Saturday, May 29, 2010

Random knitting minutia...

  • Some time ago, I had the idea of using a zip-up bottle cozy for my sock-in-progress.  It has taken quite a while to find one that does not have a beer company logo on i,t but yesterday I hit pay-dirt.   At a local store that is going out of business, I found one that had been monogrammed but not picked up.   It is pink (good), wide-ish (good), and really cheap (very good).   True, the initials are not mine but I can deal with that.   The sock needle holders can be pushed all the way in. It fits in, in my bag, like a dream.   It only fits one sock-in-progress, so, I am still on the look out for another one.
  • Continuing to work on P&S Summer Open Cardigan.   I decided not to go with the side shaping mostly because I knit past that point and did not feel like ripping back.
  • Still working on the Kandinsky Cardigan.  Since I can only work on this when I can give it my full attention, it is really slow going.   I am really looking forward to wearing this in the Fall.
  • Jitterbug sock is in my handbag.   I have not gotten very far with these.   
  • For mindless, at home, knitting, I am working on a couple of felted bags for the co-op.
This has been a lovely slow week for me.   That is a good thing.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Our sad internet story...

Absolutely no knitting content....

Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I frequently blog from my local Panera Bread.   Why, you my well wonder, don't I just write, in my pretty PJs, from my lovely office, in my comfy home?   Here is our sad internet story.

As you may remember, we rented a townhouse for the first six months that we lived in FL.   We were so happy with our neighborhood that in Mar '09 we bought a single family house in the same subdivision.   When we called Comcast (with whom we were very satisfied), to transfer our service, we were told that Comcast does not offer service to the single family homes.   We were not happy, but called Direct TV and AT&T (DSL).   On the appointed day, Direct TV arrived but AT&T did not.   After several calls to AT&T, (notable for unreturned calls and unkept promises), we were finally told that there are a limited number of openings in our neighborhood for DSL and they were all full.   We would have to get on the waiting list (which we did).    When comparing notes with a neighbor, we were told that when the cables were run for DSL they were not run to the end of our cul de sac (where we live).  So, short of running more cable, DSL is not going to happen.   More calls to AT&T revealed this to be true.   However, we were told that those cables would be extended "soon".    A year later, we have yet to get either DSL or a definition of "soon".

As for cable, the reason we can not have Comcast (our local cable company) is that our builder signed a 20 year contract with another cable company (Live Stream?).   Why they did this for the single families but not the townhouses, I do not know.   According to our neighbors, their service was so unsatisfactory, and so many people dropped their service in favor of Direct TV, that they stopped offering it altogether.  Still, they have the contract which precludes other cable companies from providing us the service we need.  

Where does that leave us?   Dial-up is not really an option (too slow).    Mobile hotspots and internet cards all have caps which make them either too limited or too expensive (When Jax gets 4G, Sprint will offer a truly unlimited mobile hotspot.   We remain hopeful, but that is also in the realm of "soon").    We ended up going with a satellite internet provider (ClearWire).   Their service is execrable.   We rarely, see the speeds that we were promised.  Just to get the poor service we get, we have to reset their box several times a day.   Tech support is laughable.   We actually have line of sight to their tower.  It really should not be this bad.

Now, I work from home, and Hubby works long hours (much of which could be worked from home, if we had a decent connection).   Just the boys homework is a challenge.  It is not unusual for me to have to run one or both of them out to Panera so that they can download their assignments.  

Other than waiting for the Sprint option, there does not seem to be anything we can do.   Is the situation hopeless?    Do you have a suggestion?   If you do, please share.   In the mean time, thank goodness for Panera!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Look before you leap...

T1 was feeling left out because T2 is having pizza at a friends and Hubby & I hit a local Mexican place for lunch.  So, being the good mommy that I aspire to be, I brought him to our local Panera Bread for lunch and a couple of hours of high speed internet (our at-home options are sadly slow and limited).

As previously reported, I did finally start the Summer Open Cardigan.   I forget the name of the yarn I am using (I wound it for something else) but it is a worsted wt. cotton/wool blend.    So far, I really like it.  I would worry about the gauge being a bit loose for my taste but I think that will be less of an issue once the neck band is on.   This would be a quick knit were it not for a couple of things.    It is my take-along project, so I am not working on it at home.    At home, I either work on the Kandinsky cardi or the felted bags that are selling so well at the co-op.    Also, do you remember how I knit through the car purchase the other night?   It would have been more productive if I had remembered that I was right at the "divide for the arms" point.   Instead, I knit 6 inches too far and had to rip back.   Then, when I went to craft group on Tuesday morning, I did it again, and had to rip back 8 inches, (Eeeek!).   Now I have divided for the arms and am knitting away at the body.    There is some optional shaping further along.   I have not yet decided whether to go with that or not.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Look what I got...

