Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving-NOT grey Thursday

Let me first say that the whole concept of having stores open on Thanksgiving makes me sad, disheartened and just a wee bit sick to my stomach.  If it is truly a national holiday, then we should all have the day to be able to celebrate and spend time with our families.  We shouldn't be out expecting to find the next best bargain.

Anyway, not time for too long of a post since Maegwin is wanting me to play blocks with her but I promise I'm not gone for good.  Most of you know the reason for my many months of absence, but for those who don't it is all thanks to this little being:


We find out next week the gender of the little thing and then we can stop referring to it as "it" which to me is terribly dehumanizing.  All is good otherwise though this pregnancy has been much more physically challenging.  Knitting has started to happen again.  My first trimester I literally had no strength to knit and for those who know me, that should impart the gravity of it.  I did read some books, lots of books, and slept a lot.

Maegwin is excited to be a big sister!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

It's like a heatwave!

I am always shocked when I realize how long it has been since I posted.  I don't mean to stay away so long, I really don't.  For those who wait with bated breath for my posts (who am I kidding...there really isn't anyone who does-LOL), I sincerely apologize.  Things are going fairly well at work.  We wound down the fiscal year and I had to put in some extra hours since my team isn't fully staffed up yet but still nothing like in my old department so I am happy.  If I didn't live so darned far away it wouldn't matter as much.  Sometimes the prospect of a 35-40 minute commute after working late just adds that extra touch of soul sucking doom to a day.  I know, I've gone soft.  I used to commute that long everyday but I rode BART.  I could knit...and knitting as you all know is really what keeps me from flipping out.  It is my anchor to calm. On that note, I have a few things to share!

I whipped up this wee strawberry hat for my friend Angie who is due any day now.  She was thrilled!  Her first baby I made a hat but missed getting it to her by mere days.  By the time I saw her, baby Jack's noggin was already too large.  This time around I wisely made a 0-6 month size so I hope she gets more use out of it than as a nursery decoration.


Next up, not necessarily a knitted thing but a knitting friend.  Jessica, the lovely Monkeybuttbabies on Ravelry and designer of the Go Bananas hoodie and tons of other cute stuff, came out to TNNA and I got the chance to meet her after years of knowing her from Ravelry.  She was just as sweet in person and we had a lovely time.


Mom and Maegwin went with me and Maegwin called it "ladies who lunch" and kept asking "Is this ladies who lunch?"  It was so cute!  She had tons of energy and pretended to be a bunny while we waited for our table.  We made it there just in time before the Pride parade finished up and the restaurants got inundated.  Our wait would have been crazy long!


This fabulous Dalek washcloth went to my friend Mel in Australia.  She can use it to EX-FOLI-ATE.  hehehe  Sorry, nerd humor


We had a spring flowers theme swap on my Itty Bitty Knitters board on Ravelry and I sent out this little package with a hand knit grape hyacinth and one of my cards I made.  I was rather proud of how the flower turned out though it was a huge pain in the rear.  I hate bobbles.  Let me repeat that-I HATE BOBBLES.  They hurt my hands and are always a bit askew which rankles my perfectionist sensibilities.  I did think the result here was pretty fabulous though.


I think that's about it.  The knitting on my stripey sweater continues though I ripped it ALL out and restarted with a new pattern because the one I was using was only written in one size and that size was not mine.  I tried to do some math but it just wasn't working out so I took the easy way out and found one with better sizing.  It is Georgia for those so inclined to go look.  Just imagine it in cream colored angora and lovely self striping yarn of this color.  I'm down past the sleeves again but doing a row takes me 15 minutes or so.  To those who have seen me knit you know this means there are a ton of stitches across.  Darn you fingering weight sweaters!  If you didn't look so good I would swear you off forever.

I'm going to keep this one short and sweet since I've been up for several hours now and it's only six a.m.  I can't say that my brain is functioning at its height of verbosity.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

This one's for the fellas

Not really-I'm just having trouble coming up with a title and it's Fathers' Day so...happy birthday Dads!  Hope you all have a lovely day.  :D  I would apologize for not writing but really, let's not fool ourselves, that is pretty much my modus operandi.  If I manage more than one post a month THAT is when you should be shocked.  First off, a bit of good news.  I got promoted!  I applied for a management position in a group that worked with mine under the same director.  They didn't think that was a good fit but it so happens that my current manager was moving into another opportunity in that other group so I got promoted to the manager spot of my current group instead!  I was super excited because honestly that was the best way things could have worked out.  I know and have worked with my new boss because he was already my director.  (Those who know me know that I have some management change apprehension with good reason).  I get to provide continuity for my group and there's some potential opportunity for others with my old position.

