Monday, August 31, 2009
My husband Shawn and I had breakfast with Kristie, Chris and the kiddo for Shawn's 32nd birthday (yes, I know he's a young'un.) We went to Mary Ann's in Derry and had a good breakfast and watched Zach destroy his father's pancakes. I think he thought they were like play dough. It was fairly amusing. There was an awful lot of throw the toy on the ground and make the parents pick it up going on too. Reminded me of Kiwi. Kristie took a picture of us at the diner, because I'm usually the one with the camera. I'm not thrilled with it. Bad angle for my face :)
We also had a visit with Shawn's parents and his grandparents, Shirley and Al. We had a really nice dinner salad with shrimp and chicken, and his parents got Shawn a sugar free angel food cake with sugar free cool whip and fruit. That worked out pretty well for Shawn.
He also got a GPS for his birthday from his parents, and I got a lovely hand me down rocker that didn't sell in the yard sale. I'm happy about it, because I keep almost buying rocking chairs at furniture stores, and then I don't because I'm cheap, and now I have one.
Shawn and I also went to Gaucho's for his birthday dinner. It's a ridiculous meat fest. But that's what Shawn wanted. At least it's something he can over indulge a little bit, once in a while. He's doing really well weight wise. He now has lost 60 pounds. Anyway, it's one of those places where they bring you 11 different kinds of meat on skewers all night. This is picture from their website.
I did write quite a bit over last weekend, but until yesterday, I was kind of in a holding pattern. I had the flu last week and it just drained me for creative pursuits. All I did was knit last week, in between being ill and sleeping. I do have three swirls on the third row of motifs of the swirl shawl though.
This past weekend we went to Shawn's Aunt Debbie's wedding reception in Manchester. It was really nice and they seemed really happy. It was nice to visit with Shawn's Uncle Scott and Aunt Anita and to see Shawn's other grandparents. It was too bad that it rained like hell, but it didn't seem to dampen anyone's enthusiasm, just their clothes.
Yesterday, I wrote for a couple of hours before I headed down to Boston to see Laura. Laura and I shared an apartment my last year of law school, which makes it just about 13 years since we met. How crazy is that? We spent the day shopping and buying random stuff. I got some really cheap shirts at JC Penney ranging from $4.97 to 13.00 and I bought a lot of tea at Teavana. So did Laura. I'm still not sure what that was about. We had lunch and dinner pretty much at the same time give the amount of stuff we ate at The Cheesecake Factory, and then we headed to Trader Joe's. I didn't get much, but they did have some saffron that was inexpensive so I got that, some almonds, some Riesling, and some apples and tomatoes. Again, the theme of the day seem to be random acquisitions.
This week is the organizational meeting of the Writer's Group that Sally and I are trying to put together. I'm very excited about it, and hopeful that it will be helpful to all of us. Cross your fingers please.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I also implemented the schedule, Part 1 of the plan this week, and I was scheduled for two hours of writing between 7-9pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. I wrote. The first night, I wrote about 1,500 words on a random story that I probably won't do anything with, but I just needed to practice doing it a bit without any pressure. The second night, I took a piece I had written for a class that I had taken in the past, and realized it was pretty good, and that since I already had a start on it, and I liked, it, this could be the novel. I expanded it, and I now have 1,500 words towards what I think will be the novel. Only about 85,000 or so words to go!
The other reason that Sunday was a watershed is that Shawn, my father-in-law, and I went for a bike ride in Bow. It was hot and humid. I cannot overstate how dumb this was. My mother-in-law very sensibly bailed. Also, Bow is very hilly. The pictures below are the before pictures of Shawn and his dad in the background there. The long inclines killed me, and the last hill was 3/4 of mile and at about a 45 degree angle, but at least it was quick. I sweated so much, my clothes were just soaked completely (get it, watershed?? haha! Yes, I know I'm a loser.) I really thought I was about to have a stroke. Luckily they have a pool, so I went straight into the pool. Afterward I was not putting those clothes back on, so I drove down 93 in my bathing suit and a towel, which was hilarious. It was starting to get dark, so hopefully people didn't notice me. However, it did cause me to drop another 3 pounds. I'm down 17 now.
