Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mittens That Rock

This is for a pair of mittens I'm knitting for a friend's 7-year-old son. One skein of StR yarn will make this pair of mittens and much more (and I'll figure out if I'm going to make a hat, a scarf, and/or a pair of socks with what remains of the skein).

US 4.0 dpns
Socks that Rock Heavyweight (Rocktober colorway) from Blue Moon Fiber Arts.
Markers (I used three total)
Tapestry needle

M1/K1 = Make one (and knit it), then K the original stitch on the row. To "Make One," use the tip of the right needle to lift up the loop of the stitch in the row just below the tip of the left needle. Place that loop on the left needle and knit through the back. Thus, each "M1/K1" direction results in two stitches worked: an added stitch and the original stitch.

PM = Place Marker

Cable CO = Cable Cast-On. Insert the right needle between the next two stitches on the left needle as if to knit. In fact, continue by looping the yarn around the right needle and pulling it through to the front as if to make a knit stitch. The difference is that the loop of yarn pulled through is then placed onto the front of the left needle and becomes the first stitch to be worked from that needle. Therefore, to Cable CO any succeeding stitches, you insert the right needle between this new loop and the next stitch on the left needle and repeat the process. There's a very good description (with photos) at Knitty.

Gauge: 6 st / 1" in St st

Finished Measurements: 6" palm circumference

Cuff (both mittens)
CO: 36 sts. Join in circle (without twisting) and work 1x1 rib for 12 rnds, placing a marker at the beginning.

Base and Thumb Gusset (Left Mitten):
Rnds 13 - 16: K 18, then work moss stitch (K1, P1 on even rows; P1, K1 on odd rows) across rem sts.

Rnd 17: K 16, PM, M1/K1 in next 2 sts, then work moss stitch over rem 18 sts (38 sts total, 4 btw markers)

Rnd 18 and all even numbered rounds through 26: K all sts to 2nd marker, then work moss stitch over rem 18 sts.

Rnds 19, 21, 23, 25 and all odd-numbered rows: K16, sl marker, M1/K1 in next st, K to last st before marker, M1/K1, sl marker, then work moss stitch in rem 18 sts. (Incr 2 sts each rnd. At the end of rnd 25 there should be 12 sts btw markers and 48 sts total)

Divide for the Hand (Left Mitten):
Rnd 27: K 18 sts to 1st marker. Remove marker, slip next 12 sts to holder. Cable CO 2 sts to left needle, then K those two sts. Place marker and work moss stitch over last 18 sts. (36 sts total on needles)

Rnds 28 - 48 (or until the body of the mitten comes to the tip of the smallest finger): K18, then work moss stitch over last 18 sts, slipping markers as you come to them.

Shape Top (Left Mitten):
Arrange sts on three dpns as follows:

Needle 1 - first 9 sts (1/2 the palm)
Needle 2 - second 9 sts (1/2 the palm)
Needle 3 - 18 moss sts (back of hand)

Rnds 49, 51, 53:
Needle 1: K1, ssk, K to end
Needle 2: K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1
Needle 3: K1, ssk, work moss st until 3 sts before the end, K2tog, K1
(4 sts decreased each time)

Rnds 50, 52, 54: K all sts on Needles 1 and 2, work moss st on Needle 3.

At the end of Rnd 53, there should be 24 sts total on all needles.

Rnds 55, 56, 57:
Needle 1: K1, ssk, K to end
Needle 2: K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1
Needle 3: K1, ssk, work moss st until 3 sts before the end, K2tog, K1
(4 sts decreased each time)

At the end of Rnd 57 there should be 12 sts total on all needles.

Cut a long tail of yarn (about 9") and graft the final sts, or, using a tapestry needle, draw it through all sts and pull tightly to close. Secure the ends and work in the final tail.

Thumb (Both Mittens):
Slip the 12 sts from the holder onto two needles. Join yarn and knit those 12 sts, then PU 4 sts in the open space (where you had cast on 2 more sts) for 16 sts total. PM and knit 9 more rnds.

