31 July, 2007

Musicians are great big babies and other rants

Sunday we finally got a rehearsal together after about 5 or 6 weeks and the drummer was sick! No matter, the guitar player and the bass player and I just rehearsed without him. For a while, that is. The bass player was admittedly tired when he arrived but he was acting even stranger than normal -- kind of spacing out, staring out the window and not playing, etc. Granted, we started with country songs which neither he nor I are particularly fond of but hey, the leader wants to have a selection of country songs and so we do them. The bass player, let's call him Mark, was messing up in the same spot in a song that he had never bothered to learn correctly, so the leader, Doug, was trying to show him the correct notes. Mark got all snippy. He doesn't like to be corrected. We went on to another song, and Mark again messed up. This time it was the ending of the song. He kept saying he was playing it right and Doug was, gently, trying to tell him that he was not playing it right and to tell him the correct notes. All of a sudden Mark just said, "I can't do this any more. I'm playing it right!" and he started packing up his stuff! He quit! I was just standing there kind of blinking ... not believing that I was seeing two grown men acting like high school garage band babies. It was astonishing. So, Doug and I sat down at the piano and started working on that K T Tunstall song "The other side of the world" while Mark continued to pack up his gear and haul it out to his truck. Doug was not too upset about it. Turns out he had been working with Mark for years and years and this had happened before, but this time he's not taking him back because he's been wanting to get a new bass player anyway. So, I guess all is well. Hopefully he can get a new bass player by next week.

So that was my Sunday except for all day I was on the couch reading the new Harry Potter book. I read 500 pages the first day. I finished it off yesterday. My back was a bit tweaky so I just stayed home from work and read until it was done. I liked it.

Saturday was the golf tournament and here comes the second rant .... I was originally put in a foursome with my old pals but then at the last minute I was put with a couple of guys that I didn't even know because, according to the woman in charge, there were too many women so she wanted to spread us out. uh huh I was a big girl and didn't complain but I must say I would have had a much better time with my friends rather than with two people I didn't know! And one of them was just a JERK. First of all he was non stop jokes and they weren't funny jokes. Second, he used to be a golf teacher (he said) and I am not someone who golfs a lot but I've had lessons and I know how to play and he wouldn't keep his mouth shut. All the time criticizing my swing and my feet placement and ... oh you name it. Which, of course, had the totally opposite effect. Instead of getting better I was worse and worse! Thankfully I made a few clutch putts so he quieted down on the second 9 but ... gah! We were joined by a fourth on the 4th hole. This guy had gone to the wrong golf course! He had a knee brace and was so stoned on pain killers that he actually fell down! He couldn't find his golf balls in his pants ... too many pockets, he said. I am serious! The third guy was pretty nice and I rode in his cart. I just wish the beverage cart had come around a lot more. The dinner was fun though and I had all in all a pretty fun time. I am covered with mosquito bites from sitting outside but it was worth it.

So yeah this is supposed to be a knitting blog -- I finished up a sock and got a good start on the second one yesterday. I want to finish up these socks because I don't like the yarn colors. I have some really nice sock yarn I want to use! And I bought myself that sock book I had purchased for my Secret Pal because I thought it was a cool book and it is. I am also waiting for a new book on two at once on 2 circulars. My friend Peggy always does hers two at once and the one time I tried it I could NOT get the heels turned. I am hoping this new book will make that clear and also that it'll have toe up two at onces. If not I'm going to have to figure that out myself.

27 July, 2007

I guess I'm powerless

I am going to be playing golf tomorrow. It's our second annual class reunion and golf tournament and this year I'm playing. So I figured I'd better get some new golf shoes since mine are so old and how many more excuses does one need to buy a new pair of shoes? I noticed when I was reading the sports section of the newspaper a couple days ago that a golf shop nearby was having a big sale, so I zipped over there last night to snag a pair of golf shoes, and I got some cute ones too! Fake Alligator -- I know, sounds weird but they are really really cute! Well so, since I was there I thought I'd try on one of the nifty little skirt/short combo thingies and oh, I had to try a shirt on with it. You know where this is headed - I walked out of there with an entire new outfit. Pink skirt, white shirt with brown stripes along the sides and brown shoes. So even if I'm going to be an absolute duffer, I'm going to look good doing it!

