Monday, October 25, 2010

Beautiful Autumn

First of all.... no pictures. Not that I didn't take lots of them on our cruise to New England and Canada--- and to/from Blacksburg for football games, and lots of beautiful foliage pics.

Someone decided that they needed my camera more than I did, and it was apparently stolen from my boss's office at work.

It's been an amazing time, though.

After a couple of losses, the Hokies are doing quite well--- rebounding and leading the conference division. We've had some wonderful weekends with The Offspring for game weekends, and it's been precious time together. We've spent time with dear friends at tailgate parties, and it's been good.

Work continues-- I love my work-- I just hate going to work. The traffic gets worse by the day, and my patience requires constant bolstering.

Our cruise took us to Newport, Rhode Island; Halifax and Sydney Nova Scotia, and Quebec. We had time to relax, and time to be together, and we met some terrific people. Since the pictures are gone, the memories will have to live in my heart.

I've been knitting again. I'm doing hats now, which seems to be working well, because I can get them finished in a reasonable amount of time, and I'm hoping to give them to sisters and sisters-in-law this Christmas.

Today and tomorrow will be focused on shopping for and preparing baked goods for our bake sale at work.

And I might just get myself a new camera.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Over The Top-- Or Hidden Beneath It

I love to knit.....
but REALLY?????????

Friday, August 27, 2010

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

I go to the ballpark in Washington DC once a year, except for this year when I went twice this week. My place of work has an annual outing for nurses who are certified in their specialties, and we look forward to it. It was scheduled for Thursday (last night)

The Husband was a bit jealous, so he decided we should go see the Cubs playing against the Nationals on Tuesday night. Being a Chicagoan, I like ALL Chicago teams-- and while I might have a bit of a preference for the American League--- really-- it's baseball!!!

The Cubs won, and it was a great game.

And.... I had my annual Ben's Chili Bowl Half Smoke all the Way. If you've never had one, all I can say is... you really, really must.Last night the Nationals played the Cardinals. A good game. A really good game.

I saw a guy who was a co-worker and friend 20 years ago. We had a chance to catch up-- it was great to see him. When we worked together last, my kids were little bitty, and now they're both graduated from college!

I had a SECOND annual Ben's Chili Bowl Half Smoke all the Way. (Seriously back to South Beach now-- no further discussion!!!) And the game kept getting better. It was tied in the bottom of the 9th when we left, as many in our group had to work today. When I got home- an hour and a half later-- I turned on the TV. The game was STILL tied, and STILL going on. So in the 13th inning, the Nats got a run, and won. And I could finally go to sleep.

It's not too hot, so I've been able to spend some time outside--- a welcome break from an unbelievably busy, busy time at work.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

An Era Ends

Stef and Katie check out patterns

I'm still trying to catch my breath, and imagine my world without Knit Happens.

The knit shop I go to (soon "went to") is closing after 6 years. The Manager has had too many hassles with the landlord, and she decided to take a new turn in life. We've all been through a lot together--- weddings, deaths, travels, kids in college, job changes, (weight changes).... these are my away-from-work adult friends. KH (Knit Happens) is where we met every week to catch up, be creative, check on each others' progress, and breathe. It was the "safe place". So now, we need to figure out a new plan. There is another lovely shop in town, but this was "my" LYS.

In other news, progress is being made on February Lady Redux. (See Elspeth above, modeling hers in grey.) I was able to get about 45 minutes of knitting in during a traffic hang-up on my way back from Blacksburg on Thursday. I was hurrying to meet up with "The Irregulars" for KH's Irish Wake, and was making great progress when all of a sudden, traffic just stopped.

So I sat on I-66, amongst some 20 miles of cars, and knit.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Back to the Needles

<-- That's not me; it's a picture of the designer wearing the sweater. Ok-- here's the story.... I started the February Lady Sweater quite awhile ago. I'm knitting it in Water Lily in a wonderful variegated muted orange color. Made pretty good progress. Needed to put it down for a bit. Picked it up again. Started doing the shoulder increases on the wrong side. Looked terrible (it was quite apparent to me-- would have been even from the back of a galloping horse.) Put it back down. For a long time.

So when I was getting ready to head south to the mountains for the weekend, I unearthed it, thinking I could fix it. I picked up some little dpn's at Mosaic in Blacksburg, and ripped the offending "make-one's" down to where I messed up. I figured I could just knit them back up, but the beautiful pattern made by the twists in the "make-one's" would not reappear. So I frogged the whole 3 skeins' worth.