Rnd 11: K2tog all around (8 sts)

Rnd 12: K2tog all around (4 sts)

Cut yarn leaving a tail. Thread yarn onto a tapestry needle, then run it through the remaining 4 sts. Pull tightly to close the hold and secure the end. Work in all tails.

Base and Thumb Gusset (Right Mitten):
Rnds 13 - 16: Work moss stitch (K1, P1 on even rows; P1, K1 on odd rows) across first 18 sts, PM, then K last 18 sts.

Rnd 17: Work moss stitch over first 18 sts, PM, M1/K1 in next 2 sts, PM, then K rem 16 sts (38 sts total, 4 btw markers)

Rnd 18 and all even numbered rounds through 26: Work moss sts to 1st marker, then K rem sts.

Rnds 19, 21, 23, 25 and all odd-numbered rows: Work moss st over first 18 sts, sl marker, M1/K1 in next st, K to last st before marker, M1/K1, sl marker, then K to end. (Incr 2 sts each rnd. At the end of rnd 25 there should be 12 sts btw markers and 48 sts total)

Divide for the Hand (Right Mitten):
Rnd 27: Work moss st over 18 sts to 1st marker. Remove marker, slip next 12 sts to holder. Cable CO 2 sts to left needle, K those 2 sts, then continue K rem sts (36 total on needles).

Rnds 28 - 48 (or until the body of the mitten comes to the tip of the smallest finger): Work moss st over first 18 sts, then K rem 18 sts, slipping markers as you come to them.

Shape Top (Right Mitten):
Arrange sts on three dpns as follows:

Needle 1 - 18 moss sts (back of hand)
Needle 2 - first 9 sts (1/2 the palm)
Needle 3 - second 9 sts (1/2 the palm)

Rnds 49, 51, 53:
Needle 1: K1, ssk, work moss st until 3 sts before the end, K2tog, K1
Needle 2: K1, ssk, K to end
Needle 3: K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1
(4 sts decreased each time)

Rnds 50, 52, 54: Work moss sts on Needle 1, then K all sts on Needles 1 and 2.

At the end of Rnd 53, there should be 24 sts total on all needles.

Rnds 55, 56, 57:
Needle 1: K1, ssk, work moss st until 3 sts before the end, K2tog, K1
Needle 2: K1, ssk, K to end
Needle 3: K to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1
(4 sts decreased each time)

At the end of Rnd 57 there should be 12 sts total on all needles.

Cut a long tail of yarn (about 9") and graft the final sts, or, using a tapestry needle, draw it through all sts and pull tightly to close. Secure the ends and work in the final tail.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Day Questionnaire

1. Which do you like better: Cooking at your house, or going elsewhere?
I don't do any of the cooking (my husband does), but I do prefer it when we have the dinner at our house. I like setting the table. I like opening up our home to family and friends.

2. Do you buy a fresh or frozen bird?
Fresh. In the past Ed has ordered up one from Stoysich, but this year he just bought a fresh one at the grocery store.

3. What kind of stuffing?
There is this stuffing that my mom has made all of our lives and I absolutely adore it. It has bread and eggs and celery and God-knows-what-else in it. My sister Marcy made it this year (under mom's supervision). My sisters Jodie and Kathy also know how to make it.

4. Sweet potato or pumpkin pie?

5. Do you believe that turkey leftovers are a curse, or the point of the whole thing?
I don't mind the white meat leftover because that makes nice salads and sandwiches, but the rest of it I can live without.

6. Which side dish would provoke a riot if you left it off the menu?
With my family, it would definitely be mom's stuffing.

7. Do you save the carcass to make soup or stock?
What an amusing idea! No, we don't save it, and I'd probably protest if my husband tried anything like that!

8. What do you wish you had that would make preparing Thanksgiving dinner easier?
A week off with pay (and without diminishing the vacation balance), a live-in housekeeper, and a session with a professional massage therapist each day. I have no idea what my husband would require, but that would help me get ready!

