Friday, December 31, 2010

Uh Oh . . .

Remember all that snow?

We had a heat wave yesterday . . . and it thunderstormed most of the night. . . so all that snow melted, and it kept on raining . . .


does NOT bode well for my basement . . .

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Eve Eve . . .

It's been a week of fun things in the mail, Chez A :-)

Today, a little box arrived . . . my bead spinner! Hot Dog! This means that the Shipwreck Shawl is somewhere in my future in 2011. I have wanted one of these since I saw one at the Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair in July. I don't know why I didn't get one right then . . . but I didn't. I got this one off Amazon.

On Monday, a box arrived from Land's End - cargo pants for my upcoming trip to Egypt, and a couple of new turtle necks.

On Tuesday, some DVDs of The Omega Factor, an old British SciFi series arrived.

Yesterday, at work, my new DVD player arrived! Yay! My old one finally bit it over the holiday weekend when I was attempting to watch My Name is Khan. Bummer. So, since I needed a multi-region player, I headed out to eBay, which is where the old one came from. It was at least 9 years old, so I don't feel too bad about getting a new one.

And yesterday, when I got home, a little box was waiting for me. . . it was from my friend, Michelle at Boulderneigh. She was worried that since The Great Cleanup of 2010, I might not have a place for it. She was wrong. That sweet lamb with the hat and Wellies on! Her name is Heather, and Michelle says that she is the same color as her ewe Rechel was - the one whose fleece Michelle gifted to me (I made socks for her with it). So Heather is on the shelf in my office - next to my Buddha, my Christmas ewe, and my V for African violets, and in front of an awesome photo of my mom holding me on the porch of the house in Riverdale. All my important stuff is on that shelf. :-) Thank you Michelle :-)

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Productive Day . . .


I spent this last day of holiday vacation accomplishing things here. All the additional Wollmeise yarn I got at Thanksgiving in the two updates is now photo'd and catalogued in my stash on Ravelry. Ditto for the awesome yarns I got from my swap partners in the 2010 Advent Swap. I got some wonderful yarns from my Swedish swap partner Asa, and some fiber, too! My other swap partner also got me some great stuff, including a yarn called Jewel Box, which is a chenille that I like very much. I'm a lucky girl!

Yesterday, I decided to see if I could knit one entire sock in one day. I'm happy to report that I can, indeed, do this :-D I don't plan on doing it very often, but at least I know I can. These will, eventually, be for my cousin, K who actually wears all the socks I knit her. She picked this yarn out of my stash - it's Araucania Ranco Multi. It is not superwash, so I have warned her - and in fact warned her before I started, that she would have to hand wash this pair. She says she's fine with that . . . cross your fingers. anyway - there's my sock-in-a-day :-D

So, all the miscellaneous yarn has been accounted for, and a boatload of magazines catalogued and filed, as well as the addition of some more books that have made their way to me, including a treasury of Scandinavian Knitting from my Swedish swap partner - it's so interesting and I hope I can make some of those Lovikka mittens with some of the yarns she sent me, too!

I even made a little progress on what's left of the Great Cleanup of 2010. It would be nice to have my guestroom back in some sort of shape - it's been a staging area long enough.

I ate way too much food in the past week . . . I will be paying for this for awhile, but it's all a process.

It's been a good holiday vacation - and tomorrow it's back to work!


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas . . .

The scene on Christmas morning, Chez A :-)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Comfort and Joy . . .

I am firmly convinced that the cure for the blues is to listen to the blues. Thanks for all the well wishes :-) Everything, of course, did look better in the morning.

The YOSS update is that we started a group on Ravelry . . . and within two days we had more than 300 members (we totally freaked out :-D). We now stand at 402 members - who would have thought that my little blog post back in October would morph into something that would strike a chord with so many. We are preparing to knit a LOT of socks in 2011.

And now - it's two days until Christmas. I am still a bit overwhelmed - this week has blasted by me with obligations and work and just living every day. Family and friends continue to fight cancer and old age - it's hard. And yet, I remember every day that am so very lucky.

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you will have heard this before - it bears repeating: Every day that you wake up is a gift, for tomorrow is promised to no one. I believe that we are here to live our lives. Live them, not watch them from the sidelines. Blogging has been a bit sparse around here lately - that will be changing in the new year . . . I have a project in store about living my life that I will be talking about here. We'll see how it goes.

