Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What's on the knitting needles?

What's on my knitting needles on this rainy day?

On the knitting needles  for
OTN 4/27/16

I've passed the 70% complete mark on my Pebble Beach shawl.  I've also had to start a third skein of yarn which wasn't supposed to happen.  Luckily I had several extras on hand.

My Seaweed scarf has been mostly abandoned in an effort to make some progress on the Pebble Beach.  For the most part, Seaweed has been labeled 'car knitting.'

And the newest 'knit while I read' project is another multicolored stockinette cowl.  The yarn is Wisdom Yarns, Marathon Socks North Pole in the Fruitcake colorway.  It's been in my stash pile for a while.  The yarn's yellow, orange, red and green stripes scream autumn plus it has a bit of metallic shimmer that catches the light just so and reminds me of brilliantly colored maple trees.

bumble bees or carpenter bees

So here I am at the end of April, enjoying porch knitting with the bumble bees, thinking about how desperately we need to repaint the porch, and jonesing for fall.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Fear Factor

This week has been all about facing my fears.  I haven't gotten much knitting done, actually, I'm at a negative mark on the knitting, but I have chased away several of those pesky fear demons.  (Okay, maybe I've watched a few too many episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.)

Today I faced my fear of glaucoma and going blind.  For the past few months, I've had round after round of eye exams that have contradicted each other.  Some the tests said I was just old, about half said I had a pretty bad case of glaucoma and the rest said I simply needed more sleep & better hand/eye coordination.  I went in today for one final test, the big boy scan.  The kind of scan where I'm dammed glad that we have medical insurance.  The kind of scan where I needed a GPS to find my way around the medical facility.  It was scary and I'm glad its over with, but the results were good.  I don't have glaucoma.  I'm just old and I need to eat better and get some exercise.

Last night I faced fear on Netflix.  Have you seen the movie Hush?  Stephen King recommended it in a Tweet so I figured it would be good & scary, but damn!  My heart rate is still elevated and it's the reason I've accomplished negative knitting this week.  I had to frog a giant amount of my progress thanks to that movie.

Earlier in the week I faced my fear of old car ownership.  It was time for its annual inspection and since I knew I had a big, giant eye doctor bill to pay coming up, I figured at least eight different car parts would fail inspection.  But, to my amazement, she passed!  She passed with flying colors & not a single repair necessary.  Not even a burnt out lightbulb!

And even earlier in the week, last weekend to be exact, I faced my big fear.

Eiffel tower kings dominion, doswell, va
Eiffel Tower, Kings Dominion

Heights.  I had to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower for work.  You step off the elevator and you are 264 feet up in the air.  That doesn't sound like much, but it's significantly higher than the trip up the Statue of Liberty.  It's high enough to make your ears pop.  And it's definitely high enough to make me somewhat nauseous.  There's nothing quite as fearful as trying not to freak out or barf in front of your department head while you interact with park guests.

the view from the top of the Kings Dominion Eiffel Tower
View from the top

I have to admit though, as long as I remembered to breathe without hyperventilating, the view was spectacular.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Sixteen Things

In honor of the Brown family and Jalen's 16th birthday, I decided to make today's blog post a list of 16 things that make me happy.  Sixteen things that I can see, touch, or am reminded of while sitting here at my computer.  Here goes, in no particular order -

a giant coffee cup
My coffee cup

1.  Coffee, and more specifically, coffee in My cup.  I absolutely LOVE my coffee cup and the rest of the family know not to touch it (actually, it's a "them."  I have three.  I used to have four, but we won't go into that because this is a post about happy things.)  It holds two cups worth of coffee, the handle fits my hand perfectly, the cup itself is not too heavy and it keeps the coffee warm for quite a while.   While this particular cup is showing signs of its long life (I've been using these cups daily for 14+ years) its original finish had that old world, scuffed and well loved look to it.  I just love my coffee cup.

2.  I have come to love the little scribbles the kids made on what used to be our dining room table but is now my desk.  Back in the day, when the table was our dining room/homeschooling table, I was not pleased to find little hearts, stars and x's, "I hate math," "Klaine," (what is Klaine??) or even "Metallica" carved into it.  But now, many years later, with homeschooling in our past and the kids all grown up and a new, unmarked dining room table in the dining room, I look at those markings and am instantly transported down memory lane.  And it's a good lane to travel down.

a female foxhound

3.  Minnie.   Minnie always makes me smile.  Even when she's only hanging out with me because she wants my sandwich.

4.  Flip flops.  Cheap flip flops.  The kind that cost $1 at the grocery store are my favorite.

perfect flip flop weather
Blue Skies

5.  Flip flop weather.

Officially, Maxwell.  Our Great Pyrenees

6.  Max.  He is my constant companion and The biggest pain in the butt but I love him more than life itself.  I even freely admit that he's my favorite.   Just don't tell Minnie.  She might get an attitude and eat my flip flops.

