Saturday, December 30, 2006
On the ride, I managed to get a pair of cabled mittens beyond 50% complete. Knitting once it got dark was challenging and required the occasional use of the overhead light, but it was easier than I expected. I was working with Koigu KPPM, which was a good choice because it is tightly wound and not at all splitty. The slowest part was the cabled rows, but the progress I was able to make was good.
Since the cabled mittens were my grandmother's present, when we arrived I finished up the fingerless gloves that were almost done and I cast on for the bengal striped felted slippers and got through the heel before bed. During the day Saturday I continued on the cabled mittens while we drove around town and I finished the slippers so that they could be felted Sunday morning.
Despite not feeling well overnight (and not sleeping well) I managed to finish the cabled mittens in the morning and the 75% complete fair isle mittens in the evening. The last pair of fetching gloves for Christmas night didn't get started until we finished opening presents on Christmas morning. If I would have been feeling better on Christmas Eve, I would have started them sooner and wouldn't have cut things so close...
As it was, I spent the entire drive from Dayton to Johnstown knitting, and I was slowed down considerably when it got dark. By the time we got there, I had finished all but the thumbs. After my sister-in-law opened them (and loved them), I finished the thumbs. So, by the time Christmas came to an end, the Christmas knitting was done. :-)
I even managed to wash and block everything and photograph everything but SIL's gloves. Although a few things were still wet when they were opened. ;-)
Photos soon. I have things to paint and clean-up around here.
Friday, December 22, 2006
On the knitting front, I'm not done yet. Two projects are nearly done, two are not started and one is about 30% complete. The two not started are FuzzyFeet and Fetching (both from knitty). Both are patterns I've made before and both are for people that I won't see until it is time to gift them. So even though it is more stressful that I would like, I think I will make it. :-) I hope.
A very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you and your families!
Thursday, December 21, 2006
My back hurts. Not constantly all day, but enough that it was hard to stay focused this morning. This afternoon has been better, but I've had more things to do up and about.
Must take photos of the baby's room tonight to show family this weekend. It's not done, but it is far enough along to show our progress.
Next week I hope to make more progress - finish the painting (including the "mural"), get the doors installed (with help from R) and probably buy some of the things that we haven't received yet.
We had our hospital tour on Tuesday night. Fewer unknowns are a good thing. The Labor and Delivery Rooms are pretty big and aren't too far from the main waiting room for when R needs to visit anyone who is waiting. The post-partum rooms seem nice, too, though they are not large. But I guess that keeps us from being overwhelmed with too many visitors at once.
Last night we took a private childbirth class. I'm confident that this was the right decision for us. Though I admit at being intrigued at the contents of a "regular" lamaze class and how it might differ, especially since it wouldn't have been tailored to our needs. The woman we took the class from has been a doula for over 20 years and was a wealth of knowledge. Even though I know there will be much of the process that is unexpected and unpredictable, having an understanding of an "average" labor is comforting. So is understanding out options and choices that we can make.
She had a very quiet day on Monday which was kind of freaky. There hasn't been a day when I've felt her moving all the time, but there have always been "active" periods. Monday, I had to sit with my hand pressed against my belly in order to have the reassurance of feeling her move. It was an unpleasant day and I'm glad she's back to her "normal" now.
We're taking an infant care class the first week of January and I have a book on the shelf to read about breastfeeding. I'm hoping that those two things will help us feel "ready". (I don't think we'll ever really be prepared for how things are going to happen or change, but a little understanding of the parameters should make us both feel better.)
I'm totally in maternity clothes now, with the exception of a few shirts I can wear under longer things. I'm happy that all of the maternity stuff still fits for the time being.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I finished the knitting on the big Christmas surprise last night. Tonight will be blocking and continued knitting on the 5 projects left. They're all small. It's going to be tight, but I should be able to knit most of Saturday and some of Sunday, the only trick will be not working on projects in front of people who are receiving them. :-) I was correct, I feel much better now that the big project is done. Despite the number of items not finished, I'm still convinced that I'm in better shape than last year. Also, except for one December birthday present (that I wasn't going to send until next week anyway), all of the shopping is done as of lunchtime today. The amazon.com items won't be here until tomorrow or Thursday, so wrapping will commence on Thursday night concurrent with packing.
An additional apology to those of you who don't care about my knitting, but except for our hospital tour this evening and childbirth class tomorrow night, all of my non-work time will be spent knitting and wrapping presents until all the presents are handed out. If you want something to look forward to, I have an idea for a long holiday-related post for next week as well as some nursery pictures. For the knitters, I'll try to post some pictures of finished knitted objects next week, too.
Monday, December 18, 2006
2) Saturday we became a 2-car family. We bought a 2006 Jetta in platinum. Tonight I'm taking it back to the dealer to have an iPod adaptor installed, so at least in the new car we won't have to suffer through the unpredictability of the FM transmitter anymore. Should make for pleasant holiday driving. The car also came with 3 free months of XM satellite radio, so we have options. Don't know yet if we will continue the subscription.
3) Saturday night R's aunt hosted a family holiday get together. Unfortunately, not everyone was able to join us, but those of us who attended had a very nice time. We haven't seen enough of R's family since his grandmother passed away a year ago August, and I'm very appreciative that his aunt and her partner have hosted two family get togethers this year for us all.
4) With all of this activity, I didn't have quite the extent of knitting time that I had been expecting. I had all evening Friday, a couple of hours in the middle of Saturday and a few hours in between laundry, errands and online shopping on Sunday. I made good progress, but the christmas knitting is still a little scary. But, I have all but three presents now purchased, and I picked up wrapping paper this morning, so I have faith I can pull through without losing too much sleep. I think once I get the big, secret project finished I will feel much more confident.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
A non-reader of the blog is getting these (http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter06/PATTcorazon.html) mittens from me for christmas in teal and brown cascade superwash. So far, I am loving them and think there will be a pair for me in the future. I really need to work more fair isle into my life.
I have an orange variegated and a black yarn for another non-reader that was going to become another pair of fetching gloves...but now I think they might become some sort of fair-isle fingerless gloves. We'll have to see if I can find a pattern or if I'll have to quickly make something up myself.
In addition to finishing the secret christmas knitting, I also have a variegated worsted yarn that was going to be fingerless gloves but might become mittens. The color repeat is pretty short, and I think it looks best in plain stockinette, which I don't think lends itself to something like fingerless gloves that wants to be stretchy and form-fitting. I also have a sport weight hand-painted yarn that also is destined for gloves. I have a cabled vogue pattern in mind, but I might need something simpler with the variegation. I'm tempted by the lace fingerless mitts in the most recent IK, but I fear that they won't be warm enough for the recipient.
Lastly, there are the bengals slippers. I've been putting these off because they need to be designed. I realize this is not the best strategy. And then there is the finding of presents for all of the people I'm not knitting for.
Lots to do with less than 2 weeks to go. The knitting is totally doable, especially since I've been weaving in ends and blocking as I finish projects instead of saving it all for the end as usual. It's the buying and wrapping I'm having concerns about. I think it's clear that no decorating of the house is going to occur this year.
And somehow I need to prevent myself from working on the baby's room or cleaning up my office until after christmas...
* IT stolen with love from the yarn harlot.
Monday, December 11, 2006
I feel like I don't have the time or the writing stamina at the moment to do the post that the weekend deserves.
Let me just say that my shower on Saturday was awesome. It was everything I wanted it to be and everyone who came was exceedingly generous. I feel a little more confident now that we have some of the things we need to have for Miss M's arrival, and more and more it is sinking in that this is really happening.
It was also fabulous to get to spend time with two of my friends that I have known the longest (it seems wrong to say oldest friends, since they are both younger than me). Rebecca (sadly blogless) came in on Friday night and Katie (Shades of K) drove in on Saturday a couple of hours before the shower. We do a reasonable job of keeping in touch via email, phone and blogs, but there is nothing like an in-person visit. I'm very grateful that they could come. The only thing that would have made the weekend better would have been more time to spend together, but R and I were so pooped yesterday that I don't know that we could have enjoyed their presence if they would have stayed longer. :-)
Now, the question is where do we put the things that don't belong in her room? Shall we just leave the car seat in the foyer until February...?
Friday, December 08, 2006
1 - My iPod has been playing holiday music all week. Love those Carols for a Cure CDs. (www.broadwaycares.org)
2 - I'm fighting a very strong urge to peek at the baby registries. I know I shouldn't, and I haven't really wanted to...until I thought about it yesterday. Maybe I could just delete internet explorer from my computer for the day to diffuse temptation. :-)
3 - I frogged the fetching gloves and started over on the bus this morning. The cables in pattern aren't the right size and length for what I was going for. I started again and I'm getting the look I want now. I expect I will make more cable changes on future pairs.