Wednesday before writing, I dropped into knitting with the Manch Vegas group so I could see Gina's designs that are coming out in a new book, The Joy of Sox. She had an advance copy and it was really nice. The photos of her designs came out beautifully.
I spent Thursday evening with my knitting group. I love them. I had a really good time, and I worked on my swirl shawl project. I'm up to 23 swirls out of 82, and I've started on the second row of swirls. There are only 5 rows of swirls, but still, given how fiddly the project is, I'm doing well. I can't seem to to get good pictures. The first one is with the flash, which washes out the colors, and the second two are too rich for the actual colors, but this the closest I can get with Photoshop.
As an update, Mya's Jacket pattern has been favorite-d on Ravelry 99 times for the red version and 6 times for the blue version. I'm very pleased, and I'm thinking I need to put my designing hat back on after this project is done. I have had a request for an adult version of the sweater, but I'm not sure how interested most people would be in the sweater. Knitterati, please leave an opinion for me in the comments.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Chris made some brats from Wisconsin, boiled in beer and then grilled, and we had a salad. Except Chris dropped the lettuce head in the dirt, so we rinsed it off, but you had to beware of sand for the rest of the afternoon. I figure I got a good share of my peck of dirt in that salad.
This picture of Zach cracks me up. I'm not sure what he was so disgusted about, but I think that was about the only time all day the kiddo didn't have a smile on his face.
Shawn and Chris went for a canoe ride, and then Chris came back alone saying that one life jacket per person was being enforced so he had to dump Shawn out. Apparently he had put Shawn out on one of the rocks, and left him there to try to freak us out. Knowing the pair of them, Kristie and I were not freaked. For those of you from Maine and/or who knew me growing up, take a look a Chris's shirt. My father was a John Deere fanatic, and for some reason this shirt sent me into hysterics.
On other fronts, it was a really freaking busy week. Work was crazy because Rich was out, there was a board meeting I had to help with the catering for, and there was a barbecue for the office I had to make arrangements for. With Rich out, I had to put some extra hours in. Also, we got a call that the apartment was going to be inspected and possibly sprayed, since a surrounding apartment had called in a complaint about pests. (We've seen nothing.) Since Kiwi is technically not supposed to exist in my apartment, everything had to get cleaned and put up in the attic storage area in totes. She then had to go to work with me Thursday for a while in travel cage until her dad could take her to get boarded. After the inspection we were told we were clear, but since everything was completely picked up and clear, we decided to leave her at Bird Supply until Saturday morning so that we could clean the carpets. So Friday night we cleaned the bedrooms completely and steam cleaned the carpets, and Saturday morning I cleaned the living room and steam cleaned that carpet, while Shawn ran down to Bird Supply to pick up the Princess of Destruction. After that, we went to lunch at Hot Stone Pizza and went to see the new Harry Potter movie. It's been a really long time since we went to a movie. For some reason, I conked out for two hour nap when we got home. Shawn had to really fight with me to get me to wake up at 9:00 pm. I'm claiming it was the carpet cleaning detergent fumes...that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
In non chronological news, I posted Mya's Jacket pattern Wednesday night on Ravelry.com. As of two minutes ago, 92 people had favorite-d the pattern, and 5 people have bought it. Yay! Two more purchases, and I'll have paid for the yarn. It's gratifying to see that people who purchased and have favorite-d the pattern are all over the place, and aren't just people I know.
Thursday night I spent at Paula and Fred's knitting. Donna brought the two bottles of Gosling's Black Seal Dark Rum that she picked up for me in Bermuda, which I love, love, love. Yay!! Paula supplied us with some lovely pate, and cheeses. There was a banana apricot bread which I'm told was delicious, but I really hate bananas so I didn't try it.