7.  My Passion Planner.  I can't get over how much more I am accomplishing with help from my Passion Planner.  Instead of Passion Planner, it should be called the Miracle Maker. 

8.  Knitting on the porch.  This kind of goes along with flip flop weather except porch knitting is a slightly longer season.

my "emerald" ring from

9.  My new ring from The Ring Lady.  You'll have to remember that I am Not a photographer and take my word that it is much shinier in real life than it looks in the picture.  Emerald is my birthstone and since I outgrew my birthstone ring in late middle school, I have always wanted another.  I finally bought myself one last week at the Southern Women's show.  The stones aren't real, but they look real, and for less than $40, I couldn't be happier.  I've worn it every day since I got it and it doesn't show the first sign of wear and it is not turning me green.  I couldn't be happier.

top employee

This guy was our salesman.  (Sarah got a ring too, for even less than mine and hers isn't turning her green either.  Yay!)  I can't believe I got a photo of him, but not his name.  Good grief!  He was super nice and extremely helpful without being the least bit pushy.  If The Ring Lady happens to see this, I hope she gives him a raise or a bonus, or at least a pat on the back.  He deserves it!

Magenta modeling a cowl for

10.  Magenta, Janet and Dr. Frank-N-Furter, my mannequins.  Dr. Frank came to live with us first and got his name because he's a male mannequin but I slapped a dress on him so that he could model my sweaters.  Magenta and Janet arrived later.  It's easy to tell them apart because Janet has a weird discolored spot on her boob.  Every time I'm using her in photographs, I get to say, "Dammit, Janet" and then I laugh and jump to the left.

iTunes on my computer

11.  iTunes.  Where would I be without iTunes?  I seriously have no idea how we survived back in the day before iTunes.   I love music and have extremely eclectic tastes that, as you can see, range from Frank Sinatra to Marilyn Manson and beyond.  And while I'm talking about music, let me say a quick RIP to Prince.  The news of his death was just breaking as I began typing this post.
Office Mates

12.  My office mates.  I just love these guys and smile every time I look up & see them sitting there on the shelf, never complaining about the fact that I tend to sing along to my music.

13.  The Kindle app.  I can't say that I love my actual Kindle so much anymore.  It's old and tired and it takes 48+ hours to charge now days.  But I sure do love the Kindle app.  With the app, I can turn just about anything into a Kindle and read where ever I am.

Hand knit scarf for sale at
Seaweed Scarf

14.  Social media and the small world it creates.  Social media is the most amazing thing.  The other day, I was sitting in the mechanic's shop waiting for my car to be inspected.  I was reading and knitting to pass the time....   Another customer came in and we began chatting.  Nothing out of the ordinary, just chatting to pass the time...  At some point, I'd snapped a photo of myself reading and knitting & posted it to Instagram. (I am SO loving having a phone that's smart & not dumb as a box of rocks.)  When I got home, I peeked at my Facebook account & saw a post from the guy I'd been chatting with at the mechanic's place.  It turns out, we're Facebook & Instagram friends but hadn't recognized each other in real life.  What a small world!

15.  My car.  I may not be crazy about the way she looks, but damn if she don't run good.  Two and a half years ago, I broke our 'Chevy's only' rule and bought a Nissan Altima.  She was well used but seemed to be in good shape.  She was also affordable.  I bought her with the cash I'd saved up working a half a season at the local theme park.  Two and a half years later, she passed another inspection without needing any repairs.  I'd say I'm definitely getting my money's worth.

16.  Mini Mochi yarn.  It's just so gloriously soft.  I'm using Citron Mist to knit the scarf (pictured above) but my skeins don't have a color name printed on them & I've been calling it Seaweed.  It's not the prettiest color I've ever seen, but it does remind me of seaweed and seaweed reminds me of the ocean and I love all things ocean related so....  Even though this isn't my all time favorite colorway, I love knitting with the yarn itself and I think the scarf will be quite snugly when it's done.