9. Do you get up at the crack of dawn to have dinner ready in the early afternoon, or do you eat at your normal dinner hour?
Does 7:30 a.m. count as the crack of dawn? Ed starts cooking a day or two prior to Thanksgiving, then he coordinates everything in the morning for cooking. I spend the morning tidying up the house and getting the table ready. I also pick up my mother-in-law. We usually eat at 12:00 noon or thereabouts just because it's what my mom likes.

10. If you go to somebody else's house, what's your favorite dish to bring?
That's not up to me. However, when we have gone to someone else's home for Thanksgiving, Ed is often requested to bring is sour cream pecan pie and the corn pudding.

11. What do you wish one of your guests wouldn't bring to your house?
Lack of appetite.

12. Does your usual mix of guests result in drama, or is it a group you're happy to see?
People we have to our own home are quite a happy bunch. In fact, I can't think of much drama for family gatherings, except for after the fact (we're a passive-aggressive group).

13. What's your absolute favorite thing on the menu?
Oh, I think I answered that above: my mom's dressing. But, it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without the turkey and the pumpkin pie as well.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Happy Girl

Here is my happy dog-girl in her favorite chair!

And here is my new yarn from Blue Moon! From left: Rocktober, Henpecked, and Chapman Springs. I can't wait to get started on it!

This is bliss: My dog at peace and my yarn all together in one place. I'm a happy girl today!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Black Friday Story (from 2004)

Greetings from Shopping Hell,
or, Merry Eff-ing Christmas to You, Too, A$$wipe!

In the United States, the day after Thanksgiving (i.e., the fourth Friday of November) is commonly recognized as the official beginning of the Christmas season. Never mind that most retail stores started in October with stocking the shelves with Christmas cards, Christmas lights, Christmas wrapping, Christmas ribbons, Christmas novelties, and — the seasonal holy of holies — the Christmas Singing Trout.

Retailers refer to this day as "Black Friday," not in the sense of recalling the stock market crash of 1929, but rather in the sense of changing the ink in the accounting books from red to black. Retail store owners expect to earn half of their total profits for the year in November and December, and they count on Black Friday to move them into profitability for the year. Consumers in the U.S. spend more than $7 billion on Black Friday.

I'm 45 years old. I've known about Black Friday for the last 25 years or more, and I generally try to avoid the mayhem. But today was different.

It actually started on Thanksgiving Day, which was at my mother's house, which is about a 30 minute drive across town from my humble abode in the entrails of suburbia. We had a lovely mid-day meal, but I started getting some kind of nasty sinus/migraine headache, the kind that can be solved quickly by one shot of a Glock 9mm to the ethmoid sinus (#2 in the photo; #1 are the frontal sinuses and #3 are the maxillary sinuses) otherwise the migraine will last all day.

My husband and I left my mom's house around 3:00 p.m. when it was clear no one in the room owned a handgun of the appropriate calibre (hard to believe of us gun-toting cowboys, isn't it?). Being in a state of reduced sensibilities, I forgot a few things, including my wallet, which had fallen from my knitting bag.

So, after confirming that my wallet was indeed at my mother's home, and confirming that it would be acceptable for me to arrive around 7:00 a.m. in order to retrieve it, I drove to her home early in the morning of Black Friday. It took longer than usual, though, because I had to obey the speed limits owing to the fact that my driver's license was in my wallet and I didn't want to risk being caught with out it. I had a cuppa with dear old mum, then left.

"I know," I said to myself, "I'll run over to Best Buy [electronics and software retail chain] and get the upgrade for my Norton AntiVirus software." Brilliant. I needed to drive across town again and further west to the Oak View Mall, which was my nearest Best Buy location.

Now, my need for the anti-virus software could, indeed, have been fulfilled over the Internet. Except that I had tried that already. After four hours only 50% of the program downloaded, and then my dial-up connection expired. So, I reconnected to the Web, went to the Symantec web site, and I used the appropriate form to request they send the %$#*ing software to me on a CD. I received an automated reply, but no response. That was three weeks earlier. The day before Thanksgiving I searched the Symantec web site for a telephone number to call. There was none. Eventually I was able to do a Google search for "Symantec Telephone," for which I was rewarded with a toll call to their corporate office in Oregon. For my trouble, I received a recorded message which gave me a toll-free number to call that would allow me to connect to someone who could help to sort out this mess.

