Thursday, January 27, 2011

five stages of snow

We have had a lot of snow this winter, and it is only January. I am going to have to start consulting an Inuit thesaurus* to find new and different words for snow so I don't have to repeat the word over and over in blog posts.



Snow. Snow. Snow. 

I know Dusty, I feel the exact same way: yet more snow.

This means that we have passed through the first three stages of snow reaction:

1. joy and delight;

2. dismay;

3. bitter complaining; and now we are on

4. resignation.

(I think the fifth might be municipal bankruptcy, but I'm not sure.)

Our snow shoveling team now doesn't even bother to hope for a snow day anymore. Even if it means a day off school, they know it will be plenty of solid work as we struggle to clear a 300 foot driveway and a five car patient parking lot so my LSH can open for the day. We have always done it by ourselves, with our tiny little front loader and plenty of boy power. This wasn't a big deal until last year, when the snow seemed to quadruple from what we had in previous years. Suddenly, it became a very big deal indeed.
But we had a big change this morning:
My LSH threw in the towel and called a plow guy. I don't think there is a thing that he could have said that would have made the boys happier.
Hard to believe, as Mr. Weekend Farmer pointed out to me, that he took this picture three years ago, almost to the day. We haven't had a winter like that since -- and it made me thank the heavens that at least we aren't dealing with lambs right now!
Just snow.
* Yes, it is a joke. Apparently the whole "400 words for snow" thing is a hoax.

Monday, January 24, 2011

lost in time

I know, I know, two weeks since my last post (I know, Dad!) but I had a most serious problem:

No computer.

Mine died just after I banged out a 1,000 word article on (unfortunately, cannot say, but did I mention it was over 1,000 words?). I may have let out a little sob when they told me it would take up to a week to try and recover the lost files... I waited in vain for them to call with an update... then finally resigned myself to rewriting it on my LSH's office computer. Poor guy had to trip over books, photocopies and scribbled notes for three days while he was struggling to actually make a living.

Of course they called to let us know it was fixed one hour after I finished the rewrite. It was only a bad power supply -- you can't tell me they couldn't fix that in less than seven days. Argh!

But I have it now and all is right (write?) with the world.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

hoarder's hat

Of the many great gifts I received for Christmas, one of the most used (so far) is the three-month gift subscription to Netflix. I had been half-heartedly mumbling about joining for some time so Secondo finally pulled the trigger for me, and now we are all completely addicted. I went from rarely watching TV, to watching it all the time, using my LSH's netbook set up next to my knitting chair.

What joy! I have watched musicals that no one will watch with me, historical drama that no one will watch with me, and my guilty pleasure: A&E's Hoarders. If you want to feel better about your own housekeeping, no matter how lackadaisical you may be, this series is for you.

(It is also good motivation to tackle your own personal little issues, such as your youngest son's bedroom. Three boxes of outgrown toys, two bags of outgrown stuffed animals and clothes, and one bag of garbage: gone. Middle son's bedroom is next on the list.)

Like all reality shows, Hoarders follows a set script, and the hoarders themselves are no exception. All of them are thoroughly convinced that their detritius has value and usefulness. Again, there is that feeling of superiority and well, I would never think that a giant plastic cup from 7-11 should be pulled back out of the dumpster, because it's useful life is clearly over.

All the while, my giant drawerful of yarn scraps -- left over from this project and that -- was insistently whispering behind me. How is that so different from us? Why would you save tiny bits of yarn? What possible use can so many of us have? So I was compelled -- nay, possessed -- to make this hat to prove the yarn scraps wrong. We won't address the fact that I am now hearing voices from my yarn, but maybe it will mean a star turn for me on some future reality show.

I used this chunky hat pattern as a base, but the recipe can be adjusted to fit/use up whatever you might have on hand. The hat was knit with bulky yarn held double, using size 15 needles, so it went rather quickly. Details are on my Ravelry project page if you care, but I won't bore you with the nitpicky bits if you don't.

I still had some yarn left over, and the hat looked a little bland, so I crocheted a couple of flowers to tie the whole thing together. The larger one has the yarn held double and used a huge hook; the smaller one was done with just one strand of the yarn and a smaller hook. An added bonus, in my humble opinion, is that the crocheted flowers give it a "Second Hand Rose" sort of flair. (Funny Girl! Just watched it on Saturday!)

