Monday, November 30, 2009


Today is the last day of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) and I'm happy to say I managed to post every single day of November.  Yeah for me!  Hopefully I've had something of interest to say or show each day.  Although, I do have to say, I've not been getting any comments lately.  Hmmmm.

Today is also the last day for knitting with civilized wool yarn for a while.  I put the braids on the Ear Flap Hat from yesterday and I finished knitting the Ponytail Hat as well.

I'm just auditioning the buttons -- I have a feeling that my co-worker will decide against them, but they're the only ones I have that match and fit correctly right now!  You can see the ponytail opening just above the buttons and to the right.  And here's a close up of the buttons and the lower ribbed band.

It hasn't been blocked yet, but you already knew that!

Now it's back to the 'wretched wool' -- ugh.  Can't get those hats done fast enough.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Back to Nice Wool

Such a relief today to be knitting on soft wool.  After a couple of days of the 'wretched wool' I had nearly forgotten how nice wool could be.

I made the Ear Flap Hat for my coworker's daughter today but I think she wants the braids that can dangle from the ear flap so I'll need to add that tomorrow after I confirm.

This was a very interesting pattern for a number of reasons.  Remember it came from Lucia (see yesterday's post for the link) and it used short rows for the ear flaps and had a headband seam.  It's super warm and I think Ariana will love it.  Here's a close up of the yarn, Knit Picks' Wool of the Andes Bulky.  It used all of one skein and I will have to nab a few yards of a second skein if I need the braided ties.

I also started the second hat, the ponytail hat, with some Araucania Limari multicolor wool from Chile.  I've finished the band and am just about to the point where you make the hole for the ponytail.  Pictures will hopefully be posted tomorrow.  For now, though, here is the yarn.

Both yarns were selected by my coworker to match her daughter's teal winter jacket.  I hope she likes both hats.  You know how particular teenage girls can be.

And finally, I've been driving around my neighborhood for the past few nights and noticing how many folks have decorated their houses for the holidays.  I'll be posting pics of some of the ones I've come across.

They're not necessarily tricked out to the hilt -- I just like what they've done.  Some are simple and some are elaborate.  Either way they dress up the neighborhood and put us all in the proper spirit.

I signed up for 4 bell ringing sessions with the Salvation Army next month.  How about you?  Can you spare a couple of hours to stand outside and ring the bell and make a difference in the lives of people less fortunate than you?  I don't have any money to donate to worthy causes like this one but I do have time and that's what I'm giving.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tidying Up

Today I spent much of the day putting things back in their places.  Most of my time was spent organizing my wayward knitting patterns back into their proper binders.  For a brief moment Kevin stepped into my craft room and announced that if I knit for 10 hours a day I might be able to knit all my yarn in a year and half, maybe two years.  He's such a man.  I expect it would take the better part of five years at that pace and NO more buying in order to achieve that goal.

He's not my husband but sometimes he sounds just like one.  'When are you going to go back to the gym?'  'You really should cut out drinking pop and using butter.'  'You can't possibly need any more yarn or pattern.'  As long as he's around I don't really need a husband, do I?

I started a new hat, Hand Knit Ear Flap Hat, by a gal named Lucia.  Check out her website:  Lucia's hat calculator  I hope to post some pictures tomorrow.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Not me

I was not one of those early bird shoppers at 3 AM lined up outside of Old Navy.  Nor was I waiting for the doors to open at 4 AM at Kohls.  Not I.  No, I was sound asleep and enjoying every minute of my restful sleep, waking at 7:30 AM, thinking it was time to get up and get knitting.

I putzed around the house, cleaning a bit, ran some laundry, and washed dishes leftover from yesterday's  dinner preparation.  For lunch I treated myself to a delicious corned beef/swiss/rye sandwich from the Onion Roll Deli.  I think it's my favorite place for that sandwich.

I started another hat from the 'wretched wool' assortment.  Again, I can't wait to get them done.  I went over to my friend Kate's house tonight to knit with several friends, including the birthday girl Tanya.  I won't say how old she is but it's more than 39 and less than 41.

My hands ache from that nasty yarn so I'm popping a couple Motrins and calling it a night.  Tomorrow I'll knit another hat from different yarn for a different customer.  I deserve a break!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Day

I hope everyone has had a memorable day visiting with family and friends today.  I trust you all were well fed and had plenty of treats.  It's good to get together and remember to be grateful for all that we have.

