Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The economy strikes close to home

It is with a very heart I publicly announce that my beloved LYS, home away from home, and so much more, will be closing at the end of the month. The economy strikes again, this time on a very personal level. During the four years Bonita Knitting, then more recently Bonita Knit & Sew has been in business, I went from frequent customer to instructor and part time employee. I have spent at least two days a week there, communing with the fibers and making some really good friends. As we improved our knitting and crochet skills, we bonded while our projects emerged, accomplishing more than we ever thought we could. I’m going to miss it terribly and am going to try very hard to maintain those friendships as we scramble to find a convenient place to knit. We are brainstorming possible substitutes, but we all know it could never measure up to ‘the shop.’ I regret good will and camaraderie could not overcome the realities of a harsh ecomony. I loved the place and mourn its passing while remembering the wonderful time it existed as a beacon to my creative soul.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

I resolve...

We’re getting ready for Christmas, part two. Erika and Nathan were in Ohio last week, so we get to celebrate Christmas all over again. They and Heather will be here at 11.

Like many, I’ve been taking stock and making plans for the new year. My very trite resolution is to get back to eating well and exercising regularly. The gym and the trainers have already been paid, now to get back into my routines. This dizzy headache, coupled with feeling sorry for myself have wreaked havoc with all my good work of the past few months. The headache’s mostly gone, but I still have equilibrium issues. I’m scheduled for an MRI on the 13th. On Monday, I’m supposed to receive some portable heart rate monitor as part of being evaluated by a cardiologist. I’ve had two EKGs and a head CT scan in the past two weeks and the medical people are trying to figure out if the heart palpitations I’ve experienced are a result of being crazy dizzy or if they are somehow causing it. So far all tests are negative, so I’m not worried – much.

There I go, feeling sorry for myself again... On a geeky exciting note, I ordered a new desktop computer last week and it should arrive Monday or Tuesday. 6 GB of RAM and 640 GB of memory and a front portal where my 1 TB drive just slides in. I face the somewhat daunting but mostly tedious task of getting all the stuff from the old unit into the new, then learning how Windows 7 differs from XP and Vista. I did spend Christmas day backing up all my content onto the external drive I got as a gift, so I’m hopeful I can just plug that in and copy everything over. I’ll have my laptop to do my computing until the new unit is up and running to my satisfaction.

Another item of breaking news is that I’ve given in and starting texting. I spend so much time online, I figured if you want something, email me. If you really want something CALL. My cell phone plan has more minutes per month than Bob and I could use in 6 months, but it’s the minimum for the family plan. So calling is a great option. However, the texters in my life don’t communicate that way. They believe texting is less intrusive. I don’t know, constant bleeping of the phone with little notes that often require you stopping whatever you’re doing to tap out a reply is a lot more of a hassle than just answering a phone. But I like these people and am willing to communicate in every way to hear from them. So I am now a texter. I started out with a 250 messages per month and I’ll see if I need to go unlimited. I can get a phone upgrade in March, so if I do expand my tapping, then I definitely want a phone with a QWERTY keyboard.

On the knitting front, I’ve logged in 60 completed items. That’s less than the 90+ of last year, but I also completed larger more intricate items included 4 long sleeved adult sweaters, 4 short sleeved adult sweaters, 10 baby/child sweaters and 5 shawls. Amazingly, there was only 1 pair of socks. I completed 19 pairs in 2008. This last pair was my 98th overall, so I resolve to get past 100 in 2010. I need to get a firm grip on my WIPs. I get overwhelmed when they creep up into the double digits. I resolve to finish things before giving in to the enticement of a new project. The goal is to have no more than 6 going with 3 being ideal. I can also say that with making exercise a regular part of my life, I’ve been knitting less. Even with backsliding, I started 2010 about 35 lbs lighter than last year, so that counts for a lot.

My knitting life will be changing drastically in 2010 as my LYS is going away, a victim of the economy. Over the 4 years it’s been around, I went from frequent customer, to sometimes instructor, to part time employee. In a way, I was spending more time there than I really wanted to, but I loved it so. Now I will be regaining that time which will be channeled back into my family and craft hobbies. I resolve to get back into sewing and am starting that venture by teaching Heather to sew. Our 1st session is scheduled for the 10th after I acquire her new sewing machine. I also resolve to maintain the wonderful friendships made at the LYS and need to figure out a place where we can regularly get together.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Great Christmas Day

We three had a wonderful holiday together. Of course we missed Erika and her husband Nathan who were spending time with his family in Ohio, but we get them back soon and will celebrate Christmas all over again next weekend.

