Thursday, June 30, 2005

Inspiration

Tuesday night, at knitting, I met a newcomer to our group. Kelli is an amazing person who works with an international aid group. She is on her way to Africa to work in Mozambique helping those suffering from HIV/AIDS. Since meeting her, I have read her blog archives and I am in awe. She has lived that life I've always dreamed of. Volunteering with the Peace Corps and having a job where you actually make a difference in the lives of the people who share our planet. I'm almost there. Working with a charitable foundation whose mission is to better the lives of people in Mexican border towns has truly changed my life. I know, though, that I can do more. The administrative side, while vital to our success, isn't as "hands on" as I would like it to be. I just need to figure out how I can make the job more of what I need it to be and how I can get that done.

Life with no one to take care of everyday has given me time to think about many things I never thought of before. I have never lived alone, never was there a time when I didn't have someone to take care of (being a mother to my sisters since our's wasn't, marrying young and having kids within 10 months of that marriage), when I could actually focus a little on me. I can't imagine what will happen when the kids ::sigh:: move out someday.

This weekend we are heading up to Pinetop to escape the heat and relax with my in-laws. Instead of worrying about feeding kids, keeping said kids occupied and thinking of all the things I should be doing, perhaps I can do some things just for me that I've been neglecting.

Have a wonderful, peaceful weekend spent with those you love...

Posted by Heather at 1:00 PM 0 comments

Monday, June 27, 2005

All is quiet...too quiet!

There are a few drawbacks to sending the kids to Florida for 5 weeks. I'm stuck with their chores, there isn't enough laundry to make full loads, no one to tuck in and kiss goodnight, no fighting, no messes, no one calling me Mommy and no one is needing me. To make me feel better while I'm slaving away at work so they can lounge around all summer, they have their grandparents send me pictures of them having a horrible time.

sleeping


Rough life. They are asleep in my parents boat after a day cruising the Myakka River in Port Charlotte. God, I miss them.

Onto the knitting front, since now I have nothing to do all evening and the weekends. I'm nearing the end of the straight section on the Clapotis. Wow, this thing is going to be HUGE. More like a blanket for a small child. I got pissed at the Flower Basket Shawl after it made me screw something up, so I shoved it in my project bag. I don't think my brain is functioning well enough to figure out how to do lace. It's official, it ain't the yarn, it is me. Bah.

Posted by Heather at 1:20 PM 5 comments

Friday, June 24, 2005

Perspective

I'm rather embarrassed. I found out yesterday that my friend Jen from our knitting group has no AC in her car. In Arizona. In the summer. My AC might suck, but at least I have something. From now on when I'm bitching incessantly about the heat on my way home, I'm going to think of Jen and stop acting like the biggest whiner ever. I cannot even imagine driving around in this inferno with no AC at all, sucky or otherwise. I'm sorry, Jen!!

This also got me thinking. I work for a charitable foundation who works to better the lives of the people in the Mexican border towns. I'm sure I'll get some anonymous emails saying we should be helping people in our own country like I always do. Which pisses me off to no end. I could care less about a barbed wire fence separating one country from another. When I see a child/adult/teenager/senior hungry, dirty, cold and in need I want to help. I could care less if they are purple, green, Mexican, American or Martian. They are people, just like us. Contrary to popular belief, Mexicans want to stay in their own country and raise their families. They aren't swarming to the border to eat McDonalds or wrestle some CEO's job away from them. If this country would just issue work permits for jobs we don't want to do anyway, I'll go out on a limb and say we could really make a huge dent in illegal immigration. But, I'll shut up about that for now.

So, back to me thinking. I've put in many hours of work in the barrios of Agua Prieta and in the orphanages we sponsor in Mexico. As hot as we can get here, most of us have air conditioned homes, offices and cars to go to for relief. They have NOTHING. No fans, because there is rarely electricity and if there is they can't afford one. No ice, because there is no freezer. No pool in the backyard or down the street at the community center, instead they put a make-shift tub in their outdoor kitchen to provide their children some relief. And they sit in the heat, watching their children play in the garbage alongside the road because there is no trash pick-up in the barrio. And there they hope for a better life that probably won't come because of the very few opportunities in Mexico and a government that could care less about it's own people.

Barrio Pool


Instead of bitching about the heat, I'll be thankful I'm not living in the equivalent of a dump, making $400 a MONTH in a factory and hoping I have enough food to feed my children before my next payday.