4 - I have stopped caring about disturbing the cats when they are sleeping in the bed at night. When I'm feeling generous, I pet them before turning over. But it is hard enough for me to turn myself over without worrying about the comfort of two furry creatures that can fall asleep anywhere, anytime.
5 - I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone this weekend and I'm ready for the workday to be over now.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
I have a desire to post, but I can't think of much to say, really. Felt the same way yesterday. That should probably be my clue not to post, but I can't help myself.
I really want to write about the great progress I've made this week on the secret christmas knitting. But, alas, I can't.
Let me just say that the i-cord bind off is very attractive, but very time consuming. Also, I've surprised myself. I always thought I would want to poke my eyes out if I tried to duplicate the same pattern too many times for christmas presents. Turns out I just need to provide a variation for each one in order to keep myself entertained and I'm fine. Variegated yarn, 2-color knitting, add beads, change the cable pattern, change the length. One simple change each time seems to be enough to keep me happily knitting.
So far, at least.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Not a very exciting weekend to report on, overall, though it wasn't bad. It wasn't as relaxing as I had expected because I had to work on the hours I needed to make up from taking Monday off (I was out of sick days).
Friday night I started sketching on the wall area I plan to paint in the baby's room. Although when the furniture was delivered on Saturday, I discovered that the crib was wider than I had remembered...so my sketch needs some revision before I start painting. I'm now thinking that the painting won't occur until my week off between christmas and new years, because I need to spend the next few weeks getting ready for christmas without running myself ragged.
Saturday, after the furniture delivery, I reluctantly did a few hours of work. Then a friend picked me up for a knitterly meet-up. We met a new knitter at Jo-ann and helped her choose yarn for a log cabin blanket. Normally, I would think this would be too big of a project for someone who's only been knitting 3 weeks...but given her enthusiasm for the project and for knitting, I'm not concerned. She has until June to finish, and her practice knitting went on so long that she literally made three scarves...the woman clearly has stamina.
After yarn purchase, we had dinner, and then settled in at a coffee shop for the log cabin lesson and some knitting. I knitted some more when I got home, so good progress was made on the secret christmas knitting.
On Sunday, R and I went for our usual brunch and both reluctantly attempted the tasks we needed to accomplish. He ran errands. I did a few more hours of work and ran a little laundry. We went to the store and did other obligatory sunday tasks. I didn't get to work on cleaning my office at all and there is some cleaning that needs to be done before company comes this weekend. Not a deep cleaning, but the kitchen floor still hasn't been cleaned since Thanksgiving and the dusty shelves in the dining room were eyeing me while I was trying to work. :-)
Trying to get through the week is difficult when I'm so excited about saturday. I don't know if I'm more excited about seeing my OOT friends, having so many of my friends in one place or getting stuff for the baby! The presence of the nursery furniture is making it all feel more real, but the room is still pretty cold without any "stuff" sitting around (other than paint cans...), so I'm excited about beginning to fill it.
Friday, December 01, 2006
It seems like I've thought of a lot of things to post since Wednesday, but there isn't much coming to mind at the moment, other than knitting-related things. Maybe more will pop into my head as I write.
There was much knitting progress over the Thanksgiving weekend. Another pair of fetching gloves was started and completed. This time, I used two colors to accent the purl columns. I'm very happy with the results and might make one or two more pairs in the same style. Though it was a pain at first to change colors and change from knit to purl at the same time and so often, but after a bit I got the hang of it. It's still slower than just change color or just changing stitches, but not too bad.
I also wove in the ends and sewed together the maternity sweater. It now fits, thanks to my shortening operation. It just needs to be washed and blocked, and I need to put on the buttons. I will either wear it next week to work, or to my shower...or both. :-) The sleeves are a little long, but I prefer that over them being too short. (This will likely be the last thing I work on for me until December 26th...on second thought, I'll probably start knitting in earnest for the baby then, so this could be the last thing I knit for me until March. :-)
So this week I've returned to the secret christmas knitting. I got a lot of work done last night, and then found a critical error 2 long rows back. I managed to fix it without taking out those two rows...only to discover that the correct stitch pattern required more yarn than the incorrect one and with 10 stitches left to fix I was out of yarn. So I had to undo those two rows anyway. Between this morning's bus ride and a little lunchtime knitting, I'm now done with the row I was on when I found the error. When I see that we're leaving town for Christmas in 3 weeks, I get a little itchy about this project getting done...but I'm trying to have faith that it will all work out.
And I still have no idea what I'm buying for the people that I'm not knitting for...
In pregnancy news, the pain from Sunday has not returned, the doctor is not concerned since my tests were normal and the baby is fine, and I passed my 1-hour glucose test. Good news on all counts! I will be 29 weeks along tomorrow (aka 6 1/2 months or 11 weeks from the estimated due date) - crazy!
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
My intention is not to become a Wednesday-only poster, it is just how things have worked out for the past couple of weeks. I probably would have posted over the weekend, but I have a power issue with my laptop. Meaning that the only computer I can use at home is R's desktop in the basement, and while it is available, it is not ideal for my usual purposes, which involves watching TV while using the computer. Either an AC adaptor fix or a new christmas laptop strategy will be put into action soon.
Where to begin?
Overall, we had a very nice Thanksgiving weekend. My parents arrived on Wednesday afternoon, soon after I got home from work. We did the necessary grocery shopping while R finished some work from home, went out for dinner and had a generally quiet evening. Thanksgiving turned out to be pretty quiet, too. My MIL was making quite a few side dishes and several desserts, so there wasn't a ton to do. My dad made the turkey, stuffing and gravy. I made wassail, broccoli and corn, and my mom helped me set the table and cut the cranberry sauce. We had the pumpkin pie and sweet potato casserole later in the weekend, and the mashed potatoes never did get made. :-( (They're on tap for this weekend)
Friday we got a slow start, but eventually got going. Mom and I went for my 1-hour glucose test while R and Dad emptied the baby's room. Afterward we all met up to have lunch and buy the paint and a few supplies. (The name of the post are the three names of the green colors on the wall) Then Mom and I went yarn shopping and Dad spackled the cracks in the walls and ceiling. We just hung out the rest of the evening - watching TV, knitting and chatting.
Saturday was the big work day. We finished the prep work, primed the walls and all of the trim that was going to be painted, and then got one coat of paint on all of the walls. We collapsed into our chairs with chinese takeout, knitting and the TV. On Sunday, we managed to get a second coat on almost all of the walls before heading over to our neighborhood coffee shop for brunch. We had a nice brunch, and after a quick visit to the baby store we planned to finished the walls and get a coat of paint on the trim and closet door while R worked on the outside christmas lights...well that plan went out the window.
Soon after arriving home, I started to feel poorly...then I started to feel bad and couldn't find any relief. It felt like my ribcage was being squeezed and I had pain in my upper back. The short version of the story is that the baby is fine, and after a few hours at the hospital my pain dissipated. The blood and urine tests came back normal and they don't know what happened.
I didn't sleep well that night, so I decided to take Monday off. I was able to nap on the couch (with Nora) in the morning and generally relax all day. I did my best not to think about the mess or the painting that needed to be done upstairs. :-) The funniest thing about the day was how much the cats slept. Nora was on the couch nearly all day and Stewart was sleeping almost every time I looked for him. I realize that cats sleep a lot...but this was marathon sleeping. This was "you wore us out this weekend with all the activity and company you had" sleeping and "totally dead to the world" sleeping. :-)
That's enough for one post. I'll talk about the knitting that has been accomplished soon.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
There is much good news to report, and with 10 minutes to go until Thanksgiving vacation, I'm in a pleasant mood for a number of reasons.
Last Wednesday's post was from my phone in Denver. I never wrote again because the amount of text I could send was so limited. I didn't take a laptop, and there were 24 free internet-ready computers for the 13,000 people at the conference. I never had enough time or desire to stand in line to use one. But the conference was very good, and I will try to post more about it this weekend.
It was a busy trip, and didn't afford the study time I had expected. So much of Saturday, all of Sunday and Monday night were spent studying for the LEED AP exam (a certification for the LEED green building program). The process of getting to the exam on Tuesday evening was a difficult one (once again I'd like to say how happy I am that I take the bus and that we don't live in the suburbs!), but I made it and I passed the exam! It wasn't easy, but I had a good enough grasp on the concepts and credits to work my way through it.
I got more good news when I got home - my best friend from high school is going to be able to come to town for my shower. I'm excited to see her and to introduce her to my friends here...most of which I've made since the wedding, which was the last time she was here.
