  Met Webb the Weaver, who is extremely passionate about weaving, and boy what a talker!  He did however give me the name of a man who makes looms should I decide I want to purchase one.  (Yes, I'm considering learning yet another fiber craft, as if I don't already have enough yarn.)

It was a gorgeous day to be outside in December.  There wasn't an actual battle re-enactment this weekend, but they did have a 1 pound cannon.  We spent some time talking to the man who owns it, well, Rob spent some time talking to him, I just took pictures and listened.  As you can see, it apparently takes quite a few people to shoot off a cannon.

On the way home, we stopped at the site of an abandoned building by the river that I've always wondered about.  There's a picnic area there, so we knew it was o.k. to stop, we just never had.  It's the former site of the Carbonton Dam and the location of the exact geographic center of NC mentioned above.  It also was an operational hydroelectric power plant until 2004.  It's hard to imagine that this building that looks like it has been abandoned forever was still producing power just 8  years ago.  

Other than our historical outing on Saturday, the rest of the weekend was a combination of relaxing and getting things done in preparation for Christmas.  I've done enough of my Christmas knitting that I'm confident I can finish the couple of small things left to do.  All the gifts have been bought except for picking up a couple of gift certificates.  I just need to pack up what needs to go to TX and get it shipped this week so it will get there on time.

Not doing a lot of the usual things for Christmas since we'll be traveling, but I did make some cheese biscuits today.  No live tree this year, but I bought a small fake one, and while it's a little pitiful looking sitting on the floor and only 4 feet tall, it makes me happy, and that's what it's all about.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Nosin' Around

I've recently joined a local chapter of Sisters in Crime (SinC).  The Triangle Chapter (TriSinC) is relatively new, but I'm enjoying it so far.  We meet once a month in North Raleigh, and usually have a program of some kind.

Today Sheila Boneham introduced us to her dog Lily and gave us a demonstration of dog tracking.

As you can see, Lily is an adorable yellow lab.  She was so excited to track the scent that one of our members had laid down earlier.  She was even more excited when she found the same member in his hiding spot, as that meant she was then able to get all the love and attention that the entire group was waiting to give her.

After the demonstration, Sheila talked to us about how tracking dogs are trained and some of the differences in training between law enforcement tracking dogs and Lily, who is trained primarily for tracking competitions.  It was interesting to find out that any dog can be trained to track, as it's an innate ability that all dogs use.  It's just a matter of training them to follow the one scent you want them to find.

Another bit of trivia I didn't know (not that I know anything about dogs and tracking to begin with) is that dogs cannot pant while they're tracking.  Panting is how dogs cool themselves off, so it's more risky to the dog to track in hotter weather.  This also makes it riskier for dogs that have the more compressed nasal passages, such as pugs, to do tracking.

All in all an educational way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and I got my doggie fix as well!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Friends Are Friends Forever

I consider myself a social person, and indeed, every time I've taken the Myers Briggs or some similar type personality evaluator, my "extrovert" is almost off the scale.  But despite my extroverted and social nature, I've always been one to have a lot of acquaintances and just a few people I really consider friends.

I started thinking about this a couple of Saturdays ago when my college roommate and another friend from college came to hang out for the day.  Although we only live a couple of hours apart, our busy lives mean we rarely see each other, so it was nice to have a day to get together, just hang out, and pretend for a bit we're young again.  These are friendships that are over 20 years old and will always be there.  We may go months without talking to each other, or even e-mailing, but I know that if I needed either of them they'd be there, and when we do get together it doesn't matter how long it's been, it's still comfortable.

We spent this past Saturday night over a few drinks and munchies with another couple that moved away a few years ago, but were here visiting family for the Thanksgiving holiday.  He and Rob were friends first, and when he was single he was at our house a lot, although that may have been more for the food than the friendship!  When he started dating his wife, she fit right in, and fortunately she & I also got along well.  So it's a couples friendship, where we mostly do things as two couples, but it's also a good enough friendship that the guys do things and the girls do things separately, although not so much anymore since they live 9 hours away.

I joined a knitting group a couple of years ago, and two of the women in that group are becoming more friends than acquaintances.  So far, most of our interactions are centered around knitting activities, but that's what we all like to do, and it's nice to have someone to do it with.  Still, I feel like they're definitely women that would be there if I needed them, and that I want to spend time with outside of the knitting group activities.