Posted by Heather at 10:28 AM 3 comments

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I was wrong

Kindly forgive me. It wasn't 112 here yesterday in hell Chandler, it was 116. Today it should be just as horrible. AAA of Arizona did some test the other day about how hot the inside of your car can get. With an outside temperature of 101, a car left in the sun with tinted windows will reach an internal temperature of 113 in 5 minutes, 151 (no, that isn't a typo) degrees in 15 minutes. My windows aren't tinted, it sits in the sun all day while I'm in the office, it was a lot hotter than 101 yesterday and my AC sucks. I can pretty much guarantee my car was hotter than 151. According to some food site I found, you have to maintain a temperature of at least 140 to dehydrate food. My freaking car is a mobile dehydrator. Gee, if I leave some slices of beef in there all day, can I go to the car at lunch for some tasty jerky?

I've decided I'm going to run out of yarn for the Clapotis. Of course I am. I have that kind of luck. Hopefully I can match up with what I have at SWTC. Progress on the Flower Basket Shawl is slow. After pulling out some hair trying to figure out how to do a provisional cast on (don't ask me how, I think I winged it), I've frogged the thing 3 times now when I made a mistake. I now have about 2 inches to show for probably 2 hours of work.

Obviously summer has fried my brain. Or dehydrated it.

Posted by Heather at 10:41 AM 5 comments

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Happy Summer Solstice

Today marks the official beginning of summer. Why is it, then, that our 100+ degree temperatures can't start until AFTER that? It will hit 112 here today and will be the longest day of the year. Joy. Why can't it be 75 and the longest day of the year? I bitch all summer long about the heat. Brian probably wants to strangle me by August. There is a guy in my office who keeps the AC at 68. That is a 44 degree change when I have to go outside for anything. No wonder why I can't cope. Sadie is coping by sleeping thorough it all.

Sadie


Isn't that hysterical? He sleeps like that all the time.

Major progress made on the Clapotis last night. I probably am 2/3 done with the straight section. I also finished most of the felted sheep last night. All that is left to do is sew her up and make the hooves. It is so cute I can hardly stand it. Brian thinks I should make a bigger one, don't felt or stuff it, and use it as a Halloween costume for the cat. He is sick. See what happens when we don't have the kids around to keep us out of trouble? Don't even ask me about the margaritas on Saturday night. I now understand the little song "One tequila, two tequila, three tequila...floor!". Who knew I could really sleep on the floor?

Posted by Heather at 8:54 AM 3 comments

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Whoa...

I have serious project hoarding issues. I ran off to Fiber Factory this morning to pick up the pattern for the Flower Basket Shawl and the yarn to make it.

Flower Basket


As soon as I came home, I tossed Clapotis aside like an old sock and worked up my swatch. The yarn is gorgeous. Soft, slippery and the color is so deep. That got me to thinking about all my other projects. And all the projects I know I have stuffed in the closet. And then my OCD brain started smoking. So what does any person who now has too much time on her hands do? She pulls out her obsessively organized stash/projects and starts a list. It ain't pretty my friends.

On the Needles - in order of when I started the project

Felted Sheep
Baby Blanket (shower is in July)
Cable Afghan (meant to be a very long term project)
Clapotis
Flower Basket Shawl

Not so bad you are saying? Ha!! I then dug through the embarrassing stash and pulled out all the yarn that was dedicated to a particular project (other than the stuff I bought when I was out of my mind when trying to be creative and think I'd come up with some fabulous project for the yarn.

I have 19 projects ready to go. 19. Add that to the 5 I already have and well, I'd have to complete 2 a month to finish them in a YEAR. What in the world am I thinking when I buy yet another project? As it is, I squeeze knitting time in at stop lights. I really need help.

I told Brian that I'm not buying anymore yarn until I finish most of the projects I have. He starting laughing hysterically and left the room.

Last, but not least, is a picture of the Clapotis. The colors are a bit off in the picture. I'm about to drop my 3rd stitch.

Clapotis


Made in SWTC Oasis and considerably wider than the the first one. I really love her, even though I tossed her aside today over my latest obsession.

Posted by Heather at 3:23 PM 5 comments

Friday, June 17, 2005

Bye Mommy...

