31 December 2007

Thoughts of Old and New...

Well, I lost this month somewhere. Between birthdays and deaths, endings and beginnings of years, I realize it is time to take stock in the Haves and Have-Nots of my Life. What exists, what I hold on to, what I let go of--and acknowledge that while those may not have been the best choices of the past year, they were my choices.

I attend a UU church, and during every service is the time of Joys and Sorrows. While I did not stand at the front of the congregation yesterday, I recognized that my year has been full of both. As the next year will be.

To me, resolutions rarely stick. I have never lost that last ten pounds since my last child's birth, never paid off the credit cards in one fell swoop, never reconnected to those lost through time. However, this year I hope to make some promises to myself, not for ego gratification, but for true changes in my lifestyle.
For me, I desire a path of self-sufficiency, both inward and outward. The blog 100-Mile Diet has this on its New Years post:

"
Take time; go simply; choose connection over consumption; live deeply in the place you find yourself. Remind yourself to care.
"

Of course, I care about getting a new tattoo this year also...and finishing my knitting WIPs. I have another year of moments ahead of me to help with that.


10 December 2007

Second Decade


And the girl child turned 11 today. I don't know which is more amazing--that she made it this long, or I did.

She wanted no homework for her birthday. She almost got her wish--but sadly it was only a two hour delay for the schools. Ice melts.

Happy Birthday sweetheart.

09 December 2007

Finished


Ha! While the Universe conspires against me and the Knitting Goddess smiles and throws knots in my center-pull balls, I still accomplish a project!

Of course, these are for me. And I still have to block them. And now I have to actually LOOK at my class WIPs that have been languishing in my basket.

Sigh.

04 December 2007

Uncomfortably Numb

My Uncle Paul died last night.

He was hospitalized several weeks ago after being rushed to the hospital suffering from intestinal problems and fevers. My limited understanding is that he had diverticulitis and some of the pockets ruptured. Then his blood pressure, always high to begin with, shot up and he suffered some strokes. He was operated on, had part of his intestine removed, but was in a drug-induced coma for a couple of weeks. When he started to finally come out of it, he couldn't walk, could barely talk, and they weren't sure how good of a prognosis he had.

But, he left ICU, and left the hospital for a rehabilitation center. His daughter visited him. My father, his older brother, visited him. Even if he wasn't going to get much better, I was hoping for a chance to see him at Christmas.

Now I won't.

I grew up in my grandparents house, with my parents and sister. For the first few years there, my Uncle Paul was there too. He was more of a really big brother, only being 14 years older. I idolized him while as a child, and he would help babysit my kids during the last couple of summers. He kind of floated through Life--no firm career, no major goals. Married, divorced, personal problems, health problems, but he was living his Life.

And he was loved.

03 December 2007

Stuck

Stuck at Home:

Schools here are closed today, although there is barely an inch of snow outside. Obviously the three-days advance warning of bad weather could not prepare them enough to get the kids in. While my children do have an option for a drop-in at their after-school program--it's full today. I'd rather be at work. I have a lot to do. I have been working on designs for the online catalog that are more "kid-friendly". I think that some librarians believe that kids are a lot less savvy than they are, demanding bright colours and simple buttons, with words in BIG LETTERS.

I think kids know more about finding stuff online than WE do!

Stuck in a Rut:

One thing I have discovered about myself is that it is hard to leave my comfort zone--or at least I can give good long mental arguments why I shouldn't. I have been living in this new town for three months, and haven't made any new friends or found anything that inspires me to try.

The onset of winter isn't helping with that. I don't function well when earth turns grey and sleeps for the next few months. Nothing is bright and colourful, joy is hard to find when everything appears flat.

I guess right now I need to find the inspiration, the colours, the joy inside myself. Outside will turn with the seasons.

02 December 2007

She's Makin' a List...

I started a To-Do list last week when I realized that I was trying to remember far more details than my brain is allowing me these days. Once the list reached two columns, I knew I was in trouble.

I guess it really isn't too horrible though. I have kept it to the immediate things. I have to talk to my daughter's orthopedist because he has finally decided we have reached that window when she needs to have her leg operation. I have to talk to the school counselor for my son's SPED meeting. I have several birthdays this month, including my daughter who turns the grand age of 11. I did my freak-out about it last year--she's been a whole year in double digits and I have survived.