The older I get, the harder it seems to be to form new real friendships.  We all have so many things going on in our lives that although I meet new people regularly, and may even see them frequently when participating in whatever type of activity I met them through, they are really just all acquaintances.  To me, a friend is someone you know you can count on, even when it's not convenient for them, and for whom you would go out of your own way to help when needed.  I think those people are few and far between in each of our lives, and that much more important when found.

 My husband is my best friend, and for that I'm grateful.  And I'm thankful for the friends I've found, and continue to find, in my life.  This is one of those things where I think quality definitely trumps quantity.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Dog Rescuer

I admit it, I'm a sucker for dogs, especially big dogs. Which is why I spent most of my morning with this guy. (sorry, pic is at the bottom, I forgot the Blogger app puts them all down there.)

I had to swing by the Sheriff's office this morning to pick up the paperwork to renew my concealed carry permit, so I headed out of town a different way that took me up a rural road. As I passed the brick plant, I saw him sitting beside the road, with his head on his paws and his rear sticking out in the road.

I don't normally stop for EVERY dog I see sitting by the side of the road, but the way his rear was out in the road made me think he might have been hit by a car and unable to get completely to the side. As soon as I slowed, his head popped up and watched my car as I turned around and drove back past him to pull into the gravel area on the side of the road.

I got out of the car and he hopped up and came loping over to me, slobber already flying from his mouth. It was obvious at this point he hadn't been hit, but he was so friendly I had to love on him a bit.

I couldn't leave it at that though. He had a chain around his neck, but he was a little thin for a mastiff and he had a spot on one of his rear legs that looked pretty raw. And so the fun part began.

I checked with the office of the brick plant to see if they knew who he belonged to, but no luck. I noticed a house just down the intersecting road that had a dog in the yard, so I drove over there to ask if they knew anything about him. My new buddy followed my car as I drove, and when we got there the dog in yard was jumping all over him wanting to play, but he just stood there and looked at him.

The woman at the house didn't know him, but told me there were several houses down the road that had dogs. She gave me a couple of dog treats for him, and I managed to get him in my car. The front seat of a Mustang was not made for the likes of this dog. He eventually got mostly settled with his rear in the seat and his front paws in the floorboard, and off we went.

I spent the next hour or so stopping at houses up and down the road trying to find an owner, but with no luck. By this time, the passenger side of my car and the gear shifter were covered in drool. I finally decided his best bet was to take him to the animal shelter, where hopefully someone would look for him. My plan also was to start calling vets to let them know he was there, and to locate a mastiff rescue group that would come get him if his owner couldn't be found. He was too sweet to let him be put down, but I had nowhere to put him at home. Even as thin as he was, he still weighed at least 140.

Fortunately, that turned out to be the best decision. They scanned him at the shelter and he had a microchip, so they took my info anyway, but said they would call the owners. I called back late this afternoon and they said the owners were coming to get hi. Yeah! He didn't appear to be abused, so I can only hope that his thinness is due to having been lost for a while. The shelter can't tell me who the owners are, so I can only hope for the best.

I finally made it to work after lunch. After all that, I had to go home and change into clothes that hadn't been slobbered all over, and my car really needs a bath!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Holidays Approacheth

This week it has suddenly dawned on me that next week is Thanksgiving, and that means that Christmas is not far behind!

I have to be done with Christmas presents early this year since we're going to TX to spend it with our son and his family.  I want to ship most of the presents out there ahead of time rather than trying to pack them all in our luggage for the flight.

The trip will also be our first time meeting Cadence, our new granddaughter.  Isn't she adorable?!?!

So this week I've been trying to figure out what to get and/or knit for everyone on the Christmas list.  The knitting is the main thing I've got to figure out, as I've got to get started, but I don't want to plan more than I can actually do.  I think I've got the few knitted items figured out, including making the  yarn selections, and hope to get started this weekend.  I also need to finish up the baby blanket I've been working on FOREVER (well it seems that way) which is a really cute blanket but extremely slow and boring to knit, so I haven't worked on it as much as I should.

The only presents I'm having difficulty figuring out really are Rob's parents.  We won't actually see them on Christmas this year, but we're flying in and out of Charlotte, where they live, so we'll probably see them for a few hours the day after we get back, before we drive home.  They're always the hardest to buy something for, because I never know what to get them, and Rob is no help!

