Friday, May 31, 2013

Stinky knitting...

Today is the first time we have hade to stop and breath.   We are stayinf with friends while our insurance company finds us an apartment.    Our hostess is at work, the boys are at school are at school and Hubby had to run into the office for s bit.    I have been knitting and dozing between laundry loads.  I was reading but the I realized that the book I am reading is called "Inferno".    I've put it aside for now.

We were able to recover a couple of knitting projects.   I call these my stinky knitting and only work on them outside.  We meet with the insurance guy whose job it is to put a price on my knitting and stash tomorrow.   No doubt I will have more to say on that subject next week. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hanging by a thread...

The last two days have been spent dealing with our insurance company (they have been awsome) and interviewing contractors.  This morning we made a decision, this afternoon, we signed contracts, and earlier this evening the process began when our computers were taken away for evaluation (they will either be thoroughly cleaned or deemed non-salvagable and replaced).

We spent a couple of nights in a hotel.  Tonight we moved into a friend's guest room.   Tomorrow I get to go see an apartment.   We have been told that it will take two to three months but to be prepared for five just in case.   I think we will all feel steadier once we are settled in to a new routine and have Jack back with us.

My yarn and fiber has been deemed non-salvagable.  It will be taken, inventoried, and priced.   We will be given the full amount for replacements.   Everyone seems to think I should be thrilled at the process of replacing my stash but I actually have pretty mixed feelings about it.   Some of that yarn is comercial and easily replaced but a fair amount of it is hand spun and/or dyed.   I can get some more but not just the same.   There was yarn in there that were gifts or  bought on vacations or brought to me by my son a souvenier from his travels with his father.   Those balls/hanks/skiens can never be replaced.

On the other hand, this is my chance to fine tune my stash.   There was a time when I bought yarn just because it was pretty or on sale with no real plan for it.  Sometimes that worked out, others not so much.   Then there is the fact that tastes change over time.   What I had to have 5 years ago, may not appeal to me now.     I really only started buying only with a plan after that year I spent knitting out of my stash.   I really am more disearning now.

The only bag I had out with me the day of the fire was my beach knitting bag and Hubby's other sock. I had just started a Mac & Me Summer Skirt, so that is what I have been knitting while we talk, and talk, and talk to the boys, each other, our friends and family, and of course, insurance and clean-up people.

This netbook gets taken away for evaluation tomorrow, but I expect to have my laptop back by Friday (assuming it is deemed salvagable).   Until, I am fully up and running again, I will be blogging from my Fire.  Please forgive any wonkiness.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Burnin' Down the House

Last night, while waiting with T1 to pick T2 up at a friend’s, my cell rang.   It was T2.  He told me that Hubby was trying to reach me because the house was on fire.   At first I waited for the punch line to this not very funny joke.   There was no punch line.   This was no joke.   I called Hubby and he confirmed that our house was burning.

We don’t know exactly why yet, but according the fire marshal, the fire started in our garage, in the dryer (yes, we clean out the lint after every load and the exhaust duct was just changed a week ago).   The flames shot up and around the inside of the garage, burning everything in it’s path.   It went up through the ceiling, into the attic and down our walls.   We were told that it was a mere two minutes from blowing the roof off of our house. 

The garage is a total loss.   The rest of the house was choked with black greasy smoke that has coated every last thing in our home.    There are burn marks on the ceiling where the flames reached out of the vents.    The smell is acrid and pervasive.   We have been told that it will be six to eight weeks before we can get into our house.

I am not a good enough person to say that this is okay because …    What I will say, is that I am grateful that Hubby was in the pool and the boys were out with me, when it happened.   T2 spent the day with a friend and Hubby and I spent the afternoon at the beach.   It could have happened while T1 was alone in the house.   It could have happened while Hubby was in the shower after his swim.   But it didn’t.  It happened while we were all outside.  And, Hubby was able to get Jack (our dog) safely out of the house, too.

I am overwhelmed with the magnitude of the task before us, but I am aware and grateful for the blessing that kept my family safe.   I am grateful for the neighbors who opened their home to us last night.  I am grateful for the firemen who arrived just in time to save our home.   I am grateful for the Red Cross workers who were there to offer help and the friend who took Jack on a moments notice.   I am grateful for the outpouring of love and support from our family and friends.

This sucks big time.  Still, I am grateful.

