Friday, June 29, 2007

On-Line Relationships, and a Beautiful Shawl

I was chatting with a friend online last night, and he told me his and his wife had separated. I told him I was sorry to hear it, and if he needed anything... all the right stuff to say, and I meant it. He said, no, it was amicable, and he was fine. Oh-kaaay. I thought that was odd, and didn't really believe him, until he said, "I've sort of been spending time with someone else." Oh. Well, there you are. Apparently the "someone else" is someone he met on-line, and chats with on-line, and is very happy with. You know what I think about meeting people on-line? I think about how I edit. I edit and edit on comments and blog entries, trying to get my thoughts just right, and not say something inadvertantly politically incorrect, something that could be read two different ways. I try to be soothing and funny and ooh and aah in the right spots. I try to be my very best self, the self I wish I could be when I say something stupid in person. I'm not saying I'm lying about who I am here. I'm not. This is really the best me, with most spots removed. This is what I give to people I meet online.

I was telling another friend on-line a year ago that I thought she was the most patient person. I was so impressed. In chat groups, people would say something so totally asinine, and she would laugh. I would be sitting here feeling rageful at some sexist or racist comment, and she'd blow it off. How do you do that? I asked. And she said she was actually cussing up a storm in her dining room, but then typed "LOL" and went on. So I got to thinking about relationships on-line, and for goodness sakes, you get to know someone in one way, but not in any others. What if you hook up after months of getting to know each other, and then find that they don't feel any need to close the bathroom door? Or possibly they're racist but it never came up? Or they hate cats? Does anyone - do you - know of an on-line relationship that worked? I'm really curious. I toyed at one point of trying to write a book on on-line relationships, but there are too many people involved. I mean, how do you research something that huge? The ones I have seen start have all ended with someone finding a person closer, and the other person being hurt. I'd love to hear a positive story about an on-line relationship. Leave yer comments! You may end up in a book someday!

And here's a picture Jennifer sent me of her Swallowtail shawl, the pattern by Evelyn A. Clark, Interweave Knits Fall 2006. She is using Misti Alpaca Laceweight in a kind of soft apple green. It's so pretty and springlike. I really like this pattern, too. I may end up a shawl maker in a big way. I didn't realize how much I would like it. Thanks, Jennifer! Your shawl's looking great!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Shawl KAL Button

This is a lovely button Liz made for the Shawl KAL. Grab it and put it on your blog if you'd like, and Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Pool Update, and a Shawl

I've been waiting for the right moment to blog about the pool going up day, because so much stuff happened. First of all, we had three strong personalities on the project. Yikes. One personality had to go to work (Hi, Mom), and then the husband and I got to growl at each other for several hours, trying to figure out how to make the ground level. I know it's possible, as contractors do it before they do anything else. I had good ideas, the husband had good ideas - we just didn't have the same ideas. So my very adult reaction of walking away was employed many, many times. After poking at the ground a bit with shovels, we realized the ground was too hard to work with, within the limits of what we were willing to do, and we just started walking around looking for the most level spot. It happened to be right in front of the pond my mom had put in a few years ago, so that's where the pool was going. Sorry, Mom. We set it up, following someone else's ideas, and things went very well.

Then, much like the blond girl in the bikini on the video, I had to get inside the pool and smooth out the wrinkles. I told my husband to heavily use his imagination, but I was willing to sub for her. So up the ladder and into the pool I go, with water flowing in so we can get a feel for the angle of the ground there. He says he needs to go check on the pizza and the kids while I'm working. That's okay, because it's not fun subbing as the bikini girl when you're worried about your cellulite. But while he's gone, two bees decide to start bothering and buzzing me. I think they were feeling territorial about the sudden lake appearing before them. So I'm trying to get away from the bees, when I realize he has removed the ladder before he left. And I'm running around the pool, ducking and dodging the bees, but I've really got nowhere to go.

Yeah, I got stung.

No, he didn't have an explanation for why he removed the ladder. But I will say that I found the situation so silly that I couldn't even get angry. I was laughing even while the bees were after me. And I thought I was the master of passive aggressive! I'm still laughing days later.... ha. ha.