I'm sad that for the 3rd year in a row we will not have a Christmas tree at our house.  Last year I swore we would have one this year because I really love the decorating part of Christmas, but it's another year of it being just not practical to put one up since we will be gone.  I don't think I'll even put up my outside lights this year, although I might change my mind about that after Thanksgiving.

Decorations or not, Christmas is always one of my favorite times of year, and I'm sure this year will be no different.  How can it be bad when I get to spend it with this cutie pie?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In a Nutshell

I keep meaning to take the time to post here, but every time I think about it, I get overwhelmed by the number of things that I have not yet blogged about and I don't know where to begin.

So here is the past 2 months or so in a nutshell, and mostly chronological order.....

  • Had a great visit to the John C. Campbell Folk School, where I learned to tat.
  • Became a grandmother on September 19 to Cadence Annette Sitze.
  • Had a knock down doors and shoot up bad guys good time at the Writer's Police Academy.
  • Turned 44 years old and got an iPad from Rob, which I'm still learning how to best use. (I'm typing this post on it now.)
  • Went to the land of cheese (i.e. Wisconsin) for a work related conference.
  • Went to a corn maze with Rob, my brother, his wife and my 3 nieces.  
  • Went to SAFF with my knitting group. My first visit, but definitely not my last!
  • Spent this past weekend hanging out with my daughter and her boyfriend.
  • Spent a couple of nice Saturdays hanging out with Rob and going to a fall festival, an antique tractor show & a local historic site.
  • Did a lot of knitting.
  • Have had the "crud", a cold, and now a chronic cough.
Overall, a good couple of months, other than the cold & cough bit.  So now that I've caught you all up, maybe I can get back to writing here on a regular basis.  And some of these events may show up again in more detail.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

More Fun

I had planned to do a longer post or two about our week at the John C. Campbell Folk School  and our weekend in another part of the NC mountains by now, but the past couple of days have flown by filled with other things.

I'm in Greensboro for the next few days at the Writer's Police Academy, so the longer post about last week will have to wait.  After going to orientation tonight it sounds like the next couple of days are going to be fast paced and action packed.  I can't wait!

Most of the writers here are women.  I've only seen a couple of men so far.  This is my first writer's conference, so I didn't know if that was unusual or not, but one woman I spoke to said almost all the writer's conferences she's been to are a lot more women than men.  Are there more female writers?  Or do male writers just not like conferences?  It's not like this is a romance writer's conference or some other "female" genre.  I would have thought more men would like the opportunity to shoot guns and learn about things like digging up shallow graves.  Maybe they don't want to admit they don't already know about all those "manly" things?  Oh well, more guns for me.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fun at the Folk School

I had all good intentions of doing a longer post by now, but we've been having too much fun here at what many call summer camp for adults.
But because I know there are thousand of you waiting with bated breath, I took a few pictures.  That will have to do for now.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Vacation Prep

This has been a week of running errands and trying to get ready to go on vacation. It always seems like there is so much to do before the trip. I don't know why I stress so much.  It's not like there won't be any stores if I forget something.

I was thinking late last night (very late, way too late, but this is when I think about this stuff) about how to do some blogging while we're gone. And as I was thinking, I thought "I wonder if Blogger has an app?"

Guess what???... Yep!  I don't know why it took this long for me to think to check. Maybe it's because I've never thought much about blogging from my phone until this week.  But it's now downloaded and if you're reading works.

The only limitation so far seems to be that all the pictures show up in the bottom of the post.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back again

We lost Sable last month.  She decided to dart out the door one night and by the time we found her a couple of days later, she had run into things bigger and badder than she could handle.  She was a weird cat, but a lover in her own way, and I still find myself looking for her and expecting her to show up at various times.  On the other hand, our other indoor cat, Gicho, doesn't seem to be upset at all to be the only indoor cat now. 

Lots of little things going on since my last post, but nothing earth shattering.  My mental attitude about work is better.  Primarily because I just decided to let things go, but there have also been a few minor changes that have helped somewhat.

We're off to the John C. Campbell Folk School next week and I can't wait.  I'll be learning to tat lace and Rob will be learning blacksmithing.  I hope to do a couple of posts with some pics while we're gone if I can get a data signal on my phone to upload things. 