Also this week, I believe that I might have started my mid life crisis. Or I'm just aggravated and annoyed as usual, I'm not really sure. I'm turning 38 in February, and while I'm aware that it's just a number, the bigger issue for me is that it's been a year and half since I retired from being a lawyer, and I really haven't done much of what I said I was going to do. I've designed two patterns, and I've written maybe 10-20 pages of fiction. For my type A self, that's not a lot of freaking progress. Now I am considering that I did need some down time after 10 years of doing work that made me unhappy, and working crazy hours, and that I've been spending time doing a lot of things that I didn't have time to do before, more cooking, bicycling, doing more social things, traveling, camping, etc., but come on! I guess I'm thinking it's time to get with the program, if I really do want to do this stuff.
And that leads me to the next question. Do I really want to do this stuff if I'm not doing it? My mother thinks that I might be afraid to really write, because what if I'm not good at it. I don't really think that's the issue, because I read an awful lot of crap, so it's not like I'm thinking the bar is set really high. And I'm not thinking that I have to write high literature, I just want to write a story and have a good time doing it, and maybe if I'm lucky, people might be able to read it, and get a laugh out of it.
Shawn thinks that I must not really want to write, because if I did, I would. But I'm not sure that's really it either. I think that unless I have structure, it's not going to happen. Writing and designing are not easy. They are fun, but they require a lot of brain power and work. When you're tired from work, and it's hot, it's easier to read a book than work on writing one, and it's easier to knit something from someone else's pattern than write your own. So unless I have a defined schedule or goal, it's a hell of a lot easier for me to come home and say, oh, I'm beat, I'll just read or knit for while. To determine where the truth is, my thought is that I have to have a plan and schedule and stick to it for a while to see what the deal is.
I made a schedule this morning and cleaned my desk. Wish me luck. I'll let you know how it goes.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The link is Arachne's Daughters Creations - I'm not sure if you can use the link if you're not a Ravelry member, but what the heck.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Lora has returned and we took Zeke, the siamese fighting fish/betta back to her. Shawn really seemed to get attached to this fish. He now says we are Zeke-less. I have no idea what is up with that, and when I ask, he answers that Zeke was just a friendly little fish, not like my angelfish. Whatever.
I cleaned like a demon on Tuesday, because Vera had said that she might stop by on her way out of NH (she visited a friend up at the lake), and my house was not fit for other humans to see it. However, as a result, she decided the stop would be too much for the kids, and that it was better to take a straight shot home. It's that Murphy's law thing. Had I not cleaned, she would have been able to stop by. I should not have cleaned (or is that me justifying future clutter?).
Wednesday I went to guild at the Elegant Ewe for the monthly guild meeting. It was nice to see everyone. I was so tired at the end of the meeting I was convinced I was going to go right home and go to sleep, but I ended up not being able to sleep and reading books until quarter of three in the morning. I hate when that happens!
To celebrate Lora's return from Kentucky, I went to guild at Yarn and Fiber in Derry, and visited with all the Manchvegans, and then some of us went to the Derryfield afterward to dance. I had not been out to dance in I don't even know how freaking long. It might have even been first or second year of college. I mean, I go out, I just don't usually go out to dance. It was hilarious. I took some pictures with my camera phone (which sucks), of Miss Lora going wild. She was so funny, but we all had a really good time. If you have not figured this out, the ketchup bottle is her microphone. We did have a really good time, but geez, was I sore today! Dancing takes a lot out of you :)
Since I have not been dancing since I was no longer single (other than weddings and stuff, which Shawn went to as well), what I thought was the most fun, was not caring what I looked like and not constantly scoping the floor. Not that I was hugely on the prowl to pick up when I was single and still went out dancing, but it was so relaxing to just have fun with your friends and not care at all about anyone else there.
Today it was all chores all the time. We took the brat to get her wings and nails trimmed, I did six loads of laundry, and I finally emailed some people back, which I'd been lax about responding. I also entered my new Penzey's spices into the inventory, and then finally did the last set of revisions on the Mya's Jacket pattern. One of my test knitters, Jackie took some pictures of the sweater she knit from the pattern with her daughter wearing it. I love them so much, I'm going to use them for the published pattern. I'm hoping I can get the pattern on Ravelry by the end of the weekend.
