Monday, January 31, 2011

Random Month End Ramblings


I have a cold - received from the kid who 'didn't have a cold' huh. His subtle coughing and hacking from the non-cold evidently was enough to infect me with a real cold. So the cold, combined with more snow and outside cold has led me to stay home today and watch House Hunters International while cooking Chicken Tortilla soup.

In January, I set some goals. Lets see how I have done so far:

No Fiber purchases till May. Excluding clubs. In May, I have Shepherd's Harvest. A local fiber arts festival. I enjoy shopping there. Fiber purchased before then places my SH fund at risk.* Goal still on track, though I did decide that buying MORE fiber club fiber was ok. I mean really - what if you need a little more than the allotted amount?

Label all yarn and start recording what I spin. Done, though I haven't been spinning much. I have been labeling. I'm the opposite of most people, I am a summer spinner and winter knitter. Weird I know, but it's just who I am.

Enjoy the process more. I am a goal person, not a process person. I'm trying. I still just start to fly through and stop looking at what I'm going and gazing at the end. But I'm trying to slow down a little bit.

Stick to my monthly budget. Last year I succeeded in saving money into long term savings accounts. Now I need to work on a short term savings account. See goal #1 :)
Well this one has gone swimmingly - no job - no money - no spending! There is a method to my madness!

Take some time for myself and my health. I have a health club membership, I need to use it! I have used my gym membership more than I did any of the previous 6 months. That's a start. As for taking time for myself - no job equals lots of time! Though it's turned into plenty of family time, which is a good thing too. To go along with this, I have been focusing really hard on eating healthy. I've been using Myfitnesspal.com to track my foods, and that, combined with lessened stress and no greasy restaurant foods have led to 10 pounds of weight loss. Which is a good thing.

And finally, here are some projects I know I forgot to picture up here during January.

Cro-knit fusion scarflette out of handspun BFL from the painted tiger
 
Drop stitch scarf from Malabrigo Rasta

Drop Stitch scarf from Bubbles yarn

New years night shawl completed with it's crocheted border

Shawl with crocheted border

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fish Update

I haven't really posted anything on my tanks since the great tank leak of Thanksgiving 2010. And lately, fish have been on my mind. The plethora of people purchasing bettas for Christmas and stashing them in a .5 gallon tank - or smaller, perpetuating the belief that bettas are happy there. You know, we can live in a 4X6 room, and frankly, we won't be very active either, but we won't be happy. Neither are those bettas stuck in those tanks. 5 gallons is the minimum, and really a 10 gallon is easier to care for. Just like a common goldfish really needs 20 gallons.

Since we're moving in a year or so hopefully I'm trying to drastically cut down on the fish. What is left I will move with - and in reality most will definitely be left. I've already researched moving with them, and have pretty good faith that it'll work out ok, though it's going to be a challenge. And I will rehome some of my platies that live in the turtle tank.

However, I am having a real dilemma over whether to buy another 55 gallon. My 60 gallon is overstocked, and if I moved a couple fish out of it, I could probably get by, I have yet to convince anyone else that a 120 gallon would be a good idea in this house. My next house I will be looking for a basement I can convert to a fish room. I keep saying here, we could put it behind the couch downstairs on the concrete slab, but others find it disturbing to have fish sitting behind them. Whatever.
This is the view from my couch, my 26 gallon, and 60 gallon. Pikachu optional

3 of my goldfish did die this past month, most likely due to stress of the tank being broken and then the overcrowding for a week. Believe it or not, goldfish are extremely sensitive to stress and bad living conditions. Especially fancy goldfish, which is what I have. One of those fish, I'd had for over 2 years, poor guy.
Oscar hanging out in the 60 gallon with my severum above saying hi.
I've had Oscar for a year, the severum for 18 months.


I know a lot of people think its's funny or weird I get attached to my fish, but to answer that, they've clearly never had a tank, and fish long term. Mine love to interact with me, and not moving with them wouldn't be possible. It's just how best to accomplish this feat. Especially now that the majority of my fish are larger cichlids.

Why, Taylor, why?

There are very few musicians that I can't stand. My playlists range from country to reggae to hard rock, and classical.
But I can not for the life of me fathom why, why people like Taylor Swift. Matter of fact, Taylor led me to a rant and letters when she won CMA's Entertainer of the year over Kenny Chesney and several other deserving people. I mean, let's face it, she recycles the same video, can't sing a note on key in person, and pretends to play the guitar. Entertainer? I don't think so.

So watching her new Back to December video during the Top 20 Countdown this week, I was yet again amazed to see it reached number one. Are the kids who are listening to music truly tone deaf? Do they not realize that is a really stupid song about someone who breaks someone's heart, and is still self centered enough to want to get back together because they miss that person? And so I say, please person in the song, string Taylor along, and dump her unceremoniously back into her White Horse/Back to December apartment in her You Belong With Me glasses. I'm sure she hates your stupid old pickup truck anyway.