Or so I thought. I ended up in a hellish labyrinth of touch-tone menu options before I finally got through to a very well-mannered young man for whom English was not his first language. He apologized at every turn, but the most he could do would be to issue a credit to my card and to direct me to a customer service representative who could help me place the order. Except that the customer service representative was the scion of the Wicked Witch of the West. She would not allow me to place an order for an upgrade until I could provide the serial number of my current software (no, she couldn't look this up in a data base). I hung up on her. It would be less trouble to purchase this software from a retailer.

Thus, I drove out to Oak View Mall (about 30 minutes from my mother's house) and pulled into the parking lot for Best Buy. A sign on the door said that the store had moved to the brand new Village Pointe Mall (no, that's not a misspelling, but a quaint custom among developers to make us think these pre-packaged retail enclaves are unique and exciting), which was at 170th and Dodge Streets. I was at 144th and Industrial Road. It was a mere 5 miles away.

In the meantime, I could weave through the parking lots and harried early-morning shoppers to the Barnes & Noble (book store chain) for a few items I needed there.

No, I couldn't. Unlike every other retail store in the country that opened its doors at 6:00 a.m., Barnes & Noble wouldn't open until its usual hour of 9:00. It was about 7:45.

I crept my car along the gridlock that is the hallmark of this particular location (the planners for this mall were either optimistic or flat-on-their-arses drunk). By now the drive to 170th & Dodge Streets was tantamount to driving all the way to San Francisco. Especially when I hit the road construction.

For those of you not from Omaha, Nebraska, let me explain a few things:

1. Omaha is the largest "city" in the state. It has a population of around 600,000 spread out in a geographic area in which most real cities could easily pack 7.2 million residents and their dogs.

2. There is only one mode of public transportation and that is only the pokey old Metro Area Transit bus system which drives routes that hearken back to a time 20 years ago when this pretentious little hamlet went no further west than 102nd Street.

3. There are only two seasons in Nebraska: Winter and Road Construction. As the former had not yet come upon us, we were entrenched in the latter.

At this writing, nearly every major east-west and north-south thoroughfare in Omaha is under construction, usually at the place where you absolutely need to get through or else you have to drive about five miles out of your way. Thus, a trip that should have lasted only 10 minutes or so ended up being a 30 minute odyssey through single-lane roads, orange hazard cones, and something I'm sure was razor wire. All of these roads were choked with traffic. Apparently everyone was in a hurry to get to Village Pointe Mall because the only parking space I could find was near a building that was still under construction (as was the entrance to this mall).

Best Buy was packed, of course, with all kinds of people who were willing to wait in line to get their whopping 10% discount off of the latest electronic gadget that wasn't tagged with any sort of price in the first place. I located the software section; I located the Norton SystemWorks package. I could not locate the upgrade version. As there were an abundance of sullen teenagers employed for the season, I collared one and asked him to bring out the upgrade version. He perused the shelves

"I guess we don't have that," he said.

"Why not?" I asked.

"We don't stock upgrades."

"Why not?"

"We just have the full program."

"But I only want an upgrade."

"You can buy this program and send for the $30 mail in rebate."

"The upgrade costs less than that."

"With the rebate it's only $39.95."

"So, why don't you sell me this package at the upgrade price, which is $25."

"We don't have the upgrades."

Oh, I so wanted to beat that software box against his pointy little head. I wanted to commit a memorable act of mayhem, the kind that would make the national papers, the kind that would ensure me a feature spot on Jerry Springer's show and then a follow-up on Oprah after I'd gone through rehab.

But I didn't. I took the box and went to look for the checkout.

I'll say this for them: All of the cash registers were populated and working (unlike the one or two tired and bored clerks they usually have on duty). I saw one long line of people snaking through the store.

"Is this the line for the cash registers?" I inquired of a clerk.

"Oh, yes," he replied with seasonal enthusiasm. "The wait is only 35 to 40 minutes."

