She walked the walk

Congratulations today go out to my dear Danica. She’s graduated from Utah Valley University with a Bachelor’s in Digital Animation and Game Design. I’m woefully late in posting this but I couldn’t think of what to say about my child graduating college.

Yes, my first child has graduated. And my third, but he’s not counting that until he gets a higher degree. Rest assured that *I* am counting it .

I keep finding myself at a loss when I think about what I want to say about Danica and her graduation.  The ceremony was weeks ago and I couldn’t get the words out right away. I had to be there a bit early so Danica could be in her place on time. Before the graduation my mind wandered about a bit, flitting here and there, landing on something for a moment and fluttering off to something else. I brought a knitting project thinking that I would knit during the wait time because that’s what I do. I thought about how many classes I’d taken at UVU back when it was Utah Technical College, and then a community college, and then UVSC. I thought about bits from the past. I thought about the kids growing up. I thought about it maybe being time to get my own degree now that my children were getting theirs. I thought about the knitting project I brought with me to pass the time. I didn’t knit and instead kept thinking about all the things. I thought about how proud I was of her for working two jobs and going to school full time.  I was surrounded by friends and family and sure, we chatted.  But, while we chatted, I thought about all the things.

Then, there they were. The graduates were talking in and I got a little choked up while I waited for my first glimpse of her walking down the aisle to be seated with her class. She’s colored her hair bright blue the day before so she was easy to spot.

She had them read her name as Sierra Danica Fawn and I got a little choked up about that as well.

My parents are in town to see their first grandchild graduate from college.

My son Joshua just got his Associates from Snow College and my daughter Chynna has started her last class her for Associates.

That’s a whole lotta collegiate in one house 🙂

Yard work shouldn’t require stretching

I have posted pictures before of the water feature in my back yard. It’s probably one of the neatest things about this place. This week, along with other yard work, I’ve spent some time cleaning it up. The base is full of rocks that surround and cover a bucket or well that holds water feature parts. Probably the pump. The bucket is covered by a grate which is covered with rocks. It was rusty and falling apart. 

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I started pulling out rocks and vegetable matter until I could lift out the grate. 

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I pulled out the old grate and put in a new one and replaced the rocks minus a lot of the detritus that comes from the surrounding stuff in the yard.

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The poor thing is covered in algae, so I’ve ordered some algaecide that is supposedly safe for birds/pets and will pray that it doesn’t hurt the bees that like to come and drink from the fountain. I also scraped out a lot of the algae by hand.  So nasty.  If this were a pond, I’d just throw in some algae eaters.

Yes, I washed the rocks before dumping them back in.  I didn’t get out nearly as much of the leaves and pine needles that I wanted but it does look a lot better.

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Chynna and Stefan have been rock stars in mowing, edging, and pulling out the 10,000 dandelions that are trying to cover the yard. I did a lot of sweeping around the air conditioners, grill, and porch. I wanted to get as much of this done as possible before David gets back from his trip so that he and the kids will only have light upkeep to do this weekend.  I am so sore, it feels like I’ve been going to the gym for hours three days straight.

I should have stretched. Thank goodness for jetted tubs and muscle relaxants.

Knitting funk

I’m in a kind of knitting funk. I want to knit, I just don’t know what to knit. I’ve spent a lot of time planning this thing or that thing and never quite start on anything. I’ve wanted to make something with the ClearCenter logo on it for a while now. I knew I would have to chart the logo myself. I used a program called Stitch Fiddle to make the chart. I have some yarn in mind for the first test knit, I just need to swatch and plan on how big I want the logo to be.

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In the meantime, I crochet. Miles and miles of crochet. I have a little over half of a Caron Cake to do on this one.

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And I’m still in love with this one: I’ve finally started on the second skeins of each color. The blanket I copied modeled this one after started doing 2 rows of each color. I’m not sure why but it looks nice and I’m still trying to decide if I want to do that.

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In which I get a little twisted

While waiting for my car to be done, and that’s another issue, I found an article online that showed me how I could add twist into the yarn while crocheting. I’ve got to try this on some of the more frustrating yarns I’ve crochet with. Yarns, in which I love the colors and softness, but they untwisted so horribly that I hate crocheting with them. The yarn was splitty and it slowed me down. This doesn’t happen when I knit. I felt cheated as a crocheter, like the yarn world didn’t seem to care about me.

I have been searching for a solution to this problem for years and just never managed to put in the right search words. I was confident in my Google Foo and so thought the information either just wasn’t out there, or that a solution didn’t exist.