I'm grateful for:

  1. My children
  2. My Mom
  3. My sisters and their families
  4. My friends
  5. My job
  6. My home
  7. My dog
  8. The changing seasons
  9. My love of crafts
  10. A good night's sleep
There are so many things to be grateful for in life.  All too often, though, I get fixated on what isn't going well.  Like when my washing machine broke -- at least I had a washing machine TO fix and the money to make it happen.  While things are not going too well at work, at least I still have a job and benefits.

It's just about time for me to sign up to be a bell ringer for the Salvation Army's red kettle drive.  I've done it for the last 3 years and it's really rewarding.  How many other times in life do you have people thank you for doing a charitable act or say 'God Bless You'?  Most of the times I have done this it's been miserably cold.  Perhaps that leads to getting more people donating when I look pitiful.  This year I've got plenty of pocket warmers so I'll be packing them to help keep me from turning into an icicle. 

I finished the first of the four Republic hats I need to knit for my customer in Dryden.  I want to get the other three done plus the pair of fingerless mitts for my friend Eddie.  Then I need to finish Holly & Mike's rug.  I'll be glad when the 'have to do' items are checked off my list of things to do and I can go back to knitting things for me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bleh Yarn

Sunday I picked up four skeins of handspun wool yarn from a customer to make four of my Republic hats for her.  She had seen my hats at the Mt. Bruce show but wanted to use her own yarns.  She had two skeins spun by a friend and a couple of others that were purchased from a fiber show of some sort.

I wound each of the four hanks into a center pull ball and grumbled at the roughness as I did so.  I normally use a bulky yarn and size 10 needles to knit those hats but it was quickly apparent that I would have to drop down in needle size.  I began with 8s, which left the gauge too loose.  Next it was size 7s, same problem.  I gave up on that yarn and completely unraveled that hat at about the half way point and set it in the time out corner.  I picked out another of the yarn balls and after trying size 7s, frogged that one too, and switched to size 6s.  I really dislike working with the yarn -- it's way too rough and there's not enough lanolin left in it to compensate.  I'll be glad when these hats are done.  Here are a couple of shots of the yarn and the hat so far......


Working with yarns like these make me appreciate the better yarns that I'm used to using.  This hat was worked with Rowan Country wool -- so much softer and easier to knit with ~~

Kind of a man-ly color, a bit more denim-y than the photo shows.

Can't wait to get back to knitting with my regularly scheduled yarns...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Every Thanksgiving it seems like there's so much preparation.  This year my sister Carol is hosting our family dinner in her new home.  It will be good to be in a different place.  Some place other than my Mom & Dad's apartment.  I don't look forward to going to the apartment anymore.  I really wish Mom would get a new place.  Maybe that will happen in March when her current lease is up.

Today after work I went to my favorite Italian market.  I love buying their cannoli and enjoyed eating one on the way home, nuts and sugar falling all over me in the car.  Their bread is to die for -- freshly baked onsite, 24 hours a day.  I could only think about getting home and slathering some soft butter on the still-warm slices.  I picked up a nice chunk of Grana Padana to take for dinner Thursday and pondered for quite a while in the wine aisle, picking up a half dozen bottles for future consumption.

After knitting with the ladies at Panera I headed to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients for my dishes for Thanksgiving.  I didn't want to wait until tomorrow when the crowds will be large, cranky, and hurried.  I bought the fixings for the appetizers I'm bringing along with all the necessities for the famous green bean casserole.  That's one of Holly's favorites and one that usually goes over well at family gatherings although I do remember that Dad didn't care for it.  He liked just about everything else about Thanksgiving dinner and usually ate more than he should have(don't we all??) -- I think it was his favorite holiday.  I know he will  be missed at the table Thursday.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Newlyweds

Yesterday I had a great visit with Holly & Mike, even if it was a short one.  I told her next time I'll come early on a Saturday and spend the day with her.  We talked about me getting some snowshoes and wandering around the property once it's covered with snow.  There was also mention about some very cute sheep that Mike had heard about.....

I snapped a few pictures of the happy couple and here's the best ~~

Mike was getting over a bad cold and cough so he wasn't feeling the best but he was a trooper.

I know it will be challenging for them to hit her dad's family, my family and Mike's family for Thanksgiving Day dinners.  I hope they save a bit of appetite so they can try my new appetizers at my sister Carol's house.  I bought a new piece of pottery yesterday and it came with a Hot Crab meat Dip recipe.  What's not to like about Crab meat!  I'm also in charge of Green Bean Casserole.  I'm waiting to hear from Carol whether the extra relatives from Buffalo will be coming or not.  I want to pick up the groceries tomorrow since Wednesday will be a madhouse for sure at the grocery store.