Friday, May 24, 2013

My Desk, No Gloss

Inspired by Kim Werker of Mighty Ugly fame, this is a photo of my desk with no before hand clean up.       All things considered it is pretty neat.   The pile on the left is things that I need to see to sooner rather than later (A fax to send for my mother and a sock to darn).   The pile on the right is just the notebook I use to jot things down on while I work and sock blockers that need to be hung up.   The framed picture is awaiting hanging, as well.  The circular needles need to be put away.   Theorectically the CD case in the center is going to remind me to get that CD out of my car (hasn't worked yet).  Hubby's sock and yarn are on hold until the second sock is done and I need to change the earwires to lever backs on a couple of earrings.   So, there you have it.

Why the sudden need to post "No Gloss" photos of our desks?   It seems there are those who think we online crafters live "glossy" lives as evidenced by the "perfect" pictures we put up on our blogs, Pinterest, etc.   What a hoot!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How can I help?

My first visit to was a little more than three years ago.  Self-described as an online space that "brings the best original and exciting crafts to the attention of many", Whip up quickly became one of my favorite online hangouts.  

I found Whip up that first time while searching Google in the hopes of finding a Starbucks themed embroidery pattern.   Not only was there a free pattern that was perfect for my needs (a holiday ornament for a Starbucks crazy friend), but the link back to the artist brought me to Wild Olive & Molly Johnson.   If that were not enough, the resulting project induced me to give Starbucks a try which has completely changed my coffee drinking life.

Where am I going with all of this?   Sadly, Kathreen Ricketson (the face behind Whip up) and her husband Rob Shugg have died in a tragic accident.   They are survived by their children Otilija and Orlando.  

A trust fund for their future has been established.   If you are asking yourself, as I am, "What can I do to help?", please consider making a donation to the future of these two children.

You can read more about the circumstances and the trust fund here, and here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

One down, One to go

I thought this day would never come.  Finally, I have a sock that fits Hubby's foot.   Not too big, not too small, not too frou-frou, this sock is just right.   Now all I have to do is make another one.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What's on your needles?

Chez Serenity
NE Florida has really woken up.   The weather has been so nice that outside knitting has once again become a daily joy.

Ridgely has been on hold for the last week.  While knitting with the girls last Thursday, I put it down on the table, leaned on it funny (or not so funny) and snapped the needles right in half.   New tips were ordered from KnitPicks and I am expecting them any day now.

In the meantime, I have been working on my blue Euroflax Linen Tunic.   The back is finished, which leaves just the front shoulders to do.   For the most part I am very much a process knitter but in this case I am really anxious to wear this project.   I can see it now over my black jersey capris.

Also getting a lot of attention is my black Comfy Fingering Simple Joys Shawl.   I am still working on the seed stitch edging.   This is another project that I am as anxious to wear as I am to knit.

So, tell me, what's on your needles?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Peace, Love, & Knitting

Kylie & Simba

Today was just one of those days.   By that I mean one of those lovely days that feed your soul.   I spent all day knitting with a human friend and snuggling with canine friends.   A comfy seat, good company, the sounds of a waterfall, and warmth, literally and figuratively.  Everyday should be this nice.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Yay, Mother's Day.   If all goes according to plan, I should be enjoying a relaxing day at home as you read this.  Sleeping late, breakfast in bed, presents, Oh please let the day go as planned.

Yesterday, was my mom's turn.   We picked her up and headed to St. Augustine for lunch, shopping and Starbucks. The day went really, really well.   The weather was gorgeous, She loved her presents (a Hurrycane & flowers), enjoyed her lunch at the Columbia, and found a dress she liked while shopping.   We were able to deliver her home fairly early with a smile on her face.  Success, I'll take it.

As you can see, Hubby's sock is coming right along.   Once the heel was done, I measured it against his foot and, YAY!, it is perfect.    Now the leg and ribbing and it's another success for me.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tangled webs

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again  and expecting different results. - Albert Einstein

Much has been written about the lies we knitters tell ourselves.  Still, like the insane in Dr. Einstein's quote, we continue to do it again and again, always hoping that this time it will be different.   At least I am in good company.

The last couple of weeks have been physically and emotionally trying.   Comfort knitting has been the order of the day.  With that in mind, I have been working on my black, Comfy fingering weightSimple Joys Shawl.   Once done with the body, I was not much in the mood for ruffles so I decided to go with a seed-stitch border instead.   Sounds simple, right?    Well, it started out that way.  Then about six rows into it, I noticed that the stitches were not lining up correctly.  A couple of rows back, I had knit where I should have purled (or vice versa), thus messing up the stitch pattern (Damn!).  

I decided then and there that it would not bother me.  I would just continue on in the new pattern.   The shawl is for me and is meant as a casual thing to wear with jeans and/or yoga pants.   Totally, not worth the trouble of ripping back two long stitch rows.   That is what I kept telling myself while working two more rows.   I got only that far before, admitting the truth.  Not only did it show but it was bugging the heck (?) out of me.

