Sunday, August 22, 2010

Do You Want to Know A Secret?

Well, I can finally unveil Secret Project IV, Parts A and B to all and sundry. We presented Sarah A with the afghan on Thursday night at Alison M's home. When a member of our group gets pregnant, we normally do a group project. We all knit a square and usually I'm idiot enough to volunteer to put the thing together. My square is shown before the assembly. We also had enough squares this time to do a pillow too.

Thanks to Mary T, Mary S, Donna D, Angi F, Mary Kate R, Tracy B, Alison M, Ellen R, Lora K, Sally H-D, Paula M, Stephie S, Linda D, and Nancy B. I had to take several pictures to get them all in and they are not the greatest, but they were the best I could get.

I think Sarah A was pleased, if not surprised.  It's kind of hard to be surprised, when she got one a year and a half ago or so for Gabriel, Sally H-D got one two months ago, and we asked her to pick out the color. I can't believe that the time has gone so quickly and that she'll be having the little munchkin in three weeks or less.
(If you click on the pictures, they get bigger so that you can see the individual squares) Now I only have two more secret projects to unveil on the blog once the recipients have received them.  

This past week I helped a friend make these handkerchief bonnets for her niece's christening, as she doesn't sew. Which would have been a piece of cake, if (a) we had actually just used a handkerchief, instead of cutting them from material and (b) if we had used a lace edging rather than using the all over lace sleeves from her mother's wedding dress for the sake of sentimentality. I get the sentimentality but it was a royal pain in the neck. They did turn out beautifully though, given all of the above hassle. You're supposed to just be able to cut a couple of stitches and then it turns back into a handkerchief that a boy can give to his future wife for something old at their wedding and a girl can use for her something old at her wedding. We made two, one for her niece and one for her nephew.  Remind me that the next time someone asks me to help them sew something, I'm supposed to say no. I'm really not the greatest seamstress as it is too exacting for me and I can't fudge things or make them work the way I can with knitting.

I did manage to finish the fingerless mitts this week at Alison's which I would have finished on Sunday, had I knit at all after coming home from guild last week.  I like them, but there were a one size fits all pattern, and I don't think it actually does.  I had to cut off one of the cable repeats to insure that it would still fit, and I think I'd have been happier overall if I'd gone up a needle size to compensate for my fat little hands.  I do think that I'll make another pair of them in a slightly less screaming color and in a finer yarn for the office, and I'll leave these ones at home.  Not the same pattern though. I love, love the yarn though.  It's Malabrigo merino worsted and it's just yummy soft.  It's one of those yarns that I could just roll in.

I've started another "not for me" project for a friend that should be quick.  Once that's done, I need to find my next complicated wacky project for me.  I'm thinking about a lace stole, but we'll see.  I have three hundred or so patterns faved on and I finally finished tagging them so I can easily search them for things I can do next.  Yes, I know that I'm compulsive, thank you for your concern, moving on.  I really want to work on stash reduction, and be serious about it.  (I say this as I have one knitting convention to go to at the end of October and a knitting retreat at the beginning of November. My inner knitter says HA!)  But in fairness to me, I did do the mitts with stash and the project for my friend is stash yarn too. So every bit is progress.  On second thought though, lace yarn does not take up much space, so maybe I should do a sweater for me.  Hmmm. 

This week I also managed to write some as I was hosting the writing group at my house this week. I made a chocolate toasted walnut wheat bread using Ghiradelli chocolate chips (dairy free) which was good, it was sort of like the bread and chocolate at Bread and Chocolate in Concord. Which is good, because I can't have that any more. So now I can make this instead.  Writing group went well I think.  Mary S's haikus were hilarious, and Mary Kate and I are slogging forward.  I did sort through my timeline issue, but I still don't think it's right.  I need to add more stuff.  So that's the goal for next month.  I also need to do the re-writes that have been suggested, but that I haven't managed in slogging through the time lines.  But I now have 125 pages and 37,191 words. 