Today I finally got my hair cut and colored.  Egads, it was getting so darn grey and shaggy.  Now I'm back to brown and spiffy.  I met up with Tanya and Linda to debrief our weekend craft show.  We strategized about how we could do things differently/better next year.  Unfortunately I wound up getting the pizza we were eating stuck near my temporary crown, the one on top in the back (tooth #15 for those of you familiar with dentistry).  Once home, it decided to pop off while I was trying to floss out the stuck substance.  Lucky for me it didn't pop off into the toilet.  Have I mentioned that I'm always multi-tasking??

Fear not, I called the dentist and they were able to get me in right away to re-glue the wayward temporary crown and advised me to floss carefully back there by simply pulling the floss through the teeth instead of up and out.  Gargling with warm salt water might help with the gum swelling I've been experiencing too.  I say a little wine ought to do the trick too.  Drinking it that is, not gargling with it.  Though that does give me an idea...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

No Knit Day

I had a nice visit with my Mom today and I think she liked Holly & Mike's new house.  Mike made a delicious pot of Ham & Bean soup and they had used the canning book I gave them to make some applesauce yesterday, which was also very good.  I nearly hit another deer on our way back home.  I suppose they are all a bit skiddish since it's hunting season.

Today is a no-knit day.  My bursitis has flared up in my left shoulder so I'm just going to wind some yarn I picked up today from a customer who wants 4 button hats made from her yarn.  I've already taken a Naproxen which will hopefully kick in by the time I finish eating dinner and then I just might go to bed early.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Done, done, diddly done

The last of my craft shows for 2009 is over and I have to say I'm relieved.  It was not a good show for me but my friends Tanya and Linda fared much better.

Now I need to finish an order for fingerless mitts for my friend Eddie and knit up a charcoal gray felted hat for a customer from the Mt. Bruce show.  Next I can concentrate on Christmas knitting and personal knitting.  So glad for that!  I have to work on my hoodie tunic sweater -- nearly done, unravel another WIP sweater that wasn't behaving, and start working on some of the yarn my sister Denise has brought back for me from various trips over the past few years.  I've been woefully slow in using them and they're all so nice.

Tomorrow morning I'm picking up my Mom and driving her out to see Holly & Mike's new house.  Mike has cooked up a pot of Ham & Bean soup for us for lunch so we'll get there early enough to tour the house and then eat.  Mom will no doubt take pictures and I'm sure will love the place.

If I get home early enough I want to head over to Jan the Potter's house to pick up this great piece of pottery that can be used for dips.  I'll post a picture if I end up getting one.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Done for the day

Today was such a full day.  I worked this morning and took the afternoon off of work so I could finish preparing for our craft show.  I made 8 signs to advertise the show and placed them in several locations near Tanya's house.  The basement looked great and we had plenty of things to sell.

I think we had just short of 20 people show up from 4 pm to 6:30 pm and that's not too bad.  I think nearly everyone who came bought something, but I, alas, did not sell a single thing.  Fiddledeedee.  I hope tomorrow is more fruitful.  For now I'm just going to wash up and go to bed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hard to believe.....

but this is post #200.  When I began early this year I'm sure I didn't expect to keep up with this project.  But I have.  And I've really enjoyed writing about all that matters to me.  I get some nice feedback too, so some of you are enjoying it too!

My friends Tanya and Linda and I are having a home craft show this weekend.  We have so much great stuff for sale -- Tanya's basement looks amazing.  Now all we need are customers.  We've passed out flyers, invited co-workers, friends, family.  PLEASE SHOW UP! 

Here are some great shots of the available items -- I KNOW you need them!


We will have some light refreshments and door prizes -- even more incentive to come!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


What aggravates you?  Right now for me it's this stupid computer.  It is slower than molasses.  Sometimes I can't make things print or I'll just get gibberish.  What gives??  I realized the other day that my computer is nearly 5 years old.  That's nearing the end of its life expectancy and probably outdated beyond belief.  I'm ready to kick it to the curb but not really ready to buy a replacement so I guess I'll just have to deal with it for now.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hurry, hurry, hurry

It's nearly midnight so I've got to get a post done fast so I don't miss a day.