I started over, and I think it's going to be ok. I cast on for a smaller size to make the neck ride up a bit higher, and calculated that with 8 increased stitches every row, it'll only need another 2 rows to catch up with the pattern.

I finished 12 repeats of the neverending (well, truth be told, it will only be 31 repeats) garter stitch. I'm happy with the second buttonhole. The first one is a bit sketchy looking, but I'll crochet or stitch around it so it looks prettier.

So-- the question is whether this will actually achieve FO status. I'm back on the needles, and hope I'm back in the saddle.

(stay tuned---there WILL be pictures)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Back to Reality

Just got back from an incredible family get-together in Minnesota. It was bittersweet-- a few tough moments. We raised a glass of Dalwhinnie in honor of Mom-- and as she would wish, proceeded to have a fantastic week.
In Lighter News...

One of the big summer events in Nisswa, Minnesota is the weekly Turtle Races held on Wednesdays. This week's had over 600 entrants. Our group of 40+ attended in force-- with matching t-shirts designed by a family member. It was a sight to behold. (we pretty much took over a couple of the heats).

So here's the deal. You pay $4 to enter, and you get a button with a number on it. Groups are called- 20 at a time- and you choose a turtle to use for the race. The rules are that your feet need to be inside the yellow line. The first turtle that crosses the outside yellow line wins. (you can't see it in the picture). 2 of my brothers and one of my nieces won the "Resort" challenges. They competed, and Brother #2 won the competition:
Nice medal, isn't it?

I Golfed

Yes, I did.

I couldn't decide which I liked the best, so you get several:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

More Celebration!

The Daughter graduated last weekend with her second Bachelor's.

Well Done, Bebe'.

I am so proud of The Offspring.

Friday, May 07, 2010


An exciting weekend coming up.
I'm picking up my Dad at the airport tomorrow.
The Son is graduating from on Sunday.
Mothers' Day.
What a gift.
Well done, Buddy.

Friday, April 16, 2010

April 16th

We Remember

“We are Virginia Tech. We are sad today and we will be sad for quite awhile. We are not moving on, we are embracing our mourning. We are Virginia Tech. We are strong enough to know when to cry and sad enough to know we must laugh again.

We are Virginia Tech. We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did not deserve it but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, but neither do the invisible children walking the night to avoid being captured by a rogue army. Neither does the baby elephant watching his community be devastated for ivory; neither does the Appalachian infant in the killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy.

We are Virginia Tech. The Hokie Nation embraces our own with open heart and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong and brave and innocent and unafraid. We are better than we think, not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imagination and the possibility. We will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears, through all this sadness.

We are the Hokies. We will prevail, we will prevail.

We are Virginia Tech. “

Nikki Giovanni
April 2007

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Blast From Childhood


I know I'm not crazy or overly picky.

I also know that cilantro is the one food I cannot eat, even to be polite.

The New York Times agrees.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Commuting-Dog Wrangling-No Knitting-- And SPF70

The Commuting Part

The Daughter is doing fine. This followed removal of an errant gall bladder two weeks ago. I did the nurse-mom thing, then came back to work the weekend, then back to Blacksburg for last week.

Following her surgery, The Daughter needed help with the usual things- like getting her meds, moving, eating (pudding, yogurt, angel food cake, chicken soup-- you get the picture.) These are things that a mother loves to do. I was busy, tired, and happy.

Then The Husband arrived for the weekend, and I returned to work,returning to The Daughter Monday night for an encore performance. It was good to see her getting better each day, and good to know that I was able to help.

Wrangling the Dog

I wrangled the dog who is really well behaved overall, but sometimes has LOTS of energy- a bit too much for someone to handle who had a bunch of holes poked in her belly.

(He's absoluteley the cutest thing on 4 legs....)

We'd talked for several months about getting him lined up with doggie day care, so that she could focus during finals, and have a place to board him for short periods for things such as the several upcoming weddings she's attending. We got him a bordatella booster, assembled the paperwork and scheduled him for his temperament test and orientation.

Said dog developed some "distress in the lower tract" following his Monday audition day at Flying Fur. He had a terrific time, and got a really good report card. Apparently he got SO excited about being with all the canine buddies (and probably ate a bunch of dirt-- his favorite snack) that I needed to let him out when I arrived back in Blacksburg at midnight, and then again at 2, 4 and 6 am.