So when you add in the fact that I'm only working a half-day today, my parents are on their way here, I have 4 days off in a row and we have help to empty and paint the baby's room this weekend...life is pretty good. :-) And now that I am done studying, I can get back to my knitting. (I did get to do a little work on the secret Christmas project on the plane to and from Denver, but barely knitting all last weekend was not fun.)
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
Accomplishments for the weekend:
- Straightened up the house
- Cleaned the second floor and some of the first
- Finished baby registry and looked at items in person that had been added based on recommendations
- Made yummy Wassail
- Hosted knitting get together and had much fun
- Held the adorable and well-behaved child my friend just adopted from Guatemala
- Wove in ends and blocked 3 Christmas presents
- Wove in ends of first (of four) log cabin squares for our daughter
- Fixed mistake in secret Christmas present made during Friday's bus ride
- Noted that ribbed maternity sweater is definitely too long and developed strategy to fix it that involves cutting knitting
- Began implementing said strategy (without the aid of alcohol or caffeine, though there was plenty of chocolate on hand). I'm fairly sure that the results will provide a good looking piece of knitting and I'm 99% sure (I haven't tried it on yet) that the new length will not make my behind look enormous (like the previous length)
Tomorrow evening I'm headed to Denver for a conference for work. I'm very excited for the trip, the knitting I can do in transit, the contents of the conference and a chance to see a new city. (Incidentally, one that I briefly considered moving to after college graduation, but realized after little nervous breakdown that I don't have the constitution to move that far from my family, alone, to a place where I didn't know anyone. Going to Spain for 6 months was hard, but moving permanently was apparently too much.)
I haven't decided yet if I'm taking my laptop or not. I'm leaning toward not taking it. Along with my knitting, I need to study for an exam that I'm taking next Tuesday. (The topic of the exam is related to the topic of the conference, so I'm hoping it will all mesh well) I think that not taking my laptop will prevent me from wasting time that I could spend studying in my hotel room...so that I don't have to spend most of the coming weekend studying. So don't be surprised if things around here are quiet for as much as a week.
I think that hits all of the highlights. Maybe someday there will be pictures here again. :-)
Friday, November 10, 2006
I'm looking forward to the weekend. Tonight and tomorrow I have no specific plans. There is nothing on the calendar and no where I have to be in that period. VERY exciting. On Sunday, I am hosting a knitting get together. So this does imply that some part of tonight and tomorrow will be spent cleaning and preparing for Sunday. This is fine because I probably would have spent time this weekend cleaning anyway since we are hosting Thanksgiving this year. Also, I have been trying to do little things around the house this week in the hope that I can be fairly efficient in the cleaning process. There isn't too much straightening up that needs to be done before I can get out the cleaning supplies and the vacuum.
Tomorrow, I also plan to make a visit to Babyland, one of the stores where we are registered. Hopefully with R, if he can be persuaded. There are a few items that I can't add online and a few that are on our registry based on recommendations, but that we've never seen/tried in person. The shower invitations went out this week and I am getting excited! There are number of things to look forward to between now and then, but I am really looking forward to it. For a number of reasons, but mostly because I'm looking forward to having many of my favorite females all in one room together. :-) I realize that they won't all be able to make it...but I can dream, can't I?!
I didn't post yesterday because I was whiny, and I didn't want to subject my few dedicated readers to that. :-) I felt crummy, had great difficulty finding a comfortable way to sit at work, and when I finally did it was not a good position for computer drawing. As a result, I had trouble focusing on my work all day, and by the end of the day felt guilty for not getting more done. I got home and watched Gilmore Girls in bed until I felt better. Both kitties came to visit and sit with me (after R turned the faucet on for them).
While we watched Jericho and LOST, I finished my second pair of Fetching gloves. After a little blocking that means I'll have two Christmas presents done! I added beads to the second pair between the cables, and I'm pretty happy with the results. I'm not sure if I have appropriate beads for the other two pairs I'm going to make, but there is a good bead shop between home and work if I want to expand my collection.
The good news is that I'm feeling much better today. Not perfect, but generally good and much less cranky. And, I can sit in more than one position and still be comfortable. All good things.
Also, it's definitely official that I made Blaze (sweater from knitty.com) too big. Because it fits me the best today that it ever has. :-) I will definitely be making another attempt at this pattern post-baby and probably with 3/4 length sleeves. There is just something contradictory about an alpaca sweater with short sleeves. It's plenty warm, it's just odd to go out in November with short sleeves on under my coat.
In architecture news, I'm signed up to take the LEED AP exam on November 21st. LEED is a green building certification program. I've been telling the officers of my firm for 3 years that I plan to take the exam. I went ahead and scheduled it so I wouldn't have a choice, and I wouldn't have to put it on my list of goals for 2007!
Other than my fetching gloves, my other major knitting project of the moment is a Christmas present for a reader of the blog, so there might not be a lot of knitting content for a bit. We'll see how soon I start another secondary project I can talk about...or maybe I'll finish something from the work-in-progress basket.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
The store we went to had floor samples for sale of this crib in a dark wood finish, along with a 5 drawer dresser, a 3 drawer dresser, a changing table to sit on the 3 drawer dresser and rails to convert the crib into a twin bed. All the pieces seemed to be in great shape, just a few nicks, and the price for the whole set was a good deal. It also means that we have all the furniture we need for the room, except a hamper and a glider. Great progress.
We don't have to take delivery of the furniture immediately. It seems likely that we'll be using Thanksgiving weekend to empty the room and paint it, and probably schedule delivery in early December. There is certainly more that we need before our daughter comes, but it is nice to have such a big item checked off the list!
Friday, November 03, 2006
I experienced my first hot flash today. Aptly named, but a very strange feeling. Thankfully, the removal of my 100% wool shawl (Clapotis) seemed to help it pass quickly. Layers are good.
I'm still not thrilled about how full the weekend is, but I'm trying to remind myself of all of the christmas knitting and I can get done in the car tomorrow. And making a list of my limited capabilities at strike tomorrow made me feel a little better, too. (Maybe it shouldn't, but it did.)
Sunday afternoon (before strike), I'm going with a friend to see "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee". This isn't an album that I know by heart, but one that I have and which I'm anxious to see how the story fits in with the songs I know. I'm also interested to see how the audience participation works. I keep thinking about whether or not I would want to be on stage if I was asked, and I still don't know the answer. My spelling skills are not spectacular, but I'd like to think they're above average. ;-) (I'm probably fooling myself there.)
Oh, and what am I going to wear on Sunday? Hmmmm...
Thursday, November 02, 2006
The set has been photographed. All the seams on the vest have been sewn
and the collar has been knitted.
That's all the progress I can claim for last evening and tonight. I'm
not even knitting while watching CSI.
I think knowing how busy this weekend is going to be makes me feel like
doing nothing right now.
Tomorrow night is baby furniture shopping.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
I had such a nice streak last week. I've thought of things to say during the past two days, but not while I've been sitting at a computer.
We had a nice (though full) weekend. Saturday was the rededication of a building I worked on at The College of Wooster. Photos here - http://www.wooster.edu/photography/files/2006-07/kauke_dedication/index.html Everyone we talked to had positive things to say about the building and during the evening event our work as architects was recognized by a number of the speakers. It was great to get to share the building, and all the work we did, with R and my parents. And we had a nice brunch on Sunday before heading back to our respective homes.
I should have accomplished more during Sunday afternoon and evening, but Stewart had other ideas. R had to convince him to leave my lap after two hours so that I could make dinner. He was very cute and warm, but his use of my left arm as a pillow prevented me from knitting while he was there.
Monday evening I met with a online friend to buy some of her old maternity clothes. It's not all stuff that I would have picked out, but it all fits and most of it is work-appropriate and it was cheap. :-) I had hoped that more of my non-maternity tops would continue to work, but many of them are just too short, and some will soon be too tight as well.
I did reorganize my closets last night. Instead of having my work/dress clothes in the main closet and my casual clothes in my office closet, I put the clothes that don't fit in my office and everything else in the main closet. I didn't try it all on, so there could be some thing that will have to be moved to the office. But I'm hoping that the change will reduce my frustration when trying to get dressed...
Thanks to all of the time spent in the car and bus recently, plus two hours during trick or treat last night, the front and back of the Christmas vest is done. Today in the car to and from Greensburg I wove in the ends and attached the first shoulder. The vest is taking a lot of room in my bag, so I might need to start another Christmas project this evening and leave the vest finishing for knitting time at home.
Unfortunately, we still have a lot of candy left from Trick or Treat last night. We bought the usual amount (which usually leaves us with none), but we had about half as many trick or treaters as usual thanks to the constant rain. I think we only got kids from a two or three block radius, and most of them came in the first hour. The second hour only saw a trickle of kids. Oh well. We just have to figure out what to do with all of this leftover candy. Thank goodness I'm not in "losing weight" mode. :-)
Friday, October 27, 2006
My initial plan for this post was to talk about finishing knitting projects. But first I need to take a moment to say how lucky we are.