By the time I get out (thanks for coming back, hon), there's enough water in the pool that it's too heavy to move, even if we did think we could do better than a four-and-a-half-inch incline. So we leave the pool there and hope for the best. I brought the girls down to prove that pools are fun, even when they've only got a little water in them.

We chilled out inside the house for a few hours, filling the pool a bit, then decided to go home. My husband went down into the basement and started yelling "Shut off the water! It's flooding!" Which I totally didn't get, because how could an outside hose flood the inside of the basement? Then he runs upstairs and heads for the bathroom, in which the toilet has been happily overflowing for who knows how long. The water went under a space in the baseboard and was headed for the basement. (Thanks for not getting the ground level, contractor-dudes. You saved my mom's bedroom) But my, there was a lot of water, and we were hot and tired, and one of us had a bad attitude. Nothing to do for it, though, but mop up the water with every sheet in the house we could find, then drape them over the deck and leave no note. I told mom to read the blog to find out what happened, and she's a little irritated I've waited a couple days to write it.

Still and all, the pool seems to be holding up well, even with the water uneven, so all's well that ends well, right?

And....thank you for reading so far along.... a shawl picture! Liz from Knitting Pretty has been working on her Cozy shawl, and it looks really sweet. If you get a chance, go tell her so; give her a smile.

Isn't it nice? Don't all the cables look sweet? I could see myself at one of the kids' events, with this warmly wrapped around me, or thrown on over a dress at New Year's. Thanks for the picture, Liz. I appreciate everyone playing along with the shawl-a-long. I like the connection of so many people from so many places thinking of each other, though we've never met. Happy Knitting! (And keep sending pictures. It's fun to admire them)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sundays are for...

...napping. Mmmm, doesn't this look comfortable?

Also, let's post some shawl pics! Here is a picture from my good pal, Arleta, working away on her Sagittaria shawl. Nice, ay? I think so, too.

Here is a picture of my Moonlight Sonata shawl, finally some daylight to show it in. I showed it to a lady at church, who asked to see it - I don't maul people with my knitting, even if I'm feeling especially proud - And she informed me I was showing the wrong side, so I turned it over. Then she sniffed and turned away. Ouch! Well, poo to her. I likes it, and I think it's coming along swimmingly. And I like both sides, so there! (insert me childishly sticking out my tongue)

Did y'all catch The Graham Norton Show last night? He's a British commedienne who is really snarky about people, the things they do... it's not really my favorite thing, but I love the guest stars he gets on. Well, last night, he featured a woman, Allison Murray, who knit a house! She did! She knit a house, then knit and felted everything in it! She had a push broom, complete with fringe, and a bowl of fruit, everything felted to scale; there was a teapot with milk in it. She was amazing. And you could see Graham was going to be snarky, cuz that's who he is, but by the time he was done looking at it, he was really impressed. I loved that! Good for her. She freaked out a muggle. It might have cost her her eyesight and a year of her life to do it, but she did. You rock, Allison.

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Penny Saved? Not likely.

Do you have the problem of getting to the bookstore and finding nothing to buy? I know there are lots and lots of great knitting books out there, because I was pouring through them yesterday. But I have "X" amount of money, and my qualifications for a new knitting book are strict. It has to have patterns I haven't seen before, with good colors and clear pictures. It can't be entirely in black and white. My brain doesn't like that. And I guess I've seen a lot of patterns, because nothing I flipped through grabbed me. There's a frugal part of my nature that declares, if I only had enough imagination, I could make this from a near pattern I have at home. I want to be fired by someone else's imagination, or that thirty bucks stays in my wallet.

That's okay. There's nothing wrong with being careful with your money. Actually, I respect my mother and grandmother, who apparently can have money in the bank, and say "no" to something they'd really like. But I admit that I am missing that gene, as I left the bookstore and spent over three hundred bucks on an assemble-it-yourself swimming pool. *sigh* Think of the yarn and the books that aren't going to happen now, because I had a buying urge and couldn't find a book.