I threw the box on a shelf and stormed out.

Send me to Iraq: I'm ready to kill.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Free Morning

I have today off from my full-time job (in honor of Veteran's Day), but I still have to work this afternoon at the stationery shop. Oh, I'm beside myself trying to figure out just what I can do with the time I have to myself this morning! I've already worked on Christmas cards (nearly done). I have about 2.5 hours left before I have to be somewhere for an 11:00 a.m. appointment. Can I get some sewing done? Knitting? Start on that book binding project? Wrap presents? Climb Mt. Everest?

So many possibilities and so little time. *sigh* Such is life.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

My Vocabulary is Still Good

Your Vocabulary Score: A+

Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!
You must be quite an erudite person.

Socks That Rock!

OK, I've given in to temptation. I purchased three skeins of Socks That Rock (heavyweight version). I'll post a photo when I receive them. Oh, I need a zillion more hands to make all of the projects that are in my head!

Another "Ugh" Day

I got only a few hours of sleep again last night. I ate a piece of cheese (about an ounce) before bed to give my body a little fat and protein for sustenance through the night, but I woke up around midnight as hungry as ever and my legs were just burning up! It was so strange! I wanted to put my legs into the refrigerator to cool them off. I decided to boil up some pasta. In fact, I cooked a whole package of chicken tortellini (supposed to serve 5) and ate half of it (the dog got the other half). I also opened up the refrigerator door and just stood in front of it for a while to try to cool off my legs.

This hot leg thing is something that one other of my sisters has experienced. Her doctor said it was a symptom of menopause. Oh, joy.

Last night I started knitting a sweater for my friend Trish, but I pulled it off the needles today before noon because my gauge was all off. I knit a 4" x 4" gauge swatch and came up with 5.5 stitches per inch. Unfortunately, knitting that long section of the back, my actual gauge was more like 4 stitches per inch. That's bad. I have to re-think this or else Trish is going to have a tent instead of a sweater.

I have a workout today at the gym, then a dinner/meeting tonight. I'm not sure I'm going to make it to the latter. I'll hate to miss it, though.

Oh, I really want to sleep right now!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Come, Sleep!

Come, Sleep! O Sleep, the certain knot of peace,
The baiting-place of wit, the balm of woe,
The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release,
Th' indifferent judge between the high and low; ...

— Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)

Sleep is a reconciling,
A rest that peace begets:
Doth not the sun rise smiling
When fair at e'en he sets? ...

— John Dowland (1563-1626)

Actually, sleep came quite nicely last night. I feel great today. Amazing what a good night of rest can do for a person!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A Second Sleepless Night

Ed worked until 10:00 p.m. last night at CompUSA. I was in bed, but I woke a bit when he arrived home. Then I slept for several hours but woke around 1:30 a.m. because he was still awake and reading (Prince of Tides) an ebook he'd downloaded from the library. Well, it wasn't his reading that kept me awake (the only light came from the screen that displayed the text), but I don't think it helped. Mainly I ached still.

I had a nice, restorative workout at the gym on Monday night, but the length of the day for me (I was awake around 2:30 a.m. yesterday) as well as the wear-and-tear of an afternoon in retail-hell was enough to wipe me out.

The home appraisal went pretty well, I think, but I really hope we don't have to do that ever again! Geez, I hate that! I mean, even though I like my boss at my full-time job, I still hate performance evaluations with her, too! I cringe at the thought of someone assessing me or my home. I always feel like the assessor is really thinking, You think this is good? You're crazy!

Tonight is a night to relax. Tonight I knit, pet the dog, watch television, and then take a sleeping pill (have an Rx that I use when I've a sleepless night or two -- the chamomile tea just isn't cutting it) and get back to normal for Wednesday.

I have Friday off from my full-time job, but I'll be working at the stationery shop in the afternoon again, so I think Friday morning will just be down time and Saturday will be the day I start mucking out the sewing room.

What was it I said before about getting some down time?????

