Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ready for a pumpkin

There may be hope after all.  Monday, there was one.  On Tuesday, there were two.

Today, there are lots.

The leaves are starting to fall!  Even though it's only the end of July and even though it's 100+ degrees every day, there is hope.  Fall is just around the corner.   And I can't wait!

I have to admit though, I look at those leaves with mixed emotions.  As excited as I am to think that this summer heat may leave us soon, there is the matter of those leaves.  It won't be long before those five or six leaves multiply to five or six thousand.  Five or six thousand a day.   But then I remind myself,  I went through 21 hours of labor 16+ years ago just so I'd have a strapping teenaged son to be in charge of yard work.  Oh yeah!  Bring on Fall!

 Do you think it's too early to buy a pumpkin?

Max says he's ready for cooler weather & candy bucket raids.  He's thinking about dressing up as a green-eyed cat this year.

Monday, July 25, 2011

With the Click of a Button...

I'm officially a Novel Writer now.  Or at least I will be at 12:01 a.m. on November 1st.

What the Hell have I done?  And why do I allow myself to be influenced by my friends?   Apparently teen peer pressure is still a concern when you are in your late 40's.

With the click of a "sign up now" button, I have turned myself into an excited, nervous wreck.  What did I sign up for, you ask?  This:

November is national writer's month and the great folks at National Novel Writer's Month have an annual challenge/contest.  The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  It's free to sign up and the only prize is the exhilaration of success.  It sounds like a blast.  It sounds like pure torture.  It sounds like being water boarded with champagne.  Want to join me?  All it takes is the click of a button...

Do you know what's funny?  I'm not the least bit concerned about what I'll write about.  Well, okay, maybe a teeny tiny bit concerned about that, but really, who cares.  I'll be writing 50,000 words in 30 days.  It's expected to be total garbage.  It's basically a 30 day timed write and timed writes are never expected to be great.  What I'm worried about is the timing.  I mean, it's happening in November.  The time of year when every single waking thought and most of my dreams are centered on Christmas.  I get so excited about Christmas that I can think of nothing else for the entire month of November, and frankly, most of October too.  Ok, let me be honest.  It's July, it's 100+ degrees outside and I'm already starting to get that Christmas tingle.  How am I going to write a novel when all I can think about is Christmas?  Well, at least I guess I know what my setting will be.

My other concern is Etsy.  I just opened a shop on Etsy and although my shelves are completely bare at the moment, I plan to be their number one seller by the end of September.  By Christmas, I will be so successful that my husband can retire and I can stop looking for a job.  There'll even be that big sailboat I want tied up to our dock.  Which means we'll have bought a new house on tidal water.  I've got a lot to do between now and Christmas.  How in the Hell am I going to write a novel while I'm busily selling my   crafts & shopping for houses and sailboats?  Oh, and let's not forget how busy I'll be making the items to sell.  Sheesh.  November is going to be a VERY busy month.

On a totally different note, I don't think I like the word "crafts."  In my mind, "crafts" implies pipe cleaners & popsicle sticks.  But what's an alternate word?  "Art?"  I'm not sure what I knit can be considered "art."  But then, if I'm going to be top seller & buy that house on tidal water and that big sailboat within five months, I guess I better have a change in attitude.  So, I'm officially an artist and a soon to be novelist.  Yeah, I could get used to that.

Friday, July 22, 2011

What's in my purse?

I was reading someone else's list of suggested blog topics recently & one of the items was "What's in your purse?"  At the time, I thought it was a pretty dumb thing to blog about.  I mean, who cares?  But ever since, I've had that little nagging voice inside my head asking what is in my purse.   It has been a while since I cleaned it out.  Actually, I don't think I have cleaned it out since I started using it sometime around mid-May.  Ok, this could be rather embarrassing.  A while back, I recall counting eight Fiber One bars and even more feminine unmentionables in there at one time.

Ok, let's see what's in there...

Well, gosh.  That doesn't look so bad.  Well, ok, the tacky vinyl zebra stripe bag is a disaster, but the rest doesn't look so bad.  Let's dump it out and see what's down at the bottom.