Tonight my quilt stitch group met at our friend Kathy's house.  I couldn't wait to go.  Not because I had finished a phenomenal quilt for show and tell.  Oh no, something much more exciting.  On Saturday I was going through some old Handwoven magazines that my friend Deb had given me to pass on to the gals who now have her mother's looms.  She thought there might be some articles of interest to me in them as well.

I should say so.  While flipping through the pages of a 1992 issue, I came across a credit union deposit envelope.  Yep, inside was $250!!!  I couldn't believe it.  I flipped a couple more pages and there -- three crisp $100 bills.  A total windfall of $550.  I couldn't imagine how she didn't miss the money.

I brought the loot to our meeting and waited patiently to give it back to Deb.  While she was very pleased at my findings she wasn't shocked in the least.  She said she often set money aside for holiday shopping.

Deb is considering buying a Juki quilting machine and now she has enough money to get one.  How nice is that!  She also rewarded me with $50 as a finder's fee.  Whoohoo!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Short but Sweet

There's just never a bad ending to a day where knitting is involved.  I knit with a few Black Sheep members tonight at the Panera Bread in Southfield, where we met a new knitter, Becky, who found us through the BSKG blog.  I knit a couple more inches on the hood of my hoodie tunic and hope to have it finished this week.  It's a good time of year to be wearing it!

Afterward I headed over to Tanya's house so we could plan our open house craft show this weekend.  We discussed table layout, food, flyers, getting lots of people to show up.  I'll be sending out the flyer to my customers for whom I have email addresses.  If you're within driving distance of Berkley, give me a shout and I'll let you know how you, too, could get an early start on your holiday shopping by purchasing locally produced crafts.  Linda Lu joined us to add her input and I think we've got a plan.  Now we just need customers.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Better than Yesterday

I can't even count the number of skeins of yarn I wound yesterday.  Bits of this and that.  Considering that I have made over 75 hats this year, I'm not surprised.  I've got enough leftover scraps to make a good sized felted bag, once the next show is done.

I've added a yarn counter at the bottom of my blog page.  Check it out -- I discovered it on HjemmeUte's blog (see her link on the right) and thought it would be a fun way of measuring my usage.

Although I spent quite a few hours in my craft room this weekend, I'm not completely done with the clean up project.  My computer desk is still a mess and the back corner can use some more work.  Overall though, I'm satisfied -- I can see the floor again!

Compare these shots to the ones on yesterday's blog.

As important as it was to clean up the room, it was equally necessary for me to get my projects in queue into their own bags so it will be easier to move on to the next task.  I hate it when I can't track down a particular yarn I have in mind for a project or worse yet, the instructions.  Ugh.  I've got several projects lined up, just waiting their turn patiently.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Such a mess

Every fall you'll find a lot of debris in my house.  Show season leaves me little time to keep my house tidy.  The only reason it's in as good a shape as it's in is because I hosted my quilt group in September.

As I finish a hat or bag the leftover yarn is tossed aside.  It's truly amazing how the remainders of skeins of yarn grow in piles of orphaned fiber.  When I'm preparing for a show I frenetically pull skeins of yarn from my stash, auditioning them for various projects and casting them aside when they don't make the grade.  Then, once my shows are done for the year, I delve back into my stash and straighten everything out.

This year my room was torn up as usual but especially since I took the two workshops at the Ann Arbor Fiber Expo.  Today was the day to make things right.  I'm offering up photos of the befores today and once completed tomorrow, I will give you the afters.

Even my computer desk is a mess.  So many patterns and other stuff take up space -- can't even write a note to myself.

This was a busy day reorganizing every thing in my craft room.  As usual, it consumed way more time than I had allocated for the project.  I did not go to rug hooking group (too much time, gasoline, mileage, and time -- I think I said that already).

I always feel so productive when I get all of my scraps wound into nice tight balls, and put everything in its place.  I'm not quite done but I'll finish tomorrow for sure and post pics of the new and improved craft room.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sunny Friday

I went in to the office today expecting to take a half day.  I planned to finish my duties in the morning and head home to get some cleaning done in my craft room.  My tasks were done in plenty of time so I got to start my weekend a bit early.  The sun was shining brightly and it was so nice that I forgot my jacket at work.

I got on the highway and headed east toward my house.  Up ahead of me I saw something so odd I had to catch up to it to be sure I saw what I thought I saw.  Strangely enough, it was an airplane wing being hauled by semi truck with probably the largest trailer bed I've ever seen.  I bet you've never seen an airplane wing going down the highway!

