Monday, January 25, 2010

More gallivantin' around

Some of you may already read Chicken Goddess's blog, which is actually not active right now as she's moved mostly to Ravelry. If you are familiar with it, you know that she likes Shahrukh Khan an awful lot. I read her blog ages ago where she posted a lot of pictures of Bollywood hunks, including some really great ones of SRK, and she invited me to come watch some of his movies at her house.

Back in December I spent a very happy afternoon there. We had watched Singh is Kinng (slapstick and love story, plus a dance she and her hubby call the Desecration of Karnak) before moving on to Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi is very long, and during intermission I checked my phone, only to realize that I was about to miss a staff meeting. Yikes! Thus, for over six weeks I've been waiting to find out just what happens to Suri/Raj and Taani. Finally, last week I was able to see the end of it, and well, I had to stay and watch another movie too, Veer-Zaara. I had a great time, but the movies are very long, and I always feel like I have to dash out of her house and back to the reality. I think every time I've been there Keith says, "I didn't think you'd be gone so long." (Honestly, that makes me feel the tiniest bit guilty that I came home and fed him leftovers, but then again, they were fresh leftovers. Or maybe we had frozen pizza that night.)

Over the weekend I had taken yoga classes from two other instructors as I had missed both of the classes I usually attend. At some point I overstretched my foot, and let me tell you, when the ball of your foot hurts and the pain extends into your big toe, you don't feel like doing anything except wishing you had a reflexologist on call. Which sucks because I've not been to yoga in about a week now, and I'm getting into it.

Anyway, I've hardly seen Daphne since early December, so we met up for coffee at Alcove Coffee. We've usually been meeting at Mighty Joe's, but I'd heard they had closed. I've linked the website anyway, as I've also heard they are reopening. I think I just need to drive there and find out for myself. Mighty Joe's is actually much more knitter friendly than Alcove, but it's nice too.

As we haven't had much of a chance to visit, you know how it is. The morning zipped away, and it was lunchtime before I knew it.

So, there are my couple of weeks of running around having fun. I won't bore you with the time spent cleaning bathrooms or going to the vet or doing laundry.

I have finished my February Lady Sweater. I think I bound off the second sleeve during Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. I'm almost finished with Keith's first sock of the pair. I'm within an inch or so of the cuff edge. If the day is dry enough, I'll rush out and take pictures before the next onslaught of rain. We received 2.5" of rain within about 8 hours yesterday. Our sump pump has been running almost nonstop. Thankfully I think we get to dry out for a day or two before the next system moves into the region. I sure hope so. It hasn't been dry since September, and our yard looks just horrible.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I've been gallivantin' around

That's why I've been slack and not written for a whole 2 weeks!

I do wish I had pictures for this post, but we've had rain it seems every other day, and my stone bench hasn't been dry in some time. Or, I've not been around to take pictures as I've been running around.

What has filled all my time, you may ask? Well, the holidays are over, and I've been catching up with friends. I've pulled my calendar in order to share my past two weeks with you.

One of the things about living where I do is the DeKalb Farmers Market. Gale seldom goes there, even though I don't think she lives that far away, but we all have our shopping radius. (Shopping radius - the distance we'll go to buy bananas.) Whenever we think about moving, I think where in the world would I go grocery shopping? I do a large amount of my shopping there as it's got just about everything I could want at great prices. I had a friend who lived out towards Athens, and she was in a group of women who took turns driving into town to buy groceries from there. Heck, I'd be, forget the group. I'd still drive there even if I lived an hour away - I'd just plan better than I do. As it is, I've started meal planning, and I think it's making a positive impact on my grocery spending.

Sorry for the advert for the Farmer's Market. Needless to say, I love it, as does Gale, but she doesn't go there often. What we do now, when she gets the urge to go, is meet for lunch at their cafeteria and shop together. That way we can visit and get a necessary chore done at the same time. I will often pack a cooler, and that way I can go to the regular grocery store and the health food store for my frozen waffles, and before you know it, the day is sped by.

Hmm. Maybe my other gallivantin' should be saved for later today or tomorrow. I have tales about most of it, but I'm sure you're missing pictures and don't want to read a lot this morning. I'll just mention the other lunch from the same week.

I recently had a college friend track me down, and it turns out she lives in Peachtree City. She's been asking me if I were going to our college reunion, and honestly, I'm not planning on it. What I said was, how about if I drive down that way and we go to lunch instead? And I did.

Mind you, Peachtree City doesn't look that far away on a map. I should have known better, but I didn't realize just how far away it was until I mapped it out online. Oops. Lesson learned. Check mileage before opening mouth. However, I'd said I'd go, and there was a knit shop down there I'd never been to, so I decided to skip yoga and head on out.

Very good thing I skipped yoga. There I was, zipping around the south end of the perimeter (I-285 for those of you who aren't familiar with Atlanta) when I received a phone call from another gal I was needed to catch up with. I had on my headset, so I wasn't holding my phone, but she called as I was approaching the turnoff of I-85 south. Let me tell you, even if I weren't yakking away on the phone, I probably would have missed the turn. It's a little odd. However, I was talking on the phone, looking for my exit, when all of a sudden I noticed I was approaching I-20 west. Huh?