I had just started another baby blanket because I didn’t want to drag out my almost done blanket in the mechanic’s waiting room and pondered once again what on earth could be done.  My usual word-around (I refuse to call this a solution) was to roll the skein of yarn to add twist. I would stop every few inches of stitches and roll the skein over several times. This is irritating. If I would just doing a small granny square I could easily flip the square around on the hook by waving it in a circle and I’d get twist in the yarn that way. This doesn’t work once the granny square blanket gets to a certain size. It’s irritating. It’s frustrating. A yarn that I would normally love becomes my nemesis and I just can’t crochet as fast as I’d like to be able to. This is why I gravitated to certain yarns over the years when making the endless parade of baby blankets for the babies that just keep coming into this family.  Anyway while pondering something Abby Franquemont said during her spinning video.  She was explaining about putting twist in the yarn and that you could keep or lose that twist depending on how you wound the yarn or fiber onto a stick.  My DVD was at home so I once again did a Google search and for whatever reason typed in something different.

I came across a blog post by Doris Chan that told me exactly what I needed to know. I’m trying not to be irritated that I didn’t figure this out by myself because in the back of my mind, I had thought this might be the answer.  But I didn’t know which direction I needed to try and was never willing to experiment. It turns out that if I’m using the yarn from the outside of the cake, it’s this way:

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I positioned the skein in the direction Doris showed, started crocheting off the outside of the skein, and EUREKA! So far, I appear to be putting in just enough twist to match what I’m taking out by crocheting. If the yarn gets too twisty, I can simply flip the cake over for a bit. It’s like magic.

I’m going to try this with some of the other yarns I loved for their color and softness, perfect for baby blankets, but HATED because they were hard to crochet with. I’m looking at you Yarn Bee Soft Secret and Caron Simply Soft.  I didn’t want the mess of trying to crochet from the outside of a skein, so I wound the Yarn Bee into cakes and placed them in the project bag with the correct side up.

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Pardon me for saying this, but today I am a very happy hooker. Thank you Abby and Doris! You ladies have saved my crochet sanity.

A trip to Texas and a list

My part-time job turned into full-time plus lots of overtime and I couldn’t be happier. I’m using my skill set and learning a ton of new stuff at the same time. It took me a while to get my act together and bring a project into the office that I can work on during my many short moments of down time. So, for a few weeks there wasn’t any knitting or crocheting. I got to where I could do a few stitches here and there.

While I was waiting to get back into a groove, I wrote down this list I started making at the beginning of Feb during our trip to Texas.

  1. # of miles traveled – 3,394
    1. From Orem to Magnolia to Euless to Tyler back to Euless back to Magnolia and then back to Orem
  2. # of elephants seen – 0 – I’m disappointed, I have yet to see this mythical Texas elephant.
  3. # of times mom talked about an issue that bugs her – At least once every day I was with her.  I hope my mom doesn’t read my blog.  Love you, Mom!
  4. # of relatives that tried to get us to act as their personal postal service – 1  Just one. The same one that has tried multiple times to get us to hand deliver an item that takes us hours out of our way. Please, just mail the damn thing. I’ll give you the postage. Or better yet, give it to DI. Your intended recipient does not need one more thing shoved into the packed-to-overflowing house.
  5. # of cars that passed us like we were standing still – 2.  Holy cow, were they going fast. Fabulous cars though. If I had those cars I’d probably drive like that, too.
  6. # of times my sister came to see me – 1
    1. voluntarily – 0
  7. # of roads under construction – 83
  8. # of wrong turns – 2
  9. # of public restrooms  – 8  This is just a rough guess, we might stop more than 4 times each day. I’m really happy to report that there are many really nice rest stops on our route. They are so much nicer than back when I was a kid and traveling with my parents to and fro from TX to CA.  Oy, there were so many that were barely a step up from outhouses. And yes, I’ve been in outhouses.
  10. # of uneral services – 2  The main purpose of the trip was to attend the funeral of David’s uncle, Luther Jenkins. While we were in Houston, we heard that a beloved former neighbor had passed away and we attended that funeral as well.
  11. # of Sonic Rt 44 Dr. Peppers consumed- Not enough.  Yes, they were with vanilla.
  12. # of pints of Bluebell ice cream consumed – Ditto
  13. Times AC turned on in Feb – OMG, seriously?  In Feb, we need AC? What the hell is wrong with this state?

My daughter, Chynna,  and I will be doing this all again this weekend.  David is on his way down to Texas as I write and will most likely be there by the time I get around to actually posting this. I’m going to take notes and see if anything of these stats change.  Work did finally settle down and I’m back to my originally intended schedule. The knitting mojo still haven’t come back but after a rough weekend I had a bad case of startitis that was thwarted by indecisiveness. I want to knit, but I can’t decide on a project.

