Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Home Again (There), Home Again (Here)...

But it's never easy. Not easy to leave The Parents, whose love and total acceptance have sustained me for my whole life through ups and downs, and decisions that at times I'm sure they thought were not so great.
And it was not easy getting home here, out of the airport! We left Chicago early, and made it to the nation's capital in record time. Great, I thought. I'll be home before 10:15, and be in bed by 11. Nice thought... until someone's hanging bag got caught in the belt on the baggage carousel. What a mess!!!

Hangars and clothes inextricably tangled and wedged in the little spaces. And the baggage from our flight was all staged under that carousel. So they had to move it to the other one. The Husband was doing laps around the airport-- as were the friends and relations of all the other people on the flight-- while it took AN HOUR for us to get our luggage. Did I mention that for short trips I only take a roll-aboard or small duffel and don't usually "do" luggage? Well this time my parents lent us 2 large suitcases to use for an upcoming big trip, so I brought them back with me. Wouldn'tcha know???

It was so wonderful to be with The Parents. Mom's doing well, and is in remarkable spirits. Dad is such a host all the time... "More coffee??? Can I get you anything???" He thrives on it.

I gave Mom the hats-- here's the Celtic Cap being blocked.

The bad part of the visit was that I came down with probable food poisoning on Saturday (most likely from some turkey I'd bought the day before and put in a salad). It was pretty awful. And I was afraid at first that I had some kind of virus, and that I'd exposed Mom. I was especially distressed, because we'd ordered Famous Dave's and a bunch of my brothers and sisters and their kids were coming over. I didn't leave the bed except for some rather violent activity. My ribs are still sore. (#1 brother was so sweet. He knocked on the door and brought me a 7-Up mid-hurl). On Sunday, after we analyzed the symptoms and my rather rapid response to pepto, we decided that food was the most likely culprit. Everyone came back for brunch, so I got to see them, although we didn't do any embracing, "just in case."

I was able to get some knitting done, and have made some respectable progress on this. I didn't bring enough yarn along, so had to stop short of the end of the first sleeve.

And Mom gave me these:

Aren't they cute? Hats ranging from teeny to small for the babies at our hospital. Mom loves to knit, and she whips these out like crazy.

On Monday The Parents and I took a walk along the river in our town, and it brought back so many memories... And one thing that I hadn't seen before was a memorial to a man from our town who was killed in the attack on the Pentagon. It brought back all the emotion and memory... but I didn't cry, which surprised me. I wonder if there are callouses on my soul-- or if I'm finally doing a better job of coping.

And now I'm back home (here), to The Loving Husband, and my friends The Irregulars, and-- tomorrow-- to work.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Quick Update

Nothing profound or fancy today, and no time for pictures. Newsboy hat is blocked and dry; Celtic cap is done (and quite lovely, I do believe). I'll give it a bath tomorrow at Mom & Dad's. I'm going home for a few days to spend some time with them.

I went to Late Night for some emotional regeneration and was thrilled to see Phyllis, Aimee, Erin,Holly, Niki, Liz, Carol, Ann, Maeve (You say "Hello" and I say "Goodbye')-- a pretty hefty percentage of Irregulars. After a bit of deliberation, I decided to cast on the right front side of the Debbie Bliss bolero shrug and proceeded to ADD myself into a frogging situation. So I'll probably rip out and start over tomorrow morning while waiting for my plane.

I've been very tied up with work, and haven't had time to center on the things that are most important to me. So I'm looking forward to a few days of focusing on The Parents. Mom's having a minor procedure while I'm home, so I'm glad I'll be able to be there for hand-holding purposes.

Catch y'all next week.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

No Knitting Now

At least not for another couple of days. I had a huge burst leading up to the last blog, and the Celtic Cap is exactly the same today as it was then. I somehow misplaced the 3 pages I actually use of the 12 in the (did I mention wonderfully and flexibly written) pattern. So I had to print it out again. And now I'll need to find my place. It shouldn't be too hard, but I won't get to it today or tomorrow.

The Daughter's Spring Break ended for us on Saturday when she returned to Blacksburg. I was able to schedule work so that I could be off for several days while she was home, and we had fun. We had lunch out, did some shopping, and we both needed haircuts. Mine's back to where it belongs, and hers is, I think, the shortest it's been in her 20 years of life. It is darling-- about chin length, and it will be easy for her during the summer. We made a quick stop by the shop to chat with The Irregulars on Wednesday.

We covered a chair-- and it looks really great. I should have taken pictures. It was one of those bare white armchairs from IKEA that needs to either be covered or get a slipcover. We did it in a cocoa-colored microsuede fabric. I watched the people in Changing Rooms and Trading Spaces when they sort of held up fabric and pinned it, then cut it and sewed. Hey-- it works!!! I'd say it took about 4-5 hours to do from start to finish. The actual sewing part was only about an hour, and most of that was trying to figure out which direction to go and try to avoid poking myself with the pins.

If you decide to try this at home, make sure you have enough pins. You'll need dozens if not hundreds. I got poked plenty, and the tips of my fingers are still sore from inserting and removing pins through the heavy fabric. I probably should have used a leather thimble or something.

The bottom of the seat isn't sewn. If I'd had more time, or more energy, I probably would have finished that part. As it is, the fabric that comes in from the back, the arms, and the bottom of the front are tucked under the seat cushion. Since the fabric is microsuede, and the cushion fits tightly, it seems like it will "hold". We'll find out, and I can always tidy it up later. The cover is stapled to the chair frame around the bottom.

