Sunday, March 30, 2008

Riding for Laurie

The past 2 years I have been part of the MS 30-60 bike ride. This year's ride is Saturday, May 10th. It's a way to remember my best friend. She's been gone since the December prior to the first ride. Laurie had MS and it never stopped her. At least not that she would let the world see (she would totally use her energy for other people and then be sick for days after). She did anything for anybody and was the most generous person I've ever met. We met in 3rd grade and were buddies for life.

Laurie had a wicked sense of humor. Here she is in one of her costumes - Mad Cow Disease.

Last year I started my blog April 2nd (Yep, my blogiversary is next week). I didn't put up anything about the ride because the blog was new and I didn't figure anyone would know me. This year I debated things and decided to put up the link to my MS donation website and if you are interested you can go to it and donate.

I will randomly pick someone from those of you who decided to donate and give some yarn goodness. If I end up with lots of donations I'll have more than one prize.

I am a large person who does very little in the way of exercise. Doing this ride is a huge thing for me. It takes a lot out of me but it helps me remember what Laurie had to go through everyday in her attempt to appear "normal" to the rest of the world. So, I ride for Laurie and I ride in hope that a cure is found and others don't have to go through the problems she did.

(updated MS web site 3/30: 3:15pm)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Busy Week - remodeling me

As you can tell from the last post, this has been a strange week. My parents ended up taking a great deal of time. Mom needed much reassuring this week that she indeed lives in "that" apartment and has lived there for 1 1/2 years and that she doesn't drive any more, my Uncle will get her to church on Sunday (not today because today is Wednesday), and several other things. She's finally calmed down and back into her routine. I think this all started because we went out to dinner Easter Sunday and that broke her normal routine, which in turn broke her comfortable thinking patterns. I don't take Mom & Dad out to eat too much anymore because of this. She's always over confused the next week.

Dad on the other hand has a small enough world in his head that he just accepts whatever happens to him now. His thing this week was shopping. He has gained enough weight from the good cooking where he lives to need new clothes. His razor quit working, his socks have disappeared and more. I ended up spending 2 evening hunting up supplies for him and I'll bring them over today once I have them labeled.

All this left little time for knitting but I did manage to keep up with my friends on the She Knits forum over on Ravelry. I also got part of the Sensational Shirttail sweater sewed up. I'll finish it this weekend and post pictures.

There's a new knitting group starting on the north end of town - the NW Burbs. We'll be knitting for the first time Thursday, April 3rd in the evening at a church in Brooklyn Park on Hwy 169. If you're interested let me know and I'll get you hooked up with the organizers.

My friends have not been able to get together for a few Fridays. I come home, clear off the clutter that happened over the past week and wait. Then the phone rings and the first person says they can't come because....... then the next and the next. Sometimes they don't call, just don't show up. They all want to get together but life is just so busy right now it's hard. My cousin's husband had triple bypass surgery Easter week so she's busy dealing with that (he's okay and recovering well), one friend is in the middle of busy time at work with Friday's being especially hard, another friend is having a big party today (I'll be there) to celebrate her husbands weight loss to date (over 100 lbs!), and of course I've been busy with the parents. It's amazing, life is either a big yawn or frantic busy.

Speaking of losing weight (we were sort of- friend's husband weight loss..) my friend, Jan that was up here Palm Sunday weekend from Alabama and I decided to do some remodeling. I had recently bought my exercise bike and Bob Greene's "Get With the Program!" book with the idea of reading the book and making some very needed changes. As we talked over the weekend Jan said things about wanting to lose weight, improve her life, etc. So we decided to go through the book together. We've been emailing each other daily about this. The program is set up in 4 phases. Phase 1 is getting ready and evaluating yourself - why do I over eat, procrastinate, etc. There are 12 written exercises to do. We've been doing one exercise a day and sending the results to each other. This time feels like it will work because I have someone to do this with but - she's not right here to "nag".