For those who don't know, the perimeter is a highway that circles the entire city of Atlanta in the suburbs. When I first moved here, one of the Braves players missed the game because he drove around the perimeter for several hours trying to figure out how in the world to get to the stadium. I've lived in Atlanta for nearly 30 years, so I should know better, but I'm almost never down on that side of the perimeter. Remember that shopping radius I mentioned? Most of us are familiar with only the part of the perimeter that we use on a regular basis.

Anyway, I passed the I-20 exits, laughing to Chicken Goddess about what an idiot I am, while I found an exit and turned around. The trip down to Peachtree City was about 25-30 miles longer than it should have been, and even though I left an hour earlier than I had planned, I only arrived about 20 minutes early.

Nancy (blogless) is someone I'd not seen since college. We had a nice visit, and she showed me around Peachtree City. She drove me through some of the fancyschmancy subdivisions, saying that if anyone asked me, I could say I'd seen "such'n'such". I laughed and said that my friends would be asking me if I went to Sugarfoot's instead. This was one of the times when I realized just what a gulf there seems to be between knitters and non-knitters. To be honest, I could care less about the expensive subdivisions. I'd rather live somewhere I can have chickens run loose. I did care a lot about checking out the local yarn store. However, I had fun catching up and talking to someone who wasn't a knitter because I spend so much time around knitters, crafters and artists that it's illuminating to visit with someone who isn't.

And I think I'll end here. That's a glimpse into how I spent January 11 - January 14, 2010.

If it ever dries out, I've got lots of knitting pictures to take and post.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Life goes on

As do the knitting and the chores. First you see my February Lady Sweater in progress. I'm working along on the sleeve. You may remember that I was running out of yarn, and that my yarn is from October 2005. I was able to find some that were fairly close, and the new yarn is what I'm using for the sleeve. One thing about Malabrigo and other handpainted/kettledyed yarns is that they pattern one way when you knit back and forth, and a different way when you knit in the round. While the colors match pretty well, I think the swirling of knitting in the round may make the difference in dye lots a bit more noticeable. Oh well, that's what I get for changing my mind about what to use the yarn for, then changing the size. When I'm helping people purchase yarn for a project, some get a little upset that I gently insist they purchase an extra ball. Honestly, this is why I suggest that. Purchase what you think you will need, then a little bit more. It's truly better to have extra than to run short.
As for running short, I think these socks for Keith will be just fine since I'm using the Malabrigo for the heels, toes and part of the cuff. They're coming along nicely. I think the Yarnsmith yarn he chose is really quite nice to knit, and I like the way the color is swirling around the foot.

And finally, there are always chores to be done around any house, and laundry is no exception. However, there's nothing like warm, fresh from the dryer laundry to wear a cat out. Here are some pictures of Lily helping Keith put up his T-shirts. She found the endeavor to be quite exhausting, so she had to take a nap. Keith left her there to sleep, and there she stayed until midway through the night when she decided that sleeping between the two humans was warmer, more comfortable, and she could wake Keith up for a little petting.

In the last picture you can see her lip is swelling again. We went to the vet again yesterday, and he's happy with the improvement, but she'll need a few more shots of the super strong antibiotic. The vet was out (!), so we'll take her back early next week when the order comes in.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Finally defrosting

Yes, the temperature here has gotten above freezing. I had to let Mr. Chubbers go outside since he just knew it was pleasant. After all, the sun is shining and looks warm. Needless to say, he was only out a few minutes. I do feel sorry for kitties who look out the windows and think the weather is perfect since it's sunny. They go out and their little ears and paws get all cold.

The good news is that the snow and ice are melting. I'm glad that I won't bust my butt sliding down my stairs now. Driving can be done once again, and I won't have to wonder if I'll be able to open the car door.

I have learned that I will need to knit at least one pair of fingerless gloves for myself and a hat for Keith. We both need more socks too. Also, letting the cats sleep in the bed with us really does keep me warmer as they lean on me. I may be pinned to the bed and immobilized for hours, but at least I'm warm.

In the meantime, a little something to share. One of the feral kitties came by after the snow stopped.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Thoughts on charity knitting

The other day I was visiting with a friend who knits a little, and she said something about how great it was that I and other people knitted for charity. She said that she should do something like that, but she never thought about it.

This offhand remark got me to thinking about why do I knit for charity. Those who know me very well sometimes say things to me like I think too much, but this has been weighing on my mind for a few days.

I can't speak for all those who knit for charity. I speak only for myself, and here's what I think:

Ever since humans started thinking, we started wondering just why we were put here on this planet. Since I was a biology major in college, and that's what my degree is in, it does color my thinking. We're animals, and our purpose here to live and replace ourselves. A nice, quick scientific answer, and an answer we're not happy with because we have big, juicy, pulpy brains. Brains that make us think there's got to be more than that to our existence.

Most people want to feel important and to be immortalized someway. We, thank goodness, can't all be Donald Trump, full of self-importance, naming buildings after ourselves. What I, and many other knitters have found, is that we can more effectively make a difference in other people's lives doing something that we love, and we don't need to have our names tossed about while doing so.

