Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Yarn Along2015.25: Look What I Did!!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  I cannot believe it has been an entire week all ready.  So much has gone on, all of it keeping me from the computer, and all good.

Today the sky wants to be blue, but there are clouds sneaking their way in.  Rain is forecasted for mid-afternoon; of course.  Can't get two whole days without rain so far this month.  I have given up my rule of no walking in the garden when it's waterlogged and am hand pulling the weeds while ankle deep in mud in an attempt to not let my veggie seedlings get smothered in weeds.  The veggies that haven't drowned yet, that is.  Some of them are starting to turn yellow with too much water and not enough oxygen to the roots.

Joining in with Ginny for the Yarn Along today between work away from home (also known as my job) and work at home (aka laundry and more weeding).

Look what I did!  I finished sock #1 of my Moose Drool (Zigzagular) socks!!  Woo Hoo!  I feel so accomplished now.  :0)

Aaaaannnnddd, . . .

I cast on sock number two right away once I finished grafting the toes on sock one.  Then I proceeded to knit all the way to the gusset decreases!  YAY!  From cast-on to gusset in only four days. Days!  Not weeks!

Full disclosure:  DH and I took a massive road trip to Clemson, South Carolina and back since Friday afternoon.  We went to watch DS2 and his team compete in the ASCE Concrete Canoe Nationals.  Which meant not only a whole lot of hours spent knitting on the drive down & back, it also meant a whole lot of time spent knitting during the presentations and between races.

I also did a little reading too, something that's been more non-existant than my knitting this month.  Back on Memorial Day I picked up this copy of Hard Ground by Joseph Heywood at the annual library book sale in the village.  It is full of short stories about being a Conservation Officer in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Definitely manly writing, outdoorsy, gritty, to the point, with no romance or rambling paragraphs.  I'm loving it!  It is perfect reading for when I need something I can pick up and put down without forgetting the storyline; each short story seems to be less than a dozen pages.  Despite their brevity, they are all gripping.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Yarn Along 2015.24: Not Much

Joining Ginny today for the weekly Yarn Along, although again I have not much progress to show.  It's hard not to get discouraged by how long these very simple socks are taking me; I know I'm capable of cranking out an entire pair in a month, and yet after five yarn along posts in which I talk about this particular pair, I still have not finished the first sock!

However, and the only reason I'm not totally discouraged at this point, the last seven weeks of my life have been incredibly busy.  I know that it is about impossible for me to get crafting types of projects done this time of year in a 'normal' year: one in which I don't have two kids graduating and another getting married all in a month's time frame.  Because this is gardening season, and my garden is a huge one. Which means gardening comes before crafting.  It is also haying season, except, since we've had only one three-day straight spell without rain since Memorial Day, my hayfield still remains uncut waiting for a long enough swath dry of weather.

So, I have to look at my not-much-more-knit sock from week to week and think about all the hours spent working at other (mostly seasonal) things instead.  Like hand-weeding the garden since it is way too muddy for tiller or hoe, yet the weeds are growing by leaps and bounds daily.  Hand-weeding 30-foot long rows takes quite a bit of time, time I used to spend knitting. But then again, in the fall when the garden is done for the year, I'll get all those hours back with my knitting needles.  Plus, I'll have all sorts of good stuff to eat from a summer of growing and putting up garden bounty.

For now, to distract everyone (including me) from how similar my sock looks to last week's yarn along, I will pose it in the flowerbed with what's currently blooming that has not yet been a sock photo background.

in the lamium

the whole thing so far

in the cranesbill

Of course, where my knitting is, the Yarn Thief isn't very far away.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Half as Long; More Than Half

Sound like a contradiction?  Half as long; more than half. . .  It's a riddle, but I'll gladly tell you the answer.

Today DH and I have been married twenty-two years.  A hair over two weeks ago, my parents celebrated their forty-fourth wedding anniversary.  22 years is a long time, a real feat for my generation it seems.  44 years is really a long time, a feat for even my parents' generation.

And you know what?  22 is exactly half of 44.  A little math nerdiness for you.

My parents have been a huge influence in my marriage.  Indirectly, of course, as my Mom still has times when she tries to convince me that maybe there's more out there for me than being DH's wife. . . But I think that's pretty typical of mothers (and something I try real hard not to think/feel/say to my own children about their significant others--I want to be a nice mother-in-law not an adversarial one).

As their eldest child, I observed a lot growing up.  Their struggles financially, their determination to bear some hard times in order for the long run to be mostly good times.  My mom working full time while my father finished college (after returning home from military service in Vietnam) and then went on to law school.  Dad working hard after he had his Juris Doctor so that Mom could stay home for a while with my younger brother and I.  How they worked as a team.  How they avoided fighting in front of us kids.  How they occasionally pawned us off on our grandparents so they could have a night (or a string of days and nights, in the summer) for some alone time.  How they did not put each other down to others, no matter how angry they might be with each other.