So with this news we have been dipping our tentative toes back into the real estate market just to see what is out there.  We weren't sure that my current company was going to be the long term place for me but since it seems like new opportunities have opened up, we now know the center of our search radius.  I, like any true Bay Area commuter, am willing to accept up to a 40 minute commute and that gives us quite a few possibilities.  We made a document over the last several years with must have, nice to have, and other categories (honestly does this shock anyone?  We are planners!) and we sent that to our agent.  He can put in a search radius and we can't and he came up with some intriguing stuff.  Basically this just made us feel better that we don't have to be in any huge hurry because there were several that had many of the things we wanted.  So this year we are going to work on some things we need to do to this house-boxing in the ductwork, removing dead trees, refinishing the wood floors, fixing some light fixtures, etc-and then we will see about listing it.  Our agent feels like what we want to get is reasonable so fingers crossed.

Our garden is coming along well.  We have the largest cabbages we have ever had to date.
Everything seems to be going well but we have seen a small groundhog in there a few times.  We keep going out to scare him so we are hoping that he will seek greener pastures.  The deer have stayed away-the scarecrows seem to be working on them.  I planned to share some photos but of course it is raining right now so I don't want to go out.  On the bright side, we planted some petunias, yarrow, and coneflowers yesterday so now we won't have to water them.

Ok-I waited to post so I could share.  I put in the cabbage photo above and here are a few of the overall garden.  We need to do some major weeding, but nothing is big enough to hinder the plants' growth.


I added some handy labels so the layout would be more obvious.  The big empty spot was supposed to be a second ring of green beans but we didn't have very good germination.  This year has been really great for eggplant.  We have never got them to grow beyond seedlings but this year they are almost as tall as the tomato plants.
Our tomatoes are coming along nicely also.  We planted ten and are hoping to get enough to can some this year.  We at least want to work on making our own stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce.

All of the red-edged leaves in this photo are cimmaron lettuce.  It's a kind of romaine. We have had many salads from it and are amazed it is still trucking along this way well into June.  It's tasty and more than we can eat.

Hopefully you can all recognize carrot leaves amongst the bed here.  We planted red, white, yellow, and red carrots.  We have left the clover to help keep the moisture in the soil.

We planted three types of potatoes this year also-blue, red, and white.  So far the plants are looking good.  There are some small holes but we are thinking they are snake holes.  There are no mounds that would show if it were moles and the plants aren't spontaneously dying (which they would if their roots were eaten off).

Here are some peas I picked this morning.  Maegwin loves opening them and eating them out of the pod.  In fact, we really haven't eaten many because she scarfs them down but I'm happy to see her enjoying them so much.

I was ripping up pizza boxes to go in the compost and Maegwin found this little container with potting soil in it.  She had a fun time and had dirt everywhere-even in her hair by the time I noticed!IMG_5280

This post is getting long so I'll do a knitting catch up post another time.  Maegwin is getting pretty clingy right now so I'll sign off.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

April showers bring May...vegetables?

Getting started on this blog post has been a bit of a challenge.  I just haven't had the time to sit down and write lately.  Things are getting busy at work as we approach the end of the fiscal year and when I'm home I'm either cleaning, gardening, playing with Maegwin or taking just a wee bit of time to knit.  I sort of need the knitting to help relax so sadly the blog suffers.

Since I last blogged, we went to my sister's graduation.  She was going for nursing and like me her college has been a loooong slog.  (I think she has me beat for number of years it took to get her degree-I took seven).  It's the sad fact of having to work full time while getting a degree.  This is the reason that we won't have more kids until we are sure we can provide for each to go to college.  Sorry, everyone, you won't convince us otherwise.  hehehe  But, I digress.  Missy couldn't get enough tickets for her graduation so we went to her pinning ceremony.  My impression is that it is more meaningful for nurses anyway and honestly I don't think Maegwin could have sat through an entire graduation.  As it was, the beginning was going great. We got there and the girls wandered around outside.


 She and Sarah sat together, she played with some empty seats beside me, then as a hush came over the crowd...she started shouting "BOO!"

Now, she meant it as scaring people and trying to get a laugh but geez the crowd reacted in a really awful way.  People were glaring at her and saying "What?  Oh my goodness?  What's wrong with you?" etc.  which only freaked her out more so she kept trying to get people to laugh.  Josh had to take her out sobbing that she couldn't stay at the "party for Aunt Missy".  Everyone kept glaring back all around me like I was the worst parent in the universe.  Seriously-she's three!  Graduations are boring even for adults.  Had I less self control I'd probably want to stand up and scream in pent up rage and boredom myself.    Not to mention it was late in the evening so at this point she would have been winding down for bed.  So for everyone out there, maybe a bit lower expectations of three-year-old comportment mmkay?

I got some pictures of people filing in and I think they were sitting in alpha order.  I'm glad I took a picture when I did because by the time it had filled in you couldn't see my sister at all.  We short women of my family  get eclipsed easily.  Some don't know quite how short I am because at work I'm never without heels.

We got through it though and now Missy just has to take her state test and done.