I stopped at Macy's to pay my bill and went home to knit for a bit before I planned to start my clean up project.  Kevin came home and persuaded me (ok, it wasn't that hard) to go across the street with him to our widow neighbor Jessica's house to help her rake her leaves.  Jessica is 86 and moves around well enough but I know she has bad knees and I worry about her.  It took us less than an hour to clean up her backyard but it would have easily taken her a day or two.

By the time that was completed I had lost interest in cleaning my craft room and continued knitting instead.  I finished the second of two camo mitts and started on a new pair of the sterling silver glitz mitts.  Once it got to be too dark I switched to a Republic hat and cast on using another skein from Stonehedge Fiber Mills, in a rich chocolate brown shade.  Pics coming tomorrow.

I'm waffling over whether to drive out to Brighton tomorrow for rug hooking group.  I need to get hooking on Holly & Mike's rug and that's the motivation I need.  Otherwise I'll probably putz around, maybe clean up my craft room.  Or not.  That's it...I'm going to Brighton tomorrow.  In the afternoon I'll probably head over to Right off the Sheep for an all day knit-a-thon.  Ann's raising money for Lighthouse of Northern Oakland County.  They supply all sorts of things for down and out people, something our area has a plethora of right now.

For now I'm going to gather up my rug hooking supplies so I'm ready to go in the morning.  The bag is buried under piles of yarn.  So much yarn, so little time.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

H1N1 Strikes

I'm heading off to quilt guild shortly and I know I won't have time to post later.

My daughter Holly was diagnosed with the H1N1 flu last week.  She's on the mend but felt soooo darn bad last week.  She said in her classroom of 9 students, 5 are out with the flu and several others should be staying home.  I told her to ask her doctor if it would help her to get the H1N1 vaccine, now that she's had a bout with that flu.  I don't know if there's any advantage but it's definitely worth checking out.  Maybe some of you know the answer?

Gotta run -- time to grab a quick bite to eat, get gas for the T&C and pick up Sue for guild.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Guild Wrap Up and more...

Last night's knitting guild meeting was so much fun and such a busy night.  Here is my table full of trunk show items ~~ 

 I brought several sweaters, including my Einstein, and various hats, scarves, and mittens.  I even brought one of the needle felting coasters left over from my team builder activity at work.

We are fortunate to have an enthusiastic Charity project chairwoman in Judith.  This year she kitted up donated yarn and hat patterns for guild members to knit hats for homeless children in our area.  Unfortunately the need is even greater than it has been in years past.
Here's Judith sporting one of her fabulous hats and all of the wonderful kits that were made up for us ~~

And here's a shot of the door prizes that were up for grabs last night.  12 super prizes that were donated by various guild members.

Last up, I finished the other sterling silver mitt for Eddie this afternoon and started working on another pair for a different customer.  Here's the first one and the second one, barely cast on ~~


I'm sure all crafters have had this thought in their lives:  what would happen to ALL of my craft supplies if I died tomorrow?  What would happen to all that yarn, that fabric, those books and patterns?  I came across this article in the Anchorage Daily News and it should make all of us sit down and write out a plan.  In this article's case, the quilter died at her sewing machine -- so incredible.  Read the article:  Alaskan Quilter Story

In my head I know what I want to happen but it does no one any good unless I write it down.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Guild Night

Tonight was such a busy knitting guild night.  Besides running the door prize raffle (12 different prizes tonight) and bringing my $10 brown bag exchange (somewhere around 50 participants), I was also asked to do the member trunk show.  This meant gathering up several items that I've knit over the years, packing them up and lugging them to the meeting.  I took a few pictures from the meeting but they'll have to wait for tomorrow's post.  Partly because I'm tired but mostly because the camera is in the bottom of one of the bags I toted to guild and back.

Much more tomorrow....

Monday, November 9, 2009

Warning Signs

Oh, it's not quite that ominous.  How many times do you have a warning sign that you don't heed?  Everytime I cook something in the broiler the smoke detector goes off.  Of course, that sets the dog off, and I run around the house with a magazine trying to clear the smoke from the various detectors, opening every available window.  Years ago I nearly set the house on fire.  I started a frying pan of meatballs and went across the street to talk to a neighbor.  Big mistake.  When I realized my error I headed back to my house in time to see smoke billowing out of every window and every smoke detector going off, with the dogs barking frantically.  Never repeated that careless error again.