Well, that's about it. I need to mark all the new things for Dad with his name and get over to his place, then work on the sweater until it's time for my friend's party. I'll post pics once the sweater is done. Until then enjoy your weekend! Chief and Bert say HI!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I wish I knew

Last night’s conversation with Mom.

“Hi Mom. Thought I’d call to see how you’re doing.”

“Well, I’m not sure I’m so worried...…I, well.. the phone..I can’t find the.. well on the north side…they expect me to… oh I can’t remember…”

“Are you meeting someone tomorrow?”

“Well, I have to go..I can’t they are…the book.. we’re..I can’t..”

This conversation went on for almost 10 minutes. I wish I knew what had her upset. I wish I knew what she was trying to tell me. I wish memory loss wasn’t such a frightening, terrible thing.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Knitting

What do you do when Easter looks like this?

You knit. Sensational Shirttail Sweater is done as far as blocking. Once it's dry I'll sew it up and crochet a front band. I started this March 1 and want to have it done before the end of the month. Once it's done, I'll write up all the details.

In the meantime, if you can't find Bert - go check out the Kitty Cottage. I swear that cat lives in there 50 % of his life!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Benign Hobby or Cult?

It's been a wonderfully busy weekend. Thursday night I got a call from one of my high school buddies and she asked if she could stay at my place because she was coming into town for a funeral of a family member. YES! She moved out of town shortly after college because of her husband's job and has been "home" a few times since. As with most long distance friendships we would write/email a lot for a while when she would come visit and then the contact would wain and soon it would be - "When was the last time you'd talked to Jan? The chance to catch up for a whole weekend was wonderful.

Friday night I spend doing a quite clean up of the house and especially guest room. Thank goodness I have the Friday knitting group because that helps keep the house in pretty good shape since I clean for it once a week!

Saturday her flight came in a bit after noon and we went out to Q Cumbers for a late lunch. It's a salad/bakery/yummy stuff buffet and I hadn't been there for years. The afternoon was spent chatting and then...

I got the whole gang - well 7 of us - together Saturday night and we all had a great visit. Alyson is part of the knitting group and brought some knitting along with her. At some point during the evening and after I had helped her with some dropped stitches my cousin commented on his worries about the knitting. He fears that it's gone from a benign hobby to a cult. I had admitted I had a sock in my purse for when Jan was trying on some clothes at a store earlier in the day. We've got our own language, Al couldn't just come and sit, she had to knit. Then when we Al and I) traded the light-up knitting needles because she wanted the pink ones I had, she said something about this being great because now she could knit at the movies. That started Cousin off again. He threatened one of my other friends (the guy that's learning to crochet). "If you ever start knitting at a party, I'm dragging you to a deprogrammer!"

Are we a cult? Certainly knitting does go beyond benign hobby for many people. We have our own language, we have our own prophets (Elizabeth Zimmermann and others). It affects our every waking hour at times while we decide how to give our money offerings to the merchants to get our idols (yarn and needles) so we can offer up more of our time to this belief in knitting. We spend hours on end on the computer reading other blogs, writing our own and browsing everything on Ravelry. Yeah, I think for some this is a cult. But I don't want to be deprogrammed. Not now. Not ever.

This evening my friend was picked up by her brother (he was out of town yesterday) so she'll be staying with him the next couple days for the funeral. Before he came we spent the day talking and talking. What a wonderful present of friendship this weekend was. I'm refreshed and ready for another week of work (maybe).

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Plastic Inspector - still on the job

You thought I was kidding about the Plastic Inspector. Nope. He's still busy at it. Any plastic in the house MUST BE INSPECTED. Read that to mean chewed to death.

When Chief goes for plastic mailing bags after I've opened them it's not so bad. When he comes out into the living room with my friends sitting around and in his mouth is the - how to we put this? - pink plastic outer wrapping of female products half chewed - well - that's embarrassing.