My shawl is actually coming along, and it hasn't been so bad. The knitting was difficult at first, but now I've got a feel for when I've messed up, and I haven't had to frog, thankfully. And I'm far enough along now that someone would actually have to take a scissors to it before I would contemplate tearing it out. My computer is still incognito, and I'm not getting to everyone's site to see how or if your shawls are coming along, but I'm working on it. Have a wonderful summer day! I'll likely spend mine trying to figure out how to make ground level enough to place a pool on.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What's that noise?




No, that's not the water faucet you're hearing.

I was knitting away on my shawl pattern - have I mentioned that I've never knitted anything like this before? - and the family is watching "Deal or No Deal." (Poor Howie with the OCD thing, ay?) So I'm trying to figure out how to do a double increase in one stitch, and they're saying, "Mom? Would you stop now? Would you turn down $49,000?" And I caught myself thinking, "Don't you care if I do well????" So I had to put the shawl down for a bit, and tink out the last row at a later time, since I couldn't fake my way through being a stitch off. I'm loving the complexity; I always love complexity in knitting. Plain Jane knitting is okay for when I'm reading to the kids, but after nine years of not having enough time to concentrate (again, I love the kids - not complaining), I'm ready for some difficult stuff. I can't imagine how I'm going to get this done, though, if it's going to require this much attention and focus. Fun! =)

Here's a picture of the beautiful Arctic Diamonds Stole by Del. Isn't it just beautiful? I'm so jealous of the color and the design and everything. Lovely, lovely. If you have a second, go tell her how pretty it is. Compliments build good karma, and who doesn't need more of that?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Strawberry Season

We love strawberry season here at the Cobbler house.

For many years, my second child would only eat homemade jam, and we would be scouring the supermarket in February for expensive preserves. So now I really make some jam. I still run out, because I can't help sharing these pretty things. Our favorite part of the jam making process is the foam I skim off before I can it. Mmmm, so sweet. I hand out the spoons for the kids, and I never get any anymore! HeeHee. I made my own competition, silly me.

Speaking of pretty things, check out Jenni's spectacular start on her shawl. Beauty, ay?

And... I cast on!

Finally, finally. I'm very excited. So far, so good, but I feel like I can't make any mistake, because it's tricky for me to pick up a yarnover. It isn't impossible. I just don't like doing it. I'm counting on the size of it to hide any little errors. I'm not a "rip back" kinda girl, unless it's, like, seven stitches or something. Then I'll do it, just to get it right. *wink*

Any shawl updates, anyone? Just email me a pic or post one on your site and let me know, so I can pick it up and repost in a timely manner.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Some Shawl Progress

This is the fun part about a KAL - pictures for us all to enjoy! Here is the Snowdrop shawl from the Harlot, being knit by Asa, of KnittingNutter. I'm very impressed by your choice. I looked at that shawl myself, but I don't think I'm there skillwise, so I'll live through you.

I have to post what my daughters and nieces made last night - toad villages! They're to encourage the toads we have around our house to stay, stay, STAY! Apparently toads eat about a hundred bugs a night, so we now love toads. Aren't these little houses cute? That's a flag on a stick, between the two houses, and they have their own drinking pool. This first one is built practically under a pine tree, lots of shade, but right next to the garden (go get those bugs!).

And I realized this morning that one of my favorite things about blogging might be walking around with knitting, looking for a good photograph.

That's a second toad village, more like the city, as it has little stone paths, so sayeth my niece. Cute! And the dishcloths are from a link I found on CriminyJickets (excellent blog name - I love it) a week and something ago. They're really quick to do, and if I make another one in blue, I'm going to save them for a gift, so I can post them on the holiday gift along site.

If you want a laugh, go to Cheryl's site from Hither-n-Yarn. She posted links to a couple of hilarious videos of what to do when you spill wine on your laptop. Apparently, I'm not alone. What I'm actually doing is working from an old monitor, which, when hooked up to my stylin' laptop, works fine. It don't travel, but it'll get me through until I can figure out how to replace my laptop monitor. And I'm thankful for it! I really, really need to spend the twenty bucks and get a data pen to store my stuff as a backup. Plus, it's funny, because as I type, keys keep popping off my keyboard. Whoops! Just lost the "T". Highly entertaining, actually. I'm glad I'm so easily amused. =) Thank you, everyone, for your helpful comments, shared stories and funny suggestions. It's really nice to have met you people. You can really shore a girl up when it looks like she's thrown away a laptop she hasn't finished paying for.