The week after that I'm going to the Writers' Police Academy which should be a lot of fun.  Hopefully it will provide me some inspiration to do some more writing.  I've been doing some snippets here and there, but haven't been able to really get into a story lately.

So two whole weeks away from work.  I don't know if I'll be able to come back after that!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mixed Feelings

I took my laptop to the beach, but I never turned it on.  I took various materials to prod some writing while I was there, but I didn't write a word.  I took several library books, but the only one I finished was the one I was already half way through when I left.  I took 2 knitting projects, but I didn't knit a stitch.

I did spend time building sand castles, digging holes, riding waves and swimming in the pool with my 3 nieces.  I did spend time with my brother and sister, their spouses, my parents, my daughter and my husband.  I did stand idly by while my brother in law got a warning ticket for shooting fireworks on the beach. I did consume a respectable quantity of alcohol, and may possibly have danced and sang out loud a little.

I returned to work Monday morning in a better frame of mind, if not completely mentally restored.  But most of that was lost by the time the latest office rumors got to me Monday afternoon.

I'm seriously evaluating my future employment options.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mental Health Break

Despite taking a few days off last week, by the time I left work yesterday it was apparent that I haven't mentally recovered from session.

I'm usually pretty good at letting things roll off my back and letting things go, but yesterday a couple of things that normally wouldn't have warranted more than a small vent seemed to grow to immense proportions and I just couldn't let them go.

The first was an e-mail that made me feel like I was being micro-managed, although it probably was not intended to actually micro-manage me or make me feel that way, but that was the feeling it produced nonetheless.  One of the major benefits to my job in my opinion is that we do work relatively independently.  Not that I don't have a supervisor, and I have multiple "bosses" in varying settings, but in general once I'm given a task it's up to me to get it done.

The second was a reminder of something I know about myself, but like to pretend isn't really all that important, although I know that in a lot of ways it is....I SUCK at self-promotion.

I hate playing the office politics game of making sure the "higher ups" know about all the great things I'm doing and making sure I receive recognition for what I'm doing.  I work hard, I'm great at what I do, and I just want to do it.  I don't need a constant pat on the back that I've done a good job.  Decent salary increases would be nice, but I work for the State, I'm a realist.

But every once in a while, I get a reminder that in small ways I'm getting overlooked in favor of those who are making a point of going "look at me, see how great I am".  There's no one to blame but myself.  I don't lack self confidence, I just hate feeling like I'm bragging on myself, probably because it annoys me so much when others do it.

There was no major fallout from yesterday's events.  I didn't go on an office rampage or anything.  I simply left a little early and poor Rob had to listen to a short rant when I got home so I could get it off my chest.

My parents rented a beach place for the entire family for the week.  Rob can only get Friday off work, so we were planning on driving down Thursday after work.  But last night we decided that I'm heading down tomorrow, and he'll come down Thursday night.  I have a meeting in the morning that I can't reschedule, but as soon as that's over, I'm beach bound.

Maybe some time in the sun and water, and building sand castles with my nieces will bring me some calm.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Stash

Like most knitters, I started out buying just enough yarn to complete whatever project I was working on at the time.  In the case of one project, I didn't even buy all of the yarn I needed at once, I just bought more as I needed it (a mistake I will never make again).

Boy has that changed!

Not only do I have more than one project in the works at any given time, but I have much more yarn than I have projects!

To knitters this is known as the "stash". While the most honest intent of having a stash is to always have yarn on hand when you want to start a project, the reality is that pretty yarn has this power to draw you in and convince you that you cannot live without at least a skein, or two, or three.

I was in a real organizing and sorting mode when making room for my new writing space, so I spent a little time reorganizing the stash to put it all neatly in its place, and I took some pictures for you.

This is all of my lace weight yarn.

This is all of my fingering weight yarn.

I didn't lay out all of the worsted weight, as it doesn't get used as much so was already pretty neatly in its place, and I was tired by then.  But imagine another similar sized group of yarn as well.

Yes, it looks like, and probably is, a lot of yarn.  But I love it all.  And if you check out the Flash Your Stash 2012 thread on Ravelry, you'll see I'm not nearly as bad as some!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Creating Space

My only real excuse for not writing here for the past month is that work sucked all my brain power and any time I could have spent writing here was instead spent trying to recharge the batteries to my brain to get yet more work done.