It's no big secret. Bob's a fool for Christmas. He plans and plots and even ventures into malls. Our family does Wish Lists. We do not consider it crass or commercial. It's more of a, "If you're going to get me a present, but don't know what I'd like, here are a few suggestions." We were always careful to includes things the kids could afford from their own money when they were growing up and still include 'gift certificates' of time. Bob always liked to get coupons for car washes and I love the girls' day with the daughters. Last year one of those days was going over to Heather's apartment and watching a DVD together. We sat on the hand me down couch we gave her and watched it on my old TV, and it was WONDERFUL.

Heather came over Christmas Eve to cook her portion of the dinner. We traditionally have a ham on Christmas Eve, but with her being a vegan, other menu items must be included. Luckily, she takes after her father and loves to cook. She made an excellent corn chowder, had a baked potato with all the fixings and I made green beans and fried bananas. We were skeptical about her vegan version of Bob's cream cheese cookies, but they were really good.

She also surprised us by deciding to spend the night. For once, I was the last one up Christmas morning. Bob, the Christmas fool, was up at 5:30 am, but I stayed in bed until 7, then showered and put some make up on for all the photos I knew he'd be taking. We usually had our coffee and read the paper before the kids woke up and more recently, before they came over, but not this year.

The presents and company were fun and well appreciated. We chatted on the phone with relatives all over the country, visiting the best way we could given the vast distances involved. To top it off, when the San Diego Chargers played at 4:30 pm, they completely dominated the game, beating the Tennessee Titans 42 - 17. Oh, Happy Day.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On Day 10, the headache's much better, but still there. Only dizzy when I got out of bed, but things settled down. Thinking of getting my nails done later. Pampering is always good, as is knitting and listening to podcasts. Have discovered David Reidy's podcast, Sticks and String. Interesting perspective from an Australian male knitter. I'm working my way from the beginning, so I'm 3 years behind!
I finished Nathan's socks last night. Was a bit dismayed to note the 2nd one is somewhat larger than the 1st. I never had issues with different tensions, but I guess the 11 months from start to finish was a bit much. Will throw in the washer and dryer before gifting and all should go well. I'm down to 6 knitting projects in progress, plus the 2 crocheted afghans. Not that bad since one of the WIPs is a sweater I have only cast on for. That really makes it #1 in the Queue rather than 'in progress'. I'm currently doing the Victorian shoulderette by Sivia Harding in black Cria Creek Alpaca. I've made this lovely thing 3 times already. After the black one, there's the one in oranges from Schaefer Heather. My ambitious plans are to have both done before the New Year.

I've had the best surprise this morning and am overwhelmed. Susan called on the way into the shop to warn me she was coming by to drop off my Christmas present. I got to open it right away and as usual, she was amazingly generous. I love the mug with the continental knitting reference. The red Namaste bag is literally a BIG present. I had admired it in the shop and although I have many knitting bags, I lusted for it. I showed restraint by not buying it for myself, figuring I'd get it after Christmas if it was not sold. Someone did buy it last week and there was a moment of silence as Susan and Monica and I sighed, knowing it was a sign we were not meant to own the lovely thing. Little did I know Susan ordered me another one as soon as it went out the door. I'll always think of her when I use it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Another FO

So, yesterday, it was off to the Dr. at the Tricare clinic to see if anything could be done about the headache and dizziness I have had for the past EIGHT days. I was feeling so smug because I anticipated if any head tests were required, I'd have to go downtown to Balboa Naval Hospital. Having been referred to that massive complex in the past, once even getting to spend the night, I loaded up my knitting bag with 2 smallish projects, a Wonderful Wallaby AND the SIL socks. I threw in a pair of DH's socks that could use some darning, and my Kindle, AND my Palm which I only use for the games, AND my MP3 player AND the charging cords for each including the one for my phone. Hey, I was a Girl Scout leader and know about being prepared. I even threw in an apple because the last time they didn't feed me for almost 24 hours.

Sure enough, the clinic doctor writes me a referral - after chastising me for not coming in sooner, scaring me with images of brain bleeds and even referring to Natasha Richardson who DIED shortly after smacking her head - and I'm off to the Emergency Room. I get checked in and into a bed surrounded by fabric curtains. I had to tell the story several times about how I conked my head last week, just to make sure someone at home was not smacking me around. I understand why they have to do this, so I don't get mad or laugh at them because if you knew my Bob, DH of over 30 years, you'd know he was the sweetest most even tempered man you'd ever meet.