I've started my shawl, but I had to go buy yarn at my LYS. The yarn I ordered never came, and I couldn't wait any longer. I should give me my money locally, anyway, right? And I can always use more yarn, when it comes in.... green socks, anyone?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

If you are faint of heart, look away

It's summertime, and the living is ... problem-ridden. After an all-day trip to The Big City, trying to find basketball shoes for my girl with very narrow feet, much crying and frustration, we finally moved her up to women's sizes, and lo! Success. I hate shoe buying with my kids. It has been difficult from the very beginning, not the girl bonding experience I have always been led to believe in. So we came home, and my husband poured us both a glass of wine, and I sat down to play a little Webkinz, as a reward for driving all over town, as well as returning shoes that after two hours made my kid cry with pain. The salesman? Not so happy with us. But it's okay. Wine helps you forget sales people's glares, if applied adequately.

So I'm sitting down to my virtual pet, and I reach for my wine, and knock it over. Wine splashes onto my computer screen, a bit on my keyboard, and I curse and grab a towel. We quick power it down, and the hubby and I are trying to decide how much got inside the computer. We got online, and some help guide told us to take out the CPU to make sure no acid got in there and is corroding circuits. Apparently, we had already voided the warranty by spilling the wine, so there was no real reason not to take the computer's memory out. So the husband removes it, after much nudging by me, because he doesn't really believe any wine got in there. So when it's semi- torn apart, he says, "See? No evidence of wine." I lean forward to look, and knock his wine over into the computer. Oh. my. god. Wine splashes all over the laptop again, and I turned and walked away (hands now in my pockets). I have never seen him so frustrated. He yelled at a kid wandering by (poor kid), and I just looked out the window. I mean, I hadn't even drank any of the wine, so what was the deal? Now we had to tear the computer completely apart, and get out q-tips and remove the screen and all the chips (there are many), and undo, like, a million screws. To give him credit, the hubby didn't say one negative thing after the initial crabbiness. Now my computer looked like this:

Yes, the warranty was definitely voided. Your good wishes would be appreciated.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Surreal and an eensy bit scary

This actually has nothing to do with knitting, but it's so weird, I had to blog it. I was hanging out clothes this morning, and it is so beautiful and warm here! I was whistling "Patience" by Guns'n'Roses, which I do all the time, for some reason. And they weren't even all that nice of guys, so a song about Patience by them is especially funny. Anyway, I'm whistling and thinking and pinning, and what should run by me, as close as six feet away, was a big doe. She was absolutely silent, and she wasn't bothering about me at all, but ran right by, up our driveway, paused at the road (clever girl) and went on across to the other part of the State forest. Now, I live out in the country, and we have mountain lions out here (as well as wolves and bears, but I wasn't thinking about them). It occurred to me that, if a doe ran right by a girl whistling G'n'R tunes, maybe she had something to worry about that might concern me, also. So I picked up my laundry basket and backed toward the house. (Nothing bad happened, I'm not trying to build suspense.) I have heard that, once you spot a cougar, you're done for. They are just as silent as that deer, and don't show themselves until they've decided you will be tasty as a snack. (In my case, perhaps brunch) So I came inside, and will give the animals a decent time to figure out what they're about, and go back out later.

I'm sure I have blogged before about the white owl that tried to take off with my puppy when I was out walking him at night. That owl, too, was absolutely silent. His wingspan might have been six feet across. I didn't hear a thing, even as he swooped down, changed his mind and flew away. He ruffled up with fur on my doggie's back, with the force of the wind he was creating, but there was no noise at all. The animal world is so cool! I bet they don't snore when they sleep, or slurp their water, or anything else that draws attention to themselves. If things go belly-up for humans, and we're forced to become nomads again or some such, I have a feeling we will be a very, very tasty part of the food chain. Without our houses/cars/supermarkets, we are seriously unable to take care of ourselves. Me versus a mountain lion? I hope I don't cause him indigestion. I'm nice that way.