Phew!  No unmentionables fell out.  But what did fall out?  My wallet, which has so much junk crammed in it it should qualify for it's own blog; the lovely vinyl zebra stripped bag that contains Band-aids, dental floss, a few unmentionables, an eye glass cleaner cloth, a mini flashlight, & a few pony tail holders; 3 pens, phone charger for the car, receipts from Target, BJ's & Verizon, one Fiber One bar, 3 packs of gummy fruit snacks, a calculator, a hair brush, a checkbook for an account that's closed, the camera with hand knitted case, lemon scented anti-bacterial hand goo, a couple of Claritin, a highlighter, an empty mechanical pencil, a bottle full of Tylenol, Ibuprophen, Advil & generic Claritin all mixed together, 2 tubes of hand lotion, chapstick, lipstick, gum, Altoids and thirteen, yes, 13 empty gum wrappers.

That wasn't so bad.  Well, 13 empty gum wrappers isn't exactly something to be proud of, but all in all, not so bad.  Boring, but not overly embarrassing.

Minnie's sad because she doesn't have a purse.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It's so humid...

How humid is it?

I went for a walk last night instead of a run because it was just WAY too hot & humid to even consider running.  I reached to the first major hill, a hill that I no longer have any trouble running up.  Half way up that hill, I thought I was going to die.  I could barely breathe and was seriously considering turning around and going back home.  There was no oxygen in the air!   Good grief!  It was so humid I felt like I was drowning.  Or like I'd suddenly developed a major case of asthma.  Or like I had pneumonia.  Phew!  It was humid.  And the sweat!  Good Lord!  I've gone on runs and sweated less than I did just walking around the neighborhood.  And my pace!  Good grief!  Normally my walks are around 15 minute miles, but I was hitting closer to 22 minute miles last night.  22 minute miles and barely able to catch my breath.  Good grief!

I just hope someone reminds me of last night's awful walk this winter when I'm complaining about how cold it is.

To take my mind off the heat, a reminder of what it could be...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Craigslist Rant

I don't rant very often, well, ok, my family may beg to differ on that, but I don't rant publicly.  Not often.  But I'm about ready to go postal and start shooting.

I applied for several administrative assistant type jobs on Craigslist the other day and two of them were spam / scam ads.  I'm now receiving a daily email from some guy, who's name & email address change daily, who tells me WAY more about his company than is normal and he keeps going on & on about how his business that takes him to Iraq & Afghanistan is not illegal and then he talks about his oil business, although the position was for an art store.   And to top it off, he wants my bank account info so he can send me a paycheck.  Of course, he wants me to act as his secretary from my own home & his advertised art store doesn't exist.  If I just send him my bank info, he'll send me a list of tasks he wants done.  Yeah, that'll happen.  Oh, and did I mention, he's supposedly some big international wheeling & dealing business man although Google has never heard of him?  Hell, my name shows up on Google multiple times and I'm no where near an international business person.   Argh!

And then there's the bozo who keeps texting me.  He likes to text me several times a day and he doesn't state his name or company's name.  All he does say is that he has a job offer for me & I need to call him back at a 900 number.  You know, one of those numbers that charges you to call it.  And the thing about this one is that he says he's getting in touch about the "clerical" position.  None of the jobs I applied for used the term "clerical" so I have no idea which one it was so I can't complain to Craigslist.   Oh, and when I Googled the number the texts come from, I didn't find a name, but I did find many, many other people being hassled by this guy.  Argh!

Regular spam is bad enough, but this nonsense is making me freaking crazy.  These people should just be tortured to within an inch of their lives then tortured some more.

Ok, rant over.  Until the next time my phone rings.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Jeannie Gray Knits

This blog was supposed to be about my life in general, not solely about knitting.  And that seems to be what it has turned into.  So, I have started a new blog for all the knitting babble.  If you are interested, please visit me at Jeannie Gray Knits.  I'm sure my knitting will still get mentioned here, because let's face it, when am I not talking about knitting?  But hopefully having the two separated, I can, and will, ramble on here about running and cooking and eating and homeschooling and all the other things that go on in my life here.

I hope you will join me on both sites, but in the mean time, I'm about to set off on an adventure in the living room.  There's a weird buzzing/scraping sound.  Sort of like the ceiling fan is running, except it's not.  I sure hope it's not bees chewing through our wall or something crazy like that.  Wish me luck.  And can anyone tell me, why do I only hear strange noises when Hubby isn't home to deal with them?  I'm not a big fan of strange noises and don't like having to deal with them on my own.  Once again, I find myself asking, would it be bad parenting if I made my child go check it out?

Thursday, July 7, 2011


OMG! OMG! OMG!  I want one!  Look at that adorable little guy.   No, not the knitting.  The little guy on the screen in the background.  I want one!  No, make that, I want 2!  Or 10, or even 20.  I swear, I don't think I've ever in my life seen anything so adorable!  For a closer look, go to Ann Budd's blog which is what's actually on my screen in the photo.  OMG!  I want one so bad!  How could you not want something so cute?