We talked with Vet School friends, read articles online, and came up with this plan:
No food for awhile (but plenty of water)
Pepto-Bismol (1/2 ml per 10 lbs=10 ml every 6 hours for the @40 lb dog)

The Pepto went in fine the first time. I remembered from my Girl Scout Animal First Aid badge that you put the syringe in the side of the beast's mouth, and hold the mouth closed while he swallows. The second time we had bright pink everywhere.

He loves pumpkin, which is, at this time of year as scarce as yellow Peep chicks in October. We had a couple of cans at home which I had tucked into my bag, so we actually had pumpkin. The Pepto went down fine when mixed in. (Aside-- we also made frozen sweet potato treats by mashing sweet potatoes into a mini muffin pan. He likes them plenty. They don't have Pepto)

Eventually he "normalized" so we sent him back on Friday (I had 2 lectures to write- not easy with canine assistance), followed by "Yappy Hour". What fun to watch all the dogs and their people playing together. He doesn't really have an opportunity for lots of running so daycare and playtime are terrific.

The Sunshine Part

I work with tiny, sick babies. Many get well enough to go home. Some do not. The March of Dimes does a lot of good work trying to prevent prematurity which is a primary cause of infant mortality and consequent conditions. One preemie I cared for was Katelyn Hall who was a March of Dimes ambassador in 2009. The Katelyn Hall Foundation and March of Dimes put on a charity golf tournament today at Lansdowne Resort. What an amazing place. I was fortunate to be able to volunteer. It was the most beautiful day I've seen for a really long time. (Usually on a beautiful day, I can be found doing a 12-hour shift at work).

My job was watching the 9th hole to verify any hole-in-one that would result in that golfer winning a car. No holes in one. However, there were many water shots, sand hazard landings, overshoots, and lots of good and respectable hits to the green. And one guy hit the car. It was pretty amazing.

I am melanin challenged. I was in the sun for 5 hours. I don't think I got burned...

Go SPF 70!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What's Next???

Ok-- we made it through the death of my dear co-worker, and her funeral and memorial service.

We made it through some other difficult losses of family friends.

Hopefully no more of that for awhile.

So.... The Daughter got really ill last weekend, and had surgery on Tuesday night for gall bladder removal. She's recovering, and doing pretty well, under the circumstances.

I've been taking care of her, and of
Luke-- the cutest thing on 4 legs.

Work progresses on Children of Lir-- which would be the prettiest thing on 2 needles, but it's on 1 circular.

That is all.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Yummmy Silk!!!!

I'm knitting the Children of Lir stole for The Daughter's friend. The Children of Lir is the Irish tale of some children who have been transformed into swans by their evil and jealous foster mother. Eventually they hear bells and are transformed back to human form, possibly by St. Patrick. The Daughter's Friend and The Intended are afficianados of all things Celtic, so this seemed appropriate. The pattern in the stole is intended to suggest the swans' wings.

I had some Jaeger Pure Silk DK in the wonderful Celadon color that I got on sale at Mosaic awhile back. I've been wanting to do something special with it, and this fits the bill. The Friend is being married in May, and I know she likes this color, because it's the color of the bridesmaids' dresses. I figure she might find a use for it later in her life.

It's a nice knit, and I love working with the silk. I'm using Denise size 11's. It sounds huge, but doing lace with DK requires some big honkin' needles. The needles are nice and pointy for doing lace. The only problem is that the cable is thick and draggy. Ordinarily I like Denises-- and the tips are working out great, but I'm spoiled by being able to knit a bit faster without pushing my work up all the time.

I looked at Addi's and a couple of other metal circs with thinner cables, but the tips of the needles are too blunt for k2togs and ddecs. I've ordered KnitPicks acrylic and nickel interchangeable tips (I have several of their cables) since they are relatively affordable and the tips look really pointy. We'll see how it goes. In the meantime, I'll deal with my draggy Denises.

Meanwhile, more sadness as one of my co-workers is in her final transition. Please say prayers for her and her family.

Yummmy Silk

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures

I hung some big ornaments on the Crepe Myrtle before Christmas. Then I realized they could double as Valentine's Day decor, so left them up.

The Daughter's dog (oooh-- we LOVE him so!) contemplating snow. We got about 7" as far as I can tell. Looks like they got about a foot or more.

Picking up the needles again. This project is a lap blanket for the wonderful neighbor lady. The yarn is a bit darker and less blue than it appears here-- a superwash forest green dark heather. It's superwash, because I don't want to impose a lot of maintenance on her.It'll be as big as the yarn supply allows. This is one skein down, 2 more to go.

It's a reversible random cable-- easy knit, when I find the time to work on it.


