Monday, July 31, 2006

Just when you think life can't get any busier

I realized today that it has been over a week since my last post. Every since I got back from Houston, I have been unreasonably busy. This weekend we drove across the state for a family reunion which was very nice. This weekend is off. The following Friday is the big event for work that has been in the works since January. Then on Saturday and Sunday we are traveling for another family reunion. The weekend after that, my parents have invited us to join them up north (5+ hours) for a weekend at a cabin. I declined - I am too busy. I need to weed my garden before the pernicious vines in the garden overtake it completely . It seems like every time I turn around there is another obligation that lands at my feet. With Eric working 14+ hour days 6 days a week, the workload around the house isn't getting any better. (I'm not complaining, at least not that much). I just wish that I had more time for myself. Since becoming a parent, that is the one thing I miss more than I ever thought I would. Aside from all of the self-pity, life is treating me quite well. I finally nailed down a baby sitter for the night of the pro baseball game that I got invited to attend for work. It should be fun, I think there are about 150 attending the game. At least a few of my favorite people will be there, along with the creepy guy who turns into an octopus when drunk. But, it is a baseball game and I keep debating the merits of bringing a sock to work on, but it is a work function... At least there will be dinner and drinks beforehand. Contrary to all evidence, I have been knitting. But unfortunately, you will have to wait for proof. I am too lazy to dig out the WIP and take pictures today. I have turned the second heel on the RPM socks. This is such a fun pattern to knit. It really is perfect for a handpaint. I have started the armhole shaping on the back of the tank. I am still not sure how I am liking the changes I made. Even though I decreased the stitches throughout the pattern, it somehow looks disproportionate. I will just have to ride it out. It would be perfect if I could wear it to the ball game, which is in a week. I need to get cracking!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Whoo Hoo

Eric got his Step 1 exam results yesterday. Despite his conviction that he failed, he did superbly! I can hardly stand how excited I am. This means that we most likely won't have to move again because he should be able to match into a program here for his residency! I am proud beyond words for him!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Okay, I lied

This post is VERY picture intensive, grab a cup (or 2) of your favorite libation and sit back. Turns out the camera isn't dead after all. It was the batteries, duh. Which is very strange because normally when that happens, I end up with this HUGE 3-5 second lag between pictures. This time however, the battery indicator showed that the battery was full and there was no lag. All of a sudden, poof, no more ability to take pictures. The worst part is that it happened in the middle of the show in Houston and I had no way to get more batteries. I'm very glad that I don't have to buy a new camera right now. I got a huge amount knit on the trip. I was so frustrated that I didn't want to do anything that was even remotely work related during my down time. So, I got all but the toe of one of the RPM socks done and started the second. I wasn't about to peel the shoes off my feet to see if the socks were the right length on the plane. Not cool.

Here is a progress picture. Not to bad considering I was doing these a needle short of what I would have liked.

I have stayed pretty true to the pattern execpt that I did the eye of partridge stitch on the heel instead of the heel stitch that was called for. I adore how it comes out in a hand painted yarn.*

I've also got pictures of the tank and the shawl even though those haven't been touched since last week.

*Can you tell I finally figured out the macro function on the camera? Turns out that reading dozens of digi camera reviews last night paid off. Hopefully with some better photography.

Back safe and sound

I got back from my trip yesterday. Tons of knitting got done on the plane, but my camera died so no pics for a while. Unfortunately the event I went down for was a complete bust. It was not worth the time or money spent. I am not looking forward to explaining everything to my superiors. I am keeping this very short because Caleb is home sick and I can't get nearly enough work done as it is.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Hitting the road