I'm hoping to finish up my last "whimsical" felted bag this weekend. It'll be a couple weeks (waiting for materials) before I'll be able to make swatches to show what other colors I will be able to sell of that bag since I was unable to buy more of the color I am using now. Kind of a hassle but to keep the costs down I need to buy what I can find at a price point that makes sense. It's just an experiment anyway .... something to do.

And speaking of something to do - we're finally going to have another band rehearsal! It's been over a month but things have just kept happening. When July rolled around and everyone was done with meetings and vacations, the drummer's Dad passed away! Then my thing - well we need to get back on the horse, so to speak, and to that end we're meeting up Sunday evening. The leader said he has recruited a keyboard player, which will really add a lot to the sound. He wants to add 3 new songs from the latest K T Tunstall CD, which I am all for since I lllllove it! But he's got to settle down, make a song list and book us a gig! I know, easy for me to say. For the time being I'll just shut up and sing when he says sing.

26 July, 2007

Who can explain a "thing" ...

I've been having this thing for felted bags lately. Like for the past few months. I sent an email to the Magknits team but didn't even get a reply so I must have done something wrong. The submission guidelines are clear enough but it did say that if you were a first timer to send an email .... ah well, no matter. I had the brilliant idea yesterday of re-opening my Etsy shop and selling felted bag kits, or the pattern separately, or a finished bag. I've got two "models", if you will. One of them is rather whimsical and uses a novelty yarn and the other is rather more sedate but still has some interesting knitting so it's not totally boring to make. I remember that when I first had my Etsy shop, like ... what 2 years ago? .. the only things that sold were my felted bags! So I will be killing two birds with one stone - getting rid of a few of these bags that keep multiplying around my house and maybe earning some little extra money. I'd like to buy a ball winder and swift or a blocking board.

Yesterday was much hotter than we had expected. Even though I ran at 11 so that I could be cooled off by the noon knitting group, I was still quite flushed and hot. Luckily the air conditioning was blowing in the conference room so I was able to knit without the yarn sticking to my fingers. I am 8 rows away from starting the left front shoulder of my Isabella. I didn't work on it any more last night. After biking home, walking the dog, and mowing the lawn I was beat! I settled down to read the paper and had a cocktail and then the phone started ringing and the best I could do was a few rows on the current TV knitting project - a felted bag of the whimsical variety. I should be able to work more on something tonight although I am very keen on finishing up my re-reading of the 6th Harry Potter book so I can go on to the last one. I haven't even opened up the package because I'm afraid I'll sneak a look.

25 July, 2007

I need a snappy comeback

As you may or may not know, I commute to work by bike. I carry my "stuff" in two panniers that attach to a rack on the back of the bike. The panniers are not huge -- they're about 10 inches across and about 14 inches high -- and therefore are some days packed full. "Stuff" comprises my breakfast and lunch for the day, my wallet and sunglasses case and things like that in one pannier and in the other a change of clothes (I don't sit around in my bike clothes all day) and sometimes something extra. For example, clean gym clothes or on Wednesdays, a knitting project. So, the deal is that people make comments! "Running away from home"? one might say. Or, today, "Moving in"? Now I can't stop and tell them what I am carrying, although I am sorely tempted. I need some sort of snappy comeback to shut them up. And, as an added bonus, it would be nice if it made me look SUPER smart and clever.

Progress is slowly being made on my Isabella. It doesn't look now as if I'm going to be able to get the entire front done with the same dye lot and will therefore have to use that wonky ball for part of the front as well. Ah well ... it'll give it personality. I just want to get the darned thing done so I can get some wear out of it before the weather changes!! I know it's going to be a bitch to finish - the sewing up part I'm talking about. I think I'm going to steam block it because the edges are going to curl something awful. At least if it's flat it'll probably only take me a week to mattress stitch it up. Next little top though - I'm going to figure out how to do it in the round. Maybe I will try it with the Emerald Seas (the Knitty surprise). I have some linen blend yarn that I bought at my LYS on sale just because it was so gorgeous. It might work for this. Oh well ... it's down the line. I have too many WIPs as it is.