And now, it's time for me to see about getting a few things done around here but before I get cracking, I would like to share a poem with you. I'm not big on poetry, but this one - for many years - has stuck with me. It was written by a woman named Ann Weems, and published in a book called Kneeling in Bethlehem. Whatever your beliefs are, I share it with you in the true spirit of Christmas, and I hope Ms. Weems won't mind. Unfortunately Blogger will not allow me to format it as it should be . . . I'm sorry about that and have added some spaces to hopefully help with that. Still, I want to share it with you. It's called "Star-Giving."


What I'd really like to give you for Christmas
is a star . . .

Brilliance in a package,
something you could keep in the pocket of your jeans
or in the pocket of your being.

Something to take out in times of darkness,
something that would never snuff out or tarnish
something you could hold in your hand,
something for wonderment,
something for pondering,
something that would remind you of
God's Advent Light in the darkness of this world.

But stars are only God's for giving,
and I must be content to give you words and wishes and
packages without stars.

But I can wish you life
as radiant as the Star
that announced the Christ Child's coming,
and as filled with awe as the shepherds who stood
beneath its light.

And I can pass on to you the love
that has been given to me,
ignited countless times by others
who have knelt in Bethlehem's light.

Perhaps, if you ask, God will give you a star.

Merry Christmas, my friends :-)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Blues Come Over Me . . .

Sometimes "the holidays" are difficult for me. This seems to be one of those years.

So much seems to come to a head at this time of year. The two oldest members of my extended family are dealing with (1) a hip replacement and bone cancer, and (2) old age and dementia. One of my Canadian cousins died just before Thanksgiving - a young man with a heart ailment. And one of my other Canadian cousins was just diagnosed with large and small cell lymphoma.

All I want to do right now is isolate myself. It just seems like there is too much swirling all around me. Tonight I was supposed to go to a Christmas concert up on the Northwest side, and I just could not motivate to go out in the crappy weather.

I missed Thanksgiving altogether because of the stupid cold I had that still has me coughing. And now my left foot hurts in a new spot. This is particularly disheartening. I have done quite well and continued to get better all year long. I still have daily pain from the plantar fasciitis, but it's nowhere near what it was - and custom orthotics have helped immensely. I'm trying to start walking on the treadmill again, but I can't get past about 15 minutes. . . I must have walked too much yesterday in my new hiking boots (with the orthotics in them) because when I got home last night, the center of the ball of my foot seemed to be in the wrong place - like it's pushed out somehow. Feels like I'm walking on a lump. I know better than to say "what next," but JesusMaryandJoseph, WTF next?!

In an effort to make myself feel better - and not eat - I bought some yarn. And a couple of books - both things that usually make me feel better. I stayed up late on Thanksgiving to catch a Wollmeise update. That yarn has not yet arrived from Germany; however, I also caught the Friday morning grab bags, and those skeins (Claudia calls them "We're Different") arrived yesterday. These are skeins that came out light or dark or were test colorways or just somehow didn't make the full grade. They are just as beautiful, if not more so than any regular Wollmeise colorway. I only got one duplicate, and it's of a colorway that will make an awesome shawl. L-R, Gazpacho, Resi, Gewitter Himmel, Tiefer See (spiralen), Pfauenage, Rosenrot, and two skeins of Kornblume.

I even spun my first silk (Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks - the colorway is called Embers), thanks to a wonderful afternoon up at The Fold with Toni. I'm really happy with it, but it's just not doing much for my mood. Not much is helping right now. All will be well - my foot just probably needs a good night's sleep.

So - apologies to Knitterary and Amy - I guess I was only good for one year of stash busting.

I just have the blues . . .

. . . it'll all look better in the morning. It always does . . .

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

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I'm an Uber Cool History and Literature Geek :-D

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Welcome Winter . . .

Here's the scene this morning in Chicagoland! Our first real snowfall.

How happy am I that I got up out of the chair last night and went to the gas station and got gas for the snow blower? :-)

We're gathering quite an international group over at The Year of Stash Socks - 2011. If you're thinking about joining, I would like to encourage you to do so! It's sort of a self-imposed sock club - a way to use up some of the sock yarn in your stash. No pressure, no prizes, just some fun knitting with some fun people. The YOSS moderators pick the patterns each month - and you can choose to knit one or both. Imagine all the gorgeous socks you'll have next year at this time :-) As my friend, Darthknitter says, "come on, you know you want to!"

Plus, you get to snag this awesome icon badge for your blog if you have a blog - it was made especially for us by the lovely and talented KniftyRed!! Thanks Red :-)