That same weekend Mom, Missy, and Sarah came out and took Maegwin to see the butterflies again and Josh and I worked all day to get the rest of our garden in.  We planted onions, corn, black & green beans, cabbage, tomatoes, potatoes, and weeded around what was already out (radishes, beets, carrots, lettuce, spinach, peas).  It was a long day but it all looks good.  We need to get our scarecrows out though because I saw deer in the back of our lawn this morning.  They weren't inside the garden but we need to deter them.  I read that we can also run a string up at chest height along the fence to keep them from jumping in so that's probably on the agenda for this morning once everyone wakes up.

On the knitting front, I'm currently working on a Spring Garden Tee for myself.  I picked up the same yarn I made Maegwin's in last year but a different color.  It was on sale so I also got enough for another in a larger size for her.  Might take a break between them though because the plain stockinette in the body is boring the daylights out of me.
I'm trying to make the sizing match the shirt underneath which is one of my favorites from Gap.  I've had it for at least seven years now and it's beginning to be a bit worn.  For anyone who doesn't know, I keep my clothes for a ridiculously long time.  I have shirts from 2001, shoes from get the idea.  If I can repair it myself or get it repaired in the case of shoes I do.  I see no reason to replace something that is perfectly serviceable.  It's one of the reasons I love knitting.  I can continually darn my own handknit socks.

I also made a cowl for California mom for Mother's Day.
mother's day cowl
I really love how it turned out.  The pattern called for more repeats of the pattern but it already went up past my chin so I figured it was perfect.  The yarn was originally intended as something to match my grey coat but honestly I might have to replace it this winter (see comment above-the lining is shredded and parts of it are wearing thin) and I thought this was a better use for the yarn making a lovely present.  For my mom I got the Botanical Knits book.  We are planning to do a knit along with each other once we get our books.  I'm excited!

I also knit a Dalek washcloth for my friend Mel in Australia.

We are doing a mini skein swap that is continual and goes all over the world.  It is so fun.  Each time we include some little goodies for the next lady in line to enjoy.  We joke that we are keeping the US postal service in business with yarn swap packages.  Here's what I got as goodies in the last one.
I love the wooden buttons and want to use them to put on my Gnarled Oak cardigan whenever I get around to it.  I have a deep wine colored yarn to make mine in.

I think that is all for now.  I leave you with a self portrait of Maegwin:
self portrait
and Survivalist Maegwin:

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Butterfly kisses

Today is tilling day so I don't have too long to write.  I'm trying to sneak something in while breakfast is cooking and Maegwin is running around.  Last weekend we went to the conservatory and it was wonderful! I've been wanting to go to the butterfly exhibit since I heard about it three years ago but just never took the time.  My parents-at-work group did a playdate there so it was a great opportunity to force myself to do it.  This year they have Brazilian butterflies and going into the exhibit was like descending into the jungle.


It was humid in there with a brook running through it and waterfalls.  We immediately started spotting butterflies!  Here are a few of my favorite shots:




We all loved this camo butterfly.  It was so hard to see.

This one had the most amazing blue wings on the inside but the outside of them were so interesting as well.

We found a koi pond at the base of the exhibit.

Maegwin wanted to go in and swim with the fishes but we persuaded her that wasn't a good idea.

We tried to get all the kids together for a picture, but Maegwin and Carson did not appreciate it.

Next we checked out the orchids area.  They had a whole fairy tale village with a train running through it.

Josh spotted a cocoa pod but it was up too high to really check it out.  This is on 15x zoom.  That tree was tall!

They happened to be having their retired plants sale which is all the plants they take out of their exhibits as they change them out so I bought a miltonia orchid similar to this one.
No idea what color the flowers will be on mine but it is so healthy!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a total sucker for orchids so I really enjoyed this biome in the conservatory.  So I don't bore you all with orchid pictures, I will just share a few of my favs.  I took a LOT of pictures.  LOL



Maegwin pointed out these red "spears".  She really wanted one but we managed to keep her from picking almost everything.  More on that in a minute.

Next was the desert biome which of course was Josh's favorite because it was dry.  Just as hot as the orchid exhibit but no humidity.  He doesn't do well with humility, I mean humidity.  The plants were very unique.

The roots on this tree were fascinating.


This succulent had gorgeous flowers.

There was an educational area that explained all about how butterflies see.  It had several pair of eyes to look through and also showed how they saw light.
Trying butterfly eyes

So eventually, Maegwin picked a lantana.  At least it wasn't a big orchid or anything.  She wanted to go back to the butterflies and get one to "land on her skin".  She took off her jacket in order to offer them better perch choices.
purloined lantanas

We spotted a close and relatively serene butterfly so we offered it the purloined posies.

It mulled the offer over.

Then voted for my hand as the most beneficent of the bunch.

We could even see his proboscis so we got a mini science lesson.


Josh was amused by all the butterflies by the windows longing for freedom.  (Keep in mind it was about 32 degrees outside so they would not have lasted long)

I got a bit of video too so you can hear the water rushing and see the flitting around.

Here's my favorite photo of the day.  Just so perfect and serene.  It was a fun day!  If anyone comes to visit us this is definitely on the agenda.

All the walking tired us out.  I even wanted a nap!

See you all next time!