It's dry today and has been for a couple days now and my lawn is SO long! I must cut it tonight after work. I was going to go to the driving range .... might have to postpone that until Friday. Oh I know I'm going stink Saturday no matter what I do. If we play "scramble" rules rather than "best ball" then hopefully my partners won't hate me so much.

24 July, 2007

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

Things are slowly coming back to normal. There was a death in the family - not unexpected but still ...

I have been reading and knitting. I decided that I wanted to read the last two Harry Potter books before I started in on the last one but I started too late to finish them both. The newest book is now sitting on my dining room table, unopened. I am into book 6 now so it won't be long before I can crack open the last one. I just need to stay away from spoilers!!!

As for knitting - I feel like ... oh, you know those dreams where you're running and not getting anywhere? That's it -- I knit and knit and knit and nothing is finished! I did get a good start on the left front of the Isabella. I finished up the closed lace leaf portion and split it and got about 3 repeats done. I have, according to my calculations, 28 more rows to go before I start the short-row shaping for the shoulder and then onto the second half. I'm not going to have it finished this weekend though. Saturday I've got a golf tournament/class reunion to attend. I really need to spend some time at the driving range since I haven't been on a golf course in I don't remember how long. At least it's just a "best ball" thing and really only for fun (although there are cash prizes).

The rain and humidity and warm temperature have caused my new lawn to start growing like crazy again. Also, there are some very odd fungi coming up. I suppose it is from the compost the landscaper put down before she rolled out the sod, or maybe from the sod itself. They are strange though. It looks like it's going to be drying out here for the next few days so I can get it mowed.

18 July, 2007

Raspberries for breakfast

This time of year it is such a joy to go to the produce section and see blueberries and raspberries and strawberries -- all local and all SO good! My yummy breakfast makes up for the fact that I arrived at work soaked! Yes, it's not sprinkling, it's raining big fat drops. My bike jacket is covered in mud because now that my office is in a different area I bike for a little ways on an unpaved portion of road and as a result came in with a jacket striped with mud. Oh well.

I dashed home last night, ran up to the optometrist to pick up my glasses ("Be careful" she admonished. "Yes, I'll try not to step on them again"), quick stop at the grocery store, then walked the dog and then gave her a much needed bath. In order to keep cool she lays down in the dirt and bark ... she was pretty filthy. I used that lovely soap my SP10 Pam sent me - it works great for her face and makes her smell great. I had just settled down with the paper, preparatory to getting a big chunk of my Isabella done when my house guest called. He wanted to take me to dinner and that was not a difficult choice - Hmmm .... salad or go out? Easy - we went out. I had a nice chicken breast cooked in a pseudo Caribbean sauce-y way -- it was good. No knitting, but it is Wednesday, so I'll be meeting at lunchtime with the knitting ladies and perhaps also tonight I can get a bunch done.

I am looking forward to a good run today. Always when it's raining I have such a powerful run. Someone suggested to me it's because there is more oxygen in the air. Do you think that sounds right? Maybe. I don't care why, it's just good.

17 July, 2007

It rained last night!

Oh happy day ... clouds and cooler and even some rain. It must have been a gentle rain because it didn't wake me during the night, but the cement was still wet when I got up this morning. It's not chilly by any means, but comfortable. It's a nice change.

Everyone is talking about Ravelry, and I signed on for my account nearly a month ago. There is now a link to check where you are on the list and I am #10058. 4132 people are ahead of me in line. and 7682 people are behind me. 32% of the list has been invited so far. Isn't that incredible? I had no idea it would be so huge.

I also signed up for Secret Pal 11 a few days ago. I just have so much fun with those exchanges. I've met so many nice people, learned new things, and have tons of blogs to read every day, as a consequence. I'm still working on projects from several exchanges past. It won't be starting for a while, which is good.

I am still under siege from the house guest from hell, aka McG. I came home yesterday to find dirty socks on the dining room table [I am NOT kidding], the bed still pulled out downstairs and his stuff all over. I left the mess, assuming he'd be around in the evening but he called after 8 saying he was going to stay with his sister and sorry about the mess, he'd be by to get his stuff tomorrow (today) and may or may not be staying another night. Thanks for the heads up.