But session is over for another year, and at least until January things should be on a much more even keel.  I took the last part of this week off and I've enjoyed a few days of just hanging out and doing what I want, planning and organizing, and just recharging my motivation in general.

Once again, I'm back to trying to create some routines and habits to achieve goals in the two areas I always seem to be working on....writing and weight loss.

I spent a good bit of yesterday putting together my new writing area.

It's actually a sewing cart, but when I was looking around for a relatively inexpensive, small desk to put in my craft room it was the best option I found.  As you can see, it gives me a good amount of work space and storage space, but closes to a smaller piece when not in use.  It also has wheels, which is handy because the room is also our overflow guest room and it will be easy to move out of the way when we need to fold down the futon sofa that is also in the room.

We have a very nice office area upstairs with nice large desks and plenty of space.  However, it is in the loft, which overlooks the living room, so there's no door to shut.  I'm not one of those people that can write while I listen to music, etc. so the sound of the TV or Rob's music in the garage while I'm trying to write is distracting.  This gives me a space to take my laptop and shut the door.

So I plan to be back here more regularly.  I haven't been completely idle the past month, I have made some notes on post ideas here and there, I just never got around to fleshing them out.  And we'll talk some more about some of my goals and ways to achieve them in the near future.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

All the Pretty Colors

There's no question that what draws me to any particular skein of yarn is the color.  I've often toyed with the idea of dyeing my own yarn, but I've always thought it would be a lot of time and effort. To some extent at least, I was wrong.

My knitting group got together last weekend to try Kool-Aid dyeing, and I discovered how easy, and quick, it is to do.  We had a lot of fun trying out both the crock pot and the microwave methods and seeing how different colors would come out.

The yarn I was dyeing kept sucking up the color before I could get it spread throughout my yarn, so the red I did last weekend still had some white spots and wasn't quite as dark as I wanted.  So today I dyed it with some more red Kool-Aid and also did another skein in yellow and orange.
I definitely see more pretty colors in my future!

Sunday, June 3, 2012


My 6 year old niece's dance recital was yesterday.  Sitting in the auditorium, watching everything from 6 year olds wandering around the stage as they looked at their instructor in the wings for the next move to senior solos, brought back many memories.

I danced from age 4 or 5 until I graduated from high school.  By that time, I was dancing 20 hours a week if you count the hours I helped teach classes.  For my small town studio I was a pretty good dancer, but never good enough to have even considered doing it for anything other than enjoyment.

I have dancing to thank for my relatively good balance and flexibility.  Which is a good thing, since I can also thank it for the fact that the arches of my feet are shot and I just had to have back surgery in November.

But yesterday, watching my niece and all the other kids out there on stage, having fun and so proud of herself and her pretty costume, all I could remember was the thrill of the annual recital.  The chaos back stage, the heavy makeup, the multiple costume changes, and the chance to show off for family and friends were all part of the fun.

On the other hand...I now have more sympathy for what my parents sat through year after year.  Maybe I should say what my mother sat through, my father confessed yesterday that he and some of the other fathers always left at intermission and went to the country club for drinks!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Like Tripping on Acid*

Groovy man!

Pretty psychedelic building huh?  It's actually the Flanders Gallery in downtown Raleigh, and all that bright colored paint, isn't paint at's yarn.  Yes, yarn.

It is panel after panel of crocheted yarn done by Crocheted Olek.  A friend shared a pic on Facebook earlier today so when I ran out at lunch to return some library books, I couldn't resist stopping by to take my own picture.

Can you see the stitches?

While I'm not sure that I would call this attractive (apparently the odd figures are the artist's "thing"), I think it's really cool that crochet is being recognized as art.  Not everyone will agree, nor like it, but I don't like all art either.  That doesn't mean that it is not, in fact, art.  I think it's pretty cool.

*Disclaimer: I have no idea what it's actually like to trip on acid, but I did figure out how to put captions on my pictures!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

From Whence Ideas Come

I've been sitting here for a while, surfing Facebook and some other blogs, trying to come up with something to write about other than my day.