2010 Chevrolet HHR

The idea was that I would bring my car to the dealership Monday afternoon and Hubby would pick me up there after work.    As scheduled, I dropped my car off and sat up front to wait for Hubby (who was running a bit late).   While waiting, I was approached by one of the salesmen (aka G).   The rest of the encounter went something like this.

G: Dropping your car off for repairs?
Me: yes
G:  What are you driving?
Me:  2007 Saturn Vue Hybrid
G: Have you considered trading it in for something new?
Me:   We've talked about it but we are not ready right now.
G: If you were ready, what would you be looking for?
Me:  A Toyota Prius (bear in mind that I was standing in a Chevy dealership).
G: Have you looked at the ... [car they have that looks like a Vue]?
Me:  Too big we are looking for something smaller.
G:  How about the HHR?
Me:  You mean that ugly car over there?
G: Okay, what about this little car right here (don't remember the name of that one either)
Me:  Not out of the question but I am really not going to shop for a car without my husband.
G: It gets great mileage.  Why don't I go get the key and you can look inside?
Me:  You can go get the key but the minute [Hubby] gets here, I am leaving.
G:  Of course.
G runs off to get the key.  I call Hubby and beg him to hurry because "there is a man trying to sell me a car I do not want".  G returns with the key.   Discussion re: mileage & legroom are had.  Hubby arrives.
G:  Hi [Hubby], my name is G and I have been showing your wife this nice little car
H:  It really is the kind of thing we will be looking for (he is not as enthused by the Prius as I am) but we are not ready yet.
G:  What are you paying for the Vue?
A discussion ensues re: car payment, payoffs, interest rates etc. (during which I knit).   G offers to run the numbers.  Hubby tells him that we do not want to waist his time.  G runs off to do it anyway.  G comes back with the surprising info that there are various incentives, plus they will give us more for the trade-in than we owe.   Hubby looks at me.  I assure him that I am open to the idea (so long as the car is small and blue) but not married to it.   His call.    G drives a little blue car off of the showroom floor for us to test drive.   A test drive is taken.   We start thinking we may actually buy this little blue car.    As we get out of the little car, I see a pretty grey car that I like better.   It is a 2009 but we agree that a slightly used car would be okay.
Me:  G why don't you go find out how much the bigger grey car is.
G:  But that is an HHR
Me: I know.
G:  You said it was ugly
Me:  It was ugly in that color but I like it in grey
G:  You said you would only consider a little blue car
Me:  I changed my mind.  Now I want the big grey car.   Go run the numbers.
Hubby stands back and grins through this exchange (He so gets me).  G's sales mgr comes out with a huge grin on his face.   It turns out that there are some pretty attractive incentives to buy the HHR new.  In fact, with incentives and trade-in, it will cost less to buy the HHR new (they even have a grey one).   While numbers are run, Hubby and I are frantically looking up HHR deets and interest rates (laptops, smart phones, wonderful things).   The numbers look great.  Then we discover that there are additional savings because of Hubby's employer.    Not only that but we get an employee interest rate.   By the time all is said and done, we have a new car but are paying less per month for four years (there were two left on the Vue).   So four hours after I dropped off my car in service, I drove home in my new big, pretty, grey, car.   The whole thing was surreal and loads of fun.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Food Rules....

I don't know about you but I am always looking for ways to lose weight with out suffering.  Most recently, I have been taken with Michael Pollan's Food Rules.   He starts with seven simple words and goes on to explain why we have known this all along.   Haven't we all heard that our food is loaded with chemicals and fillers?   Didn't your mom tell you to eat your vegetables?   Didn't you learn that your dinner was more important than your desert?   Mr. Pollan's bottom line is that we should be eating food, rather than eatable substances.   Or as my friend Angie's grandmother put it "Eat only what God has made".   Take the cookie for example.   If you want a cookie eat a cookie, but in order to find one with out laboratory created, unpronounceable, or mutated substances in it, you will likely have to drag out your mixer, and make them yourself.   I LOVE home baked cookies but I am not going to be making them every day.   

It occurs to me that we, as knitters, spinners, etc., are very careful what is in the content of our fiber.   What if we were that careful about our content?   I am giving it a try.  So far weight lose has been minimal but I do have more energy and am having less digestive difficulties.  Also, my blood work is much improved re: LDL & sugar.   

On a knitting note, I did finally start that sweater I was talking about.   So far I like it alot.  It is just a simple raglan cardigan.  Just my style.    No pictures yet.  I will try to do something about that soon.  :-)

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Better Days...