Note on #4.  Already lost that one, David went down with this back seat loaded with things a certain relative just couldn’t manage to send to the recipient themselves. I swear I’m going to stencil UPS on the side of his car.

 

R.I.P. Keaton

Today, I had to let my dear Keaton cross over the Rainbow Bridge. I called him my 9/11 kitty. During the week of 9/11, I saw this little orange kitty while in the drive thru of Arctic Circle on Main Street, Lehi. My friend and I had just been talking about how helpless we were feeling about not being able to help anyone in NY. I thought to myself, well, at least I can help this kitten. I jumped out of the car and scooped up the little guy who crawled out from under a car to come see me. I took him home and he was a constant, affectionate, purring presence in our lives every day since then. He was an older kitten and so I decided that his birthday was June 3rd.

Thank you for watching over the boy.

Thank you for guarding the yarn.

Thank you for hanging out with me these past 16 years. You will be missed. Say hello to Jessica, Ditch, and Betsey for me.

Happy Birthday Joshua

You are 20 years old today and I’m a little sad that I don’t get to see you. I know that you’ll be here for a visit soon and we’ll celebrate then.

This year, you’ve done some amazing things. You’re just about to complete your second year of college,

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you got your driver’s license,

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and did a decent impression of Robin Hood.

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You will always be my baby.  Love you, sweetie, I hope you have another great year.

February

At the beginning of Feb, we made another Texas trip.  David’s uncle Luther passed away and we wanted to attend the funeral and support his Aunt Janet. It was nice to see our families. I just love David’s East Texas family. Since we were going to be in the area, David’s company arranged for him to meet with some clients. One meeting was going to be in just a few days which meant we had to leave on the trip 12 hours earlier than planned and drive straight through instead of breaking up the trip into two day. We left at 6:30pm in the evening, after having been awake and working all day and drove to Houston. We took turns driving and only had to make one short stop for David to take a nap.

We got on day of rest and then it was off to Dallas to pick up David’s sister and over to Tyler for the funeral.

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Aunt Janet showing off the darling quilt her son made for her.2017-02-05 17.09.57

Aunt Janet with her chickens.

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Sweet tea happened. I regret nothing.

Normally a trip to Texas is a 22 hour daylight trip in which I got a lot of knitting and crocheting done. In reality, it was a lot of night driving and during the day I was trying to nap so that I could give David a break.  I didn’t get a lot done. I managed a little bit of crocheting on a baby blanket that I need to get finished sooner rather than later. I finished a blanket that I decided I’d rather put in the Future Grandbaby Stash instead of give away.

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could get more of the same yarn and make another one, it went super fast, but in keeping with my desire to knit from stash as much as possible (and by knit, I mean crochet). So, for the trip, I brought the Caron Cakes I bought a while ago to make the two baby blankets I need to make.

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This appears to be the only pictures I’ve taken of it. The color change in the yarn happened right on the corner at the start of a new row.I guess I thought that was super interesting. I might have been suffering from last of sleep. I like the colors but, I don’t much care for the yarn. It’s not bad or horrid, it just isn’t the soft, silky stuff that Caron Simply Soft is. This yarn is a small step up from Red Heart.

We spent several days in Houston visiting with my family and then it was back home.

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I may have purchased some Texas shaped jewelry.

My parents and I also attended a funeral for the lady that lived next door to my family for most of the time they’ve lived in Houston. Her youngest daughter and my sister were good friends.

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This is what my parents’ yard looks like in February.

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This is what my yard looks like in February.

We got home just before the middle of the month and went right back to work, spending a lot of time at the office.

My lovely daughter’s had this waiting for me when I got home from the office on Valentine’s Day.

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I did very little knitting or crocheting during the rest of the month. We have been working so much. I should bring a project to leave at the office to work on during some of the down time that I have.  I have work projects stacked up so that while I’m waiting on something for one, I can be working on another. But oftentimes, there isn’t enough time to really get into a different project. A mindless knit or crochet would keep my hands busy but my mind still focused on what I’m doing. I want to make some blanket squares and I think those would be the perfect thing. They’re small, won’t take up space on my desk and can easily be picked up and put down.

I love what I’m doing at the office. My new job is extremely fulfilling. I’m using my skill set and learning a lot of new things on top of it. I’m in heaven.

Thus ends February. We’ve barely had a moment to breathe. March is going to be more of the same.