Soon after finding out we were going to have a baby, we heard of two other friends in the same circumstances with a due date in February as well. The first ended in miscarriage this summer. And the second has met with tragedy just this week. We are in no way better than these other two couples, or the couples we know who are still trying to conceive. There is no way to say why these things happen to some people and not to others. I just want to acknowledge how blessed we are to have made it as far in the process as we have and to give my prayers for those dealing with loss.
In stark contrast, I received an email with joyous news from another couple who have been given a date for going to Guatemala to finalize the adoption of their son and bring him home. This news brought more tears, but tears of joy that their 11-month process has an end date in sight. And delight that I will finally get to meet their son in person after months of pictures and stories from their trip.
I had bought yarn to make a hat for the baby that was lost this week. At that point, it seemed likely that he would be premature and I had planned to make him a hat after the christmas knitting was done. In his memory, I think I will use the yarn for caps to donate to the Caps the Capitol campaign. http://www.savethechildren.org/capstothecapital/index.asp
The brief knitting update is that the swallowtail shawl was mended, the ends woven in and it is now blocking (hopefully without any assistance from the cats). I wove in the ends of the shrug finally and will wash and block it tonight. I basted the maternity sweater together, and I think it is too long. I thought that basting the torso together would be enough, but I need to baste on the sleeves as well. It might just be that the armholes are too deep. Or the whole thing might be too long. It hugs my behind in a way that is totally unattractive. I'm just beginning to have enough belly to fill it, but I think I would have to be pregnant with triplets for my girth to accommodate the extra length.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
"Still, perversely, I love Williams and can't thank Open Stage enough for going through what must have been a nightmare putting this show up. In addition to assembling this huge cast, in [Beth's] colorful costumes, and the monstrous set, nicely rendered by [Amy], director [Mark] probably lost years of sleep wrestling with such an extravagantly overwritten but ultimately under-developed script. That the whole thing manages to hang together is high praise."
An exerpt from the first review for the show. The whole thing can be found here - http://www.pittsburghcitypaper.ws/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A19569 (You have to scroll down to where it says "Camino Real") A pretty good review considering how little regard the reviewer has for the script. :-)
At least two more critics saw the show. I guess their reviews will appear tomorrow?
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
I'm really enjoying our new DVR. Most of the time we've had it I've been show-obsessed, so I haven't really seen it change my TV viewing habits substantially, but it did make it a lot easier to catch up on what I had missed without having to worry about the VCR being set properly, a tape being available, etc. I've also been using it to tape Knitty Gritty on DIY network. I have to say that I don't really like most of the patterns they feature and there are 1-2 shows a week that focus on beginner technique. But I have also learned several things from watching and I like the opportunity to see some current knitting book authors. It's also just nice to have a way to get knitting "input" while I'm doing other things.
The other thing I love is the flexibility while watching TV. If the oven comes to temperature while I'm watching something, I can easily pause it and resume when I return. No more running around trying to cook during the commercial breaks. No more overdone pasta, no more running to the bathroom (at least not because of TV!) and no more missing the dialogue because R asked me a question or the phone rang. I'm still getting used to the idea that I can rewind live TV if I miss something, but once I get accustomed to it I might never be able to go back!
In a very different way, my bella band is making me happy. There is limited clothing that I still need to wear it with. But I am finding that just having it on, wrapped around my belly, is comfortable and almost reassuring. Difficult to describe, but I can see myself wearing it everyday, even when it's just hidden under my clothes. Maybe I just like it right now because it makes me feel more pregnant. :-)
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Overall, I feel good. My appetite is strange and constantly changing, but I don't really have an physical things to whine about (yet). But the rest of this post will be whiny...so feel free to skip it. You've been warned.
I seem to be in the transition phase where nothing quite fits right.
The maternity shirts are still pretty big since I don't have much of a belly (it's there, but it doesn't really look so much like a pregnant belly that I want to wear clothes that hug it), but the maternity pants and skirts have wide elastic at the waists that I don't know that I want to show off.
So today I wore an elastic waist non-maternity skirt, only to discover that the elastic is a little too tight to be comfortable. It's okay standing, but scoots into an uncomfortable spot when I sit.
The non-maternity shirts are mostly too short and occasionally too tight. Not only do I need to get caught up on laundry tonight, I need to go through my closet and bring all of the stuff that is still viable to the front.
I also need to go up a size in pantyhose and I should probably look for some new flats to prepare for the inevitable change in my center of gravity. Most of my favorite shoes have a 1" chunky heel. That's not going to last.
And I still don't think I look pregnant. There is still an indentation in my belly where my waist used to be, so I don't have a recognizable round belly. In a way, this is okay. But it's also kind of weird and I'm wondering when that little valley is going to go away...
And yes, I realize how sad I will be if the valley never comes back. :-) Being a woman is complicated!
Monday, October 23, 2006
After a month of spending every free non-working, non-sleeping moment at the theater or thinking about my set, I almost don't know what to do with myself now that it is over.
Okay, so that isn't really true. We need to do a good top to bottom pre-baby house cleaning, deal with laundry and dishes and all of the other messes left in the wake of my busyness. But it *was* nice to have some choices, some time to knit and finally some time to think about what we need for this child.
First, to wrap up about the show, it turned out okay in the end. It certainly isn't everything I had wanted it to be. But I was able to finish up the last few "must-do" items between work and the first show on Friday evening. By the time the Friday night audience entered, there was paint on every surface and I didn't feel the need to return on Saturday. Certainly, if I wanted to, there are things I could do. But most of them are things that only I know are missing (with the possible exception of the unsupported arch...). Mentally, I am done. We'll see what the critics say later this week.
I started the first Christmas knitting project last night. It's a vest for someone who doesn't read the blog, so there might be some information included here. Most other presents won't be mentioned. I'm using the superwash wool from knitpicks, so far, so good. I decided on the cable pattern last night using my 365 stitch pattern a day calendar. I realized on the bus that my first attempt was too wide, so I'll try another start on the way home. I just really didn't have the mental energy for a lot of math last night, but wanted to get started. If this attempt isn't working I will force myself to do the math tonight. :-)
The baby registry process is a little overwhelming. More so because we need to decide where to register soon, so the shower invitations can go out, and we weren't able to start looking this weekend because R had to work on saturday. :-( I did pick up a copy of Baby Bargains, and am making my way through it. I have an idea where I think we should register, but we need to make one or two trips to stores before we announce it.
I'll end with two cute cat stories. While I was home last week, at one point I found Nora sleeping in the cat carrier in the dining room! Don't know if she was ready to go on a trip, or if the carrier was close enough to the heat register to be extra cozy. And several times recently Stewart has jumped into the refrigerator while I was considering what to eat. In the summer it made sense, but since he has started to recline in front of the heat register in the evenings, I don't understand what the appeal is!
Friday, October 20, 2006
So, if we assume that the set won't be "done" tonight when the show starts at 8pm, do I do more on Saturday? I was always the person in school who turned in the assignment when it was due, even if it wasn't as perfect or complete as I wanted. My architecture studio projects were what they were when it was time to show it to the jury. I never worked on one past that point. It even gives me hives a little bit when we issue addendums and supplemental drawings for a building project. Usually these are just to provide clarity or coordination or to deal with unexpected situations in a renovation...but to my "when it's done, it's done" mentality, it just irks me a bit. Even though I have come to realize that it is a natural part of the process, and no set of construction documents is "perfect".
At least 2, and possibly 3, of the newspaper critics are going to be at the show tonight. Kind of like the jury in architecture school, although they don't have to mention my set in their review if they don't want to.
It's entirely possible that there will be things on the set tonight that won't even have a coat of paint on them. Some of these, like the edge of the door that was cut down, will bother only me. Others, like a foam part of "the wall" which may be white next to it's terra cotta counterparts will be obvious to everyone in the audience that it isn't done. Never mind the paint treatments that I scratched from the list earlier in the week when it became clear that there wasn't time to get it all done and that certain things wouldn't even be built until the last minute, so last minute painting would have to be spent working on those things.
There is a little part of me that will be able to tolerate going to the theater for an hour or two on Saturday to ensure that no raw surfaces are showing. BUT, I have put my life on hold for the past several weeks, and I'm not willing to give up more time than that to add detail to things that weren't even built until a couple of days before the show opened.
Enough of the set is there to make my intentions clear. And enough of it is painted to the extent that I had planned to show that I *can* paint with some skill. And, most thankfully, the set looks considerably better under show lighting than it does under the fluorescent work lights.