Ok, I guess I should apologize for all those OMG's.  My kids tell me that only 12 year old girls are allowed to say OMG.  I'm an adult & I should find some other way to gush over things, but...  OMG!  Look at that little guy!  He's so freaking cute!

Besides being obsessed with that adorable little fellow, I'm also certifiably obsessed with the Wendyknits Summer Mystery Shawl which you can find here.  I cast on for shawl #3 yesterday and made pretty good progress.  This one is being knit with an 80% superwash merino & 20% nylon fingering weight yarn from Tanis Fiber Arts in the Garnet colorway.  

The yarn has been a surprise from the start.  This is my first project using Tanis's yarn & when I ordered it, I thought the yarn would be a deep burgundy wine color.  Instead, it's like if you had a deep burgundy wine colored pair of favorite jeans that have been worn and washed and have faded out to that perfect color/texture jeans tend to get.   When I wound the yarn, I used my swift so I didn't get the textural sensation of winding it by hand.  When I first started knitting with it, I wasn't sure I'd like it.  It felt a bit like I was knitting with a stiff cottony yarn.  I'm not a big fan of pure cotton.   But after knitting an inch or so of the shawl, it no longer has that stiff feeling in my hands and the knitted fabric is wonderful!  Soft and drapey and perfect for this project.  In fact, it's so soft it almost feels like some sock yarn I had a while back that had hand lotion or lanolin or something added to it so that your feet were actually moisturized when you wore the socks.  Wish I could remember the name of that yarn.

Anyway, I am really, really loving this project.  And I'm really, really, really loving the way it reminds me of my favorite worn out jeans.  And as badly as I want to start a fourth shawl when I finish this one, I won't.  I am promising myself that I won't.  Instead, I'm going to finish the dreaded green lace Pi shawl so that I can start another Pi shawl using lace weight yarn from Tanis Fiber Arts.  That's what I'm promising myself.  But you know, promises are made to be broken...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

BBQ Sauce Explosion

Hope everyone had a wonderful Independence Day.  Ours was rather low key due to the high humidity levels and massive T-storms, yet oddly, today I am finding BBQ sauce on surfaces I didn't even know we had.  The darn stuff is everywhere!

And of course, rather than spending the morning wiping up BBQ sauce, I spent it knitting and completed my second Summer Mystery shawl.

Unblocked, it measures 30 inches across the top & 18 inches down the center.  Can't wait to see how much it grows when I block it.  For that matter, I can't wait to see what it looks like in general after being blocked.  I'm still utterly amazed how wetting & stretching a jumbled up mess turns said mess into a much larger, beautiful piece of lace.  Unfortunately, before I can block it, I have to clean up a bit more BBQ sauce.  :(

I had just a bit of yarn left over.

See?  The leftover yarn is smaller than my trackpad.  I wonder if there's enough yarn there to knit the heels & toes of a pair of socks.  Hmmm....

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Knitting Progress

I've made a little bit of progress on my Summer Mystery Shawlette but not as much as I'd hoped.  Mike keeps renting action &/or thriller movies and I haven't quite mastered the ability to focus on my knitting while I focus on the TV.  I think I'm about at the halfway point.  Each row gets slightly shorter than the previous row so it should go pretty quickly.   Specially if I could stay away from the TV screen.  I am still LOVING! the yarn, btw.  It's got just enough variation in the color to keep me entertained without becoming stripy or patterned in anyway.

I've also made a little progress on my Pi shawl.   It's up to 576 stitches per row now, but I still have another 40 rows to go before I start the bind-off edging.  In other words, I'm probably not even at the halfway point stitch wise.  I also hope & pray that it looks a lot better once it's blocked because it sure doesn't look like much now.

The one thing I have managed to get finished is a stealth project.  In lieu of a photo of the actual project, here's the left over yarn.

When I started, that bag was so full it would barely zip closed.  There's probably just enough left to make a hat or two.  The yarn is a wool/cotton mix.  It was originally a sweater kit that I'd bought long ago.  I'd started the sweater but was no where close to gauge and rather than frogging it & starting over, I'd tossed  the knitted fabric & stashed the remainder of the yarn.  Anyway, I'm quite pleased with the results of my stealth project and can't wait to show pictures of it.

Meanwhile, Max is concerned by that top photo that you'll think he's lazy.  He wanted this one posted as well,