Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy Birthday to me...

Yep, today is my birthday. Though it feels like we've been celebrating all week. On Monday and Tuesday, dh installed a new utility sink and base cabinet in the laundry room. (We all know how important a well fitted laundry tub is to the fiber obsessed.)

Wednesday we moved my new worktable into the small bedroom that is like a suite to my sewing room (there's a bathroom between them). This way some of the paperwork stuff can move out of the sewing room, allowing more space for fiber sorting and sewing.

Thursday we drove over to Kalamazoo to see the Chihuly Exhibit. This one wasn't quite as good as the one at Meijer Gardens two years ago. KIA didn't have quite enough space to allow viewing from a distance. Also their main exhibit room is painted a medium value gray, which wasn't enough contrast for the glass. Stark white or black would have been better...or even a saturated value in a complimentary color.

Having finished with the Chihuly Exhibit in plenty of time, we 'zigged' up to Grand Rapids and did the holiday tour at Meijer Gardens (this is the best I can do for a link right now) before 'zagging' home.

Today, my real birthday...I spent part of the day threading heddles on the loom. I have high hopes of beginning '06 by sleying the reed, tying on, and (drum roll!) weaving.

And more gifts: a couple of books, a marvelous hand made card from Carol, a couple of bracelet holders (to help putting on bracelets w/ tricky catches, a yarn meter, and lots of love from dh and ds.

Pictures tomorrow..I promise...

Saturday, December 24, 2005

1,645...

is the number of miles between last Saturday morning and this one. We picked up ds from Purdue, returned home, put up a tree and sent some of the cards, then packed up the car and headed off on the Pa. family trip.

We saw only my sister and most of her sons while were in western Pa. Saw none of my brothers...I'm sure that they grumble that we don't come to see them. However, it seems to me if we can put on the majority of the miles, they can travel 30 or so miles to meet us somewhere? Whatever.

Did Christmas with the inlaws, who are noticeably older. Well, we all are, even the "kids" are young adults. Time passes, things change. One niece, a junior in college, is the livewire of the bunch. She goes around the table, interviewing each family member about current events in their lives. She adds an under the breath commentary on their replies, which is pretty hilarious. She had great fun with her boy cousins, who are also in college at various campuses.

I'd try to give you an example of Megan's running interview/commentary, but it's a "you had to be there" kind of thing.

Additional trip accomplishments: A finished knitted vest for dh and we listened to Elizabeth Kostova's novel, The Historian. This book reminded me of The DaVinci Code except they are chasing down dracula. It was interesting to listen to...I think I would have become impatient reading it. Also read most of Old School by Tobias Wolff, our January book-group book which I highly recommend.

That's it! Still have presents to wrap and cards to write. Then I can settle down for a long winter's nap, or knit, or weave, or spin.

Friday, December 16, 2005

You know, I couldn't make this stuff up....
This has been the most trying week I can remember in a long time. You already know about the first flat tire on Sunday.

Well, on Wednesday morning, while driving to my PiYo class, the low fuel alarm chiming, and thinking I needed to stop and pick up 2 birthday cards that were going to be late, I was pulled over by one of Plymouth's finest. He cited me for doing 30 in a 25 mph school zone. Busted...meanwhile, I'm praying that the car doesn't run out of gas while he's back in his car checking me out in his computer. I mean would he be inclined to take me for a can of gas after writing a citation? Not to fear, I did make it to the gas station on fumes.

So, Wednesday evening rolled around. I'm an elder at our church, so there's mail for me to attend to. I decided to wait, attend the evening Advent service, and do mail then. Since I was only going to be gone a short while, I put supper in the oven and didn't put it on "timed bake" since I would be home by 7:00. Upon walking out of church at 6:40 PM, I discoverd another flat tire, this time the driver's side rear...flat to the ground. Did I drive on it like that?

Called dh at work, who was just getting ready to leave. Explained the situation to him and he agreed to come home first, turn off the oven, then come to my rescue. He tried filling the tire from a scuba tank, but the tire wasn't holding air at all...I must have driven on it all the way to church. ARGH!! So the weird little spare tire went on and we drove home as the snow was beginning to come down.

Thursday brought heavy snow warnings, with snow coming down hard at 7:00 AM. Getting the tire fixed was Job 1, since I had a dr. appt. at 1:45 PM that had already been rescheduled once. Drove the vehicle in, the tire could not be repaired, hence waited an extra 45 minutes for them to get a new tire from another store. Finally at 10:30 AM, they tell me I'm good to go. I start driving down the road and it sounds like I'm driving a bucket of nuts & bolts. Hmmm...drove to the next gas station and checked....the tire people threw the spare and the jack-set in the back of the vehicle rather than putting it back into the little well designed to hold it. After I spent a nice long time in the driving snow pulling that out and putting it together right, I figured it would be good to double check the tire pressures. I mean, why would I assume that having had one tire repaired and one replaced in the past 48 hours, they would have put in the right amount of air? Guess what...4 tires, 4 different PSI's...none of them correct. More fun in the slushy snow, letting air out of over inflated tires and pumping it into under inflated ones. GRRR...lesson learned, when you buy a brand new tire, that's all you get. Am not sure what it takes to also get service.