When I do go back out in a bit (when this load of laundry finishes running), I believe I'll try singing. That ought to let all the mammals know I'm there.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Knitting Inspiration, and some KAL joiners

I had a perfectly good blog entry written, which I can't post, because I have no batteries for my camera. So I'll fly here with other people's pictures, and show you some when I've been to the grocery store for batteries. I've started a sleeveless pullover, Bonsai Tunic, from Interweave Knits Spring 2007 issue. I don't know why, as I'm waiting breathlessly for the shawl yarn to come in. Silly, silly, but the sock and I need a break from each other. Besides, size 8 needles, I'm hoping to slam this baby out in a week and get to wear it for summer. Bright, bright color, very cheery, which you can't see, cuz of the camera thing. I chose a periwinkle, which is weirdish, because it usually looks blue, but sometimes not. Anyway, I just started it yesterday, and I'm already 15 inches along on the back. Whee!

I met up with my girlfriends for knitting yesterday morning. It's nice to see what different projects we're all working on, and get inspired by their use of color versus mine, which is usually pretty dark or bland. I had a funny moment, because, before meeting for knitting, I was working on the Bonsai sweater, and watching Little Einsteins with the kids. They play Mozart and other classical music, which helps them solve problems, and also explains Allegro and Adagio and about different musicians' work. That's all supposed to make us parents feel good about letting the kids veg out in front of the t.v. And even though I knew what was happening, I was powerless to stop the fact that, when they played the music faster, my hands started moving faster. I miscounted stitches and had to go back, but it was still fun seeing my body respond to the music. HeeHee. I am such a simple creature.

I've gotten at least eight people, so far, who want to knit shawls with me for the summer. They are the KnittingNutter, CarrieK with her already started Moll Shawl, Erin, Tala, liking my shawl pick or the Luna Moth (which was one of my favorites, too), Arleta (maybe?), Liz, Jennifer, who is knitting Swallowtail, Brigitte, who will hopefully be finishing up her Kiri shawl, and LaurieM. I'm including LaurieM, because she's almost done with a pretty red shawl, and I want to include her, cuz I likes her! If you've already started a shawl and want to send me pictures to post on our little ShawlAlong, please do so, and I'll put them up on the site. This will be fun! "The more the merrier" was always true at birthday parties and still feels that way, now. So get your knit on, and let's see your stuff! I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Shawl Pattern Picked!

Yay, I've found the shawl I'm going to do, as a practice shawl before the Dragone one. I can't wait to get started! I tried to pick a pattern that was difficult enough to actually be a warm-up to the Dragone shawl, not a simple eyelet shawl. Wish me luck! Anyone wishing to knit a shawl along with me, it would be fun. We'll exchange pics and post them on each others web sites, what say? I'm not going to start a second blog for it unless I get an amazing amount of people knitting along, which I don't expect, as most of you all have your own projects picked out for the summer, probably. Still, you never know. Lots of people joined up for the dishcloth contest. If I got, say, at least ten people agreeing to do the shawl knitalong, I'd randomly pick a winner at the end of the summer, and give away some fiber. Send me an email or post in the comments to let me know. And if only a couple of people want to do it, we'll be posting pics for you to enjoy!