I am so very lucky. I have a great friend from work. We all have the work friends, you know the ones, you call them friends, yet would never consider doing anything with them outside of the workplace. Maybe drinks after work on a particularly crappy day or lunch on the occasional Friday, but not much more. My friend Joe is the other kind of work friend. The one where you wish that life wasn’t quite so busy so that you could do stuff outside of work. As this is my first business trip for this company, he provided me with a couple of key pieces of equipment to make me look like the veteran business traveler. I already have the company laptop. Check. I have my personal cell phone. Check. New carry on bag because the old one has traveled the world over and the zipper has finally given out. (Wonder if there is a way to expense that particular purchase back to the company? Hmm, I will have to give that some thought.) Check. Joe gave me an ear bud from an old cell phone. (The ear bud is new, the phone was old.) Now, I look all cool and everything talking without holding a phone (this freaked Caleb out, he keeps asking how I am talking on the phone but didn’t have it next to my mouth.) Check. But the thing I like best is Joe lent me a preloaded ipod shuffle. So much better than sitting in O’Hare zoning to CNN while knitting. Instead I am blogging while listening to HeyJude, The Bitch Is Back, Solisbury Hill among other titles. Joe appears to have pretty good taste in music, but I did find a glaring lapse in the selections. Not one title by Sting (Brand New Day is one of my favorite albums – saw that in concert, YUM!) I would have tried to load it on myself, but my guess is that as it is an ipod, you need special software to make it work on a PC. So, this morning, armed with all of the modern essentials for 21st century business travel, I boarded the puddle jumper at 6 a.m. for the 18 minute flight to Chicago and then on to Houston. The sock has made its first plane trip.

I felt so silly on the plane because I was taking pictures out the window. I’ve flown a lot, but I thought that Caleb would like to see what everything looks like from a plane. He’s flown a lot too, but all of it was before he was 18 months old, so he doesn’t remember any of it. I am sure that the other passengers thought I was a complete novice flyer. Not that I care – I’ll never see them again. During the boarding process, I ended up changing seats twice. The first time, There was a sweet couple in their 60’s and they were seated several rows apart. I took his seat so they could sit together. No big deal. I’ve traveled several times where Eric and I were separated. As soon as I sat down, I saw that the person seated next to me was also separated from her traveling companion. So, being the kind person I am, I switched. There was a bit of an ulterior motive because this allowed me to sit on the aisle. The rest of the trip has proved fairly uneventful so far. I got so much done on the sock. The heel is turned and I have picked up the gusset stitches. The worst part is that I lost one needle. Luckily, I was working with 5, so I can make this work, but 3 needles never feels all that comfortable in my hands. I have more at home, but didn’t think to bring any extras with on the trip. I will just have to be extra careful not to lose any more.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Is it normal

to spend more time worrying about how I am going to bring the appropriate number and type of knitting projects on an upcoming business trip than the actual business of the trip itself? I mean, really, I have a carry on full of clothes etc that will go in the overhead compartment or will be checked gateside depending on the size of the plane. But, I also should bring the laptop from work so I can at least look like I am working. Which really means that I will not be able to bring a separate knitting bag. However, I just know that the flight will provide some sensational knitting time. Uninterupted knitting time. Perfect for the shawl that won't knit itself. On the other hand, I have a car ride out to a customer that is 1-1/2 hours each way in which I will NOT be driving. Again, perfect knitting time. For something simple. The tank or a sock. The choices are staggering here. I could also start the felted bag. It would appear that the knitting karma is reversing again, and I feel it would be prudent to start another new project. Just in case the others on hold in the basket felt they might possibly be picked up again. We wouldn't want them to get optimistic or anything. But, the bag is a stranded projects, and I don't think I want to juggle 2 balls in the car. So, strike the bag. Which brings me back to socks or the tank. Tank Pros
  1. Completely portable
  2. Yarn is already wound in compact balls.
  3. I know the pattern and won't have to pull it out much to consult.
  4. Circular needles can't get lost.
  5. A fast knit now that there are fewer stitches per row.

Tank Cons

  1. I think I know the pattern and this increases the likelihood that I will make a mistake of gartantuan proportions necessitating starting over. Again.
  2. Worsted Weight yarn = more space in suitcase.
  3. A fast knit requiring that I bring more extra yarn along. See the dilema at the top of this post.

Sock Pros

  1. Very small.
  2. Completely portable.
  3. I don't need a pattern (does this set off alarms bells for anyone else or are they just in my head?).
  4. I will get to use either the Koigu or the Schaeffer that I have wound up already. Yum.
  5. The odds that I will finish an entire sock on the trip are minimial so I will only need the one ball of yarn.
  6. It's really hot in Texas and these won't sit on my lap.

Sock Cons

  1. DPNs can get lost.
  2. After all of the swatching and lusting after Vintage Socks, I feel like I have lost the fever for socks.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I should have known

I spent most of the weekend working on the garden (sorry no pics) including watering it. It was great and the garden looks pretty decent. The tomatoes are getting big and the boys are anxious to taste the first fruits of my labor. The basil is beautiful and I am dreaming of pesto. On Sunday, the heavens opened up and we got drenched with an astounding 3+" of water in just a couple of hours. It figures. I have restarted the tank. I am not enjoying it quite as much this time around, but mostly I think it is just project fatigue coupled with the uncertainty of how I am going to handle some of the shaping. I modified the pattern to better match my gauge and so far it seems okay. I am planning on keeping everything pretty much the same, but because I dropped 12 stitches from both the front and back, the neck line shaping will have to be tweaked in order to work. The shawl is growing, slowly but it is growing. I have come to the conclusion that I actually need to pick it up and work on it for it to grow. Shocking, I know.