In the end, rather than ripping back two rows, I ended up ripping back four and half row (lost track of  the error so ripped back an extra row just to be sure).   As you can see, all is as it should be now;  but I am frustrated by how much angst I could have saved myself if I had just admitted that I was not going to be happy until those rows were ripped out and stitch order restored.   

I'd love to say that I will never do this again, but I know I will.  Just call me crazy.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The song that never ends

Jax Beach 1May13

Those of you who read regularly know that T1 is being sued due to an auto accident he had almost two years ago (Oct '11).    In that time the driver of the other car settled with our insurance company but the passenger has not.  

For those new to the story, T1 ran a stop sign in Jacksonville.   A small car coming  through the intersection hit him hard enough to drag his '95 Park Avenue across the intersection and into a ditch (his car was totalled).   T1 did not see the stop sign (no excuse!) which was partially (but not totally) obscured by hanging branches.  

There is no doubt in my mind that T1 caused the accident or that the other driver was speeding.   Arguably, the passenger of the other car was the only one involved who was blameless.   However, despite injuries whose only medical treatment was four months of massage therapy, she is holding out for an obscene amount of money.

A couple of weeks after T1's accident I was rear ended while stopped at a red light.   "I am so sorry!  I did not expect you to stop at the red", these were the first words I heard from the young man who hit me.    I was dazed and my head hurt when the EMT's arrived.   I think the kid was more scared than I was when they strapped me to a back board and took me to the hospital (nothing broken just bruises and a concussion).   Within a couple of days, his insurance company contacted me and offered me money not to sue (over simplification but accurate).   My first question was "You want to give me money not to do something I was not going to do anyway?".   My brother says that I have shut up and taken the money.   You know what?   That is just not me.   Yes, we are having financial problems, BUT, Hubby has a good job, our problems are of our own making (whose aren't?), and we are blessed with adequate health insurance.   It took literally months for the nice insurance man to get me to take a minimal amount of money (the guys was really persistent).   I am not a saint.   If my injuries had been worse or my recovery longer, I would have happily fought for what I deserved.   But they were not (thank heavens) and it is not in me to be unnecessarily litigious.   As a mom, and as someone who believes in doing the right thing just because it is the right thing, I am disgusted with this woman's demands.

We went to mediation today.   Nothing was settled.   I was so hoping that this would be the end.   Now it looks like we may go to court in October.

P.S.  Since the only photos I could have taken today would have been of our lawyer, insurance adjuster, T1 and myself sitting at a conference table drinking bottled water and munching on chips, I leave you with another shot taken on the beach last week.   It's pretty where we live.

Friday, May 3, 2013

It's raining. Call the Midwife.

OMG, to quote a friend, "Where are my ark building tools?".   It has been pouring practically non-stop for the last two days.  The Sunshine State can be a bit moody that way.

Between the weather and my mood (bleak of late), I have been sticking pretty close to home lately.   I did make it out to meet the girls for KAL knitting yesterday.   Kerri made an interesting observation, which I think could apply to a lot of us ("us" meaning knitters).   She told me to keep knitting, said that she could see me visibly lighten when I was knitting but when I stopped, it was like the weight settled back on my shoulders.

Since Hubby hung around long enough this morning to take T2 to school, I decided to go back to bed.   Since I could not get back to sleep, I treated myself to another episode of "Call the Midwife".    I am so enjoying this show.   It is in it's third (?) season.  I don't know why it took so long to hit my radar.   BBC series are usually top of my list.    Anyway, now that I have discovered it, I am enthralled.

It is about a group of nurse midwives, living in a nursing convent, seeing to the medical needs of the poor in the depressed Poplar district of East London in the 1950's.   However, with 80-100 babies being born each month, their primary work is delivering babies and pre/post natal care.  One of the main characters even knits (the crazy one, hmm) which has an obvious appeal.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It was a good day...

Jacksonville Beach

My mother has been feeling lonely and alone lately ("You never come. You never call."), so when I woke up this morning feeling pretty good, I decided to give her a call and see if she wanted to indulge in some retail therapy.

We started our day with Starbucks, of course, and then hit TJ Maxx, Marshall's, TJ Maxx, Kohl's, Panera Bread (for lunch), Home Goods, and yet another Marshall's.   What was left after that but a walk on the beach?

It was kind of cool and windy but beautiful all the same.   Neither of us was in any shape to walk very far but we spent quite a while watching some wind surfers struggle to get their kites/parachutes (?) down in the strong winds.   I was pretty impressed by the strength and agility these guys showed.

She arrived home, tired and happy.   It was a good day.