Things I have brought into my own marriage.  It's not all sunshine and roses, sure, but there's a whole lot more sunshine and roses when we work together (and don't hold grudges for the times we have to work alone) than if we run away from each other whenever things get tough. Than if we talk trash about each other to our children or friends when we are angry.  The things I learned have taken DH and I through 22 years so far, and we fully expect to get through another 22 to get to our own 44.

I am 43 years old.  I got married at 21; twenty-two years ago.  I've been Mrs. DH more than half my life now.  That's a long time.  I honestly have a really hard time remembering what it was like to be single.  I met DH shortly after my 19th birthday, so I stop my 'single life' counting at that point.  Because from practically the night we met, life stopped being 'him' and 'me' and became 'us'.  I can't adequately describe it, but I still remember how comfortable and wonderful it felt to realize that he was different, that he just seemed to naturally be part of my life.

Maybe that is why we've been together for so long: he compliments my life and I compliment his.  Where he is weak (um, spiders, needles, writing papers) I am strong (hi spider let me catch you and put you back outside, I'll gladly donate blood or give shots, and I love to write. . .).  Where I am weak (spatial math computations, social skills, computer savvy) he is strong (hello, he's an engineer--math and computers! and despite being an engineer he's more socially outgoing than I am).

We're a team.  Together we can accomplish just about anything.  Fighting against each other we not only accomplish nothing, we lose some of what we have.  In twenty-two years, you amass a lot.  Not just material things, but memories and love too.

22 years.  Half as long; more than half.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Yarn Along 2015.23: Knitting Again

Another Wednesday has arrived quicker than I thought it would.   Time to join Ginny for the Yarn Along.

After not touching it since last Tuesday, I picked up my Moose Drool sock (aka Zigzagular socks) again on Monday evening.  I picked up the stitches for the gusset at the heel, and have gotten almost through the decreases to the main part of the foot.  I think I have two more decrease rows to go, then I'll be there.  I love doing the foot on a sock; it's smooth sailing in an almost-done state of bliss.  Perhaps I'll actually get this sock finished in the next seven days!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Where's My Camaro?

When GM brought back the Camaro several years ago (2010 models? Has it really been that long?), I loved them. Loved them like I have not loved any other model of Camaro since the late 60's/early 70's models became scarce.  '80's Camaro, I did not care for.  90's Camaro, oh yuck, puh-lease.  But the new Camaro? Oh yes, PLEASE can I have one?  The look, so reminiscent of the beefy muscle-car Camaro body style I loved as a kid.  This car looked powerful.  Strong.  A work horse with the speed of a racehorse.

Then, DH happened to bring one home from work one day (bringing cars home from work is nothing new, and has actually been part of his engineering tasks for over a decade, but rarely are they models I'm interested in), and I got to ride in it.  The round dials on the dash, the racing-type bucket seats, the rear wheel drive power!!  Work horse look, racehorse speed, and dressage horse handling.  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Some serious car lust going on.

Didn't take me long after that to look up what the cost would be on my dream Camaro.  Custom built, of course, because I don't want all the bells and whistles, just the basics.  Manual transmission.  Dials, not digital display.  Knobs on the radio.  Heck, even the windows can be manual.  Vinyl floors, not carpeted.  And no leather upholstery.  I must have those seats, though.  :0)

At the time, a brand new Camaro in my desired color scheme (bright yellow because underneath my staid exterior is a flamboyant soul) and options quoted at $23,000.  $23,000!  That was only half as much as the sticker price on my Suburban in 2005!!  $23,000, imagine a brand new, just as I want it, vehicle for only $23,000!  My mind was made up.

"When DD2 graduates, I want a Camaro," I informed DH.

He, of course, was not on the same train of thought as I was.  He couldn't imagine why I would a) want such a base model vehicle, b) put a far away date of 2015 on the purchase of it.  I had to patiently explain my reasoning.

A) I don't want a tricked out car.  Big price, more computerized shit stuff to go wrong on it, and less chance DH would let me drive it with dirty shoes (my shoes are almost always dirty, what with both living on and working on farms).  I just want the body style, the easily cleaned interior, the simple stuff I understand how it works, and of course the bad ass engine good acceleration and handling.

B) I wanted one in 2015 because that was when I would be officially retired.

Of course, I had to explain the retired part too.  Retired because DD2 would graduate from high school, move away to college and turn 18 years old; effectively ending my 24/7 job of parenting that I would have been 'employed' at for nearly 26 years at that point.  Besides, with just myself to haul around (instead of four offspring plus assorted friends and teammates of theirs) I would no longer need an 8 passenger vehicle (such as the Suburban) as my daily driver.  A nice, 2-door Camaro would fit the bill.  Besides, it would get better gas mileage too.  (Since we're being all practical here.)