So far I've considered and rejected the following:
  • People whose Facebook posts are always dramatic
  • People whose Facebook posts consist of their belief in Jesus
  • People who detail the minutia of their daily lives on Facebook (something I'm trying somewhat unsuccessfully to avoid here)
  • People who post nothing on Facebook but pictures of cute babies and animals that someone else has added a cuter caption to
  • Another list of 10/20/50 things about me
  • Several quotes by Anne Lamott (whose books I have never read, but who seems to have written rather a lot of quotable material)
  • Another run through of my day (rejected because there was nothing worth talking about)
  • A couple of news items (rejected because I would have inevitably expressed some sort of political opinion which I don't do because of my job)
And my husband's idea of a topic....what a great lover he is... was rejected once he decided I wasn't allowed to write about that because then the numerous women who read my blog would all be jealous that their husbands aren't nearly as good as he is in bed. (He's going to kill me for actually putting that in here...hehehe).

While there seems to be a potential future post on the subject of what people post of Facebook, none of that really triggered enough thought in my mind tonight to come up with a full fledged post on the subject.

This seems to be one of my biggest issues in blogging.  But one thing I have learned in doing NaBloPoMo this month is that if I just sit down to write, I can come up with something to write about.  It might not always be something interesting, and it's certainly not always great writing, but it is possible to write for at least a limited amount of time and make some sort of sense.  It's a lesson that I hope to make myself apply more regularly to this blog and in a general sense.


As a follow up to yesterday's post, I was grinning from ear to ear today when my coworker who was the recipient of the shawl yesterday came to work with pictures on her phone of all the outfits she had tried it with last night at home!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Joy of Giving

I try not to gift hand knitted items to those that I don't think will appreciate them.  I truly want to give gifts that the recipient will enjoy, but I do enjoy knitting gifts for those that I know will be appreciative.

Today I had the joy of giving a hand knit shawl to a coworker who had a milestone birthday.  She was thrilled, so I was thrilled, and it there was happiness in the land.  At least until we had to go back to work.

This is the shawl I finished recently but couldn't post pictures of yet because the recipient is aware of this blog, and while I don't think she reads it regularly, if I had posted this before I gifted it, it would have been my luck that would have been the day she decided to read.  Also not posting pictures of her with the shawl because I forgot to ask her if that would be o.k.

I finished a mystery shawl tonight, but won't have a chance to block it until this weekend, so pictures of that at a later date.  I have another mystery shawl starting Saturday, and yet another starting next Wednesday, so more shawls to come for sure!

And I'm pushing getting this done to qualify for posting on May 29th, so I'm going to call it an entry!

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Flag Still Stands for Freedom

How many times have you said or thought ...."I don't want to go to work tomorrow"?

This afternoon, as the reality that my nice, relaxing, 4 day weekend was coming to a close began to sink in, I had that thought.  And then I remembered that I had the day off work to begin with because there are people who choose to do the work that I don't want to.

I can bitch and moan about not going to work, without the fear that there will be real consequences for my statements, because of those men and women who choose military service as their work.  And unfortunately, some of those men and women give more than just time and effort to their jobs, they give their lives.

Our son is in the U.S. Army.  We are very proud of his decision to serve.  I generally choose to do my best not to worry about things I cannot control, and he has only had one (very brief thankfully) deployment so far, but his service also means the reality is that one of these days, this holiday could have a much more personal meaning for our family.  

Regardless of your political opinions about where and/or why the US military is sent to serve.  I hope that today you took a moment to think about those who were courageous enough to do it and lost their lives as a result.  And recognize that those who are serving now have already made the decision that they are willing to do the same.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I Lied

I lied when I said I'd come up with something better to talk about today.  I've really enjoyed the past couple of days, just doing whatever I feel like in the moment, so I didn't want to ruin it today.

I've spent most of the day on the computer, reading boards & Facebook, then playing a game for a couple of hours.  The past couple of hours have been spent working on the writing course.  I can see already that right now it's going to take me probably more than 1 week to get through each week of lessons, but that's o.k.  I've committed to spending a decent amount of time working on it.

I have been at least a little productive in getting the laundry done.  And now I'm off to make lasagna for dinner.  After that I think I'll knit for a bit this evening.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

More Minutia

Another nice, relaxing day in this holiday weekend.  I'm thinking about a lot of things, but nothing that would make an interesting post at the moment, so you get another run down of my day again.