And please guys, don't disregard her tone deafness as age. Frankly any of the 15 year olds who auditioned for American Idol this week, could out sing her. Frankly, I could out sing her. I hope she goes to Hollywood, where she can simply be a pretty face, and stop torturing me on the radio. I'd pay good money for a TSwift free radio station.

I will say I liked the scarf the dumped guy was wearing in the video. It was quite a lovely gray knitted scarf. Evidently Taylor has pretty good taste in clothes for her dumped boyfriends. Much better than her taste in music.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bonding Time

When we in Astoria Oregon last summer, we bought 2 beautiful paintings on fabric of adorable little beach houses from a woman who was really attached to them, and asked us where they were going to live, and said with dismay 'you're buying those? I loved those 2..' I think I am the same way about handspun goods. I bond to each one individually.
 This is the note that I just sent my sister on Facebook. I had spun a spectacular blue and yarn, plied it, cabled it, and mom had knit it into my favorite hat pattern with the thought of sending her this little gem..
Who could send this little adorable hat into the world??
 
Thank you for the hat that mom just finished for you and I just stole! We'll be making you another one shortly! She'll probably be done with it by the end of the week. You wouldn't have liked the gray and blue coloration anyway, you need more of a red and brown, or cream hat don't you think?
 We have lots of yarn, more hats are always forthcoming here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Blast from the Past

Neptune and Bella, she liked him really early on.
 My brother got a kitten this week.

I want a kitten. Or a puppy, or a bunny.. But the timing isn't right, and we're full up. So here are random pictures of my last kitten. He grew into Neptune, the sweetest, most intelligent cat you'd ever meet. At least when he's not biting, attacking, or intimidating people.


But Neptune thought he was a dog..

They still sleep together at night.

Lance is such a patient soul

But a kitten is a big responsibility.

Isn't he the cutest thing ever?

That cuteness factor is the only thing that kept him in this house - little monster.

He's still cute

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lunch Date

With myself!

I am taking myself on a lunch date today. With homemade food and a dvd. On the bright side, I don't have to get dressed, and I can choose my own movie. What did I choose? THE BEST MOVIE EVER!***
------
This is true love - you think this happens every day?

Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.

You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.

We are men of action, lies do not become us.

Am I going MAD, or did the word "think" escape your lips? You were not hired for your brains, you hippopotamic land mass.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

That does put a damper on our relationship.

More pursue than study lately. You see, I cannot find him... it's been twenty years now and I'm starting to lose confidence. I just work for Vizzini to pay the bills. There's not a lot of money in revenge.

Oh, what I wouldn't give for a holocaust cloak.

Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I've got my country's 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I'm swamped.

Have fun stormin' da castle.

 Hello, my name in Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die.


***Excluding Star Wars - any and all, misc romantic comedies, and a few Oscar winners of course!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Contemplations A Random Tuesday List

  1. It's almost February. Where did January go?
  2. It's actually been practically balmy here, which just makes my spring-fever worse, as it reminds me someday the snow will melt.
  3. A cat's entire purpose in life is to prevent you from actually getting anything done by deciding to be friendly and cuddly the moment you decide to get up and clean the living room.
  4. A dog's entire purpose in life is to follow you everywhere shedding hair. Thereby causing more of a need for vacuuming.
  5. I wonder how many calories one burns vacuuming? Enough to warrant skipping the gym visit for the day?
  6. Trip planning for our EPIC VACATION (of which I am not telling you anything about - except we are going west not east) could potentially be a full time job, handy, since I don't have one right now..
  7. I am reading The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi. It's fascinating. 
  8. I wonder how much yarn I could sell in Italy, and if there's be a market for scarves there. Would there be more of a market if I moved there, and promptly slapped a Made in Italy sticker on the scarves/yarn and sold it to Americans?
  9. Anyone watching Harry's Law, I love Kathy Bates. She reminds me of my best friend from childhood's mom. Rat shooting aside that is.. Though Marjorie (BF's mom) would definitely shoot a snake. She hated snakes. Not sure on her feelings about rats.
  10. There are only approximately 20 weeks till we leave for the EPIC VACATION. That is approximately 18 weeks too long, though I have to find a cat sitter still. I'm hoping the last one wasn't traumatized by the great fish tank leakage adventure of 2010.
  11. How can a dog know the word Beach after only spending one week of his 5 years actually living at the beach? And how can he make you feel so guilty for not living there and taking him for a walk every day.
  12. I wonder if I could survive a walk with the dog outside now that it's actually in the 20's. Or whether it's still too snowy..