His other thing lately has been to wait till one of my friends sits in "that" chair and then go under it and has a gassy moment. Honestly, what is with this cat!?! Two weeks in a row he has gone under the same chair, the same person and let loose with kitty stinkys. No bad moments all week, it's like he's saving up to embarrass me. What's a Mom to do?

Other news. There will be little knitting this weekend because one of my high school friends is flying in Saturday noon and will be staying here. It was a sudden trip (family funeral) so I'm grabbing as many of the gang as I can to have a party Saturday night. YEAH!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Plastic Inspector ready for duty

I think someone needs a new hobby. I came home tonight and Chief greeted me at the door. A little bit too friendly, just like kids do when they want to hide something they did wrong. In the living room the kitty tunnel was sideways and on the other side of the room. The door between the living room and the hall was half way closed. The bathroom - the pile of towels I put on the counter were, well - not stacked neat like they were this morning. The den had the kitty jungle gym in the middle of the room and Bert was sitting in the kitty chair trying to look innocent. Just a guess but I think the boys were busy today.
Last month Jeanne at K3tog was collecting preemie hats and gave prizes out to some that donated hats. I won and the package arrived yesterday. I got 5 skeins of TLC Cotton Plus. Jeanne says it is wonderful for baby garments. I can't waited to find out for myself.

The yarn came in a package containing plastic bubbles inside. This means, of course, the plastic inspector must get busy and do his job.

Chomp, chomp chomp. Yep. it's plastic. Got any more for me to check out? - Chief

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Leap ahead - Spring is coming (maybe)

Bert's in a time out for taking over my computer this week. Where he learned to type I'll never know.

I've been knitting this week in between the crazy busy stuff at work. Last Saturday I started the Sensational Shirttail Sweater from Knitter's magazine and found it to be a very quick knit. It's bulky yarn which I haven't done for ages and well - last weekend I finished the left front and posted pics of it. This week I finished the back. I've started the right front already and I'm about 4-5 inches along on that. I wanted to make a "grab it and go" sweater that would look better than a sweatshirt but still have that comfy feel. I'm pretty sure this will meet my needs very well.

Maybe I'll have it done for the Yarn Harlot April 10th.

I took photos of some of the old machine knit knitting a while ago so I'd thought I'd post one more of those sweaters. This was a great sweater to wear at shows and when I taught. It's very graphic so catches people's eye but, again, its got that comfortable thing going on. I could wear it all day teaching at a seminar and then be very comfortable to go straight out to eat dinner.

Chief has been working on his yoga lately. He's getting very sick of all the cold weather and lack of rays of sunshine to sleep in most days.

No sun in the hall to sleep in. When will this winter end??? - Chief

And what's with all this fur?!? I haven't had this much get in my face for a long time. HELP! I keep getting fur stuck in my mouth when I clean myself! - Chief

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Guest blogger

Hi! Bert here. Mom is very busy this week and left the computer on so I get to tell all of you about my day.

My day starts early in the morning when I wake up can't find Chief and Mom. It happens almost everyday. I stand in the hall about 4am (I know it's that time cause Mom yells at me and tells me its 4am - be quiet), Anyway, I stand in the hall and cry because it's lonely without them to talk to. Finally Mom tells me they're in bed and I should be quiet and join them. If I keep crying she gets all mad at yells at me. It's not my fault. All I want is some attention. So - I go to the bed and very gently brush Mom's face so I won't get yelled at again. If I'm lucky she starts skritching my tummy. Oh, I LOVE tummy skritches!

We finally get up and go to the room with the big pit in it. Mom sits on the funny chair with the water in it for a while and I play in the big pit. Mom has a step stool in there so I can play while she gets ready to go out and hang out in the place with the car all day. Why does she go out there all day? Doesn't she think we're fun to play with? Oh - back to the step stool. It's really fun to play on the stool. If I get on the top step I can almost get my tail. If I turn around really fast sometimes I can catch my tail. It's kind of hard to do on a little step and sometimes it takes 5 minutes but I try real hard and it makes Mom laugh.