I hesitate to mention this in a blog entry that has been focused on rambling about the little things we do in our lives, as I don't want to offend anyone, but I think that's part of what life is about, the little things, the big good things, and the bad, terribly, painful things.  So it seems appropriate to me to include it, but I apologize in advance if anyone thinks it is insensitive.  In the last few weeks, three of my friends have had someone special in their lives die.  There are no words of comfort that are sufficient, and nothing that makes it easier but time.  The intensity of pain will recede like a tide, but it resurges every now again for years, and some tides are stronger than others.  But over time the good memories and the joy in having had the person in your life and in having had them influence who you have become, grows stronger than the pain, and we can remember them and take joy in who they were without the pain.  Remember that you are not alone and you have friends who love you and will be there for you as much as you need, while we're waiting for the tide to go out. 

On that somber note, that concludes our broadcast for this week.  Stay tuned for further updates.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Englishman in New York (or Boston rather)

Narrator voice over: As we last left our protagonist (heroine just sounds so dumb), she had just finished describing her great day with her husband on the coast of Maine and New Hampshire.  Now for the continuing story of eclectic pursuits:

Think of the quote above being said in the narrator voice from the intro for Pigs in Space from the Muppet Show.  I know I'm easily amused, but I'm cracking myself up again.  You all may tell me I'm a dork again, and appropriately so.

So anyway, to continue, on Thursday of our vacation I went to see Sting and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra with Laura V, Linda D and her sister Barb L. It was so great! We had really good seats and had a really good time. Linda D cracked me up the whole time, but she really enjoyed it too. I tried to take pictures on the blackberry, but the camera on that thing blows or I'm just not able to figure it out. I had to photoshop the bejesus (is that how you spell that?) out of them, but here are the sort of decent ones.

Linda D just looks rapturously stunned in this picture which was actually pretty accurate.  I really liked the concert and the orchestra was wonderful and it was much more vibrant than I expected.  The conductor of the orchestra was almost dancing and pirouetting like a ballerina and it was making Laura V and I laugh through the whole show.  But I really liked the music and the re-arrangement of the songs. And it was Sting, so how could you want more?

The only bad part was that I didn't get to bed until about 2 a.m. and then, on Friday morning, me being me, I went into the office from 8:30 a.m. or so until about 10:45 am.  When I got back, we took Shawn's grandparents, Shirley and Al, to lunch at Taipei Tokyo.  We hadn't seen them for some time because with Shawn's schedule, we barely see each other.  There may be a possibility of Shawn getting a different shift and still having some time off on the weekends, so we are crossing our fingers.  I'm hoping not to jinx it.

The rest of the day Friday and the rest of the weekend we kind of laid low.  I did a boat load of knitting, as I was supposed to have finished both of the remaining Secret Projects outstanding, to wit, Secret Project IV, Part B and Secret  Project II, by the end of vacation.  However, it didn't quite happen.  

As a result I knit obsessively the following week to try to get it done. Last weekend I was in shouting distance of the finish line. I was watching my friend Kat's daughter Kenna on Friday and Saturday night, so after she went to sleep on the couch waiting for her mom, I was able to make significant progress.  (Funniest quote of the weekend - I asked Kenna what she wanted for dinner while she was playing sword fighting on Wii Resort with Shawn.  Answer "I want revenge for dinner!" She's seven.)  On Friday night I knit obsessively until 2:30 am or so until I started to mess up as I fell asleep while doing it.  On Saturday I was able to finish both parts of Secret Project IV, Part B by mid afternoon.  On I went to Secret Project II for Chris and Kristie.  In between playing Wii with Kenna, I was able to have most of it done.  I finally finished it by 11:00 pm on Sunday, bringing an end to this wave of the baby invasion.  WOOO HOOOO!  I can't post pics until the recipients have received their gifts, but for those of you on Ravelry, pics of Secret Project II are out there, because Chris and Kristie are not knitters.