I'll be ordering the yarn this week, or getting it from my LYS. I don't have a lot of luck there. I think the owner and I have different tastes, though I have scored Noro Silver Garden there, and she has many, many colors of wool. She doesn't have much cotton, and I think I'll surprise her that I want fingering weight yarn. I'd love to try Alpaca and silk, but we'll see. I want to get started, you know? So if she doesn't have it, I may not be able to wait for the snail mail, and will substitute something else. It helps that my husband is excited about this shawl, too, so any yarn purchases are going to pass by the household budget without a backward glance. Isn't it nice to be so supported in your craft? And the mother-in-law's quilt may never get done. I feel bad about that late at night, when I stop and think about it. During the day, though, it's full speed ahead on the knitting.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Listen to the Force

I am an absolute believer that things happen for a reason. If someone pulls out in front of me in traffic, I'm probably being saved from an accident down the road. If there's an appointment that's inconvenient for me, I'm sorry if I change it, for one reason or another. I find it just makes life easier if I roll with things. So lately I've been having bouts of insomnia. For some reason, two-and-a-half hours of sleep was enough last night, and I was up at 2:30 this morning. I resolved not to waste time just staring at Dawson's Creek again, and picked up my dishcloth. That's good middle of the night knitting, and maybe I woke up because I'd need a dishcloth later. (Remember, I'm rolling with things here) I like how it came out:

Two hours later, my oldest daughter got up. (I muted Dawson, because it's just inappropriate for anyone under 20, probably) She was having an allergic reaction to I-don't-know-what. Her hands were red and itchy, so I put some hydrocortisone them and gave her some Benedryl. Then, a half hour later, my youngest woke up with a nightmare about her Slip-and-Slide. She'd been on it for the first time yesterday, and was completely shocked that her derriere got wet while sliding. Hee. So I'm thinking that it wasn't the washcloth nudging me awake, but the parenting force, and I'm glad I listened. I never know when I'm listening, but things generally work out. Still, I hope I don't need a small gift later today, because I really like the dishcloth.

You know, I never knew a KAL was a knitalong. Thanks to Craftylilly for mentioning it in the comments yesterday. A shawl KAL was just what I was thinking of, truth be told. I really want to make the dragone shawl, but I've never knitted lace before, so an easier pattern should be found. I'm thinking that easing myself into a shawl is a good idea. Anyone have any suggestions, that may want to knit along with me? I'm not sure I'll ever need a shawl, but you know, I probably will just about when I finish it. I like how things work out that way. Have faith, young Jedi. The force is strong.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The beginning of June is the last day of school!

It's the last day of school, and I can blog again. Cuz this summer won't be busy at all =) No, really, I'm looking forward to not having to shush outta the house by 7:30 in the morning. But right away there's t-ball and coach pitch and basketball camp. We like to enroll them in something at the college (How to be a Clown Class - fun!), and there's always the pool. But it's all enjoyable family stuff, and no one is quizzing them on the southwest region of the U.S. Oh, wait, that's not true... Poor little ducks, I always have study time every day, so they don't lose their skills. This year I got them journals, so they can do some journaling, and we'll have a crafting hour. See, if I sit and craft with them, they'll learn how to sit quietly and reflect, as they do something meditative. (Oh, wait, so will I - hee) We also have "Clean the House" hour, and Help Entertain Baby While Mom Makes Dinner time. But it's all charted and up on the wall, so they don't even argue about doing it. Because there's lots of free time, library time and pool time stuck in there, too. We really chart out every hour, and it makes the day go so much nicer. My kids really appreciate a schedule, I guess. And if we go to Grandma's, well, the schedule's out the window, except for the Help Mom With Dinner part.

Every once in awhile, I will suffer from bouts of insomnia. Usually, I wish for more time in the day, but when I'm awake in the middle of the night, I just stare at t.v. Anyhoo, lately I've been watching Dawson's Creek. It's a lot like eating Cheetos. I know it's not good for me, and I wouldn't really want to advertise that I do it a lot. But, gee, it's good 4:00 a.m. t.v. It's like remembering the teen and young 20's all over again, all that drama and desperate love. It's good that that goes away as you get older, because it's really hard to go through, but I'm a little nostalgic for it, too. Kids grow up quicker nowadays, and I'm really bracing myself for fourth grade through graduation. Kids were already pairing up at school this last year, and they're too young! I've got my eye on the situation, but I'm not sure how to fight youthful hormones. Gack.

Happy June! I'll have more blog reading time as the kids sleep in! Yay! I won't be sleeping in, though, because I'll be reading about y'all. We should do a little knitalong or something. Any suggestions? Leave them in the comments, and we'll see what we can come up with.