This past weekend, I did something that was long overdue. I went shopping for clothes. By myself. At a new mall. I spent a ton of time in one of the anchor stores and actually bought 2 pair of pants. I was thrilled. See, in February, I was a size 12 going on 14. Then I started Weight Watchers. I have since dropped 25 pounds and am a size 4. The best part about the shopping trip is that I found a store that carries pants that fit me. Narrow waist and breeding hips. I bought 2 pairs and returned the first 2. I was soooooo thrilled.

Now, I just need to work on keeping it off. I refuse to go back to being frumpy. On the other hand, I don't want to be the mom who tries too hard. I think I am balancing it, but as the extent of Caleb's fashion sense is that he would prefer to wear sweats 365 days a year, he doesn't really say much. (Yes, he would like to wear them when it is 95 degrees out. Yep, it drives me batty to see him all flushed insisting that he is cold. I want to know who out there thought 3 year olds are easier than 2 year olds. Filthy rotten liar.)

The oddest part about it all is how slowly my self-image changes. No matter how heavy I was, I always pictured myself as a size 8. Now, I look in the mirror and all I see is the cellulite under the clothes. I like eating too much to ever end up with an eating disorder, but I have been thinking a lot about what it means that I still picture myself heavier than I really am. Is this a product of the media and our fascination with girl/women with long lean legs and not a spec of body fat? Or is a normal psychological phenomenon and in a few months my self-image and my actual body will be in closer alignment?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Ribbit go the socks

No such luck in the knitting realm lately. Last week the tank bit the dust. This week it was the Pomatomus. While the socks were working beautifully and they were gorgeous. On the needles. On my ankles, not so much. Having cankles is a terrible burden for an avid sock knitter. So, I am thinking that I might just try a toe up version of the new RPM socks from Knitty. I have no more patience with swatching socks this week. I also need something simple for an upcoming business trip. I am thinking that the flight will be a decent opportunity to work on my shawl, but for the long drives with co-workers, I need something that I don't really have to think much about. Besides, it will give me the chance to work on my short-row heels. I am also quite tempted by Wendy's new pattern Sizzle. I will make the v-neck not quite so plunging, not having the assests to flaunt. But I like the overal look and shape of the pattern. That and it happpens to match the gauge I am getting in the purple cotton fleece. I realize that this pretty much guarantees that my gauge will change once I start knitting. I am convinced that I am jinxed lately. Most of the projects that I have started have ended up in the frog pond. Here's hoping that this turns around because I have have so many things lined up. I am still tossing around an idea for a felted bag. I have most of the details worked out, but I don't want to jinx it by starting it now...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Ribbit goes the tank

I was doing so well with the cute little tank. I was going to be a good little knitter Knitter and do it in pieces and seam it. I was going to follow the directions. I even swatched. But through the mysteries of swatching these well-laid plans were derailed. I knew I wasn't getting gauge. I figured that if I went down a size that it should be pretty close. That was a minor misjudgement. I was hoping that the front would come out to be about 15.5 inches at the waist. I wasn't off by just a little bit. It came in at a whopping 18+ inches. So, this

quickly became this.

I have made good progress on the newest pair of socks. Then, I made the critical error of trying to fit it over my cankles. No go.

Here is the revised progress. I had to purchase needles that are 2.5mm which I didn't have. These seem to be working much better for the yarn.

On the yarn saga front, I think it finally all resolved. Last Friday, I snuck out of work a bit early and drove across town to exchange the skein of the KPPPM for another one. I had 2 skeins being held so there was no danger of not getting the 2 skeins (my luck held on this one). I explained the situation to the clerks who where a bit stunned. I asked that they wind the 2 skeins and while they dragged their feet a bit, the did wind them for me. Somehow in the confusion of leaving I didn't pay for the second skein that they were holding me. I managed to come out on top of the deal which thrilled me, it shorted the store, which didn't break my heart and now I know I have enough to knit the socks.