The rest of this week has mostly been about getting things back on track.  On Monday I blocked the projects and Shawn was home on a rare night off having traded day.  Tuesday I visited with some of my knitting friends and had a swim at Tracy's.  Since I'm not sure what I want my next knitting masochist project to be, I'm doing some purple fingerless mitts in a worsted Malabrigo as a quickie project.  Plus I've needed some of these forever, and keep getting sidetracked.  After figuring out my yardage totals for finishing each of the Secret Projects, I updated my knitmeter, I'm edging in on almost four miles of yarn for the past year. Yes, again, I am a knit geek. 

Since my writing group is meeting at my apartment for our monthly meeting next weekend, I also tried to get some writing in, but I only gained about 480 words.  I'll need to get more together by tomorrow night, which is when our submissions are supposed to be put on the website. 

In other news, Shawn bought me Beatles Rockband and a microphone.  Which I think is hilarious because he must be a glutton for punishment.  Since we got it, I've been requesting that he serenade me with a song on it.  So far, no dice.

I think I'm mostly caught up to date, which is my cue to either go work on the novel or clean the house for the group.

Stay tuned.

Octopus's Garden

It's been awhile since I blogged.  Think of this as a catch up post.  During the last week in July, Shawn and I had our "staycation" and our third wedding anniversary.  It was a busy week.  Next year I'm actually going to to go somewhere so that I don't over schedule like that again, and so that I don't go into work and work at home again.  I figure that over the course of my vacation, I worked about a normal day. But things ran fairly smoothly so it was probably for the best.  I already blogged about the first day of my vacation, but the yarn I got at the factory give away thing is still cracking me up.  Check out this picture.  I put a strand of sock yarn (fingering weight) for comparison for the knitters on one side, and a large paperclip on the other side for the non knitters.  The strand of yarn is obviously in the middle.  How freaking small is that??  It's still making me laugh.  I'm going to have to dye some and test knitting it, just for giggles.
On Monday during our vacation we had Lora K's boys for the day. So it was all Wii all the time, particularly since Shawn had gotten the new Harry Potter lego game for the Wii.   On Tuesday I went into the office to sign stuff for a couple of hours.  Since I get up at the crack of dawn whether I want to or not, and as Shawn sleeps in every morning due to working late shifts, he didn't even notice I'd gone in.  In the afternoon we went to one of chain of new Used Book Superstores that have opened.  We went to the Salem location.  They charge $1.99 for paperbacks and $2.99 for hardcovers.  I had a coupon so I got 12 books for $11.94, so I was pleased.

Wednesday the 28th was our anniversary, so we decided to go for a Portsmouth Harbor Cruise, which was really nice. Fairly inexpensive too, and we got a discount for having Triple A. I think it wound up costing $30 for both of us. We had a nice ride around the harbor and heard a story about how Humphrey Bogart alleged got his scar and lisp when he was a marine escorting a prisoner to the naval prison pictured to the left which totally looks more like a castle. There were some other historical tidbits about the role of the harbor in the Revolutionary War and World War II, but the specifics have escaped my memory now. We got a little sun burned but it was a really pretty tour and nice to be on the water. I posted a more complete album of photos on facebook. 

The tour took less time than we thought it would, and our dinner reservations weren't until 7:00 pm, so we drove to Nubble Lighthouse which is just a bit north of the York Harbor Inn where we were having dinner.  The York Harbor is where we got married.  We took more pictures of course, and I've posted the complete album on facebook.

I did get a couple of nice shots of seagulls flying which surprised me.  The digital camera is slow.
Dinner at the York Harbor Inn unfortunately was a huge disappointment.  It appears to have gone downhill severely since we were last there, to the point that even with the sentimental value to the place, I doubt we'll go back unless we've heard things have improved.  I even wrote them a letter with the comment card expressing our concerns, which I mailed just about two weeks ago now, and I have not received a response, which is even more disappointing.  But we did have a really good special day, even with the food being kind of lousy.
I can't believe that it's been three years since we got married, and in December it will be seven years since we met.  How is that possible?

Blogger is giving me fits with formatting with the pictures in this, so I'll continue on in another post.

Stay tuned.