DH said he would think about it.  And, occasionally in the last several years, he has mentioned it.  But I keep having to remind him this is my Camaro; that I don't want it to be a convertible (long hair and convertibles don't really work all that well together, especially if the driver has long hair flying in her face blocking her vision), that I don't really want air conditioning (if it's even still possible to buy a car without AC), that I don't want OnStar or a nav screen (no GPS thank you, I don't want to be trackable should I decide to disappear for a while), that I did not think the heads up display was cool (rather distracting, IMHO).  This is a muscle car, for Pete's sake, not a Cadillac!

Now that DD2's graduation day has come and gone, and we are on the countdown to her departure from home for the college dorm (73 days she has informed me), I've been thinking about 'my' Camaro a lot.

Brutal truth is, I'm not getting one.  Nope.  No brand new, custom built Camaro for me.  We really need to replace our Suburban, as it is both our trip truck and heavy duty hauler--say if we need to deliver a couple tons of hay, or take our tractor somewhere-- and as of last week sports over 200,000 miles.

A mileage which makes it not such a reliable vehicle for driving long distances (say, oh 500 miles one way to DD2's college or something) any more.  We've had to replace a few 'larger' items on it in the past year and a half or so,(plus, you might notice from the picture that the PRND321 no longer lights up, so you really need to count how many 'clicks' you pull the lever down for to know which gear you're in) and we know from past experience that after the 200k mark, a major component breakage is looming, usually for the most inopportune time.  This is our fourth vehicle we've taken up over 200k miles, after all, with the record for our personal fleet being 238k (and then the rear axle went. . . )

So anyway, my Camaro is not on the acquisition list for this year.  It's not the $23,000 price tag keeping it off the list; no our new truck, when we actually purchase it, will be much much more than that.  Possibly even twice that, as we need four-wheel drive, six passenger seating, a heavy-half ton or a 3/4 ton truck with the towing package and trailering mirrors.  Really, the Camaro is symbolic of so many other things that I want but more than likely will not get this year:

--the house that stays clean (what with having two grand kids living in it)

--the peace and quiet that was supposed to come when my youngest child leaves home (what with eldest child and his family living with us)

--the easing up of the pocketbook since there would no longer be anyone other than DH & I that we needed to support (the rent we are charging DS1 & family is not covering all the increased bills, repairs, and replacements that have occurred since they moved in)

--the freedom to do what I want with my time each day once I'm off of work and before DH arrives home from his job in the evening (what with extra people underfoot varying hours of the day and night)

I'm struggling a bit with accepting these facts.  I won't deny it.  I've never experienced life as an adult without being responsible for someone other than myself; I had DS1 one month and two days before turning 18.  Through all the rough years, all the sacrifices made, I've looked forward to the 'someday' when my kids were all grown up and I could get my reward of experiencing on going days where I did not need to think of someone else first.  Where I did not need to plan my breakfast, lunch, dinner based on the food allergies or preferences of my offspring.  Where I could actually go for two or three whole days of cooking and eating without running out of clean dishes!  Where I could pick up and go away whenever and where ever and however long I wanted (as long as I had obtained reliable livestock sitters).  Where I could have frivolous things like a Camaro.

That was supposed to happen this summer.  2015. Retirement from active parenting.  Time to myself.  A clean house.  No more tripping over other people's things, or planning meals around whims and schedules of others, or rushing to aide in someone else's crises that in the big picture aren't really crises at all.

So, as the days on the calendar go by, inching me closer to the day marked "DD2 moves into dorm", and I still find myself with dinners being kept warm waiting on others to return home, or tripping over someone else's dirty clothes they left lying, or opening the silverware drawer at lunch time to find that somehow not one of 12 dinner forks is clean (!!! how does this happen before noon?!?), I'm a little discontent.  I find myself asking out loud "Where's my Camaro?"

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Yarn Along 2015.22: Just a Little

Happy Yarn Along Day!  It is a beautiful, breezy, blue sky, sunny Wednesday at this little place here.  Joining Ginny briefly for this week's yarn along.

I have had a crazy busy week since the last yarn along.  Which means my Moose Drool sock has been pretty neglected.  I managed to knit on it for maybe an hour or so total.  That little bit was enough to finish the leg, do the heel flap and turn the heel on sock #1.

Picking up the gusset and doing the foot will have to wait until after this weekend, as DD2 graduated from high school last Sunday and we are all busily prepping for her open house to be held this Saturday.  Graduation open houses at this little place here are no small matter.  I believe invites, either official paper, photo, facebook, or word of mouth have been sent to 150+ relatives, friends, teammates, band geeks, drama club participants, church family, neighbors, etc.  Attendance at the open houses of my offspring typically hits the 100-person mark, with 60 people seated and eating at any one time.

That's a lot of food to prepare.  DH will be roasting a pig, as is tradition. I will be baking the cake and preparing all the rest of the food, as is tradition.  There will be an enormous bonfire after dark, as is tradition.  It will be exhausting, but fun too.  As is tradition.

So, a short yarn along post today, because I have just a *little* cleaning and prepping to do.