Today, Friday, arrived. Christmas is breathing down my neck and there's much to be done. As part of my errands, I threw two bags of clothing in the car to put in one of those drop-boxes that sits at the local BP station (my feeble attempt at FlyLady clutter control). The opening was high as I tried to push the bag into the receptacle. So I reached up with my other hand, which was holding my keys, to give it a push. You've already guessed...my car keys, house keys, remote entry fob, and all of the little ID cards from the library through the grocery stores went into this very tall locked metal bin.

I went into the gas station to ask the attendant if they have a key to the box. Nope...they know nothing. I called both of the numbers on the box...no answer at one and discontinued service on the other (who ARE these people?!)

So I did the only other thing I knew to do: call the police (yet one more encounter with Plymouth's finest!) Fortunately, I know the police dispatch number by heart...our residential phone number for the past 27 years is only one digit different and one year (about 16 years ago), they published our number rather than the correct number on one of those little community service magnets for the refrigerator. (Yes, that was a year of very interesting phone calls...)

The policeman (Not MY policeman from Wed.) arrived in his patrol car. All of a sudden the gas station owner is interested in my plight. (Again...who ARE these people?!) He was not happy that I called the police, but he wasn't interested in helping me either. The kind policeman called a locksmith and asked him to help me out. The one hitch, the locksmith wanted me to call him myself. So, I called the locksmith and after telling me that I'd have to wait around 2 hours, he wanted to know who was going to be liable for any possible damage to the collection box as a result of this escapade. By this time, I am a quivering bowl of jelly. I will pay, pay, and pay to retrieve those keys. I'm sure my desperation came through, I won't say loud and clear because by this time I was weak and trembling. He said..."I'll come myself, see you in few minutes."

The Town Locksmith (yep, that's the name on the big 350 Econoline Van) arrived almost instantly and out jumped the person most likely to pass for a garden gnome. I'm not kidding...in his thick navy sweater, knit stocking cap, and his cute little jeans. His face was buried in a steel gray beard and mustache, with a perfectly round, upturned nose. Meanwhile, the gas station owner is still kind of agitated. The Locksmith gnome worked his magic on the gas station owner (it was like he sprinkled fairy dust!). Then he got his toolbox/stepstool (don't you love when an item serves dual purposes?), pulled out his lock pick set, and sprung the lock in seconds. My keys never looked so good to me!! I happily wrote the locksmith a check. The gas station owner wanted to know where he could get a lock pick set...(once again...who ARE these people?!) And we all departed the scene.

So: 1 traffic citation: $100
1 destroyed tire replaced: $116
1 emergency locksmith visit: $65
1 quiet Friday night at home with Dove Dark Chocolate Promises and some mindless knitting: Priceless!

If you are reading this and think you should be getting a Christmas card from me this year....consider this your card.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Woe is me....

I just finished ripping out a little more than one whole pattern repeat on the alpaca lacy cardigan. That's two whole evenings worth of knitting. (sniff) Last night I noticed that the motif below the one I was working on didn't look right. So I counted the eyelets....and yep, I skipped a row. It was tempting to keep going...it's on the back, near the bottom, who would notice? I would, over and over and over again. Better to rip today than repent tomorrow, right?

Also last night I noticed that my right rear tire was very low. This morning it was flat, sporting a bright shiny nail in the tread. None of the tire places are open on Sunday. This vehicle is not quite a month old...(sigh)

Now, if I didn't have Christmas cards to do, I could knit back to where I was.... This must be how Scrooge got started on his scroogieness.....

Friday, December 09, 2005

Parallel Universe...

I don't usually read Knitty...no particular reason other than life is short, I'd rather work with fiber than be online (which you can tell by the inactivity on the blog lately.) So this morning I clicked on a link to Knitty and here is this article: Ravellings on the knitted sleeve: set-in sleves

Which is pretty much what I did with Fulmar after my last blog entry. I went about it in a little different fashion, but there it is. When Margaret Stove was in town a few years ago, I bought a huge flip pad of 1"x1" graph paper for her to chart lace for the class. That pad has been invaluable in figuring out pattern adjustments.

So, the calculations are all done, but I've been lured off to knit in greener (well, maybe blue-green) pastures:


This is the lace cardigan from INknitters, Summer '04 (see below). The yarn is alpaca laceweight on size 1 needles. The beginning was slow going, but the pace has picked up now that I've been through the 20 row pattern repeat 5 times. 6 more repeats to go for the back of the sweater. I really like the little lacy sweaters that I see in the stores, but they are all acrylic, poorly made, and not very flattering. So, I must knit.


Meanwhile there are presents to finish, shopping to do, cards to write, and a couple of bereavement visits to make. So, I'll blog when I can....and when I can't, I'll look for you on bloglines.