Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Home Again, Home Again

Jiggety Jig.

I'm just home from a great weekend at Fiber Daze, in Neosho, Missouri.  I taught my sock knitting class there (Socks Top-Down on Two Circulars), and also an overview of Ravelry.  It was a lot of fun and I had great students! 

I did do a little shopping, but no yarn came home with me  :-)
Fiber Daze 2012

Over on the far left are little "bird's nests" that I made in Diana Armes Wallace's "Blending with a Hackle" class.  It was a lot of fun and I learned that in this process particularly, less is definitely more.  My favorite nest is the one in the middle, which is just two colors of wool and a teeny bit of glitz.  There is a vest pattern - one of Janet Wray's (JWrayco) beautiful designs, and a weekly calendar book that I bought just for the photos of fiber art in it!  The off-white fiber is one ounce of BFL/Silk top, and the charcoal one is one ounce of Wensleydale roving. 

The packages are two ounces each of some of the JWrayco's Sterling Roving (63% superwash merino, 20% silk, 15% nylon and 2% silver poly).  I got a painted and a coordinating solid in two different shades/colors.  You see where I'm going, don't you?  :-)  I keep trying to get enough yardage for socks out of four ounces of fiber  :-D

That last blue braid is Wensleydale top.  I love Wensleydale.  Tammy doesn't.  She gave that to me!

It was a wonderful trip, but it's the last time I'm going to be teaching for awhile.  I made the decision to not teach at Fiber Retreat in March because there are some weaving classes that I really want to take there next year  :-)  I am determined to learn how to really weave.  This decision is also based on my desire to move more balance into my life.  Sometimes it's good to go and just take class rather than go and attempt to teach and take class.  :-)

As usual, my suitcase is exploded all over my guest room.  Prolly a good thing no one is visiting me any time soon :-D
Fiber Daze 2012_02

Let me tell you about that hideous lime suitcase . . .  It's a Samsonite Oyster - one they don't make anymore - the one that actually fits a Lendrum spinning wheel.  Yeah.  It fits.  And once you get it in there, and get your clothes in, it weighs a really lot.  It has wheels, but it's an older style of suitcase so the wheels are on the skinny end and you have to take the entire weight of the suitcase in your hand to pick it up and roll it along.

When I left, it weighed 48.8 pounds.    I dragged (wheeled) it to the train.  I picked it up (blessing my trainer) and hauled it up the steps at the train station.  I dragged (wheeled) it across the Loop to work (where I took the elevator up to the lobby rather than the stairs like I usually do).  Upon arrival at my desk, I IMMEDIATELY called the car service and made a reservation to be picked up on the way home  :-D   And then I dragged (wheeled) it to the el and all the way through the passage to Midway to the desk, where I checked it.  It weighed 49 pounds by the time I got there.  No clue why.   I was never so happy to check a bag (and pay for the privilege) in my life.  My hands still hurt.  It only weighed about 44 pounds on the way home  (yay me!), but still . . . this is a lesson learned. 

It's one thing to pop my Lendrum in it's carry bag in the back of my auto.  It's another to attempt to fly with it.  I won't do it again. 

Had a wonderful visit and stayed with my friends Tammy and Robert.  They took me to a place called Silver Dollar City.  It was a LOT of fun!  I got stuff there, too, but nothing big - a few things for my shadow box, a few CDs and some other trinkets.  It all had to fit in the backpack, so I was careful. 

It was a great long weekend  :-)   I came home on Monday, and am still attempting to get things put away and the laundry done  :-D

In other news of the day - I'm up on the scale.  Again.  Traveling does that, but still.  I have not done too well for most of this year.  I'm not sure what that's about, but I'm not giving up.  In addition, It's about that time of year where I start going through everything again.  I seem to do this in the fall . . . two years ago I called it The Great Cleanup of 2010.  I'm thinking that a good part of October is going to be spent divesting stuff here.  I don't know how I can divest continually and still have ALL THIS STUFF . . .  but I'm seriously feeling the need to work on it all again.  So - my closet will be first and we'll see how it all goes   :-)  But, that's not going to start for a few weeks.  I've got a weekend to myself to get things put away from this latest trip, and then I'm going to be taking some violets to show.

This is my favorite time of year.  This morning it's foggy and the trees are already turning.  It was so hot this summer that they will not last long, but for the time being, on my block, it's truly autumn.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fall is in the Air

It's chilly in the house this morning.  I don't really want to turn the heat on, but I have show plants that are only a few weeks out from show and they could stand to be a little warmer to encourage some more late blossoms . . .  we'll see.

Alrighty then - it was 62 . . . violets suffer below 65, so I'm caving early - at least for the next few weeks - and not letting the main part of the house get colder than 65.  I'm a sucker for a show plant  :-)

Been working on my third Senior Judges' Exam - I need to send it in in the next week.  I got most of it completed last night - it's a 12-page, open book test, and you have to include the page numbers where you got the answers.  It takes a long time, and it seemed to take even longer because I have the new copy of the handbook, and it's not highlighted at all  :-D  To keep judging after October, I have to pass the test (which should not be a problem), but I also need to have three blue ribbons at show.  I've been shooting for Missouri Valley in a few weeks to get the ribbons I need to continue judging.  If I don't get them, I'm sidelined until I do.  This is part of the price I paid for starting over.  I didn't have anything to take to National, nor to the Illinois State show.  But, if you have been watching my podcast, you already know that I have four show hopefuls.  They all just need a little more bloom. 

