Fast Fridays and Crocheted Pooling

 

The long hot days of summer have a way of making one lazy.  I still haven’t finished the Shark Bite socks I was so eager to start a month ago.  I’ve completed one sock and I’m slogging my way through the other one.  I’ve had to frog this project so many times I’ve seriously thought of giving it up; however, after spending $43 for the yarn, I just can’t.  I’m sure they’ll be my favorites as soon as they’re done, but that seems like such a long way away.

In the interim, I’ve started on a scarf using the pooling technique.  I’ve put that one off for awhile.  I’d heard about how hard it was, but argyle plaid is one of my favorite designs, so…

My progress since making the video

But it’s not all work, work, work over here.  I actually went to the races, something I’ve done only once before in my life.  The actual racing itself doesn’t capture my attention, but as I went with a good friend whose son and grandchildren are involved, it took on a meaning.  I had someone to root for rather than just watching some bikes race around a lap.  The engine noise could be a bit loud, but all I had to do was pull out my hearing aids and we were rocking!  LOL

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All in all, we’re enjoying life here in Northern California.  How about where you are?

See you in the funny pages!

For the first time in over 30 years…

I’m doing my laundry in a laundromat. Such captivating entertainment!

And it is expensive. Wow. Takes me back to the last time I did this. I was active duty stationed in England. And so young! 

I am also going to take advantage of this down time to update my readers (hi mom!) of what’s going on. 

St. Patrick’s day hat – incomplete

I have been in a strange mood. I should be whipping out bunnies for the upcoming Easter season, but I just don’t have the heart.  Same for St. Patrick’s day. 😕 I understand life goes on, and I also understand that sometimes, you need to sit back and watch it go by, even though it rankles the hell out of me. 

But I don’t understand what I did to highlight these paragraphs!

I must say all is not lost. I am making headway on my Hawaiian shirt that I attempted last year. 

Wave action!

 I’m not using the same cotton yarn I tried last time, but a more user friendly acrylic. I’m very excited about it and will post the pattern as soon as it’s finished – assuming it makes the cut. 

So, dear readers, I hope you’re enjoying your Tuesday, or as in my case, reliving an experience – and making the most of it!!

Sad News

Necessary mittens

Necessary mittens

It’s February and this winter has gone on forever.  Normally, I’m a real fan of cold weather.  I look forward to having a crackling fire going in our stove or playing outside in the snow and having an excuse to knit or crochet almost nonstop.  Of course, this month is generally when the blahs kick in and I can’t get excited about anything, but this year the constant rain and darkness and worry is creating a different feel to my usually scheduled February lassitude.

On Sunday, my mother-in-law passed away (see Of Flooding and Exploding Dryers).   That was way ahead of schedule.  My husband was shocked, naturally, but also because he had just talked to his mother only a few days ago and she hadn’t indicated things were any worse.  As to the why my husband and I had this erroneous notion that her death was in some mid-long distant future, I can’t really say.  Maybe because she appeared to be relatively healthy and mobile when we saw her last month, or maybe, truly, we just didn’t want her to go.  Since this notion created a warped sense of of time, preparations that should have been made earlier were all of a sudden upon us.  We’ve spent the last several days making travel arrangements, funeral arrangements, buying clothes and so much more that I can’t think straight – and there’s still a lot more to do.  As I lie here in bed, typing this entry in the dark, I hear the wind whipping up the trees and hope this won’t delay any travel plans for tomorrow because I am ready for this to be over.

Our new fur baby, Nicky, playing with his recently adopted brother, the chocolate lab, Mario.

Our new fur baby, Nicky, playing with his recently adopted brother, the chocolate lab, Mario.

In the meantime, life goes on.  I’ve managed to make a few more hats for sell, make our new little rescue fur baby a doggie vest and I’m working, slowly, on a pair of mittens.

What are you working on?  I need some good news, dear readers!

*Name changed for privacy.

Ain't he a little stinker?

Ain’t he a little stinker?

Of Flooding and Exploding Blow Dryers

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We’ve all heard the expression “When it rains, it pours.”  January was a monsoon for me.

It actually started mid-December with the news of my mother-in-law’s stage IV stomach cancer diagnosis.  With a six-month timeline, Elke* has opted to receive hospice care.  All her life she’s dealt with cancer.  It started in her late 20s, returned in her 40s, again in her late 60s, and with this last bit of news, she said she’s done.  Prognosis was not good to begin with, and she just didn’t want to go through the “cure” again.  Her husband, John*, has been displaying signs of dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease.  He had to be reminded who we were, and yet, most cruel, he’s aware of it right now.  They live in Texas, three and a half states over, and timing was not good.  But it had to be done.