Tomorrow we are going to see Chris and Kristie and their munchkin, who I have not seen in forever. He's just over a year now which I can't believe.
Anyway, maybe I'll have some good pictures tomorrow. This concludes our broadcast.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
For the knitterly among you, I'll be posting this stuff to Ravelry once I'm done with the blog, so you can see what it is. Don't want to bore the non-fibery.
I'm still working on the Swirl Shawl, I finally began to make progress once I switched to wooden needles. Sometimes you just need a stickier surface. The metal dpns I was using kept slipping out and driving me batty. This is how far I am - the picture with the needles to the right, and the picture below it is what it is actually supposed to look like, when it's done. I'm probably about 10 swirls into 80 some odd.Tuesday was Shawn and my second wedding anniversary. We both had to work, so we're celebrating today. We were trying to figure out what to do, but I'm a little broke this week (I had a bad, bad night at Bare Escentuals just before I left--I go in for two things, two things, and I come out with--well, I'm not going to disclose the depths of my weakness and depravity), and Shawn just got new glasses, so we decided to stay in. I'm going to make a chicken in our Ron Popeil Showtime Professional Rotisserie, and some nice veggies. I will let you know if I receive a poem at any point during this evening.
Shawn is doing really, really well. He has lost 57 pounds, and has gone from a size 40" to a size 34". He's got some new clothes and he's keeping his sugar under control. I am trying to diet, but traveling is not conducive to dieting. However, I have continued to eat less than I normally would, and I've only had one small package of skittles since Shawn was diagnosed. I think that's progress for me. No question I need to step it up, but progress is progress.
The picture of Kiwi to the right, is her keeping me company this morning while I blogged, or rather after she drowned herself in her bath while I blogged. I always think she looks so ridiculous soaking wet.
The other fun thing we did at the show was have an Iron-chefesque cook off at the show using the new Jetboil Flash. It was really fun, and afterwords, the winner, the woman in the pictures, kept raising her arms and giving a victory cry every time she passed the booth thereafter.
(Continued from my last post)
(I'm using asterisks for paragraph spacing again, not sure why spacing continues to flip out)
This is my friend Lora who is from Kentucky, and who has, annoyingly for those of us who love her, been in Kentucky for a month. That's great for her and for those in Kentucky, but those of us in NH, not so much. Just before she left, she finished (other than the buttons and sewing on one sleeve) the sweater she was test knitting for me, Mya's Jacket. We went button shopping at Jo-Ann's Fabrics in Hooksett and found the perfect button, but they only had 6 and the sweater calls for 8. I looked later at the Jo-Ann's in Concord, but they didn't have them either. I got a call from Lora after she got to Kentucky that she'd found them in a Jo-Ann's in Louisville. That knitterly tenacity thing is hilarious. Lora left about a month ago (I've been caring for her betta/siamese fighting fish Zeke), and she's due home tomorrow if all goes well. YAY!!
About a month ago, I also finished the scarf I started during the Relay for Life. It was a quick and easy project, and good for travel. I took it with me to Maine for the July 4th festivities, and worked on it there. I like the diagonal effect, with the Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn. I may have to play with that again.
For the 4th of July weekend, we went to Maine. I'm not sure why because it was in that spell where it was raining every single day for like a month. I was so concerned about the weather, although our tent usually handles rain pretty well, that I went out and blew $50 on heavy duty tarps at Lowe's the night before. We were supposed to leave at 7:00 a.m. that morning and I got a call from Mom that my grandmother's road was washed out in three places. Now, gram's road is a two mile dirt road in the middle of freaking nowhere. Her farm is a 300 acre piece on the shore line of a small lake/pond (about a mile wide). The road routinely washes out in one place during heavy rains, but not usually in three places. The only problem with this is that there's no other way to get there. And of course, she was scheduled for surgery that morning, in addition to the various family members showing up for the 4th. They did manage to get her out, the surgery was relatively painless and she's doing a lot better.