In the end, the only time the audience should really be focused on the set is before the show starts, during intermission and after the last bow. The rest of the time it is just a background to give context to what the actors are doing on stage. If the audience notices in the midst of a scene that the edge of a door isn't painted or that one of the buildings has less detail than another, the problems with the show are much bigger than the fact that the set isn't complete.
It's unfortunate that my last set design experience for a while has been so trying, but I don't regret the experience and I'm sure that with a little more hindsight I will have learned even more from it than I have up to this point.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
I ended up taking off Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to be at the theater. Not only has everything (set, lights, sound, props, etc) been about a week behind, but I have to get a good night's sleep each night and need to take breaks often.
Tuesday was my low point and Wednesday I got some much-needed painting assistance from a friend of the lighting designer. The set will not be everything I had planned, but I'm thrilled that there will be paint on every surface (yes, without help I wouldn't have even gotten to that point!), and there most of the most critical elements have or will be getting painted texture. Taking one more day off would have been nice, but I don't want to take advantage of how understanding my firm has been. And quite frankly I don't know that I had another full day of painting in me. I'm pretty zapped emotionally and physically (though I have done a good job of getting sleep the past few nights - big plus!)
I'm really looking forward to this weekend. I plan to start a couple of christmas knitting projects (I've had the yarn and it's been taunting me!), get caught up on dishes, shop for baby furniture and start our registry. I also have/will have a little TV on the DVR to catch up on and there is clean laundry to put away as well as new maternity clothes to wash. (I'm not really filling the shirts out yet, but many of my regular shirts are too short or too tight to be comfortable all day.)
The little bit of bus knitting time I've had recently has resulted in a pink and tan striped pair of kid's mittens for Dulaan. I haven't fixed the swallowtail shawl yet, but I have blocking wires now and I'd like to wear it next weekend, so that's somewhere on the agenda soon.
(On one hand, I can't wait to relax. And on the other, I can't wait to do all of these things I've been putting off for several weeks!)
Monday, October 16, 2006
I'm also worried that it's going to take more than one day off to get everything done, so the sooner I can get more done the less likely I am to run out of hours before the show opens. The added difficulty is that I need more breaks and I just really can't spend all of my time on my feet. (I had to leave last night before I had done all that I could have because my feet were too tired to keep going.) So there are upsides and downsides to having a whole day at the theater.
Enough talk, I'm off to get things done.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Really, I don't have a lot to say. I tried to post yesterday, but I couldn't come up with anything.
This week is like last week, and pretty similar to next week. Get up. Go to work. Go to the theater and paint until I get kicked off the stage for rehearsal. Go home and have an hour or two to relax/email/eat/do anything else that needs to get done. Go to sleep. Rinse and repeat.
There is no rehearsal tonight or on Monday, so I will be able to continue painting until I'm too tired to go on. Tomorrow's glitch is that I have to be on campus in the middle of the day for an alumni reception and award presentation (aka, dress up and try not to have paint all over my hands). I might spend the morning working on the little bit of sewing I have to do for the show and not go to the theater until after the reception. Depends on how long I stay tonight. Must get sleep.
I'm a little nervous about the set construction being completed in adequate time for me to paint it. But there isn't a whole lot that I can do about it. So I'm just going to keep chugging along on what I can paint and hope that I don't run out of things to paint this weekend. I do have half a day of vacation that I can use if I get desperate.
Monday, October 09, 2006
I skipped out on the theater tonight so R and I could take a walk and talk and enjoy one of the last lovely evenings of the year together. There just hasn't been enough time lately to hang out. It's unfortunate that today's circumstances were necessary to make it happen. And I think it will help me get through the next 11 (gulp) days until the show opens. At which point we can get back to a more "normal" schedule again and talk about all of these things that we need to talk about.
We've officially decided to make the daycare decision later. We're putting down deposits on our two favorites, one of which won't tell us if there is a place available until January. (And even if they do, the place won't be available until a month after I'm supposed to go back to work.)
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Work was busy, too. Working on presentation boards for a competition next week. The boss offered to take us out to a nice dinner if we get the job. I told him if we get the job I want to be on the team - it's a huge theater in North Carolina, in the city where R proposed. :-)
In the little time I've had to knit, I bound off the swallowtail shawl. Then I noticed a hole that seemed to big, and soon after I noticed a dropped stitch nearby! I caught the stitch but haven't done anything else with it since. I need time to sit down and see if I can fix it without undoing the bind off. But I'm not going to try to do that while I'm so busy. In the meantime, I've been working on Dulaan mittens on the bus. I pair completed and a second pair started.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Something big to share today. It is something I've been trying to tell "personally" to everyone who I know reads the blog. There are friends from college that I haven't told yet - not because I don't want to tell them but because I'm not a huge fan of the phone and my current state of busy-ness has kept me from making many calls. So I have been sure to tell the people that I know read the blog (because they post comments). If you read the blog, but never comment, and I haven't shared the news with you personally...well, let this be a lesson to you. :-)
You may have noticed that my thoughts have been somewhat scattered over the past few months. Much of this is because there is something rather big and life changing that I haven't been writing about. I'm pregnant. :-) 20 weeks and 2 days to be exact. We had the big ultrasound last week, and our daughter looks healthy and is still on course for a mid-February arrival. The due date is the 18th, but since only 5% of babies arrive on their actual due date, I prefer to say mid-February.
I briefly considered keeping a journal of the experience of pregnancy, but I don't know that there is really enough to say, and some of it is not pleasant enough to want to write. ;-) I will recap here a little bit some of the highlights:
The day we found out was a shocker. Not because we hadn't been trying, but because I was fairly convinced that we hadn't timed our attempts very well. And also because even though this was something we wanted and were purposefully trying to achieve, there is something very startling about actually getting a positive test. (And they were both VERY CLEARLY positive, no "is that a line? do you think you see a line?" for us - we got A LINE and pretty quickly, too).
Then there was a few days of - when do we tell people? who do we tell first? what do we do now? And there is the constant back and forth emotion of being really excited and at the same time not wanting to get your hopes up too much because it was so early. We've known a number of couples who've had issues both getting and staying pregnant, and we're both too practical to take anything for granted.
A week after we found out, we had the chance to tell both sets of future grandparents together and in person. So we took the opportunity to tell them (as well as R's sister, brother and niece, and a couple of friends who had stuck around to the bitter end of our party), and then simultaneously swear them to secrecy. :-) We did give them "permission" to tell a few of their friends so they wouldn't explode with the secret, but we didn't want to start telling more family but have to tell them to keep a secret, too. With a few exceptions, we didn't spread the news to family and friends until the second week of August. The following week I told work, and we've been slowly telling people as we talk to them ever since.
On the symptom front, I was nauseous on and off for the first three weeks. Thankfully, I felt fine in the morning (generally) so getting myself to work wasn't a hurdle. Once the nausea wore off, I was REALLY tired. Like I couldn't bring myself to do much of anything but sit on the couch after work tired. There wasn't much that I *needed* to do, but I hate feeling like such a lump. And as soon as the exhaustion wore off life got a little busier, so a good night's sleep has continued to be extremely important.
What else? Well, the whole thing didn't really seem very real until the 12 week appointment when we heard the heartbeat. Even after the 8 week appointment, I wasn't totally convinced that this was all real. Sure, I had had some morning sickness, and the doctor verified that my uterus was bigger and no one laughed at me for thinking I was pregnant. But until we heard that little heart beating 154 times a minute I didn't really believe that there was something in there. And when we started telling people it became that much more real.
I'm still not really showing. Yes, my belly is bigger, but it is much more noticeable to me and it is still pretty easy to hide. The only clothing that does not fit are my jeans and a few shirts that were on the tight side before I gained 12 pounds. :-) My work pants still fit, though I can tell that they won't last a lot longer. I've started wearing some maternity jeans and pants, mostly for the comfort factor, even though they are still a little big.
Part of me is impatient for my belly to "pop" and to really look pregnant (and not just like I've gained weight), but I also know that once I start to look pregnant it will be just that much sooner until I start hearing "haven't you had that baby yet?" So I'll count my blessings that the baby is healthy and try to let go of what I can't control.
I also wouldn't mind feeling the baby move now and then. It makes me impatient for the next time we hear the heartbeat to make sure that everything is still okay.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Baseball talk will soon be over and the football inundation began weeks ago, so I just want to give a public thank you to the Cincinnati Reds one last time. I can't remember the last time I was still paying attention to baseball in the last week of September. It was probably 1999, when they ended the season tied with the Mets for the Wild Card spot, and lost in a tie-breaker game.