The journey back to Texas was odd.  Any road trip I’ve taken before has always been a good thing.  My husband and I made the most of it, since it was three days hard travel.  My sister, who lives in Bakersfield, was gracious enough to let us use her place as flop house.  We literally spent less than 15 minutes talking to her before we headed for bed, and then in the morning, we hugged one and another and moved on, both going and coming back.  The second day out, I wrote some errant thoughts.  Those long drives gives a person way too much time to think.

January 4, 2017, Wednesday

When the sun is rising, the errant contrail casts a shadow on the higher clouds

Driving east along Interstate 10 to Texas

Don’t know how to feel

Sedimentary, layered mountains Las Cruces

Texas landscape out of El Paso flat

Scrub brush

Minimal traffic

Can use cruise control – indefinitely

Occasional butte, rolling hills

Road stretches out in front of you in gentle, undulating waves

Cerulean sky, painted with high altitude stratus clouds

Harmless, no rain

When sun is setting, the color of the western sky shifts from blue to lavender, then gradually to a dusky plum, all but obscuring the horizon, then gradually, deep purple to the black of night.

Headlights

On the third morning of our visit, I was drying my hair, when my blow-dryer of at least 10 years decides to go out with a bang.  Sparks flew and I had to unplug it to stop the sparks from turning into flames.  The acrid smell of burnt electronics filled our hotel room for at least a day.  I felt it was appropriate, somehow, that it should happen at that time; however, I had spent the night before crying, so it was possible I was just upset.  Saying good bye to something else, even something as replaceable as a minor appliance, really set me off.

When driving back, we ran into the storms in Northern California that we’d been monitoring even before we left.  It was an eye-opener to see the areas around Sacramento, flooded by water that had overrun the bank of the Cosumnes River.  Sacramento has the American and the Sacramento Rivers to deal with and the levies around the city are monitored more closely.  What I photographed was the Cosumnes River gone a bit wild, just south of Elk Grove, a suburb of SacTown.  And then from Highway 99 North to I80 East, up around Applegate, the trucks were pulled over because the road over Donner Pass was closed due to snow.

I was so grateful to be home…because our garage was flooding.  We got some more sandbags (don’t ask) and cleaned up what we could.  Thanks goodness the foundation is concrete, and no real damage was done.

On a lesser, but more immediate note, my husband’s car has stopped running.  The money we would have used to fix that was spent visiting his mother.  It sits in the front of the house, ads running on Facebook, Letgo and Craigslist with no results.  I guess no one wants a mechanic’s project at this time.

There is more to the story, but I will leave it.  Sometimes it’s good not to tell so much, and this is one of those instances.

*names changed for privacy

Seasonal Cash Idea for the Crocheters

shopping-card-of-moneyHey, everybody. It’s getting to be that time of year where some of us need a little extra cash. I discovered a decent consignment shop where I take my work and have someone else sell it.  The cut is a bit higher than I would like, but this shop really moves it because there’s a bunch of foot traffic. You pay for location no matter what, huh?

The finished product from my pattern

The finished product from my pattern

Anyway, I have found that my Foxy Hooded Cowl is a big seller.  As a crafter,  what makes this particular design so attractive is that it’s not tremendously expensive to make, is quick to work up (usually no more than three hours) and it’s just so darned cute it won’t sit on the shelves long.  You actually feel like you’re making some money, versus just paying for the materials!

Does anyone else do this on a regular?  What are your big sellers?  Do you mix up crafts?  Let me know!

Cold and Flu Season

As I sit here in the perpetual twilight of my house that is a Northern California winter, clacking away on the laptop, I let out a deep, bronchial

Oh, yea. I feel pretty.

Oh, yea. I feel pretty.  And yes, I have a great RBF.

cough that seems to reach back 10 years.  Oh, yea.  Hurts so good…  As the title suggests, this is about being sick.  Kinda.  Not really.  It’s just a segue.  But read on anyway.

I expect one cold a year, and this one is early.  They normally show up around January or February, so whatever this is, it was in a hurry.  Probably trying to run its rounds before the upcoming election.  (Ha!  Can’t get around that impending disaster about now.  And I also can’t shake the feeling that we’re being played to, and that the actors cast for their particular roles are not very good.)

So back to me, because this is my blog.