Here it is in action yesterday, sledding on the golf course:

Plus a few other gratitious action shots from the sledding, that have nothing to do with the hat, because I can't resist.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

the big reveal

Remember when I asked you all to cross your fingers? Well, you can uncross them now. I can finally tell you that it worked, and I hope no one got any cramps in the process.

The front of the latest issue of Piecework magazine (January/February 2011) looks like this:

See the cover blurb on the right, "Knitting at the White House"?

Yeah. I wrote that. This blog post became this article:

The toughest part was not being able to share with the greater world my struggles to translate the pattern from antique knit-speak and then produce one square using bedspread cotton and size 00 needles -- smaller than toothpicks, and I could only complain to my immediate family. Unfortunately I didn't even have time to take a picture before fedexing the sample to the magazine, so if you want to see what I came up with, you'll have to take a look at the picture accompanying the article and pattern.

As you may have figured out by now, my germ of an idea was to work on a something that could be published. A magazine article about historical knitting wasn't what I had in mind at the time, but the door that is opened isn't always the one you expect.

I loved walking through this one, though. I'll keep you posted on the other places it might lead -- fingers crossed.

Monday, January 3, 2011

it's a new year thing

Fair warning: this is a bunch of introspective navel-gazing -- even more so than my usual blog post -- so feel free to skip it and wait for something more interesting to come along (hopefully) in the next post.

In the time honored tradition of new year's resolutions bloggers everywhere, I guess I'd better start out by reviewing my progress on last year's resolutions:

1. Thanks to my crazy knit a sweater per month plan (which fell apart round about May), I actually managed to fulfill this resolution. To be exact, I knit not one, not two, not three, but FOUR sweaters for myself! And I love them all, and especially love wearing them. Wearing something you made for yourself is almost as good as having a loved one wear something you made for them. (Hint: the elf hat and texting gloves have gotten a good amount of wear so far; alas, the fish hat is still in the gift box.)

2. Hmmm, my effort to post more regularly. I'll let my readers be the judge on this one. At least I was doing pretty well through the summer months.

3. I did catch quite a few cats in the spring for phase three of Operation Spay-a-Cat. Most of the ones I caught were boys, so yay! Less expensive surgical costs. Most of the girls I caught had already been spayed. The vet had to anesthetize them to check, unfortunately, so I had her notch their ears to help along my memory. No kittens born this year, so that's a plus. I'll have to restart my efforts in February when they are good and hungry, and the canned food smell gets to be irresistible, because they are getting quite wise to the hav-a-heart trap.

4. As noted, I took care of replacement glasses last January, and they have not suffered any significant damage. Plus, for some odd reason, the frames my LSH chose strike people as being new, even after they have seen the same pair multiple times before, so I guess that means I can put off getting new frames even longer next time.

5. More attention to the farm business... I got as far as designing a spiffy header for the Etsy shop and that was pretty much that. The farm did do more business at fiber festivals, so that's encouraging. Guess I had better roll this one over to this year.

6. Same goes for keeping more organized sheep records.

7. The germ of the idea actually ended up working out, although not exactly the way I had in mind. I hope to do a Big Reveal on this one in the next few days.

So as far as this year's resolutions go:

1. More of the same as far as sweaters. I just finished an inventory of my yarn stash, and it turns out that I can knit several sweaters without having to buy another yard of yarn. Ahem. I do not care to elaborate just how many sweaters that is. Which brings me to resolution...

2. I have entered a stashdown phase this year. (Yes, in case you were wondering, it is all about the gimmicks for me.) I am going to do my best to knit more than I buy this year. In fact, much, much more, because I am trying not buy any yarn this year, with a couple of exceptions. Hey, I'm a lawyer by training. It's not as if I can avoid throwing in those quid pro quos and stipulations. I'll elaborate on those in future posts.

3. See taking better care of my business, above.

4. See keeping more organized sheep records, above.

5. See germ of an idea and big reveal, above; I would like to do more of the same if possible!

And last but not least, a really traditional one:

6. I need to exercise more regularly. Note that I am not saying that I want to lose 20 pounds, or run in a marathon, or anything crazy like that. I just want to be more committed to getting out and walking on a habitual basis. You would think that with such a cute and enthusiastic exercise partner as this:

it would be easier for me to do.

So how did you do on yours -- and what are you resolving for this year?