Since then, each season has been an exercise in hopes being dashed by the All-Star break and last year, I deleted my bookmark of the team website before August.
I've said this before, and I'll say it again, it would be awesome for them to make the playoffs (and it is still mathematically possible), but really I'm just happy that they've put together a decent season. They may or may not make the .500 mark (if they don't, it will be close), but no matter what happens I will have hope for next year and I have enjoyed following them this year. Maybe their improved play might even cause me to invest in mlb.com broadcasting, so I can see them play more often and not just read about it.
Because of my show, it looks unlikely that I'll be able to make it to one of their games here in Pittsburgh this weekend, but I will certainly be listening on the radio and rooting them along! They will need it, as the Pirates have really turned around their season and become a more formidable opponent than before. (In a perfect world, the Reds win but Freddy Sanchez gets enough hits to win the batting title. The Pirates fans deserve something to be happy about for sticking with them for 14 losing seasons!)
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
The good news is that I really like the pattern, and it is going quickly and looks pretty.
The bad news is that I made a mistake in counting the number of times I had repeated the main lace chart, and I had to rip back 8 rows of lace. About 200 stitches per row. I used all of my knitting time Sunday (plus a little more than I should have) to undo the work I did on saturday.
It's all done now, and I'm moving through the second chart. The p5tog are slowing down the purl row a lot and are the first stitch to make me wish for a really pointy needle for lace. The second time through I made the nubbs much looser and I am having an easier time on the current purl row. I also considered sanding down the tips of my clover circular, but decided that a super-pointy needle is somewhat dangerous on the bus. There are only 5 rows with the p5tog, and I'm sure now that I am past the "shock" of the first row I'll be fine.
I have the pattern and yarn for my next lace project, but it's a present for a reader and I won't be blogging about it. ;-) I also need to get back to the ribbed sweater. I want to baste it together and check the fit before I weave in ends, block and sew it together...but I haven't made time for that yet.
Also running around my brain is the question of how many christmas presents I'm going to knit this year. Not sure yet. All I do know is that it won't be as many as the last two years...
Monday, September 25, 2006
Saturday's post was something that I think about almost every time I go to a show. It's a pet peeve that comes up each time the lights go out, the curtain goes down and some members of the audience get up to leave just as the applause is beginning. Yes, I know that it takes a few minutes to leave the building when you wait until after the applause to get up. But are you really so important that can't possibly spend those 5 minutes slowly filing out of the theater in exchange for rewarding the performers for their hard work. Is it REALLY too much to ask that you not be incredibly rude?
My other regular pet peeve is the need that Pittsburghers seem to have to give EVERY performance a standing ovation. A standing ovation doesn't mean anything in this town anymore...because every stands for everything. And I was disappointed to note the same phenomenon on Broadway (though I could be easily convinced that the cast of Sweeney Todd deserved it and NYC crowds don't stand for just everyone.)
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Since the goal for the program is one more item than last year, my personal goal will be to do my part and send at least one more item than I did in 2006. There were 14 items in the box I sent, though 2 were made by a friend. So maybe if we each increase by one we can send a box with 16 items. :-)
I think I have two hats knitted, but they need to have their ends woven in. And I've completed 1 and 1/3 of a pair of mittens. I start a Dulaan item whenever I want something quick and small to work on or whenever my main knitting projects are all too big for the bus.
There are plenty of knitting charities out there. For some reason this one speaks to me. At some point I might find one closer to home. But until I find a place here where I can personally deliver items that I can see being used, Dulaan is the charity project for me. (Given the quantity of hospitals in SW PA, it seems like it would be easy to find a local charity, but so far my web searches have only hit upon national organizations.)
Monday, September 18, 2006
I think it has for a while, but I can definitely say now that Pittsburgh feels like home.
I spent the weekend with family in Ohio. (Work unfortunately prevented R from joining me.) They do a great job of making me feel at home and the people that we visit are all parts of my very earliest memories, but there was a certain sense of relief at coming through the Fort Pitt tunnel and seeing "my city". And also knowing that I was a few short minutes from my husband, my house and my cats. But it does make a lot of sense that seeing the city skyline would have a feeling of arrival. All of my time here has been spent living in the east end, and most of my trips have been to the north (buffalo) or west (ohio)...meaning that most of my return trips meaning pass by or through the city to get home.
A month or two ago I hit the point where I had spent more years living here than any other city. And when you consider that I have few memories of my first 3-4 years of life living in Ohio, it's not hard to believe that this feels like the place I've lived the longest as well. (For the record, I'm counting my college years as being a Pittsburgh resident, despite the fact that my drivers license was issued by New York State. Just a technicality in my mind.)
I'm not saying that we'll never, ever leave (ultimatums are dangerous), I'm just glad that someplace has come to feel like home to me.
I'm also not trying to discount my connection to the city where I was born and where my family lives. But given that almost no one there still lives in the home that they were in when I grew up, the visit most likely to send sentimental chills up my spine would be a walk down the street where we lived or a visit to my elementary school playground. :-) Maybe someday.
Now to the YARN.
Let me just say that this was my first fiber festival, and I think it was a good introduction. Not too big, not too small and not so swarmed with knitters that you had to buy what you saw as soon as you saw it (though there was one item that wasn't there when I returned - oh well). Following the example of other bloggers, I limited my purchases to those that I could only get at the festival. And I also didn't write anything down as I went, so a yarn or vendor had to be memorable for me to return.
We took a couple of hours to visit all of the booths after a stop at the duck-herding dog pen. (yes, you read that correctly). We missed the sheep shearing demo - arriving just as they were finishing, and didn't make it back before we had to leave. But we did get ice cream, so all was not lost. :-) During lunch, I strategized a game plan for my purchases and snapped up my yarn fairly swiftly. I did have a couple of color decisions to make, but I forced myself to go with my gut.
I bought 3 skeins (400 yd/skein) of a hand-painted, sport weight wool/hemp blend. It's not scratchy, as you would expect from the blend, and I think it will be enough for a short sleeved cardigan. The colorway is primarily blue, purple and gray, with some pink and cream tones. I'm anxious to see how it knits up.
Just down the tent was an alpaca farm that had sport or fingering weight hand-painted alpaca. (One of my priorities was hand-painted yarn, and there really wasn't as much of it as I had expected.) I debated between two colorways and whether I should buy one (for wrist-warmers) or two (for socks) for a little while. I ended up going with a tan/lavender/pink colorway and getting one...think specifically of Mrs. Beeton, partially because I have been listening to Cast On recently.
The next stop was the booth of an alpaca and llama farm. I chose a skein of alpaca from a shelf that had a photo of the alpaca that most of the fiber came from. No name, but a cute face. :-) It's a two ply, hand spun, where one ply is lighter brown and the other darker brown - natural fiber color. I also bought a skein of a chocolate brown alpaca llama blend. There were many natural color alpaca yarn options throughout the festival, and I'm pretty sure that there were less expensive yarns (and similar) yarns available. But I really liked the woman at this booth and I liked that she had the donating alpaca's photo. ;-)
The last stop was the only knitting shop booth that really interested me. I bought a locally spun/painted lace weight in 95% merino and 5% cashmere. They had some pretty, hand-painted silk which I considered, but none demanded to be purchased for some reason. I was also drawn to the booth because of several tubs of beads. I have been wanting to try a project that includes beads, so I bought a large bag of lavender beads that can be used for Mrs. Beeton and which will leave me enough left over to experiment with a little bit.
My only other comment is that after seeing a spinning demonstration and some of what is involved, I think I would enjoy learning to spin at some point, just to gain a better understanding of the yarn. But I don't see myself taking it up as another vocation. As it is, I don't have as much time to knit as I would like, and I'm not at all dissatisfied with the yarn that I can purchase. I also can't see myself doing any yarn dying - mostly because I have enough trouble keeping the kitchen clean without making a big dying mess!
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Last night I met with the Technical Director, the Director and the Stage Manager. And piece by piece we discussed each set piece, what parts of it are in the TD's cost estimate and what isn't. We talked about what's in the theater's stock and what isn't. We talked about what he can get done this weekend even if I don't finish the design.
The result - we're still very close on the budget, but I think it is doable. I think. Much more so than I thought it was a few days ago. There are still negotiations to be had, but I have a better understanding of how the TD plans to spend the money so I can make design decisions accordingly. He was nice enough to offer up his salary to buffer the set budget and he said multiple times how sorry he is that we can't build everything exactly has I first had it drawn, but while I appreciate that I'm not going to take advantage of him. I said that if he wants to put up his salary as a contingency, that's fine. But I'm not going to add his salary to my budget as if I don't think he'll deserve every penny for how much work I know he's going to be doing.