Two weeks ago my tire pressure warning light came on in my T&C.  I got the tires filled back up and went on my merry way.  Then, the light came back on again last week and I thought it was just a sensitive sensor.  Wrong.  Turned out I had a nail in my left rear tire.  Got that fixed for free.  What a pleasant surprise.  Sure beats having a flat tire.  I didn't even know where the spare tire was on a T&C.

Yesterday my 'change oil' sensor went off in the car.  Sure enough, it was time for a change.  I took a half day at work today and took care of that.

Tonight I finished the sleeves on my Hoodie Tunic and started the hood.  I was hoping to have it completed for tomorrow when I'll be presenting a trunk show at the Black Sheep Knitting Guild monthly meeting.  I've gathered several items I've knitted in preparation but will need to scoop up a few felted items to augment my stash.  I also have to run the door prizes and remember to bring my item for our Brown Bag exchange.  So much to remember, I better make a list.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Photo Updates

As promised, here are some photos to go along with my post from last night.

I finished the blue hat this morning along with the first of two fingerless mitts.
Here is a close up of the seed stitch band -- definitely closer in color than the second picture.  Guess that's what I get for taking the picture at 10:30 pm instead of 10:30 am.

I think I mentioned yesterday that this yarn came from Stonehedge Fiber Mill in East Jordan, MI.  It has wool, alpaca, and a bit of mohair -- such a nice fabric when knit up.

The fingerless mitt is a Kraemer Yarn that contains Sterling Silver, albeit 2%, but still quite a unique yarn.  I carried it with Cascade 220 to give it the weight needed for the mitt.

Sorry for the blurry shots but I think you can see the glimmer of silver.

And finally, the white/grey hat made from Classic Elite yarn purchased years ago.

I also started working again on my top-down hoodie made with Cascade 128 Tweed.  I'll try to post an updated picture tomorrow.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Quickie!

I've got to hurry and get a post in before midnight to keep up on the NaBloPoMo pledge to post every day.

Today I nearly finished a fingerless mitt for my friend Eddie.  I would have completed it except it's black and HAS to be done in the daylight.  I did get another seed band hat done and a new one started.  The first one was an old Classic Elite yarn from probably 6 years ago.  It's a white-ish grey with black flecks in it (I'll post pics tomorrow) and the newest one is using Stonehedge Fiber Mills' Almost Handspun (again, pics coming tomorrow).

I had dinner with my Mom at the Rochester Chop House, where we both had fish and cleaned our plates.

Phew -- more tomorrow!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Knitters are such nice people

Tonight my friend Sue and I spent four hours at Ewe-nique Knits in Royal Oak.  We joined about 20+ other ladies knitting and munching on delightful desserts for a contribution of $20.  Ewe-nique Knits sponsors a local little league hockey team and offered this evening as a way to make a donation to the hockey team so that kids could be outfitted with equipment.  I bet they're the only knit shop around that sponsors a hockey team.

Marilyn has a heart of gold and it shows in the many ways she gives back to the community.  She also has fundraisers for the local animal shelter and there is a group of knitters that meets at her shop to make charity blankets for the pets who are waiting for their forever home.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Bump Cupcakes that were baked by Marilyn's son-in-law.  A variation on the Sanders Bump Cake.  I restrained myself and only had one, but I could have easily downed another one, or two....

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Today at work I picked up where I left off yesterday -- my batch erred off.  Hours later I got the batch to finish in pieces.  I concatenated the various output files and sent the complete file on its way. 

I woke up early today because of unfinished business at work yesterday.  When I leave the office, I like to leave it with my work completed.  At 6 PM yesterday while shutting down my system I realized I hadn't completed a task and it bothered me all night.  I'm not one to make mistakes.  NOT that I don't make mistakes, but rather, I try not to leave things up to chance.  Whenever possible I complete my tasks early.  Apparently, this habit is relegated ONLY to work tasks.

Yesterday after work I headed out to a California wine class.  Long story short -- once I got there I had to run a couple of blocks to get to an ATM to withdraw money for the night's tasting.  This goes back, remember, to my debit card getting hacked last week.  When have you been to a grocery store lately where you couldn't use your debit card and get a few extra dollars back?  The checkout girl told me I couldn't get any cash back and to head over to the bank instead.  Ugh.

My goal is to have a bit of knowledge about California wines so I don't embarrass myself when I do eventually visit my niece Carla.  After my class last night, I'm eager to visit Carla...maybe someday soon.