16.5  I'm sneaking this one in here.  Don't laugh.  I know I rank up there within the world's top poorest spellers.  I had to look up how to spell "snugly" and guess what its definition is -

"Full Definition of snug. snuggersnuggest. 1a of a ship : manifesting seaworthiness : tautb : trim, neatc : fitting closely and comfortably" 

How cool is that.  I had no idea snug also had a nautical meaning.  I'm going to love snugly things even more now.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Come Monday

Have you noticed I seem to have daily theme songs playing in my head?  Today, it's Jimmy Buffett's Come Monday.  I'm not wearing my hush-puppies, but I am singing, "Come Monday, it will be alright..."

And alright, it is.  First and foremost, I feel better.  I've been sort of sick since the middle of last week.  I've had some kind of cold/allergies/lung rot thing.  Up until late yesterday it left me more exhausted from coughing & lack of sleep than actually feeling bad.  By last night, I wasn't feeling so great & by 6 a.m. this morning, I was begging for death.  I took yet another mega-dose of Mucinex, went back to bed and (once again, thanks to Jimmy Buffett & God's Own Drunk) "slept for four hours and dreampt me some tremulous dreams" and woke up feeling much improved despite the weird, vivid dreams.  Thank you Mucinex!

hand knit cowl for sale at

Second, I finished the Make Believe #2 cowl and promptly blocked it, using my new Knitter's Pride blocking pins.

Cowl blocking with Knitters Pride blocking pins. for sale at
Make Believe #2 

I'm in love with the blocking pins.  They are a huge time saver!

Third, the Biotin really does seem to be working.  Last Monday, my nails looked like this:

Started using Biotin to help my nails grow.

And this week...

The Biotin seems to be working.  My nails are growning.

Okay, yes, my nails still look horrible, as do my cuticles and the skin around my nails.  But, I only fully broke two nails over the weekend.  I dented up and took a notch or two out of a few others, but only two actually broke/ripped off.  That is a HUGE improvement.  And if I could find a lotion that was gentle enough not to cause allergic irritations but strong enough to combat the frequent hand washing & antibacterial gel bathes I'd be in business.

In celebration, and to continue the Jimmy Buffett theme, I think I'll go grab a Corona & a cheeseburger and exercise my license to chill.

Friday, April 15, 2016

State of the Union

The knitting has been slow going lately.

knitting projects, cowl, scarf, shawl for sale at
On the needles 4/15/16

That pesky April 15th tax deadline came between me and my yarn.  I'm proud to announce that my taxes were done and mailed an entire 24+ hours before midnight on the 15th.  That's a record for us.

Unfortunately, next week's State of the Union will probably look almost exactly the same as this weeks.  As soon as my daughter gets home from school, we're heading back out to the Southern Women's Show.  I'm oddly excited.  I've never been before.  I've always intended to go but end up remembering that it's happening about 23 minutes before it ends.  Not this year.  This year, I marked my calendar.  (Thank you Passion Planner for reminding me to schedule fun time as well as work.)  As soon as we get home from the show, I'll rewash my work uniform (because yes, it's still sitting in the washer, gathering mold) and go to bed so I can be fresh as a daisy for a weekend of working at the theme park.

So, maybe I'll see you at the Southern Women's show.  If you can't make it, well, bless your heart.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Broken Promises

I did it again.  I broke a promise to myself.  Actually I broke two.  First, I'd promised myself I wouldn't buy more yarn until I'd knitted up a fair amount of what I already had in my stash pile.  But let's be honest here.  No knitter ever keeps that promise so that little slip doesn't really count.  Right??

The other promise,

Mini Mochi hand knit scarf

I'd sworn to myself that I wouldn't start another project until I'd finished my Pebble Beach shawl.

Okay, so that broken promise is my fault.  But who can blame me?

yarn from Chrystal Palace, Mini Mochi

Not many knitters could resist the call of a package of Mini Mochi.  Mini Mochi is one of those yarns that as long as I have a few skeins with me, I'll be able to happily survive being stranded on a deserted island.

A few weeks ago, I was wasting some down time at work & browsing Facebook.  I came across a sale Little Knits was having.  I'd never heard of Little Knits, but that didn't stop me from pressing the Buy Now button.  And then I began anxiously awaiting the yarn delivery.  I quickly realized that I hadn't seen any mention of shipping time frames nor of where the company was located.  I gave it a few days and couldn't stand the anticipation any longer.  I emailed Little Knits to ask about my order.  I have to admit, I was a little nervous about it.  I once ordered a t-shirt for my daughter from one of those Facebook ads that didn't mention shipping times & it ended up taking six weeks to arrive because they had to wait for enough sales to make it worth their while to print the shirts.  Anyway, I contacted Little Knits....

and was pleased to receive a quick response and even happier to learn they where shipping my order Priority Mail.  And ship it, they did.

yarn haul from Little Knits

It's a Mini Mochi party!