Monday, November 06, 2006

Blame it on the Full Moon

I couldn't sleep last night. I'm not sure why, but it would probably have something to do with the fact that I ache all over from all of the cleaning, and/or with my dread of someone coming over to appraise our home, and/or with just plain not looking forward to going to the office on a Monday morning.

I came to several conclusions throughout the weekend madnes:

(1) I need to pull back from a lot of stuff. No choir, for one. No knitting on Thursday nights for another. If I'm going to write, I need to cut down on some of the outside activities. If I'm going to get some sewing done, I need to cut down on the time I'm away from home. Sitting at home and knitting or sewing is therapeutic for me. It's creative "down time" that lets me relax yet still engage in something fulfilling (as opposed to merely laying down to take a nap).

(2) My various obsessions are getting in the way of a lot of things, not the least of which is my ability to maintain viable relationships with people. When I'm not on my medication (and I had missed it for several days running there), I think I must be hell to be around because I get obsessive and manic and basically out of control as I doubt myself yet plunge ahead with what I believe to be the right action, and thus add to the stress I'm already feeling.

(3) I really hate that I have these personality quirks that are outside of my control. Let's face it: I'll always have anxiety and obsessive and depressive behaviors to some degree. The medication helps to keep it under control so that I can live a fairly normal and productive life, even in the midst of crises. But, oh, I hate that I'm this way. I hate having to take pills to be "normal." I hate that I couldn't be one of the few people at the conference for Adult Children of Normal Parents. I wish it were different, but wishing doesn't make it so, and I hate that, too.

(4) In my pridefulness, I forget that I am not the only one who can give nice things to people. Other people are allowed to give nice things to people. They are even allowed to give nice things to me. I sometimes forget that it is as much an honor to receive a gift as to give one. I sometimes forget that it is as much a kindness to allow someone to give something to you as it is to be able to give something from yourself.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

It never rains, but it pours. And then the water heater dies.

Just before Ed went off to work on Saturday morning we both heard water running and couldn't account for it. The dishwasher wasn't running; neither was the washing machine, and neither of us had just flushed a toilet. When we went to the basement we saw hot water running from the water heater. We turned it all off. Ed went to work and I called a plumber.

Do you know how hard it is to get hold of a plumber on a weekend? Even the ones that advertise 24-hour and emergency service weren't answering their phones. I did finally get through to All Points Plumbing. We needed a 40-gallon water heater, but the guy didn't have one on his truck and his suppliers were closed for the weekend, so they told us that if we could go out to Home Depot or Lowe's or Menards or someplace and purchase one, they would install it on Sunday.

We went to the Home Depot near where we live. They advertised same day delivery. In fact, they also advertised same day installation if you got your order in before 2:00 p.m. As it was only 10:30 a.m., I thought we'd get this taken care of right away.

Nope. First, they said it would be an extra $125 to install on the weekend (no indication in any of their advertising of this). Then they said they couldn't install until Monday anyway. Then they said they couldn't deliver today. What a crock of sh*t their promises are! (I'm going to the Nebraska Attorney General web site after this to write in all of the pertinent information. They'll have to make a formal response, which will get their administration into a tizzy for a few days at least. Hee-Hee! Happy freakin' Monday to all of them!)

So, we went back home. I asked a neighbor, Greg, if he'd help us to pick up the water heater presuming Lowe's wouldn't deliver. He said he would probably get called away to his pub (he owns Finnegan's here in Omaha), but he gave me the spare keys to his truck and told me just to make sure I took the corners wide. (I think he's seen my drive before, eh?)

As it turned out Lowe's was great to deal with. The lady I spoke with on the phone checked on delivery and actually apologized because they guy was on his way to Columbus, Nebraska. She said if we could pick it up ourselves it would save about $80 anyway, so that's what we did.

Oh, that was fun driving the big red pickup truck! I had to help my sister Marcy into the cab. Seriously! I had to make a step with my hands so that she could get a let up into that behemoth! And then it was like piloting the QEII! So much give in the steering (compared to my sporty little Grand Am; there's a representative photo above), and it moved as slowly as a caravan of elephants who would rather be napping. But it worked. And I navigated it successfully.