Not sure if I will survive the party at Chuck E. Cheese next weekend though. I think finishing up my will is on that list too.

Then of course there is the holiday fervor--shopping is almost done. Tree goes up this weekend. The signing and picture-stuffing of cards will be finished over this week. I have gifts to wrap and some to ship.

All in all, the list is manageable--as long as I don't put my regular Life duties such as work, chores, knitting and reading on there. Then I would probably realize I have 30 hours of stuff to put in my 24 hour days. But, I figure if the government can decide to change my sleep time by an hour either direction twice a year, I can decide to lengthen each day by a few hours to get everything done.

Right?

17 October 2007

Getting a Little Green

I love plants. They don't always love me though, as my most recent battle with a rosemary plant was lost. However, my upstairs neighbor recently gifted me with graftings of some of her plants (of which she has many). I may try to fight her for outdoor space next spring. There isn't a lot. A small area next to the front walkway. A tub on the front lawn. But, it encourages me to know that space can be made.


So, I have been inspired. I recently got this book from the library. It has wonderful listings of vegetables and herbs that all can be grown in containers. Did you know you can do hanging baskets for tomoatoes? I just wish it had turnips listed - I have been introduced to the wonderful flavour of fresh turnips sauteed with garlic. It beats all my childhood grumbles.




I currently have a small pile of plants that I do and do not know the names for. I have a couple Moses in the Basket. I have a Christmas cactus. I have a wonderful aloe plant. He has been with me for a couple years now, and I have gifted pups (as the little baby shoots are called) to a couple of friends. This is one plant I cannot kill. When I was in college, I had an aloe. In a basement apartment, I placed it in the windowsill of my kitchen. Now, mind you, my kitchen was at the interior of the layout, which meant the window faced the dirt underneath the front porch of the building. No sun, no water. I came away with three plants.



But my newest baby is this one. Ain't she purty? My sweet Lady J. sent her all the way from Indiana (not that she looks like a mid-Western bloom, does she?). This is a moth orchid, and the first I have ever owned. She's got a pedigree and everything, with the cross-breeds used to create her listed on the label. Funny thing about them is the aerial roots, she looks like she is overflowing her pot. Her colours are lovely though, and I am very fond of her.

Even if she is pink.

02 October 2007

Where Did I Go?

Everyone seems to have come and/or gone somewhere.

Kathy just got back from a vacation in Florida. Sheri is off to the mountains. My friend e_nigma came to Massachusetts from Utah, I think that counts. Melissa went to Maine. Stephanie came to her senses after finishing her latest book (and I cannot wait to get my hands on THAT!).

I have gone absolutely NOWHERE. Well, a bit crazy, possibly. I am still unpacking bits and pieces in containers from my move two months ago. My kids are having separate and distinct issues in school. My body seems to have lost its ability to recharge at night and I wake up tired and inflexible each morning. I have discovered that I totally missed both the start of the colour change in leaves and the fact that sunset comes an hour earlier than I thought. And, I find myself single, once again, after a mutual realization that love doesn't always mean happily ever after.

So, I have decided to devote this blog to the places that I would like to be, go to, or otherwise find myself in...

1. Italy - After reading Under the Tuscan Sun I dream of finding myself wandering small markets and eating outside. Although I will need a chauffeur, cause the descriptions of driving some of those streets is enough to make me give up cars altogether.

2. San Francisco - Besides wanting to admire this lovely venue of GLBT life, I think walking those hilly streets would put me in the best shape of my life.

3. Napa Valley - Beautiful country. Wine tours. I don't know what is much better.

4. Hawaii - Just cause it's Hawaii. I am not a sun worshipper, but I will take a walk on the beach any day.

5. Maine - Every person in my immediate family has been but me, dammit! It's matter of principle. And LL Bean.

6. Disney World - I went once at the age of 17, and only the Magic Kingdom and Epcot existed at the time. I wish I could say this was all for my children, but honestly, I want to go on the rides!

7. England - This has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. I was a devoted student of the British monarchy, and fell in adoration with a British exchange student in high school. How can you resist the accent?

8. Japan - Untangling My Chopsticks brought to life the cuisine and the history of the tea ceremony.

Until then, I will keep reading and dreaming.

15 September 2007

Because a Promise is a Promise

I hereby pledge that someday, somehow, you will be mine...




(Or your sister Piaggio model that can reach over 90 mph.)

'Nuff said.

12 September 2007

Sigh..