It turns out, I had nothing to be concerned about.  Little Knits' customer service was fantastic & their sales prices even more so!  The shop has been bookmarked, I've signed up for their newsletter and I'll definitely be shopping there again.  Just not until I knit up a fair amount of yarn from my stash pile.  I promise.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The good, the bad & the ugly

The good....

Multi colored, striped and textured cowl for sale at
OTN 4/11/16

The newest cowl is coming along nicely.  I'm almost finished knitting the third lace repeat.  I can't decide if I want to continue it or not.  Four repeats would make it about the right height but They always say an odd number of repeats is more visually pleasing. Decisions, decisions.

The bad.... I spent the morning doing our taxes.  Yuck-O!

And the ugly....

soft, split, fingernails that break constantly

My poor fingernails!  Good grief, I have The worst fingernails.  My pinky finger is the only one that ever halfway grows.  Ever!  Even when pregnant and full of pregnancy vitamins, my nails didn't grow.  I can look at them and they split and break.  They always have.  I'll be riding along in the car, hands gently holding the steering wheel, and Poof!  I suddenly have a broken, jagged nail.  I don't bother getting manicures because the few that I have gotten over the years didn't last more than an hour or two, tops.  It's pitiful!  And work doesn't help.  I'm constantly sticking my hands down into bags full of loose coin.  I may as well be sticking my finger tips into the office paper shredder.

But as bad as my nails are, there may be a solution.

Biotin, a hair & nail growth supplement from
Biotin from

Biotin.  It promotes hair & nail growth and "cellular energy," what ever that means.  A co-worker recommended it.  She's been taking it to help her hair grow and says it's really helping both her hair & nails.  The bottle (& my co-worker) says it supposedly takes about 4 weeks to see a difference but I've been taking it for about ten days and I swear, my nails are already behaving better.  It may just be wishful thinking, but I have high hopes.

Well, I'm off to celebrate another tax season put to rest.  And by "celebrate" I mean, knit.  I'm not even going to cook dinner.  I'm just going to knit.  Besides, after paying our taxes, we probably can't afford dinner anyway.  Ugh.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Thanks Billy

Thanks Billy Idol, I've got Dancing With Myself stuck in my head.  Except, I'm singing "laughing at myself" instead of dancing with myself.

Today was payday.  The first real payday of the season.  The last check only covered one day.  But today's paycheck was for those 89 gazillion trillion hours worked during Spring Break week.

My messy desk & office space after working 86 hours during Spring Break

It's no wonder this is what greeted me when I woke up this past Monday.  Apparently, I worked even more hours than I realized and my office paid the price.  Payday was even better than I thought it would be though so ...  It was well worth a messy desk.

Of course, I immediately hit Amazon.  I madly started pressing "add to cart" and spent an extra $40 to save $5 in shipping.

Oh laughing at myself,
Oh laughing at myself,
Well there's nothing to loose
And there's nothing to prove
I'll be laughing at myself....

I really should just break down and pay for Amazon Prime.  I always think it wouldn't be worth it, but after I spend an extra $40 five or six times a year just so I can get free shipping (have I mentioned how much I DESPISE paying for shipping?) I could have easily paid for Prime.  And bought a bunch more yarn to boot.

Oh laughing at myself....

Pebble Beach Shawl in progress
Pebble Beach OTN 4/8/16

One thing I'm not laughing at is my Pebble Beach shawl.  It's back on track after a lesson learned about not mixing lace and tear jerker movies.  I am still laughing at my x-rated typo in yesterday's post about my error.  Thank you, Ann, for pointing that out.  It's all fixed now, but I am still laughing about it.  That'll teach me not to skip proof reading just because the dinner bell is ringing.

Well there's nothing to loose
And there's nothing to prove
I'll be laughing at myself....

And dammit, I just realized I spent an extra $40 on silly stuff instead of buying a decent phone case that isn't Walmart pink.  I'm loving my new phone that I still don't know how to operate, but I am not loving the Walmart pink case I'm using.  Dear Walmart only had one case to fit.  One.  And it's "Walmart pink."  Ugh.

And... I'll be laughing at myself....

Thursday, April 7, 2016


Okay, I'm not sure I'm truly a technophobe, but I'm definitely challenged.  In other words, the learning to use my phone saga continues.