Plan for the rest of today-- watch basketball and knit.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I'm a nurse.

And in my wildest imagination, I cannot fathom this.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Help for Haiti

The earthquake in Haiti puts into perspective so many things that are better seen as minor annoyances in my very comfortable life. NBC. Traffic. Grumpy co-workers. Bills.

Please read PJ Doland's article in today's Unclutterer. He puts it all much better than I could, and has several links to reputable charities who are helping.

Knitters Without Borders is another link, sponsored by our favorite "Yarn Harlot".

Click here to get to the site where you can contribute to Doctors Without Borders.

I made a contribution. Please consider what you might be able to do.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A New Year

Welcome, 2010.

The New Year is always a time of hope and good intentions. 2009 was a good year, but one with great sadness. So I look forward to rejuvenation and a new start. And I'm hoping that I'm able to realize my intentions through action.

The "W" Word
Weight has been an issue for my whole life-- in one direction or the other. Over the course of many decades I've dealt with it through nearly every program on the planet, and not dealing with it at all.

I've been obsessive, I've been successful. I've been on track and then totally thrown by major stressors.

I'm faced with some milestones this year, and the very real threat of serious health problems, which I must manage or there will be major consequences.

I've made resolutions in the past, only to break them and feel really badly.

So this year, I'm keeping it simple--

1. Be aware by recording my food.

I think that if I can simply focus on writing everything down, the rest will come. I'll try to focus on simpler foods. I know what is healthy. I know what portions are. I know fat/protein/carb combinations. The awareness of what's actually going in the bouche will hopefully eliminate mindless eating, and keep me conscious of the decisions I'm making.

2. Increase activity with a goal of 30 minutes of anything on days I'm not working a shift.

Unrealistic goals have squashed me in the past. I've never enjoyed exercising, but I have had fun with the wii fit, and I like walking my daughter's dog (who doesn't live with us, but visits from time to time.) We have a very expensive and underused treadmill downstairs. (the dog really enjoyed it on days that were too cold for him (and me) to go for longer walks). I'm also very good at making excuses. I leave for work at 6 am and don't get home til 8:30 or 9 p.m. But this is only a few days a week, and I do a lot of walking at work. So by allowing myself to "not exercise" on those days, I'm eliminating an excuse. I'm not calling it exercise anymore. It's "activity."

The "B" Word

While writing this, I was looking for a graphic for the section above-- maybe a scale or something-- and it hit me like a ton of bricks as I looked through clip art-- There were, to me, many negative symbols-- the scales you stand on with numbers-- a symbol that has always seemed like judgment to me. (I read an article that stated many overweight women avoid going to the doctor for care because they fear standing on the scale.) There were the food measuring scales that have always represented limitation and restriction as I weighed and measured my food for years and years.

And there were many, many images of balance scales. And then it hit me-- Balance. That's really what I'm seeking. Balance-- between my work life and my home life. Between what I need to do and what I want to do. Balance that helps me put perspective on the negatives and discern truth. Balance that improves health and spirit and life. Balance that will take the edges off sadness and center me again.

The K Word

Knitting has always been very important to me-- as creative outlet, as relaxation, as focus, as centering, as meditation. I learned from Mom, and remember her patience and the time we spent together as she taught me.

The last project I worked on was the Hanami stole I made for Mom for my parents' 60th anniversary. She sent me the most lovely thank you. I'd been unable to pick up the needles since.

While I was home over the holidays, I helped Dad by going through boxes of her yarn and found many ufo's. Mom did a lot of charity knitting, including little hats for the babies I work with, scarves to give away and for charity raffles, sweaters for the "Knit for Kids" project, baby blankets for shelters, and helmet liners for our troops abroad. I found all of these, many of which needed finishing. I also found an almost empty Denise case-- all the parts were in UFOs.

I put myself to the task of finishing what was started, seaming sweaters, weaving in ends, and getting things ready to go to the destinations she had intended. It was so comforting-- I felt like Mom was with me as my hands finished what she started. In addition to accumulating a full set of Denises by completing projects, I sorted out several (!) boxes of yarn. I kept 2 lots of yarn- some natural wool she got in Ireland, and a dark sage green wool/mohair from Italy. I don't know what these will become, but they will be special.

Knitting has also served as an important social connection-- my LYS friends are dear to me, and I have missed them.

These gifts-- the opportunity to work on her projects, the set of needles, and the yarn, are what I see as Mom's way of getting me back into the knitting part of balance in my life-- the part that I haven't had heart for during the last 6 months, And I will reconnect with my friends.