I have my bag all set to travel with me to work and play. New size 3 needles, a ball of sock yarn, my book. Everything is all, literally, at my fingertips to be in my hands.

Why can't I seem to get this first sock going then? I have ripped out the first two rows twice now because I cannot get 52 stitches to make an even 2x2 ribbing. I cannot pick up my project at work during my lunch time because I am either eating at my desk and knitting there seems, well, not quite appropriate and then my only other recourse is the cafeteria. Nuh-uh. I cannot settle down in this new space of mine yet. It isn't quite home to me, although I love it more than my previous place with its larger, colourful rooms. Knitting doesn't seem to be a top priority at night when there are still bins to unpack and lunches to make. The flow isn't quite there in my Life--and therefore, the flow isn't happening in my projects.

I guess this happens to everyone, right? I mean, I know it won't last forever. However, a little reassurance and inspiriation would be helpful.

03 September 2007

Is Your Mama a Llama?

No, but it seems these two think that statue is their mama. Obviously they get their legs from their father.

When the kids and I went to the park for the first time last week, there was only one bird at the base of the statue. He (or she) was completely still for so long, I originally thought it was two statues, but then it would move its head every so often and look up at the tall bird like it was thinking, "Can we go get some McDonald's now?"

Like any other child on the planet.

So, the kids played for a while, and I made some slow progression on my glove. I actually took a picture, but realized that those few rounds look so pathetic lying in my lap that I cannot even show it to you. No really. Once I am further along. Or have something else to show you. Or you completely forget about it.




However, I am happy to show you some more birds. The niblets were desperate to feed the ducks this time, and I must admit it is almost meditative for me. We like ducks. Many people do--and many tell you that they are filthy birds that foul (ahem) small waters when they stay past any regular migration patterns because they are fed by nurture, not nature, ways.

But geez, how can you not throw breadcrumbs to them? I have done it since I was a kid. It was one of my favourite things to do as a child. It was part of my Sunday ritual with my grandfather: get the Sunday paper at the news shop, go to the elementary school where he worked as a custodian, visit my aunt, then over to the local Stewart's for some day old bread and end at the pond where it seemed hundreds of ducks were. This ended after my teens, and then ended for real when the people who eventually owned the property had the city bar anyone from feeding the ducks cause they were destroying the natural ecosystem of the water.

But, even now, if I head down that street so many years later, there are still ducks there. You know someone's sneaking over before the morning paper is delivered to throw a few handfuls to them.

Not that I would ever do such a thing.

Labor Day...

A family in Florida just had sextuplets over the weekend. I think that is more than enough labor for a lifetime. Two was more than enough for me.

And, with today being a work-and-school day off for the three of us, I am ready to get us down to the local park to have them run off some of their energy and hopefully regain some of mine. Getting hit with some emotional and physical trauma over the weekend-I am on the upswing--I need some exposure to nature to recharge.

And some knitting.

This is one of a pair that I have been working on since spring. My plan for finishing class projects was rudely interrupted by a new job, moving and a ash of procrastination. However, this has been my "port-a-project". One that I could bring to doctor appointments, lunchtime at work, church, and always put it down and pick it up without worrying where I was in the pattern.

I would like to eventually progress to carrying around my attempt at socks, so I would like to get ONE project finished! So, this comes with me to enjoy the fresh air and the ducks.

31 August 2007

Accomplishments..

Success!

As you see on my sidebars, I have been moderately successful with adding some buttons to some of my favourite knitting places. It took me some trial and error, and I have lots of Wordpad "scribbles" on my desktop to clean off before signing off tonight.

The niblets have also completed their first week--well, four days--of school. They have taken to the transition pretty well: they like the new digs, much roomier than before; they enjoy their classes, although my daughter lamented her first day in fifth grade that "she already has homework!" I am hoping to get to the library tomorrow--I am jonesing for some new fiction. While the new Kathy Reichs novel is out, I know I won't get my hands on it for a few months. One downfall for not being the person who puts it on the shelf anymore--I don't get first dibs! I actually resorted to buying a book retail...haven't done that in a while. I really enjoy Patricia Briggs though, and Karen Chance, so this collection was worth it.

Yes, librarians like mind-candy too.

Unfortunately, I have also accomplished putting a big dent in my bank account with the new yarn that Sheri at The Loopy Ewe posted in her "Sneak Up" today. I had just innocently dropped a couple things in my cart to admire: a skein of DC Cocoa Kiss, one of Fleece Artist Somoko, some ShibuiKnits.

