Saturday, August 30, 2008

Why knitting and alcohol don't mix-a parable

My passion this past few months has been for knitting socks.

Normally, summertime means letting all my indoor hobbies go (as well as indoor chores) and spending as much time as I can torturing all my plants by ripping them from one spot where they are peacefully and happily growing and moving them to another spot in my yard where I think they will look better.

Unfortunately, this January a pesky ole' disk in my lower back decided to take a trip to other parts and effectively put the kabosh on heavy lifting and bending for the duration of the growing season. This of course made all my plants deliriously happy and they celebrated by taking over my yard and turning it into a nature reserve for screech monkeys and errant woodchucks.

But I digress.... need to play with brightly colored things was satisfied this summer by knitting socks. I knit 6 pairs for myself in probably as many weeks in a variety of obnoxious color combinations. I have no problem making stuff just for myself. I say, what's the point of making something cool like handmade socks and never getting to enjoy them yourself?

I was finishing up my latest pair of socks in a yummy stripey color combo of grey, vanilla and cocoa (mmm..toasty) when my dear KiSA came over to admire them. His feet are not that much bigger than mine, and since these were cozy, chunky wool socks, and a little roomy, he pulled on a pair and said...ooooooo, I like these.

WHOA! (sound of record scratching to a halt) Back away from the socks, buddy!

I realized in a split second that my beloved KiSA would have NO problem adopting these lovely socks as his own - the hot pink and blue heather footies were a little less to his liking - unless I bit the bullet and made him a pair of his own.

So I did.

And they turned out pretty cool, I think.

Except for small thing...which I noticed right after I finished the first sock.

What the heck is that bulge right there on the bottom of the heel?!?

I finished up the first sock while visiting my favorite Sarnarian (what do you call a person from Sarnia?) and being good friends and good Canadians, they always provide great conversation and ample supplies of wine.

Having just made SIX pairs of socks (for myself) I didn't feel the need to consult the pattern while I knitted, and chatted, and enjoyed a nice glass of wine together....or four.

And it wasn't until I was all done and showing off my latest masterpiece to some fellow knitters that I had my answer.

I had knit the ankle gussets on the wrong side of the needle...putting that nice big bump at the bottom of the sock instead of a nice little row of decreases along the ankle, where it's supposed to be, as shown here:

My fellow knitters, members of the next Olympic competitive knitting team, asked me how the heck I managed NOT to notice this horrific, horrendous, bulbous protrusion at the time I was knitting it.

Which leads back to the title of this post.

In the manner of ALL good parables, I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wandering through the old hard drive

I don't know what it is about me, blogs and Tuesdays, but that just seems to be the day I get to thinking about the fact that I need to update the world on what's clanking around inside my brain.

When I started the blog, I had so much stuff rolling around up there, I had to take notes on stuff so I wouldn't forget that I wanted to blog about it.

I still have a bunch of stuff up there, but since I have so little time right now to write, when I DO actually find some time to write, I have a hard time figuring out what to write about. The old Mark Twain problem of "I wanted to write you a short letter, but I didn't have time so I wrote you a long one instead". I feel like if I only get to throw something out into the ether once or twice a week, I'd like to make a stab at having it be worthwhile stuff.
THEN there is the problem of having photos to go along with it. actual, RELEVANT photos, I mean, that complement the theme of the blog.

This is proving to be really difficult for me. I just haven't gotten comfortable with dragging my camera around with me everywhere to capture all my life's moments to share with y'all here.

There are a few reasons for this:
1. I'm still trying to figure out how to work that darn SLR that my KiSA was so generous to gift me a few birthdays ago.

2. I already haul so much junk around I can't see how I can fit one more little thing (plus that other little thing that goes with it, AND the extra lens, AND the charger AND the manual-see reason#1 for why I still need to haul around the manual.)

3. I may have to come to terms that a lot of my life's moments involve me sitting in a little grey cube, in a little grey box inside a bigger gray box in the middle of Michigan, staring at my computer and trying to figure out why the IT people keep sending me stupid duplicate help desk tickets. and
4. Who has time to take pictures (not to mention, EDIT them!) when I barely have time to write a blog?!