However, where we normally camp down by the lake was so swamped that when we took the bikes down (I wasn't bringing the Sante Fe down there just to get it stuck in the mud) the ground was so wet and muddy you could barely pedal through it. So we ended up camping at Gram's up above on the hill. I had decided to forgo the whole cooking out part of the cook out. Every year, we get about 100 lbs of lobster, and every year, it seems like if I'm there I get sucked into cooking most of it with my mom, because people are not paying attention, or doing what needs to be done so people can eat on a timely basis, and my type A goes into overdrive and takes over and gets it done. Which drives me nuts, stresses me out, and is not fun. Plus, I have to buy all the cookout stuff, haul it to Maine, and it's a pain in the ass. So this year, I decided we would utilize the going out to eat method of camping out. Shawn and I bought some snacks, and then we went out to eat for all our meals. And it cost us just about the same as it does to buy all the crap for the cookout. And I didn't have to cook it, or be aggravated, or clean it up, and I still got to visit with family. I was informed that I had a bad attitude, but since when is that news?
I wish I'd used the camera more, but it was raining a lot, and it's new and I didn't want to risk it. We went on a paddle boat ride at the lake (my mother bought a paddle boat last summer) with my youngest nephew Noah. That kid is hilarious. We were informed that his brother, Wren, was a sack of potatoes and knives. I said what? and Noah said, he's painful, and he doesn't do anything. You can tell they don't really get along. Later when the thunderstorm hit, and most of us moved back up to the house, Wren decided that he needed to make a potion to induce super powers in humans, so we had numerous small children asking for organic materials including a cup so they could use urine in the potion. I have no idea where they get this stuff. Then they wanted to use the stove to boil it, but my brother in law headed that off by saying they would need to use a wood fire or it wouldn't be organic, and that they'd have to wait until he'd cleaned out the fire pit at home. The last I heard, that fire pit had still not been cleaned out.
On our way home from Maine, I got a call from my friend Gina. She and her husband wanted to renew their vows on the Windham Bike trail and wanted to know if I could do it that day. I couldn't, but we scheduled it for the next night. I'm still a Justice of the Peace from my prior life, and I've done a few weddings now. I hadn't done a renewal of vows, so I rewrote my wedding ceremony during my lunch at work the next day. When I got there, Jackie was there as Gina's maid of honor, and Ian's friend couldn't come at the last minute, so Shawn got impressed into service as Ian's best man. We had to bike 2-3 miles to get to the spot where Gina wanted to have it, which was hilarious to watch Gina try to balance a vase with her bouquet in her bike basket. Jackie had her roller blades and skated with us while we rode. I think they really liked the ceremony and I was so pleased to be included. Gina was so sweet and gave me framed pictures of the wedding, and a gift certificate, which was so nice of her, but I was just happy to do it for her.
On the ride back while doing my nature girl thing, I saw some indian ghost pipes which I have not seen in a hundred years. Okay, probably like 20, but same thing. I wish I'd gotten a better picture, but we can't have everything.
The next weekend, we had the nephews down to visit. I had promised them that they could come down in July and this was the only time I could it. I wish I'd been thinking and took pictures. Mostly the only reason they wanted to visit me was to play Spore. I, being in arrested development, have the game, and the last time they came to visit me they got hooked on it. So this time, there was apparently negotiations and some coin flipping and discussion of terms to determine who got to play first and what the time limits would be. Last time, I had set a kitchen timer and given them 20 minute terms.
We did take them to Mel's Funway park and played mini golf. At the end they were getting pretty bored with it, and we were just trying to get through the 18 holes, so it really became more like mini golf hockey as Shawn was trying to help them get the ball in the hole. We rode on the go carts which was really fun, and then Noah and Shawn did the batting cages because Wren hates baseball. This was what I was told when I asked him if he wanted to do it. I also took them swimming at the pool at our complex. They are great kids, but it was a long, long weekend.
Stay tuned for Incommudicado Post 3.