Friday, May 26, 2017

Spring Cleaning...

Well, I didn't mean for it to be this long, but adjusting to the new job has been interesting. 

In a good way! 

I'm still in "learning mode" and even so, I've been able to contribute and make some positive steps toward a more cohesive organization, which is what Doc Boss wants. 

The New Job... My "office" is behind this sign.
The negative is that I've had a bit of a challenge getting onto some of the systems, and the computer is a bit different from what I'm used to. But that's ok. I'll adapt. 

So we'll see. We're on a long (like 5 days!! Squeeeeeeeeee!) break for Memorial Day, so hopefully, I'll be up and running by next Wednesday. 

My little closet is shaping up nicely. No, seriously - I'm in a closet space, but it's relatively spacious and I can work in there. I'm not in there all day, so it's not too claustrophobic, and that's a huge help. 

The work is fast-paced, but not as tense as you'd imagine. And apparently, the girls at the front desk (no, not sexist - I'm old enough to be their mother) are happy that I'm the calm type... 

I'll be calmer when I have full computer capability. 

Go Cubs, Go!...

So yes, there's this. I saw these when I went bra shopping. Bra shopping, for me, is the equivalent of swimsuit shopping for other women. I hate it. Hate it. Hate. It. 

All the cute bras are in sized I haven't seen since I was about age 11. Industrial-strength bras are usually not pretty. And they're expensive, too. 

I saw these, and had happened to hit on a "spring sale." Unfortunately - or fortunately, as the case may be - the clerk used those nifty "instant coupons" on the bras I bought, which pleased Hubby. I saved a lot of money. 

But had she let me use them on these?? That bag in the upper left would've been MINE! I don't buy "bags" the way a lot of women do, but I'd have purchased this one... Dooney & Burke. It would've been $90 with all the coupons. Still - glad I restrained myself. And so is Hubby!

Ah well -- perhaps there'll be another sale at the end of baseball season and I can take advantage of that. If the Cubs keep on the way they're going, we may not make it to the Series again (statistically, rather a rarity), but we'll be in the playoffs, which is great news for those of us still living off last year's Series win. 

Mother Nature...

Mother Nature hasn't been kind. I have yet to have my "garden yoga" class actually outside in the garden. As it is, today, we have the threat of a tornado watch, and if that does happen, I'm going to cancel the pop-up class because I doubt people will show up if the sky turns nasty. We're a storefront studio - it's not the safest place to be. Hubby says that by the time I hold the class, the "weather" (whatever that may be - we never know) may well be past us. We shall see. 
The Fields, Crest Hill, IL

This is the shot of where we practice outside. I had a hawk (red tail) join me that morning, but since it was the first nice Saturday in about 6 weeks, everyone was probably mowing lawns and getting stuff done. So nobody showed up. I bought plants, so it wasn't a total loss. But I do wish we'd have had the class outside. 

Memorial Day weekend is forecast to be half-and-half - and only Mother Nature knows which half we'll end up with. The farmers are kind of fit to be tied - the ones who've planted are either waiting for the mini-lakes in their fields to dry so they can RE-plant, or they're in the other camp: Haven't planted, and it's too wet to try yet. 

Prices at the Farmer's Markets are going to be rough... 

But - we did manage a bike ride last weekend. We did about 12 miles in the Isle a la Cache trail. This is a shot after the ride, of the old swing bridge. The trail is a nice one and of course, headwinds were both ways (thanks, Mother Nature - we love you!). But it was a pleasant day. 

I'm hoping for the chance, with that 5-day (Squeeeeeeeeeee!) break, to get in another ride. Maybe two, if we get the "good" half of the weather forecast. 

Knitting News...

Well. Lots to share. The layette went over well. The kids loved it, and there was a "reveal" of Baby's purported gender - but we quickly dashed anyone's hopes. 

My sister and I both had the "Oh, it's a girl" conversation with our ultrasounds, and granted - they were practically engraved on a rock with a chisel, since we're both old - but still. They were wrong. We both had boys. Twice. 

And we reminded the happy couple that even now, in 2017, if Baby decides to be backward or if there's the faintest shadow? "Suzie" could be "Stanley." Just sayin'... 

I did end up with extra booties - they worked out nicely, using the remaining yarn from a couple of other projects. The hat and sweater were ooooh'd and ahhhhhhh'd over and the afghan was much appreciated. They even saw that the little (a/k/a "failed") bootie would be good on a Christmas tree, so they get extra points for that. 

Mom-to-Be asked if there were care instructions. I laughed and said, "This isn't my first rodeo - check the card!" I always, ALWAYS put care instructions with my projects. Even though I use superwash wool for the garments and an acrylic/wool blend for the afghans, I still never assume. 

My only frustration is that I wish I could've gotten the greens to match. Had I thought about the afghan earlier, I could've ordered the proper yarn. But then again, this is still ok, and Encore is a hard-wearing yarn. It'll be fine. 

So I did finish a sock. Yes, I've already started the mate. And I'm relatively pleased with this. I say "relatively" because I did make this one at 64 stitches where I usually make them at 72. And I probably could've gone to 72 - the ribbing pulls in a lot when it's not on a blocker. It's a little snug (at least the first try-on was), but at least I know it's going to stay up! 

This is one of a zillion versions of a "Vanilla" pattern by My Knitted Heart - on Ravelry, and elsewhere, I think. Free. The yarn is Sirdar's Sole-to-Sole. I'm not sure of how it'll wear because I've never used it before. I can tell you that it's a bit odd on the thickness. Some of the bits are a tad thinner than others, but overall, the stitch definition is nice and it seems comfy enough. 