Finally its time for breakfast. All three of us go to the kitchen and Mom fills our bowl with food but - we get a special treat. Every morning she brings a little bit of food to the fireplace and scatters it around the hearth so Chief and I get to eat in there. We like it so much we usually run over to the fireplace before she can even get the food out. YUM! Our food tastes a lot better in there.

The Mom has to leave and she goes out all day. I try go keep the house clean and bring all my toys into the tunnel. It's hard work so I have to take a lot of long naps. Well, Mom is coming back into the room to use the computer so I better stop writing before she gets mad at me for using it. I have to go find Chief to tell me how to send this so you can read it.

Okay Bert - Click this mouse here....'re stuff is on the computer for everyone to see. - Chief

Monday, March 3, 2008

Bulky is good

So Mom, While I've been keeping this chair from falling apart by holding all the rungs together, what have you been doing? - Chief

I've been knitting. Ya wanna see? - Jill

First off the Elizabeth Zimmermann February Baby Sweater. It took less than a week to make and is for a baby expected at work. The yarn is Sirdar Snuggly and was very nice to knit with.

I'm putting in snaps instead of regular buttons but will have cute little flower buttons on top of the snap so it doesn't look so Santa Claus!

Next up - the Sensational Shirttail Sweater from the Knitters magazine. This is done with Knit Picks Wool of the Andes - Bulky in Taupe. Size 10.5 needles. I started this Saturday as part of a KAL on the She-Knits group on Ravelry. It's going amazingly fast. I haven't knit on bulky yarn for a long time and all I can say is - Bulky is good. It's a great way to get instant gratification.

I finished one front piece and started the back. The middle is moss stitch and this carries thru to the mock yoke.

The band on the front is done in a way I haven't done before. One the front it's k1-sl1-k1-sl1 and on the backside you purl the slips and knit the knits to create a garter st. The end result is a thicker more defined band that doesn't roll or curl.
Time for supper and I have to get back to this quick sweater.......

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Got Random Facts?

This week has been very busy trying to figure out what is going on with the new position. Especially since the person who had it prior to me left with no notice - without any procedure written down, any training, etc. I also had a really bad drive home this week because of snow during rush hour. It was a hectic day at work then the drive taking over 1 1/2 hour of “hard” driving and I fell asleep within half hour of getting home. No knitting happened that night.

I started a baby sweater this week and finished it except for the buttons. I’ll get them on this weekend and get some pictures.

So – because I have no pictures to show it’s time for stupid random facts about me. More than you ever wanted to know.

1. In 8th grade I won a Rubic’s cube contest by putting it together in less than 3 minutes. I won a monkey craved from a coconut. (the science department had a small budget!)
2. I can sing the entire Howdy Doody theme song. Along with several of useless TV themes.
3. I play my piano every January 1st so I can honestly say I’ve played the piano “this year” even if I don’t touch it the rest of the year.
4. Chief is named after my Grandfather who was a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy and was the oldest non-commissioned officer when he retired in the 1950s.
5. Bert is named after my Dad. Dad’s middle name is Albert and Bert sounded like a good name for a British cat.
6. I started hand sewing in kindergarten and made my first machine sewn nightgown in 4th grade.
7. I spent most of my summer weekends growing up at the family cabin with all my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. It was a great way to grow up!
8. “What’s a blog?” “Something losers put on line so others can read.” – random quote from NCIS that I’m watching right now……
9. I love to figure out things – murder mysteries, knitting patterns, the quizzes in the paper – you name it, I’ll try to figure it out.
10. I love reading series. It gives you a chance to get to know the characters long term. Some of the series I’ve read are Diane Gabaldon’s Outlander series; Stephen Lawhead’s King Arthur series; Jennifer Chiaverni’s Elm Creek Quilt series; and several others including a lot of crafty mystery series.

Ten things are enough for now. I’m going to spend the rest of today knitting and working on the basement, which I always say I’m going to do and never quite seem to get down there - maybe today!