NOWWWWWWW......If I owned a knitting shop in Paris, and sipped lattes at the corner cafe on my lunch hour, I'm sure I'd have plenty of reason to tote my cute little hand-knit camera bag around to photograph all the latest designs and projects I was working on. Like these fabulous beauties!

(Ack! uhm..see REASON #1 to explain THIS picture)

but.... I don't.

If I owned my sheep, alpaca and chicken farm in a quaint remote region of Ireland, I could sling my camera over my shoulder as I rode my horse around taking photos of all the breathtaking panoramic views and the quaint old buildings on the farm ...

And while I work on a bunch of projects (though definitely NOT in Paris) I'm finding it's really hard to photograph them well (plus I'll need more equipment to haul around and another manual)
AND though I see lots of cool old quaint buildings and panoramic vistas on my way to work, you really shouldn't stop the car on the side of the interstate and wade through the weeds to take pictures of those quaint old buildings and panoramic views, nor attempt to photograph them with your camera phone while you are driving (for reference pics when you decide to finally learn how to paint in watercolor) Just trust me on how I know this, ok?

Soooo, what I decided to do today (for my ADD self and all the rest of my faithful fan base who can't manage to get through a whole boring ole' blog without at least a FEW pictures) is go through a few of my OLD photos and use today's blog as an excuse to post them! Photos that, while cute, just didn't make the cut of "fabulous" and "breathtaking" etc. when I took them oh so many moons ago.

This one is my buddy in the thick of one of his favorite things...heavy weapons re-creation fighting. Note the historically accurate use of duct tape on his garage-sale-swat-team-cum knight helmet.

This is a friend's son and gi-normous mastiff puppy having a snooze together on a Saturday afternoon.

My buddy at 'fair' a couple of years ago, with all the really important fair paraphenalia: a cowboy hat and a giant coke.

Hope you aren't too disappointed with this little trip down my old harddrive.
I could just post more of this...
And none of us wants that, now...right?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday night and I'm feeling fine

I think that's a song, but I'm not sure which one.

I have a lot of music and songs going through my head at any given moment, but I don't always know if it's actual songs. Does that make me crazy? I mean just that by itself, not taken in with all my other idiosyncracies.

Speaking of idiosyncracies. Here's some fun photos of my kids being weird.

I wonder where they get THAT from?

Isn't this a cute picture of Memsy? We made her halloween costume together. This was taken last year, but I just found it again and I had to share.

These are blackmail photos of my buddy for when he gets older.

Why is the theme from Zoolander running through my head?

Is there a theme from the movie "Zoolander?"

I didn't really try, but I've got one of those chains going...

You know...use the last word in the first word of the next sentence?

except it's a picture, and it's backwards. get what I mean...right?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Another Tuesday

Wow - that last blog really threw me for a doozy.
Here it is already 2 weeks later and I'm not quite sure what happened.
Work has really gotten crazy and I seem to run out of hours once I get home to post anything.
Not wanting to neglect my faithful following (ahahahahahah), and having too much to write but not much to say, I thought I'd post something quick for your viewivnccccg (<---Oscar just typed that) pleasure:

A small assortment of the socks I have made recently, since that is what I have been obsessing over lately:
The two on the outside are nice-n-cheap wool ease, the middle one is cascade 220 wool (purrrrrgrrrrrrrrrr) left-over from last year's xmas present to mom.

Oscar seems to really like my socks too:


Can I have my sock back?

too speedy to capture on film! (or...I need to figure out how to adjust the shutter speed)

with those claws, I think I need to make him a pair of little socks of his own

Then he could be this happy all the time!
Peace out....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tuesday's blog or is it Monday, or Thursday?

Oscar says, "Try the socks, they are delicious"

I skipped out of work yesterday-let's just say I was having 'health issues' and leave it at that, which also allowed my buddy to stay home from summer camp due to an "extreme wii sports injury" he sustained at his uncle's this weekend.
I'm not sure how I feel about that right now, but I'm sure I'll have more to say on that another time.
Here's an action shot of him playing just boring ole' PS2.