During the construction of the chair cover we watched Almost Like Heaven and The Wedding Crashers. Both fun, feel-good movies. The Wedding Crashers wasn't as mindless as I thought it was going to be. It was good to see Owen Wilson as not a total idiot.

During cushion construction we watched The Constant Gardener. Definitely NOT a feel-good movie, but SO worth watching. It is truly a well-done, disturbing, well-acted film. I highly recommend it-- but make sure your head is in a good place.

I did have to go to work a couple of days, and on one of those, The Daughter came in and took some pictures for The Writing, since she knows my camera better than I do.

Of course, days away from work have not been days free from work, as I'm still working on The Chapter whose deadline is tomorrow. I've been doing a bit on it every day, and since the content is the same as The Article, only really pared down and in outline form, I'm not at all stressed. The pictures are taken, and now it's just a case of pulling it together, getting the references straightened out and emailing it to the publisher. (Tell me again WHY I thought this was a good idea?) I'd rather be knitting.

The Son is on break now--came home late Saturday night. I worked a bunch at the end of last week and over the weekend, and I haven't been able to spend as much time with him as I'd like, especially since he's mightily in to sleep while I'm conscious. I need to go in to work today for a couple of hours, so maybe we can do something this afternoon. He leaves tomorrow for a trek with frat buddies. Tonight will be corned-beef and cabbage (our second in 2 weeks, since The Daughter needed to have some last week.) Not only will The Son not be here on St. Patrick's Day, but it's also Friday during Lent, and, you know...

I need to put together a lecture to give next week, and it'll take a few hours, so Thursday is for that. But only part of Thursday is for that.

Some of it will be for knitting.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Nous Avons Les Chapeaux

... Or at least we're working on them.

The Newsboy Cap, as previously mentioned, is completed but not "finished". I'm waiting for The Husband and The Daughter to finish the jug of milk in the fridge so I can cut the brim stabilizer out of the side. And if I don't like the way it feels, I'll pick up some heavy buckram at the fabric store. The pattern recommends plastic mesh-- and I have some... who knows... I'll make a decision soon. And then to block:

And here's....

.........................The Celtic Cap .........................

So very much fun to knit. And may I say addictive? "Yes, I need to go to sleep-- but just one more round. Well, maybe just one more". Although Carol taught me to cable without a needle, I'll save that handy tip for simple 2x2 or 3x3's. I DEFINITELY need the cable needle on this one!!! The picture is a little blurry, but you can see the cables. I just love the way they come into form row by row. And I really envy those who can figure it out without looking at the pattern all the time. There are some areas that are intuitive, but then again... I've done a couple of Aran things earlier in my life, and I've been a slave to the chart if it gets at all complicated.

There have only been a couple of places I've had to rip, and luckily, have been able to stay within one cable panel for the fixin's. I've gotta get moving on a bunch of stuff today, so a better picture will show up when it's done.

And since I'm on a hat roll, I'm going to need to think seriously about a stocking cap for The Son who asked for one last year.

Hmmm... Has someone been neglected?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Progress, Progress

No pictures right now, but maybe this afternoon.

Mom's home from hospital and doing pretty well. I spoke with her yesterday, and she's been relatively pain-free and seems to be in excellent spirits. We are so blessed to still have both of our parents. Do not think for a second that any of us take it for granted. This is such a gift.

Talk amongst my sibs centers this week on 2 of The Brothers. #2 just got a job as director of operations for the Milwaukee Brewers. I can't tell you how excited The Nurse's family is about this. #2 Brother and his wonderful wife and really neat kids have been in Omaha for the past several years, which they like just fine. But now they'll be really close to the Chicago area, and back to running a baseball parks, which is what #2 really loves to do. (#3 runs Jacobs Field for the Indians.)

The other excitement is #4 Brother's upcoming wedding in June. Of course, any opportunity to get together is wonderful, but weddings are the best. The Beloved and her daughters have their dresses, and I'm privileged to be making the garter. I'll need to get to that soon. Carol has some good ideas for me-- I'll have to commit them to paper, as my brain was rather rattled when we were discussing it before.

In knitting progress, the coral Newsboy hat is completed but not "finished". I need to put the bill stabilizer in and block it. I'm quite happy with the way it turned out. Perhaps a picture this afternoon while being blocked?

I started, and am about halfway through the Celtic Cap that I came across on Kelly's blog a few days ago. It's also for my Mom.

I cast on at Friday's Late Night at The Happy Place, and just worked on it like crazy yesterday. I'm doing it in Debbie Bliss Cathay in a dark teal on size 3's. I gotta tell you-- I'm really lovin' this project. And here's a plug for the pattern: It's written with directions for any type of yarn!!! I was just amazed. So worth the $3. I chose the Cathay because I wanted something that would be light and totally non-itchy. I might just have to make another one for myself-- and maybe one for The Daughter, and let's see, I have 4 sisters, and 12 girl nieces..... well, maybe not for everyone. But in the interest of time, I'll probably do mine with larger gauge.

The Daughter came home last night for spring break and I'm just thrilled to see her. She'll probably do the college student thing and spend most of the time sleeping, but while she's awake, I plan to have her help me with the slipcover for the apartment living room chair. I'd really like to get that completed.

And the rest of today? Well, it's devoted, for a couple of hours at least, to the book chapter. It's not the stress of the article, so for that I'm grateful. Then a bit of grocery shopping-- we are seriously out of basics (NO EGGS!!!! but at least there's coffee) and then, I can't wait to get back to the Celtic Cap.

(and maybe I can sneak in a stop to The Shop)