Not that I was doing much yesterday evening anyway -- true to my intentions I worked my fingers to the bone on the Isabella exclusively. I got almost one full repeat of the lace leaf pattern in the front done. Then I stayed up late reading. But I really feel I accomplished something and if all goes well I should be able to finish that up this week.

Oooo! And my glasses - my super favorite ones that I stepped on? ... I took them to the optometrists on Friday and ends up they could just replace the hinge and I just got a call that they are done! Yay!! Super news. Now ... if the rain can hold off for my walk to the gym in another hour or so, life will be good.

16 July, 2007

Here's the deal ....

It has just been traumatic around my life these past few weeks. I don't want to blog about it, but I've been on an emotional roller coaster, for lack of a better ... what? simile? I have my health, I have my job, I have my dog and my house and my knitting so I'll be okay but that's why I haven't been blogging quite as much as normal. That being said .....

I took Friday as a work-at-home day since I had a few errands and personal phone calls to deal with and there wasn't much work that needed face time so I was able to handle it. In another few weeks the work load is going to increase substantially so I am trying to enjoy this little lull as best I can. As I mentioned, I thought it might be good to dedicate myself to one project so I could finish something that I might actually be able to wear before the weather turns. To that end I worked exclusively on my Isabella this weekend. I finished up the (multi-colored!!) back and got a good portion of the front done. If I hadn't been interrupted by a surprise visit from McG on Saturday I might have gotten all the way to the lace leaf portion of the front. I am not far from starting it. If I dedicate myself perhaps I can finish it up this week. I must say though that I am definitely NOT looking forward to mattress stitching that baby up. This is being done on size 3 needles. Someday I'm going to have to stop being so lazy and just buckle down and re-write these patterns to circular. I don't think it's that difficult - just a matter of doing a little math (eek) and then doing the fronts and back separately. Ah well .. someday [probably after I go blind stitching this top up!)

The heatwave continues. There were some rumblings Friday night - little thunder action but very little rain. Supposedly it's supposed to cloud up and shower later this week and I wouldn't mind it a bit. Because it was so hot and humid I decided to go to the nice air conditioned gym Saturday morning and was there around 10. Oddly there were plenty of parking spaces. Hmmm .... got up to the door and found that they didn't open until 11 on Saturdays -- summer hours! Dang! So I had to run instead and I swear, even after a cool shower it took me about an hour to stop sweating. Got a few errands taken care of and as I just settled in for a nice afternoon of knitting preparatory to going out to see a band with my friend Lisa I got a phone call from McG, who was on a plane in Arizona on his way to Seattle and could I pick him up. Fine .. I figured he wouldn't mind coming out to hear some music with us so I agreed to go get him. THEN I got a call from my band leader trying to get a rehearsal together after saying that we weren't going to rehearse because the drummer's dad had passed away. Well I said I couldn't come because I had to pick my friend up and it actually ends up to be great that I didn't go because the drummer and his "entourage" didn't end up arriving until after 9 and then it was just a big jam, which is no fun for a singer .....

ANYway, after struggling through the mess at the airport I got Mike and took him to my place. After 116 degrees in Arizona (but it's a DRY heat .... gak) he was happy to be in Seattle although it was in the 80s and rather humid. I LIKE humidity, to tell the truth. He wanted seafood so we went to Duke's at Greenlake so we could sit outside and enjoy the evening. It was so nice! And I was all set to go out and hear some music and then Lisa called to say she was tired and wanted to beg off. So we ended up going to the little neighborhood pub and having a couple drinks and watching "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" with the sound off and crappy rock music in the background. Weird evening.

Sunday I had to get out into my front garden and so I did -- got the lawn mowed, the roses dead headed, the small weeks plucked out of the flower beds, the larger weeds along the fence sprayed .... whew! Thankfully the grass is still only growing slowly. Then Mike went off to visit other friends and I worked on my Isabella. I should have given Tinkie a bath - she is so dirty again. I took her to Greenlake for a walk on Friday afternoon and after he little dunk in the lake she got dusty. I brushed her but still. Well, I'll do it tonight after work.

I'm going to have a nice run now in about an hour. Thankfully it's still cooler - not quite 70. Nice.

12 July, 2007

Now here's where my face turns red ...

