saturday in my life

My brackets are doing pretty well. Maybe not fantastic like win a trip to the final 4, but good enough to stay ahead of A in our big home challenge. Glad UConn pulled off the win against Maryland, but gosh, I hope all the injuries heal fast and well. They looked a little beat up. And what were the refs thinking int eh first half? Really? Are they blind?

Yeah, I get excited when “my” girls play. πŸ™‚

But not too excited to knit – I am almost done with the first ultra long leg warmer, and will cast the second on tonight, I think. I hope C likes them – they are going to be quite warm – too warm for summer πŸ™‚ but good for next year.

Yesterday I did get to the Craft Barn in Ellsworth after taxes, and was able to pick out some soft acrylic yarn for a baby blanket. It has been a while since I worked with that kind of yarn, not sure how I will like it, but I know it is practical for a new baby to have really washable things. I’ll work on that over the next few months, A’s co-worker will is due in July, and I will be crocheting – much faster to get done! I hope to also knit a pair of little booties using a;s mother’s favorite pattern. She was well-known for knitting the booties, and we try to give all new babies we know a pair of them.

Today between games I got into the craft room and worked on what were the Easter cards, but due to a lack of time on my part, are now the “welcome spring” cards. Sigh. Just not enough time in the week to get everything done.

Strange thing happened to me this morning. We had a slow morning, and after breakfast, I went out to the PO and to get a haircut. I get my haircut at the barbershop – can’t beat 8 bucks, and a haircut is a haircut, after all. Actually, the barber, Michelle does a good job. Anyway, I got there and there were probably 4 guys waiting, and a little kid in the chair. I sat doing sudokus on my phone (the only downside to the barber shop is her magazine selection stinks) a couple more guys came in while I was waiting my turn, and the dad of the little kid got his hair cut. The little boy decided I was safe, so he chatted with me while he waited for his dad. Then they left, and I waited through a few more haircuts. Finally it was my turn. I stood up, and so did the guy who had come in after me. He walked up to the chair and sat down while I was taking off my sweatshirt. I was surprised, but figured I could wait ten more minutes. The barber looked at him and said “I don’t think you are next.” He said he was, and she said “I don’t think so. She’s next.” The guy looked at me in total amazement and said “Sorry, I didn’t know you were getting your hair cut.”

Really? Why did he think I was sitting there? Believe me, a barber shop is not such a wonderful place that people go there to just hang on Saturday morning. I honestly think that he somehow figured I was there with the kid, but as the kid was gone, I am not sure why he thought I was still there. But clearly, he did not think that a woman should get a haircut at a barber shop. I would not have been surprised if this guy was old, but if he was 35 I would be astounded.

So it got me wondering when this world will ever get over having such strong stereotypes? Stop making judgements about things based on them? Please don’t say never.

1 day training, how many hats? :-) and a Friday list

Had a training today on measuring outcomes, goal setting, etc. not a bad training but pretty dry material. So, I finished up a hat I was working on, and then knit most of a second one. Wow! Pretty good, given that in the same 6 hours I took some notes and ate lunch. πŸ™‚ I’ll post pictures later – I am working on a red collection with a big bunch of yarn from sister-in-law S. I think it will make a big impressive looking pile. πŸ™‚

Tomorrow is Friday – another tax day – means a dull list for you guys.

The taxes are in SW Harbor again, so I should get home at a decent hour. A has asked me to get supper at Pat’s Pizza in Ellsworth on my way home. She gave me a huge list of appetizers to last her all weekend. Not sure yet what I will get. But it is clear, we won’t be cooking over the next few days.

That’s it – except that I have to stop into the office to sign the time sheets, since I wasn’t there today to do it. Hope I don;t get caught as I have to meet my tax partner at 8:15.