But then, I saw the sock blockers. They look like a necessary part of the sock knitting process. You want to make sure that your knitting is blocked properly when you are going to create garments to wear. That was what I was told in my knitting classes. I am going to need them, right?

I mean, once I start knitting socks. Soon, I promise.

29 August 2007

Look! Still Time for Books and Yarn!

Life has been crazy-busy over the last month...I have finished my job in western MA and moved myself, my kids, my cats, my books, my stash and all the other items I consider my apartment and landed smack in the middle of central MA.

I have shifted tasks from cataloging in a public library to digital work and web support for an automated library network. It is a steep learning curve since I have little background in either of those fields, but I am so glad that my brain seems up to the task. Plus I am really liking the job, which is a big plus. I am really hoping that I can translate these new skills into a revamp of my blog in the near future. I want buttons! I want a new banner! I want more purple! I want my Oompa-loompa NOW, Daddy!

While I do not consider myself an urban girl, I have planted myself smack in the middle of a somewhat-larger-than-I-like city for convenience to work. Luckilly I am less than an hour from my friends back on the western side, so that isn't too bad. However, this also adds an hour, two counting round-trip, while I try to plan my fall classes at WEBS. I have gotten Color Theory to fit in, now to try to arrange for anther Sunday session.

And, if the stress of moving, beginning a new job, unpacking in a new apartment, sending the niblets to a new school isn't enough...I have decided I want to learn to knit socks. No, I cannot wait until I can take the sock class, which I DO need to take for my Expert Knitters Certification (Sorry, Melissa!) So, I am going to try to delve into this myself.

Now, I consider myself a visual/tactile learner. Put the images in front of me, whether by book, video or demonstration, I can usually pick things up retty quickly. So, I just picked up a new book reviewed in the Fall 07 Interweave Knits issue. I like the pictures, the steps written and shown AND the ability to go off the beaten path with substitute yarns, textures and the like. While I hope to be able to whip some patterns off with size 0 needles eventually, that will not be my first attempt. Size 3 was small enough to purchase without having to put on my bifocals to read the number on the package.


I have also discovered a new site, The Loopy Ewe. This site is loaded with sock and lace yarn and various accoutrements that I lurked around before deciding to delve in. While my first sock yarn purchase is a one-off (ie. not part of a dye lot so one-of-a-kind) skein of this from WEBS, I also could not resist picking up some LL Sport in Seaside. Lovely!

Of course--this could all just be a subconscious plot to increase my stash exponentially. It will probably work too.


24 July 2007

I've Been Ravelry-ed!

I found this site Ravelry through the blogs of the Yarn Harlot, WEBS and MelissaKnits. So, if all three of these illustrious knitters think this was a good thing, well I want to hop on that bandwagon.

Also mentioned was that the site is in beta form and letting people sign up, with invites taking as long as five months. But the blog-swooning that I found coming from all these ladies told me that the wait would be worth it.

And today--I got my invite! I made a quick jaunt through the site, checking out the projects, the pictures, the people. I can show people all my half-finished projects! People who understand why I have a half-dozen in the basket, yet I am still looking at new patterns. I can print a card that lists all my needles! I have been looking for a way to figure out what I need, and staring at all those 14 in. needles made the little numbers swim before me.

I can also catalog and post my stash! That makes this little public library cataloger's heart beat a might bit faster--I know, it takes so little. However, this will have to be delayed until my move is finished. In a fit of packing frenzy, I boxed up all my stash for the next couple of weeks.

Sometimes it doesn't pay to think ahead.

12 July 2007

I Am Really Here...Somewhere

My life has gone into overdrive since last Thursday, at least in my mind. Plus all the people asking me if I was feeling over my head yet...that doesn't exactly help.

You see, I got offered a new job! One that I really, really wanted--without knowing I wanted it until you are half-way through the interview and you go "Damn, this would be great work!" And lo and behold, here I go!

For the last three years I have done cataloging and acquisitions for public libraries. I love it. Love it with a capital L. However, living in western MA with a Master's degree and two children and working jobs at non-professional wages, not so good.