The best part is that he doesn't need that much more from me before the weekend. There is enough that he knows he can do to keep him busy, and he's still discovering more in the theater's stock as he digs through the layers of wood. I will be taking my laptop with me on the family visit, but there won't be any guilt when I'm not working on it. :-)
The image above is to give you an idea of the scope of this set. (this isn't the latest version, but it's close) The columns are existing and the dark gray flats are audience seating. I've hidden the back wall for a little bit of clarity (right side of the model), but everything else needs to be built and painted. It's big.
The software is sketch-up from Google. We have the purchased software at work and I've downloaded the free beta version for home. Happily, I can't see much difference between the two and I can open the same file in both versions.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
The set that I'm designing is very large - lots of building and lots of painting. And now it's over budget. So construction can't start until we have the budget under control, but the show opens October 20th. My concerns are two-fold. One, I don't have a lot of time this weekend, so we need to figure out as much as possible tonight and tomorrow night. And two, the less detail that can be built means the more detail I need to paint. My design calls for trim pieces and some foam construction to give things dimension, but if we can't afford the trim and foam the painting becomes that much more intensive because I'll need to put highlights and shadows on everything. Lastly, there is the issue that with so much to build I can't actually *start* painting anything until some building gets accomplished...
On top of all that, I'm feeling kind of "blah". Last weekend, even though it was four days long was not relaxing really. Too much time spent staring at the laptop and not enough knitting or just hanging out.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
This morning I finished my first sleeve of my ribbed sweater and we watched some of the coverage of the procession and funeral for the mayor of Pittsburgh. After lunch at our neighborhood coffee shop, we took Nora to the vet. (Apparently all of the wrestling and playing with Stewart has worked off about a pound of weight. She's healthy otherwise, but because she's 10 the vet wants her to start coming every 6 months. Partially so that the two vaccines she needs don't have to be given in the same appointment.)
For the evening, we had dinner at Mad Mex - a local chain - followed by a little clothes shopping for me and the purchase of a new DVD player. We got the second season of LOST this week, and it wasn't playing properly in the 10-year old DVD player in the living room and only playing moderately well in the 5-year old one upstairs. Given the low price of DVD players these days, we just upgraded.
Also, I want to give a quick report on last weekend. All dirty dishes and laundry were cleaned. All floors were cleaned and/or vacuumed. Work was done on my set design, though not enough. I will need to do more on that tomorrow. It is fun to work on it in 3D, though I will have to go back and do a little drafting once the plan has settled to be able to add dimensions.
Lastly, I want to say (with surprise) that 2 day work weeks are not good. It's too short to feel like you've accomplished anything, and with my job the likelihood of having to stay late to get something done before leaving for the weekend is too high for a 2 day week. It wasn't awful, but it makes me think that working part-time would be somewhat unpleasant. Possible, but stressful.
Here is a photo of that dog blanket I made this summer.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
(It helps immensely if the message is sent to the correct address)
TIRED AFTER A BUSY WEEK
Work has been busier than expected this week - I've been kind of a marketing diva, doing lots of the things that our past marketing people have done. The officers are currently interviewing for a new one, and I'm the one here with the most Photoshop, Powerpoint, graphics experience and interest. A couple of weeks ago I put together a proposal, and we got short listed so I put together the Powerpoint presentation for the interview this week. Also, my boss designs opera sets and I spent a few days helping him with the graphics for his design. He paints the images or has me find them online, and then we make collages and adjust his paintings to get everything to work together. It's really kind of cool to see another set designer work first hand. Something to keep in the back of my mind in case it might ever apply to one of my sets.
This weekend there isn't much of anything on the calendar, but there is stuff to do. My current set design needs to be flushed out and fairly well finalized by a week from tomorrow (at the latest). So I need to crank on it this weekend. Also, the house is a big mess, and knowing that my schedule is going to be busy for the next two months tells me that I need to get it under control before things get crazy. I'm not spending three days cleaning, but I do need to clean the floors, clean the bathroom, get caught up on dishes and laundry at the very least.
Also, I need sleep. I've let myself stay up a little too late a couple of nights and it just isn't a good scene. My tolerance isn't what it used to be, and since the schedule has been pretty open the past couple of months I've gotten used to having "me" time every night...which isn't really an option when I get home after 9:30 or 10.
The endless, boring back of my ribbed sweater is nearing the end. Two hours in the car for work on Wednesday helped me through the worst of it. I hope to start a sleeve this weekend. I also have a few phone calls to make. I missed a friend's birthday last week (bad Amy) and owe a few friends a return call.
If all of the above goes well, maybe I'll finally post some of those pictures that I've been promising for so long. :-)
Saturday, September 02, 2006
I'm off to clean the house, but I'll try to return later this weekend.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
I just want to add my enthusiasm that the REDS are tied with the CARDINALS for first place! Yay! They've been in second place in their division (and first place in the wild card race) for quite a while now, and even though I know that the season still has more than a month to go, I am delighted that they are staying in this race and have a real shot at the playoffs.
Seriously, I'm mostly excited that they look to end the season over .500 and it's nice to hear the guys on Baseball Tonight have anything positive to say. A playoff spot would be the cherry.
Last weekend I went to new york city. I flew jetBlue for the first time. In general it was a good experience - nice people, fun to watch TV on the plane and quick boarding. The downside was dealing with JFK. We got in a little late because the plane was late leaving JFK to get us and then when we arrived it took 30 minutes to get the jetway to work. On the way back, I was in the plane for almost two hours before we took off. Not awful, but clearly JFK evening traffic is bad.
There were three reasons for my trip. #1 - to see my best friend and her husband, #2 - The Haystack, #3 - Sweeney Todd. I haven't seen Rebecca and Lee since our (Rebecca and my) 10th high school reunion in November 2004. It was great to see their place, meet their second dog and spend some much-needed time together. R unfortunately couldn't join me for the weekend, but Rebecca hopes to come visit us in the spring. We're both kind of bad about calling, but we've gotten somewhat better now that she has a "regular" job and is done with medical school and her residency. :-)
You can find out the basics of The Haystack at www.thehaystack.org. Let me just say that it was hard. I had a certain understanding of how hard it would be, but the sample puzzles on the site seemed easier than the ones we did. You can find the 18 puzzles on the site. I think the difficulty was that each puzzle had a number of layers, so if you couldn't solve the first layer of the puzzle, you couldn't go any further with it. And, you could only get points for solving the associated "hideout" puzzle if you also solved the "crime scene" puzzle with the same number. The crime scene puzzles were harder, and it took us a little while to realize that we should solve the crime scenes first, because if you didn't get that then the time spent on the associated hideout was just wasted.
I don't mean to sound like a downer - it was a very fun day and there is nothing like the rush of solving something! I'm proud of the work we did and we were all relieved that we didn't come in last. ;-)
On Sunday, Rebecca and I went to see Sweeney Todd. Fabulous! The acting, directing, design and the whole concept were wonderful. I thought that the limited orchestration served Sondheim's music well and the cast was impressively talented in their abilities to act, play, and shift scenes and props for the entire show. And I enjoyed when Mrs. Lovitt knitted. :-)
I'll admit that I have no background with this show. It's one of the few CDs of a Sondheim show that I didn't own (until now), so I have no comparison of this production to previous interpretations. I've heard things about previous performances, but I didn't know the music or the story before Sunday.
There are two ways that I typically see shows. The first, is the way that I saw Sweeney - kind of a blank slate where I can really see the show rather objectively. Not knowing the lyrics and music by heart, or being emotionally tied to the show means that I can have a much more "in the moment" reaction to what's on stage. The other way I see shows occurs most often, where I have listened to the CD enough that I have practically memorized the music and grown to love the show without ever having seen it.
Interestingly, I find that I remember the productions with much more clarity when my first exposure was in the theater. When I've learned the music and lyrics first, my imagination of the show tends to mingle with the production and make my memory less clear.
I could probably ramble on about this for a while, but I'll save that for another post. I'll just add that once I get the 2005 Broadway Cast album in my head, I'll be anxious to hear other versions of Sweeney and see any productions available on DVD.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
(There are more updates on other topics, but I can only handle one at a time for the moment.)
I finished the shrug a week and a half ago, but I haven't woven in ends or blocked it. It fits, but I'm not really sure when I'm going to wear it. I think that's why I have done the finishing.
My bus/travel project at the moment is a ribbed v-neck sweater from IK summer 2006. Thanks to the major back-ups at JFK on Friday and Sunday evenings, I'm nearly to the v-neck split on the front. I even worked a little of it on the NYC subway. :-)
I started a log cabin blanket with my cone of purple cotton. I'm doing the first ridge of each block in navy cotton for contrast. I'm on the third row and it's feeling considerable slower. So I think I'm likely to make 4 or 6 blocks with 3 rows each rather than keep growing the blanket out of one square. I was not smart enough to wind off a ball from the cone, so until I finish the first square, this project is tethered to a 5 lb cone of yarn.