So - today is my first day of the work week, technically, my Monday. But I have vacation Thursday and Friday, so tomorrow, while being Wednesday (Tuesday?) will actually be my Friday, so today is also Thursday.

No wonder I feel a little discombobulated today.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Baby Steps

I'm impatient by nature. I don't like to wait for anything. I'm also an idealist romantic with big dreams. When these two traits come together, they cause a lot of problems. I want great things to happen and I want them now! (stamps foot).

Given unlimited time and money, this wouldn't be a problem, but, uhmm...well, THAT's a problem.

Since my KiSA and I seriously started our Yoga practice, one of the things that we are constantly struggling with is this concept: baby steps. You know, Rome wasn't built in a day, eat an elephant one piece at a time, blah blah blah and all that crap.

I seem to have a harder time with this concept than KiSA does.

I love to garden. When we bought this house back in 2003, there was a lot of lawn. The whole front yard, with the exception of the foundation shrubs, was lawn. Not a really nice one, either, since the house faces north and that muckin' huge maple tree out front basically hogs all the sun and moisture and nutrients. Here's a picture of it a few winters ago. If you want to see the house at all, you have to wait til winter, on account of the muckin' huge maple out front, but that is another topic altogether.
The rest of the yard had more flowers than I had ever had in any other house I'd lived in, but it still had a lot of lawn. This was not a huge problem for me until that fateful day I actually MOWED the lawn. I did, too. I did! ...I mowed the lawn...twice.
Ok, twice in the 5 years we lived there, but that was more than enough for me to figure out we needed less lawn. That has since been my guiding principle for our yard...less lawn, more...other stuff.

I came up with big plans. I started with the front yard. I sketched out a glorious plan with sweeping drifts of flowers, grasses and charming lawn ornaments. I dragged my KiSA out on a cold, rainy Mother's day weekend, the first spring we were in the house, and made him dig up sod, move hostas and cut through the roots of that muckin' huge maple tree so we could plant according to my master plan. It turned out FAB-U-LOUS. Exactly what I wanted and planned for. It was perfect. I wouldn't change a thing.

ok, so about 3 months later, I found a few things to change...

..and then the following spring a few more...and then the following fall, just one or two changes...
and then after that, I just added a few things, moved things around...

This is what my front yard looks like this summer.

Actually, I've changed it since I took this picture in June.

But, you get the didn't happen all at once, despite my grandiose steps...
So, as I was thinking about the subject of baby steps, and my garden, I thought it would be fun to look at some of the ways my garden has changed on account of all the baby steps I took along the way.
Awww...look at my cute little buddy. That Coronation Gold yarrow was taller than he was at the time. I dig it out every year, move it to a new location around my yard and EVERY year I miss a little bit and it comes back.

THIS year it looks perfect with the Russian sage. Exactly like I planned it that cold winter day way back in '02.

This is the side garden on the west side of the house:
I love purple coneflower, I love it so much I turned it into the logo for Kent Street Designs, and they look fabulous this year. The monarchs and swallowtails love them, too.

This is what we call the 'back forty' ....uhh...feet.
We had to buy this extra lot in order to get the pool house for the pool that we keep open for our crazy neighbor to use. (He's a teacher). That was WAY too much lawn to mow, so we put in a veggie garden, cuz that is so much less labor intensive (work with me here)
I'm currently plotting out how to get rid of that last little strip of grass without losing that nice kidney bean curve.

Here's a shot of the west side of the back yard taken from the 3rd floor:

Doesn't it look so much better, now? KiSA & I made that bed last summer. We had to tear down the chicken coop, after the tragic eviction of the Kent Street Four (moment of silence) so I put in a new garden bed as a soothing balm for my aching heart. snif.

Here's a close up, then:
and now:

I love that red chair. I found it, FREE. The trumpet vine really took off this year-the hummingbirds love it.
oops! Ok, this might be a little out of control now.

I gotta work on that....

but for now....I'm steps.