Now, I am doing a bit of a shift. I will be working for C/W MARS, which handles the automated resources for libraries in central and western MA. My official title will be Digital Resources Librarian, as I will be coming in to maintain Digital Treasures, a repository of older images from the libraries. I will begin by doing some web design and code for other programs. This scares the living daylights out of me, as it is a weakness in my skills, but I am all for on-the-job training.

So, right now I am trolling for apartments in the Worcester area, preparing to pack up my belongings from the last three years, and hoping to purge a lot of unnecessary items. This is crucial to do the next couple of weeks, as the children are with their grandparents and not here to fight for the toys with missing pieces and three-year-old homework that is stuffed into the far recesses of desk drawers.

However, this also means packing up much of my knitting. No way that I can concentrate on it at this point. How am I going to function so far from WEBS? Thank the gods for internet ordering--plus I am sure I will be able to make some excuses for the hour drive west.

But, if anyone knows of any really good yarn stores in the Worcester area, please help a fellow knitter out!

01 July 2007

Chautauqua

Last weekend was wonderful and WAY too short. Since it is basically my only summer vacation, in fact, my ONLY vacation for the rest of the year, I will move on before I bring myself to tears.



My brain is pretty much mush right now. My daughter is back to enjoy three weeks of summer camp before heading to meet her brother in Lake George for the rest of the summer. (Well, I guess that could be considered my "summer vacation") We went to Six Flags yesterday, and I don't understand how six hours there could reduce my legs to the spaghetti strands they are today, as opposed to two days wandering downtown Toronto.



But, back to the topic on hand. Chautauqua. This is the one that brought the whole movement together and to a forefront. It is truly a wonderful place, I always breathe easier when there. It is a bit different though. It is a gated community: you can get day or season passes. Most vehicles have to be parked off-grounds, and main modes of personal transporation are bicycle or feet. There is a theatre, an opera house, a wonderful arts and music program, and each week is themed for the speakers and sessions. While there is some newer homes on the north and south ends, much of the center of the community are the summer homes and cottages that have existed for more than 100 years. I was fortunate to work for the Archives one summer, and love being able to go back. I don't know exactly what else to say about it so here are some pictures I took:











Pretty, huh?

21 June 2007

On the Road Again

And again and again and again...today was--and is--a driving day for me. This morning I had a Section meeting for Massachusetts Library Association in Southborough. For me, that is a 1 1/2 hour drive, one way. Then pop into work and scramble to make my trucks and shelves all nice and clean and shiny as after work I take off to Chautauqua for the weekend. This will be a minimum six hour drive. While there is a wonderfully scenic route along the southern edge of NY, I will take the nice 35 mile-spaced rest areas of I-90.

However, this is capped by winding up in Toronto. Yes, TORONTO! Home of the Yarn Harlot, who while seems lovely enough that if I lurked outside her mailbox, she might let me come in for a beer, I think my partner would have something to say about that. I can't even go look for Lettuce Knits. (insert pout here)

While exhausted and slightly overwhelmed by staying up too late packing way too much for a four-day weekend, I am bringing a portable project: my fingerless gloves, being worked up in Malabrigo Seleccion Privada, color f. My skeins are even deeper in colour than the pictures. I am also bringing some fun reading: Jim Butcher, Shirley Damsgaard and C.T. Adams--I should be headed to Salem instead.

19 June 2007

Same Show, Different Channel

So, I have decided that it is time for me to go beyond the walls of MySpace and venture out into the webworld of "official" blogging. I hope all my old friends and followers can find me here. If I had any...

Not that I have not been throwing my words to the masses that for the last several months, but since I do not normally allow my exhibitionist side to reveal herself--I figure it was go public this way or marching topless in Toronto this weekend in the Pride Parade. Trust me, this needs a lot less support.

Well, summer has officially begun here for me. The niblets are off to their grandparents for the summer, although my daughter will be coming back next week for three glorious weeks of summer camp. She was all excited for this until she received the information that Grandma was getting a pool for the backyard. Then I had to remind her that staying with Mom for a while and seeing friends and going on trips without her brother was really a good thing.

But, until then, I get to eat food that does not come from a Tyson bag or contains ketchup as a condiment, and indulge my baking skills with an apple torte I saw demonstrated this past weekend on the Barefoot Contessa. I also just received a copy of Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. Since I do not have the time to indulge in a class at WEBS, and having been inspired by the visit here by the lovely
Yarn Harlot, it is time to teach myself to knit socks.

I have also stocked up on the bar, as I believe that will become necessary for this project.