I'm proud to say I finally figured out how to answer an incoming call.  I'm also quite capable of downloading apps.  I can even uninstall them!   That said, I still haven't figured out how to get my music onto my phone.

I signed up for Instagram. (I'm JGKnits in case you'd like to get in touch.)  I even posted a photo.

Minnie likes her bone.  A dog with a bone.  And a tongue.

A photo I took with the phone.  (See - I've learned to use the camera too!)  Except, when I posted it to Instagram, it and about 30 other horrible, terrible, very bad selfies also posted to Facebook.  I have no idea what happened there.

I also took a photo of today's knitting.

hand knit cowl on the knitting needles
OTN 4/7/16

The color is horrible.  The above picture is with the phone camera and the one below was taken with the DSLR.

Make Believe #2 hand knit cowl for
OTN 04/07/16

Even the DSLR isn't particularly liking the striped yarn's colors.  In real life, it's much darker & more plum-y and not so lilac-y.  It's also got much more green in it than is showing up in either photo.

Apparently, my photo issues are not phone related.  It's just me and my inability to take a decent photo.  It would be nice to blame the phone but.... Technophobe!

Another thing I can't blame the phone for....  the lack of progress on my Pebble Beach scarf.  I made the mistake of trying to knit on it while watching The Perfect Storm.  I was bawling my eyes out before the boat even left the dock and about the time the crew saw the first flash of lightening,  I noticed that I'd made a drastic mistake 4 rows back.  Of course, my lifeline was about 20 rows back so rather than frog it, I chose to tink it.  Four or five hours and many more tears later, I'm back to where I started.  Good grief.

Well, a wicked thunderstorm seems to be rolling in so I should probably go download the NOAA app & see what's up.  Maybe I can snap a badly colored photo of the lightening to share on Facebook Instagram.

Meanwhile, if you have any tips on using Instagram or how to get music onto my phone....  I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Spring Break

I survived working spring break at the theme park.  It was a crazy ride.  Eleven straight days that felt like eleven hundred after spending the winter sitting on my butt watching Netflix & knitting.  It was exhausting but fun.  I really do love my job!

forgot to water my plant.

I can't say that my plants love my job.  Oops.  I don't think that one is going to come back from it's dehydrated state.

Multi colored cowl for sale at
Make Believe Cowl #2
Besides not watering my plants, I also didn't get much knitting done last week.  I started a cowl that will be a mixture of left over Knit Picks Stroll and Palette.  The Stroll is hand painted Make Believe and I haven't decided what color Palette to use.  I knit the same style of cowl for my daughter a year or two ago & used a magenta/purple & she loves it.  She says it's her favorite scarf.  And that's saying something because the girl collects scarves like I collect yarn.  I'm thinking of using a green this time though.  Or maybe a dark charcoal.  Or a teal.  Or... maybe I don't have any idea what I'm going to use.  I'll figure it out when it's time to change colors.

Meanwhile, please pardon the horrible, badly lit photo.  I got a new phone yesterday and can't figure out how to turn the flash off.  Honestly, I have no idea how to use 99% of the features on the phone.  After spending several hours last night inputting my contacts & texting them to say I have a new number, I am proud to say that I now have some mad contact inputting skills.  I have also learned my new phone number in record time.  I also have no less than six Etsy icons on my home screen.  I don't even know how I managed that but at least I shouldn't have trouble accessing my shop from my phone!

Another thing I got yesterday....

easter egg dye to use for dying  yarn

The grocery store still had some on clearance egg dye left.  I'm almost as excited about finding clearance egg dye as I am about getting a new phone.  Now I just need to find the time to use the egg dye to dye some yarn.  And I should probably spend a few minutes reading the phone's manual.

Friday, April 1, 2016


Ooooh!  Look what I got in the mail...

Wicked from Morning Bright etsy shop for

It's Wicked from Morning Bright Yarn and it's fabulous!  It's 405 yards of heavier fingering weight wickedness.  When I look at the skein of yarn, I instantly imagine Snow White's Dark Forest and a tiny cold chill runs down my spine.  I ordered this yarn for the stash pile with no real plans for it but after seeing it, I'll be knitting socks with it.  Socks for me.  For me, I tell you, for me!  I would have cast on already except this yarn deserves the proper TV programing and I can't decide between re-binge-watching Once Upon A Time or putting Snow White on repeat.

The Huntsman slash Thor slash Chris Hemsworth
The Huntsman, courtesy of

I think the Huntsman in the Dark Forest may win out.

Hmmm, I wonder if new yarn plus the Huntsman on my screen would be an acceptable reason for not showing up for work this afternoon.