Have you ever started a project, let it set for years, brought it out, put it back and let it molder for another few years, and repeated that cycle?  Oh, you haven’t?  Well, bless you!  Because this project has loitered around my consciousness for close to a decade.  Sometimes it’s in the forefront, where I believe I’ll actually bring it out to play, the other times, it sits dormant for years, and then I’ll see something that reminds me, Oh, yea.  I need to work on that.  In an effort to get the damned thing done, I’ve brought it out of its hiding place in the upstairs closet, put it next to the stove in the family room and waited for inspiration to strike.  This ploy has worked a bit.  I’ve brought out my paints and dabbled here and there.

Like my knitting and crocheting, I prefer to work on my projects in a linear fashion, i.e., one project at a time, and if I’m stuck on one particularly difficult task, everything gets backed up.  So for close to 10 freakin’ years my painting groove has been backed up.  Must not be a serious thing for me, because you’d think I’d move on.  Honestly, I have sneaked in a painting or two since…actually several.  They went to a good friend of mine, Miss Pamela Fein (images not available), and my mother, who usually gets any decent* painting of mine.  Ok.  You got me.  I have been painting a little on the side, but I feel like this unfinished still life has been choking me and needs to be done.  Now.

Which brings me back to the sickness.  I’m over the worst of it, I hope, because I’m starting to drain.  I don’t feel like dancing a jig or going out to the costume tonight (damnit!  My husband and I were going to dress up as Bob and Linda Belcher.), but I do feel like…painting.  Being sick has forced me to stay indoors, where I would usually knit or crochet, but not today.

You may be asking yourself, Glenda, why are you telling us?  I would initially shrug my shoulders and play ignorant, but in all honesty, I think I need a boost.  What’s your long-running project that you finished?  What was it that made you think, Ok.  We’re done with having this hanging around, let’s finish it!  Was it writing?  Painting?  Crafting?  Woodworking?  Tell me!!  I want to hear your story.

See? We're almost there. Kinda.

See? We’re almost there. Kinda.

*Don’t judge!

Of Miracles and Ponchos

A few days ago, a miracle happened to my friend.

Sister checking out her baby brother

Sister checking out her baby brother

Well, when you think about it, in depth and medically, objectively, and statistically, it is a miracle.  The fact that it happens about 353,000 times a day around the world does not diminish the joy, the awe and profound sense of wonder for the new parents when it happens to them.

I was privileged to hold the little gift.

I was privileged to hold the little gift.  I was trying not to breathe on him!

What was so quirky about this baby’s path is that a month before he was conceived, my friend, Wendy, had decided to have a tubal ligation.  I remember asking her if she was sure.  Once these procedures are done, there’s usually no going back.  It’s done.  She said, yes.  She didn’t want anymore babies, didn’t want to be pregnant and in her thirties.

The day before her procedure is scheduled, she cancels.  Doesn’t want to do it.  When I saw her again, I hugged her and then asked again, Are you sure?  She was sure; said it didn’t feel right.  I guess she knew, because here he is, 10 months later, her intuition.  The labor was all of one hour and 30 minutes long and relatively easy.  I say relatively, since the uterus really didn’t have any time to adjust, like in longer labors, and she was having the worst cramps when I took that picture.  She was near tears.  Needless to say, I didn’t stay long.  I know when I’m in pain, I don’t want to maintain friendly conversation!

I was just so happy for her, I had to write about it!

Fall colors

Fall colors

Now for the poncho.  (If you know of a better segue, please let me know!  The miracle of birth and life is a tough act to follow.)   The way I’m putting it together feels more like a vest…poncho?  Anyway – no sleeves!  Yay! It’s a gift for my postal carrier, so I thought of how she works and what she does.  I didn’t want the standard poncho design, because it would get in her way. I’ve been seeing pictures of ponchos that have buttons on the side and look sensible and relatively easy to make, especially when you’re lifting boxes and moving all day long.  It wouldn’t get in the way.  So, with a gleam in my eye, I decided to create my own design.  I did ask her favorite color, and she likes green also!  I didn’t want to overwhelm her with a monochromatic palette, so I added in some festive yarn.

Now I have a bit of a dilemma.  I have decided to drop it off at her work when it’s finished, which should be within a week.  My great fear is that she won’t like it.  You know how it is when you’re making someone a handcrafted gift.  Should I leave it anonymously and let her figure it out?  Or, should I let her know, so she knows whom she should be disappointed with?  (I know…bad sentence structure!)  Or is there another way I’m not thinking of?  I’m making a poll, so please let me know!