I have to say that this week is lasting forever. I can’t believe it isn’t over yet. Monday I worked from 7 am until 10 pm. (meeting in Calais in the evening) Tuesday was from 8:30 am to 8:30 PM. Wednesday was from 7:30 am until 8 pm. Today was short – 7 am until 4:30 PM. By the time tomorrow is over, I think I will be close to 60 hours. No wonder I am exhausted. Just waiting for the week that is a more reasonable number of hours, and includes a Friday off! I think that will be the week after next…. I can’t wait. And Saturday, I don’t care who needs what done, I don’t plan to get up early, even if I wake up at 4:30 like every other morning.

Saturday knits, chores, and an impromptu birthday party

Busy day! A and I slept late, both exhausted from a long work week, and then we thought we had loads of time to get a few chores done before we headed to Bangor to meet up with her sisters and nieces for a birthday lunch for niece T. We leisurely got ready, headed out to things like the PO and grocery store. Got home and the phone was ringing. Total change of plans – niece J (flying in from PA) was getting a later flight, so lunch would happen earlier, and without her. We scrambled to wrap presents and get out the door again. Made it to Governor’s in Orono in time – whew!

After lunch we tried the natural food store for the special cat food we think will stop Zumba’s itching. They had the wet food, but not the dry. I’ll try the store in Ellsworth where I always used to get it for Tuppence (anyone – is it normal for calicoes and tortoise cats to have food allergies? Zumba has the same coloring as Tuppence had, and seems to have the same food allergies.)

Through all of this driving, I was knitting around and around on this cable ribbed hat I made up. It did not come out like I planned (do they ever?) but I think it came out cute, and it fits better than I thought it would. Even as I was finishing it up, I was thinking about ripping it out and making a plain hat. But I like it, and if it fits me, it will fit someone else, so in the bag it goes!

red cable ribbed

Once home, it was BASKETBALL! Women’s tournaments started today, we have our brackets done,a nd our friendly little wager in place. We actually have two – one for the whole bracket best score, for cash for the stash. The other is just the final 4, once we get that far (gives us a chance to revise in case our original 4 aren’t actually there!) for a weekend breakfast. This is very exciting time of year for us – A gets to watch lots of good women’s basketball, I get to root for UConn and knit.

I am about half way through one leg warmer – they ARE coming out as I imagined, and I hope niece C likes them! The k2 p2 ribbing for 28 inches is tedious, but at least I have the color changes to look forward to. I don’t think I would do much with them if they were all one color.
wip leg warmers

They should be done long before we crown a national championship winning team.

Go UConn!

Friday list

It’s a smashing list!

1.) Tax prep in Milbridge
2.) Totally ignore the stupid weather
3.) Look forward to the surprise dinner A will bring home. The surprise is that I don’t know the restaurant she will choose. I gave her a few options to choose from, given what I know she will drive by on her way home from Bath. πŸ™‚
4.) Celebrate the weekend!!!!!

hats on fiverr!!

I keep trying to figure out a way to make money doing things I love. I know some people have lots of luck on Fiverr, I don’t. I have not given it a lot of work, of course, with one gig up there (handmade card). So all of a sudden, in the middle of the night I thought “hey – I am knitting all these hats to give away – is there a way to make that a gig?”
So I put it up there – for $5 I will donate a hat to charity in someone’s name. I figure that this is a way to at least contribute to the yarn fund, right? We will see how it goes. So far no one has looked at the gig. If you want to – check it out at http://fiverr.com/salpal1/donate-a-handmade-hat-to-charity and let me know what you think of the idea.

Next step is to learn how to promote the thing, I can’t even find it in random searches and I know it is there. Sigh. Anyone who has ever done this, I would love to hear more about how to make it effective.

Spring, my eye

A foot of new snow over the last 24 hours. Early dismissal yesterday meant driving home in the middle of the storm, but in daylight. Delayed start this morning meant I didn’t have to get up at 4:30 to shovel, but sadly, I didn’t know that until 6:15 as I was finishing.

Snow is pretty. This is Maine. Why am I complaining?

BECAUSE I AM TIRED OF IT!!!

I want to start my seeds and have things growing and warm sunshine and swim in my pool.

So. The good part of it? A also got out early yesterday, so we were able to sit in front of our fire yesterday, she reading, me knitting on the blue leg warmers. I had time to make some good chili for supper.