I haven't gone back to finish the iPod cozy I was working on during our camping trip. I don't think it will take much to finish, but it is a bit fussy and I'm finding that the fairly mindless garter and 2x2 rib are a good match for my brain at the moment. Although I do expect that I'll start something in lace before too long.
I helped a friend with the machine sewing of her wild stripes (http://knitty.com/ISSUEsummer05/PATTwildstripes.html) blanket last night. Forced to run the sewing machine, I was pretty happy with the results and reminded that the hard part is the prep work and pinning. The actually sewing is basically a breeze - even when you're sewing piping and you don't have the right foot attachment for piping. It reminds me that the hard part is done for the projects I have sitting around which are pinned but not sewn...
Visit to NYC
A little more demolition
...and hopefully some photos
Monday, August 14, 2006
Lately, posting to the blog has just seemed like one more task I need to accomplish. One more thing on the to do list. One more way to get "behind".
This doesn't mean that I'm giving up on it. It just means that I need to come up with a new strategy for fitting into everyday life.
Writing a quick text post on my lunch break or coffee break is easy. But then there are the pictures that I want to post that I can only post from home. Or that I've been meaning to take but haven't actually taken yet. And there are the knitting patterns that I've been meaning to write down, and haven't.
So please bear with me while I try to figure out how to prevent the blog from being a burden and try to keep you lovely readers and me happy at the same time.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
I'm just writing to do a knitting update. I'm on version #2 of the shrug. The first iteration was too big. It made me look like I had wings. I have high hopes for this attempt. And with 5 hours in the car today for work, I made great progress.
It's time to get in bed and lie under the ceiling fan to prevent whining.
Friday, July 28, 2006
When I play the music that I've purchased from iTunes in the order that I've purchased it, my iPod transitions from Barenaked Ladies singing a semi-acoustic remixed version of "One Week" to Michael Jackson's "Thriller".
Wonder what's next?
James Blunt's "Your Beautiful"
Not quite as startling as the previous transition, probably because of Vincent Price's voice over. ;-)
The point where it goes from Idina Menzel to Kelly Clarkson is a bit odd, too, though I love both songs. It's eclectic.
I think the evolution of women's fashions over the years has been good, in general. The ability of women to wear pants in the outside world and not have to wear multiple layers of undergarments is much more practical, and considering how much trouble we have keeping up with the laundry I'm glad to have less to wash. I also think that the tasteful showing of neck, lower legs and lower arms is perfectly acceptable for almost any occassion. But what really gets on my nerves are women (I'm not even going to go into men in this rant) that show much too much skin ALL the time.
In my opinion, sleeveless tops, shorts, skirts more than 1-2" above the knee, flip flops and any top that shows real cleavage are just NOT work appropriate. I'm sure that there are plenty of people out there who would disagree, and clearly there are because I have been seeing plenty of women all over town dressed in the items above. I don't assume that they are all going to and from work, but there is such a high percentage of innappropriately dressed people that some of them have to be.
What really gets me are the women that wear a nice, short-sleeved blouse with a knee-length skirt and a pair of FLIP FLOPS. I just really don't understand. When did it become appropriate to wear flip flops anywhere other than the beach or the pool? Is there another piece of footwear out there that is uglier? And why don't the people wearing them everyday get themselves a pedicure?! You don't need prefectly painted red toes...just clean and neat with a little clear polish would be fine with me. If your toes are exposed, then they become part of your wardrobe, so they need to be as well groomed as your fingernails (or better).
As for the sleeveless tops, maybe this is just me, but I don't think so. There is something about showing off your shoulders that means you should either be (a) at the gym (b) on a hot date (c) in an evening gown or (d) at the beach or pool. I sometimes wear a sleeveless top under a cardigan or jacket to work, and if I get overheated (which rarely happens) and take off the top layer, I always feel underdressed in a sleeveless top. There is just too much skin exposed for the workplace.
I realize that most of the people who agree with me order from the senior menu at Eat'n'Park and those who don't know me in person are probably doubting that I'm only 30, but oh well. This just drives me nuts and it will continue to until it gets cold enough out that people start wearing real shoes and tops with sleeves.
I was recently reminded of the saying (from watching The Office last night), "Don't dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want." Touche.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
It is not your fault that I have done so little posting lately. I like keeping you in the loop in what's been going on in my life and I enjoy writing and getting my thoughts in a place where I can go back and read them again. There have been a few times in my life when I have kept a journal of some description, and I always enjoy going back and rereading my perspectives on the past. There are always little things that I have forgotten and I can say for certain that my 22 year-old self has a different view than my 30 year-old self. Part of this is because I no longer have to wonder so much about the future - I have a job and a husband - not to say that I think the rest of my life will be predictable or easy, but just that at least for the time being some of those "big" questions that used to haunt me are currently answered.
Anyway, the short "excuse" for my absense is that I've been hot and tired. Add that in with two weekends spent away from home and you get relative blog silence. Honestly, we haven't really unpacked from the camping trip or the trip last weekend to Michigan City, Indiana for a friend's wedding. The heat hasn't been as bad as it was a couple of weeks ago, but it still seems to be slowing me down. I just have to get past it and move on.
More soon about the wedding (really lovely) and my knitting (I seem to be pretty monogamous lately and enjoying lace again).
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
This is post #165. Not bad for my first year of blogging.
I do apologize for how slow things have been around here lately. I've been tired. It's been hot. And quite frankly, as soon as the busy-ness of preparing for the party was over I didn't really feel like doing much of anything in my downtime.
This past weekend we went camping. A description of our weekend and pictures are posted here: http://spargelkohl.livejournal.com/25144.html For those interested in my knitting, I reached the halfway point of the Viennese shrug. Whether I can get it done before the wedding on Saturday may be a stretch. But I also don't know what I'm wearing (I shopped last night and couldn't find anything) and my back-up outfit doesn't involve the shrug. I'm trying to just go with the flow and see how much I can get done. It's a fun project even if I don't wear it this weekend. I had forgotten how much I enjoy lace.
I also took a stab at another iPod cozy. The fit around the openings is good, but I need to rework the top and closer. I also might consider trying it again top down, so that the closer is on the bottom. It doesn't make a big difference, but it would make it a few seconds faster to get it into the charging cradle. :-)
When it got dark, I started a pair of socks, so I would have something I could knit in the dark without totally screwing it up. I may rip back to the end of the toe increases and make them jaywalkers or I might keep going in boring stockinette and do something more interesting on the leg.
Lastly, in cat news, Stewart seems to be making up for the fact that we were gone over the weekend by attempting to wake me up 3-4 times a night for attention instead of the usual 1-2 times. It's also possible that he does it more often, but with bedding protecting my skin at less HOT times he is easier to ignore. It's also clear to me that his claws need to be trimmed this evening...
Thursday, July 13, 2006
My best friend and the woman who was the queen bridesmaid in my wedding is going to be on Jeopardy! tonight. Her name is Rebecca. She has red hair. You can't miss her. :-)
I will also take a moment to point out that I need more sleep. This morning in the shower I lathered up my hands with the cream to remove my make-up, and then I promptly spread it all over my hair. I almost did this a few days ago, too, but I managed to realize my mistake in time. My hair seems to have survived unscathed.
Lastly, I want to give advanced warning that Tuesday is my blogiversary. I have no idea what I might do to celebrate. I just happened to think that it was coming and I was happy that I took note of it before it had passed.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
I know this blog has been exceedingly quiet for the past week, but I can't really promise that it might change before the weekend (maybe).
There just isn't a whole lot that I've felt like writing about. R and I spent much of this dead-blog time watching first season episodes of LOST (I haven't seen them all yet since I worked on Monday) and resting. My motivation to do much else has been limited.
The one exception was Saturday. We went for a lovely trip to Moraine State Park with one of R's coworkers and his wife. We had brunch at Eat'n'Park, we drove around the park, we hiked, we had ice cream treats, we talked, we toured their house and we wrapped it all up with a Mexican dinner. And after an all-to-brief nap, we went to a different couple's house for a game night and celebration of Army Day. (We still don't know what Army Day celebrates, but the host couple is in the process of adopting a boy from Guatemala and Army Day is celebrated there.)
When I get my act together, there are house pictures to post and knitting pictures to take and post. The two blankets I was working on are done. The only projects in the work are the current Trekking socks and that pink pullover from Vogue Knitting that I haven't worked on since Easter. On Tuesday I knit myself a pair of FuzzyFeet (www.knitty.com) and I made two catnip toys.