I've been knitting how long? And yet another "duh" moment. I was working diligently on my Isabella yesterday evening. Oh it was hot. I mean H-O-T and I was in the coolest room of the house, which is the TV room in the basement. The patio doors were open and there was a bit of a breeze coming in so it wasn't too bad a place to be. So I'm working away on the back ... and in the natural light again I can see the difference in those two balls of yarn and it's bugging the heck out of me! So for at least the 3rd time I take out the ball band from the ball I'm using and check it with another ball band on an as yet unused ball and what do you think I see? I'll tell you - the number I was looking at was NOT the dye lot number, it was the color number!! CRAP!! Sure enough I have two dye lots in there. I now have to hope that the front of the garment will not take more than two balls of yarn. Since it is split I am pretty sure I can make it from two of the same dye lots. The back ... well, I do have lots of hair.

I was at the meeting in Salt Lake City and someone just sent me a picture -- so here I am at the last evening with my friend John. As you can see ... lots of hair. It will definitely cover up a good portion of the back and if anyone is looking THAT closely that they notice a subtle difference in yarn colors well then ... they'd better be buying me dinner!

11 July, 2007

A sickening crunch

This morning I heard something fall in the bathroom. I looked in and saw that my makeup mirror had fallen onto the sink. I started in to pick it up and then changed my mind since I was already running late and as I turned to go I heard something crunch under my foot. Instinctively I didn't step down harder but lifted my foot up only to see my beautiful wonderful most favorite glasses in the world on the floor, one ear piece sticking up at an unnatural angle. Damn damn damn!!! I didn't look closely enough at them to see if they're repairable or not -- I am hoping they are because I just love those frames. How very annoying.

And speaking of annoying - can anyone tell me how this could happen? I'm looking at my Isabella yesterday. I'm on the second ball of yarn and working on the back, halfway or more through the armhole decreases. I thought at first it was a trick of the light but in fact it looks like ball number 2 is from a different dye lot! Let me assure you I checked and double checked before I purchased the balls and I re-checked the ball bands from the used balls and they all say 131. The yarn shop doesn't have anyplace where a single ball could be sitting in the sun and get bleached out nor have I left them out so that could happen. It's just weird. Thank goodness it's the back. Probably nobody will notice but it bugs the dickens out of me.

Hot. Hot hot hot hot. It's already nearing 80 and it's not yet 9:30. I'm going to go run in an hour or so because I think it'll just be too hot for that at lunchtime. I managed to stay relatively cool downstairs last night and the fan in my bedroom makes it bearable. I'd have to sleep downstairs if I didn't have that fan though.

10 July, 2007

You're absolutely right ....

I haven't been blogging much lately. It's not only that I haven't been knitting much but that I've been dealing with some family issues and spending a lot of time away from the computer. On the positive side, my sister has been visiting since July 4 (I just took her to the airport this afternoon to fly back) and we got TONS of work done in the back garden. Therapy really - working up a good sweat and having something to show for it other than sweaty gym clothes. There is much work left to do in the back but the beds are all cleaned out, the rockery is cleaned out, the shrubs have been pruned and the larger trees cut back. I still need to clean the moss off of the patio but it is so so SO much better now than it's been for years. Just a few man hours. It's just too daunting to do it myself but when two are working it makes it go much faster.

Last evening I started the armhole decreases for the Isabella and got a good bit done. Hopefully tonight I can work some more on it. It is beastly hot here. We're having a heat wave in Seattle. It's nearly 90 degrees now and tomorrow it's supposed to get to 97 degrees. That's hot anyway you look at it. And I've been SUCH a piggy - a week at a meeting and then a week with my sister - too distraught to run or go to the gym and eating and drinking way too much. I can ride my bike the rest of the week and if I run tomorrow early it shouldn't be too bad. AND I've got to start going back to the gym because it's air conditioned and easier than working out in the heat of the day. The evening bike ride is torture enough.

Also, I'm going to be going to the driving range soon - I'm playing in a little golf tournament at the end of the month and I need some brushing up! And new golf shoes.

06 July, 2007

Where's the camera when you NEED it???