But that’s all I can think of. Really. And I even have Allie here helping me type, she can’t think of anything, either.

Blue Monday – NOT

Can’t remember if I told you A and I are doing our own little biggest loser, because I am not participating in her office one this time around. Well, she has been beating me soundly (and winning at work as well!) I am really proud of her, but still, I want to win. We have $10 bucks a week on this!

Today I finally lost weight and won the week! I had been wondering why I wasn’t losing, and suddenly I lost over 2 pounds,so I guess my body just wasn’t ready to part with it until now.

Since I was the big winner, I took the opportunity to go online after work and order a new bathing suit for summer (since I am pretty sure mine from last summer won’t be able to be worn in public….) and I hit a sale at Land’s End – 20% off swimsuits and free shipping on orders over $50 (and even on sale, suits cost more than that) so I saved over $30 total. Can’t beat it.

Also, had to buy a swim suit to counteract the evil snow storm coming our way tomorrow. Really. Another storm. All this mild weather and melted snow was just a teaser, I guess. It’s depressing.

Unless I get a day off work – !

the weekend has gotten away

I feel like weekends are so short when I have to work on Fridays. You know, like the rest of the world.

This weekend was no exception. Friday I was in SW Harbor again doing taxes, we had a full slate, and everyone showed up. By the end of the day, I was tired, but it felt good to help everyone. Friday night we went over to House of Pizza for supper – it is always surprisingly good (don’t judge a restaurant by its uninspiring architecture!) It was a good low-key choice for the end of the week.

Saturday sister-in-law L joined us in a trip to Mom and B’s to take them out to lunch to celebrate Mom’s birthday. We visited with Mom while she opened her presents, and then went out to lunch. She chose Cafe Miranda in Rockland – the food was really good, I had a to die for lamb patty. Very simply done with yogurt and cukes on focaccia. Delicious! After lunch we did a quick tour of the garden – daffies and crocus are poking their heads out of the ground, snow drops are blooming, it is looking like early spring in her yard!

On the way home, we stopped at Over the Rainbow, L had not been there yet (good excuse!!!!!!) and everything was on sale, 20% off! I picked up some more Lamb’s Pride for various projects I might make… or because I could not resist the colors???

Today I FINALLY finished the blue sweater for my coworker. If it fit me, I would model it for you, but it doesn’t. If she lets me, I will get a photo of her in it for you all. Suffice to say, I am glad it is done. I almost immediately started the next project – leg warmers for oldest niece, C. Not sure how they will turn out as I am totally guessing on everything except the length (she wants 28 inches) and the color( she wants a fade from dark blue to light blue) but I will take photos of them for you as I go. I am using Cascade 220 superwash sport weight, in three shades of blue (I got 2 skeins of each, I think it will be more than enough.) So far, so good, I wound all the balls, and cast on the stitches. Simple pattern, tubes of 2×2 ribbing until 28 inches or I run out of yarn. πŸ™‚ I’ll get bored before they get done, but so far I have been really good at sticking to my rule to reduce UFOs. No starting the next project until this one is done. I have modified it somewhat to allow hats to go on simultaneously with bigger projects, simply because of the mobility of the hats. I am never without my knitting!

One thing I should have started on but did not is Easter cards. I don’t have much time, but I also don’t feel inspired. Guess I had better get over that. And I also was supposed to get ready to paint upstairs, but as A didn’t work on the bookshelves, I have more time than I thought to paint the loft. Instead, today she worked on the insulation in the closet, and balanced the checkbook. Two major chores!

She did tell Mom that by the end of her vacation, the bookshelves will be built, installed and filled with all of our books. That is a bit frightening, as that vacation is in a few weeks… Glad I am working most of that week! But it does mean I have to get the room painted and the bookshelves painted before then. Legwarmers might not get done as fast as I would like.

Nancy knits

I can’t remember if I have told you about Nancy. If I have, skim ahead. If not, settle back, there’s a story here.