The MP3 player comes in real handy to drown out the chatter among hospital staff, mostly about their Christmas plans, and the incredibly whiney kid in the next bed over. He has a stomach ache. His mother is convinced it's appendicitis and his father thinks she's over reacting (which ends up being the case). I just want to shout, "I have a headache! Shut the #@$% up!", but I'm staying calm by listening to my tunes knitting away. After the head CT scan, I settle in to wait for the results in my fabric room with the narrow bed, when Grace, my nurse, comes in to hook me up to an IV. That looks very hospital -y and since I'm already wearing a hospital gown because they apparently need to do an EKG on everyone who comes in the door, things are looking serious. Oh, not to worry, the ER Dr. just wants to make sure I'm hydrated. Oh, really... how about a glass of water? But they have their way of doing things, so I get hooked up. I did manage to select the spot where the needle went in. I did so based on what would interfere the least with my knitting.

So, I get my bag of goodies and by the time I'm done, the test results are back and there's no evidence of anything bad going on. I probably did have a slight concussion, but since a week had passed, nothing was evident. They let me go with a couple of scripts. The entire ordeal took 4 hours. Actually not that bad and I just about finished the Wallaby.

Later that evening, I took care of my headache the old fashioned way as Bob and I headed downtown to the Rock Bottom Brewery where we HYDRATE in a much more delightful fashion. We went to catch the Battle of the Bands between Cal and Utah, the participants in this year's Poinsettia Bowl. I figure I have a headache anyway, so some drums couldn't make it any worse. It was quite a scene and we had fun. Home by 7:30 where I put my feet up, bound off my Wallaby and tucked in the ends. I still have the dizzy headache, but now I have drugs....

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's not snowing

As Facebook friends from the East coast post their snowy status along with pix to illustrate the magnitude of the snow, I too took a photo out my window. The most I could muster up weather wise was a bit of overcast with the 3 pm temperature outside my window a balmy 68 degrees. We do, however, have the Christmas spirit and have made the inside look all cozy with a more wintry look. This old house does not heat well, so we've got out our sweaters and snuggly clothes for when the night temps plummet into the low 50s, high 40s.

I'm trying to enjoy this week of peace and quiet now that all the shopping and 99% of the wrapping is done. It's time to listen to carols and await Christmas. But I've had a headache since last Tuesday, accompanied with vertigo. I've tried to gut it out and felt almost better on Friday, only to wake up Saturday both dizzy and headachy with more of the same today. I gave up gutting it out and have a doctor's appointment tomorrow. I smacked my head pretty good on Monday and I'm wondering if it's a slight concussion. Anyhow, I haven't worked out since Monday and feel yukky about it. I have done quite a bit of knitting, finishing Erika's brown sweater, which for some reason I disliked making and am overall unhappy with the results. She took it away making all the appropriate happy noises, and I'm pleased to be done with it.

I have also been working on some plain socks for my son in law. Started them in JANUARY and had only turned the heel on the 1st one. I'm now on the 2nd sock and will turn the heel tomorrow. But this evening, I'm going to finish this pink blanket I started in October of 2008, only to run out of gas when it was 90% done. If you catch my drift, I'm determined to whittle down my works in progress to a more manageable level and vow not to start any new projects until I'm down to only 5 or 6. Ideally that should be 1 or 2, but I know me, and that just won't happen. I'm determined about the socks since they will be the ONLY PAIR I'll have made in 2009. Can you imagine? I'm usually good for 18 to 20 pairs a year. I'll have to do a year end review of what I have knit, since I know I've completed over 50 projects.

My exciting life also included some laundry today and I knit and listened to some podcasts while the dryer was going. I'm going to cook in a bit - a rare occurrence for me - so I'll leave you with a photo of the now clean socks we wore this week. I wash them inside out in a lingerie bag and run them through the dryer for a bit to fluff them up, but hang them up to finish drying. The brown pair on the right looked like it wanted to shrink, so they're on the stretchers.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

It's almost Christmas

I'm so behind on Christmas preparations. I haven't even done my cards and won't be getting to them until next week. I've don't the Amazon thing, but need to go shopping for a few more gifts for my husband and some stocking stuffers. What do you get an 85 year old mom for her December birthday and Christmas? She's got absolutely everything in triplicate, but loves getting gifts....

Meanwhile, my Fan Neckwarmer pattern, written over a year ago is still going strong. I started selling it as a Ravelry download earlier this week instead of via Bonita Knit & Sew. Easier accounting for all concerned. I had no idea it would continue to be popular. In the past few days, 4 copies have sold. Seems like free money. Now, if I could just get inspiration for another design... Hard to do with my WIPs numbering over a dozen and my Queue (projects with yarn already purchased and awaiting my attention). I am so in love with the many designs out there, if feel my little improvisations are not up to par.
New year's resolution will be to blog more often. Let's see....