Thursday, March 06, 2008

What Can Be Better?

The Daughter is home for a couple of days. I just love spending time with my beautiful, talented, clever, funny offspring. (The Son fits all of those, too- but substitute "swarthy" for "beautiful.") (I love spending time with him, too- but he's not on break til next week.)

We both have work to do, so amidst a couple of appointments (Lasik followup and a lock-trimming), we're going to hunker down in the family room with a bunch of DVD's, a pot of coffee, a case of Diet Coke, and our laptops. Amazing how much work I've done during my "week off." I don't mind, as long as I can be with The Daughter during the couple of days she's home.

I had a lunch meeting at a colleague's house yesterday (try the Panera turkey panini with spinach and artichoke---YUM!!!). We're working on a project and she has two beautiful 9-month old twin girls. Much easier to do things on her turf. It was a very productive meeting, and we're well on our way with the project.

I've also been working on some Powerpoint presentations, and I'm having a ball. I figured out how to put in music and use a lot of the effects to the max. There are a lot of important things to teach and communicate at the hospital right now, and it makes me feel good to put it into a form that people enjoy experiencing. This is very time consuming, but it's like play to me-- many hours put to good use.

I used to feel a bit guilty about the "play factor" associated with doing these projects, until My Sister#4 turned me on to Brat Factor. It's done by Pam & Peggy- the Sidetracked Sisters who spawned FlyLady. (Hey, Erin-- you seeing a theme here?) I keep hoping it'll kick in-- baby steps.

Anyway-- Brat Factor is based on the premise that we all have an "inner brat". (I named mine Edith Anne- remember Laugh In?).
The motto is:
"If it isn't fun, it won't get done"

(Now I have to buckle down and get one of my lectures finalized. JUST DO IT!- And MAKE IT FUN!!!)

On the knitting front: I've made pretty good progress on the first hand towel while watching college basketball on the tube. (Jane-- that's telly, not subway to you). March Madness should be a very productive time. Once I just paid attention to the knitting and not reading the pattern all the time, it decided to work with me.

I'm looking forward to "before" and "after" pictures with it, because there appear to be a lot of holes where knit meets purl, and small irregularities because the linen fiber is a bit irregular and pretty stiff. It's going to bloom and relax, I know... It's a nice travelling project in lieu of socks and mittens. Not too big, not too heavy, and makes more visible immediate gratification progress on 5's than socks on 0's.

And sometime soon I need to overcome my fear of sleeve caps and finish the darn Tilted Duster so I can WEAR it!!! (I guess I need to focus on how much fun it will be to have it finished.)

Sometime soon.

Random pic of the day:

Double rainbow somewhere in Ohio near Cleveland.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

It Was a Beautiful Day

Although it was quite windy and a bit chilly.

But despite the wind and the chill and the crowds (A very early St. Pat's Day Parade in Alexandria-- pretty soon it'll be held in January) our hearts were warm and it was one of the best recent days ever.

I met up with some Irregulars at Knit Happens. I haven't been able to make it to Late Night for several weeks, and I really missed everyone. It was like coming home after a long time away.

We caught some yumminess at Chipotle and on return to The Shop I set to the business of the most unbelievable in-person yarn sale I've experienced. Stef, Michelle and Kelly had incredible deals... 25--50--75--80--90--90 % off some of these terrific yarns!!!! I picked up a bunch of FibraNatura Flax (50%), some Nature Cotton (90%), a boatload of King Tut (90%), some Noro Kochoron (70%)-- Un-be-bleepin'-lievable!!!

I started on some linen hand towels, using the flax, as a special gift for a special person, using a pattern from Mason-Dixon Knitting. I'm using the Addi Lace needles-- a good match with the linen whch is a bit "splitty."

I ended up doing a bit of frogging. First I cast on the wrong number of stitches. Then my conversations interfered with basic counting... the beat goes on. I can say that the linen reacts pretty well to frogging and tinking, and softens up nicely. I am so looking forward to getting one finished so I can wash it and experience the drapiness promised by the Mason Dixons, Ann and Kay.

FidgetAnn met us after her class, and after a bit more sittin' and knittin', we (Ann, Dani, Elspeth and I) headed off in search of Margaritas and perhaps a bite to eat.
South Austin Grill was packed, so I suggested Hard Times Cafe, which has the best chili in the hemisphere if not the world. (I'd venture to say the world, since it doesn't seem likely to me that any other nation could "do" chili as well as the good ol' USA.) The chili (try the Frito pie) and Margaritas were out of this world. (I like all the chilis- but my favorite is Texas- as dry as possible.)

Then off to the Metro to head in separate directions, and home.

I continued to bungle the towel, and realized the reason I was messing up on this extremely easy pattern was that I was tuckered out, so frogged the whole thing and started over today.

Good decision, and I'm on my way.