And I know I'm tempting the Knitting Goddesses for the second sock, but really... what's the "big deal" about Kitchener Stitch? This time, it came together like a dream, as you can see here...and this was a late-night bind-off because I was determined (at the cost of a VERY sore left hand the next day) to get the sock done. Lookee - no "ears" at the ends!

I did have some random decreases I had to put in the bottom of the heel at the gusset closing, because I'd picked up a few more stitches on one side, but all in all, the sock finished nicely and I think that even though it won't be an exact twin, it'll be a fraternal, and I like the size of the stripes here. 

And, in what may cause some folks to have a minor heart attack, I've come to a decision. 

Every knitter I know has a "criteria." We will only buy a book if we have a minimum of THREE patterns. We only by certain needles. We prefer certain brands of yarn. 

Well, my office is now known as "The Place We Put Our Crap," and since I have time, and I need to devote a dedicated space to business-building, I have to clean it out. 

And so I'm tossing knitting magazines. Don't faint. There are no places to donate - I've asked. No charity shops want them. And I've tabbed patterns I wanted to keep, and have torn them out of the mags. 

While doing that, I'm being brutally honest. "Yes, I love that sweater. Realistically? Will I knit it?" If the answer is "Yes" then it gets torn out of the magazine. If the answer is "Ummmmmmmmm" or any variant of same, then, no, I don't keep it. I just can't. 

My house is small. My kids will hold a humongous garage sale - or sell the entire house (sans valuables) "as is" because they won't want to deal with it. And I can't blame them. So over the course of the next few weeks, my objective is to clear out the space, figure out what to do with the knitting stuff, perhaps even tackle the closet to gain more room, and get some order in that room. 

And hopefully, KEEP the room orderly. I'll still use the studio for private yoga sessions - I don't want people in my house. Not that I'm ashamed or anything, but honestly, with 3 large dogs? People aren't eager to visit. And remember, Hubby works from home, so I don't need the hassle of interrupting him and having people traipse to the back of the house (where the office is). 

Here's a partial stack that's headed for the recycle bin. I will confess - I'm keeping all the PieceWorks magazines. I love fabric history and that magazine is the gold standard, as far as I'm concerned. 

Oh, and there's more. Never fear. I have 3 boxes in the "Crap" room, and I'm filling them up with stuff that I've shuffled from pillar to post for years. We're not technically downsizing, but I'm kind of in a frame of mind that feels like I can't be calm and focused when I'm surrounded by "stuff" anymore. I even (gasp!) tossed two needlework projects that a student of mine gave me. She'd inherited them from an aunt. "Realistically - will I ever complete them?" Um, no. Yes, I know how to do needlework, but I've got enough projects to last me till I'm 500 years old. I'd have to be madly in love with it to have kept it, and I wasn't. So I didn't. 

Crikey (though I'd never admit this to Hubby) -- I've got a veritable shop's worth of knitting bags/grocery bags. It's insane. And I think (whispering) that I may have enough sock yarn to keep me occupied. The only yarn I would realistically have to buy is "baby stuff" yarn, if anyone else turns up pregnant. 

Which, frankly, I hope won't be for a while, because I want to knit a few of those sweaters I pulled out of the magazines. 

Not to worry - next on the list will be the yoga articles and sequences. 

Then the music piles... Something's gotta give, folks, and I think that's me. 

Crimes Against Lasagne...

Hubby and I recently celebrated our 24th anniversary. Low-key as usual. For Mother's Day/Anniversary, he gave me a beautiful London Blue Topaz pendant set in rose gold. 

We decided to go to dinner. Now remember, I've still got the braces on, and actually had the next set of wires put on a day or two before the anniversary. So my mouth was sore, and I'm still not really chewing much of anything. 

So we ended up at what was supposed to be the 'best' Italian place in town. I can gum pasta! The specials included lasagne, and I thought that would be good. 

Ummmmmmmm. It wasn't. It was, quite frankly, horribly disappointing. Not even tasty. And cheese? 

In my lasagne, you put cheese on alternate layers with the meat. This had a whopping THREE pieces of mozzarella on top. That was it. And there was no sausage. It was straight up hamburger. It was swimming in a watery tomato sauce. 

Nasty stuff. I'm surprised because it's usually a very reliable place to eat. But not this time. 

Random Pictures...

This time, it's a two-fer. Everyone was settling in for their morning naps, and I was able to capture them all. Tippi (right) tucked herself down, and Quinn (left) is there, too - still growing in her patches from her recent surgery for the sebaceous cysts. 

I'm trying some Young Living Essential Oils on her cysts to see if they'll help heal her up. The Essential Oils for Animals workshop I went to was done by a vet and we had a short chat about basic oil use on dogs, so I'm comfortable doing this. I already use them for anxiety (which we're manifesting now, since the t-storms have started - we'll see how long they go on). 

It's interesting being at home. Tippi's been glued to me all day (t-storms notwithstanding) and Quinn's kind of like, "Hey, I'm loving this, but what're you doing here??" 

And then there's the Red Menace, Raisa. She had this whole process on her corner of the couch. Get up, circle around, sit, stand, circle, curl up, place the feet "just so" and then the tail, and then scratch, then re-set the feet, yawn, flick the ears as I focused the camera, and finally --- finally... shut her eyes. 

It's tough work being a dog in our house! 

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