In the interest of really making an effort to do something with my writing, I've signed up to take a 6 month online course.  So I spent a couple of hours today going through the tutorial on the structure of the class, how to use the website tools, etc. and began reading the first lesson.  I'll tell you what it is and more about it in a future post, once I've had a chance to get more into it and have actually formed an opinion.

A friend of Rob's came over to play in the garage with the boy toys, so I took myself off to Bella Filati in Southern Pines for their Saturday afternoon knit group.  I've only been to this group a couple of times, and personality-wise it's not as good a "fit" for me as the knitting group I actively attend in Cary, but it's a nice group of ladies and they're always welcoming.

Just got home from Southern Pines a little while ago & took the shawl I blocked yesterday off the pins and took some pictures.  But you're still going to have to wait for those a couple of days.

That's all the excitement here, but sometimes a lack of exciting things going on is a good thing.  I promise I'll try to come up with something better to talk about tomorrow.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Something About Nothing

Lovely, relaxing day, and I haven't wanted to think too hard, so nothing really planned for a post today.

Made a visit to a new business in town today.  Find X Designs Fabric & YARN!  Squee!  Yes, there is now a yarn store in Sanford.  (Didn't take a picture, I need to get better about taking pictures so I'll have them for my posts)

They just opened 3 weeks ago, and their stock is heavier on the fabric than the yarn, but it's a nice store.  I did buy one skein of yarn today, in the interest of helping them stay in business  ya' know *wink*, but it was also something I really liked and a yarn I had not seen before.  Juniper Moon Farm Findley Dappled in the zinnia colorway.  It's a lace weight, so I'm sure I'll have no trouble coming up with a shawl pattern for it.

They also carry the Knit Picks Harmony Options interchangeable needles that I own, love, and am always wanting more of.  I think Knit Picks made a smart decision in starting to allow retail stores to carry their needles.  If I realize I don't have the size I need for a project, I'm generally not going to wait a week or so for a Knit Picks order to arrive, I'm going to go to my local yarn shop (LYS) first chance I get.  If my LYS carries the Knit Picks Harmony wood needles though, that's what I'm going to buy, as they are the perfect median between metal and bamboo needles in my opinion.

The remainder of today I have alternately played on the computer and knit.  Oh, I did get a shawl blocked that I finished last night, but you'll have to wait another couple of days for pictures of that.  (I'm sure you're waiting with bated breath right?)

It's 7:30 pm now & my stomach says I should figure out what's for dinner, so mindless rambling ends here.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Letter to Scooter Riders

After hearing about this I thought I'd offer a little free legal advice to all you NC "scooter" riders out there.

Despite what the place you bought it from told you, that scooter you're riding just might be a motorcycle.

If so, not only is it supposed to be registered, with liability insurance, but you're also supposed to have a valid drivers license WITH a motorcycle endorsement (or at least a motorcycle learner's permit) to ride it.

First, let me be clear that I'm not saying that the man who was tragically killed in the article linked above was riding a scooter he thought was a motorcycle.  The article just got me to thinking about how many people are riding what they think are scooters/mopeds, but are really motorcycles under the law.  Although, even if what he was riding was a moped, and accidents do happen regardless of skill or training, training is never a bad thing and I advise all of you who are riding anything on two wheels that doesn't require you to pedal to make it move to get thyself to your closest Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Rider Course.  If you live in NC, your local community college probably offers it as a one weekend course for less than $100.

But getting back on track.  What I really want to talk about is how many people think they are riding what is defined in NC a moped, which does not require a license plate, liability insurance, or even a drivers license to ride on the road.

Commonly referred to as "liquor cycles" (pronounced licker sickles here in the south) they have historically been the preferred method of transportation for those without a drivers license for one reason or another.  Originally, they actually had pedals that you could use to propel yourself forward when you ran out of gas, or were just feeling energetic.  But over the past few years, particularly with the rise in gas prices, many people have purchased what are more frequently called "scooters" and are no longer self-propelling.

But here's where it gets tricky.  NC has no laws for scooters.  There are only mopeds and motorcycles under the law, and if it has less than 4 wheels, then unless it is a bicycle (having no engine at all), then it is one or the other of the two.

The definition of a moped is....

A vehicle that has two or three wheels, no external shifting device, and a motor that does not exceed 50 cubic centimeters piston displacement and cannot propel the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on a level surface.