Cross your fingers.  :-)

Still struggling a bit with getting food and exercise back on an even keel (really struggling with both sugar and fat), and I will be traveling off and on in the coming weeks again - for some reason I nearly always find that to be challenging.  After being down 4.4 last week, this week I'm back up about 3. 

I'm also struggling with doing too much again, and I'm sure that doesn't help in the self-care area.  I'm certainly doing better than I was last year, though (when I had every weekend taken for nine or more weeks in a row (it was bad)). This weekend will be the last time I teach a knitting class for awhile.  It's not like I teach more than a couple of times a year, and I do enjoy it, but it's a lot of work.  When I go to Fiber Retreat next year, I won't be teaching at all, just taking class  :-)

I don't know, but it seems the older I get, the less able I am to be running full-out all the time - and I just don't have the desire to multi-task like I used to.  I'm not sure if that's a need/want to slow down and really experience my life (instead of viewing it at a constant blur), or if I'm just not capable of keeping up the way I used to.  I'm finding this to be true with my knitting and spinning, too.  If you are a member of the Year of Stash Socks group on Ravelry, when the October patterns are announced tomorrow, you'll also get a little taste of what the other mods and I are planning for 2013.  It should help.

At any rate, we're headed into my favorite time of year.  I wore a sweater last week, and again yesterday.  And on Monday, I wore my raincoat - first time . . .  I changed the wreath on the front door to my fall one - not that have one for every season.  I don't.  I'd like to, though!  :-D  It was cool enough last Friday that I could practice my pipes at lunchtime.  I went down on the Riverwalk.  The homeless guys didn't seem to mind, and the people on the tour boats applauded - which I think is hilarious because although I can play reasonably well, I really was just practicing.  But there is something very elemental about the pipes and people either love them or hate them.  The drones have a great deal to do with that I think.  They vibrate in the body in a way that is very compelling, and when they are in tune they are magnificent. Yes, contrary to popular belief, you DO tune bagpipes - and most people who think they don't like pipe music likely heard someone or a band that was not quite in tune.  There is no faster way to get a headache than pipes that are not in tune . . .

It's cool again today - I'm not going to WW, maybe I'll take the pipes with me for some practice at lunch again.  We'll see.

Fall is definitely in the air. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012


It is a gorgeous day here in Chicagoland, and I am about to head out to my hammock to enjoy one of the last days of summer.

I'm working on Debbie Ford's 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse.  It's serious personal work.

Errands are done.

Lasagna is planned for dinner.

Some knitting was accomplished.

I'm thinking about what to cover on the next episode of my podcast, All About African Violets.

I'm reading my friend, Kemberlee Shortland's novel, Rhythm of My Heart.  It's good.  :-)

I'm headed out to the hammock, book in tow, and if I should happen to fall asleep for a bit, wouldn't that be lovely?  :-) 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Unexpected Kindness

I have undone all the good I had done weightwise.  Even though I know that this is how my body operates - large jumps up and down - it's still disturbing.  I'm 241.4 this morning (that's with the extra 2 pounds added on for what it would be with clothes on the WW scale.  Clearly I'm not going to make my October goal.  I will be happy just to get back to where I was by the end of the calendar year.

And I specify calendar year because this always seems to be the new year for me - I always feel like the day after Labor Day is New Year's Day somehow - never got out of that old school year calendar I guess.

I am disheartened, and irritated with myself, but there is no blame to be laid.  I make the choice of what goes in to my mouth.  Only me.  I also make the choices about how much exercise I get, and my time and how I spend it.

And so, at the risk of sounding ridiculous, here we go - again.  I suppose that the trick to succeeding is to keep moving forward.  And so, even though I hit a mud slick and slid backwards down the hill rather quickly, what is there for it except to wipe the mud off, change my shoes, and start back up the hill?


For those of you in Chicagoland - I found a Mac Kelly's!!!!  For those of you not, Mac Kelly's is place with "greens and things."  They used to be in a variety of locations throughout the Loop, but I think they are now down to just one store.  They have a salad bar, and hot steam trays, as well as a sandwich bar and various packaged lunch foods.  There used to be one a half a block away from my office, but it closed back in March.  But there is at least one left, at 123 W. Madison.  On the days I need a salad I can build myself, I'll be able to get a few extra steps in my days  :-)

Yesterday, two different people did me unexpected kindnesses, both related to the knitting world.  There was a pattern that I wanted to make, called the Autumnal Neck Cozy, but it was part of a sock club and so wasn't available yet.  I posted in the group that is part of the club and asked if anyone who had the pattern wanted to destash it.  I received a message on Ravelry from someone saying that the pattern wasn't one she wanted to knit and I could have it!  I messaged back and thanked her, gave her my snail mail address and asked her how much she wanted for it - and she said, "nothing, just pay it forward at some point."   :-)

And then, I won a prize on the Fish Knits group on Ravelry (and if you haven't tried Jo Dee's Fish Knits yarn yet, what are you waiting for?!  I'm partial to her Strong Heart base  :-)).  It was a bag up to $20 from Absolute Wonder.  I was so excited!!!  I received a message from the shop owner telling me that if I saw something that cost more than the $20 I won, that I could get it and she would only bill the person who donated the prize the $20 and I could pay the rest!  So, I found a really lovely bag, and it was a few dollars more, so I ordered it and let her know that I would pay the difference, and also wanted to be sure that the shipping was not more than a smaller bag would have been.   I got a message back saying "you don't owe me a penny - consider it my contribution to the KAL."    :-)

I'll be paying these kindnesses forward - not sure how yet, but I will  :-)

It's raining again  :-)   Apparently it rained hard last night, too.  I slept right through it.