(That's a representative image of Greg's pickup at right. I don't remember the model. I just remember it was red, a four-door extended cab, and it took diesel fuel. Oh, and the wheel wells stood about as tall as my waist.) So we got it home an I offloaded it from the pickup (it's good to be strong) and got the new water heater into the garage. I also returned Greg's truck to his driveway. And I did it all without hitting other cars or buildings (although I have to cop to scraping up against some sandbags at the filling station).

We had all of this accomplished by about 12:30 p.m., at which point Marcy and I started in on cleaning up the downstairs. She cleaned up Ed's workshop while I tackled the "family room" area and the office area. I still ache today.

All of this is so that the house looks presentable for the home appraiser who will be coming tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. The house won't look nearly as nice as I hoped, but it will be as good as I can make it with all of these trials coming my way.

I really lost it when the water heater died. We always seem to be right on the edge of financial ruin, so something like that puts me over the edge. But, as it turns out, I'd been squirreling away money into another account for a while -- something I'd forgotten about until this morning. When I checked it, we had more than enough to cover the $800 for the new water heater and installation.

And now the downstairs is clean, too.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Minnie and I are (Semi) Famous in Canada!

When Deawn posted a call for 10" knitted squares for a project in her beloved Montreal, Minnie and I sent in our contributions. Lo and behold, we received a mention on the Montreal Radio Noon program as well as on the web site.

Here's my favorite part: The mis-spellings!

• M. Olsen of Omaha Newbraska!
• Judith Brudnicki of Omaha, Newbraska

Oh, well, they were kind enough to acknowledge our contributions from among all of the others.

PS — Deawn, we miss you, but we know you're happy among your Canadian friends. Many hugs!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Marathon Days

Yesterday was quite the marathon. I worked at both of my jobs (for a total of 11 hours paid time) and then went to choir practice for the first time in years. Let's just say I was in bed by 9:00 a.m.

Poor Charka dog felt so lonely that she actually got into bed with us (thank heaven for king-sized beds). In fact, she snuggled up next to me so I could pet her as I was falling asleep. I don't know when she got off the bed, but she was gone by the time I woke this morning.

Today will be somewhat the same. I'm working only my full-time job today, but I have a workout at 4:00 p.m. and then I'm going to knitting until about 7:30 or 8:00 p.m. Charka will probably want to be all snuggly again tonight, poor thing.

Ed is being wonderfully supportive as I go through all of this craziness: Writing, knitting, working, exercising, and now singing in a church choir.

By the way, choir was fun last night. It was the first time I'd been singing in choir for about 10 years, I think. I just remember that the last time was at a Methodist church (and I bailed about this time of year because they had scheduled a zillion extra choral events in the month of December), and I think it was in 1997. Anyway, I was quite surprised to learn how much out of practice I was! I used to be able to sight read (notes, rhythms, words) without any effort at all; I used to be able to sing the high notes (the g above the c that is an octave above middle c) as easily as breathing. Oi! What a challenge that was last night!

It won't take long to get it all back, though. My nervous system will recall the discreet adjustments required for changing from note to note, my brain will open up the pathways to the section that parses rhythms, and my throat muscles will loosen up enough to be flexible for reaching the extremes of my range. It's an odd feeling, though, to recall being able to do something but to have the body not cooperate!

The people at First Central Congregational were quite nice. In fact, they were warm without being cloying. On first impressions alone, I was impressed. This seems to be a good group of people to be around.

Now, I should do some writing again...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wait, Wait! I actually wrote today!

I actually got my story started. I only had an hour, but I got a couple of hundred words down on paper. I'll have some time to write before choir tonight. Thank you to my wonderful husband for finding me a cheap laptop!

NaNoWriMo • The First Day

Damn! I can't start writing yet! I've had projects to work on since I arrived at the office, I'll be busy all afternoon at the stationery shop, and then I'm going to my first choir rehearsal tonight at First Central Congregational. I've been writing in my head like crazy. I know how I want this to start and a lot of the background. I want to write! I want to get paid for writing, not for doing this boring stuff!


The suffering of artists is really annoying, isn't it!