See what I've pointed out order to be a moped the engine cannot be more than 50ccs AND it CANNOT BE CAPABLE of propelling the vehicle more than 30 mph.  
So if the dealer that sold you the scooter told you that you were o.k. without a license so long as you didn't actually ride it faster than 30 mph....THEY WERE WRONG!!!  Sorry to yell at you like that, but it really annoys me when people get the law wrong about things that are supposed to be part of their business.

Anyway, if your "scooter" is capable of going more than 30mph, then it's a motorcycle, and I'm not going to go through the list above again, but you need some stuff to be riding it legally.  I realize that there are a ton of these on the streets, and I have no idea what percentage are actually motorcycles instead of mopeds, but I'd be willing to bet it's well over 50% of the ones sold in the last 5 years.  

And no, law enforcement officers are not out there pulling over every scooter they see and trying to determine how fast it's capable of going to see if it's a moped or a motorcycle, they usually are out looking for the people doing blatantly wrong or unsafe things on the roads.

But with the increase in the numbers of these growing daily, don't say I didn't warn you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Brain Dead

My brain doesn't seem to want to function anymore today.  I've been sitting here staring at the screen, and nothing is really coming to mind to write about.

It's been one of those days where I've been going, going, going, and juggling several things at once.  I've been printing e-mails out left and right all day and continuously editing my to do list because I'm worried I'm going to forget to do something important.

In other words, welcome to the first week or so of session.  It's always like this when a new session starts, particularly the "short" session since the interim between the "long" session and this one is so long.  I have to remind myself again what exactly I'm supposed to be doing for each of the bills, and what I need to do to prepare for committee, and how each committee chair likes to have things done.

By next week the process will all be routine again.  Although routine does not mean orderly and well planned by any means.  But this week I'm still running around every day with a little bit of panic in my chest that I'm going to screw up something major.

Guess I found something to write about after all.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Functional Art

For the past few years I have coveted a pair of Dansko clogs, but I was hesitant to spend the money on them not knowing if I would like them.  With all the foot problems I have, I don't have a problem spending money on good shoes, and everyone I knew that had them loved them, but I hated to spend the money and then end up hating them.  Last fall my mom loaned me hers so I could wear them a few times to see if I liked them.  I did, and I bought my first pair, black with tooled leather, last fall. 

There is another brand called Sanita that, from what I've been told, is pretty much the same as Dansko.  In the course of looking online at the various styles and colors, I came across a website called The Swanx that sells Sanitas with a twist.  They all have hand painted designs on them.  After looking through the various designs I found several I liked and decided that at some point in the future I would like to have a pair of them.  No surprise, I was leaning toward the ones with the dragonflies.

Today, a coworker and I were talking about shoes.  Don't ask me why we were talking about shoes, I don't know, it just came up in conversation somehow, we're women o.k.?  Anyway, I was telling her about the hand painted clogs and she pulled up the website.  They have some new designs since I last looked at the site a few months ago, and I might have to move up my purchase to sooner rather than later.

Because look at what I found....

And look at the heels....aren't they just the cutest thing!

I can get comfortable shoes and wear something artistic that represents my favorite artistic pastime all at the same time.  How fun is that?

Monday, May 21, 2012

My Happy Place, a la Happy Gilmore

Because of my job sometimes I just can't talk about the things that are really on my mind.  Which means that sometimes when I really want to vent, it's not possible.  Today is one of those days.

So instead, I'm going to show you something that makes me happy. 

My finished Color Affection shawl.
This was one of those projects that I just couldn't stop knitting.  It was so much fun to watch the colors come together.  I actually finished it over a week ago, but didn't have time to block it until this weekend.

I tried to get a better picture of the colors, but I'm not the world's greatest photographer, so I'll just tell you that the yellow is very golden and the orange is more of a rust color, so it's all very rich looking, at least to my eye.

Just looking at it makes me smile, and that's what I needed tonight.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Back in Time

We spent a couple of hours this morning at the Ole Gilliam Mill crank up. It was a nice morning for walking around looking at old tractors and steam engines, and viewing all the handcrafts demonstrated.

And another reminder of all the crafts I'd love to learn if I thought I would have the time to really do them.  Maybe when I retire I'll have time to learn to spin, quilt and weave, among other things.