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Whirlwind Weekend

The last 3 days have been crazy here. We started with Devin's piano recital, then a family member had surgery, and the other kid had a tryout for a play. Today buzzed by just as fast. I think we even scared the clock enough to jump off the wall in the middle of the night - or else the cats did it..

I knitted up another scarf and have another on my lap right now 2/3 done. Last week I spent most of the time knitting up a wrap around shawl only to realize that while I had enough yarn for a nice shawl, it would only fit a petite person. I don't know that many petite people, so I ordered more roving to complete it later this week. The roving doesn't count toward my no roving purchase diet, because it's just more of a club fiber. See how handily that works? No guilt, and more squishy fiber! I am nothing if not clever.

Drop stitch scarf from handspun. I call this Neptune's batt

Handspun Corrie X. I think one more skein should finish it and edge it.

On the spinning wheel, I have been working on cashmere, which is lovely but takes forever to spin, or at least it seems that way. Possibly just because of the white color. I do a lot better spinning colors other than white.
Whatever, she should be blogging about my yarn art. Stupid person

Friday, January 21, 2011

Another Day Another Concert

Next weekend is the beginning of a huge piano contest. So tonight, was a chance for all the contestants from Devin's studio to compete in public with their pieces.

Devin this year, never one to stray from a challenge, had selected a really hard piece of music. In this contest, they compete in age groups, vs experience groups so he has to play a much harder piece than most kids with 2 years experience.

Halfway through practicing for this song, his piano teacher said that this was too hard for his level, and urged him to select something else to play. He stuck by his first choice, and we supported it, because the experience is the point, not to win.

So here is 6 months of hard work, he still has a week to go to work on the pedals and clean it up. What I am enjoying is the amount of feeling he is getting into his music.

video

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day of Rest - Or Not



It was a typical busy Sunday around here, I made Turkey and barley soup in the crockpot all day, using up a leftover turkey bone I had and lots of fresh veggies.

And I started working on an art yarn. I received Intertwined as a present for Christmas (or rather I bought it for myself using a gift card, close enough) and while I haven't done much with the techniques I decided to play with some Targhee/Llama roving I'm purchased this past fall. This is a really soft, but neppy roving and I spun it soft and thick, around 4WPI. I then took a batt of dark green roving and gold sparkles and ran it through plying it with the loose roving. It turned into a really pretty yarn.



And then, the cats knocked the paper off the printer stand again, and so I got busy. I moved a bookshelf out of my room, cleaned off the printer stand, and set the bookshelf there. I've been meaning to do this for awhile, and replace the bookshelf in my room with a taller one. I just hadn't gotten around to it. What I really succeeded in doing was totally destroying my bedroom while fixing the family room, but it looks cute, and the cats can't knock the paper over anymore, not with my lazy kate sitting on top of it, and it in an enclosed bookshelf.

Anyone wanna place a bet on how long the yarn on the
bottom shelf will stay there with the cats? I'm thinking 72 hours.

After all this we rewarded the kids with a bowling trip, or maybe it was us, I'm the world's worst bowler but it's one of the few available sports in this frozen tundra. Here's the hat mom finished being modeled. I love this hat, it's in Seattle Mariner's colors 'nuff said.

This may be the warmest hat ever.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bella's Art

I spent today watching SVU while knitting a requested drop stitch scarf (and I spun some yarn).

Now I used to think that random balls of yarn were scattered randomly through the house with no rhyme or reason. But lately, I've noticed shapes appearing, and it's clearly not my imagination. Bella, the artist was kind enough to demonstrate her yarn technique - utilizing the yarn that I was using for the scarf of course (Malabrigos of course, only the best for the discerning artist..)

Yarn is so plain knitted

But look at how amazing it is when shaped!




Have to roll the ball to just the right location..



What does it look like to you? This could be a personality test.

The finished masterpiece

Friday, January 14, 2011

Brainwashing

I finally have come to the conclusion, that the reason people continue to live in this horrible climate is because they don't realize there's a whole world out there to live in. They have been brainwashed (this potentially could be lutefisk poisoning, but that's pure supposition on my part) that to leave this state for more than 2 weeks will lead to imminent death. Really this is the only rational reason for people to stay here. Because frankly, this entire place should be abandoned as uninhabitable. Or at the very least, evacuated for 6 months old the year.

Yes, this is a highway. During a 'snow shower'

This is the car off the road, on top of a 4 foot snowbank. Not us.

On the way to pick up the kids in the snow - again.

We have had over 50 inches of snow this winter. 50 inches, that is still here. What it does is simple, it snows, and then gets below zero, then it warms up to the teens, and snows again. In an endless cycle, from November to I'm not sure when, over and over and over again.