Southwest


Well, the day I have both dreaded and looked forward to is here. The Princess and the Baseball Star are on a Southwest flight headed to Tampa for 5 weeks. Last night I snuggled with the Princess while she cried herself to sleep. She cannot bear to be away from the boyfriend for 5 weeks. Teen love...what more can I say?

I miss them already. My life took an abrupt change today. Up until this week I've been a last-minute taxi driver, sitting at baseball and softball games and dealing with "Mooommmm tell him to stooopppp...". Tonight I will go home and the house will be quiet and there will be no one to drop off/pick up at the movies, mall, pool, friends house, mall, movies, practice. What are we going to do with ourselves?

Yea, they can drive me to the brink of insanity (ok, those of you that know me I realize I'm probably already there), but I love them with all my heart and I feel like a piece of me is missing. The Princess wasn't the only one crying last night...

Posted by Heather at 11:19 AM 3 comments

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Surprise!

I have the best Secret Pal EVER. Lookie at what I got!!

goodies


Bath fizzies and the most adorably (is that a word?) packaged knit kit. The company is called Pick Up Sticks and I totally love how it looks like Chinese take-out. The pattern is for little felted flowers. I see many, many of these cute little goodies gracing my hoard collection of felted bags. Thank you SO much, Secret Pal!! I love it!!

Seems as though I have caught the clap again.

Clapotis 2


Excuse the crappy picture. My photo editing software sucks. This version is being knit in SWTC Oasis in the Desert colorway. I got the yarn when I turned in my last test knit for them. The color looks a bit washed out in the picture and since I took it 3 days ago (yea, I know. You try blogging on a semi-regular basis with softball, baseball, teenagers who are abandoning you for 5 weeks) I've made quite a bit of progress on her. Especially last night, since the wonderful Sarah lent me her ghetto needles so I didn't have to suffer using straights until I could haul my butt up to Fiber Factory for some Addi circulars since my Susan Bates were dragging with the yarn.

Met up with my awesome friends from my SnB group last night. Pam, Melanie, Eva, Sarah, Kathy and I all met so we could welcome Nancy back to the furnace Arizona. We had the best time! We ate, knit, crocheted and yapped for hours. So much fun. I'm so lucky to have such a great group of friends.

The kids leave tomorrow at 9am. I'm so torn, I can't stand it. While I could sure use some time alone with the hubby, some peace and quiet (no fighting, no whining, no 2am phone calls, did I mention no fighting?)...I just cannot believe I will be away from my children for 5 weeks. That is a long time. I've never been without them for this long. They are excited and I'm happy for them. But, I will miss them more then they will ever know. Of course, now the Princess doesn't want to go since she has a boyfriend. Go figure.

Posted by Heather at 10:14 AM 2 comments

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Felted madness

I've always known that I have the best husband in the world. Now I have further proof.

knit bug


Isn't that great? He loves to build models and I love slug-bugs. So, he made this for me. Don't you love the license plate? One of these days I'll actually get that for my car.

Haven't been able to knit much lately because my wrists have been hurting. I was finally able to finish the test knit purse I was doing for SWTC. Do I like it? Not really. I love the Karaoke yarn (the felted part), but I'm not crazy about the look of the purse. The pattern was awful and needs some serious re-working. The karaoke felts well, but with enough fuzz to make a little purse. I put it outside for the birds to grab for their nests.

SWTC Bag


It is also kind of big, no? Since I was already felting, I seamed up the Noro bag I made and felted that too. Now this purse, I love.

Noro Bag


I also finished the Sapphire sweater. It really needs to be blocked, but SWTC will do that. I was able to tear the Princess away from the phone long enough to try it on. Note the annoyed expression. I'm back to not being able to breathe right in her majesties presence.

Sapphire


What's on the needles & hooks now?

A crocheted afghan for my friend in Florida out of TLC Baby. And the same cabled panel I showed the other day. I really love making cables. Very different from anything I've done before. I think I'll be starting another bag, too. Might as well give in to the addiction. It's hopeless to resist.

Walked quite a bit this weekend to train for the 3-day. 4 miles on Saturday alone and another 4 or so with Eva this morning. I really had a wonderful morning walking with her. Sure makes the walks much more fun!

The Princess and the Baseball Star leave on Friday. Even though they are driving me a bit crazy, I miss them already and I'm trying not to cry. 5 weeks will be a long time.

Posted by Heather at 6:56 PM 4 comments

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Vacation...all I ever wanted...