Year of the Tiger
(1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010) 
You are sensitive, emotional, and capable of great love. 
However, you have a tendency to get carried away and be stubborn about what you think is right. 
Your sign shows you would be excellent as a boss, an explorer, a race car driver, or a matador.

Yesterday, we spent the day at Epcot.  Living in FL, we go to one of the Disney parks at least once a month.   I was even starting to get bored with the whole thing (thank goodness for Kindle for Blackberry and hand knitting socks).   However, for whatever reason, I was really looking forward to this weekend's outing.   We had a great time!  It was the last weekend of the Garden and Flower Fest, which was just beautiful  (I want an EcoWall).    We got an early start so we were able to take our time and still do a lot.    We ate somewhere new (for us), rode all of our favorite rides (mine is Soar'n), and did some fun shopping.   We came home last night exhausted and very happy.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hurt & Offended

We all have people in our lives who insist on sending us internet jokes and/or chain letters.   Like so many, I would rather not receive them, but it is not so big a thing that I am willing to hurt someone's feelings over it.    I give them a quick peruse, on the off chance that I am interested, and end up deleting most of them.   Today, I received a chain letter that was nothing short of a racist diatribe re: Hispanics in the US.    The person who sent it is a member of my Tuesday morning craft group who, up to now, has been very sweet & friendly.    I am appalled that she would condone such a hateful message, never mind passing it on to anyone.   But, here's the kicker, I am Puerto Rican.    What was she thinking?   What am I to think?  How could anything other than offense and hurt feelings come of this?  

The boys think I should have included a link to the Snopes site that debunked this filth, but it doesn't really matter does it?   People who are inclined to think that way, do so regardless of facts and/or feelings.   The thing that hurts the most is that, whether she acknowledges it or not, she thinks that way about me and mine.  Ouch...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Citron Complete...

Well, I did it.   I finished the Citron shawl in time for a friend's birthday party tonight (which we will not make because we are all sick and a virus is a lousy birthday present).    This is the first time I have wet blocked anything (Usually, I just steam the suckers into submission).   Wow, this is hard work.    I was going to unpin it now-ish but since plans have changed, I will let it go overnight.   One of the tutorials I watched/read said that lace needs to be blocked beyond when it first begins to feel dry.    With future lace knitting projects in mind, I will have to place a KnitPicks order sometime soon for blocking mats and pins.  It makes me nervous to have that many quilting pins in my carpet.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Balm for the soul...

Baby Lace Wt / Giant Peach

While I am much more a city (suburb?) girl than a country one, I do love being outdoors.   All the things that I do regularly (knit, read, surf, etc.) bring a greater measure of peace when done outside.  Florida really lends itself to that.   Right now I am sitting outside eating breakfast, blogging, and waiting for TJ Maxx to open.   My knitting is right here beside me (I am on the last ruffle of the Citron), there is classical music playing in the background and soon I will be shopping for a dress to wear to a friend's birthday party on Saturday night.   Later I will get my eyebrows done (ouch), then head home to read and knit until the boys get home from school.    It has been a pretty ragged couple of weeks here at Chez Serenity but I am finally starting to feel human again.

The Citron has been a delight to knit.   It has enough pattern to stave off boredom but is simple enough to be done in the car or while chatting with family & friends.   I am already thinking I may need another (cotton?) one.

A few years ago, I started the Kandinsky Kimono sweater.   Not too far into it, I became seriously ill (all better now) and put it aside in favor of simpler things (like garter stitch and surviving).    While reorganizing my office, I came across this (and other) unfinished projects and started thinking what a cool thing it would be to finish the projects that I could not face in those darker days.   So with that in mind, I have ripped out and restarted this sweater.   I am also going to dig up and work on the Beaded Linen Lace Shawl (yarn and beads were a birthday present from my mom), also put aside during that same time.  I am feeling really good about finally getting back to these two projects.

Tiny denizens of the great outdoors  (aka bugs) are nipping (literally) at my heals.  Time to go shopping.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Not always the happiest place...

Months ago plans were made, to spend a “girls day” at Disney.  So, through a rather surreal twist of fate, instead of a funeral on Friday, I went to Epcot.   Keeping those plans seemed like a good idea (life goes on, don’t want to disappoint, etc.), but in practice?   No so much.    The day started off badly.   That, combined with my already gloomy mood, made the day difficult rather than fun.   I've never been sad at Disney before.  It's depressing.

I am feeling much better today.   One friend is staying in Orlando for the rest of the weekend (her hubby is joining her).   N and I got some outlet shopping done and then headed home.   Teen1 had a school function this afternoon that I do not want to miss.