Those of us not subjected to the brainwashing, who know this in reality is not a good thing, result to all sorts of escapism. For example, personally, today, I spent an hour making a playlist of music with Sunshine or Summer in the lyrics. I have approximately 15 hours of sunshine music. This is a good thing. However, it does not substitute for real sunshine, which is in extremely short supply right now. The last sunshine I saw, was Tuesday, and it was coupled as always with freezing temperatures too cold to go outside, and the roads too coated in ice to walk, the sidewalks are impassable at the parks anyway.

I of course, spin yarn, to offset the cold as well, convincing myself, that it makes me warmer due to activity and of course the large quantity of warm wool surrounding me, that can be made into serviceable wear for the mad dash to the car that I occasionally attempt. My goal is to have an entire roomful of outerwear before I move to a place where it's too warm to actually utilize winter items. I will then, pull them out, pet them, and carefully place them back into the closet, remnants of a frozen place.


Somehow I believe, whoever said Hell was hot, had never lived in a cold climate. Because my version of hell is frozen and I live there every day.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Time = Plans

Time, I have glorious time right now! So I worked up a mitten, hated it, and promptly frogged it. Really, this felt like a decadence. Because I can do it again tomorrow. Well, I should really clean house tomorrow, but hey, I can do that the next day - or week. We don't have to get specific here.

I did spin 6 oz of Corrie X into a bulky yarn. I'd already spun 6 oz of this, and this finished off my roving. This has really long color repeats, it will be interesting to see how it knits up. I wound a few balls of yarn, Mom is making a hat out of Malabrigo Rasta, and I need to make up a scarf for another hat she did.
Pretty yarn from The Painted Tiger again

And I need a pattern. I need an easy lace shawl pattern for about 400 yards of fingering weight yarn. With no purling involved. Purling lessons aren't going to be for awhile. Anyone have any ideas? It could be a scarf I guess, but I'm picturing something elegant and lacy, and well perfect for that 3 Irish Girls skein I bought awhile ago.
My magical skein destined for big things

My own personal challenge (well, besides the obvious going on a spirit quest to figure out the meaning of life) is to spin my way through the external roving pile. This isn't delving into to the wool closet, but rather eliminating one wicker basket, a rubbermaid tote, and a laundry basket full of roving. It's sitting here taunting me right now. So tomorrow I'm going to tackle it in earnest. And then on Saturday, I'm going to actually label all my yarn. That could be an entire day's job.

Maybe in reality I'm too busy to go back to work. Though if I am going to become a yarn hawker in Italy (or maybe Greece, Italy seems more yarny though in a way..) I will need to whip through all these projects and spin more yarn to sell. And probably knit hats. There I can be, like the guy in Hats For Sale wandering around, my dog at my heels, and probably Neptune the cat, hats on my head, scarves around my neck and yarn on my arm. This probably only has potential for a winter job really. I don't know, and I really need to learn to speak Italian, but whatever, I'll figure those details out tomorrow. Because tomorrow's another day - and I have time!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's a Sunshine Day

So on the bright side, I'm going to have a lot of time to blog.

On the bright side, I'm going to have plenty of time to write.

On the bright side, I'm going to have plenty of time to spin yarn.

On the bright side, I'm going to have a lot of time to figure out how to purl.

And on the bright side, the animals are so happy I'm home!

Yesterday my workplace imploded. It never ceases to amaze me, how corporate America can seek and destroy, and how quickly. The bombs fell without touching me. As a matter of fact, I was told I needed to be 'on board', and that they would 'be relying on me'. The problem with this is, I wasn't going to pick the shrapnel out of the wounds of everyone when it had been caused by an outside force destroying those I love. So I calmly left, and called later and said that I wouldn't be back.

Granted, quitting in this economy is at best a gutsy move, and at worst a stupid move. But I have left with my head high, and my ethics intact. At the end of the day, I have to do what is right for me, and what I can live with when I look back. And there are jobs out there. It's more of a question of what I want to do right now. Do I want to stay in this industry, try something new, or possibly sell all my belongings, move to Italy and become a yarn hawker. That one has quite a bit of promise really. In any case, I'm taking a few weeks off to decide and get my head on straight. We've known this might happen, but no one expected it yesterday at all.

But I have enough yarn stash and fiber stash to get me through a good sized layoff, so really, I'll be good. And my friends who were work friends, are now just known as friends. We'll all still be there for each other. We proved that over the past few months, and again last night. My workplace was kind of like a fraternity, you never really left, just extended your horizons a little.

Change takes courage, but opens new horizons too. Who knows what will be there. (anyone know how to say yarn for sale in Italian??)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cozy Kitties and Canines



There's no room on the blankie for me..

I left the heated blanket unguarded for a moment..
And lost control.

Totally Happy kitties (and dog)


Even Bella

Puts up with Mercury hugs and kisses - for a little corner of heat