Melanie asked on her blog today what our dream vacation spots would be. Good question since the last place I want to be right now is my job. I love it, but I could use a long break.

Alaska - This has been my dream vacation since I was a kid. I want to kayak the bay, see whales and the Northern Lights. I love cold weather, too. And I live in the desert. Yes, I am a moron.

Hawaii - I love tropical flowers and the ocean. Not to mention that volcanoes are cool.

Europe - Shopping, museums, museums and endless people watching. I want to see all of it!

Yellowstone - Because I love camping so much, I think it would be the ultimate camping adventure.

Cruise - I've been on one cruise in my life. The group was fun, the ship sucked (sorry, Lynn). I'm saving for a 4 day cruise and hope to go on one this Christmas.

What's your dream vacation?

Posted by Heather at 9:04 AM 3 comments

Thursday, June 02, 2005

What fun!

I can't believe that cables are so much fun! I've been wanting to learn how to make cables for a long time, but never saw a project that I wanted to try that wasn't either too difficult or something I'd never wear or use. So, when I saw an Aran Afghan Sampler on Knitty Gritty (show on DIY Network) I knew I found my project. The pattern calls for Plymouth Encore, but I'm allergic to wearing wool so I'd never be able to snuggle under it. I'm using Caron Simply Soft. I'm also working the cables without a cable needle. There is an awesome tutorial on ?Wendy's Site. Since I hadn't done one before, I figured that learning without the needle would be faster.

Braided Cables


Pretty, huh? I even fixed a mistake in one of the cables 4 rows down when I didn't work the cable. I knit up to that point, dropped the stitches to the mistake and redid them. I was pretty proud of myself. My only worry is that I'm supposed to block the squares when I'm done. Anyone out there know if you can block Simply Soft?

Posted by Heather at 8:28 PM 7 comments

Boredom

Oh for the love of God! Please, someone out there shoot me. How is it that these kids have only been out of school for a week and they are booorrreeeddd? I kick them off the computer, video games and tv for a few hours and you would think that I put them in some torture chamber (I'm surprised they haven't called DCFS to complain about my abuse. Can't you see the call? "My mother is horrible, she is making us READ!"). What did we do in the summer when we were kids? I know being bored wasn't on my agenda. We played games, read dozens of books ("Read, Mom, you must be kidding!" God forbid.), did crafts and hung out with your friends. Are these the same kids that whine for weeks before school lets out that they "can't wait for summer" then on the VERY FIRST DAY get themselves grounded for the day because of their fighting?? That are now whining they are bored? I swear, I feel like a summer camp counselor. I'm knitting myself a freaking noose.

Last night we had the best SnB ever! Kim arranged for us to meet at Red Kangaroo Wines for wine, knitting and socializing. What fun! I'm not a big wine lover, but I loved the wine I was drinking so much that I bought a bottle. I really hope we do this again soon.

Off to answer the 5th phone call for the day from the kids. 15 days until they leave for Florida. 20 days until I miss them so much I want them to come home early.

Posted by Heather at 10:21 AM 1 comments

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Time flies...

Had a fabulous weekend in Pinetop! Cool weather, a bit of rain and great friends. Got a little reading done, worked on a crocheted baby blanket and worked on my test knit felted bag for SWTC (would have finished, too, if I didn't run out of yarn).

SWTC has a new yarn out, Karaoke. 50% soy silk and 50% wool. I'm so in love. Very soft, floats on the needles and the colors are rich and gorgeous. I think it is supposed to hit stores in July. I can't wait to see how it felts. I'll post some before and after pictures. I'm almost done! Side note to my SP about my little quilting comment the other day. I don't know if I would really start quilting anytime soon. I do have a sewing machine, but I haven't used it in years. I just seem to be on the go all the time and quilting is so non-portable. Maybe when the kids graduate...

Remember how I was raving about Vogue the other day? Well, I was expecting them to send me the pattern. They sent the entire magazine! There are several sweaters in there that I would like to make. Funny, I love the Spring/Summer editions of magazines.

Last, but not at all least, today my SnB friend Ashley leaves for Japan. I am so sad to see her go! She is just so funny and is such a fabulous person. I'm going to miss her at our get-togethers. Bye, Ashley! Buy lots of Koigu while you are there!!!

Posted by Heather at 8:59 AM 1 comments