For now, it's been a stressful day, getting that file out, and I'm absolutely ready for bed.  I also got my seasonal flu shot today so I'm in need of a couple minutes extra sleep.................

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Anniversary or Birthday?

I'm sure that doesn't sound like a hard question.  After all, the event is either an anniversary of something or the birth of someone.

In this instance, it is the 9th anniversary of my saving a friend's life.  So that sort of makes it his second 'birthday'.

Nine years ago today I left the house in search of a lightbulb for my back porch light.  I drove north toward Home Depot instead of south toward ACO Hardware.  It was a good move on my part.  I stopped three blocks up to talk to a friend who was jogging.  His daughter and my son ran cross country together at the high school.  He was commenting about the state championship meet being held that day, and how the girls' times at regionals seem to be slow.  In mid thought, he stopped and fell backward, not even able to brace himself.  It was a sudden cardiac arrest but I had no way of knowing this at the time.  He didn't have the 'TV' symptoms of profuse sweating or grabbing his left arm or complaining about anything.  He just fell straight backward, narrowly missing a car driving down the road.

I hollered to him through my window and got out of the car.  Stunned at his lack of response I said to myself, this is why I got a cell phone.  I called 911 and within a minute police were on the scene.  Lucky for Gary, they were returning from another run when they got the call.  The first police officer and a neighbor assisted with CPR while I spoke to the 911 operator and gave them his name, age, etc.  No one else on the scene knew who he was, and he carried no ID.  As the rescue squad and fire trucks arrived, I started over toward his house, three blocks away.  I was wearing a new pair of Doc Martens -- obviously not a pair of running shoes, plus it was only 40ยบ degrees out so I was breathing hard as I ran to his house to get his wife.  She wasn't home so I headed back over to where Gary had collapsed. 

It was shocking to see the paddle marks on his torso where the rescue workers had applied the electric shock to get his heart going again.  He was intubated and they were hollering at him, 'Gary, Gary, stay with us.'

As they prepared to take him to the hospital I headed back to his house, along with a patrol car, to wait for his wife to return home.  She arrived just after us, grocery bags in hand.  You see, they were preparing to celebrate his 52nd birthday and family was set to arrive soon.  Dianna had headed to the grocery store to get a few things while Gary left for a quick run.  He remembers setting his watch for his run and nothing else that day.  Amazing.  He does not remember talking to me at all.  Isn't that the most shocking thing?  He was completely coherent when we spoke.  He was quoting girls' seemingly slow regional race times and everything.

I drove Dianna to the hospital -- we could hear the ambulance leaving the scene from her house.  I stayed with her for a while but eventually left once their family arrived.

Gary had 90% blockage in one his arteries and needed immediate surgery and subsequently an implanted defibrillator.  This is a guy who coached baseball for the high school and city league teams.  He had completed full marathons before.   Unfortunately he had loads of stress in his life and a poor diet -- he just didn't look out for himself like he should have.

When I went to the hospital a couple of days later to visit him, I could not believe my eyes.  He was standing in the hallway with his family, outside of his room, with an IV beside him.  Tears filled my eyes.  I was overcome with awe at the sight of him, standing, not prone, not dead, and so eager to greet me.  It's something I will never forget. 

Had I not stopped to chat with him that fateful day, but rather waived, and driven past him, he would have, in all likelihood, died that day.  He would have continued jogging, down a stretch of scarcely travelled road, collapsing either along the sidewalk or worse, once he did return home, there instead, for Dianna to find him when she returned from the grocery store minutes later.

Gary calls me his guardian angel, and maybe I was.  All the right things happened that day.  I drove up the street, stopped to talk to him, called 911 and drove Dianna to the hospital.  He still struggles with what happened that day and who can blame him.  There's nothing like 'dying' to make you question living.

Each year we exchange cards or notes on the anniversary of that fateful date, November 4th, and I always think of him on that day at 3:15 pm, when we stopped to talk to each other.  I received a Heart Saver award from the American Red Cross for my part in his rescue.  A glass plaque sits carefully on my dresser to remind me of that day.

We need to learn to slow down.  To appreciate everything that's going right with our lives.  To change that which isn't going right with our lives.  To love everyone who comes into our lives.

Everyone and everyday is precious -- we just need a reminder every once in a while so we don't forget.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fun Day

What did you do today?  Did you have any fun?  Today we had a team meeting at work and I was responsible for the team builder activity, along with one other co-worker.  I had thought it would be fun to teach everyone how to needle felt.  Being certain no one else knew anything at all about this craft, I decided we would use wayward felted pieces as coasters and felt a design on top.