My mom had two cousins on her dad’s side, Nancy and her sister. They were both older than Mom and her sisters, so of course, she looked up to them as lovely, cool, very grown up, when she was growing up. She tells me that as a girl, she used to wish she would grow up to be as pretty as Nancy. (side story: one day many years ago, I stopped by unannounced at my grandparents. My grandmother opened the door to let me in, and I could see into the living room where someone was sitting on the sofa. I remember saying to my grandmother “I didn’t know Mom was down!” which made her chuckle. It wasn’t Mom, it was Nancy. Wishes do come true.) anyway…

Nancy married and had a family and lived half way across the country, was in about the same financial condition that we were, so I never met her until that day at Gram’s when I was in my 20’s. But I heard lots about Nancy. My grandfather was very proud of this niece. She had her own business knitting. She actually made money knitting, and not in some sweat shop. She designed her own things and sold’em and people paid her for it. It was an amazing concept.
nancy 2
So, after that meeting at Gram’s, I emailed Nancy to ask her for advice on how to price things. That’s when I found out the secret: there is no way to price hand-made original designs so that you truly make money, unless you are either knitting for the wealthy or find a market for your patterns. You can receive some money for your garments, for sure. And it might very well cover your costs, but it will probably NEVER cover your time in designing and knitting. Nancy did inspire me to keep knitting, and to think about ways to use my skill and love of fiber to make ME happy, and maybe someday make some money.
nancy 3
I kept in touch, pretty loosely with her over the next several years. we only met one more time in person, at her mother’s funeral, where I also met Nancy’s daughter. She also lived far away, and we kept in touch by email, better than Nancy and I did.

Nancy was diagnosed with cancer several years ago. Her daughter kept the family up to date on how she was doing, and near the end of Nancy’s life, her daughter went to stay with her. She emailed that one thing that Nancy was very worried about was her stash. What would happen to all her lovely yarn when she was gone? I emailed that if it would set her mind at ease, tell her I would welcome the stash and appreciate it. She settled down and I forgot all about it. Months later, my cousin emailed me that the stash was on its way. Her mom had been so appreciative that I was interested, that she would hear of nothing else.

Well, when it arrived, it was an immense amount of yarn, I can’t even begin to tell you. More yarn than I could ever use. really beautiful stuff. 4 large boxes of it, vacuum packed.

I went through it all, every little skein and ball. I sorted out what I loved from what I didn’t, what I thought I would use from what I knew I wouldn’t. then, I called my sister. Did she want it? We finally lit on the idea of having a party with all the women in the family, to dig through Nancy’s stash and divvy it up. After all, why should I be the only one to benefit from this wonderful gift? We were all Nancy’s cousins. So we did that, I took the yarn down in large trash bags, I can’t remember how many, but the car was full.

My mom and her two sisters, my sister, my cousins all had a great day, and they all went home with bags of yarn. I came back with two trash bags that I shared with my sisters in law, and we all moved on.

nancy 4

But upstairs in the craft room, I have a few totes of yarn from Nancy. And I also have a bag with some WIPs. I pull them out and look at them, wish I could do forensic knitting so I could finish them. today as I was cleaning up the craft room, I came upon that bag again, and took it out. I held that knitting and wondered when Nancy had started the things. Was she feeling good one day, and thought she would be able to finish? Did she get bored with the pattern and put it aside, in favor of some new yarn or pattern? I have no way to know.

Today I unraveled two of the WIPs, winding the yarn, and thinking about her, and how creative she was, what an accomplished knitter. I thought about what I would make with the yarn I was wrapping into balls. It might not be as original in design, but I am also a competent knitter, so I know it will be well made. I think one of the projects will turn itself into hats, but the other, a wonderful rayon chenille, begs to be made into something special and luxurious. I don’t know yet what it is. Or who it is for. But I know, as I knit it, Nancy will be there beside me, her needles clicking away.

nancy 1

I often think of Nancy as I knit, whether or not I am using her yarn. I wonder what she would think of the hats I make, much more basic and less fancy than the ones she used to sell. But they keep heads warm, and they are well made, from good yarn. I wonder why she didn’t write down her patterns, so I could finish her WIPs. I wonder at her optimism, buying so much yarn at the end of her life, but I am very grateful that she did! I am glad she joins me in my craft room and on the couch, at meetings when I work on the endless hats.

weekend update

As you may have guessed – no Friday list – it was tax day. I was in Milbridge, and had a busy day – all good!