When I knit a stoma cover for Grady Hospital, I can make a small, positive difference in the life of one person. I don't knit my name into it. I don't even get a thank you letter from the hospital, and that kind of recognition isn't important to me. For me, stoma cover knitting is knitting in its most meditative form. I make simple garter stitch squares with I-cord ties. They don't require much thought, and they let me enjoy my craft in its simplest, easiest form. It's a bonus that something I can enjoy so much can be a gift to someone in need.

It's also charity that stays in the larger community of the Atlanta Metro area. I've noticed over the past few years that my charitable donations have been changing focus from the large national and international charities to those can make a difference where I live. Let's take Lifeline Animal Project. I have used their services, the low cost spay and neuter for ferals several times over the past few years. They have been working with local animal control to provide spay and neuter for animals that have been or can be adopted. I can make a donation to them and have an affect in the county where I live. They can use that donation to provide free spay/neuter for a low income person who wants to keep their pet and needs that basic veterinary care.

I'm not saying any of this to be preachy or offensive to anyone. I just, like I said, got started thinking on why I knit for charity, and I thought I'd share my thoughts. Besides, as any of you hardcore knitters know, you soon run out of family to give all those hats and such to, but that doesn't stop you from knitting. Knitting is a part of you, who you are. A lifestyle habit that can actually change the world for one other person. Wow, when you stop to think about it, that's pretty amazing that this craft can do that.

As for me, when I started knitting stoma covers earlier this year, it was actually because the knitting group I'm in decided not to exchange holiday gifts, but to knit for a charity instead. I have a stash of cotton yarn that I'm not using, and this gave me a way to use a little of it. I personally didn't expect to enjoy doing them so much. They are very fast, a great break from keeping track of increases, decreases, lace knitting, charts, etc. I'm honestly not sure how many I've knitted since that first one. I'm around #10, but I'm finding the more I knit them, the less I care about the quantity. The important part is that they are a very much needed item, and I can provide them. What will happen when I run out of my stash of cotton yarn. Well, I have a lot of wool, and I really should be knitting for that other charity I decided to donate my time and yarn to. I have sent them a few items this fall, but I know it's not nearly enough. However, another great thing about knitting is if several knitters send just a few items each, it has a cumulative effect that can truly make a difference. Just look at Yarn Harlot and Doctors without Borders if you need a example.

Have a great day and weekend. It did snow here last night. Just enough to look quite unattractive with a dusting of snow showing grass and twigs poking up blackly all over the place. Yuck.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I won't tempt the Fates

I know better than that, but both of us are finally feeling better. Honestly, this is not the way we had planned to spend his week of vacation. Yes, Keith took vacation. Coughing, sleeping and complaining was not what we thought we would be doing.

That said, I have watched some movies, done much reading and just a little knitting. It's been too cold today to go outside and take pictures, so you'll have to wait until tomorrow, at which point I will have finished turning the heel, and the sock will look more like a sock and less like a willie warmer.

I did lose some weight too. Not too much, but some that I had gained back over the past month. I'll keep my fingers crossed that I'll be up for some yoga again this week.

The ones who will have the toughest transition to our feeling better? The cats, of course. We've been perfect, feverish heaters for the little devils, and now that we're up and moving again, how can they warm their feet? Keith woke the other night when Lily put her head into his hand for petting. It is terrible that the humans don't continue to pet while they sleep, but Lily just woke him up. She's been velcroed to Keith most of this week, and I know she won't like having her slave up and moving again.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Feeling human is in sight

Hmm, after all the sci-fi of the past few days, maybe I'd feel better if I were a shape shifting alien. I could have shifted away from whatever virus has been attacking me.

I noticed that while I'm still tired, my appetite is coming back, and now I want some Mexican food or maybe a pizza. I've noticed I'm not hungry for something like a big salad, but instead something carby with melted cheese.

I've felt well enough to knit again today while watching Nova's What Darwin Never Knew. I've gotten to the heel of Keith's sock, and I had to set it aside as I want to try Priscilla Wild's short row heel. Now that I'm not mesmerized by scientists searching through the genetic code for switches that turn genes on and off I'll be able to concentrate on a a new heel.

Sometimes I do wonder if I'd been able to better concentrate in my youth would I have gone on to be in a laboratory, poring over DNA sequences? Or would I have dumped the biology for astrophysics and spent my nights looking at blurry points of light millions of light years away? Who knows? I'll bet in an alternative universe there is another me who does exactly that.

Maybe I need to go in search of dinner and leave the wanderings of a hungry brain here before they get into stranger territory.

Belatedly, have a Happy New Year!

ETA - I've gone back to the PGR heel that I normally do. Here I was, doing exactly what I tell other knitters not to do, working on blue yarn so dark it looked black. Using US size 1.5 needles to try out a new heel in the not so great light of the bedroom. After several rows, and realizing one of the first ones just wasn't right, I frogged back and restarted with my standard short row heel. You know, if you do yarnovers and purl 3 through the back enough times, it's actually pretty easy and mindless. This heel should be especially strong as it has a lot of Grey's fur knitted into it. I can barely pry her out of my lap.