Last night I dug out supplies from the top shelf in the coat closet.  Way up high.  Now I know why there were so many things I had forgotten I even had.  I went to five different stores to find useful cookie cutters, the only thing I didn't have for today.

I lugged all the stuff in this morning and we had our meeting at 9 am, earlier than usual for us.  My manager was particularly interested in this team builder activity -- she loves crafts, such as stained glass and beading,  but wasn't getting the hang of knitting so she was looking forward to trying a new craft.

There were no moans or groans when the activity was announced to the 11 of us.  Even the three guys in attendance were up for it, though they all admitted they were not particularly crafty.  I explained the basic concepts behind needle felting.  Each person chose a cookie cutter and selected a coaster and roving that I had set out on a table.  After a brief demonstration of the technique, they were on their way.  Some were more creative than others, but all enjoyed the task, and even better, they were proud of the outcome.


It was nice to do something other than a brain teaser or ice breaker activity.  Given the events of Friday, no one was really in the mood for that.  At least for a little while we were all able to forget about that.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Back to Work

Today was definitely an awkward day at work.  With 4 co-workers knowing that their services are no longer needed, you could say we were treading carefully.  I know I said a thing or two that was insensitive, though it wasn't meant that way.  I will try to be more careful in how I say things.  For instance, I was having trouble with my access to a particular system and I said maybe I was supposed to be excessed.  Not cool, especially when said in front of someone who was told last Friday they'd be excessed in February.  Egg on my face.

There are times when you struggle to find the right thing to say and end up saying the exact wrong thing.  Sometimes you should just not say anything at all.  Silence is golden.

In keeping with my new pledge to keep you updated on my craft progress here are some pictures of hats I've finished since Saturday ~~

 This cute baby hat is a Tri-Corner Hat pattern from the Pattern a Day calendar from a few years ago.  I made a different one for my friend Colleen's baby shower and now that Samantha is old enough to wear it, they're both getting loads of compliments on it so I'm making more.

Next are a couple of hats I've been making and selling a lot ~~

Both use yarns from Stonehedge Fiber Mills in East Jordan but the content and weight were a bit different. I love them both but the grey version, with angora, leaves quite a bit of hair on you when you're knitting.  Ok, especially if you're dumb enough to wear black jeans while knitting.  In your car.  In the parking lot, killing time, waiting for a wine tasting to start.  There.  'Nuff said.

This version of the same hat used Cascade 128 Tweed and a great button from Gifted at Beaumont Hospital, just before the store closed.  Sniff, sniff.

And last up is two versions of a Toque pattern.  The first was a bit small so I added one repeat of the cable pattern and it came out just right.  I used Berroco Sundae yarn for both.

Last Thursday when I went to said wine tasting, I tried to use my VISA debit card to pay the measly $15 charge.  Guess what?  It wouldn't go through.  Ok, so that was embarrassing.  I used my VISA credit card instead but I sure did stew about the cause of that debacle.

I tasted several wines worth buying but didn't dare pick up any since I knew I had a problem to straighten out with my credit union.  Sure enough, when I read my emails I discovered someone had tried to hack my account.

When I called the credit union fraud department they said someone tried to charge $4000 to JoinUs, two days before payday.  Weren't they stupid????  I don't know about you, but I NEVER have that much in my checking that close to month end.

Now that things have been corrected, I'll be getting another debit card, which I will watch like a hawk.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I'm sure the title of today's post looks like complete gibberish to most people.  I assure you, it does have actual meaning to some, though.

This is the start of National Blog Posting Month.  The goal is to get bloggers to enter a post each day of the month of November.  I was pretty good at daily posting when I first began.  I got in a groove and writing something every day or so came easily.  Then, life got complicated and time to write grew short.  I usually post just before going to bed and then for a while, I was just too whipped to write.

To be honest, some days I have way more than enough thoughts and events to write just ONE post.  One thing I need to improve upon is blogging about various crafts.  You wouldn't know it, but I finish at least one thing each day.  The problem lies in my not taking photos of said items. 

I'm turning over a new leaf, starting, uh, tomorrow.  I will finish all items completely -- that means sewing on buttons, handles, snaps, bindings, labels -- whatever it takes to say 'done'.  Done, done, diddly done!

Next, I will try to take snapshots of the project, whatever it's state, and post it as well.

Phew, that's enough for today.  Commitment to improve, any way I can.