Friday night I went to a fundraiser for a local non-profit. It was a GREAT way for an introvert like me to help out. For two $20 tickets, we each got a handmade pottery bowl and a take out cup of homemade soup. I basically bought the tickets, chose the bowls from those available from local potters, and picked out two to go containers of soup. I chatted for a few minutes with a few ladies I know, and came home, heated up the soup and had supper. It accomplished a few good things – supported a local non-profit, did a bit of networking, got a yummy supper AND we now have two pretty blue bowls from one of my favorite local potters.

Saturday was a funny kind of day – we had to stop at the bank and sign a few papers for our refinance – YEAH!!!, then we went over to EBS so I could show A the tiles I would like to use for our backsplash, and we puttered around the store looking at things. I got a few seed packets, always optimistic that spring will arrive.

We went to Martha’s cafe for brunch, and then to Home Depot for more aisle wandering. Still looking for the perfect lights for our headboard which exists only in my head. A found something she has wanted for a while – battery operated skill saw, and some kind of sealer for the table saw deck. From there, we went to Marden’s, and wandered a bit. I found a few spools of ribbon, but not much else. I really have a hard time with salvage style stores. It just all looks like junk to me sometimes. Other times, I am full of creativity about what I can do with these things in the wrong colors and shapes. Saturday was not one of those days.

All of this shopping was a way to kill some time, until I met up with one of my coworkers, to go to the local farmers market annual meeting. They had asked us to come and talk about ways to raise funds to support their “double SNAP” program. We were glad to do that, as we have worked with them for years to offer the program with grant funding. That funding is nearly through, and we want the program to go on. So, we did that, and then she dropped me back of to meet up with A, who, although I thought she would be shopping without me, actually was taking a nap in the sun in the parking lot. Not a bad way to spend a beautiful late winter afternoon.

Today is a low-key home day. A did some work up in that big closet of hers, getting the insulation in right. I finished reading a suspense novel – a Lisa Gardner, titled Catch Me – that I could NOT put down, even though, it turns out, I had figured out who did it, and even why, before the end. It still was really good. This afternoon, after I get offline heeheehee I will head up to clean up the craft room. Two reasons. I do need to start making the easter cards for the family, and think about the April birthday cards. But also, next weekend, I want to get painting the loft, and so there needs to be a place to put the things that are there. I think that will be the craft room. I am getting excited about getting that room done – and the books unpacked. I will get to see my old favorites, and maybe some I have forgotten I have… it’s weeks away, but in the foreseeable future.
new pattern idea
Somewhere in there, I finished another hat. I have a vision of a new hat in my head. This isn’t it, although it has some of the elements I want in it. Same basic shape I always do, but I want to figure a way to make it a little more feminine, without going overboard. So the roll brim is supposed to be more like a ruffle – I will work on that – and the cable cuff is supposed to show more. That it doesn’t is my fault, I didn’t worry too much about what yarn I used, and the tweedy combination made by a thread each of gray and green wools makes details hard to see. I plan to work on this pattern again in some plainer yarn, and see how it comes out. I’ll keep you posted, and if it ever is worth sharing, you will be the first to know.

I am almost done with the sweater I am working on for a coworker. I will need her to try it on to make sure I have the lengths of things right, but I might get it done, other than that, today, which would be great! After that, it is on to leg warmers for niece C. Then, I think socks for me, or maybe back to the big red sweater. Also for me. With hats in between. Not for me. And somewhere in there is the blue-green cowl with last weeks yarn. For me. πŸ™‚

So. Tomorrow is Monday, start of another long work week. Next Friday it’s taxes in SW Harbor again – so no fun Friday list. But I hope to remember to get before and after pictures of the painting project to share with you.