I missed such a photo-op yesterday. I am still kicking myself. My sister came up on the 4th - sort of a spur of the moment thing. The weather has been stunning and hot. I am taking care of Jasmine, the cockapoo this week so yesterday we decided to take both dogs for a walk around Greenlake. It was hot, as I said, so when we came to a spot where there was a beach I let the dogs walk up and into the water. Tink walked out until her little legs lifted off the floor and started swimming! It was just adorable! The very first time I've seen her swim. Next time I'm going to bring my camera, which has a video option, and try to get a video of it.

Not too much knitting going on. I did finish another felted bag - a pink and brown one. There's been too much socializing and not enough knitting! Tonight I have a band rehearsal, I think, so maybe this weekend I can finish up the fronts of the Scoop de Jour or the back of the Isabella.

03 July, 2007

It really feels like summer

I know, it IS summer, after all. But for us here in the Pacific Northwest ... our summer is usually end of July through September. Here we are just 3 days into July and it's hot and dry and sunny. Nice. I am trying very hard to keep my new lawn green, I'll tell you that. There are some beginnings of brown spots - I mean it's nearly impossible to keep it completely green. Most people just let their lawns dry out and go brown around here for water conservation but since it's a new lawn I must keep it alive through the summer. AND keep the weeds out of it. My neighbor to the south has a whole lawn FULL of dandelions. Just getting ready to go to seed. grrrrrr

I am WIP heavy. I've somehow gotten on a felted bag kick, although I did work on my Scoop de Jour while at the meeting. What I need to do is devote some serious time to finishing up a few projects. I've been knitting on the same sock for months! I know it's meant to be a "take along" project but I do like to finish and wear them from time to time, plus which my Secret Pal sent me some awesome purple sock yarn and I've purchased some sock yarn myself that I want to knit up. I do so love the feel of handknit socks. This time of year it's not an issue, of course, but I still want to finish, for crying out loud. Especially since I'm not all that keen on the colors of the ones I'm doing now.

And then there's the sleeveless top, the Isabella, that is going to be so pretty and useful. It's slow going. Maybe I should concentrate on that to the exclusion of the other projects. Just work on one project at a time. What a concept. hmmmmm

02 July, 2007

Ahhhh home at last!

I can't tell you how happy I am to be home after that meeting! The meeting was good in all ways except the weather. It was absolutely blazing hot, as in high 90s and low 100s, with a dry wind that stirred up so much pollen and dust that I was in agony with hay fever, as were many of the other participants. I could NOT sleep through the night and as a consequence was sleep deprived and, I might as well admit, a bit cranky as well. On the positive side, I did get a lot out of it and have come home with a couple of pretty nifty ideas I am keen on implementing here with the faculty. That's the tough part, of course. But who doesn't need a challenge now and again?

My garden was fine while I was gone, because it drizzled for a few days while I was gone and I had a friend come by to give my flowers a drink. The lawn needs a soaking and I'll have to do that tonight. Weather report is for hot weather the next few days, which is just amazing for us --- to have a July 4 that isn't raining.

Needless to say, there wasn't much knitting going on between meeting sessions. I did get a bit of work done on the front of the Scoop de Jour and last night I worked on another felted bag. I am anxious to get some real knitting done but it's going to have to wait since I've got a focus group tonight and most likely won't feel like doing anything when I drag myself home late.

On our last day in Utah we took a tour in the afternoon up to the Olympic Park in Park City where the ski jump and bobsled/luge/skeleton events took place. This is also where the Olympic and X-Game freestyle ski athletes train year around. We got to watch the freestyle skiers going down their plastic runs and then doing their flips and whatnot and landing in the swimming pool! It was sooooo cool! I wish I had taken video rather than trying to capture still shots, but I got a few which I'll just post here as a slide show. Also in this slide show is a picture taken from the top of the ski jump. It made my stomach flip to be up there. It was rrrreeeeallly tall!

On the way back to our evening get together my friends and I passed this very cool place called, appropriately enough, the SoundGarden. Here are a few pictures of my friends playing the "instruments" and the instruments themselves. Really a nifty idea. Hanging next to each instrument were plastic covered sticks to use to beat on them. The round metal things are old brake drums from different types of cars.

I also took some pictures of a lovely botanical garden where we had our dinner the first night but I think this is enough pictures for one post!